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Category Archives: Christian life

Changing Name to Follow Christ

Question Text: There is a recent convert to Christ out of Islam and he feels that he needs to change his name and I am urging him not to. He lives in Yemen and I feel it would put his life in danger and I feel that he can be a testimony for the Lord with a Muslim name. Can you give me some advice to share with him, please. Thanks, Ralph

 
   

Answer Text:  It is true that God has changed the names of a few people in the Bible.  Notable ones are Abraham and Jacob in the Old Testament and Peter in the New Testament.  But if we were to look at the names of the New Testament, majority of them, yes indeed,  very few ever changed their own names,  I can give you dozens of examples of pure Greek and Roman names which have no religious significance at all.  For example the name Philip  means ‘lover of horse’.  Luke means light etc.  Please look through all the NT names and you will hardly find any one who changed their names.  God changed the names of a few only and the number of those whose names were changed could be easily counted on fingers while numerous names are found in the NT.  So God does not require a name change if some one was to follow Christ.  Look at it this way.  Some one with a Muslim name can go as a Muslim and be accepted as such in the society.  And it gives an opportunity for him to witness personally to all who will come into contact with him.  But if he changes his name and accepts a  so-called Christian name (remember that there are no christian names.  They were either Jewish, Greek or Roman names of people who followed Christ), he is likely to be isolated from society and some times he is in the danger of getting killed for openly challenging their age old tradition.    Our Lord taught us that a little leaven leavens the whole lump and we all know that leaven does not remain isolated in the lump to perform its function.  Again, we are the salt of the earth.  As long as salt remains isolated it can not savor food.  May your friend see this truth and may he continue to be known by his original name as name is not what makes a person a Christian but his faith and His inner character.  God bless.

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Posted by on April 13, 2010 in Christian life

 

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Brahmin Wanting To Be Christian.

Question Text “|: I am born a Hindu (Brahmin). My family is a staunch Hindu one.   Unfortunately, Hinduism has rampant caste system, in which our families believe. There are several (I mean hundreds) blind practices our families follow, and we are not allowed to question them! They expect us to follow these traditions and practices (including severe forms of untouchability, casteism, hypocrisy, so on) very obediently.  I am very frustrated by such a religion. Just because we were born into it doesn`t mean we need to be in such a dark religion life long! This is where we need your help sir. All of a sudden, I felt being called by Jesus. I started reading more and more about Him, till I realized He has to be my Lord. His forgiveness, His love, His life – all these attracted me to Him. After several months of reflectioion,  I am convinced that I  should follow Jesus. The problem is I have none to guide me. It looks like I am alone in this journey. In particular, I am drawn to Protestantism. Can you please guide me  in whatever way you think will help me? What all should I do in this transformation? 

I have some specific questions too: 1. I will be staying with my parents (who are staunch Hindus) for 1 year. So in this 1 year, I cannot take any `visible` steps towards Christianity. I really want to be a Christian, and be proud about it. And I don`t want to hurt my family. If I tell them about my becoming a Christian, they will disown me and get deeply hurt. I am so confused about how to manage this situation. And right now, is there anything I can do without getting baptized? I am not a scripture oriented person. I just want to lead my life as Jesus taught. Can you please suggest me a simple lifestyle till I get baptized? 2. I want to know why there are denominations within Christianity and specifically in Protestantism. 3. There is a Protestant Church in our city (Bangalore, India) that I have been to once. Since I am Hindu now, I feel somewhat weird and a little scared as to how the Pastor and others may feel and react. Is it normal? And what should be my first step towards becoming Christian? 4. How should I pray to Jesus?  I don`t have His photo. Is that required? What is the `method` to pray to Him? 5. Should I change my name on baptism?

Answer Text:  

I am so glad to meet you with your questions.  May the Lord guide you in your desire to be His follower.Before answering your queries, let me just give you a link from where you can read about Anand Mahadevan, Business Editor of Outlook India. Anand published his testimony in the opinion column of their magazine and publicly declared that he is a follower of Christ for the last 15 years, though he was born and brought up in a staunch Brahmin family. This he published at the time when riots were taking place in Orissa last year reconverting Christians into Hinduism. http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?238770  . For some reason if you can not open that link, this article is published in Oct.27,2008 issue of Outlook India. It is a must read for you.

