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Why is it a GOOD News?

R. Stanley A messenger will be void of enthusiasm the Gospel. The Gospel is a Good News, if he is not excited about the message he because it is carries. The very word Gospel excited 1. A Message of Forgiveness Apostle Paul to his innermost: He calls it the gospel of the glory of Christ! (2 Cor Father, forgive them, for they do not 4:4). He says its a message that shines! know what they do (Lk 23:34). He writes to the Christians in Rome, I The Gospel is the message of Gods am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ! forgiveness. Thats what Jesus commis(Rom 1:16). In other words he was proud sioned His disciples to preach. Repentance of the message of the Gospel. and remission of sins should be preached The word Gospel comes from the in His name to all nations (Lk 24:47). Greek word Evangelion which means Gods forgiveness is superlative. God Good News. The root word is Godspell which is an Anglo Saxon word meaning primarily forgives the sinner, and his the Story of God. Thats the Glad Tidings! sins are automatically taken care of. We are not sinners because we sin. We are All that glitters is not gold. All that is sinners, so we sin! God primarily deals preached from Christian pulpits is not the with the root and the cause, not with the Gospel. There is so much of adulteration effect. Before the younger son completed and dilution in most modern preaching in his sin confession the father forgave him the theologians attempt to contextualize and accepted him! We are totally forgiven the Gospel. While preparing to preach to and accepted in the Beloved! (Eph 1:6). the students of Cambridge University, God impressed on Billy Graham to preach the No Christian is ever called in the Bible same message he preached a few weeks a forgiven sinner. Calling ourselves so is prior to it to the tribespeople in Africa! He false humility. God calls us saints. We obeyed and hundreds of intellectuals were are not saints because we are saintly. We converted as they believed the simple are saints, so we should walk saintly. Even Gospel. the Corinthian believers were called saints! (1 Cor 1:2). Someone said, The world has many religions but only one Gospel! The reason When Christ was hanging on the Cross is that the Gospel has the Cross at its between two thieves, between Heaven and centre. How do we communicate the earth, between God and man, He paid the Gospel with power and effect in this penalty for all our sins. Sins of the past, materialistic, scientific, rebellious, secular, present and future. No more sacrifice. Our immoral, humanistic age? Here is Pauls sins are so remitted as if they were never answer: I preach Christ and Him committed. Total justification. crucified, not with the excellence of speech

or wisdom but in the power of God (2 Cor 2:1-5).

Jesus Christ is Gods Evangelist and what He spoke from the Cross of Calvary covers all the aspects of the Gospel. Each of His sayings from the Cross emphasises one particular aspect of the message of
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We were not even born when Christ died and how do we say He bore all our sins? Though in history He died 2000 years ago, in eternal reality He was slain for us before the foundation of the world. And we were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world as well (Rev 13:8; Eph 1:4).

If we sin today we have Christ advocating for us before the Father. But we are to walk in the light. That is, we must walk in all openness and transparency before God, acknowledging our sinfulness. The Blood of the Lamb will keep cleansing us. Like a perennial river running over the pebbles, we are under the cleansing stream of Immanuels blood (1 Jn 1:7-2:1). Our sins of omission are more in number than those of commission. Never a moment outside the Blood! Billy Graham said: In these days of guilt complexes, perhaps the most glorious word in the English language is forgiveness. Why, in all the languages it is so! There are more prisoners outside than inside the prison. Prisoners of guilt. The Gospel rings forgiveness and freedom! Truly its a Good News. 2. A Message of Assurance Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise (Lk 23:43). Jesus spoke these words of certainity and assurance to one of the thieves, to the one on the right or the left we dont know. The thief was there under punishment but in a moment he had his entry to Paradise assured. Assuredly! Will be! There are skeptics who say we cannot know for sure today that we are saved. And several folks are puzzled with the question, Can I be sure of my salvation? Yes, thousand times yes, because the Bible says so as Christ has provided for it. The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:47). Heres the definition of the Church: No unsaved member inside and no saved outside! If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son. He who believes in the Son of God HAS the witness in himself.... And this is the
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testimony: that God HAS GIVEN us eternal life...He who has the Son HAS life... These things I have written to you... that you may KNOW that you HAVE eternal life (1 Jn 5:9-13). Can words be clearer? One of the reasons why people dispute over the possibility of present assurance of salvation is that they fail to understand salvation in three tenses. Salvation past is deliverance from the penalty of sin, salvation present is deliverance from the power of sin, and salvation future is deliverance from the very presence of sin. Respectively they are called Justification, Sanctification and Glorification. The first one is a crisis experience, the next one is a process, and the last one is a crisis again, which will take place at a moment. We are already saved from the penalty of sin, and we are being saved, moment by moment, from the power of sin. But removal of the presence of sin is still in the future. Our assurance may be shaken up as we walk through trials, tribulations and temptations. During the sufferings of this present time, the Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God (Rom 8:16,18). Here on this earth we have a triple witnessthe witness of the Spirit, the Word and the Blood! (1 Jn 5:8). Fanny Crosby sang Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God, Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood. 3. A Message for the Family He said to His mother, Woman, behold your son! Then He said to the disciple, Behold your mother! (Jn 19:26,27). A sufferer will only seek sympathy. But here we find the suffering Saviour caring and providing for others. When Jesus spoke to His mother from the Cross, I believe, He was reflecting Gods greatest concern for each family.

