Archive for February 2013

On being single (part 2)   Leave a comment

Biblical love

Biblical Christian love

Several months ago, I posted my thoughts on being single (here) . Throughout the world, people usually consider that God should be present in the union of a man and a woman . God has instituted marriage and there’re therefore good reasons to seek divine counsels before putting a foot in.

If you’re the rough kind of guy, you probably think you don’t need anyone. Perhaps you want to make people believe that you can handle it all but deep down your heart you’re perplexed because you’re not able to make your soul stop thirsting for love.  Yeah, we all need love and we cannot just escape it. We cannot quench human love by money or material things. Human love can only be quenched by human love. Sometimes, our pride want to suppress these feelings because we consider it weak for a man to be “emotional”. Girls do better than us in expressing their emotions and feelings. I’m a 24 single guy and in my thoughts I know what kind of girl I’m looking for. At times we tend to set up a list for Mr/Ms Perfect and end up frustrated because we no one is up to our standard.

How to know if we’re making the right choice?

It’s a question I have been asking myself. I’ll share my thoughts on it.

1. God’s will is that the bride and the groom coming to Him on the wedding day are actually his son and daughter.  In other words, both should be Christians before seeking God’s blessing (2 Cor 6:14).

2. See whether your potential partner will draw you closer to God. When I look around me, I wonder if I will find a girl who will be able to help me in the ministry God has entrusted me(Prov 31:10). I realised that the only thing that satisfies my soul is to share God’s Word. The technologies I use at work are really interesting and I know many people who would enjoy doing what I do. But I know perfectly well that I’m not satisfied by all this. More degrees, higher social status and money cannot satisfy my soul. I found out that simply sharing God’s Word fills up this crazy missing part. My purpose on this earth is to share God’s Word and I’ll not trade it for anything else(1 Cor 9:16). I’ll prefer to lose my job than to be deprived of sharing God’s Word. I’ll prefer to remain single than to have a wife who will hinder me from studying my bible and teach God’s Word(Prov 31:11,12). Do you know what is God’s purpose for you? Will a union with Mr/Ms X hinder or bring you closer to God? If you think that remaining single allows you to be closer to Jesus than marriage, bear in mind that you’ll find yourself unsatisfied if you choose to marry. God knows that I need someone to help me do this work He entrusted me.

3. The character of the person plays a very important role.  I’ll prefer to remain single than to marry the queen of beauty who has a bad character(Prov 7:5-27). In Christian terms, I seek for a partner who has the fruit of the Spirit and let herself transformed by God. The bride and the groom are imperfect individuals and they will discover little by little the odd characters of each other and might try to fix them. This is where they often mess up and get disputes. Leave this task to God the Creator. Let Him transform you first and pray for your potential partner. The fruit of the Spirit(Gal 5:22) in you is enough to make your partner crave for what you have inside. If your partner loves God, he/she will pray to become like Jesus(2 Cor 3:18) in order to become a better partner. Can you imagine how beautiful it is to have 2 partners seeking to become more like Jesus all the days of their life? This is the key to a successful marriage because God is leading both hearts in the same direction. Remember that it’s far better to be single than to marry the wrong person. If you’re currently in a relationship that does not please God, you need to decide today if you want to let God lead you or not.

4. Now I have to mention physical appearance. I do not consider it the main factor because it’s obvious that external beauty is temporary but internal beauty is gold(Prov 31:30). But we have been wired to attract and be attracted and there should at least some physical attraction between the potential partners.

5. Why do you want to get married? Is it because you have many problems at home and want to flee? What is motivating you to go for marriage? If your intention is to flee your problems, bear in mind that marriage might not necessarily be a place of refuge. You have perhaps messed up in your past and want to start anew. You’re right to think so and God will help you through. But please bear in mind that your future partner is not a psychologist and might not understand all you past hurts. You need to tell him/her everything. You need to be able to communicate and trust him/her(Prov 31:11,12). If you don’t trust and communicate, don’t go for marriage. In marriage it’s no longer “you” and “I” but “us”. Both become one flesh(1 Cor 6:12-20).

6. It’s not about you. It’s about God and your partner. Love is all about giving and if you’re not ready to give yourself to him/her, you’re being selfish(1 Cor 13) for love is not selfish. One of the reason you want to go for marriage is to be able to serve God more for two is better than one. You would like to overflow your partner with Jesus’ love and your care. It’s not about him/her satisfying your lust and wants but about helping your partner becoming a better person. If your clothes are not being washed, buy a washing machine and don’t take a wife. If you want security, take an insurance not a husband. The husband will make his best to make you happy and give you security but he has limitations. The wife also has her own occupations, she grew up like you in a home and is perhaps not a chef in the kitchen. You’ll have to be patient and help her in household activities.

