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Theology at Midnight

Posted by Jhon peter Devarasetti Tuesday, June 12, 2012 0 comments

 Tags:Bible Study,Online Bible Study,Telugu Bible Study,Telugu Online Bible Study.

 Theology at Midnight

Dr. Ray Pritchard

"About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them" (Acts 16:25).
You discover your theology at midnight.
Until then, it's all theoretical. When midnight comes, you discover the difference between theory and reality. I used to think that I learned my theology during the four years I spent at seminary. But that's not quite true. For one thing, I already knew what I believed before I went to seminary. Those four years of systematic theology, Greek, Hebrew, Bible exposition, church history and world missions gave me depth and breadth and perspective. I suppose looking back, I would say that in seminary I learned how much I didn't know, and I was given the tools to learn more when I was out on my own.
When I graduated from seminary I felt like most graduates do - that I could answer any question that came my way. Back then I had very definite opinions about everything, including many areas where my knowledge was actually quite shallow. I say that with a smile because it's good for young people to think they can conquer the world. Where would we be without some young bucks to challenge the status quo, to make us feel uncomfortable, and to push the envelope? I like it when I meet young folks with big dreams about what they want to do for God. In this fragile, unpredictable world, we need the fire of optimism that cries out, "Let's take that city for God!" So God bless the young men and women who believe that all things-yes, all things!-are possible, and who have no time or patience for those who ask questions or say, "Perhaps we should think about that for awhile."
Not an Easy Road
Paul seems to have been that sort of man. Perhaps it was inevitable that a man who had been zealous against Christ before his conversion would be equally zealous for Christ afterward. Armed with nothing more than the gospel of Jesus, he spearheaded the Christian movement through Turkey into Greece and on to Rome, the capital of the Empire and the greatest city in the world. He was, it seems, a force of nature. A man possessed by one great idea ("this one thing I do"), he proceeded to preach Christ wherever his name had not been preached so that those who had never heard might come to saving faith.
But it wasn't an easy road. In 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 he enumerates some of his hardships:
I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.
When he mentions being in prison frequently, he perhaps did so with a bit of a wry smile because it was while he and Silas were in prison in Philippi that God worked a wonderful miracle on his behalf. The story as told in Acts 16 goes like this. After casting an evil spirit out of a slave girl, Paul and Silas were thrown into prison for what we today would probably call disrupting the peace. The two men were beaten, thrown in jail, put under close guard, and placed in the inner cell with their feet bound in stocks.
It was not a pleasant situation.
So what do you do when you have been arrested, beaten, imprisoned, placed under guard, with your feet bound in stocks, for nothing more than preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ?
If you are Paul and Silas and it's midnight, you start praying and singing hymns of praise to God. Acts 16:25 says that the other prisoners were listening to them. No doubt these two strangers looked like a mess after being severely beaten. The fact that they were in stocks and under close guard told the other prisoners that Paul and Silas were not ordinary criminals. So I ask again, what do you do at midnight?
The answer is, it all depends on your theology, which you generally don't discover until midnight. At that point you can't walk over to your library to pull out some book on theology, and you can't rifle through that big stack of notes from your Greek class to see what it says to do when you've been arrested. You don't have access to a computer so you can't send an email or update Facebook or Twitter your friends.
In that lonely moment, you discover your theology. You find out what's real and what's purely theoretical.
Recently I read a short story about Major Ian Thomas, founder of Torchbearers International, that mentioned a saying that was fundamental to his understanding of the Christian life:
Go where you're sent,
Stay where you're put,
Give what you've got.
The wisdom of that advice struck me, and as I meditated upon it, I began to consider what great biblical principles it represents. It throws light on the darkness of that prison cell in Philippi where Paul and Silas were singing and praying at midnight.

I. Go Where You're Sent.
If you consider that statement by itself, it may seem to have mainly a geographic component. Abraham was called by God to go to a land that he would later receive as an inheritance (Genesis 12:1-3). So he went out from Ur of the Chaldees by faith, not knowing where he was going (Hebrews 11:8). For him the "where" was definitely a location, one particular place. He was always on the way to the Promised Land. If we examine Paul's case, we can see that God definitely called him from Turkey to Greece (Acts 16:9-10), and when he crossed the Aegean Sea, he ended up at Philippi and began to preach the gospel, winning men and women to Christ, and proceeding to establish a church in that city. Paul's one great calling was to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. The "where" depended wholly on the Lord. That's why he wasn't thrown for a loop when he ended up in jail, notwithstanding the very great physical ordeal of enduring a beating by the authorities. While we don't need to sensationalize that, we shouldn't downplay it either. When Paul years later told Timothy to "endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 2:3), he knew what he was talking about.
There was nothing easy about being accused of disturbing the peace, being publicly disgraced, derided, maligned and vilified. Nor was it pleasant to be beaten or thrown in prison alongside men who were truly criminals. Certainly having your legs in stocks not only meant you could hardly move, it also meant you would have great difficulty lying down. So what do you do in that situation?
It all depends on your theology. If you don't believe in the sovereignty of God, then you'll probably be bitter and angry and very discouraged. If you don't believe in a God who numbers the hairs on your head (Matthew 10:30), then you may think that something terrible has happened to you. But if you believe in the sovereignty of God, then you know that nothing can happen to you by accident. In that case, your reaction is likely to be quite different.
You pray and sing hymns at midnight.
We find the key to the phrase "Go where you are sent" in the word sent. It means that in every situation of life, Higher Hands are at work, leading you on from where you are at this moment to where you are supposed to be next. Many times those Higher Hands will seem to lead you in ways that make no sense, and you may not see any purpose in the things happening to you.
Several weeks ago I received an email from my friend Andy McQuitty, senior pastor of Irving Bible Church in Irving, Texas. When I call Andy my friend, that doesn't quite do justice to the situation. Back in the 80s, he we served together at Northeast Bible Church in Garland, Texas. Often I would go back to his office and we would kibbutz together, dreaming about new ideas for the church. Because we lived in the same subdivision and had young children, we became very close. I can still remember when he came into my office and said he felt called to move to the other side of Dallas and take the pastorate of a small church that had fallen on hard times. That was in the fall of 1987. In the years since then, under the good hand of God, Andy has led Irving Bible Church through many building programs, a major relocation, and in the process it has become a mighty powerhouse for the Lord, attracting thousands of people every Sunday.
I say that simply to mention that Andy and his wife Alice are dear friends of ours. The email came out of the blue with some bad news. Following a routine physical exam Andy was diagnosed with colon cancer. That led to surgery which led to a pathology report revealing that the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes, which means it might be elsewhere in his body. Not good news at any time, but especially when you are only 53 years old.
So what do you say to that? How does the godly man respond to such a turn of events? The answer is, it all depends on your theology. Remember, you don't learn your theology at midnight. You discover it. You find out what you really believe. Here are some quotes from two emails he sent to his congregation after the news broke.
After discussing his medical situation, he put it in this context:
I'm not looking forward to all this and truly wish it wasn't on my plate, but it is what the Lord has teed up for me and I'm at peace with that. After all these years shepherding other people through these situations, it's my turn now! Alice and my family are confident and trusting and a huge bulwark of strength for me, and I think the Lord has much to teach me in these days. So we go forward.
My doctors are very hopeful that we will have a very good outcome to this surgery and that the procedure itself will be curative. Ah, but that's where the Great Physician comes in. We're just putting it all in His hands.
The Lord is my Shepherd, and yours too. . . we shall not want!
And certainly he is praying for healing and trusting that that is what the Lord has in mind. But there is always a deeper reality when you face something like colon cancer:
God truly is the strength of my heart. I kind of look at this fight with cancer in the same way I look at riding motorcycles. If God is finished with me, nothing can save me. If He's not finished with me, nothing can touch me. Just so you know, I've given Him all kinds of reasons not to be finished with me and I think I made an adequate case. We'll see.


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Why Should You Believe in God, Jesus, and the Bible?

Posted by Jhon peter Devarasetti Tuesday, May 8, 2012 0 comments

Have you ever wondered whether God exists, whether Jesus really is God's Son, or whether the Bible is really true? If not, you are an unusual person. All people ask these questions at times. The purpose of this study is to examine the evidence for some of the most basic claims of the Bible.
What Claims Does the Bible Make?

1. The Bible claims that God does exist.

>>> Read HEBREWS 11:6. <<<
*1* To please God, what must we believe? (a) whatever our parents taught us, (b) whatever our preacher says, (c) that God exists and rewards those who diligently seek Him. Answer (type the letter of the correct answer in the blank): ______.
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen. 1:1).

