MARD Moment PodcastDec 20, 2019
And Can It Be
Inspired by Charles Wesley's 1738 classic, this episode takes a look at what we gain by opting in to the greatest trade ever made.
You can listen to a beautiful rendition of "And Can It Be" by visiting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQeIGbKqiw8
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#CharlesWesley #Hymn #Choir #Methodist #Hymns #Music #GospelMusic #ChristianMusic
MEEKNESS – THE SCARCE VIRTUE
When I was to write about meekness tonight, it seemed like a not often used word. So odd that I yielded to the temptation of searching for it in my Bible just to be sure how rare it is. (Thank God for Bible apps that have made such searches easy.)
As a student of literature, history and English language, I am drawn to the King James Version of the Holy Bible more than any other. It has this ancient and poetic feel to it that I find lacking in other Bible versions.
So, I searched for the word meekness and realized it was used only 14 times in the Bible. That is a little too few for my satisfaction, so I searched for meek also. Meek did one better, it appears 15 times, for a joint appearance of 29.
Considering that “the meek shall inherit the earth,” I was expecting meek and meekness to appear more often in the Bible. Especially in the epistles of Paul and the Psalms and Proverbs. It seems like poetic justice that meekness is as scarce in the Bible as it is among humans.
Some will argue that humility is synonymous to meekness, but linguists and writers will argue that synonymous words are similar in meaning, but may not always serve as effective substitute words.
My dictionary states that to be meek is to be humble, non-boastful, modest and self-effacing. A.k.a free of self aggrandizement.
Some people will argue that they are just easily noticeable or have a loud personality, and that excuses the absence of meekness in their life. The first man to be described as meek in the Bible, in fact, other than Christ, the only other person in the Bible to have the word meek attached to his name in the Bible was Moses. “(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)” Please, let that sink in.
Moses who grew up as heir apparent to Pharaoh, the same Moses who killed an Egyptian while defending an Israelite, who then ran off on exile and then meet his wife by defending her or getting into a quarrel or fight with some shepherds on her behalf. The same Moses who saw God with his eyes, wrote the ten commandments while communing with God, broke the tablet containing the laws in a combination of anger and shock.
If you know anything about Moses, having watched him confront Pharaoh, brought down ten plagues on Egypt, then lead a nation of over six hundred thousand men out of Egypt, then you are quite sure he must be quite popular and always had an audience around him.
Anybody who has been a class captain knows the power and responsibilities that comes with the office, how much more leading the Israelites? How can such a leader still maintain his meekness, so much that God recognised him as the meekest man on earth?
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Just as you exhibit all of the other Fruits of the Spirit, you are supposed to show meekness in your daily life also. Meekness shouldn’t be likened to sour grapes. We want to assume it will be easy for less powerful and popular people to be meek. But if Moses could, so can you.
FAITH LIKE MUSTARD SEED
I do not know the S.I unit for measuring faith, but I do know that faith as small as mustard seeds can move mountains as big as Everest.
Now, I don’t know why you would want to move Mount Everest from its current location. Maybe to boost tourism in the new location, (Nigeria can really use the money, if it won’t get stolen first), or just to prove a point. But I do know that man’s want are insatiable.
As for needs, that’s where faith needs to be practiced. Wants and needs, as in a secondary school student wanting a car to show off to his friends while a man with a family of 5 needing a car to help move them around. A man wanting the rain to stop falling so he can go “turn up” in the club with his friends and a woman needing the rain to fall all night to boost her farm produce.
When you can separate your wants and needs, then you can pray appropriately.
Thank God for the era of grace. Lots of “modern Christians” are so in love with the concept of “grace“, cos they are in a hurry to abuse it. The grace I am grateful for is the one that begins with the rending apart of the veil in the temple upon the death of Jesus Christ at the cross.
It opened a chapter in human relationship with God, whereby anyone can talk to Him through faith, without needing an intermediary or priest. We can ask God for any need, beginning at salvation, but not ending at financial resources, good health, wisdom, or direction in life.
