if-not

I always wondered about the faith of the people listed out in the Bible and the missionaries who gave up their lives for God. I mean, they have gone through some horrific things and yet they still clung to God. And lately I am understanding the reasons, as my walk is getting closer and closer to God and my relationship with Him is getting tighter and tighter. Oh, I know I have ways to go but I am now fully confident that, if I were to die today, when I wake up I will be in His presence or if Jesus were to come today, I will still be in His presence. I am not being boastful but I just know. And as I said, I am not perfect yet, but I know I have gone over that hump where sin no longer has a hold on me. It’s difficult for me to explain like I can still get tempted but I won’t be slipping in a hurry.

I haven’t always put God first and I think if we are honest with ourselves, we would find that God is not always our first choice. And it is difficult though; I mean to always put God first; the seasons we go through put us through so much; life can be and is difficult and it happily tosses us up, throws us down and we are exhausted and feel battered and bruised and in those times the last thing we think is God. We get muddled, our motivation gets cracked, we struggle to find inspiration and our faith seems wavering. We are not perfect. We get hurt and we are slow to trust and we put our whole being into people and they shatter our worlds. They are human. I am human. It’s a mess but this is where God meets us and Thank God for that. He meets me where I am, where we are. He doesn’t expect me to be perfect. He chooses me in spite of everything. So yes, there are times when we don’t want to choose Him, but we choose Him still because there is not a single moment when He doesn’t choose us.

God is ever so faithful to us and I’ve no words to explain what this means. And so if we walk with Him closely it comes very natural to us to make a resolution to be faithful to Him even in “but if not” circumstances (Daniel 3:18). Let me explain. Daniel is my favorite book and Daniel is my favorite prophet. And these three Hebrew boys are my favorite of all time. I mean, they have guts to talk back to the king and say “well we are not gonna do what you want us to do because our God will deliver us.” And then they proceed to say “but if not, we will still not gonna  do what you want us to do”. This should be the resolve of all Christians because the days are coming when we will be persecuted for our faith and for our resolution. Once one of my coworkers said to me you have all these rules. But of course ! I have rules which I fenced myself in because once you stop having rules, you are no different than a pagan. I am a Christian and I sure have rules because I’d rather follow “thus saith the Lord”…. And it shouldn’t matter to a Christian whether someone is watching you or not because as a Christian your whole life is accountable to God and you should always remember that God is watching you.

This morning I was talking to one of my church members from California with whom I am organizing a health seminar at my church in Philly. She and I are working out the details as second Sabbath in December right around the corner and we are checking off the things on our lists. The health seminar involves talking about how God wants us to take care of our bodies with healthy diet, healthy lifestyle and after the Sabbath, free community health screens for cholesterol, diabetes and blood pressure, etc.

And then we started talking about His faithfulness and the times we are living in. She knows about my job interviews and I was telling her that interviewing for jobs in winter time is not an ideal thing for Seventhday Adventists. The reason being, one of the things which I have to disclose would be that I would leave early on Friday as sunsets are progressively earlier and I usually leave work around 4 p.m. (worst case scenarios). Ideally I would like to leave around 3 p.m.  This is not the first time I let many jobs pass me by because I refuse to work during Sabbath hours. It would make a better conversation if I had a few months with the employers before springing my need to leave early on Fridays during winter months.

She was really impressed by my resolve and I am like no need to be impressed. I know there are very few people who are truly faithful to God, even in Adventists, as a few do work on Sabbath and it is true that they need to work to take care of themselves and their families but it is still no excuse as far as I am concerned because God will take care of us if we stay firm in our believes and stand on His promises. I am part of the remnant, one of the few who keeps the commandments of the Lord and I choose to rather not have a job than to break His commandments because, after all this time, we are on the threshold of His return and I am not losing my time with my Creator because of some stupid job and tbh, it is God’s headache to take care of me.

Usually the people in our Church who are in healthcare like doctors and nurses and obviously the Adventist Hospitals they don’t close down for Sabbath because of the nature of the work, but I know they usually give back to God that portion of their salaries so it would a service to humans rather than a job. Like my cousins and my uncle & aunt who are all Adventist physicians and sometimes they have to work on Sabbath if required but they return their salaries.

While keeping Sabbath is not gonna save you, it definitely shows your commitment to your Creator. You are acknowledging Him as your Creator and giving the tithe of your time which He wants. There is a nice testimony this week as Jonathan, who moved from one the Dakotas, got a job. I talked about him before. He became an Adventist two years ago and once he got convicted on Sabbath point, he quit his well paying job and he was really struggling to get a job and he was working for minimum wages; he was lately in pain as well as he was moving furniture or something and his back got hurt and he was in so much pain, that he was in tears; but he still was faithful to God and God blessed him with a great job and I was thrilled to bits for him. This was a very easy thing for Jonathan because he chose to be faithful to God and to please God.

Christ is ever there for us. We just have to ask Him to come in and dwell with us. Always abiding in His presence, there is fullness of joy. When it seems no one is with us or for us, we know He is ever present, holding us up, and carrying us through. He promises He will not leave us nor forsake us. He does not leave His seed, His remnant begging bread, nor is the righteous forsaken. He will keep His promises for His namesake because we stand firm in His name and so He won’t let His name be tarnished.

He is going before us. He will be and is with us. He will not leave us, nor forsake us. What do we have to fear if this is true, which it is, because God does not lie, nor can He. How can we not serve a God that every word out of His lips is truth and life, and joy, and peace ? There is no reason to worry or fret. I say this but even though I know it to be true, I still may get nagging doubts and fears. But here is the good news. God is going to win every time if we submit to His Will in spite of ourselves…

I will follow Thee my Saviour wheresoever Thy lot may lead and though all men should forsake me, by Thy grace I’ll follow Thee.

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