Monday, February 26, 2024

The Spiritual Effects Of Social Networking

 The Sad Story Of Jackson

“Everything is permissible for me," but not everything is helpful. "Everything is permissible for me," but I will not be brought under the control of anything " (1 Corinthians 6:12 HCSB).

Brethren, a very dear brother in the Lord gave me permission to briefly write about an experience they had as a God-fearing family. With this experience, our dear brother wishes to warn and discourage Christians from the effects of social networking.

Now our brother Samuel (not real name) explained that a few years ago he and his wife decided to buy a cellular phone for their 12-year-old son Jackson (also not real name) because he had been obedient and faithful in everything including his relationship with God and buying this phone for Jackson greatly pleased them. Before giving him his new cellular phone, Jackson’s father being a pastor, warned him about the addiction to social networking and the kinds of friends he might come across.  Without hesitation, Jackson gave his father an assurance that he will be careful and prays before acquiring new friends who should anyway just be Christians.

However, a few months later Jackson’s behavior started changing the father observed that he would frequently be busy with the phone while busy reading the bible. Just on a particular day, the Holy Spirit prompted Jackson’s father to borrow him his cellular phone for a few minutes. As the father went through the phone’s content he came across pornographic material and after showing his wife, they called Jackson in and inquired from him why he had such content on his cellular phone. Being shocked that his parents discovered his secret, Jackson confessed that he had become addicted to social networking and the material he had on his phone and that he was relieved this came out since he needed a way out of this.

As it was, after disciplining Jackson his cellular phone was confiscated but would be given back if he promised that he would not do what he did. After prayer and a strong conviction, Jackson repented of this and promised to his parents never to venture into that direction again. Meanwhile, not being vigilant (1 Peter 5:8) enough Samuel confessed that he trusted Jackson’s word of promise (not to repeat the same folly) more than relying on the Lord. This made them (Samuel and his wife) spiritually blind and they did not even consider to pray daily asking the Lord to shield Jackson against that spirit of addiction (Psalm 3:3; 18:3-4) which made its return a few months later and Jackson was NEVER the same again!

The Grief Of A Parent

King Solomon said, "A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him" (Proverbs 17:25). As we continue, in great unhappiness of soul, our beloved brother Samuel recalled that Jackson’s spiritual life started deteriorating as he lost interest in the things of God. Being a fairly disciplined child who is well-versed in the Scriptures,  Jackson started despising and disrespecting his parents even after the Lord Himself appeared to him warning him not to disrespect his parents but to honor them (Ephesians 6:1-3) and this fell on deaf ears the brother heart-brokenly recalled. As it was, Jackson became reckless and rebellious, running away from home on several occasions to express his disdain for God and his parents (Luke 15:21) and currently, Jackson is still, a subject of prayer even after he re-committed his life to the Lord, while his parents admit that he is no longer the same person in his faith and commitment to God after having tasted the forbidden fruit of disobedience (Genesis 3:5-7).

In conclusion, as a ministry we do acknowledge that cellular phones are a source of great help to humanity and we do not regret the usefulness of this technology in our lives. As our lead Scripture declares, it is permissible but we also know that its connection to the internet with so much poisonous content readily available it contributes to various addictions like in chat rooms, porn sites, gossip content, bad company, deceitful lying, and the promotion of hate-speech amongst brethren. Being a minister of the gospel, I have counseled a number of young people who showed symptoms of psychological issues and who have been badly altered by the impact of social networking which is evident in the hollow and ‘actor’ kind of lifestyle they follow (1 John 2:15-17).

Therefore, if you are hooked to social media which brought about its own taste of pleasure for gossip, lustfulness, gaming, the conspiring of hateful and evil talk, porn, etc please repent and ask the Lord to deliver you and if you confess He will show His faithfulness (1 John 1:9). In addition, we cannot over-emphasize that the Lord is NEAR and that is what He repeated to me (Brother Glenn) this morning (19/10/2020) and may the Lord bless, save and deliver those who give heed to this teaching in Jesus' name.

 Blessed Grace

Brother Glenn

Monday, February 19, 2024

Are You Battling With Bitterness And Grudges?

