Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Jesus, Messiah or Prophet

In answering this question I'll need to define the words, Messiah and Prophet.

A Messiah is a person sent by God into the world to save people from evil, sin and death.

However a Prophet is a person sent by God to teach and give mankind messages from God. Such messages may include events that would happen in the future. A prophet can also be said to be the founder of a religion.

It is clear from both dictionary definitions that Jesus was both Messiah and Prophet.

Jesus was sent by God to teach. He came with a message from God. Hence, just like others before Him such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Elijah etc, He was a Prophet of God

However, unlike the others, He was not just any Prophet; He is The Messiah, sent by God to save mankind from evil, sin and death. He is also the Son of God.

His message is the message of Truth because He is the Truth. He came to clarify the messages brought by the others, to tell mankind that the kingdom of peace it seeks is not on this earth. He came to show us the way out of damnation, out of Hell; and He showed us the path we must follow.

His message was simple and clear, but it came at great price; the price of death; death on the cross.

It is therefore hoped that His sacrifice would not be in vain; that His message of salvation would be accepted and the path shown would be followed.

If instead, we continue to live our lives in such a manner that our ultimate end becomes Eternal Damnation, then it would be a complete waste for the Son of God to have come at all, either as Messiah, Prophet or both.

May the Lord continue to give us the strength to do His Will.

Friday, April 23, 2010

How to be redeemed by Jesus Christ

Through the grace of the Almighty God, Jesus Christ His Son came down to this earth. He lived as a man; having the pains and joys of humans. He laughed and He cried. He ate and drank.

He also brought a message of Salvation along with Him. A message of Truth; a message which was meant to point the way out of the darkness into which man had sunk himself and to lead him back home to paradise.

But we rejected Him. He was mocked and flogged. He was stabbed on His side with a spear and a crown of thorns placed on His head. Finally He was hung on a cross and left to die slowly.

Lucifer had hoped by this to force Him into abandoning His mission or to stop Him directly, by killing Him. And Satan used everything in his arsenal to accomplish this; Man!  That same man whom Jesus had come to save from the hands of death!

It was man that bore false witness against Him; it was man that betrayed Him; it was man that flogged Him and placed a crown of thorns on His head; it was also man that hung Him on the cross to die.

Man allowed himself to be used by the darkness. He was a willing tool in the hands of Satan.

However, in His last moments on the cross, it was this same man He prayed for when He looked up into the heavens, to His father who sent Him; The Almighty God; The Creator of existence.

In pain and anguish, but with a voice laden with love, He spoke with  God; He spoke with The Alpha and Omega, The Beginning and The End, The I am that I am.

He said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

And then He died!

Indeed He loved us. He was prepared to face anything, including death on the cross in order to give us the message of Truth. A Message which if heeded would lead us back home. A home prepared by His Father! Paradise!

The Son of God Jesus brought the message of Love. He brought Salvation…to all of mankind.  It is now up to us to receive it.

A horse can be led to the banks of a river, but it cannot be forced to drink water from it.

Jesus offers us living water. Through great suffering He brought the river to us. Now He says drink.

He came for all of mankind, but not all would receive Him. He brought salvation to all, but not all would be saved; He came to redeem all, but not all would be redeemed. By their choice a good number will be lost. And yet this need not be so.

Redemption is offered to us on a platter. We can all be redeemed.
But in order to be redeemed by Christ we must fulfill the following conditions;
    We must believe in God
    We must accept the message of Christ
    We must be born again.

Belief in God:
We must believe that there is one God; Creator of all that exist. Of all Human kind, the plants, the animals, the seas, the rivers, the mountains, the stars and the galaxies! We must understand that we did not just come to exist by accident. We must believe that all of existence was brought into being by The Creator, the Almighty…God.

Accepting the message of Christ:
We must be convinced that Christ is the Son of God. That He came from God with the message of Salvation. In His message He points the way back home. He tells us to believe in God, His Father who sent Him. He tells us to love our neighbour as ourselves and to do unto them that which we wish them to do unto us. He tells us that we have another home, our real home. A home where we would live in an eternity of bliss; a home where the Love of God lives! A home where there is no evil. It is very important that we accept this message.

