“Come, Follow Me,” (Matthew 4:19)

To be a follower of the Lord Jesus is more than merely agreeing with what He taught. It is to become an adherent who imitates Him; to have Him as the ultimate role model (1 Peter 2:21). This type of follower is known as a disciple. Being Jesus’ disciple means walking in His footsteps all the way even through rough terrain. Whether the terrain is dark and dreary or characterized with loss and tears, the disciple must never slacken the pace otherwise the enemy will read the cue and move in to steal, kill and destroy. In every situation, our pace must be consistent and unwavering lest we lose sight of the Lord going before us and find ourselves plunged into destructive darkness. To follow Jesus is to be called to a different ethical standard. As disciples, we are called to become like the Lord in purpose because we have the same Holy Spirit that dwells in Him. We read from Scripture that after Jesus had chosen His disciples, He preached what is known as the Sermon on the Mount; a redefinition of morality with specific ethical behavior; a roadmap for disengaging from the tantalizing worldly affiliations that so easily encumber us. This sermon is a call to being transformed by the renewing of the mind through power of the Holy Spirit. To be a disciple is to have a radical paradigm shift. It is to embrace Jesus and His teachings as guidelines for everyday conduct. As disciples, we abandon ourselves to Jesus as both Lord and Savior. For the disciple, “There is no compartmentalization of the faith, no realm, no sphere, no business, no politic in which the lordship of Christ will be excluded. We either make him Lord of all we are and have, or we deny him as Lord of any.”1 He must be preeminent in all facets of our life. He will not take a divided heart and will not compete with anyone or anything. The Bible talks about a certain would-be disciple who pledged fervent love for the Lord and promised to follow Him everywhere. But Jesus’ response was surprisingly dissuasive: “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Matt. 8:20). Jesus answered people based on their unarticulated motives. He addressed the person not the words that veiled their intention. In this case, Jesus discerned in His spirit that the individual’s motive for wanting to be his disciple was wrong. Jesus did not come to set up an earthly kingdom to impress people with its glory and grandeur. He came to be the Savior and Lord rejected by His own. He came to be taunted and scorned by the same people He came to die for. Jesus came not to glorify Himself, but the Father who sent Him. He was oppressed and afflicted, but never opened His mouth in resistance nor did He fight back. He is the King who allowed Himself to be literally bound hand and foot by his own subjects and still loved them even after they pronounced a death sentence on Him and handed Him over to be crucified. Jesus knew the would-be follower was not looking for that kind of life. Being a disciple is being the light of the world (Matt 5:14), diffusing the glory of the Master; walking where He bids us go even when it is painful, obscure and insignificant in the sight of the world. After all, ultimately, the only opinion that really matters is the opinion of our Creator. To be a disciple is to be the salt that preserves this world. As disciples, we enter into a new, spiritual realm, and attain a new identity. We re-organize our schedules so that Jesus becomes our first priority. We become members of a new family; the eternal family of God composed of blood-bought individuals from every nation, kindred, tongue and people; an unimaginably diverse community with an array of spiritual gifts for edifying each other. As Jesus’ disciples, we die to self so that we may be alive to God. We lose ourselves in Him so that we can find our full selves there. The Golden Calf of self-gratification is detrimental to our relationship with the Lord. As His disciples, we must give Him our dreams, our reputation, our careers, our finances, our purpose, our everything, so that He can make a glorious tapestry out of them. But this act of self-renunciation takes nothing away from us because, in the end, what we really have is what we have surrendered to the Lord. As His disciples, we get to know Jesus’s voice not through doctrinal teachings, but through His eternal presence in our lives. He never gives up on any one. Jesus “washes our feet even when we would betray him.”2 He gently restores and reaffirms our place in the family of God even when our quest for self-preservation leads us to deny Him.

But being a disciple is not a walk in the park. The road is difficult and the gate narrow, and only a few find it although there is room for everyone. The trials and tribulations that beset the disciple are the difficult road and the narrow gate. Our sinful nature resists and rebels against the discipline of turning the other cheek or loving others the way we love ourselves or blessing and praying for those who curse and revile us, which are all characteristics of the kingdom to which Jesus is calling His disciples. But this is how Jesus overcame the kingdom of darkness forever: using the weapon of love. Trials can be excruciatingly painful and draining, physically and emotionally. But we take comfort in the promise that this light affliction we might suffer momentarily as disciples is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (2 Corinthians 4:17). Whatever we have gone through in this life, whatever we will still be called to endure, the Bible insists that it pales into insignificance against the splendor awaiting us. Whatever has been taken from us, God will make it right beyond our wildest dreams and imagination. To be a disciple of Jesus is not to be disadvantaged. It is to be more than a conqueror both in this life and in the life to come….through Him.

