#Day 4 ; Unearthing my beliefs

Romans 4: – Abraham’s walk of faith

Verse 1 – 8: – Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What did he discover about being made right with God? If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something to boast about. But that was not God’s way. For the Scriptures tell us, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.  David also spoke of this when he described the happiness of those who are declared righteous without working for it: “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight. Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.” [NLT]

Reflections: – Most of us grew up singing “Father Abraham has many sons, I am one of them and so are you”. He is called out father in the first verse but he dug up a hard truth through his experience with God [There are certain things we can only fully understand through our own personal experiences]. Vs 3 is equally quoted in Gen 15:6. The righteousness associated with Abraham was as a result of his faith in God. Everything within him didn’t add up to what God promised to him. In Gen 12, God had already said Abraham was going to be made a great nation even when Sarah had been declared a barren woman. But in Gen 15 Abraham responded to God for the first time when God told him not to be afraid. I needed to emphasize this, Abraham was scared when God said he had a great reward. How often have we received a word concerning our lives and freaked out? Maybe looking at your current capacity, you’re unable to carry it through but it was this fear that led Abraham to ask God a couple of questions that prompted God to tell him his descendants will be too many to be counted. Childless Abraham with a barren Sarah believed God, he amplified God and his inability took second place. God was all that mattered in the equation. Just like in linear algebra, He was the X that needed to be found to complete the equation. Abraham was just the perfect candidate for God. He knew it wasn’t about his efforts cos of their present situation, he had nothing to boast of. Abraham wasn’t a perfect person, he was a sinner but the faith he placed in God by believing in Him is righteousness. It isn’t the sinner that is counted righteous rather the faith at work in them, this faith now transforms them daily into becoming Christ-like.

Verse 9-12: – Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness.  How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also,  and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised. [NKJV]

Reflections: – Paul definitely knew how to ask those questions that linger on in our hearts. All those who associate with Abraham apart from Christians practice circumcision. I’m wondering why the question popped up. Maybe the religious leaders at that time and even now were using it as a yardstick to measure the level of Christianity. Perhaps a class system was created; Christians without circumcision [Beginner’s class], Christian with circumcision [Mature class]. But Abraham’s righteousness came before his circumcision. Remember in Chapter 3 we respond to what God has done, the circumcision came as a sign of his faith in God’s acceptance of him. So now we have Abraham who is righteous both in the uncircumcised and circumcised. What this clearly says is ACCEPTANCE. Circumcision involves removing of the foreskin, Abraham still had it but God called him righteous. What is your own foreskin? Oh how God is waiting patiently for you to believe Ciin Him, to trust in His saving power. After you come to Him, your foreskin will be taken away.

Verse 13-18: – Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith. If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless. For the law always brings punishment on those who try to obey it. (The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break!)So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.”This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.  Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” [NLT]

Reflections: – God’s promise to Abraham was not in any way tied to his adherence of the law which involves human effort. It was going to be both a walk and work of faith. Although there was a promise from God, there wasn’t a step by step instruction on how it would come to pass, after a while Sarah advised him to help God by sleeping with her maid Hagar. It was still his seed besides his clock was ticking and so was Sarah’s, or maybe God was sleeping on the job or perhaps forgotten or just maybe they needed to speed up the time. But we forget the race isn’t to the swift, time is in His hands, our God is faithful and keeps His words. Can you put yourself in this scenario? Has HE promised, then let Him be God and do what He said. If God wanted Hagar to be part of the grand design, Abraham’s faith wouldn’t have been necessary. T.D. Jakes says if you have a shovel dig that “mountain” out of the way instead of using your faith. In essence we use faith when our human ability can’t achieve certain things. While Abraham’s faith is explored you might be thinking if it’s ever possible to get to the level he got in his walk with God. Don’t be mistaken, he was human just like us, while God was speaking to him about the blessings on him and his generations in Gen 17, he was busy thinking of Ishmael and after God had corrected him by saying the heir was going to come from Sarah, he didn’t just doubt it, he even laughed. But he went beyond doubting, in the face of contrary evidence he chose to believe God. We are constantly faced with doubt and belief; it’s entirely up to us to choose.

