A Special Birthday

It happens that my brother, mum and my birthday all fall within a week’s time; 29th Dec, 1st and 5th January. How long was this planned for? Did my grandparents and parents make plans beforehand? Did they sit to do the maths? Well, your guess is like mine. It’s pure coincidence. But you have to see why this got me thinking.

Now, let’s go back 2000 years ago. While my birthday and that of my family might be just coincidence, you will find it extremely difficult to say the same about Jesus’ birthday. Because while I didn’t have a say on when and where and in which family to be born, Jesus did; see Isaiah 7:14, 9:6,7.

700 years before, his exact birth details were prophesied and God’s people waited for him. As a matter fact it goes beyond that back to Abraham and before to the very beginning, see Matthew 1, John 1;1-5, Luke 24: 27.

Who get’s to plan his own birthday before he is born? Who get’s to make sure it happens according to plan and prepares many to proclaim, wait and witness it? Who could decide when and where to be born and escape the treachery of a rival powerful king as a baby while fulfilling prophecy, Matthew 2:16-18.

And why was he born? …and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins Matthew 1:21.

You have to conclude this was not a mere coincidence, only God could do that. And if that is the case then you cannot ignore Jesus and the reason he came. As you enjoy Christmas, please consider Jesus message and the hope he gives to those who are his people in a perishing world. May 2018 be a new year to review your attitude about God and Jesus claim as revealed in the Bible.

What a great joy it is for those who are his people, those of us who sins are forgiven in Jesus. In the words of Psalm 32; we are the blessed people.

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
    whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
    and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

Happy new year!

Christian ministry

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Duty or love

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When ministry is motivated by mere Christian duty, goals can be achieved but it’s hard to keep up the smile as ministry like life isn’t always fun.
But when we do it because we love Jesus and count it a great privilege to know him and serve him by serving others with the Gospel then the amazing joy we find in knowing him will flow when working in him and for him.
As we find it as great joy to know him then we joyfully live and serve him. If not then we need to know him more and we will surely love him more and enjoy serving his people in love.

16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him Ephesians 1…15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Ephesians 4.

In a few words, we become better and happy servants when we are mature servants who know (and are growing in his knowledge) and so love serving their master by speaking his truth in love.
Apostle Paul must have known him for in his epistles we see how he loved and enjoyed serving him despite the circumstances.

21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labour for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.

~Reflection from Ephesians and Philippians and doing ministry in 2017
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What is the value of your soul?

Life now or life forever?

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36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?37 For what can a man give in return for his soul?  Mark 8.

What is the value of your eternal soul? Clearly, Jesus believes it should be valued above everything else. This should be obvious yet our lives don’t always seem to reflect this in regard to our eternal future.

We secure our houses and property. We do everything to secure our investments and worry at the slight possibility of losing them. We listen to our doctors and nutritionists; eat well and pursue healthy lifestyles because we value this life and want to live longer. But how come we do so little for the most precious part of us, our eternal souls? For some, our souls are lost, malnutritioned, sick and dying but we don’t seem to care that much. How illogical!

It seems either we don’t know the value of our souls or don’t value our eternal life that much? How absurd! If we did and we most certainly should; we would pay careful attention to Jesus Word and turn to him for eternal salvation.

 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. Mark 8.

Our eternal life is worth much more than this temporal life and the only way to save it is entrusting our lives to Jesus; losing it now to follow Jesus and serve the Gospel. Let those who would save their souls forever, follow and live for Jesus now.

34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Mark 8. 

 

True wisdom

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God’s Word gives us a clear understanding of God, his plan and a better knowledge of ourselves.
We see his undeserved mercy and realise the gravity of our sin. We see his steadfast love at the face of constant human rebellion. We look at the world we live in and realise how much we need the world he promises.
We can guess all about God and try to figure out who we are in this broken world in vain or we can submit to his wisdom and let him be our teacher and our Lord. Wisdom would dictate we listen to the one who knows it all.
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Merry Christmas!

Daily defeat

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He turns our eyes to those that should be our brothers.
He deceives us with the greatest cravings of our flesh
He assumes the place of God and claims our worship
But he is the enemy of our souls only seeking our total ruin
And like our Lord we must learn to tell him to get behind
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He comes as a friend and promises the world
But how can he give that which is not his?
He says, if only you worship me and all be yours
He has lied from the beginning, same lie in all ages
But by God’s Word we know this lie in every age
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We must always remember we are men in battle
And by guarantee of his defeat we fight everyday
He is an enemy already defeated by King Jesus
And by his Word we live and defeat him every day
For the King of our souls has saved us from our enemy
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And in Christ we defeat Satan daily

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Firm assurance

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Sometimes I forget I am a sinner, wretched and in dire need of Jesus salvation like everybody else. I forget easily that the enemy of my soul prowls like a lion ready to devour me. And if ever my fate was in my feeble hands I wouldn’t stand a chance to end this race.
But thanks be to God that by the same power that raised Jesus to life, the same mighty power that gave dead sinful men life; he is at work in us and in him we have firm assurance to finish the race and keep our faith.
And as we started the journey by faith, we continue by faith not ever attaining salvation by merit but through the precious blood of Jesus.
And this gives us great joy and unshakeable assurance as we live  and serve King Jesus now before he comes to take us to our glorious home.
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A time to preach

