Monday, October 26, 2015

Sympathizing & Preventing Suicide; How Could God Allow Suicide?


Introduction

            Since we did not bring ourselves into existence, we cannot exit this existence voluntarily via suicide. Suicide is a sin, no doubts. But we should sympathize with those having suicidal thoughts. Not just sympathize, but act proactively and positively in Christ’s power.  

Sympathizing With Suicide

            Suicide predicated on certain circumstances may appear thoughtless and hasty e.g. inability to pay debts, failing an exam, rejected by spouse, death of a close relative or friend. Aftermath of these occurrences could be resolved by suitable therapeutic interventions; spiritual included. 

            Certain other situations could invoke greater sympathy:

BEING A BURDEN

            Being a burden to others is a horrendous evil.

            Consider a person constantly being blamed for his prolonged painful ailment by his relatives and friends, who are being burdened beyond their abilities. In this context, isn’t it apt if this ailing person considers committing suicide so to deliver his relatives and friends from their [needless] burden?  

            Similarly a child could be deemed a failure by parents. This child could then contemplate suicide as a means of escape from being constantly ridiculed by the very people who are to love him.

            Would not these situations invoke greater sympathy upon the person with suicidal thoughts?  

PERPETUAL PAIN

            Those living in seemingly unending pain could think of suicide as a means to escape pain e.g. victims of constant physical abuse, prisoners of war tortured to the realms of inhumanity with absolutely no hope for survival.

            There are those in similar instances of unbearable pain. They receive maximal goodness from families and friends but seek suicide for not being able to continue living in unbearable pain.

            How can we not sympathize with those in perpetual pain having suicidal thoughts?

MENTAL ILLNESS

            Another acute instance of sympathy is upon those suffering from illnesses such as Depression and Schizophrenia that could cause suicide. Unless proper treatment is offered, patients suffering from such mental disorders could commit suicide for no fault of theirs.

THEOLOGICAL ESCAPISM

            A person in constant pain MAY seek to commit suicide so to release himself or his friends & relatives from unnecessary burden.

            Christian theology could aid this person’s suicidal thought process:

            1. A believer of Christ does not lose his salvation through suicide.

            Although suicide is a sin, the Bible does not mention anywhere that a believer who commits suicide would go to hell. A believer is saved by faith in Christ. Suicide will not condemn this believer to hell.

            2. A believer of Christ will enter heaven upon death. Heaven is an eternal abode without pain and evil.

            Hence, a believer in constant pain could seek to commit suicide so to escape from existential pain to an eternal heavenly abode with only joy and happiness.

            3. Hence, a believer who commits suicide merely hastens his exit from his painful existence to a painless and joyful eternal abode.

            We could recount more instances where could sympathize with those fostering suicidal thoughts. It’s a given that those who commit suicide have given up hope and scope for living since peaceful existence seems nonexistent.

God Will Allow Suicide

            To state that God will allow suicide is not implausible. God has legitimate reasons to allow suicide.

            The Bible unequivocally states that evil will reign for a period of time. Christianity is not about living a jolly good life. God never assured that Christian life would be a painlessly peaceful life. God will not intervene to save all people from every horrendous situation. This is a given.

            The Bible emphasizes believers’ constant struggle against powers of evil (Ephesians 6: 12). Therefore, Christians should not be surprised by evil’s gruesome and horrendous onslaught.

            God does not intervene to purge man’s freewill. The man in pain freely chooses to commit suicide and God would not prevent this act.  

            A believer of Christ does not lose his salvation if he/she commits suicide. So an absence of negative eternal ramification legitimizes God’s acquiescence to suicide.

            God allows Christians to suffer. The Bible is replete with instances of believer’s suffering, “…there were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:35b-40, NIV).

            Hence, it is a given that God will allow suicide.

Conclusion: Prevent Suicide

            When believers suffer, they should seek God. God comforts us when we seek HIM.

            There are many testimonies of believers living rather peacefully in horrendously painful situations. Those who live horrendously painful lives testify that they derive their strength to live from Christ.

            The Bible emphasizes that believers can receive God’s mighty power, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Ephesians 6:10-11, NIV; cf. Ephesians 1:18-19; Colossians 1: 10-11).

            Those who commit suicide do not realize that there is an extraordinary power that God has to offer especially to endure these horrendously painful situations. We cannot ignore the fact that the suffering believer could be at fault for not appropriating this incomparable power of God. But we should be cognizant of the constant suffering that is a legitimate reason for the believer’s ignorance of God’s mighty power.

