Archive for Christian

Abraham … a liar?!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 5, 2013 by 254chronicles

Before you dismiss this as an attack on the Abrahamic faiths or a conspiracy theory, hear me out.

Yes, he is the father of faith. He’s the one that most Biblical characters referred to when quoting whose God’s people were: God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Israel. He’s the one who was instructed to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, who was born to him and his wife after close to a century of childlessness, and almost did it too. He’s the one God initiated the covenant of circumcision with, a practice that is still very much alive today.

Impressive CV, right?

Well. let’s turn back the clock to just before his name change. Now my story begins…

Abram had been called by God to leave his family home and travel to Canaan, the land God promised to his descendants. He arrived safe and sound, and even built an altar to the Lord. 

Unfortunately, famine struck while he resided there, prompting him and his family to flee to Egypt. His wife Sarai was very beautiful. (A Jewish legend says when Abram went into Egypt, he tried to hide her in a casket. When Egyptian customs officials asked what he had in the casket, he said, “barley.” “No,” they said, “it contains wheat.” “Very well,” answered Abram. “I’ll pay the custom on wheat.” Then the officers said it contained pepper. Abram said he would pay the custom charges on pepper. Then the officers said it contained gold. Abram said he would pay the custom charges on gold. Then the officers said it contained precious stones. Abram said he would pay the custom charges on precious stones. By this time, the officers insisted on opening the casket. When they did, all of Egypt shined with the beauty of Sarai. These same legends say that in comparison to Sarai, all other women looked like monkeys. She was even more beautiful than Eve.)

He anticipated that she would be taken by Pharaoh due to her beauty, and feared he would be killed. Therefore, he instructed her to say she was his sister,  a half-truth (or half-lie), as she was his half-sister. As he expected, on their arrival, she was taken to Pharaoh’s house. Abram was treated well for her sake, rewarded with livestock and servants. Seemed like his plan worked…. or so he thought.

God afflicted Pharaoh and his court with great plagues. Pharaoh wasn’t the dullest knife in the drawer, and quickly put two and two together. He summoned Abram and asked him why he lied. Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they sent him away, with his wife and all that he had.

These were the humble beginnings of one the greatest men that ever lived. He later trusted God enough to almost sacrifice his only son. Through God’s grace and transformative power, Abram grew from a liar to the father of faith.

Faith is not a mushroom that grows overnight in damp soil; it is an oak tree that grows for a thousand years under the blast of the wind and rain. (Barnhouse)

 

 

A prostitute in the King’s bloodline

Posted in Bible, Bible Study, Christian, Christianity, Fear of God, God, Jesus, Joshua, Rahab, Religion, Uncategorized, Women, women of the bible with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2012 by 254chronicles

Rahab.

Think she’s one of the more outstanding women. Her story just reminds me of how God searched for a young king David, a humble shepherd in a family of burly warriors. How God said through Samuel that He’s only interested in what is in our hearts and not what is on the outside.

Here’s how her story went:

The Israelites were now on the offensive; it was their turn to eat. They had just crossed into Canaan, and leadership had transferred to the young but very able hands of Joshua. As always, their missions were preceded by reconnaissance carried out by two of Israel’s finest. Their instructions (should they accept them) were to “look over the land, especially Jericho”.

Off the two spies went.

Once in Jericho, they entered Rahab’s house, and she gave them refuge.

When the Israelites first embarked on their journey, God promised to put fear in the hearts of their enemies, so Rahab knew who these spies were representing. In fact, everyone knew of the Israelites and their mighty God … the desert nomads who had swept through entire cities and eliminated whole tribes. They were the chosen ones.

She hid them in the roof of her house, and when the kings people came around searching for them,  she quickly gave them a story to lead them off course. She protected and sheltered the spies, and sought only one thing in return. Aware of their mission, she knew her beloved home town was soon to be no more. With this in mind, she asked that her life, and those of her family, would be spared by this Great God of Israel.

They accepted the terms. She was further instructed that she was to hang a scarlet cord from her window and leave it there on the day the Israelites would come. That way, she and all who would be in her house, would be saved.

When they came, they marched around the city and sounded their trumpets …. and the walls of Jericho came tumbling down. Rahab, as well as her family, were safe. After the city and all in it were burned, Rahab and her family lived with the Israelites.

Someone saw how powerful God was. Someone noticed that with these Israelites was a real God. Her life was spared, and she ended up one of Jesus’ ancestors.

” The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” 1 Pro. 1: 6-8 (NIV)

Ruth … a simple girl

Posted in Bible, Bible Study, Christian, Christianity, Faith, God, Love, relationships, Uncategorized, Women, women of the bible with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2012 by 254chronicles

Here’s a summary of the Old Testament book.

RUTH:

The man she married had moved into her home town (Moab) from Bethlehem due to drought. He passed away 10 years into their marriage, childless. His brother, and before them, their father, also passed away. Ruth was left with her mother-in-law, Naomi, and sister-in-law, Orpah. Since Naomi had nothing left in this foreign land, and the drought was over, she decided to return to Bethlehem. The original plan was to go alone, but Ruth insisted on staying by her side, till death (& possibly beyond).

