Christ

Do Not Worry and do not give up


“Therefore, I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” (Matthew 6:25-27)

My friends, I do not know what burden you carry to the cross today, but whatever the situation do not worry and do not give up. Your heavenly father knows what you need and in due season you will reap a harvest beyond your comprehension.

The crippled man who came to the pool of Bethesda for healing every day never gave up. Even though, his chances of getting into the pool at the right time was slim to none, he never stopped trying. But when it was due season, he reaped a harvest. This time he did not have to compete to get into the pool. Jesus came by and healed him.

Of course, it is hard for anyone to stay focus on God when his or her world is falling down. And it is doubly difficult if you have come to the cross for months, perhaps years, yet your situation remains the same.

Nevertheless, let me urge you to use the crippled man as an example and hold on a bit longer. Do not give up. The Scripture says, …”Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

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Are you a modern day Pharisee?


The Pharisees in Jesus’ time were revered by the people, but Jesus had very harsh words for them.

These pompous, holier than thou men towered over the people like mighty guardians. They were members of a religious sect who often clashed with Jesus over His interpretation of the Law.

The name Pharisee means (separated one). Hence, the Pharisees separated themselves from society to study and teach the law, but they also separated themselves from the common people and labelled them religiously unclean.

Regardless, the Pharisees commanded respect from the masses because of their pious persona. Still, Jesus was not impressed. He saw them as empty shells and scolded the group for unnecessary punishments they placed on the poor.

In a scathing rebuke of the Pharisees found in Matthew 23 and Luke 11, Jesus called them hypocrites and exposed their sins. He compared the Pharisees to whitewashed tombs, which are beautiful on the outside but  are filled with dead men’s bones and uncleanness on the inside.

 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. ” (Matthew 23:13).

“Woe to you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things” (Matthew 23:23).

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs that indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:27-28).

The narrow way


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Jesus said: “I am the door. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures” (John 10:9). 

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many  go in by it. But narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

 

Up from the grave He arose


Matthew 27 and 28, 1 Corinthians 15:55-57

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So, the Romans nailed Jesus to the cross and waited until He was dead. (they thought that was the end of the trouble maker)  Then they handed the body over to Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea. Joseph wrapped the body in a long sheet and placed it in his personal tomb which was carved out of a large rock. He then rolled a great stone across the entrance.

The Bible says on the next day, (the Sabbath), the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ So we are requesting that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then tell everyone he was raised from the dead!
Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.” So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it.

But something spectacular would happened on Sunday morning. The Bible says, early on Sunday morning, as a new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.

  • O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?
  • For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Suddenly there was a great earthquake and an angel came down from heaven, rolled the stone aside, and sat on it. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.

Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here! He is risen from the dead, just as He said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and He is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”

The women ran from the tomb quickly. They were frightened but also filled with great joy. They rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to Him, grasped His feet, and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.”

What does it means to follow Christ?


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In Luke 9:23 Jesus gives us a preview of what it means to follow Him. “… If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and pick up his cross daily and follow me”.

Although taking up your cross involves denying self, the main focus is about following Christ. The cross or burden we carry has to do with the choices we make with our will, the responses we have in our actions, and the attitude we carry in our hearts.

Our cross means that we are putting to death every decision, every response, and every attitude in our life that is not consistent with the love of Jesus Christ.

Does your life reflects Christ?


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As one who strive to walk in Jesus’ footsteps, I try to focus on the big picture–the crown that awaits me at the end of my journey. Still, I realize it is a steep climb, and I cannot do it on my own. Therefore, to be successful, I must pay close attention to Jesus’ teachings, and the things He stood for, and most importantly what He did on the cross at Calvary.

Hence I most certainly cannot allow myself to get distracted by trivialities, like, what is right and what is wrong. Instead, I should attempt to let my life be a mirror that reflects Jesus Christ.

Too often Christian folks get embroiled in social fights that result in heated exchanges. And sometimes these back and forth arguments and name callings get so out of hand that it is hard to differentiate the saved from the unsaved.

The apostle Peter says Christians should

Be tender-hearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it (1 Peter 3:8-9).

I especially like what Paul wrote in one of his letters to the Church in Philippi:

Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining as bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, you will be proud that you did not run the race in vain and that your work was not useless (Philippians 2:14-16).