Food for the thought Bread of life: WHEN YOU WRITE AN EXAMINATION, THE TEACHER IS QUIET By Pastor Vusimusi John Sigudla

Date: 16/07/2018

71The suffering you sent was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your principles. Psalm 119:71

 

  1. There is a teaching time that god provide for each and every one of us. Then there is a testing or examination time to see whether we had learned during the lecture periods.

When we go to Church and learn the Word in our conferences, God is preparing us for an Examination. Any Examination is very tough and frightening and not refreshing.  We are therefore being prepared for the toughest times of the test of our faith.

 

  1. DURING THE EXAMINATION THE TEACHER IS QUIET.
  • Have you ever seen a teacher, teaching during examination time? No!! That is not allowed. You learn now what you are going to recall when you write your examination.
  • During examination, cell phones are not allowed in the exam room.
  • During examination, friends are not allowed in the exam room.
  • During the examination, speaking is not allowed in the exam room.
  • During examination, study is not allowed in the exam room.
  • During examination, going up and down is not allowed in the Exam room.
  • During the examination, calling your friends and the love ones is not allowed in the exam room.
  • During your examination, you are not allowed to request for answers from others.
  • During the examination even your teacher who might happen to be your cousin, brother, father, mother or Uncle, they stay away from you.

 

There is also a specific time frame for your exams, you don’t write your exam for the rest of the day. But that 2hours of your exam is like 5 hours.

 

  1. APPLICATION IN OUR LIVES
  • Testing as Christians is exactly like what I have written, about taking an Examination.
  • The great Teacher Jesus, become quiet, saying nothing to you and you will depend on the knowledge you learned in the Classroom of the Christian journey, learned from the Holy Spirit.
  • During those trialing times, Christian friends become minimal.
  • Those who use to phone you, they cease phoning.
  • Verses that you use to quote for others disappears.
  • Your Christian brothers and sisters seems to be very far or aloof from you.
  • No one is interested in speaking to you a word of encouragement.
  • Going to Church become very difficult and you are bored by even the Bible.
  • Prayer become a big burden.
  • If all these things are happening to you, you must know that you are going through a serious examination and your Teacher, Rabbi, Mentor, Jesus, is quiet. You try to pray and your prayers hit the ceiling. You try to cry, and no one take you serious. You try to communicate, no one is communicating back. You try to fast, it also become very hard to complete the fasting as you use to do.

 

 

You are indeed writing a spiritual Examination, and once you pass it, you will be taken to the next level of God’s dimensions.

Hence David said in this Psalm:

71The suffering you sent was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your principles. Psalm 119:71

 

Hallelujah

Don’t faint away, God has his own exams for each and every one of us. It all depends on the spiritual standard that you are doing at the moment.

 

Shalom and be blessed.

 

John Sigudla

Devotionalist.

082-5575271

Originally posted on Pastor Vusimusi John Sigudla’s site

 

God the Giver of Comfort

“As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you.”-Isaiah 66:13

Our heavenly Father is the giver of every good gift. His mercies are vast, powerful, and real. His love has the ability to completely overwhelm and satisfy every one of our needs. Everything he gives us satisfies, transforms, and leads us to abundant life. As we spend this week stirring up our affections toward God, allow your heart to become soft and open. Allow his loving character to draw you close and provide life to every dry and weary place in your soul.

The Devotional:

Isaiah 66:13 says, “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you.” Your heavenly Father is the God of comfort. When the world takes its toll on you, he longs to wrap you in his loving embrace and bring you comfort to cover all your pain. In the face of trials and tribulations, he desires to provide you comfort in the fact that he works all things for your good. And when everything seems bent against you, he longs to sing comfort over you as he fills you with the joy and foundation of his presence.

Jeremiah 31:13-14 says, “‘Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow. I will feast the soul of the priests with abundance, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness,’ declares the Lord.” God is in the business of turning what your enemies meant for evil into the very source of your joy. He loves to transform what was once your greatest sorrow into a reason for gladness. He longs to lead you to a life of abundance and satisfaction when the world around you seems to be dry, weary, and depleted.

God is calling out to you, “Come to me . . . and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). He is beckoning you to open your heart to him and receive the comfort only he can provide. Sometimes opening our hearts to him can be difficult. To have our wounds be truly comforted and healed requires allowing him to come and speak to the vulnerable and sore places of our hearts. We all have wounds deep down that we have worked tirelessly to keep hidden from others and even ourselves. We all have areas of our lives that seem to hurt too greatly to bring up again, even if the very act of bringing them to the surface will be our source of healing.

When God beckons you to open up the hurt places in your life to him, know that he will only ever speak love, mercy, and forgiveness. And know that after he gets done comforting you, the area that used to be a harmful wound will be a continual source of joy, gladness, and abundant life.

Open your heart to your heavenly Father today as you pray. Allow the Spirit to guide you to wounds that need to be comforted and healed. Allow him to wrap you up in his loving presence and guide you into the abundant life he intends for you.

The Prayer

1. Meditate on God’s desire and ability to comfort your every hurt. Reflect on his promise to provide you rest where you are weary.

“I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners, creating the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,’ says the Lord, ‘and I will heal him.’” Isaiah 57:18-19

“Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow. I will feast the soul of the priests with abundance, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 31:13-14

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

2. Ask the Spirit to guide you to areas of your heart that need to be comforted and healed. What past or present afflictions have wounded you? What’s at the source of your mourning, sorrow, or pain? What does God long to heal today?