7. Love is NOT a feeling. It’s a commitment. You can feel hot or cold but not feel like “loving”. If you do, this is infatuation. Before you say these 3 words “I LOVE YOU”, think 3 times. Think if YOU really LOVE that PERSON.  Will you be ready to give yourself to him/her? If it happens one day that this spark is no longer there and you no longer feel physically attracted, will you give up? If that person gets physically handicapped, will you remain faithful? If your commitment fluctuates for that person, it means you’re not ready for marriage and are not committed.  Love is commitment. If someone really loves, he cannot say “Darling, I feel like not committed to you today”. Are you willing to you love her/him like Jesus do (Eph 5:25)?

Waiting and abstinence until marriage is not wasted time if you’re letting God form your character. The more you wait, the more time you have to become more mature before marriage. You have time to think, to know more about you and God’s will for you.

Posted February 23, 2013 by Cedric in Thought-provoking

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Epistle to the Hebrews (9:15)   Leave a comment

Epistle to the HebrewsThat is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant.”  Hebrews 9:15

That is why this culminates to the ultimate fact that He is “THE ONE” and only!

We went through some powerful arguments in the previous verses. The fact that He is the perfect sacrifice justifies why the “This is why He is the One”. Not anyone else, there’s no equal or nearly equal to Him. It’s an indisputable matter that it is Him who should hold this role of Mediator.

This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.” 1 Tim 2:3-6

When God called Moses to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt and be a mediator of God’s covenant to Israel, we read:

God answered, “I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain.”But Moses protested, “If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ they will ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what should I tell them?”God replied to Moses, “I Am Who I Am. Say this to the people of Israel: I Am has sent me to you.” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: Yahweh, the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.This is my eternal name,my name to remember for all generations.” Exodus 3:12-15

I AM was God’s name because He was the One who was everything. He is self sufficient. This summarised what He was going to be to Israel. If Israel asked how will that be possible and who is this God who will do that, Israel only needed to know : “Israel,  I am going to lead you out of Egypt, I am going to feed you, I am going to protect you, I am going to give you the land and I am going to bless you. I am going to be all you need, I will provide. My name is I AM because I AM all you need

Jesus also made this striking statement that He is the I AM. He proved there that He is what He has always been i.e. eternally existent. It was clear in this context that Jesus was referring to this event in Exodus 3 and declared Himself to be this I AM.

Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I Am!” At that point they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden from them and left the Temple.” John 8:58

Do you understand what it means that He is the One, the I AM? Every mouth should shut, knees bow down and contemplate who He is. God presented Himself as the One who will lead Israel out of Egypt and He did it. Now Jesus presented Himself as the One who was going to lead us to salvation. Let us go through some statements Jesus said.

Jesus emphatically said that “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is.From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am?

Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you?Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me.

Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.” John 14:6-14

I AM the bread of life“. John 6:48

I AM the resurrection and the life” John 11:25.

I AM the light of the world” John 8:12

I AM the true Vine” John 15:1

When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I AM he.John 8:24

It was clear to the high priest and anyone that Jesus claimed to be Messiah. Jesus did not deny who He was and this eventually led to His death for He implicitly claimed to be God.

Then the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”Jesus said, “I Am.And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.”Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Why do we need other witnesses? You have all heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?”“Guilty!” they all cried. “He deserves to die!” Mark 14:62

Jesus also proved He was God because He forgave sins. Not a prophet in the bible could forgive sins. Only God can forgive sins. Jesus did it.

Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’?So I will prove to you that the Son of Manhas the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” Mark 2:10

Do you believe that JESUS is the I AM, the everything you need? He alone can lead you to heaven. He is the perfect mediator and the only One who has the credentials to guarantee this new covenant between God and man. Only Jesus can give you eternal life.

Jesus presented Himself as the Mediator because He was the only One who could hold this office. Jesus said to God :

Look, I have come to do your will.” He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect. For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.” Hebrews 10:9

Consider Jesus, consider this man who said He was the One, the I AM. Anyone who trust in Him will not be deceived.

As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Romans 10:11

Posted February 13, 2013 by Cedric in Theology

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Epistle to the Hebrews (9:11-14)   Leave a comment

Epistle to the HebrewsSo Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come.He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.” Hebrews 9:11-14

We have seen earlier the difference between the earthly tabernacle and the heavenly one. We also realised that there were some sins we did in ignorance which would be held against us on judgement day. Our conscience had this guilt caused by sin and could not be cleanse by good deeds or sacrifices. Jesus ministers in the heavenly tabernacle and His blood has the power to cleanse our conscience of past sins.

The Jews were ceremonially unclean when they got sickness like leprosy or touched a corpse.  By the sprinkling of  the blood of the animals,  this only allowed man to become ceremonially clean not spiritually holy . The blood of bulls could not deal with the unclean and sinful heart of man. Sin is a spiritual matter and it cannot be dealt with earthly sacrifices. The high priest had to offer sacrifice for his own sins before ministering in the most holy place for he is himself a sinful man. He had to take animal’s blood and this proved that he was unfit for this task for he required external help. Could not the devil accuse the high priest of his sins? How could the high priest defend himself then?  Did not the offering of animal blood for his own sins made him lose credibility?  On this argument, his ministry proved to be fallible, right?

But Jesus’ ministry is superior than the high priest which preceded Him. He cannot take external blood – blood of animals. He was sinless and He did not require sacrifice for Himself. He is Himself the manifestation of holiness and there has never been a being which lived on earth which could match His purity and holiness. Life is found in the blood(Lev 17:14) and this is why sacrifices were done. It showed the gravity of sin and required the ultimate offering of once existence. The blood flowing in Jesus vein was the blood of redemption, the holy blood which would established a new covenant.

As we read in Romans 5:18, we could not help sinning because it was the nature we inherited from Adam. Adam brought spiritual death to all his descendants because of his disobedience. Similarly, Jesus the second Adam, brought life to all his children because of His obedience. Jesus gave man this ability to be born again spiritually.  The obedience and disobedience of these 2 men have eternal implication.

Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.” Romans 5:18

Should we give up because we have been wired to sin? No, think about the new life given to each individual by Jesus.

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

Think about yourself as a new born baby. Consider yourself as a descendant of the Adam who did not sin. Jesus made everything new. Could the blood of animals do all that? Of course not, if it could it would not have repeated itself over and over again. I realise that without this new nature, it would have still been impossible to worship God. Though Moses was a righteous man, he could not see God’s face(Exo 33:22). Isaiah could not stand in God’s presence because of his sinfulness. He was guilty and it was normal for a man to feel unworthy.

He touched my lips with it and said, “See, this coal has touched your lips. Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven.” Isa 6:7

The author wants to tell us a fact: “Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God“.

Think about it again, digest it. Yes now you can boldly come in God’s presence without fear because of the perfect sacrifice of Jesus. Moses and Isaiah could not come boldly in God’s presence. Jesus made provision for us to stand amidst God’s holy presence. Have faith in Him.

The book of revelation also tells us that the there is not going to be as such a temple in heaven. God’s presence will be the temple.

I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” Rev 21:22

The first Adam naturally brought in us sin, fear and guilt. Jesus brought in us holiness, hope and confidence. The Holy Spirit, testifies about the validity of Jesus sacrifice.

For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.And Jesus Christ was revealed as God’s Son by his baptism in water and by shedding his blood on the cross not by water only, but by water and blood. And the Spirit, who is truth, confirms it with his testimony.So we have these three witnesses  the Spirit, the water, and the blood—and all three agree.” 1 John 5:4-8

“For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins

Posted February 9, 2013 by Cedric in Theology

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Epistle to the Hebrews (9:6-10)   Leave a comment

Epistle to the HebrewsWhen these things were all in place, the priests regularly entered the first room as they performed their religious duties.But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. By these regulations the Holy Spirit revealed that the entrance to the Most Holy Place was not freely open as long as the Tabernacle and the system it represented were still in use.This is an illustration pointing to the present time. For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies—physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established.” Hebrews 9:6-10

We have already seen the role of the high priest, the necessity of blood to cover sins and the ceremonies held. These sacrifices were rejected by God because they were impure and imperfect .

There were sins which people were aware of because their were laws which clearly pointed out their faults. However, there were also sins done in ignorance which tainted their conscience. When we sin in ignorance, we are still guilty. The Israelites had to offer a sin offering whenever they realised their wrongdoings.

