The Pursuit of Contentment

A wiseman once said “be content with such things as you have”. Now what have you? This is both a philosophical and a spiritual question. Maybe you are thinking if I have that extra cash or if I am better circumstanced then I would be greatly contented with life. Well, if that is your belief, then you are missing the point of life.

The answer is well within you, you have it embedded in your spirit and soul. You have such great untapped potential locked up within you, Such that can make all the difference, even make the world a better place.

Jesus Christ had five loaves and fed five thousand men and unnumbered women and children included. David the king of Israel had five stones and slew a giant taunting the whole nation. Moses had a rod and opened the red sea to create a well paved way for the millions of wayfaring Jews.

What then made the difference is that God was added to the equation. So what have you got? Whatsoever you have will not do if God is not in it. If you are counting without Him then you are making a fatal mistake. Contentment comes from knowing the ONE that has all things and controls them as well. He said I will not leave you nor forsake you.

Advertisements

Come to the Cave of Refuge and find rest.

Message: Turn Your Life into a Testimony
Text: 1 Samuel 22:1-2, 2 Samuel 23:8-39
More readings:
Are you in distress and despised by your friends? Are you in seclusion and rejected by your friends and called names you can’t even bear to hear? Or do you consider yourself a failure because of your huge mountain of debt? Maybe the heaven over you seems like brass. Perhaps you are suffering the bitterness of the soul, being misunderstood, undervalued, underestimated and persecuted? Maybe you are abandoned, caught up with a horrible crisis and have no place to run to. Even if that is the case, don’t waste your sorrow, because there is hope.
Even if that is the case, there is a greater debt, a spiritual debt to the law. A debt no man can offset by any means. Are you indebted to the laws of God? Are you spiritually discontented with life? Is there a vacuum in your life you cannot fill? Then, you are the materials God wants to use to bring to light his purpose and plans for the church and the nations. You might have been unprofitable in the past. God our Father said in the book of Isaiah 66:1-2, 5, that to you will I look, a man broken and contrite in heart.
Just like David who was appointed and anointed king of Israel by God and rejected by man. A king in-waiting. A man after the heart of God. He did all things right without fault only to suffer and pass through the valley of death. He was hunted by an autocrat, his friend whom he helped out of various difficulties. Now David is abandoned, the people’s hero who slew a giant that taunted the nation of Israel. Abandoned by men, but not by God. Our God has not given up on the man whom He created in His own image.
For his personal safety, he escaped into the deep places of the land. He sought for a refuge and found a cave called Adullam which means a “refuge”. There he lodged and called it home, a place of safety. Also, gathered to him where the four hundred motley crew. Now the cave is a type of the visible church on earth. People came to find refuge in the church from the threatening problems of life. People in debt, distressed, dissatisfied, discouraged, and discontented. They all come to meet with the person in the midst of the church.
However, it is not the place that makes the difference, but the person in the place. It is not the place that transforms, but the person in the place that does the work. Therefore, we do not come to a place, but to a living person that dwells in a place. The place He has appointed to meet with all that believes in Him. Let us take hints from the gospel of John. The Samaritan woman asked after the place of worship instead of the person worthy of worship. When Andrew called his brother, he simply said come and see, not the place but the person. The same with John and Philip, who called Nathaniel, they all left their places of work and dispositions to come to the Lord Jesus.
In his distress, he wrote Psalms 57, 63, and 142 while spending time in the cave. Throughout the ages, the Psalms have sweetened the heart of the children of God in all generations. He was a man lonely and broken, and in his brokenness, God led a multitude of men that were distressed, in debts, and discontented to join with him. They kept coming and the ranks swelled and reached the four hundred marks of men that choose David over Saul the tyrant.
The kind of people that flocked to him were the rejects, the misfits and the unlikely. People who needed a change in life circumstance, unsatisfied with the way things are, and the way things are run in the nation. They came from various corners of Israel and choose to be identified with David. They were the “dirty dozen”. They were debtors. We all know what it is to be a debtor and a slave to the lenders. We stand many risks, of our properties and perhaps the enslavement of our family.
In those days in Israel, to be a debtor means you are in perpetual slavery. Others were in distress, maybe about the situation they find themselves. Many of us may be passing through same or various stages of distresses. Finally, others were dissatisfied, discontented, and discouraged. The Bible said every one of the no-names came to David, to dwell in the cave.
David became a prince or captain over them, men numbering over four hundred men. We know something of their past. But what can the future hold for such misfits and outcast and outlaws as the world would call them? Let see from the Scripture. 1 Samuel 25:14-16. After being with David they became men described as disciplined, reasonable, teachable, good, respectable, virtuous, non-violent, honest, brother’s keepers, protective walls, and well behaved.
Look at the fruit of the spirit reflected in the life of these men displacing the sad nature of the past. The old man gave way to the new creature created in righteousness. The principles of their life moved from the lower nature to a higher spiritual level. The Spirit of God worked and transformed them from disillusionment and defeat to men bold with good nature. A good tree producing good fruit. Good beliefs definitely impact character.
What has caused the changes? Is it David that changed their behavior, character and worldview? It was the Lord, and the word of God, they heard out of the mouth of David. It was the transforming power in the word of God that does not return void. They moved from one level to a higher level.
What happened to these men that the Bible could describe them in such glowing terms in 2 Samuel 23:8-39? They became mighty men of battle, fearless warriors that brought down giants and break through the enemy defensive lines. They could shoot without miss. They knew how to keep the ranks. They watched each other back. They risked their lives for David to have a drink from the wells of Bethlehem. That is, they counted their lives as nothing to serve their master. Let’s say it in plain language they counted their lives as nothing so that David can perform his duty. They were loyal and dedicated men who gave themselves as broken bread and poured out wine. They lived according to the laws of the kingdom of God promised King David and his seed.
This event foreshadows the Son of David, the type of Christ and the citizens of the kingdom of heaven. There was a man, appointed King over all by his Father. He was not of this world, but came from the invisible spiritual world to live among us. He chooses to be so poor that he could not pay his tax to the authority 2 Cor 8:9. He was rejected by his friends and neighbors. He was esteemed as nothing, an outcast, a misfit and good for nothing. His friend ran away from him. His relation thought he was a madman, out of mind Mark 3:21. His own did not receive him. His nation, the people he came to save rejected him. They even plotted to kill him on several occasions. For his love, they hated him, Ps 109:4. For the words He spoke, they envied him and said where did he learned wisdom, having never been to school.
He was called the friend of sinners and tax collectors Luke 7:34. He was oppressed, so oppressed more than any mortal man can endure Isaiah 53. He had no place to call his home, sometimes He spent whole nights in the mountains with the wild beast Luke 6:12. His life was a mystery, called the mystery of godliness 1 Tim 3:16.
He came to call all men to repentance to God through Him Luke 5:32. And that includes those who are in debt, distressed and discontented. He came to pay the debt we could not pay. He also came to buy us back and set us on the right path. He said to all who are heavy burden and laden, restless, to come to Him to find rest. He even called religious and non-religious, the sick, the lepers, prostitute, thieves as Matthew the tax-collectors, murderers as the Apostle Paul, Peter the rash and impatient man who denied Him, John and his brother James who wanted to rain fire upon a village because they refused to receive the word.
The question is who can make such men a world changer? The secular world or humanism says give them a better education and a good environment, that would make humanity more civilized and refined. I doubt if there is any who have not watched the news feed lately. We hear of the barbaric acts committed by the sophisticated and highly educated class. The United Nations has set a date when illiteracy will be eradicated from the earth. Looking at these programs, has anything changed for the better?
Let us look at the life of the men who followed Christ Jesus. Men who turned a new page in their life, whose life was a model reflection of the Lord Jesus. Even the priestly class acknowledge that they had been with Jesus Acts 4:13. Peter the fearful and restless, became a pillar of the church. In his first preaching, three thousand men were saved. Paul the murderer became the greatest evangelist the world has ever known.
Christ Jesus our Lord redefined the culture of the day. He taught that the poor in spirit owns the kingdom of God. The meek, merciful the mourners, peacemakers, and the persecuted are also included. Even He said the pure in heart shall see God. What wonderful word?
Have considered your calling? God has called everyone to Himself without qualification. 1 Corinthians 1: 26-29. He wants to do a work in you so that you would know it must Him. He is able to turn water representing the natural into wine the spiritual. God is looking for broken vessels. He wants you to come to Him as you are. You can be in the same shoes as the men of David, it makes no difference. He is the Potter and we are the clay. He wants to mold us to the shape that can perform His plans and purpose.
There is no case beyond His power to mend. His grace exceeds our sins. There is no limit to what He can do with a heart that is yielded to Him. You have seen what happened to the men that followed David, God can do exceeding abundantly above that with you. He is able, more than able to do whatsoever it takes to bring to life His purpose for your life. His resurrection power that dwells in us is able to build and transform us from the inside outward. His word is spirit and life, holding the power to transform us through the working of the Holy Spirit. Consider Onesimus, a man considered unprofitable, who ran away from his slave master. When He joined with Paul the Apostle in Rome, his life turned a hundred and eighty degrees for the better. He became profitable for the kingdom of God. Philemon 1:10-13.
The Bible invites us to go out to meet Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach, Hebrews 13:13. Let us go to meet Him on the mount Sion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and innumerable company of angels, the general assembly of the church of the Firstborn written in heaven, Hebrews 12;18-24. Let us go out to meet the Living God the Judge of all, and Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant. He has appointed a place of meeting to all men. Just as the men met David at the cave of Adullam so we can meet the Lord Jesus our Savior in the church.
The Bible says we are dead and our life is hidden in Christ Jesus our Life. Through Christ, we are crucified to the world and all that is found under its power. We have received the fullness of Christ. The Bible says that as He is, so are we in this world. Therefore let us work out that which is made life in us by submitting to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
God invites us to come to Him with boldness, and enter into the Holiest by the blood of the Lamb. We have a new and living way open for us through the torn veil, the person and works of Christ our Great High Priest. He also warns us not to forsake the assembly of saints. Let us then enter the kingdom of God that has one way, a narrow gate and many mansions.
Finally, you can say I am a debtor to the lost, to preach the gospel of salvation to them. I owe no man anything but the debt of love. Romans 1:14-17, 13:8.

The Importance of a Transformed Life

God calls us to present ourselves to Him, which is the human side. The divine aspect is the transformation by the Holy Spirit of God. Be transformed is a command.

More often in the church we hear testimonies of men and women saved by grace. In various ways we all joyfully testified of what God has done for us. On the other hand to speak of what God is doing in our life at any stage is hard to tell. Therefore the single, most important discerning characteristics of a believer are a changed life. Because it speaks louder than words. It is the process by which God changes a worthless and despised individual into a vessel fit for His use. Also, a fearful and defeated believer into a rock that is not ashamed of what he has believed. A coward into a conqueror. It also shows how beliefs impacts character. Praise the Lord.

This word was first used for our Lord in all the gospel except the gospel of John, Matthew 17: 2, and Luke 9:28-36. It is the Greek word “μεταμόρφωσής” metamorphosis which means to change form or shape”. It is a continuous and lengthy and daily process that begins at conversion, but never reaches perfection in this life, but ends on the day we pass into glory. It is a work that God does and not man. We cannot transform ourselves by any means. And, this paragraph in the epistle to the Romans explains how God does it. Transformation by Him that transforms is what we shall be dealing with in this teaching notes.

In nature the butterfly is a very good example of the process of metamorphosis. It develops from the larvae in stages to become the butterfly. Amazing, isn’t.  Just watching the tiny worm so tender and shapeless going through the transforming process is a wonder. This is the same thing the Lord wants to do with us if we allow Him. Also, it can be called the process of sanctification by which God renews the whole nature of the believer into the image of God. It is an act that takes place in the heart and mind. It is not legalistic as some believe and practice, substituting the works of the law for the fruit of the Spirit. It is a spiritual process that belongs to the Holy Spirit. We are all expected to co-operate with Him.

In addition, more can be drawn from this passage. It stems from the fact that it reveals the difference between Christianity and other religion. Also, the difference between the nominal, cultural Christian and the born again, regenerated believer in the Messiah. When we received Christ at the new birth, we also received His fullness and grace John 1:16. Also, as the scripture said Christ in me the Hope of glory. Now, the outworking of that fullness and glory outwardly is what is called transformation. The Apostle in the book of Galatian also spoke of Christ being formed in us, Galatians 4:19 which is a picture of that transformation.

There is also a depth in this verse that we cannot fathom revealing the love and mercy of God. It is like a door that turns both ways, looking back to the previous chapters and forward to the next chapters. In this chapter the Holy Spirit uses many imperatives or commands more than any other chapters of the book of Romans.

The epistles of the Apostle Paul are always structured in divisions to facilitate our spiritual growth. That is, it first declares the doctrine, followed by the application. It does two things, by saying and teaching us how to walk the saying. That is the theology first, followed by the moral application.  The Bible says we should be both hearers and doers of the word of God without the omission of either.

There are several question that be asked from this passage, such as:

  • How shall I live the Christian life?
  • How does God turn a natural life to a spiritual life?
  • How can I be transformed and sanctified?
  • How can I transit from self-centeredness to Christ-centeredness?
  • And more questions on making the most of our Christian life and walk.

The answer to most of such questions is supplied in this very chapter. We know much of the person and works of Christ Jesus through the gospel account. But here the Spirit of God takes and show them to us and translate it to life in us.  It has the divine and the human side. It has the negative and the positive commands. All pointing to what is impossible with man is possible with God. God says do your part and I will do mine.

The passage begins with verse one with an appeal to present ourselves to God by the mercies of God. It does not ask us to yield or surrender ourselves, but to present. It is saying, first consider the mercies of God as the grounds of presenting yourself to God. God’s mercy is revealed in chapter1-11 of the book of Romans. He saved us, sinners dead in trespasses through His mercy revealed in the death of our Lord for our sins. He revealed His righteousness and justice in the death of His son for us. So, He says look at my mercy and come. The presentation of ourselves to God means the denial of every right and full submission. Also, giving up all claims to myself and abdicating my throne and letting God sits on the throne of my heart.

Next, He tells us what to present to God. That is our bodies. This represents the totality of our being, the epicenter of our life. Again, He says as a living sacrifice. In the Old Testament type, sacrifices are presented by the priest from a slain or dead sacrifice for sin. Christ has presented Himself for sin and was slain to satisfy the righteous demands of the law.  By that one sacrifice He ended all sacrifices demanded by the law Hebrews 10:13-14. So we have to present to God a living body as a living sacrifice that have life. Galatians 2:20 says we are crucified with Christ to the world, sin and the self or the old man. Romans 6: 11 also highlights the fact of being alive to God and that is what He needs. If any man will follow the faith he must be prepared to carry a cross and die to self.

It says a sacrifice holy, which means set apart or separated unto God for His use. God says I want a clean vessel to use and present yourself and let me do with you what I will 2 Timothy 2:20-21, 2 Corinthians 7:1.  Finally, the sacrifice must be acceptable to God, which means as pleasing to Him. When we present ourselves to God, we must bear in mind what He requires of us, living, holy, and acceptable.

He does not stop there, but continues by saying, this is your reasonable service. It simply means your logical worship. You cannot worship God satisfactorily without presenting yourself to Him. The lamb and goats slain the Old Testament were presented to God to be accepted on the altar.  An example is the whole burnt offering, Leviticus 6: 6-13.

Worship is tied to the mercy of God, which motivates us to present ourselves. In fact the chapter is filled with the out-working of the mercy of God in our life.  Worship is a sacrifice wholly attributed to God out of His mercy. The first sacrifice in the chain is ourselves. For example, in my offerings and alms giving or whatsoever I offer to God, it must be a living sacrifice 2 Corinthians 8:2-5Philippians 4:18-19 to be acceptable. It must be like the two mites of the widow, having my whole being in it. We also have the sacrifice of our lips, such as praising singing, praying etc. Hebrew 13:15.

The critical verse is the second part of the passage. This is where the process is laid out. We cannot offer ourselves to God, if we are not transformed. Verse one is tied to verse two, like both sides of a coin. We cannot be transformed if we are conforming to the system of this world. That is the difference between God lives in us orGod reigns in us. In other word being led and guided by the Spirit or being led by our own selves. Also, walking by the spirit or walking by the flesh. Being a slave to the world system or slave to Christ. We have a choice to make. It depends on what we chose.

First God gives us a command to refuse all conformity to the world. The reason being the world is under the dominion of satan 1 John 5:!9. The world also have been judged John 12:31, 16:11. The book of Ephesian in chapter 2:2-3 says that we were slaves to sin and satan. But now it says don’t be like that anymore come out. In Ephesians 4:17-23, the Bible makes it clear the reason we should not be conformed to the world. In fact the God of this world is satan who has blinded the minds of unbelievers. 2 Corinthians 4:4. 

Next He continues and gives us the solution to all our problems. That is the renewal of our mind. The mind controls the body and its motions. God is pointing out the source of our problem which is the MIND. Renew your mind. How? Ephesians speaks of the spirit of the mind in chapter 4; 23. That is the mind has a spirit that needs to be renewed. All boils down to the fact that we have a mindset that is contrary to the mind of God. It has to be changed. Our way of thinking has to be changed. We are what we think Proverb23:7.

