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Striving In Prayer?

Question text:  Why did God wrestle with Jacob in Genesis 32? What was the point?

Answer text:  You have a very good question.  Many well meaning Christians do not understand the logic of prayer.  They say, rightly so, that God is loving and almighty and He knows all our needs even before we ask Him.  No loving parent who knows the need of children would ever wait for children to ask. But Jesus, after telling that our father knows  before we ask goes on to say, “Therefore pray in this way “(Mt.6:9).   Please note the last phrase of the verse in Mt. 7:11.  “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him?” (Matthew 7:11).  And James says, “you have not… because you ask not” (Js.4:2).

The Bible contains what is known as progressive revelation.  For example, if the Book of Revelation was not there, we would not have known who that serpent was who came to the garden of Eden to deceive Eve.  But Rev.12:9 makes it clear that it was the Devil who was that old servant.   Now, the OT can be understood  only in the light of the NT.  While OT is the shadow of things to come, NT makes things explicit.   In OT we read about men praying.  The NT makes it clear that with out prayer God would not do any thing spiritual in the world today (Mt.7:7; Js.4:2). The NT also goes on to say  that the will of God is achieved only through striving in prayer (Rom.15:30-32).  Striving in prayer is essential  not because God is unwilling to fulfill His promises but because Satan is against us enjoying God’s best for us.

One of the greatest truths of the Bible is that God does NOT fight the devil!   How can the infinite God fight against his own finite creature who rebelled against Him?  After all, when God became man in Christ our Lord,  He asked us to love our enemies.  How could He Himself fight against His own enemy?  Satan knows it and He prevents man from enjoying God’s best for them.  But we can resist the devil and remove Satanic hindrance for us to enter into the perfect will  of God.

This is the truth that is exemplified in the life of Jacob.  At Bethel God promised  Jacob that He would bless him (Gen.28).  Jacob, after 20 years of his sojourn,  became more miserable and helpless.  But then at Peniel (ch.32) Jaocb wrestles with the Lord and enters into the blessing that was promised at Bethel.  His name was changed now.  So wrestling in prayer is not trying to move an unwilling God but rather it is resisting against the devil to remove his hindrance  to obtain the promises of God.

Again this truth is exemplified in the life of Daniel.  In ch.9 Daniel learns that the captivity was to come to an end at the end of 70 years.  Living at the end of 70 years Daniel turns his face to God in fasting and in prayer asking God to fulfill His promises for His people.  In the tenth chapter of Daniel we see that Daniel had to fast and pray for 21 days (or wrestle in prayer) to remove Satanic hindrance before he could get answer from the Lord  (Dan.10:2,3  cf.vv.12,13).

Let us learn this truth clearly that all promises of God remain promises unless they are claimed in prayer.  There are areas where Satanic hindrance is heavy and we need to strive in prayer before we can enter into the promises of God.  May the Lord help us to learn this truth and may He give us grace to strive in prayer against Satan and his viles. If interested please read my small book on prayer from www.mathewpaul.org/category/book-on-prayer . God bless

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2011 in Prayer

 

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Christian cults!

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2010 in Bible Questions, Christian life

 

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Casting Out Demons!

 

Question Text:  How is it possible that people from different religions drive out demons in the name of other gods? Exorcism is performed by many people today of various religions and beliefs.  Jesus said that Satan could not be against Satan.

 Answer Text:  You have given a very good and a very practical question. As you said, there are people in various religions who are able to ‘cast out devils’ form possessed people. It really looks contradictory to what Jesus said in Mt.12:26. So how shall we understand this situation? Have you ever witnessed some one other than a follower of Christ casting out demons from possessed people? If there is ever a chance, you must go and witness it for yourself. They never ever cast out using some one’s name or authority. They do it own their own power or in the power of the one in whom they work with, often torturing the possessed person. No demon ever goes out if some one tells them to get out from the possessed person in the name any man or any gods.

For example, no one can tell the demon, “I command you in the name of Hitler to get out of that person” or even to say, “I command you in the name of any god/s to come out”. They actually use force for casting out demons. And all that they can do is to keep the demons in the possessed persons under suppression. Demons are still in the possessed persons but they won’t exhibit their presence fearing the ones who suppressed them or “cast them out”.

