Healing and salvation | The bronze snake

My house is surrounded by a bush. This means we frequently receive the unwanted visitors from the bush. Some snakes are young, while some are quite mature. We have been forced to do regular fumigation to keep the snakes away.

One day I asked my fumigation guy, “what can we do to keep them away permanently?”. He responded that “unfortunately, for now, there is no permanent solution as long as that bush still exists”. He advised me to continue with the regular fumigation.

Whereas, it seems unfair that I have to go through the hustle of continuous fumigation to keep away these uninvited creatures, but for my family’s safety, I have to keep up with it.

Something similar happened to the Israelites in the book of Numbers 21. They also had to face the unwanted visit of poisonous snakes, which bit many of them and some were left dead. And guess what! These poisonous snakes were sent to them by the Lord their God. “So the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the people, and many were bitten and died.” Numbers‬ ‭21:6‬

The Israelites were bitten by snakes because of their stubbornness and constant bickering against God and his servant Moses. But when the Israelites cried to the Lord, he pardoned them and gave them a permanent solution. God’s solution was for Moses to sculpt a bronze snake as a sign of God’s much love towards the Israelites in-spite of their sin and continued disobedience.

Jesus Christ, our savior

“Then the people came to Moses and cried out, “We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take away the snakes.” So Moses prayed for the people. Then the Lord told him, “Make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to a pole. All who are bitten will live if they simply look at it!” So Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to a pole. Then anyone who was bitten by a snake could look at the bronze snake and be healed!”
‭‭Numbers‬ ‭21:7-9‬

My fumigation guy has no intention of giving me a permanent solution because if he does, he will be out of business. But God is not like that, he doesn’t keep anyone in perpetual suffering just to show off his authority, but rather he desires to give all his people the opportunity to have a loving and lasting relationship with him. God’s intention was not to kill his people with snake bites, but rather to bring them back to himself, looking to him for a solution.

The bronze snake has a meaning for our lives today. Hidden in it, is a permanent solution for human craziness and satan’s poisonous venom. This story is a picture of God’s love expressed in his son Jesus Christ, who has been given to mankind, so that whoever believes and trusts in him will escape eternal death.

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” John‬ ‭3:14-15‬

It would not make any sense humanly speaking, to just “look” at a bronze snake, and immediately be healed of snake venom. Even medical science would object to the idea of snake venom getting out of the human body by the person just looking at a metallic object.

In the same way, the message of salvation through believing in Jesus Christ seems to simplistic and nonsensical to the human mind. But it’s the permanent solution that is available for us by God to be saved from sin and death. And just like the bronze snake healed people individually, when they looked at it in the wilderness, Jesus Christ will save anyone individually who believes in him.

Enjoying my talk with Jesus

Lately, I have found that talking to Jesus is actually nice and enjoyable. What I enjoy the most is the fact that as I express myself to Christ, I know that I am not being judged, and yet I am being totally understood.

Talking to the Lord does not have to be in a religious, rigid format where there is no life and value in the conversation, but we can laugh, joke and even talk deep feelings with Jesus. In the scripture, Jesus said that “….for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew‬ ‭6:8‬). So, he understands everything about us and yet he cares to listen and help us out.‭

❤️

Ever since I started being intentional about my daily conversation with Jesus, I find myself talking to him about literally everything whether big or small. I experience so much peace of mind and rest in my soul and I feel Christ is so close to me. I can even hear his voice more clearly as he guides me through the day.

The beauty is that Christ is also willing and excited to have a close relationship with everyone who wants to. All it takes, is to just start talking to him like you would talk to a best friend.

Take time and talk to Jesus as your best friend. You will see that it makes all the difference in your life.

Why we must watch and pray

It is easier to pray and cry out to the Lord for help when we are faced with danger. The hard part is to maintain a watchfulness that causes us to pray when there’s nothing going on.

