And that is Christianity!
Augustine Jebakumar was born in a small village of Swayerpuram, Tirunelveli which is in the southern part of Tamil Nadu, India. He was born to his father A.D.David and mother Joy Florinal on 20th August, 1947. He was born in a God fearing family and his mother Joy Florinal was longing for her first child to be a baby boy and as per her wish, she was blessed with a baby boy. So, they joyously named him as, ‘Augustine Jebakumar’. They called him ‘Augustine’ because he was born in the month of August and they called him, ‘Jebakumar’ because he was the fruit of their prayers.
Jebakumar’s father A.D.David was an Indian air force personnel and his mother Joy Florinal was a teacher by profession. His parents were very particular about their son Jebakumar to an extet that right from his early days he grew up with strict Christian disciplines. So, they taught him virtues like integrity, discipline, orderliness, austerity, and sacrificial – service. His mother being a teacher taught him to read bible when he was only three and a half years old and when he was five years old, she would not give him his morning coffee unless and until he reads a chapter from the bible. When he was seven years old, he had to tell her the gist of pastor’s sermon delivered in the Sunday service. Every Sunday he had to memorize and recite a brief prayer from a prayer book and a chapter from the bible.
During his childhood, Jebakumar witnessed many atrocities perpetrated by caste-fanatics and saw how it spews out venomous hatred and vengeance against the harmony of people and this sowed the seed of missionary vision in his heart. He realized that, gospel is the ultimate solution to the varied problems of the caste-stricken societies in this nation. This is how Augustine Jebakumar’s childhood was.
Studies & Work
Augustine pursued Diploma in Mechanical Engineering from Sankar Polytechnic College and scored highest marks in the class. Being a meritorious student, he was given government sponsored apprenticeship in a reputed company called Metal box Pvt. Ltd. at Thandiyarpet, Chennai which lasted for six months and later he joined an another reputed company named English Electric co., Pallavaram, Chennai.
Augustine used to attend his Sunday services at a CSI church in Pallavaram. When days passed, he became a member of that church. He used to engage in all church activities like children’s ministry, youth group, and choir team. But, often times he used to feel the lack of peace and emptiness in his heart. One fine evening, he locked himself in a room and cried out bitterly due to his peace less life. Suddenly he felt someone whispering in his ears, “The wicked has no peace.”, this trembled his heart and he started questioning himself, “What did I do?” Since, he never entertained any sinful act. Soon, God brought a cinema screen like structure before him and showed him his hidden ugly thought realm of life. After watching, he was utterly shaken and was left astounded. Now, he realized his deplorable sinful nature and felt guilty and shouted, ‘such a wretched and sinful person has no right to live.’
At that very moment, he saw the crucified lord Jesus Christ before him and said, “I carried away all your sins on the cross; trust in me and accept me my peace I give you, peace that the world cannot give you” at once, he refused to accept him and said, “I shall accept the lord when I attain the age of 55 and serve him then” the lord asked him, “What if your life ends today?” He was speechless and at last he completely surrendered himself to god and the peace of God flooded his heart like a river.
After this Augustine wanted to share this joy and peace with others so he decided to tell about Christ to others. At first, he shared this message of Christ with 200 children of laborers who were working in a stone quarry of Pallavaram. He used to visit them every week along with his colleague bro. Selwyn who was a Malayalam-speaking person. And it continued with many children ministry, healing ministry and gospel meetings.
One Tuesday night, as Augustine was praying for our country ,god showed him a clear map of Bihar and asked him to resign his job and go there as a missionary. He refused to go Bihar and kept this call as a secret and did not share this with anyone. But, God revealed this to many people and they used to tell Augustine that, ‘God is sending you to Bihar’. After this Augustine made a plea to god that, “Please send two missionaries in my place; I will support them.” But, god turned down his plea.
September 1972, Friend’s missionary prayer band conducted a prayer camp at brain school in Chennai where a team of twenty young men went to help them out with serving of food and Augustine was one of them. After the second day of meeting it was about 10 o’clock in the night Augustine was strolling around the small playground of the school. Suddenly, he saw bright shinning words written on the sky as, ‘October thirteenth’
As he was still thinking about that in a great surprise, what was going to happen on that day? He heard a voice commanding him, “Resign your job and go to Bihar” He laughed at it and when he was not ready to accept that, a loud voice said, “Son if you don’t go, I have none” at that moment he saw, two very beautiful eyes in the sky. Tears were flowing down from those eyes and fell on him. Now, he was broken and fell face down and said, “Here I am” and obeyed to the voice of god and left for Bihar on 19th of October 1972.
Later, Augustine started an organization named ‘G.E.M.S’ and registered the same with the govt of India. Accordingly, the acronym G.E.M.S means;
G – Go to the unreached
E – Evangelize them
M – Make them disciples and
S – Send them to reach others
Thus, the expansion of GEMS, “Gospel Echoing Missionary System”
From then till now, he is working faithfully as a missionary. His messages have inspired many people especially youth which includes me. He did not have the privilege of studying in a Bible college but God has enabled him to preach to Bible college professors. I always used to think, he is a perfect example of Apostle Paul and later did I know that at first before starting his ministry he took a resolution to minister like Apostle Paul. How great is our God that he strengthened him to minister like Paul. Along with this, god has also enabled him to open polio homes, orphanage, hospitals, schools, and colleges. I praise god for raising such a man from my land.
“Bihar which was once known as graveyard of missionaries is now turned into vineyard of missionaries and only God can do it.”
My father in heaven,
The maker of the earth.
How mesmeric are your creations!
How magnificent are your works!
Clear, boundless, glorious vault,
Deep, shallow, oceanic waters.
Sun, the greatest light;
The glowing medallion in the sky.
Moon, the gleaming light;
A silver disc hanging in the sky.
Flickering and twinkling, bright little stars,
Scattered all over the night sky.
Gathering the waters under the vault.
Formed a vast and tranquil sea.
Lush and green vegetation,
The two-winged and other magnificent creation.
Created the mankind in your own image,
The man from the dust,
And the woman from his rib.
My father in heaven,
The maker of the earth.
How mesmeric are your creations!
How magnificent are your works!
- Mercy Jeba
“If only I had more time!” How often have we said that? Time is an oxymoron, it waits for no one.Time is a thief; it steals away your peace. How are we using our time today? Are we treasuring it, using it to our maximum advantage or squandering it in wanton waste?
A.W. Tozer says, “When you kill time, remember that it has no resurrection.” Yes, Time past is time over which has no power, but time to come lays upon each one of us as how are we going to make use of it.
Do you know, what is the problem of many youngsters today? They’re never on time. They always think we have ‘tomorrow’ to work on and so we need not worry about today and hence they always find an excuse to escape ‘the present’ but a wise man named Bill Keane once said, “Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is mystery, Today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present”. It is very sad to say, we are living in a hour where many people fail to realize the value of time. But, a certain anonymous author penned while writing about the value of time;
To realize the value of one year, ask a student who has failed a grade.
To realize the value of one month, ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.
To realize the value of one week, ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.
To realize the value of one hour, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.
To realize the value of one minute; ask a person who has missed the train, bus or plane.
To realize the value of one second, ask a person who has survived an accident.
To realize the value of one millisecond, ask the person who has won a silver medal in the Olympics.
This anonymous author has a very keen sense of the time. Time is something we often take for granted, unless we have some focused purpose in our life. Every human being has got exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. It is only upto us on how we use it or how are we going to use it.
Use time wisely
The Holy Bible records a parable entitled, “the ten wise and foolish virgins” which reads, there were ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.So,all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil; our lamps are blowed out”. No, they replied. ‘There may not be enough for both of us. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves’. But, while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
This is exactly today’s scenario with almost everyone.We love to do our jobs at last moment. We think we are last moment workers.But, no.If we want to achieve something in our life then we have to be systematic because goals are never achieved in a single day. Also, the last moment workers can never be equal to the people who work hard every single day constantly. For example, if we’re given a particular project to finish it in ten days. What we usually do is, take rest for eight days and suddenly something inside us wakes up at the ninth day and we hush to complete the given work at the last moment. Yes, we may finish the work but we can never be satisfied with our work. So, let’s be wise and use time wisely.
