Archive for May 2012

Confessing Jesus   Leave a comment

Confessing

Confessing

What about someone who says in front of others that he knows me? I will also say in front of my Father who is in heaven that I know him. But what about someone who says in front of others that he doesn’t know me? I will say in front of my Father who is in heaven that I don’t know him.” Mat 10:32

This is such a powerful verse. If you confess that you belong to Jesus, you’re proud to say that He is your Master, your God and your Savior. You affirm with vehemence and conviction that He is Lord of your life and that there’s no one else in this world who you will ever be able to love more than Him. I don’t take any tag of denomination on me(Baptist, Pentecostal or whatever), call me a follower of Jesus-Christ. Period.

Jesus clearly said: “Anyone who is not with me is against me. Anyone who does not gather sheep with me scatters them.” Luke 11:23

Through this statement, one cannot say: “Look Jesus I don’t have anything against you, I know you were a good man who said beautiful things but I don’t want to get involve with you or be tagged your follower.”

If you’re not with Jesus you’re against Him. Period. There’s no neutral state. When someone professes He belongs to Jesus, He wants the world to know that he’s a follower of Jesus. He really does not care what people think of his choice. He’s not ashamed to say that Jesus is his God.  He does not keep it a secret. Confessing Jesus also means supporting and teaching what He taught. Jesus is the One you imitate and want to follow. You feel hurt when people twist His teachings. You want the world to know who He is and what He did for you. He is the source of your joy and reason to live “For in him we live, and move, and have our being” (Act 17:28).

Paul said: I am not ashamed of the good news(gospel). It is God’s power. And it will save everyone who believes. It is meant first for the Jews. It is meant also for those who aren’t Jews.  Romans 1:16

If you believe in Jesus, you’re not ashamed of the Good News about Christ. You know that the gospel is God’s power to save anyone who wants to believe no matter who he is. There’re some few people that I’m proud to say are good friends. I consider it an honor to be with them. I know I can count of them and that they will always give me good counsels and rebuke me with love when I’m wrong. Walking, eating, working with them is such an honor and pleasure. You feel hurt when they are hurt because you value them. They care for you and you know it. I’m not ashamed to say that these people are my friends to the world.  What about Jesus? Do you value Jesus more than a close friend?

I might have deceived these few good friends from time to time but they remained faithful and compassionate. They made what they could to push me forward, to encourage me and pray for me.

This is a trustworthy saying: “If we die with him,we will also live with him.If we endure hardship,we will reign with him. If we deny him,he will deny us.If we are unfaithful,he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is.”

We can have confidence in this verse above. Because we believe that Christ died for us, our sinful nature was buried with Him and we now live by His life. If we do not give up and persevere in trials, we’ll also rule with Him. Yeah, if they persecuted the Master why should we be exempted(Mat 10:25)? But if we deny Him through our deeds and say we do not know Him, how can He confess before the angels in heaven and the Father, “This is my brother, this is my friend”?

Here is my command. Love each other, just as I have loved you. No one has greater love than the one who gives his life for his friends.You are my friends if you do what I command. I do not call you servants anymore. Servants do not know their master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends. I have told you everything I learned from my Father.”

If we profess we are Christians and deny Him by our bad deeds, He cannot associate Himself with people who disowns His holy name. How can He say “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful...” Mat 25:23

Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good..” Titus 1:16

Proclaiming that Jesus is Lord is demonstrated by our way of living and what we confess. The way we live and what we confess are adoration unto Him. Jesus is honored when we glorify His name on the earth.

This is what we read in the Epistle to the Hebrews:

So now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters.For he said to God,“I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters.I will praise you among your assembled people.” Hebrews 2:11

If Jesus, the One whom angels adore night and day is not ashamed to call poor creatures like us His brothers and sisters, how disrespectful it is to make as if we don’t know Him!

This is what Jesus said to the church of Sardis:

He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” Rev 3

Confessing that Jesus is Lord Has as eternal effect. This is the Good News Paul preached:

And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”

This is the power of confession. When we acknowledge that Jesus is our Lord, that He died and  is alive, we are actually recognising God’s provision to forgive our sins. Our life should declare that Jesus is Lord.

Posted May 26, 2012 by Cedric in Theology

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The invisible Master   Leave a comment

Cat and German Shepherds

The stupid cat and the German Shepherds

Have you ever heard “If you’re a man, do that!”. Sounds like provocation is not it? Some will have the guts to do this weird thing that the majority will hesitate to do. Do you have self control? A boastful cat was challenged by some mates to have a pleasant walk in front of a dozen German Shepherds. Big challenge is not it? This cat had guts and did it but risked its life.

It was because the dogs were well trained that this cat was still alive. If just one of these dogs preferred to follow it’s natural instinct, many would have followed and this cat would have been torn in pieces.

Is it the cat or the dogs whom we should applaud? No doubt that this cat had guts and for this time won its challenge. These dogs were not chained and could be commended for their obedience and abstinence.

The natural instinct of these dogs have been mastered by someone. The master. In this picture you don’t see the master but it’s him the virtuoso. Let’s imagine that we replaced these dogs with many males and put something very tempting which excited male’s instinct. How would you react if you were among? Would you be a man or a male like any? Let’s also replace the invisible master by the invisible Master – God.

If your friends provoked you to do something that you considered was not right but satisfied this burning desire in you, how would you react? Would you let yourself fall into the lion’s jaws like this careless cat? You do not have to prove anyone what you’re worth. If you know there’s danger ahead, flee.  Don’t be an easy prey, don’t play with fire.

Or will you follow your natural instinct like an untamed dog to devour a defenceless prey? You do not have any chain around your neck because this is the only way the Master can form your character. God gave us freewill to allow us to choose to show allegiance to Him or not. If you cannot resist what your flesh is seeking for and give in to satisfy your appetite, you’ll be satisfied for a  while but will disobey your Master. A real man is not someone who can do whatever he wishes but rather someone who has self control and can say ‘NO’ to things he knows are wrong. Many are born males but few are men. A man is not someone who thinks he can do whatever it pleases him but it’s someone who has self control and maturity. A male may follow his impulsive instinct to have sex with any woman if given a golden opportunity. A real man won’t because he has principles. He does not cede to temptation even if the pressure is great around and circumtances favorable. Dogs can be trained to such an extent. Man is more intelligent that dogs but unfortunately they do all kinds of things that do not please the Master. Dogs have this reputation of being faithful. Are you faithful to God?  A human cannot change his natural instinct to sin ,but Jesus the Master, can free us from sin’s slavery. No matter how bad you have been or sinful you can be, there’s a Master who can transform you. Your natural sinful nature is gone with Him. You’re no longer a slave of your sinful nature. You become someone new with Christ. You get a new life.

So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Cor 5:17

 

Posted May 18, 2012 by Cedric in Thought-provoking

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Stupidity and wisdom   Leave a comment

Intelligent fool

The intelligent fool

It does not matter how much intelligence or ressources you have, if you don’t know how to use them, you’ll act foolishy.

I have met many intelligent people in my life who were outstanding in a particular field – bright people with definitely an IQ much superior than 120. But one thing which really kept me perplexed was their foolish way of living. They were living like intelligent fools. Someone who is intelligent is not necessarily wise and someone who does not have lot of knowledge/intelligence is not necessarily a fool. A fool is one who lacks wisdom. Wisdom and intelligence are different in essence. Wisdom allows you to correctly use your intelligence. I wondered how these intelligent people could live in debauchery and do all kinds of wicked things. You find them addicted to alcohol, cigarettes, casinos and other vices. If it’s not that, they are unable to master their sexual impulse and live in a lustful ways. How can these geniuses fall so low? Does not their intelligence dictate them that all these are stupid behaviors? They are gifted intellectually but are unable to use their intelligence to do good things. What good is it to have a lot of knowledge/resources and failing to use them correctly? Why do many medical practitioners smoke? A lack of knowledge, huh ? No, the reason is sin. No matter how witty you’re you will never be able to fight this sinful nature within you and this will eventually lead to your own destruction.

A dog which plays with stray dogs will eventually get fleas. Idem for a person who associates himself with fools. A wise person will avoid them.

A wise person knows how to master his sexual appetite but a fool lives lustfully.

A wise person thinks before he speaks but a fool speaks because he has to say something.

The fool is impulsive and rarely listen to counsels, the wise crave for counsels.

A wise person knows how to manage his money but a fool suddenly finds himself bankrupt.

A wise person does no concessions for bad things. The fool looks for temporary advantages and pleasures.

Ignorance does not make someone stupid, otherwise we would all be stupid since we do not know everything. But if you have the knowledge to do something right and do what is wrong, it’s a clear sign of stupidity.

The wise person does not worry about tomorrow. This is not to say that he’s negligent and careless, he rather knows his priorities. The wise person knows that he’s not in control of his future and destiny, God does. The fool thinks his destiny is in his hands so he puts himself under constant pressure  to plan his destiny.

A wise person does not like wasting his time doing useless thing, the fool looks for idle time to display his folly.

Wisdom has more value than money because with it you will know how to manage your finances, life, time and relationships.

Hopefully, foolishness can be cured by divine wisdom. Jesus is Himself God’s wisdom manifested.

Posted May 12, 2012 by Cedric in Thought-provoking

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On being single (1)   Leave a comment

Single

My father recently asked me when I was planning to get married. Since I’m still single, I guess I can share my thoughts on what it means to be single. I’m not in love with any girl but I believe that one day I’ll get married. Ok, but when I look around me I see many of my age who already have a partner and I wonder if I’m not being a bit too negligent for not seeking for a partner. There’s nothing bad to be single. My parents were single and you also have to be single to be eligible for marriage. If you’re single, you might also be wondering what the future reserves you.  Has it ever come to your mind that you might end up a spinster or bachelor?

I’m not a psychologist but I think that a person should at least love himself/herself before wanting someone to love him/her or love someone else. Do you love yourself? If you do not love yourself you will belittle yourself and consider that you’re not up to a standard that you’ve set up in your mind. Do not do that, this will act as a barrier. If you think you’re inferior, you’ll definitely make yourself inferior. If you’re at peace with your physical appearance and intellect and don’t care about how people judge you, then it’s good. Of course, if you have bad manners or lazy you’ve to make an effort to change. If you don’t like taking a bath or keep yourself clean then please pay attention to remarks you receive. If people mock you because you never kissed someone or had sex, you don’t have to feel bad. Be proud of you because you can control your sexuality.

I saw couples which had some particularity but were happy. A short husband and a giant wife. An intelligent rich lady marrying a poor chap. A man marrying a woman much older than him. A black woman marrying a white guy. Under all the prejudices, family pressure, mockeries and judgmental society these people married and are happy. It must have been a great love for these 2 to persevere under the pressure, is not it? There’s a saying which says that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. What you consider beautiful is subjective.

If you do not accept yourself for X reasons, you might that people won’t accept you for X reasons(when it’s not necessarily true). Someone who loves himself/herself understand that other people are not perfect because he/she knows his/her imperfections.

Love your neighbor as you love yourself” Jesus said. Mat 19:19

I’m not an actor or ever thought that I’m the most handsome man on this earth(that would be ridiculous). I know my strengths and weaknesses. People will always judge you on your appearance and intelligence. I understand that we cannot put someone with an IQ below 50 at the head of a government(well, there’re some exceptions). I can also understand that it would be inappropriate to have as air hostess a beggar-faced person. For business reasons, there’re some choices made on appearance and intelligence.

Everyone has a kind of standard he/she expects his partner to have. In some cases, some matched the expectations. But I think that in most cases it does not work that way because we are all unique. If you’re making a list to find a perfect person, then you’re looking for Jesus. No one is perfect.

The world uses different scales to measure a man/woman. There’re exams and competitions for that. But do these things really determine what you’re worth? No. There’re no scales on this earth which can estimate what you’re worth. It’s not what you think about you or what people think. If you need a honest feedback on what you’re worth, then ask the one who created you. It’s all about God. What does God think of you? God looks at your heart and not on your physical appearance or intellect. Can you understand that? The greatest Being loves you as you are.

When God chose David instead of Eliab, He said to Samuel:  “Do not consider how handsome or tall he is. I have not chosen him. I do not look at the things people look at. Man looks at how someone appears on the outside. But I look at what is in the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

If you feel rejected by people and see God accepting you, then you definitely have lot of worth. If the greatest Being loves and accept you then it does not matter what people think of you. God hates the sin in you but love sinners, so why not repenting? I often hear that if someone has difficulty in relationships, it’s because of past family problems(which I think is somewhat true). But when someone experienced God’s love, he/she can love himself/herself and abundantly love other people. God can heal broken hearts and help those who have difficulties in relationships.

Ask God to change yourself to make you a better person. If you’re waiting for a partner, use this time to become a better partner. Let God transform and prepare you to be a better partner. Waiting for a partner is difficult if you see yourself wasting time. But if you let God use this time to prepare you, then waiting will not be that difficult. When you realise that, you will probably conclude that you need some more time and you’re perhaps not yet ready for marriage. There’re many cases of divorce out there because the partners were immature when they took the decision to get engage. Don’t put yourself under pressure for marriage, you might do a mistake. It’s always better to be single than marrying the wrong person. Waiting with God is better than learning the hard way. May God fill you with his love so that his love becomes overflowing through you for your future partner.

This song for you:

>>To be continued…

Posted May 6, 2012 by Cedric in Thought-provoking

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Temptation   1 comment

Temptation

Temptation

I don’t know about you but I heard a lot of sermons on “Temptation”. In this sharing, I would like to point to obedience in temptation. Everyone knows what temptation is because every human being has been tempted (even Jesus).  Temptation is not a sin but satisfying those evil desires are. We are not all tempted the same way because we respond differently to temptation. James gives us a reason for this:

Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.” James 1:14

If you’re someone who likes to drink, the devil will exploit this evil desire in you to drown you more in this sin. It can be lust, pornography, gaming or cupidity. I was reading Matthew 4 and wanted to understand what was the devil’s intention in tempting Jesus. Why did he persist and what was his agenda? Why did the devil tempt the Son of God, Jesus? How could he dare? Was not it pointless? The devil is a fierce adversary and does not give up easily. You can be winning 100-0 with one minute remaining time and you can still find the devil on the ring battling. The devil is like a lion looking for a prey. The devil tried and was not pessimist when he had the guts to tempt Jesus. So do you think he’ll leave you alone? If you’re a threat, the devil will use things your flesh likes to tempt you in order to try paralyze you.

I don’t know about you but when I’m hungry, I’m not in good mood. I’ll eat whatever I can find to appease this hunger. Here we see again the devil using this physical weakness of Jesus to tempt Him after fasting 40 days.

If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread

In this phrase there’re 2 baits with a hidden agenda. First, it is this deadly “if”. This “if” reminds me also of Eden, “Did God really say?” and we know what happened. I often hear people say “If you’re a real man, do this or that”. If someone thinks he’s a real man, then there’s no need to prove it. Jesus did not have to prove the devil whatsoever.

The second tactic(bait) was using a weakness of the flesh-hunger. If you’re hungry and have the ability to fill your stomach, won’t you do something about it? For some people it can be money, fame, sex etc.  Now the hidden agenda there, was obedience. The devil wanted Jesus to obey him, the same way he did in Eden. In Eden, Adam and Eve obeyed the devil and disobeyed God. If Jesus obeyed to prove He could change stones to bread then He would have been prideful through disobedience.

Jesus used the scripture to reply the devil. “People do not live by bread alone,but by every word that comes from the mouth of God“.

Next temptation:

If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say ‘He will order his angels to protect you.And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.”

So here the cunning devil wants to play his favorite game again i.e. twisting scripture. The scripture said that God will send His angels to protect but should it be a reason to jump off or provoke God? Jesus walked on the water and I’m quite certain He could jump off a mountain without being hurt. Jesus replied and said “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God“.

The scripture also said not to provoke God. Don’t provoke God to see if He’ll punish you if you sin. Jesus did not even argue with the devil when the scripture was twisted. It would have been pointless to make the devil understand the context or reason. The devil does not care, His goal is to get you. He’s like a lion who wants to devour you Peter said(1 Peter 5:8). So don’t argue with evil people about scripture. Rebuke when necessary, teach, correct, contend and defend the faith as the bible says. But the bible also says to avoid useless discussions and pointless debates. This is what happened in Eden. If Eve turned her back and did not continue this discussion, the devil would not have had the opportunity to sow his deadly seeds in her mind. Resist the devil and he will flee the bible says(James 4:7). Don’t play with fire. What happened to David? He wanted to know more about Bathsheba and it’s then he started to conceive in his mind for ways to get her. If he refused these bad thoughts he would not have even inquired who was this lady taking her bath outside.

Let’s not allow Satan outsmart us, we know his tricks. 2 Cor 2:11

The devil persisted again and showed Jesus kingdoms of the world and their glories. Here again the devil wanted to play with the desires of the flesh i.e. glory, fame and honor.  Perhaps for someone great as Jesus, it was thirst for power which was a stronger temptation. We know that great rulers always want to get richer and control.

Jesus was God and whatever He wanted He could get. The devil was indeed the prince of this world and ruled. The devil would not have mind giving all these powers as long as Jesus obeyed him by kneeling down and worshipping him. But Jesus demonstrated obedience to God and did not seek glory (Phil 2:6).  Jesus has been tempted in many ways so that He could be a perfect High Priest for us (Heb 2:16-18, 5:8). Obedience to God is a sign of worship. Obedience to the devil is also a sign of worship. Let’s not forget what Samuel said to Saul:

What is more pleasing to the Lord:your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice?Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice,and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols.So because you have rejected the command of the Lord,he has rejected you as king.”1 Samuel 15:22

Obedience means submission to an authority (Oxford dictionary). Saul disobeyed God by keeping the animals for offerings. Sounds spiritual is not it? Perhaps it was also a pretext to keep the best livestock for personal use. How to differentiate what is fake piety and genuine devotion? It’s Obedience.

Do not obey the sinful desires of your flesh.

So don’t let sin rule your body, which is going to die. Don’t obey its evil longings.” Rom 6:12

Posted May 1, 2012 by Cedric in Theology

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