MADE ALIVE TO BEAR FRUIT

Numbers 17:5, 8
[5]And it shall come to pass, that the man’s rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom: and I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel, whereby they murmur against you.
[8]And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds.

The unregenerate soul is dead in all his obstinacy. Dead to righteousness but alive unto sin. He is subject to the law of sin and death. Though his flesh may be alive, he still remains a walking dead. Such is the lot of all men who share in the fallen nature of the first Adam- of whose seed we all are; and that which is dead is bereft of life; at least the kind of life that bears fruit unto righteousness. A dead soul is contrary to the Spirit and has no part with him. He is separated and thus removed. The lack of life means a lacking in spiritual productivity because only growth ensures productivity; and where there is no growth one cannot produce.

When that soul comes to Christ Jesus, he receives new life through the regeneration by the Spirit. He is rebirthed and made alive again. No longer subject to and enslaved by the law of sin and death. He now owes allegiance to another. The low of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, which sets him free. He is now alive unto righteousness but dead to sin. As he remains in this new relationship, the newness of life causes growth to manifest. A manifestation which leads to spiritual productivity. All this happens because he is chosen of God.

John 15:16
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

God rather chooses us because we cannot choose him, since we are alienated from him in our fallen state. Only life can give life. Only the way can show the way. Only truth can give truth. Jesus is the the Way, the Truth, and the Life. John 14:6. It is impossible to see God until he chooses to reveal himself to us. His steps can never be traced by the spiritually dead to whom the Light of Truth has not been shown.

In Numbers 17:5,8, God chooses Aaron’s rod from the midst of other rods and effects his work of regeneration upon it, such that that rod from a dead almond branch bursts forth with newness of life, as it lays in front of the Ark of the testimony, in the midst of the others. Just overnight, a branch that was dead, dry and withered becomes alive again even to the extent of bearing fruit. Such is the nature of every man or woman who has no fellowship or relationship with the Giver of Life. We are dead, dry, withered and barren. Sin dries us up, withers us and makes us barren with respect to the fruits of Righteousness. However, the moment grace leads us into the presence of Christ and we are chosen of him, the Spirit gives us new birth instantaneously and sets us on the path of growth and productivity. We are called to be saved and we are saved to bear fruit and that our fruits must remain to be a testimony to those who may doubt or contradict.

From the foregoing text, one realizes that, not only was Aaron’s rod given new life, it encountered also the three stages of fruitbearing that validate the presence of true Life and growth/maturity. It budded, it blossomed and it bore fruit. All three stages are very necessary and hold symbolic meanings for us. What we need to understand first off is that a life that is unproductive is not a life worth living. In farming, whether crops or livestock, the farmers expectation is always that whatever he is committing his time and resources to would yield. He expects to see an increase and so he provides whatever is necessary to ensure this is the case. No farmer puts a seed in the ground, works it, nourishes it, water it, prune it and by the end of the day hopes it just remains as it is. If after all his labour things do not pay off, he cuts is down and it is fed to the flames to be burned. If men do not expect any less, God doesn’t either. His Word ignites the fire of regeneration, transforming the nonliving into living, leading to maturity marked by our ability to bear fruit or to bring forth spiritual yield. (John 6:63).

We shall now consider the three stages of fruit bearing which is a mark of maturity. Before then, we must understand that fruit bearing in the Lord ought to be instantaneous and purposeful, just like the budding rod of Aaron’s almond branch. It was an overnight success, picturesque of the transformative power of the Holy Spirit. . The quality and quantum develops over time as the new believer experiences more growth. The quality in this regard has to do with the fact that with time, this becomes fully a new nature to us because by means of continually exercising ourselves unto godliness, we no longer have to struggle with it. Fruit bearing comes natural to us without a forethought. Verse 8 of Numbers 17 says:

And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds.

By the way, the biblical significance of the almond plant is RESURRECTION, because it is the first plant to bloom.

THE BIDDING STAGE
Budding is the first stage of fruit production. Without it, a plant has no hope of bearing fruit. It is that which gives the farmer reasons to believe his toil is yielding results. It is never enough that the leaves are green, fresh and alive. That indeed shows signs of life but hardly a readiness to bear fruit. Though God is interested in the believer possessing his life within him, his delight actually emanates from his preparedness to bear fruit. Not just any fruit. Worthy fruit. Fruit befitting the true life he has received of the Lord. Anything apart from that and the tree(believer) is deserving of nothing save a curse and a death as we read in Mark 11:12-14, 20-21. The fig tree was green, lush and alive, possessing every quality of a fruit bearing tree, even though it wasn’t yet its time. However, Christ was not moved by those superficial appearances of maturity that only served as a veneer of fruitfulness veiling of the actual state emptiness and barrenness. He cursed it because its outward show of pomp and glory was nothing but deceptive. It only had a form of godliness but denied the power thereof. (2Timothy 3:5). After regeneration, or new birth, the believer has to be transformed. This transformation, like the budding of a plant, is what testifies of his readiness to conform and live by the dictates of the new life he has received. You can see it in the light of repentance and renunciation. Out with the old, in with the new. In 2Corinthians 4:2 Paul writes:

But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

In Ephesians he writes:

Ephesians 5:7-11
[7]Be not ye therefore partakers with them.
[8]For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
[9](For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
[10]Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
[11]And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

If budding in a plant proves the plant has a chance and readiness to be fruitful, then transformation in a believer is also a sign that he is ready to live a productive life. Buds are not only seen by the farmer but also to all around who will have a cause to rejoice with the farmer for his hard work. In the same vein, a believer’s transformation, though worked by God is a confirmation of a new birth to God and a testimony to to all around which results in praises to him on his account.

THE BLOSSOMING STAGE
The second stage of fruit bearing is the blossoming stage . It symbolizes another important part of maturity. It is the time when plants produce flowers. Flowers are significant for many reasons. Most importantly are their ability to appeal to the senses of sight and smell. As their bright petals dazzle the eyes with natures physical beauty, their sweet smells fills the air working their wonders over our senses of smell. These two qualities of flowers attracts both insects, other animals and humans to advance the process of pollination. To humans, flowers are very useful for ornamentation, to show affection, for medicinal and cosmetic use as well us to freshen up the air. As the believer buds, which is a more or less an internalization of the transformative work of the Holy Spirit, the blossoming externalizes the change which has taken place within for the rest of the world to see. As they see its beauty, and get the sweet smell of its righteous and holy aroma, they are attracted to it.