Imagine there is a bank that credits your account each morning with 86,400 and it carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening the bank deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day. What would you do? Draw out every cent, of course! Remember, each of us has a similar bank within us. It’s name is time. Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever of this,you have failed to invest in good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day. If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no drawing against the “tomorrow”. You must live in the present on today’s deposits.
So, how are we using our present? Just think about it. You may be rich enough but you can’t buy more hours. You may be a scientist but you can’t invent new minutes. Also, you can never save time to spend it on another day. Remember, time is limited and it is still running and it waits for no one. So, utilize it to the maximum and make use of each and every opportunity that you get. Put in your maximum efforts in ‘today’ in order to get a better ‘tomorrow’. Also, invest time so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness, and success! The clock is still running, seize the day.
“Make the most of every opportunity” – Ephesians 5:16
Gautama Buddha was an ascetic and sage and on the basis of his teachings Buddhism was discovered. Usually, he is known as, ‘The enlightened one’ or the founder of Buddhism. He is the primary figure in Buddhism and is recognized by Buddhists as an enlightened teacher who attained complete Buddhahood.
Buddha was also known by the names such as,
- ShakyaMuni : “Shakya” is the name of the ‘Royal Family’ into which he was born & “Muni” means ‘The Able One’.
- Siddhartha Gautama : ‘The One Who Achieves His Aim’
- The Buddha : ‘The Enlightened One’
Buddha lived during the period c. 563 BCE to c. 483 BCE in LUMBINI which is now known as NEPAL. He was born to king Suddhodana and Queen Mayadevi and it is believed that during the conception period of Buddha, Queen Mayadevi dreamt of a white elephant with six white tusks which entered to her right side and ten months later ‘Siddhartha’ was born.
Being born as a prince, Siddhartha spent his childhood in a luxurious way. But, he lost his mother at a very young age due to which he was raised by his mother’s younger sister, Maha Pajapati. King Suddhodana always wanted his son i.e.Prince Siddhartha to be a great king and so he shielded him from religious teachings and from the knowledge of human sufferings.
Siddhartha completed his education at the age of 16 after which he got married to Princess Yashodara and they beared a son Rahula and later King Suddhodana handed his entire kingdom to prince Siddhartha.
After carnation ceremony, Siddhartha decided to visit his town and during this journey, he observed certain things that put a sudden end to his pleasure and ease that he enjoyed in his wealthy comfortable life in the palace.
On the first occasion, he saw an old person with wrinkled skin, bent over and walking very slowly with a stick and he thought, “How could I take pleasure in being young when I know that in the end I must become wrinkled and old like that person?”
On the second occasion he saw a sick person covered in sores being carried on a stretcher and he thought, ”How can I take pleasure in being healthy when I know that sooner or later I shall become sick and covered in sores like that person?”
On the third occasion he saw a dead person lying in an open coffin waiting to be buried and he thought, “How can I take pleasure in being alive when I know that sooner or later I must die too?”
On the fourth occasion he saw a man begging for money his head shaved and wearing the yellow robe of a wandering philosopher, who had left behind all his possessions and gone in search of wisdom.
All these observations compelled Siddhartha to think about the pursuit of life and finally at the age of 29, Siddhartha decided to leave his palace, his parents, and all his possessions and go in search of wisdom and happiness.
At first, he became follower of two well known teachers who taught him to meditate, to relax and focus his mind. He followed their teachings for several years but he was not content. So, he tried following some other group of teachers who asked to give up all his pleasures that bind human beings to earthly life with its pain and sorrows. The teachers forbidded Siddhartha to eat and drink among the pleasure. He agreed and followed their teachings for several years. He became very weak as he was having no food and he found it was not working and he left.
