Brother Haji!

For those of you who follow this blog you will remember Haji’s story as I recounted it in “The Holy Spirit: Worthy Is He – Part 1”. I am sorry to inform you that yesterday Haji passed away. We buried him today.

Recently, my wife had intimated to me that as she was tending to Haji’s cancerous wound a few days back, she had seen what appeared to be a part of his brain sticking out! I shuddered throughout the day at the thought.

Haji came from a Muslim background. When my wife began attending his wound sometime early this year, though, she began talking to him about the hope of salvation that is in Christ Jesus and the power of Christ to heal. Miraculously, one day, Haji believed and gave his life to Christ. That was when my wife introduced him to the church. Henceforth many brothers and sisters carried Haji in their hearts. The entire church was deeply involved in praying for Haji.

As time passed Haji grew weak and was unable to come to the hospital where my wife works and where she had always attended him. My wife was therefore compelled to attend him at his home. Apart from his immediate family, Haji also lived with some of his relatives, including a doting, younger sister. Many of his relations who live within the city would often come to see him.

I had accompanied my wife on many of her regular visits to Haji’s home. Of all the people who dealt with Haji, his wife was the only other person who could look into his wound without fear. Whenever Flo was attending him everyone, including visitors, would be asked to leave the room. We would then lock the door before Flo proceeded to un-bandage Haji’s wound. Haji’s wife, Mama Zu (short for Zuhura, their youngest daughter) would sit on the sofa and watch intently or she would assist Flo in her proceedings. I, on the other hand, would sit in the farthest corner possible and, from that safe spot, would provide spiritual sustenance! Loh!

With time Haji grew to be more than a brother to us: he became a friend. He always called me ‘brother-in-law’ and we held many wonderful (albeit brief) conversations.  I cannot think of any other company that I have enjoyed in recent times as much as I did Haji’s. Just sitting there and talking to him about salvation and seeing him respond was a tremendous feeling. Sometimes, we would simply sit and not say anything, feeling contented just being with him! Probably the angels were busy preparing a place for him in heaven. Flo and I had agreed that whenever we visited him we would always make sure to keep his confession alive.

Surprisingly, Haji’s relatives, who are all Muslims, never attempted to prevent us from telling him the Good News. They would sit there quietly and listen in as we talked to Haji. Then they would join us in prayer and respond with loud “Amens!” We used this opportunity to talk to them also about salvation. Although none has yet responded to Christ’s love, yet we have gained a place in their hearts and they, too, have found a place in our hearts.

Naturally, there have been challenges in our love affair with the Haji family. They are a well-to-do family and some of the most conservative of his relatives attempted to use their clout to prevent Flo – a Christian – from attending Haji at home. When Haji heard of it he told them he would accept no other nurse apart from “Sister Flora”, as he referred to her. Haji had clout of his own! The wave of resistance rolled back but, more importantly, these same relatives increasingly opened their hearts to our presence.

One day, Haji’s wife told Flo about something Haji had said during one of their conversations. He had told her, “I dreamed that if I go to church I will be healed”. When my wife and I heard this we were both encouraged to see that God truly had a purpose with this man. Moreover, in all our conversations with Haji, there had never been an indication that he had reverted back to his Muslim faith.

The day before Haji died I went to see him. We sat there talking – me, his wife, mother and sister – as he lay snoring in a deep sleep. I left without having spoken a word with him. I did not know I was seeing him for the last time.

I would not want to romanticize Haji’s story. But it is my firm belief that (mainly due to God’s faithfulness and mercy) Haji went safely to heaven.

Today at the burial, there were only a handful of Christian men in attendance (women do not attend Muslim burials). Nearly everyone was dressed in Muslim garb and the whole process was steeped in deep, conservative Muslim ritual. As I observed the proceedings, I could not help wondering how far removed things were in the spirit from what was taking place here in the natural. I stood well back in the crowd and pondered the thought that these men were burying someone they probably had no connection with in the spirit.

Haji has passed on. A brother from our church sent me a text message saying, “Haji died a hero’s death.” I believe that with all my heart.

