Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The dancing God

Zephaniah 3:17 says 'The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you;in his love he will no longer rebuke you,but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Here we see a picture of God. The happy God, the dancing God who beholds his people, who beholds his church and sings over them. He gazes upon their beauty and the light that radiates of his church delights him. There was a time when judgement and wrath was their portion, but look how he has loved them. For the Man with eyes like fire and feet like bronze, who leads His church is His Son. And look at his hands and feet, they are pierced, it is because of His wounds that light radiates of his church for the Light belongs to the Son and look how marvellously He covers them with great delight. Behold the dancing God, He has come with songs, songs of merriment, and songs of joy. He quietens their souls with his abundant love. And behold, the Blessed Spirit, the One who sealed them  till the day of their redemption, who instilled His fruits of love in them so that they may behold the manifold perfections of the Son, who perfectly displayed to them the heart of His Father. Look now and see how the Three, the blessed Three stand in perfect unity, with a gracious smile and cheerful playfulness. The beauty of holiness fills the place and His church with one voice, the Baptists and the Anglicans, the free and the redeemed, the non denominations and denominations with one voice, sing Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD God Almighty.

K.Oni 

Monday, 29 November 2010

More short Poems

A day like this

Perhaps a day like this I prayed
Where my eyes can flee from this pain
Internally immortality I did believe it would remain
Till this day came and released my ache


No laughs remain                                             I spend my time
                                                                       Alone tonight
I did believe                                                              Unused and fused
once a day                                                      With energy bright
A man ought                                                              I long to touch
to cry away.                                                    but none to reach
Then to Laugh                                                                they all pass by
about his fate                                                    and ignored my ring
for the day
No laughs remain.

K.Oni

Upward call to Heaven

This is my poor attempt to imitate the wonderful book called ‘Stepping Heavenward’. The book is written in a journal style format and it details the story of a girl as she lives her life and grow in godliness. Its worth a read for all girls and boys perhaps may learn from it as well. I am currently reading it and it has inspired me to imitate Prentiss style and write one of my own, titled, ‘Upward call to heaven’. I will be writing it and posting it up in parts. You can download and read Stepping heavenward from this link: Stepping Heavenward.

Upward call to heaven (1)

I designed to get up bright and early this morning but hearing the rain pour outside dismantled my ambition. The air was cold, and my bed was delightfully warm. So, I stayed a while making sound promises to myself until the loud voice of my loving mother bellowed through my door. I chuckled, because I had made a promise that I would be more obedient to her and each morning greet her with a kiss for I had come to see the ugliness of my lack of affection towards her. I hurdled of my bed and wrapped a garment around me to shield me from the wintry air, which a few days ago had curt me with her shrivelling cold. I had no handkerchief so I suspended the breathing out of my sneeze and I rush towards mother and kissed her intentionally. A wonderful smile covered her remarkably young face.
“Say grace my dear”, mother said to me; I said it joyfully and it seems that this morning there was nothing out to plague me and all my pathways were surprisingly clear. “Its time to go to school my dear”, mother told me. This time it was her who kissed me and her kisses are always warm and she told me that upon my return from school that she wanted to speak with me. She said it in such a tone that brought no peace upon my mind but the sound of Amelia soon took my mind away. She was a pretty girl, dark air and had a taste for everything sweet. She was my best friend for I known her since we were three and if our history had never been, I imagine that she would not have noticed me at all.

My time at school was well and Amelia spoke so eloquently in the English class that the teacher said of her that she would be a writer one day and of me, he made no comment. I said goodbye to her; then I remembered mother’s departing words to me and a curiosity shadowed my mind.

Mother called me into her room, she looked at me with discontented eyes. She said that there needs to be a change in my character and at times I cause her many grief by my rashness and foolish manners. My heart sunk in me and told her that I am indeed a miserable creature and when I wake each morning, I make myself promises to be better each day. She smiled slightly and said that perhaps in a few years, I would be more mature and grow to be the loveliness of this village and such was her prayers for me, that I would exhibit more of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. She kissed me gently, affirming her love for me but my soul was so trodden that I wanted to be left alone for a while to wobble in my depravity; and how I must bring shame upon mother who is the taste of our village.

 I hurried to my room and sat down at my old desk and covered my face with my eyes and sobbed heavily. I love mother for she is all that I have but my foolish manners as she says is of a disgrace and everyone affirms it by the way they act towards me but only mother and Amelia love me enough to tell me so. I thought of Amelia and how proud her mother would be of her and how her house would ring of her praises. I was a contrast to her.

 On my desk, Mother had left my bible opened for me to the book of Galatians and marked out for me Galatians 5:22. She left a note for me saying that each morning and evening I ought to slowly think about one of the fruits and pray diligently until God himself forms them in me.  I cleaned my face and rushed downstairs for supper. It was just me and mother and she made all the pleasantries in which I love to eat and she kissed me goodnight. There is never bitterness in the air when Mother is around and her face chuckled with laughter as she told me of her old stories. I went upstairs and did as she said and for the first time I had kept one of my promises and eager I was to tell her the next morning.

K.Oni

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Active Worship

True worship consist not in the praise and singing of Sunday services, nor even in your gatherings. But true worship is shown in your love for one another. It is also shown in administering justice and demonstrating compassion. It is shown by you not thinking evil of each other in your hearts. Worship is shown in kindness, being patient, self-control and loving your enemies. Worship is obeying God and delighting in His precepts. It is first loving God and active towards neighbour.

But take heed that you do not raise up your hands in worship while your necks are stiff and your hearts hardened; hating your neighbour and promoting injustice. For your cries are mere noises and you are only arousing the wrath of God against you. You will cry out to Him and he will not listen.

But first, if you find this horrible corruption in your heart, humble yourself, confess your sins and then turn to God for He is faithful and will forgive your unrighteousness. Do not continue to play the hypocrite but turn and love your neighbour. Remember to forgive those who have wronged you and rid yourself of all evil practices. Come first to the fountain of the blood of the lamb and immerse yourself in his pool; for he sanctifies you and makes you holy.

Be active in your worship and seek to obey his precepts with joy of heart for his precepts are not burdensome. Then you may lift up your hands in worship and sing delightful praises to the Lord and it shall be unto Him like a sweet smelling aroma. Do not delay but come, come and be washed and walk the earth with the garment of love and the robe of righteousness.

K.Oni

Demonic realities and the need for spiritual warfare prayers

Just like the Sadducees in Acts 23:8, many in the western world deny the reality of anything they cannot see. They deny the spiritual world and reduce everything to mere materialism or if they do believe in the spiritual, they focus merely on the good spirits and neglect the evil ones. Even if they do believe in evil spirits, they are not taking into serious consideration but are soon dismissed as powerless and meaningless. Also, evil spirits or the demonic realm are thought of to be mere fantasy and products of fiction and the dark ages; but this plays sweetly with the demons because they can carry out their duties without much bother at all. Even in some churches, although a believe in the demonic realm is assumed to be real, yet, there is a real neglect in dealing and crippling their effects on a particular people or places.  Are we neglecting the demonic realm to our own ineffectiveness in evangelism? This issue was tackled in the Lausanne Covenant of 1974 where the last two sentences read thus:


We therefore call upon all Christians to pray for such a visitation of the sovereign Spirit of God that all his fruit may appear in all his people and that all his gifts may enrich the body of Christ. Only then will the whole church become a fit instrument in his hands, that the whole earth may hear his voice.


