Servant Leadership   Leave a comment

Servant Leadership

But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mat. 20:26

  1.  Different from conventional leadership

Jesus taught that Christian leadership is servanthood which is clearly opposed to the world’s concept of being the “Boss”, “Director”, “Captain” or someone having authority over others. Most if not all types of leadership (dictatorial leadership, strategic,charismatic etc) have a man or a group of people at the head having authority. The professional world does not know such thing as an inversed pyramidal way of leading. How can a slave be a leader ?

The word “deacon” used by Paul in 1 Timothy refers to servant or slave. Adam Clarke described it as “The office of a deacon, in the primitive Church, was to serve in the agapae, or love feasts, to distribute the bread and wine to the communicants; to proclaim different parts and times of worship in the churches; and to take care of the widows, orphans, prisoners, and sick, who were provided for out of the revenues of the Church

This definition implies that such a person does not exercise authority on the Lord’s flock, he serves humbly and is concerned for the weak. This type of leadership position is not limited and does not cease to be when you leave position at church or at work. This leadership is really about your character and who you are.

Paul himself described himself as a slave of Christ. (Rom 1:1)

I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ“(1 Cor 9:19)

2. It’s not about what you have but about who you want to be

It’s not your intelligence or experience that makes you the type of spiritual leader Jesus is talking about. Jesus said that it is a personal decision to serve others. If you really want to be great in the sight of God, then serve.

Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave

Paul mentioned no physical,financial or intellectual qualifications to be this kind of leader. The qualities that Paul mentioned had to do with conduct at home, at church and especially with non followers of Jesus(1 Tim. 3:7).

3. This kind of leadership is sacrificing self for others

A great leader in the world is measured by his financial results, physical performance, political decision or intellectual abilities. Though Jesus was the utmost authority on earth, He came to serve humanity by pouring out His life for their salvation. Paul said:

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Rom. 5:6

Jesus gave an example to his disciples to follow when He washed their feet. Great leaders in the eyes of God are experts in feet cleansing(not theirs of course).

now he loved them to the very endAnd since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. ” John 13:1-14

4. This leadership seeks no reward and is rooted in humility

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God,he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges,he took the humble position of a slave” Phil. 2:3

This kind of leadership is not motivated in getting something from others but in giving to others. Jesus said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” Acts 20:35

Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.” Luke 6:35

It does not have to prove something to be recognized.

There is no need to do self-appraisal or show your senior what you did in order to get a promotion. Your CV is written by God not by you.

5. This leadership draws its strength from love

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

How to know if you’re a servant who pleases God?

Ask yourself these questions:

Are you patient and kind with your family? Are you serving them?

Are you jealous, boastful, proud and rude with your colleagues or are you gentle, helpful and pushing them towards success? Are you serving them?

Do you easily get angered and have an unforgiving heart with your neighbor? Are you serving them?

Do you persevere in serving others despite no recognition and being hurt by them?

Servant leadership is imitating Christ’s example of serving others.

Paul said: “My old self has been crucified with Christ.It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. ” Gal 2:20

6. It is a Master and slave relationship

Paul made himself a servant of all and was an instrument in the Master’s hand to pour out His love on people. If we call Christ Master then it follows that we consider ourselves slaves.

A slave does not seek for his right but obeys His Master. There’re no menial tasks but all are duties. They do not have working hours, they are readily available any time. They do not live in luxury but are satisfied with what they have. Slaves have no reasons to seek for glory.

In the same way, when you obey me you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.”Luke 17:18.

Finally, successful spiritual leadership is not through strategy but through the influence of the Holy Spirit. Without submission to the Holy Spirit, we will not bear the fruit of the Spirit and our leadership will be carnal.

Imagine how the workplace would have been if the boss had an attitude of servanthood towards employees, how our country would have been if the political leader had a servant attitude towards citizens, how a classroom would have been if the teacher had an attitude of service towards students or how the family would have been if the father/husband served his wife and children. If those in authority exercised servanthood, it would have brought less harm, more peace and love.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted August 5, 2017 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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What good deed must I do to have eternal life?   Leave a comment

CamelThroughNeedlesEye

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” Mat 19:23

Context: Jesus was about to leave for Jerusalem and a man came running and knelt down at his feet to ask a important question (Mark 10:17-22)

Who was this man? The Gospel of Luke (18:18) tells us that he was a religious leader and Matthew precised that this man was young and rich(Mat. 19:22).