In 2Corinthians 2:15-16 we read:

For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?

The old adage has it that, actions speak louder than words. As much as it is important to reach the World with the gospel message, we can reach them better through our good works, which actually validate whatever message we preach. Jesus said. let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16). Paul in 2Corinthians 3 writes;

2 Corinthians 3:2-3
Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

The believer’s life is not unto him alone but to all men. It should be lived like a city set on a hill which cannot be hidden.

THE FRUIT STAGE
This is where there is a true manifestation of the original purpose is seen. An evidence of the actual expected results. Reminding ourselves of Jesus’ words in John 15:16 where he tells that he has both chosen and ordained us such that we should bear fruit and the fruit we bear should remain. This is the ultimate end. The two previous stages, necessary as they are are but means to this end. Since fruits are for nourishment, likewise the believer’s fruits that he brings should nourish(edify) others just as he himself is nourished by them. His fruits of righteousness ought to bless all those who come into contact with him. The fruits should be good enough to strengthen, comfort, encourage, guide, nurture etc etc. Jesus was famished, and seeing the fig tree with its boughs sought for some nourishment thereon, but finding none cursed it such that it died, so also are we to bear fruit to nourish the spiritually and physically famished.

Jesus said to Peter, if thou lovest me, feed my sheep. How do you feed without having nothing to feed them with?

Just as God chose Aaron’s rod and caused it to burst forth with life, to Bud, blossom and bear fruit to be a testimony. By this he vindicated Aaron and authenticated his office. We, each and everyone of us, can be used by God to that same effect. The life we have received must be utilized to a profitable end for the sake of the kingdom. Once we were dead to sin. Now have we been made alive unto righteousness so that we can bear fruit onto the same. Fruits that arise out of a holy seed and untainted by the corruption of this world.

FREE SLAVES!

God is not interested in your status whether as a slave or a Prince.

He is only interested in your relationship with him, and how circumcised your heart is before him.

For as much as we all who have been received unto Christ the Son are made free by him, we have still being made slaves unto righteousness that leads to salvation in Christ Jesus, the Lord.

We are FREE SLAVES, you and I.

This is one oxymoronic situation in Scripture, in which you are both free and a servant.

John 8:36
[36]If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Romans 6:15-23
[15]What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
[16]Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
[17]But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
[18]Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
[19]I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
[20]For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
[21]What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
[22]But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
[23]For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Son of God frees us from bondage to sin and death and makes us slave to righteousness and eternal life

Good morning : Jesus is Lord.

ONLY BELIEVE!

Mark 9:20-24
[20]And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.
[21]And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child.
[22]And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.
[23]Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
[24]And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

I have often heard said by some members of the medical fraternity that, much of the success recorded in the history of medical practice by way of treating and bringing healing to the sick is not so much as to what the doctors do themselves or the drugs administered. Of course both do their part, most of the time to a much greater extent, in the expected end results of relieving the pain and ailments of people who visit them. The part, however, that cannot be overlooked is the one played by the patients themselves. That part in simple terms is the faith that patients place in their doctors; the unwavering trust in the treatments provided; and the confidence in the drugs administered to them all contribute in effecting the healing.

Doctors are equipped with knowledge and skill to bring healing to people. That is what they spend all those years in school training to do; but the ease with which they carry out those duties depends to some extent on how much assurance and confidence that their patients place in the overall service rendered. Anxiety, worry and emotional stress all are antithetical to good health and the pursuit of it. Perhaps it is for this reason why doctors are given training in psychology and counseling so that by first dealing with the psychosomatic aspect of the patient’s illness, the way will be cleared to deal with the actual disease itself within the stipulated time frame as well as cater for whatever complications that may arise as a result of mental and emotional “instability”. If a man is exactly what his state of mind is, as well as corresponding to his emotional disposition within any specified time period then I believe it is safe to say that true healing begins with the mind.

Faith can and does wonders; even when it involves an Omnipotent God, whose absolute power is not limited or hindered by anything a puny human will or can do. He is the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for him? (Jeremiah 32:27, Matthew 19:26). Is there anything that is impossible for him to do? Is there a dark corner that he cannot illuminate or a difficult situation that he cannot turn around? Certainly not. He created everything, both seen and unseen by the power of his Word and by that same power he upholds and sustains all things to keep them operating in their proper order. The weakness of God is much much much stronger than men at their collective best. It must be noted, though, that the only thing that is enough to stay God’s miraculous hand is our lack of faith and unbelief. Needless to say, God is never dispossessed or robbed of his power on account of man’s unbelief, just like a patient’s lack of confidence does not equate incapability on the part of a doctor. What it does is create a barrier that God by himself will never cross until we are willing to tear them down to grant him access and passage to us.

Doubt and unbelief are like putting up a crime scene perimeter with a crime scene tape. What the tape does is denies entrance to people whose expertise do not match up to the problem at hand. In effect, our doubts and unbelief become tapes that tell God that we are dealing with a problem to which his expertise do not match up. Unbelief magnifies our problems and belittles God’s power. (Matthew 13:58) We need also to understand, that God will not work where his power is belittled.

In the Gospel of Mark chapter 9, Jesus takes up Peter, James and John to a secluded place on the mountain top to give them a brief heavenly treat on earth. While up there with his inner circle of friends, the remaining nine disciples waited at the foot of the mountain. In the absence of their Master comes to them a father with his epileptic son who is also under a strong demonic influence, that they may heal and deliver the child from the foul spirit that afflicts him both spiritually and physically. Try as they may, they couldn’t. The situation only seemed to be getting worse. What a troubling and heartbreaking state of affairs this naturally may have been for the loving father, whose only desire at that point in time was to see his helpless child made whole and set free. One can only imagine how much of his resources and time may have been taxed by this debilitating situation afflicted upon his child by that evil spirit, with its physical repercussions to such an extent that he has been rendered dumb. The bewilderment, pandemonium and commotion that may have ensued amidst the disappointment glaringly stared all in the face who stood there witnessing events as they unfolded. The heart wrenching grief in the loving father’s face, the sad countenances of the sympathetic folks of the collected crowd, and the stares of the disappointed others looking for juicy tales to take home with a buzz was all too apparent.

