Tuesday, March 28, 2017


The Great Commission—“Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19 NLT) is a command, and is the responsibility of every Christian. If you’ve been taking this mandate seriously, you have probably been wishing you could go on a missions trip—short term or longer-- but not very sure about it.  When we think about traditional missions trip opportunities, we need to consider what is involved in the process,  including picking a geographic location, raising support, getting a passport and visa, getting immunized, purchasing a round-trip ticket, and of course, tearfully leaving loved-ones behind. All that sounds like a lot of preparation; however, there is a unique opportunity to fulfill the Great Commission that does not require any of that.

So what will this unique opportunity entail? It will cost you nothing more than the cost of your current living expenses; in other words, no increase in your daily expenditure. It requires no immunization, no airline ticket, no passport or visa, and no tearful goodbyes. All you have to do is leave your home or apartment and perform your usual routines: stroll through the neighborhood as usual, go to work or school, and go to the bank if you need to transact a financial business, or go shopping if you needed to buy something.

What is so unique about this?

This is a unique opportunity because there are people in all these places who have not heard the gospel, or do not quite understand it. All you need to do is prayerfully share your faith with whomever you meet, or invite them to church or whatever small-group you might be a part of.  Missions doesn’t always mean you have to leave home or your country of origin. Mission work is all around us, even in our homes, and on our streets. If God specifically calls you to leave home and go to a foreign country, that will be a different story, but until then, be diligent about sharing your faith right where you are and wherever you find yourself on a day to day basis.

Our sharing should be both by word and deed. Showing love and kindness to people usually opens the door for us to verbally share the love of God. So let’s look out for and grab opportunities God places in our path. Like in the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:33-37), let’s go out of our way to show kindness to those who need us. Let’s be creative in finding ways we can serve our neighbors and friends, and in so doing be able to share the gospel of Jesus that brings salvation to all mankind. The Great Commission should be taken far and near, home and abroad!

We’ve been saved through the efforts of others who obeyed the Great Commission; let us also obey it so many more will be saved. The gospel spreads through multiplication, and we are all called to share it wherever we go. Let’s not waste time sitting around, waiting for another prompt from God; this is it. We need compassion for the lost, and the zeal to share with them. God has given us all we need to live godly lives (2 Peter 1:3), and that includes the courage and boldness to share with others.

Word of caution: we have not been called to convert anyone; our responsibility is to share the love of God. It is the Holy Spirit’s responsibility to convict men of sin and convert. We need to follow our sharing with prayers that the hearts of those we share with would be softened and that they’ll understand their need for salvation. Follow-up contacts by phone, text, or email could help the process, and let’s remember, “A wise person wins souls” (Proverbs 11:30 NLT). Also, conversions don’t happen overnight in every situation, so prayerfully exercise patience.

So as you see, sharing the gospel is not that complicated. The unique opportunity is available to all Christians. And until God gives you specific instructions to go to another country, seize this unique opportunity, and enjoy the Great Commission right here at home! 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017



I was on the highway the other day, going home from a doctor’s visit. The exit off the highway that will take me home was further divided into two. This meant, off the highway, I had to make a choice. Which way should I go? I could go either to the left or to the right. Of course these two sub-exits lead to different destinations, and only one would lead me home. I went right; the driver behind me went left. What if the driver who went left really wanted to go to my house or to my neighborhood, would that left exit get him to that intended destination? No!

Everybody in this world is on a journey, going somewhere. There are at least three groups of people on this journey, and there are two destinations to choose from. The people in the first group know where they are going, and know how to get there. They are sure they are on the right road and going in the right direction, and even know what to expect at their destination.

The people in the second group have no idea where they are going or where they’d like to go, and so how they get there isn’t a concern; they seem to be saying, “Any destination will do.” The truth is these people will be very surprised, terrified, and disappointed when they arrive at their unplanned destination. Their destination at the end of their journey will not be anything they’d like to identify with. But unfortunately, they’ll not be able to turn around, or go in a different direction. That destination will be their permanent home.

Those in the third group on the other hand, know where they want to go, but don’t know how to get there. Yet they assume and claim that they are already on the right path. The people in this group need to be redirected. Desiring to arrive at a particular destination will not get you there if you take the wrong road or wrong exit. The destination at the end of the road you are on is where you’ll end up, whether or not it was your intended destination. Some of the people in this group will accept re-direction, but the others won’t.  

So let’s break it down this way. The people in the first group are people who hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and understand that Jesus died in their place. They confess their sins to God, and accept His forgiveness through Jesus Christ who paid the penalty for their sins. This group is walking by faith in Jesus, and using the Bible as their roadmap to get to their destination out of this world – heaven. At their destination, they know without a doubt that they will see Jesus face to face and live with Him forever. I thank God I am a member of this group. His promises to us include: mansions, good health (no sickness), and eternal life (no death). Humanly speaking, heaven is an indescribable place (See 2 Corinthians 12:2-4). This is how the Bible describes it, “Now the dwelling place of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4 NIV).

The people in the second group don’t think God exists. They think when they die, it is over; there is nothing after death. Wrong! They argue about the concept that there is life after death, therefore, they live to please themselves, they are a law unto themselves, and they like to keep it that way. According to the Bible though, their conscience tells them differently, because God’s law is written in their hearts (see Romans 2:15).

The people in the third group believe God exists, they believe there is life after death, and they’d like to go to heaven. So far so good, but which route are they on; which exit are they taking? This group is travelling in the wrong direction; I’m sure you’re wondering, “How so?” Well, their beliefs are inconsistent with biblical teachings. For instance, some of them believe there are other ways to get to heaven, which there are not, according to the Bible. Others in this group believe Jesus is not the only way to heaven, they cite other deities. However, the bible clearly says, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 NIV). Jesus himself told His disciples, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 NIV). Furthermore, they also believe they are good people doing good deeds, and that should qualify them to get into heaven. The Bible addresses that position as well, “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV).

Which of these groups do you identify with? Which road are you on, and where is it going to take you? Do you need to be redirected? The Bible is the Word of God, and God does not lie. If whatever you believe or think does not line up with what the Bible says, you need to rethink your stand and position. Get on the right path and go in the right direction, by placing your faith in Jesus, the Son of God who died in your place.

Jesus is your only hope for eternal life! Arguing about your position isn’t going to change God’s mind. The Bible says, “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…There is no judgment 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” (John 3:16-18 NLT). Place your faith in Jesus today and be saved! 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


The lions’ den and fiery furnace are allegories for suffering. But why do we suffer? Suffering can be the consequences of our own wrongdoing, God’s chastening, the devil’s effort to discourage us in our Christian walk, or the consequences of bearing the name of Christ. Quite often, the devil engineers problems in our lives to bring about discouragement, with the hope that we’ll disobey God -- his arch enemy. Yet, through the same suffering, God tests our faith and loyalty toward Him. There are other forms of suffering that come with the environment we live in – a fallen world, in which we become victims to all kinds of sicknesses. No matter the origin of our suffering, we can have victory through Jesus Christ, our Savior.

Suffering is nothing new to the Church. Christians have been persecuted for years, since the beginning of the Church to the present. In recent years, in different parts of the world, Christians have suffered tremendously at the hands of wicked men. They have been driven away from their own homes, their properties confiscated, their children killed right before their eyes, while others have faced beheadings. As Christians, how we respond to suffering should be dictated by its cause.

 For instance, God is not honored by suffering that results from our own wrongdoing; in that situation, we need to repent and make restitution where possible. Also, disregarding the law of the land or being insubordinate to superiors or bosses can incur punishment that can be referred to as suffering, but is that really suffering, when you bring it on yourself? The Apostle Peter’s instructions are clear: “If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler” (1 Peter 4:15). Breaking the law has consequences, so if we suffer for breaking the law we shouldn’t be looking for sympathy. Breaking the law causes God’s name to be blasphemed, and brings shame to the Church. Christians should be the most law-abiding citizens, because all authority is set up by God our Father, and rebelling against such is rebelling against God (see Romans 13:1-6).
On other occasions, suffering comes for the simple reason that we bear the name of Christ and seek to please Him. This is the type of suffering that pleases God. It usually comes in the form of persecution, nevertheless, it is honorable, because it proves we are participating in Christ’s suffering (see 1 Peter 4:13). Jesus Himself said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV). Again He encouraged the disciples, “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also … They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me” (John 15:20-21). The apostle Paul reminds us, “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12 NIV).

