A Berean answers his daughter’s questions about their middle-class life

Characters:
Joseph Dias: A 41 yr old man and a member of a Berean group in town A
Daniella: Joseph’s 7 yr old daughter
Paul: Joseph’s 3 yr old son
The Bereans: An organization which prints New Testaments and Bibles for free distribution

Joseph and Daniella are sitting in their literature godown, stamping Berean NTs and new gospel tracts which have arrived, while waiting for a believer to come and collect gospel literature. They start talking about life…

Daniella: Dad, I wanted to ask you few questions. May I?

Joseph: Certainly! I’m your dad. You don’t have to formal with me. You can ask anything that’s on your mind, anytime, without hesitating.

Daniella: Thanks. Why are we so poor?

Joseph: We aren’t poor. What makes you think that we’re poor?

Daniella: All the people in our neighborhood have got good-looking cars. And we’ve got an old second-hand car. I’m ashamed to travel in it. It makes me feel so cheap.

Joseph: God has blessed us with a car. Many in this world don’t own a car, not even a second-hand one, and use public transportation to travel. It may be a second-hand car which God has given to us, but it’s in good condition and serves its purpose very well. A car’s job is to transport a person from one point to another. For God’s children like us, it’s not supposed to be a status symbol. The Creator of this whole universe, Lord Jesus, walked everywhere while He lived on earth. He traveled the whole of Palestine on His feet. He didn’t own a chariot, which was the equivalent of our modern day car, in those days. You don’t need to feel cheap because you own a cheap car. You are the daughter of a Heavenly Father who owns this universe. Jesus died for you because you are valuable to Him. Even if you wear cheap clothes, that won’t make you cheap.

Daniella: Good, you broached this subject about clothes, because I’ve been wanting to tell you for some time now that you never buy new clothes for me. I have to wear the clothes which the daughters of your cousins have worn. Only grandma and your sister buy new clothes for me.

Joseph: Not all the clothes which are given for you to wear by our cousins are second-hand ones. Several of them are new. They were bought by their dads, working abroad on merchant navy ships, who didn’t know the exact sizes of their daughters. If you see, all of them are good quality ones. Our cousins are wealthy so they buy many clothes for themselves and don’t wear them often. You have more clothes in your cupboard than any girl of your age, in your school, would have. There are millions of children in our country who don’t have clothes, and wear torn clothes.

Daniella: Really? I haven’t see children like that in real life. I’ve seen them on TV, yes.

Joseph: You can’t see such children in our village as it has mostly affluent people, but that’s the truth. Their parents don’t have money to send them to school.

Daniella: But isn’t school free?

Joseph: Government schools give free education, yes. But school uniform and books cost money, which their parents can’t afford to buy. And their parents don’t earn enough, so they send their children to work. Some children go with plastic bags to collect empty plastic bottles of water, to sell to junk yard shops. Then there are others who wash dirty vessels in restaurants, work as laborers, maid servants etc.

Daniella: Isn’t our poverty obvious to all? Like for example, when there’s a power-cut, late in the evening, all our rich neighbors who have inverters, can see that it’s dark in our house, because we don’t have an inverter. Not only that, it gets so uncomfortable inside, and difficult to breathe, and irritating too with mosquitoes buzzing. Why can’t we buy an inverter?

Joseph: Here in Goa, power-cuts are not very common. An inconvenience that we experience 15 mins in a week, or rather once in a blue moon, is not an inconvenience at all. People living in the suburbs in the cities of our country have planned outages every day, for many hours. Then there are millions of homes in our country without electricity. Can you imagine what it must be like for such people to live inside, such homes, during the summer season without a fan running? We have not just a fan in our bedroom, we have an ac too!

Daniella: Why can’t we paint our house every year, just like our neighbors?

Joseph: Paint costs money, and painters charge a lot of money. We shouldn’t waste money, unnecessarily. Getting our house painted, once in 5 years is good enough. We aren’t supposed to do something just because someone else is doing it. We are accountable to God for all our actions. All our money belongs to God, and we can’t spend it as we please, wastefully.

Daniella: Why can’t I have a room of my own? Several of my friends have a bedroom to themselves. When I go for their birthday party, they proudly proclaim, “This is my bedroom!”

Joseph: God has given us a spacious 3BHK house. One bedroom is for your grandparents, another bedroom for your dad’s brother and his family, and the third bedroom is for your brother Paul, you, your mom and me. We have to be satisfied with what God has given us. If you go to a city like Bombay, you’ll see even 10 people living in one rented room. Millions in our country don’t have a home of their own. Do you know that even thousands of Christians in our country don’t have money to buy their own homes? They live in rented accommodations, and will do so till Jesus comes.

Daniella: Can we say then that God has not blessed them, even though they’ve followed Him faithfully?

Joseph: No. No Christian can complain about anything that God has not given to them. Not even when they’ve not been given houses of their own. Firstly, because they’re not on the streets. And secondly, Jesus is building permanent mansions for them in heaven (John 14:1-3). A mansion is a large, impressive house, according to any dictionary. We can see many of them on earth. But the ones on earth are on a shaky foundation, as they are revolving on earth, and can be knocked down anytime by a flood or hurricane. Or can be reduced to ashes by fire.

Daniella: So we too will have mansions to live in, in heaven?

Joseph: Yes, of course! All believers will. If you believe that Jesus always meant what He said, you’ll get to experience it one day. That is why if we don’t have the things that our rich neighbors or the believers in our church have, we should not sulk before God.

Daniella: But why does God not give riches on earth to all of His children?

Joseph: Because it’s difficult for rich people to go to heaven (Matthew 19:23-24). And God doesn’t want to lose all His children to the devil and to hell, because of riches. Down through the centuries, many of His children, whom God blessed with wealth, stopped loving Him, because their wealth became their god, and they had to be sent to hell. They were believers once, but God had to spit them out of His mouth because their love for Him became lukewarm, and they thought that they didn’t need Him anymore, because they had everything that they needed materially (Revelation 3:16-18). God had to blot out their names from the book of life (Revelation 3:5).

Daniella: Is that the reason why God keeps some believers poor?

Joseph: Yes. In the Old Testamental period, before Jesus came to earth, the blessings which God gave to those who were obedient to Him were mostly material. But in the New Testamental period, God primarily seeks to bless us with spiritual blessings. That is why, God didn’t give even the great apostle Paul, who served Him faithfully, throughout His life, a house of his own. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11:27 that he had frequently been deprived of food and water, left hungry and shivering out in the cold, lacking proper clothing. Yet, Paul was full of joy all the time, and gave thanks to God in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:16,18).

Daniella: How is that possible? How is it possible to have joy when you don’t have the things of this world, and have to face hardships like that?

Joseph: Because our joy is not found in the things of this world but in God’s presence (Psalm 16:11), and in knowing that our names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20). And we can rejoice when we go through difficulties as we know that they help us to become better Christians (James 1:2-4).

Daniella: How can difficulties help us to become better Christians? Don’t they make us grumbling Christians? For example, in our house there is only one toilet, and 9 of us have to stand in line, in the morning. That’s not a pleasant experience!

Joseph: Our house has a toilet inside. Millions of people have to go behind bushes in villages, or beside railway tracks in cities to relieve themselves. Millions have to use filthy public toilets. By standing in line for few mins, we can know the struggles people in our country are facing. Imagine that it’s raining heavily, and you’re suffering from loose motions, and it’s night, and you’re living in a village, in a hut that doesn’t have a toilet. Such knowledge, enables you to have a sense of gratitude toward God, for giving you a house with a toilet inside. And with water running through the pipes, 24/7, 365 days in a year.

Daniella: Don’t all people in our country have running water?

Joseph: No. There is water scarcity due to droughts in many areas in our country. When I lived in Bombay many years ago, water came through the taps only for 30 mins in the morning. Girls and women living in villages have to travel large distances to fetch watch. That is why we must never waste water.

Daniella: When God has given us space, why can’t we make use of it? Why can’t we build more rooms on the first floor of our house, like all our neighbors have built?

Joseph: Right now we’re not in a position to build one more floor. We’ve got a large housing loan which needs to be cleared, and it’ll take many more years for that to happen. Do you know that Jesus had to share a house with his mom, 4 brothers, and at least 2 sisters? Since they were poor, it must have been a small house. Like Him we have to learn to live together, and to adjust.

Daniella: Can’t we make Portuguese passports and go to live in Europe. Surely, mom and you will get good jobs. Two of my friends who migrated there last year with their families, keep sending me attractive pics and videos on WhatsApp, of the beautiful places they’re living in.

Joseph: We cannot go wherever we want, just because money is there in a particular place. Abraham’s nephew Lot did that, and lost everything that he had worked to earn. We have a duty to do in our country. Most of the people in our country don’t know the Lord, and God has kept us here to function as lights. We need to tell them about Jesus who died for their sins.

Daniella: Aren’t there people who don’t know the Lord, in those countries too?

Joseph: There are. But there are believers there who can tell those unbelievers about Jesus. We have to be in the place God wants us to be in.

Daniella: If we can’t go to live in a beautiful country abroad, can’t we at least go abroad for a vacation? Most of my friends have been abroad to countries like Thailand, Malyasia, Switzerland, France etc.

Joseph: Our country is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. And our state Goa is one of the most beautiful spots in the world. That is why whenever you go to Benaulim beach, our local village beach, you’ll see people from many countries of the world, lying on it sunbathing.

Daniella: They may want to sunbathe, but I want to see snow, walk on snow, play in snow, and with snow, making snowballs. I’ve never seen snow in my life.

Joseph: On TV, snow looks fun to play with. But, you can’t enjoy it for long. Cold temperatures are unbearable, and cause frostbite, and other sicknesses. People experiencing such weather, long for the sun. God has blessed our Goa with the best climate. We don’t have extreme temperatures here. It’s neither very hot nor very cold. That is why Siberians from Russia and people from Scandinavian countries come here to experience the sun. Our Goans who’ve gone to work in the UK, are fed up of the rainy weather there, and those who’ve gone to Canada are tired of the extreme temperatures there.

Daniella: So I’ll never get to see foreign countries?

Joseph: If the Lord wills, that will happen. (He smiles) If He doesn’t come back soon, and if you grow up to become an air-hostess, you’ll be able to see many countries. If He comes, soon, then you’ll be able to see all the countries of this world, because there’ll be a millennial period of a 1000 years during which we’ll live with our Lord Jesus on this earth.

Daniella: Really?

Joseph: Yes. During those 1000 years, you can have a whale of a time, and enjoy your holidays, going from country to country.

Daniella: Cool

Joseph: Most Goans, including the families of your friends who have migrated abroad, had to do so because they didn’t have a choice. You can’t find jobs here that pay well. They didn’t have a business here which could help them to earn their daily bread, so they had to go. We don’t have to go. God has given us a homestay. It may be small, but God sends people so we can have our bread and butter.

