----- "Let your light shine before men" (Matthew 5:16) -----

 
   
 
Internet Edition No. 63 --- May 2008 ---
TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Author
   Editorial
      Kristhu raajaav
Pastor K.A. Mathew
   Keys to successful career and life Thomson K. Mathew, D.Min., Ed.D.
   Whatever happened to the Father? R. Stanley
   Meditation:
       Led by the Spirit and tempted by the Devil
Saju Mathew
   News & Views Johnson K. Samuel
   Personalities encountered by Jesus - 8:
       Simon the Zealot
   "Children's corner" "Shiny Aunty"
   Malayalam section:
       Manasalivukaludey deivam
Pastor Mathew Samuel
   Malayalam section:
       Deiveeka kudumbam
Thomas Nainan, Mumbai
   Malayalam section:
      Kavitha: Ruth
Sabu Kaarammelil
   Sponsor's page:
      Bro. Thomas Varghese & family



Editorial
Kristhu raajaav

Pastor K.A. Mathew

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Keys to successful career and life:
God's presence, purpose and power


Thomson K. Mathew D.Min., Ed.D., Dean, School of Theology and Missions,
Oral Roberts University, USA

The writer explains that being aware of the presence of God, discovering His purpose and depending on His power are keys to having a successful career and life.

PRESENCE OF GOD

Paul Pruyser was a well known psychologist who studied mental and spiritual well being of Christians. He has published his observations and recommendations regarding mental health in a classic book titled Minister as Diagnostician. Interestingly, the first diagnostic theme he looks in a counselee's life is his or her awareness of the presence of God. He calls it the "awareness of the Holy." Pruyser believes that a healthy person is aware of God's presence in a meaningful way.

I have been amazed at the number of Christians who live their lives without a real sense of the presence of God. A spiritually healthy person has a deep sense of the presence of a Holy God in his life.

The Bible is a record of God's dealings with mankind. It states that God desires fellowship with His creation. From the Garden in Genesis to the Celestial City in Revelation, the Bible tells the story of God's presence with us! We must learn to live with this awareness at all times. Life and ministry flowing out of the awareness of the presence of God will have true meaning and impact.

The awareness of the presence of God affects one's choices, decisions and lifestyle. God has promised us His presence. Why don't we walk in that awareness? God was with Abraham. He was with Moses and Joshua. He is with us.

PURPOSE OF GOD

Pastor Rick Warren's well known book, Purpose-Driven Life, is an international best seller. His thesis is that we are created for God's purposes and we must live our lives to fulfill them. Many live their lives aimlessly. Some go from one thing to another and wander through life. Others just live their routines, never examining their lives in terms of God's ultimate purposes for them.

Most of the leadership problems in our community can be traced to people trying to live outside their calling and purpose. Many leadership issues can be reduced to a bunch of people having midlife crises, trying to prove something, seek approval or find significance. The best way to live is to live for God's purposes. They can be discovered through prayer, discernment and good counsel. There is great fulfillment in living one's life for God's purposes.

God's purposes are not limited to full time Christian ministry. All Christians are called to minister, but not all need to be "in ministry." Those who are called for full time service must follow that call. Some are called to be ministering lawyers, ministering doctors or ministering engineers. Some are called to teach or to discover healing medicines or to develop problem solving software packages. Follow God's call on your life.

I serve as the dean or principal of a major university related School of Theology in America. The faculty of this seminary teaches thousands of university students who major in sixty plus majors. The School of Theology itself has nearly one thousand students majoring in theology at bachelor's, master's and doctorate levels. I am grateful to have the opportunity to train these Christian ministers. Some time ago, someone in charge of a major institution came to offer me a very attractive position. It was a very prestigious job in the field of education with much higher salary and benefits. As I examined the possibilities, however, it became very clear to me that that particular job did not match my calling and purpose, although I may have some skills to do it fairly well. I said no to the institution that offered me the position. I do not regret that decision because I know that I want to be in the business of preaching, teaching and training people for Christian ministry. I get to do that at this wonderful place with a global perspective. I get to lead the largest Pentecostal/charismatic theological faculty in the world. That is good enough for me. I am not sure that the financial advantages and prestige of the other position could match the joy I feel today in fulfilling God's purpose for my life.

