Hustler’s Prayer

And the trade spilled all over the sidewalk
As his body hit the floor heard the voice inside talk
Can a flower grow from the crack on this pavement
Is knowledge worth anything when you can’t even start a wavelength

How you can chase paper while posted on a corner
Now He hopes he has his card for being a blood donor
At least he won’t be John Doe when he is written in the book of the coroner

He once aimed to be written in another Book
That was just a week ago before his faith got shook
When he tried to find the answer of why his friend’s life got took

“Its God’s will” they said as he wailed out “WHY!?”
The tears flowed freely when he rushed outside
“If you are so good, why did she have to die?”

“If this is Your will…” He paused for a while
As he thought about her peaceful smile
That came to her face when she prayed for strength to walk this mile
The disease ravaged her whole body but there was always that smile

“If this is Your will… I want nothing to do with…”
He did not finish the sentence but he now set to make religion a myth
But the voice inside said, “the just will live by faith
Tell me you are mad, disappointed, discouraged but don’t turn away your face.
Please stay, I still prepare a place.”
But the uncertainties and pain made the good in him slip away…

Its not that he believed there was no God, The Creator
But this kind of pain can not be allowed, if there was a Caring Mediator
He went back to the ranks of a street soldier
A warrior surrounded by concrete, illicit trade and paper
Rising quickly again but falling deeper into this crater
The voice inside said, “the just shall live-”
“I ASKED YOU TO SAVE HER!”

Another day in the trenches of the corner
Trade in the pocket and the numbers in his mental going over and over
But it all froze when a car crept round the corner
All creepy, eyes beaming like a snake. “Run for cover!”
He got so used to talking back, he said “Just let me do me, playa!”
Then a voice he did not recognise or want to said, “game over”

Bullets don’t display and wave the way they do like Neo and the Matrix say.

And the trade spilled all over the sidewalk
As his body hit the floor heard the voice inside talk
Can a flower grow from the crack on this pavement
Is knowledge worth anything when you can’t even start a wavelength
“The just shall live by faith.”

It was at that moment that he remembered a burning furnace he was told of as a boy.
How the king had ordered them to bow and they said no much to his annoy.
The furnace burned ten times hot
They had done right, could God allow this to be their lot?
“God can save us. What He wills is done. But even if He does not…”
Even if He does not…

“The just shall live by faith…”
“… I know you can save me. I know you could have saved her.
But this is not about me, when You put me under trial it is to be a sweet savour.
For You do not waste time on refining base metal
And when I didn’t understand I ran, I got mad, I went loco mental
I did everything but what You hoped for me to do
And that was to say, “Even if You do not, I will not serve these corners.”
In the end, what is there in being a concrete soldier?
Even if you do not save my body, please write my name in the Lamb’s book and not just in that of the coroner.
So that when You come, in glory and honour.

You will be seen as The Lamb who can save to the uttermost, the guttermost.
I expected my will from You.
But I did not trust Your will for me.

The just will live by faith
And Faith is not about me getting what I expect
But about You being glorified and that You know best.

And that when I ran it said more about me than it did about You.
I don’t have all the answers, I don’t have all the truth.
But I know this and this alone, this world needs You.

Now save me for Your name’s sake, ‘Coz I know You can.
But even if You don’t… Even if You don’t, let Your name be glorified even if it’s with my blood with which seeds you plant.”

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The Hope of Glory: Be The Sermon

So I was at a Bible study this past Saturday evening, after church.

It was actually a half night of prayer. We had just been sharing what God had been doing in our lives.

If it had not been for God, let all Israel say, If it had not been for the LORD… We would be destroyed, useless, nothing.

And then one of the members of the group was sharing a presentation based on

John 17:3 – And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent

And Hebrews 10:37

For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come and will not tarry.

We have not seen the face of God. If He were to show his face and we were to behold Him in full divine glory, we would not live to tell the tale.

But we do seek God. And He seeks us. He searches for us as the Good Shepherd does the lost sheep.

