Be Who You Are, But Who Are You?

I am sure you have heard it said, “Be true to yourself.” Or “Just be yourself.” Or “Just listen to your heart.”

But is this really what God wants for us? I am not saying we need to find a verse that says, thou shalt be thyself, but can we find the principle in the Bible?

Have you ever caught yourself in the middle of doing something and the thought springs up, “I never thought I would be doing this. Not me.”

We even surprise ourselves sometimes, when we find ourselves in certain circumstances. We don’t even know who we are in all honesty. We may know who we want to be seen as and even how we see ourselves. The truth is, no. No, we don’t know who we are.

No, we are not told to follow our heart, nor to be ourself, or that ourselves is who we are to be true to. The good news is we are told Who knows us and if we get to know Them we get to know who we actually are.

So the question then becomes, who am I and how do I get to know me?

Genesis 27:19 “ And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau your first born….”

In the world we currently live in, we really can be anyone. Social platforms allow us to stage a life that is all roses and no rain. Make up allows us to be unblemished and hide the scars. Mobile devices help us to soak up distractions on demand. And we can be anyone we want to be, except who we actually are.

In Genesis we are told the story of Jacob. He knows what it is like to have no idea who we actually are. To get what he wanted, he was Esau. To himself, he was Jacob (meaning deciever) and many of us look at our own lives and see that we are a living lie.

“The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: Who can know it?
I the LORD, search the heart, I try the reins, even to give to every man according to is ways and according to the fruit of his doings.” – Jeremiah 17:9&10

Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the belly I knew you….”

I have found in my own experience, that I really could pull off seeming like anyone. I could put on any number of masks. But when I was by myself, I knew that all that was empty and pretense has a way of becoming a whole other me that even I wanted to run a way from. Behind academics, behind writing, behind ministry even. But I would always keep thoughts of reflection on the surface. Until I came face to face with God.
1 Kings 3:7-14
It was like being Solomon. To everyone else, I am king. I see myself as a child, not knowing how to come in or go out (shhh…. never let them know that). And God sees someone He can walk with if I only I choose to do so.

Psalms 139:1-5 – “O LORD, You have searched me, and known me….”

If you own a Toyota. No matter how bad you want for it to be a Mercedes (and you can even buy the emblem off someone), when that car has a problem, it will do no good to take it to the Mercedes dealership.

Likewise, we were created by God (believe it or not) and so when we want to know who we are, it makes no sense to go to the world to find out. We could get a good idea of who people think we are or what they want us to be but not who we actually are.

It makes no sense to turn to a drug or drink to tell us who we actually are. Because the mistake we often make is to think that a man is who they are when they remove all inhibitions. But a person is not one dimensional. We are not only made up of our instincts, we are also made with our reason.

Proverbs 25:28 – He whose spirit is uncontrolled is like an unwalled town which has been broken into.

“Many youth mistake strong, uncontrolled passion for strength of character; but the truth is that he who is mastered by his passions is a weak man. The real greatness and nobility of the man is measured by his powers to subdue his feelings, not by the power of his feelings to subdue him.” – Child Guidance, pg. 161

So to say that you are who you really are when you are on some drug or drink that alters your reasoning ability is like inviting guests in when you have been robbed and saying “I guess this was my home all along.”

So who are you. I don’t know. And I am glad that I don’t.
Because I know God does know. But you have to go to Him and be honest with Him (not just with yourself). He will grow you to be you.

In a world where you can be anyone but you. Be you. Truly you.

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Can’t Or Won’t, But HE IS Love

An apologetic

Why do bad things happen, even despicable, horrid, vile things happen to the innocents? It’s either God can’t deal with it (which makes Him not God) or He can and He won’t (meaning He is not love because love does not stand by and let evil happen). Our instinct is to get on the defensive or live in denial and say neither.

But what comes to mind is that He won’t. Don’t stone me yet. God won’t stop all the evil from happening. But this does not automatically mean that He is not love. That is our automatic assumption because of how we define love.

Love wants the best and not a temporary fix. Fix means there is something wrong. That something is sin. We often mistake the symptoms of sin as sin itself.

Now, what would be the best way to deal with sin?

We often think the best solution is to eradicate the sinner. Nip it in the bud. While this is a great fix in the meantime it does not have lasting results in all cases, especially when the problem is a condition that has taken the whole body and so will arise in another member eventually.

We underestimate just how deep of a problem sin is. And so we think God is supposed to snap a finger to solve the problem. We think He is failing to do what is best.

What would have been best is that sin would not have come at all. But sin is the choice to turn from what is best (the will of God). And we took that choice. Now God is to remain love (just and merciful) and still save the children who want a way back.

