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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. 2Corinthians 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.

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.

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. Yes, 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 minds due to 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 the mind, the 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 feelings. We gave them power over our minds and reasoning. We quieted our conscience.

Many of us also allow others to think for us because it’s the easier thing to do. Why did God create humans with brains if not to think and reason? When we begin to think we make better choices for ourselves and our families. However some of these choices come with consequences that are hard to bear. They call for faith and discipline.

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

Jesus also 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 make the choice to 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 and submit to God. Submitting to God will require us to go against the current of this world.

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 follow Him no matter what comes our way.

Living our Faith

13 Jul

One early morning, I awoke to these words coming from my mouth: “ Justification by faith”. They did not seem to come from me, it was as though they were spoken through me.

Justification by faith wasn’t a concept I understood well. I always thought I had to work for my salvation and I was often very miserable. Why couldn’t I be good all the time? Why did I keep messing up?

I became a very judgmental person because I expected others to make the same efforts I was making. I was pushing to be a good person because I thought my salvation depended on it.

Only in recent months, (yes months!), did I begin to really understand the amazing provision God made for us through His Son.

“…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Do we believe this? Many of us can’t understand it or we believe that we must do something to help attain our salvation. It can’t only be confession and belief, right? Actually, it is. This is called justification by faith. Jesus paid it all.

So where do works come in? Are we now to continue living as we wish conscience free?

No. This is where sanctification comes in, and here’s how I understand how it works.

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17 (NKJV)

Sanctification happens as we learn about who God truly is and His Son Jesus the Christ. As we learn, we make the decision or choice to follow God’s teachings. This isn’t always easy, because giving up what we’ve spent years practicing often has deep roots, but with Christ all things are possible.

For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. Romans 8:5-9 (NASB)

Personally, I experience sanctification every day. There were times when I felt that I was in an intense course! It involved changing my thoughts in order to change my actions. God’s Holy Spirit would gently tell me, “…that wasn’t a nice thing to say. Do better next time…”. It’s like a purging process, and the Holy Spirit is the agent.

For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13

Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying,
“This is the way, walk in it,”
Whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left. (Isaiah 30:21)

We must have respect for God, that is, understand that there’s nothing hidden and He is in us, helping us to overcome our weaknesses. I’ve found this to be extremely important and have started to really pay attention to my thoughts. This is because of late, I’ve recognized that some of my thoughts are actually God talking to me.

We grieve God when we let pride and selfishness stand in the way of sanctification. Pride says, “I want it that way”, or, “this isn’t how I feel things should go. “I’m a good person and I don’t need to be changed.” Pride lives selfishly not thinking about others. How can we become like God if we’re not reachable or teachable? Why do we often reject the labour pains that come with being born again?

In short, I’ve learnt that following God is understanding that He knows what’s best. It isn’t an easy way, that’s why Jesus calls it the straight and narrow way. Thank God that it is a path we walk with a friend; we don’t see what’s ahead, we must depend on Jesus to guide us home.

I hope this all makes sense. Send me a comment if you wish to add more insight or need further help grasping these two concepts better.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)

29 Jun

www.bible.com/114/rev.3.10.nkjv

Your Creator longs to be with you

8 Jun

Or do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price (1 Corinthians 6:19)

There has always been some ambiguity with regards to the Law of God. Are we free from keeping them? Were they “nailed to the cross“, or were they nailed in our hearts?

In the beginning, after God called the world into existence, He formed the first man and woman. God dwelled with them in the garden. They were innocent and did not know anything about being ashamed. This was because there was no wrong doing, nor disobedience. God visited them in that garden and there was nothing separating them from Him.

Now, picture the Israelites in the wilderness near Mount Sinai.

God told Moses not to let any one go near the mountain; it was for their own safety. This was because the presence of God was there.

“Put limits for the people around the mountain and tell them, ‘Be careful that you do not approach the mountain or touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain is to be put to death.” (Exodus 19:12)

The disparity between the garden of Eden and and the wilderness is evident. Sin placed a barrier between God and the ones He formed by hand. In its place was hostility. Sin could not dwell in the presence of God.

Yet, God always wanted to be among His people. Always. He also desired them to be the light for the nations. He wanted everyone in the world to be drawn to this light which would eventually lead to Him.

God never wanted His people to be exclusive, they were to be a light to other nations, and their light was supposed to draw all people to Him.

To be this light, they needed to show the character of God by following the Law that He gave them: The 10 Commandments. To help them further, He broke them down into little laws detailing what constituted lying, stealing, killing, adultery, covetousness, dishonouring Him, etcetera.

This proved too much. It became burdensome, like a list to be checked off. God’s people couldn’t keep up with all those Laws.

They became more concerned with keeping them than being a light to other nations. It also did not draw them into a close relationship with the Lawgiver. In fact, it made Him seem harsh and exacting and they too became that way.

Furthermore, the punishments that accompanied many of the Laws were severe. Those who kept them and knew them well became puffed up and those who were tired and weary of them became lawless.

God saw that this method of teaching His Law did not produce the results He desired. He Always knew this would happen, but, this particular experience with the Law was crucial for the understanding of its importance. We needed to understand that the Law was holy and good. Yes, it needed to be followed because it was a guide on how to love God and our neighbor. We also needed to understand how profound the great sacrifice of Christ was; it was the sacrifice that would spare us from the consequences of sin.

God had always desired to live among His People, and so, the Son of God came into this decaying world. Jesus, became that Light that God wanted His people to be. God the Father dwelled or lived in His son, showing His people how to live the true meaning of His Law. He was drawing His people to Himself. (See John 6:44).

At the famous mountain, Jesus explained the Laws pertaining to man in their true sense. He told His people, forget physically killing, if you threaten someone, you’ve already killed them; if you think about being intimate with another, you’ve already committed adultery in your heart, and it goes on. Jesus further said that not one part of the law was abolished, but fulfilled.

Again, God always wanted to live among His people. When the amazing act of love was demonstrated by Jesus, the Son of God, He received all the punishments for all those laws broken. You would have heard that all our sins, before and after, yes, all, were placed on Him. This is Jesus dying in our place. He took the penalty. This act put an end to the ceremonial laws, which were the killing of lambs, rams, bulls, in short, the spilling of blood. His blood was more excellent and meaningful. He placed a value on us that is far more priceless than anything.

It is important to understand that God the Father was in His Son reconciling or drawing the world, to Himself. He wasn’t sitting down up in Heaven as a distant spectator. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

After Rising Again and returning to His Father, He was glorified. God sent His Holy Spirit to live in us: remember, He always wanted to live among us. The Law was good, but the old dispensation or order did not fulfill God’s desire to be Among us. Now, the laws can be placed in our minds.

When we read and teach or share what the Law says, it stays there. We learn that stealing, killing and lying, are wrong. It hurts people and relationships, it isn’t love, it’s the opposite.

So the Law is good. Yes. We must love it if we want to live in God and have Him live in us. It’s like going to school to learn our lessons, afterwards, we no longer need the text books. Or, it’s like learning an instrument, practicing and following teaching methods. There’s the desire to learn, then the effort. Then one day, our fingers naturally find where to go and we play beautifully.

Revelation 21:3 says:

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.”

Just as it was in the garden of Eden, so shall it be. God always wanted to be among His people. Always. He wants to purify us and make us clean. He washed us by the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ and He wrote His Laws in our minds. He cannot wait to live visibly among us. Isn’t that beautiful? Isn’t He beautiful?