My Life as a Christian

A Midnight Call from a ‘Prophet’

The day was Wednesday, January 23 and the time was exactly 11:32PM when my cell phone buzzed on a lamp stand beside our bed disturbing my peaceful sleep. I don’t like night phone calls so reluctantly I picked the phone, my eyes still half-asleep.

“Hello…”

“Hello, I am a prophet and I have a special word for you from God,” came the voice from the other end.

The moment I heard about the phrase. ‘special message from God,’ I cut the line and was going back to my sleep when my wife woke up and asked what was happening. Sleepily and dismissively, I told her that it was one of those unimportant and misdirected calls.

Four minutes later while trying to retrieve my enjoyable sleep, my phone buzzed again, but this time it was a Short Message Service (SMS)all written in capital letters.

“NDINE PROPHET NDIMAFUNA NDIKUWUZENI ZOTIMUKAVUTIKANDIMUMIMBA NDIYENDIKATINDIKUPEMPHELENI.”

Literally meaning  “I AM A PROPHET I WANTED TO TELL YOU THAT YOU HAVE STOMACH PROBLEMS AND WANTED PRAY FOR YOU”

Again, I ignored the SMS and wet back to sleep. But it was not over. A few minutes later, my phone rang again.

“Hello, I am a prophet….”

“Please, you are disturbing my sleep. Leave me alone, please. I don’t believe in any special word from God apart from the Bible,” I cut the line angrily. I am not so sure whether it was  righteous anger but to my relief, the ‘prophet’ did not call again.

In the morning, I revisited the whole incident.

“Of course, sometimes I experience stomach problems but that night I was fine. Why didn’t  ‘the prophet’ wait until morning to call? How urgent was this ‘special word for me’? These and many other unanswered questions lingered in my mind.

Any way, that’s the story about the midnight call I received from ‘a prophet.’

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Christianity and theology

With Fear and Trembling

In my previous post, we looked  at the first part of  Philippians 2:12, 13 which reads: “Therefore my beloved, as you have always obeyed… work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and work for his good pleasure.”

We discussed what “work out your salvation’ means. Today I would like us to all look at the phrase:  “with fear and trembling.” What does this mean? Does it mean that believers should always live in fear that their salvation might be lost or God will take it away from them?

Not at all! Scripture now and again assures all believers that they are in safe hands of Christ and no one or anything can snatch them from the hand of Christ. In other words, believers cannot lose their salvation (John 10:27, 28; Romans 8:38, 39; Ephesians 2:13, 14; Philippians 1:6). Therefore, “with fear and trembling” does not mean that believers should be afraid of losing their salvation.

The phrase, rather, refers to awe and reverence that automatically comes out of believers when they ponder at their salvation, especially, on how God humbled himself to become a despised servant and later die on the cross for sinners and his enemies and rose from the dead. This act leaves believers with no other option but marvel at how this could be. It is this reverence of failing to fully grasp the depth of God’s love and grace that the phrase is referring to.

For sure salvation is an awesome thing and we can agree with Paul that the  gift of Christ to the fallen world is “an indescribable gift” (2 Cor. 9:15).

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Christianity and theology

Work Out Your Salvation

Philippians 2:12, 13 reads:  “Therefore my beloved, as you have always obeyed… work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and work for his good pleasure.”

Do these verses teach that salvation is by works? Not at all! Salvation means more than just regeneration (being born-again) because salvation includes being declared righteous before God on the basis of Christ’s righteousness (justification) and being conformed to the character of Christ (sanctification).

These verses are referring to sanctification.  In sanctification God plays his role and we pray our role too. God gives us the grace to will and work for his good pleasure but it takes us to obey and act.

Consider an example of a drunkard who gets converted. God will give him the grace and power of not going back to getting drunk but it will literary take this person not to touch the bottle and put it on his mouth. It’s absurd to think that because this person is saved whenever he is tempted to get drunk, an invisible hand of God will always push his hand away from the bottle.

This is what it means to work out our salvation. God gives us the grace and power to reject sin but it takes us to take action to avoid or overcome sin in our lives.

 

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Christianity and theology

Give Me More of Christ Not the Devil

There are some wrong things done in the Church which are obvious and it doesn’t take long to notice that they are wrong. But there are some wrongs which are not obvious or may be we choose to deliberately ignore them and little by little they get established and grow roots. Eventually, there are no longer regarded as wrong. One such wrong which in my view has grown roots is a certain attitude towards the devil or Satan. Some Christians tend to mock, insult or make fun of devil.

I remember meeting one preacher at a certain Christian gathering and saying “Brother, make sure that the devils gives back what he owes you.  Squeeze his neck until he vomits all your blessings.”

Now what is wrong with that, you may ask. Well, the Bible discourages us from doing that. The Word of God in 2 Peter 2:10, 11 reads:

“Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, where as angels though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord” (ESV)

Apostle Peter is writing about false teachers and he describes how they conduct themselves and one thing that he points out is that they blaspheme the glorious ones. Now, the glorious ones in this passage refer to Satan and his fallen angels and not the angels in heaven that’s why Apostle Peter goes on to explain that angels though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against Satan and other fallen angels.