The best is to now show what sin is, contrast it with what love is so that sin will not be the choice ever again. The whole universe seeing exactly what the results are. And love will be the choice.

This is not a quick fix situation. Jesus (One equal with God) living here, dying on the cross and rising from the grave to now intercede for us shows that sin is no small problem. It required all of heaven to be poured out in the person of Jesus Christ to save us from sin.

Sin is not only the opposite of love but the perversion of it.

If you ate something really nice and then the next time you ate it, someone put something poisonous in there and you collapsed and went in to a coma because of this and then someone came over after your miraculous recovery and brought that same great dish. And said, “Have a bite”. Would you dig in?

And this is the problem. God is trying to let the whole universe see that love is the only Way. Love is that great dish, it always has been. But all this evil that is now here? An enemy has done this. The enemy has perverted this. But God will not eradicate love (His character), lest He destroy the safety of the entire creation.

So God could have just gotten rid of the enemy but we have seen how martyrs (even of violent uprisings and ignoble causes) are made to be the heroes. Sin would only have been further propogated and the thought will always be “maybe the martyr was right.” God’s aim is not to heal symptoms but to root out sin and have it never rise again.

Now, God could just say that sin (going out of His will) is bad. Knowing that He is right would be enough if He was like us. I Am God and that is that. But God wants transparency, full disclosure (and it is necessary). That while He could easily just say, “Trust Me”. He wants all to see that He is worth trusting and that sin will not worth rising a second time. Who – after all that we have been through as a race, even just this far – will honestly say, “maybe sin is the right way”? Very few. And by the end of this entire case, nobody will say sin is the right way at all.

For every knee shall bow and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and God is worthy to sit on the throne of the universe. He is just, merciful and love. And that eternal destruction (i.e forever wiped out, not forever torment) will be the most merciful thing for those who do not want to be around Love.

So not that He can’t. He won’t. Not because He is evil but because He is love. By love, He must.
And while love can ease suffering and give relief, the final aim of love is restoration. This requires for sin to be seen for what it is and love to be seen for who He is and we must choose.

“Okay Google!.. Who Is God”

So there is a rising trend that has me concerned. We know that some passages of Scripture are quite straightforward but others are not quite so. Some passages require some effort and research.

I was sitting in a Sabbath School class and the question was, “what is Armageddon?”. One member of the class whipped out their phone and did a Google search.

I was in a church Bible study and we were discussing 1Corinthians 14:34 (let the women keep silent in churches), and while the facilitator was breaking down how we should study and interpret the Bible one member of the church brought forward the answer they found in a Google search.

There was a question raised in a WhatsApp group I am in. The question was about wine (topic for another day) and I had to fight back the thought that someone would just go pick up an explanation from Google and paste it on the group. I even wanted to check some answers on Google.

Should we really be using Google for Bible study? Sola Scriptura and Googlia? Is there a line to draw?

Well… It’s not all so cut and dried but I can definitely tell you some pointers.

Google is a powerful tool. But it must be used right.
It is certainly helpful when looking up definitions of words. Google is also a great place to find out the historical backgrounds and settings, giving more context to Biblical passage. It is also very useful when it comes to bringing forward the popular belief (which is not always a good thing if you are unsure). It is also a great way to bring up a compilation of different theories (again this could be bad) and allows one to see from different perspectives and not just see their own voice echoed.

However.

We must realise its limits. Running a Google search will only retreive what you ask it for and will bring forward the most optimised results first. And first does not always mean best in this case.
Popular does not always mean correct. We don’t know who is writing the articles we read on the net half the time. I mean, what do you think Google would have had to say about Noah if it was back in his day?

So what do we do?
I would suggest:
1. Pray. Pray. Pray – Whenever we are going to study scripture we should imvite the Author of scripture to guide our minds. The Spirit should guide us into all truth (John 16:13) as He is willing to do. Even with straight forward scripture.

2. Bible interprets the Bible – Back to basics. Sola Scriptura. Let the Bible interpret itself. Where there seems to be something that is confusing, there is surely a place in the Bible where the same principle is spelt out more clearly.
Line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little (Isaiah 28:10)
To the law and to the testimony, if they speak no according to this word it is because there is no light in them. (Isaiah 8:20)
We see the New Testament writers use Old Testament Scripture this way. Building their belief on the established Word of God.

