Archive for the ‘broken_pieces’ Category

“For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are ashamed of now? For the end of these things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin & have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:20-23

This is such a common verse. Most of us know it by heart but is it in our hearts? Is it just another line in scripture or does it hold water? Has anyone understood it’s depth?

For so long, I also took this verse in vain, yes, as a Christian. I knew it theoretically but it hadn’t really sunk in. I would quote it but go ahead and walk against it. I heard Jesus’ voice but daily walked in disobedience.

Lately, this verse has come alive in my life again. By the grace of God, I understand it now. The wages of sin sure is death. Not just in the afterlife but even in this present one. Ever seen a plant that isn’t watered or doesn’t receive it’s daily dose of light? That plant never lives long. It may fool us for awhile but truth is it’s dying. Dying from the roots upwards. This is what sin does to us. It kills us. It kills the core of our being. We no longer get the nutrients we need for life. We don’t feed our souls, neither are we illuminated, and just like the plant we start wilting away. The things of God that used to make our hearts pump no longer please us. We don’t want fellowship with the body of Christ because we have become a shadow of our former selves. And so we slide away. Instead of running to the source for renewal, we think we can live by our own strength. Forgetting it’s not by might but by the Spirit. We shrink further and further, and to cover our frailty we indulge in more sin. We fool ourselves with the snippets of scripture we know by heart, but deep down we know we are gone. Like a junkie, we have thinned out from the effects of our abuse, sin is our master.

The wages of sin is death. Your prayer life is killed. Your word life is killed. The joy of salvation you once had is snuffed out. Your fellowship with brethren is strangled. You are lost. You are not a Christian anymore, at least not by God’s standards. The fruit of your life is nothing but sour grapes.

Good news though, the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus. Hear it, through Christ Jesus. You cannot do it on your own brother. I don’t even have to convince you on this cause’ it’s been tried and tested. Jesus is the only sure way, and He bids you come. Come and carry His yoke for it is easy. Come because with Him, you don’t have to depend on your own righteousness. It is imputed on you – Christ’ righteousness is what you live by. Come because you don’t have to continue dying. The cross still holds power. Come and rest, for just like the prodigal son, your Father awaits your return. So today, if you hear the Spirit of God, don’t harden your heart. Come to the river of life, you will find healing there.

 

 

 

Grace & Peace.

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GOD WILLING

Posted: February 1, 2013 in broken_pieces
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Grace to you,

‘God willing,’ a very common phrase. One that we say almost subconsciously without giving it much thought. Many a time I have used the phrase in vain. Saying it but not really understanding it. I remember there was a time when someone would say, ‘God willing’ I knew immediately they wouldn’t live up to my expectations. To me, it was just an escape route or a polite way of saying ‘No’. Until I understood its gravity.

So now, you will find me saying God willing because now I know unless the Lord wills it, I labour in vain. I know the Lord is sovereign enough to thwart my plans and direct my hands in a different direction. Now I know it’s by grace that I live to see the next minute. For my times are in his hands. Therefore, I commit all my plans to God knowing that if he wills them, they will succeed, with his definition of success of course. God willing is no longer a phrase but a way of life. Every time I say ‘God Willing’ I’m declaring ‘He is Lord.’

Therefore, James 4:13-17;

Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such & such a town & spend a year there & trade & make a profit” yet you don’t know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time & then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live & do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do & fails to do it, for him it is sin.

Grace & Peace

Recently, I got a chance to talk to a group of campus students on the above topic. I remember wondering how exactly I was going to deal with the subject, this is how the Lord enabled me.

Question: What Really is Salvation?

1. Salvation means Repentance

The human race is totally depraved, we inherited the sinful nature from the man Adam and since then, his seed has been the object of God’s wrath, Ephesians 2:1. We must understand just how sinful we are and how in need of a Saviour we are for until we do, repentance is impossible. Romans 3:10-18 talks of none being righteous, we were dead in our transgressions, Ephesians 2:1 and this is where Christ comes in. Romans 5:8, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. This same Christ commands that we should turn away from our sins for He came to seek and save that which was lost, Luke 19:10. Acts 3:19 is the clarion call for this where we are told, ‘Repent therefore and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out.’ For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved, Romans 10:13. The 1st letter of John chapter 1:9 further encourages us that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We should be full of gratitude that sinful us, can be shown mercy by the Great I am to to the extent that he tells us he has not destined us for wrath but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ and that Christ has come to deliver us from the coming wrath. 1 Thessalonians 1:10 & 5:9. Therefore people, the choice is yours, repent and be saved. That’s the first step.

2. Salvation means Faith

After repentance, comes faith. Salvation is an act of faith for it calls for you to believe in the Lord Jesus to be saved. We see this in Acts 16:30-31, where the Jailer asks Paul and Silas what he needs to do to be saved and they tell him to ‘believe in the Lord Jesus and he will be saved together with his household. Acts 4:12 continues by stating that there is salvation in no one else , for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Romans 10:9 says, ‘if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart God raised him from the dead you will be saved.’ It takes faith to believe, it takes faith to be saved, and faith not being some mystical illusion but faith in the Lord Jesus.

3. Salvation means Justification

Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardons all our sins and accepts us as righteous in His sight. It is an imputed righteousness, a righteousness that is outside us, a judicial act where a condemned sinner is declared righteous. The law could not help us that’s why Christ had to come and be our justification.

Let me just take you through scriptures that support this theology.

In Galatians 3:24, we see that the law was meant to lead us to Christ that we may be justified by faith. We could not and cannot uphold the law. The law requires that every command be kept and if you break even one, you have broken all, that’s where Christ the perfect Saviour comes in and becomes our righteousness. He is the only one who could uphold the law and so we were delivered from the curse of the law and his righteousness was credited unto us and it’s the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. Another thing that justification does is that it enables us to be at peace with God. Remember me telling you how we were objects of God’s wrath and the wrath that is to come, this is what justification has saved us from, now we are no longer sons of wrath but sons of peace, peace with our maker. Adam’s tresspass led to condemnation for all men but Christ’s act of righteousness lead to justification and life for all men, Rom.5:18. We are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, Galatians.3:26, and through the act of justification we have become regenerates. Regeneration is God’s act of creating new life in a sinner by the power of the Holy Spirit, seen in 2 Corinthians 5:16-18, we are a new creation, the old is gone. We are told in Ephesians 2:8-9 that it’s by grace we have been saved, not by works that any one shoud boast. Justification is an act of grace.

4. Salvation means Sanctification

Sanctification is a progressive act of God making us more and more into the image of Christ. It is God’s will that we may be sanctified, 1 Thessalonians 4:3, for he has not called us to impurity but in holiness. Romans 6:6-7 says, ‘for we know that our old self was crucified with him inorder that the body of sin might be brought to nothing so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.’ This is what sanctification is all about. We become dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Sanctification is the fruit of salvation Rom.6:22 and at the same time we are exhorted in 1 Peter 1:15 to be holy as he who has called us is holy.

Though sin no longer controls us, sin stills dwells in us. That’s why we find ourselves falling in every manner of evil. A believer isn’t controlled by sin but rather struggles with it, fights it and finally kills it, this is the path of sanctification. We are being transformed and renewed in our thoughts and minds that sin no longer has dominion over us because we are under grace and that’s why Paul says in Romans 6:12, “let not sin reign in your mortal body to make you obey its passions’ that means sin is in you but it should not rule you. Why or how you may ask? Because you have the Spirit of God who helps you not to gratify the desires of the flesh, Galatians 5:16. Because it is no longer we who live but Christ who lives in us, we have been crucified with him, remember? Because the fruit we get from being slaves to Christ is sanctification. When you read Galatians 5:16-26, James 4 and Romans.7 you get to understand better the battle with indwelling sin. The good news, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him since he always lives to make intercession for them, Hebrews 7:25. Jude vs.24 also says he is able to keep us from falling and present us blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy. Read 1 John 5:18-20 too. We are not in this alone saints, Christ is with us all the way. REJOICE!