Our attitude towards persecution should be joy: joy that we’ve been counted worthy to suffer for the name of our Lord, and slated for a reward in heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven” (Matthew 5:11-12). In addition, James recommends joy in suffering because the process leads to maturity in Christ (see James 1:1-4).

This is the response God expects of us when we are persecuted: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28 NIV). That response would challenge observers and bring glory to God. In the Beatitudes, Jesus admonished his disciples, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 NIV).

Before we can be victorious in the lion’s den or fiery furnace in a God-honoring manner, we need to have a few things settled in our minds:

God’s power, ability, and sovereignty – God is all-powerful, and therefore able to deliver us from all trials and difficulties. However, He is also sovereign, and might not deliver us from every impending or ongoing suffering every time. He does things as He sees fit, differently to different situations at different times. When threatened with the fiery furnace for not worshiping the king’s golden image, the three Jewish young men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, told the king, Nebuchadnezzar, “We do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand O king. But even if he does not … we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:16-18 NIV).  

Our position in Christ – We are loved by God our Father, and after giving us His Son, the Scripture tells us, there is nothing else that we need that He wouldn’t do for us. So when He doesn’t fix our problems right away, it is for a good reason. After all, we are reminded that, “In all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV).

We are in an on-going battle – Our enemies-the enemies of God - are like their father the devil. They hate us with “cruel hatred” (from the hymn-A mighty Fortress), and will stop at nothing until they’ve caused havoc. They don’t know how to do good; they consistently plan evil. We need to always remember that we are in an on-going battle, and remain in a perpetual state of readiness (see Ephesians 6:11-18).

When we find ourselves in the lions’ den or fiery furnace, let us arm ourselves with the mindset that our Father is none other than the loving, all-powerful, and sovereign God. He’ll equip us and grant us the grace to do His will. That mindset should encourage us and make us hopeful that when our suffering is over, we will come out on the victory side, because God’s will and purpose for our lives and the Church will have been accomplished for His honor and glory. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


Mercy is defined as not getting the judgment one deserves. So let’s assume that you have a teenage daughter who went out with friends for an evening. You instructed her to be back home by 10 pm or lose driving privileges; she shows up at 11:30 pm. What would or should your response be? In order to teach her a lesson about obedience and responsibility, you should keep your word: suspend her driving privileges. Would you suspend her privileges if she says, “I’m sorry. I was having so much fun, I forgot to look at the time, and then on my way back, there was a road-block. This won’t happen again; please forgive me”? Maybe, maybe not.

God in His infinite love and wisdom clearly said to mankind (in the Garden of Eden), “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden- except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die” (Genesis 2:16-17 NLT). Man disobeyed (see Genesis 3:6). So what should God do, or how should He respond? God’s judgment stood: He threw man out of the Garden (man died; he lost fellowship with God). Later, God through the apostle Paul declared, “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23 NLT). The free gift sounds good; it’s eternal life, but how do we obtain it? In the book of Acts, we’re told, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38 NLT).  Being holy, loving, and just, God will keep His Word to punish unless there is repentance on our part.

In other words, being holy, God will not co-exist with sin—the reason for separation from the sinner. His justice calls for restitution for sin, which, out of His love for man, He provided through the death of His Son, Jesus. So repentance is a game-changer; God honors His Word and forgives our sins, restoring our broken relationship.

If you’re a parent who’s been disrespected by a teenage child, you might choose to respond differently than other parents, and that’s okay. However, there’s only one way for God to respond to us in regard to our sins: either we repent and He forgives, or we don’t, and we die—become eternally separated from Him after this life. Repent now, and escape the punishment you deserve for your sins—experience God’s mercy today! Why today? Today is your day of salvation, because tomorrow could be too late for you.