Monday, 9 August 2010

In the Cave

We all go through Hard times. It energises some of us and propels us forward while it paralyses others and stops them in their tracks! Imagine you've been a high achiever all your school days, you graduated with a 1st class degree, you now got a good job. You have a good friendship network, and you're preparing to get married soon. All of a sudden, life turns on you. Everything that used to go well doesn't anymore.

There's someone who can relate to this in the Bible - David!

David had everything going for him. Samuel anointed him to be king; he defeated Goliath; Saul chose him as a musician and warrior; the army loved him and wrote songs about him. THEN his life fell apart. He lost his job and his marriage failed; Samuel his old mentor died; his best friend Jonathan couldn't help him, and Saul's soldiers hounded him until he had to hide in a cave.

At some point we all do time in the cave! It's where you end up when all your earthly supports are gone. It's where you learn important things about yourself that you can't learn anywhere else. It's where God does some of His best work in moulding you into the likeness of Christ.

It's where your worst inadequacies confirm that you're out of your depth, and where God sends His power to flow through your weakness.

When David prayed, 'You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living,' he had no way of knowing there was a crown in his future, or that he wasn't going to die in hiding. For all he knew, this cave he was in right now might be as good as it gets.

When you're in a situation you can't fix, can't change and can't escape, trust God! Trust God! Trust God! As long as your sense of security is tied solely to your success, it'll always be fragile. But when you know that God is with you even at your lowest point, you can handle the cave and come out stronger!

- Adapted from UCB Word for you today

It's in the Cave, where the mirky waters threatens to swallow us and the echoes of silence haunt us; where the ropes of loneliness and starvation tie us down and the darkness completely obscures our is there and then that we need to Completey TRUST God, taking refuge in Him.

Psalm 142: 5 - I cry to you, O LORD; I say, "You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living."

...The love of God is like the ocean,you can see its beginning, but not the end. :-)

Monday, 2 August 2010

It's all in The BOOK

The Greatest Book ever written. It's Author is the Almighty omniscient God. With only 66 books - 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament - it covers all situations in Life. Yet somehow, we never manage to ever 'finish' reading it.

You could read the Bible for a lifetime and not 'scratch the surface'.

There's no other book Like it. Here's an excerpt from 'UCB Word for you Today':

"There's an aura the Bible generates that no other book does. Martin Luther said, 'The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me.' Try laying a newspaper on your table at a restaurant and no one will give you a second look. But lay your Bible on it and they'll stare at you, watch you chew your food, and maybe even take a note of your licence plate when you get into your car. That's because the Bible creates a sense of God's presence that forces a reaction in the hearts of men and women.

We are changed as we read it. Our core values are altered, peace enters our spirit, joy wells up within our heart. 'The Word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us to what we really are' (Hebrews 4:12 )."

"...but the word of the Lord stands forever. And this is the word that was preached to you". 1 Peter 1:25

The Word Is Alive and when it goes out it stands; it has to accomplish something so it would not return back to God void. The answers you need are in your Bible, so make it part of your everyday life. It's our manual for daily living, it's all in The Book! We just need to make time to study it. Now i don't mean a quick glance while you're in a hurry to get somewhere. you need in-depth studying, pondering on what you have read, searching the scriptures ... You need understanding!

Acts 17:11 "Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."

...The love of God is like the ocean,you can see its beginning, but not the end. :-)

Saturday, 10 July 2010

James Says II

Carrying on with my previous Post on the lessons from James 1, i'll just be talking about the other half of the chapter that has to do with acting on the word of God.

Verse 19-20 of James 1 advises that "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, /for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires".

This here, is a key basic message for use in relationships. It's all about communication, anger only complicates things. We have 2 ears to listen and just 1 mouth to use in speaking so we should listen twice as much as we talk. Notice it also says be SLOW to speak and become angry.

Everytime, somebody says something that annoys you, notice how your anger soars to a 100% and you utter some harsh words without even thinking about it; almost like a reflex action. You need to spend time listening and processing your thoughts so you don't say things that will rip someone to pieces. Words tend to be ingrained in our hearts and minds, they cannot be taken back.

James goes on to say that we should " get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you". further on in the passage, we can not do this by only listening to the Word of God --> that's just deceit! deceit to ourselves.

The bible says study to show yourself approved of God. By default, we are sinful beings and evil desires that are part of our nature lead to sin. So therefore we need to train our minds how to think and what to think on. As a man thinks in his heart so is he. What you think is what you become!.

