Saturday, November 30, 2013
Dearly Beloved, JOY TO THE WORLD! THE LORD IS COME “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord’” (Luke 2:10-11 NIV). We are in another Christmas season! It has been a season set apart to commemorate the birth of our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ over two thousand years ago. Undoubtedly, the season is one of the most celebrated seasons throughout the world. Interestingly, there have been many arguments for and against the season. Some say that the season has a pagan origin. Others rightly observe that December 25 could not be the birthday of Jesus Christ. However, most people that celebrate the season devote it to the birth of Jesus Christ. No matter your position about the season, the birth of Jesus Christ was an historical fact, and is worthy of celebration not only during this season, but throughout the year. In 1719, Isaac Watts (1674-1748), also known as the “Father of English Hymnology”, wrote the lyrics of one of the most popular Christmas hymns that explains the reasons of the birth of Jesus Christ. The title of the hymn is “JOY TO THE WORLD! THE LORD IS COME.” Ironically, Watts never intended his hymn for Christmas use. Instead, he simply intended to paraphrase the words of Psalm 98: “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music... Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity” (verses 4-9 NIV). In fact, Watts wrote the lyrics of this hymn as a hymn glorifying Christ’s triumphant return at the end of the age, rather than a song celebrating His first coming. Nevertheless, the hymn is also suitable for His first coming. It is indeed joy to the world that the Lord Jesus Christ has come to make His blessings flow as far as the curse of sin is found. It also is joy to the world that the Lord Jesus Christ will come in the future to rule the world with truth and grace, and make the nations prove the glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love. People of all races should, therefore, rejoice and celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ. However, as you are rejoicing, you should prepare room for Him in your heart. Yes! Prepare room for Him in your heart especially at this Christmas time when so many things can distract you from your faith. Remember Christ’s first coming as a humble King and Saviour. Reflect on the certainty of His return as Judge over all. As you think on these precious truths, you will experience the best feeling of all - the joy of knowing "the Lord is come" into your heart. In His service, Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor). Prayer Point: Pray that you will indeed experience the joy of the coming of Jesus Christ to the world.
Friday, November 29, 2013
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Dearly Beloved, SHOULD CHRISTIANS BE ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN POLITICS? (A Rejoinder) “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17 NKJV). I am so grateful to everyone that reacted to my weekly message last week. Expectedly, some people reacted negatively, but majority reacted positively. Those that reacted negatively have their reasons, though not convincing to me. Out of the responses, some issues were raised that are worthy of note in this rejoinder. One, who is really a Christian? Is one a Christian by birth, name, church attendance, religious services, morality, or genuine personal relationship with Jesus Christ? This has to be clarified. Two, does the fact that Jesus Christ did not actively participate in the politics of His days while on earth make Christians not to do so today? Then, it means Christians should not get married because Jesus Christ did not get married while on earth. Was Jesus Christ not the Leader of His disciples? Three, should we abandon politics to unbelievers because they have spoilt it without making efforts to correct the anomalies in present-day politics? Can we make any meaningful change in politics without active participation? It is a fact that Christians are not of the world, but we are in the world. While we are still in the world, we are to be light and salt of the world (see Matthew 5:13-16). Can we light the darkness of the world by being indifferent to the world? Four, one main tenet of politics is “Majority carries the vote while minority have their say.” Are we Christians content with the ungodly decisions of the majority unbelievers in politics? No wonder, we continue to have our say that does not change anything. Five, what is the purpose of being active in politics? Is it for selfish gain or the common good of the populace and to the glory of God? Apostle Paul admonished that “...whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31 NKJV), “and whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (Colossians 3:23 NKJV). Six, before being actively involved in politics (or even any venture), are you really convinced that God is leading you into it? Christians get corrupted in politics only when they are not following the leadership of the Holy Spirit. From most of the reactions to my message last week, it is affirmative that Christians should be actively involved in politics. However, for people that still have negative or indifferent response, accurate answers to the above questions will make them to have as a rethink to their stance. The fact that one does not have flair for active politics does not mean one must discourage those that feel that God is leading them into it. Besides, each of us has the civic responsibilities of voting for our desired leaders and praying for those in leadership positions. If the world does not know how to do clean politics, Christians that are led by God should boldly come out to show the way. Failure to do so is a sin! In His service, Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor). Prayer Points: 1. Pray for the courage for every Christian that is led to go into politics. 2. Pray for people in government that they will yield to the leadership of God. NB Send your comments/reactions to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. God bless you!
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Dearly Beloved, SHOULD CHRISTIANS BE ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN POLITICS? “Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm” (Daniel 6:3 NKJV). Undoubtedly, my devotional message this week is controversial and I want your candid opinion about this issue: Should Christians be actively involved in politics? My answer is YES. However, two incidents made me decide to raise the issue here. The first incident: I posted a message on my Facebook wall pages and also broadcast the message through the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) that instead of criticizing people in government, we should be praying for them. Some people disagreed with me on this issue. Someone, after he engaged me in a long debate, decided to delete me from his BBM contact list. The argument of people that disagreed with me in praying for those in government is that most of the people in government have disappointed the people they govern. The second incident: there was a discussion in my local church about pressure groups and having dialogue with the government. Part of my contribution to the discussion was that Christian should be actively involved in politics if we Christians want any tangible change in government. Interestingly, the congregation was divided along the line of those who supported my submission and those that did not support it. The argument of those that did not support active participation of Christians in politics is that the Christians will be corrupt by other people in politics. Based on the injunctions of the Holy Bible, apart from submission, we are to be praying for our leaders especially political leaders, even when they are bad leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-3; Romans 13:1-7; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13-17). If Christians refuse to pray for these leaders, probably because they are bad, how will they govern rightly? If “the king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, [and] like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes” (Proverbs 21:1 NKJV), then Christians ought to commit the hearts and the whole lives of government officers to God’s hand for divine leadership. Many people in the Bible were actively involved in the politics of their days and they were not corrupt by it. A classical example is Daniel who distinguished himself above other politicians of his time. Nehemiah, Zerubabel, Ezra, Gamaliel, Joseph of Arimathea, Joseph (son of Jacob in Egypt) and countless kings like David also used their political positions to positively influence the government of their days. If these people were not actively involved in politics then, only God knows what would have happened negatively to people of their time. I will still say affirmatively that Christians should be actively involved in politics if we do not want unbelievers to continue governing us. Politics may be a dirty game, but Christians should go into it and make it clean. However, any Christian that will go into active politics must be sure that God is leading him/her to do so, and he/she must be ready to be there “...to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31 NKJV). Such a person must also be ready to be a light and a salt in the world of politics (see Matthew 5:13-16). For other Christians, “...supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks [should] be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior...” (1 Timothy 2:1-3 NKJV). In His service, Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor). Prayer Points: 1. Pray for the courage for every Christians that are led to go into politics. 2. Pray for people in government that they will yield to the leadership of God. NB Send your comments/reactions to me directly at email@example.com. God bless you!
Friday, November 15, 2013
If you have a tendency to move too quickly or to operate in your own strength and skill, pray for a red light in your spirit. Ask God to let you know when you are moving in your own will rather than in His. It will save you untold heartache! - Bob Gass
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Even though friends can be a help, only Christ can reach beyond our tears and touch the deep hurts of our hearts. His comfort can carry us through the struggles of our lives until that day when God Himself wipes away every tear from our eyes. - Bill Crowder
Monday, November 11, 2013
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Is thanking God your habit? In this Thanksgiving season, do you have reasons to thank God? Thanking God should never be conditional or out of season. As for me, I have countless reasons to thank God and I will always thank Him. God, I thank You! - Bayo Afolaranmi
Saturday, November 9, 2013
Dearly Beloved, WHY THANKING GOD? “Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 AMP). The Yorubas and many other tribes in Africa are fond of saying “Thank God” whenever they are been appreciated for anything they do. I am greatly influenced by this practice and it reflects in my chat with people regardless of who they are. Some people who are not Africans have questioned me more than once why I or they need to thank God for a mere conversation. However, the Holy Bible enjoins us to give thanks to God in everything (see Psalm 34:1; Ephesians 5:20; Philippians 4:6; Colossians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:18; Hebrews 13:15). In fact, most part of the book of Psalms (which is the largest book in the Bible) is full of thanksgiving and praises of God. Have you ever thought why you should thank God? One of the most popular psalms, Psalm 100, gives some reasons why one should thank God. One, He is the LORD God (verse 3a). Two, He is the One that created everything and everybody, and everything and everybody belong to Him (verse 3b). Three, He is good to His creation and His love for them endures from generation to generation (verse 5). Apostle Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 said that thanking God is the will of God for us. Interestingly, as Job demonstrated, thanking God should not be only when things are pleasant. Even, in one’s adversity, one should learn how to thank God. Thanking God in such situation means that one knows that God is above the situation and that our relationship with Him should not be conditional. A careful study of the psalms in the Bible will reveal that in spite of the fact that they are full of thanksgiving and praises of God, most of them were composed in distress. Is thanking God your habit? In this Thanksgiving season, do you have reasons to thank God? Thanking God should never be conditional or out of season. As for me, I have countless reasons to thank God and I will always thank Him. God, I thank You! In His service, Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor). Prayer Point: Pray for a thankful heart that will be thanking God in all situations.
Friday, November 8, 2013
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Monday, November 4, 2013
Sunday, November 3, 2013
What are the things seemingly offered to idols around you? These may not necessarily be meat or food used in shrines, but day-to-day activities that are controversial and that may cause young and weak Christians to stumble. What is your opinion about such things? - Bayo Afolaranmi
Saturday, November 2, 2013
Dearly Beloved, THINGS OFFERED TO IDOLS "Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one" (1 Corinthians 8:4 NKJV). The ancient city of Corinth was a cosmopolitan city. This made the young church in the city to have many socio-cultural problems. Paul had to write many letters to them to address some of the problems that confronted the church. One of such problems addressed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 8 had to do with things offered to idols. These were by and large meat offered in sacrifice, and then either brought for sale in the market, or served up at the feasts held in honour of idols, at their temples, or at the houses of their adherents. Some of the Corinthian Christians were of the opinion that it does not matter to eat such meat especially one bought in market; others opined that it does matter and that it can become a stumbling-block to young Christians. Of most concern was the meat offered to idols and later used to entertain people. Should a Christian partake in such entertainment? Well, to Paul, even the idols are nothing compared to God, the Creator of the universe. The idols are just mere gods. So, eating things offered to idols does not matter. However, because of conscience, especially of the young and weak Christians, one may abstain from eating such things offered to idols. What are the things seemingly offered to idols around you? These may not necessarily be meat or food used in shrines, but day-to-day activities that are controversial and that may cause young and weak Christians to stumble. What is your opinion about such things? Paul later gave this instruction: “‘Everything is permissible’ -- but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible’ -- but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.... So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God?" (1 Corinthians 10:23-32 NIV. Read Romans 14 for Paul's further instruction on this matter). In His service, Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor) Prayer Requests: 1. Lord, do not let me cause others to stumble by my actions and words. 2. Let my actions and words always glorify you, Lord, and build up others around me. NB This message was first sent out on December 4, 2005.
MINISTERING THROUGH BBM by Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor)