bible articles

Elias – Our Firstborn

The experience of being a father for the first time is indescribable. Words fail to fully express all my thoughts and emotions connected to this amazing moment. And yet I feel that I need to share some reflections that have been spinning through my mind over the last few days. God is graciously teaching me beautiful lessons about Himself through this experience.

Silvia and I have been married for soon 11 years. While travelling the globe and sharing the gospel we have acquainted ourselves with many families and parents. Some have shared their joys and challenges of parenthood with us. More than once we would hear “it will change your life forever”. Though I could imagine this, I yet had to experience that 3470 grams (the weight of our newborn baby) could actually turn a life upside down. Yesterday we came back from the hospital, so last night was our first night at home with our newborn. Silvia and I had a good laugh this morning as we “woke up” from an eventful night realizing I was lying on her side of the bed and she on mine, while we were both lying in opposite directions!

But besides a literal “turning upside down” experience, a spiritual impact has occurred in our lives. This impact is very well articulated in the lyrics of the song “Because He lives”. Here is the part that just nails it…

How sweet to hold
A newborn baby
And feel the pride
And joy he gives
But greater still
The calm assurance
This child can face
Uncertain days
Because He lives

This song has become our story. Our experience!

It is sweet to hold a newborn baby! I just don’t get enough of being with my little miracle. I truly feel the pride and joy he gives. Yet I realize that I have brought this child into a very uncertain world. Every day this world is bombarded with sorrow and suffering without end. I can understand parents who worry about the future of their children. I am part of the club now. But I don’t want to allow my worries to take control of me and dictate the future of my family. That’s why the words “But greater still the calm assurance this child can face uncertain days because He lives” means so much for us.

He lives! Jesus lives!

The tomb is empty. Death is conquered. The victory is won. 
The suffering in this world is caused by a desperate, yet defeated, enemy. We don’t need to let this enemy dictate our future. Instead we can let Jesus determine our future as we put our trust and confidence in Him who never fails us. Whatever trial we are facing, whatever uncertain days we are experiencing, remember that He lives and is by our side seeking to guide our steps as a loving father guides the steps of his child.
So let’s continue to sing with hope for a bright future. Let’s encourage our families to sing. Why?

Because He lives!

Did you know that God sings as well?

Yes, I am absolutely sure about this! Check out this amazing verse of scripture.

“The LORD your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

Wow! God sings!

I hope that when we get to heaven the angels will just hush for a moment so we can hear Him sing. I can hardly imagine what that must be like. Whatever I can imagine will not even come close to the beauty of this song. But we don’t have to wait till heaven to experience His songs. David the psalmist reminds us that in the midst of our uncertainties and difficulties we can hear God’s songs of deliverance.

“You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance” – Psalm 32:7

As a teenager I remember how popular it suddenly became to have a surround sound system so the music (at least that is what we called it) would impact you from all directions. How incredible to realize that God has a “surround sound system” around those who make Him their surety and guide. It’s Himself. His songs!

Silvia and I love singing to Elias (yes, that’s his name and it means; Yahweh is my God! We love the meaning and I will perhaps write more about his name another time). He seems to enjoy our singing. At least for now! Our songs are songs of gladness. We are told that God “rejoices over you with gladness” (Malachi 3:17). As a father I rejoice over my son yet my rejoicing over Elias only gives me a glimpse of Gods rejoicing over His children.

I love holding Elias in my arms and just looking at the expressions in his face. He has not done anything to earn my love, and he is completely dependent on his parents. But the fact that he is mine makes all the difference. God, our Father, created us and redeemed us. We belong to Him twice! You can’t earn His love, and just in case you did not know – you are absolutely dependent on Him. Even the breath you just took was because He lives.

How heartbreaking would it be for me if Elias grew up only to deny my existence and find joy everywhere else but in my presence? It would make no sense and that is why sin makes no sense. When we turn away from our heavenly Father we are wrestling ourselves out of the arms of the one who seeks to save us. We reject the mighty One in our midst. We seek for temporal joy and gladness seeking to drown out the singing voice of a heavenly Father who loves us more than we could ever imagine. We allow the enemy to dictate our future. Don’t let this happen. Instead turn to Him and face the uncertain days knowing that He lives!

Let His song encourage you all the way through.

“And lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age” – Matthew 28:20

Ok. I can’t help it. I need to end by saying something more about his name, Elias.
It is the Greek version of the Hebrew name Elijah. Remember, the prophet who did not taste death, but was translated to heaven. The last verses of the Old Testament predict that Elijah would come back (Malachi 4:5-6). Not reincarnated, but the spirit of Elijah would again be manifested. Jesus Himself saw the fulfillment of this in John the Baptist (Matthew 11:13-14). He was the forerunner of Christ’s first coming. The question is: Who will prepare the way for Christ’s second coming? God is looking for a generation who is willing to receive the spirit and power that was on Elijah. This power will unite families in a time when the enemy is doing all to destroy them (Malachi 4:6). Those who receive this spirit from God will hear His songs of deliverance and eventually experience the final deliverance from this earth. They will be part of ushering in the second coming of Christ. Once the final victory is gained the book of Revelation tells us that they will stand on a sea of glass and sing the song of the Lamb, Jesus Christ (Revelation 15:2-4)

We pray that Elias will be part of the generation who will prepare the way for Christ’s second coming.
May we see our heavenly Father very soon. Face to face!

Can you hear Him sing?

Because He lives!

God sent His son
They called him Jesus
He came to love
Heal and forgive
He lived and died
To buy my pardon
An empty grave
Is there to prove
My Savior lives

(Chorus) Because He lives
I can face tomorrow
Because He lives
All fear is gone
Because I know
He holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just because He lives

(Verse 2) How sweet to hold
Elias sleepingA newborn baby
And feel the pride
And joy he gives
But greater still
The calm assurance
This child can face
Uncertain days
Because He lives

(Verse 3) And then one day
I’ll cross the river
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain
And then as death
Gives way to victory
I’ll see the lights
Of glory and
I’ll know He lives