- The A to Z of Austin Bhebe a Non Profit Management Professional
- I Have Lord You, With Everlasting Love!
- Grow in Your Valleys to Reach the Mountain Top
- He knows everything about us, and there is no place to hide.
- Seasons Come and Seasons Go – But God Never changes
- Remembering the Day I was Born Again
- The Anchor Holds- 30 Years of walking with the Lord!
- The Attitude of Complacency – challenges from Pastor Evan Mawarire
- Helium Discovery in Tanzania -What will Magufuli Now Do?
- How Silence in the Face of Injustice Is the Same As Supporting It…Let Us Not Be That Generation of Zambians that remain Silent!
Ian Mbaya on Remembering the Day I was Born… Silas gervas luzelel… on This World Is Not My Home Gyan Kumar Inad on Loved With Everlasting Lo… leonel on Higher Hands Are Leading … ogedengbe olamide on The Lily Of The Valley/ I…
My Dear Friends,
Some years ago I was sitting in a ministers‘ conference enjoying very much hearing God’s word preached with grace and power. The preacher, a dear friend, paused and said something that riveted me. He quoted some words of Geerhardus Vos, ’The reason God will never stop loving you is that he never began.‘ Vos was reflecting on Jeremiah 31:3, ’I have loved you with an everlasting love.’ I suppose I had read those words many times and in prayer had blessed the Lord for loving me with an everlasting love. But the truth Vos drew out from those words all but overwhelmed me.
It is a biblical commonplace that God is love. It is a gospel commonplace that ‘God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son.’ But how much of a commonplace in our lives is the fact and knowledge and joy of God’s love? If God’s love for his people in Christ (he has never loved us outside of Christ) truly is an everlasting love, a love that has no beginning and will have no end, do we sufficiently allow that astonishing truth to impact our minds, amaze our hearts, and transform our lives?
Perhaps more than anything else this truth is intended to breathe unfailing assurance and hope into our often dis-tempered lives. Life for a Christian in a fallen world can be difficult. There are times when remaining sin seems to rule over us, though its rule has been decisively broken in our union with Christ in his death and resurrection. There are times when our circumstances seem all against us, when it is a victory simply to get through the day. There are times when dark disappointments threaten to overwhelm us and leave us angry with God, protesting that if he really cared he would not have withheld some hoped for blessing from our lives. At such times we need to stop and recall to our minds Jeremiah 31:3, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love.’
God’s love for his believing children, all of them is the bedrock of contented and assured godly living. It is an anchor that keeps us firmly attached to our God. Not an anchor that will keep you from being buffeted by life’s violent storms; but an anchor that will keep you from being sunk by those storms. In the midst of life’s unexpected trials and troubles, the believer’s greatest need is not an explanation of why, but an assurance that come what may, nothing will separate him or her from God’s love in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38-39). One of Satan’s most destructive ploys is to sow seeds of doubt in our minds that God really and truly loves us. Most often he uses disappointments and the world’s relentless hostility to suggest that God has abandoned us, or at best has lost interest in us: ‘Would a God who really cared allow this situation, this person, to afflict you?’ At such times we need to redirect our minds to the truth of God’s everlasting love and bathe our souls in its refreshing truth. Above all we need to take ourselves to where that everlasting love most manifests itself, in the cross of our Lord Jesus. The cross was not the place where Jesus won for us the heavenly Father’s love. The cross was where the heavenly Father’s love for us was displayed in all its unfathomable magnificence. It was because God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son!
It is the most wonderful of things to know that you are loved unconditionally and eternally. Not unconditionally in the sense that no matter how you live God will always be there to love you. If we live any which way we choose, we simply show that our great need is to be born again and saved from the coming wrath. But our heavenly Father does love even his errant children – and in that love will chastise us ‘that we may share his holiness’ (Hebrews 12:10). God’s everlasting love is not an indulgent love. When parents indulge the follies and sins of their children, they are not loving them, rather they are despising them. We do the greatest damage to our children when we fail to discipline them. Our heavenly Father loves his children too much not to discipline them.
‘Loved with everlasting love; led by grace that love to know.’ The Christian life does not rise any higher. This is your greatest privilege as a Christian, God loves you, and loves you with an everlasting love. Stop what you are doing and bless him for such grace. Take time, make time, to marvel that while you were still a sinner, Christ died for you (Romans 5:8). Truly this is love, ‘not that we loved God but that he loved us and gave his Son to be the propitiation for our sins’ (1 John 4:10). Bathe your weary, dis-tempered souls in that pure fountain of divine grace.
