What the Bible says about Jesus

The True Light "In him, (the Lord Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world,…the world didn’t recognize him." John 1:4,9.
The Good Seed and the Weeds The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seeds in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. Matthew 13:24,25.
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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

A Ship Named Relations - Part 1 - Outline



Written and Published by Jean-Louis Mondon

Today, I feel the Lord putting on my heart to post again an outline I wrote about a storm in real life and God's salvation through the terrible ordeal that we can identify with.
For some time now the earth has been reeling from certain clear signs of the time, warning to a human race out of step with its Creator, running headlong into untold, unbearable sufferings that are looming closer to fulfillment than we think. It behooves us to pay close attention to what the Bible has to say.
I have a sense of urgency and have written before in poem form and posted several pieces on the subject of storms and the peace of God through them, personally and from others.
I was a close witness (a few miles away) just 2 weeks ago of the disaster that occurred in the northern region of Rio de Janeiro and left probably more than 1.000 dead and 10s of thousands in need of shelter, food and medical help.
I have a friend in Australia that writes me about the flooding there.
We as Christians are called to encourage each other in words and deeds in times of need.
This is why I write this blog. I hope that something I have said in it has caused you to turn to God and find in Him the only solace and encouragement for your troubled soul. 
 
A Ship Named “Relations” Part I. Outline
Paul’s shipwreck on Malta.


I. PAST SITUATION.

 
1. Circumstances outside anyone’s control.

“Much time had been lost and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Fast”. Verse 9.
Paul’s warning: “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship, cargo and to our own lives also”. Verse 10.

2. Men’s efforts to correct the situation.
The leadership response: “but the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and the owner of the ship”. Verse 11. 

3. Pressure to do something.
Result: wrong decision: “since the harbor was unsuitable for winter, the majority decided that we should sail on, hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there”. Verse 12.

Lesson to be learned: Sometimes the majority can make the wrong decisions based on logical reasoning and accurate data.

Consequence: “the ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along”. Verse 15.

 II. CURRENT CONDITION.

1. No help from above
"Natural" weather condition: “when neither sun, nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging”. Verse 20, (a).


Result: Loss of hope: “we finally gave up all hope of being saved”. Verse 20, (b).

The much needed “I told you so in learning our lessons”. (Apparently Paul hadn’t had many lessons on how not to damage people’s brittle self-esteem by telling them the truth.) We don’t like to hear those words because we hide our sense of pride under the thin veneer of our fragile egos. (A little shame at first would save us a lot of pain at last.)

Paul to the crew: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete, then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss." Verse 21, (b).
Notice that Paul (or rather God who spoke through him) waited until the men were ready to listen to him, just as the Father in the parable of the prodigal son waited for the son to be hungry and at the end of his rope and to come to his senses. He exhorted them only “after the men had gone a long time without food”. Verse 21, (a).

Exhortation with assurance of knowledge:
Paul says: “but now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be lost”. Verse 22. 


2. Help from above: divine intervention
Paul’s explanation: an angelic visitation.

Result: Hope restored
“Last night an angel of the Lord whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me and said:” Do not be afraid, Paul… God had graciously (here we see the common grace and specific personal grace of God at work) given you the lives of all who sail with you”. Verse 23.

One important biblical principle to remember:

Being always precedes doing. Just as we are sinners not because we commit sins but because of who we are in our sinful nature, we do righteous acts not because we are righteous of our own merit but because we have the righteousness of God imputed to us. God was very clear in revealing His Name to Moses, He told him: "I am that I am, not I do that I do". If Christ whose name we bear could say those words out of the burning bush, who are we to go ahead and have our “doing” before our “being”?

Response from Paul to the Angelic visitation:The only response that pleases God, namely FAITH.
Paul to the men: “I have faith in God that it will happen as he told me. Nevertheless we must run aground on some island”. Verse 25, 26.Not only Paul’s exhortation to the crew came from the assurance of his knowledge of divine revelation (this was not blind faith, neither was Abraham’s faith, neither should our faith be), but from the faith that it inspired and motivated.


