Wednesday, December 3, 2014

My Niece Gloria

I want to write a few words about my niece, Gloria, in this blog; but I have no clear thoughts as to what should I write about her.

Gloria lived for a little more than 22 years and I never knew who she was or what was she like on the inside. I only saw her body grow from that of a baby to that of a woman. Her mind remained locked in some far remote babyhood.

Gloria was born on the Indian Independence Day of 1992, but she never experienced any independence in her life. Some time in her early babyhood her brain was damaged due to Congenital Hydrocephalus. So she had no mental growth since then and had to be cared for her whole life like a baby by her parents. Only the constant attention and the love of the parents sustained her.

Suddenly she passed away on the early morning of 20th November. I could not be present at the funeral held on the same day in Mumbai. The family had arranged for a prayer meeting in memory of Gloria on 23rd and I was present in it. Normally in any memorial prayer meetings, tributes are paid by couple of people who knew the loved one well. In this case there were no customary tributes as there was no one who knew Gloria really well except for the parents. That left some sort of void in the inner me and this blog is an attempt to fill that void for my personal satisfaction.

In all our places of public activities we only see those that are healthy and active around us. I am aware of others like Gloria who could never go out of their houses. There is a section of people in every society that cannot take part in the ordinary day to day activities of the society around them. Quite often we are not aware of such people in society who need constant care and cannot fully be part of the society.

As a Bible believing Christian my thoughts go back to the period of the Bible when Jesus Christ lived in the flesh on this Earth and healed everyone who came to Him. And the number of people who came to Him for healing were in multitudes. In spite of all the advances in Medical Care and Insurance etc. there is always a section of society that cannot participate in the main stream activities of the society. The healing power of Jesus Christ is even now relevant as it was then.

I know there are many who have prayed for the healing of Gloria. Even I have prayed from time to time for Gloria's healing. I believe that the real Gloria is spiritually alive and that she is much more aware of herself now than during her time here on Earth.

The Bible in Isaiah 57:1-2  says
1-2 Meanwhile, right-living people die
    and no one gives them a thought.
God-fearing people are carted off
    and no one even notices.
The right-living people are out of their misery,
    they’re finally at rest.
They lived well and with dignity
    and now they’re finally at peace.

These verses bring me an assurance that now Gloria is out of her misery, is at rest and at peace.

This is the testimony that someone gave about Gloria to her mother. "Gloria is now in God's presence and is glorifying God".  I say Amen to that because she is now alive and active in that part of the world where she is. Glory be to God for the life of Gloria!



Monday, May 19, 2014

Basic lessons from The Bible for the Aam Aadmi Party

Aam Aadmi Party's Gamble


In February I wrote a blog about how the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), under the leadership of Arvind Kejriwal, had gambled away the Delhi Government for greater gains in a newly elected term. It is still too early to say about the results of this gamble.

AAP in National Elections


One of the reasons for the AAP to abandon the Delhi Government was to focus on the national elections without being tied down to administer the Delhi Government. Now the results are out and the AAP has got 4 seats out of the 434 seats it contested for in the national elections.

Count Your Costs


One thought in my mind is that AAP basically started doing things without counting its costs as advised by Jesus in the Bible. In Luke 14:28-30 The Bible says:

28-30 “Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn’t first sit down and figure the cost so you’ll know if you can complete it? If you only get the foundation laid and then run out of money, you’re going to look pretty foolish. Everyone passing by will poke fun at you: ‘He started something he couldn’t finish.’

This teaching expressed in The Bible 2000 years ago very clearly reflects in what has happened to AAP. Because AAP did not count its costs today there are many who poke fun at AAP. The AAP possibly has laid a foundation, but they are going to take much longer time and more resources to get the 100 plus seats that they were expecting initially in this election. Certainly AAP started some thing in the national election that it could not finish.

Judge Your Strength


Just because Arvind Kejriwal managed to defeat the former Chief Minister in the Delhi Assembly elections, the AAP leaders thought that they can repeat the performance in national elections. In Luke 14:31-32 The Bible says:

31-32 “Can you imagine a king going into battle against another king without first deciding whether it is possible with his ten thousand troops to face the twenty thousand troops of the other? And if he decides he can’t, won’t he send an emissary and work out a truce?

AAP leaders Kumar Viswas and Arvind Kejriwal competed directly against leaders of two other national parties. Kumar Viswas came 4th and got only 2.92% of the votes, while the winner got 46.72%. The AAP mobilized all its national resources just for Arvind Kejriwal and he got only 20.3% of the votes, while the winner got 56.37%. The AAP leaders clearly did not judge their strengths and weaknesses of fighting national elections.


David and Goliath


I have seen some comparisons where AAP is referred to as young David fighting the giant Goliath described in The Bible. You can read The Bible incident in 1 Samuel 17. In The Bible event Goliath throws the challenge and David fights the challenge because it was against the God of Israel. What we have seen is the weak AAP throwing challenge to the established political parties and losing because they had no unseen support like the God of Israel in The Bible event.



You can read more about this God of The Bible that I believe in from an earlier blog of mine, "The GOD I believe in".

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What I am learning about Diabetes - It is dangerous

Why this blog?


In a recent blog I mentioned about my elevated blood sugar level and about the reversibility of Diabetes. In another blog I mentioned about how health can be improved by changing our food. I have been spending many hours since then on the Internet reading and watching YouTube videos to understand more about Diabetes and its relationship to food. I am writing this blog post for my reference and for others who may like to know the significant truths that I am learning about Diabetes. The Bible says in Hosea 4:6 "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: ..."

