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Tripartite purpose of prayers

Simply put every meaningful prayer serves a tripartite purpose that encompasses yesterday, today and tomorrow (future). In other words, all wholesome prayers are expected to start taking stock of past deeds and occurrences, what today is and casting a look at what is being projected for the future. God had endowed us with a sense that can identify the good and the bad behavior. When we do good, it gladdens our heart and when we act negatively our conscience will not fail to alert us . However, some have seared their conscience to an extent that they can even swear on their conscience that is “playing the good” for them to stick to.

For taking stock of yesterday, is our recognition of the need to thank the Lord for his protection and other blessings received personally, by one’s family, the Church family and the community at large. There are so many avenues open to all human beings towards acting against the holy will of God. These include gossips, ungodly jokes about individuals, both direct stealing and stealing by stealth, lasciviousness, adultery, fornication, forgery, even, ungodly anger and many more. As for the present (nowadays), it behoves us as Christians to ask for God’s direction to be able to do things aright. This includes the act of consulting or meeting with God everyday so that daily plan would be able to align with the holy will of God. We have seen that what was experienced in the past and what is being encountered presently can make or mar the future if we fail to anchor our faith in Christ. Job presented us with a classical example of how to faithfully not allow the past to destroy the future because what is to be belongs to our creator. Job did what was practically possible to satisfy or please God but see what befell him. It was a double trouble of tragedy which went to a dimension that man can never think of. To ordinary people, they would agree to curse God when Job was asked to curse his creator and die because the pain and anguish had become totally unbearable in man’s thinking. He accepted both the positive and the negative to buoy up his faith in God and his endurance paid off. He was blessed so much that the “new” Job was richer and possessed more than ever before.

In physical management strategy, people or companies have to plan in terms of short, medium and long range development. Planning recognizes doing first thing first if success is to be accomplished and maximally too. In this case, there should be definite individual and corporate dos and don’ts that will ensure not working without policy guidelines. Permit me to liken prayers to planning and forecasting for personal strategy, aiming at working for specific goals. In a prayer life, there are what to place at the front burner or are immediate like ones daily bread and how to stock the pantry for things needed at various times in future. This consists of “what to do list” for today and thereafter. By prayer and supplications for future needs, the divine workbook or constitution for living well is – The Bible.

Lawyers or Attorneys have to consult a whole library of books in the discharge of their professional duties while Christians have their own code or conduct or their own constitution divinely inspired, written and never goes obsolete or revised from time to time, like mundane code of conducts.

Deviation from what the bible prescribes can constitute sins for all times, just like murder or homicide in the case of Cain and Abel remains homicide even in today’s reckoning. Jesus granted the adulterous woman remission of sin, after all things were considered, Today, judges would always consider many factors before giving the verdict of guilty or not guilty, and occasional discharge for want of enough evidence. Prayers to God through his son our Savior Jesus Christ enable us build up our morals and fortify ourselves against the wiles of the enemies of Christian faith. As for our life and times , prayer is our rod, shield and strength that will continue to comfort us in Jesus most holy name.

I’m agnostic, but I know if it wasn’t for Christians many more homeless people would die on the streets – by Paul Anderson

Resistance & Renewal

homeless-and-cold-400I have worked for a variety of homeless charities for over 20 years, so generally not much surprises me when it comes to the reality of poverty and destitution.

However, this week I was out doing a street count in London to assess how many people are actually sleeping on the streets. It’s been a while since I did outreach work like this and it made me reflect on what I saw.  I was particularly struck by three things:

  1. How dangerous and frightening the streets are

I was out deep into the night and at around 2.00 am, it struck me again how dangerous and frightening life on the streets actually is. In the eerie silence of a city stilled, my ears became acutely aware of every noise. Every person wandering around was a cause of suspicion: Why are they there? What are they up to? Where are they going?

It struck me how damaging the impact of…

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CHRISTMAS: A memorial Name

The anti-Christs do not want to hear the name of Christ less to talk of having any remembrance of Him. It is therefore convenient for them to lay claim on the fact that the memorial name “Christmas” was not mentioned in the bible. However, Christians and anti-Christs who disparage people’s celebration of Christmas failed to realize that any event of significance will continued to be remembered. The birth of our savior as we know about Jesus Christ calls for joy and celebration in spiritual term not glorification of man’s efficient merchandising or commercial nexus not related to the spiritual significance. The business world hijacked the reason for Christmas and really wiped it off. The birth of Christ had been predicted many centuries ago by respected Prophets of God and specifically stressed His mission on earth which He achieved. People who are criticizing date of birth chosen by converted pagans and made Christianity a world religion are merely chasing shadow instead of substance.

Isaiah 7:14 says “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign : Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call His name Immanuel.” Prophet Micah in Chapter 5: 2, he foretold the coming Messiah thus: “But you Bethlehem Ephrata though you are little among  thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to me, The one of the ruler of Israel, whose going forth are from old, from everlasting.” It was Angel Gabriel that gave the good tidings in fulfillment of Isaiah”s prophesy in Isaiah 61:1 where Jesus was to later read to the hearing of the elders during which the Savior outlined His mission. Isaiah 9: 6-7 says “For on to us a child is born , unto us a sign is given: And the government will be upon His shoulder, and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father,  Prince of Peace, Of the increase of His government and peace, There will be no end upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgement and justice, From that time forward, even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of host will perform it.”(NKJV)

Thanks goodness no true believer has ever derogated the divine nature of Christ as being above all men. In Matthew 1: 17, we read about the relevance of Christ to the Jews and their ancestral father Abraham: “So the generation from Abraham to David are 14 generations and from the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.” in other words. there were forty-two generations from Abraham to the birth if Jesus Christ. The Messiah was to redeem Israel. On his arrival, He commissioned his disciples to carry the gospel to the uttermost part of the earth. the gospel is still spreading up to today and beyond.

God’s promise of redemption to mankind got fulfilled in the birth of Christ. Matthew 1:16-28 was where bible recorded the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophesy. His prophesy was fulfilled in Virgin Mary as recorded in Luke 1: 26-31. So also Zacharias’ prophesy in Zacharia 9: 9-10 was fulfilled in Luke 1: 67-80. The scribes knew that Bethlehem was to be the birthplace of the Messiah and Jesus was born a Bethlehemite. Matthew 2: 4-6. The sign that heralded the arrival of the savior was a new star that appeared in Israel Matthew 2; 1-2 “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the King, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying , where is He who have been born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east and have come to worship Him”

Let us look at it that the religious elites or pundits ranging from the Chief Priests, Priests, to the Sanhedrin consisted of Pharisees, Sadducees and Zealots tended to believe that such a great spirit-filled king should come from possibly the Priest cadre or the Sanhedrin. The prophesy had declared the lowly birth of  Jesus especially from Zacharias 9: 9 and at such these cadre of elites found it hard to believe that the coming of the expected messiah could ever be from the rural area and ever to be born “lowly riding a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey”  The Jewish elites sought to wipe out the memories of Jesus missionary work by fiercely prosecuting his disciples and followers to and beyond the time of Paul’s conversion. Paul later became the “MVP” (Most Valuable Player) in the spread of the gospel. It was in pagan Rome that the seed planted in jewish land was watered and nurtured to fruition to become the state religion in the then Roman Empire that subsists up to today as Roman Catholic Church world-wide with possibly the largest followers in the world.

Having said all the foregoing, the Jewish historians would never have deliberately chosen to think of celebrating Jesus’ birthday. So those that venerated Him chose to pick a date to celebrate his birthday.  There is therefore no surprise about stressing the correctness of date. Is it the date that is important or following his teaching that is meant to make them make heaven? It was historical record that proved that Princess Diana belonged to the British nobility with royal ancestry at the time she was to be married to Prince Charles of Wales. Solemnly remembering the birth of Jesus Christ should not stress anyone. it is joy to the world that a savior was born and He fulfilled his ministry. What is important is in following His teaching for eventual salvation of lost souls through Him.

However, if the complaint is on commercializing what ought to be a solemn ceremony, I would join forces with them. The period had been turned into a period for fattening the pocket of business enterprises. All believers should jointly condemn turning spiritual joy into a period of exploiting the populace. such situation tends to drive man away from the spiritual appreciation of what Lord Jesus had come to do and did achieve to ensure that man does not perish as per Romans 6: 23 which states: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord”. To God be the glory of man’s redemption. Take it or leave it. See you at the judgement seat.

Backsliding

To backslide is to lapse in morals or from standard religious practice. A post or tree on one spot cannot be said  to have backsliden because of any twist and turn even in stormy weather. In christendom, such movement refers to stormy blast of life that can break or uproot a standing tree of faith. Christians are known to develop anchor to their faith. It has been seeing them through all their difficulties, even from ages past.