3. Escape attempt: (Running away from God and His will).
“In an attempt to escape from the ship, the sailors let the lifeboat down into the sea, pretending they were going to lower some anchors from the bow”. Verse 30.
What are some of our lifeboats, the easy way out, the exit strategies that we keep hidden in the back of our minds just in case the boat that God has given us in our present relationships proves to be less than adequate for our lives? After all, we know better than He does what is good for us and how to run our ship, don´t we?
  • Is it divorce? 
  • Is it children running away from a difficult situation at home?  
  • Is it ending a commitment with a Church or a job situation that turns out to be unpleasant for the moment? (see Hebrews 12:7-13)? 
  • Is it ending a relationship at whatever level of commitment because it requires unselfishness and sacrifice on our part and does not fulfill our unrealistic expectations and needs although it may be the very ship that God has ordained for us to navigate the rough seas of life, for our own benefit to help us grow and mature into the person He desires us to be? 

Notice that in such cases there is always an attitude of pretense, a denial of the reality, indicated by a lack of honesty and willingness to take responsibility in an attempt to justify and rationalize one’s own actions and bad choices. This mostly happens through blaming the other person’s for one’s predicament. (For a more thorough and better understanding, read and study the story of Jonah).

In this story, every one attempts to save his life using his own survival skills. The sailors wanted to use the lifeboats. Further on, the soldiers wanted to use their swords to prevent the prisoners to swim ashore and escape because they needed them to save their own lives from military justice if they failed to carry on their military duties to the end and to take the prisoners to their final destination.

4. Paul’s warning: Condition for God’s rescue.
“Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved”. Verse 32.
The promises and blessings of God are conditional, only His mercy and love as demonstrated in the sacrifice of His son Jesus on the cross in payment for our sins resulting in our forgiveness, salvation and the gift of eternal life are unconditional. The condition required is faith, resulting in trust and obedience. This involves volition, the conscious act of submitting our will to the will of God and choosing His ways rather than our own.

5. Encouragement and reassurance from Paul:
Whatever the reason for the crew deprivation of food for 14 days, whether it be “constant suspense”, unending struggle in keeping the boat afloat against the elements, or purely visceral reaction in keeping any food down, now that all 276 persons are still aboard, Paul encourages them in those terms: “ I urge you all to take some food. You need it to survive. No one of you will lose a single hair from his head”. Verse 34.


6. Paul´s demonstration of Faith and authority in spiritual leadership:
A good and faithful servant of God will always show the example to follow; his actions will prove his words.
First, Paul turns to God who gives the blessings and promises, then, he exemplifies the correct attitude, the response of a grateful heart towards the grace of God who supplies all our needs. “After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all, then he broke it and began to eat”. Verse 35.

Results: Faith turns to action:
a) Increased response from the crew in renewed faith and trust in God’s providence through Paul’s leadership and example: “they were all encouraged and ate some food themselves”. Verse 36.
Further proof of their faith and trust in God’s provision for the rest of the journey: “when they had eaten as much as they wanted, they lightened the grain into the sea”. Verse 38. 

b) Change of attitude and actions in the centurion entrusted with secular leadership:
Even though the fate of the ship was out of his hands and in the hands of Almighty God, the centurion didn’t shirk his responsibility and delegated governmental authority by asking Paul to take charge of the ship and its human and physical cargo. Whereas at the beginning, the centurion was opposed to Paul’s advice, now because of his training to recognize and respect true authority, he shows wisdom and a right attitude in the end in responding to God’s mercy with faith and mercy of his own as the following verses describe his actions:

The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping. But the centurion wanted to spare Paul’s life and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. The rest of were to get there on planks or on pieces of the ship”. Verses 42-44.

 He did this knowing full well that he risked losing not only his career but also his own life. What a great admirable example of courage, leadership and sacrifice!

III. CONCLUSION: Everyone reached land in safety. Verse 44.
Faith and trust in God’s revealed will and obedience to His command will bring the desired fulfillment of God’s true word and sure promises in any situation. Sometimes, this might be done through following the leadership and good example of a legitimate, called servant of God, whose actions consistent with his words demonstrate that he has received his calling and delegated authority from God himself.
Stay tuned for the next portion of God's powerful rescue.
For part II click on the link:
Jean-Louis.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Is a Terrorist or Not - Confronting our Fears

Written and published by

Following the tragedy that took place in San Bernardino, I want to tell you a little anecdote about our train trip to the French Riviera last September. 

My wife and I were enjoying a comfortable ride on the “very fast train” TGV when we noticed a man from seemingly far eastern origin with his hands pressed against the glass of the automatic sliding glass door, staring at the people inside the car. He had a lost, haggard look on his face and really inspired pity. He had a cellular phone in one hand and a note pad in the other. 
My first thought was one of caution - maybe it´s a terrorist looking for an opportunity to unleash some mayhem in the name of Allah. Looking at his very intent eyes surveying the scene, I thought that maybe fear was taking hold of his heart and that he was divided between guilt and his sworn allegiance to Jihad. I could see that he was a tormented soul. 

