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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Looking for God in All the Wrong Places

People are seriously looking for God. They want to see measurable data which can be perceived with their natural senses which prove His existence. They clamor for books or the testimonies of people who say they have seen Him. They claim His presence in the healing of someone who they have prayed for but ignore all those who they prayed for and were not healed. They want God to perform on que, at the command of words,  so that they may prove His existence. They want His spectacular appearance which will eliminate the doubts they have harbored.

So, down deep, they know they are covering their own doubts. They know that they have not seen Him nor have they truly known Him. They are merely hoping that the stories these who say they have died and gone to heaven are true.They want to believe that the stories in the Bible really happened. They hope that God truly provides salvation for they have nowhere else to turn.

And sometimes their doubts overwhelm them.

You will never find God in someone else's testimony. God may use that testimony to reach you but He must reveal Himself to you. God has no grandchildren. Everyone who knows Him does so personally. Another's testimony will not prove the presence of God. You must find Him for yourself.

God does not perform for anyone at their command. His healing or any of His works are done with His purpose in mind. He does not have to reveal His purpose to you. You may pray and God does something miraculous. Your testimony soars at His magnificence. Then, you pray again at what seems the same circumstance and there is silence. Nothing out of the ordinary happens. This is why Jesus taught us to pray "Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." Prayer is not really about us telling God what to do. It is about His will being accomplished.

God rarely reveals Himself in the miraculous. He has the capacity to bring fire down from heaven, cause a whirlwind to pick you up and transport you to another place and raise someone who has been dead for four days but He rarely does so. Faith would not be necessary in a world where the miraculous is common. Frequent miracles would actually make miracles common. They just woundn't be miracles anymore.

God, more commonly, reveals Himself in a still small voice rather than the earthquake and fierce wind. He reveals Himself when we earnestly seek Him. He proves His own existence in our hearts rather than observable events.

People who claim to know Him say that they have not experienced Him. That seems strange. How can you say that you know someone who has never spoken to you? I have met many famous people but I don't know any of them. They would not return my calls for they don't know me either. Why is it that believers have a similar relationship with God? They have met Him but they don't know Him.

We live in a world that fills our minds. We are stimulated and active from the moment we awake to when we retire at night. We take no time out to listen to God. We take no time to simply be still and know He is God. This is true in church, as well. We are commanded to stand, sing, give and listen to the preacher. We are rarely asked to be still and seek God. No wonder we have such a hard time finding Him.

You see, finding God requires the whole heart. This takes tuning a heart from listening to the world to the frequency that allows it to listen to God.

You, too, may have looked for God in all the wrong places but seek Him now with your whole heart and He promises that you will find Him.

Jeremiah 29:13 (ESV) 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.


Anthony Chia said...

Our God is the God of the corporate and the individual. There are things that God requires of an individual, individually. Salvation is one; meaning, you have to enter into salvation, personally, individually. No one can enter for you, and no one can be proxy for you. Your brother cannot call “Abba Father” on your behalf, your friend or spouse cannot do that, for you. You have to come into sonship on your own, and call the Father God, “Abba Father” on your own. So, while you can listen to sermons on the Word of God, testimonies of others of all sorts, of how others have entered into salvation, experienced miracles of God in their lives, how they were blessed, how people have lived such godly lives, etc, etc, ultimately it is you, personally, must DECIDE to believe, with the understanding the Holy Spirit gives, from all of the scenarios just mentioned. Ps Prentis said it right, “There are only sons, no grandchildren”. So, even if one’s father or ancestors are/were pastors, it does not make him, the son of God, or that he is ok to be grandson of God, for there is no such thing as grandson of God. So, there is one “I” occasion you must exert, and that is you must personally decide to enter into salvation. You have to search out The Truth of God, for yourself. Many (people or things {like a good sermon or book or testimony}) can help you in your search, but ultimately, you must decide, personally.

