Archive for August, 2007

Let us wisely utilize our privileges.

August 21, 2007

 by Philip Verghese ‘Ariel’ 

A famous Hindu pilgrim centre in Andhra Pradesh, The Tirupathi temple, (one of the highest pilgrim gathering places in the world) is in the news again. The film actor Amitha Bachen and his family get a special treatment from the temple authorities whenever he visits this temple.  In the recent incident, after his son’s marriage the family members visited the temple with the newly married couple. For giving them special facility the authorities kept aside thousands of other devotees in dark. position.  The old people, women and children all waited in the hot sun for hours together for their turn.  The devotees agitated over the issue and there was a big commotion in the premises.   The temple authorities recently made many changes for the devotees visit.  Earlier the devotees are allowed to go very close to the deity and have darshan, but now for the security reason they made the distance to a 30 feet far. They have to be satisfied with that far vision of the idol.   But here too the VIPs and VVIPs have some special consideration.   Another temple in South, in Kerala, the famous Sabarimala Temple also was in the news recently in connection with the entry of women in the temple.  The women devotees are not permitted to enter into this temple. A women devotee (that too a film actress) entered the temple in disguise a few years back and now the issue is raised up by someone and a big controversy is going on.   Another important thing is that the devotees are allowed to enter in this temple ones in a year. The main gate of sanctum sanctorum opened ones in a year.  Yet another temple in Kerala, The Guruvaayoor temple also was in the news recently.  After the thread ceremony of the grand son of a Union Minister the temple poojari (priest) did a shudhikalasam/Punyaham (purification ceremony).   The reason is that the minister’s wife was a Christian.  Non Hindus are prohibited to enter into this temple.   This becomes a big issue.  Humiliated by this incident the minister’s family filed a case against the Poojari and the temple authorities for the ill treatment meted out to the minister’s family.  What a tragic and sad situation the devotees of other gods’ face. These incidents are classic examples to their sufferings.   One God will not allow women devotees, another one shows partiality towards their devotees.   But how privileged we are as believers’ in Christ.   Our God, who is true and living never, shows partiality. Rich or poor, VIP or non-VIP, men or women all are equal before Him.  His believers have the full access to approach Him at any time.   He the creator of this universe is always available to His devotees. What a wonderful God is our God.  But the problem is that, we are not availing or utilizing this great privilege.   It is our fault, not using the opportunity and looses the blessings Our Lord himself urges and taught His disciples the need or necessity of prayer. He said in Matthew chapter 6   Pray, then, in this way: The famous prayer pattern of our Lord, which we can read in the following verses.   (vv.9-13) Jesus taught His disciples to pray this way; it definitely shows prayer is needed and necessary. One should submit his needs before the Lord.  Yes, we are His children, like a child we can go to His presence he loves to hear our voices.  It pleases His heart.  We can boldly go to His presence and submit our needs before Him, whereas others can’t.  They go to their gods with fear and trembling.  Our prayer to our God gives us an added advantage and assurance that we are not alone, He is with us, and we are His. Even though sometimes we face trials and temptations, it is in His presence we get comfort and consolation. In Psalm 23 we read like this “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I fear no evil; for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me”. (v.4).   We believers have this peace with him.  When crisis comes, we feel dejected and depressed. In such situation praising God is a bit difficult task.  But it is possible. When the Holy Spirit over rules our hearts it will be an easy task. Even in difficulties we can rejoice in the Lord and praise God.   Paul and Silas are a good example to this.  Prison situations, as we all know not a pleasant one.  But in such situation they rejoiced in singing praises to God. (Act.16:25)  From such an unpleasant atmosphere Paul wrote some of his wonderful consoling epistles.   He wrote to the Church at Ephesus.  “Always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father. (Eph.5:20).  Again in another prison epistle he wrote to the church at Philippi: “Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say rejoice.” (Phil. 4:4).  Only a spirit filled and spirit guided person can write such thoughts. The Devil our adversary loves and encourages us not to give thanks to God especially when things are moving in a bad way or in an opposite direction.   But only the believers can face such situation boldly.  Holy Spirit will empower us and guide us in such moment and helps us to go to His presence with our pressing needs. Nowhere have we get comforts except in His presence.   Yes, only we, the believers have this wonderful privilege.  For giving such an unfathomable privilege we must always give thanks to Him.  Few of the many privileges we enjoy in Christ Jesus are:

