Test of Brotherly LOVE

JAMES 2:1-10

In his Epistle James open chapter 2 with a bold statement, implying that if I claim to be a child of God, I ought to treat everyone with the same fairness, but if I prefer one to another then, I cannot say I have the faith and Glory of Jesus Christ. To treat or esteem a man of great wealth and eloquence in high regard over a poor and needy persons, means that I’m impartial and a judge of evil thoughts (V1-4), but it ought not to be so among believers, because the love of God extends to all people, both to the rich and to the poor, He died on the cross for all, and have made even the poor that love Him joint heirs of the Kingdom (v5). But the test of brotherly love is to obey the royal law according to scripture to love thy neighbour as thyself (V8).

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And in the words of Christ, in John 13:34-35, he gave a new commandment that my love for others, should reflect the love that He has for me, because it is through this divine love that all men will know that I am indeed a follower of Christ.

Paul in his letter to the Corinthian brethren who had been obsessed with Spiritual gifting’s, told them as it speaks to me too, that even though I am able to speak in tongues but have not charity, no love, no compassion, my speaking in tongues is but in vain, I may be able to prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and have all the knowledge, and faith to move mountains, but I have no charity, all those other things are as good as nothing, I may even boast to be a generous giver, but without charity, it means nothing, therefore my gifts, talents, and offerings to God and to man mean nothing in heaven they are valueless, unless I am able to exercise them in love (1 Cor 13:1-3). For the fruit of the spirit itself is Love for God and one another, joy for Gods Love, and other accomplishments, peace with God, and will all men, longsuffering for the benefit of others, gentleness with others, goodness and faith in God, meekness and temperance in all things (Gal 5:22-23).

My Love ought to be pure as a clean glass of water, transparent and true, my love ought to be able to bear all things, believe in all things that is godly, hope in all things that are true, and endures all things (1 Cor 13:4-7).

I say to those who think love must be reciprocal, yes it is a beautiful think when love amongst brethren are mutual, but it will not always be so, I ask you, did God Love you when you were a sinner in the world? The answer to that is an unequivocal YES. Yes He loved you when you waved your angry fist at him in disobedience, He loved you when you mocked his word, He loved you when you stood in the way of others, God Loved you unto repentance. God’s love is pure and genuine, He cannot hate a human being, He only hates his sins. This is the standard for every child of God ‘But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;’ (Matt 5:44).

Love is one of God’s greatest gifts to man, though gifts are temporal the love of God abides forever, it faileth not (1 Cor 13:8-13).

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Get over it

‘In everything give thanks.’ 1 THESSOLONIANS 5:18 

Consider Moses, the lawgiver and liberator to whom God gave the Ten Commandments. His name is still known all over the earth 4,000 years after his death.

But remember, this same Moses was a murderer. He was listed in Egypt as public enemy number one. He was a fugitive from justice w

ho fled to the wilderness where he lived for 40 years as a shepherd. Yet with the chisel of adversity God was shaping Moses to stand in Pharaoh’s majestic palace and announce, ‘Let my people go!’

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A nation was born because this man refused to stop struggling to achieve his divine destiny. Don’t be paralysed by your past. If God used Moses, He’ll use you. Everyone goes through adversity. The phrase to remember when things go wrong is: ‘Get over it!’ Have you been hurt? Get over it! Have you been betrayed? Get over it! Have you failed? Get over it!

Paul writes, ‘In every thing give thanks.’ In reversal, give thanks. In heartache, give thanks. In poverty and in prosperity, give thanks. God is greater than the criticism you’re getting. He’s greater than the giants you’re facing. He’s greater than the mountain you’re climbing. He’s greater than the burdens you’re carrying.

Look at the Bible record of men and women who chose to focus on the silver lining, not the dark cloud. These people didn’t curse the darkness, they shone a light and scattered it. They chose the right attitude, an attitude of faith. Come on; stop hiding from success because you’re afraid to fail. Failure means you’re a learner, not a loser. Stop fearing risk! Take God’s hand, step out and fulfil His purpose for your life. 

 

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My Response to: Is ‘Youth Ministry’ Biblical?

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A very good friend of mine Joseph Iregbu wrote a blog article recently that raised a very important question mark on the role of youth ministries.