Now let me try to answer your questions from No.5-1. Your fifth question was whether you should change your name at baptism. If you have been able to read Anand by now, you would have learnt that he not only did NOT change his name, he did NOT throw away any of the cultural traits which was NOT against the Bible. The Bible does NOT require you to change any thing except your heart. In fact, the Bible asks you to continue in the social and cultural stream where you were at the time of accepting Christ. `Each of you should remain as you were when you accepted God`s call` (1Co 7:20). One of the reasons why Christian faith did NOT impact the high castes of India is that the early missionaries did not remove the offence of the gospel as they preached Christ here. The impression that high caste Indians got was that one should become meat eaters and wine drinkers to become followers of Christ!!  What a tragedy!! I wish you would remain a Brhmin as far as your food habits and other habits which do not go against the gospel. So, please do NOT think of a new name for yourself or a new way of eating or dressing to follow Christ. NO!!

 Now, in your fourth question you asked about praying to Jesus. There is absolutely NO formality at all when it comes to praying to Jesus. Prayer is talking to God. If you want to talk to your friends, you go near or get connected. Like that, if you want to talk to God, go to a quiet place and get connected to Him. The amazing thing is that God has already spoken to us and it is found in the Bible. So when you want to talk to God, first listen to what He has to say by reading the Bible. As you read the Bible desire in your heart to hear the voice of God and tell Him, ` O God, speak to me`. When He speaks to you as you read the Bible, be prepared to do what He says. Then you can open your heart and tell Him every thing as you tell your friend. God`s years are open to our prayers any time. And the first thing we need to get from God is His forgiveness and then invite Jesus to come and live within your heart so that He will live within you.. So, why don’t you go to http://www.4stepstogod.com and pray that prayer at the end of the page from your heart and God will forgive you and Jesus will come to live within your heart. That will get you connected to God through Christ. Now you need to live a thankful life to God and from then on God’s ears will be open to you to listen to all your prayers. You need to pray at least twice daily spending a minimum of half hour each in secret.

Then you asked about the photo of Jesus. We really do NOT have the photo of Jesus. What is circulated as Jesus photo is just imaginary drawing which comes from the middle ages. It is a Catholic invention. Now, I have never seen you. If I draw a face and circulate among friends saying that it is you, how pleased will you be? You would think I am mad. Will you not? Jesus may be thinking the same about those who circulate a picture saying it is His photo. PLEASE HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.

Your third question is about how Christians react to others coming to church. One of my close friends is Dr. Namboodripad who is a Brahmin convert now in Chennai. He said he walked into a church once just because on the name board it said, `All are welcome`. Though it may not be found written out on the name boards of many churches, the attitude really is the same towards any one who comes to them. So feel absolutely free as you walk in next time. In some churches, strangers are warmly welcomed. Tragically in some churches strangers are ignored. I do not  know what your experience was when you went in once. Try not to choose a large congregation because you get lost in the crowd.  If it is a small Bible lovers’ group, you really get a family atmosphere there and you can get people to pray for you personally which will be one of the greatest assets in your life.

Now, your second question is a very important one about denominations among Christians. Well, I would put it bluntly like this. Christianity is a living organism. New branches are bound to come when the old become lifeless and useless. I think, you got the point. The Bible is our ultimate authority as it is God`s Unchanging Word to man. As days went by, as Christianity became an organized religion when the Roman Emperor Constantine accepted faith with out real repentance in his life, Christianity began to become corrupted. You and I know that Vedic Hinduism has nothing to do with present day practicing Hinduism. But when that happens in Christianity, God raises new people who will go back to the Bible to rediscover its truths. Unfortunately some among Protestants too have grouped themselves under human heads and headquarters with diocese and bishops which are NOT found in the Bible. The NT pattern of church life is NEVER an organized religion. There are several NT patterned churches/assemblies in India and in Bangalore as well. You need to choose one that you think is doing maximum justice to the Bible.