When it seemed like all hope was gone, up the mountain Jesus is beheld making his way down followed by his three disciples. Jesus himself sees his disciples in a back and forth with the scribes. As they see him, they all run in his direction to meet him. He then inquires as to the reason for the ruckus; which opportunity offered the father seizes upon to narrate his ordeal. In verse 19, Jesus’ first response was to address their faithlessness and unbelief. He then asks for the child to be brought to him. After further consultation with the father, he implores Jesus to be compassionate and help him if he could. To this Jesus replies:

If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

After these things, Jesus took the child, rebuked the evil spirit and it left the child with a loud and violent cry.

from the foregoing, it becomes clearly evident that it isn’t so much with the difficult situations we may be faced with but more to do with our attitude at getting them addressed. Faith is always the key that opens doors to the naturally and logically impossible. It is the scissors that cuts the tape and grants entrance to God to the manifestation of his supernatural ways. Jesus first dealt with the actual impediment to the father’s problem by clearing the way of his unbelief before attending to the problem itself. In Matthew 17:20 we read of the same event:

And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

So we see that it isn’t so much about the mountain but that faith that can move the mountain. Much of the believer’s frustrations are directly linked to his faithlessness. With faith we apprehend that which is impossible. We open doors and shut the mouths of lions. We walk through storms without getting drowned and through flames without getting scorched. God is more than able and capable to do that which we ask of him. He only asks that we do not keep him out with doubting and unbelief. Unbelief and doubts make a believer double minded and a double minded person should not expect to receive anything of the Lord.

Only Believe!

#faith #believe # doubt # possible # miracle #power

CHRISTMAS MUSINGS

I always kinda wondered why it was Ham who sinned against his father, Noah, yet it was Canaan his son, a grandson of Noah and his posterity who would bear the curse later of their father’s sin..

As the Jacobites left Goshen for Canaan, God specifically commanded them to utterly wipe out all the inhabitants of the land : men, women and children.

While the pseudo moralists try to throw the genocidal nature of wiping out entire communities in God’s face for sanctioning them, all it takes is a little study to know that it was God’s way of dealing with, once and for all, the bad postdeluvian nephilite and raphite gene pool – beside the moral, physical and spiritual corruption – probably carried over by Ham’s wife: seeing Noah’s gene pool was untainted.

Could that be a reason why Noah waited 500years before having children, perhaps after God had warned him of the impending cataclysmic event?! Not finding a genetically suitable female to breed with?!

Moses in his Torah makes mention of giants being in the land before and after the flood. Plausibly, the latter being genetically descended from the former through one of Noah’s daughters in law. It was these giants who occupied Canaan prior to the going forth of the Jewish nation.

One issue I also had to ponder was why the Bible claims God wiped away the entire human population – including the hybrid humans(nephilim and raphaim), preserving only Noah, his wife, children and their wives. So how come they resurfaced again only to occupy the parcel of land bequeathed to Abraham and his descendants. Well, the answer lies in GENETICS.

And when God made a promise to Abraham that his seed will dwell in the promised land after a 4-century sojourn on foreign soil, Satan perhaps thought he had a 400year window to lay up a minefield,

Boy, were those Canaanites setting themselves up for a major beatdown. God’s patience with them was working towards a purposeful end ie cleansing the human race of those hybrid gene pool.

Of course, the disobedient Jews would not obey the commandment to the letter and left out pockets of the inhabitants. Of their lot were Og of Bashan and Goliath the Philistine – both giants.

Notice the name Palestine is the Roman variant of Philistia. there’s also enough reason to believe the communities that Israel failed to wipe out are present day Golan, West Bank and Gaza. The inhabitants though are not of the nephilim race but nonetheless still a thorn in Israel’s flesh.

It is kinda interesting how all of these play out.

VEXATION OF THE RIGHTEOUS BY THE WICKED

2 Peter 2:4-8
[4]For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
[5]And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
[6]And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;
[7]And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:
[8](For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)

We live in a very dark and dangerous generation. A generation in which the cause and effect of moral corruption is all so apparent. Even more dangerous is the fact that the more corrupt and filthy society gets, the more impervious and unresponsive society’s moral barometer gets. You may want to call it the COSMIC ACCLIMATIZATION – becoming so much used to certain situations and behaviors that they can no longer elicit the responses that they used to sometime ago.

Some decades back, it would seem utterly unthinkable for a movie to feature a scene which captured a couple’s bedroom, legitimate or otherwise, and the things that went on in there. We moved past that and came to a point where it was OK for a scene to feature a bedroom so long as the “owners” were not seen together in bed. From there we got to the part where they could be in bed but fully clad and still covered with a ‘yuge’ blanket. As predictable as the Pandora’s box is, in the sense that it never stops giving, the situation evolved to a point where “married actors” can now go stark naked and engage in illicit behaviours all for the sake of entertainment. .

As is consistent with human nature, the voices of criticism grew louder but only to be drowned, soon after, by the louder voices of counter criticism in defense of professionalism and realistic portrayal of ideas – true or fiction. Today, it is no longer what is seen in movies, accessible only through the power of choice. Whatever used to be done in secret and was once thought shameful is now offered freely in public, and whether or not you choose to behold such unsightly scenes is beside the point. Whether or not you agree to it or feel comfortable about it is a none issue. The expected response?! Show open or silent support, be indifferent or at least pretend to remain so. Anything to the contrary and be ready to be lectured in political correctness – a highly efficient strategy employed to silence dissent or debate. Tolerance, rights, consenting adults, nobody’s business, acceptance, to mention but a few get daily rimmed down our throats by the social justice warriors. What is the excuse?! ENLIGHTENMENT. Sadly and reprehensibly enough, the post modern form of enlightenment has become synonymous with a dead conscience. For how can we make a value assessment of ourselves and judge our consciences to be alive if we cannot detect, discern and openly critique that which the bible clearly calls SIN. Today, it is no longer the movie industry. The decadence runs amok through the news media, the music industry and even the books we read. They all have something to offer in this endless thought binding business.

Where am I getting to with all this?!