2. The Bible claims to be an infallible revelation of God's will.

>>> Read 2 TIMOTHY 3:16,17. <<<
*2* Where did the Scriptures come from? (a) they are inspired by God, (b) they express the opinions of men, (c) they are ancient legends of unknown origin. Answer: ______.
"...The things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 14:37). [See Eph. 3:3-5; 2 Pet. 1:21; 1 Thess. 2:13.]

3. The Bible claims that Jesus is God's Son.

>>> Read JOHN 20:26-31. <<<
*3&4* What did Thomas call Jesus? Answer (type the correct word[s] in each blank): My ______ and my ______.
*5&6* What must we believe in order to have eternal life? Answer: Jesus is the ______, the Son of ______.
"...we have heard for ourselves and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world" (John 4:42). [See also John 8:24; Luke 19:10; Matt. 16:15-18; 10:37; John 1:1,14.]
Note: these claims do not permit compromise. We cannot say, "The Bible is just a good book," or "Jesus was just a great man." The Bible claims it is God's word, and Jesus claimed to be God in the flesh. If these claims are not true, then Jesus is a liar and the Bible is a fraud!
What Kind of Evidence Will We Study?
God the Father is invisible (1 John 4:12). We cannot perform laboratory experiments to determine if He exists, but this does not mean we must accept "blind faith" without evidence. Jesus claimed to be God in the flesh. His life can be investigated like any other historical fact. Likewise, many other claims of the Bible can be investigated by logical and historical evidence.
In our daily lives, all of us determine our beliefs on the basis of this kind of evidence. For example, a hunter may not see an animal, but from its footprints he knows it exists and he knows much about its nature. In the same way, God has left "footprints on the sands of time."
A judge and jury do not physically observe a crime, yet they reach a verdict about what happened by the testimony of witnesses.
>>> Read ACTS 14:17. <<<
*7* God did not leave Himself without what? (a) people, (b) witness, (c) time, (d) money. Answer: ______.
Let us call God's "witnesses," and you be the judge. Weigh the testimony honestly, then reach a verdict (Rom. 10:17), but remember that you are not determining the guilt or innocence of someone else. Rather, your verdict will determine your own eternal destiny!

Are You Really Sure Of Your Eternal Salvation?

Posted by Jhon peter Devarasetti Sunday, January 29, 2012 0 comments

     Welcome to studying the Bible on the internet.  You are to be commended for your interest in studying God’s word, the Bible.  This course pertains to a very important subject concerning our Eternal Salvation.  What subject could be more important?  It is my hope that the scripture references pointed out in this study will be of benefit to your faith in your striving to go to Heaven.  In this course I have tried to point to only what the Bible says, and not to what I think.  We must speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent.  We must do things in Bible ways and call things by Bible names.  Anything that is less than, more than, or different from what the Bible says is false doctrine.  False doctrine will cause one to lose his soul in eternity. 
     There is so much confusion in the world pertaining to religious beliefs which can be traced to the ignorance of God's word.  There are more than 600 different denominational churches all with different doctrines, beliefs, and teachings.  Confronted by so many different conflicting doctrines of religion, people are so confused, they don’t know what to believe.  Any person who is interested in his soul’s salvation can not afford to follow any of the many false doctrines that are being taught, but will have a genuine interest to know the truth which is found only in the Bible.  Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is our Saviour, has already made provision for the forgiveness of our sins by His suffering and death on the cross.  On Judgment Day we will not have to be lost in the eternal punishment of torment along with Satan, the Devil.  In order to be saved we must obey the gospel.  But what is the gospel?  What must we do in order to be saved?  In this study we will find out what the Bible says we must do so we can inherit God’s gift of eternal life in Heaven.
     Unless otherwise noted all scripture quotations are from the New King James Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1992 by Thomas Nelson Inc.  All scripture references are in red.  We need to open our minds and hearts to the scriptures.  In this course I have tried to point you to what God has said in His word, the Bible.  As you read the scripture references, think seriously of what God is actually saying to you.  I have bolded certain words and phrases for emphasis.
     I have tried not to be offensive, but I also do not want to be "wishy-washy" about what God has said and to "sugar coat" it.  Please do not take anything in the wrong way, because I mean no harm.  I deeply care.  As God's word says in 1 Peter 3:15 "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear".  This I have tried to do, because our eternal salvation is a very serious matter.

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Posted by Jhon peter Devarasetti Friday, December 23, 2011 0 comments

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