25 April 2010

The Heart Of The Matter

Just recently I was honoured with a request to sit on a board. It was concerning a new 'movement' that some guys wanted to start. They were calling young people from about three different churches to sit on that board. It was basically a bid to start what seems to be happening in other countries and was started by two guys in America who happen to be identical twins. Its called "The Rebelution", defined as a teenage rebellion against the low expectations of an ungodly culture. In essence it is encouraging teens to do 'big things' in their teen years. Its a 'good idea' but one I am not ready to throw my weight in due to... read on.

A friend of mine shared his dream and vision with me a couple weeks ago. It reminded me of something I learnt while away from home. He told me of how his University dilapidated and had never actually been completed since its initial construction some 50yrs (plus-minus) ago. His dream and vision was to see his school restored to its former state and completed. He attends the biggest and oldest higher institution of learning in the land and so it was no small deal.

He wanted to rally up as many sponsors as possible from graduate students, the government, well wishers, current students, NGOs, companies etc. It was a massive idea and would take alot to accomplish.

Well, I didn't really want to discourage him, but I did mention before commending him, that I once had dreams like that...

I know our nation is in bad condition. Jobs are hard to find, for many finishing school is like hitting a dead end, nowhere to go from there, colleges are either full, unavailable or unaffordable.

I know about the sickness and poverty and corruption. I know about the street kids. I know that AIDS is rearing its dark shadow over the nation. I realise that young men are drinking their lives away and how great a waste of resource it is for our country. Many times I have thought up ideas and solutions to solve these problems. "Maybe if I did this or that", I'd think. I even considered entering politics after school and causing some positive influence. I've always dreamed of changing our nation somehow or other, but all these initiatives, dreams and visions have since ceased. And that is exactly what I told my friend.

The question was, of course, why? Why'd I give up on those dreams? Dreams of changing the face of our nation as we know it today?

Well, those dreams ceased when I realised the heart of the matter. I was working on the presupposition that the more comfortable, developed and wealthy a society is, the better it becomes. I thought, the eradication of the many things that are pulling our nation down, would make things more pleasant and everyone would be happy.

I had the privilege of living in a society whose welfare was far better than where I was from. It was a whole new world for me. Proper roads and road networks, good health care, more jobs, availability of education, etc. It was a far cry from what I was accustomed to. I remember thinking if only home was like this, things would be better. It didn't take long for me to find that my ideal society was not ideal at all. It seemed that the more sophisticated a society was, the more sophisticated its sin was as well. I was hearing and seeing things I'd never even dreamed. The development, comfort and wealth of a society obviously wasn't the issue, there was a deeper and more serious problem other than the lack of the aforementioned, namely, the problem of sin.

No amount of development or sophistication could make a society better, because the problem is not a lack of development or sophistication. The problem isn't a lack of health care or education or the prevalence of corruption, poverty or sickness. The problem is the heart of man. Jeremiah says, "the human heart is the most deceitful of ALL things and DESPERATELY wicked, who can understand it?" (Jer 17:9). This is common for a poor or rich man. Educated man or uneducated man, Simple or sophisticated man. They all have one thing in common, sinful hearts.

Any efforts to better a man are useless without Jesus Christ. Its the same with a community or nation. The gospel is the answer.

I am not saying that we should not help people or engage in or aid humanitarian efforts but its not something you'd want to throw the bulk of your resources in because it doesn't change lives like the gospel does. Our energies must be spent, more than anywhere else, in something that actually cures and saves, the gospel. I wouldn't want to spend the rest of my life fighting and working towards a better economy. I'd just help where I can. I'd rather spend and be spent most for the spreading of the gospel because I know, that Jesus is the answer for the world today!

My buddy, if he goes ahead with his plan, will spend alot of energy, time and money. Imagine what could result if he spent those resources in the only thing that will ever make his University better, the gospel! I'd feel differently if the spreading of the gospel was included in his plan. The rebelution, as well, will improve lives (after a lot of sweat blood and tears [and time and money]) but again, what about the only cure for man kind, the gospel? Where is it in there?