A Pleasant Surprise

During my recent visit to Kenya the Lord gave me a pleasant surprise. This is a story about George, the surprise.

Back in the 80s George and I were high school buddies, although we attended different schools. In fact, we met when George wanted some help in a certain subject and someone directed him to me. From the moment George and I met, we became inseparable. He was one of the most accommodating guys I had ever had the fortune to hook up with.

George was also a very handsome fellow and in 1987, after we finished high school, he applied and was automatically taken on as an air steward with Kenya Airways. From then on we would meet from time to time; but it was an encounter that took place three years later that really branded itself firmly on my mind. George had had an accident and was admitted in a private hospital in a Nairobi suburb. By then I was saved. On receiving news of his ill fate I visited him at the hospital. It was our first encounter since my salvation and I remember as I entered his room I had only one agenda: to tell him the Good News. We sat there, just the two of us, and I talked to him in clear terms about his soul and the redemption that was available to him.

George listened patiently but in the end he declined my invitation to get saved. I left not a little discouraged. But I never stopped thinking about him and he always had a comfortable place in my prayers.

I moved back to Tanzania in 1993 and in those days when telecommunication was a pre-historic affair George and I quickly lost contact with one another.

Twenty years later, in May of this year, George and I met again in Nairobi as I was travelling to Mauritius. We had re-connected through Facebook! It was a beautiful, grand re-union. Nothing had changed between us. Our friendship had weathered the test of time and we found we still yearned after each other like in the old days.

George took me and a friend out for lunch. I was fascinated by his choice of restaurant because right across the street was a hotel where, many years back, in one of its bars, the Lord had confronted me at 3 a.m. one night and set off my journey to salvation. I told George and my friend this interesting piece of news and we silently appreciated the coincidence – and the meal – together.

Ultimately, I asked George whether he had given his life to Christ yet.

“Er, no, although there is a church that I attend”, was his reply.

I told him that no amount of church attendance would atone for his sins; that he needed to make an unequivocal commitment to Christ as the Bible says in Romans 10:10: “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

I told him, “George, I cannot rest in my spirit until you give your life to Christ.” He laughed at my seriousness but, unknown to him, i loved him dearly and I could not contemplate the thought of him ending up in hell.

While I was in Mauritius he would write often. That helped keep me in remembrance of him in my prayers. When I arrived back in Nairobi two months later George was on hand to welcome me and we set a date for me to visit him at his house.

In August I traveled to Nairobi again. George came to pick me in his car. As he drove I looked across at him and there was this strange feeling inside of me. I said to him, “George, I have this deep love for you, almost the kind you feel for a woman.”

He turned and looked at me and said, “Same here Zack! And that has been always.” It was an incredible moment. Still, in my heart I was unsettled because I knew that as long as he was unsaved there would always be a note of discord between us.

We arrived at his big bungalow in one of the upper-class suburbs and his lovely wife and two kids were on hand to welcome me. In the course of our conversation, I was surprised to learn that George’s wife was also saved. Then she said, “Even he got saved a month ago.” I thought she meant her son, but then she had indicated George!

I could see a big smile begin to brighten George’s handsome face as he sat back in his seat and said in his usual patient manner, “I wanted to tell you on the way here, Zack, but I decided to surprise you!”

Well, surprised I truly was – and pleasantly so! George said, “Ever since I received Jesus into my heart I have felt this big, unexplainable change in my heart. I feel peace, joy…”

I knew what he meant. God was confirming His work in his heart.

We spent the better part of the afternoon looking into God’s Word as George hungrily devoured every word that I had to say.

Much later, I would reflect on God’s faithfulness. When we pray God hears and answers prayer. George’s wife had intimated to me that many people had been praying for George’s salvation. For me, George’s story is one of a happy ending. My prayer to the Lord is that He may grant that it remains so till the very end.

The Foundation of our Faith – the Pauline Doctrine (Pt. 5)

This post is very long, but I encourage you to read it to the very end… I am sure it will prove helpful.