Reverse Diabetes or die 10 years early


One important truth that I learnt about Diabetes is that if you follow the standard Diabetes medical routine your life expectancy is reduced by about 10 years. Check Diabetes Life Expectancy and many other such sites. This truth was brought close home during the last week of February when my brother-in-law Stephen, who was only 64, passed away due to a stroke. Another brother-in-law Ranjit passed away in August 2010, when he was only 60, due to the complications caused by Diabetes. To those who claim that Diabetes is hereditary and it is in the genes, I like to state that Stephen and Ranjit's mother passed away when she was 70 and their father when he was 87. The urban food habits of our generation are destroying our lives fast and it is not allowing us to live even as long as our parents had lived. What makes Diabetes appear hereditary is that we acquire our food habits often from our parents and it is our faulty modern urban food habits that are responsible for onset of Diabetes. Both Stephen and Ranjit were born in urban Delhi and lived all their life in urban Delhi. Stephen, for some years lived away from Delhi, but again in environments where food habits were that of urban cities.


Why Diabetes kills?


Even though I have been studying about Diabetes for some weeks now, only some days ago, I learnt the real truth about the damage that Diabetes causes. Most of the material on Diabetes talk about blood sugar level, insulin etc. and do not give the real reason for the damage that elevated blood sugar level causes.

The Bible in Leviticus 17:11 states that "For the life of the flesh is in the blood ..." Various urban medical conditions like Diabetes, Heart attacks, Strokes, Hypertension etc. have to do with abnormal blood flow in the body and often start with elevated blood sugar.

When blood glucose level rises, pancreas will release insulin for the body cells to remove glucose by binding it to insulin from the blood stream and turn it into energy in the cell mitochondria. In case of a diabetic the body cells have excess fat in the cells that block the glucose removal process. So the glucose and insulin continue to build up in the blood stream. The high glucose concentration damages tiny capillaries. Since capillaries are throughout the body, damage takes place all over the body. This is how elevated blood sugar causes damage to the body. Since capillary damages cannot be felt, someone may have elevated blood sugar for years and may not know about it. Check the link capillaries and diabetes. Also check this Complications of Diabetes link which says that even nerve damage can take place throughout the body. Physical activity increases the glucose removal from the blood stream.

This image of the capillary is taken from http://clinicalscienceblogcatherine.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/capillary.jpg

I think even the above description is very simplified and the human body being very complex must have many other effects due to insulin resistance, the primary cause of Type 2 Diabetes.


Reversing Diabetes


Diabetes is basically a life style disease and it does not have any other causes like germs etc. Hence it is possible to reverse diabetes by reversing some of the earlier life style decisions that led to diabetes. I have found 4 doctors whose practice of reversing diabetes very useful. They are Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. John A McDougall, Dr. Neal Bernard and Dr. Don Colbert. Some of these doctors over a period of years have successfully reversed diabetes in thousands of patients. All the reversal is largely brought about by changing the diet of their patients. Each of these doctors follow slightly different diet plan for their patients. Based upon their recommendations I am trying to follow a Vegan diet plan and have already found complete improvement in Blood Pressure, Cholesterol and some improvement with blood sugar level. I am now trying to eliminate the medicine for blood sugar level control completely. The only problem is that the doctor I consult (a diabetic himself) does not believe that diabetes is reversible and can only be controlled with medicine.


Natural sweetener Stevia


There are lot of artificial sweeteners that many diabetics use in place of sugar with their tea or coffee. What I have read about these artificial sweeteners are not good. Which searching through the Internet I stumbled upon a natural sweetener called Stevia. I even found that there is a company in Noida that packages this natural sweetener in form of tablets which are convenient to use with tea or coffee. Additional details can be found from their website.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Change your food, Improve your health

Functional Medicine


In an earlier post I had mentioned about my recent increase in blood sugar level and how diabetes is reversible. There I had mentioned about Dr Mark Hyman, and I have learnt that the medical practice that doctors like him practice is called Functional Medicine.

Today all around us, specialist doctors are on the increase and general practitioners seem to be on the way out. Here is the definition of General Practitioner taken from Wikipedia.
  • General Practitioners intend to practise a holistic approach that takes into consideration the biological, psychological and social factors relevant to the care of their patients. Their duties are not confined to specific organs of the body, and they have particular skills in treating people with multiple health issues. They are trained to treat patients of any age and sex to levels of complexity that vary between countries.
Doctors focus on specializing to increase their earning potential. From here you can have an indication about an average doctor's earnings. Only the geriatrician and palliative care physician, both to do with very old and terminally ill, earn lower than a Family Medicine Practitioner.


Medical Specialist


Wikipedia has a long list of medical specialists. Specialization can be organ based, disease based, medical technique based etc. A medical specialist is restricted to treatment in a specific domain of expertise. What happens when someone needs to consult more than one medical specialist at the same time? Each doctor gives his own medical treatment, often without taking into consideration treatments given by other doctors. So the patient does not get a specialized treatment taking care of all issues in an holistic manner. Doctors who practice Functional Medicine treat the patient in an holistic manner by working at the root cause of the problem.

The Bible Food


In an earlier post I had mentioned that I believe in the God of The Bible. Genesis 1:28-30 says

28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
29 And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. 30 Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so.

So the early God given food was vegetarian for both man and animal. After The Flood, non-vegetarian food was added as seen in Genesis 9:1-3.

So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.

