Thinking about life itself sometimes sends chills down the spine. I sometimes even wonder, why be good at all? Why strive to do well? Why not just do what pleases me and makes me feel happy? Why not go where I want to go, eat what I want to eat, say what I want to say? Why not just live, no restrictions, no limitations, nothing?
Why not just pay the extra 1,000 and skip standing on the line? Or ditch the lessons and pay for the grades? Well, why not just COMPEL the patients to consult only in my hospital? Afterall, I offer good medical services too!
Afterall, does the Bible not clearly spell out that all is vanity? Everything will pass away, of course, even Jesus said it.
The preacher in Ecclesiastes says it is in vain that we wake up and sleep, toil and rest, do this or do that. It is all in vain. So why not just do what I want to do?
If I stop at just that part of Ecclesiastes, then I miss it all. In chapter 12:13, the preacher says this
“The conclusion of all matter….”
He said earlier that all is vanity. And we see in life that indeed he is right. But, that’s not the conclusion of it all. It is just a comma, a break. There is a conclusion to all matters – and that is to
1. FEAR GOD
2. DO HIS COMMANDMENTS.
It is after those that we have or can put a full stop.
And the reason is simple. In the last verse of the chapter which also is the last for the entire book of Ecclesiastes, the reason comes up – God will Judge us all, all our actions, for the good and the bad.
So, is all vanity after all? Is that just all there is? A giant NOPE. At the end of it, it isn’t all vanity.
God will judge. That gives substance to what I do. What I’ve been doing, the choices I make, the words I say, the reactions I have, the regard for myself and for others which I adopt. All! It may be vanity on earth and with the eyes, but, that is just the comma of the story. At the full stop; at the conclusion of it, it isn’t vanity. God judges!
The preacher said “everything under the sun” is vanity. But, life doesn’t end under the sun. That is what I/we often fail to remember. There is someone who made the sun – so, there is life above the sun. If life under the sun is vanity, life above the sun isn’t. And how I/you live under the sun determines how I’d/you’d live above the sun.
Our life under the sun is the journey, the comma, the break in the path. When we think of the full stop, the end, then, the conclusion should come to our minds – and, that conclusion of all matters is – to FEAR GOD and to DO HIS COMMANDMENTS.
Tis a guileless memo, to all who say they’re Christ’s.
The question comes, where will I go; will it be paradise?
For God so loved the world He gave His only darling Son,
So all believers would not mourn but always see the dawn.
Some say it is the blissful place whose streets are made of gold
The place where rays are always beaming, nothing there to mould
Some think it is the long-lost Eden guarded by cherubims
Where pastures will be evergreen; no sons of Anakim
I want to believe that would be true, but then I have a cue
His Son Himself gave us the clue and that, my friend, is true
Heaven and earth will pass away, it will, yes, heaven will
That means my paradise of gold can’t be Father’s final will
That we may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You sent.
Now this is eternal life; life everlasting; that can never ever be bent.
That’s life eternal dear friends, by Jove, that’s Father’s will for us,
That we may know Him and know our Brother, nothing there to fuss!
Sadly so, it seems if the equation of heaven and hell is removed, many who are Christians today won’t be counted in the fold. Truth is, eternal life is not to go to heaven; Eternal life is to know God. Heaven in not our eternity; God is!
John 03:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Matthew 24:35 – Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
John 17:3 – Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
It’s not because you spend 2hrs bathing that you come out cleaner from the bathroom. Some people have used over 40l of water day in day out, but parts of their backs end up crying foul like the Amba people in +237.
It’s not because you wear a suit that you’re most sophisticated compared to one who wears a T-shirt. Trust me, if you look at their shirt collars, you may decide never to sit behind one during a seminar.
It’s not because you walk “clean” that you actually are. Believe me, most junkies out there are in their Christmas wears all the time.
With all due respect, it’s not because you are adorned with high religious titles that you have a living relationship with our Heavenly Father.
It’s also not because you have all the academic grades and titles that you’re necessarily an erudite in the domain. Else ask my people and they’ll tell you the technological mystery of 32/500.
Should I continue…
What am I trying to say? Do not judge a book by its cover.
This statement means you gotta judge.
With righteous judgement, JESUS says.
Judge righteously. Do not judge by mere appearances.
Look deeper, farther than what the cover shows.
Most good books are rarely discovered on the cover. We don’t do that with books. Why do we want to comfortably do so with fellow humans.
So yes, I won’t say don’t judge, as is the maxim out in our confused world today.
Rather, I’d say JUDGE
And please, it’s not my gospel. It is the B.I.B.L.E.
Jesus said the measure you judge with, with that you’d be judged also.
His caution of “do not judge” as interpreted mostly today, is for those who fear for skeletons to be seen in their cupboards.
When Jesus speaks in Matthew 7:1-5, He says when you want to judge, make sure you have taken out the speck out in your own eye first, before you claim you can comfortably see that which is in your brother’s. Else, you’ll be a hypocrite. In essence, Jesus wasn’t about judging in this portion. He was about HYPOCRISY.
Well, maybe it’s time we stop taking His words out of context to suit our personal whims and caprices.
If you see unrighteousness and do not judge righteously, then certainly you are guilty of same and thus fear being judged likewise.
Key is, just as we say out here “he who comes to equity must come with clean hands”.
Likewise, you going out to judge righteously must be doing so with clean hands, with a clean heart. Not judging to shame the person, or unto condemnation or pride, but unto love, compassion and repentance so we all revel in the same grace of God for mankind.
Mind you, we all were/are sinners. Christ didn’t come so we die in condemnation. No. He came so we look at ourselves through Him, see our sins forgiven and die through Him, and see our new selves resurrected in Him.
That, was unto righteousness.
So brothers and sisters, let’s get into this mire of a world and bring in God’s righteousness, in love and compassion. Not forgetting that “he who comes to equity. ..”.
And go ye out, boldly, not to judge the book by its cover, but in all righteousness, with the love of God in our hearts, lips and hands.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 – “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
Just a few words as we travel the year 2018 – Set your gaze on Jesus!
The eyes were put in front for a purpose; always look in front; look ahead. Proverbs 4:25 says it. “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.”
The past is past, that’s why it’s called PAST. You hold on to it, you can’t move a step.
Better than look ahead, look up. Look up to Christ Jesus. Isaiah 40:26 says he knows the stars by name. If he knows the stars by name, how much more you? He is mindful of you. He knows your frame; He knows what you’re made of; He knows your every move. His thoughts and plans for you are plans of good and not of evil. Look to Jesus, trust Him and follow Him.
Hebrews 12:2 “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
And by having our eyes set on Jesus – it means following Him; surrendering to His Lordship over you; seeing Him as the author and finisher of your faith. Focus not on the world or the cares of the world. Affection your mind on Christ and the things above. Live and love on earth as a pilgrim; yet as an ambassador of a kingdom; a plenipotentiary ambassador, cuz that is what, we who are born-again in Christ, are called to be.
2 Cor. 5:20 “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”
Try this: With the eyes/gaze in front, it hurts to look left or right; it is impossible to look behind; but very possible to look up – just a fixing of the gaze. Fix your perspective!
“Therefore, since you have been raised with Christ, strive for the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
Happy New Year 2018!
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
- Verse 1:
Consider all the works Thy hand hath made.
I see the stars; I hear the roaring thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
- Verse 2:
When through the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze:
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee:
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee:
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
1 Timothy 2:1-6
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, …
Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (Matthew 24:36)
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. (Matthew 25:13)
As Christmas draws nigh, one should look out for Christmas in Christmas. It’s celebrating:
Christ who came
Healing our diseases
Restoring our hearts
Infusing into us love, joy, peace in the Holy Ghost
Sitting in for us at all times
Taking upon Himself the sins of mankind
He wants us all to:
Muster our tongues
Act in true Christianity and
Serve the Lord and our neighbours wholeheartedly.
That is what Christ does for us, it is equally what He wants us to do for ourselves and our neighbours, just like GOD did for us when He sent us a little parcel CHRISTMAS.
A Minister passing through his church in the middle of the day,
Decided to pause by the altar to see who comes to pray.
Just then the back door opened and a man came down the aisle,
The minister frowned as he saw the man hadn’t shaved in a while.
His shirt was torn and shabby, and his coat was worn and frayed,
The man knelt down and bowed his head, then rose and walked away.
In the days that followed at precisely noon, the preacher saw this chap,
Each time he knelt just for a moment, a lunch pail in his lap.
Well, the minister’s suspicions grew, with robbery a main fear,
He decided to stop and ask the man, ‘What are you doing here?’
The old man said he was a factory worker, and lunch was half an hour
Lunchtime was his prayer time, for finding strength and power.
I stay only a moment because the factory’s far away;
As I kneel here talking to the Lord, this is kinda what I say:
‘I JUST CAME BY TO TELL YOU, LORD, HOW HAPPY I HAVE BEEN,
SINCE WE FOUND EACH OTHER’S FRIENDSHIP AND YOU TOOK AWAY MY SIN.
DON’T KNOW MUCH OF HOW TO PRAY, BUT I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERYDAY.
SO, JESUS, THIS IS BEN, JUST CHECKING IN TODAY.’
The minister feeling foolish told Ben that it was fine.
He told the man that he was welcome to pray there anytime.
‘It’s time to go, and thanks,’ Ben said as he hurried to the door.
