Monthly Archives: April 2017
Never ever indulge the flesh. Especially do not give place to the sin of pride. There are people who are deceived who say that pride is natural. It is not! Because when Lucifer the archangel indulged in pride about himself only then did he have designs to exalt himself to high places and even become like the Most High God. And that what happened next changed the course of this apostate angel; he was cast out of heaven along with his rebellious angels by the holy and mighty angels of the Lord God. This Lucifer is now called Satan the vile deceiver and accuser of the brethren. Remember that Satan the insolent one will receive his long due punishment at the Final Judgement by none other than Jesus Christ the humble and eternal Judge who already defeated him on the cross. So whenever you are tempted with pride remember to be humble like Jesus than rebellious like Satan.
Verses to reflect upon:
- Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:12)
- Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded…Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4:5-8,10)
“Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the night watches! Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord! Lift your hands to him for the lives of your children, who faint for hunger at the head of every street.” (Lamentations 2:19)
The righteous considers the cause of the poor: but the wicked regards not such knowledge. (Proverbs 29:7)
Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:8-9)
- You shall not commit adultery. (Exodus 20:14)
- If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10)
- Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” 11 “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” (John 8:10-11)
- [Jesus said:] “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
In these days of takeaway and drive by meals being available, the habit of praying as a family is being lost to many in the present generation. This is NOT a tradition I’m talking about. This is something that should be natural in spirit to a Christian. The Christian life among many good things is a life of thanksgiving. This again, is not a tradition. I mean it’s not about some dedicated holiday in which give thanks to God for your blessing once a year. But rather the main thing is about thanking Jesus for giving you new life each and every day of your life. And this is what matters when you pray as a family; that each one present for meals is alive and alive in Christ.
Not everyone gets to meet up together for even a single meal as a family. Why so? Because some are stuck in debts and some family member has too keep working, while some are working overseas perhaps at oil rigs or places of armed conflicts abroad. While the sadder part is that some of their family members have passed away. And the saddest part is for those who passed without having faith in Jesus Christ, no heaven for them!
So, that is why when you are having your food and drink with your family, firstly give thanks to God that you are all together and safe, secondly thank Jesus for the salvation that he gives you and ask for his forgiveness and blessings, and finally confess that Jesus is Son of God who is your all in all. That’s the least you can say in your family prayers together, but you can thank the Lord more and more if you wish. Pray at your family meal times together as a family and make your family meals great again!
Here’s a suggested prayer that you can pray at your family meals:
Thanks be to the Lord God and the Lord Jesus Christ for bringing us together for a meal. We thank you O Lord for giving us life and life in abundance. Forgive us of all our sins and heal us in spirit, mind, soul and body. We believe that you O Lord Jesus are the Son of God and we praise God for sending you to us. By the Holy Spirit bless us now as we all share in our earthly meal and grant us that we eat and drink in the marriage supper of the Lamb of God which is to come. Amen and amen.
Lets first read the following verses as we reflect on the Lord Jesus Christ and how he brought change in Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus by his death. Here we go:
31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
32 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.
33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:
34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.
36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.
37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.
38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.
40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.
41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.
42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.
Joseph of Arimathaea is not heard of in most part of the Gospels except just after the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Who was this man and what did he have to with Jesus? Also what does Nicodemus have to do in all this?
From what we read in the Gospels (Matthew 27:57–60; Mark 15:42–46; Luke 23:50–53; and John 19:38–42) it’s known that he was a disciple of Jesus Christ. However he followed Jesus secretly as he feared the Jews. He was actually a part of the Sanhedrin which was the council of Jewish religious leaders who strived for Jesus’ crucifixion. However, the Gospel says that Joseph of Arimathaea did not give his consent but rather opposed their decision. That makes him a good man doesn’t it. Besides he was rich. God made him wealthy for a purpose that only few can ever receive from the Lord God. He took a personal risk of life and of reputation when he went to Pilate to receive the dead body of the One True Savior of the World who is none other than Jesus Christ. And by his wealth he could arrange for Jesus to be laid in a tomb (sepulchre). When Jesus was born he was born in manger as there was no place available for him. But at his death this one man from Arimathaea did all he could so that the Savior could be given some dignity after his death. Joseph of Arimathaea did not care for his life anymore as he knew he had to honor the Son of God the giver of eternal life more than anything.
Now to speak about Nicodemus. This man due to his short height had to first meet Jesus by climbing the sycamore tree. Though this man was a great sinner, Jesus came to dine in his house much to the dismay of the religious leaders. Yet Jesus led this man Nicodemus to repentance and salvation. In the due course of time, when Jesus died on the cross, Nicodemus did not flee nor abandon Jesus like most of the disciples of Jesus Christ. Very few men were brave enough to stand up for the Lord in public after the crucifixion. This man was one of them. He served the Lord well by bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes so that Jesus’ body could be wrapped in linen with these spices as per the Jewish burial custom.
Jesus at his death caused Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus to manifest the courage and right action no matter what the circumstances for the sake of the Lord. If you were in place of these men at that would you have done the same for Jesus? It’s a hard question to be honest. But the simple answer would be your actual actions in such times. However there should be nothing keeping you from standing up for Jesus Christ no matter where and when, if you truly believe that he is the Son of God. Yet again, were only courage and good works what Jesus woke these to men to by his death? Not at all, because by his agonizing death on the cross and his glorious resurrection from the dead he made available not just for them but for everyone who believe complete justification and salvation. You don’t earn your salvation by your good works but yes once you accept your salvation by your faith in Jesus and his Gospel then by your good works you can indeed give glory to God. The power of the Lord Jesus in his death and resurrection goes beyond inspiring courage and good deeds. For it has healing for sick, forgiveness for the sinner, deliverance from the darkness, friendship with God and life everlasting. Blessed are those who have not seen Jesus and yet believe. Amen.