The value of God’s kingdom

34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”Mark 8. 

Many refer to this passage as the cost of discipleship which of course is trading this life to follow and live for king Jesus; for his Gospel commission to gain eternal life with him. It looks like a big price to some but not if we understand what Jesus has done for us who believe and the value of the kingdom that he will bring. We might then realise that the benefit hugely outweigh the cost. It might be the case then that we need to meditate more of what it is that Jesus offers in the next unending life to see that this is the deal of a lifetime.

What is it that we can achieve with this short life anyway before death comes knocking? And if death is only a door to life unending then isn’t this life a small price to pay for eternal life with King Jesus? If ever we find this cost to be too much then we need to think more of the next and realise this to be but a drop in life unending. If we think we cannot give up pleasure and vain ambition then we need to realise just how amazing the new creation is; unending feasting and joy without death or pain; Isaiah 25, Revelation 21. And when we suffer for following King Jesus we should count it a privilege to follow his set pattern to receive his eternal inheritance, Romans 8:17-18.

I find that I’m tempted not to believe this when my eyes are short sighted; either wanting to avoid momentary suffering or enjoy fleeting happiness when the true joy lies ahead with my eternal King. It’s then I need to think just how amazing God’s kingdom is; enough to suffer now and not worth trading it for fleeting pleasure or human ambition.

 

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Take me home

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I’m a man of a weak spirit
Easily overjoyed but easily broken
I laugh and rejoice
And then I cry and mourn
Nothing seems to last
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I’m a child caught in a ruthless world
Ruled by greedy powerful men
Who trade my life for their gain
Who will save me from this world?
How long will you tarry dear Lord!
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Some might call this home
But I cannot
I do not belong here, I never did
Not with all the evil, pain and death
No, I crave a better home
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I dream of a better future
I long for another world
The world our Lord is preparing
Come Lord Jesus, come
Come and take me home
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Take me to the new Jerusalem
Away from this evil world
Take me to everlasting life
Away from this body of death
Take me to your heavenly home
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My hope is in your coming
I rejoice to know you will not tarry
In just a very little while
I will see you then and forever
So I live for the day of your coming
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At 26; What have I accomplished?

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I don’t think what I have accomplished is what makes me celebrate my life as a Christian.
No, it’s what has been given to me freely; knowing him who died for me that I may live for him.
In this new life, I have come to know Jesus better through a faithful teaching and study of his Word.
As a result, I have grown to love Jesus more and enjoyed serving his people with the Gospel.
And have become even more convinced of the amazing privilege it is to be a rescued child of God living for King Jesus now ahead of his eternal reign in the new creation.
And this is beyond priceless.
At 26, I’m humbled by what Jesus has accomplished in me through his Word and his Church and the good works he has laid before me to walk in them.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2. 
To many more years of knowing him, serving him and living with him in eternal life.
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A Special Birthday

It happens that my brother, mum and my birthday all fall within a week’s time; 29th Dec, 1st and 5th January. How long was this planned for? Did my grandparents and parents make plans beforehand? Did they sit to do the maths? Well, your guess is like mine. It’s pure coincidence. But you have to see why this got me thinking.

Now, let’s go back 2000 years ago. While my birthday and that of my family might be just coincidence, you will find it extremely difficult to say the same about Jesus’ birthday. Because while I didn’t have a say on when and where and in which family to be born, Jesus did; see Isaiah 7:14, 9:6,7.

700 years before, his exact birth details were prophesied and God’s people waited for him. As a matter fact it goes beyond that back to Abraham and before to the very beginning, see Matthew 1, John 1;1-5, Luke 24: 27.

Who get’s to plan his own birthday before he is born? Who get’s to make sure it happens according to plan and prepares many to proclaim, wait and witness it? Who could decide when and where to be born and escape the treachery of a rival powerful king as a baby while fulfilling prophecy, Matthew 2:16-18.

And why was he born? …and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins Matthew 1:21.

You have to conclude this was not a mere coincidence, only God could do that. And if that is the case then you cannot ignore Jesus and the reason he came. As you enjoy Christmas, please consider Jesus message and the hope he gives to those who are his people in a perishing world. May 2018 be a new year to review your attitude about God and Jesus claim as revealed in the Bible.

What a great joy it is for those who are his people, those of us who sins are forgiven in Jesus. In the words of Psalm 32; we are the blessed people.

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
    whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
    and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

Happy new year!