  • Any time we believers can approach our God with our needs.
  • We have the privilege of growing in His presence.  The greatest of all gifts the wonderful Word of God—The Bible—is in our possession which nobody else have except the believers.   It gives us the comforting words every movement of our life, but we hesitate to utilize it for our peril.
  • We are the only people who got the full assurance of Salvation which our God prepared for the world.
  • We have the Holy Spirit indwells in us.  It helps us to live a victorious Christian life on this earth.

Now we have to decide it for ourselves.  Are we utilizing these great privileges for the utmost satisfaction of our Lord? Or are we neglecting it, and missing the opportunity God has given us? Yes, we are answerable to these questions.  Let us not grieve the Holy Spirit. Mahatma Gandhi was once asked by a missionary.  “What is the great hindrance to Christianity in India? Pat gave the answer, “The Christians” Dear brothers and sisters please think about this answer seriously, is it not true in many cases?  The other day a prominent Christian leader of  Andhra Pradesh who holds many responsible positions in Christian circles, while speaking to a special audience he said, “Present day, even in churches the leaders, Bishops, Pastors, Evangelists and Elders are at loggerheads for some unforeseen reasons”.  Yes how true it is, we can see a cold war going on in between these Christians.   What a tragic situation we Christians face in our community?   How can we lead a victorious Christian life?  The time is up.  Let us grow in the knowledge of our Lord.   Let us have His mind in us that is the only solution to all such problems.  Let us pray for a total and great transformation even among us.  Let’s wisely utilize these golden privileges which we posses. Let us draw near to Him and He will draw near to you. (James. 4:8) May God help us. END

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LAUNCH OUT INTO THE DEEP AND LET DOWN YOUR NETS

August 10, 2007

                                                                           by. Philip Verghese ‘Ariel’  

 Are you willing to “Go and tell”?  Perhaps it’s “Go and tell your next door neighbour”, or someone at work or maybe even someone who lives halfway around the world.  Whatever the case, obedience to the Lord is the only way to handle your fears.    When we trust and obey, God has a way of taking care of our fears.  Our orders are clear:  GO AND TELL!

                                                             Dr. Woodrow Kroll

  I had the opportunity to talk to a brother who had left his high paying job in the Gulf to serve the Lord. He said that God had exercised his heart to serve in a place where there was no church; to serve as a personal evangelist and not as a convention speaker, also not to be part of any organization in any capacity.  In association with certain like-minded dear brothers, this brother was able within a short time to start an assembly of 20 believers in a thickly populated nominal Christian locality.   Further there was another brother now with him also working as a full time evangelist.  On hearing this, I felt that this was a good example to follow. My thoughts went to Mathew 4.:18-22.   The Lord was walking beside the Sea of Galilee. He talked to the two brothers and led them to be fishers of men. In the work of evangelizing and catching fish we need to go to the fish. The fish will not come to us. There is a lot of skill needed to catch certain kinds of fishes. Sometimes they can slip off from our nets, but repeated efforts can bring them in. Is this not the same approach that we can use in  evangelization too? Often we cast big nets like gospel crusades, campaigns, conventions etc. with the end result that not a single fish has come  into the net, in spite of great efforts behind it. I feel sorry for such fruitless activities. The first generation believers had learned the basic lessons of fishing. They knew that when the net is cast in the deep waters they could get a big catch.  By being on the shore they could not cast the net in deep waters. There is some amount of hardship to get into the water. Today there are some, fishing by just being on the shore. But the truth is that not a single fish will get into the net. In order to evangelize an Ethiopian eunuch, Philip traveled miles through a long stretch of road to Gaza which is south of Jerusalem. That incident was instrumental for the gospel to reach Africa. We are familiar with the way Paul and his co-workers went to interior parts of the Roman Empire, enduring hardship, to make many the citizens of heaven. It is evident in the Bible that many came to Jesus by personal evangelization.  Today, the number of those fishing from the shore are increasing. Because of that, they are not serving any useful purpose. If the approach is taken to go where the fish is, then there could be a good catch. Many look on certain people as untouchable and follow a certain social status in gospel work. It is high time that such attitudes have to be changed. Dearly beloved we need to see others in the manner that the Lord saw them, especially our brothers. Then only can we have the peace, joy and the expected results as the Lord promised. May the Lord so help us in the coming days.END