3. Ask God to show you how he feels about the person, situation, or belief that wounded you. Ask him to show you where he was through it all. Remain in his presence, allowing him to speak and provide comfort and healing. Spend as long as it takes for your hurt to be comforted.

Deep Sin & The Christian Soul

Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Gal. 5.19-21)

As I recently finished a Church Bible Study on the book of Galatians, those verses inevitably caused some discussion.

I mean, we’ve all to some degree engaged in most–if not all–of the items on that list at some point in our lives, right? Even if you’re a Christian.

So what does it mean to say “those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God”?

As we discussed it, we arrived at the answer many of us come to if you grew up in the Church: these scary statements only apply to those individuals who have these “works of the flesh” as a pattern of their life to such a degree one might be able to say that the sins have “dominion” over them. That answers it, right?

Not really. Because there are Christians who find themselves in seasons–days, weeks, months, decades, even–where these sins are their practice over time, seasons where these sins have a very real sense of dominion over them and their lives.

And, this isn’t theoretical or theological for me. To be honest, I myself am coming out just such a time.

. . . . . 

I wrote the above words a couple of weeks ago. Since then, I’ve only sunk deeper into the bewilderment of this season I’m coming out of. How does a Christian understand a period of time in which they’re given over so deeply into self-absorption, sin, and hurting of others? I’ve sat on this question, mulling it over, letting it ruminate within me to see what fruit it bore. I’ve wanted to figure out a nice, tidy answer to this post–for the sake of both others and myself.

And alas, I have been found wanting.

In the end, why do we/I ask such questions? Control? Minimizing our shame? Explaining our wrongs away? Emotionally masturbatory navel-gazing? Intellectualizing or theologizing sin so as to disconnect from the depth of pain that would come if we really saw ourselves and what we’ve done?

Probably all of the above (again, at least for me).

Ultimately, this walk with God isn’t that complicated. We’re called to love God and love others. We/I fail in that simple task repeatedly–even to dramatic, painful, extreme, and sustained degrees. And, yes, also to a million lesser, little degrees. In short: we’re terrible even at this grand, beautiful simplicity.

And that’s anticipated. Whenever God gives a law, he assumes failure, sin, and disobedience and provides a way to maintain relationship. This has always been the case with God, not just since all the Jesus stuff. Therefore even with the simple call to love God and love others, our failure is factored in.

But that’s just the divine perspective–how God might be thinking about the Christian who is in the fog of sin, failure, and weakness. To be frank, though: as beautiful as that idea is, it’s not exactly helpful to me in processing my own unique period of profound sin against God and others. For that, I turn to ground-level human stories of how people processed this as they related to God and themselves.

When you do, you see that over and over again people in the Scriptures just acknowledge and lament their sin, and ask God to move on their behalf. There’s no deep analysis of “why”, nor dissecting what was going on in the human heart, nor anxiety over what was theologically happening at the time.

It seems that those scary verses like the one from Galatians aren’t meant to guide your understanding while you’re in the midst of a season of profound soul-sickness, but to either prevent others from falling prey to such sickness or explain why others “died” in that sickness.

In other words, the identity of one joined to the life of God is not defined by whether or not they fail (even in big ways against others), but whether after that time of failure, chaos, and sin, they come back. If they at some point (even decades down the road) return to their senses, then I think we can say in hindsight they’ve belonged to God all along.

We see this throughout the history of God’s people. For example, Moses was no less God’s chosen and beloved deliverer of his people even as his anger and violence kept him from the Promised Land. Of course, the disciples themselves belonged no less to Jesus even as they denied him. Paul was no less joined to Christ even as he “did what he didn’t want to do and didn’t do what he wanted”.

But some of the other stories are deeply offensive. Abraham was no less chosen by God even as he distrusted God’s word and committed horrendous acts of sexual violence against an African slave-woman. Isaac was no less the son of promise even as he pimped out his wife to save his own skin. David was no less God’s own, even as he famously had an affair and killed the woman’s husband to hide it.

On one hand, I don’t like that. These men abused women and exerted their power and sexuality in a way that harmed others deeply and profoundly. On the other hand, what do I do when I act the same way? What do I do when find myself at that place where I have done what I never thought I’d do? How do I process it when I find myself having crossed lines and committed injustices that I find so deeply unacceptable and offensive in others?

This story of belonging to God even during horrendous acts of pain against others has to be offensive, because at some point, we will act in a way offensive to many of our own most deeply-held personal convictions and sensibilities.

I say that not to be dramatic, but I genuinely think that all humans, at some point in their lives, will find themselves at that place of sitting among the ruins of former beauty asking, “what on earth have I done? Did I really do this? Is this even real?”

And when that happens (not if), a precise theological understanding of our soul’s state during that season is not what will sustain us. All we can do is confess, lament, feel the pain deeply without intellectualizing it, and ask for God to move on our behalf, knowing he probably won’t do so right away; there’s a strange alchemy that needs to happen in the soul during such a time. And it’s never on our timetable. All we can do, it seems, is follow the example of Micah 7:

I will look to the Lord,
    I will wait for the God of my salvation;
    my God will hear me….
I must bear the indignation of the Lord,

    because I have sinned against him,
until he…executes judgment for me.
He will bring me out to the light;
    I shall see his vindication.

While that doesn’t answer all (or really any) of my questions, it’s enough to help me go to sleep tonight and continue walking tomorrow into increasing light, freedom, discipline, repentance, and wholeness. And I think, at least for now, that’s enough. And for that, I’m grateful.

Pastor Billy Sigudla

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