Love is …[Part 3]   Leave a comment

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” 1 Cor. 13:4-8

Love does not demand its own way

Love is not selfish and does not seek its comfort first. Love is not self-centered but considers the needs of others.

It seeks what is best for the interest of everyone and does not impose its will. We all have our preferences in terms of music style, food taste, colours and expectations and we should also realize that we’re not the only one in the world who have wants and preferences. With so many unique individuals around, it would be impossible to try pleasing everyone and it’s not what love does. Love distinguishes between wants and needs and will eagerly compromise and give up its wants to please others. Love will give up its comfort and not remain indifferent to the salvation of souls.

It is not irritable and keeps no record of being wronged

Being grumpy, easily annoyed and “moody” can be justified by circumstances and biological reasons. During their menstrual period, women usually have mood swings and feel tired. These hormonal issues cause the woman to behave in a less pleasant manner. These are chemical reactions in the body that cause discomfort. When a man is hungry after a tough day and has no food to eat, he can become easily irritable at minor issues. When parents repeat over and over again to their children to obey, they can become irritable and lose their temper.

The neighbor’s dog barking at night or the colleague who repeatedly do the same mistake over and over again cause discomforts. There’re infinite sources of circumstances that can cause us to be annoyed and irritable. When there is love, one does not become bitter if the offender persists in his/her wrongdoings. There would be no special circumstances that it would be allowed or understandable to be provoked and act thereof irritably.

There can be countless reasons to be annoyed. However, for the sake of love, our temper will be controlled and patience will prevail. Lack of patience is often a source of irritability. We have seen that love is patient and if waiting for others or forgiving them 70 times a day for the same mistake can avoid us from hurting them, it’s worth the cause. Love does not remind itself that it has already forgiven 69 times but will carry on forgiving even if it implies doing it hundred times more. It can do so because every time it forgives, it does it so genuinely that it forgets. This is what God does. If God was irritable and kept records of the many times He has been wronged, who will be saved?

Lord, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive?  But you offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear you ” Ps. 130:3

For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west” Ps. 103:12

Posted May 30, 2021 by Cedric in Uncategorized

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Love is…[Part 2]   Leave a comment

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” 1 Cor. 13:4-8

We have seen in Part 1 the different types of love and what is not love. The characteristics of Agape love, the superior and purest type of love will be discussed. It was introduced earlier that love is giving, in fact some bible translations used the word charity instead to describe the Agape love.

It is noteworthy to emphasize that Paul considered that having the characteristics of love is far superior than spiritual gifts, spiritual position or having spiritual knowledge. If you have spiritual gifts and can perform miracles but lack love, “what’s the use?” the apostle says, “you’re just a noisy gong or a tinkling cymbal“. Have you observed that it is often the noisy people who lack love and cause disputes but the quiet ones are usually those who help secretly? If your spirituality leads you to walk on nails, mutilate your flesh, burn your body and even kill yourself, who do you think you’ll impress? God? No way, it’s a heart of love that God takes pleasure in.

Even if we have all the gifts of nature and perform miracles in the supernatural world, we can still be a stranger to God if love is not evident in us. Loving is first of all being human. The lack of love has led the compassion found in humanity to erode. Selfishness, indifference and lack of sensibility has instead taken place, making humans an awful creature i.e. the opposite image of how God intended it to be.

When meditating and writing on these, I realized how much I lack this kind of love. This is indeed a divine love.

Love is patient.

While we often associate patience with a notion of time i.e. waiting, the characteristic of love defined here is broader. It also implies believing, enduring and even accepting to suffer patiently with the firm belief that something better awaits. Despite trials, persecutions, provocations love will not abdicate because it is patient. It will endure repeated offenses, even 70 times a day or more without losing patience. This characteristic of love is not a sign of weakness but a virtue. The difference between being tolerant and patient is that one can be tolerant(or restraining oneself) without actually loving. Here is an example of patience:

He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent” 2 Peter 3:9

God does not tolerate sin. He rather demonstrates patience hoping intently that souls repent. God is angry at sin but is also slow to act, for acting hastily in anger leads to regret. Many hurting words were said and awful acts were done due to lack of self-control and acting hastily in anger. If God was tolerant and not patient, we would already be burning in hell for tolerance has a limit while patience fulfils its purpose only when it accomplishes perfectly its work(James 1:4).

Love is not hot-tempered but long-suffering. It is calm, serene and not easily provoked. If you’re someone irritable i.e. who lose your temper easily, this is most likely a sign of love deficiency.

Love is kind

I am often called “gentleman” but the truth is that being called with this title does not actually mean that I am man who is gentle. My wife has often reproached me for not being gentle and kind. To better understand what being kind and gentle mean, it can be useful to have a look at the antonyms of those words. Being mean(uncharitable), malicious, nasty, inconsiderate, lacking sensitivity, cruel or brute (in words and actions) are signs of love deficiency. This gives me chills because I often hurt those around me with my words. If you’re unkind, people around you have mostly noticed it and brought it to your attention for acts of unkindness or lack of gentleness are obvious.

Acts of kindness and gentleness towards people allow them to be relieved of their burdens and take courage. An act of kindness is a servanthood attitude that expects nothing in return.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Mat. 11:12

Love is not envious, boastful or proud

A loving person rejoices when he sees others succeed. This person is not grieved when someone is richer, more intelligent or more successful than him. This person is not jealous of what others possess, on the contrary this person does what it can to help others succeed. This person considers other better than himself and has no reason to envy but support others. It does not brag of its achievements for what good will it do to those who failed? Love is not insolent(Adam Clarke) and considers it futile to put itself forward. Boasting is a sign of insecurity. It is not different from the peacock which opens its feathers to appear bigger than it actually is with the objective to impress a mate. It is a deception and vanity. Love is authentic, it does not boast to deceive.

Love is not rude

Many cruel things have been said in the name of honesty.

Adam Clarke express this character in these terms:

No ill-bred man, or what is termed rude or unmannerly, is a Christian. A man may have a natural bluntness, or be a clown, and yet there be nothing boorish or hoggish in his manner. I must apologize for using such words; they best express the evil against which I wish both powerfully and successfully to declaim. I never wish to meet with those who affect to be called “blunt, honest men;” who feel themselves above all the forms of respect and civility, and care not how many they put to pain, or how many they displease. “

It is necessity to be bold regarding the truth and what is right. It is equally essential to be gentle in our relations.

Though it is true that Jesus was meek and gentle, He was also bold in his preaching even if that offended the Pharisees (Mat. 15:12). We cannot separate the boldness and gentleness for having only one characteristic would be detrimental in relationships. Acting boldly without gentleness is not a Christian character for it is acting harshly and rude. I repent for those many times I acted this way.

It is because the apostles preached the gospel boldly (Acts 4:31) that many souls have been saved. Fearing to be bold and playing it safe by being politically correct is what has caused so much damage to evangelism, lukewarmness and passivity in Christianity. If you really love your neighbor who is living in sin, it serves no purpose to be gentle and smile everyday at him (hoping that this smile will save him from gnashing his teeth in hell?). The gospel needs to be preached boldly to sinners! We need to be bold AND gentle, lacking one of these is not a Christian character.

Posted May 21, 2021 by Cedric in Uncategorized

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Love is…[Part 1]   Leave a comment

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Cor. 13

People every day use the word “Love” in phrases such as : I love chocolates, my job, my spouse, my friend or God. The same word is used for things, activities and persons. There’s a big difference between liking something and loving someone. If we consider the definition of love, we cannot love something, we can only love a person.

The way we love people itself is manifold. The ancient greek words categorized love according to the nature of the relationship.

The affectionate love for a friend is Phileo, Agape is a selfless and unconditional love(the kind God has), Eros is the romantic and passionate love one has for a spouse, Storge is the kind of love that exists for family members (e.g parents and children or sibblings).

We can easily distinguish that the Eros love is different in nature to the Phileo and Storge love. While it is true that God calls us friends and His children, this is not Phileo or Storge love but a result of a greater love – Agape.

Before getting into what is love, it would be interesting to discard erroneous definitions or understandings.

Love is NOT a feeling. We can feel warm or cold depending on temperature. We can feel moody, nervous, sad, angry or happy depending on circumstances. These are chemical reactions in our body which make us feel this way.

I still love my kids even if I had a hard day at work and feel tired. I do not stop loving them because I feel annoyed when they write on the walls and throw their toys everywhere.

This gives us a clue that love is a kind of commitment in a relationship.

What is love?

My studies on this subject has led me to define love as giving. Let me explain. You give your time, energy, devotions and can even give your life to people who are dear to you. You’re most likely to spend more time with people you love. Love is not conditional i.e. it does not say “I will love you if“. Think about it, I have a few close friends that I will still love and remain loyal no matter what happens to them.

My kids cannot repay me what I do for them. It would be unfair for me to love them based on the condition that they get good grades and behave well. No matter how they perform I’m committed as a father to love them even if there is no one or no law which can force me to do so. This kind of love is innate, it is a decision. The moment that we’re being forced to love, we’re faking. Love is genuine in nature i.e. it has no trace of hypocrisy. This is how God created man – He gave man the freewill to choose to love him. If man did not have that choice and was forced or influenced by someone or a spiritual force to love Him, then this would not be love but trickery or manipulation.

I will leave for now the Philos, Storge and Eros love and would like to discuss about the superior love – Agape.

Agape love is a divine love i.e. it is the kind of love God has for people and expects us to have. We realize we lack love when we face the hard-to-love people. Only a superior love can stubbornly accept these hard-to-love persons.

We read in John 3:16, that God so loved the world that He gave Jesus as a Savior.

God considers Himself as a Father to mankind and His love does not cease when we sin or displease Him. However, in as much as God’s love is unwavering so is it regarding His justice and righteousness. God is intransigent to sin for sin is unrighteousness. So how do we reconcile the loving character of God and His righteousness? Putting it another way, how can a holy God have fellowship with sinful people? The only way for this relationship to occur is to resolve the injustice. It is unrighteousness that acts as a barrier between the loving God and sinful man. God is merciful when He gives us not what we deserve – punishment. God demonstrates grace when He gives us what we do not deserve – forgiveness and blessings.

For-GIVE is rooted in the word give. When you forgive, you’re actually giving someone the opportunity to be restored in a relationship. That offender can plead for forgiveness but it is only the offended party which can grant it.

Genuine forgiveness is when you do what is required to restore fully a relationship. Many people say that they have forgiven their offenders but still say in their hearts “I have forgiven him/her but I do not wish to have anything to do with him/her anymore“. If there is still bitterness it is an incomplete act of forgiveness. God did all what should be done so that sinful man could get into intimate relationship with Him. He offered Jesus as an atoning sacrifice for the remission of sin. Trusting Jesus is the act of faith that brings justification and restores fully the relationship with God.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” Rom. 5:6-9

So we can see a clear distinction between liking something and loving someone. Chemical reactions(feelings) in a body will not lead you to forgive and restore fully a relationship, love will. Only love will do the extra mile and intently work at resolving conflicts. We’ll have a closer look of how the bible describes love in Part 2.

