Author: Percy Parakh

Only You – Called To Praise God


Psalm 100 NIV

A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

The Joy Of Giving And Receiving Gratitude!


A fisherman who was fishing east of the Farallon Islands (just outside of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California) spotted a whale who was fully entangled and bound in a fishing net.

The fisherman radioed for help and within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that the whale was so badly tangled that the only way to save her was to dive in, cut the ropes and untangle her…. a very dangerous proposition as one slap of the tail could kill a rescuer.

They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her. When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles.

She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, nudged them, and pushed gently, thanking them. Some said that it was the most incredibly beautiful experience they had ever had.

The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eye was following him the entire time and he will never be the same. May you be so fortunate to be surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you. And, may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude

Trust God Even In The Storms Of Life


TRUST IN GOD! by Varghese Augustine

A man just got married and was returning home with his wife. They were crossing a lake in a boat, when suddenly a great storm arose. The man was a warrior, but the woman became very much afraid because it seemed almost hopeless:

The boat was small and the storm was really huge, and any moment they were going to be drowned. But the man sat silently, calm and quiet, as if nothing was happening.

The woman was trembling and she said, “Are you not afraid ?”. This may be our last moment of life! It doesn’t seem that we will be able to reach the other shore. Only some miracle can save us; otherwise death is certain.

Are you not afraid? Are you mad or something? Are you a stone or something? The man laughed and took the sword out of its sheath. The woman was even more puzzled:

What he was doing? Then he brought the naked sword close to the woman’s neck, so close that just a small gap was there, it was almost touching her neck

He said,” Are you afraid ?”She started to laugh and said,” Why should I be afraid ? If the sword is in your hands, why I should be afraid? I know you love me.”

He put the sword back and said, This is my answer”. I know God Loves me, and the storm is in His hands.SO WHATSOEVER IS GOING TO HAPPEN IS GOING TO BE GOOD.

If we survive, good; if we don’t survive, good, because everything is in His hands and He cannot do anything wrong.

Moral: Develop Trust. This is the trust which one needs to imbibe and which is capable of transforming your whole life. Any less won’t do!
In Isa. 49:15 God reminds us “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!

Celebrating In Unity – God’s People Offer Praise

Acts 2:32-33 NIV

32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.

Acts 2:37-47 NIV

37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

The Fellowship of the Believers

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 

44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 

47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Unbreakable in Jesus – The Story of Louis Zamperini


Louis Zamperini’s military plane crashed at sea during the war, killing eight of eleven men onboard. “Louie” and two others clambered into life rafts.

They drifted for two months, fending off sharks, riding out storms, ducking bullets from an enemy plane, and catching and eating raw fish and birds. They finally drifted onto an island and were immediately captured.

For two years Louie was beaten, tortured, and worked mercilessly as a prisoner of war. His remarkable story is told in the book Unbroken.

Jeremiah is one of the Bible’s unbreakable characters. He endured enemy plots (Jeremiah 11:18), was whipped and put in stocks (20:2), flogged and bound in a dungeon (37:15–16), and lowered by ropes into the deep mire of a cistern (38:6).

He survived because God had promised to stay with him and rescue him (1:8). God makes a similar promise to us: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). God didn’t promise to save Jeremiah or us from trouble, but He has promised to carry us through trouble.

Louie recognized God’s protection, and after the war he gave his life to Jesus. He forgave his captors and led some to Christ. Louie realized that while we can’t avoid all problems, we need not suffer them alone. When we face them with Jesus, we become unbreakable.

Celebrating Expectantly – God’s People Offer Praise


2 Samuel 6:1-5 NIV

The Ark Brought to Jerusalem

David again brought together all the able young men of Israel—thirty thousand. He and all his men went to Baalah[a] in Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name,[b] the name of the Lord Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim on the ark. 

They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart with the ark of God on it,[c] and Ahio was walking in front of it. 

David and all Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with castanets,[d] harps, lyres, timbrels, sistrums and cymbals.

2 Samuel 6:12-19 NIV

12 Now King David was told, “The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God.” So David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing. 13 When those who were carrying the ark of the Lord had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. 

14 Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, 15 while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.

16 As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart.

17 They brought the ark of the Lord and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before the Lord. 18 After he had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord Almighty. 

19 Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each person in the whole crowd of Israelites, both men and women. And all the people went to their homes.

Returning Home After Being A Prisoner


Returning Home

Walter Dixon had five days to honeymoon before he shipped off to the Korean War. Less than a year later, troops found Dixon’s jacket on the battlefield, with letters from his wife stuffed in the pockets. Military officials informed his young wife that her husband had been killed in action.

Actually, Dixon was alive and spent the next 2.5 years as a POW. Every waking hour, he plotted to get home. Dixon escaped five times but was always recaptured. Finally, he was set free. You can imagine the shock when he returned home !

God’s people knew what it was to be captured, moved far away, and to long for home. Due to their rebellion against God, they were exiles. They woke each morning yearning to return, but they had no way to rescue themselves.

