Participants: Shelley Quinn (Host), Paul Ratsara
Series Code: IAA
Program Code: IAA000484A
00:01 Do you know God as the God of your mother or father
00:03 or maybe the God of your grandparents?
00:05 Join us today on Issues and Answers so that you can learn
00:09 to know that God is a very present and personal God.
00:45 Hello, I'm Shelley Quinn and welcome once again to
00:49 Issues and Answers. Today we are going to be continuing
00:53 with Dr. Paul Ratsara, who is not only a pastor,
00:58 but he is the president of the Seventh Africa India Division
01:01 of the Seventh-Day-Adventist Church, and it is amazing
01:06 the schedule that this dear man keeps, and he is a dear man
01:10 particular to me. He is my brother in Christ and
01:13 a personal friend. -Yes! - I am so glad that you are here
01:16 again Paul. -Very happy to be here Shelley.
01:19 - You know, last time we were here talking about Jacob
01:24 feeling alone and abandoned when he had to leave his home
01:28 because his brother Esau wanted to kill him. His father dies,
01:32 he has to leave his mother and he is out alone in the
01:38 wilderness, worn out, when God shows him this ladder
01:43 and angels descending and ascending on the ladder. -Yes
01:46 - Yes. -God standing at the top of the ladder. Uh Huh!
01:48 Now, we talked about a little of the business cards that you
01:53 mentioned about God...There is so many names for God
01:57 in the Bible and He comes sometimes and He would say
02:01 I am Yahweh Rapha, Jehovah Rapha, the Lord who heals you.
02:06 Or the next card might be I am Jehovah Jireh
02:10 the Lord who provides. - That's true.
02:12 He has all of these different names, but what you...
02:16 I would like for you to just summarize one more time for
02:20 us before we get into today's topic is that when He
02:24 said to Jacob, "I am the Lord", He was saying that it is the
02:33 name of God Yahweh, "I am that I am", the God of the present,
02:37 the past, and the future.
02:39 - That's true. When you study the life of Jacob,
02:45 it is just amazing, you understand more of the love
02:50 of God because this man experienced the love of God
02:54 and we can see the character of God through the life of Jacob
03:00 and you can learn a lot from the life of this man.
03:04 Yes, last week we talked about God introduced himself
03:10 and His introduction...This is I call this as a business card.
03:15 - Yes. -You know God has more than one business card
03:19 and God chooses according to the message that He wants to
03:25 convey. So here, God introduced Himself as "I am the Lord God
03:32 of Abraham, your Father and the God of Isaac".
03:36 Every time we read this, and we know this from Exodus 3:15,
03:44 that the meaning of this, that the meaning of this is that God
03:48 is the God of History. That means God is the God of
03:55 past, God of the present, and God of the future.
04:01 And we said then, that the message that Jacob really
04:08 needed then is that God needs to show him that God can handle
04:14 his past.
04:16 - Because Jacob was feeling forlorn, he felt separated
04:19 from his parents, but he also felt abandoned by God,
04:23 or that there was a barrier between him and God. -Yes.
04:26 And that's why the ladder was there to link, and the ladder
04:31 is there as a bridge, and the ladder is Jesus Christ
04:35 and the angels represent the family of God and God Himself.
04:40 God Himself now introduced Himself so God is the God
04:47 of the past and we need to ask for forgiveness and when God...
04:53 When you ask for forgiveness, we will be forgiven and our
04:58 present and our future as well should because God masters this.
05:04 So, but when we think of this, when we think of this,
05:10 have you noticed that God stopped right there with Isaac?
05:19 - Do you think it's because God was introducing Himself as
05:23 the God that Jacob knew? In other words, he knew he was...
05:28 God was the God of his grandfather Abraham,
05:32 the God of his father Isaac, but he wasn't really seeing Him
05:37 as his God. -Yes and actually we can see that in verse 21.
05:41 Verse 21, it said that "So that I come back to my father's house
05:46 in peace, then the Lord shall be my God.
05:50 Shall be...- We're on verse 21. - Shall be my God.
05:54 - Ok. -Verse 21. Ooh, I love that. -Yeah
05:57 "Shall be my God". So It is very possible that God
06:05 was just the God of Abraham and Isaac for Jacob.
06:12 God yet was not his personal God.
06:16 Just a God of his father and a God of his grandfather
06:20 he knew about God but maybe he did not know God personally.
06:26 You know what we always say, "God has no grandchildren,
06:30 He only has children". So it doesn't matter...
06:33 You know sometimes I will meet people who will say
06:35 I am a fourth generation Seventh-day Adventist Christian,
06:39 or they'll say Seventh-day Adventist,
06:42 and I will say, "but are you a Christian"?
06:43 - Yes. -It doesn't matter how many generations you go back,
06:46 is God your God? This is good!
06:48 - Yes, God is...- You can see it right here.
06:50 Yes, right here. But before we will go back to that...
06:55 But let's continue with the dream, with the dream...
07:01 Go back to that when we deal with the following verses.
07:07 - And we're in Genesis 28. - Yes, Genesis chapter 28.
07:12 We have read verse 13 before um, maybe it's good to read that
07:19 now, "And behold, the Lord stood above the ladder
07:23 and said", "I am the Lord God of Abraham", your Father
07:29 and the God of Isaac".
07:31 The land on which you lie, I will give to you
07:35 and your descendants, and then verse 14:
07:39 "Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth.
07:45 You shall spread up road to the west and to the east,
07:49 to the north and to the south and in you and in your seed
07:55 all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
08:00 But God is essentially renewing the covenant they gave
08:04 to Abraham. -Exactly, exactly. Actually even further than that
08:10 in Eden, when you talk about the seed, the seed here
08:15 reminds us of Genesis 3:15 when God promised the Messiah,
08:22 the Savior. So, when Jacob thought that everything was
08:28 lost and God surprised him through this, that look Jacob,
08:34 you are the Jacob of the Covenant.
08:39 I am renewing my Covenant, this is actually the Covenant.
08:46 We show this in Genesis 12 when God called Abraham,
08:53 you can see that he said and in your seed all the families
08:58 of the earth shall be blessed. So, God revealed the future
09:05 to Jacob and God made the plan with you Jacob.
09:10 I will have a nation, I will have Israel and will come back
09:16 to that later on.
09:17 But out of this discouraging outlook, discouraging situation
09:24 God made it so beautifully and as we said already,
09:29 we said God is thriving in mending broken things.
09:34 - Absolutely! -And because He is God, He is the creator God,
09:39 not only created the universe but He can re-create us.
09:45 - Amen! -And He can re-create us, He is our creator as well
09:50 and you could see here. Out of this man, this young man
09:55 who was in trouble. God is saying look,
09:59 if you come back to me, if you just give your life to me...
10:05 - I know the plans I have for you...
10:09 - Yes, I have a great future for you.
10:14 I have this great plan for you, with you we are going to form
10:19 a nation and that was the dream. Also in verse 14,
10:28 and also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth
10:36 you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east
10:39 and the north and the south and you and them shall be blessed.
10:44 Verse 15 is so good. Verse 15 is actually the summary
10:51 of what God had in mind. "Behold, I am with you
10:58 and will keep you wherever you go." "That is the future
11:02 now, and I will bring you back to this land for I will not
11:07 leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you."
11:12 So that is the promise, that is the future. I will never
11:17 leave you, I will be with you. This is what we need.
11:22 - Amen! -What we need is the presence of God.
11:26 You see, this life is very uncertain indeed.
11:34 We don't even know the future, but we don't need to know
11:38 all the details of the future. What we need to know...
11:43 Who we need to know is God Himself. -Yes! Amen!
11:47 God who is the Master of the future and He said that He
11:51 will never leave you and then in verse 16:
11:56 "Then Jacob, I awoke from a sleep and said surely
12:03 the Lord is in this place and I did not know it."
12:08 So here he was feeling alone and abandoned and he had angels,
12:13 a company of angels with the Lord's presence was with him
12:18 and he was not forsaken by God.
12:21 - Yes and many times Shelley... this is the problem,
12:25 we think that we are alone and we are tempted many times
12:30 to carry our burdens alone. - Hmmm! Amen!
12:34 And we think that we can do it ourselves and we forget
12:42 that God is there.
12:44 Many of our problems are caused by the fact that we
12:48 are not aware of the presence of God. -That's good.
12:52 The discouragement can be caused by the fact that we are
12:56 not aware that God is there. Can you imagine being aware
13:01 that God is there?
13:03 The moment that you are discouraged and you know
13:06 for sure that God is present... In the presence of God
13:11 we can not be discouraged if we are aware of that presence
13:15 because we see Him as this great God, as this loving God.
13:21 He's just like a Father, He is our Father.
13:24 You see, you remember when you were small and kind of
13:30 frustrated and then the father comes and all of a sudden
13:35 maybe you are afraid and then the father comes and that fear
13:41 vanishes, and that is the presence of God.
13:45 We need to practice the presence of God in our lives and
13:50 even in temptation. In temptation many times
13:54 we fall into temptation. We, because we are not aware
14:02 that God is there. Can you imagine that our Father
14:06 is there? We love Him, we don't want to disappoint Him.
14:09 That presence is also sanctifying presence.