With my love in Christ as ever.
Someone once wrote,” He is on the mountain. Remember whose words these are but I found them helpful. “Things don’t grow on the mountain top anyway, they grow in the valley…..”
That has been true of my journey too. I have learned that it is important to sprout and grow in the valley, so you can reach the mountain top.
Oh how lovely the words of the old song,- The God on the mountain, is still God in the valley, the God of the day, is still God in the night. In my journey, I have never had to convince anyone that joy is good, but sorrow is a tougher sell. Sometimes we Christians describe a life following Jesus as something straight out of the pages of a pretty magazine. No! It’s not an easy road. Sometimes, yes it is hallelujah, but many times it is praise the Lord. But as Andrea Crouch sung, “through it all, I have learned to trust in Jesus, and I thank God for the mountains and I thank Him for the valleys for if I never had a problem, I would never have known that God could solve them and I would never know what faith in God can do”.
My hallelujahs came during the mountain top experiences and I have had many. We all need those mountain top experiences. Peter, James and John all needed encouragement for the days ahead. Moses had his mountain top experiences. He needed direction for what God called Him to do. Moses didn’t even know how to refer to God. He needed encouragement to face Pharaoh. But as much as we would like to we can’t live on the mountain tops forever. We experience these wonderful mountain tops to prepare us for our valleys.
A Valley is a place of Trial. It the place that our faith is put to the test.(1Peter 1:6-7). Friend, the valley is hard ( Psalm 84:5-6). It is “baca” – a place of weeping. But the goodness is that weeping may endure for a night, but Joy Comes in the morning. (ps 30:5). The fact is that it is in the valley that things grow. It is in the valley of life that we grow as Christians. While we are in the valley it is an effort, a struggle, and a tough experience.
But one day after a season of circumstances and growing pains, it will seem to occur all of a sudden, and unexpectedly when we suddenly have a day when we realize “oh wow today was easy and I am not moaning and groaning anymore”
It will be at this moment that we will be able to pause and look around and see that finally, we have reached the top of the mountain, and life is indeed good and God is indeed faithful. At this time we will have yet another testimony to draw from when we are faced with a new giant in our life.
So our valley experiences are not a case of God turning away from us, but an opportunity for us to draw from our past victories and march through the valley up onto the mountain top, standing on the assurance that God is faithful, loving, steadfast, and dependable! Realizing that he didn’t throw in the towel and forget about us as we once may have assumed, but instead he was there every step of the way getting us to the top because he is indeed a good God!!
God is gracious to us at the sound of our weeping. He uses adversity and affliction to draw us to himself and to reveal himself to us in ways we have not seen before. God’s comforting presence is an extravagant reward, one that we can undervalue … until we are in the heat of a battle.
So let me encourage you, what ever you are facing, what ever your issues, God is still in the deliverance business. He will deliver you out of your circumstances! You just have to face your Goliath and remind him that God has already delivered you from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear and that HE will deliver you from every giant you face!!
Don’t wish away the valley just sprout, grow and become the strong person God has destined for you to become successful.
Another great lesson I have learned on my journey to the kingdom is that God knows who I am and calls me by my name. I can run but can never hide. All my life is an open book before him. God knows even the motives of our thoughts. So where can I go but to Him. Yes, He created us all and we are so many, but He knows me better than I know myself and His plans for me are not to destroy me but to prosper me.
The moment when we suddenly have a profound awareness that God is speaking to us is called the moment of truth. For Moses it was the sight of the burning bush, the place where Moses hears the voice of the living God. For anyone of us, it could be an earth-shattering moment, or it could be a moment in the still of the night. But it is the moment when the presence of God breaks in on us. I have had some of those moments in my journey.
The curious thing is that we never know how long it will take us to reach that point. It is so easy to grow up in the Christian faith. Most of us grow up in a family where it seems as if everything is focused on God, and we are always surrounded by a Christian community. It is so easy to spend all those years in Christian education, perhaps we even graduate with a degree from a Christian college or university Maybe there has never been a day in your life when you did not know Jesus as your Lord and Savior in your memory. But then, suddenly something happens – something stops you in your tracks – an event takes place and you realize everything you know about Christian faith is disconcertingly shallow, as shallow as a puddle of water on a sidewalk.