I must say that his view on the basis of youth ministry is very insightful, I am sure many of his readers would not have considered this view. I do agree the point the article makes that the church is not ‘solely‘ responsible for the spiritual development of children and youth; I also agree that within the pages of scriptures there is no Biblical model for this Ministry.

But I strongly believe that the Gospel is for all people, both young and old, the legacy that Christ left to the Church, is to ‘go and preach the Gospel, they that believe will be saved, and those that do not believe are damned’ (John 3:18). For this reason I believe that the Church has a part to play and in some circumstances a huge part. To think otherwise means that we do not fully understand the role of the Church in our own lives and in the life of our family.

The statement that Joseph makes; “The Church keeps missing the trick- youth Church can’t raise your Children. Parents must. That’s God plan…” is correct in some parts, but also gives the notion that all parents are born again. How can a parent bring up a ‘child in the way of the Lord’ when the parent (s) themselves don’t know the way of the Lord. This is why I believe that the Church has a significant role to play.

But ultimately the question I’d like to pose is this: Why have ministry for the youth in the first place?  

I believe that the modern church today does not pay enough attention to the Children and young people, and for that reason many young people today are increasingly drifting away from the faith.

In the early Church scripture records of the Grecian widows, who put their case forward to the leaders, that they are being neglected in the daily ministration (Acts 6:1-3). What is striking here is that their complaint was that they where not being looked after with regards to the distribution of Food.

Similarly I believe that today many young people are screaming at being spiritually neglected, and thus spiritually malnourished.  Like the early Church leaders the church today must move with urgency and take action, otherwise there will “…arise another generation which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel’ (Judges 2:10).

The complaint of the widows in Acts chapter 6 not only moved the church leaders into action, but as a result raised leaders who where “…of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom” I believe that this is what is lacking in many youth ministries today. If the youth ministry is to be effective it’s leaders must understand the priority of being filled with the Holy Ghost and wisdom, only then will we realise the impact of youth ministry.

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Jumping out of your comfort zone.

In my previous post I pointed out some of the things in life as human beings we tend to be comfortable with, though not all are wrong, but I was particular in pointing out that while God’s blessing can sometimes make us very comfortable with our life, it is imperative that we do not let that type of comfort encroach into our spiritual life.

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Now, how do we move out of the Comfort Zone? And not become complacent spiritually?  I think the answer can be found in the life of Jabez in I Chron 4:9-10 we can see some facts that can help us to move out of our Comfort Zones, both as individuals and as a church. Let’s notice these facts as we think about, Moving Out Of Our Comfort Zone.

The Life and personality of Jabez reveal a lot about his character and about his desire to rise above the ordinary in his walk with God.)

His Place In Life – The opening few chapters of I Chronicles is the genealogy of the nation of Israel.  For the most part it is a collection of begats broken only by a few insights into the lives of a few of the more notable people such as David.  When we come to Jabez, we are confronted with a man whose life is like an oasis in a dry, barren desert.  Most of the others simply state that they begat sons and daughters and that they died, it appears that Jabez wasn’t content to be like everyone else.  It turns out that Jabez was a giant among pygmies. Like cream, the life of Jabez rose to the top.  He was a real somebody in a sea of nobodies!

There are very few among us humans who rise above the crowd.  There are very few who leave an indelible mark on the world.  Most of us are content to live like everyone else around us.  But, isn’t it sad to think that your life and mine might be condensed to a few “begats and then he died”?  Wouldn’t it be a tragedy for your life to come down to no more than a few lines on a tombstone?)

His Problem In Life – His mother named him Jabez.  This name literally means, “The Son Of My Sorrow; Pain; Affliction; He Will Cause Pain.  Many people would take a name like that and figure they were doomed from the start.  They would do everything in their power to see that they lived up to their name.  

It doesn’t have to be that way!  We have the power, through the Holy Spirit, to break free of the chains of our past.  Just because everyone thinks we will fail, doesn’t mean that we have to.  Just because we were taught some bad thing growing up doesn’t mean we have to live that way now.  Just because our family was a certain way; we were raised a certain way; or we have a certain reputation; does not mean we have to remain that way forever!  All I am saying is that we have the ability to rise above ourselves through the power of God, 1 Cor. 15:10.

