Grace Limerick

Hey fam., this is my first attempt at a limerick. It’s inspired by Revelation 5:9-10 , Ephesians 2:8 and  2 Corinthians 8:9; all quoted below. Hope you enjoy it.

Through one act of sovereign grace,

My eternal fate sealed for all ages,

With hope to see His face,

And forever live as His race*

Hallelujah what a Saviour!

*Race in the sense of being a part of a group of people related by common ancestry or parentage- God the Father!

Revelation 5:9-10: You (Jesus) are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.

Ephesians 2:8: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.

2 Corinthians 8:9: For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

I pray  that you grow in understanding, experiencing and sharing God’s grace.

Shalom fam 🙂

 

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This is OUR God!!!

One of my current favourite songs is called ‘This is our God’ by Hillsong; I love the chorus, which goes:

‘Freely you gave it all for us, surrendered your life upon that cross,

Great is your love, Poured out for all- This is our God,

Lifted on high from death to life,

Forever our God is glorified,

Servant and king, Rescued the world – this is our God.’

I love the triumphant cry at the end of each phrase, the qualifier which follows the description-This is our God, it makes me feel like thumping my chest and screaming at the top of my lungs, THIS IS MY GOD!- The God who is not aloof, ostracized or helplessly observing us from a distance -no! If we had to identify our God from a line-up, He won’t be the one waiting cross-armed for us to come to Him, rather He’s the one who proactively provided the cross, who laid aside His awesome, fearsome majesty, stripped Himself of His rights as God, became one of us and by so doing made a way for us to be like Him (Ephesians 4:24, Philippians 2:7). He is God who set the example for the prodigal’s Father and ran with glee, compassion and fierce love to our rescue (Luke 15:11-32). The God who got involved in the muck and mire of our lives; came down and was ‘touched’ with the feeling of our infirmities (Hebrews 4:15).; who feels our pain and has literally walked in our shoes- This is Our God!

I cannot tell you how much comfort and joy that gives me; it makes Philippians 2:1 all the more real for me, I am encouraged by being united with Christ, I am comforted by His love, because I know He’s indeed my forerunner, who walked in my shoes and can therefore empathize with me.

According to Tim Keller (in his book The Reason for God), Christianity alone among the world’s religions claims that God became uniquely and fully human in Jesus. Hebrews 4:15 (MSG) says we don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality; he’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all…and therefore knows first-hand our highs and lows; our despair, rejection, pain, lack. At the heart of Christianity is the story of God himself taking on flesh and blood, taking upon Himself the suffering and punishment we deserve, and so offering us both physical healing and spiritual restoration. On the cross Jesus went beyond even the worst human suffering and experienced pain that exceeds us as infinitely as his knowledge and power exceeds ours, and His only ‘crime’ was His unrelenting love for us!( 1 John 3:16, Romans 5:8).

People go to support groups because it helps to be around folks who have been through the same experiences and have overcome, there’s a certain kind of reassurance in knowing that you are not the only one going through an issue. Knowing that others have faced the same challenges and overcome gives us hope that we can as well. In times of trouble, people often say, ‘I can only imagine what you are going through’, without the capacity to actually do that so I find it tremendously encouraging to have someone who’s walked that same road ‘comfort me with ‘the same comfort with which they were comforted’; and that’s what Jesus offers. First of all He assures us that nothing we are going through is unique to us alone, that others are going and have gone through it (1 Corinthians 10:13) but better yet, He assures us , He’s experienced it all and that because He overcame, He provides a way of escape for us, and will lead us out triumphantly (2 Corinthians 2 :14).

During Elijah’s showdown with the prophets of Baal, he taunted them to scream louder as their gods might be asleep, or otherwise indisposed – that’s not our God. Unlike Baal, He doesn’t wait for us to cut ourselves in desperation before he hears us, rather our God foresaw our greatest need (spiritual separation from Him), way before we recognised our need; and orchestrated a plan for our redemption through the sacrifice of His son even before the foundation of the world(Ephesians 1:4, Revelations 13:8).

Fam., no matter what you are going through, please remember we have a personal God who is not distant and passively observant. God is not immune to your pain, He feels it deeply and just as it hurts a Parent to see their kids in pain, God feels ours, and substantially more. He is the God who is close to the broken-hearted and rescues those crushed in spirit;  If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath. The God who is the all-powerful, ever-present help in times of need, who promises never to leave or forsake us; who assures us that because He did not spare His only son, but sacrificed Him for us, He will also graciously give us all things… the God who was with Daniel and the Hebrew boys in the fire, who shut the mouth of the lion, who enabled David kill the lion, bear and giant, who delivers us from bondage to sin and Satan, who conquered death and darkness…that God-is OUR God.

Rejoice in that.

Shalom fam 🙂

3 things EVERY Christian SHOULD know

A common prediction states that Christianity will die out within the next century; and more specifically, within the next two generations. While this is a jolting forecast, it does not exactly bother me since from the time of Jesus; people have predicted the demise of Christianity to no avail. Christianity is still alive, thriving and relevant. What troubles me now is not the survival of Christianity but the basis of our professions of faith.