A born  again christian that backslides, shows a situation of strong faith and belief in Christ Jesus but owing to certain events or condition faith and belief can be eroded by so many factors thus making the believer to lose grip of his or her erstwhile faith. Baptism signifies a believer’s rejection of sinfullness or worldliness. It thus suggests breaking bond with the devil or agents of darkness. Such a new believer is supposed to have become adopted into the sonship of the Almighty God.

However, baptism is a beginning phase of walking with Jesus in faith. It is believed that one has died  to his sin and had risen (from the water in baptism by emersion) with Christ Jesus holy and pure.. One has thus gotten free access to salvation. Though ticket to salvation is free but it has to be guarded from being taken away or losing it. One is deemed to be carrying God’s anointing that needs to be continuously replenished. The process is as simple as effectively and effectually praying without ceasing among other observances, for the mere fact that the devil as a roaring lion is roaming the world seeking whom to devour. A prayerless Christian is said to be a Christless believer. Prayer represents maintenance of the armor of God so that the devil will not be able to yank one out from following Christ in thought, words and deeds.

…..To be concluded.

No one is enough

No one is enough by oneself without total dependence on or yielding to Christ Jesus. He knows our weaknesses and had promised to be with us at all times. Matthew 19: 26 ” with God all things are possible”. It behoves us to be obedient to God, keep worshipping, praising and holding him in awe if we want to attract his unconditional love and blessing. We just have to commit all our ways to the Lord and HE will prosper us. The Ten Commandments and made simple by Jesus; “Love of God and Love your neighbor as yourself”. They are short and easy to remember for compliance. As we do the foregoing, and praying for forgiveness our need for sufficiency or being enough is being guarantied. I can do all things by Christ Jesus that strengthens me- Apostle Paul’s encouragement. No one can do it all alone.

TRAIN THEM NOT, BLAME THEM NOT

In this post, I am re-using the Chinese maxim: “If you don’t train them, don’t blame them”. It is very popular in the circle of management and human resource trainers and developers. The wisdom behind the statement is not an exclusive preserve of the Chinese people. It had existed in biblical times in Jewish tradition.
To become a High Priest one must belong first to the Levites and would have served from the lowest cadre to be able to ascend to that envious stage in the service to the Lord.

Moses trained Joshua, Deuteronomy 31: 7-8; Prophet Eli trained Samuel, 1Samuel 31: 1-21; Elijah trained Elisha, II King 2: 1-18 and in the New Testament, Apostle Paul adopted young Timothy as his son-in-the-Lord 1Timothy 1: 18-20. In all these cases, these responsive  followers of good leaders made their marks in what they were trained for. Joshua with his absolute relationship with Moses  as directed by God led the children of Israel into the promised land and led them in the wars to possess their possession. Samuel learnt to become a spiritual leader of Israel under Prophet Eli. His priesthood was in accordance with their relatedness to the Patriarchs. Elisha as servant to Elijah learnt to be Prophet of God with such an outstanding follower-ship that he got Blessed double portion of his master’s miracles. Conversely, Gehazi had a result oriented-trainer but his true behavior (inability to respond to the tenet of prophet virtue) became evident as he pursued and asked for gratification from Naaman (the Syrian army commander) from whom his master refused to take any gift. II King: 1-27. He was rewarded with Naaman’s leprosy as against positive reward or blessing for serving a great master. Elisha got a positive reward for his dedication and obedience under Elijah’s leadership while Gehazi did not show responsiveness to training and development; contrary wise he attracted the wrath of his master. 2King 5: 20-27.

In all Peter’s relationship with Jesus, he was teachable. His master foresaw devil’s plan to buffet Peter and destroy his destiny and therefore prayed to avert the evil before it struck. Even though, Peter stumbled with thrice denying Jesus, he wept bitterly when he saw Jesus turn his face towards him. By the anointing Jesus’ prayer had conferred on him, he was able to rally the disciples and waited until the day of Pentecost for them to receive the Holy Spirit. His preaching led to 3000 people accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. He also became the Head of the Church. His training was fruitful. Peter’s being teachable elevated him from a mere fisherman of low estate in Jewish tradition, a humble beginning, to the level of standing taller than the Jewish Priesthood and the Sanhedrin. Acts 2 and especially in chapter 10 where he at first felt awkward having to he invited by Cornelius, a Roman centurion. He went in obedience to God, after he went into trance where God instructed him thus ” What God has cleansed, that call not thou common”. Having been trained in obedience, commitment and genuine follower-ship under Jesus Christ, he was able to perform the sacred task as given in Mark 16: 15-18. The training the disciples received enabled them to bear the persecution unleashed on them with the blessed assurance of gaining entry into the kingdom of God .

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