Tuesday, 31 October 2017

THE LANGUAGE OF SMILES



“A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones.” 
(Proverbs 17:22, NASB).

There is nothing more pleasant when greeted with a warm smile when first meeting someone. There are eight smiles that I have come to appreciate from people over the years. FIRST, there is the smile of warmth and interest; SECOND, the mischievous smile of playfulness; THIRD, the smile of determination; FOURTH, the flirtatious smile; FIFTH, the smile of compassion; SIXTH, the smile of love and endearment; SEVENTH, the smile of joyfulness; EIGHTH, the smile of innocence. All such smiles like the many facets of a diamond are beautiful to behold. Not only that, they are penetrating. They leave their mark on us, they impact us in ways that move our emotions in a positive manner. Who doesn’t like a beautiful smile? Smiles are the currency people enjoy in relationships, whether close or distant. Today’s text says, “A joyful heart is good medicine…” A genuine smile, or a person who smiles a lot bares evidence to a “joyful heart.” It is hard to smile when depression poisons and darkens the heart, as the text says, “but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Or I like how the NLT puts it, “a broken spirit saps a person's strength.” The great news is joy acts like a medicine, it restores the strength that a depressed and broken spirit robs us of; for joyfulness is the elixir that heals and brightens the heart. Now I’m not talking about the fickle joy of the world, I’m talking about the firm joy of the Lord. How fitting are Nehemiah’s words here, “for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Neh. 8:10, NASB). I don’t know about you dear reader, but this sure brings a smile to my face.

Lord, you are the true Author of joy. The world’s view of joy depends on happenings, whereas true joy is from You. This joy is not depended on happenings, but rather draws its strength from the Lord above; thank you Lord Jesus that you are my source of joy, Amen.

Monday, 30 October 2017

THE VALUE OF A RIGHTEOUS WOMAN



“The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.” 
(Proverbs 31:11, KJV).

There is something wonderful and special about a virtuous woman. Such a woman is both mature and trustworthy. Indeed, a woman of true worth and a compliment to her husband. Notice today’s text above does not say, “the heart of his wife doth safely trust in him…” No, it is the husband’s heart that trusts in his wife that is the focus here in Proverbs chapter 31, and so it should be. The value of such a godly woman is that the husband “shall have no need for spoil,” for she shall be a real treasure to him, to her children, and her neighbors who will be blessed to know her.  I like how the NLT beautifully puts it, “Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.” This is exactly what she does, enriches her husband’s life. This chapter beautifully outlines how her godly character and noble works blesses her husband as well as her children. She is like Dorcas in the New Testament who was known for her good works (see Acts 9:36-42). It is not enough to say she is a virtuous woman. No, she has evidence that demonstrates she is a righteous wife. Her good works testifies to that fact. Her husband, children, and her neighbors will praise her and bless her for her selfless acts of kindness to them. A righteous woman may pass the flower of age, but never the flower of her heart. “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.” (Prov. 31:30, NASB).

Heavenly Father, how precious is the wife who does good to her husband all the days of her life. No jewel can be compared to her worth. Blessed is the man who has such a wife. Lord, raise up such godly women who will be faithful to their husbands. For only when she is devoted to you Lord will she be genuinely devoted to her husband. For only when she is surrendered to your will Lord will she be in humble subjection to her husband. For only when her heart is fueled by your agape love she will be able to properly love her husband and children. For only in putting You first Lord will she be able to love, respect, and serve her husband. In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.

Friday, 27 October 2017

LOVE VERSES HATE



“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” 
(Matthew 5:44, NASB).

Someone once wrote, “I don’t have time to hate people who hate me, because I am too busy loving people who love me.” The author leaves us with the impression that we should just focus loving those who love us, and forget about those who hate us. Yes, it is easy to love those people who love us back, but it is a real challenge to love those who hate us. This is the difference between Christ like love and worldly love. Worldly love teaches us to only love those who love us in return; whereas Christian love teaches us to not only love those who love us, but to love those who hate us as well. 

Today’s text is one of the most difficult passages to obey. For it is easier to hate our enemies than to love them. The question is is it right to hate those people who have committed terrible acts of evil against us? Are we justified in hating such people? According to the late Richard Wurmbrand loving one’s enemies is preferred over hating them. To love or hate someone or something is a choice. Both have consequences, good or bad, associated with whichever one we choose. To hate makes us hateful, to love makes us lovable. It is right to hate the sin, but wrong to hate the person who bares the image of God. To love our fellow man is to love God himself. Today’s text tells us how we are to respond to our enemies and those who hate us. Not only are we to love our enemies, we are to bless them, do good to them, and pray for them. Imagine that, rewarding our enemies for the evil they do to us? 

Meanwhile, our hearts cry out for revenge against our enemies who wronged us and those we care about. Yet today’s text is clear, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Is this possible? Yes, it is possible. Jesus would never have mentioned it if it were not possible. For the love of God has been shed abroad in our heart by the Holy Spirit given to us (see Rom. 5:5). Hating our enemies will never win them to Christ, but love will. No fire has ever put out another fire, but rather fuels its flaming rage hotter. Nothing but the eternal waters of Christ’s love can meet the enemies’ curses, hatred, and persecution. Mr. Wurmbrand in his notable book, “Tortured for Christ” gives us many examples of Christian love triumphing over the cold hatred of enemies. The heart that hates is a divided heart that can never properly love others with the purity of Christ’s love, nor can such a Christian mature in love. 
Lord, it is difficult loving those who hate and persecute us. Help us to be mindful that hating those who hate us does not win souls to Christ. Fighting fire with fire does not put out a fire, water does. Yes, Lord Jesus let me draw from the eternal springs of your love so I can meet my enemies with the life giving water of your love, so enemies may experience your forgiving love. In Christ’s redeeming love I pray. Amen.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

SERVANT LEADERSHIP (PART ONE)


“It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,” 
(Matthew 20:26, NASB).

Worldly leadership is primarily about power, prestige, and control, whereas Christ-like leadership is about meekness, humility, and servant hood. The first model of leadership has to do with having others serve us, while the second model of leadership has to do with us serving others. This is the fundamental difference between man’s leadership as opposed to God’s model for leadership. (see Mark 9:35; 10:44; Luke 22:25-27). Yet, how many leaders in local Churches today follow the worldly model of leadership as opposed to godly leadership? How many leaders prefer to be served, instead of serving others? The Lord Jesus Christ is Lord of all, yet He stated this, “..the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Matt. 20:28). Again, Jesus says, “For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves.” (Luke 22:27, NASB). The Lord Jesus did not seek a position of power in leadership. He didn’t need to, for that was already evident in His words and actions. What the Lord’s disciples needed to understand as well as us is that to be a chief leader among your fellow saints, you must be the chiefest servant among those who serve. One must have a servant’s heart before he can be a leader among his fellow Christians. Both serving and leading go hand in hand. You lead by serving and by serving you lead by example. This teaches Jesus model of servant leadership.

Dear Lord Jesus, we often desire the worldly model of leadership that gives us positions of power and prestige, while we often fall short in serving others in a godly manner. Lord forgive us of this sin, and grant unto us a spirit of humility to serve others in leadership, instead of expecting others to serve us. It is in leading by example that others get inspired to want to serve others. In Christ name I pray, Amen.

Friday, 29 September 2017

DOES GOD CREATE EVIL?


“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” 
(Isaiah 45:7, KJV).

Here’s a passage that is popular among skeptics and atheists. They like to point to this passage of Scripture and say, “See, the verse here clearly states that God created evil. God is the one who is responsible for the evil in the world, not man or the devil. Now let’s see how you are going to explain this passage of Scripture?” Even the Evangelist Billy Graham's old friend who is an atheist, the late William Temple once said: “The problem of evil... Why does God permit it? Or, if God is omnipotent, in which case permission and creation are the same, why did God create it?”  A quick glance at this Bible verse appears to agree with the skeptic here. The question can be asked, is this what the text is really saying, that God is to be blamed for all the evil, turmoil, and sin in the world? Of course not! Here’s the reason why: The term “evil” in this particular text carries with it the meaning of “disaster, calamity, judgment” (Prov. 16:4). So as you can see, today’s text does not say God created moral evil. No, man chose to do moral evil the moment he rebelled against God's Word. What the above passage is talking about here is natural evil. 

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.