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Let Me Run! – The Man On A Mission

English: The Death of Absalom (2Sam. 18:1-15) ...

English: The Death of Absalom (2Sam. 18:1-15) Русский: Смерть Авессалома (2Цар. 18:1-15) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes you may be tempted to think that you can do other people’s jobs better than them. If you have the privilege of leading a team of workers you might have caught some members of the team wishing they were given “that other assignment” because “they feel they can do it better” than the person doing it. You can have situations where someone becomes bold enough to confront you, to know why he is not given the other person’s assignment. This article deals with issues of such nature and how to handle it. It is a great lesson for everyone who wants to make a mark in life.

The scripture says, “Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, “Let me run now and take the news to the king, how the Lord has avenged him of his enemies.” And Joab said to him, “You shall not take the news this day, for you shall take the news another day. But today you shall take no news, because the king’s son is dead.” Then Joab said to the Cushite, “Go, tell the king what you have seen.” So the Cushite bowed himself to Joab and ran. And Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said again to Joab, “But whatever happens, please let me also run after the Cushite.” So Joab said, “Why will you run, my son, since you have no news ready?”  “But whatever happens,” he said, “let me run.” So he said to him, “Run.” Then Ahimaaz ran by way of the plain, and outran the Cushite.” 2 Sam 18:19-23 (NKJV)

There was war in Israel after Absalom deposed David as king. When Absalom gained control of considerable followers in his scheme to become the king of Israel, David fled but the followers of Absalom advised him to confront him in a battle and there was war. It turned out that that the army of Absalom was defeated and he was killed on the battle field. Joab, the commander of David’s forces wanted to inform David of the events of the day and the outcome. Joab had men who were trained to run errands about warfare that Israel was engaged in.

Joab decided to send the Cushite who was trained for such an errand; however, Ahimaaz felt he can do a better job than the Cushite. Joab reminded him that he was not the right person for this assignment but Ahimaaz insisted he must do the job. After what seemed like a long argument over this, Joab gave him the permission to go. The following was the outcome

“Now David was sitting between the two gates. And the watchman went up to the roof over the gate, to the wall, lifted his eyes and looked, and there was a man, running alone. Then the watchman cried out and told the king. And the king said, “If he is alone, there is news in his mouth.” And he came rapidly and drew near.

Then the watchman saw another man running, and the watchman called to the gatekeeper and said, “There is another man, running alone!”

And the king said, “He also brings news.”

So the watchman said, “I think the running of the first is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok.”

And the king said, “He is a good man, and comes with good news.”

So Ahimaaz called out and said to the king, “All is well!” Then he bowed down with his face to the earth before the king, and said, “Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delivered up the men who raised their hand against my lord the king!”

The king said, “Is the young man Absalom safe?”

Ahimaaz answered, “When Joab sent the king’s servant and me your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I did not know what it was about.

And the king said, “Turn aside and stand here.” So he turned aside and stood still.” 2 Sam. 18:24 -30. (NKJV)

Ahimaaz had a good run. He out-ran the Cushite and got to David first; David was glad to receive him and wanted to know what the News was.

Ahimaaz said “So Ahimaaz called out and said to the king, “All is well!” Then he bowed down with his face to the earth before the king, and said, “Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delivered up the men who raised their hand against my lord the king!” The king said, “Is the young man Absalom safe?” Ahimaaz answered, “When Joab sent the king’s servant and me your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I did not know what it was about.”

That was a disaster! Ahimaaz failed in his mission to deliver the total News; he said “I saw a great tumult, but I did not know what it was about.” It was the moment of truth for him; he was in another man’s race. Ahimaaz was not the right messenger when it comes to details. The words of Joab must have play back in his mind to his dismay but it was too late. You might be familiar with a scene like this. It is common in our competitive world; in politics, at home, in the office, to name a few; where some people run other people down for all kinds of reasons. There are many people who are more interested in getting attention; getting a job or being the “leader”; more than doing the job.

When people run the race that is not meant for them (by training or destiny), they end up in shame. They frustrate everyone and get turned away.  You can imagine the embarrassment it could have been if Joab had committed the whole assignment to him.  A leader must not commit his important projects to “loud talkers”. He must be careful to discern schemers. They talk about cost saving but end up pilling up more bills for the organisation. They build up division and cracks and spend their time developing cover-up.

The end of the story is like this:

“Just then the Cushite came, and the Cushite said, “There is good news, my lord the king! For the Lord has avenged you this day of all those who rose against you.”

