Sacrifice

Persecuted Christian! They Cannot Eliminate You

Image credit: Ben White, on Unsplash

Ever felt hurt, dejected or demotivated when people have persecuted you because you are a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ? Take heart from the Bible – I too have. Let me begin with a portion of Scripture:

1 Peter 4:12-14 says:
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 

Think of the martyrs who have shed blood and sacrificed their lives for the sake of the Gospel. Be thankful that you are at least alive. And while you are alive, get equipped to not just preach the Gospel boldly, but also be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will give you the power to demonstrate the Kingdom. If you preach the Gospel with signs following, unsaved people will lose most (if not all) of their resistance to the message that you bring. It will be clear who reigns – Jesus Christ the risen!

People who persecute others can, at the most, kill – but not eliminate – the victim. The spirit of the born again Christian will personally go to Heaven at death. In fact, positionally, you are already in Heaven if you are born again. So any which way you take it, your persecutors cannot eliminate you. In my view, your safest bet to minimize persecution and maximize your impact for the Kingdom is to operate in the way that Jesus operated. And he not only preached the Gospel of the Kingdom – he also healed the sick, raised the dead and cast out demons. Ask God to give you the power needed to do the same. According to the Bible, the key to getting filled with Holy Spirit is this, as stated in Ephesians 5:18-21

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. 

When the religious people of Jesus’ day tried to attack him physically, he escaped from their midst every single time. He knew that the time had not yet come for him to be hung on the Cross. So, with the Holy Spirit’s ability, he could escape unhurt, untouched. If we keep renewing our minds to the Word of God – the Bible – and keep preaching with signs following (or at least attempting to do so in obedience to the Bible), we too will be able to avoid being persecuted more than God allows us to be.

According to a preacher that I respect, Bro. Curry Blake, as you develop the reputation of being a warrior for Christ, demons will trouble you less. They will look for a more opportune time. But every time, you can beat them. So brother/sister! Keep reading, studying, meditating and doing the Bible. There is nothing that comforts you more than Scripture. and there is nothing that gives you greater hope and strength. Above all, forgive those who persecute you. Encourage others by sharing your experiences overcoming persecution, in the comments section below, and offline too!

 

Posted by Ketan Rindani in Born-again, Christian, Gospel, Holy Spirit, India, Life Issues, Persecution, Prayer, Sacrifice, Suffering, 0 comments

Four Kinds of Love

Four-Kinds-of-Love

                                                                                                      True love exudes the fragrance of many flowers

Bollywood movies have a cliche line that goes: “Pyar ka Doosra Naam Qurbani Hai,” meaning, “Another name for Love is Sacrifice.” How true!

The New Testament portion of the Bible was written in Greek. From the Christian perspective, in Greek, there are at least four words for the word love. Each has a distinct meaning. Let’s look at each of them.

  1. Philia (fil+ya): This is the love friends have for each other. You may be friendly with many people, but you can probably count on only a few who will actively come to your aid, should you ever be in deep trouble. Why? Because they are the ones who love you. That emotion or bond towards you is called philia. As they say, “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” The others are simply acquaintances that are friendly, and probably well-meaning too. By all means, treat them well, for some of your acquaintances of today could become your best buddies tomorrow!
    Drawback
    : Camaraderie between friends can sometimes cross rational limits. When that happens, the person could begin ignoring their duty and sense of belonging towards their family members. Such people tend to hang out more with friends and may even detest the company of their family.

  2. Eros (ee+row+s): Although this is basically a romantic or sexual love, in the context of Christian values, it is the love that a husband and his lawfully wedded wife have for each other. Contrary to the entertainment industry’s portrayal of eros, this type of love is not what engaged couples have for each other. Also, an emotional or sexual attraction between individuals of the same sex in the context of Christian values is not eros, simply because the Bible does not permit such a relationship. It must be between a husband and his wife.
    Over a period of time, a healthily married couple would usually come to love each other emotionally, in addition to romantically and sexually. They are likely to care deeply for each other, and thus their own selves too (or at least, they ought to). At this stage, you can say, their eros graduates to what is called pragma, or mature love between long-married couples. Simply having sex with or sexual attraction towards a person of the opposite gender does not constitute a Godly kind of eros.
    Drawback: Erotic love other than towards your lawfully wedded spouse of the opposite sex can lead to health and morality problems. So it’s not an ideal type of love – just one type of love to be given and received within limits.

