Wednesday, 17 January 2018

THE DEEPEST NEED OF YOUR FRIEND

By David Pam McQuel

John 2:40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).

Although Peter was Andrew's elder brother, they were actually friends. They grew up together and fished together. Andrew was religious. He hung around John's ministry. He was John's disciple, close to the truth.

Peter was old school fisherman, irreligious. Just a Galilean.

When Andrew found the Lord, the first time that came to his mind was to bring his brother and friend along. It was too good to not let Peter know.

A good friend, a loyal friend, a friend indeed shares all new information that will make his life better with the closest person to him. And information about the Lord is exceptional!

It is significant that Andrew knew his friend's deepest need. Do you have friends? Do you know the greatest need of your friends? Do they know the Lord. Are they committed to God?

Many of us love our friends and will do anything to help them. But the biggest help your friend can receive from you is spiritual. As long as a man finds their spiritual compass, and is faithful to the Lord, life will eventually straighten out.

The best gift to a friend is the love of God

Be honest - Proverbs 27:6 says
"Wounds from a friend can be trusted,
    but an enemy multiplies kisses.'
This scripture means the hurt of a friend through telling the truth is better than the deceptive comfort of an enemy's kisses. It also implies that it is better to telling a friend a bitter truth that may wound his sentimemts as long as it saves his life. If your friend about to be hit by a car and you are standing nearby, and if the only wah to save your friend by knocking over, will you say because you don't want to hurt you will let the car hit him? That will be insane!

Be firm - 2Corinthians 5:11 says
"Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord,
    we try to persuade others."

You are not here to beg people and cajole using sugarcoated pleasanteries and funny comedies to tell your friend about the matter of life and death. This is very serious business. You need to be firm as your friend tries to divert attention to past fun or current modes. Be firm and unswerving as long as they are willing to hear us.

Be compassionate
A rich you man was truly fascinated by the extraordinary ministry of Jesus. He enjoyed the blending between the Lord and His disciples and he just knew he loved what he was seeing. He wanted just that life. He came to Jesus to ask what he needed to do to be a part of it. Jesus reminded him of the law of Moses and the Jewish ultimaten quest for righteousness and the most worth pursuit which was to follow the law.

This young man is super disciplined with exceptional self control. He has kept the law all his youth! Just one of the few in Israel.

Mark 10:
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth."

Verse 21, Jesus looked at him and loved him...

When Jesus our Lord share his message with love. He wasn't an angry or intimidating figure. Everyone thast met him met love and his disciples with all their weakness never had a conflict or quarrel with them-. They were living with love.

Talking to your friend can be difficult. It is someone with who you shared pre-conversion life which could not only contain dark shades but make it it difficult for a close friend to accept you as a changed person.

Be prayerful - Ephesians 6
18 "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

19 Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel."

Paul asked that the believers in Ephesus pray for him as he goes about the ministry of the Word. He needed unhindered flow of communication and an accompanying boldness and fearlessness in declaring the gospel. This is so important considering that presenting the gospel is not mere talk or talkshow.

It is administering the grace of God.

Before then, he also urged the church to pray for all men. It is expedient that we pray wel ahead for those with whole we want to share Christ.

In 1991 I was serving with a church in Jos Nigeria. A very fine lady in church really had a burden for her company lawyer. The lawyer was a very beautiful lady, with a very high opinion of herself and having the time of her life. She seemed to have everything together and was dreaded at work.

This lady in my church set her heart to pray for this lawyer. While she prayed, nothing on the outside seemed to be changing. The lawyer proud, sometimes arrogant and brash. One day after months of consistent prayer, the lady felt on a Thursday evening that it was time to reach out with the gospel.

On Friday morning she waited for her arrival to work. Once the lawyer was in, she knowed on her door, terrified, humble and not knowing what to expect. She heard "come in."

She worked and scarcely said "Good morning ma" when the first thing the lawyer would ask was, "where is your church? I need to find a church fast." The sister didn't waste time, she went right ahead to share the gospel with a broken lawyer.

The lawyer had an encounter while she slept. Her miserable life played before her hopelessly and the poverty of her life was laid bare before her eyes. She was terrified and woke up desperately in need of God.

I knew this lawyer personally and have seen few instant change! She was on fire for God.

We can truly help our friends find the Lord. It will be the greatest help you gave someone you really care about.



Monday, 1 January 2018

THE BASICS, FIRST ANNIVERSARY EDITION


by David Pam McQuel

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When God finally gave me the go ahead to start this blog on the 1st of January 2017, I knew exactly what He wanted of me.

There are three key words that propel the blog and they are:

Evangelism
Witnessing Jesus to those who either have never heard about His sacrifice for them or have not understood the message of salvation. And helping lead them to Christ in prayer of confessing His lordship over their lives.

Discipleship
God's desire is that a convert grows to become a disciple. To achieve this, spiritual leaders and other maturing believers must help new believers learn and grow into disciples.

Missions
This is the aspect of the Church that focuses on expanding the kingdom and spreading the gospel to foreign peoples and cultures and nations. It is the collect effort of the Church. Every other budget spending is secondary to it.

These words give us an overview of God's plan for His kingdom growth. In all these three Christian obligations is the root of spreading and expansion of the Church. And no other engagement guarantees the fulfilment of Acts 1:8.

And all posts led promoted these key areas.

We thank God for a very good first year. Here is a review of World Missions Africa's first year.
1. Total posts 67
2. Approximate visitors 6,300
3. Top ten countries of visitors
USA
Kenya
Nigeria
Ghana
Côte d'Ivoire
UK
Russia
Indonesia
Netherlands
Ireland
4. Surprising Countries of reach
Indonesia
Kuwait
UAE
Iceland

5. The most visited posts
These posts are in no way the best, because no post is better then the other. The best post is the one the Holy Spirit chooses to bless you through. However, most visited are:
1. An extraordinary transformation
The true life story of a former radical Muslim lawyer in Nigeria who had an encounter with the Lord. She got saved, went through unimaginable persecution and yet stood her grounds. Today she preaches boldly the gospel she once labour to destroy.
2. The Heart of it
This post is about the timeless purpose of Easter. Beyond the holidays, religious rituals and festivities is the most extraordinary work of mercy when God took on human nature to die and save mankind.
3. The Church and Missions
Hitting the nail on the head on the forgotten, disregarded or ignore purpose of the church which is to win the world. Take a look at the origin of the church in Jerusalem from the day of Pentecost and observe through her development what her focus and main goal was.
4. Starting a conversation
Many believers have heard or read that God expects them to reach out to the world around them be it at home, in the office, in the bus, with friends or in their neighbourhood.
But many believers have a problem with how to approach people and how to start a conversation that can lead to sharing the gospel. It is a great blog.
5. The drama surrounding His birth
The birth of Jesus to the Jews was as ordinary as anyone's. However, reading today from true account of the reality of this supernatural birth, we can see that it was everything but ordinary.
It is the only birth among humans that of all the people who played a role in it, no one understood what was going on. Everyone was left speechless. In this melodrama, we try to look at how those involved staggered with understanding what was going on.
6. The Holy Spirit the Enabler
Jesus told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem. To do nothing unless they receive enablement from the Holy Spirit. The main purpose of the Holy Spirit is not for spiritual gymnastics or spiritual ego. It is purposely for enablement. If anyone truly wants to witness Christ, they must receive this ability from the Holy Spirit.
7. The faulty circle
The Church the centuries has a circle that seem unbreakable. The Church gets revived, goes in fire for God, grows, flourish the becomes relaxed. After that she goes into religious mode and the flesh comes in and she ends up very weak, dehydrated and turns into the worship men.
Finally darkness sets in and strange beliefs and doctrines take over as the church is led by men who don't even know the Lord. Then the remnants cry out to God and then revival comes and the circle is repeated again and again and again. How do we break from this?
8. The Making of an Effective Mission Field
The mission field is not the bed of roses. It is not the local Church. It is not a financial organization or a career opportunity. The mission field is the battle front of the kingdom of God where infantry soldiers who have rejected other career ambitions to go to the front lines.
It is a base for men and women sold out to God for the purpose of spreading the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ among the pagans and foreign culture. However, it is not enough to have willing men and women going to the mission field. There are other very important provisions that without them a missionary will be totally ineffective.
9. The Christ Opportunity
A very timely message at Christmas. Christmas has been commercialized. It has been ritualized. It has become to most people who celebrate it a time of gluttony, drunkenness and socializing. All these pagan practices are totally against the teaching of the man the claim to celebrate. Besides all these is an extraordinary opportunity for the church world to reach out to the world, simply by explaining what Christmas is all about. This sweat less evangelism.