His Performance In Life – The Bible says that Jabez was more honorable that his brethren”.  This simply means, he was worthy of more honor than the rest of his family”.  He just looked at how they were living and decided that he could do better!  Jabez was not remembered as a great leader, prophet or preacher.  He did not make his mark on the battlefields of life as a great leader of men.  His name is remembered because He was a man of prayer.  His name is remembered because he was a man of God in a godless day!

When will we learn that we do not have to do like everyone else?  When will we understand that the Lord has made us an individual and we do not have to fit into the crowd nor do we have to please anyone but Him? (1 Cor. 10:31)

This information regarding Jabez merely demonstrates that he refused to be forced into anyone’s mold.  He was determined to live for the Lord, in spite of what everyone else did.  This should be the heart’s desire of every child of God!

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Are you very comfortable?

“And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow. 

And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested”. (1 Chronicles 4:9-10)

Everybody has a Comfort Zone. There is a certain temperature at which we feel the most comfortable. There is a way of life in which we feel at ease. There is a crowd of people with whom we feel most comfortable. When we are around the wrong crowd; in the wrong situation; in the wrong place; and doing the wrong things, we can feel very uncomfortable and out of place. When we find ourselves outside of our Comfort Zone, we can become a little nervous. There is nothing wrong with this; it just proves that we are interested in being comfortable. However, there is a sense when comfort can become a thing of concern.

It is easy to reach a place as individuals where we become satisfied with the status quo.  We so structure our lives to the point that we can almost predict what will happen from one day to the next. For many, this kind of stability provides a deep sense of security and well being, and there is nothing wrong with that. It is when this same type of comfortable living invades our spiritual life that will cause us trouble.Image

There is nothing wrong with being satisfied with your job, but when you become satisfied with your service to the Lord you have problems. There is nothing wrong with being comfortable with your home, your automobile, or your financial standing, but when you become complacent about your prayer life and satisfied with your spiritual progress, you need to move out of the comfort zone spiritually. We should never reach a place as a child of God where we are totally satisfied with our walk and our witness to a lost and dying world.

If any Christian had ever reached a place where he could be satisfied with his spiritual progress, it was the Apostle Paul. Yet, he remained unsatisfied and always reached for more, he said; “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” Phil. 3:12-14 (ESV).

Now what about you? It’s time to get off that sofa I think!!!

Watch out for my next post where I’ll be looking closely at the prayer of Jabez, what we can learn from him about getting out of our comfort zone.

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Reflections on the Ending Year.

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Wow, 2012 is about to become history. You’ll probably be thinking:

It’s gone so quick’ ‘wow, it seems like only yesterday we exchanged happy New Year greetings’.

I always find the ending of a year is one that is filled with reflection and self-examination; it is a time to look back at the year that was and look forward to the New Year that is to come. It seems that in some aspects 2012 passed by so quickly and in others so slowly. What is true is that the time passes by gradually, changing like the seasons.

As we witness the final few days of this year we say goodbye to an old friend, the year that will soon become history ‘2012’, for some theywill watch the old year end with a sense of sadness, as it fades away into a memory, for some a sense of joy and relief. For me 2012 will be a year to remember, amongst all the challenges and sometimes dark moments, God sent my wife and I an ‘angel’ a wonderful, beautiful baby girl, and for that alone 2012 will always be remembered for good.

While we reminisce the events of this passing year, at the same time we are preparing for the transition into the New Year 2013, a year filled with potential, with hope and inevitably as always with change.

At every point in the human journey we find that we have to let go in order to move forward; and letting go means making sacrifice. In the process we are being created anew, awakened afresh to the source of our being.

Consider these three Questions as you manage the Transition into a New Life (Year) 

1. What do you want to take from your old life (year) into your new one?

2. What do you want to leave behind?

3. What do you need to add?

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‎”If an egg is …

‎”If an egg is broken by an outside force, Life ends. If it is broken by an inside force, Life begins. Great things always begin from the inside.” The Greatness you seek is already in You. #Christ in you the Hope of GLORY! Colossians 1:27

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December 19, 2012 · 4:45 pm