Saturday, 24 December 2011

Swearing - an offense or just an expression of anger

It is fair to say that in our society, we all are accustomed to hearing certain unpleasant words. According to Google Definitions, A 'Swear Word' is 'an offensive word, used especially as an expression of anger'. We have been educated that these words are offensive, and have been disciplined to not use them, yet many use these words on a regular basis. While few use them to express anger in the slip of the tongue and with much apology and penitence, others use them at a higher frequency with very little or no remorse.

As Christians, how are we to respond to this in our society? What does the Bible ultimately say about this contemporary problem? And 'WHY' is it a problem, especially for the Christian?

Colossians 3:7-8 says, You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage. malice, slander and filthy language from your lips.

That is a command with a lot of clarity! It clearly commands the Christian to rid themselves of 'filthy language' - in other words, what our society has branded as 'swearing'. When we choose to follow Christ and identify ourselves in Him, we need to repent of our old ways. We've become 'new creations' as the 'old things have passed away'; we're 'born again'. We need to flee from all sinfulness; we need to hate sin, thus, we need to say 'NO' to swearing, primarily in our lives and then in the society. However, I do understand that most things are easier said than done.

Many may wonder: Why? Why should we not swear? If it is offensive in the eyes of the world, why should it be all the more offensive in the eyes of a Christian?

1Peter 2:11-12 & 15 say, Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits...For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.

The answer to the above questions is clearly stated in the passage above. When we profess to be Christians, our society watches the way we live more closely. We need to seek to please God primarily and show our society that we are living a 'new', 'changed' life. Yes, the pressure is on! However, what a fantastic opportunity we have to glorify the Savior! We are called to be living testimonies, by not partaking in what the world does - in this case, 'swear' - we stand out. Trust me, people notice the difference, the difference in our relationships and our lifestyles, and they seek the reason - what a better way to point to the Savior!

The truth is, we're not perfect. There will be times when we slip, however, lets not give up but persevere! We live in the world, but should ensure that we're not of the world. When you're tempted to pour out with these words, stop, think and pray for guidance asking God to put a rein over your tongue  - 'clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience...[and] put on love...'(Col 3:12 & 14)  Swearing may seem harmless, however it speaks a lot about a person and can even hurt others. Lets not just call ourselves Christians, but lets profess to be Christians both in word and deed.

Colossians 3:17 - ...Whatever you do, word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

When we profess to be Christians, our society watches the way we live more closely!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The Unlikely Hero - Meet God at the Microphone!

Do you consider yourself a shy person? Do you have a passion to serve God but cannot fight the fears that hinder you? Are you afraid of stepping out of your comfort zone?
You are not alone. Many young people across the globe, including me, feel the same way, especially when it comes to evangelism. The fears of rejection, hostility and unpopularity cloud our minds and fill us with anxiety, disabling us from spreading the Gospel. However, we need to rise up - if we don't, who will?
One of my favorite evangelists, Ray Comfort, is now known for his open air preaching, passion or burden for the lost and fearless, shameless means of street evangelism, however, he was not always this way. In fact, in his earlier Christian days, he thought that he could never stand up in the middle of the street and preach the Gospel to a multitude of strangers. God had other plans! Mr. Comfort had found a cause higher than his fears - the cause of testifying to the Gospel of Christ to save the lost, however, did not find the means to cast off the fear. One day when Mr.Comfort was out on the streets, God moved his heart to speak out and preach the Gospel, he took a step of faith and God met him at the microphone - God guided him, continues to guide him and he hasn't stopped speaking out for the advancement of His kingdom.
Sometimes, it takes an act of faith and trust in God to dismiss the whispers of fear and anxiety - when we do so, like Mr. Comfort and Zac (another unlikely hero, whose story is attached below) found out, God certainly meets you at the microphone.

Don't be discouraged by your present personality or disheartened by your inability to step out of your comfort zone, God can use anybody, embrace the burden and passion for the lost, find the cause that is greater than your fear and remember - if you don't speak up, who will?

Saturday, 19 November 2011

The Unlikely Hero - God can use anybody!

I'm too young to make a difference! Could something this small really change the world? I'm so imperfect, God wouldn't want to use me! If only I had... If only I was.... If only I could...

How often do these thoughts cloud our minds and discourage us from serving God for the advancement of His kingdom?

However, the truth is that God wants us the way we are, we can be used best by Him, as our imperfect selves - not as someone else. The little we do, with His help, for His glory matters a lot to Him, He notices it - We are never too young, never too imperfect, to make a difference!

The Bible is filled with unlikely heroes...

Mary - A teenager who was blessed and privileged to give birth to Jesus
David - An adulterer, murderer, shepherd who God transformed into Israel's greatest king and called him a 'man after His own heart'
Rehab - A simple gentile, a prostitute who God used to safeguard Israel and also gave the privilege to be one of the ancestors of Jesus
Moses - A murderer, stutterer, coward who God transformed and used to redeem and lead Israel out of slavery
Abraham - An idolater who become the father of Israel, God's inheritance
Paul - A murderer who chose to persecute and kill many Christians, God used him mightily for the advancement of His own kingdom and transformed him. Paul was even later martyred for His profession of faith in Christ.

The list goes on...

God is famous for using the unlikeliest people in a mighty way. In Mark Lowry's words 'God can use anybody, He has got no standards' -  He is willing to use you too, no matter who you are or what you've done - He can turn you around and mould you into what you can be with Him by your side!

Are you ready to be another unlikely hero?

