Sunday, 22 March 2015

Love Is Colour Blind

I thought I'd write a Blog Post on Interracial Relationships and Interracial Marriages. I am tired of seeing all this 'Black love is dying', 'Black men are no longer approachable' or 'the Black race is dying' and 'Black Supremacy'. Whilst celebrities such as Will and Jada or Beyonce and Jay Z are commended for their relationships and apparently that is what we should 'look up to', other celebrities such as Tamera Mowry and Adam Housley or other interracial relationships are looked down upon. I am also tired of being made to feel guilty if I show an interest in somebody who is of a different race due to the stigma held by these people about that certain race.

Well, the long line of racism in today's world has made people have this belief that there is something immoral about dating someone outside your race. I, personally, have no issue with this. I can't imagine God having to have a favourite race. This was how it was in the olden days. Blacks were not allowed to worship and fellowship with Whites. 

Jeremiah 13:23 - 'Can an Ethiopian change the colour of his skin? Can a leopard take away its spots? Neither can you start doing good, for you have always done evil.'

Jeremiah, the Prophet, was speaking to the people of Judah. They were just plain stubborn. They knew they shouldn't be sinning but still did it anyway. We are like that. The people of Judah were very stubborn. God sent a number of prophets to warn them to turn from their ways. So, God was telling them that we cannot change the natural colour of our skin, just like it seemed impossible to change the people of Judah because they were so used to doing evil. They were taught to do evil, they had been brought up in sin. Anyway, that's not the message here. We cannot change our skin, but we can change our THINKING. Anyone born of Christ is a NEW creation.

An Interracial Marriage In The Bible

Let's take a look at one of the most famous Interracial Marriages in the Bible. Remember Moses? Well, he was married to an Ethiopian woman. Let me just give you the story from the Bible;

Numbers 12

While they were at Hazeroth, Miriam and Aaron criticised Moses because he had married a Cushite woman (Ethiopian). they said, 'Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Hasn't He spoken through us, too?' But the Lord heard them. (Now, Moses was very humble - more humble than any other person on earth.). A Cushite was soebody from the land of Cush, which was around Ethiopia. Cush was a descendant of Ham, who settled down that area of Africa (around Arabia). She was darker skinned.

I am not sure why Miriam didn't like Moses' wife. But, they began to talk about Moses. What do we call that? Oh, yeah, GOSSIP! They didn't talk to Moses about it, but to each other and who knows, maybe that gossip spread.

Anyway, so, immediately,the Lord called to Moses, Aaron and Miriam and said, 'Go out to the Tabernacle, all three of you'. So, the three of them went to the Tabernacle. Then the Lord descended in the pillar of cloud and stood at the entrance of the Tabernacle.

"Aaron and Miriam," He called, and they stepped forward. And the Lord said to them, "Now, listen to what I say: If there were prophets among you, I, The Lord, would reveal myself in visions. I would speak to them in dreams. But not with my servant Moses. Of all my house, he is the one I trust. I speak to him face to face, clearly and not in riddles! He sees the Lord as He is. So, why were you not afraid to criticise my servant Moses?"

The Lord was very angry with them and he departed. As the cloud moved from above the Tabernacle, there stood Miriam, her skin as white as snow from leprosy. When Aaron saw what had happened to her, he cried out to Moses, 'Oh, my master! Please don't punish us for this sin we have foolishly committed. Don't let her be like a stillborn baby, already decayed at birth'

So, Moses cried out to the Lord, "Oh God, I beg you, please heal her!"

But the Lord said to Moses, "If her father had done nothing more than spit in her face, wouldn't she be defiled for seven days? So, keep her outside the camp for seven days, and after that she may be accepted back."

So, Miriam was kept outside the camp for seven days and the people waited until she was brought back before they travelled again. They they left Hazeroth and camped in the wilderness of Paran.

In those days, everybody with leprosy had to go outside of the camp and stay there until they were healed of leprosy. Miriam had a lot of pride. She wanted more power and influence. But, the total opposite happened. She had no contact with humans, no influence. She was unclean.