Nobody moved. Obviously the situation called for action. So after about 15 long minutes of watching, I told my wife to go and lock herself in the rest-room where she would be protected while I would find out what the guy was about.
I approached him and asked him a few questions. I quickly found out that he was a migrant from Bangladesh who had taken the wrong train. He was supposed to go to Paris but he was going in the opposite direction. His English was close to nil but the good will and interest that I was showing him seemed to have a calming effect. 

His inability to deal with his situation was compounded by the fact that he did not speak any French, had no money, no food and got on the train without a ticket.
I told him that he needed to get off at the next stop and ask a station official what to do .He understood and thanked me with a grateful smile and a hand shake. 
This was quite an experience that made me think how to react in a seemingly dangerous situation. 
When confronted with a potential peril, some have a tendency to let things play out hoping that the situation will improve. The people on the train were aware that something was not normal, but carried on their conversation as if doing nothing would make it go away. 
Nowadays we are so bombarded with the news about terrorism that we have been conditioned to a state of apathy. We know that it could happen anytime and anywhere, but somehow we delude ourselves into thinking that the police, the politicians, the judges, the army will protect ourselves. At least, that is the prevailing thinking in Europe among the liberals ruling elite and the sheeple following them.

How many lives could have been spared in the Paris massacre on November 13th if some of the security and patrons in the club had been carrying guns? 
Of course, the average citizen without combat training is at a loss when confronted by a terror situation, but we have to go beyond being aware and training ourselves and others to know how to react in a tense situation whose outcome could be disastrous.

Believe me, I have no more courage than the next person. But inaction leads to disaster. How many times do we hear the testimony of people after a carnage like the one that happened in San Bernardino in which witnesses didn´t act on their suspicions that something strange was taking place? Because they didnt´bother to even call the police, a simple thing to do, they are going to live with that regret and guilt for the rest of their lives. 

This is the result of the fear of being labeled racist or xenophobe, fascist, extremist. The liberals are doing a good job at creating an environment that will paralyze people. It helps them to further and faster destroy whatever is left of the noble country that was handed down to us. 

I believe it starts with the parents educating their children about the brave new world that is awaiting them. When parents show the courage that it takes to go against the current, the attitude will help the children to grow into citizens that will know how to react when faced with situations that demand presence of mind, and caring to the point of putting our lives on the line for the sake of others.
 
I think it is a part of occupying till our Lord comes back while our hearts and minds are ruled by the love and peace of Jesus as pilgrims on this earth. 
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 1 John 4:18 (NASB) 

Jean-Louis

Sunday, February 10, 2019

A Short Single Sentence that Saved my LIfe

Written and published by Jean-Louis Mondon


This story takes place on the Algerian mediteranean coast in the city of Annaba and in Constantine, my home town in the mountains.

When I was 14 years old, in August, the hottest month of the year, while on vacation at my uncle´s beach house, I suffered a heat stroke as I fell asleep on the beach at noon time when the temperature can reach 120 F. I had suffered heat strokes before, but never as severe as that one. Back home in the mountains, during the following week, besides the usual symptoms, I experienced an altered mental state and behavior.

You have to understand a little background. At age 11, when the civil war started, I was a student at a Catholic boarding school hearing all these wonderful things about the love of God. I went to Mass everyday, early in the morning, even serving as an altar boy - at that time the service was all in Latin. I went every week to Catechism, to confession and communion after having fasted the night before and the morning. 

Each following year, after Christmas, Easter and summer vacations ended, I was so happy and loooking forward to see my friends again. Instead, some of them came back with some bullet or knife wounds, some of tem didn´t come back at all, their whole families massacred in terrorist attacks on their farms. We used to go to funerals almost every month. Some of my friends were tortured. One question that we discussed a lot with my confused friends looking for real spiritual answers to the senseless life we were experiencing was: "How could a loving God allow such horrific acts of violence perpetrated on innocent victims?"