5. Salvation means Slavery

We all agree in the Lordship of Christ, aye?

In the words of a one John Macarthur, ‘when you confess Christ as Lord, you are at the same time confessing yourselves as slaves.’ That’s not good news for some people yet it is the good news of salvation. Salvation is slavery in the sense that Christ has exclusive ownership of you because He bought you at a price. It means that you are subject to the will of your master, you need to have singular devotion to him. It means that there should be compete and constant availability to your master on your part. It means total dependence and allegiance to your master, you cannot serve two masters. It also means that all discipine and rewards come from that master, ‘whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth.’ It means you are under the yoke of your master and all this is seen when Christ says if any man will come to him let him deny himsef and carry his cross. It means you die to self and become subject to your master’s will.

The interesting thing though is that, unlike the worldly masters, we are under a loving, gracious master who cares, protects and provides for us. A master who adopts us into his family, makes us sons and joint co-heirs with Christ. Loving us as much as as he loves his son and that’s why He says in Matthew 11:28-29, ‘…… take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’ What a joy to be his slave. Read Romans 6.

6. Salvation means Suffering

The gospel of salvation is one that includes suffering. Anyone that brings another gospel or fails to state this is not preaching the whole counsel. Suffering is there and it serves a purpose. Let’s go through scripture.

Matthew 10:16 -24 Christ is blatantly telling the disciples and in extension us, that persecution will come, for he is sending us as sheep in the midst of wolves. 2 Tim.3:12 gives you the same promise, ‘Indeed all who desire to live a godly life in Jesus Christ will be persecuted.’ We are children of God, if chidren then heirs with Christ provided we suffer with him in order that we may be glorified with him.’ Romans 8:16-18. Philippians 1:29 does not mince words when it says, ‘for it has been granted to us that for the sake of Christ not only to believe in him but also suffer for his sake.’ 2 Tim.1:8 exhorts us to share in the suffering for the gospel.

So how shoud we react to the sufferings that come our way?

1 Peter 4:12 – 19 talks about suffering as a Christian and it tells us not to be surprised at the fiery trials that come our way but REJOICE insofar as we share Christ’s suffering that we may rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. James 1:2 says the same thing, ‘COUNT IT ALL JOY.’ Romans 8:18 tells of the glory that will be revealed at the end of time therefore making the present sufferings bearable. Rom.8:28 all things work for good for those who are called by God. Christ being a loving and just God told us all these things in advance to keep us from falling away when they do happen, John 16:1.

And in the words of John Piper, I will say, through the deepest possible pain, God is enough and God is most gorified in you when you are most satisfied in him not just in prosperity and health but also in suffering.

7. Salvation means Judgement

Whatever has a beginning, has an end, apart from God. In the beginning God created the world and in the end, God will judge the world. Psalms 75:7 says it is God who executes judgement and Hebrews 12:23 talks of God being the judge of all.

There will be judgement when the Son of God comes and he will repay each one according to what each has done. So salvation is not of works in terms of gaining it but salvation will be of works at the end of time in terms of what you have done because in asmuch as Christ has done everything for us, we each have a personal responsibility to live upto what we have been called to, 2 Peter 1:10. That’s why in Acts 17:3 we see it being said that in the past, God overlooked ignorance but now, he commands everyone to repent for he has set a day when he will judge the word with justice by the man he has appointed – Christ. You don’t want to be on the wrong side of Christ on that day, submit to his terms of peace now when you still can for you will give an account to every careless word, every deed you have done in the body whether good or bad.