This year we look up to God as we keep sharing these timeless blogs of the word of God. We want to serve the Church, the mission field and the world by presenting the gospel to them.
Matthew 24:14 is our focus.
 "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come."
Isaiah 9:2 is our drive.
"The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
    a light has dawned."
Would you please send us a brief comment on this special occasion of our first anniversary. We want to know just five things:
1. What do you like most about our blog?
2. Is there anything you'd like to see us change or add?
3. Is there an article in this you can recall that our blog blessed you?
4. Have you subscribed to our blog by email?
5. Kindly indicate how often you read our blog?

Sunday, 24 December 2017

MAXIMUM LOVE, Christmas Special

By David Pam McQuel

At Bethlehem, God demonstrated that to love is to give. It was the launch of an epic programme that will bring forth the full expression of His mercy. It was the masterpiece of His desire.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

It was for love that Jesus came. It wasn't to prove anything or show off. It was just a simple act of God's compassion. He gave us free love.

Jesus was given to us as the greatest act of God's love, not because we were God, but because of His goodness. While we were dead in our sins, set in our wicked ways, Jesus came. People show kindness to people who are kind but while we were rebellious He showed us his full kindness.

What are we going to do in respect to what Christ has done for us? We as His people must respond in a certain emphatic way.

Jesus illustrated this in a teaching regarding his return to earth at the end.
Matthew 25:
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.

32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,

36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?

38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?

39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,

43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

This illustration clearly demonstrates what is in the mind of God. It shows also how God expects us to carry out our spiritual responsibilities and values. There is nothing complicated in the story if we take time to read it attentively. It is self explanatory.

What are our responsibilities towards the hungry, the thirsty and the stranger?  What do we owe the naked, the sick and prisoners? From the larger part of believers all that comes forth is shame, disdain, excuses, philosophical arguments, mockery and rejection.

But Jesus said, his position on the last day is that He will commend those who fed the hungry, those who gave a drink to the thirsty. He will commend those who took the stranger in, those who clothe the naked, who take care of the sick and care for those in prison. It is also His stand today.

On the other hand, He will not commend those who failed to feed the hungry, those who refused to give a drink to the thirsty. He will also be displeased with those who ignored strangers letting them sleep on the streets, and those who will not clothe the naked. He also will not felicitate those who did not take care of the sick or visit for those prisoners with compassion.

As we celebrate the coming of Christ, let's not forget the purpose of His coming. Jesus came to love man. He came to save man. He came to restore man from his fallen state. He spent time with the most despised of his day, tax collectors and prostitutes and cared for lepers (these three were the highest objects of shame in His time).

He came to feed the hungry, He came to give a drink to the thirsty. He came to take the stranger in, to clothe the naked, to take heal the sick and set free those in prison .
Isaiah prophesied it detaily nearly 800 years earlier in Isaiah 61:
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,

3 To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

And Jesus confirmed that this prophecy was written about Him in Luke 4:
16 "So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.

17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;

19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him.

21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

22 So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”

Jesus was the embodiment of God's greatest gift to man. Celebrating Christ's birth is recognizing that great giving heart of God. Therefore, there are three things involved:
1. We must be thankful to God for His indescribable gift, Christ.

2. We must accept that gift of salvation that Christ freely brought for us.

3. We must freely give to others, the same token of God's love either in spiritual way for them to know Christ, material or financial provisions to those who need it.
This is the best way to celebrate God's maximum love today!

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

THE DRAMA SURROUNDING HIS BIRTH

By David Pam McQuel

The birth of Christ was one of the extraordinary event to have ever happened on earth. It was also the most intriguing. Its the only event that all the role players didn't know what was going on.

It was not just one lump story, everyone involved struggled in ignorance and didn't just know what to make of it.

Herod's Palace
King Herod Was at the peak of his glory. He was handpicked by Rome. He had powerful alliances. There was no fear of a coup d'etat, monarchical rivalry or of an impending elections. He had money, booze and limitless women of his choice. He had the swimming pools, the cattle ranch and the wildlife reserve.

Then a threat came. Visitors from the East with first of all an ignorable rumour, of a prophesied king. He has never faced a threat in his entire life. He didn't know what to do with this or how to react, until the threat became real.

Then he call in the advisers. "What's this madness I'm hearing? Who is king apart from me? Who is coming for my throne? I need answers and you are the smartest brains in this land. Find me some answers! And NOW!

