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Category Archives: My Life as a Christian

Fear Not!

Fear no no noFear is one of the greatest enemies of our  faith and Satan uses it to trouble our souls.  He often creates the worst possible scenarios in our minds to cause anxiety and panic. “What will I do if God should bring me into such and such affliction?” What if I lose my loved one or all my property and money?” What if…?”

However the  LORD in his word reminds us again and again to resist fear.  Charles Spurgeon observes  “FEAR not” is a plant, which grows very plentifully in God’s garden. If you look through the lily beds of Scripture you will continually find, by the side of other flowers, the sweet, “Fear nots” peering out from doctrines and precepts even as violets look up from their hiding among places of green leaves.”

Yet despite Christ’s assurance and encouragement  that we do not succumb to fear, this enemy of our faith continues  to trouble us. Are there some things we need to do in order  to win the battle?   Reading through William Gurnall’s The Christian in Complete Armour  one finds  three great Scriptural truths that will help us overcome this foe.

First, we should remember that every event in our life is the product of God’s providence. The Westminster Shorter Catechism defines God’s providence as,  “His most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures, and all their actions,” (Q & A 11). No single  Christian falls into poverty, sickness, persecution or any hardship apart from the wisdom and care of our Father (Matt. 10:29)

Secondly, God has promised to never forsake us.” I will never leave you nor forsake you,” (Hebrews 13:5). There is something special about this verse which is hardly noticed in the English translation.  In the original Greek the verse contains five negatives for emphasis and literal translation would lead:  ” I will not, not  leave  you;  not, no never forsake you.” But since in  English language two negatives would destroy each other only single negation is used. If God has such emphasized we must believe his promise without any reservations.

Lastly but not least, God in his wisdom conceals the comforts he intends to give us during our trials until we have actually experienced them. Gurnall’s own words say it better:   “God his wisdom conceals the comforts he intends to give you at various stages of your life, so that he may encourage your heart to full dependence upon his promises now. Thus, to try the metal of Abraham’s faith, he let him go on, until his hand was stretched forth to slay Isaac, and then he came to his rescue” (Gen. 22).

So, be of good cheer and fear not but in everything through prayer in Christ’s name bring your fears to the throne of grace where we find strength and comfort.

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2016 in My Life as a Christian

 

My Thoughts and Prayers for the Persecuted Church

This morning as I thought and prayed for fellow Christians who are being persecuted for their faith in Christ and His word worldwide, especially, in Iraq and Syria I was reminded of the following passages of Scripture:

Revelation 6:9-11: “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on earth? Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until who were to be killed as they themselves had been.”

Matthew 5: 10-12: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Matthew 5:44: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Romans 12: “Bless those who persecute you; bless them and do not curse them.”

1 Peter 4:16: “If anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”

1 Peter 5:10: “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

John 16:33: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Father, may you watch over and protect your Church. May you keep Her faithful and bold even in times of persecution. In Jesus Christ’s name, Amen!

 

Christ Knows Best

Christ Knows Best at What Time to do Anything for His People

John 11:16: “When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.”

“We read that when He had heard that Lazarus “was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.” In fact, He purposely delayed his journeys, and did not come to Bethany till Lazarus had been four days in the grave. No doubt He knew well what was going on: but He never moved till the time came which He saw was best. For the sake of the Church and world, for the good of friends and enemies, He kept away.

The children of God must constantly school their minds to learn the great lesson now before us. Nothing so helps us to bear patiently the trials of life as an abiding conviction of the perfect wisdom by which everything around us is managed. Let us try to believe not only that all that happens to us is well done, but that it is done in the best manner, by the right instrument and at the right time. We are naturally impatient in the day of trial. We are apt to say, like Moses, when beloved ones are sick, “Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee” (Num. 12:13). We forget that Christ is too wise a Physician to make any mistakes. It is the duty of faith to say, “My times are in your hand. Do with me as you will, how you will, what you will, and when you will. Not my will, but Thine be done.” The highest degree of faith is to be able to wait, sit still and not complain.

Let us turn from the passage with a settled determination to trust Christ entirely with all the concerns of this world, both public and private. Let us believe that He by whom all things were made  at first is He who is managing all with perfect wisdom. The affairs of kingdoms, families and private individuals, are all alike overruled by Him. He chooses all the portions of His people. When we are sick, it is because He knows it to be for our good: when He delays coming to help us it is for the same wise reason. The hand that was nailed to the cross is too wise and loving to smite without needs-be, or to keep us waiting for relief without a cause.”Taken From Day By Day With J.C. Ryle Edited by Eric Russel.

