Do Not Sell Your Birthright-Part 3

13 Sep

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,” Luke 4:18

Esau willingly sold his birthright for a bowl of stew. He said, “Look, I am a about to die”… “What good is the birthright to me?” Genesis 25:32

Let’s look again at the significance of a birthright.

It is a responsibility. Once the father passes, the first born son assumes responsibility for the entire household. Not only is he expected to take care of his widowed mother, but he is to care for the women until they are married. Running a household takes sacrifice and selflessness. There is the financial obligation: Bills, food and other necessities.

It is interesting that Jacob, on the other hand, desired such a responsibility. I often wondered what was so special about this deceiver, but now I understand. Jacob went after the birthright on his own. There was no deceit here. He simply made his desire known, and his Brother Esau could have said, “No way!”.

Jacob’s request reveals that he wanted to take care of his vulnerable family. He was a man of integrity. He wasn’t only thinking of himself.

However, when he deceived his father Isaac, he was compelled by his mother. Back then, obeying one’s parents was paramount. Also, let’s remember that when she felt the unborn babies struggling in her womb, God told Rebecca,

The LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.” Genesis 25:23

Isaac was about to die, so Rebecca thought she needed to act fast. Some might say she decided to help God, others, on the other hand, could argue that she simply had faith to carry out such a plan.

Now let us try to apply the above to what is happening right now.

First of all, a recent exchange with a very close friend inspired me to write a part three to “Don’t sell your birthright” immediately.

This morning she woke up and heard the phrase , “Jesus is very angry with the Church of Laodicea…”, repeatedly. My friend had never heard of Laidicea. She asked her husband who told her it was a church mentioned in Revelation.

4 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. Revelation 3:14-16

As soon as my friend shared her experience with me, I remembered my desperate prayers for those people who are suffering all around the world because of various distressing circumstances.

These people are being ignored because they are expected to go against their liberty of conscience. Others have lost loved ones, are in poverty, or are suffering because of physical ailments that are being ignored or downplayed.

Where are the pastors? Where are the evangelists? What is God’s Church doing to help this group? Who is willing to take up responsibility for this household, for this birthright? Perhaps we, the common people must help them and follow the example of Jesus.

35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9:35-38

We have a vulnerable group of people who are being harassed. Many of them do not know Jesus, but they need help and hope. Yet, we are busy living our lives because we aren’t affected.

This has been on my heart! The harvest is plentiful. If we are too afraid to stand up for the cause of the needy and vulnerable, let us, at least, pray for workers to help them.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:8,9

“Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the LORD delivers them in times of trouble.” Psalm 41:1

Let us seek God for His will. May we pray for courage to do it when we find out what it is. And finally, I want to remind us that those who are deceived, do not know that they are. The bible says that if it were possible, even the very elect would be deceived. (Matthew 24:24)

“I will follow Thee, my Savior,
Wheresoe’er my lot may be;
Where Thou goest I will follow,
Yes, my Lord, I’ll follow Thee.” (1st verse from hymn by Steve Darmody)

God’s way is never the popular way.

Standing Alone Before God

4 Sep

8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 1 Peter 5:8,9

One of the many confusing elements about Christianity is how divided we seem to be. Within our religion we have many denominations and even within them there are further divisions. This has puzzled unbelievers preventing many to take us seriously.

Yet Jesus prayed specifically for unity among believers so that the ‘world’ would believe:

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. John 17 20,21

This does not mean that everyone who calls themselves Christian will be united in Christ, only that remnant of believers who stand for the principles of their Creator. See Matthew 7:21

It is easy to stand strong with a large group, but how hard it is to stand alone! In these last days, the believer will feel like Elijah:

He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” 1 Kings 19:2

But God reminded Elijah that he wasn’t the only one. During these times many are feeling like they are alone but many share their sentiments.

Standing alone is not easy, yet, this is going to be our experience in the last days. We will have to choose God in difficult circumstances and let our conscience be our guide. Jesus Said:

Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-la)36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. Matthew 10:34-36

Isn’t this happening now? Yes. I just read an article about a mother and father who went to court over inoculating their child in Quebec. This is not an isolated incident. The entire world seems to be polarized.

