My Life as a Christian

Great Things He Has Done

There has been silence on the blog for the past weeks. One main reason that can better explain the muteness is preparations and departure for studies in a land not my own, United States of America (USA).

Together with my family, I have temporarily moved from the land of my birth, Malawi, to Grand Rapids,  Michigan to study for Masters of Arts in Religion (Emphasis: Systematic Theology) at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary (PRTS).

One of the opening sentences to the International Student Manual for PRTS reads: “We know that God has brought you through many challenges to be with us.” This can’t be further from the truth. My preparations for studies have not been a piece of cake. Through the whole process, my understanding of God’s sovereignty has improved for the better, and I can confidently say like David: “If the Lord had not been on our side…” (you wouldn’t have been reading this post and I wouldn’t have written it either). The Malawian Gospel singing group, Ndirande Angilcan Voices, also put it better when they sang: “Akalemba Mulungu walemba basi” literally meaning “What God has determined to do, He will definitely do.”

For sure, this is not about me or my family but God alone who is the center of everything in heaven and earth. His ways are not our ways and they shall never be. I would like to thank Him for making my dream come true. He not only gave the dream but He also fulfilled it. Soli Deo Gloria! (To God alone be the glory)

I would like also to thank my parents, relations, in-laws and so many friends and work colleagues for standing up with me in prayer and encouraging and supporting me when the going got tough and I was about to throw in the towel. May God richly bless you. Like David again we can sing: “He who goes out weeping bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him,” (Psalm 126:6).

I will quote God’s Word recorded for us by David once more. Like this King of Israel I feel very much overwhelmed by what God has done for me and I can’t help it but wonder:

“Who am I, O Lord, and what is my house that you have brought me thus far? And this is a small thing in your eyes, O God…And what more can (I) say to you for honoring your servant? For you know your servant. For your servant’s sake, O Lord and according to your own heart, you have done all this greatness…There is none like you, O LORD, and there is no God besides you” (1 Chronicles 17:14-20).

So, may all the saints join and help me sing “To God be the glory, great things He has done.” Fellow saints, lets also continue to remember each other in prayer. Seminary life just like any life can be hard at times but I pray that Christ alone will keep me going. Remember me in your prayers that God will also meet my needs and that of my family as I pray that he meets yours too.

Postscript:          We got a warm and nice welcome in Grand Rapids when we arrived on August 2, 2013. Most people are friendly and more than willing to assist and help as we are settling. I have also noticed so many Reformed churches in this part of Michigan and that’s more blessings for me. Oh, what great things He has done!

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Sound Teaching

Take it to God in Prayer

At times, we all face very difficult situations. In such circumstances we either take things in our own hands or take them into Christ’s hands. The former is usually a common reaction.  Apostle Philip also once found himself in a similar situation as we read in John 6:1-13.

Five thousand men came to listen to Jesus’ teaching. Jesus then asked Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” It was a difficult situation because Jesus and his disciples had no bread let alone money to buy bread.

Philip did not respond to the question directly. Instead, he quickly calculated the cost of feeding such a number of people and concluded that it was impossible to feed them, “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” responded Philip (7).  He should have been good at Math!

Are we not like that at times? When faced with a difficult situation, like Philip we are quick to calculate in our wisdom and knowledge and conclude that such a situation is an impossibility forgetting that Jesus is God. Please note that the Scripture tells us that Jesus had deliberately asked Philip to test him for Jesus already had in mind what he was going to do (6). In a very situation we are in, God already knows how he will carry us through it.

Any way to cut the long story short, Philip was humbled as he witnessed with his own eyes how Jesus turned an impossible situation to a very possible one. The five thousand men were fully fed and twelve full baskets of left-over food were collected. I can only imagine how Philip felt as he gathered the left-over food.  Joseph M. Scriven was right when he composed:

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

When faced with a challenge, let’s remember that we are limited but God isn’t. So take it to God in prayer and let him do as he pleases.  It is important that I clarify it her e that we don’t take it to God in prayer with a demanding attitude. We don’t take it to God in prayer by banging tables and giving God an ultimatum.

Although such attitude is regarded as faith by some, the truth is that it is lack of faith and trust in God. When we pray like “God I want you to give me this right now, no further discussions” we are in essence saying, “God I don’t want your will in my life because I cannot fully trust your will to do me good.”

However, the right attitude is where we present our requests before God and fully trust his good and perfect judgment and say “yet not what I want, but let your will be done.” This is a biblical attitude of taking it to God in prayer (Matthew 6:10; 26:39, 42). When we take it to God in prayer like that  we are always humbled because God in his good will “ Is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is a work within us” (Ephesians 3:20). If you doubt this, ask Apostle Philip and he will bear witness.

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Christianity and theology

When Success Eludes God’s Children

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose,” boldly declares Romans 8:28 (KJV).

It is good that the verse clarifies that it is not for everyone that all things work together for the good. It is only those who love God and are called by him. Those who are called by God are his children. So, in other words, the verse says that all things work together for the good of Christians.

It is one thing to accept this verse as it is it appears on the pages of Scripture and it is quite another to accept it in real life experience. We are living in the world that exalts success. Everywhere we go, achievements are lifted high and rarely do we hear stories of failure. It is as if failure does not exist. Even in churches we share our victories in Christ and hardly do we share otherwise.

This has led many to believe that Christianity and success are synonyms; however, this is not true. Christians also face failure. However, what differs between Christian and non-Christians is that the former have a comfort that God in all things (including that failure) is working for their own good while the former regards it as a hindrance to their brighter future.

This is not to mean that Christians accept their failure and sit down. Not at all! They work hard to succeed yet at the same time they realize that failure is not out of God’s plan for their life. A very well known American theologian, A.W. Tozer, once wrote that Christians travel an appointed way.  This is true. Everything that happens in our life including failure was already ordained by God even before the foundations of the earth were laid.

Therefore, we should never regard failure as a weird thing in the plan of God for our lives.  Believe you me, God will allow failure to come our way as long as it is part of his plan for our lives.

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Uncategorized

The ‘Roots’ of Christ

Some have accused Christians of always trying to paint a good picture of Christ. These people have even gone to the extreme of ‘exposing negative stories’ about Christ which they say Christians have always kept under the carpet.

However, this is a sad accusation because Christianity or the Bible does not hide anything about Christ including those incidents that seem embarrassing. Therefore, God willing, from this week, as we look forward to Christmas, we will dwell on the genealogy or the descendants of Christ whose life stories are not all that beautiful. These include Tamar who seduced her father-in-law,  Judah, to sleep with her, Rehab who was a prostitute, and Manasseh one of the most evil kings of Judah.

When we read and reflect on the life stories of these people, we are amazed at how God could allow such people to be the descendants of Jesus. It only confirms that God’s ways are not indeed our ways.

Furthermore, the stories of some of these descendants assure us that God’s grace is indeed amazing for it transforms sinners into saints.  These stories also show us that God is not limited or controlled by our sinfulness.  We might not be faithful, but He always remains faithful and he can accomplish his good will even through our unfaithfulness.  We might have evil intentions, but he overcomes them with his goodness.

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