A tribute to Jeremy Fernand

Max and Gillian went through a parent’s worst nightmare, the death of their child Jeremy Fernand.

Jeremy was only 19 years when he fell off a running train on the 26th of November 2017. He succumbed to his injuries at Cooper hospital in Mumbai.

It was a shock to his parents and to all of us who knew him and the family. The pain was agonizing, the questions unending.

It was like being thrown into the deepest and darkest pit possible. Gillian cried out to God, praying that if it is His will let Jeremy be raised from the dead. We all wept. Friends and family poured into their home that dark night to comfort them, shocked themselves. The people from their local church enveloped them with love and comfort.

But something unexpected started taking place almost within minutes of Gillian receiving the news at home. She started saying, “Lord if it is your will, I accept it. ” She started praising God at that most difficult moment.

Even Max who was at the Hospital, once he overcame the initial shock, was able to reach out and comfort his shocked friends who were gathered there.

What we witnessed was the triumph of the Living HOPE Jesus Christ, over death, the fleshing out of the victory Jesus won for you and me on the cross, defeating sin and death for ever, once and for all, for we know that after Jesus died, he did not remain in the grace for long but came back to life on the third day, a fact of history that his enemies tried their best to deny.

Max and Gillian have experienced this by believing in the finished work of Jesus on the cross. They were able to live it out.

At the darkest moment of their lives, this light within them shone through.

This was real faith, this was Christianity at its most powerful moment.. They were able to sing and praise God because they made a choice in their hearts to believe in the promises of God. They knew for sure that Jeremy now was, not in a better place, but in the best place possible, as Gillian kept saying in the days following.

Death was defeated that day and we were witness to it. This was when we started to understand what was meant by the eternal verse in 1 Corinthians 15:55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

The way Max, Gillian and even Gabrielle, his 11 year old sister, conducted themselves during the days following the death of Jeremy was I think the greatest testimony to the resurrection power of Christ. Many people have been touched including atheists witnessing this. One said, if this is what faith is, I want to experience this. At the funeral where over a thousand gathered, everyone was comforted by how the parents behaved. It was almost as if the parents were drawing from an unending well, springs of living water and hope and joy just bubbled out of them.

Jeremy’s blogs have inspired many.

Jeremy’s friends who worked with him at 40 Parables, a company in Bangalore, gave powerful testimony to his life and how he was so different in many ways, his maturity and his wisdom. He used to think out of the box. [He was home schooled by his parents as they believed that was the best way to impart their faith and life to him]

They said that any problem, any curved ball thrown at him he could handle and turn into another opportunity for their company.

Here we saw that the greatest curved ball Satan could throw at a parent became another opportunity for them to display the glory of the risen Jesus Christ to the world.

All praise to our God who lives and loves us with passion. He knows you personally and his greatest desire is to bless you. Would you like to deepen your relationship with this God?

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A tribute to Jeremy and his family

Max and Gillian went through a parents worst nightmare, the death of their child Jeremy Fernand.

Jeremy was only 19 years when he fell off a running train on the 26th of November 2017. He succumbed to his injuries at Cooper hospital in Mumbai.

It was a shock to his parents and to all of us who knew him and the family. The pain was agonizing, the questions unending.

It was like being thrown into the deepest and darkest pit possible. Gillian cried out to God, praying that if it is His will let Jeremy be raised from the dead. We all wept. Friends and family poured into their home that dark night to comfort them, shocked themselves. The people from their local church enveloped them with love and comfort.

But something unexpected started taking place almost within minutes of Gillian receiving the news at home. She started saying, “Lord if it is your will, I accept it. ” She started praising God at that most difficult moment.

Even Max who was at the Hospital, once he overcame the initial shock, was able to reach out and comfort his shocked friends who were gathered there.

What we witnessed was the triumph of the Living HOPE Jesus Christ, over death, the fleshing out of the victory Jesus won for you and me on the cross, defeating sin and death for ever, once and for all .

Max and Gillian have experienced this by believing in the finished work of Jesus on the cross. They were able to live it out.

At the darkest moment of their lives, this light within them shone through.

This was real faith, this was Christianity at its most powerful moment.. They were able to sing and praise God because they made a choice in their hearts to believe in the promises of God. They knew for sure that Jeremy now was, not in a better place, but in the best place possible, as Gillian kept saying in the days following.

Death was defeated that day and we were witness to it. This was when we started to understand what was meant by the eternal verse in 1 Corinthians 15:55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

The way Max, Gillian and even Gabrielle, his 11 year old sister, conducted themselves during the days following the death of Jeremy was I think the greatest testimony to the resurrection power of Christ. Many people have been touched including atheists witnessing this. One said, if this is what faith is, I want to experience this. At the funeral where over a thousand gathered, everyone was comforted by how the parents behaved. It was almost as if the parents were drawing from an unending well, springs of living water and hope and joy just bubbled out of them.

