Philosophies That Undermine The Faith That Is Known By Its Deeds

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What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

 

But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

 

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.

James 2:14-18

 

 

 

 

In his book “A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge” it was famed philosopher George Berkeley who once made the statement:

 

“But, say you, surely there is nothing easier than for me to imagine trees, for instance, in a park […] and nobody by to perceive them. […] The object of sense exist only when they are perceived; the trees therefore are in the garden […] no longer than while there is somebody by to perceive them.”

 

An 1883 magazine called The Chatauquan later reframed Berkeley’s comment into a questions asking:

 

“If a tree were to fall on an island where there were no human beings would there be any sound?”

 

…and went on to answer the query:

 

“No. Sound is the sensation excited in the ear when the air or other medium is set in motion.”

 

This answer seemed to imply that the question posed not from its original philosophical nature, but from a scientific one. The magazine Scientific American then corroborated the technical aspect of this question a year later when they asked the question slightly reworded,

 

“If a tree were to fall on an uninhabited island, would there be any sound?”

 

And gave a more technical answer once again,

 

“Sound is vibration, transmitted to our senses through the mechanism of the ear, and recognized as sound only at our nerve centers. The falling of the tree or any other disturbance will produce vibration of the air. If there be no ears to hear, there will be no sound.”

 

Albert Einstein is reported to have asked his fellow physicist and friend Niels Bohr, one of the founding fathers of quantum mechanics, whether he realistically believed that ‘the moon does not exist if nobody is looking at it.’ To this Bohr replied that however hard he (Einstein) may try, he would not be able to prove that it does, thus giving the entire riddle the status of a kind of infallible conjecture—one that cannot be either proved or disproved.

 

 

At first glance, this might seem like a needless consideration. I mean, who cares if it makes a sound or not, right? Who cares if the moon exists after we’ve turned our backs, right?

 

Well, not so fast!

 

This question is predicated on assumptions that contain grave implications for the faith community if not wrestled with and rationally thought out in light of the truth of Scripture.

For one, it’s not asking whether the mere faculty of sound would be aroused, but whether sounds itself exist at all where no one is around to hear it.

 

For the believer, we affirm that the existence of sounds and sights are not in any way sustained by our human presence, but instead, by God who created them.  Since one of His attributes is that He is omnipresent – meaning, He is present everywhere in the universe at the same time – then this means that nothing in the heavens or the earth ever happens apart from His foreknowledge and very present presence!

 

Because He exists and is present, His presence gives value and existence to all things.

 

Or as Jesus said it:

 

 

What is the price of two sparrows–one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.

Matthew 10:29

 

 

Yet some have wrongly speculated that because God has set in motion the things of this world in such a way so as to be able to be present for all, yet sometimes seemingly chooses not to act or interfere in ways that override our free will and the dominion He has entrusted to us to steward, that He must not be a loving God because surely a loving God would act to thwart the evils that abound.

 

But rather than this being an act of His indifference, this is actually an act of His mercy, for if God intervened to wipe out every evil at its root appearance in humanity – the thinking level – there would not remain a single human being left standing at the end of the first day! … But I digress.

 

The real intention of today’s consideration is to help us to see that the philosophical question at hand is far more than merely philosophical. For the believer, we must grow up in our faith – informed by God’s Word – to recognize that some realities – although seemingly transcendental – must be acknowledged as actually ‘more real’ than what can be resolved through the mere faculties of the senses if we stand firmly upon a faith that begins on the premise that asserts, ‘from the spiritual came the physical’ (Heb. 11:3) Or in other words, from God came everything; ‘Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.’ (John 1:3)

 

I mean, that is what we’re saying when we say that an eternal and invisible God created every physical thing.

In which case, who then is man to define the terms of reality, when his very existence and ability to think something through was part of a design given to him by the One who knew far more than he did (God’s omniscience: all knowing) in order to so intelligently design us in the first place?