Verse 19 – 25: – And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb.  He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God,  and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him,  but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification. [NKJV]

Reflections: – Although Abraham had fathered a child by Hagar when he was 86, God spoke to him when he was about 100 years, coupled with Sarah’s infertility, it looked impossible. But his faith was strengthened the more cos he knew it wasn’t about him, he kept his eye on the promise. I’m pretty sure he was excited to see how God would pull such stunt, it’s like seating in a movie theatre, watching your life play out on the big screen but not knowing what the next scene will be like. The anticipation!!! He was fully, not partially convinced in God’s ability to fulfill the promise. Now that was what gave him right standing with God, he simply said to God I TRUST YOU. How reassuring to know we are giving such privilege of right standing with God when we believe in the One (God) who raised Jesus from the dead. Our sin led to His death and His resurrection leads us to right standing with God.

***End***

Loads of Love

JMAD

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#Day 1 ; Unearthing my beliefs

It’s amazing how God’s word is really new and refreshing, I had read Romans 1 before but I got a different insight this time around. If you’re just visiting the blog for the first time, you can read up what led to this study here. The study will take the following format, a central theme for each chapter, analysis of the verses and a reflection.

Romans 1 – Good News and the Truth

Verse 1 – 4 : – This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News (Gospel). God promised this Good News long ago through his prophets in the holy Scriptures.  The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord. [NLT]

Reflections: – Paul can be likened to our present day Pastor, Priest etc while we can’t all verify who commissioned them to carry out the message they bring to the world, Paul was chosen by God and his sole purpose was to speak of Good News. In order not to keep us guessing or getting into an argument of what Good News meant the next verse explained it as the Son of God. Simply put the Good News/Gospel is all about Jesus Christ. This is the crux of Christianity.

Verse 7 – 8 : – To all who are in Rome beloved of God called to be saints, grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ Let me say first that I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith in him is being talked about all over the world.[NLT]

Reflections: – Paul writes to the Romans about Jesus Christ as well as God the Father, for every time he mentions Jesus we read about God the Father. For he knows his only access to God the Father is through the Son Jesus Christ, even while he prayed he adopted the same procedure. How often have we sought help from the Father through other means?

Verse 9 – 12 : – For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers,  making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you.  For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established  that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. [NKJV]

Reflections: – He serves God in his spirit… but what of those who serve in the Church, the Choristers, Protocol, Evangelists etc. Don’t they serve God through their various works? Why didn’t Paul say God whom I serve with my body? Remember the conversation Jesus had with the woman at the well, He ended by saying they that worship God, must worship Him in Spirit and in truth. Our service/worship stems from the spirit. Without that we are just displaying works of flesh, and remember the flesh is always in competition with the spirit. Sooner or later we will wear out if our service is from the flesh, it all becomes about us, rivalry and pride sets in. He went further to say he desires to be with them to impart some spiritual gift note he didn’t say gifts (just like the fruit of the spirit Eph 5:9), that they may be established. The spiritual gift from God is all encompassing, how much of it have we desired, just like in the harvests of 30’s, 60’s, 100’s. Do you have anyone writing letters to you? Have you become an Island? What kind of impartation are you receiving? While you may think the Romans only needed the impartation for their good, Paul says it was of mutual benefit. Iron sharpens iron. Have you been imparted with spiritual gift? If you have, what are you doing with it?

Verse 16 – 17: –  For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith [NLT]. As the Scriptures say,  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith “ [NKJV].

Reflections: – Why would anyone be ashamed of this Good News? If you’ve ever been ashamed, it’s time to analyze what you believe. For this is what makes us right in God’s sight, it transforms us. Notice he didn’t say the works you do rather the Good News which is Jesus Christ. Just when you’re wondering how, he says it is by faith. Hold on, I thought faith was only applicable to receiving great and mighty miracles from God, that mountain moving testimony but here Paul is saying our righteousness, right standing is by faith. Let’s hold that thought a bit

Verse 18 – 20: – But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them.  For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God [NLT]

Reflections: – This verse wasn’t written to the ignorant or unbelievers rather to those who already know God. Could this be written to Christians? Or better still those who have experienced the truth about God and probably given the mandate to share that truth with others. Are you a minister, apostle or preacher in the Lord’s house? Have you withheld the truth God Himself revealed to you from your congregation? You may not be heading a Church but you are putting an end, concealing the truth from people. What exactly is that truth? The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. Nothing was created without God, and all that was created was made for His pleasure and to bring Him glory. The entire world we see points to God, therefore we really have no excuse not to know Him.