Friday, 14 October 2011

180 Movie - A must watch!

A must watch pro-life documentary that will not only challenge you but change you. 
Your view on abortion will never be the same! 
Watch 180 - Turn 180

In this documentary, Ray Comfort(a committed Evangelist) draws an interesting parallel between the Holocaust and abortion, the 'Modern Holocaust'. This comparison is not only a very valid point, but one that cannot be easily dismissed or ignored; above all, it is a thought-provoking comparison that is bound to impact the audience in a remarkable way; God has used this documentary to touch and change many lives already.
Mr.Comfort not only draws out strong Biblical evidence to strengthen and validate his arguments, but also uses simple ubiquitous illustrations to help us analyse and evaluate for ourselves, the purpose and pain surrounding abortion. 
If you think nothing can change your mind on abortion, think again! 
Although '180' approaches the issue of abortion in a challenging way, abortion still remains an issue that is highly debated - ethical debates concerning individual, exclusive situations continue to baffle many Christians and medics. In situations where we lack discernment, one can only turn to the one and only reliable source of all advice and comfort, God. Remember, only God's will prevails and He is ready to help any who seek and cry out to Him earnestly.

Get to work!

I came across this command God gave Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1.

"Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them."

What a powerful command! Reflecting on this verse, my own hesitation and fear, while proclaiming the Gospel, was brought to light.
We, as Christians, have been given a task - the task of testifying to God's grace and proclaiming the Gospel - a calling to be harvesters in God's field(our world). By letting our fears and hesitation get in the way, we are not only proving to be inefficient workers, but also diminish God's power and strength that is readily available to us.
If we read the chapter further, we find out that God strengthens Jeremiah and gives him the assurance that He is always with him, thus, he will not be put to shame.

Shouldn't this verse challenge, strengthen and encourage us to stand up for Christ and get to work?! Remember, if we don't do it, God can always find someone else to do it, however, we will have to pay for our inefficiency, fear, distrust and hesitation.

What are we waiting for! Lets get to work; we've got souls to win for Christ!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

The Christocentric Word - Isaiah 53

I have fallen in love with the book of Isaiah. It not only expresses the profound nature of the Bible through every single verse and prophecy, its also one of the most Christocentric passages I have ever read. Every verse points us to the Christ, the purpose and message of the Cross and the result of the greatest act of love. Below is Isaiah 53, my soul was truly filled with awe and wonder as I pondered on what this passage said; this is only one of many great chapters in the Bible that truly challenge the unbeliever and strike the believer with awe.
I do not have much to say about this chapter as its very self explanatory, if you read it just once or over and over again, you still will not be able to digest the beauty and depth of this chapter...

Who has believed our message 

   and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 
He grew up before him like a tender shoot, 
   and like a root out of dry ground. 
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, 
   nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 
He was despised and rejected by mankind, 
   a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. 
Like one from whom people hide their faces 
   he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

 Surely he took up our pain 

   and bore our suffering, 
yet we considered him punished by God, 
   stricken by him, and afflicted. 
But he was pierced for our transgressions, 
   he was crushed for our iniquities; 
the punishment that brought us peace was on him, 
   and by his wounds we are healed. 
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, 
   each of us has turned to our own way; 
and the LORD has laid on him 
   the iniquity of us all.

 He was oppressed and afflicted, 

   yet he did not open his mouth; 
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, 
   and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, 
   so he did not open his mouth. 
By oppression and judgment he was taken away. 
   Yet who of his generation protested? 
For he was cut off from the land of the living; 
   for the transgression of my people he was punished. 
He was assigned a grave with the wicked, 
   and with the rich in his death, 
though he had done no violence, 
   nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, 

   and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin, 
he will see his offspring and prolong his days, 
   and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. 
After he has suffered, 
   he will see the light of life and be satisfied; 
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, 
   and he will bear their iniquities. 
Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, 
   and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death, 
   and was numbered with the transgressors. 
For he bore the sin of many, 
   and made intercession for the transgressors.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

I came across this fascinating prophecy in Isaiah 29 during my daily reading...

You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!
Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, "You did not make me"?
Cam the pot say to the potter, "You know nothing"?

Although the book of Isaiah was written in the 8th century BC, it contains prophesies about our unbelieving, ignorant, prideful God-less society. Our society claims they were a result of some unrealistic, accidental mutation caused by a gene, and deny being made in the image of our glorious God.
Sadly, this idea is 'popular', is considered 'cool' and seems to be spreading slowly, adulterating the minds of young and old. However, doesn't even the prophecy of this ungodly society (that is found in an ancient book, during a time when the idea of a Creator was widely accepted) tell us something profound and awesome about the Bible.

Think about it! I repeat, the Bible is 'God breathed', true in every way, containing fulfilled prophecies and prophecies yet to be fulfilled - a tangible proof of God's sovereignty. Don't delay! Choose to believe in Him and live!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Why is it easier for us to say we will give our life for His name, when we hesitate to even direct a conversation towards God?
Why is it easier for us to wear a cross, but not say we are a Christian loud and proud?
Why is it easier for us to use compliments to cheer up a friend, but not give them the assurance that God's in control?
Why is it easier to just say you had a good weekend, but forget to mention a word about attending Church?
Why is it easier for us to stay silent than to tell people about Jesus?
Why is it easier to fear rejection than love our neighbor and make a move to safeguard their eternal destiny?

