Saturday, December 18, 2010

Giving That Brings Life

I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, LORD

[Psalm 26:6, NIV]

God is not only interested in our offerings, but also concerned about the state under which it is offered. Whenever an offering is given there could be many dispositions or possibilities to the state of the giver’s mind. Of all these possibilities, there’s one that makes God’s heart delighted, and commands reward upon the giver.

2 Corinthians 9:6-8, gives us a highlight on different kinds of giving, and that which brings life. [Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work]

It is therefore important to pause at the point of giving, to check the state of the heart and the motive behind giving, as this will ultimately determine the result. Do you give out something and later analyze why you allowed yourself to fall into such care-free mood, and then make a point to be more careful next time?

In Matthew 5:23-24, Jesus also taught that giving any offering or sacrifice when there is a grudge in the heart (despite how remote it is or who it is targeted at) nullifies the effort. Offenses always come, but if we hold it as a grudge against a person, there is the risk of losing every reward for the gift given to God, whether it be a material gift or service to God. A clear conscience and innocence is required at Gods alter. Let us wash our hands of all things that make our offering to God unacceptable, and the reward that follows a good gift will be ours.

Prayer: Dear Lord, teach me to be aware of the state in which I give, helping me guard against grudges and inward complaining. Clear my heart dear Holy Spirit of grudges against people that take away my blessing at your alter, I pray in Jesus name.

One-Year Daily Bible Reading Plan - Dec. 18 2010 - Psalms 93-94 (OT), Mark 4 (NT)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Keeping Your Promises

Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, saying, “May the LORD give you children by this woman to take the place of the one she prayed for and gave to the LORD.”

Hannah made a vow to God that if God would give her a son, she will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head. [1 Samuel 1:11]. God answered her prayer for a child and gave her a son. Hannah kept her promise and dedicated her son to the service of God. Eli the priest prayed that God will give Hannah and her husband more children from her because she kept her promise. The bible records that Hannah, who was once classified as a barren woman, gave birth to three sons and two daughters.
There are times when we find ourselves making vows or promises to God. Sometimes it could be habits or addictions we want to stop. Sometimes it could be sin we are fighting to overcome. We find ourselves still going back to do those things we promised we would not do. Your loving Father knows that with sin and addictions, we as humans cannot overcome it on our own hence He sent His Son to die for our sins and restore us the rights we have as children of God. He also gave us the Holy Spirit to help us in our daily walk with Him. Though our Father is gracious and loving, it is not His will that we take the grace of God for granted.

But there are promises we make to God that are within our control. For instance, you may promise God that you will sow all of your first salary if He gives you a job. Or you may promise to sow a seed once you get the breakthrough you have been waiting for. Today's verse of scripture reminds us of the blessings that come with keeping our promises. It is better you did not make the promise than you did and do not keep it. Your loving Father is faithful and can do much more than you can ask or think. If you make a promise to Him, keep it. See if He will not bless you much more than you could imagine.

Prayer: My Loving Father, You are the one who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that I can ask or think. You are faithful to Your promises. Father, I am sorry for times I have made promises to You and did not keep them. I pray that as Your child, made in Your image, if You put a need in my heart and if I make a promise to You, I will be faithful to keep my promise. In Jesus Name, Amen.

One-Year Daily Bible Reading Plan - Dec. 17 2010 - Psalms 91-92 (OT), Mark 3 (NT)

God’s Love and Mine…

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Broken for Purpose

When a farmer plows the ground for planting, does he plow continually?
Does he keep on breaking up and harrowing the soil? 
After he has leveled the surface of the ground, does he not sow dill and scatter cumin? 
Does he not plant wheat in furrows, barley in its appointed plot,
and spelt along the edge of the field?
[Isaiah 28:24-25]
God is a God of order and plan, and just like in nature, things follow a preset process, so it is with our walk with Him. For the seed within us to bear fruit, the soil of our lives would need to first be plowed (broken or tilled), this process can be extremely uncomfortable, but we have a comfort in knowing that we are being broken for the fulfillment of our divine purpose.