Well not too long ago, as I scrolled down my Facebook page I happened to come across a post which at its basic seemed to be advocating, subtly, for 16year olds to be allowed to purchase condoms <a href = ” https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2072526672785850&id=100000856130450&#8243; >here<a/>
without judging them as is done in many advanced countries. The argument was that it could be a means to curbing the HIV/AIDS menace. Beside that the author also went ahead to express her disdain for those who would be tempted to take the moral high ground, implying that they had no right to be casting stones when they themselves are not without fault. Interestingly and funny enough, the author uses her freedom of expression to agree with such reprobation spared no efforts in using that same freedom to stifle the rights of other to dissent. As she calls on others not to judge people because they disagree with them, she herself was quick to judge those who would not side with her line of thinking. That is what you call using freedom to suppress freedom. Who would have thought the vehicle of social justice only plied a one-way route. You can be offended but woe be unto you to want to return the favour, irrespective of how civil you may want to approach it.

Later on, I came across another post, the very same that would later inform this opinion of mine <a href = “https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2215909478419128&id=100000002934600&#8243; >here</a>. In that post too the author claims to have witnessed a public incident which under natural circumstances should have enraged the inner man enough to elicit a physical response but he refused in his own words:

” I simply don’t care and tickled even if they go naked and do all they so wish! I will just enjoy the acts optically and go my way! It doesn’t take anything from me!”.

Of course, what two consenting adults choose to do behind closed doors or even in public view should be of little or no concern to anybody else, the caveat always being that – so long as it doesn’t affect you in any way or form.

My response to this was as follows:

ᴡᴇ ʙᴇᴄᴏᴍᴇ ᴜsᴇғᴜʟ ᴛᴏᴏʟs ᴛᴏ ᴡʜᴀᴛᴇᴠᴇʀ sᴏᴄɪᴀʟ ᴀʟɢᴏʀɪᴛʜᴍs ᴡᴇ ᴀʟʟᴏᴡ ᴏᴜʀsᴇʟᴠᴇs ᴛᴏ ʙᴇ ᴘʀᴏɢʀᴀᴍᴍᴇᴅ ᴡɪᴛʜ, ᴡʜɪᴄʜ ɪɴ ᴇғғᴇᴄᴛ ᴅᴇᴛᴇʀᴍɪɴᴇs ᴏᴜʀ ʀᴇsᴘᴏɴsɪᴠᴇɴᴇss ᴛᴏ sɪᴛᴜᴀᴛɪᴏɴs ᴀs ᴡᴇ ᴇɴᴄᴏᴜɴᴛᴇʀ ᴛʜᴇᴍ.

ʟᴏᴏᴏᴏᴏᴏʟ😂😂😂😂😂

Living in a world where truth is relative and morality is subjective – where you dare not claim absolutes in either one or both, it becomes a stretch of credulity to expect any better from the most rational of God’s creation under such circumstances. Everything is now to be viewed from a humanistic point of view. Tools are we all, useful only to the algorithms we permit ourselves to be programmed with. Hence, what to respond to, when to respond to it and how to respond to it is determined by those social algorithms. Whatever the response, it is best kept to yourself. Don’t use what you choose to believe to judge what I choose to believe or condone. That is the basic line of reasoning. These indeed are dangerous times.

The question that begs asking, though, is: is it really true that whatever consenting adults do does not affect us; even if physically? Should we sit aloof as the old ‘no harm no foul’ mantra is weaponized and employed to undesirable ends? Well, as believers, since we agree to and accept that our absolutes in both truth and morality do not stem from humanistic or subjective worldviews fed to us by the binary systems of the world, it becomes highly necessary that we turn to our only Source – God – for answers when faced with such situations, for he alone is Light and Truth. According to 2Peter 2:7-8, the soul of the righteous is vexed with the filthy conversations of the wicked, no matter how remote we may think or perceive them. Two Greek words translate the English word vex.

In verse 7, kataponeõ and basanizõ in verse 8 both connote to labour down with, to wear with toil, to harass, to oppress, torment with pain. Physically we may feel impervious to them but the soul which is always connected with the mind and conscience is tortured constantly as we interact daily with the vile conversations and manner of behaviour of the wicked. This, I honestly believe should be enough motivation to generate appropriate godly responses in thought, in speech and by way of deed. Acclimatizing with the standards and order of this fallen world should be luxuries we must never be willing to afford. They should cause a tickling enough to move us to shake ourselves and react to them instantaneously, seeking to restore order where there is chaos and to shine the light of truth where the darkness of lies seek to engulf. We can never and should never feel at home with them. We must openly and unequivocally resist and oppose them as though our very existence depended on them. It is what we have been called to do, both as light and salt of this world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid and when salt can no longer season, it is cast away and trodden under foot. It is morally wrong to sit adamantly on the fence of nonchalance cooled by the breeze of apathy. Both Noah and Lot being righteous were daily vexed with the wickedness around them. Perhaps this virulent vexation of the soul contributed to Lot losing his wife. No one knows for sure.

Yet, if the torment meted out to the soul is not motivation enough to propel believers to godly action, at least the mere thought of being likened to those who have their conscience seared with a hot iron should be frightening enough. 1Timothy 4:2. The purpose of searing is to burn or damage with sudden but intense heat. Of what good is a burned or damaged conscience to a believer? It ceases to function. Imagine if a pilot or sailor were to encounter dysfunctions in their navigational compasses. The results could be catastrophic. The conscience is a compass. Through sin and disobedience it died. By the Spirit of God, it has received a fresh reanimation. The more it is exercised along the lines of godliness, truth and righteousness the more active it remains. Indifference and apathy can easily get it deactivated all over again. This can be self inflicted or permitted Those who have active conscience cannot remain unconcerned about the rot that surrounds us.

We cannot change the world. We can however show it the right way. We cannot eliminate the darkness. We can however illuminate it for those trapped in it, haply, the path to truth, life and righteousness may be revealed to them also. None of these can be achieved by remaining quiet. Like Noah before the deluge and Lot in Sodom and Gomorrah we can be the voice that warns of the impeding judgement. Yet we have a more glorious and sublime : the ministry of reconciliation.

#vexed #conscience #soul #compass # morality #truth #seared #torment #sodom #gomorrah #Lot #Noah

WOE! WOE!! WOE!!!

Isaiah 30:1-3
[1]Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin:
[2]That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt!
[3]Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion.

Are you a self professing believer who takes counsel or advise but that is not of the Lord, the Lord calls you a rebellious child. Do you take a covering that is not provided by the Spirit of God; the Lord calls you a rebellious child. Do you take pride in your strength, money, wealth, intelligence, academic laurels, your beauty or the provisions of men; the Lord calls you rebellious, and onto such he says: Woe! Woe onto you because their counsel is futile. Woe unto you because their covering will not stand against the flaming fire of the Lord’s anger. In the day of his fury the hand of Pharaoh shall fail and his armies and chariots will fall as his anger burns.

Why? Because all these things are of the world and do not profit. They have no gain for the sons of God because they are of the darkness. Spiritually and symbolically, Egypt represents the world. Our advise should not come from the world or those who are a part of it – for if any man is of the world, he has not the love of God in him. Your security should not be reflective of the counsel of godlessness, for these offer false assurances. False hope.

You cannot have a share in the world and its pleasures and also be a partaker of the heavenly blessing. As children of God, he is our councillor, our covering and it is in him alone that we should take pride. He is Providence because he is our cosmic provider. Bible says, cursed is anyone who puts his trust in man; or makes the flesh his arm. Those who trust in all these things or take pride in them are already under a curse. It is the man whose Help is the God of Israel who is called a BLESSING.

In God is our blessing and he alone is our strength and glory. Vrs 3 of Isaiah 30, it says, and the strength of Pharaoh shall be our shame. Pharaoh is the king of Egypt, representing the world and sin. Trusting in the world and sin will be our shame. The Hebrew word translated ‘shame’ here can also mean an ‘idol’. When we trust in the world and its pleasures they become idols onto us. Scripture has shown countlessly how abhorrent God sees idols and those who practice idolatry. Idolatry is an act of rebellion and has always been an abomination before God. Idols only tend to depose God in order to take his place in our lives.

Many nations and people have met their ruin due to idols. They are detestable things before God as they seek to take his place in our lives. They tend to compete with him for our attention. God’s jealousy burns against those who delight in idols. He says, you shall have no other gods beside me. That is why all who worshipped any other god(s) in OT times were to be literally destroyed.

God wants to be the only One we have in our lives and the only One we turn to for absolutely everything. He is our Creator, Father, Saviour, Provider, Security. He has that right over us; more than any secondary thing. Our trust should be in him only. Trust in the world(Egypt) and its pleasures(Pharaoh) will lead to our confusion.

As we give ourselves to these idols, we disgrace and dishonor ourselves. We were not created nor saved to be disgraced nor dishonored. He has not called us into disgrace; but rather unto an exceeding glory.

The world has nothing good to offer a child of God, for friendship with it is enmity with God. Let us lift up our eyes to the hills, there we find the Lord of Host, Creator of heaven and earth, from whom our help comes. His counsel is more satisfying and profitable, his covering is more assuring. In his right hand are good pleasures forever more.

PRAYER
Lord of all flesh, sustainer of life, if we run from your face, to whom shall we go. Their advise leads to confusion and their covering is for but a season. The pleasures of the world bring only disgrace. The idols only bring us shame.

Merciful God, teach us to trust in you. Teach us to depend only on you. In you is our satisfaction. In you is our fulfilment. In you is our protection. You never run short of any good thing.

You called us onto an exceeding glory. Keep us in that glory in, even us we fix our eyes on you. Thank you, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

James 4:4, 1John 2:15-17, Jer 17:5, Psalm 16:11, 2Thes 2:14

#security #hope #idols #idolatry #glory #depend #evil #counsel #strength #pharaoh #egypt #sin #rebellion #pleasure

SHOWING FORTH HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS

Psalms 71:15
[15]My mouth shall shew forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers thereof.

Our God is a righteous God. Righteous is his Name. His thoughts, his ways, and his deeds are righteous. From the very beginning, even before time itself, righteousness laid in his bosom. To be righteous is to be declared and separated from every shadow of dark ness. There is no darkness or even the shadow of it to be found in our God. God is Good. He is filled with so much goodness that goodness itself emanates from his character like beams of glorious light radiate from the sun to illuminate our solar system and earth. He is so much good that Genesis tells us, from its beginning verses that God looked at all he had created, and behold, it was GOOD.(Genesis 1:31) His goodness manifested in whatever he did. Indeed, righteousness reflects goodness.

It is impossible for God to be unrighteous or commit acts of unrighteousness. His nature, character and persona cannot align with any shades of sin. Scriptures say somewhere, ” far be it from the Almighty that he should commit sin “.(Job 34:10) There is no shadow of turning with him.(James 1:17) The very character of God keeps sin at bay and fulfills the demands of his righteous nature. Is it any wonder, that Adam and Eve would flee his presence as he approached them in Eden in the cool of the day?

In his righteousness he saves us, not because we have earned it upon any grounds, but that his justice and love which found meaning in Christ’s redemptive work on the Cross compels him to. His Justice demands death for the sinner.(Ezekiel 18:20). His love cries out pardon and forgiveness. (John 3:16) This kind of compulsion is not from us but from within himself. He is the source of it, unlike us who reflect his.

The righteous deeds of God are indeed many. Way too many they are beyond human fathom ability.(Psalm 92:5) One of them is the salvation he offers freely to us, of his own volition. God saves us out of his own righteousness. It is of this deed and many more like it that the psalmist enjoins us to show forth with our mouths. We are to constantly tell of his righteous deeds. Perpetually, we are to trumpet his salvation first to ourselves and then to the rest of the world. The Bible says, “let the redeemed of the Lord say so”.(Psalm 107:2) It should be our duty and responsibility to talk about it to others.

To ‘show forth’ means to broadcast it. The basic principle on broadcasting something is for others to hear of it. For how will they know if they are not told, and how shall they tell if there are no preachers. (Romans 10:14) It shouldn’t be a secret that remains hidden within us alone. Others must hear and know of it, whether they want to or not: for whether they are aware of it or ignorant, they too share in these deeds of righteousness. Hence, they deserve to know. And how shall they hear and know, unless we tell them.