And when the wisemen from the East outsmarted him, he ordered a genocide of an entire generation of toddlers! What an unthinkable horrendous thing to do.

The Inn
There was mass movement across the land.

Luke 2:2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register. 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.

As millions of people crisscrossed the land, a young man in his mid twenties along with his teenage sweetheart, who was in late term of pregnancy sweated it out to get to the dusty hills of Bethlehem. Getting there in the evening the small town was bursting to it's seams with travelers visiting their hometown, most of them for the first time.

Mary was so exhausted while Joseph was so sweet with all the much needed compassion.

"Joseph, I'm so exhausted"

"Mary, I know. We just need a place and you'll be resting." Joseph kindly replied holding her fingers affectionately.

They've been to the few guest houses in Bethlehem, everywhere is filled. The innkeepers are smiling from ear to ear. Its a good business season.

Coming to the last guest house, they got the same sad reply, "Everywhere is filled, go to the next one" with an innocent smile. Same old replied. Joseph was getting frustrated.

"Joseph, please let's get a place! My water has broken"

Alarmed, Joseph ran back to the innkeeper, "please can we get a small place? Even a kitchen, a bathroom or a store, our baby is coming!"

Just beside there was a manger with a few horses, hay and dung.

In a few minutes, with a lantern Joseph, Mary and the Innkeeper welcomed the most precious baby ever born. And Joseph lifted him, blessed him and called him Yeshua.

Shepherds Watch at Night
Young shepherds in the field have spent all day long with the sheep. Its cold and as the sat around a bonfire, they shared old and new stories. Reminiscences, nostalgia, ambitions and experiences.

A gentle breeze slipped in, and then within the twinkling of an eye a light brighter than the Eastern moonlight beamed and enveloped them. And in a second they were caught up in heavenly ambience. Love, purity, sanctity and ecstasy wrapped. They were for two minutes caught up in eternity. And the heavenly choir sang the most beautiful melody.

Then the angel broke the most amazing news ever....

Matthew 2:10 "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 

17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 

18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 

19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 

20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told."

The Wise men
These were the only non-Jewish key players in the whole events about the Birth of Christ. Not only that, apart from Bible prophecy they were the first to be informed about  His birth ahead. Two years before it happened. A star appeared to them and led them for that whole period of time until they got to the manger where the little kid was.

And they showed how worthy their visit was! They brought him the wealth of the nations. A royal reception.

Matthew 12:10 "When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 

11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 

12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route."

Joseph and Mary
Joseph was brought into a melodrama rather surprisingly. He was not informed, given a hint neither was his consent sought for. His godliness, his integrity, his moral aptitude, his messianic ancestry and the mercy of God placed him at the right place at the right time. It is amazing what a man of honour Joseph was. He made a pledge to Mary, and that pledge was the most precious thing. He would never let his disappointment becloud his judgement nor his anger push him to break that pledge.

How I wish that today's young men had such a great resolve!

Matthew1:18 "This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 

19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly."

And Mary is that only person who was overwhelmed. She had no explanation for all these things. God's power overshadowed her for the rest of her life. Just when she thought she was getting hold of the big picture then things get further complicated. And His horrible death, Mary was just dumbfounded.


Company of Angels
In all of creation, in heaven and on earth, there has never been an expectation compared to that of Christ. And angels have been in the spectators' front row as well as key players. There joy boundless. This was the greatest of God's handiwork.

The salvation project.


From the Priesthood
Matthew 2:4 "When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 

5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Its been four hundred years since Malachi the prophet spoke for the Lord. God kept mute and Israel slid into redundancy. The priesthood has been changed into a Pharisees/Sadducees rival empire as they by tradition took the conscience of the nation captive.

And Caiaphas was bewildered. "What do they mean a king is born?"

Looking as the pros and cons, he would rather not offend Herod or Caesar. From then on, it was a struggle to catch with God's plans as they struggled to overturn God's destiny.

Friday, 15 December 2017

WHEN YESHUA CAME

By David Pam McQuel
The prophet Isaiah 750 years ahead heard these words:
"6 For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this."
                                    Isaiah 9:6-7

This words were as if God needed to reemphasize what Isaiah heard earlier in, with even more precision:
"13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? 

14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. 