Posted May 16, 2021 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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The spirit of the antichrist is at work [Part 2]   Leave a comment

He[the antichrist] required everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name.” Rev. 13:16

It is noteworthy to mention that the spirit of the antichrist has been at work since the coming of Christ. In his ruse, Herod wanted the wise men to bring him the Messiah to kill him. His failure to kill Jesus led to the death of many babies. Jesus’ brothers did not believe in him and were sarcastic regarding His ministry (John7:5). The spiritual leaders and the Jews themselves have continuously opposed Him and plotted many evil actions against Him. Finally, they succeeded to send Him to die on a cross (according to God’s plan). So we can see that the evil spirit opposing Christ which was at work during Christ’s ministry, perpetuated through the killing of the apostles and is still at work today.

If it’s not in direct opposition to Christ, it is a parallel path that leads to destruction. Roman Catholicism is such an example where the believers worship Jesus, believe in the bible, the Trinity and so many doctrines (which are correct) but are being led astray because they have added doctrines such as purgatory or systems(the pope, veneration of Mary, absolution of sin). These subtle doctrines are enough to lead astray from salvation. Every thought or actions that oppose or deviate from the order that God established, His will, His wisdom and the gospel are synonymous to the spirit of the antichrist (2 Cor. 10:5).

But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person is not from God. Such a person has the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard is coming into the world and indeed is already here.” 1 John 4:3

It’s been more than 2000 years since Christians have been saying that Jesus is coming back. Many have predicted that political leaders were the antichrist or that Jesus already returned and yet we do not see these predictions conformed to eschatological teachings. The return of Jesus is real but many scoff at it as Peter said:

Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.” 2 Peter 3

The Muslims believe that Jesus will come again to fight the false messiah. I believe that this would be a great deception because in my opinion they will mistake the coming of the antichrist with Christ and billions of people will be led astray through the miracles they will see the antichrist do.

In fact, if we look at how the prophet Mohamed, John Smith (Mormon) and many others received their revelations from angels, it becomes obvious to say that these are counterfeit spirits.

You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News  but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ. Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you.  I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed.” Gal. 1:1-9

The spirit of the antichrist is a counterfeit spirit which mimics how God operates to deceive. This is where discernment of spirits is important to differentiate the perfect from the almost perfect. This is quite subtle but this is how the father of lies concocted his plan in Eden. God’s truth is absolute but the devil would be satisfied with 99% truth to be able to deceive the elect(Christians), if possible. The person of the antichrist will be probably a spiritual emblem/personality having strong political influence.

Let us slowly read what Jesus had to say regarding His coming:

Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?” Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately.  Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world.  But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come. “Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other.  And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come…“Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. See, I have warned you about this ahead of time. So if someone tells you, ‘Look, the Messiah is out in the desert,’ don’t bother to go and look. Or, ‘Look, he is hiding here,’ don’t believe it!…I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things take place” Mat. 24

The time at which these things will happen will like be short since Jesus said that the generation which will go through all these calamities and events shall not pass until they see Him coming (which would be a few years according to the book of revelation).

I do not know where we are on this timeline but most elements are in place for it to be triggered at any time.

The spirit of the antichrist is at work and we’ll surely see its manifestation when some prophets will claim they are the Messiah. We have heard cold wars, wars and a third world war can happen anytime should Russia, North Korea, Iran, China or the US mess up. Those who lived during the first and second world war could think that Jesus was about to come but yet there were some missing signs. There are some signs which have to occur before the coming of Christ.

The current pandemic and the climate change has already increased famine around the world. Christians are already persecuted. The spirit of the antichrist is already at work and causing Christians to be persecuted around the world. When when the person of the antichrist will come, this will be one of his focus. Up till then, let us remain steadfast in our faith and love.

 Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts” 1 John 5:21

Posted April 25, 2021 by Cedric in Uncategorized

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The spirit of the antichrist is at work [Part 1]   Leave a comment

He[the antichrist] required everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name.” Rev. 13:16

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing much turmoil in the world. Our day to day routine has changed. Governments have taken strict measures to control the spread of this novel coronavirus. In my country, wherever I go (banks, supermarket, shops, schools) there is temperature control. The security guards either check the temperature on the forehead or on the hand. The employees working in the essential services (hospitals, airport, police) are required to have a vaccination certificate or a work access permit. The police control whether we’re allowed to be on the road and severe contraventions are issued in case of non-respect. One cannot buy food unless he/she accepts to go through a temperature control or have the necessary authorization. No one is allowed to sell unless given proper permit by the police and the ministry of health(a sanitary measure).

It is in my opinion that this pandemic is one of many events preparing the coming of the antichrist. It could be like a rehearsal of what is to come.

Let’s imagine for instance that this pandemic gets totally out of control and that governments wish to improve its efficiency through technology. For example, governments turn to a new mechanism or technology(e.g. a chip or invisible barcode) to properly control the identity of a person, his/her temperature and whether he/she is vaccinated or not. Let’s say that this chip can only be placed on the forehead or on the hand for better temperature reading. What would happen if we refuse that chip? This would disallow us to get out of our homes, buy, sell and become outlaws.

In the bible, accepting God’s Word as an authority is sign of belonging to God. For example:

You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. Deut. 11:18

Similarly, those who scoff at God, reject His Word, refuse to submit to His authority indicate that they belong to Satan. Satan will also impress his mark on those who belong to him – the mark of the beast.

Human rights and liberty will no longer be valid in a world ruled by Satan. The laws will be changed in such a way that unless we accept to submit to laws, our lives will be made difficult.

Though there is no ‘mark of the beast’ active, due to sanitary measures it is now unlawful to sell anything unless one has the appropriate permit in my country. Before the pandemic there were less control and people were somehow free to sell whatever they wished. In 2019, I could not enter a supermarket to buy food unless I presented my ID card and went through temperature control. I was not allowed to step in a governmental building or private companies unless I accepted a temperature reading and presented by ID card.

Now that the world has been conditioned to accept this ‘new normal’, less voices will rebel when the antichrist will come. Less people will protest and will conform.

Imagine that this pandemic continues for 5 years and the world economy becomes completely KO. Right now, the flight connections between countries have significantly reduced. Let’s imagine that the world supply chain gets broken due to insufficient air cargo and ship deliveries causing a short supply of food and medicines. This will raise cost due to scarcity. Would not that accentuate the number of deaths not related to COVID-19(e.g. famine)? The world has its eyes on vaccines as the only savior of mankind or to revive its economy. What if these vaccines fail? Would not that be called ‘Apocalyptic’?

Let’s suppose that a man(the antichrist) appears and give a solution to the world’s problem(economic, political, medical). Let’s say he restores the world’s economy and gets completely rid of the COVID-19. People would then surely feel secure and relieved of getting out of this mess.

Paul said:

When people are saying, “Everything is peaceful and secure,” then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape” 1 Thes. 5:3

We already entered the last days when Jesus came and rose from the dead.

Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son.” Hebrews 1:1

There are surely some events which must happen before the coming of the antichrist. However, this pandemic is a good eye opener to bible prophecies that we should take heed of. These are signs that the end is near. Meanwhile, let’s remain steadfast in our faith, love one another and reflect the beauty of Jesus.

Posted April 4, 2021 by Cedric in Uncategorized

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The Great Commander   Leave a comment

He spoke and it came to be

For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm” Ps. 33:9

This phrase perfectly illustrates the one the bible calls the Word. The word spoken from our mouth has for instance the power to encourage, hurt and instruct. Similarly, God’s Word is the means God uses to create, execute and command. Through the Word, what we see and cannot see(the spiritual world) came to be. The Word is the Creator. This Creator is a person – God. That person became a human (John 1:14) and was called Jesus.

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone….So the Word became human and made his home among us” John 1:1-14

A Roman officer who understood well the power of words (commanding, giving orders) said to Jesus “Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed” Mat. 8:8

In Hebrews 1 we can read that not only the earth but the whole universe was made by the Word. God spoke and said “Let there be light” and it came to be. God spoke and the sea and land appeared. God said “Let the land sprout with vegetation” and it happened. God spoke and stars, the moon and the universe were formed. God spoke and the sea and land animals existed. God spoke and created the human being (Adam) after his own resemblance and it came to be.

We read in the book of Lamentations 3:37-19:

Who can command things to happen without the Lord’s permission? Does not the Most High send both calamity and good? Then why should we, mere humans, complain when we are punished for our sins?

This is an interesting verse when we consider the state of this present shipwrecked world. This lead us to understand why we are in such a mess.

When God initially commanded the earth to produce its fruits and the sea to respect its limit (the shore), there was a perfect order in the world. Nothing happened without God’s permission when He was in entire control. This is not to say that God lost control when Adam sinned, it rather means that God ceased to have a close fellowship with man due to His holiness. The absence of God’s eventually led darkness to took over. When God stopped to dwell among man, the one who works outside the presence(in darkness) of God, the devil, took control of the world at all levels. The devil had dominion and was hence called the prince of this world.

Man differed from animals since he was gifted with a spirit – a fundamental characteristic that animals and plant do not have. Man was created in God’s image i.e. man is a trinity as God with a soul, a body and a spirit and could fellowship with God – another privilege animals and plants did not have. Man was not created as a robot but was gifted with the freewill to decide whether he would choose to respect God’s established orders. The freewill of man and will of God therefore perfectly co-existed. Man ruled the whole world and had dominance on everything. What would man ask that God would not grant him? God also gave man something he did not know he needed – a woman to help him. It was literally paradise on earth for Adam. God was pleased with all He created and was even more satisfied when He created a human being – Adam. Adam was a gardener before Eve came into existence and was warned by God:

“You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden— except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” Gen. 2:16

Angels worship God and it was similarly necessary for man to demonstrate respect to God through thanksgiving, respect and obedience. Obedience is better than sacrifice, it is in fact a form of worship when we choose to obey God instead of doing what we want. Adam did well and knew only doing what was right. It was not because there was a famine in paradise that Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. Eve ate it because she was not satisfied with what she already had and wanted to cross the line and experience something which was forbidden. It is not wrong to desire increase our knowledge but I have witnessed that at times it is better to remain within the boundaries and refuse to know more. It is true that unless we test something we cannot know whether something is really bad or good. However, if there is something that we should not afford to test, it is God’s command. Listening another word than God’s Word will surely lead to evil. If we believe that disobeying God’s command is without consequence, then we’re living in illusion. The upside down world we’re living in is a perfect witness of disorder and chaos.

God wanted humans to know only good and never touch or taste evil. This is a sad truth of human nature, they always strive to have what they do not have (Maslow’s theory). A millions of fruit they had but only one God forbidden them. If God has placed them in a situation where they could eat only 1 fruit and never eat a million then we could surely understand the dilemma.

Why did God place the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the middle of the garden such that it could easily be noticed and reachable by man?

Why did not God restrict access to this tree and disallowed the evil one to tempt them?

I believe that it all pertains to freewill. When man intentionally refuses to satisfy what he craves for and accept to trust and have faith in what God said instead of having his own way, is not it submission to God? If God controls our will to obey him, worship him and have faith in him, how then could there be ever a genuine love and relationship?

