POSITIVITY: THE KEY TO A SUCCESSFUL LIFE.

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So many of us have been through tough times, actually all of us. It could have been a financial problem, a tough dilemma or even misunderstandings in relationships. These are the many times we look at life and see no meaning in it. It is at such times that we start seeing ourselves as worthless, stupid or silly.

Here lies the big question. Do these pessimistic statements and words have any impact on us or are they just words that are said and forgotten? If they do have impacts, do these impacts just last a short span or can continue impacting us for longer or even become a chronic and lead to a long-term feeling of worthlessness and depression? This article is prepared and tuned specifically to answer these questions and many others.

I remember it more than clearly. It was on this Sunday evening when Chris paid me an unexpected visit in my campus hostel. This was a tiny room shared by four people. He looked exhausted, confused and depressed at the same time. His hair was unkempt and judging from the expressions on his face, he was experiencing a very hard time.

“Good morning bro,” he greeted me while putting on a fake smile.

“Good morning my brother. It’s been a very long time without our meeting. You don’t look like you are ok. What’s up?”

While looking down, “come on it’s been only two weeks,” he replied.

“Two weeks is a very long time for two brothers who are so much attached to each other as we are attached to each other. Anyway, I guess you don’t mind letting me know the reason behind that long face.”

“Well, I don’t mind sharing with you bro.”

“Sure, go ahead,” I told him.

“I have grown up depending on my parent’s provision, support, and encouragement. I have been used to waking up every morning and meeting that broad smile on my mom’s face, and that sweet morning greeting that daddy always gave me. In their hands, I have always felt secure and loved…”

“Mmh, yeah.”

“…then three years ago while I was in my first year of study in this University, both of my parents got involved in a fatal road accident while they were on their way back home from Nairobi. They both died.” He began to shed tears.

“Since then I have had hard times. The encouragement I used to receive daily was all gone. The provision was gone too. I was left to struggle and make my way through a wilderness that I have never familiarized myself with. The positive energy and motivation that I had begun to die out. I began to feel useless and of no worth. The positivity in me was replaced with negativity,” he continued, “As a result of the negativity that took me over that time, I have managed to go through my studies with so much difficulty and struggle. That feeling of worthlessness has always been coming back to me and leaving me discouraged.”

“Anyway, what would make a worthless person work hard in academics? Of what benefits are they going to be in the first place? Are they not just good for nothing as the person himself or herself? In this life I find no sense, I see no reason for being alive in fact,”

Chris continued pouring himself out,” I won’t hide anything from you. This negativity has cost me a lot. I’m going to retake my fourth year of study. I failed the examination because I had no morale even to read and prepare for the exam. I always felt like I’m worthless and there is no need to me stressing myself up with these heavy medical books and finally amount to nothing.”

I had to interrupt,” You have been a believer, a strong Christian, born of the water, spirit and the blood. You have always stood strong to defend this faith. What then makes you not believe even in the scriptures that even unbelievers agree with? Has God Himself not said that as a man thinketh so is he?”

“Bro, you are not worthless. God has never and will never make a worthless being. He has never made mistakes in His work and neither is He even about to. He only allows such circumstances to occur to us so as to prepare us for the great mission He has for each of us. We are the clay, He is the potter; we are all the work of His hand (Isaiah 64:8) His will and plan are perfect. So, our part is just to remain focused on Him and to keep seeking Him in prayer. Above all, we have to remain positive and optimistic that He is preparing something greater for us.”

 

My words seemed to make him regain his sense of thinking. For once I saw a smile reappear on his face. We had a long talk, prepared dinner and ate together. On that same night, Chris regained morale to continue pursuing his lifetime dreams with a rejuvenated positive energy.

 

I met him early this year and he was very happy, with a family and enjoying the fruits of optimism and positivity in life. He is currently running a hospital of his own, and making good money! He never forgets to thank me for enlightening him when he was taken over by negativity.

 

 

 

 

 

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Give Generously

“But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. We are foreigners and strangers in your sight, as were all our ancestors. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope. Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you.” (1 Chronicles 29:14–16, NIV)

We can take to heart the remarks King David made as he neared the end of his life. David summarizes exactly what our situation is, and the perspective we should have.

He acknowledges that God is the source of all wealth. Everything comes from God, and any giving we do is returning what has come from his hand. 

But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” (Deuteronomy 8:18, NIV) 

If we have monetary wealth, we must remember that God gave us the ability to produce it. There is nothing for us to be “proud” about.

In God’s sight we are strangers and foreigners in this world. David reminds us of this truth, telling us our citizenship is in heaven. Furthermore, he reminds us that our earthly life is like a shadow. Our time bubble can pop at any time, landing us in eternity, a totally different paradigm with values foreign to the world we now inhabit.

David reiterates the truth that everything comes from God and belongs to God. This is a difficult concept; many people believe that everything they have belongs to them, and they can do anything they want with it. 

Wise people conclude that King David’s words in today’s scripture passage are still true today. We come to the King with a willing mind, generously helping to build the body of Christ by extending others the opportunity to begin a personal relationship with him.

Today, ask yourself: 

In what ways does my view of giving parallel that of King David?

Choose Today Whom You Shall Serve: God? Idols?

We live in a free world as many say, but that freedom should not in any case present us with an option of having other gods besides the Most High God- Yahweh.

I wonder even more when I see youth, to be precise, making their girlfriends or boyfriends priorities and forgetting about God. It sounds even worse when others make their passions more valuable to them than their creator. They dedicate all their time, faithfulness and commitment to human beings, or even inanimate objects! It pains the more when we human beings value our money and material possessions more than the God who created us. All these are vanity, they shall pass away as the bible says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Matthew 24:35, NIV)

Have we forgotten that He is a jealous God? Have we forgotten His commandments that we should not have any other gods beside Him? Or does it simply make no sense to us?

“…You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.  You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God…”

-Exodus 20: 3-5

Has God not declared a great punishment and curse over those who hate Him? Those who worship gods and idols which they’ve made with their own hands?

“… punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments…”

-Exodus 20: 5-6

It is time for us to make a choice- whether to live for God and Him alone or to live for the gods we think are more powerful and important than our creator. It is high time we choose whether to go spiritual or to continue living in the carnality of this world; whether to go for His will or to live satisfying our imperfect human will- desires and envies; whether to value the eternal life He has offered to us through Faith in Jesus Christ or to continue living this temporary life and end up in hell; whether to live by commitment to him and serve Him wholeheartedly or serve him at our own convenience. We have to make this choice. But as for me, I will serve the Lord God with commitment.

 “…But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”-Joshua 24:15

This Word Love…

In his many books and lectures the great educator, Leo Buscaglia showed us time and again how the love of just one person can change a life and change the world. I remember especially his story about the noted psychologist, Dr. Skeels.

In the early 20th century orphaned children were often warehoused in badly understaffed institutions where they received little if any attention or love. At one time Dr. Skeels took 12 of these orphaned children and let them be cared for, a few hours each day, by mentally retarded adolescent girls at a nearby institution. He also studied 12 other children who were left in the orphanage all day long. He followed these children until adulthood and the results he found were shocking. Of the 12 children left all day in the orphanage without love and attention all were either dead, in institutions for the mentally retarded or in institutions for the mentally ill. Of the 12 children cared for and loved by the mentally retarded teenage girls all were self-supporting, most had graduated high school, and all were happily married. The only difference in the lives of these children had been the love of one person.

God loves us all so much and His greatest wish is for us to love each other as well. Let us never forget then just how vital our love can be to another. Patrick McCauley wrote “ Some of us will reach millions, most of us will reach a few, and some will reach only one person. However, given the infinite significance of each person, there is no difference in the end.”

Give your love, your kindness, and your heart to others today. You never know whom you might touch, whom you might help, and whose life you may save. As Thomas Merton said: “How can anyone tell how much he owes to the goodness of those who love him?” You may be just one person and you may touch just one person but that alone can change the world.

God’s Precious Investment

I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.” (Ephesians 1:18, NLT)

As believers in Christ, we are God’s precious inheritance. He has purchased us with the precious blood of Christ, and looks forward to spending eternity with us. 

But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13, NLT) 

God has invested a lot in you and me. He has given us time, talent, and treasure in varying degrees. We will have to give an accounting for the use of these gifts; however, we should view our time in this world as the greatest opportunity to serve in advancing his kingdom. 

