Monday, November 19, 2018

GENDER EQUALITY: THE BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE

Gender Equality: The Biblical Perspective



Gender: Issues or Burdens?

Gender issues and burdens govern human thoughts and actions all over the world. Gender considerations are prime in the policies and practices of Governments, businesses, politics, religious and voluntary organizations and in all places where man and woman meet, mingle and socialize, and in all human activities. In some spheres, they enjoy equal rights and status, and in some others, they have separate territories to dwell on. In many countries, a woman has special privileges whereas in some they are treated at par with men. However, it is ironical that those who crusade for gender equality enjoy special privileges and treatments in certain spheres to have an advantage over others. The conflicts in this sphere are largely because we do not look at it from the divine perspective but from the finite human angle.

Even though the Bible is crystal clear on gender issues, Christianity had its share of controversies on issues related to gender over the years. These issues are seriously discussed, debated and disputed on many a forum, but sadly these have not converged much. All those who are involved in these deliberations remain dissatisfied about the policies on gender in the Church and in the society.

One may look at the issue of gender equality from God’s perspective rather than from human, to understand, accept and follow on so that there can be a satisfactory disposition on it. At the same time, we must also look at these issues from a human point of view to make it relevant, pragmatic and situational to apply these in our daily lives and in our immediate context.

It is pertinent here to note that Christianity has played a major role in bringing about gender equality in the various cultures of the world. The Church and the modern missionary movement have fought to bring about the dignity, status, employment, education, health and development of the so-called weaker gender. Thus Christianity, the Bible and the power of Gospel have been major catalysts in liberating the weaker gender and help them come to the forefront of modern life even in religiously conservative cultures and countries.

Despite the general impression of the woman being the weaker vessel, she has been, more than once, emperor, Prime Minister and political leader of several countries of the world including the empire where the sun never set at least for some time. In many other cultures, she has been the queen like in many African tribal groups. Women have been powerful in many kingdoms in Asia and they were great fighters like the Queen of Jhansi. In some cultures, in India, women held the wealth and property of the families and thus controlled families and communities.

Gender: The Epitome of the secret of creation

The idea of gender and its differences has its origin with God. There are divine wisdom and purpose in humans being of two genders which have a lot of differences and an equal number of similarities that make them complementary rather than contradictory. But we can’t discount the subtle and cunning ploy of the enemy to create a false impression that there is a third gender called ‘transgender’ which is influencing nations, humanity and even the judicial system. Transgender is the impact of abuses of various nature the enemy instilled in humans during childhood and puberty years to create an ungodly way of life.  American Psychiatric Association and American Psychological Association have conducted a series of studies to ascertain this. Moreover, it has been proved that a clear majority of transgenders have moderate to serious mental aberration like depression, obsession, mania and other mental disorders reflected in their behavior and attitude (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA; American Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation, 14: 13–39, 2011). Others are forced into repeated mind manipulations through the media and social media. The Bible emphasizes these as deviant behavior (Romans 1:26-27). But the enemy of our souls repeats the lie that transgender is for real several times through the media and fake studies like Kinsey Report to make even innocent people think that there is some ‘truth’ in these lies. Lately, the enemy has successfully invaded into the legislative and legal processes in many countries including India.

When God created humans, He made them male and female, in His own image and they both had His breath in them (Genesis 1:26-31). Their duties, responsibilities, rights, and privileges were the same. They were one person made into two and then were blended together (Genesis 5:1-2). They were given the same spiritual and earthly blessings equally. They both were granted unique roles in building up future generations.

When sin entered human life, man and woman lost many of the privileges given to them by God. Their mutual relationship was also ruptured. Thus, they developed the desire to control and rule over each other (Genesis 3:16). Thus, there have been conflicts, competition and consequent problems in human life which resulted in suppression, oppression, and complexes of the various type which affected their relationship the world over. Their roles get reversed in some cases and each fighting for its own rights, recognition, privileges, importance, prominence, and relative satisfaction.

