Saturday, December 25, 2010

Android Developers newsgroup post on Christmas

I was amazed to find this post yesterday on the Android Developer newsgroup, obviously from a sincere Hindu, completely ignorant about Jesus and Christmas. I hope he reads this explanatory link

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: saurabh sinha
Date: Dec 24, 9:50 pm
To: Android Developers


there is bitter truth behind christmas which I felt personally when
jesus was on earth nobody cared him
even he was punished by some bad people on cross sign including some
innocent people

but while dying he said to everyone I am dying for all of you and
today everyone missing him
its just a formality of doing and celebrating christmas

I mean to say when we have anything near we dont care but after
missing that same thing we start caring

well by the way this christmas inspiring to us we should care everyone
and never make any difference
it does not matter who is big or small matter should be good for others

but you know everyone celebrating no body think what are the main
reason behind this celebration

I thought deeply and paid homage to that great man who came on earth
and was good human being that is JESUS

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Anil Philip's blog: Jesus touches a leper!

Anil Philip's blog: Jesus touches a leper!

Jesus touches a leper!

When I was growing up in Bangalore, my grandmother had to walk up a hillock, cross the railway tracks to go to the market (see map). One day, she came back shaken. The leper who used to beg near the hillock, had apparently tired of life and one night, went and lay down on the tracks. The train came through and chopped him up into pieces. My grandmother saddened, wondered at how he must have despaired of life. she had tossed him coins, and exchanged a few words (I don't know if she gave him the gospel).

At school, we learned that leprosy was incurable. That one's skin became desensitized to pain and fingers, noses, arms and legs gradually rotted away. I used to be scared at the thought of contracting this dreaded disease, and would hold my breath passing by one of 'them' so as not to breathe in the virus. If I tossed one a coin, it would be from afar. Lepers were usually beggars and pushed themselves on small wooden carts with trundle wheels where they begged at train and bus stations and markets. They were shunned by society and had no family, wandering instead in groups. People avoided them. (picture of leper and also here)

With this background, I was amazed when I read this sentence in the passage:
12 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
 13 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.
 14 Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”
 15 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5)
 Jesus touches a leper! For a Rabbi, this was unthinkable. It made Jesus ceremonially unclean according to Old Testament law in the Torah.
But think of why he did this. He could have healed the man with a single word as he did on so many occasions. Jesus did not need to touch the man. Yet he did.

To be touched is a universal human craving. Some years ago, Romanian orphanages found babies died mysteriously even when they were well fed. It was found that they were fed but left alone by themselves. When they were picked up and held and carried, the death rate in these orphanages diminished.

The man craved contact from another healthy human being. Being shunned from society meant that only another leper could touch him. People recoiled and shrank in horror when he approached; he had to loudly announce his presence in advance calling out, "Unclean!". The wound inside his soul was deep. Not just his rotting flesh, but his wounded soul needed healing. Being touched by Jesus even when he was diseased meant he was accepted and cared for.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5)
Furthermore, I believe that Jesus did not simply give him a light tap. I believe that Jesus really placed his hand on the leper's body so that the significance sunk into the psyche of the man.

Yet another arresting instance of the compassion of Jesus.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The birth of Jesus

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. (Luke 2:6-7)
When I read these lines, I had to stop. The thought struck me. I had the mental picture of a baby, all wrinkled, eyes half open and wrapped in rough cloths and placed among some straw. Weak, vulnerable  and defenseless (although there were invisible angels guarding him). Jesus ate the same food and shared the discomforts of his poor working class family.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Satan is Real. And, a man should have the courage to lay down his life for his family.

I was outraged and shocked, reading the details of this horrific crime. Here are details of this home invasion and brutal murder of a family by two white men, Hayes and Komisarjevsky.

However, the more I chewed it over in my mind, the more agitated I was at the husband, Dr Petit.

1) He did not act like the leader of his family. He could have marshaled them together to fight the intruders, call 911, anything...
2) After he was tied up, he got free, and simply ran away to a neighbor's house - which is why he survived.

On the other hand, his wife went back to the house and was assaulted and killed. She had more concern for her family, if not foolishness in not waiting for police at the bank to catch Hays who was with her.

Satan is real. He enters a person granting them temporary invincibility to do monstrous evil. This happened wth Judas Iscariot in the Bible, Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, and to evil criminals like these two murderers.

The other striking thing is, if you are not under God's protection - under the blood of Jesus - you are vulnerable. The Bible says that Satan "prowls like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour".

Our society brings us up to think of survival of ourselves. A man should have the courage and recognition ahead of time, that he will lay down his life for his family. Dr Petit should have fought to the death. I pray that when faced with such a situation, I shall make the correct choice.

In fact, I was anguished to find that the killer said exactly that in a journal,

Hayley was the fighter of the family, according to Komisarjevsky, who claimed the father was "passive" toward saving his family.

"If you don't want to defend your family, then take your chances with the criminal while police sit outside and follow protocol," wrote Komisarjevsky
"Mr. Petit is a coward, he ran away when he felt his own life was threatened," Komisarjevsky wrote. "Time and time again I gave him the chance to save his family."

William Petit, who has attended every day of the the court hearings, sat stoicly through the accusation.
May pastors start exhorting men to be leaders in their homes. May pastors preach correctly that self-defense and defending your loved ones is required in the Bible.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Idea: progress bar for eBooks

Watching video or listening to audio, you have a progress bar or time line. Reading a book, you can hold the book sections in your hands to get a feel for your progress. Even a cassette tape player has a progress window. Unfortunately, with an eBook, there is no progress bar for a chapter.
Why not have a new widget - a progress bar for Wordprocessors? MSWord, Acrobat...
In the header, simply put a progress bar widget for the chapter. So if a chapter has 100 pages, each sheet has a progress bar ----->------------ Of course, the '>' represents your position in the chapter.
Or how about --------34---------100
If that is hard to generate, then simply write (say) "page 34 of 100"
Another way would be to have the scroll bar set to the size of the chapter (and not the entire book). 

