This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
INDIA’S EVANGELICAL NEWSPAPER
Evangelism Through Journalism
THEOLOGICAL DEGREES FROM ONLINE BIBLE COLLEGE IN UK C.Th., D.Th., B.Th. & M.Th. degrees available
Enroll, submit thesis & get your accredited degree from Hebron Bible College, Manchester, UK.
Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vol. 6, No. 5
Fear, persecution remain high in Orissa, one year later
MANINI Digal knows the wrath of fundamentalists in India. Manini, 17, from a poor family, was caught by fundamentalists last August during the outbreak of anti-Christian violence in Orissa. They tore off her clothes and attempted to rape her. Then they poured kerosene over her and set her on fire. Her body was severely burned. Manini arrived at a hospital in critical condition. Open Doors co-workers covered her medical expenses during her recovery and also prayed with her. She is now praising God for His protection and recovery. August 23 marked the one-year anniversary of the violence in Orissa, which was started when VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda was murdered. Fundamentalists wrongfully blamed it on Christians and used his murder as an excuse to attack them. Church leaders commemorated the anniversary with 'Peace Day' including marches, fasting and prayer vigils on Aug 23. Since the outbreak of violence last year, at least 120 people have been murdered, 250 churches destroyed and over 50,000 individuals displaced. It has been claimed that this was the worst case of religious persecution in India since the partition of Pakistan and India in 1947. More than 4,000 Christians in Orissa are currently seeking refuge in relief camps and are unable to return to their villages for fear of death or forcible conversion to Hinduism. Recent reports state that Christians remain targets of violence and persecution by Hindu extremists. According to Compass Direct News, a reign of terror continues save their lives after receiving death threats. This year India jumped from No. 30 to No. 22 on Open Doors' World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most severe persecution. Last month, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom placed India on its watch list for frequent outbreaks of violence against minorities, especially Christians. The report sharply criticized the Indian government for failure to protect the rights of religious minorities. Eight states in the country have passed anticonversion laws although only five states are currently implementing the law. Anti-conversion laws are designed to prevent Hindus from converting to Christianity, an Open Doors release said. Christian Newswire
Manini, who continues to be under medical care, is doing some physiotherapy exercises to regain strength in her right arm. Photo courtesy: Voice of the Martyrs in the area as the former Hindu rioters are issuing death threats to witnesses during trials. Of the more than 750 cases filed in various police stations in Kandhamal district and neighboring Gajapati district, only six people have been convicted in two cases. Some of the witnesses are running away to
Page 2 | September, 2009
THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER
CLASSIFIED AD BOOKING FORM
(Please mention your address and contact phone number. Your ad will not be published without them)
THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER
A free ad is the regular, classified ad with maximum of 75 characters. FREE AD Absolutely FREE to all advertisers; maximum 75 characters
HOUSE ON RENT REQUIRED WANTED a double-bedroom house for a missionary family in Chennai near Anna Nagar or Shenoy Nagar. On lease or rent. Contact 0-9443794232 / 9003292413. SITUATION REQUIRED 53-year-old man seeks job in hospitality industry. 25+ years experience Expected salary Rs. 15,000/- Call Francis Jayapaul 9884969186.
DISPLAY YOUR AD
Advertise in this space for as little as Rs.250/To book your space for the next issue, email: email@example.com or simply call 0-9884063345
Type of advertisement (Please tick the correct box) FREE PAID Telephone number for publication Contact phone number
This ad grabs the attention of the readers and helps you get a quick response.
ARROW AD Rs.100 Maximum 150 characters
Advertiser’s name Postal address
A young Christian wrote: I am an evangelist and have a friend who has many contacts. One of them is a person who is well known and talented with multifaceted skills. He is in the ministry, knows many languages and people. He told me he was planning to send aspiring evangelists for training to the United Kingdom. After completion of the training, he said he would send us on placement to different countries such as Mexico, Africa, Italy, Europe and the United Kingdom. Five of us believed in him and gave him about seven lakh rupees in all. After a few days, I realized that we had been cheated by him and I have lost all my hardearned money. I am shocked by this incident and cannot accept the fact of being cheated in this manner. We could not take any action against him. What do I do? WE live in a world where lying, cheating and extortion has become a common practice and many of us do not even talk of such things as it has become common place. Such incidents usually take place in the secular world, but when it happens in the Christian world, it is time to wake
Have you discovered your promise in Jesus Christ?
‘Rainbow’ - a refreshingly new and insightful book helps YOU do it! 5 Key Bible Studies that explain the essential elements of the Christian faith. Written by CHRIS GEDGE, NEW ZEALAND. Pages: 48, Price: Rs.60/(Postage free)
Space for ad matter BOX AD Rs.150 Maximum 200 characters
A box ad is designed to give the ad matter an exclusive appeal.
A tinted ad gets noticed quite easily and helps you get a better response.
TINTED AD Rs.200 Maximum 250 characters
Readers are advised to make thorough enquiries before acting on any advertisements. This newspaper’s management does not necessarily agree to the claims or representations made by any advertiser: Publisher
I enclose Cheque / DD (payable to Messenger Communications Pvt Ltd) for Rs.__________ Cheque / DD No._____________ dated _____________ Bank & Branch __________________________ Send this completed form with your payment, if applicable, to The Christian Messenger, Messenger Communications Pvt Ltd., 20/20, Bharathiar Street, Srinivasa Nagar, Padi, Chennai 600 050.
Phone: 044-65145334 | 26247598
To order your copies, contact: CHRIST ISTIAN MESSENGER SSENGE THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER MESSENGER 20/20, Bharathiar St., Srinivasa Nagar, Padi, Chennai 50. P h. 044-65145334 / 26247598 Ph. sales@chr istianmessenger hrist ianmessenger.in firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
What to do when you are cheated!
BY SATYARTHI SAHU & SARAH SAHU
up and take note. More surprising was the fact that this incident happened to some evangelists! The Bible says in Matthew 7:15-16, “Beware of false prophets, who will come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.” In 1Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” In 2 Timothy 3:1- 5 the Word says, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemous, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying its power. And from such people turn away.” In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 reads, “Do you not know that the ungodly will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, not adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor
THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER
Per column centimeter: Rs.50/Front Page: 25% extra Book space now for October, 2009 issue
You must understand why this misfortune fell on you. What is the Lord trying to tell you or teach you, or rather, are there any lessons to be learnt from this unfortunate incident? Ask God to give you the Spirit of discernment.
drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the will inherit the kingdom of God.” In Revelation 21: 8 and 27 it is written, “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, Idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Verse 27 reads, “But there shall by no means enter it (heaven) anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.” So we see here in these verses that all liars and thieves will never inherit the kingdom of God and will be cut off. In Galatians 6:7 says, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap”. These are serious
warnings from the Word of God. However, in Matthew 10:29, the Bible says, “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.” So you must understand why this misfortune fell on you. What is the Lord trying to tell you or teach you, or rather, are there any lessons to be learnt from this unfortunate incident? Ask God to give you the Spirit of discernment, so that you will know people and will not be led aside by their lies. You need to take some practical steps and try to get back your money. In Jeremiah 32:27 God asks, “Behold, I am the Lord God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?” The first thing you need to do is pray. Then if possible meet this person together with the others who have been duped by him and request him to return your money. Give him a reasonable time for this. If this man keeps his word, and returns your money, Praise God! Otherwise, hand him over to the authorities concerned lest he goes on cheating others.
