Monday, March 31, 2008

What God wants from me?

Nothing. That’s right. Nothing. That realization itself will save us from a lot of trouble. This is very contrary to the way the world operates. All of us expects something from each other. In other words, the concept of ‘unconditional’ anything is out of the picture in a human realm. I love my wife and expect her to love me back. I love my kids and expecting them to love me as well. That’s just the way we are.

So over the years many of us program that pattern into our brain and assume God too works in the same way but the opposite is true. God expect nothing from us! If that wasn't the case, he would never say ‘apart from me you can do nothing’. That tells me He doesn’t expect anything from me. He also said, we must die. If I expect something from someone, I would never tell them to ‘die’ because I know once they are dead they can’t do anything for me. I want them to live so that they can do something for me. But the way God works is very different.

Since He has no expectation from us, He will never be disappointed by us as well. Remember, disappointment is the result of an unfulfilled expectation. Why wouldn’t He expect anything from us?

1. He knows us.
2. He is not a man.
3. He Himself is self sufficient.

Bible also tells us that we are His ‘workmanship’, means we are a piece of art. We are created by God, the artist. Now, if we think, an artist does not expect the art (paint, sculpture etc) to do anything for him. All work is done by the artist according to His creativity, timing etc. All the art needs to do is to ‘stay there’, just don’t run away. It is the artist who begins the work, and does all the work until He is satisfied. The art has to sit there and enjoy/endure the touching, chipping, carving, welding, flipping, curving etc.

Many people worry if they become passive or lazy in this process. If we take the art as an example, the art itself is not lazy / passive as long as it is in the hands of the artist. It is continually progressing to a finishing product. Bible assures us that 'he who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion'.

I have heard many people saying that they do this and do that to glorify God. But God is saying He is glorified when we stop doing and start trusting. (Without faith it is impossible to please God).

Does the art know what the finished work will look like? Not necessarily. But remember we are in the hands of a well known artist. Does the art know how or when the artist is going to do some chipping or shaping which is more likely a painful process? Not necessarily. But again, remember we are in the hands of a world class artist. He is reliable and perfect. He knows what He is doing. He doesn't expect us to know all the details. He doesn't even expect us to 'help' Him in the process. Let Him drive. Leave that driving wheel to Him and sit in the passenger seat and enjoy the ride.

"I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds." The kernel of wheat has to die to produce many seeds. In other words, it has to lose its life.

"Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." We have to 'lose' our life so that we can find true life in Him. It is Him who does the living. It is Him who does all the work and He expect us to do nothing. This is not just theoretical or theological, it has to be practical. It is possible to appropriate this truth into our daily life, which in essence the Bible calls, 'walking by faith'. I know it can be very scary to lose something which we hold tight. But it's worth losing it, so we will find true life in Him!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Why so many denominations?

I have news for you! I have found the answer for one of the frequently asked but rarely answered question in the world: If all Christians serve one God, why are there so many denominations and why do they fight each other?

Here is the answer:


“Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” - God

Sound familiar?

Remember the story of the tower of Babel in Genesis 11? As people tried to reach up to God with their own effort by building a huge tower, God came down and confused their language.

Today, as Christians try to reach up to God with their own effort (obedience to the law, works, building huge towers (churches) etc), no wonder their language is confused. So they cannot understand each other, they scatter and make their own denominations and fight each other!

I think that answers it! There is a slight difference though; 'So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building'. They (at the least) stopped but we haven't. We are still building our own individual towers!

Emptiness, silence, ...

I have been thinking about a lot of things to address on the blog such as keeping short accounts with God, the reason for our 'flesh' etc. But sometimes I feel empty and can't really express (write) anything. It's not that I am empty but I 'feel' empty. I know it is strange. Another thing I notice is that the mood and style I use in the posts are so connected to my life circumstances. I write depressing posts when I am depressed. I write exciting things when I am excited. I write intolerant things when I am intolerant. I admit that sometimes I am very intolerant and abrupt with legalism and the people who promote such things. Yes, I am speaking out of hurt and thats okay, right?
There are also moments of silence where I have no idea what to say. I am talking about feeling overwhelmed. The message of grace is huge and it requires a lot of discipline (discipleship) to explain this to someone but I often get overexcited and thus overwhelmed. As a result I mess up!

Is this all part of 'growing'?

I am learning that I don't have to 'prove' anything. Does 'faith' requires proof? If it can be proved, then why call it 'faith'? There is uncertainty in faith. There is also unpredictability. So I have no guarantee that I will 'act' the same tomorrow as today and that means there might be inconsistency in my sayings/actions. On the other hand, If I try to scrutinize everything I ever say, I fear I become mute. 'Going with my own heart' doesn't really sound biblical, but I believe there is a uniqueness in everybody's heart (or soul or mind or whatever). I also believe the grace of God works in unique ways in individuals. Do you agree?

Is it okay to feel 'empty' even with an understanding of Grace? Sometimes I can talk about grace all day long with a lot of fervency and at the end of the day when I read my Bible, I feel blank! Are those moments of 'silence' also part of growth or am I weird?

Monday, March 24, 2008

He is pretty strong!

I don’t think a religious person can ever live an authentic life because his religious mind is always disconnected from his true heart. The true human heart is wicked. There is sin, greed, lust, envy and everything bad under the sun. All human beings, provided the right circumstances are capable of doing any sin in the world. That’s a scary thought. So, people suppress that truth with a religious mask. But the point they miss is that the religion cannot bring a bit of change to the human heart.

That’s is the reason while the religion kept talking about the external mask, Jesus went under the skin and said, adultery is a matter of heart and murder is a matter of heart and it scared them.

So, why people still hesitate to move away from religion and go into a relationship with their Creator who addresses the heart issue?

In every relationship, there is a certain level of unpredictability and I think it is true in a relationship with God as well. As humans, we hate unpredictability. We don’t want to risk anything to be in an unpredictable relationship especially if the other party is ‘unseen’. So we try to find a substitute for it – religion, where everything is predictable. We build a relationship with religion. There is no risk and we always ‘feel’ safe! They say, you just come to our church, fill out our membership form, get baptized by our minister in our water in our baptistery, pay tithe to us and submit to our authority, you are all good and at the end we will give you a grand funeral to send you to heaven! Do you see any element of risk or unpredictability anywhere in that picture?