By presenting yourself to God and letting Him apply two things which are the word and His Spirit. He works from the outside with the scripture and on the inside by the Holy Spirit to produce the nature and character of the new man. This is reflected in the fruit of the fruit. There is a need to read, study and meditate on the word of God. We also need good teachings from godly leaders setting forth the person and works of Christ in their right perspectives. With these materials the Holy Spirit does His works on our inside, the new man.

We all have a before, present and future. In other word what we were and what we are and what we shall be. God our Father through Christ has dealt with our past and brought under the blood, we are cleansed from all our sins. Now let Him complete the good work to reflect the present.  God wants us to be renewed daily in righteousness and holiness. You might ask then how is done.

The Bible supplies the answer in the book of 2 Corinthians 3:17-18. It says we can be changed into the same image of Christ, if we look unto Him. It is done by the Spirit of God.  We behold the glory of God as revealed in the person, life and works of Christ Jesus our Lord. We focus on His crucifixion, burial, resurrection, ascension, glorification and second coming. Besides, we claim our unity with Him in His body. We also learn to appropriate all the works and the victories of Christ.

It is done so that we can prove the will of God. Note, it did say so that we can know the will of God. There is the secret and opened or revealed will of God, Deuteronomy 29:29, the sovereign will of God, The perfect will of God according to the law. The situational will of God discerns through wisdom. This is what we are dealing with. It is the will of God, we can prove when we are at a crossroad or when occasion demands that we make a sound decision. Only by a renewed mind, we can prove the will of God in every situation.

The Character of a Woman of Virtue

The world looks after beauty and charm, but the real beauty is the inner heart that is known by actions more than words

The Character of a Woman of Strength

Text: Proverb 31:10-31

Message: An Excellent Woman

The book of Proverb is a very difficult book to draw expository sermon from, because of the didactic or instructive nature and arrangement of the texts. It is also full of parallelism and numerical annotations. Most of the book of Proverb is written by King Solomon. It is basically divided into three sections, chapter 1-10, 11-24, and 25-31.

In the Hebrew language, the word proverb is “Mashal” which means to be like or a comparison. That is a verse state a proposition and highlights it in the next line of the same verse with either a comparison or contrast.

The book of Proverb is the wisdom book of the Old Testament. Its main focus is the instruction needed to help us cope with the day-to-day life

Interpretation of the book:  The book can be interpreted in two ways mainly:

  • Literal
  • Metaphorical

Some of the reasons we should study the book of Proverbs

  • It is a book that focuses mainly on the development of Godly character: Character is more important than charismatic gifts and creeds.
  • It teaches us how to discern the characters in our circle.
  • That breaks down the walls of separation between theory and practice, the sacred and the secular, the church and the home, and the church and the workplace.
  • How to be wise with Godly wisdom
  • How to walk with divine guidance.
  • How to look at life realistically and rightly.

Proverb 31 is a very popular chapter of the bible and the message is very timeless and relevant to every age. In fact, from the tenth verse to the end of the chapter is the closing words written as an acrostic poem in the Hebrew language. This means that each verse is systemically arranged successively in the alphabet of the Hebrew letters from Aleph to Tau.

However, our text starts with an “Erotesis” or a sublime question. Who can find a virtuous woman? And it went to say such a woman is priced above rubies. That very word “Virtuous “ is the Hebrew word “Eshet chayil”. It was first used in the Old Testament, Exodus 18:21 when Moses needed co-workers to help in administering the work of God. Also in 1 Kings 1: 42 and 52 as valiant, which is militaristic (strength of a warrior). It is translated as an able man, with three characteristics.

  • That fears God
  • Men of truth
  • Hating covetousness

That has the ability to do three things

  • Rule and lead,
  • Judge, and discern
  • Bear burdens and industrious

It is often translated as valor, excellence, strength, energy, ability, capability, that embraces the physical, mental and spiritual areas of a person.

The same word is used to describe a woman and a man. When used for a man it signifies bravery, valiant. For a woman, it denotes a noble character and virtues. Here we are looking at the character of a wife, mother and a sister. She could be a widow, divorced and unmarried it makes no difference. Some may object to a woman divorced on the ground of the biblical injunctions without paying attention to the circumstances. Ruth was a widow when she was described as a virtuous woman. Let us judge righteous judgment based on the mercy and grace of God.

In the eyes of God and from the Bible, men and women have equality namely in:

  • In creation as male and female. Genesis 1:27
  • In salvation as the children of God Galatians 3:26-29
  • In the grace and charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:7-12
  • In the mission field of proclaiming the gospel. Mark 16: 15, Romans 16:1-6
  • In administration and services in the churches Romans 12:4-8

A Metaphorical interpretation of Proverb 31

In the Bible, wisdom is always personalized or anthropomorphized. Always the feminine sense is used as in Proverbs chapter 7:4. We have such expression as wisdom is a sister. Don’t forsake her, embrace her and she is a tree of life are some of the words used of Wisdom. It is a call to be married or joined to wisdom.

Therefore, all the characteristics in chapter 31:10-31 refers to wisdom in action and what it does in the life of those that have it in the heart.  When wisdom is resting in our heart it is known by the fruit it produces.  In the book of James chapter 3: 15-18 the Apostle captures the wisdom of God compared with the worldly wisdom. The Lord Jesus is our Wisdom 1 Corinthians 1:30. So receiving the Lord Jesus Christ in our heart can produce the fruits of the Spirit listed in Proverb 31. In the New Testament, a similar word is used for the deacons of Acts 6:3.

The Literal interpretation

We can understand more about our message when we connect the usage with Proverbs chapter 12:4, 18:22 and 19:14. A virtuous woman, as a woman of strength, is a crown to the husband and the reverse is the case of a non-virtuous woman who is a rottenness in the bone of her husband. It means that a woman can either be a crown or a stinking rottenness to her husband. What a word.

Whoso finds a wife, receives grace and favor. And a good and prudent wife is from the Lord. In the Old Testament, the word virtuous is only used once to describe a woman called Ruth, a non-Jew, and a widow in the book of Ruth 3:11. By using such expression to describe her character the Bible is comforting all women of whatsoever status.  The reason is she was called virtuous before she was even re-married.

Through the woman Ruth, we can understand what God desires from us. He is not seeking for perfection, but a simple obedience and faithfulness as exhibited by Ruth. You may be unmarried, a widow and divorced, but that does not rule out of reckoning. What counts is your fruitfulness at home, workplace, and the church. Are you investing in the things of the Lord?

God wants us to follow in the footsteps of Christ as our example.1 Peter 2:21. We are not called to imitate Christ Jesus, but simply to allow Him conform us to His image as sons and daughters.  He wants to renew and restore our broken lives if yield ourselves to Him in a loving relationship. As He is, so are we in this world says the word of God. 1 John 4:17.

Characteristics of the noble, strong and excellent woman: 

According to Proverbs 31:10-31 

  • Virtue and incomparable (strength and rare)
  • Faithful and trustworthy
  • Reverence and innocent of evil
  • Hard worker
  • Innovative /Industrious.
  • A financial asset and not a liability.
  • Investor
  • A real estate developer
  • Alert and sober/ Wise with light
  • Philanthropist and charitable.
  • Modest and well dressed
  • Invest and provide in the home.
  • A true Help meet to her husband
  • A good teacher/judge/ ambassador that uses the wisdom of God mixed with mercy and kindness in correcting and instructing others.
  • Gracious and kind
  • Not idle and lazy/
  • Fears God/ Fruitful

Conclusion

Let us learn to judge a woman by her theology instead of her charm and beauty. God says beauty is vain and should not be the basis of assessing the character of a woman.  A woman that fears God is beautiful inwardly and is of great value. Virtues is a characteristic that cuts across morals, ethics and the spiritual foundation of a person.  The husband has a great role to play in the life of the woman of valor. The Bible says that he praises her and gives her to eat of the fruit of her work. The children call her blessed as they celebrate her hard work and creativity.

The world is looking for Hollywood types, but God is seeking for a woman who honors Him. Who can find such a woman? Because they are rare, only God can reveal them and we have them in abundance in our churches.

The Unlikely Woman Rahab

Most would look down on a prostitute without a second thought. But God considers all men and women equal without partiality. God can save any person even the worst of any kind.

The Unlikely Woman Rahab

Text: Hebrew 11:30-35

Message:                                    The living faith of an Unlikely  Woman

Further Reading: Joshua 2: 6:

The bible cannot be read without coming across the story of many godly and ungodly women circumstantially placed in historical position. It is not news that God used some to accomplish His determined purpose as judges, spies, warriors, prophetess, leaders, musicians and philanthropist. Through some of them we can learn the lessons of life knowing what to do and not to do at any given occasion. They can be found in both testaments. Today let me introduce to you Rahab, a real woman so intriguing that lived about 1450 years before Christ.

