Saturday, 30 April 2011

You Always Will Do

This is an original song that I wrote months ago when I faced some trials and hard times with some relationships. I was reassured that no matter what others think of me, Jesus loved me, He still does and that He always will. I was also overwhelmed by the reality that He forgives and completely wipes the slate clean and forgives and forgets ALL the shameful aspects of our past.

The Christocentric Word

Looking back at Genesis, we read that God promised Abraham that his descendants will be innumerable. Although it is easy to think that God spoke about the Jews, initially, the chosen race has grown and it's horizons extended 2000 years ago. we realize that He really meant Christians - those who have accepted God, His sacrifice and have put their trust in Him alone.
Why is this Christocentric? - I wondered myself....
...but from the time of Abraham, it is clear that God had this great sacrifice in mind to form a relationship with His people in the right time...God planned to come to earth as a man - Jesus Christ - from a long time ago! A truly comforting and amazing thought that He cared for us and thought of us even then.

1 Samuel and 2 Samuel tell the story of a great Jewish king - David. Many events in David's life foreshadow the events in Jesus' life...although subtle these hints, accentuate the purpose of the Bible God's word - To be centered on Christ!
Some of the few hints that struck me were...

  • David chose a few men as 'his', to walk with them .etc. This reminds us of Jesus choosing a few men as 'His' - although we read in the gospels that many people followed Jesus, travelling with Him to hear Him, it is clear the 12 disciples were 'His' men as they were the ones who Jesus traveled and spent most of His time with.
  • David helped many people; the crowds admired him and followed him. However, when David needed the crowds most, they deserted Him, forgetting all that he had done for them, being so ungrateful! Does this ring a bell? Sure does! Jesus too helped many, in fact, He did a lot more than David did, yet, the people deserted Him and many cried out falsely against Him for Him to be crucified. This connection between David and Jesus is remarkable...but whatever the connection, Jesus is God incarnate while David was just a mortal like you and me!
Other pieces of scripture also hold a lot of significance to the Christocentric principle...
In 2 Samuel 7: 12 - 14 - God promises David that his son will build the temple of God that David had planned.
12 When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands.
This promise was about David's son Solomon, however, certain elements of the promise foreshadow Jesus' reign...
I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. Whose kingdom will be established forever? Jesus' of we know Solomon passed away but our Lord Jesus still lives and will live for ever more and His new kingdom will be one that will be established for ever.
I will raise up your offspring to succeed you We do know that Jesus was a part of David's family line...not directly but in regards to His earthly (step) father - Joseph (Read Matthew 1)
I will be his father, and he will be my son Although Jesus was God incarnate, we refer to Him and He refers to Himself in many places as the Son and God as His father...
He is the one who will build a house for my Name Although this is more of the subtlest hints in this passage, I feel that this is a really important one. Jesus said that the temple of God will be built in three days...that I feel is the greatest house for the Name of the Lord - Jesus' own body. The amazing thing about this House is that, no one can rob it of its glory and it will always remain!

Astonishing hints await in every page of the Bible, but our finite minds need a lot more than a lifetime to fathom and figure each little, subtle yet beautiful evidence out!

Monday, 18 April 2011

A Young Woman After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George

'A Young Woman After God's Own Heart' by Elizabeth George is a study that I've been working on for three years! It is an inspiring book that really guides a girl to live a life that is pleasing to our Savior. Mrs. George uses various verses, characters from the Bible, other sources to present a worthwhile ' to Friends, Faith, Family and the Future'.
The book is split into three parts: 'The Pursuit of God', 'The Pursuit of God's Priorities' and 'The Practice of God's Priorities'. However Mrs. George builds a relationship with her young readers as she nurtures them to develop...

1. A Heart Devoted to God:
Here Mrs. George helps us understand the importance of spending time with God, and by using the example of Mary and Martha I learnt to put God first. This chapter resonated the verse: 'Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.'
2. A Heart That Loves God's Word:
This chapter is just about how our roots are ought to be planted in God's word and not in the world. Like a plant's nutrients nourish it through the roots, so does the soil of our roots. We've got to plant our roots firmly, with God's help into His holy word.
3. and 4. A Heart Committed to Prayer:
Communication is the basis of any successful relationship and we are reminded to renew our communication with our Father in heaven. to be after His heart, we've got to know His divine will, thus we ought to communicate i.e. pray! Mrs. George encourages us not only to offer prayers for our selves but also A LOT of selfless prayers, even for those who despise us.
5. A Heart That Obeys:
'Obedience is better than sacrifice' - I always struggle with this one! We ought to obey not only our parents, but also God. 'I have found David...a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want to do' This clearly depicts that to be able to please our Father and to become a young woman after His heart, we ought to obey Him with the right attitude. It just reminds me of what one of my favorite preachers taught his kids when they were young: 'To obey, is to do what I ask you to do, how I ask you to do it, when I ask you to do it, with the right attitude.' It is in fact easy for us to obey half heartedly, but in this chapter Mrs. George explains the importance of the 'right attitude' bit.
6. and 7. A Heart That Submits:
Submission is closely related to obedience and Mrs. George uses Ephesians 5:21 to encourage us to submit ourselves to Christ and others; submission is the way to honor Christ.
8. A Heart That Loves:
The command 'Love your neighbor as yourself' - runs through this chapter encouraging us to love those around us with the love that Christ first showed us.
9. A Heart That Cares:
If you truly love, you would care! Its easy to say that we care, but Mrs. George encourages to put our words in action by showing our family and friends that we care by simple deeds (which I find extremely challenging)!
10. A Heart That Chooses Wisely:
A big part of our teenage life is our social life, Mrs. George reminds us that we ought to choose these friends wisely: ' friends is better than the wrong friends!'.  Proverbs 13:20 forms the basis of this chapter and really puts Mrs. George's words in perspective.
11. A Heart That Is Loyal:
Loyalty is vital in our testimony to others as a Christian. Loyalty is important in any relationship and this chapter outlines guidelines that we can follow to become or grow as a loyal, Christian friend.
12. A Heart That Grows:
A massive part of our lives is our education. Using Jesus' example, Mrs. George encourages us to acquire the maximum amount of knowledge and working to our best ability for Christ. She also encourages us to do it joyfully. The vitality of not only worldly knowledge but also Biblical is presented clearly in this chapter -One of my favorites!
13. A Heart That Serves:
Elizabeth George helps us identify the importance of serving God in various aspects of life. She does this by explaining four key steps: 'Learn to Reach Out' 'Learn to Look Out' 'Go to Give' and 'Give in Prayer'.
14. A Heart Marked by Purity:
In today's society the standards of purity are ever decreasing highlighting the detriment of the society itself. However, God's standards of purity never change and are highly significant. Mrs. George shows us how purity isn't a physical matter alone but one that also involves our heart and mind!
15. A Heart That belongs to God:
This chapter is truly self explanatory and presents an emotional ending to the journey we have taken with Elizabeth George, she encourages us to walk in His ways, drawing closer to Him everyday.