In these sentences, the Lausanne covenant aims to encourage all Christians to pray for all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and to pray in such a way that takes evil spirits and the spiritual realm seriously. The reason for this, is because scripture takes the spiritual and demonic realm seriously especially in the converting of unbelievers.


2 Corinthians 4:4 tells us that ‘the god of this age (that is the devil) has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. Also Paul tells us in 2 Tim 2:26 that the devil has taken unbelievers captive to do his will. Ephesians 2:2 tells us that Satan works in the sons of disobedience. In Revelation 12:9, the devil deceives the whole world and that he thwarts missionary activities. Also in our missionary duties we know that our struggles is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the power of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms, Ephesians 6:12.


With this evil supernatural forces at work, although we cannot see them, it remains a reality that we need to be prepared for. For example in 2 kings 6 when Elisha and his servant were surrounded by their enemies, Elisha’s servant was afraid but Elisha said to him, vs. 16-17, “Don’t be afraid,”. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha’. Perhaps the Lord needs to open our eyes to the reality of the supernatural and even more to behold His glory.


Evidently now, warfare praying, with earnest urgency should dominate our evangelism along with the preaching of the gospel because we know that Satan has blinded the minds of unbelievers, and that he holds them captive. The demonic realm influences areas and places and hold particular places as strongholds, Rev 2:13. Ephesians 6 tells us that we should put on the full armour of God so that we can stand against the devil’s schemes. These are necessary because Christians are engaged in warfare and this warfare is spiritual. The way we fight it, is dominantly through prayer. We cannot do it in our own strength for we wrestle not against flesh and blood and we need the supernatural work of God to breakthrough in the lives of our unbelieving neighbour and in areas where the air is rifled with darkness.


Knowing that there is a demonic realm at work in the world and in the lives of unbeliever we should expect the gospel to come in power to triumph over the works of the devil because in 1 john 3:8 it says that ‘the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil’. Also in Acts 26:18, Jesus commissioned Paul to preach among the Gentiles ‘that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive the forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are being sanctified in me’.


So, in our lives, we should be earnest in the duty of prayer, and seek all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and should expect signs and wonders to follow, and that could manifest itself in the converting of sinners because it takes omnipotent power to awaken dead unbelievers into alive believers.


K.Oni



Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Prince Charming WLTM A Future Queen


So I’m driving back to Wales from Hertfordshire. The weather’s atrocious; thick fog dissected by blinding shafts of light. Breaking news on BBC Five Live: Buckingham Palace has just confirmed the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton. After eight years of...you know the rest.
My immediate reaction is disappointing; a momentary happiness. After weeks of unyielding gloom a tale of young love raises a smile on this middle aged face. Then normal business is resumed as I realise that this wedding will now be the starter, main course and pudding of every media outlet for month after month.
I can’t say I’m a republican – Cromwell or Crown are both capable of abusing their subjects – but I find the notion of a royal family deeply uncomfortable. There’s too much unquestioning deference to position, privilege and establishment. But again this may be the delirium of someone living in this sceptred isle’s Celtic twilight. 
However, a day later and the media coverage is bewildering. It’s all about media figures, commercial opportunities and whether we’ll get a day off to celebrate the nuptials.
So here goes. The Daily Telegraph estimates one billion people will view the great day whereas The Sun opts for an extravagant three billion audience. A New Zealand website (stuff.co.nz) hopes that Marlborough wines will be quaffed at the reception and that the owners of the winery will be invited. BBC Online reports that a Lincolnshire firm is braced to make vast profits; Countryside Art in Spilsby saw its coffers swell during the Queens jubilee eight years ago and this manufacturer of royal merchandise want even more this time around. And yes, The Independent amongst others opines about the prospect of a national holiday.
What meaning therefore in this sea of tea towels, commemorative mugs and union jack dressing gowns? Probably this: Britain ’s latest regal obsession involves the first institution created by God.   
Only a matter of days after creating everything out of nothing, He decides that this man and woman should get together. And the pronouncement is formal. No sloping off or shacking up – this will involve leaving other formative relationships and publicly cleaving to each other and becoming a family. 
Strange then that this subject has been the least discussed in recent days. The global high and mighty have congratulated the couple on their decision, but no analysis of what they’ve committed to. Now this may be due to the yawning normality of marriage, although this is unlikely considering the soaring rates of cohabitation and divorce.
Essentially this relationship is now counter cultural. It doesn’t quite fit with the way things are in modern Britain . In an environment that advocates social inclusion this quaint arrangement has more in common with William the Conqueror than our modern prince charming.
And what can we say on the matter? An appeal to traditional values won’t wash any longer and statistically Christian marriages are no more permanent than anyone else’s. We have to begin at the beginning. God is a family, where Father, Son and Holy Spirit are eternally committed to each other in love and mutuality.
In His image we go and do likewise. Go for it William and Kate.
By: Gethin Russell-Jones
Evangelical Alliance

Jesus has done all things well

                                             Mark 7:37

What a testimony the people of the 1st century said of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ‘He has done everything well’.  The people were overwhelmed with amazement as Jesus did the good works in which His Father gave him to do. Jesus, in everything he does, does it well.

Do you not believe this doctrine my fellow creatures? Then let me walk you through his life and you will indeed see that He does all things well.

He was born to a carpenter, a man of no reputation, poor in status. At twelve years old we find him in Jerusalem in His Father’s house sitting among the elites of the religious order. He sat among them listening to them and asking them questions. He not only listened but also answered their questions and such was the answers that He gave that everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and answers. Here we see that even at twelve, being a mere boy that Jesus does all things well. (Luke 2:41-51).

Jesus began His ministry with a baptism from John the Baptist. Many before Jesus had been baptized by John, but when Jesus was being baptised, as he was coming up out of the water, John saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven saying: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased” Mark 1:9-11. You see, even in baptism, Jesus does all things well.

The ministry of Jesus could be summed up in his manifesto, “The time has come, the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news”.  Here, he would walk the dusty streets of Israel for three years with his gang of disciples, doing miraculous signs and wonders, speaking such words that even his enemies dared not to question him further. The demons trembled at his sight, the wind obeyed his voice, the dead rise, the blind made to see, the stranger welcomed to his company, the proud silenced, the kids blessed, the woman liberated, sinners forgiven, the hungry fed, his disciples transformed apart from Judas whom he had perfectly picked to achieve his purpose. You see, in all things Jesus does all things well.

Now we embark on that bitter Friday, where Judas’ purpose on being a disciple was all for this very hour; to betray his master. In that solemn garden, with many soldiers as if they were coming for a murderer, Judas led the way as fitting for a son of perdition and kissed his Lord. But he knew not that Jesus does all things well and Judas is simply fulfilling the sacred scriptures in which our Lord Jesus is the author of, for the scriptures testify about Him. Zechariah writes, ‘So they paid me thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said to me, “throw it to the potter”- the handsome price at which they valued me’ Zechariah 11:12-13. Judas sold our precious Lord Jesus for thirty pieces of silver for that was how much he valued his Lord, the Holy one of Israel. Even in betrayal, Jesus does all things well.

In our Lord’s trial, the whole chief priest and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death but they did not find any. They scuffled and howled, leaving no corners unturned in order to find a piece of condemning evidence, but in all the earth, none could be found. They lied and cheated, for they loved the darkness and hate the light, till finally they condemned him by the truth which came out from the mouth of our Lord Jesus. For Jesus gladly said that I am the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven, (Mark 14:55-62). You see, even in his trial, Jesus does all things well.

