But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 ESV)
Over the past month, God has taught me a lot about being patient and gracious during evangelism. I have been trying to reach out to my classmates with the gospel and, to be honest, it has not been easy. My attempts would often be met by misinformed scriptural confrontations and unwholesome talk that would just leave me discouraged as I saw my efforts bearing no fruit. But, in these low times, God has been impressing upon my heart the urgency of the gospel and has reminded me that I too was a sinner and He was very patient with me. These subtle reminders have kept me going and renewed my desire to see my friends get saved whenever I have faced the roadblocks of discouragement.
I realized that it is easy to take the high seat and adopt the “I have done my part” stance whenever we meet opposition when sharing the gospel with those around us. It is indeed easy to forget the truth that it is God alone who can change the hearts of men and that our part is to only faithfully share the gospel with every opportunity we get.
And you will be hated by everyone because of my name but the one who endures to the end will be delivered.(Mark 9:13 ESV)
Through all this, the burden in my heart for the lost world has always abided, and step by step the Lord has helped me to be more intentional in reaching out and praying for my friends who are yet to come to the knowledge of the truth. And I have found out that I struggle less whenever I call on God for strength, courage, and utterance. The amazing thing is that this experience has inspired me to seek to deepen my walk with God each day through the study and meditation on His word.
By Daisy Adina
Daisy Adina is a student at the University of Eldoret pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Education Arts (English Literature).
And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them.” (Revelation 14:13 ESV).
Oh, the joy of having the gift of family and friends in the household of faith. Oh, how happy it is when we come together and fellowship with one another when we cry together, laugh together and share in the joy of the Lord. Oh, how fortunate it is when fellow believers in Christ hold you accountable and desire for your wellbeing. Oh, how sweet the memories we create with one another and cherish them day by day. Then…then death strikes. It pleases the Lord to take one of us. Oh, how painful and sorrowful it is for us who remain behind. We feel torn from the inside. The pain of losing one of us, a father, a mother, a son, a daughter, a brother, a sister, or a friend is so overwhelming. We mourn, we ache and there is no amount of comfort that can satisfy our pain and grief other than the comfort of God’s promises in His word.
Death for sure is an enemy and it is inevitable. It does not favor any one or announce its arrival. It is an unwanted guest in every home and it leaves a trail of sorrow behind in every visit it makes. Everyone has experienced the cruel hand of death in one way or another, I recently had a share of it when I lost three of my friends.
You see, we often find ourselves questioning the loss of a beloved, at times we get angry and wallow in despair. We ask why they had to die, we become so hopeless and wonder how we’ll move past the death of our loved ones. The memories we shared with them become a constant linger in our minds and we can’t help but cry out all the more.
“But we do not want you to be uninformed my brothers about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep. For this, we declare to you by a word from the Lord that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord, himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 ESV)
How comforting the scriptures are. Yes, we mourn, yes, we weep, and yes, we ache but not as those who have no hope. We rejoice in the knowledge that our beloved has died having known Christ and trusted in His work on the cross. We rejoice in the hope that they are asleep and will rise again upon Christ’s coming and we shall see them again. The word truly does assure us that we shall see them again. So then, may we hold fast to this assurance, to the promise we have been given by our Lord. That indeed death will not have the final say in our lives. And in all these may we too be reminded that even death works together for our good, for the good of those who love Him, for the good of those who are called according to His purpose.
“Father, I desire that they also whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:24 ESV)
As Christians, we are exiles and sojourners in this world. Pilgrims on a journey. In the High Priestly prayer, Christ himself desired to be united with us in his glory and we too long for the day our vile bodies shall be destroyed and glorified with him. Christ’s prayer is answered when a fellow saint goes to be with the Lord. Where there’s no more pain, no more suffering, a place we all long to be, a place where sin has not stained. Those who die, die in a natural and perishable body but will be raised in a spiritual and imperishable body. And even more, we can rest in the comfort that the sting and victory of death have been conquered by Christ on the cross.
What then for us who remain behind? If anything, the sight of death should remind us of the fleetingness of life. For what is the life of man if not a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Our flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers and the flower falls. Such is the life of man according to scripture.
Shall we then continue to live in sin? Shall we live as though this world is our home? Shall we continue to pleasure ourselves in the things of this world and pursue joy and satisfaction from them? Shall we continue to live as those who are ignorant of the truth? Are we ready to meet the Lord if we are called upon today? What kind of deeds will follow us?
“Never fear dying beloved. Dying is the least matter that a Christian has to be anxious about. Fear living, that is a hard battle to fight, a stern discipline to endure, a rough voyage to undergo.” – Charles Spurgeon
Living is indeed a battle. A battle against our sinful desires. A battle against our sinful flesh. Psalms 51:5 “Behold I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Paul himself in Romans 7 confessed to struggling to do that which was right and often found himself doing that which was wrong. So yes, blessed indeed are they who die in the Lord, who have rested from their labors. But let us not despair in all these for we have a High Priest who is able to sympathize with our weakness, who has been tempted in every way like we are yet was without any sin. He will surely hold us fast to the very end. Therefore, may we entrust our lives to him and have our hearts secured in Christ. For to live is Christ and to die is gain. He who formed us in the womb will surely guide us to the tomb.
