O Death, where is thy sting?
“Let no one bewail his poverty,
For the universal Kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one weep for his iniquities,
For pardon has shown forth from the grave.
Let no one fear death,
For the Saviour’s death has set us free.
He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it.
By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive.
He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh.
And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry:
Hell, said he, was embittered
When it encountered Thee in the lower regions.
It was embittered, for it was abolished.
It was embittered, for it was mocked.
It was embittered, for it was slain.
It was embittered, for it was overthrown.
It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains.
It took a body, and met God face to face.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.
O Death, where is thy sting?
O Hell, where is thy victory? ”
― Saint John Chrysostom
Know wisdom by reading God’s Word
To know the wisdom of God for your life you don’t always need to wait for an emotional event with some grand piano music playing around. Nor does it always have to be mysterious nor mystical. You can pray that you get the wisdom of God. And then do the simplest thing to receive his wisdom; READ THE HOLY BIBLE.
For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. (Deuteronomy 30:11-14)
There are people who can prophesy the words of God to you in true holiness. Then there are people who have studied the Bible and can so remind you of God’s words as per your situation. But what do you do when you don’t have such blessed people around you? No need to fear, just open up your Bible and read it.
In the Bible you can refer to the Gospel for your salvation. About the end times you can refer to the various books of the prophets such as Daniel, Ezekiel etc and also the Book of Revelation. For reflection and comfort in God you can always read the Psalms. To get instructions on wise conduct you can read the books of wisdom such Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. All these books are in the Bible. Don’t stop at them, there’s a lot of other books and verses in the Bible that you can read to get inspiration, knowledge, testimonies, protection, counsel that the Lord God has desired for you to receive since the creation of time.
A house of prayer for all nations
If you have to give a carnival to get people to come to church, then you will have to keep giving carnivals to keep them coming back. (Charles Spurgeon)
The word of the Lord God came to the prophet Isaiah and was thus written:
Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. (Isaiah 56:7, KJV)
The Church is called to love and serve the Lord. And this is indeed expressed by faith in action. The best way to put faith in action is to worship God in Spirit and in truth. Now the worship of God is a joy to those who believe in him. Yes JOY and not entertainment. Though joy and entertainment might look like good things, the joy of the Lord is holy and the glory is reflected back to God. While in entertainment the emphasis is on self, as in how oneself feels pleasure. In worship your main focus must be to make God happy by your sincere praise.
So if there is sincere praise, would it be possible that there is something known as insincere praise? O yes there is. Insincere praise is when a person who claims to love Jesus doesn’t want to glorify the Lord God and doesn’t want to respect God’s word. The Evil One tries to stop the true praise of God. When he can’t get people to quit coming to church and go into the world for sinning, he tries something else. He tries to get the world into the church. I’m not blaming a particular nation’s Christian worship, though in contemporary culture its become a fad to only make a scapegoat of the worlds most envied country (I need not name it) while blissfully neglecting the mess in one’s own nation.
A very foolish way to worship God is try to ensure that the worship of God must be an entertainment filled event. Worship doesn’t mean that you are competing with the great Mozart himself. You must not lose focus on God at all. Your church might not have its personal Ludwig van Beethoven but that doesn’t mean that you feel upset about your music and try to imitate the self glorifying music of the world. Be happy if you have a good lyricist or a good set of hymns but seek to actually praise God. Don’t worry about the world and what it says. You come to church to praise the Lord and not the world!
In the same light, we need not use the profane elements of the world into singing praises to God. Such worship is not acceptable unto God. Do not believe any lie that says that we are to attract people to church with our singing. Jesus told his disciples to preach the Gospel. He didn’t say that sing some songs and perhaps people will assemble to hear the Gospel. We are called to preach Christ crucified.
For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (1 Corinthians 1:22-25)
“The devil has seldom done a more clever thing, than hinting to the Church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them.” (Charles Spurgeon)
Now don’t get me wrong, I do agree that it’s unwise to sing always on a flat note and with rusty guitar strings. My point is that a worship service is to be a worship service unto God and not for the pleasure of man. To that effect, our main focus is to be Jesus the Son of God in our praise. Give thanks to the Lord God for sending his Holy Spirit to guide us in the truth of God. That’s what the church is about. Not some entertainment center but rather a house of prayer for all nations.