Family is Gods basic unit in creation. Family is Gods eternal idea. The Church is called a family. In Heaven also we will be called a familywith the Father, the Bridegroom and the Helper! That God is interested in the salvation of the entire family when one of its members believes on Him is seen all through the Scriptures. God saved Noah with his household. God spared both Rahab and her family in judgment. At the doorstep of Zacchaeus house Jesus declared, Today salvation has come to this house. The Philippian jailor asked the question in singular. What must I do to be saved? The answer was in the plural. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved and your family. The Gospel is undoubtedly a Good News for families. This does not mean that individuals are not directly accountable to God. Prophesying about the New Covenant, Jeremiah said, In those days they shall say no more: The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the childrens teeth are set on edge. But everyone shall die for his own iniquity (Jer 31:29,30). Prophet Ezekiel echoes the same truth and continues, Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine; the soul which sins shall die (Ezek 18:1-4). All souls have equal privilege and responsibility. When an individual believes on Christ, he has all the promises of God to claim as a child of God for the blessing of his entire family. He must do all thats possible to bring the entire family to the Cross. The family is his first congregation. Then God will fulfil Acts 16:31 for him. Both the parents have equal responsibility in leading the children to Christ. In fact, the responsibility is more on fathers! My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother (Prov 1:8). Note that the father comes first! Gods great commendation about Abraham was, I have known him, in order that he may command his
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children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord (Gen 18:19). He was a good father at home and so God promoted him to be the father of all those who believe! 4. A Message of Fellowship My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? (Mt 27:46). This is the central cry from the Cross. Christ was forsaken for a moment that we might never be forsaken! The knowledge of sin came by the Law, and sin separated us from God. Isaiah cried, Your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you (Isa 59:2). On the Cross when all our sins came on Jesus, the Father, whose eyes are too pure to behold sin, hid His face from His Son. When the body of Christ was broken, the middle wall of division was broken down. We were once without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world (Eph 2:11,12). Now through the Blood we are brought near. We are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the family of God (v l9). The veil at the altar of the Temple was torn. The earth quaked and cracked. Some graves were opened. No more obstacles and hurdles. The Way into the Holiest is open and we have bold access to the Throne. All because of the Cross (Heb 10:19-22). We dont feel the presence of God alike at all times, but we dont need to depend on our changing and fluctuating feelings. The fact is Immanuel! God with us! John Wesley said, The greatest of all is that God is with us! What a fellowship!

The Epistle of John is a book of fellowhip. Apostle John begins it saying, Truly our fellowhip is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ (v 3). To know that we are not alone in this world but God is with us and Jesus is for us is the greatest of all blessings. Here in this earthly life God is with us, and there in eternity we will be with Him! Speaking of this fellowship, Martin Luther said, A dungeon with Christ is a throne and a throne without Christ a hell. Another testified, Communion with God is the beginning of Heaven. Praise God for the Cross which has thus given us days of Heaven on earth. What a Good News the message of the Cross is! 5. A Message of Satisfaction I thirst! (Jn 19:28). Again, Christ thirsted that we may never thirst again. He was wounded for us so He may become an open fountain (Zech 13:1). The Shepherd was struck but He didnt run away from the sheep. He leads them to still waters and satisfies them with goodness and mercy (Zech 13:7; Psa 23). Jesus not only gives us water but also plants a spring within us ( Jn 4:14). The greatest problem of people without Christ is that nothing satisfies them. They try money but it fails. Money is like sea water. The more one drinks it the thirstier he becomes. Then they try sex, pornography and all kinds of perversion. Nothing satisfies. They only become more miserable. Then they start worshipping their achievements. They say to the work of their hands, You are our gods (Hos 14:3). But before long they are left disillusioned. Their chasing of wind stops only at the Cross. The Cross is Gods plus sign. Man is satisfied there. The earthly pleasures and treasures become worthless before the Old Rugged Cross.
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So Ill cherish the old rugged Cross Till my trophies at last I lay down. I will cling to the old rugged Cross And exchange it someday for a crown. On the Cross Christ gave away everything so we may have everything in Him. Every spiritual blessing is ours today (Eph 1:3). And all our need is supplied (Phil 4:19). Even in the midst of trials and tears, deep beneath in our hearts there will be peace and satisfaction that passes all understanding. And a day will come when even our natural hunger for food will be removed. They shall neither hunger nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the lamb will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters (Rev 7:16,17). Oh, what blessing because the Lamb of God was slain! 6. A Message of Finished Work It is finished (Jn 19:30). All the demands of a holy and righteous God were perfectly satisfied when Christ offered His body without any blemish and shed His blood without any spot. His was the perfect offering. There is nothing we can add to it. Salvation comes to us as a free gift because of the finished work on the Cross. A gift cannot be earned, it must only be received. On Gods side salvation is all of grace, and on our side it is all of faith. We are not saved by works but for works. Boasting is totally out. (Eph 2:8-10). The Gospel is a Good News for those who have done their best but failed! The problem of the natural man with human reasoning is in understanding how the greatest of all gifts can be received by simple faith. In his pride and

