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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My Reflections on the Defense of the Faith

One thing I know for sure is that God cannot be defended by you and me. He is capable of defending himself and he can do it better than any of us. However, at times God uses people like you and me. Believe you me, there are times when God calls us to “Contended for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). This realization has led me to believe that there ought to be a thin line dividing these two truths. My prayer is that God will always open my eyes to discern the battles he is calling me to fight and those fights I ought to leave to Him alone. Believe you me, this will never be an easy task but I know His grace will always be sufficient.

I also pray that God will grant me the grace to march to the battle he has called me to fight even though my fellow soldiers in the Christian Army stand aloof and are hesitant to march on. Believe you me, not every Christian will be convinced and convicted to fight all the battles that God calls you to fight. There are various reasons for that. R.C. Sproul points out one.

“I’ve seen it again and again. Someone recognizes false teaching and arises to resist it. But instead of supporting the courageous person who wants to uphold Christ’s truth, other Christians call for that person to be silent. Fearing hostility from the culture or the wider body of professing Christians, many believers turn the guns inward and silence their fellow believer for the sake of peace. Yet peace that is won at the expense of the truth is no peace at all. Of course, so far as it depends upon us, we are to live peaceably with all (Rom. 12:18). But when God’s truth is attacked we must draw a line in the sand. Like Daniel of old, we must be willing to face the lions if that’s what it takes to guard the truth (Dan. 6).”

So whatever  the reason that other Christians might have to avoid some battles, but if God has called me to fight that battle, I pray that His grace should always go with me. May I always be comforted in the fact that I am not alone rather He is with me as I fight.

Another thing I always pray for when I am on duty as a Christian soldier is to fight graciously out of love. I think that’s what differentiates the Christian army from any other army in the world.   The aim of our fight is love for God and love for fellow man and because of this goal we battle graciously.  I know sometimes when my fallen human nature rules, I end up fighting brutally; however, I always beseech the Lord that I should fight with grace. Of course, the other camp might hardly appreciate the grace in my strategy of the battle; however, if God approves that there is grace in my fight, then all is well with my soul.

Last but not least, I pray that God will give the courage to fight on when fellow Christian soldiers stand in my way. You know, it is one thing to have fellow Christian soldiers hesitating to join you in the fight and it is totally another thing to have fellow Christian soldiers standing in your way as you fight. Sometimes it even gets worse because the fellow soldier s turn their guns on you and fire. It’s really sad, very sad!

In such cases, I pray that I will not be bitter but I will appreciate the truth as William Cowper once observed that “God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform.”  I pray that I should be able to say as Joseph said “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for God” (Genesis 50:20).  Believe you me, not all Christians will hear the trumpet when God calls you to fight. There will be some who will think you are crazy and they will even shoot at you. Please pray for a forgiving heart and remain faithful to the Master as you onward march to the battlefield.

So, may all Christian soldiers  join Sabine Baring-Gould ( 1834-1924) and shout out:

 

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,

with the cross of Jesus going on before.

Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;

forward into battle see his banners go!

Like a mighty army moves the church of God;

brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod.

We are not divided, all one body we,

one in hope and doctrine, one in charity.

 

Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane,

but the church of Jesus constant will remain.

Gates of hell can never gainst that church prevail;

             We haveChrist’s own promise, and that cannot fail.

      

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