Hmm... I dont find a 3rd party plugin here ( - perhaps I should write my own?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Was the Cross from God, or Satan?

As an icon among Catholics, and even in evangelical Christian worship songs, the Cross is venerated and held dearly.
However, I believe that the cross as the means for Jesus' death may actually have been from Satan. Here are some supporting reasons, and one opposing.

The Cross was from Satan:
God abhors cruelty.
  • The entire book of Nahum in the Old Testament was a condemnation of Nineveh, the capital city of Assyria. God condemned them for their extreme cruelty in war. My NIV Bible text note says that they would erect piles of chopped heads of the inhabitants of the cities they conquered. They would torture the leaders to death.

[TODO add more verses to support:]

The cross was an instrument of torture. It was a slow and painful death stretching over hours. Before crucifixion, Jesus was flogged with a Roman cat-o-nine tails. This multiple pronged whip contained shards of metal and glass and shredded a victims flesh and often itself caused death. On the cross, the victim was nailed at the forearms and shins to the wooden beams. To breathe, the victim had to raise himself (or herself) on his nailed arms and legs. Every breath was agony. Eventually he or she was exhausted and died of suffocation.
Jesus was the lamb of God who died for the sins of the world. In Jewish custom, the Passover lamb was slain humanely by slitting its throat. It was not tortured to death. God would have picked a humane way for his Son to be sacrificed.
When you read the book of Job in the Bible, you see Satan wanting to test Job's devotion to God. God allowed Satan to choose the means of testing. Satan used evil means including killing Job's children in a storm. Yet, God imposed boundaries on Satan - limits on what evil he could choose to do. God is not the author of evil.
Many of the Old Testament books of the Bible pointed to the Messiah and his experiences. I believe the book of Job points to Jesus' crucifixion. Just as Satan was allowed to choose the instrument in Job's disasters, so was Satan allowed to choose the instrument for Jesus' death.

The Cross was from God:
God prescribed stoning as a means of execution. I do not know why He allowed it because it seems cruel and horrific to me - yet, God is not a cruel God. Perhaps God hated sin so much that He prescribed this as a deterrent.

Conclusion: We must glorify the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross - not the cross itself.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Church should preach Z-Giving, NOT Tithing

My pastor has been preaching a sermon series on spiritual warfare.
In this series he mentioned that it is a ploy of Satan for us to "ignore the subtle". Another week he mentioned that we are tempted by Satan to compromise the truth.

I observed that many pastors in churches we have attended, preach tithing and that it should be at least 10% of one's gross income.

However, in 2 Corinthians 9:7 it clearly states, "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver". There is nothing anywhere in the NT that says it should be 10% or more. In other words, when God says "free-will giving", are pastors tempted by Satan to fudge the truth and say "at least 10% tithing"? Shouldn't also pastors trust God to supply their need rather than be tempted to "ignore the subtle" (a ploy of Satan). Aren't they being tempted to compromise the truth?

I observed that these same pastors are often angered or refuse to discuss the truth about tithing. Last month I was working in Atlanta GA, and visited Victory church in Norcross (8/29/2010). It was heartwarming to see the sincere congregation; almost every service had baptisms. However, the pastor was an abusive person. 

The senior pastor Dennis Rouse preached a blistering sermon on tithing The senior pastor Dennis Rouse preached a blistering sermon on tithing He preached against those who were sitting in the pews and consuming and not giving, against those who pass the offering bucket without dropping anything in, against those who did not contribute to the building fund. He also preached that those who gave less than 10% of their gross income to his church were robbing God. Finally, he said that he wanted non-tithers to leave his church. 
I went to him afterward and said, "I have no problem with giving to the church. I used to give 11% of the gross and now it has dropped to 10% of the net. I have studied this topic and believe in the NT, 2 Corinthians 9:7 applies", and quoted it.  Whereupon he got enraged, stepped into me, literally breathing into my mouth and jabbed me in my side with his finger and said angrily, "Listen, Everything in the OT remains and became more in the NT". Then he walked away saying he would not argue this topic.
I feel such strong reactions come because they secretly know the truth and are guilty.

As a result, they pull out the Tithing sermon once or twice a year hammering the congregation with Malachi 3, accusing them of "robbing God" and "cursed with a curse".
The rest of the year, they are afraid to talk about money lest the congregation get fed up.

Not Tithing, does not mean Not Giving.

From other passages, Giving should be generous, regular, a percentage of income, cheerfully.  "As he has decided in his heart" does not mean whimsical or sporadic based upon mood.  In other words it should be disciplined and regular.

I wonder what would happen if pastors preached thus. They should regularly preach this kind of, let us call it, Z-Giving. When they do not hint at 10% but leave the percentage up to the person and God, then it allows God to work in their heart to give generously and cheerfully. The closer they grow to God, the more they want to give.

When their Z-Giving is dependent upon how close they are to God, then as the pastor does his good work, it can only grow and be joyous and generous.

The OT required obedience from the congregant to give 10%. The NT requires obedience of the pastor to faithfully preach Z-Giving and to get the people close to God.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

When you tie your self-worth to your standard of living, you will always be poor.

When you tie your self-worth to your standard of living, you will always be poor.