Daniella: Bread and butter is all that we have. “Simple” food would be the best term to describe what we eat. There aren’t imported chocolates to taste. Nor ice cream cones.

Joseph: We’ve never starved. Millions of people in our country suffer from malnutrition. That is because they don’t get three square meals in a day. If you go to the cities in our country, it’ll not be uncommon for you to see people eating food from dustbins. Gluttony is a sin. We must not live to eat. We must eat to live. Gluttony causes many sicknesses. And you do get imported chocolates from your cousins.

Daniella: The chocolates they give to us are the cheap and not-so-good to taste Turkish and Indonesian ones. They keep the Swiss and Belgian ones for themselves. And part with the latter only if they are about to expire.

Joseph: My dear, I’ve spent a fortune on your dental treatment, to get all your grinders filled with silver, because of the chocolates you’ve consumed from the time you were 1 yr old until now. From now on, consume the word of God.

Daniella: Dad, today I’ve realized that I have so much to thank God for. I’ll stop comparing myself with those classmates of mine who have more than me. Will God forgive me?

Joseph: Of course He will.

(The person they were waiting for, to come and collect gospel literature comes and they pack tracts and Berean NTs for him in an empty carton).

This part of the drama on the Bereans was completed by me (Rommel Fernandes) today (24st September, 2018).

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A Berean talks to His daughter about the Divinity of Jesus

Characters:
Joseph Dias: A 41 yr old man and a member of a Berean group in town A
Daniella: Joseph’s 7 yr old daughter
Paul: Joseph’s 3 yr old son
Luke: A 50 yr old man, a member of a Berean group in town B, and Joseph’s friend
The Bereans: An organization which prints New Testaments and Bibles for free distribution
Brownie: Their beloved dog

It’s 5PM.
Joseph and Daniella are sitting in the living room of their house, facing each other, with a teapoy between them. On it are Kannada Berean NTs which they are about to start stamping. They aren’t Kannadigas. They are Goans, but they love all the migrants who’ve come to work in their state, and want to share the gospel of Jesus with them, so they use their time to involve themselves with the ministry of the Bereans. They never call the migrants in their state “ghatis” – a derogatory term used by the locals to address them.
Daniella is not old enough to join the Bereans officially. But her dad and she think that she can serve the Lord at that young age, by removing the NTs from their boxes, stamping them, and re-arranging them in boxes, just like Samuel the prophet did small tasks in God’s temple when he was still a kid.
Whenever Joseph sits with his friends in the living room of their house, talking about Christian doctrines, Daniella sits quietly in a corner of the room, listening to what they are saying, absorbing everything. When her dad’s friends leave, she asks him questions if there’s something her little mind could not grasp.

Daniella: Dad, my classmate Clarissa is a Jehovah’s Witness. She told me during the recess time today, that Jesus is a created Being. Is that true?

Joseph: That’s not true at all. Such a false statement can be expected from the mouth of a Jehovah’s Witness!

Daniella: She even jotted down many Bible verses supporting her points, and gave them to me.

(She removes a piece of paper from the pocket of her skirt).

Joseph: Was Colossians 1:15 one of the verses which she gave to you?

Daniella: Yes. And I checked it in my Berean Bible. It says that He is the firstborn over all creation.

Joseph: What do understand by the word “firstborn?”

Daniella: Sometimes, you introduce me to the guests who come to our house, as your “firstborn,” because I’m your eldest child, who was born before your second child Paul. So if Jesus is called “firstborn” it means that He was born first. And that after He was born, meaning created by God the Father, God the Father used Him to create everything else in this universe.

Joseph: My dear, you’ve got it wrong there. He’s not the firstborn in that sense. Nowhere does the Bible say that Jesus is a created Being. We should never believe what is not there in the Bible. And if we can’t understand something, we should not assume something that is not there in the Bible, nor should we misinterpret a verse so it can make sense to us.

Daniella: So what does “He is the firstborn over all creation” mean?

Joseph: I’ll explain that to you, but first you need to know that the Jehovah’s Witnesses are false teachers. You should not trust whatever they say. Because they misinterpret many verses of the Bible. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are members of a cult. It is one of the many cults in this world.

Daniella: What is a cult or cults?

Joseph: A cult is a group made up of people who listen to the teachings of their founder(s) and other leader(s), more than the Bible. The founders of all cults, propagate devilish ideas by misinterpreting Bible verses. They allow the devil to mislead them. Cult group members always interpret the Bible just as their founders interpret it, without deviating.

Daniella: What about our Brethren Assembly? Is is a cult too?

Joseph: What makes you think that it is one?

Daniella: Well, most people in our local Assembly, don’t believe that the gift of tongues is still there. They say that it has ceased. They don’t believe that the gift of healing is there. They say that it stopped with the apostles. In our family, you and me, believe in both these gifts, because we have seen people speaking in tongues and getting healed. They are misinterpreting Bible verses. Shouldn’t they therefore be called members of a cult?

Joseph: Our Brethren Assembly is not a cult. We’ll talk about the errors, people from our Brethren Assemblies have fallen into, some other time. Today, let’s talk only about Jesus’ divinity which other people attack. By divinity I mean, the Divine qualities that He has which show us that He’s God.

Daniella: Sure

Joseph: Don’t get me wrong. We should not hate the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Nor should we hate members of other cult groups in our state. Jesus died and shed His precious blood for them too. We need to pray for their salvation. We need to pray that the Holy Spirit may reveal the truth to them. And that they may change. Because if they don’t, they’ll go to hell to suffer forever and ever, without God.

Daniella: You mean to say that I need to pray for Clarissa?

Joseph: Yes. A lot of believers hate people from cult groups and avoid talking to them. But that is not what Jesus wants us to do. We read in Revelation 2:18-22, about a woman called Jezebel who was a false prophetess in the Church in Thyatira. And Jesus gave her time to repent. Jesus wanted her to change her heart and turn away from her sin (ERV). But, she did not want to change. All unbelievers, including cultists are our field for evangelism. It may take many years for us to see any fruit for the Lord from such cults.

Daniella: Isn’t there a verse somewhere that tells us not to eat with people who tell false doctrines?

Joseph: From where are you learning all these verses, Miss Smarty?

Daniella: In Sunday School.

Joseph: Okay. You’re probably referring to 1 Corinthians 5:11. That verse says that we must not associate with people who claim to be believers but continue to live in sin. We should not even eat with a brother or sister who sins sexually, is greedy, worships idols, abuses others with insults, gets drunk, or cheats people. This verse isn’t talking about cultists.

Daniella: Have a query. What does “sins sexually” mean?

Joseph: You’re too young to understand this. But I’ll try to explain it to you in simple words.

Daniella: Thank you, dad.

Joseph: No problem. God has given us private parts. Your mom has already told you about them.

Daniella: She has.

Joseph: Let’s call them special parts. God has told us in the Bible that a man should marry a woman, and only after that can they touch each other’s special parts. In this world people don’t want to obey God. They want to touch the special parts of people they are not married too. That is sinning sexually.

Daniella: Okay

Joseph: God has said that a man should marry only a woman, but there are men in this world who are marrying men. And women who are marrying women.

Daniella: Really?

Joseph: Yes. Even in our country India, they are legally allowed to do that. Such marriages are not recognized by God, even if they are recognized by the countries those people live in. And if such men touch the special parts of the men they get married to, and if the women touch the special parts of the women they get married to, they are sinning sexually. You, my daughter, must not allow anybody to touch your special parts. Nobody in school, nobody in the church, nobody in the neighborhood, nobody from our relatives. Only after you get married, your husband can touch them.

Daniella: Okay, dad.

Joseph: And if anybody tries to touch them, scream as loudly as you can and say, “Don’t do that!” so other people nearby can hear that you are in danger and come and help you. And you know the self-defense moves I taught you, to defend yourself.

Daniella: Yes, dad.

Joseph: Use them, if someone is persistent and does not stop from touching your special parts.

Daniella: Sure, dad.

Joseph: God has given you sharp teeth too, to defend yourself against a rogue.

(Daniella is smiling).

Joseph: Going back to your query about whether to eat with people who share false doctrines or not, 2 John 9-11 tells us not to invite people who don’t follow the teaching about Christ, in our houses.

Daniella: See? I was right.

Joseph: Cult members are usually pushy. They don’t give other people a chance to speak. They are only interested in shoving their doctrines down the throats of people. And those believers who are new Christians, or those believers who have been Christians for many years but don’t know the doctrines in the Bible, because they don’t make an effort to read it, and study it, can get deceived. That is why, such cultists shouldn’t be entertained, generally. But, if they are willing to listen, to what we have to say too, with open minds, then we can sit with them, to lead them to the truth, with the Holy Spirit’s help.

Daniella: So, can I sit with Clarissa during recess time? She’s a nice girl.

Joseph: You can. But, you’ll have to come and tell me whatever she tells you so I can tell you the truth from the Bible. Then from a very young age, you will be well versed with the Scriptures, like Timothy who was apostle Paul’s assistant.

Daniella: Sure, dad.

Joseph: If you cannot understand a verse in the Bible, there are two things which you can do: 1) Compare it with other verses in the Bible, found in other books of the Bible, and / or 2) Check how other versions have translated the verse.

Daniella: Meaning, if my Berean Bible is difficult to understand, I should take the Good News Translation which has cartoons on it? Or the other Bibles on our book racks?

Joseph: Yes. And I’ve given you a tab. Don’t use it only to watch cartoons on YouTube. (Daniella is blushing with guilt). You can use it to go to a site called biblegateway.com. It has about 30 English translations of the Bible.

Daniella: Really? Wow! I’ll visit it today.

Joseph: Since you are very young, you can always come to me too.

Daniella: Thank you so much, dad.

Joseph: You’re welcome. The Berean Bible is the NKJV. If you see Colossians 1:15 in the new Amplified Version, and in the New Living Translation, you’ll come to know that “firstborn over all creation” means that He is Supreme over all creation. And according to the Easy-to-Read Version it means that He rules over everything that has been made.

Daniella: But why do different Bibles translate a verse differently? Why don’t they all agree? Because I’m getting confused here. My Berean Bible says “firstborn” and you are saying that other Bibles are saying “Supreme.” How can Someone Who is “Firstborn” be “Supreme?” If He’s “Supreme” He should not be “born.” Because one who is born is a created being. If He’s really Supreme, He should not be a created being. How can I know which version is actually correct?

Joseph: The Old Testament was originally written is Hebrew and partially in Aramaic, and the New Testament was written in Greek. Different Bibles have been translated by different scholars. Some scholars translated from the original, word-for-word. Others tried to give the meaning of a word or phrase based on the context, so those of us who don’t know the original languages in which the Bible was written could understand a verse clearly.

Daniella: What do you mean?

Joseph: The translators of the Easy-to-Read Version, New Living Translation, and the Amplified Version are absolutely right here because nowhere does the Bible say that Jesus is a created being. Could you read the first part of that verse loudly, right now?

Daniella: He is the image of the invisible God…

Joseph: Stop. That line according to the Contemporary English Version (CEV) means that Christ is exactly like God, Who cannot be seen. No human being has seen God the Father. But when Jesus was on earth, they saw God, because Jesus was God. Can a person be God and a created being also?

Daniella: I guess not. But Clarissa gave me another verse… Revelation 3:14. Let me read it from my Berean Bible. “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.” See, this verse clearly states that Jesus is the beginning of God’s creation.

Joseph: I feel that it’s time now to use your tab for spiritual activities. Could you go and get it?

Daniella: Sure, dad.

(Daniella goes to fetch it from her cupboard in their bedroom, and comes back quickly. Joseph tells her to open that verse in biblegateway.com)

Joseph: biblegatway.com has an app which we can download later. For the time being, let’s open it in a browser. (Joseph types https://www.biblegateway.com/verse/en/revelation+3:14 in the address bar). Use this link when you want to see all the verses on one page. Simply change the book name, chapter and verse.

Daniella: Okay, dad

Joseph: Now go through the verse and see if you can spot any difference in that line of the verse in the other translations.

(Daniella’s eyes go from the top to the bottom of the page, and again from the bottom to the top).

Daniella: The ERV says, “the ruler of all that God has made.”

Joseph: Very good. Any other translation that has a different line?

Daniella: HCSB and NET say, “the Originator of God’s creation.” The NCV and ICV agree with the ERV. The NIV and TPT say, “the Ruler of God’s creation.” The NLV says, “the One Who made everything in God’s world”

Joseph: Fantastic. See how you’ve found the answer to your query by just comparing different versions of the Bible.

Daniella: True, dad.

Joseph: For a person to be considered as God, He should have certain attributes.

Daniella: Attriboots?

Joseph: No. It’s pronounced as at-tree-beewts. Attributes simply mean characteristics. For example God should be Eternal.

Daniella: Eternal means?

Joseph: Someone Who had no beginning. Who was not created.

Daniella: Is Jesus eternal?

Joseph: Yes. In Isaiah 9:6 Jesus is called Eternal / Everlasting Father. The Amplified version of John 1:1-2 says that in the beginning [before all time] Christ was there, with God. And that He was [continually existing] in the beginning [co-eternally] with God.

Daniella: Meaning both Jesus and the Father had no beginning?

Joseph: Correct. They both, along with the Holy Spirit, have always existed eternally. If they had not existed, this universe would not have been there. The three of them created this universe.

Daniella: How could three people have existed just like that. Could it be that God the Father existed right from the beginning and created Jesus and the Holy Spirit, just like Clarissa told me? She said that John 1:1 says that Jesus is “a” God.

Joseph: John 1:1 has been mistranslated in the Bible of the Jehovah’s Witnesses called The Watchtower Translation. That verse simply says that Jesus is God. It does not say that He’s “a” God. The theory that only God the Father existed right from the beginning, and created Jesus and the Holy Spirit is not there in the Bible. Both Jesus and the Holy Spirit are equal to God the Father. That is why in Hebrews 1:6, which is another verse in which Jesus is called the “firstborn,” we read that God the Father tells “all” the angels to worship Jesus.

Daniella: Really? Is Jesus not a lesser god then?

Joseph: Of course not! There are lesser gods in this world. For example in 2 Corinthians 4:4 the devil who is a fallen angel, is called the god of this world / age. And people in this world worship him. God hates that. Because the devil is a created being. God does not want any creature to be worshiped (Exodus 20:3-6; Leviticus 19:4). God wants people to worship only Him and Jesus. The devil was created by God as a good angel. But he became ambitious and wanted to receive worship from the other angels and that is why God kicked him out of heaven and created hell for him (Isaiah 14:11-15; Ezekiel 28:12-15; Matthew 25:41).

Daniella: Are you saying that angels should not be worshiped?

Joseph: Yes. In Revelation 22:8, when John tried to worship an angel, the angel stopped him saying, “Do not worship me! I am a servant like you. Worship God (v.9 – ICB)!” Jesus is not a created Being that is why the Father is fine with Him receiving worship from angels.

Daniella: Did Jesus receive worship from human beings while on earth?

Joseph: Yes, while on earth, Jesus accepted worship from people. We read in John 9:35-39 that a blind man whom He healed worshiped Him. Then in Matthew 28:9 we read that Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James (cf. Mark 16:1) worshiped Him. In Matthew 28:16-17, we read that His disciples worshiped Him. Jesus did not stop any of these people by saying, “Do not worship me, because I am only a man. You must worship only the Father, Who is the only true God.” He accepted worship from them because He was God Himself. During His temptation, Jesus told the devil that the Scriptures say that You must worship the Lord your God (Matthew 4:10). Because He was God, Jesus accepted worship.

Daniella: What about in heaven? Is Jesus worshiped in heaven?

Joseph: Yes, He’s worshiped in heaven as well! In Revelation Chapter 4 we see that God the Father is seated on a throne and that in the center and around the throne are 4 living creatures. And sitting on 24 thrones around the throne of God the Father are 24 elders. Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the 24 elders fall down before God the Father and worship Him. We read in the next Chapter that the 4 living creatures and the 24 elders bow down before Jesus too, Who is called the Lamb. And the Father does not say, “Don’t do that! I’m the only one Who has to be worshiped here. Jesus is just a created being.”

Daniella: Okay

Joseph: The New English Translation (NET Bible) of Isaiah 42:8 quotes God saying, “I am the Lord! That is my name! I will not share my glory with anyone else.” The Father shares His glory with Jesus because Jesus is equal to Him. If He was a created being, than the Father would never have shared His glory with Jesus. He would have kept Him in His place. Why would God allow a created being to accept worship, which belongs to Him alone?

Daniella: Makes sense

Joseph: The Bible says that Jesus created all things (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). This is one more attribute of Jesus – He is the Creator. I told you few mins ago that this whole universe was created by Jesus, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit. There are other attributes which make Jesus God too.

Daniella: Such as?

Joseph: Jesus is Omnipresent which means that He is present everywhere. He said, “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20 – NKJV).”

Daniella: Meaning that if we both pray right now, Jesus will be in between us?

Joseph: Yes

Daniella: So nice!

Joseph: He is also Omniscient which means that He knows everything. He knows everything about everybody. He knows about your past, present, future. Revelation 2:23 is a verse which tells about Jesus’ Omniscience. He knows…

Daniella: Wait a minute! Didn’t Jesus say that He does not know the day and hour when He’ll be coming back. I remember this verse clearly because I memorized it in Sunday School. It’s Mark 13:32. Let me quote it: But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Joseph: While interpreting the Bible, we need to look at the context.

Daniella: What is context?

Joseph: Context refers to the verses before and after a verse, and when something was said. Jesus said Mark 13:32 when He was on earth. We read in Philippians 2:7 that He emptied Himself when He came to earth, in order to die for our sins. The ERV says that He gave up everything, even His place with God. And the AMPC says that He stripped Himself of all privileges. He had to be born as a baby. It had to be a normal birth. He had to start life on earth as a tiny cell, in Mary’s womb and come out in 9 months.

Daniella: Just now you said that He’s God. How could God, be reduced to a tiny cell?

Joseph: With God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). The Bible says that He grew in wisdom. Luke 2:52 says that Jesus increased in wisdom. While in heaven, before He came to earth, He was Omniscient. While leaving for earth, He gave up His Divine privileges. After He came to earth, He had to grow in wisdom. He had to depend on God the Father every step of His earthly life (John 5:19,30). The Holy Spirit was His guide.

Daniella: Is that the reason, He did not know everything, when He was on earth?

Joseph: True. In one incident that happened in Mark 11:12-25, we read that one day, Jesus was hungry. And seeing a fig tree having leaves from afar, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. If He was Omniscient during His earthly life, He would not have gone to that tree to see if it has figs or not. He would have known that it didn’t have figs. That is the reason He did not know the date of His Second Coming. But now that He’s in heaven, He knows when He’ll be coming back.

Daniella: So this means that when Jesus was on earth, He wasn’t Omniscient, but He was before He came to earth, and after He left the earth, and went back to heaven?

Joseph: True. But we also read in some verses, that while Jesus was on earth, He knew certain things about people. For example in John 6:64 we read that Jesus knew from the beginning who did not believe in Him, and who would betray Him. So when He chose the 12 disciples, He knew that Judas would betray Him one day. In John 1:48 we read that Jesus saw Nathanael sitting under a fig tree, without actually being in that area physically. In Matthew 12:25 and Luke 6:8 we read that Jesus knew what people were thinking. We don’t know whether He knew these things because He exercised His Divine privilege of Omniscience during those instances, or if the Father revealed them to Him through the Holy Spirit.

(They hear the front gate opening / creaking. Oil needs to be poured on its hinges. Brownie starts barking. Daniella goes to the door to see who’s come. It’s Uncle Luke. Joseph gestures to him to take a seat on the freshly varnished sofa, and tells him that they both have been talking about the divinity of Jesus).

Daniella: Why did Jesus say, “The Father is greater than I am?”

Joseph: You are talking about John 14:28. He spoke those words as a human being. Hebrews 2:9, talks about that period, and tells us that for a short time, Jesus was made lower than the angels. That is why He said that the Father was greater than Him.

Luke: But even after He rose again from the dead, Jesus called the Father “My God.” In John 20:17. And in Revelation 3:12 He called the Father “My God” 4 times in just that one verse. Why is that?

Joseph: Nothing unusual about that. The Father also addressed Him as, “O God” in Hebrews 1:8.

Luke: The Father may have called Him “O God” but, He never called Jesus “My God.”

Joseph: Well, Jesus has chosen to be subject to the Father for all eternity to come. We read that in 1 Corinthians 15:24-28. That’s a choice He has made, because of His humility. We need to learn to be humble like Him. Instead of always fighting for our rights, and making ourselves feel important.

Luke: True, Bro. We always like to cling to our rights. And if aren’t given attention too, we feel insulted. That’s not the nature of Jesus.

Joseph: One more attribute that Jesus has is that He’s Almighty. He is called Mighty God in Isaiah 9:6.

Luke: He’s called “Mighty” God there and not “Almighty.”

Joseph: Daniella could you check and tell us what other versions have to say about this word?

Daniella: Sure, dad. (She checks biblegateway.com). The ERV, ICB, NCV and NLV say “Powerful” God.

Joseph: That’s the correct translation. Even if you’re not convinced about that, you need to know that the Father is also called “Mighty” God in several verses. Check Psalm 50:1; Genesis 49:24; Isaiah 1:24; Job 36:5 etc. If the Father is called “Mighty” that doesn’t mean that He’s not Almighty. Similarly, if Jesus is called “Mighty” that doesn’t mean that He’s not Almighty.

Luke: Any other proof?

Joseph: Yes, Revelation 1:8. Daniella, could you read it?

Daniella: Am reading from the Berean NKJV Bible: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Luke: Isn’t that verse talking about the Father?

Joseph: It isn’t. It’s talking about the One Who is to come? Who’s going to come in the future?

Daniella and Luke: Jesus

Luke: Was Jesus Almighty while He was on earth? Because an angel told Joseph to take the child Jesus and go to Egypt because Herod wanted to kill Him, and told Joseph to go back to Israel only after Herod had died (Matthew 2:13-21). If He was Almighty, He didn’t have to be afraid of Herod or anybody.

Joseph: He didn’t exercise that privilege too, while on earth. He became a vulnerable child and human being. That is why after His temptation in the wilderness, angels came and ministered to Him (Matthew 4:11). He had created the angels ages before, and didn’t have to depend on them. But He did. During His earthly ministry, many a times He escaped from the clutches of people who wanted to kill Him, simply by using common sense (John 10:39; Matthew 4:12).

Luke: Because He did not want to die before His time, right?

Joseph: Right. And just before His crucifixion, when Peter cut the ear of the high priest’s servant, Jesus rebuked him and told him, “Do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels (Matthew 26:51-52)?” His response to Peter was not, “Do you think that I cannot take care of them? I am Almighty God.” Being Divine, He didn’t have to pray to the Father to send angels to His defense. He could have killed all of them with the breath of His mouth, like He will destroy the lawless one in the future (2 Thessalonians 2:8 – ERV). But He chose not to exercise this Divine quality throughout His life on earth. He lived on total dependence on the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Luke: Understood

Joseph: The Bible says in James 1:13 that God cannot be tempted. But Jesus had laid aside His Divine privileges, before coming to earth, so He allowed Himself to be tempted (Hebrews 4:15). He was tempted by the devil. He was tempted by the world. He said that He had overcome the world (John 16:33). How did He overcome the world? How did He defeat the devil? How did He face temptations?

Luke: By filling His mind with the Scriptures?

Joseph: Yes. He quoted Bible verses to the devil. And showed us how we can face temptations too. He overcame temptations with the power of the Holy Spirit. The same resources for overcoming all temptations which were available to Him are available to us too today. Whatever He did on earth was done in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Luke: Any verses to support this?

Joseph: Yes. In Matthew 12:28 He said that He cast out demons by the Spirit of God. And in Luke 11:20 He said that He cast our demons by the finger of God or by the power of God. He did not say that He cast them out with His own power.

Luke: I remember reading John 10:18 in the VOICE version, in which Jesus said that He had authority to give His life and to take it again.

Joseph: But He did not exercise this authority to raise Himself from the dead. We read in Romans 8:11 that God’s Spirit raised Him up from the dead. And in Acts 2:32 we read that God raised Him from the dead.

Luke: Okay

Joseph: Daniella, in the future, when you meet Clarissa, if she says that Jesus is Michael, tell her that Jesus created Michael.

Daniella: Who’s Michael?

Joseph: Michael is the archangel or chief angel in heaven according to Jude 9. In Revelation 12:7-8 we read that Michael and his angels fought with the devil and his angels.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses think that Michael is Jesus.

Daniella: Why do they always think that a verse says what it does not mean?

Joseph: The devil puts such thoughts in their minds and they choose to listen to the devil rather than the Holy Spirit.

Luke: They are not the only ones who listen to the devil. Millions of evangelicals like us, also listen to the devil. Most evangelicals think that it’s possible to love God and the world, to love God and money etc. They think that God won’t mind if they do that. After all, they reason, one needs to live in this world, and money is needed to live comfortably. Since God Himself has blessed them materially because they give 10% to Him faithfully, they think that they are not loving the world, they are not loving money, and that they are only using them as commodities. How easy it is to be deceived.

Joseph: True, Luke. Daniella, you can tell Clarissa that Jesus has many names, but Michael is not one of them. And that according to Colossians 1:16 Jesus created all angels. Since Michael is an angel, this verse includes him as a creature created by Jesus.

Daniella: Sure, dad!

(They all pray for the salvation of Clarissa and her family, and for the salvation of the members of the Kingdom Hall in their town).

This part of the drama on the Bereans was completed by me (Rommel Fernandes) today (21st September, 2018).

Posted in god, heaven, hell, holiness, jesus | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Two Bereans talk about spiritual books

Joseph Dias: 41 yr old husband of Ruth, and a member of a Berean group in town A.
Ruth Dias: 35 yr old wife of Joseph
Paul: Their 3 yr old son
Brownie: Their beloved dog
The Bereans: An organization which prints New Testaments and Bibles for free distribution
Luke: A member of a Berean group in town B and Joseph’s friend
Hannah: Luke’s wife
Mark: Luke’s son. He works on a container ship abroad
Demas: A member of a Berean group in town B

It’s a Saturday. It’s 10AM. Joseph has been waiting for couple of hours. Demas had called him a day earlier, telling that he’d come to collect Kannada, Hindi, Marathi, Oriya and Bengali, NTs for his Berean group, to be given to the migrants living and working in their state as fishermen, fish sellers, beach shack cooks and waiters, laborers, etc. But he hasn’t turned up yet. Brownie starts barking. Joseph looks outside the window to see if Demas has come, finally. It isn’t Demas who’s outside the gate. It’s his buddy Luke. Joseph welcomes him, and they embrace. Joseph is from a Brethren Assembly and Luke is from a Hebron (Bakht Singh) Assembly, so they greet each other with the phrase used commonly by members of both these assemblies…

Luke: Praise the Lord!

Joseph: Praise the Lord!

Luke: How are you, Bro?

Joseph: Good. And you?

Luke: All’s well.

Paul: Praise the Lord, uncle Luke.

Luke: Praise the Lord, Paulie.

(He lifts Paul up and gives him a peck on the cheek. Ruth sees him from the kitchen and comes to the sitting room to wish him).

Ruth: Praise the Lord, brother. How’s Hannah?

Luke: She’s fine. She told me to pass her regards to you. She wanted to come today, but couldn’t, and told me to give this to you.

(He hands her a plastic bag).

Luke: Mark has come home. There are chocolates inside for the kids.

Ruth: Brother, you didn’t have to get these. You bring something every time you come.

Luke: It’s nothing.

Ruth: Thank you.

Joseph: She’s right, Luke. You don’t have to get something, whenever you come.

Luke: No big deal.

(Joseph and Luke sit on a sofa. Ruth goes back to the kitchen to prepare lemon soda for Luke as that’s his favorite drink. Paul follows her because he heard the word “chocolate” and wants to know what’s inside that plastic bag).

Luke: Here, bro, these are the books which I had taken from you on my last visit.

(He hands over William MacDonald’s commentaries on Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).

Joseph: Were they of help to you?

Luke: You bet! He’s thoroughly biblical. Not someone who simply feeds you with useless knowledge. There’s always a practical application of the Biblical text for us today. If only I had applied all the knowledge I gained by reading such books to my life, I would have been a different Luke by now. I’m still carnal. And short-tempered. But I’ll change one day. And I hope that is not after I die and get glorified and become like Jesus. I want to become like Jesus in character while I’m still on earth.

Joseph: You surely can. Because you’re honest. And God loves those who are honest. There’s hope for honest people.

Luke: Bro, I’ve not been able to finish those books you gave me by Jerry Bridges and J. Oswald Sanders. I’ll get them on my next visit.

Joseph: No problem. Take your time.

Luke: I followed your advice about checking to see what different translations say about a verse on biblegateway.com. I’ve learnt different things about a verse just by doing that. My Bible study during my quiet time with God, has not been the same. Thank you.

Joseph: You’re welcome. There’s one more tip. Most commentaries are available for reading freely on another site called biblehub.com

Luke: Really? But you know that I’m a fuddy-duddy. I like to read devotional books in print.

Joseph: Then, you can always take books from our library.

Luke: Are there any books you’d recommend that I take from your library today?

Joseph: You can take J.C.Ryle’s “Expository thoughts on the Gospels.” I’ve just finished reading it. Every page is loaded with pearls of wisdom.

Luke: Wow!

Joseph: Ryle wrote this commentary on the gospels in his old age. Not many writers of our day can write like that.

Luke: I’ll take it then. Why do you think that writers of our day can’t write like those writers of old?

Joseph: If you write for money, you can’t be hard. As then, people won’t like to read what you write. And if people don’t like you, they won’t put good reviews. It’s the good reviews and ratings on Amazon and Goodreads, and recommendations from church pastors and believers that get your books to sell. The writers of old didn’t write to make money.

(Ruth comes and gives Luke a glass of lemon soda, and a glass of chilled water for Joseph, taken from a bottle he had kept in the deep freezer of their fridge. Luke thanks her. Paul is munching a KitKat bar).

Paul: Uncle, this chocolate is very nice. Thank you.

Luke: (Smiles) Really? Enjoy!

(Paul sits down on the floor to scribble with a box of crayons).

Joseph: KitKat bars from outside India taste better than the ones manufactured here.

Luke: That’s because they probably make them with goat’s milk overseas and with cows milk over here.

Luke: Bro, I also want “Wesley’s Explanatory Notes” which you told me about last time, if you’ve finished reading it.

Joseph: Demas took it home 2 weeks ago.

Luke: Oh! Since when has that show off become a reader?

Joseph: He’s been taking books from me for a long time.

Luke: Do you know what that fellow has been doing with your books? Building up a mini-library in his home, by not returning your books! When I went there 3 weeks ago for a Berean meeting of our group, I saw a dozen books on his showcase. When I opened them, I saw your name on all of them. That’s when I realized that this freeloader, will remain like that for life.

Joseph: He’ll return them. Probably he’s a slow reader.

Luke: If he’s a slow reader, then he should take one book at a time, finish it at his own pace, get it back and then take another one. Do you know why I called him a freeloader? In the last 2 months, our Berean group has gone 6 times for outreach. We’ve always taken my SUV as it can fit 7 of us. Not one of them has ever paid me for petrol. That’s fine. All that I have belongs to God and I have to use it for His kingdom, when the need arises. After outreach we’ve gone to have snacks in restaurants. Two other brothers have chipped in for the food bill, but Demas and three others are people, whose hands have never reached for their wallets, when the bill was presented. And while ordering they’ve always selected the most expensive item on the menu, because they had already decided that they wouldn’t be footing the bill. They know very well that the Bereans only provide free literature and that all expenses have to be taken care of by the local members. Despite knowing this they are tightfisted. When they go for meals with their families, they binge and splurge.

Joseph: He’s expected to come anytime now. He told me yesterday, that he’d be there sharp at 8AM today to collect NTs for your group, as your Literature in-charge is out of town. I have had a bad toothache this week, and had taken an appointment with a dentist, two days ago, and had been told to come today at 9AM. So I asked Demas if he could come in the afternoon. He said that that was not possible, as he had to go some place else in the afternoon. So I called the dentist and asked if my appointment could be postponed. She didn’t have any other time slot for today, and has called me on Monday.

Luke: You put the kingdom of God first, and your needs second, and that fellow took advantage of you, despicably. I saw him in a pork shop in town today at 8AM. He told me that his mother-in-law had come suddenly from Bombay in the morning, and that his wife had sent him to buy sausages, as her mother was craving for them. Probably he’s still running errands for his wife, and keeping you waiting here, wasting your time.

Joseph: No problem. I can wait. He didn’t waste my time. I was reading a commentary on the computer. If we want to follow Jesus, we have to be willing to be approached at any time. Jesus met Nicodemus at night, probably after a tiring day of ministry. When he was in town, he never put a “do not disturb” board on the door of the house He lived in, so any needy person could knock at any time of the day or night.

Luke: There is a problem with your interpretation. That verse is referring to being available for unbelievers, and not to believers who want to take advantage. If he couldn’t come, he should have had the courtesy to call you. Probably, he thought that it’s the off season now and your homestay must be empty, and that’s why he can come any time he wants. He did that to me too, couple of times, but I gave him a piece of my mind. He’ll not do that to me again.

Joseph: Philippians 2:3 says, “Let everyone esteem the other better than himself.”

Luke: It says, “Everyone” and not just “you.” Did Demas esteem you as better than himself? He esteems himself as better than all others. The only persons he esteems are the upper caste people of his church. He never does what he did to you and to me, to the upper caste people of his church. To them he’s Mr.Punctual. I’ve noticed that he’s there 10 mins before time, when he needs to be there, when they are involved. He hasn’t joined the Bereans because of love for God or love for His work. The reason he’s joined is because he knows that he’ll never get a leadership position in his church which is filled and run by upper caste brothers. So he has joined the Bereans out of frustration, to kill time, and to impress others.

Joseph: Bro, we shouldn’t judge another person’s motive. Only God knows why a person does something. We can only pray for all our brothers, and for ourselves, that we can serve the Lord faithfully for as long as we are there on earth. People say that our state is tiny. It has 15 lakh people. And there are so many areas, that we have still not reached. The Berean ministry only takes care of certain sections of the needy. Probably only 1%. We need to take the gospel to the remaining 99% too.

Luke: True, Bro. We are wasting too much time on ourselves. On social media and on entertainment. I need help from God to overcome my cricket and football addiction. If I say today, “I won’t be recharging our Videocon satellite TV from now on,” poor Hannah, won’t be able to watch her TV serials after a hard day of work as a housewife. And that won’t be fair on my part.

Joseph: God can help us all. It’s been 20 years since I stopped watching TV totally. I do watch documentaries sometimes on YouTube. And Tennis Grand Slam Finals, at least 1 set of the final match, if my favorite Djokovic is playing.

(They both spend time in prayer, praying to the Lord of the Harvest to send out good workers, and to save them from worldly attractions and addictions).

Luke: Thank you for these books, Bro.

Joseph: You’re welcome. Our love to Hannah and Mark

Luke gets up to go. Demas does not turn up on that day. When Luke calls him to ask if he can collect the order for their group, he doesn’t answer his call. Ruth gives him a plastic bag containing 2 dozen organic bananas collected from their own garden. Luke thanks her and leaves. Paul gives him a flying kiss, and a good-bye wave.

This part of the drama on the Bereans was completed by me (Rommel Fernandes) today (14th September, 2018).

Posted in books, christian living, discipleship, gluttony, god, growth, happiness, heaven, holiness, human | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Two Bereans talk to a Roman Catholic

Characters:
Joseph Dias: A 41 yr old man and a member of a Berean group in town A. He lives in the Southern part of his state.
Anthony: A 35 yr old engineer and a cousin of Joseph. Their fathers are cousin brothers. He lives in the Western part of his state.
Luke: A 50 yr old man, a member of a Berean group in town B located in the Eastern part of his state, and Joseph’s friend.
The Bereans: An organization which prints New Testaments and Bibles for free distribution

It’s a Thursday. Joseph and Anthony have finished fumigating the Berean literature godown. They have pored boric powder (the powder used while playing carrom), and DDT, along the base of the walls to prevent termites and cockroaches from entering in.
They’ve washed their hands thoroughly and are sitting on chairs in another shop beside this shop which contains the Berean Bibles. This other shop contains gospel tracts and booklets ordered from sites on the net, which send them freely from outside India.
They are stamping “Heart of man” Russian booklets which have come from “All Nationas Gospel Publishers” based in South Africa. Their tiny state has a tropical climate which the Siberians love and come to enjoy. Anticipating their arrival for the upcoming tourist season, Joseph had ordered these tracts well in advance, and ANGP has graciously sent the booklets. Since only 2 months are there for the tourist season to start, the two men are busy working, while talking about God and the things of God.
About an hour latter, Anthony comes to the shop. This shop is located close to Joseph’s house. He has been directed there by Joseph’s family members. He has seen the closed shop on his previous visits to his cousin’s house. This is the first time he’s seen it open and is entering it.

Anthony: Hi cousin

Joseph: Hello Anthony

Anthony: Have come to invite you to my wedding. Have finally found the girl my soul loves.

Joseph: Congrats! Am happy for you.

Anthony: Thank you. She’s from the Northern part of our state. Found her on an online matrimonial site. She had the three main things which were there on my bucket list… 1) Beauty, 2) Brains, and 3) Belongings. Meaning she’s a good-looking engineer from a well-to-do family.

Joseph: You’re fabulously rich so why was it important for you that the girl you wanted to marry have belongings?

Anthony: Because I didn’t want to marry a leech who married me for my money. It had nothing to do with dowry. I’m not a cheapskate. Nor are my family members. We haven’t asked for dowry from them. It’s another matter that she’s the only daughter of her parents. And doesn’t have a brother. And will one-day inherit all that her crorepathi father owns.

Joseph: Why don’t you sit? Haven’t seen you in a long time.

Anthony: Have many cards to give in this area. I’ll sit for few mins.

Joseph: He looks at the literature and asks…

Anthony: Are these your religious propaganda pamphlets?

Joseph: They are

Anthony: So this is the place from which literature goes out to contaminate the minds of all the people in our state.

Joseph: This is life-giving literature.

Anthony: It is corrupted literature.

Joseph: Why are you saying that it is corrupted?

Anthony: You know the reason why. Knowingly, you people have deleted 7 books from your Bible. I know that your Bible has only 66 books.

Joseph: Well, those 7 books you are referring to are The Apocrypha. They were never a part of the Bible. Jesus never quoted from them, and the Jews and the apostles did not accept them as inspired Scripture, nor did the church fathers who lived after the apostles. That is why they are not there in the Bible which the Protestants use. They are there in the Roman Catholic Bible to support the false doctrines that the RC Church wants to hold on to.

Anthony: Such as?

Joseph: Purgatory and praying for the dead to be released from it. It is found in 2 Maccabees 12:43-45. The Bible is clear that after death, human spirits can go either to heaven or to hell (2 Corinthians 5:8; Luke 16:19-31). There is no second chance given to the spirits, to escape from hell, even if they for God’s mercy plead or yell (Matthew 25:41; Jude 7; 2 Peter 2:3-6).

Anthony: That’s exactly why their loved ones on earth pray for them. It’s because the departed souls can’t pray for themselves. Don’t think that I’m dumb. I’m a Charismatic leader in our church, and I read the Bible often. St.Paul prayed for people and he told people to pray for him. So why are you saying that we can’t pray for a second chance to be given to our dead loved ones?

Joseph: Where in the Bible is it written that Paul prayed for dead believers? When people are alive on earth, we can pray for them, and they can pray for us. But, after they die, our prayers can’t help them. Show me one verse in the Bible that says, that prayers for the dead can help them to jump or fly from purgatory to heaven.

Anthony: If our prayers can’t help them, because we are sinners, we can light candles to saints and to Mother Mary who is sitting beside her Son in heaven. Surely, He will listen to the prayers of His blessed Mother! And we also give money to the church sacrificially to win God’s favour, both for ourselves and our departed family members.

Joseph: It doesn’t matter how much money is given to the church, or how many prayers are offered for the deceased family members. Eternal life is a free gift, which cannot be earned through our good works (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8). Our good works are like filthy rags before God (Isaiah 64:6). If people choose not to receive God’s free gift of eternal life, through faith, when the Holy Spirit repeatedly gives them offers, while living on earth, then they are sent to hell, after death, and not to purgatory – a place not found anywhere in the Bible. Purgatory was invented by the RC Church from the book of Maccabees, to make a lot of money, by satisfying the feelings of grieving family members. It’s a fable! How do you think that the RC Church became so rich materially?

Anthony: Are you saying that Jesus does not listen to His Mother? Have you forgotten that He converted the water into wine when she told Him to?

Joseph: On that day in Cana, she approached Jesus and told Him that the wine was over. She had never seen Him perform a miracle earlier. But she knew that He was the Messiah and that one day, He would start doing wonders. On that particular day, the Holy Spirit may have told her that Jesus would perform a miracle, just like Jesus’ identity was revealed to His cousin, John the Baptist by God, just before His baptism. Or she may have seen His practical wisdom earlier, many a times, as He was growing up, and knew that He was the best Person to take care of the situation, in His own way. We don’t why she approached Jesus for sure, except what is told to us by the gospel writer.

Anthony: The point is that He listened to her, and did a miracle on that day.

Joseph: Jesus told her clearly that His time had not come yet. Till that point, when His mother approached Him, the Holy Spirit had not told Him anything about the miracle which was about to happen. But within minutes, the Father’s will was made known to Him by the Holy Spirit. And that is why He performed that miracle. Not because Mary told Him to, but because the Father told Him to (John 5:30; 4:34; 6:38).
On another occasion Mary wanted to meet her son, while He was preaching to a crowd. Someone told Jesus that His mother and brothers were standing outside, wanting to speak to Him. Jesus replied to him, “Who is My mother, and who are My brothers?” Then pointing to His disciples, He said, “Here are My mother and My brothers. For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”
What this means is that while Jesus was on earth, Mary did not have any special privilege before Him. Nor does she have any now. Your mother and my mother can be the mother of Jesus if they do the will of His Father in heaven.
On yet another occasion, while He was speaking, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the womb that carried You, and the breasts at which You nursed.”
He said, “Even more, those who hear the word of God and keep it are blessed!”

Anthony: What rubbish! How can you compare your mother and my mother with the blessed Mother, who is the Queen of Heaven?

Joseph: “The Queen of Heaven” is not a title found in the Bible. We see many glimpses of heaven in the Bible, but we don’t see Mary sitting beside Jesus. She was a humble person who addressed God as her Savior in Luke 1:47, because she considered herself to be a sinner, by nature and behavior. Only a sinner needs a Savior. Her soul magnified the Lord, for the great things He had done for her, and she considered herself to be merely a servant who had been created by Him to do His will on earth.

