The Cell Theory and Christian Practice

I am a huge nerd! Math and science have always been my strong suit and, throughout college, I pursued biology and the medical field as areas of study. One of the basic concepts in science and medicine is known as the Cell Theory. The third statement in the cell theory states that cells can only come from other pre-existing cells, essentially showing that life can only proceed from pre-existing life. You could gather the greatest and most talented minds in the entire realm of history, put them in one room, lock them away with the most expensive equipment for research, and give them one task: create a cell and none of them could do it. I bring up this point to show the incredible power of God and how this serves as a beautiful parallel to the regeneration seen in salvation. Man’s power is so weak and limited compared to God’s; despite our greatest efforts, we can never bring back to life that which is spiritually dead.

In Acts 3:19 Peter speaks to a crowd of Israelites saying, “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” This time of refreshing is regeneration and often times the entire splendor of this truth is missed. What we can always agree with is regeneration is the awakening and growth seen when God through His Spirit softens the hearts of those who would trust Christ as seen in the Gospel and the refreshing moment of being at peace with God through salvation. What I think is often “short changed” in this truth is that God uses regeneration as a means for us Christians to be steadfast in the faith regardless of what comes our way in this life. God’s work in regenerating hearts of those who trust Him is that they would trust Christ all the more. As we go through life, we see it is bumpy, rough, depressing, and full of joy and setbacks. But through regeneration, we become resilient to what life throws at us; damaging circumstances that were meant to trample us instead make us bold and steadfast in our faith. Just as the human body continues to regenerate and grow in the midst of different environments and causes of nature, so does the Christian. Our environments change (full joy, peace, stress, persecution, etc.) but our God remains the same, working in and growing us in order to bring glory to Him and show others how awesome the God we serve truly is.

So Christian, look at your life—are you being pushed by every wind and wave of the hardships of a fallen world? Remind yourself the reason why God has regenerated you: to be resilient and steadfast through any situation that life may bring. God has worked and saved you to enjoy Him eternally. While in this wretched world, may we be reminded that being saved by God means we continue to grow in Him through all things. So let us stay charged up in the Word and persistent in prayer and our faith will be one that is durable and long-lasting in all of life’s twists and turns.

Balancing the Books

The phrase, “Where’s Waldo?” is, I’m sure, one that’s very familiar to most. Waldo is the token character seen in children’s illustrated books and was definitely one of my favorites growing up. These past few months, I have taken on the phrase “Where’s Waldo?” and renamed it, “Where’s Saba?!”

I have been MIA to say the least! I work full time at Golfland Sunsplash Water Park in the mornings and then go to school full time in the evenings, studying for cardiac sonography. On my good days, I may squeeze in an early morning or late night gym session. All of this leaves my days long and exhausting. The water park season was extremely busy this year, and the weekends were packed. I generally never work weekends, but this year brought about a new work schedule. My Sundays were robbed from me, and at times, I would feel guilty for not being able to worship on Sunday with God’s people. I found myself reasoning, “God gave me this job to honor Him, yet I can’t even make it on Sunday to worship Him.” I had a dilemma: I could either walk away from a job that was keeping me afloat, with all my expenses as a broke college student, or I could continue to work Sundays. Though it may seem minuscule, it is a real issue that I have struggled with, and I’m sure many of you have as well.

God has been so gracious to me in providing me with work to use money for good things; things like my education, supporting the local church, and the occasional Cane’s chicken box combo (one of my favorites). I have grown to see that God is in total control, and there are some Sundays when I have seen how His sovereignty pans out. I have had incredible witnessing opportunities with co workers and even customers on Sundays, and I see how God wanted me at work just so I could share the good news with those who don’t know Him. This is by no means a reason to neglect the corporate time of worship with God’s people, but I see how God has called me to reach beyond the confines of the church to those in the back woods and share the Gospel with them. Isaiah 40:28 reads, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired for His understanding is inscrutable.” I make it personal and insert my name: “Saba, do you not know? I am God and you are not; therefore trust and rest in my Son.” God’s wisdom surpasses any human understanding, and if working a few extra hours means God’s glory is displayed to others, then I will continue to bless Him by doing all things in His name.

So after working multiple weeks without time off, paying back Sally Mae, giving to the local church, laboring on Labor Day, and everything in between, I greatly look forward to the ultimate rest that Jesus Christ the Messiah will bring when the worries and cares of this world will no longer consume me. Working and using the money to provide for the temporary will be a distant shadow as I stand face to face before Him worshipping fully! So dear Christian, continue to ask God for wisdom as we seek to balance the books with our legitimate life issues, but remember the books were balanced when Jesus wiped the sin debt and gave us true rest!

Started from the Bottom… Now We Here

One of the most humbling things about life is God’s sovereign and providential ability to completely wreck your plans. I mean when God takes His huge eraser and His red correction pen and not just alters, but completely bulldozes your world. What happens when life doesn’t go as planned (or as I planned)? What happens when you are called to start over and start right back at square one? This has been a reality of mine with recent university transfers and starting a new medical program and, at times, it was very difficult for me to see the new beginning as a fresh starting block for the work of God. One way I find continual encouragement is through the Scriptures and I pray that this one verse would lift up and strengthen you all.

Psalm 34:8 reads, “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” I know some of you are thinking, what in the world does this have anything to do with starting over? My point in using this wonderful Psalm is to point you, fellow Christian, to the person of God. Everything that God does is good! Every stage in our lives must be centered on the attributes of God and if we know who He is, we will know how to properly respond. Rule #1 in dealing with starting over: We must always start with God.

