in Matthew 16:13-17 is recorded a dialogue that took place between Jesus and His disciples. Let's read. "When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am? So they said, some say John the Baptist, some Elijah and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets. He said to them "But who do you say that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven."
Here in this portion of scripture, we can see evidently that Jesus showed concern for people's TESTIMONY about Him. Which makes me to believe and to understand that whatever testimony that people bear about us is very very important. We must consider them very seriously and be willing and ready to make corrections and changes where necessary. For such testimonies will either affect us positively or negatively. They will determine our direction and purpose in life. They will win us friends or enemies. They will promote us or demote us. Why should what people declare or say about us be so important? Because part of every person's life is in the hands of another human being. Don't ask me why, that is just how God made it. Your progress and my progress are linked to another human being. We cannot survive in this world without obtaining help support and encouragement from other people. Why do people attend funerals? It's because of how the life of the dead person touched and affected some if not all of those who attend the funeral.
Hear what Charles Kingsley, one of England's prolific novelists wrote, "Life is short, though life is sweet; and even men of brass and fire must die. The brass must rust, the fire must cool, for time gnaws all things in their turn. Life is short, though life is sweet: but sweeter to live forever; sweeter to live ever youthful like the gods, who have ichor in their veins-ichor which gives life, and youth, and joy, and a bounding heart." Another writer also said, "One crowded hour of a glorious life is worth an age without a name or in other words," What matters is adding life to your years and not years to your life. Adding substance, meaning, reality and significance to our lives. It is not so much important as to how many years one lives on plant earth but what one's life amounts to here on earth. What one accomplishes. How positively one's life affects others. What MEMORIAL one leaves behind. Shakespeare died young but he still lives through those whom he affected with his life and works.
Life is not just about winning but rather about serving, helping and changing people to fulfill their purpose here on earth. The drive to win finds us always trampling upon our fellows and hurting them severely in the end. Life is not about hating and bearing people grudges and not forgiving others of their offences to us. For, we are here today and tomorrow we are no more. Can you think for just a brief moment how you would feel when the one you hated and disliked and begrudged the most dies when you did not make peace with him or her prior.
What would people say about us when we are alive and after we are dead and gone to where we would work no more and cannot be in a position to show mercy and kindness to people?
Who are you and who am I before men? And who are we and what are we before God who has honored us with life? WHO DO MEN SAY I AM, JESUS ASKED HIS DISCIPLES. And I ask you and me the same question. WHO DO MEN SAY WE ARE? Are our lives building people or rather destroying people? Please, let's all think about this. For, one day, when men will speak about our accomplishments God also will hold us accountable for what we could have done and did not do.
Should you and I go to bed one day and never wake up alive, where would we spend eternity? I perceive there are some of you here, sitting right under the sound of my voice, who may have been deceived into thinking or saying that there is no God and there is no life after death. Let me live my life; let me live my life as I please. Let me enjoy life; let me have fun as much as I can. Yes! God created us to be happy and to fully enjoy life and all that He has created for us but only in Him and by His ways. Not in any other, neither by any other way nor means. Brethren, please, hear what the scripture says in Isaiah 43:7; "Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for my glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him". Please note the Word of God carefully. God made us for His glory and for that matter our lifestyles must be such that it reflects His glory. Whatever we do and whatever is associated with our lives here on earth must cardinally reflect His glory. Do you know why? Because we are His agents, viceroys on this planet, called the earth. Any life or acquisition, no matter how high or noble, that does not ascribe glory and honor to God will face God's scrutiny and judgment with terrible and painful consequences, here and hereafter. Hebrews 9:26-28 declares: "He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation". Another scripture in 2 Corinthians 5:9-11 declares: " Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences".
If we are accountable to someone or some authority in the flesh; don't you think we must equally be accountable to someone or some authority in the spirit realm also? And if so don't you think and accept that it's the duty of you and I, as long as we live, to first acknowledge God as Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Holy, Pure, True, Faithful, Just, Merciful, Loving, Forgiving, Immortal, Eternal, who created us and gave us life, and then serve Him reverently with all our hearts, souls, minds, spirits, bodies and all that we possess? Satan truly exists as an active force in the world. He is alive and evil. He is a dark enemy agent; a terrible, mysterious, fearsome reality, a live spirit, perverted and enemy number one. The devil is a being of malignity, sophistication, and treachery; a spirit who is seducing modern men and women with drugs, pornography, sexual promiscuity, immorality, rebellion, materialism and the occult.
Whole nations have fallen under Satan's grip. Satan is an ancient liar, thief, killer, destroyer and deceiver who has produced his children in the earth from the very moment the human race began and continues to do so everyday. Why? Because modern man relies too much on psychology, psychiatry, and sociology to explain the phenomenon of evil. And because of it, he loses his conception of a supernatural power of evil and wickedness and the architect of them. I encourage you all to turn to God in a pure, true and genuine way if you have not already done so. But if you have, then continue in it without allowing yourself to be seduced by Satan, greed, covetousness, the occult and materialism. Always let us remember that we came into this world with nothing and we would leave with nothing. Never underestimate the devil and his evil and destructive powers. Always seek refuge, protection, security and solace in God through Jesus Christ, unto Whom all powers that are and to be are subject.
The writer of the Book of Revelation, led by the Holy Spirit, declares the end plainly and clearly without mincing words like some Christians and Preachers of today, for the fear and approval of men do. Revelation 21:7-8 "He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death".
REMEMBER VERY WELL THAT WE CANNOT ESCAPE FROM OUR SHADOWS [WORKS OR DEEDS]. WHEREVER WE GO, OUR SHADOWS WILL FOLLOW US, IN LIFE AND IN DEATH.
A mystery undefined, A mystery unrevealed
Who can understand Life but God!
From the womb to the open world,
A miracle beyond human fathoming.
Wonderfully and fearfully made in the closet of the womb,
Appearing in perfection of body formation,
Devoid of disease and corruption then;
Yet departs this world to a place
Where human eyes can no longer behold and affectionate hands cannot touch or hold
Mangled by disease and tortured by pain
Totally exploited of the grace, beauty and perfection
With which we were once ushered into this world of labour and toil
Life and death work in us simultaneously,
And at a time unexpected and unbeknown to us
Life paves the way for death
To take us to a place of unending life.
Our arrival here on earth is greeted with open hands and joyful hearts.
Whilst our departure is marked with clenched fists, folded hands, sorrow and pain in the
Hearts of loved ones, friends and relations.
WHERE WOULD WE GO FROM HERE?
To spend eternity with He who entrusted us with life on earth?
Or to be banished from His glorious presence
Into a world of eternal pain and torment?
A fate determined only by how we lived our lives
And for whom we lived our lives before embarking on the inevitable journey;
Indeed, life is a mystery only God alone can explain.
By Bishop W. Peter Morgan