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CSI Good News
(Church of South India Good News)
Vol. 5 / Issue 14 / May 15 2003
Contents of this issue
Unity and Peace
Sin bearing Priest
News Items (Common to all issues) :
Through the Valley of Death & other Books
Download Articles in Handheld Computers
Kids Page - Free Tutorials
Hindi / Malayalam/Tamil Bible Online
Your Spam Folder
Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”
Jesus said in the above verse that if anybody wanted to follow Him, they should deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Him. God wants complete surrender and complete dedication from those who wanted to follow Him. It is not easy to deny ourselves and to let Jesus live through us. It is a process of dying everyday in our flesh and to live a holy life. Apostle Paul says in 1 Cor 15:31, "…I die daily."
But today we live in a modern world and we have sophisticated pastors and teachers of Gospel who teach us saying, "no one is perfect… all do mistakes… so live in sin, cheat people, deceive them, speak lies to them, do all kinds of fraud but still you can follow Christ by taking your cross…"
My dear friend, beware of these types of people. You cannot live in sin and at the same time please God nor can any one go to heaven with his or her sin. If you are a saved person and have decided to follow Christ, it is the requirement that you should live a holy life. Apostle Paul writes in 1 Cor 15:33-34, "Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits. Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame."
Yes, awake to righteousness and do not sin. Live a righteous life no matter what may happen. Peter writes in 1 Pet 2:19-23, "For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do well and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously."
Many a times people do wrong things, commit sin and deceive others and when they suffer because of their sin they think that they are taking up the cross and following Christ. No, it is not true. If you are following Christ, you will represent the holiness of God. You will show the righteousness of God. Jesus set a perfect example of righteousness before us. Though he went through excruciating pain because of trials and sufferings, still He did not commit any sin nor did he deceive anybody nor cursed or threatened anybody. He did not take up the cross because He did something wrong. He lived a righteous life, still He suffered on the cruel cross. And He wants us to follow His footsteps and live a righteous life whether suffering may come on our way or not. He wants faithful people who can follow Him with holiness and with good works. Are you one of them?
Unity and Peace
I hear these words - Love, peace, and unity - in Christian circle very often. I am so sick and tired of hearing these words over and over again, used in a wrong context. People use these words for their benefit and for personal gain. They twist its meaning according to their need in times.
World leaders are talking about peace. Are they able to achieve peace using their political maneuvers or through the summits they arrange? No. Church leaders are talking about peace. Are they able to achieve it? Are they able to bring peace even within a small congregation? No
Why??? Peace cannot be achieved with the help of human intellect or through human effort. Peace can be achieved only by following the method which God has established. God has certain rules and when you follow those rules or guidelines, then only peace comes. Otherwise all the human efforts and toil to achieve peace will prove to be useless.
Now, what are the guidelines prescribed by God to achieve peace? Why does it look almost impossible to achieve peace and unity even among small groups? Reason is simple. Without God's help or God's intervention, peace cannot be achieved. Without walking in the God given rules (Bible), peace cannot be achieved.
PEACE and UNITY are the byproducts of SALVATION. Let me repeat one more time peace and unity comes only after salvation. When a person receives Salvation, he/she receives peace in his/her heart. When a family receives Salvation, the family receives peace in their heart and the result is, unity among the members of that family. I am the living witness for that.
Let me talk about my own experience. I was raised in a Christian family where I was taught to attend Church without fail. Where I was taught to read Bible daily and pray daily and memorize Bible verses. I did it without fail, though I was not in much favor of it. Did it bring peace in our family? I am very sorry to say, NO...... I followed all the 'rituals', which the Church and Sunday school had taught me. Did it bring peace and unity in our family? NO... Peace and unity was far away from our house. My dad was an Engineer. We had big house, car, govt. jeep, govt. servants to look after all the household work. There was nothing lacking in our life. We lived a luxurious life but peace and unity was a distant dream. We fought many battles. We three, brother and sisters quarreled all the time. My mom used to yell on top of her voice till morning to evening. There was no peace. There was no unity. I did not know how to get peace. I attended church regularly but no one taught me how to achieve peace. No one taught me how to avoid this ongoing quarrel and struggle. We were desperate. There was no answer for us. Many times I thought, "when I'll be able to get out of this hell?"