As sinful humans, we allow our culture, circumstances, and expectations to have way too much influence over our lives and we struggle with new beginnings no matter how great or small. For me, I have found the simplicity of the Words in this Psalm as a reminder that if I focus on who God is, I can now live life with a renewed zeal. His character proves Himself as one who is trustworthy, so dear Christian, trust Him—for everything God does is good. If we know He is good, we will now embrace the new beginning as a new platform that God has appointed uniquely for you to bring glory unto Him. Jesus Christ must be the One in whom we harbor and as soon as we embrace who He is, we will then be able to rightly relate with our new start. We slowly see that it is nothing about us, but that it is all centered around Christ and bringing Him to the forefront of every aspect of our lives so that all those around us may see the work of God. I encourage you to taste and see the goodness of God, be thankful in the midst of fresh starts, and press into Jesus, asking that you would be used as a vessel solely to bring glory to God.

The Heart of Fear

I think the scriptures can be absolutely hilarious (please hold your stones and let me explain). In the Gospel accounts, the life of Jesus is so vividly portrayed, and as you read, you come face to face with the God man and stand in complete awe and wonder. What cracks me up at times is the disciples: one, because they are walking with Jesus and yet they say and do some of the funniest things; and two, I often see myself in their responses to Christ, which leaves me then to laugh at myself.

One account that I think of is found in Matthew 8:23-27 where Jesus calms the raging sea. The disciples have been following Jesus long enough to see His great power and attributes that testify of His divinity. Christ has been healing the sick and demonstrating His authority, and yet when we make it to this point on the sea, the disciples STILL don’t seem to grasp whom they are with, which is too comical. They become crippled by fear upon seeing the storm and respond in unbelief rather than faith.

This is the heart of fear: unbelief. Fear looks at the inadequacies in self and draws the conclusion that our personal lack calls for us to not react. This is something we can all relate to, seeing that we are weak and needy sinners and at times refuse to act in faith simply because we are afraid and know we are unfit. Here is where we miss the mark: we allow our insufficiency to blind us to God’s perfect character. If the disciples would have just believed Jesus for who He said He was, they would have responded with a steadfast faith instead of responding in panic and distrust. They would see their weakness and instead of panicking and being self-reliant, they would see the opportunity to humble their anxious hearts before Christ and simply cry for help.

It’s so easy to look at these biblical accounts and see the disciples’ responses and not see how, today, we respond in the very same way. We have experienced God in salvation and know His Word and have tried Him time and time again, yet we still fear and doubt His character in times of trouble. Let’s learn to fight our fears with faith—faith in Christ. Faith in His promises revealed in the Scriptures, faith in His finished work on the cross, and faith in God’s perfect love. This is the love that boldly and intentionally says “I have chosen you and I will be with you forever”; this is the love that casts out all fear. When we realize that nothing can separate us from God’s love, what should we fear? He alone will remain faithful; He alone will be my anchor and will continue to remain.

A Change Gon’ Come

I love music. Classical, pop, R&B, country, hymns, jazz, gospel, hip-hop, indie folk, you name it. So of course I tuned in to watch the Grammy’s to see all the talented (some more than others) music artists. After watching, I was left with two thoughts. First, how merciful and patient God is in that He continues to grant us life even as we live morally ruined lives and become a God-mocking generation. Secondly, with this cultural shift, what are Christians doing to help change the world for Christ? In my opinion, what takes place in our world as forms of entertainment or any other showcase of art will prove to have the greatest impact on our culture than any form of legislation, because art is an effective persuader. Our world is shifting away from God (surprise, surprise), and as followers of Jesus, we want to spark a lasting change in our culture and see souls saved and lives transformed by the power of the Gospel. But, things seem to either progressively worsen or stay the same—which can be discouraging. As Christians, how do we live for Jesus and reach those in a world that is hostile and constantly changing? Let’s chop it up! (Slang 101—chop up: converse and break it down.)

  1. Stop imitating the world!
    God does not save souls the world’s way. God uses the foolish things to dumbfound the wise and strong. God, in the world’s eyes, is the worst talent scout because the world looks to power, prestige, and material glitz and glam, while God uses the weak, powerless, and feeble to shame them and display His power and glory! Often times the people of God can easily get caught up in being “culturally aware” and reaching the lost in the name of Jesus while compromising the very words of Christ! The church goes as the world goes and adjusts to better appease people rather than remaining faithful to Christ. No change will take place unless we have God’s Word as our foundation. We must stand firm in the faith and let the world be the world and the church be the church. 
  2. Imitate Christ!
    If you have been saved by grace through faith, brought out of darkness into His marvelous light, you now have a high calling, a calling to Christ-likeness. This does not mean perfect obedience or a life of ease, but with the Spirit’s help, it is a daily battle to deny ourselves, pick up our crosses, and follow after Jesus. If you want to see change, you must first ask if you have been changed by the power of the Gospel. It’s impossible to imitate someone you know nothing about, so are you growing in the knowledge of Christ, increasing in humility and love for others, striving for holiness, and suffering for the sake of the Gospel? If you want to impact our generation, emulate Jesus. 
  3. Bank on Real Change!
    There will be a day with no more pain, suffering, Sallie Mae (can I get a witness?!), death, broken families, bills, disappointments, midterms, 15-page research papers, and any other effects of the fall you could think of. Jesus will return as the conquering King and reign victoriously forevermore! He will restore all things and we will enjoy God perfectly. As believers, we have a hope that even in the midst of this fallen world, we can await the blessed return of the Lord Jesus Christ and the new heaven and new earth will be our reality. The real change that will come is when all things will be made new and His perfect love will cast out every fear and wipe all the tears from our eyes. So in the words of Sam Cooke, “It has been a long time coming, but I know that a change gon’ come”; so come quickly, Lord Jesus, come quickly!