Archive for the ‘wisdom’ Tag

Whatever you do, do it heartily, as working for the Lord [1]   Leave a comment

Do it Heartily

Do it Heartily

And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father…Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord” Col. 3:17,23

It took me some time to digest these words of wisdom from Paul. Experience taught me that following this advice is beneficial not only for others but also for self.

  • When Christians grumble

Sometimes as Christians we grumble, complain or argue when we feel that we’re treated unfairly. I have learned in these situations that retaliation is not the wise way to react as it indicates that we’re conforming to the pattern of this world (Rom. 12:12) and seeking the reward found in this world instead of the reward from above. Paul said:

Do everything without complaining and arguing,  so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” Phil. 2:14

Yes the world is crooked and perverse and if you complain and grumble, you’ll not be beyond reproach as you’ll be criticized for doing so. If it is your pride which is causing you to complain then you’re reacting as the crooked and perverse people do. Instead, Paul said live innocent lives as children of God. Endure hardship, if someone slap you give him the other cheek Jesus taught (Mat. 5:29). Do not resist an evil person Jesus said. We often consider a child to be innocent as he is defenseless and this is how children of lights should be. Peter says, do not return evil for evil (1 Peter 3:9). It is in adversity that Christians make the difference. When everyone expects that you’ll fight for your rights, resist and retaliate and see no reaction, it is then that you’re making a difference. This attitude is not one of defeat but of strength because you’re giving loud answer through your action that your treasure is not in this world. If you’re fighting for glory and money, then the world will see that you’re seeking the things of this world like them. Paul again wisely wrote:

Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” 1 Tim. 6:9

If you have food and clothing you must be grateful to God and be content. Do not fall in the same trap as those who have been entangled by the things of this world and have wandered from the faith. There’re much sorrows awaiting when your choose money and fame as the source of your happiness.

  • Whatever you do, do it heartily for the Lord

This is the cure to all the complaints, insatisfaction and grumblings. If you really do your job as if you were doing it for the Lord, you’ll stop grumbling and even seek to do more work. If the reason you’re working is to have more money and to reach a higher position, then you’ll reach a point where you’ll be discouraged or upset when you’re not promoted or there’s a lack of recognition from your boss. However, if your motive is to do your job heartily everyday as if you’re devoutly offering it to the Lord, then it will not matter if your boss sees your achievements. If you do not seek recognitions from the world then you’ll be spared the hurt of not being rewarded.  Paul said: “As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority…It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide” 1 Cor. 4:3

Imagine how the world would be if a Christian cook prepared food for customers as if it was for the Lord or a Christian doctor treated his patient as if the Lord was before him? There will be no need to go on the roof top and shout that you’ve done your best. Excel in the job you do even if no one is watching you. Whatever you do, do it for the Lord and do not expect to receive this reward on earth. Christians should be reputed to be hard workers and not known as being lazy or idle. Paul said:

Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.”Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business. We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living. As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good.” 2 Thes. 3:10-13

It is a sad truth that some Christians have bad reputations in their jobs. The name of Christ is blasphemed because of the quality of work they deliver. Whatever we do or say, Christ should be the reason of  our actions. If we’re serving Christ, we cannot participate in illicit works.

Last but not the least, God forges your character by what you do to make you what He wants you to be.

“It is not what a man does that is of final importance, but what he is in what he does. The atmosphere produced by a man, much more than his activities, has the lasting influence” Oswald Chambers

Posted December 3, 2016 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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To gain the whole world and lose your soul[2]   1 comment

Matthew:16-26

Matthew:16-26

Fire is useful and not a threat as long as we can control it. The closer we get to it and the more it grows, the more precautions should be taken. So is it with possessions.

For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” 1 Tim. 6:10

It is not money in itself which is evil but the “love of money”. It’s all about the person’s attitude towards money. How far can someone be rich and not be greedy and stingy? It is difficult to be rich and not set our heart on it.

If you lose your spouse and child whom you love dearly, your heart will ache.

So how can you know if you’re entangled by the “things of this world”?

Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be” Mat. 6:21

If you lose all your possessions, will your heart ache? Our heart aches on things that we value.

I know deep down my heart what are the things in this world that will make my heart ache if I lose them and I prayed the Lord to make me what He wants me to be.

There is no greater comfort to know that you are living your life as God wants it to be. Have you ever struggled with this question “What do I want? What should I do?”

When such questions rise up, it is time to let God answer these questions. When we try to take in our hands our own destiny and push God away, we are putting at stake the destiny of our soul. Most of our world leaders are not followers of Jesus and have been very successful. Do they have the peace, love and joy that only Jesus can give to the soul?

If you reached a crossroads and are wondering about your marriage, home or career path, it’s worth to be still and seek God’s counsels. Even if golden opportunities are at your doorstep do not jump to the conclusion that God brought them to you. The heart is deceitful, no one can trust it. So do not follow your heart or instinct as world leaders or friends tell you to do.

If you’re at a crossroads, be still. If you are bored of hearing the words “Pray and have faith” at this instant, examine if your heart is already set out for something.

If you were at a crossroads and not sure if you took the right decision, it might be worth returning on your steps and let God guide you.

Posted March 17, 2016 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Epistle to the Hebrews (13:5-6)   Leave a comment

Epistle to the Hebrews

Epistle to the Hebrews

Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said,“I will never fail you. I will never abandon you. So we can say with confidence, The Lord is my helper,so I will have no fear.What can mere people do to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6

Our author now tackles another theme which many Christians struggle with. Be careful of avarice. Cupidity makes you prideful and faithless. When you’re avid of money, your eyes are not on the divine Provider but on yourself. Contentment is a cure to cupidity. It helps you enjoy what you have and not covet what you have not. Paul says:

Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” 1 Tim 6:6-10

The love of money, says Paul, is the root of all kinds of evil. Money has caused people to become selfish, to murder, steal, fall into corruption and vices. Jesus said we cannot serve 2 masters in Luke 16:13. The greed for wealth is idolatry. It’s worshiping Mamon, the god of money.

The Amplified bible renders this verse in Hebrews 13 as such:

Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support.  [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]

Adam Clarke said about this verse:

The words are peculiarly emphatic: Ου μη σε ανω, ουδ’ ου μη σε εγκαταλιπω. There are no less than five negatives in this short sentence, and these connected with two verbs and one pronoun twice repeated. To give a literal translation is scarcely possible; it would run in this way: “No, I will not leave thee; no, neither will I not utterly forsake thee.” Those who understand the genius of the Greek language, and look at the manner in which these negatives are placed in the sentence, will perceive at once how much the meaning is strengthened by them, and to what an emphatic and energetic affirmative they amountNo, I will never leave thee; not I: I will never, never cast thee off.”

You might not be wealthy but if your attitude is to covet and crave for possessions, you’re already sinning. Being satisfied with what God has given you honors Him. God will never forsake us. God will test our faith by allowing us go through deserts but never will He leave His saints dying when they cry to Him. God feeds the birds and will care for those who trusts Him. God will not fail us but will be faithful.

Jesus knew that men struggle with managing their possessions. So He wisely said:

Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”   Mat 6:19

Do not worry Jesus said. This is a teaching most Christians heard in a sermon. Worrying is synonymous to faithlessness. You doubt God’s abilities when you worry. Jesus knows the heart of man and He reassured us through these words:

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.” Mat 6:31

Turn your eyes off the worldly treasures for they are temporary and you’ll be being satisfied with what you have. If your treasure is your money, your heart will be there. When you lose what you have, your heart also starts to fail and worry. Basically, if you want to be freed from the sin of cupidity you have to be content with what you have. And how to be content with what you have? It is by turning your eyes on heavenly things. Have faith. It is tough to keep our eyes on God the Father when there’s turmoil around us.

Many like amassing treasures but few of us enjoy giving. But giving really helps in freeing ourselves from selfishness and cupidity. I sometimes struggle in giving because of my personal needs. Paul said: “And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35

Do you realise who said He will not abandon you?  It’s when we do not know who God is that we refuse to live by faith. Relax dear readers. God will rescue you and no man can oppose His will. If you have put your hope in God, He is in control. If God manages your finances and what you earn, do not fear. By the way, is not it Him who has given you health to acquire wealth? Surrender yourself. Do not rely on what you have for in a twinkle of an eye you can lose all. What good is it to have a huge wealth but you’re unable to enjoy it? But it is a gift of God to be able to enjoy what you toiled for. To accept once lot in life and happily enjoy what you have is a blessing from God.

Ecclesiastes tells us:  “Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God.God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.” Ecc 5:18-20

It is not because we possess more that we will be more happy. This is the wisdom the teacher in Ecclesiastes wants to tell us. But the grace of being able to enjoy what you possess is a blessing.  I personally know a very rich man who was in constant conflict with his wife and ended up selling all his possessions and got divorced. He is still cleaving to his wealth and fears to spend. What a miserable man!

Proverbs 17:1 tells us: “Better a dry crust eaten in peace than a house filled with feasting—and conflict.”

I would prefer love and peace amidst poverty in my home than constant conflict amidst overflowing wealth. To be satisfied with what you have and enjoy your wealth is not a blessing given to every man. So do not compare your wealth with someone else. Be rather thankful that you can enjoy your wealth. Our God is a rich God. Everything belongs to Him. He likes when we put our faith in Him instead of borrowing to fill up holes. Let us reconsider our attitude towards money. Let us be faithful stewards and bless others with our wealth.

Posted September 9, 2013 by Cedric in Theology

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Epistle to the Hebrews (11:17-19)   Leave a comment

Epistle to the Hebrews

Epistle to the Hebrews

It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac,even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.”Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.” Hebrews 11:17-19

Our author is not yet done with Abraham. It is no wonder that Abraham is often called the “father of faith”. We cannot talk about faith and obedience without mentioning this prominent figure.

This is what God said to Abraham: “Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.” Gen 22:2

God is not an insensible God. In this verse we see God asking Abraham to give the promised son and God knows well that Isaac is the only child of the old man. Not only that, God knew that Abraham loved Isaac so much. In the Septuagint the word for “tested” is επειρασε which means to “pierce through”. This was a test which touched Abraham’s deepest emotions. Abraham had no time to ask God “you mean my only son Isaac whom I loved so much?”. It was a clear and spontaneous command. Isaac was not an ordinary child, it’s the long awaited son. God has promised to give Abraham a large posterity through Isaac and now God is asking to give Him back this son? Was not God’s promise and command conflicting in Abraham’s mind? Amazingly, because Abraham knew and loved God, he tried to reconcile God’s promise with this conflicting command. He figured out that God could bring Isaac back to life again thus not making the promise becoming void. Abraham’s reasoning that God could bring back Issac again was such a powerful demonstration of faith and obedience. Abraham was determined to sacrifice Isaac and Isaac’s hours were counted. There was no hesitation, the next morning Abraham prepared the wood and saddled his donkey. Issac was carrying the wood which was to be used for his own death. He knew not that he was himself the sacrifice but Abraham alone did.

Then came this logical question:

Isaac turned to Abraham and said, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.“We have the fire and the wood,” the boy said, “but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?” Gen 22:7

Abraham replied with assurance that God would provide a lamb for the burnt offering. He knew he had to offer Isaac but why did he say God will provide a sheep? Abraham was hopeful that God would intervene. But when he reached Mount Moriah, Abraham probably looked around and there were no animals wandering. Yeah then faith came into action, he tied his son on the altar. Did not Isaac think “Father I love you, why are you doing this to me? Did not you tell me God will provide a lamb? ” . Abraham probably had Sarah in his thoughts as well. Isaac was not only Abraham’s son but also Sarah’s son. She also suffered long to become a mother and now she will lose Issac because God said so? Abraham was determined even though this command pierced him through. When he left his servant and went with Isaac alone, Abraham said he would be back with his son. That’s faith.