WHY ARE WE TO TELL OF HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS
1. Blessings become more profound and meaningful when declared by those who have received and enjoyed it as opposed to those who had given them telling it by themselves. They eventually lose their savor. There is a saying within Christendom that God cannot praise himself. of course he can, for nothing is impossible for him. However, it is those of us who have shared in and have been partakers of his righteous deeds and salvation who are to sing songs of them.(Psalm 34:3-5) The world must hear of them from us. Our lips and tongues must give constant testimonies to them. It will be a mark of injustice and ingratitude on our part to fail in this regard. Injustice because we are mouthpieces to his righteousness for the rest of the world because they too must hear and know. Ingratitude because we failed to acknowledge the righteousness that brought us salvation and made us citizens of his Kingdom.
2. Telling of his righteous deeds and salvation serves as a constant reminder of the nature and character of God. Human as we are, we bare a predilection to wander off sometimes both in thought and deed. Through our constant telling of his righteousness, daily we are reminded of the nature of the one who has called us. We need to keep ourselves in constant remembrance of his righteousness.
3. God who is righteous has also called us onto the same. We are to walk on righteousness. Righteousness does not lie within our grasp. We can never measure up to the demands imposed on us by God’s righteousness, because “all our righteous deeds are like filthy rags” before him. This is the reality that cannot be denied. He, therefore, declares us also as righteous based on the fact we through faith in Christ have accepted to walk in the righteousness that is offered to us in Christ. Ergo, the more our tongues show forth his righteous deeds, the more we are reminded of them and the more it keeps us on its path.

Telling forth of this righteousness should be a ministry in itself for every believer.

PRAYER
Righteous God and Saviour, Father of all flesh, of whose goodness we have received so great a salvation; salvation that is so marvelous it imputes on us your very nature, to the extent that vile creatures like us deserving only the outpouring of your wrath and judgment are also declared righteous – the very nature which you posses, I am also made to possess. I praise your name this day with a heart full of gratitude.

Merciful Lord, with my heart and mind, I join with David to tell of your righteous deeds, so many they are that the number of them can never be known to me; even your salvation which is gifted to me based on the same. Lord, may my lips and tongue never cease to show forth these deeds. May it be a fountain that never runs dry and may its waters gladden the hearts of all those who hear of it as they come to know of you and of the eternal goodness that pours from your character.

As I revel daily in this holy duty, may it serve as a constant reminder of the very nature that you posses, the nature to which I have been called, to diligently seek to keep to its path, as well as the the salvation that is freely offered as a result, to walk in its assurance.

Thank you, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

#speak #showforth #tell #righteousness #broadcast #preach # evangelize #salvation

PROVE ME

Judges 3:1-2
[1]Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to prove Israel by them, even as many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan;
[2]Only that the generations of the children of Israel might know, to teach them war, at the least such as before knew nothing thereof;

When God brought out Israel, by their thousands out of the land of Egypt, he made them a solemn promise. He God was going to route out their enemies from before them, take them by the hand, until they came upon a land flowing with milk and honey. That was God’s promise and he was going to fulfil it. He gave them an example by drowning Pharaoh and his armies at the red sea.

Israel was a new nation, like a child birthed in chaotic and perilous times. His birth was such a dramatic one. for most part of their lives, they had suffered and endured oppression and maltreatment at the hands of their masters, the Egyptians upon whose land they reside. Pain was nothing new to them, for Pharaoh’s cord of oppression and abuse was but a daily reminder.

However, being a new nation, the harsh realities of wars and learning to survive as an independent people and nation was unbeknownst to them. Though oppressed and suppressed in Egypt, they still enjoyed Egyptian sovereign protection. Now they were alone, unskilled and vulnerable in a strange land with strange and powerful inhabitants, at least physically and humanly speaking.

After forty years of journeying through the wilderness, God had kept his word, and finally settled them in the Land the flows with milk and honey. Every enemy that stood to oppose them, God had laid to waste. Every obstacle He has removed. Now Israel is free and settled. Now Israel is a nation with his own custom and culture and system of governance; but Israel still needed to stand on his own and learn to do certain things by himself to ensure the survival of this new nation.

Of course, God was always with them and behind them, but Israel needed to take up some of the responsibilities, as God always does with those who he chooses, viz;
1. Israel needed to prove their obedience to, faithfulness to, trust in and their total reliance on the Providence of the God of their fathers; Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
2. As a nation, Israel needed to learn to physically stand on their own feet, fight for and defend themselves against every enemy. Spiritually, their enemies were taken care off. However, as regarding their physical battles, part of the responsibilities was theirs.

And so God would not touch all the enemy nations around them ahead of time. He left some alone, for these very reasons until the appointed time, first to prove/test them, and two to help them stand on their own two feet by learning to fight to defend themselves. Those remaining nations were to serve that purpose. God could sweep them away with a single breath of his mouth but wouldn’t. Israel needed to learn to survive. God would fight for them but would do so by their own hand. As he says, “he teaches my hand to war, and my fingers to do battle”. The other thing is, should these nations arise upon them, will Israel trust in their God? Would they obey him if gave them a command concerning these nations. Would they be faithful if they enticed them to go against God and to sin? Israel on the promised land needed to prove themselves.

MORAL
There are certain battles and obstacles in your life that God will never ever touch or remove from your life; not that they are beyond his capability or that he doesn’t care but perhaps he is using them to prove your loyalty and obedience, or by them training you to stand for yourself in all situations.

God expects us to be able to do certain things and take up certain initiatives by ourselves like able and capable children who by the Spirit have come to possess the fullness of their Father, to whom belong all power, wisdom, might, knowledge and glory. Corinthians tells us all things work together for our good. By ‘all’ he means ALL – the good, bad and ugly. They are all meant for our good. Just as we delight in meeting good times, we shouldn’t shun them when the difficult times are upon us. Rather, we should seek to understand why God has allowed them into our lives. Is God trying to prove us or using them to strengthen us for what is to come so that we can face them with all boldness knowing that the Lord still stands behind us like a mighty warrior.

PRAYER
Dear Father, I thank you for your word this morning. Human as we are, we never get used to difficult times and hardships, even though it is all that the world has to offer for them that are in you. By your Word I know that sometimes you employ them either to prove my loyalty to you or teach me how to make war with the elements that seek to oppose and overcome me. Dear Lord, give me a proper understanding of these matters, that I shall face them with much gladness; knowing fully well and resting in the assurance that you have already won the battle. I have but only to walk in assurance of that victory.