This book is an encouraging book that not only helps us get to know Elizabeth George but inspires us to walk in His ways and come closer to Him. With activities for us to do and Bible passages left for us to explore and understand, it really does portray how to become a woman after His own heart. Furthermore, Elizabeth George successfully achieves her goal for this book: ' goal in writing this book was to look at the major areas of your life as a young woman and then see what God says about each one of them in His word.' I would recommend this book to all the young women out there and would encourage you to read it, trust me, you will not take three years to read it like some one did; you will be challenged and this book will leave you entertained, enlightened and seeking to love our Savior more.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

The Christocentric Word

Continuing on with our Christocentric Analysis....

I came across two other Christocentric verses:

1 Peter 2:9 - But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

The word 'Possession' points us to the idea that a price has been paid. This is truly an honor and a humbling fact that our God had to pay a price to buy us. We are special to God, He loved us so much He paid that price. From Revelation 5:9, we can clearly see that, that price was Jesus's life; He gave His life on the cross so that we can be His. The above verse summarizes the promises and messages core to our faith; doesn't this strengthen us to know that God looks at us as individuals and finds us special!

Psalm 113:3 - From the rising of the sun to the going down of it and from east to west, the name of the Lord is to be praised!

The 'east to west' signifies Jesus' stretched arms. Years before Jesus' existence, the God inspired Psalmist writes about the immeasurable extent of His love and His kingdom. East and west are directions, this could symbolize God showing us the right direction to walk in through His sacrifice; east and west are also the opposite extremes which could be an extended metaphor for our sinful past and us being renewed into holy being in Christ. There are clues all over the Bible, even in the Old Testament that lead us towards the core message of God's love on the cross. This dawned on me after listening to a truly moving song...

Friday, 8 April 2011

God Cares

He made man, in His own image one day
That man, chose to disobey God even though he was blessed.
Yet God cared.
He helped him make civilizations and find food,
But man chose to do it his own way.
Yet God cared.
God gave man the wisdom and intellect to work for His glory,
Man refused and chose to deny His existence.
Yet God cared.

He came down to earth to die for us; to give us life
But man, rejected the gift and took away his life.
Yet God cared.

Even today, God sheds a tear waiting for man to seek Him,
Man, so stubborn, willingly rejects Him.
Yet God cares.
Although Lord, I know I am not worthy, I accept your gift so free,
Trusting that you will make my heart holy because you
O God care.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Be like a 5 year old!

Today on the bus, a 5 year old girl was arguing with her dad about something. At first, I ignored it but then I could hear their conversation clearer...
The girl, innocently, yet with complete certainty asked her dad, 'How can you say that Jesus is not real? He created us you know!' The dad dismissively said, 'Well that's just one world view, but personally, its not for me.'
This really amazed me, the heart of such an innocent little girl is open and convinced about the truth of the Gospel while the mind of a full grown, intelligent man rebukes and doubts it. The innocence of childhood keeps away the sins of the world. God has designed this blanket of innocence to safeguard His little children from worldly influences and sins. This really filled me with shame! The certainty in the child's voice was astounding; she sounded like she has seen and known God Himself. As we grow up, our minds get adulterated with the views and values of the world that it becomes harder to hold on to our faith.
To be honest, I am surrounded everyday by many unbelievers, I struggle a lot with sparks and waves of doubts and ignorance in my mind and ever so often need to ask for God's guidance to assure and strengthen me. This reminds me of the times of the apartheid and segregation: little children play together, oblivious to the racial differences, treating all equally. However, as they grow older the society's influences corrupts their mind and many turn away and see the partition, learn to hate and give way to prideful sin. This doesn't only apply to equality and segregation but also religious views.
Even as a Christian, I can honestly tell you that I have never seen any one so sure like that little girl, who hasn't even had the opportunity to know about God as we have had. This really helped me understand the reason behind why God said, 'For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.' 
I really do pray to God that this girl has the opportunity to know about her Saviour and in due time bring her family to Christ.
Let us learn from her innocent certainty that we ought to hold that kind of a strong assurance when we speak about and seek God. We are not 5 year olds but sometimes, we ought to humble ourselves as 5 year olds to understand the greater mysteries of life!