Monthly Archives: April 2014
Prudent living is vital factor that keeps you from danger. The Bible from beginning to end speaks about prudence. We are advised not be take everything at face value but check for hidden signs of danger. Jesus too has spoken of being prudent. As a follower of the Gospel, its important for you to follow the words of Jesus and also what God has mentioned in the Bible.
Proverbs 27:12 A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge; But the simple pass on, and suffer for it
We are to keep silent at certain times in life.
Amos 5:13 Therefore at such a time the prudent person keeps silent, for it is an evil time.
We are beware of whom we are speaking to.
Matthew 7:6 “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
Psalms 39:1 I said, “I will guard my ways That I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle while the wicked are in my presence.”
Speaking should be about doing what is right.
Proverbs 12:23 A prudent man conceals knowledge, But the heart of fools proclaims folly.
Proverbs 21:23 He who guards his mouth and his tongue, Guards his soul from troubles.
You need to control your temper.
Proverbs 14:17 A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, And a man of evil devices is hated.
Proverbs 25:23 The north wind brings forth rain, And a backbiting tongue, an angry countenance.
You need to be prudent in your planning.
Proverbs 24:27 Prepare your work outside And make it ready for yourself in the field; Afterwards, then, build your house.
Proverbs 6:6-11 Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise, Which, having no chief, Officer or ruler, Prepares her food in the summer And gathers her provision in the harvest.
Luke 14:28-32 “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? “Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, `This man began to build and was not able to finish.’
You need pay attention and seek knowledge.
Proverbs 18:15 The mind of the prudent acquires knowledge, And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
You need to keep the word of God.
John 14:23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
Proverbs 15:5 A fool despises his father’s instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is prudent.
You need to act on the word of God no matter what.
Joshua 1:8 “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.
Matthew 7:24-25 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.
Luke 12:42-44 And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time? “Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. “Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.
Let’s read about the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector which was mentioned by Jesus in Luke 18:9-14
9 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Jesus was aware of the thoughts of the people around him. He knew that though he preached the Gospel of repentance, there were those who took it the wrong way. These people didn’t deny the need to be righteous but in fact were very proud of their own righteousness. So proud were they, that they scorned everyone else who didn’t measure up to their standard of righteousness. No wonder Jesus had a fitting parable to such self righteous attitudes. This is also a calling by Jesus on our attitudes towards prayer.
Here are a few lessons we can learn from this parable:
- The righteousness that comes from Christ is the only true righteousness you need.
- Do not display your own righteousness before the Lord expecting a goodie for that.
- Avoid boasting of your achievements in prayer to God.
- Stop comparing yourself to others in prayer even if they are proven to be more worse than you.
- No justification comes from self exaltation.
- If you humble yourself before God then you will be exalted by him.
- You need to believe in God to make you righteous by his Son Jesus Christ.
- A simple prayer of repentance is of more value than fancy words made to look like prayer.
- Express your emotions about your weakness to the Lord in good faith so that you overcome them.
- God is fully aware of the real attitude of your heart no matter how much you hide it from people.
Let’s first reflect on the following scriptures before I give out the prayer points for Nigeria (April-May 2014)
The Book of Acts 12:1-11
1 About that time King Herod Agrippa[a] began to persecute some believers in the church. 2 He had the apostle James (John’s brother) killed with a sword. 3 When Herod saw how much this pleased the Jewish people, he also arrested Peter. (This took place during the Passover celebration. 4 Then he imprisoned him, placing him under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring Peter out for public trial after the Passover. 5 But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him.
6 The night before Peter was to be placed on trial, he was asleep, fastened with two chains between two soldiers. Others stood guard at the prison gate. 7 Suddenly, there was a bright light in the cell, and an angel of the Lord stood before Peter. The angel struck him on the side to awaken him and said, “Quick! Get up!” And the chains fell off his wrists. 8 Then the angel told him, “Get dressed and put on your sandals.” And he did. “Now put on your coat and follow me,” the angel ordered. 9 So Peter left the cell, following the angel. But all the time he thought it was a vision. He didn’t realize it was actually happening. 10 They passed the first and second guard posts and came to the iron gate leading to the city, and this opened for them all by itself. So they passed through and started walking down the street, and then the angel suddenly left him. 11 Peter finally came to his senses. “It’s really true!” he said. “The Lord has sent his angel and saved me from Herod and from what the Jewish leaders had planned to do to me!”