Also, I think in every relationship, there is hurt and pain and it is true in a relationship with God as well. There are moments where we feel God is not listening and we hate such moments. Religion, however, provides a (false) sense of security which does not require risking our heart. But what is interesting is, God risked certain things when He decided to have children. Are we ready to risk something to have a relationship with that Dad? Knowing that there are going to be unpredictable moments, pain, silence, disciplining, and wilderness?

If everything in life is predictable, safe and risk-free, what is the thrill? How do we know what is under the deep waters unless we dive in?

Isn’t it enough living a suppressed life which is not ours? Can we step out of our religious boat into the Sea of Galilee (Grace) like Apostle Peter, ready to explore little bit of adventure? Hey, it is true that he wavered after sometime. We may face winds, we may run of out of oxygen but look, "Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him."! Peter took a risk and tasted some thrill and more importantly he experienced the strength of Lord's hand. Though he doubted, Lord was still there!

If we are to ask Peter, he would say, it is a great adventure to experience Him, He is pretty strong!

Yes, He is pretty strong. He provides us one ultimate guarantee which no man-made system can ever give us – He will bring us to safety at the end… In the meantime, if we are willing to get out of the religious safe-zone, we can experience some wild adventures!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Why do you look for the living among the dead?

1On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.
2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
4While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead?
6He is not here; He has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:
7'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.' " 8Then they remembered his words. - Luke 24

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Physician Analyzes the Crucifixion

Though I cannot fully comprehend the pain and suffering Jesus went through on the cross, this gives me a picture of what that was like to be crucified. As you read this, keep one thing in mind: He didn't have to go through this, but He did this for you and me.

Dr. C. Truman Davis did extensive research into the physical aspect of the crucifixion. According to him, the Gospel accounts are silent on many details, "since crucifixion and scourging were so common during their lifetimes, they undoubtedly considered a detailed description superfluous."

He adds, "Despite the gospel accounts' silence on the details of Christ's crucifixion, many have looked into this subject in the past. In my personal study of the event from a medical viewpoint, I am indebted especially to Dr. Pierre Barbet, a French surgeon who did exhaustive historical and experimental research and wrote extensively on the topic."

Warning: Graphic content.



The physical passion of Christ began in Gethsemane. Of the many aspects of His initial suffering, the one which is of particular physiological interest is the bloody sweat. Interestingly enough, the physician, St. Luke, is the only evangelist to mention this occurrence. He says, "And being in an agony, he prayed the longer. And his sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground" (Luke 22:44 KJV).

Every attempt imaginable has been used by modern scholars to explain away the phenomenon of bloody sweat, apparently under the mistaken impression that it simply does not occur. A great deal of effort could be saved by consulting the medical literature. Though very rare, the phenomenon of hematidrosis, or bloody sweat, is well documented. Under great emotional stress, tiny capillaries in the sweat glands can break, thus mixing blood with sweat. This process alone could have produced marked weakness and possible shock.

Although Jesus' betrayal and arrest are important portions of the passion story, the next event in the account which is significant from a medical perspective is His trial before the Sanhedrin and Caiaphas, the High Priest. Here the first physical trauma was inflicted. A soldier struck Jesus across the face for remaining silent when questioned by Caiaphas. The palace guards then blindfolded Him, mockingly taunted Him to identify them as each passed by, spat on Him, and struck Him in the face.

Before Pilate

In the early morning, battered and bruised, dehydrated, and worn out from a sleepless night, Jesus was taken across Jerusalem to the Praetorium of the Fortress Antonia, the seat of government of the Procurator of Judea, Pontius Pilate. We are familiar with Pilate's action in attempting to shift responsibility to Herod Antipas, the Tetrarch of Judea. Jesus apparently suffered no physical mistreatment at the hands of Herod and was returned to Pilate. It was then, in response to the outcry of the mob, that Pilate ordered Barabbas released and condemned Jesus to scourging and crucifixion.

Preparations for Jesus' scourging were carried out at Caesar's orders. The prisoner was stripped of His clothing and His hands tied to a post above His head. The Roman legionnaire stepped forward with the flagrum, or flagellum, in his hand. This was a short whip consisting of several heavy, leather thongs with two small balls of lead attached near the ends of each. The heavy whip was brought down with full force again and again across Jesus' shoulders, back and legs. At first the weighted thongs cut through the skin only. Then, as the blows continued, they cut deeper into the subcutaneous tissues, producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin and finally spurting arterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles.

The small balls of lead first produced large deep bruises that were broken open by subsequent blows. Finally, the skin of the back was hanging in long ribbons, and the entire area was an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue. When it was determined by the centurion in charge that the prisoner was near death, the beating was finally stopped.


The half-fainting Jesus was then untied and allowed to slump to the stone pavement, wet with his own blood. The Roman soldiers saw a great joke in this provincial Jew claiming to be a king. They threw a robe across His shoulders and placed a stick in His hand for a scepter. They still needed a crown to make their travesty complete. Small flexible branches covered with long thorns, commonly used for kindling fires in the charcoal braziers in the courtyard, were plaited in the shape of a crude crown. The crown was pressed into his scalp and again there was copious bleeding as the thorns pierced the very vascular tissue. After mocking Him and striking Him across the face, the soldiers took the stick from His hand and struck Him across the head, driving the thorns deeper in His scalp. Finally, they tired of their sadistic sport and tore the robe from His back. The robe had already become adherent to the clots of blood and serum in the wounds, and its removal, just as in the careless removal of a surgical bandage, caused excruciating pain. The wounds again began to bleed.


In deference to Jewish custom, the Romans apparently returned His garments. The heavy patibulum3 of the cross was tied across His shoulders. The procession of the condemned Christ, two thieves, and the execution detail of Roman soldiers headed by a centurion began its slow journey along the route which we know today as the Via Dolorosa.