Thankfully, God promised He’d not forgotten them. “I will restore them because I have compassion on them”. *He would meet the people’s relentless ache for home, not because of their perseverance, but because of His mercy*: “I will signal for them . . . and they will return”.

Our sense of exile may come because of our bad decisions or because of hardships beyond our control. Either way, God hasn’t forgotten us. He knows our desire and will call to us. *And if we’ll answer, we’ll find ourselves returning to Him — returning home.*

– Winn CollierIn this world of sin and trouble Where so many ills are known, If I shun the ways of evil, I am kept by Him alone.- Smith *God’s presence is a life preserver that keeps the soul from sinking in a sea of trouble.*

*Stay Blessed My Friend*

Celebrating With Enthusiasm – God’s People Offer Praise


2 Samuel 6:1-5 NIV

The Ark Brought to Jerusalem

David again brought together all the able young men of Israel—thirty thousand. He and all his men went to Baalah[a] in Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name,[b] the name of the Lord Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim on the ark.

They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart with the ark of God on it,[c] and Ahio was walking in front of it.

David and all Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with castanets,[d] harps, lyres, timbrels, sistrums and cymbals.

2 Samuel 6:12-19 NIV

12 Now King David was told, “The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God.” So David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing. 

13 When those who were carrying the ark of the Lord had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. 14 Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, 

15 while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.

16 As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart.

17 They brought the ark of the Lord and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before the Lord. 

18 After he had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord Almighty. 

19 Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each person in the whole crowd of Israelites, both men and women. And all the people went to their homes.

Is The Universe God? Why God Created The Universe!


The Universe is Not God. God created the Universe to Display His Glory and Majesty!

Of late a lot of people, and some even Christians throw around terms like “Karma”, “The Universe”, etc. not even knowing what they are talking about.

A lot of New Age Spirituality, is trying to creep into society, and even the Church. So please watch the Video above to gain clarity on the Truth. Just because “Truth Really Matters”

What Is The New Age Movement


The expression “New Age” came into existence in the 1970s and 1980s. It was promoted by the circulation of the New Age Journal and a book by Mark Satin called New Age Politics. Marilyn Ferguson’s best-selling Aquarian Conspiracy was a presentation of the social agenda and philosophical vision of the New Age.

Ferguson’s writing attained status as the unofficial scripture of the movement. As Russell Chandler, a writer for the Los Angeles Times, wrote in Understanding the New Age, “If Ferguson wrote the New Age ‘Bible,‘ Shirley MacLaine is its high priestess.”

Shirley MacLaine’s book, Out on a Limb, chronicles her reluctant conversion to New Age belief. This book describes her travels and studies, which include science fiction-like dimensions, out-of-body travel, contact with extraterrestrial beings, “trance channeling” (séances), and a “guided tour” of the unseen world.

MacLaine’s second book, Dancing in the Light, tells about her reach into the world of yoga, reincarnation, crystal power, Hindu mantras, and past-life recall experiences mediated through acupuncture. Her spirit guides informed her that each individual is God, and she passed along the “wisdom” that the person is unlimited. One only has to realize it (Chandler, page 6-2).

New Age thinking has its roots, then, in Eastern mysticism, which attempts to bypass the mind. There is a new organ of perception—the third eye—which gives spiritual light. One needs to get to the “psychic self” by training one’s self to ignore messages from the mind or to see that the mind is actually achieving “cosmic consciousness.” The mind can create reality.

Neil Anderson in his book, Walking Through the Darkness, writes this: “The New Age movement is not seen as a religion but a new way to think and understand reality.

It’s very attractive to the natural man who has become disillusioned with organized religion and Western rationalism. He desires spiritual reality but doesn’t want to give up materialism, deal with his moral problems, or come under authority” (page 22). Anderson goes on to summarize New Age thinking (pages 22–24) as follows:

(1) It is monism. The belief that all is one and one is all. History is not the story of humanity’s fall into sin and its restoration by God’s saving grace. Rather, it is humanity’s fall into ignorance and the gradual ascent into enlightenment.

(2) All is God. If all is one, including God, then one must conclude that all is God. It is pantheism—trees, snails, books, and people are all of one divine essence. A personal God who has revealed Himself in the Bible and in Jesus Christ is completely rejected. Since God is impersonal, the New Ager doesn’t have to serve Him. God is an “it,” not a “He.”

(3) There is a change in consciousness. If we are God, we need to know we are God. We must become cosmically conscious, enlightened, or attuned to the cosmic consciousness. Some who reach this enlightened status will claim to be “born again”—a counterfeit of biblical conversion.

The essential is not whether we believe or meditate, but whom we believe in and what we meditate upon. Christ is the true, personal, objective reality, as He said that He is the way, the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).

(4) A cosmic evolutionary optimism is taught. There is a New Age coming. There will be a new world order, a new world government. New Age thinkers believe that there will eventually be a progressive unification of world consciousness.

This, according to the Bible, is a counterfeit kingdom led by Satan himself. Christ has the true kingdom, and He will one day rule on earth with peace for all who accept Him as Savior and King (Revelation 5:13).