No man knows the day or hour they shall be called out of this world. So live each day as though it was your last. Live to glorify God and honor Him in all your ways. Seek him in truth while he may yet be found. For whatever comes and come it will, may your life be found secured in Christ and your heavenly destination without any doubt.
We all have friends and family members who are ignorant of the truth. And brethren, the pain of losing one of your own who does not know Christ is even more agonizing especially when you had a chance to evangelize to them but did not do so. There is no promise that we shall see them again. There is no hope we can long for, no anticipation in our hearts of seeing them again. In fact, what awaits them as recorded in Revelation 14 is God’s wrath. They will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. The smoke of their torment will go up forever and ever, and they will have no rest, day or night. Such is what awaits them. It is dreadful and it’s neither a place we would want to be nor a place you would wish for anyone to go to. Then let us labor brethren. Let us labor for the Gospel and make the truth known to those around us. May we not be ashamed of it. And to those who ignore these truths, how I pray that you will no longer harden your hearts. May you run to the cross for that is where salvation is found, in Christ. I pray that you will behold these truths and hold fast to Christ until the very end.
Will we give an account of our lives? Yes, we will. So let us examine ourselves then to see whether we are truly in the faith. Let us live and serve God with all our being, with all that is within us. May we hold fast to the inheritance promised. An inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading, kept in heaven for us. May our hope be built in nothing else but Jesus’ blood and righteousness. And to our fellow saints who have gone ahead of us, who have crossed the threshold of life to eternity, precious are they in the sight of the Lord. “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” (Psalms 116:15 ESV). Until we meet again in the beautiful shore!
Much Grace and Peace to you all!
By Bethly Chemutai
Bethly Chemutai is a student at Kabarak University pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science.
“…know the God of your father and serve Him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek Him, He will be found by you…” (1Chronicles 28:9 ESV)
There are some things that many times as Christians we tend to forget as we serve our Lord and maker. Many times, we serve Him with all our hearts and willing mind but according to our terms.
Other times we serve Him doing what is commanded but just as an outward show
so that others may see and we may fit in with the people around us.
David, talking to his son Solomon gave him this charge just before giving him the plan and
instructions of how to build the temple and everything in it, as he had been instructed by the LORD.
It is important to note that the first instruction he gave Solomon was to know God. This makes me think of Jesus talking to His disciples in what is known as “The Sermon on the Mount”.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23 ESV)
Many times, we think we know God and seem to be doing all the right things as a result of it while in reality, we have created our own god. Knowing God means that He too knows us.
It’s the difference between the wife to the president saying she knows him and a child in a village saying he knows him. The wife lives with him and has a relationship with him while the child in the village knows about him and has heard about him from the TV or Radio. Knowing God means having a relationship with Him where He does acknowledge you as a son and by His Spirit, you cry out “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15). Anything short of this and we risk being told on that day “I never knew you; depart from me.”
The LORD has given us the Bible that we may know Him and therein know how to serve Him. As we study the Bible, we get to know Him and understand how He wants us to serve Him and live.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)
The next instruction to Solomon was to serve God with a whole heart and a willing mind. After knowing the LORD and His ways we are then to serve Him with all our hearts, no parts within it being left behind, wholeheartedly. We are to serve Him with a willing mind too. This reminds me of the command given to the Israelites (Deuteronomy 6:5) and later repeated by Jesus as the greatest commandment (Matthew 22:37) to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (Deuteronomy says might). It is in knowing the LORD and loving Him that we are able to fully serve Him. Once we love Him with all our heart and mind then it surely does follow that we will serve Him with a whole heart and willing mind.
Once we know God then we will for sure know that He knows all things. We cannot deceive Him with outwards appearances and doing things in His Name when our hearts and minds are far away from Him. We saw how God replied to that “I never knew you; depart from me”. Or as Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (Matthew 23:27-28 ESV)
The LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. We, therefore, cannot deceive Him by acting in pretense. We have to be all in or not at all. Love Him with all heart, soul, and mind or not love Him at all. Serve Him with the whole heart and willing mind or not at all. Why? Because He knows our hearts and we cannot hide from Him.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:12-13 ESV)
Let this not discourage us from knowing, loving and serving our God but be encouraged as David encouraged his son “if you seek Him He will be found by you”.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8 ESV)
“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13 ESV)
Let us, therefore, seek to know the LORD and serve Him with a whole heart and willing mind.
By Julia Kiama
Julia Kiama is a sinner saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus. She is a homemaker, married to Brian Kiama and are blessed with two kids.
