The Christmas carols, the Christmas tree, the streets lights and of course, the shops full of all things Christmas are here with us again. But wait a minute, where is the babe? Does the Bethlehem native story still ring true? Before you forget or indulge in the routine and rituals of Christmas….REMEMBER: CHRISTMAS IS YOUR SALVATION STORY. Keep your hearts warm as you wait to celebrate!!!!
1 John 3:16 This is how we know what LOVE is: JESUS LAID DOWN HIS LIFE FOR US. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
There is a Polish saying that says, “HURRY UP TO LOVE PEOPLE, BECAUSE THEY QUICKLY DEPART!”
Why love matrix? You may ask. Matrix has its roots from the Latin word…Mater which means womb or mother. Among other meanings…Matrix can be defined as;a substance, situation or environment in which something has its origin, takes form, or is enclosed. As human beings, we all take form in our mother’s womb…that is our enclosed matrix. Without a womb, it is impossible for a human child to develop into a full human baby. Of course, while it is possible to impregnant the human embryo outside the mother’s womb…with time without the proper environment for it take form into maturity, there will be a certain termination. We all are grateful for our earthly mothers, who provided us with the proper environment i.e their wombs where we took form and after nine months became independent from that enclosure.
And that too also applies in our Christian lives. You see, before we got born again…God gave us His Son, Jesus Christ who laid down his life for us. In essense, he is OUR LOVE MATRIX. Before we knew him, God placed us in the right environment…and brought our way the right people who taught us the word of God and slowly, it began taking form in our hearts. Before we knew it, we were gloriously saved. And after we got born again…the love matrix begins all over again. God calls us to laid down our lives for the next generation…for the babies who are yet to be born of God.
As a Christian, do you feel it is your responsibility to laid down your life for your brothers? Does love compel you to do something for the body of Christ? HURRY UP, my brother and sister, there are people waiting to be loved and enclosed in the LOVE MATRIX.
Genesis 37:19-20 “Here comes that DREAMER!” they said to each other. “Come let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his DREAMS.”
No matter what stage or point we are in life, we all have dreams. Dreams may or may not come true. Dreams may be things which we would love to have or do which are still out of reach. Dreams may also happen in our sleep beyond our human control and ability to choose whether to experience them or not.
But dreams, like many other things are also means in which God can use to convey a message for the unforeseen future.
And so, it was in the case of Joseph. By then, he was just a teenage, loved by his father, Jacob and hated by his brothers. Then one day, he had a dream which he quickly shared with his brothers. When they heard about his dream…they HATED him even the more. Of course, the matter might have ended there, was it not for his second dream. By now, they could not stand him and Jacob, his father rebuked him but kept the matter in mind. You see, Joseph wasn’t the initiator of his dreams in the first place…and in a sense, he wasn’t looking out for interpretation or their accomplishment. In any case, he was still innocence for that. But God had a plan.
Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt and landed at Potiphar’s house. Before long, he was accused of sexual assault and landed into prison. If Joseph wondered what would become of his dreams, we are not told. However, we are told of someone else’s dreams: the cup-bearer and the baker. These two men landed in prison where Joseph was and he, by God’s help interpreted their dreams; one died, and the other…the cup-bearer returned to Pharaoh’s service. Two years later, Pharaoh too had his dreams and Joseph was called out to interpret them. Before he knew it….HIS DREAM was beginning to be accomplished.
Has God given you a dream? Do people look at you and think like Joseph, “Heh, here comes the dreamer!'” Take courage. One thing though is for sure…when God give you a dream…he will also make someone else like you to dream. In order for your dream to be accomplished, God will cause you to run to help someone else accomplish their dreams first. Joseph sowed into the dreams of the cup-bearer and Pharaoh without know that in the real sense, he was sowing into his own dream…and the returns were more than he could have ever dreamed in daylight:a Prime minister, nations saved and above all, reconciliation with his own family.
My friend…if God has given you a DREAM…don’t settle for less nor let obstacles stop you. THERE ARE MANY DREAMERS OUT THERE WAITING ON YOU!
Romans 1:16 I am not ashamed of the GOSPEL, because it is the power of the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
The question goes out to you…Are you are a Christian? What really makes a Christian know they are a CHRISTIAN in the first place? With so much happening around the Christian world, how are you, as the child of God able to identify the voice of the Good Shepherd among the many strange voices? Much is being said…and much will continue being said but the truth is, JESUS is the SAME, YESTERDAY, TODAY and FOREVER….In other words, there is not an ANCIENT JESUS, A MODERN JESUS or POST-MODERN JESUS for that matter. If the world calls themselves post-modern or whatever else they want…YOU REMEMBER this: You are a Christian because of WHO you Believe and not where or which times you are in.
Do you believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ? Do you believe he died to set you free from sin and condemnation? Do you believe that Jesus is the one and only Son of God? Do you believe, after his resurrection, he went to heaven to prepare a place for you and me? Do you believe that he left us the Holy Spirit…to guide us into all TRUTH? If your answer is YES…then you are a CHRISTIAN, saved only by grace through faith in HIM and that is a gift of God.
I Corinthians 2:12 We have not received the spirit of the world but the SPIRIT whom is from God, that we may understand what GOD HAS FREELY GIVEN US. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the SPIRIT, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.
Therefore….my dear brethren…be warned and be alert; there are many wolves out there!