prestige he wants to do something and merit it. But God declares done! The message of the Cross is simply profound and profoundly simple. Thats where the religionist stumbles. When certain teachers from Judea urged the early believers to be circumcised besides their faith in Christ, Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them (Acts 15:1,2). Yes, they violently reacted to adding anything to the Cross. In Galatia the believers wanted to add Law to Grace. Paul said this very attempt was their fall from grace! (Gal 5:4). He also said that Christ had to be formed in them again! (4:19). Law and grace cannot exist together. lshmael and Isaac cannot dwell together. To be on the safer side lets do that also! This sounds good but is opposed to the Cross wherefrom Christ cried, Its finished. Read Pauls epistles again and again to understand the meaning of salvation by grace. We are what we are by the grace of God. We shall be what we should be by the grace of God. John Newton rightly sang Twas grace that taught my heart to fear And grace my fears relieved; Twas grace that brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home. 7. A Message of Security Father, into Your hands I commend My Spirit (Lk 23:46). We dont need to fear about tomorrow. Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is the One who was, who is and who is to come. He is the Alpha and Omega. Jesus said, I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to
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snatch them out of My Fathers hand (Jn 10:28,29). In the hand of Jesus! And in the hand of the Father! What a safety! So Paul declared, I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day (2 Tim 1:12). Jude confirmed, He is able to keep us from stumbling and present us faultless before the presence of His glory (Jude 24). Then there comes the question: Once saved, always safe? Can a person lose his salvation? On one side we have the Calvinists and on the other the Armenians. The first group emphasises what God does and the second what man should do. Put both together and you get the balanced Biblical truth. God is able and willing to keep. The devil cannot snatch me from God. I must be willing to hold on to His hand. Without me God will not! Without God I cannot! Good News indeed! There have been those who opposed and criticized the Gospel all over the world in all the centuries. But, as John Calvin said, The Gospel is an anvil that has broken many a hammer and will break many hammers yet! Dear Christian, go and spell the Gospel everywhere without fear or favour. It is a Good News for this bad world. It is the message for this mess age!

Good News _


The contents of the above article presented as a 30-minute TV Talk, English-Tamil, addressing non-Christians, is available on a DVD titled Good News. Price Rs. 50/-; Forwarding Rs.15/- Order for your nonChristian friends.
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F eed Odisha Feed

An update by B.N. Samal, Bargarh

he long awaited Surgery Camp was drawing closer, making everyone run on their toes. The Feed Odisha staff penetrated villages announcing the free Surgery Camp. Around 100 very poor patients with surgical problems were selected. Most of them were daily wage labourers who had sought medical help but returned home disappointed when they were demanded Rs. 15,000 to 25,000 for hernia, hydrocoele, contracture or for hysterectomy. They had pulled on with life with their disease, working in the fields or driving their cycle rickshaws. Women were desperate. The news of the Surgery Camp was as if the gates of prison opened to let them out. A 15 member team of doctors, anaesthetists, nurses and other paramedics travelled by train from Nagercoil to Bargarh (about 1000 kms). All were from Medivision. Their dedication and love for the poor were seen in the way they gently dealt with each poor with great concern. Mr. Pushparaj organised everything. As they arrived in Diptipur CNI Hospital, patients were streaming in from all over Bargarh District. 82 patients were operated on. There was not a single complication. Each patient left the hospital with a big smile on the face and a grateful heart. The labour of the local team was commendable. God supplied all the needs. All bills were paid. We thank the Diptipur CNI Mission Hospital staff for their cooperation. We did not have to beg you for money. When we just wrote about the camp in the Newsletter, you so willingly opened your purses and pressed us to accept your contributions as if you were obliged to us. God will receive you with a smile and hug as you enter heaven because you relieved the suffering of His brothers and sisters (Mt 25:40). Next time we should have an Eye Camp. There are so many
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blind blind due to cataract! Can you believe that in this 21st century people lead a dark life due to cataract? Lets give them light. Start praying. We are sure you are aware of the HAPPY HOME where we are accomodating 20 very poor boys and sending them to school. The owner of the plot wants to sell it for 10 lakhs and we feel we should go ahead with the purchase. Actually it is worth more but the owner being a missionary himself and a well-wisher of BYM is offering the land to us for a lesser price. Please pray as we go ahead with the deal. All the other ministries under the project are going on in full speed. You will be happy to know that the Newsletter is now being published in Hindi, albeit once in three or four months. The response is very encouraging. This month we will be releasing our first Odiya Newsletter. Let us know if any of your Hindi or Odiya friends would like to receive the same. The English and Tamil Newsletters are sent bimonthly. Please let us know if you are interested in receiving the same. Let us give God the praises and glory and not forget to give ourselves a pat on the back for this great achievement. Have a grand dinner today in celebration of the Surgery Camp. As many poor hearts rejoice, lets us rejoice with them! <>


A lovely queen in a lowly dungeon!

She might have found a proud place in the records of Jesus genealogy, had she heeded the voice of the servants of God!
There was another family in Jerusalem untouched by the revival that swept across the nation under Josiah. The head of the family was Elnathan. Elnathan used to hear from his great grandfather and grandfather how when they were children they were taken to Nehushtan by their parents and how King Hezekiah, the great grandfather of their present king Josiah, broke Bible lovers around the world have studied into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made. the revival that broke out under the famous King Upto the time Israelites had been burning incence Josiah, the father-in-law of to it (2Ki 18:4). Elnathan grew up, Nehushta. With the men of Judah and married and had a lovely daughter. He Lilian Stanley the people of Jerusalem, King Josiah still felt what Hezekiah had done was went to the temple and made a wrong and thought Nehushtan had covenant in the presence of the Lord to follow miracle power. He chose to name his daughter Him and keep His commands with all his heart Nehushta and at heart worshiped the old serpent. and all his soul. Then all the people pledged When the people of Jerusalem went to the themselves to the covenant (2Ki 23:3). Josiah temple, heard the Word of God and made the was 8 years old when he became king and 20 covenant, probably Elnathan, Nehushtas father when he started the reformation which continued did not go or may be did not pledge to the for 19 years (2 Chr 34:1-3). His four sons, who covenant wholeheartedly as the others did (2Ki must have been ten and under at the time of the 23:2,3). He saw the grand passover, covenant and commitment, grew up in the revival unprecedented in Judahs history when the whole showers. We have no record about the first son of Jerusalem was stirred up (2Ki 23:22). Josiah Johanan (Jehovah has been gracious) but the threw out all the household gods in Jerusalem other three grew up as wicked young men.How and Elnathans gods were out too (2Ki 23:24). it must have pained the heart of the revivalist to But that did not change his heart. Thus the see his own sons rejecting God, when hordes paganism continued in his family. Nehushta was were blessed by his revival campaigns! Well, not a common name in Israel those days. That nobody can be forced into a revival! How shows how Elnathan carefully chose the name of hopefully he had given godly names to his sons! his god for his little daughter. Hidden in the niches of the Bible is a girl called Nehushta. Her story is piecemeal scattered over in Second Kings, First & Second Chronicles and Jeremiah. I have tried to pick up the pieces and stitch them together. I have used my imagination to bring her to life. Awesome it is, in full shape!
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When Nehushta was a nubile girl of may be 14-16, the eyes of the second son of Josiah, Jehoiakim (Jehovah sets up) fell on this beautiful maiden and, as the kings son, he got what he wanted. Elnathan, Im sure was delighted to give his daughter to a young prince who was as godless as himself (2Ki 24:8). Now for some mathematics Jehoiakim was 25 years old when he became king, ruled for 11 years and died at 36. His son Jehoiachin was 18 when he was made king. That means Jehoiakim married at the age of may be 17. So Nehushta must have been 14-16. What a tender age to easily come to God! King Josiah was turning the kingdom upside down. Was Nehushta fascinated by what her father-in-law did? Far from it. Though she was in an impressionable age, the poisonous seeds planted by her parents had taken deep roots. But as anybody else she could have turned to the living God. But she was as stubborn as her husband. Even though Josiahs father Amon and grandfather Manasseh were terribly wicked, Josiah chose to follow God and obey His precepts, from the tender age of eight when he was crowned king. He died an untimely death at the age of 39. People bypassed the second son Jehoiakim and made the forth son Jehoahaz (Jehovah has grasped) as king (2 Chr 36:1-4). How did Nehushta feel about it? Was she jealous? His fathers love for God had not touched Jehoahaz. He reigned only three months in Jerusalem. Pharaoh Neco deported him to Egypt where he died. He is also known as Shallum. As luck would have it, Jehoiakim, the second son of Josiah was made king (2Ki 23:31-37). The queens crown was placed on Nehushtas
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head. Was she happy or was she terrified at all the invasions she was seeing? That was yet another opportunity for her to turn to the Lord, but she still resisted. Her brother in-laws fate was not a warning to her. As soon as Jehoiakim sat on the throne, the cabinet changed. Godly officials of his father were kicked out and the wicked took their place. Jehoiakim made Elnathan, his father-in-law as a palace official (Jer 36:11). Thus started his evil rule. The prophet Jeremiah prophesied boldly to the king and queen Nehushta, saying, Thus says the Lord, concerning Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, king of Judah: They shall not lament for him,saying: Alas my brother or alas my sister (Jer 22:18). Jeremiah took a leading part in her father-in-laws funeral (2 Chr 35:25). His prophetic warnings had no effect on her. The prophet Uriah warned King Jehoiakim. When Jehoiakim sought to kill him, Uriah fled to Egypt. However Jehoiakim sent Elnathan along with others, who caught Uriah in Egypt and brought him to Jehoiakim who had him struck down with a sword. Thus father-in-law and sonin-law worked hand-in-glove against the Lord (Jer 26:20-23). Jeremiah even quoted his father Josiah saying, He did what was right and just, so all went well with him. He defended the cause of the poor and needy and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know Me? declares the Lord. But your eyes and your heart are set on dishonest gain, on shedding innocent blood and on oppression and extortion (Jer 22:15-17). Lying prophets gave Jehoiakim and Nehushta false hope (Jer 23:16,17). They said, The Lord says: You will have peace.And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, No harm will come to you.

