Appreciate people for who they are!

Don’t go chasing after people after they reject you. There is a reason and a purpose for your rejection. Some reject because they took enough, already abuse and have no further use of you. You will miss many, but understand and abandon feelings of regret for your nonappearance to people who never appreciate the value of your company. The people who belong in your life will stay and add value, they may take but they will give back. They will seek you out, they will find you, and they will stay and help you smooth out the thorny issues. We all have them, those who value you will help you overcome and smooth the rugged terrain. However the lesson you must learn that will guide you safely through the remainder of your life, is you must never start seeing yourself through the eyes of those who critique and undervalue you.

Those who undervalue will undermine, develop, build on, embellish slips and point finger at our shame. There is a saying, ‘appreciate those who appreciate you’ but the Christian way is much more powerful. We appreciate others even when they do not appreciate us! W appreciate others for who they are, not as we wished them to be! We are made in the image of God and if we hate people, we hate God! It seems easier to hate, and the difficult thing in life is to love those who hate us. We should be an example of good so that we be an attraction to those who will appreciate our uniqueness and love us for who we are. You work hard at being you; it is so easy to want to be like others. Do not abandon your God design distinctive self to be like someone else. You are not a carbon copy of anyone else; you are an original being, uniquely carved out by the hand of the master designer. We are all beautiful in His eyes, yet the world tends to place much emphasis on physical attraction. However, no physical magnificence can be as lovely as a beautiful heart.

Your Friends, the real Enemies?

Have you ever wondered why people you love, and who formerly expressed love and friendship towards you, end up hating you without a cause? Do you think this is a modern phenomenon? If you turn the pages of history, it would alarm you to know it is not a new thing. Listen to King David query of God: ‘Many have become my enemies without cause; those who hate me without reason are numerous. Those who repay my good with evil lodge accusations against me, though I seek only to do what is good’ (Psa. 38: 19-20). Did you get that? Wow, those who experience your good deed, the ones you know and believe was your friends, are the ones who repay kindness with evil. Read again the part that states, they ‘lodge accusation against me, (David). Those who seek to harm Davids were not his enemies, but those who experience his goodness, his friends. His close confidant, the real enemies? So should you not keep your enemies at bay, or should you keep them closer?

Did you know that up to 90% of people who are murdered, it happened at the hands of someone close to them, someone who profess love or that they considered friend? Why is this? People have to know you, to want to kill you, it rarely ever happened at the hands of a stranger! Therefore, the old and over used cliché, ‘there’s a thin line between love and hate’ is actually true. That is the problem with overused cliché they are often true indeed.

What happened between the statement or claim, ‘I love you’, and the point at which they want to do you hurt? David’s youthful vigour has waned; he was now an old man. He reached a point of his life when he needs love and support from those he love, his relatives, and his own people. The people of Israel knew his history, his self-sacrifice, his personal contribution to making Israel a great nation. However, so do many of his friends, close neighbours though he waged war against, the nation’s enemies and protected them, now hate and cast accusations against him. Ones true friends would never raise an accusations against you. If they were real friends, they would speak to you in confidence about any issue that may be damaging to your name and image. Your friends watch your back, and would want to healp clean up yout image not damage it.

David felt let down, as we all would be, he made an appeal to God, about those he loved, those who return for his goodness for them actions that revealed hate. If you have not yet seen what David experienced, you have not yet lived. I guarantee you that the ones who hurt you the most are the ones who are supposedly close to you. The stranger will never know your innermost thoughts, your personal life stories, but your friends do. They know it because you confide in them, expecting help, prayer and steps to solve your problems. However, it is because there is no God in them, no holiness, and Jesus blood has not applied to their gossiping lips; that they become treacherous by their actions. They never tell you anything, their secret life remain secret, but you never see it. You trust them so much, you are anxious to tell what going on in your life. They know what to tell you, just enough, but not too much that they can be accused. So they are in prime position to betray your trust.

Plainly they are those kind of people who only draw close, the ‘wolves in sheep clothing’, ‘the foxes that chew at the tender vines’, they seek only to do you hurt. Yet where is the cause? Why do they hurt you? Why do they betray your trust? They profess everlasting love and friendship was fiend! They hurt you because there was no light in them from the beginning. They are the dangerous ones, they are the so-called friends, the ones who dig to get into your life, with a show of friendship, show that they care, and hurt you without a cause. They are the sons/daughters of the evil one.

You must never be afraid of them, yet you must never return hate for hate or you will end up like them on the wrong site of truth. They have their place in the judgement of condemnation. Separate from them, be not partakers in their evil schemes! Remove yourselves from their attempt of encouragement, for their counsel is evil. Nevertheless, never stop praying for them, never stop loving them, never stop showing that you are different. That you are God’s elect, bought with a price, the precious blood of Jesus. You will never return evil for the evil they do to you. Inspire of the evil they do to you, you must do good anyway.

Philosophy of our Times

What’s it all about?

The focus of the collection is the ancient Greek and Roman philosophy of happiness (eudaimonia) which was the most widespread philosophical tradition in the Western world from when it was first extensively introduced in the philosophical dialogues of Plato in Athens in the fourth century BC all the way up to the writings of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius in the late second century CE. In other words, a period of more than five hundred years. Since the core concepts and questions in this tradition was defined by the Socrates we meet in Plato’s dialogues – and since all the following thinkers in the tradition saw themselves as followers of Socrates – it seems to be both fair and informative to call it the Socratic tradition.