            So, if a believer commits suicide, it would be unwise to attribute the fault of suicide upon the believer or God. If we are eager to ascribe the fault upon someone, then the fault most certainly rests with us and the local church.

            We ought to be cognizant of the needs of people in our domain. The local church, being rich with spiritual gifts, should direct people with suicidal thoughts towards Christ through its constant presence, prayer, support and encouragement.

            We are the agents of suicide prevention. We should be present with those who are in utmost pain. We should selflessly, compassionately and graciously direct those suffering to receive God’s mighty power and comfort. May we know who are suffering in our domain and may we be agents of life, Christ’s power and comfort to those suffering with suicidal tendencies. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Illuminati In Churches?




            After Madonna and AC/DC performed in the 2015 Grammy Awards, social media lit up with illuminati buzz! Dancers on stage and many in the audience sported devil’s horns - a symbol of illuminati (which means enlightened).

            Many celebrities and famous personalities are rumored to belong to illuminati, which apparently is a secret group striving to create a new world order of Satanic nature. Symbolisms of the All Seeing Eye, Pyramids, the Pentagram, the number 666, the Owl, Eternal Flame, the Skull and the Snakes are associated with the illuminati.

            Illuminati spelt in reverse is “itanimulli.” Itanimulli.com connects to National Security Agency’s website (www.nsa.gov)! Wait, is NSA controlled by illuminati? 

            Encyclopedia.com reports [1] that Adam Weishaupt, professor of religious law, founded illuminati, “…the Illuminati of history, rather than legend, was a secret society formed in Bavaria in 1776 with the political goal of encouraging rebellion of the people and the abolition of the established monarchies.” Significantly, illuminati of history was destroyed within 15 years of its origin. 

            Illuminati of today - a brainchild of conspiracy theorists or paranoid conspiracy theorists  - which apparently endeavors to bring a new world order, has seemingly infiltrated Christianity, “Some conspiracy theorists say the New World Order is the outward goal and the Illuminati are the secret power working behind the scenes to achieve it. Many entertainers are obviously aware of Illuminati legends and work those symbols and myths into their acts to fuel further speculation.

            Supporters of this idea say organizations like the United Nations, European Union, the World Health Organization, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, G-20 Economic Group, the World Court, NATO, Council on Foreign Relations, World Council of Churches and various multinational corporations are pawns of the New World Order, nudging the world closer and closer to this socialist, one-economy, one-religion future” [2]

            Googling ‘illuminati in churches’ will display Hillsong church’s illuminati affiliations. Is Hillsong associated with illuminati? Allegedly, Hillsong displays an illuminati pyramid in its center screen. Apparently, the symbolisms of illuminati adorn the precincts of other churches as well.  

            This then is the illuminati drift:

            A. Illuminati is supposedly secretive and satanic.

            B. Its members are the rich and powerful from all over the world. Illuminati allegedly controls all major organizations of the world and endeavors to bring about a new world order (one ruler, one economy and one religion).

            C. There are symbols connected to illuminati.

            D. When people or organizations, which include churches, sport these symbolisms they are thought to be linked to illuminati.

            From within Christianity, illuminati is connected to end times. The proponents of end times constitute the fan club of illuminati. But is illuminati real or is it a figment of people’s imagination? Speculation is probably the only answer to that question.

            Illuminati may or may not exist. Its presence is merely a speculation due to the absence of concrete evidences endorsing its existence. If illuminati exists and if its alleged characteristics are factual, it’s a potential agent to persecute Christians and those from other religions. This is undeniable.

            In fact, if illuminati does not exist, Christians would be persecuted by other agencies. Persecution for Christians is a constant.

            Can you and I destroy illuminati’s existence? No! If it’s as powerful as it’s rumored to be, then it will thrive, provided God allows its existence for the purpose of end times.

            So the most meaningful question you and I need to ask is not about illuminati’s existence but our response to illuminati if it does exist, “If Illuminati exists, how should we respond?” Our response would be an indication of our preparedness to persecution.

            First, if any church has illuminati affiliations then false teachings would prevail. Those teachings would evidently contradict the Bible.

            But if we do not know the Bible, how would we identify false teachings? So it’s every Christian’s responsibility to study his Bible.

