James 2:10-11 (NIV)
10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.
Angel believed the lies the world told her. She felt worthless and ugly. Her life became a swirling mess of men, booze, and drugs until one day she cried out to God, “Kill me or save me. But don’t …
Who do you say Jesus is?
It is important that Christians know who Jesus is. It’s not enough or acceptable for us to learn to walk in His footsteps. We must try to establish a personal relationship with Him. Because only then we’ll get to know Him and the power of His might.
The disciples were His brethren for a long time; they saw the miracles. But when Jesus challenged the group to see if it knew who He was, everybody failed except Peter.
The Bible says Jesus went to the territory near the town of Caesarea Philippi. While there, He asked his disciples. “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
“Some say John the Baptist,” they answered. “Others say, Elijah, while others say Jeremiah or some other prophet.”
“What about you?” He asked them. “Who do you think I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
That exchange tells me that up to that moment, those men were still skeptical about Jesus. They were just going through the motion for the benefits.
What benefits? You might ask. There are a lot of advantages to gain from embracing Christ. Politicians do it to attract a certain voting block. Business people do it to enhance their status.
But embracing Jesus for vain reasons is a recipe for disaster. It’s like building a house on sand. When the wind of tribulation blows, we need a good solid foundation to withstand the test of time. That’s why it is so important that we seek to know the Lord better. And strengthen our relationship with Him.
Twenty-sixteen was a challenging year for many, including myself. But I will not dwell on the past. Instead, my mindset will be like that of the beloved apostle Paul, when he declared. “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).
Like Paul, I compare the Christian life to a race; a marathon. You never know what’s coming up next. Some days it’s like a piece of cake, other days the obstacles are more than you can handle. And as long as you continue to press on you will never be comfortable. The enemy is your competitor, and he is much smarter and trickier than you are.
Some Christians will tell you that their troubles ended when they accepted Christ. But that’s so contrary to what Jesus and the apostles taught us. As Christians, we are vulnerable to the schemes of the enemy, and we will fail sometimes, but we must not quit. If anything, we must continue to press on toward the goal to win the prize.
So, my friends, as we usher in the new year, let’s not become complacent, conceited or self-righteous. Rather, let us be humble at heart as the beloved apostle was when he wrote. “Brothers and sisters, I don’t consider that I have taken hold of it yet, (the prize). But here is the one thing I do. I forget what is behind me. I push hard toward what is ahead of me. So, I push myself forward toward the goal to win the prize. God has appointed me to win it. The heavenly prize is Christ Jesus himself.” (Philippians 3:13-14).
Happy New Year!
When I was a child, my mother would drag my brother and me with her to Church three times per week. Sunday night service was fun. Liked to listen to people testify about what God did for them. And I could not get enough of the songs they sang. One of my favourites from back then is: “Fill my cup Lord.” It was known as the altar call song. People would run to the altar to get their spiritual cups fill. I did not understand much of what was going on then.
Years later when I gave my heart to the Lord, I realise that it did not matter how saved you think you are; there is a time when you feel empty. You cannot put your finger on the reason. But you know there is a sense of emptiness within. And the fire you once had in your belly suddenly lose its fury. So, you start to look for answers, but nothing seems to help.
That is when you run to the altar and ask God to fill your cup.
“You shall love your neighbour as yourself” is a command from God. But most Christians struggle to obey it, and rightly so. How can we give up our prejudices and love our neighbour as we love ourselves? Humans are naturally programmed to favour self, family and friends over everybody else. Even Jesus had a disciple who the Bible referred to as the disciple whom Jesus loved.
Still, despite our prejudices, and our history. Everyone can be compassionate and helpful to people of different race, culture or class. And I firmly believe that’s the message Jesus intended to get across when He told the parable of The Good Samaritan (Read Luke 10:25-37).
So, my friends, it is time for a new mindset and a new way of thinking.
Don’t wait until the ark door is close before you surrender. I am sure none of you wants to hear the following words when you appeared before Jesus:
41 “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry, and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes, and you did not clothe me, I was ill and in prison, and you did not look after me.”
44 ‘They also will answer, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or ill or in prison, and did not help you?”
45 ‘He will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”
46 ‘Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matthew 25:41-46).