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Informed but Not Experienced

Day 18:First Things First



When I was about 6 years old, we moved to a new house and in a new neighbourhood about 30km away from my old hood. As i explored our new neighbourhood there was a house with extremely high boundary walls and a sign on an enormous gate that read *Danger: Beware of the Dogs!* It was not unusual to see a, "Beware of dogs‚" sign but the fact that this sign read *danger* in big Bold red Letters made me quite weary of walking past that particular house especially if the gate happened to be opened, I would wait until the gate was shut before proceeding past the house. Every time I walked by my curiosity heightened as to what type of dogs lived at that property such that there was a sign depicting the hazard that their dogs may induce. As time went by however It dawned on me that i had never actually seen or heard these said dangerous dogs. I began to think that this was probably just a sign to scare off would-be intruders. My mind also pondered what kind of dangerous dogs they were such that they never even barked? I asked some kids who lived in the neighborhood longer than me and they too had never actually seen the dogs although some claimed to have heard a muffled weird bark every now and then. I decided that there was not enough evidence to support the existence of dogs and my attitude towards walking past that house changed. No longer would I stop when I saw the gate open nor would i quicken my pace when walking past that house as I did with other houses that had the sign but I actually had seen or heard the dogs and why should I have after having lived close to a year in that neighbourhood and not once had I seen or heard these dogs.

We live in a world that we Christians talk a lot about our belief in God and how we ought to fear and respect God as our maker and highest authority. However, To the rest of the world, we can appear to be like that Beware of the Dog sign, where it warns that there is a dog but passer-byes don't actually see the dog! We can be those Christians whose whose message is heard but does not seem to make an impact on anyone unless they actually begin to see and experience this information for themselves through how we live our lives.

Late author and Priest, Brennan Manning, attributes some of the greatest causes of non-belief to be perpetuated by us Christians ourselves. He says that‚ *The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.* When we become nominal Christians who are religious in every way but never adhering to the veracity of their beliefs we become hypocritical and akin to signpost Christianity or the term that has been coined of being ‚ Christian Atheists. You can only begin to live a life that acts on the information you have when you trust in that information. Trusting only comes through building a firm base of belief in what you know to be true. Unless you know God to be real and true for yourself you cannot begin to live a life of complete trust in him

The journey of Prayer and fasting for me has always been one that helps me to build and deepen my experience of who God truly is and thus grow my trust in God. When our trust in God is firmly established we are transformed from mere talkers or information givers about God but true witnesses of that which we profess to be true.

I want to invite you to come to a place where you challenge your faith and ask am I a believer or am I a non-believing believer? Traversing this oxymoron will allow us to invite the Holy Spirit to lead us on a deeper journey of growth and strengthening in our faith as we learn that the road of trust is based on firm belief and faith that is unwavering because we truly know that which we know.


Putting God first if the process that enables us to firmly begin to be believers that show forth their belief in word and in deed. *Psalm 9:10* And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.*

'... but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. '


Reflect:

Pastor Andre spoke on Sunday about how our lack of knowing who God truely is hinders our ability of allowing him to speak to us and breath Big Dreams in our lives:


1. How has this time of prayer and fasting helped you to get to know God even more?

2. What do you need to continue doing in order to keep growing so that you can deepen your trust in God?

3. What areas of your life have been showing that your belief in God needs to be strengthened? How can you intentionally make changes to live a life that lines up with your belief in God?


*Prayer* Today take time to pray that the last few days of the Prayer and Fasting times would be amazing encounters that deepen your experience of who God is and that set a foundation for the rest of the year for how you will do life going forward.

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It is so true that Christians have caused the most doubt in non Christians about the authenticity of Jesus Christ.

If the world looks at us Christians, what do they see and what do they hear.

I remember years ago and in fact right up until today, hearing a lot of moaning and complaining about life and that God is constantly bringing lack, hurt, sickness on their paths, to teach them a lesson so they can be better Christians, thus showing the world a sick religion.

So many Christians don't live out the finished work of the Cross of Jesus Christ, and in turn don't bear the fruit of that great sacrifice of Love that bought and paid for everything…


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