Thursday, 31 August 2017

THE BORDERS OF NATIONS (PART TWO)



“From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.” 
(Acts 17:26, NIV).

Luke here in today’s text mentions four points God planned for man’s spreading upon the whole earth. They are as follows: (1.) “From one man he made all the nations,..” Notice that it is by “one man” not several men that “all” the nations originated from. (2.) “that they should inhabit the whole earth;..” God’s plan was for man to be “fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28) and spread upon the whole earth. (3.) “and he marked out their appointed times in history..” Yes, history has borne out the rise and fall of many empires, nations, and peoples. (4.) “and the boundaries of their lands.” The word “boundaries” here means “borders” that separates the land of one country from another.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

THE BORDERS OF NATIONS (PART ONE)



“From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.” 
(Acts 17:26, NIV).

The term “open borders” has been a popular phrase of recent. In the political arena the open borders policy is promoted as if it were a good thing for a country. If that were the case, then why are many countries with this open borders policy, particularly European countries, suffering economically, financially, and from serious criminal activity? Our borders should be closed to foreigners who are criminals, terrorists, and who carry dangerous communicable diseases. It is particularly Western European dominant Caucasian countries that are under the most serious threat. We don’t see China, India, or Russia throwing open their borders for anyone to come in. No, of course not; they are about preserving their culture, heritage, ethnicity, and way of life. They don’t bring in just any immigrant, then accommodate them. Even Muslim dominant countries don’t do such a foolhardy thing as opening their borders to anyone, and then pander to their needs. In today’s text, it is clear since the beginning of the nations, that it was God’s plan to not only spread out and populate the whole world, but also to divide up the nations according to each ethnic group, language, culture, and borders, etc. (see Gen. 11:8; Deut. 32:8; Acts 17:26). Yet we hear some leading politicians of our day chanting this popular slogan “Diversity is our Strength,” when in reality “Diversity is our Weakness.” This multicultural concept flies in the face of reality when such diverse ethnic groups are unwilling to learn the language, adopt the culture, and integrate into the society of the foreign country they chose to adopt as their new home. Instead, we see the borders of such countries wide open to illegal immigrants to cross without consequences, and are helped across the border, when they should be stopped. 

Sunday, 27 August 2017

I LOVE YOU...

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” 
(John 15:13, NASB).

2017 has been a difficult year for my family with the passing away of my father. Concerning the love my parents had for each other, three simple words come to mind, “I Love You.” For over 54 years my father both showed and said these words to my mom. He more than proved his words true by his sacrificial actions. As I trace the history of my dad’s words to my mom, “I Love You,” a beautiful picture emerges. When I was a small child, my little eyes saw and my small ears heard those words from my father’s mouth to my mom, they were both strong and sure, for they were the life’s blood of my dad’s heart that naturally flowed out to my mother. As the years flew by, his words never faded, but stood strong, even through the storms of life. Not once did his “I Love You” falter for my mom. No other woman caught my dad’s eyes except my mom. During my late teen years, I noticed my parents were getting older, yet my dad’s love for my mom never grew weary or tired of my mom. He would say those words faithfully, “I Love You.” Even through my 20s, 30s, and beyond my dad’s words never lost their vigor, I would hear him say time and again, “I Love You.” Finally, the twilight years of my dad’s final days had come, old and full of years. My dad suffered from Alzheimer’s disease that was robbing him of his memory and life, yet my ears still heard those all too familiar words uttered to my mother, “I Love You.” Though Alzheimers was ravaging his memory, but his heart stayed the course sure, vigorous, strong and true, just like in his youth, when he first uttered them to my mother. Then the time came when my dad lay on a bed in a hospital, his voice was faint and weak, yet those words were uttered to my mom once again. In a low whisper he said, “I Love You.” Neither old age, failing health, or even Alzheimers could stop such words, precious words. Since my sister, brothers, and I are an extension of the love my dad had for my mom, his words were equally true of us as well. There is a lovely picture of my mom and dad looking at each other, a time capsule that has frozen forever the moment that testifies of my dad’s love for my mother.

My dad’s example of love for my mother is a lovely picture of Christ’s love for His bride, the Church. The Lord Jesus Christ loved the Church so much that He gave His life for her. His “I Love You” moment was beautifully demonstrated on the Cross at Calvary. As our beloved Friend He laid down His life for us, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13, NASB). As our beloved Shepherd He laid down His life for us, “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11, NASB). Then as the God of love He laid down His life for us, “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (1 John 3:16, NASB). 


Dear Lord Jesus, too often we say “I Love You” to our loved ones in a loose manner that robs these precious words of their true meaning. Lord, forgive us and restore unto us the true conviction of these words, so that we may used them wisely and say them from the heart, “I Love You.” Yes, Lord Jesus we love you above all else. For in loving You, we will be able to love others in the way they should be loved and appreciated. Amen.