The name have several meaning as used in Psalms 87:4 and 89:10. She is a Canaanite, gentile, sinner and lived as a prostitute with many negatives that can shut any person out of a civil society. What an unlikely candidate by all worldly standard mentioned in the annals of the Bible.

A real and common person showing real courage and becoming a uncommon pillar of faith. She lived in the city of Jericho in the land of Canaan.  Historically the Canaanites were idolaters that practice religious child sacrifices to appease their gods. The nation was filled with serious sexual perversion where sodomy and other vices were commonplace. They had temples built to their gods and goddesses with male and female prostitutes.

Rahab lived in such a place and time. She never led an army not went to battle at any given time but she is the heroine of the story. She was instrumental in helping the Israelites win the battle against the Amorites of Jericho. She had no merits to recommend her but was destined by God to appear at the right time of history. She was an outstanding woman of exemplary courage and faith.

Moreover she is mentioned twice alongside with Abraham the giant of our faith in two books of the New Testament. In addition, she is one of the two women mentioned by name (Sarah and Rahab) in the roll call of women of faith.  Her name is mentioned alongside with Joshua as the only two names in the second chapter of the book of Joshua.  That must be a mistake, how can it be you might think?  But God is not a respecter of person Acts 10:34.

However in the eleventh chapter of Hebrew we can notice the absence of the name of Joshua the hero and commander of the army of Israel. Why did the author omit his name and mentioned the name of Rahab? That is the more reason the story is worthy to be told. It was to reveal that the battle was won by faith and not by the might of man. The Holy Spirit was showing the important contribution of women to the ministry.   She is a perfect example of the riches of the grace of God. Her story shines out as a beacon of hope for the hopeless and strength in the midst of weakness. For God chooses the weak things, despised, foolish to bring to nothing the wisdom of this world 1 Corinthian 1:26-31.

God choose and position women in strategic places to fulfill certain purpose at the opportune time without hesitation.  In the Old Testament period we had women like Sarah, Rebecca, Leah, Miriam, Deborah, Jael, Ruth, Esther, and Abigail. In the New Testament Mary the mother of Jesus Christ, Mary and Martha, Mary Magdalene, Lydia, Priscilla, Phebe, and more. Without them the Bible would have not have met its objective as reaching out to all irrespective of their genders.

I have chosen to speak on this woman as a way of celebrating our sisters and mothers in the Lord in this church. Many are the silent power house behind our smooth services. They contribute in several innovative ways to the good of the congregation. There are also many in our churches and in the society that are so active yet neglected, sidelined, and rejected.

Rahab is an example of those that have not seen but believed according to the word of the Lord in John 20:29. She had believed God divided the Red sea and drowned the Egyptian army. What a great faith. Joshua 2:9-12

Why did God Choose Rahab? This is the first question to be asked that deserve an answer.

  • God choose Rahab as a witness against the twelve spies: Number 13: Remember that Moses sent the twelve spies that brought the evil report back helping to discourage the congregation from going to take over the promise Land. According to Rahab account the giants and all the inhabitants of the land trembled with fear after hearing what happened to the kings of Amorites across the river and the Egyptians.  Rahab saw the giants as cowards and grasshoppers but the spies saw them as Great and mighty warriors and themselves as grasshoppers.
  • Her testimony vindicated God: Joshua 2:9-11: The Living God used her testimony to vindicate His command to the Israelites to take the land. It was His saying this is what I expected the twelve to say.
  • Her faith and trust in the salvation of God by refusing the protection of the giants, walls, and the armies of Jericho. Rahab refused to trust in the failed army and protection of the king of Jericho with his giants.
  • Obedience in the midst of rebellion.
  • It shows his longsuffering and unwillingness to allow sinners perish: Genesis15:16

Hebrew 11:31 says of Rahab:

  • By faith
  • Perished not
  • Believed
  • Received the messengers
  • Peace

She is mentioned in several scriptures as

  • Her courage and confession Joshua 2:
  • The example justification by faith Hebrew 11:31: of saving faith.
  • Justification by work James 2: 24-25: Example of living faith
  • The great grandmother (Ancestress) of our Lord Jesus Matthew 1:5. In the genealogy of our Lord in the gospel of Matthew, five women are mentioned. Three of them were of gentile origin and two were Jewess. The astonishing thing about these women is the circumstances the found themselves. Starting from Tamar that pretended to be a prostitute, Ruth a Moabites that cannot enter the body of Israel until the tenth generation, Bathsheba that committed adultery with King David and Mary that was mysteriously impregnated and could be false accused of unfaithfulness. Five women with similar and rough beginnings that can rule them out of reckoning. But God looked at and rewarded their faith demonstrated by her confession and works.

Doctrines:

  • The sovereignty of God
  • Repentance and conversion
  • The grace of God
  • The judgment of God
  • The love and mercy of God
  • Predestination and election
  • Salvation of God is for all especially the family.
  • The responsibility of man

Conclusion

In her account we can see that God can save any person willing to receive the salvation He had promised. There is no sin that can be greater than the grace of God. In fact where sin abounds grace did much more abounds. God came to call the sinners and not the righteous to repentance. The call is to every nations, people and tribe on the earth without any discrimination. The spotlight on Rahab is to show that faith in God could be found in the most unlikely place and people.

Rahab shows that faith is the active instrument that can take the hand of God. But that faith must be put on the person and works of the living God. With this let us demonstrate our faith actively by our work and show that we are really saved. Rahab teaches us to walk by faith and not by sight lest we see the giants instead of God. Souls can be saved when we are faithful to carry out the commandment of God faithfully.

This story shows that the ways God judges is not the way we do judge events. We are quick to pass judgment and condemn others that are different and maybe more sinful than us. Isaiah 55:8-9. Let us stop judging the book by its cover. Let us not be judgmental of others especially other churches and what they do. Let us learn to judge righteously and not by appearance. John 7:24.

But who would like to share the gospel with a prostitute on the street? Some of us would not dare give a tract to a prostitute on the street for fear of not been seen and maligned by others. Oh don’t go there she is a loose woman and everyone knows her and what she does. Yes it is true but God wants her saved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Open my Eyes of Faith

This is the story of two men, one blind to reality and the other enlightened. One rejects the supernatural and the other in full agreement. Now take your stand

Scripture Text: 2 king 6:8-23, 2 Chronicle 32:7-8
This is a story that happened in Northern Israel during the reign of the King Jehoram, son of King Ahab. It was the time of a great deterioration in the religious life of the children of Israel. During this period, the nation has descended to the worship of Baal introduced by Jezebel the wife of King Ahab. As a countermeasure, God raises up the Elias the Prophet to lead Israel out of the destructive path of idolatry and disobedience.
Three times in this particular chapter, Prophet Elias is called the “Man of God”. This is obviously connected with the God-given ability to perceive the presence of the Lord. The name ELIAS means God is Salvation. The name speaks of the power of God to save. Our God is a mighty Deliverer that delivers all that trust in Him. In addition, salvation is of the Lord and belongs to the Lord.
However, there are many lessons we can learn in this story where God chooses to reveal His power, presence, and provisions for our spiritual strengthening. It is done so that we might have faith even when we are unaware of His presence. Our God can also give light or withdraw light according to His will and plans.
Daily in services for our Lord, we are brought face to face with severe persecution and oppositions. Mostly organized and strategized through the agencies of Satan and his hordes of wicked spirits in the heavenly places. He uses humans to carry out his nefarious activities. It can be noticed in the account that the attack of the enemy is towards the leader of the church who is at the forefront of the revival process. Whenever a good work of God is started the enemy then gears itself to the attack mode. The Devil hates our spiritual growth and renewal.
Attacks of this nature should not come as a surprise as long as we are all partakers of the sufferings of Christ and of the glory that shall be revealed in the coming of the Lord. The issue then is what to do when faced with the opposition as the prophet Elias faced. What do we see in our period of crisis? Do we see the magnitude of the problem or do we see the greatness of our God? Do we see those that oppose us or do we see the hand of God? Are we seeing as God sees or as the servant of the prophet saw? Are you counting the number of the enemy’s chariots or the provisions of God? Are you blind to spiritual realities?
In this account, we see two types of believers (the servants of God) one has spiritual understanding to perceive the signs of the time. The other is completely blind to the spiritual world. Such is the condemnation of the church of Laodicea Revelation 3:17-18 of being blind and naked. There are many in the world of Christianity that refuse to accept the existence of the supernatural and the miraculous power of God present in the living church. In the Gospel of John, several times our Lord castigated the rulers of the Jews for deliberately ignoring the Light.
Christ Jesus is the Light that lightens all creation. He is the Light of the world in whose light we can have light or our spiritual sight restored. The light here speaks of illumination and understanding. God has commanded the Light to shine in our heart to give us the knowledge of the glory of the Lord. 2 Corinthian 4:6. Therefore, it is important that we look more upon the face of our Lord to capture the reflection of His glory. He is the Author and the Finisher of our faith.
Prophet Elias has to pray for light and sight be given to his servant. Let us do the same in our churches, homes, and business place. Anyway, what is the use of light without sight? Jesus Christ our Lord is our Sufficiency that can meet all our needs. We need the presence of God and not more programs in our churches. Let us do what Elijah did by praying and asking for more light James 1:5.