God allowed the devil to move around knowing that he could tempt man. This was not a mistake of God but rather a demonstration of His wisdom. Why should I shut myself in my house to minimize the chance of committing adultery when I could move freely around by simply not transgressing God’s commands? God has created man free and always wanted them to freely choose to do what they want:

This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you, and it is not beyond your reach…“Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster…Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life.” Det. 30:13-19

Remember that Adam and Eve were sinless when they were being tempted. They did not have a sinful corrupt nature which was leading them to crave to do what was wrong. Wanting to know evil, questioning or testing what God declared evil is a gross sin. For instance, man has become tolerant on homosexuality in the name of being open-minded. Sin is not subjective or relatively wrong. God is absolute and there is no grey areas in His decrees.

When man sinned, God cursed the earth and God ceased to dwell in the sinful presence of man. The absence of God caused disorder. God is light and the absence of light leads to darkness. Sinfulness is synonymous to darkness for sin can subsists only outside the presence of God.

This is the message [of God’s promised revelation] which we have heard from Him and now announce to you, that God is Light [He is holy, His message is truthful, He is perfect in righteousness], and in Him there is no darkness at all [no sin, no wickedness, no imperfection].  If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness [of sin], we lie and do not practice the truth;  but if we [really] walk in the Light [that is, live each and every day in conformity with the precepts of God], as He Himself is in the Light, we have [true, unbroken] fellowship with one another [He with us, and we with Him]” 1 John 1:5

Jesus is the light of the world that came to take men out of darkness. The absence of Jesus’ is darkness. With no captain on the ship, the fallen world has actively been under the influence of obscure forces dragging it at its mercy in a sort of the Bermuda triangle(also known as Devil’s triangle by the way) – hell. God will not save the earth and he has already decreed that He will destroy it on judgement day.

However, God has sent the Light, Jesus, to save humans from sinful behaviors. Following Him, is the only way out of darkness. God sent calamities (e.g. the deluge at Noah’s time) and still sends calamity as an expression of his anger against sin. In His compassion, he has also equally send blessings such as rain, sun and food.

Scientists are either fixing their own mess (e.g. global warming) or battling to survive in a crashing world. The world is like a wrecked ship taking water at every side. You never know when a tsunami, pandemy, war or financial crisis may struck anew against that ship. Engineers, economists, scientists, politicians and armies actively join forces to patch and repair cracks of that ship. This problem of this world is spiritual and this is why using non-spiritual means will only be imperfect solutions to man’s problem (e.g. psychology, meditation, drugs). This spiritual shipwreck happened when Adam sinned against God. It has ever since became a never ending activity for man to try to keep that ship afloat. This world is corrupted and obviously without God’s presence. It is just a matter of time for this ship to sink definitely. The problems this world is facing is more serious than it was thousands years ago(with cracks everywhere). But due to advance in science and technology, man has become more sophisticated and is able to fix problems faster. There will reach a point(and we are not far) where the great minds will be taken by surprise and find themselves powerless against the calamities it will face.

In Luke 8, we read that Jesus commanded a storm to stop and there was a perfect peace which followed. He commanded an unclean spirit to come out of the man and it came to be.

I do not know about you, but I would prefer to listen to the One who once created the earth, commanded it and still have power to command it.

Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the sea, and they obey Him?

Not only does Jesus have power over the physical world but he also have power over the spiritual world:

Now He was [already] commanding the unclean spirit to come out of the man

The world is messy, there’re murders, rapes, theft, lies and adultery everywhere. Does these things happen without God knowing? Has God lost control? Did God permit these things to happen? Why do bad things happen to good people? Well, again, the absence of God is the reason of the world disorder. These things will happen and no one is spared from being struck from accidents and calamities because the ruler of this world, the devil is actively at work.

God has not promised that this world would be better if we turn to Him(through Jesus), He rather promised that we would be living eternally with Him in a new heaven and a new earth. This world has no future and it is on the brink of destruction. Therefore as Jesus said:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Mat. 6:19

Shall we obey God’s command?

Posted March 29, 2021 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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When all has been said and done   Leave a comment

Dry bones - Ezechiel 37

So the two sisters(Mary and Martha) sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.” But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.”  So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus,  he stayed where he was for the next two days.  Finally, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.”

The raising of Lazarus is arguably one of the greatest miracles Jesus did. Jesus’ intervention occurred after 4 days, leaving no room for doubt that indeed Lazarus was cold as dead and not in a sort of comatose state.

If Jesus came when Lazarus was still alive and suffering, the insistence of the sisters and his friend Lazarus would have probably caused Him so much grief and sadness that He would have probably intervened to heal Lazarus. But this was not the Father’s plan, the death of Lazarus had to serve God’s purpose and reinforce the ministry of Jesus and mission.

In the old testament, the prophet Elijah prayed God to raise a young boy from death (1 Kings 17:17-24) and Elisha did the same for the son of Shunammite woman (2 Kings 4:32-37)

The similarities between Elijah, Elisha and Jesus are that they all had a special relationship with the dead person’s family. The mothers or sisters all called for help to Elisha, Elijah and Jesus. They all held them responsible in a way or another of their pain. These situations were quite difficult for Elijah, Elisha and Jesus due to the close relationship they had.

Let her alone, for her soul is desperate and troubled within her; and the Lord has hidden the reason from me and has not told me.” Then she said, “Did I ask for a son from my lord? Did I not say, ‘Do not give me false hope’?”2 King 4:27

The widow of Zarephath said to Elijah, “What [problem] is there between you and me, O man of God? Have you come to me to bring my sin to mind and to put my son to death?” 1 King 17:18

After Elijah raised her son she recognised that he was a man of God.

Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth.” 1 Kings 17:24

It was the same for the Shunammite woman who demonstrated gratitude to Elisha

She came and fell at his feet, bowing herself to the ground [in respect and gratitude] 2 King 4:37

When these people were raised from the dead, this inevitably gave glory to God and reinforced the authority of Jesus, Elijah and Elisha. One difference though is that Jesus was aware that Lazarus would die – which was not the case for Elijah and Elisha to whom God kept it secret to them.

God will not raise from the dead every man who dies unless this miracle would serve His own purpose.

As the saying says “As sure as death” so is the resurrection of the dead. For ages, there has surely been great mourning when love ones have passed and it will surely continue until the return of Christ.

Jesus rose Lazarus after 4 days but when He will return He will do a greater miracle, He will raise humans who have been dead thousands of years ago and bring them before the throne of God to give an account (Rom. 14:12).

In Ezekiel 37, there was an astounding vision which happened. God spoke to Ezekiel and told him to speak to dry bones. Lazarus flesh was still there when Jesus raised him from the dead but in the vision Ezekiel had, we have an image of a God who can raise from the dead even dry bones, make flesh come upon them and make them living creatures.

When it’s all over and no sign of life but just a morbid feeling of dry bones all around, remember who is the Creator. Remember who made everything out of nothing. Failure, sickness and death are not the end. When all has been said and done, remember that God will always have the last word.

When God will raise every dead to face judgment, no one will escape. The sea and the earth will give up every human body it has taken for them to face their Creator.

And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done.  Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire” Rev. 20:13

The power of the resurrection that God deployed when raising Christ from the dead will be again demonstrated soon.

This is a living hope that believers who died have (not had). Death is not the end but the start of an eternal journey with God and Christians should eagerly await for the resurrection to happen and encourage each other with this hope. Paul said:

And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words. ” 1 Thess. 4:13

Posted February 23, 2021 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Wake up!   Leave a comment

I was once snorkeling in the beautiful Marine Park of Blue Bay, Mauritius. I was so absorbed in my discoveries of creatures that I completely forgot to raise my eyes and have a look around. When I heard the sound of a boat’s engine running I suddenly woke up from this dreamy adventure and tried to figure out where I was. I realized that I drifted for quite a distance from the boat which brought me to the marine park and that I was the only one still in the water. Despite swimming hard, I felt that my efforts would not carry me to that boat – I was in a water current!

Fortunately some guys in the boat saw me and waited but none of them knew I was struggling in a water current. I hesitated to ask for help thinking I could manage.

I was no longer thinking about those beautiful creatures I have just seen a while ago but only thinking how to remain afloat. I was exhausted and could no longer swim back and fortunately a friend came in the water to help me back to safety, when I called for help.

What happened in the water that day may also be your story in another circumstance. For example, a while ago when I started a new job, I was so absorbed to work, perform and learn that I forgot the essential part – be at the feet of Jesus. This can be a subtle experience but from my observations, this is very common when we consider the hectic lives of churchgoers.

We all have bulky agendas, projects, to-do list and find it easier to sacrifice the time we could have spent with God to increase our wealth or well-being. It is legitimate to find time for sports, studies and family. We may even find ourselves spending much time in church activities without actually spending time with Jesus, which is even more subtle.

There’s no point to argue or justify the importance of working, taking care of our health, studying and looking after the family. These are God-given responsibilities and we would do wrong if we neglected these. The truth is that we can do all these by still having Jesus as the center of our lives.

I was moving pleasurably in the water but heading in the wrong direction. My eyes were focused on me and the opportunities of seeing bigger fishes. It’s often when an event disrupts our comfort zone and security where we start to wake up. Waking up too late may often be a fatal experience so it is good to sit down and rest your soul. It is essential to be still (Ps. 46:10) and reconsider that God is where He has always been – seated on His holy throne and looking down on man.

When you spend time with God, it’s a moment where you ask yourselves these questions:

Where am I heading?

Where are my eyes focused ?

Where is my heart?

Am I obeying by doing God’s will?

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. 6:21

In these moments, where I have reflected on these questions and my answers, I repented many times of losing my focus and spending too much time on things I thought were priorities. It is in these moments where God speaks to our heart like He did to Martha:

But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:42

Martha was busy preparing dinner for everyone, including Mary and Jesus probably. Was not it necessary to feed the Lord and the guests? Who is going to prepare the dinner otherwise? The lesson here is that there will always be something important which will aim to take the next free slot in your agenda.

However, it is important to stop and refuse to take more tasks despite the urgency of the obligations. This is a dilemma which may cause a lot of incomprehension but it is a necessary good for you to re-center your life. What good is it to do things right but not doing the right thing? What good is it to drive fast but driving fast in the wrong destination?

Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught.  But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” Luke 10:39

The Lord rested on the 7th day, not because He was tired but because it was necessarily good to stop, look at the completed works and appreciate it. This is a great lesson for us, as humans we should discipline ourselves to work and fulfill our responsibilities but also not forget to take time to stop and reflect! If we work continuously on the 7th day, then it follows that if an 8th day existed we would probably continue and never end. What is it worth if you cannot enjoy the work of your hands? When we take time to rest and reflect, it is not a waste of time because there’re no activities. It is on the contrary the most important use of our time.

When the works were completed on the 6th day, God said: “Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!

Think about the works you have accomplished during the week. Are you proud of it? Whatever the answer be to this question, it is essential to have that time of rest where the creature spends time with His Creator to be at the center of His will. We need to ask God for wisdom to know how to live this brief life.