The Word of God keeps us from sin, as David rightly said in Psalm 119:11 "your word have I hidden in my heart that I may Not sin Against you". When there is something good stored in our hearts, we can then compare our actions against what's been saved as our standard to determine if it's right or wrong. That way we'll always be on track.

Philippians 4:8 " 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". The things which meet these criteria are all found in the Word of God so we need to study it, meditate on it... Let it become a part of you! Live and breathe the Word.

Now let's talk a bit about controlling your tongue! the tongue is a sensitive yet strong organ, used to prepare food for chewing and swallowing, it's primary function is taste and more importantly it forms our speech.

The Bible says life and death are in the power of the tongue - Proverbs 18:21

We need to be careful what we say. like i said before, the words you speak can make or break someone. On a more serious note, it can make the difference between you improving your life and you tearing your life down.

With your mouth, you can speak things in to existence as though they already existed. So even when the sky is dark and grey and there seems to be no way ahead of you, still speak positively! Afterall, what you're seeing is NOT what you WANT to see. (i hope. :p)

Anger is another thing that makes us spiral out of control and just say the next thing that pops into our heads. Now check yourself, If you are always so angry that nothing can contain you or you don't just know why you get so mad at times...Know it's not of God, something is definitely not right. God is love and as a christian you should display the fruits of the Spirit which include LOVE and Self Control. So if these two are missing, then you need to go on a self - exploratory journey with Jesus.

If I choose to speak positively but I think differently in my heart, is that OK?
In James 1:7 -8 it says that a double-minded man should not expect to receive anything from God.

David also says in psalm 19:14 "let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight O Lord" Not only should our words be right before God but our heart has to be int he right condition too. Remember in Genesis when Sarah laughed. she didn't actually laugh out loud, She did so in her heart but God saw it. God sees our heart so it always has to be in check!

A few closing words: Remember that the Bible is our spiritual food. We need to feed on it everyday pretty much in the same way as you would eat regular food daily. Use the Word of God as a mirror , checking your life is in line with it.

'Man shall not live by bread alone' was what Jesus said to Satan when He was tempted. This statement suggests that if we don't live by the Word, we are dying. Of course you're not going all wrinkly and running out of breath; it's not a physical death but a spiritual death.

Rightly divide the Word of God. Get it into manageable chunks that is easy for you to learn. It doesn't have to be a boring read you know, dig deeper and you'll find interesting things that you may have missed even after reading that verse a million times!

The times we are in calls for seriousness with the Bible! We need the WORD a lot more than our own experiences. The Devil knows a lot more than we do, do not be deceived into thinking otherwise!

Stay Blessed!

...The love of God is like the ocean,you can see its beginning, but not the end. :-)

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

James says

Some of you will remember the game 'Simon says' where whatever was said according to "Simon" had to be done. Now we're just gonna put a spin on that and call this James says.
Rather than being a game, we're gonna take lessons from the Book of James in the Bible. Hopefully we'll be acting out what it says! Let's go.

James 1 talks a lot about faith and how it develops in 'trials and tribulations'. It also talks about God's Word i.e. the Holy Bible and advises us to not only listen but to act on the word that we hear.

According to Hebrews 11:1 "... faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see". So now imagine you're standing on a broken bridge at point A, there's a gulf below you and thick looming fog in front of you. your vision is slightly obscured and you cannot see the other end of the broken bridge, point B. however you know that the other end of that bridge does exist.

If we translate that to mean that point A is where you are now (in life, in your career, in your education, in your relationships) and point B is where you hope to be then faith can be seen as that connecting rope that links the two points!
The only thing that connects you here and now to what is ahead which you have no clue about is your faith.

Faith is important because without it we cannot please God. But what does it do for our friends? our brothers and sisters? Faith reproduces hope in others. The Little things about your journey is important to someone else. The testimony you share at the end is great and it will encourage someone out there but it only shows them the finished the result.

When you tell them your 'faith-story', detailing every challenge in the journey, people start to nod their head with you saying "I can identify with that" or "if he could do that then it means I can do it too" or "If she could get through that then there's hope for me, I'm gonna reach for the light at the end of the tunnel".

"But is it ok to just sit there and do nothing since I have faith?" I hear you ask.
The answer is NO. The Bible says that faith without works is dead. For example, you can have faith that you are gonna ace your exam but you also gotta put the work in by studying for it! Faith admits that 'I'm not meant to understand things like God does so I leave it all up to HIM'

Faith says I'm seeking God first even though i'm worried about this and that. it says Let your will be done First!. We have to trust God that He is faithful to complete the work He began In us.

We also have to recognise that when God does not give us something, He has greater plans. He's taking you to a higher level. One thing that I have found is that God doesn't do things in's not like climbing stairs, going a step at a time. No. You may find that He could lift you from the bottom of the stairs and place you midway to the top.

That's something that depends on how long we've spent kneeling in His presence, building our relationship with him and allowing Him to chisel away our rotten, roughened edges.

Our relationship with Him is personal and Through various experiences Our faith is strengthened. Things happen for a reason, but a lot of the time we are so caught up in our feelings about the pain, the loss, the impact that we don't see outside the box. Seek for a reason.

Maybe you're where you are because of someone or something. You may Plan to go through a certain route but God takes you through a different one because He wants you to encourage somebody that day.
Ever thought of the friends you have and how you came to know them? Imagine if you weren't where you where that day, you probably would have never become friends!

"The testing of your faith brings about perseverance.Let your perseverance grow that you may be perfect and complete needing nothing - James 1:3-4"

...The love of God is like the ocean,you can see its beginning, but not the end. :-)

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

The Church: a building vs. people

[To those of you who may not know this, the church is not a brick building but WE are the CHURCHES]. - Mali music Cry out loud

The word “church” comes from the Greek word ekklesia which is defined as “an assembly” or “called-out ones.” The root meaning of “church” is not that of a building, but of people.

Ironic how people usually respond with ‘I go to this Church or that church’ when asked the question “what church do you attend?” Obviously from their answer, it is clear that they are identifying with a building.
Romans 16:5 “Likewise greet the church that is in their house…..” Paul refers to the church in their house - not a church building, but a body of believers.

Ephesians 1:22-23. The church is the body of Christ, of which He is the head.

So now what is the purpose of the Church?

Last time I sat to think and look carefully, all I saw was:
• A church where People were concerned about the numbers in the church, wanting the church to grow but going about it in the wrong way. The members are NOT projects, they are people so if they are nurtured properly maybe they’ll stick around.
• Churches being compared, saying who played music the best or who had more numbers, which church looked the nicest
• Church politics; this lady can’t be choir leader ‘cos she’s knew or I have more ‘holy spirit’ than she does
• Animosity; Sheila hates the pastors wife (may I add for no reason!) or Lisa does not talk to Ben because xyz happened
• Individual focused; we only care about what ‘I’ am going through that we fail to see that the Mrs Jones hasn’t been coming to church because her child is ill. Instead we judge.
• Very judgemental – the ‘elders’ look down on single mothers or the brother who drinks. Sometimes we are so blinded by self righteousness that we fail to see those who are broken and are in desperate need of help. They are probably in church ‘cos they need your help but instead you pour judgement on their head! :-(

BUT why? How has the Church – The Body of Christ – gone from caring, loving, teaching and encouraging it’s members and trying to get sinners saved TO a place of pretence??

Like the video above says, the Church is YOU! We make the church. People out there are watching us, watching our lives, seeing how we behave. They are looking for something different, something that makes us so called ‘Christians’ stand out. Our lives are open books that people read daily! We ought to be a mirror to reflect the life of Jesus Christ but sadly when people look into the mirror of some of our lives’, they see things that equate their situation or make it worse.
Now tell me, if you had a bike that could get you to work just in time and bring you back home everyday although you had to pump the tyres every morning, would you trade it for one that’s in the same condition but in a different colour? Would you exchange it for one that looks very pretty but doesn’t even move? Of course NOT, you wouldn’t!

This is how it is with those who are lost in the world and The church. Christians are being watched. People don’t see anything different in our lives so they think why should I come to church? Why should I become a Christian?

We are doing them a great injustice by not letting our light shine. The fact that we have Christ or claim to have Him, should make all the difference in our lives! 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

The Church is important, because God does not save people in isolation. God most often reaches us through other people. An important part of what needs to be restored is our relationship with other people.

Mother Theresa's statements about seeing God in the poor are just one example of a more general Christian principle. Because a large part of our problem is self-centeredness, a large part of the remedy is to learn to depend upon other people, to represent Christ to them and allow Christ to speak to us through them.

The Church is also the group with which we worship; the people we worship with. As such it has the responsibility to preach the Word of God and to administrator the sacraments [the foundational things that make us Christians e.g Holy Communion, baptism, Child dedication/Christening, marriage e.t.c]. These are critical elements in maintaining our fellowship with God and each other.