Brief doctrine of God in this account
• The all-sufficiency of the Lord Jesus Christ our God: Our God is sufficient to meet all our needs
• The sovereignty of God: The Lord is overall and above all, His plan is settled
• The Omniscience of God: God knows all things even the plan and thoughts of the enemy
• The omnipotence of God: All power belongs to the Lord
• The Omnipresence of God: The Lord is present and He is our present help in trouble
• The mercy and goodness of God: He is merciful and good to all
• The provision, protection, and promises of God
Some lessons for us in this account
• How do you deal with difficulties and trouble?
• How do you treat those that dislike you?
• What is the level of your faith in God?
• The unseen enemy and the overwhelming host of the unseen army of God
• Believers that reach out to the lost are targets of satanic attack
• How is your prayer life?
• Are you blind to the realities of God?
• Spiritual blindness
• Spiritual illumination
How to see the Father of Light: Prayer:

 Show us the Father and give us Light:
The servant of Elias and the disciples of our Lord Jesus admitted their blindness. That is the first step of regaining our sight. Here are some steps to help us according to the gospel of John chapter 14.
• When we see Jesus Christ by having a relationship with Him and we see God John 14:9
• Believe the word of God. John 14:10
• Believe the works of God. John 14:11
• Through the works of faith and love of the ministry John 14:12
• Through prayers John14:13-15 according to the will of God.
• The presence and person of the Holy Spirit John 14:16-17
• By identification and union with our Lord in the cross and the resurrection John14:18-20
• By keeping the commandment of our Lord Jesus Christ John 14:21-23
Application in the time of trouble:
• 2 Kings 6:16-17 contains several things we can do
• First, fear not the enemy that is encouragement and boldness. Joshua 1:6-9,Psalms 3:6, 27;1-6, 91: 1-end
• Secondly, pray for wisdom to be given you. James 1:5
• Rest in the Lord and His presence. Exodus 33:13-14, Psalms 37:3-7, Matthew 28:20,
• Believe His prophets (pastors, teachers and faithful workers) 2 Chronicle 20:20, 32:8 Acts 16:31
• Put to use the revelation he has given you on the mountain. Trusting in the lord without the chariots of fire is the essence of true faith.
A short prayer:
Blessed Father of Light, we draw near to you through the merits of your Son our LORD Jesus Christ. We ask for your divine intervention in our lives to awaken us to the reality of glorious presence with us. Oh, Father please forgive us for our shortsightedness and failure to daily realize your presence. Forgive us Lord for neglecting your provisions and resources for our protection in time of trouble. Forgive us Lord for exalting our problems above your power to save us. Forgive us Lord for exhibiting fear instead of faith in our troubles. We ask in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Correction and Prudence

I have always wondered what the prison have in common with the church. How does God corrects a spiritual person? Until the Holy Spirit enlightened my eyes to know His corrective works in the believer using the workings of the prison house.

Text: 2 Timothy 1:7

From my observation and from others who have testified to the manner in which the Bible unravel the truth. It is possible to read a passage of scripture hundreds of time without grasping the hidden meaning. Only the Spirit of God can turn on the light in conveying truth by disclosing a word.  We need to pay attention to the construction of words in any given text. In the Hebrews thoughts, scholars of the Holy Scriptures have devised an acronym called “PaRDeS” which means a garden or paradise. They stand for four level of hermeneutics or scriptural interpretation.

  • P -Peshat (surface or literal meaning)
  • R-Remez (hints of prophetic meaning)
  • D-Derash (Concepts connecting to different or multiple scriptures and thoughts)
  • S-Sod (spiritual meaning)

These methods of Hebraic interpretation of scripture can help us read and understand our Scriptures much better through the agency of the Holy Spirit that enlightens our mind. These are the four basic questions we can ask ourselves as we study the Bible text. Though the Holy Spirit is the Author and Inspirer of the written word of God through the Prophets and Apostles yet He uses men and women as teachers. It is the Spirit that that gives and open our understanding (mind) to understand the scriptures.

Now let us return to our text and use these principles to have some glimpse of deep truth from our chosen text. It says God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power, and of love and of a sound mind.  Notice the word a sound mind and that is our focus in this sermon. It literally means a sound or healthy mind.  But going up to the next level will yield to us a wealth of meaning.In the Greek text, the word is “Σωφρονισμο, Σωφρονω” which means to correct, reform, and also for wise and prudence. It can also mean to correct with logic and right. Also, a person that has his mind together or a sound mind with logic. Moreover, it can be used for a wise, prudent well behaved and intelligent person.

A Christian is a person that is wise through the salvation of God, In the sense of the secular culture he is considered foolish, but in the Lord, he is wise as a serpent. Also, he is prudent, well behaved and in his right mind through the restored relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ.

In Greece and most part of the world, the prisons are called correction centers or reformatory. And God chooses to use this word in describing the works, gift and the effects the Holy Spirit in a believer. A prison is a place no one likes to spend a day for any reason even when wrong is done. Mostly we associate evil and lawlessness with prison institutions and those that live there. A person gets thrown in jail if a law is broken and a crime is committed. Inside the prison reformation or correction takes place to make a person better suited for the society. Behaviours and conducts are changed to reflect a transformed person that is able to walk in a manner that pleases the administration and the society.

In the same manner, the Holy Spirit takes a hellbound and a lawless person that have broken the laws of God into a correctional facility called the church. Through a logical spiritual means that comes by the word of God that person is brought to his right mind to have a sound mind. God gave His word first for doctrine, reproofs correction and for instruction in righteousness. The Spirit of Correction uses the scriptures to teach and correct us. His purpose is to make us fit for the kingdom of heaven.

I have never heard the Holy Spirit called the Spirit of correction. In my study, I came to that conclusion having considered the works of the Spirit. But if in the process of chastening which is the means of correcting us is done by the Spirit of God as the Instrument of Correction.  Then it follows that He can be called the Spirit of Correction, the Spirit of reformation. He is the one that teaches us how to behave consistently in a manner that pleases our heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. He corrects us to reflect our heavenly citizenship. He is in charge of discipline in the church. He knows what each believer is able to bear.

I again reiterate that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of correction. He corrects us a Father corrects His children with love and mercy. He leads us to attain the goals of our calling by God. He corrects with gentleness and tenderness. His correction is out of His love and His kindness.

The Spirit of God brings us into a “prison” without gates and walls called liberty where there is absolute liberty to submit to instruction and correction. Our Lord said my yoke is light and easy which is true in the place called liberty.  The children of Israel were put in the prison of the law under a schoolmaster until Christ. The Christian is put in the church under the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus until the return of Christ.

The Spirit does not correct us with the laws and traditions of men or the church but by the life-giving words of God. Most often we find churches bringing the children of God under a taskmaster system that does not fit the heavenly calling. Some Churches go the extreme of recommending a dress code for men and women and other strangulating traditions. Correction without the Spirit of God is futile. The Holy Spirit does not merely reforms but completely transforms any person that believes.

The important question is does God correct humanity? The answer is yes. God is in the business of correcting mankind and nations. Why does He do it? First to turn humanity from an obvious path of destruction. Also to produce good fruits of holiness in the redeemed. Chastening is always associated with correction in the training process of God. The psalmist speaks of the correction of mankind as well as King Solomon in the proverbial books. In the book of Job chapter 36-37 a friend of Job called Elihu spoke of the instrument and the purpose of correction in the plan of God.

But the correction of the Spirit of God is first to perfect us and enable us to do the work of the ministry. Secondly to inspire our growth in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and conforming us to His image. Lastly that we may reach the full measure of the stature of Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Chosen of God

Christianity that can be explained is false in all respect. God chooses and that settles all life questions.

 

Chosen of God

Text: Ephesian 1:1-4

Who can explain Christianity? Any man that claims to have the answer is grossly mistaken. Christianity that can be explained is not real but lacking the substance of truth. Christianity has a depth and height that no man can fathom. Moreover, today’s sermon is just one of those difficult subjects from the prison epistles of Apostle Paul written to the saints in the city of Ephesus. This preciousness of this epistle is as an apple set in a frame of gold. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Apostle Paul revealed the hidden mystery of what the church is in pictorial theology, each chapter capturing the imagery of the body of Christ the church.