It is then that God provided a new equation between man and woman where the old self is crucified and made to die and a new person to emerge in its place. This is what the Bible calls ‘Rebirth’. In the new life, the two persons, both man and woman, crucify their craving for control, rule, competition, winning over each other and to oppress, suppress and become slaves to various complexes. They subsequently lose these desires as they allow the Spirit of God to control their hearts, thoughts, desires, likes, and dislikes. The Bible speaks about this as ‘newness in Christ’ without any feeling or sense of superiority or inferiority (Galatians 2:20; 2 Corinthians 5:17). When man and woman become a new creation, their relationship becomes one of mutual responsibility and complementarity (Galatians 3:26-29). Each tries to understand his or her roles in this relationship and tries to fulfill the role to the best of one’s ability, effort, commitment and submission (Ephesians 5:21) and live in humility. The Bible reassures its readers in general and believers that man and woman cannot be independent of each other as they are in the new creation through rebirth (1 Corinthians 11:11). They are interdependent. This is the gender equality the Bible teaches and helps its followers to practice in families, church and in the society at large. 

Equality through centuries

History reveals that equality and equity are fought and sought after through the centuries by humans. At the same time, biblical influence worked to help woman gain security, safety, equality and dignity in the various cultures of the world. Bible has influenced to change a lot of superstition and taboos of the various cultures in the realm of gender especially in Africa and South Asia. The Bible thus practically demonstrated its power in influencing the world. But we must bear in mind the fact that despite all that the Bible has done for the woman, its impact can be felt only through the right attitude of both man and woman.

Equality in the New Testament

In the New Testament, we read that Jesus dealt with women as much as He dealt with men. Jesus revealed that He was Messiah, first to a Samaritan woman. The resurrected Lord Jesus appeared first to a woman, thus giving so much privilege to womenfolk. We also read that women were actively involved in the church in various ministries (Romans 16)

The New Testament gives specific instructions about the involvement of women in the church. Even though there is no gender difference in salvation (Galatians 3:28), as far as ministries in the church are concerned, women are instructed to remain silent or inaudible, in the sense of instructing men (1 Tim. 2:11-15; 1 Corinthians 14:34). Scriptures also give reasons for such an instruction. It is because the woman was used of the devil to mar the first creation by succumbing to temptation while in the garden of Eden, that God wanted women to be restrained from marring the second creation, the church through taking a leadership role. The Bible reminds its readers that men were given the leadership role in the church whereas women’s role is mostly among sisters (Titus 2:4-5) and in the homes to bring up children. Here we can clearly see the different roles attributed to the woman in the church and at home where man is the head and woman is in a support role. But both these roles are equally important and that they are complementary to each other. They are like the two sides of a coin and together their roles make human life in society and family possible. In the absence of such a converging of roles and responsibilities, there will be anarchy in the world, church and in homes. 

Genders coexist for a divine purpose

It is to be reiterated that there is perfect equality between man and woman in God’s economy of things. They are given equal importance and status in the way God deals with them. But surely there are differences in their roles and responsibilities just as we find a difference in the parts played by different organs in the human body. When each part recognizes this truth, there is no conflict in the functioning of the human body. So, when the Bible commands the woman to submit to the man in a husband-wife relationship (Ephesians 5:22), we are all also admonished to submit to each other in the fear of Christ (verse 21; 1 Peter 5:5). Thus, there is no cause for clamour and battle to gain equality which is already recognized by the Bible in the church, in homes, and in the society. Added to this, submission of the wife to the husband is envisaged as a loving and passionate attitude in response to the unconditional agape’ of the husband towards the wife rather than a compulsive and authoritarian demand placed on the wife. If the Eternal Son of God submits to the Eternal Father voluntarily, the secret of submission needs to be understood in the like manner (1 Corinthians 11:3).  The head covering given to the woman is a practical demonstration of this truth.