Faith like a grain of mustard seed will move mountains, now imagine the strength of a faith as massive as a mountain. That brings us to growing in faith. The level of your trust in God five years after you first believed in him shouldn’t be the same as when you just started your relationship with Him.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Faith here is different from the rest because it is the one fruit that is directed more towards oneself rather than others
That brings us to selfishness. “Ask and you will receive“, “I will give you the nations for a possession“. That doesn’t necessitate praying for all your enemies to drop dead, nor all your rivals failing woefully.
“The earth is the Lord’s and its fullness thereof“. You can have all your needs met without someone else giving his life for it.
Is your faith as like a mustard seed or is it growing? Do you trust absolutely in God or do you need an assistant god? Can God trust you with responsibilities that comes with Faith in Him?
Remember “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
I DON’T TAKE NONSENSE
Welcome to the “I don’t take nonsense” generation; here, tolerance level is running low, patience is thinning out, longsuffering is none existent, if you step on my toes, I’ll stomp off your feet.
It’s unbelievable when you see some very spiritual and extra born again Christians react to insults, misjudgements, pressure or things going against them. It is like they are the epitome and model for the Fruit of the Spirit until you get to situations that requires longsuffering.
They’ll not just flare up, they’ll ensure you know that when it comes to standing up for themselves, they’ll gladly put Christianity aside, give you a healthy dose of hell, then come back to being Spirit filled again. I wonder how they’ll come back to you for evangelism after that.
It seems like the days of “turn the other cheek” is long gone, and we are back in the times of “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or two”.
When Apostle Paul through the inspiration of the Spirit wrote that “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” there was no expiry date or caveat attached to any of them.
Never forget that an eye for an eye would make the whole world go blind. If you want to claim “New Testament Grace“, you might as well go all the way and manifest “New Testament Fruit of the Spirit”. Longsuffering included.
WARRIOR – MILITANT CHRISTIAN AND SOMETHING CALLED PEACE
It seems some people are just allergic to peace and quiet. If there is no noise and ruckus greeting their presence, then something is wrong. They begin to feel like a fish on land.
One of my friends got me stuck on a phrase which at best I can only roughly translate to “You love quarreling even if you claim not to be a fighter”. It sounds better in pidgin, but is likely less pungent in English.
Some people are just overly aggressive. They might term it as being Alpha, Domineering, Militant, Bossy, No Nonsense Taking, Hyper or any other fancy name, but in truth they are ungentlemanly and unladylike, abrasive, disrespectful, impatient, and leave everyone the meet with a bad impression or/and a hurt.
Other than the time Jesus cleansed the temple, with a whip in hand, you never find him being Aggressive anywhere else in the Bible. Even when Nebuchadnezzar saw him “chilling” in the fiery furnace with Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego, his and their demeanor was calm.
Steven seeing Jesus at the right hand of the Father, Paul hearing Christ’s voice on the way to Damascus; both experiences, despite how different the background was, were still epitomes of classical experiences with the Prince of Peace.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,”. The Peace there is both received and given.
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Here it is received.
“Follow peace with all men , and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:” This is a Peace you give out. Beginning at your family, extending to your friends, and inexcusably inclusive of your neighbor. At work, church, home, road, anywhere.
Make you no come be one of those people wey like quarrel pass fight.
I AM KINDA NOT A CHRISTIAN
When the first group of people were branded “Christians” because they lived a life that reminded everyone around them of Jesus Christ, everyone else who believed in Jesus Christ thought the coolest thing that could happen to them was for someone to refer to them as a Christian.
I wouldn’t be surprised if children returning home from school would run to their parents, beaming with pride as they counted on one or both hands the number of people that referred to them as Christians that day. A lady would be sharing the “good-news” with a stranger who will then ask her “are you one of them? Are you a Christian too?” with tears of joy welling up in her eyes and being choked up with emotions that she was identified as “Christ-like”, she will look them straight in the eyes, smiling from ear to ear as she replies emphatically, “Yes I am”. Believers who were fleeing persecution would meet up in a strange city and whenever they hear someone being referred to as a Christian, they quickly identified and associated with them.
Centuries later, being branded a Christian was considered a thing of joy until recently, the 21st century peeps, find themselves “too cool” and “politically correct” to be called Christians. They suddenly are very wise and intelligent and would rather thank “the universe” for any good fortune than thank God. They believe in God, but would call him any other name but God. They believe in Christ, but not as Christians, rather as something I am not still sure what they claim to be.
