It is memorial day in the year of the Lord 2010, which is a federal holiday in the United States, commemorating men and women who gave their lives while in military service. Soldiers are not forgotten on this day and they are honored. Interestingly, our God is a God who does not forget His people and His promises to those who are faithful as soldiers (in spiritual warfare) to Him. Being righteous, He does not forget the works and labor of love (ministry) shown toward His name and His glory (Hebrews 6:10) and to those who serve him, He has promised that God the Father would honor them (John 12:26). Martyrs and those who serve as soldiers for Christ are not forgotten and honored by God. Onward Christian Soldiers, for God does not forget; He celebrates memorial day in honor of those who work and labor for him in love.
Hebrews 6:10 (KJV)
10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
John 12:26 (KJV)
26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.
Contrary to popular belief and definitions, the opposite of fear in Christian life is not courage. In fact, none of the antonyms in the Thesaurus indicate what the Holy Bible tells us as to what the opposite of fear is. When Jesus calmed the sea, he questioned the disciples in the boat, “Why are you so fearful?” and then instead of asking them “How is it that you have no courage?”, He instead asked them, “How is it that you have no faith?” The opposite of fear is not courage but faith, which is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). David was not just a young man, when He faced Goliath, the giant over nine feet tall (1 Samuel 17:4). While Goliath may have been a physical giant, David was a spiritual giant, because of his faith in the LORD, in whose name he went to face his giant (1 Samuel 17:45). It was David faith and not his courage that landed him in the hall of Heroes of Faith (Hebrews 12:32). David with his eyes of faith must have seen the invisible victory promised against those who defied God’s people (Deuteronomy 28:7) even before he engaged in battle.
What are the winds and waves in your life that threaten to drown you today? When we recognize by faith that nothing is impossible with Jesus Christ, the LORD Almighty who is with us always (Isaiah 41:10), there is no reason to be fearful. The question that remains is, “Can we have faith in the one who is the slayer of giants, the calmer of storms and the LORD Almighty; in Jesus Christ?” Next time when you are fearful, rather than praying for courage, pray for faith; faith that makes us confident that God is with us, that He is our God, that He will strengthen us, that He will help us and that He will uphold us (Isaiah 41:10) over the stormy situations of our life. Fear Not! Have Faith!
Mark 4:39-30 (KJV)
39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
Isaiah 41:10 (KJV)
10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
The Bible in Mark 3:5 records that Jesus was angry and agonized (grieved) when the people whom he had questioned refused to answer him. Did you ever wonder as to what angered and grieved Jesus? The question that he had asked was “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil; to save life, or to kill?” as He encountered a man with a withered hand who was in the synagogue. This question was in no way rhetorical and warranted an answer, one way or the other, but the people who plotted to accuse Jesus, hiding behind laws and legalism, kept silent. It was the apathy of those with hardened hearts that angered and agonized Jesus, but before we pass judgment on those who plotted to accuse Jesus, let us examine ourselves as well.
Many a times we are no different. We are indifferent to those around us that need to be restored whole; that need to be saved. Our hearts are calloused and hard and compassion has no room in it for those who are hurting around us. The withered hand of the man was made whole by Jesus irrespective of whether the people answered him or not and so God’s saving work by His Son will continue irrespective of whether we respond to his question of whether it is good to save life or not. Let us however not be apathetic and remain silent, for being so is what angers and agonizes Jesus. An apathetic person is a pathetic person.
Point(s) to ponder:
- Who are some of the people around you that need to be saved or restored?
- What is the condition of your heart toward them?
- If Jesus was to ask you/me, is it lawful for you to save life or to kill, what would your/mine answer be?
Mark 3:1-5 (KJV)
1 And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.
2 And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.
3 And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.
4 And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.
5 And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.
What is ‘Profit’? Salvation! Jesus asked, what shall it profit a man, if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul? (Mark 8:36). What is our ‘Purpose’? To leave and cleave; to leave the things of this world, and to cleave to God (Acts 11:23). for even the whole world is not gain without Christ. I was recently introduced to an enlightening concept on what motivates us by my good friend Vinoth Rajkumar. The lively animation he referred to is called “Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us” which is an adaptation of Dan Pink’s impressive talk at the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). Dan shares that in organizations, when the ‘Profit’ motive becomes unmoored from the ‘Purpose’ motive, bad things happen. This is not only applicable in our secular society but has a significant parallel in our Christian walk as well.