From the above scriptures especially verses 5 and then 11, we notice that when the church prays together mighty things happen. Due to the prayers of the church the Apostle Peter was saved by the Lord’s angel from the prison and the evil plans of Herod and the Jewish leaders. The power of the church praying together is still there and alive today. All you need to do is to believe and pray. God will totally demolish the plans of the Evil one especially when people of the church start praying for those who are persecuted for Christ. Not just for the persecuted but also for those who are in any other sort of need be it physical or spiritual.
Sometimes we need to look at the bigger picture. We always pray for ourselves, then for family, friends and pets, our local church, local government agencies, soldiers and our own nation. This is indeed a very good thing to do. However, this should not be our limiting line. There is nothing in the Bible that says don’t pray for other nations or people of different cultures.
The will of God is that all people experience peace. There’s more to that, God’s will is that everyone receives the joy and hope that comes from Jesus Christ. For this the preaching of the gospel is beyond doubt very crucial. We need to pray therefore for other people for both their salvation and physical well-being.
With this being said, I felt recently that God is leading to me to post prayer points for Nigeria. I was praying recently with a friend of mine and suddenly he spoke that we must pray about Nigeria. This confirmed that indeed the time is now to pray for it. Amen.
Please look to bless others by praying for them. Here are the prayer points for Nigeria for the months of April-May 2014:
- That the terrorist groups, especially the Islamic terror group Boko Haram who have been kidnapping young Christian females be stopped in their tracks and the kidnapped people be set free.
- Pray that Christians in Nigeria don’t give up on their faith in Christ in face of persecution.
- That the government in Nigeria have good and ethical leaders.
- Pray that hate crimes and persecutions are condemned more vocally by the international community.
- That people of all religions in Nigeria are peace with each other and don’t co-operate with terrorists in any way.
- Pray that all the bombs planted to hurt people in Nigeria don’t set off. Pray that the police and armed forces are able to receive tip offs in time to defuse the bombs.
- That the preaching of the Gospel is without any compromises and that it increases multiple times over all across Nigeria, even in the non-Christian majority areas.
- Pray that the economy and infrastructure of Nigeria starts to recover strong and recover.
- That the witchcraft workers lose their sting in their black arts. That all evil spirits that still blinds the hearts and minds of various people in Nigeria by witchcraft are repelled in the name of Jesus.
- Pray that people of Nigeria live in peace and harmony with each other and respect each others freedom of personal choice.
- That everyone in Nigeria progresses in terms of education, health and standard of living.
A video link that shows persecution of Christians in Nigeria though I warn that the images are very graphic/violent:
Scriptures for reflection;
- Hebrews 13:3 ”Remember those in prison as though bound with them.”
- 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.
Jesus had a lot to say about Satan. It’s strange that in some Christian circles the preachers and the congregations don’t want to hear about Satan nor his wicked plans when Jesus himself was highly critical of the eternally condemned liar. I find it odd and tragic in equal measure that certain people want to speak that Jesus is victorious but don’t want to mention whom he was victorious against. This brings to my mind the words of 2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
Some people want a ‘customized’ gospel as per their own hearts desires and they find preachers who are willing to ‘tweak’ the gospel for them. By reading 2 Timothy 4:3-4 we are already forewarned about this and must accept the entire teachings of the Bible and not just bits and pieces of it. About such deceived people, may the good Lord Jesus open their eyes before its too late for them. Amen.
Now here’s what Jesus said about Satan. I’ll put a (sub) header or explanation about the context for each of his words about Satan for the sake of clarity. Read on:
On the Jews rejecting Jesus as Messiah but still claiming eternal security by being descendants of Abraham.
John 8:4 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Jesus compares Satan to a murdering thief.
John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Jesus explained the parable of the sower (Matthew 13: 1-23) and compared Satan to the seed eating birds.
Matthew 13:19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.
Jesus explained the parable of the weeds (Matthew 13: 24-29 and 36-43) and called Satan as the enemy.
