Month: December 2015

THERE IS SALVATION IN NO OTHER…

photo_3309_20070912At this period of the year, we take out time to specially celebrate the birth of our Saviour. We celebrate the One through whom God chose to bring salvation to mankind. We remember the good tidings of peace on earth and goodwill towards the human race.

A college recently put a professor on administrative leave for comments she made regarding the commonality of the God of different religions. She basically implied that the major religions served the same God. This sparked outrage in some segments of the society and reawakened the global debate on the similarities of religions. Highly placed church personalities have come out to speak for both sides of the divide. My opinion is that some people have made statements that appear to directly undermine the fundamentals of the Christian faith. I do not consider myself suited to be on the same pedestal with revered church leaders for a debate on the subject, so I would avoid an argument over the matter. I only feel I should say what I believe the Bible says and stand by what I have read in the Holy Scriptures.

I call myself a Christian because I have received the saving grace of my Lord Jesus Christ. I pray based on how the Bible has taught me to pray. I worship based on instructions found in the Word of God. My belief in God is modeled after what I have read in the Bible. My perspective on the after-life is based on the scriptures. My understanding of creation is founded on the inspired writings of the Bible. So I believe that my view of salvation must also be based on what is written in this same Bible. It makes no sense to cherry pick only what appears nice sounding in my ear and discard those parts of the Bible that run against public opinion.

In the Bible I have read the following:

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Acts 4:12 – Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

Philippians 2:9-11 – Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

I Timothy 2:5 – For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.

John 14:6 – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

I am not sure there are any other scriptures in the Bible that are contrary to the ones above – which is not even an exhaustive list of related scriptures. You might ask why a loving God would give access passes to only those who come through His son Jesus. Well, I probably would be able to answer when we find out why a five year old boy would die of cancer. What crime has he committed? I guess we can agree that God’s sovereignty permits Him to do things according to His own will and purpose – things that are beyond human reasoning. He has chosen to bring salvation through His Son and He has declared that all who believe in Him will be saved. He has announced and demonstrated His love to me. This call of love is extended to everyone – with no exception – who would believe in His son’s name. This call of love also requires that I love everyone irrespective of their inclinations because He is the Father of all. This is why I, declaring the good news of salvation, invite everyone to His banquet.

Merry Christmas to you and your family. May the joy and peace of this moment experienced thousands of years ago come alive in your lives this season in Jesus name.

Still in His grip.

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SOAPIE AND SPONGEE

There is the story about a bar of soap named Soapie and a sponge named Spongee. Spongee had a great relationship with Soapie. They seemed to complement each other perfectly. Soapie was immaculately white, solid and smelled nice. When at play with Spongee, he got slippery and made lots of rainbow coloured balls. Spongee on the other hand was very flexible, rough and had a lot of holes. He was quite inquisitive. He had a way of picking up all sorts of things and hiding some in his pockets.

One day, he got himself covered in some smelly, sticky substance. He tried to shake himself free of the substance. But the harder he tried, the more of the substance he got on himself till he was completely covered with it. He wondered what he would tell Soapie, his friend. He knew Soapie’s first question would be ‘Where did you go without me?’ Now he felt very bad and did not want to see Soapie. He wondered how they would be able to play together again. He felt dirty and very different from spotless Soapie.

Soapie found him hiding under a small shrub just as it began to rain. Spongee had no choice but to tell his friend what had happened. Before long, Spongee was in tears as he recounted his miserable experience. His friend hugged him and tried to comfort him. Soon those beautiful rainbow balls started forming. Then Spongee noticed something else. Some of the sticky substance was coming off as the rain poured on them both. The more Soapie hugged him, the more the sticky substance disappeared. Soon it was all gone and he looked brand new. His joy and excitement knew no bounds as he flipped from one end of the field to the other. His embrace with Soapie had done the magic. It had taken off the smelly, sticky substance and had made him clean again. What he was running from was what brought him his freedom.

Sometimes, we are like Spongee. We get messed up and stained with sin and then we run away from what will bring us freedom. We run from God, we run from His word, we run from church meetings where we can get comfort and healing.

Think about this: The best thing that could happen to a pair of dirty hands is to caress a bar of soap under running water. But if those hands feel they are too dirty to handle the soap, they would remain dirty. Don’t run from the One who would make you clean again no matter how filthy you feel you are. Don’t run from the One who mends broken hearts, when you have been emotionally shattered. Don’t avoid the company of encouragers when you have slipped and fallen. Don’t toss aside the Book of wisdom when you have fallen into the trap of folly.

The devil has a way of making people feel continuously guilty when they have done something wrong. They want to hide from God like Adam did in Eden, forgetting that they are sons and daughters assured of their father’s unfailing love. If we keep yielding to the suggestions of the devil, he can establish in us an attitude of apathy and insensitivity to the Spirit of God causing us to drift further away from God.

Let’s always remember that it is for the messy and sticky situations that the Savior came. So when you have done wrong or your mind is messed up and you don’t feel like going to church, reading the Bible or praying, know that those things you are avoiding are what you need to get back on course.

Jesus says, Come unto me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matt 11:28). This call is irrespective of how you look or feel! There are no terms and conditions, just come in faith.

He asked me to tell you!