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2014 in My Life as a Christian

 

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Reflections on my 2014 Birthday

“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, And the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous” (Proverbs 13:22).

“Time flies,” so they say. It seems like yesterday when I wrote about my birthday reflections for 2013. I would like to thank God for granting me another year in my pilgrimage in this world. The just ending year has been great as God has once again proven himself that he remains faithful even though, sadly, I don’t.

As I thought about my birthday this year, the name of my late grandpa, Gannet Damson Makhalira, kept surfacing in my mind. He died a day after my birthday, almost two decades ago and he is on the list of people that the Lord has greatly used to shape my life. Two things he impressed on my mind and heart still linger even today: Love Christ and work hard. I mean, he did not just tell me but demonstrated it as well.

I recall while still very young, he bought me my first ever booklet, The Westminster Shorter Catechism. He read it out to me and encouraged me to memorize the questions and answers. “What’s the Chief end of Man?” He would ask expecting an answer.
“Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever,” I would respond.

“Excellent! Intelligent boy,” he would encourage me. Then he would turn to the Bible to show me the passages in which this truth is contained. He was a man of the Word.

But he was not only a man of the Word but also a “man of work.” His day began early in the morning on Mondays through Saturdays. After getting out of bed, he went to inspect the workers on his farm, Tonse Farm. No, he didn’t only inspect them but he would join them himself and work until around 7am. Then he would come home to have his breakfast with me during the school holidays. Thereafter, he took me to the farm to “work” alongside him.

“Nganga (grandson) this is how we do it,” he would demonstrate how to plant cassava stems.

“With what you are teaching your grandson, he will definitely be a great man” his workers often told him.
He just smiled and never commented. Grandpa often told me as he noticed his health failing him that he would love to see me taking over his farm when the Lord would call him home. I agreed but I was too young to understanding what I was committing myself into and it never materialized. Besides, the Lord had a different plan hence now I am not a farmer on Tonse Farm but a worker in Christ’s vineyard by His grace alone. Some similarities though.

One would think my grandpa had little time or room for other things in life. But not so with him. At least twice, a week he went to attend church meetings and prayers. He was an elder and session clerk of his local Presbyterian congregation. He loved God. I can’t really recall the actual college, but he was enrolled in a Bible correspondence course with an international Bible college. Every evening, he would pray with me before retiring to bed. What a godly man that God put in the early days of my life on this earth.

Oh, this might be digression but he also showed me how to shoot his hunting gun when I was twelve years young. He also indicated that when the Lord would call him home, I should own the gun. But again, I was too young to legally own it so this too never worked out. “The old soldier” as some called him, grandpa fought in World War II under the King’s African Rifles (KAR) now called Malawi Defence Force. After the war, he retired from the army and trained as an agriculturalist.
Sadly, as I grew up, I departed from the godly path grandpa had shown me into Rastafarianism. As he entered into glory in 1996, he left a disappointed man at what I had turned out to be. However, God had heard and listened to all those prayers he made on my behalf. Four years after his death, the Lord reached out to this lost child and by grace saved him. I know that as grandpa looked down at what happened that day on December 24, 2000, joy and amazement at God’s gracious work was written all over his face. Oh what amazing grace, the lost child was now found. Today, as I celebrate my birthday, I thank Christ for such a great grandpa. I rejoice at the thought that one day we will reunite and celebrate more than I do on a birthday like this one.

 

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2014 in My Life as a Christian

 

Lecture #3: The Minister’s Fainting Fits

In this lecture, pastor Spurgeon discusses depression in the life of pastors and indeed we might extend these truths to the life of every Christian. He notes, “Fits of depression come over the most of us. Usually as cheerful as we may be, we must at intervals be cast down. The strong are not always vigorous, the wise not always ready, the brave not always courageous, and the joyous not always happy.”

Spurgeon observes five reasons that would cause depression in pastors.  First, they are human. “Being men, they are compassed with infirmity, and heirs of sorrow.” Secondly, as humans most of them are in some way or another unsound physically. By this he implies physical challenges especially sicknesses. Thirdly, he notes lack of enough rest from studying and work. A painter takes care of his brush but often a pastor ignores to care of his important tool, the brain or mind.