The following are a list of verses that talk of the coming judgement you can read through them:

– Mark 9: 43 – 47, Matthew 16:27, 25:31-46, 12:36, Romans 2, Reveation 20:12, 2 Corinthians 5:9-10, John 5:22, Nahum 1:28, Romans 1:18, 2:5, 9:22, 1 Thess.1:10, 5:9, Rev.6:16, Hebrews 12:28 – 29.

Kindly go through those verses and remember this, behind every display of God’s goodness, stands a threat of severity in judgement if that goodness is scorned.

So salvation comes by faith alone, in Christ alone, through God’s word alone, so that it may be by grace alone to the end, that all glory wil go to God alone. Amen.

Grace & Peace

LOVE IN THE HOOD ~ ^ ~

Posted: May 11, 2012 in broken_pieces

Psalms 115:1 – Not to us, not to us but to Your Name be the glory.

Grace to you,

This article was inspired by my neighbour’s son, two Sundays ago. I was preparing for church then happened to throw a glance outside the window and I saw him. I saw him and his mother walking down to their house and I could tell that they were from hospital. He even had something wrapped around his face for concealing purposes. This boy has been sickly from birth and my heart usually goes out to him. Every time I see him, during his sick days, I usually have to hold back tears and mumble words to God. Words like, “God please just have mercy on this boy and heal him, or at least give him the grace to go through this if it’s your will that the sickness remains for your glory.” The boy is not saved and I have never shared the gospel to him, I always wonder how to go about it. I pray that God may enable me to talk to Him someday soon.

So, as the thoughts of this boy are flooding my mind, I start thinking of my hood. That boy is like a small bro to me cause we’ve basically grown up together and so is the case with the rest of my hoodies. We truly love each other, are always there there for each other in good times and in the bad, we spend ourselves for each other. Then it got me into thinking, wait, isn’t this how Christianity should be?

Most of the times, we Christians tend to forget that we come from the same hood. We draw ourselves in clusters and cliques that are thick to cut, we cause divisions amongst ourselves based on worldly views forgetting that we are a family. Acts 17:28 says we are the offspring of God.  We are in this world yet not of this world,that shows we are from the same hood. Rom 5:15 enhances it by saying we have been given the Spirit of sonship (adoption) and God is our father. God actually predestined  us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ and that Christ may become the firstborn among many brothers. Why then is there no love in this hood? Why do we live as strangers with each other yet God clearly says in Ephe. 2:19 that we are no longer foreigners and aliens but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of his household. Why do we live in disunity like the non – believers yet our unity is what is meant to reach out to them, Jn. 17?

Like the Romans in  chapter 2:24, God’s name is being blasphemed among the Gentiles because of us.  Because we do not do that which we know we ought to do. Truth in love no longer exists. Rom 13:10 says love worketh no ill to his neighbour. Why are we breaking this command?  Why do we keep quiet when we see a brother falling or straying in the name of “I don’t have a relationship with them” or “I don’t want to stir up stuff?” In the name of keeping pretty and pleasing the masses? Yet God has already certified you to talk to them by the main fact that you are of the same hood, Christians. I don’t negate the place of relationships, there is but I think we are overstepping it in the way we use it nowadays. God calls us family. Which one of you will keep quiet when their biological brothers are about to fall in a pit? How much more then are we supposed to speak up when we see members of this heavenly family, which is more important and which is everlasting? If we are going to live, with the end in mind, then I think the Christians, as a family of God, are way above considering they will still be there even when it all ends.

Why do we have to hide behind the walls of “stop judging me.” Paul says it is not his duty to judge the world but the church. Judgement begins in the church. Why is it when I compliment you or commend you on something and I don’t know you, you hurriedly and warmingly receive the compliments, but when I speak up in love when I see you straying, you rudely retort that “I don’t know you?”  I find that to be a bit hypocritical, if that’s how you are going to act, then do so fully. Don’t receive the compliments either.  If your circle of friends, the people you have a relationship with are not seeing when you are straying or if they do but they prefer to keep mum on the issue, but me, a “stranger” I choose to spell it out to you in love, why is it so hard for you to exercise spiritual diligence and think, if this person has decided to risk and come talk to me there must be something, why don’t I gauge it with the word. The word is the standard, not us, not our opinions, the word.

