Fireside

The Witness

An interesting insight into what may have been…

By Danny Hotea

As was my custom, I rose early that day to pay homage to the gods by prayers and burnt offerings. To which I vowed my obedience on that fateful morning, I cannot now remember. There were so many. Leaving the place of worship, I endeavored to sit quietly and read the creeds of Rome as written by the emperor himself. It was my duty not only as a centurion, but as a Roman citizen, to understand the purpose of almighty Caesar and Rome. However, just as I began pouring over the open scroll, a nameless messenger came panting with word from Pontius Pilate, governor of Judea, ordering my garrison to his palace immediately. I arrived with three hundred men as if by flight. The sun had hardly risen, and the air held an unseen weight, as if to distinguish this day from all others. The men, all clad in leather and metal with swords swaying from their belts and spears stabbing at the sky in protest of their unusually early arousal, wobbled restlessly in rigid formation, awaiting my command. The sound of spiked sandals scraping he stone palace floor echoed down the long, stone hallway adding tension to mystery. They undoubtedly supposed that I knew the reason for it all. But I didn’t—until another messenger came with another scroll describing our purpose exactly. Jerusalem was a place known for its concentrated reserve of mindless zealots. And I had experience in stamping out the feeble efforts of disorderly vagrants and disorganized militias meant to unshackle the Jews from Rome’s iron grip. One in particular came to mind as I read the final sentence of that day’s orders. It was the most recent and pathetic uprising. A small army of poorly armed religious rebels managed to assassinate an insignificant gatekeeper in the governor’s palace. The idea that a handful of superstitious peasants could overthrow Rome was ridiculous and, if it weren’t so sad, it would be laughable. Their leader had been a thin, sweaty man with hardly any beard, balding head and shifting eyes.  A Jew.  A brainless dreamer suffering from resentment. His name was Barabbas. He was hardly a match for Rome. I caught him in the streets attempting to hide beneath a vendor’s blankets after his pitiful militia had been butchered and left for the dogs. I was his judge and jury. And since only Romans have the right to a trial, I stuffed him in a smaller-than- sual cell after the garrison had their day’s exercise of beating him with rods and slapping him with gloved fists. That day had another experience for me altogether. As we pushed our way into the Praetorium hauling the scourged offender to the platform, where another Man stood, the mob sang out in a chorus of hatred, “Crucify Him!” The governor addressed the riotous masses with careful words, offering them a choice between the bloodied and uncondemned Man now occupying the platform with him, or the pathetic zealot, Barabbas, who had failed an attempt to destroy Rome. Immediately they sent out blood-curdling screams consenting to he murder of the One and the release of the other. It was apparent, by their screams, that this Man had not offended Rome. He had offended the Jews. A messenger interrupted the procedure, which was doubtlessly an urgent matter, after which I was signalled to bring Him into the governor’s inner court. The conversation that took place proved this Man’s character. He spoke only when questioned and claimed that the governor’s authority was given to him by the Offender’s Father, which made little sense to me at the time. When He said He was a King, I wondered whether Barabbas, the sweaty zealot, had similar thoughts. But, all in all, this Man had authority incomparable to any I had seen before. This fact was startling considering I had seen the Caesar and all his delegates more often than Pontius himself. What seemed like moments later, my garrison had elbowed their way through the riotous crowds to the place of execution, hauling two offenders of Rome and One offender of the Jews.

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What is bitterness?

Bitterness is a spirit that disturbs many believers besides being a sin. Bitterness is a mixture of disappointment, anger, and fear. Remember, anger graduates to bitterness if you don’t deal with it accordingly. By forgiving and letting go

In fact, Ephesians 4:26 states that, “In your anger do not sin.” “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” As believers, we must bear in mind that anger has a timeline; your anger shouldn’t exceed 12 hours.

Furthermore, bitterness makes you bitter instead of better and eventually leads to unforgiveness. What most of us are unaware of is that bitterness blocks the breakthrough to our destiny. Before you allow bitterness to control you, here’s what you need to keep in mind.

  • Bitterness is sin
  • When you deliberately fail to talk to someone you have no part in God’s kingdom
  • Bitterness is unforgiveness fermented
  • The more you hold on to past hurts, the more you become “drunk” on your pain
  • The devil uses anger to attack many
  • God can’t draw near a bitter person
  • To overcome bitterness, you must: forgive, stop dwelling there, and stop retelling
  • Bitterness blocks your physical and spiritual life; you’ll stagnate physically and spiritually. It’s no wonder many are worsening spiritually and physically
  • When you’re bitter, you can’t have breakthrough even in prayer
  • Bitterness creates space for the enemy
  • Bitterness is satan’s altar in your life-an altar is a point of contact. Therefore, when you’re about to rise financially, the enemy stands against you
  • This sin entangles easily similar to sins like lies and gossip
  • When you allow bitterness to take root in your life, you won’t succeed at any time because you’re limited
  • Bitterness is what’s “eating” many up
  • Bitterness holds you back
  • It’s like an acid that destroys its container; whatever you try fails
  • A bitter person holds grudges

The Results of Bitterness

No peace

  1. Discouragement
  2. It causes anger
  3. Its causes hatred
  4. It makes you spiritually cold
  5. You want to see others suffer
  6. You engage in ungodly things
  7. Bitterness damages friendships; families
  8. It hinders your relationship with God
  9. It opens the door to the enemy so he can afflict you
  10. It can cause physical and mental illness
  11. It makes you go against God’s Word
  12. You fall short of God’s glory
  13. Before God you’re unholy when you’re bitter; before men, you lack peace

Have you allowed bitterness to dominate your life? Learn to forgive. Live holy!

Heb 12:14-15 bitter person is unholy and defile others….