Then the minister knelt there at the altar, which he’d never done before.
His cold heart melted, warmed with love, as he met with Jesus there.
As the tears flowed down his cheeks, he repeated old Ben’s prayer:
‘I JUST CAME BY TO TELL YOU, LORD, HOW HAPPY I’VE BEEN,
SINCE WE FOUND EACH OTHER’S FRIENDSHIP AND YOU TOOK AWAY MY SIN.
I DON’T KNOW MUCH OF HOW TO PRAY, BUT I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERYDAY.
SO, JESUS, THIS IS ME, JUST CHECKING IN TODAY.’
Past noon one day, the minister noticed that old Ben hadn’t come.
As more days passed and still no Ben, he began to worry some.
At the factory, he asked about him, learning he was ill.
The hospital staff was worried, but he’d given them a thrill.
The week that Ben was with them, brought changes in the ward.
His smiles and joy contagious; changed people were his reward.
The head nurse couldn’t understand why Ben could be so glad,
When no flowers, calls or cards came, not a visitor he had.
The minister stayed by his bed, he voiced the nurse’s concern:
No friends had come to show they cared. He had nowhere to turn.
Looking surprised, old Ben spoke up and with a winsome smile;
‘The nurse is wrong, she couldn’t know; He’s been here all the while.’
Everyday at noon He comes here, a dear friend of mine, you see,
He sits right down and takes my hand, leans over and says to me:
‘I JUST CAME BY TO TELL YOU, BEN, HOW HAPPY I HAVE BEEN,
SINCE WE FOUND THIS FRIENDSHIP, AND I TOOK AWAY YOUR SIN.
I THINK ABOUT YOU ALWAYS AND I LOVE TO HEAR YOU PRAY,
AND SO BEN, THIS IS JESUS, JUST CHECKING IN TODAY.’
Someone sent it to someone, who sent it to someone, who sent it to someone, who sent it to me, who’s sending it you. Shalom!
When I look at things, I observe that they have to change. They have to change for the better, cuz it’s already so bad out there and so bad in here.
How can it change? How can they understand it has to change?
In trying to pass this across, I realize my drift is SOOOOOOO much toward God. It is so embedded in the man Christ Jesus; the one referred to as the “man who went about doing good”.
I want to tell my friends things have to change, but I’m afraid it’ll push them away.
I want to tell the world things have to change but I’m afraid they’d take it wrong, because we don’t share the same views.
The more I try to bring in legalism; the farther I drift from hitting the nail on point.
The more I try to fit the square peg in the square hole, for things to fit, the more I find myself in what people call “religion”. The more I find myself in what’s been termed by the acclaimed ‘liberal minds’ “Christianity”.
The more I find myself in what I call LIFE.
Then, I come to one realization: there can be no change without this life. There can be no change without this Christianity. There can be no change, no change at all.
Nailing it, there can be no change without the one who was nailed on the cross: Jesus. It’s that simple!
Refusing this is being like the cynical hermit, burying its head in the dust when its feathers are on fire.
In what’s been [tried to be] said about His being here on earth, and His stay, and His instructions; and His teachings, and His life and His all, no one has presented him as a bad man. Some say he wasn’t bad but was not perfect. But to them, I’d still do what He asked, for their good; I’d have to pray for them to be forgiven. He Himself did. One of the last things He showed us how to do was to pray for those who do not know what they are doing.
In the midst of the turbulence, His instructions apply. For the degraded morals, for the debased man, for the debauchery, for the manslaughter, for the selfishness, for the hatred, for the deceit, for the exploitation, for the phobias, for the every, for the all; His instructions apply. Sound instructions, giving out sound meant to mold one soundly.
For oneself, for the neighbour, for the friend, for the foe, for the parent, for the sibling, for the stranger and the passerby, for the baby, for the spouse, for the unknown, for the seen; for the wealthy, for the wretched, for the miserly, for the proud; for the high, for the low, for the fat and for the slim; His instructions apply to make it go a-peace.
Where would the peace run to, if we so ardently seek it? Where would the love hide if we so willingly manifest it? Where would the talents be buried, if we so encouragingly share it? Where would the world be falling, if we so collectively care for it?
A servant of His once said the world is so gone bunkers because Christians speak so much but do so little of what they speak. If only they could!
I’ve come to the conclusion that it is only in doing things His way, that things are really gonna change. If I want change, if I really do want change, then I know what I have to do.
I have to shout it from the rooftops, hard as I can, loud as I can, fastest as I can, plainly as I can, always as I can. Only then can I be fully able to “can” something out of this existence. Until then, no change; no betterment; nothing!
“A nation can never be better than the state of the church within it”, Bishop Chris would say.
“The world can never be better that the state of the church [Body of Christ] within it”, I’d expand.