I do NOT believe in General Predestination of Personal Salvation (if you believe in that, you do NOT have to search, whatever will be, will be), but God is already and is helping you, through the Holy Spirit. Jesus said more than 2,000 years ago, before He was crucified and resurrected, that when He went to the Father God in Heaven, the Holy Spirit would be sent to men. In regard to entry into salvation, 2 things the Holy Spirit are said to do, in Scripture: One, He convicts men of sins, and Two, He give understanding to unregenerate men (“unsaved” men) of spiritual matters, for the unregenerate men are incapable of such understandings. So, it is true that a man cannot enter into salvation on His own; God does draw him, through the Holy Spirit’s work of conviction, and rendering of spiritual understanding. But what many preachers have omitted to emphasize, is that, ultimately a personal decision is expected of the individual, to choose to believe; and this decision is NOT a pure mental ascent. Think about it; which part of the basic gospel message does one NOT understand from a pure mental ascent? Often, when we ask an unbeliever, if he understands the basic gospel message, he will tell you he understands. There is a difference between understanding and choosing to believe. One can understand, and still NOT choose to believe. If I tell you I thrust a sword into the body of a man, and he does not bleed to death; which part of the sentence do you NOT understand? You understand, alright, but you may NOT believe! You have a complete unit of salvation faith only when you choose to believe and manifest that choice by confessing it or doing any other act that indicates unmistakably the choice.

Knowing ABOUT a person and KNOWING a person are different things! I know ABOUT my Prime Minister, but I do NOT KNOW him. All the great sermons, testimonies, and miracles of others only give you more information ABOUT God. Until and unless I engage in something close to the heart of the Prime Minister, and WITH him, I will NOT be able to say. “I know him”. Even a mere handshake, through introduction, does NOT make me know the Prime Minister, but that is a starting point; there is a change in status, from being a mere digit, a name is attached to me, by the Prime Minister. I am Mr Anthony Chia, no more a nameless man. Of course, this is a parable, and is to be understood as a parable. But it

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Anthony Chia said...

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points to, an unbeliever can know ABOUT God, but unless and until he chooses to enter into salvation, and become a son of God (when one enters into salvation, this is what the Holy Spirit does; He adopts your spirit as the son of God), he cannot begin to KNOW God. When I have been introduced to the Prime Minister, and he invites me to work with him on one of his projects close to his heart, then only will I be able to experience the things I know ABOUT him, like he is honest, and with compassion. Similarly, when you have become a son of the Heavenly Father, and you are willing to work with Him, you too, embark on a journey of knowing God, instead of just knowing ABOUT God.

There is of course a mark difference between the metaphor of a Prime Minister and God, when I am formally introduced to the Prime Minister, I am no longer a nameless man; I have yet to be even a worker or friend of the Prime Minister, whereas, in the case of God, when you enter into salvation, straightaway, you get your ultimate status, a son of God. But where is it stated in Scripture that sons of God do NOT have to work? No, there is no such thing. When Adam was created, he was NOT created to be without work; he was assigned to work WITH God in the upkeep of the Garden of Eden. It is quite preposterous to think that Adam was able to look after the Garden by himself; even physically viewed, the Garden was huge (4 major rivers mentioned). In restedness Adam was able to work, for the belief is that he was working WITH God (“restedness” does NOT equate NO work – Matt 11:29-30). The redemptive works of our Lord, Jesus, cover, apart from spiritual and physical, works/purpose of men. We do NOT become sons of God to do nothing. “Yoke” definitely indicates work, yet restedness in work can be possible. It can be possible if we exchange our yoke with the yoke of the Lord. What is the yoke of Lord? The yoke of the Lord is “I do my Father’s will”. In other words, Jesus was doing what was close to the Father God’s heart. So, after becoming a Christian, one has to begin to work on the things that are close to the Father God’s heart, or simply do His will. As you work on His agenda, again what you know ABOUT Him, you will in time, experience and know, like you know (not merely about) your earthly father or your spouse. Sure, many of us struggle with finding out the will of God for our personal life, but do NOT listen to overly grace preachers who tell you what you like to hear, “No work required, just bask in grace!” You want to know God more, work with Him; start with the revealed wills of God.