And the king said to the Cushite, “Is the young man Absalom safe?”

So the Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise against you to do harm, be like that young man!”

Then the king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept. And as he went, he said thus: “O my son Absalom—my son, my son Absalom—if only I had died in your place! O Absalom my son, my son!” 2 Kings18:31-33 (NKJV)

The Cushite delivered as expected and the job was done. The scripture said “Then the King was moved”. In spiritual things you can only make an eternal impact in a Holy Spirit commissioned assignment. God has assignment for every one of us. We must not despise the “little job” for the “big” ones. God knows what he can use us for. We don’t have the right to question God about what he has asked other people to do. Nebuchadnezzar learnt some lessons about this during his crisis.

And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever:

For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, “What have You done?” Daniel 4:34-35 (NKJV)

This is the time to turn to God in humility and ask him for his will for our lives. Paul did this in Acts 9:6. So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

It is not in our power to decide who God uses for what. Acts 13:1-3, says, “Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.” (NKJV) It was a divine choice and the Lord did not give any reason for choosing them. They were the right men for that assignment. It was not because they were better Christians than the others.

We should obey the Lord and commit ourselves to our duties; whatever it is God has asked us to do. 2 Cor.10:12, says, For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” (NKJV)

God is waiting for you

Plate 366 of Birds of America by John James Au...

Plate 366 of Birds of America by John James Audubon depicting Iceland or Jer Falcon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The scripture says in Jer. 29:13-14a “When you look for me, you will find me. When you wholeheartedly seek me, I will let you find me, declares the Lord.” (GWT)

The end of the year is usually devoted to reviewing the activities in the passing year and projecting into the future. It is more of a tradition and many people do it involuntarily. It is highly acknowledged that this action helps to shape the coming year for everyone who is serious at making tangible progress in life.

The word of God advises that people should not do this without bringing God into it. James 4 13 -16 says, “Pay attention to this! You’re saying, “Today or tomorrow we will go into some city, stay there a year, conduct business, and make money.” You don’t know what will happen tomorrow. What is life? You are a mist that is seen for a moment and then disappears. Instead, you should say, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and carry out our plans.” However, you brag because you’re arrogant. All such bragging is evil.” (GWT) When we make plans for the future without considering things that are outside our control, it is like doing a guess work and gambling. One of the things we don’t have a control over is life. There is nobody that can achieve anything without life. God is the giver of life.

Jeremiah 29:13, shows us how we can approach the issue of divine help. The following are some important things to do:

  • We should seek God wholeheartedly.
  • It must be a conscious and diligent effort.
  • It should be done prayerfully and with the word of God as a guide.
  • It should be done meditatively and in humility.
  • It should be done with gratitude and fortitude.
  • It should be done with sincerity and consideration for other people.
  • It must be done with faith and expectation.

Heb.11:6, says And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (NIV)

Jer. 29:14a, is very exciting to me. God says, “I will let you find me.” It means that God is ready to meet with you. He is waiting for you to come. He is willing to help you.

God bless you.

God wants you to be well

Our Lord Jesus Christ

Our Lord Jesus Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Good health is a very passionate topic to deal with. Delving into divine healing is quite complex, with a lot of questions to answer. I don’t intend to go into any argument or complexities about this, as I have learnt to keep spiritual things as simple as possible bearing in mind Deut. 29:29. It states,

“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.” (NIV)

It is the will of God that you live in good health and that all will go well with you.   Jesus proved this in Mark 1: 40 – 41;

“A man with leprosycame to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”

Jesus was indignant.He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!”Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.” (NIV)

The book of 3 John verse 2, says, “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” (NIV)

Jesus spent a lot of time healing those that were sick and his response to a man who was not sure what his will was about his poor health was “I will” and then he healed him immediately. When he met another man who was invalid for 35 years, he healed him. The scriptures says,

“Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesdaand which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

 “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.” (NIV)

The scriptures did not tell us why the Lord asked him if he wanted to be well but despite the man’s confusion, Jesus healed him. Managing ill health for a long time could be devastating for the sufferer and their relations or friends; a lot of money and time are spent, hope wanes and faith is stretched. There was another example in the scripture that I want us to read;

“And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak,because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. Mark 5:25-29 (NIV)

God’s will for those who are suffering from ill health is that they get well. The power of God is available to heal people and we should trust God for our healing.

We must keep faith alive and never give up the fight against sickness and infirmities.