It is that moment when life takes a sharp turn – turns from the mad pursuit of everything trivial and meaningless to a deep awareness of God. It may not be a burning bush, but you know – you know! It is an abrupt turning point. You turn, and now you want to know God. It is not that you just want to know more about him – you want to know him deeply. You want to know him with all your heart. You are ready to abandon everything just for the sheer joy of knowing him, for the pleasure of knowing him with utter honesty and truth. This God who has created all things has called you by name, and now you have a hunger – a thirst – a burning desire to know God.
It is the turning point in life at which we can do nothing else but respond to him who calls us by name. And you respond as Moses does, “Here I am.”
He knows everything about us, and there is no place to hide.
“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.” Psalm 19:7.
One scripture that I has seen me through my winding journey in the past thirty years has been Psalm 19. This verse summarizes life in general. “Reviving” often means giving life to something that lacks it. This connects me to how the rainy season in Southern Africa and indeed everywhere brings life out of the death of long dry season. And, in other ways, we see this same thing in all the seasons. Psalm 19: 7, calls the Lord’s statutes and laws “perfect” and “trustworthy,” reminding me of nature’s systems and how they exist and seem to work quite smoothly even when my human mind cannot conceive why.
As I have journeyed, I have noted that as people, we experience many seasons of change that we cannot control. We experience seasons of trials, of joy, of sadness, of mourning, of laughter, of things ending, and of new beginnings. But during these seasons, it can be hard to remain constantly faithful.
I have come to realize that it’s hard to remain faithful in season’s changes, because I have faith in myself, thinking I know what is best for my life. But, I do not. Sometimes I wonder where God went, and wonder if He never saw me struggling; but He is always there, no matter the season. I struggle with not having faith that God has my best interests at heart, when deep down, I know He does.
Seasons will come and go, but God will always remain constant. He will remain constant in your suffering, in your happiness, and in your confusion. Have faith that your season will change for the better. Nothing is too difficult for God. During these seasons, it’s our job to listen to God, to know if we should keep silent or speak, if we embrace or refrain, if we mourn or laugh, or if we keep or cast away. It’s our job to remain faithful, whenever we want to give up. There we will always seasons in our lives, sometimes for the good and sometimes for the bad, but our God will always remain faithful.
I have known all types of seasons as though the Lord wanted me to see how nothing I am without Him, and how great I can be when I trust in Him. He is all in all. I am weak but thou art strong – Lord keep me from all wrong in every season of life.
Celebrating a birthday brings back memories of the day someone came into the world. Often the experience is told to us by our parents. But the second birth, the spiritual birth is unique and different. You can actually remember when you were born again. I can still remember mine as though it was yesterday. To know Him is the most powerful thing you can ever do and to miss out the opportunity while you are still on planet earth – to meet Him and know Him will be the biggest regret you will ever face.
It was on 14th August of 1986, I had just reached my dad’s farm after a wonderful Brethren In Christ Youth (BIC) camp lasting one week at Choma Secondary school. Reminiscing the many sermons that had been preached throughout that week, I decided to hold nothing back. I was all by myself that dark evening by the fire. Exactly 43 kilometers away from Kalomo town in Chief Siachitema. This was not the first time I had prayed to God. I had done so many times before, but this particular day, I made an unconditional surrender to God that made the difference. I gave Him everything I had been, was and ever hoped to be, all that I owned, myself, and my whole life. I asked Jesus to come into my heart and cleanse me from all manner of sin and make me as clean as a forgiven sinner can ever be. I cried to the Lord for mercy in my hopelessness and helplessness. For the first time, I realized that I was such a sinner and nothing that I could ever do on my own could make me acceptable before God. Not my holiest of acts for they were as filthy as a rug. Nothing in my hand did I have to bring, but simply to the Cross of Jesus I clung. I felt peace of mind, that I had never felt before. My life transformed thereafter and I have never looked back again. And now thirty years later, more than ever, I cherish the cross, more than ever I sit at His feet. The miles of my journey have proved my Lord true, He is so precious to me.
In 1986, I was so young, only 17 years old but a new life begun. I wondered what I was doing surrendering my life at such a tender age – the dawn of my life. I expected to lose it all, childhood pleasures and youthful adventure, all gone. Jesus let me keep my life and placed me on a pedestal. Everything else went, and new life for me begun never to be the same again.
In exchange I got the most wonderful love relationship with my Lord and with others who loved Him as well. This was the beginning of the most wonderful thirty years of life as a christian. The only “gift” that I received at this time was the promise of His word and a ministry of giving which I have shared with joy as a servant of the Lord. Throughout the thirty years, I have learnt to give not only my life to God, but everything I own to God. I have learnt to hold on loosely to the things of this world. To let material things come through one hand and go through another and yet without lacking anything for myself nor my wife and children. I have learnt to hold nothing that I may receive more from my Lord. I have seen the Lord’s favor in my life as I have sought first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, all many things being added unto me.
A few important people the Lord immediately brought my way to nurture me and lead to on my path were my teachers, Mr. Hamoonga Choongo and Ms Rachel (Melhorn) Phiri. Then along came my childhood friend late Ray Munsaka, late Gift Mukonka and my brother Luundu Mwaanga. A combination of these people ensured I was on my path to the Kingdom. The same year, I also met the then school chaplain, the late Rev. Mfula who introduced me to the doctrines I now hold on so dearly – the reformed way of life.
So, does that make me perfect?
No! Not at all. In fact, I am not perfect just forgiven. I have not yet arrived, but I’m on my way. Since Jesus found me and forgave me, can’t say I am perfect but I can say I am saved. I have fought a lot of battles, sometimes I have won and sometimes I have lost. Many times the evil one comes reminding me of some past wrong I have done questioning my salvation and trying to make me doubt. But when I think of Calvary I can stand right up and shout – No I am not perfect just forgiven. He is still working on me, to make me what I ought to be and thank God, the anchor holds, though the ship has been battered and the sails are torn. This anchor holds in spite of the storm.
We are not alone in this walking with the Lord, He is right there holding our hand and leading us through it, and only if we let Him. I have learned to let go and let Him lead. He has never left me nor forsaken me in spite of myself. My heart knows how beautiful He is, His love is more precious than gold, He has never left me or led me astray, My only faithful and true companion, Always there on every occasion, All the time, in spite of allmy shortfalls. He is my glory and the lifter of my head. He is my desire and one I long for. In His bosom, I will be satisfied all the days of my life.
Birthdays offer the perfect opportunity to reflect upon your life and consider what you have learned along the way. In this “The Anchor Holds Series”, I celebrate my thirtieth spiritual birthday—thirty years of knowing Jesus as Savior and walking with Him. It’s not been an easy road that I have traveled on. There have been many thorns on my way. I have met with many a dangers on this path. Often, I have been bowed down with care and I have seen many dazzling sights, tempting sounds I have heard, my foes have never left me alone, ever near me and within me. I have journey through wild ragged places and sometimes stabled and fell so hard that the stones cut my soul like a knife. This journey has been a wilderness, and I confess, its a highway to heaven. I am grateful for the the staff of my Shepherd which has been reaching out for me, lifting me up to cool pastures green. The Lord has often poured the oil of the Spirit healed my wounds as I often rested by the clear healing streams liking my wounds. I have learned to sit at the feet of Jesus, and there have I heard Him say wonderful word for the journey. At the feet of Jesus, I have learned to weep and pray while from his fullness have gathered grace and comfort every day.
Reflecting how I got here thirty years down the road, Psalm 9: 7 – 11 says it all.
“The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple… By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward”.
As I reflect on the goodness of the Lord during these last thirty years, I thought of sharing a series of things I have learned in this walk thus far. My prayer is that you will be encouraged in your own faith in Christ through these articles highlighting God’s loving kindness to me over the years. Here I share some of the most important things I have learned walking with the Lord. As I recount the wondrous works of God in my life, being reminded of His faithful, steadfast ways through every season, every challenge, and every opportunity.
Here I recount My Born again Experience. The Seasons which have come and gone, but the Lord never changed. How that Sometimes, it’s been Hallelujah, and yet sometimes – Praise the Lord. How this life has not been my own, but His. The Guardrails of His word, bringing me back when I have fallen. All the dazzling sights I have seen and tempting sounds I have heard. The winding path and the wilderness experience. In all these experiences – there is great reward in keeping His Word.