 

That’s like programming an electric thermostat to recognize and beep when the temperature reaches a certain degree, let’s say, 25. And then concluding that the temperature is 25 because of the thermostats recognition of the temperature, as if the thermostat gives value and brings the substance of temperature into reality, rather than simply recognizing that the thermostat is merely acknowledging something that was true without its intervention.

 

When we are present – we observe what is true.

 

When we are not present – since reality is not predicated upon ‘our’ presence, but by God’s presence, it therefore still remains true.

 

If it were not so, God could never ‘justly’ accuse us of something like “neglecting the poor”, if we simple distanced ourselves enough so as to neglect and negate our responsibility.

 

As it turns out, some of the world’s most profoundly inconclusive science exists in the wonderful world of quantum physics. But rather than disproving my conclusions, the quantum world actually begins to expand upon our often limited human understanding to see that there are many scientific realities that are not in any way predicated on observation – and in some cases, precisely the opposite, yet they still exist!

 

Even atoms have existed for thousands of years, long before we were ever able to discover their existence, and no one today would ever say that they only came into existence once we discovered them. Especially since everything in the universe contains them!

 

 

So with that in mind, I now have a few questions for you. And although you might feel tempted to treat them as merely philosophical, in reality, we both know what the real answers are:

 

If a man is taken to jail for a ticket and dies while he is in police custody on account of neglect, does he make a sound?

 

What if a young man serving a short sentence in a provincial jail is beaten to death by his cellmate and never makes it back home to his family. When he cries out for help and no one attends to his cries, pretending not to hear them, does he make a sound?

 

Or what if a prisoner serving a sentence is locked in segregation and cries out for medical attention, and no one is around to hear his cries – or even worst – the people who are around ‘choose’ to disregard the sounds that he makes because their ‘superior’ philosophies have taught them that ‘out-of-sight’ means ‘its not really happening’ – and that man happens to die, does he make a sound?

 

I don’t think anyone in their right mind would ever fail to concede that the lives of Edward Nalon, Robert Landers, Adam Kargus, or David Stojcevski’s and countless others do in fact make a sound.

 

One we seriously need to stop ignoring.

 

 

On this Prisoner’s Justice Day August 10th 2018, we join with thousands of prisoners all across the world to fast and pray and call on the Lord for His wisdom to understand how to best reform our ideas of justice on every level: from prisoner communities, to law enforcement, to the judicial system and governments in remembrance of:

 

– those whose cries we have failed to hear,

 

– those whose cries we have pretended not to hear,

 

– and we also take it one step further and commit to make better efforts in the future to speak up and act in keeping with our profession of faith when we hear the cries of those in need.

 

For whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered.

Proverbs 21:13

 

 

To learn ways that you can get involved to encourage and walk with prisoners, visit: www.prisonfellowship.ca

 

 

 

Trust ♔ Jesus!

 

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Meet the Author – Servants of Light

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Prior to his miraculous conversion in the basement of his mother’s townhouse in Mississauga, Ontario – Raymond Mowla was certainly no stranger of the roads-less-traveled in life. But his experiences with God have cultivated a bold and passionate faith in Jesus Christ and an unceasing love to reach many with the truth of the Gospel.

 

To learn a little about the redemptive work of God in the life of a former criminal and skeptic, check out his newest release, ‘Servants of Light’ which captures his five year journey after conversion.

 

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To contact the author, email:
mowla.raymond@gmail.com

 

 

Trust ♔ Jesus!

 

Rivers, in a Dry and Desert Land

The Torah, Taurat, or ‘Law of Moses’ as some people know it, is the first five books of any Old Testament of the Bible. These writing are attributed to Moses:

– Genesis
– Exodus
– Leviticus
– Numbers
– Deutoronomy

These are the foundational books for all ‘Abrahamic’ religions of the world such as Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

For in them alone do we have an account given for the creation of the heavens and the earth, the very first man and woman, what God intended, the first mention of a serpent who had thoughts and opinions contrary to God’s intention, what went wrong, and the promise of God’s salvation and redemption.