 The Destructive spirit Of Bitterness

"And Absalom spoke to his brother Amnon neither good nor bad. For Absalom hated Amnon because he had forced his sister Tamar" (2 Samuel 13:23 NKJV).

A few years ago, a very good brother in the Lord, brother Jones shared with us how he was ill-treated as a child by his aunt and later by his step-mother and his hot-tempered father. Being a boy of about thirteen years, and out of fear, he ran away from his aunt to go live with his father and stepmother with the hope of breaking free from abuse and hunger. 

Knowing Christ Changes The Heart To Love

Now as our dear brother Jones recalled, the days of him going without food or hanging around friends with the hope of getting an invitation for a plate of food were soon things of the past as there was always food at his father's home.  However, his stepmother harbored a strong dislike in him as he was threatening her and her children's financial security. Those of us who grew up having step-parents know the conflict of competing for resources. 

Furthermore, considering the graphic explanation from our brother Jones, I have expected him to be bitter and harboring grudges. As humans, when somebody details cruelty and abuse we naturally develop feelings of dislike towards the abuser and sympathy for the victim. By instinct, when we hear such stories we often desire 'revenge' or retribution, but our beloved brother Jones was calm and full of love for the abusers, instead, he blessed those who persecuted him (Matthew 5:44). 

Changing Others Through Forgiveness

In addition, we could tell by the way Brother Jones explained that he was not bitter nor did he harbor any grudges. Being a personal friend of this family, we have witnessed how often brother Jones would visit and being a blessing financially to those who ill-treated him. Also, despite his broken relationship with his abuser, our brother Jones seemed to have never lost his respect for those elders (Leviticus 19:32; 1 Timothy 5:1). Thus, as Christians, the Bible says we must imitate such people (Hebrews 6:12) as this is for our spiritual good making us Christ-like and fruit-bearing followers (1 Peter 2:23). 

In conclusion, when we read further we discover how hatred and bitterness led Absolom to his destruction and his violent death (2 Samuel 17:14; 18:10-15). Being a God-fearing man, King David feared the Lord and would not avenge himself, instead, he allowed for God's judgment (1 Samuel 25:30-34) through the wise and spirit-filled words of his wife Abigail. 

Now, how many of us just continue unabated hating and struggle to forgive others? It reminds me of someone who said that when he comes across a person who wronged him the hateful feelings just flares up over again. Brethren, this is a serious sin, the Lord once rebuked two sisters for their hatred for each other saying if He would have come at that hour they would have missed the Rapture. Like our Brother Jones said, he asked the Lord to put sympathy and love in his heart for those who abused him, and he made it a daily prayer request until the hate was converted into love (Matthew 5:44). Therefore trust these words of the Lord in the preceding verse it works and many Christians including my family and I have experienced deliverance and love for those who wronged us.

Blessed love and being free from grudges

Brother Glenn

Monday, February 5, 2024

God’s Goodness, Mercy and Grace

God Gives Mercy And Love, Not Evil

The Lord gave me directly this message to write about God's Goodness, Mercy, and Grace, and in my limited language and ability, I trust that this will be a blessing to you! As it is, this article will not deal with the individual moral attributes of God as our heading suggests; we will condense it and present it as a whole in praise of God’s infinite munificence (great and lavish generosity). Theologically, there are some words that have been specifically coined to try and explain the attributes of God, but even these words are inadequate in fully ‘defining’ who God really is.

When our Lord Jesus was questioned by a young man about moral goodness, the Lord replied by referring Him to a Person God and not to a concept. Philosophers have difficulty to define the abstract, but the Bible talks about the concrete. So then, the way to understand goodness is through the Person who is Good, Merciful and Gracious, and whose works declare Him so (Matthew 19:17). God’s character reveals His Goodness. His character combines perfectly His love, mercy, truth, patience, faithfulness, justice, holiness and wrath in perfect balance.

“For the LORD is good; His loving kindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 100:5 NASB).We know that all people are sinners and we have no goodness of our own (Mark 10:18; Romans 3:23). God established His Goodness in all of creation by ordaining seasons and fixed laws in nature and the Heavens (Jeremiah 33:25; Genesis 8:22). He called it a ‘covenant’ using His Perfect Goodness, Faithfulness, Justice and Righteousness as a guarantee that those laws cannot be broken while the earth endures (Genesis 8:22). We do know that God has set a day aside to renew a new covenant with all of creation in the promised new dispensation (Romans 8:20-21; Isaiah 11:6-10). In addition, what I am trying to get to is God’s Goodness, Mercy and Grace are fully present in all His established covenants, whether with man or creation. He renews it every morning to guarantee His subjects of His unfailing commitment to their well-being (Lamentations 3:23).