Salvation of the soul, which is by believing in Jesus Christ, the Son of God is the only profit that matters. Not even the whole world if offered and gained can compare to that. Our ‘profit’ motive should be to be Saved. Our ‘Purpose’ motive should be to leave the things of this world that defile us and cleave to the Lord who keeps us pure and blameless. Daniel (which means God is my Judge) purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself (Daniel 1:8) with what he puts into his body even if it was served from a king’s table, for he knew that God (THE KING of kings) would judge him if he chose not to remain faithful by cleaving to the Lord and his commandments. Let us be likewise as well, for when our ‘profit’ motive (of being Saved) is unmoored from the ‘purpose’ motive (of leaving the worldly things and cleaving to God), bad things such as displeasing and dishonoring God happen.
Point(s) to ponder:
- What is your profit? Is your soul not lost i.e., Have you received Christ Jesus? Ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior if you are unsure of whether your soul is saved or not and be assured henceforth that it is, when you do so.
- What is your purpose? Let us purpose not to defile ourselves and to cleave on to God who can purify us and present us blameless (undefiled).
- Are you/I displeasing and dishonoring God by not purposing to leave that we ought to and not cleaving unto God? If so, let us no longer.
Mark 8:35-37 (KJV)
35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.
36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Daniel 1:8 (KJV)
8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
Acts 11:23 (KJV)
23 Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.
1 Thessalonians in Chapter 5 counsels that we ought not to quench the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19). In other words, the Fire of the Holy Spirit must not be put off. How can one put off the Holy Spirit? By walking according to the flesh for the flesh is at war with the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-18). Apostle Paul writes for that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. (Romans 7:15). We can all empathize and relate with Apostle Paul. Many times we do things willfully that we dont want to and dont do things that we have to, and in that manner, we grieve the Holy Spirit God. So what can we do to not grieve or quench the Holy Spirit? We can submit to the will of God, mortifying our selfish desires and we can walk accordingly to the Holy Spirit; and we can earnestly pray with a sincere heart as King David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart O God, and renew a steadfast Spirit within me…” (Psalm 51:10-12)
Romans 7:15 (KJV)
15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
Psalm 51:10-12 (KJV)
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right [steadfast] spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free [generous] spirit.
Galatians 5:16-18 (KJV)
16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 (KJV)
23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
When Apostle Paul writes to Timothy about women in public worship, he writes in 1 Timothy 2:11 that the woman should learn in silence with all subjection (submission). This is in no ways a means to validate the expression of unequal preferences between the sexes in the Church, for God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), meaning he does not favor one man over another or a man over a woman or vice-versa. Both male and female are created in his very own image (Genesis 1:27). However, from this scripture, we can learn the manner in which the Church (the Woman who is loved of the Bridegroom, Jesus) must worship.
The Church must learn to be hush and humble in worshiping the Lord, i.e., the Church must be silent and in all submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ when it comes to her act of worship. Unfortunately, the people of God who make the Church, tend to talk and blabber more than they should with their mouths, instead of with their lives. We often try to be supreme exalting ourselves, rather than be submissive (humble) and exalting Him. Psalm 46:10 tells us that we ought to be still and know that He [Jesus] is God, it is He [Jesus] that will be exalted among the heathen; among the earth. When we (the Church) are silent, we can hear the voice of God and we can exalt Him by being submissive to what He tells us. Let us learn to be silent and in all subjection to Jesus Christ, the Bridegroom who loves the Church (His Woman).
1 Timothy 2:11 (KJV)
11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
Psalm 46:10 (KJV)
10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
We are counseled to WAIT until the coming of the Lord and commissioned to WORK for Him while we wait. Those who have committed to this cause of waiting and working for the Lord may sometimes feel that the wait is long and the work hard. Like a sprinter that tires after running for some time, there will be some who will depart from the faith (1 Timothy 4:1); let us not be one of them. Instead, we need to be like marathon runners, becoming perfect and complete (entire), wanting nothing (James 1:2-4) as we subject our lives to endure our cross, that Jesus has commissioned us to carry.