The writer is a freelance writer, he can be contacted at: pvariel@gmail.com)                  

THESE MEN HAD BEEN WITH JESUS

August 10, 2007

                                 BY.   PHILIP VERGHESE ‘ARIEL’ 

 The people who were astonished by the courage of Peter and John when they  preached the gospel were no ordinary men. They were, rulers, elders and teachers  of the law. They were astonished because they realized that Peter and John were  uneducated and untrained ordinary men . [Act 4:1-13].  Verse 13, says, Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived  that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled.  And they realized  that “they had been with JESUS.”  Can the same be said of us who are redeemed by the precious blood of the Lord  Jesus Christ.  If not, it is good to examine ourselves in the light of these words.  Are our lives and actions like the ones seen in the Apostles. If this is not so, then  others will see us as the enemies of God or under Satan. Let is not forget that  “friendship with the world is hatred towards God”. We need to consider that today  there is a great desire to love the world and the things in the world.  It is so obvious that a great majority of believers have a very superficial brotherly  love. Have we not become selfish, boasters, self-willed, not displaying unity of  heart and mind?  There is no doubt that Satan takes the advantage in such  situations. The main reason for our failures is that we have forgotten that Satan is roaming about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. If this thought were there we would have been more alert in our lives and Satan would have  success.                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Satan Satan       cannot do much with a nominal Christian. However we need to note that Satan can                                                       

create great havoc with born again Christians who want to serve the Lord in a big way. He is on the lookout for such people.     Many of God’s servants have fallen to Satan’s  tactics and that is a warning to us.  If we seriously consider this and take care then we  would be able to defeat Satan; the powerful enemy who even tried to deceive our Lord  Jesus Christ. If we live pleasing to the Lord, others would testify that these people were with Jesus.  As we see the evidences for the coming of our Lord, may we live a worthy life which is  pleasing to our LORD  and look forward for his coming.END     

(The writer can be contacted at:pvariel@gmail.com)                   

LET’S NOT DESPISE THE WORD OF GOD

August 6, 2007

  by. Philip Verghese ‘Ariel’ 