In Bethlehem, Ruth collected the barley left behind by the harvesters in Boaz’ field. He saw her, and liked her. On Naomi’s instruction, she spent the night at Boaz’ feet, a way of stating her interest in him. The next day, Boaz asked their immediate relative if he was going to buy Naomi’s land (which was a custom) in order to keep her late son’s name, and marry Ruth as well. The relative declined and, with the elders as witnesses, Boaz took up the role, as he was the next in line.

Ruth and Boaz’ first child, a son, was King David’s grandfather.

MY THOUGHTS:

It’d be a short movie this one. But, coming from books filled with rules, doctrine, customs (the books of the law) it is a welcome break to just sit back and view someone’s life.

In chapter one, we see how she spent 10 years without a child. We all know what a big deal this was (and still is). Nothing else is mentioned about this till the last chapter where “God enabled her to conceive” when she was Mrs. Boaz. Note the use of the word “enabled”. Don’t take that pregnancy for granted ladies … it was His will.

Her obedience to her mother-in-law is also another theme. Everything Naomi instructed her to do, she followed diligently. This, coupled with her loyalty to the lady, were surely what made her known as a “woman of noble character” throughout the town.

She was simple and respectful. These to me are the true beauty of a woman. The purity of heart and soul that attracts nothing but positive attention from those around her and carries her reputation before her.

And, most importantly, for honouring God, the one and only true Creator, her status was uplifted to include her in the lineage of the lamb of God, and of Israelite royalty.

Ruth’s re-invention of the K.I.S.S. principle: Keep it Simple & Sweet.

🙂

UPDATE:

The relationship between Ruth and Naomi alludes to our individual relationship with God. To follow Him wholly, we need to leave our former lives, obey His every word, and follow wherever He leads.

How powerful is God?

Posted in Bible, Bible Study, Christian, Christianity, Faith, God, Religion with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2012 by 254chronicles

Since Biblical times, it “appears” God has “significantly decreased” His one-on-one interactions with humanity. We do not seem to see the feats reported in the Holy Bible: the parting waters, God’s finger writing on walls, or God speaking through a cloud of lightning and thunder. We do not hear as often as it was in the Bible times of one of His great miracles. It gives the false implication of a “decrease” in His power; makes it seem as though he’s on a hiatus from humanity. Let us revisit one of those Biblical scenarios.

At the beginning of the book of Deuteronomy, we find the Israelites mid-journey. They were a desert-wandering nation. God took them out of slavery in Egypt and was leading them to the promised land (Caanan). The journey was literally no walk in the park. They complained several times: no food, no water, these people want to kill us, and this really ticked God off. He therefore decided to entirely eliminate this stubborn generation and only then would He allow them to enter the promised land.

They proceeded to do another 38-year long lap round the desert. When, at last, they were to enter the promised land, they had another obstacle before them. It wasn’t fertile virgin land remaining untouched for them to stroll in and settle down, but was occupied by other tribes. One example is the land of Bashan: it had 60 cities, was secured with sky-high walls and a well-equipped army. Apparently, the Israelites would have to fight for their inheritance.

Keep in mind that they were from a nomadic lifestyle. They were to battle established and well-trained armies. The thought of it is quite suicidal. But they had the greatest weapon in their arsenal: Almighty God Himself. He told them through Moses, their leader, that “He Himself would fight for them”. And He did just that.

Think about it for a moment. A group of nomads come from nowhere and wipe out an entire nation. God gave them His word. No man could stand against them. No army. No foe. No power. Nothing could stop them.

And that God has not changed one bit. He is the same powerful God that changed the entire course of history. He is the same one who promised His beloved nation of Israel something, and they got it no matter how impossible it looked in the eyes of man.

What troubles do you have that He can’t conquer?

He wants to love you

Posted in Christian, Faith, God, Inspiration, Jesus, poetry with tags , , , , , , , on May 21, 2012 by 254chronicles

When you are moody and do not want to be around anyone, He wants your company.

When you feel alone, like no one cares for or loves you, He asks if the birds of the air never store food yet never go hungry, don’t you wonder how much more valuable you are?

When your speech is full of self-pity and negativity, He still wants to listen.

When all things you want are beyond your reach and you are tired of trying, He says seek my kingdom first, and I will add all these things.

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When the mirror just shakes its head and says “you’re not going anywhere looking like that”, He reminds you that He made you in His glorious image.

When they all look better, stronger, more capable and you just don’t have it together, He tells you His plans are to prosper you.

When you are afraid, confused, overwhelmed, anxious, and do not know what to do, He says do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation present your requests to me, and my peace will guard your heart and mind.

Lastly, when you can’t see Him, can’t feel Him, don’t believe in Him, but need Him, He gently whispers, I will never leave you or forsake you.

