God Who Knew You From Before the Foundation of the Earth

This whole post finds its foundation on one Bible verse. This Bible verse is Ephesians 1:4. It very much reveals the heart of Lord Jesus Christ, the God who knew you from before Earth’s foundation. Unfortunately, most people today fail to understand this as seen by current reactions to new court rulings in America. And what’s hilarious is that I’m not talking about reactions in America, I’m talking about reactions in Canada. Nevertheless, let’s dissect what it really means in Ephesians 1:4.

Unwanted

“An unplanned child is an unwanted child” is a lie that soaks the mindsets of more than half the population today. And if you want my opinion regarding the legitimacy of that statement, it’s a resounding NOOOO!

John 8:44 (World English Bible)
44 You are of your father, the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and doesn’t stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks on his own; for he is a liar, and the father of lies.

Very clearly, Lord Jesus spoke to the people of His day and age regarding their hesitation to align with the Truth. He pointed out that they were not children of God but were instead children of the devil.

A child resembles their father and in the same way, many people today resemble in nature their spiritual father, the devil. That’s why our culture is ripe with lies killing people from the inside out. But unlike Christ, the devil does not love his children as is more than obvious when observing the state of our world.

But Lord Jesus loves this world even if the majority hates Him to the core. Yes, He is not the father of those who do not believe in Him. However, He calls for them to be His children. He is more than willing to adopt people so as long as they surrender their lives to Him. They only need to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.

The God Who Knew You Very Much Loves You

And this ties into my initial point. Christ loves everyone so that even if a pregnancy is unplanned, that unborn child is dearly beloved by God. There is truly no one who is unwanted in God’s sight. That is why Apostle Paul was inspired by Holy Spirit to write the following verse.

Ephesians 1:4 (King James Version)
4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

To those who are willing to accept Christ as their Lord and Saviour, your destiny was already determined. God decided that He would select you, the Church to be His and that He would pay the wages.

Our sin earned us death. That’s why Christ suffered the death we deserved at the cross. He did it because He loves us! He truly is the God who knew you even before your birth. Your value as a human being predates your parents’ decisions, it lies in the heart of God.

Romans 5:8 (World English Bible)
8 But God commends his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

The Scales Have Fallen!

Yet, our naturalistic and now-focused mentality as a generation has confused us. The god of this world aka “satan” has blocked the world from seeing the truth and freedom found in Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:4 (World English Bible)
4 in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the Good News of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn on them.

It breaks my heart when Christians have to be careful with their words so much so that they cannot speak the truth of God’s love. And I’m not talking of a wishy-washy love with no substance.

I’m talking of the love of God, the love that never ends, the love that stands in unison with the truth, upheld by godly conviction. This love shatters lies and yet its most rudimentary principles are so rejected by the world that we fail to agree on life’s sanctity.

To those who are reading this post and have not accepted Christ, please for your sake, pray to the God of Heaven and ask Him if He really is Lord Jesus Christ. Your prayer won’t be left unanswered. Behold the God of the Bible and when you see Christ in the New Testament, your Spirit will be revived.

All of a sudden, your spiritual eyes will see clearly, similar to what Saul experienced when He came to Christ.

Acts 9:18
18 Immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he received his sight. He arose and was baptized.

There is no greater love that can be found aside from the love of God revealed in the Holy Bible. And there, Christ stands with open arms yearning for you to realize your value in His eyes and to not only know He is the God who knew you but the God who knows you.

The God Betrayed Many Times Over

When it comes to betrayal and Bible, the first person who generally comes to mind is Judas Iscariot. He’s the one who betrayed Lord Jesus in exchange for money. But God did not have to come to Earth as a human being in order to be betrayed. He’s actually been betrayed many times throughout the Bible. Now, I’ve talked about how God conquered betrayal in this linked post, but, consider this post a sequel which will focus more on another aspect of betrayal.

A Wicked People

The people of Israel shown in the book of Exodus and the way they behave are generally thought to represent human nature. And the scary thing about human nature is that the human nature depicted in Exodus is generally not positive.

One observation that’s enough to summarize the fabric of people in Exodus is the following verse.

Jeremiah 17:9 (King James Version)
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

The interesting thing noted in the above verse is not that the human heart is wicked. No, no, no… Rather, it’s the idea that the heart is desperately wicked. What this means is that the human heart by nature is doomed to be wicked, it has no choice but to be evil.

And so, that is why after God brought Egypt to its knees in order to rescue Israel from its slavery, they started participating in idol worship.

Exodus 32:1 (King James Version)
And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.

Betrayed Many Times

God was so angered with Israel that He told Moses that He should start over again by destroying them.

Exodus 32:9-11 (World English Bible)
Yahweh said to Moses, “I have seen these people, and behold, they are a stiff-necked people. 
10 Now therefore leave me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them, and that I may consume them; and I will make of you a great nation.”
11 Moses begged Yahweh his God, and said, “Yahweh, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, that you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 

God used this opportunity to express His anger against Israel to the point of destroying them but He knew Moses would plea for Israel. Thus, even though God said He would destroy Israel, He also knew Moses would ask Him to not destroy Israel. This means that He was only expressing His rage at Israel’s betrayal.

Exodus 32:12-13 (World English Bible)
12 Why should the Egyptians talk, saying, ‘He brought them out for evil, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the surface of the earth?’ Turn from your fierce wrath, and turn away from this evil against your people. 
13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your offspring as the stars of the sky, and all this land that I have spoken of I will give to your offspring, and they shall inherit it forever.’”
14 So Yahweh turned away from the evil which he said he would do to his people.