Let's say you want to drink coffee. You can choose between Starbucks (upper class and expensive), Panera Bread (slightly less expensive) and McDonalds (cheapest).
If going to the McDonalds makes you feel embarrassed, and lower class, then chances are, you tie your self-worth to your standard of living.
So let's say you go to the Starbucks and instead of $1 for a coffee in McDonalds, you spend $2.79.
In other words your standard of living has been raised in order to make you feel good.
Now multiply this effect across the hundreds of spending decisions you must make over the period of a month.
For every buying decision you make, if you pick the premium option, your bills at the end of the month will be a lot larger than necessary. You will either land heavily in debt if unrestrained,
or if you force yourself to pick cheap, you will feel unworthy and miserable.

Take another example. Let's say you have $2500 to buy a car. You can choose to buy an old car, say, a 11 year old Toyota Corolla for $2500 OR a new Honda CRV SUV costing $23,000. You are embarrassed to drive the Corolla - it has some rust spots and looks worn. Most of all, it is below your standard of living! So you pay the $2500 as a down payment, and buy the spanking new SUV. The payments are only $600 a month...

Do you see my point? The cumulative cost of all these 'minor' decisions will soon engulf you!

When you tie your self-worth to your standard of living, you will always be poor.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Dont buy a TomTom GPS. Tax cheats.

They are trying to evade US taxes. So they send emails offering $30 off TomTom XXL550. I purchased it for $176 and found additional charges. They did not tell me that it is a foreign currency transaction. It was listed in US dollars. My credit card company has charged me an additional $5.30 as foreign currency fees.

They have billed it to their Netherlands office even though they are registered in Massachusetts.

I want to return the product for a full refund but they make it impossible to do so. If the package has been opened, they charge 15% restocking.

I have complained to the Federal Trade Commission - they are doing this to evade US taxes. This is cheating.

I want everyone to be aware of their illegal actions.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pastor-driven churches are an Old Testament model.

In my 15 years in America, I have been a regular attender at 4 churches, of different denominations, all of them pastor-driven. I have also visited a further 8-10 churches.
It seems to me an Old Testament model, where the pastor is like Moses (or David), the praise and worship team is like Miriam.
The congregation is only expected to tithe and volunteer (serve). This is because the anointing was only on the chosen few.
So in the Old Testament, the leader was the go-between between man and God.
However in the New Testament, we are all anointed because we all have the Holy Spirit.
We are all priests. (numerous passages).
We are Living Stones in the Temple. (1 Peter 2:5).
It is participatory. "What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. " 1 Corinthians 14:26
We are the Body of Christ. (numerous passages).
Yet, in our services, there is such tight control. It is exactly like the Old Testament.
The congregation is only expected to tithe and volunteer (serve), to sing in praise and worship, and make up the numbers.
Where there is tight control, there is also manipulation - for money and power.
Only one person teaches. The elders seem like titular figureheads.
The body of Christ is like a teenager - constantly attending classes and stuck between baby and adulthood.
Gifts are not exercised.
When I asked a visiting leader (and pastor) about this situation, I have been told that it is in the small group that one exercises one's gifts.
However this seems like putting your child in the sandbox (or the family room) where he can safely get dirty, make noise, without disturbing the adults in the living room (main sanctuary).
The leader also told me that this was to ensure decency and order as in 1 Corinthians 14. However, this goal of orderliness can still be achieved in a participatory congregation.
A pastor-driven church does not reflect the New Testament model of the body of Christ.
Pastor-driven churches gradually become pastor-centered and from then on, degenerate into corruption and abuse.
The Reformation fought to remove the Papacy with its abuses and wrong model. However, this itself seems like a new papacy.
Is this tight control reducing the effectiveness of the Holy Spirit?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Stephen Hawking says, "God did not create the universe"

News report:
God did not create the universe and the "Big Bang" was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics, the eminent British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking argues in a new book.
In "The Grand Design," co-authored with U.S. physicist Leonard Mlodinow, Hawking says a new series of theories made a creator of the universe redundant, according to the Times newspaper which published extracts on Thursday.
"Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist," Hawking writes.
"It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going."
So do the laws of Physics exist independently of and outside the Universe? and where did these laws come from? I wonder if anyone will ask him.

Why did Jesus use spit to heal a blind man?

In all societies, human spittle is disgusting, contaminated and germ-laden. Spitting on someone is a grave insult and shows that you consider him despicable. When someone is spat upon you can be assured that he will become very angry.

John 9:1-7
1As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"
 3"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. 4As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
 6Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man's eyes. 7"Go," he told him, "wash in the Pool of Siloam" (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

I have heard some strange theological explanations: that it was a symbolism of the creation time in Genesis, that it was a medicinal (huh?) poultice.

For a clue to the answer, have you wondered why he insulted this Samaritan woman who asked him to heal her son?

Matthew 15:21-28
21Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession."
 23Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us."
 24He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel."
 25The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said.
 26He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."
 27"Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."
 28Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
A dog in eastern cultures is despised and unclean. So why did Jesus insult her?
The answer is simple: Jesus was asking every one of them,

"Are you willing to give up your dignity in exchange for a miracle?"

Notice that they had a choice to feel insulted and leave, or to remain, press closer and obey. This is also seen in an Old Testament healing where the prophet Elisha asks Namaan the general of Syria who had leprosy to wash in the lowly, muddy Jordan river - not once, but seven times. Again the question:

"Are you willing to give up your dignity in exchange for a miracle?"

Finally, Jesus himself was faced with that question.

"Are you willing to give up your dignity in exchange for a miracle?"

Jesus was spat upon, beaten, mocked, insulted, whipped, and crucified. His final dignity was removed when he hung naked on the cross. He did this in exchange for the miracle of salvation for you, and for me.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A lesson from the life of Barnabas: Avoid becoming bitter in a doctrinal dispute.

A lesson from the life of Barnabas. We never read of him after his bitter dispute.

Acts 15. 36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing." 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.
He did not survive this spiritual/personal conflict. Even though he was in the right!
Perhaps he became bitter (later he chose Peter's wrong doctrine over Paul's correct and "was led astray").
Paul was unaffected.

