7 Steps in Christian Life :: Step 1 – Accept


Christian life begins with Christ and continues with Christ, but as we live for Christ what are some of the steps one has to take.

The first time the word “Christian” was used in Antioch, it was used to mean “Christ Ones” (Acts 11:26). In other words, it was meant to designate those who belonged to Christ Jesus. Step 1 in Christian life is “to belong” or to “Accept” (receive) the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible affirms that to as many as those who received (accepted) him (Jesus Christ), even to them that believe on his name, he gave them the power to become the sons of God (belong to God’s family).

Points to ponder:
Step 1 in Christian life is to Accept Jesus Christ by receiving the gift of God (John 3:16).

The prodigal son who was first with the Father, chose to be in control and go his own way. After wasting his substance, he was in want and was sent to feed swine, only to find himself groveling with the pigs. He realizes his folly amidst the famine and recognizes that his only sensible option was to return to the Father, and seek to be hired as a servant (not a slave). The Father who was waiting for him eagerly, accepts him with open arms, despite his rebellion, not as a servant but as his son.

You can choose to receive Jesus Christ or reject Jesus Christ but to them that received him, he gave them power to become the sons of God. The choice is yours – but remember, even if you reject him, he is willing to receive (accept) you. I took the first step to belong to Jesus Christ over two decades ago and am unashamed to be called a Christian. Have you taken YOUR first step?

John 1:12 (KJV)
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Luke 15:11-32 (KJV)
11 And he said, A certain man had two sons:
12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.
13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.
26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.
27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.
28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.
29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:
30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.
31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.
32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

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God [Jesus] is yet to come [again]


When I asked our beloved 6 year old son, Reuben, to make a sentence using the word “yet”, for his school homework, he responded “God (referring to Jesus) is yet to come.” It dawned on me later that from the words of a 6 year old, we were reminded of a certain and sure promise that is yet to be fulfilled.

Jesus promised that “I am going to prepare a place for you and I will come again and receive you, so that you may be where I am also.” (John 14:3) and we can take him at his word, for he is a promise keeping God (Deuteronomy 7:9).

Points to ponder:
God [Jesus] is yet to come [again] and when he comes, he wants to receive you and me. The question that remains is if we will be ready to be received by him. Those who have received him and believed in his name, he gave them the power to be called the children of God (John 1:12) and so when he returns, will you find him to be your father receiving you to take you home? In other words, have you received Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior, for God is yet to come! Jesus can receive only those who have received him now.

John 14:3 (KJV)
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.

2 Peter 3:9 (KJV)
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Professional Speaking :: Jesus The Realtor


The Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook states that the role of a real estate broker or sales agent is to help clients buy, sell, and rent properties. eHow.com’s article “What is the role of a realtor as a buyer’s agent”, by contributing author Diane Stevens, describes what the realtor does in order to help the client find their next home and highlights some of the functions that the realtor does, which are “locating properties”, “educating buyers”, “negotiating” and “providing recommendations (with the best interest of the client in mind).” The realtor however does not force the buyer, but instead leaves it to the buyer to choose from what he/she recommends.

Armed with this knowledge, would it be possible to regard Jesus as a realtor then? Well, let’s take a look. Jesus said, behold I am going to prepare a place for you (John 14:2-3). In other words, you could say that he went ahead of us to locate the property, whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:10). He is a teacher from God (John 3:2) educating us that no one can move into “God’s house” except by him (John 14:6). To all who believe in him and to them that have received him, he gave them the right to be called the children of God (John 1:12) – in other words, he made them eligible to move into God’s house and make it their own. He is the advocate who represents us before God the Father, negotiating on our behalf and qualifies us, when we trust in him (1 John 2:1). He opens the invitation for all and recommends us to move into God’s house so that where he is, we may be also (John 14:2-3). The choice is however ours to make as to whether we trust Jesus, The Realtor and move into God’s house or not.

Points to ponder:
Jesus, The Realtor has your and mine best interest in his mind. Have you trusted in him to represent you before God so that you can move into God’s house as his child? 

John 14:2-3 (KJV)
In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
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.

High to Low so Low to High


In a world where one aspires to reach the highest echelons, the following one liner is a sobering reminder of where our position is and where it ought to have been.
The God Most High (Psalm 83:18) became God most low (Philippains 2:7) so that man most low (made from dust; Genesis 3:19) can become man most high (as heirs with Christ Jesus; Romans 8:17)

Why? Love; God’s love. Behold what manner of love the Father (God) has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God (1 John 3:1). Think about it.

Psalm 83:18 (KJV)
18 That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.

Philippians 2:7 (KJV)
But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

Genesis 3:19 (KJV)
19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Romans 8:14-17 (KJV)
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

A pyramidical mystery revealed


On our visit to the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, on December 20th, 2011, we were not only awe-struck by the sheer size of the pyramids but also spellbound at the thought that the most prized of all of God’s creation, man, could build such colossal and magnificient structures. On our camel and horse ride to the pyramids, our beloved five year old son, Reuben, asked our guide, Mahmoud, as to how the pyramids were built. Our guide’s response was “No one knows, it is a mystery.” I explained to Reuben that there are several theories that are said regarding the building of the pyramids, ranging from the more plausible Egyptians having techniques and technologies that are now lost to the modern world to the more speculative supernatural extraterrestrials who came to earth and built the pyramids, but no one knows for sure, it is a mystery. However, though the building of the pyramids is a mystery, the fact that remains is that it was built, because you can tangible see the engineering prowess of man.