“Follow Me,” the call has not changed.

Sources

  1. Camp, L.C..(2003). Mere Discipleship, pp. 19, 23-25.
  2. Ibid.

Seeing Through the Façade

Question: Has anyone provided a proof for God’s inexistence?

Answer: Not even close.

Question: Has quantum cosmology explained the emergence of the universe or why it is here?

Answer: Not even close.

Question: Have the sciences explained why our universe seems to be fine-tuned to allow for the existence of life?

Answer: Not even close.

Question: Are physicists and biologists willing to believe in anything so long as it is not religious thought?

Answer: Close enough.

Question: Has rationalism in moral thought provided us with an understanding of what is good, what is right, and what is moral?

Answer: Not close enough.

Question: Has secularism in the terrible twentieth century been a force for good?

Answer: Not even close to being close.

Question: Is there a narrow and oppressive orthodoxy of thought and opinion within the sciences?

Answer: Close enough.

Question: Does anything in the sciences or in their philosophy justify the claim that religious belief is irrational?

Answer: Not even ballpark.

Question: Is scientific atheism a frivolous exercise in intellectual contempt?

Answer: Dead on.1

“The claim that the existence of God should be treated as a scientific question stands on a destructive dilemma: If by science one means the great theories of mathematical physics, then the demand is unreasonable. We cannot treat any claim in this way. There is no other intellectual activity in which theory and evidence have reached this stage of development.”2 The author does not vilify or dismiss the landmark achievements of science or their benefits to mankind. What he is saying is that science is not the default intellectual framework for interpreting and understanding life and the universe. There are some things scientists cannot explain.

 

Sources

1.Berlinski, D. (2008). Excerpt. The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions. Crown Forum, New York. (Flaps of Book).

2.Ibid. pp. 60

January 2 – Truth And Consequences

Thank God For Your Enemies Prayer!

Pure Glory

by Apostle Gabriel Cross

Thank God for your Enemies Prayer! (POWERFUL DELIVERANCE PRAYER)

I want you to open your mouth and thank God for your enemies! Your enemies serve a purpose, in your God-ordained destiny.

Thank you Lord that my enemies help confirm to me that I am anointed, approved, and chosen by God. Thank you Lord that what my enemies planned as evil against me, you made as good for me, to deliver many others. (Genesis 50:20) Thank you Lord that the same people (enemies) putting me down, will become the same people (friends), lifting me up. Because You cause me to RULE IN THE MIDST OF MY ENEMIES, whether at work, ministry, family, or etc. (Psalms 110:1, 2,) Thank you Lord that I don’t have to fight my enemies because You smite and defeat them.

You BLESS ME SO, when my enemies come at me one way, they…

View original post 817 more words

The Light Shineth in Darkness…. (John 1:5)

The presence of light always nullifies the existence of darkness. Darkness does not flee from light. It dissipates when it encounters light. The more intense the darkness, the brighter the light shines.

After The Fall of man, darkness descended on a once pristine planet in the form of sin, moral chaos, and death. All facets of creation were marred by this cataclysmic event. Greed, pride, jealousy and selfishness converged in the human heart and widened the dark chasm between Creator and creation. The quest for knowledge became self-seeking and twisted. J.H. Newman aptly describes the scenario that ensued after The Fall, “…the greatness and littleness  of man…his short duration, the curtain  hung  over  his  futurity;  the  disappointments  of  life,  the  defeat  of  good,  the  success  of  evil, physical pain,  mental  anguish, the  prevalence  and  intensity  of sin, the  pervading  idolatries, the  dreary  hopeless  irreligion; that  condition  of  the whole race, so fearfully  yet so exactly described in the Apostle’s words, ‘having no  hope  and  without  God  in  the  world,’  all this  is  a  vision  to  dizzy  and  appal;  and  inflicts  upon the  mind the  sense  of a profound  mystery, which is  absolutely  beyond human solution….this living society of men…is out of joint with the purposes of its Creator.”1