The world famous ‘Ten Commandments’ are also given in these books; the call of Abram, the mighty deliverance of God’s people out of Egypt, and hundreds of prophetic words and symbols given to recognize the *Messiah* who was to come.

Most people know at least one of these historical facts already.

But what if I told you that these books were all written by a murderer?

Before his call by the true and living God, Moses tried to exert the same sort of politically motivated power of his native Egyptian upbringing and murdered his Egyptian neighbour while trying to defend his Israelite brothers to whom he had recently learned that he was rightly a descendant of.

—————-

Later on in history, we have a compilation of poetry that can be found in any Old Testament or “Tanakh’ as the Jews call it. It is the book of Psalms. In Islam, it is referred to as the ‘Zabur.’

These are one-hundred-and-fifty Psalms written by twelve authors – seventy-three of which, have been attributed to *King David* – one by Moses. These poetic writings make up a very wide range in themes:

Psalms of Laments
Psalms of Thanksgiving
Psalms of Confidence
Psalms of Praise
Enthronement Psalms of the Divine Kingdom
Royal Psalms
Historical Psalms
Messianic Psalms
Songs of Zion
Imprecatory Psalms
Psalms of Ascent
& Acrostic Psalms

Every human emotion is covered in these hymns of aspiration to God.

What if I told you that the predominant writer of these Psalms – was a murderer?

King David, after becoming a powerful ruler over all of Israel, committed adultery with the wife of one of the soldiers of his armed forces. Then in an attempt to cover up the birth of an illegitimate child, King David had the husband of that woman intentionally killed in battle.

—————

Lastly, in the New Testament, we have twenty seven books written by about nine authors.

The *Apostle Paul* who was one of the most prominent writers of the New Testament letters and epistles to the early church has a whopping thirteen books attributed to him. And one more that has caused a little bit of controversy as to whether he too might be the author – the book of Hebrews.

But of those we are absolutely certain:

– The book of Romans
– 1st Corinthians
– 2nd Corinthians
– Galatians
– Ephesians
– Philippians
– Colossians
– 1st Thessalonians
– 2nd Thessalonians
– 1st Timothy
– 2nd Timothy
– Titus
– Philemon

Paul, previously known as Saul of Tarsus, was one of the most violent persecutors of those who believed that Jesus was the Messiah – that is, until he personally met Jesus after his resurrection – which then transformed Saul into one of the most dedicated ministers of the Gospel both to his own people and to people all over the ancient world!

What would you say if I told you that the Apostle Paul was once a murderer?

——————-

Do you realize that over one-third of our Bible was written by people who had formerly (and in one case even after coming to know God) committed murder?

Now that’s not a statistic that we might often hear in our gatherings, maybe because we sense that people are looking for a ‘pious’ faith to follow, and to highlight the reality that God actually chooses whomsoever He sees fit in His Sovereign rule over the nations – including murderers – is an offence to our false sense of safety and control.

In reality however, that could be exactly who God is searching among to find his next powerful preacher of the Gospel! But instead of using Samuel’s example of discerning the Lord’s anointed, (1 Samuel 16:7) we simply disregard one-third of the potential powerhouses that were once considered as pioneers of the Christian faith as secondary citizens in the Kingdom of God because of their criminal record, and choose those who give us a safer though ‘false’ sense of security by their immaculately spotless pasts.

Now by saying that, I do not intend to lead you to develop a ‘reverse-bias’ that neglects the wisdom in acknowledging a demonstrated history of committed faithfulness and putting forward those who have shown this sort of consistency in their lives, but since it is clearly not the norm to go outside of these lines, what I am trying to speak to is all the powerful but lost potential sitting behind bars who are looking for leadership, meaning, and purpose to life who are being overlooked – while those who have completely lost touch with the reality of human suffering, misery, poverty, loss, and even sincere love for others – are being promoted on account of their educational credentials and popularity instead of the Lord’s choosing.

The Bible shows us that some of the most powerful pillars of faith were often the most passionately misdirected at first. And that’s what you find in prisons all across Canada today.

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I found it telling that the books of Moses were placed at the beginning of our Bibles when in fact it is actually the *Book of Job* that is the historically oldest and therefore should be the ‘first’ book of the Bible.

I found it very telling because if we set aside our presumption about what is foremost important to God, and consider what the Book of Job is actually about, it would seem that long before God desired that we understood:

– where we came from
– Who created it all
– why He created it
– how sin entered the world
– or even how He would redeem it

Our Creator appears to be far more interested with us thoroughly reflecting on the question of human suffering, to maybe lend wisdom on how to best counsel those who are going through difficulties – as well as for our own adversities when we go through difficult trials in life.

I think that since God in His infinite wisdom recognizes that our hearts are so desperately wicked and prone to evil, and the preparation of it can be a long and difficult process before we are truly ready to fulfill our calling, that we’d be more adequately prepared as ministers of the new Covenant to learn how to walk with and comfort others in their sufferings with far more understanding – if we took the time to reflect on trials and tribulations more intimately.

This is why sometimes the drug addict needs to reach a certain point before they can realize how much money, time, health, and life is lost by ‘lighting up’ every week.

Sometimes the pleasure seeker needs reach a certain place before they can realize how the happiness that all the pleasures of the world try to offer, doesn’t actually make them feel any more loved, fulfilled, or joy-filled day-to-day than it first appeared that it would.

Sometimes the gossip has to reach a certain point before they can look back on their past reckless and destructive use of their tongue, and all the division it has caused before they can understand how much harm they have caused others and themselves before they decide to depend upon the Spirit of God to bridle it.

Sometimes even the murderer has to reach a certain point before they can realize that no matter how much they think they are in control of situations and circumstances by exerting power or force over others, they are actually powerless and desperately in need of the only true saving power of Jesus Christ through surrender.

And sometimes we too need to realize that – just as God patiently loves and waits for us to learn these things in our own hearts through our own failures, and yet He has _never_ given up on us through it all – this world is also waiting to see the true sons and daughters of the living God revealed who reflect the same character of unfailing love for them as they work through the unimaginable difficulties of navigating life on earth amidst its ever-increasing sounds, sights and experiences vying for our souls.

—————–

In one of his worship songs, Jason Upton wrote something that I believe so accurately captures something of our Heavenly Father`s heart for prisoners even though I don’t think that was the intention of the song. He says:

“I want to build you a garden
In a dry and desert land
I’m gonna find a river there
I’m gonna find a river there

I have seen,
a garden grow
In a land,
filled with injustice
And I have heard,
a mother’s cry
For her child,
to live again.”
– verse from ‘The Garden Song’

This is God’s hope for prisoners of every kind, and should also be the heartbeat of the church.

—————–

This is what the Lord says:

For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun!

Do you not perceive it?

I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
Isaiah 43:16, 19

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To learn more about the work of Prison Fellowship Canada, please visit our website at:

http://www.prisonfellowship.ca

And I implore you,

 

Trust ♔ Jesus!

Sinners Who Judge Sinners for Sinning Differently

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There’s an influential problem in our culture that pervades our Christian witness today: A lie from a close friend has more authority in the ear of its hearers than the truth spoken from a stranger does. And although I do not agree that this should’ve ever been our standard of measure when making honest considerations, I actually do understand the reasoning behind it.

It’s really a heart issue at its root, just as most things truly are.

Because the eternally Triune God has created us in His image, we are likewise built with a need for authentic community in which we can trust. The reality that a close friend or family member might be wrong, ignorant of the truth, or even outright lying to us, has all sorts of implications that we’d rather not confront. After all, we might even reason that if we start getting wrapped up in the sincere pursuit of truth beginning with ourselves, those who have walked nearest and dearest to us would probably be the first to expose us and our deepest and darkest secrets – and as it turns out – we don’t really trust them as much as we may have convinced ourselves that we do when all these things were never a consideration.

