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

 

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Is God Cruel In Punishment?

 Question Text : “Is God cruel? I was   shocked when Iread deuteronomy 28:15-68 full of curses”.

Answer Text :  Your  question of God being cruel is a against the Bible revelation which presents God as love (1Jn.4:8).   Sinners get punished because they work against the operating principles of God and God is helpless.  Now read on.

If  God is love how are we to understand God punishing people for their sins?  You must remember that God operates this universe using fixed laws which can NEVER be changed as long as this earth lasts (Psa.148:6).  There are physical laws like the law of gravity. Can you imagine jumping from a high flat with out getting hurt?  No one can break the law of gravity and can imagine that he would escape with out getting hurt.  Scientists have discovered several of the physical laws and we use them for our benefit. 

Now, God uses spiritual laws as well.  And God has given in writing all the spiritual laws by which we need to abide by (Psa.147:19). One of the unchanging laws of God is “what a man sows, so he reaps”.  And God has given us the freedom to choose life or death. Any one who breaks any of God’s written laws is bound to get hurt.  God can not be blamed for the hurt as He has clearly told us what is what in His Word.  He has given us the freedom to choose life or death. 

Read what the Bible says about it.  “Do not deceive yourselves; no one makes a fool of God. You will reap exactly what you plant. If you plant in the field of your natural desires, from it you will gather the harvest of death; if you plant in the field of the Spirit, from the Spirit you will gather the harvest of eternal life” (Gal 6:7-8 GNB).  That is why Ezekiel would ask, “why should Israel die” (Eze.18:31). 

In Dt.28 God is telling us clearly what will the result of obeying His laws or disobeying them.  We can choose what we want in life.  God is helpless if we choose to disobey Him.  We will surely get hurt now and later our sin and our disobedience will tak e us to a place from where God has withdrawn His presence and the Bible calls in hell.  This happens because God does NOT want to force any one to choose Him or to choose goodness only.  If that was the case, we would have been like robots.

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2009 in Bible Questions

 

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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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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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The Holy Spirit and Prayer

Question Text:  What is the role of the Holy Spirit in our prayer life?

Answer Text: The very desire we have to pray is given by the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit within us whoThe very desire we have to pray is given by the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit within us who prompts us to pray (Rom.8:26,27).

As His very name suggests (Jn.14:16,26) {paraclete (comforter) means the one who is called along side} the Spirit of God stands along with us and helps us to pray in the will of God.

Our Lord told His disciples that when the Holy Spirit shall come, He will lead them into all truth (Jn.16:13). So it is the Spirit of God who teaches us every thing, even including how and what should pray. Cf.1Jn.2:27 where it says you have no need for any one teach you, as the anointing within you will teach you every thing.

Then Eph.2:18 we are told we have access to the Father by the Spirit. The word access is interesting as it suggests the idea of an escort. When we go to God in prayer, we do not go alone there, as we are escorted by the Holy Spirit to the very presence of God!

Then, we have in our hands a visiting card, that of the Son of of God, because we approach the Father in the name of the Son. And the Father will look at us as He would look at His own Son! Truly we are privileged to pray in this manner. Praise be to His Holy Name. Ok.

I will also give you also two related answers which are already in our site. http://www.gotquestions.mobi/pray-Father-Son-Spirit-mobi.html http://www.gotquestions.mobi/praying-Spirit-mobi.html May the Lord give us grace to pray in His will and for His glory. Amen.

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2009 in Christian life, Holy Spirit, Prayer

 

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License To Sin?!

Question Text:   I was a Hindu, saved at the age of 14. I backslid many times and then I repented. I had a horrible childhood of abuse etc, never had a childhood or teen years as a normal kid even unto adulthood. When i was 22 i committed fornication once, also drank and smoked. I repented. I stopped then I committed fornication again although a bit unwillingly. I read Heb. Chap. 10. Am i saved?