This preciousness of this epistle is as an apple set in a frame of gold. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Apostle Paul revealed the hidden mystery of what the church is in pictorial theology, each chapter capturing the imagery of the body of Christ the church.

The first chapter reveals the church as the body of Christ.

The second is a temple built with both Jewish and non-Jewish believers.

The third reveals the church as a mystery.

The fourth shows the church as a new creation.

The fifth reveals the church as the bride of Christ.

Finally, the sixth chapter shows the church as military battalion engaged in a cosmic battle.

Our focus is today is on the doctrine of sovereign election by God including the areas of predestination and the free will of man. We are going to look at the sovereign choice of men by God, which is why I titled the sermon as chosen of God. Calvin and many of the theologians of the Reformed wrote extensively on this subject. God is sovereign and does what He pleased. We just have to accept it by faith.

The Divisions of Ephesians 1:1-14:

The Fourteen verses are divided into three distinct sections with each ending with praise to the Lord (verse 6, 12, and 14). The division reveals how God chooses, saves and blesses us. Notice the phrase “in and through Christ”. It means that out of Christ is nothing and void of the blessings of God and in Christ are everything we need in this life and beyond.

The works of the Father (verses 3-6)

The works of the Son Jesus Christ (verses 7-12)

The works of the Holy Spirit (verses 13-14)

All three actively participated in the salvation of man. Each having a part and co-working as one in unity to restore man with a new and better hope.

God blessed us

The many blessings that God blessed us with are written as listed for us from verse 3-14 as follows:

We are chosen, to be holy, blameless, adopted, accepted, and redeemed,

We have the forgiveness of sin, abundance in wisdom, God reveals to us His mystery, and we are given us an inheritance,

We are to show His praise, and given, sealed us with the Holy Spirit. I have written over 13 of them to provoke your heart with joy.

God chooses us.

It says God chooses us before the foundation of the world that is before He ever created man. It shows that it was not an afterthought of God. Therefore, before He created mankind He chooses some to show His kindness and power. He knew all His works before they were made both visible and invisible. The word in Greek is «Εκλεκτο» it means to select, to pick out of and so on. This is according to the foreknowledge of God who knows all things. But why would God do such a thing? I don’t know. He knew prophet Jeremiah before he was born and chooses him. Does it mean He selects some to be saved and others not? This where the doctrine of predestination comes in that cannot be fully explained but to accepted by faith. This hard doctrine has been the source of argument by several theologians. The scripture says in Romans 9:19-21 / 11:33-36 that it is by grace and not works that are the basis of our being chosen. Besides, who can know the depth of Gods wisdom and knowledge that is beyond our learning.

In the scripture, the word chosen was applied to our Lord from the book of Isaiah 42:1 quoted in Matthew 12:18, and 1 Peter2:4. He was chosen by God for a purpose, as the Chief corner stone, the sacrificial Lamb of God.

Can humanity choose God?

The clear answer is no. What can a blind man choose? Can a blind or dead man search for what he does not know exist? Our Lord said you have not chosen Me but I have chosen you. Yes, it is true. Therefore, it is not possible for any man to choose God for the following reason:

We were blind, children of wrath, enemies of God,

Also we were without strength, dead spiritually and dead in sins and trespasses.

John 15:16, Romans 3:23/ 5:6-12/ 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 / Ephesians 2:1-3. Now that we cannot choose God, by all the above reasons then God has to make His choice through predestination. No man can come to the Lord except God calls him. And all that He called gave to His Son John 6:37, 39-40, 44, 65. /

Why did God choose you?

To understand why God chooses some according to His purpose is found in the Bible. Let us look at Israel. Deuteronomy 7:6-8, God choose Israel on the ground of his love. Why did He choose Isaac over Ismael, Jacob over Esau Pharaoh and the remnant of Israel? Romans 9:9-18./ 11:5-6. The reason taken from our passages is the

The love of God,

The mercy of God and

The grace of God.

Another reason is that no man should boast and glory in himself or man. 1 Corinthians 1:29, 31. Finally, those called will respond by faith to Him. Acts 9:15-16.

The kind of people God chooses

The kind of people He chooses is humbling. God’s choice is different from humanity-biased choices. God says My thoughts, ways, and choices are not like yours o man. You can check out the epistle of 1 Corinthian 1:26-28 and find out what God Choice are.  It is NOT to be found in any of these things:

It is not according to one’s race, nationality, tribe, height strength, and wealth,

Beauty, aristocracy, intelligence, and intellectualism,

God called and chose people from all nations according to His grace to be a chosen generation: Revelation 5:9.

The purpose of God

God choose us according to His purpose and plan for the ages. Here below I have written some of the reason God called and chooses us.

1) Romans 8:28-33, to be conformed to the image of His Son Jesus Christ.

2) Ephesians 2:10, to perform the good works ordained by God for us.

3) 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14, 2 Timothy 1:9, to salvation and obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus as kings and priest, joint-heirs a new race and people of God

As a parenthesis, the Parable of the wedding Matthew 22:1-14,

In verse 14 of the chapter, it says many are called and few are chosen. This does not contradict our calling. Much care should be exercised in the application of the verse. It is to be understood under the light of the

  • The general call and
  • The special call of God

In the parable, many were called both good and bad guest. The mix multitudes have to be separated in light of the holiness of God. Just as Abraham and Lot were separated. There is a parallel in the book of Jeremiah 24:1-10, the good and the bad figs. The garment of the true believers is representative of the imputed righteousness of the saints Galatians 3:26-28, Isaiah 61:10, Revelation 19:14

Response and Doctrinal application

You might not fully understand the doctrine and meaning of your election because it is not given to know. What is important is your response in thanksgiving, faith and love showing the praise of him that has called you out of darkness. Today is the day of salvation and acceptance.

 

 

 

 

The Three Crosses of Calvary.

SALVATION IS BY GRACE ALONE THROUGH FAITH WITHOUT WORKS.

Photo of Soldier Erecting Cross on Easter Sunday in Iraq Goes Viral

Text: Luke 23: 39-43/ Matthew 27:44-51                                April 21, 2017

Sermon Title: The Truth and the Way of Salvation by Grace. Place: BBC Athens-Greece

We have just celebrated the Pascal. Christ Jesus is our PASCAL and UNLEAVENED BREAD sacrificed for us. I Corinthian 5:7. Our Pascal was offered on a cross for us. We shall be at a loss if we do not understand the literal account of the cross of the Lord and the cross of the two thieves.  This is the story of the three crosses that have defined the condition and history of humanity.  It has drawn a line between the saved and the lost. The account is so important that it is mentioned in the four gospels. It representative of the works of our redemption such as listed for our learning.

Some Lesson from the cross.

Let us learn some lessons from the three crosses.

  • Christ is the ONLY and the true Savior of mankind. Luke 2:11, 19:9-10, Acts 4:12
  • God’s love and mercy are demonstrated with proofs and are true. Titus 3:5, 1 John 4:9-10
  • Salvation is freely available to all without a price. Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 2:11
  • That there is life after death. Luke 23:43
  • God respects the free will of man. Genesis 2:16, Deuteronomy 30:15-20
  • The world offers death but God offers and gives life.
  • The man is depraved and destructive. Romans 3:9-19

Reflecting on the three crosses:

The different facet of the Love of God and the state of man:

  • It is the prophesied cross of Our Savior: >>Moses lifted up the bronze serpent in the wilderness without understanding the future significance. The prophets of the O/T spoke and wrote as the Holy Spirit gave them the inspiration concerning the cross Numbers 21:9, Isaiah 53, Psalms 22:16 and 34:20, Zechariah 12:11-13:1, Mark 15:28
  • It is the cross of the Love of God: >>God so loved the human being he has created and greater love above this love cannot be found under the heavens John 3:16, 15:13
  • It is a cross of peace and reconciliation: >>Peace was made and man was reconciled to God through the cross Ephesians 2:13-16
  • It is a cross of Joy: >>Representing the glory of accomplished redemption. Isaiah 53:10-12.
  • It is a cross of sacrifice: Representing the fulfillment of the Old Testament sacrifices Ephesians 5:2
  • It is the cross of mediation :>> There is none/another mediator between God and man but the Lord Jesus who stood between heaven and earth. He also mediates between God and man. 1 Timothy 2:4-6
  • It is across of Identity:
  • It is a cross demonstrating the wisdom and power of God:
  • It is a cross of kenosis and humiliation
  • It is a cross of victory :>> John 12:23-32, 16:33, 1 Corinthians 15:55-57, Colossians 2: 13-15.
  • It is a cross of blessing :>> Galatians 3:13-14.
  • It is a cross of repentance: Representing conviction, repentance, faith and eternal life
  • It is a cross of condemnation: Representing sin, pride, rebellion, selfishness and death

Some false teachings to beware:

There have been many false teachings based on the salvation of the thief. Some teach that we do not need water baptism since the thief was not baptized. The truth is that we are not saved by water baptism but we have to show our submission and obedience by being baptized as commanded by our Lord.  Secondly, some also decline from the communion service or the Lords supper saying the thief did not receive it before entering paradise. It is also a wrong teaching; we need to receive the symbolic bread and wine as often as possible.