3. Get a solid grounded Bible answer – Dont be lazy. God is not trying to hide from us. Actually He longs to bring us into full knowledge (as far as we can) to who He is. So before checking concordances and commentaries, check the passages in and around that same text. Check similar situations of the same principle in the rest of the Bible. Even see where similar words show up in scripture. Study to show yourself approved (2Timothy 2:15)

4. Hold fast – it would be worthless to study and then come away and have no change in your life.
Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21)
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (James 1:22)

So Google is not our Bible study enemy but always make sure that it is a tool used correctly if you need to use it at all. Don’t let doctrine be based on “but Google said….”, But on a clear, “It is written.”

Abba Father

“Our Father who art in heaven…”
The famous first line of Jesus’ model prayer for teaching His disciples how to pray. It shows us that we can call God Our Father.
Most people would believe that the concept of God as a Father is a new testament concept. And while the concept is true, it is not based solely on the New Testament.

Let’s start in Isaiah 63:16 – Doubtless thou art our Father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: Thou, O LORD, art our Father, our Redeemer; Thy Name is from everlasting.

Isaiah 64:8 – But now, O LORD, Thou art Our Father; we are the clay, and Thou our potter; and we all are the work of Thy hand.

Let’s go back a few centuries from the time of Isaiah and to the Exodus, where we find God giving Moses HIs words to speak when he stands in front of Pharaoh.
Exodus 4:22,23 – And you must say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Israel is My son, even My firstborn.”
and I said to you, ‘Let My son go that he may serve Me,’ but since you have refused to let him go, I will surely kill your son, even your firstborn!”‘”

God calls the nation of Israel His son. (And we are children of Abraham by the promise. Not Jews outwardly but Jews inwardly through Christ and heirs according to the promise of God to Abraham (Galatians 3:22-29) ) And so even then they could call on Him as Father or at least look up to Him that way.

But let’s go even further back by going forward in the Bible
Luke 3:23-38 spells out the lineage of Jesus Christ. Our focus is on the last verse, however. Verse 38 says – (Cainan) Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.

Adam was the son of God. Not like Jesus is the Son of God. Don’t get it twisted. But Adam was the son of God. Adam could commune with his Father directly.

Imagine what that must have been like on that first Sabbath, after God had created all the earth and everything in it. And He had his two children, Adam and Eve. How they marvelled at all that He showed them. The earth in its perfection, the garden untainted by sin. And they could look to Him as Our Father.

This is the state of affairs God would love to return to. And this is the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. To restore us to have the power to be called sons and daughters of God and He Our Father (by love uncomparable) without shame.

1John3 verse 1 – Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.

So would you choose this day to be His daughter, to be His son? Or will you sel the birthright that is freely given but bought at the cost of all of Heaven in the scarifice of Jesus Christ?

Call on Him today. Abba Father. Lead me gently home. Take me home, Father.

Seventh Day and 3 Angels

As you may have realised from some of the writing I have been used to write on here, I believe that obeying God is a natural and even an eager response to God’s response to us. Obedience to His commandments in specific. All ten of them. That includes the fourth commandment.

Of course others would say that the fourth commandment to remember the seventh day sabbath to keep it holy is done away with. Besides the Bible evidence to the contrary (which includes the life and example of Jesus Christ and the Apostles) I also believe that it does not make sense to forget what God says to remember. And then there is the fact that the world we live in now being so fast-paced would lead to the logical conclusion that we need rest. Also, I have seen people take chances and take leaps on things of much less certainty than the word of God.

But the focus for today is to get rid of the thought that the seventh day sabbath is an outdated institution by showing its ties to the last day message of Revelation 14:6-12. The Sabbath and three angels are undeniably tied together.

And so here I will quote the fourth commamndment as found in Exodus 20:8-11 and repeated in Deteronomy 5:12-15 combined. The parts unique to Deuteronomy are in square brackets […] :

Rmemember the sabbath day to keep it holy [Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee]. Six days shalt thou labour and do all thy work but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD the God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, thy maidservant, nor thy cattle [ox], nor thine ass, [nor of thy cattle] nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: [;that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.] For in six days, the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all thet in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD belessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Now we will go through the ties of this commandment to the messages of the three angels.

1. The Dominion of God
a) over man, heaven, earth, and the seas/fountains of waters.
Exodus’ reading of the fourth commandment is the source material for Revelation 14:7 when talking of the dominion of God as the Creator of heaven, the earth and the founatains of waters. We belong to God by creation
b) over man and creation by redemption
Deuternomy’s reading reveals the deliverance from Egypt by a mighty hand as the reason for keeping the sabbath. We Christians today have not been delivered from literal Egypt but from the slavery of sin by His mighty work at the cross (after which, He rested and we are to rest in remembrance too)

2. Babylon is fallen
Revelation 14:8 tells of how Babylon (and all its lies) is fallen just as Egypt fell by His mighty hand and His people were called out, leaving the enemies of God to be destroyed. In Revelation’s second angel we see the state of those who worship the beast and how they are destroyed in the end. Is it then any surprise that they have no rest day or night? They choose not to enter His rest.

3. State of the delivered
Remember that you were once a slave but now you have been brought out that you may obey the LORD in Spirit and in Truth, that you may serve Him in obedience freely. So that you may keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus without fearing the threats of Egypt/Babylon.
Here is the pateince of the saints says Revelation 14:12.

And so with these three ties i.e. Dominion, judgement and deliverance is His sabbath commamndment tied to His last day message. The sabbath continues to be a sign between the Creator God and His people.

But remember, the One who ties it all together is Christ. He is the Creator, He is the Faithful Judge, and He is the Redeemer.

God bless you and yours.

Extra reading: Genesis 2:2, Exodus 16:29, Hebrews 4, Deuteronomy 15:15-, Deuteronomy 16:9-12, Deuteronomy 24:17-22, Ezekiel 20:4-26, Isaiah 58:6,13-14, Levitcus 19:13 (Sabbath tied to honouring father and mother)

It Was All So Simple

It was all
So simple
Then

What used to be friendships
Turned to battle gripped
Tolerance
What used to be united
And had the foe ignited
In fury is now blighted
By the plague of the divided
Solitary

It was all
So simple
Then

What used to be shared meals
However little they did feel
Were eaten love so real
Has become a frame in the reel
Of a historical documentary
What used to be genuine Bible solemnity
Has become smiles pretendedly
Slapped on the face in diplomacy

It was all
So simple
Then

What used to be a trusted circle
Slow but secure like the turtle
Became scattered by darts hurtled
Prayer was our breath
And so we all turned purple
What used to be a fight against
The dismal world from which we were fenced
Against the beauraucy’s worst intents
Through the persecution so intense
Not knowing we didn’t battle blood and flesh
Though after a bit we had that sense
Just to do what Our Redeemer sent
Love Him and keep His commandments
Became a steel bar bent
A little flock torn and rent

It was all
So simple
Then

What used to be
Wasn’t taken by all bad you see
Some found true matrimony
Others a promotion testimony
But others weren’t so fortunate see
Death touched some families
Others split by adultery
Others sold integrity
And civil wars broke the unity

It was all
So simple
Then

Then I looked to the hills
From where comes my help still
I am but one lost sheep worth nil
Repentance is a bitter pill
Please take our sin and You will
Make us whole, each individual
Please, our empty hearts You fill
The whole heavens Your glory fills
But dwell with us Emmanuel
Is my prayer so simple

That it will
Be so simple
When

Your Spirit works from within
And works true reformation
From You would come the straight message
Your righteousness without restriction
Of Your love a true revelation
A content, simple, primtive religion
Love for the rich and the simpleton
True to Your Word, faith no question
Till Your return breaks the perversion
Revive true conversion
That if (forbid) by the way side I fall in diversion
By my influence in the least You may find one faithful person

It was all
So simple
Oh
So simple
It was all
So simple
Now

I Have Been Asked

I have been asked
Sincerely in the past

So what if I dress like a tart
He truly sees my heart
True my dear
And what I fear
Is that you are a work of art
And the outer is only a start
For it is a useless piece in whole and part
If it be not
An expression of what is dwelling
In the heart

I have been asked
Sincerely in the past

So what about the apocrypha
It might unfold some sophistra
True my dear
And what I fear
Is we haven’t fully understood
The 66 books clear and good
Why go after secrets supposedly under the hood
When what is in the light isn’t obeyed as it should

I have been asked
Sincerely in the past

So what if God calls you to single life
He could say you never wife
True my dear
And what I fear
Is that that would cause me to run from Him
But what would I then give the one I pusue
If I remove
The only Source of love I have and choose
To give them an inferior view
Of what love is and ask more than my due

I have been asked
Sincerely in the past

What if heaven was a myth
Then what of all you endured with
Okay my dear
And what I fear
Is you won’t like me for saying this
In light of living by faith experience
And seeking His righteousness
Just the trusting obedience and purpose
Is enough of a better existence
And to live here only in a supposed facade of His presence
Which is not true by any sense
But suppose for your convenience
I would rather live like this
Seeking His righteousness
Being picked out of the abyss
Yes, stumbling but on Him my eyes focused
And dying holding His hand like this
And guiding one to the same by my witness
Than die in empty pride and selfishness
Heaven would be a bonus