Tuesday, August 7, 2012

In the Valley of doubt

James 1: 2 - 8
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

I have been stuck on this passage for the past 2 months, (that’s to say the least) most particularly verses 6-8... I seem to have struggled with “Doubt” my whole life and while I wish I was here to share the testimony of how I overcame… and my recipe for success, that isn’t the case, I ain’t got it together yet. There are days I wonder if I ever will – I guess you can call it the doubt talking again. Nevertheless I feel sharing this journey might achieve one of two things:

1) Spur people who have got it together to share on how they got it together (and perhaps I won’t doubt their testimonies and be able to press into mine) or
2) Encourage others that may be going through the same that there is no affliction that is peculiar to one person, and perhaps we might all grow together into being “perfect and complete”.

So what is this doubt thing—is it a sin or a weight or just healthy realism? Well this much study I did and I’ll try to present it in a concise fashion. I found out doubt is strongly connected and correlated to faith, in fact it’s been dubbed and defined as “lack of faith”. What then is Faith?  It is said to be the substance attached to things hoped for and the evidence of things that are unseen. An example of this will be the belief that I’m one day going to have a Christ-centered, fun-loving and community-influencing home. (It’s not rocket-science sebi.. or maybe it is..)

And right in that “..or maybe it is..” you witness first hand my doubts. To me doubt is as simple as ‘double-checking’, there must be an ‘or’ to everything. It’s just keeping it real. I looked up the definition of doubt: it’s defined as unbelief, lack of faith… not trusting that which has been said or agreed to be true... i.e. it stems from lack of trust, I want to be in control all the time, I do not trust someone else to do things as well as I would, or with the motives that I do, matter of fact I don’t even trust myself to be able to do some things.

Why do I have doubts?

-Because somewhere back in my journal of experiences, I haven’t always made the best choice or said the right words or did the best things irrespective of how sincere and determined my motives were... I hold on so long and then the thought comes – what if you were wrong all along? I don’t like to be wrong, no scratch that.. I don’t want to be wrong…particularly not when I started out trusting that I was right..agrrh!

- Because I'm a sight driven person, I compare myself with myself, ..., typically sha I don’t believe. What would it take me to have unwavering belief? Verses 7 and 8 says let not a doubter hope to receive anything.. Ha! I want the dream, I want it o.. I just can’t seem to piece it together in my brain nor see it yet is why I just decided to double-check and now the penalty is having nothing!! That’s more than I bargained for o..

So here I come Lord, asking that you rid me, my heart, soul and mind of the sins and the weights, the lie, the insecurities, and the fear of the unseen that keeps me bound and keep me double checking. Help me find my rest in you...teach me what that looks like Lord, to know what it means to be at peace in the storm and that the storm is just an opportunity for my faith (my belief) and my endurance to grow and not to waver. Also that when my endurance is fully developed, I will be perfect and complete, needing nothing, for I will be assured that you are here ALL the time…like ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL the time. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Drawing Near..

So I finally sat my butt -and settled my thoughts – down to share something that I’m learning/walking through/trying to understand from the Bible. For a while, I’ve been stuck in this rut of reading my Bible with the aid of my devotional and I must confess that the words in the devotional have been so on point that it so fuelled my comfort and well, laziness to ‘dig deep’. After all, I have argued with myself on several occasions that what I want from studying my Bible is a clearer understanding of what it says, a better of understanding of who God is, a drawing near… and here comes someone shining the light into that verse that seemingly meant nothing to me ... Well, quick fact about me, I like things simplified; algebraic equations as opposed to vectorized notations, Keep It So Simple-KISS, yeah you can call that my motto. Dare I refer to myself as simpleton? I tend to think so lots of the times, I’m not just sure I like the fact that this simple mindedness does not lead to exploits or good… at least based on my brief survey of the Proverbs. Ok, so has anyone been here before?? Perhaps the journey is peculiar to me…