Bless His Holy Name. 🙂

The Corinthians : My Take

Posted in Bible, Bible Study, Christian, Christianity, God, Love, Religion, St. Paul with tags , , , , , , , on January 9, 2012 by 254chronicles

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A couple of notes on both St. Paul’s letters to the Corinthian churches.

The books made me appreciate St. Paul all the more, and missionaries as a whole. It is a decision, and a big one at that, to give one’s whole life and being to the gospel. Everything about him was his mission. He had the members of the church on his mind and in his prayers always. He desired, with every fibre of his being, for them to grow in the faith. He gave his time and energy to ensure their growth. He toiled day and night, faced hunger, imprisonment, rejection by society and even death threats for the sake of the cause. He was constantly concerned about them. It is because of people like him, because of their sacrifice, dedication and deep devotion to missions that we even have the gospel today. Salute!
The books also made the Bible feel a bit more like something I could relate to. St. Paul speaks of the evils that bedevilled the young church (no pun intended), such as their division over their leaders and sexual immorality. These are very human traits that we can all relate to. He listened to and observed their shortcomings and guided them into a solution. He urged them to walk in the Spirit and to love one another as they grew in the faith.
And now, a sample of St. Paul’s greatest teachings found in these two books:

1 Generosity
(Ref. 2 Cor 8:15, 9:7,9)
St. Paul placed a lot of emphasis on giving, especially to the poor, for the sake of
equity in society. “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the
one who gathered little did not have too little.” Just as important as giving, he
pointed out, is the condition of the heart while doing so. One ought to give
according to their own judgement, for the Lord loves a cheerful giver.

2 Love
(Ref. 1 Cor 13)
This well known chapter gives a description about what love is. It’s a pretty good
yardstick to test oneself with…
” Love is patient, love is kind….”
” Am I patient? Am I kind? ”
It also describes God’s personality, as He is love. (1 Jn 4:16)

3 God’s Grace
(Ref. 2 Cor 12:9)
A comforting scripture this one. St. Paul was speaking about boasting. To quote
his words, ” Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I
would be speaking the truth. But refrain, so no one will think more of me than is
warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great
revelations.” 2 Cor 12: 6-7 (NIV)
He goes on to say, ” Therefore, in order to keep me from being conceited, I was
given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 3 times I
pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, ” My grace is
sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will
boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest
in me.” 2 Cor 12:7-9 (NIV)
God’s assurance to all His children of His knowledge of our weaknesses, and His
power, ability and willingness to be our strength in those moments. Bless His Holy
name.

Bottom-line:

” … if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it
as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand
the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. ”

Proverbs 2: 3-5 (NIV)

God bless!
Over & out.

I ASPIRE TO BE LIKE…

Posted in Christian, Inspiration, Women with tags , , on July 6, 2011 by 254chronicles

… Mrs. Proverbs 31. She has no name, neither is her husband known. Her age is a mystery, just like her background. But what we are told concerning her is what really matters.

You see, deep down inside, I know each one of us has something they want to live up to or someone they want to be like. That deep-seated desire so strong that it at times scares the living daylights out of us. That is who/what Mrs. Proverbs 31 is to me.

I am a young woman, so, I still have a long way to go in life. Just at the beginning of my tertiary education,but I’m super-charged about living life. I had always been aware of this virtuous lady, but the scripture truly gripped me a few days ago. Since then, I’ve re-read it countless times, with more zeal each time I begin.

To me, she embodies a true woman:

1) A loving wife who makes her husband proud.

2) A homemaker

3) A wonderful mother to her children

   4) A breadwinner

5) A respected member of society

 She is like a well-designed car … beautiful on the outside, powerful on the inside.  

 

 

 

 

There are 8 virtues clearly brought out from Proverbs 31:10-31,(NIV) (in order of appearance), that I believe every woman should nurture:

 1)HONOUR  (vs.10-12)

Wow! Which man can say such words concerning his spouse : ” She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life” … ” He has full confidence in her.”A husband, being possibly the best witness to his wife’s life, uttering such praises concerning her … beautiful!

2)INDUSTRY (vs.13-15,17-19)

This is one hardworking mama! “Her lamp does not go out at night” …” She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family.” I guess with the right inspiration, we can all put in maximum effort to achieve our goals.

       3)DILIGENCE (vs.16)

Now this is truly a secret to success and general personal satisfaction. Not resting till the right work is done well.

4)CHARITY (vs.20)

She remembers the less fortunate in society, both welcoming them and reaching out to them.

5)PREPAREDNESS (vs.21)

Nothing catches her or her family off guard as she is prepared for all situations.

6)WISDOM (vs.26)

She knows her stuff, and knows it well. A good education? Natural curiosity? A good upbringing?

7)ALERTNESS (vs.27)

She knows everything that goes on in her house and is in charge of it all.

8)HONOUR FOR GOD (vs.30)

This I believe is the verse that sums it all up : ” Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

I guess through prayer, God’s grace, hard work and our own initiative, we can all become who/what we aspire to be. I’m happy I’ve found my role model, hope you do too. 🙂

 

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