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To Sis.Jacintha Fernandes, Bro.Cyprian D’souza and Pas.Evan Dias for being godly examples
CONTENTS Introduction Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7
Introduction The purpose of this book is not to promise you material prosperity or physical healing – you’ve probably read and heard too much about these doctrines already. This book highlights what God exactly expects from you during your life here on earth. If you are interested in pleasing Him in the years ahead read on. Aiding you to do His will, will be God Himself.
Chapter 1 Don’t brood over woes (Phil.4:8) Some thoughts can spoil your mood and drag you down. When you think of the setbacks that you have faced or about the people who have let you down you turn gloomy and slide into a state of depression. Don’t brood over your woes or traumatic incidents. Get such useless thoughts out of your head. That’s the way to be happy and cheerful. Purify your heart (Jas.4:8) People today listen to messages with no intention of changing their hearts. That is why some churches are as dead as a doornail. The hearts of those who sing and pray, “Change my heart O God” and then do nothing themselves remain as black as coal. God won’t do for us what He wants us to do ourselves. He wants us to purify our hearts. How can that be done? In the same way water is purified. All impurities have to be thrown away. This in the only way to have clean lives and pure hearts. As long as people continue to ‘let go and let God’ chances of a revival will remain slim for God doesn’t treat us like puppets on a string. Prospects of seeing new souls in the kingdom too will be dim, as unbelievers will be put off by hearts that are unclean. Live in harmony (Ps.133:1; Acts 15:39) When two human beings come together for a common purpose, differences are bound to arise. In the church, this happens more than often, not just because of the strong personalities there but also because of the devil and his accomplices (demons). They don’t want the church to be a close-knit family, with brothers and sisters all working together. So they make sure that people take offence of someone else’s idea or have a misunderstanding. Therefore you see brothers in arms one week, go up in arms against each other, the next. Believers may have disagreements but they should see to it that these disagreements don’t get nasty. Don’t be like those believers who don’t talk to one another for years after a bad incident. You should not have anything against anybody. Since you want harmony, if a person has a misunderstanding with you, instead of waiting for him to extend the olive branch, do it yourself. Resolve conflicts nicely. It will lead to a more relaxing and a less stressful atmosphere in church. Rejoice always (1Thes.5:16; Hab.3:17-18) What is really important in the Christian life is a positive attitude. By adopting an optimistic outlook (the-current-depressing-scenario-will-pass view) and by remembering God’s promise that the worst will work out for your best you can be joyful when your going is bad. This way of seeing life gives victory over depression and makes the problems you face far easier for you to deal with. When Paul was imprisoned he could have questioned God’s love. Instead he was joyful and gave time to praying and writing. His writings minister to us even today. You may talk to unbelievers about the joy in your life but they are going to check you out.
Trust Him (Ps.125:1) Nobody could have imagined that Joseph would one day become the prime minister of Egypt. He did not have connections! But He knew a God who had not forgotten Him and that made all the difference in the world. God knows which buttons to push to get the best for us. Fast-forward a thousand years to the time of Mordecai and you find the same thing. You see God working behind the scenes for Mordecai’s good. He is a master of timing things beautifully! (Esth.6:1-11). Trust Him even if He doesn’t fix the problem right away for in His time He will act far above your expectations (Compare Ezra 4:21-24 with 6:6-12). If there are enemies around you they are there for a reason. In Judg.2:22 God says, “I’m going to let those enemies stay. I’ll use them to test Israel.” If we don’t have enemies how will we get tested? Do you understand now, why God allows rowdies to be around? To test and see if we will obey Him by forgiving them or disobey Him by punching them on their jaws. God deliberately sends people whom He loves through tests to make them stronger. Die to self (John 12:24) One of the reasons some Christians are not fruitful is because they are not dying to self. Paul was flogged and jailed in Philippi but instead of licking his wounds he started praising God. There was an earthquake and all the prisoners escaped. Seeing this the jailor was about to commit suicide. Paul could have thought, “Serves him right after what he did to us!” But he didn’t entertain such a thought. Instead He went and stopped him. What was the result? The jailor and his family got saved. When we die fruit is produced. Same is the case with the fruit of the Spirit. It does not get produced magically in a person’s life through other people’s prayers. Prayer is not a magic wand. The Holy Spirit can produce it only when we die to our rights – respond properly to provocation, injury, abuse, sickness etc. Can you strive to make every difficulty an occasion to exhibit God’s fruit? Don’t be jealous (Jas.3:16) Jealousy is one of the roads to unhappiness, and the most commonly traveled. It is responsible for the internal strife that we see in churches. Just take a look around. You will see gigantic wedges that divide believers apart. Because of jealousy even children of God live as foes. When you need someone to talk to there is no one. Where there is jealousy there is backbiting and belittling which lead to problems beyond resolving. There’s a lot of stress that comes with jealousy and selfish ambition. Since we are children of the same Father, we should not feel insecure of each other because of our different gifts. After all, all these gifts are important. And all of us are important. All of us have our roles to play. We are not in competition with anyone. We should have genuine love for one another. For where there is love there is no burning desire to be number one, there is no desire to eclipse another person, there is no bickering or fighting. You are as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own for you know that it’s all about rowing the same boat.
Love wife (Eph.5:25; 1Pet.3:7) All husbands should make an effort to be kind to their wives. Being kind means meeting her sexual needs; being romantic and not a fuddy duddy (S.of S.2:6). It means not breaking her heart by calling her names when she forgets to iron the shirt that you need for an important meeting. It means not hitting or pushing her when she irritates you. It means giving her a hand in washing dirty vessels after dinner or mopping the floor sometimes (some lazy fellows stay away from this by calling it unmanly) even if you have to miss a football match on TV. Small gestures like these that show your concern for her can make her happy. If she is in the family way you have to care for her even more. You should always be eager to help her. Her welfare should mean more to you than everything else. If she loses her kidneys you should be willing to donate one of yours (if compatible) and not wish that she died soon so you can marry another woman. That’s what real love is. It makes large sacrifices. Jesus loved us like that. Stay away from useless talk (2Tim.2:16-18) Discussing difficult biblical doctrines, which the Bible doesn’t explain clearly is useless talk. It only leads people farther away from God as doubts crop up. For example the doctrine of the Trinity - How three different persons could have had no beginning is something our finite minds cannot understand. If it was just one person we would have found it easy to believe. That is where faith comes in. We believe because the Bible says so. That is why we also believe that Jesus is equal to the Father even though He will be subject to the Father for all eternity to come (1Cor.15:28). “But why does He have to if He is God? It just doesn’t add up,” you may say. That’s again going back to useless talk. Meditate on the Bible (Josh.1:8) The verses of the Bible are meant for contemplation and implementation. This is the way to become increasingly godly. When you have stuff from the Bible to ruminate over there is no time for impure thinking! The Holy Spirit uses the Bible to change our way of thinking. If you surrender yourself to Him by taking the Bible seriously and following its instructions day after day, He will mould you into a new person (Eph.4:23-24). You will no longer be a crook. You will get polished to a radiant shine and become like God. In the past false teachers have been able to slip through the door because people didn’t know their Bibles. Don’t swallow the teachings of preachers hook, line and sinker. Let’s be careful for what we hear always isn’t the truth. We have to read the Bible for ourselves. It is a compass that can prevent us from straying. God’s words should mean something special to you. Despite your fast-paced life you should not miss even one sitting. Those who meditate on the Bible get smarter. They don’t remain naïve anymore. Vow to not let your Bible get dusty again. Encourage children for mission work (Jude 23) If you heard a piercing scream coming from a house on fire, wouldn’t you ring the fire brigade and then rush to help in whatever way possible? Probably you would. But there are parents who wouldn’t do that and would stop the firefighters who arrived too! So
many young men and women are not in missions today because their parents wanted to see them in nice respectable jobs with a future. In today’s value system, serving in a multinational corporation has greater value than serving the Lord as a missionary! You can see this again and again when believers choose marriage partners for their children. A person may not be able to make money as God’s servant but it is the most important job on earth. Souls are eternal and hell is eternal. Hell will not cease to exist nor will those who go there. They will suffer forever and ever in that pit of sulphur. That is why God send His only Son to die a painful death on the cross. The gospel is the only hope of mankind. It is sensible therefore to invest in the souls of men. God has kept us in this world after saving us to be on a rescue mission. He is anxious that people should know the gospel. Don’t contemplate suicide (Deut. 5:17) If you are thinking about killing yourself, change your mind. Whatever terrible thing (a bad childhood, disappointment in life, poor treatment from the people you were involved with, failure, loneliness, an unhappy marriage or prolonged illness) you may have gone/are going through, you cannot let it make you take your life and suffer forever in hell. You are precious to God. Don’t separate yourself from Him for eternity. Maybe not one person understands you. He does. Maybe you don’t have anybody that loves you. He loves you. Maybe there’s nobody around to help ward off boredom. He longs for your fellowship (Besides, we Christians have plenty to do. The gospel needs to reach the nook and corner of our country). You need to spend time all alone in a room with God. Just God, you and a copy of the Bible. There you will learn the real meaning of life. You will realize that you are here for a purpose and that everything that takes place in your life is also for a purpose - to make you Christ like and to make you useful to others. It is by going through difficult experiences that you can help people out there who are suffocated by life and crushed under pressures and failures. Continue in ministry (Gal.6:9; 2John 8) Maybe you are thinking that you’re working without any real recognition and it’s unfair. You want to give up. You must not get discouraged friend. A day will come when all unsung heroes will be felicitated for their past endeavors. On that day you’ll realize that you had been noticed by someone all along and that all your sweat and hard work wasn’t in vain! Your lot in the hereafter will be totally different from that of believers who were living selfishly on earth. Can you wait till that day and continue to work faithfully (and happily) in your zone? It’s worth the wait from God’s standpoint because you will get rewards that will be with you forever and they’ll be things you’ll be proud of. Correct others (2Tim.4:2; Ezek.33:7-9) Two men can be very close friends like David and Jonathan, two men can be very close co-workers like Paul and Timothy but two men should never be involved sexually (Lev.18:22). A man should marry a woman and not another man (Gen.2:24). Nor should a woman marry a woman. Sex should be within marriage not before or outside it. These
are God’s laws. When people turn their backs on them they are doing the worst thing that one can possibly do and God gets outraged. If you see people in a homosexual relationship, it is wrong for you to look away or to be tolerant. All believers have a responsibility to keep the moral fabric of society intact. You cannot say, “Let’s live and let live” or “It’s none of my business.” You are responsible for their souls and have to warn them. You have to love them and then say, “My friend, what you’re doing is wrong. Change for the better.” Some of them will consider you rude for poking your nose into their affairs. Others will be receptive to God’s word. Always be faithful to the Great Commission. Use common sense (Acts 13:2; 1Ki.3:16-28) Pray to God for wisdom (1Ki.3:9). He will then open your eyes both to see and understand things in a different way. You will be able to wrestle with everyday dilemmas efficiently. Like in those days the Holy Spirit won’t tell you directly today that you have to take up a particular job. He has given you a brain to make decisions. If there are three jobs you have to weigh the pros and cons and choose the best one. You don’t have to pray for hours nor do you have to run to elder brothers (who usually act like wise sages just down from a mountain) for the final decision. Just use your common sense and everything will be all right. Live in harmony (1Pet.3:11) This is an age of distrust. Unity is a rare thing. Why can’t people get along with each other? Self-centredness – that’s what’s at the root of it! People have the appetite for power. There is jealousy. There are disagreements and you can see sparks flying everywhere. It’s only love that can hold people together. For love doesn’t try to manipulate, doesn’t try to push it’s way to the front, doesn’t outsmart others, treats people as equals and doesn’t bear grudges. Don’t poke fun at others (Neh.4:1-3) In 2Ki.2:23-24 we read that some boys began making fun of prophet Elisha by calling him baldy. Right away two bears ran out of the woods and ripped to pieces forty-two of the boys. This incident tells us that cracking jokes at the expense of others is a serious matter in God’s sight especially when the other person is not amused. When you joke about a person’s characteristic that looks funny to you but that he can’t do anything about, you are being insensitive. You may do it for a giggle but it hurts the other person mentally even if he laughs on the outside. As we are in the grace period God may not send a wild animal to tear you to pieces but He can make you as bald as a coot. Try to keep your bad sense of humour in check.
Chapter 2 Don’t meddle in other people’s business (2Thes.3:11) If we concern ourselves with what is happening in other people’s houses it means we are not looking at our own house. There are Christians who try to unmask other people’s personal lives. If a couple doesn’t have children, they want to know which one of them has the problem. The time that ought to be spent profitably is being wasted on frivolous exercises. One should be concerned with ones responsibility in society and not keep tabs on other people’s affairs. Be patient (Prov.16:32; 1Pet.2:20) Your company is staffed by monkeys who don’t know how to behave and who you wish would go live in caves somewhere. But they won’t. You know why? Because God has kept them around for a purpose. Do you remember when you were small your parents forced you to go to school, and you hated that? But it taught you to read and write and find a job when you grew up. Now you are grateful for their foresight. Similarly God has a propose for keeping those ‘eggs’ out there who you really like to keep a distance from. He wants you to become more patient. Everything you experience in your life makes you who you are. Every time you are patient you grow. By not telling your colleague who’s got a big mouth to shut up you grow to become a self-controlled person. By giving a patient hearing to a person with a sob story you grow in love. The work situation may not get any better in the near future but personally you can grow. Love all of God’s children (Phile. 4-7) Some believers show disrespect to believers from the lower strata and yet claim to be Christian. How can people who make others feel cheap and uncomfortable in church call themselves Christian? People from the lower strata are not asking for your money. All that they wish for is a little respect. Can they be granted that much? Obliterate the word low caste from your dictionary. They too are God’s children as much as anyone else. Live properly (2Cor.6:3) There are certain people who do damage to Christ’s cause because of the way they conduct themselves in their trade and commerce. Then they have the cheek to make propaganda for the arrival of Jesus. It is not what we say as much as how we behave that will catch the attention of unbelievers. Help those around (Jas.2:14-16) We wonder if one can love unknown people far away without loving those nearby? Some people pray for the family members of fire and terrorism victims in some foreign land without lifting a finger to help members of poor families in their own motherland. Will those prayers lessen the agony of the bereaved members? Only with the passage of time will that happen. Help people around by parting with your money.
Talk to someone about your struggles (Gal.6:2) We all go through our private hells. If you are going through a crisis talk to someone. Bringing such matters out in the open is far better than pretending everything’s all right. What are our fellow believers there for if not to help us? Also don’t forget that God is a good friend who is with us every step of the way. Don’t follow leaders blindly (Acts 17:11; 1John 4:1) Some believers never question the reasoning of their pastors even when they know it is wrong. One pastor wants his church believers to bind demons in all the major temples of India. He has made copies of the map of India with photos of temples on them that he wants his church believers to keep their hands on and pray. He believes that by AD 2006 all these strongholds will collapse and India will be won for Jesus. Instead of fighting imaginary battles sitting in prayer rooms what we need to do is channelize our energy properly by actually going out to the market and sharing the gospel like apostle Paul Get rid of all the filth in your life (Jas.1:21) In some public places on Sunday evenings you will find people trying to convert you to Christianity every 20 minutes. It’s a good thing. There are a number of churches that have sprung up and grown in our country because of such activities. We admire people like these for their gospel sharing skills but what we hate is their skill in humiliating fellow believers. They can be very malicious and ugly with their words in churches. Preaching and bitching don’t go together. Beware of false prophets (Mat.7:15-20) At special meetings, guest speakers go clairvoyant and in the future can see you with a better job, healed of sickness etc. If you question one such after the meeting he can’t give you a straight answer and can be a bundle of contradictions. Believers who are ever seeking prosperity take their words as words from heaven. They can’t see through these preachers’ deception. Such type of preachers are not in the ministry because they love the Lord but only because it can lead to rupees or $$$. Beware of these men who spin money out of emotions. Don’t envy others (Jas.3:14) Maybe it bothers you that someone is taller than you, is better looking or has better credentials than your own. You can envy a person but if you knew the trouble and hardships he is going through and the tragic life he is living you will probably give him your sympathy. From outside you don’t know the kind of insecurities, tensions and conflicts people face. Every person has his share of difficulties. You have yours and the person you are envying has his of a different kind.
Don’t waste time in foolish discussions (Tit.3:9) Some believers need to improve their stature by imbibing such qualities as broadmindedness and tolerance from Jesus. He never made an issue of ‘jewelry.’ Perhaps this helps to explain why women were comfortable in his presence. Women can wear whatever they want. It’s none of our business to tell what they can and can’t wear. If they’re more comfortable wearing pendants let them. If they’re more comfortable painting their lips, then let them do it. That is personal stuff. They should not be made subservient to the desires of a few people who think that plain looking is God fearing. That’s their idea of spirituality not God’s. Such quibbling should be left aside. Time should not be wasted on it. These gentlemen don’t know the God of the Bible properly (1Sam.16:7). If they knew Him, they wouldn’t be talking like this. Brothers should ensure that their sisters enjoy their liberty in Christ. Use the gift God has given you (2Tim.1:6) Every person has been given a gift by God. Every person has his own little specialty. All gifts – be it that of preaching, administration or helping – are equally important. They cannot be compared. A church cannot be built without our individual contributions. Use your gift not to outshine everybody else, to show that you have good pipes, to prove your mettle or to make a name for yourself. Use it with one desire - to help people. Be a peacemaker (Jas.3:18) Sometimes egos can get in the way a little bit and cause fires. When the fires rise, be an extinguisher. Try to resolve disagreements between people, cement the cracks caused in friendships. A peacemaker is well respected by unbelievers. He can break barriers that carnal believers are not able to. Wait for the Lord to come to your defense (Prov.20:22) When someone treats you shabbily or hatches a conspiracy against you, you can go back to your old ways and call that person a ‘liar’ or a ‘snake.’ But if you maintain a stoic silence, not offering a word in either explanation or defense of yourself, God will come to your defense. That’s guaranteed. Don’t irritate others (Gal.5:26) Some people do not mature with age. They remain spoilsports till their dying day. They make judgments like, “That sister with lipstick is evil,” even though she may not have a mean bone in her body, and “That brother who comes dressed in white is good” even though he may be harassing his wife at home. We are individuals with different tastes. Let’s not have problems with someone else’s choice of things. Don’t be a hypocrite (Gal.2:13; Amos 5:21-23) What one sees of a person from far away can be very different from knowing that person from close quarters. It’s like lifting up a nice looking rock and seeing ants and worms underneath it. There are a number of believers out there who beat their wives behind closed doors and then come out in the open preaching religion to the public. Don’t be a hypocrite.
Be a good servant of God (Gal.1:10; Jonah 3:3,4) Apostle Paul was one of the few preachers from that period who never watered down his message. Once he even made Peter beet red by giving him a dressing down in front of everyone. Preachers who blunt the edges of hard-hitting sermons, which they copy from the Internet, should learn from him. If you want to give a diluted version because you don’t want to offend anybody you are unfit to hold that responsible post. You’re useless as God’s servant. These kinds of sermons won’t please everyone (people who are two-faced will hate you bluntness) you preach them to but they’re necessary. That’s what Christianity is about – keeping man in line and keeping ourselves in line first. Don’t compare yourself with anyone else (Gal.6:4-5) Jesus is the person we should measure ourselves by. If you look over your shoulder too much, keeping track of other peoples work, it will lead to an awareness of your inadequacies especially when you see them doing effortlessly what you can’t. Be like a horse with blinkers trying to run really fast on your own. It will help you achieve whatever God sent you on earth for. Restrain your anger (Prov.19:11; Ruth 2:15,16) Screaming your lungs out at your wife because a tie is missing or throwing a fit at you servant because an egg is not properly fried is bad behavior. If you continue to scream yourself hoarse you will have to undergo throat surgery soon. So for your own good don’t stoop to such behavior. Keep a check on your temper and stay cool Be generous (Prov.11:24-25) If you have more food than you can chew don’t throw it in the waste bin. Spare a thought for those who are roughing it out in the world. Pack the stuff and go give it to a beggar. Phrase words carefully (Mat.12:36-37) One of the things we have to account for on the Day of Judgment is the use of our tongue. Making digs that dent other people’s self esteem, blurting our words that send someone into a state of depression, broaching subjects that make people feel uneasy is bad. Be considerate and careful of how you phrase your words if you don’t want to feel small on that big day. Keep your promise (Num.30:2; 2Chro.36:13) Looking at the number of spiritual meetings being held in the cities of our country, we could modify an old nursery rhyme and sing, “Here a meet, there a meet, everywhere a meet, meet.” But these meetings serve no useful purpose as people slip into slumber soon after. They say ‘yes’ during decision time and then go their own way doing quite the opposite with little sense of breaking a promise or agreement. Keep the promise that you make to God.