Let me tell you - money and status cannot bring peace. Our luxurious life and status could not give me peace nor my family unity. Today many are running after money like mad men. You cannot buy peace with money. No, it is impossible. Bible does not say, "make lot of money and you will be happy or you'll find God." But rather Bible speaks, Mat 6:33, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." Bible asks to seek God and His Kingdom first, to follow Him and assures that you'll get all things.
Well, I did not know what to do then? Honestly speaking, my Church could not help me to find a way out of my trouble. Nobody taught me that Salvation was the first step to be taken to achieve peace and unity. Things where going very bad. At that time I received a letter from my cousin, Suganthi Johnson. We were very best friends from our childhood. It was the 3rd of Nov 1981 when I got this letter. It was her testimony, how she got saved and how her life was changed. She further wrote, "Sheela if you don't accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you will be lost for ever. You will lose heaven and eternal life." I found that letter very touchy. I read it may be 2-3 times and started crying. I did not know what was going on? I did not know why I was crying but I cried for more than two hours. Something happened that day, a great peace and joy filled my soul. Peace and joy for which I was longing for a long time came into my life. Within a weeks time I found that my life was changing towards good. I found that the novels that I used to read were not able to attract me anymore. The Hindi movie songs, which I was fond of, were not able to give me joy anymore. Whenever I tried to listen to movie songs, it created horrible restlessness in my soul as if I have high fever. I thought, “what is going on with me?” Before that, I never felt that movie songs are filthy or sinful in God's eyes.
Within a week all these great changes took place. But still I was not able to understand what it was. As I wrote earlier, I stopped reading filthy novels and instead of it, I started reading spiritual books. One day I was reading the book called, "Peace with God", by Dr. Billy Graham. When I was reading this book, to my surprise I found out that the changes which took place in my life, is described in that book. This book explained that when a person gets saved, these types of changes take place in life. Then only I knew that I was saved. 2 Cor 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." Not only I, but also my whole family got saved one by one between 1980-84. We all started our new life in Christ together.
When a person gets saved, he/she does not become holy overnight. So everything did not change instantaneously. Quarreling and fighting did not cease immediately. But I found that I had a longing desire to lead a holy life. Now I wanted to do things which pleases God. This desire was eating me up night and day and so I was constantly praying for holiness. Holiness did not come in one or two days but it took years.
Whenever, after salvation, a big fighting took place among us, I used to pray, "Lord why this is happening even after salvation." I used to pray, "Lord, you have kept me in a bad home that's why we are not able to live peacefully together. Please change these people’s behavior which is so bad." One day when I was praying like this, Lord spoke to me. He said, "you change yourself, you correct yourself and everything is going to be alright." I could not believe it. I thought in my heart, "so I am the bad person here who need change in my life." Well, I started praying from that day onwards, "Lord, please change me, let all the anger and rebellion die from my life." I am sure, all my other family members might have prayed in the same way. Slowly but steadily a change started coming in each and every one's life. We all changed as days passed by. A great peace came into our lives and in our home. Our home became a happy and peaceful home. We invited Jesus in our home and it became a sweet home. Jesus came in and he changed our hell like home into heaven. He changed our lives. No more fighting, no more quarrelling. Even no more arguments existed. I do not remember when we argued for the last time. May be 1-2 years back, but it does not exist now.