In our era we could say this was the perfect guy any woman would like to marry or the right businessman to make honest deals with.

We discover in these verses that the man was humble and was sincerely seeking for an answer to a question which was a matter of utmost importance to him. His question was simply: ‘How can I get into heaven?’

If he was sick and old we could understand that it was a legitimate question to ask before dying, but here it was a young man which still had vitality and time. Though he was a religious leader, he came with humility and considered Jesus as the teacher who could taught him what to do. The question that this young man had did not just pop up suddenly and caused him to run. I believe that for quite some time he tried to answer this question by himself but nothing worked.

Before getting to the the subject, we can see through this scene, the soul of  a man which says: ‘I am religious, know well God’s laws and obey them but still I feel unsatisfied and not at peace in my heart. I still do not have the peace and conviction that I will go to heaven. Why?

I call this situation the Desperate Soul’s syndrome. He was rich but his soul was still unhappy. His flesh was satisfied with the things of this world, his religious conscience tried but in vain to reassure his soul of salvation but that soul kept lamenting and be desperate. The flesh wanted to fool the soul by saying ‘My soul, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!‘ Luke 12:18

The soul no longer wanted to be fooled. The soul’s desire was not quenched with worldly things and kept tormenting the young man with this question: ‘Where will you make me spend eternity, heaven or hell?’ To this question, the young man had the answer but not the one his soul wanted to hear. This man probably heard Jesus’ teachings before and he knew that Jesus was kind of a doctor who could tell him what he could do to calm down his soul.

Jesus often liked to unroll little by little His plans when talking with people. For example he did not tell the Samaritan woman that she had 5 husbands at the beginning of the conversation, nor did he grant the request of the Canaanite woman at first request(Mat 15) . He wanted the woman who had a blood lesion to reveal herself instead of clearly stating that it was her. Even though he knew there were just a few bread and fish, He asked his disciples how all the thousands people will be fed.

Jesus knew why the rich man came but told him a first answer which He knew the man tried and did not work. Jesus told him: ‘Keep the commandments’.

So the man retorted, OK but which one? The commandments are divided in 2 parts, the first 4 related to God and the last 6 related to man. By mentioning the latter, Jesus again mentioned answers He already knew and practiced:

Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not testify falsely ,  Do not steal and Honor your parents.I obeyed these like many people. Well, even the respectable atheist has a code of conduct and honor his parents, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not testify falsely and do not murder.

Sigh, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied. “What else must I do?”

Now comes the crux of the answer which I believe is related to the first 2 commandments – relationship with God. The rich young man was a religious leader and I believe he observed the Sabbath and probably did not misuse God’s name. However, he did not realize that he was violating the first 2 commandments which dealt with having no other gods. The rich man’s problem was that the god of money,Mammon, invaded his heart and kept him away from God. His possessions made him idolatrous. To deal with this gangrene in his heart, it had to be removed and this caused him a heartache.

When Jesus heard his answer, he said, There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Luke 18:22

Adam Clarke said of this verse:

If thou wilt be perfect – Τελειος ειναι, To be complete, to have the business finished, and all hinderances to thy salvation removed, go and sell that thou hast – go and dispose of thy possessions, to which it is evident his heart was too much attached, and give to the poor – for thy goods will be a continual snare to thee if thou keep them; and thou shalt have treasure in heaven – the loss, if it can be called such, shall be made amply up to thee in that eternal life about which thou inquirest; and come and follow me – be my disciple, and I will appoint thee to preach the kingdom of God to others. This was the usual call which Christ gave to his disciples

What does cupidity means in biblical perspective?

In my opinion, it is not limited to the amount of possession but also about storing up more what is needed for personal use. Storing up more what is needed is then cupidity or greediness. One can be a millionaire without being avaricious and one can possess little and be avaricious. To this Jesus said:

Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. Mat. 6:19

To be rich, therefore, is in general a great misfortune: but what rich man can be convinced of being miserable?

The trade off for the rich man was: Should I get rid of the possession that gives my flesh comfort to possess the peace of soul possession cannot offer?

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!

Posted May 13, 2017 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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The Passover, the Lord’s Supper and Easter   Leave a comment

 

 

Lord's Supper

The downcast disciples on the road of Damascus had a sad remembrance of Jesus. They said: He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel…” Luke 24:19

This is not how Jesus wanted His disciples to remember Him so He explained to them what the scriptures told about the Messiah. It was only after Jesus shared bread with them that they recognised Him.

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:30

These disciples quickly forgot what Jesus taught.Jesus said “Remember, what I told you” Luke 24:24.What do you remember of Jesus? What can you say about Him?

The angels said to the women who came to Jesus’s tomb:

Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ Then they remembered his words.” Luke 24:4

John the Baptist said of Him : Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

When Jesus asked who people said He was, Peter said: But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Mat 16:15

John described Jesus as the Word of God made flesh and each disciples remembered Jesus in a particular way.

The Lord’s Supper was an ordinance that helped the disciples of Damascus to remember Jesus. It remembered them who Jesus was and what He did. Jesus wanted His disciples to remember His death on the cross and return.

Why an ordinance?

In the past, God appointed 3 national festivals among the Jews to make them remember of extraordinary things He accomplished. Man easily forgets so it was important to establish such things as feasts to keep it a practice from generation to generation. When children asked their parents about the raison-d’être of these feasts(Ex. 12:26,13:8), it was the opportunity for parents to pass on to them what the Lord did in the past for their ancestors.

“God, out of his great wisdom,” says Calmet, “appointed several festivals among the Jews for many reasons:

  1. To perpetuate the memory of those great events, and the wonders he had wrought for the people; for example, the Sabbath brought to remembrance the creation of the world; the Passover, the departure out of Egypt; the Pentecost, the giving of the law; the feast of Tabernacles, the sojourning of their fathers in the wilderness, etc.
  2. To keep them faithful to their religion by appropriate ceremonies, and the splendor of Divine service.
  3. To procure them lawful pleasures, and necessary rest.
  4. To give them instruction; for in their religious assemblies the law of God was always read and explained.

No matter their differences or from which tribe of Israel they were, all came together to celebrate in family these feasts. This is still true among different Christian denominations. Despite their differences, most if not all celebrate the Lord’s Supper. The slavery in Egypt reminded of the privation of liberty, suffering in the body and service of a foreign ruler. The freedom from sin brought by Christ is analogous to the deliverance of the miserable life of Egypt.

It is worthy to note that it was the community(including children) which sacrificed the lamb and it was not specifically destined for the priests alone(Ex. 12:6). This remembers us that Christ was killed by the community.  The Passover reminded the Jews of the miracle God did to deliver them from slavery in Egypt. The Lord literately passed over houses without killing the first-born of the Israelites. After the destruction of Jerusalem, the paschal lamb ceased to be offered by the Jews throughout the world even though they kept the remembrance. No more sacrifice was to be made and the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was instituted to keep this true paschal sacrifice in commemoration.

Paul said:”Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us.So let us celebrate the festival” 1 Cor. 5:7

The Lord gave one New Command:Love one another as it sums up the laws and the prophets(Mat. 22:40).

He gave one new ordinance: The Lord’s Supper Luke 22.

He also gave one mission: Go and preach to the whole world(Mat. 28)

The Lord’s Supper reminds why Christ has come and what He did. This is an ordinance that shall perpetually continue until Christ’s coming.

Paul said:  “This is my body, which is given for you.Do this in remembrance of me…For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.” 1 Cor 11:23-26

In Luke 22, Jesus said: ““I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” Luke 22:15

On the day of Passover, Jesus wanted the disciples to remember Him in a special way. He was going to be the long foretold Passover Lamb and it was His day. This is what Jesus wanted His disciples to remember:

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you

Easter has nothing to do with Passover, it is a pagan festival which in no way points to Christ as the sacrificial Lamb. Easter remembers of eggs, chocolates or rabbits and takes Christ off the stage. The Lord’s Supper however was a solemn moment where Jesus’s disciples shared in a dinner with their to-be Savior.

I have heard many preachers portray Jesus as a martyr who suffered much. What rendered the sacrifice of Jesus acceptable to God was not as such His suffering but who He was. Jesus said  You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life. ” John 5:39

It was not just anyone who went on that Cross. Jesus’s name is God’s Word(Rev 19:13). He is God with Us(Emmanuel), the Son of God and Son of Man. He is the one foretold who will crush the serpent’s head.He is the promised posterity of Abraham(Gal. 3:16) and the promised descendant of David who will be King forever. He is also the High Priest of the tabernacle in heaven. Theologically, there’re so many things to say and remember about Jesus. However, when we think about what Jesus said in His last supper, we REMEMBER the crux of His Mission and the very essence of His person.