This I know from my experience. I had a person brought to me who was possessed and was suffering for long years. The person suffering was the mother of three kids and the youngest was an infant. When she got possessed, she would fall flat irrespective of the place where she is. Being a tea leaves plucker in an estate, while engaged in the work she would fall flat and exhibit signs like that of an epileptic patient. She had fallen like this while cooking and at other times. But since her case was one of black magic and the demons could not even be suppressed by several Hindu poojaries and others. Finally, she was brought to me as a preacher of the gospel.

The demons were fooling me at first. Whenever I was with them, she would be normal and when ever I came out of their house demons would come back with more force and give more trouble. This went of for more than a week and I did not know what to do, that being my first ever exposure to a demon possessed person. Then I went and consulted a senior brother who told me a tremendous secret. This is the secret which helps all other exorcists to do their job. When a person is possessed, if we catch hold of that person, we are in fact catching hold of the demons who have possessed that person. Till we keep our hold on that person, demons are in our hands. If we torture the possessed person, the demons get tortured. If we have the mental stamina to face demons in this way, any strong person can suppress demons. And mostly exorcists use the power of their god/s to suppress demons in a possessed person.

When I learnt this secret, I fasted and prayed the whole of the following day I went and brought that person under possession and caught hold of the demons and that was the end of it. They started shivering like leaves in wind and promised never to come back to that person again as I commanded them in the name of Christ.

I hope you got the answer to your question. Others do not cast out using any name. They suppress demons by force, often by torturing them. Sometimes demons leave the person fearing torture but mostly they remain suppressed. You can read my interesting conversation with the demons from http://mathewpaul.org/tag/evil-spirits/ . Only at the name of Christ every knee shall bow. To His name be all glory. Amen

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2009 in Evil Spirits

 

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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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Bible Meddled With?!

Question Text :  they claim the documents are under the archives of the vatican and the church is said to have mixed up and edited that suits their own purposes?

do u think after all they are part of gnosticism?

what will happen just in case if the alleged noto scrolls emerged? will it destroy christianity? will it disprove jesus christ` divinity?

so far as i read the chapters clearly a fake jesus went to india he taught panthesism mixxed with biblical and buddhistic doctrines but more disturbing it stressed man find spirituality and perfection within?

Answer Text : 

Your first question whether the church is said to have mixed up and edited the documents of the NT as we have them today is based on pure misunderstandings about things in the past.  You must remember that the church was a persecuted minority in the Roman empire till Constantine changed his attitude towards the church in the beginning of the 4th century.  It is true that the full Bible as we have it now in manuscript form is found from the 4th century AD.  But there are hundreds of manuscript fragments which confirm the fact that the NT writings, as we have them today,  have NEVER been meddled with at all. Please read about the NT manuscripts in http://biblefacts.org/history/oldtext.html .

http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/papyri_bruce.pdf

Your second question whether they are part of Gnosticism is thoroughly to be thrown out because NT writings are AGAIST Gnostic teachings!  It is true that Gnosticism was prevalent in the NT world and the church had to FIGHT against it for its pure doctrine. And 1John clearly speaks against Gnostic concepts in clearest terms. 

Your question about noto scrolls is interesting, as if one piece of obscure writing could destroy all that was written about Christ and His redeeming work!! You asked whether Christianity could be destroyed.  If it was ever possible for it to be destroyed, it would have been done in the first two centuries of its existence.  If none could do it then, NO FORCE ON EARTH CAN EVER DO IT AS JESUS SAID, “I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH”.  Any one who tried to destroy this faith got destroyed themselves eventually.  The last major attempt was done by the Communist regimes and you know what happened.  Let any one else come up.  I guarantee THEIR destruction and NOT the destruction of this faith which is delivered to saints once and for all. 

Dear friend, you asked whether it will disprove the divinity of Jesus.  His divinity does NOT depend on a few manuscripts any where in the world.  It is Eternal, unchallengeable, and unchallenged.  His divinity was made manifest to us mortals by a few parchments.  But it DOES NOT DEPEND ON HUMAN WRITINGS AT ALL.   

Then your last question that some found spirituality and perfection elsewhere is NOT surprising at all.  From time immemorial, the Enemy has been trying to blind the minds of people all over, so that the light of the gospel may not be visible to them.  He has been supplying them with duplicate material all over.  One of the greatest lies of the Devil is Islam where millions are said to have found “spiritual solace”.  Is there any wonder that some find it else where in some other spurious writings?  God bless!!

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2009 in Bible Questions

 

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Praying for others

Question Text :  If you feel led to pray for someone, do you need their permission to so?