The ubiquitous effect of The Fall permeated everything God had created, and grotesquely disfigured and distorted it. Sin did not only corrupt Adam. It spread to all his descendants, gaining momentum and intensity with each succeeding generation. The dark night of sin seemed unrestrained under the direction of Satan and his emissaries. The sacredness of human life began to wane starting with Cain who committed homicide against his own little brother with impudence. The trend to trivialize human lie has continued, alarmingly. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) claims that in 2012 alone 437,000 people lost their lives as a consequence of intentional homicide!1 Other vices were unleashed on our planet as soon as Adam relinquished his authority and handed it over to Satan. People began to rebel against the authority of God and chose to be their own gods. Since then mankind has continued to attempt to determine his own future; trying to find significance and to make a name for himself apart from God. The tower of Babel was the first and prime example of man’s attempt to create a name for himself without God. Many other towers of Babel have been erected in one way or another since then claiming millions of lives in their wake. Unified rebellion against anything to do with God has exploded in most academic institutions under the guise of intellectual enlightenment. Stephen Weinberg, a Nobel laureate, said in 2007 in his address at a conference titled “Beyond Belief: Science, Religion, Reason, and Survival” during which they attacked religion that “Religion is an insult to human dignity.  With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”2 It is true that some people and organizations have, historically, committed crimes against humanity in the name of religion. But true Christians know that using violence to proselytize is at variance with the teachings of the Founder of their faith. Violence is never a core principle of Christianity. Jesus scolded Peter for cutting off a man’s ear although he was attempting to defend Him on the eve of His arrest.

But Weinberg should know that evil has never been limited to religious people and institutions alone. Obviously, Weinberg has never heard of people like Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Idi Amin, Pol Pot (among many others) who were architects of incredibly appalling carnages and genocides, but had nothing to do with religion. These are the consequences of sin manifesting themselves in myriad ways. The quest for autonomy and power is fast becoming the foundation for the self-defeating denial of the Creator God, and the enthronement of the self. Instead of seeking to know God, mankind has embraced a strange proclivity toward self-worship and self-exultation. This can be true for believers and non-believers alike. No one is insulated from the darkness of sinful desires and actions. That is why God, in His infinite wisdom, gave us a once -and-for-all Cosmic Remedy for this pervasive spiritual malady in the Person of Jesus Christ, the Light that shineth forever.

Jesus, the Light of the world, is the divine panacea for this psychic and sarcous malaise of mankind-all of mankind. In Him we do not only see God. We see mankind as he was intended to be. Jesus has fittingly become our future history. He came to offer discontinuity to man’s self-destructive gravitation toward darkness and sin. Jesus is the Light that shines in the darkness of our sin-sick souls so that we can be sensitized to seek reconciliation with God and have access to a new birth with new desires, new life, new aspirations, and newness of spirit. He came to counter the aggressive dark force that has set itself against the knowledge of God and all He stands for. Jesus towers over all history as the prism revealing God’s attributes, His love for all mankind, and His power over sin. He is the Restorer of all that has been damaged by the dark night of sin.  The life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus are not only transformative to the believer. They give the believer victory over the kingdom of Satan now. They are also God’s promise of complete eschatological annihilation and eradication of all that is related to darkness and sin. Jesus was so acutely aware of the implications of His sacrifice and resurrection and ascension that, at the end of His ministry, He triumphantly declared, now “the prince of this world is judged,” (John 16:11). Satan was defanged by Jesus’ finished work. Sin can no longer have dominion on believers who abide in Christ. Light shineth continuously from Jesus, offering pardon and reconciliation with our heavenly Father (Colossians 1:20). But this Light is a gift that can only be effective if it is accepted. It is never forced on anyone.

 

References

1.United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) (2016). Some 437,000 people murdered worldwide in 2012, according to new UNODC study. Accessed from http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/press/releases/2014/April/some-437000-people-murdered-worldwide-in-2012-according-to-new-unodc-study.html

2.Berlinski, D. (2008). The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions. Crown Forum, New York. pp.21

 

 

Prince of Peace – Hillsong

Jesus is the original Peacemaker. On the cross he took all of our affliction upon Himself and made peace with God for all mankind. It is from this cataclysmic act of glorious surrender and reconciliation that we find peace now and forever in and through Him. And it is in knowing the ‪‎Prince Of Peace personally as He takes up residence in our hearts that we begin the process of being made into His likeness as PEACEMAKERS in this world.