The Church also has a responsibility to encourage its members to make spiritual progress, and to show their Christian faith by their behaviour and their good works. This responsibility includes correcting others in Love. We need to be careful about carrying this out as it is very, very easy for Church discipline to lead to self-righteousness and intolerance.

I was reading the Word for You today and here’s what it says:

"People come to church looking for light and warmth! They want to know we care. Good preaching and music may bring them in, but relationships that nurture will keep them coming back. You can feel lonely in a crowd, even one that preaches love and has a 'greet your neighbour' moment in every service.
If we kept 10% of those who came through our church doors we'd be in constant growth mode.”

We can’t expect everyone to be friendly. People bring with them the wounds of their past, the struggles of their present, and the unspoken anxieties of their future. People have their baggage so we gotta be friendly first!

What they want to know is, 'Will you love me as I am, even if I don't fit your mould and change as quickly as you'd like me to?' Often our rigid structure keeps that from happening. Pastor, if your greatest concern on Monday is 'how many people did we have in church yesterday?' check your heart. You may be more concerned with your own image than meeting people's needs. Jesus told His disciples, '...I have called you friends...' John 15:15. Many people are shy, distrusting, and relationally impaired. Our mandate is to make 'friends' out of them, not just bench warmers and financial contributors. The Scripture says, 'Bear one another's burdens...' Galatians 6:2 because a burden shared is a burden lightened.

Many of those who come to church aren't looking for profound answers, they just want to feel cared for.
When that happens they open up to God's love and miracles take place.”

In summary, The church is not a building or a denomination. It is the people and as The body of Christ we should be able to apply the principles of 1 Corinthians 12: encouraging, teaching, and building one another up in the knowledge and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is the place where we show LOVE and Care for one another; where we meet the needs of the needy just like Jesus would have done if He was here in His physical body.

...The love of God is like the ocean,you can see its beginning, but not the end. :-)

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Crucifixion - The Doctor's perspective

What is the Crucifixion??....

.....Well Here's how a doctor describes it....

"As He slowly sags down...on the nails in the wrists, excruciating pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain; the nails in the wrists are putting pressure on the median nerves. As he pushes himself upward to avoid stretching torment, He places the full weight on the nails through his feet. Again He feels the agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the bones of the feet. As the arms fatigue, cramps sweep through the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain.

With these cramps comes the inability to push himself upward to breathe. Air can be drawn into the lungs but not exhaled. He fights to raise himself in order to get even one small breath...hours of limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from His lacerated back as He moves up and down against the rough timber.

Then another agony begins: a deep, crushing pain in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart. It is now almost over; the loss of tissue fluids reaches a critical level; the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues; the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air.

He can feel the chill of death creeping through His tissue...finally He can allow his body to die."

The Bible records it as concisely as possible in these words: 'And the crucified Him..... - Mark 15:24'

....How great the Father's love for us?...

He showed His love by acting it out on the cross. Thank You Jesus.

Happy Easter! Hope you Feel the Love of Christ and Share it also.. Stay renewed!

...The love of God is like the ocean,you can see its beginning, but not the end. :-)

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Self Control

People with self control:

Master their moods - a lot of the things that gets done in the world is accomplished by people who do the right thing even though they don't feel like it!

"A person without self control is like a city with broken down walls - Proverbs 25:28"

Watch their words - they put their mouths in gear before taking off.

"Be careful what you say and protect your life. A careless talker destroys himself - Proverbs 13: 3"

Restrain their reactions - can you withstand a lot without losing your cool?

"If you are sensible, you will control your temper. When someone wrongs you, it is a great virtue to ignore it - Proverbs 19:11"

Stick to their schedule

- determine how you'll spend your time or else others will spend it for you. "be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise -making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil - Ephesians 5:15-16"

Manage their money - they learn to live on less than they make and invest the difference. your budget should tell your money where to go rather than you wondering where it went!

"In the house of the wise are stores of choice foods and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has- Proverbs 21:20"

Maintain their health - with healthy body, you can attain greater heights and live to enjoy your achievements. "Learn to appreciate and give dignity to your body - 1 Thessalonians 4:4"

...It takes more than just will power to have long lasting self control; It takes a power greater than yourself... "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-control - 2 Timothy 1:7"

.."All things are possible with God." - Mark 10:27