Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Five Pitfalls To Avoid In Life(Final Submission)

 Loaves and Fishes stained glass

Today I bring to a close this series started last week. I have treated Don't Live By The Expectations of Others, Living In The Past, Living For Temporal Things and Living By Sight(Unbelief, Doubt). 

Here is the fifth and final submission. 

  5: Walking Away From Truth

From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him(John 6:66).
How do you handle truth when it's presented to you? Do you walk away or you embrace and live it? Here, we see disciples; people who have been following Jesus offended because He told them the truth of who He truly is. In John 6, every single truth about Jesus offended the people. I am the bread of life; they got offended. I came from heaven; they got offended:
....Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? (John 6:42).
Truth is not always pleasant, especially if it challenges and confronts our way of life. An example is the young rich ruler who walked away because Jesus asked him to sacrifice all he had to follow Him. “...sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.“ (Luke 18:22-23).

We can't walk away from truth because truth librates. When you hear the truth, embrace it and live it. Peter's response to a question possed by Jesus is worth noting: 

...Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. (John 6:68).
Jesus has the words of eternal life and is the way to eternal life: “...I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.“ (John 14:6). May I make a personal appeal here. Do you preach the Bible? Do you teach the Bible? Do you write from the Bible? My appeal to you: Preach the Truth! Teach the truth! Write the Truth and live the Truth! Our generation needs depth and Truth. Let‘s make a commitment to represent the Truth.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Five Pitfalls To Avoid In Life(Four)

Loaves and Fishes stained glass

Today I continue with the series, Five Pitfalls To Avoid In Life. This is a continuation of a five point series from portions of John Six. This is the fourth point in the series. For a quick recap, please see Don't Live The Expectations Of Others, Living In The Past and Living For Temporal Things.

Here we go with the fourth point:

Living By Sight (Unbelief, Doubt).
They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?(John 6:30).
Despite witnessing the multiplication of bread and fishes, we still see these folks asking for signs to believe who Jesus is. Their’s is what I described in a previous post as “butter and bread faith“. It's in fact, no faith at all. It's a life lived by sight and subject to what happens around us instead of what God's word says. If you read further down John 6, you will notice how eventually these people walked away from Jesus when He told them who He really is: 
The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?(John 6:41-42).
You see, without faith, we cannot handle God's word. When the truth of the word is spoken, it's not always pleasant to us. The depth of the word confronts and rebukes us. It challenges our perspective on life. The word always exposes to us our true nature. Truly, the word is sharper than any double edged sword! It reveals our very thoughts. These guys were pure doubters and pessimists. They asked for a sign, Jesus told them who He truly is and they couldn't take it: 
For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him (John 6:55,57,60,66).
Hard talk indeed: “my flesh is meat“. But because they didn't take it in faith, they turned away. Scripture is clear about how we must live our lives: "...we walk by faith, not by sight...[For] without faith it is impossible to please [God]..." (2 Corinthians 5:7, Hebrews 11:6). 

Let‘s make it a point to walk by faith, believing and trusting in every word of God. The just, Scripture says shall live by faith...

Friday, 4 April 2014

Five Pitfalls To Avoid In Life (Three)

 Loaves and Fishes stained glass

For the past three days I have been writing on the theme above. It's an exposition on portions of John 6. I have already treated the first two point; Don't Live The Expectations of Others and Living In The Past. Today I continue with the third point:

3: Living For Temporal Things
Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which
endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto
you: for him hath God the Father sealed (John 6:27).
Consistently, Scripture warns us against making the world and its possessions our standard. The Bible is replete with such instructions: "Set your affection on things above...Love not the world...Seek ye first the Kingdom...The life of a man is not made up of his material possessions...what shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul...etc."   

You see, after Jesus has fed the people; the next day, they showed up again looking for Jesus; not because of His person, but because of the food they ate. They came for more! They came for "what is in it for me". Their focus and attention was on the food, instead of the giver of the food. As usual, Jesus gave them an answer that is as relevant in our days as it was when it was first spoken:
Labour not for the meat which perisheth [temporal things]....
In these words, Jesus was pointing to the people what matters in this life. He was calling for a life beyond temporary things. He was calling for a reordering of priorities: "Come to me...not to the things I will give you". "Seek eternal life...not temporal life". Now, eternity is rarely a topic amongst us. Check our church programs. Sample the theme of the messages we hear daily. The "here and now" is top on our list: Our everyday faith language predominantly centers on material things: money, visa, mansions, cars...add to the list. That is what I call "butter and bread faith": It's shallow, it's temporal and it will perish. I think in our days, we have become selective in our approach to faith; we have developed tickling ears. We want to hear exactly what we want to hear; not what God wants to say.
Let's face it: we are not here to stay, one day, we will depart and all things temporal we have built here on earth can't follow us into eternity: "...we brought nothing into this world, and it is CERTAIN we can carry NOTHING OUT". (1 Timothy 6:7). We can carry nothing out...Empty handed we came...empty handed we shall return. What is your life built on; the temporary, earthly, material things of this life? Make a wise choice, "Labour...for that meat(the word of God)which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed". Build your life on a foundation that can't be shaken....

