Tag Archives: Jesus

The Lord of the Sabbath

11 Dec

7 If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’you would not have condemned the innocent.8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

Matthew 12:7,8

In the days of Jesus, the Sabbath was revered. It was a day where movement was restricted and certain activities outlawed.

What was supposed to be a day of rest and gladness became a burden for everyone. Yes, even for the leaders who felt they needed to ensure its adherence. But Jesus said mercy was more important to him than sacrifice. What did he mean by that?

On the Sabbath day, Jesus showed mercy by healing the sick and assisting the poor. However, the spiritual leaders focused on the law and not the people for whom it was made. Instead of at least being happy that someone’s health had been restored or pain relieved, they were more concerned that the law had been violated.

Yet, Jesus said that he was the Lord of the Sabbath. Did this mean that he was above his own law and could break it at will? Or was he saying something more important?

And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

1 John 4:21

The Spiritual leaders believed that they showed God love by obeying the law and enforcing its rules. They were probably sincere as they were punished in the past from turning away from it. However, they failed to notice that the law was in place to produce loving relationships so that the other nations would see God and grow to love Him. Indeed, God was principally concerned about how His people treated those He placed under their care.

Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. 17 Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.

Isaiah 1:16,17

God’s people were responsible for washing themselves in order to become clean. This required the sacrificing of countless animals each time the individual had sinned. But thanks be to God for Jesus who came and took this burdensome requirement away. His blood was far more superior to that of bulls and sheep because it paid the ransom for all who would accept his sacrifice.

“The multitude of your sacrifices— what are they to me?” says the LORD. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.

Isaiah 1:11

The labour of love for the salvation of others is so much easier than the heavy burden to save our own souls through sacrifice.

Jesus is our peace and rest – The Lord and the Sabbath: what a beautiful union! The Sabbath is nothing without him and should not be placed above him.

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

Indeed, the Sabbath Day symbolizes the eternal rest to come, and our light labour should be invested in reflecting the kingdom of God here on earth. It had never been dropped nor changed, neither was it meant to be the main dish. Its main focus should be on the Lord of the Sabbath.

The one who loves our souls longs to give us rest right now. We can give this suffering world a glimpse of his Kingdom by speaking up for the harassed and oppressed, healing the sick, taking care of the orphans and widows, and showing kindness to the stranger. In fact, we show love when we focus on others instead of our desires.

Today, there are some religious groups who place a higher value on the Sabbath day than on any other commandment, and conversely, there are those who believe that it is no longer important. But our balance is Jesus, and at the end it will all be centred around him.

In Luke 21:12 and 13, Jesus told his followers that near the end of this world we will be persecuted because of his name and our testimony about him. We could end up losing out if we place emphasis on laws instead.

Therefore, let’s not set our view on the Sabbath law, but rather on lifting up the Lord of the Sabbath. If we focus on keeping laws, we will only end up failing miserably and patting ourselves on the back.

When he returns, may he find us labouring as he did, yes, especially on the Sabbath day.

Everything Comes to an End

9 Dec

Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.

2 Peter 3:3,4

Before I begin today’s blog, I would like to mention that I am thinking about, and praying, for you. These aren’t ordinary times. Many of us are experiencing varying difficulties. Jesus isn’t far away, He is near and is our helper. This is the faith we must have: We are never alone.

When will Jesus return? There are many who make comments like: “The 20th of never! He’s always returning and never shows up!” But life teaches us that everything comes to an end.

Our kindergarten, elementary and other school periods didn’t last forever. Neither did our twenties, thirties, etcétéra. Additionally, jobs, projects, yes, every event that we’ve held or participated in, also had their end.

Our countless affaires and very existence pass on, yet still, the world continues. Therefore, it is understandable why many espouse the idea that all things will go on uninterrupted. But let’s reasonably address this idea: just because the world continues doesn’t mean it won’t end.

The world ends every day. When we pass on, it ceases to exist. We are like little cycles that end within a larger circle, which, in God’s perfect timing, will one day see its last.

But this is not bad news. It doesn’t mean the end of existence, rather, it is the coming of a life where Jesus will rule with fairness, justice and love. He is coming to make all things new.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Revelation 24:4,5

Indeed, it will only be the end of this present world and its system; what will come will be much more superior.

In early March of the year 2020, I heard a loud voice as I was getting out of my car. I felt as if I was stopped in my tracks when I heard this powerful voice say, “The world cannot go on like this any longer”. I did not know what was up ahead then, but what I am seeing and hearing today is certainly convinces me that we are heading to an imminent climax.

Jesus is returning, and attention: when he does, his feet will not touch the earth, but we will rise to meet him. It can be anytime.

We must pray to continue in love and peace in spite of the anger and hatred occurring around the world. We should also go out of our way to help the harassed and the poor living among us.

Even though our world seems bleak, let’s remember that Jesus is in control. In the meantime, we must pray, have faith and hope as we continue in His peace. We will not make it through the storm of all storms unless we walk with Him.

The Celebrity

19 Nov

You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared.

Ezekiel 28:13

Stars like singers and actors appear on the cover of masterpieces while little recognition is given to the creators, engineers and producers who labour behind the scenes. There’s no doubt that celebrities have their part to play, however, those in the background work equally or even harder, to bring the final product to fruition. Yet, multitudes don’t hang posters of them on their walls, instead, they elevate the image produced by their work.

I grew up admiring celebrities. Their talents and image were something I coveted. In fact, I was well on my way to becoming a star until God intervened. Now I desire to shine another star brighter and more glorious than my own.

The Creator of heaven and earth lovingly created Lucifer. He fitted him with amazing talents and spared no detail on his outer appearance.

Instead of showing gratitude to his Creator, Lucifer turned his eyes on himself and saw a god. A third of the angels in heaven agreed and followed him away from the glorious light that gave them all existence. They turned their backs on their Creator.

7 Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.

Revelation 12:7-10

If we created beings turn away from our Creator, how will we sustain our lives? If we turn away from Love, how will we produce love?

I pray that we don’t get distracted by the dazzle of earthly things, but that we pay more attention to the evidence of a loving Creator who made us and gave us our existence. The more we look to God, the more we will be like Him: humble, kind, peaceful, forgiving and loving. This is the image I now desire to have. How about you?

Do Not Be Deceived

15 Nov

Immediately after the distress of those days ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.

Matthew 24:29-30 NIV

When the true Christ reappears, there should be no doubt. No false christ will be able to duplicate the way that He will return. Jesus makes this clear in the above verse. (See also Revelation 6:12-14).

However, many will still be deceived. In Matthew 24:24, Jesus tells us that false prophets will appear and deceive many through great miracles and signs.

Are you easily swayed by what you see and hear? Are you usually too busy to research knowledge for yourself? Then now is the time to be careful, because many will follow false Christs out of ignorance. Believers will be in the minority.

This is the time to think for oneself. Do not go along with the crowd. Whatever your decision, make sure God has guided you. Read the Bible for yourself. God is the only true interpreter; ask Him and He will answer. You can now go directly Him because Jesus removed what separated us.

Standing alone is not easy, but, Jesus promised that He will always be with His followers. (See Matthew 28:20.

Let’s pray: Heavenly Father, I am so grateful that I can come to you directly through your son Jesus the Christ. I need your guidance today more than ever. Help me to be courageous in order to face whatever You have planned for me. I desire to study the Bible and pray more. Help me to make time to do this because I do not want to be deceived. I want you to guide me every step of the way. Amen.

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 13:35-37)

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.

A Time to Feast and a Time to Fast

29 Sep

I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled. Daniel 10:3

Daniel made the decision to fast because he had a vision about “a Great War”. This wasn’t an ordinary battle, it was spiritual warfare.

When trouble arises, the believer does not fight in the ordinary way. Yes, we get upset, we may even begin to worry, but we don’t lose control. We remember who is in control: God the Creator of Heaven and earth. (Genesis 1)

Many prefer to focus on diet when studying Chapter 1 of Daniel, however, the entire context should be examined because each time he fasted, there was trouble.

In addition to our opening scripture, Daniel had also fasted the first time he arrived in Babylon. He and many others were just captured and brought into a foreign country whose inhabitants did not fear God.

When told that he had to eat from the king’s table, (see Daniel 1:5), Daniel refused. One can only imagine the thoughts that crossed his mind: “Was the food on that table sacrificed to other gods?” Or, “I was just captured and taken from my homeland, how could I sit and feast?”

There is a time to eat and be merry and a time to pray and fast, and we are living in such a time. Jeremiah 29:13 says “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

How are we spending our time today? Are we seeking God? Do we have a deep sadness over what is happening in our world? (See Ezekiel 9:4)

We are living in a period where evil is called good and good is called evil, (see Isaiah 5:20). Children are continuing to be abused; people are hurting each other; Christians are persecuted and the list can continue. When we hurt people, we are really hurting Jesus. (See Acts 9:4)

So let’s examine ourselves and be mindful of the times in which we are living. Let’s not be caught by surprise because end-time events may not unfold in the way we anticipated. Fast and pray.

Following our Conscience

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 offer 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 skeptical 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, regarding the current push and coercion to receive a certain treatment, I’m not so sure. I have doubts. I don’t know enough about it and although I have a choice, it comes with a price: do it and you can participate in my society, or don’t and you will be excluded.

I asked my nurse if she knew the longterm risks of the treatment 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 following one’s own conscience 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 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.

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.