May 31

The Sons Of Ulam

sons-of-ulam

Today, there are local and on-line publications that are dedicated to compilation of remarkable people from different walks of life. The world has never come short in supply of such people considered to have distinguished themselves in their chosen fields.

Those who make these lists are not necessarily selected because of moral uprightness, but basically for the contributions they have made in leadership, religion, philanthropy, arts, science, social work, military, sports and a host of other human endeavors.

The books of 1st and 2nd Chronicles are basically historic account of the experience of the Israelites over a period of time.

1st Chronicles, in particular, contains a genealogical listing of the various tribes of Israel, from the earliest times to the death of David. Such a huge compilation of names hardly had room for reasonable biographical comments.

But in every tribe, there were names that were too remarkable to be listed without comment. In the tribe of Benjamin, the sons of Ulam are one of such. The Chronicler took time to remark that the sons of Ulam were mighty men of valor and archers.

“And the sons of Ulam were mighty men of valour, archers, and had many sons, and sons’ sons, an hundred and fifty. All these are of the sons of Benjamin” (1 Chronicles 8:40).

This set of people were very courageous and had mastery of one of the major ancient weapons – archery.

Bible commentaries noted that ancient archery required great strength and skill as the steel bow was bent by treading with the feet and pulling the string with both hands. The Ulams therefore, earned their honor by being masters in this area. They certainly endeavored to make the most of their God-given talent.

We may not be skillful in archery or have such earthly attainments that can earn us a place in the Who-Is-Who of this world. But we all have ample opportunities to live a remarkable life.

A child of God that makes the most of his God-given resources and gifts by positively touching lives; brightening the corner where he is, thereby glorifying God has booked a place of honor in heavenly chronicles.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Does your life count for God?

 

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Spread The Word
May 30

Beware Of Greek Gifts!

greek-gifts

The term, ‘Greek gift’, is used to describe a gesture that comes with strings attached. It is the strategy of giving someone a gift with the intent to entrap him or to influence his subsequent action or to trick him into a compromising situation. For some people, it could actually result in death.

 

“And Saul said, thus shall ye say to David, the king desireth not any dowry, but an hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to be avenged of the king’s enemies. But Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines” (1 Samuel 18:25).

 

King Saul was very adept at this strategy. He had become envious of David whose popularity had spread throughout Israel because of his military conquests.

 

David’s accomplishments showed that the Lord was with him, and everywhere he went, he behaved so wisely that even Saul’s daughter, Michal, fell in love with him.

 

That was the opening Saul needed to perfect his evil plot. He sent word to David that he was willing to give him his daughter to wife. He did not need any dowry from David as was traditional. All he wanted was one hundred pieces of the body parts of Philistine men.

 

But he was insincere as he hoped that in an attempt to kill the Philistines and get their body parts, David himself would be killed by them. But Saul did not reckon with the favor of God upon David, so that even before his deadline expired, David successfully killed two hundred Philistines and brought their body parts to the king. Saul then gave him Michal to wife.

 

Realizing that the Lord being was him (David) made Saul more afraid of David; he also became his bitter enemy. All this time, David continued to behave wisely and to acquire more acclaim, far and wide.

 

Always wisely examine every proposal brought to you, including those by seemingly well-meaning people. Do not be in a hurry to accept suggestions to do something or enter into very attractive deals that appear too easy and demands little or nothing from you.

 

Nothing of value and enduring comes cheap. Always look out for a hidden trap or trick that could throw you into a public scandal and shame, or eventually cost you dearly.

 

When you come to a crossroads in life, always ask for the grace of God to help you handle all such tricky and tempting situations. His grace will be sufficient for you.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: All that glitters is not gold

 

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May 29

Caution! Danger Ahead!!

A few years ago, a billboard advertiser wondered how best to warn motorists about recklessness on the highway. Finally, he came up with a most ingenious message: “For years we have warned you to no avail; kill yourself if you like”.

Similarly, God’s warnings are best seen as signposts dotting the highways of this life. They frantically scream about the danger ahead. They seek to cause men to pause and ponder over the course of their lives.

“Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope” (Isaiah 5:18).

The expressions of God’s disgust with the Jews captured here in four woes are meant to jolt them out of their complacency. It was an act of love. He could not shut His eyes to the cesspool into which they had sunk.

Not just that they violently embarked on their sinful pursuits: they confused moral standards – calling evil good, and good evil.

Although God’s warnings were specifically directed at the Jews, they are also meant for all people in all ages. God would not condone sin of any kind. He remains opposed to those who take pride in sin.

His warning is for those who have subdued their conscience and deluded themselves into believing that they can get away with any action. These are people who give fashionable names to all kinds of evil.

They are those who mislead themselves into thinking they can outwit God through outward show of piety. They are not just self-conceited, but when induced with bribes, they readily turn blind eye to the normal course of justice.

For such, it is inevitable that God’s patience cannot hold forever, especially as they not only reject His words, but despise Him.

Charles H. Spurgeon said in “The Treasures of the Old Testament”: “God always means man’s good and only sets ill before him that he may turn from the dangers of a mistaken way and so may escape the ill which lies at the end of it”. The choice is man’s.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: God’s woes are better than the devil’s welcome.

 

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May 28

In a Flash – Remember Lot’s Wife?

remember lots wife

One year ago in one African country, there was a plane crash killing all the occupants. The saddest part of it all was that the plane had almost reached its destination from the capital city of that country.

The sad incident took place when those on board were anxiously preparing to make calls in a matter of minutes from there, to inform their loved ones that they had landed. Meanwhile, many of the victims had some of their relatives waiting at the airport to pick them on their arrival. It was a terrible incident.

So, it was for Lot’s wife, an unforeseen and immediate extinction from the face of the earth.

“Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32).

 

The sign-seeking Pharisees were asking the Lord about when the Kingdom of God should come. In their ignorance, they knew little or nothing about the various stages of the Kingdom.

That is, the present spiritual aspect of the kingdom in which Christ reigns in the heart of every born again Christian; the future kingdom at the time of His millennial reign when the Lord shall reign physically on earth for a period of one thousand years of uninterrupted joy, peace and prosperity and the eternal kingdom of Christ when the kingdoms of this world  become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; when He shall reign for ever and ever (Revelation 11:15b).

The Lord told these religious leaders what the condition of the world shall be at the time of His coming. Wickedness, worldliness and wantonness shall be prevalent just as it was in the days of Noah and in the days of Lot.

The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life brought destruction upon the people through the flood and fire in the days of old.

 

Lot’s wife was lost through lust. The angels of mercy held her by the hand and brought her out of Sodom but she looked back, contrary to divine instruction and she became a pillar of salt!

In spite of all the special privileges she enjoyed, she was lost. She never knew trouble was lurking around for her. She looked back and her journey ended.

The coming of the Lord is imminent. Everything happening in the world today points to the fact that the time is short.

The necessity of salvation from sin and holiness of life cannot be over-emphasized therefore.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Trusting in Jesus, that is all.

 

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May 27

The Broken Tooth

Futility! This seems to be the one word which can be used to summarize the thoughtless action of Hoshea the king of Israel who rather preferred affinity with the King of Egypt as the weapon needed to shake out the yoke of the Assyrian King, instead of doing the right thing by leading the whole nation back to God. He revolted against Shalmanesser’s control, only to discover that their ally, So, the Egyptian King, was no more than a mere “broken tooth” which can’t be trusted for desired coverage.

 

Had the king and people of Israel applied to God, made peace with God and directed their petitions to Him, they might have recovered their liberty, peace and honour.

 

“In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes” (2 Kings 17:6).

 

But they preferred to withhold their tribute, and trust  the king of Egypt to assist them in their revolt, which of course merely changed the banner from one oppressor to another.

Their wrong approach in looking for a solution only aggravated their problem.

 

King Hoshea was bound and imprisoned. Since they were suffering as a result of sin (2 Kings 17 verses 7,8), their king should have led them back to God rather than deeper into the mud of sin by having affinity with the king of Egypt.

 

Sincere repentance and unconditional return to God remains the only solution to what every suffering sinner needs (2 Chronicles 7:14). Any attempt to cut corners would end in disappointment and worsen the case.

 

Are you pressed under the heavy weight of divine judgment because of your sin? Has the “Assyrian king” brought you under servitude because of your backsliding and compromise?

 

Well, don’t pack it up, there is still hope, if only you can humble yourself before God, and return fully unto Him like the prodigal son.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Trusting in man ends in disappointment.

 

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May 26

Why Struggle Vainly?

Man has displayed so much ingenuity in his creative ability over the years. From the beautiful works of Arts, to sometimes astonishing scientific and technological inventions, man has fully explored the creative ability with which he was endowed.

 

These scientific  breakthroughs have been designed to serve man, advance his course and make life better and easier for him. There are a few things to note here.

 

No time has man’s invention risen to challenge or question his claim and authority over it. When his invention fails to function the way it was intended, it often leads to chaos, calamity and catastrophe.

 

“Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters” (Job 33:13).

 

Elihu, in our passage, wonders why man struggles against his Maker and questions His sovereignty. God is the Creator. He made man for His purpose.

 

Though man was not made a robot (a machine without a mind and a will of his own), for him to be able to attain to his best and enjoy all the provisions of God, he has to follow God’s laid down principles.

 

Unfortunately, man has, over the years, rebelled against God, challenging His sovereignty and questioning His authority. No wonder our world is in disorder! No wonder there is chaos, calamity and catastrophe. No wonder we look for peace and behold we get confusion, insecurity and apprehension.

 

Man has malfunctioned, questioning God’s authority, striving against His will in our lives and living in disobedience to His word.

 

The simple remedy is for man to retrace his steps back to God through repentance from sin and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the only time we can know peace.

 

Thought for the day: Sin is a malfunction in man and will only result in disaster.

 

 

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May 25

Eat and Die!

eatanddie

A writer observed that if the modern scientific man were to be Adam, he would not have waited for the serpent’s suggestion: he would have gone straight for the forbidden fruit immediately after God gave the instruction and warning against eating it and turned His back. The reason is, contempt of God and His cause in the world is increasingly staggering.

 

Adam’s fall was the outcome of disobedience and unbelief in what God told him about the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil”. The instruction was clear that: “…of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden… Thou shall not eat of it”.

 

God warned, “for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17). The modern man would have rushed to pluck and take the fruit to the laboratory to verify the toxic content. That is because the natural man depends and operates by his reasoning faculty.

 

“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4,5).

 

So, when Satan came with some assumptions that appeared reasonable with promise of some social benefits that they would not die but “be as gods”, they embraced it.

 

The strategy of the devil and those who have followed him since Eden has always been to destroy the Christian faith and commitment by introducing doubt about the Word of God through false and misleading assumptions and doctrines. He knows that “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6).

 

We are connected to God by faith in His Word. We receive forgiveness, benefits of salvation, assurance of eternity in heaven and all other blessings from God by faith.

 

God does not expect us to listen to any other teaching as Adam and Eve did because it will destroy our faith in Him. The word of God should be sufficient for us who are heaven-bound Christian.

 

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: God’s word is nutritious.

 

 

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May 24

Don’t Start Another War!

dont-start-another-war

If we look at what causes most wars that have destroyed so many lives and properties, we will discover that they bothered on some personal and self-motivated issues that would have been solved with much diplomacy, patience and care.

 

But man has allowed personal grievances, pride, envy, jealousy, accusations and counter-accusations and so many other very trivial issues to bring about

so many countless and irreparable losses. Many of these were later regretted.

 

If we can be more patient with one another, showing more restraint, forbearance and tolerance, there will not be need for wars and the wanton destruction that they bring.

 

“And the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and went northward, and said unto Jephthah, Wherefore passedst thou over to fight against the children of Ammon, and didst not call us to go with thee? we will burn thine house upon thee with fire” (Judges 12:1).