Anthony: You are speaking blasphemy! Mother Mary was not a sinner. We believe in the Immaculate Conception and the virgin birth. And Jesus did not have any brothers. Mary remained a virgin till the day she went to heaven!

Joseph: The doctrine of Immaculate Conception is not found in the Bible. Except Jesus, all human beings who have lived on planet earth, inherited the original sin of Adam and Eve. We have a sinful nature which makes us commit sins (Romans 5:12-22). Ever since the fall of man, Jesus  is the only human being ever born, Who was born without a sinful Adamic nature, because He was born with the power of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18; 1 John 3:5; 2 Corinthians 5:21). He was the only human being who never committed any sin after He grew up (1 Peter 2:22). He was tempted in every way that we are, so He could be a good example for us humans, but He did not sin (Hebrews 4:15), because He always denied His own will to do the Father’s will (Luke 22:42; Hebrews 5:7; Matthew 3:17).
Jesus was born in the womb of a virgin (Matthew 1:18-23). But it’s not true that Mary remained a virgin for life.
She remained a virgin till the time that Jesus was born. Matthew 1:25 says that Joseph did not have sexual relations with her till she gave birth to her “firstborn” son. Jesus is specifically called her “firstborn son.” After Jesus’ birth, Joseph and Mary had 4 sons and at least 2 daughters, of their own, through normal sexual relations between a husband and a wife. The Bible does not say that they were adopted children.

Anthony: What? You’ve just narrated a cooked story!

Joseph: Read Matthew 13:55-56. We find there that people from Jesus’ village called Him the carpenter’s Son, Whose mother Mary, His brothers — James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas, and His sisters lived with them in Nazareth.

Anthony: They may have been His cousin brothers or sisters, just like John the Baptist was. You guys are bent upon disrespecting the Virgin Mother.

Joseph: We respect her. But we don’t worship her.

Anthony: Why not? Don’t you guys have any common sense? Was it possible for the Son to have entered this world without the Mother?

Joseph: It’s true that the Son couldn’t have entered the world, without His mother, but Jesus existed, long before His mother became an earth dweller. He had existed for all eternity past with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and was actually her Creator (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16). He decided the family, year and place she would be born in, and to be born in her womb between 6 and 4 BC. Mary may have been 14 to 18 years old when she conceived Jesus, so she was born between 24 and 18 BC. Like all human beings who are born in this world, she did not exist before that.

Anthony: Didn’t He choose to come through her because she was special?

Joseph: She was special. No doubt about that. Jesus chose her to be His earthly mother, out of all the Jewish girls who were living during that period, because she was a humble person. We don’t see her complaining to God when her son was born in a lowly manger, or because she was born in a poor family, and had to marry a poor carpenter which would leave her poor for life. If she was not a humble person, Jesus would have chosen someone else, to be His mother. May be Anna the Prophetess who was also a godly woman, living at that time. God could have made Anna the Prophetess to be born a little later on earth, 60 or 65 years after she was actually born.

Anthony: Why don’t you worship Mother Mary?

Joseph: We don’t worship her because she was only a human being, and only God can be worshiped (Revelation 4:11; Luke 4:8). We read in Matthew 2:11 that when the magi went to Bethlehem, they entered the house and saw the child with His mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. The text does not say that they worshiped His mother also. God hates idol worship. So we should not keep graven images in our houses or in a church building (Exodus 20:4–6; 1 John 5:21). We shouldn’t pray to Mary, or to any saint, because there is only one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus also said that no one can go to the Father, except through Him (John 14:6).

Anthony: I being a sinner am scared to approach a holy God directly. I prefer to go through the blessed Mother.

Joseph: But that is not the protocol given by the Bible. Jesus told us to pray to the Father in His name (John 16:23-24). We are urged in Hebrews 4:16 to go with confidence to the throne of grace: that we may obtain mercy, and find grace in seasonable aid. I quoted this verse from your Catholic Douay-Rheims 1899 Bible.

Anthony: You may be right about us not keeping images of saints in our house, but what is wrong in keeping pictures of Jesus in our house? In your house I’ve noticed that there is not even one pic of Jesus. The calendars and wooden placards in your house only have Bible verses on them.

Joseph: The pictures of Jesus that you see everywhere are not His real pictures. If you see the pictures in the calendars or photo frames in houses, shops, buses and churches, you’ll see that Jesus looks different in all of them. Because the person in them is not Jesus. There was no photography in 1st Century AD. So all the pictures that we see were created by modern day artists. Jesus told His disciple Thomas, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed (John 20:29).”

Anthony: Don’t we need pictures to remind us of Jesus, just as the verses in your living rooms remind you of His words?

Joseph: Since God is Spirit, Whom no one has seen, He wants us to worship Him, in spirit and in truth (John 1:18; 1 John 4:12; John 4:23-24). We shouldn’t use pictures or images, made by artists or sculptors, to aid us to worship of Him or to have faith in Him. He has expressly forbidden idolatry in many places in the Bible (Exodus 20:4; Leviticus 26:1). Even if photography was there back in the time of Jesus’ days on earth, and we had pictures of Jesus today, He would have told us to talk to Him, instead of talking to a photo before us. Just like you’d want your fiancee to speak to you directly on the phone rather than foolishly speak to a photo she has of you, because the lifeless photo can’t understand anything. We can meditate on His words, to know more about Him, so we can worship, thank, and praise Him and pray to Him. So it’s a good thing to have Bible verses displayed in our homes to remind us of the things that He expects from us.

Anthony: We go to our priests to confess our sins. To whom do you go?

Joseph: Luke, do you want to answer this? (Coughing) I’ve got a sore throat.

Luke: Sure. We confess our sins directly to Jesus. Do your priests have any moral ground left to forgive sins? They are keeping mistresses, committing sodomy with other priests, and with the sons born through their mistresses. I’m not saying that our Protestant pastors are holy. Our pastors too commit sexual sins with their church secretaries. That is why we should pray for these men of God, to Jesus. Prayers can shield them to a certain extent from attacks by the devil and his demons. However, If a man of God is bent upon traveling on the broad road of destruction, then even God Almighty cannot prevent him from going to hell.

Anthony: Doesn’t the Bible say in many places that we have to forgive the sins that people commit against us?

Luke: Yes, it does. If somone hurts you, you have to forgive him. But all sin is committed against God, and that person has to not only ask forgiveness from you, he has to ask it from God also, to be forgiven completely. That is why 1 John 2:1 says that if anyone does sin, we have an advocate Who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the One Who is truly righteous.

Anthony: (He remembers a verse taught in a Charismatic meeting) What does John 20:23 mean then? (He picks a Berean NT lying in the shop and reads from it). If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.

Luke: That verse is referring to pronouncing forgiveness to those who repent, and telling those who don’t, that their sins haven’t been forgiven. You being a mere human being, can’t cleanse people of their sins. Nor can anything else. People from heathen religions think that a dip in a holy river (it doesn’t matter if it’s polluted heavily due to humans mindlessly and carelessly dumping their waste in it) can cleanse them from their sins. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can do that! If a person has done something wrong to you or to someone else, and has asked forgiveness from you or the person wronged, and has also asked forgiveness from God, then you can tell him, “Brother, your sins are forgiven, because your repentance is genuine.” If a person, continues living in sin, then you can tell him confidently, “Brother, your sins have not been forgiven, because your repentance isn’t genuine. The proof of that is that you’re living in sin. You’re a habitual liar etc…”

Anthony: Suppose a priest is a good man, can’t I confess my sins to him?

Luke: How many sins do you commit in a day? How many in a week? And how many in a month? Is it possible to confess all of them by spending 5 mins in a confession box? Do you trust the priest enough to tell him all your secret sins? Is the remedy given by him for forgiveness Biblical? Will repeating meaningless prayers rub you clean?
Or is the Biblical solution the best? Kneeling in your room, repenting, feeling genuinely sorry for what you have done, soon after you have done it, and telling your Heavenly Father that you are sorry and to forgive you, and concluding the confession in Jesus’ name?

Anthony: Why are you always against our clergy? Don’t forget that our priests, cardinals and popes all descended from the first Pope, St.Peter.

Luke: We aren’t against anybody. Human beings are not our enemies. Our enemies are the world, the flesh, and the devil and his demons. Jesus never called Peter a pope. He was not the only leader in the church after Jesus’ death. James the Lord’s brother through Joseph and Mary, John the disciple, and Apostle Paul were equal leaders. Once when Peter behaved like a hypocrite, Apostle Paul rebuked him bluntly in public, and made his face turn beet red (Galatians 2:11-13). If your priests and cardinals had followed Peter’s example, they would not have sinned sexually.

Anthony: What do you mean?

Luke: Peter carried his wife wherever he went. We can read that in 1 Corinthians 9:5.

Anthony: Are you saying that Pope Peter was married?

Luke: It’s there in the Bible. Matthew 8:14-15 says that when Jesus arrived at Peter’s house, Peter’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. But when Jesus touched her hand, the fever left her. Then she got up and prepared a meal for Him.

Anthony: I never read that.

Luke: Paul was not married, however. He had the gift from God to remain unmarried and not burn inside with sexual passion. He told in 1 Corinthians 7:8-9 that those who cannot control themselves, should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. Down through the centuries, your priests have disobeyed this command from the Bible and have tried, and are trying to get their sexual needs met through unnatural ways like sodomy, masturbation, going through erotic literature, and in this net age browsing through porn sites etc. There are priests who’ve raped / are still raping nuns who dedicated their lives to serve the Lord. Isn’t that a vile crime, which is traumatic for those nuns? There are Catholic priests with sick minds who run boarding schools, and abuse innocent children sexually because they are pedophiles. Those children can’t lead a normal life, when they grow up, as their scars haunt them for life. Because they can’t bear the trauma, some of those victims of sexual abuse, commit suicide. And the priests are never brought to justice on earth. They are simply transferred to another parish, where they repeat their horrible sins. But they will be punished by God, in the world to come. They will burn in hell. Jesus said in Matthew 18:6 that if anyone causes little ones to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Anthony: Is that why the founder of your Protestant movement Martin Luther, who was a priest, married a former nun?

Luke: He may have.

Anthony: Why don’t you people say the Rosary?

Luke: God is our Father. He has adopted us as His children, and He wants prayers said to Him, to be spontaneous (Ephesians 1:5; Galatians 4:5-7). Like a son or daughter talking to their Father. He dislikes vain repetitions (Matthew 6:7). He doesn’t want us to repeat “Hail Mary” endless times. The Lord’s Prayer was a model prayer. We should pray using that prayer as a model, and not repeat it thoughtlessly. I have a son. If he wants to speak to me, I want him to speak naturally. I don’t want him to repeat something like a robot.

Anthony: You people have an explanation for everything, don’t you?

Luke: Whatever we’ve told you, is from the Bible. Do you know that 1.2 billion Roman Catholics who claim that they respect Mary, actually disrespect her daily?