So why do I focus almost exclusively on Stoicism rather than, say, Aristotle or Epicurus – or simply on Socrates? Because I think Stoicism is the most advanced and well-argued version of the Socratic philosophy of happiness.

I had many occasions,due my culture and work, to think about the Roman Philosophy. Sometimes I think the meaning of “happiness” is misunderstood. Because “happiness” was something more related to the “common wealth” of a group of people…the family (the Domus), the friends, the commilitons , the Urbe (the town). Happiness was something to share, not like today, something related only to the “expression of their own Ego”. As Plato as well underlines many times: the Ego can be destructive and it should be balanced by other forces.

This is the fundamental of the Roman Right and the Roman Law as well(directly based on the Greek Philosophy but more”practical” I would say).

So, instead “Happyness” I would sometimes replace and use the words ” Philosophy of the Good Sense” or (if you understand better)”Philosophy of the Right Common Sense”.

A Happy person is someone that has”everything is needed” but in a right balance. A simple,humble,honest but proud life. This was shown as samples to the any roman soldier as well,that at the end of the service,was able to retire with his own “piece of (conquered) Roman land” where to build the Villa (a house with a minimum of an hectare of land around, still in Tuscany a house with less it is not considered a Villa,but a house,a Palace,a Domus, a different building)… Better to not analyse too much the reasons of the Roman decadence, because they are the direct consequence of this though: when the Ego go over the “Common sense”. Probably Decadence it is that. Hope I was able to give you some hints to think about.

“Not only we humans, who are born a thing short-lived and mortal, but cities also, districts and coasts of the earth, and the very sea are the slaves of fate. Despite this we make ourselves assurances that Fortune’s blessings will last for ever, and we believe that felicity, whose constancy is the most fickle of all human affairs and swiftest to fly, will have weight and permanence in the case of some person. And as men assure themselves that all things will last for ever, it does not occur to them that the very ground on which we stand is not secure” – Seneca, Natural questions 6.1.14-15

“Let us place before our eyes in its entirety the nature of man’s lot, and if we would not be overwhelmed, or even dazed, by those unwonted evils, as if they were novel, let us summon to our minds beforehand, not as great an evil as oftentimes happens, but the very greatest evil that possibly can happen. We must reflect upon fortune fully and completely” – Seneca, Letters 91.8

“Our ancestors made the complaint, we make the complaint, and our descendants will complain plain about it too: morals are corrupt, vice is dominant, human affairs are declining, and all sense of right and wrong is crumbling. But the situation is still the same and it will remain pretty much the same, give or take a little movement one way or the other, like the waves which the incoming tide brings further inland and the outgoing tide holds back to the low-water line. At one point our moral failings will lean more in the direction of adultery than any other vice, and the restraints of sexual modesty will be shattered; at another point the dominant vice will be the mad excesses of feasting and gastronomic extravagance, which reduce inheritances to a shameful state of ruin; at some other time it will be excessive cultivation of the body and an obsession with beauty that advertises intellectual and moral ugliness; again, it will be badly managed freedom which breaks out into presumptuous impudence; then we will descend into public and private savagery and the madness of civil wars, in which everything sacred and holy is violated. Some day drunkenness will bring respect, and the capacity to drink a huge volume of strong wine will be a virtue. Vices do not wait around in just one location; they are on the move and jostle competitively with each other – sometimes winning, sometimes losing. But we will always be obliged to make the same declaration about ourselves: that we are bad now, have been bad in the past, and (though I add this point reluctantly) will be bad in the future. There will always be killers, tyrants, thieves, adulterers, rapists, violators of religion, and traitors” – Seneca, On Benefits, I.10.1-4.

 

Emphasise firm knowledge, established on objective truth.

Sometimes it takes years, for some people a lifetime to develop an identity, knowing who you are, not the ones they think you are, or think you should be. The true one, the real unique you, the one God create with a purpose, fulfilling your design objective, Gods plan for you in a hostile environment. Not that you are perfect, ‘we all have sinned’ but highly favoured, just and only forgiven sinner, saved by grace. Finding, identifying occupying your place, in the world in a culture pregnant with subjectivity however, you must be free to design and create to your own taste. Not that subjectivity is wrong at all times, far from it, subjectivity has its place, but it must be research and reason before one submits to greater forces. Subjectivity is an essential theory of philosophy, associated with awareness, activity, personhood, authenticity, and truth, which has been variously define by causes. Roughly being a focus, closely meaning people, who have conscious experiences, such as viewpoints, feelings, beliefs, and desires. Because we are originals and not a carbon copy of anyone else we must be allowed to form, develop and establish the true us, not formed by others ideas or their cynicism of us.

However, objectivity is pregnant with impartiality, which is the absence of bias/prejudice. As being objective, we are able to find fairness, equitability, even-handed, justice, open-minded, disinterest, detachment, dispassion, neutrality etc. We very often head ‘the ideals of journalistic accuracy and objectivity’ being flaunted about, but it is rarely achieved. Very few news broadcast or headlines have accuracy and objectivity. Nevertheless, this is what world reporting and what society need from its news reporting. We often heard the phrase, we will have to agree to disagree, but it also works the opposite way. It is important that we look at things objectively, and then we have a clearer picture of what we are subjecting ourselves to. Understanding who we are as a human beings, firstly a new born, that our parents loves and cherished. As we grow through childhood into teenage years and into adulthood, singleton in school. Later in society always looking for a footing, forming identity through groupings, friendships a sense of belonging. For some entering into relationships, starting a family man, and finding a suitable working pattern that conveniently blend with our family life and responsibilities.

Those experiences in the academic pursuit understand that it takes pages and pages to develop a coherent concept. Of course not pursuing an academic discipline, for those other times as for a magazine article a short vignette will be acceptable. In the start of 2017, this article will emphasise firm knowledge, established on objective truth. I will share with you a selection of thoughts I have gathered over the years addressing a wide range of issues relevant to your role as an ambassador for Christ.

Sometimes all it takes is a short reflection or a briefly explained insight to put a stone in someone’s shoe, gently prodding him or her to see things from a different perspective. Not to follow the usual hype, hysteria and half-truth peddled by the unlearned and spiritually blind. Many of Christians interactions with family and friends are laced with tales that undress, peal the skin from, separate, destroy others with whom we take a dislike or imagined a hurt that never exist. Our interactions with people must be about building up others, building walls of friendships, not building walls that keep us apart. Maturity in Christ is not about tearing down bridges that brings us together, and unites us. We should be spiritually mature enough to say stop it! Whether it is family or friend, let them see the error of their ways, be objective. When we join in the arguments that are assassinating others, we are being subjective to the forces of hysteria and disunity. It is like putting a bullet to their head, not with a gun, but from our lips. ‘But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgement. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell’ (Matt. 5: 22). Stop it, already, its 2017!

Start today, the first working day in January 2017, to love your neighbour, our sister/brother as ourselves. As only then, we will see again clearly, since we are in relationship with them and with God. This means that much of our individual and collective effort in 2017 will and should be about planting and nurturing the seed of righteousness and love rather than in harvesting the fruit of hate. As Christian ambassadors, let us be prepared to take small steps, engaging someone over time, evangelise our backyards. Offering little morsels like those in this ‘emphasis on firm knowledge, established on objective truth’ is a great way to get people thinking objectively and hopefully move them towards re-establishing a firm relationship, subjectively with Christ. Likewise helping the unsaved to making a firm commitment to follow Jesus Christ.

I hope you share it with your family, friends, work colleagues and associates.

Is the Christmas tree Christian?

When it comes to this season of the year, shoppers are enticed with advertisement on TV, Radio, newspapers and billboards to get the perfect Christmas tree. The shops are packed, and you can see many people gathering at stalls trying to choose which is best for their particular setting. The associated Christmas is a holiday shared and celebrated by Christians, but has sympathies with many other world religions. Undoubtedly, it is a day that has a worldwide effect.

To many people, Christmas time is a favourite season of the year and involves stupendous spending, the sharing of gifts, party celebrations and elaborate feasting. Christmas is a holiday that unifies almost all peoples of faith and non-religious claimants.

This festive seasons, or the spirit of Christmas causes many to elaborately decorate their everyday spaces, grow a special tree, then cut it down and bring them to their houses, schools, business places and shopping centres, decking them with silver and gold with elaborate lightings. In the light of the mistletoe, families gather, make merry one to another. As I sat down to write there are many lights of my neighbours and of varying colours flashing at me.

Traditionally, when the sun goes down on the 24th of December and darkness covers the land, families and churches prepare for participation in customs such as burning the Yule log, singing around the decorated tree, kissing under the mistletoe and holly, and attending a late night service or midnight mass.

However, quite often we are confronted with important questions such as, what is the meaning of Christmas? Where did the customs and traditions originate?

Many Christians, would desire to worship Christ the Lord in Spirit and in truth as was intended, therefore discerning the spirit of what make sense and what does not, what is truth and what is not. More importantly is Christmas really Christian, and if it isn’t would God be happy that we pass it off as a Christian festival?

The plain truth is that all the customs associated with Christmas pre-date the birth of Jesus Christ, and has firm roots in paganism. Christmas as it has become is a collection of traditions, practices and rituals taken from many cultures and nations.

The 25th of December comes from Roman traditions on which mass were a celebration offered to the Italic god, Saturn, and the rebirth of the sun god Tammuz. The date

In the pre-Christian Romans era pagans noted that daylight began to increase after December 22nd, when it was assumed that the sun god died. These ancients’ worshippers believed that the sun god rose from the dead three days later as the newborn and venerable sun. Consequently, they believed that to be the reason for increasing daylight.

This gave justifiable cause, in their views for much uninhibited excitement and licentious celebration. Gift giving and merriment filled the temples of ancient Rome, as sacred priests of Saturn, called dendrophori, who carried wreaths of evergreen boughs in procession. In Germany, the evergreen tree was used in worship and festivity of the Yule god, also in observance of the resurrected sun god.

The evergreen tree was a symbol of the essence of life and was regarded as a phallic symbol in the fertility god worship. Witches and other pagans regarded the red holly as a symbol of the menstrual blood of the queen of heaven, also known as Diana. Additionally the wood of the holly was also used by witches to make wands for their witchery practices. The white berries of mistletoe were believed by the pagans to represent droplets of the semen of the sun god. Both the holly and the mistletoe were hung in doorways of temples and homes to invoke powers of fertility in those who stood beneath and kissed, causing the spirits of the god and goddess to enter them.

Kissing under sprigs of mistletoe is a well-known holiday tradition, but this little plant’s history as a symbolic herb dates back thousands of years. Many ancient cultures prized mistletoe for its healing properties. The Greeks were known to use it as a cure for everything from menstrual cramps to spleen disorders, and the Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder noted it could be used as a balm against epilepsy, ulcers and poisons. The plant’s romantic overtones most likely started with the Celtic Druids of the 1st century A.D. Because mistletoe could blossom even during the frozen winter, the Druids came to view it as a sacred symbol of vivacity, and they administered it to humans and animals alike in the hope of restoring fertility.