In spite of Jesus' efforts to walk erect, the weight of the heavy wooden beam, together with the shock produced by copious loss of blood, was too much. He stumbled and fell. The rough wood of the beam gouged into the lacerated skin and muscles of the shoulders. He tried to rise, but human muscles had been pushed beyond their endurance. The centurion, anxious to proceed with the crucifixion, selected a stalwart North African onlooker, Simon of Cyrene, to carry the cross. Jesus followed, still bleeding and sweating the cold, clammy sweat of shock. The 650-yard journey from the Fortress Antonia to Golgotha was finally completed. The prisoner was again stripped of His clothing except for a loin cloth which was allowed the Jews.

The crucifixion began. Jesus was offered wine mixed with myrrh, a mild analgesic, pain-reliving mixture. He refused the drink. Simon was ordered to place the patibulum on the ground, and Jesus was quickly thrown backward, with His shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire felt for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drove a heavy, square wrought-iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood. Quickly, he moved to the other side and repeated the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flexion and movement. The patibulum was then lifted into place at the top of the stipes4, and the titulus5 reading "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews" was nailed into place.

The left foot was pressed backward against the right foot. With both feet extended, toes down, a nail was driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees moderately flexed. The victim was now crucified.

On the Cross

As Jesus slowly sagged down with more weight on the nails in the wrist, excruciating, fiery pain shot along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain. The nails in the wrists were putting pressure on the median nerve, large nerve trunks which traverse the mid-wrist and hand. As He pushed himself upward to avoid this stretching torment, He placed His full weight on the nail through His feet. Again there was searing agony as the nail tore through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of his feet.

At this point, another phenomenon occurred. As the arms fatigued, great waves of cramps swept over the muscles, knotting them in deep relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps came the inability to push Himself upward. Hanging by the arm, the pectoral muscles, the large muscles of the chest, were paralyzed and the intercostal muscles, the small muscles between the ribs, were unable to act. Air could be drawn into the lungs, but could not be exhaled. Jesus fought to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath. Finally, the carbon dioxide level increased in the lungs and in the blood stream, and the cramps partially subsided.

The Last Words

Spasmodically, He was able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in life-giving oxygen. It was undoubtedly during these periods that He uttered the seven short sentences that are recorded.

The first - looking down at the Roman soldiers throwing dice6 for His seamless garment: "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do."

The second - to the penitent thief7: "Today, thou shalt be with me in Paradise."

The third - looking down at Mary His mother, He said: "Woman, behold your son." Then turning to the terrified, grief-stricken adolescent John, the beloved apostle, He said: "Behold your mother."8

The fourth cry is from the beginning of Psalm 22: "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"

He suffered hours of limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, and searing pain as tissue was torn from His lacerated back from His movement up and down against the rough timbers of the cross. Then another agony began: a deep crushing pain in the chest as the pericardium, the sac surrounding the heart, slowly filled with serum and began to compress the heart.

The prophecy in Psalm 22:14 was being fulfilled: "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint, my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels."

The end was rapidly approaching. The loss of tissue fluids had reached a critical level; the compressed heart was struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood to the tissues, and the tortured lungs were making a frantic effort to inhale small gulps of air. The markedly dehydrated tissues sent their flood of stimuli to the brain. Jesus gasped His fifth cry: "I thirst." Again we read in the prophetic psalm: "My strength is dried up like a potsherd; my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou has brought me into the dust of death" (Psalm 22:15 KJV).

A sponge soaked in posca, the cheap, sour wine that was the staple drink of the Roman legionnaires, was lifted to Jesus' lips. His body was now in extremis, and He could feel the chill of death creeping through His tissues. This realization brought forth His sixth word, possibly little more than a tortured whisper: "It is finished." His mission of atonement9 had completed. Finally, He could allow His body to die. With one last surge of strength, He once again pressed His torn feet against the nail, straightened His legs, took a deeper breath, and uttered His seventh and last cry: "Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit."


The common method of ending a crucifixion was by crurifracture, the breaking of the bones of the leg. This prevented the victim from pushing himself upward; the tension could not be relieved from the muscles of the chest, and rapid suffocation occurred. The legs of the two thieves were broken, but when the soldiers approached Jesus, they saw that this was unnecessary.

Apparently, the make doubly sure of death, the legionnaire drove his lance between the ribs, upward through the pericardium and into the heart. John 19:34 states, "And immediately there came out blood and water." Thus there was an escape of watery fluid from the sac surrounding the heart and the blood of the interior of the heart. This is rather conclusive post-mortem evidence that Jesus died, not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation, but of heart failure due to shock and constriction of the heart by fluid in the pericardium.

- by Dr. C. Truman Davis

The New Covenant - by Spurgeon

The Covenant between God the Father and God the Son!

"I, the Most High Jehovah, do hereby give unto my only begotten and well-beloved Son, a people, countless beyond the number of stars, who shall be by him washed from sin, by him preserved, and kept, and led, and by him, at last, presented before my throne, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. I covenant by oath, and swear by myself, because I can swear by no greater, that these whom I now give to Christ shall be for ever the objects of my eternal love. Them I will forgive through the merit of the blood. To these will I give a perfect righteousness; these will I adopt and make my sons and daughters, and these shall reign with me through Christ eternally." Thus run that glorious side of the covenant. The Holy Spirit also, as one of the high contracting parties on this side of the covenant, gave his declaration, "I hereby covenant," saith he, "that all whom the Father giveth to the Son, I will in due time quicken. I will show them their need of redemption; I will cut off from them all groundless hope, and destroy their refuges of lies. I will bring them to the blood of sprinkling; I will give them faith whereby this blood shall be applied to them, I will work in them every grace; I will keep their faith alive; I will cleanse them and drive out all depravity from them, and they shall be presented at last spotless and faultless."

This was the one side of the covenant, which is at this very day being fulfilled and scrupulously kept. As for the other side of the covenant this was the part of it, engaged and covenanted by Christ.

He thus declared, and covenanted with his Father: "My Father, on my part I covenant that in the fullness of time I will become man. I will take upon myself the form and nature of the fallen race. I will live in their wretched world, and for my people I will keep the law perfectly. I will work out a spotless righteousness, which shall be acceptable to the demands of thy just and holy law. In due time I will bear the sins of all my people. Thou shalt exact their debts on me; the chastisement of their peace I will endure, and by my stripes they shall be healed. My Father, I covenant and promise that I will be obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. I will magnify thy law, and make it honorable. I will suffer all they ought to have suffered. I will endure the curse of thy law, and all the vials of thy wrath shall be emptied and spent upon my head. I will then rise again; I will ascend into heaven; I will intercede for them at thy right hand; and I will make myself responsible for every one of them, that not one of those whom thou hast given me shall ever be lost, but I will bring all my sheep of whom, by thy blood, thou hast constituted me the shepherd—I will bring every one safe to thee at last."

-Charles Spurgeon-

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Life's toughest questions (cont'd)

People to People Ministries started answering the top ten questions from the series of life's toughest questions in 'text' form. So far, the two most important questions have been addressed.

(Please click the respective links to read further)

1. What is salvation and how can I know with full assurance that I'm saved?

2. After I've come to Jesus, why do I still sin?

During my days of legalistic Christian life, one of the tough question I always struggled to answer was about the assurance of salvation. No matter how much I 'did' (confession, prayer, fasting, church works, evangelism, charity, tithe, baptism, tongues etc) , I still wasn't sure if that was enough to stay saved. At some point I did argue against the idea of 'once saved, always saved' phrase. I read many things on the internet on this issue, but nothing convinced me because there is a whole lot of contradictory information out there. No one seems to be addressing the root cause of our need for salvation and what salvation really really means.

Then, once God removed the veil over my eyes, I saw it. It was awesome! And that one truth is enough for me to praise Jesus for the rest of my life!

If there is anyone who haven't settled this issue in their Christian life, I would strongly recommend reading the above article. Be blessed!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Knowing the will of God

Knowing the will of God and acting upon it sometimes become so confusing. When it comes to decision making, how can we be in 100% certainty that the decision we are about to make is God's will?

We were driving back home on Saturday evening and saw an SUV dunked in to a road side pit. There was this old couple standing and a tow truck was pulling the vehicle off from the pit (No police on the scene). As we passed them, while we were looking at the scene, the man (probably in his late 60's) fell backward unconsciously hitting his head hard on the concrete pavement. Our immediate response was, 'Oh my God, he might have injured his head badly, Lets take a U-turn and go and see if they need any help'! But as I was looking for a way to make a U-turn, I started processing that thought in my mind, I thought to myself that there is His wife and the driver of the towing truck who could call the ambulance for them. And even if we go, the only help we could probably do is calling the ambulance. Anyways, I ended up going home without helping them and felt guilty for the rest of the day and still not able to get rid of that scene from my mind.

Was that a right decision? Does Holy Spirit help us to make a spontaneous decision or intelligent decision? From my experience, most of the spontaneous decisions I have made in life were due to the emotional pressure of the moment. Bible says, we have the mind of Christ. Then, if the thoughts are generated in the mind, and thoughts enables us to make decisions, can we say the decision we make after 'analyzing' many thoughts, is from God?

I have this struggle when it comes to 'giving'. I have made many emotional decisions in the past about 'giving'. But now a days I have been resisting such temptations. I am more towards, making wise decisions, which requires thinking. I believe God works through our mind and thoughts. Does He also work through our emotions? Most of the time I cannot trust my emotions, such as feeling sad after watching a movie for example. It wasn't real, but I still 'felt' sad. And it would be foolish to make decisions based on what I saw on the screen. My mind knows it is not real, but not my emotions.

Bible tells us about the 'renewing of our mind', which I think is replacing the error in our mind with the truth of God's word. Sometimes my emotions tells me that I am not forgiven, but the truth (reality) is I am forgiven. Sometimes my emotions tells me that I am not loved, but the truth (reality) is I am perfectly loved by my heavenly Father. In essence, most of the time, I cannot trust my emotions, so how can I make decisions based on my emotions?

"Will" is like a switch, it's either 'yes' or 'no', there is no middle ground and I believe the owner of our 'will' is us (God has given us free will). But our 'will' can be influenced by either our emotions or our thoughts (Soul consists of thoughts, will and emotions), but how do we distinguish between emotions and thoughts?
If I tend to think a lot before making a decision, I fear if I am 'over analyzing'. It becomes a little complicated. I think the fundamental question I wanted to ask is, as we live this journey of 'living by faith', how can we be sure that the decisions we make is the will of God. Should we just a take a common sense approach such as, since Christ lives in us and we have the mind of Christ, just go with our heart? And don't bother whether its an emotional decision or wise decision?

Friday, March 14, 2008


I am so moved by the multitudes that are forced to wear a mask due to the fear of religious judgment. What good the religion is doing in their life other than forcing them into depression?
I came across this website which allows people to confess their sins anonymously. It’s no a wonder that they open up under the title of ‘anonymous’. The world and the religion wouldn’t allow them to open up authentically. It’s not that we have to make all our secret sins public, but what if we have a group of people where we could confess to each other without the fear of judgment?
I think millions are dying in guilt, shame and fear due to many sins in their life. If we can stop acting that everything is hunky-dory in our life just because we are Christians, wouldn’t that be a lot better?

We, Christians are well known for the fact that we preach the salvation by grace through faith alone. We attract people telling them, no matter how sinful they are, they are still worthy for the salvation offered by Christ. They come with a lot of excitement and joy. Once we know that now they are ‘converted’, then we start giving the list of things they should be doing and the list of things they shouldn’t be doing. We preach the ‘finality of the cross’ with one side of our mouth and then preach the ‘biblical principles’ through the other side and we find pleasure in controlling people using law.

If we act as if we have got all our acts clean, how can we expect the real people to come and share their struggles with us? It is sad that we don’t realize the law causes us to lose our authenticity. But grace causes us to be real and blunt. In grace, there is humility, understanding, compassion and true love. In law, there is only pride, guilt, fear and punishment. What good is that? Still we like to be called as ‘law keepers’, people with ‘principles’ etc.

Jesus said ‘It’s finished’. But standing at the foot of His cross, we are telling people, “No, it’s not finished, you have to work on your sins”. Does Jesus lead us to holiness or does holiness lead us to Jesus?
When Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing’, how much holy were those people whom He was addressing? How many sins the thief on the cross cleaned up for him to hear something like this from Jesus: “Today you will be with me in paradise”?

Jesus’ Gospel is supposed to be a ‘good’ news but didn’t the religion make it into ‘bad’ news?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A man with 'BIG' faith

I found this article called Religion's Rubber Checks on the Grace walk ministries website, written by Steve McVey. He is talking about a man who took a 'step of faith'. Have fun reading it!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Miracle or myth?

[I struggled with myself to come up with a suitable title for this post, still not sure if I called it right: Miracle or myth?]

I remember sitting in the pew watching many preachers/pastors/healers/miracle workers operates on different levels of charismatic gifts offering miraculous signs/wonders/healing to people. (I know I am touching a very sensitive subject but bear with me…)

The categories of people include extreme cases such as the ones declare fasting and prayer until God moves (or solves) on a particular issue they are dealing with. In most of the cases it is sickness, finance, relationship etc. The other extreme is those who believe such problems are a result (punishment) of some (unconfessed) sin, either their own sin or their ancestor’s sin. Such people usually spend a whole lot of time figuring out what that sin is and where the ‘curse’ originated. ‘Curse breaking ministries’ are there for their help to break such curses once it is identified. They have a lot of verses to quote from OT about the generational impact of people’s sins.

I have also heard people keeping the dead bodies of their loved ones believing God will raise them from dead. Hundreds of stories can be heard about miraculous healing, divine transfer of money, etc on the television.

Is there any truth in all these? Have you ever wondered?

One of the reasons I am writing this is because of couple of issues that I am currently struggling with. We have noticed a white patch on my son’s forehead couple of weeks ago and kept postponing to consult a doctor until last Saturday thinking it was a regular skin irregularity on little kids (He is only 22 months old). We went to see a dermatologist on Saturday and he didn’t take much time to diagnose it as Vitiligo. According to the doctor it can either go away or spread to other parts of the body as he grows. But the bottom-line is there is no treatment for it. Knowing nothing much about this disease we came home and my wife started searching internet looking for more information. As we read more on it, the disappointment, worry and anxiety started to fill our minds. One website showed some pictures of other kids who have the same disease and seeing them increased our level of fear. Though I tried to put a fake smile on my face while looking at my wife’s tear-filled eyes, I felt saddened and worried. It is not at all a life threatening illness but the emotional turmoil a person can go through because of it is unimaginable (think about people's strange looks etc).

If this could have happened couple of years ago, the first thing we would have done is rushing to a miraculous healer to lay his hands on my son and pray for healing. Though many of my perceptions about the way God works in people’s lives have been changed over the years, I still believe in prayer, I still believe in miracles, I still believe in supernatural manifestations. BUT I just don’t believe in the way those have been projected in Christianity today. There are many reasons I don’t buy into the hype of today's healing and miracle ministries. One reason is, I haven’t yet seen a single person who has been healed miraculously (instant, real miraculous healing). The second reason is the Bible (New Testament) itself which I will get into the details in a minute.

Going back to the story, we were little exhausted on Saturday after the doctor’s appointment and on Sunday around 8:30 in the evening I got a call from my Aunt informing me that her daughter (my cousin) is admitted in the hospital due to premature labor pains. She was only 5 months into her pregnancy and was having twins. Right now as I am writing this she is still in the hospital and doctors informed them to have no hope to save the babies. My aunt called me to request prayers.

Philip Yancey, a well known Christian writer who recently wrote a book titled ‘Prayer, does it make any difference?’ gave a speech recently about that book. He receives thousands of letters from all over the world on his new book. According to him, based on the many letters he receives, there are still miraculous healing happening, but the percentage of such stories is very very low. Most of the people who were diagnosed with terminal illness have died regardless of how they prayed or how many people have prayed for their healing. (That was a very difficult statement for me to write). That’s the plain reality.

I will continue to pray for my son and I will continue to pray for my cousin, because God is asking me to cast all my worries upon Him. But I observe a big change in the way I pray, and I believe this change in my attitude towards prayer is the result of knowing my God in a little more intimate way. I would most likely pray a prayer like this: "Father, heal my son if it is your will. My heart desires his complete healing. Give my cousin full term, healthy babies if its your will. Regardless, give us your peace which transcends all the understanding to go through these difficulties. And make the outcome favorable to You and us."

He promises peace in all the circumstances, but He do not promise bodily healing in all the circumstances.

I do not believe that God punishes His children because His own Son took that punishment which was due for us. He became a 'curse' for us by hanging on the tree to rescue us from all the sins, all the curses and all the unrighteousness.

I draw a very important and huge principle from the prayer of Apostle Paul. Three times he pleaded with the Lord to take it (thorn in his flesh) away from him.

But this is what God told him: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I felt ‘weak’ after learning about my son’s sickness. I felt more tenderness in my heart. I felt more close to God and I now have an increased compassion towards other parents who have kids with different illnesses. After hearing about my cousin, though I felt pain, I praised God a 100 times more for giving us full-term healthy kids and I told my wife that having a healthy baby (which many of us take it for granted) is a bigger miracle than healing of cancer. Having able to get up in the morning and going to work is a miracle. Coming back home safely is a miracle. Having a healthy marriage is a miracle. If I continue in that line, I would end up asking an obvious question, what is NOT a miracle? Is there a miracle greater than salvation? A free gift which we could never earn with our efforts? What miracle is greater than Christ dying on the cross for my sins? How about Christ living in me? How about God of the universe calling us His children? How about we calling Him 'Abba'?

When tragedy hits, troubles comes, my thoughts are along the line of what God says in Romans, We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Notice that He did not say He will change all the bad into good, but He said He will work everything (bad and good) together for the good. We may not be able to see that while going through it. There will be a lot of unanswered questions. I am not saying it is easy. But we can trust Him for His promises. One of the fruit of the spirit is peace, and I believe that is the peace which transcends all the human understanding, the peace only God can give. God operates from a totally different realm; he always has a bird’s eye view of everything, from beginning to end. We, most of the time has only a worm’s eye view. So, though we don’t understand everything, He is trustworthy, unchangeable and still our best friend.

