Christianity and Society

My Prayer and Thoughts as Malawi Goes to Polls

Finally, one of Malawi’s long awaited days this year is almost here. Tomorrow, on May 20, 2014 the people of the land of my birth go to elect the President, Members of Parliament (MPs), and Councillors for the next five years. Sadly, for first time since I reached the voting age, I will not be able to cast my vote.  Distance has a way of limiting us in a number of ways. But still my prayers and thoughts are with you my countrymen.

I pray that my Malawian brothers and sisters will not forget to remember that whatever happens during the elections was already ordained and written in the Almighty God’s eternal script for his world. History is not autonomous, but it is His (God’s) story. This should comfort us knowing that although  we may not be sure of what the future holds, we know for sure who holds the future. Christ is still on the throne.

I also pray for my fellow Christians that they will not take their eyes off  Christ as our perfect hope in this fallen world and place it on politicians. Malawi like any other nation in this fallen world has so many challenges. Knowing this, our politicians have  promised a lot in regard to making our country a better place to live in. But it might not be long before we find ourselves in the valley of frustration as the hopes that were raised are shattered into smithereens. “Promises and lies” is often the politicians’ best game everywhere.

This is not to say all politicians are not to be trusted. There are some who are godly and have good intentions. But how can we single them out knowing that the heart is so deceiving above all things (Jer. 17:5)? It’s not easy!  Yet it is of great comfort to know that the Lord knows all men very well. I pray that God will give Mother Malawi godly leaders. But, even if this happens, we should never never look up to politics as the solution to our fallen world. Ravi Zacharius put it better: “Let’s face it, politics is seldom the answer to any society because it just swings from one extreme to the other and it goes with the whim of whoever is in power.”

Realizing the folly of trusting politics to heal this sin-ridden world, Margaret Thatcher, one of the renowned politicians in our world,  used to say: “It is up to the people of faith (Christians) to change their culture, politicians can’t do it.” Brethren, may we continue to shine forth the light of Christ as the beacon of hope for our nation. Whoever becomes the president or MP or councillor is not good enough to bring the hope and satisfaction that vanished once sin entered the world and alienated mankind from God. Since then our hearts remain restless until they find rest in God as St. Augustine put it.

Finally, I know that even Christians just like as any other person voting have a particular expectation of results. But in case, the results do not come out  as we expected,  let’s remember that Christ still holds the whole world in his hand. He knows best. He alone directs the events and affairs of the world according to his good pleasure and will. Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 11:33-36: Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid? For from him and through him and to him alone are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”

Our prayer should remain the same as we have always prayed in the form our national anthem since 1964:

O God bless our land of  Malawi

Keep it a land of peace…

Our own Malawi, this land so fair

Fertile and brave and free.

With its lakes, refreshing mountain air,

How greatly blest are we.

Hills and valleys, soil so rich and rare…

Freedom ever, let us all unite…

One purpose and one goal

Men and women serving selflessly,

In building Malawi.

The Malawi National Anthem

 

 

Ravi Zacharius, an address at Brigham Young University in Utah (Accessed on January 19, 2014, http://www.rzim.org/rzim-news/ravi-zacharias-at-byu-and-the-mormon-tabernacle/).

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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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My Life as a Christian

Reflections on my 2013 Birthday

Today, I celebrate a gift of over three decades in this world from our Father whom all blessings flow. As the day is progressing I have taken some time to reflect on my journey of thirty plus one years. One thing that has lingered in my mind is the truth that God can do all things and no single plan of his can be thwarted (Job 42:2).

Over the years, especially, the time that I have been a Christian, I have fully understood that God’s plan for my life cannot be frustrated by anything or anybody. Where I am today and what I am doing today is exactly what God planned before the foundations of the earth were laid.

This is a source of my comfort, especially in hard times,  hence I can’t  agree more with what Martin Luther once said, “… the greatest and only consolation of Christians in their adversities, is the knowing that God lies not, but does all things immutably, and that His will cannot be resisted, changed, or hindered.”

But life is not only about hard times, there are also good times. In those good moments too, it is also of great consolation to know that God is still in control. Another instance this morning has even confirmed this great lesson even more.

Last year in November, I was offered a place and tuition scholarship to study at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary (PRTS).  Like any other person who would find themselves in my shoes, I was very excited. Then the process of planning to go and study begun which eventually led to visa application then to visa interviews. Now, the thought of  ‘visa interviews’ sent a cold chill down my spine, particularly, as I faced the possibility that my application could be turned down and my cherished dream to study at PRTS would be shattered.

The process of visa interviews began today at 8 O’clock in the morning. My wife and I passed through all the necessary stages then came the last stage of actual interviews. Our names were called on a speaker within the waiting room and we went into the ‘interview room’ our hearts in our mouths with the fear of being denied the visa.

To our amazement, the interviewer just asked very few lighter questions like why did I chose PRTS of many seminaries in USA. She also asked my wife and I regarding our previous visits to US respectively. Then she found out when we got married and confirmed if we met at African Bible College where both of us were students. Then, that’s it! Visa granted. “Come tomorrow afternoon to collect your visa…good luck,” she ended the interviews.

We could feel our hearts settling down as joy and amazement took over anxiety and fear.  Just like that? Yes, just like that. Then we recalled that “God can do all things and his plans cannot be thwarted.” It was God’s will and plan that we get the visa today which also happens to be my birthday and nothing or anybody could stop that.

Friends, may this great truth also comfort you both in joy or pain. Never ever forget to remember that God will always accomplish his will. William Cowper was right when he composed that famous hymn, God moves in a mysterious way, and said:

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

 Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flow’r.

Oh, what an amazing God!

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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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