Already living for quite a few years with untreated depression that was exacerbated by the heat stroke, I felt incapable of telling my parents what was going on inside my head, there would be too much to tell. Until then, the only outlet for my frustration and my pent up anger was to bang my head on the walls and acting out against authority at Catholic boarding schools. All I was thinking was to end the nightmare, by releasing the prisoner from my own painful silence. Without any help from family, friends, relatives or a mental health professional to share with, after reviewing all the possible ways of ending it all,  I finally went for the quickest solution.

I was holding my father´s loaded gun to my head, ready to pull the trigger when I heard the soft inner voice of God (through the Holy Spirit or an angel, I still don´t know) prompting me: 

" Jean-Louis, put the gun down, as long as there is life, there is hope".  


This is the single sentence which God used to save my life. He knows everything about you and is able to save you too if you find yourself in the same pit of despair.

Needless to say, I obeyed without arguing, so overwhelmed I was with the impact of that wonderful life saving divine intervention. What was only turmoil, self-doubt, and self-deprecation inside my hard head and my heardened heart made some room to an unexpected and quite surprising ray of hope.  This was before the time I started talking to my soul!  

A few days later, after recovering, life continued as usual. It didn´t get any better, in fact it got worse, but I am alive and doing well and able to tell you that there is hope and life in trusting and knowing the God of the Bible who listens, who hears, who sees and acts to rescue those like me who reached the end of the line, who face an immovable wall and cry out to him in despair.  

Since then, even going through worse ordeals, I have never reached the point that I wanted to take my life.

In 1966, after I became a born again Christian, I wrote a long letter to my parents finally explaining and sharing among other things, what happened that summer on the beach and how God intervened and saved me from death and hell.  Years later, as a legal immigrant to the US, he set me free from the bondage of sin, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, changing me into a new man through His great mercy and amazing grace.

This is what the Lord Jesus says:
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for[a] a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” Luke 11:9-13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13
Jean-Louis.

If you are not born again and desire to know how to be born of the Spirit to a new life in Jesus-Christ, here is a link that will help you understand the process which will help you to put your trust and know God your Heavenly Father and his Son Jesus-Christ who died for you because of his great love and care for you.
http://www.gotquestions.org/born-again.html 

Friday, February 8, 2019

Finish what you started


Original written January 2017.

For the last few days I have had this thought going through my mind. Usually it means that the Lord is trying to tell me that it is worth looking into it, elaborating after consulting him of its importance, meditating on it and most important double checking like a Berean in the Word where this concept is found, the context of when, to whom and why it is addressed and if my own life experience and application of this biblical principle when guided by the Holy Spirit has contributed to my own spiritual growth.

Before the Lord saved me 53 years ago, my life was a mess. It was what seemed to be a succession of random, haphazard events and circumstances over which I didn´t have any control. My emotional and selfish reactions only made it worse. Whatever I tried to correct the situation ended up in more failures and one thing that eroded more than anything else was the feeling of waste and utter desperation at finding some self- worth because of the total lack of positive and constructive accomplishments to look at and be proud. Everything I touched and every relationship I had turned into one more proof that my  existence on this earth was a curse from an unjust and vindictive god that hunted me down and punished me for the simple fact that I was born without asking for it or having anything to say about the matter.

Needless to say, this kind of attitude doesn´t contribute to accomplishing much in life and the feeling was exacerbated when I compared myself with my friends, neighbors and all the great heroes  out there that receive the adulation and honor for their accomplishments and contribution to society. I wasn´t sitting on a pile of ashes, I was buried under the ashes of the death dealing blows of a self-incriminating conscience piled on the top of more judging and condemning by the society in which I happened to be born. 

Now, this is not wallowing in self-pity on my part, I just wanted to set the stage for demonstrate the extraordinary saving power of Jesus-Christ through love, mercy and grace He has for anyone who knows he or she is soul-sick, lost, hopeless and helpless with no way out and no one to turn to, but in a last act of desperation turns to the God that unbeknownst to him/her was faithfully and patiently waiting for the child to acknowledge his/her lost condition and come home to his real, loving Heavenly Father.

To summarize the above, I never finished what I started before I was 23 years old.
Then, my life started changing because I met the God who never changes, who is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the End and everything in between, accomplishing what He said He would do, as I trust more and more in His transforming power. As I was reading the Word, I encountered some encouraging verses such as:

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philipians 1:6 

Jean-Louis

A Short Single Sentence that Saved my Life

A Ship Named Relations - Part 1 - Outline

Written and Published by Jean-Louis Mondon Today, I feel the Lord putting on my heart to post again an outline I wrote about a storm ...

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