The promise of God – Presence, Preservation & Provision


Genesis 28:15 records the words of the Lord God in Jacob’s dream. It reads “And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

This is a wonderful promise of the Lord God unto Jacob, and close scrutiny of the text reveals that the Lord God promised his
– presence (I am with thee; I will not leave thee),
– preservation (I will keep thee in all places)
and his
– provision (I will bring thee again into this land).

Points to ponder:
To all who are Jesus’ disciples, who love him and follow him, he promised his
– presence for he said that he will be with us always (Matthew 28:20) and that he will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
– preservation by his Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23) who would seal (Ephesians 1:13) and preserve (keep) us so that we may keep the faith (2 Timothy 4:7)
and his
– provision of the promise land where he has gone to prepare a place for us so that where he is, we may be also (John 14:3).

So the question that remains to be answered is, are you assured of the Lord God’s promise of his presence, preservation and provision? In other words, are you his disciple i.e., do you love him and follow him? Think about that. Love God and Love man for in doing so will people know that we are Jesus’ disciples and you can be assured of God presence, preservation and provisions in your life.

Genesis 28:15 (KJV)
15 And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

Labor not in vain – Steadfast, Still and Surmount


According to the United States Department of Labor, Labor Day, which is annually celebrated on the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of the country.

To those who are citizens of God’s kingdom (Philippians 3:20), we ought to be able to celebrate Labor Day as well, which is possible as long as we have made contributions with our life that last the test of fire (1 Corinthians 3:14-15). The labor that stands the test of fire is the labour that in not in vain in the Lord.

In order for our labor to not be in vain in the Lord, the Bible teaches us the principles that are recorded in 1 Corinthians 15:58. 1 Corinthians 15:58 reads “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
First, we need to be steadfast, that is we need to stand firm, which is only possible if the foundation we stand on is firm. There is no other foundation that is firmer than Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11).
Second, we need to be still (Psalm 46:10), that is be unmoveable. We must not waver in our faith but be faithful, keeping the faith (Revelation 14:12; Acts 14:22) till we see Christ face to face.
Third, we need to surmount, that is abound, in the work of the Lord. With God, there is no unfinished business (Philippians 1:6) and God is able to make his grace abound toward us so that we may have sufficiency in all things and that we may abound to every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8).

Points to ponder:
Do you want your labor to not be in vain? In other words, are you steadfast, are you still and is your work surmounting? If Jesus Christ is not your foundation, I beseech you to believe and trust in him for when on Christ the Solid Rock, we Stand, we are steadfast and need not fear the sinking sand.

1 Corinthians 15:58 (KJV)
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

2 Corinthians 9:8 (KJV)
8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

The King’s Speech


On the third Monday of January each year, America observes the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in recognition of his active involvement in the fight against racial discrimination and his fight for equality amongst men. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968, but many still remember him for spear-heading the Montgomery Bus Boycott and his famous “I have a dream” speech.

As our beloved five year old son, Reuben and I were talking about the diabolical effects of segregation and racial prejudice, he said “Underneath our skin, we all have the same colored blood, correct?” and I could tell that his mind was seeking an answer to the question, “How can man be so blind to not see beyond the skin?” I used the opportunity to tell him, how God created man, both male and female, in his own image and that we are all made equal in the sight of God for there is no partiality in God (Romans 2:11). Then as I read the “I Have a Dream” speech, it dawned on me that from each section of the speech, there is hidden in it a beautiful reference to the Bible. The Bible is inspired by God and so in that sense can be said to be THE KING’S speech, for God is King over all, or rightfully so, it must be “The KING of kings Speech”.

Given below is excerpts from Martin Luther King Jr.’s  speech (in red italics) following which is a reference to the Scripture.

It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
Psalm 30:5 states “… in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
God’s favor is life. Our trials are tribulations are merely temporary.

So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
Psalm 69:5 states “O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee.”
Psalm 69: 7 “shame hath covered my face.”
Sin is a shameful condition and Romans 3:23 asserts that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God

This note was a promise that all men, … would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
2 Peter 3:9 states that God is patient not wanting anyone to perish, but that all come to repentance and have eternal life. Jesus’ sacrifice makes this possible.
2 Corinthians 3:17 states that “Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty”.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 states that “Blessed (happy) are those who trust in the Lord (Jesus Christ), whose hope is the Lord (Jesus Christ). For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.”
Only in Jesus are we guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and happiness.

Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.
Psalm 40:2 informs us that Jesus lifts those who are in the miry pit (quick sands) of sin and sets their feet on a rock solid foundation; on himself.

There will be neither rest nor tranquility … until … one is granted his citizenship rights.
Philippians 3:20 asserts that “Our citizenship is in heaven from where we look for our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
John 14:2-3 assures us that “Jesus has gone  to prepare a place for us, so that we may be where He is (in his Father’s house, which is in heaven).
Revelation 21:4 asserts that in the presence of God, there will be no tear left unwiped, for God will wipe away every tear.
Only in the presence of God, is there true rest and tranquility.

Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
Matthew 5:44 counsels us to “Love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us”
Jesus said. If someone strikes you on your cheek, turn to him the other as well as recorded in Matthew 5:39.
Jesus was indeed saying, don’t drink from the cup of bitterness and hatred by saying “Fight hate with love”

They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
John 17:21 records that Lord prayer wherein, Jesus prayed for the unity of his disciples, that we may be one, so that the world would believe that Jesus was sent by God. We cannot walk alone.

No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
Amos 5:4 states that we ought to seek God so that we can live and Amos 5:24 records that judgment will roll down as waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
We must seek God and not be satisfied until we find Him. Jesus said, Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all things shall be added unto you, which is recorded in Matthew 6:33.

Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
James 1:2-4 counsels us that persecution produces perfection.
1 Timothy 6:12 counsels us to fight the good fight of faith and hold on to eternal life.
We must continue to work with (keep) the faith that the present suffering is nothing compared to the future glory, in a city whose builder in God as recorded in Hebrews 11.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
Psalm 23:4 assures us that even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, there is nothing to fear (nor despair).
Death is but a shadow to all those who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and that means those who are sanctified and saved have no reason to wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.
James 4:13 teaches us that if we plan for the day or for the next, let it be so, according to God’s will
Matthew 6:34 informs us that tomorrow has enough troubles of its own.
So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, let us dream that it is according to God’s will.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.
Genesis 1:27 proves that God created man, both male and female in the image of God
Romans 2:11 states that in God, there is no partiality (i.e.,) all are created equal.

I have a dream that one day … the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
John 15:15 records Jesus’ words, “I call you not servants (slaves), but friends”. But Jesus did not stop there, after his resurrection, he called his disciples, brothers as recorded in John 20:17.
When we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are changed from slaves to brothers and can sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day … a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
Isaiah 32:1 records “Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.”
Injustice shall be turned to justice and oppression into an oasis of freedom and justice, because Jesus the king will reign in righteousness.

I have a dream that my … little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
Philippians 2:15 counsels us that we ought to be blameless and harmless, as sons (and daughters of God), without rebuke in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, wherein we ought to shine as lights in the world. Our belief in Christ Jesus imputes his righteousness on us and makes us blameless as sons of God, and when judged by men, let us be judged for the content of our character – one that emulates Jesus Christ.

I have a dream that one day, … will be able to join hands … as sisters and brothers.
Mathew 12:48-50 records two rhetorical questions of Jesus, wherein he asked: Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? He himself then answered, “Whoever does the will of God the Father who is in heaven, is his brother, and sister, and mother.
When we do God’s will, we join hands as sisters and brothers of Jesus Christ.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
The Prophet Isaiah brings the word of the Lord, in Isaiah 40:4-5 that “Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.”

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back … with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
The opposite of fear is not courage, but faith. When the disciples were afraid in the boat, Jesus did not say, “O ye of little courage”, but instead said, “O ye of little faith” as recorded in Matthew 8:26. Faith drives out fear and this is our faith as recorded in Matthew 12:21 that Jesus Christ is the hope of all nations.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.” And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the … spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
Galatians 3:28 states “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
John 8:36 asserts that “He whom Jesus, the Son of God, sets free, is free indeed”
Free at last, thank God Almighty, because of Jesus, man can be free at last!.

Points to ponder:
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is known, remembered and celebrated for his fight against and victory over physical oppression.
Jesus Christ, the King of kings, is known, but sadly not always remembered and celebrated for his fight against and victory over spiritual oppression of the devil.
God is saying, “I have a dream”. Dream that all men come to repentance and believe in Him, for the sin of the world is unbelief in God (John 16:9). God’s dream is that you and I are free!
Are you free? Free from the bondage of sin and its wages, which is death? If not, I pray that you Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, for He will set you free and that is His Dream (desire).

God’s relay race


During my high school years, I used to be actively involved in athletics and competed in several inter-school competitions. One of the events that our school team used to arduously practice for, was the relay race in which the starter sprinters ran till they passed the baton over to the next on track, until it reached the last one (anchor) in the relay race lineup that completed the race. I often used to run the anchor position.

In order for the relay team to win, there was one requirement, the anchor had to be holding the baton in his/her hand when the tape was cut. It was not the one who first cut the tape that won the race, but it was the one who cut the tape, holding the baton in hand. Holding on to the baton was what mattered. Additionally, it was not the anchor alone who won the race, but the whole team that received the honor and prize.

Just as it was important for each participant in a relay race to hold on to the baton, when it is in their possession and pass it on to the next one in the track, so also in our Christian race, we must hold on to the Gospel baton (i.e., keep the faith) and pass it on to our successors (our children being one in that lineup among many other) so that collectively we can win in achieving the goal of reconciling man to God, through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The God of the universe passed the Gospel of Salvation baton to His Only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who passed this Gospel baton to us, when He ascended into Heaven and till our time on earth is done or till He returns to take us, who believe in Him, to be with Him for eternity, we must continue to hold on to the Gospel baton (keep the faith) and pass it on (2 Corinthians 5:18-20). Let us live in such a manner so that each of us will be able to say, when it is God’s appointed time, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:” (2 Timothy 4:7).

2 Corinthian 5:18-20 (KJV)
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; [God passed the baton to Christ]
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. [Christ has passed the baton to us]
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. [We must pass the baton to others]

Christian Verbs :: X is for X-ray


When the word X-ray is used as a verb, it means “to examine”. When we go to a doctor, the doctor examines us to determine if we are of good health or if we are sick. Likewise, we are to ask the LORD to examine us. In other words, we are to ask the LORD to X-ray us, so that there are no wicked ways in us, and to lead us in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24)

In addition to the doctor examining us, we often check ourselves at home to make sure that we are healthy. As Christians we need to do the same. We have to take time to introspect ourselves regarding our spiritual health. In other words we need to X-ray (examine) ourselves to ensure that we keep the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5) for the just(ified) shall live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4), as many in the latter days will depart (fall away) from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; (1 Timothy 4:1).

2 Corinthians 13:5 (KJV)
5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

Psalm 26:2 (KJV)
2 Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.

Psalm 139:23-24 (KJV)
23
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
24
And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.