Archive for October 2012

How can a young person enjoy life?   9 comments

Follow me

Follow me

Young people,it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do. So refuse to worry, and keep your body healthy. But remember that youth, with a whole life before you, is meaningless.” Ecc 11:9

There’s like this conception in the mind of young people that Christians cannot enjoy life. But in the book of Ecclesiastes, this is not what we read. Enjoying life or having pleasures is not defended or evil. In fact the wise Solomon said to young people to enjoy every minute of life. Live life in its fullness. However, he does not end there, there’s this “BUT remember”. Let’s not forget that we are accountable for what we did and good we did not do. God has given us the freewill, we are not robots. God gave us life so that we can enjoy it and not to live as monks and hermits. Enjoy your life Christians! There’re so many ways to enjoy life.

Does that mean that a Christian man should go around gathering prostitutes to satisfy his lusts? This question should not even arise because a follower of Jesus will not even think of such a thing.

One day a young man ran up to Jesus and fell on his knees before him and said “Good teacher,what must I do to inherit eternal life?”Jesus told him to keep up God’s commands. The man replied“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” Mark 10:17

If a young person would like to enjoy life in its fullness, follow Jesus! Jesus will teach you how to enjoy life to the maximum in purity. Do you know how blessed you can be by being a blessing for others?

Many young people think that pleasure can be found in sex, drug, parties and alcohol. Regarding sex, the bible teaches Christians to enjoy sexual activities only with a spouse. Greater sexual satisfaction and joy can be found only when we follow God’s principles. God instituted marriage for that. God blesses Christian couples who are faithful and follow His ways. Having more concubines does not make someone more happy but rather brings more worries, shame and guilt.
The book of proverbs puts it plainly as such:

Drink water from your own well—share your love only with your wife.Why spill the water of your springs in the streets, having sex with just anyone?You should reserve it for yourselves.Never share it with strangers. Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you.Rejoice in the wife of your youth.She is a loving deer, a graceful doe.Let her breasts satisfy you always.May you always be captivated by her love.Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman,or fondle the breasts of a promiscuous woman?” Prov 5:15

Follow Jesus’ teachings! If you have a lot of money, Jesus will tell you to give it to the poor to release you from worries, the sin of cupidity and avarice. Giving makes one’s heart happy. “It is more blessed to give than to receive” Jesus said (Acts 20:35). Do you know how many Christians find rest in their souls when they care for others? Whether they are paid or not, they enjoy loving and caring for others. Jesus did not promise us that we will be rich and never be sick. He rather said that we’ll have troubles as long as we’ll be on earth. But amidst these troubles we can still enjoy life in wonderful ways.

Keep your body healthy to enjoy life Ecclesiastes says. Do sports and eat well! How will you be able to enjoy life, young man, if you don’t keep your body healthy?

Refuse to worry if you want to enjoy life. Many people cannot enjoy life because they worry a lot about the future. Stress is becoming the killing factor No.1 in the world because people can no longer bear worries.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5

The Christian who has faith does not worry about tomorrow because He trusts that Jesus is in control.

In Matthew 6, 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.”

Many people do things only to satisfy their body but they forget their soul and spirit.  Our soul and spirit also need to be cared of. Is your soul sad inside? This is why we often see rich people unhappy and without peace. Jesus takes care of our body, soul and spirit to make us whole.

There’re many evil ways to “enjoy” life. People who want to “enjoy” life in evil ways will never be satisfied. If you want to enjoy life, do things you know God approves and blesses. Your soul will be satisfied and experience a sense of accomplishment because you’re doing God’s will. There’re many ways you can enjoy life with your spouse or friends. There’re many needy people, there’re many kinds of sports and nice food you can eat, right?

If you’re able to enjoy the work of your hands, it is a blessing from God. Many people are so busy working that they survive and do not live. They amass treasures that they will never be able to enjoy. Follow God’s principles. Lay at His feet your life and future plans.

Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God” Eccl. 5:19

 

 

1. Follow God’s principles regarding relationships

2. Follow His attitude by loving everyone, giving and caring for others.

3. Follow His counsels by obeying his teachings, taking care of your body, casting your burdens and worries on Him

Follow Jesus and enjoy life in its fullness because you don’t have much time left to live!

Posted October 27, 2012 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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John 3:16   Leave a comment

John 3:16

John 3:16

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. .” John 3:16

This is probably the most known verse in the bible. If one person would like to get a summary of what there’s in the bible, John 3:16 summarizes it well. In my opinion, John 3:16 resumes the core of the Gospel and Christianity. It also shows who is the God of Christians. It is a God who loves beyond understanding.

