DOES GOD SPEAK?

There is an old Tamil film song that used to touch my heart when I was a young child that goes like this: If Lord Jesus speaks, what will He speak? What will He speak in order to quieten a poor aching heart? These words were very dear to me because it brought God close to me, as One Who speaks to me.

Often we are in a quandary as to whether God speaks and if at all He is speaking, what is He speaking to us, especially in times of trouble.

Job, a man of great wealth and great integrity who lived in times past, also had the same question in a time of extreme suffering, when all that he believed in seemed swept away. His friend Elihu’s answer provides us a clue to this dilemma that seems universal and for all times. You can find it in the 33rd chapter of the book of Job in the Bible.

According to Elihu, God is not silent but does speak, one way or another. God does answer always, in one or two ways, even when people don’t acknowledge His presence. Elihu points out that God speaks again and again, though people do not recognize it.

God speaks to us ‘in dreams, in visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they lie in their beds. He whispers in their ears and terrifies them with warnings. He makes them turn from doing wrong; he keeps them from pride. He protects them from the grave, from crossing over the river of death.’

God also ‘might get their attention through pain, by throwing them on a bed of suffering, So they can’t stand the sight of food, have no appetite for their favorite treats. They lose weight, wasting away to nothing, reduced to a bag of bones. They hang on the cliff-edge of death, knowing the next breath may be their last.’

In reading this we see that God’s intention is to capture our attention so as to warn us away from evil and keep us from death. God speaks to is in visions and dreams of the night with the intention of terrifying us away from wrongdoing. Since we do not hear or notice Him, He has to reach out by other means to make us listen and take notice when we are finally in bed, resting.

God does not scare us in order to make us tremble before Him, but horrifies us so that we would refrain from felony or crime, since these would lead to death. That’s God’s agenda – to scare the hell out of us so as to keep us out of hell!

We also see that God uses pain to capture our attention and not to torture or destroy us. God’s purpose is never to punish or penalize us in a vindicative or vicious manner, but to prevent us from destroying ourselves.

C.S Lewis writes in his book, The problem of pain, that β€œGod whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world’’. God has His own ways of waking the conscience of us when we are absolutely heedless. Of all His many tools, pain is the loudest, for it makes us take note of His word. The psalmist, King David, declares that before he was afflicted he went astray, but now he keeps His word.

To the question as to why would God deal with us so, we can only bow low and answer that it because we our insensitivity to Him. We are so stupefied and insensible to His voice of love and reason that He has to use other means to capture our attention. We have become so incapacitated by cares, riches and pleasures that we are incapable of deciphering His words. So, God has to resort to other ways of making us hear and heed Him and give Him our attention so that we can inherit life and not destruction.

To go back to our question of whether God speaks, we can safely reply, Yes, God does speak. To the question, if so, what does He speak, we can confidently say that He speaks in order to turn us from death to life. He doesn’t speak to put fear of Himself in us, but fear of doing wrong and going to hell.

The crowning glory of the fact that God speaks is found in the first chapter of the book of Hebrews in the Bible: ‘God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;’

If God speaks warnings through dreams, captures our attention through pain, what does He want to convey to us through His only Son, Jesus? What else but that our sins are forgiven through Jesus’ death of the cross and the way to Him has been made open by the blood of Christ!

God, through His Son, is speaking to us of reconciliation and peace with Him. He is telling us that we have access to Him through Christ. He is inviting the world to a relationship with Him and a communion with one another, made possible by the sacrifice of His Son. He is not just terrifying us to keep us from wrongdoing and hell, but also showing us the ways and means to read h Him and heaven!

Would we heed His call, the gentle still small voice of our Creator through His Son or are we going to force Him to use other means of persuasion?

The choice is ours, as He waits in the sidelines for us to hear and obey, out of our own freewill!

*It would help you to read a continuation of this article entitled WHY INTERCESSION AND PRAYER https://sabinatagoreimmanuel.com/2020/12/30/why-of-intercession-and-prayer/

*Pics courtesy Google, unsplash.com and shutterstock

BE THE LIGHT OR BE IN THE LIMELIGHT?

Jesus told His disciples that they were the salt and light of the world. The similarity between salt and light is that both create an impact, wherever they are placed, but become inconsequential in so doing. They have to lose themselves in order to cause any difference to their surroundings.

Salt is well-defined in substance and is felt rather than seen or identified as such. It is often quite easy to comprehend being the salt of the earth, for its role is well-defined and its boundary marked.

To be the light, however, needs a clear understanding of purpose, priority and pose. The purpose of light is not to draw attention to itself, but to bring in to sharp relief what is hidden in the shadows. The priority of light is to shed its illumination so that what is not seen becomes uncovered and exposed. The pose of light is to dispel darkness and impart comfort in visibility.

The issue in being the light is that we often confuse it with being in the limelight. Most often it is construed that to fulfil the role of being a light, one needs to have exposure and elevation. We think that when Jesus said that no one lights a lamp and puts it under the bed, but on a lampstand, it means being placed in a position of prominence. We assume that when He said that a city in a hill cannot be hid, that advancement is needed for influence. We decide that to be a force to create a ripple, one must be placed in positions and posts of visibility.

The good news is that to be the light one doesn’t need authority or power or control. Light, by its very nature, will alter its surroundings and empower all around. So also in this dark world, you don’t need special recognition or position, because being the light talks about conduct not position. Jesus said Let your light so shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven.

Being the light is to draw attention to God and elevate Him so others can reach the safety of His presence. All you need to do is just shine in the darkness so that others can see and be helped.