Monday, 31 July 2017

THE OMNIPRESENT NATURE OF GOD



“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?” 
(1 Kings 8:27, KJV).

Solomon in his prayer here, understood the temple he made cannot contain or confine the Omnipresent nature of his God. Let’s face it, God cannot be contained by what we think of Him either, nor can the earth, or the heavens above contain Him. Yet, there are those people who think they can contain Him, the God of the universe. Imagine that! Some think they can contain God by denying His existence. Still, others think they can create God in their own image, according to their imagination. Then there are those people who think many gods exist, and that the Lord Jesus Christ is only one among many gods. The truth is, God cannot be contained, let alone controlled in how we want to perceive Him to be, or behave. We did not create God, He created us. (See Gen. 1:26-27; 2:7; Psalm 100:3). As the author of today’s text says, “behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee” (1 Kings 8:27, text). This Scripture text tells us that God cannot be contained. Also, this text reveals God’s Omnipresent nature. Man can only be present in one place at a time, whereas God can be present in every place all at once! No doubt, this is difficult for us to comprehend. The past, present, and future has no claim on Him either. For the Lord exists outside of time, and is the originator of time. The apostle John wrote, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” (Rev. 22:13, KJV). The Lord is the very beginning of our existence and the end of our existence here on earth. (see 2 Chron. 2:6; 6:18; 7:11-16; Acts 17:24; Deut. 10:14).

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

ON BEING BORED



 “Laziness casts into a deep sleep, And an idle man will suffer hunger.” 
(Proverbs 19:15, NASB).

If we are honest, we all had moments when we were bored and complained about it. The word bored is defined: “feeling weary because one is unoccupied or lacks interest in one's current activity.” Another dictionary online puts it this way: “to weary by dullness, tedious repetition, unwelcome attentions, etc.” Despite these definitions, I believe being bored is a choice. We choose to have an attitude of boredom over things we find repetitious, dull, or uninteresting. The Biblical terms “vanity,”(what appeals to one's pride) "futility,"(what is useless, hopeless) “idleness,” (what is inactive, not working) and “laziness” (being unwilling to use energy to work) are closely associated with the word bored (see Prov. 19:15; Eccles. 1:1; Eph. 4:17).  Such terms have more to do with the person bored than with other people. A friend of mine recently told me a female acquaintance of his made this statement about the term: “If you are bored, then you are boring.” This statement carries some weight of truth to it. Often, we are bored because we have nothing to do, or we are bored due to not being entertained by others, or we hear the complaint that a certain person is bored with life, but rarely do we hear of a person claiming they are bored with themselves due to their ego. If you are bored, then you’re boring; if you enjoy having fun, then you’re fun. You are what your attitude reflects to others; people who get bored need to take responsibility for their own boredom, instead of shifting the blame on others for being bored. People are not responsible for our boredom, we are. So the next time we go out with friends or an acquaintance, let’s not put our responsibility for being entertained on them. Now it’s true, there may be times we may find a person boring, but it is usually not that person’s fault. They just have a different personality and different tastes in what entertains them as opposed to what entertains us. So the issue here has more to do with compatibility then the person’s ability to entertain. 


Lord, we can be so selfish at times in expecting others to entertain us when we are bored, when we are the ones responsible for our own boredom. Lord, forgive us for our self centered selfishness and help us to find our own ways of entertaining ourselves in times of boredom. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

Friday, 30 June 2017

YOLO (You Only Live Once)


“And behold, joy and gladness, killing oxen and slaughtering sheep, eating flesh and drinking wine. “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 
(Isaiah 22:13, ESV). 

Today we may not slaughter oxen and sheep, and eat their flesh and drink wine in the exact same context as we read in today’s text. But hey, I do like barbecued lamb chops. Nevertheless, not much has changed since the days of Isaiah. We share in common the key phrase “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”  It is this hedonistic attitude we share in common with the people of Isaiah’s day. A popular phrase among young people today is “YOLO,” which simply means, “You Only Live Once.” This carries the exact same meaning we read in today’s text, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”   We read in the Gospel of Luke 12:19 these words from the rich hedonist: “And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’  (ESV). The attitude implies there is only this present life to enjoy things, so make the best of it while you are here, for you only live once. (see Isa. 56:12; 1 Cor. 15:32). No thought is given about eternity, or what happens after we die? Their minds are far from thinking about God, sin, and judgment to come. Their minds are preoccupied with the here and now, with the passing pleasures of this world. There philosophy for this life is to not think about God, sin, judgment to come, and eternity. Their attitude is, “You only live Once,” live it up! Party it up! Have fun! They say, be the life of the party, but fail to realize the party robs you of your life! How you say? It robs you of the life you could have in Christ. It robs you of the true peace, joy, love, service, and fellowship you could have in Christ. It is true that we only live once in this present life here on earth, that is why it is vitally important to consider the choices you make in this life. Because there is much more to us than just this world we are passing through. We have an eternal soul that will one day leave this earthly existence. Where will you spend eternity my friend? Will it be with God in heaven above, or will it be in hell beneath, forever separated from the Lord, loved ones, and friends who know the Lord? Yes, “You Only Live Once” so be wise and choose life in Christ as opposed to this short existence here in this present world spent living for ourselves. Just as we only live once here on this world, we only die once as well. There are no second chances to come back to correct past wrongs done against God, others, and yourself. “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Heb. 9:27, ESV). By faith, repent of your sins and receive Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour today, and experience true lasting peace and forgiveness that can only be found in the Lord Jesus Christ. You only live once, so make it count for Christ!


Heavenly Father, we only live once here in this passing present world, help us to make wise choices, because our eternity may depend on it. Also, the choice a sinner makes for or against Christ in this life affects him or her for all eternity. For their Eternity is hanging in the balance. Lord, soften the hard hearts of your people, and grant unto us broken hearts over our sin and the Christless eternity our neighbor is headed towards. Give us hearts of compassion and love to win our neighbours to You. In Jesus name. Amen.

Monday, 19 June 2017

IS MARRIAGE WORTH FIGHTING FOR?



“When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD.” 
(Hosea 1:2, ESV).  

What a strange command the Lord gave to Hosea. He instructed him to go “take to yourself a wife of whoredom” and have her bare your children. Imagine that, marrying a woman known for her bad reputation of sleeping around. Yet, this is precisely what God was telling Hosea to do. I’m sure he must have balked at the idea on first hearing it, but he obeyed the Lord. Now does this mean God approves of such adulterous and promiscuous behavior in women? Of course not. There are ample Scriptures that prohibit such sinful behavior (see Ex. 20:14; Lev. 18:20; 20:10; Matt. 19:18; 1 Cor. 6:18). The purpose in why God instructed Hosea to take as a wife, a woman of whoredom was to reflect the nation of Israel’s state of whoredom. The Lord wanted to show through Hosea’s relationship with Gomer Israel’s spiritual condition before God. Just like Gomer was an adulterous wife, so was the nation of Israel to God. Gomer was the physical picture of Israel’s spiritual whoredom before the Lord. Yet, God loved Israel despite her unfaithfulness to Him. Is this not astounding? Many people are giving up on marriage today. In our culture, people view marriage in a mostly negative context. With so many failed marriages, people look at it as not worth pursuing. They look at such a commitment as being too hard to maintain. Men view it often as a trap where they lose their freedoms, whereas women feel they lose their identity in marriage. Men have much more to lose in marriage than women do due to the fact the courts often award women with the custody of the children and alimony. The truth is marriage is not the problem, people are! Marriage can work if a man and woman are truly committed to each other, and are not in the relationship for selfish purposes, but are willing to genuinely love each other enough to work through their issues. Yet with the divorce rate we have today, many people are choosing to live common-law rather than tying the knot in marriage. Since marital commitment is no longer viewed as “until death do us part,” but is easily broken over mere inconveniences, pettiness, and greed, it is no wonder many young people don’t take marriage so seriously any more. Perhaps the phrase, “until death do us part,” could be better phrased in today’s culture as, “until inconvenienced, then let us part.” I like what a friend had recently wrote about divorce on his blog. He wrote:

“If my wife were to cheat on me, yes, it would very much hurt me, and my emotions tell me that I should divorce her for being unfaithful to me. But if marriage is a portrait of Christ and His church, should Jesus be allowed to divorce us when we are unfaithful to Him? If so, then we ought to teach and believe in the loss of salvation because that is precisely what divorce reflects. Where is the Gospel in any of that?”[1]
This puts a whole new perspective on such marital vows as seen in this phrase, “until death do us part.” In Hosea’s day Israel was unfaithful to God, today the Church is unfaithful to the Lord. Yet in all this the Lord Jesus remains faithful to His bride, the Church. So is marriage worth fighting for? Absolutely! The challenging question for us here is, are we faithful to our heavenly Groom, the Lord Jesus Christ? Christian singer, Warren Barfield's words from his song, "Love Is Not a Fight" are fitting here:


Love is a shelter in a raging storm
Love is peace in the middle of a war
And if we try to leave
May God send angels to guard the door
No, love is not a fight
But it's something worth fighting for

Beloved Lord Jesus, we are often so fickle in our faithfulness to you. One minute we are devoted to You alone like a faithful bride, then the next minute we cheat on You in the kisses of other things that rob You of our affection and devotion. Lord forgive us of our unfaithfulness to You and grant unto us a steadfast heart that is not divided by other loves. In Christ name we pray, Amen.