Matthew 26:41

Jesus told his disciples these words in Matthew 26:41, a few hours before he was to encounter the worst kind of suffering and death on the cross. But the disciples had no idea what they were about to face. They loved the Lord and trusted him as the messiah who was to establish his kingdom on earth. But they didn’t know the extent of the trauma that would put their faith to the test.

Jesus, being aware of what was coming, urged his friends to watch and pray that they would not fall away from their faith in him. Whereas temptations and suffering are part of life, Christ wants us to come out of it still believing in him as our Lord and savior.

In the same way, today, we must watch and pray because we are not aware what is coming to us tomorrow. New experiences, whether good or bad, are lined up for us in the future. But praise the Lord that our Jesus knows everything!

Jesus’ call to watch and pray in Matthew 26:41, is still valid to us as it was to the disciples. Even Paul called upon the Thessalonians to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). This means a constant awareness of our need for the Lord’s grace and strength as we go about our day, talking to him about everything and anything. Such that whatever happens, it finds you close to the Lord, drawing your strength from him to go through whatever it is.

Jesus acknowledged that whereas the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak. He wants us to know that as much as we love Jesus and have faith in him today, tomorrow we may experience suffering that is humanly impossible. But in all our experiences, there is divine strength available from the Lord Jesus himself.

The weakness of our human nature is insufficient to sustain us in the hour of temptation. We need to draw grace and strength from Jesus through prayer. Let us pray continually, during the good and bad times; the quiet and noisy days; rain or sunshine.

All in all, let us remember that “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Our way of escape from life’s temptation is the Lord Jesus Christ himself. May we stay focused on Christ all the time, praying and dedicating our life to him continually. God be with you!

I want something NEW!!

You’ve probably recently bought or received something new. New things come with a lot of excitement and thrill to try out something different from what you knew before.

It could be a new job, a car, a brand new iPhone, or even a shirt or a shoe. I love buying gadgets; I am always looking for that new feature that could make my life easier.

New and Exciting!

When I was a child, I held on to my new toys, as though my life depended on them. Even as adults, we are not spared the same feeling whenever we get something new.

If the new items we get in this world, give us such excitement, how much more the opportunity and assurance that Christ has already given us for a brand new beginning of a meaningful life!

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.

The thrill of new experiences in this world eventually expires, keeping us in an unending cycle of searching for more. But in Christ, there’s full contentment, he SATISFIES!

Pic by lavendervines.com

And this new life in Christ, is the gift, that God has given freely to us all and everyone and at anytime. As you enjoy new experiences day by day, please do not miss Christ.

Salt’s saltiness is leaking, watch out!

Isn’t it amazing that all households have salt! in fact when you run out of salt at your house, a neighbor will gladly share with you some of their salt without cringing, simply because everyone understands how stuck you will be without salt in the house.

There are over 100 uses of salt

Salt is a food preservative, a texture, color and flavor enhancer, a source of vital nutrients. We use it in all foods, in fact any food without salt, is tasteless!

Apart from its use in food, salt also relieves a sore throat when you gurgle with warm water, a salt solution helps with removing stubborn stains in pans, flower vases and table surfaces. Salt can be used in keeping natural and artificial flowers in place, clean and dust free.

Over the years, people have identified and written about 100 and more smart uses of salt, in the household, agriculture and in medicine. It is not surprising that this important natural ingredient of day to day life is mentioned by Christ in his teachings about the kingdom of God.

Whereas in the physical, people are the users of salt, in Christ’s perspective, in God’s kingdom, people are the salt itself. In Jesus’ teaching to his disciples in Matthew 5:13 , he clearly asserted that “You are the salt of the earth”. Meaning that a disciple of Jesus will release or infuse into the world, all the benefits of salt we mentioned before.

A disciple of Jesus Christ preserves what is good, speaks words filled with a tasty flavor of Christ, adds vital nutrients to people’s lives by doing what is good. As a disciple of Christ, your “salty” role is to help with cleaning up the mess, creating a godly environment around you, and bringing healing where there’s soreness in people’s hearts.

For example, if there’s something going wrong, or you see evil being done to someone, as a disciple of Christ, being salt in that situation, you will do or say something to ensure that good is preserved and the evil does not continue. Our words and actions can cause the people around us to know the love of Christ and this gives them hope, not to give up on life but put their trust in God.

The world is very sensitive to the behavior of those who are known to be followers of Jesus Christ. They are looking to see and hear Christ’s message through how we treat them and how we speak to them.

Just like salt has so many diverse uses and benefits, in the same way a believer in Jesus Christ, has so many opportunities to affect those around them. Every one you meet in this life, whether at home, at work, on the bus, in the hospital, at school and even at church, is expecting some “salty” benefit from you as a follower of Jesus Christ.

Imagine pulling out your tin of salt from the cabinet, confident that when you add a few pinches into your beef stew, the taste will be amazing. But only to find that as you add more and more pinches, the blunt taste of the stew remains the same. You check the tin to confirm that you didn’t pick something else, but the tin is clearly marked “SALT”. You pour a little stew on the side and add 1, 2, 3 tablespoonfuls of salt, and guess what! the stew remains as blunt as before.

What will you do to that salt? That’s right, you will throw it away because it’s totally useless at this point. A follower of Christ, who does not portray Christ’s character in his words and actions is as useless as that salt proudly seated in the salt-shaker but unfortunately adds no taste to the food. These are the word of Jesus warning his disciples on the same, in Matthew 5:13, “…but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”

Christ is confident that anyone who sits under his feet as a disciple, will not fail to impact others, because Jesus himself infuses or pours his character and qualities into his followers. This means that we cannot be the “salt” of the world by ourselves, without Christ.

Abide in Christ (John 15:4)

Our saltiness, comes directly from Jesus himself, and the secret of not losing this saltiness lies in continually remaining in Christ, as he tells us in John 15:3-4, “Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”

He is many things to us

David called the Lord many different things in his Psalms. The Lord Jesus still means the same for us today.

Reflect on David’s list below; What does it mean to you?

The Lord, a stronghold for the oppressed.

The Lord, my strength.

The Lord, my rock.

The Lord, my deliverer.

The Lord, my fortress.

Lord, the horn of my salvation.

Lord, my stronghold.

The Lord my redeemer.

The Lord our God.

The Lord my shepherd.

Lord, God of salvation.

The Lord, the King of glory.

Lord, strong and mighty.

Lord, mighty in battle.

Lord of hosts.

The Lord is my light and my salvation.

The Lord is the stronghold of my life.

The Lord is my strength and my shield.

O Lord, faithful God.

O Lord, you are my God.

The Lord, the God of Israel.

The Lord, the most high, a great king over all the earth.

The mighty one.

The Lord, who is of Israel’s fountain.

The Lord God is a sun and shield.

The Lord, a God merciful and gracious.

Lord, my refuge and my fortress.

The Lord, our dwelling place in all generations.

The Lord on high is mighty.

O Lord, God of vengeance.

The God of Jacob.

The Lord is a great God, and a great king above all gods.

The Lord of all the earth.

The Lord is high above all nations.

The Lord is my strength and my song.

The Lord is my portion.

Lord of lords.

The Lord, righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works.

Psalm 113:4:
The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens!

Christmas to treasure and reflect

Last night, my children and I, decorated the Christmas tree and the house with all the Christmas colors and lights. It was very exciting and a welcome distraction from all my adult worries and concerns.

Apart from the colors and the lights, Christmas is also a time to share gifts, love and warm wishes to family and friends. So, no matter what you are going through, find space to share something of love to someone else this Christmas.

I also found something else to do during Christmas; and that is to treasure and reflect on the Lord Jesus Christ. Yesterday, as I was reading the Christmas story in the Bible in Luke chapter 2, I was intrigued by Mary’s response to whatever was going on around her and her new baby. “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Luke‬ ‭2:19‬ ‭‬‬

Image by Sarah Jean Knox

Mary treasured everything in her heart, as something of much importance to her, and to the whole world. This was after the shepherds had come to see the baby with so much joy, recounting their experience with the angels and praising God for Jesus who was born to be the savior of the world. Mary reflected on the events, along with her earlier encounter with Angel Gabriel, who gave her a similar message about her soon-to-be-born son.

“And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Luke‬ ‭1:30-33‬ ‭‬‬

Angel Gabriel’s proclamation about Jesus, who we are celebrating at Christmas, is still true today and always. So, amidst all the decorations, colors, lights, festivities, gift-sharing, and feasting this Christmas, may we take time to treasure and reflect on what it means for Jesus to have come into this world. Jesus Christ is God expressing his love to us, that through his son Jesus, the world will be saved (John 3:16-17).

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas 🎉💝

It’s that relationship

One day during my teenage years, as I was walking home with my dad, he insisted that I walk close beside him. I did not want to hear of it..blame it on adolescent stupidity.

I decided to increase my foot steps so that I can go ahead of him, seeking some sort of independence. That’s when I met some rowdy boys, who began to tease me. As I tried to fend them off, dad finally caught up with me and they immediately dispersed in different directions. At that moment I saw sadness in his eyes and I was greatly ashamed of myself for not listening to him earlier.

Dad lovingly cautioned me about my stubbornness and how I had got into trouble because of my “big head”. From then on, I held onto my relationship with dad with deep respect and submission. I came to understand that the more I submitted to him, the safer I would be.

As an adult, I have often found myself straying away from my Heavenly Father, just like I did to my dad as a teenager. But when things happen to me, I run back to God for help. Isn’t it better to remain close to him all the time and guarantee my safety?

The key word in my dad’s instruction was “walk close beside me”. But stubbornness does not allow us to listen to such wisdom, even when it comes to our relationship with God.

Jesus said in John 15:4 “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

The quest for independence from God can be alluring at times, but it will get us into trouble all the time. The Lord knows that you cannot find peace with God except through having a relationship with Jesus Christ and maintaining that relationship very close, all the time.

Take time today, and reflect on your relationship with Christ. Have you become estranged recently? Fortunately, it’s never too late to rebuild affection with Christ once again.

Actually the Lord is constantly tagging at your heart, to let him be the Lord in every area of your life. Christ says in Revelation 3:20; “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”

2020, 2021….what next?

As we close in to the end of 2021, we can’t stop ourselves from reflecting on the events of the past 2 years!

The whole world has been shaken by the pandemic, every family and individual has been affected by the pain of loss; of our loved ones, our jobs, livelihoods and time.

As rumors spread, of the new Corona Virus variant (Omicron) I find myself questioning the meaning of life, and whether we shall survive through another year of death, severe sickness and lockdown.

As a child of God, I direct my questions to the Lord in faith and hope. I find my thoughts going to Christ, through his word in the Bible.

Me: Lord, not again…I am fed up, can’t do this anymore!

Jesus: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.

Me: What is life’s meaning, really?

Jesus: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6.

Me: This world is too much, who will survive?

Jesus: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.

Your concerns and questions are valid, and thank God that in Christ, we have answers.

Let us trust in the Lord of all!

Best Friend of all

Some of our greatest confidants are friends who have earned our trust over time. Friends who are true to their word, and not just talk but friends in action. Such people have our back at all times and most of the time they understand even when we don’t say much.

We spend energy and time building genuine friendships because we need them for our physical and mental health. Whatever you spend on a good friend is worth the spend.

Even our Lord Jesus Christ demonstrated the extent of friendship in John 15:13-15 “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.”

Whereas our attempt at maintaining genuine friendships may fail because we are limited, you and I can count on Christ as our BEST FRIEND at all times.

…is CHRIST

Can we also purpose to be friends to Christ! Believe in Jesus, spend time with him in prayer, prioritize his word in your life, keep trusting and loving Jesus.