by Viji Antony
I started reading the Bible at a time I lost everything I had. I will not attribute that to anyone else except myself. I was unemployed and life was at a stand – still. The very knowledge that only God can help me made me to turn to God completely. Of course some friends too subscribed to this idea and encouraged me to read the Word and get Christ in my life. Because of the precarious conditions of my then life, I was going through the good book to see if I had a way out of it. Needless to say the search was frantic but not futile, yet the kind of peace I was enjoying did not allow me to put the good book down. The Pauline epistles seemed Chinese and too hard that my bird brain dint quiet get anything the master theologian wrote. Yet when I saw the verse “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” I thought if I get Christ this verse will become literal in my life. But as I continued reading the prolific writer doubts started to pop in my mind about the assurance I got about that verse too. At some point of that reading I knew I am not in the same page with God. Like an unfinished file I put that thought in a folder in kept it somewhere in the back of my mind. One thing I knew for sure by then and that was getting baptized was the right step to start my journey with Jesus Christ.
We had a small fellowship in the city I lived then, which I attended after I got baptized back in 1993. Growing up as a catholic in the town of Changanacherry I was not exposed to Pentecostalism or the Pentecostal ministers. As a catholic I was told by my parents that I must respect the priests and never say a word against them. My grandmother instructed me to always wish them with the utmost politeness. MY mother had taught me that Pope is the ultimate authority. With awe I listened to her when she told me Pope communicates with God once a year. I now know that she was teaching me something either she heard from some priests or what her grandmother had taught her. Either way it all were engraved in my little mind making me to conclude that I can never appeal to any one once a priest has given his verdict on something as it is from God Himself. Studying in both a catholic high school and college only added more fire to my religion. It was easy u for me to shed the catholic faith from my system but the respect for the clergy lingered. Needless to say when the men of God came to visit our small fellowship we were ecstatic. Another good thing was that all the members of our group except for one family were all ex- Catholics. We considered each man of God as a person sent by God and gave the respect we will only give God. So naturally every single word came from their mouth were absorbed by our mind in its entirety.
As weeks and months passed I started to notice one common denominator in the preaching. They all said in Unisom that God will bless us materially if we take the right steps. To begin with they commanded us to tithe and our little group did it religiously. Next they admonished us to give lavishly as the amount of God’s providence depended on our generosity. The stingy among us were a bit nervous about it, but yet did not dare to utter a word. As the preacher raised his voice underlining the effect of generous giving we too raised our voice to say Halleluiah. Every Sunday after listening to such sermons we will depart in a jovial mood to suddenly become like a balloon whose air is gone once we reached home, because the same old problems we had when we left the house for the worship stared at us. Yet we believed God will make us rich beyond our imagination. Sunday after Sunday it was instilled in us. One minister who loving our small congregation’s enthusiasm was in full excitement when he said “brothers and sisters, we serve a mighty God. He has even blessed the grand children of men who carried sacks full of Bible for miles. All of them are in the Americas now owning a big chunk of the real estate of the land.” To add more excitement the minister said our God promised us where ever our feet touch He will give that land to us. Then he went on to tell us how some such individuals were blessed in certain cities of the United States. To sweeten the deal he told us how Elisha was blessed whose job prior to becoming the prophet was basically to pour water to the hands of his master Elijah. From then on there was a big competition among the brothers to carry the suit case of the minister who we normally picked up from the airport. Since all of the preachers were from out of town there was even big competition to host these men of God in their houses. The theology in us said if the man of God stayed in our houses we will be blessed beyond our thinking. To end the small bickering caused by this competition we had to decide to take turns. Yet when a so called anointed man of God with super power arrived there was still a fuss.
This fellowship is not there anymore as most of the members moved out of state. The only sober thought is all of us except one is still in the faith. Many years have elapsed. How many sermons we have heard since then from scores of different ministers. Most of the children from that group are all now married and are parents now. They all married believers and are raising their kids in the faith they grew up. What is not changed is the tone of the sermons, the messages in the sermons. We still hear them saying God will bless us immensely to the extent we will have to cry out “enough.” Seldom do we hear a minister talking about the coming of the King of Kings. Loosing masses and their excitement are attributed to this tone and message says some. To any serious believer and a studious Bible reader such statements can be poisonous. Even on face book we can see the postings of the so called Pastors that all the riches of this world belongs to us, making us wonder if Jesus died to make us rich in this world.
In the Gospel of Luke He talks about a lady named Hanna. She was a widow n was in that state for about eighty years. Luke says she was only married for seven years before she became a widow, which can make us an educated guess about her age safely above the century mark. I have a niece who became a widow at the tender age of twenty. At the time when her husband passed away she had a one year old son with her daughter was to come to this world in six months. When her oldest brother was getting married the elders of the house said with authority that she must not come to the forefront when the groom leaves the house because she is a widow. This happened in the last decade of the 20th century. Imagine the plight of that twenty something young girl! If this is the way our society treats widows in this modern age one can only imagine the plight of this lady Hanna some 2000 years ago. We can safely bet she was treated like a scum and they might have thrown the leftover food at her. At a corner of the temple invisible to all she lived. She too couldn’t have seen anyone or anything, for by then she sure might have been blind. yet her love for the Lord is amazing. Dr. Luks says ” She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.” Eighty long years of fasting and prayer and that too day and night. Yet no where it is written she became rich or owned anything. What was the end result of all this long hours of prayer and endless fasting? Eighty years of preparation for one day’s ministry. Let me quote Luke “Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.”
Every single happening in the world shows His coming is soon, sooner than most expect. Today (4/19/2012) all the major news papers of the world reported about the missile India now own that can reach Beijing and Shangai. Lot of patriotic Indians posted this news with pride on their walls in the face book. There is not going to be anything called “world peace.” All the things in the book of Revelation has to come to pass. Our great comfort is in what Paul told us “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” If Hanna had to fast and pray day and night for eighty years to be with Jesus how much more we must be fasting and praying to see Him when He comes to take His Church. It is for this that we must be fasting and praying, which we must be doing diligently in these last days. That is how we can get our inheritance.
MGM Ministries-Article Source: viji-antony.blogspot.com/