During her tenure as queen, Babylonian, Aramean, Moabite and Ammonite raiders came against Judah. What a tumultous and stressful life she had! (2Ki 24:2). Even at the height of Jehoiakims wickedness God told Jeremiah to write a warning, so that if people turned from their wicked ways, God could forgive them. So Jeremiah wrote in a scroll and sent it through Baruch. When Baruch read it to the people, the palace officials, including Elnathan sent for Baruch and listened to the scroll. For the first time we see some fear in the face of Elnathan. May be the wars and defeats had shaken him up. The scroll was read out to Jehoiakim who cut it off to pieces and threw in the fire. May be Nehushta was sitting by his side. Even though the palace officials, including Elnathan urged him not to incinerate the scroll, Jehoiakim did not listen to them. He was angry that Jeremiah prophesied that the King of Babylon would come and destroy the land. So Gods word came to Jeremiah again and he prophesied against the king that his body would be thrown out and exposed to the heat by day and the frost by night (Jer 36:30). Nobody paid any attention to Jeremiahs words (Jer 37:2). Jeremiahs prophecy came true. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, invaded the land, attacked Jerusalem, bound Nehushtas husband with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon (2 Chr 36:6). There he died with no one mourning for him. He had the burial of a donkeydragged away and thrown outside the gates of Jerusalem at the age of 36 (in Babylon), (Jer 22:18-21). So Nehushta, his wife and queen mother became a widow. She could not even weep over her husbands body. Of all the wives of the king, the mother of the crown prince was honoured as the queen mother and enjoyed a special status (Jer 29:1). May be Nehushta consoled herself
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that her son was king. She still was unrepentant and failed to instil the fear of God in her son Jehoiachin, for he was no less wicked than his father. Her teenage son was 18 when he was made king. Nehushta was still a beautiful young widow, hardly 34. Jeremiah was proclaiming the Lords message powerfully. Nehushtas sad demise was predicted by him (Jer 22:21-27). I will hurl you (Jehoiachin) and the mother who gave you birth, into another country, where neither of you was born, and there you both will die. You will never come back to the land you long to return to. To Jeremiahs warning their reply was, We will not listen (Jer 22:21). Just three months after her sons coronation Nebuchadnezzar raided Jerusalem. Nehushta, her son, the king, his attendants, his nobles and his officials surrendered to him (2Ki 24:8-15). Her heart was still stubborn and unrepentant.Nebuchadnezzar took away all the treasures from the royal palace. How did Nehushta feel when her precious jewels and crown were taken away from her? Then Nebuchadnezzar took Jehoiachin, his mother Nehushta, his wives along with many others as captives to Babylon. In all probability Elnathan also joined the bandwagon. Esther and Mordecai were also there (Esth 2:6,7). Did they try to put some sense into Nehushtas head? Usually captives were taken by walk,barefoot, naked or half-naked and chained. So queen mother Nehushta took the long rugged walk with her own subjects, shameful. The reasonshe flaunted all the opportunities God gave her. So she found herself thrown against the cold forbidding walls of a prison cell in Babylon! After Nehushta had gone into exile from Babylon, Jeremiah sent a letter to all the exiles

(Jer 29). He gave them the Lords words: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future...(V 11) Alas! Nehushta did not live to see the promise fulfilled! We read about all the four sons of Josiah (1 Chr 3:15) Johanan probably died early, Jehoiakim (2Ki 23:34), Zedekia (Jehovah is righteous) (Jer 27:1) and Shallum also known as Jehoahaz (2Ki 23:30; Jer 22:11). All the three were made kings, all were wicked and died as captives in foreign lands. I imagine myself sitting in Nehushtas cell in Babylon, listening to her. She weeps about her childhood, her wrong decision to marry a wayward man, her stubbornness to her in-laws pleas and Jeremiahs warnings. She has ample time in the Babylonian dungeon to reflect on all that had happened and understand that God did not speak to the false prophets she listened to (Jer 23:20,21). I ask her a final question, Would you like to say something to our ladies? Yes, she says, her tear drops falling on her prison garments. Amidst sobs and sniffles she manages to speak: Urge your young girls never to marry a man for money or looks. Jewels and money have wings. They will fly away. Tell them to listen to Gods Word and obey it. Tell your ladies to be wary of false prophets who mislead them rather go by the Word of God. Let them not run neck to neck with wicked husbands but be sensible and be a good influence to them. Tell them to dedicate their lives for the upbringing of their children in the fear of God. Nothing is more important in life. Let none of your ladies suffer like me. God has
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chosen them to bring Jesus to the world. Tell them to walk worthy of it. I put my arms around her and tell her that its never too late to repent. I feel sorry for her. How long Nehushta was in the Babylonian dungeon, we do not know, but we know one thing she longed for Jerusalem but died without seeing it again. Her son Jehoiachin (also mentioned as Coniah or Jeconiah by Jeremiah and Jeconiah in Matthew 1:11) was released from the prison around the age of 55 and the Babylonian King Evilmerodach, son of Nebuchadnezzar gave him a seat of honour and he ate with the king to the end of his life (2 Ki 25:21-30). May be he repented and told his sons to obey God for his son (or grandson) was Sheatiel and his grandson (or great grandson), Zerubbabel! (Mt 1:12). His mother Nehushta might have died before this with the swan song on her lips, I wish I had listened to Jeremiah. Did the innocent die a sorry death? Was God unfair? No. God gave them a fair chance to know Him. They were the son, daughter-in-law and grandson of Josiah and heard more than enough of the true and living God. Thus the curtain comes down on the lovely queen in a lowly dungeon. God had chosen her to be a foremother of Jesus. If she had given heed to the Word of God, like Rahab, her name might have found a place in the records of the genealogy of Jesus! (Mt 1:11)

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When the music fades...!