Call 98840 63345 / 044-65145334 / 044-26247598
Email: contact@ christianmessenger.in
Office Address Addr dress Address
20/20, Bharathiar Street, Srinivasa Nagar, Padi, Chennai 600 050.
Working hours: 10 am to 5 pm, Monday to Saturday
The purpose of the newspaper is to report newsworthy religious events and activities within the local community, nationwide and around the world, to increase the awareness and activism of believers regarding the moral issues of today, to provide thought-provoking commentary, and to provide an effective advertising vehicle for Christian ministries and organisations, events and businesses that want to reach the Christian community. - Editor
(Readers are advised to make thorough enquiries before acting on any advertisements. This newspaper does not necessarily agree to the claims or representations made by any advertiser.)
For counselling appointments, call Satyarthi Sahu & Sarah Sahu at 044-26150605.
Page 3 | September, 2009
THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER
How to tell the cult group from the church? Know the Truth!
BY SHEBA DEVARAJ
“Hi, we’d like to talk to you about Jesus Christ!” Standing tall, two young and well-dressed American boys at my door broke the ice instantaneously. Happy to see them, I said that we were Christians too. What happened next, however, took me by surprise and left me scrambling for words. Stating that they were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they said they wanted to talk about a prophet and a book given to the prophet by God. Though a little shaken, I refused to hear their ideologies — they left only to return another day in a bid to coax me. In today’s world, cults are very much a reality. Cults are widely prevalent in our country, in our city too. An unexpected encounter with cult members can leave us disturbed. As Jesus warned, during the last days, there will be many people proclaiming different ideologies in His name. It is our duty to be vigilant and strong in faith. God’s Word says that many deceptive spirits will be on the loose, waiting to swallow the unaware. So do we know how to discern deceptions? We may know that their claims do not align with God’s Word, we may even understand that their belief is not the Truth – but how do we handle encounters with cult members? How do we prepare ourselves to face the challenges of the last days? One way is to be aware of the different cults and to understand their approach. Take the case of Mormons. Mormonism and polygamy go hand in hand - an attractive proposition for today’s world. ‘Mormonism’ has a good number of followers in the US and several other parts of the world. But the Mormons have been in Chennai as well for nearly a decade now and have slowly yet steadily increased in numerical strength. A conversation based on such beliefs can perturb anybody, especially if we are not prepared. THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER spoke to a crosssection of senior church leaders, who threw light on how we could tackle such encounters. Each of them shared valuable insights on how to be prepared always, how to answer cult members, and how to watch and pray. Pastor P Vijayaraghavan of the Apostolic Church said, “I know that the Mormons have been around in Chennai for about 10 years. They’ve grown a lot and that wouldn’t be possible but for their polygamous behavior.” He agreed that as believers, we
Mormons & polygamy
The history of Mormon polygamy begins with belief that Mormonism founder Joseph Smith received a revelation from God on July 17, 1831 that some Mormon men would be allowed to practice ‘plural marriage’. This was later set down in the Doctrine and Covenants by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). When a large number of its members objected to it, some splinter groups left the Mormon church to practice polygamy. Polygamist Mormon churches in the US are referred to as ‘Mormon fundamentalist.’
How to identify cult groups!
Ask any officers in the Reserve Bank of India about how they identify counterfeit or fake currency notes in circulation in the country. You will get the standard reply that since they know the real one so well, it is actually easy to identify the fake notes. However, they don’t just go by their gut feeling. They have guidelines and stipulations that are scrupulously followed in detecting and weeding out fake currency. Almost all cult groups discourage independent thinking. They claim what their governing bodies say concerning any scriptural passage should be the last word on the subject. This is in direct opposition to Paul’s admonition to Timothy (and to all believers) to study to be approved by God, so that we need not be ashamed as we correctly handle the Word of God. This admonition, found in 2 Timothy 2:15, is a clear instruction from God to each of His children to be like the Berean Christians (Acts 17:1012), who searched the Scriptures daily to see if the things they were being taught lined up with the Word.
What do Mormons believe in?
Mormons believe in their own book of Mormon (which they believe was given by God to a prophet), some doctrines that are derived from the Bible, a few other books, and the teachings of their leaders. Interestingly, they claim to believe in Christ as well as the book of Mormon as the word of God. What is disturbing, however, is that none of their beliefs reflects God’s Word. For instance, they believe that we all are ‘elsewhere’ before we are born and that we go ‘somewhere’ other than heaven or hell when we die. But what does the Bible say? Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” (John 3:36). For unbelievers, life after death is eternity in the lake of fire. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die...” (John 11:25-26).
‘Some groups propagate polygamy and immoral relationships.’ Pastor Arthur Devadoss
aimed at making the believers’ steadfast in their faith, Rev. Premraj added. Pastor Jagadeesan Kalyanakumar of Harvest Christian Assembly quoted Ephesians 4:16: “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.” He added: “The rule of thumb is that if you know the original, you can identify the counterfeit. And the more familiar you are with God’s Word, the better you can discern and safeguard yourself from deceptive doctrines.” In all this, the Bible is the final authority to check any doctrine. Sola Scriptura, meaning the Bible alone, is the key theme in the church’s reformation of the 16th century. The Jehovah Witnesses, for instance, proclaim Jesus to be an angel with extraordinary powers. But the Bible very clearly says that He is the Messiah, the only begotten Son of God who revealed God and his love to humanity (John: 3:16). Another example, the Mormons’ scripture includes the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. As Christians, Pastor Joshua Jeyaseelan, Tamil Baptist Church, said: “We have one revealed Word of God which is the Holy Scripture (II Timothy 3:16). So any new doctrine or cult has to be analyzed and understood in the light of the Scripture.” Pastor Vijayaraghavan said, “We must know how to identify a cult and that’s by knowing what they are. Cults are major deviations from orthodox Christianity relative to the Bible’s cardinal doctrines such as the Trinity, the deity of Jesus Christ, the second coming, millennial reign, and salvation by the grace of Jesus Christ.” It is our responsibility to understand our beliefs, our stand. Just like the wise man that built his house on the Rock, if our foundation is strong and built on Jesus, it will not be shaken. Today, it was I who met with the Mormons, tomorrow it could be you. Let us watch and pray for the salvation of cult members and for God to grant us the wisdom to stand strong in His Word.
‘Cult groups exploit people’s gullible nature.’ Pastor P Vijayaraghavan
should know Christian truth well enough to be able to decipher cults. “Cult groups have something novel to offer to people and especially exploit their gullible nature,” said he said. Pastor Arthur Devadoss of Hosanna Ministries had an interesting anecdote to share. “The Mormons gave me their book sometime ago and I didn’t even bother to read it. They came back for the book and fought with me,” he said. However, Pastor Devadoss is worried about another new church group. “There is a new group called the Indian Church of Christ that approaches people with visiting cards; they worry me the most. They speak the local language and lure youngsters to join them. They, too, propagate polygamy and immoral relationships,” he said. He has briefed his congregation well about such cults and has asked them to stand up for their beliefs. In case they are unable to do so, he asks them to just invite the cult followers to their church or refer them to the pastor. “They’ll never trouble you again,” Devadoss affirmed.