People who lived before The Flood lived several hundreds of years, with Methuselah living the longest at 969 years as seen in Genesis 5:25-27.

25-27 Methuselah: Methuselah was 187 years old when his son Lamech was born; afterwards he lived another 782 years, producing sons and daughters, and died at the age of 969.

When I look at Genesis 11 I see that the life of successive generations seems to be decreasing. In Verse 28 Haran dies before his father. Could the vegetarian food before The Flood be the reason for their long lives? Could God have supplemented non-vegetarian food after The Flood because of the devastation caused to the original plant kingdom in The Flood?

Food as Medicine


When we think of medicine we only think of some chemical substance that we get from the chemist. We need the doctor to prescribe that chemical substance. As a second thought we might ask the doctor the food that we may eat. Functional Medicine considers food as the primary source of medicine and nutrition. Hippocrates, father of western medicine, is said to have quoted "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food". 


Today we seem to have forgotten what Hippocrates advocated. Our body is built up based on the food that we eat. The chemicals that we ingest in the name of medicine produce wide variety of side effects. Today, properly prescribed FDA approved drugs are supposed to be the third leading cause of death in the US. Check this article "Doctors Are The Third Leading Cause of Death in the US, Killing 225,000 People Every Year". Check also this article "Death from Prescription Drugs: The New Epidemic Sweeping Across America". Do we have any statistics for similar deaths in India?


Changes in my food habit


Because of blood sugar elevation problem, as any one would expect, I have stopped all processed sugar. In addition to that I am trying to stop all processed food. The reason being, food processing industry destroys almost all nutrients, and the food that we eat are only non-nutritional food. I am trying to eat most of the food from the collection shown in the above image, where possible raw. I have gone from white bread, to brown bread and now to whole wheat multi-grain bread. I have replaced Coffee with Green Tea. My blood sugar level is continuing to improve. Basically, I am moving away from man-made factory food to God produced food, directly from His Factory, The Ground.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Arvind Kejriwal 'The Gambler' and 'The Plowman' of The Bible

Kejriwal's Gamble


On 14th February, the Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal resigned, because his Aam Aadmi Party could not pass the Jan Lokpal Bill in Delhi Assembly. The thought process here being, since the Aam Aadmi Party did not have the majority in Delhi Assembly, it is better to seek a fresh term with a better majority that will allow them to pass the Jan Lokpal Bill in the new assembly. Wikipedia defines "Gambling is the wagering of money or something of material value on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods." Essentially Aam Aadmi Party has wagered its present seats in the Delhi Assembly for additional seats in a future Assembly.


Plowman


That set me thinking about what The Bible says about this thought process. From what I could remember from The Bible, I did not see any wise person gambling away a current advantage, for a perceived better future advantage. In fact, Jesus in Luke 9:62 says “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” The Bible expects its followers to carry out a chosen task to its logical conclusion. Proverbs 20:4 says "The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing." Unlike the gambler, the plowman when he plows the ground will have a very definite harvest determined by the crop he plants. The Bible in essence demands diligence, and not a frivolous attitude.

This is the day, now is the time


The God of The Bible is basically a God of the present and emphasizes living in the present, and not in the past or the future. Romans 13:11-14 says "But make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can’t afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!"

Jan Lokpal Bill


From the resignation action of Arvind Kejriwal, the Aam Aadmi Party is projecting that the Jan Lokpal Bill is even more important than governing Delhi. The primary duty of a 'govern'ment is to govern. I am certainly disappointed, that a Government that was elected to govern Delhi, in a short period of seven weeks, has chosen to give such a large importance to a document called Jan Lokpal Bill over the actual act of governing Delhi.

Wikipedia states that "The Jan Lokpal Bill aims to effectively deter corruption, compensate citizen grievances, and protect whistle-blowers. The prefix Jan (translation: citizens) signifies that these improvements include inputs provided by "ordinary citizens" through an activist-driven, non-governmental public consultation."

Corruption


Wikipedia defines "Political Corruption is the use of power by government officials for illegitimate private gain." In my thinking, what the Aam Aadmin Party has done in Delhi fits into this Political Corruption view. Aam Aadmin Party was the government and it used its government powers to gamble away the government for the illegitimate private benefit of the Aam Aadmi Party. The loss of governance in Delhi has to be borne by the Delhi residents. Meanwhile the Aam Aadmi Party is forcing additional election expenses on the Nation on its gamble to come back with greater majority. Which Jan Lokpal Bill will try Aam Aadmi Party for its Political Corruption?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Mother Nature and Father God

Who are you?


You are an intelligent person. You have your own will. You also have your own emotions. Additionally, you also own a physical body somewhat like you own a vehicle. As I mentioned in an earlier blog "The GOD I believe in", you are not your body. Alternately, your body is not you. Any one taking a space flight will need a space suit, to survive in space, which is hostile to your physical body. After returning from space, the space suit is put aside. Similarly, your body is your earth suit, designed for you to live in this physical world. With your mind, will and emotion you make changes to the world in which you live through your body.

How did you get your body? We do not have human body shops to order one. Your mother produced it for you. What will happen to your body when you put it aside? It will decay and turn into earthly materials it is composed of. It is the life in you that keeps your body living.