Let me just give you a practical example, I wrote this article yesterday night and God made it practical today morning when I was going to work. I was in a matatu and these two women behind me were chatting. One was an embittered woman who had left her church and was now telling this other one about it. Truth be told, that journey was long, the whole matatu was quiet, we were just hearing her complaints about the church and pastor. I kept wishing that somehow God would make it possible for us to alight at the same stage so that I could talk to them, mostly the embittered one. God in His wisdom, let me alight with the one who was being told the story. So, I just stopped her, said hi, and asked her if she’s a Christian. She said yes, and I told her I couldn’t help but hear their conversation and it wasn’t right at all. So I explained to her why and she was grateful and appreciated and was of the same thought. I didn’t know that chic, but the fact that they were professing Christians, I couldn’t just walk out of that place without telling them the truth. That’s what hood love is all about. We are family.

Let’s practise some hood love people. Let’s be real, let’s be genuine with each other. This world is fleeting and an open rebuke is better than hidden love, so says God. The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit, Prov. 15:4. Let us not lie to one another. Let us practise love in its fulness. We are members of the same hood, let’s not forget that, only ours is more is more stronger because we are united by one blood.

So anytime you are about to say, “you don’t know me, you can’t talk to me, remind yourself this, we are from the same hood.”  We are family, so either of us can talk to the other. Gal. 6:10 says, “therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, ESPECIALLY to those who belong to the family of believers (hoodies :)) That’s the word of God take it or leave it.  Time for some hood love.

 

Grace and Peace.

 

The events leading to this note began last week when I overheard a believer talking to a non-believer about issues he had with another believer.  I thought to myself, that is wrong, so wrong, you are not supposed to share family issues with outsiders. They don’t know how it works, they will not be able to help and if anything, they would rather stay away from that family. You are showing them how disconnected you guys are as a family. Then two days after that I had a dream at night where I got the title. Yes, God usually gives me topics to write on through dreams at times. I remember wondering how I will go about it. Then a day after that, something personal happened to me that made me feel like sharing it to the whole world and telling them of sins committed against me, then God reminded me, albeit after I had partly shared it, ‘DO NOT HANG YOUR DIRTY LINEN IN PUBLIC.’ That quietened me. Trust God to let you go through something so that you can fully comprehend His point.

So this note is specifically for Christians. One thing I think we need to understand is that we are ONE FAMILY.We are many but we are one body in Christ. Christ talks of his church, not his churches, because he looks at us as one. He talks of his bride not brides to show oneness. He has chosen us out of the world (Jn 15:19) and we are his offspring (Acts 17:26). If God is our father and we are his children then by inference we are a family, we are one, one blood flowing in us. The blood of Jesus Christ.

The unity of believers is a very important thing because Christ said is what will show the world that we are his, cause them to know Him and that they may know that God loves us just as He loves Christ (Jn 17:23). You still wonder why I am talking about unity of believers. A family divided cannot stand. So if we are a family, we need to be united. Christ knew the importance of this and that’s why He repeatedly prayed for that in Jn 17. Christ’ prayer was that all believers may be one just as He and the Father are one. He prayed for complete unity, not partial, not convenience but complete unity. In Rom 15:5-7, we see Paul praying for the same by asking God to give us a spirit of unity among ourselves as we follow Christ so that with one heart and mouth we may glorify God. He further says, accept one another just as Christ accepted you inorder to to bring praise to God. So christian unity is a prerequisite and we sin every time we are divided against each other or sow seeds of discord.

