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Showing posts from 2022

The Supremacy of Christ

Colossians 1:15-20. It was in the middle of an artificial intelligence (AI) class when one of our professors presented that although the human brain may be slower than the slowest computer in computation, it remains the single most complex object in the universe. The way it adapts, learns, predicts, and makes decisions can never be replaceable by an AI. In similar and much greater grandeur, Paul writes on the supremacy of Christ: His supremacy in creation He is the firstborn of all creation (15). For by him all thing were created (16). His supremacy in the new creation - the Church He is the firstborn from the dead (18). For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell (19). He encircles all things He is befor

God, this one is You!

Luke 17:11-19. A year 5 teacher begins: “Today, boys and girls, you're going to draw on your pieces of paper something or someone you're grateful for... it's a great way to remind ourselves how lucky we are for what we have or who we have in our lives. Afterwards, we will share what we have with the rest of the class”. After the drawing, the kids began to share: I'm thankful for trees because they give me oxygen. … for my parents because they help me with my homework. … for chocolate. A kid drew a hand. “It’s your hand Ms Sanders” recalling how the teacher cares for them. When it comes to Thanksgiving, it’s easy to miss the obvious. In the passage, Luke sandwiches a miracle among Jesus' teaching on His kingdom. Jesus heals ten lepers and asks them to show themselves to the priest, but only one (a Samaritan, foreigner) comes back to express gratitude to Him

God is there when we feel unseen

Psalm 139:7-12. Playing hide and seek with little kids is really fun. When I would play it with my friend's kids, they would hide next to a small plant in the garden and close their eyes tightly. And because the plant is too small, their shoes, arms and head remain visible, but they feel unseen because their eyes are tightly closed. Similarly, there are times in life when we feel "unseen" to others and perhaps God (Psalm 102:1-2). From the passage, the Psalmist recounts that God knows us intimately. He knows our words, thoughts, and ways (v1-4). He knows how often I get up to make a cup of tea. He is acquainted with all my ways (v3). But this is more than transcendent knowledge. He intimately journeys through life with us by His Holy Spirit - v7. Whether in heaven or even in the grave (Sheol) - v8 He is there in the unseen.

For the Other Sheep

John 10:11,14-16. Have you ever had to make some changes at home in order to make someone feel welcome for a short stay? My parents hosted guests a lot while I was growing up. Although they were just being homely, as a kid I always felt like I was suffering. I had to move my room several times. Nicht gut! Sad time for a kid. Well, except when the uncle or aunty came bearing gifts. In the passage, Jesus introduces himself as the Good Shepherd. In the parable, He compares himself with others (the thief/robber - v1, the stranger - v5, and the hired hand - v12). And unlike the others, He has the best interest of the sheep at heart - to guide, speak to and care sacrificially for them. Then, in v14-16, He indicates that His shepherding care is not only to the sheep that know Him but also to the other sheep that do not know Him or have strayed from Him. Jesus would do this by living everyday life among sinners, having a lu

The Return of the King

Revelation 22:6-17. One of the things loved about thriller films is the unpredictable storylines and variety in themes. This is because unpredictable could be generally engaging. But the icing on the cake is the ending. How a film ends can justify if it was a time well spent. I think of the Book of Revelation like an action thriller with very uncommon scenes and themes - heaven, hell, angels, demons, beasts... but then this thriller comes to a happy ending - a promise. The very last recorded words of Jesus in Scripture, the happy ending promise, were very profound: "Look, I am coming soon!" (v7, 12, 20). Do you ever wonder: Is this second-coming thing still real? The answer from Jesus is: "Look" - v7, 12, (yes, pay attention). "Yes" - v20. I know it's real, but when is it happening? Jesus says: "No one knows" - Matthew 24:36.

Be Content with His Word

1 Timothy 6:3-8. (ESV) "We'll make Lasagna today", my flatmate said. So we got Jamie's recipe book out. There was a list of ingredients; we got that bit right. Alongside the list were measurements, when to put what, i.e. the instructions. But along the way, we began to miss and make up some steps. We finished making the Lasagna quite all right, but the taste and look of that thing. It went straight into the bin. Lesson learnt, follow the recipe! In the book of 1 Timothy, Paul begins to give Timothy some doctrines (like godly recipes) for Christian ministry and living. And in our passage (in v3), he identifies in summary what makes up a godly recipe (which is also how to tell wrong teachings): Agreement with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ Agreement with godliness (instructions from God's Word) In v2, Paul asks Timothy to teach and insist on godly doctrine. Why? This