Posted October 30, 2020 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Vengeance and retribution are mine   Leave a comment

Is it not laid up in store with Me, Sealed up in My treasuries? Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, In due time their foot will slip;For the day of their disaster is at hand,And their doom hurries to meet them” Deut. 32:35

Is there anything worst than facing an angry God? It’s a God who does not act out of impulse, but patiently stores up His wrath to pour it out with might and fury against all ungodliness and unrighteousness- until the very essence of divine patience itself is brought to exhaustion.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” Rom. 1:18

But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will judge everyone according to what they have done.” Rom. 2:5

The martyrs in the book of Revelation cried out for justice to the Lord:

They cried in a loud voice, saying, “O Lord, holy and true, how long now before You will sit in judgment and avenge our blood on those [unregenerate ones] who dwell on the earth?

They were comforted and told to wait a little longer until the cup of God’s fury reached the rim.

Then they were each given a white robe; and they were told to rest and wait quietly for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers and sisters who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed” Rev. 6:10

It is as though God is waiting for the blood of the last martyr to be shed so that His judgement be complete and thus rendering justice to all who would be oppressed, missing no one. No one will escape judgement, so why would God hurry to give incomplete justice? God will have eternity to handle billions of cases as it should, without getting weary or feeling under pressure. It will be a solemn moment for all creatures in heaven and earth when every man, one after the other, will have to face His Creator before the judgement seat.

In our perspective, it often appears that God is late to act and give justice. If you have faith, it’s not over yet. There will be a day where all cases of injustice and unrighteousness will be properly dealt with, with all due sentences. Even if the highest courts on earth fail to give proper justice, God still listens attentively and heartbrokenly those who have remitted their fates unto Him. His retribution is already in His hand and He treats not the culprit as innocent. No, the guilty of unrighteousness will not escape unpunished. At the right time, in His time, He will promptly act. He will not delay. 

Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?” Luke 18:8

Even if we watch helplessly and desperately the injustice, our sighs are known. God hears night and day the cries of those facing injustice. The right sentence and payment for that injustice are recorded and securely sealed up in his treasuries awaiting pronouncement. No one will ever be able to steal or trick evidences to influence a verdict. There is no possibility of false witnesses or lies in His sight.  

Our words are all heard and we’ll need to give an account of them all, let us therefore be slow to speak for we’ll be judged according to what we say.

As Jesus said: “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak” Mat. 12:36

The righteous God cannot leave unpunished the sins of men thus all men will have to face His wrath and retribution. Without Jesus as advocate no man will ever be able to leave God’s court of judgement innocent.  The wrath which has been stored up and would have fallen on men has been poured out on Jesus as it is written :

Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin” Is. 53:10

In as much as we rejoice contemplating the loving character of God we should also contemplate His righteousness. If God is only loving and demonstrates no justice, this would lead to a disorderly, immoral and corrupt world. We see injustice and evil everyday, where is God? God is where He has always been, on his throne and waiting for the right time to destroy the world and all its corruption.

Meanwhile, God has already taken the first step by demonstrating His love to humanity through Jesus. All men are being given the chance to repent before He takes the second step – judgement. Meanwhile, unrighteousness and injustice will continue and we should not be surprised to face injustice.

However, woe to those who have rejected God’s salvation – Jesus. As it is written:

The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” John 3:36

Posted August 13, 2020 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne   Leave a comment

Foundation

Foundation

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne. Unfailing love and truth walk before you as attendants.” Ps. 89:14

A foundation is necessary whether we’re building a small house or a skyscraper. The type of materials used (cement, stones, metal bars) are what give the foundation its strength and guarantee to support tons of construction structure.

Similarly, in organizations the core values, policies, ethical or mission statements of companies are their foundations. For instance, giving value to employees and providing a quality of service to customers ethically are some of the principles. These organizations based themselves on a few aspects to differentiate their services or products. They have some core values or mottos which is the underlying foundation of their identity and strategic decisions.

The ethics, integrity, honesty required to have at work can be masquerades to project a good image. At best, these characteristics can be considered to be a sort of objective or line of conduct but are not necessarily the nature of the leader, the judge or worker. If for instance a company is tagged as being dishonest, it’s the foundation which is being targeted and this will eventually lead to the company to collapse.

If there are 2 things that companies, NGO’s or department of justice cannot claim to be as their identity and their core values, it’s righteousness and justice. Man is a fallible creature, laws have flaws and thus any decision taken by man, no matter how accurate it is, will therefore still have a degree of imperfection.

The above introduction was given in order to emphasize that only God’s Kingdom or government has as foundation righteousness and justice. Elsewhere, the Psalmist says:

The Lord is king!Let the earth rejoice! Let the farthest coastlands be glad. Dark clouds surround him. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.” Ps. 97:1,2

God is not the leader of a corrupt government as often seen in politics.

This God “never changes or casts a shifting shadow” James 1:17

The sum(foundation) of thy word is truth; and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever” Ps. 119:160

Though it may often seem that God is late to act or give justice, He will rightly deal with it on judgment day and sometimes promptly acts.

Jesus said, Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?” Luke 18:6

This God “is light, and in him is no darkness at all” 1 John 1:7

This God is the “Lord of hosts that will be exalted in judgment, the holy God will show Himself holy in righteousness” Is. 5:16

David said : “You will be proved right in what you say,and your judgment against me is just Ps. 51:4

No one can challenge and find fault in God’s judgment and decisions. Job is depicted in the bible as a man of integrity, blameless and righteous. When he argued with God concerning his situation, he eventually had to shut his mouth when facing God’s righteousness.

Then the Lord said to Job, Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?Then Job replied to the Lord,“I am nothing—how could I ever find the answers? I will cover my mouth with my hand.I have said too much already.I have nothing more to say.” Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind: “Brace yourself like a man,because I have some questions for you,and you must answer them.“Will you discredit my justice and condemn me just to prove you are right?” Job 1

Man often blames God for the evils happening in this world and wonder how a righteous God allows evil to occur. Why are the wicked found not guilty and the innocent suffer? If God’s Kingdom was in this world, there would be no evil and injustice. This world we’re living will soon be destroyed and all the unrighteousness will be over when God will create a new earth and establish forever His Kingdom.

One thing that our heart should rejoice is that God is righteous and just. His decrees and verdicts have no flaws for nothing is hidden before Him. If God declares a man guilty and another innocent no one will ever be able to make an appeal to that decision. There is no corruption and trickery in His Kingdom. There is no hypocrisy but an atmosphere of genuine love and truth as the scripture says :”Unfailing love and truth walk before you as attendants”.

Though we’re living in a corrupt world let us live as children of light for there’s no darkness in Him. Let us remove any form of duplicity, hypocrisy, trickery, manipulations, unrighteousness and lies in our life for God is righteous. Our life should not have as foundation pillars of lies, manipulations and hypocrisy. These are the kind of evil foundations which God will break along when destroying the physical world.

Let your love be without hypocrisy or dissimulation as Paul said in Romans 12:9.

Pretending to love someone is similar to hating that person, if not worst.

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.”

As the scripture says, let us instead set our foundation and establish our life according to God’s nature and character by being”rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith” Col. 2:7

On which foundation have you laid your life?

A sheep without a shepherd   Leave a comment

Sheep without a Shepherd

I once remarked to my wife of this unshaved old man I usually see strolling on the streets or travelling in the bus all day long. He did not have the characteristics of a man moving with a purpose or objectives (like going to work) but he looks more as someone moving around aimlessly and confused.

He was like that detached leaf battered where the winds blew or like a floating debris carried at the mercy of the waves after a shipwreck. My wife reminded me of the story the man erring in the wilderness as the evil spirit led (Luke 8:29). If Jesus is not holding the reins, we may end up either erring/running like a mad horse in all directions or invite the devil to take the reins (Luke 11:24-26).

There has been and there’re still many such wandering sheep moving wherever an opportunity of greener grass is seen. They are never satisfied with what they have and keep on moving. They have no stability. They keep on changing jobs, lovers or locations because they are masters of their own destiny and are without reins. They have therefore no one to direct their paths or cause them to stop or move.

This is how Jesus saw that crowd of needy and lost people coming to Him:

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Mat. 9:36

Why are people confused, stressed and wonder the purpose of this life? Why are people surviving instead of living this life to its fullness? Why so many agitated, anxious, worried, unsatisfied and troubled souls?

Who can bring peace and satisfy the soul of man if not God? Unless a man surrenders his will to obey the Shepherd, there cannot be long lasting peace. It is this endless search for perfection, more money and higher position that causes men to go astray. Wisdom says that the grass is green and safe to eat only where the Shepherds brings its sheep, not necessarily where the majority of sheep vote.

It is dangerous for a sheep to err. A sheep without a shepherd will be unable to defend itself against predators. It may fall in a pit without anyone knowing. This is why it is important to have God as shepherd. God does not abuse emotionally, intellectually, physically or spiritually but really cares and loves people. God sent Jesus to be like a shepherd for the human race but many people refuse to trust the divine Shepherd for providing, guiding and protecting them. Human beings need God as David said:

The Lord is my shepherd;I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths…I will not be afraid,for you are close beside me.Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me” Ps. 23

 

Posted June 1, 2020 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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A good tree cannot bear bad fruits   Leave a comment

The fruit and its tree

My wife and I have been observing the growth of a tree in our garden for several months and we are still unable to determine precisely to which tree it corresponds. However, we know that it is a citrus plant by scenting it leaves. We came to the conclusion that we need to wait for this tree to bear fruits to identify it. It has not ever crossed our mind that this tree could bear papayas or litchis because the tree’s structure and characteristics suggest that it is impossible for such a tree to bear fruits outside the citrus family. While it is not always obvious to determine a tree by only looking at it’s structure, it becomes evident when we look at its fruits. We cannot get bananas on a citrus tree nor can we get grapes on thornbushes.

This is how Jesus contrasted peoples’ actions and fruits. What you say and do clearly determines to which tree you belong.

Jesus said:

Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.” Mat. 7:18-20

A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thornbushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” Luke 6:44-45

Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.  Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned” John 15:5

Jesus’ made the above illustrations so the listeners and readers could understand clearly by looking at nature.

Several points we could observed:

  1. We are considered as being a branch because we are the intermediate structural part between the fruit and the tree.
  2. A branch cannot survive without being connected to the tree (while a tree can survive without a branch)
  3. The fruit is a result of the plant’s DNA and the sap that flows from the roots to the leaves is what nourishes the tree and its fruit.
  4. Since the fruit produced is a result of the genetic/hereditary materials it receives, the branch cannot on its own produce a fruit which is different from its nature from where it originated.
  5. Jesus is the true Vine and every branch attached to Him should not only produce grapes but do so so abundantly. This Vine is not sterile but has a powerful life giving sap and it would be abnormal if its branches do not overflow with fruits.
  6. Not only should the Vine produce grapes but these grapes should be of good quality because the Vine is healthy and the grapes it produces cannot be bad. A good tree cannot bear bad fruits.
  7. Before and after Jesus talked about the tree and its fruits (Mat 7), Jesus talked about the narrowness of the gate, the true disciples and building on solid foundation. This again suggests that remaining in Jesus for salvation is the only way to heaven. All other foundation will collapse on judgement day. Not all those who call Him ‘Lord’ will enter heaven but only those who do the will of His father and go through the narrow gate and difficult path. Christ should be allowed to work in us and prune us . This pruning process is what renders the path difficult as the self is being crucified and no one will be able to go through the narrow gate if he carries the big yoke of sin(the encumbrance).

