Archive for July 2013

Epistle to the Hebrews (12:9-13)   Leave a comment

Epistle to the Hebrews

Epistle to the Hebrews

Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.” Hebrews 12:9-13

The word “discipline” has been mentioned 10 times in the first 11 verses of this chapter. Discipline is the act of training someone to obey rules or a code of behavior – using punishment to correct disobedience. It can also be about self-control or rebuking when a rule has been violated. Obviously, no one likes discipline because it causes pain and opposes our natural tendency to rebel. Discipline often opposes the desires of our flesh and restricts us to things we would like to do.

There is discipline at work, at school, at home, at church and also self-discipline. Why do we still consider discipline important? Well, let us look at what happens in places where there’s no disciplines.

If there’s no discipline in a school, kids will take their studies lightly.

To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction.” Proverbs 12:1

Without discipline at home, it’s bound to result in headaches. Discipline sets a good foundation for a child and without it we are actually leaving the child exposed to dangers. This is why the book of proverbs says

Don’t fail to discipline your children. They won’t die if you spank them.” Proverbs 23:13

Discipline your children while there is hope. Otherwise you will ruin their lives.” Proverbs 19:18

If we reject discipline we are not doing ourselves any good but rather letting us fall in a pit.

If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.” Proverbs 15:32

Athletes discipline themselves in training and even at work we abide to a set or rules and submit to a code of conduct.

I have seen how discipline has protected myself from many sins and mistakes. I like discipline though it’s not comfortable. I’m often tired with work and I do not always find enough time for the study of God’s Word and prayers. There’s sadness in me when it happens. But discipline helps me to find time.

Do you think that the Good Father will abstain from granting us this blessing? Discipline is an act of consideration and not sadism. Its goal is to make us better.

For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful!

Our parents disciplined us as they deemed right. They could not make us perfect. But our heavenly Father aims nothing less than perfection. God wants us to become holy as He is.

But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy.For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:16

Think about the results of discipline and not at the present suffering it causes. Many times we look back and regret that we did not put more efforts in studies, at work or relationship. Today is the day to live a disciplined Christian life. Think at the results. There will be a great harvest of living right. Submitting to God’s discipline will make us mature people.

But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

Lack of discipline does not make you stronger but weaker. This is why we see many weak Christians. Today is the day to commit to God your messed up life. Commit to God your attitude in your family, at work, school, relationship. Ask God to help you become more consecrated to Him. An obese person who is continuously pessimistic that she can lose weight will continue to gain more. This person will become more tired, frustrated and her health will deteriorate unless a radical decision is taken promptly. It is easier to gain weight than to lose. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to remediate. If we continue to reject discipline, there will come a point of no return. It’s the same with bad habits, they are easy to take but difficult to get rid of. Discipline allows you to purify you from bad habits and oh yeah it’s painful. But when you hear people who were obese boast about how much efforts they made to lose weight you understand that there’s joy in this pain. It might sound contradictory but there’s actually good results which follow when we are subjected to discipline. Stand up and take courage. Discipline is your buddy. God’s discipline is well tested and always proved to produce godly results. Trust God’s discipline, love it.

So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong

My Testimony   Leave a comment

My testimony

My Testimony

A testimony is a formal written or spoken statement. It is like one given in a court of law under oath. The testimony basically consists of saying what we actually saw, heard or experienced. A false testimony is simply anything which did not happen. A testimony is not based on assumptions or probabilities but on facts/evidences. I hesitated to write on it down because of my pride. No one likes to be exposed. But because I was blessed by the testimony of some humble men, I found the strength to tell about what Jesus did for me. I would like through this post testify about how my life was before knowing Christ, what He did for me and how my life is now.

  • Before I knew Jesus

I am not a guy like Nicky Cruz who had a powerful testimony to share. To be honest, I lived a rather good life. However, there are things I did which I am ashamed of. I did not want to talk about them because I am not proud of these things I did. These things I am not proud of are called “sins”. I went to church with my parents since I was a kid and the sermons I heard were pretty good and had much wisdom. I never had sex with a girl or ever kissed one but I was exposed to movies I should not have watched and this made me guilty.

