Keren’s Birthday Photos

They say all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Well, this super-spiritual blog is about to turn into a veritable playground as I post some pics of my daughter Keren’s 18th birthday party (or, at least, a semblance of a party. But make no mistake, despite the minuteness of the event, everyone was extremely satisfied and at the end of it all that was what we thanked the Lord for!)

Coincidentally, her mother had arrived that same evening from a month-long visit to Mauritius. All things worked for good!!

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“Giving Thanks Always…”

Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. 1 Gen 3:21

Notice that God made and clothed Adam and Eve with the coats of skins after they had sinned against Him. What does this teach us? This teaches us that we live by God’s grace and by God’s grace alone. It is not because we deserve His love or that we are any good. No. But God in His great mercy and love “covers” us.

A brother once came to visit at my house and he remarked on how “well” we lived.

“My brother”, he said, “you eat so well, your children dress so well; and you are so contented!”

There were a great many things he did not know were lacking in that house; but I understood him well enough.

I said to him, “My brother, we live by the grace of God. If you were to ask me today how we manage to survive, I really don’t know. But I know that God in His great mercy and compassion provides for us, even to the extent that you see.”

Many of the born-again believers whom I know of are people whom the Lord brought from a very low state of life. Many were people who were way down in nearly every aspect of their lives. In fact, I can hardly think of any Christian whose life has not been changed for the better after committing their lives to Christ. The Lord not only called them into His eternal Kingdom with the promise of eternal life, but He also blessed them even in this earthly life. Their lives have been changed simply because the grace of God is upon them.

Consequently, the Word of God exhorts us to be a thankful people. We should be people who are continually thankful to God for His great mercy and provision towards us.

There is no place for complaining or grumbling in the life of a born-again believer. It displeases God greatly when a Christian complains or grumbles. Even when things are not going well for us, we still have more than enough reason to be thankful to God instead of complaining.

1 Thessalonians 5:18: “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

The Bible here clearly states what the will of God towards us is: it is that we should give thanks to Him in everything. Everything! The Bible does not say that we should give thanks in good things. It says to give thanks in everything, whether good or bad. This was what Job did, and it pleased God greatly.

In the final analysis, I believe God wants us to realize and acknowledge that there can really be no bad news for someone who has the hope of eternal life in them. We are a people of the Good News!

We find this fact beautifully stated in Colossians 1:12: “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.”

We have been made partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. There are many preachers who teach this scripture with a heavy bearing on the physical and material blessings that God can give to us. But this scripture is talking about the hope of salvation that we have in Christ.

That means that even if we were to live a life of utter want in this world, we still have a larger-than-life reason to be thankful to God for the hope of eternal life that He has granted us in Jesus. In other words, our eyes should not just be on the good life that God gives to us here on earth, but we should focus on that hope, which is the true riches of a born-again believer.

In Hebrews 13:15 it says, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” Notice the word ‘continually’ there. It is the will of God that we should be ceaselessly thanking Him.

The Bible tells us how to live a spiritually fulfilling life: “…be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” Ephesians 5:18-21

Many Christians easily forget the great provision of God in their lives and allow themselves to slide into a bitter life of complaining and moaning about this and that. The battle is tough, but God provides the grace to rejoice and thank Him even when circumstances are tough.

The Bible says that God was displeased with the children of Israel for their murmurings in the wilderness, and He destroyed them.

Let us take heed, for everything about God comes with a warning.

A Special Thank You!

In my last post I mentioned that I would begin a short series on the life and doctrine of the Apostle Paul. Before I tackle the thorny issue of the Apostle Paul, however, may my valued readership kindly allow me to side-track a bit and please permit me to take this opportunity to thank the many women who have been so supportive of this blog since it began many months ago. I deliberately say women because in the Bible we read that, during His ministry here on earth Jesus had women who encouraged and “ministered” to Him with their finances and other things. In other words, through what they did for Jesus, these women encouraged Him in His ministry. I believe that God has given that heart to women, and it is a joy to witness even today women of God serving Him in that way. It is a grace from God. Unfortunately, the word “support” has been much misused by many men of God today, and many women’s lives have been devastated financially and in other ways by unscrupulous preachers. In recognition of that I will just stick to the word “encourage”.

Likewise, I wish to thank the brethren of my own gender who have also upheld this blog and given me a reason to continue writing. With men I know it is not easy to continually show ‘support’ (that’s just the way we are), and when they do, they are men who in a way have decided to lose their lives and pay a price. Thank you, guys, and may the Lord reward your faithfulness.

In mentioning Jesus, I do not in any way intend to compare myself to our Lord – not by the longest shot and back. John the Baptist said of the  Lord Jesus, “Him I am not worthy to stoop and untie the thongs of His sandals.” For me, it is a matter of fact that even at this stage in my salvation, I know I am totally unworthy of doing anything remotely related to that which John talked about. But I thank my God who, because of His immeasurably great and tender mercies, and in ways I cannot understand, somehow has given me the privilege to not just come to Him, but even to call Him “Father”, with all rights of sonship granted. It is a grace I do not comprehend, but which I know I am not worthy of, nor could ever repay.

There are all kinds of gospels floating around trying to persuade Christians to “claim” their rights from God because they are now His sons and daughters. One preacher even used the word “wrench”. Sometimes I wonder at the irreverence of it all. That is the kind of thing spoilt kids do with their parents.

The only reason I mention Jesus in relation to myself is because in one way or another I seek after the truth of the gospel that He preached, and which the Apostles preached. Even in my weaknesses, I desire to understand and live that gospel more than anything else in my life. That need is made all the more urgent not only for me, but for the Body of Christ at large primarily because in the days we are living in there is so much obvious false hood coming from the pulpits.

I therefore take this opportunity to express my deep, heart-felt appreciation to the many women and men who have ‘Liked’ and commented on my posts and for those who are following my blog. There are many others who do not have the opportunity to comment in writing, but I am aware of the many ways in which they support me. You have all provided incalculable encouragement to me in the Spirit. From the bottom of my heart I say, “Thank you so much!”; and for that very reason I shall continue blogging, to the glory of God.

For those who might not be aware, I did not even begin this blog of my own accord. Some loving brethren encouraged me to begin writing it, and I did.

To them I say, “I am deeply grateful and indebted!”

May God bless you all mightily.

Tomorrow we look at the Apostle Paul.