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Good old repentance

repentance

Matthew 4:17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

The very first words of Jesus when he began his ministry was that the people repent. No blame shifting, no excuses, no blaming your genetics. It was simple, repent. Period.

Jesus came for sinners alright. He didn’t have to come for the righteous. The righteous were always taken care of by God. He came to help sinners out of their sinful ways. For sin kills, sometimes physically but always spiritually. A person may never get caught for stealing but will suffer eternal damnation in hell for that.

Acts 3:18-19 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer.  Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord

Turning away from sin is a big relief. Staying in sin is unbelief. You can’t can call yourself a true believer if you can’t turn away from sin. For that is the first command of Jesus when he began his ministry.

Romans 2:5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.

Many people are now very stubborn. They think that they can commit all the adultery and thievery they want in secret, then go to church, feed the poor and all will be well. I have words for them; repent and do not delay. For when the time of judgement comes, it will be anything but well for them.

We all need this repentance which is good old repentance. Not some cheesy repentance. No blaming your past for your sinful present. Just leave your sinful ways and ask God for pardon.

There might be some sins that you know you won’t be doing it. That’s not the point. You need to confess your sin to God. No hiding it from HIM. He knows it but expects humility from you.

Hebrews 3: 7-19

So, as the Holy Spirit says:  “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts  as you did in the rebellion,  during the time of testing in the wilderness,  where your ancestors tested and tried me,  though for forty years they saw what I did.  That is why I was angry with that generation;  I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray,  and they have not known my ways.’ So I declared on oath in my anger,  ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. As has just been said:  “Today, if you hear his voice,  do not harden your hearts  as you did in the rebellion.” Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.

Unbelief is firstly a heart and mind issue. Actions only follow later. You know that God wanted to convict his people of their lack of faith after coming out from Egypt across the Red Sea. For he know that if they harbor unbelief it would eventually lead to sin which when coupled with non repentance proves to be a very bad combination for the human soul, always!

Fact

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Avoid fooling around on April the 1st (April fool’s day)

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The first day of the month of April, is usually when most of the world practices what called “April Fool’s Day”. Christians should avoid indulging in the antics of this day and rather pray for wisdom for themselves and others.

It’s a noble thought to desire that your friends and family become wise and intelligent. It’s vain to provoke them to fear, shock and outrage by deliberately fooling them or rather tricking them. Such thoughts which are deceptive are not as per the will of God.

In order to fool someone of April Fool’s Day, people of the world tell lies, they also deceive others in various means.  So if you see a picture of a panda on an elephant be assured that it’s a trick to fool you. Rather pictures human beings riding an elephant are more realistic. I mean on this day (maybe others try it all year round) there are plenty of lies being told through videos, news reports, images and what not. Be on guard against them. It’s best to avoid trusting the news and messages that you might receive on such a day.

Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. All his followers must therefore, not lie! The Bible does not tell us to lie, it in fact tells us not to lie and not to sin with our speech and actions. Life your life unto the Lord in honesty and integrity of heart. If the world wants to sin by indulging in April Fool’s day, its only because they have chosen so because they have accepted falsehood as their all. While you have the Word of God to guide and lead you, so never say you cannot reject the sinful ways of the world. Say yes to Christ in all your words and actions, let them always be true and wholesome.

 

Bible verses for reflection:

  • Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight. (Proverbs 12:22)
  • Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool. (Proverbs 19:1)
  • Be not a witness against your neighbor without cause, and do not deceive with your lips. (Proverbs 24:28)
  • And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. (Luke 6:31)
  • “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12)
  • Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. (Ephesians 4:25)
  • Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32)
  • Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. (Hebrews 13:18)
  • 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)

Quick reminder: when tempted look out for an escape

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No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

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)

On getting warnings at church

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Church notice board at Streatham district south London, England

At the time of World War Two, various churches in England such as the one in the Streatham district of London, would allow warnings on their notice boards about impending air raids. This saved a lot of people over there from the wickedness of the Nazi Luftwaffe (air force), as they took shelter when they followed the signs of the warnings. They knew the French had suffered thousands of human casualties because the Nazi air raids. As a result the preacher’s did what is right. Those churches didn’t have preacher’s fearful of ‘offending’ their flock of church goer’s. Because they were focused on defending the people. They knew the lives of their people mattered more than their being in a false sense of security. Obviously they didn’t sugarcoat their warnings either.

If they could issue warnings for physical things why can’t we issue warnings about spiritual dangers? Is not a temptation to adultery, very dangerous to the married person’s relationship with his or her spouse? Then should not a preacher warn the people about the evils of adultery? Is not drunk driving something to be preached against? Then should one ever get embarrassed about warning the people who need to hear about such things? No, need to be shy nor fearful at all. The below verses confirm this:

“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity,but you will have delivered your soul. (Ezekiel 3:17-19)

Ezekiel would as per God’s will, speak the word of the God to the people of Israel as and when it came to him from the Lord. The above verses also show that the Lord God expected his prophet Ezekiel to warn the wicked one’s so that they could repent of their wrongdoings and escape the judgement of God. So, Ezekiel was into saving lives! If you warn other’s in the right context you can inspire them to truly repent and believe in the Gospel.

If any gospel does not warn people of the coming struggles, but only focuses on having a blessed life, this gospel has been cheapened.  The recipients of this gospel message may not be ready for hard trials, and could fall away. (Robert Brownell)

Any preacher who is too scared to warn the people about challenges to their following the Gospel, is not doing prudent service to the congregation. This sort of behaviour is not acceptable to God! Such a preacher needs to get off his high horse of people pleasing and start acting like a real preacher.