Jesus carried THE CROSS and endured it, despising its shame (Hebrews 12:2) and so we can be assured that he understands what He has asked us to do. We can be encouraged by his “I Will” promises. To those who are working, Jesus said, I WILL give you REST (Matthew 11:28) and to those who are waiting for Him, Jesus said, I WILL come again and RECEIVE you unto myself (John 14:3).
But in order for Jesus to receive us when he returns and for him to give us rest, we must first go to him and receive Him by believing in our hearts that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, sent of God the Father from heaven. Have you received Christ?
Matthew 11:28 (KJV)
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
John 14:3 (KJV)
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
James 1:2-4 (KJV)
2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
John 3:16 can be abbreviated as an acronym to spell the word GOSPEL when we read it God so loved the world that he gave his Only begotten Son that whosoever believes in him shall not Perish but have Everlasting Life and in verity and entirety, that is THE GOSPEL.
The letter to the Romans refers to the “gospel” 3 times in the very first chapter. In verse 1, it is referred to as the gospel of God, in verse 9, it is referred to as the gospel of his Son and in verse 16, it is referred to as the gospel of Christ. Verse 16, also provides us insight into what the gospel is, what it can do and to whom. Romans 1:16 reads “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
Who’s is the Gospel? Gospel of God (Romans 1:1); Gospel of His Son (Romans 1:9); Gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16). The ORIGIN of the Gospel is God a.k.a. His Son a.k.a. Christ and not any man.
What is the Gospel? It is the power of God. (Romans 1:16). The OPERATION of the Gospel is the power of Almighty God that tears down strongholds.
What can the Gospel do? In one word – Saves (power of God unto salvation). The OUTCOME of the Gospel is salvation.
Whom can the Gospel save? Everyone that believes. The OUTREACH of the Gospel is non-discriminatory to anyone and is inclusive of everyone who believes.
Romans 1:16 (KJV)
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
When we hear of the person Enoch in the Bible, often the thought that comes to mind is that Enoch walked with God and was taken by God (Genesis 5:22,24). Seldom do we hear that Enoch not only walked with God, but He also witnessed about the coming of the Lord (Jude 14). We ought to do the same as well. We ought to walk and witness.
Unfortunately, many of us walk with God but we do not witness of his imminent return; his second coming and then there are some who witness of the Lord but not walk with him. And some neither walk nor witness while others walk and witness. Walking and witnessing is not mutually exclusively. Without walking with God we really cannot effectively witness and we cannot witness without evidently walking with God. Let each of us take a stand to walk (with God) and witness (for God) and not just do one or the other. And what are we to be witnessing about? We are to be witnessing about the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Genesis 5:22,24 (KJV)
22 And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:
24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.
Jude 14 (KJV)
14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied [witnessed] of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,
Celso, a Colombian evangelist with the Voice of the Martyrs eloquently stated his purpose in life and posed a thought provoking question when he said “Jesus told me to go. He never said I would come back. Isn’t this the life of a Christian?” The life of a Christian can be essentially summed up in two words, ‘come’ and ‘go’.
Jesus Christ said, “COME unto me, and I will give you rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29). This means that when we COME into CHRIST, we COME out of the world. Only in the “coming” to Jesus Christ is Salvation, there is no other way.
Jesus Christ also said, “GO for me and teach and baptize” (Matthew 28:19-20). This means that when we GO for CHRIST, we GO into the world. In the “going” for Jesus Christ is Sanctification, being set apart for his cause, always ready to give an answer to every man that asks us for a reason of THE HOPE that is in us. (1 Peter 3:15; Colossians 1:27)
Point(s) to ponder:
- The model is Come into Christ, Go for Christ. The problem starts when people attempt to Go for Christ, without first coming to Him. Without the coming (into Christ) there is no going (out for Christ). One ought to first be Saved themselves, and then serve God to save others.
- The model is Come out of the world, Go into the world. This means that we need to go into the world but not be part of it. In other words, we are to be set apart (sanctified) for Christ.