I got into a conversation with a colleague last week on how certain things that occur in our lives that appear negative are actually blessings in disguise. While making reference to the fact that the orchestration of such things could be from an external entity he referred to this external entity as “Nature”. He went further to explain that he is of the school of thought that believes one should reserve references to “God” for more serious matters than the matter he was discussing. He preferred to say “Nature” orchestrated the events.
While the above sounds very reverent, according due respected to the eternal Supreme Being there are number of thoughts that came to me within and after the discussion. One of them was the fact that we could be rather disrespecting to by attributing to “nature” or “the universe” like some others say things that were actually orchestrated by a living and Intelligent Being: Almighty God. If that is the case then our sense of reverence is somewhat misplaced.
Another thought that occurred to me is the distance we place between ourselves and God with our “reverence”. When the Lord Jesus taught us to pray, He taught us to refer to God as “Father” not the “Most Holy, Omnipotent, Immutable Creator of the Infinite Universe who Dwells in Unapproachable Light and Has no equal in Heaven or Earth”. I am sure the Lord’s Prayer would have been much longer if He had used the latter. He simply used “Our Father”.
I am told that the original for the expression the Lord Jesus used for Father was “Abba”, an expression which was even more personal and informal than “Father”. Maybe “Daddy” or “Dad” or “Papa”. Jesus was introducing us to a more personal relationship with the Infinite Creator of the universe than the Jews were used to. He opened a door to Heaven that closes the huge gap between us and God. God came down to our level.
I respect the sense of reverence my colleague was alluding to in his school of thought but I also think we must humbly accept the privilege God has given us and call Him “Daddy”. It may even be a much higher form of reverence than otherwise.
“Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel:
“Sun, stand still over Gibeon; And Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” So the sun stood still, And the moon stopped, Till the people had revenge Upon their enemies.
Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the Lord heeded the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel.”
A few days ago at church Rev. Alex Botchway made reference to the above scripture in his sermon. He describes a little how in Physics the force required to stop a moving vehicle is expected to be the equivalent of the force moving the car forward but is applied in the opposite direction. In his analysis, he further posited that the earth is a moving body, revolving around the Sun and also rotating on its on axis. I would add here that the earth is revolving around the Sun at the rate of about 107,000 km/h and rotating around its own axis at about 1,674.4 km/h.
Rev. Botchway highlighted that Joshua’s declaration on both the earth and the moon implied that the earth should stop moving! The church erupted at the realization of the magnitude of force required to stop the earth for the period of time Joshua needed to finish the battle. The Reverend Minister pointed out that this is why the writer of the Book of Joshua considered this day a unique day compared to all other miracles that had been recorded such as even the parting of the red sea. Joshua achieved this with twelve words prayer! Twelve words.
The part of twelve words is what amazes me. It took Joshua twelve words to stop the earth on it 107,000 km/h revolution around the sun. I dare say the moon must have stopped as well! All in twelve words. It is astounding to me because we typically try to get things done spiritually these days with tremendous amount of effort such as a hundred days’ fasting or thirty days of all night vigils. When we were young we used to compare and be amazed at people who could pray for six hours, eighteen hours, twenty-six hours non-stop. But Joshua stopped the earth with twelve words.
Breath-taking. In fact I just took a breath as I entered this paragraph. The whole episode raises a big question in my mind as to how the supernatural really works. Did Joshua get such an amazing response because God already wanted to stop the earth’s movement and needed a man to declare it? Did it happen because Joshua was in God’s perfect will regarding the cleansing of Canaan? How does it really work? In twelve words, Joshua stopped the earth…. I am still contemplating.
Often when working in the office at night I find myself irritated by colleagues playing “Shaka Zulu”, P Squared, Stonebwoy, Sarkodie and the like in the office without using earphones. I would typically ask the person politely to use earphones if I couldn’t stand it anymore. Conversely, I realize that if I play any sound in the office, I am bound by my own rules to also use earphones because the person sitting next to me may not like my kind of music or whatever it is I am listening to. As I write this, I am watching Church online and it also follows that I must use earphones and not assume that I am sharing the gospel with colleagues by letting my computer play the service to the hearing of everyone!
Any genuine effort to share the Gospel with another person must come with the person’s consent and we must be ready to also demonstrate that what we are peddling is superior to what the person already has. This may imply learning about what the person already has and being ready to discuss beyond dogma. For example, If I invite a friend to church and he attends as an inquirer, I must be ready to also attend when he invites me to a Mosque, a séance, the singing of the HU, a Pongal festival, a voodoo ritual and so on. If I give him a copy of the New Testament to read and he reads it, then he may expect me to also ready when he offers me the Quran, Vedas, excerpts of the Bhagavad Gita or even Lonsang Rampa’s books. My willingness and confidence to expose myself to such ceremonies and materials while my potential convert exposes himself to the Gospel will show my authenticity and absolute assurance that what I am sharing is superior if I really believe that it is.
Modern Christians are often afraid of being contaminated by demons or sinful practices of exposed to certain ceremonies or materials but I think this is the case because of the institutionalization of Christianity. When Christianity was not an institutional religion, Paul would get to a city and preach by the beach where all sorts of people came to pray to whoever, or he would be found at Mars Hill where the Greek Philosophers gathered, or in a Jewish Synagogue. The power of the Gospel had no restrictions and could not be intimidated by anyone or anything. Moses, Joseph and Daniel all had their confidence in the one true God tested in the courts of Egypt and Babylon, some of the most advance religious systems of their time. And they prevailed.
I think that our authenticity and absolute confidence in what we believe as Christians must make use willing not only to share the simplicity and power of it without offence to any man but to also have our beliefs scrutinized and verified to be true. A convert who has challenged the claims of Christ genuinely and thoroughly is often the most powerful kind of convert.
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;” I Peter 3:15
When I wrote on marriage in the book Till Death I learnt a few new things about cars, medicine, writing itself and of course relationships. Back then, my Senior Partner and I came up with a few tips that could help married men resonate constantly in their wife’s minds.
After going through these tips, I would be glad if you provide feedback on the results of practising just two out of the ten tips over a period of time. Also, you could add tips from your own experience as comments. So here we go:
1. Send a very special SMS or IM everyday whenever you are away. Sample:
‘Someone got me really upset today then he wondered why I just smiled. I smiled ‘cos at that very moment, I thought about u’
2. Spend thirty minutes every day talking to her exclusively. Turn off the TV, your phones, your computer and just talk with her.
3. Have her pose and take pictures of her every weekend. Take pictures of her when she is asleep and surprise her with them.
4. Do the cooking, house chores or take care of the baby all by yourself and let her do whatever she wants every two weeks.
5. Take her out to dinner, a park, the beach, the movies or wherever at least once a month.
6. Buy her a small gift every month. On special occasions – birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas – buy her a big gift.
7. Visit her at her office once in a while unannounced. Let her colleagues know you.
8. Take her on a trip out of town at least once a year. Depending on where you are going, vary the modes of transport.
9. Describe a part of her body in detail to her once in a while. You can recite it like a poem, write it and send it in the mail or capture it on a camcorder.
10. Confess your commitment to her in a spiritual atmosphere and let her reciprocate. Sample:
‘You belong to me and I belong to you. You are pleasing to me and sufficient for me. I will never desire another. Our souls are bound by a blood covenant in God the Father. Till Death do us part’.