Thank you in Jesus’ name for answering my prayer. Amen!

ARMED STRONG MAN

Luke 11:21
[21]When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:

Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.
The foregoing piece of scripture is one that is known to many and can quite be quoted extempore by most who may have heard it being used and may be quite familiar with it.(Matthew 12:29)

It has assumed a highly functional usage in intercessory prayer. At our church, whenever we engage the enemy in a go-on-the-offensive warfare kind of prayer, this text is mostly used. It is widely known to every member of the prayer team. I have used it on several occasions myself in a similar fashion. Quite often, it is Saint Mark’s rendition that is used. Jesus happened to use it in a scathing rebuke of the Pharisees of his time after they had accused him of casting out devils and effecting healing by the power of Beelzebub, when they got wind of news that he had healed a blind and dumb man who was possessed of a devil.

I personally have always been of the impression, without actually going into the technicalities of the passage, and I am quite confident it is the same with many who have known and used it, that the only reasonable explanation for none being able to overcome the strong man and despoil him of his goods was by virtue of the fact that he was strong. It is easy to presume that, being a strong man, he possessed the will and physical power to oppose and resist any who dared to assail him, unless his assailant had the ability that supersedes his strength, by which he’ll be able to subdue him and make away with his goods. It is that which Jesus was alluding to – the situation of one possessing a higher power to be able to overcome the strong man.

Well, that was until I came across Luke 11:2 – which happens to be the focus of this brief exposition – and spent some time pondering it in order to catch the revelation it is meant to send out to the believer. By just looking at the wording, one might be lured into taking a nominal approach to understanding its full import to the neglect of the hidden treasures therein contained. All three Gospel writers seem to give an account of a similar situation and event. Matthew and Mark, though, were direct witnesses to this fateful episode involving Jesus and the Pharisees. However, Luke, who reported it without having to be a direct witness, gave a strikingly different version even though it references the same event that Matthew and Mark talk about. Not different in the sense as to portray the episode with a different shape or form. Most certainly not. The discrepancy only lies in the verbiage. That notwithstanding, it is very easy to overlook the difference. I do wonder just how many believers are aware of the connection between the three.

In both Matthew and Mark, Jesus merely talks about a strong man who, if he should be overpowered, will be tied down and his goods carried away by he who subdues him. In Luke’s account, that same sentence takes a different structure. Whereas both Matthew and Mark fuse about three individual clauses into a string of one complex sentence that portrays an open possibility, Luke’s version mirrors a contingent impossibility by detaching the last clause of the complex sentence used in the two similar passages of Matthew and Mark, giving it a treatment of its own. He, however, retains the first two clauses, forming the compound sentence by which he images the contingent impossibility.

Here is a simplification of this concept:
In both Matthew and Mark, the simple connotation is that a more stronger man can subdue A STRONG MAN, tie him up and make away with his goods. All it takes is one much more stronger.

With Luke he says, if a strong man who is ARMED keeps his palace, his goods are in peace. It becomes impossible to subdue him and despoil him of his substance because he is armed. That is just it. We can worry about the next verse later, but the point is, this verse conveys an intended difficulty based on whether the strong man is also armed or not. That is what I like to term a CONTINGENT IMPOSSIBILITY.

With the former, the possibility is quite open. With the later, the impossibility is conditional: if he is armed – not just being a strong man.

It is obvious the strong man Jesus refers to here is the devil whom Christ has subdued and empowered his followers to overcome if only we will stay in union with him. Be that as it may, there are a lot of lessons to be drawn from this. To maintain our focus as we pursue the main thrust of this exposition here is the passage again:

Luke 11:21
[21]When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:

Christ by his victory over sin and death has empowered the believer and strengthened him through the power of the Holy Spirit who indwells him. At the same time, as for as his true disciples are concerned, the enemy, Satan has been totally stripped of all power and armory. And so for as long as they continue to walk and operate in the spirit they hold the higher ground. The believer is now considered a strong man and is ARMED with the whole armor of God(Ephesians 6) A divine exchange of positions has been effected. As he diligently keeps his palace, his goods are in peace. The enemy who has been weakened can no longer have jurisdiction to overcome him, strip him of his armory and divide his spoils or goods. Those are the perks and privileges he obtains in perpetual union and fellowship with Christ through the Holy Spirit. The moment fellowship with Christ is broken and carnality steps in, he reverts back to his former estate, granting Satan power over him. He now can be subdued, stripped of his armor and his spoils divided.

Here is a little Greek lexicology of the passage in Luke 11:21:

‘armed’ is rendered from the Greek word ‘kathoplizo’.
It means to be fully equiped with armor.

‘palace’ is translated from the Greek word ‘heautou’.
It also means himself, herself, themselves,yourself, ourselves etc.

‘goods’ is translated from ‘huparchonta’ and can mean possessions or substance.

‘peace’ rendered from ‘eirene’ can also mean ‘rest’.

That is:

When a strong man, fully equipped with armor keeps himself, his goods( blessings, favor, grace, anointing, power and every physical possession shall be at rest. Fully unruffled by the enemy who is now weakened).

Thus it is not merely sufficient that he is strong. He should be fully armed as well. We do know that the believer’s armor is not made of material things – for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal( Corinthians 10:4), to warrant the use of carnal weaponry. It is fully spiritual and highly effective. And what better armor to possess than the full armor of God outlined in Ephesians 6.
# the belt of TRUTH
# the breastplate of RIGHTEOUSNESS
# the shoes of the GOSPEL OF PEACE
# the shield of FAITH
# the helmet of SALVATION
# the SWORD of the Spirit

When the believer who is now a strong man is fully armed with these, he becomes impervious to the attacks of the enemy as his weapons are powerless against him. Without the armor he is susceptible to his attacks and risks having his spoils divided or carried away. The times in which we live are challenging, and Satan with his full force is going on the offensive, roaring like a lion, seeking whom he may devour. His purpose and plan is to catch unawares and subdue, haply he may gain access to your blessing, your favor, your finances, marriage, children, career, devotion and commitment to God and his Word, anointing. Therefore, oh believer, be ye strong in the Lord, and standing fully armed, keep yourself that your goods my be in peace.