I am yet to come to terms with people who would rather not commit to relationships, or term themselves as being in a relationship. But refusing to acknowledge or term your relationship with your Messiah, that I don’t consider to be wise. It reminds me of the bible verse that says “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels”.
I am a Christian and I am proud to be one.
Read more at MARDLife.com
DEMON CHASERS, NEIGHBOR HATERS
I have always wondered why the first fruit of the Spirit is love, until I meet neighbor haters who were specialist demon chasers.
Who am I talking about? The neighbor whose vigil prayers wakes you and your baby up by 1:AM every morning, but who will never greet or ask how you are faring when he sees you by 6:AM in the morning; The neighbor who will refuse to help clean the house on sanitation days but sprinkle “holy water” and “anointing oil” around the room and compound to chase “evil spirits”; the neighbor who is always sharing handbill, inviting you to their church program, but will never share a meal with the hungry child whose parent won’t be back from work until 10:PM.
“By their fruits, ye shall know them” doesn’t point out saints alone, the fruit of the Demon Chasing Neighbor Hater is also very apparent. They are never cheerful, never have a smile to share, always last to the scene of a good news, but first to the scene of a bad news, spread gossip faster than it is created, discourage progress of others, have more enemies than friends as neighbors, selfish, self-centered, contentious, add fuel to the fire of disharmony in the house, let’s just say they are Christians in name only, not in deeds.
When Galatians 5:22 says “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,” they were exempted from such verse. Love is an “ideal” that is unattainable to them.
When they see others spread love and joy, they brand them as “Unchristian-like” and tell you how the worst parts of hell is reserved for such people.
As you grow in Grace, as you grow in Faith, as you grow in the Spirit, as you grow in Spirituality, you also need to grow in Love.
Read more at MARDLife.com
SMALL FAITH BIG FAITH
Life has its ups and downs, man’s needs are inexhaustible, our faith is supposed to be unquenchable. If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed… What happens when someone has faith, small as a grain of rice or bigger than Mount Everest, but refuses to apply the said faith in his everyday life?
That is the kind of situation lots of people find themselves in today. You are a professing Christian, you believe in the Divinity of Christ, you are aware that your God is Omniscient, Omnipotent and Omnipresent, you know that the God you believe in created the world through his words, yet you refuse to present your needs and challenges to him.
When we talk of needs, the average person automatically thinks about “the big things”, like needing a job, securing admission into higher institution, buying a car, and other “major” achievements; we easily overlook the “smaller things”, like a slight headache, buying the right electric bulb, boarding the next bus heading to our destination, etc. Surely, heaven can’t be bothered by such trivialities.
That can be likened to the son of a billionaire who thinks his father can only be bothered about buying him a car, but not about paying his school fees; or his sister who believes she should only tell Daddy about paying for her school fees, but not about buying textbooks.
There is this growing notion that if science can fix it, my money can buy it, or it is taught in school, then I shouldn’t have to pray about it. That’s a new level of common sense that I have refused to subscribe to.
Your God, who doubles as your father is interested in the most minute of your activities. “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
If you can’t have faith in an All Seeing, All Knowing, Ever Present, Almighty God for your smallest need, I wonder who you will turn to when your strength fails you.
Read more at MARDLife.com
A Question For Grace
Is there a way to ensure that none of my thoughts, words or actions would ever be counted as sin? Are there a category of people whom God overlooks their inadequacies? Does grace mean I would never be guilty of sin? Is it my mind that is playing a trick on me or am I a slave to my mindset?
These are questions that are proving to be quite divisive in Chritiandom today. Pastors, preachers and teachers have left people more confused after giving their answers. What seems so simple to one is just unbelievably ridiculous to another.
Grace is supposed to be a “shortcut” in Christianity, assuring us of salvation and ensuring we are not struck dead instantaneously, when we commit certain sins. (RIP to the sons of Aaron after the strange fire incident).
From Grace being a way to bring everyone into the salvation plan of God, it has evolved in modern Christianity and now it is the most controversial subject in Christianity.
Going back to the basics, the essence of salvation is to pardon past sins, in the process of conversion, the power to live above sin and not fall to temptations is given to the individual.
