It was a joy to participate in the 7th graduation service of the Kalay Gospel Baptist Bible College on 26 February 2017.
“And there arose a great storm” (Mark 4:37).
Some of the storms of life come suddenly! A great sorrow, a bitter disappointment, a crushing defeat.
Some come slowly!! They appear upon the ragged edges of the horizon no larger than a man’s hand, but, trouble that seems so insignificant spreads until it covers the sky and overwhelms us.
Yet it is in the storm that God equips us for service! When God wants an oak He plants it on the moor where the storms will shake it and the rains will beat down upon it, and it is in the midnight battle with elements that the oak wins its rugged fibre and becomes the king of the forest.
When God wants to make a man He puts him into some storm! The history of manhood is always rough and rugged. No man is made until he has been out into the surge of the storm and found the sublime fulfillment of the prayer: “O God, take me, break me, make me.”
A Frenchman has painted a picture of “The Storm.” There stand orators, philosophers and martyrs –
-all who have achieved pre-eminence in any phase of life!
The remarkable fact about the picture is this: Every man who is pre-eminent for his ability was first pre-eminent for suffering.
In the foreground stands that figure of the man who was denied the promised land, Moses.
Beside him is another, feeling his way-
Milton is there, blind and heart-broken.
Now comes the form of one who towers above them all. What is His characteristic? His Face is marred more than any man’s. The beauties of nature come after the storm. The rugged beauty of the mountain is born in a storm! And the heroes of life are the storm-swept and the battle-scarred. You have been in the storms and swept by the blasts.
Have they left you –
– broken, weary, beaten in the valley? Or
– Have they lifted you –
– to the sunlit summits of a richer, deeper, more abiding maturity? The storm is only for a time being!
Just wait for His Words: “Peace, be still!” Soon
– You will see the silence of the storm!
“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he” (Proverbs 29:18).
Helen Keller was born blind, but she had vision.
A reporter asked Miss Keller, “Is there anything worse than being born blind?” “Yes,” she said, “It is to have sight and no vision.”
Do you have a vision for your life at the beginning of this new year?
On New Year’s Day, I review the goals for my life. These are my
– Spiritual, Relational, Intellectual, Physical, Financial and few other goals!
I pray over these and ask for God’s will to be done in each one. I hold them in an open hand and ask that God would give me wisdom as to the direction He wants for my life. I don’t want to be a man without vision. I don’t want you to be one either.
Begin to think about some goals you would like for your life Pray and seek the Lord’s face as you ponder about your future!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us (Heb 12:1).
I did some comparisons to see the similarities between life and running a race:
1. There is a start and end point. Not all of us may have started well. We might not have been born with high intelligence, or gone to the best school, or had money entrusted to us. But it is important to finish well – by being faithful and obedient to the Lord.
2. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. We need to keep our pace and persevere when we run up the slope.
3. Life is about winning. We all want to win.
4. We are competing against someone. In life, our competitors are our flesh, the world, and the devil. Our competitors are not our schoolmates or colleagues. Our flesh, the world, and the devil want us to lose, to be defeated, to give up, be discouraged, worry, fear, doubt the goodness and wisdom of God, be lazy, procrastinate, disobey, do our own thing rather than obeying God.
5. There is a prize at the end of the race. We run to win eternal rewards, and above all, to win the smile of God.
6. There are risks to take. Whatever risk we take, we commit to the Lord and He will establish our ways.
7. We need a game plan to win. Life’s game plan is to pray, read the Bible, witness, serve, be part of a church.
8. There are rules to play by. Life’s rules are determined by our Creator, and can be found in His Word. By doing according to His Word, the path will ultimately lead to success.
9. Discipline. Every runner disciplines himself to eat the right kind of food and avoid certain food. To succeed in life, we must say no to temptation and any desire that would draw us away from God or from living a blameless, godly life. And discipline ourselves to follow the Lord.
10. Practice, practice, practice. We need to live out the Christian life. To grow stronger, we practice our faith.
We read in the book of Samuel that the moment that David was crowned at Hebron
– “All the Philistines came up to seek David” (2 Samuel 5:17).
The moment we get anything from the Lord worth contending for –
– then the devil comes to seek us.
When the enemy meets us at the threshold of any great work for God, let us accept it as “a token of salvation,” and claim double blessing, victory, and power.
Power is developed by resistance. The cannon carries twice as far because the exploding power has to find its way through resistance. The way electricity is produced in the powerhouse yonder is by the sharp friction of the revolving wheels.
And so we shall find some day that even Satan has been one of God’s agencies of blessing. Tribulation is the way to triumph! The valley-way opens into the highway.
Tribulation’s imprint is on all great things. Crowns are cast in crucibles! Chains of character that wind about the feet of God are forged in earthly flames. No man is greatest victor till he has trodden the winepress of woe.
With seams of anguish deep in His brow, the “Man of Sorrows” said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation”-
-but after this sob comes the psalm of promise, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Scars are the price of scepters! Bloodmarks stain the steps that lead to thrones. Our crowns will be wrested from the giants we conquer. Grief has always been the lot of greatness.
