To me, the past few years seemed like an everlasting tunnel of events. There were many good moments and many bad moments. But nothing has ever given me the peace and the satisfaction I had when I was a very passionate Christian about 6 years back. At that time, I was a young preacher unashamed and unafraid. I was on a spiritual high as soon as I hit the pulpit in a Church or block of cement at the street. I would close my eyes and shout out the name of my saviour, hoping that somewhere someone who is in deep need of salvation would silently believe the Word of God. Those were the days. It seems impossible to go back but I think I have now decided to pursue a life of adventure and challenge in the world of evangelism and missions. I am coming out of this tunnel. My story continues and I hope to inspire my generation and the next.
Acts 3:1-10 Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money. Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene,[a] get up and[b] walk! Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them. All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God. When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded!
In story of the lame beggar, we see the two kinds of lives. One is that of the lame beggar. A life of no hope, no healing, being carried daily to the temple by some friends, settling for a few coins to feed him for the day. He has been living like that since birth. The second one is that of Peter and John. A life led by the Spirit and full of hope. They did not live for money but lived by faith in the name of Jesus. These two lives clashed at the gate of the temple called Beautiful. The lame beggar asked for money but the apostles gave them more than that. Peter later spoke and said that it was by faith in Jesus’ name that the man was healed.
How do you live your life? Are you spiritually lame, driven by the world to the house of God but not receiving what you really need but expecting God to only provide finance to help you through the day? Or are you led by the spirit into a faith-filled miraculous life? Here’s what will change your life. Jesus commanded his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they were baptized by the Spirit as was promised and then they will be his witnesses around the world. Holy Spirit baptism can turn your life around just as he did for the apostles.
Following God’s instructions by faith
Luke 22:7-13 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it.” They said to him, “Where will you have us prepare it?” He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house that he enters and tell the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished; prepare it there.” And they went and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
Jesus asked the disciples to prepare the Passover meal. He did not tell them, where and how to do it. So they asked him and he gave them the instructions. If we were to get these instructions, it would still be vague for us to follow them but that’s how God works. He gives us the immediate plan and still leaves in enough room for us to exercise our faith in him. The disciple went ahead and did according to the instructions and they prepared the Passover meal just as Jesus wanted.
Enduring hardship with gladness
Luke 22:14-20 And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
We read here that Jesus although he was the one who arranged for the Passover meal, he did not participate in the meal rather he led them into it. He desired to eat with his disciples but he waited till after his suffering on the cross. Why did he do that? This is what I think. When a man is sentenced to death, the modern justice system allows the man to have his last meal, one that he desires to enjoy before everything ends for him. In the case of our Lord, the death he was to endure was not the end but the beginning. The bible says that he endured the cross for the joy that was set before him. It wasn’t the meal that brought him happiness, it was our salvation that kept him going. He now wishes to dine with us as we celebrate his victory on the cross. Don’t we serve an awesome God?
From the beginning of Gospel of Mark, people around Jesus were in awe of his preaching. They realized that Jesus was different from the others because he spoke with authority (Mark 1:22). John the Baptist introduces the Savior as the one who is mightier than him (Mark 1:7). Yet there were those who questioned his authority and saw him as an ordinary teacher like John the Baptist and the Pharisees. So they asked Jesus the below questions from Mark 2:18,19.
Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.
I believe Jesus knew their hearts and answered them that he is not to be compared to the others. He is God himself who has come like a bridegroom. He had pictured himself as the husband of his people Israel (Isaiah 62:4; Jeremiah 2:2; 3:20; Ezekiel 16:8; Hosea 2:19) and now the word of God has become flesh so that he can be with his people. Fasting was a time when the children of God mourned and prayed for a God encounter. Since Jesus is now with them, their mourning has turned to dancing. The Lord compares this situation to stitching a new garment into an old garment and storing new wine in an old wine skin. They are both very different and are not to be mixed.
