God in His Holiness vs Man in His Sin

We will never fully understand the holiness of God – but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try.  The holiness of God is so important that we can’t afford to ignore it.  Because we must deal with God, we must of necessity deal with His majestic holiness.  The more we meditate on the holiness of God, the more we appreciate why sin totally cuts us off from God – and the more we will cry out to Him for forgiveness through the blood of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. A vision of God’s holiness helps us understand the depth of our sin and that is good for our souls.  John Stott says it best:

JB-Holiness-1-1280x768Even though we may not realize it now, the most terrible result of sin is that it cuts us off from God. Our highest destiny is to know God, to be in personal relationship with him. Our chief claim to nobility as human beings is that we were made in the image of God and are therefore capable of knowing him. But this God whom we are meant to know and whom we ought to know is a righteous Being, infinite in his moral perfection. The Bible consistently stresses this truth:   Continue reading “God in His Holiness vs Man in His Sin”

The Importance of Time Alone with God

the-door-to-the-aloneYou can transact life-shaping business with God when you’re alone with Him.  Look at the record:

Jacob was alone when he crossed the Jabbok and spent the night wrestling with the Angel of the Lord.

Moses was alone when the Lord revealed Himself through the burning bush, giving an old man a fresh vision for life and a great work to accomplish.

Joshua was alone when he met a warrior angel prior to the attack on Jericho.

Manoah’s wife was alone in the field when the angel of the Lord appeared to her and gave her news about the baby she was to bear – a boy named Samson.

Isaiah was alone when he received his commission from the Lord, saw the Lord high and lifted up, and tasted the burning coals of holiness on his tongue.

Elisha was alone when the mantle of the prophet fell across his shoulders.

Paul was alone when the mantle of the prophet fell across his shoulders.

Paul was alone in the Arabian desert when the Lord gave him personal instructions about preaching the Word.

Mary was alone when the angel brought her the message that she would give birth to the Savior.

John was alone – exiled – on the island of Patmos when he received his matchless revelation of things to come.

If you need a word from the Lord – direction, help, – set aside time to be alone with Him.  Expect Him to speak to you.  Guidance and real fellowship only come in those times of solitude, in an hour when you say to the Lord, “I need You.”

Source:  A Lifetime of Wisdom, Embracing the Way God Heals You by Joni Eareckson Tada

BEFORE THEY CALL, I WILL ANSWER

I came across this very interesting true story written by Helen Roseveare who was a missionary to Africa for many years.  I hope that you will enjoy it and be blessed:

One night, in Central Africa, I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all that we could do, she died leaving us with a tiny, premature baby and a crying, two-year-old daughter.

We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive. We had no incubator. We had no electricity to run an incubator, and no special feeding facilities. Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. Continue reading “BEFORE THEY CALL, I WILL ANSWER”

“Weeping May Tarry for the Night, But Joy Comes With the Morning.” – Part 5 of My Reflections on the Death of Malawi’s Third President, His Excellency, the Late Professor Bingu wa Mutharika

The Late Professor Bingu wa Mutharika, Third President of the Republic of Malawi

In this last post of my reflections on the death of Malawi’s former President, His Excellency, the Late Professor Bingu wa Mutharika, I simply want to encourage us all to trust the Lord and accept His sovereign providence.  I would like to do this by taking us to my first post which I entitled, “In the Year That King Uzziah Died, I Saw the Lord…”  While we may not understand such tragic events as the death of a President or the death of a King, one thing is true, the LORD is still on the Throne.  He remains sovereign over all things and is working all things towards His good and glorious purposes.

We cannot question His wisdom and purposes.  We are simply to yield to His providence and pray as the Lord Jesus Christ taught us, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).  God has a plan for the bereaved family and for Malawi as a nation.  The LORD does all things well and He makes all things beautiful in His time.  “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5).  May the LORD comfort the bereaved family and bless the nation of Malawi with His love, mercy and grace during this time.

Even through the sins of his people or his enemies, the LORD can and He does plot all things for His glory.  This is true at a personal level; it is true at a family level and it is certainly true at a national level as well.  God is always at work even in the worst of times.  When we think that He is farthest from us; when we think that He has turned against us, we must always remind ourselves of the solid-rock truth that he is at the same time laying a foundation of greater joy and happiness in our lives.

William Cowper, an old English poet wrote in his poem entitled, God Moves in a Mysterious Way writes,

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense

But trust Him for His grace.

Behind a frowning providence

He hides a smiling face.

Therefore, as we continue to mourn the death of our beloved President, let us remember the following:

God Remains Sovereign:  The Almighty God reigns in all the affairs of men.  Individuals, families and nations are all under His sovereign rule (Daniel 2:21; Daniel 4:35).  He does whatsoever He pleases.  He gives rain and He takes brings draught.  He gives life and he takes life.       He says, “I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things” (Isaiah 45:7).  Our times our in His hands (Psalm 31:15)!  All things, small and great are under His sovereign rule.  His providence is mysterious.  We will not always understand what He does.  But we can take confidence in the fact that He is a good God, He knows all things and He does all things well.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36).

“The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21).

Please visit the Bible Answers blog for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 of these reflections.

“In the Year that King Uzziah Died I Saw the Lord…” – Part 1 of My Reflections on the Death of Malawi’s Third President, His Excellency, the Late Professor Bingu wa Mutharika

This is the first of a number of posts that I hope to write as Malawi mourns the sudden death of our beloved former President, His Excellency, the Late Professor Bingu wa Mutharika, Lord willing.

First, I join many Malawians who have expressed deep sorrow and condolences to the Mutharika family and to the nation for this tragic loss. No one was prepared for this, not even the last President himself. Professor Mutharika was a great leader. He was an achiever and no one can really question the fact that he wanted to make Malawi a nation of achievers as he himself said at many times. Despite all the issues that one might have had with him, the fact remains that he did much good for Malawi as a nation during his tenure of office and for that we ought to be thankful.

His Excellency, the Late Professor Bingu wa MutharikaBut this post is not about the late President’s achievements (If you are interested in that, let me recommend Rex Chikoko’s article which you can access here). My main goal in writing this post is to offer some consolation, encouragement and hope to the nation during this time of mourning. My prayer is that the Lord will take whatever is shared here and use it to produce a God-ward focus in us all as we mourn. I also pray and trust that even through this great national tragedy, the Lord God will work out His own great and magnificent purposes to the glory of His Holy Name and to the blessing of the people of Malawi.

In any country, the death of a president would be a tragic and “earth-shaking” event. There is no doubt that the death of the President wa Mutharika has sent shock-waves across nation. Everyone has been affected in one way or another. For some, the President’s death has brought deep sorrow and grief. For some it has brought despair, uncertainty and fear due to broken dreams, shattered hopes. I have written this post mainly with such people in view. My word to you and us all is this: do not despair! Look to the Lord and commit yourself entirely to Him.

Many centuries ago (around 740 B.C.), the children of Israel found themselves in a similar (if not worse) predicament. Their beloved and strong king (Uzziah), who had ruled over them for fifty-two (52) years, died (Isaiah 6:1). You can imagine the trauma, despair and uncertainty that would have engulfed the people of Israel. Certainly, it must have been paralyzing to them.

The full account of the success of Uzziah’s kingship and the events that led to his death is recorded for us in 2 Chronicles 26. Uzziah became king at the tender age of sixteen (16) and reigned until he was sixty-eight (68). He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord (2 Chr. 26:4). He fought and won many battles for the children of Israel and did many wonderful things (2 Chr. 26:5-15). “His fame spread far, for he was marvelously helped, till he was strong (2 Chr. 26:15).

However, his success led to his downfall. The Bible says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18). And so it was the case with Uzziah for we read, “But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction. For he was unfaithful to the LORD his God and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense (2 Chr. 26:16).

From that point on, everything went downhill for Uzziah. “…King Uzziah was a leper to the day of his death, and being a leper lived in a separate house, for he was excluded from the house of the LORD” (2 Chr. 26:21). His fame, strength and achievements were all caught up in this irreversible downward spiral which worsened by the day until the time of his death so much so that the only thing that people could remember of him was the fact that “he was a leper” (2 Chr. 26:23). The epitaph on his tombstone would have read something like this, “Here lies Uzziah (808-740 B.C). He was a leper.”

It was against this background that Isaiah wrote the words that we find in Isaiah 6:1, “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up…” We could say that it took the death of King Uzziah for Isaiah (and indeed the whole nation of Israel), to see that the LORD God King above all! That He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords (Rev. 17:14)! To put it more positively, the LORD God used King Uzziah’s death to show (Isaiah and the people of Israel), His great power and magnificent glory which is far better! In revealing His power and glory, the LORD was showing His grace and mercy towards the people of Israel. In the end, Israel’s great tragedy (King Uzziah’s death), became her great blessing (Israel realized that the LORD God alone was her True King). Romans 8:28 tells us that “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Oh, how I pray that Malawi will see “the LORD high and lifted up…” even through the death of our beloved President (the late Professor Bingu wa Mutharika). Let us not question God’s purposes. He is the LORD and He answers to no one. He does whatever He pleases for He is the LORD! Rather, let us (in faith) say with Job, “The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21). AMEN!!

“Holy, Holy, Holy…!”

Holiness is the most distinctive character of God. We are not ready to serve Him until we come to see His holiness which reveals to us our sin and misery; and embrace His mercy which offers us forgiveness and cleansing in Christ. Once we have a clear vision of His glory and receive cleansing from our sins through Christ and His atoning blood, we are inspired/moved to tell the world about Him that the whole world might come and bow before Him who is the King of kings and the LORD of lords!

Click on the PLAY button below more of this in a sermon about the holiness of God from Isaiah 6:1-8.  This sermon was preached at Liberty Bay PCA in Poulsbo, Washington, USA on January 8, 2012.

Play Audio!

Isaiah 6:1-8

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”
And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”
And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”