These words of Jesus are quite shocking because this means that if one’s actions, thoughts or words are bad then this necessarily means that this person is not attached to the true Vine for the true Vine’s nature would never bear such fruits.

When Paul spoke of how the Gentiles have been included to the salvific plan initially given to the Jews, he made use of the concept of “ingrafted branches”.  Grafting is similar to the medical concept of transplant where a body part is transplanted to a foreign body. This is what Paul said:

if the root is holy, so are the branches. If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble.” Rom. 11:16-20

Elsewhere, Paul speaks of putting off the old self

to put off your old self,which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Eph. 4:22

This is the miracle of salvation. Christ took a human body like ours and has taken us, the branches, from the false vines or bad trees and ingrafted us in Him so we may bear fruits of a new nature and quality. These fruits are different from the original ones we used to bear when we were attached to a bad tree or false vine (Rom 6:21).

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed?” Rom. 6:21

However, since God has given us the freewill, He urges the ingrafted branches to remain in Him to live by the sap’s vitality. There is a clear distinction between those who profess to know Christ, never knew Christ and those who really knew Him. The apostate is one who really knew Christ ,received the Holy Spirit (Hebrew 6:4-8, Hebrews 10:26-30) and then turn away from Him. He commits such an unforgivable sin that it is impossible to bring him back to repentance. As Peter said, it would have been better if these people never knew Christ than know Him and then turn away from Him (2 Peter 2:21-22).

Those who no longer want to remain in Christ still have the freewill to detach themselves from the Vine (apostasy). Only the Gardener has the power to cut off branches that bears no fruits. As long as one remains in Christ His salvation is eternally secured and no one will ever be able to cut off a branch from the Vine or snatch us out of His hand (John 10:28). However, if one wants to leave God’s mighty hand, God will not force anyone to remain. Remaining in Christ and totally depending on His power is an integral part of salvation and God is glorified (not us) when we bear much fruits.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” John 15:1-8

Posted May 17, 2020 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Only One is Good   Leave a comment

Dieu

What has God done that He is labelled as being a good God?

People are dying of hunger and incurable diseases daily and man looks to heaven and say within its heart “How can a good God exist?“.

Many humans are being abused , tortured and going through inhuman conditions daily and why does not the one called omnipotent God who sees and knows everything does not put an end to all these miseries?

Man reasons in his heart and points a finger to the sky and say : “If there is a divine being up there, you cannot be good

The world is unfair, cruel and selfish and God does not intervene to bring justice to the oppressed? Where is God when it hurts? Why is God silent? Does God exist?

Man accuses God of failing in His role to protect and even hold Him responsible of all the tragedies it is facing. It would seem fair if those accusations against God could be placed in a court and find out whether God is guilty of all those charges brought against Him.

Fair enough! God came on earth in the person of Jesus and was judged by the Romans, which was the largest empire of the ancient world. When God came, He did heal the sick and help the oppressed. More than that, He came to bring a real cure to the world’s problem – sin. Sin in man is what caused him to be selfish. If there’re many poor people in a part of the world and wastage of food in another, it is because man is selfish. If millions of babies are killed it is because man and woman have become promiscuous and refuse to assume the responsibility of their acts. The ozone layer is damaged because of man’s greed for money and industrialization. The global warming effect is a direct result of man’s acts. If nature has become so disturbed such that the north and south poles have lost millions of cubic metres of ice in the last decades, the sea level has risen and dangerous cyclones have struck the world then I guess that man should be reprehensible in this matter. Millions of species have been destroyed and even disappeared because of man’s greed. Man’s greed and defiance led him to start eating such food that is poisonous or dangerous for its immune system. It’s not because of scarcity of food that man started to eat bats, reptiles or horrendous animals but because man has an unquenchable envy to defy God. Man has invented new ways of evil by making available live scenes of pornography on television or online. How do we expect man to have pure thoughts when he has been exposed to such obscenity? Our world has become depraved and corrupted because man has become rebellious to the counsels of their parents. If a man rejects counsels from the parents he sees how can he ever listen to a God he does not see?

Just look at the effect of the Covid-19. A few days ago, scientists observed that the largest arctic ozone layer ever discovered has been closed. Was it God who closed that hole or was it a direct result of the global lockdown which put a halt to pollution? Several renowned scientists agreed that the Covid-19 virus is an animal to man transmission. If man did not eat such wild animals as bats, reptiles or pangolins, the world would not have been in such chaotic situation. In the book of Leviticus, God has explicitly indicated that such animals should not be eaten but man preferred to disobey God’s command.

As long as man will insist to keep God away, the world would not become any better.  Scientists have contributed largely in the destruction of the world (nuclear bomb), nature(e.g. ozone layer) and have never been able to repair what they destroyed. Cigarettes, additives, colorants and preservatives added in food has contributed to the growth in cancer throughout the world. Does not man has responsibility in the spread of cancer?

God has already provided a cure to the ailments of society and diseases through the person of Jesus. Money is the root of all evils and the greed of money is a sin. God has been so good that He sent Jesus to the world to remove this evil among man but will man accept to repent of its sin? God has already given the cure and will NOT do more than that for man.

The world is already on the brink of being destroyed and God’s vision is not to save the planet but to save the souls of every man living on this world. God is not accountable to man and yet He has been so good to come into the messy world to save souls from eternal destruction. Is not God good enough?

Jesus said: “No one is good–except God alone.” Luke 18:19

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” John 3:16-18

Posted May 3, 2020 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Where am I heading to?   Leave a comment

Time

Sometimes, we can be so absorbed in our work and daily activities that we simply do not take the time to question whether we’re properly using our hours, days, months and years. Simply stopping and asking ourselves this question “Am I doing the right thing? Where am I heading?” may spare us much trouble. We can be frustrated if we have lost an hour or two in a traffic jam or in a queue.  We can even be more annoyed for having lost a day figuring out a solution to a problem when there was a simple trick. If you have worked on a project for months and invested much energy, time and money and at the end all your sacrifices became useless due to an unexpected event then there’s much probability that you’ll end up irritated because of that situation.

If you have been working for a company for decades or have been in a relationship for years and suddenly this comes to an end without you having the possibility to remediate then you’ll be deeply affected and reckon sadly about all the wasted years. You know pretty well now when you have headed in the wrong directions and what you should have done. Sadly wisdom often comes only after we have experience life. Let us not let this perpetuate in our life, let us stop now and seek for wisdom before making another pace.

If only we knew the future outcomes in all the above circumstances then maybe we would have taken another road, not embark in a project or invest our time, emotions and energy in a particular job/relationship. But the thing is that no one knows.

Now imagine that it’s not just hours, days, months or years you’re losing but your lifetime! That would be the most tragic event and the bible describes those people as being deeply tormented by that situation such that they will eternally be “weeping and gnashing their teeth” Mat. 13:42. Wisdom calls out today to get right with God before it is too late. This is what the bible says about Jesus:

Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” Heb. 3:15

If there’s one thing we can be sure about, it’s death. We’ll all die one day. You may not know whether, how  or when a relationship, job or a project may fail but one thing you can be sure about is that one day you’ll die. If you have failed in many things in your life, it’s nothing in comparison in failing to live eternally with God. You’ve probably wasted hours, days, months and years but do not waste your life.

Where are you heading?

Posted April 26, 2020 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Do not store up treasures on earth   Leave a comment

Mat. 6:1

Mat. 6:1

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. 6:1

The Great Depression was the worst economic tragedy in the history of the industrialized world after the stock market crashed in October 1929. Over the next 10 years, consumers spendings and investments dropped and there was major decline in production in industries as well as a serious rise in unemployment. Wall Street went into panic and millions of investors were inflicted by this tragedy leaving a chaotic economic situation.

The Covid-19 pandemic is even more serious as it is not just affecting an isolated economy but the global economy. The root cause this time is not a result of a dysfunctioning economy but a health urgency causing a global lockdown. This global financial crisis is unprecedented and even more bruising as it gave no chance to the most brilliant economists to predict its coming. Who was enough prepared to dodge that blow?

I wish to point out to this wisdom of Jesus calling His followers not to store up treasures on earth.

Jesus is not saying that we should consider money and possession as vile but rather warning against avarice. He wanted to spare us the trouble of being heart-broken because we have placed our heart in possessions. Being greedy for money is an unquenchable desire which puts the owner always unsatisfied even though he has stored up enough. Making it our strength and security is even more foolish and I am quite certain millions of investors can confirm this claim today. As it has been during the Great Depression, this has been a recurring cycle for ages. Large areas under cultivation have been destroyed by insects or by natural calamities such as droughts or inundations. What has been profitable for decades can become a nightmare in just a few days. There’s no such thing as “secured investments” and time will prove that as long we’re on earth, the best investment we can make is investing ourselves in people and God’s Kingdom.

Ponzi schemes have deceived many and even highly secured banks have been robbed. What is highly valuable today can easily lose its value in just a moment. It’s just a matter of time for our possessions to be threatened by the environment surrounding it. So wisdom calls out to use money wisely by having heaven in perspective. Think not about how far you’ll get with your money on earth but rather think about how much you can use for God’s glory. Remember that God does not need our gold or possessions, He is himself the one who created gold and He needs none of them.  As we cannot purchase any thing from a man by his own property, so we cannot trade off with God by His own possession. However, being good stewards of what has been entrusted is worthy of rewards (Mat. 25:14).

What is important is that we use money as a servant for godly reasons and never let it become our master. Heaven is the only place where the rewards of your labor on earth can be kept secured and never degrade with time.

 

Posted April 24, 2020 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Temptation [Part 1]   Leave a comment

W

Jesus in the wilderness

In the fourth chapter of Matthew we read that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil.

The Holy Spirit’s will was that the man Jesus be placed in a condition where the pressure of temptation would be at its peak. The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews said:

This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.”

It is noteworthy to say that we can be tempted to do evil in 2 ways:

  1. The temptation comes from a desire within our flesh (James 1:4)

The first source of temptation is the most common. It comes from our own desires(impulse) and we cannot blame the devil for that. The devil is not omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent and is therefore unable to tempt people around the world at the same time. Though he has agents and evil spirits working for him, he is unable to read our minds or force people to do evil (unless possessed by an evil spirit). It is therefore important to watch that we’re not placing ourselves in an environment where we’ll feed the carnal desires. If you starve a race horse champion for a week, it is very likely that the same horse will not be able to compete in any race. So is our flesh and mind, unless it is fueled it remains powerless to do evil.

Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away (James 1).

This is why Paul said:

So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. ” Col. 3:5

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.  The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desiresThose who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there” Gal. 5:16-24

Finding pleasure in eating, dressing or having sexual relations (with your spouse) is not evil. The bible considers it a blessing that someone is able to enjoy the companionship of his/her spouse or the work of his labour by eating. It is only when these pleasures offend God, people and ourselves that these are considered evil. God gave us a stomach and a mouth to eat but gluttony is sinful. If you’re using the body God gave you to perform excessive actions, you’re sinning. When someone loses control on how much alcohol he is drinking or how much food he is eating, then he has become enslaved by his own desires. Envy is a sin and needs to be dealt with promptly.