God can use various means to meet our health needs; we must open up to his grace at all times.

We must not have any negative attitude towards medical sciences and the numerous efforts being made to provide help and support for the sick.

Every time we have the opportunity to provide support in any way to those who are sick, we should do it. It is the will of God for us to do so. We can visit, call or share good thoughts with them.

We must make effort to see that we stay off things that can bring ill health. Jesus rebuked the man I mentioned earlier in John 5: 2- 5. This was what the scriptures said about it:

“Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” John 5:14 (NIV)

The man’s lifestyle must have contributed to his situation. Please, there are a lot of things that contribute to people being sick; we must be very careful about judging people who are sick.

We should be compassionate and willing to pray for those who are sick. Mark 16:17 says “And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”(NIV)

We should play our part and leave the rest to God. “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:15-16 (NIV)

Most of us get bothered about what will happen when we pray for the sick; they ask “what if the person didn’t get well?” Like I said at the beginning, do it by faith; I pray for the sick and trust God to do his part. I have seen many people healed, some immediately, some later and unfortunately, some didn’t get healed. In all cases I give God the glory and move on. (I don’t understand why some people don’t get healed; however I believe God loves all of them.)

We must not conceal ill health. There are many people who do this; it is not faith and it is not common sense. You must open up and know what you are passing through and seek for help.

Please be very careful about attributing everything to demons. Sin brought all bad things into the world but it is not everything that is caused by demons. I have given an example where a man’s ill health was his making. There are a lot of things that lead to poor health.

Don’t get involved in afflicting people in any way to expel demons. Demons are spirit beings and you can’t cast them out by afflicting their victims. Please don’t do it. I will not be dealing in details about that now.

You can be made whole; it is the will of God. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, you can be today. You can invite Jesus into your life now.

Reference:

All Bible quotes are from www.biblegateway.com

What are your motivations as a Christian?

Resurrection of Christ

Resurrection of Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I listened to Jessy Dixon‘s song recently – “I am Redeemed” and it got me reflecting over this issue again – What is my motivation as a believer?

Some years ago, a branch of Christian Corpers’ fellowship   published an article from a guest writer titled “Christianity ….one mile wide and one inch deep” He wrote about the spread of the gospel in that part of the world. That statistic has changed such so much now. I guess it might be something like 10 miles wide and zero inches deep. (Sad, isn’t it?).

The spread can be attributed to a lot of things, zeal, motivation, life challenges, etc. (mind you, I love soul winning, church growth and dynamism of the faith). If you love Soul winning these books will be of great delight “Soul Winning: A pleasant Experience” and “Lovely Feet on the Mountain”.  A lot of gospel push produced that staggering number of people who confessed Jesus as their Lord.

The lack of depth is very disturbing though and results are that while many people confess to be Christians the impact of it on the society is actually abysmal. The question we should ask is what makes believers different? There are a lot of things people and religion fake but one thing that we hold dear is the fact that we are redeemed. In Jessy Dixon’s song “I am redeemed”, dedicated to new believers, he said “if anyone asks you who you are? Say “I am redeemed”

It is a very personal question we should ask ourselves and go on to live it out. Am I redeemed? What are my motivations? Christianity is not a club and true faith is far removed from religion. It is a personal commitment of one’s soul to Jesus Christ. It is a relationship with a living God. The scripture says in Matthew 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (NIV) so while enjoying the blessing associated with Christ, it must be made clear what Jesus said “Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3 (NKJV)

Make 8:36 says, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (KJV)

Many people have attained great heights using Christianity as their ladder but it should never be assumed that the grace of God could be taken for granted. I read some time ago of a Bishop who said he was not sure Jesus rose again. I have met people who are so zealous in gospel work whose motives are not clear. I encountered a pastor who was not certain whether it was only Adam and Eve that God created first. According to her, God must have created other men and women (Sick! Isn’t it?) Such believe customises sin to certain people and absolves others of the need for repentance from sin. It promotes racial discrimination and degradation.

Whatever goes on anywhere and for whatever reason, it is our personal responsibility to ensure that we believed right. The believer’s life is a continuous faith fight against the forces of darkness but it is worthy to remember that the battle is won already. It is our firm dependence on Jesus that gives us continuous victory. We must keep on claiming that victory.  Don’t forget, if you are a believer, that you are redeemed.

God is used to challenges – Let him handle yours

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the Furnace ...

