By Duke Jeyaraj

SEEING SPIRITUAL TRUTHS IN A SEE-SAW BATTLE
Duke Jeyaraj gleans out Bible lessons from India’s win in the first T20 World Cup in 2007

September 24, 2007, will go down in Indian Cricket History as a historic, happy, heart-stopping, heady day. In what was easily the best World Cup Final played, India beat arch-rivals Pakistan in a sensational, see-saw battle of frequently fluctuating fortunes. From that match, some Bible-life lessons latched on to me. From that see-saw battle, I saw some spiritual truths! Can I share them with you?

1. THE POWER OF YOUTH! The Indian selectors blooded unheralded young people under a brand-new young captain for the Inaguaral 20-20 World Cup. And they brought home the Cup for India after an unforgettable performance. When India beat Pakistan in their Group Game, the hero was the 21-year Robin Uthappa, whose furiously-paced fighting fifty held the Indian innings together. He held his nerves to knock out the stumps in the bowl out that followed. In India's must-win game against South Africa, it was young Rohit Sharma's ice-cool temperament and no-nonsense batting that ensured that India got a decent total to defend, before another youngster ran through South African batting lineup with superb swing bowling when they chased India's modest score. I refer to young R. P. (Singh) from U.P! Another youngster, Dinesh Karthick. took what was one of the eye-catching catches of the entire tournament that ensured the dangerous Greame Smith, the South Afican skipper was back in the pavilion, in the same crunch game. In the semi-final against the mighty Aussies, the Kerala colt Sreesanth, who wears aggression up his sleeve, delivered telling blows, giving away only a miserly12 runs from his four overs. The man who put a fear of India in the opposition ranks was a guy who name itself meant "King of youth" - Yuvraj. He blasted the fasted fifty ever in any form of International cricket of a mere 12 balls to put India's must-win game against England, beyond them. Cricket fans will not forget the six zapping sixes he hit against Stuart Broad, a quality fast bowler, in that game in a long, long time. Just like the Indian selectors did, the God of the Bible gives opportunities for young people to do great thing for him. God raised Joseph, who was only 17 when he landed in Egypt, to dizzying heights. Both Samuel and his clothes were "little" when he started serving God full-time in His temple (I Sam 2:19)! Josiah, was just 16, when he became the greatest king Israel ever had. David was not only young, but the youngest in his family, when God sent Prophet Samuel to anoint him. Daniel and his friends were picked up by King Nebuchadnezzar, only because they were "young" from Judah when it was invaded by Babylon. This young foursome brought glory to the name of Yahweh in a foreign land. When Jeremiah tried to give his young age as a deterrent for being God's prophet, God told him, "Do not say, I am young! The question is not if God is going use young people for his Kingdom work. He always has. The question is if young people will show the same dedication and determination to serve their Creator, the same way the Robin Uthappas, Rohit Sharmas, RP Singhs and others showed to serve India's cause in the 20-20 World Cup!

2. THE IMPORTANCE OF SMALL THINGS ! Had not, Mohammed Hafeez, palmed over the ropes, a Gautam Gambhir strike in the Final for six, Pakistan may have actually won the World Cup. After all, in the end, India won by a mere five runs. A small mistake by Hafeez, cost Pakistan so dear. It was as if he palm over the World Cup to India ! Misbah, the one man who stood between India and the Cup victory, the One batsmen who repeated bailed Pakistan out of trouble in this World Cup, could have hit down the ground, something he was so adept and awesome at doing, instead of going for the risky scoop-sweep he got out playing when Pakistan needed just 6 off 4 balls in the final over. He was sure his scoop-sweep would sail over Sreesanth, the short fine leg fielder. That proved to be a costly miscalculation. And there was a slip between the Cup and the lip, for Pakistan, as a result! What Misbah did not also realize was that Joginder Sharma, the Indian pacer who bowled that tension-filled last over, did not enough pace in his bowling for scoop shots like those to clear the in-field and fetch a six or boundary. In our life too, we must take care that we do the "small things" sincerely and seriously. Otherwise the consequences could be equally seriously. " Dead flies make the perfumer's ointment give off a stench; so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor," we read in the Bible (Eccl 10:1). Those words were penned by King Solomon. He writes from his experience. One fine day, He committed the "little folly" of marrying the one girl who knew not Yahweh, and soon the trickle became a torrent when ended up living with 1000 women who did not worship the true God, who in turn influenced him to worship idols like them. The "little folly" that Achan committed cost the Israelites dear – they lost a battle because he kept for himself some loot from a previous battle, a seemingly innocent thing. The "little folly" of laziness that David allowed to enter his life (He was resting when he should have gone to war with his soldiers – II Sam 11:1) was the first step he took in committing greater follies such as adultery and indirect murder. Look at your own life. Examine it. Is there a 'little folly' lurking in some corner? Repent of that 'little folly' before the consequences catch up with you! We must root out the little leaven which can spread quickly through the whole batch of dough, Paul warned (I Cor 5:6-7).

3. THE MANTRA OF SUCCESS! When the Indian team for the 20-20 World Cup was announced, a lot of questions were being asked: "Will this team, without the terrific trio of Tendulkar, Ganguly and Dravid, and its leading strike bowler, Zaheer Khan, playing under a new captain, ever make an impact in a tournament as big as the World Cup?" That's when Mahendra Singh Dhoni stepped in. He told his young team – full of dreamy eyed lads with loads of potential, but without much of international exposure – this: "Just go out and enjoy yourselves, giving your best in every game. Don't worry about the results!" And when the Indian team played they took their Captain's very seriously. Their body language showed that pretty much. Along with those blistering sixes were the broad smiles. Along with the smashed fours were the sweet fun! They ran like happy hares between the wickets converting the singles, into twos, the twos into threes. Their fielders chased the cricket ball with the same excitement a young man would have chased pretty young maiden! And the result that created because the Indians played their cricket with enjoyment and verve was there for the world to see in form of the World Cup! Let's revert back to the Bible. Let's meet a man who has some resemblance to Mahendra Singh Dhoni. His name? Nehemiah. Nehemiah was one of the most outstanding performers we read about in the Bible. In 52 days flat he rebuilt the broken walls of Jerusalem by providing inspiring leadership to a group of disorganized and demoralized returnees to Israel from Babylon. Here was a leader who produced results. And his mantra was not much different from the Indian Cricket Captain, Dhoni. How do I say that? He calls himself a "servant" of God who "delighted" to fear the name of God, even as he started out with the first step in the Wall Rebuilding Project, which was to get permission for the Project from the Persian King he reported to (Neh 1:11). Now 'delight' and 'fear' generally do not go together. But for Nehemiah it did. In other words, he enjoyed serving his God! And he became an achiever par excellence. Learn to enjoy whatever you are called to do, as long it is not sin. Be it sweeping or speaking. Be it cooking or choreography. And see for yourself how you dazzle in what you delight!

WHEN DHONI RAN TO MEET WITH JOGI!
Duke Jeyaraj brings out the greatest good news from the last over of the nerve-wracking India-Pakistan T20 World Cup Final

Pakistan needed 13 runs to win off 6 balls with just one wicket in hand in the inaugural T20 World Cup Final in South Africa versus India in what was a see-saw game. Indian Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni entrusted little-known seamer Joginder Sharma to bowl the crucial last over with the dangerous-looking Misbah-ul-haq of Pakistan on strike. Misbah had hit Harbachan Singh for three huge sixes in Over Number 18. Joginder bowled an ultra-wide as the first ball. Captain Dhoni calmly collected the ball and ran all the way to the other side of the wicket to put an arm around Joginder, who had by then walked back to his bowling mark. After giving him a brief pep talk, Dhoni ran back to the usual wicket-keeper’s position. Misbah was beaten off Joginder’s next ball. He thrashed the third ball for a huge six to make the equation 6 off 4 balls for Pakistan. After Joginder bowled the next ball, India had won the first-ever T20 World Cup by 5 runs as Misbah miscued a scoop into the hands of Sreesanth. The God who made you and me, did something similar to what Dhoni did in that climatic final over. We had goofed up like Joginder. We had sinned and were in danger – the danger of going to eternal hell, the place which God made for the Devil and his angels. God could have chosen to just watch this happen. But he did not. Just as Dhoni ran from the wicket-keeper’s position to the start of the bowling mark of in the T20 World Cup Final last over, God too travelled. He left the comfort of heaven and came all the way to earth, just to save us. Yes, Jesus, God in flesh, came down to seek and save us, sinners, the Bible, God’s Word in human words declares (Luke 19:10).

WHEN DHONI DID NOT HIT OUT OR GET OUT….
Duke Jeyaraj draws out an important spiritual lesson from India’s loss in the 2009 T20 World Cup

The asking rate is climbing. This is a must-win game for India, if they had to stay in the Twenty20 World Cup 2009. India had to win this game versus England if they were still to be in the hunt for the World Cup Title. But you cannot believe what you are seeing: India’s Captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni is blocking, pushing and scratching and just about managing to take singles and twos. He isn’t even trying to go for the big hits. The trade-mark shovel stroke that has landed many a