Light is basically energy that will do a work, viz. destroy darkness, irrespective of where it is found or placed. Coupled with the sense of sight, light is a primary tool for perceiving the world and communicating within it. A tool will serve its purpose for whatever it is created to do, irrespective of its circumstances.

Light can be ensconced in a humble lantern or beam out of a mighty lighthouse, yet however and wherever it is placed it will cause a change in it’s surroundings. So also it doesn’t matter who you are and where you are placed. Just be the light and do the work of light – clear out darkness.

Light, like salt, has to disperse itself into the medium to accomplish its work and fulfil its task. So also be willing to be unknown as you actively fulfil God’s mandate in life. The One Who created you acknowledges and appreciates you being the light. Those around you know the role you play in their lives and will appreciate and thank God for you.

Do not fret that you are not in the limelight, for you are in good company. The stalwarts of faith, Elijah, John the Baptist, Simeon, Anna, Ananias who baptized Paul, etc were all people who had no visibility or position. Yet God saw them and recognized them in His graces.

The greatest example of light, Jesus Christ, lived unknown for thirty years in the quietness of a middle eastern hamlet. He Who came to be the Savior of the world and the greatest Man to live on planet earth, lived in obscurity and invisibility for about 80% of his life.

If you are one who lives a hidden life, unknown and unsung, remember you are in good company – in the company of the Son of God!

Continue to be the light without worrying or fretting that you are not in the limelight!

Being the light is not synonymous with being in the limelight!

*Pic courtesy unsplash.com and google images

BEING & BECOMING THE SALT OF THE EARTH

Jesus told his disciples that they were salt and light of the world.

The similarity between salt and light is that both create an impact, wherever they are placed.

They both diffuse and disperse themselves into the medium they are placed to add (flavour and illumination) to their surroundings. Both dispel something (tastelessness and darkness) through their influence on the environment. Both do not draw attention to themselves, but are known by the effect they create, viz. taste and sight.

The difference between them is that salt needs to melt away into oblivion, its substance never evident but felt. Light, on the other hand, needs to be lifted up to be evident to all, if it is to bring sight and comfort all around.

Salt has the ability to combine everything together into a cohesive whole, while light by nature separates everything into two different entities.

Jesus said that if salt loses its saltiness (its nature) it is only fit to be thrown in the dunghill because it has lost its ability and nature to cause change.

Similarly, He said that a lamp is not lighted to be put under a bowl (covering), but is kept on a stand to be true to its nature (to illuminate). In other words, light becomes useless when it is not placed in a position from where it can be seen.

For a lamp to be in placed on a stand means to be placed in a position that will facilitate and help it do its work, viz. to illuminate and make bright. Only if the way is made for its brightness to be seen can light dispel darkness and bring into sharp relief the things that are hidden.

In our walk with Christ, there are different seasons in life wherein we alternate as salt and light. There will be times when we are hidden away with no one even being aware of us. We will be doing our work and influencing others in quietness, without publicity or fanfare. It is easy to be light, to be seen and acknowledged, but hard to be salt, unknown and unsung!

Salt purifies and preserves, but in so doing, has to lose itself. To be salt is to be felt and often not known or acknowledged. You will be needed but not maybe appreciated or thanked, just taken for granted. No one places or levate to a place of prominence, though it is valued and stored as being essential to life.

So also you maybe taken for granted or unacknowledged, but take heart. Do not fret at such times, just continue doing what you do, for Heaven sees what you do, even if men do not or acknowledge not!

You are in good company for many of the prophets began in hiding before they were know. John the Baptist was n the wilderness many years before he came on the scene. Elijah suddenly appears on the national scene to confront the king. family, before being recognized and anointed as King by Samuel, lived in quietness with the sheep, the youngest and considered the most insignificant of his family. We have no idea of the depth and background of Ananias who anointed Saul (who later became Paul) and yet he had the privilege of bringing healing to one of the great apostles of all times, the Apostle of the Gentiles!

Jesus Himself was unknown until He was baptized in the Jordan and was identified as the Lamb of God by John the Baptist. Thirty years He lived in obscurity, without doing doing a miracle, preaching a sermon or having any followers. In fact, His brothers did not acknowledge or accept Him His ministry and He was rejected by His own townsmen.

Yet Heaven noted His progress and watched over His growth. The Bible says He grew in stature, gaining face with God and man. He did not walk in arrogance as Son of God, but humbly behaved as Son of Man, learning the lessons God put Him through, fighting His battles over sin in secret, ‘learning obedience by the things He suffered’ and was shaped as the perfect vessel that brought salvation to all in the fires of loneliness and in the crucible of affliction.

If you are one who is hidden and unknown, do not fret but take courage. You are known and your worth is recognised not on earth by in heaven and by heaven.

If you are in a season of obscurity, seemingly forgotten, placed on the shelf and hidden away, do not lose heart. Many a prophet was formed and forged in the backside of the desert before brought into the open, like Moses.

Strengthen yourself with the realization that God knows our address and is privy to all we go through in secret. He is aware of our tears and bottles them up as precious.

Remember certain flowers open only in the night and are often ignored, though the perfume the night with their pleasant scent. They bloom and bless wherever they are because that’s the place and time ordained for them by their Creator!

If you are in the season of being salt, rest secure in the thought that God knows where you and what you do. He understands and appreciates who you are, considering who you are and what you do precious.

Be the salt of the earth, influencing the world around, in quiet confidence and gentle blessedness!

*Pic from unsplash.com and google images