(5) New Agers create their own reality. They believe they can create reality by what they believe, and, by changing what they believe, they can change reality. All moral boundaries have been erased.

There are no absolutes because there is no distinction between good and evil. Nothing has reality until one says that it is reality or says that it is truth. If finite man can create truth, we are in desperate trouble in our society. Unless there are eternal absolutes from the eternal God, man will eventually be his own destruction.

(6) New Agers make contact with the kingdom of darkness. Calling a medium a “channeler” and a demon a “spirit guide” has not changed the reality of what they are. This is the kingdom of darkness of which Satan is the head.

Those involved in this kind of activity are in contact with a world that is totally opposed to the biblical God revealed to us in Jesus Christ, who defeated Satan (Matthew 4:1–11Colossians 2:15Hebrews 2:14–18).

The New Age movement is a counterfeit philosophy that appeals to the feelings of individuals, leading them to think that that they are God and can enhance their lives through their own person. The reality is that we are born, grow up, live a while on planet Earth, and die.

Humans are finite. We can never be God. We need someone greater than we who can provide us forgiveness and life eternal. Praise the Lord for the God-man, Jesus Christ. Through His death and bodily resurrection, He has won for us what we desperately need: forgiveness from God, a life of purpose and meaning in this life, and eternal life beyond the grave.

Don’t miss out on who Jesus Christ is and what He has done for you. Read John chapter 3. Ask Christ to be your Savior. Your life will be transformed, and you will know who you are, why you are here, and where you are going.

Christian View Of Psychics and Fortune Tellers


The Bible strongly condemns spiritism, mediums, the occult, and psychics (Leviticus 20:27Deuteronomy 18:10-13). Horoscopes, tarot cards, astrology, fortune tellers, palm readings, and séances fall into this category as well.

These practices are based on the concept that there are gods, spirits, or deceased loved ones that can give advice and guidance. These “gods” or “spirits” are demons (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).

The Bible gives us no reason to believe that deceased loved ones can contact us. If they were believers, they are in heaven enjoying the most wonderful place imaginable in fellowship with a loving God. If they were not believers, they are in hell, suffering unending torment for rejecting God’s love and rebelling against Him.

So, if our loved ones cannot contact us, how do mediums, spiritists, and psychics get such accurate information? There have been many exposures of psychics as frauds. It has been proven that psychics can gain immense amounts of information on someone through ordinary means.

Sometimes by just using a telephone number through caller ID and an internet search, a psychic can get names, addresses, dates of birth, dates of marriage, family members, etc.

However, it is undeniable that psychics sometimes know things that should be impossible for them to know. Where do they get this information? The answer is from Satan and his demons. “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness.

Their end will be what their actions deserve” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). Acts 16:16-18 describes a fortune teller who was able to predict the future until the apostle Paul rebuked a demon out of her.

Satan pretends to be kind and helpful. He tries to appear as something good. Satan and his demons will give a psychic information about a person in order to get that person hooked into spiritism, something that God forbids.

It appears innocent at first, but soon people can find themselves addicted to psychics and unwittingly allow Satan to control and destroy their lives. Peter proclaimed, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

In some cases, the psychics themselves are deceived, not knowing the true source of the information they receive. Whatever the case and wherever the source of the information, nothing connected to spiritism, witchcraft, or astrology is a godly means of discovering information.

How does God want us to discern His will for our life? God’s plan is simple, yet powerful and effective: study the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and pray for wisdom (James 1:5).

https://www.gotquestions.org/psychics-Christian.html

Celebrating With Song – God’s People Offer Praise!


Exodus 15:11-21 NIV

11 Who among the gods is like you, Lord? Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?

12 “You stretch out your right hand, and the earth swallows your enemies.
13 In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.

14 The nations will hear and tremble; anguish will grip the people of Philistia.
15 The chiefs of Edom will be terrified, the leaders of Moab will be seized with trembling, the people[a] of Canaan will melt away;


16 terror and dread will fall on them. By the power of your arm they will be as still as a stone—until your people pass by, Lord, until the people you bought[b] pass by.

17 You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your inheritance—the place, Lord, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, Lord, your hands established.

18 “The Lord reigns for ever and ever.”
19 When Pharaoh’s horses, chariots and horsemen[c] went into the sea, the Lord brought the waters of the sea back over them, but the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground. 

20 Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing. 

21 Miriam sang to them: “Sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea.”

The “Underground Church” in Afghanistan is now at home with the Lord.

The “Underground Church” in Kabul, Afghanistan is now at home with the Lord.

“We received news that the underground church in Kabul Afghanistan has been martyred. “

Our friends have been in contact and met together last night in deep prayer. The last words she spoke were, “We feel your prayers because this supernatural boldness came over us and we were singing in the Spirit.

Even the kids said mom we will not deny Jesus.” As they were on the phone they heard screaming and gun shots. God is so powerful they went to be with the Creator filled with joy.

“We will be fasting tomorrow for the churches.”