Mother Nature


A mother is a living person with a mind, will and emotion of her own. From time to time we keep on hearing about Mother Nature. Who is this Mother Nature? Where is the residence of Mother Nature? Does this Mother Nature have a personality? There is a two way relationship between a mother and her child. How do you have a relationship with Mother Nature? Wikipedia defines Mother Nature as '... personification of nature that focuses on the life-giving and nurturing aspects of nature by embodying it in the form of mother ...'. Your mother gave your life and nurtured you. Since nature is impersonal, personification of nature leads to lot of wrong assumptions in the mind of people.

Father God


I guess the people who personify Mother Nature are the people who are looking for an alternate to Father God. In an earlier blog I had shared about the God I believe in. Father God of The Bible has personality and has mind, will and emotion. God of The Bible in Exodus 3:14 says about Him, "I AM WHO I AM". One of the important characteristics of a mother is her love for her child. Can Mother Nature love? The God of the Bible is a loving God. John 3:16 says "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life".

Next time whenever you see the term 'Mother Nature', please examine if the statement can literally be true. Try to substitute 'Father God' instead of 'Mother Nature' and see if it makes sense.

Your body


In The Bible Psalm 139:14 says "Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know it". You have a wonderful body. Did you or your parents do anything to make it the way it is? Each and every part of your body is so complex and purposefully designed. Yet evolutionists attribute the complexity of an intelligent work to non-intelligent Mother Nature.

According to a National Geographic article the human body is estimated to have anywhere between 5 billion to 200 million trillion cells. The following image of human cell is taken from here.



See how complex a single cell is. How numerous they are in a human body carrying out many different functions. Do you think a non-intelligent impersonal mother nature could evolve into this level of complexity without intelligent design?

The following image is taken from here. This structure shows the signalling mechanism that cells use for communication.


Some of our complex systems are designed using computers and intelligent software. Who designed and implemented this complex cell pathway signalling without computers and software?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Diabetes is reversible

In general I have been reasonably healthy. I hardly had the need to visit a doctor. The last time I had to visit a doctor was to get the doctor's signature in my driving licence renewal form in 2011.

Some times towards the last week of January, I felt uncomfortable at work. So, I went to a hospital to see an emergency doctor. The CT Scan and ECG were okay. When they took my blood sugar level, I came to know that I had elevated blood sugar level. Since this is the first time I had elevated blood sugar level, the doctor has advised me to bring it under control by diet and exercise.

In the past I had not shown any interest in studying medical facts. My August 2010 blog "He sent His WORD and healed them" show where my faith in healing is. Before I wrote that blog, I had started to study about divine healing from the Internet, because of my wife's brother, Ranjit's health. Ranjit had a stroke, and was partially paralysed and lost his speech. I was learning on how to pray for Ranjit's healing according to biblical principles, while he went about with his regular medical treatments. The blog "Mother, oh my mother dear" is a poem that Ranjit wrote when his mother passed away.

Some times in August 2010, Ranjit went to a hospital in Delhi, for regular medical checkup. Because of the stroke, Ranjit had mobility problem, and the hospital advised him to get admitted so that they could do all the tests without too much inconvenience to him. After about two or three weeks in the hospital he passed away. The type of things I saw at the hospital, when he was admitted there, created a negative impression of the medical community in me and some of that are reflected in my Facebook posts from time to time. The blog "O! Ranjit My Son" is a poem his aunt wrote in memory of Ranjit.

After my elevated blood sugar level diagnosis, I have started scanning the Internet to understand about blood sugar level control. My search has led me to Dr Hyman, who teaches "Food is medicine", and shows that Diabetes can be reversed by right food, in his web site Blood Sugar Solution and his books. So, for the moment I am trying to understand his teaching and working on changing my food habits to bring my blood sugar level under control.

I have nothing conclusive to write here about the effectiveness of Dr Hyman's methods, but I am posting this blog hoping that this information may be useful to some one else also.

Dr Mark Hyman Videos.

From the YouTube Videos, I have found that there is a large Church, led by Rick Warren (Author of Purpose Driven Church, Purpose Driven Life etc.) that has an organized program called the Daniel Plan. based on Dr Hyman's materials.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

'F J Pandiaraj blogs' Facebook page

So far, I have not been a regular blogger. Occasionally, I have blogged in the past. There was only one post in 2013 and before that four in 2010.

I noticed that in January 2014 alone, I had posted 6 times. Most of these blogs had to do with comparing some real life happening with a view point from the Bible. So looks like the desire to compare what is happening in life, with what the Bible says, seems to be growing in me. Don't know how long this interest will sustain.

In my Facebook page, almost all the friends I have are personally known to me, and have met them some time in real life. There are a few others, who are my Facebook friends, because I wanted to follow some thing they had to say. Only my Facebook friends can post in the time line of my Facebook account.

I have created the 'F J Pandiaraj blogs' Facebook page, so that I can have friends who may not be personally known to me, yet will be able to post in this page. That helps me to keep my Facebook page separate from blog related posts.

Any Facebook user should be able to visit this page and from there follow the blogs and post their comments in Facebook.

If you have Facebook friends who might be interested in my blogs, please go to this page and invite them to like this page.

Please feel free to express your opinions about the blogs here.

Friday, January 31, 2014

The GOD I believe in

The word "God" brings up different thoughts and beliefs in different people. All people have different understandings and beliefs in God, based upon their life time experiences and indoctrination.


Atheist, Agnostic and Theist


An atheist denies the existence of God because the atheist does not believe in a God or gods. I am not an atheist. An agnostic believes that it is impossible to know if there is a God or if there are many gods. I am not an agnostic. Polytheists believe that there are more than one gods. I am not a polytheist. That makes me a monotheist, who believes in the existence of one and only God.


