Tag Archives: Christianity

5. Two thoughts for Monday

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. ( Rev. 1:17)

This was the response of John the Apostle (the one that Our Lord loved the most) when he saw the voice that was speaking to Him. John had spent three years in close proximity with Our Lord yet when He met him after describing his eyes, his hair, his voice and his overall look, John fell to his feet in amazement and worship. It struck me the purity of his worship that was not overshadowed by his familiarity and previous proximity with Jesus. This stood out because every day despite our walk with Jesus, we get to experience Him anew again and again often in a refreshing way that deepens my faith and relationship with Him and that is how our daily walk is enriched.

All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. (Acts 2: 45 – 46)

Anytime I have heard  this verse quoted, it has often had to do with some cult of a church that is asking it’s members to get rid of all their wealth and give the proceedings to the church in light with the early Believers. Yesterday in Church, the Preacher talked of the fact that the intention is rather for those that have plenty or abundance to rather give (meaningfully) to the poor around them. As a Church, we have to meet the needs of those around us otherwise we cannot proclaim ourselves to be Christian.

Be encouraged and strengthened.

Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thes 5:16 -18)

I especially like the part highlighted in bold.

I will also be honest and admit that so many times I have despaired and stopped praying.

Often this followed what I felt like was a long time for me to be praying for one thing repeatedly. As I type this I am struck at how ridiculous this must sound because this is the Great I AM, the Alpha and the Omega, the Rock of Ages. HE knows about eternity and that’s how he views our times that are in His hands (Ps 31:15). That is who we pray to.

This year I am reminded of two instances where I have been praying consistently in my personal life and then this shifted to praying sporadically and finally not at all only to begin the cycle repeatedly. I have been reminded without a shadow of a doubt that God is faithful and He hears us when we pray and that is the reason I should continue to praise Him and trust in Him. Also, that prayer is good for me and it strengthens my walk and my belief in Him and almost that God is not here for me but I desperately, desperately need Him to be in my life.

Yesterday in Church we sang great is thy faithfulness and the following sentences, that I will end of with, struck me:

Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

Be blessed and strengthened in your walk and acts of faith.

PS: The title is also taken from the hymn mentioned above.

Guest Post: Lamentations 1 & 2: God of Evil and War?

About the author

Lola Alli is an aspiring Development Economist whose broad research interests include: the political economy of Nigeria and India; the economics of globalisation; global poverty and politics; innovation in agricultural commodity chains in Nigeria and India; and Yoruba gender mythologies.

Economics and Politics undergraduate at Newcastle University ’15; Development Economics postgraduate at University of Cambridge ’16.

Check out her blog over here.

Authors Disclaimer: I wouldn’t advice a ‘new’ Christian or anyone with very minimal biblical knowledge to read this conversation

Lola Ali: “Just a little background before I ask my question, …. when they (the Israelites) demanded for a king during Samuel’s time, God said he would provide (King Saul) but He warned that the kings would destroy the land and enslave the people … This prophecy became reality after (I believe) King Solomon – The sins of the last kings of Judah, and the Israelites in this region are what led to the war between Judah (including Jerusalem) and Babylon. And from our previous bible study in Daniel, we already know that God delivered Judah into the Babylonians. This happened sometime between the book of Jeremiah and his second book, Lamentations. I cannot understand Lamentations without studying Jeremiah so I went through a few chapters. God specifically created Jeremiah to warn His people to return k to Him (Jeremiah 1-3) so they can avoid what happened next. So I’ve got an idea of the kind of oppression that the Israelites went through using Jeremiah’s writings in the Book of Lamentations 1&2

But what I’m currently meditating on is the nature of God in these chapters. 2 Timothy 3:16 says that all scripture is God-breathed …etc. 1 Cor 13 says Love is patient … ; somewhere else says God’s true nature is revealed in Jesus dying on the cross and so on .. and then there is ‘if you’ve seen me (Jesus) you’ve seen Him (God)’. I was just thinking that hmmm Lamentations 1&2 depicts the opposite of these interpretations of God: love and patience. So I’m trying to understand why God appears so ‘violent’ in this book.

Jeremiah 13:14 says ‘I will smash them (the Israelites) one against the other, fathers and sons alike, declares the Lord. I will allow no pity or mercy or compassion to keep me from destroying them’. I can go on and on but …

Why is this question important:

1. The verses I included imply that this portrait of God is somehow consistent with the God we see on the cross – Jesus;

2. This is one of the main reasons why atheists do not believe in God – how can one worship the same God that is ‘smashing’ His children or allowing them to be smashed but still shows love and forgiveness by making us righteous through accepting Christ.”

T: “So I can kind of explain it a bit. We must remember that God sent Jesus because he didn’t want the law to go on forever where he punishes us for our sins literally. If you look at Deuteronomy 28 it explains the curses that came with disobeying the laws and then the latter part declares the blessings. When God realised that man could just not keep up with His Law, He sent Jesus to come and experience it, which is why he now become our intercessor because he saw it all, experienced it all! Hence the provision of grace and mercy to mankind….”

L: “I understand that – no doubt about what you said. The law wasn’t/isn’t efficient. But what I’m trying to understand is how can I reflect on Christ on the cross and Christ in Lamentations. How is the same God commanding genocide and war, but shows love on the cross? Is this perhaps the shadow of Christ? The negative contrast of Christ? The portrait of God pre-purposed in the law such that He becomes a shadow without light? And then the ‘real’ God is what we see on the cross. Am I making sense? Linking this to Job and Psalms, we see these representations of God again. But how do they reflect Christ and the God we know today. God of love, kindness and patience. Not necessarily the conditions for the coming of Christ as you explained”

T: “And that’s why even David although a man after God’s own heart was still punished. And Psalms 119:71 – David said it is good for me that I was afflicted that I may keep your statues. The suffering is only necessary because if everything went smoothly we would not respect him. He becomes more of a robot”

L: “Unless the law was needed to drive man to Christ, to show our need for Christ hence Lamentations.”