Jeremy’s friends who worked with him at 40 Parables, a company in Bangalore gave powerful testimony to his life and how he was so different in many ways, his maturity and his wisdom. He used to think out of the box. [He was home schooled by his parents as they believed that was the best way to impart their faith and life to him]

They said that any problem, any curved ball thrown at him he could handle.

Here we saw that the greatest curved ball Satan could throw at a parent became another opportunity to display the glory of the risen Jesus Christ to the world.

All praise to our God who lives and loves us with passion. God bless you.

Mughals, British and India

The Moghul vs British debate in social media reminded me of the words of Jesus: A tree is known by its fruits.

What did the most ardent Mughal followers of Islam do in India?

As Sadguru pointed out, “Building harems after making kafir women their slaves, destroying Indian traditions, destroying temples & building mosques over them, imposing Jizya tax on the people whom they hated the most & considered them kafir, carrying out mass scale conversions at the point of sword, killing brutally legendary Indians like Guru Teg Bahadur, Sambhaji, etc. etc. just bcoz they refused to accept their religion. These are only few examples of their brutalities. They were extremely intolerant & barbaric. Even Osama Bin Laden was nothing more than a child in front of them.”

That may be an extreme view no doubt but there is a lot of truth in the statement.

What about the British?

As Sadguru said, “they were interested in doing scientific researches & technological innovations & engineering.”

While most of the British were Christians only by name, [most were primarily businessmen and soldiers and some were openly against any faith based activities], there were a few, notably the Evangelicals, who could be called genuine followers or disciples of Christ. [A true disciple of Christ will never use force or inducements to convert anyone, because he believes that God who created us, gave us free will to choose, and He respects it. A genuine change of heart from within is what God desires for all of us.]

What did they do? They sincerely did what they believed was needed for the welfare of Indians.

They built schools, hospitals, orphanages, took care of widows and the out-castes of Indian society out of unconditional love, the same love that motivated Jesus to give His life for us. In general there was a lot of work in the field of public health done by the British.

William Carey, a missionary in Serampore, was instrumental in getting the practice of Sati banned after decades of efforts. The reformation movement in Hinduism also was sparked by those who came in touch with him in Bengal.

So as you can see, the Mughals and the British were very different in a few vital areas.

There is a common misconception about what are called the Abrahamic faiths. Christians and Jews are part of the Abrahamic covenant and worship Yahweh.

On the other hand, Islam is not an Abrahamic faith, and the God they worship, Allah, is in no way connected with the God of the Bible no matter how ardently the Muslims may claim it.

The fruits, I believe, are self-evident.

God bless.

Explorers kids Dance @ Christmas 2016

In celebration of the wonderful birth of Jesus Christ, King of Kings who became a human being and entered our world 2000 years ago, these children performed a beautiful dance.

Performed by children who are part of the Explorers club of Sunday school of Living Hope Church, it was choreographed by Divya and Racheal.

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Enjoy the wonderful performance!

 

When the solution is worse than the problem!

If someone were to suggest to you that the solution to your headache would be to shoot your head off, how would that sound? I know it can sound absurd, but to me this whole debate about the solution being offered for the woman who is pregnant but does not wish to become a mother, the solution that the Medical fraternity is only too eager to offer in India especially, of aborting the life she is carrying, doesn’t sound too different.

What wrong did that unborn child do to be prematurely killed when it is in the most dependent state of its life?3028478570_3efd46af8f

Justice K. Kannan who  is a former judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court  wrote an interesting article in the Hindu recently questioning the way abortion is fast being offered as a solution to myraid cases of pregnancy: The fundamental question is: what makes killing a human being wrong? We may then consider whether these characteristics, whatever they might be, apply to the earliest stages of human life in the womb. Explanations that have roots in religion include the traditional Christian doctrines such as that all humans are made in the image of God or that all humans have an immortal soul.

Apart from the point of view of health and avoidance of disability, with modern notions of individual liberty, many a pregnant woman believes that apart from her, no one else will have a right to decide about what she wishes to do with the foetus.

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It is also suggested that an alternative for parents faced with the decision to terminate their pregnancy is a perinatal hospice. A perinatal hospice recognizes the value of bringing these infants to term by treating them as beings conceived with a tangible future. This alternative is preferred because of post-termination psychological distress and because biblical teachings emphasise the dignity and worth of each foetus.