In addition to that, since a lot of the practices of religion are merely outwardly adorned externalisms, the call to transparency seems to be easily overruled in favour of the traditional and institutional facade that have plagued both our churches and communities in the name of piety since days of old.

But unlike the false religions of the world, Christianity at its core actually does contain paradoxical supernatural power in its foundational message to transcend the hindrances of our culture through the testimony of the Gospel.

Why? Because the Gospel is the only message in the universe that removes the power of our adversaries by starting us on our journey with one key foundational truth:

“So far was it for you and I to extend anything that could even remotely be acceptable in God’s sight, that the only atonement worthy of God’s Majesty to reconcile sinners to Himself and make a way for us to enter His Holy presence, was for Him to shed the pure and holy blood of His only begotten Son on the cross of Calvary!”

Notice, there’s not a hint of me-centrism in that statement. Nope, that’s all Christ-centric!

In fact, only in Christianity do we hear that God takes it one step further to clarify and says that even our ‘righteousness’ were as filthy menstrual rags.

Think about that…

Not only is our ‘bad’ deeds bad, like any and every religion would easily affirm, but our good deeds are actually abhorred as putrid and vile.

What an offence this must create to the self-righteous and overtly religious mindset.

But herein lies the secret untapped power of the church.

To be able to freely say, ‘I struggle with swearing,’ ‘I’m a chronic liar;’ ‘an alcoholic;’ ‘an addict;’ a rebel,’ ‘with sexual perversions that lusts after the opposite sex,’ or in some, even after the ‘same’ sex, is to simply concede to something God’s Word has already acknowledged lives in us:

Sin.

None are righteous – no, not even one.
Romans 3:10

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But even more powerful than our sinful destitution and spiritual poverty is God’s unmerited favor toward us!

What if I told you that not only is God not counting our sins against us, but that He’s accepted us, forgiven us, and welcomed us to be part of His eternal family forever?

Now THAT’S powerful!

Ground breaking!

Transformational!

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I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

I do not set aside the grace of God, for IF righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
Galatians 2:20-21

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The deeper root causes of all sinful out-workings in our lives cease by the mighty power of the cross when we understand that it is God’s unceasing love, acceptance, unfailing mercy and unmerited favour (grace) bestowed on account of Jesus sufferings that has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege.

The sad reality however, is that instead of the ‘unbelieving’ world becoming a hindrance to this untapped power of God gently loving us into freedom through the message of the Gospel, it’s actually the professed ‘church’ who has posed the greatest barriers to this truth in the past two millennia.

How so?

Because the implications of our practice as believers sometimes tells the unbelieving world around us a very different message than the lives of the early disciples once preached.

In our own struggle through sanctification from our past or even current religiosity, we don’t realize how much still exists, and we want to see the sanctification of others completed cosmetically and superficially in a way that looks, smells, and feels like our own ideals. If it doesn’t, we reject them.

We’re no longer concerned about where you are in your journey, the influences of your upbringing, what you’ve been through, what obstacles pose a hindrance to your growth, or how your cultural, religious and social paradigms may be causing you to see this Good News as something less than the absolutely glorious news that it is!

If we did, the church would be a place where a person battling with sexual identity issues feels welcome to come and learn about God’s intention and design without criticism, ridicule or condescension.

One where the addict – whether to drugs, alcohol or otherwise – can come, try, fail, and try again, and fail another hundred times, and still be seen as a valued and valuable part of the greater family of God.

But what our religious brothers and sisters have not yet considered or realized is that God has graced our fellowships with these weaker members in the body of Christ for the sole purpose of exposing the deeper heart condition of His own people.