All of that is not a guarantee that the individual wouldn’t still commit a sin in the future. Here comes grace. In our story last night, Grace had contravaned her father’s directive, he was aware and had the power to forgive her but she couldn’t be aware if he had excercised that power unless she asks for forgiveness.
I may be a slave to my mindset, (or a slave mindset as some people would rather describe it). But then, in all of my study of the Bible, I am not aware of a point system whereby I would exhaust my chances of salvation by asking for pardon one time too many.
There is no extra sacrifice I have to make because I am repenting again and again, neither can my salvation be revoked because I asked for pardon while already a saint.
Considering the massive contrast in the fortune of Sinner going to hell and a Christian going to heaven at death, don’t you think it is safer to ask for forgiveness every time you have or “might” have committed a sin, rather than banking on “grace”? Isn’t it better to be sure of salvation cos of confession and repentance than loose heaven cos you were wrongfully risking your eternal life on grace?
Better safe than sorry, I will pick the old fashioned repentance over the “newly updated” grace any time.
Read more at MARDLife.com
A Story Of Grace
Grace is the only daughter of her parents. With 5 elder brothers, she grew up being a tomboy and hyperactive. It’s unarguable, Grace is one of the most beautiful girl you’ll ever meet. Her beauty is duly matched by her intelligence and work ethic.
Right from her childhood days, Grace has a knack for literally jumping for joy when excited about something. Before you can say “Jack Robinson” you’ll find her screaming and laughing as she bounces on the sofa or bed.
While telling her parents what she scored in her Junior Secondary School leaving examination, she had jumped on a plastic chair, it shattered in pieces under her weight and she got some bruises. Her dad, realizing she could have been more hurt then instructed her to never jump on either the chair or bed irrespective of her delight. She was told to always calm down as much as possible and express herself through her words and smile or laugh.
Years passed by without any more “bouncing” incidents. Three years later, Grace and her two best friends were in her room waiting for the release of their UTME results. After a very tense waiting and refreshing of JAMB’s website which had kept crashing repeatedly, Grace finally saw her scores.
She had scored 380. Grace didn’t know when she did it, but by the time she could gather her wits, she was already screaming, laughing and jumping nonstop on the bed along with her besties. Then she heard a crack.
One of the wood carrying the foam underneath had broken. She sobered up a bit, but was still delighted nonetheless.
That evening, as her parents got into the house from work, she broke the news of her passing the UTME. Her parents were proud of her. Her mum hugged her, while her dad beaming with a big smile on his face promised to get her whatever she asked for.
After supper that evening, as they were all settled in front of the television, Grace suddenly got in front of both her parents and knelt down.
“What’s wrong” her dad asked.
“I am sorry, I did it again” Grace replied.
A knowing look dawned on her mother’s face as she asked “did what?”
“I jumped on the bed in joy and I think I broke it.”
There was a pregnant pause in the room as everyone expected Grace’s dad to go full ballistic on her.
“It’s alright, I know” he said instead.
Her mum then stretched out her hands and pulled her up from her knees, setting her down to sit between her parents. It all felt too surreal, too good to be true, she had been expecting a spanking or a strongly worded rebuke at the very least. She had been imagining a hundred and one reaction from her parents as well as her response to them all. She had even thought of how quickly she could summon up fake tears to escape punishment. A smile and a hug; that, she wasn’t ready for.
“How did you know?” She sheepishly asked them.
“I had gone to pick up the book you borrowed from me last week in your room, when I decided to sit on your bed. I straightaway went to tell your dad, he was upset at first. But when I pointed out that it most likely was a result of you jumping for joy about your exam scores, he was sated a bit. I pleaded on your behalf and reminded him of how you’ve been a good girl and haven’t jumped on any chair or bed in the last three years. He finally agreed forgave you, but on the condition that you come confessing by yourself. Without any prompting. You just showed that you are truly my daughter” her mother said with tears of joy welling up in her eyes.
“I have forgiven you” her father said.
“Thankfully you weren’t hurt. I will call the carpenter to fix the bed tomorrow morning”
Grace couldn’t believe her ears. So her very Stern dad already knew, thank God for her advocating mother.
As Grace went to sleep on her squeaking bed that night, she couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened if she had tried to keep the whole incident a secret to herself.
Read more at MARDLife.com