The book of Acts is the best example of how christian unity is lived out. Acts 2:44 says all believers were together and had everything in common. No one lacked anything because they shared everything. All of them were in one heart and mind (Acts 4:32). Imagine if every organ of the body acted on its own accord without synchronising with the brain and the rest of the body wouldn’t it be disastrous? The left leg would want to go where the right leg doesn’t and what do you think happens when both legs become obstinate, the person is as good as dead. That is what happens when we work against each other and allow discord to rule us. I stress again, WE ARE ONE BODY. Let us not cause God’s name to be blasphemed (Rom 2:24).  That’s why in 1 Cor 12:12, we are told of the body being a unit though it is made up of many parts. We were all baptised by one Spirit into one body. Further along it says God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honour to the parts that lacked it so that there should be NO DIVISION in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers and vice versa, just as it is with our physical bodies.This can also be seen in Gal 3:26 – 27 where we are told there’s neither Greek nor Jew, slave nor free, male nor female for we are all one in Christ.

In Christs’ death, he became our peace destroying the barrier between Jews and Gentiles the dividing wall of hostility bringing those who were far away nearer for His purpose was to create for Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace. So we are no longer aliens but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of his household (Eph.2:11-22). Ephesians 4 talks of unity in the body of Christ. For we have one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father over all. So we need to live a life worthy of the calling we have received. It talks of of the body (not bodies) of Christ being built up until we all reach UNITY in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature attaining the whole measure of the fulness of Christ. For from Him, the whole body joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love as each part does its work. But how is all this possible?

Love, the greater gift, the most excellent way (1 Cor 13). 1 Pet.3:8 says, above all, love each other because love covers over a multitude of sins. Love is what will cause us to be patient with each other, bear with each other, correct, rebuke and teach in love, love is what will hold us.

Onto divisions in the church. 1Cor chapter 1, Paul begins it with an appeal to the brothers that all maybe in agreement so that there may be no divisions among them and that they may be perfectly united in mind and thought. For it is disagreements that mostly cause discord. So he asks them this question, ‘Is Christ divided?’ That should come to mind every time division occurs. Paul equates divisions in the church to worldliness in Chapter 3 since jealousy and quarrels are still among us showing that we are still worldly. What is still reiterated in Eph.4 when we are united, we show maturity. Then in chapter 6, Paul boldly dares anyone who has a dispute with another to take it before the ungodly for judgement instead of before the saints and this is the gist of my note. In chapter 5:12-13, he asks, ‘What business is it of mine to judge those outside of the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge the outside.’ So by inference, the world should not even be hearing our disputes leave alone settling them. In chapter 6 he strongly condemns lawsuits among believers and says it is a sign that we are already defeated. He instructs them to appoint judges, even men of little account to settle disputes among believers. In Romans 12:2 we are exhorted not to conform to the patterns of this world. When we parade our issues in public the same way non-believers do, aren’t we conforming to the world?

In Rom 14:19, we are told, ‘let us therefore, make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification. Eph.4:26 tells us, in your anger, do not sin and do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths but only what is helpful for building up others according to their needs and that it may benefit those who listen, so we see it’s not just about us. There are the listeners too. James also echoes the same sentiments in 1:19 by telling us to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. In chapter 4, he says fights and quarrels that come from desires that battle within us are what cause divisions. Philippians 2 exhorts us to be united in Christ, by being like minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Not doing anything out of selfish ambition or vain conceit but in humility considering others better than ourselves. That is, having the attitude of Christ and being His imitators. Col 3:12-14 tells us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with each other and forgiving just as Christ forgave.

The peace of Christ is supposed to rule in our hearts since as members of one body we have been called to peace. Heb 12:14 echoes the same rule by stating, ‘Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy.’ No bitter root should grow up to cause trouble and defile many but we ought to keep on loving each other as brothers. 2 Tim 4:2 says, correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction, how do we expect the world to do that? Correction is supposed to be biblical.

Then in closing, 1 Pet 3:8-9 says, finally, all of you live in harmony with one another, be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble, do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult but with blessing because to this you were called that you may inherit a blessing.