‘Don’t entertain or encourage them.’ Pastor Jeyakaran Emmanuel
Pastor Jayakaran Emmanuel of Power House Church echoes this view. “It’s better for you not to entertain them. Since we know their beliefs are misleading and untrue, don’t encourage them and they won’t approach you further,” he said. Is there anything else that a believer needs to be aware of to tackle these cultists? Rev. D.C. Premraj, Presbyter of St. George’s Cathedral, said: “There are just a few things that we should watch out for. First, we should be strong in our beliefs. We must make an effort to understand what we believe in. Second, as our faith and belief grow, we must be grounded
If you know the original, you can identify the counterfeit. Pastor Jagadeesan Kalyanakumar
Biblically. Our foundation must be clear and strong in God’s Word. Third, during any such encounters, check for Biblical context. Anyone can quote from the Bible, but we must know how relevant and contextual it is.” Confirmation classes and Bible studies conducted by churches are
What do Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in?
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Jesus is Michael the archangel, the highest created being. This contradicts many Scriptures which clearly declare Jesus to be God (John 1:1,14, 8:58, 10:30). Jehovah’s Witnesses believe salvation is obtained by a combination of faith, good works, and obedience. This contradicts countless scriptures which declare salvation to be received by grace through faith (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5). Jehovah’s Witnesses reject the Trinity, believing Jesus to be a created being and the Holy Spirit to essentially be the inanimate power of God. Jehovah’s Witnesses reject the concept of Christ’s substitutionary atonement and instead hold to a ransom theory, that Jesus’ death was a ransom payment for Adam’s sin.
Who are Jehovah’s Witnesses?
The sect known today as the Jehovah’s Witnesses started out in Pennsylvania in 1870 as a Bible class led by Charles Taze Russell. Russell named his group the ‘Millennial Dawn Bible Study.’ Charles T. Russell began writing a series of books he called ‘The Millennial Dawn’, which stretched to six volumes before his death and contained much of the theology Jehovah’s Witnesses now hold. After Russell’s death in 1916, Judge J. F. Rutherford, Russell's friend and successor, wrote the seventh and final volume of the ‘Millennial Dawn’ series, ‘The Finished Mystery’, in 1917. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society was founded in 1886 and quickly became the vehicle through which the ‘Millennial Dawn’ movement began distributing their views to others. The group was known as the ‘Russellites’ until 1931 when, due to a split in the organization, it was renamed the ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses.’ The group from which it split became known as the ‘Bible students.’
Page 4 | September, 2009
Sept 1: Pray for rains in the country. Parched agricultural grounds, reports of suicides among farmers, proposed 30% cut in water supply to Mumbaikars and other woes have risen due to shortage of water in India. Pray God will supply all our needs. Sept 2: Nearly 1.7 lakh undertrials are languishing in Indian jails for years despite being booked for petty offences. Pray that the judiciary takes urgent steps to secure their release as their period of detention due to slow pace of justice delivery system has overshot the sentence that would have been awarded had they been convicted. Sept 3: Pray for The Christian Messenger’s newest book in print, ‘The Journey of a Christian Job Seeker’, written by Agnes Amos. Pray that He who gave us the Word will bless the book and make it a blessing to thousands of readers all over the country. Sept 4: Pray justice is delivered to Alka’s family. Alka died on May 6 after consuming pesticides in front of the IGP’s office in Haryana after police did not arrest any of her five rapists. Her children Nishita (8) and Himanshu (7) have been camping at the DCP’s office after police arrested her husband for her death. The Lord is known by the judgment He executes, says Psalm 9:16. Sept 5: Pray for Manini Digal in Orissa. The 17-year-old girl was beaten up before her assailants tried to rape her and burn her alive during last year’s anti-Christian riots. She survived the ordeal and is now recuperating from the physical and mental pain and trauma.
THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER
RSS disrupts VBS, threatens pastor in TN Pray for Christian missionaries around the world
PRAY for Christian missionaries around the world who preach the gospel during these testing times. If God brings to your mind any missionary, uphold him/her in your prayers. Pray that the Lord strengthens them to proclaim the gospel boldly (Psalm 27:14), meets their needs (Philippians 4:19), encourages them in their ministry (Deut 3:8), comforts them in their grief (Psalm 94:19) and helps them press on for the eternal prize (Philippians 3:14).
Pray for a missionary you know. Keep him/her in your family prayers all through the month. Seek God's guidance in supporting a missionary either directly or through the organization that he/she represents. Photo courtesy: GFA
improve in our country. Be a woman founded by God. Pray for responsible driver and road user. live-in couples, homosexuals and lesbians who try to distort the Sept 10: Pray for India’s peace holiness associated with marriage. with her neighbors, especially Sept 18: Pray for God’s China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. China is said protection over our families from to be increasing its presence in swine flu. As many as 160 strategic ports around our coasts countries have been hit by the new to gain an upper hand in the event virus. Pray for the Lord’s of a war with India. May God protection over the family. Pray spoil the evil designs of the enemy. that no ‘terror, wasting disease and fever shall consume us and cause Sept 11: Pray for Fellowship of sorrow of heart’ (Leviticus 26:16). Global Christian Job Seekers, a Sept 19: Colleges have opened non-profit organization that is being formed across several after summer vacation. Pray that nations in the world. The body college authorities initiate will be registered in the US but foolproof anti-ragging measures. have chapters across the world. Pray that believers’ children who Pray that God-intended mission are entering college for the first and vision of the organization time this year are protected from the evil designs of others. come to pass. Sept 20: Pray for KB. The 63year-old widow is fighting a court case over her land in Kerala. An envious neighbor is intent on creating a pathway through her land even though he has an approach road to his field. Pray to the One who sits on the throne judging in righteousness (Psalm 9:4). through Ephesians 5:22-23 concerning marriage is followed in every Christian home. Pray that Christians impact their children’s lives positively and are able to point to the Lord Jesus Christ. Sept 25: Pray for SJ. The 47year-old man who works abroad is addicted to liquor. He is a diabetic too. Pray that the Lord who makes all things new (Rev 21:5) turns him into a new being in Christ and uses him mightily for His kingdom. Sept 26: Pray for S. He has been jobless for almost 6 months. Prospective employers cite his age (he is 42) as an issue. He is unable to relocate to other cities as he owns a house in Chennai and his daughters study there. Pray for a breakthrough in his career. Sept 27: Pray for RS. Eroding gum in his lower jaw has exposed the base of two of his teeth. Pray that Jehovah Rapha heals him and makes him a testimony to others. Sept 28: Pray for Albania today. Majority of Albanians do not participate in religious services According to a US Government data, most of them are nonreligious. As many as 70.12% of them call themselves as either atheists or agnostics. Orthodox Christians constitute 10.33%, Roman Catholics 8.09% and Protestants 0.6%.