Yes such a wonderful change can happen. When I look back and think of our past life I too marvel thinking, "what a great change Jesus has done in our lives." Who did it? Jesus, the prince of peace did it. We could not change ourselves by our own efforts. We could not bring unity in our house. We could not bring joy by plenty of money and luxury, but when Jesus came in He brought peace and unity. When all five of us got saved, we all got peace. And this peace brought unity in between us. Today, wherever we go, people ask, "how come you all five show up together, do all five of you go together always. Many asked this question over and over again. A lady came from India to attend a conference. We also were there. It was only a 3-4 days conference. She was totally stranger to us, but one day she came and told us, "I see you five always together, I never saw such unity in my life."
Yes my friend, you cannot buy unity and peace by big meetings and summits. You cannot buy it with your wealth or money. It is not sold in markets. But the secret is, when Jesus comes in to stay with a person, peace automatically flows from that life. Because the Prince of peace (Jesus), has come down to reside with that person.
Yes, Salvation is that key. Peace and unity are the byproducts of salvation. Peace and unity is attached with Salvation. When a person receives Jesus as Lord and Savior, peace and unity follows automatically.
Today, many homes are breaking apart, many marriages are breaking apart. There is no peace. People are looking for peace in wrong places. People are visiting bars and night-clubs to find peace. People are watching filthy movies sitting in front of TV to find peace. People are getting into wrong relationships to find peace. Are they able to find peace. No. When you see divorce rate in USA, your heart will break. Here, single mom and single father homes are many. I heard about divorce in India, but saw none with my eyes. I don't remember about any neighbor who were divorced or were staying alone. But after coming to USA, I heard and saw about many Indian divorced couples. It was such a shock. Yes I am talking about Indian divorced couples. Why? I believe dating is the main cause for it. People had in mind this concept, "you can throw one and you will find another." I heard one Indian pastor's daughter saying, "I throw away my old clothes every year and find new one I cannot wear the same clothes next year, I don't wear same shoes either." Well I do not know how rich that pastor is? I do not know how he is making money? I don't know if it is white money or black? But his girls always talk about diamonds and gold. Well, it is just an example. You may be that much rich so that you can change clothes every year, but not your partner. Don't change your partner like clothes. It is a great sin. Bible calls it as abomination. God may not forgive this sin.
Why families are breaking apart? Why peace and unity is missing from homes and families. Reason is that you've failed to follow God's rules. Many want peace minus Jesus. Many want money minus Jesus. Jesus is an offensive word in today's western society. How can you get peace when you've kicked out the Prince of peace from your life and home? If you want peace, invite Jesus in your life. When He will come in, He will bring peace. Invite Jesus in your family, when He will come into your family, peace and unity will start flowing automatically.
May God help you.
Sin bearing Priest
The whole chapter of Exodus 28 tells us about the holy garments of priests. This chapter gives minute details of how to make garments for a priest and what the uses of every piece of garment are. Exodus 6-12 verses tell about "Ephod". God told them to take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel: six of their names on one stone, and six names on the other stone, in the order of their birth. And the 12th verse says, "And you shall put the two stones on the shoulders of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel. So Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD on his two shoulders as a memorial."
Aaron, who was the priest, bore the names of the tribes of Israel before God as a memorial. It is the duty of a priest to bear the names of his people before God. Jesus the High priest did the same thing. Bible says in Isaiah 49:14-16, "But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me, And my Lord has forgotten me. Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me."
Many a times, when we go through tears and problems we feel as if God has left us and God has forgotten us. Many a times we feel as if our prayers are not reaching anywhere and God stopped hearing our cry but still in those dark moments God is always there. A mother can forget her child, but God cannot. He has engraved the names of His children on the palms of His hands. When He looks at His nail pierced hands, He recalls the pain and suffering He went through for us. He remembers that He paid the price to purchase the dying humanity.
You may be shedding bitter tears today and may be thinking that there is no one who cares for you but there is a God who cares for you. Your walls are continually before the Lord God almighty. He can help you in your difficulties and make a way for you.