  3. Storge (storr+gay): This is a big one – the one that comes with a lot of sentiments attached. Often, rightly so. The love that parents have for their children (not the other way around) is called storge. Parents, especially mothers, often say that there just isn’t any kind of love that is superior to or even equal to their love for their kids.
    Parents will usually go to great lengths to protect their children and fulfill their every need (within reasonable limits) as best as they can. Jesus Christ says in Matthew 6:32, “…your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” Do babies and infants not depend on their parents to have their every need fulfilled? They don’t even know what most of their needs are, yet their parents do and make sure these are met. Even growing children and adolescents depend on their parents for their food, shelter, clothing (accessories included!), school fees, toys, sports gear…and the reassuring hug. Note that storge is basically familial love, and is not restricted to parental love, but could extend to other family members.
    Drawback: Parents can sometimes become so overbearing on their children that the children may never develop the confidence to take on the world alone. At some other times, they may spoil their kids for choice, leading to the child eventually becoming self-centered, rather than service-centered. It becomes a case of “Well, the storge just backfired.” And not only that, parents too are subject to emotional ups and downs. They may not always be at their kids’ beck and call, even if they want to.

  4. Agape (uh+gaa+pee): From the Christian perspective, all the above kinds of love have one drawback or another. Do you know why? Because such love is initiated by a human being. And by nature, we humans are not perfect in our own right. So what is the kind of love that is perfect…that is not given on merit and that cannot be over-given? It is God’s love for his earthly Creation, especially towards mankind. It is the ultimate form of sacrificial love. God knew that man has sinned against him, yet he chose his Son Jesus to incarnate and die on our behalf, because he had compassion on us, knowing that we could not bear the penalty of our own sins or pay the price for our forgiveness. To seal the deal, he raised Jesus from the dead, giving eternal life to all who believe in him.
    Drawback: Drawback? Well, there’s only one – the beneficiary of agape may not reciprocate. But when it comes to God’s love, he loves us with what Charles Finney, that great revival specialist, calls ‘disinterested benevolence‘. God does not love us because he wants it back from us, but because he wants us to be happy. It is superior to parental love in that God is perfect, while human parents are not. And therefore, even though God did not need to, he put into motion the great (yet simple) plan for our salvation. 

Learn more about what God’s plan for our salvation is.

Posted by Ketan Rindani in Bible Study, Cross, God, Grace, Marriage, Sacrifice, 0 comments

Easter Sunday: Wake Up! The Son Has Risen

 

 

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;” 2 Corinthians 5:17, 18

When we wake up in the morning, we get to welcome a new day. It’s the sun that makes this possible. The sun set the previous evening and rose this morning. And so we could welcome today with open arms. Well, the Son (of God) died on Good Friday, was buried and came back to life on the third day. So by the same token, it’s the Son who makes it possible for us to put to death our old, sinful and wretched life, and put on the New Life that God has envisioned for us.


Some people say Easter was apparently a pagan festival celebrated by people in some regions of the world. They worshipped a fertility goddess. So the Easter egg may have been a symbol of fertility. Some other people believe that the Easter egg is a symbol of the empty tomb of Jesus. What’s the truth about Easter, then? Well, I think it does not matter. What matters is that you believe that Jesus Christ is God’s answer to save mankind from sin and its effects, 
which is eternal death in hell.
Read this blog post to find out how you can be a beneficiary of God’s plan of salvation for mankind.

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God is Generous and Unconditionally Loving

God knew that there will be some people who will reject Jesus and therefore Him. He knew that because of this wrong choice, they will not benefit from the blood that Jesus shed for them on the Cross. Yet He chose to make healing available.to even them (through Jesus being whipped before being crucified) – this, despite knowing that He will never hear “Father!” from their lips, to address their Creator. Oh – how generous and good God the Father is! Truly worthy to be believed in – and worthy of praise from all of His Creation.


Liked this post? You might also like:
Blood of Jesus Vs. Poison of Serpent…and Jesus Wins!

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Hidden Story of Christmas Revealed

We all love Santa Claus, don’t we? Especially if he gives gifts to us or our kids! But did you know that while this fun tradition is good in a sense, it has also concealed the truth behind Christmas to an extent. Christmas is not about Santa. It’s about Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind. While the gifts that Santa gives to kids are perishable, the gift of salvation that God gives through Jesus is everlasting. Here are some interesting facts about Jesus and the Bible:
  1. There are 332 prophecies in the Bible about Jesus Christ.
  2. These include his virgin birth, his birthplace, how he was wrapped as a baby (in a white cloth meant to wrap dead bodies – ‘Kafan’ in Urdu – because he came to die for us), his sinless life, the exact day of his entering Jerusalem riding on a donkey, his death on the Cross, burial in a rich man’s tomb, resurrection, ascension to Heaven and even his return for the battle at Armageddon.
  3. All of these have come true so far. His return is expected too, as all other prophecies till the present time have been fulfilled.
  4. The Bible contains 8,000 promises.
  5. 27% of the Bible is prophetic – meaning, that 27% (8,352) of all (31,124) its verses give a total of 1,817 prophecies, all of which have come true so far.
  6. The Bible predicted thousands of years ago that the nation of Israel would be re-established exactly on 14th May, 1948 and also that it would regain Jerusalem precisely in 1967.
  7. The principle of quarantine to prevent the spread of contagious diseases was discovered from the Bible.
  8. The Bible mentioned thousands of years ago, that the Earth is suspended in outer space – long before Columbus discovered this and Copernicus “formulated a heliocentric model of the universe which placed the Sun, rather than the Earth, at the center”!*
  9. The Bible mentioned thousands of years ago, that the stars in space are innumerable, even though this was discovered by Galileo only a few centuries ago. Until then, people used to believe that there were only a thousand odd stars in the universe!
  10. This same Bible says that all humans have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. But as we ourselves sinned, we cannot pay the price required for the forgiveness of our sins. If we die in our sins, God would have no option but to send us to hell for eternity, because he is a just God (perfect judge). So if we were to get to Heaven where God lives, someone had to pay the price on our behalf. As no one else was worthy, God sent His only begotten Son Jesus as a human being, letting him die on the Cross to pay our penalty and then God raised him from the dead back to life, 3 days later. He has not died since then – he is alive and in Heaven right now. He ascended to Heaven 40 days after his resurrection from the dead.
  11. God worked out this plan for our salvation because He is a just God, yet a loving God. He had to punish sin while leaving the way open for the sinner to be set free. And that salvation plan is found in Jesus.
  12. Jesus is the only person in history so far who has met all the criteria required for a sacrificial Saviour: first-born male, without sin or defect, sacrificed on the Jewish ‘Passover’ festival day (Good Friday)…
  13. The Bible also says that if you confess that you too have sinned, that you cannot save yourself and ask Jesus to save you, he will really save you (your spirit – atma – rooh). His blood will wash away your sin. All you need to do is pray a simple prayer for salvation with a true repentant heart, accepting him as your only Saviour and Lord. Click here to see what that prayer is.

* Source: Wikipedia

If you are to trust your family’s future into the hands of an insurance company, which one would you choose – one that does not have any record of honouring any claim, or one which has honoured a claim in the past – just as it had promised? Of course, the latter! Now if you are to trust your eternal destiny into the hands of someone, then into whose hands would you trust it? Someone who has never come as a human being and understood your pain? Someone who died and you have never heard of them after that? Or into the hands of someone who died, rose again from the dead and has not died again – and thereby fulfilled hundreds of prophecies and promises? Again, of course the latter! 