Ezekiel 33:11 – Say to them: As I live, says the Lord Jehovah, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, except in the turning of the wicked from his way, and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?

Acts 17:30 – And the times of ignorance (when you did not know) God winked at; BUT NOW commandeth all men EVERYWHERE to repent:

Romans 10:13 – For whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

But how are we to seek God in this age where there are so many distractions and pursuits vying for our time and attention?

Like Romans 10:14 puts it:
How then shall they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

So we seek God in His word. And preachers have a ministry to uphold in that they preach God’s word. And I hope you are praying for the preachers. Even if you don’t go to church, at least pray that they are able to use the influence thy have for good and truth because the temptation will always be put forward to abuse their power (that is a whole other blog post). But they do not reveal the word of God fully. And not everyone will find themselves in a church. Actually most will actively run from a church.

We need to see some kind of representation if we are to know what we follow. There is only One who is the exact representation of God, i.e. Jesus Christ:

who being the brightness of His glory, and the exact image of His being, and upholding all things by the word of His power, through Himself cleansing of our sins, He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. – Hebrews 1:3

But we don’t walk with Christ like the apostles got to. So how do we get to walk with Him. How do we seek Him?

Now as we were discussing how we seek God and about preachers and how we minister to others, this statement was made from a book called ‘Counsels for the Church’:

“Character building is the most important work ever entrusted to human beings, and never before was its diligent study so important as now.” pg.198

At which one of the members got this look on her face and emotion showed as she shook her head and essentially said,
“We’ve been doing it all wrong!”

There are a few things we put as priorities. Some have put the number of baptisms as the measuring stick for church success. Some have said being the fastest growing church is the measure of success. And so we set programs in place that aim to reach that success.

And while bringing souls to Christ is important, essential even. It is only God who can impress the heart of man and turn it towards Him.

Our most important work is to represent Christ’s character to all we meet. Now you realise that means that we have to deny ourselves. As in when we walk, talk, dress, eat, listen, watch, you represent Christ and His glory. You represent the character of Christ.

Now I am not saying you gain salvation by works. But how can we ask God to make us a new creature and then remain the same? He seeks to let Himself be know through His people to His people.

Don’t worry. When He calls us to Himself He is the one who enables us to overcome our defects. He says go and sin no more. He is touched by our infirmities and bids us come to Him. He made us unique and so He won’t get rid of your individuality (actually He will make you more you than you could make yourself, without a doubt). But our highest aim and our highest privelege is to be even just that one soul’s peep hole into what Christ is like.

The other lost sheep are the ones who say come and see.

And while some of us do have the privelege of actually preaching this from a pulpit. Many of us and alot of the time our sermons are the way we act. Our sermons are what we say (or don’t say). Our sermons are in the will we show. Our sermon is our character.

And if we co-operate with Christ we can build that sermon and help build that sermon in others.

Letter From The Pew (2)

2. We don’t bite
Most of us have teeth that we have (had to) sharpen in the world over the years. It’s a defense mechanism. We want to feel safe in God’s presence. We don’t want to bite in His house. And sometimes when we act out, it is because we are hurting, from years of being threatened and unaccepted. Get to know us, unselfishly, without pride and you will realise that we don’t bite. We bark.

3. Tell us the truth.
We are not going to ask you to do this, by the way. But we know that truth is what we are looking for. That also means you have to know and relearn the The Truth for yourself. When you don’t know, don’t get carried away and just try to prove your point. We know you are not perfect, just tell us how you realised to hold God’s hand to lift you over the imperfections (in the world and you).

4. Don’t make promises that God never makes.
Please. If God did not say that He will make all my days clear-skied and rose gold, please don’t tell me that He said that. If you wanted to paint a picture of God based on your bias, please be truthful enough to say you have no basis for that picture. Tell us of His promises. Because yours are like mine, as reliable as ropes of sand.
Tell me Joshua 23:10 One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the LORD your God, He it is that fighteth for you, as He has promised you.
Tell me that temptations will come, but that with the temptation, God will make a way out. 1 Corinthians 10:13
Tell me what love is 1 Corinthians 13
Tell me God is love 1John 4:8

5.The gospel is exciting.
As it is. There is no need to try and add extra herbs and spices. If you think we have heard enough about Jesus, you are wrong. When God came and dwealt with us. And was tested in all points as we are but found without sin. How we came from a perfect world, to a fallen world and how He has sought and is seeking to bring us to a restored world. It is better than any glorified conflict you will find on the scripts of hollywood or any soapie drama. But you need to ask help to turn our eyes to Jesus and things of eternity and not things of this temporal earth.

6.Africa is not a country!
You may have been to France, Germany, Jamaica, Japan, Italy, and Africa… STOP! Don’t do that. We are all very distinct. We all come from different backgrounds and the cultures are so diverse. I don’t just say this for Africans. I mean if she is Phillipina, please take the time to care enough to at least not say “japanese” and point at her. Or say “indian” and point at the Sri Lankan.

7.We are not looking for you, we are looking for Christ.
Get out of the way. The true seeker can tell when you are making this about you. And even if they don’t know it. God can use a man with the wrong intentions but that does not mean God owes that man any favours at all. Let us know you are just as human as us, and that we should look to and rely on Christ, just as you do.

8.We love you
We pray for you (some of us). We don’t hate you. We want God to bless you and your family. We pray God continues to use you and keep evil at bay.

9. Each one of us has a story
…And that is where we react from. We all coming from some place. And we are all looking to overcome something. Otherwise we would not be here. None of us are a mistake in the sight of God.

10. Trust in God
Rely wholly on Him, for He cares for you.

You stare at the man and then your eyes catch something right in front of you. It’s a hand going up slowly. Then another, then another, and another until the whole congregation has their hands raised.

What are you going to do? Will you hear the cry or just continue the sermon you think you have to deliver? Or will you pray and ask that you will hear the letter from the pew addressed to the pulpit?

Letter From The Pew

*This addresses all those who find themselves teaching the gospel and how it permeates the different parts of our lives. Which should be all of us.*

I want you to picture that you are standing behind the pulpit. Leading up to this, you were nervous and excited but now as you stand, looking into the crowd of familiar faces, you feel like you have a room full of strangers looking at you. Strangely, though, as you look up from your notes and your Bible you feel the familiar peace, that soothing calm and courage. A peace that surpasses all understanding. You start to preach. And then, something odd stops your flow.

There is a man standing up in the pew and raising his hand. You don’t recognise him.

Not that tall, plain but decent enough attire, shirt tucked in and his arm stretched all the way up. You don’t remember giving any sort of appeal just now and last you checked, sermons did not work like press conferences. So you try to ignore him for a few seconds and continue. This proves to be more of a problem because now he starts waving his hand to get your attention like an eager Eager Beaver, getting the attention of those around him and now people start to look away from the pulpit and start to turn around. And so, hoping to get this out of the way and continue the message prepared, you acknowledge him.

“Uh…. Yes?”

A clear but gentle voice responds.

“Sorry. I have a message for you. And this is the best time for you to hear it. For this is a message from the people you love, your church family, and those who have one foot in and the other foot out the door, and even those who are not your family in here, but certainly your neighbour out there.

There are a few things we would like to let you know:

1.Don’t be scared of us.
We may have scowls on our faces sometimes… A lot of the time… but please don’t let that stop you from asking us how we are doing or just saying hello. We can’t smell fear. We are probably more scared of you than you are of us. It would be refreshing to see you when you are not behind a pulpit. It might even be what our hearts need. That personal touch.

By the Power of Their Testimony (Epilogue)

Let me put it like this:
If you made it to heaven. The pearl gates open and you are marching in with the saints.

The air you are breathing is crisper and fresher than you have ever breathed. The streets of gold touch your feet and strangely feels like a perfect carpet of sand under your feet.

The wind caresses you, unlike any mountain zephyr on earth ever had. And as you approach the throne, the singing sends shivers (that feel more like a massage) through your body. You are smiling from ear to ear. But something is not quite right.

All the saints are gathered at the throne of God and stare in awe as a figure steps out from under the glory that surrounds the presence of God.

The angel does not have an expression on their face that matches yours. He actually looks solemn. And as he explains you realise why.

He relays that the plan of salvation actually required that as soon as we made it to heaven, The Son of God had to eternally forfeit His place in heaven so that we could live. And that this was why this whole time, we had not seen Jesus or why He had not run out to receive us into the city. In short, we would never get to see Jesus.

Now, THINK! How would that make you react?

Not that this will ever happen. The Bible says the Son of God will be the light in the new earth, so He will be there.

But what does your reaction say? What does that tell you about what you are actually pursuing in your walk with Christ?

I now knew, after my walking away, that my pursuit was not heaven. Or just to escape hell.

But I really just wanted to spend eternity with My Friend, LORD, And Saviour. And that is still my aim.

To represent Christ.

By the Power of Their Testimony (12)

I could truly smile on demand (still can). And going to chapel was actually something I looked forward to. I continued to teach the Sabbath school class, and God would give me the right words to say. And the wisdom to answer questions. And for those questions I did not have the answers to, God gave me the wisdom to know to say, “I don’t know, but we can find out.” or get to the real reason why the person asked the question.

The Sabbath was now not the command of a tyrant. But a delightful gift given in love to those who would receive. And with all the work in college, wasn’t I glad to receive His rest?

I was made aware that what we eat was also of concern to God. I mean, there was a reason God had clean and unclean animals even when Noah went into the Ark. And when you realise that most of the conditions we are in are a result of what we eat or can be helped by what we eat. It makes sense that God spent time providing the right kind of food for His children when they walked in the wilderness and even after that.

I could rely on God… Fully… for EVRYTHING.

To be honest. I was not perfect. My pursuit was not for heaven. Actually, I did not want to make it to heaven. If I made it to heaven my plan was to make a deal with God and let me sleep for eternity. I knew I wanted God, though.

And the more I sought after God, the more He made me realise that those thoughts came from the fact that I had soaked my head in things that are temporal. My entertainment, and what I had been taught to pursue were all things that fade away.

The more I sought God, the more I wanted to spend eternity with Him.

Let me put it like this:……

By the Power of Their Testimony (11)

That is all I can say…

He satisfies the longing soul….

So I returned to the campus. And I continued my walk with God. It was brought to mind that I would have to get to know God. If I was going to seek Him first as Matthew 6:33 said. So I would read a chapter of Proverbs (my favourite book in the Bible) from my Scofield Study Bible in the morning and eventually one in the evening. I had to find out what God was saying for Himself.

And then woke up in the EARLY mornings (like 0300hrs) and I read Judges, Kings and Chronicles with the SDA Bible Commentary right next to me. The history I found was amazing. God opened up my mind. And it showed in my academic work too.

I also started reading the best book (besides the Bible) on the life of Jesus. “The Desire of Ages”. It made me envision the life of Christ as I never had. My fear that it would take me away from the Bible was dismissed once I realised that it never did contradict what the Bible said, in fact it made me want to read the gospels more. See Christ for myself.

All this seeking God showed itself in my life. I was more careful about what I watched. I had more time to actually do academics. I would make it on time for things. I would be able to keep my word. I would not get angry over pins dropping. I would not lie because I was not as afraid of people. I could tell the truth in love and leave the consequence with God. I knew that the future was not determined by bad luck or some universe turning against me (I had gotten mixed up in horoscopes, signs and tarots without fully realising it, -whole other story-).

Where before, I had a feeling that nobody would miss me if I just killed myself (which seriously crossed my mind) or if I just slept to never wake up. I now had a purpose to live.