My biggest struggle was with spirituality itself. I was in the church but yet ignorant about who Jesus really was.

  • When I met Jesus

My encounter with Jesus was gradual. My life did not change all of a sudden like many of those who turned to Christ. I had many questions about Christianity and wondered if it was the truth. I looked at the teachings in other religions and concluded that it could not be the way to God. The fruits produced by these religions in the lives of these people proved that it could not be the way to God. My main issue with Christianity was Jesus’ claim of being God. I could not really digest it. It was not logical to me. How could God die on a cross? How could I be sure that the disciples did not concoct together to invent a story about Jesus? How could I know that the bible was true? How could Jesus’ death on the cross remove my sins? No one could give me the right answers to my questions. So all these question marks on Christianity were leading me to agnosticism (one who cannot prove nor disprove the existence of God).

I came across a verse in the bible which God said to Israel:

I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow.”

I said to God, will you also reveal yourself to me? And oh yeah He faithfully responded.

I had doubts about the veracity of the scripture because it was written by men like me. However, the stuff it said about man’s sin was really true. I identified myself to what it described. It was the truth. The teachings in the scripture really touched me because it revealed my sinful nature. I believed that the One called the Father in the bible was God. But it was still confusing in my mind that Jesus could also be God. It appeared to me that Christianity had more than 1 God and this still made me skeptic. For me Jesus was just a sacrifice for sins and I had doubts that His sacrifice could really forgive me. I did not know Jesus. So here I was on a quest for the truth about Him. I wanted to sit down and have a fresh look at Christianity and question it. My life drastically changed when I started to study the Epistle to the Hebrews. I discovered Jesus as God and bowed to my knees and asked God to forgive me for all my stupid questions about who Jesus was. The fact that I knew that Jesus was God made it evident to me to believe in everything He taught. I guess this was the moment I really gave Jesus all of my life. I wanted Jesus to rule my life and I wanted to obey Him.

  • After I met Jesus

It was a radical change when I acknowledged Jesus as my God. I wondered why no one ever exposed Jesus in His Sovereignty. I discovered the perfection of His sacrifice to even cleanse my tainted conscience of my past sins (Hebrews 9:14, 10:22).  There is no one who can point the finger to me because of my past sins. It is now what God thinks about me which matters. I am now a free and fulfilled man. I have joy in my heart and know God loves me. God has blessed me through so much teachings in His Word. I do not deserve all the blessings God has given me. I am not a slave of any sin. If you think that it is IMPOSSIBLE to get rid of sins that are enslaving you, I will tell you that you know nothing about what Jesus can do. It’s never too late.

I now take pleasure in writing about His goodness and love.

Jesus has also given me this assurance that He will care for me for my daily needs and this helps me to remove this burden called worries. I am a satisfied man, God is all I need to be happy. I have now a purpose in life – doing God’s will. I found out that doing God’s filled up the emptiness in my heart.

I do not know how sinful your life has been but one thing I know is that Jesus came to give a brand new heart to the broken hearted, hope to the hopeless and vitality to a meaningless messed up life. You might have failed in your studies, relationship or career and now you feel inadequate or unfulfilled. With deep conviction and assurance I can tell you that these are not what life is all about. You have not yet failed in your life. God wants to give sense to your life and make you a fulfilled individual by serving Him. The greatest failure is to push away this God who wants to overflow you with His love and renew you.

Posted July 15, 2013 by Cedric in Testimony

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Epistle to the Hebrews (12:5-8)   Leave a comment

Epistle to the Hebrews

Epistle to the Hebrews

And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said,“My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline,and don’t give up when he corrects you.For the Lord disciplines those he loves,and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? 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.” Hebrews 12:5-8

The author earlier described Jesus as the One who instills faith in us. He wants us to live by faith and trust Him. We do not always find it easy to surrender and trust a God we do not see with our eyes and touch with our hands. But yet there’s a certitude that this God wants us to have absolute dependence on Him. We do not naturally like to depend on others because of our pride. God is a loving and rich Father. When we ask Him we are not begging. Every father likes to see themselves as the provider of their children. It would be an offense to a rich loving father  if his son begged for a few coins on the streets to have some stuff to fill up his stomach. Yet this is often what we do with our loving heavenly Father. We turn to other ways instead of trusting Him. God wants to overflow us with His love but we so many times reject Him. How will a loving rich husband feel if his wife run after another man to meet her needs?