Well I need to rein in my thoughts, they keep moving on and on and on...
I have decided to embark on Bible- study, i.e. devotional and commentary free study of the books of the Bible... (I know, I know, where have I been? How did I get here? Et al, et al.. I think paragraph 1 answers all those questions). Well, the thing is, I keep getting to this point where I ask myself: ‘How much of my devotional is Spirit-inspired and how much is opinion-based or experience-concluded?’  Not like any of these is wrong or not edifying, however in seeking to draw near, in seeking to understand God for myself, what are the things that I can attest to be: ”the things which I have seen with my eyes, which I have looked upon, and my hands have handled, of the Word of life” (I John 1: 1 – my paraphrase)? Neways, right there, you find my motive or my purpose or my wake-up call – whatever you choose to call it.

In upcoming posts, I shall be presenting some of my musings since I started study. I’d like to request ahead of time that you pardon the piecemeal approach and yep, experience-concluded, opinion based and Spirit-inspired comments and ‘torch-lights’ from my brothers and sisters are highly welcome. I am deeply inspired and honoured to have you as family and to be part of this family. What I have learnt and I’m learning though is not to put the cart before the horse... I have my part to play in finding the light and I shall do the work too.. J

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Peripheral things...

I didn't want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God's righteousness. Philippians 3 verse 9 (The Message)
 …not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.  (NIV)

Have you ever felt pumped up because you had missed church in a while and you went back there? Or better still, you’ve missed reading your Bible for like a month, and one weekend, you dive into it and receive this awesome revelation from God. How did that make you feel?  Maybe you can better relate to this, you usually have a good snooze during the sermon but you were able to stay up all through it. And you automatically feel exhilarated due to this! Perhaps you had been struggling with consistency in your tithe payments, and now, you realise that you’ve been faithfully tithing  for about 6 months, no misses or interruptions –A little victory dance is called for- right?  Yippie!, my barn house has got to be filled to overflowing! (… I just sang out the scripture right there, I may just have discovered the stirrings of the Psalmist in me J)

All these examples stated above are not bad. In fact, some of them are a good indication of a firm relationship with God right? However, they are not fool-proof indicators of how deep our roots go. Yes, it is important we fellowship with the brethren, study our Bibles daily, give offering and tithes, be kind to the poor, give that nice smile to everyone to indicate we love them and on and on…the list goes..
But as this verse says, our righteousness does not come from a set of rules. These rules we set as standards to indicate that we are Christians; our righteousness does not come from them.
At times, we even snort at people we feel are not keeping these rules. We have our own set of rules that identify if that brother or sister is a Christian or if they are backsliding (I’m not saying the rules are wrong, but they are not fool-proof).It’s my faith in Christ that makes me to be in right-standing with Him. Of course this faith is built on constant fellowshipping with God. It’s nurtured by me hearing the Word and fellowshipping with people (Iron sharpens Iron right?).
Today, I'd like to point you towards focussing on the internal, and not the peripheral. When we focus on the activities instead of the working of our faith within, we loose sight of what's important. Focus on building your relationship with God. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. We tend to look at those external things like they are what matters, but my dear, it’s the internal. 
The internal governs the external!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Share the Word and edify others

I'll like to welcome you to a place where we would build and edify ourselves. A place where we would challenge each other to dig deep into the Word. 
I've had this blog laid on my heart for a while now, and me, being the timid person I am, put it away for a long time. But right now, here we go.
I'm not expecting a smooth ride, but I'm expecting myself and everyone who reads this blog or shares in this blog to be edified and have a reason to strive to be that person God desires them to be.
What is required of administrators? Share the word... What has been laid on your heart. It might not necessarily be God speaking to you directly, He can speak to you through someone and you are allowed to share it here. Trust me, we all go through similar challenges, though some might be unique to certain people, but someone has faced that test before you. Like Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10 verse 13,  No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it. Someone is eager to know how you survived the storm (of course we know you had Jesus in your boat, but we need to be reminded).
In summary, this is a bible study blog where we all come and bare out what has been laid on our hearts. Feel free to share even if it's not your turn. There is liberty here. For the sake of having an active blog space, there'll be a post each week.
Welcome once again!