We must remind ourselves of the fact that the difference and distinction of gender are functional and not positional, as nature itself teaches humans. Along with this, man and woman are given specific roles and responsibilities with corresponding accountabilities in the creation and in the church, which are complementary, conciliatory and congenial. Both man and woman need each other for God to fulfill His purpose in creation and in the new creation. May the readers receive the grace to meet the attitudinal challenges in these spheres and try to recognize our place and importance in fulfilling the purpose for which we are placed here on earth!!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

COUNSELOR'S CORNER: AFFAIRS

Counselor’s Corner: AFFAIRS 

Dear uncle:

I am going through a difficult situation which I am unable to share with my parents and best friends in the assembly. Please give me a solution through the pages of your magazine. I am a 16-year-old female, Plus Two student, in a mixed school. I am born again and I recently got baptized also. My dad and mom are actively involved in the assembly and my elder brother is active in our youth group.

Uncle, in our class, all my classmates except me have “affairs”, with some from among our classmates or from the other batches and from the junior classes in the school and a few from their neighborhood. They all share these openly with friends. My classmates are ridiculing me for not having an affair and they push me to develop such relationships with boys in our school. They say that it is only natural to have such relationships and that there is nothing wrong in it. They always try to connect me with some boy and persuade and motivate me to develop affairs. I know that I am a child of God and should resist such entanglements in this world. But it is very difficult in our school environment. I do not know what to do and how to handle this situation and am losing my concentration in studies and in spiritual matters. I am afraid I might fall any time soon because of constant pressure from my friends and promptings from the boys around. I am not confident to share this with my mother because I am afraid I might be misunderstood. Please help me through this medium.

Ansu

Dear Ansu:

I am glad you decided to share this burden with me which shows your sincerity in this matter. Thanks for being very frank and open. As you know, our environment in schools and colleges is highly contaminated with sin and worldliness. The enemy of our soul is trying to lure us into a sin of some sort so as to destroy our spiritual life. Many of our dear youth have fallen into such temptations and traps and have destroyed their lives. I am glad you are resisting these temptations. Such temptations always come from the devil to destroy God’s children. But it is not a serious matter for the unsaved people even though these affairs have caused total destruction for many of them also. The enemy will try to tempt you through your eyes when you see some attractive person. Temptations will come through the ears when people prompt you through enticing and motivating words. Some temptations come through ‘casual’ touch also. Your best defense in such circumstances is to submit your eyes, ears and body as a living sacrifice to the Lord Jesus and continue to live a crucified life (Romans 12:1). Resist every temptation of the devil by praying and submitting your untoward thoughts to the Lord Jesus to handle. Keep away from such enticing friends who try to persuade you. Be friendly with them for the sake of the Gospel, but be firm in your convictions. Tell them that God is preparing one of His choicest children for you who will be revealed at the right time, probably after 5-8 years from now and till that time you want to keep your heart, mind, thoughts and emotions pure for God and for that person. If possible, share the story of Isaac and Rebekah with your friends and tell them how God will reveal His perfect will for you at His best time (Genesis 24). Tell them that you are not bothered about this subject now because you are too young to think about such serious matters as relationships. Tell them also that you will pray for them to understand the provision of God in their lives as well.

 In the Bible, we have the illustration of great ruin in the life of Samson who had many affairs. Many of the heartaches of Jacob were because of his affair with Rachel. The prodigal son ruined his life through such a riotous living. In all these cases, God could use them only after they repented of their fleshly desires and resubmitted their lives to God. They all escaped total destruction through true confession and repentance before it was too late. The book of Proverbs gives us a long list of admonitions about how to keep away from such relationships and submit our lives to God to rebuild and remold us according to His perfect will (Proverbs 3:5 & 6; Chapters 5 & 7). James said that we should submit to God, resist the devil, draw near unto God, cleanse our hands of all wrongdoings, sanctify our hearts, repent, cry and submit ourselves to the Lord (James 4:7-10).  Check and see how many of the acts of the flesh fall within the definition of ‘affairs’ given in Galatians 5:16-21.  The Bible says that you should desire and seek to have the fruit of the Spirit in your life that includes ‘’self-control’ which is the key to resisting temptations (Gal. 5:23). Temptation comes first in the form of selfish, unholy and sinful desires. But we are commanded and warned against such desires and not to covet anything that is not ours (Exodus 20: 17). When given a chance to dwell in our hearts, these desires will grow slowly and become deep cravings and will fill our hearts with an insatiable and unquenchable thirst for it. When these unholy desires become solid in our hearts, it becomes very difficult to forsake it (James 1:13-16). Please know that you are not to desire anything that is not yours, which is the sin of covetousness. But God gives us holy desires according to the Word of God and through the Spirit of God. He gives us His best at His time (James 1:17). All other desires are from the devil to distract you from the path of the cross.  We are commanded to think on things which are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8), and a desire from the devil will not be one of those. Your walk among unbelieving classmates should be one of good character and behavior (1 Peter 2:11-12).

