Friday, May 30, 2014


Question: Help to understand a difficult context

      What is the meaning of Matthew 26:38? What does Jesus mean by saying ‘stay here and keep watch with me’?

When Jesus appointed the Twelve, it was His desire that they will be with Him till the end (Mark 3:14–15). He wanted the Twelve to be with Him even as He went through the Gethsemane experience. He wanted them to keep their fellowship with Him till the end. He was lonely and felt all alone and wanted His disciples to be with Him during His hours of trial. In spite of the knowledge He had that they will all run away from Him at the height of His difficulties, He still wanted them to be with Him for as long as they could. The word used here is “watch” with me and it literally means to abstain from sleep. He also wanted them to be vigilant or guard against danger. It also means to sympathize with Him, to unite with Him in seeking divine support for the ‘hour’ to pass and to prepare them for approaching dangers. But what we see is that they all slept while their Master suffered agony in Gethsemane and when He was arrested, they all ran away from Him.  At the finest hour, He was all alone to suffer and be crucified. He stood alone in front of the rulers and the religious leaders, carried the cross all alone and faced all challenges, despising, mockery and physical persecution and finally the three hours of darkness all alone. 

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Question on help in understanding basic truth


The Mind of Christ is what and how Christ thinks about everything around Him and translates these thoughts into action. He loved us and so He gave Himself for us totally. He humbled Himself and became a servant and so He demonstrated it by washing the feet of the disciples, fed the hungry and healed the sick. He was willing to give up all His heavenly glory and live like a poor man who had no place to lay His head and never murmur about it. He obeyed the Father in everything without questioning. He always acted under the power and control of the Spirit of God. He came to serve and never expected anything in return. He accepted the needy and kept company with those whose lives needed His touch. Christ was fully in the mind of God and we can only learn from Him to renew our spirits to develop such a mind, thinking, desires and priorities. Christ’s mind was demonstrated in action and we see His divine attitude in everything that He did and said. We are to develop such a MIND by spending time with Christ, talking to Him and be under His Spirit. (Please read Philippians 2:2-7 and Hebrews 3:1). It is knowing what Christ would do in all situations and try to follow suit. When such a desire to act like Christ freely flows from our hearts, we would be close to having the mind of Christ. It is a slow process and we develop His mind as we walk with Him on a daily basis with the help of His Word and Spirit.

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Question 5: Critical view of contemporary faith

    Psalm 89:7 - Is God really feared and revered by the assembly of saints?

    Fear and reverence for God is a matter of our attitude which comes from our relationship with Him. If we have seen Him in His glory and if we have spiritual and Scriptural knowledge about the Holy One, then it will be seen in the way we live and in all aspects of our practical lives. To the extent to which we have seen Him in glory, we will be surrendered to Him, His Word and His Spirit and live to please Him and Him alone. This is actual fear of the Lord and the devotion we will have to Him. The example of Isaiah in Chapter 6 is a good example of the devotion, loyalty and submission to God in the life of Isaiah.

There is a wide range of different levels of fear people have about God, but it is very difficult for us to know or measure it precisely for sure. There are many who fear God in their personal lives, but these are not often seen in their public life. There are those who demonstrate such fear when they pray, but fail to show it in their practical life.

We may say that devotion, fear and reverence are on the wane because of the coldness of heart, losing of the first love we had for Him at the time of our salvation, our backsliding and the way the world and materialism have encroached into our lives to thus diminish our vision about Him and His glory.

So let us be more concerned about our own life of devotion and fear of the Lord and renew our loyalty and obedience to Him and make ourselves as examples for others to follow. This is one way we can influence others in the fear of the Lord. We should also pray for them and try to influence them through fellowship and effective spiritual communication. 

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 Question 4: Help in prayer life
How to pray for people in bondage?

There are people who are under the bondage of situations, problems like debt, sickness, gossip or envy of others, competition, false propaganda, harsh employer, difficult family situations of various type and sometimes even imprisonment for their faith. 

First, you may visit those with whom you have access and pray with them that the Lord may release or deliver them from their particular situations. 

Second, you may pray that they may receive the grace to endure the bondage with the joy of the Lord in their hearts when there is no human way to get out of the bondage. 

