Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Best And Most Precious Gift Ever

Christmas as we celebrate today is gift-giving and gift-receiving. Why do we give gifts during Christmas season?

About seven hundred years before Jesus Christ was born, the Prophet Isaiah prophesied, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given and the government will be on his shoulders, and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever” (Isa. 9:6-7 NIV). Obviously and without any shadow of doubt, the Prince of all prophets is referring to the Lord Jesus Christ.

By Christian tradition, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, was born on CHRIST-mas day, December 25.

Since then, we celebrate yearly the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ on December 25, the day God the Father “gave us His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish but shall have ETERNAL LIFE” (John 3:16).

On this day, mankind received from God the best of the best gift of all time, which is ETERNAL LIFE through faith in His ONLY begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

This best and most precious gift of all is available to all who believes, repents of their sins and who accepts the gift by faith. This kind of faith is defined in Hebrews 11:1 which says, “NOW faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (NIV). In the King James version which is the nearest translation to the Greek original in which the New Testament was originally written, this is how it reads: “NOW faith is the substance of things hope for, the evidence of things not seen” (KJV). The significant words are NOW, present tense, not later in the future. SUBSTANCE and EVIDENCE of things not visible to the human eye, or are still being hoped for (future) but the believer is already sure and very certain of what he does not yet see with his naked eyes. Men usually have this expression, “to see is to believe”. Man says that he has to see, touch feel or read it so he will believe. God says, “believe and you will see” (with your spiritual eyes). In the courts of law, evidence must be something we can see, touch, feel, smell and read, so it shall be competent as evidence. In the spiritual realm, it is the reverse. We do not see ETERNAL LIFE as a gift from God, it is only a promise; we are yet hoping but we are already sure and certain that it is true or it shall happen or it already exists.

To the normal ordinary person, Christmas is a season of giving and receiving gifts that are material or physical or something we can see with our naked eyes, or touch with our hands, or we can smell, but these gifts are but temporary and they will soon pass away.
But the gift of God to the believers which is ETERNAL LIFE is spiritual, through faith in His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. This gift is available to everybody who will accept and receive His only begotten Son by faith as his only LORD and SAVIOR. Blessed is the one who repents and receives the Lord Jesus Christ as his only LORD and Savior for he will resurrect and have ETERNAL LIFE just like the LORD JESUS CHRIST.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Blessings of Riches

The Bible tells us, “He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand; but the hand of the diligent maketh rich” (Prov. 10:4 KJV).

Everybody wants to be rich or wealthy, and no one wants to be poor. The wealthy people could enjoy life. They eat the food that they like; they live in comfortable homes with all the amenities of life one can desire and imagine; they wear expensive clothes appropriate for any occasion, and they change clothes as often as they desire; their shoes are all imported and are the best in materials in the West or Europe; and they have more than a dozen to choose to blend with the color of their shoes to their pants/dresses; their apparels or dresses are all imported and the most expensive from U.S.A or Europe; they have watches of the best and expensive brands like Rolex, and they have two or more; they have diamond rings and gold bracelets; their physical appearance denotes their maintenance of expensive beauty products and they smell the fragrance of expensive perfumes from Paris; they own palatial homes with expensive building materials with servants quarters; all the materials used in their home and their utensils are all imported from the West or from Europe; their homes are worth multi-million. Their cars are top of the line, and they have an income like water flowing from the spring. In short, they enjoy a comfortable life. To have all these comforts in life, one has to be a multi-millionaire. Indeed, this is the life style we normally call “rich” or “wealthy”. This is what we call material or physical riches.

There is another kind of riches we call spiritual riches. Thus, the Lord Jesus Christ related the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31 (NIV). This is the story.

19“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ 25“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ 27“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ 29“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ 30“‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ 31“He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

The conclusion of the story is that it is better to be poor physically and materially but rich spiritually like Lazarus and be in heaven (in Abraham’s side) rather than extremely rich materially but in the life beyond this world, will be in hell. The wisest man who ever lived prayed, “Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread” (Prov. 30:8). But even this daily bread is difficult to achieve without God’s providence.

There is nothing wrong in being rich. This is a gift of God. In fact, Abraham of the Old Testament “was very rich in cattle, in silver and in gold” (Gen. 13:2); King David was rich, his son-successor King Solomon was the richest man that ever lived that no one is richer or wiser than him before and after him (1 Kings 3:12 and 1 Kings 4:29-30), and so many other Bible characters, but Jesus warns us, “It is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Matt. 19:23) and Solomon also warns us, “Do not wear yourself out to get rich”, (Prov. 23:4). He further said, “Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread” (Prov. 30:8, NIV). This treats of physical and material riches.

The Bible tells us, “You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth” (Deut. 8:18).

Wealth”, of course, is not just material things. Everything we have is from God especially our human life. Our Lord Jesus told His disciples, “I have come that you may have life; and that you may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Thus, it is the will of God that we will prosper not only materially or physically but also spiritually, so it will not be hard to enter the kingdom of God (3 John 2).

How do we prosper materially, physically and spiritually? By doing our secular as well as spiritual activities with ALL DILIGENCE. This is no easy way, but there is no other way. A true believer of God/Jesus Christ who is God in the flesh, is a diligent person, not a slothful or lazy one. Diligence is simply defined as “a persistent and hard-working effort in doing something with excellence”. To be blessed with riches both physical, material and spiritual, we have to be DILIGENT.