Luke 2:36-38 There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and SPOKE about the CHILD to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
We all love the CHRISTMAS STORY in Luke chapter 2. Inevitably, in a couple of weeks, as Christians, we will be reminded of the birth of our Saviour…the baby Jesus. However, in the crafting of the Christmas story in Luke 2…we also meet two very outstanding personalities; SIMEON, a righteous and devout man who was waiting for the consolation of Israel and the Holy Spirit had revealed that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s CHRIST. Then, there is ANNA, a PROPHETESS. But her story seems to read differently than Simeon’s. In a very strange but brief way, HER BIOGRAPHY is summarized in a few sentences…i.e her family, her tribe, her marriage, widowhood and her prophetic ministry. For someone who spend decades on her kneels before the Lord, it might then seem ridicules for such a hero to receive no or very little attention.
But that is the whole point! You see, in the world we live in, even in the Christian world…people or leaders are recognized for their outstanding life-long achievements. We honor men and women of God who have given up much so as to serve in the Kingdom of God. And while it is rightful to do so, most of the time, great ministries and men and women of God are birthed through the prophetic office, and yet, it is rare to hear or see the prophet/prophetess being honored. And here is the reason why.
The prophetess/prophet usually lives their lives like most of us…having a normal eight to five job, married, have kids and deals with the issues of life on a daily basis. Yet, in spite of these, the prophetess is a WORSHIPPER! She has a life behind the closet…A PRAYER LIFE. Nations, people, ministries etc are birthed behind closed doors…and when the time come for them to stand out for all to see….like Anna, the prophetess come out to give thanks and SPEAK THE WORD as the Lord’s mouthpiece.
Are you a prophetess? Do not seek to stand out to be counted. Are you weary of seeing your prayers taking long to be answered? REMEMBER ANNA and be encouraged! Someone once said, “THERE ARE NO WASTE BINS IN HEAVEN!”
Psalm 50:22-23 “Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with no rescue: He who sacrifices THANK-OFFERINGS honors Me, and he prepares THE WAY so that I may show him the SALVATION OF GOD.”
Today in the US is THANKSGIVING DAY. Family and friends meet over the dinner table to share a turkey dinner and offer thanksgiving for the past year. Of course, not all of us live in the US, but most of us if not all have the opportunity to meet with our family and friends over different occasions from time to time. However beyond a day that is earmarked as a day for giving thanks, each day is in fact ideal for us to give thanks. Nature teaches us to give thanks after we have received or when times are good. However, there is another kind of THANKSGIVING that pleases God more: A SACRIFICIAL THANKSGIVING.
It is easy for you and me to give thanks when we are on the receiving end….but sacrificial thanksgiving is much harder because it means we are surrendering something valuable to us without any guarantees of gain. Sacrificial thanksgiving says… I did not get the dream job I longed for, but thank you Lord that all my needs are met. My health is poor, but thank you Lord for the years I have enjoyed good health. It feels lonely after the death of a loved one, but thank you Lord for the memories of times spent together. And the list is endless.
You see, sacrificial thanksgiving does much more than bring a smile on God’s face…if anything it prepares a staircase for Him to show up at your DOORSTEP. When God shows up at your doorstep, HE BRINGS WITH HIM, SALVATION. Have you prepared the way for HIM? If Jonah did sacrifice while enclosed inside the fish stomach, then you and I are well able to do the same.
Jonah 2: 9-10 BUT I, WITH A SONG OF THANKSGIVING, WILL SACRIFICE TO YOU. WHAT I HAVE VOWED I WILL MAKE GOD. SALVATION COMES FROM THE LORD. And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto the dry Land.
Ecclesiastes 7:14 When TIMES are good, be happy; but when TIMES are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.
We all know the old saying, “TIME IS MONEY.” But I have made my own observation; MONEY, TIME and MEN are three inseparable things. At least, I am learning firsthand from the one God has given me: My own husband. You see, for him, he calculates his success…i.e time invested in a task by the returns. One day, he comes home with that sense of pride that today his time was well worth it…of course, plenty of clients and cash flow. Another, his man ego almost crashed…the clients are few and the boss is nervous.
You see, until a year or so ago, TIMES were good. People went about living their lives as normal. Going to work, buying homes or flats on mortgage, going for exotic holidays and of course, saving for the ‘rainy day.’ Then, bang!…Without warning…the world financial institutions began crumbling down. People from right, left and center began losing their jobs, homes and health. For men, especially whose time means money, staying at home or taking on a less-attractive job can be quite a painful experience.
But wait a minute…the above scriptures talks about GOOD TIMES and BAD TIMES. Yes, its a fact we are now living in difficult financial times. In bad times, we are told to CONSIDER...that is to stop and rethink and re-evaluate our priorities. There are things which time cannot translate into money. For example, we bought a bicycle for our daughter last Spring. Of course, my husband and I took turns and invented time to teach her how to ride. Our time did not translate into money, but rather into a deeper pleasure which no money can buy.
And this same challenge goes to the MEN out there:
How can you invest your time well during these times as you wait for an opening? There are plenty of institutions looking for volunteers e.g nursing homes, hospices, your Church community etc. TIME doesn’t always have to spell money. TIME SHOULD ALWAYS TRANSLATE INTO PEOPLE, first and foremost…in GOOD OR BAD TIMES!