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A false balance

“A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is his delight.”  Proverbs 11v1

In considering the text above, at once, we might think that the passage concerns people who deal in trade because of the terms “false balance” and “just weight”. But the key message from this proverb is a question we must ask ourselves everyday, regardless of our daily occupation:am I walking in integrity?

In an ever-competitive and demanding world where many succeed through devious schemes and unimaginable deceptive practices, the Christian is under a lot a pressure to compromise. At many times, such circumstances serve to try our faith and the only hope to survive is by trusting absolutely on the strength of God; having the assurance that, He who has begun the work of salvation in your heart is faithful to keep you till the very end.

Whenever you feel pressured to compromise, remember this scripture. Dishonest dealings is an abomination to God but an act of integrity is the Lord’s delight. It is surely not an easy road to travel: we may face adverse circumstances-remember Joseph! But let this be our guiding principle: it would be better to lose the world and gain Christ than to gain the world and lose Christ.

How is with you?

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Posted by on September 7, 2017 in Religion

 

What is a meaningful life?

This question has been on my mind for some time now. It’s surely not anything new; consciously or otherwise, we might have at one time or the other contemplated what it means to live a truly meaningful life. But I have been giving this question more attention lately.

The first thing that comes to my mind in contemplating this question is, can one have an objective viewpoint to this issue or is it merely subjective? By objective I mean, is the answer to this question outside ourselves or does it depend on individual reflection?

There are varying views on what meaning really means. Some say it’s about satisfaction, doing that thing that gives you satisfaction; some say it’s about purpose: finding that one purpose for which you were born and giving everything to achieve it. Still, others give a definition from a Greek origin: a life well spent. Let’s leave this here.

As Christians, I make bold to say that this is not a subjective matter. Simply because the answer to this question is in the bible. So what does the bible say about living meaningfully or purposefully? Romans 8:29 gives us some insight. It says, “For those whom he [God] foreknew, he[God] predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son [Jesus Christ], in order that he[Christ] might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

I strongly believe that this is how a Christian should assess this issue. In answering the question of meaning, we should ask ourselves, are we living a life that conforms to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ? Are we trusting the Holy Spirit to perform this work effectively in our lives? Are we certain that if this life ends, we are certain to reign with Christ in another life? It’s not a matter of career or vocation. The same way a doctor should ask these questions is the same way a cobbler or peasant farmer should.

By God’s divine providence and mercies, He gives us gifts and talents by which we are able to express them in various occupations. But we shouldn’t converts these paths to yardsticks. A middle-class businessman should not look at himself as not living meaningfully, simply because he doesn’t measure economically to a Fortune 500 CEO. It’s not social class or wealth or any earthly achievements that define meaning but our spiritual stance in Christ. For what shall it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?

If today were your last day on earth, can you say you have lived meaningfully? If not, why not? This was the question I had in mind this morning. I confess that I get so carried away with my goals and ambitions and forget this one thing-it will all pass. Does this mean we should then carry on our lives carelessly and with much complacency? Certainly not! But the point in all these is that, in our pursuit for earthly success, let’s not lose the essence of our existence-which is to know God and obey His commandments.

Drop a comment and let me have your thoughts on this.

Thanks!

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2017 in Religion

 

What is true revival?

“And it shall be said ‘Build up, build up, remove every obstacle from my people’s way…For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite’.” (Isaiah 57:14-15)

As we progress in our earthly pilgrimage, there are times when the heart is cold; there seem to be a want of God’s love, it’s almost as if there’s spiritual deadness. We drag ourselves to church meetings, our prayers are dry and our bible studies are quick and shallow (without any touch of divine insight). Some believers, aware of their spiritual condition wallow in pride and unbelief and indulge in hypocritical religion. While the wise believers know it is time to cry to the Lord for revival. But then, what is true revival?

The word “revival” connotes different things in the minds of people. For activity-oriented Christians, it’s some crusade or program that will involve the gathering of a sea of people, where there will be  violent wriggling and shakings accompanied with Pentecostal outpourings; some also see revival as a spiritual event that will initiate the restoration of ‘the years that the cankerworm, the caterpillars and the palmerworm have destroyed’. But diligent study of the bible shows us that the very essence of revival from God’s perspective is the change that is effected in the life of men and not merely a reversion of external circumstances as is commonly heralded among a great many professing Christians.

True revival is not some activity that is fired up by self-will but starts with the Lord melting our stony hearts, shattering the bulwarks of pride, unbelief and rebellion, “remove every obstacle from my people’s way”. There cannot be true revival if our hearts are not broken or contrite, “to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” It is true, therefore, that repentance must precede revival. And repentance is not about making promises to God to live a changed life; it is essentially turning to God for the impartation of His own life.

From the text above, we see that the Lord promises to impart life into the heart of the contrite ones (those who draw near to Him with a pure heart). Hence if this life is imparted in the heart by the grace of the Holy Spirit, there must be evidence. One such evidence is love: love towards God and towards men. Compassion for souls, hunger for the word, persistence in prayer, etc. are all outflows of the imparted love of Christ in the heart of the believer and a sign that the Lord has begun His work of revival in us.