The Apostle Peter says about Paul that in his epistles Paul talked about the same things that he himself had written about but he concludes by saying that in Paul’s epistles there were some things hard to be understood…” (2 Peter 3:16). If Peter could say that, then I also can safely admit that there are many things that I don’t understand in Paul’s letters. What is clear from Apostle Paul’s letters, however, is that he desires for every believer to arrive at the place of full and perfect knowledge of the Risen Christ – in other words, what was accomplished at the Cross – and to walk in that power of resurrection, the power that raised Christ from the dead. That should be the desire of each one of us.

In concluding this topic about the revelation or gospel that the Apostle Paul received, let me reiterate my contention that all the Apostles saw a revelation of the Risen Christ, but that the Apostle Paul received a vastly ‘superior’ revelation of Jesus than the rest. In other words, he understood what Christ did on the Cross more than the rest. (I am sure by now we all realize that we are not talking about a vision of Jesus – here we are way, way deeper than that!)

Romans chapters 9 through 11 makes us to begin to understand the special “wisdom” given to Paul. In talking about the Israelites in relation to the gospel he says that “blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” (Rom. 11:25)

The Jews were God’s special people and will always be, because the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. They are God’s chosen people, Israelites;  to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;  Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever.  Amen.” (Rom. 9:4-5)

This scripture is very important in appreciating the special place that the Israelites have in God’s eyes. Note the Godly things that they have been guardians of through the ages. The Israelis are an incredibly special people. But we are not talking of that now.

What is important is that the ‘blindness’ that has now come upon them was prophesied long ago. We do not have time to look into these prophecies now but we can look into the reason for this blindness.

This blindness occurred because God wanted to do something that, out of the goodness of His heart, He had planned on doing since before Time began: to bring eternal salvation to all mankind.

Firstly, God had a score to settle with sin or the Devil, or whoever; I am not very sure here. What is clear is that sin had entered the world, and God had to do something about it. Unfortunately, His beloved people the Israelites happened to be sinners just like everybody else. (“All have sinned” – Rom. 5:12). That put the Israelites in God’s line of fire. Too bad.

Secondly, it is true that He had used the Israelites as His pack horse through the ages, as we have seen in Romans 9, and He would surely reward them; but the Good News of salvation was for everyone. In other words, the Israelites were God’s elect people in one sense, and in another they were not. Salvation was meant for everyone. There was no compromise there. Why?

“Is he the God of the Jews only?  is he not also of the Gentiles?  Yes, of the Gentiles also.”

“And so blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” In other words, God would not allow Jerusalem’s eyes to be opened until every Gentile in the world had heard the gospel. God put the Israelites to sleep until He had finished showing all His goodness to the Gentiles. Probably He feared they would throw a tantrum if they realized He was about to share their “cake” with strangers. Whatever the case, He put them to sleep nonetheless. That word there, “part”, however, indicates that not all Israel was been blinded; some were allowed to see, chief of whom was Paul the Apostle.

(As you can see from his doctrine and lifestyle, when Paul ‘saw’ he did not turn selfish. On the contrary, he gave his life as the Lord also had given His. This is crucial to our understanding of the Pauline doctrine).

God also wanted the Jews to know that they were sinners just like everybody else. You see, man has a will, and the will of sinful man is enmity against God. If man’s will was in line with God’s will, God would have no trouble with us. But we have a rebellious will. God wanted them to know that the only way He could have a truly satisfactory relationship with man was for man to put off his (rebellious) will and to put on God’s will. This was exemplified in the Bible by Christ’s obedience.

Our understanding of the need for the Cross is certainly getting clearer here.

But probably the most important fact in all this was that God wanted to stamp His sovereignty over all Creation. As we just said, man also has his will. God wanted everyone, particularly the Jews, to know that He is a Sovereign God. If any man wanted to partake of His nature, he would have to let go his will and submit to God’s rule.

To give an illustration of God’s sovereignty: One day, someone called Job, whom the Bible itself attested to as being perfect and upright was put through some suffering by God, and in his anguish he contested with God why He would let an upright man like him to suffer. God told him, “You cannot question me. I am God. I do as I please.”