God will show us His purpose for us if we seek it. He does not want us to wander aimlessly. Seek His purpose, whatever that might be, and dare to follow that purpose. Through education and training, prepare to fulfill God's purpose for your life. This is a guaranteed way to avoid misery in the future.

Parents must allow their children to discover God's purpose for their lives. It does not matter if one's job is in the secular market or in the religious world. The key is doing what God made one to do. Parents need to guide their children in that discovery process. They should not be overbearing in enforcing their agenda and missed dreams on the children. Money-making should not be the only criterion for choosing a career. God needs Spirit-filled disciples in all avenues of life. We must go, as Oral Roberts said, "into every person's world."

POWER OF GOD

One cannot fulfill God's purpose for one's life by one's own strength. If one's dream requires only one's own resources, then the dream is not from God. The dream God gives one cannot be fulfilled by one's own giftings and resources. It requires God's strength. This is where the Holy Spirit comes in. We need the strength, wisdom and resources of the Holy Spirit to fulfill God's purpose for our lives. God's Spirit is a creative Spirit. God's power is unlimited. This is the advantage Spirit-filled people have. As Pentecostals, we know this mystery very well. Take advantage of it by opening your life to the power of God. His Spirit will fill you up to overflowing and empower you to fulfill God's purpose for your life. I do not know any one who regrets following God's destiny for them. Trust God and follow Him. Walk in His strength and power. Give your talents for His use and then see yourself blossom.

God's presence, purpose and power are key issues for successful Christian living. Being aware of the presence of God, discovering His purpose and depending on His power are keys to having a successful career and life.

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A study on Triune God - Part 2
Whatever happened to the Father?

R. Stanley

The writer explains the doctrine of Trinity which is progressively revealed in the Scriptures. In Part 1 (see the last issue of Suvartha), the writer dealt with two vital areas (Redemption & Prayer) where we need to restore the Fatherhood of God in our understanding and Christian experience. (Article reprinted with permission)

3. Worship

One of the favorite texts used often in charismatic worship meetings is Phil. 2:10,11, "At the Name of Jesus every knee should bow --- and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." Undoubtedly this is a very appropriate text for worship. But we tend to lose sight of its closing words: "TO THE GLORY OF GOD THE FATHER". The meaning is, all worship must ultimately be to the Father. We are to worship the Father "by" the Spirit of God and rejoice "in" Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:3). "We give thanks TO the God and FATHER of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Col. 1:3) "We bless our God and FATHER" (James 3:9). In fact, Christ also joins us in praising the Father! He tells His Father, "I will declare Your Name to My brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise You" (Psa. 22:22; Heb. 2:11-13). He told the Samaritan woman how His FATHER was seeking for true worshippers to worship Him (John 4:21-23).

When we get to Heaven, the mediatory work of Christ will no more be necessary. We will be ushered into the literal presence of God and we shall see Him in all His glory and majesty (Rev. 22:4). Christ's Name and the Name of His Father will be written on our foreheads (Rev. 14:1; 22:3,4). There we find worship being addressed to the Father as well as to the Son, depending upon the subject of praise. See Rev. 4:8,11; 5:9,10,12,13; 7:9-12; 11:16-18; 15:3,4; 16:5,6; 19:1-6. There is however no reference to the worship of the Holy Spirit.

The Father is not the Son. And the Son is not the Father. But the Father dwells in the Son, and the Son dwells in the Father (John 14:11). However, in the same passage Jesus ascribes all authority and glory to the Father (vs 10,13). In the same way, even though the Holy Spirit like Jesus is fully God, He does not attract worship towards Himself but directs it to the Father. When He came on people, He prompted them to magnify God for His wonderful works (Acts 2:4,11; 10:44,46). The Holy Spirit glorifies Christ; and Christ glorifies the Father (John 16:14; 17:4). This understanding will revolutionize our worship practices and add new dimensions to them. I counsel the composers of worship songs to bear this truth in mind and check the doctrinal correctness of their choruses and songs with reliable Bible teachers before releasing them. Otherwise irreparable damage may be caused to the doctrinal understanding of Christians in a day when songs become popular for their tune rather than the truth.

4. Ministry

We are saved to save others. God desires that each of us be active in bringing the lost to Him. After narrating the parable of the lost sheep, Jesus said, "Even so it is not the will of your FATHER who is in Heaven that one of these little ones should perish" (Mat. 18:14;

1 Tim. 2:3-5). Jesus explained Christian fruitfulness with the illustration of grapevine. He is the true Vine, but do we remember that His FATHER is the Gardener? (John 15:1). We often say that fruitfulness is a necessary mark of the disciples of Christ. But do we realize that the purpose of fruitfulness is to glorify the FATHER? (v. 8). The purpose of all good works is to glorify the FATHER in Heaven (Mat. 5:16).

Jesus compared soul winning and evangelism to harvest. He said that the FATHER is the Lord of the harvest and we are to pray to Him to send out labourers into "His" harvest (Mat. 9:37,38). In Isaiah's vision the call was given by the FATHER on behalf of the Three Persons of the Godhead: Whom shall "I" send, and who will go for "Us?" (Isa. 6:1,8). Understanding the burden and passion of the father heart of God is the greatest motivating factor in evangelism and missions (Luke 15:20). Any other is secondary.

Concerning the ministry of the Kingdom the Father had taught His Son to pray to Him for the salvation of nations: "Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance" (Psa. 2:8). The Father has instructed the Son to sit at His right hand till He would make His enemies His footstool (Psa. 110:1; Heb. 1:13). The fight between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of darkness is getting fiercer and fiercer. Every progress in missionary work is capturing of another territory of the enemy.

The heavenly authority of the FATHER must be constantly kept in mind in all our evangelistic endeavors (Rev. 2:26-28). We must not be shortsighted and be simply rejoicing over effects like healing and demon casting. The more permanent reality is that our names are registered in Heaven with the Father who is the "Lord of Heaven and earth" (Luke 10:17-22; Rev. 3:5). Though we are a little flock, it is our FATHER'S good pleasure to give us the Kingdom (Luke 12:32). We must pull ourselves out of fear complex and testify boldly because not one sparrow dies without the permission of our FATHER! (Mat. 10:27-29).

Those in pastoral ministries also must not forget the relationship of the Father with the sheep. Jesus said that He is the true Shepherd. He also added that it was the FATHER who gave Him the sheep (John 10:14,29). The Corinthian believers were rallying around their favorite preachers and fell into deadly groupism. To solve this problem apostle Paul gave a revealing teaching. Addressing those Christians he said, "All ministers are yours; and you are Christ's; and Christ is God's" (1 Cor. 3:4,21-23). In other words, pastors must realize that the sheep don't belong to them, but they belong to the sheep; the sheep belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to the Father! The Church of God is fractured into fragments bringing dishonour to the name of God among pagans. How important it is to realize at this hour that we have "one God and FATHER of all, who is above all, and through all, and in us all!" (Eph. 4:6). Nothing else will help to keep the unity (v. 3).

5. Suffering

More than any other time the truth of the Fatherhood of God is appreciated when we pass through periods of suffering. The Father God has one Son without sin but none without scars! "For what son is there whom a father does not chasten?" (Heb. 12:7). In this chapter on chastisement God is called the "FATHER of spirits" (v. 9). That means, He knows everything about everyone. "He knows our frame and He remembers that we are dust. As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him... He will not always chide us" (Psa. 103:14,13,9). As God takes us through trials and tribulations, let's stay submitted under Him with the confidence that He is the "FATHER of mercies" (2 Cor. 1:3).

It is when we recognize God the Father's hand on us behind the trials of life that we can be assured of His "good purpose" according to which all things work together (Rom. 8:28). The good purpose of the Father is that all His sons and daughters must become "conformed to the image of His Son" (v. 29). Here lies the answer to all the puzzles of life (Job 12:9,10; 9:24c). As children of the Father God and joint-heirs with Christ His Son in the Father's house, if we share in Christ's suffering today we shall also share in His glory tomorrow (Rom. 8:16-18). The Lord Jesus cheers us up today saying, "Let not your heart be troubled!" He states the reason why: "In My FATHER'S house are many mansions -- I go to prepare a place for you --" (John 14:1-3). Reservation of rooms in the Father's mansions!

"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. --- Since you call on the FATHER --- live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear" (1 Pet. 1:6,17). The Son of God understands and symphathises with our weaknesses and pleads for us before His Father at the Throne (Heb. 2:17,18; 4:14-16). Let's therefore sink into the Father's bosom with all our burdens.

The Final Scene

When the mother of Zebedee's sons requested Jesus to allot the left and right seats in His Kingdom to her two sons, He answered, "To sit on My right hand or on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My FATHER" (Mat. 20:23b). When the disciples enquired Jesus just before His ascension concerning the time of restoration of the Kingdom to Israel, He replied, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the FATHER has put in His own authority" (Acts 1:7). Similarly when the disciples asked Jesus in an earlier instant about the time of the end, He listed several signs but ended His answer saying, "But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the FATHER" (Mark 13:32), because it is the Father who would "send" His Son again (Acts 3:20).

Along these very words of Jesus, let's finally look at the truth revealed to Apostle Paul: "Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the FATHER, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. --- Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL!" (1 Cor. 15:24-28).

Now dear friend, answer this age-old question: "If I am the FATHER, where is My honour?" (Mal. 1:6).

- Concluded

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Meditation:
Led by the Spirit and tempted by the Devil!

Saju Mathew
Reading Passage: Matthew 4:1-11

"Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil" (Matt 4:1 NIV)

This is a bit confusing. The Spirit leads Jesus to be tempted by the Devil! Why does the Spirit do so? God never tempts us. "When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me, for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone" (James 1:13 NIV). Sometimes, however, He leads us to be tempted.

We all fear temptations. But remember, temptations are an opportunity to prove our integrity. It is just like a class exam. If there is no exam, how can we prove the competence of a student?

"That's Okay", you may say, "But the sad thing is, Satan is the examiner! Why is it not an angel?" It is because Satan is the accuser of the saints, not the angels. In the case of Job, the blameless and righteous, he said; "Does Job fear God for nothing? Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has?" (Job 1:9-10 NIV). When Satan puts a challenge like that, God sends us for an exam, which is conducted by Satan! He says, "Go, my son! Undertake the challenge! Prove your faithfulness!"

Some times people ask, why did God make the tree of knowledge that, which He knew, would induce Man? If God had not been allowing temptations, He would be like a father who does not send his child for class exams, fearing that the child would fail. Why didn't God intervene when Eve was failing? If He did so, He would have been like a father who writes the exams in place of his child!

It is God, who put Joseph in Potiphar's house. God even allowed Potiphar's wife, to have Joseph's mantle. But Joseph came out victoriously from Satan's persuasion. He proved his purity and integrity. God wants us to go through temptations and come out victorious. Only then, He can proudly say, "Yea, my child's purity is proven. Now, No one can accuse him."

Prayer: Lord, I know, you never tempt me to sin. But, when you allow me to undergo temptations, help me to come out victoriously. I am weak, but thou art strong! Give me strength, AMEN

Further reading: Gen. 39.1- 23; James 1. 12-15

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News & Views
Johnson K. Samuel

Faith makes believers stay happy

A study presented at the Royal Economic Society's annual conference in Britain, suggests that religion can act as an "insurance policy" against distress. The research used data from across Europe to study the impact of religious belief - both the personal practices related to communal faith and communication stemming from shared conviction - on life satisfaction. According to the study, regular churchgoers appear to cope better with distressful events such as divorce or unemployment. The research was led by Prof. Andrew Clark and Dr. Orsolya Lelkes. Although the "stress-buffering" effect varies according to the life event and religious denomination, churchgoing and prayer are certainly associated with greater satisfaction. The study concludes that those inclined towards religion tend to be happier than atheists or agnostics.

These findings may cause surprise to a few, but not to a Christian believer. He trusts in a Person who gives him peace that passes all understanding. A believer has a Lord who will help him carry his burdens. He is instructed: "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you" (1 Pet. 5:7). Is there any wonder that a believer is happy in all circumstances and face all situations calmly?

More women ordained priests

According to an Associated Press report, women outnumbered men among newly ordained priests in the Church of England for the first time last year. The church added 213 women priests in 2006 and 210 men. The Church of England began ordaining women as priests in 1994, and is now debating whether women could serve as bishops.

Any thoughts on the subject?

Church buildings in France have no takers

Tens of thousands of churches have fallen out of favor - and into disrepair in France and other European countries according to Associated Press. Towns and villages do not know what to do with them. Some old churches have been converted into houses, while other churches too expensive to maintain have been torn down. In France, fewer than 5 percent of the nation's 62 million people attend church every week, down from 27 percent fifty years ago. In communities where there are still a few church goers, the old cathedrals are too large for them. Mayor of a city said: "Old churches are five times too big for the congregation that usually comes. People prefer a more modern, smaller church, that's more cheerful and warm, instead of a huge one where they get lost in all the space". Famous cathedrals that are known for their religious architecture are preserved for their architecture value and maintained by the national government.

Churches have lost their relevance in affluent western societies because rituals have failed to meet man's spiritual needs.But wherever gospel of Jesus Christ is proclaimed, souls are still being saved. Praise God!

Use of technology in churches

Research data have been collected in USA about the use of modern technology by protestant churches to influence people's lives and enliven their church experience. The tools mainly used are large screens for showing video imagery, showing video segments during church events, sending emails to all, operating a church website and training via a satellite dish. 65% of churches now have a large screen projection system in their church. Sending email blasts to the entire church body is common in a majority of churches (56%). Ways in which churches are reaching out to people over the Internet are expanding. Most churches have websites of their own. Blogging is also invading the ministry world. One-eighth of churches (13%) now have blog sites or pages through which people can interact with the thoughts posted by church leaders.

George Barna, who directed these studies, says: "The Internet has become one of the pivotal communications and community-building tools of our lifetime. Churches are well-advised to have an intelligent and foresighted Internet strategy in order to facilitate meaningful ministry".

Technology has come to stay. India is not in any way lagging behind in technology. New technology should be used to make church participation interesting to all sections of the congregation.

Israeli citizenship of Messianic Jews

The Supreme Court of Israel has ruled in favour of 12 applicants who were denied citizenship primarily because they were Jewish believers in Jesus. The Ministry of Interior reportedly had told the applicants that they would not receive citizenship because they "commit missionary activity" and were acting against the interests of the state of Israel and the Jewish people. The Supreme Court ruled that Messianics should receive equal treatment under the Israeli law of return, which says that anyone who is born Jewish can immigrate from anywhere in the world to Israel and be granted citizenship automatically.

The denial of Jesus as Christ by Israel is still very strong. But the Lord God says "I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced" (Zech. 12:10). That time is soon coming.

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Personalities encountered by Jesus - 8:
Simon the Zealot



"---- Simon who was called the Zealot (Luke 6:15)

Aside from this brief reference (and similar references in other gospels), New Testament tells us very little of Simon, except that he was called by Jesus to be one of the 12 disciples. Luke indicates that he was a member of the Zealots, a Jewish sect that adheres strictly to Mosaic ritual and advocated the assertion of religious liberty by force of arms.

The sect of Zealots is believed to have been organized by a fierce patriot known as Judas the Galilean who, when Judea was made a Roman province, publicly urged people to resist Roman rule and to refuse to pay taxes.

The Jewish historian, Josephus, paints a derogatory picture of the Zealots in their later history during the siege of Jerusalem under Vespasian. According to his account, they assassinated many of the most eminent citizens of the Holy City and created such internecine conflicts among the Jews that they fell easy prey to the Roman attackers. Even the Zealots themselves were divided into two factions, the historian relates, whose struggles among themselves hastened the fall of Jerusalem.

It may well be that Simon the Zealot was one of the followers of Jesus who believed that He might be a political deliverer who would overthrow the hated rule of Rome.

In one of his most widely quoted poems the American Poet, Ezra Pound, tried to imagine the thoughts of Simon the Zealot, following the crucifixion. The work is called, "Ballad of the Goodly Fere" and one of the stanzas quotes the disciple as saying:

"A master of men was the Goodly Fere
A mate of wind and sea.
If they think they ha' slain our Goodly Fere
They are fools eternally"

- selected

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Children's corner:
Contentment in God's providence

"Shiny Aunty"

A poor couple had a teenaged daughter named Sneha. Even though they could not afford the luxuries of life they managed to admit their daughter in a good school. She was fairly good at studies. Her best friend Sruti was from a rich family. She spent a lot of time studying at Sruti's house. And Sneha observed all the good things that Sruti had for herself. Sruti had her own fully furnished room with a computer, music system etc. Sneha felt that Sruti was very lucky to have all the things that a youngster would want.

But one day as she read the daily reading portion from the Bible, she was touched by the words of Jesus Christ in Luke 12: 15. It says "...For a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he posseseth". God opened her inward eyes to understand that there is more to life than all the material things that she has. The gift of life, a sound mind, good health, loving parents, opportunity to study, good friends, above everything to know the living God and become His child is more desirable than just having all the material things which cater to the body which is going to perish one day. God is more concerned for our eternal goodness and will grant everything that will prepare us for our ultimate goodness. Sneha thanked God for all the good things that God had given her.

Dear Children, God loves you and cares for you. He will grant all that you need in life. Never think that you are less privileged than others. Be thankful and content for all that He has given you. He will provide all that you need at the right time. But you need to love Him and obey His Word. God bless you.

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Malayalam section:
Manasalivukaludey deivam

Pastor Mathew Samuel

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Malayalam section:
Deiveeka kudumbam

Thomas Nainan, Mumbai

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Malayalam section
Kavitha: Ruth - Part 3

Sabu Karammelil

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Sponsor's page
Bro. Thomas Varghese and family



Bro. Thomas Varghese is the youngest son of (Late) Mr. Chacko Varghese and Mrs. Achamma Varghese, Paruthimuttathu, Mangalam, Chengannur. He was brought up in a Marthomite family. By God's grace, he had the privilege of being saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit at the age of 15. He testified the Lord through water baptism thereafter and continued as a member of I.P.C. Vazharmangalam. After his college education, he worked for a few years in Mumbai. He is presently settled in Dubai with family and actively working for the Lord along with a secular job.

His wife is Jaya Thomas, grand daughter of (Late) Pastor K.J. Samuel and daughter of Mr. Johnson K. Samuel and Mrs. Jessy Samuel. Jaya was born and brought up in Mumbai and was a member of I.P.C. Chembur. They have two children, Janice Thomas and Sharon Thomas, studying in U.A.E. The family worships the Lord in I.P.C. Salem, Dubai.




Nine things that God won't ask on that day


1. God won't ask: what kind of car you drove.
He'll ask: how many people you drove who didn't have transportation.

2. God won't ask: the square footage of your house.
He'll ask: how many people you welcomed into your home.

3. God won't ask: about the clothes you had in your closet.
He'll ask: how many you helped to clothe.

4. God won't ask: what your highest salary was.
He'll ask: if you compromised your character to obtain it.

5. God won't ask: what your job title was.
He'll ask: whether you performed your job to the best of your ability.

6. God won't ask: how many friends you had.
He'll ask: how many people to whom you were a friend.

7. God won't ask: in what neighborhood you lived.
He'll ask: how you treated your neighbour.

8. God won't ask: about the colour of your skin.
He'll ask: about the content of your character.

9. God won't ask: why it took you so long to seek salvation.
He'll lovingly take you to your mansion in heaven, not to the gates of hell.

-Contributed: Jaya Thomas


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