Sound Teaching

Miracle Money?

I, first,  heard about it a couple of months ago and I ignored it.  I have heard it again this week and I cannot afford to ignore it anymore.  Some ‘men of God’ are performing miracles whereby one can just find that you have money in your pocket or in your bank account. Believe you me, I hear that ‘some men of God’ are able to rain down money on people.  It’s exciting, isn’t it? NO! It is very pathetic and scary! These so called miracles are acting in strong opposition to God’s Word.

At creation, God established three mandates namely work, rest and marriage. God put Adam in the Garden of Eden to work therein (Genesis 2:15).  He established a day of rest (Genesis 2:2, 3). God also established marriage when he brought Eve to Adam (Genesis 2:22).  No matter what we might think of these mandates, they will remain until Christ comes.

Now, it is sad to note that some Christians think that work came into effect as a result of Adam’s sin. This is not true because work was ordained by God even before the entry of sin. People, especially Christians, should be eager to work and earn their living instead of expecting the so called miracles where one becomes a millionaire without work.

God can do anything. However, it is also important to remember that God always honors his word. If he said that we should work, he expects that from us. God blesses the work of the hands of his children and in his grace, he provides through the work of our hands.

Therefore, Christians’ attitude towards work should always be positive.  We should never expect God to put money in our pockets while we are sitting idle. No matter how godly you are, God can never put money in your pocket while you are idling. Apostle Paul was a true servant of God but he had to make tents to earn a living (Acts 18:1-3) hence he could boldly say:

“For when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now to such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to ear their own living,” (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12).

Friends in Christ get this right: It is not God’s will that you have money which you have not worked for. It is one thing to have God move the hearts of people to assist you with money for a particular cause and another thing to have money in your pocket without knowing where it has come from. If this happens to you, you ought to be afraid rather than rejoice.

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Christianity and Society

Love: The Story of John

John one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ is an interesting character.  We first read about his problem with anger in Luke 9:51-56 in which Samaritans have refused Jesus a passage to connect to Jerusalem.  John is angered by Samaritans and he asks Jesus if they should command fire to come down from heaven and consume the Samaritans. Jesus rebukes John.

Later on John writes his First Epistle and the major them of the letter is love. “We know that we have passed out of death into life because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer… he writes in 1 John 3:1, 15.  “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God,” he adds in 1 John 4:7.

What happened to the old short-tempered John? It is no doubt that the time that John spent with Jesus from the incident of Luke 9:51-56, John learnt more about love from Christ. The power of the love of Christ steadily transformed him and anger and selfishness slowly gave in to love.

This is what happens when we spend time with Christ. The more we turn our eyes upon Christ, the more we become like him. The more we look at the cross of Christ, the more his love fills and controls us. The world can, continually, remind us of the need of love for each other  but it is only Christ that will enable us to love truly.  Without Christ, there shall never be genuine love in this world.

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Christianity and theology

When Success Eludes God’s Children

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose,” boldly declares Romans 8:28 (KJV).

It is good that the verse clarifies that it is not for everyone that all things work together for the good. It is only those who love God and are called by him. Those who are called by God are his children. So, in other words, the verse says that all things work together for the good of Christians.

It is one thing to accept this verse as it is it appears on the pages of Scripture and it is quite another to accept it in real life experience. We are living in the world that exalts success. Everywhere we go, achievements are lifted high and rarely do we hear stories of failure. It is as if failure does not exist. Even in churches we share our victories in Christ and hardly do we share otherwise.

This has led many to believe that Christianity and success are synonyms; however, this is not true. Christians also face failure. However, what differs between Christian and non-Christians is that the former have a comfort that God in all things (including that failure) is working for their own good while the former regards it as a hindrance to their brighter future.

This is not to mean that Christians accept their failure and sit down. Not at all! They work hard to succeed yet at the same time they realize that failure is not out of God’s plan for their life. A very well known American theologian, A.W. Tozer, once wrote that Christians travel an appointed way.  This is true. Everything that happens in our life including failure was already ordained by God even before the foundations of the earth were laid.

Therefore, we should never regard failure as a weird thing in the plan of God for our lives.  Believe you me, God will allow failure to come our way as long as it is part of his plan for our lives.

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Christianity and theology

Salvation and Good Works

The fifth and last trustworthy saying is found in Titus 3:8 and reads: “This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.”

Good works do not produce salvation but salvation produces good works. For sure, salvation is by the grace of God and there is nothing we do to earn it yet true salvation will always produce good works.  This is what Apostle Paul is stressing in this trustworthy saying.

The relationship between salvation and good works has sometimes caused confusion but I believe God’s Word clarifies the issue better in the saying. Every Christian is saved to do good works.

The only difference between good works of a Christian and a non-Christian is that a Christian does good as a result of the Holy Spirit who has come into his life. It is this Holy Spirit who motivates and gives the believer the grace and desires to please God by doing what is good.

A non-Christian, on the other hand, will do good works hoping to be accepted by God and usually driven by the natural guilt that is in all those who don’t have Christ due to original sin of our first parents which all of us are born with.

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My Life as a Christian

Reflections on my 2013 Birthday

Today, I celebrate a gift of over three decades in this world from our Father whom all blessings flow. As the day is progressing I have taken some time to reflect on my journey of thirty plus one years. One thing that has lingered in my mind is the truth that God can do all things and no single plan of his can be thwarted (Job 42:2).

Over the years, especially, the time that I have been a Christian, I have fully understood that God’s plan for my life cannot be frustrated by anything or anybody. Where I am today and what I am doing today is exactly what God planned before the foundations of the earth were laid.

This is a source of my comfort, especially in hard times,  hence I can’t  agree more with what Martin Luther once said, “… the greatest and only consolation of Christians in their adversities, is the knowing that God lies not, but does all things immutably, and that His will cannot be resisted, changed, or hindered.”

But life is not only about hard times, there are also good times. In those good moments too, it is also of great consolation to know that God is still in control. Another instance this morning has even confirmed this great lesson even more.

Last year in November, I was offered a place and tuition scholarship to study at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary (PRTS).  Like any other person who would find themselves in my shoes, I was very excited. Then the process of planning to go and study begun which eventually led to visa application then to visa interviews. Now, the thought of  ‘visa interviews’ sent a cold chill down my spine, particularly, as I faced the possibility that my application could be turned down and my cherished dream to study at PRTS would be shattered.

The process of visa interviews began today at 8 O’clock in the morning. My wife and I passed through all the necessary stages then came the last stage of actual interviews. Our names were called on a speaker within the waiting room and we went into the ‘interview room’ our hearts in our mouths with the fear of being denied the visa.

To our amazement, the interviewer just asked very few lighter questions like why did I chose PRTS of many seminaries in USA. She also asked my wife and I regarding our previous visits to US respectively. Then she found out when we got married and confirmed if we met at African Bible College where both of us were students. Then, that’s it! Visa granted. “Come tomorrow afternoon to collect your visa…good luck,” she ended the interviews.

We could feel our hearts settling down as joy and amazement took over anxiety and fear.  Just like that? Yes, just like that. Then we recalled that “God can do all things and his plans cannot be thwarted.” It was God’s will and plan that we get the visa today which also happens to be my birthday and nothing or anybody could stop that.

Friends, may this great truth also comfort you both in joy or pain. Never ever forget to remember that God will always accomplish his will. William Cowper was right when he composed that famous hymn, God moves in a mysterious way, and said:

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

 Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flow’r.

Oh, what an amazing God!

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