Tag Archives: God

The Collective

15 Oct

32 Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. (Acts 4:32)

What selflessness to willingly sell all you have for the sake of others! Walking away from wealth and material things just to assist the poor is admirable. But there’s an adverb in this paragraph that should be emphasized: willingly.

Let me get to the point. If a community is forced to give up their possessions, operations will not run smoothly. Force or coercion will never produce the love that is needed for harmony. All involved must have one mind and one purpose in order for this system to succeed.

There must also be a need. In the above verse, there was widespread persecution which prompted them to unite in prayer. They were filled with the Holy Spirit. Therefore God was the tie that bound them together.

When individuals are forced against their will to participate in a system, it is a sure sign that this system is godless. The true God does not operate by force, rather, reasoning and choice are employed. Neither will the true God force you to follow him or ask you to threaten others to do so. For God wants everyone to willingly choose repentance and live.

Clueless of the Times

5 Oct

35 “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. 36 If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. 37 What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’” (Mark 23:35-47)

If Jesus said, “…you don’t know when…”, do we really think that we will know when to wake up? Are we expecting certain events to be in place before we do? And like the 5 foolish virgins, will it be too late when we finally open our eyes? Jesus said to watch and pray.

I’ve heard many say they’re not into politics and give little thought to what’s happening around the world. They are very busy meeting the demands of life and there’s little time to pay attention.

In the parable of the great banquet, Jesus said the people who were invited were also busy and began to make excuses. He gave three examples: one had just bought land, another had just bought animals for work, and the last had just gotten married.

Again, those that were called were too caught up in the affairs of this temporary world. They were not mindful of the times in which they lived. For them it was business as usual. These were “church members”, not “worldly folk”.

To prepare, we need to pray and ask for guidance. God will inspire his people to move according to his will. Just being mindful of the times we’re living in can help raise our awareness and prepare us to listen to our Creator.

There is something happening right now and many are continuing to live their lives as if the world is set to continue forever. They seem to not be too excited about the appearing of Jesus, rather, their blinders are on to what’s happening around them.

When Jesus came the first time many people were oppressed and harassed. Their land was occupied by rulers who controlled them and they had little freedom of expression.

Could it be that He will come during similar circumstances? Remember, although many were oppressed, still, there were those who conformed. This latter will continue to live comfortable lives and so the rules of the world will not pose a threat to them. But when they finally wake up, it will be too late.

Preparation is key whether it’s for an exam or a marathon; how much more important for the coming of our Saviour? When he comes will we be waiting expectantly, or surprised and disappointed? As a friend of mine always used to say: “We should always be in a state of readiness”. I pray that we all will be.

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 says 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 kinds 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 by 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 would become like Stephen looking up as he received his final blow; 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.

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.

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.