How often do we spend talking to someone about useless topics but avoid the most important subject - their eternal destiny? Are we ashamed of God? Is believing in God not 'Cool'? Are we afraid of rejection and humiliation? Don't we love our neighbors and care for them?

The above questions have been haunting me for the past few weeks as it struck me that I've let many opportunities slip by me, to proclaim the Gospel.
God has commissioned us to be 'fishers of men' and reach out to souls. If we truly loved our neighbor, we will try our best to steer them away from hell, and eternal damnation. We are not going to go through any where near the humiliation, tribulation and rejection that Jesus went through, yet He reigned victoriously. Doesn't that encourage us to press on?
Lets grasp every opportunity prayerfully and direct our thoughts to bringing souls to Christ and stop pleasing the crowds. Then we will be able to join Paul as he says, 'However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the Gospel of God's grace.' 
Remember to be the unique 'you' God made you to be - It is certainly 'COOL' to love God and serve Him!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Lets be Authentic Christians!

While many don't want to be associated with Christianity or  fall away from it due to the unauthentic lives led by Christians, we forget and ignore the various, genuine acts of kindness many Churches and Christians do to impact their communities and share God's love. Here are two of my favorite...

A Church in America has seen many unfruitful evangelistic attempts. The hearts of those in their community were just really hard. Once a TV was given to the Church but was forgotten about, until the Pastor of the Church had a great idea during the football season. They decided to invite many people who lived in their community, from those who felt neglected and rejected to those who were very amicable to watch football and have some food. Many came along and were able to experience God's love in action and see the authenticity in the lives of these preachers, who clearly practiced what they preached.

In another part of America, during hard times and economic depression, a Church decided to organize a free medical camp for their community. With the help of many volunteers, the Church was able to provide medical services to a lot of people, and reach some of the most needy people in their community.

These Churches, put God's love into action. They found a way to connect with people and bridge outward differences and touch the heart, they showed their community that they care and love them because God loved them first; they made people feel special and accepted. In addition, these Churches have seen their numbers grow drastically, mainly because people wanted to see the reason behind the love these Christians showed.

Lets be authentic Christians, who joyfully practice what we passionately preach and flee from apathy and hypocrisy. God wants us to care for those around us, we as Christians have a responsibility, to overcome evil with those little good things that make an impact in lives. We are not perfect, but we are made and will be made perfect by Him who is perfect. Whoever came up with the saying 'Actions speak louder than words', is certainly 100% correct.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Blinding, Binding World...

The world just seems to blind me
and stretch me out into strings
pulling me from all directions,
trying to turn my life from You

There's money bundled in the corner
promising joy and rest
he tells me I'll be satisfied,
and forever trouble-free

There's fame standing in the spotlight
offering recognition,
he tells me he is all I need,
with whom everything I will gain

As I try to flee from both
self-righteousness clings to my coat
showing me I can do all things,
by myself 'cos I'm strong enough

As I try to battle 'em all
I hear your calm still small voice
reminding me of the One,
through whom I have come this far

You are whom I need to trust
to You I need to turn my gaze
once I put You first in all
I know that You won't let me fall

God, please give me strength
to resist these binding paths to death
that cling to me and turn me from,
Your outstretched arms and love so great

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

'We're made of stardust'

My views have slightly changed since I wrote this post - I will expand on my present views at the end of this post. I have decided to leave my previous musings, as I believe it depicts how our view of the world changes as we mature in the Lord and better understand His Word.

On a recent trip to the Royal Observatory, I was shocked to hear a presentation about stars that said 'Stars are closer to us than we think, we're all made of stardust!' As I looked around the room, I could see proud smiles, I did not understand! To be honest, I found it insulting to hear that I was made up of atoms and molecules that were the remains of a star, that magically combined in some gene pool and through an accident, evolution made me!

Those who were listening to this presentation, seemed so proud to hear that they were made up of star dust, accidentally! What logic does that make? Why is it harder for them to accept the fact that they were made in the image of God, by God? Our society projects theories as facts to those around, thus adulterating the minds of many. What many forget in the course of their lives is that the 'Big Bang Theory' is just a 'theory' and the 'Evolution Theory' is just a 'theory' - no one has enough proof to claim that these theories are 'facts'. There are immense fossil records that disprove the evolution theory - if you are interested, research the 'Cambrian Explosion' - this is where the fossils of many different complex creatures were found with NO connection to any other organism! Moreover, the Big Bang itself is an incomplete theory! Those who choose to believe these don't do it for the facts (if they did, they would know that these theories are just non-provable myths for grown-ups), they do it because they do not want to accept the fact that God exists. The existence of these theories, explains very little but raises many questions, that is not the same with Creation...
Creation explains everything, logically, and no evidence has ever been found to oppose it - this fact, is ignored blindly by our society. It is easier and a lot more logical, to believe that 'in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth'!

Ecclesiastes 1:10 'Is there anything of which one can say, "Look! This is something new"? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.' - God created us and every other organism on earth. Things don't magically evolve into new organisms, everything we see now already existed. There will obviously be visual links between organisms, that does not mean they evolved from one another, it merely exhibits the fact that God is a splendid Creator, He wanted all organisms to fit in somehow and thus have a basic similarity e.g. 2 eyes, 1 nose .etc.

If you're still not convinced, may I take this opportunity to encourage you to read the Bible, read Genesis and see how much logic that makes and compare it to these incomplete theories. Remember, the DNA of a crocodile is closer to that of a chicken than ANY OTHER organism on earth - Lets see how the 'theory' of evolution explains this fact!

