Monday, June 20, 2016

21st June 2016
 As suggested by our Prime minister Narendra Modi, a self-proclaimed Hindu nationalist, the United Nations adopted the 21st June as the International day of Yoga. From New York to Melbourne, 191 nations of the world will be participating in a global synchronized Yoga experience. Surya namaskaar or sun worship is integral part of Yoga, hence this date is especially chosen as the sun shines the strongest, brightest and the longest in the northern hemisphere, on this day.
Although Yoga is promoted as harmless and good for physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing, here are some facts that Christians need to be aware of:
Yog (or anglicized Yoga) means union or being yoked with something or someone. Ancient Hindu philosophy of Yoga went West with the Hippies and the drug culture.
It is practiced with devotional music, chanting of mantras (religious hymns), meditation, sun worship, calisthenics and asanaas (postures). Yoga is the only sure way of escaping the endless cycle of reincarnation and the laws of karma (deeds), thereby achieving "moksha"(redemption). In Buddhist teachings, to "Shunya" (void).
In the Hindu Trinity, Brahma is the Creator, Vishnu is the Sustainer and Shiva is the Destroyer. Shiva is the god of the Yogees. He smokes opium and meditates (trance).
Asanas or postures. Shiva’s favorite posture is to sit cross-legged with his thumb and index finger made into a circle and resting on his knees.
The ultimate objective of Yoga is to awaken the kundalini, the hidden shakti (power) coiled like a serpent in the lower spine. Remember how the serpent beguiled Eve in the Garden of Eden, “You will become like God.” (Genesis 3:5). Yogic perfection opens the third eye of the mind, when a Yogi can call himself “aham bramhasmi” meaning “I am god.”
Transcendental Meditation requires a Yogi to empty his/her mind from maya the illusionary world and controlled breathing finally leads to “samadhi or “savaasan” or “death posture.”
So it is wisdom to be aware that while Satan came to steal, kill and destroy, Jesus came to give life in abundance. John 10:10
There are already 200 million Yoga practitioners worldwide, half of them being Indians. Of course the Yoga practiced in the West is a commercialized and sanitized version. However, Yoga is not free. It costs money to be trained, and along with Yoga kit of special clothes, mats, shoes, DVDs, books, accessories and Ayurveda medicines, it is already a multi-billion-dollar business and growing. America alone has over 4000 training centers. Triumphalistic claims are often made of yoga’s healing power hence, many Corporates are investing heavily into it because it is supposed to reduce employee absenteeism and increases productivity.
What does the Bible say:
The Scripture clearly warns us, “Do not be unequally yoked ….for what harmony is there between Christ and Belial?... 2 Corinthians 4:4; 6: 14,15
The Bible commands us not only to meditate but also to be obedient to his commands: “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (Jos. 1:8)
Yeshua Messiah himself invites, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.…” Matt. 11:28,29
What can Christians do?
Go prayer walking every morning and bless all the families in the neighborhood and those you meet on the way. Pray against centers of idolatry, adultery, occult etc. Luke 10:5; 1 Timothy 2:8; Joshua 1:3
Create awareness among Christians, especially among children as Yoga is being introduced in 1.4 million schools as part of saffronization (Hinduization) of India. The Bible warns of such spiritual seduction: “Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;” (1 Timothy 4:1).
Go to the next level and do city profiling and map out all the social, religious and cultural strongholds. Organize prayer teams for different areas and saturate the city with prayer. Jeremiah 10:11; 29:7
Encourage people to be yoked to Jesus. Find persons of peace and pray for healing and deliverance and share the gospel in their homes and start a house church movement, until there is no place left where Christ has not been named. Luke 10:1-9; Romans 15:23
This will not only give you a sense of physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing but also bring health, healing and wholeness to your city.

Yesterday the new moon was sighted and as of today 1.6 billion Sons of Ishmael, around the world go on fasting and prayer for 30 days. Nearly 500 millions of them live in the Indian subcontinent of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. Fifty countries of the world today have Islam as the dominant religion.
Fasting during Ramadan, along with Kalma (declaration of faith), Namaz (Prayers); Jakat (giving alms to the poor) and going to Mecca for Hajj on pilgrimage, constitute the Five Pillars of Islam. Some consider jihad (holy war) as the sixth pillar. They will be keeping the roza (fast) for physical and spiritual cleansing, hoping that their sins will be forgiven on kiyamat (the day of judgment). Ramadan is the month when Allah revealed the Quran to Angel Jibril (Gabriel), who over a period of 23 years incrementally revealed it to Hazrat Mohammad. On shabe qadr or the Night of Power, (26th July this year), Allah and his angels will come down to the lowest heaven to hear the prayers of the Muslims (surrendered).
The fast is so strict that they do not even take of sip of water. In some Muslim countries, even for non-Muslims, eating in public during the day is a criminal offence. The fast begins with sehri (breakfast) at the crack of dawn and ends with iftaar (celebratory meal) at sunset. They also give jakaat (gifts) to the poor. Eid ul Fitr is celebrated at the end of Ramadan and marks the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal (July 7-8 2016). With lots of reading of the Quran, discourses and prayers, there is a very heightened spiritual environment in Muslim communities during this month.
So what should be our Christian response?
The Scripture prophesies that the sons of Ishmael, Nebajoth and Kedar (Muslims) will come riding on fast camels bringing gold and silver and God will glorify his altar with them. (Isaiah 60:6,7)  
This is already happening ! Unprecedented number of Muslims are entering the Kingdom now. They are coming because of several reasons such as jihadi violence in their own countries; Christians demonstrating practical love by providing food, shelter and security; Muslims seeing Isa al Mashih in dreams, visions and supernatural healings and deliverances etc.
Despite media hype there is no serious research done to prove that Islam is the fastest growing religion. Actually because of jihad there may be serious attrition going on. Even Hinduism is growing faster than Islam through its yoga exercises. However, evangelical Christianity through its house church movement is globally the fastest growing faith.
A trickle of Muslims who own abundance of silver and gold, has also started. Messianic Muslims are boldly proclaiming their faith and  paying the price for it. Increasingly Christian scholars are learning apologetics and confidently debating, convincing and convicting Muslims scholars.
If you are burdened for reaching the millions of Muslim brothers and sisters of the world, then you can consider to do the following-
  1. Make friends with Neighbours and pray for them that they may come to the knowledge of truth and be saved. 1Tim. 2:4
2.       Go to the next level and learn Muslim apologetics from experienced coaches. (1Peter 3:15; Titus 1:9) Do not try to win debates but try to win souls. There is nothing better than to demonstrate your love for them in practical ways.
3.       Engage them in non-confrontational dialogue. Be very sensitive to their culture (food, gender, religion). Don't denigrate Islam or Mohammad or shake hands with their women or offer pork to eat. Trying to take them to your church or taking your pastor into their homes, can cause serious security issues, both for you and for them. Avoid large groups and any kind of music. Handle the Bible, the names of Jesus or Mohammad respectfully. Quran actually says a lot of good things about Isa al Masih (Yeshua the Messiah) and his mother Mary and even about Christians.
4.       A simple way to start is to systematically tell stories of prophets from Adam onwards. They know distorted versions. Details given in the Holy Bible are eye openers for them. Some like to start with encounter of Nicodemus, a religious leader and a scholar with Isa al Masih. Others prefer the Camel method.
5.       Even better is to pray for healing and deliverance.
6.       The objective is to make them disciples of Isa al Masih and not members of your church.
7.       Provide prayer and practical support for those engaged in Neighbour ministries. Currently less than 1% of church/mission budgets are allocated for Neighbour's ministry.
There is an excellent resource book on Christian/Muslim dialogue called DOST (Friend) on the internet which answers both from the Bible and the Quran. Most of the questions that an average Muslim asks and its ramifications are discussed in that book. Even if you are an expert in Muslim apologetics, this book will give you new tools to improve your ministry. Please make a resolution to read this book during the Ramadan.
The download is free by clicking on the links below. If You would like to make a contribution, then please pay via PayPal to <>

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