B: “What is the law? … so He (God) was punishing them (in Lamentations) for not obeying Him or rather trying to teach them a lesson of life without Him”

M: “….. The law includes the Mosaic law, and more. They were political and religious”

Lola: “Okay so this is my understanding of Lamentations. In the Old Testament the Israelites had to live Godly lives by following a set of laws. Obedience of the law was needed for blessings and forgiveness. I’m not sure what exactly the law was but it was more than just the book of Moses – the 10 commandments. I’m assuming it included some sort of political constitution as well – hence the role of the Pharisees perhaps? -Studying ‘The Law’. The religious Law, however, was included because of the sins of the people, and to escape punishment from God. But it didn’t work ….. by the ‘Lamentations-era’, the Israelites were known for worshipping other idols and committing other sins because of the Kings of Judah, and their foreign wives.

But hey! God did not actually destroy Israel by Himself. Instead, He let Babylon do so because His presence wasn’t there. It was His shadow – He was waiting for them to see the light –to see how life is different without the cross, without Christ and ultimately, without God. The Israelites went through the shadow of the cross, the non-presence of God, in order to understand that the law wasn’t inefficient. They had to realise that they needed Christ in order to have a better relationship with God.”

T: “Hence Galatians 3:13.”

Lola: “ YES! So in essence, we see what life was like without Christ and just The Law. This makes me appreciate Christ on the cross – the true nature of God, which is LOVE. So God wasn’t wicked during Lamentations, he was making a point about life – life without God is chaotic. When there is no God, there is no peace! There is Lamentations 1&2.”

Gnovembers add: This asks the age old question of how does a loving God sit by and watch while evil acts happen to His beloved children/ How does he actually punish His Children? God is a Holy God and he abhors sin because it is a stain before his presence. Because He loves us, He has sent His son to die on the cross that we may be reconciled to Him, when we accept this, we reap eternal life. If we don’t, the consequence of sin is death i.e eternal separation from His presence. Not wholly easy to accept but the moment we begin with the being of God then we can accept it somewhat better.

Daily Prompt: Teachers’ Pet

This is a belated Daily Post from the 8th of January titled:

Jan 8

Teacher’s pet

Tell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life,
either for the better or the worse. How is your life different
today because of him or her?

I encountered the teacher that had the most impact in my life in my first year at University. She taught me a course titled “Communication and Culture” over two semesters and her name was Rebecca Ng’ang’a. Not only did she teach the course content but she was inspirational as well and imparted various life lessons. As a first year course predominantly, and for many, our first time in University these lessons were important as University tends to come with a lot of freedom and spare time.

I remember about her course that we had to write a “Reflection”, an essay on some part of her class and we had to write a minimum of ten of each per semester. They could not be superficial as what she cared most about was how the course content was changing your world-view or previous perceptions of a particular topic. I recently came across some of them and it’s amazing how much I have grown up or how in some areas I have developed. Case in point was in the area of marriage, in my younger days I might have been a bit cynical and even dubious of the fact that people could commit to each other in that way. Obviously, that has changed.

I  also liked her approach to teaching because she taught us to really interact with the information imparted and to continually question our assumptions – something I don’t always do but I have recently been challenged to start doing once again.

On a less inspirational note, I did particularly like her because she was comfortable in her skin and would often poke fun at herself and make endearing self-deprecating comments of herself which made her human in my eyes unlike some of my earlier teachers that always felt the need to be super heroes. That and the fact that she took pains to dress up to class and would often colour coordinate her outfit, from the hat on her head to the little shoes on her feet and her bag. If it was a red day, she was dressed in red throughout and boy would she rock the monochromatic look!!

More importantly, she had a passion and a zeal for Christ and she often talked of her relationship with Christ and that inspired me to want to get to that point in my life and/or in my walk with Christ. And this is what I most fondly remember about Mrs. Ng’ang’a. My sister recently met her and I only wish I had gotten the chance to say to her how much she had inspired me all those years back and at that particular stage of my Christian life. 

Inspiration over the past year

In this last year I have drawn on various quotes and verses for strength at different points.

I have a great need for Christ, I have a great Christ for my needs. Charles H Spudgeon

I do not merely want to possess a faith, I want to have a faith that possesses me. Charles Kingsley

Love is blind, marriage is the eye-opener. Pauline Thomason

Jesus Christ will be Lord of everything, or not be Lord at all. St Augustine of Hippo

Your best mentor isn’t usually somebody in the newspaper. ‘Your first mentor will be someone in the next layer. Within that layer, figure out who management likes and what they do. If one of them is consistently delivering and beating the odds on benchmarks, then they are being rewarded for the right things, so copy them.’  Monhla Hlanla – Destiny SA  October

In a storm, the wise man does not pray for safety from danger, but for release from fear. The inner storm is the dangerous one, NOT the outer one. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be. (Job 8:7)

The Lord is in His Holy Temple, let all the earth be silent before Him. ( Habakkuk 2:20)

O Lord, you are my God:  I will exalt you and praise your holy name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvellous things. Things planned long ago. (Isaiah 23:1)

Looking back on this year, what words or image have given you strength for the moment and the day?