Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:4-7, ESV2011). Continue reading “Come, let us present our nation to God”
“Enoch was 65 years old when he fathered Methuselah. And after the birth of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and fathered other sons and daughters. So Enoch’s life lasted 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was not there because God took him.” (Gen 5:21-24, HCSB).
Wow, what a testimony. In these verses, God is testifying to the faithfulness of a man called Enoch. At the age of 65, he started walking with God and for 300 years he remained faithful to God. “Enoch walked with God 300 years”. Another translation (ISV) says “Enoch communed with God 300 years”. Then, Enoch was no more because God took him. In other words, since the day he met God, Enoch walked with God, communed with God and remained faithful to God until the end of his life on earth. When I read this passage, I just admire the steadfast faithfulness of this man. I just wish and desire that I may also remain faithful to God and walk with God until the day He calls me home.
Life on earth is filled with various temptations, challenges and even some opportunities. Very often, many of us get too busy with these challenges, opportunities and temptations and tend to forget the most important aspect of our lives: walking with God.
Firstly and most importantly life is an opportunity to commune and walk with God. Let us make the most of this great opportunity.
Dear Lord, help us fix our eyes on you, tune our hearts to you, and walk with you day by day until the very end. Let us commune with you years after years as Enoch did. Amen.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, …” (2 Cor 10:3-5, ESV2011).
Although we live in a physical world and operate in physical bodies we are all part of a spiritual battle. Some of us are more aware of it then others. Some people stand against God and His kingdom simply by their ignorance. Perhaps they never consciously chose to serve Satan by believing and promoting his lies serve him. Some others though are more aware of this battle and they are careful to position themselves with God. Paul was one of them. He did not only chose to position himself with God but also made it his aim to destroy every argument and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God. I am very convinced that this should be our aim too. We shall not keep silent when others distort the knowledge of God and teach false information about who God is. We shall not remain silent when post-modernists, promoters of homosexuality, Muslims, and communists teach unbiblical doctrines about God and lead the nation into deception. Remaining silent will be positioning our selves with Satan and promoting his lies with our silence. Instead, as Paul wrote, we shall destroy every argument and lofty opinion that is raised against the knowledge of God.
We have come to know love by this: that Jesus laid down his life for us; thus we ought to lay down our lives for our fellow Christians. But whoever has the world’s possessions and sees his fellow Christian in need and shuts off his compassion against him, how can the love of God reside in such a person?” ( 1Joh 3:16-17, NET).
Wow, what a challenging statement!
If one truly loves God and if one is indeed a true Christian than He needs to do as Christ did: lay down his life for others. In our post-modern and self-centred culture this statement sounds difficult and even unacceptable. However, in this self-sacrificial love is power of the Gospel. This self-sacrificial love of Christ sets him apart from all other so-called gods. In the same way, we are ought to love God and his people self-sacrificially. If God expected from His own Son to lay down His life for the sinful men, why should he not expect the same from us? What makes us more valuable and worthy to spare than Christ himself?
However, it is not only the unbelievers that we should love and reach with the Gospel of Christ but more than that we should love the believers in Christ.
More and more Christians around the world become victims of persecutions and are in need of a loving hand from other Christians. Let us open our hearts stretch our hand to them. That would is the true love.
May the Lord give us love and concern for fellow Christians who are in need and suffering. May we act as Christ did; laying down our possessions and life for God’s people.
Jesus said: “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matt 10:16).
Although this verse is well known and often quoted among Christians, it is debatable if we are really wise. Especially during the last hundred years, We Christians did not really act very wisely in discerning and responding to many global issues such as Islam, post-modernism, homosexuality, human-trafficking and even slavery.
“To be wise means to be marked by understanding of people and situations, to have keen and unusual discernment, and a capacity for sound judgement in dealing with people and situations” (John McClain).
As Christians, it is our responsibility to analyse and discern people and situations with an unusual discernment and respond with Biblical principles.
Where do you invest your money? What companies and organizations do you support and work with? What political party do you vote for? In other word’s whom do you empower? If you empower people and organizations which oppose Biblical principles, one day you will find yourself in an increasingly ungodly world. If you tolerate and empower the persecutors of Christians, one day you will see that Christianity becomes the illegal religion in your country too. If you empower the promoters of homosexuality, one day you will find that your own children are brainwashed and forced into homosexuality.
May Jesus help us to be wise as serpent, discern with unusual understanding and respond with Biblical principles. May we empower those who serve Jesus, uphold His principles and oppose those who are against Christ and His values.
“Only fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.” (1 Sam 12:24-25, ESV2011).
“Fear the Lord! Serve the Lord!” These are not any more very common teachings in many Western churches. Rather, God is presented as a sugar daddy. Christianity became more about what can we get from God to spoil ourselves instead of fearing and serving God. However, the concepts of fearing and serving the Lord have dominated both the Old and the New Testaments. Lives of many great man of God like Moses, David, Peter and Paul were all marked with their fear of God and service to God.