Answer Text :  That prayer is a big mystery is indisputable. That God carries out His purposes in this world through answered prayers of His people is some thing the Scriptures teach again and again (cf. Dan.9:1-3; Lk.24:49; Acts.2:1). So if I feel led to pray for someone this means that God is at work within me (Phil,2:13). Since everyone does not have this kind of burden to pray for others, we must definitely cash in on this and do the needful immediately.

I wish to bring two examples from the Scriptures of people who were led to pray for others. In Gen. 18 the angel of the Lord appears to Abraham and tells him what was going to happen to Sodom and Gomorrah where Lot and family were staying. And this led Abraham to intercede for the cities of the plains. The cities were not spared, but Lot and family were spared; we are told in 19:29 that it was because the Lord remembered Abraham. Another example is found in 1Sam. 15. Here in vv.10-11 we are told that the Lord told Samuel of the behavior of Saul and his disobedience and this led Samuel to pray the whole night before the Lord and the result was that Samuel was shown David as the next one to be anointed as king instead of Saul (1sam.16:1).

 On both these occasions the Lord gave a burden to pray for someone else and they prayed without the permission of the ones for whom they prayed. I think it is a general principle taught in the Scriptures about praying for others. We are asked to pray for all men(1Tim.2:1). Naturally it is impossible for us to get everyone’s permission to pray for them.

But if we were led to pray for someone close to us, we might get into contact with them and find out the actual situation in which they are found so that we could meaningfully intercede for their needs. When prayers are specific answers are specific as well. When general prayers are done, answers are usually in general categories. So if we need specific answers it is essential to pray in specific terms.

The author remembers an occasion when he was led to pray for a pioneer missionary in an alien field. From four o’clock early in the morning till 12 noon the burden was so heavy on his heart that he spent the whole time interceding for that missionary. But he did not know what exactly was the situation there. So he prayed that the Lord would be gracious to him and protect the missionary. There were very few words in that prayer. It was like sending SMS after SMS to heaven at an SOS level (cf.Mt.26:44).

When at noon the burden was relieved, a letter was sent to the missionary in the field asking him what exactly was happening there. His response was awesome. He began his reply this way, “That you wrote to me on the 2nd of Feb. is remarkable. It is a red letter day in our lives when the Lord saved us from our enemies…”. The one who prayed did not know that the missionary in the field was planned to be attacked on that day. But the Lord placed a burden to pray for the missionary. And the result was, before the enemies came together on that day, the ring leader among them had an accidental death on his way! Remember we are asked to pray that the Lord would deliver His people from the hands of evil men (2The.3:1-2).

So if any one has a burden to pray for someone else, it is essential to pray through till the burden is over. One need not wait till permission is received. Let us remember that the Lord does nothing spiritual in the world today except in answer to prayers of His saints. It is a very clear teaching of the Scriptures and is seldom recognized and understood even by many well-meaning believers today(MT.7:2; Js.4:2: Eze.36:37; Isa.64:3; Is.62:6,7). So if you are led to pray for someone, try and stop doing every thing else and get on your knees and pray till the burden is lifted!

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2009 in Prayer

 

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Walking by faith and not by sight

Question Text : How is the believer to walk by faith and not by sight when most of what we encounter is seen?

Answer Text : Oxford Dictionary defines faith as 1. complete trust or confidence 2. strong belief in a religion 3. a system of religious belief. The basic meaning of the word thus is complete trust or confidence. It is not a religious word at all in that sense.

Human society survives by faith and trust. We trust each other. We trust our milkman. We trust our railroad timetable. With out faith and trust the human society can not go on. But we all trust people and things which are physical and visible.

But when it comes to faith and trust in God, since God is not physical and visible, we are called up on to walk by faith and not by sight(2Cor.5:7). Though God is not visible, He is an ever present reality. The Bible declares that `the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen (God) are eternal` (2Cor.4:18). The physical things that we put our trust in might fail any time.

For example the milkman might never show up or the train might have an accident. But this could never happen with God and His Word. We could be absolutely sure about some thing if the Scriptures declare it to be so. No one knows what the next minute might bring to us. But we could be absolutely sure that what ever is predicted in the Word of would come true.

It is true that God uses physical people and things around us for His glory. But we could never ever trust them as we could trust in God and His Word.Thus we walk by faith(in the invisible God) and not by sight. Ps.138:2 declares `thou hast exalted above everything thy name and thy word`. So even though God is invisible we could put our faith and trust in Him and in His Word much more than we could do it on people and things around us.

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2009 in Bible Questions

 

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