How is it with you?

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2016 in Religion

 

The Christian’s testimony: a sword of real victory

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution… they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death (2nd Tim 3:12; Rev 12:11)

In recent times, we have heard about the spate of Christians being attacked in various parts of the world: how churches have been destroyed, Christians imprisoned, tortured or even killed for declaring the name of Christ. This has often caused unbelievers to revile the religion of Christianity: “where is the God of the Christians in all these attacks; why isn’t he able to deliver them?” and sadly, many professing believers who have thought this way have either denied the faith or rejected the texts above as not pertaining to Christians of the 21st  century.

It is important to know that the church of God has, from time past, been facing severe opposition and attacks from the devil: starting with the head of the Church-Christ-to the saints that constitute the body of Christ. This had already been foretold by Christ (John 15:19-20; John 16:33) and further revealed by the apostles (2nd Tim 3:12; 1st Peter 4:12-14).This is the truth. Believers who live in areas of relative peace are not any more preferred than those in troubled areas. The question then is, if these things must happen, what is the victory of the Church?

We might be tempted to think of our victory as believers as simply God hindering our attackers from physically harming us. While this is true, it would be well for us to know that our real victory lies in this: that in spite of attacks and oppositions, we don’t lose Christ (or rather, our testimony of Christ). History has taught us that, while some believers were miraculously delivered from death, some were allowed to face death to the glory of Christ. The bible also attests to this (Acts 12; Hebrews 11:32-38). Regardless of the circumstances, one thing is certain: God is always with his children. He comforts us in our sorrows and afflictions; He gives us the strength to bear every pain and suffering (there are ample examples in scripture to prove this).

Indeed, as Apostle Paul reckons in 2nd Timothy 3:12, every believer who truly proclaims the name of Christ in truth will suffer one persecution or the other. The enemy tries to use these persecutions to cause us to lose our testimony of Christ (Revelations 12:17). So let it be known that the enemy becomes victorious when men deny the faith in the face of trials (even if they are spared from physical attacks!).

It behoves us then to be sober and vigilant, holding firmly to the anchor of our soul-Christ. Let this also comfort us: that Christ is faithful to keep us till the very end if we hold firm our profession. We need to reject every self-love gospel that hinders our maturity in Christ. Let’s strengthen our intercession for one another: praying for the Kingdom of God to be established on the earth and for our faith as believers to wax stronger for Christ. More so, that we would not measure our relationship with Christ (or the love of Christ towards us) based on the nature of our outward circumstances.

God bless you.

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2016 in Religion

 

The subtlety of covetousness

“And he said unto them, Take heed and beware of covetousness; for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of things he posesseth” (Luke 12v15)

In this text above, we see our LORD charging us to be wary of covetousness; in fact, He uses a phrase and a word which mean almost the same thing to stress his warning: “beware” and “take heed”. This is to reveal to us the subtlety of covetousness. And then another amazing revelation follows: a man’s life doesn’t consist in the abundance of things he possesses.

As humans, we live in a world that clamours for ostentation; your worth is defined by how much you have. The outcome of this kind of thinking is that it breeds covetousness. Covetousness simply means craving for more than you need. It is the domineering influence that has pervaded many a society today. And covetousness is the root of virtually every form of worldliness and wickedness. It is packed with envy, jealousy, deviousness, meaningless competition etc. It is the reason why many people are striving to succeed-they feel they have to make a mark- to prove a point to others that they are worth more than what others think of them. Ecclesiastes 4v4 (TLB) tells us that “Then I observed that the basic motive for success is the driving force of envy and jealousy! But this too, is foolishness, chasing after the wind.” Covetousness is the spirit behind self-comparison (and perhaps, self-pity too!); it is in the heart of many capitalists-those whose products rake in profits at the expense of innocent lives. And sadly, it is the reason why many churches, in the name of ‘kingdom work’, are strongly in competition against each other.

Covetousness is subtle. Believers can easily be entrapped by it. For instance, consider this prayer of a believer who is engaged in an occupation, “Oh God, give me an idea that will result in an explosion of wealth that I may bring in more resources to your Kingdom”. Doesn’t this sound innocent? But the truth is that, in the strictest sense, there is an element of covetousness in it. As believers, we don’t define our pattern of success apart from God’s will. It is He who gives us power to get wealth (Deuteronomy 8v18). If God will expand our capacity, He does it by Himself-opening our eyes to opportunities. So the real test is, what is our real motive? So the Pastor who says, “Oh Lord give me more members for Kingdom sake” because He is seeing how other churches are flourishing, is simply covetous.

I must also say that true contentment doesn’t in any way breed complacency. God expects us to be diligent in what we do. This is resonated in Ecclesiastes 9v10. Our motive for hard work should never be borne of envy. If you are a worker, work as unto the LORD; shed every bitterness and complacency and work diligently, keeping your trust in God. If the LORD, in His providence, wants to take you elsewhere, He’ll make a way for you. Don’t let the anxiety that follows self-comparison take you out of God’s will for your life. You real worth is not in your earning capacity, it is in who Christ has made you to be in Him. Don’t be fooled by those motivational talks that fuel envy.

