He Died So You Won’t Perish

Ezekiel 33: 11 

Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways!…..
The Lord has no pleasure in seeing the wicked perish in their sins. He does not wish for them to be destroyed in their ways. And that’s probably why He has time and again given warnings for all to return to Him, to forsake their evil ways and return to God. There is always a second chance. You are never too far from His grace and forgiveness, if only you would return to Him. 
The most quoted and well know Bible verse has to be John 3:16. 
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
There is no distinction or demarcation mentioned here. He died for all. He died so that “whoever” believes in Him will be given eternal life. He died for you and me. He has no desire for any of His children to go astray. I say, children, because we are all His children and we belong to Him. But the Word is specific. As much as He doesn’t desire for anyone to perish, there is also the clause that you need to believe in Him and live for Him in order to get hold of the eternal life He has in store for you and me. 
As I stated earlier, you are not too late or too far out of reach from His grace. Turn to Him, focus on Him alone in your journey on this earth. Everything else you see in this world will fade away. Only His Word remains. 

Don’t Take God’s Grace for Granted

Your life is a door – to a house that only you have access to. You have the  liberty to open or close your door – no one else. As every door comes with a keyhole, so does yours. It’s ironic you’d blame your situations and folks or wonder how you ended up in sin, because every time satan knocks, you have that keyhole to know exactly what and whom you’re opening your door to. Every time you let him in, you inevitably let someone out – Jesus.

You give sin an edge to grow up the walls of your house. The more it stays, the worse. Listen carefully, Jesus is knocking too, but you’re so indulged in the sound of satan’s music, those knocks never reach your ears. Yet His knocking never ceases. You see, He paid a heavy price for you. Though you may forget, Jesus never does. And then, there comes that point when you’re snapped back to reality. Realise your visitor has overstayed his welcome. You shouldn’t have let him in to begin with. But how do you do away with one who doesn’t want to be done away with? How do you make someone who doesn’t want to leave, leave? You need help. You call security to forcefully push him out of your house. Yes, you finally remember the One whose knocks you never heard.

Now you need Jesus. You rely on His strength to get him out. You can’t try alone. Your efforts are all in vain. As unrealistic as wanting a building to budge on your push. Jesus comes to your rescue, drags the intruder out. Your door is shut again. Now turn around, my friend. Look at your house. Your intruder has gone and there’s no trace of him, but look what he’s left behind. He’s damaged your precious house. Yes, Jesus will turn your scarlet-stained house back to snow-white. But wait, you knew that all along didn’t you? While you were dancing to Satan’s tunes, you knew it was a wrong song to play, you knew what you were entertaining was not of God, but you thought you’d stop at your own pace, cause Jesus is always there to clean up your mess, isn’t He?

If this is your mentality today, you’re taking the grace of God in vain. Do not bring upon yourself a time when He’s not going to be there to knock your door anymore. Every time you open your door to the devil, you give away part of your house. Were you actually that naive to think those glittery wrapped packages he held were gifts for you? Or did he have to remove the disguise and reveal those guns and swords for you, to not open your door? Sin is like a microbe. Feed it with less than a drop of inoculum and you’ll have enough to replicate over an entire area.

Next time he knocks, run to your phone, dial your security and say, “Lord, I have an unwanted visitor at my door.” Or else, let him in. After he’s gone and the damage is done, turn around again and look. Do you like what you see? Was it worth it? How different would things have been, if you had peeped through that keyhole and just stepped away?

For God took the sinless Christ and poured into Him our sins. Then, in exchange, He poured God’s goodness into us! As God’s partners, we beg you not to toss aside this marvelous message of God’s great kindness. For God says, “Your cry came to Me at a favorable time, when the doors of welcome were wide open. I helped you on a day when salvation was being offered.” Right now God is ready to welcome you. Today He is ready to save you.

  • – 2 Corinthians 5:21, 6:1-2

Even The Philistines Knew God

…the Philistines heard the noise of the shout… they understood that the ark of the Lord had come into the camp, the Philistines were afraid, for they said, “God has come into the camp”. And they said, “Woe to us! For such a thing has not happened before. Woe to us! Who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty gods? These are the gods that smote the Egyptians with every kind of plague in the wilderness…”
1 Samuel 4:6-8

A Philistine is also know by the biblical adjective “uncircumcised”, as mentioned in 1 Samuel 17:26, 36 by David, who meant to suggest a man who had no relationship with God; a foreigner in God’s inheritance. Yet we read in 1 Samuel 4:5-8 that the Philistines knew this same God and they go into great depths to describe Him as a great and powerful God who plagued the Egyptians and struck them to deliver the Israelites. After the Philistines (read unbelievers) won a fight with the Israelites (read believers) and brought the ark of the covenant of the Lord, they were plagued by God’s presence in their camps. But here’s the fact we overlook – they knew exactly what was the cause of their miseries. They called their priests and diviners to get the ark away from them and this what those guys had to say:

“…If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty, but at least return to Him a guilt offering. Then you will be healed, and it will be known to you why His hand is not removed [and healing granted you]… Therefore you must make images of your tumors and of your mice that destroy the land, and give glory to the God of Israel. Perhaps He will lighten His hand from off you and your gods and your land… Why then do you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? When He had done wonders and made a mock of them, did they not let the people go, and they departed?
1 Samuel 6:3-6

The Philistines knew our God. They knew the great things He did for those who trust in Him. Question is, do you know how great is your God?