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” Luke 22:19

 

 

Posted April 15, 2017 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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The quest for spiritual leaders   Leave a comment

01-here-i-am-send-me-300x169

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Is. 6:8

Have ever you met someone who radically impacted your life and the way you think?  It could have been the passion, love or wisdom of that person which influenced you. I have met such a man whose wisdom changed my way of seeing things and still another man whose passion for a cause sparkled in me the desire to do the same. I met these people for a couple of hours and have not met them again since. Some very important decisions I took in my life were influenced because of them and I’ll never meet them again to let them know. These people left their thumbprints on my heart and mind and I will never forget what they said. Through their books several authors also impacted my way of thinking and somehow shaped my character and still they will never know.

Jesus was such a man who radically changed the heart and mind of people. He left his footprint in each villages He visited. Jesus’ fragrance did not go unnoticed. His teachings spread through the world and changed the life of millions of people.

Being in fellowship with Jesus causes you to be such a person who is a blessing to the people you interact with. Are you such a person people like to talk with or avoid?

Does the word you speak communicate divine comfort, blessings, love or wisdom? Or do those words spread threats, curses, hatred, foolish jokes and hurt those who listen to you?

When Isaiah saw the glory of the Lord, the first thing he said was:

Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King,the Lord Almighty.

My heart is filthy and prideful and I also live among people whose heart are unrighteous. I feel so unworthy to stand in the presence of God. I have failed so many times in my conduct and word spoken. I’m ruined and an unfit servant of the living God.

It was a solemn moment when Isaiah saw the glory of God. The scene of the seraphim picking a piece of burning charcoal on the altar and touching Isaiah’s lips with it was also emblematic. The divine creature did not cheer up Isaiah by telling him that his sins were negligible. It had to be dealt with even if it symbolically meant purifying the sinful part of the body by burning it. It’s a painful process to be purified of one’s sins – you’re brought to your knees until pride is taken away. When  we stand in the presence of God, our sins come to light and guilt takes place. God knows that no mortal man can stand in His presence without feeling uncomfortable and He provided ways to atone for the sin of men.

See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.

If guilt and sin are still present in our hearts, God will not be able to use us to be that fountain of blessing to others. The God called out: “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?

The verse does not say: “Isaiah, can I send you? Isaiah will you go for us?”

Isaiah response was spontaneous, send me. If you’re hearing God calling out do not close your mouth. Say wholeheartedly, “Here I am, send me where you want and do what you wish”

In his book, Out of the comfort Zone, George Verwer pointed out that many Christian organization and churches struggle to find leaders willing to take responsibilities. Jesus himself said that the harvest is great but the labourers are few. Very few Christians respond to God’s call. They just stand as spectators seeing the churches going into ruin and evil spread. Edmund Burke said something about this attitude of passivity:

-The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
 –Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.
I have witnessed that God  miraculously equip those who respond to His call. If you’re convinced that God has called you for a specific ministry, just do it. Do not wait for someone to mention your name to serve God. You might never know if what you sowed bore fruits.
And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” Col. 3:17
“Whatever you do or say”- This implies your whole character. If you have not been a good representative of the Lord with your neighbors, colleagues, family and friends, it is not too late. Repent and confess your sins like Isaiah did. God will provide a way to purify your sins and use you again for His glory. Isaiah was commissioned to: “Go and tell this people” and Christ also commissioned His disciples to go and tell to the whole world of the Good News. What shall we do with God’s call? Shall we respond and say ‘Here am I, send me’or ‘Lord, this is not my ministry, look here’s a missionary organization’.

 

Posted February 25, 2017 by Cedric in Uncategorized

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The life of Faith [1]   Leave a comment

Faith is believing what you cannot see

Faith is believing what you cannot see

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.  We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith” Hebrews 12:1

God has often been using water to test the faith of men. By faith, Peter walked on the sea, by faith Moses led the people of Israel through the Red Sea, by faith Naaman received his healing, by faith Noah built an ark to save himself and his family from the flood, by faith Elisha healed the waters of Jericho and by faith the blind man received his sight by washing himself at Siloam. The perfector of our faith, Jesus, used water to do supernatural things like changing water to wine, walking on the water and calming the sea. The challenges brought by the waters always resulted to miracles and growth to the life of faith.  When the people of Israel reached the Red Sea, they saw an obstacle but Moses saw the Red Sea as the way out. How many of us when we see the obstacle from far, we give up and refuse to make a step closer? Faith is what makes you get closer to the obstacle when people are laughing at you. The people of Israel had to reach the Red Sea for it to open.

This is what the Lord said to Moses: “And the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it.  Ex. 14:15

C.Cowman said: “God does not open paths for us in advance of our coming. He does not promise help before help is needed. He does not remove obstacles out of our way before we reach them. Yet when we are on the edge of our need, God’s hand is stretched out. Many people forget this, and are forever worrying about difficulties which they foresee in the future. They expect that God is going to make the way plain and open before them, miles and miles ahead; whereas He has promised to do it only step by step as they may need. You must get to the waters and into their floods before you can claim the promise.”

While it is true that the Israelites went through the Red Sea on dry ground, God’s promises still stand when the ground will not be dry.

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up;the flames will not consume you.” Isa. 43:2

Even if the waters do not open when you’re “going through the rivers of difficulty”, be sure of this: You will not drown for the Lord thy God is with you!

When you pray, do it with faith.  If the answer still tarries, do not pray for it in such a way that it is evident that you do not believe that God can do what you’re asking for.

If you’re not sincerely expecting that God will answer your prayers, then you do not believe in God’s abilities.

Jesus said:

Then Jesus said to the disciples, Have faith in God.  I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too” Mark 11:22-27

Jesus clearly said that what we ask for will happen and not might happen.

In this verse Jesus implicitly mentioned 2 reasons why people do not receive:

  1. People do not really believe that God can do what they are asking. In other words, they doubt.
  2. If you hold a grudge against someone and do not forgive, then God also will not forgive you of your sins. God does not tolerate this attitude (See Parable of the Unforgiving debtor) .

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.”    Heb. 11:6

It is useless to pray for something you do not believe God can do. These are the kind of prayers God will not answer.

James said:

 When troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.for you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing….But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.  Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.” James 1:3-6

Here James explicitly explained one reason why people do not receive:

If your faith is not in God alone, i.e. you’re relying also on your strength or finance then you’re taking up the glory that should be to God alone. Either God has whole control or you take your destiny in your own hand. God will not answer prayers when you’ve one foot in the water and one foot in the sand. You’ve to take a decision.

James also mentioned in chapter 4:

Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure…”

C.Cowman said:

“You will never learn faith in comfortable surroundings. God gives us the promises in a quiet hour; God seals our covenants with great and gracious words, then He steps back and waits to see how much we believe; then He lets the tempter come, and the test seems to contradict all that He has spoken. It is then that faith wins its crown. That is the time to look up through the storm, and among the trembling, frightened seamen cry, “I believe God that it shall be even as it was told me.”

If God does not do the miracles of opening the waters before you or lead you to walk on the waters, remember that you’ll reach the shore safely. God is not limited in solutions, if He was able to transport disobedient Jonah to Niniveh through a big fish, what can’t He do to bring you safely to shore? Hebrews 11 tells us that all the men commended by God had something in common – faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God and the righteous shall live by faith.  How can you run with endurance the life of faith? Hebrews 12 says: We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus.

Whether we live by faith or not, the trials will be over. There will be joy if we persevere in our faith during the trial but regrets if we refuse to surrender and trust God. Living by faith is a decision that one takes because He knows God.

Posted January 7, 2017 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Whatever you do, do it heartily, as working for the Lord [1]   Leave a comment

Do it Heartily

Do it Heartily

And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father…Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord” Col. 3:17,23

It took me some time to digest these words of wisdom from Paul. Experience taught me that following this advice is beneficial not only for others but also for self.

  • When Christians grumble

Sometimes as Christians we grumble, complain or argue when we feel that we’re treated unfairly. I have learned in these situations that retaliation is not the wise way to react as it indicates that we’re conforming to the pattern of this world (Rom. 12:12) and seeking the reward found in this world instead of the reward from above. Paul said:

Do everything without complaining and arguing,  so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” Phil. 2:14

Yes the world is crooked and perverse and if you complain and grumble, you’ll not be beyond reproach as you’ll be criticized for doing so. If it is your pride which is causing you to complain then you’re reacting as the crooked and perverse people do. Instead, Paul said live innocent lives as children of God. Endure hardship, if someone slap you give him the other cheek Jesus taught (Mat. 5:29). Do not resist an evil person Jesus said. We often consider a child to be innocent as he is defenseless and this is how children of lights should be. Peter says, do not return evil for evil (1 Peter 3:9). It is in adversity that Christians make the difference. When everyone expects that you’ll fight for your rights, resist and retaliate and see no reaction, it is then that you’re making a difference. This attitude is not one of defeat but of strength because you’re giving loud answer through your action that your treasure is not in this world. If you’re fighting for glory and money, then the world will see that you’re seeking the things of this world like them. Paul again wisely wrote:

Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” 1 Tim. 6:9

If you have food and clothing you must be grateful to God and be content. Do not fall in the same trap as those who have been entangled by the things of this world and have wandered from the faith. There’re much sorrows awaiting when your choose money and fame as the source of your happiness.

  • Whatever you do, do it heartily for the Lord

This is the cure to all the complaints, insatisfaction and grumblings. If you really do your job as if you were doing it for the Lord, you’ll stop grumbling and even seek to do more work. If the reason you’re working is to have more money and to reach a higher position, then you’ll reach a point where you’ll be discouraged or upset when you’re not promoted or there’s a lack of recognition from your boss. However, if your motive is to do your job heartily everyday as if you’re devoutly offering it to the Lord, then it will not matter if your boss sees your achievements. If you do not seek recognitions from the world then you’ll be spared the hurt of not being rewarded.  Paul said: “As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority…It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide” 1 Cor. 4:3

Imagine how the world would be if a Christian cook prepared food for customers as if it was for the Lord or a Christian doctor treated his patient as if the Lord was before him? There will be no need to go on the roof top and shout that you’ve done your best. Excel in the job you do even if no one is watching you. Whatever you do, do it for the Lord and do not expect to receive this reward on earth. Christians should be reputed to be hard workers and not known as being lazy or idle. Paul said:

Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.”Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business. We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living. As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good.” 2 Thes. 3:10-13

It is a sad truth that some Christians have bad reputations in their jobs. The name of Christ is blasphemed because of the quality of work they deliver. Whatever we do or say, Christ should be the reason of  our actions. If we’re serving Christ, we cannot participate in illicit works.

Last but not the least, God forges your character by what you do to make you what He wants you to be.

“It is not what a man does that is of final importance, but what he is in what he does. The atmosphere produced by a man, much more than his activities, has the lasting influence” Oswald Chambers

Posted December 3, 2016 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Without faith it is impossible to please God [Part 2]   Leave a comment

faithYou have so little faith, Jesus said. Why did you doubt me?

Mat. 14:31

 When we decide to adopt living by faith as a lifestyle, it will become evident to us that God is not limited by time, money an science.

Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.  Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.” Hebrews 11:1

Right now, my wife and I are going through trials. We do not know how we’ll go through but we know we will by trusting God.

Faith is believing that God is not limited by resources

Jesus took 5 breads and 2 fish and fed at least 5000 persons. This miracle Jesus did showed that God is not limited by resources. It is mathematically impossible to explain how people ate as much as they wanted when initially the resources were scarce. If your salary is less than what you spend, how can you make both ends meet? It is mathematically impossible but God works in ways we cannot see to provide our daily needs. Even if we do not know what we will eat tomorrow(Mat. 6:31), we believe God will take care of it. The Zarepthath widow(1 Kings 17:7) can testify how God multiplied flour and oil.

Faith is believing that God can when it is too late

When Jesus learned that Lazarus was sick, He intentionally stayed where He was for 2 days instead of healing Lazarus on the spot(John 11:6). When Jesus reached Bethany, it was 4 days since Lazarus was put in the grave. When Jesus came, Mary thought it was too late and said :

Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died“John 11:32

On the other side, Martha had a little faith and said: “But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask” John 11:22

When Jesus was about to raise Lazarus from the dead, Martha doubted and could not see it coming and she said:

But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.”Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” John 11:39-40

Even when all has been said and done, there’s still hope for the dead because Jesus lives.

Abraham’s faith transcended Martha’s faith because he thought that God would raise Isaac from the dead after he offered him since he firmly had faith in God’s promise of a large posterity through Isaac.

Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.” Hebrews 11:19

Faith is believing that God can when science says no

Jesus performed many supernatural things like changing water into wine, calming the storm and healing the born blind. These are miracles that defy science .The woman who had been bleeding for 12 years, spent much of her money with doctors but still could not be cured. Science could do nothing for her but Jesus said:  “your faith has made you well. Go in peace” Luke 8:48. When Jesus called Peter to walk on the water (Mat 14:31), it was a supernatural experience that defied the fisherman’s knowledge of water. Though he doubted on the way and sank, this man nevertheless defied the law of science through his faith in Jesus. God is above the law of science and having faith in Him can literally move a mountain to the sea.

Posted October 8, 2016 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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