Tribulation has always marked the trail of the true reformer! It is the story of Paul, Luther, Savonarola, Knox, Wesley…. And all the rest of the mighty army! They came through great tribulation to their place of power. It is an open secret! Every great book has been written with the author’s blood!
“These are they that have come out of great tribulation.” Who wrote the fadeless dream of “Pilgrim’s Progress”? A prince in royal purple upon a couch of comfort? No! The trailing splendor of that vision gilded the dingy walls of old Bedford jail while John Bunyan, a princely prisoner, a glorious genius, made a faithful transcript of the scene.
“But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the
gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).
You are a born again person! But
– You may be feeling incredibly lonely! Let me give you a practical pointer for overcoming your loneliness. Quit dwelling on it! Reach out and try to help someone who is lonely.
Luke 6:38 promises that when we give, it shall be given to us. There is a locked-in likeness to what we give. It is the law of the harvest.
If you want friendship
– You must show yourself friendly (Proverbs 18:24).
Why don’t you keep a stack of cards and a pen handy to write a little note of encouragement to a shut-in? Get a prayer list and intercede for others. Travel around the world by means of prayer. There is no life so empty as a self-centered life! And there is no life so centered as a self-emptied life!! As you pour out yourself to others
– The Holy Spirit will continually pour Himself into you!
This week do one of these things each day:
Some Christians are just grateful for whatever the Lord gives them. Some believers have confused success with greed and discontent!
This happens because of –
Our overwhelming obsession!
– with the world’s definition of success!! For most people
– Success is equivalent to wealth and power. If you asked the average person on the street whether he’s successful, there’s a good chance he would talk about his career or investments. He may even make a passing reference to the five “C”s. Many people simply cannot view success outside of these terms. They think of only becoming “rich and famous!”
If the pursuit of success were sinful- how could God have made the promise of Joshua 1:7? “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.” The Lord was promising success! For Joshua
– Success was defined as the fulfillment of God’s promise to Moses! Joshua wasn’t concerned with money or fame; rather, he was intensely focused on fulfilling God’s plan for him. Armed with the power of the Word, Joshua boldly marched ahead and received the Lord’s blessings. And for that, God called him a “success.”
Do not be confused! The world’s traps have nothing to do with spiritual success! Your family, fellowship, faith, faithfulness…these are the things that matter in life;
– not your fame, finance, fake status or false dreams! When you place your emphasis on spiritual things
– You’ll discover the Godly way to measure success! Success in the Christian life or ministry- is neither achievement nor accomplishment nor advancement! But
– It is the fulfilment of God’s will in our life and ministry!
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (Isaiah 40:8).
God’s Word! – a source of strength and wisdom and peace that we often neglect… How many times this week have you flipped through-
– a magazine, or newspaper, or aimed the remote control?
– How often did you surf the web? In comparison-
– how many times did you pick up and read the Book God wrote?
We make all kinds of time for the words of men
– And yet we’re often too busy to open the Word of God. It’s not doing any good on your desk, shelf or your computer. It doesn’t matter if you have a really impressive one sitting on the coffee table. In order to benefit from the Bible
– You’ve got to make it a priority in your life to read it and meditate upon it. You’ve got to get:
– what’s inside it,
– and inside you!
Promise yourself: “I will not lay my head on the pillow at night until I’ve taken time to feed myself from God’s Word.”
Or do it in the morning: “I won’t check my cell, I won’t get on the computer, I won’t head off to work until I’ve had some time with God in His book.”
Make time! I challenge you in Jesus’ name to spend at least an hour reading and meditating upon the Scripture every day this week and every week. I guarantee
– This Book will absolutely change your outlook!
Years ago in a European country, a christening took place for a baby who had been born to royalty.
As the guests arrived, a servant met them at the door and took their wraps. Eventually someone asked, “Where’s the baby?” The nurse was sent to fetch him, but she couldn’t find him.
Finally, a guest recalled having seen the baby in the bed where the coats had been placed.
The parents were horrified to find there the lifeless form of their son who had been smothered under the pile of coats.
The real purpose of the gathering had been forgotten and the one to be honored was killed.
That’s what people do during Christmas. They are so engrossed with their celebration that they do not know what or who they are celebrating Christmas for. Christ is obscured and man is elevated.
Christmas may be over but don’t “kill” Him.
Jesus is our celebration. He is our Honored One. He is our King forever.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:11)
Christmas is the time of the year where we honor the fact that God sent His Son to be born into this world to become our Savior.
Although the world has missed the meaning of Christmas through commercialization and traditions, we should not let these distract us from appreciating the real meaning of Christmas. As Christians, we should celebrate Christmas in a way that honors Him.
Firstly, we celebrate Christmas by worshipping He who was born on the very first Christmas.
When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh (Matt 2:10-11).
When the wise men met Herod, there is no indication that they worshipped him. But when they met the child Jesus, they fell on their faces to worship Him. What Herod craved, the child received.
Secondly, we should witness about Him.
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child (Luke 2:16-17).
We are to make Him known to our relatives, friends, colleagues, and all those around us. We can witness through the gifts we give, greetings, or inviting people to church.
Let’s focus on Christ this Christmas. Worship Him, and witness for Him.
Have a Blessed Christmas!