The Forbidden Things

Christian life is often portrayed as a victorious journey – fighting off the devil and shouting cries of triumph with the Lord’s guiding hand upholding us. We are warriors always on the battlefront patiently awaiting the Lord’s instructions on tackling the enemy.

However, while these situations can make us feel more reliant on the Lord and reassures us of His love and care as we go forward, we also need to ensure that His presence is with us. Psalm 127:1 is a well known verse in the Christian world. When we set out to do a task, unless it has gained the approval of the Almighty, we are fighting a losing battle. When we try to go about our own way and not consult Him beforehand, it can end up with dire consequences.

In Deuteronomy 2: 36, 37, we are presented with the success of the Israelite conquests on foreign lands. The point to be highlighted is that victory was theirs as long as they followed the Lord’s commands and fought accordingly. In verse 37, it says they did not even bother to look at places which had been forbidden by God.
As Christians, we are not called to fight every battle, we are not allowed to live and do as we please. Once we surrender our lives to Him, we become a part of Him. We are no longer a single entity. And as children of the Most High, there are certain things we are forbidden to do, certain places we are forbidden to enter, certain words we are forbidden to speak, certain jobs which are forbidden to us and so on. Often we are so blind to Him that in trying to attain them, we are met with unnecessary heartaches and disappointments.

Instead, if we seek and trust the Lord’s will in our lives (Proverbs 3: 5, 6), we’ll realize that temporary discomforts pave the route for a brighter and happier future. Blind faith in His ability to provide the best enables us to rest through the storms and tempests in our lives. As the English saying goes, The forbidden fruit tastes sweetest, what it doesn’t mention is the bitter taste it leaves behind once it’s been swallowed.

An Atmosphere for Worship

Atmosphere For Worship

Worship is said to come from the heart and it is between God and you, isn’t it? It is a one-on-one encounter with Him where you praise Him simply because He is worthy of it besides the fact that as His children it is His right to receive it from you. It is an outward expression of our love and gratitude for who He is, for enfolding us into His flock, for what He has done in our lives, for what He is able to do. There can be no single reason for praising Him. They number far too many. Worship is an experience that has to be personally felt by every one of His children and God desires that it be not tainted or influenced by external forces. It is a pure and blissful feeling that resides in every one of us as we are aware of ourselves being transformed into another world where only God and His people exist.

But just how pure is it in our society today?

As we read Matthew 2:1-12, we stumble upon a common passage in the Bible – the wise men from the east visit Jesus. They had travelled from far to meet the King of the Jews (Matthew 2:2). Now a manger is hardly a place where a king can be expected to reside in. But when they saw the star, they didn’t question the place. In fact, we read that “they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy” (Matthew 2:10).

When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Matthew 2:10-11

Verse 11 says that “they entered the house… and worshiped Him” and presented very expensive gifts to Him. We need to understand that these were no ordinary men. They were learned men and they might have been quite rich (considering the gifts they brought).

But as they entered the manger and saw whom they needed to see (Jesus), they couldn’t care less about anything else. They didn’t care that they had travelled miles and miles to finally see Him in a poorly manger, they didn’t care that the place was smelly, dirty and noisy, they didn’t care that Mary and Joseph and the Child were not dressed in fine apparel and decked in jewellery as should be for a king. They didn’t keep any prejudices or preconceived notions in their mind. When they saw Jesus, everything else faded away. They understood their aim and that was all that mattered to them. Everything else was only secondary. There was nothing special about the place but it became a place worthy of worship because Jesus was present in there.

How do we measure our churches? Based on the number of people attending? Based on the quality of musical instruments being played? Based on the beauty and space of the hall? Based on the smartness of the pastor? Some people spend their entire life wobbling from one church to the other in search of the “perfect” church. And because they keep complaining and keep looking out for a utopian church, they miss numerous opportunities to enjoy the beauty of just sitting in His wonderful presence and worshiping Him.

It doesn’t really matter where you are or how many people there are. It doesn’t matter whether you are in a hall with 1000 other people or even if you are in a little hut with just two people, the only question you need to ask is “Is Jesus in there?” If so, prayers are bound to be answered, miracles are bound to happen; His peace and joy will be filled in each and every believer’s heart. If not, it is equivalent to a few people gathering in a hall, making some noise and going away. The purpose of worship (which is the ultimate purpose) will never be met.

Dear brothers and sisters, next time you enter your worship hall, stop analysing the hall or the singers or anything else. Enjoy His presence and worship Him for He deserves it.