ball in the crowd – he is not playing it. You can see that his batting partner Yousuf Pathan is trying hard. Pathan hits a one-handed six in the last over. But Dhoni simply would not – it looks like he is not even trying. At that point in time Dhoni had only two options in front of him: to hit out or get out. Yes, the batmen who could clear the park were cooling their heels in the Indian hut in case he got out trying to hit a six. And so when it came to the final ball of that Ryan Sidebottom over, India still needed a near-impossible 8 runs to win. Only at that juncture, when it was too late, Dhoni heaved his bat and thrashed a four. I can tell you that stroke came far too late. India by then lost that crunch game versus England in the Lord’s Cricket Ground. The first lords of the Twenty20 Game limped out of the World Cup with their heads hanging low in the. Sadness and regret was writ across their faces. That makes me recall something. That makes me recall how we also postpone going for the big one like Dhoni. The BIG ONE I mean here is Jesus and the Salvation he offers. The writer of the book of Hebrews in the Bible refers to the salvation that Jesus offers as, “Such a Great Salvation”. We tell ourselves, “There’s always time to come to Jesus! There’s always time to get saved!” How foolish such an idea is! The Bible talks about times when it could be too late for us to come to Jesus and get saved. For instance, we cannot get saved after we have died. There is no chance for salvation after we die – this is the teaching of the Bible (Heb 9:27). Also, we cannot get saved after we have hardened our hearts beyond a certain limit – a limit that God sets for us, which he alone knows if we have crossed or not. This message jumps out from passages such as Genesis 6 and Romans 1 and from the stories of Pharaoh and King Manasseh in the Bible. We must not forget that it becomes too late to get saved after Jesus appears in mid-air to judge us, all of a sudden. When Jesus comes back the second time, he is not coming back to offer salvation – but to execute judgment (Rev 1:7). During that final judgment time, there is no way anyone can get saved. No Gospel Message will be preached then. No altar call would be given then. Why should we still scratch around with sin even after knowing very well that Jesus came to save us from sin? Sin makes us sad. Doesn’t it - after an initial elation? Why not join Jesus – Jesus who died for us, sinners, on the Cross and waits to embrace us with arms open wide? Why not do it this very second, lest it becomes too late?

When Hussey Made Onlookers Feel Dizzy!
Duke Jeyaraj’s poem on the climatic stages of the Pakistan – Australia T20 World Cup 2010 with an different sort of finish!

The Question was, "Who'd bring the mighty Aussies to their knee?"
Powered by outstanding batting by the Akmal brothers, Pakistan said, "We will. Hee! Hee!"
The 191 they made, batting first, in a knock-out T20 game should have seen most teams, through, you see! In making plans for Pakistan's next game, the Final Vs England, Captain Afridi probably got busy!

The Pakistan bowling was tight and on target - the Aussie batsmen could not just break free,

Watson n Warner - the Aussie Axe-men were cheaply dismissed and the Pakistanis couldn't hide their glee! In Over number 9 the Aussies were tottering at 62 for 4 - a threat did appear, then, to their Cup winning spree! When White and Smith were dimissed, Australia still needed 54 off 21 balls - their hopes were melting quick as Ghee! But when Michael Hussey slammed 14, 16 and 22 runs in Overs 18, 19 and 20 left everyone watching, dizzy!

His 6,6,4,6 sequence in the 20th Over by Saeed Ajmal threw the Australians in a tizzy!
In this Semifinal between Pakistan and Australia, the hero was named after the Michael, the archangel, In the ultimate match between Good and Evil, the Winner's birth was announced by the angel, Gabriel,

In the match between Pakistan and Australia - the hero's brother's first name was David!
In the ultimate match between Good and Evil, the Winner was popularly called the Son of David!

This gripping match reminded me of the One who was pinned on a tree, To shed His Blood though which salvation from sin could be offered free, Repenting from sin, if before Him, you would, in faith, bow your knee,
You'll be forever filled with joy unspeakable and a purpose for life, you never before did see! (These three articles are adapted from Duke Jeyaraj’s book, The Goodnews for the Google Generation.) ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Duke is a full-time, itinerant, presenter / communicator of Truths from the Bible to the Google Generation, who operates from out of his base in Hyderabad, and is someone who ministers cutting across denominational or organizational barriers. Duke founded Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna (hell in Greek) Mission (G4 Mission) in Feb. 2006 to creatively reach out to the Google Generation. This ministry, which Duke n his wife work for full-time, is supported by individual Indians who have been blessed by his preaching and writing ministry, and NOT by any particular organisation or group. See www.g-4mission.blogspot.com for more details about this ministry which is run with the help of volunteers on a day to day basis. You can be one such volunteer! Visit www.youtube.com/visitduke to see down-to-earth, daring message video clips of Duke Jeyaraj on hot yet hushed subjects like salvation, sex, love, marriage, missions, and more. At www.TheDaysOfYourYouth.com - you will find articles by Duke which wrap Bible-life truths crisply and creatively around contemporary events of interest! The PDF of the mag by same name which Duke

publishes can be downloaded at this site. See how Jesus rides on the back of donkey Duke to various places at www.G-4Mission.blogspot.com a websites that provides picturesque reports on the ministry Duke does, the ministry products like message DVDs that Duke creates and places where he going to minister! Read Duke’s articles that present the Gospel to the Google Generation creatively wrapped around modern events at www.PurposeSpot.Blogspot.com. Read fresh Bible Study outlines born out of Duke's personal Bible meditations in raw format at www.FreshBibleStudy.wordpress.com. Have a look a photos of Duke and his wife, Evangelin, a preacher herself and their son, Dale (8) and daughter Datasha (4), by going to www.facebook.com/dukejeyaraj Follow Duke as he wraps Bible Truth around contemporary events in just 140 characters at www.twitter.com/dukejeyaraj