Rebellious indifference
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From the beginning we have rebelled
We have killed and abused God’s honour
We have conspired to overthrow his rule
To set up a king from our own against his King
And it is so today, rebellious in our indifference
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They may not look sick and in need of healing
For this is a disease deep at the heart of man
But like those who screamed, away with his rule
So today they extol their rebellion, ignoring his call
They are sick and as always only God can save them
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Do not for a second presume them to be good men
None on earth has been known of that but one
Though they may look healthy, they die within
They are in urgent need for salvation lest they die without hope
All men, good or bad are in dire need of Jesus salvation
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And thanks be to God that all sinners can be forgiven
Not only those who kill and torture his own
But even those who ignore his call to turn to him
Salvation is for all who would believe in all ages
And our time is no different, but a time to preach the Good news
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Fellow Christian; I won’t pray for you, I will pray with you

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I’ve had many people ask me to pray for them and immediately I respond as expected with assurance to do so but not anymore.
So what’s happened? Why this resolution? Have I stopped believing in prayer? Not at all? Has the guilt of forgetting to pray finally made its highest toll?
Not really? Have I turned into a mean lazy unloving Christian? I believe not. As a matter of fact I believe this to be the most loving response in some situations.
You see prayer exposes what we value and believe in. Hence, it is when people share their prayer requests or not that we can begin to know how to love, correct and help them. But what do we do? If you are like me you don’t even think about it but promise to do so, mostly out of love but probably out of ignorance or laziness to think it through as well. At least that’s has been my case.
It’s worse when you work for a church, even worse if you are the pastor as some might think God hears you not them especially with Roman catholic priests.
God does not have a hierarchical consideration when it comes to responding to his dear children as long as they are his sons in Christ Jesus. That is the only qualification of which all of us who believe in Jesus have awesomely attained as to call him like he calls him; our Father. Hence we can pray to our father individually or together and he certainly hears us. Galatians 4:6, Romans 8:15.
Of course, it might be we have wrong expectations of what it means to be a child of God and a Christian in this broken and perishing world in which case study Matthew 10; 16-42. If this is the case then the more reason we may need to think and talk before just saying yes I will pray for you. Do you see how we can miss the opportunity to correct, build and help a fellow Christian just by saying yes to prayer?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we put aside praying. Not at all, as a matter of fact we should do more. But we need to employ biblical teaching correctly on this and help others through the word of God and ultimately present this to our heavenly Father who has asked us to pray and by which we should live as Christians.
So before saying you will pray for them why not ask a few questions to find out more how you can biblically and lovingly help and pray for them!
And it follows that for those who are not Christians the priority prayer is that they will give ear to Jesus offer of forgiveness and salvation from the sure eternal judgement awaiting them.

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The immense power of the Gospel

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I used to have wild dreams when I was a young Christian (I’m still growing) of what it really means to be a true mature Christian. I thought there probably would come a day when I wouldn’t be guilty of a single sin. Sounds crazy but maybe I was not the only one. Blame it on immaturity, unbiblical teaching and to some extent Roman Catholic influence as that’s what I thought being a saint entailed.

I used to love the stories where people talked of their completely wretched past and how the Gospel fixed them. I thought such kind of experience to be the true manifestation of power of the Gospel. Isn’t it? Problem is even though I had a past that I’m ashamed of and I have clearly seen transformation, I didn’t think it was that much. So I thought either the Gospel is more powerful in the lives of some or maybe a day would come that I would be so transformed as to have experienced real power. How naive!

Is the Gospel really powerful? I’m I really a Christian? What more do I need to do so that I can look as holy and lead such a holy life as my friends seem to? I struggled with these questions in silent afraid that if I told anyone of my struggle they would think I was still unconverted and probably needing more prayer or more “Spirit work”. What I didn’t know was that there were many more in this camp than I could imagine.

So is the Gospel powerful and should we expect transformation? Yes and yes. As a matter of fact there’s so much more power in the Gospel than we can account for in a million years by simply looking. There’s much more power than the evidence of transformed lives. The kind of power that goes beyond just a change of lifestyle, the power that gives breath to dead people. And if that wasn’t beyond our imagination, there’s more to this power. For in Jesus, a Christian isn’t just raised to life but like Christ, we are raised to dwell in the heavenly places with Christ.

What I mean is that in spiritual terms being a Christian is the most privileged status one can ever have.  And in Jesus and through his Gospel is the greatest power ever manifested since the creation of the world, Ephesians 2:1-10. So it follows that a Gospel so powerful would make significant transformation in a person but it might not be measurable by the physical eye. A Christian will inevitably undergo transformation as they keep feeding and maturing by God’s Word through the Bible and the church, Ephesians 4, 1 Peter 2:2 and we can attest to this.

But we see even more power in the Gospel not because we have now been fixed and are sinless but that we have been freed from sin to serve God in righteousness, Romans 6. And how powerful is this Gospel that a sinner could be declare righteous and holy by faith in Jesus, Romans 3:21-30. And that the same would turn around from serving sin and ones flesh to serve King Jesus in righteousness as we wait for his return. Oh! How powerful this Gospel is, nothing is even closely as powerful; a true masterpiece of the Lord God Almighty.

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The joy of knowing God

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What a joy that we have a God who values relationship to his people.
Not aloof as the god of some, not distance as many purport or simply a religious-transaction-being as others take him to be.
No, but a God who by every sense of the word is closer to those who revere and delight in him.
What a privilege is it to know him by his Word. What a joy that we can in turn respond in faith and prayer.
No wonder David writes so much of him! That he delights in knowing him and his sure delight for those who trust in him.
~Enjoying the Psalms.
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