Redeeming Love

However, God was betrayed many times and this was not going to be the last. Israel kept on complaining about God and were never truly appreciative of what He did for them.

Now, up until this point, it’s often misunderstood that God is just angered by Israel’s betrayal. Although true, this is not the only aspect of betrayal experienced by God. He also seems to be hurt by Israel’s betrayal.

Let it be clear, however, that whenever I say God was “hurt” by Israel’s betrayal, it means that He was disappointed in the love reciprocated towards Him despite His care for Israel. This perspective is made clear by the book of Hosea.

In the Book of Hosea, God tells Prophet Hosea to marry a prostitute in order to prophetically depict God’s relationship with Israel. And this is where God really shows Israel the emotional side of how their betrayal has affected Him.

Hosea 1:2-3 (World English Bible)
When Yahweh spoke at first by Hosea, Yahweh said to Hosea, “Go, take for yourself a wife of prostitution and children of unfaithfulness; for the land commits great adultery, forsaking Yahweh.” So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; and she conceived, and bore him a son.

Redeeming Love Continued

Furthermore, Gomer betrays Hosea and has affairs with other men. But, see the comparison God makes between Gomer and Israel in the following passage.

Hosea 3:1-3 (World English Bible)
Yahweh said to me, “Go again, love a woman loved by another, and an adulteress, even as Yahweh loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods, and love cakes of raisins.” So I bought her for myself for fifteen pieces of silver and a homer and a half of barley. I said to her, “You shall stay with me many days. You shall not play the prostitute, and you shall not be with any other man. I will also be so toward you.”

This passage shows God is hurt by idol worship as a husband is hurt by adultery. And even then, God still loves those who betray Him as He tells Hosea to bring Gomer back.

Now, as of the time this post is being published, a movie has been released called Redeeming Love. It claims to be a retelling of Hosea, but, according to the summary I read, it can’t be. This is because the movie is about a helpless girl who is forced to sell her body.

But, that is not what the book of Hosea is about, it’s about a man who loves His wife despite her willingly betraying him. It’s about God loving a people who willingly betray Him by worshipping other false gods.

Conclusion

Now, you may have been betrayed many times by other people. But you must know that God has been betrayed many times more than you. Even today, God blesses people and they forget Him once they’ve received His blessings.

Yet, the real question is if you have betrayed God? I know I have. I’ve done terrible deeds which prove the wickedness of the human heart. I didn’t love Him first, but He loved me first.

1 John 4:10 (World English Bible)
10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son as the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

And yet, He forgave me and He is always there for me even when I’m at fault. Moreover, I reciprocate His love as I love Him for how good He has been to me. Therefore, if you’ve betrayed God whether it be by idolizing money or other gods, the one true God, Lord Jesus Christ awaits your return to His loving embrace.

Feeling Valued by the Heavenly Father

Feeling valued is a privilege now that I think about it. Nevertheless, I am blessed with family who cares for and loves me. But, my mind always strays to think of those who don’t feel like they have any significance. Even more so, what about those whose parents mistreat them or those who are the object of deep betrayal by those whom they trusted most. Now, from what I can tell, most people have family who care about them. But, I feel that the Spirit of God wants me to write this post to address those who feel like no one cares about them. Even if not applicable to you, this post shows the Christian perspective and how God views it. So continue reading.

Why Do People Like Feeling Valued?

When I say “feeling valued” is something which people want, I’m saying people want significance. They want to be important to at least someone in this world.

And we see this motive manifested in all sorts of people. A lot of people go into romantic relationships and start a family just to have this feeling. Others do the opposite, they focus on their careers and sacrifice family time for the sake of building a legacy. And it is through legacy, that these people share their value with others, even future generations.

Even more, this feeling must be met by young children for healthy development. It is often said by psychologists and anyone who’s a good parent, that children need to feel loved.

All of the scenarios shows how people do things just to be valued by others whether it be one’s family members or society itself.

But why do we have this feeling? From where does this need arise? I believe this feeling comes from an instinct we need as highly social creatures.

It comes from the fact that we were created to have fellowship with Our Heavenly Father.

Genesis 3:8 (World English Bible)
8 They heard Yahweh God’s voice walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Yahweh God among the trees of the garden.

After the creation of humanity, God walked in the Garden of Eden on what seems to be a regular basis. In fact, it seems he wanted to walk with Adam and Eve. God had created them with the intention of communion. He wanted to interact and have a relationship with us.

And so, God created us with this social nature. He designed us to have this desire to be wanted by others. He wrote it into our DNA.

What Does God Think of Me?

For most of us, the ultimate indicator of feeling valued comes from the people we first meet. Our parents. It is often our parents who show us that they love us. However, unlike most, there are some parents who are not emotionally expressive. And some rare cases are manipulative or abusive to their God-given children.

But even for these children, what does God think of them?

Isaiah 49:15 (World English Bible)
15 “Can a woman forget her nursing child,
    that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?
Yes, these may forget,
    yet I will not forget you!

God rhetorically asks if a mother, the symbol of ultimate human affection, can forget her baby. And yet, God, responds to His own question that even though she forget her child, never can the heart of God forget that child.

Proverbs 22:2 (World English Bible)
2 The rich and the poor have this in common:
    Yahweh is the maker of them all.

No matter the condition you’re born in, no matter who loves you in this world, God loves you.

Feeling Valued by God

Let me share this one case from the Bible where God promised Abraham that he would have many children despite his old age. However, Sarah, Abraham’s wife, told Abraham to have children with Hagar, her servant so that he might have an heir. And Hagar did give birth to a child, Ishmael, but, so did Sarah and her child, Isaac is the result of God’s promise.

So, long story short, Hagar’s son was mocking Sarah but Sarah wouldn’t have it so she kicked both Ishmael and his mother out and into the wilderness.

Now, the point I want to make here is that Ishmael was ultimately what we would consider a mistake. He was the result of Abraham producing a child out of fear that he wouldn’t have an heir. Ishmael was the consequence of Abraham’s disobedience to God.

But what was God’s response?

Genesis 21:17-20 (World English Bible)
17 God heard the voice of the boy. The angel of God called to Hagar out of the sky, and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Don’t be afraid. For God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. 18 Get up, lift up the boy, and hold him with your hand. For I will make him a great nation.” 19 God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She went, filled the container with water, and gave the boy a drink. 20 God was with the boy, and he grew. He lived in the wilderness, and as he grew up, he became an archer.

God cared about what we as humans would consider a mistake. Even if that boy was the result of disobedience to His plan, God still loved the boy. And He blessed that boy, when Abraham couldn’t be a father, God became his father.

Psalm 68:5 (World English Bible)
5 A father of the fatherless, and a defender of the widows,
    is God in his holy habitation.

Let me conclude with this. No matter what’s your origin story, God loves you. Moreover, the real question is asked by Lord Jesus.

Matthew 16:15
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

My answer is the same as Peter’s and if your answer is the same, then, I know you’ll get the same response as Lord Jesus gave to Peter.

Matthew 16:16-17
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.

So if you like feeling valued, don’t hope in human beings to provide you that comfort. Rather, place everything in God’s hands and let Him love you. If God loves you, it doesn’t matter if the whole world hates you, when He’s on your side, that’s enough.

If you don’t already have a relationship with God, then, please read my advice concerning that here.

What Does it Mean to be Zealous?

Zeal is a strange word. Many people don’t know what it means. As a matter of fact, until I actually started reading the Bible, I didn’t really know what zeal meant. So in this post, it is my sole goal to reveal what does it mean to be zealous. I believe this will bless you and will prove useful to you in your life. Therefore, continue reading this post so you can enjoy the benefits of this newfound understanding.

What Does It Mean to be Zealous?

Y’all must first understand the definition of zeal. I talk from the perspective of a Christian as there is no more important form of zeal than the zeal a Christian ought to have. Zeal is what makes a person enthusiastic/excited for the Lord. It describes the picture of a Christian who is motivated to seek God and to love Him with all their heart.

It’s the part of you which refuses to compromise your God-given morals/convictions. It’s the part of you which wants to walk and commune with God all the days of your life as His loyal child. Let me give some examples to clarify what I mean.

First, let’s look at the example of Lord Jesus flipping tables because it’s most commonly talked-about example whenever the topic of zeal comes up in sermons.

John 2:15-17 (World English Bible)
15 He made a whip of cords, and threw all out of the temple, both the sheep and the oxen; and he poured out the changers’ money and overthrew their tables. 16 To those who sold the doves, he said, “Take these things out of here! Don’t make my Father’s house a marketplace!” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will eat me up.”Psalm 69:9

To give some context, the pharisees (religious leaders of the time) were selling animals in God’s temple when they should have been ministering to the people. They thought to themselves, “it won’t matter much if we just pocket some money selling sacrifices to the people.” This error showcased their disrespect for the sacred; their sacrilegious behaviour disgusted God to the core.

Hence why Lord Jesus openly showed His anger at what they had done. Now, there’s something interesting which Holy Spirit included when writing this passage. He quotes Psalm 69:9.

Lord Jesus Christ is my God! Now the Question is Who’s Yours?

Psalm 69:9 (WEB)
For the zeal of your house consumes me.
    The reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.

The Bible says that those who reproach God reproach the speaker. What this teaches us is that zeal comes when you understand that the God of the Bible, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, that God, is YOUR God!

And by being your God, He is the reason why you’re here. You answer to no one but Him. It is to the name of your dear Lord and Saviour alone, Jesus Christ, that you bow your knee.

So, whoever disrespects your God, disrespects you because you belong to Him. A small-scale example which I may include is when I was trying out a popular TV show a few weeks ago. It seemed very interesting and had quite a good storyline. But, it then had a scene where it openly disrespected my God, and blasphemed the name of Lord Jesus Christ. It was at that point, I turned it off and decided to never let myself be entertained by it again.

Now, zeal is by nature, an authentic expression of love towards God. You don’t fake it until you make it. Zeal is supposed to be genuine, it’s supposed to be authentic, it can’t be faked. If it’s faked to please others, then, it’s not really zeal, it’s deception.

The Danger of Being Lukewarm

Furthermore, Lord Jesus gave us a warning in the last book fo the Bible concerning the lack of zeal in the Church.

Revelation 3:15-19 (WEB)
15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing;’ and don’t know that you are the wretched one, miserable, poor, blind, and naked; 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich; and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I reprove and chasten. Be zealous therefore, and repent.

As it reads above, He says to not be lukewarm. Being lukewarm means you couldn’t care less about your relationship with God. It’s the type of person who’d let an insult to God slide. Now, don’t get me wrong, this person might not necessarily be bad.

Instead, this person might be a good person who’s zealous for others, who is zealous for human rights, the environment, and so many other important things. And as a human being, I do understand how many well-meaning people are trapped by complacency and lukewarmness.

The reason behind this is we take very few things for granted. We don’t take human rights for granted since we know the price paid for our freedoms and privileges, by soldiers. We don’t take the environment for granted because we’re scared of natural disasters and how they may worsen if we waste natural resources.

But, the odd thing is that we take God, the most wonderful, lovely, important person in the world, for granted. And we’ve got no excuse for this crime.

There would be no freedom, there would be no environment, there would be nothing without God. We’d be doomed to eternal suffering (Hell) if it were not for the grace, love, and sacrifice at the cross of Lord Jesus Christ.

And yet, we as a generation, have become prone to skipping Church, cancelling Bible-reading plans, and turning our precious Lord’s name into a cuss word. Lukewarmness is ugly and it’s disgusting and it happens when we become so comfortable with living our lives without God that we forget Him.

Therefore, my friends, don’t become complacent. Don’t forget the heavy price your loving God paid for you. Let there be no hint of lukewarmness and instead, set yourself ablaze with passion for the things of God.

If you know you’re lacking zeal for God, here’s what you should do. First, ask Holy Spirit to give you zeal for Him. He’ll put that desire in your heart through His Holy Spirit. Then, start reading the Bible consistently and regularly worship the Lord.

Jeremiah 29:13 (WEB)
13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Furthermore, this ain’t an easter bunny egg hunt. You can’t call quits after spending a day seeking the Lord. You’ve got to seek the Lord with all your heart. This means it’s got to be a lifestyle. How that looks with regards to prayer, Bible-reading, and worship is between you and God. What matters is that you’re consistent and that you are putting in an effort to commune with Him. Zeal is the by-product of your relationship with God!

By Andre Wijesekera

Placing Your Roots in the Right Atmosphere

Everyone lives within a certain atmosphere. Now, when I say this, I mean it within a metaphorical context. Other people call it “environment,” some call it “social conditions,” but for the sake of this post, I’ll refer to it as one’s “atmosphere.” And at the end of the day, it is the atmosphere you decide to grow within, that determines the way you think as well as act. So continue reading to learn about placing your roots in the right atmosphere.

Tree?

I think I’ve mentioned it before, but, God has a keen habit out of likening humans to trees, vine branches, etc… in the Bible. So, as you read this post, you will notice my comparison of us, humans, to trees.

Nevertheless, onward we shall venture into this study!

Every tree requires a good atmosphere. If a tree doesn’t have the right soil, the right quality of air, the right amount of water, it fails to sustain itself.

But, what atmosphere do you put yourself in?

I can tell you right now, you are not superhuman to be free of what surrounds you. As a human being, it is impossible to have no attachment to what you consume.

If you spend your time listening to songs with aggressive lyrics and cuss words, it won’t be too difficult to find yourself swearing in your mind every now and then.

1 Corinthians 15:33 King James Version (KJV)
33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

Furthermore, as the Bible says above, “Be not deceived,” because it is quite easy for well-meaning people to fool themselves into thinking that they are strong enough to be unaffected by what they spend time with.

Like it or not, the analogy of human beings to trees is a very real image. We are just as easily affected by our social atmosphere as trees are affected by their physical atmosphere.

You take away a tree’s sunlight, it withers. And in the same way, if you expose your mind to the world’s filth, you will be affected.

For example, if you watch an anime, movie, or TV show that embraces vulgarity, your mindset will automatically become more and more tolerant towards that which is vulgar. Therefore, start placing your roots in the right atmosphere.

Placing Your Roots in the Right Atmosphere

As I said in the prior subsection, please, begin placing your roots in the right atmosphere. Don’t let this world fool you into following its flow lest it leads you to loss.

Now, behind that computer or phone screen, you may be asking, “But Andre, where should I root myself upon?”

My friend, root yourself in the love of Lord Jesus Christ. Lord Jesus Christ is the one true God who came down to Earth in the flesh of a human being. His ministry healed, delivered, and blessed everyone. But, the religious leaders of that day wished for nothing but harm towards Lord Jesus Christ.

So they forced the ancient Roman government to crucify Lord Jesus Christ. However, this was the plan of God for He had to die as an innocent man to pay for the sin of humanity. The precious blood of Lord Jesus Christ paid for every sin, curse, and suffering.

And as you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, you are placing your roots in the right atmosphere, you root yourself in His love!

John 3:16 World English Bible (WEB)
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

His blood is the water which you need and His heart is the soil from which you must sprout. He died on the cross a horrific death to grant your soul eternal life and He experienced a glorious resurrection within 3 days to grant you victory over every trial and challenge.

Ephesians 3:17-19 World English Bible (WEB)
17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, to the end that you, being rooted and grounded in love18 may be strengthened to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and height and depth, 19 and to know Christ’s love which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

The Grand Gardener

John 10:10 World English Bible (WEB)
10 The thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God who came down to Earth in the flesh of a human being as Lord Jesus Christ has set before you two crossroads.

Choose the path that He wills for your life. Make sure you start placing your roots in the right atmosphere because with God, you will blossom and bear good fruit.

Spend some time studying the Word of God. Pray to the Lord your God, and place all your anxieties on Him. He will most certainly bless you!

Galatians 5:16 World English Bible (WEB)
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you won’t fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Let God be your gardener. He will water you, He will place you in fertile soil, and He will prune you so that you bear the best fruit possible. Under the care of God who loves you very much, you will grow and learn to love Him.

The sacred and precious heart of God beats with love for you. His words of care and concern for your well being are sincere and well-justified by the sacrifices He’s made for you.

You may not feel love for God, however, He only asks you to seek Him so that when you get to know Him more, you’ll fall in love with Him.

After all, what’s not there in God to fall in love with. He made you, He’s kind, He’s courageous, He’s valiant, He’s loving, and He’s so much more.

In conclusion, just spend time every day reflecting on His love and maintain a good relationship with your Heavenly Father.

Jeremiah 31:3 World English Bible (WEB)
Yahweh appeared of old to me, saying,

“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love.
    Therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness.

Who Really Is the Captain of Your Boat?

You’ve got to know the captain of your boat. What I mean by this is that all of us are led to make the decisions we make, to feel the emotions that grip us, and to act the way we act. And if you don’t know who’s driving your life or who is controlling you, you’ll never be free to think or act the way that most benefits you. Please continue reading to find out who truly is the captain of your boat.

A Glance at Your Life

First, you may want to know that your life is controlled by someone. As I’ve already made abundantly clear in the introduction, your life is never out of control. It may be in chaos, but ultimately, there’s someone responsible for that chaos. Your life is always in control although potentially unsatisfactory.

Galatians 6:5 World English Bible (WEB)
For each man will bear his own burden.

There’s a responsibility that ought to be taken. If you find yourself in drug addiction, you didn’t just end up there, you made decisions that led you to that point. And the same goes for one who’s found financial success through discipline as well as wise decision making. So, look at your life, and you will clearly see who I call the captain of your boat.

Concludingly, it is quite easy to realize who is the captain of your boat by glancing at your life.

Everyone’s got a captain for their boat. And in this post, I want to focus on three sorts of captains. The three possible captains in charge of your life are the following: you, the devil, or the Spirit of Lord Jesus Christ.

And it’s time, you find out which of those three captains belong to you because until you know who’s your captain, you’ve got no control over where your life’s headed. Your life could be headed for disaster for all you know, unless you truly meet the captain of your boat.

John 13:16 World English Bible (WEB)
16 Most certainly I tell you, a servant is not greater than his lord, neither is one who is sent greater than he who sent him.

As the Lord Jesus Christ says in the scripture above, a servant is only as great as his master. In the same way, your ability is limited by the one leading your life. And it is absolutely imperative that you understand this lest you become ignorant of where you’re headed.

Two Phony Captains

Now, of the three possible captains, two of them come as a package. I label them as the two phony captains. And please make a note that these two captains come as a package, they don’t come separately.

These two possible captains are known as you and the devil. Unfortunately, it is quite the challenge to discern these two fellows. Most of the time, people mistake their captain as only themselves.

Furthermore, people often believe that their captain is them. These people often make statements such as, “I am the captain of my boat, I make my own decisions and I’m proud of them.”  or, “don’t tell me what to do because I’m capable of anything when I put my mind to it.”

However sincere these people may be, they are naive. They don’t understand that if they alone claim the rights to their life, they are actually under the influence of a demonic authority. And do you know why?

It’s because demonic spirits are extremely effective when it comes to convincing anyone that they’re on your side. The thoughts you hear in your head are all too often not yours. And so, there are two phony captains whom you can choose to be the captain of your boat. You, and ultimately, the devil.

No one ever actually says, “huh, I think it’s a good idea to ask an ancient demon to be my captain.” Rather, people fall into the trap of thinking that they alone control their life when in actuality, there’s much more going on behind the scenes.

Ephesians 6:12 World English Bible (WEB)
12 For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world’s rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

The One Worthy of Being the Captain of Your Boat

Therefore, I make my plea to you so that you ask one person to be the captain of your boat. Ask Lord Jesus Christ to be the captain of your boat. He alone should guide and uphold your life.

The Word of God promises you that Lord Jesus Christ will never lead you to disaster. Instead, He will lead you to peace, blessings, and an established legacy.

Isaiah 46:4 World English Bible (WEB)
Even to old age I am he,
    and even to gray hairs I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear.
    Yes, I will carry, and will deliver.

But, to make Lord Jesus Christ your captain, you’ve only got to do one thing. It’s simple and let’s not complicate it. That one thing is to surrender to Him.

God came down to Earth in the form of a human being, Lord Jesus Christ. He healed the sick, showed God’s heart for people, and blessed everyone He interacted with. Religious leaders could not tolerate His truth nor His goodness and so, decided to twist the ancient Roman government’s arm to crucify Lord Jesus Christ.

Moreover, God decided to let Himself experience hell on Earth by being crucified in the flesh so that when you put your trust on Lord Jesus Christ, the hell you deserved would no longer await you.

Lord Jesus Christ died for you to give you hope and a new life. And when you entrust Him with your life, He will not disappoint. Just accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour and surrender all of your life to Him.

James 4:10 World English Bible (WEB)
10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he will exalt you.

Allow His Spirit to lead you and be sensitive to what He says in the Bible. To every gentle steer, He makes, yield to Him.

Romans 8:14 King James Version (KJV)
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Forsaking All Enticements The World Offers

Over the past millennia, human society has invented new ways to distract its members. As human beings, our world is full of enticements and distractions. Yet, you may be oblivious to any of the temptations or enticements holding you captive. If you want to know the litmus test to determine what is enticing you, look at what behaviours, habits, or desires hinder you in either your physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual health. Continue reading to learn how to begin forsaking all enticements that may come your way.

Don’t Entertain Any Bad Habit

Before continuing on how to forsake the enticements of the world, you must be able to identify what they are. There must first be a diagnosis before there is a treatment.

And, you must first be confident in your relationship with God. Too often, do I hear people claim to have a good relationship with God yet not know who is God. But, to clear all misunderstandings, let’s set the record straight.

The God of the Bible knew how all humans sin. Therefore, no one is fit to enter Heaven as Heaven is only for those who haven’t sinned.

So, God came down in the flesh as Lord Jesus Christ with a ministry of healing, deliverance, and more. Yet, jealous religious leaders decided to pressure the ancient Roman government to crucify Lord Jesus Christ.

But, it was God’s plan to let Himself, Lord Jesus Christ, suffer humanity’s punishment for sin on the cross. In this way, God transferred His righteousness to those who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.

Therefore, accept Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour.

Romans 10:9 King James Version (KJV)
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Moving on, in the case of distractions or enticements, one can identify it by seeing how its nature affects you. If you notice that behaviour, habit, or idea comes in-between you and Lord Jesus, then, get rid of it.

Matthew 5:30 World English Bible (WEB)
30 If your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off, and throw it away from you. For it is more profitable for you that one of your members should perish, than for your whole body to be cast into Gehenna.[a]

In fact, Lord Jesus Christ said in the above scripture, to cut off whatever causes you to stumble. So, when you see a sinful behaviour or an act of the flesh within your lifestyle, forsake it. Now, when Lord Jesus Christ said to cut off one’s hand if it causes one to stumble, He did not literally mean amputating a God-given part of your body. He just meant to immediately get rid of any sinful behaviour immediately.

Crucified with Christ for a Reason

This means that if you see drug addiction within your life, then, stop it, pray to Lord Jesus Christ, and seek the proper help. I also talk about addiction in this post. If you see a tendency to get angry very easily within your life, then, stop it, ask Lord Jesus Christ the grace to come out of it, and seek His counsel through the Holy Bible.

Start forsaking whatever appears to be against the nature of God within your life. That’s why the Bible says to flee anything so as long as it appears to be evil.

1 Thessalonians 5:22-24 King James Version (KJV)
2Abstain from all appearance of evil.
23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.

Flee all appearances of evil!

Furthermore, the Bible makes it clear to have a fear of the Lord. I talk more about the fear of God in this post. And the main thing to know about the fear of the Lord is that it is when one respects God enough to know that he/she ought not to do certain things which displease Him.

When you honour God with your entire being, you know that He loves you and by nature, it hurts you to hurt God. Since you love God, prioritize Him over all things. If He says not to hold unforgiveness towards anyone, then, start forgiving. Or if He says we ought to be kind to others because God is kind to us, then, start showing kindness to those around you.

The bottom line is that when you have the fear of the Lord, His love develops a desire within you to please Him through whatever you do. And to get that fear of the Lord, you should ask Him for it.

Proverbs 1:7 World English Bible (WEB)
The fear of Yahweh[a] is the beginning of knowledge;
    but the foolish despise wisdom and instruction.

Forsaking all Enticements

In conclusion, stay away from evil because you know that God loves you and you should make it your utmost priority to do what pleases Him. If there’s something that pleases you but displeases God, then cut it off, because, it will not benefit you.

Rather, do what is good and what you know is not going to hurt you physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually.

1 Corinthians 6:19 World English Bible (WEB)
19 Or don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,

So, make it a constant habit to start forsaking everything you do which ain’t right.

We’re all not perfect, but as children of God, it should be our goal to focus on Lord Jesus Christ and begin forsaking every evil that distracts us.

Hebrews 12:2 King James Version (KJV)
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The scripture above perfectly summarizes what ought to be our mindset concerning worldly distractions and temptations. What the above scripture means is that we should fix our eyes on Lord Jesus Christ because He fixed His eyes on the joy set before Him. His joy was to see us saved, blessed, redeemed, and His as He suffered the pain of the cross.

Remember that you were crucified with Christ and that whatever distracts you now has no foothold on you because Lord Jesus Christ already defeated every temptation on the cross.

Galatians 2:20 King James Version (KJV)
20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

.

Seeing Everyone As Opportunities to Bless

The big question of the day, or rather… this post, is how do you see people? How we see people determines a lot about what others see in us. That is why I making the goal of this post to convince you to start seeing everyone as opportunities to bless. You will see improvements in your life, in your relationships, in your reputation, and more, if you take this wisdom to heart.

Distorted Perspectives

The first thing you ought to know is that our perspective on others may indicate something about us. If you’re really honest with yourself, you’d see how easy it is to judge others, to rely upon baseless biases, and more.

The point is that we’re not perfect. And the last thing we should do is claim to be perfect. We’ve been trained by our culture, by our family, by our traditions, and more, to think in ways which don’t make sense.

Mark 7:9 World English Bible (WEB)
He said to them, “Full well do you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.

Now, the Bible is pretty clear on the cost of such worldly traditions, too.

Proverbs 14:12 World English Bible (WEB)
12 There is a way which seems right to a man,
    but in the end it leads to death.

Did you catch that? If you didn’t, let me point it out to you. The scripture above states that the ways of man which seem right, lead unto death.

That’s a bit frightening. And it is as true as it is terrifying. The wrong thinking and the wrong perspective can lead you in the direction opposite to the blessings and life which God has in plan for you.

Racism is an all-too-common example of the ramifications brought upon mankind when a deadly mindset is accepted.

Racism is a way in which arrogant people view others as inferior due to a difference in skin colour, and so, this mindset leads to the mistreatment of others as well as the darkening of one’s own soul. And racism surely has led to death every single time it’s been accepted by human beings.

A manipulator who cheats on their spouse is another example of distorted perspectives. When one sees people as opportunities to please one’s self and doesn’t understand the value of faithfulness, their life is headed towards destruction.

A Transformation of Perspective

So, there needs to be a shift in the way you think. For so long, we have based our values, perspectives, and ideals on what our world has given us.

But, the Bible clearly points out that the world’s standard of good is not God’s ideal. Our world was never supposed to be based on slogans like “survival of the fittest,” or “winning the rat race.”

We were never supposed to view other people as subjects of manipulation or exploitation. The thought of taking advantage of vulnerable people never came across the most precious mind of God.

Yet, it’s a thought that repeats itself within the minds of those who embrace the world’s standard of good. That is why there is so much corruption, injustice, and evil that persists in every nation.

Romans 5:12 World English Bible (WEB)
12 Therefore as sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin; so death passed to all men, because all sinned.

But instead, how does God want us to treat people?

Mark 9:35 King James Version (KJV)
35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.

Lord Jesus Christ said we ought to serve others, to love them, and to treat them well. This doesn’t mean we need to be a doormat for others to exploit. Instead, Lord Jesus means that we’re supposed to respect and love others as God loves us.

How do you know that God loves you? He showed His love to you on the cross. God came down in the flesh as Lord Jesus Christ and people hated His ministry of compassion, so, they, with all the religious teachers decided to crucify Him.

Seeing Everyone as Opportunities to Bless

Yet, this was all part of God’s plan so that through Him bearing your punishment, you would no longer suffer hell because of His sacrifice. Therefore, you only need to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour as a way of accepting His love as well as transformative grace.

Romans 10:9-10 King James Version (KJV)
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

I talk more about God’s salvation plan for humanity in this post.

Ask God for the grace to start seeing everyone as opportunities to bless. God calls us to be generous, to give unto the poor, to always be helpful to those who are in need of aid, and more.

We ought to follow the example of Christ. There should not be any hint of selfishness as selfishness is what leads people to throw others under the bus for their own benefit.

John 13:15 World English Bible (WEB)
15 For I have given you an example, that you should also do as I have done to you.

Furthermore, we were all headed down the path to God’s fierce judgment and wrath as God is holy and must rightfully punish people like us for the things we’ve done wrong. However, God is a God of love. He decided to let Himself be destroyed that we may be made alive.

Therefore, place your faith in the finished work of Lord Jesus Christ. Diligently read the Bible and see Christ’s example to us as we learn to serve others and be a blessing to everyone we meet. Fix your eyes upon Lord Jesus; you’ll start seeing everyone as opportunities to bless.

Giving Thanks To Our Heavenly Immanuel

I’m sure that if you’ve read the title of this, some questions are bound to arise. To clear things up, this post is meant to point out three conduits by which giving thanks to God is possible. And in the title, I mentioned God as our Heavenly Immanuel. The reason being so that we can remember the title given to Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 1:23, which is “Immanuel.” Immanuel means “God with us,’ and since we’re going to thank Him, we should remember who He is. He is with us.

Giving Thanks Through the Heart

Firstly, thank God in your heart. All deeds start with the heart and appreciation does not violate that expectation. Whether you bless or hurt someone, the intention starts within your thoughts.

Colossians 3:2 World English Bible (WEB)
Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth.

And so, I urge you to thank God in your heart. Just think to yourself, “Wow, God you’re so good, thank you for loving me.”

Now, I can imagine if some grow skeptical of what I’m saying. But, here’s the thing, you just need to remind yourself of who God is.

God is the one who came down to Earth as a human. He came as Lord Jesus Christ. Furthermore, since you and I have erred, we’ve done things that forever separate us from God, who is utterly perfect.

So, He let Himself be tortured and crucified by angry people who could not stand his life-giving miracles, jaw-dropping wonders, and breathtaking healings. Lord Jesus Christ bore the cross to give you an opportunity at another chance.

A chance to trust Him with all your failures and destruction as He suffers your punishment on the cross. Therefore, accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour.

You’ve just got to remember and believe what He did for you, and no matter what state you’re in, you’ll feel a sense of gratitude.

His love for you means that if you’re currently in a state of bliss, His love is to thank for. Or if you’re in a season of disappointment, let the love of God console and comfort you.

The main point of this section is to make you understand that it doesn’t matter where you’re standing, God loves you deeply. Therefore, feel your heart’s drive to thank God for His meaningful love.

Romans 8:27 World English Bible (WEB)
27 He who searches the hearts knows what is on the Spirit’s mind, because he makes intercession for the saints according to God.

Thanking God Through Words

Next, use your words to express your appreciation to God. God is real. And it wouldn’t hurt to tell Him that you’re grateful for all He’s done. Like any other person, God should hear you speak to Him.

When you express gratitude to a friend, family member, anyone else for that matter, you tell tell them, “thank you.’

In the same way, say “thank you,” to God.

Philippians 4:6-7 World English Bible (WEB)
In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to GodAnd the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.

The scripture above says to thank God as you pray and inform Him about your situations.

And although your immediate situation may not look the best, things will change. That’s a promise from God.

Matthew 6:34 World English Bible (WEB)
34 Therefore don’t be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day’s own evil is sufficient.

Plus, being anxious about nothing as you thank Him for taking care of it solves the issue of anxiety. Once you’ve done everything you could such as setting up your business, or teaching your children what’s right and wrong, thank God as you place your desire in God’s hands.

Thank Him for being with you. Giving thanks to Him verbally is not going to go unheard. Your words will not fall to the ground, instead, they’ll ascend to the ears of God like a sweet aroma.

Proverbs 16:1-3 World English Bible (WEB)
16 The plans of the heart belong to man,
    but the answer of the tongue is from Yahweh.
All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes;
    but Yahweh weighs the motives.
Commit your deeds to Yahweh,
    and your plans shall succeed.

He’ll take care of the rest. After all, His hands are bigger than yours.

Giving Thanks Through Actions

Finally, giving thanks to God through your actions is something that you must never forget. Your actions show God where your heart is.

For example, a person who lies constantly shows everyone that his/her heart is in a place of confusion and deception.

On the other hand, a person who lives in honesty regardless of its consequences upon one’s self shows everyone his/her heart is in a place of integrity.

Colossians 3:17 World English Bible (WEB)
17 Whatever you do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father, through him.

