SOCIAL MEDIA

In the currently charged political atmosphere, many have turned to social media to patronize their preferred candidates and openly flout messages from their perceived opponents. I choose to remain non partisan because I believe there is something far more wonderful than political rhetoric. I got into it some time back and want to maintain it.

I got interested in communicating through the internet in the year 2000 but it took me quite a while before I could open an account on social media. I felt the email address was all I needed to facilitate communication with my friends abroad. I found what fellow young people were doing on facebook to be frivolous. I did not understand that technology can also be used for good.

My knowledge and enthusiasm in the word of God grew all the time and I felt the urge to share it not only with close friends but also with whoever would care to listen. One of my friends told me that I would make many more friends on social media. This piece of advice moved me to open a facebook account and I actually found lots of followers both in and out of the country. Some of them were not even Christians and would often post derogatory messages and pictures but I discovered that it was a great opportunity to share the gospel.

I had been taught in church that the Good News is not something to keep quiet about. I therefore found facebook, to begin with, to be the best platform for sharing the Word with others. I realized that just like the world uses social media to impress its strange teachings on others, I too had to compete with it to gain the attention of fellow youth. I understood that our God is the God of this digital age and He uses technology to further His kingdom. There was no need to be afraid of it.

In sharing the word, I have discovered that the use of pictures that portray the context of a text speaks loudly and clearly to the readers than mere words. I get more followers and likes on social media when I share pictures such as the attached ones above.

As I share these pictures, many respond by sharing more photos about what they do as believers either in Children’s Homes or in the church. I have also attracted serious believers in Christ from other countries and have access to good Christian materials from which I acquire information that enables me to lead bible study. My friends on social media now realize that if we have to keep communicating, then we must be exchanging messages that will build us up spiritually and counter the destructive messages that some fancy on social media. In so doing, we are actively involved in the vineyard of the Lord without being part of the ordained ministers.

HANDLING TROUBLE

We all go through trouble in life. People respond differently to it. There are Christians who hold the view that insufficient faith causes the troubles whilst others think that our sins are the cause of the troubles. How then should we look at afflictions in a believer’s life?

The proper attitude should not be one of resentment, as if they ought not to happen to us; still less with embarrassment, as if they are some slur on our Christian spirituality. Trouble, Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 1:1-11, is a part of our normal Christian experience, binding God’s people together in mutual dependence and concern, generating ministries of encouragement and consolation among us. It is how God links us with the very experience of Jesus Himself. We have the huge privilege as the people of the Messiah to participate in His tribulations that bring in His kingdom. And (perhaps most encouraging of all) troubles in a Christian’s life have a purpose for the life of the people of God generally, a purpose in our lives individually, and a purpose that will even enrich the life of heaven through multiplying the prayer and the gratitude which surround the throne of God. That is why James is right when he says, “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials (James 1:2).

The apostle Paul wants us to realize that leadership did not elevate him into some kind of elite, where weakness and failure are unknown. Being an apostle led Paul into greater depths of self doubt, greater and more humiliating awareness of his own inadequacy than he would ever have believed possible.

LET’S CELEBRATE

We are currently witnessing political shenanigans at every turn of the newswires and it appears like we have become so mesmerized by the innuendoes that we think that’s  all there is to know. We are almost forgetting what makes life real.

It is Easter and we had better learn what it’s all about. The essence of Easter is the celebration Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead!

He is not here: for He is risen, as He said.  Matthew 28:6

Why is the resurrection of Jesus Christ so important? It is the basis upon which all hope rests for those who trust in Jesus Christ. This is the absolute truth that everyone needs to believe to be certain of forgiveness of sin and eternal life:
But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. I Corinthians 15:13-19
Throughout all of time, God promised His people that He would send a Redeemer. Job, a man who lived more than two thousand years before the birth of Jesus Christ said:
For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. Job 19:25
Jesus Christ did appear in the latter days as Redeemer and Saviour of His people when He was born to Mary in Bethlehem. He came to prove to everyone, especially those who trust in Him, that He paid for our sins.

God Himself, the Creator of all things (Colossians 1:16), came to earth as a man to show that He laid down His life and was resurrected. Our safety is found in believing and acting upon this message.

ENCOURAGEMENT

I attended baptism class with a friend who later dropped out of high school due to lack of fees. His uncle offered to take him for vocational training but he refused and joined a group of unruly youth in the village. The group was known for throwing stones at moving vehicles and mugging other unsuspecting teenagers.

Joseph had been quite humble while we attended Sunday school and had shown great enthusiasm for church matters. He sung in the children’s choir and was good at reciting scripture texts such as Psalm 23. When I learnt of his wayward behaviour, I knelt down and prayed that God would strength me to face him at his parents place and talk to him. I took a few hours one weekend and went to see him. Joseph had truly changed. He was not the quiet and gentle boy I sung and worshipped with in Sunday school. He appeared disinterested in spiritual issues.

