Saturday, 17 May 2014

Dealing With Life's Uncertainties Part Three

 

Continued From Previous Post Part Two
 
2: Faith in God
By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.(Hebrews 11:8).
Hebrews 11 probably will make one of the best sermons on faith in the Bible. It gives us a bird‘s eye view of the life of some of the characters of the Bible and their exploits through faith. It does a wonderful work of assembling these characters and pointing out what made them who they were: Faith in God. The phrase "By faith..." runs through the whole text about fifteen times and anyone who made the list in Hebrews 11 got there by faith---in God---not their smartness.

It's amazing some of the people who made that list. Rahab: Harlot, Samson:Womanizer, Gideon: Coward....that's God for you, He takes imperfection, weaknesses and sin, then polishes it and showcase it to the world. Interesting, God has no problems with His reputation: Everyone who will believe can come. Hear Jesus: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." (Matthew 11:28-30). 


Come just as you're, He is waiting with outstretched arms.

Faith is trust, hope and belief in God: "..Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." (Romans 4:3). Faith is taking God at His Word---the Bible--- and believing what He has promised. Without faith, we are made to understand we cannot please God(vs 6).

God's Word is enough. The word contains enough power to bring God's promises to fulfilment in our lives. You should love the word above everything. O how much glory we will bring to His name if we will only believe and take Him at His words. Hear the words of A.W Tozer: 

We can hold a correct view of the truth only by daring to believe everything that God has said about Himself 1
There's no way around having faith in God than subjecting ourselves willingly to His word: “...faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.(Romans 10:17). That's a spot on road map to faith in God---the word. In whatever circumstance we find ourselves, we can count on God's word. In the word, we have a sure word of prophecy which will not fail. In the word, we have “ an anchor... both sure and stedfast...“ (Hebrews 6:19).

Notes

1 Tozer, A.W, Knowledge of The Holy ( James Clarke and Co Ltd, United Kingdom), 86

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Dealing With Life's Uncertainties Part Two




Continued from Previous Post: Part One

1: We Don't Need To Know All The Details
By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went (Hebrews 11:8).
We can fully understand the uncertainty in this text if we trace the original Scripture Hebrews 11:8 is making reference to.
Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee" (Genesis 12:1).
Some bible scholars have indicated that Genesis 12:1 was the second call for Abraham to leave his family. The first call is not recorded in the Old Testament, but Stephen's defense in Acts 7:2 records this silent Old Testament event: "And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran". The phrase “before he dwelt in Charran“ presents us with two time periods: Time in Mesopotamia and time in Charran. Charran, according to John Gill in his bible exposition , is the same name recorded as Haran in Genesis 11:32 where Abraham and his family lived before the second call in Genesis 12:1.

If we are to go with the assertion of a second call; which I believe, because Acts 7:2 gives it credence, the question I want to ask is, "why didn't Abraham heed to the first call in Mesopotamia". There could be many reasons. The comfort of a family home( Abraham was still living with his family) is highly plausible. I also believe that, uncertainty; not knowing what the future held in this call of God was the main reason Abraham didn't heed to the first call. Note that, Abraham came from a pagan family, so to begin with, a call from a personal God would have thrown his thinking into mayhem. He would have been marking time to be certain all this call of God is not a mind game.

Let's examine the nature of Abraham's call in Genesis 12:1

"Get out... unto a land that I will shew thee ..."
...Those words in my limited human mind are not convincing enough to take a journey with. There was not much detail given to Abraham. He set off in anticipation of "a place which he should after receive for an inheritance". He set off on only a promise. The normal thinking to me is that, at least, God should have spelt out a clear plan for Abraham to follow. However, God provided Abraham with no road map. He just commanded: "Get...out...." The future is uncertain, it comes with no details. Irrespective of what plans we have for the future, we must learn to take one day at a time. James properly captured this in James 4:13-15:
Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
Check the last verse again: “... If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.“ That is enough ammunition to clear uncertainty. Once God has willed whatever you believe He has called you to do, it shall come to pass. Don't get bogged down in the details. Just believe; have faith and trust God to do in your life what He says He will do. I think you should hear this also: 
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Matthew 6:34).

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Dealing With Life's Uncertainties Part One.

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By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. (Hebrews 11:8)
If Abraham is a member of today's church, he will score a straight F in "Steps To Successful Living". "...he went out, not knowing [where he was going]. That doesn't make a thread of sense. If subjected to today's success principles; Abraham's action will find no place, it will fail abysmally as a success strategy. Lets examine some of the popular ones Abraham was acting contrary to: "Be Specific, know what you want and go for it". "If you don't know where you're going, any road will lead you there".

Clearly, by today's success principles, Abraham was jeopardising his future, he was setting himself up for failure. He was undertaking a journey with no destination in mind. Right there in Hebrews 11, the father of faith set out without any destination in mind. He set out holding on to only a promise of God. He was specific about nothing. He planned nothing. He set out only by faith.

Now, I am in no way contesting the usefulness of life's success principles. We all need them. However, as helpful as success principles are (which mostly originates from the Bible anyway), the reality on the ground is that, in our walk with God, there are moments of uncertainty---intense uncertainty, doubts, fear, confusion --- when God seems totally silent. Things are getting out of hands, pressure is mounting, but God seems just mute---unconcerned. Those are difficult moments. We can't know it all. We cannot figure it all out. In those moments, our nice success principles will not help.

Could you for a second attempt to read into the minds of some who went ahead of us in the faith. Try hard! Get into Joseph's mind while he was languishing in jail with his dream still fresh on his mind. What was going on in his mind? Uncertainty! How about Moses? He was forty years when he fled Egypt. By the time God appeared to him, he was eighty years. What was going on in his mind during those moments of God's silence? Uncertainty! David has been anointed King of Israel, yet he lived in the wilderness and in caves as a vagabond. What has happened to the promise of God? Uncertainty!

Man is born unto trouble (Job 5:7): We will all at a point in life, in different circumstances--face uncertainties. It's a guarantee, not a speculation: How do we handle our uncertainties then? I believe there are about four essential truths to glean from Hebrews 11:8 and God willing, I will treat them in subsequent posts.

Friday, 9 May 2014

The Age Of Self-Obsession

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If your conscience is not seared, you will be bothered by our obsession with self in this age. It's loud everywhere. Self-Obsession is just a modern day cry of wanting independence from God. Are we not self-obsessed when we can do things to get whatever we want regardless of whether it pleases God or not? Are we not self-obsessed when the needs of the next person matters less to us? The result is what we see all around us; the whole fabric of our society is woven with selfishness.

Many are gods to themselves. They live, eat and breath self. That attitude of self-exaltation and self-worship is what caused our first parents to fall: 

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:4-5).
That voice that suggested independence from God is still suggesting independence from God in our times. With this, it's crucial believers be on the guard not to get caught up in the self-exaltation going on around us. We have a mandate to act differently. We are the light of the world. We don't have to fall into the mould of the world. 

We were created to serve, worship and exalt God, not self and material things. We are not here to please ourselves. We are not here on a self-pleasing trip. Everything we do on earth must have only one seal of approval: The Glory of God. We are on earth on His assignment. We are here on His errand. His glory. His joy. His purposes. His agenda. His plans. Everything in the end is to His glory. We are here to give glory to his name.

This life is more than us. It is more than our dreams and visions. It’s more than the things we want to achieve for ourselves. There's a bigger agenda, and that agenda is the glory of God. If we make The Glory of God our priority, we truly will be the light of the world despite the loud cry of self-obsession around us