Wednesday, 22 June 2011

"There is nothing worse than 'Lukewarm' tea!"

Recently God placed a burden on me to become a HOT Christian. When I became a Christian a year ago, the passion to serve and know God was a lot in my heart. The passion was burning hard! However, as life progressed, it was easy for me to forget my 'first Love' - God - and slowly turn back to the world.

There is nothing worse than being 'Lukewarm'! Unlike me, many hate 'Lukewarm' tea. Tea is best served hot! If its not 'hot' then at least 'ice' tea is the second best; 'Lukewarm' tea is horrible! This is exactly how God finds us...

Revelation 3:16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

When we decide to start our walk of faith with Christ, we decide to seek to obey Him, strive to please Him and crave for righteousness. This is expressed through the measures we take for Him - professing our faith to others or just by striving to avoid weakening to temptations. However, our 'Hot' spiritual lives can cool down.

Firstly, we  lose our passion. This always reminds me of the description given in Revelation about the Church in Ephesus. Although they did everything 'right', they lost their 'first love'. When we start our Christian lives, we eagerly evangelize, profess our faith, practice what we preach, but eventually, we do it out of 'PRACTICE' not 'PASSION'. The heart doesn't connect with our deeds and all our efforts just become a monotonous chore. This condition easily pushes us into the world's open mouth that waits to devour us! Thus, slowly burning out the fire within us!

Secondly, we give in to world and its demands. The world and worldly temptations are so alluring to our mortal, sinful, evil souls that we find it hard to let go. Many of us want both God and the world. Unfortunately, like the Bible says, we CAN NOT serve two masters..When us Christians choose to serve God passionately yet tolerate the sinfulness in us, we become 'Lukewarm'. What difference is there between us(who are saved from sins) and the world in general(who are yet to be saved)? Nothing! Why would anyone want to be saved if there is no difference? Are we being grateful and showing our gratitude to God by rejecting His will and tolerating sinfulness? We don't even try to resist evil yet preach about saving grace and a transformed life that follows. Therefore, we become the worst kind possible 'Lukewarm'! 

I am afraid of being 'Lukewarm'; it holds the worst consequence. God says He'll SPIT US OUT! That is why God warns us. He clearly wants us to be HOT! Moreover, if we ourselves are not 'hot', we will not be able to fulfill the 'Great Commission' - be fishers of men! When we have no fire, we have no depth(don't speak from the heart), thus lose souls to the world, including our own!

This song 'Lost Get Found' talks about just that - Not letting the fire burn out. We will not be able to bring souls into Christ's abounding love without a fiery HOT HEART!
This not only means re-igniting the fire for God within us, but also seeking His help to let go of the world. I know its hard! One of my favorite verses in the Bible is:

Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Why can't we let go of the world? We can't because of the evil and sinfulness of our own mortal minds.When we choose to follow Christ, we've got to let the world go. Our priorities should and will change, our perception of the world around should also change; moreover, we ourselves should show a change in our lives. I understand that this is VERY DIFFICULT, however, NOT IMPOSSIBLE. When we seek His help and strive with prayer we will be able to let go off the world. We need to ask God to create in us a new heart and mind with new desires - nothing is impossible for Him!

When we have a way out why still be 'Lukewarm'! Cold itself is very bad - resulting in Hell, but at least you know from the beginning where you are. However Lukewarm is the worst as you get a shock! There is nothing worse than thinking, 'you got it right' and then realize, 'you had it all wrong'! Therefore, let us not by any means let the fire burn out. Instead, lets fight the good fight, with passion and in all we do, let us prayerfully strive to be HOT! Remember, like many say,  "There is nothing worse than 'Lukewarm' tea!"

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Are we listening?

Recently I was captivated by the way God speaks to us...
1 Kings 19: 11 - 13
The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”
   Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
   Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
When I read this passage, it thrilled me to find out that sometimes God uses the most unlikely way to speak to His children. Our God is a powerful, mighty God, He is the God of the universe; we all would expect Him to speak through grand means. I thought He would speak though the fire, earthquake or at least the wind, but He chose to use a whisper. Elijah realized that He can speak through any way, therefore, he was attentive and heard the Lord.
Ever so often in life, I wonder if I was so caught up with hearing God's voice thundering through the sky, that I missed His whispers. We always think God is going to use something great to speak to us, but He is a great God, He is great enough to use the simplest of things to give a great message. What matters is what He wishes to tell us not how He chooses to do so. Remember, God has strange but wonderful ways. Mandisa's song 'God Speaking' reminds us of the strangest yet greatest of things - God being born in a manger!
Lets attentively, like Elijah, keep our ears open in all situations to hear His voice - whether a roaring thunder or a gentle whisper - Are we listening?