Second piece of garment was the "breastplate of judgment" and it is found in the verses 15-30. It was approximately nine inches square piece of clothe and there were twelve different kinds of precious stones set on it, each engraved with the name of each tribe of Israel. And in Exodus 28:30 "And you shall put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be over Aaron's heart when he goes in before the LORD. So Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel over his heart before the LORD continually. “
It was the duty of the priest that he should bear the judgment or punishment of the sins of the children of Israel. Jesus the High Priest did the same thing. Aaron bore only the punishment of the children of Israel but Jesus bore the sins of the whole world. In His heart there are written all the tribes of the world. He knows you by your name and He died for you so that punishment for your sin need not be on you but you could get forgiveness of your sin.
One of the garments was a "Turban" to be worn on his forehead. Exodus 28:36-38 says, "You shall also make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, like the engraving of a signet: HOLINESS TO THE LORD. And you shall put it on a blue cord, that it may be on the turban; it shall be on the front of the turban. So it shall be on Aaron's forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things which the children of Israel hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall always be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD." And also in Exodus 29:6, "You shall put the turban on his head, and put the holy crown on the turban."
This turban was a symbol of bearing the sin of the children of God. Jesus the High Priest bore the sin of the whole world and died on behalf of us so that we could be declared holy to the Lord. A crown of thorns was put on His head and Pilot wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: "JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS." He suffered all these for you, for me and for the whole world for the remission of our sins.
Many a times, Muslims quote the verses from Ezek 18:19-21, "Yet you say, 'Why should the son not bear the guilt of the father?' Because the son has done what is lawful and right, and has kept all My statutes and observed them, he shall surely live. The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die." And they claim that no one can die in the place of another person but the person who sinned against God would bear his/her sin. Yes, it is true that no other person can bear the sin of other person. But God appointed priest to bear the judgment and sin on himself so that ordinary people should not die.
God said to Moses in Numbers 18:22-23, "Hereafter the children of Israel shall not come near the tabernacle of meeting, lest they bear sin and die. But the Levites shall perform the work of the tabernacle of meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity; it shall be a statute forever, throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance." And Leviticus 10:17 tells us that God has given it to priest to bear the guilt of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the Lord.
If ordinary person tried to bear the sin and went before God they died but at the same time priest could bear the sin and guilt of people. Yes, a priest can bear the sin and guilt of ordinary people. If a mortal sinful man appointed by God as priest could bear the sin of other people then how much more the immortal Son of God who came down in the form of a man can bear our sins.
Bible says in Hebrews 9:28, "so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation." Next chapter tells us how to wear those garments and how to consecrate it. They wore the garment on them, killed the bull, took the blood and put it on altar and sprinkled it on Aaron and his sons and the Bible says that the altar and garments would be most holy as we read in Exodus 29:37 "Seven days you shall make atonement for the altar and sanctify it. And the altar shall be most holy. Whatever touches the altar must be holy. And in Exodus 29:21, "And you shall take some of the blood that is on the altar, and some of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it on Aaron and on his garments, on his sons and on the garments of his sons with him; and he and his garments shall be hallowed, and his sons and his sons' garments with him."
Jesus the High Priest shed His precious blood so that our lives could be most holy and acceptable before God. 1 John 1:7 says, "…and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin."
If Jesus' blood is not sprinkled over the altar of your life and over your garments, you need to ask Him to do it right away. His blood is available for us to get forgiveness of our sins and to live a holy life.
Through the Valley of Death & other Books
As many of you know that in the year 2005, our dad was very sick even unto death. God miraculously healed him. We have compiled it in a book form. I sure believe that it will inspire you and encourage you greatly.
This book is available for purchase at JasmineCorp Store
Also read these two books by Sherly Isaac "Allah and Elohim - Are they the same God" Available at JasmineCorp Store, and "Is Jesus God?" Available at JasmineCorp Store,
Both books compares the Bible and the Quran and read eye opening facts about Jesus, God of the Bible, Allah and Islamic faith. I am sure that you want to read this.
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