14:14 - Yes it is. That presence is an encouraging, assuring
14:20 presence. - And let me explain what you were saying
14:23 when it's a sanctifying presence,
14:25 to be sanctified is just to be separated from sin
14:29 and when we recognize that God is in our midst
14:32 we practice His presence, then we understand we don't want to
14:38 do this and hurt our Father. We can overcome the temptation,
14:42 we know that He will give us the way out.
14:44 I do also want to comment... you know you were saying
14:48 that He's the perfect Father and how for many people
14:53 when they were small you were frightened, you were discouraged
14:57 and the father was there. Not for all of us,
15:00 there's, of course my father died when I was a small child
15:03 and there are some people who have had fathers who
15:07 um, unfortunately did not follow the model that God gave them
15:13 in the instructions. But the thing that we want to point out
15:17 is that God is the perfect Father. -He is! -You don't
15:22 need to look at what your earthly father...if you suffered
15:28 abuse or neglect by your earthly father, don't try to paint your
15:34 picture of God by your earthly father because the best
15:38 of earthly fathers make mistakes but God doesn't make mistakes.
15:42 - God doesn't make mistakes, He's our perfect Father.
15:46 He's a loving Father and He is encouraging us and the
15:51 mere fact that we see that He is there,
15:55 that alone will help us just to not disappoint Him
16:00 because He loves us so much and we want to honor Him
16:05 and not only we do this because He is present but the good news
16:12 is that He gives us the power, the power to obey Him.
16:18 - Through the power of the Holy Spirit.
16:20 - If we decide just to put our lives in His hands,
16:24 then all His biddings are enabling.
16:27 When He asks us to obey Him, even gives us the power to obey.
16:34 That is amazing, not only said to this but He gives also
16:39 the power, the strength to do it.
16:42 Paul, I actually, what I teach when I'm teaching on Grace
16:46 is that even obedience is by Grace it is only as God gives us
16:51 the power. He gave us the gift of the Son,
16:54 He gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit and the gift of
16:56 the word. He's the one that works in us to change our will
17:01 to line our will up with His. He's the one that works
17:04 in us to do His good pleasure the Bible says, so we can't even
17:08 obey Him in our own strength, it is only by grace as He gives
17:14 us that power. -What we need to do is respond to His love.
17:19 - Yes! -To respond to His love and to open our hearts
17:23 said God, you love me so much here I am and then God
17:29 can give us the strength through the work of the Holy Spirit
17:33 to obey Him through His presence.
17:36 So the presence of God is the key and that was a problem
17:41 of Jacob here himself, he admitted, it said in verse 16,
17:47 "Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it."
17:54 I did not know it. So all the troubles, maybe not only here
17:59 but even before when he was doing what he did
18:04 cheating the father, cheating the brother.
18:08 He forgot that God was there and here he had this
18:14 encounter with God, a personal encounter with God.
18:19 God became his personal God through this experience,
18:26 this is the turning point in his life, he had to pass through
18:31 this crisis for him to hear the voice of God,
18:36 for him to have that genuine experience with God.
18:39 And you know, I'm looking at verse 16 that, or excuse me,
18:43 verse 19, where is it? I lost it.
18:47 Where he says that he took the.. Oh, here it is, verse 18.
18:51 Then Jacob rose early in the morning and took the stone
18:54 that he had put at his head, this hard place,
18:58 it represented the trial, his mind could have no rest,
19:01 it was uncomfortable, "and he set it up as a pillar
19:05 and poured oil on top of it." So the very experience
19:11 that he went through, the pain he went through became
19:15 his testimony, his memorial to God.
19:18 How often Paul, I know you've seen it so often,
19:22 I see it in my life and in others that when we are
19:25 walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death
19:28 as it were, it's the darkest of dark times
19:30 but when we recognize that God is there with us
19:36 and He turns this around and He sets our feet on a different
19:39 path, that very thing that we disdained going through,
19:44 that experience becomes our joy, it becomes our testimony,
19:48 it becomes our praise.
19:50 Definitely. I call this from T to T, from trial to testimony,
19:56 So here, this is the trial and when God is present
20:04 all our trials will turn into testimonies.
20:08 - Amen! -And all of our trials they are called to prayer.
20:12 So when you pass through difficult times,
20:16 that is not the time to give up,
20:17 that is not the time to look down,
20:22 that is the time to look up.
20:24 That is the time to ask God to intervene in a mighty way
20:30 and through the experience of Jacob, we can see that God is
20:36 more than willing to do that. - Amen! -And it's true,
20:40 we are His children, we are His children,
20:43 He want to bless us, He wants to do these mighty things.
20:47 So and in verse 17 He said, "And he was afraid and said
20:53 how awesome is this place?