We live in a world, which is subject to changes.  Every moment changes are taking place.    What we see now disappears the next moment. Those who are in high places today are unceremoniously removed from there tomorrow. But in this transitory world, there remains one thing immovable. That is the Holy Bible, which we possess.   But to our own shame and sorrow, we see almost everywhere an increasing tendency to belittle this priceless treasure—The Bible This book contains the gracious words of Lord Jesus Christ, we should meditate it day and night. The first Psalm begins with the word ‘Blessed’. One godly man had described it as an introduction to Psalms, which he called God’s hymnbook. Whenever we hear the word ‘Blessed’ the thought that comes immediately to our mind is of ‘person who is perfect and self sufficient, having all things and is in need of nothing’.  But in the Holy writ, this word is used in an entirely different connotation (context).   It is used in relation to the word of God. In the Psalms and the gospels the word “blessed” with the same context is recorded several times. It is further clarified in Revelation 1:3. Many Old Testament saints, from Abraham are called “blessed” in the Holy Scriptures. But we, the believers are a congregation of blessed men and women, who are elevated to the height and pinnacle of it. Yea, we are a blessed people.       This truth was made clear by the apostle Paul, while writing to the Ephesians (1:3; 2:7). A picture of our highly exalted position today can be viewed there.   The entire joy of the blessed man in Psalm 1 is centered in the law of the Lord. He rejoices in God’s word as a man who happened to find a great booty (Psalm 119:162). It is a matter of great importance for us to know what the source and object of our joy is. Is it in the pleasures of the world? If so, it is only momentary. It is a joyful experience to find delight in God and His Word day and night. Such a man is compared to “a tree by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth its fruit in the right season; its leaf also shall not wither”. The benefits we receive from a tree are many. It has been estimated that a palm tree is useful to man in more than 250 things. It is also estimated that an ordinary tree inhales approximately 14000 liters of carbon dioxide, and exhales double the quantity of oxygen for human survival.   Just as a tree renders selfless service, a godly man is obliged also to serve selflessly.Let us labour without any desire for benefits; God is the rewarder. The root of such shall be established in the word of God. They receive nourishment from it for growth and maturity. That will also cause blessings to many. Let us  receive strength by being rooted in Christ and His word, like the tree planted by the riverside. Those who are not so shall disappear like the chaff driven away by the wind (1:4). Their way leads to destruction.   We will reflect the divine nature by our constant communion with the word of God. Separation from the world is inevitable to receive blessings from God. At the same time, without their co-operation our lives will be miserable, as long as we are in the world.    However, it is absolutely possible for us  to live a life without absorbing the impurities of this world.  How bitter were the consequences of being carried away into the world for Peter. He reached a stage where he had to deny his beloved Master. Peter who “followed afar off”, ended up sitting with them to warm himself. To be carried away into the world is a gradual process.   Another example before us is Lot. He was attracted to this world by its greenery, and ended up most miserably.  Believers should keep themselves away from the world. What is meant by ‘the world’ ? Whatever comes, as an obstruction between God and us is the “world.” It may differ from person to person. To some, it may be their fortune, job, children, and family relationships and so on.   In a world subject to changes, many storms and waves may lash against the boat of our lives. If the Lord is in the boat, we have no reason to fear. Let us grant priority to the Lord and His words. Let’s not despise it.  Let us make sure that the Lord is in the boat. May the Lord help us

(The writer is a freelance writer and an Associate Editor of a Christian monthly ‘Confident Living” He can be contacted at: pvariel@gmail.com  Cell. 09866396738 ).

Our Existence Depends on Trees.

August 6, 2007

by. Philip Verghese ‘ Ariel’ 