I pray that this long note, may achieve the purpose for which I have written it, UNITY OF BELIEVERS, and that the Lord Jesus Christ may make us one just as He and the Father are one.

 

Grace and Peace.

 

 

TO DIVORCE OR NOT TO DIVORCE?

Posted: February 1, 2012 in broken_pieces

She is the woman who cries out daily from the hurt and pain the husband causes. He has defiled the marital bed and brought home other women. She has no self esteem and doesn’t want to live anymore, but she has to, for the sake of the children. Then there’s the other one who gets beaten up almost daily. The love of her life has turned into a disastrous monster. There are days, she thinks she will die while he is in the act. What’s worse, he beats her even infront of the kids. She doesn’t know how to explain to the kids why daddy beats mummy but she just takes it in hoping things will change. Then comes in the man, who is tired of his wife’s hard-headedness.  It’s like she is the man of the house. She doesn’t respect him, there’s no aspect of submission. She is always nagging him and even compares him with other men. She is not content with what he has to give, conjugal rights have become a luxury. This man has reached his wits end, his pride, totally bruised. There’s no more joy in the relationship, no more love and he just wants out. TO DIVORCE OR NOT TO DIVORCE?

Let me give you an example of someone in the bible who was faced with this challenge and felt it in more ways than one. Hosea. God told him to go marry a prostitute, imagine how it felt and this was because God was delivering a message to the Israelites through him. His wife would always go out and seek other men. However, God told him in Hosea 3 to go show love to his wife again. Meaning his love might have probably grown cold. Then God further told him ‘though she is loved by another and is an adultress, love her as the Lord loves the Israelites. Though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.’ That there, is God showing us, divorce is not an option.

That is also the command of the Lord running through the whole of scripture as far as marriage is concerned. Ephesians 5:22 – 33 talks of husbands having to love their wives just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her HOLY cleansing her by the washing with water through the word and wives are to submit to their husbands as unto the Lord. People have never really understood the gravity of this statement. Then again, you have to be in Christ to get it, for it is in Him we live and move and have our being. Do you know what it means to love your wife as Christ loved the church? It means that when she rebels against you, when she doesn’t submit to you, when her joy is in seeking other men, when she keeps falling over and over again, you still embrace her lovingly and still love her unconditionally. It means you show her mercy and look past her actions. It means not giving up on her or the relationship but always reaching out to her, even laying your life for her.  It means you intercede for her because that is what Christ does for the church in Heb 7:25.  Just as Christ’s relationship with the church is supposed to make her holy as we have seen in Ephesians 5, so is the marriage. The husband and wife should also grow more into Christlikeness in their relationship.

Now to the wife, what does it mean to submit to the husband? Let’s answer that with a question. How do we submit to Christ? He becomes our Lord, we love him and are totally committed to him, we listen to and obey his every word, our life is entwined in his, we do not seek any other because he satisfies us completely and we know we can always call on him and he will be there. That is how we submit to our husbands. Don’t get it twisted though, the idea is not to worship your husband as God but submit to Him in the way God has commanded. Oh how many marriages would be saved if people entered them with God’s perspective and not the worldly one.

Christ himself spoke against divorce in Matthew 5:31. The only reason he gave for divorce is unfaithfulness but even with that, it is still not a clean bill to go ahead and divorce. It is after you have tried everything to make it work and it fails. You might ask, what about the woman who is being beaten daily? My advice would be,  separate from the husband, not divorce the husband. For your own sake and the sake of your children if you have and use that time for intercession.

Malachi 2:3-16 clearly shows just how much God hates divorce. In verse 14-16, He says, ‘I stand as the witness between you and the wife of your youth because you have broken that faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking a godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit and DO NOT break faith with the wife of your youth. I HATE DIVORCE says the Lord God of Israel and I hate a man covering himself with violence as well as his garment, says the LORD Almighty. So GUARD YOURSELF in your spirit and do not break faith.’ That is the word of the Lord. Who are we to break it and do that which God abhors? Imagine if Christ was to divorce himself from us every time we turned away, would we still be alive?