Barnabas handled it well externally, but poorly internally; Paul was the opposite.

Perhaps he also felt that Paul had himself received great grace and now was not repaying the same - like the servant in Jesus' parable who had a great debt (here murder) but after he was forgiven, would not forgive a tiny debt that he himself was owed (here, desertion).

It is certain that Barnabas may have had brothers and sisters in christ if not actual family who were killed through Saul.

A quarrel stunted his great spiritual potential. He could not achieve further spiritual greatness after this parting.

We must keep our hearts from bitterness even in our doctrinal disputes.

(Galatians 9:13)

Barnabas was a disciple before Paul. When he was distrusted and shunned by the suspicious disciples, he verified Saul's Damascus road experience so that they accepted him.

(Acts 9:27)
But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.

Barnabas nurtured Paul for one year. He searched for and discipled Paul so he flourished; did not ignore him and let his gift die out. Deliberate, conscious steps.

The church gave prophetically sending their gift through Paul and Barnabas.

Barnabas recognised the move of God before others did. This was when he saw the new gentile believers and also earlier when he affirmed Saul's vision.

Barnabas was not jealous of other's spiritual prosperity. "He was glad and encouraged them to remain true to the Lord".

"He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith"

(Acts 11:22-30)
22 Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch. 23 When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. 24 For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.

25 Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. 26 And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.

27 And in these days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar. 29 Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea. 30 This they also did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

My reasons not to carry a cell phone

When they first came out, my father mislabelled them as 'cellophones'. I gave mine to my wife and refused to carry one for 9 years. I recently caved in and bought two for myself (I really need to write an Android program on the device). Before I become too assimilated and forget Why, here are my reasons for resisting thus far:

  • Avoid Group Think and brainwashing. Have you noticed that people's views are congealing into just two or three viewpoints? It is not coincidence. These electronic connecting devices are the neurons of our collective consciousness. But even so, this connectedness hammers away at your individuality. and makes you think more like the group you chatter away with - be it friends, employer or social group. It is far easier now to be brainwashed by the media. Going to Yahoo to check my email (to remain connected!), I can't help but stop by to read their often biased articles.
  • Cut the Electronic Leash. You can be reached at any time. Your freedom is gone.  When people call you on your cellphone, they have the expectation of being able to talk to you immediately and at any time of the day or night. Disappoint this expectation more than a few times, and you will irritate the relationship. for example, how long can you refuse to take the call or not immediately call back your spouse, employer, important client even when they call at uncivilized hours?
  • The Contract. Phones are so expensive, that you have to agree to a 2 year contract to get one. So you spend - at a minimum, $50 a month for two years. Now what happens if you lose your job? You pay a big penalty and return your phone. Furthermore, as long as you are in a contract, customer service treats you poorly.
  • Another valuable bauble not to lose. A $400 piece of jewelry that you cannot afford to lose; it sits on your mind - as if you did not have enough to worry about! "where is my phone, did I leave it at the gym... did I drop it while walking the dog...".
I can think of only one reason to carry one. When you are away from a landline - to reach a loved one, or call for help in an emergency.

Why is this World Cup different?

It is. At least to an observer in the USA. There is almost as much enthusiasm, fervor as in the follow up to the Super Bowl!
My reasons:
  • team USA performed the classic inspirational comeback win, and more than a few times, to reach the top of their group and the round of 16.
  • broadband is in 65% of homes. One can watch the action free if you have AT&T DSL, on the internet.
  • mobile has become to us now, what ball point pens were to us during the 80s. An accompanying suite of applications to keep us all "connected" has helped unify our interests and emotions. These applications Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Gmail need no mention.
  • Consumerism and the global middle class sector has compelled advertisers and sponsors to join with FIFA and bring this revenue-generating spectacle to us. TV networks including ABC in the USA show it for free.
  • Time zones fit well. 9 am, 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm in the USA especially on weekends - though not prime time - is convenient.
  • Wars are tucked away and forgotten. American troops are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, but this succession of presidents, Obama and Bush have ensured that their pro-Islam stance has led the American people to become confused and deceived over what we are fighting, and why we are fighting. As a columnist wrote in the Washington Times, people paid more attention to whether the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico would kill sea life, and ignored the fact that 7 troops died in Afghanistan on that same day.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A thought on marriage

We found that if each of us gives 75%, then it covers the gap when the other cannot give 50%. This applies to every area of marriage - money, chores etc.. If you give half (50%) and expect them to do their share (50%), then it becomes a business relationship. It will have frequent friction because you will always be watching to see if the other is doing his/her fair share. But if each gives 75%, then there is plenty to save into your 'love account' - especially to withdraw from to tide through the lean times when the other cannot contribute. The Bible says, 'Love covers a multitude of sins'. Furthermore, it fosters a spirit of generosity and grace.

On judging and the child abuse scandal

Several people have denounced those who judge the Catholic church for its cover up of child sex abuse by priests. They quote from the Bible, "Judge not that you are not judged".

On child abuse:

Luke chapter 17 (google the Bible reference)
"Jesus said to his disciples: Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves."

When Jesus says, "little ones", He is speaking of children who are molested.

On Judging:

Here is are some good thoughts by :

Jesus repeatedly taught men to judge rightly, insisting they “judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24) and He praised a man who “rightly judged” (Luke 7:43). Paul shamed the Corinthian Christians because no one among them was willing to “judge the smallest matters” (1 Cor. 6:2). As the Apostle wrote, “He who is spiritual judges all things” for “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:15-16).

Where did we get the notion that men should never judge? Should child-molesters escape condemnation? Should rapists be free from criticism? Should society refrain from judging those arrested for murder? And why would anyone judge others for judging?

bbc story - Would you walk on by?

BBC article here. I have not had the opportunity to help people in such dramatic encounters, but have helped in small situations. It is a lie that people are not scared. "The more obvious possibility, that people are simply too frightened to intervene, is discounted by psychologists". Another case of Experts Talking Rubbish. The truth is, everyone at the scene who has the thought of intervening, feels fear. In order to help, one takes action in spite of the fear.

news report: North Korea threatens more punishment for American

Aijalon Mahli Gomes went as a Christian and the US media is anti-Christian. He is black. The others were white or oriental. Racism is very strong including in that region. The North Koreans likely despise him and will easily kill him without compunction. The other two women who were set free were journalists, darlings of Oprah, ABC, CNN - and Bill Clinton who set off to free them. Poor man. He has only God to help him.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Forgiveness without Repentance?

Q. When Jesus prayed on the cross, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do", did God immediately forgive mankind for rejecting and killing his Son?
A. No

It has become popular to tell victims to "simply forgive". Thus the Catholic church for decades told its victims to forgive and not demand punishment of the priests who had sexually molested them. At the other end of the spectrum, pastor Brian Zahnd writes in Charisma magazine (May 2010 page 48) that the church of the 21st century should, "position ourselves on a platform of radical forgiveness", "lay down our rights and in love, simply pray, 'Father, forgive them' ". This is partly good but when there is no mention of repentance of the perpetrator nor justice for the victim, then it is a distorted Christianity. In his latest book, "Unconditional?" he even goes so far as to re-label Justice as Retaliation and Revenge.

In fact, when anyone says, "simply forgive", then it is sometimes a sign that they themselves are complicit in a cover up or have not come clean on their own sins. God is angered by abuse and atrocity. Righteousness and Justice are the foundations of His throne (Psalm 89:14). It takes courage and risk to demand justice for the victim, to insist on repentance from the perpetrator.

It seems to me that there are three stages in forgiveness. I do not know whether the original Greek 'recognizes' the subtleties, but I think that there are distinctions in how the word is used.

Willing To Forgive stage: personal willingness to forgive; the victim is able to say mentally and in his heart, "I forgive you".
Justice stage: society seeks justice for the victim. society punishes the wrongdoer.
Transactional Forgiveness stage: forgiveness as a transaction. the perpetrator repents. He goes to the victim and asks for forgiveness. the victim says, "I forgive you" to the wrongdoer. The wrongdoer experiences forgiveness as a transaction.

Biblical proof that repentance is required:
1) In the question above, God did not automatically forgive mankind for murdering His son. Remember this point: Jesus is the second person of the Trinity and also that God always answered Jesus' prayers.

He answered Jesus' prayer by rending the veil in the temple that separated God and man. Then in Acts through the Holy Spirit, the disciples set out to preach the gospel. Observe what the gospel is:
  • Acts 2:38
"Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins..."
  • Acts 3:19
"Repent then and turn to God so your sins may be wiped out.[forgiveness]".
  • Acts 5:31
"that He might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel."
  • Acts 8:22
"Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you."

God did not say, "Everyone gets a free pass to heaven - I forgave everyone at the cross". We preach that without repentance, a person's sins are not forgiven, he is unsaved and goes to hell. God sends people to hell even though he was willing to forgive at the cross.

2) Jesus famous parable on forgiveness:
(Matthew 18 23-35)
"Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents[g] was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. "The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. "But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded. "His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' "But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. "Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."

If you notice, each time the phrase, "he begged" is used of the indebted. This is repentance.
The king did not automatically say the first time, Ok, I forgive him his huge debt - go tell him he doesn't need to repay me. Each time, there was a begging for mercy - or repentance. Only then, Transactional Forgiveness happened.

3. Luke 17:3-4. Jesus himself said: “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”
  • Jesus' parable is entirely consistent with God's forgiveness of sins - that repentance precedes forgiveness and transactional forgiveness is different from willingness to forgive.
  • It is important to realize that the Willingness To Forgive stage must be reached by the victim otherwise there will be no forgiveness from your heart when the perpetrator repents.
  • Also, being offended (wounded pride) is not the same as offense (crimes and offenses) which are sins.
  • Forgiveness means reconciliation. How can you have reconciliation when the villain does not acknowledge wrongdoing?
What constitutes repentance. a mere display of sorrowful emotion? I dont think so. With John the Baptist and the Pharisees, he asked them to bring actions ("fruits") that demonstrated repentance. With Zaccheus the tax collector whose life was transformed after meeting Jesus, he determined that he would repay anyone four-fold whoever he had wronged. In other words, Repentance is genuine willingness to accept the punishment for a sin; it is not a show of contrition to escape punishment!

Two further questions:

1) If my wrongdoer does not admit wrong, should I still have a relationship with him, pretending as if nothing happened?
2) What about justice? Can one forgive and still demand justice?

1) Proverbs says, "Love covers a multitude of sins". "A sensible man ignores an insult.". Many times, it is best to overlook or ignore when someone sins against you. But if you are grieved or your loved ones are harmed and the matter cannot be put to rest, then one follows Matthew 18. It is clear that if the wrongdoer does not admit wrong, then he is out of relationship - an outsider or outcast.