Paul says in Romans 12:1 ‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship’. Before I can explain to you the revelation I received regarding this verse, I would like to draw your attention to the story of Eli’s sons in 1 Samuel Chapter 2 verse 27 onward. We see that Eli and his family were chosen to serve God as priests. They were given the privilege to wear priestly costumes and perform sacrificial rituals on behalf of Israelites and even partake in the sacrificial food that was offered to God. Eli’s sons however dishonored God by sending servants to bring them sacrificial food even before the process of sacrifice was complete. A worship that was once meant to please God has now become a ritual now meant to please the priest’s sons. The honour that was meant for God alone has been robbed by the very people who were meant to bring him honour. God therefore cursed Eli’s generation and the rest is history.
Similarly in the new testament age, we who have called on the name of Jesus; we have received salvation and have been made one with Christ. According to 1 Peter 2:9 we are now God’s chosen people, a royal priesthood and a holy nation. For God to give sinners these privileges and titles is by his mercy and by the power of the blood of Jesus (1 Peter 2:10). It is this very mercy of God that Paul refers to in Romans 12:1. In view of this mercy, we are to offer our bodies as living sacrifice HOLY and ACCEPTABLE. This means we are to offer ourselves to God giving him all honour and all glory. How do we do it? In Romans 12:2, we are told to avoid living by pattern of this world and be transformed by the renewing of our minds. The pattern of this world is to accept sin as normal, is to live life like there is no tomorrow and is to dishonour God by living in darkness. We, the children of God need to hate evil and also love sincerely. We cannot worship God and live the way of the world just as Eli’s sons. We are called to live Holy and Acceptable. If we sin, we have the right to ask God for forgiveness and to be reconciled and to change from our old ways by the renewing of our minds.
I have made a short Youtube video about this topic. I hope it blesses you today.
In Luke 18:15-17, it is said that people were bringing little children even babies to Jesus to have him touch them. These parents were willing to bring their children to God and have them experience him in real. But the disciples rebuked the parents and stopped them. Has this happened to you? Have you ever neglected your children from experiencing God because you think they are not old enough to understand God yet. This is big mistake. God can talk to anyone whether they are capable or not of understanding him. Children also represent those people who have not heard of Jesus or those that are physically incapable of understanding God or those new Christians who have just begun their new life. The Bible says that Jesus called these children back to him and told the disciples that the Kingdom of God belongs to these little ones. Oh what a statement was that?
In Mathew 21, we see children shouting Hosanna to Jesus, the Son of David. Seeing this and miracles, the chief priests were stunned. Jesus reminded them of the verse that goes “From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise”.
Dear reader, I want to encourage you to take your children with you whenever you pray or go to Church. Give them the same importance as you would give an adult. These children have the capacity to learn very well right from their birth. Also if you feel someone is like a child incapable of understanding God, don’t give up. Be a good Christian and keep sharing the saving Word of God. God bless you.
Life is filled with options and we have different reasons for the choice we make. For some the reason may be happiness, for some the reason may be money, for some it may be an unfulfilled dream and some others make decisions for negative reasons. With every choice we make there is a reason. In Luke 5:33-38 (mouse over to reveal verse), the pharisees ask Jesus why his disciples eat and drink while John the Baptist’s and their own disciples pray and fast all the time. Does not God require them to perform these rituals? Does Jesus not follow the traditions of the old testament.
Well our Lord Jesus had a reason why he did not allow his disciples to fast. He himself was the reason. As long as he, the bridegroom is with them there is no need to fast because we fast to be in the presence of God. Jesus Christ also explains this in a few parables. If we have an old cloth and a new one, would we cut the new one and repair the old one with it. No, because that destroys both the new and the old. Besides, why would we need the old torn cloth when we already have a new one? Would we pour new wine into an old wineskin? No, because that would break the old wineskin and ruin the wine. Would we choose new wine over old. No, we want the old one which tastes better.
Similarly, just because someone says you need to do something is not a reason enough for you to do it whether it is fasting or praying or ministering. What we do as a Christian should not come out of compulsion or tradition. It should come out of a need and hope. Jesus is the world’s greatest need and our greatest hope. So when we pray or read Bible, we should do it out of wanting to know God and to have our lives changed. When we help or minister someone, we should do it because Jesus did the same to us. For a Christian, there is no greater reason than Jesus. If this has blessed you or you have something more to add, please let me know. Thanks.