God bless you

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When God is silent

 

It is easy to trust God when the bush is burning, the waters are parting and the mountains are shaking – it’s those silent years that are discouraging. But blessed is the person who does not interpret the silence of God as the indifference of God! It’s in the desert and not in the palace that God finds out the depths of our yieldedness. It’s when He’s silent, not when He speaks, that our faith is precious in His sight.

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Jesus the name above all names

Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins. He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him and given Him a Name which is above every Name and it is excellent in all the earth…..Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved… They shall call  His name Immanuel, which is being interpreted “God with us”…holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour , which is Christ the Lord”…He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His Kingdom there shall be no end. And this  is His Name whereby He shall be called, ” The Lord our Righteousness. Jehovah Tsidkennu”…….that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow of things in heaven and things in earth and things under the earth…..His Name is called “The Word of God”.. He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of the Almighty God. And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a NAME written, ” KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and His Name One.

A good name is better than precious ointment:..” How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds in a believer’s ear! It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds, and drives away his ear. Dear Name! the Rock on which we build; Our Shield and hiding place; our never – failing treasury , filled with boundless stores of grace. Jesus, our Saviour, Shepherd, Friend, Prophet and Priest and King; Our Lord, our Life, our Way, our End, Accept the Praise we bring..”.From the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same My Name shall be great among the Gentiles; And in every place incense shall be offered unto My Name and a pure offering: For My Name shall be great among the nations , saith the Lord of hosts…..Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the Man whose Name is The Branch; and He shall grow up out of His place and He shall build the temple of the Lord; and He shall bear the glory and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.  His Name shall endure for ever: his Name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed. My Lord and My God….He is thy Lord: Adonahy, Sovereign… and worship thou Him…I will make Thy Name to be remembered in all generations: Therefore shall the people praise Thee forever and ever. The hymns writer says..” But the high mysteries of His Name. An angel’s grasp transcend; The Father only ( glorious claim!) The Son can comprehend. Throughout the universe of bliss. The centre Thou and Sun, The eternal theme of praise is this, To heaven’s beloved One…His Names are glorious in their wondrous claims, His Titles famous in God’s vast domains; .. Alpha and Omega.. The First and the Last. ……Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory..JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD.

HAVE A CHRISTO CENTERIC LORD’S DAY.

By Joy Muringathery

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Amazing Grace

“That He (God) might show the exceeding riches of His Grace in His kindness towards us through Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7).

John Newton the famous composer of the hymn ‘Amazing Grace” was once the captain of a slave ship carrying Africans as slaves to England in the eighteenth century. On March 10, 1748, his ship was caught in a terrible storm, and when nothing could be done, he was led to read ‘The Imitation of Christ’ by Thomas Kempis.

The Holy Spirit began working in his heart and he accepted the Lord Jesus as his Saviour. Realizing the depravation of the slave trade, he left the ship. The Lord guided him to do His work and encouraged by the eminent evangelist George Whitefield, he plunged into the ministry and became the pastor of a church near Cambridge.

In 1785, when he was the distinguished Pastor of St. Mary Woolnoth in London, he came into contact with William Wilberforce, a young brilliant politician of only 26 years, but already a member of the Parliament. Since he had recently experienced religious awakening, the born-again Wilberforce sought the 64 year old Rev, Newton for council. He wanted to know whether he should resign from Parliament and enter the ministry. Newton advised him not to resign but told him, “God can make you a blessing as a Christian and as a Statesman”.

Young Wilberforce took up the cause of slavery, which Rev. Newton preached against. He addressed the Privy Council which included Prime Minister William Pitt and said, “The slaves lie in two rows, one above the other, on each side of the ship like books upon the shelf. The poor creatures are in irons on both hands and feet. Every morning more instances than one are found of the living and the dead fastened together”. In March 1807, Parliament passed the Wilberforce Bill abolishing slavery. In December that year John Newton passed on to glory in his 82nd year with his last words, “l am a great sinner and Christ is a great Saviour”.

Amazing Grace, which brought people deliverance from human slavery in England is always abounding to bring deliverance from slavery under the devil and sin through the Saviour Jesus Christ.

Are you still a slave under sin? There is deliverance only in Christ Jesus.

“By Grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God… For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (Eph, 2:8,10).

Taken from the book ‘Truths for the soul” by Dr. Daniel Sundararaj. Published by GLS Publishing.

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The Cost of Discipleship

“This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to you, Baruch:  You have said, ‘I am overwhelmed with trouble! Haven’t I had enough pain already? And now the Lord has added more! I am worn out from sighing and can find no rest.’  (Jeremiah 45:2-3 NLT)

Baruch was the young scribe that wrote and read to the people Jeremiah’s prophecies.  Like Jeremiah, he got a lot of persecution for the prophet’s words. The Lord responded to the scribe’s pain with truth and loving kindness.  Baruch found out there is always a cost in following God.

Young disciples often become discouraged when they find out that serving God is not all fun and games. Discipleship, often involves God crossing our will with his. The Lord’s response to Baruch came in the form of correction and encouragement. “Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don’t do it! I will bring great disaster upon all these people, but I will give you your life as a reward wherever you go. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (V.5) If we have our eyes focused on the things of this world, be it fame or fortune, we become impatient when difficulties arise.  We can develop a spiritualized entitlement mentality.  When trouble comes, we lose heart and our passion wanes. When desire diminishes, we can never fulfill our calling.

Attitude is a big part of dealing with adversity. It appears that Baruch had come to the point of blaming God for his predicament (“And now the Lord has added more! V.3). Our response when God crosses our will with his determines when discipleship starts and ends.  Discipleship has a cost but also a prize. “I will give you your life as a reward wherever you go” (v.5).

 By Ken Barnes

 

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