We behold the man on the tree, facing the people who once hailed him with Hosannas. And we see a crown of thorns on his head, three pierced nails nailing him to his cross; blood flowing from his head to his feet, two thieves at his side, He was thirsty and they gave him vinegar, the soldiers mocked him, they insulted him, the crowds adamant for his crucifixion. And we behold the man on the tree with the marred face, looking with sorrowful eyes at pain not his own, and dared to utter the words, ‘Father forgive them’. He glared up into heaven and gave up is spirit to His beloved Father. The centurion who saw all this (that is how Jesus died), remarked that ‘surely this man was the Son of God!’. Will this not also be your cry after the survey you have just witnessed. Are you not yet convinced that Jesus does all things well. Isaiah tells us the deeper meaning of the crucifixion of Jesus, and that it was all for you. For Jesus took up your infirmities and carried your sorrows, but you may consider him stricken by God, smitten by him and afflicted. But neigh; he was wounded for your sins, yea, your blackest sins, and was crushed for your iniquities. He endured such opposition from sinful men for your sake. The punishment that brings you peace was upon him, and by his wounds you are healed. You are like a sheep who has gone astray, turned to his own way and God laid on Jesus the iniquity of us all.(Isaiah 53). You see even in his cross, He does all things well.

But there is one more event to be mentioned, and this of all events, crowns his victory. This event, he does perfectly well and only in the end of the ages will such marvellous works be displayed again. Although the devil and his sons had crucified Jesus, they knew not that Jesus does all things well. For in three days, the tomb which held captive the body of Jesus, will be broken out of by the resurrected Christ. For Jesus had risen, he conquered death for death could not hold him. The life in our Lord was too delightful for the bitterness of death, His love too overwhelming and his power too great. He arose in the dawn of the morning like the sun and his opened eyes sparked a tremendous rejoicing among all the low and high creatures who delight in the glory of God. Even in death, Jesus does all things well. Will you not also be amazed, will you not also be in wonder? And today will you not commit thyself to the one who does all things well. Can you say that about any other captain, or about any other Lord’s. But we can with confidence say it about Jesus, that He does all things well!.

There are many more things that could be spoken of here, for example, Jesus is a perfect saviour, a perfect sanctifier, a perfect redeemer, and also the good shepherded, who brings all of his sheep to the green pastures although their path may at times be rocky and at times they may fall in the waves of the river, yet the good shepherded brings all of his sheep home. So if you are a sheep of our Lord today, dance with overwhelming confidence that He will bring you home. Jesus has done all things well.

K.Oni

Friday, 19 November 2010

To draw your beauty


Many times have I taken to my pen

To draw your beauty of unspeakable words

Many times I have failed

Left frustrated at my incomparable skill.

K.Oni

Thursday, 18 November 2010

The Joy of confession

Sinner: I’m tempted to go back to those things in which I left; the struggle within me is fierce and one hour I am fine, rejoicing and the next besotted with temptation; the attractiveness of the fast life, the music and swagger seems to be calling me. The pride of life reaches out for me, to work for my own gain and security, to look for my own comfort and to forget that Calvary road in which the Spirit within me is so inclined to walk. I am torn in and out and I know which one is more beneficial for me but my flesh wants me to walk the other way

Good Sir: This trial you are going through is not strange to many saints; the apostle himself walked the rope of departure for the evil one wanted to sift him. But remember the comment of our Lord, that He was praying for him. And now are you not confident that He is in heaven praying for you also?

Sinner: But I feel the weight of my guilt and it presses upon me. I cannot move, nor turn to the right or left, it chases me. For when I contemplate on my motives and the lack of desire in me to glorify his name, I am filled with disgust at myself and inclined to question my own salvation. I feel worse than the devil and sure I am the worst sinner to have embraced this falling world. Furthermore, I read the scriptures and at times I delight in prayer, but then my failures comes clearly to my mind and I do my all to flee from His presence; so I engage in no religious duty at all. What is the solution to my trouble? and this is merely the surface of it all. For if I should pour out all of my sins on you, it would take me the whole year and more.


 I am a terrible man, sir, and although it seems wise for me to leave his call and walk another path, I cannot forsake him. Even in my most awful moments, I still here his voice so clearly and my mouth cannot bring itself to curse him but to praise him and declare that He is Lord. I have so light a spirit and my reflection upon my own life greatly discourages me. My peace is interrupted and joy eludes me; I am afflicted by the rod of his hands. My dancing has turned to mourning. Woe unto me for I have sinned, and for this my heart faints; has he rejected me forever?

Good Sir: NO! speak thus no longer and tighten your lips. Will you sin against the gospel; are your sins beyond redemption? Was you not an enemy of God when He sent his Son to die for you and how much more shall you gain eternal life by His resurrection. The chastisement you bear at this moment has been felt by saints of the past, some have sought to tear their hair and whip themselves with a 100 lashes, but such deeds they have found to be no remedy at all. The only remedy which calmed the nerve of their conscience was the gospel of the blessed Christ. The sweetness of the message contained in that most precious of books. Believe the gospel and watch your fears fly far away from you.

Sinner: Ah! Good sir, you speak comforting words to a hurting soul and now I do feel a release in my soul for my focus had been on me whereas I should have looked at Him who died for my sins. But sir, is it true that the sins of the justified will never part them from God?

Good Sir: The sins of the redeemed will never part them from God but God may hide his face from them. That is why you feel as you do now, and if you delight yourself to enjoy God, then bid farewell to your sins and employ them no longer. Your sins may cause an enmity and a strangeness between you and God but God shall never turn His back on you. God is there all the time even while you sin, but your sinful eyes cannot see him unless you repent. Another great truth to be observe is that Christ righteousness came through your unrighteousness and now His Spirit is in you to sanctify you.  Now humble yourself and repent of your sins for the Lord will make good to come out of them.

Sinner: Look how the tears flow from my eyes, my condition is better than when I had first started. My faith is richer and how sweet my Lord is to me now and deeply I love him more. My heart can dance again and prayer screams out from my lips. You are good sir and very wise. I shall comfort others with the same words you have comforted me with. 

Good Sir: No one is good but God alone (he laughed). Come here closer to me and let me pray for your soul. (He prayed for him and then gave him of the blessed sacrament of the Lord’s supper).

K.Oni

The missing generation

On Wednesday evening at my local Church, Gavin Calver came to speak on the missing generation.  He asked the question, ‘how many people are there in your church aged between 18-30? Where have they gone? Does it matter? He thinks it does and he sees this lack of 18-30’s as a serious problem.

The conversation grew out of a national and worldwide discussion among Evangelical Alliance members and to tackle the issue, Gavin as been going around different cities, engaging with churches by challenging them to reach out to this key age group.

In his presentation he highlights seven major issues that perhaps account for the lack of 18-30’s in our church and the seven points will be listed below with a brief commentary on each from what I heard and with my own opinions too.

1.     Churches need to see leadership differently- Although the key positions in high authority is held by males it is surprising that the church has now become so feminized. Research shows that females outnumber males in the church by almost 4 to 1 (although this varies depending on the research and demographic of the area).  The problem now with this generation is how does things feel and perhaps the leadership team could explore this area and see how using this approach can best serve the missing generation to the glory of God. Also perhaps, authoritarian leadership may not be the best approach but a sacrificial approach, willing to sacrifice once style but maintaining consistency with scripture

2.     Young people need to be empowered- Rather than allowing young people to be mere consumers, they should be empowered and giving roles and responsibilities in the church. Young people should be active and not passive because passivity will lead to a disinterest in church eventually.