At some point Siddhartha remembered that, when he was young and was sitting under a Rose-Apple Tree and suddenly he felt himself in a deep peace and then he realized that this is the only way to get wisdom, peace and happiness. Soon, he came to the town of URVELA (Bodgaya) situated on the banks of River NIRANJARA and he sat there under the shades of a tall tree which is now known as a Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, India. Also, he vowed never to arise until he had found the truth. After a reputed 49 days of meditation, at the age of 35, he is said to have attained enlightenment, and became known as the Buddha or ‘The awakened one’.
While meditating Buddha saw the Solar Systems and everything in the world which was changing rapidly and when he completed his meditation he was no longer afraid of anything not even about his AGE, SICKNESS and DEATH. Then, he thought, he had experienced enough and no one else can experience the same, so he was at a stage of not telling anyone about his great experience.
But, on the following night he had a vision of a Holy man surrounded by a radiant light saying to him, “The world needs this Dharma, this Wisdom that you have found. You can teach this to others and you must teach it”. So, the rest of the life Siddhartha Gautama became a teacher and he had many followers during his life time and became the most famous teacher in INDIA.
From that time onwards Siddhartha Gautama was always known as the “Buddha-The Awakened One” and the Tree under which he was Enlighted is known as “Bodhi Tree-A Tree Of Enlightment”.
The most important question many Christians struggle with these days is, ‘How to live a successful or fruitful Christian life?’
This is a very important question for a believer and every believer must be able to answer this question. If you’re a Christian then you must know how to live a life of Christian faith because you can only live a life like this when you know it thoroughly. Yes, there are many Christians around the globe who know how to live a life of Christian faith but they ignore to live such a holy life and this happens majorly due to lack of faith and love upon our holy God. If you’re seeking an answer to this question in a single sentence, then…
“If you really want to live a successful Christian life then you must obey all the commands given unto us by our loving God’ .Yes, the Holy Bible affirms this in the book of John;
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teachings” – John 14:23
“If you love me, keep my commands” – John 14:15
Now, this may raise a question in your mind- Is it even possible to live a holy life in a world full of sins, pride, envy and hate? Yes, it is possible and if you are unaware, Jesus lived in this earth as a complete human being and I always used to think, why would a God who is so powerful enter this world which is full of sins and intended to live as a human? Why? Yes, to save us from our sins. But, there is an another important reason and it is, “To set an example and to teach us how to overcome this world” Jesus while speaking to his disciples said,
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome it” – John 16:33
When Jesus says, “Take heart! I have overcome it”, he means do not worry about your problems, your future, your sins, your temptations or whatever which is disturbing you. Take heart and bring your problems to me (Jesus) and I will give you rest. Also, Jesus while speaking to multitudes said,
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”
– Matthew 11:28
Yes, it is only Jesus who can give us rest. Also, the above mentioned scripture speaks uses the word ‘burdened’, what does it refer to? This burden is a burden of sins. Yes, it is only sins which separate us from our loving god since our Holy Bible says, “God’s eyes are so pure that he cannot even look at sins.” – Habakkuk 1:13
We Christians know that sins cause the real trouble to our spiritual life since it destroys our inner being and separates us from our holy God. We are well aware of this but still we dare to sin and fall prey to temptations.
Now, let’s talk about how to overcome sins in this world filled with lust and desires. Let us study this from one of my favorite character from the Holy Bible whose name is Daniel. We will not only learn from the life of Daniel but also the life of his friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. Until today these four friends are role models to many young Christian minds. What did these four men do which made them different from other men. I would like to share some of the important things; these four young men have practiced to live a successful Christian life. Please stay with me on the course.
Daniel made a covenant in his heart
Who is Daniel? Daniel was one of the slaves whom king Nebuchadnezzar besieged from Jehoiakim – king of Judah. Now, king Nebuchadnezzar instructed a particular man named Ashpenaz to bring forth some of the slaves but they must be noble, young men in whom there is no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans. When all these young men were brought before the king, he appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king.
Now, among these young men who were selected for three years of training were Daniel and his friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. As said earlier,king Nebuchadnezzar has ordered to treat these young men’s with king delicacies and wine. But, Daniel made a covenant in his heart that,” He will not defile himself with the portion of the kings delicacies and wine.”
So, Daniel makes a covenant in his heart and now he goes to the chief person and requests that he might not defile himself. Now, God helps Daniel to get favor in the eyes of chief and the chief says to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king”
Daniel answered to the chief, “Please test your servants for ten days, and give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our countenance be examined before you, and the countenances of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants”
So the chief consented with them in this matter, and tested them for ten days and at the end of the ten days their countenance appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies. Thus, the chief took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.
Remember, this is how a believer must be, you may be offered with all kinds of delicacies and wines for free or any other kind of things which may defile you and your soul. But, always remember you and I serve a living God and the body which you posses today are given by him and so we got no rights to defile it. Also,
“Body is a temple of God” – 1 Corinthians 6:19
Yes, our body is a temple of god where our holy god resides. So, better always keep it clean and we are not our own because we were bought at a price – the blood of Christ. So, we must honor our god with our body. Also, what happens when we protect our holiness and live a life as god wants? What did Daniel get when he made a covenant to himself as, he will not defile his body? Bible says,
17* as for these four men, god gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.
18* Now, at the end of the days, when the king had said that they should be brought in, the chief brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.
19* Then the king interviewed them, and none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they served before the king.
- Daniel 1:17-19
You may think, you don’t have skills, knowledge, and wisdom but remember God is the one who gives that. Look at these young men, they were very particular about their holiness and god gave them all kinds of knowledge and wisdom. Today, take initiative and make a covenant in your heart to live a holy life and God will honor your covenant and he’ll make you sit before kings and judges.
God is Great!
Mother Teresa was, and still remains, an inspiration for one and all. If one word were needed to describe her, it would surely be – love. Her divinity and angelic soul were devoted to the destitute and the helpless. Her service and selflessness towards her fellow human beings earned her names, ‘Saint of the gutter’ and ‘Angel of mercy’. She was the living embodiment of the word ‘compassion’.
Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu on August 26, 1910, in Skopje, Macedonia. She was the daughter of a successful merchant and his wife. She was their third and youngest child. Until the age of 18, she had not seriously thought of becoming a nun. However, she had always been inclined towards spirituality. At a tender age of 12, she already felt that God was calling out to her and she was to be ‘The one’ to spread the message of the love of Christ.
Finally, at the age of 18, she left home when she realized her true calling and joined the sisters of Lorento. They were an Irish colony of nuns who had teaching missions in India. She taught in St. Mary’s school for several years and it was here that she chose the name sister Mary Teresa for herself, after the saints, Teresa of Avila and Therese de Lisieux. She even became the principal of St. Mary’s in the year 1944.
On August 17, 1948 she dedicated her life to the aid of others and started a religious community, and often said, “Give till it hurts.” She eagerly sought out not only the hungry, the homeless, the suffering and the dying, but also went so far as to feed, house, heal and restore the dignity of the unwanted, the unloved and the uncared-for in society. She unabashedly embraced all those people who had become a burden on society, and were shunned by everyone. She was the last refuge for those suffering from leprosy, HIV and Aids. She was a vocal advocate for the anti-abortion campaign, and is known to have called it the ‘Greatest destroyer of peace’.
She used to dress neatly in a blue – bordered white sari which has become a symbol of her order today, she would travel across Kolkata to help all those who needed her – lepers left to die by everyone around them, helpless women, and even abandoned babies with umbilical cords still attached to them. Shocking as it may seem it was all very true.
She looked at the poor as if God was seeing them, and loved them as God would love them. She saw her God in serving them. She always gave top priority to prayer; as she believed that God put the love in her heart that she was to give to the poor. People who knew her closely were awestruck by her devotion towards a prayerful life.
On September 5, 1997, she left for her heavenly abode. It was a huge loss for the world. Many people have since claimed that heaven has gained another star. Needles to say, mother Teresa was a living saint. Her secret was very simple; she prayed. When she was alive, she touched the hearts of millions. Her passing away has forever left a void in this world.
Mother Teresa, the mother of all, still lives in our hearts and will live forever.