He has given us the assurance of salvation: “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.” (John 5:24, NLT) 

Such statements of assurance give us a positive outlook and confidence for the future. “Opportunity” is the word that pops into my mind. May God flood our hearts with the light of positive opportunity to be of service to him, and to enjoy rewards that he has for those who take advantage of his offer. Our relationship with him is “incentive driven” and not “fear driven.”

 Christ lives in us. All we have to do is to get the “self life” out of the way and to allow him to live his life through us. “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20, NLT) 

This can be our reality if we will daily present ourselves to him for his service.

Today, ask yourself: 

Do I understand I am completely accepted by God as his child? Am I trusting Christ to live his life through me?

Our Hope!

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our “ lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” (Philippians 3:20-21, NIV)

It is amazing to think we are only passing through a temporary world, knowing the real world awaits us when our “time bubble” breaks, thrusting us into the eternal paradigm. We have the assurance that our citizenship is in heaven and that is where we are heading. In the meantime, we have the prospect of Jesus Christ returning at any moment.

This is truly a blessed hope! How encouraging to know that we will be freed from the foolishness of the wisdom and rulers of this age. 

I can hardly wait, in God’s timing, to receive a glorified body like the glorified body of Jesus Christ. This body will be beyond anything you and I can think or imagine. “Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” (Matthew 13:43, NIV) 

In the flesh we cannot even look at the sun without special glasses that protect our eyes.

In the meantime, we are to be busy in the part of God’s vineyard where he has placed us. We want to make sure we use our 3 Ts(time, treasure, talent) wisely with an eternal perspective in mind. 

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.” (Titus 2:11–15, NIV) 

We know there is more to life than the best that this world can offer. It is all going to perish. Truly we are in a desert wasteland from a spiritual standpoint. David expressed the same, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:1–2, NIV) 

It will not be very long, “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22:20, NIV) 

Today, ask yourself: 

Am I living life anticipating that Jesus Christ could return at any time? What must I do to bring my life into conformance with his will today?

A Comforting Truth

Now this is what the Lord says. He created you, people of Jacob; he formed you, people of Israel. He says, ‘Don’t be afraid, because I have saved you. I have called you by name, and you are mine.’” (Isaiah 43:1, NCV)

How comforting to realize that God knows us by name. He has created us, formed us, and even fashioned our hearts individually. “He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.” (Psalm 33:15, NKJV) 

Each of us is unique and special, created for fulfilling a specific purpose. 

Our priority must be to discover what we have been designed for, so we can find God’s purpose for us. Then we can be busy doing the works he has prepared for us. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10, NLT) 

When we are used for our designed purpose, we can live the abundant life.

 We must listen for the voice of the Shepherd, “The one who guards the door opens it for him. And the sheep listen to the voice of the shepherd. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” (John 10:3, NCV) 

By delving into the Word of God, we listen for what he has to say to us individually. His Spirit will prompt us and lead us in into the works he wants us to do.

Most comforting is the thought of his return for us. “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:2–3, NIV) 

When he returns for us, we want to be busy doing the work we were designed for in his vineyard. We know he will be pleased with us, if we are focused living a life that will echo into eternity.

Today, ask yourself: 

Do I know how special I am to God, believing that he created me, formed me, fashioned my heart, and knows my name?  Am I looking forward to his return so I can be with him

THE WORD OF TRUTH

People understand things differently and I bet the definitions we have for spiritual growth are also different, depending on one’s point of view. But, all in all, spiritual growth is the process of replacing the lies, myths and misconceptions in us with the truth. Jesus in John 17:17 prayed and asked God, “sanctify them with the truth, your word is truth.”

The word of God is the truth. Through it we are put together and shaped for the great tasks God has for us. John 6:63 says it better, ”…the words that I have spoken to you are the spirit and the life.”  The Bible is not just a doctrinal guidebook, it is God Himself speaking to us through it, a word that generates life, creates faith, produces change, frightens the devil, causes miracles, heals, builds character, transforms circumstances, imparts joy overcomes adversity, defeats temptations, infuses hope, releases power, cleanses us and guarantees us life eternal. It is just impossible for us to live without the word of God. We have to treasure it even more than our daily bread (Job 23:12)

“…that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

-2 Timothy 3:17

Well, statistics show a significant increase in the number of bibles in print today than ever before, but a Bible in the shelf is as good as nothing- it is worthless. Because of not reading the bible we starve and even die of spiritual malnutrition. To be healthy disciples of Jesus, Consistent Bible Reading (CBR) should be our priority. Jesus said, “if you abide in my word then you are truly my disciples.”