Conversations with some friends and acquaintances that ‘tick the Christian box’ have saddened and disturbed me. I have heard opinions including the fact that the bible is only one of many ways God speaks to us and that there could be extra-biblical revelations; that God accepts us based on our innate goodness, with or without Jesus, and I have often heard Christians struggle to defend Jesus as God. This concerns me greatly; how can we always be ready to defend our hope, as 1 Peter 3:15 instructs, if we are not sure of what the hope entails?

Increasingly I have met and interacted with people who believe they are Christians because their parents were Christian or some other family affiliations, but the saying goes ‘God has no grandchildren’ because the only route to a relationship with Him, is one of adoption as sons (Hebrews 2:10, Galatians 4:4, John 1:12-13). Some others opine that being born into a western country or lifelong habits like church attendance saves them but as Joyce Meyer jokes ‘Just as sitting in a garage doesn’t make you a car, church attendance or Christian company doesn’t make you a Christian’, we become sons only by faith in Jesus Christ.(Romans 10:9, Galatians 3:26).

I pre-empt myself, but this issue has burdened me tremendously, and has motivated me to research and compile the foundations of the Christian faith so that we can examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith(2 Corinthians 13:5), because Jesus warned that not everyone who calls Him Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven(Mathew 7:21).

In this vein, I have compiled what I believe are THE three basics of Christianity, on many fine points we can disagree but there are certain incontrovertible truths that must be believed to claim Jesus as Lord, and these I have highlighted briefly.(Disclaimer: I don’t claim to have all the answers and this post is by no means conclusive on the issue, but I recognise that some of us have never had a chance to research the faith or search the scriptures for the basis of the faith so I hope this serves as a pointer ).

The dissent in this regard mainly concerns Jesus, whom many insist was a good teacher, a prophet or a mere man, but the bible explicitly teaches He’s God (John 1:1, Colossians 1:19) and every Christian must believe that, as there would be no basis for His sacrifice if He was and is not God, and did not have the divine, sinless nature.

We must believe that the eternal Son became man without ceasing to be God, to reveal God and redeem sinful man (John 1:1–2, 14; Luke 1:35, Galatians 4:4).

  • Sin-That man is inherently sinful and wicked (1 John 1:10). As RC Sproul says it’s not that we are sinners because we sin, but rather, we sin because we are sinners. Jeremiah 17:9 says the human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Jesus reinforces this in Mark 10:18, where He says there is none good but God (Also Romans 3:10, 23).

We must recognise that sin separated us from God and the only path to reconciliation with God was through the death and atoning sacrifice of Jesus(2 Corinthians 5:21, John 14:6, John 3:16-18). The bible reveals that He redeemed us through His death on the cross as our representative, vicariously bearing the recompense for our sins, and that He secured our justification by His physical resurrection from the dead (Romans 3:24; 1 Peter 2:24; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Peter 1:3–5).

Unlike popular opinion which suggests that people are generally good, with a few bad eggs, the basic premise of Christianity is that we are intrinsically bad and cannot save ourselves. Because of Adam’s sin, we are enslaved to sin and totally disposed towards wickedness(Romans 5:12-14, Romans 6:20, 1 Corinthians 15:22); and that even our most well-intentioned acts are like filthy rags to God(Isaiah 64:6, Romans 3:22-23; 5:12; Ephesians 2:1–3, 12).

You are probably familiar with this argument but if you disagree, please consider this premise, since even our best deeds are despicable in Gods sight, and His standards so infinitely greater than ours(Isaiah 55:8-9, 1 Corinthians 1:25), how then can our goodness score us points with Him? The bible teaches that we are utterly unable to remedy our lost condition, hopeless and helpless without the sacrifice of Jesus.

Christians are therefore saved not by efforts, attempts or abilities but by believing what Jesus did and accepting it by faith(Romans 10:9, Ephesians 2:8-10).

  • The Bible- Every Christian must believe that the bible is God breathed, and wholly inspired by God. That it is the final authority for faith and life, to be received and obeyed in its entirety, free of error and infallible (2 Timothy 3:1617; 2 Peter 1:2021; Matthew 5:18; John 16:13).

Back to my friends statement from earlier as to God speaking to us in many ways, there is some truth to that as  the bible reveals that even nature communicates and reveals Gods glory (Psalms 19:1-3, Romans 1:20). However Gods FINAL and DEFINITIVE revelation is through His son (Hebrews 1:2); and all scriptures testify of Jesus (John 5:39, John 20:20-31).

We must believe that God even if God speaks now, it would never contravene His already revealed word and will in the bible, as the ultimate end of all God-given prophecy is to bear witness with the revealed work of Christ (Revelations 19:10).

Thanks for your time. I hope this has helped in some way, feel free to share the post with any Christians you know who are floundering in understanding the basics of the faith.

Shalom fam 🙂

POSTSCRIPT

There have been challenges to the  bible’s authenticity, a discussion of which is outside the purview of this post, but there is a plethora of resources  validating its history and legitimacy. I found the following particularly  helpful:

I found the following sites helpful in compiling the general post: