Tag Archive | Christ

Does God Love Me?

The translators of the King James Version of t...

The translators of the King James Version of the Holy Bible intentionally preserved, in Early Modern English, archaic pronouns and verb endings that had already begun to fall out of spoken use. This enabled the English translators to convey the distinction between the 1st, 2nd and 3rd person singular and plural verb forms of the original Hebrew and Greek sources. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is one important question everyone – no matter their race, creed, religion, sex, or life achievements, want to know. People want to be at peace with God. It is unfortunate that many people may never get to know the truth until they have positioned themselves properly to know the answer.  God has said, “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”  Jer. 29:13

We live in a world where this question is increasingly demanding answer. Does God love me? People, no matter who, find themselves in precarious situations with family relationships is tumult, job and careers are constantly threatened, and various dangers are posed to lives and properties. There are many young people who don’t know what their future will eventually turn out to be as world events have become highly unpredictable. Abuse is on the increase and laws are being twisted daily to suit power-brokers; those who are supposed to provide protection to people are the very ones perpetrating atrocity against the populace.

Many people face all kinds of humiliation daily and the burden of sin is so heavy to bear and with problems weighing people down, it is appropriate to ask “Does God love me?” We have this assurance from God clearly stated, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) It is  love with a commitment.

“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us:” 1 John3:16

God’s love was demonstrated by the death of his only son and the scripture say “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 14:13. However, we were not his friends when Jesus died for us. He did it because of love. God said,

“But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?” Ezek 18:21-23 (KJV)

God love everyone, though he hates sin, he wants all people to turn to him in repentance. He does not despise you. He loves you.

““Behold, God is mighty, but despises no one; He is mighty in strength of understanding. He does not preserve the life of the wicked, But gives justice to the oppressed. He does not withdraw His eyes from the righteous; But they are on the throne with kings, For He has seated them forever, And they are exalted. And if they are bound in fetters, Held in the cords of affliction, Then He tells them their work and their transgressions— That they have acted defiantly. He also opens their ear to instruction, And commands that they turn from iniquity. If they obey and serve Him, They shall spend their days in prosperity, And their years in pleasures. Job 36:5-11

God loves you and has said so. He also demonstrated it. God doesn’t despise you. If you are not living right, he wants to help you. The troubles you are going through don’t give God pleasure; God does not take delight in the death of people; he is not happy to lose people, the devil does.

This is what God is thinking about you at the moment. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” Jer 29:11.

You must exercise faith in God and in his promises. Take the word of God for it. God loves you. If you have not accepted Jesus as Lord of your life, do it today. Make peace with God – repent of your sin, ask for forgiveness and accept Jesus into your life. Thank God for his love and live the rest of your live basking in that love.

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.

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.

How you can receive and use the power of God

Holy Spirit painting

Holy Spirit painting (Photo credit: hickory hardscrabble)

You can receive and use the power of God if you want to. This may sound over simplistic judging from the exclusiveness to which this subject has been subjected to. Jesus came to save all mankind and whosoever believes in his name is saved; this is about the most important thing that God has made available to mankind and if anyone who believes can get it, other things come second, including power. Jesus told his follower “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (NIV)

Many Christians suffer self-confidence problems and as a result never rise to their full potentials all through life. People have been made to be over dependent on “the big brothers and sisters”; a rare group who monopolise God as it were. This is not what God wants. The scripture made this clear in Mark 16:17-18 “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)

There is nowhere in the New Testament that the power of God is said to be for the privileged few. Ignorance, lack of courage and timidity has been the bane that has limited many people in this area of their lives. That can change today if you want it to. The Bible says,

…ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (NIV)

What you need to receive the power of God is the Holy Spirit. Jesus told his follows that it is after they have received the Holy Spirit that the power will come upon them to do the work assigned to them and to live the lives expected of them. Jesus himself was subjected to this same condition and no person is expected to do otherwise. Acts 10:38 says “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.” (NIV)

Jesus underscored the importance of this matter before his public ministry; in the gospel according to Luke, Chapter4:18-21, he said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, Because he anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor: He hath sent me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovering of sight to the blind, To set at liberty them that are bruised, To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down: and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, To-day hath this scripture been fulfilled in your ears.” (ASV)  Jesus quoted Prophet Isaiah’s prophecy about this (see Isaiah 61:1- 4).

Apostle Peter told his audience how to receive the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:37-39; the scripture reads:

“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do?

And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him.” (ASV)

It is important that anyone who desires the power of God acknowledges the Lordship of Jesus Christ, by repenting of his or her sin and accepting Jesus as their saviour. This is the first step into any meaningful relationship with God. The Holy Spirit according to Peter is a gift to all who believes and the above scripture makes it clear that the experience did not end with those people and that generation. You can receive the Holy Spirit today.

The Holy Spirit is given to help us in every area of our lives, in our walk with God, family, academics, jobs, vocation and so on. Recently, there was a Christian youth leader who was very engrossed with planning a young people’s event; I met her expressing her concern that she had an examination coming up; I told her that the Holy Spirit is able to help her with it; I told her it happened to me before and then left her. Few weeks later, I saw her literally elated and she told me how the Lord helped her in that examination. I have had several personal experiences which demonstrated the fact that God is at work in every area of our lives.

When Jesus talked about being witnesses, he was talking about evidence of his person; he was not just talking about preaching. The evidence of Jesus can come in demonstration of the power of God. That is what Mark 11:17-18 is talking about. It reads “And these signs shall accompany them that believe: in my name shall they cast out demons; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall in no wise hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

You can only receive the power of God when you are willing to use it for his glory. The power of God is not for “show”; God is not a magician.

Using the power of God for trading is ridiculous and people who do it are in danger. They run the risk of falling into trouble sometime, both here on earth and later when Christ appears.

The power of God is available at the name of Jesus Christ. You will experience this when you pray in his name and act by faith in time of difficulties.

The power of God comes when you are committed to prayers. You must pray at all times and in accordance with the will of God. Selfish tendencies rob people of the power of God.

There is power in the blood of Jesus. Learn to plead the blood of Jesus.

You must work on living right. Living right might be a constant battle but you must never give up.

Dead Man Escapes from Jail!

Jesus appears to the disciples (watercolour)

Jesus appears to the disciples (watercolour) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some years ago, I was very fond of a Newspaper called “The Headlines”. This Paper publishes News that made the headline several years ago; I am taking a leaf from them to publish a story that probably featured as a headline several years ago and with a probable title like this: “Dead Man Escapes from jail. The story is true and the News is truth but the Headline is mine.

The News had it that a man who was killed by his adversaries because of envy and whose tomb was sealed with a big stone placed by several men and a dreadful security guard posted to protect the place, to forestall the claim by the dead man that he will rise the third after his death, has escaped from his tomb cell.

According to a reporter called Matthew, “there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.” (1)

The News was very disturbing because another reporter, Luke, said “Very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb. They were carrying the spices that they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb. When they went in, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were puzzled about this, two men in clothes that were as bright as lightning suddenly stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed to the ground. The men asked the women, “Why are you looking among the dead for the living one? He’s not here. He has been brought back to life! Remember what he told you while he was still in Galilee. He said, ‘The Son of Man must be handed over to sinful people, be crucified, and come back to life on the third day.’” (2).

According to this reporter, the man, who was certified dead, indeed lives.

When the security guards told the man’s adversaries want happened, the News had it that they were bribed to say that his followers came to steal him while they slept. “While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city. They told the chief priests everything that had happened. The chief priests gathered together with the leaders and agreed on a plan. They gave the soldiers a large amount of money and told them to say that Jesus’ disciples had come at night and had stolen his body while they were sleeping. They added, “If the governor hears about it, we’ll take care of it, and you’ll have nothing to worry about.” The soldiers took the money and did as they were told. Their story has been spread among the Jewish people to this day. ” (3)

The report also said that the man appeared to his followers alive “Mary from Magdala went to the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord.” She also told them what he had said to her. That Sunday evening, the disciples were together behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jews. Jesus stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you!” When he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were glad to see the Lord.

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” After he had said this, he breathed on the disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whenever you forgive sins, they are forgiven. Whenever you don’t forgive them, they are not forgiven.” Thomas, one of the twelve apostles, who was called Didymus, wasn’t with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We’ve seen the Lord.” Thomas told them, “I refuse to believe this unless I see the nail marks in his hands, put my fingers into them, and put my hand into his side.” A week later Jesus’ disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Take your hand, and put it into my side. Stop doubting, and believe.” Thomas responded to Jesus, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to Thomas, “You believe because you’ve seen me. Blessed are those who haven’t seen me but believe.” (4)

It was a Headline story that will never be forgotten in all history. The information about Jesus’ death and resurrection was well publicised when it happened and the story about him is still spreading.

It was News, alright, When Jesus met two of his disciple who were on the way to Emmaus, (they did not know it was him) and when he asked them what they were discussing this was their answer “Cleopas answered, “Are you the only visitor in Jerusalem who does not know what just happened there”? Luke 24:17-18. (NCV)

People have tried over the years to stop this story without success; Bibles had been burnt and preachers had been killed for the gospel sake but the story will not stop. It was not a story that was made up because even some of the disciples only believed the resurrection after they saw Jesus and touched him.

It is important that you believe the gospel and give your life to Jesus.

Quotes:

  1. Matt. 28:2-4.
  2. Luke 24: 1-7 (GW)
  3. Matt. 28:11-15 (GW)
  4. John 20: 18-29) (GW)

Ref:  www.biblegateway.com (all Bible quotes)