Anthony: In what way?

Luke: She told the servants at the wedding in Cana, “Do whatever He tells you to.” This command of hers is disobeyed. Jesus said that no one can go to the Father except through Him, and yet people try to go to the Father through Mary and the saints.

Anthony: (After looking at his watch). Cousin, I need to go. I’ll come again so we can talk more about this. I want to thank you both, for your insights. I’ll bring my Bible the next time I come, to go over the verses you have told me about. (Smiling) I can’t believe whatever you say just because you’re my cousin. I have to cross-check everything with the Bible.

Joseph and Luke: You’re welcome!

Luke gets up to leave.

Joseph: That’s a good attitude to have. All the best in the wedding preparations!

Anthony: See you at the wedding.

Anthony leaves. Joseph and Luke pray for him that Satan may not snatch the seed dropped in his heart. And they pray for his wedding, and for his future.

This part of the drama on the Bereans was completed by me (Rommel Fernandes) today (11th September, 2018).

Posted in god, good man, growth, happiness, heaven, hell, holiness, humility | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Two Bereans talking about worldly music and hymns sitting in a literature godown

Characters:
Joseph Dias: A 41 yr old man who is the member of a local Berean group, and a member of a local Brethren Assembly
Paul Dias: His 3 yr old son
Cajetan Dias: A 75 yr old man, the President of a local Berean group, the pastor of a local Brethren Assembly, and Joseph’s dad
Benjamin: A 25 yr old member of a local Berean group, a member of the same local Brethren Assembly, a member of its choir, and an ex-member of a popular dance band in the state
Roger: A 24 yr old member of the same local Brethren Assembly, and a member of the choir
The Bereans: An organization which prints New Testaments for free distribution

It’s a Saturday.
Joseph is in his dad’s shop which has been dedicated to the Lord for stocking Berean NTs and Bibles, and other evangelistic literature.
Paul’s nursery school is not open on a Saturday, so he’s there with his dad.
Joseph is waiting for Benjamin. They will be stamping the newly arrived stock of Berean NTs and Bibles, with rubber stamps.
The rubber stamp impression has an address and a phone number, for follow-up work. So seekers can call and come if they want a copy, or if they want to know more about the Lord, or if they want to be prayed for.
A guest who has read an English Bible placed in a hotel or guesthouse, may call to ask if there’s a Bible in his or her native language, to carry back home.
Paul is eagerly waiting to start stamping. He’s singing, “God’s love is so wonderful” with actions while his dad is looking at him.
Benjamin comes exactly on time. He looks different. In place of his shoulder-length hair, Joseph can see a military haircut.

Benjamin: Paise the Lord, uncle!

Joseph: Praise the Lord! Do I know this handsome boy? (Jokingly)

Benjamin: (Also jokingly). Yes, you do. Remember, a boy who used to come here, with long hair? Because of the length of his hair, if you had looked at him from behind then, you wouldn’t be able to tell if it was a boy or a girl.

Joseph: (Smiling) Aha, I remember now. Take a seat, my boy.

Benjamin removes a 5 star bar of chocolate from his pocket and gives it to Paul who thanks him. They open three ink pads and start stamping.

Benjamin: Uncle, a lot has happened in my life this week.

Joseph: Tell me about it.

Benjamin: Would you believe it? Rock music is not there anymore in my life.

Joseph: Wow!

Benjamin: I destroyed all my rock music CDs, DVDs, and magazines. And deleted all the songs of rock bands from my computer and phone. All records, from the beginning of rock music in 1969 till the melodic era of rock which ended in 1995.

Joseph: I’m so happy.

Benjamin: I also made a bonfire of all my black imported rock band tees.

Joseph: Whenever I used to meet you in the bazaar, and see you wearing a black rock band tee, I used to feel sad.

Benjamin: I know the reason, uncle. I was supposed to be an ambassador for Jesus and there I was walking around like a billboard for the devil. I’ve come to my senses, finally. Before burning the expensive tees, a thought came to my mind, “Why don’t I give them to my mom to use as rags in the kitchen?” Then a verse came to mind… It was Ephesians 5:11: Have nothing to do with the acts of darkness. They don’t produce anything good (NIRV). So I didn’t hesitate any longer in pouring kerosene on them, and lighting a match-stick, and setting them on fire.

Joseph: You have no idea of how happy I am to hear this today.

Benjamin: Yesterday, we met for church practice, and we didn’t practice with a rock song. Roger started playing a soft rock riff, and I told him, “Roger, let’s not do this anymore. Not in this church practice room, and not in our homes. Because all rock music is demonic!” Roger said, “Chill, pal! It’s only a soft rock ballad. The lyrics are clean. And as far as I know, the members of this particular rock band do not worship the devil.” I said, “The lyrics of this song may be clean but rock music came from the blues, which came from African tribal voodoo beats. If we play this music here, we will defile this church building. And if we listen to it at home or at any other place, we will defile our bodies inside which dwells the Holy Spirit. And we’ll give demons a right to come and possess us, because their music has already entered our minds.”

Joseph: What did he say after that?

Benjamin: He didn’t argue. Because they know that I’ve got a black belt in Taekwando, my peers, normally don’t oppose me. But I knew that he and the rest of the choir members, were visibly disappointed.

Joseph: I’m glad because you stopped practicing martial arts some time back.

Benjamin: Thank you again, uncle, for telling me that all martial arts are also demonic.

Joseph: You’re welcome. When did this rock music records barbecue happen?

Benjamin: On this Monday.

Joseph: Okay

Benjamin: A neighbor of mine who has also been a friend from my school days, smelt something burning, and saw me lighting fire to something, out of his bedroom window. He came to the compound wall and asked me what I was burning.

Joseph: Did you tell him that you were burning the records of demons?

Benjamin: Yes, then he asked me if he could take those which I was about to add to the fire. I told him that I couldn’t allow him to do that as I did not want him to get a curse on himself, a curse which I was trying to avoid, by burning them. Later that day I told him everything about rock music. And he was scared.

Joseph: Good job.

Benjamin: For the last 5 days, I’ve not got the urge to hum rock songs at all. Once upon a time, they were at the tip of my tongue, from the time I woke up, till the time I went to bed at night. And I’ve now got a taste for Konkani hymns. Dad, has been playing them out loud for ages, but I never liked them. For the last 5 days, I’ve begun enjoying the music, and the words of these Konkani hymns. The words are so meaningful. And the music is pure.

Joseph: It’s good that your love for rock music has been replaced with love for Christian hymns.

Benjamin: Not just secular rock music, uncle. I’ve stopped listening to Christian rock as well, because the spirit of that music is demonic, even though the words may appear to be Bible based. And I’ve stopped listening to all worldly music.

Joseph: Really?

Benjamin: Yes

Joseph: Congrats! Because you’re the first youngster I’ve come across, who is whole-hearted in his devotion to the Lord. Many YouTube videos of secular songs have had their numbers of likes increased, by millions of boys and girls from around the world, who claim to be followers of Jesus. The closer you come to Jesus, the more you will consider all the things you once valued as rubbish (Philippians 3:8 – NASB).

Benjamin: I took that decision because secular songs don’t glorify the Lord. Three verses spoke to me this Sunday. They were preached by your dad, Uncle Cajetan in the morning service.

Joseph: I wasn’t there in our church on Sunday as I was in another one doing a Berean Church Presentation. What did dad speak about?

Benjamin: 1) Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of [our great] God (1 Corinthians 10:31 – AMP).
2) Whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father (Colossians 3:17 – NLT).
3) Ask the Lord Jesus Christ to help you live as you should, and don’t make plans to enjoy evil (Romans 13:14 – TLB).
Uncle Cajetan didn’t specifically preach those verses in the context of music, but about Christian life in general. But while meditating on those verses on Sunday evening, the Holy Spirit gave me a revelation from them, and made me realize that “whatever I do” in my life, also includes music.
I prayed the prayer in Romans 13:14 to the Lord. And He helped me. And I intend to glorify Him in all that I do, from now on.

Joseph: What a transformation! He’ll help you surely.

Benjamin: That’s not all, uncle. I told my secular dance band members that I won’t be playing in hotels, or weddings or at other functions anymore. They asked me, “Why?” And I told them that I didn’t want to use my God-given talents to play for the devil anymore. They didn’t want me to leave.

Joseph: The reason’s obvious. You’re very talented, you founded the band, and made it the most popular covers band in the state, and the first choice at all events.

Benjamin: They asked me what I’d do for a living. I told them that I would do any other job. To that they said that no other job in our state would be able to pay me what I earned as a musician. And that with my BA degree, I could only expect to get to work as a waiter in a beach shack, or as a housekeeping attendant in a hotel. I told them that I was willing to do that too, but would never again play a tune on any of my guitars or sing, to be an instrument of the devil to make people sin.

Joseph: I’m moved by your level of discipleship. God honors those who honor Him.

Benjamin: I know uncle. In the recent past, whenever I used to play music with my band for weddings, music concerts, carnivals, I used to feel uneasy, seeing the sensuality, at the venue. People who had consumed a lot of alcohol were dancing intimately with people who were not their spouses. Yes, they may have been cousins or relatives. But how could they control their minds, from not sinning sexually, when they were in close contact with each others’ bodies? When the girls and women were dressed in short dresses with half sleeves, which made them look sexy?

Joseph: The uneasiness inside you, was a prick on your conscience by the Holy Spirit.

Benjamin: I decided this week, that I would not be a stumbling block who leads people to commit sin. And that I would lead my life in a way that leads people closer to Jesus.

Joseph: Praise the Lord!

Benjamin: I’ve also decided that I will no longer sing in church, and play the guitar to impress the sisters or brothers. I’ll sing and play only as an act of worship, to thank and praise and impress the one Who loved me and gave His life for me. I have no ambitions to be a rock star in church or anywhere anymore. Jesus is the Rock and He’s the (Morning) Star (Romans 9:32-33; Revelation 22:16). And He needs to get all the glory (Revelation 5:12). So while singing or playing hymns in church, I’ll not select hymns just because they are groovy, and have good tunes, and can make people in church have a good time, and get entertained, and help me to get a name as a wonderful singer and musician. I’ll select hymns which have meaningful words which motivate people to thank, praise and worship the Lord, instead of making them think, “Wow! What good musicians our church has! I’m so lucky to be a member of such a lively church!”

Joseph: You’re so honest about everything! My prayer is that your life will be an inspiration for all the believers in our state, young and old, to a life of genuine discipleship and godliness. And that wherever you go, both believers and unbelievers will see Jesus, through your life.

Benjamin: Thank you, uncle.

Joseph prays for him and they continue to talk about God, and the things of God for the next two hours while stamping.

This part of the drama on the Bereans was completed by me (Rommel Fernandes) today (10th September, 2018).