Dear Ansu, please know that God has a clear plan for your life which will be revealed at the right time. God has already earmarked a person for you as your life partner, out of the 3.75 billion males of this world. That person will best fit your needs when you reach the marital age. Till God reveals it, please resist the devil’s plans to destroy your spiritual life. Many have gone the wrong way and destroyed their lives and live with heartaches and frustrations. Life is like a glass which falls down and breaks and no one can put it together. Your life is a beautiful, but fragile glass jar in which God wants to pour His love to fill it for His glory. Please don’t allow some devilish and evil desire to break it. Keep your heart and mind clean for God to write His plan in it according to His perfect will. Resist the devil through warfare of prayer and meditation of the Word (2 Corinthians 10:4). Remember, the devil has many tactics and he sometimes also uses pseudo-spiritual people to lure you into unholy relationships so that he can destroy you. You are precious to your parents and their hearts will break if your life gets destroyed. So please pray much and dedicate yourself to Jesus on a regular basis. Flee temptations through prayer, meditation of the Word and continuous consecration. God will help you to escape these perils in life. If there is any known desire for someone, please confess it as sin and repent of it and get washed and be clean by the Word of God and be filled with the Spirit. Every time you are tempted, confess and forsake it.

Ansu, Please tell your tempters that your life is already pledged to Jesus Christ and that it is no longer negotiable. Tell them also that you want to keep your life clean. Tell them that it is not right to steal someone’s son and keep hiding him in your heart which is a sin against God and that person and his parents. Tell them that you are not an orphan to look for an affair and that you have a merciful and benevolent Heavenly Father who will care for you all the days of your life and fill you with His goodness. Also, please keep away from the visual media which keep throwing temptations into your heart and try to make you fall into temptations.

I hope you will find continued victory in your life and live a victorious life all the days of your life.

Oommen Philip
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Questions and concerns may be sent by email to oommenphilip@yahoo.com or by cell or WhatsApp: 989-557-8487



Wednesday, February 21, 2018

CHALLENGES IN CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP

A New Book in English * Just Released

“CHALLENGES IN CHRISTIAN 

DISCIPLESHIP”

Author:  Bro. Oommen Philip, Trivandrum, India

Publisher: Brethren Bible Institute
Pathanamthitta, Kerala, India

Foreword by Bro. K.A. Philip, Mylapra, Kerala, India

This Book comes out of years of meditations, study, preaching and teaching on this vital subject by the author

Strongly recommended for trainers, preachers, teachers, workers, and Christians of all ages

Matt finish, 286 pages, with multicolor thematic cover design

Copies can be had from
The author (+91-989-557-8487)
or
Publisher (BBI: +91-468-222-4045)

Price
 India Rs.150.00
Overseas (U.S. $10.00)
Postage extra

Thursday, December 7, 2017

VICTORY OVER ANGER!!

Victory over Anger

There is no human being who has never become angry sometimes in life. Even infants express temper tantrum of some sort. We are all challenged and confronted by anger in us or others, leaving many scars behind. Is it possible to subdue anger in a believer’s life? The Bible assures us that we can find deliverance from this emotional aberration. 
  
Let us understand ‘Anger’

Anger is a strong expression of annoyance, displeasure or hostility at a person, situation or a thing. It is one’s reaction as a way of resistance, survival or protection against seeming wrong-doing to oneself or others by someone. A Milder form of anger may be the result of feeling tired, stressed or irritated.