Glean from comparing both thieves on the cross:

Matthew 27:38-46, Mark 15:27-33, Luke 23:32-44, and John 19:18   

  • The repentant feared God but the other mocked God.
  • The repentant justified God and took responsibility for his actions.
  • The repentant showed the laws of God in man’s mind and conscience
  • The unrepentant wanted to see a sign or miracle.
  • The unrepentant looked for pity, mercy, and salvation from man instead of God.
  • The repentant asked to be saved with humility and conviction.
  • The repentant believed and exalted the kingdom, King, and Lordship of the Lord Jesus.

Our disposition and choices:

God gives mankind the power of a free will to choose his final resting place or destiny.  We have to choose between serving God or the devil, the Lord Jesus or the devil, light or darkness, life or death, wickedness or righteousness, obedience or disobedience and many more contrast and options. All humanity stands on one or the other side of the cross. The cross saves or condemns according to what we choose. The wisdom of the cross put to nothing the great philosophy and teachings of this world. The cross of Jesus is the power of God to save and deliver.

What side are you? You can decide now as the thief did with an immediate response from the Lord Jesus. NOW IS THE ACCEPTABLE DAY AND TIME OF SALVATION 2 Corinthians 6:1-2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Inventor

Countless number of times, I have heard that necessity is the mother of invention. But is that so? Are we telling it like it is? In fact is that saying true? I began to question that axiom when I discovered that it wasn’t the primary motive that had moved the engine of all invention.  What is it then that drove men to discover and invent breakthrough technology, that lifted humanity to a whole new level?

Is it necessity? To my surprise I discovered that was not the case. Considering that life’s difficulties, failures, a refusal to quit, hardship, a strong belief, being different, and a strong mindset has a defining role to play. FRankly, it is the desire to be different, running against the strong winds of the society and the generally accepted  beliefs of our time and age. Dare to be different and the result will amaze you. Years ago it was said that man cannot break the 10 seconds barrier in the hundred metre dash. What has changed then?

Go that extra mile, believe in the possibility of walking on the surface of the sea, running faster than the rocket engine and flying as the eagles with wings spread heavenward. And in all these trust in the inexhaustible abundance of the living God that has the power to accomplish through you more than you ever thought and imagine is possible.

Whom does heaven help?

You might have heard the axiom that heaven help those that help themself. But is that true? If I am able to help myself, why do I need haven. The truth is that the premise of this statement is as wrong as it is stated.

First, heaven help those that cannot help themselves. Secondly, heaven help those, that through obedience seek the power of heaven. Don’t get deceived by many unchallenged sayings of old. You can unravel the blockages that have hindered you through a correct interpretation of scripture with a renewed  mindset. Welcome to my day.

Interpreting the Lord Jesus.

The outstanding characteristics of a christian is the ability to correctly interpret the majestic person of the Lord Jesus Christ to oneself in order to significantly impact the lives of others. What passes for the faith today is a mere excitement of the flesh mixed with positive psychology.

The purpose of life is derived from identifying with the person of God, as a result of a right interpretation of the grace and love of God towards mankind.

The power of Knowledge

The useful application of knowledge is in the realms of understanding. That is why when knowledge is hoarded, it breeds destructive worms. The excellency of wisdom is found when it is shared to transform the lives of others.

When wisdom is found, understanding is embedded. Both are one side or two sides of a coin depending on our interpretation.

The best of wisdom comes at the high price of knowing the fountain of the treasure of all wisdom.

Η ΧΑΡΑΚΤΗΡΑΣ ΜΙΑΣ ΕΝΑΡΕΤΗ ΓΥΝΑΙΚΑΣ

Ο ΧΑΡΑΚΤΗΡΑΣ ΜΙΑΣ ΕΝΑΡΕΤΗ ΓΥΝΑΙΚΑΣ

Κείμενο: Παροιμίες 31: 10-31

Μήνυμα:  Μία εξαιρετική θεοσεβής γυναίκα

Το βιβλίο των Παροιμιών είναι ένα πολύ δύσκολο βιβλίο για να πάρουμε στοιχεία για κήρυγμα , λόγω της διδακτικής και διαπαιδαγωγικής τους φύσης . Είναι επίσης γεμάτο παραλληλισμούς και αριθμητικούς σχολιασμούς. Το μεγαλύτερο μέρος του βιβλίου των Παροιμιών γράφεται από τον βασιλιά Σολομώντα. Βασικά χωρίζεται σε τρία τμήματα, κεφάλαια 1-10, 11-24 και 25-31.

Στην εβραϊκή γλώσσα, η λέξη παροιμία είναι “Mashal” που σημαίνει «να είναι σαν» ή «σύγκριση». Αυτός είναι ένας στίχος που δηλώνει μια πρόταση και το επισημαίνει στην επόμενη γραμμή του ίδιου στίχου είτε με σύγκριση είτε με αντίθεση.

Το βιβλίο των Παροιμιών είναι το βιβλίο σοφίας της Παλαιάς Διαθήκης. Η κύρια εστίασή του είναι η οδηγία που απαιτείται για να μπορέσουμε να αντιμετωπίσουμε την καθημερινή ζωή

Ερμηνεία του βιβλίου: Το βιβλίο μπορεί να ερμηνευτεί με δύο τρόπους κυρίως:

Κατά γράμμα

Αλληγορικώς

Μερικοί από τους λόγους που πρέπει να μελετήσουμε το βιβλίο των Παροιμιών

Είναι ένα βιβλίο που επικεντρώνεται κυρίως στην ανάπτυξη του θεϊκού χαρακτήρα: Ο χαρακτήρας είναι πιο σημαντικός από τα χαρισματικά δώρα και τα πιστεύω.

Μας διδάσκει πώς να διακρίνουμε τους χαρακτήρες στον κύκλο μας.

Αυτό χωρίζει τα τείχη του διαχωρισμού μεταξύ θεωρίας και πρακτικής, του ιερού και του κοσμικού, της εκκλησίας και του σπιτιού, της εκκλησίας και του χώρου εργασίας.

Πώς να είσαι σοφός με τη Θεϊκή σοφία

Πώς να περπατήσετε με θεία καθοδήγηση.

Πώς να εξετάζετε τη ζωή ρεαλιστικά και σωστά.

Η παροιμία 31 είναι ένα πολύ δημοφιλές κεφάλαιο της Βίβλου και το μήνυμα είναι πολύ διαχρονικό και συναφές σε κάθε ηλικία. Στην πραγματικότητα, από τον δέκατο στίχο μέχρι το τέλος του κεφαλαίου είναι οι λέξεις κλεισίματος που γράφτηκαν ως «ακροστικά» ποιήματα στην εβραϊκή γλώσσα. Αυτό σημαίνει ότι κάθε στίχος οργανώνεται διαδοχικά  στο αλφάβητο των εβραϊκών γραμμάτων από το Aleph στο Tau.

Ωστόσο, το κείμενό μας ξεκινάει με μια “Ερώτηση” , μια πολύτιμη ερώτηση. Ποιος μπορεί να βρει μια ενάρετη γυναίκα; Και πήγε να πει ότι μια τέτοια γυναίκα αξίζει παραπάνω  από ρουμπίνια. Αυτή η λέξη “Virtuous” είναι η εβραϊκή λέξη “Eshet chayil“. Αρχικά χρησιμοποιήθηκε στην Παλαιά Διαθήκη, Έξοδος 18:21, όταν ο Μωυσής χρειάστηκε συναδέλφους για να βοηθήσει στη διαχείριση του έργου του Θεού. Επίσης στο 1 Βασιλέων 1: 42 και 52 ως γενναίος, ο οποίος είναι στρατιωτικός (δύναμη ενός πολεμιστή).

Μεταφράζεται ως ικανός άνθρωπος, με τρία χαρακτηριστικά.

Αυτός που φοβάται – σέβεται  τον Θεό

Άντρες της αλήθειας

Μισώντας την απλιστία

Αυτό έχει την ικανότητα να κάνει τρία πράγματα

Να βάζει κανόνες και να οδηγεί,

Να κρίνει και να διακρίνει

Να υποφέρει φορτία και εμπόδια και να είναι εργατικός

Συχνά μεταφράζεται ως αντοχή, υπεροχή, δύναμη, ενέργεια, ικανότητα που αγκαλιάζει τη σωματική, νοητική και πνευματική πλευρά ενός ατόμου.

Η ίδια λέξη χρησιμοποιείται για να περιγράψει μια γυναίκα και έναν άνδρα. Όταν χρησιμοποιείται για έναν άντρα, αυτό σημαίνει , γενναιότητα. Για μια γυναίκα, υποδηλώνει έναν ευγενή χαρακτήρα με αρετές.

Εδώ εξετάζουμε το χαρακτήρα μιας συζύγου, μιας μητέρας και μιας αδελφής. Θα μπορούσε να είναι χήρα, διαζευγμένη και άγαμη, δεν έχει σημασία. Κάποιοι μπορεί να διαμαρτύρονται για μια γυναίκα που έχει χωρίσει βασισμένοι στις βιβλικές διαταγές χωρίς να δίνουν προσοχή στις περιστάσεις. Η Ρουθ ήταν χήρα όταν χαρακτηρίστηκε ως ενάρετη γυναίκα. Ας κρίνουμε δίκαια  με βάση το έλεος και τη χάρη του Θεού.

Στα μάτια του Θεού και της Βίβλου, οι άνδρες και οι γυναίκες έχουν την ισότητα στα εξής:

Στη δημιουργία ως αρσενικό και θηλυκό. Γένεση 1:27

Στη σωτηρία όπως τα παιδιά του Θεού Γαλάτες 3: 26-29

Στη χάρη και τα χαρισματικά δώρα του Αγίου Πνεύματος. 1 Κορινθίους 12: 7-12

Στο πεδίο της αποστολής της διακήρυξης του ευαγγελίου. Μάρκος 16: 15, Ρωμαίους 16: 1-6

Στη διοίκηση και τις υπηρεσίες στις εκκλησίες, Ρωμαίους 12: 4-8

Μία μεταφορική μετάφραση της Παροιμίας 31:

Στη Βίβλο, η σοφία είναι πάντα εξατομικευμένη ή ανθρωπομορφισμένη. Πάντα χρησιμοποιείται η θηλυκή αίσθηση όπως στις Παροιμίες κεφάλαιο 7: 4. Υπάρχει η  έκφραση, ότι η σοφία είναι μια «αδελφή». «Μην την εγκαταλείπετε»,  «να την αγκαλιάζετε» και «είναι ένα δέντρο της ζωής», είναι μερικές από τις λέξεις που χρησιμοποιούνται για την σοφία. Είναι σαν κάλεσμα το να «παντρευτείς ή να ενωθείς με τη σοφία».

Επομένως, όλα τα χαρακτηριστικά στο κεφάλαιο 31: 10-31 αναφέρονται στη σοφία στη δράση και τι κάνει στη ζωή εκείνων που την έχουν στην καρδιά τους. Όταν η σοφία στηρίζεται στην καρδιά μας, είναι γνωστή από τα φρούτα που παράγει. Στο βιβλίο του Ιακωβου κεφάλαιο 3: 15-18 ο Απόστολος συλλαμβάνει τη σοφία του Θεού σε σύγκριση με την κοσμική σοφία. Ο Κύριος Ιησούς είναι η σοφία μας 1 Κορινθίους 1:30. Έτσι, η αποδοχή του Κυρίου Ιησού Χριστού στην καρδιά μας μπορεί να παράγει τους καρπούς του Πνεύματος που αναφέρονται στην Παροιμία 31. Στην Καινή Διαθήκη χρησιμοποιείται μια παρόμοια λέξη για τους διακόνους των Πράξεων 6: 3.

Η γραπτή ερμηνεία

Μπορούμε να καταλάβουμε περισσότερα για το μήνυμά μας όταν διαβάσουμε τις Παροιμίες κεφάλαιο 12: 4, 18:22 και 19:14. Μια ενάρετη γυναίκα, ως γυναίκα της δύναμης, είναι στέμμα του συζύγου και το αντίστροφο είναι η περίπτωση μιας μη-ενάρετης γυναίκας που είναι « σάπια στο κόκαλο» . Αυτό σημαίνει ότι μια γυναίκα μπορεί να είναι είτε μια κορώνα είτε μια βρωμιά σάπια στο σύζυγό της. Τι λέξη!

Όποιος βρίσκει καλή σύζυγο, λαμβάνει  Θεία χάρη και εύνοια. Και μια καλή και συνετή γυναίκα είναι από τον Κύριο. Στην Παλαιά Διαθήκη η λέξη ενάρετος χρησιμοποιείται μόνο μία φορά για να περιγράψει μια γυναίκα που ονομάζεται Ρουθ, μη Εβραία και χήρα στο βιβλίο της Ρουθ 3:11.

Χρησιμοποιώντας μια τέτοια έκφραση για να περιγράψει τον χαρακτήρα της, η Αγία Γραφή ανακουφίζει όλες τις γυναίκες οποιασδήποτε κατάστασης. Ο λόγος είναι ότι ονομάστηκε ενάρετος πριν  ακόμη παντρευτεί.

Μέσω της γυναίκας Ρουθ, μπορούμε να καταλάβουμε τι θέλει ο Θεός από εμάς. Δεν επιδιώκει την τελειότητα, αλλά μια απλή υπακοή και πιστότητα όπως εκθέτει η Ρουθ. Μπορεί να είσθε άγαμη, χήρα ή διαζευγμένη, αλλά αυτό δεν αποκλείει την τιμή σας. Αυτό που μετράει είναι η γονιμότητά σας στο σπίτι, στο χώρο εργασίας και στην εκκλησία. Επενδύετε στα πράγματα του Κυρίου;

Ο Θεός θέλει να ακολουθήσουμε τα βήματα του Χριστού ως παράδειγμα . Πέτρου 2:21. Δεν καλούμαστε να μιμηθούμε τον Χριστό Ιησού, αλλά απλά  να επιτρέψουμε σε α

Αυτόν να μας διαμορφώσει σύμφωνα με την εικόνα Του ως γιοι και κόρες. Θέλει να ανανεώσει και να αποκαταστήσει τις σπασμένες ζωές μας, αν αφεθούμε  σε μια  σχέση Αγάπης μαζί Του. « Όπως είναι Αυτός, έτσι κι εμείς σ ‘αυτόν τον κόσμο»,  λέγεται στο λόγο του Θεού. 1 Ιωάννη 4: 17.

Χαρακτηριστικά της ευγενικής, ισχυρής και εξαιρετικής γυναίκας:

Σύμφωνα με τις Παροιμίες 31: 10-31

Ενάρετη  και ασύγκριτη (δυνατή και σπάνια)

Πιστή και αξιόπιστη

Σεβάσμια και αγαθή

Πραγματική βοήθεια για τον άντρα της

Εργατική

Με καινοτόμες ιδέες  ,πολυμήχανη

.Ένα χρηματοοικονομικό περιουσιακό στοιχείο και υπεύθυνη

Καλή επενδύτρια για το καλό της οικογένειας της

Καλή δασκάλα  / δικαστής / πρεσβευτής που χρησιμοποιεί τη σοφία του Θεού

Φιλάνθρωπος

Γοητευτική και καλοντυμένη

Φιλόξενη , καλοσυνάτη

Φοβάται και σέβεται τον Θεό

Συμπεράσμα

Ας μάθουμε να κρίνουμε μια γυναίκα με τη θεολογία της αντί της γοητείας και της ομορφιάς της. Ο Θεός λέει ότι η ομορφιά είναι μάταιη και δεν πρέπει να αποτελεί τη βάση για την εκτίμηση του χαρακτήρα μιας γυναίκας. Μια γυναίκα που φοβάται τον Θεό είναι όμορφη εσωτερικά και έχει μεγάλη αξία. Οι αρετές είναι χαρακτηριστικά που ενισχύουν την ηθική και  πνευματική θεμελίωση ενός ατόμου.

Ο σύζυγος έχει να διαδραματίσει σημαντικό ρόλο στη ζωή της  γυναίκας. Η Βίβλος λέει ότι την επαινεί και την δίνει να φάει από το καρπό της δουλειάς της. Τα παιδιά την αποκαλούν ευλογημένη καθώς χαίρονται τη σκληρή δουλειά και τη δημιουργικότητά της. Ο κόσμος ψάχνει τύπους Χόλιγουντ, αλλά ο Θεός αναζητά μια γυναίκα που να Τον τιμά. Ποιος μπορεί να βρει μια τέτοια γυναίκα; Επειδή είναι σπάνιες, μόνο ο Θεός μπορεί να τους αποκαλύψει και τις έχουμε σε αφθονία στις εκκλησίες μας.

Ο κόσμος φροντίζει για την ομορφιά και τη γοητεία, αλλά η πραγματική ομορφιά είναι η εσωτερική καρδιά που είναι γνωστή με πράξεις περισσότερο από λέξεις.