No problem or difficulty lasts forever but God does. Difficult times can be very disturbing.  The book “The Triumphant life: – 31 secrets of winning every spiritual warfare” states that, “everyone faces the perplexities of life at one time or the other, whether they are kings or ordinary people.” I strongly believe that no person is stupid because he is having a difficult time. Everyone has things that bother him or her. I want you to know that God is able to handle whatever you are going through, he is used to challenges.

God is used to challenges from men and problems of every kind. Let us see examples in the scriptures:

“Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness.’” Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD and I will not let Israel go.” Exodus 5:1-2 (KJV)

What do you make of that statement? It was enough to erode the confidence of any person. It was not an empty challenge because that king of Egypt challenged Moses’ assertion that God wanted Israel out of Egypt. It was a long drawn contest that ended this way in Exodus 14:15-28;

“Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. The Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.”

Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.

The Egyptians pursued them, and all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea. During the last watch of the night the LORD looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion. He jammed the wheels of their chariots so that they had difficulty driving. And the Egyptians said, “Let’s get away from the Israelites! The LORD is fighting for them against Egypt.”

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.” Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the LORD swept them into the sea. The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen—the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.” (NIV)

There were others like him; one of them was Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. Daniel 3:8-18 says,

“At this time some astrologerscame forward and denounced the Jews. They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “May the king live forever! Your Majesty has issued a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold, and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.” Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (NIV)

He actually carried out his threat. He threw them inside a burning furnace that was seven times hotter than normal. The scripture says, “Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.” Daniel 3:19-23 (NIV)

Some people would ask, how dare Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, challenge the “mighty king”. Nebuchadnezzar was ruthless; he had no regard for human life and does not care about anyone. He, in this instance, was a bully.

The best way to handle bullies is to challenge them. Many people condone bully hoping that bullies will stop but they don’t. I know because I had been a victim of bullying and I have counselled some victims of bullying (as a Minister of the gospel). Some people would over look it for fear of family, job, religion, reprisal or what have you. Domestic violent is prevalent in many places and had ruined the lives of many vulnerable people. You must speak out. (You must not engage them in physical fight) Report it, even if that is all you can do.

God dealt with Nebuchadnezzar. His fire had no effect on his helpless victims and he suffered the humiliation of being the first person who saw them inside the fire unhurt. Daniel 3:24-25 Says,

“Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.” He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” (NIV)

Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den and a stone was rolled upon the tomb where Jesus laid to stop him from rising. Those instruments of cruelty failed to achieve their objectives. God can handle the troubles that come your way.

In most of the cases I cited, God showed up at the time the enemies thought they had succeeded. Those enemies must have mocked, jeered, and taunted their victims and their God but it was not in their power to dictate the ultimate outcome. You need to:

  1. Stay positive: trust God and wait patiently for him (Psalm 37:1-8)
  2. Confess with your mouth the expected victory and never give it up. let the promises of God be your strength always
  3. Pray without ceasing. God answers prayer
  4. Give thanks to God for who he is and for his love to you
  5. Study the things God had done before; how he delivered those who trusted him; he will do the same for you
  6. Stay away from bad news; they drain your strength and undermine your confidence and faith
  7. Resist every fear; trust God to come through for you

God is able to help, deliver and comfort all those who call upon him. He is the Lord and ruler of the universe. He will never leave or forsake you.

Reference:

Bible quotes: http://www.biblegateway.com

How you can do a great work for God

The Lord Jesus Christ in the image of Good She...

The Lord Jesus Christ in the image of Good Shepherd. Early Christian trsdition of symbolism. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We all want to do “great work” for God. Some see it as fulfilling “purpose”. That is how some people express the longing to be up the ladder in church or gospel work. There is nothing wrong with a desire to serve God in outstanding way; I believe a little understanding will help someone to do it right and reap the reward from God.

Nicodemus once went to Jesus to find out this secret in John 3:1-10, the scriptures says, “Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”  “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spiritgives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked. “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things?” (NIV)

Jesus simply told him, it is not what you do but who you are that makes the difference. Your nature produces your abilities effortlessly. I am sure that I will struggle to live in water than a fish would do.

Jesus answered those who asked the question more directly than Nicodemus the same thing. This is stated in John 6:28-29.

“Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” (KJV)

You need to be called and commissioned. This is what determines what you do, where you do it and how. You can see this in the Bible “In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.” “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name. ”Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized.” Acts 9:10-18 (NIV)

Ananias was called to go and do the work he did.

