Who will defend Christians in Orissa?
|The cruel and heinous atrocities in Orissa have exposed the spiritual bankruptcy of a man-made religion once again. When a person occupies the throne of one’s own belief system, one has no resource available other than one’s own human body and mind. Such a person has no access to the divine wisdom, the divine love, and the divine compassion. Often moved by the power of human emotion and mob-mentality, they acquiesce themselves to violence and murder. They blow themselves to blow others.
Is there any way we can prevent them? Our human resources may provoke us to retaliate; however, our divine resource may challenge us to retain our identity as the people of God. Our belief system is anchored in a living God who is just and assures “vengeance” (Ps 149:7). His judgment is sure and certain. He will destroy all the wicked and reward the righteous. No one will walk away with their sin. There will be a pay day. Most of them will begin paying here on this earth for their wickedness but the worst will come to them when they will stand before the white throne. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” Our prayer goes to the suffering brethren in Orissa.
In Search of Serenity
|Serenity is a mental disposition free from stress or emotion, a state of internal peace where there is absence of stress or anxiety. Remember the stormy night, sitting in a boat the disciples panicked, while Jesus was serene. Serenity is in want when we are called to engage actively in a fallen world with a fallen self. Reinhold Niebuhr’s prayer for Serenity has been a good personal help to me. Try this out in the morning as you begin the day:
God grant me the Serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as Jesus did,
this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that You will make all things right
if I surrender to Your will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.
When your morning seems to be crowded, remind yourself of the wisdom word from Prov 3:5-6:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.
May God help us to strive for serenity and enjoy the fullness of life that He has gifted us.
Is My Father My Neighbor?
|Father's Day was born in memory and gratitude of a daughter who thought that her father and all good fathers should be honored with a special day. However, our fathers need more than an honor of a day. He needs a relationship that are perennial, and that is lived out on a daily basis.
Generally speaking, fathers are not the favorite of children because of the role they expected to play in an Asian culture. Furthermore, there is no perfect father. There is only good and better father, and all of them are imperfect. One cannot put too much emphasis on the worthiness of a father. In fact, any relationship needs compassion, forgiveness, mercy, and the undeserved favor—grace. What do you do with a father who is raised in a culture where the concept of fatherhood is contrary to biblical teaching; where a father had no opportunity to hear gospel and currently have four wives?
There are 81 million older people in India, and 40% of them are reportedly facing abuse of one kind or another. Recently, the President of India has given her assent for a law to punish the children who abandon their parents. On the one hand, we do not have worthy fathers; on the other hand, we do not have worthy children either. We are caught up in cause and effect cycle of evil. Only the Grace of God can break this vicious chain reaction.
As a young man I loved my mother more than I loved my father? I failed to honor my father until I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. But when the Holy Spirit began to dwell in me I realized that I loved my father more than I honored him.
Then I began to understand why Jesus did not reiterate, “Honor your father and mother,” rather he summed the ten into two commandments. He asked us to love God supremely and then love our neighbor (Matt 22:37-40). Loving involves more than one day ritual. It is a process that must be lived out 365 days. Honoring someone for one day is much easier than loving someone.
Yes, our father deserves more than a day of honor. He deserves love. Our earthly father is our neighbor, whom we should love as we would love our selves. Amen.
How Does the Bible Help?
|Satan attacks us with different kinds of weapons. One of them is negative feelings. Feelings of anger, depression, disappointments, dejection abandonment, hurt, and guilt are real, and they are often very difficult to overcome. Especially when there is no one around to help, or when you are all by yourself depressed, oppressed, and suppressed by them. These negative feelings need to be counteracted by the Word of God—“IT IS WRITTEN” (Matt 4:4-11). Jesus was well equipped to face the power of darkness as he began the ministry on this earth. How about us?
More we are informed of the content of the Bible better chances we have to deal with our negative feelings. Jesus said, “Then, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). How much of our Bible we know? Are we using them only as a reference book? We need to read the Bible as often as possible on a daily basis so that we may know the truth better.
The history of the Bible is very long and fascinating. Many men and women of God gave their lives to make it available to us. It is a unique treasure. There is not other book parallel to this. It is one of the best sellers in the world. On the one hand, the Bible gives us the real picture of this world. On the other hand, it helps us to see a world beyond the realm of this world; the human eyes cannot see.
The Bible claims itself to be the Word of God. It assures prosperity, and success (Jos 1:8). It claims longevity and affectivity (Isa 55:11, Jer 23:29). It asserts itself as an active, living, dynamic, and useful book (2 Tim 3:16-17, Heb 4:12). It regenerates irreversible new life (1 Pet 1:23). It is essential for our spiritual growth (1 Pet 2:2). It is a must read if we want to know about Jesus (Jn 1:1, 14, Rev 19:13). It promises a blessed life for those who take delight in it (Ps 1:1-3). It recommends itself not only for reading, or meditating, or studying, but also memorizing (hiding it in our hearts; Ps 119:9-11) so that we may be able to use it like Jesus used it “IT IS WRITTEN.”
The Bible can become a blessing in our lives when it guards our inner lives, feelings, and emotions. We need it as we live in a world where we are often influenced by the power of the dark world. It depends on how much it is read. What about your Bible?
|What shall we do when someone criticizes us? We may feel insulted, hurt, and therefore, we react. We get infected by the attitude and tactics of the critics. But our spiritual maturity and the wisdom from God will suggest us that such reaction would not defend our cause. Garry R. Collins, a well known biblical counselor and the writer under whom Asangla had the privilege to be trained, suggests the following helpful tips:
(1)Look for kernels of truth that might be lurking in the rhetoric.
(2)Engage critics, if possible, but in a spirit of gentleness and respect.
(3)Avoid the critic’s tactics. Little is accomplished by confrontation, criticism, public debates, or proclamations of injustice. These responses give the critics attention, credibility and legitimacy.
(4)Avoid rumination. Debates with like-minded colleagues can reinforce self-righteous indignation, pride, and feelings of victimization. Avoid over-reacting.
(5)Expect more criticism. If you are a coach, counselor, leader, or someone in ministry, it is likely that your motives and actions will be challenged.
(6)Remember that competence is the best defense. We can learn from our critics and make needed changes.
May the good Lord help us to be spiritually mature and wise.