He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels.
When Peter advised Jesus against the will of God.
Matthew 16:23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
When the disciples were amazed that they could cast off demons in Jesus’ name.
Luke 10:17-20 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Jesus spoke to Simon Peter on how Satan wanted to claim Simon Peter for eternity but Jesus prayed against it.
Luke 22:31-33 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”
Jesus clarified that he doesn’t need Satan’s nor his henchman Beelzebub’s assistance to cast out demons.
Matthew 12:22-27 Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.” Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub,by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges.
Jesus mentioned that the lake of fire at the Final Judgement (Matthew 25:31-46) has been prepared for Satan and his angels and unbelievers too share in it.
Matthew 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
By reading this, I hope and pray that you don’t take the great deceiver of the world ie the Devil lightly and instead trust Jesus forever. May the the light of Christ always shine in your life. Amen.
A very important reminder that we are living in the end times. Many prophecies are being fulfilled to this effect. We must be vigilant and ready so that we are found with faith whenever Jesus returns.
The Last Days
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS THE LAST DAYS WILL LOOK LIKE
THE LAST DAYS CHURCH: APOSTATE AND MAN-CENTERED
Throughout the Bible, a very clear picture is painted as to what the last days–the End Times–will look like. The times will be perilous: dangerous; actually, dangerously deceptive.
And so they are.
—The End Times: What does Bible prophecy say?
“The Bible says The End Times are one Big Conspiracy Theory”
—The End Times: What does Bible Prophecy say, part 2
People are interested in what the last days (also referred to as “the end times”) referred to in the Bible will look like. There is no shortage of man-made theories of the end times.
But what does the Bible say the last days will be like?
The Bible paints a very clear picture of these…
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Wishing everyone all the blessings of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus. Jesus the Lord, is amazing for he rose from the dead and gives us new life. Blessed are those who haven’t seen him but yet believe in him. Here’s a poem by me in the Lord Jesus’ honor:
The Risen Lord
Rejoice greatly, rejoice on high,
Faint no more, no more sigh.
For Jesus has risen from the grave,
Lord is he, mighty to save.
Angels in heaven shout out in wonder,
Singing his victory louder than thunder.
God has done a mighty thing,
O Death, where is your sting?
Rejoice creation, the Gospel profess,
Salvation for you, nothing less.
Christ kept his resurrection promise for he’s the best,
In him you’ll find hope and true rest.
As a Christian, one must always regard the New Covenant with great respect. For it was founded by the shedding of Jesus Christ in atonement for sins of the whole world. Lets first reflect on the following two scriptures:
- For the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10)
- The one who commits sin is of the Devil, for the Devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the Devil’s works. (1 John 3:8)
Adam and Eve sinned against God and therefore lost God’s friendship and favor. Death entered by sin into the human race. The main work of the Devil (by his own choice against God’s will) on earth is to make man who was created in the image and likeness of God into the lowest spiritually dead person he can and then die and suffer in hell.
God knew that man by himself could not restore the lost oneness and fellowship with God. So he sent his only begotten Son Jesus to live a human existence to redeem mankind. That’s why Jesus called himself the Son of man. Because he was born of Mary the virgin who is also the descendant of David who descended from Adam. Jesus didn’t want to limit himself to only the Jews because the love of God is for the whole world too.
By identifying himself as the Son of Man he conveyed he is for everyone on earth. Now he came to destroy the Devil’s work of making man sinful and dead in spirit to God. He came to destroy the power of sin and death over man. He came to heal people and cast out demons. He came to restore man to God’s favor by his obedience, being obedient even to his death on the Cross for all.
Jesus gives true joy, hope and peace. Today you too can experience the salvation and hope of Jesus. You get this by believing in the New Covenant by the Blood of Jesus.
To take away the curse of death due to the sin of Adam and Eve, the Lord Jesus had to take that curse on himself and then himself become the curse and be cursed. The Bible explains this. When I was very young I used to wonder about a remarkable curse mentioned in the Bible. Here it is:
“If a man has committed a sin worthy of death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance. (Deuteronomy 21:22-23)
With this curse I would wonder, what is the purpose of cursing a person who is hanged on a tree when he is already dead by the hanging? I didn’t understand at all, until some years later I succeeded in reading the whole Bible word for word. I realized that this curse was destined to be used by God to take away every curse that could ever harm mankind. Here’s that amazing scripture verse that came alive to me:
Christ has redeemed us out of the curse of the law, having become a curse for us, (for it is written, Cursed [is] every one hanged upon a tree,) (Galatians 3:13)
When Jesus shed his blood on the cross, he was hanging on the cross made of a tree, hanging by the painful nails that were driven into his body. He then died on the cross taking away the curse of the law. By believing in this you are justified and purified.
For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed–a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)
For he has made him, who knew no sin, to be sin for us; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Here’s what Jesus said about the New Covenant which he formed by the shedding of His Blood on the Cross:
In the same way also Jesus took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:25)
And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. (Luke 22: 14-20)
Please realize the need to believe in the New Covenant. Lay down your burdens of sin and of life at the feet of Jesus. Believe in the complete work of Jesus which is to restore you unto God in this life and the next.
Here are a few select scriptures that you can reflect upon:
- Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah (Jeremiah 31:31)
- Thus says the Lord: “In a time of favor I have answered you; in a day of salvation I have helped you; I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people, to establish the land, to apportion the desolate heritages, (Isaiah 49:8)
- “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
- Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. (Matthew 5:17)
- Then Jesus said to them,“These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”(Luke 24:44)
- And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)
- But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. (Hebrews 8:6)
- In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. (Hebrews 8:13)
- Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. (Hebrews 9:15)
- Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Depression and anxiety tend to have a negative impact on body and soul. People get depressed due to different reasons such as death of a loved one, financial loss, wars, lack of respect and appreciation etc. These may be valid reasons to be depressed. There are also unnecessary worries that cause depression.
Too much sorrow and anxiety puts strain on the nervous system. It causes insomnia, irritability, hopelessness etc. Even your spirit feels down and sometimes broken. You need to start realizing that you need to escape this soon. Maybe you feel at home with depression due long times of suffering but the Bible reminds us of the true nature of sorrow. You’ve got to be genuinely cheerful again.
Psalms 127:2 – [It is] vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: [for] so he giveth his beloved sleep.
Proverbs 12:25 An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.
Proverbs 15:13-14 A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
2 Corinthians 7:10 For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death.
No matter what your reason to be anxious and sorrowful, you need to make a choice to get out of depression and anxiety. Being depressed or anxious won’t solve anything let alone fix the cause of your worrying.
Anxiety won’t help you pay the bills. It won’t get you more beauty. Depression won’t make you more wise. It won’t strengthen you.
Jesus knows all hearts perfectly because he has made them all. No wonder he spoke about the reality of cares and worries. Here’s what Jesus the creator of all hearts had said about worrying:
Matthew 6:27-29 “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow.
John 14:1 “Let not your heart be troubled:ye believe in God, believe also in me.
Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Come to Jesus and give him your anxiety and worries. He will not cast out those who approach him in faith. Doesn’t matter if you caused the mess. Just approach Christ and take it all to him in prayer.
Worldly wisdom is partially right in letting go of your worries and sorrows by speaking it out to someone. But not everyone will hear out your problems. Not everyone cares about troubles you face. They will say please don’t discuss this with me for I don’t have time for this or some other excuse. Some only want to hear of your worries to see how they can take advantage of your situation. I say that such people will get their due judgement for this.
Some people can hear you out but can’t really help you due to their lack of knowledge or human limits. They will not be able to comprehend how badly hurt you are. Some may even find certain worries of yourself amusing though you may not like such people’s response. Only few people can actually listen and help you overcome your griefs.
This doesn’t mean you don’t speak about your sorrows to others. There are genuine Christian counselors who can hear and guide you. I used to hear out different counselors on what they would do to help someone get out of depression. I realized that the most effective one is when makes a free choice to cast his/her sorrows into the hands of Jesus and truly lets go. So I decided to then directly surrender my thoughts to Jesus when I’m faced with negative thoughts. Nobody can help more better that Jesus with the Holy Spirit for the glory of God.