I had the opportunity to pray with him and his parents and went on to talk with him more about prayer and reading of the Bible. I told him that our God is able to give peace and direction in the many difficulties we face in life. I also encouraged him not to lose the chance he had been offered for vocational training. He would acquire necessary skills that would enable him earn a living even if he had not made it through high school. I also told him not to neglect prayer because that is what gives us the strength to follow what the Bible teaches us.

Joseph wondered whether the church would welcome him back but I told him that all of us in church are sinners. Our hope is only in Christ. We believe that He forgave all our sins – past, present and future. That is what enables us to move on in our spiritual lives. We have learnt to confess our sins and faults and trust in His mercy.

BASIS OF LOVE FOR NEIGHBOUR

A superficial look at the idea of loving oneself gives the impression of self-centredness or some humanistic teaching that is contrary to the bible. Is it really so?

A careful look at the bible, however,  reveals that we were all created in the image of  God for the purpose of loving and worshipping Him (Genesis1:27). We are not worthless creatures to wallow in self-pity. When we recognise this fact we start being thankful and appreciating the person who God made in us. It is not being egocentric or highminded.

A misunderstanding of loving oneself is likely to result into self rejection. This will manifest itself through unhappiness with the person God made us to be. Whenever we are unhappy from within, we can hardly be gentle or even kind when dealing with others. Our relationship with them will most likely be distorted and so we will have no basis for loving them.

Unforgiveness too will be evident in our lives when we fail to understand the need to love ourselves. We will hold on to embarrassing things that we have repented of, contrary to the biblical advice to pursue peace with everyone around us and refuse to give in to bitterness that is likely to spoil our relationships ( Hebrews 12:15). The bible does teach total depravity of mankind before God but this doesn’t mean we should consider ourselves failures. If we do then we will continue pushing to reach irrational goals in order to feel good about ourselves.

We should recognise that in spite our fallen state we are still fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) and learn from King David to appreciate and thank God for what He gave us – the ability to worship Him.

POSSESSIVE GOD?

In the next forty days of Lent, I want you to reflect with me on God’s character of Jealousy. God is supreme and sovereign over all. He is also merciful and loving as can be seen through His daily provisions, forgiveness and the wonderful salvation we experience in Christ.  His great love demands that we live in total obedience, submission and devotion to Him.

God’s jealous is not egocentric like mine. It is actually the natural and necessary by product of His complete sovereignty and infinite holiness. The kind of jealous I express is often guided by selfishness. I tend to be resentful when others around me seem to enjoy the fruits of their hard work such as living in a nice house which they have built and dress in brand new clothes. This attitude spoils my relationship with my neighbours and makes me sad and lonely. I am constantly praying that God helps me to overcome it.

When I came to faith in Christ, I recognized the great work He had done in my life and was deeply devoted to prayer, reading the word of God whenever I was free and serving in church. Gradually I drifted to sports and my interest in the things of God waned. I found the word of God boring and serving in church a waste of time. My testimony for Christ was watered down and I began engaging in unnecessary jokes which offended many. My prayer life became weak and I found no strength to share the word of God with most of my friends. Some of them went to the extent of poking fun at me and saying, “You were once saved. What has happened to you that makes you loose your temper so fast and retort at others who are simply joking?”

That question was like a nudge on my rib and made me discover that I was loosing touch with God. I had offended Him in failing to recognize who He is and was now beginning to adore sports. He consequently proved to me that I could not go down that path and be safe. I had to get on my knees and plead with Him for mercy. I confessed idolatry and started taking my Quiet Time seriously. During my devotions, I realized that our God is truly set apart and wants me to worship and serve Him alone. My waywardness can only bring trouble and there is none I can turn to for comfort and security.

KNOWING JESUS

A lot of people have different views about who Jesus Christ is. Hindus believe He is one of the many gods they believe in. Muslims hold that he is a mere prophet and perhaps not great than Mohammed. Moralists believe he is a great teacher and philosopher and atheists think he is an imaginary figure who probably never existed. All these views can be quite confusing and I too dabbled in them in my childhood. However I had a unique curiosity about the Bible.

My doubts about who Jesus Christ is were removed when I realized that I was a sinner and all the effort I had made to lead a decent life was in vain. I desired to be upright and kind but was still troubled by anxiety, jealousy and resentment towards others. I recited all the prayers I had been taught in Sunday school but still lacked inner peace. I stayed in that state for some time then I heard one of our church members testifying that he had been delivered from greed, lust and envy through trusting in Jesus Christ. At first, I thought he was only joking but later, I realized that he had been totally transformed. He had become gentle and kind. He was also generous and gave to the needs of others.