As Christians, if we fall into the category of people who believe that God will heal all their diseases and solve all their problems, we better get ready to face disappointment! It is an error and it is also an unrealistic expectation to think that life on this earth is going to be pain-free; whereas God says there will be trouble in this world. Lets not resist the truth! God operates from an eternal realm, conforming us into the image of His Son, asking us to think the things above. The people who give others false hope of healing and miracles are teaching error. Their equation is wrong: healing gift + faith = healing. Where is God in that formula? It puts us in pressure to build up our faith to measure up to a certain level to see 'healing'. I am sorry but thats is not from the God I know from the Bible. It is not the amount of my faith/prayer/fasting what causes God to work on my issue. He never promised us that there are going to be only good things in our life but He said He will cause everything to work together for good. Can we believe that truth?

I am saddened by the fact that there are probably many who are angry/disappointed at God because God did not do a miracle in their life the way they wanted. It is an illusion many live in. There is rescue offered and it is found in understanding His grace and unconditional love offered through Christ Jesus. If we learn to leave the results of our prayers unto the hands of such a loving God, we can be in much peace. He wouldn't take pleasure in putting us through pain, it is against His character. He won't keep us on that 'surgery' table a minute longer than it's needed; while He Himself going through the pain with us. It's for our good, it is not a 'testing' or 'punishment'. And regardless of whether you believe in miracles or not, He loves us and feel free to cast all your burdens upon Him. There is nothing wrong in expecting a miracle, but lets don't get disappointed if it doesn't happen the way we wanted. He knows more about us than us.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The world OR Jesus?

Look what a ‘wonderful’, ‘stable’, ‘secured’, ‘advanced’, ‘ever lasting’ world we live in!

Recession, war, global warming, drought, diseases, divorces, denominations, persecution, religion, oil price, layoffs, terrorism, bombs, suicides, strikes, mortgages, credit cards, debts, bankruptcy, accidents, foreclosures, medical failures, technology failures, power outages, drought, wildfire, alcoholism, drug abuse, unwanted pregnancies, prostitution, energy bill, nuclear weapons, obesity, eating disorders, depression, pesticides, plane crash, suicide bombs, tsunami, hurricane, tornadoes, viruses, anorexia, cults, murder, rape, pornography, child abuse, homelessness, competition, stress, bipolar, universalism, relativism,...

Isn’t this list enough to look for some certainty and security in our life? Where are we going to find it? What/who is going to provide that?

Religion? Philosophy? Politicians? Celebrities? Psychologists?

What is the one constant, unchanging, everlasting thing where we keep our foot on, in this unstable world?

There has to be something 'constant' in life, at least one thing! So while everything else is shaking we have that one thing to give us hope, courage, peace, and even some joy!

That ONE thing is called - JESUS! (Well, it is not a 'thing', but a person)

His love is unchanging (Jeremiah 31:3).
His Word is unchanging (1 Peter 1:24-25).
His throne is unchanging (Hebrews 1:8).
His salvation is unchanging (Hebrews 7:24-25).
His gifts are unchanging (James 1:17).
He Himself is unchanging (Malachi 3:6).

And those being the facts,

"Continue in the grace of God"! (Acts 13:43)
"Continue in your faith"! (Colossians 1:23)
"Continue to live in him"! (Colossians 2:6)
"Continue in what you have learned"! (2 Timothy 3:14)
"Continue in him"! (1 John 2:28)

Friday, March 7, 2008

Grace and 'Grace community'

There is this dilution and exaggeration of the word ‘Grace’ today. Almost all religions believe in some sort of ‘Grace’. It’s not too hard to believe that there is something called a ‘general grace’ (or common grace).
Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, said, "Your Father in heaven gives the sunshine and the rain to the just and the unjust alike." Unbelieving farmers get rain for their crops just as much as believing farmers do.

Christian denominations have a great love for the word ‘Grace’ and there is nothing wrong in it as long we understand grace is not bigger than God (It’s giver). When we say it is by Grace through faith we are saved, we should be meaning that it is God who saves, not grace or faith. It has become a fashion among Christians to insert ‘grace’ in almost all conversations, sermons etc.
May be it’s time to take a step back and wonder if we made grace bigger than its giver. It shouldn’t be the ‘grace theology’ what drives us, but it has to be the love of Jesus, the originator of grace.

Indoctrinated philosophy can have a very strong, but negative impact. As an example I would take ‘communism’. I am little familiar with that ‘ism’ and I personally know that there are people willing to even die for that philosophy. The question is, are they motivated by love? Not at all. They are not even motivated by the founder of communism. But they have been indoctrinated and brain washed to believe that is the way of life and the more people they get to believe it, the more successful (and secured) they are as a group (or sect). Their security is in their community.

When grace becomes a ‘theology’ or a ‘philosophy’, I wonder if it has an effect like communism, ultimately producing some ‘grace Pharisees’. Such proponents would try to inject that philosophy to others to believe in grace and everything about grace and use that word very often, adding a few more people to their community.

Believing in grace is not what saves us or sustains us, but both are done by believing in Jesus and as He lives His life through believers.

I love the word ‘Grace’. It is one of the most important and most beautiful word in the English vocabulary (in the biblical perspective). But, I just don’t want to lose its true meaning by its over-use (if you know what I mean).

I think we shouldn’t even use the term ‘grace’ if we are not motivated by love (love of Jesus). When we use grace to show the badness of law (legalism), are we operating by the love of Christ or the love for the ‘grace community’?
Communists oppose when they are challenged for their beliefs because of their ‘spirit of community’. Catholics oppose when they are challenged for their beliefs because of their ‘spirit of community’. The concept of community itself is built around the idea that everybody need encouragement, mutual edification and some kind of security in it. But when the ‘spirit of community’ (or the love of community) replaces the ‘love of Christ’, could it have a lot of negatives?

I am all for community. But my prayer is, I don’t want community as the source of my security (even if it’s called ‘grace community’). My security has to be in the perfect love of God which drives away any fear (even the fear of not having any community). It is easy to say but hard to live. As I am writing this, apart from the small 'blog community', I have no other community that I am genuinely part of. Sometimes I worry about it. What if something happens to me or my wife or my kids? Where do we look for that human support? I prayed (still praying) hard to bring a handful of people in our way to have fellowship, sharing and encouragement. Why I am praying such a prayer? Yes, it is because of my longing to have fellowship. But deeper than that, what is the root cause of that prayer? It is some kind of fear! It is some kind of inability to 'rest' in the all sufficiency of Christ! It is that fleshly unwillingness to trust Him and Him alone. (That is my confession).