 

In the scripture passage above, we find the unnecessary argument between the men of Ephraim and Jephthah. They accused Jephthah for not having involved them in the battle against the Ammonites. Jephthah however countered that he invited them but they turned down his call for help.

 

The argument later degenerated to ethnic issues resulting into war in which forty two thousand of the Ephraimites died. What a senseless loss!

 

Envy, jealousy, pride and the wrong use of the tongue have very devastating consequences. So many homes and families have been razed to the ground for these.

 

God desires that we should cultivate the tongue of the learned, knowing how to use the right words in season. There is the need for us to be tolerant and patient with one another as well.

 

Harsh comments and criticisms, judgmental utterances and dispositions which are spurred out of envy and jealousy must be avoided. We will save lives, property, marriages, relationships and careers if we learn to speak right words that will bring encouragement, succor, support and security.

 

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Consider the huge costs of reparation.

 

 

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May 24

Not Your Background

Cynicism has always been the problem of many a man. People pass comments on the basis of experience, history, tradition or philosophy.

 

Thomas Didymus, a disciple of Jesus Christ fell into this problem of cynicism when he felt it was not possible for Jesus, whom he watched crucified and buried, to be alive again. So, when he was told that the Lord, the Master, had not only resurrected, but appeared before the disciples, he thought it was a fairy tale. He did not believe until Jesus reappeared at a meeting where Thomas was present.

 

Nazareth had been a small city. It was unthinkable that something good could come out from the place, let alone a unique personality of Jesus’ status. So, when he was told that the much-awaited Jesus had been found as was said in the law of Moses and the prophets, Nathanael expressed doubts.

 

“And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see” (John 1:46).

 

But one interesting thing about Nathanael’s kind of doubt is that it was not expressed out of disrespect for prophesy. He spoke out of confusion or mixed feelings of joy and consternation.

 

As a believer, you must realize that the wrong perception of people about you cannot change the counsel of God concerning your life.

 

If you are of inconsequential pedigree in the eyes of certain people or your self esteem is receding as a result of people’s perception of you, look up to the Maker of all flesh. Do not lose your head over what people think about you.

 

And the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who carefully piloted His dear Son till the successful fulfilment of His ministry here on earth despite His lowly parentage, will also safely lead you to actualize your dreams.

 

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: What matters is not your origin but God’s counsel for your life.

 

 

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May 23

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Yell - Open mouth

It’s often said that: “Not all that glitters is gold.” But few understand its implication. Otherwise we would not judge by appearance only. And eligible bachelors would avoid spinsters from Sodom like plague.

 

Sodom was a symbol of corruption, and was destroyed by God for its wickedness and sin (Genesis 19:24). Samaria had been the capital of the northern kingdom and was rejected by the Jews. God’s reference to Israel as a sister to Sodom and Samaria was bad enough.

 

Now, to be referred to as worse than them was a clear statement of Judah’s descent to abominable depravity. The most apt proverb of Jerusalem: “as is the mother so is the daughter” signify here the people’s continuous bent toward sinning.

 

“Behold, every one that useth proverbs shall use this proverb against thee, saying, As is the mother, so is her daughter” (Ezekiel 16:44).

 

The prophet reminded Judah that Sodom was destroyed because of pride, laziness, gluttony and for ignoring the needy within its reach. In Ezekiel 16:44-52

 

We berate one who commits what we rate as grave sin, adultery, stealing, murder, etc, but do not recognize the sinfulness of “pride, fullness of bread and abundance of idleness” (verse 49). There is no little sin. Every transgression is punishable by the Lord.

 

Do you categorize sin, avoiding the grave ones and fiddling with the ‘less consequential’ ones? Remember that ‘every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward.

 

If we are righteous we do not increase God’s righteousness. He is holy and will ever remain so. He wants us to be like Him so we can live with Him hereafter, and so that it will be well with us here.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: The life we live shows how much of Christ we have.

 

 

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