Posted in christian living, discipleship, god, good man, growth, happiness, heaven, hell, holiness | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A local group meeting of the Bereans

The Bereans has businessman and working and retired professionals as its voluntary group members. It has groups all over the world. In a small state of one particular country, it has 5 groups in all its 5 towns. One such group is having its monthly meeting.

Zacchaeus: He’s a businessman and the President of the group
Timothy: He’s a Professor in a local college and the Chaplain of the group
John: He’s the Secretary of the group and has his own event management company
Matthew: He’s a doctor and the Literature-in-charge of the group
Luke: He’s a retired employee of a local company and a member of the group
Demas: He’s an employee of a local company and a member of the group
Cajetan Dias: He is the President of a group from another town and the dad of Joseph Dias

The monthly meeting starts…

Zacchaeus: We must stop Cajetan and his group from coming and distributing New Testaments in our area. Don’t they know the rules? All that they want to do is to humiliate us!

Luke: If they have finished covering the schools, colleges and hotels in their area, what’s wrong if they come to our area?

Zacchaeus: Everything is wrong with that. Rules are rules and have to be obeyed.

Luke: Not at the cost of the gospel.

Zacchaeus: What do you mean?

Luke: If we don’t go, someone has to go. If we are busy with our professional lives, and don’t want to give our free time to Jesus, let us not stop others from doing that.

Zacchaeus: Who doesn’t want to give his free time to Jesus? When I call for distribution no body from our group wants to come. All give lame excuses.

Luke: That is because you call when it’s convenient for you. You must decide on a time which is convenient for everybody. All we’ve been doing for the last 9 months is having tea and cup cakes, sitting in this room, and nothing else. Do we even know how many schools, colleges, hospitals, clinics, hotels or lodges are there in our area?

John: Uncle Cajetan has such a compiled list. He showed it to me when I went to his house some time back. On it are also the names of police stations, government offices, fire stations…

Zacchaeus: (Stopping him abruptly). We don’t need to get any list from that man.

Luke: Why is that?

Zacchaeus: It’s a shameful thing, if we have to go begging to him for everything.

Luke: I think that what is more shameful is that we aren’t ashamed of not having any burden for the Lord’s work. Every day souls are going to hell, and we are not taking the Bread of Life to them.

Timothy: We can get a list of schools and colleges from the Education Department. But, the Education Department’s office you know is very far from our area.

John: Then, the best thing to do will be to get it from Uncle Cajetan. He will be delighted to give us a xerox copy. He also has a hotel directory which has a list of all the hotels, guesthouses, and lodges in our state

Zacchaeus: Cajetan, Cajetan, Cajetan! He has brain-washed your minds. Am sick and tired of hearing his name. Can we stop talking about him, in our group? He is nothing but a glory hunter!

Timothy: Uncle Cajetan has been humbly distributing Bibles and NTs faithfully for the last 22 years, and we can learn many things from him. I’m impressed by the burden he has for the gospel, even at this old age. He’s 75 years old, but he still goes wherever his weak bones can carry him, with a walking stick. Let’s not get jealous of such an elderly godly brother.

Luke: True. And have you forgotten so quickly that it was Uncle Cajetan who allowed us to store the stock of literature, which was sent in a truck, by the Bereans, for our group, in his godown, when you weren’t willing to keep it in your godown? Because you did not want to give gospel boxes, the space meant for your paint tins.

Zacchaeus: Mind your tongue! And don’t point fingers at others!

Matthew: All of us are guilty. Being the Literature-in-charge of our group, I sweated profusely that day when I got a call from the truck driver, because I didn’t know where they could be kept. And you Mr.President told me to call Uncle Cajetan and tell him, and he came to our rescue, by graciously agreeing to keep all out stock. On that day, all of us could have kept 10 boxes each in our homes. Uncle was absolutely right when he told me that 1 sq meter of space in a home is enough to keep 10 boxes piled on top of each other, beside a wall. But who in our group wanted to face any inconvenience, because of NT boxes? In hindsight, we and our families lost the blessings which he and his family got.

Demas: It would have been difficult for me to do that, as you all know that I live in an apartment, on the third floor, in an old building, which doesn’t have a lift.

John: Where there’s a will there’s a way. It wouldn’t have been difficult, if 3 or 4 of us had got on the truck, and helped in offloading the boxes at each home.

Matthew: From now on, we need to accept any difficulty that comes our way because of the gospel, and we all need to remove the word “I’m busy” from our dictionary. Jesus was the busiest person in the universe but He decided to stop what He was doing and to come down and live on our planet for 33.5 years. Because He felt that nothing was more important than giving His life for our sake, as a sacrifice for our sins. It was because of the sacrifice of His blood, of His life, of His time, of heavenly comforts, of everything that He had, that we got saved.

Luke: True. We need to start making time every week to go and give this good news about Jesus to people who need it. I’m a retired person. I can do it every day.

Timothy: And even if we are photogenic, let’s not take pictures. It sends the wrong message. What will the unbelievers think? Won’t they think that we are taking pictures to send to our donors abroad so we can receive some money? That isn’t the truth after all. As it is the Roman Catholic priests in our state have spoilt our name saying that we have become believers to receive money.

Matthew: Winds of change are blowing in our group. Praise the Lord!

Luke: Last year we went to just one hotel, and that too was a hotel which had called Uncle Cajetan, saying that Bibles were needed, and he asked us if we could go, because he was unwell. And we jumped at the chance, because it was an easy opportunity for clicking pictures to display to other believers. And we went and clicked pictures at the reception, and deceptively posted it on all social media channels, and showed it to 100 other people on our smartphones. As if we had been busy doing such a thing all the time.

Matthew: We went to one hotel. But lucky Bro.Demas got a chance to go to two places. One with us and the other one was when he went as a bodyguard, with the sisters of our group to a hospital for distribution too, because he was concerned about their safety. And because he wanted to carry one heavy box.

Timothy: Was that when the sisters decided to go there just before the national leaders of the Bereans were to come for our state annual meeting, because Mr.President told them to?

Luke: Yes. And at the annual meeting we were saved from hanging our heads in shame because our President could coax the State Leader to club the reports of the activities of all the groups, and present it as one single report. So no one would come to know which group had done how much work, and which group had done next to nothing, for the Lord.

Matthew: And also because our President successfully managed to get photos of our two lone outings onto the slides which were projected.

Luke: Are the claps from the audience still ringing in your ears, Mr.President?

Zacchaeus is fuming but he controls himself and keeps quiet.

Timothy: I’m happy that we will have something to report about this year. Let’s give a competition to Uncle Cajetan’s group.

Matthew: Let it be a healthy one. Because we serve the same Lord. And their group prays for our group. I didn’t tell you this, but I’ve attended their group meeting on some occasions and heard it myself.

John: Let’s pray for one another.

Zacchaeus: Who will go to get a copy of the lists that Cajetan has?

John: I will

Zacchaeus: Don’t tell him that I asked for it. He’ll become as proud as a peacock.

Luke: Stop, will you? Uncle Cajetan is the most humble person I’ve ever meet. If he tells you that he has gone here and there, to give NTs, it is to encourage you to go out too, and not as a trumpet blowing exercise. It is you who needs to be humble, Mr.President.

John: Brothers, let’s not fight with one another. We joined this group for a purpose. Let’s accomplish it.

Timothy: Let’s meet 1 day in a month to decide on a monthly strategy and for prayer. And for 3 days in a month, 1 day in a week, for the remaining 3 weeks, let’s go out to distribute.

John: And let’s keep our group in our family prayers every day. As we are fighting a spiritual battle.

Demas: What about the sisters?

Zacchaeus: What about them, Mr.Bodyguard?

Demas: Any strategy for them?

Zacchaeus: They will decide. And if they need a brother as a volunteer to lift boxes, you’ll be my first choice because of your muscles. Mr.Chaplain, could you pray now and close today’s meeting.

Parts 1 and 2 of this drama were completed by me (Rommel Fernandes) today (7th September, 2018).

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The Dias Family and The Bereans

Joseph Dias: 41 yr old husband of Ruth
Ruth Dias: 35 yr old wife of Joseph
Daniella: Their 7 yr old daughter
Paul: Their 3 yr old son
The Bereans: An organization which prints New Testaments for free distribution
Brownie: Their beloved dog

Daniella, Paul and Joseph are sitting on the dining table. They woke up from their afternoon nap, a little while ago.

Daniella: Dad, do you remember that I had told you last week about the Bereans who had come to our school to distribute New Testaments to all the students?

Joseph: Yes

Daniella: Well, I asked a non Christian friend of mine if she had gone through the copy which she had received.

Joseph: What was her response?

Daniella: That she got a headache, after reading one page.

Joseph: Is it because of the long list of names found in Matthew Chapter 1?

Daniella: No, she said it was because the small font size, strained her eyes, so she kept it aside.

Joseph: My goodness!

Daniella: It appears that she’ll have to buy a magnifying glass, with her pocket money, to proceed further. Why did they print the NT with the font size so small?

Joseph: So it can fit in a pocket.

Daniella: Why and where would the non Christians carry NTs in their pockets? They don’t go to church! They leave it in their homes!

Joseph: Well, if the font is big, then the size of the NT will become big. And that means more money will be required to print it. The Bereans have to act responsibly, with the donated money. They have to print as many NTs as possible which can be given free of charge to as many people as possible.

Daniella: But if people don’t read the NTs given to them, because it puts a strain on their eyes, wouldn’t it be good, if they print ones with a bigger font, which can actually be read comfortably? Even if less copies have to be printed with the money they get, because of this?

Joseph: You have made a good point there, my dear. Unfortunately, even if the Bereans have a feedback system, and we tell them about this, because it’s a world-wide organization, it’ll not be easy for them to get it implemented.

Daniella: Why is that?

Joseph: Because if some of its members agree that a bigger font is necessary, there’ll be others who’ll think that things have been fine with that size of font, for the last 100 years, and see no reason to change anything.

Ruth: Tea is ready, folks. Paul don’t have just the cream between the biscuits.

Paul: Cream for me, biscuits for Brownie.

Ruth to Joseph: (Smiling. She overheard their conversation all along, while preparing tea in the kitchen). Like dad, like daughter! First the dad had a strong issue with the Bereans, and now the daughter has come up with one. Dad-daughter duo, don’t gang up on the benevolent Bereans!

Daniella: What’s your issue with them, dad?

Ruth: (Speaks because Joseph has started munching a biscuit already). He feels that the English used in the NTs printed by the Bereans is old and boring, and wants them to start printing in newer easy-to-read versions like The Living Bible, The Message, The VOICE etc. They are his favourite versions.

Joseph: (Having black coffee made with two Rs.1 BRU sachets, because he likes coffee more than tea, and dislikes milk). Honey, it appears that my wish will never be granted, till kingdom come. As in the eyes of many, the NKJV is the only one which is God’s version, and all the others are corrupted ones. If they decide to print in a modern version, then donors who hug their NKJV Bibles tightly will stop giving to the Bereans, money which they need, for the spread of the gospel.

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