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Five Pitfalls To Avoid In Life (Two)

Loaves and Fishes stained glass

Today, I present you with the second point in the series Five Pitfalls To Avoid In Life. Yesterday, I treated the first point, Don’t Live The Expectations of Others

2: Living In The Past.
They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat (John 6: 30-31).
“What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee?” Incredible! After witnessing the miracle of multiplied bread and fishes, these folks still needed signs and evidence to believe? I think they could not believe because they were still living in the past and holding on to the stories of the Patriarch Moses and the miracles God performed with him in the wilderness. They knew scriptures, they could quote scriptures— “Our Fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven.” They were not ignorant. They knew Scriptures. The problem however was that, they were living in the past and comparing the present with the past. 

What they were saying to Jesus could read as: “yes you multiplied bread…the same thing happened with Moses and our fathers in the wilderness, so this miracle you have just done is nothing special, give us another evidence and we will believe you.”— “Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat”

Truly, Moses was a great prophet; no argument about that. But his days were over and God was doing a new thing but the people could not embrace it. They lacked understanding. They still had the veil of the law of Moses on: “…when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart…” (2 Corinthians 3:15). Living in the past is dangerous. Dwelling on past success can breed complacency. Dwelling on past failures can also breed guilt and immobilise you from moving forward. The past can teach us valuable lessons — but we can’t live in the past. Move on! Don’t dwell in yesterday. “Yesterday is gone, another day has come” Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:18-19)

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Five Pitfalls To Avoid In Life (One)

Loaves and Fishes stained glass

This month, I bring you another series from the word of God I have entitled Five Pitfalls To Avoid In Life. I will be writing from portions of John Chapter Six until I have exhausted the five points. John Six, is built on Jesus’ feeding of five thousand men (could be more if women and children were counted) with five loaves of bread and two fishes. 

I believe you know the story well. After this miraculous multiplying of bread, the events that followed will form the basis of the points I will write on. I must admit; I will not be presenting you with any new revelation. These I believe are things you are not oblivious of. Let’s just look at them as reminders.

1: Don’t Live The Expectations of Others.
Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone (John 6:14-15)
After the miracle of the multiplication of bread and fishes, the people were amazed; and behind their amazement was a desire to make Jesus King—an earthly King. But no, Jesus had a bigger assignment and was not going to settle for any earthly rule, so “he departed again into a mountain”: He rejected their offer before they could even throw it at Him. His assignment was bigger. Just as the people thought to make Jesus King(an earthly king), people―parents, friends, siblings, spouses, teachers etc— might in your life time, attempt to define your life for you. Advice and counsel is good; but be careful you don’t settle for other people’s expectations and ruin your assignment. People will try to impose their expectations on you, but focus and do what you believe God has created you to do.  There will forever be pressure on us to fit into people's mold. Note that this is not the first time an attempt was made at making Jesus a King (other people’s expectations). In the wilderness, the devil offered Him the same opportunity.
Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee[ I will make you a King], if thou wilt fall down and worship me (Matthew 4:8-9).
Apart from Jesus, we see in John the Baptist another man of God who didn’t allow other people to define his assignment. He knew why he was on earth and will not settle for the expectations of others for his life.
And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias (John 1:19-23).
John the Baptist knew his assignment; he was a forbearer of the Messiah. His assignment was to pave the way for Christ. See another interesting part of John’s answer: “As said the prophet Esaias [Isaiah]”. This simply means, before John was born, his assignment had already been prepared by God. This is exactly the same scenario that played in God and Jeremiah’s discourse in Jeremiah 1:5. Note that, people who live on assignment cannot be tagged with other people’s assignment, they are unique, they got their own assignment to fulfill.
And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.)
As you enter this new month, may you keep focused on your assignment and don’t let people’s expectations define what God is doing through you.

-----To Be Continued

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Five Tips For Sharing The Gospel Online

1: Have A Message
Approach sharing messages on the net exactly the way you prepare to interact face--- to---face with people. You should have something ready to share. Pray, prepare and ask the Lord to lead you to what to share.

2: Edit Thoroughly
Don't present poorly written content on behalf of the Lord. Edit thoroughly! It's a non-negotiable! You are representing Christ and your message must be excellent(construction, clarity,grammatical accuracy). After you hit send, go back to read over to catch errors and correct them.

3: Mind Your Language
Social Media doesn't diminish your responsibility as a Christian.“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers“ (Ephesians 4:29). Avoid foul language. Avoid cursing. Don't attack anyone for their beliefs: Speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Your own words won't change anybody. It's the convicting power of the Holy Spirit that saves.

4: Guard Against Plagiarism
The rules of writing has not changed on social media. Plagiarism is stealing Christians should not steal. Don't use other person‘s work and take credit for it. It's stealing. Give credit where it's due; it's Biblical: give honour to whom honour is due ( Romans 13:7).

5: Use Hashtags: #
Hashtags gives you a wider coverage beyond your friends list.
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