Be United (In Love) / Be Imitators of Christ

coronavirus-china-hospital-united-build

These guys finishing the hospital in a matter of days reminds me of the Tower of Babel and what man can do together when united. Lots of people have figured it out. You’ll often hear there’s no “I” in team. Speaking of which you may have heard of United Airlines, Manchester United, United Health Care…to name a few.

When there is some conflict in my life, I am propelled to find a resolution because there are two things that are very dear to me, probably my most important “ambitions”, if I can call them that.

  1. To imitate Christ
  2. To hear from God

I like to speak often on the subject of love because of the examples God illustrated throughout the Bible. And I want to imitate Godly love as much as I can while on earth. The Bible says the greatest of these is love, and that God is love (1 John 4:8). God is holy (Revelation 4:8, 1 Samuel 2:2). I cannot imitate Christ in His holiness and ignore His mercy, ignore His long suffering etc. Then I would have no holiness at all (James 2:10). In my understanding, they are all involved with one another; God’s holiness, love, mercy, long suffering, justice (Galatians 5:22-23)… You try to keep from sin and forget to show others mercy and love without prejudice, can make you come across as self-righteous (Luke 18:11). We all know how God spoke to self-righteous people, particularly in the New Testament. See John 8:44. Yikes.

I am convinced that harboring ill against people in our lives is one of the quickest way to our own down fall. God told us specifically if we have something against our brother to go solve that issue first then come back to the altar (Matthew 5:23-24). That would seem that such emotions can hinder our interaction with God. And if we fail to follow that command then how can we do what He is about to say next? Or at least do it with a peace of mind without the anxiety/concerns of the broken relationship. You might say easy to say. Of course it is easy to say but hard to do. Easy to say that I want to build a company, but building one is very hard to do. Anything worthwhile hardly ever comes easy or without cost (2 Samuel 24:24). Except for the free gift of salvation to us. Except for Jesus, it costed Him a lot. So still, costly.

I sort of made it my business to pursue peace, even when the other person appears wrong or is wrong. It isn’t my job to punish anyone (Romans 12:17-19). I can let them know they have hurt me and pray for God’s strength to move on. After all, as long as l am here in this body, I will from time to time fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). And I will in turn need the other person to show me mercy. Don’t wait for an apology. I know, it is rough. When someone hurts us, we want them to come make the first move. But they may never. Our part is to protect our relationship with God at all costs; protect what He has blessed us with from being stolen from the enemy. Strife makes us more susceptible to sin. Sin can lead to a foothold, and a foothold can lead to a stronghold (Solomon 2:15). Let other people be responsible for their part. Don’t let your part be dependent on someone else first fulfilling their part. I am not talking about “forgiving and forgetting” in a situation like this. I am just talking about forgiving. Forgetting part has to do with trust. And trust once broken can only be rebuilt when both parties do their part. At least so it appears to me, as we do not have the ability to read hearts and unless we see a different pattern of actions  or attitude from the one who wronged us, trust is very hard to regain. But we can forgive and we ought to in fact. Joseph forgave his brothers (Genesis 50:20). Jesus forgave us.

Once we have done our part, God gives us the peace to move on even if the other person still hasn’t made amends (Matthew 10:14). But we will never get that peace unless we complete our part.

The more each of us strive for protecting our relationship with God by doing our part to live peaceably and so keeping with our quest to imitate Him, the more unity we can attain. The more unity we attain, the more we can do together for each other, and for others “outside our circle” who also need help. We can build/sustain our “hospital”, the Church, faster when we are united in thought and purpose; when we are united in love. And love isn’t just saying ‘I love you’, or giving gifts when times are good. Love involves sacrifice. And a relentless pursuit to bring about healing, even when the coughs of sickness seek to devour, kill and destroy. The sickness may have been brought about by bad diets, and an appetite for what may not be good. But get the hospital up and running anyways. Pursue peace, healing, forgiveness and in doing so, fulfill the ultimate purpose in being imitators of Christ.