Evolution and Intelligent Design


How did life come about? Evolutionists believe that over a very large period of time, simple inorganic forms evolved into more complex organic forms of life. Can order come out of chaos without any external input? No. Order can come out of chaos only when external intelligent effort is applied. Outside of Planet Earth, there in no physical form of life. Wikipedia talks about Extraterrestrial Life as being hypothetical. I believe in the intelligent design of life by a Creator God on Planet Earth.


Time, Space and Matter


How did the matter in the world in which we live come about? How did the Universe, with such an infinitely large number of galaxies, come about? How big is the boundary of the Universe? Is there empty space beyond the Universe? If there is empty space, then what is it? Like our Universe, are there multiple universes? What is time? Did the Universe have a beginning? Will there be an end to the Universe? Did time have a beginning and will it have an ending?

If I did not believe in God, despite the advances in scientific knowledge, I would have no satisfactory answers to the above questions. I believe that the Creator God is the creator of Time, Space and Matter and that The Creator God is not subject to the created. God is not bound by Time and does not exist in Time. God is not limited by Space; hence, cannot be bound to the confines of created Space. God is not composed of created matter and cannot be experienced in the material domain.


Attributes of God

Wikipedia enumerates about 26 attributes of God. Some of the most important attributes of God are:
  • Omnipresent - Present everywhere
  • Omniscience - All knowing
  • Omnipotent - All powerful
  • Immutable - Cannot change
  • Transcendent - Outside space and time

What is The Bible


The Bible is a collection of books that were written by 40 authors, over a period of 1600 years. According to the Guinness World Records, The Bible is the best selling and most widely distributed book. Statistics Brain estimates the number of Bibles printed at around 6 billion. To be able to refer to a particular Bible reference, the Bible is divided into many books, and each book is composed of many chapters and each chapter contains many verses. The Book of Genesis, Chapter 1, Verses 2 to 5 is abbreviated as Genesis 1:2-5.


Creator God of The Bible


The Bible starts with the simple statement, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1)". In John 1:3, it says "All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him was not even one thing made that has come into being". Hence, based upon my life time experiences and teachings, I believe in the God of The Bible. The Bible does not talk about the origin of God, but simply declares the existing God.


The Authority of The Bible


From where does The Bible get its authority? The Bible declares the existing God, and from this existing God, The Bible derives its authority. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, "The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right. It is God’s way of making us well prepared at every point, fully equipped to do good to everyone". The authors of The Bible were inspired by God and wrote what God revealed to them by inspiration. Even though human authors wrote the various books of The Bible, they did not write down their own thoughts or ideas. They wrote what God inspired them to write. Though The Bible was written over a period of 1600 years, there is no inconsistency within The Bible because all thoughts and ideas there were inspired by the same God.


Man is a Triune Being


1 Thessalonians 5:23 talks about three parts of man: spirit, soul and body. The body of man is his world-conscious self and it interacts with the material world. The soul of man is his self-conscious self and it interacts with his inner nature like mind, will and emotion. The spirit of man is his god-conscious self and it interacts with the deeper non-material spiritual world. An astronaut needs a space suit to go into space, because his natural body cannot sustain him in space. Similarly, your body is the earth suit for you. You are not your body. You need your body to sustain you in the earth. The true you, is your spirit, which survives the loss of your earth suit.

This is an illustration on the Triune Nature of Man taken from here.


Here is another illustration on the Triune Nature of Man taken from here.


God is a Triune Being


The God of The Bible is not an inanimate force or power, but a Person. John 4:24 says "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth". Every man is a single person. The mystery of the God of The Bible is that He is one God, but with three persons, often referred to as Trinity. The three persons of the Godhead of The Bible are, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. It is difficult for the limited mind of man to comprehend the unlimited God. This is reflected in Isaiah 55:8-9 as
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts."

This is an illustration of the Triune Nature of God taken from here.


Here is a different illustration showing God and Man taken from here.


The God I believe in


The God I believe in is this Triune God of The Bible where God the Father is God, God the Son is God and God the Holy Spirit is God. All three persons of this Godhead are persons and The Bible always refer to God in the masculine gender.

It was God the Son who was born in this world as Jesus Christ, a man. The Bible is largely divided into two parts, Old Testament and New Testament. The Old Testament deals with events associated with God the Father. The first four books of the New Testament, called Gospels, deal with the life of Jesus on earth. The remaining books of the New Testament largely deal with activities of God the Holy Spirit in the early Church. According to The Bible, God the Father and God the Son are now in Heaven. God The Holy Spirit came to dwell with believers on earth, after Jesus Christ ascended into heaven after resurrection. When one reads The Bible from the beginning to end, one will notice that The Bible progressively reveals the existing God.

The spirit of man and the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, communicate in the spiritual domain. It is in this domain that man can experience God today.


Indwelling Holy Spirit


God the Holy Spirit has many attributes. One of the attributes of the Holy Spirit is, His indwelling in the spirit of man. 1 Corinthians 3:16 says "Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?". The Bible calls us the temple of God and that is where He seeks to dwell.

Our Authority


Man is the supreme of God's creation and is created in the image of God. Genesis 1:26-28 says
God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them
        reflecting our nature
    So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea,
        the birds in the air, the cattle,
    And, yes, Earth itself,
        and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.”
    God created human beings;
        he created them godlike,
    Reflecting God’s nature.
        He created them male and female.
    God blessed them:
        “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!
    Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air,
        for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.”