We are God’s children and God is a rich loving Father. As much as God wants to present Himself as a Father who provides, He also wants to build us up to become like Him. He wants to correct behaviors in us that are not conformed to His character. He does it through this process called discipline.

God the Father wants us to become like His Son.

For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstbornamong many brothers and sisters.” Romans 8:29

The Spirit works within us to become like the Son:

 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 3:18

Jesus is perfect, He is the Holy God of heaven. We are very far from being like Him and this implies that there will always be pruning process to be done in our lives. For instance, the fruit of the Spirit needs to be produced in us. We are bound to be disciplined by God. The Master will remain the master, but we the disciples should become like the Master.

Students are not greater than their teacher. But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher.” Luke 6:40

God disciplines us for our good. No father takes pleasure in inflicting pain to their kids. But yet he does it because he wants his kids to become responsible and respectable citizens. Do you realise that the holy God of heaven calls you His child? Who is that father who will be proud to say that his daughter is a renowned harlot and son a drug dealer? Is not it rather a shame?  How can a child of God still live in sin?

But though we have weaknesses, the perfect sacrifice of the Son made us righteous. Jesus is not ashamed to present us to God as His brothers and sisters.

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.” Hebrews 2:11

Paul said ““The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” 2 Tim 2:19

John said in his letter:

Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pureAnyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is.” 1 John 3:2,6

God corrects us for our good. He does not want to see evil in us but the fragrance of His Son. God disciplined Israel through tough means like calamities, sickness and starvation because they were so stubborn. God is still ready to use hard means so that we turn our eyes on Him.We have the choice there, either we submit to God or turn away from Him. Nowadays when children refuse their parents authority and discipline, they just leave home. God is not a father in law who will not discipline kids which are not His. He wants His children to be fulfilled and happy. If we are not disciplined by God, it is most likely that He does not recognize us as His children.  We are illegitimate children as the author said. It is also needless to say that discipline implies pain.When Paul sent to the Corinthians a letter to correct their evil behaviors, he said:

Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way. For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.” 2 Cor 7:9-10

God’s discipline creates in us a godly sorrow leading us to repentance.

Without discipline in a home, values naturally erode themselves. This is why there’s juvenile delinquency everywhere. Parents who did not take their responsibilities have made our neighborhood dangerous and evil. But our heavenly Father is a righteous and responsible Father. I have seen God disciplined me with my impatience, choices and pride.

If you see God disciplining you, it is a good sign because it’s an evidence that He considers you His own. But you’ve got to be worried if you do not see God pruning you. God has set some standards and values for humans to follow and when they persist in their rebellion, God give them up. God no longer correct them but leave them do as they please.

When God does that, it is a sign that He does not consider them His children.

For example we read in Romans 1:24-26:

So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies.They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires.”

The worst thing which can happen to a human is to no longer have God’s attention and be separated from Him. Rejoice dear readers if you see God still calling you to holiness and faith.

Paul said in Romans:

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself.” Romans 2:4-5

Judgement is coming and we will have to give an account on how we lived this life. Discipline is what will allow us to face judgement with serenity because the fragrance of Christ will be in us. Jesus will stand as Advocate and call us His brothers and sisters. God the Father will recognise us as His own. But to those who did not submit to God’s discipline, there will have to expect a terrible wrath because of their rebellion and rejection of God’s authority. God’s love and kindness is what makes Him discipline His children. A father will not discipline children which are not his own. Similarly, our heavenly Father will not discipline the children of the devil but rather judge them.