Solomon concluded his analysis of life’s experiences and life’s meaning with “fear God and keep His commandments…” (Ecc 12:13, NKJV).
Jesus’ parable of the talents also teach about serving God with fear (Mat 25:14-30). Likewise, Paul’s teaching on the gifts of the Holy Spirit also imply our responsibility to serve God according to our calling and gifts (1 Cor 12:1-11).
In conclusion, Christian life is a life of fearing and serving God as much as growing in God’s love and grace. Thus do not be fooled by the self-centred feel good sermons or consumer friendly teachings of prosperity preachers. You are here to fear and serve God.
“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Mat 10:37-39, ESV2011).
This might sound rather difficult to accept but, this is exactly what Christ demands from His followers: unselfish love, unselfish commitment. If you cannot value Christ more than your own life, if you cannot love Him more than all your family, friends and everything else, you are not worthy of Him. That means you shall not even call yourselves Christian if your life is not totally and unconditionally committed to Christ. In the post-modern Western culture, there is the great movement of making Christianity as cheap and as easy as possible. That is called consumer friendly or politically correct Christianity. Sadly, by many popular preachers and authors Christianity is portrayed as a mere lip service to God or as a self-help gimmick. However, this Western way of understanding and promoting Christianity is neither biblical nor in line with Christ’s calling.
True and truly biblical Christianity starts and ends with a radical commitment and undiluted love for Christ.
Jesus please forgive me for my selfish Christianity and half hearted commitment to you. Jesus, today, I decide to love you more than all and commit myself to you totally and unconditionally. Amen.
“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Mat 26:39, ESV2011).
Although Jesus was God he was also man. Although he came earth to do God’s will he also knew the great suffering and humiliation that he was going to face. Thus He prayed: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me”
However, Jesus was humble and submissive in His prayer, thus He ended with “nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
That I call submissive prayer. This is exactly the opposite of stubborn prayer where one stubbornly asks God what he wants and never even thinks about God’s will.
Essentially, submissive prayer is God centred, while stubborn prayer is self-centred. Submissive prayer sees God as the King of universe to whom we must submit. Stubborn prayer, sees God as a sugar daddy in the heavens whose job is to give us all we ask.
Submissive prayer thinks that it is about God and what God wants. Stubborn prayer is selfish and arrogant enough to think that it is all about me and what I want.
Paul’s testimony in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 is another good example of submissive prayer. Jesus and Paul did not rebel against God when their requests were not granted, but they simply submitted to Father’s decision.
Heavenly Father, please teach me to pray not stubbornly but submissively. May I be God-centred and not self-centred in my prayers Amen.
“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esth 4:14, ESV2011).
Jews were facing a total destruction from Haman. Although Esther was not Haman’s immediate victim, safe in king’s palace, she was called to speak up for others.
Similarly, today, Jews in Israel are under attack, and face intense pressure from the rest of the world. At the same time, across the world millions of Christians face persecution and murder on a daily basis. However we, South African Christians, are still free and safe as Esther was in the palace. Just like Esther, we are also called to speak up for the relief and deliverance of God’s people.
Our safety and freedom should not lead us to indifference to the sufferings of other Christians and also Jews. On contrary, we shall see freedom and safety as God’s empowerment to stand up and speak against the atrocities committed to God’s people (Jews and Christians) across the world. We shall use freedom to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, defend those who cannot defend themselves, fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.
Perhaps, God put you in this place at this moment in history so that you may speak up and defend Jews and Christians. Also remember, if you keep silent at this time God’s relief and deliverance for His people will come from somewhere else but you and your house may perish.
“Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Ahasuerus, and he was great among the Jews and popular with the multitude of his brothers, for he sought the welfare of his people and spoke peace to all his people” (Esth 10:3 ESV2011).
Mordecai cared enough to take and raise Esther when her parents died (Esth 2:7). He faithfully served king Ahasuerus and saved him from a possible assassination (Esth 2:19-23). When Haman decreed the destruction of all Jews, Mordecai stepped forward and eventually saved his people (Esth 4).
Mordecai did not only love God, but he also loved God’s people to the extend of taking risks to save them.
His love for Esther meant that he should take and raise her as his own child. His love for God’s people meant that he should face the enemy to stop the massacre of God’s people.
There is so much to learn for us from the legacy of Mordecai. Many of us claim to love God and our neighbours. But do we love God’s people to the extend of facing the enemy to save them?
Today, Christians (God’s adopted people) are attacked from every corner intellectually, physically, politically and economically. Today, Jews (God’s chosen people) are fighting for their survival as Muslims are attacking them with the determination to kill every Jew until none is left. More and more the nations of the world are turning against Israel and supporting Islamic destruction of Jews. Today there is so much need for Christian men like Mordecai who will stand up and defend Jews and Christians from the attacks of the enemy.
Farther, forgive my selfishness and cowardice. May I love and stand up for your people. Bless me with love for them and boldness to defend them.