Now, for your first question, I am so excited that you found Christ to be a unique person. In the next one year when you stay with your parents, do every thing possible to get to know the Bible and the truth of the gospel. Baptism is the final step when you publicly declare your faith. Once you do that, it should be a life time commitment. Even death or severest persecution should NOT deter you from your decision. So before you accept baptism, make doubly sure that this is the faith you want to follow till your death. Read your Bible and pray in secret every day. Remain in close contact with the Lord and now that internet facility is there, you can be in link with many practicing believers like you. Meet me in my personal website which is on prayer. www.mathewpaul.org/2008/10/21.beief-testimony  . I do an online Bible study every day at 11 am (IST) and on Thursdays at 8 pm also at http://www.looktojesus.com/chat/study.php?study=4  .  I shall be very happy to be in touch with you and guide you in every step of the way for His glory. God bless.

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2009 in Christian life

 

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The Bible on Obedience

Question Text :  What does God say about obedience?

Answer Text :  One of the dictionary definitions of obedience is `humble respect`. God expects man to pay humble respect to all His laws. In fact, the very first sin of humanity was disobedience to the command of God. The word `sin` is a totally misunderstood term. When the Bible says all men are sinners, many are offended at that. When one realizes that the word `sin` in the Bible is a technical term and that it has special meaning attached to it in the Bible, the problem is somewhat solved. For example, the words `bug` and `virus` in a computer textbook are technical terms and they have special meanings attached to them. Unless those meanings are arrived at, one can never comprehend a computer textbook. 1Jn.5:17 defines what the Bible means by the word sin. `All wrongdoing is sin` (RSV).

In simple terms all mistakes are sins. Is there some one out there who has never ever made a mistake in life? The Bible categorizes all spiritual and moral mistakes as sins. If God expects man to obey Him and then when man disobeys, it is a mistake and therefore it is a sin. The Bible could not be clearer when it says, `And Samuel said, `Has the Lord much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed better than fat of rams` (1Sam.15:22). Why is there such an emphasis on obedience in the Bible? Are we to think that God is a cruel despot and He does not want anyone to think or do anything against Him as some people are prone to think? No, never. God is not a cruel despot at all. He is a God of love. Yes, indeed, God is love (1Jn.4:8,16). Why does the loving God expect every one of His creatures to obey Him always? The answer is very simple. Since He is our creator, He knows what is best for us. Psa.103 v.14 puts it so beautifully when it says, `He knows our frame`. He knows what is best for us. He also knows what is going to hurt us. And graciously He has revealed His laws to His people.

The Bible is like an operator’s manual. `He shows His Word to Jacob, His Precepts and His judgments to Israel`(Psa 147:19). He has not done so with any nation; and they have not known His judgments. Praise Jehovah!` (Psa 147:20). And that is why Ezekiel would ask, `Oh, House of Israel, why should you die?` Eze.18:31b). In His sovereign will, God has given man the ability to choose to obey Him or not to obey Him. But when man chooses to disobey Him, God knows it is going to hurt man. When man gets hurt, that is hurting God Himself (Is.63:9). That is why God says, `I have no delight in the death of the wicked` (Eze.18:23).

God hates disobedience and sin as it is going to hurt the sinner. In turn it is going to hurt God Himself. So let us remember that when ever we break a known command of God, we are hurting ourselves and in turn hurting the loving heart of God. Hence the talk about crucifying the Son of God afresh in Heb.6:6.

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2009 in Bible Questions, Christian life

 

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False Accusations

Question Text :  Someone has made false allegations against me, that has caused me serious trouble. what scriptures can I read that will help me?

Answer Text :  Remember that you are not the only one who was falsely accused. Ps.35:11; Mt.10:25; Lk.7:33f;Jn.15:21; In fact they sought false witnesses against Christ. Mt.26:59,60. So when you are falsely accused, you are privileged to have a share in the afflictions of Christ. Not every one is called up on to suffer this way! How are we to react to this situation? The Bible says `rejoyce` (Mt.5:11). It is pretty hard to do it. But it is a step of faith to rejoyce over an aaffliction (1Pt.4:13). Pepople around you might thiink that you have gone insane! But that is the true reaction God expects of us. Never retaliate (1Pt.2:23) but commit the matter to the One who judges righteously. God`s promises are wonderful. Take hold of them in faith. Pray unceasingly till the Lord intervenes and gives you peace that passeth human understanding. Wait to see in faith the good which is to come out of it all. Read Isa.66:5; 54:17; Ps.34:19;Rom.8:28.