Allowing God's work of plowing to be completed in us, allowing ourselves to be totally broken before Him, allows Him to move on to the next phase. The plowing period is not forever, after the plowing comes the sowing, without the plowing, there is no sowing, without the sowing there would be no fruits, without fruit, what then is our purpose for life? So if indeed our hearts desire is to bear much fruit, let us surrender to Gods plowing process.

God uses several methods in breaking His people, depending on the unique weakness or blind spots of each individual, but all for the same purpose, to bring us to the end of self and to the place of total surrender. This does not mean that the process of brokenness would bring us to a state of sadness or depression, on the contrary, when we yield to God's working, it becomes the flavor of the our joy and praise and witness as Christians.

The LORD is near to them that are of a broken heart; and saves such as be of a contrite spirit (psalm 34:18), its is a blessed thing to be broken before God, because, this marks the start of a wonderful walk with Him, and we never get beyond it in this life but it marks our walk for as long as we remain on earth .We  remain broken and contrite all the way home

Prayer: Lord, daily I ask that You break me and mold me till I become all that You desire me to be. No matter how much I may squirm at each new phase, I surrender to the totality of Your will for my life. I thank You for Your love that instructs, Your love that corrects and Your love that perfects. In you I am made whole. Help me embrace your process throughout my walk with You, In Jesus Name. Amen

One-Year Daily Bible Reading Plan - Dec. 16 2010 - Psalms 89-90 (OT), Mark 2 (NT)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Move Forward

And they rose up in the twilight, to go unto the camp of the Syrians; and when they were come to the uttermost part of the camp of Syria, behold, there was no man there.[2 kings 7:5, KJV]

As God’s own beloved child, when you dare the thing you are afraid of, you’ll find out that what you thought would destroy you does not even exist. The lepers in our text took a step forward in the direction of their greatest fear. They soon found out that all their enemies were no where to be found and abundance awaited them. When you are in a challenging situation and you refuse to move forward for fear of the future, and instead prefer to cling to familiar unpleasant situations, you are choosing sorrow, sickness and problems over hope, joy, health and prosperity. You are deciding to hang around the comfort zone of a tormenting situation, instead of daring to choose freedom and deliverance.

In Exodus 14:15, God asked the children of Israel to move forward. They feared the impossibility of the Red Sea ahead, and preferred the destruction of the Egyptians behind them. However, when they moved forward, God parted the impossibility before them and provided dry ground for them to pass through. God is pleased with His own who show faith in Him, without faith it is impossible to please God.

When the four lepers advanced towards the camp of the Syrian army expecting the worst, they were pleasantly surprised to find no soldier in sight. The things you are afraid of as a child of God are not capable of delivering their threat. Never stop your advance because of fear, march forward in the direction of God’s lead. It is time to reject every thought of fear, failure, disappointment, dryness, delay or death. Read the Word of God and meditate daily on it. It will increase your faith. Engage in activities that increase your faith and move forward.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I bless you for the provisions you’ve made ahead of me to part every Red Sea on my way. I bless you for taking the threat out of everything i fear in the future, I bless you for leading me safely into the abundant life that only You gives. Thank You Jesus. I put my trust and faith in you, I move forward continually to your glory and I claim victory over every challenges that threaten me in Jesus name.

One-Year Daily Bible Reading Plan - Dec. 15 2010 - Psalms 87-88 (OT), Mark 1 (NT)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Acknowledging Your Provider

She doesn’t realize it was I who gave her everything she has -
the grain, the new wine, the olive oil;
I even gave her silver and gold...

Today's verse of scripture speaks about the Israelites whom God gave not only corn for necessity, wine for delight, and oil for ornament, but He multiplied their silver and gold. However, Israel robbed God of the honour of His gifts. They forgot their relation to their great benefactor and their obligations to Him. They did not consider what they had as blessing from God, and they did not return thanks to Him for His gifts. Instead they dishonoured God with those gifts - they adorned their images with gold and silver, and adorned themselves for the worship of their images.

It is quite easy for us to act like the Israelites as described above. This we may do knowingly or ignorantly. You may encounter people who say, "I got the one of my dreams because I fasted and prayed very well", "I got that promotion because I worked so hard", "I got into the best school because I studied tirelessly", or "I am where I am today because my parents made the right decisions". 

While we should acknowledge that there is a role we have to play in receiving what we have from God, we should not forget that it is God who has given us all that we have. It is God, our loving Father who gives us the ability to get wealth. He is the one who gives us strength to do what we do. He is the one surrounds us with favour as a shield. He is the one who equips us, and provides us with open doors of opportunities.

You may not have all you want, but your loving Father has provided for you all you need. If you reflect on this year, you will realize that He has done many great things for you. Spend time today thanking God for His provision, for thanksgiving opens doors to receiving more from Him.

Prayer: My Loving Father, I thank You for being my provider. You have provided me with all I need, even those things I do not know are important for me. I am sorry for times when I have assumed that what I have is of my own abilities and effort. Please show me if there is any way I dishonour You with the blessings You have bestowed on me. I pray, Father for Your help, that I may be a good steward of all You have blessed me with. May I always remember that what I have is from You, and acknowledge You with a heart of gratitude. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Living Beyond Self

..and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.
The LORD will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. 
[Isaiah 58:10-11] 

The world has somehow made us believe that our fulfillment comes from how much we can obtain and gather for ourselves, many of us live life in search for higher paying jobs, bigger contracts, better cars, bigger houses...and the list goes on. We tell ourselves, if I can just get that house, then I'd be satisfied, then we get the house, and realize, it wasn't all we thought it would be after all, and the struggle continues.

We have become a selfish generation, so much so that even the plight of the under privileged does not stir our hearts anymore. Or maybe we believe we are too busy, tied up with tight schedules, we tell ourselves that we really have no time to do anything else. But this is the kind of Christianity we have been called to , to feed the hungry and  help the helpless and oppressed, then the Lord would guide, satisfy and strengthen us.

As much as it is a good thing to increase and acquire material wealth, even more expedient is the grace to reach out to other with the increase that we have received from God. There is one who scatters, yet increases more, and there is one who withholds more than is right,but it leads to poverty. So today, and through the days to come, take a step outside of the me cocoon, and ask the Lord to show you ways to be a blessing to those who need your touch, you would be amazed how much more fulfilling it is to give than to recieve.
Prayer: Lord, today I ask for the grace to be used as your vessel to bless another. You have blessed me with so much and I know that the blessings are not just for me but that I may share and spread your love abroad. i am here as an ambassador of your kingdom and so Lord, i submit to you, touch lives through me as I yield to give of myself to others. Help me look beyond myself to see the many opportunities for ministering that abounds. Amen

One-Year Daily Bible Reading Plan - Dec. 12 2010 - Psalms 83-84 (OT), Matthew 27(NT)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Miracles In Disguise

Give us help from trouble for vain is the help of man.

[Psalms 108:12, KJV]

While a mountain is an obstacle to many, it is a stepping stone to a few, with which they get to the next level. How you see a mountain and what you call it can affect it’s final outcome. A mountain can be God’s way of revealing to His own the need for them to seek Him. When everything goes on smoothly it is easy to forget God and even think that victories are won by personal effort. With such mountains of challenge we are drawn to God and He shows up in mighty ways to rescue us.

In 2 Chronicles 20:1-20, God was about to take Jehoshaphat to the next level, and He sent three rich and powerful kings against Jehoshaphat. This immediately led Jehoshaphat to seek the Lord's face. What the young man thought would stop him, became his greatest, sweetest and easiest victory. That problem before you which appears like it has come to sink your ship, has only come to deliver your greatest victory in Jesus name.

The process of going through a mountain grooms us to be better people in various aspects of our lives. As you look at any mountain standing before you threatening to swallow you up, ask that the Holy Spirit will open your eyes to see your victory. Ask that the benefits of each mountain will be uncovered and delivered to you completely.

Prayer: Dear Lord, please open my eyes and my understanding to look beyond the mountain facing me. Help me to see your gifts and benefits packaged for my good, help me to receive all the blessings due me, help me to overcome by your mighty power in Jesus name.

One-Year Daily Bible Reading Plan - Dec. 12 2010 - Psalms 81-82 (OT), Matthew 26(NT)