This is how God created man to have authority over all the Earth that He created and mankind is continuing to exercise this dominion. What ever the world today is what we mankind together have made it. We can listen to our selfish desires and destroy the world or we can listen to the Holy Spirit and make the world a better place. The choice is ours.

Update on 3rd February, 2014


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Monday, January 27, 2014

Thoughts, Imaginations and Strongholds (Habits)

Why this blog?


Last week, for four evenings, (From 23rd January to 26th January), I watched Rev Sam Chelladurai's live webcast, of his special Tamil outdoor meetings held at Valliyoor. This blog, is inspired by one topic, from the third day of this meeting.


Who is Rev Sam Chelladurai?




Rev Sam Chelladurai is the Senior Pastor of the Apostolic Fellowship Tabernacle (AFT) Church in Chennai. Check here to know more about Pastor Sam and follow the other links there to know more about AFT. From time to time I watch him in God TV (in English), Subsandesh (in English with Hindi Translation) and DD Podigai (in Tamil). On Sunday evenings, when possible, I watch him, live over the webcast, from AFT.

Thoughts


It is estimated that every day we have about 50,000 thoughts. (Rev Sam quoted a lower figure.) Thoughts can originate from within us and can also come to us from our environment. 

When we try to influence others, we try to create thoughts in them, that we desire for them to have. How often have you had mental dialogues between you, and with some one you are trying to influence. All the thoughts exchanged in this mental dialogue only happens in your mind and does not influence the other person. Based up on the thoughts running in this mental dialogues emotions may be roused within you and corresponding physical changes may happen in your body. Check the word 'psych' in free dictionary.

Words are the tools that transfer a thought from one person to another. Hence what we speak and hear are important. When does someone else's thought become our own. When we talk about it. Matthew 6:31 shows this with "... take no thought, saying ...". As long as we only hear and not speak about it, we have not owned that thought. The moment we speak in favor of it, we start to own that thought.

In 2 Corinthians 10:5, The Bible talks about "... bringing every thought into captivity ...". To me, this means that, I have authority over every thought, that comes to my mind, and that I can do 'something' about it. Philippians 4:8 says "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things". This tells me that I can 'choose' what I should actively think about.

Essentially, you can decide what thoughts to retain, and what thoughts to reject. Depending upon the thoughts that influence your mind, your mind will start seeing things, or forming a mental picture of things or imagine.


Imaginations


When we want to do something specific, we first think about them. That is, there are some initial thoughts. Then, when we study more about it, we add more thoughts. As more and more thoughts are added, the clearer form of what we want to do, takes shape in our mind. We now start to see, envision what we want to do. Essentially the thoughts retained give us a mental picture or image of what we want to come about. Without thoughts there can be no imaginations, and imaginations are needed before corresponding actions can take place.

Imaginations could have been formed, because of controlled thoughts that we used. Most often, we form many imaginations, based on external uncontrolled thoughts, that come to us from our external circumstances. If we did not have controlled thoughts, then we will have uncontrolled imaginations. 2 Corinthians 10:5 talks about "Casting down imaginations ...", which to me means, I can 'do something' about the imaginations, that have entered into my mind. Most often these imaginations, accumulate over a life time. We have many prejudices, which we have absorbed in childhood, and many have never been examined, to cast them out.

Seeeing the influence, TV had over my life, many years ago, I stopped watching movies and serials, as they did not add anything positive to my life. Whenever advertisements come, I mute them, so that the words there would not stir up my emotions.

Strongholds


2 Corinthians 10:4 talks about "... pulling down strongholds".  Earlier we had seen about "bringing into captivity" and "casting down". Pulling down needs much more efforts than captivity or casting down. A stronghold is something very strong, and it is built up over a period of time. Something that is built up over a period of time becomes more and more strong over a period of time and it will need much greater effort do pull it down. That is what habits are. Some practice does not become a habit when done very few times. When the same practice is repeated over and over and over again then it becomes a habit.

Habits can be a good habit or a bad habit. Good habits contribute some thing good to us and need to be cultivated. But, bad habits are some thing that we do over and over again, over which we normally may not have control.

The habit of smoking may start with simple thoughts about how cool smoking is. Then the thoughts move in the direction of just trying once. Then it goes in the direction of trying some more time, and eventually a time will come when it would have become a habit. In the early stages you had control over smoking. At a later date smoking will have control over you.

Different stages


Normally we classify cancer as having four stages. When we are adopting something at the thought level then it is in stage one. When it moves into imaginations then it is in stage two. When it has become habit forming then it is in stage three.

The Bible says, that God has given us the ability to examine our thoughts, and reject any thoughts that is not beneficial to us. Only good thoughts should be allowed to go into imaginations and later on into becoming a habit. A musician by repeated practice trains to play good music and once practiced can play well without any effort.

What was Rev Sam's larger message about?


Rev Sam's larger message, was about how our imaginations and habits prevent us from being masters of our life. Fears built up by wrong thought patterns prevent us from going out of the boundaries that we have set for ourselves. We need to examine our thought patterns to see where we limit ourselves, and find ways to overcome the limitations that we have set for ourselves. His message was that The Bible teaches that you have authority over your life and that by transforming your thoughts you can transform you life and lead a better quality life.

In DD Podigai, Rev Sam has a  program called வெற்றியும் வாழ்வும் (Victory and Life) five days a week. I think about a year back they had completed more than 1,000 episodes. Because of his simple messages, AFT membership overflows, and they have 4 church services every Sunday and yet they are still not able to accommodate all who attend.