I am not going to attempt debating evolution, creation and intelligent design in this post. Although I was once staunchly anti-evolution, I have come to see how the Genesis account beautifully complements the theory of evolution by natural selection, and the evidence in fossil record. Of course God created the world, but how He chose to do so and bring each creature into existence is something we will only find out when we meet Him. Who are we to say He could not have used evolution to bring about such order!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

'Sermon on the bounce' - METRO

The above article from the METRO (released on the 25th of August 2011), really thrilled me! This shows the sheer determination of a Priest in Russia. While the congregation's plan to build a Church building was constantly thwarted by authorities, the Priest's friend decided to help him out with this innovative and eye catching idea!
What I love about this 'Bouncy - Church' is that, it is exactly like a church inside, and it not only provides these people with a place of worship, but also serves as an evangelistic tool. Many will be curious and would want to have a look, and as a result would get the opportunity to hear the Gospel. Wow, hats off, not only for this unique innovation but also the determination found in this community to meet as God's people, no matter what opposition arises!

'Revelations put Billy on Route 666' - METRO

When I read this article on the 25th of August 2011, in the METRO, it shocked me! Billy Connolly and his friend ripped out pages from the book of Revalations to make a roll up cigarette. This is the appalling state to which our society is headed towards. It truly broke my heart to see that very few openly opposed it. Unless our society learns to regard and respect the Bible for what it really is - the Word of God - we will not see a true and massive change.
Why don't Christians, like other religious communities, unite their voices to speak out against such things? God has given us all a voice, a voice to stand up for what is right, let us use that voice before it is too late to make a difference... What this pair above did, was totally wrong, so lets show our disapproval for such actions in the future; even if we don't literally 'speak-out' let us at least pray that similar men would know their mistake and repent and above all be led to Salvation.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Does Prayer Really Work?

By God's grace my exam results were in and He did not let me down. Although I was expecting more and was even upset with Him slightly to begin with, He taught to trust Him and His ways - He knows what is best for me. As I reflected on the 2 years of my GCSEs, I could see God's miracle working, grace filled hand continuously working - even the grades that He gave me now, were ones I totally did not deserve!
Before every exam and during an examination, I have a conversation with God - I pray! Many have asked if it really helps or if its all just to soothe myself, but, let me tell you, it really does work - prayer on its own has no power, it works because we are talking or crying out to the one, true, living God. He not only hears but listens, He not only listens but He answers. We've got to have faith in Him, trust Him, submit our situations into His hands, expect Him to work without having preconceptions on how He'll work and above all, never doubt Him! Isn't this what Jesus said:

'You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it' 
'Ask and it shall be given to you' 
'If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you'

Let me take this opportunity to encourage you to never give up on praying. Here are two major events that blew my mind and that I pray God uses to strengthen your prayer life and relationship with Him...

In January 2010, I took my first Chemistry GCSE exam which was 45minutes long. I was seated at the end of the, then cold, exam hall. As I peered to the board at the front to see how long I had, I by mistake, read the time for a different set - I checked the clock and assumed I had 20minutes left instead of 5! I rushed onto the last question of the exam - this question was worth a lot of marks - I took a couple of minutes to read and understand the question, and when my pen touched the paper, the invigilator screamed, "TIME'S UP! PENS DOWN!' I was shocked and terrified, I checked the board and the clock again and realized my blunder - I had NO TIME to even write a sentence answering the last question. I closed the paper and said a prayer which I believed with all my heart, asking God to miraculously write an answer in for that question. Days passed, but I trusted Him, when I got my results, to many's surprise I scored full marks - although they award full marks even if you had made a few mistakes - it was a miracle, I knew I had made many blunders throughout the exam paper and there was no way I would've got that result by completely missing the final question too. I praise God and may all glory be to Him!

The second instance that blew my mind, was during a Maths entrance-exam for a school. For an Indices Question, I had to find the value of the unknown indices which would work for two different situations(I don't think what I have just writtem makes sense but its very hard to describe a Maths question). I had NO IDEA about how to find these 'unknown values'. While I was on the verge of letting my anxiety get to me, I took a minute and prayed, asking God to show me two numbers on my calculator after I type in, a weird, made-up calculation, I trusted Him! I typed in this calculation and got the numbers 2 and 3. Without doubting, I wrote those answers down as the value for each of the two indices. About 5minutes later, I was tempted to check the given equation with these values to check if I got the answers they had shown - to my surprise and God's glory, they were correct and the equation worked perfectly! My friends couldn't believe it, neither could I, but isn't God famous for working in ways that we cannot imagine? Although some said that it was a 'coincidence', what are the chances of typing a crazy calculation, which had nothing to do with the equation given, and coincidentally getting two numbers that answered the question perfectly, all after praying? I am sure that everyone would agree that the probability of that scenario happening is very very low!

Thus, never underestimate what God can do. He wants to be a part of our lives daily, that is the message I constantly learn from Paul Miller's book, 'A Praying Life'! In all we do, let us seek His guidance, rely on Him, trust Him and above all expect something great from Him - but never have preconceptions on what that 'great thing' is going to be, because God will certainly work in His way and therefore break our preconceptions - if that happens, we miss the sight and awe of His glorious hand working in our lives. What ever you do, always remember to pray - wherever, whenever, whatever, however - Prayer Works!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

When Death...

When death shrivels my body
and breath and heart beat stop,
my soul will awaken
and fly to a land far above.