(Matthew 18)
15"If your brother sins against you,[b] go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.'[c] 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

 A 2) Justice is executed by the system that society institutes. God requires this regardless of whether the victim forgives or the wrongdoer repents.  It seems to me that the victim can still press for justice and yet have "willingness to forgive" in his heart, as long as there is no repentance.
Here is where I am uncertain:
Can a victim be willing to forgive yet demand justice?
However, Society may allow for room for leniency if there is forgiveness by the victim - however scriptural backing for this is unclear to me.

update: finally it seems that Pope Benedict - after personally facing the risk of arrest and prosecution for crimes against humanity for his role in the abuse cover-up is seeing the light. He said, "Forgiveness cannot be a substitute for Justice". Yesterday, he begged God and his victims for forgiveness for "the sins of the priests".
update 08-22-2010. Unfortunately it seems this was short-lived; When police raided the bishop's offices in Belgium to investigate child-abuse claims, the pope issued a condemnation of the justice department's action and made an outcry.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fine Israeli film - "For My Father"

Just watched "For My Father" directed by Dror Zahavi. It is a somber Israeli-Palestinian love story, sad but beautiful. Tarek is a Palestinian soccer player - who in a macabre twist of logic - sets out to restore his father's reputation by becoming a suicide bomber. His father was suspected of being an informer because he got passes for his son to attend soccer training in Israel. So he was brutally beaten up by the Tanzim - the Palestinian militants.
Tarek, his son, crosses over into Tel Aviv but the bomb fails to explode due to a faulty timer.

Warning Spoiler Ahead!

Tarek finds an eccentric electrician, Katz whose son was killed in the Army, to repair the timer. Then he meets and falls in love with Keren a girl who is hiding from the Orthodox Jews who are outraged at her piercings, dress and out-of-wedlock pregnancy. She is also hiding from God whom she believes made her have a miscarriage. Tarek helps all of them and all of them help him in turn. But he cannot escape from the militants who have rigged him with a cell phone that can be manually activated to explode his bomb jacket if he loses his will. It is booby trapped so he cannot take it off and is given a cell phone to remain in contact with them.
Tarek spends the night at the beach with Keren. Surprisingly uncharacteristic for an Israeli movie, there is no sex - perhaps because removing the bomb jacket would have reduced the film to a farce! The militants call him and he is ordered to stand at the entrance of the market at Carmel and explode his bomb the next day. Tarek's dilemma is that he does not want to harm anyone yet has to redeem his father. So he finds a deserted spot and is about to explode it when Katz walks up to him and refuses to leave him. Meanwhile the police are onto him and sharpshooters ring the rooftops. Katz persuades Tarek to give it up and come with him when a sharpshooter shoots Tarek. The bomb explodes, killing him. Strangely enough, no one is killed - there are no shrapnel injuries. The scene cuts to Keren who is sleeping on the beach. She wakes up to find Tarek gone and a bag of nails nearby. Tarek had remove the shrapnel so no one else would be hurt.
This was a fine movie which humanized at least a few suicide bombers.

The jewish actor who played Katz lost his own son to a suicide bomber in real life.

This was a birthday treat!

New Supreme Court justice a lesbian?

"Why are people pretending that Elena Kagan is not a lesbian. She’s not out but that does not change her sexual orientation. She has a female partner. This is an open secret at Harvard Law School among students and faculty. I cannot speak for the broader legal community yet, but I’d have to believe her professional colleagues know as much or more than the students and professors she works with. The real irony would be if she did not get the nomination because she is not open, when the conventional wisdom has always been she has tiptoed through life in the closet for the very sake of winning a confirmation."
 (New York Times)

Unfortunately, the legitimization of gay marriage started with New Life pastor Ted Haggard's downfall.
Christian opposition to homosexuality and gay marriage is all but over. As a result of pastor Ted, we do not know what to think.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Have supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit (tongues, miracles, healings) ceased? A rebuttal

Some Christian denominations like the Baptists and Brethren and prominent anti-charismatics like Hank Hanegraaf and John MacArthur believe that the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit are no longer valid and have ceased. They are known as Cessationists.
(for example see page 21-22 of Uplook magazine August 2008 issue
However, there is no biblical foundation for this doctrine. In fact, this doctrine means disregarding large parts of the Bible.
Some of the points below are from my personal studying.

1) They use the argument that tongues was mentioned in Acts in only three places, and so it was not widespread in the church.

Rebuttal: Using absence of mention as a proof of lack of occurrence is a logical fallacy.
There are 3 instances in Acts where tongues are recorded.
Jerusalem (Acts 2),  Caesarea (Acts 10:46), Ephesus (Acts 19:6).
 Yet it is not mentioned in the respective letters to the believers in Jerusalem or Jews - Hebrews, James nor Ephesus - Ephesians.
However tongues certainly did exist in Corinth from the letter to the church at Corinth (1 Corinthians 12-14).
Yet in Acts 18:11, when Paul passed lived in Corinth for 1.5 years, there is no mention of tongues in any of the evangelism there.
Furthermore, Paul said that "I speak in tongues more than any of you" (1 Corinthians 14:18). However in the description of his conversion experience in Acts 9:17-31 or later, there is no mention that he spoke in tongues.

2)  Cessationists say that miracles, and healings were mentioned fewer and fewer times after Pentecost. They also point to illnesses mentioned by Paul who wrote to Timothy to drink a little wine for his stomach ailments, left Trophimus a believer sick at Miletus. They also point to Paul's mention of a 'thorn in the flesh' and claim it is a physical illness.
The Kingdom of Heaven is being established here on earth. That is why we pray, "Your kingdom come".
Only when Jesus walked on earth, did miracles and healings happen 100% - because Jesus is God.
So the kingdom of heaven on earth is inconsistent with advances and setbacks being made all the time. When Jesus returns again, it will be 100% consistent. This is per the doctrine of the Vineyard church which I agree with.
Furthermore, throughout church history, miracles, healings and other gifts have been recorded.

3) 1 Corinthians 14:39 clearly commands, "Do not forbid speaking in tongues". Amazingly, we never hear cessationists quote this verse!

4) They quote 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 "whether there be tongues, they shall cease. For we know in part and prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears" or in the KJV, "we shall see clearly".  They say that when the Bible was completed, then the need for gifts of the Spirit ceased.

If "when perfection comes" meant the Bible, then why are we debating this issue and others? The correct interpretation would be obvious to all - 'we would see clearly' as one. As a Jewish unbeliever sarcastically said to me, "Christianity has split up into 3000 different religions".
It is clear from an honest and plain reading of 1 Corinthians 13, that tongues and all gifts will pass away only when we are in heaven.
In fact, the last book of the Bible, Revelation, is itself a vision which records supernatural events including miracles and visions that will happen in the future.

5) They state that there is no use for tongues.

Rebuttal: My pastor Mark Warner says the Bible clearly says that tongues edify the spirit."One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself " (I Cor 14:4). He goes on to say that since 14:1 says, "Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy", one can also desire the gift of speaking in tongues.

There is less clarity in the Bible on whether allowed tongues are only 'earthly' tongues like Spanish, Tagalog, and German. However, as pastor Warner says, Corinthians 12-14 mentions two kinds of tongues - one in public with interpretation, and one a private 'prayer language', without interpretation. I am undecided on this. 

Further reading: Dallas Theological Seminary professor Jack Deere, "Surprised by the Spirit".

Things I discovered by accident in Jiujitsu - to explore further

This is a list of things I discovered by accident in Jiujitsu - to explore further. I have been training Gracie Jiujitsu since June 2009. So I am still a beginner and am simply stating what I have observed or explored while learning.

  1. Alternative Hook removal in Elbow Escape from the Mount, without using force to stamp Bad Guy's (BG) heel.
(Nov 2009) 

The traditional method taught by Ryron and Rener Gracie involves freeing one leg, and then stamping down Bad Guy's heel.
background: In reflex class, I was BG and inserted the hooks. John, who is more skilled than I, but 75 lbs lighter, could not stamp down my heel. It had turned into a contest of strength - my hamstring vs his quadriceps. You need strength to stamp down BG's heel. When I reflected on this, it seemed wrong - jiu jitsu is not a contest of strength. (Gracie Guideline #2: Any technique that relies on speed and power rather than leverage and timing is not energy efficient... Do not trust techniques based on strength or speed as they are unlikely to work against a stronger, larger attacker).

proposed solution - tried a few times, need to explore further:
a) Remove the first hook (by kicking straight out) as before.

b) Move your freed leg to the side of the trapped thigh. Rotate your freed leg so your knee and thigh are flat on the ground. As usual, now slide the knee across to escape BG's mount and trap his leg. (if he lowers the leg flat on the ground, you will have to use the fish hook removal technique).

c) Now shrimp towards that freed leg, sliding trapped leg out. Since it travels diagonally, it will escape easily - without using any force - like a hot knife through butter! As usual, half free this leg, then shrimp out again to completely free it putting BG in guard.

    2. Be Side Neutral.
(June 2009)

Instead of waiting for mastery of one side (which can take a long time) before drilling the other side, consider a different approach. Drilling both sides at the same time so that at any moment, one is equally comfortable and instinctive in using either side.

I notice in the sample videos and also in class, that people tend to do the techniques according to the side that Rener and Ryron demo it. for example, Straight Armlock from the Guard - I see most people rotate to their right - just as in the videos. Would they be fluent with the other side? I wonder if this builds up artificial bias towards a side and if this could be a handicap in a real fight. Isnt this violating Grandmaster Helio's Keep it Real principle?

I could be mistaken, but I feel that so-called "strong side" and "weak side" is lopsidedness that came about artificially by focusing on one side at the expense of the other.
Yes, some people are right handed and others are left handed, but to carry it into jiujitsu techniques seems illogical and self-weakening.
Here's why:
for example; In the haymaker defense, bad guy is right handed and throws a punch. Even if you are right-handed, the jiujitsu defense requires using members of *both* sides of your body! So you rush forward with your *left* foot, covering with your left hand, clinch with both  arms, trip him with left leg, sit down on right heel, and side mount straddling with both legs. However, watching the video (of only this side) and drilling this left side over and over has made this your strong side and the other side becomes clumsy and not as instinctive if required.

The great thing about Grandmaster Helio was that he did not follow blindly and maintain the status quo - he was able to think with an open mind and pick apart, discard tradition, simplify and reconstruct to something better. I hope the same attitude will be fostered in our learning. I discussed this question in the forums several times and Rener finally agreed with me.

Re: Side Neutral. I attend a CTC that I really like. I heard Ryron issued clarifications to CTCs to work only one side, and only after one has mastered it then go to the other. So we have been encouraged to practise one side only, and only after we pass the blue belt test, should we do it from the other side. Respectfully, I feel it is unwise to work one side to the detriment of the other. I do not want to learn an avoidable 'bad habit' (losing instinctiveness and fluency on the other side) that will be hard to unlearn. What should I do? Here are my reasons (also from my earlier posts on this 12/30, 1/25, 1/16): 1) I believe this is violating Grandmaster Helio's Keep it Real principle. In an actual fight, you may not get the indicator on your favorite side. Your favorite side may be inconvenienced or difficult to use. So in fact, you will be fighting with only 50% of your potential. You may as well take a rope and handicap yourself. 2) This is not a left-handed/right-handed preference dictated by genetics, but an artificial bias built up simply by focusing on one side and neglecting the other. One should not confuse the two. for example, for the Haymaker defense, for right handed students, their *left* side defense is now the strong side because only that is demonstrated and practised. (see my post of 1/16/10) 3) Waiting until you have mastered one side can take years. This seems harmful - you are no longer instinctive on the other side and is self-weakening. Imagine working out only one side of your body in the gym - your body will become lopsided, unbalanced and unhealthy. Like picking up a bad habit and reinforcing it, why would you do it? 4) Gracie Combatives says we will be street ready after we get the blue belt. But if we are not fluent in both sides, then the belt is not a marker of real effectiveness. It is not as was advertised. During drills, I have seen blue belts having to 'think' and slowly figure out the move when they were fed an indicator on their weak side. 5) If sportive belts are flawed because they are not training for realistic situations then if we are taking shortcuts to simply try to stage and beat a video test, it seems that ours is not realistic either. 6) One feels complete and more skilled, and is fun and liberating to be fluent on both sides. I really wish I could mix in both sides in my test. - To conclude, I feel it is better to drill both sides at the same time so that at any moment, one is equally comfortable and instinctive in using either side. When you have it roughly on one side then immediately try the other side. Let both fluency levels increase together and in balance. Of course, you are the masters and I am the beginner, but sometimes a child can see things a man would miss. - Anil

Anil (3/10/2010 3:56 PM)

A. You're 100% right. Do both sides as soon as you can.

Rener Gracie

 3. Absorb Core Principles.
(Feb 2010)

Our instructor David Smarr mentioned that he no longer is interested in techniques, but in core principles.
I think that is wise.
While sparring, I realized that if one absorbs core principles, then no matter what one's orientation on the ground, you can improvise and survive. For example, "clinching to prevent blows landing" on the ground becomes the Guard position. From studying the Gracie Combatives, is my list of principles:

artery choke.
joint against immoveable fulcrum.
moving joint unnaturally
framing against sensitive body part to create distance.
using legs as hands.
using body parts as wedge to slide between floor and BG's body.
rolling to change orientation.
making BG lose balance by trapping one edge and moving his c.g. out
preventing legs from rebalancing by immobilising one or more.
clinching to prevent blows from landing.
using your own body weight as torque.

not fully tested, need to explore further...
4. Armbar escape
(August 2009, March 2010)
As BG rotates to attack the arm.
You should also rotate in the same direction (clockwise for right arm being attacked) and then insert the knee sideways under BGs leg and then post the bent knee on the ground. You can use your free hand to push against his stationary knee to prevent him from closing the gap between his knees.
In this position,
1) the angle between you and BG changes from 90 to 0.
2) your bent knee blocks him from breaking the arm on his south thigh.
3) your shin is between his legs and increases distance of his body from your arm. You are framing with your shin.
Now BG can only try to break on the north side and is different from the south side. This is hard for him to do because you can bend your elbow. More importantly, you can kick forward with your shin painfully pushing his groin and hips out so that he loses his grip on your arm.

4b) Scissors armlock escape

5. scissors escape from mount

when BG is mounted, use legs to wrap around and unbalance him.
use hands to twist his legs to get him off.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Do you believe in these fallacies about your life and career?

1) Everything that happens to me is either from God or Satan. true or false?
Answer: false
God, Satan, man's free choice, Nature.

2) If the work or job I do, matches my interests and talents, then it is from God - otherwise it is not. true or false?
Answer: false

1) This fallacy comes from applying the Book of Job all the time to the Christian's life. This results in a Christian who believes that everything is centered around him or her. That further leads them to believe that they are indispensable. In Job, God allows Satan to devastate Job to test whether Job will remain faithful to God. Yes, it is true that sometimes it is God vs Satan or Angel vs demon in our lives - but not always. 
God allows the laws of Nature, man's free will to also play their course.
So I was saved from an accident yesterday when my car skidded along an icy road, and stopped in the nick of time avoiding a collision with two fast moving cars along the cross street - I believe this was God, or an angel assigned to me doing his duty. However the flu virus I battle was likely from the laws of nature combined with my not washing my hands after touching office doors and elevator buttons.

2) In secular circles, there is a strong belief that if you are in a profession that matches your talents, then if you work hard and apply some key principles, you will succeed wildly and become a "great man or woman". An example of this is the book 'What Color Is Your Parachute?' by Bolles. Most career counseling drives along this direction.
This thinking has been carried over into Christian credo and even applied to spiritual gifts. An example of this is the course on spiritual gifts by Willowcreek megachurch founder, Bill Hybels, where natural gifts and spiritual gifts are blurred. This is a dangerous deception that has lead to many frustrated and disillusioned Christians (including myself) who feel they are waiting on the sidelines rather than playing in the game of life.

(for me personally, I have wanted to work in fields that were technical, innovative and imaginative but due to an average IQ and the narrow job market for immigrant visa holders, spent a great deal of my career in IT departments - the kind of work I disliked).
Here is the deception:

If your job or career does not match with your talents or interests, it is not God's will for your life. So quit your job and change your career. A similar line of thinking about marriage is, 'there is exactly one person in this world whom God designed for you to marry. if you are unhappy in your marriage, then your spouse was not God's will for you and so leave your spouse'.

However, if you are a Christian, then God is primarily concerned with you advancing the kingdom of God where He has planted you, and not so much with how successful you are in life.
Yes, fulfilling work and career success is a blessing of God. This is stated in Ecclesiastes.
It is also true that God heals and saves miraculously. But the time line may extend beyond our lifetime.
Read Hebrews 11:

 Here are the 'successes':

 32And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35Women received back their dead, raised to life again.
  And now for the 'failures':

 Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37They were stoned[f]; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated 38the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
The reasons are given:

13All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16Instead, they were longing for a better country a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
 39These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
Think about it. Imagine an American soldier in the Iraq war who is a Christian and understands the waste of blood, limb and life. He is on his feet 18 hours a day and may lose his limbs or even his life. This 'job' does not match with his career interests. Was this God's will for him?

Yes, God can lead you on to fulfilling work. Yes, God can heal and deliver. But if it does not happen, or until it does, don't think that God wants you to simply exercise your faith and wait. He wants you to fulfill your purpose where he planted you.

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