A subtle reminder that God is always on hand to help those who call out to him.
A city that bears God's name can cry out to him and he will rise to their defence, but if a city chooses to forsake his name, how will he fight for that city? This is not to say that God won't listen to the prayers of his faithful servants when they intercede for their nation. Thing is, the nation itself needs to have a heart for God in order to reap the real benefits of an intimate relationship with God. We see an example of this in the Book of Daniel 9:19 when Daniel, a servant of God interceded for his city. He pleaded to God on behalf of his people saying:
"Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”
Note the words ' Your city and your people bear your name.'
Whatever was going on with the city in question, they still had something that served as a reminder, that they once had some sort of connection with God. Fast forward to this present world and you will realise the difference. What difference is that? It's the realisation that this current world (with the exception of a few), no longer bares God's name. By that I mean, they no longer call on God's name in a public space. Countries who in earlier times, flew the flag for God by incorporating the word of God in their constitutions, have now stripped themselves of anything that remotely connects them to God.
This is evident in the way they restricted the teachings of the gospel from their educational establishments and limited the use of God’s word in their economy. It was not unusual to have a nation’s currency display the words ’In God we trust’. Some nations whose cultural, financial or economic institutions were established on God's word have now ceased from applying it to their constitutions.
Looking at the state of the world today, compared to when God was revered by the nations, there is a significant difference. The world is more chaotic, more hostile and less welcoming. Why? Because it has lost respect for the very God who made all things and forgotten who he is. So now they mock his name in anyway they can and at every given opportunity. However, it really doesn't matter what negative things anyone says about God. What matters is what God says about the world that he, (not us) created. The Bible says in Numbers 23:19 that,
'God is not like people. He tells no lies. He is not like humans. He doesn't change his mind. When he says something, he does it. When he makes a promise, he keeps it.'
(Numbers 23:19, God’s Word Translation)
Jesus, who was God manifested in human form never (ever) sinned. The one thing we know, according to the Bible is this: due to the sin committed through Adam the first man that ever lived, sin entered the world. Which inturn, changed the world from doing the good will of God, to doing wicked (sinful) things. See Romans 5:12-19, New Living Translation.
For this reason, God said he would, 'Create new heavens and a new earth (where) the former (things) shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. Isaiah 65:17. Also see Isaiah 65:18-25. Which means that God will rebuild the world back to the way he originally intended. And whether we like it or not, God's word will come to pass because God himself said this:
'...my word that goes out from my mouth, it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.'
(Isaiah 55:11, New International Version)
That is to say, it is not a matter of 'if the world will come to an end, but when. Though no one knows the exact day when Jesus will return, it's a certainty that it will happen. Jesus said this in Matthew 24:36,
"concerning that day and hour, no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only." Matthew 24:36
Thing is, when it does happen where will you be? Will you be on God's side or will you be against him? Let's remember that before the world ends, God is giving every single one of us the chance to repent from our sinful ways. Ways he described as 'wicked'. See Ezekiel 33:11
Failure to accept God's offer to make the earth right again, will lead to eternal separation from God. So what choice will you make? Will you choose to have the fear of the Lord again or will you choose to be eternally separated from God? Before you answer that question, I urge you to pause and take a quick look at the state of the world today. Do the things happening in our world today show wisdom or lack of judgement? Then decide who you want to follow, God or the world? Remember, the decision you make will become final once you leave the earth.
Also, what makes a city are the people who inhabits it. God created the nations from a man called Abraham. The Bible says in the book of Genesis 17:5 that God told Abraham,
“….You will be called Abraham, for you will be the father of many nations.”
(Genesis 17:5, New Living Translation)
Since God made the nations through Abraham, it means that a nation whose heart is not right with God, represents a people whose heart is not right with God. So, how can things be made right in our cities or our nations? It can only be made right, if we turn back from our ‘wicked sinful ways’ to having the fear of God again. The bible says in Proverbs 9:10 that,
‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.’
(Proverbs 9:10, New International Version)
Which means, for a nation to make wise decisions, they need to have a profound respect for God. Something the world lacks today. When the nation of Isreal turned away from God, he told them this in the book of Ezekiel 33:11,
“As surely as I live…I take no pleasure in the death of wicked (sinful) people. I only want them to turn from their wicked (sinful) ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness (sinfulness), O people of Israel! Why should you die?
Today, God is saying the same thing to you, the people that make up his nations, ‘turn back to God’. Why not think carefully about God’s words, because he is waiting to receive you with open arms and it's never too late to turn back to God.
God is so amazing! Because he not only gives us the grace to start each day afresh, he also gives us the grace to start the year afresh. First he gives us the ability to wipe the slate clean daily, then after living three hundred and sixty-five days of the year, he enables us to wipe all those days out (if we so choose) inorder to start afresh again. Talk about God-given detox for the body, mind and spirit! As we wave good bye to 2023 and open our doors to 2024, I'm raising a warm glass to you all. Wishing you a better new year, where we can let go of the past and look forward to the future. I’ll leave you with this song by Jeremiah Paltan called the moon, hope it puts you in the mood for the new year celebrations!
"Forget what happened in the past,
and do not dwell on events from long ago.
I am going to do something new."
(Isaiah 43:18-19, God's Word Translation)
Happy New Year!
Luv Kemi West (The Postman)
Ever wonder what Christmas is all about? Because this is the question that keeps coming to mind each time I see a festive Christmas advert celebrating Christmas, but somehow conveniently avoids mentioning the name of Christ. When you see an advert with the Caption ‘The gift to share this Christmas’ but see no reference to anything that remotely resembles Christ in that advert, it makes you wonder what gift they are actually talking about. Afterall, Christmas is all about Christ, God’s sacrificial gift to mankind. So, why would a supposed Christmas advert fail to mention Christ’s name?
Could it be because it’s become common place for adverts or promotions to omit the name of ‘Jesus Christ’ in favour of other generic words such as ‘Festive season’ or ‘Happy Holidays’. Where any other word seems to fit the bill except the very name whom the season is truly about? There is clearly something wrong with this commercial picture of Christmas? Because truth be told, it would be difficult for a young child experiencing Christmas to know what it is really about if they’ve had no visual representation of Christ presented to them. Would they know that 'God so loved the world that he gave us his only son, his most precious gift, to save the world from sin? (See John 3:16) Or will they know that Christ is the second chance God gave the human race?
That said, who is this Jesus Christians talk about and what makes him special? In the book of Matthew 11:27 Jesus introduced himself by saying:
“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."
(Matthew 11:27, New International Version)
Jesus made it clear that he was the son of God whom God entrusted with everything and the only one who knows God holistically. Therefore, it is only through him that anyone can get to know God properly. He went on to talk about the reason why he came into the world in the book of Matthew 20:28, he said:
"The Son of Man did not come to be served. He came to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many people.”
(Matthew 20:28, New Century Version)
Inotherwords, Jesus came to serve and to save mankind from the shackles of a sinful world, so that we could live eternally with God. It’s the reason why Christians follow Christ and why they celebrate Christmas, knowing that Jesus Christ came to seek and save those who are lost in order to reconcile them back to God. Isn't that knowledge worth celebrating or worth sharing? And is it any wonder Jesus called it the good news and commissioned his disciples to share the good news of the gospel too? (See Matthew 28:16-20). In the book of Romans 10:15 Jesus said this of those who choose to follow his footsteps by sharing the gospel:
"...How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
(Romans 10:15, ESV)
Meaning that it’s a beautiful thing to share the gospel. Therefore, as we celebrate Christmas, let's remember who Jesus is, that is:
"The Son of Man who came to seek and save those who are lost.”
(Luke 19:10, NLT)
Then let's put the Christ back in Christmas by sharing the good news of Christ's gospel and reminding an unbelieving world of what Christ did for them. For that is the true meaning of Christmas and what the Christmas spirit is really about.
Have a merry Christmas!
More so than ever, the world needs encouragers at a time of great uncertainty. Are you an encourager? If so, this is for you! Jesus told his disciples,
“The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”
(Matthew 9:37-38, New Living Translation)
There was a shortage of Christlike workers then, there is still a shortage of Christlike workers now. This is an encouraging call to those called to do the work of Christ’s ministry. Keep sharing the good news of Christ’s gospel against all odds! Remember, the Lord is with you and he is your strength (Psalm 27 vs 1)
Stay blessed and keep on going!
Litters of my Thoughts
Litters of my thoughts
floating through my head;
Why, what, whom, how,
the multitude of thoughts
came flooding through my mind;
My fragmented emotions just
won't let me be;
What is this feeling I ask myself?
what am I facing,
I just can't work it out!
This feeling shouldn't be in me;
This feeling has no place in here;
Still it sits comfortably where it doesn't
Occupying space that's already pre owned;
It's high time this feeling finds its way;
I don't blame you, see, the blame's all mine;
I forgot myself for a mere minuscule minute;
Forgetting who I am and whose I am;
Giving space to a feeling that doesn't reflect myself;
Thankfully I heard a still small voice inside;
Telling me, remember whom you are
and whose you are;
Be anxious for nothing but give thanks in all things!
The more I listened to the still small voice inside;
The more exuberance for life I began to have;
A surge of strength gushed through my being;
Permeating my body, my soul right to the core of my spirit;
It's time to go, you littered thoughts;
There's no longer room for you in my inn.
-Kemi West -
“ … the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
(Nehemiah 8:10, King James Version)
What does it mean to have the joy of the Lord as your strength? To have the joy of the Lord as your strength means to draw power, courage or might from God. How? By having the awareness that he is your helper, your source, your life and your everything. In the book of of John 15:5, Jesus uses the analogy of the vine and its branches to explain what it means to have God as one’s strength. He said,
“I am the vine. You are the branches. Those who live in me while I live in them will produce a lot of fruit. But you can’t produce anything without me.”
(John 15:5, God’s Word Translation)
That is to say, the ability to do anything remotely productive comes from God and that includes the strength he gives us daily. Because, when we believe in God, his Holy Spirit comes upon us and starts to live within us. Through his Holy Spirit, he begins to empower us to do all the things he has called us to do. Things that could be straightforward or challenging. A good example is someone like Paul the Apostle, whose calling was quite challenging that it prompted him to say,
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.”
(James1:2, New International Version)
In human terms, joy and trials are polar opposites. That is why, it is difficult to imagine being joyful when facing hardships. But here’s the thing, having gone through a very harrowing experience in his ministry that left Paul despairing for life (see 2 Corinthians 11:24-31), he was able to say this:
“I can do all things through Christ, because he gives me strength.”
(Philippians 4:13, New Century Version)
Paul, in the midst of his trials came to the realisation that, it was God who strengthened him to overcome his ordeal. And that knowledge was what brought him joy. His joy came from knowing that God’s Holy Spirit was in him (and with him), supporting him through all the things he had experienced.
So, what does it mean to have the joy of the Lord as your strength? Having the joy of the Lord means to have an awareness of who God is. That is, seeing him as the creator of the universe and the Sovereign God that he is. Then shifting the focus from one’s self to God, by acknowledging his supreme ability to handle all things. In the midst of that process is where strength emerges. Giving you the confidence that God is in control, no matter what and that confidence, makes you joyful (in the Lord) knowing that you are not alone. That was why Jesus, when facing crucifixion and abandonment could say to his disciples:
“…You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.”
(John:16:32, New International Version)
The joy of the Lord Jesus (at that time) was that, God was with him. Why not follow in the footsteps of Jesus or Paul and let the joy of the Lord be your strength. I leave you with the song 'Another in the fire', reminding us that we are never really alone when God is with us.
Stay blessed and keep on going!
A recent stroll down the West End gave me a glimpse into the life of a modern missionary. Whilst walking, I heard a resounding voice echoing through the streets. It turned out to be the passionate voice of a Christian missionary preaching the gospel.
Whilst I won't attempt to quote the actual phrase she used, something caught my attention from the scene her presence created. In fact, the moment she mentioned the name 'JESUS' the atmosphere turned hostile. From getting bewildered glares, to people blatantly pointing in her direction, to resentful comments being made about her, she got the whole works. I mean if looks could kill, that missionary would not be standing!
As the scene unfolded before our eyes, my companion and I, observed the scene. The missionary explained she was from India. Meaning that she travelled all the way from India to preach the gospel to a lost world in the West. A world which used to have Christ as it's foundation, but is now so far removed from it's Christian roots that they resented her presence. Or the 'Christ' she came to represent.
Standing next to her was a man of alternative faith, who was also sharing his faith by approaching people on the streets. He didn't receive the same hostility they dished out to her, yet he mockingly shrugged her off, smiling mischievously at her. As if to say, he was winning but she was losing. It felt like watching a battlefield for the souls. The man proceeded with his task, by approaching people in the street and sharing his faith with them. Surprisingly, the faith he was professing was one of peace. But the actions he had displayed was one of discord.
Thing is, inspite of the hostility, the Missionary remained resolute in her deliverance of the gospel and I fully understand why. Because let's face it , all the negative reactions she experienced were nothing but distractions. Had she reacted to the hostility, the same people could have turned around and pointed an accusing finger at her for not being a genuine Christian. That's why it was a valuable waste of her time to respond. Her time was better spent winning souls for God's kingdom. Even when it looked like no one was listening, the point was that the gospel was being preached. And those who heard her preach the gospel can't say to God on the day of judgement that they never heard the gospel.
This reminded me of John Allen Chau's story. To find out more about him see link on John Allen Chau.
Though John' s case was slightly different to the incident I just narrated, their mission remained the same. That is, to share the gospel with all nations, not just with the selected few we deem appropriate to share it with. This was what Jesus commissioned his disciples to do. In the the book of Mark 16:15 after Jesus' resurrection, he recommissioned his disciples to:
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel
to every creature." Mark 16:15 (NKJV)
He also spoke about what could happen whenever the gospel is preached. He said that some would hear the gospel and believe, whilst others would hear, but fail to believe what they have heard. Jesus already knew his disciples would face resistance to the gospel they preached and was preparing them for the resistance that was to come. That was why Jesus said in the book of Mark 16:16 that,
He who believes... will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. Mark 16:16, NKJV)
It was Jesus' way of reminding his disciples that their mission, however difficult, was to save lives by preaching the gospel. Lives that would go on to live eternally with God. But to those who heard the gospel, and refused to believe it, the result would be eternal damnation. Meaning they would be eternally seperated from God.
Is it any wonder that Christian missionaries would go to the ends of the earth to share the gospel? Because it's the love they have for God and others that propels them to share the gospel, as they don't want anyone to face eternal damnation.
So, however challenging the resistance, a true missionary for Christ keeps their eyes focused on eternity and for that, they will give their all to save lost souls. I pray the Lord will keep raising faithful misssionaries like those mentioned above, to win souls for his kingdom against all odds. And to help those who lack the courage to share the gospel, the grace to stand up and be counted for Christ.
Here are some encouraging words for my fellow believers in Christ:
You don't have to be a missionary to share the gospel of Christ with others. The bible says in Romans 12:6-8 that,
'We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us (by God). If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
(Romans 12:6-8, NIV)
As mentioned earlier, when I narrated the story of the Christian missionary from india, I stood in the background and observed what was happening. Though, we weren't called to minister to people in the streets, my companion and I still had some God-given gifts we could share with her. So, we said a prayer for her and left her some encouraging words before we departed.
Why did I mention this? It's because, as followers of Christ, there is always something we can do to support the furtherance of the gospel however little.
Truth is, to echo the words of the song 'When I Pray' by Christian artist 'Doe',
" I don't always know what to say...I'm not very eloquent in speech...all I know is something happens when I pray".
And that was all I and my companion did. We said a simple prayer for the missionary and gave what we had, eventhough it wasn't much. And any fellow believer can do the same. All you need to do, is to use whatever you have at your disposal to help others and leave the rest in God's capable hands.
Reading about the death of John Allen Chau, a young Christian missionary got me thinking. He reportedly died whilst preaching the gospel to a remote tribe off the Indian coast. He was only 26. Seeing negative, insensitive remarks made about him struck a deep chord within me. Some questioned why he went to such a remote place and should have left the inhabitants alone in peace.
For a disciple on a mission for Christ, visiting remote places and telling them about the gospel is part of the great commission. To quote the words of Jesus in the book of Mark 16:15, he told his disciples to:
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."
(Mark 16:15, NKJV)
Jesus never said to preach the gospel to a selected few, he instructed them to preach to all nations. And all nations, includes all the remote places in the world. Going by the instruction Jesus gave his disciples, I am of the mindset that this young man's death was not in vain.
From the journal entry he made before his demise, it appeared the young man wanted nothing more than to live. Instead, he chose to follow the strong conviction he had in his heart to preach the gospel.
An article in The Guardian for 22nd November 2018, shared an excerpt from his journal where he engaged in a heart felt conversation with God concerning his mission. He told God:
“If you want me to get ... shot or even killed with an arrow, then so be it, I think I could be more useful alive though. “I don’t want to die. Would it be wiser to leave and let someone else continue? No. I don’t think so. I still could make it back to the US somehow, as it almost seems like certain death to stay here.”
Then he went on to say that he, “ …felt some fear but... was disappointed.” Because, they didn’t accept him right away.
Despite the fears and the disappointment he experienced, he didn't give up. He kept a log of events in his journal, which tells me his decision to embark on the mission wasn't a rash one. I came to this conclusion as a result of the notes he made in his journal.
In one of his journal entries he noted that his Bible was struck by an arrow fired by a child. This incident reminded me of the story of Stephen. When he was being stoned to death for preaching the gospel. There was a young man called Saul who was part of the instigators of Stephen’s death. Saul had persecuted the church, but later became someone who won souls for Christ.
What I find puzzling in John's case is that, the arrow could have landed on any part of his body, but it caught his Bible instead. Could it be that the child was fascinated by the Bible John was carrying or was it just a coincidence? I would never know, but it just seems interesting that John thought to record that incident in his journal. We may never know how John died, (or know if he survived, as his body hasn't been recovered), but I don’t think for a second that his mission was in vain.
The second thing that gave me the conviction that John's mission was not in vain, was in the departure letter he wrote to his loved ones. According to the guardian, he wrote them a letter saying:
“This is not a pointless thing. The eternal lives of this tribe is at hand and I can’t wait to see them around the throne of God worshipping in their own language, as Revelations 7:9-10 states.”
And he signed off with the phrase: “Soli deo gloria” (glory to God alone).
Clearly, this young man only wanted to share the gospel of Christ by taking it to the ends of the earth. Isn’t that what Jesus instructed his disciples to do? More importantly, it appears that he did it in obedience to God. Why would I say this? Because the clue was in his journal entry, when he told God that he didn’t want to die. He said this:
“If you want me to get ... shot or even killed with an arrow, then so be it, I think I could be more useful alive though. “I don’t want to die.”
But despite his reservations, he chose to continue with his mission, knowing that it could lead to death.
The third thing that makes me feel strongly that John’s mission was by no means pointless, was that his mission was reminiscent of those believers who came before him. Though John’s mission was different to that of Stephen’s, there is a similar thread running through the two events. That is, they both interceded on behalf of their perpetrators, so that their perpetrators were not held accountable for their actions. Stephen pleaded to God on behalf of the people who stoned him to death and John pleaded to his loved ones on behalf of his killers.
It was stephen’s prayers that set the foundation for Saul’s conversion and I strongly feel that John’s plea have planted seeds that would one day flourish into bouyant plants for God’s Kingdom. Because in his final letter to his loved ones, he said this,
“Please do not be angry at them or at God if I get killed. Rather, please live your lives in obedience to whatever he has called you to and I’ll see you again when you pass through the veil.”
Though, we may never get to fully understand the reason why John made the trip to that remote island to preach the gospel, something tells me the foundation John laid would eventually bear fruit for God’s Kingdom. I also believe that the mission he started would one day bring “Soli deo gloria” that is, glory to God alone.
The full guardian article can be seen here: John Allen Chau guardian article
If this post resonates with you, the post 'Hats off to Christian Missionaries' could also give you something to think about.
I'm Kemi West. Also known as the Postman. A simple Christian, learning to live life, through the teachings of Jesus Christ according to the scriptures. I’m looking to share the gift of Christ with others.