The scriptures in Acts 13:1-3 says “Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” (NIV)

Paul and Barnabas were called and sent by the Holy Spirit.

Some years ago at a Youth for Christ camp, some brethren asked me why there were many church denominations. (Then we don’t have them this much) Mine mind went blank for a split second, and then the Lord spoke to me. He told me there are basically three divisions.

1. Those that he called

2. Those that called themselves (these are more numerous)

3. Those that the devil called. (These are deceivers and very cunning)

There are equally a lot of divisions among those the Lord called; this gives people the opportunities to hear the gospel in their own “language”.

Paul says “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” 1 Cor. 9:19-23 (NIV).

God provides variety of ways to reach people and uses different people as he wishes.

It is not my intention here to condemn denominations; I have just told you what the Lord told me. We must be discerning; we do this as we pray and ask God direction as to where to worship and have fellowship. Whatever we do, the responsibility is ours.  You can see more examples in Acts 19:13-17 “Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor.” (NIV)

You must have compassion. The work of God is great when done in love. The Scripture says“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” 1 Cor. 13:1-8 (NIV)

 Obedience: There is nothing that is too small when it is a command or an instruction from God. When we concentrate only on doing “great things” and being great men or women of God, the motive could be wrong. Ananias is a good example of this.

 You must be prayerful. You do the work of God as you pray. Most times people may not know you prayed for them but you don’t have to bother about it. God can lead you to do more things as you pray. (Acts13)

 Every Child of God has something to do. We should prayerfully seek God’s face on the things he wants us to do. It is not what we want but what he wants that really matters. The case of  Mary and Martha provides a good example of this.

The Friends of Caesar

A cropped version of Antonio Ciseri's depictio...

A cropped version of Antonio Ciseri's depiction of Pontius Pilate presenting a scourged Christ to the people. See: Eccehomo1.jpg for full version. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over the years I had listened to arguments that say that Jesus did not die (I don’t have time for such things anymore); I don’t know where those people got their information from but it is definitely out of place; to say the least. Jesus’ death was not a script acted out by Jesus and some folks. It was his enemies that masterminded his death and they did not stop at anything to see their plot through. Their plots were well examined by Pilate and this was his verdict “Pilate….saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.” John 19:4-6 (KJV)

Pilate found no fault in him. He was not guilty of anything. Jesus did not die because of any wrong doing. He died for our sins.

The Leaders of the Jews, who claimed that their law provided for him to die because he claimed to be the son of God, were in error. Psalm 82:6 says” I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High” (KJV). (You can also read John10:34-35). God called those who believed in him, his children. There was no evidence that they killed the writer of that scripture neither were there any evidence that they contested the legitimacy of that verse of the scripture anywhere.

The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.” John19:7-12(NIV)

Pilate chose friendship with Caesar against his convictions and the evidence before him. He sentenced Jesus to death against his best judgment.

Pilate is dead and gone, so also is Caesar; however the manipulations of Jesus’ enemies and the errors of Pilate lives on.

Many people are “friends of Caesar” figuratively; they are willing to compromise the truth because of friends and relations. They can’t stand by their best convictions because of the advantages they hope to gain and because they love the favour and friendship of people more than the truth. They would rather make friends with people than live right or fear God.

Today, there are people who failed to accept Jesus as saviour because of what their friends would say. There are people who cannot preach the truth because their patrons will withdraw their “gifts”. They would rather have people go to eternal destruction than preach the true gospel.

We must never pass harsh judgments on innocent people as Pilate did. God hates it. Proverbs:21 says “Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished: but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered.” We must never allow ourselves to be manipulated as the enemies of Jesus did to Pilate. They employed every evil devises possible to see that Jesus died a painful death. The scripture says that we should not join multitudes to do evil.

“But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered. Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle. Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. John 19:15-19 (KJV)

When Pilate wrote the title: “JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS” He was only trying to calm his troubled conscience and justify his actions. Jesus did not ask for such a thing and the Jews asked him to change the statement. He compromised his integrity and framed a cover-up. One lie led to another. When people set out on manipulating others, they keep on scheming and multiplying wrong doing. The enemies of Jesus kept deceiving themselves as servants of God; envy, bitterness and greed kept them from the truth; they lied to the people, produced false witnesses, bought a traitor and bent the law to see their evil scheme through.

Jesus really came to die. It was his mission on earth; it was for the salvation of all who would believe. He is alive forever. Choose Jesus today and enjoy the blessing that goes with it.

“He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. John1:11-13 (NIV)