Return To Me With All Your Heart


Warning Lights

I didn’t think that the hesitation in my car engine and that little yellow “check engine” light on my dashboard really needed my immediate attention.

I sang it away, saying that I would get to it tomorrow. However, the next morning when I turned the key to start my car, it wouldn’t start.

My first reaction was frustration, knowing that this would mean money, time, and inconvenience. My second thought was more of a resolution: I need to pay attention to warning lights that are trying to get my attention — “they can mean something is wrong.”

God used the prophet Joel to encourage His people to “pay attention to the warning light on their spiritual dashboard”. Prosperity had caused them to become complacent and negligent in their commitment to the Lord.

Their faith had degenerated into empty formalism and their lives into moral bankruptcy. So God sent a locust plague to ruin crops in order to get His people’s attention, causing them to change their behavior and turn to Him with their whole heart.

What warning lights are flashing in your life ? What needs to be tuned up or repaired through confession and repentance ? And remember repentance is something that is always to be carried out now. – Marvin Williams

When I tried to cover my sin, my guilt I could not shake; But when I sought Your mercy, Lord, my sin I did forsake. — Hess
“Conviction is God’s warning light.”

Stay Blessed My Friend!

Be Confident – Faith Gives Us Hope


2 Corinthians 4:16 – 5:10 NIV

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 

18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Awaiting the New Body

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 

Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 

For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 

Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight.

 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

Before I was Afflicted I went Astray


📌

“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word. It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.”‭‭(Psalm‬ ‭119:67, 71‬ ‭NKJV‬)

This actually happened years ago. It was in 1968 on an airplane headed for New York — a routine and normally very boring flight. But this time it proved to be otherwise.

As they were on their descent pattern, the pilot realized that the landing gear was not engaging. He messed around with the controls, trying again and again to get the gear to lock into place…without success.

He then asked ground control for instruction. As the plane circled the landing field, the emergency crew coated the runway with foam and fire trucks and other emergency vehicles moved into position.

Meanwhile, the passengers were told of each maneuver in that calm, unemotional voice pilots do so well. Flight attendants glided about the cabin with an air of cool reserve. Passengers were told to place their heads between their knees and grab their ankles just before impact.

There were tears and a few cries of despair. It was one of those “I can’t believe this is happening to me” experiences. Then, with the landing only minutes away, the pilot suddenly announced over the intercom: “We are beginning our final descent.

At this moment, in accordance with International Aviation Codes established at Geneva, it is my obligation to inform you that if you believe in God you should commence prayer.”

Scout’s honor…that’s exactly what he said! I’m happy to report that the belly landing occurred without a hitch. No one was injured and, aside from some rather extensive damage to the plane, the airline hardly remembered the incident.

In fact, a relative of one of the passengers called the airline the very next day and asked about that prayer rule the pilot had quoted. The answer was a cool, reserved “No comment.” Amazing.

The only thing that brought out into the open a deep-down “secret rule” was crisis. Pushed to the brink, back to the wall, right up to the wire, all escape routes closed…only then does our society crack open a hint of recognition that God may be there and — “if you believe…you should commence prayer.”

Reminds me of a dialogue I heard on the tube shortly after Mount St. Helens erupted. The guy being interviewed was a reporter who had “come back alive” from the volcano with pictures and sound track of his own personal nightmare.

He was up near the mouth of that mama when she blew her top, and he literally ran for his life…with camera rolling and the mike on. The pictures were blurred and dark, but his voice was something else.

It was eerie, almost too personal to be disclosed. He breathed deeply, sobbed, panted, and spoke directly to God. No formality, no clichés — just the despairing cry of a creature in crisis.

Things like, “Oh, God, oh, my God…help! Help!” More sobbing, more rapid breathing, spitting, gagging, coughing, panting. “It’s so hot, so dark…help me, God! Please, please, please, please….”There’s nothing like crisis to expose the otherwise hidden truth of the soul.

Any soul. We may mask it, ignore it, pass it off with cool sophistication and intellectual denial…but take away the cushion of comfort, remove the shield of safety, interject the threat of death without the presence of people to take the panic out of the moment, and it’s fairly certain most in the ranks of humanity “commence prayer.”

Crisis crushes. And in crushing, it often refines and purifies. I’ve stood beside too many of the dying, ministered to too many of the victims of calamity, listened to too many of the broken and bruised to believe otherwise.

Unfortunately, it usually takes such brutal blows of affliction to soften and penetrate hard hearts. Remember Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s [1] admission? “Bless you prison, bless you for being in my life.

For there, lying upon the rotting prison straw, I came to realize that the object of life is not prosperity as we are made to believe, but the maturity of the human soul.” ― Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

Those words provide a perfect illustration of the psalmist’s instruction: “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey Your word….It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn Your decrees.” (Psalm 119:67, 71 )

After crisis crushes, God steps in to comfort and teach. This actually happens somewhere in our world every day.—Chuck Swindoll Taken from Charles R. Swindoll, “Commence Prayer,” in The Finishing Touch:

Becoming God’s Masterpiece (Dallas: Word, 1994), 550-52.Ref 1: Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn [1] Russian: Алекса́ндр Иса́евич Солжени́цын, December 11, 1918 – August 3, 2008) [2] was a writer, who, through his often-suppressed writings, helped to raise global awareness of the gulag, the Soviet Union’s forced labor camp system – particularly in ‘The Gulag Archipelago’ and ‘One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich’, two of his best-known works.

Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970. He was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1974 but returned to Russia in 1994 after the Soviet system had collapsed.

US Mom Rescues Afghani Girls Robotics Team!


If you don’t think there are any heroes who took action to save lives right before the Afghanistan debacle, think again. 

An Oklahoma mother of 11 took it upon herself to rescue 10 members of Afghanistan’s all-girls robotics team. She flew to Qatar earlier this month to try to get some of the girls to safety before the Taliban surprised the Biden administration by swiftly taking over the entire war-torn country. 

What’s even more amazing is Allison Reneau is hoping to save even more girls before the Taliban, known for their brutal treatment of women and religious minorities, have free rein to implement totalitarian Islamic sharia law. 

NBC News reports Reneau, a 60-year-old Harvard graduate, took it upon herself to try and save members of the girls’ robotic team.

She had been in touch with the team of girls ages 16 to 18 since meeting them as a board member for Explore Mars at the organization’s annual Humans to Mars conference in 2019.  The team had been recognized as the future of Afghanistan and was an example of how far women’s rights had come since the U.S. liberation following the 9/11 terror attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.

Reneau told NBC News she “couldn’t shake” the feeling that the girls were in danger while watching the news of the advancing insurgent army in early August. She called Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), a ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, but that “lead went cold” when the senator became “overwhelmed with the need to help our American citizens.”

Deciding to try by herself, she got on an airplane headed to the Middle East where she landed in Qatar, which is still thousands of miles away from Afghanistan. But she had a friend that could help. 

“I remembered my former roommate in D.C. a couple of years ago was transferred to Qatar,” she explained. “She worked in the U.S. Embassy in Qatar… she was sure her boss would approve helping the girls.”

“She wrote up a request, and I got all of their passports together,” Reneau said. “She went back to the Embassy at midnight and worked all night to prepare the documents and packets for the girls.”

“It’s a very narrow window of opportunity,” she told NBC News. “I knew that if I didn’t run through that door now — it’s now or never. Sometimes you only get one chance.”

Thankfully, all 10 girls were able to make it to the American-held side of Kabul’s airport and boarded a plane.  

“Several members of the girls’ Afghan robotics team have safely arrived in Doha, Qatar, from Kabul, Afghanistan,” a statement from the Digital Citizen Fund (DCF) and Qatar Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday. 

The girls were taken to a secure location and will continue to pursue higher education.

Elizabeth Schaeffer Brown, a board member on the DCF told NBC News, “Ultimately the girls ‘rescued’ themselves. If it were not for their hard work and courage to pursue an education, which brought them in contact with the world, they would still be trapped. We need to continue to support them and others like them.”

Perfect Love – Faith Gives Us Hope


1 John 4:2-3 NIV

This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 

but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

1 John 4:13-17 NIV

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 

15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 

17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.

1 John 5:4-5 NIV

for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 

Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

Jay Shetty (Self Help Guru) peddles New Age Deception. The DECEPTION is so subtle!


Christian Answers for the New Age

JAY SHETTY: WISDOM OF THE WORLD By Marcia Montenegro

You may have seen videos on YouTube of Jay Shetty, a popular self-help guru whose videos are even posted by Christians. But be aware that within his witty admonitions are kernels of New Age, Hindu, and Buddhist spiritual views.

Former Monk

Shetty at one time was a monk on “the Hindu Vedic path” (source, interview with National Geographic at https://bit.ly/2BLUQE6). All descriptions I came across describe him simply as a “former monk,” not specifying the spiritual tradition. This way, some may think he was a Catholic, Buddhist, Hindu, or other type of monk, making him appealing to every religious background.

Videos

If you listen carefully to some of his videos, you can catch the spiritual beliefs behind them. One video on Visualization is at https://bit.ly/2NghXYz. This is not about focus or imagination, but rather visualizing something in order to make it happen.

This type of visualization is intrinsic to the New Age and the occult – found in all areas of those two fields, especially in sorcery. Why sorcery? Because the principle behind this is that you have the power of your will to alter reality and/or to manifest something into reality.

New Agers believe this is done with thoughts and words, since you have a divine nature; and the occult does it with spells, incantations, or magical rituals. In another video, Shetty states this:

“When asked what the biggest mistake we make is, the Buddha replied: “The biggest mistake is you think you have time.” From video “Don’t waste your time” at https://bit.ly/2KPF4IH

CANA: Shetty continues on how we should not waste time, breaking time down into how much time we spend sleeping, grooming, working, on social media, doing chores, eating, etc.

First of all, there is no way to authenticate that Buddha said this: Buddha’s teachings were not written down until about 500 years after his death. Secondly, if Buddha did say it, what he meant is that there is no time because there is no self, no mind, no universe, etc.; there is only formlessness, which is the true nature of reality. So of course, he did not believe in time (this view plays into Mindfulness).