We celebrated yet another environment day on June 5, with lot of fervor and activities. News papers the world over published environment related articles and photographs. Some of the articles were so informative and educative.  To put some extra caution, about the coming peril, the alarming global warming, I alerted my friends and relatives about the contents in some of the news papers on this serious issue. That information was really a timely alert and reminder to all.  If the present life style continues, no doubt we will be caught up in this peril. Its upsetting news that cars, aircrafts, air conditioners, bulbs etc… And the way of life that causes the global warming. If we go at this rate the level increases and it will definitely be a great threat to the earth’s species as well as human. Another report says that “the world has just 10 years to reverse surging greenhouse gas emissions or risk runaway climate change that could make many part of the planet uninhabitable.” This is a great warning from the scientist world.  They conclude that unless mankind rapidly stabilizes green house gas emissions and start reducing them, it will have little chance of keeping global warming within manageable limits.   The result could be a great destruction.  The present alarming high rate of oil addiction is a great threat.    It is high time that we need to think seriously for a Great New Deal, that we must start the action needed to reduce green house gas emission before we end up in disaster.  We have to seriously consider our present way of functioning and to do something solid to curtail the global warming.   The special issue brought out many solutions which all of us can follow in a measure. The trees are an integral part of human race.  The benefits we receive from a tree are many.   It has been estimated that a palm tree is useful to man in more than 250 things.  It is also estimated that an ordinary tree inhales approximately 14,000 liters of carbon dioxide, and exhales double the quantity of oxygen for human consumption and survival.   Sad to say, these days even the civic authorities are cutting down trees in the name of development.  But unfortunately, many do not know the consequences they are causing due to their negligent activities.   The massacre of trees means putting an axe to the very existence of human race.  No doubt, the continuous felling of trees will cause irreparable damage to the already perishing flora and fauna of our country.   The need of the hour is to carefully plan and felling of trees.  The truth is that it is more profitable to leave a tree standing than fell it.   A recent study says that there is a direct loss of over Rupees fifty thousand per year for each tree that is cut.  It is estimated that one tree yields oxygen worth thirty thousand rupees.   If we fell trees at the current alarming rate, soon we need to install oxygen manufacturing units in every corner of the country, especially in the urban area which would cost a very high price that no government can afford.   Tree absorb water from the ground, and then through transpiration, transmit this water to air as water vapour.  Thus, they help maintain the atmospheric equilibrium.   Another rupees ten thousand will be spent per tree on the other miscellaneous functions a tree performs preventing soil erosion, providing shade food, fruit and of course, fuel (provided by the dead branches and manure made of decomposed leaves).   In short, the cost of replacing a single felled tree proves very expensive indeed! Just calculate the price of the several thousands of trees all over the world. Let us have a look at the religious texts in this connection.  In the Book of Genesis (the first book of the Bible) after the creation of man, Lord God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”. (Genesis 1:28-29).   “He planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:8-9).  The tree and its existence was part and parcel of human race from the very beginning.   It was so closely connected with human beings.  In the Bhagavath Gita, it is mentioned that “A tree’s leaves, flowers, fruits, shades, roots, skin wood, pulp even the charcoal, everything it gives to the human for their use.   In short whatever they have they gave it for others and they live a selfless life.  How precious and satisfied are their lives”. In the Padmapuranam we read, “The one who plant a tree on the wayside is a blessed man.   He receives the blessings from heaven as long as it bears flowers, leaves and fruits”. Poet Kabir wrote “Trees’ lives a sacrificial life, the soul body and everything they have they gives to others with a sacrificial mind.   They are the real munificent, they are the great benevolence.  The one who do service to such trees they receives God’s blessings”. President Roosevelt said, “How sad it will be a childless life.  A nation without enough trees and greeneries are also like a childless couple.
Pandit Nehru said, “Planting plants and trees and meeting its needs shows a nation’s welfare and wealthiness”.
 Goutam Buddha said, “Trees are the best examples of selfless service.  For their existence they never demand anything from anybody, instead they provide many good things for the welfare of the people.   Even the person who put his axe on its bottom, it gives them shadow till its fall. Another famous Malayalam poet wrote:  “The one who pour water with a loving heart to the Banyan plant,When it grows it gives shadow to everyone who passes by”. Let the people who mercilessly cut the tree make note that the great danger they are causing, and let them plant yet another sapling in place.   Planting of sapling through school and college level will make a big difference to this serious threat.  Let us make awareness programs in school and university levels. END

 (The writer is a freelance writer based in Secunderabad.  He can be contacted at: pvariel@gmail.com or 09866396738)  