This is what I am thinking today: May be (just may be) God is not answering (or answering?) my prayer for the need of a 'immediate' solution to this, is to take that traits of people-provided security away from my life and to open my eyes to see the important (but sometimes painful) truth that all I need is Him.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


After reading some of the discussions around ‘The Shack’ and ‘Divine Nobodies’ over in Joel’s blog, it appears to me that the issue brought up by many is the issue of Universalism.
Though I am not an expert on Universalism, I can kind of figure out it as a belief that everybody is saved (some how). It wouldn’t take a whole lot of time to figure out from Bible that the idea of universal salvation is simply not true.

I am not going to do a detailed bible study on this other than quoting couple of key verses.

Argument 1:

Does God love all? Absolutely!
Didn’t Christ die for all? Absolutely!
Isn’t it the death of Christ what provides forgiveness? Yes!
So, if Christ died for all and He loves all, didn’t He provide forgiveness for all? Yes!
So, aren’t we all saved? NO!


Because salvation is not getting our sins forgiven.

So, what is salvation?

For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! -Romans 5:10

We are saved through His life, not through His death. But the death (shedding of blood) was needed for providing forgiveness; which is a prerequisite for salvation. Unless we are cleansed of all the sins, He is not going to impart His life to us. Jesus died to take away our sins and rose from dead on the third day to give us salvation (life); and that happens when we put our faith in Him and in what He did for us. (John 1:12)

Argument 2:

Aren’t all people created in the image of God? No!


Because Bible says so.

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
“you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature”

According to the Bible, we are born into this world spiritually dead. As a dead person, what we need is life. In the entire history of humankind, there is only one person who claimed that He can give us life, that is Jesus (John 10:10). When we receive His life (by putting faith) , we are re-created (born again) by God to be indwelled by Him, there by restoring our true humanity (which Adam originally had before his fall).

The books:

I have greatly enjoyed both the books in discussion (I am half way through Divine Nobodies as of now). Do I agree with everything in those books? Probably not. But I think it is okay because those books are not meant to be doctrinal books anyways. The only reason I didn't include some of my negative comments when I did a review on 'The Shack', that I didn't want to discourage anyone from picking that book. Both books have more positives than negatives. I would very well agree with Wayne about any book: "I never view a book as all good or all bad. It’s like eating chicken. Enjoy what you think is the meat and toss what you think are the bones."

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Take up this Challenge

Well, don’t get me wrong by reading the title. I am not going to give a challenge for you to take up; instead I like to write about the problem in ‘taking up the challenges’.
Once in a while I listen to a preacher (I don’t want to mention his name, just understand that this is a charismatic preacher of a mega church in Texas) when I come across him in a local channel on Sunday mornings. Though there is not an ounce of grace, I like to enjoy the fun in his preaching as he gives ‘spiritual capsules’ to his people. One day his challenge was ‘always put a smile on your face’. It sounded like a good idea and I thought since there is no money involved and if it can make the people around me happy, why don’t I try that? Next day I went to my office with this unusual smile on my face (imagine the smile of Mr. Bean!). Well, unfortunately I could keep that smile only till noon, and then I gave up. I failed! It wasn't just the artificial smile faded away but I also suffered some 'side effects' as well by feeling miserable that I failed. It made my face more uglier. I couldn’t be successful in a simple ‘challenge’ like putting a smile on my face! (BTW, I admire the people who naturally have a smile on their face but I just don't have it, so I tried).

Here is something I have learned from my own life: Every time I put a ‘conscious effort’ to do something or not to do something, I fail miserably! I have proved this over and over a thousand times but still I am tempted to do such things. Isn’t that interesting? If I can’t tame my ‘flesh’ to do such a simple thing, how am I going to tame it to be a ‘happy, problem-free, devotional Christian’?

I have heard someone saying this:

I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.

Huh? Who is this ‘backslidden, sinful, miserable Christian’? Looks like he is in danger and in need of some Christian counseling or probably join an accountability group to straighten up his acts.

But regardless of all the advice of 'well trained demons.. sorry.. deacons', he went on saying this:

When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?

Shhhhhhhhhh........ It is one thing that you have problem, but at least don't say it in public! Don't you know that you are a 'Christian'?

Is he a hopeless case? I would have thought so, if he didn’t say this:

Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

[P.S: If someone wants to take up this challenge to put a smile on you face always, please go ahead and try it. I give you all the 'authority' to use the comments section of this blog to record the individual results.]

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Rethinking 'Ministry'

In this day and age of so many ‘ministries’ in different sizes, shapes and styles such as small, big, mega, over-sized, contemporary, traditional etc, It would be fair enough to start a discussion of 'ministry' by looking at what Jesus Himself said about it while He was on the earth.

Disciples asked, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”
Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:28-29)


No way! How can that be true? It is so simple to be true! We don't believe that. We believe that we have a "calling" to 'do', 'go', 'preach' and make disciples. We know about the 'great commission'. What if ‘just believing’ leads to passivity? Don't we know that the 'harvest is plenty but workers are few'? We believe that we have to ‘initiate’ things and start everything with 'prayer' and we ask god to 'help' us to do it. God, this is ‘your’ ministry, bless this!

Jesus said, "Apart from me you can do nothing".


No.... it can't be true. My seminary can't be that wrong! My professor can't be wrong that he taught me to develop my 'leadership skills". Among many of my skills rated, my "leadership skill" came to 10 out 10. I am capable of ‘controlling’ any big congregations. I am really worth doing something. I know Greek. I know Hebrews. I am a scholar. I was taught that we can 'achieve' many things by implementing a "five fold" ministry plan with a ‘5 year vision’ and a ‘mission statement’. I have marketing skills, if not I will hire highly educated marketing executives. I will emphasize the many programs what we have such as childcare, counseling, prayer club, indoor gym, free coffee etc. If I still can’t attract people I will advertise my ministry in ‘Christianity Today’. At any cost I will build, build and build. I will spend sleepless nights thinking how to raise money. I will work 12-16 hours a day and I don’t care if I can’t spend time with my family because I am in an important work called ‘God work’. I am trained to be a ‘Christian professional’. I have been instructed to use the verse from Malachi to put people under the pressure of guilt to bring money to the offering plates. I can do a lot of things ‘apart from Him’ and I am pretty sure that verse doesn’t mean that way in Greek.