Be imitators of God, therefore, as beloved children, and walk in love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant sacrificial offering to God” – Ephesians 5:1-2

“For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” – Colossians 2:1-3

 

In Need of a Saviour

jesus_saviour_by_0357samsunshine-d3cwtghAmazing, how man so love the darkness (John 1), that he will dishonestly report and pull verses from the Bible out of context to justify his sin (Romans 1), even going as far as to feed into the propaganda that the Bible condones what it is clearly against (Isaiah 5:20).

I enjoy watching movies, even action super hero movies. I find it amazing that out of all the religious texts out there, the Bible is the one on the attack. From watching Avengers (the demon robot said “upon this rock I will build my church”, the ‘good’ guy claiming to be I AM), X-Men (the killer x-man said “I go by many names” including Elohim as one”), even the very perverted Futurama etc, one would find doses of blasphemous statements. This all points to the testimony of John 1 and Romans 1, and other scriptures like them.

It is irrelevant to me if someone claims that Christianity is the “white man’s religion”. Reading the Bible for myself, God is clear about what He delights in, and ill treatment of each other is not one of them.

I know what I came out of, and I know what I go through daily; and many other brothers and sisters like me. The promises God made through His Word, He has kept. Studying Science through a Biblical worldview adds to my faith. Learning about the Dead Sea Scrolls, current events, fulfilled prophecies all work seamlessly with the claims of the Bible.

I see a world broken by sin, where people will shoot you down for 200 bucks; in a demented state of mind, a man will just kick an 80 year old woman in the face; women in india are gang raped and let’s not talk about ISIS and other cults like it. The world is in desperate need of a Saviour. And we know it, we have all these super hero dramas.

Jesus said He is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). Not a way, not a truth.. Other religious systems say Jesus was a nice guy but not God; Jesus claimed to be God (John 8:58), would a “nice guy” do that? Certainly not. Either Jesus was a liar and a lunatic, OR He is who He claims to be. If Jesus is wrong then all other major religious groups are also wrong, because for one, they testified a liar to be good, and if Jesus is right, then all other major religious groups are still wrong.

Christians are by no means perfect. We ALL go through our individual sin struggles. Yet for the Christian there is hope, by Christ’s imputed righteousness, we know that one day all these things will pass away. For the unbeliever there is no hope unless he has turned his life to Christ. The point is not to live heaven on earth, for the world is already corrupted; if God stops this and stops that and stops all consequence of sin, then He would disown Himself (which the Bible says He cannot do 2 Timothy 2:13). We wouldn’t want a judge to allow a murderer to get away with killing our beloved now would we? Would that be a good judge? We must see the consequence of our actions so that we can truly realize that God’s way is the best way. Thus, the point is to finish the race, having realized the destructive nature of sin and possessing the Saviour Jesus Christ personally for the redemption thereof.

Risen Lord!

Jesus is Risen

What a wonderful Easter Sunday! Today at service three young folks publicly proclaimed Jesus as their Lord. The three were baptised and shared their testimonies with the congregation. Such wonderful testimonies. Gabriel, one of the three, said that his testimony was not boring. That his testimony begun 2000 years ago on the cross of Jesus. Amen brother! I’m sure the Lord is using these testimonies to stir the hearts of others, to draw others to Him. Our Lord desires not that any live without Him or that anyone to perish, but that everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9) I was surely moved by the service today. I remember my own baptism…memories of joy. God is not done with us yet. More work to be done, more people to love. Let us draw our strength from the one who rose from the grave!

Jesus the Christ is risen. He is risen indeed!

Matthew 28:6 “..I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here, for He has been raised, just as He said.” Romans 1:4 “and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by His resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Mark 16:6

 

Thankful Child of God

Not sure who were God’s chosen instruments to birth this child, but how encouraging is her witnessing!

And said, “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”  Mat 18:3

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Mat 19:14


Thankful Child of God

Love – 1 Corinthians 13

1 Corinthians 13

love

1 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.