Tag Archives: God

Thanks and Praises

To stress the importance of this topic there is need to recall the firework fanfare with which people welcomed the New Year 2016 at the Times Square in New York. New Yorkers and millions of Television viewers were exceedingly happy that they were able to cross-over to the New Year. However, not all that kept vigil really knew why they kept vigil to usher in, the  year of our Lord Jesus Christ. I believe Christians knew it was the height of thanksgiving to the Lord that spared their life for so many evils had claimed many people’s life and were consequently not able to witness the transition from the out-going year into the new one. Oh! what a lovely sight it was as the firework rose to sky. It was a moment of great joy. People were ecstatic just to be like others without thinking about the spiritual meaning of the ceremony.

A deeper insight into what ought to be paramount in our mind is the believer’s  understanding of having succeeded in crossing over to the New Year. Many wanted to but were unable without having sinned to an extent that one could say it was due to their sin. We do not own ourselves, we belong to our creator, the author and finisher of our faith. We believe, what He says He would do and what He does, He would say. Again, it is not only that we did not die before the New Year; there are other areas of life in which we receive God’s blessings at individual level, household, co-workers, friends and relations. Indeed, any good thing that happens to any one belonging to this category brings joy to the circle of people. Other events that call for thanksgiving, include the birth of new born baby, promotion at work, house warming, birthday party, surviving a ghastly accident or getting over a critical situation that defies rational of scientific explanation. All that one can say is “Thank you Lord”. New Year celeberation we believe is a milestone in the life of every individual, because it is not as of right. There is no constitutional fundamental human right clause binding The Lord to grant us life. So, in all things give thanks.

To every Christian, we need to thank and praise His holy name for the inestimable gift of life as well as the opportunity to serve in His vineyard in the kingdom work of seeking lost souls. Besides, what of the daily blessings we receive? We pay for electricity and do not pay for the sun that shines, from where man taps solar energy that they turn around to charge fees. Mississippi River , geograpghers told us is the longest river in the world. It supplies water for transportation , irrigation and the alluvial soil it deposits along the areas it traverses. God never charges us a dime for these free gifts but man turns round to charge fees on water travel on the river, and farmers that use the aluvial soil and irrigated water in their never remit neither cash nor check to God for these free gifts while man turns round to charge fees on any opportunity created from the free gift. They have a point though, in that if there is no value added we could not have derived maximum benefit from them. Let us face it, God demands from us to give thanks as his payback for His transcendental efforts.

There is a gulf of difference between thanksgiving and praising Him. A song writer has helped to bring out the difference: “I will enter His gate with thanksgiving in my heart; I enter his court with praise “, the idea is that Thanksgiving is saying that Lord I am grateful for immediate things you have done or you continue to do that I benefit from; praises go further than that. You use praises to massage ego of someone you appreciate and revere. Praise does not have conotation for ephemeral benefits. It is more of refering to more fundamental and spiritual aspects of life. By the time we are thanking God, we are calling His attention to past goodness. The gate to His heart is being opened to receive praises for who He is as the our faithful God whose steadfast love never ceases, His mercies never come to an end , for, they are new every morning. It is from everlasting to everlasting. No wonder, at the height of Paul and Silas’ praising God in Jesus name, even in detention and under heavy stock, God caused an earthquake that shatered the chain used to hold them down in maximum prison, the locked gate flung open. When the jailor woke up he felt they have escaped and wanted to kill himself but Paul assured him not to for no prisoner escaped. We believe that the praise caused God much joy that He caused the earth to quake and made their release a foregone conclusion. When they were brought for judgement the following day the fear of he Lord who caused them to panic made them to only flog and not kill them. By hind sight one can say that by God’s acknowledging the praises of Paul and Silas, He caused the vestigies of oppression and wickedness to be broken and completely shattered.

Anyone caught in the middle of crossfire of opposing forces in any war zone and survived would really know how to thank and praise God. Such survival is more of a miracle than a mere rescue. This is the essence of Psalm 100:4-5; “Enter into his gate with thanksgiving, and into His court with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good ; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations”.(NKJV)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glad Tidings Season: Part 2

This is the concluding part of the season for glad tidings in which people are thanking God for mercies received by way of benefitting the less privileged people in the society. The annunciation and advent of our Lord Jesus Christ continue to constitute glad tidings because HE came to redeem mankind from sin and death. In Isaiah 7:14 and in Micah 5: 2 Christ’s birth had earlier been prophesied by the Prophets.    The birth of Christ was given to us as 25th of December of every year. It gives all christians cause for joy. The date we hold on to had created controversies in christendom.What influenced the choice of December 25th and not any date in October should be left to theologians and ecclesiastical unending debate. the good thing is that Jesus was born in a manger and the three wise men by divine wisdom got guided by the star on the horizon to where Jesus was in a manger. While searching for the place, they contacted King Herod, who from human angle they thought could be of help in locating the place.