Job was stunned! This perfect and upright man realized he had never really known God. He said, I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear:  but now mine eye seeth thee.   Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:5-6! In his perfectness, Job grovelled before God! What a challenge to us! Surely, we could not compare ourselves with Job! How much more should we humble and cry out to God for mercy!

May God have mercy on the Jews, but may He have even more mercy on us believers. I believe that of all the confused and blind and ungrateful people in the world today it is we Christian believers whom God has graciously chosen and called into His Kingdom. I really don’t care much who you think you are – and I am sure God doesn’t, either – but that is the truth, my friend. In spite of all the wonderful proclamations we make (“I love you, Jesus!”, etc.) and all the beautiful songs we sing, the things we do and the attitudes we have towards God and our fellow brethren and mankind in general (and even animals and everything else) accuse us of these things.

And this is all centered on the kind of heart that we have. All our negative attitudes and actions are the result of a rotten heart. The Bible calls it an uncircumcised heart.

And this is where Paul, or rather, the doctrine that he carried comes in. While the Jerusalem Team of elders were busy thinking about circumcising believers in the flesh, Paul was being taught about the circumcision of the heart!

We have a heart problem, and the Pauline doctrine is the solution to that problem. This was the revelation that Paul caught: how the power of the resurrection life of Christ in us would transform us and make us into the image of Jesus Christ; how it would break the power of sin over our lives; how it would give us the very heart of Christ; how it would enable us to walk in the perfection and fullness of the Godhead Himself… which is perfect, unselfish love.

That was why he preached Christ crucified, “the power of God”! There is power in the Cross, to not just save us in the elementary sense, but to bring a full realization of the Godhead in us, as Paul says in Colossians 2: “For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;  That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;  In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

In order for this resurrection life to manifest itself in our lives we will need to first take our cross and follow Jesus, just as Jesus Himself said in Matthew 16:24-25: “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.   For whosoever will save his life shall lose it:  and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” There is no other way to experience the resurrection life apart from partaking of the sufferings and death of Christ.

In other words, there are two kinds of lives: the physical, material life; and the spiritual life. If we want to gain the latter, we have to lose the former.

That was why Paul said he would only boast in the Cross of Christ, by which the world was crucified to him and he to the world (Galatians 6:14). He rejoiced in the work of grace that God would do in him as he partook of Christ’s sufferings. That was why he did not want to be set free of them. He says in 2 Corinthians 12:9: “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” He was talking about partaking of the sufferings. He wanted to be identified with Christ’s sufferings and death so he could partake also of the resurrection life.

It was a deep revelation indeed that the Apostle Paul received, and we can hardly compare it with much of today’s flippant, materialistic-oriented ‘gospels’. If any preacher mentions Paul today, it is hardly in the depth that he is revealed in the Bible.

Paul’s gospel reveals that there is far more to salvation than just saying the sinners’ prayer. Through experience I personally have also come to know that you cannot go far with this prayer or the initial experience of salvation. Much more needs to happen, and this is where the Apostolic doctrine of the revelation of the Cross of Christ comes in.

Instead of being merely (or largely) religious people, God purposed that through a revelation of the Cross in our hearts, and our identification with it, we would show forth to the world and to spiritual forces in the heavenlies the manifold grace of God, and that through the death of sinful flesh, we would shut the mouths of God’s enemies by living a holy, spiritually fulfilling and victorious life.

That has been God’s plan all along. He could have shut His enemies’ mouths any other way without our involvement, I am sure. But He loved us so much that He wanted to make us a part of that victory! What a grace, what an honor, what a privilege! And in order to involve us, He did what in our wildest dreams we could not have imagined – He sent His only begotten Son Jesus to die on the Cross for us. He then went a step further and chose us, and then gave us the grace to believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection. And finally He came to live in us by His Holy Spirit so that we could grow into mature sons and daughters in the Spirit by dying to the body of the flesh.

Imagine the grace that God has personally bestowed on us in all these things. It is He who chose us and caused us to believe! It is He who touched our hearts! And for us Gentiles, we who were so unworthy, He did us a double honor by rejecting His people Israel so He could accept us!

