Tag Archives: Jesus

CHILDREN:SO DEAR TO GOD

Children are so dear to God that Jesus had to invite them to him to the surprise of the Priests, rulers of the synagogue, and even the disciples. The feeling that they ought not to come near Jesus was faulted by not only inviting them to himself, He also carried them and divinely blessed them. Matthew 19:13-15 captured the essence of their worth to Christ Jesus:  “Then were there brought unto Him little children, that He should put his hand on them, and pray, and the disciples rebuked them, But Jesus said suffer and forbad them not,to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven, And He laid His hand on them, and departed thence.”

Fresh lilies and daffodils are good to look at. They are acceptable gift of love as well as fresh roses. If we read through Psalm 127: 3-5 we will appreciate God’s expression of love and ownership. HE only granted them to their parents as precious gift from Him to them. By this, parents should know that they are merely custodians for the children and therefore, are expected to take good care of them. To families, especially believers, the onus of training children in the way of the Lord is incumbent on them. Under our statutory laws,when a parent  is granted custody of a biological child or by court award, the child’s character will be expeted to be moulded by the parents or foster parents.

Do you know that children do enjoy worshipping God and are usually a delight unto Him; Psalm 8: 2. They never feel too big or small to sing, shout, jump or clap for the Lord. This is why in Matthew 21: 15-16. Jesus did not despise the children as they shouted “Hosannah to the son of David” even though the Chief Priest and the Scribes were very uncomfortable. They asked whether Jesus heard the children and he confirmed that He indeed heard them, he further said; “Ye have never read, out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou has perfected praise?”

As great and pius as king David was, he sinned and did fast and prayed fervently to prevent the death of the child. The child died but David showed fatherly love for the child as recorded in 2 Samuel 12:18-23. Another angle to appreciating children is found in Psalm 127: 3-5. It says “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are the children of the youth. Happy is the man that has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate”.

Now I say, were it not for the grace of God on King David, chances are that Jesse would probably have remained irrelevant in the Jewish history. David still mourn the child of his loin in the person of Absalom who exiled him and was later killed in battle. He even pleaded with his warlord to treat his son gently in battle. That is the way in which God loves us and especially children who are innocent of adults’ sinful mind. It was Jesus Christ that raised the horn of Virgin Mary, otherwise, she would have blossomed and florished in the vast desert of life without any mention of her in the Jewish tradition. Therefore, parents train your dhildren in the way of the Lord so that when they grow old they will not caause you (parents) any trouble. Proverb 22: 6 is very relevant. Love begets love.

 

 

 

 

CHRIST’s HUMILITY

What impact does Christ’s humility have on Christian behavior and unity? Christ never taught his disciples to do what he would not do; rather He leads by example. It is do what I do not do what I say only. Humility is a state of being humble and at such , whosoever is humble is neither proud nor haughty. It takes a lot for Christ to humanize himself (assume a low estate as against  his position in Heaven) enough for us to emulate Him in thought, word and deed. Jesus as the Word of God in John 1: 1-4 says “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word  was God. The same was in the beginning with God, All things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men” (KJV) this refers to Jesus as not being humanoid (in the form of man). Being part of the essence of God he was and still is higher than man and yet, he was never haughty or proud. He has reasons to be proud of who He was and is, from the standpoint of human beings and their hierarchical arrangement of status. He does not teach us to adopt the doctrine of the “pecking order”, rather whoever aspires to be leader must show the traits of a servant to be able to help others for such leadership to be meaningful before God.

J. G. Kris observed ; “Humility is a virtue most pleasing to God, Pride is a grievous sin in his sight”. This is a further explanation to Proverb 8:13. “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: Pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.” If we .humble ourselves, we stand the chance of being exalted. There was the story of a senior Manager retrenched from work and had to take a job that was being paid half the salary in his former job. He forgot what he was in his former job and ensured doing the job given him diligently. Whenever, his new boss happened to be on the verge of making grievous mistake, he would quietly draw the attention of the boss (with lesser experience than he is on the job) to it and humbly offer helpful advice. When his advice was taken and pitfall avoided, nobody would seem to acknowledge him but his record was being updated positively until there was a sudden vacancy created by another boss on similar assignment that left for a better pay elsewhere.  The “humble subordinate” asked was asked to  act for observation period of six months. Within one month his output spoke volumes about his competence for the job. He was confirmed on the job with a mouth-watering remuneration. Humility and ability to promote unity between others saw him through trough to pinnacle. 

Jesus never condoned pride in people, that was the crux of rebuking his disciples for their proud attitude concerning letting the children come to Him. Luke 18: 15-17 attest to it: “And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.” Jesus also rebuked  the attitudes of the Pharisees in doting on law and forgetting that which was of spiritual significance. Luke 11: 37-44 (KJV). Lesson to be learnt therefrom is that the height of pride tend to determine the depth of humiliation; therefore, be humble at your huge success to be exalted in consequence, all things being equal. The Pharisees who chose to pray publicly and draw comparison themselves and those who do not observe the laws or are too poor to tithe big or are outright heathens underscore the teaching of Christ in Luke 14: 7-14 and especially verse 11 that says: “For everyone that exalteth himself shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (ASV)

Christ teaching was to warn the Pharisees and religious leaders of today that if they do not humble themselves before God they stand the chance of missing inheriting the kingdom of God. Matthew 6: 1-8. Fear of the Lord is humility personified. King Nebuchadnezzar failed because he boasted about his own power without attributing it to God. Humility has positive reward. The coming together of the disciples after they had scattered following trial and crucifixion of Christ  was a sign that humility and unity must be part of the code of conduct for all Christians. Even in today’s situation, we talk of being brother’s keepers. Those that have did not despise the have-not. It was a unanimous decision that the rank and file of the followers of Christ should sell all their belongings and bring the proceeds to a common purse for the use of all of them. Ananias and Sapphira sold theirs and kept part of it for which the spirit of the Lord dealt with them and they died because of their half-hearted spirit  of obedience and unity.  Disciples of Christ and new converts feared the Lord and remained in unity in spite of mass arrest, torture and cruel death.  We do believe that those who are not ashamed to confess Christ, the Son of Man shall not be ashamed of them in His Father’s kingdom. 

Therefore, it behoves all believers to emulate Christ’s humility for enhancing unity of purpose and happiness here on earth and the promise of eternal life. With humility that promotes the fear of God and the acceptance of Jesus as our Lord and Savior. The blood of Jesus with his righteousness assures our place in God’s kingdom while others would have their eternal life in hell as prescribed in the bible.

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

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.

No Place for Despondency

Be strong in the Lord to be able to achieve your avowed intention.

Be strong in the Lord to be able to achieve your avowed intention.

For all believers, our Lord Jesus is our spiritual looking-glass self concerning the way he had to undergo many-a-lot of harrowing experiences from conception to birth, post birth situations up to how he went to the cross, the grave and eventually to the sky. In spite of all odds, He accomplished his mission on earth. His immaculate conception was hard for Joseph the carpenter, the would be earthly father, to accept his betrothed Mary. King Herod out of jealousy sought to kill him. Matthew 1: 18-25. The devil tempted Him after His baptism Matt. 4:1-11; 27: 24 to the end; Luke 23. The most painful of the ordeals was Judas Iscariot’s betrayal to the High Priest and the Elders. The case of Brutus to Caesar was a child’s play concerning the person of our Lord and Savior. Jesus was not discouraged and did not chicken out of the divine race He ran and won by being able to return to sit at the right hand of God the Father in heaven.

Failures and near successes did not make Abraham Lincoln despondent . He eventually became one of the most revered presidents of the United States. Nelson Mandela remained uncompromising in his demand for freedom and abolition of apartheid. He endured twenty-seven years of incarceration but lastly went from prison to the Presidency of free South Africa. Steve Biko died in prison but succeeded in winning a place in the history of South Africa.The German heroic recovery from the ruins of the second World War showed that they buried despondency along with the losses Nazi German rulers inflicted on the good people of Germany. Today the German currency, indeed the economy, has been described as the strongest within the European Union economy. Over half a century ago, the Rapid Result College had this quotation on her correspondence tutorial booklets: “Do not for one repulse forego the purpose you resolve to effect”. It was a powerful inspiration to those aspirants in pursuit of quality education for better life.

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 # 35

Waiting upon God's love

Waiting upon God’s love

It is those who have a knack for appreciating good things done to them or experienced from the hands of others that find it easy to give thanks in cash or kind. It is in the form of offering, tithe, seed sowing, rendering free services in the house of God or doing community service selflessly. Even ones time in addition to financial sacrifice constitute thanksgiving borne out of love. We see a perfect example of what man’s love should involve in Habakkuk 3: 17-18 “Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruits be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, Though the flock may be caught off from the fold; And there be no herds in the stalls; Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will joy in the God of my salvation”.

