Browsing articles by " Chim"
Apr
18

This Criminal’s Gratitude

By Chim  //  Uncategorized  //  No Comments
The way the thief by the side of Jesus on the cross got into paradise looked too easy. I’m assuming you know the story. There were these two criminals who were crucified along with Jesus. And when one of them asked Jesus to go with him to paradise he said yes. And just like that this criminal got to go to paradise. The fact that this fellow who must have lived most of his life in rebellion, self indulgence and in defrauding others should get such a free pass into paradise does not go down well with my sense of justice.
“And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”” – Luke 23:43 NLT
And that’s all it took for this criminal to be justified. All he had to do was ask for mercy and it was freely given with no thought of all the ills he had done all of his life. How does he get into paradise so easily? Although the Bible does not give us details of his life but it’s easy to imagine how much evil a man condemned to death must have committed. I can imagine that there would be many families in the community who were grieving their loved ones killed or even raped by this man. Who knows how many lives were destroyed by this criminal or how many were left in financial wreckages because of his crimes. Yet all that was forgotten as Jesus said, “I assure you, today you will be with me in
paradise.”
Just imagine how you would feel if you were one of his victims and found out about this exchange on the cross – that this man who had hurt you so much and for whom you desired justice was going to get off scot-free? Grace is so shocking and unbelievable to human reasoning. Grace is scandalous! The criminal gets off scot-free! Yet grace is amazing! The criminal gets off scot-free!
And this is such good news for ‘criminals’ like you and me. Just like that criminal on the cross I too I am a criminal. The details of my crimes may defer from his (and my self-righteous mind may try to explain away my own sins as not being as bad as his) yet in all purpose and intent I’m just as guilty as that man was. And this is the same for you too, my friend. You and I have sinned against the Holy God. We have walked in rebellion, in self-indulgence and in defrauding others. Yet this is what God’s Word says;
“Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:7-8 NIV
This is the message of Easter. The Holy One died and rose for us – the criminals and through his death and resurrection secures a new beginning for us.. Christ Jesus died for our sins and rose up again for our justification. A great exchange happened on the cross for me and you!
“He (Jesus) was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” – Romans 4:25 NIV

Alleluia! Grace is shocking! Grace is scandalous! Grace is amazing! The criminal gets off scot-free!
If we too will turn to the Savoir like our fellow criminal did on that day and ask Jesus to forgive us and have our lives, we too (all of us!) can experience this amazing grace. Glory to God! We are justified! Christ was raised from the death for our justification. There is therefore no longer any condemnation for us criminals.. Now his resurrection has secured for us power to live a new life.
“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.”
Romans 6:4 NIV
What more can I say? Grace is amazing and like my fellow criminal I will be forever grateful to the One who loved me and set me free. I will live for Him and serve Him with my all out of the overflow of my gratitude. Thank you Jesus!
Apr
8

Walking by Faith in Winter Pt2

By Chim  //  Uncategorized  //  No Comments

“The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me. Everyone abandoned me. May it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear. And he rescued me from certain death. Yes, and the Lord will deliver me from every evil attack and will bring me safely into his heavenly Kingdom. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.” – 2 Timothy 4:16-18 NLT

Last week we began to learn from the emotionally low apostle who was obviously lonely in prison at the tail end of his ministry and life, how to walk by faith when it’s ‘winter’. And one key thing that stood out for us was that, for Paul, faith was a choice based on his conviction that God is good and faithful; and a confidence that God would never leave him nor forsake him no matter what life brought.

Now the third lesson here is this, that it is instructive to see how Paul not only believed that God was with him, but was quick to see the hand of God in it all. He said -

‘But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear.’

He saw the hand of God in the way that he was enabled to preach the Good News when he was on the point of being judged. A lesser man may have thought that if God didn’t do a miracle and free him from prison then God was not there. But Paul’s heart beat was different. He so trusted God that his prayer must have been – “Lord, as I go out to this court to be judged, empower me to preach the Gospel so that all the lost will hear and be saved. Use me for your Kingdom and Glory’. This man so trusted that God was good and in control that he never lost his passion for the Kingdom of God and for the Glory of God. Wow! Bad times are never an excuse to lose a good heart; to lose the fire of God in us; to lose the hunger we have for souls and for his Kingdom to come.

It is when the devil deceives and convinces us that our troubles mean that God has forsaken us, that we begin to lose our faith in him and our faithfulness to him. What a challenge Paul brings us. He had a clear vision of God’s faithfulness, and of eternity, and the worth of the reward that awaited him. He knew that ‘God rewards those who earnestly seek him’. A clear vision of God’s faithfulness and of our eternal reward helps to put life’s present trials into proper perspective.