The path will reach beyond the skies,
even beyond our Milky Way,
with the Sun hardly visible
and earth no where in sight.
The path will be lit by the stars,
with trumpets and harps making music,
the distant 'Hallelujah' will resound
from angels and saints long gone.

I will see patches of gold dust,
an indication that 'Home' is nigh.
Finally will I stand awestruck
before the pearly gates.
As perfection surrounds my soul
I will know all that I believed,
in God, my Savior and my Lord
and in the whole of eternity.

I will stand humbled
at the profound purity before me,
something I could never achieve completely
in that earth far, far away.
What makes me worthy
of such a gift as this.
Thus, my soul hesitantly waits,
reluctant to even make a move.

Then I'll see Him running
with arms stretched wide
love blanketing His beautiful eyes
and wisdom glowing in His smile.
He'll carry me into the pearly gates
where a banquet lies await,
a loud cheer and trumpet blasts
will welcome such a soul as mine.

Only by His grace will I attain
such a gift as precious as this
His life ransomed for one,
someone, as lowly as me.
In Him will I be worthy,
in Him I am renewed
penalty paid and perfection acquired
reflecting my holy Lord.

Now, I'll strive and eagerly wait
till the day death will take its toll,
as it is the day I will be 'Home'
to my precious Savior and Lord

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

London Riots - What can we learn?

A topic that has always interested me is the Omniscience of God. I used to wonder that, if God knew what would happen in the future, and if what would happen was really bad, why didn't He stop it? I feel that many would have these questions, and especially with all these London Riots and the damage they have caused to many lives, it is important we address it.

Psalm 139:16 says, Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. This verse clearly depicts the omniscient nature of God; He knows what has happened and He knows what the future holds. He knew that these London Riots would take place even before anyone had planned it. Then why did He let it happen?

God treats us as individuals, He has given us 'free-will' - He is our Father, we are His children, not robots, and we are responsible for every action we choose to take. We can choose what to do and how we want to act - we can choose to act in a mature way or in a very rowdy and violent manner. God wants to be a part of our lives everyday, He wants to be part of our decisions and each and every one of our actions, however, He is a gentleman - He does not force Himself or intrude. Revelation 3:20 says, Here I am! I stand at the door at knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. This is where constant prayer comes in, we need to let God be the center of our lives and evaluate every action before we do it, to see if its pleasing in God's eyes. Our world and our human race is 'fallen', therefore, sinful nature is in our blood, to overcome this strong force, we need God.

The Bible says that 'the fear of the Lord, is the beginning of wisdom'. What 'wisdom' is this referring to? Righteous Discernment. If our society and all these youngsters feared God, they would submit to His will being done, they would think before they act, they would care not only for public property but for all the lives they've been damaging. God allows certain things to happen for societies and people to learn a lesson, to bring about a greater purpose for His glory. We can't question Him, we've got to trust Him.

As history has time and again shown, violence is not the answer to anything. God hates violence; He is a God of love. He is also a God of justice. Like the Psalmist says, 'I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.'. 'Free-will' means that there are consequences for every action we take, God is not just going to watch His children suffer, those who trust in Him and cry out to Him will be heard.

David Cameron said, "When we see children as young as 13 looting and laughing, when we see the disgusting sight of an injured young man with people pretending to help him while they are robbing him, it is clear that there are things that are badly wrong in our society" - Yes, I agree, there are things that are wrong but what can we learn and now do about them?

- Develop the 'Fear of God' in our society
- Encourage patriotism in schools, homes and society itself
- Discipline children from an early age in homes and schools; remember 'Spare the rod and spoil the child'
- Give police more support, freedom and power, so that they are respected
- Re-think some laws that really exist to spoil the society and will lead to further detriment
- Get involved with near-by communities to help clean up - London Riot Clean Up
- Share the message of hope and love by sharing God's love and support to those afflicted
- Share the message of God's saving grace to those involved

There are plenty more ways we can get involved with, whatever we do, let us not be aloof! As Christians we have a duty towards our communities, and as our church secretary, Chola Mukanga, preached this Sunday from Obadiah on violence - 'God wants us to look at our responsibility not the size of the problem'

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Salvation - Repentance

When many try to repent from their sins, including myself - you just want it to happen like magic; you don't want to try or persevere but just want God to interfere. But I love what I heard someone say once, "Jesus is a gentleman, He doesn't interfere or force Himself you've got to let Him in."

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. - James 4:7

While trying to repent, I've always tried to resist the devil, didn't avoid uncomfortable situations but just tried to resist the devil - and he did not flee from me! Ever so often, it is easy for us to forget the beginning, the vital part of the verse. We've got to submit to God first and then resist the devil, then you will find that he WILL flee from you.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. - Philippians 4:8

This doesn't mean that we've got nothing to contribute, we have to take the first step. Like Philippians 4:8 says, if we surround ourselves by true, noble, right, admirable, pure, lovely, excellent and praiseworthy thoughts and things - why would we be in situations where we are prone to fall into the same old sin again? 
A big part of my sins was my obsession with secular music that are filled with non-biblical lyrics, artists whose lives do not reflect Christ. Through God's grace, prayer and submission to God, I have now abandoned secular music completely and surround myself with strong Christian songs, and trust me, that helped me a lot! Whether it is isolating yourself from ungodly conversations with your friends .etc. a little sacrifice from our part and total submission to God will lead to efficient repentance results.

Another vital factor that prevents us from repenting fully is our pride - the pride of confessing our sins, the pride of bringing our shameful sins into the open and showing that we are not perfect - I certainly found that a huge struggle to overcome. You will never be able to repent fully if you are filled with the self-image pride. The point at which your relationship with God matters more to you than your public image or this 'pride', that is where true repentance happens. In addition, most of my sins were to do with pleasing those around me, fitting into the world, because I valued friendships more than Jesus Christ - the point where my relationship with God became far more important than my relationship with others on earth, that is where I could turn from my sins easily.

A massive part of salvation is repentance - We've got to accept, Jesus as our Savior, confessing sins to Him and asking for forgiveness and more importantly, repenting from our sins to possess eternal life in Christ. - What is hindering your repentance? Find the problem and address it quickly. Your destiny hinges on this. 
In conclusion, you will not find that the day your saved you will cease sinning once and for all - you've got to battle with sin until you die physically but remember what Hebrews 10:14 says:

For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

The instance we accept Christ into our hearts, we are seen as perfect in God's eyes because of Christ's sacrifice for our sins, however, the rest of our Christian journey we are being refined and cleansed by God to become more holy, more like Him each day - Trust Him and turn from your sins; repent to avoid regret.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

The Christocentric Word - Psalm 22

As I was reading Psalm 22 lately, the profound Christocentric nature of it filled my eyes with wonder. In this post, let us just focus on this Psalm to just help us digest the divine origin of it and the ample connections it has to Jesus' life.

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? 
This first verse makes a direct connection to Jesus straight away as we can see that the first question addressed by David was spoken, literally, by Jesus in Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34. Isn't that mind-blowing? It certainly blew my mind away. Therefore, I feel that David indirectly tries to show his readers the pain and suffering the Messiah will go through around a 1000 years later.

As the entire chapter unfolds, it is easy for us to assume that Psalm 22 was written completely from Jesus' perspective. However, we need to remember and acknowledge the fact that we can never understand God's word completely; His word has 'clues' here and there to prompt our thoughts in the right direction and to help the readers of the time prepare for the most important event in history. This is evident in Psalm 22. Thus, the entire Bible is 'Christocentric' as it is God inspired; a group of men from various time periods can't, on their own, weave such a beautiful, prophetic, one-message-centered book.

Verse 3, Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises, makes direct reference to Jesus. We can be certain that He is the only 'Holy One'. Verses 4 and 5 reassure the reader of this Christocentric principle observed by saying, In you our ancestors put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. To you they cried out and were saved; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
It is clear from the mission of Jesus' ministry and all that He taught, that He came to save the lost. Ephesians 2:8 and Romans 10:9 remind us that Salvation can only be found in Christ and through Christ. We can clearly see the connection between these verses above and this crucial truth, thus, it is clear that they're Christocentric.

Although verses 6 and 7 introduce verse 8, verse 8 really struck me as it makes a direct connection, like verse 1, to Jesus' life itself.
“He trusts in the LORD,” they say, “let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.”
The above reminds us of the mockery Jesus faced when He was crucified from many present there, in one case even a criminal who was crucified with Him, these accounts can be found in Matthew 27:39-44, Mark 15:29-32 and Luke 23:35-39. This strong parallel that can be drawn between David's Psalm and the real incident recorded by three of the four Gospel writers is profound and jaw-dropping. 

As we move down the passage, in the later part of verse 16 and verses 17 and 18, there is another striking, obvious point pointing this passage to no one other than Jesus. 
...they pierce my hands and my feet. All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.
Wow, what a reflection of the crucifixion! We know for a fact that Jesus was crucified in front of a largely mocking crowd, with nails pierced through His feet and hands(While some say that the Romans pierce nails through the wrist, the word used in the Bible, which represents hand, can be used to represent the entire upper arm section. However, some were nailed in the palm and it is also proven that, it is still possible to support the entire body.). We also know, especially from John 19:24, that His garments were stripped and divided among the soldiers. Psalm 22, like a prophecy, clearly describes Jesus' excruciating final hours.

As we read on, the rest of the verses are filled with great amounts of emotion that seem tangible and passion that creates vivid imagery; there is a lot that could be said about their Christocentric connections, but let us move on to the last three verses of this chapter.
29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—those who cannot keep themselves alive. 30 Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. 31 They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!
Verse 29 is reinforced by the victorious imagery present in Revelation as a result of God's reign and power. We also can see and are living testimonies of the fact that future generations have been told about the Lord and the victory He won over death even now, around 2000 years after Him, and generations to come will also hear about Him. Although verses 29 and 30 don't have striking parallels to Jesus' life, they are prophecies that will be fulfilled and that we can already see being fulfilled.
Personally, verse 31, did it all! Its Christocentric affiliation is subtle but powerful. People declaring "He has done it!", reminds me of the victory Jesus' won for us, over sin and death once and for all; this has been and will be a resounding, firm, joyous statement that will be proclaimed by all of God's children. This verse also wraps the entire Gospel message beautifully by pointing our thoughts to our Savior's last words on the cross, "It is finished." 

Sunday, 17 July 2011

We're on a Mission - What? Where? When? Why? Who? How?

According to the 'Great Commission' we're all called to Mission work.

 My heart's desire is to go on a Mission trip somewhere to spread God's love and the Gospel. I've always wanted to go to different places and evangelize for the glory of His name. But as I pondered on this thought and adamantly pestered my parents to send me somewhere, God raised some vital questions in my head and gave me the answers to help me realize an obvious fact!

Mission work? What is it? 
The word 'Mission' can so often slip out our mouths without us never understanding the meaning of the term. As I tried to find the perfect definition, an extract from my Religious Studies book captured my attention: 
'Mission is a word that means 'the act of sending', or, 'the duty on which a person is sent'. So in religion it refers to the act of going out to preach the faith to others - because the person or missionary was sent.'
Doesn't that summarize it all! 

The above three letter question is already answered in the first sentence of this post.
Matthew 28:18-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.''
This is the 'Great Commission'. As followers of Christ, Christians, we are called by God to go to the world and give then the message of hope, love and security, that is found in Christ Jesus. Therefore, every Christian, you and me, are called to Mission. Let me re-phrase the extract from my book to reiterate this:
'Mission is a word that means 'the act of God sending us ', or, 'the duty on which we are sent by God'. So in Christianity it refers to the act of going out to preach the faith to others - because we as missionaries are sent by God.'

Where? What is 'our' Mission field?
My idea of a Mission field, for many years, has always been a far away, remote country. While that is certainly one part of the Mission field, it is not the whole.
Our Mission field is anywhere where there are those who do not know the Lord personally (i.e. those who aren't saved), this of course makes our Mission field 'everywhere' - from our own homes, neighborhoods, work places, schools and countries to the entire world, Mission fields are everywhere. What we hope to achieve across few continents, can be achieved at home!
Mark 5:18-20 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.
We all have Mission fields, however, our Mission fields depend on God's plan for us! While there are those, like Peter and Paul, who would have to leave loved ones and go across nations to preach the Gospel, there are others, like this former demon-possessed man, who would have to serve the Lord where they live until He places them elsewhere. Both are vital, we need people to preach the Gospel not only in other countries but also at home!

How can I be a missionary? What do I need to do? What skills do I need to have? - Well, all of these are 'Frequently Asked Questions', but the answer is very simple. 
  1. We ourselves should have accepted the Lord as our Savior and be saved, our lives must reflect Jesus.
  2. We have to LOVE the Lord with ALL our hearts, ALL our soul, ALL our strength and ALL our minds. (Luke 10:27)
  3. We have to LOVE our neighbor as ourselves; its obvious that if we do this, we will automatically want the best for those we love, we would want them to be saved from their sins and torment in hell.
  4. Similar to the above, we have to have a yearning to evangelize, a heart for the lost.
  5. We also need to be filled with His word through constant prayer and meditation.
  6. Finally, we need to trust God fully! God can transform our weaknesses into our strength for His glory and for Him to be able to use us - One of my favorite evangelists, Ray Comfort, said how much he dreaded speaking. To his surprise, when God saved him, the thirst for the lost was greater than his fear of speaking; God strengthened Him and now he has been doing various shows and open-air preaching for a number of years!
God has called us to be 'fishers of men', through the 'Great Commission'. 
John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
The lost around us have no hope in life except through Jesus Christ, as the Bible says that 'all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.' When God has done this awesome work for us, for free, in our lives, we've got to tell EVERYONE! If you hear an amazing news, or something prodigious has just happened in your life, wouldn't you share it to the entire world? God's salvation is the most prodigious news ever, how much more vital is it to share that!

RIGHT NOW! We have to start our Mission from the time that we are saved, take all the great people in the Bible e.g Paul, they did exactly that!

But why are we scared and reluctant?
It is just the fear of being rejected, it is the fear of not being 'cool' or not being liked by those around us. 
But what does God say about this...
Matthew 10:22 All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 
God knows what we will go through, but He wants us to 'Trust and Obey' Him. This verse not only depicts this but also shows us that just being 'saved' and not acting on our salvation is useless, our salvation must be renewed everyday and we ought to use it as a driving-force to help us evangelize without fear or hesitation till the end, then we WILL be saved!

These thoughts really helped me understand that I ought to be standing for the Lord everyday, everywhere I am and that, that can make a difference! So, what are we waiting for, we are on a crucial Mission! Go!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

The start of the video below is from a 'EuroNews' clip about the Egypt unrest and deaths that occurred during the time. Wow, can this be the fulfilling of a Revelation prophecy! Scary, you can actually see the Pale Horse(circled)! Others have also said that they've seen this mind-blowing sight, God's word is just inerrant!

Revelation 6:7-8 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Bible - The Guidebook of Modern-Day Science

As promised, This is the second post on the Bible's bank of modern scientific facts. The more I talk about this the more I realize that science ties in closely with Christianity. I mention again, there are A LOT of scientific facts in the Bible, if I talk about each one, I could be talking forever!

One of my favorite places to be at is the sea or the ocean. The mysteries it holds are numerous; although it is beautiful, it can be dangerous. There are many depths that man hasn't even explored, that is what primarily makes it astounding; that is why one of the slowest developments in our understanding of the earth happen in this area. Here are verses which have unveiled a beautiful fact about the ocean:

Psalm 18:15 The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at your rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of breath from your nostrils.

Job 38:16 Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep?

Well, I have already spoken a bit about the book of Job in the previous post, but here is a bit about Psalm: the longest book in the Bible, a poetic book, consists of five separate books, the chapters have a variety of authors(some known, others unknown) and the book was written in a period between 1410BC to 450BC. Psalm 18(the one mentioned above) was written by David at around 1010BC and 970BC. 