            An obvious false teaching would be to assert the oneness of all religions. A majority subscription to oneness of religion would evidently usher a world with one religion – an agenda of illuminati (if at all it exists).

            Beware, churches could be secretive of its illuminati affiliations, for it need not sport illuminati symbols but could be a part of illuminati ideology.

            With or without illuminati, Christian postmodernism or the emergent church movement endeavors to achieve oneness of religion. (Attention conspiracy theorists, these groups could be tentacles of illuminati!!)      

            On a side note, churches faithful to Christ would do well to remove all symbolisms associated with illuminati, even if illuminati were to be an oneiric tendency of the conspiracy theorists. If hillsong church carries the pyramid associated with illuminati, it should remove that pyramid so not to be an obstacle to the growing faith of Christians. 

            Second, the devil knows the Bible (cf. Matthew 4:6; James 2:19). Although knowledge of the Bible is mandatory, it’s not the end of a Christian life. Knowledge of Bible is the beginning of a Christian life. Knowledge of Bible should motivate Christians to love the Triune God and to remain in Christ all through their life.

            Third, if we remain in Christ, our resolve to stand for Christ amidst persecutions would be strong. We would never let go of Christ. We may let go of our life, but not Christ.

            Fourth, if illuminati exists and if its agendas gain traction towards fruition, be assured that God is involved in this movement. The sovereign God, who for a period of time has allowed Satan and his entourage to rule the earth albeit within HIS sovereignty, will permit events to usher the antichrist as a precursor to Christ’s 2nd coming.  

            Finally, if we love and remain in Christ, fear would be non-existent in our life (Cf. 1 John 4:18). If fear is nonexistent in our life, we would not be alarmed by illuminati or ISIS. Instead of capitulating to fear, we would dwell in the Lord and our lives would be surrendered to HIS holy presence. When our lives are surrendered to Christ, we would be God’s agents of spiritual strengthening and transformation of our fellow Christians through our words and deeds.

            The Bible does not particularly mention illuminati. If illuminati is an outcome of the paranoid conspiracy theorists’ oneiric propensities, it’s then obvious that illuminati does not exist. But existence or non-existence of illuminati is insignificant. Since the Lord’s return is certain, the arrival of antichrist is also certain. This antichrist would eventually rule the world to usher a new world order.  

            As Christians we should anticipate this event to occur at any time. We are to be prepared and also prepare our fellow Christians for this event. Our earthly life is a precursor to our eternal life. Our endeavor is to live with Christ eternally and not away from HIS presence.



Endnotes:

[1] http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/The_Illuminati.aspx#1


[2] http://christianity.about.com/od/endtimestopicalstudy/a/JZ-Illuminati-Conspiracy.htm
































Monday, October 12, 2015

Reasons You Won’t Believe Why People Attend Church!



I’d Be Hatching, Matching & Dispatching

            Hatching (birth), matching (marriage) and dispatching (death) could be three primary reasons for people to attend church. Membership in a local church fetches baptism, marriage, and a place in the local graveyard.

            Definite worldly needs indeed! But if these are the motivational factors to worship in a church, then we are missing the mark. If the church you are worshiping in does not liberate you from these worldly needs, then your church and your spirituality are equally pitiable.

            The church is the body of Christ and not solely a channel for our material needs.  

I’ll Be Blessed           

            Would attending a worship service render a greater blessing?

            In the past, I diligently attended a church. My body was parked inside the church but my mind was wandering outside consumed with the responsibilities of my work. I was materially blessed, since I fared pretty well at work.

            I did not worship the Lord in the church. But was I blessed because I was diligent in my church attendance? No! The Bible does not say so.

            God blessed me, not because I attended church regularly, but because HE is gracious. Grace of God does not punish at every opportunity, instead it patiently blesses us constantly.

            You may still argue that God blessed me because I diligently attended the church. If so, what about my non-christian boss who was greatly successful (read blessed) but had never attended church?

            There is only one God, so all blessings flow from HIS being. HE blesses both the Christians and non-christians. If God blesses non-christians who do not attend the church, then would it not entail that our mere church attendance amounts to nothing?

            We will not be blessed merely for attending the church worship service.

I’ll Go To Hell

            That I’ll go to hell if I don’t attend church is a fascinating premise, or shall we say, a fearful premise. Many Christian leaders instill fear in the hearts of Christians, so to retain the believer in his church, whereas in reality he is to retain the believer in Christ.  