Saturday, 11 June 2011

I have only ever lived for myself
the mistakes I've made haunt me
now my life is filled with despair
as I'm pursued by the past I see

I try to cling onto branches or vines
to hold on to my life so dear
with helplessness I stand midst
an endless ocean so unclear

With all I have done and still do
I hesitate to call out to You
will You come for a worm like me
or reject me like others do

I've heard about the mercy You showed
to many through ages past
I fear to come before the true God
so powerful and filled with might

But You Yourself give Your hand
reach out and grab me out
filled with love, compassion and of course
a grace that still abounds

A peace rests upon a restless life
a love that warms my soul within
all of this I received for free
just because you died for me

Although perfection I can't attain
I pray with sincerity
please Lord help me to live
more for you and less for me.

Friday, 10 June 2011

This week, as I heard a song by Addison Road, that is embedded at the end of this post, I realized that I knew nothing about God. All the while, I thought I knew a lot and felt it all, but I still need to learn and feel a lot more (that is the truth and needs to be admitted). The song moved me to tears and really made me think and that is why I felt I needed to write about doubt. Doubt is always perceived as a negative element in our spiritual growth, but I'm learning that it can be made positive!

Job 11:7 "Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?

Doubt! A word that we all would have come across or meet often. Doubt is not the product of unbelief but pride due to the inability to comprehend God. While doubt can lead to spiritual productivity as we can strive to come closer to God, if conceived on a large scale it will give birth to unbelief. Although, it is difficult to accept it, we are beings with finite minds. There are mysteries all around us that we can't even fathom in our entire life time. But the prideful nature of our beings, make us doubt everything that we can't comprehend. We have little answers but various questions, not all our questions are answered. When we 'try' to figure it all out, we end up with more questions! Why?

Ecclesiastes 8:17 “..However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out.”

We are designed to not know! If  we were born with all the answers, what will we learn from life? We'll have no purpose. Our primary purpose is to know God more! If we figure out everything about Him, we lose the wonder. The 'Continual growing in Christ comes from a deepening knowledge of Him'. When we lose the wonder of His word, we stop serving and praising Him with passion. We lose the passion, the yearning to learn and know more. We become spiritually lazy, and soon the fire becomes a just a flicker and dies out. We may ask a million questions but I have learnt to remember that God is God, whether you have or don't have questions about Him. How many times have we read a familiar scripture and still found something new? - Many! We really know nothing, but we like to assume we do. When we can not explain something, we create our own theory that we can explain and that can suit ourselves; many have done that (some without realizing). However, the word of the Lord already mentions that scenario and clearly states that even though they think they have found 'it' out, they really haven't.

What makes us doubt God? His unconditional love and all sufficient grace - because we have never encountered anything like it on earth! His power and magnificence - because we don't understand and can't explain how He could have done a certain thing. God is omnipotent, anything is possible for Him and He has the most perfect character ever! Although we know it, sometimes we move away and are so caught up with the world that we don't feel it and just can't digest His beauty!

Miguel de Unamuno thoughtfully said, "Those who believe that they believe in God, but without passion in their hearts, without anguish in mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, without an element of despair even in their consolation, believe in the God idea, not God himself." I like what he said because, we all doubt at some point in life about God and His compelling character. However, we have a choice, take that doubt, grow it and turn it to unbelief or pray! My Physics teacher says that a school child learns effectively and a lot more only when he or she doubts and asks questions. Likewise, we need to ask God to change the doubt into curiosity; our doubt will drive us to learn and meditate more on God's word to know and love Him more. 

Here are three more quotes on how doubt can lead to productivity and actually encourage us to still strive to learn more about God:

  1. "God is not what you imagine or what you think you understand.  If you understand you have failed." ~Saint Augustine
  2. 'So long as God reveals Himself, or doesn't, He is behaving like God.'  ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960
  3. 'I had a thousand questions to ask God; but when I met him they all fled and didn't seem to matter.'  ~Christopher Morley, Inward Ho!

Instead of focusing on those trivial doubts, we have to stick to what His word clearly shows us and ponder and meditate on that (from which we can still learn tons); we then will realize the insignificance of those doubts and they will not matter any more. A wise man (or woman - not sure!) once said, "The best remedy for doubt is to look back at the goodness of God and count ALL His blessings" I agree! When we cherish in His goodness, we realize how much we still ought to learn and just ignore those pesky doubts!

Thus, although doubts may seem scary, we can make them productive when we seek God's help and guidance. Lets remember that doubts really don't matter, we will never know everything about God until He reveals. However, lets nurture curiosity to strive to know Him more and meditate on His word and just expose ourselves to His unconditional, compelling love! 
...And as promised at the start of this post, here is the beautiful song 'What Do I Know Of Holy?'  by Addison Road:

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The Christocentric Word - Psalm 2

As I came across Psalm 2 in my daily reading, it was clear that it was certainly Christocentric.

Firstly, verse 2, presents a picture of the hostility Jesus and His followers have faced, still face and will face.
'The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against His Anointed One'
The significance of God in our lives is slowly deteriorating due to laws, practices and values evolving in our society. Our lives are constantly bombarded with pressure from a silent, but deadly authority, the media; the media encourages a distorted portrayal of God(Jesus) and Christianity . Moreover, Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world.

Next, we see that the trinity image is reinforced  by verse 7'..."You are my Son; today I have become Your Father...."' This reminded me of the previously examined 2 Samuel 7. Although Jesus is God-incarnate we refer to Him as the Son of God, and this section clearly emphasises this.

But the Psalmist doesn't stop there, we see in verses 8 and 9, the power this Son possess. His power, magnificence and might is astounding. Especially in verse 9:'You will rule them with an iron sceptre; You will dash them to pieces like pottery.' We see Jesus' might beautifully portrayed by the vivid imagery in the above verse. It also harmoniously connects to the description John gives in Revelation 12 of the 'Male Child' (Jesus). This not only shows us that scripture is very Christocentric in its nature as every bit is connected to Jesus, it also shows us the reality it posses; the harmony and continuity in scripture in mind-blowing and beautiful. We are reminded of the fact that 'The earth is the Lord's...' and that we will rule it in glory and splendor soon eradicating all sinfulness from it.

Finally from verses 10 to 12, the truth of the Gospel is subtly outlined. The Psalmist focuses on God's love, mercy, grace and kindness to those who choose to follow Him. This is certainly the core message of the Gospel that was unveiled in John 3:16: 'For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.' But like all promises, the promise of God's love is stationed on a condition - we've got believe and follow Him. The Psalmist firmly anchors his words and depiction exactly on this truth as he goes on to outline the judgment on those who choose not to follow. All our actions and choices have consequences, so does the choice of not following the Lord Jesus Christ and accepting His sacrifice on the cross - sadly, the result of this choice is death and an eternity spent in Hell and complete isolation from our Savior and Creator.

The Christocentric mysteries found throughout scripture are not only interesting but accentuate the need to repent and follow the Lord Jesus Christ. Without Jesus there is no life or hope for us to reunite with Him, the Bible clearly says and we all know that 'we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of the Lord.'  and Jesus Himself said, 'I am the way the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except, through me' - Salvation is vital and that can't be stressed enough. There are still a lot of Christocentric mysteries for us to fathom but as we try to, let us not forget the most important message they combine to emphasize - Salvation, that can only be found in Christ.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Let Him control the rudder...

I hate the feeling that I get when I know I haven't done enough to help someone out or just feel guilty for something I'd done wrong or a wrong choice in general. The problem is, I never know what to do after that...
I am the kind of person who likes to be made to do instead of think and ask for help straight away(this is not a very good quality)...the worst thing is, I want to help or do something, but have absolutely NO IDEA HOW to do so, I'm afraid that I'll make the wrong choice.; even if I do help, I feel guilty as I always feel that I haven't done enough!
However, I forget that there is someone, waiting to offer the correct help that I need, someone waiting to tell me exactly what to do so that I don't make the wrong choice...GOD!
Like James 1:5 says If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him - At times like these, we need the discernment to choose our actions wisely, thus we need to ask God. Although this might seem like a simple thing to do, believe me, it can be easily forgotten.
 We, as humans, are mostly possessive of our lives and sometimes think that we are at the wheel and in-charge. However, the reality is, if we take control of the rudder with our horizontal vision, we will certainly CRASH at one point; if we let God take control, with His bird's eye view vision of our entire life and the consequences of all the possible choices we make, we are certain to end up on the shore safe and sound.
If, like me, you've done something similar and you're the kind of person who feels guilty really easily, remember: God prepared to give a sincere heart another chance in life to set things right by learning from past failures; we ought to pursue that opportunity with wide, open arms but with His help; like my friend Deborah Marquardt once said, "Come on, give Him a try" - You'll know the difference His choice makes straight away!
God is just waiting to interfere in the endeavors in our life to help us make those baffling decisions; He knows the ultimate outcome of it all and wants to help us steer our lives in the correct direction through every action - All we've got to do is ASK and TAKE His opinion by letting Him take control of the rudder of our lives.