The Battle Within
Several times I have fallen into despair in my Christian life because of my sins. The thought of being a failure once again lays heavy on me. How could I have fallen prey once again to the snares of the enemy to my evil desires? Did I not learn my lesson the last time? Did I not resolve never to fall into the same pattern of foolishness again for sin and temptation happens way before it consummates in an action? Indeed, in both retrospect I can trace from whence I began to fall and I judge that I was aware of what I was doing, I was never ignorant but aware. Would I be wrong to say that I took pleasure at the time in doing that thing which now I hate, which is shameful and which now condemns? And as if that evil isn’t enough comes an even greater evil. The voice of the enemy beats at me when am down whispering lies to my soul. And what’s the lie? It’s that there is no hope for me. He brings to the stand his witnesses: my previous resolves, contrition, repentance, past mourning, and they all testify against me and they are right. I was there, myself am my witness. And thus, he makes his case his conclusion that I cannot be trusted, I am living a lie, that it’s futile to try again, the outcome won’t be any different, and the question is why not be just what my “nature” seems to indicate I am? Why “deny” yourself? And this may even begin to make sense.
The Great Advocate
Then suddenly there’s a commotion in the courts of my heart and mind. The great advocate has come and immediately with an authoritative voice declares “that’s not so.” And everyone is wondering “what, can any plea be made? is there any hope?” Though my situation is desperate I am attentive, I feel that sweet light hope kindled in me again and I am aware it’s because of the presence of this person. He has a book in his hand and hands it over to the judge whose countenance before one could not bear but now has suddenly changed, there’s happiness in his eyes as if in the presence of a friend. The terrifying yet now happy judge looks at the book for a while and in a twist of events rises and makes the declaration not guilty. What! And interestingly am the only one who’s surprised even my accusers doesn’t seem at all moved it’s as if he already knew the outcome. Everyone but the judge and the advocate clear the court room. The advocate walks towards me but am ashamed to look at him and so I sink my head to my chest. How can I be justified when I know am guilty of the crimes accused of? What now, what next. The accuser made a good case, I was a recurring criminal. But he whispers something in my ear “are you now to give up.” And I suddenly realize what that means. Giving in as the devil would have me do sealed my destiny to eternal doom. I realize that his attack wasn’t based on the fact that he knew he had a chance with the outcome declared by the judge but rather he was hoping that the judgement would come from me. And now I remember why I always got up back again, because there was hope. I am overwhelmed and go sown on my knees and as the great judge for forgiveness and he looks at the advocate and replies with a piercing warm calming smile “it is well.” I mean am beside myself, I can’t explain what it is I feel at the moment but I love it. The judge clears the room but his smile and words have forever been inscribed in my heart. Then the advocate as he prepares to live hands me that book that he previously gave the judge and upon opening it I find my name written on it and beside it the words that he sounded previously. And the reason is written right below: that my debt had been paid once and for all and who paid it? The great advocate. And as he leaves, he tells me “go and sin no more” And I cannot tell you how much I want to live up to that admonition. My motivation will be the great kindness I have been shown. Yes, am weak but he is strong. He knows that I will fail time and time again but his promise is this the verdict will always be “not guilty” and let that serve to motivate me. All this I found written in that book he left me.
Friend, if it were left to our works to be justified in the presence of God then we would be right to despair but thanks be to God he knew that we are without ability in of ourselves to live up to his standards and so he sent his Son to do that in our stead. And now he sanctifies us day by day through his word hence true the text:
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2nd Corinthians 3:18 ESV)
Therefore, let us not despair this would prove dangerous but let us keep fighting for our victory is assured. And so in times of need( whatever it may be) let us with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us and we will for we have a great high priest who sympathizes with our weaknesses because he’s no stranger to them but has firsthand experience. And so, the admonition is “let us hold fast our confession.” In all things, even those dreadful times may we look to him. There’s always forgiveness and a willing strong and ready hand to help us. And may we find grace to do just that. Amen!
By Ron Dennis Mwenda
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
When the whole world is not only preoccupied with but worried about the COVIC-19 pandemic, I desire that our attention be riveted upon our sovereign God and His infallible Word.
Psalm 115:3 “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.” (ESV)
Throughout history and in the Scriptural evidence that God has graciously recorded for us, it is seen that the sovereign purpose of God must prevail, it never fails. God works all things after the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11) and His will is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2). As believers, we have this strong assurance that all things really are in the hands of our God and therefore we need not be afraid. We know that God works all things together for good to them that love Him (Romans 8:28) and so whatever betide us, we can, by God's grace, thankfully submit to His will. For as long as we belong to God, we shall continue on earth until the time that He has planned to take us home comes. Let us then be careful to obey Him and to live our present time for His glory.
Romans 14:7-9 “For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's.” For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living." (ESV)
By Mercy Chirie