Thursday, 29 November 2007

The truth that sets men free....., usually, the truth that men prefer not to hear. Watch this video clip (you might need to copy and paste into your browser).

Stay blessed

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

A Battle for Intergrity

This is a piece by a great Bible teacher I respect so much, Charles R. Swindoll. We must take serious look on the issue of integrity in our lives today, especially in the face of things crumbling right before our eyes in the church. The whole story is from his book: Charles R. Swindoll, “A Battle for Integrity,” Insights (March 2003): 1-2. Copyright © 2003. Read it all here

A Battle for Integrity
by Charles R. Swindoll

I must tell you that I have been troubled regarding the face of things in our country and within the family of God. My major battle has had to do with one word, one concept. My battle has to do with integrity.

In our nation—and in the church—there has been a falling away, a breakdown, and a compromise in integrity. Recent headlines have taught us that the boom of the 1990s was built on a foundation devoid of integrity. But compromise isn’t limited to CEOs who greedily sell out their employees or to pork-happy politicians. All too often we find a moral laxity behind our pews and, even worse, behind the pulpit.

Let me define what I mean by integrity. Webster’s tells us integrity means “an unimpaired condition.”1 It means to be sound. The Hebrew word for integrity, tom, also means to be complete or solid.

So he shepherded them according to the integrity [tom] of his heart,
And guided them with his skillful hands. (Psalm 78:72)

Integrity is completeness or soundness. You have integrity if you complete a job even when no one is looking. You have integrity if you keep your word even when no one checks up on you. You have integrity if you keep your promises. Integrity means the absence of duplicity and is the opposite of hypocrisy. If you are a person of integrity, you will do what you say. What you declare, you will do your best to be. Integrity also includes financial accountability, personal reliability, and private purity. A person with integrity does not manipulate others. He or she is not prone to arrogance or self-praise. Integrity even invites constructive and necessary criticism because it applauds accountability. It’s sound. It’s solid. It’s complete.

Integrity is rock-like. It won’t crack when it has to stand alone, and it won’t crumble though the pressure mounts. Integrity keeps one from fearing the white light of examination or resisting the exacting demands of close scrutiny. It’s honesty at all costs.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Paula White and her divorce

This is just disappointing as the couple is not even showing any signs of remorse. It's not as if we cannot make mistakes, but when it happens, we should be humble enough to admit that we failed. God helping us, we can pick the pieces of our lives together and start again. No matter what Paula White claims, divorce is a failure of marriage.
However, the main thing is not condemning anyone, but to start praying for ourselves. We must give heed to God's Word as our standard without making money and fame our focus in this life. I wonder how all the inconsistencies in their living enumerated here will be explained. It pays to live according to God's principles and mortify the flesh. I wish we as church leaders learn from all these.

Paula White & Randy to Divorce: Big Business Church to Blame?

By Lynda Johnson
Aug 27, 2007

Randy and Paula White were the founders and co-pastors of Without Walls International Church, one of the largest "mega Churches" in the country. They are divorcing and announced it to their congregation last week. Did the big business of the church cause the split of this couple?
Paula White & Randy to Divorce: Big Business Church to Blame?
Paula White & Randy to Divorce: Big Business Church to Blame?

Lillian Kwon of the Christian Post writes that he Whites preach a prosperity message and notes that critics say their message of prosperity were at the expense of humility and family values. "Too many ministries have become big business. That message is desecrating the church today," said Without Walls church board member Alick Clarke, adding that he was disturbed to learn that with revenues at $40 million last year, the church was $22 million in debt. "That's just not right."...

Read it all here!

and here and here

Friday, 23 November 2007

We have a price to pay

"Peter said, “We’ve left our homes to follow you.” “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.”" (Luke 18:28-30)

Peter and the other disciples had paid a high price for following Christ. They even paid the ultimate price after Christ's ascension! Here Christ reminded Peter (and us) that following Him has its benefits as well as its sacrifices. Are you worried about what you have to give up in order to say yes to Christ? All of us has to pay this price at a point in our Christian walk, but take courage in the promise of the Master that their is always a short term and long term reward for every sacrifice you make. Trust the Master to deliver on His word. He's NEVER failed to do that!

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Awesome video clip (Check it out)

You can copy and paste to your web browser if the link isn't clickable.
Stay blessed

Friday, 16 November 2007

What is your own barrier?

"........"Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?".................You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.' "Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy." Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth." (Mark 10:17-23)

He wanted to be sure. He needed assurance. He did not want to leave anything to chance. He wanted to know the barriers that may possibly keep him out of the Kingdom of God. He came wondering what he could do, but left seeing what he was unwilling to do, the barrier he is not yet ready to remove. his barrier was his love for money and material possession directly contravening the 1st commandment.

What is that barrier that is keeping you from completely turning your life over to Christ? Think about it this weekend.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

All things are possible if you believe

"“What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”" (Mark 9:23 NLT)
"Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." (Mark 9:23 KJV)

Christ's statement here does not mean that can automatically obtain anything we want if we just think positively. but this is a statement that once again buttresses the power, ability and willingness of God to overcome the obstacles in our lives when we put our trust and faith in Him. By faith, we can have EVERYTHING we need to serve God!

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Where there is no vision, the people perish

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he (Proverbs 29:18)

Lack of vision often results in loss of life. We see this illustrated in many ways in God’s creation. Some may prefer to call it instinct, but God has placed within the many species of His creation an instinct or vision to preserve their lives. We see it in the birds, as they begin their migration into warmer climates. Some God given instincts warn them to fly south, and if they do not do so, they could perish.

In the realm of the spiritual, we need a vision of what it means to be lost and without Christ in the world. We need to see lost sinners as those for whom Christ died. And we also need to see the power of God onto salvation to everyone that believes – that is, the power of God to save everyone who would believe in Christ’s sacrificial death on the Cross, and we need to let that vision motivate us to share the Good news of salvation that they might believe and be saved. God has made us His witnesses, and we have an awesome responsibility to tell people about the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Lord, give us vision, lest we perish.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Our GOD is a good God!

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2: 7-9).

God created the universe as a play-pen for His people. What an amazing statement to make. Yet I believe with all my heart that the Bible leads us to this understanding. Some people think the Christian life is not fulfilling. Most people are so “me” focused that they think all of the Christian life should be all about them. But what about God? What about God’s story? What does God get out of saving us? How would we live life differently if we viewed suffering through God’s eyes?

God has been gracious and good to man from the beginning of time. This goodness is portrayed in God’s love letter – the Bible. The Bible is God’s love letter to you. When God was writing the Bible, He was thinking about you! The purpose of the Bible is revelation. We must understand that God’s perspective of our world is that our world is fallen. Although God is the glorious One. He planned to share His glorious world with man.

Thinking about the creation that God has made forces us to think of the powerful Creator behind it all. Knowing that God created the earth for His glory and man’s enjoyment is quite a perspective to see. This should encourage us to become better stewards of the awesome privileges that God has granted us. We can view our life situations differently because we know that God is in control. In other words, when we cannot see God’s Hand, trust His Heart.

The creation proves that His actions are glorious, gracious and good. God’s command to Adam and Eve – to have dominion – revealed that His actions were glorious, gracious, and good (Genesis 1:26).

The world we live in is fallen because of the sin of Adam and Eve. However, there are times when we ignore God’s warning and do not trust His heart just as our great ancestors. The fall should cause us everywhere to turn to Him and repent. We should long for the restoration of the creation intended for us to enjoy. This should bring a sense of satisfaction to us. When you have an opportunity to exalt Him, do so with all your heart.

In everyday life don’t expect anything from the world. Anticipate the day when Christ comes to set up His Kingdom. Think about the creation, think about the creator, and think about the promises of God. Become a better steward over what God has given to you. View your life situation differently because you know that God is in control even when He is silent.

Questions to ponder: How are you preparing for the life to come? Has Satan lied to you? Has he tricked you making you think that God is not good? Or has he tricked you to think that God is good but not good enough?

Monday, 5 November 2007

I am persuaded

"For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."2 Tim 1:12(KJV)

We are still in the same thread of discussion from my previous posting. Paul said that He knew the Lord and he was persuaded that God is able. He said that he was sure and confident of the fact that God is able to keep His own. What made Him to have this kind of confidence to the extent that it became a driving force in his life? He knew whom he had believed.
Sometimes when you see some people and the casual and presumptuous way they live their lives, you begin to ask yourself, what are they living for? While some leaders do not know what they are living for anymore, others are living for the wrong purpose. What drives your life? What is your persuasion in this life?
We have seen and read about people who started well, vibrant, trusting and serving the Lord but after some time to begin to loose their grip from the truth they once held so dear. What will make somebody who was persuaded once about this faith to draw back?

1. "Another gospel". During the time of Paul, he mentioned of those that were preaching another gospel different from what he was teaching the churches. He warned the churches never to listen to those folks who their concentration was their belly and this world. He warned them not to listen to those that will tell them that it does not matter to live casually. The Lord Jesus Christ in the book of Revelation said He would judge some teachers who encourage brethren to eat foods sacrificed to idols.