Through his testimony, I realized that Jesus is real. He can change people’s lives completely and make them useful in and out of the church. His power is beyond our understanding and we cannot stop him from doing what He wants. As I continued reading the Bible I discovered that Jesus Christ is eternal God because all things were made by Him. Everything that exists was brought into being by Him through His spoken word.

I too became convinced that He can change my life and give me the peace that I so desperately needed. I pleaded with Him for mercy and recognized that He is able to sustain me and make my life more meaningful. I now know that Jesus Christ is the only Saviour who can forgive all our sins and strengthen us to live morally acceptable lives that reflect His mercy and goodness. True peace and security are found through trusting in Him alone as Lord and Saviour.

JUVENILE DISORDER

I have witnessed unruly behaviour among teenagers that has left me wondering about their sanity. I am concerned that we may not, in future, have adults with a strong character and who can be trusted to lead either church or society in general. There are times when I get a feeling that even the church may be taken over by undisciplined young people who cannot guide others in godliness.

However, every time I turn to the word of God, I am assured that Christ is in control. Even though matters may seem worse, I need not allow worry to control me. God has promised that He will never leave me alone. He will bring about stability at His own time and in His own way. He may allow trouble among young people to show that we cannot appropriately manage our lives by trusting our own wisdom and resources. We just have to depend on Him at all times.

Scripture reminds me that instead of worrying about the ugly events, I need to continue praying and witnessing for Jesus. He is able to change the situation and restrain unbecoming behaviour among teenagers that causes them to engage in rape and vandalism and subject others to suffering. The wisdom from the Lord calms my heart over the consequences of the youth’s strange actions.

Whenever a school is burnt, for instance, the damage is huge and parents are penalized for it. It is only scripture that enables me to handle such weird cases wisely. I get the impression that even though some schools have been destroyed, not all will be burnt. Some teenagers may be difficult to handle but not all will turn destructive. I am assured that there will always be humble and obedient ones among them. All I have to do is to keep praying for them and trusting that God will grant me the ability to cope with the troubles.

The Lord has always been faithful and given me a reason to rejoice even amid disturbing circumstances. My worries have proved baseless as long as I have trusted in Him and I have realized that surrendering to Him means ineffable peace in this world and certainty of eternal life. It makes me steady in the face of trouble and encourages me to remain faithful under all circumstances.

ARE YOU FAITHFUL?

According to Numbers 25, the nation of Israel sinned against God by worshipping a foreign deity called Baal and having sexual relations with foreign women. God’s wrath was kindled and He allowed all those who participated in the orgies to be destroyed. A man who was caught during intercourse was also stabbed to death. This was not because God was interested in killing His people but as a proof that sinful acts have their own dire consequences.

God wanted Israel and us today to learn that we are accountable to Him for the gifts and privileges we have. Our accountability to God is seen in the way we use our gifts. Every good thing we have comes from God and if we are not using it to God’s glory then we are sinning. Ordinarily, the greater the gifts, the greater the sin and the greater the judgement when we do not use them for God’s glory. The Lord Jesus said, “But he that knew not and commit things worthy of the stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more” (Luke 12:48).

We are normally deceived into thinking that we can get way with our sinful tendencies. However, we must recognize that the evil one uses this deception to seduce and confuse us. The deception is accomplished by inflaming and magnifying our immediate desires, while minimizing and hiding reality of the horrendous costs of our actions. Again, the deception is that we can get away with it and that we will not be caught. The truth of the matter, however, is that God cannot be mocked.

God’s will for us is to overcome temptation and walk in purity, but we must humble ourselves by submitting to the wisdom that God gives to us. One significant way we can overcome temptation is by pushing aside our selfish feelings and giving serious consideration to how our behaviour would hinder our walk with the Lord, damage the cause of Christ, and destroy our families and the lives of others.

ALL THINGS POSSIBLE

Mary was told by the angel Gabriel that she was to conceive and have a child and call Him Jesus, even though she was a virgin. She was also told her relative, Elizabeth, who had passed the child bearing age, would bear a child and call him John. The angel told her that “with God nothing shall be impossible.”

With God, nothing is too hard: “Ah Lord God! Behold thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee …” (Jeremiah 32:17). If God can create the entire universe, creating everything out of nothing, then how can He not do the impossible? God loves to show Himself strong and to be glorified by doing what the world considers impossible. In fact, the more impossible it seems the more God is glorified through it.

We should learn from Mary to ask God to help us see things from His point of view. Our problems, circumstances or situations may be a gift from God. He is intimately involved with the details of our lives. God owes us nothing; we owe Him everything. He is a God of grace. He makes Himself available to us and will provide all our needs as we serve His eternal purposes. When God steps into our lives we should rejoice and trust that He will do as He has promised. When He calls, He always provides. When we follow His leading, He will always supply what is lacking.