As our opening verse suggests, this is the time to be sober minded and alert. This is the time to resist the enemy and stand firm in our faith. We can no longer stand firm in a group. It’s time to think, reason and follow our own conscience before God.

It does not matter what our church think the seal of God is, if we don’t have the faith to stand alone in whatever we believe, we will be in trouble.

These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. Revelation 14:4

Therefore, let us follow Jesus wherever he leads us. Let us be like brave Peter who obeyed and went to Cornelius despite the teachings of his church. (See Acts 10) Stand firm and follow The Lamb.

Who Is Our Master?

23 Sep

Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Romans 6:16)

God is the one that has been taking care of us all these years. He is the one who supplies all our needs. (Philippians 4:19).

Therefore, if we’re being told, “If you don’t receive such and such, you won’t be able to work or participate in society”, shouldn’t there be an alarm sounding off in our heads? The alarm should remind us that we depend on God and God alone.

All through the years, God has used many ways to take care of our needs. These ways were obvious to us. They came through our jobs, subsidies, friends, families, etcétéra. We didn’t feel forced or felt the need to compromise and our conscience was never bothered.

But now, something is different. Before we had a choice. We ate food and took meds without knowing every ingredient that was found in them. We could’ve said ‘no’ or ‘yes’.

In the summer of 2021, I was placed on the list to receive a kidney from a deceased donor. One day, I got a call from a doctor regarding another list. He said that he must be transparent and proceeded to inform me about kidneys from donors who had certain treatable infections. The doctor said, “in the 80s we would never have offered such kidneys to our patients, but now we do because it has been proven that they can be treated successfully, and we have since done many of these types of transplants”.

I prayed about it, consulted with my husband, who was skepticsl as I was, and I also spoke with other doctors. Finally, after weighing the pros and cons, I decided to trust God and go on that special list. Although I was told the waiting period was 10-12 years, I was called in about a month later for my transplant.

I am proud of how far we have come in medicine. I admire the dedication and ethics of my doctors. I appreciate the transparency and honesty that most exhibit. I went into the hospital and received exceptional service. All the nurses and doctors felt like family. They were kind and answered all my questions. I felt at home.

My conscience never bothered me. I felt comfortable and strongly believed that God was walking with me all through the process.

However now, I’m not so sure. I have doubts. I don’t know enough, and although I have a choice, it is at a price: do it and you can participate in my world, or don’t do it and you will be excluded.

I asked my nurse if she knew the longterm risks on people with kidney transplants, and she folded her arms and said, No.

For me, this situation is more complicated than getting a compromised kidney.

In Luke 18:8b, Jesus asks if He will find faith when He returns to this earth. Faith is depending fully on Him, it’s you alone with God. It is not compromising on your beliefs and trusting Him no matter what. It is not trusting in an income, a doctor or pharmacy, or a third-party handout when faced with persecution. More importantly, it is a personal decision with consequences.

I want to reiterate that we always have a choice no matter what. Will we choose the right master? Will we hold onto our faith until Jesus arrives? Or will fear and little faith cause us to compromise on what we believe?

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ (Matthew 4:8-10)

God’s Peculiar People

17 Sep

“The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of people.” Daniel 4:17

God had turned His back on King Saul because he did not obey Him completely. When the prophet Samuel told him that the kingdom would be given to someone more deserving, he set his resentful eyes on David.

David was a humble shepherd boy who Saul had requested to play the harp in his presence. David’s playing seemed to soothe him and kept the demons away, but one day, King Saul started throwing javelins and spears at the unsuspecting David.

It is highly interesting that although God had taken his kingdom away, Saul was still acting as the king. Similarly, although David was anointed king, he did not reign until much later. We are experiencing the same scenario. Our common enemy’s throne was taken away when Jesus rose again, yet, he is still allowed to rule for a time. But his reign is coming to an end soon and He is very angry. (See 1 Peter 5:8)

But let us return to the peculiarity of David. This humble young man had good reason to defend himself from Saul. After all, the acting king had attempted to kill him several times. Still, David refused to touch him. Here’s why:

He said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the LORD’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the LORD.” 1 Samuel 24:6

Our opening verse was directed to King Nebuchadnezzar because he had refused to humble himself before the Creator. God had to remind him that He was the one that put him in power.