August 6, 2007

Pope’s unfounded claim

by Philip Verghese ‘Ariel’ 
Pope Benedict’s recent remark “Only Catholic church is supreme” made an astounding reading. The controversial Pope’s statement from the portals of the
Vatican stirred yet another controversy. The latest got a swift criticism from the protestant community and unleashed a fresh debate.   Though the church history is well written by the historians at different intervals, those writings do not give an undisputed picture, many had some assumptions which they spoke about, others created different kinds of legends out of them.   Many gullible believers blindly followed and believed it as facts. It is also obvious that the Catholic oriented writings are totally different from the protestant writers.   So it is necessary to compare these creations with the original.  The book of Acts and the epistles written by the apostles of the New Testament gives a clear history of the early church.   The apostles were men who received the instructions directly from the Lord and by His commission gave unto the world what they had received from Him. Through them, the New Testament church has received the pure, infallible Word of God, which alone carries His seal.   Paul was called out in a supernatural way, chosen to be a special tool and was placed with the apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ.   Since he received the instructions directly from the Lord he could boldly make the statement, “For I have received of the Lord which I also delivered unto you…”  (I Corinthians 11:23).  He is the one who wrote the majority of all the epistles, exactly 100 chapters with 2,325 verses, whereas Peter has written only 8 chapters with 166 verses.   Paul had received the gospel in the same way as the prophets have received the Word by divine revelation, He says this in Galatians chapter 1: 11-12 .—”For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man” Therefore, he had to give the admonition which goes right through the bones, “But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a  gospel contrary to  that which you received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8).   Whatever does not agree with the original gospel preached by the original apostles is under a curse.  If we look at it like this we are facing the fact that there exists a Christianity falsified and under a curse.     The Catholic Church began about 1600 years ago and not approximately 2000 years ago as some believe. The original or early church was supernaturally founded by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.   Acts chapter 2 gives a clear picture on this. The original church consisted of men and women who truly had an experience with God.  Those who believed and were baptized in water were also in a supernatural way baptized with the Holy Spirit as members into the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:13).   In the original church there were no dignitaries but were only men of God who were called by the highest calling. In dignity they served the Lord and His people under the leading and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.   early church did not know about the priests or any clergy taking an office, but the whole body of the redeemed, those who were born again, together formed the holy priesthood and the holy people of God (I Peter 2:9, Revelation 1:6).   The leaders or the elders of the sovereign local churches had their responsibilities. Those among them who took leadership were called bishops or overseers, and they had to be married (I Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1: 5-8).   There was also a local assembly (church) with more than one elder, with at least two leading elders in a local assembly (Philippians 1:1). This harmonizes with James 5:14 it says, ‘if somebody gets sick he should call the elders of the church to pray for him’.  Paul and Barnabas were received in Jerusalem by the assembly, the apostles and the elders (Acts. 15:4).   To take care of practical things connected to a local church there were also deacons, and they had to be married as well (I Timothy 3:8-18) It was necessary for the bishops and the deacons to be married to understand and to counsel in a practical way from their own experience belonging to the local church and having family problems and so forth. In the original church, this divine order was in existence.  The New Testament church did not know the office of a bishop as it is being practiced in some of the Churches today.  The body of believers make up the House of God which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth (I Timothy 3:15).  Private interpretation or false teachings are not permitted in the early church.  The true church is God’s habituation on earth and through it His will is being done as in heaven and so on earth.   Nowhere is a pope spoken of in the Holy Scriptures nor is therein mentioned of a successor of Peter, neither a vicar of Christ nor of any apostolic succession. Of course some terminologies are being used by catholic church, like “baptism”, “Lord’s Supper”, “repentance” etc., but they mean something else and they are being administered and practiced in a totally different way to what they were in the early church.    In short, this Church has never exhibited the nature of Christ nor has it ever represented the life of the early church.    Even the reading of the Bible was forbidden and those who did were punished.   It is shocking that especially Jews and Bible believing Christians were persecuted and burned by this church with their Bible. How such a church and its leader (pope) can claim  ‘Only Catholic church is supreme’   it is time that Pope should ones again read the Church history as well as the Bible very carefully before making such unfounded statement or claim. (The writer is a freelance writer based in Hyderabad)  

LET US WISELY UTILIZE OUR PRIVILEGES

August 5, 2007

Philipscom’s Weblog › Create New Post — WordPress

August 5, 2007

Philipscom’s Weblog › Create New Post — WordPress