B. Bersiya Grace, Chennai

ilence speakseven teaches better than words. But it is not ever pleasant. With our God, in the long journey, not every morning as we kneel down, the heavens come down to lift up our spirits. The music fades and the excitements cool down. We pray but the voice seems not to go beyond the ceiling and the pages of the living Word seem just prints of black in white. At times, it is hard to kneel and pray; we tend to leave off reading Bible, because we dont feel Him as before. Many in the Bible too went through the same path like us. Looking at how they sustained in faith will help us go through such periods of silence. JOB We know that God allowed satan to test Jobs faith by taking everything he had.But he was tested by SILENCE, above all. In his great loss, God didnt speak Job comfort. What he heard were criticisms from his wife and friends! Only at the end, God answered. How could he overcome the discouragements which could easily creep in and pull him down, in the long period of silence? The secret is, he knew that it was a test of his faith, for Job declares: When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold (23:10). The time of silence is to test the quality of our faith. He tests if we can trust Him without doubts, even when He keeps His silence. As we go through this test patiently with hope, like gold refined, our faith grows higher, where neither death nor life.... nor things present nor things to come... shall
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be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8:38,39). Next is DAVID Do not be silent to me lest if you are silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit (Psa 28:1). Do not keep silent, O God of my praise! (Psa 109:1). These cries of David are not strange to our hearts, for our hearts have cried many times. Like us, he had wondered whether God was listening or not, when he cried, Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer (Psa 61:1). But the tone of despair turns to confidence in verse 4 of the same chapter: I will trust in the shelter of your wings. From where did this sudden boost of faith come? The magic lies in the third verse, where he LOOKS BACK to the past. For you have been a shelter for me; a strong tower from the enemy. In silent times, our hearts can be filled with faith and praise as we look back to count the past blessings. It is even good to keep a diary to record our walk with God, so that we can look back on Gods faithfulness in hard times of tests. Finally the DISCIPLES Between the death and resurrection of Jesus, a hush prevailed. Their Messiah was dead and buried. Promises faded! No signs of hope! The music of their life had died down. They were in the verge of giving up. But God didnt leave them in the silence. After the third day, He appeared to them, rebuked them, and encouraged them (Mk 16:14,15; Lk 24:25). He doesnt test us beyond what we can bear. He is just there to pick us up

and revive us, when we fall. When He ascended to heaven, once again Jesus left them physically. But this time they would not do the same mistake of unbelief. They prayed together, praised together and waited together for the Fathers promise (Acts 1:14; 2:1; Lk 24:53). Now they knew how to wait with hope and rejoicing! That is when God poured out His Spirit unlimitedly upon the thirsty (Acts 2) and their strength renewed to mount up with wings like eagles (Is 40:31), to stand up for God everywhere! Not all times God stops speaking. Sometimes God speaks but our hearts are too heavily dumped to listen to His voice. For instance, in Psalm 73, Asaphs heart is troubled, when preoccupied about the evil ones flourishing and eventually he stumbles. But then, he decides to leave this confusion aside and takes time to go to the sanctuary where God heals his stormy mind to understand His ways. Similarly, when our mind is confused, focused on problems, or preoccupied with heaps of works to do (even Gods work), the voice of God is hindered. Leave them aside and take time to be still at His feet where you can know that He is God (Psa 46:10). But its hard to shift the focus. Its better to ask for Gods strength, genuinely accepting our inability to focus. On the other hand, our EFFORTS to commune with God is also important. When it is hard to concentrate in prayer, a psalm or a song can become our prayer. Many times, the song Draw me close to You has been my prayer. Sometimes a letter to God too! When the music fades, many have slipped away from faith. But if we look from a higher ground, it is the very time of preparation and introspection before a great revival in our relationship with God. If you are going through such a
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wilderness, remember even if you dont see His footsteps, He is with you; because He has promised not to leave you, and Hes not a man to relent from His Words. So cling on to His Words. One day you can look back and thank God like the Psalmist: It is good for me, that I have been afflicted that I may learn Your statutes (Psa 119:71). (The author is an MA Literature student in Madras Christian College, Chennai. Mob: 7502050650)

Dear Readers,
A page is open for you to share your views on Good Deeds. You may express your ideas in paper, handwritten, 4 pages. If someone has done a good deed to you that has helped you up in life or if you have been a benefactor of such a Good Work, let us know about it. Let us know about even small acts of kindness. If you are working among lepers, AIDS patients, widows, beggars, prisoners, blind, orphans ... the list is endless ... we would love to hear your story. Write with your name, address, mobile number and email id. May our other readers be inspired by your write-up and glorify our Father God in heaven. May them be spurred to action through your testimony.