Love spouse (Col.3:19) Both husband and wife are lying on the same bed but there is a lot of distance between them. All the fun is gone. It’s got to a point where they can’t handle being around one another. Maybe it’s the wife’s prickliness, the husband’s domineering spirit or the mother in law who has poisoned her son’s mind against her daughter in law. The secret of a happy marriage is love. Accept your wife’s mood swings and listen to her constant whining patiently. Don’t seek the unattainable perfection in your husband. Many years from now you both will be sitting together without your teeth, playing with your grand children and going down memory lane blushing about your self-centeredness. Be decent (Rom.13:13) On the professional front, let your reputation be spotless. It is the Biblical standard that you have to live up to. Be different from those men who disappear during work hours to smoke and waste time. Handle insults in a dignified manner. Such things shouldn’t bother you. Your joy should remain unspoiled. That’ll make a lasting impression on observers and expand your sphere of influence. Confess and forsake sins (Prov.28:13) Some try to hide their sins, stubbornly persevering in an attempt to save face. Admit your sin. It is not an easy thing to do but it is the only way to have cordial relations with God. Respect the aged (Lev.19:32) You should respect old people. When you see an old lady entering a bus, stand up to give her a seat. Their sunken cheeks are not meant to be pulled nor should their eating mannerisms be imitated or laughed at. Encourage others (1Thes.5:11) There are people with inner struggles and battles in their marriage or relationships at work that are tearing them apart. Only those who have a heart can notice their downcast faces. Invite such people to your house. Just spending time with them over a cup of tea will make them feel better. With you encouraging words you can talk them out of their depression and help them to carry on. That’s what Christian living is about – touching people’s lives. It takes very little to be hospitable. Don’t despise believers from other groups (Gal.5:20b) Because you haven’t had certain experiences, you can’t say that they’re all rubbish, for in other churches, there are people who’ve had/are having such experiences. Calling a group meeting down the road a cult or a hopelessly misguided one is shooting your own foot for we are all the body of Christ. Stop judging others just because they don’t prescribe to your doctrines. Learn to like people who disagree with you.
Chapter 3 Turn from all wickedness (2Tim.2:19b; Zech.7:10b) When people stand and stare at us it’s hard not to do the same back. When David’s enemy Saul entered the cave he was in, he could have hacked him to pieces there and then. But Saul was spared. Anybody else wouldn’t have let the chance slip. People like David in our churches can be counted on the fingers of one hand. We have to turn away from all wickedness. Change can only come from within by means of our own personal effort. Accept criticisms in the right spirit (Prov.12:1) Take criticisms in the right spirit. They will benefit you immensely. People who observe you from close quarters know the areas you can improve in. Begin working on what they have told you. Try to correct yourself. If you want to advance in life don’t distance yourself from critics. It’s another matter that they can’t tell it in a way that does not offend or hurt because of their immaturity. Don’t misuse your freedom (Gal.5:13-14) People take advantage of the liberal attitude of their church leaders by throwing modesty and decency into the dustbin. We’re not saying that you wear Victorian outfits. All we’re saying is don’t dress like the heathen. Walk the middle path between these two extremes. Don’t be greedy (Col.3:5) Some believers don’t do drugs, but they eat chocolate greedily and pamper their taste buds with harmful delicacies. God is watching how we are spending our money. He is watching how much you spend on buying clothes every month. He is testing us all the time. You may feel every single paisa you spend on yourself is justified. But longing for the good things of this life is idolatry say the scriptures. Prove that you belong to God (1John 2:4) Baby cobras are easy to identify. Even when they are a few days old, they raise their heads when disturbed or when angry. The devil’s children are easy to identify too. They strike like lighting when hurt. Merely going to church every Sunday doesn’t prove that you are God’s child obeying all His commands does. Have a tender conscience (Prov.28:14) The bus conductor in a government bus is at first hesitant to pass on the same ticket to a passenger. His conscience is loud and clear. But he chooses to ignore it consistently till a day comes when it no longer speaks to him and he cheats unashamedly. This is exactly how demons get believers in the palms of their hands.
Respect everyone (Jas.2:1-4) A mosque is a place where everybody is equal. Our churches need to be like that. Where people don’t feel awkward. It is a matter of concern that people from the lower strata are not given respect in some churches. If they were pet cats and dogs they would probably have got better treatment. Their English may be butchered a bit but they’re still equal to you as human beings. Treat them nicely. Don’t behave like your ancestors did in the past. All aloofness should vanish. Pray to God directly (Heb.4:16) The Roman Catholics go to God through Mary while Protestants go to Him through their pastors. So if you are a pastor you have people sending you prayer emails all the time and you have to delete some old mail to free up space in your mailbox. It’s become a fashion to say, “Pray for me.” We’re not against intercessory prayers. At times they are necessary – when a person is demon possessed for example (Acts 16:16-18). It’s just that believers need to go to their Father directly and believe that He has heard. If you pray sincerely there is no need of the prayers of hundred others. God won’t change His will no matter how many people pray. Your pastor praying for you won’t lead to you getting extra grace. Students should study well in advance before the exams because prayers are not going to alter the marks. Be humble (Mat.18:4) Proud Nebuchadnezzar was knocked off his pedestal. Let this be a lesson for us not to be conceited like a barber’s cat. If people who have great resumes are not humble one day the hand of God will hit them and make them fall flat on their faces. Don’t spread myths (Jer.27:14-16) “If you pray to Jesus by faith you’ll get better.” This is one of the myths spread by believers. Those who are not well versed in the Bible talk like that. Let’s not feed people around us with illusions. Are we omniscient to reassure sick people that they’ll get better? Don’t damage sense organs (Lev.24:19-20) When believers congregate in small rooms without vents they are subject to high decibel levels from various sources that are detrimental to their hearing. One of the culprits is the Indian musical instrument called the Dholak. The noise it makes can hurt one’s eardrums. Then there are Bible College students who use churches as a testing ground for their lungpower. Believers too clap hard. Now don’t stand there with your arms folded. Clap, but gently. God is not deaf. Preach, sing and pray without straining your voice. Don’t damage your brother’s sense organ. Endure trials (Mal.3:3; Is.48:10) If you know anything about God, you know that he never gives up on His children’s training. He wants them to be shining gems. Gems cannot be polished without friction. It is time you recognized trials for what they really are. Don’t complain next time God takes you to the polishing house. Make the best use of the ordeal you are forced to endure.
Grow up (1Pet.2:2) It’s unfortunate that even after attending church for years some believers are still at the babbling stage. Their minds haven’t progressed. If you are going to be the pastor of these big babies, first of all you’ll need a degree in psychiatry and secondly you’ll need to be good in singing lullabies. These childish believers need to grow up. Share each other’s troubles (Gal.6:2) Caring about others – trying to lead someone through a rough patch, protecting a weak brother, shutting the mouth of a person who brings despair to those around, taking a homeless child under your wing, helping a brother who is poor – is being a good Christian. For some Christians, giving an inch is fine, but a yard is a definite no. In the Bible we find that God is extremely concerned about the poor. A poor brother in your church needs a bit more than your prayers. Obedience to the law of Christ should make a difference to your wallet. Take religion to your work place (Mat.28:19-20) Some people who follow Jesus keep quiet in the office, to avoid the scorn of their work mates. That’s sad. The Hindus can afford to do such things but you shouldn’t leave your religion at home. Actions speak louder than words, yes. But words are equally important. You don’t want the pied piper (Lucifer) leading people over the wharf, do you? Gospel sharing opportunities should not be squandered. Be thankful (1Thes.5:18) In life it’s very important to be thankful. If you’ve got complaints against God, look at less fortunate people and all your grievances will melt away. When you go to a slum and look at the socially deprived there who are having a tough time eking out a decent living your complaints will stop as you will get a deep awareness of being blessed beyond reckoning. Don’t be envious (Gal.5:26) You listen to your friend’s wife who is a good soloist and keyboardist and say, “I wish my wife could sing like that or play like that.” Don’t be jealous. If your wife can’t sing like a nightingale surely she can do certain tasks better than your friend’s wife who is a lousy housekeeper. Your friend has not told surely you that he does the cooking at home so his wife can get time to practice on the instrument. Be religious even when it’s costly (Dan.6:1-10) You overhear people saying, “Brother, I want to have quiet time in the morning but it’s very cold these days. I don’t fell like getting up.” Despite a temperature of 5 degree Celsius, a Muslim in North India gets up at 5 o’clock in the morning and says his prayers. It’s all a matter of priorities. If fellowship with God is important to you, the temperature will mean nothing. You’ll wake up and have your quiet time.
Use the strength God gives you (Phil.4:13) Accept the challenges of life instead of running away from them. With the help of Christ who gives you the strength, you can handle any situation life thrusts upon you. If there are obstacles, you can jump over them. If someone pushes you into a pit, you can climb out of it. The deep roots of any bad habit can be pulled out. Instead of complaining, take the initiative to solve problems. Make lemonade with the lemons handed to you. Be a true minister of God (2Cor.6:4-10) Some top mission leaders cannot say like apostle Paul, “We patiently endure troubles and hardship and calamites of every kind.” Because they face none. The junior brothers get manhandled when they go for outreach. It’s easy for the seniors to say, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church” while sending youngsters to mission fields because it won’t be their blood that’ll be spilt. The poor junior brothers work tirelessly and remain unsung heroes. Ask the bigwigs when was the last time they shared the gospel with someone? Years ago perhaps. They have forgotten what it is like to suffer. Now all they are used to is going abroad, staying in nice guest rooms, delivering touching speeches and raising money part of which gets transferred into their personal accounts before they reach mission base. These leaders are as crooked as a dog’s hind leg. Junior brothers face financial hardships because these cheaters pocket the lion’s share of the funds that come and give them chicken feed. Your head will start to spin if you get to hear what else these leaders do and probably you’ll lose all respect for them. People who run orphanages are also guilty for they use orphanage funds for the welfare of their own blood children and the poor orphans get to eat the same food everyday. For telling the truth, these people may get mad at us (as mad as a struck snake) but we are not here to please. If they don’t repent, one day they’ll stew in their own juice. Be a good Christian (1Tim.4:12) To keep your kitchen burner on you travel everyday to your place of work far away. By the end of the day you get physically and mentally exhausted. You just want to go home and fall asleep. You don’t feel like reading the Bible. No problem. God understands. He knows how tired you get and in fact He is pleased with you for working hard to feed your wife and children. At the end of the day if you can be a good husband, father, son and a good Christian at your place of work – being polite, not getting into fights and acting on the Biblical principles you already know, you’ve done your job. Be united (Eph.4:3) In India, it is difficult to shake off caste, regional and denominational feelings. So in spite of your best efforts you will not be able to unite certain believers because they will always want to remain in separate camps. It will be an exercise in futility. There’ll also be that believer who is a difficult personality. You’ll have a long-term relationship with him but it’ll always be rocky. The Devil too will drive a wedge between the most cooperating of folks. The glue that can hold believers together is the respect and love they have for one another. Love makes people leave their animosities behind.