Thirdly you may pray for their release from prisons or solitary confinement through direct divine intervention. This may be done individually or in a group as the situation would permit.

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Question 3: Help in the ministry

 How do I build a sermon from start to finish?

The secret of an effective sermon is to make it a message which you preach to a congregation on the basis of their spiritual needs. So first of all, consider the dire spiritual needs of your congregation and prayerfully meditate on the Word of God to know the mind of God for that congregation on the basis of their felt spiritual needs. Your message may be about a verse or group of verses, a subject, an event or a person in the Bible. Meditate and see how God wants you to preach from the selected Bible portion to meet the needs of the people. The thoughts you get during your meditation and prayer may be noted down and organized in an order, like introduction, main points to support the message and a conclusion, with corresponding references from the Bible. Make sure that it can be completed within the available time.

(a) Introduction: it can be a short explanation of the background of the scriptural portion or the event and the Bible character you want to preach to convey the message.
(b) Main points: Highlight each point with a focus on the message that you want to convey from God to the congregation. Use appropriate illustrations and cite necessary Bible references to expose the truth that God wants you to teach the congregation to tell the congregation how they can apply these truths in their practical life.
(c) Conclusion: It is good to briefly summarize the main points of the message and conclude the message with a passionate plea to put it into practice. If the Spirit of God prompts you, ask people to publicly or privately respond to the message.
(d) Prayer: It is best to close the message with a brief prayer of commitment. If you have the time, it is good to sing a few stanzas of a familiar song of commitment which is related to the message you are preaching. 

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Thursday, May 29, 2014


Question 2: Marriage and Family Life

There is a brother who 17 years ago promised to marry a woman and even made it a promise to the parent of the woman and then traveled abroad.  Along the line communication between the two broke. In the meanwhile, the brother became a Christian and eventually got married to a Christian woman. But in his greatest surprise, he went home after 17 years and found out that the woman he promised to marry is still waiting for him. Tell me whether this brother should marry this woman as a second wife or neglect her plea? What does the Bible say and what can I advise this brother who is seeking my help?

                Thanks for your question and concern for the brother and the woman whom he promised to marry 17 years back. This is an unfortunate situation. It is also unfortunate that this brother had not communicated his new found faith to the woman he promised to marry. If she is not a believer, he should have told her that unless she accepts Jesus as her personal Savior and Lord, the Bible would not let him marry her (2 Corinthians 6:14-16). But if she also became a born again believer, he ought to have kept his promise. This is a breach of verbal agreement between them which he may confess to her. But it seems 17 years have elapsed since the promise was given and it is unfortunate that there was no communication between them during this period.  It seems that he found a new love in the new land where he was living and willfully or conveniently forgotten the person to whom he gave a promise. But the woman seems to be intensely loyal and committed to him and waited for him for all these years and it must have been a great shock to her to find out that he is already married to another person.  But it seems strange that she kept waiting for him even in the wake of his silence for the long 17 years. But now that he is married, God’s Word would not permit his marriage to be separated (Malachi 2:16 & Matthew 19:6). So on the basis of the Bible, there is absolutely no room for him to divorce his wife to marry the person to whom he gave a promise 17 years back. Secondly there is no biblical basis for a second wife for a believer which is expressly forbidden by God (Genesis 2:24; Romans 7:2). So how can we resolve this crisis on the basis of the Bible?

                It seems to me that this bother has to meet the first woman and her family and ask for forgiveness for not keeping his vow to marry her. If she has not become a Christian believer, then that should be given as a genuine Biblical reason why he would not have married her because of his newly found faith. But it was his responsibility to communicate this to that woman and her family which was not done. This was a great mistake and a matter of great negligence. So it should be confessed in no unequivocal manner and with true humility and patience. In the event that they do not accept his confession, he may approach a pastor or elder of his church or a Christian counselor to counsel that woman’s family to accept this confession and the reality that he is already married which cannot be changed nor should he take a second wife which breaks Biblical teaching. He should fervently pray that God would speak to the family of this woman and help them to accept his confession. He should also sincerely pray that God would open the door for her to be married appropriately in the nearest future. 

                Hope you will be able to communicate this to your friend. It would be good if you would play the role of a Christian counselor to help this family to understand the unchangeable scenario because you know the scenario best. May God help you and your friend to thus put an end to this unfortunate situation for the glory of God! 