Some of you who are reading this now are going through a ‘winter’ season in your life. Be encouraged by Paul – don’t allow the cold of your winter, to chill out your faith in the faithfulness of God. Listen to Paul -


“The Lord will deliver (you) from every evil attack and will bring (you) safely into his heavenly Kingdom. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen”

Mar
25

Declare His Glory among the nations

By Chim  //  Uncategorized  //  No Comments

“Declare his glory among the nations, his marvellous deeds among all peoples.” – Psalm 96:3 NIV

The prophet Habakkuk prophesied many centuries ago the quest of God on the earth;

“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” Habakkuk 2:14

If you want to understand what our God is up to in the world today, this is it: He wants to see the whole earth filled with the knowledge of his glory as the waters cover the sea – completely saturated.

Now it does not say ‘the earth will be filled with the glory of the LORD’, because that is already the case. The glory of the LORD is already everywhere. It fills the earth. The prophet Isaiah heard the Seraphim affirming this;

‘They were calling out to each other, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of Heaven’s Armies! The whole earth is filled with his glory!”’ – Isaiah 6:3 (NLT)

So the reality in the world today is not that the Glory of God is not everywhere (indeed even creation testifies of his glory), but the knowledge of that glory is what is lacking in many places. You see, when men see this glory and lack the knowledge of that glory, they (with the help of the enemy) often misinterpret it and end up ascribing that glory to other gods. This was what happened in the Lycaonian city of Lystra;

“The people saw what Paul did. They called with loud voices in the language of the people of Lycaonia, “The gods have become like men and have come down to us.” They said that Barnabas was Jupiter. Paul was called Mercury because he spoke more than Barnabas. The god of Jupiter was in a building near the gate leading into the city. The religious leader of that place brought cattle and flowers to the gate. He and many other people wanted to burn these as gifts in an act of worship to Paul and Barnabas.”

Paul and Barnabas had to rush out into the crowd to stop them, and then to go on to share the knowledge of that glory with these men, which led to a large number becoming worshippers of the true God.

Today there are millions worshiping all kinds of false gods around the world, ascribing to them the glory that is God’s, just because they lack the knowledge of that glory.

The Psalmist says;

“Declare his glory among the nations, his marvellous deeds among all peoples.” – Psalm 96:3 NIV

This is our call – to declare his glory among the nations. The preaching of the Gospel like Paul and Barnabas did in Lystra is how we declare that glory. It is in the face of Christ Jesus and his finished work on the cross, that men come to know the glory of God.

According to joshuaproject.net there is presently a total population of 3.14 billion people who are unreached (or unevangelised). These are nations who have had little or no chance to hear the Gospel. This then is our call – to go and declare his glory among the nations. Let those who have not heard, hear and turn to him. All the unreached nations need to hear of his glory.

If you want to find out more about how you can be actively involved in declaring his glory among the nations, please contact me by replying to this devotional.

May all the nations worship him!

Mar
12

‘No shaking!’

By Chim  //  Uncategorized  //  No Comments

“Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.” – Psalm 125:1 NIV

‘No shaking!’ is a popular catchphrase in Nigeria and it’s often used to affirm that the person or issue has no need to fear as no matter what happens they will prevail. As I read the words of the psalmist here;

“Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.”

I believe that ‘No shaking’ should be the Christian’s catchphrase because just like Mt. Zion there’s no shaking for him.

When it says here that Mt Zion cannot be shaken it implies that they tried shaking it but didn’t succeed. Mt. Zion has faced all kinds of winds and storm but it cannot be shaken. It has faced all kinds of shakings but cannot be shaken, it just goes on standing forever.

You will never experience the unshakable power of God in you unless the shakings comes. Don’t fear shakings, just know that like Mount Zion you cannot be shaken. Say to yourself as you face life’s storm ‘No shaking!’. It does not mean that the pressures won’t come upon you and sometimes even seem as if it will crush you. It doesn’t mean that the wind won’t push you here and there but it means that you will not be moved from your place. It may not look like it now while the storm lasts, but you will be standing after the wind is gone. You will not be displaced from your place of destiny. Nothing will move you out of God’s love. Nothing can separate you from the purpose of God. You cannot be shaken. ‘No shaking!’.

But the key to all of this is TRUST. It is ‘those who trust in the Lord (that) are like Mount Zion’. It’s those that trust in the Lord that remain unshaken. So don’t bother about looking at the thermometer of the heat around you. Rather watch the trust-o-meter of your heart and set your heart to trust him come what may.

So I’ve given you a new way to describe the Christian life -  ‘No shaking!’.

Mar
6

Do You Sing In The Night?

By Chim  //  Uncategorized  //  No Comments

“… God my maker, who gives songs in the night” Job 35:10 (NIV)

Songs normally follow victories. It is not natural to rejoice while our troubles last. Yet this is the privilege we have as God’s children. God gives songs to his children in the nights of life – the nights of weeping, difficulty, or trouble. These are those times when things seem impossible, when you have waited and waited and there seems to be no solution in sight. When things fail to go the way you hoped, and it seems foolish to go on hoping. Those are the times when God gives us songs.

It is like those three Hebrew young men – Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who incurred the wrath of the ungodly king and had to face fire. They threw them into the midst of the fire and I believe that the first thing God gave them were songs of peace right in the midst of the fire. God didn’t stop them from entering the fire but He gave them praise songs inside a blazing furnace!

God longs to fill us with peace and praise right in the midst of life’s storms. I recall having experienced this myself sometimes in my walk with the Lord. I remember one time just before marriage when I was trying to get a new job and transfer to another town. Everything had been working well – the vacancy was there, the establishment wanted me urgently, and the process of employment had begun moving. Then all of a sudden everything froze. They couldn’t locate my file, people became unco-operative and I was running out of time, money and hope. I prayed and prayed and nothing changed. Then one day in the midst of all the trouble, when there was still no hope in sight, I heard a song inside of me. Naturally I wasn’t feeling like singing, yet here was my heart bubbling with a song of praise. So I yielded to my heart and sang out the words.

“Everything is gonna be alright in Christ,

Everything is gonna be alright in Christ,

Lift your hands and praise His name,

For eternity the same,

For I know

Everything is gonna be alright in Christ”

Things didn’t change on that day. But things did change and I found that every word of that song came to pass. If we were to go by human reasoning you would expect God to give us the songs when the morning of victory has come to replace the nights of hopelessness. Yes we must sing when the victory comes, but this kind of song we are talking about here is not the type that victory brings, rather they are the types that bring the victory. When we accept these songs from God and sing them, they go ahead to release the victory.

Jehoshaphat understood this principle of ‘singing-in’ your victory. In 2 Chronicles 20:18, 19 (NIV) immediately he and the people heard God’s promises they “….. bowed … to the ground…. in worship before the LORD ……and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with very loud voice! ”. Note that their situation had not yet changed. They were still in danger. Oh, but their hearts had changed –from mourning to dancing – because they chose to believe God’s word. Note also, that their problem was not even solved the day they began singing. Yet the next day they went on singing. They were committed to praising God even though things didn’t seem to be getting better. Then, as they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against their enemies. As we receive and sing the songs God gives us in the night, we allow God to undertake for us.

The reason then that God wants to give us songs in the midst of the night is so as to help us walk in faith. He brings those songs to reassure us of His presence and to strengthen our faith. And He knows that as we sing even when we do not feel like it, we win. Please do remember to sing in the nights of life.

Feb
26

The Goal of Christianity

By Chim  //  Uncategorized  //  No Comments

“Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” – Matthew 10:39 NIV

The phrase that our Lord used here is what got me thinking;

“Whoever finds their life…”

I thought, ‘Why? Finding one’s life is the general theme of most of our popular Christian books and messages today.’ Whether it is, ‘Your Best Life Now!’ or ‘How to Maximise Yourself’, the central message we are preaching and being taught is that one of the main goals for life in Christ, is for one to find oneself (who God created one to be) and to maximise one’s God-given potential. On the face of it this does not look like a bad message at all and indeed there are many Bible verses that support the idea that God desires the best for us and wants us to be the best we can be. But the problem is not whether there is any truth in this message, but rather, in the central position we have come to give to it. For in placing the cart before the horse we have introduced an error.

The goal of Christianity is not for you to pursue finding yourself or your purpose or even finding meaning. Those are all by-products of the life of a Christian. The goal of the Gospel is for you to find Christ. Not just at salvation, but to make the pursuit of finding Christ your goal for the rest of your life.

Let’s look closely at the paradox of this tough declaration of our Lord. First he says, “Whoever finds their life will lose it”. If our chief aim is the pursuit of finding our life, we will lose its essence. We will never find it. We will never be fulfilled and we will never fulfil God’s purpose for us. Rather he says, “…. whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” God is not against our finding purpose and meaning and becoming fulfilled. No, he is right here showing us that there is only one way to get there – by losing your life. By giving up the pursuit of your own fulfilment for Christ’s sake, and rather making Christ your only pursuit, so that your life pursuit becomes like that of Paul:

“But whatever were gains to me, I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all thingsI want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” – Philippians 3:7-8,10-11 (NIV)

So, this is the Gospel: Turn away from pursuing anything else and let Christ be your pursuit number One. Let the cry of your heart be, ‘I want to know Christ and become like him’. Then every other thing about your life will fall into place.

Feb
19

God’s field is the whole world

By Chim  //  Uncategorized  //  No Comments

“The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one ….”   (Matthew 13:38 NIV)

Most of my life I have understood the field in the parable of the weeds in Matthew 13:24 -30 to be referring to the Church and how the enemy comes to plant weeds (false brethren with false doctrine) in the midst of God’s people. This has been the classic focus of interpretation for as long as I have preached or heard others preach from this parable. Indeed this can be a lesson inferred from this story. Yet as I read it again recently, I saw that one obvious key to the interpretation is the explanation of the parable that the Lord himself goes on to give his disciples in Matt. 13: 37- 43. And in his explanation he says this ‘The field is the world …’

The field is the whole world, not just the church. You may wonder why this is important. You see, we often get caught up in the mentality that the only group that our God is involved with, is the Church. And that he has left the world with its madness and only focuses on the Church and those she can win. This is not true. God owns the whole world and is fully involved in it. God loves the whole world and sees it as his field. God is very actively involved in every area of the world right now, because it is his field.. As this parable says, he’s sowing his good seed in the whole world and expecting a harvest from the whole world.

There is a way that when we, as the Church, do not understand that the whole world is God’s field, we begin to withdraw from many segments of the world, and are not available to work with God. God wants his Church to be engaged in every aspect of society, because the world is his field. Yes, the enemy has sown weeds everywhere we look in our society, but God is not going to allow this world just to go to hell. He is going to get a mighty harvest. In the parable we see how careful God is that no one should perish when he says:

“ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest.’ ” – Matthew 13:29 -30 NIV

With all the madness going on in our world God is ‘not willing that any one should perish.

What this parable is teaching us, is, that we need to be engaged in the world everywhere from classrooms to boardrooms, because God’s field is the whole world.

We need to have Christians everywhere.  ‘Let them grow together….’ he said. Alas, it’s only by being in the world, and not being of it, that we can determine the size of the final harvest.

When the Lord said “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” – (Mark 16:15), he was saying “Penetrate all spheres of society and preach the Gospel.”

It means to go into the world of children, and that of retirees; into the world of entertainment and that of politics; into the world of business and that of the unreached in the ends of the earth. The whole world is his field. We must not just think of creating an alternative church-world, but rather think of how to penetrate the whole world. For example instead of Christians thinking of having the Christian political party, there should be on-fire-for-Jesus believers entering the so-called corrupt political parties and being God’s worker there to bring about a harvest from there too. Instead of just building Christian schools we need more Christians called as teacher-missionaries into our public schools.

This is our call – Let us GO INTO ALL THE WORLD. If you have not yet found where you should be penetrating, I challenge you today, to ask God where he wants you to be! I am certain that for most of us we are already in the place, we only need to awake to the reality of our calling and begin to see, for example, that secular school where we work, as our primary calling, and not the worship group we are part of at church. The latter is only where we go to refuel for the real task. Let us GO!

Feb
11

Whatever Happens Tell Him

By Chim  //  Uncategorized  //  No Comments

Whatever happens conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” Philippians 1:27 (NIV)

What a big challenge this scripture is to me – “whatever happens“. There are times when I feel justified to “be myself” and really express myself not minding if God is pleased or not. For example a while ago, someone who had destroyed my property went on to say that my claim was a lie, instead of apologising. That really made me mad and I spoke to him angrily. I was soon proved right and he then apologised; but I had lost my peace. I had not conducted myself in a manner that was worthy of the gospel I believe in nor the Lord that I follow.

There are times when we feel justified to walk in the flesh – in moments of anger, discouragement, failure, disappointment, pain, tiredness, stress, etc. But God wants us to grow into the image of his Son, who was able to endure the cross without sinning,

He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly“1 Peter 2:22 & 23 (NIV)

There is a key here to how Jesus was able to please the Father in even such an extreme situation. He made it his habit to pour out his heart to God. There is a short verse in the same book of Peter that I have found very important in my daily walk with Jesus. It says

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)

When I go immediately to God and tell him all that I am going through and all that is going through me, I always find that I receive grace to face whatever may be before me in a manner worthy of Christ.

Beloved I may not know what you may be facing now but I know that he cares and desires that you respond in the right way in that situation. He is waiting to help you if only you will pour out your heart to him. I pray that God will teach all of us how to cast our cares on him every moment and leave it there. He really does care and he is at work in us to make us true disciples focused on pleasing him no matter what we may be going through.

Feb
4

My Soul Longs for You

By Chim  //  Uncategorized  //  No Comments

“I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.” – Psalm 63:2 NIV

I love this Psalm. I find the thirst of David’s soul for God, powerfully attractive.

“You, God, are my God,

earnestly I seek you;

I thirst for you,

my whole being longs for you,

in a dry and parched land

where there is no water.” Psalm 63:1

His soul has one pure desire – God. ‘All I want is you Lord. It’s you Lord’ was the cry of his heart. How different it is from my own heart so many times. So many things creep in and make my longing dull and my cry so feeble. And then I begin to measure what matters by what I can see and touch. And the tempter tells me that it’s ok to pursue other things, for these are the real issues before me. The good becomes the enemy of the best. O Lord help me!

The soul athirst for God is not longing for something that is unreal. It is real because that one has tasted some of it before, and he knows there is much more. Hear David

‘I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory’ (v2). David wants more, because of what he has already tasted.

I, too, like David, have tasted God in the past. I have experienced him – I have seen him. I can’t always articulate it well in words, but I know my past experience with him. I remember seasons of deep intimacy. I recall times when he came very close. I recall my intercourse with the Almighty when he spoke and I heard, and when he acted, I saw it. I remember the joy within my soul. I have beheld his power and his glory. The God who is there. I have seen him. I have tasted him and I know he is good.

This is why I am refusing to continue to fall for the lie of the enemy of my soul. This God is real and he is all I need. No matter what life brings, with its ups and downs, I won’t be deceived about my real need. I need more of Him. I want more.

It’s true that I don’t have all the answers to all the questions that plague my mind, but I know that my God is real and that he satisfies my soul with his living waters. It’s true that troubles may last and prosperity may flee, but my need is deeper.

So my soul thirsts for him. My soul longs to be with him – to continually drink of him. This is life. This is what I need. I do not seek in vain, for it is real. He satisfies my soul.

Jan
28

A Sacrifice of Praise

By Chim  //  Uncategorized  //  No Comments


“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess his name” – Heb. 13:15 (NIV)

Praise becomes a sacrifice (costly) when we offer it to God in the midst of the contrary situations of life. It doesn’t really take much to praise God when things are fine or not too bad. But it is much harder to keep on praising God when our hopes are dashed and we are surrounded by troubles. Surely it is much easier at such times to blame rather than praise God. Yet learning to offer costly praise is crucial if we want to see God’s victory.

In Hebrew 13: 15 the Bible says that what we are doing by such a sacrifice is confessing his name. What that means is that as we continue to praise God even when all seems hopeless, we are confessing all that God is, over our situation. We are confessing that he is love, even though it looks as if he has abandoned us. We are confessing that he is all-wise despite the confusion that faces us. We are confessing his almighty power, even though our situation may look impossible. The bible says, “with such sacrifices God is pleased”(Heb.13: 16 – NIV), and it causes him to act mightily on our behalf.

That was what happened to Paul and Silas. They had been shamefully beaten by the people they had gone to help, and when they found themselves faced with a night of hopelessness in prison, they CHOSE to offer a sacrifice of praise. Their minds may have rebelled against it, but they decided not to miss the opportunity to offer God a sacrifice. We know how this their sacrifice went up as a sweet smelling savour to God, and provoked him to come down and shake their prison.

This kind of praise has very little to do with our emotions. God does not look at our feelings but rather at our willingness to praise him in spite of how we may be feeling. This kind of offering is one that comes from our heart and our will, but it must be expressed through our lips. Not only does it bring God’s intervention, but also the repeated offering of this kind of sacrifice builds character into us. So let’s not waste the opportunity that the troubles of life offer us. Let us offer unto God a sacrifice of praise!

In concluding here is a chorus from a song by Larnelle Harris:

“When praise demands a sacrifice,

I’d worship even then.

Surrendering the dearest things in life;

And if devotion cost me all,

He’d find me faithful to his call

When praise demands a sacrifice”


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