“Of His own will He brought us forth the word of truth that we should be a kind of first fruits of His creatures.”

-James 1:18

What then must we do to fully abide in God’s word? We have to observe the 3A’s explained here:

Accept its authority. Human beings have for so long based their choices on unreliable authorities, culture, traditions, reasons or even emotions. These have in several occasions mislead us. However, the Word of God presents us the perfect standard that will never ever lead us astray. Why then can’t it be the authoritative standard for our lives? It is the compass we should rely on for direction, the counsel we should seek in every situation for making wise decisions and our benchmark for doing all our evaluations. It should be the first and the last word in our lives. (Proverbs 30:5, Acts 24:14)

“All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness…”

-2 Timothy 3:16

Assimilate its truth. Just listening to the Word and believing it is not enough. We have to go an extra mile and fill our minds with it so that the Holy Spirit can transform us by it. We therefore are charged with the responsibility of receiving the word, reading it, researching it, and reflecting on it at all times.

We should take care of how we listen. Not once I have heard people complain of how boring the speaker of the day was. I believe what matters most in most cases is how humbled and receptive WE are to God’s word. God can use even the most boring and ineloquent speaker to address us. So, any time that feeling comes, it should not be a time to complain. It instead should be a time for you to check your attitude (James 1:21)

“Take heed then how you hear; for to him who has, will more be given and from him who has not, even what he thinks he has will be taken away.”

-Luke 8:18

Daily reading of the word will keep you in range of Gods voice. (James 1:25)

“…His sheep follow Him because they know His voice. But they will never follow a stranger: in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”

-John 10:4-5

Apply its principles. We do listen, we do read the Bible on our own but it is all null and void if we do not put into action what the Word instructs us. We have to cultivate a culture of being doers of the word, and not just readers and listeners.

 

“…but he who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty and perseveres, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts, he shall be blessed in his doing.”

-James 1:25

Attending all Bible study sessions and reading the word daily will never worry the Devil. Only our application of the principles taught therein will worry him, and keep him far from us. Blessings come by obeying the word, not just knowing it.

“…and anyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.”

-Matthew 7:26

Jesus said, “now that you know these things you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13:17)

Application of the word is not easy- it is actually difficult and even painful. This is why so many people tend to avoid it. We forget that the truth has been given to set us free, but first make us miserable. Resistance is human nature and this is what makes it hard work to do as the word instructs.

Reading the Bible and applying its principles is one thing we MUST develop if we want to get closer to God. How close we get to God is our choice, shown by how much time we give to Him.

“The word of God was not given to increase our knowledge. It was given to change our lives.”

-D.L. Moody
©Kavulavu 2017

 

Friendship vieved from a Biblical perspective.

COMMUNITY

(Fellowship/community in this context is taken to mean a friendship/relationship)

A community is a group of people sharing a common understanding, and who reveal themselves using same manner, tradition, language and law. The church is the Christian community-the body of Christ.
Colossians 3:15
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body of Christ, you were called to peace and be thankful.

This means that each one of us is a member of Gods family; and we are chosen to live together in peace.

Psalms 133:1        Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to      dwell together in unity.
Ephesians 2:19
Consequently you are no longer foreigners and aliens; you are fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.
We are members of God’s own family, citizens of God’s country and we belong to God’s household with every other Christian.
Matthew 18:20
Where two are gathered in my name, I am there in their midst.
From the above, we learn that life is meant to be shared in form of unselfish loving, honest sharing, practical serving, sacrificial giving, sympathetic comforting and all others (the list is endless).In Matthew 18:20 God promises us that where two or three are gathered in his name, He is in their midst .This means that co-existing together as a community invites God’s presence.

Then, how can we cultivate a real community/fellowship?
James 3:18

Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
We can develop a robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if we work hard to get along with each other, treating each other with honor and dignity.
(Ephesians 4:3, I timothy 3: 14-15)
Therefore, cultivating a community requires the following virtues:

  1. Honesty-you must care enough for your fellows to lovingly speak the truth. You also should care enough to lovingly confront the one who is sinning or is being tempted to sin. Just be frank and open. (Galatians 6:1-2, Ephesians 4:25)
  2. Humility-humility is the oil that soothes and smoothens relationships. You should think more of others than you think of yourself. (1 Peter 5:5)
  3. Courtesy-you should be considerate with each other’s feelings and be patient with those who irritate us. (Rom 15:1-2, 12:10, Titus 3:2)
  4. Confidentiality-you should he ready to share your deepest needs, hurts and mistakes. But, what is shared in the group, however, should not cross to outsiders. (Proverbs 16:28). Gossip causes hurt, division and destroys relationships.
  5. Frequency-you should have regular contact and give time to each other. (Hebrews 10:25, Acts 2:46). There should be an investment of time. (1 John 3:16)

How can we differentiate between real and fake fellowship?

  1. In a real fellowship, people experience authenticity: they share their hurts, reveal their feelings, confess their failures etc.(James 5:16, 1 John 1:9)
  2. In a real fellowship, people experience mutuality: they depend on each other and build reciprocal relationships (Romans 1:16, 14;19)
  3. In a real fellowship, people show sympathy: They share in the pain of others and feel for each other. (Colossians 3:12)
  4. In a real fellowship people experience and show mercy for each other. They make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive each other. (Colossians 3:13)

PROTECTING YOUR FELLOWSHIP
Ephesians 4:3
Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.
We are joined together with peace through the spirit. We therefore should make every effort to stay together this way.

Colossians 3:14
Most of all, let love guide your life, for then the whole church will stay together in perfect harmony.

Unity is the soul of fellowship and we therefore should strive to stay united by;

  1. Focusing on what you have in common, and not your differences. We are all different and we should not struggle to be uniform. God wants unity and not uniformity. We must stay focused on what matters most. In fact, conflict is a sign that attention has shifted to less important things. (Romans 14:1, 14:19)
  2. Being realistic in our expectations: it’s obvious that people will hurt you, disappoint you and let you down, but do not leave them. divorce is a sign of immaturity (Ephesians 4:2)
  3. Choose to encourage your fellows rather than criticizing them. You should not criticize, compare or judge one another. (romans 14:4, 14:10, 14:19)
  4. Do not listen to gossip. You should have the courage of telling gossipers, “Please stop, I don’t need to know this. Have you talked to the person?” (Jude 1:18-19, proverbs 17:4, 26:20)
  5. Practice Godly methods of conflict resolution. If you have an issue, go directly to the person instead of gossiping around. (Matthew 18:15-17)
  6. Support your pastor (In case of a church) and leaders. (Hebrews 13:17, 1 Thessalonians 5:12, 1 Corinthians 10:24)

We should all understand that it is each and everyone’s responsibility to protect our fellowship (Friendships).

 

©Kavulavu 2016, All rights reserved

Jesus Through the Bible

 

We believe in a Christ-centered Bible. The salvation that was expected in the Old Testament is exhibited in the Gospels and then explained in the rest of the New Testament.

From Genesis we learn that Jesus is the seed of the woman who will crush Satan’s head, and the son of Abraham who will bless all the nations of the earth. From Exodus we learn that Jesus is the Passover Lamb whose blood saves us from the angel of death, and the wilderness tabernacle where God dwells in glory. From Leviticus we learn that He is the atoning sacrifice that takes away our sin. From Numbers we learn that He is the bronze serpent lifted up for everyone who looks to Him in faith. From Deuteronomy we learn that He is the prophet greater than Moses who comes to teach us God’s will.

So much for the Pentateuch.

What do we learn from the historical books? From Joshua we learn that Jesus is our great captain in the fight. From Judges we learn that He is the king who helps us do what is right in God’s eyes, and not our own. From Ruth we learn that Jesus is our kinsman-redeemer. From 1 and 2 Samuel we learn that He is our anointed king. From 1 and 2 Kings we learn that He is the glory in the temple. From 1 and 2 Chronicles we learn that He is the Son of David — the rightful king of Judah. From Ezra and Nehemiah we learn that He will restore the city of God. From Esther we learn that He will deliver us from all our enemies.

Then we come to the poetic writings. From Job we learn that Jesus is our living redeemer, who will stand on the earth at the last day. From the Psalms we learn that He is the sweet singer of Israel — the Savior forsaken by God and left to die, yet restored by God to rule the nations. From Proverbs we learn that Jesus is our wisdom. From Ecclesiastes we learn that He alone can give us meaning and purpose. From the Song of Solomon we learn that He is the lover of our souls.

This brings us to the prophets, whose special mission it was to prophesy about the coming of Christ. Isaiah tells that He is the child born of the Virgin, the son given to rule, the shoot from the stump of Jesse, and the servant stricken and afflicted, upon whom God has laid all our iniquity. Jeremiah and Lamentations tell us that Jesus is our comforter in sorrow, the mediator of a new covenant who turns our weeping into songs of joy. Ezekiel tells us that the Spirit of Jesus can breathe life into dry bones and make a heart of stone beat again. Daniel tells us that Jesus is the Son of Man coming in clouds of glory to render justice on the earth.

These are the Major Prophets, but the Minor Prophets also bore witness to Jesus Christ. Hosea prophesied that He would be a faithful husband to His wayward people. Joel prophesied that before He came to judge the nations, Jesus would pour out His Spirit on men and women, Jews and Gentiles, young and old. Amos and Obadiah prophesied that He would restore God’s kingdom. Jonah prophesied that for the sake of the nations, He would be raised on the third day. Micah prophesied that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. Nahum prophesied that He would judge the world. Habakkuk prophesied that He would justify those who live by faith. Zephaniah prophesied He would rejoice over His people with singing. Haggai prophesied that He would rebuild God’s temple. Zechariah prophesied that He would come in royal gentleness, riding on a donkey, and that when He did, all God’s people would be holy. Malachi prophesied that before He came, a prophet would turn the hearts of the fathers back to their children.

From Genesis to Malachi, the Old Testament is all about Jesus. But of course it is in the New Testament that Jesus actually comes to save His people. Whereas the Old Testament gives us His background, the New Testament presents His biography.

The gospels give us the good news of salvation through His crucifixion and resurrection. The Gospel of Matthew is that Jesus is the Messiah God promised to Israel. The Gospel of Mark is that He is the suffering servant. The Gospel of Luke is that He is a Savior for everyone, including the poor and the weak. The Gospel of John is that He is the incarnate word, the Son of God, the light of the world, the bread of life, and the only way of salvation. But all the gospels end with the same good news: Jesus died on the cross for sinners and was raised again to give eternal life; anyone who believes in Him will be saved.

Then the New Testament turns its attention to the church, which is still about Jesus because the church is His body. The book of Acts shows how Jesus is working in the church today, through the gospel, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Then come all the letters that were written to the church — letters that tell about Jesus and how to live for Him. In Romans Jesus is righteousness from God for Jews and Gentiles; in 1 and 2 Corinthians He is the one who unifies the church and gives us spiritual gifts for ministry. In Galatians Jesus liberates us from legalism; in Ephesians He is the head of the church; in Philippians He is the joy of our salvation; in Colossians He is the firstborn over all creation. In 1 and 2 Thessalonians Jesus is coming soon to deliver us from this evil age; in 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus He shepherds His people; and in Philemon He reconciles brothers who are separated by sin. This is the gospel according to Paul.

Hebrews is an easy one: Jesus is the great high priest who died for sin once and for all on the cross and who sympathizes with us in all our weakness. In the epistle of James, Jesus helps us to prove our faith by doing good works. In the epistles of Peter He is our example in suffering. In the letters of John He is the Lord of love. In Jude He is our Master and Teacher. Last, but not least, comes the book of Revelation, in which Jesus Christ is revealed as the Lamb of God slain for sinners, Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the great Judge over all the earth, and the glorious God of heaven.

The Bible says that in Jesus “all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17) and this is as true of the Bible as it is of anything else. Jesus holds the whole Bible together. From Genesis to Revelation, the Word of God is all about Jesus, and therefore it has the power to bring salvation through faith in Him. It is by reading the Bible that we come to know Jesus, and it is by coming to know Jesus that we are saved. This is why we are so committed to God’s Word, why it is the foundation for everything we do, both as a church and as individual Christians.

We love the Word because it brings us to Christ.

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