he word Fields conjures up visions of vast stretches of crops and greenery and it is not difficult to understand why the Lord Jesus referred to humanity in comparison with this agricultural term. Not only have people crossed the 7 billion mark and are continuing to multiply rapidly, but most of them are also ready for the harvest, be it because of their advanced years, accidents, sickness, natural calamities or any other such contingent. Missionaries are people who labour in these fields of the Lord and when they put forth their requests for prayers and help for the people they are caring for, we are duty bound to uphold them to the throne of grace and give them the support they need, since we are not able to be bodily present with them. Let us work by their side at least spiritually. taff fasting prayers were conducted at Nadiad GUJARAT and Bro.Y.Paul Dhinakaran gave a timely message. He also spoke at the revival meeting where 100 people gathered and rededicated their lives in preparation for the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise God for the New Blessing Book LITTLE FOXES Gujarati edition which was released in January. Pray that the book will bring great revival among Gujarati Christians. Blessing readers meeting was conducted in Maninagar, Ahmedabad, in which Bro. Y. Paul Dhinakaran shared the word of God. 75 people were blessed. Monthly Bible study for youth was started at Mr. Royals residence at Vadodara from January. Eight students participated in the first meeting.Pray that more youth will be captured by the love of the Lord Jesus. Praise God for a family from Vadodara that has come forward to sponsor a missionary child.Monthly
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intercessory prayer meeting was started in the village church at Bedacompany. The Gujarat missionaries plan to conduct a SOFT (Staff Orientation & Foundational Training Programme) for Gujarat and Maharashtra staff. Please pray that all the staff will be well equipped by the word of God through the programme. They also plan to conduct Exam Goers Meeting at Nadiad and Anand. Pray that many new students will be contacted through the meetings. ARNATAKA missionaries have been busy-bees as usual. Praise God for Ganapathi of Bachanahalli who has given a piece of land for the construction of a Church. Pray for the required funds to construct. Pray for Gods provision in the renovation of Yellapur Church roof and Bhilki missionary quarters. Now, imagine conducting a cultural programme in the premises of a jail and being allowed to preach the gospel there! Well, that is exactly what happened in the Central jail, Dharwad. On the eve of the Republic day about 300 inmates heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the gospel songs, choreography and message shared by Pastor Stephen. The prisoners were deeply convicted and one of them even sang a song on his own life which brought tears to the eyes of the prisoners who longed for


deliverance. Including the jail staff, there were about 580 people assembled there. About 150 heard the Goodnews in the Sub-Jail, Hubli. What a wonderful opportunity! Praise God it is the Lords doing and it is marvelous in our eyes! God bless the Students for Jesus ministry in Hubli. They have sent wonderful photos. But sorry, prisoners photos cannot be published. Pray for the completion of Kudrenalla Day Care Center construction work. Praise God for missionary Mohana Krishnan who shared Gods word for the supporting staff in the Kodai International School. 37 people were blessed. He also shared Gods word in the house meetings of Mr. Sudhakar and Mr. Kirandass where nearly 55 people were benefitted. In the Hassan CSI Church, nearly 550 people were blessed through his ministry. The 3 days Karnataka lady staff gathering was a blessing. Missionaries shared Gods word based on the theme of this year Good works which encouraged everyone. uch has been happening in MADHYA PRADESH also. Five people accepted Christ as their personal Saviour and joined the Shahgarh Church. Believers children and the Sunday School children are very enthusiastic in learning Bible verses, motivated by their parents. A small Bible Contest was conducted in which children who are studying in VIII Std memorized 50 Bible verses and the names of Bible Books and won prizes. Mr.Biju Matthew, one of our lay leaders from Jabalpur shared Gods word in a simple way. Praise God for the good response among Christians and churches through the Literature Ministry. Last year the brothers visited 17 districts in MP and raised 420 magazine subscribers and 37 Life members. Rs 4,21,000/- worth of literature was given away. Pray for Mr.Jeevanlal, a contact in Baraiti village who spent Rs 11,000/- for a borewell but no water is available. Pray for his need and that his faith will grow. Mr. Lakshman and his family have a great interest in the gospel. His daughter has read the New Testament and he has bought a full Bible.
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In the Baraity Church a bore well (Hand Pump) was installed for the believers and other village people. Praise God for the funds made available by the Mission. Pray that through this hand pump sufficient water will be provided to the entire village throughout the year and that the people will find the source of the Living Water of life. Coaching classes were started in Sorai, Tharpoah & Amarvoan villages and 120 children benefitted through these classes. Pray for the teachers and the students, that our believers children should score high marks this year. In Dharmpura village worship services are disturbed by the local people. Kindly pray that in spite of opposition, the services will continue here regularly .

A Family retreat was conducted in Jabalpur. 40 families attended and benefitted by the message given by our missionaries, Mrs. & Mr. Manivannan. In this meeting 8 people came