Being born again:
We must be born again. We must change our ways. We must do away with our old life. Every thought, word or action that is not in harmony with the will of God must be done away with. We must live a life that is one with the life in Heaven. A life of Justice, Peace and Truth; a life of Love!

To be redeemed therefore, we must believe in God. We must believe that He sent His Son Jesus to save us from Sin and Hell by showing us the path we must follow. We must follow this path. We must be born again.

Continuing in our old ways would take us to no other place but Hell. And this would defeat the purpose of the coming of the Son of God to this earth. It is of no avail to claim that we believe in Him. Remember Christ said, “Not those who call me Lord, but those who keep the will of my father who sent me.” Again The Almighty said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.”

If therefore, we truly believe in Him, if we believe in His Father who sent Him, if we love God above all things, we would live in harmony with His Will.

We would be born again.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

How can I avoid going to Hell?

A very pertinent question in these times when the entire human race seems to be heading in the direction of Hell! it is not the claim to believe in Christ or the claim that we worship God that takes us to Heaven. The claims we make mean nothing as long as we do not change our ways. 

We know in our hearts, what is wrong in the sight of God. We know it when we sin. Long before we sin, we sense that we are about to do something which is not right before God. But we indulge ourselves. We allow the devil to deceive us with the lie that we'll always get away with it; that our God is an all forgiving God; a loving and merciful God Who will always forgive us when we ask. We know this is a lie, but accept it and go on sinning in the hope that we'll later pray to God for forgiveness and change our ways. We'd change our ways later; always later! Some other time!

In all these the devil laughs at us. He laughs as we call ourselves Christians and believers. He laughs as we attend religious services. He laughs as we pride ourselves in belonging to one religious group or the other, each one believing that it stands a better chance of making Heaven than the others.

He laughs because he knows that we miss the one important point; the point made by Christ when He said; unless a man be born again, unless he becomes a new creature, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  
Hence, Satan watches as we heed his own advice and indulge in every kind of sin imaginable; lies, fornication, adultery, envy, jealousy, arrogance, avarice etc. He's amazed that we can still think of going to Heaven with the kind of lives we are living, but he's happy nevertheless and he expects that We'll keep him company when the time Hell

But we can avoid going to Hell. We can defeat the devil, if only we try. Christ has given us everything we need. He has also said that we cannot be tempted beyond our means. This implies that we will always have enough strength to overcome temptation. However we must have the desire to overcome sin. Without the wish to overcome sin, we will not be able to use the strength given to us by God. 

We must go beyond claiming to be children of God to actually being children of God. We must start now to live as His children, doing His Will through Christ our Lord and Saviour Who strengthens us. Hell would therefore not be our portion, but instead, we would be heading for eternal bliss in our real home, Heaven.

May the grace of God be upon us.

Monday, April 5, 2010

If you love me keep my commandments

There was once a woman who had two children, Cain and Abel. She loved them so much and would do anything for them. Every morning before going to work she would drop them off at school which was not too far from their home. As she was leaving, the kids would hug her and tell her how much they loved her. She would promise to buy something for them when coming back from work. Then she would ask them to be of good behaviour while she was away.  She would also remind them of what they should and should not do. She had done this so many times the kids had a list of dos and don’ts in their memory. The list looked like this.
•    Leave for home as soon as school closes
•    Do not talk to strangers while returning home from school
•    Change from your school clothes and have a bath as soon as you get home
•    Take your dinner from the microwave oven and eat.
•    Clear the table and put your plates in the kitchen sink
•    Stay indoors! Do not go outside to play. Watch television or play video games instead.
•    Take your siesta by 4pm. I’ll be home by 5pm.

The mother would then head off to work and the children would remain in school. As soon as school closed the kids would head for home.

Now, Abel was always able to do his mothers wish. He only felt happy when what he was doing was pleasing to his mother. He found it very easy to avoid talking to strangers; he not only cleared the table after eating, but would also wash the plates; he also would remain indoors, watch TV and take his siesta at the proper time.
Cain on the other hand, could not care less about what his mother wanted. He could not understand why he should not talk to strangers; he did not see why he should have a bath as soon as he got home from school; he did not think he would be strong enough to clear the table after a full day at school; he did not see anything wrong in playing outside for just a little while instead of watching television or playing those silly video games. And so he did whatever he liked; besides, he reasoned, his mother loved him so much, she would always forgive him for his bad behaviour.

Around 5pm the children’s mother would return home. As usual she would come with things she bought for the kids. They would run to her, hug her and kiss her. Again they would tell her they loved her and as usual she would tell them she loved them too.

But did they? Who really loved her? Was it Cain who did not really care about what pleased his mother? Or was it Abel whose only wish was to do what made his mother happy?

Why was it so easy for Abel to adhere to his mother’s instructions? Was there something inside him that made it easy for him to follow the mother’s instructions?  Something strong enough to help him overcome a natural reluctance to do work, to the extent that he would even enjoy washing plates when he really didn’t have to!  Could it be love? It is said that when we do love someone, we feel the pains and joys of that person and we try to do only what pleases that person. Was Abel's feeling for his mother not love? True love!

Now this woman happens to have hidden cameras in and around the house. And these cameras are linked to her mobile phone. So that even when far away, she could still see them.  She would watch as one child engages in only those things that are pleasing to her while the other does only what pleases himself.

But she says nothing about what she sees. The list she made is really not for her own benefit, but for the benefit of the children. It is meant to protect them from danger and to make them stronger and better human beings.

Because she loves them, she gave them a list of dos and don’ts which if followed would be a blessing to them. If they truly love her as they claim, they would endeavor to do only those things which are pleasing to her; things which are in harmony with her will, as expressed in her list and as a consequence of which they would receive blessing.

The blessings are not the gifts received from their mother every now and then when she comes back from school. No!
The blessings are not so obvious. Rather they are the transformations that take place gradually in Abel as he grows from a kid into a young man. A young man that has control over himself; one that is diligent and disciplined; one who knows the value of doing the right thing at the right time; and who can hold his head up high anywhere, anytime!

Cain on the other hand cannot get these blessings. He has locked himself away from them and unless he changes for the better, he would eventually grow up into a self centered, lazy and unruly young man; a man with no respect for time.

We are like Cain and Abel and we have been given a list…the Ten Commandments. Through the endeavour to live in accordance with the Will of God as expressed in the Commandments, we would gradually be transformed into such human beings as are worthy to enter the kingdom of Heaven; human beings that are children of God; children who do the bidden of their father.

But do not be deceived, you cannot eat your cake and have it. You cannot live sinful lives and expect to make it to Heaven simply because you call yourselves children of God. Singing praises to God and telling Him you love Him are equally immaterial if at the same time you do not endeavour to do His Will. What therefore is important, are your activities…what you think, what you say and what you do. These activities show whom you serve and hence where you would be headed when you leave the earth. If good i.e. if in harmony with the Will of God, then you serve God and would thus be heading to His Kingdom when you leave here. But if bad,i.e. if in harmony with the will of the darkness, you can only have one master; Satan! Hence you would be heading in his direction when you leave here. The choice of the direction we face at any point in time and our ultimate destination lies with us.

God loves us. That is why He gave us the Ten Commandments; that is also why He sent prophet after prophet to help guide us along our earthly path and finally, that is why He sent His Son Jesus, to give us first hand, the message of Truth, a message that admonishes us continuously to keep the Will of His Father who sent Him.

Now just as we have the “Ten Commandments of God”, there also are the commandments of Satan. Where do you stand? Whose commandments do you keep? Do you really love God, or do you just claim to do so.

The Almighty God has this message;
     if you love me, keep my Commandments.