Furthermore, we can therefore trust that His Goodness, Mercy and Grace will be ever present for us while the earth endures. This was the consolation, hope and comfort of Abraham (Genesis 18:22-33), David (Psalm 51 and 23), Jeremiah (Lamentations 3:21-26), Jonah (Jonah 4:2) and Job (Job 42:1-4) to mention but a few. Therefore in identifying truth, these men after having sensed sin in their lives and their own shortcomings took hold of God’s tender mercies as a way to escape the turbulence of guilt experienced by our souls. Guilt is like a consuming fire within each one of us and securing truth through God’s purity is both comforting and liberating. This Goodness of God which embodies His forgiveness that we ‘escape’ to by faith gives us the hope of renewal or reconciliation to right standing with Him. Having said this, we are not ‘switching’ off or denying our weaknesses but in acknowledgement of our imperfections we consciously  embrace God’s grace which is freely and undeservingly available (Luke 15:11-32).

Christ Jesus, Our Gift of God’s Absolute Goodness

In every section of human society, sin is practiced as a way of life. The apostle Paul saw the complete hopelessness of man finding mercy without God’s intervention through Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-5; Romans 5:20-21). This grace was bestowed upon all mankind everywhere while the earth endures.  Undoubtedly, humanity is always hunted by guilt so we turn to truth to verify if our actions were correct. We engage the opinions of others, we listen to our conscience and we also try to ascertain through our moral guides – religion. However, the estimate of answers we will receive through these guides determines our state of mind, whether good or bad. This might be to appease our conscience the greatest emotional and moral need we want to satisfy is the truth. Did we satisfy truth in our action (s)? Also, guilt is fear for punishment (1 John 4:18) and by looking to truth we hope for reward (Romans 2:7). In summary, Christ is that TRUTH (John 14:6). The goodness, mercy and grace of God flows through Him (Colossians 1:15-23). God says every GOOD we ever have or will desire is found embodied and present in Christ Jesus. This portion of
Scripture best describes the future and hope of creation. Christ, is therefore the sum total of Creation’s gift from God. He personifies the absolute BENEVOLENCE and EXCELLENCE of the Divine Good. Through Him Heavens treasures are attained and the bounty of divine perfection was declared a gift to all creation (Matthew 11:27).

Remember your religion, philosophy, education or culture denies you the treasures purely kept away for the believing (Matthew 6:20). Conversely, if it is NOT in or through Christ, hope is useless! (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Remember our rich fellows, you might say God has blessed you with abundance and you compare yourself to Abraham; he did not use his riches on himself but having had lots of servants he shared his abundance with them (Genesis 14:14).  You have more than what you need (Matthew 19:21).

The abundance of God’s Goodness, Mercy and Grace has been poured out fully through Christ Jesus; don’t you want to be a part of it? Don’t rely on your religion as your moral compass and judge; Christ will be your Judge and the Eternal God of Israel as the Almighty ordered it (Romans 2:16; Acts 17:31).

Finally, to understand the Benevolence of God, we must look at our helpless condition of sin and in the light thereof will we fully appreciate and comprehend His grace.

In conclusion let me share this summary of God’s Goodness: “But in my mind I keep returning to something, something that gives me hope - that the grace of ADONAI is not exhausted, that his compassion has not ended.  [On the contrary,] they are new every morning! How great your faithfulness!  "ADONAI is all I have," I say; "therefore I will put my hope in him.  ADONAI is good to those waiting for him, to those who are seeking him out.  It is good to wait patiently for the saving help of ADONAI” (Lamentations 3:21-26 CJB).

If you are not yet born again, here is a Prayer of Sincere Repentance to get you started in this life of living in God’s Goodness, Mercy and Grace. For any questions or comments on this article or our ministry, please contact us.

Sincere Grace, Peace and Love to all in Jesus name,

Brother Glenn.