Jude also gives us a similar message in Jude 8-10:

“Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. But when the archangel Michael contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you’” (ESV)

Jude is also discouraging Christians from insulting or making fun of the devil and other fallen angels like the false teachers he describes in the passage were doing. Therefore, I would like to remind us of this truth again: as we sing or preach, let’s avoid the temptation of insulting or making fun of the devil. The word of God discourages it.

Another sad thing I have also noticed is that sometimes preachers or Christian singers spend more time talking about the devil than Christ in their sermons and songs. This should also be discouraged because at the end of the day, listeners get to hear more of the devil than Christ and Satan enjoys that because we end up shifting most of our attention from Christ to him thereby letting him control much of our thoughts and actions.

I should also warn here against two extremes which Satan would want Christian to go. One is the extreme where he wants us to believe that he is too weak or he doesn’t even exist. If we go to this extreme, he will attack us when we least expect. The other extreme is the one where Satan wants us to believe that he is all-powerful like God. If we go to this extreme, we will always walk in fear of him; however, the truth is that Satan is under the power of God (Job 1:12).

Martin Luther who is said to have often fought against the devil as if fighting a physical being once gave a true picture of the devil in regard to his war against Christian in a hymn titled, “A mighty fortress is our God.” He said:

                                 For still our ancient enemy (Satan)

                    Does seek to work us woe;

                    His craft and power are great,

                    And armed with cruel hate,

                    On earth is not his equal.

 

                    If we in our own strength confide,

                    Our striving would be losing,

                    (If) the right man (was not) on our side,

                    The man of God’s own choosing.

                    Do you ask who that may be? 

                    Christ Jesus, it is he;

                    Lord Sabaoth,(is) his name,

                    From age to age the same,

                    And he must win the battle

That’s it! The devil being a fallen angel is more powerful than us; however, we thank God for Jesus Christ because only Christ must win the battle.  Let’s not buy into the lie that we can defeat the devil with our own strength. Only Jesus can do that in and through us. Let’s not waste time insulting or making fun of him rather let our response be like that of Archangel Michael, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan”

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THE INK SLINGER

“I do want to make the point here that Christians are not divided between those who have creeds and confessions and those who do not; rather, they are divided between those who have public creeds and confessions that are written down and exist as public documents, subject to public scrutiny, evaluation, and critique, and those who have private creeds and confessions that are often improvised, unwritten, and thus not open to public scrutiny, not susceptible to evaluation and, crucially and ironically, not, therefore, subject to testing by Scripture to see whether they are true.”

– Trueman, The Creedal Imperative (p. 15)

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My Life as a Christian

My Prayer for 2013

My prayer for 2013 is that God will enable us to live a thankful life all the time and that the worship of Him will take a center stage in our lives.

My prayer for 2013 is also that  Christians will love the Bible more and will be like the Bereans who whenever they heard a preaching, they received it with all eagerness but also examined their Bibles to see if whatever was preached was indeed God’s Word (Bereans 17:10).

My prayer for 2013, further, is that God will enable Christians to realize that Christ is enough and that we do not need to add anything to him to make Christianity more beautiful or more appealing. I pray that Christians will not be taken captive by empty deceit but will walk in Christ, rooted and built up in him (Colossians 2:6-8).

My earnest prayer for 2013 is also that Christians will not sick the ‘blessings’  without ‘the giver of the blessings’ for Christ once reminded us: “Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life which the Son of Man will give you (John 6:27).

My prayer for 2013 is that we will all seek to glorify God alone and in that way our lives will be meaningful.

May you have a blessed and gracious 2013.

 

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My Life as a Christian

Thank You

This is the first post on this blog in this year 2013. A few days ago, we were in 2012 but now the year 2012  is fast becoming history. Oh, how time flies! As we sink deeper and deeper in the year, I would like to take time and thank God for enabling me to write and share His word in 2012. Writing is never always easy; however, by His grace, He enabled me to put ink on paper in the year. Glory to Him alone.

Above all, I thank God the Father for His indescribable gift of Christ. It is because of this Christ that this blog exists. Without Christ, I could not have written whatever has been posted on the blog. Please ascribe all the errors on this blog to me but all the glory belongs to Christ whom without him, I am a dead man in sin and trespasses.

My thanks also should go to the readers of the blog, especially, those who take their time to give me feedback and comments. You will never know how encouraging and motivating your feedback is to me.

I would like also to thank my family and friends for supporting and encouraging me to keep on writing. There were times when the mind went blank not knowing what to write next but you helped me with ideas and topics. There was also time for tough love when I had to share a hard teaching on the blog. Thank you for encouraging me when I was hesitant.  What could I have done without you?

As we look forward to what God will bring us in 2013, I pray that He in His grace will continue to use this blog to glorify himself and that He will increase while all of us decrease for  “God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in him” (John Piper).

May you have a blessed and gracious 2013.

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