Correct your brothers gently (Gal.6:1) May be while checking the Temporary Internet Folders of your office computer, you find out that your colleague who is a believer enjoys obscene sites on the net. You shouldn’t shake with excitement and remark, “Such a hypocrite!”, and try to present your discovery in a dramatic way to others. Don’t commit this mindless crime. By a few wellchosen words you should make him realize that by doing that He is causing Jesus pain till he exclaims, “Oh God, what have I done?” and begs for forgiveness. Be good to animals (Num.22:32; Prov.12:10). Yesterday as you stepped out of your door you found your newspaper shred to pieces by your neighbor’s dog for the umpteenth time. You got mad and kicked him hard. Then you went to church and offered money to God. God was not at all pleased with you (Mat.9:13). He wants us to be merciful to those who do wrong intentionally or unintentionally. In this case, the poor beast did not have anything to play with and made use of your paper. To make amends go today to a supermarket and buy a nice soft ball for the dog. Don’t be cruel to animals. God has a concern for them (Jonah 4:11). Don’t feel lonely (1John 4:16) Lonely people long for affection and when they don’t get it they become sad, turn to alcohol, drugs, and sex or commit suicide. If only they knew that they are not alone on the journey of life and that there is a God who cares for them (Eph.3:17-19)! A person who is conscious of God’s presence and love cannot be lonely. He doesn’t mind if people don’t love him. He is happy in his friendship with God. He talks to God daily and listens when God talks to him. But there are people who need human beings as friends too to get rid of loneliness. If you are that type and don’t know how to make friends here is a piece of advice. In order to make friends you have to be friendly. Being friendly means being nice to people and treating them with respect. A courteous and warmhearted person who goes out of his way to help others is rarely without friends. Respect your parents (Eph.6:2) When someone asks you what your father’s occupation is, if he is in a managerial position you will proudly say so but if he is involved with manual work you may be tempted to tell a half truth. You should never be ashamed of your father’s job, whatever it may be, so long as he is not stealing. He may be the person who collects rubbish from a locality and dumps it outside your town. But he is an important man to society. If he didn’t do that, harmful germs would breed and result in the death of many people. Your father may be the one who cleans dishes or wipes tables in a restaurant. Do you know that there would be no restaurants in the world if there were no cleaners? Take pride in your father’s job. Through his hard work, he feeds you, your family and the needy. Give him the respect that he deserves. Don’t quarrel with younger brothers (2Tim.2:24) In conservative churches, the younger generation’s not happy with the way the older generation’s running the churches. Old people can be quite difficult when it comes to an issue like music for example. They still like the old hymns very much and tell you that
they have no favorites from today. If you ask them why, they say because the old ones are meaningful unlike the ones of today. As if the Holy Spirit only inspired writers of the bygone era. When people make statements like these they automatically distance themselves from the youth. It is good to look at the overflowing charismatic churches around us and study their features. There they play songs that are melodic and groovy and those that don’t put you to sleep. The youths jump and dance and have a good time. You may think that people who do that are total mental cases. But that is what youths like. There is an atmosphere of joy there. As they already experience enough misery and gloom in the world throughout the week they don’t want to go to a gloomy church on Sunday. They find serious hymns a bit off target to their taste. For things to change our elders could do some occasional handclapping to start with. Make an attempt to capture the dwindling, not-so-interested in theological jargons, want-it-groovy, young attendance.
Chapter 4 Pursue godliness and unfailing love (Prov.21:21) As a child you were written of as ‘good for nothing’ by your partial father. He always downplayed the importance of your achievements and pulled your confidence down. It took you years to get over that. You forgave him for his bad behavior but not fully for now he is old and in need of your help as your sibling that he loved dearly is no more. You have no intention of going there as you think it is your time for retaliation. Friend, let your bad childhood be a closed chapter. Fiddling with it again will be like opening the Pandora’s box. Throw all unwanted baggage overboard once and for all and go help the old man. When he sees his child that he was unjust to, come back to help him he may have a cardiac arrest. Admire the beauty of God’s creation (Ps.8:3-4; 19:1) David lay on his back looking at the moon and the stars and got inspired to write psalms of praise. Some people don’t take the time to admire the beauty of God’s creation. They just want to spread the Word and think that going for a picnic is ‘wrong.’ You need not be somber and serious always. God wants you to have a whale of a time on earth. Maybe you like to dress in simple outfits. But if your children are style conscious and want to dress well don’t stop them. Be meek (Num.12:3; Obad. 2-4) Bible intellects are here in plenty. Their wealth of Biblical and extra Biblical knowledge could fill a few encyclopedic volumes. Even difficult mysteries are easy for them to explain. These people set the bar very high for others but have yet to learn from fellow Bible scholar Paul of Tarsus to be humble. Their dislike for anyone with opposing views or the acidic manner in which they say, “Pay attention,” when you request them to repeat something they have said in class is distressing. Overcome fear (Josh.1:6) You are a good guitarist in your bedroom but once, when you stood in front of your church believers, you just froze. Even today you feel embarrassed about that. Instead of allowing shame to take control, be positive and give it one more try. Try to make your way through difficult situations. That is the best way to overcome fear. Perhaps you don’t have the courage to confront someone who has done wrong. Try it once. It will be easier the second time. Don’t worship people (Dan.3:16-18) Some believers follow healing preachers around like puppies, take their word as the cardinal truth and almost worship them. The way they describe these preachers you can see a halo looming inches over their heads. If you go to their meetings hoping to get some pearls of wisdom all you’ll get to hear are words like ‘glory to Jesus’ and ‘halleluiah’ repeated over and over again. If you listen to their advice, “Believe that you are healed and throw away your glasses brother,” you’ll suffer loss as you will have to
visit an optical shop the following day to get a new pair of glasses. These preachers don’t know the ABC of prayer even. They pray to Jesus and even the Holy Spirit when the Bible says that we have to pray to the Father in Jesus’ name (John 15:16; Eph.5:20). Gullible believers need to put on their thinking caps so they don’t get deceived by these bogus Christian sadhu babas. Stay calm when wronged (Prov.12:16) Your enemy has twisted things you said into things you didn’t actually say and has blown your righteous image into smithereens. Instead of calling to give him a piece of your mind show him your class. Be good to him. Such behavior will put you on par with godly people like Joseph and Daniel. Your enemy will never feel more petty in his life. That victorious smile of his will fast turn into a shameful look. Don’t panic (Prov.14:30; Mark 4:35-40) If your boat goes through rough weather, don’t panic (people who panic get ulcers) for Jesus is with you. You will come out of the storm together. Jesus sticks with His own through thick and thin. If dirt has been kicked by your adversaries, relax. It will settle down. Don’t get worked up giving explanations to defend yourself. Live a life of steady goodness (Jas.3:13) It is unfortunate that we have believers who go half a mile and that’s it, they don’t go any further that that. Praise God there are others who are doing a lot with their lives in order to make this world a better place. Some of them have chosen to remain single to serve society. These people deserve a salute. Make it your aim to be like them. Knocking down racial barriers between people could be your mission. Don’t limit yourself (1Sam.17:33-51) You can either allow people to compartmentalize you or go ahead do what they say you can’t and thus make them eat humble pie. Choose the later. Try not to be bothered about what people have said. It will only paralyze you. Why should you care about what people who don’t have grey matter in their skulls say? Shake hands with all (Acts 10:14-15) Attending the same church for many years makes people think in a certain way – that they are the chosen few who will go to a nebulous place. While God wants His children to be united, these people want to remain in their own wells. They are so stuck with labeling others as ‘false’ and ‘heathen’ it makes God sick. If they were mature enough they would know that the same God who works with them works with others as well. You can try all you want but they will retain the same mindset they’ve had for many years now. Let’s not be like them. They read books only written by people from their denomination. Let us read books written by people from all denominations. Don’t listen to legalists (Gal.2:4-5; Eccle.9:7,8) Some believers raise irrelevant issues like ‘long hair’, ‘TV’ and so on. They tell you, “I think you should do this, shouldn’t do this.” Everything is permissible unless there is a verse or a principle in the Bible to forbid us. What we wear, what we eat, what we listen
to and where we go are for us to decide. Don’t listen to a preacher tell you that if you don’t submit to him, this and that is going to happen to you. Don’t stop living how you are because someone else wants you to. Christ did not die for our freedom so that we could be muzzled by some narrow-minded people. If you want to keep long hair keep by all means. To God a pure heart is everything. Don’t offend your brother (1Cor.8:13) It seems that the dance bandwagon is the cool thing to hop on nowadays. Maybe you don’t understand people who stand still in church and are saying about a brother who opposes dancing in church, “That fellow is such a kill joy. If he doesn’t like to dance, he should stay at home.” Talking like that shows that you have scant regard for the feelings of your brother. If dancing is dear to you than your brother, you’ve lost sight of what’s important. Remain true to the Lord (Mat.13:22) When a non-Christian accepts the Lord he is faced with waves of persecution. Since he doesn’t want these complications he chooses to compromise. Remain true to the Lord friend for one day the time may finally turn in your favor and a crop may be produced. Bakht Singh’s family members opposed him initially but were later won to the Lord. Don’t have a herd mentality (Ex.32) If you read history, you will find that the people who stood out were those who thought differently from whatever was seen as the norm of the time. Because of their closeness to God, they could spot conventional wisdom that was wrong. Don’t go with the flow always. Your herd mentality may take you over the cliff. Listen to advice (Acts 18:26) Some of us feel that it’s better to watch grass grow than listen to certain preachers preach. We don’t find their long sermons edifying and can’t wait to get out of the church. Pastors, you should probably condense your message down to three to four pages if you want people to pay attention. Realize that a lot of people skip breakfast to be on time to church and get hungry by the time your turn comes to preach. You may wonder what we are talking about because every Sunday people tell you that they have been challenged by your message. They are the dishonest ones. Change yourself before your long sermons drive honest people away. Walk in the Spirit (Gal.5:25) Unbelievers dig out skeletons which were long buried, tear one another apart, etc. One cannot expect anything better from them but we believers should be a little more decent. The fire and bodies of Sodom and Gomorrah are a warning to tell us what will become of us if we are going to like on like this. Go through the sin lists given in the Bible with a magnifying glass and make sure that you don’t commit any of those sins. Don’t preach wrong doctrines (2Pet. 2:1-5; Ps.119:104) There are ministers who preach that God will continue to love you no matter how you live. But, Nah.1:2-3; Zeph.1:12-13, 17; Eph.5:6 and many other verses tell us quite the
opposite - that the terrible anger of God comes upon all those who disobey Him. These words may be a bit hard to digest, but they’re true. They sum up God’s feelings when people sin. God is not a partial grandfather. He is just. He has no tolerance whatsoever for sin. He has no alternative but to take to task those who enjoy the sins that put His Son on the cross. Those who disobey Jesus are in danger of losing His love (John 15:9-10). If you don’t stick with Him all the way through you will experience the fires of hell (John 15:6). In the Old Testament we read of many Israelites who thought themselves to be God’s special pets. They were wrong in believing that He would not punish them. God’s patience got exhausted and they had to face judgment (Lam.1&2). If you don’t mend your ways, know that the writing is on the wall for you to be severely punished. Unfortunately, many people read only John 3:16. But the truth is found in John 3:16 plus Mat.19:17 (NLT) - Jesus replied, “You can receive eternal life if you keep the commandments.” You do not have eternal life if you believe in Jesus and do what you want. You have eternal life if you believe in Jesus and do what He wants. Try telling this to an elder of a conservative church and he’ll probably accuse you of propagating the theory of salvation by works. And eventually you’ll get sick of trying to explain. It’s disheartening that even after reading the Bible for years, people still refuse to see reason and continue to preach their pet theories. It’s similar to the situation in Zeph.3:14. Finally it will dawn on them, in hell that both belief and behavior were necessary to receive eternal life. Overlook wrongs (Prov.19:11) By stuffing a banana in the exhaust pipe of you enemy’s vehicle you show that you are no better than worldly people. But if you take a banana and offer it to him in your coffee break you are showing that you are Christ like. As you mature, you realize that when you are insulted it’s best to keep quiet (1Pet.2:23). When you make quite a stir by giving others a taste of their own medicine, you invariably end up spoiling everything - your Christian testimony. You make things more ugly. Why is it wise to forgive? Because you will be known and liked. Who knows? Even that person who hurt you may cry loudly on your shoulder and say, “What I did was terribly wrong. Please forgive me.” Don’t judge others (John 9:2) We form opinions and judgments very quickly based on limited information. And we’re not accurate much of the time. You remember when people did that to you; you had a sore throat clarifying the issue. They made it a bigger issue than it was. We need to try to see people in the best light. Live in peace with others (1Pet.3:11) James in his epistle says, “My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry (1:19-NLT).” Since we human beings have a huge capacity for misunderstanding one another, it is important that we listen carefully. Those who have big mouths should be slow to speak to avoid altercation. If you are a person who is in the habit of throwing tantrums all over you should get a self-help book or take a course on how to deal with anger.
Bring glory to God (John 17:4) While we live on this planet, our main goal should be to bring glory to God. We can achieve this by doing everything He has given us to do. For mothers it is preparing meals for her family everyday and changing nappies of the young ones. Fathers have to bring home the bacon by sweating it out at the work place. Both have to raise their children in the fear of God. Children need to respect their parents and study hard. All should love one another. This is how God’s name gets glorified. Speak against discrimination (Jas.2:1-9) Our churches have been infiltrated by the forces of evil. We see discrimination based on caste. We wonder if these casteists have a brain at all? What if they were treated like that? If Phinehas of the Old Testament were alive he would have lined up these racists against a wall for assassination. In your own little way, you should rebel against this devilish system if it is there in your church. Don’t compare leaders (1Sam.18:6-9) Never say the words, “So-and-so is a better leader than so-and-so or so-and-so is not the right man for this job.” Some unwise ladies compared young David with King Saul. Saul always resented David for this and this resentment caused him later to try to take David’s life. If a person is not good you can help him to be good with your support. It is discouraging for a man to overhear that someone else is better than him or that he is not capable of handling a particular job. It leads to resentment, stress, jealousy, suspicion, insecurity and other negative reactions. Even unspoken thoughts can be heard loudly by your actions. A man can function best when he knows that he has the loyal support of others in spite of his limitations. Speaking well of your leader is the best contribution that you can make in his life and in your organization. Behave like God’s child (Eph.5:8) A person may claim to be Christian and loving the Lord but do her actions prove this? She has a different dress code while going to church but when she goes to college, you can’t even differentiate between unbelievers and her. Live like Jesus did (1John 2:6) Living like Jesus did means being big hearted. The intensity of our love for others should be such that we go out of our way to help them. It means becoming more socially responsible – raising your voice to fight social evils and standing for the rights of the oppressed. You could work for various charities. You may be as poor as a church mouse but you could at least make people aware of the problems others face. To be silent when it is proper to speak indicates that a person is not living like Christ did.
Restrain your thought life (Mark 7:20-23) All the wickedness in this world is caused by the mind. The way to victory over sin is through the restraint of thought. The way you think changes the way you act. It helps you get control of your impulse and desires.
Chapter 5 Folks, you can change the habits of a lifetime with God's help. Those who scrutinize every word and gesture of others to find faults, those who talk badly about others after they have left the room, those who are vehement in their criticisms, those who throw darts etc. can all change. By choosing your words carefully, you can be a person who puts a big smile on a person's face. People may faint looking at your new behavior. Better later than never. Endure trials (2Pet.1:6c) Maybe the pressures are just too heavy for you to bear and you are crying. Talk to God. He can reach where no human being can. Just a few more years, friend. Up there you will be all smiles. We don't know when Jesus will come back. It may be tomorrow. So when there's time let's spread the gospel that we know a bit further. Conquer evil by doing good (Rom.12:21) When a person irritates you, you can look at him angrily and ask him what his problem is or you can take it in your stride. As Christians we need forgiving hearts. Do good to that fellow. He is going to end up looking like an ass. Down here, despite our good intentions many a times we will get misunderstood. But it is enough if God knows you are a beautiful soul. Exercise self control (1Pet.1:13) If you don't exercise self-control, the Lord will give you poor marks when he returns and cast you into the bottomless pit. Enough of praying that others may be granted salvation. Do something about yourself. We are speaking particularly to mission leaders who are being honored today. You are fiery when shouting gospel truths at people. Be careful with your personal life or else you'll end up getting roasted like a pig. Be content (1Tim.1:6-10) Maybe you are frustrated in life because of your middle class life. Friend, if you are content you can have peace in life. You have the basic necessities of life. What else do you need? Do you want to know a sad truth? There are millions of people in our country who don't have roofs over their heads and don't get enough to eat. Not even a decent meal a day. Praise God for giving you everything that you need. Take a firm stand against the Devil (1Pet.5:8,9) Even if the Devil is a powerful being, you don't need to quake in your boots when you hear his name. If you are obedient to God, you can cause damage to the Devil's plans. When his meddling brethren realize that you are not ready to give up without a fight they will turn tail and flee. By fighting we don't mean that you act like those carnal believers who show their bravado in church by saying words like, "We resist you Devil in the name of Jesus" with 'authority' when they are living impure lives secretly. They are like those ducks in a pond that will one day get trapped and eaten.
Humble yourself (Num.12:1,3, 9-16) Some people in our churches in India talk so much about belonging to one big family of God but when it comes to marriage they seem to choose brothers and sisters only from certain castes and class. That speaks a lot about them. Pathetic is how we would call their behavior. Pathetic because they still think like caste minded Hindus. It's hard to believe that these so called believers are really born again. There needs to be a change in mindset. If there is even a tinge of respect missing in a person's voice when he speaks to someone from a lower caste he is a Hindu even if he calls himself a Christian and attends church every Sunday. Reminds us of that saying - What good will it do an ass if you call it a lion? Remember that this world is not our home (1Pet.2:11) We may live in any country down here but it is not our home. Satan will try his level best to prevent you from going to your house up there that Jesus is building for you. Be careful therefore. Making bags of money should not be your goal in life. Money will not last forever. We came down here with nothing and we will go up with nothing. Knowing Christ and making Him known is what we have been kept here for. Do what you are supposed to (Jas.4:17) Lydia was a cloth merchant but that was not all that she did in life. She helped God's servants too. The Good Samaritan was another person like her. He rolled up his sleeves to help a needy man. You too can imitate them. May be just hold the hand of an old man who wants to cross the street. And when you help, don't yell about it to the whole world. Be happy when insulted for being a Christian (1Pet.4:16) If you want to share the gospel with the lost, you will have to encounter many embarrassing moments. Like you may get smacked hard on your face or you may be called the servant of white skinned people in America. If your own family members (believers) can smile to your face and stab you in your back, what can you expect from unbelievers? Gospel sharing requires a lot of guts. We have to share the good news whether people like it or not. If you are timid, pray to God and He will give you the boldness to speak. Make a decision that you will be a witness for God from now onwards. He can put steel in your spine. You have to keep knocking doors like the Jehovah’s Witnesses even if you know that what you experience once the doors open may not be pleasant. Don't be proud (1Cor.13:2) When we hear a believer pronouncing an English word wrongly, a whiff of pride can fill our chests because we know to say it rightly. But don't let it because there are hundreds of others who know better English than you. Your brother may not know proper English but He loves God and that is important. Crave for spiritual milk (1Pet.2:2)
Feed yourself with the letters of Paul, Peter and others. They will make you rethink your priorities. Learn to read the Bible regardless of your moods. Some people think that the Bible is a boring book because they have read it over and over again since their childhood. But if you love God, you will enjoy the book. You don't get tired of your lover's letters or watching cricket matches, do you? It is a book that will help you when you are sailing through rough waters. Remember why you are here for (Jas.1:27 ) While some believers struggle to make ends met, there are others who are living like maharajas. They spend like there's no tomorrow. If God has blessed you, think about the less fortunate. Ask poor folks if they have enought money to get by. If they don't, give sufficient money to tide them over. Accept trials gracefully (1Pet.1:7) In this world you'll rarely see a day when everything is going well. Everyday there will be something or someone turning at your door and trying to make life difficult for you. If it's a person don't go after him with a cricket bat. Yes, he may be a loony. But don't hold that anything against him because God has sent him your way to make you strong and pure. Don't lord it over people (1Pet.5:3) Oldies who want to influence the younger generation for God should treat them like human beings. A person should not feel that he is being treated like an animal or your personal servant. How many of our senior mission leaders who pamper their blood children would wash the plates of junior brothers after a meal? These junior brothers may be calling you anna (sarcastically ofcourse) and carrying your suitcases only to get promoted. But inside they have lost respect for you. Jesus washed the dirty feet of his disciples. We want to see senior mission leaders doing that. No, not our feet. They are clean because we change socks everyday. But our plates, yes. Don't repay evil or evil (1Pet.3:9; Job 42:10) Some believers analyse every single word of their enemies to find something they can use against them. Instead of lowering himself to name calling, a Christian should bite his tongue when people hurt him. Onlookers will think that you are really an awesome person. That's the sort of stuff that people remember. Your enemy will end up looking like a jerk. Be patient (2Pet.1:6b) God has given you will power. It can help you to be tolerant. So if someone (it may be that person who carries a big Bible under his arm while going to church and gives out religious tracts when other believers are watching) is giving you plenty of headaches, don't use your loaded sling. Instead, clamp your lips firmly together. Thus your tolerance will stretch far.
