A psalm of remembrance

“We have known and believed the love that God hath to us.” 1 John 4:16

Suggested Further Reading: Habakkuk 3:16-19

“Hast thou considered my servant Job?” “Ah,” says Satan, “he serves thee now, but thou hast set a hedge about him and blessed him, let me but touch him.” Now he has come down to you, and he has afflicted you in your estate, afflicted you in your family, and at last he has afflicted you in your body. Shall Satan be the conqueror? Shall grace give way? O my dear brother, stand up now and say once more, once for all, “I tell thee, Satan, the grace of God is more than a match for thee; he is with me, and in all this I will not utter one word against the Lord my God. He doeth all things well—well, even now, and I do rejoice in him.” The Lord is always pleased with his children when they can stand up for him when circumstances seem to belie him. Here come the witnesses into court. The devil says, “Soul, God has forgotten thee, I will bring in my witness.” First he summons your debts—a long bill of losses. “There,” says he “would God suffer you to fall thus, if he loved you?” Then he brings in your children—either their death, or their disobedience, or something worse, and says, “Would the Lord suffer these things to come upon you, if he loved you?” At last he brings in your poor tottering body, and all your doubts and fears, and the hidings of Jehovah’s face. “Ah,” says the devil, “do you believe that God loves you now?” Oh, it is noble, if you are able to stand forth and say to all these witnesses, “I hear what you have to say, let God be true, and every man and everything be a liar. I believe none of you. You all say, God does not love me; but he does, and if the witnesses against his love were multiplied a hundredfold, yet still would I say, “I know whom I have believed.”

For meditation: The question is bound to be asked sooner or later (Psalm 42:3,10). The apostle Paul gives the greatest answer (Romans 8:35-39).

Sermon no. 253 22 May (1859)

A sense of pardoned sin

“Thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.” Isaiah 38:17

Suggested Further Reading: Psalm 32

We are saved by faith, and not by feeling. “We walk by faith and not by sight.” Yet there is as much connection between faith and hallowed feeling, as there is between the root and the flower. Faith is permanent, just as the root is ever in the ground; feeling is casual, and has its seasons. Just as the bulb does not always shoot up the green stem; far less is it always crowned with the many, many-coloured flower. Faith is the tree, the essential tree; our feelings are like the appearance of that tree during the different seasons of the year. Sometimes our soul is full of bloom and blossom, and the bees hum pleasantly, and gather honey within our hearts. It is then that our feelings bear witness to the life of our faith, just as the buds of spring bear witness to the life of the tree. Presently, our feelings gather still greater vigour, and we come to the summer of our delights. Again, perhaps, we begin to wither into the dry and yellow leaf of autumn; nay, sometimes the winter of our despondency and despair will strip away every leaf from the tree, and our poor faith stands like a blasted stem without a sign of greenness. And yet, my brethren, so long as the tree of faith is there we are saved. Whether faith blossom or not, whether it bring forth joyous fruit in our experience or not, so long as it be there in all its permanence we are saved. Yet we should have the gravest reason to distrust the life of our faith, if it did not sometimes blossom with joy, and often bring forth fruit unto holiness.

For meditation: True joy cannot exist without saving faith (1 Peter 1:8-9), but sometimes our salvation needs to have its joy restored (Psalm 51:12).

Sermon no. 316 21 May (Preached 20 May 1860)

Ndoa na jamii

John huamka mapema kila siku ya ibada. Yeye hupeleka mkewe na watoto kutumia gari lake hadi kanisani. Yeye huwaeleza kwamba hataweza kuhudhuria ibada kwa kuwa anaenda kutafuta pesa na anawaahidi kuwapeleka matembezi wakitoka kanisa.  Jumatatu asubuhi, Yohana huwapeleka watoto wake shuleni  kule mjini na kupeleka mke wake kazini kule viwandani lakini huwa hawana mazungumzo yeyote kwenye gari.  Anapofika ofisini anajulishwa na mfanyikazi mwenzake wa kike kuwa kuna mkutano wa kiofisi wanapaswa kuhudhuria. Wakiwa kwenye gari wakienda kwa huo mkutano yeye na huyu mwanamke wanakuwa na mazungumzo matamu sana, na kwa unaweza fahamu kuwa hapa kwamba hawa wawili wako na mengi ya kuzungumzia. Sio la ajabu mtu mmoja alisema kwamba, “Ukiona mwanamume na mwanamuke wako kwa mazungumzo ya furaha kwenye gari wakiendesha kuna uwezekano kwamba hao wawili sio mke na mumewe”.

Sehemu ya A

Somo

Waefesso 5:22-25

Maswali ya kujadili

1. Kwa maneno yako mwenyewe unaelewa aje neon hili “Kunyenyekea kwa mumeo”  kama  ilivyo tumika kwenye kifungu hiki.

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2. Je kuna waume ambao hutumiaa vibaya kunyenyekea kwa mkewe? Kama ndio eleza.

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3. Je waume wameamriwa kufanya nini?

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4. Eleza wazi wazi ni mambo (matatizo) yapi unapambana nayo katika ndoa yako na uliza kikundi wakuombee.

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Soma Waebrania 13:4

a) Je unaelewa vipi huu mstari wa Biblia?

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b) Je ni kitu gani hufanyika kwa wale watu wanakosa kuheshimu ndoa kwa uzinzi au uasherati ?

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c) Je, kuna hatari gani kwa wale hujihusisha katika uasherati? Jadili

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5. Soma 1Petero 3:1-2

a)Je, kutokana na kifungu hiki ni mambo gani yapaswa kutendwa na wamawake waumini ambao waume wao sio waumini ili waweze kumwamini Kristo?

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Soma 1Petero 3:7

b) Je, waume au wake waumini wanapaswa kuwatenda wenzao mambo yapi?

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Sehemu ya B

Soma Mithali 22:6

Imekuwa ni jambo la kawaida kusikia migomo katika shule za msingi, za upili hata vyuo vikuu vya masomo. Kutokana na ukosefu wa wakati kwa wazazi wengi wa nyakati hizi ambapo waume na wake wao hujihusisha sana katika kazi waliko ajiliwa , kuwapa nidhamu imewachiwa walimu huku wazazi wakiipuuza ilehali hii sio wajibu wa kuwachiwa mtu mwingine awaye yote.

6. a) Taja njia tekelezi ambayo watoto wanastahili kufunzwa kulingana na mienendo ya Biblia.

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b) Yaonekana kana kwamba watoto wengi ambao tabia zao sio nzuri mara nyingi hutoka katika jamii za wazazi waumini? Je, ni kwel au sio kweli? Jadili

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Soma Waefeso 6:1-3

7. a) Watoto wanaamriwa kufanya nini na kwa nini?

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b) Eleza matokeo ya watoto wasiotii wazazi wao.

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Soma 1Samueli 1:11

1. Je, ni mambo gani wakristo hutazamia kuona katika watoto wao>

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2. Je, wewe kama mkristo unafanya nini ili kuona watoto wanafikia yale mmetaja japo juu (1)?

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Kuna mbao maarufu ambayo huning’inia kwenye kuta za nyumba nyingi isomayo kwa kiingereza, “Kristo ndiye kichwa wa nyumba hii, mgeni asiye onekana tunapokula,msikilizaji aliyenyamaza kwa mazungumzo yote.” Ujumbe huu humwuonyesha Yesu kam a mtu ambaye yuko pale bila ruhusa ya kufanya lolote au kuingilia kati. Ukweli ni kwamba katia nyumba nyingi hawamtabui Kristo hata kidogo. Mume na mke hujihusisha katika vita mbele ya watoto wao. Wakati mwingine wao hukaa hata wiki kadhaa bila kuzungumziana  wala wakati wa kuomba na kusoma neon la Mumgu na watoto wao. Wakati mwingine mke akiwa hayuko nyumbani mume humbadilisha na mfanyikazi wa kike wa nyumbani au huendea mke wa jirani yake ambyo ni kinyume na neon la Mungu.  Kristo hawezi kuwa kichwa wa nyumba au jamii kama hii. Mungu anaamuru jamii kama hiii kutubu na kubdilishwa.

Utendaji

a) Je Yesu ndiye wa nyumbani anamoishi? Eleza

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b) Kama umeoa/umeolewa taja mabo unayofanya kuimarisha upendo wako na mwenzio

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c) Kama wewe ni mzazi je, unamheshimu Kristo vipi katika jami yako? Taja jia zile unatumia kuwalea watoto wako kwa maisha ya kumpendeza mungu.

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d) Ni kitu gani hufanyika kwa jamii inayoishi pamoja?

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facing-the-storm-in-life3

covenant

                                   Holiness Highway

 Text:Isaiah 35:8 (KJV) 

    “And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err, (blunder) therein.”

Intro:Qualified drivers are aware of the Highway Code. This is a set of rules for highway users. It may include the mandatory rules, the informative or the precautionary rules. The rule of the road is “keep left unless overtaking”

What is Holiness?

Hebrew -Qodesh, ko’-desh; from (qadash); a sacred place or thing; rarely abstract sanctity: - consecrated (thing), dedicated (thing), hallowed (thing), holiness, most holy (day, portion, thing), saint, sanctuary.

 Greek

1)Hosiotes, hos-ee-ot’-ace;  (hosios); piety :- holiness.

Luke 1:74, 75 (KJV) “That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,  In holiness and righteousness before him,  all the days of our life.”

2) Eusebeia, yoo-seb’-i-ah;(eusebes); piety;  :- godliness, holiness.

Acts 3:12 (KJV)   “And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?”

3) Hagiasmos, hag-ee-as-mos’;  purification, i.e. (the state) purity; concrete :- holiness, sanctification.

1 Thes. 4:7 (KJV)     “For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.”

Does this passage speak to us?

This “highway of Holiness,” is the way that righteous pilgrims will take from the desert of suffering to Zion (Jerusalem). It is found only by following God. Only the redeemed will travel God’s highway; they will be protected from wicked travellers and harmful animals. God is preparing a way for his people to travel to his home, and he will walk with us. God never stops at simply pointing the way; he is always beside us as we go along (Matt 28:19, 20 “the footprints dream”).

Isaiah 64:1-6 God’s appearance is so powerful that it is like a consuming fire that burns everything in its path. If we are so impure, how can we have a fellowship with him? It is basically the mercy of God that we are preserved. The Israelites had experienced God’s appearance at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:16-19). They sent Moses on their behalf.  God came down in form of thunderstorm, smoke, and an earthquake. The Question remains, “If God was to meet us today, how many of us will stand his glory? Our righteousness are “filthy rags”

Isaiah 64:6 Sin makes us contaminated so that we cannot draw near to God (Isaiah 6:5; Romans 3:23) We appear worse than a beggar in rotten rags pleading to dine at a king’s table. Our best efforts are still polluted with sin. We have only one way. Our hope is therefore, built  on our faith in Jesus Christ, who can cleanse us and bring us into God’s presence (1John1:9-10).

This passage can easily be misinterpreted. It doesn’t mean that God will reject us if we go to him in faith, nor that he despises our efforts to please him. It means that if we come to him demanding acceptance on the basis of our “good” conduct, He will point out that our righteousness is nothing compared to his infinite righteousness. We cannot be saved by deeds of service without faith in Christ. However many times our faith lacks sincerity if it doesn’t reach out to others. In Isaiah 58 we learn that fasting can benefit spiritually and physically. Moreover at its best, fasting helps only the person doing it. God says he wants our service to go beyond our own individual growth to acts of kindness, charity, justice, and generosity. True fasting is more than skipping our meals. It is pleasing God by applying his Word to our society.

Rule of the Holiness highway is found in “ 1Peter 1:16 (KJV)  “…be ye holy; for I am holy.”

I began reading the “character in crisis” text book by Brown, with a lot of anticipation.

I had a thirst and a longing to know more of what is entailed in Old Testament Wisdom literature. Each chapter in the book leaves you yearning for the next.

Now that I have finished, I have a new level of understanding the O.T Wisdom literature. I stand in a position to carry out fairly in-depth discussions on the various questions that can be raised in the three major books, i.e. Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes. Character in Crisis delves into the above writings and explicates how they concoct the traditional view of wisdom treasured in Old Testament epoch. Each wisdom author is on a pursuit to discern how to live with honesty and piousness in spite of affliction, disappointment, and daily intricacy. Brown takes us out on various journeys. He gives minutiae on each individual’s journey, keeping his elucidation heavy enough to be appealing but colourful and appropriate so that they are not lost in theological gibber. His opinions keep the mind agitated in an attempt to work out the queries portrayed by the Old Testament books. He persuades readers to go on board on their personal pursue for character. It is not easy to find such a book that probe into the theology of the wisdom prose. Most of the books in this field are far and much below the standard of Brown’s work. He does not dump the reader in the Old Testament but brings him to the broader and wider in the New Testament. He wraps up with a brief but perceptive remark on the Epistle of James. Here, he portrays to the church that even at the present times, keen observations require to be laid down to biblical wisdom. This literature goes further than mere human contemplation. It could be said that the wisdom found in this literature is like a core of mine where you go there to exploit and grow richer wiser and live longer and better. Therefore I appeal to whoever has anticipation for a solid foundation in Old Testament wisdom literature to seek no further. “Character in crisis”, is all you need.

 

K. Kabue

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