Kissing under the mistletoe is first found associated with the Greek festival of Saturnalia and later with primitive marriage rites. They probably originated from two beliefs. One belief was that it has power to bestow fertility. It was also believed that the dung from which the mistletoe would also possess “life-giving” power. In Scandinavia, mistletoe was considered a plant of peace, under which enemies could declare a truce or warring spouses kiss and make-up. Later, the eighteenth-century English credited with a certain magical appeal called a kissing ball.

Th customs we now see at Christmas transcended the frontiers of ancient Rome and Germany and to the far reaches of the then known world. So why and how did all of these ancient customs find their way into and become acceptable practices in modern Christianity, from Catholicism to Protestantism even into fundamentalist churches?

‘Christmas’ itself reveals the marriage of paganism with Christianity. Christmas being a mixture of the name ‘Christ’ our Lord and ‘Mass’ which was a pagan celebration. As many failed to understand ‘Mass’ signify death and was coined originally by the pagans. However when the pagans converted to Christianity, became the Roman Catholic Church, or the universal church of Rome. They could not make a clean and complete break from their roots and traditions, transferred many of the ancient customs and called them Christian, a clever mixture of paganism with Christianity.

The ritual of the Mass involves the death of Christ and the distribution of the ‘Host’, a word taken from the Latin word ‘hostiall’ that means victim! Christmas is therefore a mixture of Christianity with paganism introduced by the Roman Catholic Church. A study of the schemes of the Catholic Church reveals that in every case, the church absorbed and welcomed the customs, traditions and general paganism of every tribe, culture and nation in their efforts to increase the number of people under their control. The Catholic Church invited all of the pagan cultures to, ‘bring your gods, goddesses, rituals and rites and we will give them Christian sounding titles and names so they can be more acceptable, without many people batting an eyelid.

However, they never planned for the liked of Martin Luther the great reformer and corrector of Catholic errors. Luther came on the scene on October 31st, 1517, and other reformers followed his lead, all of them took with them the paganism that was so firmly imbedded in Rome. However in spite of the great work they accomplished these reformers left Christmas intact, leaving many to think it was OK. However, many people continue to question the validity of the tree arguing that it was associated with pagan festivals and not Christians, but how did it becomes associated with Christianity and thus a Christian symbol?

‘Hear what the LORD says to you, O house of Israel… This is what the LORD says:

“Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the sky, though the nations are terrified by them… For the customs of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and an artisan shapes it with his chisel… They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter” (Jer. 10: 1 – 4 NIV).

Hebrew Masoretic Text

3 For the customs of the peoples are vanity; for it is but a tree which one cutteth out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman with the axe.

This message to Israel by the prophet Jeremiah was often ignored by God’s chosen people and continues to be ignored by Christians at Christmas. Though denied the message appears to forbid cutting down a tree, bringing it into our homes, and decorating it. There are few Christian groups who in modern times will heed the warning and forbid Christmas trees anywhere in their environment due to this passage.

However, most Christians who are aware of the ancient warning will excuse it by claiming that it was warning against the associated idolatry and not about Christmas trees in particular. Some modern churches ignored the whole Old Testament books and this includes this passage, so obviously it could not be a Christmas tree. Similarly, they highlighted the fact that in many modern translations the word chisel is used, which to them is an indication that the reference was not really to a tree but a carved idol. However, the NIV uses the word chisel, while the KJV uses the word axe, as does the Hebrew Masoretic Text.  The Septuagint does not use axe or chisel, but calls the tree a “molten image” in verse 3. Once again, the different translations are a source of confusion.

To enhance their claim they point to other verses which shows that the context of this passage is clearly about the worship of idols. However, verses 3 and 4 are still strong statements against cutting down trees and bringing them into a house to decorate, and these verses are a direct quote from God through the prophet.

Additionally, God clearly declares that he hates the practices of the other peoples who were neighbours of Israel.  Of course, there are many non-Israelite origins of peoples decorating trees that pre-date the modern ‘Christmas tree.’ Ancient (and modern) pagans would cut boughs of evergreens for decoration in their homes. Ancient Egyptians decorated their homes with palm tree branches. Greeks decorated evergreen trees as part of worship of their god Adonia. Pagan Romans would decorate trees with metal and replicas of Bacchus, a fertility god. Germans tied fruit and candles to trees in honour of their god Woden.  Christians cannot accurately claim that decorating a tree is not related to pagan idol worship.

The second-century Christian theologian Tertullian condemned those Christians who celebrated the winter festivals, or decorated their houses with laurel boughs in honour of the emperor:  ‘Let them over whom the fires of hell are imminent, affix to their posts, laurels doomed presently to burn: to them the testimonies of darkness and the omens of their penalties are suitable. You are a light of the world, and a tree evergreen. If you have renounced temples, make not your own gate a temple.’ Other Christian leaders condemned the ‘pagan’ practice of Christmas trees, including the Pilgrim’s second governor, William Bradford. The Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Worldwide Church of God (recent post at http://worldwidechurchgod.blogspot.com/2009/12/call-for-christmas-tree-sellers-to.html) and many fundamentalist Christian groups still forbid Christmas trees. Notice the Worldwide Church of God link mentions Jeremiah 10 as well.