One is more likely to feel irritated if one’s basic human needs like food, shelter, sleep, and convenience is not met or are jeopardized in some measure. It may then result in anger of different intensity at different times.

One may become angry when reacting to frustration, criticism or threat of some sort. A person may sometimes feel upset with other people’s beliefs, opinions and actions and become angry and say or do unreasonable or irrational things. We sometimes get angry when our expectations from others are unmet.

Many people get angry at others over disagreements. When someone doesn’t comply with what we demand, we burst into negative and uncontrollable emotional reaction and lose our temper. We cannot discount the truth that others’ actions (omissions or commissions), words facial expressions and even silence can make us angry.

It is also true that we often feel sorry for ourselves because we became angry, but instead of admitting it, we try to justify it.

Thus anger is a real, though often unwanted or irrational emotion that humans experience from time to time. Some are more prone to anger habitually for various reasons. But for a believer, such expressions indicate the absence of self-control and Spirit-control.

Behavior and Anger 

There are different behavioral manifestations in different situations as a result of anger in a person. His behavior is quite unlike his usual self. When angry, he loses his self-control and often bursts out. His blood pressure goes up. His eyesight is dimmed. His hearing diminishes and will not be able to hear clearly what he or others have spoken. In the absence of a recording, he will flatly deny that he has said or done anything of the sort others attribute to him while he was angry. His throat becomes dry. His body and tongue move fast and the brain is on a fast track. His heart beats faster and face becomes reddish accompanied with negative facial expressions. He spurts out thoughtless, illogical and inconsistent words. He slams the door or throws off things which are in his hands. The pitch of his voice becomes very high. This continues for a few moments or for a considerable time. He develops serious disregard and hatred for the object of his anger. Sometimes, even after a considerable lapse of time, his anger reappears at the thought or sight of the object of his anger. He loses his composure and in extreme cases, exhibits animal-like behavior which might lead to crimes of various degrees. While he is under the control of anger, he often abuses, shouts, mocks, threatens, curses and challenges the object of his anger. Sometimes anger erupts at the spur of the moment, and at other times, it emerges over a period of a few seconds or minutes.

Anger and Health

Anger has high physical cost as it impacts the health of the person who gets easily angered. When angry, some of his glands stop producing or overproduce hormones. Anger exerts extra pressure on a person’s circulatory, haematological, digestive, nervous and muscular systems seriously and causes damage in the long run as proved by Medical science.

Anger also has serious social cost. Angry behavior embarrasses and hurts his associates. Most people would not want to hang around with him. His family life gets affected as it would cause frustration, hurt, fear and anxiety among the spouse and children. The same may happen to his colleagues at the workplace and the believers in the church. 

Spiritual Consequences

Along with its other negative impacts, anger has serious spiritual consequences. When a believer gets angry, his behavior will be controlled by the object of his anger to do or say what it dictates. His ‘self’ will take control over his emotions and in the process, the Holy Spirit is denied control of him. His behavior, attitude and speech become a reflection of his flesh and self.

The Bible warns that anger is a work of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 4:25-31)). We are commanded to get rid of anger as it leads to evil (Psalms 37:8). Through anger, we grieve the Holy Spirit and our fellowship with God get ruptured. Anger as a sin will be a hindrance to our prayers being answered (Psalms 66:18). Anger is the result of lack of divine wisdom in a person (Proverbs 29:11). It leads to strife, conflict and quarrel (Proverbs 29:22; 30:33). We are instructed to keep away from the company of angry-prone persons (Proverbs 22:24). We are also warned that those who get angry at their brothers will face divine judgment (Matthew 5:22). That’s why James warns us to be slow to get angry (James 1:20).

Righteous Anger

Many angry-prone believers justify their anger by saying that their anger is ‘righteous’. By this, they mean that they are right because their anger is for God and thus spiritual. But righteous anger is an attribute of God who is the only perfectly righteous One. Humans can never justify their anger because there is always an element of unrighteousness in all of us. The Bible tells us how the angry-prone persons picked up judgment from God for their anger and subsequent actions. Moses got angry and broke the stone tablets (Exodus 32:19) and at another time smote the rock twice when he was asked to speak to the rock (Numbers 20:9-12). God told the angry Prophet Jonah that he had no right to get angry (Jonah 4:1, 4, 9). Anger when expresses will culminate in some sin in thoughts and behavior and that is why Paul warns us against anger (Ephesians 4:26). Paul says that true love is devoid of anger (1 Corinthians 13:5). We may express displeasure or reprove, but it has to be handled without anger and related words and actions. We are commanded to get rid of all rage, anger and associated sins of bitterness and brawling (Ephesians 4:31) because these grieve the Holy Spirit (verse 30). We must remind ourselves that the anger of man doesn’t achieve the righteousness of God (James 1:20). We are expected to forgive those who offend us (Matthew 6:12) rather than respond angrily.

Nevertheless, believers may become angry over sins and offenses against God, but it should not be expressed in a sinful way. Let us not allow the enemy to defeat us in this and to make us justify our unrighteous emotions.

Victory over Anger

The Bible tells us how to get victory over anger. But this is a formidable challenge and not easy. Due to a regular bout of anger, it becomes almost habitual in us, followed by sinful behavior. Primarily anger has to be recognized as a weakness because when we are angry, we lose our temper and become slaves to the object of our anger. But it is important that the angry-prone person regains his real self back from the bondage and tyranny of anger, related behavior and the object of his anger. This victory is possible only if he is filled (controlled) with the Holy Spirit so that the fruit of the Spirit will be visible in his responses to the objects which formerly caused him anger (Ephesians 6:18-21; Galatians 5:22-24; Colossians 3:12-17). One has to confess and repent of anger as sin and the way it has grieved the Holy Spirit and hurt the people who are the objects of his anger (like spouse, children, parents, siblings, friends, brethren, colleagues and neighbours). Secondly, when one enjoys forgiveness for the sin of anger, he has to pray for the Spirit to fill him and take full control of his emotions (Luke 11:13). Every time anger subdues and defeats a believer, this process will have to be repeated until he gets increasing victory over this grievous sin on a daily basis.

Spirit Control

The Bible says that a person has to learn not to speak when he is tempted to get angry (Proverbs 14:17). We must learn to be silent when feeling angry, and ask the Holy Spirit to take full control of our emotions. Through prayer and supplication, one has to continuously ask the Spirit to take full control of him so that he will not fall into the sin of anger. This is the way to avoid falling into anger-related sins of excessive, hurting, sinful and unruly talk. Instead, we have to train our hearts to be filled always with praise. We need to tame our spirits to be under the control of the Holy Spirit when reasons for anger come knocking at the doors of our hearts. Then we will be strengthened to be silent or respond spiritually. This is the way to get victory over anger and there is no other shortcut. We are to quieten and clam our souls like a weaned child with its mother (Psalms 131:2).

Grace for Victory


Every time we get victory over anger, we must praise God for it and seek greater grace from Him for increasing victory. Whenever there is a failure, we must quickly confess it as sin and seek forgiveness from God. It may be followed with the confession of the lack of fullness of the Spirit and spiritual fruits in life. We must then pray for the Spirit to fill and empower us, and experience it by faith. That’s how we get victory over anger-related sinful behavior, attitude, speech and actions. We are declared more than conquerors in all our emotional challenges including anger (Romans 8:37), but we experience it only through Spirit-filled life. We are expected to be overcomers and conquerors of our natural character, behavior, actions and attitudes. We are commanded to do all things in the name of our Lord Jesus and for His glory (Colossians 3:17), and anger cannot be one of those things. We should not allow the enemy to defeat us by trapping us to fall into anger (2 Corinthians 2:11). More grace is guaranteed to those who humbly seek victory over evil and destructive emotions like anger (John 1:16; James 4:6).

