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CrystalQuest Adventures

…towards equipping the total man!

Month

March 2013

Saved by grace!

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It was the story of Jacob that came to my mind this morning while meditating on Romans 9:15 [For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion”]. His story is a classic case of “mercy prevailing over judgement.” Inspite of Jacob’s treachery, God’s mercy and covenant prevailed over his life. I realized why the Bible likened our righteousness to filthy rags. We are saved by grace and not by works and it’s by our ‘being clothed in the righteousness’ of Jesus that we became redeemed.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast”- Ephesians 2:8-9.

There’s nothing we could have done to atone for the fall but Christ paid the ultimate price by laying down His sinless life. Even while we’re yet sinners, He died for us [Romans 5:8]. Do as much good as you can, live a moral life and yet without being saved, you get nothing but God’s displeasure because salvation is purely an act of sovereign grace. Good works are just the evidence of being saved and do not influence God to save a man, so it is not enough for you to be good. What is important is that you are saved because that is the only way to life eternity.

God is still offering the gift of Life to all of us every single day and to accept this free gift, just follow the three simple steps outlined below and you’ll sure have Life everlasting!

1. Agree as the Spirit of God shows you that you are, indeed a sinner in need of God’s forgiveness and grace. “Unless you repent, you will likewise perish”- Luke 13:3. Confess your sins and ask God for grace to walk in the newness of life.

2. Believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is the son of God that came, died and rose from the grave that you may have life. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”- John 3:16.

3. Accept and with your mouth invite Jesus Christ into your life as your Lord and personal saviour and if you sincerely prayed that prayer, God says that you have a new life and that you are a member of His eternal kingdom. He desires close fellowship with you during this life and hereafter, and desires for you even now to live victoriously as a child of the King!

If you took the above steps, talk to God frequently. And listen to His voice within you. That’s what prayer is. Read and meditate upon His Word, the Bible – another way He speaks to you. Finally, He wants you to fellowship with other believers and be a functioning part of His corporate Body, so find a Bible-believing church and attend regularly.

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That we may know Him!

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As we celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection this season, let us be reminded about the dangers of being caught in religion. Christianity is a way of life and not a religion. Religion is mankind’s attempt to reach God, while christianity, on the other hand is God reaching down to humanity through the person and work of Christ. We should never forget that salvation is only through believing and accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and personal saviour. The essence of Christ’s death and resurrection is to restore mankind back to God. Christ came to redeem the relationship man lost in the garden of Eden. In Philippians 3:1–11, Paul provides two directives that lead to a right relationship with Christ. One is to loose all forms of religion in our lives and the other, trust the person and work of Christ.

7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 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 things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. [NIV]

In verses 7-11 outlined above, he stresses that all his accomplishments do not measure up with the surpassing value of knowing Christ. We are saved not by good works but by God’s mercy and our ultimate life’s purpose should be to know Christ and the power of His resurrection. There is no need for dead religion, for if we are found in Christ, we are living righteously. Being “found in Him” is simply living in His newness of life and taking God at His Word by receiving His promise that Jesus gives eternal life to those who trust in Him. Are you walking in the power of His resurrection, living and walking in that newness of life? Are you being conformed to His death? If your answers to both questions are not in the affirmative, then you really need to reconsider what Easter or better still Christ’s resurrection means to you. Happy Easter!

Finding peace amidst life’s storm!

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God created man to worship and be in communion with Him. When the first Adam sinned, man became tainted and imperfect. The human race was cursed to a life of suffering. Man has since then come to know pain and shame. Pain comes in varying forms. It could be the death of a loved one, disappointment, betrayal of all kinds or even when romantic relationships turn sour. Our tendencies as human to revolve our lives around those we love and care for often make our everyday lives susceptible to these misfortunes. They happen to everyone of us at some point in our lives and when they do happen, our reaction to them tells a great deal about our resilience. Our ability to shift focus and re-anchor our lives determines how best we make use of whatever those challenges might be.

Granted, some of these life issues can be so crippling that they make us feel powerless especially if they are in areas of our lives that we feel what we’re getting is not commensurate with our efforts. The feeling of helplessness can be overwhelming. The problem however in such areas is often either those things we wish to cling to aren’t God’s will for us or God has something better planned for us. It’s usually the case of telling God we want Him in charge and yet fail to leave the driver’s seat. Someone once said “If you never say goodbye to the best things in your life, there are things you don’t appreciate at all.” If Christ is our true anchor, our lives will always find strength and stability even in the midst of life’s unending storms.

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them”- Romans 8:28 [NLT].

Rather than being overwhelmed by pain and disappointment, we should always trust in God’s ability to give beauty for our ashes and take responsibility for turning our lives around. One antidote to letting our feeling powerless overwhelm us is to establish a sense of control in other areas of our lives that are working. We should avoid other areas that sap energy, and channel our resources towards nourishing our psyche and physical well being. We should shift focus towards our collection of past victories for motivation and let it steer us towards greater victories and turning those stumbling blocks into stepping stones.

Faith and prayer 2!

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Another reason we don’t get answers to our prayers is when our faith refuses to acknowledge the reality of our current situation. Yeah! It’s true we walk by faith and not by sight but then again we often forget God is not a magician. Whatever a man sows, that he’ll surely reap. Exercising faith for seeds not sown amounts to mocking God. It’s like not studying at all for an examination and trusting God to help you pass in flying colours. That’s like trusting Him to break one of life’s principles. Although He has the power, God would not in anyway shortchange the principle of seed and harvest. “Faith without works is dead”- James 2:26. He has promised to bless the work of our hands. That means there must be ‘work’ on our hands and although we must have the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of whatever might be our current reality, we must never loose faith that we will prevail in the end.

When we discern God’s will for our lives and come to terms with the true state of our situations, we can then trust God to guide our planning and have faith in His ability to make our diligence pay off. We must hold on to our faith in His ability to do immeasurably more than we can ever ask of, think or imagine and trust Him to always bring out good music even out of our broken chords!

Faith and prayer!

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One basic reason most of us christians don’t get answers to our prayers is our lack of understanding of faith in relation to God’s will. We often assumed it’s just about praying to God and believing He’ll do whatever we ask of Him. We ignorantly assume God is a rubber stamp. Be a child of God, go to Him with your request, exercise your faith and request granted. And when our prayers go unanswered, we start to wonder what could have gone wrong.

Well, the missing link is usually in our inability to discern God’s will for that situation. I told a friend yesterday that “you cannot exercise faith for what is not God’s will for your life.” Faith is first about knowing God’s will for your situation. The Bible says in James 4:3 that “you ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it upon your lusts.” When your request is not in line with God’s will, your faith becomes an exercise in futility. Apostle Paul’s prayer for the Colossians is a pointer to the significance of knowing God’s will. In verse 9 of the first chapter of his letter to them, he wrote “for this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” He fully understood that even inspite of their zeal, the only way they can get results whenever they go on their knees is to pray God’s will and not just praying to satisfy their selfish desires or justify some wrong motives.

I do tell people that God has plans for each and everyone of us. He created us all for His pleasure and the only way we can give Him that deserved pleasure is to toe His path for our lives. Making His will the center of our universe would give Him great pleasure and letting it guide us and our prayers would certainly make our lives stress-free too!

Contentment!

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It was the book ‘Son of Hamas’ by Mosab Hassan Yousef, that gave me fresh insights into understanding the crisis in the middle east. It chronicles how greed and wanton quest for power became the basis for their unending woes in that region of the world. Political and religious leaders resorted to using wars and terrorism as means to amass stupendous wealth for themselves. Indoctrination became a tool used to hide their true motives while their unsuspecting subjects fight haplessly for their ignoble causes. The battle for dominance and blatant pursuit of material possessions still lies at the root of all man’s inhumanity to man till date. These days, people go to unimaginable extent and do all sorts of negative things to get rich.

It’s true the Bible claims money answers all things [Ecclesiastes 10:19], but it clearly warns against revolving our lives around its pursuit. “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows”- 1Timothy 6:10 [NLT]. When your life is driven by ambitions and endless greed, peace becomes a mirage and even the accumulated wealth never truly satisfies, because your desire for more will always eclipse its significance. “But godliness with contentment is great gain”- 1Timothy 6:6. Lasting peace and joy cannot be found in the abundance of material possessions. Infact, it’s been established that the more money you have, the more challenges that trail your path. Your quality of life should not be hinged on what you possess but what impact you made with everything God has blessed you with. Work hard and be contented with God’s reward for your honest labour. Enjoy your life, relish pleasant moments, be a blessing to all around you and always strive towards fulfilling God’s purpose for your life. That’s a sure stress-free way to living the ultimate life!

The power of words!

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God conceived mankind in His mind. By His words, He created man. He could have fashioned creation gently with His hands but He chose to speak the word instead. Words have power and prophetic implications. Once released, they are nurtured in the spirit realm awaiting the conditions for manifestations. At the appropriate time, their magnetic power attracts spiritual resources for their manifestation in the physical.

In a similar manner, the words you use can be powerful and even life-giving to you and everyone around, so you must be careful not let negative words flow out of your mouth. The devil is not omniscient. He does not know what you’re thinking until you speak it, so even if you’re scared and your fears are real, positive confession is key to becoming an overcomer. Remember the mouth speaks from the abundance of the heart, so rid your heart of all fears and worries. Guide your heart with all diligence and always strive to discard whatever damaging thoughts that might want to get into your head so they don’t penetrate your system and corrupt your speech.

“And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak”- Matthew 12:36 [NLT]. This scripture clearly emphasizes the need to be mindful of what comes out your mouth. Negative words do not just hurt lives, they will also stand against the speaker on God’s day of judgement. It’s high time you started filling the atmosphere around you with God’s promises and what He has said concerning you and your situations. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful”- Hebrews 10:23 [NKJV]. God is so able and faithful to perfect that which concerns you, so keep confessing the word. Continually claim His promises and your life will be filled with testimonies of victories. You are lifted in Jesus name!

Living a great life!

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No man is an island. God declared after creating man that his being alone is bad and had to fashion out a suitable companion for him. Even Jesus Christ had the twelve disciples as His closest companion while on earth. I often tell people that we cannot exist without each other. We all are products of the varying influences that have been and those that are still active in our lives. “Show me your friend and I’ll tell you the kind of person you are” is one popular cliché that truly depict our being the sum total of these influences, which could be by the books we read, the friends we keep and the multitude of counsels that permeate our lives.

However, living a great life depends on our being able to effectively ensure our lives are filled with things and people that have positive impact on us, either by what they deposit into ours or what we deposit into theirs. Jim Collins in his classic bestseller ‘Good To Great’ asserted that “For no matter what we achieve, if we don’t spend the vast majority of our time with people we love and respect, we cannot possibly have a great life. But if we spend the vast majority of our time with people we love and respect (people we really enjoy being on the bus with and who will never disappoint us), then we will almost certainly have a great life, no matter where the bus goes.” The positive energy you derive from surrounding yourself with great people will keep your creative juices flowing and drive you towards maximizing your potentials. Spending too much time with those that do not genuinely care about you will not just be a burden on your emotions, it will also drain your creative prowess and consequently make you an under-achiever.

In life, change is inevitable. As we grow older, our values are refined and in some cases re-defined. We face challenges and circumstances reveal our true self. These oftentimes also serve as filters that differentiate and reveal the true characters of those surrounding us too. Our dynamic nature therefore require us to constantly re-evaluate ourselves and the company we keep so as to ensure our lives are in tune with our ideals and ultimate life goals. These checks and balances would enable us to properly monitor and steer our time, energy and resources towards enjoying our everyday life and ultimately fulfilling destiny. Constant re-evaluation would also help rid our lives of everything that impart us negatively and whatever could in any way hamper our overall positive development.

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