JESUS – TOUGH, TOUGHER, TOUGHEST!

Jesus and Sadducees
Jesus being questioned by the Sadducees (Image source: Pinterest)  

 

Part of a famous song I remember from my childhood went like this:I can do what you can do, but you can’t do what I can do, I am the toughest‘. I can’t recall all of the song, just this little bit, which has remained with me. Using this definition, let’s walk through this story about Jesus from Matthew 22:34-46 (NLT) (shortened):

But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together… to trap him with this question: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart… A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law… are based on these two commandments.”

Then, surrounded by the Pharisees, Jesus asked them a question: “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?” They replied, “He is the son of David.” Jesus responded, “Then why does David, speaking under the inspiration of the Spirit, call the Messiah ‘my Lord’… how can the Messiah be his son?” No one could answer him. And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Conversations between Jesus and the political-religious leaders of Israel (Sadducees and Pharisees) were a wrestling match. In the gospels, these leaders often tested Jesus with tough questions, which he answered perfectly; but when he questioned them, they would answer wrongly or get all confused and shut up.

Jesus was too much for the Sadducees and Pharisees to handle – he was the toughest. Resolve to get to know this Jesus of the Bible a little more in 2019; not just his healing and miracles, but his conversations and teachings also.

Happy New Year 2019 – may all your needs be met, in Jesus name, Amen! 

IT’S CHRISTMAS – HURRAY!

Merry Christmas
Image source: Community Life Church

 

A friend shared a screenshot of a conversation on Twitter, it went like this: Person A – ‘Xmas used to be fun when we were young, what happened?’; Person B replied – ‘It wasn’t your money’. The response from B was funny, but it is so true.

Our excitement this festive season is strongly connected to how much money we have, to how much we can buy; some do think about the reason for the season – Jesus – but for a brief moment. Many share the sentiment that says “I have worked hard all year, now I want to have a good time, I want to be merry”.

However, Christmas honours the birth of Jesus, and in Luke 2:8-14 (NLT) (shortened), his birth was announced with exuberant heavenly merriment:

[There] were shepherds… [watching] their flocks at night. An angel… appeared to them… they were terrified. But the angel said… “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy… a Savior has been born…” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Heaven celebrated the birth of Jesus so excitedly! Why? It is because he was born with a mission to save us from our destructive self – through his love, his teachings, his miracles, and great spiritually redeeming power. As we celebrate this season, let’s also make a resolution to learn more about Jesus in 2019.

Merry Christmas – God bless you richly as you celebrate, Amen!  

 

 

 

WHO NEEDS A MIRACLE?

Miracle of Fish
Jesus performs the miracle of the great fish catch (Image source: Wikimedia)

 

Recently, I was watching YouTube videos about computer aided fishing. I was not surprised to see large fishing boats with computers to help them in their work; I was surprised though to see computer and smart phone technology like the Deeper Smart Fishfinder that can help anyone catch fish in water anywhere.

The videos made me think back to the story of how the Apostles had worked hard all night and caught no fish, but decided to try again with instructions from Jesus, as recorded in Luke 5:4-9 (NLT) (shortened) –

When he had finished speaking, he [Jesus] said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper…” “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” And this time…  both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking… Simon Peter… was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him.

It would seem technology has made amazing miracles like this no more necessary. Who needs a miracle, if you can catch plenty of fish with help from your smartphone; who needs a miracle if your doctor cures it all; who needs a miracle if motivational books have all the answers about wealth and happiness!

Who still needs out of this world, unexplainable solutions, to the many deep and stubborn problems we face – where neither the smartphone, nor the doctor, and no self motivational book, is able to help? Who still needs a Biblical type miracle, fully dependent on Jesus power – I do! I do!! I do!!!

Lord, I need a miracle to meet my goals for 2018 before it closes out. Lord, I need a miracle to achieve my grand plans for 2019. Thank you for human ability, thank you even more for your miraculous ability, Amen! 

 

THE BIG DEAL ABOUT JESUS!

Manger 2
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

Gratitude 2
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…

Samuel_Wanjiru_at_2008_Summer_Olympics_Beijing
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!