Our desires should entirely be directed towards God’s will. We must understand that, contrary to the world’s thinking, the life of a man does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. Whatever the LORD in His providence has given us, let us therewith be content. If the LORD adds to our substance, it is still His providence. The truth is that, until we begin to see Christ as the greatest source of contentment, our soul will never find rest. We’d always keep craving and wanting and would never be satisfied. Christ should be our greatest source of satisfaction. Let’s learn to trust God for our sustenance; knowing that whatever He gives us is what we actually need. And that, as He has promised, He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13v5). Covetousness in the heart smothers thanksgiving.

So dear reader, let’s pay attention to Christ’s words:“take heed and beware of covetousness; for the life a man does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses”.

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2015 in Religion

 

The urgency of ministry

Jesus answered, neither has this man sinned nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in Him. I must work the works of Him while it is still day: the night comes when no man can work. As long as I’m in the world, I’m the light of the world. (John 9:3-5)

In these words of Christ, we find profound insights: First, Christ sees a man who had been born blind, and contrary to the presumptions of his disciples, he reveals to us that God had chosen the man to show forth His works. This is sovereign grace. Let’s note that Christ did not say, “That the works of God should be made manifest in such” else that would have meant every physically deformed person would be an object of God’s manifest glory but that’s not the case. Christ was saying that God, by His sovereign grace, has chosen this man to show forth His works.

The next thing we see is that Christ says, “I must work the works of Him while it is still day: the night comes when no man can work.” By connecting this verse with the previous one, it becomes clearer. “…That the works of God should be made manifest in Him. I must work the works of Him while it is still day…” Christ seemed to say that he had been sent by God to manifest God’s work in the lives of men. And to answer the next obvious question, “what work?” Christ says “As long as I’m in the world, I’m the light of the world.” So we see that Christ had come to shine forth His light to men; to give sight to the spiritually blind; so he uses a physically blind man to reveal to us the works of God. Apostle Peter tells us we have been called out of darkness into the God’s marvelous light (1st Peter 2v9). This is God’s work. He further buttressed this in a later verse  “And Jesus said for judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind”(John 9v39)

Yet we see another interesting thing, Christ says the work of God must be done “while it is still day”. We must understand that Christ speaks contextually when he uses the word “day”, hence we must be careful not to interpret this statement literally as to mean that the work of evangelism should only be carried out in day time. In John 3, we see that Christ preached the gospel to Nichodemus at night. Also, in Romans 13, Apostle Paul uses the term “day” in the context of the day of Christ’s appearing by saying that “the night is far spent”(v12); so he charges us to “walk honestly as in the day” (v13). Christ was therefore speaking in the context of his physical presence on the earth as if to say, “I must do the works of Him who sent me while I’m still in the world. For as long I’m in the world, I’m the light of the world”.

If we bring this to bear on our lives as Christians, it would be clear to us that, as Christ as said in Matthew 5: we are the lights of the world and we are to let our lights shine before men that they may see our good works and give glory to God. This light is not some stardom, or some earthly achievement, it is Christ. And we must shine forth this light that men may see the glory of God and glorify Him. And this work must be done while it is still day-while we are still here. Let us therefore shed every cloak of complacency and trust the LORD to ignite in our weary hearts His fire that we may boldly declare Christ and the good news of God’s kingdom. We must not rest until every part of our being is charged with the passion to do the Lord’s work.

May the LORD help us as we call on Him.

Amen.

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2015 in Religion

 

A disciple or a mere professor?

“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed” (John 8v32)

Tonight let’s pay attention to these instructive words of our Lord. It would be wrong for us to think that merely believing the message of salvation or on the person of Christ would suffice in our profession of discipleship. From the text above, we see that certain Jews heard the sayings of Jesus and believed Him. Then He said to those people, ““If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed”. So the key word is abiding. If we must bear fruit as believers, we must abide in Christ. The Lord Jesus buttressed this truth in John 15v4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me.

But what does it really mean to abide in Christ? It essentially involves an unbroken fellowship with Christ. We start by believing in Christ and growing in the knowledge of Him in daily sanctification. Every disciple of Christ should be rooted in Christ. This is how we bear fruit as believers. We prayerfully pay attention to the words of Christ and trust Him for the grace to live by His Word. It is important to say here that as we grow in the knowledge of Christ, we become rooted in Him and are able to discern the voice of strangers. There are several voices in the world, but we are able to discern the voice of the master because we know Him. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers (John 10v5)

How is it with you tonight? Are you really in Christ or have you been playing the game of religion? Have you become so complacent that the things of God don’t excite you? Are you fully persuaded of your relationship with the LORD? Can your spirit truly bear witness that you abide in Christ? Dear friend, these questions are not intended to throw darts of condemnation at you but to charge you to shed every yoke of complacency, artificiality and the like and with a burning desire pant for the glorious presence of the LORD in your heart. He knocks at the door of our hearts; let us with deep gratitude open the door. Are you burdened with the yoke of sin? Turn form those sins and turn to God(this is what repentance truly means). If not anything, strive to have an unbroken fellowship with the LORD.

God bless!

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2015 in Religion