As James 2:22 said: “ Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”

Faith without action is dead. Abraham had faith God will provide. He obeyed till Moriah and brought Isaac with him. But now came the ultimate demonstration of faith, it was action. There was no one who could spare Isaac when Abraham raised his knife. In Abraham’s heart, Isaac was to be a dead child in a few seconds. Heaven was silent till the last moment. God saw Abraham’s faith consumed and stopped him. Abraham would have burn to ashes his son and yet expect to get him back whole? We need to bear in mind that Abraham would have finished the work if God did not intervene.

God intervened and said:

Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.”

God provided a ram. The ram did not appear before Abraham tied Isaac and raised his knife. This is an example of how far God can push a man. That’s genuine faith, love and obedience to God. You might think it’s absurd to put Abraham in such a chaotic situation. God kept the suspense high to remove all doubts that Abraham was truly determined to obey. Faith was purified from roots of doubts.

We have seen that by faith Abraham left his country and brought his family in the unknown. This was like faith test level 1. We have seen that Abraham believed in God’s promise of a son even though his body was almost dead. This was faith test level 2. Then came level 3 which was the ultimate test of mature faith. It was absolute surrender to God’s will. In silence Abraham obeyed because if he spoke many would have stopped him to obey. He passed with distinction level 3 and is now renowned for his faith, love and obedience.

God actively works in our heart so that we can move to the next level. He wants us to trust Him more. Shall we plead like the disciples: “Show us to increase our faith“? Luke 17:5

You and Sarah are old, why do you still believe God will give you a son? Are you not irresponsible to take your family and go in an unknown land? Are not you mad to offer your only son Isaac?”

When you hear those voices, rejoice because these are confirmations that God is working your faith. But of course, seek wisdom, discernment and live by the Spirit so that you do not mistake God’s voice. God always confirms clearly by His Spirit the next step of faith to take. When God requires us to live by faith, we will probably have to face uncertainty, absurdity and mockeries.

Posted May 18, 2013 by Cedric in Theology

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Epistle to the Hebrews (11:13-16)   Leave a comment

Epistle to the Hebrews

Epistle to the Hebrews

All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own.If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back.But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11:13-16

It is interesting to note here that these people (Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Jacob) who believed in God’s promise for a large descendant did not see it accomplish. They died without seeing the vast multitude but believed in it without the shadow of a doubt.

We read in Romans 4:

Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith.” Romans 4:13

These people called themselves foreigners even though there was a land promised to them. Canaan was the visible promised homeland but heaven is the divine homeland.  The christian soul also groans to go home and be set free from this sinful world. Heaven is my home and my soul longs to be there the soonest. This heavenly place has solid eternal foundations.

God’s tangible promise of a large posterity eventually accomplished itself. But the real promise regarding Abraham’s posterity was Christ. There’s a symbolical spiritual representation of God’s promise to Abraham regarding the promised land and a large posterity. The spiritual children of Abraham are those who put their faith in God. A Jew is by blood descendant of Abraham but he is not necessarily the spiritual child of Abraham.

We read in Romans 2:28 that the real Jew is one whose heart is right with God and not because he is of the posterity of Abraham. This righteousness does not come by obeying the law but by having faith like Abraham. So even a non-Jew can be Abraham’s children if he has faith in God.

For you are not a true Jew just because you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the ceremony of circumcision.No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by God’s Spirit.”

God’s promise to Abraham was made before any law was given. Abraham was uncircumcised, had not the Mosaic law when he was called righteous by God. This righteousness  was imputed to him because of his faith (Romans 4:3-15). This proves again that faith is a vital element in our relationship with God. Without faith it is impossible to please Him.

In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God. What’s more, the Scriptures looked forward to this time when God would declare the Gentiles to be righteous because of their faith. God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when he said, “All nations will be blessed through you.”So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith.” Galatians 3:7

Paul, a master in Jewish law, argues it as such:

God gave the promises to Abraham and his child.And notice that the Scripture doesn’t say “to his children,” as if it meant many descendants. Rather, it says “to his child”—and that, of course, means Christ.” Galatians 3:15,16

In the original Hebrew text the distinction of “child” is remarkable (Genesis 12:7).

God’s children are those who have faith in the promised Messiah, Christ.

For you are all childrenof God through faith in Christ Jesus“. (Gal 3:26)  God’s promise made to Abraham belongs to those who have faith like him.

And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.” (Gal 3:29)

It is interesting enough to note that faith in God has always been the element which made people righteous. It is not something new in the New testament. It was not the law or any good deeds which made people righteous but entire trust and reliance on God. God desires that we voluntarily submit ourselves under His mighty hand. He wants to be all in all. All of our accomplishments should be because of His sole intervention and not because of our strength, fertility, intelligence and wealth. Sarah got it right and she could not boast that she is the mother of such a large posterity because of her fertility. These people who lived by faith and voluntarily put aside their strengths are those who God takes pleasure in. God is a jealous God and wants to have all the glory.

We read in Isaiah:

For there is no other God but me,a righteous God and Savior.There is none but me.Let all the world look to me for salvation!For I am God; there is no other.” Isaiah 45:22

That is why I told you what would happen;I told you beforehand what I was going to do.Then you could never say, ‘My idols did it.My wooden image and metal god commanded it to happen!’You have heard my predictions and seen them fulfilled,but you refuse to admit it.Now I will tell you new things,secrets you have not yet heard.They are brand new, not things from the past.So you cannot say, ‘We knew that all the time!’” Isaiah 48:5-8

In Psalm 33:16-19 we read:

No king is saved by the size of his army;no warrior escapes by his great strength.A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save.But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.”

Faith in God allows us to get rid of all our strength and entirely rely on God. God is a God of miracle. He does things that are not logical to human beings and might ask you to do things that are absurd. If it was logical then you will not require faith but rely on your own abilities.  This is why this God almighty planned beforehand to confuse the intelligence of the wise when He sent His Son to die on a cross.

God is reputed for doing things His own way. No one can predict what God will do.

No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began.But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. That is what the Scriptures mean when they say,“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Cor 2:9

Faith in God requires the laying aside of our intelligence, wisdom, strength and wealth. You need to surrender. God is not ashamed to be called the God of those who rely on Him. This also means God takes no pleasure in those who do not have faith in Him. God is the God of those who have faith in Him.

God’s plan opposed the logic and wisdom of those who consider them intellectuals, philosophers and spiritual leaders. God’s plans have many reasons to be considered absurd by human beings. How can the promised Messiah be born in a manger? How can the Son of God die on a cross? Nothing good comes from Galilee the Jews said (John 7:52). How can the son of a carpenter be the Messiah? The Jews were expecting a military leader who will free them from the tyranny of the Romans but what they got was someone who taught about giving your other cheek if slapped. The Gospel has nothing in itself which is wise to human beings. There’re many human reasons to be ashamed of. We are not talking about someone like Alexander the Great, Pharaoh or Caesar. Isaiah portrayed Jesus as a tender shoot, someone who was despised and had no physical beauty (Isa. 53)

The Jews are offended at the mention of Jesus being the Messiah. An intellectual like Paul knew his preaching sounded foolishness but it was just the truth. How then can someone believe in such a message? It is only by faith. You need to lay aside your wisdom in order to have faith in God’s salvific plan. It humbles you.

The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. As the Scriptures say, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.”So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish.Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom.So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.” 1 Cor 18:29

Posted May 11, 2013 by Cedric in Theology

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God and chess   Leave a comment

God and Chess

God and Chess

Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! For who can know the Lord’s thoughts?Who knows enough to give him advice?And who has given him so much that he needs to pay it back? For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.” Romans 11:33-36

I like playing chess. It is a game which has in reserve many surprise. Just a pawn can be used to cause a check and force your king to move. A pawn you might have neglected in all your strategies might be the central focus of your opponent to checkmate you.

I was reading Colossians chapter 1 and this was the image I got when I read this verse:

This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people.” Col 1:26

If we start from the Old Testament, this is what the prophet Isaiah said about Jesus:

Who has believed our message? To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot,like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.He was despised, and we did not care.”

A pawn is not as strong as a queen. Would you believe your adversary if he predicted at the start of the game that he’ll beat you with the move of a pawn?

The Jews argued against this idea of having a Messiah from Galilee.

They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Search the Scriptures and see for yourself—no prophet ever comes from Galilee!”  John 7:52

Is not this Jesus the son of the poor carpenter Joseph? Was not he the one who was born in a stable? We know him since birth. How can he claim to be God? How can he dare to say that He is the only way to heaven? Is not he blaspheming when He says that He can forgive sins? Is not he mad to say that he can rebuild the temple in 3 days? The Jews were offended when they heard all these claims about Jesus. It was impossible that this Jesus could be the promised Messiah and the God-sent King.

The Jews were waiting for a powerful leader to deliver them from the oppression of the Romans. But God’s way of bringing salvation to man was not something the Jews ever thought of. This good news, the Gospel, was kept secret for centuries Paul said. When God’s enemies were rejoicing when the king of the Jews was crucified, they thought that they won.

They said:

He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him! Mat 27:42

But what they did not know was that all this was part of God’s plan to redeem man. Jesus had to die. The scholars at this time could not understand that, experts in the Jewish laws were really annoyed with Jesus, great Greek philosophers and intellectuals found it hard to accept that God could do such a thing.

Was not it foolish? Oh yeah, the good news about Christ lacks a lot of logic. It seems to us not wise for God to do such a thing. But it was God’s way of saving man. God wanted to destroy the wisdom of those who thought they were in possession of wisdom, had the answers to eternal life and claimed to know God. How can the Messiah die on a cross? Is not it a sign of weakness from God? How can God inhabit in a human body? Is not it a sign of weakness from God? Did God lose on Golgotha?

But God uses the vile things of this world to shame those who think they are wise, Paul said. No one can boast that he knew how God would bring salvation. What God did goes against all human wisdom and reasoning. Even Thomas, Jesus’ follower who saw all the miracles Jesus did doubted that Jesus was indeed risen.

Paul summarises it well:

The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. As the Scriptures say,“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles,Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world,things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.” 1 Cor 1:18-31

He was buried like a criminal. But Isaiah said that :

It was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants.He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.”
This Jesus that many people despise, insult, consider as a foolish invention and ignore is God’s manifested wisdom. Paul acknowledged that the message of the cross is foolish to those who are perishing. It did not make sense. In Romans 1:16, he said that he was not ashamed of the Gospel because it is the power of God. When he heard about the stories of powerful Greek gods, were not there reasons for him to be ashamed of preaching about a crucified son of carpenter whom people could not see, touch and hear? The message he preached was not talking about a Goliath or Zeus coming to earth.

Einstein said that God does not play dice. God can do things that are unpredictable.

As the psalmist said: “Our God is in the heavens,and he does as he wishes.” Ps 115

Job said: “God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding.” Job 37:5

Who can argue with God and tell Him that what He did make no sense?

Paul said “For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ,and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.” Col 1:19

One of the reasons of Christ’s coming was to be a High Priest. A High Priest who could bridge the gap between the Holy God and sinful man. Jesus is the One through whom the Holy God reconciled Himself with man. No one come to God except through Jesus. God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ. God Himself came on earth and took a human body in the person of Jesus. Through Jesus’ sacrifice man was given the chance to get right with God and He now lives inside those who believe in Him.

Jesus humbled himself and made Himself nothing. It’s like a king crossing the chessboard just to save a pawn like me! This is God’s wisdom and God’s perfect plan. It’s only by faith that one can believe in such a “foolish message of the cross”. In fact, it was God’s very plan that man would be saved by having faith in such a message. But the chess scenario does not end there. A pawn can become a queen. After Jesus humbled Himself, He took back the place of highest honor in heaven and brought us in victory with Him.

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.Though he was God,he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being,When he appeared in human form,he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names,that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,in heaven and on earth and under the earth,and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” Phil 2

One day all those who insulted Him, persecuted those who believed in Him and ignored Him will bow down before Him and confess He is God. All creatures in heaven and earth will one day acknowledge that Jesus was God’s wisdom manifested.

Posted September 7, 2012 by Cedric in Thought-provoking

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Stupidity and wisdom   Leave a comment

Intelligent fool

The intelligent fool

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted May 12, 2012 by Cedric in Thought-provoking

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