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. He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness.” Romans 2:5-8

Posted July 13, 2013 by Cedric in Theology

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Epistle to the Hebrews (12:2-4)   Leave a comment

Epistle to the Hebrews

Epistle to the Hebrews

“…Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.” Hebrews 12:2-4

Jesus knew what was awaiting Him when He came to earth. He was not taken by surprise.

In fact He predicted His death:

Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory.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. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.“Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! Father, bring glory to your name.” John 12:23-28

Jesus came to do the will of the Father. He said in John 3:24 “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.”

Jesus did not give His life grudgingly but willingly because He loved us. He said : “The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. ” John 10:17

Do you understand dear reader the joy within Jesus’ heart to lay His life purposefully for you? Jesus considered Himself as the kernel of wheat which needed to die in order to produce new ones – YOU. His death had the purpose to give YOU and I abundant life.

Jesus said “Here am I, and the children God has given me.” Hebrews 12:13

Jesus looked at the life He could produce in us and not about His sufferings. He wanted to free us from sin and make us whole. His mission was to deliver us from sin and make us God’s children. This cost Him his life. He endured pain and suffering in order to make us new creatures. His name is now exalted by the hearts of men for what He accomplished.

Our author tells us not to give up but to persevere. Soon our trials will be over.

As we have seen in John 12:25:

Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.

What are we doing with our life? This question often arises but very few of us take a radical decision when it pops up. Is it wholly given to Jesus? Have you surrendered your will and body to God? Do you want to imitate Christ’s character and die to your old self? Do you desire to live a holy life through the Spirit or continue to live a sinful life? Have you committed your work, relationship, sexual life, finances and projects to God?

Is there someone forcing you to live in sin? Are you persecuted ? Is there someone forcing you in drug, prostitution or alcohol at the expense of losing your life? Are you resisting temptation to the point of shedding your blood? Dear reader, is there someone pointing a gun to you to watch pornography ? I know that it still occurs in Nigeria, that if a Christian does not deny his faith he will lose his life.

Are you under such pressure ?

Jesus was under such pressure when He wanted to do God’s will in Gethsemane. He did not give up but obeyed till death.

Jesus was tempted like us in the wilderness. Even in Gethsemane it was tempting to disobey. This is why He said to His disciples: “Pray that you will not give in to temptation

He said to His Father “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine

He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood” Luke 22:44

Hebrews 4:15-16 tells us:

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Paul said in 1 Cor 10:13: “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.”

Think about it, God has always shown you a way to escape sin, right? The thing is whether you want to cherish that sin or get rid of it.

Do not tolerate sin in your life, get rid of everything which causes or might cause you to stumble. Surrender your life to Christ, let it be wholly consecrated to Him.

Most of us do not struggle with sin at the point of losing our lives. Let us imitate Christ example who gave up all His rights to do God’s will.

Posted July 8, 2013 by Cedric in Theology

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God’s goodness and love   Leave a comment

God is Good !

God is Good !

Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this:The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.Great is his faithfulness;his mercies begin afresh each morning.I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;therefore, I will hope in him!”The Lord is good to those who depend on him,to those who search for him.So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.And it is good for people to submit at an early age to the yoke of his discipline” Lam 3:21-27

When I fell in love with Jess, I started to discover God’s love, faithfulness and goodness in an unprecedented way. A decade ago, I have been praying for God to give me the right person. God knew more than myself what I really needed. These verses in Lamentations have been on my mind during this week and I thought I should write down about God’s goodness and love.

“God is love” and “God is good” have become cliché. Many people mechanically say these words without having themselves experienced God’s love and goodness. I asked myself many times this question “How can I know God loves me?”. My relationship with Jess made me discover more about God’s goodness and love.

Amidst all his troubles, griefs, sorrows, bitterness and distress, Jeremiah said “Yet I still dare to hope“. Remembering God’s goodness and love were enough to strengthen the distressed prophet. Why did the prophet still had faith? Why did he still dare to hope and rely on God?

These are his reasons:

1. The faithful love of the Lord never ends!

God’s love is permanent and stubborn. In another traduction it says God’s goodness does not deplete. His goodness and love do not get consumed. There’s not a daily quota of His love and goodness towards us. God does not count how many times He has been good to us and says “I have done enough”. There is no limit. His love is always ready to overflow us when our hearts open. It never occurs that one day God’s love loses its power or stops. Love is all about giving yourself to someone else. It is not selfish. God so loved the world that He gave. When I consider my love for Jess, I want to outpour my love to her and be good to her. I want to give myself totally to her to make her happy. I want her to emancipate and build her up in different aspects. But my love is a human love, it’s limited. I wish she could feel entirely the depth of my love for her but I am limited with time and resources to demonstrate kindness to her. My love cannot impersonate itself and speak. But God has been able to demonstrate entirely His love to us through His Son. The Son is God’s love manifested. The disciples heard Him, touched Him and experienced the fullness of God’s love (1 John 1:2).

John tells us:

In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” 1 John 4:9

If I were a millionaire, I would do more for her to demonstrate how much I cared for her. But I know she does not expect all this. But my Good Lord is not limited by money and resources. He is able to show me in various ways His goodness and love. It might not necessarily be through material blessings but through the wisdom He gives, the peace and happiness He lays in my heart. What do I need more?  I am a fulfilled man.

2. His mercies never cease.Great is his faithfulness

When we talk about God’s steadfast love, we make allusion to an enduring, resolutely firmed and unwavering love. God’s compassion and mercies never end. There’s not a single thing He gives that we will ever deserve. It’s all of grace.  In my heart, I know that I do not want to ever leave Jess. I want to be a faithful man to her and never share my love with anyone else. No one gets married with the intention to get divorced. Everyone expects a long lasting and fulfilled relationship when getting married. But many couples who once sincerely promised fidelity to each other eventually broke their covenant through divorce when going through storms.  But God’s commitment to us is in essence the very definition of faithfulness. He will never leave or forsake us as Hebrews 13:5 says. God stills loves us even when we fail Him.

3. His mercies begin afresh each morning.

God has original ways of demonstrating His love towards us. As a man, I am limited to demonstrate to Jess a plethora and diverse acts of love, tenderness, kindness and affection. But God is love, He is the Master of love and knows very well how to show us His love in new ways.I cannot fully express my love and tenderness in diverse ways to Jess. But God is able to overwhelm me by His love. I cannot comprehend why He loves me like that. There is no condition for His love for me. He loves me period.

Paul tells us:

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Eph 3:17-19

Jess does not understand why I love her that much. The funny thing is that I do not either. I love her period. My love for Jess allows me to understand why I do not comprehend God’s love. God’s love is not based on merits or conditions.

I feel so unworthy and there’s nothing I can do to love Him back equally because I am but a sinful man whose love is tainted by selfishness. God’s love is not a ‘used love’ but always refreshing and fulfilling. This love heals, builds up and causes no harm.

4. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;therefore, I will hope in him!

This is what the prophet wants to meditate constantly in his heart. God is all He needs to be fulfilled. He knows that on Him alone he can rely. He can blindly trust God and surrender everything to Him. Jeremiah hoped in God. God is His source, his greatest possession. Jess and I have the project to get married and we said we’ll hope in God to provide for all our needs. We want to walk on the road of faith hand in hand.

David said: “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Ps 73:25

On this earth there is no one else I love more than Jess. I am committed to Jess. But I know deep down my heart that God is the one who really owns me. God is the only one whom I know that I can have 100% trust in Him without ever getting confused when placing my hope in Him. I am but a sinful man and I will never be able to be someone who Jess can 100% trust (though I would like to!). Only God can be that person for her. David said in Psalm 43:5

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him,my Savior and my God.”

God’s presence in my life is the only thing which satisfies my heart and soul. No one else can satisfy my soul. I will not trade anything else for God’s presence in my life.

I tasted and experienced God’s soothing and refreshing love and presence. There would be absolutely no reason for me to live a single hour without God’s indwelling presence in my heart. I would prefer to cease living if God was no longer indwelling me. God is my greatest treasure.

David said : “Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.”  Psalm 51:11

5. The Lord is good to those who depend on him,to those who search for him.

Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith it is impossible to please God. God expects that we trust Him and depend on Him. God is not a poor god on whom we should have doubts on His ability to provide. We can depend on Him for our needs. God is rich and almighty. Jess and I trust each other. This mutual trust really helps us to strengthen the bonds between us.  The bible uses the word faith to explain this trust man needs to have in God. How can we have a relationship with God if we do not trust Him? Do you realise that God is the only being who is able to meet all your needs? Even things that you do not know, God will give them to you. God has been good to me whenever I depended on Him. My dependence on Him all had outstanding results. God blessed me beyond my expectations. If a loving father had all the possessions of the world, he would not appreciate that his kids asked for alms on the street to buy a piece of bread. That would hurt the loving father. How would a loving rich husband feel if his wife systematically ran after another man for her needs? How many times we refuse to trust God and act as if He does not exist?

Paul pictured the church as Jesus’ bride (2 Cor 11:2) for which Jesus gave His life for (Ephesians 5:22-31). There’s a boundless agape love bestowed on each one of His disciples.

Jesus said in Matthew 5 not to worry but have faith. Our Father in heaven knows what we need. Jesus said ask and you will receive, seek and you will find. Many refuse to trust God because they do not know Him. God wants to show His goodness to you, but how can He demonstrate it if your eyes are looking for other sources of hope? Mutual trust is a very important ingredient in a relationship. Without it it is impossible to be loved or love. Have faith, depend on God and trust Him. There is no other way to experience His goodness.

6. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.

The author first says that it is good. Good for what? Good to wait. How waiting? Quietly and silently. Why waiting? Waiting for God to rescue. That’s not always easy. It is not easy to wait and wait quietly for God’s rescue when going through the furnace. Daniel’s friend went into the furnace with serenity. Many of us are impatient when there are constraints ahead of us. The disciples said “Lord, Lord we are perishing!”. But did not the Lord know? Of course He did!

Jeremiah wrote a book entitled “The Book of Lamentations”. He expressed his pains to God and waited for God to rescue him. In his anguish and chaotic situation, he knew only God could save him. Many times we murmur and complain to others about all our troubles. But here we see Jeremiah saying that it is good to wait patiently and quietly for God to bring rescue. When we are under pressure, we quickly want to find a solution and end up like Saul who offered the sacrifice because he was faced with an army facing him. The genuineness of our faith is demonstrated when there’re constraints and adversity. Many times we try to figure out about option B because we lack faith to trust God. May God increase our faith so that we can wait quietly for Him to rescue us in our needs. It is a blessing to wait for God’s rescue. God is never late and is always in control.

7. And it is good for people to submit at an early age to the yoke of his discipline

No matter how skilful we are at planning, we have no control on future events. But our God knows everything. Is not it wiser to lay down at His feet all our plans?  It is good to submit at an early age to God’s discipline. It is good to start learning about depending on God when we are still young. This will help us not to get rid of our yoke/responsibilities when they are too heavy. We will not give up when facing hard times because we have seen Him intervene in our life when we were younger. We do not murmur but keep on carrying our cross and follow Jesus. God has given each one of us a task to do. It is a yoke and this yoke is easy and light Jesus said in Matthew 11:30. We stand solitary with the problems facing us because God wants us to look at Him. Let us obey God and let Him prune us.

It is :

Good to wait patiently and quietly for God’s rescue

Good to depend on God and have faith

Good to submit to God’s pruning process and will

Because:

His faithful love never ends

His mercies begin afresh each morning and never ceases

His faithfulness is great

He is our inheritance, treasure and provider

Epistle to the Hebrews (12:1-2)   Leave a comment

Epistle to the Hebrews

Epistle to the Hebrews

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2

The author now concludes his exhortations about the necessity of faith and moves on to teachings regarding practical christian living. We had enough teachings regarding faith in Hebrews 11 and have no excuses to remain faithless and not trust God.

The author tells us that we are surrounded by a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith. We should not be taken by surprise if God is leading us on the path of faith. We are not alone, there’s like a stadium of veterans watching us. When there are great football teams opposing each other, the media rarely miss to show on tv the presence of previous stars of the teams.  These veterans are no longer on the pitch but are supporters. They understand what it means to play football under pressure and pain. When such people shout “Keep running, keep defending and keep attacking”, it really motivates the players. Many young players idolize former players like Maradona or Ronaldo.  These stars have inspired many young footballers. These footballers want to be disciplined like the stars, play like them and dress like them.  When these young footballers were watching the stars play, they were amazed and inspired by their skills. Now the role has changed,  it’s your turn to play and them to watch you. Soon you’ll be the one sitting and will the next generation recognize you as a Christian renown for his faith? Does your life inspire others to get closer to God? Paul said: “And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.” 1 Cor 11:1

Do you get the picture?

There’re veterans like Abraham, Joshua, Moses, Job, Paul and Elijah watching us running by faith. Many of us applaud their faithfulness and spirituality but find it too elevated to experience God in this dimension. These people were ordinary men like us who wanted to go the extra mile on the road of faith.

Our author tells us to strip off everything that hinders us from progressing. Good athletes are disciplined in what they feed on, in their sexual life and trainings. Should not it be the same for us? Should not we keep ourselves in purity, feed our soul with God’s Word and serve Christ with the power of the Holy Spirit?

Paul said to Timothy:

Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules.” 2 Tim 2:4

Dear reader, sin is like an iron ball in your feet. With it attached to your feet you’ll not be able to run on the pitch and score a goal. You have to let God prune and mold you in order to serve Him freely. Put off the old self as Paul pictured it:

That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Eph 4:20

The Spirit Himself teaches us how to put off our old self. We know what hinders us from becoming more zealous Christians.

The author does not tell us to walk with endurance but to run. If a football player wants to get a ball, he will not walk but run to get it. Running fast demonstrates how much we are willing to achieve a goal.

The Christian life is opposite to the philosophy of this corrupted world (Eph 2:2). Imagine it like you’re going in the opposite direction of an automatic stairs. If you do not walk faster you’ll be carried in it’s direction. The only solution is to run.

Our author also tells us that sin easily entangles us. When you run, no matter how careful you are, there will always be dust on your shoes. The world is tainted with sin and attacks our thoughts when we least expect. The race we are running is an individual race, there is no competition with another Christian. God has a plan for each of us. One servant got 2 talents and the other one got 5 talents accordingly to his capacity (Mat 25:14-30). Both of them doubled their talents and their productivity were mathematically equal.  Behaving like the one who got 1 talent is laziness. God has entrusted each Christian at least a task to do for His Kingdom. Those who did not obey will have to give an account of what was entrusted to them.

We are not expected to compare our works with others but just do what God called us to do in humility. Jesus said in the parable of the unworthy servants:

So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants;we have only done what was our duty.’” Luke 17:10

The hired workers who came late received the same reward as those who came early in the morning under the scorching sun.

These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ Mat 20:12

How can you keep on running this race of faith with endurance in this sinful world? The author tells us: “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus

Do you understand? You do not listen to the bad news or look at the calamities but you turn your eyes upon Jesus. Jesus is the one who instills faith in us. Jesus is described as the One who is “the champion who initiates and perfects our faith”.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2

We have seen in chapter 11 how faith brought endurance in Abraham and Moses so that they could each time attempt greater things for God. Many time we fail to differentiate our daily problems and godly trials. Godly trials make appeal to our faith while ordinary problems don’t. Faith produces patience in us and it’s tough. We do not like to wait when we are under pressure but want to fix it all. James tells us to be joyful when trial comes because it is an opportunity for growth. Many times we walk by faith and stop half way. James tells us to patiently wait that faith completes it’s work within us.

All you need to do is trust and obey Jesus. He will perfect our faith through trials. He will form our character. Keep on running with endurance the race God has set before you.