"Very truly, I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life." John 5:24 NIV
If you want to know the answer to your question: how can I obtain eternal life? Look no further. Your answer can be found in the gospel book of John. But why do I see other than eternal life as the answer to people's prayers whenever I turn to observe whom I believe to be fellow believers? What entails from this scripture that John had written it so well, so entirely, that a person has to act upon it to get this? I don't see that from modern Christians. There isn't any gap between the lifestyles, qualities and traits of a Christian and those of nonbelievers. They all look the same from the inside and out.
Let us look further into this "acting on faith." The book of James argued that faith without works "is dead and useless." (James 2:17b, NLT) Many claimed they were Christians, but their actions proved them otherwise. "What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don't show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?" (James 2:14, NLT)
We who believe know that the Holy Bible is infallible. There is all truth in God because He cannot be anything else. If He is anything else, He cannot create the world out of nothing, as in the scriptures (see Genesis, chapter 1). We can see eternal life in Him and coming from Himself. Apostle John had written in summation based on God as the Creator, the Provider, and the Sustainer of life. There can be no life without God. Hence, eternal life can only be from God through His power, authority, and holiness. But His people don't tell the story He wanted them to express as His witnesses. Even now, I see many Judases standing at corners, ready to strike the next victim. Judas, in the days of Jesus, was willing to point an accusing finger at Jesus so he could collect his thirty pieces of silver. We read from the four gospels that he once had questioned Mary's use of an expensive perfume. "'Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages.' He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it." (John 12:5 - 6 NIV) They knew who Judas was, and now the whole world knows, too.
The Apostle John witnessed Jesus telling the Jewish leaders as they persecuted Him that He had the right to work on the Sabbath because "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working." (John 5:17). From the above scripture, we know that Jesus defended Himself from their accusations, leaving us to believe that Jesus is God with the authority on the Torah, not just the Holy Bible. Let us look at our parents. We know that they worked hard daily to care for us in our younger days until our adulthood. They don't stop watching us even at their retirement age. We know God goes beyond watching over us, even in our later years. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God." (John 3:16 - 21 NIV) This passage is just the beginning. We know God has a plan. Do you want to be in that plan, or are you just on the verge of committing another crime? The choice is yours. I want to ask you one thing: Don't blame the messenger for your wrong choice!
Despite their persistent accusations, the Jewish leaders could not disprove Jesus' act of kindness and mercy to the man He healed on the Sabbath. They could not cure this invalid who, for thirty-eight years, was lying on the ground waiting for someone to help him get into the stirring pool in Bethesda. They could only tell this man what their law was. These leaders' knowledge was limited. They could not see the whole picture God had given them. They only saw and understood the Torah for the Jews to follow, as in a classroom setting, not the street sense of life's survival. Even in the eyes of Jesus, they did not follow God's word. They only taught the commandments that they had been taught. No amount of teaching can immerse them into credibility unless they have experienced it for themselves. And unless they act upon God's commandments and surrender fully to God, they will forever lead without that personal touch from our Lord. It is this acting on faith that these Jewish leaders lacked. The scripture says people who are blind cannot show blind people because both will fall into the ditch. They were hypocrites and made up what they could not understand from the Torah. They were no better than those who were legalistic in their faith; Thus, they became legalistic in the same manners of faith. They followed what their teachers and leaders said. They were so dependent on the writings and teachings of the hypocritical Jewish leaders that they became one instead. They did not seek our Father God's leadership and approval to condemn Jesus' followers. They felt obligated to charge and stone them because of their hardened hearts.
Jesus gave them all reasonings to prove He is the real deal the prophets of old foretold about Him. They had to believe. The one thing that will bring a spark of light, a silver lining into their darkness, is their belief. It will be like a boat rudder steering them in the right direction. So, what is this faith that will help one to believe who "will not be judged?" We know you cannot buy it and hope to win it like a lottery or change into it like clothing. Faith is a gift that God gave to everyone. The problem is that they abused the Lord's name to suit their comfort level. I had mentioned this before; these modern Christians believed baptism had saved them. All they did was read the Holy Bible and pray whenever needed. They acted like the name of Jesus is their genie in a bottle. But what about studying God's word? What about seeking God and His will? Before you read further into God's extraordinary wisdom, let us look into the story of this rich young ruler in John 18:18 - 30, NIV.
"A certain ruler asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone. You know the commandments: 'You shall not commit adultery; you shall not murder; you shall not steal; you shall not give false testimony; honour your father and mother.'"
"All these I have kept since I was a boy," he said.
When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."
Those who heard this asked, "Who then can be saved?"
Jesus replied, "What is impossible with man is possible with God."
Peter said to him, "We have left all we had to follow you!"
"Truly I tell you," Jesus said to them, "no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life."
John 18:18 - 30 NIV
I remember hearing the Ligonier Ministries' podcasts with Dr. R.C. Sproul one day, and he talked about the subject of "carnal Christian." He mentioned this because someone from his classroom told him. Whatever Dr. Sproul's question was, the student answered that he would not because he was a carnal Christian. It was Dr. Sproul's first time hearing this, and he mentioned it on his podcast. I don't remember why this student had come up with this as his answer, but Dr. Sproul said there is no such thing as a "carnal Christian." I agree with Dr. Sproul.
"West Wing:" I was watching this show series, so I had to put a title on this issue. Namely, the producers of this television show wanted the government workers to give their opinions and testimonies about life in the office or for that president. I saw the hilarity in this video. But what struck me was that the producers had to show the low-budget salary of these government workers. The people interviewed mentioned that they felt the right to return to work because of their work. Despite their low wages, they said they were honoured, not obligated. What if we change this from government work to God's work? What if we allow God to change us to show forth these fruits He desired in us? If this is what we should do, it is not the salary nor the hardship of the job but the obligation to God. What do you think? If you believe this is ridiculous, then your world is not God's. If you work in this world like any unbeliever, you are not a Christian, regardless of your baptism. Apostle Paul said to the Galatians: "The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God." (Galatians 5:19 - 21 NIV)
This whole chapter says all about the obligations of a Christian. And I believe this to be true. When we work, we work in this world, but our duties are still unto God, whatever our job responsibilities may be. When you apply God's commandments, you will see God's major picture, and His will become yours. We might still fall by the wayside, but it is easier to pick ourselves out of the rut; ask God for forgiveness; ask God where we'd gone wrong, then reapply His word. If we don't do this, we might not see where we have fallen because our hearts and minds aren't anywhere near where God wants us to be. How can we know we have lost our way if this is the case? How can we know if this is what God wants from us? And all we probably are doing is bitch about this or that, not getting God's approval and blessings. These scriptures from Galatians 5:19 to 21 are what Paul said: that we only mind our flesh. Results will spew from the acts of those who only follow their flesh. Anyone who displays these fruits will not inherit the kingdom of God. Furthermore, Paul wrote about people who disagree with the sound teachings of godliness. "They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain." 1 Timothy 6:4-5 NIV. As we read more of this chapter, Paul continued to write about people who wanted financial riches would wander from their faith in Christ, piercing themselves with many griefs.
When we look to God for answers, we read what Paul had written is helpful. Paul stated, "godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that." 1 Timothy 6:6 to 8 NIV. Paul reiterated we are sanctified if we are God's people. Thereby, we should be content with whatever we have.
I have a regular job as a cashier. From time to time, my schedule gets changed. My hours worked may sometimes fall outside the schedule. This experience can be an advantage to me or those who pay me for my hours worked. I have no quarrels with this because it is outside of our control. Recently, I caught the flu and COVID. The pains I suffered during this period were something I recognized because I was up-to-date on the information about COVID sufferers and influenza sufferers—the last of which I'm familiar with during my decades on earth. When I returned to work, I had to write my available hours again, a requirement for all employees. Again, no problem for me. I'm up against the management, who tend to forget why we employees had to get out of the house, even while we are still sick with the flu and COVID, solely to write our availability hours. Now, God knows our weaknesses and the future paths we will take. He had the Holy Bible published for our eyes and hearts to understand the necessity of our upbringing as Christians because He wants us to follow Him according to His Will.
Remember this scripture, "A bruised reed he will not break?" This scripture from Isaiah 42:3 tells us that God is kind enough to let us know, so we will follow Him rather than be dragged on the journey. I am sure you may have seen for yourselves the YouTube videos about the owner who wants to walk their cat or dog, but the pet doesn't and have to be dragged on the pavement. It isn't pretty if you are that Christian. You wouldn't want to find yourself dealing with God's anger. I need help to get this from the management: to will according to the employees' availabilities, not according to what management wants outside the employees' written schedules. God is right about Christians who will forget their love for Him in the end times. He knows our weaknesses as well as our pathways. Does this excuse us from the decisions we make on this earth? Of course not!
Let's return to the television series, The West Wing. Remember that those workers were honoured to work for the government. They serve their country with a purpose in mind. They are honoured to get picked for the responsibilities. Their low salaries weren't comparable to other jobs elsewhere. I would also like to add that their job positions at the White House were unstable because they depended on the elected office party they were there to support. Contrast all of this to God's party. There is no election to vote. However, there is the Holy Bible to honour because of the Godhead. Christians serve with a purpose in mind and receive their due reward on Judgement Day. Christians should feel responsible for whatever they can for the Kingdom of God. They should not be feeling disparaged because of the low salaries they might have to endure. Finally, this job position is eternal and stable. No requirement to continue to make your availability schedule—all these reasons and more are why I love being a Christian and honouring God. Regarding all the above, why would you want to be a lukewarm Christian, anyway?
Jesus told His disciples about the world's intent to kill them physically, emotionally, and spiritually because of Him. For us who read the Holy Bible in these times, we can read it like any newspaper or fiction we pick up. I understand people are done with mask coverings and hand washings, and that we're out of this pandemic so don't bother us to mask up because the vaccines are in. The news goes in and comes out like our change of clothes. However, as a Christian who intends to become Jesus' disciple, His warning should become more than just any Amber alert on our cell phones. Hence, it should be a wake-up call to say this is life or death.
In today's times, with all the modern technology in our pockets and desks, along the streets with neon signs and rhythmic music we walked on for years, our minds can take a toll with everything up in our faces all the time. We can end up on the left or the right side of things even when either side doesn't help us draw closer to God. I understand we can be dull to the bells and whistles for attention.
So what was Jesus saying to His disciples or us? Why did Jesus warn His disciples about the upcoming threats? Remember that the Sadducees were uptight at the new rendition of "cleaning of one's sins" by accepting Jesus' ways through baptism. They not only prefer the old methods, but they also don't like changes. "Our father is Abraham," they told Jesus. Their hypnosis on Moses' and their self-made commandments; the stuck-ups on Abraham's heritage (I have to mention in their times, other things drew their attention the same way our cell phones do) maneuvered them away from Jesus. If you take away the time and technology differences, their lives were not that different from ours. What some of the "Christians" claim, and I am using the term loosely here, are that their lives are grand. They would not change a thing. But that is the problem with "Christians" today. No one can tell the difference between the baptized and the one who isn't.
All Christians were taught to carry the cross. I have wondered if this upside-down logical reasoning turned the stomachs of so many from genuinely following Christ. So ask yourself this question: Why call yourself a Christian if you follow this as your religion but do not carry your cross?
Let me digress a bit. Have you noticed that Jesus touched the hearts of ordinary men to become His disciples so quickly? Yet those who supposedly have known the ways of God refused Jesus. Why is that? You would have assumed these "holy than thou" men would be thrilled when Jesus approached them. According to the witnesses, they were not. Only the humbled lives of men and women heeded Jesus' call. What does that say about your life when you are busy with family, work, church or other things? Are you as dense as those who refused in Jesus' day?
I hear people grunt and moan when I tell them Jesus will return soon. They said to me that not until so-and-so will come to pass—hopefully. This list from several people comprises a better retirement, a new home paid in full, and until their young children are fully grown. They added they would pray for it. Wake up, people! Jesus will be here regardless of where you are and what you will do at the time of the sound of the shofar.
"But about that day or hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left." (Matthew 24:36 - 41, NIV)
Are you God that your word will defy the Almighty's? Know that this is not a competition between you and God. When you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, you received God Himself, who created the earth, sky, and everyone on it. If you had kept up with the Holy Scriptures, you would have witnessed the arrival and departure of those 144,000 as written, among other events. God's mouth opens to speak; everything comes to pass. You don't have the same capability as Jesus Christ when you talk. Repent from this sin! Ask God to convict your hearts. Turn away from this sinful approach.
I want to add that the pandemic isn't over. There are still people sick because of the variants. The variants are present because of the mutated coronavirus. Just because you are in your little world where no one you know is sick doesn't mean the pandemic is over. Before December 2020, one person suffered and died from this virus from the other side of the world. We are in 2022 with people still suffering and dying from it.
I have only one answer for you: Read the Holy Bible daily and be conscientious about it so worldly things will not sway you away from our Saviour and Lord Jesus.
"Therefore, keep watch because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
"Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. Truly, I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, 'My master is staying away a long time, and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 24:42 - 51, NIV)
"There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. "Rabbi," he said, "we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you."
Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God."
"What do you mean?" exclaimed Nicodemus. "How can an old man go back into his mother's womb and be born again?"
Jesus replied, "I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don't be surprised when I say, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can't tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can't explain how people are born of the Spirit."
"How are these things possible?" Nicodemus asked.
Jesus replied, "You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don't understand these things? I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won't believe our testimony. But if you don't believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven. And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.
"For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
"There is no judgement against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God's one and only Son. And the judgement is based on this fact: God's light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants."
Then Jesus and his disciples left Jerusalem and went into the Judean countryside. Jesus spent some time with them there, baptizing people.
At this time, John the Baptist was baptizing at Aenon, near Salim, because there was plenty of water there; and people kept coming to him for baptism. (This was before John was thrown into prison.) A debate broke out between John's disciples and a certain Jew over ceremonial cleansing. So John's disciples came to him and said, "Rabbi, the man you met on the other side of the Jordan River, the one you identified as the Messiah, is also baptizing people. And everybody is going to him instead of coming to us."
John replied, "No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven. You yourselves know how plainly I told you, 'I am not the Messiah. I am only here to prepare the way for him.' It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the bridegroom's friend is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success. He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.
"He has come from above and is greater than anyone else. We are of the earth, and we speak of earthly things, but he has come from heaven and is greater than anyone else. He testifies about what he has seen and heard, but how few believe what he tells them! Anyone who accepts his testimony can affirm that God is true. For he is sent by God. He speaks God's words, for God gives him the Spirit without limit. The Father loves his Son and has put everything into his hands. And anyone who believes in God's Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn't obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God's angry judgement."" (John 3:1 - 26, NLT)
This chapter of the book of John is crucial to all who refer to themselves as Christians, mainly because it talks about changing. If you are indeed a Christian, you would ponder what this chapter refers to when Jesus said, "You must be born again." So what does it mean to change? Of course, we're not talking about changing clothes, your hairdo, or fashion style. Nothing comes from the earth or the values thereof. The notion in this chapter seems mystical, but it's not. It's all about your heart, thoughts, and innuendos. That's all about you! After all, God gave His Son to save you, but you're not saved yet! It's more than just knowing its existence in faith. It talks about you changing your ideas and using His ideas to become yours. How do you do this? "You must be born again." Notice that this Bible passage used Nicodemus, a person whose presence existed some two millennia ago, as the example to explain. Nicodemus can only describe what he could understand: the earthly patterns of life. If the leaves of the trees fall, then winter is approaching, for example. So we can see that Nicodemus literally took Jesus' "born again" statement by replying with the relocation of the birthing process. The concept isn't mystical at all when you read further. A true, repented heart will give in to God's words and change that person. They will do what God wants, not the other way around.
The second part of this passage talks about baptism. Again, John's disciples think that the people who went to the other person for baptism will not get saved, which is similar to Nicodemus' line of thinking. John's correction to them gave us a clue needed to understand that Jesus baptized the people. And God gave Jesus this right to save them, just as God gave John the right to baptize them. Baptism started because of Jesus, but it doesn't mean that God does not provide the right for others to baptize. It meant more than washing the dirt off your body, of course. If you recall in John 13 what Simon Peter replied to Jesus about washing the disciples' feet, then you understand it has nothing to do with the outside cleansing. It's about people giving up to and for God. Just as bathing is giving up dirt and filth from the body, baptism is giving in to the agreement with God, parallel to the washing of sin.
Please, let me indulge you further in this chapter. Notice that the 'born again' passage preceded the baptismal part. Why is this so? We know God intends to save all of humankind. It's written in the scriptures, specifically in this chapter. So, does it matter which passage comes in first? It does.
(I have curtailed part of this to explain the whole in my upcoming book. Unfortunately, there are still ways to go before it is up for publishing. Keep the faith! The answer will come.)
Today, I'm making soup from scratch, and the thought of church came to mind. I know that most people look at the scriptures, and none will look at the church as something more than a place to meet other families. However, since I almost grew up in a church with several "fathers" as my teachers, mentors, and counsellors, I see these people as my family. With many experiences in the food industry, I can only explain it this way, namely using food to explain the concept of God's church. The congregation is the key ingredient in a soup or stew, but they are not the principal ingredient. We know who has that position.
Referring to the assembly, they are the meat, vegetables, legumes, etc. When adding flavour to the pot, we can pour on your salt and pepper, like the Sunday School teachers and the pastors, other ministers do every week. They remind us of God's word. "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot." (Matthew 5:13 NIV) I will not disagree with the scriptures. There are herbs we can add to the pot as well. Who are they in the church? Such livelihood of characters to sweeten the other ingredients are among the congregation. We can view them as fresh blood who just walked into the church for the first time. They can be the ones who got baptized recently. We can also view them as someone who was among us but has been upfront in the choir. Does this make the soup or stew taste better? Or does the water still taste like only salted water?
There are two groups still missing. You may forget the ones who are the deacons, the people who welcome newcomers to the church, the offering collectors, the people who clean up the building and the property, the cooks, the refreshment crew, and the church activity group. Their jobs are to ensure that focus remains on Christ while maintaining peace and order during the minister's sermons or the teachers' teaching periods. They do the grunt work where some people don't want. The bones of the operation or the bones and ligaments of the meat pot that no one wanted to eat are the nutritious parts of the stew. Without them, the soup is just flavourless and gives fewer nutrients. It might taste like a big mess of ingredients.
One more ingredient to add to the pot, and it's not the Holy Spirit.—Wait! What? No Holy Spirit! Isn't He the essential ingredient? I may have mentioned herbs, but I did not say crucial ones like onions and garlic. That's right! The crucial components are those two, and this group of people is essential because they are the crux of all elements when stirred in the pot. You might taste one sense of the recipe and not the whole. Without these two vital ingredients, there is no oomph in the taste. Without the garlic, no underlying flavour that gives the depth of what the recipe wants to say. What onions and garlic do is kill off unwanted bacteria and other things that do not promote the health of the organisms in the body. Without the onions and garlic, the congregation will mix the old and the new into them. That is not what Christ wants. We are to throw off our old selves and live a new life. This is what the Holy Bible precisely said. It is what God wants from us when we accept Jesus Christ into our lives.
So, where does the Holy Spirit fit in this pot of stew? To make my soup, I have to turn on the heat. He is our fire, our Counsellor, our Comforter, our Teacher. Without the Holy Spirit, we will only have His Word but not His direction. We need His guidance to know whether we are lost or found. His whispers comfort us and show God's promises true. But, without the Holy Spirit in our lives, we will run amok in His church. He can show us far more than our little minds can comprehend, so we need this fire into our souls.
In this 2022 year, we have much to be thankful for despite the loss and the continual variants. Nevertheless, let us not forget who is still in charge. When we pray with God's will in mind, we will not be disappointed. He will return with an answer.
My usual question to any customer who comes to me to pay for their groceries is: “Do you have any AirMiles?” I know that each country has their fair share of lockdown rules. But now that some have gotten the vaccines, at least the first dosage, what do you think will happen next? Are we getting back to our normal routine like before this pandemic? Several customers replied with a confirmed no.
Many store sole proprietors had lost their businesses because of this pandemic lockdown. Only the fortunate who had the essentials as their primary business stuck around. Those who kept up with the news became aware of the surmounting lives lost, regardless of the help. Third-world and modest-sized countries received their supplies from populated ones. Let me remind you that around eighty years ago, many countries were at war. So, although they were willing to receive the help, this reason to trust is almost there. If we take the war out of our history, that would assure us peace. Thus, the Tower of Babel era might still stand. We had been flourishing on earth once and in one language. Where had that era been gone? If you had read the Holy Bible, you would have known that it had been God who had thwarted our ancestors’ plans. Why is that? God still knows us better than we know ourselves. And, He had a better plan for us, although peace had been among our ancestors on earth. Obviously, something occurred, which was why God had to do what He did. And, this reason can be found in the book of Genesis, chapter 11. Afterwards, chaos disrupted our world, and just last year, the pandemic hit us worldwide.
At least, we see hope now that the vaccines are working. But are we to rely only on this from now on? Anyone whose hope is in the world has a temporary one. Nothing lasts when we refer to the things of the world. So, we must cling to the Only Eternal I AM through our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. When we cling to God and His Word, we have more than just hope. We have God Himself. He is the Creator, the mediator, the Comforter. Wasn’t this the response that God wanted from us at the Tower of Babel? So why should we make the same mistake as our ancestors?
Once a person receives baptism, the journey to a new life must begin. The unbaptized self should not make illusions of the once known world. God’s power and Presence have made it almost impossible. God’s love surrounds the believers with His promised Holy Spirit. Again, God does not put chains on us. His “grace reigns through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
“Now, if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master because you are not under the law but under grace.
“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey— whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
“I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 5:21 - 6:23 NLT)
Now back to my question. I am not here representing AirMiles. It was not the actual question I wanted to ask here in this vlog. Yet, it is whenever I am at work. The thought of travelling and rewarding oneself with worldly riches should not be the primary goal for any Christian. Once a person is baptized, a change must occur for the heart. This soul cannot remain unrepentant. This world does not allow it. Pandemic or not; the way the world is suffering, you have no other routes to go but to God. The question here is, do you want eternal life with God or away from God? This answer should be clear. When you do, pray to God with humbleness and a relinquished heart.
God is still in control, as He was when the flood came during the time of Noah. But now, He is reminding us of Christ’s return. Washing hands and wearing masks are not only for averting viruses. They are the reminders of the sanctification of His people. When Moses returned from Mount Sinai, he called out to the Israelites: “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” (Exodus 32:26) God is forever faithful to His word: It is His promise no matter what goes on in your world. He will set up this new heaven and earth once this old world of sin is destroyed forever. He will do this. This is His promise. My question to you is: Are you ready?
Do you get the feeling that someone is watching you? I had five more minutes left before quitting time. Then this lady with an overflowing grocery cart rolled into my aisle to pay. I figured I could scan her grocery items quickly enough to punch out the time clock. She did not like anyone misplacing her things. She told me that she had everything in its place when she put her groceries away in the bag after scanning. As she placed each food item on the conveyor, she dug into her cart pile to find what was next in line. She was taking her time. As I passed each food item through the scanner, I noticed her subtotal was already over $400. Her cart, on the other hand, was far from being empty. Today is Monday, but my schedule tells me this is my Friday. My work schedule changes weekly. I don’t know what next week’s schedule will be like. I could be working the closing hours and then the opening hours the following day. I suggested that my working days and hours should be consistent each week. But it fell on death ears. At least, I am grateful that I have a job.
As I placed her scanned groceries on the other side for bagging, I could see that side of the table piled on. There was no more room. So I stopped scanning and watched this lady taking her time. I can understand she may be buying some for her family, her parents, her neighbours. There are a few who do that for others because there are those who fear catching the virus. I don’t hold this against them. I became an online grocery shopper first before I worked as a cashier. I enjoyed it for a short time before I changed to another department. So, I told myself someone must be watching, waiting for the right moment to spring this on me. Does this sound foolish?
God is always watching us. Even those who don’t believe in God, He still knows. That is His nature. He cares for His creation. He sees everything. He also records everything because He is The Judge. If you are a baptized believer, don’t think you can sin and get away with it. Don’t think that because God is merciful, you can still obtain heaven status every time you sin. Don’t think you can whisper secrets and scheme against another and still get redemption when Jesus returns. Remember that God records everything for Judgement. The Bible tells us, baptized believers, we are to continue in this new life now that we are free from the bondage of sin. We are not to return to our old way of life. As it says in the book of Galatians, “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
So you can understand that it is crucial to walk with Christ rather than to strive for the world. God has the final say to where we will end up eternally. All you need is a little humility and a willing heart to believe and follow Christ to set you in motion down the right path. “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:16-18, 24-25).
Only the careless and foolish Christians think the world is their oyster. They believe baptism has saved them. These people don’t read the Holy Bible, and they only pray when necessary, which is to say at the last minute. Do not doubt God! Do not think that He has forgotten! He can see the lukewarm hearts in this group. But, of course, we need to make a living while we wait for Jesus to return. As Christians, we are not to love money more than God. We cannot lean on our income as the prime giver for life. We exist because God exists. God does not depend on us because He exists before us. Therefore, it is essential to rely on God wholeheartedly and not on bread alone. He wants nothing less from us. So what if someone is watching me? I will not fear because I obey my Lord. “The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.” (Proverbs 15:29) I know my Creator is watching, and I can easily say, “Praise the Lord! Please come. Amen.”
I am writing my first vlog regarding my working experience in the grocery store. Exciting things were happening while I was working as a cashier today. Okay, a cashier's job might not sound as exciting, but I did find something interesting. You cannot just stand around waiting for the next customer to walk up to you with their cart of groceries and not think about what lies ahead. First, the whole electronic register system was slow, but I was glad that the customers were patient and kind. Secondly, the paper bags fell apart at the seam, so we had to throw them out. No one could use them. Can you imagine people bagging their groceries in that, carrying them onto their cart and into their vehicles? They would need that monster tape to hold them in—a sound metaphor of a girdle for groceries! Thirdly, this morning a customer paid for his groceries with a hundred-dollar bill. It was remarkable that I could give him his change, seeing that I just opened up that cash register of the day. In the end, my cash drawer looked far emptier except for that one one-hundred-dollar and some coins. I was so relieved to see people with their debit or credit cards. What will humanity do without those plastic cards?
Okay, this isn't an exciting day but a mundane life of a frontline cashier worker's vlog. I could talk about seeing two horsemen riding on such magnificent creatures trotting by one day, but that was in the past. Unfortunately, they did not return.
As a Christian, I noticed other Christian lives who found their lives mundane or even simply, "Bah! Humbug." They tried to spice it up but haven't given the slightest thought that the spicing came from the world and not from God. As true believers in Jesus Christ, we are to be in this world but not of this world. We are to mingle with others and let them know of Christ through us. However, that line over the decades seems to fade. Christians become more like the world. They lie, cheat, and complain. They seek worldly pleasures and think nothing of it. It is no wonder that more and more non-believers question our faith when we don't even obey His word. We make Jesus Christ our Saviour but forget that we must also follow Him as our Lord? We have to remember the Holy Bible still rings factual no matter the centuries that passed. When God, the genius, created the world and everyone in it, made with one purpose in mind.
"For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
"Now, these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry." We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did-- and in one day, twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test Christ, as some of them did-- and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did-- and were killed by the destroying angel.
"These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."
"I have the right to do anything," you say-- but not everything is beneficial. "I have the right to do anything"-- but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others." (1 Corinthians 10:1 - 13; 23 - 24)
Let's return to my testimony. It isn't mundane when Jesus Christ is with me. We can find many things to fulfill us, but the best is in our Lord and Saviour Himself. If we continue on the path with His Word in us, our lives will be a blessing to others. "Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4:13 - 14).
We are experiencing summer-like weather from the start of spring. This temperature deceives us into thinking about our sanity base on the month. I don't believe that we had seen our last wintery snow day before getting hit by the warm summer-like air. I had seen people wearing t-shirts and sweaters even before the snow all melted, rather than windbreaker jackets and jeans. Is this our new Canadian normal? The upside is people are coming out as the percentages of vaccinated citizens rise. The downside is people appearing to return to their "before the pandemic" daily routine far too early for my liking. Some of these people's mental states aren't all there.
Since I have been working a second job to keep up with the monthly bills, I see a better future now that my nephew is back. Although he isn't working full-time, I am glad he is earning an income. It isn't easy for me to fill my working hours at a grocery store and to come home working on my book. All I wanted to do is to get some food in my stomach and fall asleep afterwards. It has been exhausting some days. Thank God I work in an air-conditioning environment. Now that I think about it: this travelling back and forth does have its perks as well.
I have been listening to five nonfiction audiobooks to help me write my book. I realized I needed to remake my table of contents. I have some thoughts on the necessary changes. I noticed the growth of the sermons and the teachings coming from some of the known ministers. The branch on the subjects they discussed was noticeable because they learned this spread of sound knowledge in their theological seminaries. As I continued to research for things that were related to my case, this "spread" became evident to me. I cannot just pick a paragraph from what I read and plug it into my book. This branch must flow logically and scripturally accurate, and fitting. What is taking me so long to write is that I must understand their thesis first before pulling it out from their books to back up my statements. I get inspired every time I hear from a popular minister's sermon. Thank God for His scriptures to back up for a theological sound doctrine. It must also follow His Divine Will. Praise the Lord for His faithfulness! God is the only eternal who we can rely on for what is true and just.
March spring break was over. That week that followed had proved our fears of the breach we had anticipated in Canada. We were in nervous expectation. The good news was that Canada had accepted both the Johnson & Johnson's and AstraZeneca's vaccines, which totalled four vaccines obtained. These, I had hoped, were good news to us who were patiently waiting for them. The problem was the vaccines were coming in ripples, distributing according to each province's population. Most of us spent time in front of the screen or the computer monitor, waiting for excitement or dread. Have the other citizens forgotten what Italy had experienced since its overwhelming pandemic inception? Should we have expounded their callousness in our daily news what they thought would end their sufferings? Was it too late? The fortunate, even those who claimed as Christians, had turned their eyes to their comfort on either weed, alcohol, money, or television. Some had no thought for, let alone bled their hearts for the poor. The sin of greed had affected them. The love of the world had blurred their vision. Is this what Christianity had evolved over the last twenty-one hundred years?
We are in April, and the news of the spring season was supposed to have brought showers, then May flowers. The season typically gives thoughts of warmth, youth, light, and lovely smells. April was supposed to bring us hope; However, what came in was that one of the vaccines might be the bearer of bad news because its side effect would result in death for some. We expect to live and endure this "new normal" condition now that the vaccines are underway in distribution across the country. Is this what God was telling Daniel from the Old Testament what this pandemic would come in the course of the world's events? I believe so. God has always been straightforward to us. His providence is ever providing knowledge, truth, and His glory on the foundation of justice. God's plan showed His faithfulness to all who believe and to come to Him, regardless of the world's situation, including this pandemic. Man's perfection, on the other hand, tends to oppose God. His idealism seems more like fiction than the truth. Since Adam's fall, their ideas of heaven do not rely on the sole source of life. They work according to their lusts. These times only proved that the gap between the faithful and the fallen is more expansive than those who did not come. Didn't those who claimed to be Christians ever wonder that an all-knowing Supreme Being would be aware of this virus and the effects it caused rather than blame a specific race? Wouldn't they be aware that God allowed things to happen, as recorded in the Bible? (see Judges 1:19, 2:1-3, 2:14-15)
"Then he said to me, "These are the ones who died in the great tribulation. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and made them white. That is why they stand in front of God's throne and serve him day and night in his Temple. And he who sits on the throne will give them shelter. They will never again be hungry or thirsty; they will never be scorched by the heat of the sun. for the Lamb on the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to springs of life-giving water. And God will wipe every tear from their eyes." (Revelations 7:14b - 17, NLT) Glory to God for His brilliant foreknowledge!
Diana s.f. ng
I love reading, writing, cooking, baking, and pets.