3.      Need to be challenged- churches need to challenge their young peoples and not just to merely   cater for their every need being afraid that they would offend them. Life is to be lived and challenging young people will motivate them to do more and allow them to have a sense of belonging and role in the community. Jesus chose a bunch of young disciples and he challenged them to go into all the world to preach the gospel- such a challenge should be issued to many of the young peoples in church today and due to their energy and youthful strength, more will be accomplished.

4.      Need to be straight talked- Some churches are laden with hypocrisy and the youth sees this among the older generations and are thus turned off from the church. The church should be a place of authenticity and not merely religious; young people should not be pampered down for the sake of keeping them but to be straight forward with them. Its not about them but about Jesus, and we should be straight forward in our lives and be real. We should show them our humanity and that we are not perfect but that God is not yet finished with us yet.

5.       Need freedom to come back- here is a picture of the prodigal son. When he finally came back to His father’s house, how did his father respond? The father ran to meet him with joy and then prepared a feast for him. But in our churches it is seldom the same. When a wayward teenager has finally the guts to admit his wrong and come back to the church, he is not greeted with open arms but a malign of sinicism and criticism. We should have an air of forgiveness and openness, that our churches are keen and eager to welcome back the prodigals with open heart and an unjudgemental spirit.

6.       Need our prayers and support- young people need our prayers and support in so many ways that it is up to us to take time and effort to pray for them and not just to leave them on their own. We should not just give them the task of looking after the Sunday school kids and then invest no time in them when it is in those years that valuable investment is key to their growth and stay in the church. Also when many students go to universities, home churches should not just hand over their rights of discipleship, but they should maintain it by keeping communication and checking on their spiritual health. Half the task will be done if we only kept young people from leaving our churches.

7.       We should start with teenagers- we shouldn’t forget our teenaegers but we should start with them for they are the future of tomorrow. Teenage years is difficult for most Christians, well in general for all for this is where people start to find more things about themselves and choose which social groups they want to belong too. With high social pressure and conformity to the norms of society, many teenage Christians may discard their faith for the sake of acceptance and thus loose their faith altogether. So it is crucial that we do not neglect teenagers, but that we should be relational with them and get alongside them before it is too late.

Galver’s seven points were challenging and indeed one should ponder on them. In addition to his seven points, I want to add two things that perhaps may enhance filling the gap of the missing generation. The first being the necessity of building a community and the second a more practical love at work in the church for the young people.

In building communities, I mean that there should be a free relational integration among all the age groups where we can be church together, where we can be a family and do those things in which families do. Our society is very individualistic and even among families; young people need a place of belonging and if this is not found in the church, then it would be sought for somewhere else. Practical love is vital for building communities and this is where we share each others struggle and burden, that there is a strong solidarity in the church. And if ever one was to have a problem; with key confidence the individual can approach the community and thus the community will all be tuned in to help the individual as much as their strength can afford.

So I pray that, the missing generation may no longer be missing but that your church oh Lord will work with all of their might to fill the gaps, so that more Wilberfoce’ more Whitfield’s may be won for the glory of your precious name.

Link to this is something i wrote titled, 'serve Jesus while you are still young'. http://countedrighteousinchrist.blogspot.com/2010/11/serve-jesus-while-you-are-still-young.html

for further research into this missing generation, more resources are to be found here: http://www.eauk.org/theology/the-18-30-mission-a-missing-generation.cfm
K.Oni

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

God knew Adam would Sin

When Adam disobeyed God in the garden of Eden, God knew that Adam would disobey him and yet God instructed Adam not to eat of the fruit knowing that Adam would rebel against Him. The question now is, if God knew that Adam would sin against Him and thus mean that man would die and be separated from God, then why did God create Adam at all? We look at the world around us and see the many evil things that occur, the tsunamis, the mass murder and all sort of wickedness that abounds on this earth. We are prone to wonder, why such a world exist? If God knew that Adam would sin and have such catastrophic consequences, wouldn’t it have been better to have not created Adam at all. Here I am prone to insert Romans 9:20 which reads ‘But who are you oh man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to him who formed it why did you make me like this’? and in this case who are we to question God on why He created the world. But we shall investigate further on why God created the world.

Many may object that God never knew that Adam would sin against him or that God could not prevent Adam sinning against Him for it violates the free will of man. The first case will be taking up here and the second for the reader to ponder in their own free time. Those who object that God never knew that Adam would sin against him and thus logically are prone to accept that redemption was a secondary plan of God. This view is viable and attractive but scripture will not let us hold to such a position; although many in this position will conclude that God did know but was unable to prevent it and thus came the redemptive plan of God.

Scripture tells us (well from what we can infer from scripture and the upcoming passages) that God knew Adam would sin against him and infact it was necessary that Adam should sin against Him in order to bring about His Sovereign plan for mankind. Redemption was not a secondary plan but it was the first intention of God in creating the world and only through a falling world could redemption ever occur. We know that God is good and Loving and all the defilements we see on this earth and in the universe is due to the corruption of sinful men for Isaiah writes in Isaiah 24:5-6 ‘The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt’. God is not the author of sin, nor wicked (Genesis 50:20), for we know that God is light and in Him dwells no darkness. But we do know from scripture that God created the world and that for His own purposes.

The scripture which speaks of redemption being not a secondary plan of God but the only plan of God are to be found in many verses of the bible but we will look at a couple here. Paul writes in Ephesians 1:4-5,  ‘for he chose us in him (Christ) before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will’. Note in this passage that God chose us in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world. That is before Adam was ever created, God chose us, He chose his people, those whom He would adopt as His sons and vs. 11 tells us that God works out everything according to His plan in conformity with the purpose of His will.

In 2 Timothy 1:9, Paul writes, ‘God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life- not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was giving to us before the beginning of time’. So you see, that before Adam ever sinned against God, God had already giving us grace, that is saving grace and what are we saved from? From sin.

We can conclude that before the creation of the world, God’s plan for mankind was a redemptive plan. God could reveal His mercy and justice, His abundant love for sinners, His patience and wisdom towards an hostile race. This could be done only if there was sin in the world and if you turn to God today and repent from your sins, your heart will rejoice in God so abundantly because you are in a falling world and in any other world this experience you would have never seen or tasted.

K.Oni

Also read Romans 8:18-21. John 17. Acts 4:27-28. Genesis 50:20. Luke 22:31. Isaiah 46:9-10. Proverbs 16:33. Lamentation 3:37

Have a passion for the Unreached people's of the earth

William Carey in his book called 'An enquiry', wrote the following in order to create a passion in people to go to places where there is no present witness or testimonies of the good news of the gospel of God. I also hope that the following will create in you a passion to pray or go or send to the unreached places of this world.

Our own countrymen have the means of grace, and may attend on the word preached if they chuse it.  They have the means of knowing the truth, and faithful ministers are placed in almost every part of the land, whose spheres of action might be much extended if their congregations were but more hearty and active in the cause:  but with them the case is widely different, who have no Bible, no written language, (which many of them have not) no ministers, no good civil government, nor any of those advantages which we have.   Pity therefore, humanity, and much more Christianity, call loudly for every possible exertion   to introduce   the  gospel  amongst  them.  