Christ be with you!
Isaiah prophesied the birth of Jesus
The prophet Isaiah way back in the Old Testament prophesied about Jesus Christ our Lord. He even spoke about his birth. No ordinary birth, for this was going to a virgin birth. As you read through the prophecies of Isaiah about the birth of Jesus you will realize that Jesus was born with a mission. Jesus Christ came on earth born of a woman, not for his own pleasure but to do the will of His Father in Heaven. Happy are those who believe that God sent Jesus to take away the sins of the world.
Isaiah under the influence of the Spirit of God could so confidently speak about the Messiah. Yes, it needed confidence as Isaiah was speaking about Jesus hundreds of years before Jesus could be born and manifest as a man on earth though he is the Son of God. Here are the words of Isaiah’s prophecy:
- Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)
- For to us a child is born,to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and for evermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)
- There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the girdle of his waist, and faithfulness the girdle of his loins. (Isaiah 11:1-5)
It would have been amazing to see all the prophets of Old Testament times meet up with Jesus when he was on earth. How great would have been the sight of them? How warm and sincere would be their praise of the Lord our Saviour? Indeed, now as Jesus is in heaven they all worship him and serve him with a zeal unstoppable by death. They are very much alive in Christ above and will be surely rewarded at the resurrection of the just.
And about ourselves, what do we do here? Let us be thankful that we got to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and know what the prophets spoke about. For they were under the Law of Moses, waiting for the Messiah to arrive. And lo, the Lord did arrive on earth to do the will of the One who sent him. He fulfilled the Law, healed the sick, cast out demons from people, gave sight to the blind, cured the lepers and did many miracles. The greatest miracle he did, was that he in obedience to God our Father took upon himself all our sins and faults, and choose to die on the cross for us and rose again from the dead on the third day. His greatest miracle is therefore the cause of our salvation. Whenever you think of the birth of Christ, try to remember why he came on earth as per the Holy Scriptures and the prophets. That is the real meaning of Christmas.
Christ be with you!
- Keeping Promises: The Virgin Birth (pointtolife.wordpress.com)
- Jesus Christ Immanuel God is with us (disciplesofhope.wordpress.com)
- Your Word for This Day: “Adopted” (thotam.com)
- Fear Not! God Is With Us! (scripturalmessage.wordpress.com)
In prosperity be humble before God
In prosperity, give thanks to God with humility and fear lest by pride you abuse God’s benefits and so offend him (King St. Louis of France)
In adversity, it’s easy to be humble before God as you know that your ability cannot save you. You therefore come in prayer and in deep respect before God for your breakthrough or miracle. One of the reasons why non Christians get miracles when they pray to Jesus Christ is because they know that they have expended the last straw and have nothing left to save them. So acknowledging their helplessness, they usually pray to Jesus saying they don’t have anything to deserve a miracle but come humble appealing to his mercy.
Now contrast this with people who weren’t the best of moral men and had prosperity. How due to their pride in themselves they didn’t give God the honor that he deserves and by this they later fell into great trouble. Let me give you some examples of three kings mentioned in the Bible where their wrong attitude towards God became their undoing.
King Solomon of Israel was abundantly rich. He had loads and loads of gold and precious stones. Yet in his defiant and ungodly ambition to be great, he multiplied horses which was forbidden for a king of Israel. Deuteronomy 17:16 says that, “The king must not build up a large stable of horses for himself or send his people to Egypt to buy horses, for the LORD has told you, ‘You must never return to Egypt.’ Solomon however didn’t get punished for this sin. So taking wrong advantage of this, he multiplied wives, yes and not just getting more one wife. But that’s not the end of Solomon’s sin. By the evil influence of his wives, he built a multitude of worship centers for false gods of his wives, all over the land of Israel, in defiance of the Lord God’s commandments which is against the worship of false gods.
You can read all of 1 Kings 11 to get details on this. So in the end God judged Solomon and raised multiple adversaries against him. These were Hadad the Edomite and Rezon the son of Eliada who led their armies against Israel during this times of Solomon. That was not all, the Lord divided the kingdom of Israel, such that Jeroboam the son of Nebat got 10 of the 12 tribes of Israel for himself. The glory of Solomon was therefore diminished greatly due to his own pride in his own wisdom instead of respecting what God had told him in the Holy Scriptures.
Sennacherib the king of Assyria
There was a wicked king who was called Sennacherib king of Assyria, who achieved great victories against many kingdoms. His armed forces brutally killed many people in their evil wars. Then he turned his attention towards Israel. The Jews were dismayed when Sennacherib blasphemed against the Lord God of Israel by sending a message to the people “Who among all the gods of those nations that my fathers devoted to destruction was able to deliver his people from my hand, that your God should be able to deliver you from my hand? Now, therefore, do not let Hezekiah deceive you or mislead you in this fashion, and do not believe him, for no god of any nation or kingdom has been able to deliver his people from my hand or from the hand of my fathers. How much less will your God deliver you out of my hand!” (2 Chronicles 32:14-15)
Not only Sennacherib but also his servants gave such wicked messages to the Israelite’s. This ultimately led to the great downfall of Sennacherib which you can read as mentioned below:
Then Hezekiah the king and Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, prayed because of this and cried to heaven. And the Lord sent an angel, who cut off all the mighty warriors and commanders and officers in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he came into the house of his god, some of his own sons struck him down there with the sword. (2 Chronicles 32:20-21)
The impious Herod
Herod was a king who was prosperous and wicked. He didn’t give true honor to God (read Acts 12:20-24 to get an idea about this). So an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.
Remember that whether you are a king or not you still need to be humble.Just so that no one mistakes that humility is only for kings and leaders to follow, let’s remember the following words of Jesus our Lord:
- For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. (Luke 14:11)
- Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:12)
- The teaching points of Hezekiah… (audacityandsupposition.com)
- The Worse Judgment from God to face is The Judgment of your Works (prophecynewsandviews.wordpress.com)
- LISTEN: God, the Nature of Evil, and Stephen King (Gospel Light Minute X with Daniel Whyte III) (blackchristiannews.com)
- Bathsheba (georgehach.wordpress.com)
Fasting without guile
When you are fasting unto the Lord Jesus you might be doing it to spend with him. You might want to get closer to him. Sometimes fasting is just so that you want to be undisturbed by the needs of the flesh so that you can concentrate on the Living God our Father. There’s always a good reason to fast. The Holy Spirit may lead you to fast and pray or sometimes require you to only pray without fasting. Listen to him and discern.
Never fast out of legalism or trying to earn salvation or forgiveness of sins for it won’t actually save you. Only the Lord Jesus Christ can save you from your sins. Fasting therefore must be done without guile and hypocrisy.
In Isaiah chapter 58, the Lord God condemns unworthy fasting but also sets the precedent on what fasting is considered pure. Lets read the following:
58 “Cry aloud; do not hold back;
lift up your voice like a trumpet;
declare to my people their transgression,
to the house of Jacob their sins.
2 Yet they seek me daily
and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that did righteousness
and did not forsake the judgment of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgments;
they delight to draw near to God.
3 ‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not?
Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’
Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,
and oppress all your workers.
4 Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
and to hit with a wicked fist.
Fasting like yours this day
will not make your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is such the fast that I choose,
a day for a person to humble himself?
Is it to bow down his head like a reed,
and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?
Will you call this a fast,
and a day acceptable to the Lord?
6 “Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.
11 And the Lord will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.
12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to dwell in.
Jesus himself did not do away with fasting. In fact he set the standard for all of us who believe in him in Matthew 6:16-18
16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Wonderful tactic against the devil condemning you
And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
– Revelation 20:10
I really look forward to the time when the biggest criminal of all time who is the Devil will be put out of business totally and permanently. For a long time this sinister enemy of God has been tempting people who are pure and condemning whoever he can lie to.
One thing the Bible speaks in Isaiah 54:17 is that, No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.
Don’t let the Devil condemn you. I go even more forward on that. Don’t let him even speak. Resist the devil. Say, “In the name of Jesus I rebuke you, get away from me you devil”. Its that simple. Speak in faith and the devil will flee.
- Father of lies, murder and fraud. (eyesonchildren.com)
- The Resistance. (remedyministries.wordpress.com)
- Watch the Game Tape….Learn the Strategies (andyetstillirise.wordpress.com)
- Four Common Tactics of the Devil (adw.org)