Marriage is a walk, it’s a journey, it’s a battle. Be prepared for it. Enter it with a Godly view and like God has said you have a responsibility to play GUARD YOURSELF how will you do that? By submitting to God, resisting the devil and he will flee James 4:7. I hope this will bring healing to marriages and relationships as we pursue a picture perfect marriage that is marriage that perfectly portrays the relationship between Christ and the church. May God bless you and keep you.

GRACE & PEACE

Can we really? I have heard sermons on this and I believe some of you have too thus begging the question, can we really? This is the one and only mighty and supreme God who knows the number of hair strands on your head (Matt 10:30) and He who says He has engraved us on the palms of His hands in Is.49:16. The God who in Job 36:26 is said of, “How great is God beyond our understanding.” He laid the earth’s foundation (Job 38:4) and asks Job in chapter 38:2, “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?” He can do all things and none of His plans can be thwarted (Job 42:2) so can we really stand before Him and ‘provoke’ Him to bless us?

In Luke 11:9-10, we are told to ask, seek, knock and we shall receive. It’s further reiterated in chapter 12:22-34 with the exhortation of not to worry about what to eat, drink or wear for pagans run after such things too and God knows we need them and Phil 4:4-7 which says we should not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving we should present our requests to God.. All we need to do is seek first His kingdom and all these things will be given as well. Let us not confuse this to mean that we seek God for the benefits that we will get from Him. This is condemned in 1 Tim 6:3-6 where it is written that godliness is not a means to financial gain but rather godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out of it. Paul’s letter to the Philippians shows us how in everything he learnt to be content.

You wonder why am talking about contentment! Lack of contentment is home ground to alot of vices(sin) such as greed, lust and covetousness which go against the word of God. James tells us in Chapter 4:1-3 that fights and quarrels come from desires that battle within us because we want things but don’t get and therefore end up killing and coveting. It goes on to say, we have not because we ask not and when we do ask, we ask amiss to satisfy our pleasures instead of God’s. So, how then should So, how then should we ask?  James 4:10 tells us to humble ourselves before God and He will lift us up. We do not approach the father with pride and conceit but in humility and grace. 1 John 5:14-15 shows us how to go before God, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, He hears us, and if we know that He hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have. So the idea is to ask according to His will and you can only do that if He abides in you and you in Him (John 15) for then He causes you to have godly desires and to ask that which pleases Him. Phil 3:;18-20 “…Many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things but our citizenship is in heaven.” Therefore, as in Col. 3:2, we need to set our hearts on things that are above where moth and rust cannot destroy.

Heb 13:5-6 says, “He will never leave us nor forsake us”, so we know that we have a sure help at all times. PHIL 4:19 confirms it by stating that God will meet all our needs according to His glorius riches in Christ Jesus. I have heard of people saying, ask, he is able to do much more than we can ask, think or imagine. But is that really what that verse means? It’s in Ephesians 3:19-20 and it connects with Eph.4:12-13 and what Paul is praying for is that we may become mature and be filled attaining to the full measure of the fullness of Christ in God. Thus, “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably (to the measure of fullness in Christ) more than all we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within us.” Phil 2:13 echoes it more by saying, “for it is God who works in us to will and to act according to His good purpose.”

So can we really provoke God to bless us? No! Not at all. For in Rom 9 we read all about God’s sovereign choice. God’s sovereignty means the supremacy of God in everything that concerns us for of Him and through and to Him are all things (Rom 11:36) and He is the one who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will (Ephe. 1:10-11). Romans 9:14 God says, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” It goes on to say that, “It does not therefore depend on him that willeth or him that runneth but on God who showeth mercy.” So no matter what we do, say or think, God will do that which He desires and not that which we have provoked Him to do. God bless you.

Grace and Peace.