A Christian minister is a person who in a peculiar sense is not his own; he is the servant of God, and therefore ought to be wholly devoted to him.  By entering on that sacred office he solemnly undertakes to be always engaged, as much as possible, in the Lord’s work, and not to chuse his own pleasure, or employment, or pursue the ministry as a something that is to subserve his own ends, or interests, or as a kind of bye-work.  He engages to go where God pleases, and to do, or endure what he sees fit to command, or call him to, in the exercise of his function.  He virtually bids farewell to friends, pleasures, and comforts, and stands in readiness to endure the greatest sufferings in the work of his Lord, and Master.  It is inconsistent for ministers to please themselves with thoughts of a numerous auditory, cordial friends, a civilized country, legal protection, affluence, splendour, or even a competency.  The flights, and hatred of men, and even pretended friends, gloomy prisons, and tortures, the society of barbarians of uncouth speech, miserable accommodations in wretched wildernesses, hunger, and thirst, nakedness, weariness,  and  painfulness, hard work, and but little  worldly  encouragement,  should  rather  be the  objects  of  their  expectation.  Thus  the apostles acted,  in  the  primitive times,  and endured hardness, as good soldiers of Jesus Christ; and though we living in a civilized country, where Christianity is protected by law, are not called to suffer these things while we continue here, yet I question whether all are justified in staying here, while so many are perishing without means of grace in other lands.  Sure I am that it is entirely contrary to the spirit of the gospel, for its ministers to enter upon it from interested motives, or with great worldly expectations.  On the contrary the commission is a sufficient call to them to venture all, and, like the primitive Christians, go every where preaching the gospel. 

Let then every one in his station consider himself as bound to act with all his might, and in every possible way for God. 


William Carey did not delay his duty for the Lord but he went also and preached Christ among a people who were lost. He is now regarded as the father of modern missions.

K.Oni

Serve Jesus while you are still young

The writer of the book of Ecclesiastes writes “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach you when you will say “I find no pleasure in them”, (12:1). Many young minds, who have been blessed divinely with good health are apt to think that they are too young to enlist in the Lord’s service, and they see the ordinances of God, and think off them to be undesirable in their youth for there is much fun to be had in the world. For everything in the world- the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does is there desire and they see no joy in the things of Christ because it is contrary to their sinful nature. They hear of the commands of God that we are to put off our old nature, to mortify our corrupt passions, to flee lust, to turn from darkness into light, and they seek to delay such piety to their old age and then commit themselves to the service of Christ. But they know not, that in their old age, when their body is feeble and weak and so entrenched in the passions of this world that they will find no pleasure in them.

If the reason for your delay in serving Christ is due to the mortification of your flesh, and the daily carrying of your cross, and denying yourself the passions of this world; what better time to begin than in the days of your youth. When you are still a student, when your strength is high and no frailty is in you, what better time to carry your cross and endure hardness as a good and reliable soldier of Christ. Is not the life of your years only 70 or do you think you will live to a thousand? Does not eternity follow this life and how many millions of years will you spend following the pleasantries of delight? Is not the reward of the righteous the abode of heaven and the wicked the flames of hell? Is God, not the source of all goodness and is Christ commands not easy? For the path of holiness brings a better reward than the sweet failing comforts of this life. Did not Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. For he chose to be ill-treated with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. Will you not look also to your reward and follow the example of Moses.  Will you delay yet longer and perish in your sins for the time is coming when no man will work and the Lord comes like a thief in the night.

The Lord gave us a commandment that we should Love Him with all of our soul, mind and strength. The Love of a young man compared to the love of an old man is more active for one has yet strength to engage in all sorts of errands and active duty in which an old man is declined to do. Did Jesus not choose young disciples and most of them being young in the beginning of their service became amiable characters of faith, and although their faith began as rubber, the many years in their youth which they spend gladly serving their master turned their faith into hard steel that even the worst persecution would not release their joy and confidence in their captain. They delighted in the holiness to which God has called them and their testimony was filled with joy inexpressible and full of glory. Which disciple ever regretted his early service to the Lord? Samuel, we know from his youth served the Lord and it was his joy to serve him all of his life. Timothy knew the scriptures from his youth and how a useful instrument he was to the aging Paul.

If you delay your serving of the Lord until you are of a solid age, how do you know that you will delight in Him then? Or do you not know that sin will take you captive and bid you to do his will and you will have no more strength to fight against it. If you do begin to serve the Lord in your old age, will your mind not be filled with anxiety and deeply regret the fact that you had not begun sooner. But we see great delights among the saints who despise the sensual pleasures of this world and with difficulty subdue their bodies and wills to God Almighty; this is very pleasing to their captain and glorifies Him. Will you not seek to glorify God in your youth by running errands for him and delighting in Him? For He died for you and redeemed you from the corruption of this world and He sanctifies you.

What will you now do! Will you serve the Lord Jesus in the days of your youth, while you are still a student, energetic and fresh or will you return to the pleasures of Egypt? Did He not come to deliver you from the power of sin, for He shed his precious blood to redeem you. Or will you spend your youthful burst in the service of sin and then serve your redeemer in the slowness of old age. Remember your Creator in your youth and serve him with gladness of heart. Be zealous for His glory while you are still young and your old age will have many delights.

If it is your will now that you have seen the error of your own heart or you are now more determined to serve the Lord with all of your strength while you are still full of life, then pray to the Lord this prayer:

Jesus, My sweet saviour, to thee I commit my life and soul and strength. I am young and the years awaits me, I will not tarry in sin or spend my years in the passing pleasures of sin but I will delight in you and will spend my years in serving you. I plea with you that you endow me with your Spirit, that I may live a fullness of life that serves to Glorify you. I will remember you in my youth. In Jesus precious name. Amen

K.Oni

Monday, 15 November 2010

Psalm 5- An Exposition

This Psalm of David is a morning psalm. David prays to God to hear and consider his lament, He wakes in the morning and lays his request before his King and God. The presence of his enemies are still with him and he turns his enemies to God, that God should deal with them and their wickedness.  The Psalm begins with David, humbling himself before God and in a gentle but earnest whisper ask God to vs. 1 Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my groaning. Here David is asking God for two things which are for God to listen to his words and to consider his groaning. David presents his case before God, he makes his petition known to him and his words are not motionless but it is accompanied with groaning of heart meaning that his troubles are real and not the mere repetition of a hypocrite. His prayers are immediate and may God consider them to test his sincerity and if found genuine, that God may grant them and give relieve to his aching soul. We can learn from David that our prayers if genuine should be filled with emotions like that of groaning if that is our situation. Our hearts should be stirred when we pray for the lost or for the justice of God towards wicked men and not to be mere babblers. David, further ask God to also vs. 2 give attention to the sound of his cry. It is evident that David is moved by his request and want God to focus on the sound of his cry. Sometimes, words allude us when the trouble is to much for our soul and we can do nothing but weep, like the mother who has lost her child, crying becomes her expression and how penetrative it is to the heart of men. Even more, the tears of the saints never fail to reach the heart of God, there is a sweetness, a soul moving eloquence in our cries that God cannot but hear them and be moved with great compassion.  My King, and my God. David drawn into covenant with God knows whom his King is and like a good citizen and a dearly loved creature, he pours his heart out to God, the God of his fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. David although a King himself recognizes that the true King is God himself, he accepts that he is a man under authority and he gladly submits to the kingship of God. For to you I pray. Our prayers should always be directed to God who is our king and not to any of his host or those he has appointed to office, our plea and thanksgiving is to God and God alone for He alone is King.

Vs. 3 O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice. David expresses the total assurance that God hears his voice. For David, morning prayers are never wasted nor do they fall on deaf ears, but God always hears because He is God and King. In the morning you also should rise and pray and throw away your tiredness for God hears our morning prayers. In the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch. Here is a spirit of expectancy, a spirit of fervency and diligence. The word sacrifice is often a priestly term for laying the altar fire and arranging the pieces of the burnt offering. David lays out his prayer before God like a sacrifice, he prepares it diligently and carefully like a priest to his task. He does not slumber but rises in the morning and sacrifice his heart to God and more so he watches. That is that he waits for an answer, like the prophet of God who eagerly wait for the first report of God’s word, so David waits and that expectantly. Like David, we should not rush into our morning prayers but first consecrate our hearts and say thus, ‘I prepare my body as a living sacrifice’, and let the sacrifice of praise reign in your heart and there prayer shall be the more sweeter and enjoyable. When you do pray in the morning, do not forget to watch, that is to watch for the results of your prayers so that you do not miss the opportunity to rejoice and thank God.

Vs. 4-6 David’s prayer begins to take shape as a plea for justice. He pleas against his enemies and begs of God to do away with them because God is a champion of justice and the avenger of iniquity. Where injustice reign, God is against it and He bends His bow and at any moment He may release His hand and strike those devils to ruin. Vs.4 For you are not a God who delights in wickedness. It is true that God takes no pleasure nor delight in wickedness. We should never entertain in our minds that God is indifferent towards injustice and wickedness, for God hates it and that with a perfect hatred. Are you moved and troubled at the actions of wicked men, God hates it more than you do.  He takes no delight in wickedness. Many wicked men may think that God is altogether like them and their misdeeds will be passed over by God for it is mirth to their soul and think it would be so with God. But they are fools and know not God who is Holy and eternally righteous. They think that they can dwell with God after their passing from this earth but realise not that evil may not dwell with Him. Neither in this age or the age to come, evil will never dwell with God. The mansions of heaven will not be inhabited by lawless and wicked men; Jesus did not prepare a place for them nor did the thought ever enter into his mind. The mansion is for the regenerated, the righteous and not reprobates. For what has Jesus with Beelzebub? For what has the sons of God with the sons of the Devil? It is true that the righteous will inhabit heaven because of the blood of the lamb and while there is still breath in any man God is pleading for you to repent and thus dwell with him in this age and in the age to come. Vs. 5 The boastful shall not stand before your eyes. Foolish men are quick to speak and slow to understand. They avail their own success to their ability and forget God. They boast about tomorrow and treasure their riches but God in an instant cast their souls to the pit. Even in the courts of heaven they dare to boast about their righteousness and like a filthy stench to the Almighty nose, he cast them off and slays them with the presence of His might. So do not dare to boast apart from the cross, boast not like the Pharisee and not like the wise sages of this earth for God brings them to nothing. But boast in Jesus and in his crucifixion. Boastful men are generally workers of iniquity and it is said of God that He hates all evildoers. This is not just a temporal hatred, or a mere dislike but a calculated hatred for God hates all of their activities. He reveals his wrath against them and how terrible is this wrath. Let us who have known the Love of God be quick to mention to men without Christ of this hatred towards their sin, for it is a terrible thing to fall in the hands of an angry God. Let them know of their destruction and bid them to flee to the cross, to the Christ. Vs. 6 You destroy those who speak lies; the ninth commandments read that, ‘you shall not bear false witness against your neighbour’. David’s enemies have flattered themselves in bearing false witness about him, they slander his goodness and realised not that God destroys those who speak lies and that in His holy commandment it is forbidden. Let us watch our lips and our lives. As well as hating all evildoers and destroying those who speak lies, the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man. The consistency of God’s hatred towards all wickedness is evident and no evildoer or wicked man will escape the righteous wrath of God, for He abhors them and their practices. The bloodthirsty will not escape nor the deceitful man. Are you not yet afraid of the terror of the Lord against your sins and will you not flee to the cross wherein is your only shelter.


Vs 7. The beginning of this verse marks an end to the call of Justice to God against evildoers.  The psalmist changes the focus unto himself and contrast himself against the wicked. But I, we must not fail to miss the significance of the but here, which is spoken of so confidently that he his not like the wicked men but he is altogether different. The psalmist says but I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. The wicked in vs. 4 may not dwell with God and therefore will never enter into his house but we see an altogether different picture with the psalmist. David’s entrance into the house of God is due to the abundance of God’s steadfast love and is God’s love not displayed for us on the cross; that whoever believe in Jesus, he will by no means cast out.  I will bow down towards your holy temple in the fear of you. Although we have no temples to bow down towards, yet we are to lift our eyes to the heaven, bowing our knees and in deep admiration worship with joy exceeding because God has loved us and allowed us to enter into his house.

Vs. 8.  Lead me, O Lord. David here, seeks not leadership from men but from God, he asks God directly to lead him because God is the greatest captain of all. Has Jesus ever led you astray or has he ever given you the wrong directions? Before we venture out or take any steps let us pray with earnestness for God to lead us. David prays that God should lead him in His righteousness.  How happy are they who gladly follow in the righteousness of God, or they who walk in his righteousness. But many feel that God’s righteousness is distasteful and will never pray like David prays; but those who know the righteousness of God will plea for God to lead them in His righteousness and nothing else will satisfy.  David ask of God to lead him in His righteousness because of his enemies and that God would make His way straight before him. The righteous in heart desires  not to be like the wicked men and thus seek a straight and narrow path. The righteous man has given up all of his ways which like the wicked men would have led to evil but have gladly submitted and enlisted to the straight path that God has paved for the righteous.  Will you not forsake your own ways and today will you not begin the Calvary journey in which the Lord Jesus has marked out for you. 

Vs 9. David once again focuses on the wicked and the next two verses like verses 4-6 ask God to give justice and cast them out. For there is no truth in their mouth; this is because they are all liars and deceitful in their ways. They know not the way of truth but of lies and their most inmost self is destruction. The wicked and the godless receive in themselves the due penalty for their errors. Their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue. Wicked men are spoken of here to flatter with their tongue and that their throat is an open grave. How stench is an open grave and how disgusting it is to behold; for one must cover one’s nostrils and walk afar. Wicked men are open graves, they stink and are foul and yet they flatter. They cover up their stench with ointments and fragrance but beneath the covering lies a smell that even death itself cannot bear. Because of their horridness, David furthers is plea to God that God should vs. 10 make them bear their guilt. It is true that many wicked men suppresses the truth of God by their wickedness and also praises those who practice such things. They have numb their conscience and silenced the small voice of morality. They feel at ease but only if God should make them feel their guilt then they would plea in those moments for the mountains to fall on them for there is no where to run nor hide. Let them fall by their own counsels. The wicked and the godless in their secret meeting are always up to no good. They plot the oppression of the poor and the death of the righteous. They drink till they are drunk and they cheat the widow. They plan wickedness and seek more ways in which they can advance their evil cause, but God will make them fall according to their plans, He will bring them to ruins and cause them to destroy each other. Do not be found among those who plot evil but rather spend your time with those who plot good, who secretly blesses the widow and the fatherless and provides for the poor. Be found in that counsel and the hands of God will bless and prosper you. Because of the abundance of their transgression cast them out. Where should the Lord cast them too? It is only to the pit, to the eternal flames of hell and therein is there portion for they shall not be thrown into the dwelling place of God with the saints but rather to the outer spaces of the universe.  For they have rebelled against you. Here is the reason for their demise, the reason why God hates them, for they have rebelled against him. Is not the earth full of those who are actively walking in rebellion against their creator, are they not liars and wicked at heart. Indeed it is and the Lord has spoken to them through His Son and has loved them by offering them an unblemished lamb for their sins and that whoever turns from their rebellion will dwell with him and have eternal live. God is Love and in him is no darkness at all. 

Vs. 11. But let all who take refuge in you rejoice. Here we see the joy of those who have taken refuge in the gospel of God. They have seen the divine shelter which covers them and they sit dancingly beneath its shade.  They gather together with their hymns and psalms and ever sing for joy. God has spread his protection over them; they are eternally secured, eternally safe. That roaring lion, though he blows and puffs, though he scratches and roars will never get to them. He is unable too for there is a fixed barrier of separation between him and them and those who love God’s name exult in God. Vs. 12. For you bless the righteous, O LORD. Everyone who is in Christ Jesus is indeed righteous and eternally righteous and God has blessed them. God also covers them with favour as with a shield. This is our defence, the shield of God which is impenetrable and we have the favour of God which is limitless and endless. You are not a second class citizen but a first class citizen. God loves you and favours you, He is your shield and gathered you to come and dwell in His house forever. 

K.Oni



Friday, 12 November 2010

Remembrance Day


Remembrance Day is always significant, when we remember those who laid down their lives and wear poppies in memory of those who died in the two world wars. It’s a day not just to remember what happened before most of our lives began, but also to think about what is happening now, in parts of the world where servicemen and women are dying with harrowing frequency. But, even though most weeks we hear the Prime Minister offer his condolences for the most recently fallen, what has happened in Iraq and what continues in Afghanistan can seem removed from our daily lives.
Last week, the BBC website reported that some of our politicians are too large – too large, that is, to go to Afghanistan . Ulster Unionist peer Ken Maginnis and DUP MP David Simpson have not been allowed to make a visit to armed forces because the military do not have flak jackets big enough.  As powerful as these two gentlemen might feel within the corridors at Westminster , the powers that be within the Ministry of Defence have decreed that, without the right protection, there can be no trip.
While the story raises a wry smile, it reminds me that when I hear another news story about a car bomb in Baghdad, or an IED device exploding in Helmand, there is a little selfish part of me grateful that the news is not about Northern Ireland – that my life is not being disrupted.
It reminds me that that every day men and women are putting their lives on the line out of service to their country in Afghanistan, Iraq and less well-known places in the world.  Whatever your views on the rights and wrongs of military action, and these battles in particular, there is no doubt that those on the front line demonstrate bravery and courage as they go about their ‘everyday’ work. Another selfish part of me thinks that I’m glad that it is them out there and not me.
It makes me think of the discipline of being a soldier: the importance of being in the right place at the right time (being late is not an option); that others rely on you to have played your part to the best of your ability to ensure that they can do the same; the value of staying fit and healthy in body and mind; being able to react as quickly and wisely as possible in any given situation. The outcome really is life or death.
Which made me reflect on my own readiness for battle: not in this world, but with powers and principalities in the world unseen. Through Christ our victory is secure, but that is no excuse for complacency in the battles faced each day. Temptation to be selfish and lazy, to shirk responsibility or put myself first might seem inconsequential at the time, but every battle won – or lost – has eternal significance.
I do hope that Lord Maginnis and David Simpson make it out to Afghanistan some time soon. It might be a small act, but it must be an encouragement for servicemen and women to know that they have not been forgotten, and that someone has made the effort to visit them. In the meantime, I’ll be thinking about the small acts I must perform to play my part in the battle.  
Karen Jardine - Former Public Affairs Officer for Northern Ireland

Rene and Poet part 2

Rene: My dear Poet, when thou set your starry eyes upon her, what shall be your speech?

Poet: What beauty is the day today my precious Rene; marvellous it is; my heart screams joy as the sun shines so rightly in its place. It is so distant and so far away but yet its light penetrates into our darkness. May it penetrate into my fancy. I think of her on days like this, even more when it rains because it shows my tears.
Although my love is rare, can I pave a compliment that will attract her to me. Can I tell her that she is beautiful, that I adore her more than any other woman in this world. Can I tell her that I want her to be mine, can I tell her without her rejecting me. Can I look her in the eyes and not be quickened to look down. But will she fall for me? will she look deeper into this brown eyes and see this beauty that is in this red heart. Will she look and not stumble, will she be amazed and be astonished, bringing her to her knees and saying that will you be mine or will she only look for a second and turn away. How long will my misery run?

Rene: Until you speak my sweet Poet. Now put on your feet the sandals of boldness and come with me. On such a day like this, she will be by the river, the river of eternal life as some legends proclaim. There the pretty girls do play and dance and the boys sit and laugh. But we have a more noble task. (He grabs Poet by the hand, kissed him on the cheek and off they went).  

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

The book of Colossians

The letter to the Colossians written by the apostle Paul, a bondservant of the Lord Jesus Christ, one who bore remarkable sufferings for the spreading of the gospel  and counted  it all as joy. This tireless  apostle who validates joy in all circumstances due to his understanding of  the riches of the glory of God in the face of his Lord Jesus Christ and the abundant grace that was poured upon him in all measure knew it was his duty to strengthen the brethrens by preaching  the Lord Jesus, “warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Colossians 1:28). The apostle Paul, hearing of the indisputable faith of the Colossians, the faith which bears fruit of love and hope (Colossians 1:4-5) from Epaphras also a faithful minister of Christ, thought it splendid that he should write to the colossians warning them and teaching them in all wisdom that they may be perfect in Christ Jesus.  Paul, having a zeal for the Colossians to be “filled in knowledge of the will of God in all wisdom and spiritual understanding”, (Colossians 1:9) prayed fervently for them that they may not err and depart from the truth of the gospel or corrupt the truth of the gospel by “taking delight in false humility and worship of angels” (Colossians 2:18); but that they should hold fast to the Head (Jesus Christ) and not be cheated of their reward “through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8). In doing this Paul is warning the Colossians, teaching them and most important of all enriching them with his immense knowledge of the mystery of God of both the Father and the Son, explaining to them the surpassing worth of Christ and His all satisfying deity for us to cherish; and we are to worship Him not angels. We are to walk according to Christ and not to the doctrines of men “so that we may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work”, (Colossians 1:10).

How does this book connect with other books in the new testament

In tackling and answering this question, the word connect has a diverse of meanings so I’ll replace the word connect with unite in terms of how does Colossians support the other books in the new testament in regards to its unity and its unbreakable coherence.

The letter to the Colossians was written by the apostle Paul and thirteen other epistles are ascribed to him (although some are disputed). The apostle Peter speak of Paul’s epistles as “some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do the rest of the scriptures” (2Peter 3:16). It is clear that Paul had had a real theological training as he states of himself in Philippians 3:5-6 that he was “a Hebrew of Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee…..concerning the righteousness which is in the law blameless”.  Paul saw himself as a bondservant of the Lord Jesus Christ called to be an apostle to minister and preach the word of the Lord instructing and teaching, correcting and rebuking revealing the word of the Lord to the saints, so that they may walk worthy and be without error concerning the doctrines of Christ and how to live in Christ. This is clearly seen in the text if we ponder on Colossians 3 where Paul is telling the Colossians how they ought to live and conduct themselves in Christ Jesus. “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1). Then Paul goes on to say in Colossians 3:9-10 that “do not lie to one another since you have put of the old man and his deeds and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him”. Comparing this to other text found in other epistles written by Paul, there is a striking resemblance of the same words or imagery of ‘putting on the new man’ used to convey to the recipients of what it means to receive Christ.         2 Corinthians 5:17 Paul writes that, “therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: old things have passed away: behold all things have become new”.  Paul also says in Ephesians 4:22-24 that the church at Ephesus should “put off concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt…. And that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness”.  With this unbreakable coherence of words from epistles to epistles it shows that the letter to the Colossians unites itself with other epistles written by Paul, and the message that can be found in the book of Colossians can also be known in other books of the new testament.