Fourthly he observes the following: “Our work, when earnestly undertaken, lays us open to attacks in the direction of depression. Who can bear the weight of souls without, sometimes sinking to the dust? Passionate longings after men’s conversion, if not fully satisfied, consume the soul with anxiety and disappointment. How often on Lord’s Day evenings, do we feel as if life were completely washed out of us! After pouring out our souls over our congregations, we feel like empty earthen pitchers which a child might break.”

Lastly he notes: “Our position in the church will also conduce to this. A minister fully equipped for his work, will usually be a spirit by himself, above, beyond and apart from others. In the ranks, men walk shoulder to shoulder, with many comrades, but as the officer rises in rank, men of his standing are fewer in number. There are many soldiers, few captains, fewer colonels, but only one commander-in-chief. Like their Lord in Gethsemane, they look in vain for comfort to the disciples sleeping around them; they are shocked at the apathy of their little band of brethren, and return to their secret agony with all the heavier burden pressing upon them, because they have found their dearest companions slumbering.”

Basing on his personal experiences, Spurgeon goes on to highlight moments that pastors are prone to be overcome by depression.  “The times most favorable to fits of depression, so far as I have experienced, may be summed up in the a brief catalogue. First among them, I must mention the hour of great success. When at last a long-cherished desire is fulfilled, when God has been glorified greatly by our means, and a great triumph achieved, then we are apt to faint.” He illustrates this point with the life of Elijah who gave in to depression soon after a great victory for the Lord on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18-19).

Secondly, “Before any great achievement, some measure of the same depression is very usual. Surveying the difficulties before us, our hearts sink within us. The sons of Anak stalk before us, and we are as grasshoppers in our own sight in their presence. The cities of Canaan are walled up to heaven, and who are we that we should hope to capture them…This depression comes over me whenever the Lord is preparing a larger blessing for my ministry; the cloud is black before it breaks, and overshadows before it yields its deluge of mercy. Depression has now become to me as a prophet in rough clothing, a John the Baptist, heralding the nearer coming of my Lord’s richer benison.”

Thirdly, “In the midst of a long stretch of unbroken labor, the same affliction may be looked for…Our Sabbaths are our days of toil, and if we do not rest upon some other day we shall break down. Even the earth must lie fallow and have her Sabbaths, and so must we. Hence the wisdom and compassion of our Lord, when he said to his disciples, “Let us go into the desert and rest awhile.” What! When the people are fainting? When the multitudes are like sheep upon the mountains without a shepherd? The Master knows better than to exhaust his servants and quench the light of Israel. Rest time is not waste time.”

Fourthly, “One crushing stroke has sometimes laid the minister very low. The brother most relied upon becomes a traitor. Judas lifts up his heel against the man who trusted him, and the preacher’s heart for the moment fails him. We are all too apt to look at an arm of flesh, and from that propensity many of our sorrows arise.  Equally, overwhelming is the blow when an honored and beloved member yields to temptation, and disgraces the holy name with which he was named…the trials of a true minister are not a few, and such as are caused by ungrateful professors are harder to bear than the coarsest attacks of avowed enemies. Let no man who looks for ease of mind and seeks the quietude of life enter the ministry; if he does so he will flee from it in disgust.”

Fifthly, “When troubles multiply, and discouragements follow each other in long succession…If there was a regulated pause between the buffetings of adversity, the spirit would stand prepared; but when they come suddenly and heavily, like the battering of great hailstones, the pilgrim may well be amazed.”

Lastly, “This evil will also come upon us, we know not why, and then it is more difficult to drive it away. Causeless depression is not to be reasoned with, nor can David’s harp charm it away by sweet discoursings.” Spurgeon emphasizes that in this case just as in all the other cases, our only hope is in Christ. “The iron bolt which so mysteriously fastens the door of hope and hold our spirits in gloomy prison, needs a heavenly hand to push it back; and when that hand is seen we cry with the  Apostle, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” (2 Cor. 1:3, 4).”

Wrapping up the lecture, our professor has the following words of wisdom. “Be not be dismayed by soul-trouble. Count it no strange thing, but a part of ordinary ministerial experience.  Should the power of depression be more than ordinary, think not that all is over with your usefulness. Cast not away your confidence even if the enemy’s foot be on your neck, expect to rise and overthrow him. Cast the burden of the present, along with the sin of the past and the fear of the future, upon the Lord, who forsake not his saint.

“Put no trust in frames and feelings. Trust in God alone, and lean not on the reeds of human help. Be not surprised when friends fail you: it is a falling world. Never count on the immutability in man. The disciples of Jesus forsook him; be not amazed if your adherents wander away to other teachers.

“Serve God with all your might while the candle is burning, and then when it goes out for a season, you will have the less to regret. Be content to be nothing, for that is what you are. When your own emptiness is painfully forced upon your consciousness, chide yourself that you ever dreamed of being full, except in the Lord. Continue, with double earnestness to serve your Lord when no visible result is before you. Any simpleton can follow the narrow path in the light: faith’s rare wisdom enables us to march on in the dark with infallible accuracy, since she places her hand in that of her Great Guide.”

Please mark these words of comfort from pastor Spurgeon: “Between this and heaven there may be rougher weather yet, but it is all provided for by our covenant Head (God). In nothing let us be turned aside from the path which the divine call has urged us to pursue. Come fair or come foul, the pulpit is our watch-tower, and the ministry our warfare; be it ours, when we cannot see the face of our God, to trust under THE SHADOW OF HIS WINGS.” Amen!

Taken from Lectures to my Students by C.H. Spurgeon

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2014 in My Life as a Christian

 

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May You Have a Blessed and Christ-Centered 2014

Dear follower and reader of Scripture Alone,

Thank you so much for following and reading the blog in 2013. Thank you very much also for you comments. I would like also to thank those who rebloged or shared the blog with other readers. I should confess here: “I write so that God’s truth should be read by many, and when you visit the blog, read it and share it with others, I am always glad.”

My prayer is that God will continue to use the blog to His own glory in 2014. By God’s grace, Scripture Alone will continue to “Give a reason for our faith and contend for this faith to the glory of God.”

Once again, thank you very much for reading and following the blog.

May you have a Blessed 2014 and may Christ and His Word richly dwell in you

New year Card

Image from: http://photo.elsoar.com

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2013 in My Life as a Christian

 

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Lecture #2: The Call to the Ministry (Last Session)

In this session, Pastor Spurgeon concludes the lecture, The Call to the Ministry, with the following observation from his personal experience as the head of Pastors College:

“I do not set myself up to judge whether a man shall enter the ministry or not, but my examination merely aims at answering the question whether this institution shall help him, or leave him to his own resources…My heart has always leaned to the kindest side, but duty to the churches has compelled me to judge with sever discrimination. After hearing what the candidate has had to say, having read his testimonials and seen his replies to question, when I have felt convinced that the Lord had not called him, I have been obliged to tell him so.

“Young brethren apply who earnestly desire to enter the ministry, but it is painfully apparent that their main motive is an ambitious desire to shine among men. These men are from a common point of view to be commended for aspiring, but then the pulpit is never to be the ladder by which ambition is to climb.

“Men who since conversion have betrayed great feebleness of mind and are readily led to embrace strange doctrines or to fall into evil company and gross sin, I never can find it in my heart to encourage to enter the ministry, let their professions be what they may. Let them, if truly penitent, keep in the rear ranks. Unstable as water they will not excel.  So, too those who cannot endure hardness, but are for the kid-gloved order, I refer elsewhere. We want soldiers, not fops, earnest laborers, not genteel loiterers.

“I have met ten, twenty, a hundred brethren, who have pleaded that they were sure, quite sure that they were called to the ministry because they had failed in everything else. My answer generally is, “Yes, I see, you have failed in everything else, and therefore you think the Lord has specially endowed you for his service; but I fear you have forgotten that the ministry needs the very best of men; and not those who cannot do anything else.

“We have occasionally had applications at which, perhaps, you would be amazed, from men who are evidently fluent enough, and who answer all our questions very well, except those upon their doctrinal views…I mention it because it illustrates our conviction that men are not called into ministry who have no knowledge and no definite belief. When a young fellow say that they have not made up their minds upon theology, they ought to go back to the Sunday-school until they have. For a man to come shuffling into a college, pretending that he holds his mind open to any form of truth, and that he is eminently receptive, but has not settled in his mind such things as whether God has an election of grace, or whether he loves his people to the end, seems to me to be a perfect monstrosity.”

Here ends, lecture #2.

 

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2013 in My Life as a Christian

 

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