Most of Christendom, continue to ignore the warnings contained in Jeremiah 10, and any other passage in the bible that contradicts their opinions. Are you/me kill sport if we do not join in the celebrations? Should we like many Christian groups join in the celebration and ignore the apparent link with paganism? Should we say, ‘it’s only a day, it won’t harm you?’ I see no reason why we should act against our conscience and flagrantly ignore the warnings. Let God be the judge!

 

Give Thanks in Adversity? Impossible.

The Bible is very clear about being thankful at all times, and that is OK when things are going in your favour. This positive message gives more than an indication that this must be so even in times of adversity, offering upliftment and hope. However, how does someone express gratitude in adversity?  When your friends see you stumbling and point fingers instead of offering a word of hope? When you are under pressure and in a depressed state looking for help they heap more misery by saying, ‘serve you right’, ‘it’s your fault’ you should express gratitude. When things are tough and nothing is working in your favour, you are encouraged that you should be thankful. Given our human psychology, our human self, this message is strange isn’t it? Our makeup, the humanity that is our identity tells us to wallow in self-pity, to ask, why me? Yet it is exactly what we should do, give thanks!

The message of gratitude is a prominent biblical theme; therefore, there must be something meaningful and special about such state of mind. Paul in his pastoral epistle to the Thessalonians says, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus’ (I Thess. 5:16-18 ). Spend some time to absorb this message, now did you get that? Give thanks in all circumstances, man that is hard pill to swallow. Paul is saying thankfulness should be a way of life for us all, naturally flowing from our hearts and mouths in spite of what is going on around us.

Exegesis of the Scriptures a little more closely will help us understand why we should be thankful and also how to have gratitude in different circumstances.

Beginning with the Old Testament in Psalms 136:1 we read, ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.’ Here two reasons are revealed and became apparent why humanity should be thankful. Firstly, we should be thankful because of God’s constant goodness and secondly, because of His steadfast love. Clearly those characteristics of God does not change even when our circumstances change. Therefore only when humankind recognize the nature of his depravity and understand that, apart from God, there is only death (John 10:10; Romans 7:5), that his natural response is to be grateful for the life God gives. All may be lost, friends gone, your best count has forsaken you, life remains, ‘once there is life, there is hope.’

Again, in the book of Psalms, the great songwriter and poet king David advised Israel to give praise to God for His deliverance. “I will exalt you, O Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. O Lord, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit. . . . You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth, clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever” (Psalm 30:1-12). David gives thanks to his God following an obviously difficult period in his life. So that this psalm of thanksgiving not only praises God in the moment but remembers God’s past faithfulness to him. It is a wonderful portrayal of the divine character of God, which is so delightful that praise is the only appropriate human response.

Its not impossible as the Scriptures are filled with superb illustrations of people being thankful in the eye of the storm, in the midst of hard circumstances and tough situations. A fitting model that portrays David’s distress is revealed in Psalms 28. Here David cries to God for mercy, protection, and justice. After he cries out to God, he writes, ‘Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song’ (Psalm 28:6-7). Here in the midst of adversity and danger, David remembers who God is and, because of knowing and trusting God, he gave thanks. Job is another fitting example of one with an attitude of praise, even in the face of adversity and death, he uttered the now famous remarks, ‘The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised’ (Job 1:21).

Of course, the New Testament have similar examples of multiple believers revealing an attitude of thankfulness in in the eye of the storm. The apostle Paul seemingly was more heavily persecuted than any other New Testament believer was and yet his attitude of thankfulness was unflinching and clear for all to see. Paul wrote, ‘Thanks be to God, who always lead us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him’ (2 Cor. 2:14). The author of the book to the Hebrews wrote, ‘Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe’ (Heb. 12:28). Peter chipped in by giving us a brilliant reason why we ought to be thankful in the midst of ‘grief and all kinds of trials,’ saying that, through the hardships, our faith ‘may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed’ (1 Pet. 1:6-7).

The clear message to the people of God is, we are to be thankful people, because we understand how much we have been given in Christ. Based on Paul’s second letter to Timothy, one of the features that will clearly defined the last days is a lack of thanksgiving among humanity. The wicked people of the world will be ‘ungrateful’ (2 Tim. 3:2).

Brothers and sisters let us start today to be thankful in all situations because God is worthy of our thanksgiving. It is beyond right that we credit Him for ‘every good and perfect gift’ He gives (James 1:17). As only when we are thankful, that our focus moves off selfish desires and off the pain of current circumstances. Communicating thankfulness will help us remember that God is in control of and bigger than our individual or collective situations. If you are caught is a storm, as most humans are at one time or another in our lives, remember God is there with us, we may not feel it, but we are never alone. God will calm the troubled waters of our souls, calm the winds and the waves, just by saying ‘peace, be still’ (Matt. 8: 23-27). Yes friends the winds and the waves obey His will! Thankfulness, then, is not only appropriate or a fitting response to our circumstances; it is actually healthy and beneficial to our well being. Because, it help us to see the bigger picture, that we belong to God, and that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing (Eph. 1:3). Strictly speaking, humanity have an abundant life in Jesus (John 10:10), and gratefulness at all times even in the midst of our storm is not impossible, but a fitting response to our situations.

God: I Got This, I Got Your Back!

I felt compelled to revisit this message in light of the demonstrations across American cities. In most western countries, we have democratic institutions and systems where people have the opportunities to express their opinions freely and vote for the candidate of their choice, who they wanted to lead them. Unfortunately, in many countries of the world people die for such privileges, dictators, politically unfit and misfits grab and exercise enormous power through force and intimidation. Millions of people today do not have a voice, they cannot vote for their leaders, and if they raise a voice of dissent, they are intimidated, lock up in prison, or silenced forever. Let us stand up for the democratic system where we are at least we know we are free to express opinion, and vote for who we desire. It does not means we always get what we want, but at least we have that choice!

The packages that arrive at our address today, the uncertainties life brings may not be the ones we planned, work, bought, dream or prayed for. However, it is the ones that lands at our doorsteps, it becomes the one we are stuck with. There comes a time in life when we experience defeat, even disaster, but we must admit defeat, lick our wounds and start again. Some punches are hard to accept, but accept them we must, so acknowledge them, and move on, life goes not backward but forward.

The election is history; no one can go back there and change it, no one can change the hands of time! However, we are here now, we have today, it is ours to win or lose, so grab it and run, just move with it. The best planning and preparation we can make for tomorrow is taking control of the opportunities now. We worry because we don’t know what will happen tomorrow, the future terrifies the best of us. When humanity begin to realise that nothing in life is guaranteed, only then we will be more confident about today, and end our lives much stronger than when we first began! Only the future is ours to take and that only is secure with God. We must learn from our experiences, even the bad and sad ones, lessons therein are designed to correct errors, to have a better ending.

Each morning when we open our eyes, whether we live in western democracies or under a dictatorship we are blessed. “As long as there is life there is hope.” Each moment that we are awake, we have life, which means we are blessed! We need no election results, no motivational speaker, bible bashing, jacket tale flashing, feet stamping, and not loud shouting preacher to tell us we are! We are blessed in the city, we are blessed in the field, we are blessed in our homes, and we are blessed when we travel. We are blessed because we have life, but we can have it more abundantly when we understand and accept that Jesus is Lord of our lives. The election result brought worries and pain for many in America, even the world, but let go of your worries and let God take control of today and tomorrow. We should spend more time praying for people everywhere, mostly for those in war torn areas, famine ravaged, destitute and hungry people who have no hope. Their situations, their dire circumstances dictate their desires, their hopes their dreams of a better future.

Christians have a better grasp of the future, because Christ is our Lord and He knows better than us what tomorrow holds, we should depend on Him. If the future were here it would not be the future, it would be today, we are stuck with the present, so live it! We must make the best of what we have, in the here and now, live for today, and while living with the difficulties, pray for a better tomorrow. If we live well, work with what life dished out to us, and make the best of what we call today, the future is and will be bright. Gods word reassures, relax, I got your back!

So fear not for the cloudy skies that hangs low above us, nor the gathering storm that approaches from a distance. They can harm our bodies, but never kill our spirits. They cannot come near or harm us, and should not worry us if we rely on the word of Him whose promises are sure, and who we rely on. We depend on Him for our daily sustenance, why not relax and allow Him to take control? We don’t know about tomorrow or know about what the future holds, but God is faithful to His children, our destiny is secure. Many troubling, fearful things about tomorrow, we label the future we do not understand, because we cannot see beyond today. However, God promise to stand by us, in the storm, in the battles, in the midnight hours. We know who, God holds tomorrow, and we know who, God hold our hands, He, Christ stands by me/us!

Resolve: Watch – Speak Out!

You and I among multiple Christians and bible watchers can see something’s that are very important probably dangerous happening among us that poses a threat to our beliefs and practices and dare we remain silent.  We are advised in Scriptures, “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man’ (Luke 21:36 NIV). It is important that we take heed to this advice as it could be a matter of life or death!

First, there is a new, violent, even hostile struggle to our entire worldview, which has developed ever since the Highest Court in the land issued a same-sex marriage ruling last year, 2015. Encouraged, no doubt by that legal landmark decision, the resistance movement has progressed forward vehemently, both in the social and political spheres all around the country. Citizens now face a full court force surge against everything the Christian community cherish and value since the first coming of the messiah. This is the reason why I want to give you a powerful new tool moving forward to re-enforce your faith in Christ, as you follow and support my postings.

Candidly, I am convinced that things are going to get much more difficult in the short term, but most certainly in the long term, as well. The days have long gone when any Christian can quietly coexist with the surrounding culture without being able to justify their belief or ‘give an answer for the hope that is in them’ (1 Pet. 3:15). Mostly Christians are repeatedly rebuke and told to stop believing in myth and start living in the real world. Whenever Christians speak out against any moral issues, the church becomes a target for vile hatred, yet other religions, false ones I might add, are being cushioned and given a voice. But don’t be alarmed, so they persecuted the saints of the most high in ancient times, (Hebrews 11). Believers who have remain silent, have been on the sidelines of society in the past, today they will be forced by the resistance movement to actively choose sides.  Christians must cry aloud whenever and wherever evil rears its ugly head in society, tell the people what sin is. Two men and two women together in so-called same-sex marriage or intimate relationships is not supported by the biblical literature’s (Romans 1)!

We are Christians, the church of the living God, the spiritual guardians and conscience of all of society! Will we dare to be a Joshua? ‘But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord’ (Jos. 24: 15).

For Christians, what matters most can be summed up in Joshua’s powerful reaffirmation, ‘But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord’! Brothers, carefully think on who you are, what God has called you to be, and remember, ‘It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery’ (Gal. 5: 1). Satan’s desire is to enslave us in the darkened state of sin where, we remain in slavery to him.  However we must continue to honour God the creator of heaven and earth who came to us in the person and presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, Emmanuel! Let us be found faithful to His cause on earth, making ‘our calling and election sure’. Let us ‘please Him’ and Him alone, by standing our ground and speak out against sin and its consequences in the world!

