Christianity and Society

Family Worship

A couple of years ago I lamented the passiveness of some Christian fathers and husbands who are not taking up their spiritual leadership roles as given to them by God in his holy and inerrant Word here. I also went on to appeal to my fellow Christian husbands and fathers to stand up and guard their families from various errors and false teachings that are bombarding us everyday. Today, I would like to continue and point out one of the ways of doing this namely family worship.

We are all familiar with the worship that takes place in our churches when we meet on the Lord’s Day. But there ought to be another worship that takes place in our homes when we are not gathering with fellow saints. Parents, especially, fathers should gather their children, and teach them the word of God, pray, and sing hymns and psalms with them. These are some of the means that God uses to bless his people and to build strong and godly families and churches that are able to discern false doctrines.Thomas Manton was right when he observed, “A (Christian) family is the seminary or theological school of Church and State.”

More importantly, we need to do family worship because it is our act of obedience to God’s Word. God’s command for it dates back to the Old Testament times. “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise (Deut. 11:18, 19). Similar directions are also given in Psalm 78:1-4 and Ephesians 6:4.

I hope, by the grace of God, you are convinced of the need to observe this important practice, if you were not doing it. But you might wonder on where to start. Be encouraged, it is not as complicated as you think. To begin with, set aside time for family worship in the evening when every member of your home is available. If you can do it both in the morning and evening, why not! That’s far much better since you can’t overdose prayer.

Before the worship, take some time to prepare what you are going to share from God’s word. To make it easier for yourself, plan to go through one book of the Bible after another. You can use John Calvin or Matthew Henry’s commentaries in your preparation, which you can access for free here and here. After your preparation, pray for God’s blessings upon your family worship. Then gather your family together. Pray together that God would speak to you through his word, and then read the Scriptures. Explain the passage and give a chance to your children to ask questions regarding the passage. After that sing at least one or two psalms or hymns then pray that God will apply the truth of the words you have shared to your hearts. Remember also to pray for the needs of your family, and to thank God for his blessings. Keep on doing this at an established time until it becomes an inseparable part of your family.

May God bless you as you continue or venture into this wonderful experience.

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Christianity and Society

Malawi, Legalization of Abortion is Really a Bad Idea

As I am writing this post, my heart is filled with fear. I can literary feel it as if it is sinking down into a bottomless pit. Why am I afraid? I hear that the movement pushing for legalization of abortion in Malawi is gaining momentum. They are courting religious leaders, chiefs, law makers and other people of influence and power in our land to sway them towards supporting legalization of abortion.

I cannot help but fear for my country. Friends, legalization of abortion not matter on what grounds is ugly and should not even be the last thought for Malawians. Please let’s learn from the countries who have taken this path before and we will discover what a dangerous beast legalization of abortion is to any society. It will devour our nation.

Right now, I am living in a part of the world that has taken this path. It is sad and heartbreaking to hear that every day women are killing so many unborn children even for lame reasons like “I just don’t want this baby.” Just open your browser and google the numbers of children being killed in their mothers’ womb in the countries that have legalized abortion and you will be shocked. Malawi should not cheat herself that she can legalize abortion and never reach that point because she will sure do.

It is a very dangerous trajectory but it all starts with that one step of legalization. The advocates of legalization of abortion are making it to sound as if it is a very good and harmless idea as they fly their statistics in our face of how many women are dying due to the so called unsafe abortion and how much money our government is spending in post abortion care, but believe you me the consequence of legalizing abortion will overwhelm us. Once Malawi opens this door, there will be no any other way of closing it. Any woman even without any reason would choose to murder their unborn baby. Who would stop them if the law would leave the door wide open?

Those advocating for legalization of abortion argue that they are many women who are dying due to unsafe abortion. But what is causing abortion? Is it the law that prohibits it? Definitely not! No one would abort just because the law states that abortion is illegal. There should be factors that are causing this murdering of unborn children. Why not then address the causes instead of spending more energy on effects.

Life is very sacred and priceless. God the creator and giver and sustainer of life has not entrusted the right of taking it to a mother who thinks that she does not need the child in her womb for various reasons . “You shall not murder,” he commands us in Exodus 20:13. He also tells us in his word, the Bible, that life begins at conception (Psalm 51:5) hence abortion is murder and sinful.

Malawi, seriously ponder on this: according to God’s Word, God’s wrath shall rest heavily on a nation that perseveres in such murderous tragedies as abortion. Dr. Joel Beeke and Jim Beeke have explained this point very well in their essay, “Is Abortion Really So Bad?” and I will borrow some of their thoughts to expound it.

In Exodus 21:22-23 we read: “When men strive together and hit a woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judge determines. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life.”