20:56 This is none other than the house of God.
21:00 We will elaborate more on the change that took place,
21:06 took place after the encounter with God.
21:10 But I want just to go back into this personal God.
21:17 You see for Jacob, he only knew of God,
21:27 - He knew about God. - About God.
21:29 But, it's very possible that his knowledge of God was
21:37 like the head knowledge. -Yes! - Kind of theoretical,
21:41 intellectual knowledge, and many times that is the problem.
21:46 We know a lot about God, we know the Bible,
21:51 we know verses, we know many things about God
21:54 but the question is, do we know God personally?
21:57 You see, we have plants and flowers, I like flowers,
22:03 but I have observed that there are two kinds of flowers
22:08 when it comes to decoration, the plastic ones
22:12 and the natural one.
22:14 You know when you look from afar, you don't really know
22:18 the difference, they look alike, of course the bees
22:23 cannot be deceived. Bees know exactly which on is plastic
22:29 and which one is the genuine one or the natural one.
22:33 And it is possible that there are also two categories of
22:38 Christians, the plastic Christian,
22:40 and the natural or the genuine Christian.
22:43 When they are seen from afar, they look alike
22:48 but when it comes to real life, then we see the difference
22:56 between the plastic and the natural one.
23:01 In the real world we cannot change, we cannot change
23:07 from plastic flowers to a genuine one, or natural ones,
23:12 but I have good news for us, in spiritual life conversion,
23:18 change can take place. The plastic Christian can
23:22 become a genuine one and you can have that instantly.
23:28 The very moment you said I surrender my life unto God,
23:32 here I am, make me a genuine Christian.
23:36 - And it's all about making God a personal God.
23:40 Jesus said in John 17:3, "This is eternal life
23:45 that you would know God the Father and the one
23:49 whom He sent." But the word know there is in an intimate
23:53 way, a personal way, like a husband knows a wife,
23:58 so this is where the change began for Jacob and for
24:03 any of us going from just maybe a plastic Christian,
24:07 or even a non-Christian to becoming a true Christian
24:10 is when we understand God wants to be a personal...
24:13 - That is the key, that is the key and it is said
24:15 in our text here, "And God then the Lord shall be my God"
24:22 in verse 21. My God. Yes He's the God of the universe,
24:28 He's the God of my father, He's the God of my grandfather,
24:31 He's the God of the church, but He should be my personal God,
24:37 that personal experience with God.
24:40 Someone said I know God exists, I talked to Him this morning.
24:46 So we need to have this personal God, and the question is,
24:52 how do we do this?
24:54 Um, you know a relationship with God, it takes time.
25:01 Any relationship that can grow, it takes time
25:05 and -Communication. communication and time
25:07 and the devil knows this and that's why he's doing everything
25:14 for us not to have time or not to communicate with God
25:18 because if he can just make us too busy, to be too busy
25:25 to talk to God or to spend time with God,
25:28 then he will win because we will not have this connection
25:33 with God. So, quickly, first, we need to look
25:41 how is our prayer life? Are we reading the Bible
25:48 on a regular basis?
25:49 Are we sharing our faith? How is our faith?
25:55 We need to go back to that, to the basic,
25:59 we need to spend time with God.
26:02 Don't ever be too busy to pray,
26:06 don't ever be too busy to read the Bible
26:09 because that is our lifeline.
26:12 We cannot have a strong relationship with God,
26:16 we cannot have God as our personal God if we don't have
26:21 time to pray. Um, and here, later on when Moses was
26:31 called by God to deliver the children of Israel
26:36 and then when Moses said, when they asked me
26:40 about the God who is sending me, what shall I tell them?
26:47 Then God said in Exodus chapter 3, verse 15,
26:57 and He said here moreover God said to Moses
27:02 Exodus 3:15:
27:19 - Um hum! So God put Jacob in His business card.
27:26 He said before when He introduced Himself
27:30 Jacob was not there, but now God said,
27:34 "I am the God of Jacob also."
27:36 So God would like to be very proud to introduce Himself
27:40 to our neighbors, to say I am the God of Shelley,
27:43 I am the God of Paul and that is our personal God.
27:46 So, we need, we need to know God.
27:49 Oh, thank you so much for sharing this Paul and
27:52 we are inviting you back to be with us again next week.
27:56 I just believe that you, God is using you to touch some people
28:01 at home right now. I don't care what your name is,
28:04 God wants to put your name on His business card,
28:07 He wants to be your "Personal God",
28:10 He wants you to know that He will never leave you
28:14 or forsake you and that He is with you always.
28:17 Our prayer is that you respond to God's call.
28:21 Thanks' for joining us.