Our 'prosperity preaching' today is not helping matters at all in our commitment to God. It centers on the material and focuses us to this world and all it has to offer instead of on God. It encourages us to use God to solve our problems. The preaching is no more the man God uses, it is now the God man uses. God is presented as a tool to use and not God to obey and worship. If the 'tool' (God in this case) does not work, you get angry and probably change it.

'Another gospel" focuses us on results and blessings instead of on the Lord. Success is defined by the material and not by how much it brings pleasure to the Lord and receiving His commendation. "Another gospel" re-orients our understanding and erodes the idea of servanthood from us. We are taught to live as kings and not as he who serves. A minister sees himself as a lord and ministry becomes an arena where we accumulate wealth, seek fame and rule. This has brought discouragement to some who were once living faithfully and committed to the Lord. It has put pressure on believers and caused many to compromise in the area of integrity and holiness. Discipleship and servanthood are made to sound archaic. We must remember that the Bible says, "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." 1Cor.15:19 (KJV).

2. Love for the pleasures of this life. This has some relationship with the first point we raised but it is independent in the sense that it can start in a man's heart for a lot reasons. When we love the pleasures of this life, it will not be possible to willingly obey and sacrifice in the name of the Lord. We make a god around pleasures. We cannot serve both God and pleasure. We cannot be committed to enjoying pleasures and at the same time be committed to doing the will of God. The foolish rich man Jesus told us about in Luke 12 said, " soul...take thine ease, eat, drink and be merry". In this kind of state, it will be very difficult to sincerely say, "I am persuaded".

3. Familiarity and contempt. This is a situation where we live in all kinds of dangerous assumptions. Because we have been in the Lord for many years, we become too familiar with Him to the extent that we no longer fear Him. We think we can do anything and go free with it. We assume that we have known God so much that we do not need other brethren counsel. We begin to see ourselves as the source of blessings and knowledge and the only channel through which they are released. We can treat our spouse and children without commitment, any how we want and think that nothing will happen. We just live the way we want. We assume we are not accountable to anyone in the areas of our sexual life and finance. When you listen to some people manipulate the Bible so as prove that fornication and homosexualism are not sinful without any reverence and fear, you will understand the extent of damage familiarity with God can do to a man's life.

Any preacher or teacher who has lost this strong persuasion and conviction cannot accomplish anything in kingdom business and cannot lead others to a point of conviction. That is why there is confusion today in most churches.

For you to maintain your fire and continue being 'persuaded', you must believe and live for the truth. Hold the truth of scripture dear to your heart. Reject any teaching that focuses you on this world. We do business in this world as strangers who are on transit. We will pass on one day and leave behind us all the issues of this life. No matter our estate, poor or rich, let us handle this world with care, not as people who have come to settle, but as people who are on a journey. Let us love the Lord with all our heart, spirit, soul and might and continue to fear Him.

I know whom I have believed

"For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."2 Tim 1:12(K JV)

Paul knew the Lord. At least, the level of knowledge he had was enough for him to commit his whole life to God and His cause, endure sufferings of all sorts, taught others about God and ready to die for what he believed. That is what it means to be a disciple. To know God means:

1: To have an intimate love relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. This relationship is real, personal and practical. You cannot claim to know the Lord when you are not close to Jesus. You cannot claim to know God when you do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ. He is the Way to the Father. You must receive Him as your personal Lord and Saviour. We daily come close to Him through personal Bible Study and prayer.

2: To obey God's commandments. We are to obey the Word of God we know. If we know Him, we will eschew evil. We cannot be living in apparent sins and claim that we know Him. You cannot be living in enmity with your neighbors and claim that you know Him. Some people argue and debate the Word of God trying to justify themselves. You can win your arguments with men but the truth remains that you do not know the Lord if you continue in your sins. If you know Him, you will obey Him. You obey because you know He loves you and has your best at heart. The knowledge of God must affect the way we live our lives. If you have obedience problem, you have love problem and definitely have relationship problem.

3: To trust Him completely. If you know God, You trust Him. You can entrust your life into His hands and go and sleep because you know He is able to keep and protect your life. We trust because He is faithful and trustworthy. He is able. God is love, His will is always best. His directions are always right because He is all-knowing and He can enable you to do His will because He is all-powerful. You trust Him because He can take care of the remaining rest of your life.
You experience peace and freedom when you put your trust in the Lord.
Paul said, "I know whom I have believed..." Can you say that confidently?