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30 September, 2013

Faith – Part 7

Hebrews 13:7-9 “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods, which is of no benefit to those who do so."

I read this book where this man wrote how he is sick and tired of hearing people talking about how they experience God and he finds it sometimes discouraging because it makes you wonder “what about me God?” Then he went on explaining to his readers not to worry about these people because God’s grace is what makes Him decide who to reveal Himself to and in the end this author seems to be saying that God basically does some “mini ma nimo” I paraphrased there, but that’s the gist of it. I have to say through reading his books I know he is a man of God and a child of God because he has true faith in God. This man has status coming out of his ears and you can see that from how he gave a glimpse into his life, the kind of job he held and his financial success etc. You can also see it in the circle of friends he included in the book as they provided him with testimonies which he included pages of them in the back of his book.  The funny thing is, as I was reading those pages of testimonies about him I still do not understand why he needed to include so many of them and it felt like a display of stars on the red carpet. One of his friend’s testimony included in the book was Billy Graham who talked about how this author and friend is a man of faith. The point that I am trying to make is that, according to the world standards, this man has it all.

I used to struggle with the fact that I experience God so much. In fact at the beginning, even though I did not know God well, I begged Him to stop revealing Himself to me and I even prayed fervently that He would take this gift of Himself away from me and reveal Himself instead, to the senior pastor of the Church that I used to attend. God knew I was not making it up, I felt wholeheartedly that if God was to reveal Himself to my pastor in the same way that He reveals Himself to me, there would be a revival in the Church, because people loves this pastor and he is so eloquent and when he takes the podium he is truly electrifying. I remember having a conversation with his father in law about that and the work electrifying was exactly what he used to describe proudly his son in law. I had to concur with him.

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When I was praying God to transfer the give of Himself to my pastor, I remember I used to find so much joy , knowing that people would come to God with all their heart and God would be pleased. My prayer was totally selfless. Keep in mind that my pastor was one of those people who used to see me as a big idiot because I was not wearing masks in the Church like everyone else. But through my prayer, you can tell I was not spiritually mature enough, so God did not reveal to me right away the main reason why He could not do the same thing with my pastor.

Faith is a gift from God. I totally believe that. I am also aware that there is a controversy that exists for centuries now, around this verse found in Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” There is a division between scholars, pastors and well known authors about these verses because a group of them believe that faith is not a gift of God and some believe yes it is a gift. Each one of these intellectual people usually goes on and on about how believing the wrong thing about faith would affect our walk. First of all, as far as I am concerned, I find these two verses the simplest things that God ever said to us, because I do not have the natural strength, abilities, skills and intelligence to think anything else, hence why I would rather do as God said which is having a childlike attitude and ask my daddy directly. I know, since His word tells me to believe with a childlike attitude, I can’t be wrong, if I ask Him, He will tell me. This is where it is good to say and truly believe in our heart that “GOD CANNOT LIE” – In this context, I am not trying to cheat my way through salvation nor that am I trying to hoard everything He has for me while giving nothing back.

In fact when I went to Him with a childlike attitude and asked Him how do I get through this mess out there where everyone seems to hold on to a partial truth? This prayer was prayed only a few months after I surrendered all to Him. He then told me, the first thing you have to do is to learn to get to a place where the Bible ceases to be a history book to your heart.  I understood that I needed to relate to those people that I was reading about in the Bible. I needed God to come alive like He used to be with the Israelites. I was surprise to see that even though I did not think  God was a dead God, but my belief and my life reflected that I was serving a dead God who no longer talk to us. I was shocked to see that God is as active in our lives and He is still talking to those who want to hear Him.  Another thing I needed to do was to start living out this life as if Christ truly ascended to Heaven.

When we set our mind to believe in this fashion, all of the sudden we find that we are hearing with our heart and what we are hearing whether is through our pastors from the podium or we are just reading, we realize what we are doing, is using the little faith we have to build on it. At first, it is so foreign to you because you actually venturing out on what He says. All your senses will be on alert mode screaming you are crazy. But, you have to mentally, spiritually and physically take the step to align with His authority and literally act in accordance to His spoken word. God finds much joy when He doesn’t have to force us to the point of dragging us to hear His word with our heart, trust what we hear in faith take the steps to put into practice what we hear. I tell you the truth, the moment we take the steps to trust and obey He comes along and carry us through it so we can do according to His desires.

Years ago, I opened up a bank account where the bank would give clients $25.00 to open a bank account with them. But in those days, I was not mature enough to acquire about fees for the administration of the account, the bank put my $25.00 and I went my way, never bothered about anything not even putting any money in there. One day I received a letter telling me to settle my bank charges because the account was accumulating so much. So, not only I lost the original $25.oo now I owed money.  As I understood faith being a gift from God, He taught me that the faith that I received in order to start this walk with Him is like a bank account where He made a deposit on my behalf so that I can start this walk with Him. But, it is my responsibility to administrate what I already received from Him in order that He can keep giving me more. Then He said, don’t worry about the responsibility to administrate the bank account because I am going to show you that too.

Over time, I learned that my faith will ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS be tested by God. And that goes for all of us Christians. Some of us will have faith in Him worth $2.00 and some will have $2000 or 2 million worth of faith in Him, and so on. Even the one with $2.00 worth of faith will be saved. There are some who never even bother to use the first deposit and it does not matter how God try and try to get them to go forward inwardly, they just do not want Him in this way, like the Israelites in the wilderness.  But God has shown us over and over again, when we decide to live outside of His goal of redemption for us, we get comfortable with our sins under the misguided idea that because He loves us we will be okay, that is our own presumption. Living outside His goal for redemption has direct consequences that we have to deal with. It is not like God brings things down on us or He is not true to His word, but rather the consequences of our sins find us.

But, the more faith you have, the more you have to learn to be a child in His hands. For almost a decade now, I keep seeing myself like a child between 6 -8 years old whenever God is dealing with me in the matter of faith.  I always thought He was the one who portrays me like this. But this year in 2013 He finally answered me. I asked again why is it that I am growing spiritually with you, yet you always look at me as if I am a child between 6-8 years old, I said I find it weird that you see me this way and I need to understand why? I said why is it I am not aging with you?  He finally told me, I do not choose to make you look like this my child, you never aged because you have learned to believe in me as if you were a child expecting me to care for you. Without Him saying it, I could tell He was pleased with me not wanting to age.

Only then I remember the best years of my life when I was around that age, I did not know better, I always expected my mom and dad to look after me. I never wanted to escape them, escape life, etc.  By the time I turned 10 years old I had a different awareness of life and I learned to view my parents differently. So, when I read the Bible and I wanted to please God with a childlike attitude that He demands of us, in my heart and soul, I set out to model this innocent, curious, trusting and eager to learn child when it comes to God’s word and my relationship with Him.

Having experienced God in the way I do, I learned how much delight it brings His heart when we exercise faith in Him. In fact, early on when I was getting to know Him, I felt like a child playing with my daddy. I remember saying wow! God is a sucker when it comes to faith. I know He knows that I used the word sucker with no intend of malice or disrespect in my heart because it was the only way I could explain all that I was living with Him. Yes, it was the time when I was in the worst shape of my life and I was losing everything I ever owned. During that time, I understood how awesome Adam and Eve had it. To have God come down just because He is seeking your company is phenomenal.  

At one point I had doubt that God does not play favouritism, so I went with Him to understand why is it if He does not play favourite, yet, some can see you and be with you so much and some don’t? Why is it you keep saying in the Bible that you love those who love you on several occasions, and one that I can think of right now is Proverbs 8:17? What’s up with 2 Chronicles 16:9? Strangely, God does not see it as favouritism, but simply because He starts the reward process even down here. That’s when He showed me, some Christians that I see might look so big and mighty down here, when we are all in heaven it will be surprising to see someone like me will be bigger in heaven than someone who is considered a pillar of your Church and actually sees you as being insignificant.  My point here is that Salvation is actually receiving a fortune from God. To unlock the gate of the treasure house, we have the key which is our faith in Him. God set it that way in His plan of Salvation.

It does not matter the amount of fasting, the amount of prayer and activities we do on his behalf. While they are all good things, at the end of the day, the main ingredient that is truly pleasing to God is our faith in Him. When we have faith in Him, we bless Him. Just like unbelief is like a cancer and affects every choice we make, faith affects each choice we make. The more you have faith, the more God is no longer a guest in your heart,  it is His Dwelling and He enjoys being there. Faith is the catalyst that brings this endless intimacy in your life with Him, no matter how hard this life is, you feel like you are living an endless love affair with Him.  

Yes I poke the bear, I am always asking for more faith and because I know that God is going to take me at my word I already know the test will be harsh so when I pray for more faith I can’t pray for it without crying because of the anticipated pain.  But, you know why I keep praying for more faith in Him? Because I know we can have endless faith in Him and there will always be room to expand we will never be filled to capacity. Secondly, I know in my heart because of who He is, that it is my ongoing faith in Him that will keep fuelling this love affair that I am having with Him. Thirdly, I do not want to ever put God in a position where He feels betrayed by my faith in Him where He would evoke our love as a thing of the past. It is so easy to backslide, I am not interested in finding out how far I can backslide away from him. When you make faith your first goal, it does not matter whether you understand things well enough because as you look around you, the house is being built for you, in you and all around you, while you never lift a finger.

I can see from the unusual amount of hits that I have, a lot of people are reading the faith posts. So, I apologize for yesterday, between soar throat, endless coughing to the point where I lost my voice all day, I could not sit for long, hence why I did not put the post out.

I pray that all of you would go forward in knowing Him through the depth of your soul.

Imagine having someone who loves you so much that He would rather die than living without you. That’s what He did for us. Doesn’t He deserve the gratitude of your heart? Give Him the honour that is due to Him, give Him yourself.
I truly love you guys and sometimes it makes me smile because I ask God how can one go on, loving people that you have never met, yet in your heart you can only see them like a close and precious family member? May the God of peace sanctify you through and through.
Take care