Christian ministry

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Duty or love

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When ministry is motivated by mere Christian duty, goals can be achieved but it’s hard to keep up the smile as ministry like life isn’t always fun.
But when we do it because we love Jesus and count it a great privilege to know him and serve him by serving others with the Gospel then the amazing joy we find in knowing him will flow when working in him and for him.
As we find it as great joy to know him then we joyfully live and serve him. If not then we need to know him more and we will surely love him more and enjoy serving his people in love.

16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him Ephesians 1…15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Ephesians 4.

In a few words, we become better and happy servants when we are mature servants who know (and are growing in his knowledge) and so love serving their master by speaking his truth in love.
Apostle Paul must have known him for in his epistles we see how he loved and enjoyed serving him despite the circumstances.

21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labour for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.

~Reflection from Ephesians and Philippians and doing ministry in 2017
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What is the value of your soul?

Life now or life forever?

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36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?37 For what can a man give in return for his soul?  Mark 8.

What is the value of your eternal soul? Clearly, Jesus believes it should be valued above everything else. This should be obvious yet our lives don’t always seem to reflect this in regard to our eternal future.

We secure our houses and property. We do everything to secure our investments and worry at the slight possibility of losing them. We listen to our doctors and nutritionists; eat well and pursue healthy lifestyles because we value this life and want to live longer. But how come we do so little for the most precious part of us, our eternal souls? For some, our souls are lost, malnutritioned, sick and dying but we don’t seem to care that much. How illogical!

It seems either we don’t know the value of our souls or don’t value our eternal life that much? How absurd! If we did and we most certainly should; we would pay careful attention to Jesus Word and turn to him for eternal salvation.

 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. Mark 8.

Our eternal life is worth much more than this temporal life and the only way to save it is entrusting our lives to Jesus; losing it now to follow Jesus and serve the Gospel. Let those who would save their souls forever, follow and live for Jesus now.

34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Mark 8. 

 

True wisdom

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God’s Word gives us a clear understanding of God, his plan and a better knowledge of ourselves.
We see his undeserved mercy and realise the gravity of our sin. We see his steadfast love at the face of constant human rebellion. We look at the world we live in and realise how much we need the world he promises.
We can guess all about God and try to figure out who we are in this broken world in vain or we can submit to his wisdom and let him be our teacher and our Lord. Wisdom would dictate we listen to the one who knows it all.
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Merry Christmas!

Daily defeat

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He turns our eyes to those that should be our brothers.
He deceives us with the greatest cravings of our flesh
He assumes the place of God and claims our worship
But he is the enemy of our souls only seeking our total ruin
And like our Lord we must learn to tell him to get behind
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He comes as a friend and promises the world
But how can he give that which is not his?
He says, if only you worship me and all be yours
He has lied from the beginning, same lie in all ages
But by God’s Word we know this lie in every age
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We must always remember we are men in battle
And by guarantee of his defeat we fight everyday
He is an enemy already defeated by King Jesus
And by his Word we live and defeat him every day
For the King of our souls has saved us from our enemy
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And in Christ we defeat Satan daily

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Firm assurance

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Sometimes I forget I am a sinner, wretched and in dire need of Jesus salvation like everybody else. I forget easily that the enemy of my soul prowls like a lion ready to devour me. And if ever my fate was in my feeble hands I wouldn’t stand a chance to end this race.
But thanks be to God that by the same power that raised Jesus to life, the same mighty power that gave dead sinful men life; he is at work in us and in him we have firm assurance to finish the race and keep our faith.
And as we started the journey by faith, we continue by faith not ever attaining salvation by merit but through the precious blood of Jesus.
And this gives us great joy and unshakeable assurance as we live  and serve King Jesus now before he comes to take us to our glorious home.
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A time to preach

Rebellious indifference
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From the beginning we have rebelled
We have killed and abused God’s honour
We have conspired to overthrow his rule
To set up a king from our own against his King
And it is so today, rebellious in our indifference
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They may not look sick and in need of healing
For this is a disease deep at the heart of man
But like those who screamed, away with his rule
So today they extol their rebellion, ignoring his call
They are sick and as always only God can save them
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Do not for a second presume them to be good men
None on earth has been known of that but one
Though they may look healthy, they die within
They are in urgent need for salvation lest they die without hope
All men, good or bad are in dire need of Jesus salvation
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And thanks be to God that all sinners can be forgiven
Not only those who kill and torture his own
But even those who ignore his call to turn to him
Salvation is for all who would believe in all ages
And our time is no different, but a time to preach the Good news
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