Sunday, 23 October 2011

Faith despite circumstances...

(Rembrandt's Christ in the storm on the sea of Galilee, 1632)

One of the most astonishing faith statements in the Bible:

Job says: "For I know that my Redemeer lives and He shall stand at last on the my flesh I shall see God. I shall see Him for myself- my own eyes will behold Him...oh how my heart yearns within me." Job 19:25-27.

Context/Circumstances: Job loses most of his family, his home and even his health. Everyone around him thinks that God has cursed him. Much like today, people assumed that when bad things happened, it was because God willed it, rather than taking into consideration the existence of God's enemy, Satan, and also the role of human choice. However, despite his circumstances, Job refuses to believe that God has abandoned him.

Some of us have difficult circumstances in our life whilst others of us (myself included) have not met with much suffering or hardship. One thing that is for sure in this life though is that God wants to give us the opportunity to walk through this life with peace, security, confidence and hope. He wants us to know that He is on our side: "..if God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" Romans 8: 31, 32.

What do you think about Job's attitude? What has been your experience? What would you like it to be in the future?

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Am I growing?

One of my all time favorite promises in the Bible:

"May He grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith...may you know the love of Christ which surpasses [theoretical]knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:16-21

I sometimes worry about how I represent God as someone who calls themselves a Christian. God has been so misrepresented by religious people and groups throughout history, so I want to show the fullness of His character and truth in my life. But this verse in Ephesians makes it clear that it is His love and care towards us that fills us with God's glory (i.e. His character) rather than something I have to create for myself.

Do not worry as to whether or not you are growing. Plants do not grow through any conscious effort or worry. They grow by just being in the sunlight. We need to live in the sunlight of God's presence and then we will grow. Jesus said, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin...Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life.” The children of God are to cease worrying, cease looking at themselves and they are to take an earnest interest in others... (paraphrase from my devotional book).

Image: Van Gogh, Field of Flowers.