Second, we should never lose sight of the growing Islamization of the west, and western culture which is a threat to our culture and Christianity, is growing at a pace faster that a speeding train but largely ignored or un-noticed. The president of the Islamic state of Turkey Erdogan has never cease to claim Islamophobia exists in the Western world. This may or may not be a real social problem, but non-Muslim phobia in Turkey is progressively a infectious difficulty. It is reported that of Mehmet Ali Eren, a suspected al-Qaeda member proclaim, ‘traitors! We’ll bomb your church’, as he attacks a Protestant Christian Pastor Andrew Craig Brunson in Izmir, Turkey. Though such hate and vile attacks against Christians in the Muslim world are not new, approximately a hundred thousand are attacked killed, maimed, imprisoned or killed each year. What is alarming is how and why Muslims are given so much freedom to practice their faith in western societies while Christians are routinely harassed in Islamic states.

Western and Christian leaders should ask the president of Turkey to explain why he obstinately demands more and more tolerance for Muslims living in western and Christian societies, which approved the building of mosques in every western capital using Oil rich Saudi Arabian money. There are no Christian churches in most Islamic states, none allowed in Saudi Arabia, and all Christians in Turkey are routinely harassed, rounded up and killed or put in prison. The Erdogan led Turkish government ceased on the opportunity to deport Pastor Brunson and his wife on the spurious grounds that they pose a security threat to his country, and western leaders remain silent. The Turkish police explained that the Brunson’s were being expelled from the country on grounds of posing a security threat because they had carried out ‘missionary activity and received money from sources abroad.’

When anyone or any organisation speaks out against the apparent inconsistencies in both the west for tolerating Muslims, and in Islamic societies for their intolerance of Christians, is met with silence. Western leaders permit Islamic atrocities against Christians primarily because they have oil that the west needs to fuel their economies, so they are allowed to get away literally with murder. As Christians, we must stand up against those who would want to sidelines us, keep us quiet because we speak out against immoralities in our societies. Equally we must resolve to be the bastion of hope for the oppress, the mouthpieces against vile hate and atrocities committed against fellow Christians abroad and in Islamic states.

I today, resolve to stand and play my part, watch – speak. I encourage you to make it yours, also.

Evangelism: Family -seems the hardest job

One of the most important tasks of the church is evangelism. Christ just before departure from this world, in His final instructions, advised His followers, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matt. 28: 19). Christ clearly had a global evangelistic mission in mind; all of humanity need God, and needed to be save from the scourges of sin and deliverance from death. However, as the church has experience spreading this global message means more than just a passing glance, and a weekly or daily encouraging sermon or word. It involves much more than just broadcasting a statement or telling a set of facts, it is about proclaiming a universal message of life.

Though it is a message that affected the world, the failure of the modern church to proclaim this message of hope, means many people are living and dying hopeless. The church is in the docks, as a survey revealed fewer than 10% of Christians are involved in evangelism. So how does faith impact the world? One definite way is through the Disciples of Christ living the gospel as a way of life thus proclaiming it to the world by our lifestyles. Christ with His disciples demonstrated that the lifestyle and relationship matters.

People are watching the church, looking at how we handle our responsibilities, situations that affect the world and how we managed crisis.  Are there any evidence that Christ and His gospel makes a difference in our lives and how we connects with the world, how we live with others? Christians lifestyle must demonstrate godly Christian values in front of our friends and family members so they can see the change God has made in us (1 Peter 3:1–2). Eventually, the salvation of our loved ones is up to God, but we must play our part. It is God’s power and grace that saves, people are not save by our efforts, it is by God, yet we have a role to play. The best we can do is pray for them without ceasing, open up, declare it and encourage them constantly, as if their house was on fire and they were asleep, equally we must live the Christian life in front of them. Paul planted, Apollos watered, but God who brought about the increase in the church, (1 Cor. 3:6). Certainly, our most important observers and closest critics are our families and friends. So how do we start to evangelise those in our circles, our colleagues without turning them off and pushing them away from our goals?

At some point in our journey in every Christian walk through life; there may be a family member, a friend, worker colleague, or acquaintance who has not yet accepted the Christian message. Sharing the gospel with total strangers can be difficult at best, but it can become even more challenging when it involves someone with whom we have close relations and emotional ties. Off course the Bible prepares Christians for the difficult evangelistic task, informing us that some people will be offended at the hearing of the gospel message (Luke 12:51–53). However, this is not an excuse to remain quiet, the command is to take the gospel to the world, and there is no defence for keeping it to ourselves. We have to tell it! (Matt. 28:19–20; Acts 1:8; 1 Pet. 3:15).

Subsequently, how can we evangelise our family members, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances? The most important weapon we Christians have at our disposal is prayer, we have got to love our enemies, we have got to love our friends, but we must pray for them all. Prayer changes things, so pray that God would change their hearts and open their eyes to the truth of the gospel of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4). People are being caught into vile theologies, and complex religions that offers them nothing, takes them nowhere but death, we need to pray that God would convince them of His love for them and their need for salvation through Jesus Christ (John 3:16). So called great teachers, philosophers, academics are teaching there is no God, confusing many fertile minds, we need to pray for the wisdom of God to dwell in us, that we know how to best minister to the misguided in our world  (Jam. 1:5).

