Aug 27

Giant Rants Of A Bully

There is wisdom in William Scott Downey’s observation: “The dog who barks the loudest is not always the best watcher; neither are braggadocios the most valiant.”

 

This truth notwithstanding, it is customary for people to brag about their strength before any contest. Sports men and women do it in their pre-game speeches. Nations preparing for war spend a lot of money on propaganda.

The chief aim of all these is to intimidate and weaken their opponents while boosting their self-image. However, many times, it backfires or ends up as empty rants.

Israel and Philistine pitched camps against each other in what was going to be a decisive battle. Goliath, the champion of the Philistine army stepped forward and did a pre-battle speech that had a crippling effect on the army of Israel and Saul.

With bravado, he treated the army of Israel with contempt and demanded for a soldier from them who could dare fight him one-on-one to decide the battle. What else could anyone expect from an egotistic 11 feet 4 inches tall and heavily-built giant reputed for war mastery and armed with deadly weapons?

 

We have an enemy that employs similar bullying tactics. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). The devil’s aim is to intimidate by barking, and if anyone in the army of the Lord gets terrified, he springs on him to ruin him. His first weapon is fear.

“And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together” (1 Samuel 17:10).

 

Are you hearing threatening or bragging from Satan’s camp? Are you worried about the roaring of the restless lion? If the Lion of the tribe of Judah lives in you, you will heed neither the giant rants nor intimidating looks of the enemy. Firm up your grip on Christ, fight and resist Satan.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: When Satan sends you an arrow of fear, respond with a shield of faith.

 

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Spread The Word
Jul 29

Getting It Right From The Root

The dynamics of erecting an enduring structure in ancient times required a start with what builders called an alignment stone for the foundation. The stone lay at an extreme corner to set the parameters for a strong base. This angle of the cornerstone was very precise, determining all of the subsequent lines and other angles of the building.

It became a standard for the bearing of the beams and walls in the construction of the whole work. In other words, the strength and durability of the building derived from the alignment stone known in modern times as the cornerstone.

That exactly is what God is teaching believers in today’s study: Jesus Christ is the First and Foremost component of the under-girding structure upon which everything else in the Church is aligned.

 

Whatever we teach in the church must line up with the doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ. We must have concern for the eternal welfare of a spiritually lost world, as well as for the development of God’s people to full and perfect growth.

“And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Ephesians 2:20).

Jesus is the Cornerstone of the foundation of the Church, and those who would build upon that foundation must be diligent to keep their eyes on Him. That is the way to get it right in the Christian race, since “without me (Jesus Christ) ye can do nothing” (John 15:5).

 

This is the reason why the leaders of the early Church jealously guarded against distraction from the teaching of the sound word of God when there was discontent over food administration to the Gentile widows (Acts 6:1-7).

Studying and abiding faithfully with the doctrine of Jesus Christ should form the center-piece of all activities in the church. All else should be secondary; the same way every element of a building is secondary and dependent on the cornerstone of the structure. Only that way can the believer abide.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Stand on the Rock of Ages, and you won’t be rocked by the crisis of ages.

 

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Jul 23

As It Was Then…

The display of depravity and outright rebellion against God in Jerusalem as depicted in Isaiah 3:1-12 is not different from what we are experiencing in our time today. We have injustice, oppression, violence, disrespect to parents, immorality, and total rejection of God’s ways and laws.

 

We are reliving the days of Sodom and Gomorrah all over again. The marriage bed is not only being defiled, divorce is also becoming the rule rather than the exception.

Worse still, “women did change the natural use into that which is against nature. And …men leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one towards another, men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet” (Romans 1:26,27).

 

In the days of Isaiah, society was disintegrating as the people suffered because they had rejected God and instituted their own rules of engagement which did not reckon with the prescription handed to them by the prophet of God.

 

Like lost sheep with an uncaring shepherd, all the people and their leaders headed for the same direction that led to perdition. God was not happy with them and He took “Away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and staff, the whole stay of bread and the whole stay of water.” Judgment came in the form of famine and loss of good leadership.

But for those who remained faithful to God in the midst of all this backsliding and immoral behavior, the Lord says “it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings” (Isaiah 3:10).

To the wicked however, God says there will be judgment (Isaiah 3:11). This can only be averted if the sinner repents of his ways and accepts Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Righteousness empowers you to enjoy divine blessings

 

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Jul 17

At The Lord’s Table

at-the-lords-table

It is often the lot of man to turn God’s sacred practices to fads and fashion. Yet, God’s standards remain unalterable. The wise keeps to it and rejoices.

 

The Lord’s Supper is a practical demonstration of the gospel, a vivid illustration of the death of Christ, for the sin of mankind. Through it, believers are reminded of the death of the Savior and of the imminence and hope of His return.

 

The celebration of the Lord’s Supper in the early Church also incorporated a love feast. This was a form of sharing and caring which preceded the actual celebration and in which all believers freely participated.

Sadly, the Corinthian Church soon lost this admirable tradition. It was replaced by wanton discrimination between the rich and the poor. Paul promptly rebuked this anomaly and again, presented to the Church the significance and process of conducting the Lord’s Supper, as given by the Lord.

“Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11:27).

The bread and wine (emblems used at the Supper) are symbolic representations of the Body and Blood of the Savior. It took the sacrifice on the cross to make our new relationship anchored not on the law, but on the amazing grace of God’s love.

 

Partaking in the Lord’s Supper shows that we are remembering Christ’s sacrifice for us and renewing our pledge of service to Him. Taking the ordinance unworthily portrays ignorance of the implications of Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary.

 

How then do we partake in the Lord’s Supper?

  • First, we do so prayerfully and thoughtfully, mindful of Christ’s death and sacrifice for our sins.
  • Secondly, we partake, not presumptuously, but with honor and due reverence to God.
  • Thirdly we yield ourselves to critical self-examination, so that no sinful attitude is found in us.
  • In addition, we partake with due deference to the body of Christ, celebrating it in an orderly, decent and co­operative manner.
  • And finally, we do so with humility and contrition of heart.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Christ in His flesh bore our sins and paid our ransom.

 

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Jun 25

Strength For The Weak

The frontiers of God’s grace can hardly be comprehended by finite human minds.

Victories attained in life are not directly attributable to man’s inputs, even though it may be so to some extent. Such victories are derived through divine intervention.

“And thou shalt hear what they say; and afterward shall thine hands be strengthened to go down unto the host…” (Judges 7:11).

God’s explicit command eventually came to Gideon to storm the vast army of Midian that was spread like grasshoppers in the valley. Yet, it was not a command without the enabling grace. God understood that in spite of all assurances, Gideon would further require demonstrable proofs that He had indeed delivered the hosts of Midian into his hand.

 

On getting closer to the enemy’s camp with his servant, Phurah, Gideon became aware of the startling disclosure from the lips of a Midianite, that God would deliver Midian into the hand of Gideon.

This revelation came to pass with pinpoint accuracy. It was more than enough to strengthen Gideon and to send him on his knees in worship and adoration of a peculiarly faithful God.

As we march through life, it is possible to come across emotional, spiritual and physical battles that we have little or no strength to contend with. In such situations, we need to be persuaded of the ability of God to supply the needed strength to overcome every battle.

God hardly gives a command without the corresponding grace. He appreciates the frailties of man and readily provides power to the faint and strength to the weary.

 

Those who choose to wait on Him can always renew their strength in the power of His might. God’s interventions come through various channels. When they come, ours is to be spiritually sensitive and be willing to follow the Lord as He leads.

It is only through obedience and trust that we will find the courage and boldness to surmount every difficulty.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: God is our refuge and strength.

 

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Jun 24

Retributive Justice for The Proud

Many people today believe that “success is hard work plus opportunity”. They do not think that God has any role to play in their achievements in life. No wonder Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Herod, and Goliath etc. could not help but defy the God of Israel.

Consequently, they all fell from glory because “pride goeth before destruction” and God hates pride and arrogance (Proverbs 16:8; 8:13).

 

“Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks” (Isaiah 10:12).

In the bible passage above, we see how God determined to use the king of Assyria to punish the rulers of Israel for their oppression of the poor and their hypocrisy. Unaware that God was just using him as a rod of chastisement, the king of Assyria determined to totally destroy the people of God, which was not part of God’s plan.

He even thought that it was by his own might that he was able to conquer all his enemies. This pride attracted God’s indignation against Assyria and determined to severely punish her.

 

Whatever pleases God to allow us to do or achieve in His service, we must remember that it is not by our might nor power but by His grace. Everyone that is put in a position of authority should watch not to overdo what God expects him to do. Let us learn to give glory to God for every success in His service, as He hates pride.

Believers should be wary of the sin of pride which sometimes appears subtle, but has the capacity to destroy an otherwise buoyant spiritual life.

At the summit of accomplishment, watch out for that disguised trait of Lucifer, which has the capacity to separate you from God.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: God resisteth the proud but giveth grace to the humble.

 

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Jun 13

Nothing But God Sent

god-sent

The Great Commission makes it the business of every Christian in every place to tell others about Jesus and to do his best to bring others to the Savior. The bringing of one soul to Jesus is therefore the highest achievement possible to any believer. Those who have answered the Savior’s call to salvation were brought in many ways.

Some were brought by a friend, a neighbor or a colleague. Others were introduced by parents early in life, while some were invited by the voice of an anonymous herald on radio or the city bus service. Yet, some others were brought in through a miracle of healing by a minister. However the invitation came, the channel used is undoubtedly, God-sent.

 

“And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him” (Luke 5:18).

The men mentioned in our text were God-sent, to introduce the helpless, sick fellow to Jesus for the healing of his diseased soul which was reason for his bodily infirmity.

These men knew they had not the power to help their friend in his predicament, but they obviously knew the Savior and they believed He could heal him.

The perseverance with which they carried the sick man in his couch and let him down through the opened roof to the place where Jesus was seated is the evidence of their faith.

Sinners are helpless in the hands of Satan and the flesh. They have no hope of eternal life if somebody does not tell them about Jesus who died to atone for their sins.

Every true believer is God sent to go and preach the gospel of salvation to every creature within his reach. And because we are sent to a people weakened, paralyzed and sick with sin, we must be willing to lend ourselves to be used as the hands, arms and feet to lovingly hold, carry and bring sinners to Jesus.

Nothing reveals our faith in Him better than perseveringly leading sinners into a lifetime of relationship with Him. There is the promise of reward for every work done faithfully in His name.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Be a channel of blessing to others.

 

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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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