King Solomon Started Well, but Allowed Disobedience to Derail Him: A Lesson For Us.

Solomon was the son of King David and Bathsheba.  As a child, Solomon had the advantage of a godly upbringing. His father, whom the Bible refers to as “a man after God’s own heart” gave his son a good example to follow.  He was privileged to be chosen by God to succeed his father to the throne of Israel.  God gave him the task of building the first temple.  Solomon got the opportunity to exceed his father King David in his loyalty and faithfulness to God, but he allowed persistent disobedience and stubborn refusal to repent to separate him from God .

Solomon asks for wisdom

The early part of Solomon’s reign demonstrated that he had a desire to follow his father’s godly example. Immediately after his inauguration, the young king recognised that the task of leading a nation was beyond his abilities.  In humility, he admitted his need for wisdom and understanding in handling the difficulties the people would bring for his council. No doubt, he saw his father praying to God in times of need, so he asked God for the necessary prudence and empathy that would make him a successful leader.

God was impressed that this young king was thinking of the needs of his people rather than his selfish desires, so God gave him the wisdom he asked for but added personal riches as a bonus (1Kings 3:7-11). Continue reading

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Jewish Fall Festivals and their Meanings

Fall is the time of the year when Jewish people and an increasing number of Christians celebrate some special days. The Jews commemorate these festivals as part of their culture which is rooted in their history of release from Egyptian slavery, their journey through the desert, their settlement in Canaan and their religious and agricultural rituals enjoined to them by the Mosaic law. Christians who celebrate these festivals do so for a variety of reasons. Some think that commemorating these is compulsory and a refusal to keep them is a violation of God’s command. Others want to show solidarity with modern Israel as “the people of God” hence the celebrations.

The majority of Christians who celebrate the Jewish festivals as well as those who do not observe them believe that these Old Testament feasts were all part of the Old Covenant agreement that Jesus came to fulfil. Consequently, it is common knowledge among them, that the meaning of these festivals is made clear in the life, mission, sacrifice, resurrection and present work of the triune God.

Interpretations of the meaning of these festivals vary from group to group and from person to person. One group, in particular, have long held traditions and interpretations that bear no resemblance to Scripture.

The writer, in this article, presents his thoughts concerning the meanings of the Jewish fall festivals described in Lev.23:23-44 namely, Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles. He is not saying that his ideas are final or even entirely correct. All he is asking is that you read with wisdom, open-mindedness, and discernment. Continue reading

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Encountering Jesus: An Experience That Changed Bartimaeus And Can Do the Same for You.

The Book of Mark tells the story of a blind man named Bartimaeus who had a life-changing encounter with Jesus. The story, recorded in the tenth chapter, verses 46-52, gives us some insight into the details of this narrative. This particular day, Bartimaeus sat by the roadside as was his daily routine, begging for money and food. He had no idea that he was about to have an encounter with Jesus that would forever change the course of his life for the better.

Bartimaeus settled himself in a comfortable position in preparation for another day of begging. Suddenly he began to hear a faint, unusual sound in the distance. At first, he was puzzled as to what he was hearing. The sound drew nearer, and he began to recognise that it was a crowd of people coming his way. At the same time, he detected the footsteps of a person who was passing close to him. He stopped the person to inquire about the commotion that was approaching. The person informed him that Jesus and many followers were travelling in that direction. Continue reading

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Created for Good Works

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepares in advance for us to do” Eph.2:10 NIV

Called to Good Works

Most followers of Jesus Christ understand that our efforts or good works do not save us.  Instead, we are saved by grace through faith in Christ.  Our salvation is a gift from God (Eph.2:8).  However, we understand that we are created to do good works.

The Bible contains instruction for the Christian concerning the role of good works in the life of the Christian.

James tells us that faith and good works go together.  Our sterling actions point to the fact that we have faith in Jesus Christ Jas.2:14-18).

Paul, in Gal.6:10 encourages the Galatian brothers to practise doing good to everyone as the opportunity presents itself.

The Apostle Peter says that we should use our God-given gifts to serve others (1Pet.4:8-11).

504459966 Continue reading

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God Takes Care of His Children

And why  do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed  like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more cloth you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ Mat.6:28-31

 

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It was the summer of 1967 when I was sitting in a classroom with other students who were aspiring to be teachers. The lecturers were preparing us for the task of imparting knowledge, skills, values and attitudes into the students who would come under our tutelage. Surprisingly, the first philosopher and educator they exposed us to, was Jesus of Nazareth. I will always remember how our tutors pointed to a particular teaching method that Jesus frequently used, that is, he regularly took his listeners from the known to the unknown. That principle remains a pillar on which effective instruction stands to this day.

Don’t Worry – Trust God
When Jesus wanted to teach his followers that they could trust the heavenly Father to take care of them, he drew their attention to two familiar scenes in nature. He talked about the birds and the wildflowers. Jesus reminded his audience about specific facts concerning flowers and birds, and then he brought them to appreciate how much God cares for us. Continue reading

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Hannah: A Woman Whose Life can Inspire Us In Rough Times

646011554The first chapter of the first book of Samuel opens with the story of Hannah.  Hannah was an ordinary woman of her day, married to a man who had another wife.  The name of her husband was Elkanah and the second wife was Peninnah.  Peninnah had sons and daughters, but Hannah had no children.  Whenever Elkanah took his wives and children to Shiloh for worship, Peninnah would take the opportunity to harass Hannah concerning the fact that she was unable to bear children.  On those occasions, Hannah would become depressed and overcome with crying and loss of appetite.  Although Hannah was childless, Elkanah loved her and hated to see her unhappy.  He tried to comfort her by expressing his love to her both verbally and by giving her double portions of the provisions he would provide Peninnah. Nothing Elkanah did could console Hannah as long as Peninnah made fun of her inability to have children (1Sam.1:1-8). Continue reading

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Jesus is Lord, Caesar is not

The people of God have in every era, had to affirm that Jesus is Lord. The evil forces of this world have long waged war against God’s people for their insistence that Jesus is Lord, not Caesar. Christians have endured slaughter, death by wild beasts, horrific torture, confiscation of possessions, beatings, stonings, the exile from their country of birth and all other kinds of inhumane treatment because they refused to deny the name of Jesus.

Thousands of years ago, God allowed the nation of Judah to be taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar took the most intelligent Jewish men to Babylon to train for positions in his kingdom. He selected four notable men, who proved to be extremely valuable to his administration. These were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (Dan. 1:1-6). Continue reading

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Paul’s Prayer For The Philippians

When we pray for our Christian brothers and sisters what do we ask God for on their behalf? Too often we are concerned that they prosper, have good health, and live a fulfilling life. God wants all of that for his children but above all of that, he urges us to seek first the kingdom of God (Matt.6:33). King Solomon, who, early in his reign as king of Israel, realised that his greatest need was for the acquisition of wisdom and understanding if he was to be successful in leading his people (2Chron.1:10). Instead of asking God to make him rich, he asked for wisdom. Paul, in his prayer for the Philippians followed a similar line of thought as did Solomon.

Paul in this prayer focused on spiritual things. Paul knew that the thing we cannot see are eternal and so he concentrated on those things that will last through eternity.

“And this is my prayer; that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.” Phil.1:9-11

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Searching For Living Water?

Millions of people everywhere have long felt that something was missing from their lives. In pursuit of that elusive “something” many like King Solomon have sought to find that missing ingredient to life in music, art, pleasure, travel, work and other endeavours. Surprisingly, the achievements gained from these various pursuits have not satisfied that missing element in their lives. So life for the majority has become an endless but vain quest to find living water that will satisfy their weary souls.

Jesus in one of his trips from Judea to Galilee had to pass through Samaria. The journey was a long one, and the sun was probably warm that day. About noon that day he decided to take a rest near a well while his disciples went to a nearby village to purchase some food. While Jesus was there all alone, a Samaritan came to the well to fetch water for her household. Jesus politely asked her to give him a drink of water. She was surprised that a request like this had come from a Jew. Her recollection of Jews was that they had no regard for Samaritans. Jews regarded themselves as peculiar and looked on others as being inferior to them. Putting that difference aside, the woman would have given Jesus the water, but he had nothing with which to draw the water (John 4:1-9). Continue reading

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In What or Whom Are You Trusting?

 

The presence of trust in humans is vital for healthy psychological balance. It aids in fostering, deep enduring relationships that can result in a richer, more fulfilling, more productive and happier life.  Every child expects that his parents will make provision for his physical, psychological, social, emotional and moral needs. Every spouse assumes that the other will be faithful, show respect, love, kindness, understanding and render help and support always. People trust their politicians, to tell the truth, keep their promises, act in the best interest of their nation, and follow the wishes of the people. We trust our employers to treat their workers fairly and with respectfully, pay them decent wages, and provide them with safe working conditions. We have faith in our religious leaders to teach the word of God faithfully, furnish a healthy church environment that will assist in our spiritual growth and healing, be good examples of the things they preach, genuinely love and care for those they serve, and instruct and encourage others to be good ambassadors of Christ. Continue reading

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