Although, the Prime Minister will at times, tell you to trust him, saying, perhaps, he knows what he is doing, and you are to do your part, and everything will work out fine, God almost always, will ask you to have faith in Him, trust Him. Don’t ask why like this! Some things we do NOT question, we just accept it. After a length of time with our earthly father, if our earthly father tells us to wait at a place and say he will come for us in a while, we just trust that he will do as he has said. We don’t tell our father, “I cannot accept that; you cannot ask for me to trust”. The first man (Adam) was asked to trust from the beginning: God told him that if he ate of the fruit from the Tree of knowledge of good and evil, he (Adam) would surely die. God demanded trust and obedience. Yes, it is the age-old cliché (and Truth), God demanded trust and obedience because He knows more than us, and knows what is best for us, and it is for our own good! Accept it.

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Anthony Chia said...

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Sure miracles are NOT miracles if they are everyday affairs! But we can “usher” in more miracles if we grasp the pictures painted by God in His Word, of when miracles are likely to come. I am NOT saying you can manipulate God like a genie in a bottle, but we can “attract” the miracles of God. The consistency of God is NOT a simple matter of, under a given set of perceived and understood circumstances, a miracle happened, and so, if we create the same set of perceived and understood circumstances, the same miracle will happen. Because of our limited perception and understanding, there are missing “elements” we are NOT even aware of. There are the ways of God, and that God is juggling with so many, many variables, factors, conditions, and interests, what is best for a given circumstance often is NOT what we, men, can arrive at. The intents of the hearts of men, God always look at.

Honestly, to me, miracles are NOT that common, yet to be still AND hear the audible voice of God is also NOT common; for me because it happened so rarely, it is also a miracle in itself. I am NOT saying I do NOT experience God in other ways (quite a number of ways), I do, but hearing His still small audible voice is NOT a common way.

So, is it this way or that way or this and that ways? Increasingly, I believe the ways included working with God and bearing fruit. I am NOT saying that every believer is to be full-time staff of a church; but every believer is a worker or servant of God, and we got to serve in some way. The redemptive journey that we are walking in, include works/purpose redemption; if you don’t walk in this dimension of the redemption, you are going to miss out a lot of stuff.

The world is increasingly a fast-food world, where patience and perseverance are no longer exhorted; instead, speed is too greatly emphasised. “Time is money!” and “Faster, faster, no time already” - are so commonplace. So closely connected with this, is the "I" or “Me-Me” world. Rome is NOT built in one day; our inner life cannot also be built in one day; you cannot get to know God well in one day; precept upon precept, we get to know ABOUT God, and step by step we get to KNOW God. Sorry, God generally do NOT zap you into knowing Him well. The world tells us to always put ourselves first; if you do that in the matters of God, it does NOT work. We have to put God first, others second, and ourselves, last. For eg, for a healing miracle, what is your motive? To test God to convince yourself of who He is and capable of? To show to others, how great you are, how pleasing you are to God? If you put “I” first, you are NOT likely to get the miracle; even if you did, it is NOT in answer to your motive. The Word of God tells us that we exist to glorify God; so primarily, our motive is to glorify Him; and then we ask if what we do, or ask to be done by Him, would glorify Him. We also consider if what we do or ask, would bless others. Lastly, we need to accept that there are things and factors which we may NOT know or understand or NOT revealed to us, that only God knows, and God, in His wisdom and sovereignty, may NOT think that He should intervene. There is difference though between one NOT doing anything and NOT asking God anything, and one who does act and asks God basing on all the positives he know, even when he believes that it is possible God may NOT do as requested; it is called, “we do our part, and we let God be God”. When we have chosen to deliberately wanting to please God, and NOT men, the Holy Spirit in a believer is free to work in the heart of the person with God’s Word, sanctifying his conscience, and influencing the thoughts of his heart, aligning the person to the heart of God. Ultimately, the principal place to find God is in His Word(Prov 4:20-23).