If the entire Israelite community sins by violating one of the Lord’s commands, but the people don’t realize it, they are still guilty.When they become aware of their sin, the people must bring a young bull as an offering for their sin and present it before the Tabernacle.” Lev 4:13

There’re many sins we did in ignorance but that does not mean God is unaware of them. If you had to record all the sins you did each day of your life, you might end up with a huge book. But those sins you did in ignorance would probably make volumes of book bearing your name as author.

Ignorance of law is not an excuse in judiciary and so will it be on the Judgement day.Who can get to heaven even if sins made out of ignorance are counted? No one.

Jesus said:

I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked.Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” Mat 19:24

I should stress on this impossibility for anyone to get to heaven. There’re enough reasons to say that no one will go to heaven because all are sinners. Man’s sin and God’s holiness are antonyms. It is therefore impossible for man and God to dwell together because of the inherent differing nature of these 2 beings. Man was made in the image of God but this image has been severely tarnished by sins. God can no longer recognize us as His beloved “image” or children for we no longer resemble Him. He is holy and we are sinners.

I should also emphasise that “with God everything is possible”. This “everything” is  someone – Jesus. The impossibilities have been removed when He said “It is accomplished”.

Isaiah 53:11 says:

When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish,he will be satisfied.And because of his experience,my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous,for he will bear all their sins.”

These sins you did in ignorance have also been swept away by Jesus. This is what “He will bear ALL their sins” means. Sinners confess the sins they realised but not those they are unaware of. But God sees them all.

How many non-christians have such a burden on their conscience? They find themselves unworthy to talk with God because of their guilty conscience. They cannot do anything to remove this guilt. They will fast, pray, give alms, help the poor, do sacrifice and good deeds and still their conscience is not cleanse of this guilt.I’ll say it again, if during your whole life you have been doing good deeds and it happened one day you were fined because you were driving fast to visit someone at hospital, you’ll never be able to say to the judge “Look at all the good things I did, I always had good intentions and I do not deserve to be fined“.You’ve violated the law and it would be unrighteous for a judge to overlook this wrong doing.  It is a widely believed lie that good deeds cancel bad deeds. This is why many people wonder why they still feel guilty in their conscience after all the good things they did. The fact is that the good things they did not even remove a single white lie.

There’re sins you’re aware of and those you’re unaware of on one side of the balance. On the other side there’s nothing you can put to counterweight. Sin is a spiritual state and it cannot be counter-weighted  with material things or good deeds. Sin has to be dealt in the spiritual world and Jesus removed all those sins. This is why a Christian has a clear conscience for his past sins have been removed.  Under the old covenant, food, animals and drinks were used in the ceremony to cover sins. Blood of animals and food cannot remove sin, they could only cover it. This is why year after year people had to ask God to forgive them of the same sins they did before. When you’re a Christian, you still remember what you did but you know that these sins have been removed and will never be counted against you. So it’s useless to ask God  again to forgive you of the sins you did 20 years ago. He already did and no longer hold it against you.

As we read earlier, Hebrews 8:12 says:

And I will forgive their wickedness,and I will NEVER again REMEMBER their sins.”

Do you understand that? If you’re a Christian, do you still feel guilty of the sins you did before?

Read what God said to Israel in Isaiah 1:18:

Come now, let’s settle this,”says the Lord.“Though your sins are like scarlet,I will make them as white as snow.Though they are red like crimson,I will make them as white as wool.”

Do not fear Christian, look at who Jesus is. His love for us drives out fear. Even on judgment day our Advocate will accompany us and speak for you and me (1 Pet 4:17). His love for us give us this confidence that we’ll not be confused when facing the righteous Judge.

Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced” Rom 10:11

And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” 1 John 4:17

It’s over my friend. God has forgiven you and there’s not a single sin left behind. You can be so ashamed of your past sins and think you have to go through penitence to relieve your conscience. It would be an offense and rebellion to the Lamb’s sacrifice if you think it’s not enough. Believe that Jesus sacrifice is enough and perfect to forgive your sins then you’ll see how your conscience is unloaded of these past sins. How can a Christian worship God with all his mind if his thoughts is still loaded with past guilt? Today consider the power of the High Priest and believe that He is able to plead for you.

Hebrews 9:14 says:

Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God.”

Trust Jesus and see your sins washed away by the holy blood of the Lamb and your mind renewed by the power of His risen life! May your conscience be free today of the burden of sin.

But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” 2 Cor 3:16

Posted February 2, 2013 by Cedric in Theology

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