As it clearly states, it is God who sets up kings. One version say the “vilest” of them, and David refused to hurt Saul who God had anointed, even though he had become a vile king.

Today, many are angry at what is happening. They wish evil on their leaders. But do these kind of thoughts please the God who declared “Vengeance is mine, I shall repay”? (See Deuteronomy 32:35 and Romans 12:19) Or should we be like David and allow God to determine their fate?

Since we have already won, we are not to fight like unbelievers. Our focus should not be on our enemies, rather it should be on reaching people for The Kingdom of God.

Also, when we walk blameless on this earth, loving our enemies and doing good to those who persecute us, the hope should be that they will see the love of Christ in us and seek Him. It is not God’s will that anyone lose out on eternal life. (See 2 Peter 3:9)

Does this mean that we should not speak out against injustices? Of course not! John the Baptist told King Herod he was wrong for taking his brother’s wife; the prophet Elijah stood up to King Ahab and his wicked queen, and Jesus stood up to religious leaders. We should stand with those who are hurting, whose voices are not being heard. The events of today have opened a way for us to show God’s love to a hurting world.

God knew everything that would unfold. He spoke of a ‘time of trouble’ that will unequal any that ever occurred on this earth. He has been holding evil back for a long time. However, He has ordered the angels to release the winds. (See Revelation 7:12)

When we begin to see this time as an opportunity to share the gospel, a deep joy should fill our hearts. We will become like Stephen looking up as he received his final blows; we will be like the apostles who rejoiced to be persecuted just as their Saviour Jesus was!

What a peculiar people we must seem to be to onlookers! But this is the way to eternal life.

Let us aim to walk in the Spirit because we are not to battle as unbelievers do. Besides, we must remember that the battle belongs to God.

Depending solely on God

4 Sep

9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Most of us have some kind of security. We’re either working, receiving help from the government or family and friends. But imagine not having any kind of support at all. How would we handle this?

Years ago I read a book about a pastor who felt moved to go into the ministry of casting out demons. He wasn’t supported by any large church organization, he had no income. My admiration about his story wasn’t so much about the ministry, but about how God used people to supply his needs.

If his girls needed clothes, a basket of clothing would be found on the front porch; food came from those he helped. Sometimes his family would have to wait and hold on to their faith. I remember thinking, “I’d love to experience living like that. Fully dependent on God!”

The bible says there will come a time when we will have to solely depend on our God. But if we want to eat and support our families with no hassle, we’ll have to compromise on what we believe.

Though many are right now adamant that they will never yield to such pressure, time will show it is easier said than done.

This reminds me of the apostle Peter. He told Jesus he would never ever deny Him. In fact, he said he would die if necessary, but we know the story; he caved out of fear of imprisonment and possible death.

I am not saying that our present situation is that dreaded time, however, many feel forced to do something they don’t feel entirely comfortable about. Is it okay to compromise? Is it worth being let go of a job? This is up to each of us.

All I know is that the time is coming when the only One we will have to depend on is our Creator. Just like Elijah, we will have to trust God for everything.

When we are at our weakest with no power of our own, will we be brave and trust God, or will we give in? When we have nothing, will we lean on His strength or on others?

But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven. Matthew 10:33

We are individuals, born with one power and that is choice. I want to emphasize that no matter the consequences we are faced with, we can always exercise that choice. It’s up to us.

A Lament to God’s Leaders

31 Aug

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

It has been made clear to me that this present time is indeed a rehearsal for the time of trouble spoken of in Daniel 12:1. I hope the reader will understand this by the end of this blog.

This pandemic shares many characteristics with the time of trouble

Our global leaders employed bribery, manipulation, coercion, and some, even force, to get their populations to conform. Many willingly complied, some gave in, however, a remnant refused.

This remnant has been blamed for unsuccessful outcomes. Many have been forced to quit their jobs because they preferred to follow their conscience and reasoning instead of giving into social pressure.

If one loses his/her job, how would they be able to buy or sell? If documentation or proof is required to prove their compliance, how would they be able to function as a free moral agent?

Shame. Shame on all the spiritual leaders who did not pick up the cause of this remnant! Who with blinded eyes only saw what they wanted to see! But God is merciful. He has allowed His people to have a glimpse into what will soon come upon the earth.

This blog is not faulting leaders for receiving what they believe to be protection, rather, it is bringing to light the neglect of a remnant who refused to ignore their conscience.

For once again there will be a time of trouble, but this time, it will be far severe. There will be a great testing of our faith where again, a small remnant will stand no matter the consequences. They will have to stand on their conscience alone, fully persuaded in their hearts.

My prayer is that this period be a lesson to us all and that we do not make the same mistake twice.

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! (Isaiah 30:18

Unity – No matter what

29 Aug

One man esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. Romans 14:5

Our conscience is particular to us. It marks a boundary that we own. It delineates us from others. We risk standing alone, unpopular and ostracized.

Therefore, who can go against their conscience without a struggle? It is not an easy feat.

Here we have two groups in the world today. One that go willingly and the other very hesitant. Who is wrong? Who is right?

At present, I say neither is wrong or right. These are two groups who have sincerely made a choice. But there is a big concern.

The willing believe they are right because they are saving themselves and others, which by default insinuate that the other group is not as caring.

The unwilling need more time to weigh the risks and benefits which by default suggest that they believe the other to have been too hasty in their decision. For them, it’s a matter of conscience.

But how should the Church respond?

We should be compassionate towards each other. The willing should understand the circumstances of the hesitant. This latter do not have the faith to go forward and anything done without faith is sin.


And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not from faith; for whatsoever is not from faith is sin. Romans 14:23

This makes it a moral issue for the hesitant and our willing brothers and sisters should be understanding and loving towards them.

In the same way, the hesitant should respect the decision of the willing and not make them feel like they made the worst decision of their lives. They had enough faith to take it. Many did it because they wanted to continue to help others.

Peter was bitten by a poisonous snake and just shook it off, (See Acts 28:3), and we also have this encouraging verse:

8They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. Mark 16:18

Both groups need faith, and this faith must be locked in by love.

Everyone must be fully persuaded in their own minds. I am beginning to believe that the present ordeal is a practice for what is to come. Will we allow hate to consume us, or will we continue in love?

12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. Matthew 24:12,13

Careful! We must not make enemies out of this, because God has called us to love everyone. Jesus loved us even while we were against him. (See Romans 5:8)

Never in our earth’s history has the global population been so polarized. Families and friends are divided. People are in danger of losing their jobs because they will not go against their conscience. We need to show compassion to everyone and focus on sharing Jesus with the world.

On a personal note, this experience has strengthened me. I have never had to stand up for what I believed in such tense circumstances. Standing our ground, no matter the consequences, will build character and prepare us for the real test. Who knows? Maybe this is God’s way of training us for what’s up ahead.

Do not sell your birthright 2 – Deception

27 Aug

21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come near, that I may feel you, my son, to know whether you are really my son Esau or not.” 22 So Jacob went near to Isaac his father, who felt him and said, “The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” 23 And he did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s hands. So he blessed him.24 He said, “Are you really my son Esau?” He answered, “I am.” Genesis 27:21-24

In order to deceive his own father, Jacob had to do two things: lie and disguise himself. His father was almost blind, so he was not able to recognize the error.

Yet, there was a discrepancy. The voice was not that of Esau, it was clearly Jacob’s. But because of the hairy arms and the smell of Esau’s robes, Isaac decided to believe. He had reasonable doubt that he was being deceived, but he chose to ignore it. I personally wonder if the smell of that stew won him over.

It is hard to believe that the people who claim to love you and have your best interest at heart would ever want to hurt you. Yet, to deceive involves lies and disguise.

14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. (2 Corinthians 11:14,15)

Let us not be deceived. If something does not add up to you, consider that a doubt. Think. Reason. Now is the time to make sure that your choices are yours. Don’t do anything out of fear or because everyone else is doing it.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

I don’t want Jesus to return…yet.

22 Aug

Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’

18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’

19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’

20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’

21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’

22 “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’

23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’” Luke 14:16-24

A friend of mine shared a true story about a lady who lived under the dictatorship of Hitler. The focal point of the article was that Hitler did not conquer Austria with war tanks or cannons, rather, the people welcomed him with open arms. You see, at that time, the living conditions of Austria were hard: no jobs, no food, etcétéra. So when they were asked to vote, they happily gave him 98%. He was like a saviour.

As soon as He came in, he fed them and made sure all eligible people received employment. There was celebrating in the streets.

However, things began to take a turn for the worse. The Austrians were a god-faring people, but right away, the pictures of Jesus in the public schools were quickly replaced by pictures of their new leader. They were no longer allowed to pray, but had to sing their patriotic song towards him. The good morals that they held high began to crumble. Everything became nationalized and owned by the government by force and/or coercion. Every eligible person had to work and women gave up their children as early as 4 weeks old to be cared for by the state. Women were treated like men, forced to train then sent to the frontlines to war.

My friend felt compelled to share this story with others, but the response of one friend in particular hurt her. They insinuated that she was a worrier and that Christians should not worry, that things could never happen that way and will take a turn for the better.

This blog is not purporting that what happened in Austria will or will not happen. It focuses on the fact that many Christians do not want to be reminded that hardships are in the books for us; that the coming of Jesus has to unfold at some point.

I remember a good friend of mine telling me that he didn’t want Jesus to return as yet because he wanted to get married. I felt very sorry that he had said that.

Imagine just marrying the one you love or buying property to then be told, “No time to enjoy it buddy, Jesus is about to open the door!”, how would this make you feel? Would you happily stop your plans to welcome Him? Or would you say, ‘Stop with all this doom and gloom already’?

The above parable rightly describes how things will be at the end. Many Christians will be too caught up with living their best life than with seeking eternal rest.

As I said in one of my earlier blogs, in March 2020, God warned me that, “ The world cannot go on like this any longer.” He is coming and we all know that certain events must take place before He appears.

So let’s continue to abide, to live; but let us not live for this world which is quickly passing away, but let us live passionately for Jesus. Wake up. It is time.

Overcomer

22 Jul

Have you ever had a high only to fall flat a day or two later? One day you’re exercising, eating well, being productive, then come the days when you binge on TV, junk food and you just can’t get off the bed or couch. Or it’s such a pain to kick a bad habit that is destroying you inside out. Many may say, “Oh, that’s a sign of depression”, or, “what’s wrong with having down days? But If it bothers you, why not make an effort to change?

We do have good intentions. The worse of us wish we could overcome ourselves, but we end up being slaves to our bodies; we end up being enslaved to our memories and feelings.

When this happens, what do we tend to do? Seek justification from those around us. Yes. If enough people agree with our behaviours, then we will feel better. Our conscience would be quieted. There would be peace in our mind, our body and soul.

Being part of a group brings comfort. Furthermore, if laws support you, well, you’re set. Not only do you have peace, but you’re a law abiding citizen.

However, what we really did was say “YES” to our bodies. We gave them power over our minds and reasoning. We quieted our conscience.

But there are quite a few verses in the Bible that encourage us to discipline ourselves:

But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:27 RSV

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. Matthew 16:34

knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; Romans 6:6

See also Galatians 5:24 and Ephesians 4:22.

Athletes, musicians, doctors, etcétéra, must exercise discipline if they are to master their fields. How much more should we? If we are to inherit eternal life, we must overcome the flesh with its passions and desires.

To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. Revelation 3:21

Our Creator isn’t an ordinary being. He is infinitely higher that the most important person on this earth. So then, let us study the book that speaks of Him so that we may learn His ways. And let me tell you, His ways are beautiful.