  2. The temptation comes from the devil

The other source of temptation comes directly from the devil. This is the most difficult testing a man can endure and this is what actually happened to Jesus. Moses and Elijah also fasted for 40 days but there was no record that the devil tempted them. When Jesus’ 40 days was over, the devil came when his body was impatiently asking for food and this discomfort could caused much irritability.

I believe the tempter used its 3 most powerful tool in his attempt to make Jesus succumb to his will. The devil would not have tried if he did not believe in the efficiency of these tools.

This is why Jesus taught his disciples to pray : “let us yield to temptation,but rescue us from the evil one”

For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.

Let us look at one of these tool the devil used.

Many tragedies occurred because of food. People lost their lives because they have been attacked by hungry people. Esau sold his birthright for a meal.

Both Esau and Jesus were very hungry and experienced the wilderness conditions but the difference was that Esau was no longer in the wilderness (he came from hunting) and could get food but Jesus was still in the wilderness, was fasting and could not get food anyway.

Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry.  Esau said to Jacob, “I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew! Look, I’m dying of starvation! said Esau. “What good is my birthright to me now?

Jesus did not trade his birth right as Son of God(Heb. 1:6) for a piece of bread.

Jesus was in the wilderness for spiritual reasons (led by the Spirit) but Esau was in the wilderness because he was a hunter. Jesus could be tempted to say “God will understand if I just change that stone into a bread“. Jesus was therefore both pressured by his flesh and the devil.

Jesus said that there’re different kinds of evil spirit that can be cast out only by prayer and fasting (Mark 9:29) and because of this statement I strongly believe that fasting is directly related to the spiritual world. Depriving the flesh of its basic need which is food (fasting) and accompanying it with prayers present a soul to God that wants to be heard. People still fast nowadays for government to hear them. Many times people fast because they have some personal problems. but rarely one would fast for others. Jesus went to the wilderness to obtain a victory for us through fasting and enduring patiently temptation (Heb. 4:15) that exceeds the very act of casting out demons.

The first victory Jesus demonstrated was: People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Moses and Elijah could not change stones to bread but Jesus could. The temptation was either to wait patiently when God will provide or act impulsively and satisfy immediately the desires of the flesh.

If you have all the food of the world that can satisfy your flesh but the word of God does not dwell in you, your soul is starving and dying. However, if your soul is well fed you will have the faith that God will provide for your needs. God sent angels to feed Jesus and so did he when he sent ravens in the wilderness to feed Elijah. The widow of Zarephath experienced the reality of God’s provisions when she gave the little food she had left (for her and her son) to Elijah and was abundantly blessed because of her actions (1 Kings 17:7-16). Preferring to starve to death do the will of God instead of satisfying the flesh has always been rewarding.

None of us has reach a point where we have been tempted in such a way to sin that it is a matter of life and death.

After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin” Hebrews 12:1

Paul said: “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

This is a strong lesson taught to us by Jesus and the widow of Zarephath for which it was a matter of obeying God or satisfying the desires of the flesh. If you’re tempted to choose between satisfying the desires of the flesh under strong pressure and obeying God. What would you do?

Posted April 12, 2020 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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God is our refuge and strength (Psalm 46)   Leave a comment

Ps 46

                              Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!” Ps. 46:1

 

God is our refuge and strength.

With the spread of the Covid-19, much uncertainties have taken place regarding job and health security. Rich and poor have not been spared by this pandemic. People are worried, stressed and anxious about what may happen. “What are we going to eat, who will take care of our children, what will happen to my job and investments?

Jesus said:

So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Mat 6:32-34

This calamity is again reminding the human race that they are just feeble creatures before microscopic viruses.

For many government officials, they feel secure that they will not lose their jobs. Their job is their fortress.

For the rich, they feel strong because they believe they have sufficient money to get them out of trouble in case of urgencies. If you consider your job and money as solid as a mountain, many will tell you that they experienced the reality that these are deceptions.

Though our possessions and job may be solidly grounded like a mountain, the bible reminds us that even mountains crack and crumble into the sea by earthquakes. Remember that no matter how solid that mountain can be, it rests on foundation which is earth. If that earth beneath that mountain can no longer sustain it, it will crumble as if it was on shifting sand.

This raises another question: Is there anything on this earth which we can be sure cannot fail us?

No matter how faithful a spouse can be, there’s still a possibility for him/her to fail us.

Science itself is limited to find a solution to HIV or the world’s problem.

If people and science have limits, what on earth can you have faith in without any ounce of risk?

The Psalmist sings joyfully that God alone is that fortress, a stronghold never failing. “Flee to the mountains and find refuge in your money and job, I will not be dismayed. I will remain calm and trust in God’s protection.

There will be a time where people and science will let you down and will not be able to help you in times of trouble. The Psalmist tells us that God is immediately or “always ready to help in times of trouble“. The world is in turmoil, everyone is busy with his/her own problems. Where are you going to run amidst such turbulences?

The Psalmist had such a conviction and faith that he challenged calamities by boasting in God. He said:

“Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge”, I will not recant when the earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. The media, relatives and friends may make so much noise to disturb your faith in God, but do not be dismayed. No matter how logical and factual their arguments can be, if their fortresses are not founded on Christ the solid rock, do not be troubled by these voices. 

Be sure you’re under God’s protection during calamities.

The nations are in chaos,and their kingdoms crumble! God’s voice thunders,and the earth melts!“v6

God’s glory will be found throughout calamities and He calls those who have faith in Him to be quiet, be serene and at peace. Do not be distressed.

Be still, and know that I am God!I will be honored by every nation.I will be honored throughout the world.”

Posted March 24, 2020 by Cedric in Thought-provoking

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Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit [Part 4]?   Leave a comment

Spirit

Before Jesus ascended, He told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem:

Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:4

The day of Pentecost(Harvest Festival) was approaching and Jesus commanded His disciples to wait as He was planning something special on that day. If Jesus did not told them to wait, maybe they would have gone around telling people that Jesus rose again and that they had just had supper with Him. After all, they have been trained for 3 years under His ministry and were well acquainted with His teachings and why could not they start preaching?

Well, waiting for the day of Pentecost now looks evident but if the disciples did not listen they would not have had that boldness brought by Holy Spirit and would have preached out of experience, the flesh and intellect. The day of Pentecost was a special day since many people from various regions came to Jerusalem for that feast and it was the opportunity for God to reveal Himself to them in their own language. The disciples spoke in unknown languages that day and the people said:

Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans, and Arabs.And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!” They stood there amazed and perplexed.” Acts 2:11

On that day 3000 people believed and were baptized – incidentally a great harvest on the Harvest Festival. I believe that out of these 3000, there was at least a representative of all these nations who spoke in other tongues. Now see how quickly the gospel would spread itself!

The Holy Spirit intentionally gave the gift of tongues on that day to cause a massive movement and conversion.

Whether we minister in prayer meetings, in preaching, evangelism, worship or participate in any form of spiritual matter, if this is not done through inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit, it is surely done either by our carnal nature or skills.

The Pharisees are examples of religious people who stuck to the letter or law rather than the spirit behind the scripture. They were not guided by the Holy Spirit in their actions. Out of their zeal, they were quick to judge the disciples of Jesus who broke crops on the Sabbath day and ready to fire the first stone on the adulterous woman. There is no doubt that these people were well versed in the scripture, intellectuals and had some form of wisdom (be it not divine). In their wisdom, their discerned that Jesus (the Holy One of heaven) was possessed by an evil spirit or mad (John 8:48, John 10:20). They also wanted to kill Jesus and were finally able to do so at God’s appointed time. If religious leaders at that time failed to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah despite all their scriptural knowledge, how can we expect that it is better today?

Our churches are packed with the same spirit of the pharisees or admirers of them. We are warned about such people (Col. 2:8) who are amidst us. They may use philosophy,some sort of wisdom or try to impress us by their mastery of Hebrews or Greek. They may have a doctorate in divinity or be eloquent but they minister WITHOUT the presence of the Holy Spirit. This is very alarming and at the same time this explains why many churches are dead even though packed with so many intellectuals. When the Holy Spirit was leading Paul, He not only guided Him where to preach but also forbidden him to preach in some places.

Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.” Acts 16:6

I would like to emphasize on that situation because firstly Paul was commissioned by God to go and preach everywhere, secondly he was an apostle and thirdly he knew the Gospel and was well equipped to preach. All these 3 elements were not sufficient for him to open his mouth and preach where he wanted. The lesson we can draw here is :

  1. Even though we have been called to go everywhere to preach the gospel, we should do so ONLY if accompanied by the Holy Spirit. Otherwise, there could be a chaotic situation, even death. Going on the mission field without the approval and presence of the Holy Spirit is not only a waste of time and resources but an act of disobedience.
  2. Being an apostle, pastor or teacher does not give us a license to say whatever we want. We should preach ONLY when under the influence of the Holy Spirit otherwise, the listeners or readers will be influenced by our spirit or reasoning instead of the Holy Spirit. When you do not feel led by the Spirit to speak, it’s time to sit down and listen to Him. God does not expect you to speak each Sunday because you’re a preacher or pastor.
  3. Our knowledge of the Gospel or scripture does not automatically qualify us to go and preach, ONLY the Holy Spirit does. For it is only the Holy Spirit who convicts hearts of sins (John 26:8), not us. Some of us plant and others water but it is God who makes the seed grow (1 Cor 3:6). Think about it. No matter how much you sow or water that seed, there can be no rejoicing unless that seed germinates. The One who makes that seed sprout or take life is the Holy Spirit and without Him in vain you toil.

Being led by the Holy Spirit, in everything we do, is essential for the church’s health and our growth. We could think that it was the jealousy of the Pharisees which blinded them but what about Judas? Judas sat at Jesus’ table, was part of his close circle, heard things none of us heard and saw many miracles but yet Jesus was just a rabbi not his Lord (Mat. 26). Without the quickening of the Holy Spirit, the things of God remain veil to us.

This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments” 1 Cor. 2:13-15

 

Posted November 3, 2019 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit [Part 3]?   Leave a comment

Spirit

There was an atmosphere of celebration when the ark of the covenant was brought back to Jerusalem through David. Suddenly this rejoicing vanished and set place for fear when Uzzah reached out his hand to hold the ark which was about to fall. God’s in his anger struck Uzzah down as he was not a Levite. David was unhappy with that severe action God took and wanted the ark to be away from him.

David was afraid of the Lord that day and said, “How can the ark of the Lord ever come to me?He was not willing to take the ark of the Lord to be with him in the City of David” 2 Sam. 2:9

Later on David said:

He said to them, “You are the leaders of the Levite families. You must purify yourselves and all your fellow Levites, so you can bring the Ark of the LORD, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. Because you Levites did not carry the Ark the first time, the anger of the LORD our God burst out against us. We failed to ask God how to move it properly.”  1 Chr. 15:12

God’s presence is synonym to holiness and since no man is sinless, it is a great fear and dilemma for man to dare coming close to God. For this reason, God through the blood of Jesus made us a kingdom of priests (Rev 1:6) and rendered us qualified like the Levites to minister in His presence.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God,  let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:20

God’s invitation for Jesus’s disciples to enter the Most Holy Place is real and He also made it possible to render our body itself a temple where His Holy Spirit can reside and bring worship and praises from within us. Whether it be the Levites or ourselves, one common prerequisite is to go through a purification process before daring to minister in His presence. Standing in God’s presence without this purification is a fearful expectation of death.