Sept 12: Pray for The Christian Messenger media ministry. Pray for the newest book being brought out by us, ‘The Journey of the Christian Job Seeker’. Pray that the book becomes a source of divine inspiration and guidance to Sept 6: Pray for overcrowding millions of unemployed people all in Indian jails to ease. The country over the world. has 1,500 jails with a capacity to lodge 2.5 lakh prisoners. Sept 13: Pray for your pastor. However, they house 3.5 lakh That God will give him more inmates. Seventy percent of them grace (James 4:6), spiritual are undertrials. revelation through the Holy Spirit (John 14:26), anointing (Isaiah Sept 7: Cult groups are on the 10:27) and holiness (1 Peter rise in India. Several people have 1:15,16). joined their fold not knowing they teach a different doctrine and lead Sept 14: Pray for your church. their members to perdition. Pray Pray for your pastor, the worship that the church stands rooted in the leaders, the choir, the Sunday Word and is able to resist the wiles school teachers and the ushers. of the devil (Ephesians 6:11). Pray that the Lord will add new believers to the church as He did Sept 8: Pray for DS. The 46- in Acts 2:47. year-old woman wants to lead a holy life but she is unable to do Sept 15: According to an so because of her alcoholic estimate, one woman is raped husband. Their marital every 30 minutes in India. relationship is strained. Pray that Commit all the women you know the Lord rebukes the enemy, the into the Lord’s hands. Ask Lord devourer of peace and prosperity Jesus to cover them with His in families (Malachi 3:11). blood. Sept 9: Every hour 13 people die in road accidents in India. According to a recent report, 1.14 lakh people lost their lives in road mishaps in India in 2007. Our country now has the dubious distinction of leading the world in road deaths. Fifty percent of the deaths are of pedestrians, cyclists and bikers. Pray for road safety to Sept 16: JK, a retired bank employee, desires to build a house on a piece of land. He has been claiming a promise given to him by God that he will indeed build his own house. Pray that God opens doors for him this year. Sept 17: Pray for the institution of marriage between man and
Sept 21: Pray for the leaders who rule the nation. Apostle Paul makes a case for praying for kings and all those who are in authority in 1 Timothy 2:2. The reason is two-fold: 1) That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 2) It is good and acceptable in the sight Sept 29: Even as drought and of the Lord. food scarcity loom large over the country, Punjab is losing a Sept 22: Pray for S. His father staggering 18 lakh metric tonnes abandoned his family when he of wheat to wastage due to callous was very young. He works in a government attitude. It’s a Christian organization, has heard quantity that can feed 15 lakh the gospel and believes in Jesus families for 365 days, or the Christ. Pray that this year he will weight of entire wheat produced commit his life to the Lord and be in Australia in a year. Pray that baptized. authorities realize the need to act and save food grains from rotting. Sept 23: Pray for K. The 40year old man is unmarried because Sept 30: Thank God for his younger sister, aged 36, is still bringing us to the end of the a spinster. Pray they come to the month. Praise Him for the grace Lord as a family. Pray that our and guidance with which He God will break all hindrances in walked us all through the nine their lives and make them a months, this year. blessing to others. Pray for the Lord’s Second Coming – that He will count us Sept 24: Pray for newly- worthy to be with Him when the married couples B and his wife Lord Himself descends from and S and her husband. Pray that heaven with a shout (1 the instructions of our God Thessalonians 4:16).
A Vacation Bible School that was in session was disrupted and the local pastor threatened by some activists of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a fundamentalist Hindu organization, in Tamil Nadu in May this year, it has emerged now. Around 90 children were in attendance in the VBS on May 12 when three persons, who identified themselves as activists of the RSS, barged into the class that was being held in a school in Theni district of Tamil Nadu. One of them hit a girl and asked the children to run out of the school while another man tore the pages of some books, part of the VBS literature. They threatened Pastor S Immanuel, who was incharge of the VBS, and asked him to stop ‘conversions.’ When the pastor clarified that no conversions were being done there, the activists argued with him saying children retain what is taught to them at a young age long after the classes are over. “During the argument, the activists tried to beat me up,” Pastor Immanuel of Peace Prayer House told The Christian Messenger. “We tried explaining to them that what is being taught at the VBS were some songs and stories with good morals but they would not listen to me,” he said. The RSS activists even tried to cow down the school building owner.
A warning & a promise to believers
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:12,13)
Page 5 | September, 2009
THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER GUIDE TO SALVATION
What does it mean to be a born again Christian?
THE classic passage from the Bible that answers this question is John 3:1-21. The Lord Jesus Christ is talking to Nicodemus, a prominent Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin (a ruler of the Jews). Nicodemus had come to Jesus at night. Nicodemus had questions to ask Jesus. As Jesus talked with Nicodemus, He said, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” “How can a man be born when he is old,” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again’” (John 3:3-7). The phrase ‘born again’ literally means ‘born from above.’ Nicodemus had a real need. He needed a change of his heart—a spiritual transformation. New birth, being born again, is an act of God whereby eternal life is imparted to the person who believes (2 Corinthians 5:17; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:3; 1 John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1-4, 18). John 1:12,13 indicates that ‘born again’ also carries the idea ‘to become children of God’ through trust in the name of Jesus Christ. The question logically comes, “Why does a person need to be born again?” The Apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:1 says, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins...” (NKJV). To the Romans in Romans 3:23, the Apostle wrote, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” So, a person needs to be born again in order to have their sins forgiven and have a relationship with God. How does that come to be? Ephesians 2:8-9 states, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” When one is ‘saved’, he/she has been born again, spiritually renewed, and is now a child of God by right of new birth. Trusting in Jesus Christ, the One who paid the penalty of sin when He died on the cross, is what it means to be ‘born again’ spiritually. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). If you have never trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, will you consider the prompting of the Holy Spirit as He speaks to your heart? You need to be born again. Will you pray the prayer of repentance and become a new creation in Christ today? “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:12-13). If you want to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and be born again, here is a sample prayer. Remember, saying this prayer or any other prayer will not save you. It is only trusting in Christ that can save you from sin. This prayer is simply a way to express to God your faith in Him and thank Him for providing for your salvation. “God, I know that I have sinned against you and am deserving of punishment. But Jesus Christ took the punishment that I deserve so that through faith in Him I could be forgiven. I place my trust in You for salvation. Thank You for Your wonderful grace and forgiveness—the gift of eternal life! Amen!”
book At last, a book for C hristian Pr ofessionals! hrist istian Professionals! Christian Pr ofessionals!
It’s been described as a Book of Psalms for Job Seekers
‘This is a rare gem, too expensive to ignore.’ Benedict Gnaniah, Business Strategist
To order your copies,
CHRIST ISTIAN THE CHRISTIAN CHRISTIAN MESSENGER SSENGE MESSENGER MESSENGER
20/20, Bharathiar St., Srinivasa Nagar, Padi, Chennai 50.
Ph. P h. 044-65145334 / 26247598
184 pages | Rs.120 (postage free)
sales@chr istianmessenger hrist ianmessenger.in To order by email: firstname.lastname@example.org To order by email@example.com
How to stay close to the Lord!
THE key, each day, is your daily time with the Lord. I suggest that you start the day even if it means getting up 30 minutes early, and spending time in prayer and the Bible. It strengthens your personal relationship with Christ. It is the best way possible to start a new day. It gives you strength and focus throughout the day. It is also a spiritual insurance policy. During your busy day, you will face many challenges. You will be making many decisions. Having that daily time with the Lord first thing in the morning, will help you meet the challenges of life in His strength, not yours, and help you make wise Godly decisions. BILL KELLER
Automotive Pvt. Ltd. Die Cast Pvt. Ltd. TS Certified Company
ISO 9001 : 2000 ISO/TS 16949 : 2002
ALUMINIUM PROFILE ACCESSORIES
D-6, Mogappair West Industrial Estate, Chennai - 600 058. India. Phone : +91-44-2625 1505, 2624 5505. Fax : +91-44-2625 7722 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Website : www.merindmic.com
Page 6 | September, 2009
Sept 1: ‘…The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.’ James 5:16. Job was a righteous man alright – he was blameless and upright, he feared God and shunned evil. When he fell into bad times, God did not automatically restore everything back to him. Verse 10 in Job 42 says God restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. The Lord gave him twice as much as he had before. How can you be a righteous man? Learn from Job. He was not only God-fearing but eschewed evil as well. But listen, even the righteous man abhorred himself and repented in dust and ashes when he saw the magnificence of God Almighty (verse 6). James 5:16 asks believers to confess our trespasses to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed. Job knew the secret to wholesome healing. That is, repent of your sins, confess your trespasses and with a clear conscience intercede and pray for others. Have you learned it today? Bible reading: 1 Kings 1, Ezek 12. Sept 2: ‘…Put on tender mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;’ Colossians 3:13. In explaining about the character of the new man one becomes after he is in Christ, Paul says the elect of God will be holy and beloved. Without holiness no one will see God (Hebrews 12:14). God’s children will be known by their virtues and actions – they do everything with love (1 Corinthians 16:14). They are thankful to God and the peace of God rules in their hearts. Have you known someone like that? That person reflects the image of God. They are kind, meek and humble to one another. However, this is not a phony image. If you and I try to emulate these virtues in our own strength, one day our bluff will be called; but if we die to the world and remember that it is not we who live but Christ in us (2 Corinthians 5:14) then it becomes easy to carry the yoke of Christ (Matthew 11:29 & 30). Bible reading: 1Kings 2, Ezek 3-4. Sept 3: ‘By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.’ John 13:35. A house divided will not stand. How does the church stand united in these divisive times? Only by brotherly love displayed by its members will it be possible. Jesus set the mark of identity of His followers in the above verse. How will your family, neighbors, friends and colleagues know you follow Jesus? By the love that you display for your brethren! A church whose members do not care for each other is in serious trouble of losing its identity in Christ. Why is love so important? The Bible says it is impossible to love the unseen God without first loving the brother whom he has seen (1 John 4:20). Those who love their brethren have overcome death to life. He who does not love his brother abides in death (1 John 3:15). If bitterness has filled your heart so much that you cannot see some eye to eye, remember you are no better than the rest of the world. Be known as a follower of Jesus. Bible reading: 1 Kings 3,
THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER
not attracted by man’s strength, power, wisdom or other ‘good qualities’. What He seeks in us is a broken spirit and a contrite heart (Psalm 51:17). He will revive your spirit today (Isaiah 57:15). Bible reading: 1 Kings 10, Ezek 2021. Sept 12: Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel. 1 Corinthians 9:14. Oftentimes, we find there is some confusion regarding this verse. Over the next few days, we will try to examine some of the questions surrounding this issue. Firstly, did our Lord really say this? If we examine Luke 10, we see Jesus appointing 70 people besides the 12 disciples He had selected. These were to go into cities and places that Jesus Himself was planning to visit. However, these were not reconnaissance trips. Verse 9 says what they ought to do. They had a preaching and healing ministry. In verse 7, he addressed a key question on the minds of the 70 people. What were they to do to support themselves? Since a laborer was worthy of his wages, they were to lodge in the house of those who were willing to support them. However, Jesus was careful to lay down a few rules: Do not go from house to house. They were to eat whatever was set before them. In other words, they were not to make any demands or expect any special concessions to them. Bible reading: 1 Kings 11, Ezek 22-23. Sept 13: ‘Carry neither money bag, sack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road.’ Luke 10:4. Jesus’ directive to the 70 people appointed to spread the gospel was detailed. Verses 2 to 10 are full of instructions to the ministers of the Word. We will examine a few of those instructions. 1) They were to pray for laborers into the Lord’s harvest. No pastor or evangelist can see another co-worker in the Lord’s Vineyard as a rival or a competitor. They all work for the same Master. 2) They were not to carry provisions for their journey. Their mission trip was faith-based. 3) They were not to greet any one along the road. I wonder what Jesus meant by this piece of instruction. He was perhaps teaching them to depend on Him rather on people they may encounter along the way. They were to walk by faith not by sight. The Lord’s instructions to those called into the Lord’s harvest are still the same: They ought to pray to God to call more ministers into the vineyard. Their life and mission will be faithbased and their mission will be people-oriented but God-centered. Bible reading: 1 Kings 12, Ezek 2425. Sept 14: ‘…for a worker is worthy of his food.’ Matthew 10:10. Even when Jesus sent out His 12 disciples on their first mission trip, He had a set of instructions for them. A good chunk of them dealt with how they were to walk by faith and not by sight. Besides those instructions on whom to share the gospel with, the Lord also instructed them on how they ought not store anything for their journey. Neither gold, nor silver, nor copper coins in the wallets. Today’s ministers of God today may or may not be following
THE WORD TODAY
(Monthly Devotional for September, 2009)
Ezek 5-6. Sept 4: For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word ‘coterie’ as an intimate group of persons with a unifying common interest or purpose. In recent times, however, the word has a negative connotation because of its usage with respect to some corrupt politicians’ inner circle. One aspect of a coterie is that all members ‘feel for each other.’ That comes from an intimate knowledge of each other and issues that affect them. Christian groups are also coteries in that our High Priest (Jesus Christ) knows us intimately. He understands our weaknesses because He Himself was tempted while He was on earth. However, this sympathy for our weaknesses does not allow Him to compromise with sins associated with them. For that would be so unlike of God, the Holy One of Israel! Hebrews 2:17 tells us why Jesus was made like us in all things. Because of Him, we have become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). This high priest is holy and undefiled and exalted above the heavens (Hebrews 7:26). Bible reading: 1 Kings 4, Ezek 7-8. Sept 5: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. Isaiah 55:8. David the shepherd boy had not even in his wildest dreams imagined he’d be king of Israel. When God anointed him and promised to establish His covenant with him, David knew one thing for sure: God does not think or act like him, a mere mortal (2 Samuel 7:19). In Psalm 25:10, David said: ‘All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth.’ The qualifier is ‘...to such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.’ While our thoughts are limited by what we know (and our knowledge is really finite), God in all His glory, looks beyond our life as we know it and into eternity. He has promised to show great and mighty things that we do not know to those who call Him (Jeremiah 33:3). He knows all and there is nothing too hard for Him (Jeremiah 32:17). Surrender your ways to Lord Jesus Christ today. He has a better plan for your life! Bible reading: 1 Kings 5, Ezek 9-10. Sept 6: ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.’ Matthew 5:16. Isaiah 60:1-7 lists out things that will happen in the lives of the children of God on whom the glory of God has risen. Verse 3 says gentiles and kings will come to them seeing and seeking their light. This happens because the path of the just is like the shining sun (Proverbs 4:18). Light dispels darkness and brings in new revelation. Apostle Peter cautions the church to conduct itself honorably among the Gentiles so that by observing the good works of the body of Christ, they will glorify God. Do our thoughts, words and actions bring glory to our Father in Heaven? Do they find Christlikeness in us? If not, let us seek to bury ourselves with Him by baptism into death that just as Christ was raised from the death by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4). This new life will make the glory of God to shine on us. Bible reading: 1 Kings 6:1-25, Ezek 1112. Sept 7: …that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:8. Do you believe in the second coming of Jesus Christ? Perhaps you said, ‘Yes, I’m saved and baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.’ It’s good to be saved and baptized in Christ. But do you really believe in the second coming of the Lord? Do you believe it like you know and believe that Tuesday follows Monday? Christ’s second coming is no mumbo-jumbo. It’s for real. It’s the axis on which the faith of the Church hangs. Paul made an interesting point about this fact in 1 Corinthians 1. The church at Corinth was enriched in the knowledge of the Lord so much so that they were eagerly waiting for the revelation of Jesus Christ. To believe is to act on what you believe. That’s what the Corinthians did. To them, the revelation of Jesus Christ was not an empty doctrine. They believed it and were eager to see it happen. To such is the promise today: They’d be blameless when the Lord appears on the judgment seat. Bible reading: 1 Kings 6:26-38, Ezek 13-14. Sept 8: If you, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him. Matthew 7:11. Psalms 53:2 says God finds there is none who does good, not even one on the earth. We are evil by nature and none of us can boast of being otherwise. However, God finds some good things in us, too. Like tending and caring for our children for instance. None of us would like to be a bad parent. God knows that and acknowledges our efforts in being good to our offspring. The point, Jesus is making here, is that God the Holy One of Israel is willing to give good things to us, His children. He is the best parent one can ever get on both sides of eternity. We only need to ask. Why does God want us to ask? Doesn’t He know our needs even before we raise them with Him? Yes, but God delights in His children who come to His throne of grace for every need in life. What’s your need today? Go to your Heavenly Father. Bible reading: 1 Kings 7, Ezek 15. Sept 9: I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 1 Corinthians 9:22. To whom do you proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Do you reach out to the lost and the hurting world or are you happy to contain it within yourself? If the joy of salvation is full in you, you cannot but let it flow. Paul says he went out of the way to preach the Gospel. He adapted himself to various people. ‘To the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews….to the weak I became as weak…’ That’s the model we need to follow today. We need to adapt ourselves to preach the Gospel based on the people we are targeting. The message does not need any alteration or adaptation. The Word of God is unchanging and does not need any embellishments. It’s us who needs to change to reflect the love of Christ. Whom do you want to win for Jesus today? Is it your neighbor, colleague or someone in your own family? Remember Paul’s model of evangelism. Bible reading: 1 Kings 8, Ezek 16-17. Sept 10: In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other, so that man can find nothing that will happen after him. Ecclesiastes 7:14. Someone once said ‘Everything is wrong until God sets it right.’ How true! Everything that we know is limited by our intellect, distorted by our understanding and colored by our experiences. While satan would want you to believe that you are the master of your destiny, the truth is far from it. The truth, according to the Bible, is God determines everything that happens on the earth. Of course, we are responsible for our attitudes and actions, our responses to happenings around us. God in His supreme wisdom has made both the day of prosperity and the day of adversity. What is our attitude in the days of prosperity? Do we think we are prosperous because we deserve it or we earned it through our works? When we are in bad times, what is our response? Do we blame ourselves for the misery and the strait path? Psalm 104:24 says: ‘O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all.’ When we know how limited our lives are, how can we not praise God whose years have no end (Psalm 102:27). Bible reading: 1 Kings 9, Ezek 1819. Sept 11: …God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty. 1 Corinthians 1:27. Goliath the giant had enormous physical strength. He was accomplished in battles and knew how to instill fear in his opponents by his stature, war cry and bravado. But one sling shot was all it took to fell the giant. Who was the victor? David, a mere shepherd boy. Why did God allow this? Goliath defied the living God. Solomon was deemed as the wisest man who lived on the earth. He spoke 3,000 proverbs and sang 1005 songs (1 Kings 4:32). Royalty like Queen of Sheba visited his palace to test his knowledge (1 Kings 10:1). Yet, Solomon’s lifestyle is not cited as a model for a believer. Why? Because of Solomon’s sins in taking many wives, going against God’s command in marrying and living to please his idolatrous wives. God is
Page 7 | September, 2009
these instructions down to the last word, but the body of Christ has an obligation to support those from whom they receive the Lord’s Word. Paul renounced this right for two reasons: 1) He did not want to hinder the gospel of Christ (1 Corinthians 9:12) 2) He believed a reward awaited him for his tent-making efforts to meet his needs and those of his companions. There are a few churches that follow the Pauline model. But by and large, most churches and organizations live by Jesus’ assertion found in Matthew 10:10. What’s the message to the body of Christ? Read James 4:17. Bible reading: 1 Kings 13, Ezek 2629. Sept 15: ‘But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.’ Mark 4:20. As a child, I often heard my mother use Jesus’ words (thirtyfold, sixty and hundred) when she asked for God’s blessings on us, her children. To a child’s mind, the numbers were magical – the quantum of increase was stupendous. Bearing fruit is a blessed experience. No man can hope to lead a fruitful life before God by deciding to not walk with Him. John 15:4 says without Jesus we can do nothing leave alone producing fruit. How fruitful do you want your life to be? Do you want 30 or 60 or a 100-fold increase in your life? Turn to Jesus. Today’s verse says you must hear the Word and accept it to bear fruit. The fruitfulness of our lives depends on how deeply rooted we are in Christ. How do we measure the depth of our roots in Christ? Examine yourself: Is the Bible everything to us? Do we seek God’s counsel in every area of our life? Do we allow Him to be Lord over all things in our lives? If not, our roots are pretty shallow. Bible reading: 1 Kings 14, Ezek 30. Sept 16: Incline my heart to Your testimonies, and not to covetousness. Psalm 119:36. Psalm 119 is a remarkable chapter that lists out the excellencies of the Word of God. Those who have chosen the way of the truth will cling to God’s Word. For them, God’s statutes and precepts are above all. It is not as if we chose to follow God under duress. The psalmists says: ‘Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it.’ Yes, it is a delight to follow Jesus. For His yoke easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30). A man who decides to follow Christ should not rely on his own strength. ‘Oh, that my ways were directed to keep Your statutes.’ Such a man, who looks up to Jesus will not be put to shame. Will you decide to follow Jesus and commit all your ways to Him today? Bible reading: 1 Kings 15, Ezek 3132. Sept 17: ‘He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me.’ John 12:44. How do you challenge those who question the deity of Jesus Christ or deny the truth of trinity? By the Word, of course. The Bible has all the answers every skeptic, atheist and agnostic would ever need. Today’s verse is a direct challenge to those who deny the deity of Jesus. There are some cult groups who
THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER
claim Jesus is only an angel sent by Jehovah God. Nothing could be farther from the truth that is contained in the Bible. Examine the verse. Those who believe in the lordship of Jesus Christ believe in God the Father, who sent Him to the world. It’s that simple. In Matthew 10:40, Jesus’ words are recorded thus: ‘He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.’ Those who believe in Lord Jesus Christ and hears His word is assured of eternal life. We are called to be not just hearers but doers of the Word (James 1:22). Bible reading: 1 Kings 16, Ezek 33-34. Sept 18: ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.’ John 14:23. This is another place where Jesus gave us sufficient support in the Bible to challenge the cultists who deny the deity of Christ. The question that we need to throw to the cult groups is how they claim to have known the Father without knowing who the Son really is. In John 14:15 he said: ‘If you love Me, keep My commandments.’ Some versions say ‘If you love Me, you will keep my commandments.’ It is both as much an instruction to us as it is His expectation of us. There’s no other way to know the Father. In 1 John 2:5, we read: ‘…He whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.’ Can we, like the psalmist say, ‘You are my portion, O Lord. I have said that I would keep Your words.’ Psalm 119:57. Bible reading: 1 Kings 17, Ezek 35-36. Sept 19: ‘Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God...’ 1 John 4:1. What do you when cultists confront you with their claim that they are the true church? The Bible asks us to test the spirits to see whether they are of God. Children of God need to know what to believe and what not to believe. The Bible tells us that we ought to test the spirits to know whether they are of God. In Acts 8, we read of Simon the Sorcerer. He astonished people around him with his sorceries for a long time. It is possible for Satan to perform miracles too. The magicians in Egypt also performed miracles to counter those God performed through Moses. But eventually, God won. How do we test the spirits? Simple. ‘Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God.’ (verse 3). Darkness has no fellowship with light. Satan cannot profess Jesus to be the Lord. Bible reading: 1 Kings 18, Ezek 3738. Sept 20: ‘…You do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe.’ Matthew 5:38. At one time, the Jews were mad at Jesus because He healed a man with a certain infirmity for 38 years. When they tried to find fault with Him for he had done it on a Sabbath day, Jesus equated Himself with the Heavenly Father. This infuriated the Jews no end. Matthew 5:17 to 47 offer an excellent commentary on how Jesus views sectarian groups that deny His deity. It’s as if He is addressing the cultists directly in verses 38 to 43. Though He was essentially talking to the Jews who refused to accept Him as the Messiah, he could have been speaking to some separatists today. The Word does not abide in them, who deny that Jesus is Lord. The cultists search the Scriptures but only to twist the verses out of context to suit their claims. The death knell to such groups is sounded when Jesus says in verse 42: ‘But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you.’ What fellowship can such people claim to have? Isn’t all of their devotion, sermons and charity null and void if the love of God is absent in them? Bible reading: 1 Kings 19, Ezek 3940. Sept 21: I will speak of Your testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed. Psalm 119:46. In Matthew 10:18, Jesus warned His disciples that they will be brought before those who are in power for His sake as a testimony to them and to the gentiles. What would happen when that actually takes place in our lives today? Would we disown the gospel and shame our Lord Jesus Christ? Or bravely testify to His saving power! The psalmist is determined that he will not be put to shame before kings because of God’s testimonies. When Paul was produced before King Agrippa, the apostle did not turn weak in his knees. Paul used the opportunity to testify to the king the circumstances in which he found the love of Jesus. His testimony was so powerful that Agrippa conceded ‘You almost persuade me to become a Christian’ (verse 28). Who is persuaded to become a follower of Jesus today by our actions, words and behavior? If not even our own household sees the change in us because Jesus is within us, it’s time to examine ourselves and reprioritize things in our lives. ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God’ (Matthew 6:33). Bible reading: 1 Kings 20-21, Ezek 41-43. Sept 22: I thought about my ways, and turned my feet to Your testimonies. Psalm 119:59. One of the first things that happen to a believer who repents of his sins and accepts Jesus as his savior is an intense desire for a change. Proverbs 1:7 says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. When we come to accept Jesus’ Lordship, knowledge begins. This knowledge instructs us and teaches us the way in which we should walk. The new believer decides not to walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand in the path of sinners nor sits on the seat of the scornful. He, however, delights in the law of the Lord and meditates it day and night (Psalm 1:1,2). And the way of the righteous, Psalm 1:6 says, the Lord knows. How blessed to be in the knowledge of the Lord. Bible reading: 1 Kings 22, Ezek 44-45. Sept 23: ‘For many are called, but few are chosen.’ Matthew 22:14. Hell is described as a place of outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth in Matthew 22:13. It must be a place fit for those rejected by the King. But why does the King reject those He called for the wedding? He was the
meaning, look at the first part of the verse. Jesus reveals a basic characteristic of God, the Father – He is Spirit. And in John 14:6, Jesus talked about Himself when He said: ‘I am the way, the truth and the life.’ Believers are supposed to worship God, the Spirit and God the Truth as well. Bible reading: 2 Kings 1215. Sept 28: ‘If you love Me, keep My commandments.’ John 14:15. True love makes us do something for our beloved. Love looks for ways to demonstrate itself to its object of veneration. We tend to seek a stamp of approval from our loved ones over our plans and actions. How can we show God that He is our object of love? Jesus gives a very simple answer in this verse. Love calls for action. If you want to keep that love, you need to keep His commandments. Proverbs 8:36 says ‘All those who hate me love death.’ The corollary of that verse would be ‘All those who love Him love life.’ This life is eternal. That’s promised to only those who demonstrate their love to Him by keeping His commandments. That’s the only way we can prove ourselves to Him. Bible reading: 2 Kings 16-18. Sept 29: You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. Deuteronomy 6:7. One of the greatest things we can teach our children is to learn things from God Himself. He is the greatest teacher ever. Let the Holy Spirit be their guide (Psalm 32:8). Let them learn to listen to the still, small voice of God (1 Kings 19:12). Let His Word be a lamp to their feet and a light to their path (Psalm 119:105). Children will never learn these things on their own. That’s why God put parents on earth. The Bible has a command to parents: ‘Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.’ Proverbs 22:6. God also wants parents to walk in His way so the children have a model to work on themselves. Joshua asked his men to pick up 12 stones from the Jordan to be set up as memorial in Gilgal. Those stones were to tell their children of the amazing act of God that made them cross the river (Joshua 4:21-24). Bible reading: 2 Kings 19-21. Sept 30: Hatred stirs up strife; but love covers all sins. Proverbs 10:12 Is there hurt in your relationships with others? Are you unable to forgive others for what they did to you? Look within yourself and you’ll discover that the fountain of love in you has dried up. Lack of love leads to fears and insecurities that make you imagine the worst in your relationship with others. Love is the greatest, says Paul. Love is greater than faith and hope. When you find love lacking in you, where will you go for a fresh, new refill? Go to Jesus, He will give you living water. And when your heart is filled with His love, you cannot but forgive the trespasses of those around you. Bible reading: 2 Kings 22-25.