Verse 21 – 24: – Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.  So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies.

Reflections: – The first verse reveals pride; they knew God but wouldn’t worship Him and were equally unthankful. Once again these are people who know God. They are the self-sufficient ones, the wise ones, maybe I could be one of them. When you think your wisdom has gotten you to the place you are now, and in that assumed wisdom you start to create a God that best suits your imagination. These imaginations lead to the creation of idols which can be in any form, career, spouse, accolades, wealth, fame etc. As a result of this God abandoned them, I think this is the worst state to live in. Gen 20 gave an account of how Abraham lied to Abimelech that Sarah was his sister that resulted in Abimelech taking her as his wife vs 6 says ‘’In the dream God responded to Abimelech, yes I know you are innocent that’s why I kept you from sinning against me and why I didn’t let you touch her’’. Imagine if God had abandoned Abimelech to fulfill his desires, it’s like a hedge around us, once it is removed the true evil intents of our heart gets to work.

Verse 25 – 28: – They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.  Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done [NLT].

Reflections: – Paul mentions the truth again; in this case idol worship was practiced. Remember idol worship isn’t just carved images. Whenever the issue of same-sex relationship is mentioned, most Christians refer to this verse and maybe while reading this, you are saying please tell them but a careful look at the verse above reveals these actions came from their inner lustful desires. When God abandoned them they practiced it. Question is, what is your own inner lustful desire and for a second imagine if God abandons you now, what act will you display?

Verse 29 – 32: – Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy.  They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.

Reflections: – As a result of the shameful things practiced their lives became filled with terrible things, and they started to invent new ways of sinning. But the terrible things they did are not too far from us, they are within us every day. Is there a correlation to out hidden lustful desires? To crown it all vs 32 says they know God’s justice for those engaging in it, they don’t just do them but give their seal of approval to those who practice them.

***End***

I didn’t think it would have been this long, but then again remember I said I wasn’t sure of what to expect. I hope you have started questioning yourself and your beliefs. Chapter 2 will be explored tomorrow by God’s grace.

Loads of Love

JMAD

 

 

Audience of One

Stage Play

Many people miss their university days more but my case is different and I’m pretty sure there are more people like me. Oh! How much I miss my days in Federal Government Girls’ College Owerri popularly called Feddy Owerri. I had so much fun in that school, the punishments, the way we all had to learn to be doctors for asthmatic patients all in a bid to avoid some school activities, the different sports and club activities. We equally had music and drama competitions between the various dormitories. I can’t remember singing but I participated in the drama; I didn’t act but I read the prologue. The competition took place in Pink house because they had a stage in their quadrangle, I was nervous when Purple house was called; the sound of a pin could be heard everyone’s eyes was fixed on the stage, waiting for the curtain to be drawn open to reveal the action waiting to happen. The audience all looked out for the person giving the intro.

Isn’t this like our Christian walk on earth, we are the audience all seated in the big auditorium and looking to Jesus who is constantly preparing our mind for what lies behind the curtain of life. Back in school everyone coming to Pink house all came to watch the drama regardless of who won. I have observed over the years, the dividing line found in Christianity through the church system. A church starts and before you know it there’s a break-away and most of the time it happens with a fight (may not be physical but verbal and often results in members becoming enemies). What’s really going on? I can’t receive The Holy Communion in your church because I’m not a card-carrying member, I can’t marry outside my church, I stop to give you a lift because I’m headed in your direction but when I hear you’re going to another church I zoom off, we’ve more than one church in a building; on Sunday there’s so much confusion during praise and worship.