Christians must be enthusiastic and courageous in our genuine proclamation of the gospel of Christ. We must declare the message of salvation through Jesus Christ to our loved ones, our family and friends (Rom. 10:9–10). Like solders prepared for battle, Christians must be ready to go to war, but our war is spiritual not physical. We speak of our faith (1 Pet. 3:15), acting with gentleness and respect for all. There is no substitute, no alternative, no way out of the responsibility of individually spreading the gospel message of Christ, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” (Rom. 10:17).

As we attempt to take the message of Christ to all the world, we need to evangelise our families, our close friends, praying and sharing our faith with them. In order to affect the world we need to understand how the world works. The message of the gospel must be proclaim at home and abroad. We affect our families by out Christian lifestyle and our families will in turn impact the world directly by sharing and indirectly by their lifestyle. Families, our loved ones and friends, we can be the salt and light of the world, that needs the love of Christ in their hearts.

Sound the Alarm in Europe!

The Islamization of Europe has been gathering pace. I have been trying to open people’s eyes to this creeping menace on European soil for many years now and very few people are taking notice. Europeans, especially Christians need to take note, because if this ever happens fully, it will be an end of Christianity and Christian society, as we know it. Recently Yusuf al-Qaradawi, spiritual leader of the main Islamic movement in France, explained how Muslims living in the West have to proceed: they may use terror, they may use seduction, exploit Westerners’ sense of guilt, grab public spaces, change laws, and create their own society inside Western societies until they become Muslim societies. Sharia law is now a fully functioning entity in Britain.

Visibly only to some spiritually conscious and alerted open minded people only if you apply for a loan in London, you are offered sharia law terms equally with British law terms. Do I have a right to worry? The following are collections of key quotes from the late Libyan leader, Muammar Gadhafi. However, other leaders across the Middle East, Africa and Europe have made similar quotes before and since.

“We have 50 million Muslims in Europe. There are signs that Allah will grant Islam victory in Europe – without swords, without guns, without conquests. The fifty million Muslims of Europe will turn it into a Muslim continent within a few decades”.

“That’s another 50 million Muslims. There will be 100 million Muslims in Europe. Albania, which is a Muslim country, has already entered the EU.

“Allah mobilizes the Muslim nation of Turkey, and adds it to the European Union”.

“Bosnia, which is a Muslim country, has already entered the EU; Fifty per cent of its citizens are Muslims”.

Author Bat’Ye’or in her critically acclaimed work: Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis wrote:

“The ideology, strategy, and tactics of Jihad have constituted throughout history a fundamental part of Islamic Jurisprudence and literature, since it is through jihad that the Islamic community developed and expanded”.

She highlights a three point historical blueprint that for centuries is use to secure the fall and Islamization of earlier Christian societies throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe, and how these constituents eventually subdued the majority host populations:

  1. As a result of “wars, conquests, temporary peace treaties, terror like practices and alliances” There was a “gradual erosion of resistance within societies targeted but not yet conquered by jihad.”
  2. “Insecurity caused by the constant mass immigration of foreign populations and the subsequent process of alteration and substitution of one civilisation by another, hostile to the indigenous inhabitants.”
  3. “The emergence of powerful collaborationist parties economically and politically linked with Muslim Rulers”.

Friends, do not be deceived, Islam has long viewed the American continent as its main detractors of global Islam, and she is seen as the great Stan that is resisting Islam. However to get at America the continent of Europe, especially western Europe has long been the main target to achieve that goal of western Islamic conquest. One Mullah declared, “Europe is in a predicament, and so is America. They should agree to become Islamic in the course of time, or else declare war on the Muslims”. If Europe falls under Islamic control, it will not be long before America buckles, is the prevailing view. The war in Syria and the subsequent march to Europe fits well with the Islamic plan. As they view Germany as the strong man of Europe, flooding Germany and spreading the message is key. Immigrants are welcomed in most countries, and should be cared for whether international human rights law legalise and permits it or not, it is a human thing. All humans are brothers and we have to care for those in need. However, Chancellor Angela Merkel played right into their hands by telling all the immigrants to come, welcoming fire into the buxom of Europe. According to an article in the Gatestone Institute International Policy Council:  “Germany’s Muslim Demographic Revolution”,

“There are 20 million refugees waiting at the doorstep of Europe”,

  • Mosque attendance in Germany has doubled.
  • Muslim men “routinely take advantage of the social welfare system by bringing two, three or four women from across the Muslim world to Germany and are married by an Imam”
  • In accordance with Muslim doctrine, the wealth of a country is degraded and usurped as; the married women demand social welfare benefits, including the cost of a separate home for themselves and for their children, on the claim of being a “single parent with children.

The President of Hungary Victor Orban declares:

“For us today, what is at stake is Europe, the lifestyle of European citizens, European values, the survival or disappearance of European nations, and more precisely formulated, their transformation beyond recognition. Today, the question is not merely in what kind of a Europe we would like to live, but whether everything we understand as Europe will exist at all”.

Yes, many European leaders recognise the danger, and every Christian and every well-meaning and conscious men and women, Christian or not should be aware of this fast moving danger. If you believe in the Christ of God as the true Messiah, you should be worried and have reasonable cause for concern. On the other hand, biblical students should not see this as a cause for worry but be alert and aware, an awakening calls to all. It is time for us to remove the eye-salve and be bolder in proclaiming the true gospel. Christ is the only name given among men and under heaven, whereby which humanity can be saved from the wrath to come. Any other route or supposedly alternative way to God is false. If you do, you reject Christ, and you reject God and life, and by so doing you accept a false premise, accept Satan in your buxom and chose death.