I don’t know about you, but I consider myself less than a dead dog in God’s eyes. The fact that He could shower me with such undeserved favor staggers me. I am awed beyond comprehension…

Dear brethren, do we realize our position? Do we comprehend the magnitude of the grace that has come upon us – that, more than simply dying for our sins, Christ has come to live in us in the fullness of His resurrection life?

Let us tremble and fear before this awesome God, and before His awesome plan, even as we rejoice with holy thanksgivings.

Today’s Christians are not known to be very fearful or even reverent towards God. Believe me, I have seen Christians – preachers and laymen alike – doing the most offensive and detestable things, in the Name of Jesus!

The Apostle Paul signs off with this warning: “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God:  on them which fell, severity;  but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness:  otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.” Rom. 11:22

Let us fear God, and not take God lightly. But, beyond warning us against these church antics that go on today, for the truly serious Christian this is a warning to not ignore the Pauline revelation. If we fail to enter into the fullness of the knowledge of Christ, and to show forth that fruit of transformation in our lives, we have renounced the Apostolic doctrine that was revealed to Paul, and our Christianity is, quite simply, ‘another gospel’. And yet… the New Testament gospel we are called to live is the gospel that the Apostle Paul carried and preached.

The Magnificence of God’s Grace

“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to everlasting life.” 1 Timothy 1:15-16

My favorite animated movie is Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”. A once-spoilt, selfish prince was turned into a hideous beast by an enchantress after turning her away from his castle, and only if a beautiful damsel were found to love him would he be set free from this curse. But who could possibly ever love this ugly Beast, and undo the sad fate that had befallen the once-proud prince? The odds seemed irrevocably stacked against him, and he resigned himself into inconsolable despair… until Belle came along.

The real-life version of this fantasy, more than any, is the story of Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul. As sinners go Paul, once known as Saul, was the worst of them all. Not so much because of what he did, but because of who he did it to. He mercilessly persecuted God’s people, and in the process became God’s foremost enemy. There is no greater sin in the world than to hurt someone for whom Christ’s blood was shed on the Cross. Jesus Himself said it were a far bearable punishment for such a person if a milling stone were tied around their neck and they were thrown into the ocean! Paul deserved the worst possible punishment.

And yet, again, it might well be that Paul received a far greater revelation of how gross his sin (any man’s sin) was before a holy God…. Whatever the case, Paul knew he deserved nothing but the worst form of judgement from God.

But God took this man, His most virulent opponent, and made him his closest ally in revealing the grand plan that His Son Jesus Christ had come to fulfill on earth for the salvation of mankind. Having freely forgiven him of his sins, God transformed him and invested in him all the wisdom of His revelation – Paul knew the Lord Jesus in a way the other apostles did not. God also used him to spread the Good News on a scale none of the others would.

But God would do even more through Paul…

God chose Paul for a very specific reason. By saving this ‘chief’ of sinners God purposed to show the abundance of His mercy to all who would believe on Him. Through the grace that He would bestow upon such a man in freely saving him and cleansing him of his sins, God wanted to make known that He is able and willing to do just that to anyone who comes to Him.

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together with Christ (by grace you are saved)… that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Eph. 2:4-7

When we think of the word ‘mercy’ we have the idea of this mushy, cuddly, loving, fatherly care and concern coming to us from God. And, indeed, that is the reception we get from Him right from the start. The minute we receive Jesus into our lives, God instantly sets us free from the power of sin, He heals our diseases, and does many other wonderful things to confirm to us that He is indeed our loving, caring Father.

More importantly, He gives us His Holy Spirit who brands this all-important truth onto our hearts.

Many Christians wish – and many more assume – that the story of our salvation should end there, and all we need to do is just hang around and await the rapture. And probably as we are waiting for Jesus to come and take us to Heaven, we could enjoy a bit of life here on earth as the King’s Kids?