– Joel Houston

Prince of Peace – Lyrics

[Verse 1]
My heart a storm
Clouds raging deep within
The Prince of Peace came bursting through the wind
The violent sky held its breath
And in Your light I found rest

[Chorus]
Tearing through the night
Riding on the storm
Staring down the fight
My eyes found Yours
Shining like the sun
Striding through my fear
The Prince of Peace…

View original post 160 more words

Time: An Enigma

Unharnessable, uncontrollable, irreversible, unalterable, and non-negotiable is the enigma known as time. Time is a mystery that is inextricably bound up with mankind. All our experiences are determined and marked by time: past, present and future time. We know that the past exists because of fleeting events; events that are no more. Without passing events, the past does not exist. The present is marked by current events. If there were no current events, there would be no present.1 The future is a projection or anticipation of what has yet to be. Our past experiences become our memories. Although we live in the present we, at the same time, look back in the past and hope for the future. All this is a futile attempt to describe time.

Everybody operates under the auspices of time. We are all inseparably wrapped up in and with time. We perceive every activity and make every decision from the vantage point of time. Furthermore, our consciousness of time is an ever-present reminder of our own mortality. We race against time, as it were, because sooner or later, time “runs out” on us. There are no rehearsals; no encores.

To each one of us has been given a sliver of time to enter and exit this earth in a process called life, which the Apostle James describes as “a vapor” that appears for a while and then disappears. Our life, this vapor, is measured by time. It is as a flower that blossoms with the morning dew and withers with the scorching sun in the afternoon. The vapor, our life, is action-packed from birth to death. It is characterized by expectations, celebrations, sorrows, ambitions, goals, aspirations, anticipations, mourning and rejoicing. Sometimes excruciating suffering besets us. Other times joyful achievements come our way. Sometimes our hearts break because of heart-rending loss. Other times our hearts sing ecstatically because of unexpected blessings. We laugh in good times and cry and sigh in bad ones. Sometimes alone. Other times with loved ones. Still time goes on.  It is never distracted or hindered or delayed by anybody or anything. Its pace cannot be altered or modified or slowed down. Time just goes on, indifferently, unfeelingly.

Our life is a transient experience foisted on us when we are injected somewhere in the current of time as it flows on. We gain myriad experiences for an uncertain period of time. The precariousness and brevity of our existence can be an unnerving experience because it underscores the fact that the probability of our bodily death is 100%. Nevertheless, this harsh truth is also mitigated by the reality of the corporeal resurrection of Jesus Christ, which gives eternal life with God 100% probability as truth.2 As such, faith in Jesus becomes the only worthwhile choice we can make if we must enter into eternal life, which St. Augustine calls the perpetual present: “If the present were perpetually present, there would be no longer any time, but only eternity.”3  Heman Humphrey positively viewed our short life on earth as “…a threshold of eternity-the infancy of immortality; that here our characters are to be formed for the innumerable ages of future being-that our everlasting happiness or misery is suspended upon our improvement of this inch or two of time.”3 This life is a probationary period and an opportunity to prepare for eternal blessings for believers who place their faith in the Lord Jesus to the end. This timeless truth gives the breath in our nostrils an impressive new meaning with an unimaginable, intrinsic value. We are standing on the brink of eternity! This fleeting existence is enough for us to prepare for our grand entry into a greater and larger existence. The relative ratio of life on earth to eternity is immeasurable. It is incalculable. “It is not one grain of sand to the sum total of the dusty particles that make up this huge and solid earth. It is less.” The eternity that awaits the believer “has no end, for it has no progress. It is duration not in motion, but at rest…The actions of this little limited life are empowered to decide for eternity…We are acting for eternity.”4 This is more than compensation for the shortness of this rigorous life. It is amazing grace with a sweet sound to it.

Sources

1.Hausheer, H. (Sept., 1937). he Philosophical Review, Vol. 46, No. 5 (Sep., 1937), pp. 503-512. Published by: Duke University Press on behalf of Philosophical Review. Accessed December 4, 2016 from https://grattoncourses.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/augustine-on-time.pdf

2. Gibbs, C. (2012). Logos 1 of Writing God’s Book of Life. Published by R. Crafton Gibbs via Google E-Books. Pp. 18.

3.Hausheer, H. (Sept., 1937). he Philosophical Review, Vol. 46, No. 5 (Sep., 1937), pp. 503-512. Published by: Duke University Press on behalf of Philosophical Review. Accessed December 4, 2016 from https://grattoncourses.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/augustine-on-time.pdf

4.Humphrey, H. (1833). Sermon No. 91: Time Measured by Eternity. The American National Preacher: 1834. Original Sermons from The Living Ministers of the United States (Dickinson, A. ed.). Vol. 7 & 8. S.W. Benedict & Co. 150 Nassau Street. New York. Pp. 290- 301

  1. Ibid.