Sunday, December 28, 2014

God's message to me for the last Sabbath of 2014

On December 26, 2014, I celebrated my eighth anniversary with my wife, Fiona. It was in the spring of 2011 that our marriage was put to a test with my having to migrate to study in Canada. Thankfully, we passed that test and are both celebrating today in Canada more committed to each other. However, I have sought from God the vision for our family for 2015 and beyond. And he has begun to answer.

On the last Sabbath of December 27, 2014 or of the Gregorian calendar, I got the same message from God that I received during my 2014 Feast of Trumpets season. From Sabbath school, to the songs sung by the singers for special music, to the sermon from the appointed speaker. The message was consistent, in that God is calling me to plunge deeper into my spiritual life with him and move beyond just believing the testimonies of others to becoming one with testimonies to give to others.

You see, God makes himself invisible unto us a human beings and cannot be accessed through our scientific empirical methods. However, he makes himself available to us via the route of faith. While he has left evidence in nature to reveal himself, he has always chosen to reveal himself after our sin in Eden to a few persons, who serve as witnesses that testify of his existence. These witnesses are sent to help us interpret the visible evidence in nature and in life. So, for example, God called Noah to be his witness to tell persons that God was about to act and send a flood.

However, God leaves human beings only with the physical evidence and the testimony of his witnesses to make a decision. However, for those who are willing to believe the testimony of his witnesses, God takes them to another step, revealing more of himself to them personally and awarding them for their faith in the testimonies or witnesses. This is what happened in the early church in Acts, when the apostles testified of Christ, and the Lord gave the Holy Spirit to those who believed their testimony, so that they too could experience God for themselves.

The New Testament evangelists basically provide two verses that help to define what faith is. First of all, faith comes by hearing (Romans 10: 16-18). It is listening carefully and attentively to a testimony. Secondly, faith is the evidence of things unseen (Hebrews 11:1). Basically, witnesses are people who have heard or seen things, that they tell about or report on in order to help persons interpret evidence and make judgments. This is what Peter and John declared when a Jewish Council sought to forbid them from preaching Jesus (Acts 4:19-20). According to Peter and John stated "we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard" (Acts 4:20, English Standard Version/ESV).

In fact, in Acts 1:8 Jesus proclaimed to his disciples that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit arrived and shall be his witnesses"both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (NASB95). Further, in Acts, Jesus mirrors a prophetic passage in Isaiah 43: 8-11 (King James Version /KJV):
Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears.
Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and shew us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth.
10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
11 I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour.
Further, God also prophesied to the Hebrew people that he would raise up someone to speak in his name rather than to speak to human beings directly. According to Deuteronomy 18:15-19 in the English Standard Version (ESV) it is reported that Moses said:

15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen— 16 just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ 17 And the Lord said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.
However, listening to the testimony from God's witness is just the first part of the process. The next is for us to have our own testimony. Even in Moses' time, God did not confine his Spirit and prophetic utterances to Moses alone, but gave it unto other Hebrew men. One event was so significant that it is recorded in Numbers 11:26-29 in the New International Version (NIV):
26 However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp. 27 A young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”
28 Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up and said, “Moses, my lord, stop them!”
29 But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!”
 Apostle Paul related a similar idea in his letter to the Corinthians. In 1 Corinthians 14:5 Paul states:
I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy.(New International Version/NIV)
Thus, part of God's message to me was that he no longer wants me to be content in believing in the Bible and the experiences of those recorded in the Bible, but he wants me to go deeper and the next level, that he can take my faith and turn me into someone who his Spirit can rest on and use as a mouthpiece to speak in his name. And the same is God's desire for you, whoever you are that reads this post.

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