Below is an outline of the letter to the Colossians and Ephesians. From the table we can see that both epistles have almost identical structures, with the same chain of thoughts and message thus proving the consistency of Paul’s theology and how Colossians can be seen to support other books in the new testament.

Source of table: (http://catholic-resources.org/Bible/Paul-Colossians&Ephesians.htm)

Colossians

Letter Opening (1:1-8)
Sender & Recipients (1:1-2a)
Formulaic Greeting (1:2b)
Thanksgiving: Faith, hope, love of the community (1:3-8)
Letter Body (1:9—4:6)
Prayer for the well-being of the community (1:9-14)
The exalted Christ as source of our heavenly salvation (1:15—2:23)
Hymn to Christ as image of God and Savior (1:15-20)
Apostle's ministry reveals God's salvation (1:21—2:7)
Against those who preach a false salvation based on "angelic worship" (2:8-23)
Living the Christian life (3:1—4:6)
Holiness manifests the "new creation" which Christians have become in baptism (3:1-17)
"Household code": Behavior of wives and husbands, children and fathers, slaves and masters (3:18—-4:1)
Continue in prayer and wise conduct outsiders (4:2-6)
Letter Conclusion (4:7-18)
Tychicus & Onesimus will report about Paul's welfare (4:7-9)
Individual greetings from Paul's associates (4:10-14)
Greetings to the Laodiceans & instructions for exchanging letters (4:15-17)
Final appeal and Blessing (4:18)

Ephesians

Letter Opening (1:1-14)
Sender & Recipients (1:1)
Formulaic Greeting (1:2)
Blessing Prayer: heavenly mysteries in Christ (1:3-14)
Letter Body (1:15—6:20)
Prayer for the faith, love and hope of those whom God has made part of the body of the heavenly Christ (1:15-23)
Through the apostles God has made the Gentiles alive in Christ (2:1—3:21)
Contrast between their old "death" in sin and life in Christ (2:1-10)
Reconciliation of the Gentiles to God in the one body of Christ (2:11-22)
Paul's suffering and ministry to bring the Gentiles into the body of Christ (3:1-13)
Prayer for faith and love among Paul's converts (3:14-21)
Christian life in the world (4:1—6:20)
Unity of the body of Christ which is built up by different ministries (4:1-16)
Old life in darkness" contrasted with new life as "children of light" (4:17—5:21)
Household code: Marriage in Christ; children and parents; slaves and masters (5:22—6:9)
Letter Conclusion (6:21-24)
Paul is sending Tychicus, a faithful minister (6:21-22)
Generic greetings to the whole community (6:23)
Final Blessing (6:24)


The major theme that flows through the book of Colossians that unites it with other books of the new testament is its outstanding focus on the supremacy of Christ (Colossians 1:13-2:23).  It reveals the glorious deity of Christ, that He is God (1:15), He is the heir (1:15), He is the creator (1:16), He is supreme over all things (1:18), the divine fullness dwells in Him (1:19) and has redeemed all things through the blood of His cross (1:19-20). This is what Paul revealed to the Colossians exclaiming in excitement the person of Christ, He is to be worshipped and Christ is all and in all. Do not worship angels but Christ and by doing so you’re honouring the Son and likewise the Father at the same time. Jesus says in John5: 21-22 “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgement to the Son, that all should honour the Son just as they honour the Father”.  In Philippians 3:20-21 Paul writes that “For our citizenship is in heaven…. He is able even to subdue all things to himself ”. Colossians supports this statement when Paul writes “and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power”. With Christ being the head of all principalities and powers, the church can rejoice and be amazed and marvel at the glorious deity of Christ and not be shaken by any threats of the enemies. This glorious truth that was revealed to the Colossians in chapter 1:16 is that Christ created everything; “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities and powers, all things were created through Him and for Him”. This is not to say that Christ created the evil powers to be bad, but originally they were created good as Jude 1:6 says, “And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, he has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgement of the great day”. The letter to the Colossians strives in unity with the other books in the new testament as it aims to warn and teach, to enrich us in wisdom of the supremacy of Christ, and that the main focus of our hope is Jesus Christ and not to look anywhere else. “But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God- and righteousness and sanctification and redemption”(Corinthians 1:30).

What spiritual vitamin deficiency would we have if the book was missing to us?

The book of Colossians is filled with glorious words on the supremacy of Jesus Christ because true spirituality is full of Christ and can look to no other person or turn to any other spiritual force because in “Him (Christ) dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily and you are complete in Him” (Colossians 2:9). With this deep measure of concentrated description of Christ glory, one can only praise God for this inspired words given to the apostle that enriches the wisdom of the church  and nourishes the soul with joy beyond description, strengthening the individual who delights in meditating on the supremacy of Christ. Colossians 1:14-20 reveals amazing truth on the person of  Jesus Christ. John Piper says on these verses that “they are worth memorizing. If your heart ever wavers and grows cold, go here; memorize this litany of glories and ask God to give you affections that correspond to the measure of this greatness. If any person or any power or any wisdom or any love awakens any admiration or any amazement or any joy, let it be the greatest Person and the greatest power and the greatest wisdom and the greatest love that exists—Jesus Christ.” For the church at Colossae it was important for them to know this spiritual truth about Jesus to prevent them from worshiping angels. John Piper explains it so well he states in his sermon on the passages of Colossians 1:14-20 on why God wants us to know the truth of Christ sovereignty.

Christ sovereignty by John Piper

But let me close with five summary statements for why God wants us to know the truth of Christ’s sovereignty over “the rulers and authorities.”
It is objectively true, not merely opinion or idea—like the seat you are sitting on. And people perish for lack of truth (2 Thessalonians 2:10).

These truths make clear that Christ is the only being worthy of worship. There were people in Colossians saying that “the worship of angels” (Colossians 2:18) was part of the way up to God. No, Paul says, these angels that some think are so great were created by Christ and for Christ. Don’t worship them. Worship the one who made them.

Paul was concerned that in the pluralistic, intellectual atmosphere of Colossae Christians could be captivated by high-sounding heresies. “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8). With these great truths about Christ, Paul is protecting us from philosophies and traditions that do not cherish the supremacy of Christ. When you embrace truths like this, you are not easily swept away by man-centered trends or traditions.


Paul wants to make crystal clear that when Christians, who feel so small and vulnerable, hear about hostile “thrones and dominions and rulers and authorities,” they know beyond any doubt that Jesus Christ has all authority over them, and they cannot do anything apart from his sovereign permission (Job 1:12; Luke 22:31).


And therefore, finally, Paul tells us these things because he wants us to see and feel that our salvation in Christ is invincible. When Christ died for sin and rose again, “He disarmed the rulers and authorities” (Colossians 2:15). Have you put your trust in him? If so, here is what he says about you in Colossians 3:3-4: “You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” You are secure forever in Christ. 


(http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByScripture/2/2305_All_Things_Were_Created_Through_Him_and_for_Him/)

The book of Colossians provides healthy spiritual vitamins that without it, it would be a major loss to us and thus not enriching the knowledge of the church on the supremacy of Christ Jesus.

K.Oni