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2009 in Christian life

 

Christian Bowing Before Idols To Please Others!

Question Text :  hey i`m a teenager who lives in a hindu family. I want to be a christian and i have already accepted Jesus Christ as my savior. I confessed that i am a christian to my parents and they are taking it hard. My parents told me that they dont `grant` me to be christian, and i have to bow down to their idols for like 2 sec and they also said that even if i dont believe in the idols i still have to bow down to them. My dad didnt even slap me when i didnt bow down. My dad said he lost hope for me and that his only happiness is that i become of something of myself. It hurts me to see my parents this way. i dont understand what i should do next. Should i still rebel and hurt my parents? Is it right to hurt your parents this way?

Answer Text  :  Hi, I am very proud of your parents. I know parents who disowned their teen aged children for becoming believers in Christ. I know young people made to streets,the only crime being their faith in Christ. So, to begin with you should thank God for your loving parents who are still willing to keep you at home and consider you as their child.  Be doubly obedient to your parents in ALL matters except in this matter.

Now the words of Christ are crystal clear. No one can ever misunderstand these words. He says, `If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children, and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he can not be my disciple`(Lk.14:26). `Hate` in this passage does not mean animosity to our loved ones. It means when it comes to choosing between them and Christ, we have no option at all. Either you choose your parents or you choose Christ.

Children are asked to obey thier parents `in the Lord` (Eph.6:1). When parents are against you obeying the Lord, you must choose to obey the Lord only at whatever cost. I am sure that you are an obedient child to your parents in all matters. Now that you have become a child of God, you need to be doubly obedient and loving to your parents. Let them notice a real love in your heart and life for them.

Do not bow to idols. If you do bow before the idol, remember that you are breaking a clear command of the Scriptures. As never before, go out of your way and be obedient and helpful to your parents in all areas of your life except in this matter. Surely they will notice this in your life sooner than later.

Peter tells believing wives to win their unbelieving husbands by their lives and without words(1Pt.3:1-2). This is exactly what is required of you. Now, I want to tell you some thing which is absolutely true according to the Scripture. The Scripture promises that by your faith, eventually you can save your family too (Acts.16:31).

Do you know that there is one prayer for which God will never say `NO` to? That is, if you pray for the salvation of someone whom you love, God will never say `No` to that prayer. Because according to 1Jn.5:14 prayers in the will of God can not go unanswered. And God is not willing that any should perish(1Tim.2:4; 2Pt.3:9)! It may take a little time. But it all depends simply upon your fervancy in your prayer (Js.5:16b).

So, be a doubly obedient and loving child in your family. Only in the matter of faith be stern and disobey them, but do it politely. I am sure your parents will soon become believers themselves due to your changed life and your secret prayers on their behalf. May God bless you, dear child!

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2009 in Christian life

 

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Believer and Evil Spirits

Question Text :  I am a born-again Christian & for about 2 years I`ve been experiencing demonic disturbances. They come at night while I sleep. I`ve been through several deliverances & I`ve been to see several people, but the disturbances keep happening. I`ve read many of the topics on your sight about demons, particularly whether they can attach themselves to objects. I live with my mom & sister & although they are not actively involved in the new-age movement, they had crystals & goodluck stones which were given to them as gifts. There`s also several books on astroloy & tarot cards in a box somewhere. My question is, do the demons have a legal right into our home because of these things? Why do they keep disturbing me? It gets really bad at times. I feel emotionally drained.

Answer Text:  am glad that you are a born again Christian. In that way you are now technically out of the control of the evil forces around you. Before we were saved, we are told that we were under the influence of the prince of the power of the air who is at work in the children of disobedience (Eph.2:2). Now that you are saved you have been shifted from being in Adam to being in Christ (Rom.5:11-19; 1Cor.15:22). In Christ you are linked directly with the very resurrection power of Christ Himself (Eph.1:19).