Buddhism is not about learning to be peaceful or do good deeds; its goal is to realize the true nature of reality because that is the only way to liberation from rebirth. That includes realizing there is no self and that the reality you see is not real.

Shetty ends the video with these words: “for those who love, time is eternal.” Sounds nice, but what does that mean? Time had a beginning and so it does come to an end; so it’s not eternal. How does love make “time eternal?” But there is eternity and, with or without love, we will all be in it.

Eternity with or without God?

Jesus spoke of this:“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.” John 6:47

“Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” John 8:24

CANA: Jesus, the Son of God, came as man so that the could be the perfect sacrifice for sins. He died on the cross to pay the penalty for sins so that all who believe in him are forgiven and have eternal life with God.

Shetty’s Mission

When asked what his mission is now, Shetty replied: “To share life-changing wisdom in a way that makes people feel entertained, in a way that’s active, dynamic, and innovative….<snip>…I’m [also] passionate about spreading a movement of unlearning what the world has taught us: what our families taught, what school has taught, what we’ve picked up from around us.

To allow [people] to go back to being self-aware of their own interests, needs, and concerns. It’s disconnecting from what “makes sense” to what actually moves you and what makes sense internally.” — From National Geographic interview

CANA: Please read the above carefully, because Shetty has just repeated what most motivational and self-help teachers have always said: You must unlearn everything you know and start with a blank slate in order to see everything differently.

This is really reprogramming the mind. Shetty believes he is doing a good thing but he himself does not know the need for Christ and forgiveness of sins.This goal to change perception is the purpose and heart of programs such as est from the 1970s, all cults, people like Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, etc. It is also the stated purpose of Jesus according to New Thought, a movement claiming to be Christian but which denies the essentials of the Christian faith: that Jesus came not to die for sins, but to alter man’s perceptions of who God is and who man is.

This need to change perception also sums up the purpose of New Age teachings as well as Buddhism. Many hear of Buddhism’s “beginner’s mind” and it can sound quite appealing, but Buddhism wants you to unlearn everything you’ve known and start at ground zero so you can see things from the Buddhist worldview and learn “the true nature of reality” (according to Buddhism).In contrast, Jesus, fully God and fully man, already knows your heart, desires, fears, and hopes.

There is no need to change perception of reality but rather a need to see the reality of needing forgiveness for sins and reconciliation with the true living God. Jesus, the Son of God, came as man so that the could be the perfect sacrifice for sins. He died on the cross to pay the penalty for sins so that all who believe in him are forgiven and have eternal life with God.

Jay Shetty’s “Wisdom

Jay Shetty is not just a self-help guy with snappy sayings; his ideas have an underlying spiritual worldview, but it’s a worldview completely at odds with what Jesus taught. Shetty has the wisdom of the world, but does not know Christ, and Christ himself is “the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24, 30).

“Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe…..Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” 1 Corinthians 1:20-21, 25

CANA: Jesus, the Son of God, came as man so that the could be the perfect sacrifice for sins. He died on the cross to pay the penalty for sins so that all who believe in him are forgiven and have eternal life with God. “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.’” John 6:35————————–

CANA article on Motivational Teachings, “In the Image of Man”https://bit.ly/2NmsgukWho is Jesus? http://bit.ly/2WwtBax

Facts on Jay Shetty

Jay moved to New York in September 2016. Jay moved on from HuffPost to create his own viral video agency and grow his brand. He now works with the biggest brands in the world. He has been invited to keynote at leading companies including Google, L’Oreal, Facebook, Coca Cola, HSBC, EY, Microsoft and Accenture. In 2016 he won the ITV Asian Media Award for Best Blog and came 3rd in the Guardian Rising Star Award in 2015.” – from https://bit.ly/2BISxBv

Are There Many Paths To God?


Are There Many Paths to God?

There is only one way to heaven, and that is through Jesus Christ.
by Lee Strobel

Jesus often surprised people with teachings that cut across the grain of human nature. “Lose your life to save it.” “The first will be last.” “The meek will inherit the earth.” “Rejoice in persecution.” “Pray for your enemies.” “It’s better to give than to receive.” “Turn the other cheek.” These are revolutionary teachings.

But by far the most outrageous assertion that Jesus ever uttered is in John 14:6: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This claim rankles people like nothing else. It’s been called narrow-minded. It’s been called bigoted. It’s been called snobbish. Some of you are seekers and something inside of you chafes at the idea that Jesus is the only way to God, for you are living in a world where there seems to be endless options in virtually every area of life. For some of you this is a stumbling block to faith.

Why is this claim so controversial? One reason is that it strikes at the core of three great myths about religion.

Myth 1: All religions are basically the same.

The first myth is that all religions are basically the same. You’ve probably heard people say through the years that there may be distinctions between various world religions, but if you strip them down to their essentials, all religions fundamentally teach the same thing. In other words, all spiritual paths lead up the same mountain because all religions basically teach the brotherhood and the sisterhood of men and women and the universal fatherhood of God.