1. For God

First of all, this verse implies that God exists. There has been and there are still huge debates on this mighty being. Is there a God? If so, who is this God? The Greeks had many gods and so it is around us. Is it a god who is created by human hands (Ps. 115, Is. 44) and is in need of anything from us to sustain himself (Hag 2:8, Is 66:1-2)? Is it a god we created in our minds? The God of the Christians described in this verse is a God who loves (1 John 4:8). It is the Supreme Being who just spoke and things came into existence (Ps 33:9). The mountains, waters, stars and planets fixed themselves as per His commands (Heb 11:3, Job 38-40).

2. So loved

Is there a being who can love more than God? God is the author of love. Only God can love to the greatest degree and love at 100%. Never a husband will be able to love his wife at 100% (or vice-versa) because we humans are by nature selfish and prideful. Love is not a feeling. Love is action, it is giving and a commitment and is not like emotions which fluctuate with circumstances. Genuine love is independent of what the one who is loved decides. Even if many people hate God, that would not reduce to 1% God’s love for them.  Agape love is a sacrificial, not self-seeking and unconditional love. It’s about giving oneself to the well being of someone else.
3. The world

This God loves everyone. Whether you’re black, white, illiterate or handicapped. God knows by name every human being who exists on this earth . It is not a God for elites who claim to have some super spiritual knowledge or power. Everyone is at least loved by someone and this someone is not just anyone, it is the One who created everything. God wants everyone to know that He loves them but unfortunately many reject Him.

4. That He gave

The God of Christians is a God who gives. God does not ask anything from us, He already gave what was needed. Is there anything we can bring to God to beg for forgiveness? If someone hurt me, even if he offers millions dollars, he will not be able to buy my forgiveness. It’s disrespectful to try to bargain with God by doing good.  Who can say “Look God how many good things I did, you have to forgive me now!“.

It is a myth to believe that the amount of good things we do will cancel the bad things we did. There’s no such things as a balance in God’s hand. If a priest has been helping people in need during all his life and it happens that one day he exceeded the speed limit while hurrying to an orphanage, he violated the law. He’ll never be able to say to the judge “Look at all the good stuff I did, you have to cancel the charges against me!“. This is indisputable. There’s no relation between cancelling bad deeds with good deeds. This is human’s nature to try to repair mistakes. The righteous God does not work this way.

If God does not want to forgive, no one can force Him. Someone who forgives is someone who gives and this act is closely related to the word ‘grace’. The gift that God is giving here is  called ‘salvation’. God is giving us the chance to repent and be saved from His divine wrath. God did not forgive because we did enough good things but because He knew no one would ever be able to meet His standard of righteousness. Love is giving. If you love someone you’ll give without asking anything in return. This is genuine love. What does God lack that a human being can bring?

5. His one and only Son

God is a generous God and He gave the best. If the scripture read “God so loved the world that He gave a barrel of water”, we would certainly doubt the seriousness of God and the gravity of our offenses. God did not give something which had no value in His eyes. It did not cost something, it cost Him everything. It was His beloved Son whom He sent. Of course, this does not mean that God has a biological son. Jesus was both called son of man and son of God. He was called son of God because He had God’s nature. He was called son of man because He had man’s nature. Jesus is God Himself who took a human body to present Himself as a offering for sin. God through Jesus came to reconcile Himself to man. Why did God take a human body and die on a cross? Simply because it was God’s way to expiate sins. Annihilation of legions of holy angels would not be able to remove a single white lie as they are but creatures like us. It required deity to forgive sin. God’s justice and righteousness could be met only by Himself.  The name of the God of the Christian is Jesus. Jesus is the mediator between sinful humanity and the holy God. When you’re in contact with Jesus, you’re in contact with God Himself. Let us be honest, how can man repair his sins with alms, prayers and good deeds? Man cannot and does not know how to deal with his sins. God Himself took the first step to forgive (Rom 5:6). Jesus is the greatest gift. If the world would like a proof of God’s love, God would say “Look at my Son!”

What is the greatest thing one can give? His money, house, eyes? The greatest thing someone can give is his life for once you give it, you cannot take it back.

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels–a plentiful harvest of new lives” John 12:24

To cease to live to give life to someone else, this is the greatest proof of love. Jesus did more than that when He chose to offer Himself on the cross. He did not die because He did something wrong but because He was the only righteous being who could present Himself before God and say “Pour out your wrath on me and forgive them!“. Only Jesus understood the exigence of God and knew how to repair our sins.  It’s unbelievable, but where there’s love, crazy things can happen.

6. That whoever believes in him

As mentioned earlier, God does not reveal himself only to some monks, priests or spiritual leaders. God is accessible to anyone and not just to a few. No matter how sinful one can be, God is interested to reveal Himself to any sinners. God would not be shocked by the sins we would like to confess, He already knows them all anyway!

Just believing in Jesus? That simple? It does not make sense to many that forgiveness can be obtained by just trusting Jesus’ sacrifice. What God only asks is that we acknowledge that we are sinners and that He provided Jesus to die on a cross to forgive our sins. We only have to believe that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is enough to forgive our sins. This is only what God requires (John 6:29, Mark 9:7). People think that they have to do many things to get God’s sympathy, approval and indulgence. But a Christian came to the conclusion that he’ll never be able to do enough (or anything) to forgive his sins. Meeting God’s standard of righteousness and holiness is impossible. The Christian accepts God’s forgiveness by grace. It is by God’s grace that our debts are freely cancelled (Col 2:13-14). It is a absolute reliance on the work of the Son of God without anything required from sinful man.

7. shall not perish but have eternal life

We have seen that God is love. As deep God’s love can be, as deep His wrath is. God is love but also holy and righteous. His wrath on sinners is incomparable. We are talking about a righteous Judge who has no flaws. The Son knew that no human beings would ever be able to escape God’s holy wrath so He presented Himself before God so that God’s justice is made (Hebrews 10:5-9). God in His anger crushed His Son on the cross (Is. 53). Jesus was ready to endure whatever was required to redirect God’s wrath on Him (John 10:17). He was singled out (Hebrews 13:12) and hung alone under God’s judgment for our redemption. It is because we are sinners that we sin. No one has to teach a new born baby how to lie. By himself this baby will learn to sin. We are born with a sinful nature because of Adam’s sin. No one is born righteous. God is a God who loves but is also righteous. Because of His righteousness, He cannot leave sins unpunished. This is why He cannot accept sin in His holy presence. There’s a place of eternal separation for sinners called hell. Right now, sinners cannot understand how hard it will be to live eternally away from God’s presence. Due to the high penalty of disobedience, God sent Jesus to reconcile every sinners to Him. God wants every humans to live eternally in His peaceful presence but unfortunately not everyone wants it. God is merciful because He is not giving us what we deserve i.e. hell and is full of grace because He gave us what we do not deserve i.e. Forgiveness through Jesus.

Trusting in Jesus’ sacrifice is the only way to be spared of God’s wrath on the day of final judgement. Everyday is a new day given by God to each human to receive the forgiveness of sins. Today is the day the bible says (2 Cor 6:2, Heb. 4:7). Some joyfully accept that only Jesus’ sacrifice can save them and want Jesus to be the Master of their life. Others refuse Jesus’ sacrifice and want to continue living in their sins because they like their vices. They fear that all their evil deeds are exposed if Jesus comes into their life.

I have given you my Son, what have you done of this gift?

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. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God

 

The Preaching of the Gospel

Salvation is free but not cheap. The reason Christians are called to tell about the Good News is because people will not know unless they are told.

But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent?” Romans 10:14

It is vital that Christians share the gospel with people who have not yet heard it. But woe to those who heard and rejected it. We should not be discouraged if we do not see the result of our work. Paul planted the seeds of the gospel and did not always see its fruit. God made it grow by the Spirit who works in the heart of man.

After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building.” 1 Cor 3:5-9

Who can genuinely convince man of sin except the Spirit (Jean 16:8)? Christians have not been called to persuade men they are sinners and to repent, this is the work of the Spirit. The mission of Christian is to preach about Jesus crucified for sinners. The Spirit will do that mighty work of convicting hearts. Some people like Apollos just reap what others worked hard. Their work is equally important as they disciple new followers of Christ.

But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike! You know the saying, ‘One plants and another harvests.’ And it’s true. I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.” John 4:36-38

GOD — The Greatest Lover
SO LOVED — The Greatest Degree
THE WORLD — The Greatest Company
THAT HE GAVE — The Greatest Act
HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON — The Greatest Gift
THAT WHOSOEVER — The Greatest Opportunity
BELIEVETH — The Greatest Simplicity
IN HIM — The Greatest Attraction
SHOULD NOT PERISH — The Greatest Promise
BUT — The Greatest Difference
HAVE — The Greatest Certainty
EVERLASTING LIFE. — The Greatest Possesion

J. Edwin Hartill

Posted October 20, 2012 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Good and faithful Steward   Leave a comment

Talent

Talent

The last 2 posts discussed about working hard to earn our daily bread and for the kingdom of Christ. In both posts, mention was made about this sin called laziness. Laziness is often what causes people to sin. A lazy person is an idle person and an idle person is more prone to sin than someone who is busy working.

The Psalmist prayer was:

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” Psalm 90:12

Every single day, every breath is a gift from God. What are we doing with these 24 hours? On average, we sleep 8 hours daily. What do we do with the remaining 16 hours? Does this hand help others during this time or remains idle?

God has entrusted Christians gifts and abilities. God has equipped us so that we can equip others. God has blessed us so that we can be a blessing to others. It’s not because we deserved anything but because of His own purpose. Every time we have should be an opportunity to do good and not evil.

Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Eph 5:16

In the parable of the 3 servants we see a story which clearly demonstrates that God expects us to multiply what He has entrusted us. In Luke 19 we see a similar parable with minas instead of talents.

He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone.” Mat 25

We see that the master went for a long trip which indicates that there’s enough time to do what is right but no clue when the time will come to give an account of what has been done.

He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.”

In other english bible versions, it is the word “talent” which is used to describe what was entrusted. It is equal to 75 pounds. A denarius was the usual payment for a day’s labour and a talent was roughly the value of twenty years of work(about 6000 denarii) by an ordinary person.

The servant who received 5 talents/bags of silver actually got a wealth equal to 100 years of work. Jesus wanted to emphasize that much was given to one who had more abilities. We should also not forget that there’s greater responsibility on the one who received more. He should toil harder and be more careful of not spoiling a single penny. Let us consider that the master knew well the abilities of his servants. We Christians have been gifted with different gifts. Some are called to be pastors, teachers, evangelists, deacons, elders etc.

A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages,while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.” 1 Cor 12:7

Since these gifts are given when we become Christians, they are not innate. It is the Spirit who gives these gifts. Whether it be in the parable of the talents or 1 Corinthians 12, what has been entrusted was given for a purpose. It was given to produce something. In 1 Corinthians 12 it was given to edify other believers whilst in Matthew 25 to increase wealth.

What we read next is this:

The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.” (NIV)

Went at once? Time is money. Time is souls. Lost of time is waste of money. Waste of time is lost of souls. A property bought 20 years ago has more value nowadays than 20 years ago because with time it increases in worth. The one who received 5 bags/talents was able to double what he received. The wealth acquired was equal to 200 years of work by a usual worker! 5 bags did not produce 1 more bag. On average, each bag produced one more bag. It was the same for the one who received 2 bags. The wealth of the master was now worth 80 years of work instead of 40. Each bag again produced one more bag. What about the one who received just one bag? He went to dig a hole in the ground. Why? Because he feared someone could steal it? Jesus did not say that he stole a penny from it. So he did not owe anything then, right?

In business terms he was indebted to the master since 10 dollars today will not be able to buy the same thing in 20 years.  No interest was accrued on that capital. A house which you could have bought cheaper 5 years ago is probably not affordable today.

After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.”

A long time. This is enough to say that the master knew that the time of maturity to reap had come. The servant who already obtained 3 more talents could have rested because he could no longer be blamed for not being productive. But no, he toiled to make each of his talents bear fruits. He was blameless. A success in one area would not compensate for a deliberate act of laziness.

None of the servants knew when the master would come. But the time had come when the master returned and wanted to settle accounts. We will  need to give account to what we did one day.

For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.” 2 Cor 5:10

Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God.” Romans 14:12
The servant who received 5 talents said:  The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.”

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!

A few things? If 100 years is a few thing, what could be these many things? The time for rejoicing has come for these 2 servants who doubled what they received. They were not commended because of how much they did but because of their faithfulness.

But the one who received just 1 talent said : ” ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

Oh these arguments appear to be so legitimate.”I could not serve God because of my wife, husband or work etc”. Jesus in the parable of the feast said :

But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I now have a wife, so I can’t come.’”

Granted the master was a hard man who wanted to reap where he did not sow, but why did not the other 2 dug a hole?

His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.”

What God gives should always bear fruits. ‘Wicked and lazy servant’, these are the terms used by the Master. The servant had the same time as the other servants. A long time just to double a single talent. But no, he hid the wealth and dared to return it unfruitful to the master. It’s lazy people who are afraid to work. Hard workers don’t fear to work.

“‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

A servant who is not productive is a worthless servant.

I won’t say may ‘God help me to be a hard worker’ but rather may God forgive me for not being a faithful and productive servant. I often hear that some people have some hidden talents. But Christians should NOT have hidden talents, everything given by God to them is for a purpose. It is sad to see that many Christians still don’t know what God called them to do. The bible clearly says that each of us has been given a special ability so there’re no reasons to be unproductive. There’re either good stewards or lazy ones.