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Though provoking


And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them,  and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:2-4)

Quick Reminder: Avoid worship of false gods

  • But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God and the everlasting King. At his wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure his indignation. Thus shall you say to them: “The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens.” It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens. (Jeremiah 10:10-12)
  • “And on that day,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “I will erase idol worship throughout the land, so that even the names of the idols will be forgotten. I will remove from the land both the false prophets and the spirit of impurity that came with them. Zechariah 13:2
  • Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years (Revelation 20:1-2)

Quick reminder: Preach the true Gospel everytime

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season;reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you,always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5)

But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people,devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved,building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others bysnatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. (Jude 1:17-23)

Put on your new self in Christ 

​3 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness,which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice,slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self,which is being renewed in knowledgeafter the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. (Colossians 3:1-11)

Those who believe in Christ must not act in the old ways of their sinful nature but rather act in the new nature which comes from Christ which is pure, holy and without guile. Use your mind not for living in darkness but for the Lord God who has given you salvation through his son Jesus Christ who died for us on cross and rose again from the dead on third day. Blessed are those who have not seen him and yet believe in him. Jesus is for everyone who calls on his name regardless of race or ethnicity.

Always remember that the wrath of God is coming and it’s not going to be pleasant for those who continue in sin. Therefore value your life in Christ Jesus and live not in ignorance nor wickedness. No matter what happens continue to abide in the Word of God. And then when Christ appears, you too will appear in him with glory.

Keep alive what is from Christ in yourself and put to death all evil thoughts and designs . You are not be in unholiness in which you once were as you are now in the light of the Lord God. Love not the darkness anymore because it’s partakers will be judged by the Lord himself and terrible yet just is their reward. Refrain so from evil and accept the good, I mean the goodness of salvation which comes from Christ Jesus who is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Christ be with you!

Quick reminder: Sins cannot be hidden from God

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Woe to those who deeply hide their plans from the LORD, And whose deeds are done in a dark place, And they say, “Who sees us?” or “Who knows us?” (Isaiah 29:15)

Then He said to me, “Son of man, do you see what the elders of the house of Israel are committing in the dark, each man in the room of his carved images? For they say, ‘The LORD does not see us; the LORD has forsaken the land.'” (Ezekiel 8:12)

Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them. (Ephesians 5:11)

Three ways to be shrewd when interacting with believers in Christ

For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. (Luke 16:8)

In the parable of the Dishonest Manager/Steward (read John 16:1-9) Jesus mentions about a crooked manager used his shrewdness to escape from an audit by his boss who suspected him of wrong doing and also gain favour with those who were in debt from the place he worked in. The point that Jesus makes is that though wicked people use their cunning to escape an earthly punishment, they will still not escape eternal damnation and will also be accompanied by their partners in crime when being tormented.

Now that we know the end of the wicked, its time we also take one thing into consideration; the way the sons of light deal with each other, shrewdly. In context of the wicked being shrewd with each other we can expect some twisted and corrupted dealings. While for the sons of light who I can say are the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ, the context is how wisely they deal with each other while being holy and just and loving to each other. This does not mean we cheat or trick each other, for if we do then can such people be truly called the children of God?

Let me make it real to you. It’s truly possible to be shrewd when dealing with other Christians and I will show you how. But first let’s get a clear meaning of the word shrewd.

Shrewd : having or showing an ability to understand things and to make good judgments : mentally sharp or clever (Source: Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary)

Since we have realized what the word ‘shrewd’ means let me give you three ways you can be shrewd in your interactions with other Christians. Here we go:

 

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1) You can remind and encourage each other to follow the Gospel

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16)

What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a psalm or a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. All of these must be done to build up the church. (1 Corinthians 14:26)

Don’t expect the world to tell your fellow brother or sister in Christ to follow the Gospel. The world well, is the world. It’s hidden master is the Devil. Would the Fallen One really encourage those under his grip to tell the people of the Lord God to follow the Gospel? Definitely no! At most the hellish serpent instead would let the world teach Christian as many counterfeit Gospels as they can. Oh, wait that’s already happening.

So it’s better that you who believe in Christ, follow what’s mentioned in the Bible and encourage each other who are in Christ to follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You can speak, you can sign, even in psalms and hymns to encourage the people of God to cling to the Lord God. Nowadays it’s possible to even send Bible verses, Christian praise and worship songs and videos and images which contain biblical messages to others via various social media. You can thank the ushers at church, say a kind word to your preacher and say thank you to those who go overseas to preach the Gospel. A small word of encouragement may mean a lot to them especially those who are taken for granted.

 

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2) You can warn others tactfully and save them from trouble

My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. (James 5:19-20)

There are some Christians who are being tempted all the time and this is a tough burden to carry. You can’t expect the world to help them. That’s where you intervene and help all those in Christ from falling away from the path of righteousness.

Suppose you observe that a brother in Christ is in danger of being a drug addict, you can tell him to stop his habit. However, some people are very hostile to direct confrontation. So if you don’t want to be direct, you can given him examples of those who took to drugs and are now in poverty and have ruined careers and how now they are far from the Gospel. Perhaps, that brother might repent and turn to the Lord Jesus again.

Maybe you know of a woman who attends your church and is known to attend the worship of false gods, you can act on that too. Pray about it first to the Lord God for her salvation. If you can then directly speak up if possible. Now at some local churches they are too finicky about a man speaking to a woman and vice versa. So in such a case, one can request a woman who is strong in the Lord to approach the woman who worships false gods and preach the Gospel to her. Or at best, get the preacher or the pastor to do that. As usual do your due diligence.