15 He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right,

16 for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste. " Isaiah 7:13-15

These words are so accurate that you have to deliberate to ignore the precision and purposefulness of His birth. Isaiah was such a prophet! God spoke indeed through him. However, in his day, neither Isaiah nor his auditors had any idea about what this prophecy meant.

These prophecies appears weird! How does a virgin get pregnant? A woman has to be disvirgined to get pregnant. Or has does a child gets born but a son gets given? In English language, a male child born today is a son, but in God's language its different.

The child was born by Mary but the son was given by God. Selah.

Yeshua is Jesus in Hebrew. Jesus' earthly heritage was Jewish. God has laid the foundation salvation in the call of Abraham. He started the Israeli nation and the Jewish ancestry for this very purpose.
The Jews were the only people on earth that did not have an earthly tradition. God gave them their culture. He set the parameters for their culture, beliefs, rituals and practices. And all these was the foundation upon which Jesus was to be born in.

The Jewish culture was pure although the people of Israel backslidded. This godly tradition was intact and all together righteous. And Jesus fulfilled all righteousness from birth to death.

Jesus was is Yeshua in Hebrew. The Hebrew language is the most unique and godly on earth. In fact, it is peculiar. It is in the sense that, every letter of the twenty-lettered alphabet is an embodiment of an aspect of God! God is embodied in the alphabet.

That's why He is Abba and Tav as the Greek Alpha and Omega.

Yeshua means God, Mighty to save. But it is a compound word. Just as every Hebrew name means something.

Unlike the English names, John Steel, Peter Black, Elizabeth Nothingness, Audry Same etc, where Steel, Black, Nothingness or Same are meaningless names the Hebrew language don't use empty names.

Hoshea means Jehovah the Savior, Yoel(Joel) mean Jehovah is God, and Abraham the father of many nations.

Angel Gabriel message to Joseph explains it all.
"18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.

19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.

21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:18-21

His name reveals His purpose. He came to save humanity. He came because we were lost. He came because we could not save ourselves. In fact, He came because He was our only hope.

The feasting and fun we have at Christmas is not exactly why he came.  He was the only one ever born for the purpose of dying. And from his seemingly bizarre conception, to his tragic horrific death, Jesus was not like other men.

All through His life on earth, He defied human reasoning. His ministry was simply extraordinary. His arrest and prosecution the most corrupt and his trial the only one hurriedly done at night while men slept.

He is the only sinless and faultless man ever condemned.

Yeshua came to save us. And He did it!

Saturday, 9 December 2017

THE CHRISTMAS OPPORTUNITY

By David Pam McQuel

Merry Christmas!

As we all are aware, the festive season is here. No matter what your religious or theological conviction is, you certainly cannot ignore the season. So much expectations, so much preparations and so many plans.

Christmas is a time of joy for so many. Especially those who affiliate with Christianity and those who look forward to making financial gain from sales. For others it is the holiday attached to it. A much anticipated time of rest and social gatherings.

Among Christians, the debate will rage again as to whether Christmas is biblical or pagan, how it all started, and how serious Christians should either be involved or abstain. While many write it off as a Catholic ritual and others see it as the Roman emperor Constantine defiling a thriving Church. And others argue vehemently on the exact month of birth of Christ. Surely the theological warfare is at boiling point.

There are two things we need to focus on.

1. The fact that Jesus came. For me this is epic. It is not about when Jesus came. It is not about how it is been marked or ignored. It is worth celebrating that He came down from heaven to die for us. 

It is pathetic how many so called religiously affiliated and nonaffiliated people spend money, traveling long distances, and sink into debauchery, orgies and paganism in the name of celebrating Christmas.
At the end, Christ is totally absent from Christmas.

Jesus came to save us from spiritual death. If we understand this, then the best way to mark His coming is by staying away from spiritual death and her manifestations. How do you celebrate an extraordinary act of mercy, by doing more of the very thing that the mercy was required in the first place?

How do you celebrate a forgiven debt by going to shop more frivolously piling up unbelievable debt? Celebrating Christmas should be about celebrating spiritual liberty and the cleansing of our sins.

2. The opportunity to find Christ. Apart from Easter, no other religious holiday gives us a big opportunity to share the good news of the gospel. What other better opportunity to tell the world about God's love than at Christmas. 

Christmas is not about the Asian wise men who brought gold, frankincense and myrrh but about the King that brought joy to the world.

When the angel came to inform the shepherds, remember?

Luke 2:8 "And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” NIV

It is about the good news that causes great joy! How hard is that to share? This is the biggest opportunity we have every December as the world runs wild feast in and having fun, the essence of it all is the good news that causes great joy.

How was Jesus going to save us if he never came? That he came is because He was going to save us. And the focus of every bible believing church and every single Christian that truly accepted Christ and is living actively should be on this.

We have allowed the flesh, religiosity and the world to subtly take away the truth. Now Christmas is pure fanfare and craziness. But we need to put the message back in the festivities.

There is a Christmas because Christ was born. He brought us good news that will cause joy for all humanity. It is our responsibility to spread the good news. And Christmas brings us this great chance.

Let's take this opportunity and tell everyone why they are celebrating.

Friday, 1 December 2017

STAND OUT!

By David Pam McQuel

"The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions." 1Samuel 3:2

Samuel came into the tabernacle not as an employee. He was not trying to survive. His mom gave him over to the Lord in fulfillment of her pledge to God a few years back. It is amazing that these days, people have lots of plans and desires for their kids, ministry is hardly one of them.

It is as if careers like law, medicine, military, business and aviation are noble while serving in God's house is for rejects. Nothing can be farther from the truth. There is no career or profession to compare with serving wholeheartedly in the ministry.

The sons of Eli bragged on their dad being the high priest of Israel  though they neither understood nor valued the priesthood. Their dad's ministry only gave them pride and fame.

They took advantage of the rights and privileges that came with it to extort, abuse, mislead, rob and rape! All within and without the temple courts. 

1Samuel 2:12  "Eli’s sons were scoundrels; they had no regard for the Lord.
13 Now it was the practice of the priests that, whenever any of the people offered a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come with a three-pronged fork in his hand while the meat was being boiled

14 and would plunge the fork into the pan or kettle or caldron or pot. Whatever the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is how they treated all the Israelites who came to Shiloh.

15 But even before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the person who was sacrificing, “Give the priest some meat to roast; he won’t accept boiled meat from you, but only raw.”

16 If the person said to him, “Let the fat be burned first, and then take whatever you want,” the servant would answer, “No, hand it over now; if you don’t, I’ll take it by force.”

17 This sin of the young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, for they were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt....

22 Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting."

If you live in the time and environment Samuel lived, it appeared everyone was doing evil. Truly the majority did what was wrong.

It’s like in our own day  today. More people seem to turn from godliness, and ungodliness is on the rise. In fact, things we considered unethical and unacceptable are now not only tolerated but hailed as culture and progress.

Decency, modesty and morality are now considered hatred, intolerance and bigotry.
However, Samuel decided to stand out. He will not ride with the tide. He preferred to ride against the odds but with God. Four verses show us this.

11 "Then Elkanah went home to Ramah, but the boy ministered before the Lord under Eli the priest...

18 But Samuel was ministering before the Lord—a boy wearing a linen ephod.

21 And the Lord was gracious to Hannah; she gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.

26 And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the Lord and with people.
Samuel set his heart on God. He decided to do right in spite of who did wrong. His intention was not competition with Eli's sons. He stayed focused on his intention. He just wanted to do the will of God.
And that was what God was looking for! Although Samuel didn't know.

1Samuel 2:35 I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind. I will firmly establish his priestly house, and they will minister before my anointed one always."

We live in a very similar era, if not worst. Knowledge has exploded and God is taken more lightly and with so much contempt. Liberalism spreads like harmattan dust. Human right has replaced moral responsibility. If you live right you are hated, scorned and despised by the multitude of wrongdoers surrounding you. Doing right now has become doing evil.

Perverts, pedophiles, gays, thieves, corrupt people and liars are fiercely defended while honest men and women are harassed. Brutal, murderous Islam is fiercely defended by politicians and liberal media while 
 Christianity is harassed for its kindness and conscience.

What a world!

Even those who claim to be Christian or ministers brazenly despise the very truth they claim to uphold. As Paul said, "having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people." 2Timothy 3:5

There are only two sides, you are either on Samuel's path or on the path of Eli's sons. Where are you? Which path are you on? You can't be neutral. You are either on the broad way that leads to destruction or the narrow unpopular way that leads to life.

The only effective believer is the one that stands out even when everyone else is embracing ungodly ways.

*Photo: Courtesy of Atmosphere for Worship