Ananias and Sapphira are examples of disciples who died because they lied to the Holy Spirit. Peter did not say that they lied to Jesus(though it’s implicit), but said to the Holy Spirit. This couple saw many people giving and they probably concocted to imitate the same behavior to earn praises through deceit (false declaration of sales). This was a matter of fraud/trickery in God’s eyes.  This is very indicative as the One who was ministering and was offended was precisely the Holy Spirit who nothing is hidden to Him. When God struck to death this couple, this demonstrated how He felt about it. Now if we do not see God massively dealing in the same way in churches, that does not mean God feels better about it.   Elsewhere Paul also mentioned that some have died and many were sick because they were not right with God. In the old testament many man of God were commended for their ‘fear of God’.  Is there still this fear of God or a fearless/rebellious attitude of the consequences of our acts ? Having the fear of God is a sort or worship since we realize His presence and holiness. Being under grace should not be an excuse to sin (Rom. 3:8) or cause us to be fearless of our acts. On the contrary, we’ll be judged more severely.

They rush to commit murder.  Destruction and misery always follow them.They don’t know where to find peace.”They have no fear of God at all” Rom. 3:18

I have a message from God in my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: There is no fear of God before their eyes” Ps 36:1

That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup. For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself. That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died. ” 1 Cor. 11:30

Jesus said that where two or three gather together in His name, He is among them. Now if we believe this is true, then we should be careful that when we gather together, we do so with a right heart lest we found ourselves in the same situation as Ananias and Sapphira.  Now if we gather together with a filthy heart, participate in the Lord’s supper and have a fraudulent heart and no discipline result from God  we must question whether we have really gathered as disciples in His name or for other motives.

If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all” ( Heb. 12:8)

For ONLY if we gather in His name that He promised to be there. If Jesus is not present when you gather for worship, flee from that place lest you be found participating in a cult given to Satan. How do you know whether God’s presence is there? See whether Christlikeness (2 Cor. 3:18) is found in those praying and worshiping God. Look at the fruit of the Spirit, if there’re no fruits then there’re no marks of His presence.

This said, God’s presence should be considered with much reverence and we should be careful how we treat each other as we’re an habitation of the Holy Spirit.

We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.” Eph. 2:21

There’re thousands of physical churches on earth but there’s only one Church – one bride. Similarly, if we consider that there’re millions of disciples of Jesus then there’re millions of temples where the Holy Spirit dwells. However, all these millions of temples form part of the same divine temple. This is how we’re in Christ and Christ in us.

Have you ever come close to someone possessed by an evil spirit? This can be a shivering situation. If being inhabited by an evil spirit causes people to be afraid imagine what effect this had when disciples of Jesus are filled by the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit!

No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people” Acts 5:13

Posted October 13, 2019 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit [Part 2]?   Leave a comment

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If you know that you’re the temple of the Spirit then take heed that this holy habitation is not defiled. If you did not realize or forgot that you are the temple of the Spirit , today is the day to get out of laxity, ignorance and be diligent.

As a born again Christian it is vital to realize that God’s remaining work on earth has been entrusted to the Holy Spirit . Since the fall of man, Jesus was the long promised Messiah entrusted to bring salvation. Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He then entrusted the Holy Spirit to continue His work on earth:

But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you ” John 16:7

The Holy Spirit would not dwell in the heart of man and begin His mighty work until Jesus ascended. “It is best that I go away, it is for your benefit, it is for your advantage that I go away” Jesus said. God’s salvation plan has been fulfilled through the coming, death and resurrection of Jesus. Sin has lost its power and man has been reconciled with the Holy God of heaven by Jesus’ sacrifice. Jesus has set up the foundation i.e. the doctrines of faith in Him for salvation and then gave His orders/instructions/commandments to the Holy Spirit to remind his apostles and future generations about His work and doctrines.

until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.” Acts 1:2

Jesus clearly said that the main activities of the Holy Spirit would be to teach the disciples all what they need to know and remind them what has already been said. This is important since Jesus himself said that He could not deliver much of His teachings since the disciples were not yet ready to receive it all.

I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth” John 16:12

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” John 14:26

God has promised the Messiah to bring salvation and this came to be. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit and this also has been fulfilled (Joel 2:28-30, Acts 2:1-3). The Spirit given, the scripture cannot do any more for us except to remind that the Son of God will come again to rise His saints from the dead, establish His Kingdom and Judge the world.

We are living in this time where the Spirit has been generously outpoured, something which the prophets in the old testament desired to see.  Are we living this life in the Spirit or just merrily walking where this life brings? Being now a kingdom of priest and the temple of the Holy Spirit, we simply cannot be the same or living like the ordinary mortal man. Everything being practiced by Christians be it evangelism, teachings, worship, discipleship, intercession, healing or prayers if not done solely by the power of the Spirit is nothing but an act of the flesh, a formality, an event,  intellectualism, entertainment, pride or a diabolical undertaking.

Posted October 12, 2019 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit [Part 1]?   Leave a comment

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself” 1 Cor. 6:19

 

  • The Scripture is inspired by the Spirit

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

The Spirit does not contradict the scripture and the scripture does not contradict what the Spirit says since the scripture is inspired by Him. The prophesies made through Isaiah or David have meticulously been fulfilled because these men wrote inspired by the Spirit (Acts 1:16).  When we fail to understand the Scripture, the first step is to ask the Author (The Holy Spirit) what He intended. I would like to emphasize of that first step since many Christians turn to books or commentaries to understand the scripture. Don’t they know that the Spirit of God lives in them? 

When you read the scripture, ensure that you’re not just reading letters and phrases. Many Christians were defeated, confused or took wrong decisions because they misinterpreted the Word of God. On the other hand, I met Christians who have mistaken their feelings, circumstances, dreams or emotions as being a call from the Spirit but if they read God’s Word they would have been spared of much trouble.

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you meditate and get the most of the scripture and when you have receive clear instructions and directives from Him, go ahead keeping faith in what God’s Word said – do not turn back. Otherwise, do not go ahead unless there’s harmony with what you’ve read and what you feel the Spirit is calling you to do.

I would like to call on this promise of Jesus:

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26

I have nothing against commentaries, I have myself quite a few of them and use them but it’s important of not letting ourselves influenced or consider as truth what the commentary said.

Many theologians interpreted the scripture in opposing directions and I wondered how such a thing is possible since the Spirit had only one intended meaning.   For instance Calvinism has an opposing doctrine – Arminianism. Churches exist that have as core belief these 2 doctrines. These doctrines entirely contradict each other and at the same time claim to have scriptural evidence to support their say.  There can be only 2 possibilities:

  1. Both are wrong
  2. One is diabolical and the other right

It is not possible that both are right or have a mixture of each other as this would make the Spirit contradict itself. The Spirit intended ONLY ONE teaching and it is essential to ask the divine Teacher sent by Jesus to guide us into the whole truth.

I came to the conclusion that many doctrines have been formulated and Christians books written without communicating what the Spirit actually intended to say in the bible. Doctrines are written as laws voted in parliament and Christians books are written as the best seller Harry Potter. Many false doctrines, what we call heresies, have no ounce of inspiration from the Spirit.  These heresies have intellectuals (false teachers) who formulated them and it would be useful for the adherents to question whether the author of that doctrine lived as someone filled by the Spirit and demonstrated the fruit of the Spirit.

  • The Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts as He wants

All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” 1 Cor. 12:11

Paul wrote this chapter 12 of Corinthians for this reason:

Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed

Paul inspired by the Spirit wanted to inform the ignorant about the Spiritual gifts and also correct those who thought they got it right.

Whether you’re from a Charismatic/Pentecostal, Baptist/Evangelical/other background, there’re much to learn from this chapter. Unfortunately, it is a sad truth that churches disagree on its fundamentals. On one hand there’s much abuse or fake manifestations and on the other side there’s a quenching of the Spirit. In either case, Satan wins since the Spirit is unable to work as He intends.

I would like to reiterate the above conclusions:

There can be only 2 possibilities:

  1. Both are wrong
  2. One is diabolical and the other right

It is not possible that both are right or have a mixture of each other as this would make the Spirit contradict itself. The Spirit intended ONLY ONE teaching and it is essential to ask the divine Teacher sent by Jesus to guide us into the whole truth.

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit? If you realize that you’re the temple of the Spirit, how much do you let the Spirit influence you ?

The Authenticity of our faith   Leave a comment

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;  not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;” Rom. 12:9

My father often told me “There’re 2 kinds of people you should never give a job to do : Christians and relatives“. My father said that not because he was not a Christian and did not like his relatives but because he had bad experiences with those persons who should have been trustworthy. For the sake of keeping a good relationship with his relatives and for love sake, he refrained to express his frustration towards them. So he warned his children to beware of giving jobs to relatives and Christians. He even started to point out the danger of dating some so-called Christians. Did you ever have a similar experience?

I’m particularly interested with my dad’s statement concerning Christians because trickery, ruse, hypocrisy, dishonesty and avarice should not be found in Christians. The name of the Lord is slandered among non-Christians because of such behavior.

Paul warned the Thessalonians :

and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister.The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before.” 1 Thes. 4:6

Living wisely according to James is:

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. ” James 3:17

In His 3 years of ministry on earth, Jesus had a loaded agenda to preach the Good News, heal the sick and prepare His disciples. Another item He had on His agenda was to reveal the hypocrisy of religious people, the Pharisees. For decades the Lord of heaven has seen how those religious leaders burdened his sheep and abused them and when Jesus came to earth He expressed the anger of God kept all these times for that moment. Jesus has been preaching about love and been doing good all around Him but as what concerns the religious leaders, He did not use velvet gloves but was particularly hard towards them.

Matthew recorded a whole Chapter (Mat 23) of what Jesus said about those fake spiritual leaders.  All throughout His ministry, the Pharisees tried to trick Him (Luke 20:23) and Jesus rebuked them publicly.

It is important for Christians to be genuine.

As per the secular definition of hypocrisy: “it is the practice of claiming to have higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case

It is play acting or pretending someone you’re not. Jesus said “Everything they do is for show” Mat. 23:5

God sees us through and knows whether we are genuine in our faith or just behave like the Pharisees. If at work we pretend to be saints and tell our colleagues the right thing to do but in secret we do the very thing that we said is wrong, then we’re acting like an hypocrite and condemning ourselves. If we set some standards and judge others by them, we’ll also be judged accordingly.

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others.The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?  How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” Mat. 7:1-5

Pretending to be humble, abstaining from pleasures/fasting/praying/giving to the needy for people to see is something God abhors.  Using ruse or trickery for self gratification is an attitude that is not Christ-like.

Are you authentic in the way you are with your spouse/friends/colleagues/neighbors/relatives? Does your closest relative think you’re the same person at church and at home?

Is your ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ an absolute truth or is it a lie?

