THE BIG DEAL ABOUT JESUS!

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Baby Jesus Christmas nativity scene (Image source: Pinterest)

 

What’s the big deal about Jesus? This is a question I often asked myself when I was a kid and attended Church with my parents. If Jesus is so great why do I get bullied at school and he is not there to stop it? Why don’t I receive immediate answers when I pray to him? Many have asked similar questions through time.

In the Christian faith, when we have questions, we search the Bible diligently for answers; and for close to 30 years now I have been searching for answers to the question: what is the big deal about Jesus – why celebrate him?

The Bible provides this answer in Isaiah 9:6-7 (New Living Translation) –

“For a child is born to us… The government will rest on his shoulders… His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!”

Observing the actions of governments of the world today, it is clear that to rule with fairness and justice for all is difficult. A leader who will rule with fairness and justice for all is the biggest need of every society on earth.

The Bible teaches that Jesus will set up his own worldwide government on earth, and he will rule with fairness and justice for all, and that the “passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!”

This is a big deal about Jesus – read the Bible to learn more about this coming world government of fairness and justice; thy will be done O Lord, Amen!

 

 

PSALM 138 – GRATITUDE

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Gratitude from the heart (Image: Carl Attard – Pexels Collection

Psalm 138 (New Living Translation) – A Psalm of David.

1I give you thanks, O LORD, with all my heart;
I will sing your praises before the gods.

2I bow before your holy Temple as I worship.
I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness;
for your promises are backed
by all the honor of your name.

3As soon as I pray, you answer me;
you encourage me by giving me strength.

4Every king in all the earth will thank you, LORD,
for all of them will hear your words.
5Yes, they will sing about the LORD’s ways,
for the glory of the LORD is very great.

6Though the LORD is great, he cares for the humble,
but he keeps his distance from the proud.

7Though I am surrounded by troubles,
you will protect me from the anger of my enemies.
You reach out your hand,
and the power of your right hand saves me.

8The LORD will work out his plans for my life—
for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever.
Don’t abandon me, for you made me.

AMEN!

THE LONG RACE…

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Samuel Wanjiru – winner Marathon 2008 Beijing Olympics (Image source: Wikimedia)

Hebrews 12:1-2a (New Living Translation) – 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.

 

During the Olympics, 100 meters short distance sprinters like Usain Bolt receive a lot of attention in the news, and the 100 meters final race is one of the most watched event on TV all over the world. On the other hand, the Marathon, the 42 kilometers race, which tests the endurance of athletes to persevere pain is not as popular.

The 100 meters race last only for about 10 seconds inside the stadium; the Marathon last for about 3 hours and the athletes run through the city, sometimes on lonely roads, only ending up in the stadium. While 100 meters runners are often excited and playful on winning a race, the Marathoners show calm and thoughtfulness.

There are those moments when life is like the 100 meters race, we want to get things done quick, fast, with plenty of excitement along the way. However, there are also those times when we realize that a task we want to achieve in life is going to be a Marathon, requiring endurance, calm, and and plenty of thoughtfulness.

The Christian faith is described the Bible like a Marathon – a long race not a short sprint; it requires endurance on the part of believers to take it one day at a time, with plenty of calmness and thoughtfulness; there will be lonely sections when you want to quit – persevere! persevere!! persevere!!!

Many have run this long race, and reached the finished line; the above passage from Hebrews 12, refer to them as ‘a huge cloud of witnesses‘. Jesus also came to earth and ran the long race, with great endurance and perseverance; he is our champion, very well able to train and equip us for success. 

Father in Heaven, give us equal or greater endurance compared with Joseph, Moses, David, Daniel, Peter, and Paul – witnesses who have run the long race of the Christian faith, and are now cheering for us running our own long race, Amen!

 

“GOD IS DEAD” – Friedrich Nietzsche

God is Dead
God is dead by Nietzsche (Image source: Steemit Philosophy)

Psalm 14:1a (New Living Translation) – Only fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.”

 

Friedrich Nietzsche was born in 1844 in Germany and died in 1900. He wrote philosophical books that heavily influenced thinking in Europe. In his book “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”, he makes the declaration that “God is dead”.

The book is a novel about a traveler named Zarathustra, who goes to many places, meets different people, and discuss about many things. In these discussions, Zarathustra tries to show that new scientific knowledge of the world has replaced superstitious knowledge, so we no longer have any need to believe in God.

Nietzsche lived at a time when people in Europe were beginning to believe that science will solve all human problems, and humans will be able to create a perfect world. If we can do this with our human wisdom and strength, who needs God? Nietzsche died 118 years ago, I wonder what he would think of the world today?

Has scientific innovation and technology led us into a perfect world? Is the solution to human suffering more scientific discoveries, or the morals that people hold in their hearts? Are we going to end poverty in the world through more science, or through the rich sharing more of the wealth they already have with the poor?

Nietzsche is right that science has improved our understanding of our world; however, this enlightenment has also given us many more technologies to destroy our world. Human problems are not solved by knowledge alone, but by knowledge and a changed heart – only the divine can transform the heart. 

May the God of heaven fill us with knowledge and wisdom, but above all may God help us to have a heart that loves our neighbor as we love ourselves, Amen!   

PSALM 118 – THE MESSIAH

Resurrection Faith
Resurrection (Image source: PostBarthian)

 

Psalm 118:22-24 (New Living Translation) – The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the LORD’s doing, and it is wonderful to see. This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.

 

In Bibles commonly used by Protestant Christians, there are 594 chapters before Psalm 118, and 594 chapters after it. Psalm 118 is considered to be at the middle of Protestant versions of the Bible. The shortest Psalm is Psalm 117, and the longest is Psalm 119. What has Psalm 118 got to say to us that is unique?

The crowd chanted verse 26 “Bless the one who comes in the name of the LORD”, when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey (see Matthew 21:9); and shortly after Jesus quotes verse 22 “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone”, to the Pharisees in defence of his ministry (see Matthew 21:42).

Verse 24 says “This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” It is a prophetic verse that looked forward to the coming of the Messiah, and the impact this will have on all humanity. Throughout the Old Testament, God promised believers that a day will come when they will live again in a new better world.

The death and RESURRECTION of Jesus is PROOF that God will keep this promise of a new and better life to all who believe in him. The coming of Jesus to earth is therefore “the day the LORD made for us to rejoice and be glad”, because it is the day God’s promised salvation went from a mere promise to a true fact.

Psalm 118 unique message when it was written in Old Testament times, was that the Messiah will come; the New Testament is proof that the Messiah has come. Let us therefore join the writer of Psalm 118:1 in declaring “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever”, Amen!

 

 

GOODNESS WILL TRIUMPH…

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A new earth (Image source: Time Line Bible)

 

Revelation 21:1 (New Living Translation)
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone.

 

In the book of Revelation, Apostle John was given glimpses into the long history of humanity from God’s side or view of things. John saw the great battle between good and evil that started in heaven long long time ago, and continues on the earth today. The end of the book shows God overcoming evil at long last.

Wars leave behind destruction, and at the end of every war there is a need for reconstruction. It is the same with this great war of spirits, being fought in heaven and on the earth. Its caused destruction in heaven and on earth.

We see this destruction on earth through our sick and broken bodies, sick and broken relationships among people, and the many uncaring ways we use resources on earth, leaving our planet sick and broken on land, sea and air.

At the end of the book of Revelation, Apostle John saw God bring total restoration to heaven and earth by creating them anew. Its like a resurrection of not just our bodies but also of our world. The sea, the symbol of the great divisions among people, is gone; this is going to be a new united world; united in love, united in purpose.

We live in an era of war of spirits, with negative consequences on our bodies, relationships, and our world – but the war will come to an expected end; and we will enter into a new day when goodness wins and rule the world.

May we all be blessed to see the day goodness triumphs, and be part of humanity that will live and enjoy the new earth, Amen!     

 

OUR STRONG TOWER IN SEASONS OF MISFORTUNE

Scrabo Tower Northern Ireland (2)
Scrabo Tower Northern Ireland (Image source: Guliolopez)

 

Ecclesiastes 9:11 (King James Bible)
I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Ecclesiastes 9:11 (Contemporary English Version)
Here is something else I have learned: The fastest runners and the greatest heroes don’t always win races and battles. Wisdom, intelligence, and skill don’t always make you healthy, rich, or popular. We each have our own share of misfortune.

 

Our skills, talents and gifts, will bring opportunities our way, but are not assurances that at the end of the day we will have successful careers or successful lives. We all will go through seasons of troubles, seasons of misfortune. How then can we travel through life such that seasons of misfortune don’t destroy all that we have worked for?

We can be like the ant that never fails to store food in the summer in preparation for winter (see Proverbs 6:6-8); in addition we should never fail to pray against misfortune that would be too much for us to cope with (see Luke 11:4).

Above all, our confidence to live successful lives should not be anchored in our talents and gifts, but in Yahweh because: Proverbs 18:10 (Contemporary English Version) – The LORD is a mighty tower where his people can run for safety.

May the Lord protect and bless us, such that our ‘time and chance’ are more about opportunities and progress, rather than misfortune and loss, Amen!