Let’s concede that there is some common ground shared by many of the world’s religions, especially when you look at the level of basic values and statements of belief about morality. Respectful dialogue between people who represent different faith systems is a great starting point. But, at the same time, there are significant differences between the world religions that cannot be papered over. In fact, with this one outlandish assertion, Jesus boldly puts Christianity in a class by itself, because if the path to God is through Jesus, then Christianity cannot be reconciled with any other religion.

The uniqueness of Christianity is rooted in the uniqueness of Jesus himself. Other religious leaders say, “Follow me and I’ll show you how to find the truth.” But Jesus says, “I am the truth.” Other religious leaders say, “Follow me and I’ll show you the way to salvation.” But Jesus says, “I am the way to eternal life.” Other religious leaders say, “Follow me and I’ll show you how you can become enlightened.” But Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” See the difference?

There are drastic and irreconcilable differences between Christianity and all other belief systems. Every other religion is based on people doing things through their struggling and through their striving to earn the good favor of God. They say people have to use a Tibetan prayer wheel, or they have to go on pilgrimages, or they have to give alms to the poor, or they have to avoid eating certain foods, or they have to perform a certain number of unspecified good deeds, or they have to pray in a certain way, or they have to go through a cycle of reincarnation. These are attempts to reach out to God.

But Jesus Christ is God reaching out to us. Jesus taught the opposite of what those other faiths teach. He said that nobody could do anything to merit heaven, so you might as well stop trying. He said that we’re all guilty of wrongdoing. That’s consistent with our experience. We know that not a single person here today would claim to be perfect.

Jesus also said that our wrongdoing separates us from our God because God is holy and perfect. Because God is a righteous judge who by his very nature must judge wrongdoing, our wrongdoing has to be paid for. Because he loves us, because Jesus and God are for us and not against us, Jesus voluntarily offered himself as our substitute to pay the penalty that we owe because of our wrongdoing. When we receive his sacrifice on our behalf, we become reunited with God forever.

This distinction is starkly demonstrated by comparing a parable that was taught by Jesus with a similar story that is found in Buddhist literature. Both stories involve sons who became rebellious and left home in a huff, but who later saw the error of their ways and decided to return home. But it’s the ending of the two stories that so clearly points out the difference.

In the Buddhist story, the errant son is required to work off the penalty for his past misdeeds through years and years of servitude. But the Christian parable of the prodigal son ends with the repentant son being warmly welcomed home by a loving father who showers him with undeserved forgiveness and undeserved grace.

There are other fundamental differences:

For instance, Christianity says that there is one eternal God who created the universe. But Hinduism says that everything is God; you are God, I am God, this podium is God. Islam denies that Jesus was God and that Jesus died for our sins. All religions are not the same.

While other religious leaders can offer wise sayings and helpful advice and insights, only Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God, is qualified to offer himself as payment for our wrongdoing. No other religious leader even pretended to be able to do that. Theologian R.C. Sproul puts it this way, “Moses could mediate on the Law. Mohammed could brandish a sword. Buddha could give personal counsel. Confucius could offer wise sayings. But none of these men was qualified to offer an atonement for the sins of the world.” Jesus alone was qualified.

Myth 2: Christianity is simply one philosophy among many.

The second myth that Jesus dispels is related to the first myth. The second myth says that even though Christianity might be different, it’s just one philosophy among many, and it’s only as valid as any other religion. In other words, even if there are differences between religions, they all have equal claims on the truth. You have your truth, and I have my truth.

This myth is appealing because it seems to reflect the pluralistic attitude of the United States. On one level, that attitude is helpful. It is important that we are tolerant of people who believe differently than we do. The Bible tells us that those of us who are followers of Jesus need to be loving and respectful and accepting toward people of all faiths. Under our Constitution, all religious viewpoints are equally protected; anybody can believe whatever they want. But the problem is that some people jump to the erroneous conclusion that because different philosophies are equally protected, they must be equally valid. That’s just not the case.

The concept behind what our Supreme Court calls the “marketplace of ideas” is that truth and falsehood will grapple in unhindered debate, so that truth will prevail in the end. So even though all religions are equally protected under our Constitution, this has nothing to do whatever with whether they are based on truth.

A few years ago, in one of his classic columns, Mike Royco said in a tongue and cheek way that he was a member of what he called “The Church of Asylumism.” He explained that this church believes that there was an advanced civilization that lived in a distant galaxy millions of years ago. One day a few hundred of these aliens ate some tainted veggie dip and as a result, a virus hopelessly scrambled their brain. They tried to treat these victims, but nothing would work. So they decided to take them to an uninhabited planet that would serve as an asylum and where they could roam free and act goofy. That planet, Royco said, was earth. We’re all descendants of those aliens. Royco said, “You want proof? Read history books! Look at the newspaper! Look at the TV news! Then tell me this isn’t one big loony bin.”