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In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. And the parts we regard as less honourable are those we clothe with the greatest care.
1 Corinthians 12:22-23

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It exposes our underlying and unspoken meritocratic values that all pervading religious mindsets have believed for ages, that has actually begun to convince itself that its own righteousness is actually belonging to itself; that its knowledge of the truth is on account of its own cunning and brilliance; that its power over sin is self-sustained, and it is no longer the imparted life and righteousness of Christ that guards our hearts as the breastplate in the armour of God, or that it’s the Spirit who gives life, or the Spirit who leads into all truth. (Eph 6:14, John 6:63, John 16:13)

And by doing so, though our speeches wax eloquent week to week from the pulpits; though our religious zeal for Bible studies and weekly prayer nights are carried out without truancy; though every facet of our lives become better from the practical applications of God’s wisdom in His Word day by day – our witness to the glory of God revealed through the Gospel has been gravely distorted and led many astray, even pushing them further away from Jesus.

Now this is not at all to excuse the unbelievers responsibility either. I’ve seen the earnesty with which the world pursues all of its temporal ambitions, and the complacency it demonstrates to seek out eternally important matters with the same veracity.

Even in this generation, demonically inspired religious ideas about God still succeed in giving ‘outsiders’ a prudish impression of Christianity (even though they have an updated vernacular in how they address it) but even in these things, it should’ve never been endorsed by the church of living God!

We should be the leading voice in our communities on every topic regarding life on earth and its many facets as God intended.

Yet, it’s not some ‘heretical church’ that is responsible for this misdirection. It happens in every assembly across the world where believers gather to call on His Wonderful Name unfortunately.

And as believers, if we truly acknowledged the truth, we have a valid answer to that contention as well! There is no ‘perfect’ church. The Gospel itself is a testimony against such a thing!

But the idea pervades wherever healing miracles are exalted over the supernatural testimony of the Gospel that leaves someone wondering why they didn’t merit or experience the same healing miracle in their lives, causing them to doubt the power of God’s abiding Spirit in their life through faith in Jesus Christ.

It happens wherever an arsenal of theological knowledge is exalted and used to assault others over and sometimes against the simplicity of the Gospel that leaves people feeling stupid that they don’t intellectually measure up if not otherwise completely lost in the vast ocean of meaningless information that doesn’t even have the power to help you to live victoriously in Christ, to find the deeper inner-healing, or to love others any better.

It happens wherever the outwardly religious decorum of the church or the believers therein is exalted over the transforming power of the Gospel that leaves people feeling like they have to look a certain way, talk a certain way, or behave a certain way in order to be accepted into our communities.

It happens because in our lack of true transparency about our weaknesses and through our spiritually shallow gatherings, we have misrepresented to the world around us what Jesus alone had the power to do, and by doing so, we usurp His righteousness given as a gift and present it to the world as our own self-righteousness all the while still calling it the Gospel!

Selah.

————

So where do we go from here?

Find someone today, and don’t only tell them what God has ‘brought you through’, as we so love to proclaim, but also be so transparent as to share what He is currently walking with you through, and our reasons and need for daily dependency upon Him.

Take your relationships with those around you to new depths of vulnerability, and pray for one another, cry with one another, and be willing to even sit silently with one another.

So often we want to ‘win souls for Christ’ who we don’t even care enough about to invite over to our homes for dinner out of a sincere love for them in recognizing that they too are made in the image of God.

Instead of simply pushing our friends and family to ‘go to church,’ we must learn to demonstrate our faith in our unfailing Saviour by doing as the Apostle did and boasting all the more in our weaknesses, both so we can experience the true power of Christ to live free, but also so that our hope in Christ is exalted and our expected victory over these temporary and passing trials in Him rings true.

It’s time to abandon the underlying pride that exists in most of our wayward admonitions which inwardly says: “go to church so you can become like me” and rightly adjust it to say: “let us go to church so together we can become more like Christ!” and watch as real power is released over every situation in our families, relationships, and communities in this next season of our faith journey.

Since He alone had the power to do what we could never achieve on our own, it should be an easy decision:

Trust ♔ Jesus!

Save The Best Wine for Last!