            Is there a verse in the Bible that posits hell for a believing Christian for his failure to attend the local church? If so, show me that verse please!

            Heaven is guaranteed to those who believe and love the Lord Jesus Christ. Church exists as a means to Christian discipleship and growth, not as a means to hell.

I’m In Trouble

            When in trouble go to church. This seems to be the mantra of quite a few. 

            God is not a doctor whose only objective is to heal us of all our sickness. God is not a magician who magically delivers us from all our perils. We degrade God when we go to church only when we are in trouble.

            God, being gracious, would deliver us from our troubles. It’s then our real intent would be exposed.

            Do we continue attending church after we are delivered from our troubles or do we cease to attend church? If we discontinue church after being delivered from our troubles, then there is no greater hypocrite than you and me.  

It’s A Weekly Ritual

            Church going is a weekly ritual to a few Christians. This is a sad phenomenon. When church attendance is a weekly ritual, then it’s highly possible that these Christians’ love for the Lord Jesus could be lukewarm or absolutely nonexistent.

It’s A Sin If I don’t Attend Church

            Some Christian leaders teach that failure to attend a church is a sin. This need not necessarily be true. The more important question we need to ask is the reason behind not attending.

            Poverty, distance, personal problems etc. could play a genuine role in dissuading some Christians from attending church. Some Christians could have had a bitter experience with the local church so they may not attend church. However, their love and devotion for the Lord could be as good as those who attend church regularly.

            Willful negligence to attend church but indulging in lethargic or sinful pleasures is a sin against the Lord or could lead us to sin against the Lord.

I Should Perform

            We may be gifted in playing music, singing, preaching, teaching and administration. But to attend the church with a sole motive to perform is a dubious reasoning. Spiritual gifts are graciously given by the Triune God.

            There is a critical distinction between performance and offering.

            Performance makes us greater and the Lord lesser. When our mind is set on performing, we would become self-centered. Our focus may be to garner attention upon ourselves.

            God gives good gifts; not to bring glory upon ourselves. But God gives good gifts so that we bring glory to God.

            Primarily, our gifts are to be an offering to God. Our focus ought to be on God, and not on our gift. In other words our question should always be, “Is my offering pleasing and acceptable to God?” When our gifts are an offering to God, the Lord becomes greater and we become lesser.

            In quite a few instances, parents push their children to sing in the choir / worship team or act in a play. If parents fail to instill the concept of our skills being an offering to God, then the child would perform and would be unmindful of worshipping God through the spiritual gifts.

            We don’t go to church to perform, but to offer our gifts as an act of worship.  

I Should Lead

            Some Christians are addicted to leadership and power. From the moment they enter the church, they worm their way to leadership. Leadership as a motive to attend church is deplorable.

            We don’t intend to become anything. We become what God intends us to be. We submit ourselves to God and HE enables us to become who HE wants us to be.  

I Want A Big Church

            Some think that mega churches are better than the smaller churches. There is a reasonable premise behind this need. If a church serves its people well, people flock to it; hence mega churches could be better.

            However, there could be quite a few genuine reasons as to why small churches do not grow in numbers. Their lack of growth need not necessarily imply a deficiency in their ministry.

            Small churches could be as effective as a mega church.

I’d Attend Church Only On Occasions

            Have you wondered why churches overflow during occasions such as New Year, Good Friday, Easter and Christmas? It’s because some Christians attend church only during these occasions.

            This sad phenomenon exposes the presence of nominal Christians. Those who attend church only during occasions display their lack of love for the Lord Jesus.

Conclusion

            Having said these, attending church is a good step into growing as a Christian. It’s better to worship in a church than not.  

            Although our motive to attend church may be nauseatingly revolting, we may be giving ourselves an opportunity to grow in the Lord when we are in the church. While we are at the church, a song or a sermon or a Scripture reading could lead us to love the Lord. It’s the church’s bounden responsibility to disciple its members. 

            We attend church to worship God in the community of fellow Christians. Church should enable our discipleship in our Lord.

            The purpose of the church is “…to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4: 12-13, NIV). May our churches be diligent in this responsibility.

            Just as the Lord went after that one lost sheep, may our churches care for that one member who may be in need so to motivate, encourage and draw him closer to the Lord. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Four Blood Moons & 2 Bloody Noses


                  Pastor John Hagee and Pastor Mark Biltz’s noses are bloodied after the recent four blood moons episode.