Jesus said: “All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

0 or 1 is used in computing to take decisions, it can either be yes or no and in an absolute sense computers will never be able to understand anything else (even in AI) . There’s no existence of fractions between 0 and 1 in computing.

Computers cannot take decisions on ‘Maybe’. Computers do not know anything between ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. Saying ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ in the same circumstance are double behaviors.  If you want to play double with a computer and say ‘Yes’ and ‘No’, it will tell you it’s False. The computer will say True only if you always say ‘Yes’ or always say ‘No’. Christians cannot have double behaviors but should have one behavior no matter the circumstance – integrity (being one). This is particularly a challenge for me because I have failed many times by playing double with God and people.

Here’s a D- test which identifies hypocrisy:

Duplicity, Double talk, Deceit, Dishonesty, Double dealing.

Posted August 24, 2019 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Legalism and Justice [Part 3]   Leave a comment

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In Part 1 and Part 2 of “Legalism and Justice”, we’ve seen what are some forms of legalism and what are the characteristics of the legalists. We’ve also read how harshly Jesus dealt with the legalists(Pharisees) and how Jesus used scripture to correct the wrong interpretation of verses used to support legalism. The devil has been twisting the scripture in an attempt to make Jesus fall (Mat 4) and this is what he still does through the legalists. We may discern forms of legalism when the motives behind the teachings are not Love, Mercy, Faithfulness and Justice. Discipline in the church is not a form of legalism when love is the motive.  God Himself discipline the one he loves (Heb. 12:10). However, when love is not the motive behind discipline then we may find ourselves participating in ‘stoning the adulterous woman’.

As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?..They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” John 8:3-9

It would be unfair to the victim of the adultery(the spouse) not to receive justice. If this case was brought in our modern court with Moses law to be applied and you were to judge, what would you do?

The Greek words used in this phrase suggest the following interpretation  “Let the one among you who has never sinned similarly throw the first stone!

I would prefer not to participate in the judgment of a case in which I had myself made a similar offense. If I condemn others of an offense that I did myself but no one caught me yet, then I’m condemning myself along and acting like an hypocrite. If we consider for instance Jesus’ teachings about lust and adultery very few religious people would find themselves eligible to pass on a judgment. I spoke several times badly of liars without realizing that I have in the past lied.

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Mat. 5:28

What did Jesus say about judging others?

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.  For you will be treated as you treat others.The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye?  Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” Mat. 7

Jesus in this verse is warning against judging others. It is not prohibited to judge others but it holds great responsibility. It is sinners like us who pronounce judgments in courts. Court judges simply apply what the law of the country say and they are themselves subject to be judged by others should they commit a similar offense. No one is above the law. If holiness was the prerequisite to judge, then the notorious criminals, drug traffickers and murderers would not be put to jail. The statement let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone” is a great reminder that the Holy One of heaven is looking down on us and that our judgement is not flawless since we’re ourselves sinners and thus offenders of that same system in a way or another.

Jesus made a call to the guilty conscience  of the Pharisees and this made all of them uneasy since it appears that all those people who brought this woman were not beyond reproach. The oldest left first as he probably was the greatest offender.

When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest” John 8:9

I guess that if there was indeed a man among the mob who never committed adultery, then he would be right to execute the stoning but there was none left! How hypocrite can religious people be! Only Jesus was left with that woman for only Him never committed such sin and only him could stone that woman. Remember that each time you judge someone, God is watching.

The world dictionary defines hypocrisy as “the sin of pretending to virtue or goodness“. It is pretending to be someone you’re not or having some qualities what you do not have. It is imitating like an actor whose virtue and goodness are seen only on stage but behind stage – at home he is a vilain. Hypocrisy consists of deceit, dissimulation and above all it is the absence of integrity for integrity means being one (in Mathematics integer), consistent and coherent.  So this was how Jesus qualified the Pharisees. In the scene of the adulterous woman, He unmasked their role and hypocrisy.

 Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”“No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

The accusers now dispersed, Jesus now recommends the woman to leave behind this sinful life and live in the righteous path.

 

Posted March 26, 2019 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Legalism and Justice [Part 2]   Leave a comment

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They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them..” Matthew 23

Hypocrisy is usually a character of the legalist. At some point the legalist will tell to people what they should do but they themselves might not be doing what they say.  Severe to others but indulgent to themselves. They have a false humility i.e. they make as if they do not seek for glory, leadership position or privileges when this is what they are actually seeking. They may be soft spoken persons but in the inside they are wolves in sheep clothing. Their soft tone, humble way of clothing themselves or even the way they walk are deceits. This was how Jesus described the Pharisees who wore wide boxes (phylacteries) on their arms or forehead. These boxes contain scriptures and making them wide was probably a demonstration that they were well versed in the scripture. Boasting about one’s knowledge of the Scripture or the law is another characteristic of the legalists.  They loved to be greeted with respect when they walked in public places(market place) Jesus said. In other words, they sought for recognition. They might also feel insecure if someone aims to learn more about the law/scripture or wish to enter God’s kingdom without going through them.

This is what Jesus said about this: “You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to

They want to be those who guide people to heaven but Jesus called them blind guides. In other words they want to be a mediator between God and man but there is only one Mediator – Jesus. This is why Jesus said never to call a man rabbi or father for there is only one Teacher – Jesus and only one Father – God.

This is a gross mistake of the catholic priests who take the name of ‘father’. The pope for instance is a modern time Pharisee according to this verse and also do all his adherents/followers. Is it on same ground of super spirituality that the catholic priests are not allowed to marry(Peter was married) – for fear of being defiled with sexuality ? The leader among the disciples, Peter was married(1 Cor . 9:5) and it’s hard to understand how the Vatican came with this ascetic doctrine of forbidding man to marry – which has caused so many of them to become pedophile or rapists. These priests probably taught about holiness but they themselves lived in immorality. Asceticism is therefore another characteristic of the religious legalists.

Since the legalists think that they have the key to the knowledge of God or are an authority to God’s affairs, they allow themselves to add or remove to scripture. This is why many false doctrines emerged. For instance, the Pharisees twisted the scripture when they said: ” ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’”. To this teaching Jesus pointed out that their reasoning did not make sense.

As regards tithe, the Pharisees took it so seriously that they even gave a tenth of their spices—mint, dill and cumin. To this Jesus responded “you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness“.

One can be so absorbed in practicing the law that he forgets that the spirit behind the law is justice, mercy and faithfulness.

Tradition in the church is one of the common source of arguments. Traditions are man-made and many leaders consider them as similar to God’s Word. For instance, celebrating Christmas, Easter, Mother’s day are not commands in the bible but are traditions brought in the church. For the Pharisees, it was a tradition that hands should be washed before eating. Of course this is a healthy thing to do. There’s nothing wrong to wash our hands before eating or celebrating mother’s day to honor our mother or Easter/Christmas to remember Jesus’ coming, death and Resurrection. However, eating without washing one’s hands makes someone prone to diseases but not a sinner. Not celebrating Christmas, Easter or Mother’s day does not make one a sinner. This is what the Pharisees said:

Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!” 

Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’[and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death. But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’  they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition” Mat. 15:2

Once again Jesus showed the Pharisees that their teachings were contradictory. The Pharisees probably taught that one should honor his father and mother and failing to do so was such a gross sin that it was subject to death penalty. However, the Pharisees in their hypocrisy reasoned that since they have already spared aside some gifts/money to God then they are unable to use that gift to help their needy parents. They considered that this gift set aside were already reserved/devoted for God and was therefore not right to use it otherwise. In modern time, this might also do to our commitments. For instance, if we reason that we have already committed ourselves to give 6 months of our time in mission and have to leave behind our sick and needy parents then we’re behaving like the pharisees. God does not need our money or sacrifice. Obedience, love, justice are better than sacrifice. Be careful in the way you deal with money in church affairs. If you feel confused in how to spend your time, money or resources in spiritual matters, think about the spirit behind the law: Love, justice, faithfulness and mercy.  What would Jesus do?

 

 

 

 

 

Posted March 22, 2019 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Legalism and Justice [Part 1]   Leave a comment

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Then Jesus went over to their synagogue, where he noticed a man with a deformed hand. The Pharisees asked Jesus, “Does the law permit a person to work by healing on the Sabbath?” (They were hoping he would say yes, so they could bring charges against him.)And he answered, “If you had a sheep that fell into a well on the Sabbath, wouldn’t you work to pull it out? Of course you would. And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Yes, the law permits a person to do good on the Sabbath.” Mat. 12:9-12

During the 3 years of ministry of Jesus, the people who considered themselves as teachers of God’s law challenged Jesus with many tricky questions in order to bring charges against Him. Even if the arguments brought by these Pharisees/teachers of the law were not held in court, they were sufficient to set a trap Jesus.

At many instances Jesus warned the people and his disciples against the fake righteousness of the Pharisees and drew a line between legalism and justice. Love was the chalk Jesus used to draw this line.  The spirit behind the law was to love people and love God until Jesus came. The first 4 commandments concerned our love, respect and devotion towards God and the remaining 6 had to do with respect and love of our family and neighbor. Paul described the law as:

Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised. …. If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. .. Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed….Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian.” Gal. 3:24-29

To put it imply, Paul said:

For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.”These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.” Rom. 13:9-10

It is true that the Mosaic law required that the Israelites shall consider the seventh day a special day and not work on it (Ex. 33:2). That command was so important that if one disobeyed it, death was the penalty. The Pharisees considered that Jesus was working when He healed people so they asked whether it was right to heal on the Sabbath. Jesus is the one who inspired the prophets to write the law and He explained the intent behind the law. Being also a divine Advocate, Jesus replied the Pharisees brilliantly.  It was common sense that a Jew would save his sheep if one fell into a well. What if that incident happened on the Sabbath day? Would you be so hard hearted that you would just watch that sheep drown without moving a finger for fear of doing work? In the book of Deuteronomy we read:

If you see your neighbor’s ox or sheep or goat wandering away, don’t ignore your responsibility.Take it back to its owner. If its owner does not live nearby or you don’t know who the owner is, take it to your place and keep it until the owner comes looking for it. Then you must return it. ” Deut. 22

What if the neighbor’s ox erred on a Sabbath day? That would put the legalist in a great dilemma! Would that be a conflict in the law? For love sake and pity, be careful of never allowing yourself reasoning like a legalist. For those who understand that the spirit behind the law of keeping your neighbor’s goat from wandering is love, it will not be difficult for him to make the right decision if the neighbor’s goat erred on the Sabbath. David’s companions were hungry and for love sake and compassion David broke the law when they entered the house of God and ate the reserved sacred bread (Mat. 12:4). In the worldly court, David would have been condemned but in the divine court, David was not found guilty.

In Numbers 28:9, the priests did not feel guilty of breaking the fourth commandment when they had to work on the Sabbath. If it ever happens that you find a conflict in God’s word, think about the love spirit behind God’s word. There will always be some Pharisees throwing some bible verses to condemn you or others but think about this: “What would Jesus do?”

Here is an example: Jesus’ disciples were hungry and the Pharisees brought charges against them saying they were harvesting/working on the Sabbath. Jesus did not rebuke His disciples but rather justified them through scripture.

But you would not have condemned my innocent disciples if you knew the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.

Posted March 9, 2019 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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