As you already know, over 70 percent of the earth’s surface is covered with water. That makes water one of the most abundant natural resources available to mankind.
From the waters we see in open oceans, the breath-taking water falls, vapour in the air, water in rivers, lakes and lagoons and the water under the soil, water can be found almost everywhere on earth.
No one can deny the importance of water, especially fresh water.
Fresh water is necessary for the survival of all living organisms on Earth. Our bodies are made up of about 60% water and we cannot survive more than a few days without it.
Water is a precious substance that meets our physical needs while at the same time being of great spiritual importance to many people. Water is also an integral part of many ecosystems that support us and a myriad of other species (Water is Life project, McGill University)
Despite this reality, there are various challenges associated with water and its uses. In many places across the world, especially in developing countries, access to portable water is limited.
While portable water is sufficiently available in some parts of the world, it is a scarce commodity in some others.
As I write this, reports filtered in about the acute water shortage presently ravaging Cape Town, South Africa. That’s shocking, to say the least.
In many other places around the world, water pollution, flooding etc are the order of the day.
Water is important for the activities of man. But man’s activities are having huge impact on the availability, accessibility and sustenability of that natural resource.
It therefore becomes imperative that the attention of the people of the world be drawn to all water-related issues around the world. So water day is cerebrated annually for that purpose.
A day for water
“World Water Day is an annual observance day on 22 March to highlight the importance of freshwater. It is also used to advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources” (Wikipedia).
Taking it further…
Today, the attention of the world is focused on water as a natural resource without which no life can thrive. All well and good!
But how about taking it further? Taking it further by drawing attention to another kind of water that is on offer!
This kind of water is spiritual. Jesus is the One offerring it. And it is available to everyone who will gladly receive it.
Are you thirsty?Jesus is saying to you: Come to me and drink!
Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. John 7:37, NASV.
And here is the ultimate assurance from the lips of Jesus about drinking the kind of water He offers: eternal life is guaranteed!
But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” John 4:14, NLT.
To drink or not to drink of the water Jesus offers, the choice is yours.
“It is finished.”
It is more than just a sentence…
It is the final verdict from the lips of Jesus,
Meaning, the work is completely done…
Just as it was planned from the beginning.
The price of justice is fully paid for.
The sacrifice is complete and adequate.
I am forever ransomed, redeemed
My sins are totally forgiven…
A new beginning is now mine.
The veil is rented in two…
The great chasm bridged, blockade removed.
Access to God the Father is granted
By the sacrifice of God the Son.
My relationship with the Godhead fully restored.
The battle is over… won and lost
My Jesus is the victorious One.
The seed of the serpent bruised His heel
But the Seed of the woman crushed the head of the serpent.
Satan is defeated, shamed, disgraced forever…
Nothing has been left undone…
My past, my present and my future
All fully taken care of by His blood.
The work of redemption is complete.
Nothing can undo what He has finished.
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Part of the requirements for living the Christian life is walking in love. And you cannot successfully walk in love without walking in forgiveness.
There are many great acts of forgiveness in the Bible we can learn from. In this post, we will examine three of the greatest acts of forgiveness ever recorded in the Bible:
1. Joseph forgave his treacherous brothers.
Joseph was a beloved son of his father, Jacob. He usually wore the multi-coloured robe his father gave to him.
Joseph later had a dream from Heaven that pointed to the events of the future. But his brothers seriously hated him for it. And out of sheer jealousy they disrobed him in the wilderness, threw him into a deep pit to die a gradual death.
On a second thought, they changed their plans, retrieved Joseph from the pit and sold him off to slavery. One thing led to another, Joseph found himself as a slave in Portiphar’s house in Egypt.
Subsequently, Joseph served a term in prison over a spurious allegation of sexual assault on his master’s wife. But after interpreting a couple of dreams while in the prison, Joseph was recommended to interpret a disturbing dream of Pharaoh’s. And by divine arrangement, Joseph became the second in command in Pharaoh’s Kingdom.
Years passed. Severe famine ravaged the rest of the world, except Egypt.