Therefore, God sees whether you appreciate Him or not through what you do. And the choice to do what you want belongs to no one else other than the person reading this post. That’s you.

But, how do you show gratitude to God through your actions? You show appreciation by allowing His Spirit to enter and transform your life.

Romans 12:2 World English Bible (WEB)
Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.

And His Spirit will convict your heart to do what pleases God. You can please God by avoiding evil no matter how tempting the proposition.

Also, you can please God through charity in Lord Jesus’ name and being a reliable neighbour to those God placed in your life.

Mark 12:30-31 World English Bible (WEB)
30 you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’Deuteronomy 6:4-5 This is the first commandment. 31 The second is like this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’Leviticus 19:18 There is no other commandment greater than these.”

To tell you the truth, only you know where God is leading you. And so, thank God by obeying Him through your actions.

Galatians 5:25 World English Bible (WEB)
25 If we live by the Spirit, let’s also walk by the Spirit.

In conclusion, thank Immanuel, Lord Jesus Christ for His love for you. Hold onto His love and thank God through whatever means possible.

By Andre Wijesekera.

How to Fear the Lord According to the Bible

The word “fear,” has an predominantly negative connotation in today’s world. And what I mean by that is that if someone was to randomly scream the word, “fear,” in a room with people, some negative image will come to the minds of every person in that room. But then, what does it mean to fear God? And how to fear God? This question will be the focus of this post, so continue reading.

Who is God?

Does the fear of God mean to be terrified by Him? Before I tackle this question, let me clarify some things as I don’t want to cause any confusion in this post.

The God I’m talking about is the God of the Bible. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is the God who came down to Earth 2000 years ago as Lord Jesus Christ.

Lord Jesus Christ healed the sick, freed the demon-possessed, and performed miracles, too many to count.

John 21:25 King James Version (KJV)
25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

And how did the people of that time treat Lord Jesus Christ? Well, the religious leaders got jealous of Lord Jesus and they used the people’s herd mentality to pressure the ancient Roman government of that time to crucify Lord Jesus Christ.

Luke 23:23 King James Version (KJV)
23 And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed.

But, do not think for a second that this event was unforeseen by God. No, on the contrary, God knew that people are corrupted, and He allowed Himself to be tortured and crucified by His own people.

The reason for this is because you and I have all sinned. We’ve all messed up somewhere in our lives. And since God is holy and perfect, He cannot let us into Heaven because we are imperfect.

Thus, we need atonement. That atonement is Lord Jesus Christ dying on the cross for you and me. When He bore hell on Earth at the cross of Calvary, we can accept His sacrifice, and forfeit the destruction awaiting us in our afterlife. He is the God I am talking about and the only God who I know. So, if you haven’t already, accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour.

John 14:6 World English Bible (WEB)
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.

Terrified by the Lord?

Now, to actually deal with the question, what does it mean to fear God?

Genesis 20:10-11 World English Bible (WEB)
10 Abimelech said to Abraham, “What did you see, that you have done this thing?” 11 Abraham said, “Because I thought, ‘Surely the fear of God is not in this place. They will kill me for my wife’s sake.’

Well, it certainly doesn’t mean to be terrified or petrified by Him! I mean, look at the first time this phrase is used in an English translation of the Bible.

The first time this phrase was used in the Bible was in the above verse, where Abraham hid the fact that he was Sarah’s husband to Abimelech since Abraham thought there was no fear of God in Abimelech’s domain.

Does this mean that Abraham was scared to tell Abimelech that he was Sarah’s husband because Abimelech was not terrified by God? No, it means that according to Abraham, Abimelech did not care about God’s laws or respect God.

But, let me get this straight. If there’s anyone you should be terrified of, it’s God, and God alone. Now, I want you to read this slowly, otherwise, you will get really confused.

God does not want you to be terrified of Him. God does not want you to see Him as a danger. But, if you should be scared of anything or anyone, God is at the top of the list, not the devil. And that is because God is the most powerful being to exist.

So, if you’re thinking of going against God or doing something evil to another person, prepare yourself for the consequences. God looks for everyone’s best interest, and He will stop evil through whatever means necessary.

Matthew 10:28 King James Version (KJV)
28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

This should give you confidence because if God is on your side, then there’s absolutely no one to fear. Even after death, Heaven awaits you.

Continuing on, the fear of God is when you respect Him as your God. When you respect Lord Jesus Christ as your God, you will have convictions that restrain you from doing things He does not like.

Deuteronomy 10:12 World English Bible (WEB)
12 Now, Israel, what does Yahweh your God require of you, but to fear Yahweh your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, and to serve Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your soul,

How to Fear God

So, how do you fear God? You fear God by respecting Him and obeying Him.

Psalm 33:8 World English Bible (WEB)
Let all the earth fear Yahweh.
    Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.

To fear God means to stand in awe of Him. By standing in awe of Him, I mean to be in a state where you marvel at the goodness and love of God.

To fear God means to honour His love for you, and turn away from evil. Don’t do bad things because they benefit or pleasure you, turn away from them because God loves you!

Proverbs 3:7 King James Version (KJV)
Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.

Furthermore, God blesses those who fear Him. When you decide to respect God, God will make sure that you lack nothing in your life.

Psalm 34:9 World English Bible (WEB)
Oh fear Yahweh, you his saints,
    for there is no lack with those who fear him.

And another thing that comes with fearing Him, is wisdom. Once you commit to honouring God above all else, God will give you the wisdom that is relevant in your situation.

Psalm 111:10 World English Bible (WEB)
10 The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom.
    All those who do his work have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever!

So, what’s the conclusion? Fear God by honouring and respecting Him. And turn away from ways which you know aren’t right because ultimately, God loves you.