In this kind of scenario, the most that we could expect God to bother us with as His sons and daughters would be for Him to assign us a simple task which we could happily fulfill while munching a hamburger. We might even be tempted to contemplate taking on a great responsibility like the one He was about to give Paul through Ananias: “For he a chosen vessel to me, to bear my Name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15), as long as no real suffering is involved. We could get noticed!

The above scenario might have become the happy ending to Paul’s encounter with Jesus were it not for the fateful words that Jesus added as He was giving Ananias instructions concerning Paul: “For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my Name’s sake” (Acts 9:16).

This, and Jesus’ many references to losing our lives painfully brings us to face the truth that the reality of our calling is not so simplistic. In the spiritual kingdom, you cannot have your cake and eat it. We cannot live for both the heavenly and this world.

Jesus’ words to Ananias henceforth shaped the character of Paul’s mission and ministry. Only through the suffering that God put him to would Paul become a vessel of honor to carry the life of Christ wherever he went. God made Paul to understand in his spirit that without the working of the Cross in his life, the life of Christ would not be manifested in him. As Paul allowed the hand of God to mold and shape him through the sufferings he endured, he was able to spread the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Christ – the Good News – throughout the entirety of his ministry.

It is no wonder, therefore, that his letters are replete with references to the Cross of Jesus Christ: but not in the traditional sense that the Cross is understood by many Christians today. The Cross that Paul talks of in his epistles is something beyond Jesus simply dying for our salvation. The revelation of that Cross in our hearts is the power that will bring death to the carnal nature residing in us. And when that carnal nature dies in us, we will bear fruit in the spirit and please God, no matter the nature or size of our ministry to Him. God is not so much interested in what we do as in what we become through the working of the Cross in our lives.

Dying with Jesus (by the power of the Cross) is what we need if we are to become true ambassadors of Christ here on earth. “For the preaching of the Cross… is the power of God” 1 Cor. 1:18.

“But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumblingblock, and to the Greeks foolishness; but to them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God” vv 23, 24.

It is interesting that, although the apostles did many and mighty miracles during their ministry here on earth, yet nowhere do we see them talking or writing about these things. They wanted to represent something spiritually far more superior, the inner transformation that only the revelation of the Cross can effect in a man. To them, this changed life represented the true power of the gospel.

The Apostle Paul worked miracles, yet he would not boast in that. Rather, he boasted in the grace that enabled him to identify his life with the life of Christ in His sufferings and death: “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.” Gal.6:14

Jesus was not simply a mighty man of signs and wonders. He was, in the final analysis, “the bread that came down from heaven.” He did miracles all right, but in Himself He carried something infinitely more important which He desired to give to mortal man: the very life and nature of God. He did that by dying on the Cross.

Man also would only be able to appropriate this new, Godly nature by dying to the old, carnal nature through the Cross. 

Miracles do not make us spiritual. Nor does material or physical well-being. The Cross, working in us, does. That is what God meant when he told Ananias: “For I will show him (Paul) how great things he must suffer for my Name’s sake.”

Many preachers who work miracles today will be rejected by Jesus at His return simply because they did not allow their lives to be touched and transformed by the mighty hand of God. They did not align their lives with the Cross of Jesus in the spiritual sense, where their lives, crushed by the Cross, would unveil the riches of Christ to a spiritually dying world. They did not allow the Cross to deal with their pride, the lusts of their flesh, their idolatry, etc. On the contrary, these preachers gloated in the miracles that God would do through them and they became proud, vain men. Their very lives would testify to that: “By their fruits you shall know them” Mat. 7:10

The power of God’s grace in the life of Paul is summarized in his own words to Timothy: “But you have fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions…” (1 Tim. 1:16). The power of the gospel brings this kind of lifestyle and fruit in a Christian’s life.

I am blessed to be a member of CTMI where the undiluted revelation of the message of the Cross, the power of God, is preached and lived, wherever this gospel has been proclaimed. Along with hundreds of other pastors in so many countries, I know that I am also a direct beneficiary of God’s powerful, magnificent, and matchless grace.

A Merry Christmas to all who visit this blog! May God’s grace warm your hearts during this holiday season.