Now is this an accusation against all preacher’s? Definitely a no. But there are certain gullible preacher’s who are doing big disservice to their own flock. These are the one’s who need to get their act together. The Holy Scriptures confirm that people will be so depraved that they will even get teacher’s to suit their own ways of life. Here we go:

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 muss (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

Do not be so crooked that you get you are influenced by the words and opinions of the people instead of honoring the Word of God. Do not be so cowardly that you only want to hear of blessings that you can receive but want to do nothing if any warning needs you do something right. Never become nor act like the type of depraved preacher or the depraved congregation mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:3-4.

The fact that you could continue to read till here shows that you don’t have itching ears to listen to compromising teachers. Congratulations dear reader on this!

There’s a good number of people all across the world that mentally shut off if the preaching they hear is warnings instead of precious little anecdotes and fables. (The Gospel tells us to be child like but not childish!). One of their tactics to avoid warnings is to keep begging the unsuspecting preacher to make the sermon more simple. Now if the preacher doesn’t seem to see past their vile scheme he will simplify even an already simple sermon. Slowly they’ll ask him to simplify things more so that they understand the way of God in a kinder way. But in fact the kindness they want is that they want to stopped being told to stop committing certain sins and foolish things they often do. These blatantly ignore the fact that Jesus Christ himself warned people many times. They also avoid the fact that Book of Revelation is full of serious warnings about the future.

A bit about balance in preaching now. Only preaching warnings from the Gospel is not preaching everything it says. One needs to also speak about the love of God, the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit, works of charity and kindness in the life of the believer in Christ. One ought to preach about praying for each other. One needs to know that the church doesn’t stop at the local community level but instead all across the world the church exists. Also that the church is not the property of any particular set of people but rather it’s the body of Christ of whom Christ Jesus is the head.

Do preach the Gospel in its entirety. And also be willing to hear the Gospel in its entirety. Why only stop at the Gospel’s? Be of good faith and give honor to the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. This way you’ll be surely pleasing to God.

Christ be with you!

The Sin of Inaction and Apathy

All praise unto the Lord God and his Son Jesus Christ who along with the Holy Spirit don’t ever stop doing good to those who believe in the Gospel. Blessed is He who comes in the name of Lord. Amen.

A person is usually called a sinner as per the sinful action he commits. There is also something called as sin of inaction and apathy. In such a sin a person has a chance to do what is good but he willfully avoids.

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For someone who never felt that avoiding good works is a sin, I’d say that it is indeed a sin. And the following scripture verses confirm this:

  • So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin (James 4:17)
  • And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. (Luke 12:47)
  • For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. (2 Peter 2:21)

If you get an opportunity to do an act of kindness without compromising on your holiness then go ahead to do good. Saying kind words are not taxable, so why are you worried about the cost? Obviously, kindness that I’m talking about is not flattery nor trickery but genuine kindness.

The sin of inaction and apathy often partners with a slothful person.  Some are always slothful but some are too cunning. Such people might be selectively active. So wherever they can serve themselves but when it comes to helping others they will totally avoid it. They love to pass on the buck to someone else. The usual excuse is that they don’t have the time and the money. Well, everyone gets 24 hours a day so the time excuse is invalid. The money excuse too is weird because there are plenty of good deeds that don’t actually need money to be spent in any way. You can always give away your old or unused clothes and furniture to a charity that looks after the poorest of the poor. You could help a blind person cross the road. Suppose you’re at a garden, you can watch out for children who are temporarily left unattended by their parents (there are freaks who try to harm children who are alone in parks) and raise an alarm if someone tries to hurt such children. Such things don’t need money but rather a mind open to the will of God.

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A righteous man knows the rights of the poor; a wicked man does not understand such knowledge. (Proverbs 29:7)

Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31: 8-9)

There are those who are oppressed who need your help and prayers. Their voices are not considered by society and so in a way they are voiceless. If you hear or know of such people in trouble do not deny them their right to exist. Speak up for them unto God and unto people who fight for justice. Pray that all workers of iniquity are stopped from carrying out their vile deeds against those you know are being oppressed by them. You can also approach the relevant church or human or racial equality groups so that the downtrodden of society get help.

apathy3Now if you into the sin of inaction and apathy its time that you realize that firstly this is indeed a sin and next its punishable in the afterlife. If you read Matthew 25:31-46 which speaks of the Final Judgement you will notice that Jesus our Lord will condemn all those who avoided doing what is right. The following verses of Matthew chapter 25 confirm this:

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. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Today is the time that you can choose to be open to the will of God and repent of every sin. Repent of all sins of inaction and apathy. Desire to actually do what is good and holy in the eyes and life for the glory of God always.

Suggested Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, I believe that you are the Son of God and that you will judge all sinners on Judgement Day. I repent of every sin, especially those of inaction and apathy. You are active in doing good to all those who believe in you, for this I give you praise. I resolve by your example to use every opportunity to do good whenever I can. Lord guide me by your Holy Spirit to use my intellect, talents and resources effectively to help others who are in trouble and need my help. Give me the wisdom to be able to do all this in holiness and without being fooled by any evil doer. I ask this in your Holy name, O Lord Jesus Christ. Amen and Amen.

10 ways to prevent yourself from sinning

1) Remember that sin doesn’t pay well.

2) Know that sinners don’t have a good end.

3) Focus on the love of Christ.

4) Get a good hobby which replaces your sinning habit.

5) Crucify the flesh and its sinful desires.

6) Memorize scripture so that you be holy.

7) Hear the testimonies of those who left sin.

8) Pray for grace to resist sin.

9) Be attentive to the Holy Spirit.

10) Do not give up on God.

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