Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Who Really I Am - Part 2

In my last blog I concluded by saying that we cannot understand who we really are except by revelation. This revelation has to be from and by our Maker, our Creator, the One who made us. We didn't make ourselves (Psalms 100:3) but were made by a company, as the late Dr. Munroe used to say, called "Heavens Inc." Many people don't know about it because it's not listed in New York Stock Exchange, or London, or Shanghai. It doesn't trade in dollars or pounds or yuan or rubble but in prayer, faith, and revelation. It's total worth is way more than all the world's stock exchanges combined.
A while back we heard of some US companies that had to be bailed out because we were told they were too big to fail. Well, this company, Heavens Inc., is really too big it CANNOT FAIL. It's total worth is "according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." (Phil 4:19).
This company that manufactured you and I has a manual called the Bible and in it it reveals who you really are, which is what we continue to look at.

1. You Were Individually 'Formed' by God. 

You were not mass-produced but individually formed by God. Many times we think that only Adam and Eve were actually 'formed' by God, and that the rest of us were just born by our parents as a result. That means if our parents tell us we were born by mistake or that we are actually a mistake, then we believe it. As you'll see shortly, that is not true. The manual says in Isaiah 44:24, "Thus says the Lord your Redeemer, and He who 'formed' you from the womb..." 

The difference between Adam and you is that God formed Adam outside the womb but formed you and I, and everyone else for that matter, 'inside" the womb. However, what matters is that, whether inside or outside the womb, you were formed by God.
Adam was so important to God that he was not formed as an afterthought but was actually formed after a Triune meeting in heaven. And just like there was a council in heaven among the Trinity to discuss the creation of Adam, so was there a council meeting in heaven to discuss your formation. In other words, God discussed with the other members of the Trinity and said, "Let us make John, or James, or Mulani , or you, etc, in our own image." This means that you are not an accident but very intentional. It also means that you didn't just start existing when your Pop and Mom came together but rather, your Papa and Mama came together, and actually had to, to bring forth what God had already purposed to happen. That's what the manual says in Psalms 139:16, "Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed . . ."

To put it in a different way, it means that before I was conceived, before I was formed, the complete blue-print of me was available in the mind of God. It was just waiting for the right time and the right people (parents) to be brought forth - and of course God says He is able to make sure it is done. We read in Isaiah 46:10, "Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure, Calling a bird of prey from the east, the man who executes My counsel, from a far country. Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it." 

To illustrate how serious God is in fulfilling His purpose, take King Cyrus, for example. He's referred in the above passage as a "bird of prey," called by God to fulfill His purpose. He is a bird of prey because he was a Persian king who, though his people were the ones who had taken Israel into captivity, God was going to use him to issue a decree to not only send the people of God back to Israel but also give them resources to take with them to rebuild the broken down city of Jerusalem - once the time came for God's purpose to be fulfilled. And just like the ravens fed Elijah with meat although they themselves eat meat, King Cyrus was gracious to Israel although they were really his prey - he was a bird of prey to Israel. We read in Isaiah 45:4, "For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel my elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me." (See Isaiah 45:1ff for more details about King Cyrus' decree).

God will use whatever means He wishes to employ to fulfill His purpose.It's clear from the above scripture that God works in this order: Purposes, then speaks out, then does it. You and I are the counsel or purpose of God, spoken in His word and "formed" at the right time. Armed with this revelation, no one, including yourself, should tell you that you were a mistake. And even if they tell you, respectfully tell them they don't know what they are talking about!

2. You Were not Casually but Fearfully and Wonderfully Made.

 We read in Psalms 139:14, "I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are your works, and this my soul knows very well.

"Fearfully means with great reverence, heart-felt interest, and respect. God not only made me with reverence but also had, and still has, heart-felt interest in me. That's why God loves and thinks of me all the time.Yes, the Almighty God is always thinking of me. He says in Psalms 139:17-18, "How precious are your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them. If I were to count them, they would be more in number than the sand. . . " And we also read in Jeremiah 31:3, ". . . I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have drawn you with loving-kindness." Max Lucado illustrated it so well when he said, “If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning... Face it, friend. He is crazy about you! ”

You are so important to God that He so loved you that He gave His only begotten Son, so that if you believe in Him you should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). I like the way C.S. Lewis put it, "He died not for men, but for each man. If each man had been the only man made, He would have done no less.” That's why it hurts God when anyone dies in sin and perishes (Ezekiel 33:11, 18:23). Remember, hell was never created for man but for the devil and his rebellious angels (Matt. 25:14). We were made in His image, intended to dwell, fellowship, and have intimacy with Him forever.

In addition to being fearfully made, David also says that we are wonderfully made. Wonderfully means that you and I are unique, set apart, and marvelous. It means I am intentionally created different from any other person on earth for a purpose. This knowledge frees me from inferiority complex and the nagging fear of comparing myself with others. It means I shouldn't strive to be like others or better than them, I just need to be the best me. You see, no one will ever be the best me unless I do it. Moreover, unique doesn't mean I am better than you but that I am just different from any other person for the goal of fulfilling the purpose He has for me.Some people like who they are too much, in the sense of being proud, thinking they are better than others. That is not right. On the other hand, other people don't like the way they are. Some hate their shape, color, race, height, place of origin, and wish they were born different. That's not right either.

Our Racial Background is by Divine Design.

In Acts 17:26-27a, we read, "From one man He made all nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and He determined their boundaries . . .He did this that they might seek Him" 

From this passage we can infer three things about who we are:
1. God is the one who made ethnic groups, nations, and/or races.He is the one who has made one black; another, white; another Hispanic; and another, Chinese, etc. On a similar note, we read in 1 Cor. 4:7, "Who made you different from the other. . . " The answer to the rhetorical question is of course, God. 
2. God set their times of existence beforehand. Have you ever wondered why you are living now instead of 2000 years ago or 100 years ago or in the future? Remember Mordecai's words to Esther in Esther 4:14, ". . . Yet who knows why you have come into the kingdom for a time like this?She probably thought it was coincidental that she won the "Miss Persia" beauty contest and happened to be the queen, the first lady of the empire. Remember the book of Esther is the only book in the Bible that doesn't mention "God" and yet God and His providence are clearly manifest throughout the story. Mordecai was of course trying to tell her that she needed to know that it was God who made her exceptionally beautiful and who put her there in the palace, a position of power and influence, at a time like that for a purpose - His purpose of salvation. 
3. God determines their boundaries. Or to put it differently, God determines their limits - in power (rise and fall), influence, and even geographically locations and habitations. He is the one who makes one stronger than another, and for a purpose.The whole purpose, the Bible says, is so that men and women would seek Him. In other words, the purpose is redemptive or salvific. 
The totality of who I am (including my biological, physical, geographical, parental, social, psychological backgrounds) have been predetermined by God for the purpose of my redemption and that of others. This is obviously hard to understand because we are not God and our minds are not as infinite as His but we have to believe it, accept it, receive it, and start praising Him for the totality of who we are. We have to know it, not only in our heads, but as David says in Psalms 139:4, ". . . my soul knows that very well." And then praise Him!(Visit www.dfichurch.com or www.dffichurchfredrick.org)


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