What exactly did Jesus come for? A similar episode played out in the Bible 1st Corinthians 3 vs 4 – 9. For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings? Who is Apollos? And who is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

Can we go back to having one purpose? A family that is divided cannot fight effectively outside. Our purpose is to reconcile the world back to God through our acts of love, I keep on asking if I wasn’t born a Christian would I want to be a Christian with all the fights and bickering happening. If it’s not what my pastor said, it’s what my church said forgetting we will all stand alone on the last day with all our church names stripped off. It’s an audience of ONE, no divisions just glorify God, not man or the church.

LOADS OF LOVE.

JMAD.

With Love……….

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For some funny reason I’ve been happy and I thought it was just me been happy, but I realised it’s connected to someone (Yea I can hear you whisper, who’s the person). Just hang on a little and enjoy the ride, while I take you on a tour.
Have you ever met this person and somehow you two become “friends” but……….. There’s just this thing about the person, in fact many people are wondering how you two can be friends (Just like how people wondered why Jesus dined with sinners) *you gate it * in Chigurl’s voice. Two of you are like parallel lines, sometimes you ask yourself how you’re holding onto the person.

Someone shared a story of a family who had only a set of twin girls: one had Down syndrome and the other was so withdrawn and performed poorly in school. The guy was brought in as a lesson teacher. He kind of gave up after the first day with her because she wasn’t responsive in anyway but he got an idea when he got home and he applied it the next day. He started telling her nice things about herself; how beautiful she was. Nothing really happened but he continued everyday by praising her and she started loosening up. Her improvement became evident at home and in school.

I met someone some years back, kinda lost touch and re-united this year again, thanks to twitter. His account had 30,000 + followers, and I’m like interesting. I followed him but after a few days I couldn’t stand his timeline. It was filled with explicit tweets and all the relatives. I quickly unfollowed him but you know when God chooses to do something; no matter who the person is, He just does it. Just like T.D. Jakes titled one of his sermons “Don’t tell God what you’ve heard” (This had to do with Ananias’ assignment to anoint Paul after his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus).

I found myself following him again, sure you might have come across him if you’re active on twitter: TWEET ORACLE. While most of his followers were enjoying his all-time high moments he sent them with his explicit tweets, I was seeing another side of him. Now I realise it was God. I’ll always start up a conversation with him on BB. Initially he was evasive when I brought up certain issues especially when it had to do lifestyle and God because I knew he was set apart for something more, just like my cutie Preacher Lily said “The devil is not really after you, rather your purpose”.
Although we had divergent views on almost everything in life, maybe the only things we had any similarity in was the use of BB and twitter but I kept on telling him there’s another side to him. Every second I had with him, I always found a way to let God speak to him through me. I don’t know how it happened but he started loosening up. His timeline didn’t change but I was hopeful.

I stayed on it and he started to yield not in any way to me. Truth is, he doesn’t owe me his life, and could live it anyhow he so desires but I could see the path he took was coming to an end. Recently his TL changed and he started to put inspirational tweets. Some of his followers said he became boring while others appreciated the change. Here’s one lesson, if you decide to dance to the tune of people, more like live the supposed “popular” life, you’ll have lots of friends but when the music is over and you’re all alone, you get to realise who your friends are.

My dear friend, this is from my heart to you, let go and let God have His way. You have no idea, what’s inside of you and the effect it’ll have not just in Nigeria but the world at large. God loves you so much and He’s been waiting patiently just like the prodigal son and his father. Don’t try to figure out how your life will turn out. Some people may not welcome the change but at the same time so many people will find their way back to Jesus. You can take a cue from Paul, many years down the road his life is still ministering to us. Are you scared you might lose some endorsements? One thing I know for sure, anyone God calls, He equips. You may have thought you were living on the fast lane but there’s a greater life out there.

Now to you reading, is there someone you’ve written off. Don’t be hasty. God’s plan is for everyone to come to repentance. The power of life and death are in your mouth. Don’t kill anyone with it rather speak life into the person’s life. It may not look as if there’s any change but continue to strike that rock and a little crack will cause the dis-integration. Are you a parent? Speak kind words and blessings over your children. Are you married or in a relationship? Speak kind words and blessings over your partner. Speak into existence what you want to see in their lives just like Our Heavenly Father does.

Loads of Love

JMAD.