            They aroused the end times passions of millions via their electric four blood moons prophesies about Christ’s return, significant changes to Israel and probable disasters upon our world.

            Christ has not returned. Israel exists without any historic shifts. The activities of our world are rather routine. The prophecies of Pastors Hagee and Biltz are absurd.

            Pastor Mark Biltz claimed that Christ’s second coming may be in the fall of 2015. The fall season has begun! Should we hope for Christ’s return now?

            No one knows when Christ will return, says the Bible. We should hope for Christ’s return now and even after fall.

            So dump Pastor Biltz’s prophecy!  

            Pastor Hagee authored a bestselling book, “Four Blood Moons – Something Is About To Change.” Now that this tetrad is done with…what changed?

            Was there a momentous change in Israel during this tetrad? No.   

            Pastor Hagee and Pastor Mark Biltz and the other end times prophets will thrive in a winning situation. Prior to their prophecies attaining fruition, they gained instant fame and recognition. Wealth accompanies fame and recognition. If they author a book and if their book is a bestseller - which they were - their wealth multiplies and image magnifies.

            Although their predictions bombed, flopped and busted, wouldn’t they be termed as false prophets? Once fame and wealth are in their domain, would they care if their predictions flop?

            Would fellow Christians consider them as false prophets? Some would and many would not. This is hideous Christianity in its glory!

            Pastor Hagee is a smart man. He had another trick up his sleeve! The trick was to divert people’s attention to that which appeases them.

            How do you get people to forget the sorry prophecy of four blood moons? You feed their hungry end times appetite with equally, if not more, exciting prophesies.

            When four blood moons prophecies amounted to nada (nothing), Pastor Hagee authored another book, “Three Heavens: Angels, Demons and What Lies Ahead.” (I guess ‘four’ didn’t work well for him so he limited his latest subtitle to ‘three.’) This diversionary tactic has been successful, for this book is also a bestseller.

            So let’s now run behind three heavens! What’s new?!

            The bait in his new book is in the sub title, “…what lies ahead.” Don’t we want to know what lies ahead from the man who fooled millions to earn millions with his asinine rambles?

            That’s not it!

            Pastor Hagee now accuses the powers that are in the USA for spearheading the Iran nuclear deal. Pastor Hagee predicts that this deal will result in a destructive war - as if Iran and Israel existed peacefully in all these years.

            Welcome another diversionary tactic! Let the people now focus on the Iran nuclear deal and not the fiasco of blood moons prophecy.  

            Hagee, Biltz and all the other doomsday prophets will keep proclaiming their predictions as long as we bite their baits. We are the culprits!

            Intrinsically, the problem is with us and not them. We nourish their egos and they continue to bloat, swell and puff up. We are ignorant fools.   

            We are ignorant of the Bible. We intentionally remain ignorant. They capitalize on this humongous opportunity and continue to feed us with incorrect and inordinate information.

            There is a real danger in these end-times prophecies. These end-times prophecies deceptively indulge our egos to make us feel like gods.

            God alone knows the future perfectly well. We desire to know our future. If and when we know our future, we feel like God.

            When these (godly) figures prophesy, the god in us is invigorated. Silently yet effectively, they play the same card that Satan played with Eve, “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God…” (Genesis 3:5, NIV, Emphasis Mine). We then fall prey to Satan’s deception,

            We want our eyes to be opened about the future. We want to be like God.

            Who wouldn’t want to get to know the future? Our life and hope is built on our future. It gives us immense pleasure to know what lies ahead. We feel like God when we know our future.

            When people predict the future, they seat us on a presumptuous throne of God. Since we love to be God, we love prophecies. These end times prophecies tickle the god-bone in us.

            If we do not know our future, we will depend on God. But when we know our future, our need for God diminishes.

            It doesn’t matter if their noses are bloodied now. They would not worry. They are not accountable, you see.

            They will continue doing their business. As long as we are gullible, we would keep buying their prophetic antics. Their business is to continue prophesying for they are certain of a dogged audience drooling eagerly to devour their predictions.

            As long as we Christians support their ridiculously asinine end times prophecies, the non-christian world will enjoy and laugh at this farce of a comedy show in Christendom. Yes, we are those farcical and foolish actors.

            When we buy these incredibly insane prophecies, do you really think that the non-Christian world will buy the gospel of Christ?