If God commands such a heavy and great penalty for an accident like this one, will he stand aside and idly look at a deliberate and planned abortion? Legalizing abortion is tantamount to calculated and legalized murder of nameless, voiceless, helpless human beings created by God. Like those ungodly nations we read in the Bible who sacrificed their infants to their gods (Deuteronomy 12:31), I am afraid that if we legalize abortion in Malawi, it will also one day be said of us that Malawians sacrificed their unborn sons and daughters to the god called Selfishness on the altar of abortion. I pray that we will not reach that extent. May God bless Malawi and keep it a land of peace where we continue to value, respect and appreciate the lives of unborn children just as we value, respect and appreciate any other human life.

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Christianity and Society

My Prayer and Thoughts as Malawi Goes to Polls

Finally, one of Malawi’s long awaited days this year is almost here. Tomorrow, on May 20, 2014 the people of the land of my birth go to elect the President, Members of Parliament (MPs), and Councillors for the next five years. Sadly, for first time since I reached the voting age, I will not be able to cast my vote.  Distance has a way of limiting us in a number of ways. But still my prayers and thoughts are with you my countrymen.

I pray that my Malawian brothers and sisters will not forget to remember that whatever happens during the elections was already ordained and written in the Almighty God’s eternal script for his world. History is not autonomous, but it is His (God’s) story. This should comfort us knowing that although  we may not be sure of what the future holds, we know for sure who holds the future. Christ is still on the throne.

I also pray for my fellow Christians that they will not take their eyes off  Christ as our perfect hope in this fallen world and place it on politicians. Malawi like any other nation in this fallen world has so many challenges. Knowing this, our politicians have  promised a lot in regard to making our country a better place to live in. But it might not be long before we find ourselves in the valley of frustration as the hopes that were raised are shattered into smithereens. “Promises and lies” is often the politicians’ best game everywhere.

This is not to say all politicians are not to be trusted. There are some who are godly and have good intentions. But how can we single them out knowing that the heart is so deceiving above all things (Jer. 17:5)? It’s not easy!  Yet it is of great comfort to know that the Lord knows all men very well. I pray that God will give Mother Malawi godly leaders. But, even if this happens, we should never never look up to politics as the solution to our fallen world. Ravi Zacharius put it better: “Let’s face it, politics is seldom the answer to any society because it just swings from one extreme to the other and it goes with the whim of whoever is in power.”

Realizing the folly of trusting politics to heal this sin-ridden world, Margaret Thatcher, one of the renowned politicians in our world,  used to say: “It is up to the people of faith (Christians) to change their culture, politicians can’t do it.” Brethren, may we continue to shine forth the light of Christ as the beacon of hope for our nation. Whoever becomes the president or MP or councillor is not good enough to bring the hope and satisfaction that vanished once sin entered the world and alienated mankind from God. Since then our hearts remain restless until they find rest in God as St. Augustine put it.

Finally, I know that even Christians just like as any other person voting have a particular expectation of results. But in case, the results do not come out  as we expected,  let’s remember that Christ still holds the whole world in his hand. He knows best. He alone directs the events and affairs of the world according to his good pleasure and will. Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 11:33-36: Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid? For from him and through him and to him alone are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”

Our prayer should remain the same as we have always prayed in the form our national anthem since 1964:

O God bless our land of  Malawi

Keep it a land of peace…

Our own Malawi, this land so fair

Fertile and brave and free.

With its lakes, refreshing mountain air,

How greatly blest are we.

Hills and valleys, soil so rich and rare…

Freedom ever, let us all unite…

One purpose and one goal

Men and women serving selflessly,

In building Malawi.

The Malawi National Anthem

 

 

Ravi Zacharius, an address at Brigham Young University in Utah (Accessed on January 19, 2014, http://www.rzim.org/rzim-news/ravi-zacharias-at-byu-and-the-mormon-tabernacle/).

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Christianity and Society

No Moderation, No Compromise

“Only you shall not go very far away” Exodus 8:28

This is a crafty word from the lip of the chief-tyrant Pharoah. If the poor bondaged Israel must go out of Egypt, then he bargains with them that it shall not be very far away; not too far for them to escape the terror of his arms, and the observation of his spies.

After the same fashion, the world…loves us (Christians) to be more lovable and not carry matters with too a severe hand…Worldly wisdom recommends the path of compromise, and talks of “moderation.” According to this carnal policy, purity is admitted to be very desirable, but we are warned against being too precise; truth is of course to be followed, but error is not to be severely denounced.

“Yes,” says the world, “be spiritually minded by all means, but do not deny yourself a little gay society…What’s the good of crying down a thing when it is so fashionable, and everybody does it?”

Multitudes  yield to this cunning advice, to their own eternal ruin. If we would follow the Lord wholly, we must go right away into the wilderness of separation, and leave its maxims, its pleasures, and its religion too, and go far away to the place where the Lord calls His sanctified ones.