Be like God (1Pet.1:15) As you grow you become more loving, more forgiving, more patient etc. It isn't easy to forgive, forget and move on. But you have to do that to save yourself agony that comes through revenge. Some believers aren't ready to let go. They'll pay the price for this ungodly decision for years. Forgiving others is necessary. That is the kind of love that God wants from us - forgiving people who have hurt us deeply, putting up with people who have foul temper etc. Don't chase after evil desires (1Pet.4:2) Worldly people are interested in making as much money as possible before they grow old. Money has become the focal point of their lives. Money controls the lives of many Christians too. They save and save and save and one fine day they die and go up leaving everything behind. You can either chase money like a dog runs after a bone or teach fellow believers through your life that money is not the most important thing in life. In this way you will help others who have lost their sight to regain their vision. To truly make a difference in this country we need people who think differently. Then only those tall claims about being citizens of heaven and so on will have some effect on unbelievers. Grow (2Pet.1:8) The more you grow to become like Jesus the more you can penetrate fortress Hinduism. Good character makes an impression on people. There are people who have been Christian for years but who are still like 6 year old kids. They sulk, they fight, they are possessive etc. They need to learn to offer kind words to others and to understand why problematic nerds act the way they do. Forgive others (Mat.18:21) If you don't respond to injuries properly, you won't grow, irrespective of whether you have your quiet time everyday or are on the prayer list of all the believers in your church. Perhaps someone did something that hurt you. When you remember that person you feel like going to his house and attacking him with a chisel. Friend, certain things are better forgotten. Remembering them is like reopening wounds and that's painful. Living the Christian life is not easy at all. It requires a lot of forgiving. Gospel tracts don't influence unbelievers as much as some people think. It's a pure life that does. Don’t compare yourself with others (Gal.6:4-5) Comparing yourself with others can be depressing. Maybe in your college there is a very good looking guy and all the girls like him and you don’t get that kind of attention. It doesn’t matter how you look externally really! It’s more important that you’re a beautiful person from the inside. There are girls who value integrity more than looks. They like boys who don’t flirt, who give everything for what they believe in and boys with manners. These qualities act like a magnet, pulling people towards you.
Relax (John 14:27) Because of the peace that Jesus gives, you can stay relaxed even in the midst of illness and pain. For unbelievers life is different. For them life is like a big roller coaster ride. They feel high at one moment and low at another. In stressful or difficult situations they get agitated or panic. That should not be the case with us. No singing the blues please. Don't judge others (Mt.7:1-5) Are the elders who judge others without sin? Of course not! If you examine their moral lives they are a long way from being saints. But they track 'sinners' down like bloodhounds. And add to their woes by their unmerciful criticisms. They should check their lives first before making digs at others. Apostle Paul was one of the few who was honest about his slipping (Rom.7:19). These elders better be careful - the Lord is watching. Remember Him (Hosea 8:14) What would be your reaction, if the children whom you loved dearly, fed for many years, been there for always and brought up moved away with their families and forgot about you and didn’t bother to write to you or even call you? Wouldn’t you be angry with them? You would feel why did I ever take such great care of them. That was how God felt with Israel. The emotions that would go in your heart went in His too. Some selfish children find their parents a burden, put them in homes for the aged and then rationalize by saying that they will be comfortable there, well nursed after. Is that what old parents want? "To hell with your financial support," they’ll say. What they want is your love – you taking the time to talk to them. That is what God wants from us too. Be slow to speak (Jas.1:19) The grave mistake some believers make is that they speak too soon. Let's not behave like these people who don't have sensible heads over their shoulders. Like Jesus we should be very understanding. People we want to criticize have their reasons for acting the way they have. If we want to follow Jesus we better not open our mouths too wide. Don’t lie (Jer.23:25; 2 Sam.1:9-15) "Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways (dreams being one of them) to our ancestors through the prophets. But now in these final days, He has spoken to us through His Son," say the scriptures (Heb.1:1-2). Some people think that God still speaks through dreams. They share their dreams in church along with fantastic interpretations. Sleeping after a heavy meal gives a person nice dreams! To become popular in church people cook dreams. Don’t lie to your brothers and sisters.
Chapter 6 Before he killed Goliath, David was a nobody in Israel. King Saul thought that he was too small a man to take on the huge Philistine. His brothers thought that he had lost his mental balance to leave the cattle behind and come on the battle field. His life changed after he slew the giant. His value (in the eyes of people) shot up. The seeds of his spectacular triumph were sown in the fields back home when he was alone with God. When you are alone with God, you learn to be fearless so that when everything seems lost you can be victorious. Never think that you are insignificant. God can use you mightily. Remain silent when falsely accused (Mt.26:63) It is not easy to be silent when grave accusations (false ones) are hurled at us. It’s a challenge, really, to be still when people are hissing about things we don’t want to hear. Those who let off steam remain tiny lizards while those who follow Jesus by remaining quiet become spiritual dinosaurs. Just like you feel bad, to this day, about what you unjustly said about someone who kept quiet, in the same way, if you keep quiet, it will blow your enemy’s mind. It is amazing what a change in mindset (taking hurt and not giving hurt back in return) can achieve. Run on His errands (Mt.28:19,20) Our friends are there for us when it’s convenient for them. But our God is not like them. He is always there for us. Whenever there is a problem – when you are wading through troubled waters, or when you hit some rough patches – He is there right beside you. You can go to Him anytime. He doesn’t take money from us for services rendered. Since He is always there for you make sure that you are there for Him too when He needs you. Meaning for running on His errands. Spend time with the aged (1Sam.3) Some old people are spending the last days of their lives in misery in homes for the aged. You can spare few minutes of your time every week to go and talk to them. You will see what a big difference few minutes of your time can make. Watch their faces light up when they see you walking through the door. If they know that there is just one person who cares for them, they feel happy. Perhaps this is something you never thought about earlier. Better late than never mate. Give glory to God (Dan.4:28-37) Success can make a person’s head swell. When you look at what you have accomplished you must say, “I am what I am today by the grace of God.” Without the help of God you would have been a nobody and would have had nothing. Proud people better be careful. God can tilt your apple cart. Help people (1Ki.19:4-8) People have put an end to their lives because they saw no meaning to it. Had they known Jesus, they may have been around today. Make sure that you treat everyone you know personally like he’s/she’s a person. If someone appears despondent give him
hope. Be sensitive to spot emotionally needy people and help them out. If you are already doing that, here’s a pat for your back. This world needs more friends like you and not people who known the Bible by heart but are selfish. Serve others (Rom.12:7) Instead of sitting at home alone with the books you have for company, open your gate wide so people can come in. The company of people is a thing that makes life very interesting. Like you try to help a young couple and you get squeezed in the middle. Their childish war of words is amusing. But in the end there is no rift between the two (only kisses) because of your friendly intervention. Hug your enemy (Rom.12:20,21) The world and the church (unfortunately) have nasty people who hatch conspiracies. What you say gets twisted. They can cut you in half with all the information that they gather about you. God hates such creeps (Prov.6:19). But you don’t have the right to hate your enemy so give him a warm hug. That will leave him completely stumped. Respect elders (Col.3:20,21; 1Tim.6:1) Some youngsters are wondering whether the sole preoccupation of elders is to irritate their sheep because Sunday after Sunday they give lectures. Young dudes, we are all sinners, no one better than the other. But, God speaks through His servants to us, so listen. And you servants of God, continue to do your duty. Some young people don’t realize that they are doing something wrong until you point it out to them. Behave properly in church (Acts 20:9; Mt.13:24-30; 36-43) There are believers who are in the church only to weaken it, almost as though they’ve been planted there by the enemy. They make it clear that they are not happy to be there (they are perhaps pulled in by their parents every Sunday like a shepherd pulls a stubborn goat to take her home) and seem determined to make sure that others are not happy either. They care a hoot about God and the things of God. See the way they fidget with their mobiles and distract others. Can’t keep their mobiles off for 2 hrs! So desperate they are to chat with their unbelieving friends about the weather! Busy sending text messages in church! See the way they look left and right with bored expressions while the sermon is being delivered. It’s very encouraging for the preacher who has worked hard in preparing his sermon to see such faces! Such believers should better stay at home and watch TV. Pattern your life after St.Paul’s (Phil.3:17) Someone close to you stabbed you on the back. It was the biggest let down in your life. When you think about it, a wave of bitter feelings engulf you. Don’t let the past destroy your happiness. Be like kittens. They learn by imitating the behavior of their mother. Imitate Paul. He didn’t hang on to the past. There is no use in brooding over bitter experiences for days. Forgive and forget. Difficult experiences form us.
Be faithful to God (1Tim. 4:12) There are many kinds of servants of God – the flamboyant ones always seeking publicity, those that are in it for money, the power hungry nerds and then there are the genuine ones. Many of these genuine ones live in obscurity, in villages. They are doing something unusual for God but because there is no TV crew there no one knows about it. For them the best thing to hear is when Hindu converts go up to them and tell them that they are amazing because they have sacrificed everything to go and live in the middle of nowhere for their sake. That makes all the work worth it. Their funerals may not be attended by thousands but up there, for being sacrificial, they will be applauded by tens of thousands. Honor your wife (1Pet.3:7) Your wife is one of those persons who can never sit still, or take it easy or keep quiet. Maybe she is the questioning type who is able to spot the flaws in everything you do. That kind of behavior makes it hard to make a marriage last. But be a loving and patient husband. Don’t allow her irritating behavior to break your marriage. Accept trials gracefully (2Pet.1:6-8) You are soured because of the behavior of certain people. You hope that it is a bad dream and that when you wake up everything will be okay. If people had behaved properly this world would have been a better place to live in. But we would not have grown spiritually. To grow up from the height of a mushroom to a banyan tree, we need those difficult people. Growth does not take place overnight. We need a steady dose of unkind treatment day after day, year after year. Be there for people (1Thes.5:14 & Obad.8--11) Don’t be surprised if, when you really need them, your friends aren’t there for you. But you shouldn’t be like them. Always be available for people who need you. When he is at home, a believer should be able to think about you and your wife and say, “I’m glad they are there for folks like me.” And when the problem is over, he should be able to come up to you and say, “Thank you so much brother. I was able to do it with your help.” Don’t consider him a nuisance if after few more days because he has another problem, he is back knocking on your door. Use your time wisely (Eph. 5:16) Time is precious and it’s ticking away while you use your computer to play solitaire. Some people have limited time for other people but unlimited time for things that are of interest to them. We Christians should be spending more time doing more important things. Put aside time to think about others and to listen to what they have to say. At any time, there’ll be somebody struggling with something and it’s your job to talk to that person and help him to feel good. Take care of your eyes (Mt.5:27-29) Some people suffer from what is known as the ‘roving eye syndrome.’ Even old elders have lust in their eyes. They tell sisters to dress properly. We wonder what these men do when they are out on the streets full of unbelieving ladies. God knows and they
know. It is important to keep a check on the eyes. You have permission from God to admire only your wife’s bum and tum. Don’t get affected by the behavior of bad people (Mt.27:27-31) May be you are going through hell right now. There are mean people around you who are aiming where it hurts most. Your poor back can’t take it anymore. Friend, this world is not a nice place to be in. Don’t get affected by their comments. One day they will get a taste of what is knows as God’s rod. Care for your wife (Col.3:19) May be you are a morning person who likes to sleep soon after dinner so you can wake up to have your quiet time in the morning while your wife is a night owl. For her sake you can change the habit of a lifetime once in a while. Stay up late, hang around in the kitchen to talk to her as she soaks peas for the following day’s breakfast. Once she has finished with the chores, maybe you can watch a movie together (not Ben Hur or The Ten Commandments but a decent romantic one. Check the paper for ratings). Show her that you care for her. Correct sinners nicely (Jn.8:1-11) Thank God the Bible is a warts and all book. Our elders seem to have forgotten that. They act like they are as holy as Daniel and Joseph. They aren’t anywhere near those fellows! Only God knows what they think of during their free time and how many sins lurk beneath the surface. When a believer sins, they run after him with the ferocity of a pack of hunting dogs. They should learn to correct sinners in a more humane manner. Be good to repentant sinners (Lk.15:11-32) When the prodigal son returned, his father had a steak party organised for him. What a way to be welcomed back! Today, if a believer commits a gross sin and repents, he won’t get a free lunch. He can expect to see believers waiting to lynch. Or if they prepare a meal, just after he has finished eating it as the prodigal thinks that it was relishing, he’ll get a sound bashing. Use hardships for growing (1Pet.1:7) You can’t grow as a person if there are no hardships. They take you many steps forward in your Christian life. Down here there will be moments of great disappointment, you will come across irritating fellows and there will be incidents that upset you. But these things/people will change you as a person. Value people more than money (1Tim. 6:9,10) Do you believe in valuing money more than life? That’s what appears to be the case with nurses and doctors who line up to go to the UK/US. Just think of all the souls they lose when they all make this unfortunate decision. It is very cruel to shirk responsibility and leave behind souls that need you. Only God can open people’s eyes.
Don’t fear your flock (1Tim.4:6-15) Some servants of God preach like they are afraid that the church members will go to them after the service and tell, “We won’t be needing your services anymore.” People may listen to find fault with your message, a lot of people may take objection to it and you may have to stand in front of an arm folded frowning jury but don’t stop preaching fiery messages. You are answerable to God. You are His servant and He will take care of you if you stop getting crumbs from the tables of those misers. Don’t worry (Mt.6:25-34) There are plenty of things to worry about for those inclined that way. When a person sees a huge rock he bites his nails and because he is completely shaken. Another person blows the rock to bits with dynamite. The difference between the two is that they had different minds. The solutions to many of life’s problems is a positive attitude. The dark clouds of gloom that suffocate you will lift but when they are there you can play sad music to become more sad or you can go to the music player and change the CD knowing that things will get better. Look after servants of God well (Lev.2:10; 3Jn.5-8; Hag.12-11) Servants of God don’t get paid well, and so focus on ways to make money on the side. Like preparing false travel and food bills. How else can they be expected to buy milk tins for their toddlers with the measly Rs.2000/- that they get paid per month by their missions organization? So when a servant of God who has come to your house says a long prayer of blessing or praises your kid too much you sense opportunism there. Believers, so servants of God don’t expect something every time you shake their hands with a ‘praise the Lord’ (which is embarrassing both for you and them) pay them well. And servants of God, remember that the curse of grinding poverty has stuck to millions in our country like a leech. You are much better off than them so shout a halleluiah to the Lord right now. Always be content with what God has given to you. Don’t have unnecessary cravings. A cycle is better for your body (for exercise) than a motor cycle.
Chapter 7 May be things have become very tight in your home all at once because you have lost your job. You are really going through a rough time because of this. Don't worry, brother. Jyoti Basu (ex CM of West Bengal) once said, "If you can't find jobs, do business." Inspiring words those. You too can become an entrepreneur. See if you can find a large hearted believer who can lend you some money. Buy pairs of jeans or whatever can get you more money with less investment. Then go stand on the road at a weekly market to peddle your wares. There is no shame in doing honest work. Different areas have different market days. Do some research so you have work for 5 days in a week. You don't have to be a great salesman who can sell refrigerators to Eskimos. No one can convince anyone to buy! We choose to buy what we want to buy and not what a glib talker/celebrity tells us to. If your product looks good, people will buy it even if you don't sing its praises (many salesmen sing false ones). Pray to God. He can make people to stop near your piece of ground. When you prosper a bit, be large hearted too. Don't get upset (1Sam.25:4-13) Everyday there are so many things that can upset us. You buy a birthday card for a friend. Your 2-yr-old son thinks it is his birthday card and destroys it. Your wife is on a buying binge even though your budget is tight. You take a day off just to go to distribute Gideon Bibles in a school and a believer who promised that he would join you gets a stomachache suddenly. You know that his excuse is an out and out lie and you get upset. Your 68-yr-old forgetful father in law is becoming a headache so you throw your hands up and tell your wife angrily, "I am losing patience with that old man. Why doesn't he go and live with your brother?" Brother Impatient, we have to prove that we are Christians over and over again. So next time you have a bad day in the office, instead of taking it out on you wife after reaching home, thank her for her day long hard work. Tell you what? Give her a nice long passionate French kiss (after brushing your teeth). By the time you finish, you will forget your work tensions and she will forget hers. Don't fume when insulted (Esth.3:5,6) Somebody offended you in the office and fuming you pointed your finger at his nose and said, "You don't know who you're playing with. Don't mess with me. I don't like to fight but I usually win when I fight." Don't let your ego get in the way, brother. Don't say, "I will not tolerate harassment from anybody nor take shit from anyone." There are believers who screamed when hurt. Their larynxes got damaged and they achieved nothing for God. Your negative reaction reflect poorly on you rather than your enemy, even if it happens that you're right because as a Christian you are expected to behave differently. If you want people to be drawn into your orbit, calm down when someone tries to add insult to injury. You will hear God whispering (not literally), "Thank you for responding in the manner you did, my son. This is the perfect example of how I want my children to behave down there." Be in touch with the world (Acts 17:16-34) When you come across servants of God who say they don't know who the chief minister of their state is, they've been too busy praying. And you've got a serious problem there.
These people should come out of their prayer rooms for some air. Probably go on the terraces of their prayer towers and read newspapers and secular magazines to be in touch with the world. After 40 days were over, the disciples left the cozy prayer room and went out to the ends of the world. If you feel that God has called you to reach the Hindus/Sikhs in Canada and Australia please go but if your motive is to earn dollars you have become a modern day Demas. Don't be demanding (1Sam.2:12-17; 1Chro.11:17-19) God alone knows how much some pastors are raking in on all the little fish in their ponds. Men of God, it is not good, morally, to milk dry the very people who support you. For a hardworking father of three every penny counts. Their income is just not to support you as they have numerous expenses so your regular sermons on 'giving' are stressful for them. The government already eats too much of their money. If you continue to be unreasonably demanding, the next time they get your email it will get deleted or they will just go elsewhere. Return borrowed things on time (Mt.21:1-3) A believer borrows money from you and tells you that he will return it the following month. The month comes to an end and still there is no sign of that fellow and you begin to get a little worried wondering which 'month' he was referring to as you have bills to pay. If someone owes you money, you are very fast in collecting it, but for some reason think it is okay for you to delay giving someone else's money back. All liars will go to hell. This is some information straight from the horse's mouth (Rev.21:8) Counsel properly (1Ki.12:9-11) A baby falls sick and the pastor tells its mother not to take it to a doctor as prayers will heal it. The baby dies and the pastor gathers his flock in the believer's house and preaches, "Let's not be like unbelievers who don't have hope. Let's rejoice as the baby has gone to be with the Lord and one day our dear sister is going to see it. HALLELUIAH!" How ludicrous! Some people can be so darn wordy! Is this how people are taught to counsel in Bible colleges? The woman is in tears over her baby because of your foolish advice and you are dancing with joy. This is no way to help people in distress. Reminds us of Job. Job was a nice person and for him to say some of the things he said was not like him. But his friends continued to rub salt in his wounds till the poor fellow couldn't take it anymore and had to scream. There are a few things more despicable than insensitive people. When people need your help don't quote numerous Bible verses or give the "I understand your problem blah blah blah" crap. Your pat answers will be of zero assistance to them. Just be silent. Time is a great healer. Don't gossip (Lev.19:16) Some churches are plagued by an epidemic of gossip. Someone comes to your house pretending to be concerned about your family's welfare but actually wants to get information that can be shared with others. So once you've quenched her inquisitiveness she goes to another house and starts, "Oh, you know what happened …" And within days the news is out on the entire internet because of prayer emails.
Such loose talk by mean people causes a lot of damage to the church. Unbelievers can act in such a fashion, but believers should be careful. Behave like a man (Judg.4:8,9; Jn.10:1-13) Some servants of God have lost their masculinity. Like fisherwomen they are waiting on the shore to get fish that others have caught. They should prove that they are men and not sissies by going for deep sea fishing. No more shooting fish in a barrel, men of God! Try to get unconverted Hindus to guide them in the right direction. Otherwise wear bangles for being effeminate. Respect God's servants (2Ki.4:8-10) We get to hear, "The elder son was very bright so he was sent to an engineering college. The younger one wasn't good for anything so he was sent off to a Bible College." Can people who speak like this stop? Just because a boy is not good in Maths or Physics doesn't mean that he is an idiot. God purposely saw to it that the boy was not good in these subjects so He could use him full time for His glory. God has given him other gifts - the ability to preach fearlessly, the ability to influence people and win them over etc. He is much smarter than his elder brother who wears soda glasses and shakes like a leaf when the time comes for sharing the gospel with others. Don't keep what doesn't belong to you (1Ki.21) God gets upset when a person keeps an item that doesn't belong to him. Only a thief does that. Check your house to see if there is any thing that you had borrowed from someone a long time ago and go give it back to that person. You owe him a sincere apology. If mistakenly, the workflow executive of your company marks you present when you have been absent and you discover that after checking your salary slip don't go home to tell your wife, "See how God has blessed us, honey." That is not God's way of saying, "My son, I love you very much." If you decide that you are going to keep the money and your conscience doesn't tell you that you are doing something wrong then something is wrong. You have been listening too much to prosperity preachers. Go and give the money that doesn't belong to you back. It will leave a very good impression on the Hindu executive. Don't rob people (2Pet.2:3; Joel.2:12-14) There are prayer phone lines. Not only do people have to pay for the long distance phone calls out of their own pockets, they have to support the ministers too. The truth is that these prayer warriors have little concern for the callers. If they had, they wouldn't have ripped off poor believers as well. Nice business strategy guys! The devil has something to say to you, "Congratulations for fooling the new born babes!" We have something to ask you too, "Do you need money that bad?" Then join a call centre! You will get paid well. There are vernacular ones too. At least you won't be guilty of (for lack of a better word) screwing people in the name of religion. This is our last ditch effort to make you change your ways and this is the plainest English we can use.
Take care of babies (1Thes.5:14; Micah 3:1-4) A Hindu convert, the only believer from her family fell in love with her Hindu neighbor. An elder's wife came to know about this but instead of talking to her personally, she did something else. At the time of the Lord's Supper when this sister was about to take a piece of bread, the ‘mature saint’ snatched the plate from her hand. Feeling humiliated the sister left the church. No amount of persuasion from other concerned folks could get her back. She may have thought, "I don't need to fellowship at a place that has a bitch/rotten people." Someone's bad behavior left bad taste in her mouth and you know that word of mouth can help or hurt a church. It's no wonder that other religions are doing well because this is how we treat new converts that come to our churches! What is going on in your church? Do people get to see Christian love or moronic behavior? Read spiritual growth books and magazines (1Pet.2:2) It is not possible for you to know every rule that God has set if you depend only on your Pastor's Sunday sermon. So you need to make time to read the Bible yourself. Also read Christian books and magazines. Now some Indian magazines have writers who use big English words Therefore, keep a dictionary nearby cause if you come across a big word you can look it up. Big words may be improperly planted left, right and centre so you may need to read a line twice to understand what the writer is trying to say. Some lines may not make any sense. Non Indian writers write books which look like they are books on neurosurgery. You get lost reading them. They probably pen such books because they fear that people may think that they are not scholarly enough. We wish they had made the deeper meanings of God's word easier for us to understand. Don't buy a book at a nearby bookshop because of a 70% discount or because of the powerful title. You will cruise through its 120 pages for 2 hours and gain nothing. Editors of magazines think that people subscribe to their mags just to read their 'powerful' editorials. They aren't A.W. Tozer yet! They write lengthy articles on the same topic month after month not knowing that people are fed up. Reminds us of a secular rock band called AC/DC. This band used to release albums year after year that sounded the same and people got bored. Expose a pervert husband/relative (Lev.20:12,18,21) The attitude of a Hindu woman towards her husband is, "I will do whatever you say/take whatever you give hubby because you are my god." So she keeps quiet even if manhandled or sexually abused. Submission in the Bible doesn't mean that you put up with domestic violence. You don't have to be that saintly. Sex without mutual consent is rape and the law was made for rapists and violent men. Such beasts need to be locked up at a police station! You shouldn't get used to living on someone else's terms. Even if he is your husband, he doesn't have the right to treat you like that. A feminist will have none of it. At times it is important to be like a feminist - when your husband doesn't behave like a civilized person. Ask him, "Why do you treat me this way? What have I done to you to deserve this kind of treatment? A gentle spirit doesn't always smooth the rough edges of a personality. Even confrontation may not work at all with some Pharaohs. If it doesn't, before leaving them to God, get outside help. Don't hide it as it will do immense harm to you and lead to severe depression. Let your immediate family know about it. If that doesn't resolve the issue, go to the elders of the church and drop
the bombshell. Let them know that a person is not always the saint he looks from outside. Tell the horrifying story of your exploitation not so they can know his bad points but because the loony needs help with his troubled past. Don't get fooled (2Pet.3:17) Some believers walk through life with blinkers on. They hold healing preaches in high regard. They are just looking at these preachers and not at Jesus. They are so brain dead that they can be made to believe anything. When will these people realize that they don't need middlemen between God and themselves? They need to open their eyes and realize that the people they hold in high esteem are just out to make a buck. Let’s not make people who are zeros into heroes. Always remember that you are special (Ps.139:13-15) You may not know about art or international cuisines or how to use silver but you are still special to God. Not everybody knows everything about everything. No one was born cultured. Wish all sophisticated who act too smart remembered that. You may not mean anything to some people but to God you do. We are all beautiful even if we don't have good looking faces. There is nothing more beautiful than a lovely heart. Sensual people are interested in beautiful body parts so poor models are forced to line up at the doors of plastic surgeons. Don't get depressed when you look at supermodels. The have plastic faces and silicone implants and they sweat a lot in gyms to stay in shape. Listen to your wife (Esth.5:3-7) Some husbands are the dominating type so their wives are afraid of them and can't speak to them freely. Rough husbands, be gentle towards your wives or else Jesus will rough you up when He returns. Give them room to breathe. Women have an opinion on everything under the sun so listen to them. Let your children speak out too otherwise they will grow up to become problematic husbands and fathers. Give everyone a chance to say what they want. Let there be democracy and not Ceausescuan dictatorship. So if your wife tells you that a particular shirt doesn't look nice with your pants remove it and wear another one. Always be thankful (1Thes.5:18) You are frustrated in life because you have not been able to achieve what you wanted. You look at a wealthy believer and get more depressed. Do you want to hear something sad? There are crores of people in our country who are very poor. The clothes they wear are about all they have in life. You are not exactly penniless, right? You get enough to eat and have a job in an air-conditioned office. Some of them will have to do manual work all their life because they were not privileged enough to go to a school The ones who have to suffer the most are the scavengers and the children of prostitutes as there is the stigma they have to live with and there is nothing they can do about it. You don't have such mental suffering. Thank God for being good to you.
Remember that Jesus is with you always (Mt.28:20; Hag.2:4,5)
You're probably thinking that there is no light at the end of a tunnel you are in. Don't allow yourself to get frustrated and don't whine. Jesus will be hanging in there with you till you see light. Then you will realize that you were getting restless over nothing and how short sighted you were. People may not have a clue as to what your problem is but Jesus knows and He will be walking with you through the problem till everything is all right. Don't condemn others (Mt.7:1-5) A man who has just retired from secular service goes to distribute bibles in a school and a senior servant of God tells a junior, "Would you like to have an ice cream bar that was licked by someone else and has a large piece missing out of it? See that man? He has thought about serving God in his old age after working for himself all these years." As if the man committed a big crime by looking after his wife and children while working in a secular company. Do full time servants of God work all day long? Do they set off for outreach come hell or high water? They know the answer to that. Here is what young full time men of God do: bitch about co workers, talk about girls in a filthy manner and watch day long/5days long cricket matches. Even during prayer meetings although their bodies are in the prayer room their souls are on the cricket ground. They are more concerned about knowing the match score. And old ones? Well, they go to the fish market first thing in the morning to get fresh fish. By fish we don't mean souls. After a nice lunch of fish curry and rice it's time for a nice nap. No wonder their bellies look so big! Like pots. In the evening they are found in parks not spreading the gospel but having ground nuts/bhel puri and swinging their little Jills. And full time mission leaders are fines one to talk about others! Because they live in vans for months with little money like the new recruits suffering for Jesus! It is time they learned to turn of the air conditioners because the bills are paid from the offerings of widows in the West and not from the bank account of their fathers. Don't listen to your parents all the time (Jn.2:3,4; Zech1:3,4) Christians in our country talk so much about loving God and not being materialistic but they demand dowry even when people can’t afford to give it. There are girls whose plans of marriage have gone to dust because of it. It is depressing for them to watch everyone else walking along in pairs, holding hands. Some girls carry the burden of their families on their shoulders and can't save money for their own future in banks. Be bold and tell your mother, "Hey mom, this girl is the biggest gift that we are getting. It is not fair to bill her parents for my educational expenses. You already have enough gold. What do you need more for? (Don't say this gold bit cause she'll beat her breasts and make a big scene once your dad returns from his office). I am man enough to buy thing for our new house - a washing machine, fridge, computer, etc. And I don't need a new bike. This old one will last for few more years." Young people break free from the tentacles of evil traditions that your parents are caught up in and try to pull them free too.
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