It is now your duty to maintain this fellowship with Christ constantly by daily weeding your life of all sins and feeding your soul and spirit with the Word of God (2cor.7:1; 1 Pet.2:1-2) so that the power of God can freely flow through you. If you are careful about this, I see no reason why you should have such disturbances in your life by any demonic forces at all. Yes, it is true that we are asked not to bring any thing which has association with other spirits into our house (Dt.7:25,26). But then, since you are not the head of the house, you have no control over that. As long as you have no contact with such things, nothing can harm you if your link with the Lord is constant and if you do NOT have unconfessed sins in your life.

I know from experience that devils tremble at the name of Christ as we read in Jas.2:19. You might do well to read about my personal encounters with evil spirits and how they shudder at the name of Christ. So I am positive that if you do NOT have unconfessed sins in your life and if you do not entertain fear in your heart for them, and be regular in your Bible reading and secret prayer, then they will literally flee from you.

So, start your day with Bible reading and prayer and end the day in the same way. Spend a minimum of half hour each time. Kneel and pray. Begin your time with praise and end the same way.   Be in constant touch with the Lord through out the day and NO evil can come any where near you.

Read now the link below and respond to me after you follow my instructions about daily quiet time and prayer with the Lord. There is a small book of prayer in the site which you can read as well. God bless. http://mathewpaul.org/tag/evil-spirits/

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2009 in Christian life, Evil Spirits

 

The Bible and Dowry!

Question Text:  Is it Biblical to ask Dowry and what is the basis for Dowry system which we see in the Christian Circle today?  I hope you will give me a bible based answer.  Thanks.

Answer Text:  Your question begs a bigger question. Does the Bible address itself directly about all cultural aspects of all communities in the world? The answer obviously is a big `NO`. Now you have to use a Biblical principle to come to a decision about any thing of which the Bible does not specifically talk about.

Answer to your first question is clearly a `NO` based on the principle that one should NOT be greedy. Surely the Bible does NOT give any place for any one asking for dowry at all. I think you have no doubt about it as well.

Your questions obviously imply that you are against the dowry system because you think that the Bible is against it. But you need to do a bit of rethinking when answering the second part of your question. You are asking for the (biblical) basis for dowry system as found in Christian circle today.

I think there is a very strong biblical basis for dowry system. The Indian Christian law is clear when it says that boys and girls must have equal share of the family property. This is based on the Biblical principle that both genders have equal status in life. When a girl gets married, she legally becomes the member of another family. She has every right for the family property she grew up with. So in India our culture devised that the girl is given her share as she gets married and goes away. There are people who give away the share of landed property of the family which she deserves at her marriage. But most often it is given as cash and as jewels. I think it must be so and I think it should not be challenged.

But when it comes to demanding dowry and when it comes to people who do not have any property, this becomes a real problem and a real evil. And Christians should fight against this evil practice tooth and nail.

The New Testament or our Lord NEVER tried to change the social order of their time though slavery was there (1Cor.7:20-21). Yet it is the Biblical principle of equality of all men which wiped away slavery from human society. Ok.

Thirty five years ago when I got married I told my parents NOT to make dowry an issue at my marriage. Then one of the first proposals was for the daughter of an evangelist of whom every one knew he had no money to give as dowry. Though my parents had a bit of a difficult time agreeing to the proposal, I stood by my decision and the Lord honored me for the same.

Now I, as a father of four married children, two boys and two girls, we NEVER made dowry an issue at the negotiations at all. Boys came forward to marry our girls with out a dowry demand. Yet we sold a part of our property and gave the girls their share. Our sons volunteered to marry girls with out any dowry demand. And we as their parents we just gave to the boys what ever was given to us by girl`s parents. It helped them to begin their new family. Yet we are keeping their share of property for them.

I think, when looked at from Christian conviction, dowry has its plus points. But when misused, it is one of the worst evils of our society and Christians must fight against it at any cost. Please read a related article from our already published materials. http://www.gotquestions.org/church-social.html  God bless!!

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2009 in Christian life, Marriage

 

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