One who called them in the first place. Now, why does He reject them and choose only a few? Indeed, the King had invited the good and the bad. But in order for them to enjoy the proceedings, they must have the wedding garment – the sanctification of the Holy Spirit. Those who lack it will not make it. Hebrews 12:14 describes holiness as an essential character without which no one will see the Lord. To be among the chosen, we need to be holy for the Lord our God is holy. (1 Peter 1:15) Bible reading: 2 Kings 1-2, Ezek 46-48. Sept 24: ‘There’s a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.’ Proverbs 14:12. Human heart, by nature, is deceitful. It likes to believe in falsities, is conceited and generally does not love rebuke. Despite this, all human beings, left to themselves, like to consider themselves as fair. But God, who weighs our hearts, knows the truth. So, if we can’t trust our own judgment how do we ensure we are on the right path? The Bible says the righteous man delights in His law. He meditates it day and night (Psalm 1). The Word of God is the only yardstick which can measure our righteousness and hold a mirror to us. Bible reading: 2 Kings 3-4. Sept 25: ‘Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.’ Matthew 24:35. These are days when people seem to be finally realizing the futility of clinging on to worldly treasures, possessions and comforts. When global banks go bust, industries flounder, stock markets tank and pink-slipping seems to be the order of the day, the full import of what Jesus told his disciples in a private conversation is coming alive. Jesus was telling them about the end of this age as we know it. He summed it up by saying that in this world of impermanence, the only one thing that will remain is His words. The Savior is coming again. Are we ready? Bible reading: 2 Kings 5-7. Sept 26: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:2223. The Spirit bears fruit in one’s life only when he or she completely offers himself or herself to do the will of God. When we stop resisting the Holy Spirit and yield ourselves to Him, He takes control of our lives.The love that it produces is agape or the selfless love. The fruit of the Spirit leads one to get closer to God. Our God has allowed us to live for one more year in the hope that we will bear fruit. Do we bear the right fruit in our lives? Bible reading: 2 Kings 8-11. Sept 27: ‘God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.’ John 4:24. What did Jesus mean when He said these words to an ordinary Samaritan woman? He was not only teaching that woman and future generation of believers about how to worship God but revealing about Himself too. What did Jesus mean when he said those who worship Him (God) must worship in spirit and truth? To understand the
Did you enjoy reading the devotionals? Send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org
THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER
Website: www.christianmessenger.in Page 8 | Sept., 2009 | Published on 2nd / 3rd of every month
Registrar of Newspapers in India No. TNBIL/2004/15307 Postal Registration No. TN/CCN/271/07-09 Licensed to Post Without Pre-payment WPP No. TN/PMG (CCR)/WPP-77/08-10
‘Biblical counselling calls for practical solutions’
BY ANITHA BENNETT
SHERINE Kingsly is a dynamic and a godly woman, a Director of the Chennai-based Biblical Counselling Ministries. Founded by David Meengs in 1997, Biblical Counselling reaches out to people from all walks of life. Attending one of their programmes in Counselling Training 11 years ago, Sherine was drawn to this unique ministry and became a part of it. THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER spoke to Sherine to find about Who comes in for how she has been managing the counselling and how is it done? ministry for the past 11 years and what biblical counselling is all We have had people from about. Christian and non-Christian backgrounds walking into our What exactly is Biblical office and seeking help. For nonCounselling Ministries about? Christians, we present our The main focus of Biblical counselling in the same way as Counselling Ministries is to offer we do for the rest and hope that counselling based on the Bible. they will see the need for Christ It could be for any problem – we in their lives. counsel people based on the If they do, we also guide them Word of God. We have a into salvation. We mainly have counselling manual called Selfpeople coming in for marriage Confrontation that is completely counselling and family problems, based on Bible principles. teenagers with troubles, old people who cannot cope alone, How does biblical and so on. counselling vary from what is We generally try to have at offered by psychiatrists and least two to three face-to-face doctors? sessions depending on the While doctors prescribe problem. We follow up with them medicines and psychiatrists offer and give them biblical solutions theories, we offer guidance from the Bible about how to change your own life. In many cases, we have seen that when a person changes himself, applying God’s Word to his lifestyle, problems seem to vanish automatically, because God blesses their obedience. Our counselling is based on Matthew 7:1-5. We gently guide the person to follow Christ’s way of handling situations. Biblical counselling deals with practical solutions. every month called the Biblical Counsellor in which we address different problems from a Biblical perspective. The magazine comes out in English, Tamil, Telugu, and Hindi. There are also several books authored by David Meengs that are available in Christian bookstores. Bible colleges use these books in their courses. We have an orphanage with around 25 kids from broken families. We also Sherine Kingsly, have a tailoring school for Director, Biblical widows and destitute women to Counselling Ministries help them get back on their feet. We counsel them and gently time and again. We have seen this guide them to a life of hope. work positively in so many cases! What are the outreach What are the benefits of such programmes that you have planned for the future? counselling? The benefits are numerous. For Biblical Counselling one, counselling offers hope that things will change. It gives a Ministries is already conducting chance for people to talk freely seminars and sessions all over and express themselves and see India and offering courses in their problems with a clear counselling for pastors, evangelists, and anyone who is perspective. Biblical counselling also gives interested in the counselling them a chance to change their ministry. Soon, we would like to reach lives and start afresh. With such counselling, we can prevent out further and touch colleges, unnecessary suicidal deaths and schools, and other Christian groups also. depression. We want people to be aware What else does Biblical that such a ministry exists and Counselling Ministries offer? that it can offer hope for all their We send out a free magazine problems in Christ. You are handling so many different kinds of work. Which do you enjoy the most? I enjoy admin/HR work. Working with people is interesting because each person is different. Handling employees itself is a form of discipleship. I also enjoy counselling because we suggest practical ways in which the Bible applies to a person’s problem or situation. Often, people return to tell us how they benefited from the counselling. Seeing how God has changed their lives gives me immense satisfaction. How do you balance home and work? I think with good planning, a woman can manage both well. I have no guilt about being a working woman despite having two bubbly girls who need a lot of attention. I feel satisfied that I am doing justice to my family and my work. How can people who are interested in biblical counselling reach you? Our address is Biblical Counselling Bookshop, Plot No.1, Muthumari Amman Koil Street, Madhavaram, Chennai – 600 060. Our phone numbers are: 044 – 25581496, 25583446. We can also be reached by e-mail: email@example.com (ArtCorner)
Can you go to all these places with the Word?
* Udaipur, Rajasthan * Imphal, Manipur * Mapusa, Goa * Tehari, Uttaranchal * Jharsuguda, Orissa * Satna, Madhya Pradesh * Darjeeling, West Bengal * Chilakalapudi, Andhra Pradesh * Pune, Maharashtra * Dimapur, Nagaland * Darrang, BAC, Assam * Eraviperoor, Kerala * Raipur, Chattisgarh * Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh * Bagepalli, Karnataka * Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu
THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER
reaches these cities & towns month after month...
carrying the Word of God & the message of love, hope and salvation
To subscribe or book your advertisements, call: 0-98840-63345 or 044-65145334 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Log on to our Web edition: www.christian messenger.in
THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER
Truly evangelical, truly national
Owned and published by Elsy Robin from 329/4, Poonga Apartments, HIG Flats, II Avenue, Anna Nagar, Chennai 600 040. Printed by L Cyril Sagayaraj at VS Printograph Pvt Ltd., 1, Narasinghapuram Extn.., 1st Lane, Maduvankarai, Guindy, Chennai 600 032. Editor: Elsy Robin