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When Arphaxad had lived 35 years, he became the father of Shelah. And after he became the father of Shelah, Arphaxad lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.

When Shelah had lived 30 years, he became the father of Eber. And after he became the father of Eber, Shelah lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.

When Eber had lived 34 years, he became the father of Peleg. And after he became the father of Peleg, Eber lived 430 years and had other sons and daughters.

When Peleg had lived 30 years, he became the father of Reu. And after he became the father of Reu, Peleg lived 209 years and had other sons and daughters.

When Reu had lived 32 years, he became the father of Serug. And after he became the father of Serug, Reu lived 207 years and had other sons and daughters.

When Serug had lived 30 years, he became the father of Nahor. And after he became the father of Nahor, Serug lived 200 years and had other sons and daughters.

When Nahor had lived 29 years, he became the father of Terah. And after he became the father of Terah, Nahor lived 119 years and had other sons and daughters.

After Terah had lived 70 years, he became the father of Abram, 

Genesis 11:11-26

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Arphaxad had his first child at 35

Shelah had his first child at 30
Eber had his first child at 34
Peleg had his first child at 30
Reu had his first child at 32
Serug had his first child at 30

Nahor had his first child at 29

And then,

After Terah had lived 70 years…

Seventy! More than twice the age of all his forefathers.

You can probably imagine all of the cultural pressures combined with societal expectations he felt burdened by during those ‘extra’ years of awaiting his blessings from the Lord.

Was it that he didn’t have a wife yet?
Was there medical complications?
Was his wife barren?
Was he infertile?

So many possible variables that we are not told about this situation; only who _did_ have kids, and _how old they were_ when they did. And inadvertently, how great a gap in one from the others.

And it’s funny, because as I thought about it, I suspect that most of the anxieties we end up having about how we might be perceived by others and the culture at large, are probably wrapped up in this sense that we ‘don’t feel as fully understood by others’ as maybe we think we ought to be. Or perhaps we feel stifled by knowing the expectations of others yet not having a voice to express or explain our circumstances.

‘After all,’ we say, ‘maybe if they knew my particular circumstances or situation they might have compassion instead of judgment.’

There’s this longing then to understand our own circumstances as well as to be understood by others.

And in the brevity of these above verses, we have no justification either. Even if we could deduce the historical context and easily fill in the blanks from the culturally expected norms of the time, we would never know for certain where the issue here – if there was an issue at all – really was.

We instead see that the primary focus of the Scriptures, is ‘God’ being understood, and ‘His’ glory being revealed.

Which is a pretty amazing revelation that I sense we really need to take some time to reflect upon so that we can fully take hold of it. Because only when we do, do we begin to realize the great precision with which God has purposed every detail of our lives.

And now in the redemption of our sufferings that made us the very focus of many by something we once maybe even despised about ourselves, God actually begins to empower it to be the very thing by which His promises are fulfilled through, and so many can come to know Him!

————

After Terah had lived 70 years, he became the father of Abram

Genesis 11:26

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For those of you who aren’t aware, Abram, later to be named Abraham, was the patriarch to which God personally revealed himself to and called out of pagan idolatry to serve the true and living God.

And God gave him some of the most important Messianic promises concerning the Gospel of our salvation that would only be fulfilled through Jesus’s life, death and resurrection.

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The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

“I will make you into a great nation,

    and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.”
Genesis 12:1-3

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So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham.

Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles (non-jews) by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

Galatians 3:6-9

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I mention this because if you or I are ever tempted to feel like our situation or circumstances are hopeless or not up-to-par with our culture’s expectations of what ‘they’ think our lives should look like, just remember… God is simply positioning you and I for the greatest fulfillment of ‘His’ _divine_ purposes, which always lead to the greatest blessings of all!

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His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:3-11

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As we move onward and upwards toward the fulfillment of the great promises of God for our lives – both short term and long term, remember, God has not forgotten you…

He simply saves the best wine for last!

So with hopeful expectations I implore you:

Trust ♔ Jesus!