In response to this, a few well educated people from India including female Medical Doctors wrote about choice: [http://m.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/abortion-womens-rights-and-human-rights/article8969843.ece]

According to international human rights law, a person is vested with human rights only at birth; an unborn foetus is not an entity with human rights. The ethical issues here are not just of the rights of the foetus. The foetus is not an independent entity and depends completely on the welfare of the woman. Without her well-being, one cannot talk about the well-being of the foetus. We also need to consider the fact that the woman herself is a living human being in the here and now — the pregnancy takes place within her body and has profound effects on her health, mental well-being and life. Thus, how she wants to deal with this pregnancy must be a decision she and she alone can make.”

What even a school child understands is that there is life inside the bulging tummy of the pregnant woman.

The PCPTND act which forbids disclosure of the sex of the fetus in India, designed to thwart the warped sex ration in the country due to selective female foeticide over the ages, recognizes that there is life in the womb! Then what is the confusion?

I am reminded of a phrase: We have educated ourselves into imbecility. No wonder educated people can write such responses to the article written by Justice Kannan.

Perhaps this last image sums up my message:

choice

I would also like to add, the men who caused the pregnancy must learn to take responsibility for taking care of the outcome equally if not more.

I hope you would say Amen. Even if you do not, remember, the King who created you, and loves you, decides what is right and what is wrong, not me and not you. His Kingdom is advancing swiftly.

On which side would you be, my friend?

 

Yoga…the great if only….

If only Yoga lived up to even 1% of its claimed benefits, what a different nation India would have been….many tourists to India have often wondered. And for good reason, as you will discover.

But for now, here is something that will surely pique your curiosity!

United Nations General Assembly has declared 21st of June as an International Yoga Day on 11th of December in 2014.

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The declaration was done after the call by the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi to the United Nations General Assembly on 27th of September in 2014 during his address to the UN General Assembly. He called the United Nations General Assembly for adopting 21st of June as an International Yoga Day to get all the benefits of yoga for the people all around the world. [http://www.indiacelebrating.com/events/international-day-of-yoga/]

Narendra Modi has said during his address to the UN General Assembly that “Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.

A look at India would make us wonder, how on earth does he have the guts to make such tall claims?

Restraint and fulfillment? Harmony between man and nature? Yoga has been practised for centuries in India. Where rivers are treated as dumping grounds for all sorts of garbage, sewage and even dead bodies. Where forests are being destroyed, mangroves reclaimed, the air and water polluted.

So what is this Yoga?

Derived from the Sanskrit word yuj, Yoga means union of the individual consciousness or soul with the Universal Consciousness or Spirit.

There are many more people making tall claims for Yoga.

A renowned Hindu Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, from India, says “Yoga is not just a physical exercise or asanas. Yoga is a complete science. It unites the body, mind, spirit and the universe. Yoga brings that much needed peace in every individual. It also makes a big difference in one’s behavior, thought pattern and attitude. I would say yoga is almost indispensible. If you want to be sane, sensitive, sensible, strong and intuitive you have to follow yoga.”

Now think of the state of the majority of the people in the world. Does he mean to say that they are not sane, sensitive, sensible, strong or intuitive?

Or let us take the other side of this.

What has Yoga done for India?

How many would look at India, the place where Yoga was founded, and say Indians have that much needed peace, and exemplary behaviour, thought patterns and attitudes?

India is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, and also considered backward in hygiene, health, equal rights to minorities, women and children, and even in sports. A mere look at the Olympic Medal tally of India will reveal what this so called Yoga has done to help Indians achieve superior physical strength, stamina or health.

So in terms of peace of mind, values, ethics, or in the more measurable physical health, yoga has not been of any use practically to the countless millions of Indians.

Then why is it being propagated?

That is a good question, that the Prime Minister and the present right wing Indian government should be answering.

I believe there are deeper spiritual reasons why Yoga is being propagated.

Yoga promotes the pantheistic world view that everything and everyone is god, and the aim of Yoga is union with this so-called force or god. Is this logically, scientifically and factually true? Ofcourse not! The Creator, whom we would call God, is not a force without any personality or feelings! He is a person, and that is why He made us humans in His image, and He shows us His love. A force or the god consciousness to which Yoga proponents would have you unite, it cannot and never will love you!

The Judaeo-Christian world view clearly states that God is the creator and everybody and everything else is created by Him and distinct from God. The very first temptation faced by humans [Genesis 2-3] was to be like God himself, the very same thing offered by Yoga. Of Course, God was displeased by this heresy and had to punish Adam and Eve, but He [out of His immense love for us] also made a way for us humans to be restored back to a relationship with Him, through repentance and faith in the finished work and atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, God who became a man to take on Himself the punishment due to us for our sins.

Yoga and its spiritual philosophy tries to deny that we humans are sinners, separated form the God who created us. This is nothing but the lie that satan used in the garden with our very first parents.

Another area of concern in yoga is the concept of emptying the mind, which is contradictory to what Christianity teaches. As Laurette explained, “We are transformed by the renewing of our minds, not the emptying.” Emptying the mind leaves it open to other spirits to take control of the person’s mind, and that is what often happens.