Exam Goers Meet


forward to support our Mission monthly. Exam Goers meet was conducted in Jabalpur. Mr. Shathish Soni, a lay leader shared Gods word and missionary Jeyaraj led the students in prayer. All the 150 students were very encouraged by Gods word and prayed for their studies and future. Fasting prayer for the local women and the MP men staff at Shahgarh were powerful. Pray for MP Ladies Staff Fasting Prayer to be held at Banda which will be the first for this year. Missionaries Jeyajothi & Sumangali will deliver Gods word in this fasting prayer. Pray for Gods anointing. Katni Home boys parents meeting will be held at Banda. Pray that this meeting will foster good understanding among Home childrens parents. Missionaries Rupesh Masihi, Daniel Masihi and Anoop Kumar went to the Madkudeep Mela at Bilaspur with literature. Rs. 1,00,000/- worth of literature went into the hands of people. Mumbai friends contributed for a borewell for the Kanduwa church and it was done. 230 fasted and prayed in 3 places. Five accepted Jesus Christ as their Saviour and openly declared their faith in Madavara village. issionary Daisy Dhanraj writes about the visit to a Hostel cum Home in Miraj, MAHARASHTRA, for HIV/AIDS children and people, called DILASA BHAVAN. It is a Catholic Institution and the Director, Mr. Shabu Matthew permitted them to speak to the inmates. After sharing the Goodnews, clothes were distributed. When the team asked the inmates when they should visit next, they unanimously shouted, Dont go. Be with us here. Further visits are planned. t is a privilege for ODISHA Christians, to have the Christian maestro singer, Mr.Jollee Abraham visit them. There was a huge gathering of Umerkote believers in the ASISHO MAHA SABHA where he sang,
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danced and taught them songs. Praise God for his missionary vision. Mr. Masilamani shared the Word and Mr.Henry Basinger led the music team. Missionary Saroja Prakash writes that three made a covenant with the Lord in Gadagatta village and two in Kurichi. In Raighar field Kopena church, 60 elders were blessed by the Elders Meeting. Chaitan was a magician in Kurichi village. All his children are believers. Missionaries were praying for the parents. Recently his disciple was caught by people while he was stealing a skull from a grave for magic purposes. He betrayed his master and Chaitan also was caught. They were fined and warned. Ashamed that his magical power which was supposed to protect him had put him to trouble, Chaitan was longing for deliverance from these powers. At the right time missionaries met him and led him to Christ. He and his wife threw away all their magical appendages and idols and made a covenant with the Lord and became members of the church on the 21st of January. Hallelujah! he recently started prayer cell in Amity University, RAJASTHAN is going on nicely because of the sincere efforts and interest of Pranjali and Esther. However, successors are required to continue the ministry in Amity as both Pranjali and Esther will be finishing their B.Tech and MBA respectively this April. Pray that God may send the right students

to carry on the work. Also pray that both of them may get good jobs in Jaipur itself as they desire to continue to be involved in the ministry for 2 more years. The long pending prayer cell leaders get together was conducted in the second half of last month. Except for 2 members all the other leaders from 7 prayer cells joined the meeting. On the topic Victory upon Victory, the leaders were encouraged to soar to greater heights. The ministry was reviewed and strategies worked out for the spiritual upliftment of the cell members and for the numerical growth of the cell. Some of our youth leaders have attained marriageable age and there is great pressure from their parents to get married soon. Pray that God may help them find their better halves as per their choice at the appropriate time. Lord willing, it is planned to arrange a Shepherds Training Programme in the near future at Jaipur. Although it is exam time for many, the need for this camp is deeply sensed and the positive response from all the 15 candidates for this program has given a moral boost to go ahead with the proceedings. Kindly pray for this all important camp which is going to play a very vital role in the expansion of ministry among youth across Rajasthan. God moved the heart of Monica Singh, one of our partners to revive the weekly ladies prayer. Since last two months 3 ladies are gathering to pray for spiritual blessings to descend upon the nation. Pray that a prayer movement may be ignited which will pave the way for a mighty revival to sweep across our country. Vinod, Ravi and Pragesh are appearing for their 10 Std examination after 5 years gap. Bindya, a teacher by profession from Sharma community is showing good interest in the Lord. Although there is not much support from the family she is regularly attending the Church and meeting with the believers every week. Pray that God may enlighten her heart to experience salvation and deliver her from the various problems in which her family is entangled since last 4 years.
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22 member team from Chennai visited 25 villages of Sitteri Hills, TAMIL NADU and proclaimed the Goodnews with filmshow. Puppet Show attracted a crowd of children. We were praying much for road facility for Palamalai Hills. Thank God, the Forest Department has granted permission to lay down a road. Five were brought to our clinic in Palamalai after attempted suicide. Two survived, three died. Pray for the spirit of suicide to be rooted out. In and around our Arnoothu Hills field, there are 44 temples, more than 38 temple priests and more than 12 magicians. Missionaries have taken up the challenge. Pray! n Naxalbari, WEST BENGAL, a youth prayer cell has been started. 20 youth gather every Monday. 45 believers attended the two-day Discipleship Training Camp in Siliguri. 20 attended the Church Leaders Get-together. Missionary Peter Luis was the resource person with his rich experience with the Warli Tribe. See photos at the back cover. Worship shed construction is going on in Khoriajote. Johnson Gwite from Jorhat has joined the missionary team. 70 participated in the Retreat for women in Jorhat. Revival programmes are planned for Cooch Bihar and Allipurduwar. erusha, D/o retired missionary Ebenezer and Usha gave birth to a baby boy on the 12th of February. Congrats! Bro. Jesudoss (65), our close partner for many years in Nilgris departed to the bosom of Abraham on the 6th of February. Pray for the bereaved family. o you remember reading REHOBOTH a place of Rest in the February Blessing, by Zoraida Samuel? Zoraida is excited to tell us that many people called her over phone to enquire about the Home, some visited from far and near and some have sent donations. How wonderful! We are thrilled to know that you take what we write seriously and dont set aside this magazine without even opening it. We bless all our readers who put into action what they read. God bless!