Let us endeavour to experience grace to overcome anger day by day. Let us confess and repent of our anger as sin and receive forgiveness. Let us seek to live a spirit-filled life so as not to grieve the Holy Spirit through our emotional sins. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

CASE STUDY: JOSHNA AND HER CHALLENGES


Joshna and Her Challenges

Hi! I’m Jeena, a student of a professional college. Joshna is my church mate and a close friend. She is my junior in the college where I study. Our college is about 20 km from our town and we commute to the college each day.

Let me tell you something about Joshna. She is a born again and baptized girl and is very soft hearted and loving and at the same time very reserved. She confides in me about all her prayer needs and problems and we often pray together as we are prayer partners. We are also active in the Youth Fellowship in our church. Joshna is a pleasing and friendly girl and is known for her very high spiritual standards in her life. So she is endeared by all in our Fellowship, church and all our classmates. She is a good singer of gospel music and is well-versed in the Bible and in doctrinal matters. She has also kept high standards in personal holiness and relationship. But one personality trait of Joshna is that she is unable to say, ‘no’ when people approach her. She easily falls a prey to promptings by others. Joshna is a happy daughter of her family and is close to her mom and dad. She often says that her mom is her best friend. I am much impressed with Joshna and often wish that I were like her in my behavior and attitude. Joshna gets close to people slowly and carefully and is careful in dealings. I have never seen her getting into an argument with anyone. With all of these nice characteristics, Joshna is my role model, even though she is younger to me.

Because of her innocent and subdued nature, Joshna has fallen into trouble in her relationships in personal life a few times. Last year when a boy in her senior class tried to lure her into a relationship, she hesitated for a while, but then slowly moved in that direction. When I found out about it, I warned her to be careful and to keep her heart and mind from falling into such traps of the enemy. Eventually, with great effort and a lot of persuasions and relentless prayer, I got her out of that relationship. She says that she is afraid the boy might fall into depression if she says ‘no’. I tried to explain to her that these are the plots and ploys of the enemy to destroy her life. It seems her problem is that whenever a classmate or a college mate approaches her and says that he likes her, she easily falls for it and doesn’t seem to know how to keep a distance. But the Lord gave her victory in this matter until last year.

But alas! It has happened again. I found out recently that Joshna has fallen into such a trap of relationship early this academic year. It seems some boy was trying to take advantage of her soft nature and inability to say, ‘no’. He seemed to have praised her for her good looks, soft nature and musical talents in a continuous manner and eventually she developed a soft corner for him. Added to that, she is regularly on WhatsApp chat with that boy. Thus the relationship has become stronger day by day. She seems to have a feeling that she can talk to him and help him to eventually become a believer. It seems this relationship is slowly affecting her prayer and devotional life. I wonder if this is the reason for her dwindling enthusiasm for prayer partnership with me. She escapes our joint prayer time through seemingly lame excuses.

I had a series of discussions with Joshna about how to keep away from such ungodly relationships. I shared with her my experience in handling such promptings by boys and keeping away from such temptations. I also warned her that such relationship, if allowed to perpetuate, will draw her away from her faith and will create serious heartache to her parents and fellow believers. But she was reluctant to relent, though in her characteristically soft manner. She seems to have reached the conclusion that everything will work well eventually. I feel sorry for Joshna because she seemed to be too soft to get away from such a trap of the enemy. I reminded her about such incidents in the life of Samson and how it ruined his life. I also told her about the heartaches Jacob and Rachel faced because of their relationship and selfish plans. But it seems nothing would move Joshna.

This situation of my best friend has disturbed me a lot and I am worried and fearful also. So I have been praying much for God to interfere with it and to get her out of this relationship.

I am sure if her parents find out about her relationship, it would break their hearts. Her parents are both active and enthusiastic Christians in their church and well-respected in the community. If this news leaks out, it would also affect the testimony of the family in the assembly and testimony of the assembly in the community. For this reason, I have not yet revealed this matter to anyone. But how long can I hide it from her parents? I asked Joshna to discuss this matter with her parents for their counsel, but she is afraid to do so because she knows that it would hurt their feelings and take away their trust in her. It seems Joshna knows in her heart that what she is involved in is not right before God, family and fellow believers, but she is unable to take a stand about it. She seemed to be trapped by her personality and the free environment of the college in the latest relationship.