Royco, I hope, was kidding about being part of the Church of Asylumism. But in this country people have the right to believe whatever they want. If there really was a church of asylumism, under our Constitution, it would be as equally protected as Willow Creek Community Church, as the Methodist denomination, as the Episcopalians or any other religious group. But friends, that would not mean that the teachings of the church of asylumism were true.

Of course, this gives anybody in the country freedom to make the claim, as Jesus did, that they are the way and the truth and the life; that they are the only way to God. The question is, how do we know that Jesus was telling the truth?

Jesus backs up his claim with unique credentials. Jesus authenticated his claim of being God by living a perfect life, by embodying the attributes of God, and by fulfilling dozens of prophecies written hundreds of years before Jesus came to this planet. Unlike other religious leaders, Jesus also authenticated who he was by performing great miracles in broad daylight, in front of skeptics. He demonstrated his mastery over nature. He demonstrated his mastery over sickness. He demonstrated his mastery over death by bringing Lazarus back to life after four days in a cold, damp tomb. In the most spectacular demonstration of his deity, Jesus fulfilled his own prediction by being resurrected from the dead, in an historical event that was witnessed by more than 500 people and that sparked a spiritual revolution that has been unparalleled in the history of the world.

Christianity is not just a philosophy; it is a reality. Jesus didn’t just claim that he is the one and only Son of God. He validated his claim with convincing evidence like nobody else in history.

Myth 3: Christians are narrow-minded to think Jesus is the only way to heaven.

The third myth says that Christians are narrow-minded and snobbish when they say that Jesus is the only way to heaven. If there were many roads to God and Christians were claiming, “Ours is the best,” I would agree they were being narrow and arrogant. But that’s not what Christians are saying. They are saying that somebody has got to pay the penalty for the obvious wrongdoings that keep us separated from God. By virtue of his sinlessness and by virtue of his divinity, Jesus is the only one qualified to be our substitute. That, friends, is the reality of the situation. It is not narrow-minded to act in accordance with the evidence and to pursue truth.

A few years ago, some friends’ baby girl developed jaundice, which is a disorder of the liver that caused her skin and the whites of her eyes to turn yellow. Of course her parents were very concerned, so they took the child to the pediatrician. The pediatrician told them jaundice is a potentially devastating disease, but it is also easily cured: all they had to do was to put the baby under a special light that stimulates healthy liver function.

The parents could have listened to this from the doctor and said, “That sounds too easy. Just put her under a light? What if instead we scrub her with soap and water and dip her in bleach? Certainly if we worked hard enough we could get her normal coloring back.”

The doctor would have looked at them and said, “You don’t understand. There is only one way to cure your daughter.” They could have replied, “What if we just ignore all this and pretend everything’s okay. The jaundice is your truth, doc; it’s not our truth. If we sincerely believe that, things will turn out for the best in the long haul.”

The doctor would have said, “You’re going to jeopardize the life of your child if you do that. There is only one way to cure her. You’re hesitant to pursue treatment because it sounds too easy. But look at the credentials on my wall. I’ve studied at medical school. I’ve used what I’ve learned to treat and to cure countless babies. Trust me.”

Would anybody accuse those parents of being narrow-minded if they trusted a doctor with credentials and pursued the only course of treatment that was going to cure their little girl? Of course not! That is not being narrow-minded. That is acting rationally and in accordance with the evidence.

Every person in this room has a terminal illness called “sin.” The reason those of us who follow Jesus cling to him so tightly is that he is the Great Physician who has the only cure. We could try to scrub away our sins with good deeds, but it will not work. We can sincerely think that there are other ways of dealing with it. But we would be sincerely wrong. The truth is that only the Great Physician offers a treatment that will erase the stain of sin. He has credentials and credibility to back him up. So when we turn to him, we’re not being narrow-minded. We are acting rationally and in accordance with the evidence.

In addition to not being narrow-minded, it is anything but snobbish for Christians to believe Jesus is the only way to heaven. For a Christian to act holier than thou is snobbish, but to believe that Jesus is the only way is not. Let’s pretend there are two country clubs. The first country club only admits people who have earned their membership. In order to get into this club, you have to obtain superior wisdom. You’ve got to fulfill a long list of demands. You’ve got to somehow attain certain spiritual advancement. You’ve got to go through cycles of reincarnation or whatever. Despite their best efforts, many people will not make the grade, and in the end, the door will be slammed in their face. They’re not going to be good enough. They’re not going to make the qualifications to get in.

This is what other religions are saying when they teach that people have to try and try to work their way to God. But Christianity is different. Christianity is like the country club that invites anyone who is interested, because Jesus has already paid for his or her membership. Rich or poor, black or white, regardless of your ethnic heritage, regardless of where you live, we would love to include you. The doors are wide open. Entry is not based on your qualifications. Entry is based only on you accepting Christ’s invitation. Which faith system is snobbish?

Christianity is unique. It cannot be reconciled with any other religion. It backs up its truth claims with the credentials and credibility of Jesus Christ, which cannot be duplicated by any other spiritual leader. That’s why when Jesus said he was the way and the truth and the life, history does not laugh; history has been revolutionized by Jesus.