The Potter's Care

Jeremiah 18:1-6. Have you ever broken or scratched something which is not easily replaceable? I have - my tablet. I had hit it against the wall, and it sustained a scratch just below the volume buttons. This scratch, although little, was annoying for days. I wished it wasn't there. But sometimes, there are things more worrying than a little scratch on a tablet. In the passage, Jeremiah visits a Potter's house and sees the potter shaping the "marred" clay with his hands, "carefully forming it into another pot" (v4). He reminds us that God is a skillful potter, we are the clay. And in His sovereignty, He can use what He creates to both destroy evil and create beauty in us. Our Potter is also Our Father (Isaiah 64:8). In His sovereignty and love, He picks up our broken pieces, our mistakes, whatever we entrust into His hands, and reshapes them into something beautiful - something He delights in a

Dwelling Together in Unity

Psalm 133. Back at uni when I was in CU (Christian Union) I recall having interesting ‘how did you come to faith?’ conversations like: “I was looking for accommodation and some CU students took me in…”, “a bunch of CU students took me on a city tour…”, “I was invited for the CU pizza party…” … The impact of unity! The Psalmist describes the beauty of God’s people dwelling together in unity. Unity is an act of worship, it glorifies God. Like oil.. on Aaron. In v2 the psalmist compares unity to an important old testament act of worship - which is the consecration of priests. The consecration was done by anointing priests with oil, unto service to God and His people, before they can perform their priestly duties, like atonement for the people. Exodus 29:7. Like any act of worship, unity is important to God, it glorifies Him. Unity creates an atmosphere for the Holy Spirit to work t

The Suffering Servant

Isaiah 53:1-12. Isaiah's prophecies were given during troubled times to the people of Judah and Jerusalem living under the threat of the Assyrian invasion, which God allowed due to Israel's rebellion against Him. (Isaiah 1:1-3). Isaiah's visions present both warnings and hopes. However, one part of the vision was mysterious and totally unexpected - Isaiah 53. "Who has believed our message? Who would have thought God’s saving power (the arm of the Lord) would look like this?" (v1) Isaiah prophesies about an unnamed servant who would rescue His people. The unnamed servant would succeed not by power but by surrender and suffering, bringing salvation and healing to His people and the world. He would be a man of suffering according to God's will (v3,10) - His punishment would bring peace, and his wounds, healing (v5) - some blessings of His sacrifice. Like a lamb, He will not resist suffering (v7) but w

Seasoned with Salt

Colossians 4:2-6. I recall my first meeting as a student back in Edinburgh with my program leader. I walked into his office and greeted him. And he responded ‘...Are you Nigerian? It's the way you bowed your head when you said Good morning.’ There's something about culture that's very central to uniquely identifying people. Some core aspects of culture are part of who we are to everyone. Very obvious ones are language and accent. Paul in writing to a young growing church in Colossae encourages them on Christian living: Be ‘devoted’ to Prayer - commit to prayer, be watchful (i.e. alert to the things of the Spirit) and thankful. (v2-4) Be ‘wise’ in how you live - so that your life can be a signpost to draw people to God. (v5; Matthew 5:16) Be ‘graceful’ in speech ... towards everyone (v6). So this is not just an evangelistic aim. Rather, this is like

Renewed in Prayer

Matthew 26:36-46. Do you ever have one of those mornings where you get up, take a shower, put on your work clothes and then go back to bed to grab just a wee more sleep before the train time ... because your body is screaming for rest. Yeah, I sometimes have that, it's called Monday mornings. In the passage, Matthew paints a vivid picture of a prayer struggle. On the one hand, the disciples are struggling with prayer. They fell asleep, again and again, and again (vv40, 43, 45). While on the other hand, Jesus is struggling in sorrow, so He prays, again and again, and again (vv39, 42, 44). At the end of the Gethsemane visit, they rise up (v46) and Jesus faces crucifixion in the strength of the Spirit and the will of the Father, while the disciples desert Him alongside Peter's denial. (v75, Mark 14:50) The passage reminds us of the importance of prayer: Like sleep and rest is strength to the body

2022 - Like a little child

Mark 10:13-16. Praise God! Happy new year!!! There's a phrase every parent has said at some point, "Stop nagging me" or "Will you give it a rest". Or maybe you have a unique response to a constant "Are we there yet?", "Can I have ice cream for breakfast?"... or something else a little kid will invent just to call for your attention. The passage conveys one of Jesus' teachings on the kingdom of God. (The Kingdom of God, now referring to the lordship of the crucified and risen Christ - His reign - the life He gives) In the first century, children and women were not held in high regard publicly - a societal norm that Jesus frequently addressed. Sadly we see this reflected in the passage as the disciples rebuked people for bringing little children to Jesus (v13). In response to this, Jesus rebuked his disciples. He then invited the little children: &qu