Well, my friend, the only real historical person who fits in that category is Jesus Christ. I am not trying to convert your religion. Christianity is not a religion. Jesus’ biggest enemies were the religious leaders of his day. It’s not a question of “my god is bigger than your god” – it’s a question of where you want to spend eternity. I urge you that you study the material I am linking to below, and thoughtfully consider praying the salvation prayer – knowing that you will be accountable before God for praying or not praying it. Jesus asked his followers only to preach the Gospel (Good News of forgiveness of sins and eternal life with God in Heaven – all for free!). He did not ask us to convert anybody.
So remember, God has given you a free volition. He has not given you the right to make the wrong choice, but He has given you the power to make the wrong choice or the correct choice. Just like how we have the power to abide by the law of the land or to break it, but we do not have the right to break it. So, then…
If you have doubts, rush to www.allaboutgod.com.
To learn more about the Bible, click here.
To pray the salvation prayer, click here.
God bless you…and have a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Blood of Jesus Vs. Poison of Serpent…and Jesus Wins!

“…and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

A European in Australia had immuned himself against the deadly Australian Tiger Snake’s poison. He thought he was immune to all types of snake venoms. One day a snake with another type of poison bit him and he died the following day. Such is the tragedy of many people. Even when it comes to sin, they think they are immune from its wages (consequences). But the Word of God shall not pass away (Matthew 24:35). They who sin shall surely die…unless they cleanse themselves with the antidote to the poison – the Blood of Jesus. The life of the flesh is in the blood. And the life given by the Spirit is because of the Blood…of Jesus Christ!
Just as snake venom can change human blood so that it is no longer life-sustaining; the blood of Jesus changes a sinner to a completely new creation through the working of the Holy Spirit. It gives eternal life to the one who accepts God’s plan for their salvation. Learn how
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Christian Persecuted: Have you ever been one?

“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.” – Matthew 5:11


A couple of months ago, I had been to my native state of Gujarat, where I became – sort of – a Christian persecuted. I gave some gospel tracts to Hindus. Their response wasn’t bad on my face. But when I came back to my hometown, I learned that there was a small verbal fight over the issue. I had given one tract to my relative’s maid. First she asked for our pastor’s phone number saying she wanted prayer. The next day though, her husband came and fought with my relatives. In fact, another relative of mine took my evangelism negatively and said that they could inform the police and get me arrested for trying to convert people’s religion! A brother-in-Christ later advised me that on every tract, you should print words like “We are not trying to convert your religion. Jesus did not come to (start or) establish a religion. Whether to believe in this message or not is your decision.”

Of course, Jesus says in the Bible that people would hate his followers. But what I found surprising was that this actually happens here in India even though we are a secular country. We aren’t theocratic – Hindu like Nepal or Islamic like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia etc.

A missionary pastor later advised me to abstain from handing out gospel tracts in that state as people there think differently than people in my hometown. Missionary pastors really have it tough and often risk death when, ironically, they are really trying to set people free from the clutches of sin, sickness, death etc.

It would be interesting to learn if you have ever been a Christian persecuted for preaching the gospel (even soft persecution – like just handing out tracts or praying for people…). Share your experiences in the comments here. God bless you!

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

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What is Good Friday?

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” – Luke 23:34
Today is Good Friday. Many people feel that it is a day of mourning. Actually, it is a day of rejoicing. It is the reason why Jesus Christ came into this world – to pay the penalty for every human being’s sins by dying on a wooden Cross. And as he had predicted, he rose back to life on the 3rd day – or after 3 days. Anyone who believes in this, repents of their sins and turns their life over into Jesus’ hands will be saved. That is a promise from God – one of the nearly 8,000 promises in the Bible.
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Led by the Spirit of God

“Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” – Hebrews 13:7
I remember those who led me to the Lord Jesus Christ. I got saved through a website www.demonbuster.com. Although I do not agree with some of their teachings on spiritual warfare, God used that website to plant the seed of His Word in me. I was hungry so I ate up that seed and by His grace and through the power of His Spirit, the seed is bearing fruit.
There have been several others who have led me along the Way. Heb 13:7 exhorts us to imitate their faith. Praise God for the solid faith of that uncle (I will keep all the names anonymous) who had lost an eye and has been on dialysis for the last few years. The devil has not succeeded in shaking his faith in God, despite the afflictions. Recently, this uncle’s doctor asked him to give a speech to about 60-70 people in the hospital where he regularly goes for dialysis. Uncle got up and shared the Gospel with them. Looks like he has decided to glorify the LORD come what may! By all means, physical fitness is necessary and you should aim for it/preserve it; but what good is it if you are not fit enough to preach the Gospel? This uncle truly gives God a ‘Sacrifice of Praise’.
There is another brother who has interceded for me quite a lot. He has seen countless miracles as a result of his faith in the Living God. His church’s managing committee once asked him whether he had a first class pass to commute in Mumbai’s suburban trains. He said he didn’t. They asked him to get one, but he refused. He said “the money that pays for my pass is the blood of the saints – they work hard and live out the Word of God. I cannot squander their hard-earned money to commute in comfort.” He often goes on house visitations in various parts of Mumbai. Mumbai is one of the largest and most populous cities in the world with a reasonably good but grossly inadequate mass transport system. A local train that is supposed to carry only 1,200 commuters carries 5,000! And to travel this way in 35 degrees Celsius with 80% relative humidity – not an easy task. But this soldier of God chooses the narrow, thorny road as Jesus his Master and Leader is with him wherever he goes (Joshua 1:9). He lives out the verse “I can do all things through Jesus who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
My local pastor graduated from Bible College at Baltimore, Maryland. He prayed about God’s call on his life and felt the Spirit tell him He wanted him to come back to India – God had a job for him here. He confirmed this with his pastor who prayed about it and felt the same. My pastor has now completed almost 20 years of ministry in India. It’s not easy – he’s been put in prison once for preaching the Gospel (though Christian evangelism is perfectly legal in India) – in the same Indian state where an Australian missionary was martyred many years ago. He’s had a tough job. Life would probably have been much less challenging had he stayed in the comforts of the US. But thanks be to God that he brought him back to India, as our church now has almost two dozen branches all over India and about seven in Nepal!
Why do you think some people seem to be able to overcome all odds? It’s not only because they have faith in Jesus. It’s because they have the faith OF Jesus!
I thank God for exhorting me to imitate the faith of those who have led me spiritually in one way or another. My real Leader is the Spirit of Jesus Christ, who leads me and guides me into all Truth. (John 16:13) Amen.
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Is Healing in the Atonement?

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. – 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20

Today I want to start a series on one of the most controversial topics in the Church – whether or not healing is in the atonement of Christ. To start with, re-look the above verses and study them. In fact, from my study of the Bible (and indeed of life) so far, I have come to the conclusion that healing is in the atonement. Let me explain why I think so…

Note: This is not a discussion about whether or not the gifts of the Holy Spirit are still in operation. This series deals primarily with whether bodily and soul-level healing are the (new) birth right of every born again child of God.

We have been bought with a price. The first part of this verse says that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. By all accounts, it means our physical body and not the Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit is in us – God gave Him to us. So we do not belong to ourselves. We are purchased with a price. If our body were not purchased with a price, how could it be God’s property? It would still have to be Satan’s property or our own. But it is God’s property. Next point… If the body is the temple, can sickness dwell in the house of God? Jesus said:

“It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ” Matthew 21:13

So clearly, sickness (symbolic thief) does not have a right to dwell in the temple of God. What should you do if you spot a thief where he should not be? Evict him, or call the police and throw (cast) him out. Well, then, if there is sickness in the body or mind of a born again Christian, it needs to be thrown out in the name of Jesus Christ or have the police (pastor, elders etc.) cast it out through prayer and/or commands, again in Jesus’ name.

And if you think sickness – a state of ‘less than perfect, divine health’ – can legally be in a believer’s body (other than as a result of sin), it means imperfections can be tolerated in the house of God. Then even a handicapped lamb (or a sinful Jesus) could be offered as a sacrifice in the temple. Then the very basis of our Christian faith would be voided! People would say, “Why get cleansed of sin – you would anyway make it to heaven!” So if you believe that bodily healing is not in the atonement, do you know what it implies?

Ahead in the series, we will look at other sensitive issues like:

  • Does God sometimes allow sickness to come upon believers for His glory?
  • If Jesus is not the answer to our sicknesses (that is, if Jesus is not enough to heal us), should we worship another ‘god’ to get healed?
  • Is sickness totally unconnected to sin (despite being the result of sin)?
  • Are medicines to be avoided if you believe in diving healing (consult your doctor!)?

What has been your experience? What do you think? And what do you think the Bible says? Keep visiting this site. I would love to hear from you!

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