Monthly Archives: November 2015
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. (Psalm 119:9)
People nowadays love challenges. Be it riding a water buffalo or opening the parachute in the air just a few feet before one can connect with the ground. It may feel nostalgic, you might even get famous but at the end of the day you’d know that next day you have to get to regular life to maintain family and financial balance, unless you have a really good plan.
Certain challenges are simply not for everyone. For instance the Cinnamon challenge. Here’s the wikipedia link for the Cinnamon challenge. I do not recommend this. Some could swallow Cinnamon powder within a minutes with no problems but others have suffered from irritation, discomfort, burning, or itching of the affected nasal tissue and nostrils. Some even got hospitalized for such symptoms.
You can go on with your life in Christ without going through all these challenges. Why not put such effort into living a holy life? Don’t bother if people don’t praise you for that. Your reward is with the Lord for you in the after life!
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. (Colossians 3:1)
Equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:21)
The only thing that matter’s in eternity is whether you are in Christ or not. A personal challenge that any Christian can give to himself or herself is to live right before God. This challenge cannot be done all alone. You’ll need the Holy Spirit who will lead you into all truth. Your dependence on the Holy Spirit will keep you from self indulgent pride. Don’t feel too great if you are the only good person among millions of sinners. Remember you too were once a sinner and needed Christ to redeem you from your sins. Keep yourself humble in the Lord because your life is from him!
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.(Ephesians 2:8-9)
Firstly this post is not about avoiding sending prayer request messages to each other. Nor is this against sending Bible verses or words that encourage people to follow the Lord God even better. Now, without further delay, let’s get to the main thing. I’m done with certain weird messages that I noticed get passed around too often online and offline. Usually I used to just ignore such messages and the people who indulge such things but then I eventually began to rebuke or correct those people who fall for spiritual chain messages. The one’s who attend very formal overzealous churches are most gullible to such propaganda! One may have heard of emotional blackmail. But here’s spiritual blackmailing.
So here’s how such spiritual blackmail chain mails look like:
1) There’s been so and so miracle by praying for 7 days. If you love God you will pass this but if you love sin you’ll keep it with yourself.
2) Many year’s ago, an angel appeared to so and so ‘devout’ person and gave a ‘miraculous’ prayer.(They then post a longish prayer which one’s supposed to recite). Now on the next page, they write ‘publication of this prayer must be promised to receive the miracle’. But they also put dire warnings of impending doom for those who don’t print or share the message in its entirety.
3) Pray the following prayer. (another prayer is added with even kneeling down or lying flat on your face recommended when praying that!) If you want this prayer to succeed please pass this to 20 more people or else you are a sinner and will receive God’s wrath on yourself.
Dear reader, if you’ve been sending or forwarding such messages, I’d recommend that you read Ephesians 2:8-9 for yourself. Read it many times if you want. You’ll realize that all the while the messages that forced you to forward them to other’s were not as per the word of God. Will you again think you are to pass on such messages? I’d say never fall prey to such hypocrisy that you emotionally and spiritually trample down people by passing such messages.
In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. and therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops. (Luke 12:1-3)
If you receive such chain messages do not forward nor share them. Because it won’t add to nor earn you salvation. Also if its possible to reply, go on and send them back Ephesians 2:8-9. But do be polite not rude.You can even send them the following verses:
But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will. (Acts 15:11)
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:21-26)
At time’s people who are married feel very unhappy with each other. And this has even resulted in marriage problems and even divorce as the last resort. I’m not talking about adultery or illegitimate affairs which causes such things. It’s something that’s seems even more basic; listening and speaking to each other.
Yet after hearing and speaking up their wedding promises to each other, certain couples forget the very same skills. I mean they don’t lose their senses. They still can go to work, ride a vehicle, chat with friends and attend church too. The only difference is that they become strangers, rude strangers to each other. Such an afflicted wife would say, ‘this is not the same man I married’. And any such husband would say, ‘she’s someone else now’.
Ugly words can easily lead to an ugly marriage and God forbid even an ugliest divorce in the making. And in the court of law, the judge, jury and executioner’s of civil law are very known to extract retribution pound for pound. If abuse is proven, the divorce becomes painful and the outcome very much pathetic.
So how does one get correct on the speaking front? It does require a lot of effort and will power. This involves a thing that usually precedes speaking, which is called as ‘listening’.
If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame. (Proverbs 18:13)
Most people do not listen with the intent to understand. Most people listen with the intent to reply. – Stephen R. Covey
Listening to the spouse
For any good relationship between the husband and wife it’s vital that they communicate with each other. It’s not about only telling one’s views to the other person. A two way communication is needed. By this I mean the speaker must be fine with being spoken to. Obviously this includes hearing the spouse and actively trying to understand what’s being spoken instead of blindly nodding the head.
It’s vain, to pretend to hear the spouse for the sake of it, because you may later find yourself in an uneasy spot. Let me make it real to you, a woman tells her husband about her dear friend losing her favorite bag in the state of Ontario, Canada. Plus its the very same bag the wife had gifted to that friend. Now the husband was pretending to hear but was not paying attention to her words. Suddenly if the wife asks him, ‘what do you think about this incident in Ontario?’ to which he replies, ‘O they always do that in Canada. Hey wait is that some place in Brazil?, I mean Ontario sounds like Rio de Janeiro?’. The wife gets upset and asks him if he even cares about the things she buy’s. To which he says, ‘what thing?’ Clearly, the wife now realizes that the husband has no clue what she’s been talking about all that while. If his wife’s in a bad mood, it may result in a huge argument but the husband will still be wondering what went wrong. Eventually the wife by the time she’s calmed down, will again narrate how her friend ended losing the very bag she gifted her, while in Ontario, Canada. Then the husband will respond with either a sorry or will continue the fight depending on his temperament.
Another example, a man tells his wife that he walked all the way up from the bottom to the 17th floor of his work office along with his colleague named Pete. And that was due to some weird fitness challenge that’s being run in their office. Now the man’s been loud and clear. But the wife asks him a few questions, ‘who went up with you?’ and her husband says its was Pete. Then she asks him why did they both go up and he says its due to the company fitness challenge. Now here’s what becomes extremely stupid, she then asks him what did the company ask him to do as part of the fitness challenge. The husband gets annoyed and tells her that wasn’t she told very much clearly that he had to walk up to the 17th floor. Now that wife is not willing to admit she was not hearing him right. She responds saying that she was not told that he walked 17th floors. By now the husband’s very angry and says ‘What? Why did you then ask about who went up with me?’ Again depending on the temperament of the couple this could drag into a series of arguments for weeks. Basically, the husband only a wanted to show how tough a task he got for fitness. His wife got it all wrong only because of not listening well enough. (The 17th floor challenge, I hope is only an example of a challenge. I don’t recommend anyone to try that.)
By both these examples you’ll realize that hearing and listening are different. Hearing is physical. While listening is physical, mental, intellectual and emotional.
Then Jesus said, “Anyone who has ears to hear should listen!” (Mark 4:9)
Even Jesus had to face people who heard him preach the Gospel but then never bothered to truly listen to what he spoke. Knowing this Jesus would say, “Anyone who has ears to hear should listen!”
If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination. (Proverbs 28:9)
Some people are even more extreme. Leave the bit about listening, they don’t even want to hear the spouse. All they want is to talk. What happens if such a person has the same attitude towards the Word of God. Obviously, then even their prayers to God would be profane.
Putting that in a couple’s relationship, if one only wants to talk but not listen, then such person has acted worse than an unbeliever. The spouse who is not allowed to speak is often filled with fear and hate towards their spouse. Don’t be surprised if you hear of rebellion in such a case. I categorically don’t recommend divorce nor rebellion in such cases. Though one’s got a valid right to indeed get things sorted, it must be done by dialogue between the couple or a discussion with skilled mediators from the couple’s family or their local church. Never seek vain romantic solace with another person just because one’s spouse is an irritant. Hell awaits adulterers to torment them! I’m not saying this to make anyone feel bad but I don’t want people to seek vain happiness out of marriage and have a nasty afterlife in hell.
For those who think, let’s suffer later but now enjoy with an illegal companion for romance, let me share a few things. There’s no guarantee that such foolish actions will make you truly happy. You never know what plans are in the minds of such illegal ‘lovers’. They might be after money. Some are only for lustful motives and will dump immediately. Other’s are carry tales and manipulators. Better to be away from two faced people.
So what’s my advice. Its very simple; listen sincerely well so that you can speak to bless and encourage your spouse.
Christ be with you!
You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. (1 Corinthians 10:21)
One can never get to heaven especially if one’s feet are pointed towards hell. Having an obsession towards worldly things is not a good choice for a person who believes in Christ. So idolatry, occult, paganism, hedonism, foolish legends etc must all be totally away from your walk with the Lord God. Your aim must be to focus on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Remember the curious case of the prophet Jonah. He tricked himself away from the will of God for Nineveh’s people and treated himself to a ship journey away from God’s plans for him. Both his trick and treat got royally deflated by the majesty of the Lord God. The one who had to warn of God’s judgment to Nineveh, himself had to pray for mercy that he be not judged by God due to his running away from God. The Lord then saved Jonah from the gigantic fish that had swallowed up Jonah alive! No trick, No treat, but only sincere appealing to God by faith saved Jonah from that sea creature’s belly. Food for thought (or fish food), you decide!
Dear reader, are you too running away from God by partaking of the cup of ungodly or worldly pleasures? Don’t tell me, speak to your own heart and pray to the Holy Spirit to lead you into all truth. And then if you know you’re not on the right path with God, I’d advise you to seriously and without any reservations repent of all wrong doings and trust Jesus Christ fully.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2)