Friday, January 24, 2014

Arvind Kejriwal the 'Sweeper' and Jesus The Servant

Here is a picture of Arvind Kejriwal symbolically using the Aam Aadmi Party symbol, the broom.


This picture is from an article that appeared in The Hindu newspaper, when the symbol was launched. Arvind Kejriwal has got nothing to do with sweeping a road, yet for the sake of publicity, here in this picture he is wielding a broom, symbolizing the cleansing of politics.

Looking at this image I am reminded of an event described in The Bible, where Jesus washed his disciples feet. This account can be found in John 13:3-17.

3-6 Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, “Master, youwash my feet?”
Jesus answered, “You don’t understand now what I’m doing, but it will be clear enough to you later.”
Peter persisted, “You’re not going to wash my feet—ever!”
Jesus said, “If I don’t wash you, you can’t be part of what I’m doing.”
“Master!” said Peter. “Not only my feet, then. Wash my hands! Wash my head!”
10-12 Jesus said, “If you’ve had a bath in the morning, you only need your feet washed now and you’re clean from head to toe. My concern, you understand, is holiness, not hygiene. So now you’re clean. But not every one of you.” (He knew who was betraying him. That’s why he said, “Not every one of you.”) After he had finished washing their feet, he took his robe, put it back on, and went back to his place at the table.
12-17 Then he said, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You address me as ‘Teacher’ and ‘Master,’ and rightly so. That is what I am. So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other’s feet. I’ve laid down a pattern for you. What I’ve done, you do. I’m only pointing out the obvious. A servant is not ranked above his master; an employee doesn’t give orders to the employer. If you understand what I’m telling you, act like it—and live a blessed life.

There is something that is basically contrasting between the two events. Arvind Kejriwal was launching the party symbol in the early days of the party. In the case of Jesus, when his earthly mission was complete, he taught his disciples to carry on from him. Just like what we see in all organizations, including political parties, there is always a struggle to gain more benefits. This was true in Jesus' disciples described in Matthew 20:20-28.

20 It was about that time that the mother of the Zebedee brothers came with her two sons and knelt before Jesus with a request.
21 “What do you want?” Jesus asked.
She said, “Give your word that these two sons of mine will be awarded the highest places of honor in your kingdom, one at your right hand, one at your left hand.”
22 Jesus responded, “You have no idea what you’re asking.” And he said to James and John, “Are you capable of drinking the cup that I’m about to drink?”
They said, “Sure, why not?”
23 Jesus said, “Come to think of it, you are going to drink my cup. But as to awarding places of honor, that’s not my business. My Father is taking care of that.”
24-28 When the ten others heard about this, they lost their tempers, thoroughly disgusted with the two brothers. So Jesus got them together to settle things down. He said, “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around, how quickly a little power goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.”

The basic message of Jesus here is that of serving one another and not of lording over one another. It was this message of Jesus that made Aam Aadmi Party appealing to me, as Arvind Kejriwal claimed himself to be an ordinary person aspiring to serve the aam aadmi by eliminating corruption.

After seeing many events of the Aam Aadmi Party, I don't think that they are about serving one another any more. It has become lording over one another. Some popular examples are Arvind Kejriwal verses Home Minister Shinde and the Delhi Law Minister verses Delhi Police. Now the message is, I am the khas aadmi (Minister) not the aam aadmi any more, and others are there to serve me.

Mother Theresa is one of the well known persons in India who followed the teachings of Jesus and took upon her the task of serving one another. There are many others throughout the world who have been inspired by the teachings of Jesus and serve those around them, more often unknown to the world, except to the few that are around them. They are not leaders, but true servants.

That reminds me of what The Bible says about lesson from the ant in Proverbs 6:6-11.

6-11 You lazy fool, look at an ant.
    Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two.
Nobody has to tell it what to do.
    All summer it stores up food;
    at harvest it stockpiles provisions.
So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing?
    How long before you get out of bed?
A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there,
    sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next?
Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life,
    poverty your permanent houseguest!


Update on 3rd February, 2014


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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Arvind Kejrival the 'Anarchist' and The Bible prescription of 'Authority'

Recently, on 20th and 21st of January, Delhi experienced an unusual event. This event was, that the Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, instead of governing from the Delhi Secretariat, went on a street protest against the Central Government.

The media termed this action as anarchy and called Arvind Kejriwal an Anarchist. What was even more surprising to me was that Kejriwal instead of refuting it, went on to the extent of branding himself an 'Anarchist'. He said something like "If people call me an anarchist, then I am an anarchist". You are who you are, and you don't become what people call you to be. 

One of the definition of 'Anarchist' from thefreedictionary is "a person who seeks to overturn by violence all constituted forms and institutions of society and government, with no purpose of establishing any other system of order".

Wikipedia  says "Anarchism is a political philosophy that advocated stateless societies often defined as self-governed voluntary institutions, but that several authors have defined as more specific institutions based on non-hierarchical free association. Anarchism holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, or harmful."

If anarchism is what Arvind Kejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party wants then to my mind it is 
undesirable
From my understanding of The Bible, I do not see The Bible prescribing disorder, but always prescribing order.

Here is what The Message Version of the Bible says in the Book of Romans Chapter 13 Verses 1-7 on being a responsible citizen.

1-3 Be a good citizen. All governments are under God. Insofar as there is peace and order, it’s God’s order. So live responsibly as a citizen. If you’re irresponsible to the state, then you’re irresponsible with God, and God will hold you responsible. Duly constituted authorities are only a threat if you’re trying to get by with something. Decent citizens should have nothing to fear.