The behavior and life’s work of Abraham with unwavering faith coupled with unalloyed obedience were counted as righteousness Heb.11: 8. There is no wonder the Psalmist  had to write in Psalm 37: 25 “I have been young and now I am old,  Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken; Nor his descendants begging bread”. God cannot be treated as a fair weather friend for while we think he is not paying attention, HIS whole plan for our life is being guarded to prevent derailment of any kind. The bottom line is that we must cultivate the habit of waiting upon the Lord. He neither sleeps nor slumbers. He will surely attend to our needs. Though help may tarry but it will surely come at His own time.

Non-Carnal Love Series # 31

Non-canal loveAll forms of love that fail to align with genuine love of God without consideration for personal gain is non-divine. If one works against evil thoughts, words and actions, it is a positive source of personal development of love for service to God, others and self. Fear, obedience and compliance to God’s instruction differentiated Ananias of Damascus Acts 9: 1-20 from the other Ananias, husband of Sapphira.They were both disciples with Peter. In order to sustain the growing needs of rising number of disciples, they all voluntarily and faithfully agreed to sell their assets (properties including land) and bring the full proceeds for group maintenance.

In apparent show of faithfulness to the cause of the disciples, Ananias and Sapphira sold their land and brought only a portion of the proceeds. They thought they were smarter than others. They showed their lack of knowledge of the God they were serving. As God is Almighty, ever-present and all-knowing, He revealed the couple’s deception to Peter. No one ever succeeds in making mockery of God. The couple’s “Day of the Lord ” (judgement) came upon them instantly. They died as Peter confronted them with their deception, even separately. Acts 5: 1-11 This is a lesson to all, especially born-again Christians in view of Revelation 3: 22.

Non-Carnal Love Series # 23

Non-canal loveSimon was his name before Jesus Christ re-named him Peter (meaning Cephas or Stone). He was a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee. He wasn’t a city dweller neither was he as educated as the Pharisees or did ever belong to the Priestly lineage. No doubt he was a Jew and was expecting the prophesied Messiah. Matthew 4:18-20; Mark 1:16-18; John 1:35-41 The moment his brother Andrew introduced him to Jesus, he caught the intense fire of divine love for God, the Son and the Holy Spirit. He was bold to the extent that what others cannot say he would boldly say it. He was able to identify Jesus as the Son of God. He belonged to the inner circle of Jesus’ disciples. Jesus was the spiritual leader or Rabbi, Peter was the undisputed human leader of the disciples. He had periods of showing the human angle in his life as a disciple. For instance, while walking on the sea fear gripped him and forgot that he was under the anointing of Jesus but quickly asked for the master’s help.

At another time, he became belligerent and drew his sword in defense of Jesus when the High Priest asked soldiers to go and arrest him at the beginning of the passion of Christ. Jesus prevailed on him. Faced with the trial of Jesus he denied him. Immediately he realised that he has been untrue to his savior, he wept bitterly to atone for his failure. No wonder he emerged the leader of the first Church of Christ. In conclusion, divine love dictated his boldness to accept leadership of the fledging church in spite of severe persecution. Matt 26: 69-120;  Mark 14: 66-72; Luke 22: 54-62. Peter possessed divine love that most human being do not have.

Non-Carnal Love Series # 21

Non-canal loveIn Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son, we learnt about the immeasurable love of father to his son. What makes the love stand out as unique and inimitable is the way the prodigal second son depleted his father’s prosperity while still alive. Rather than investing it for higher returns to his investment, he squandered it all. By the way, only dead person’s property is subject to being inherited. For the father to release part of his wealth is always in the sense of drawing up the will to prevent dying intestate. By implication, the father has limitless resources. On the part of the love the son had for the father, it was just the riches or a non-divine love of the father for who he was.

Let us substitute the “certain man” being the father of the two sons with the Almighty God and see how we have been enjoying His benefits without genuine love for our benefactor. Taking back the lost and found son is God’s act of forgiveness once we show evidence of a broken and contrite heart. In other words, a sinner must show a sense of remorse. However sinful we are, HE (God) is ready to accept us just as we are. Luke 15: 11 – 32.