When the town is on fire, our house cannot be too far from the flames. When the plague is abroad, a man cannot be too far from its haunts. The further from a viper the better, and the further from worldly conformity the better. To all true believers let the trumpet-call be sounded, “Come you out from among them, be you separate.”

Taken from “Morning and Evening” by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

 

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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 Society

The Man Named Epaphras

Lately, I have been studying the Epistle to Colossians and one character that has caught my attention in the study is the man named Epaphras.

Epaphras got converted when he went to hear Apostle Paul preaching in Ephesus.  Thereafter, he went home in Colossae and planted a church. Later, the Colossian church was faced with the problem of false teachers and Epaphras immediately went to Rome to meet Paul and seek assistance on how to address the problem (1:7-8; Acts 19:10).

The interesting thing with this man, however, is that he still remains a little known figure despite “working hard for the church at Colossae” (4:13). Unless, you take you time to critically study the epistle, you will never know how important Epaphras was to the Colossian church.

This is how things can go in our service for the Lord sometimes. We might give out our best and keep things moving by the grace of God but still remain little known figures. This should never discourage us since it is all about Christ and not us.  All the glory should go to him alone. As John Baptist once remarked, “Let him increase while we decrease” (John 3:30).

Therefore, never be bothered so much about getting a credit for your service unto the Lord because the truth is that you will not always get it. All the same continue to serve the Lord faithfully and seek to bring all the glory to Him like Epaphras the unsung hero did.

 

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Christianity and Society

Christian Leadership is Not for New Converts

A couple of years ago, I was privileged to be part of a Christian group that conducted Bible studies every week and also encouraged one another through God’s word. One summer, the group organized a retreat at the lake and we were joined by two other friends who had just been converted to Christianity.

For some reasons, unknown to me, the leadership of our group entrusted these newly converted brothers with some leadership roles at the retreat. This was a great mistake as we will later realize. During the retreat, various teachings were programmed. But trouble came up when it was a turn for a teaching that had to deal courtship and marriage.

Ten minutes into this teaching, the two brothers felt it was not ‘spiritual enough’ so one of them  stood up while the teacher was speaking and told him in the face: “Sorry sir, but as one of the conveners at this retreat, I see that this is not what God wants. We can’t come all the way here to hear about courtship and marriage. God is telling me that we should spend more time in prayer not unnecessary teaching like this one.”

Boy! I couldn’t believe my ears. The brother was very zealous for the Lord but had little knowledge. The speaker was evidently embarrassed.  But thank God that despite being offended by these remarks, the speaker handled it very well  and we continued with our program.

Later as I reflected on this scenario, 1 Timothy 3 came to my mind. In this chapter, Paul discusses qualifications for Christian leaders and one qualification he lays out is that a Christian leader “must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil” (1 Timothy 3:6).

I, strongly, believe that the leadership of our group was wrong in entrusting leadership roles to these newly converted brothers. They were supposed to grow first in the faith as well as learn from other mature Christian leaders before they could provide leadership. I don’t think that someone who’s grown and continues to grow in their faith would regard a Biblical teaching on courtship and marriage as unnecessary and unspiritual.

This is just one of many examples of challenges the church faces as a result of entrusting leadership to new converts. Please get me right, I don’t mean to say that new converts are of no use in God’s Kingdom. This is not what I am saying and meaning. Rather, basing on Scripture I am arguing that new converts should be taught first and enabled to grow in their faith before they can lead.

It saddens my heart to see a person getting converted today and in no time he is pastoring a church. No, this can’t be! What kind of pastorate is this brother going to provide. Also, get me right. I don’t intended to underestimate the gifts and power that God gives out even to new converts. However, these gifts need to be nurtured over a period so that they can be used in a proper way that glorifies God.

In this part of the world, where many Christian leaders hardly make it into seminary, Bible or theological college due to lack of resources and inadequacy of training institutions, I would not argue that every new convert should be trained in such institutions before he leads a church; nevertheless, I would suggest that if one cannot make it into to a training institution, he should learn under a mature and godly Christian leader or leaders for some time before he can venture into leadership of God’s flock.  Timothy never went to seminary but he learnt from his spiritual Father Paul. Even apostle Paul, himself, before he ventured fully into Christian leadership on his own, he partnered with Barnabas and in the process he learnt some lessons of Christian leadership, I believe.

As somebody said, “Every Timothy needs Paul and every Paul needs Timothy” I would like to encourage our mature Christian leaders to identify young people, probably, those who have just been converted to Christianity and train them in Christian leadership. Young people should also be humble enough to sit down under mature and godly men and learn from them how to lead God’s flock in a way that glorifies God.  In this way, the church will never give leadership responsibility to a recent convert who may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil.

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