My Jesus, My Hesitation – Part 2

The world is more willing to receive the gospel than Christians are willing to give the gospel. – Tahir
Dispatches from the Front, by Tim Keesee

Last month, Marg featured a post on the hesitation Christians have in speaking about Jesus Christ and His good news.
Many of us, His followers, fail often to proclaim His greatness and goodness. We fail to spread, with the urgency of wildfire and with the compassion of a mother toward a sick child, the desperately needed news of Christ’ eternal rescue .

Onward Christian soldiers, we can gladly sing that great hymn but we are found guilty of disobeying the orders of the Captain we claim loudly to follow. When applying for jobs, we (hopefully) pray and (hopefully too) dream of having a great time sharing the gospel at the workplace. But then walks in the fear of people, and too often we find we have let our Lord down.

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2 Timothy 1:7-8 tells us God has given us the Holy Spirit with power and love, so we can suffer as a true soldier for our beloved Master. Instead we worry if our reputation at the workplace will be destroyed if we speak the truth of God. Instead of dying to our selves & thus embracing life, we choose the sin of silence, the guilt of a silent witness.
The prophet Hosea experienced in micro-scale, the unfaithfulness of God’s bride, the church. We don’t wanna go there, because that might remind us of what we have been doing.

So what does God do about our hesitation to speak the gospel, our silent rebellion?

Like anyone wronged deeply, the King gets off His throne and prepares to act for justice, against this sin of His own people. The One before whom emperors & presidents are mere water-vapour, rises
and what does He do?

“Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”

(Philippians 2:6-8, NLT)

Like apostle Paul said “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. (1 Tim 1:15, NLT)

There is nothing worse than betraying the One who loved us & took away our infinite debt to God. But know that there is no need for you to prove anything to God or to justify yourself, or to justify yourself before people. If you have all your faith in Him, you are justified by grace. Without shame, we can joyfully find our refuge in Him and speak about Him. Let the consequences of such speech drive you to Him (Acts 4:29-30).

Astrology ke Side Effects- Part 2

Two weeks ago, Marg featured a post on astrology and the gigantic grip it has on our country. Debates have raged on Indian television on the accuracy of astrology. This post is about what to do with those astrologers who can tell us about our past and even predict events accurately to a great extent.

What if you are a Christian and you see the sense in following such astrologers?

After all, is it not commanded to manage your household well in the Bible? So, what is wrong if, as believers, we try to learn from the best experts in this field and gain wisdom?

There is nothing wrong with getting wisdom. The Bible commands us to do that. But does astrology come under God’s definition of wisdom?

 

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Have you ever been in a situation where your guidance goes unheeded?

You try your best to convince your team of what you know as the right solution, but all you get is the cold shoulder?

You know what the right thing to do is, but your spouse does just the opposite.

You have told your children yet again to not do this, and they care two hoots and proceed to disobey and insult you.

It’s all about trust, isn’t it? Our trust is always placed in those who we believe to be of the most worth and significance.

This is why faith in astrology mocks the most important commandment Jesus reinforces (Matthew 22:35-38). If our trust lies in people who can predict the future based on planetary movements, instead of the One who made the planets,we have replaced God with someone else. And that is the definition of the sin of idolatry.

Finally, since the Bible is the authority for any true follower of Christ, let us see what we find there. What does God’s Word say?

We see that the Lord commands His people not to learn the ways of the nations (Deuteronomy 18:9-11). When God’s people go after soothsayers and astrologers to find their future, He considers it an affront to His love and His care for them. He then warns them repeatedly through the prophets (Jeremiah 10:2). Then He, the righteous Judge, finally pronounces judgement on His own people for resisting his warnings. God even mocks those who claim to see the future (Isaiah 47:13-14) challenging them to predict, if they can, His actions. As Daniel 2:27 shows, even the best astrologers fail and are exposed by God.

Would you trust in the One who spared not His own Son (Romans 8:31-32) to rescue us from our due penalty for sins?