Jesus said, "The kingdom of God is within you".


That is a foreign idea. I thought kingdom of God is a ‘field’ where there are many big buildings, auditoriums and usually a big tall building with a cross on top of it. People working diligently to build it and God shows up their on Sunday mornings sometimes even on Wednesdays. The ‘success’ of such kingdom is determined by the headcount of people and the 'quality' of the congregates.

Jesus said, "I will build my church".


No, we don't believe that. He will build His church? Then, what am I here for? I know He said that while He was on the earth; now that He is not here so I have to do the ‘building’. I need a handful of highly educated outstanding professional ministers who can help me doing this. I will start collecting their resumes, offering ‘industry standard’ salaries, medical benefits, yearly performance reviews and promotions.
But I will still ‘own’ the ministry so that my son can 'inherit' all the ‘assets’ in the future when he is old enough and ready.

My thoughts:

I think the word "believe" is so commonly used by so many people to mean so many things, that now we don't even believe in "believing". We have come to a point that we don't like the simplicity of Jesus's statement, 'the work of the ministry is believing in me'.

Why are we so boastful in the fact that we have the so called so many skills? Jesus said, "for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” Are we ready to put down our education, degrees etc and may be learn something about little children? Children believe in the word "believe". One of the way my daughter used to play with me when she was about 3 years old is that she would jump into my hands from the kitchen counter-top. She enjoyed it so much that she would just keep giggling all the time. Sometimes she would jump even before I get ready to hold her. She had a lot of fun. Though sometimes my hands hurt, I enjoyed it because of the trust she put in me. She trusted the strength of my hands. She didn't have so many "What if" questions such as, "what if I hit the floor?", "what if I slips out my Dad's hands?", "what if my Dad is not ready?". She lived the 'present moment'; she didn't complicate it and her motivation was trust. Can we learn the basic principle of trusting by looking at the little kids?

Many people get into Christian ministry when they are faced with a question posed by many preachers, "What if I will stand in front of God with empty hands"? What if I don't have any rewards?
I personally believe the greatest reward we could ever get is the righteousness of Christ which we already have. I wouldn't imagine someone standing in front of Jesus and brag about the things they did for Him. The life we live is His life. The love we have in our heart is His love. The fruits we bear is produced by Him. So what is there to boast about?

Is it time to put our religious masks down and live a real life in the essence of the New Covenant message (walking by faith)? Are we ready to join Apostle Paul, 'It is no longer I..."?

I don't feel like pledging money to the building fund or the church planting. My heart is somewhere else. I am no more moved by the big crowds, mega churches or even the wide spreading of Christianity. I am interested only in a genuine, real, brutally honest, authentic, practical life of faith people live.

What if the way the gospel to be proclaimed is not by planting churches or by starting ministries?

What if we are not in need of problem solving Christian professionals but people who trust God and simply walk by faith?

What if walking by faith is breaking the norm of all the existing concepts of Christian ministry?

What if the "step of faith" is not about planting a church? But it is simply leaping into the hands of Father where I am going to be safely held and if necessary used by Him? What if I don't have to be a professional in the church industry to do the 'works of God'? How about resting in the fact that , if God wants to accomplish anything through me, he would initiate it in due time and all I need to do is respond. What if the concept of ministry is nothing but living in an attitude that the members of my body is available to God for His purposes. How about taking all the presumptions away and jump into the 'risk' of all sufficiency of Christ?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

A personal note...

I would like to warn those who are looking for a boost for their faith or encouragement in their Christian walk. This more likely is not going to do it for you. Here are few things about me...

1. I have struggle with compulsive eating and over eating once in a while.

2. I am very emotional in nature. I like to watch emotionally touching movies just by myself so that my wife wouldn't see me wiping my tears.

3. I am very self conscious. I get too conscious when I eat with my co-workers, so I go to my car to eat my lunch.

4. I have stolen money from my Dad's drawer to buy goodies while I was in school.

5. I have sneaked out of my home in the name of attending youth bible study and prayer meeting during my teenage days just to enjoy some freedom outside.

6. I literally hate legalists and self righteous and often angry at them.

7. I like to see the church which I left splitting, losing its members and destroying.

8. I have a very bad perfectionist spirit that I want everything in order all the time at home.

9. I am very selfish that I push my kids to sleep sooner so that I can read books.

10. I let my wife go shopping by her own so that I can just stay back home and relax.

11. I have often lied to my boss with excuses when I couldn't meet certain deadlines.

12. I act holy and righteous in front of my unsaved friends and relatives.

13. I haven't read the entire Bible from beginning to end, even once.

14. I have a fear of seeing blood. Once I passed out when a nurse drew blood from my hand for regular physicals.

15. I have hospital phobia. Once I felt dizzy and nauseated seeing the many tubes connected to my grand mother when I visited her in ICU.

16. I have a fear of heights. I hate any rides such as roller coaster, ferry wheel etc

17. I get panicked when certain things happen in life. My wife has told me that I am very weak emotionally that I couldn't handle any crisis in life.

18. For the last 8 years I have been trying to lose 10 pounds of my weight and so far no success not matter how much I work out or diet.

19. I always twist any conversations my wife starts with me into criticizing religion and venting out my frustrations.

20. Some of the ugliest thoughts I ever had were during the time of Bible study.

21. I feel depressed on Sunday evenings.

I could still go on. Evidently, I am a selfish, arrogant, not-too-good-to-be-around, weak, over weight, some times depressed person. The reason I write this is because I have a desire in my heart to put down any religious mask I often wear. I know deep in my heart that Jesus loves me for who I am and I think that is the only positive, ever lasting, unchangeable thing in my life.