Questions for Discussion/MeditationQuestions for discussion

1. Do you know of any of your Christian friends who have fallen into a relationship with unsaved / saved people?

2. Is Joshna biblically right in her relationship with an unbeliever? How could she have avoided it at the beginning?

    3. Has Joshna been true to her calling as a Christian believer? Do you think she has any spiritual problems?

  4. What kinds of temptations and challenges lay waiting for Christian Youth like Joshna in the secular world and from the so-called ‘born-again’ people? How can they guard themselves against falling into such traps of the enemy?

    5. What do you think about Joshna’s friend Jeena’s role in this scenario? If Joshna is your friend, how will you handle this situation? 

    6. Is Jeena justified in her concerns about Joshna? Should we have such concerns about other believers who have spiritual problems? How can we handle these concerns?What lessons, if any, are you able to learn from the present events in the life of Joshna? 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

MY HEART: A MUSICAL EXUBERANCE OF A RIVER OF LIVING WATER!

A musical exuberance of a river of living water!
Meditations from the longest Psalm in the Bible
Psalms 119

There are 150 songs in the hymnbook of God’s people widely known as the Psalms. They are filled with the glories of God and how God’s children respond to His glory through expressions of gratitude, praise, adoration, and love. The writer couldn’t stop or pause but kept writing. His heart was filled to overflowing like a never-ending fountain and unstoppable river of the musical exuberance of the expressions of his heart. These expressions touch us today and impact our lives to the extent of our feelings of love and commitment towards our God and His Word.
My Response
Is my heart a source of exuberance because of my experience with God’s Word? How many things do I have to say about God’s Word? When the Psalmist has 176 things to say about God’s Word before Calvary, will I have at least one great experience with God’s Word in my life because of Calvary? Do I have starting trouble with the fountain of expressions because of the entanglement of my life and heart with the world that is around me? Will the love of God and the power of His Word release me from the clutches of the world and worldliness and my fleshly desires? Who will recognize the fountain of living water in my life, if any? How to accentuate the river of living water in my life? Will the heart of Jesus be thrilled to see the exuberance of reverence I have flowing from my heart because of His Word in action in my life?
“Oh, how I love your instructions! I think about them all day long.” Psalms 119:97

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

RIGHTEOUS PEOPLE IN AN UNRIGHTEOUS WORLD!

RIGHTEOUS PEOPLE IN AN 

UNRIGHTEOUS WORLD


Righteousness is a blessed experience with a lot of promises. It is amazing that the righteous God makes human beings righteous through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. Such righteous people are blessed with all the blessings of the heavenly places. They are given the experience of being seated in heaven. Proverbs chapter 10 talks about 12 special blessings for such people.

1.  They live with the satisfaction of their physical needs provided for and guaranteed (vs. 3)
2.  Their heads are crowned with heavenly gifts and favors (vs. 6)
3.  Their remembrance is a blessing in the life of others (vs. 7)
4.  Their utterances cause blessings to those who listen to them (vs. 11)
5.  Their earnings help them to live a life of satisfaction (vs. 16)
6.  Their expressions enrich others in life (vs. 21)
7.  Their desires in and for their God will be fulfilled and satisfied (vs. 24)
8.  Their foundations in life will be steady and sustained (vs. 25)
9.  Their hope and prospects will give them and others happiness (vs. 28)
10. They will not be shaken in all circumstances and situations (vs. 30)
11. Their oral communication is full of heavenly wisdom (vs. 31)
12.Their speech is pleasing as it is full of God’s wisdom (vs. 32)

Isn't it a great privilege to live as righteous in this unrighteous world?


Let us today examine our lives to see if we have at least some measure of these blessings in our lives (2 Corinthians 13:5) and prayerfully rebuild our lives to exemplify righteousness.