The church is Christ’ bride. May we repent of our idolatry towards the wisdom this world offers and turn to the words of our all-wise King.

Lessons from the Mumbai Local Train Riot

No one who has lived in Mumbai for an extended period of time would ever want to be in the city when local trains come to a standstill, like it did on January 2nd, 2015.

Two trains developed technical snags on the Central line of the bustling and very, very busy network of local trains during peak hours. Angry commuters poured out on to the tracks, blocking train traffic completely. There was agitation. Frustration. Police tried to control the swelling mob. It turned violent. Stations were vandalized. Theft. Arson. By the people. No one would want to be caught in that whirlpool. But it happened anyway.

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One can sympathise at the loss of time, money and property that happened to each of these thousands and at the damage they caused to their own (government) property. We, as observers, could take time to reflect on “Chaotic Friday”. Here are some things that caught my attention. This post is in no way trying to put down Mumbai or it’s people. I love that city and some of my close friends stay there. The following are facts that could be true of even you and me. If you are interested, please add further thoughts in the comments section:

1. When people do not get things which they believe are their rights, expect a lot of anger.

2. Give people assurance that they won’t be caught in their crime & they will act in ways that reveal a ghastly attitude. The friendly college student will stone a cop. The next-door uncle will steal government cash if there are no cameras watching. Like someone said,

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“Character is who you are, when you are in the dark”

3. I wonder if anyone did try to pacify their irate co-passengers. I wonder if such voices of reason were shut by further anger or even physical force. If you stood out as a voice of reason & calm,  hats off to you.

4. Faith in the singular fact that God almighty is in total control of the day, can go a long way in calming frayed nerves. All the more reason why the good news of Christ is one of peace with God & the only cure for men’s sinful nature.

5. Next time when we warm ourselves with articles explaining the camaraderie on trains in India, it’s good to remember the Rs. 70,000 cash & the Rs.50,000 worth coupons stolen from Diva railway station and the tornado of chaos that points to a deep-running problem we, the people, represent.

Astrology ke massive side-effects – Part 1

My wife & her family members were glued to the TV show. Curious, I sat down- I had little knowledge of Tamil, but my father-in-law explained how the show has people with opposing views question each other on television. That night, there were renowned astrologers on one side & regular people on the other, who wanted to challenge their claims of prediction.

If there’s one nation concerned big time about their future, it’s our India.

When will my daughter find a suitable groom?

Will I get a job this year?

What pooja must I perform to get a Visa to the U.S?

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Questions that trouble the hearts of the high-flying and the low-lying in India are answered by a plethora of astrologers & “Sun-sign” Zodiac columns in newspapers.

My wife told me later that some predictions on the show sounded convincing to her. I could understand her feelings: listen to a seasoned astrologer for 10 minutes & you would begin to think he knows your past AND your future! Interestingly she also pointed out that few astrologers in the TV show predicted a grim future. Almost all astrologers assured every listener a smooth sailing out of troubled waters. You see, with some payment to the astrologer & some corrective rituals, you hope to control your fate- you hope to direct your life to where you want it to go.

The episode saddened me. It also enraged me. People- in the audience, hundreds of thousands watching that show – centering their lives & hopes on these “prophets’” words; mere men who claim to know the future but will inevitably lead them away from Him who made them & who truly cares for them. Instead of using sufferings to turn to Christ the Lord these false prophets like those of Israel old, proclaim peace when there is none. Jeremiah 6:10-15

How sad to see grown-ups act like expectant 5-year olds before these shop-keepers of false fortunes! How must the Good Shepherd’s anger burn against these men, ripping off others. Who can save people who gladly would do anything astrologers command but will become skeptical the moment you take the name of Jesus? They scorn the only One who paid with His life for their sins which will call out for judgement on the last Day. That day, will all the money & time spent on astrology pay off?

What is your take on astrologers in India today?

Here is an interesting experiment that exposes Indian astrology.

Next part– What is wrong in following accurate astrologers and planning your future wisely?