Also read: Ephesians 6:10

#strong #armor #victory #palace #discipline #spoils # peace #bind # shield #faith #righteousness #sword #overcome #subdue #overpower #disarmed

SOUND SPEECH

Titus 2:1,7-8
[1]But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:
[7]In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,
[8]Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.

It would seem nothing condemns a person more than the words that are spoken by him or her. Perhaps that is owed to the very fact that we spend more time speaking than actually doing. Our thoughts and intents may judge us but not so with our spoken words. They instantaneously condemn us in the eyes of the world. Why because, intents and thoughts are latent. No one can see them except God. They can change any material moment. It is our conscience that deals with them. Words, on the other hand, once spoken cannot be cannot be taken back; and hardly can they be changed once they start taking effect. They are the very things that shape opinions, ideas and worldviews. There are two things which, according to scriptures, outrightly condemn people: rejection of the Son of God, which is quite automatic, and uncomely speech. There may be more, which we may discover even as we commit ourselves to reading and meditating on the Holy Word. These two, however, are most obvious.

It is quite evident through both scriptures and secular society that human actions which have led to the most severest of repercussions for humanity, whether individual or collective, have somewhat been linked to rhetoric or unhealthy speech. Words can build the same way they can tear down or rip apart. Lives have been changed and alliances have been formed, between peoples, families and nations, all based on rhetoric or words. Champions have been brought to heel, families torn apart and many a great nation fallen, also linked to speech. Words or speech do affect us, and they do so in profound ways.

Paul, the greatest apostle, having being persuaded of these things admonished Titus, his beloved son in the Lord, therefore, to SPEAK THINGS THAT BECOME SOUND DOCTRINE. The Greek word translated ‘speak’ in verse 1 of Titus 2 is ‘lalèo’, and it means ‘to say’, ‘to tell, ‘to talk’, ‘to preach’ and ‘to utter’. ‘Become’ in Greek is ‘prepō’ which translates as ‘suitable’, ‘proper’, ‘fit’, ‘right’ and ‘comely’. The word ‘sound’ in this verse was rendered from another Greek lexicon, ‘hugiainō’ which interprets ‘well’, ‘uncorrupt’, ‘safe’, ‘wholesome’, ‘healthy’. From that same inventory of Hellenistic vocabulary, Paul uses the word ‘didaskalia’, herein translated as ‘doctrine’ and can mean ‘teaching’, ‘instruction’, or ‘learning’.

From the above, Paul the Apostle exhorts his beloved son to, in paraphrasing, utter words that are fit or suitable for wholesome, safe, uncorrupt or healthy teaching or instruction. Any Christian worth his salt should be aware of the ramifications of this simple but profound statement. In effect, any word spoken by Titus or speech given by Titus must satisfy three basic rules:
* they must be proper or true or suitable – SUITABILITY (fitting for the occasion)
* healthy or incorrupt – CONDITION
* teach or instruct – FUNCTIONAL
In other words, his words or speech are to be well thought out, purposeful and targeted to bring the desired effect, whether it be sent out to correct, exhort, teach, rebuke etc. Since these things are written to be an example to us, Paul through Titus is by these words also admonishing us to be like minded in our usage of words and speech, lest we be condemned by them in the end. It is therefore the believers sole responsibility to ensure that he threads cautiously with the use of words.

Our words must encourage, bring comfort, restore, exhort, correct, rebuke, motivate as well as straighten those who have strayed their paths. Our speech must build up and not tear down, reconcile but not tear apart, heal and comfort the broken and not worsen their wounds, encourage and not discourage. The rhetoric of the redeemed ought to counsel the confused and bring stillness to every mental or emotional tumult of the weary soul. Those sailing the wild seas of heresy and strange doctrines are to be corrected and those straying from the righteous path are to be rebuked and restored with all meekness.

Why are these necessary? Because by doing them we become a ‘pattern of good works…….in doctrine showing or exemplifying incorruption’; according to verse 7 of Titus 2. By suitable speech or works we become examples of good works, teaching or instructing the world and other believers through our healthy and incorruptible means of communication: use of words. We are like a written letter, open and read by all, but our actions can be pretentious sometimes. Our words, however, easily give us away, as they represent most of the times, the very meditations of our hearts. Our mouths give voice to them when they are full to overflowing.

Again, we cannot be condemned or blamed by anyone when our speech is sound, according to the first part of verse 8. As noted earlier, thoughts and intents are hidden from the eyes of the world, and to a large extent are alterable. God uses our conscience to judge and sift through them. Spoken words on the other hand are heard by all and can be irredeemable. It is this irredeemability that leads to their condemning those who use them unwisely. When we employ healthy language or rhetoric, we stay clear of any condemnation and do not bring ourselves and God’s name into disrepute.

Thirdly, when we use good words or speech, we shame those of contrary or negative views so they have nothing evil to say about us. Like it or not, truth bearers can often get patronizing and condescending. Knowledge is power, but truth is more powerful, and truth bearers who are not guided by meekness and humility often are predisposed to haughtiness and looking down on others who may not know as much as they do. You may have the truth, but if your means of communicating them is wrong; if it makes people feel any less or belittled, you equally stand condemned. You may present the finest argument and defense but if your choice of words fail, you give those of a contrary part a premise to accuse and condemn you. We can avoid all these if and only if we are meticulous in selecting the words by which we interact with the rest of the world

May God grant us grace to abide in these things until the day of the appearing of our Lord, Jesus, of whose nature and similitude we are called onto and in whom we stand not condemned by the world.

CENTRAL IDEAS.
# The things we say must be suitable, healthy and be able to teach those who hear us.
# By so doing we:
1. become good examples of good works
2. avoid condemnation
3. shame those of contrary views who will not have any occasion to speak evil of us.

PRAYER
Dear Lord, I stand together with David in asking that you let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable before you.

As I interact daily with the world, Father, let my words and speech be fitting, incorruptible and able to teach those that hear me, that I may prove myself a worthy example of good works.

May my lips never lead me to blame and condemnation, and may those of contrary part never have a reason to speak evil of me because of the wrong words that I speak . Whatsoever things my lips may utter in discourse, may they put their contrariness into shame as you are glorified in them always.

Thank you for hearing and answering me. In the holy name of Jesus Christ have I prayed. Amen.

#doctrine #sound_speech #wholesome #conversation #judge #condemn #edify