I also find it ironic. Miriam was basically speaking against Moses' marriage because his wife was black. It's like God was telling her, 'Fine, if you prefer white skin, here you go...' and He gave her really white skin. I don't believe God ever told us or restricted us to marry a certain race. We may have personal preferences, and that's fine. Just, please, do not say, 'it's forbidden to marry this race' or 'this race is better than that race'. The Word of God does NOT support that.

The Bible does not forbid us to marry outside of our race. It encourages us to marry fellow believers (2 Corinthians 6:14). 
Leviticus 19:33 - 'Do not take advantage of foreigners who live among you in your land. Treat them like native-born Israelites, and love them as you love yourself. Remember that you were once foreigners living in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord, your God.'

So, please, let me just repeat this. People will have their views, but yours should be based on the Word of God. Biblical love goes far beyond and above worldly standards, being patient and kind to our enemies. So, be willing to endure the words and negative actions of people.

Be strong in the Lord (Ephesians 6:10). It can be heartbreaking and painful to have your friends and family reject your relationship based on racist views. But always look for the chance to share the gospel with those that oppose your relationship.

Oh, and should anyone oppose your relationship/marriage, confront them lovingly and with biblical truth. We are ONE in Christ, 'a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.'

Thursday, 12 March 2015

The Prophet Elijah

So, this Month I have been reading about the Prophet Elijah. Although, he is one of the most famous Prophets in the Bible, I have never really read up on him. I usually read Parables or a certain story and take what I can from that story. But, reading on Elijah, I have fallen in love with him. He is funny, quirky, interesting and very vibrant, yet his life was filled with a lot of sorrow, which today would be seen as turmoil. There is SO much to learn from Elijah because he was so bold and decisive, and sometimes fearful and hesitant to do things, we can (well, I know I can), learn a lot from this prophet. He had so much faith and demonstrated the power of God and there is a lot we can take from him.

Let's begin with his name. I was surprised to learn that the name Elijah means 'My God is Jehovah'. I wouldn't mind naming my Son that name now that I know what it means. Also, from the research I have done and even the reading, there is not much about his background either. In 1 Kings 17:1, we are just told that he came from Tishbeth in Gilead.

The Problem

There is a reason why the Prophet Elijah came into being. The whole problem was that, the King at the time, Ahab, 'did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord, even more than ANY OF THE KINGS BEFORE HIM.' This guy was crazy. Not only that, as if THAT wasn't bad enough anyway, he went on to marry Jezebel. He started worshipping 'Baal'. He even built a temple and an altar for Baal. He did more than provoke the anger of the Lord, than ANY of the other Kings of Israel before him. Okay, let me just enlighten those who do not know why God would be upset or who don't even have any IDEA who Baal is. Baal was a fertility god (and is still worshipped up to today) and people believed back then that he would help them produce children. Others, such as the Canaanites, worshipped him as the sun god and as the storm god. How he even came about, that's another story, but the whole point is, God was not pleased that His people were worshipping other gods and all this idol worship was not pleasing to Him. (1 Kings 16)

The Solution

Now, God being God, He will obviously offer a solution. He uses Elijah, which ironically means 'HE is Jehovah', I find it ironic because the people back then, under the reign of Ahab, were worshipping Baal. But God sends a Prophet called 'ELIJAH', a man, whose name praises HIM. So, Elijah confronts the King. See how BOLD he was. Imagine...okay, let's say President Obama (as an example), passes a law stating that we must worship a god called 'Baal'. Would YOU as a Christian confront him and challenge him to say 'God, Jehovah, will not be happy with this? The whole land is in danger because of this law?'. Depends on how prayerful you are, because that's what Elijah did. He challenged Ahab and even prophesied to him telling him that there will be 'no dew or rain during the next few years until I give the word'. He was warning Ahab that a drought would come upon his nation because of his evil choices. Because they chose to worship Baal.

After warning Ahab of this, Elijah was told by God to hide near the Brook of Kerith, near the Jordan River. He was even fed by ravens as the drought and the famine in the land got worse. To be fair, from the human mind, I can't even begin to imagine how a raven would fly back and forth to bring food for a person. It's just something I can't even fathom. But the ravens brought Elijah bread and meat, each and every morning and evening. But, after a while, there was no rainfall anywhere in the land so it was all dried up. (1 Kings 17:6). 

The first thing I have learned is that Elijah had faith. He was told by God to go and hide and he left, without food or water. If I was him, I'd try and stash up as much food as I could so I could survive, but he trusted that God would provide for him.

The Widow - 1 Kings 17:8

So, obviously, as Elijah is in hiding, the famine is still going on. He hasn't got food left. God then tells him to 'go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon'. At this stage, knowing myself, I'd probably be sick of hiding and start complaining. I wonder if Elijah did that? He had a lot of faith because God told him to travel again. It was quite a long way from there and I am guessing he has never been before. He didn't know anybody, he had no relatives, but he followed God's word and went anyway. God sent a widow to provide food for Elijah. Now, this widow was a poor woman, she was out by the town gathering a few sticks for fire. He asked her for a drink, but she started to leave. He had to assure her that she would have enough to eat and they would not run out. She insisted that it would be impossible as she only had a small amount of flour and oil to cook for herself and her son. Once it was finished, she'd die. She was expecting to die because of the drought. There was no rain, the crops would not grow and obviously there was no food. 

I wonder...what did God see in this widow? Was it faith? He favoured her for a reason for Him to choose her. God would have provided for Elijah in other ways, but I wonder, why this widow in particular? But, anyway, just as the Lord had promised, they had food. She also had a tremendous amount of faith. Imagine going through a drought, you have no food, you're taking care of your only child, you're expected to die soon and you don't have enough food to feed a third person, yet when a stranger comes to you and promises that you won't run out of food, would you stand on that promise? She had faith because how did she know where that food would come from? Maybe God heard her struggle, maybe He heard her prayer. I just wonder. 

Sometime later, the widow's sun became very sick. In fact, he grew so ill that he died. She lay the blame on Elijah. Even though she always had food, and the flour and oil never got to be empty, the widow and her son had enough to eat, she ended up blaming Elijah when her son died. She was wondering whether Elijah was sent by God to curse her for her sins. I don't know what she was going through personally. What sins she had committed. But it makes me think of us today. Maybe she had lost her faith in God at that point; but she truly believed after her son was brought back to life by Elijah.

The Face-Off - 1 Kings 18:17-40

THREE years LATER...this is a LONG time for a drought...the Lord told Elijah to go to King Ahab. I wonder what been happening during those three years in that Kingdom. Was King Ahab looking for Elijah? I mean, if Baal was so powerful, how come he hadn't found Elijah? I wonder if Elijah ever got discouraged being in hiding. But, the famine was so bad in Samaria. Elijah got in touch with Obadiah, who was also a follower of God. They had a meeting and Elijah instructed Obadiah to inform the King that he wanted to have a word with him.

Once Elijah got in touch with the King, he made a deal with him. The prophets of Baal would call upon their god and ask him send down the rain. Then, Elijah would call upon HIS God, Jehovah, to send down rain. The God who answers is the true and living God. 

Elijah mocked the prophets of Baal, asking them to call upon their god. They did this all day long to send rain from heaven but nothing happened. Elijah mocked them, telling them to 'dance more' or 'shout louder' and funnily enough, they did this.

I love Elijah's sense of humour. He is hilarious. He said that Baal was maybe 'talking to someone else' or 'taking a walk or sleeping and needed to be woken up'. Well, they danced even more and cut themselves until evening but Baal did not answer them.

When they gave up, Elijah built an altar to God, put the sacrifices on the top of that altar and called for water to be poured over his sacrifice three times. HE called upon God to send fire from heaven and burn the sacrifice. God had proven that He was more powerful than any false gods. Of course, nowadays, we cannot see this sort of evidence of God's power BUT we have the same access to God and same power through the Holy Spirit in our lives. 2 Corinthians 4:7 - 'we now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves'.

Elijah had so much faith. Of course, there are many Prophets that had the courage to act on God's word. But, nevertheless, Elijah had the courage to act on God's word and show these idolaters that they were not doing right in praying to the false god. We do need to stand up for what's right, we need to be brave. Act on His WILL.

The Aftermath

After the whole victory over the false prophets, in spite of the victory and the provisions from God, Elijah enters a period of depression. He gets depressed after hearing that Jezebel was planning on killing him. He hides in a cave and starts to feel sorry for himself. He focuses on everything else but God. That's when the fear of what Jezebel would do to him and his feelings of being alone crept in. 

Of course, it's normal seeing as we are humans. When we start to focus on the NOISE and CLUTTER of this world, we get our eyes of the Lord. If we continue to walk in obedience to His Word, we will be rewarded. Elijah is a great example. He was filled with so many human failures and weaknesses, but he was used so much by God. God saw the potential in him. 

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

I Can't WAIT That Long!!

I think WAITING on something is the most painful thing ever. This is whether you are waiting on a job, waiting for a future spouse, waiting to tell somebody we love them, waiting on God to speak, waiting for an answer to prayer. It's a gruesome process. I have to admit, I hate waiting on things. Even if it's waiting for a friend at the bus station or waiting for a friend to get ready because I have arrived somewhere on time.

BUT, our attitude during that WAITING period is what matters. Sometimes, God delays what we think we need in order for HIM to give us something even better. As hard that is to believe, look back in your life at a stage where you prayed for something. Let me give you an example. When I was studying my Postgraduate Course, I failed a number of exams (not that many, just 5 out of the 14 we wrote), and I was so upset with God. I was angry because I studied and studied but it seemed that my best wasn't good enough. I was envious of others; in fact, I even compared myself to them, angrily crying out to God and saying, 'Lord, these people don't even know you, they don't go to church, they don't spend time with You, they don't even stop to consider uttering Your name, why am I suffering? Why am I hurting? You promised I'd pass. You gave me Your WORD. How could You?'

I would cry and CRY; and after crying for that long, possibly about an hour or two, I read the Bible and was meditating on scriptures on the topic of WAITING ON God.

Now, looking back (I passed in the end), I knew it wasn't my time to pass. It wasn't His will at the time for me to pass. There was a reason why I was suffering. All the pain, loss and disappointment, tears, were a part of His plan for the characteristics He wanted me to have. I am a bit more humble now, I don't even have the pride in me to show off about ANYTHING. I don't brag about what I've done. God's TIMING is perfect. He knows when we are READY. Wise people wait on His time. I saw all my friends getting graduate jobs, I saw all my classmates getting good things, but now...that's ME. It look longer than it was supposed to but it HAPPENED.

Another thing, I worked in a horrible work place. I worked in a place where people just had a problem with me. I didn't know WHY. I didn't know HOW. But you could see the HATE on their face. I often wondered, what did I do for you to hate me? There is no way to win. I wanted to QUIT. I wanted to leave. I would go to the toilets in that work place, PRAY and ask God, 'Do I really have to be here, please let me leave?' I would cry and just ask God what He wanted me to learn there. In fact, I asked my cousin for advice, my brother in law, my parents, a few other friends of mine, they all encouraged me to stay. Although it was a short amount of time (four months to be exact), I learned to be BOLD. The challenging thing was LOVING those people regardless of how they treated me.

Let's get this clear, waiting on GOD doesn't mean we sit around doing NOTHING. It doesn't mean that we just walk in life waiting on Him. We do what He called us to do. We quietly wait for Him for the next step.

Jacob Waiting on Rachel

I think the best story in the Bible on WAITING is the Story of Jacob and Rachel. It's a love story, which sort of saddens me. Basically, the short story is:

A man called Laban had two daughters, one named Leah and another named Rachel. Leah was quite delicate, but Rachel was beautiful (in Jacob's eyes) but she was the younger one. Jacob was in love with Rachel and decided to work for 7 years just to have her. To him, it seemed like only a few years. Anyway, he ended up being tricked by his father in law, Laban, and married Leah. He was very upset, but had to work ANOTHER 7 YEARS to get Leah, so in total he waited FOURTEEN YEARS. Imagine WAITING and wanting something so much you'd work FOURTEEN years just to get it. Don't you think you'd get discouraged after a while...maybe the fourth year or so? But Jacob WORKED fourteen years, his eyes were on Rachel and he never gave up. That's how we should be when we wait on God. Whether it is waiting on God, having a career, getting into a good University or College. The key is persistence - never giving up. Work hard at what God has given you TODAY.

Let's take a look at King David's Psalms. He had some beautiful Psalms where he sang songs of praise and about trusting and waiting on God's timing.

Psalm 25: 1 - 3
'O Lord, I give my life to you. I trust in you, my God! Do not let me disgraced, or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat. No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced, but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others.'


Psalm 37:7

'Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act. Don't worry about evil people who prosper or fret with their wicked schemes.'

Psalm 40:1

'I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.'

God acts on BEHALF of those who wait for Him. HE ACTS. He takes action on OUR behalf. He acts in the life of those who wait for Him and seek Him. The Word of God says, 'delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.' He also tells us to, 'trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding'

It's all about obedience. It's all about trust. If you don't obey, then you don't believe and you don't trust.

No, I just CANNOT wait on God

Psalm 106:6

'Like our ancestors, we have sinned. We have done wrong! We have acted wickedly! Our ancestors in Egypt were not impressed by the Lord's miraculous deeds. They soon forget his many acts of kindness to them. Instead, they rebelled against Him at the Red Sea. Even so, He saved them - to defend the honour of His name and to demonstrate His mighty power. He commanded the Red Sea to dry up. He led Israel across the sea as if it were a desert. 

He rescued them from their enemies and redeemed them from their foes. Then the water returned and covered their enemies, not one of them survived. Then his people believed his promises. Then they sang his praise. Yet, how quickly they forget what he had done! They wouldn't wait for his counsel! In the wilderness their desires ran wild, testing God's patience in that dry wasteland. So, He gave them what they asked for, but He sent a plague along with it.'

Some of us pray and make a specific request to God. For example, marriage. Then you get a confirmation that, 'Yes, I will send you someone'. But you have to give Him the privilege to give you what you ask for when HE knows when you are READY. You never know, God could be testing you so He gets you ready. Maybe it's an issue of SUBMISSION or nagging that you need to work on. Maybe it's patience. Maybe it's spending more time with God, prayer, laziness, valuing yourself and the way you work. So, God needs to get you ready.

If you're a man and you're praying for a spouse, maybe God wants you to become a MAN first. To practice LOVE. God created TIME and placed us in this caption of TIME. We have to be willing to do it His way. Sometimes He waits to give it to us because He tests our FAITH. Sometimes, it's our OBEDIENCE.

How Should We WAIT?

  • Patiently
Psalm 37:5 - 'Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him and He will help you.'
  • Quietly
Psalm 62:1 - 'I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.'
  • Trust
Psalm 37:7 - 'Be still in the presence of the Lord and wait patiently for Him to act. Don't worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.'

  • Expectantly 
Psalm 27:13 - 'Yet, I am confident I will see the Lord's goodness while I am here in the land of the living.

  • Steadfastly
Psalm 27:14 - 'Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.'

Psalm 130:5 - 'I am counting on the Lord; yes, I am counting on him. I have put my hope in His word.'

Look at your life and ask yourself that question - are you obedient to Him and waiting on Him patiently? I have to confess, obedience for me is HARD. Sometimes, I find it so hard to obey and go on to do my own thing. But there are consequences of that. 

Have a good MONTH! Xo