This week, I’ve had my share of “troubles”, from internet disconnection for 3 days (meaning missed conference meetings and inability to work from home), to ATM dispense error and a trapped ATM Card (meaning I had to visit a banking hall for retrieval). It has felt like things were working against me. Or as we say in local parlance, my “village people” were at work….hahaha. But I count it all joy!Continue reading “Count it all joy!”
No man was ever too hard for God’s Love to break
Only by everlasting wisdom does He decide in Himself
Who in His mercy He would draw to come see the Light
And who in judgment He forsakes to depths of darkness
In the mire of his sins and hardness of his heart
God would easily convert the wicked by His tender love
For never was any man too hard for our God to break
They said to one another, “Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come on us.” Reuben replied, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we must give an accounting for his blood.”
Genesis 42:21-22 NIV
A guilty conscience weighs heavily on sinners; there is no forgetting of their sins. Every evil is perceived as punishment for their sins; they are afraid as they turn every corner.
But when atonement has been made for sins, a sinner’s conscience is cleared of his sins. He can live as though he never sinned; because his sins have been paid for.
Jesus died and shed His blood for sins of the world. He was the spotless Lamb of God, a sinless man sacrificed for a sinful world. He took the punishment for our sins.
Whoever believes in Jesus has his conscience sprinkled clean by the blood of the atonement, shed for removal of sins, and clearing of the conscience. No more guilt!
The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.
Genesis 40:23 NIV
Sometimes, we hope that people will help us – some whom we have even been of help to and cared for in the past. But people often forget. In times of abundance and prosperity, people may forget those who helped them or those they themselves should help. To depend on humans is often like leaning on a broken staff; our dependence should only be on God.Continue reading “He Never Forgets”
Moreover, it is required in stewards that one be found faithful (I Cor. 4:2)
The simplicity of the statement above belies its depth. Apostle Paul earlier mentioned that he should be considered a servant of Christ and steward of the mysteries of God. Then he mentions, as a matter of fact, that faithfulness is a requirement for stewards. It is indeed logical, that a steward should be found faithful. The real question is, “What does this mean for us as believers today?”
A quick word on stewardship: it is the bedrock of intentional and meaningful living. Understanding that we have nothing we did not receive, and that we are accountable to God for everything we receive from Him, helps us steer the course of our lives in the most profitable manner. Like Paul, we too are stewards of time, relationships, money, divine mysteries, and many gifts and graces imparted to us by the Lord. We are accountable to Him for what we do with all we have received.
On faithfulness, I am persuaded it is one of the most significant traits the Lord desires in the saints (who are all called to serve). That ability to stay true to what we have been asked to do and to do it with fervor, with or without glamour and fanfare, is priceless. It requires first, that one recognizes what he/she has been called to steward, just like Paul. It also requires that one possesses a commitment to finish the task regardless of how challenging it might appear.
Faithfulness in our lives is often challenged, on the one hand, by distractions, and on the other hand, by difficulty. We may be distracted by the attention we get while serving, or we could get from doing more “exciting” tasks. This requires focus on the task we are called to. We may also be discouraged by the difficulty of completing our assigned tasks, or the trials that come as a result of our service. This requires grit to stay the course as we continue our stewardship.
Both challenges described above require that we draw upon the grace of the God who calls us to serve Him as stewards in various capacities. God gives grace for us to stay faithful to our races. We must recognize our need for Him daily and commit to being faithful to our course – only then would His grace be available for us to stay faithful as stewards to the One who called us. Amen
P.S.: Seeing as this is my first post of the year, Happy New Year to all my dear readers! I wish you a prosperous and fulfilling New Year ahead!! Godspeed!!!
“Honest weights and scales are the Lord’s…” Prov. 16:11a
It is a wrap! As we crawl through the final hours of this exceptional year, we cannot help but look back with thanksgiving, seeing where we are in spite of the enormous challenges thrown at us as individuals, families, communities, states, and nations. No one has the manual for navigating times like these, and most of us have managed to pull through only with God’s help, arriving at the year-end safely. So regardless of what/who you may have lost through the year or what you may have been through, I’m just thankful to God you’re still alive to read this.
“…and the rest, some on boards and some on parts of the ship. And so it was that they all escaped safely to land” Acts 27: 44
Let me share a thought with you very quickly, hoping it will encourage you as we journey into the New Year. I’ve thinking long and hard about why I do the things I do, or why I want the things I want. Our time on earth is limited, and as 2020 has acutely demonstrated, we will all pass on from this plane someday. So why do I act the way I do? Whose approval or commendation am I seeking? And what is the basis on which I take pride in my actions? While the answers to my questions may be long and winded, God’s word is clear on what the right answers are.
I want to propose that we all act to either please ourselves, other people, or God – that these three categories summarize the motives for our plans and actions. If that is right, then it means we draw confidence that we are doing the right things from self-commendation, people-commendation, or God-commendation (permit my coinages). The trouble with being assessed or commended by others or oneself is that human standards are not even – they are based on limited knowledge and personal biases. We may commend ourselves or be approved by all men but still be wrong by God.
My recommendation instead, is that you focus on seeking to please only God. God is not just good and perfect; He is all-knowing and everlasting. He sees the end of things from the beginnings and understand the complexities of human interactions. If He approves of my actions or leads me to do certain things, I can be certain I am on the right path regardless of whether it feels good or others approve of it. I say this because taking the right decisions will not always be easy or feel good; it may even meet with heavy criticism or disdain from others. But pleasing God daily is the utmost pursuit.
So, join me as I recalibrate my decision-making process, centralizing God’s will and choosing not to be led by my own thoughts and emotions or the opinions of others. Let us determine to live out God’s will revealed in His Holy Word and seek to know His will where we need to make life choices, not driven by popular opinion, common wisdom or trending behaviors. Let us act with respect to the One in whose hands are the scales, who measures the actions and intent of all humanity and rewards each person according to their deeds.
I wish you a wonderful New Year ahead!
“…knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ” Col. 3:24
P.S: I wrote an earlier related post about the Lord being the Judge, you can read it here.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matt. 6:21)
The Bible verse above is such a simple but deep and beautiful statement that captures the essence of human priorities. It follows a short discourse from the Lord about laying up treasures in heaven instead of earth. Jesus is teaching his disciples (including us) the importance of keeping their focus on heaven with its permanency rather than on the earth with its transience. His instruction to them is that they should “store” their treasures to the heaven.
The powerful connection between our hearts and treasures is a matter worthy of frequent meditation. Our hearts go where our treasures are, but our treasures also go where our heart is. Jesus directly suggests the first, and subtly implies the second in the passage we have quoted from. As he prepares his followers to be spiritual beings enthroned with him in heaven, he teaches them to take natural steps which help keep their focus where they truly belong.
Reading this as a born-again believer translated to God’s kingdom through Jesus’ death and resurrection, I see “storing” my treasures in heaven as a move to keep my treasures where my heart is. This is necessary because of the divine insight Jesus provided – if my treasures remain only on earth, in places where they can be stolen or destroyed, my heavenly focus would soon be distracted as I worry about what would happen to my earthly treasures.
However, if I lay my treasures in heaven by investing my earthly resources in kingdom efforts – bringing the Word of God to the souls of men, drawing people into God’s kingdom, and building them up in faith so that they stand fast and cannot be moved from the truth – then my heart (emotions, thoughts, desires) will remain focused on heaven, and my resources cannot be stolen or destroyed. To keep your heart focused on heaven, store your treasures there!
For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He puts down one and exalts another. (Psa. 75:6-7)
One of the many ways in which God is described in the Bible is The Judge. This means He has the final authority to give a verdict concerning any matter or any person. While humans may offer opinions and perspectives, or even suggest who is right or wrong in a matter, the final authority rests with God. Similarly, God also reserves the right to pronounce the appropriate sentence or punishment for every misdeed or He can choose to be merciful, as He often does.Continue reading “The Lord is the Judge”
God often takes action in pursuit of one soul. He would turn a nation inside out and stir the hearts of many preachers, leading them over mountains and into valleys, just to save one soul. He would overturn the laws of nature and break the protocols of men to make a point to one man or woman. Such is the tenacious nature of God’s love – unfailing, undistracted, unmoved by human whims and caprices. Come see our God, who places a great value on the human soul – he is the One who never leaves the one behind.
This is one of the greatest promises in the Bible, tied to the appearance of Christ at the end of this age. To see Christ as He is (not as we think or imagine him to be) implies that we will be completely free from the limitations of our human minds, which colour our perception of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It means that our hearts will be completely pure and whole. Even more exciting is the resultant reality that “we shall be like him”. Our ability to see Christ in His true form will result in us being transformed into the same form as He. Exciting!
The Bible is also clear that as we behold the glory of the risen Lord, we are transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory. This is our reality here and now. The challenge we face today is whether our eyes are unveiled as we look on the Lord. Veiled faces do not make for transformed hearts. Every veil must be taken away, and that only happens as we turn to the Lord with sincerity of hearts. Do we still hide from the Lord like Adam and Eve after the fall, or are we honest about our struggles and failures as we seek His mercy and grace?
Scripture References: I John 3:2, II Cor. 3:18