Wealth doesn't improve a man's well being, the gospel does.

You can take a man from poverty and give him a better life but he will remain the empty sinner he was. Unless you give him Christ, you havn't given him anything.

We can rebuild our towns and roads, and improve our transport systems, and elevate our economy and educate and medicate the people but unless we offer our nation the Lord Jesus Christ along with that, we would have done nothing other than waste our resources. And besides:

"Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last."

21 April 2010

10 Things God Can NOT Do

1) God cannot lie.

"...a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time." Titus 1:2 (NIV)

2) God cannot love you anymore or less than he already does.

"...May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them AS MUCH AS YOU LOVE ME" John 17:23 (New Living Translation)

Have you read that verse? It floored me! God loves his chosen people as much as he loves his Son, Jesus. And we know that he loves his Son immeasurably. He loves you so much and has so much interest in you that he knows the number of hairs on your head. Has anyone loved you so much that they keep count of your hairs? He knows you birthday and knows when you sit and when you rise and even when you fall. Its not that his stalking you, its just that He's crazy in love with you- and me! Its not that God cannot love us anymore because we aren't lovable but because his love for us is infinite, such love!

3) God cannot change.

"I am the Lord and I do not change..." Malachi 3:6 (New Living Translation)

4) God cannot be unfaithful.

"If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is" 2 Timothy 2:13 (New Living Translation)

What a glorious thought for me! That no matter how many times I have been unfaithful in my relationship with him, God will always remain faithful, what a great God!

5) God cannot share his glory.

"I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols." Isaiah 42:8 (NIV)

I once thought that jealousy was a sin. Well, it isn't necessarily. A man will share almost anything with you if you're close enough to him. He will lend you his car, his clothes, even his own son (to mow your lawn or whatever). He will lend you money or his house to live in for a while. But he will never lend you his wife. You can mess with anything else of his but not his wife, why? Because husbands are jealous of their wives. Bringing it closer to home for those who are single, there's something we are all jealous of, that even husbands would have problems sharing with their wives, that is, wait for it... toothbrush. God is jealous of something too. He is jealous of his glory. You'd rather steal a man's wife (or toothbrush) than steal God's glory for it is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of God (Heb 10:31)!

6) God cannot reject those who are his.

"Everyone whom the Father gives me will come to me, and him who comes to me I will never on any account drive away." John 6:37 (Weymouth New Testament)

The almighty God is unable to turn away those who genuinely repent. No matter where you've been or what you've done, or how many times you've done it, he will never reject you, he'll take you back. God has as many genuine I-forgive-yous and you have, genuine, I-am-sorrys.

7) God cannot deny anything asked according to his will.

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us" 1 John 5:14 (NIV)

8) God will not be able to do anything for those would not have repented and believed by the last day.

"Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly , 'I never knew you. Away from me , you evildoers!' " Matthew 7:23 (NIV)

On the last day, God will be, as it were, powerless to save sinners. He is bound by his own word. Each of us has an opportunity to repent and turn from sin. If we either die or he comes back before we do, we are doomed and there is nothing anyone will be able to do, not even God himself. Time would be up.

9) God cannot bare sin.

"But you are pure and cannot stand the sight of evil. ..." Habakkuk 1:13 (New Living Translation)

Many people believe they will enter heaven based on what they have done. The very good things they do and offer up to God as gifts and sacrifices thinking they'd impress him (from going to church to being active there) are stained with sin and those acts disgust God (Isaiah 64:6). He cannot bare sin.

10) God cannot be mocked (dodged).

"Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps as he sows." Galatians 6:7 (NIV)

This one would best fit under the title "Things that men can Not do to God" but its something everyone needs to hear. Many people are shrewd and have managed to trick others into gaining something or getting themselves of the hook. Maybe you've managed, on several occasions to get away with wrong doing at school, or at home or with an enemy or even friend. Its not like that with God. Do not be deceived! God knows each and every sin you have ever committed no matter how small you think it may be. He will punish you for every single one, even the ones you won't be able to remember. Unless you ask him for forgiveness, he will never forgive and forget your sin. God cannot be dodged.