Sunday, October 27, 2013

Jesus Saw Their Sorrows

Jesus sees our sorrows
Image courtesy CreationSwap

Matthew 26:36-46
“Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.”  And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”  He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”  Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour?  Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.”  And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy. So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.  Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”  NKJV

Have you ever visited a man or a woman in deep sorrow? The first thing that happens to you is that you become part of his/her sorrow. You find yourself unable to utter a word. I now understand why the friends of Job who went to see him, sat with him for seven days and seven nights without saying one word. They were, using the words of my American friend, “empathizing with him” Sorrow is very infectious.

My wife and I had a very recent experience. We went to empathize with a friend who lost one very dear to him. We saw ourselves unable to say what we had wanted to say. We were rather filled with the sorrow we knew filled his heart. When we left his home after nearly two hours of sitting, talking and praying, we noticed we had a very heavy burden on our hearts for this man and for many others who are sorrowful.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Health Benefits of Attending Church

Going to Sunday school at the Baptist Church. ...
Going to Sunday school at the Baptist Church. Lejunior, Harlan County, Kentucky. - NARA - 541344 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This guest blog entry is by Chad Siemer

Discussing science and religion in the same conversation is often a controversial issue, but scientific research supports the notion that attending church on a regular basis is good for your short-term and long-term health.

Several studies have found that going to church promotes a stronger immune system, decreases blood pressure, and may even extend a person’s life by two to three years. Although the reasons for this aren't clearly defined, many believe having strong social support network that is often found in churches is a contributing factor.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Show Me that God Exists and I’ll become a Christian

Does God exist?

Every preacher faces moments of challenge when people take him up on the message he gives. It is during such moments that you discover whether a preacher preaches out of conviction or out of book-knowledge. I remember having had one such opportunity.

This challenge came as a note handed over to me by someone who said another person gave him the message to give to me. Most probably, the writer did not want to be identified. His message was simple and pointed. It read:
“You talk so much about God as if He exists and you know Him intimately. If you can show me conclusive evidence that God exists, then I will immediately become a Christian!”
My discussion with a number of Christians and preachers revealed that it is a universal and often recurring challenge. It may not always be stated as pointedly as this but it is a basic problem of many unbelievers. Does God exist? How can we be sure He exists? Whenever unbelievers and self-acclaimed atheists throw such challenges, they presuppose that you cannot show them any concrete evidence for the existence of God. There are a lot of people who believe that there are no objective evidences that God exists.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Then God Saw Their Works

Nigeria needs more than prayers

“Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying,  “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journey in extent.   And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish? Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.” (Jonah 3:1-10) NKJV

We saw last week that the iniquities and sins in this nation have turned the many blessings from God to curses. Oil boom has become doom. Our human brain has became drain. Our natural and mineral resources have turned to recourses. We were marching forward with other nations, now we have been left behind and have turned to crawl backwards. Our Naira has been so devalued that we cannot believe ourselves when we look at our passports. We exchanged less than one Naira for one Dollar in 1986 and now we exchange One Hundred and Fifty Naira for one Dollar. Our National debt has become a mathematical issue for our computer graduates. In all ways, we are experiencing the heavy hand of God. We cry and no one hears. I met a number of people who told me “God is either dead or insensitive to our cries. If He is neither of the two, there must be a thick blanket of cloud that sheds Nigeria from Him.”

Sunday, October 06, 2013

The Lord’s hand is not Shortened

The Lord's hand is not shortened

Isaiah 59:1-15:
“Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies; your tongue has muttered perversity. No one calls for justice, nor does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies; they conceive evil and bring forth iniquity. They hatch vipers’ eggs and weave the spider’s web; He who eats of their eggs dies, And from that which is crushed a viper breaks out. Their webs will not become garments, nor will they cover themselves with their works; their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands. Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; Wasting and destruction are in their paths. The way of peace they have not known, and there is no justice in their ways; they have made themselves crooked paths; whoever takes that way shall not know peace. Therefore justice is far from us, nor does righteousness overtake us; we look for light, but there is darkness! For brightness, but we walk in blackness! We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes; we stumble at noonday as at twilight; we are as dead men in desolate places. We all growl like bears, and moan sadly like doves; we look for justice, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far from us. For our transgressions are multiplied before You, And our sins testify against us; For our transgressions are with us, And as for our iniquities, we know them: In transgressing and lying against the LORD, And departing from our God, Speaking oppression and revolt, Conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. So truth fails, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor; Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; and His own righteousness, it sustained Him.” NKJV

In the wake of Nigeria's independence day, I would like to reflect on the state of the nation. I wrote this message as a Newspaper article between 1984 and 1990 but I believe the message is still relevant to our situation today.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Christian Carnival - October 2013

Lagos Carnival

Welcome to the October 2013 edition of Christian Carnival and Happy Independence day Nigeria! For those of you who don't know, Nigeria turned 53 yesterday, October 1. Hail to the Green-White-Green!

This month’s blog carnival is brought to you by 7 bloggers: 4 in the Devotional Category, 2 in the Theology category, and 1 in the Apologetics Category.