 

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3) You can refrain from blindly believing things

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. (1 John 4:1-3)

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:3-4)

There is a serious need that while you help Christians to be loyal to the Lord God, you yourself don’t fall off the way of life. And for this reason do not blindly believe things that even other Christians tell you. Everything they say must stand the test of the Holy Scriptures. Always remember that no Christian leader is above the authority of the Bible. It doesn’t even matter if they tell you how sincere they are. If what they say contradicts the Bible, you better not follow what they say. Instead you follow what the Lord God says in the Bible.

Christ be with you!

Psalm 115 (To Your Name O Lord Give Glory)

1 Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
Why should the nations say,“Where is their God?”

Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.
Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see.
They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell.
They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk;
    and they do not make a sound in their throat.
Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.

O Israel, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield.
10 O house of Aaron, trust in the LordHe is their help and their shield.
11 You who fear the Lord, trust in the LordHe is their help and their shield.
12 The Lord has remembered us; he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron;
13 he will bless those who fear the Lord, both the small and the great.

14 May the Lord give you increase, you and your children!
15 May you be blessed by the Lord, who made heaven and earth!
16 The heavens are the Lord‘s heavens, but the earth he has given to the children of man.

17 The dead do not praise the Lord, nor do any who go down into silence.
18 But we will bless the Lord from this time forth and for evermore. Praise the Lord!

 

Reflection on Psalm 115:

The Lord God respects his Holy Name because is faithful and ever-loving. There is no need for unbelievers to question where God is. Because the answer is already given; God is in heaven and does whatever he wishes. The Lord is not like any false god of whom people make idols. He is genuine and everlasting. His dominion is from age to age. Idols of false gods are useless because they don’t have the sense of hearing nor the sense of taste and neither can they see. So shallow are false idols that they cannot even walk. As lifeless as these idols are, so is the effect of putting hope in them. Avoid all such detestable idols. Let no material object nor any lust of any kind nor any thought pattern from the sinful world become a false idol to you!

The nation of Israel not matter what their current state is still called to trust in the Lord God and so are their priests; the household of Aaron. All those who trust in the Lord must remember he is the help and the shield of Israel and all believers when they trust in him. The Lord won’t forever forget the household of Israel nor that of Aaron the high priest of Israel, as per the law of Moses. In due time, he will turn their hearts back to him. But do remember, that God’s favour is not limited to them alone but is for all people who respectfully fear the Lord even if they are from the most remote parts of the earth. God’s mercy is available for all nations, tribes, language groups and races of the earth.

Always seek the blessing of God the everlasting One for yourself and your children. Because he is Great and has made heaven and earth. All of heaven belongs to the Lord of all the holy angels. But he has given mankind the earth, not as a possession but for stewardship, so that they glorify HIM in their thoughts, words and deeds while on earth.

Make good use of the time when you are alive on earth. Because for those who are dead, especially those who are dead in spirit to the will of God, there no time later to praise the Lord. While for those who are righteous in Christ at the time of their death are more alive than ever. They will praise the Lord in eternity which has God’s living light.

As for those of us who are still living on earth, lets us bless and praise the Lord forever and ever. Praise the Lord.

 

Verses for further reflection:

  1. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. (1 John 5:21)
  2. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8)
  3. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5)
  4. Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” (Romans 11: 25-27)
  5. After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7: 9-10)

A reminder that idolatry is still a sin in the end times

All praise and glory to the Lord God Almighty the Father along with our Lord Jesus Christ in union with His Holy Spirit. None other is worthy of worship and adoration. To you be the praise forever. Amen.

A warning that Christians in this age still need to follow is that they keep away from idolatry. That means absolutely NO WORSHIP of idols. Anyone who indulges in this sin risks going to Hell and getting punished on Judgement day as well.

“You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:3-6)

Even an image can be the same type of snare as an idol. The glory of God doesn’t dwell in idols and images. More so, false gods are an abomination to all those who profess faith in the Lord Jesus.

Now just because someone doesn’t have an actual idol doesn’t mean the temptation of idolatry is not there. Loving your car, bank balance, art collection and also your favourite celebrities more than God is the same as the vile sin of idolatry. You must never love your talents in anything more than God. In fact anything in your life that takes the place of God is idolatry. So get rid of every form of idolatry which is in your heart. The below verse confirms this:

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5)

A believer in God might wonder, why is this warning being given as I only worship the Lord God? To answer that, I’d say that anything that you love more than God is idolatry and in the end times idolatry will still be there so one must keep away from it. Even in the New Testament this wicked sin remains condemned forever. You can refer to the following verses:

  • Little children, keep yourselves from idols.(1 John 5:21)
  • Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.(1 Corinthians 10:7)
  • Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.(1 Corinthians 10:14)
  • But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works. (Revelation 2:20-22)
  • The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. (Revelation 9:20)
  • But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)

Also, the Anti Christ (also called as the Beast) and the false prophet who are opposed to the Lord God will use the image of the Beast to obtain adoration. The Holy Scripture’s openly curses and condemns those who worship the image of the Beast mentioned in Bible prophecy.

And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.” (Revelation 14:9-11)

And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. (Revelation 19:20)

Right from Genesis to Revelation the Bible keeps warning us against being idolators. Even in the end times idolatry will still exist and the Devil will use it so that the Beast receives the worship that belongs to God alone. No wonder we are called to keep away from idols and images if we truly are to honour the Lord God of Heaven Earth.

Suggested prayer: O Lord God forgive me of any form of idolatry that I may have knowingly or unknowingly indulged in. To you belong all worship, glory and adoration and no other. Forgive me for every time when I loved my riches, talents, friends and relatives more than you. I ask pardon for every instance where I considered anything more important in my life than you the Lord of Heaven and Earth. Also, I repent of all worship and adoration of false idols and images that I gave homage to. I resolve to follow your Son Jesus Christ and believe in the Gospel. Cleanse me of my sins and lead me by your Holy Spirit everyday. Amen and Amen.

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