So please be wise before accepting anything. There can be dangers far worse that you could have imagined.

For more reading, please visit these sites:

http://www.todayschristianwoman.com/articles/2005/march/truth-about-yoga.html

http://www.praisemoves.com/ offers excellent and spiritually safe exercises without exposing you to mind emptying spiritual dangers.

http://caryl.tv/

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This hyper dimensional being who stepped into our world

People have varied languages, beliefs and physical features. So much diversity even in the same country or even state. Yet there is one belief that seems to be common to people all over the world. Guess what it is? Yes, a belief in the existence of a being outside their dimension, who has supernatural powers, whom I refer to as God.

I went to http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/supernatural to see the full Definition of SUPERNATURAL: of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe; especially:  of or relating to God or a god, demigod, spirit, or devil.

I also went through the traditions and beliefs of most cultures and religions of the world. Most of their ideas of God are something which the human mind can easily comprehend.

But I found something in the scriptures given to a people located in the very centre of the world, which was totally unbelievable. They talk about this hyper dimensional being, who is not confined to or made in the likeness of something we humans can comprehend with our finite minds.

This is what I read:

“In the beginning was the one who is called the Word. The Word was with God and was truly God. From the very beginning the Word was with God. And with this Word, God created all things. Nothing was made without the Word. Everything that was created received its life from him, and his life gave light to everyone. The light keeps shining in the dark, and darkness has never put it out.

God sent a man named John, who came to tell about the light and to lead all people to have faith. John wasn’t that light. He came only to tell about the light. The true light that shines on everyone was coming into the world. The Word was in the world, but no one knew him [Jesus Christ], though God had made the world with his Word. He came into his own world, but his own nation did not welcome him.

Yet some people accepted him and put their faith in him. So he gave them the right to be the children of God. They were not God’s children by nature or because of any human desires. God himself was the one who made them his children. The Word became a human being and lived here with us. We saw his true glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father. From him all the kindness and all the truth of God have come down to us. “ (John 1:1-14 CEV)

There are some powerful words which come from the scriptures of a people who lived at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe, in the region called Israel. It is from a book called the Bible, and come from the second part of this book, called the New Testament, written 2000 years ago, todays date being 5th April 2015, celebrated as the ‘resurrection day’, when Jesus Christ rose from the grave after being crucified and buried three days prior.

Science is only now recognizing that dimensions beyond the three can exist. Space and time are mysteries that we humans cannot fully comprehend. That is why the triune God, the one who made all of us and the universe, is a being that human minds cannot comprehend. If you have a concept of God which you can logically understand, then it is very much possible that this god is a product of human imagination. The Christian concept of Trinity, three Gods in one, each unique and yet at the same time one God, is unparalleled in the beliefs of people anywhere in the world.

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Yes, this Hyperdimensional Jesus. One who was said to still the wind and waves on command, to walk upon the water, to pass through walls and visibly ascend, is this not a hyper dimensional Master of Matter? One who is said to have reversed the power of entropic force, releasing Death’s static grip and descending to Abraham’s Bosom to release the bound.

No one has ever seen God. The only Son Jesus, who is truly God and is closest to the Father, has shown us what God is like. (John 1:18 CEV) [By Son, he is not referring to a biological relationship, but a hyperdimensional spiritual relationship that we humans cannot fully understand]

Dear reader, there is a hyperdimensional being out there, who stepped into our world at a definite point in time and space. God entered our world as Jesus Christ, the sinless man, he lived and gave up His life on the cross, to pay the price for your sins and mine.

This is love, my friend. Love always gives.

Love is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, proud, or rude. Love isn’t selfish or quick tempered. It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs that others do. Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil. Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting. Love never fails! Everyone who prophesies will stop, and unknown languages will no longer be spoken. All that we know will be forgotten.

(1 Corinthians 13:4-8 CEV)

We know deep in our hearts that there is a problem with our hearts. We have this tendency to sin. Why deny it with some high sounding philosophy? Covering up the real root cause of our problem has led to untold misery in the lives of billions of people.

Admit that you are who you really are, and that your heart needs to change. God loves you and will continue to love you, but you know what? He hates lies, dishonesty and pride.

He has given you a time like this to come before Him, and accept that He has [by stepping into this world as Jesus Christ and laying down His life on the cross] paid the full price for your sins, mistakes, and is willing to accept you if only you have faith in what He has done, giving up His life as the full sacrifice for your sins. He is not asking for any sacrifice or pilgrimage or donation!

Dear reader, there is not a second to lose, and only eternity to gain, if you make that choice willingly and with your whole heart. Let the God of love be with you as you take this step.

I am praying for you.