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Question 1: Marriage and family life

My husband and I have been together 17years. We dated 5 and been married twelve. We both have cheated before and we now are arguing all the time. I have found hidden things in his phone and he has in mine. Should we get divorced? I have been trying to communicate but he doesn't. What does the Bible say about this?? 

                Thanks for your question and your concern for your situation. I pray that your burdens will be lifted by God and that He will give you hope for a brighter future.  Your situation is painful, but you are not alone in such experiences as there are so many others who have gone through such situations and found solutions from God to live happily. 

                Let us first of all understand that the Bible doesn’t permit divorce for a Christian believer. Moreover, the reason you have indicated in your question is not serious enough to contemplate on such a serious option as that of divorce. Arguments between a husband and a wife are not an unusual phenomenon. Disagreements often erupt between people and it is seen between husbands and wives also. I am sure you know that it is not possible for one to expect two humans to agree on everything. But you may resolve these disagreements through reconciliation rather than to confront, fight, argue and quarrel over it.  Your basic difficulty in your situation is that you both have broken God’s commandment by becoming one flesh with more than one person in life and cheated on the one who is God’s gift to you for a lifetime. But there is deliverance for you both from this sin against God and against each other unless you address it as a grave sin and confess it to God and to each other and repent of it. The basis for reconciliation are (1) to confess the past sins that you both committed to each other and to God because cheating on each other is the breaking of the commandment of God -1 Thessalonians 5:14 & 15, Colossians 3:12 &13, Philippians 2:1-5.  (2) Once you confess  your sins  to God and as you receive His forgiveness, it means that God would forget your sins and will not remember it any longer- Psalms 51, Psalms 32:1-2 - ; (3) You may then confess your sins to each other and ask for forgiveness; (4) Because you are forgiven by God, you must forgive each other also (Matthew 6:12); (5) You both must then renew your faithfulness to each other and should vouch never to cheat on each other in deeds or in thoughts, and not to ever commit this grave sin of adultery.  (6) Once God forgives you and you receive His grace to forgive each other, please do not look for evidence against each other about past sins. When God doesn’t remember your sins any more, you also do not have the right to remember the sins your life partner has committed against you (Isaiah 43:25). (7) When the process of confession and forgiveness are over, you must understand that God has forgiven all your past sins and so you should also put all your sins behind your past and start living a new life of mutual trust, faithfulness and chastity. (8) It then is time to erase evidence of past sins and contact information of undesirable persons from your cell phone and e-mail inbox, lest it will tempt you to reminisce on the past and remind yourself of past relationships with its past guilt. (9) As you put your past behind, be watchful not to give opportunity for the flesh and the enemy to remind you both of the past or tempt you to keep linkages to all undesirable persons. Please do not ever use the forgiven sins of the past against each other as a weapon to win an argument.

                One of the creative ways to rebuild your mutual communication is to praise God for forgiving your past sins and to thank your life partner for forgiving you, as you pray together. Your prayers together will strengthen your bond for each other. Please ask God to give you genuine love and respect for each other. Learn and practice the art of dealing with each other in grace and compassion. Use pleasant gestures and loving body language and interact with each other by using soft and simple words of expression of your gratitude for the other person for forgiving your past and for the spirit of accommodation. Both of you need to help each other to communicate effectively. As you thus help your partner to rebuild your relationship, you will be on your way to accomplishing creative and mutually satisfying communication with respect and dignity.  Be patient and persevere much and wait for the other person to come up to your level. Express your new found love for each other and live for the other person who is willing to forgive your past and to love you as the special person God has chosen for you from among all the people of this world. Thus may your marriage be built up on love and forgiveness even as God has forgiven you in Christ!

                Please do not contemplate on divorce which God hates (Malachi 2:16). Jesus Christ has expressly commanded that no one has any right to separate two lives which are joined together by God (Matthew 19:6). So for children of God who are married, divorce is not an option at all. It is God’s desire that you live together, forgive each other, forget your past and rebuild your marriage to live together to strengthen each other for an enjoyable and satisfying family life. May God Almighty help you to find new joy and peace in your married life and newer heights of love and mutual care!  

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