3-5 Do you want to be on good terms with the government? Be a responsible citizen and you’ll get on just fine, the government working to your advantage. But if you’re breaking the rules right and left, watch out. The police aren’t there just to be admired in their uniforms. God also has an interest in keeping order, and he uses them to do it. That’s why you must live responsibly—not just to avoid punishment but also because it’s the right way to live.
6-7 That’s also why you pay taxes—so that an orderly way of life can be maintained. Fulfill your obligations as a citizen. Pay your taxes, pay your bills, respect your leaders.

A person may or may not believe in God. A person's belief does not create God. It is the creator God who makes it possible for a person to think and believe and act. It was the delegated authority from God to man that established a system of authority in society, and gave authority to its leaders to administer the society by the laws that they have established for themselves.

When we make laws for ourselves we can make all types of laws that will help us as a society to lead a good life. Corruption can never be eliminated until people change from the inside. So, what is desirable is the internal change in people and not external change in the laws and the system of administration. A person who is corrupt will always find a way to beat the system no matter how strong the law is. Similarly a person who has changed from the inside will try to follow the laws of  the conscience irrespective of a weak or strong law.

There is something rebellious in human nature that wants to break a rule. Telling a child not to do a thing is a sure invitation to make the child wanting to do the prohibited thing. Unless we are changed from the inside we will continue to exhibit the same behavior, as long as we know that we will not get caught.

This internal struggle of an inwardly changed person is given in the Book of Romans Chapter 7 Verses 17-24

17-20 But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.
21-23 It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.
24 I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?.

What the above passage refers to sin is not a act, but it is the human nature, inherited in our genes, that is responsible for all corruption.The law can suppress it to a degree due fear of punishment but cannot overcome it. Can one overcome the sin nature? That is what the Bible is about.

Update on 3rd February, 2014.


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Monday, January 13, 2014

'Janata Darbar' of Arvind Kejriwal and Moses of the Bible

On this Saturday (11th January, 2014), the Delhi Chief Minister from the Aam Aadmi Party, Arvind Kejriwal, and his ministers sat outside the Delhi Secretariat to personally hear the public grievances and to redress them.

The Delhi Public had such a large number of grievances and according to news reports, more than 7,000 people turned up for the event. Kejriwal, in spite of all kinds of refusal for security, had to run for cover to his office surrounded by a protection cordon to avoid a stampede.

This reminded me of the mistakes of Moses, the popular leader in the Old Testament of the Bible, and the wise counsel of his father-in-law Jethro. Here is that event as described in the Message Version of the Bible in the Book of Exodus Chapter 18 Verses 13-27.

13-14 The next day Moses took his place to judge the people. People were standing before him all day long, from morning to night. When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What’s going on here? Why are you doing all this, and all by yourself, letting everybody line up before you from morning to night?”
15-16 Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me with questions about God. When something comes up, they come to me. I judge between a man and his neighbor and teach them God’s laws and instructions.”
17-23 Moses’ father-in-law said, “This is no way to go about it. You’ll burn out, and the people right along with you. This is way too much for you—you can’t do this alone. Now listen to me. Let me tell you how to do this so that God will be in this with you. Be there for the people before God, but let the matters of concern be presented to God. Your job is to teach them the rules and instructions, to show them how to live, what to do. And then you need to keep a sharp eye out for competent men—men who fear God, men of integrity, men who are incorruptible—and appoint them as leaders over groups organized by the thousand, by the hundred, by fifty, and by ten. They’ll be responsible for the everyday work of judging among the people. They’ll bring the hard cases to you, but in the routine cases they’ll be the judges. They will share your load and that will make it easier for you. If you handle the work this way, you’ll have the strength to carry out whatever God commands you, and the people in their settings will flourish also.”
24-27 Moses listened to the counsel of his father-in-law and did everything he said. Moses picked competent men from all Israel and set them as leaders over the people who were organized by the thousand, by the hundred, by fifty, and by ten. They took over the everyday work of judging among the people. They brought the hard cases to Moses, but in the routine cases they were the judges. Then Moses said good-bye to his father-in-law who went home to his own country.

This is possibly the first time in history where a decentralized organization was setup. According to Wikipedia  Moses lived in the time period of 1391-1271 BC. Aam Aadmi Party is talking about decentralizing decision making process. But when it came to grievance redresses it was trying to do it in a centralized way and failed on the first day somewhat like what Moses did initially.

I know that from the above Bible passage many lessons can be learnt without actually trying them by trial and error. Here is another passage from the Bible that reflects that thought taken from the First Book of Paul to the Corinthians Chapter 10 Verses 11 and 12.

11-12 These are all warning markers—danger!—in our history books, written down so that we don’t repeat their mistakes. Our positions in the story are parallel—they at the beginning, we at the end—and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were. Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.

People, irrespective of time and space, are designed and created by the Almighty God in the same way. So, irrespective of cultures they will behave in similar way in similar situations. The Bible is often described as the Maker's Manual of Human Beings.The Bible Illustrations cover very large number of situations of Human Dynamics and can be used as excellent Case Studies on Human Behavior.

Update on 14th January, 2014.


Aam Aadmi Party has decided to cancel Janata Darbars. Now will only take online complaints.


Update on 22nd January, 2014


Enjoy the following 'Politoon' from India Today Group.

Dishoom- dishoom at AAP's Janata Darbar.

Update on 3rd February, 2014


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