In spite of all controversies surrounding ‘date’, it is heart-warming that all christians agreed it was a period of good tidings. Most  christian denominations do celebrate the birth of Christ with pump and extravagance. Invariably, the spiritual significance gets overshadowed by commercial consideration. in effect some sect placed greater recognition on Easter. In simplifying the trend, those who celebrate birth of Christ preferred to favor the reality of God choosing to manifest in human in human with a view to carrying out his mission on earth because fellowshipping with God failed in Adam. One would therefore surmise that His coming calls for celebration though in solemn mood. The protagonists of higher valued Easter argued that without Christ’s passion, death and  resurrection salvation might not have ben possible. Jesus who came as a propitiating Lamb of God deserves double praise not just for his coming but loving mankind to the point of dying for mortals who are ever so prone to sinning. John 3: 16-17

In all, one can look at both Christmas and Easter seasons as a divine veritable two sides of the same coin. The purpose of HIS coming is summarized in Isaiah 61: 1-3. At birth there is ecstasy and joy but death is associated with sorrow for losing loved one. However, all that Jesus went through to achieve salvation for mankind required special perpetual spiritual joy and not physicFrom Human angle, it is disrespectful not to honor a preponderant visitor in the caliber of our Lord Jesus who is God incarnate. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” Hebrew 13: 8

Gileadites Defeated Ephraimites : Revisited

The basic background to this situation in the life of the Israelites related to their abandoning the God of Israel that got them out of bondage from Egypt. They all went whoring with the small gods of the people God drove out for them to dwell on the land that was flowing with milk and honey. It was the usual habit of the Israelites that when they were in deep oppression and depression they would always return to God.The Gileadites were under the oppression of the people of Ammon. They lacked a leader who could lead them to war. The Israelites called on God and won HIS favor.

The idea of revisiting an earlier post is to have a critical look into what aided the continued victory of the Gileadites in battles. Judges 11:1-12 gave us the background to the strength of the Gileadites. Jephthah was earlier disowned by his father’s other sons because he was the son of a harlot. They said “You shall have no inheritance in our father;s house, for you are the son of another woman” This forced him to rely on God himself. “Jephthah fled from his brother’s and dwelt in the land of Tob; and worthless men banded together with Jephthah and went out raiding with him”. In this circumstance, Jephthah showed himself as a good leader for him to have been able to train the so-called “worthless men” to become mighty men of valor who fought with courage and finesse. All Israel had confessed their sin to God and discarded all their strange gods and returned the God of their fathers. God decided to have compassion on them but no group had the strong army to fight for them. Jephthah, the rejected member of his father’s house became the only credible leader to lead Israel to battle their enemies. His prowess was comparable to David’s situation in which he had only about 600 men to King Saul’s “three thousand chosen men” 1Samuel 24: 2. David was a very strong leader who underwent tough circumstances but overcame difficulties that beset him as God was with him all along.

Jephthah had God-given power, might and compliance with priestly advice and directives that made him obey God. As a rejected son in his father’s house he placed emphasis on training and development not only in the physical but also in the spiritual. His followers were great men of valor and faith. He possibly would not have fought the Ephramites if they had not dared him on top of earlier occurrence of breaking the code of kinship cooperation. Jephthah tied his fate to God. He paid his vow in the most sorrowful and regrettable manner to seal his triumph over household and other enemies.

 

 

 

Work and Pray # 2

Work and pray as it applied to Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector, knew he was into a trade known for extortion but desired to change to become a material for salvation. By assessment, one can say he was filled with remorse for his past deeds and consequently transformed himself into a stage of being broken, expectation of the Messiah (Jesus the son of David) and of absolute belief in God for HIS universal compassion for repentant sinners like himself. In adoration of Jesus of Nazareth, Zacchaeus worked himself up a tree to ensure he got what he desired. His prayer for salvation was heard for Jesus on his own looked up and invited Zacchaeus to come down for salvation was to be his portion that day. He worked and prayed as shown by his action that led to receiving the grace of God to the surprise of the Priests and the rulers of the synagogue Luke 19: 2-10

Work and pray is not just a cliché rather the concept creates an unbroken link between man and God to man’s eternal benefit. It is a ‘perpetual injunction’ in the life of Paul that plants and Apollo that waters, the increase is thus exclusively of God,The aspect of prayer enables God to grant increase by his grace Corinthians 3: 6. Ordinarily, we often hear “Heavens help those who help themselves”. In other words, a lazy prayerless person can be said to have opened himself to attack from the devil with its consequences in terms of poverty, sickness, squalor low spiritual power and many more. Praying alone without working is like expecting output without any imput.

Work and Pray Part One

Work and pray

Work and pray

Working and praying are mutually exclusive in the life of a believer. Man is expected to use both of them in his relationship with God. It is truly God’s loving duty to provide for his hand-made living beings. Man has his part to play by having to live up to the standard required of him to be able to get all divine benefits opened to him. For instance, Government can provide free education, parents are obliged to gear their children up to take advantage of it. The students have to yield themselves to school discipline, study at home and at school with parental guide all through the grade schools up to College level to be able to get maximum level of basic education for life. Symphony orchestra praying for good outing must do countless rehearsals for God to crown their effort on stage.

Nehemiah became sad over the destruction of the temple and walls of Jerusalem. He prayed and did fast until God answered his prayer  through King Artaxerxes who, by divine inspiration, underwrote the expenses and gave papers to facilitate inter territorial journey. In Jerusalem, in the face of opposition, he and his men worked hard, prayed and were battle ready throughout, Neh. 2: 1-20. So also, before God could assure Zerubbabel that the rebuilding of the temple would be completed, he  (Zerubbabel) had begun work with dedication and prayer. Zechariah 4: 6 says in his prophesy: “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might nor by power but by my spirit”. Verse 9 was more profound. It says, “The hand of Zerubbabel, Have laid the foundation of the temple His hand shall also finish it.” Every believer must stick to praying and working like Zerubbabel did and got the backing of the Almighty God to finish what he purposed to do. These human acts of working and praying tend to convince God that a person is serious about his plan to achieve the blessing of God.

Non-Carnal Love Series # 38

Manifestation of “Fig Tree Syndrome” is discernible in anyone with an attitude of let people see me doing while the action amounts to nothing. When men of substance are gathered together you find such empty persons positioning themselves to be photographed along with them. Such people then turn round to claim closeness to the powers-that-be. They use the circumstance to massage their ego or use such to extort money from those who needed their help Matthew 16: 16-20. Peter by divine prompting recognized Jesus as the Christ. He gained eternal prize  unlike any one who just spoke for speaking sake.

While Ahimaz son of Zadok did not worth being sent to deliver the crucial message, Cushite qualified to run the errand and delivered the it with wisdom and integrity that really matched the King’s intellect,      II Samuel 18: 31-33. In John 13: 21-30 Jesus by divine intelligence discerned the role Judas was going to play in Jesus’ betrayal and crucifixion in the hands of the High Priest and the Jewish leaders. Judas apparently qualified to be the financial controller for Jesus and His disciples (Good News Inc.). He betrayed the Executive Chairman of the Corporation – A fig tree syndrome – and failed woefully in the ministry.

A believer needs to test and sift array of friends with prayers before choosing those to trust whole-heartedly and thereby avoid deep relationship with those that chase shadow instead of substance.

Non-Carnal Love Series # 32

God loves those who constantly seek His face and walk with Him in obedience. His love radiates anointing to such people. God judges the heart and not the face or an outward show. So it was with the Jews in the days of Moses who died on Mount Nebo. He with love prayed a prayer of inpartation on Joshua. By the same token, Joshua sent out two men to spy the land of Jericho in Joshua 2: 1-24. They resided in the house of Rahab the harlot. It is obvious that the flow of anointing passed to Rahab in fulfilment of God’s promise to settle the Israelites on Canaan land. As people knew about the spies’ presence, they sought  to kill them in the house of Rahab.

Rahab planned a strategy for their escape and got them to vow to preserve her father’s household because she knew that the God of Israel had given them the Canaan land. The escapees gave her a scarlet token to tie on the window through which she let them down to escape into the mountain. Both parties kept to the vow to honor the God of Israel. The two spies reported back to Joshua thus: “Truly the Lord has delivered all the land into our hands” Joshua 2:2Strength3a. Rahab’s father’s household was spared when Jericho was destroyed. The Jews up to that time were devoted and obedient to the God of Israel and HE never disappointed them. To love, trust and obey will cause  the door of divine guidance to open and lead to good success for genuine seekers.