Answer Text:  You said you were saved at the age of 14, though a Hindu. Praise God for the grace given to you. Then you talked about your backslidings and coming back again and again. You talked about your reluctant sins in your life and wonder whether you are saved. Truly you need to wonder about it. The Bible teaches that a child of God can NOT continue in sin (1Jn.3:9). The very fact that you are reluctant shows that the Spirit of God is within you. That you are concerned about your salvation is an indication that you are indeed a saved person! People of the world not only commit these sins but they enjoy doing it and want to have more and more of it. The Bible teaches that God can not tolerate sin where ever it is found. There is NO forgiveness for willful sins either in the OT or in the NT (Num.15:30,31; Heb.10:26). Sin in the life of a believer is punished here and now while we are in the body (1Cor.5:5). To a sinning child of God there is NO condemnation; but there WILL BE chastisement (1Cor.11:32). The Bible clearly teaches that salvation is a gift from God (Eph.2:8). All that we can DO to get this salvation is to receive it by faith. Since you can not DO any thing to get it, you can NOT do any thing to lose it either. The Bible teaches that once you are saved you are always saved. But that does NOT give you license to live in sin. Sin will be punished where ever it is found. I am going to give you one or two links from where you can go to many other related links and learn all about being saved and the need for a holy life. May the Lord give you grace to live a life pleasing to Him so that you may not be ashamed at His coming (1Jn.2:28). May His name be glorified. Amen. Please study the following links thoroughly and live a life acceptable to Him.  http://www.gotquestions.org/once-saved-always-saved.htmlhttp://www.gotquestions.org/license-sin.html .  Praise His Holy Name.  Amen

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2009 in Christian life

 

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Destined To Hell?!

Question Text: I am a fairly new Christian and struggle with predestination. Can I ask for Jesus to be lord of my life, read his word, desire to know truth, God, and apply what I learn to my life? I trust God’s word is truth, even though I don’t` understand all of it. Will I stand before him to hear him say, “I did not choose you ` and be gone to hell’ . I do not want to go to hell. I deserve it but I want to be with God. I have been praying for people in my life that are family and crossed my path for the conviction of the Holy Spirit to lead them to repentance and saving faith. Should I not do this because God chose those he knew would be His and he loses none of them? I am so disturbed over this. Please help!

Answer Text: I was so moved as I read your question. Your sincere desire to be in heaven and be in presence of the Lord for ever after you leave this world WILL NEVER EVER be denied by the Lord by any means as the Bible NEVER teaches that God has chosen certain people to go to hell. God loved the whole world (Jn.3:16). Christ died for sins of the whole world (1Jn.2:2). That surely includes you and me with out a question. Praise be to His Holy Name!

But the doctrine of divine election is a subject which is CLEARLY taught in the Bible. You can not read the Bible and miss that subject. If any one denies divine election, that person is guilty of denying a clear teaching of the Word of God.

While positive election is clearly taught in the Bible, the Bible NEVER teaches that God has elected some people TO GO TO HELL. In fact hell is NOT prepared for man. HELL IS PREPARED FOR SATAN AND HIS ANGELS (Mt. 25:41). The Bible clearly teaches that God is NOT willing that any should perish (1Tim.2:4; 2Pet.3:9). So if some one goes to hell, it is happening against God`s perfect will. That is why when Jesus, our Lord, taught His disciples to pray, He asked them to pray, `thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven` (Mt.6:10).

Then you are absolutely right about the role of grace even for accepting Christ as savior. Jesus clearly says `unless the Father draws, no one can come to me` (Jn.6:44). From these verses it is clear that when we pray for the salvation of our loved ones and friends, God gives them the grace to accept Christ even as we pray. Because we are clearly taught in the Bible that if we pray in the will of God, God will surely listen to us (1Jn.5:14).

So from now on please make your prayers for the conversion of your friends more intense and more specific and soon you will find the Lord touching them. There is one prayer to which God will never say “no” for an answer. It is when we pray for the salvation of others. Surely there will be struggle as Satan will not easily give up on certain people. But if we strive in prayer as we are taught in Rom.15:30-32, surely answer is bound to come.

When we read the biography of George Mueller of Bristol, we will come to know that he prayed for the conversion of a friend of his for 53 long years! But Mueller, who was a mighty man of prayer, could not see his friend’s conversion when Mueller was still alive. But the biographer of Mueller reports that the friend for whom Mueller was praying for 53 years accepted the Lord at the funeral service of Mueller! So be fervent in prayers for your friends and be sure that answer is bound to come sooner or later.

The question of the sovereignty of God and the freedom of man can not be easily solved by us. It is like the doctrine of Trinity. How could you explain that God is One yet there are three persons who have all the qualities of Godhead? The Bible calls it the mystery of God (Rev.10:6). What we have to do is to take the Bible verses at its face value and believe them and teach them as it is found there. If we emphasis one against the other we get in to all sorts of wrong teachings which are common among many Christians. May God bless you as you try to seek after Him whole heartedly. To His name be all glory. Amen.

 
 

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