While these two ancient books written by ordinary people beautifully illustrate the unknown mysteries of the great depths, when did our modern scientists and explorers realize and establish this? 
Oceanology itself began fully around the early 19th century! This is relatively 'young' science, however, an ancient book holds all there is to know about it. To be more precise, underwater hot springs were discovered around 1917. 1917! Did the author of Job just make a lucky guess years and years ago?  The uneven surface and valleys and hills underwater were also a part of modern scientific discoveries that were made possible because of the extensive use of seismic and ultrasound waves. How have these recent understandings already claimed their places in archaic books?

Here are more astounding, jaw-dropping verses:

Ecclesiastes 1:7 All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again

Job 36:27-29 For He draws up drops of water, Which distill as rain from the mist, Which the clouds drop down and pour abundantly on man. Indeed, can anyone understand the spreading of clouds, The thunder from His canopy? 

Ecclesiastes is a poetic book that was written in Jerusalem before 931BC, by the wisest man who ever lived, Solomon. The (hydro-logic) water cycle, a complex and recent discovery,  is explained in the above verses with simplicity and a lot of clarity. The vivid imagery used makes it easy for the people of the time to comprehend this principle.

However, scientists, once again, realized this a lot later! Although scientists were at work with different theories on the water cycle for years, in the 16th century, a scientist named Bernard Palissy was responsible for combining the existing theories to present our modern hydro-logic cycle. Isn't this mind blowing! This fact is indeed one of my favorite! 

Moreover, the God of the Bible, is an unchanging God of  order, logic, purpose and consistency; this is at the core of our modern-day science!

This finally, brings us back to the 'HOW?'. Well, as I mentioned in the previous post, it is because the Bible is 'God breathed'. It is literally the word of God; how else will you explain its accurate, precise presentations of modern scientific facts! It is 'Inspired', 'Inerrant' and 'Infallible'! May I take this opportunity, to urge you to please take the Bible seriously, it can be trusted! Explore God's word with the right attitude and you will find these mysteries and many more unveiled to you; trust me, its not just a book with 2D words on it, these words are living words of God!

Drinking - Solution or Problem?

Recently, at around 10pm, my family went out to shop at our local supermarket. On our way back, our footpath was blocked by a group of drunk teenagers. We carefully walked past them as they hurled a wide range of foul words and insults at us. I was not angered, in fact, I was saddened! They behaved this way due to their drunkenness; they were being spoiled and pulled further into the things of the world, further away from God.

Our society presents drinking as a normality, it presents it as being alluring, social and just 'cool'. The Bible has a lot to say about this...

Ephesians 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

1Corinthians 6:10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Proverbs 23:20-21 Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.

Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.

Hosea 4:11 to old wine and new, which take away the understanding

Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.

God's word says it all! Drinking not only brings physical detriment with problems such as cancer, strokes, heart diseases, thread veins/brittle nails, diabetes, sexual health problems, pancreatitis, mental and memory problems.etc. It also brings with itself an emotional and spiritual detriment. 

If we look back to the list of verses above, we can see that drunkards can not inherit the kingdom of God. Drunkardness robs the ability of our brain to function rationally. Although many 'enjoy' this state as they feel that it gives them an escape from the stress and pressures of reality, they forget that they loose control over their mind and body. With your self-control lost, you are vulnerable to a variety of sins, this can lead to so many dangerous complications in life, some of which can be permanent and will be regretted. Especially during this economic crisis, many turn to alcohol for comfort. However, it is not a very wise thing to do, its just a waste of money that would've been spent usefully elsewhere. Drinking to run away from economic struggles just puts you into a deeper pit! Many families who share their economic struggles talk about money being wasted lavishly on alcohol just to soothe the addiction or the longing for peace. 
(Here is a link to a thought provoking article by Ray Comfort: How to Drink a House)
Its not the solution, in fact, it is the problem! Drunkenness, in most cases, is the root cause of violence, not only public but also domestic! Instead of seeking alcohol for a relief from stress, let us seek God! God has a lot of peace to give, He wants us to 'cast our burdens onto' Him.

Some may not 'enjoy' this state, but pretend to relish just to appear social; they give into peer pressure. I am blessed and grateful to have friends(even if they may not share my views on this topic) who would never force me to, in fact, they would prevent me at all costs from falling into things such as this. However, some people get pressured to conform to the expectations of those around them, just to 'fit-in' or look 'cool'. They yearn for a sense of belonging and they take drastic measures to obtain it. The Bible, clearly asks us to 'not conform to the pattern of this world' because our world is adulterated with sin. Instead take Jesus, don't try, instead strive to live like He did. It is good to be different and unique, all of us are special in God's eyes! In addition, if you need to change yourself to be someone's friend,  they really aren't your friend; a friend accepts you for who you are individually. Like Elizabeth George says, 'It is better to have no friends than have the wrong friends.'

Alcoholism isn't the only problem in our present society; materialism, drugs, immoral relationships .etc dominate the lives of many people. They all need God to untangle the knots in their lives; we all need God! Fervent prayer filled with helplessness and trust in Him is the only way out! Jesus is the only solution!

In conclusion, there is a lot I could say about this, however, His word has already given us all we need(in fact, a lot more). Let us encourage one another to not give into the pull of the world and remain steadfast in Him. Let us pray for and support one another to give up these harmful practices and look to the one, true, living God for guidance and support. Let us also pray for wisdom to understand and encourage those who are trapped in this to realize the complications, dangers and the REAL solution. Trust me, with His intervention, even the most passionate binge drinker can change in an instant. Please watch the video through the link below, this is a real life story of an alcoholic and drug addict who was truly touched and transformed by God...