Egypt did not experience food shortages at that time because through divine wisdom and counsel of Joseph, an unprecedented stock of food supply was kept in Egypt.
Back home in the land of Canaan, food scarcity had reached an unbearable proportion. This drew Joseph’s wicked brothers to Egypt in search of their necessary food.
Consequently, they found themselves at the mercy of their long ‘forgotten’ brother who had now become a mighty man in the land of Pharaoh and was in charge of the nation’s food supply. This was Joseph’s ample opportunity to take his own pound of flesh.
As the indisputable prime minister of Egypt, he was in a veritable position to take out a revenge on his brothers and severely punish them for their treacherous behaviours in the past. But not a great man like Joseph; He wouldn’t repay his brothers in their own evil coin. Rather he forgave his brothers and showed them much mercy.
Not only that, he rationalised his multiple travails, which was set off by his brothers’ betrayal, as part of God’s grand design to protect their family’s future interest.
4Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years, there will be no plowing and reaping. 7But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. Genesis 45:4-7
2. Jesus forgave those that crucified Him.
Jesus walked the streets of Jerusalem and the neighbouring towns doing nothing but good. He healed the lame, the blind, the deaf and dumb, and other people with diverse kinds of sickness.
Jesus fed people in their thousands. He taught them divine wisdom like no other teacher or prophet before Him. He even raised some people from the dead.
Despite His widely circulated good deeds, the authorities of the day conspired against Him. They found Him guilty of trumped up criminal charges and had Him mercilessly nailed to the Cross to die alongside two condemned armed robbers.
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:24
You would think that Jesus, with all the heavenly power at His disposal, would severely ‘deal’ with these people who unjustly crucified Him. Instead, He extended uncommon forgiveness to them by pleading with the Father not to hold these peoples’ sin against them.
3. Stephen forgave those that murdered him in cold blood.
Stephen was an unknown disciple of Jesus Christ; He went in and out with the apostles and other disciples unheralded until the need to appoint deacons arose in the early church.
By general consensus, Stephen was deemed a man full of good reports, wisdom and the Holy Ghost. Therefore, he was privileged to be selected alongside six other deacons to serve in the food distribution ministry of the early believers.
But beyond serving on tables, God’s hand became mighty upon Stephen to the extent that through him a great revival broke out in Jerusalem.
“And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.” As a result, many people turned to God through his ministry and there was much joy in the city.
His increasing followership and the resultant citywide testimonies on the mighty acts he accomplished, revealed a man who was operating by nothing other than the authority of Heaven. But while Stephen was riding on this beautiful tide of evangelistic miracles, signs and wonders he performed in the land, the religious authorities of the day became offended by him.
In the end, they had Stephen arrested, taken to the outskirts of the city and brutally stoned to death. But before he yielded the ghost, He lifted his hands and prayed for the forgiveness for his traducers and killers.
Stephen showed such a great disciple he was by following the example of his Master Jesus in forgiveness.
“Father please do not hold this sin against them,” he prayed.
There are many examples of acts of forgiveness in the Bible, but these three examined under this post could never be missed out. These are three of the greatest examples of forgiveness in the Bible you can emulate.
Joseph forgave his brothers who sold him into slavery. Jesus while dying on the cross forgave all those who crucified Him. Stephen though being unjustly stoned to death, extended the gesture of forgiveness to those that murdered him.
In the light of these, can you justify any wrong done against you as too grave to be forgiven?
The birth of baby Jesus was not an ordinary event. In His birth, divinity became humanity. It was the beginning of the unfolding of the grandest heavenly agenda in bringing salvation to mankind.
Jesus was not an ordinary man that lived. He was the God-incarnate. As we celebrate His birth at Christmas, let’s remember some of the things about the baby or the man Jesus that changed the world.
Here are 8 special things about Jesus that rewrote the history of the world:
1. Jesus’ miraculous conception by a virgin.
Mary the mother of Jesus was a virgin when she got pregnant with baby Jesus.
The conception of Jesus did not take the usual union of the male sperm with the female ova. He was supernaturally conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit of God. This is the most unique conception in the history of mankind.
And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. Luke 1:35.
2. His conception by a virgin and birth were undeniable fulfillment of Prophecies.
The birth of Jesus Christ by a virgin was not a chance occurrence. It was a miraculous event in fulfillment of a divine prophecy given several years before He was born.
Notable Prophet Isaiah had spoken well ahead of time:
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14.
3. Jesus got His name several centuries before He was born.
Not only was the virgin birth of Jesus prophesied, His name, Immanuel (Hebrew) or Emmanuel (Roman) was also revealed long before He was born. As Prophet Isaiah stated, “…The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
“God with us,” that’s the meaning of Emmanuel. God had to take on the form of man, to be with man to be able to save mankind. Hence Jesus had to be born on Earth like a baby.
When it was time for the fulfillment of the promise, an angel announced to the ‘highly favoured’ Mary, “And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS” Luke 1:31.
Jesus is Saviour. His name revealed His purpose: to save the world from sin. An angel also later confirmed the Isaiah prophecy to Jesus’ would-be-earthly-father, Joseph, saying:
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” Matthew 1:21.
Apostle Matthew further educates us saying, “Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” Matthew 1:22-23.
4. He wasn’t born to earthly royalty, but angels heralded His birth.
Apart from the divine promise of Jesus’ birth, angels announced His birth when it took place.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:9-11.
5. The birth of Jesus is the proof of God’s love for the world.
God gave His Son to the world to show that He loves the world. As recorded in the gospel according to John,
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
6. Jesus was born to die.
Jesus was born to be the Saviour of the world. To be Saviour He had to die for the sins of the world. At Christmas, we celebrate His birth and at Easter, His death and resurrection.
Speaking about His then impending death, Jesus said, “The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him….” Matthew 26:24a.
What was written about Jesus in this regard? The New Living Translation of the same verse makes it clear:
For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago…
Babies are born to fulfill their purposes in their lifetime. But it was in Jesus’ death and resurrection that He fulfilled the ultimate purpose of His birth – the redemption of mankind.
“In order to save the world, Jesus had to die for it. He came and lived the perfect life and then died the death we should have died. The true meaning of Christmas is that Jesus was born to die. Because He was crucified and then rose from the dead, forgiveness of sin and assurance of heaven is now offered to all who believe” (John 1:12) – Richard Dehaan.
7. Jesus is the only man in history with the complete tripartite cycle of birth, death and resurrection.
Men are born, they live, they die and they remain dead. But Jesus was born, He lived, He died and resurrected. He is alive forevermore.
The living Jesus proclaims:
I [am] he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Rev. 1:18.
8. He is the only one giving eternal life to anyone who believes in Him.
The baby Jesus that was born by a virgin, Mary, lived and died but resurrected. He is alive forevermore giving eternal life to all that comes to Him.
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand. John 10:28.
Jesus was more than a baby. He is the God-incarnate. As the Saviour of the world, in Him lies the eternal hope of mankind. Remember that as you celebrate this Christmas.
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YOUR DESTINY IS GREATER THAN YOUR CURRENT OCCUPATION
By Victor Uyanwanne
You carry a greater destiny than your present occupation.
Jesus was a carpenter by occupation but his destiny was to save the entire world from sin. By the circumstance of his earthly birth into the family of a carpenter father, he learnt and practiced the earthly father’s trade until it was time for him to step out in faith to fulfill his greater calling in life.
The occupation you have now might not be your ultimate call in life.
By the reason of the family you were born into, and the environment in which you were brought up working alongside other external and internal factors, you chose a career path for yourself. But that is by no means all there is to you. Just like Jesus, your ultimate purpose in life weighs far more than the profession you may have taken for yourself or found yourself in.
People will not know your divine destiny, hence they will naturally underestimate your worth and capabilities. But God will not make that mistake because He made you for a purpose, which He is ready to accomplish with you if you let Him.
What you owe God and yourself is to discover and pursue that destiny. Please don’t settle for less.
This was inspired and written while in Lagos traffic, while reading Mark 6 via my BB phone. 9:21pm, 19.07.2013.
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