As I reminisced on the inquisitiveness of my child, I realized that an even far greater (pyramidical) mystery is the one of the Son of God (Jesus Christ) becoming the Son of man so that the sons and daughters of men could become the sons and daughters of God. The Bible in the letter to the church at Ephesus records that God has blessed us with spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, for before the foundation of the world, he chose us to be holy and blameless before him in love (Ephesians 1:3-4). He not only chose us but predestinated us to be his children by adopting us (Ephesians 1:5). But with the fall of man from grace, on account of his own sinfulness, man rendered himself to be an unacceptable offering for adoption and made himself an enemy of God (James 4:4). But God in his bountiful mercy and abounding love, mysteriously sent forth to us Jesus, his only begotten Son,  (John 3:16) to be born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18), who died for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). In the blood of Jesus is the mysterious redemption of God and forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of his grace (Ephesians 1:7). This is the mystery of God’s will made known (revealed) to man in Christ Jesus; a pyramidical mystery indeed (Ephesians 1:9).

Points to ponder:
Just as the physical presence of the Great Pyramids is a testament to the fact that these supersize structures were made, even though, how it was made remains a mystery, the Spiritual presence of the Great Providence in Jesus Christ is a testament to the fact that a supernatural provision of a Savior was made by God, even though how His righteousness is imputed on us by mere belief continues to remain a mystery. You and I were made to be holy and blameless and to have fellowship with God; all we have to do is put our trust in Jesus and BELIEVE in Him. Only in Jesus you see the tangible expression of God’s love.

Ephesians 1:3-9 (KJV)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

 

Blessed “Be” attitudes :: Be a Peacemaker


Matthew 5:3-12 lists eight Beatitudes that were spoken of by Jesus. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

To be blessed, one must have the attitude of being a peacemaker.

What does it mean to be a peacemaker and why shall the peacemakers be called the children of God? Before Jesus’ birth, the prophecy by Isaiah entitled Jesus to be The Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). At His birth, the heavenly angelic choir sang, ‘peace’ on earth (Luke 2:14). It is possible to have peace on earth, because The Prince of Peace came to earth, to do the will of God the Father, which was to reconcile mankind back to God by redeeming mankind from death and sin. He accomplished this on the Cross, from where he affirmed that God’s work of redeeming mankind to and for Himself was finished. In other words, Jesus’ mission was a mission of restoring peace; a peace that passeth all understanding (Philippians 4:7) and all who put their trust in Jesus with their minds fixed on Him will be kept in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). Those who have believed in Jesus are covenanted to have a life of peace (Malachi 2:5) as God’s royal priests (1 Peter 2:9). God commands that the life of a priest must be one of peace and uprightness, turning many from sins (iniquities) with the message of God’s Love (Malachi 2:6-7); a love so great that He gave us His only begotten Son, to pay the wages of our sins (which is death), by His very own life (John 3:16). The God given responsibility of a priest is to be a messenger of the Lord (Malachi 2:7); a messenger with the message of peace. In other words, to be a priest is to be a peacemaker, turning many from sin and reconciling mankind to God for we have been given the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18). And all who are peacemakers, are in essence, emulating the very mission of Jesus Christ, just as a child imitates the character of a parent and in this sense are rightfully called the children of God. God is a God of peace who works to make all perfect (blameless without sin) through the covenant of the blood of His dear Son, Jesus Christ (Hebrew 13:20-21), and all who are peacemakers imitate God the Father and are thereby blessed as His children.

Matthew 5:9 (KJV)
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

2 Corinthians 5:16-21 (KJV)
16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Who’s your daddy?


Standing out note-worthily from the lyric of the 1968 song “Time of the Season”, the phrase ‘Who’s your daddy?‘ is a colloquial expression  that is commonly used in a rhetorical manner as a boastful claim of superiority over the one listening. The Bible tells us that that those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ, have been adopted into God’s family and in them is deposited the Holy Spirit of God (Ephesians 1:13-15), who makes it possible for that person to address God as ‘Abba, Father’ (Romans 8:15). In fact, the Bible informs us that God the Father greatly lavished His love toward men and women, that they should be called the children of God (1 John 3:1). This is who we are – Children of God, but in that same verse, it is also written, that though we are the children of God, the world does not know us as such, and the reason for that is, because the world did not know Him.

Many in the world today still do not know who Jesus is? He is the Only begotten Son of God, who shed His blood to remit our sins and paid its wages in full, by sacrificing His life in our stead.

The world will continue to not know Him, if we do not make Him known! So next time, somebody asks you, “Who’s your daddy?”, answer them (even if they meant it rhetorically).
Jesus Christ is our Lord, the Son of God, our Father and since He and God the Father are one (John 10:30), He is our Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6), in other words, Our Daddy.

Romans 8:14-16 (KJV)
14
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: