Tuesday, August 15, 2017

HELP FROM EGYPT Vs HELP FROM THE HILLS


Image result for help from godWho is the first person you turn to when you have a need or a problem? If you were upset with someone, would you call a friend? How about if you had health needs? Would you turn first to doctors and medicines? How about if you had financial needs, would you turn first to your bank account, family and friends, and the bank? And if you had a disagreement with another that couldn’t be resolved, would you turn to the legal system?

The Israelites had a history of wanting to return to Egypt time and time again when they faced challenges on their way to the Promised Land. Although God Almighty had called them His people, and had repeatedly demonstrated His power amongst them, their response to trouble was always to call on Egypt, or go to Egypt for help. That attitude always saddened God’s heart, and made Him jealous, because over and over again, He had told them to look to Him for help. It saddened His heart because by going to others, they were getting less than He wanted for them; less than they deserved, if they got anything at all.

There is nothing wrong with consulting doctors, banks, or the legal system; God made these available to us, but they should not be the first in our thinking. We need to always turn to the Lord first, and have Him direct us to those if that is what He’ll have us do. Jesus said, “Apart from me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5 NIV). If He doesn’t give doctors the needed wisdom, they wouldn’t be able to help us, and if we do not depend on God to provide the right judges, we’ll not experience the justice we need and seek. Let us go first to God, and then He will guide us to the right resources. The Psalmist wisely says, “I lift up my eyes to the hills-where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2 NIV). 

It is important to note that aside from the inability of those we consult to help us, there are consequences for bypassing God, and looking for help elsewhere.  Bypassing Him is a clear indication that we do not trust Him, and in response to     that attitude, this is His response, “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the LORD” (Isaiah 31:1 NIV). Additionally, He says in Jeremiah, “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord” (Jeremiah 17:5 NIV).

The arm of flesh always fails, but “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him” (Jeremiah 17:7 NIV). Goliath trusted in his size (giant), his sword, and army; David trusted in the living God, although he was tiny in comparison, and only had a sling for a weapon, and an army shaking in its boots. This is our wakeup call to seek God first in everything. 

Sennacherib, king of Assyria invaded Judah during the reign of Hezekiah.  Hezekiah encouraged his army officers and the nation, “Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles” (2 Chronicles 32:7-8 NIV).


Instead of going to borrow from the bank and paying a hefty interest, God could find us the money we need, without us having to pay it back. God does provide you know!  Before I got into using credit cards, I prayed about every need, but after starting to use credit cards, I didn’t always wait for God’s response even if I prayed. The habit of credit use can erode faith, and cause us to take our focus off God. Let us be careful; let us place our faith in God alone, and seek Him first in every situation. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

IS IT POSSIBLE TO BE OVERLY BLESSED?



Image result for god's blessings


What does it mean to be overtaken by blessings? To be overtaken in any situation is an indication that there is a race, or a competition going on. So to be overtaken by blessings is an indication that I am racing ‘Blessings’, and clearly, I am not the winner, ‘Blessings’ is the winner. I believe it means being so blessed that I don’t know what to do with it all; blessings ahead of me, behind me, beside me, above me, and underneath me.
Have you ever been overtaken by blessings? In a way, I think we all have, because we don’t really deserve any of the blessings we get as it is, but I believe, to be overtaken means, blessings above and beyond all that.

How possible is it to be overtaken by blessings? Do you believe God honors His promises? Then here is what He promised the Israelites, and Christians can claim it as well. “And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you” (Deuteronomy 28:2 NKJV). 

So how do we get blessings to overtake us? I should mention that this is one of the promises based on conditions. “If you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that ...” (Deuteronomy 28:1 NKJV).

What will it look like when you are overtaken by blessings? “Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds …, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you” (Deuteronomy 28:3-8 NKJV).  

Here is a recap of this passage, as I understand it, “If you keep my commands, I will so overwhelm you with blessings that you will ask me to stop, and even then I won’t. I will bless you in all areas of your life, spiritual, physical, social, financial, at work, at home, at play, when you are awake, and even when you are asleep; just name the time, circumstance, and place, and my blessings will overtake you there.”  Signed: GOD!

The secret of being overtaken by blessings is obedience to God’s commands! The thought of being overtaken by blessings is overwhelming, and it really blows my mind! Let us learn to be obedient, whether He blesses or not, because He is the Potter, and we are the clay; we owe Him at least that much. But let us also remember that, all His promises are yes and amen in Christ Jesus (see 2 Corinthians 1:20), and so He will honor them! Our obedience means a lot more to Him than our sacrifices (see 1 Samuel 15:22).


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

PAYING A DEBT THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN PAID IN FULL



Image result for paid in full stamp


With the current financial system, the average person, including people who don’t use credit cards, has recurring bills. These recurring bills come in the form of mortgages, rents, and utility bills, and the like, which unless under alternate agreements with the creditor, come due every month. Bill payment is therefore, a way of life in society.

Here is a dilemma to ponder. What should a consumer do about a bill that shows a zero balance, even though he or she is sure he or she hasn’t paid it? Should the consumer pay this bill again, after discovering that a loved-one had indeed paid it in full? I am one of those who will answer, “Absolutely Not.” I’ll say it’s time to be thankful, and go on with life. If the consumer insists on paying that debt, after knowing full well it has been paid already, a good number of people would wonder if this person were out of his or her mind. Some might even go on to say he or she is a fool.

As ridiculous as this scenario sounds, many people are doing that right now! They insist on paying for their sins, although there is no need for them to do that.  They’d rather go to hell than place their faith in Jesus. An atheist on television trying to raise support to keep Church and State separate concluded his ad with, “I’m not afraid of burning in hell.” Does he know what that means? Why would anybody look forward to going to hell when his sins have already been paid for? This is heart wrenching, and shows defiance and disdain for God. How sad! But just as a person could be considered a fool for wanting to pay a bill that’s been already paid in full; anybody who rejects God’s provision for the forgiveness of sin is also a fool. The Bible says, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1 NIV). To such people, God is just going to say, “Have it your way” and reluctantly send them to hell (see 2 Peter 3:9). How scary!

 The thing is we owe God a debt we cannot pay; He’ll forgive that debt, but only on one condition—admission of guilt and faith in Jesus. He says the wages of sin is death-the death of a sinless person. No human qualifies as that person, So out of love, God sent His Son, Jesus as our substitute – the only one without sin, and the Bible expresses it this way, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John3:16 NIV).  

Although Jesus died to pay for our sins, it’s sad but certain, that there are people who will still be held accountable for their sins. They’ll go to hell because they refuse to believe in Jesus. But why do they refuse to believe in Him?

Since Jesus has already satisfied God’s required payment for sin, it makes absolutely no sense for anyone to go to hell. If scientists ever discover a cure for cancer, I am a hundred percent sure, that all cancer patients will line up to be treated; not even one will choose to suffer and die when treatment is available. Pain and suffering in this life will end at death, but pain and suffering in the life to come is forever—without end. Sometimes, I think we are very limited in our understanding of eternity, and that is why some individuals accept hell so readily, and even joke about it; hell however, is not a joking matter, and it is not funny. Unfortunately, by the time they understand it, it’ll be too late to choose the alternative—life in Jesus!

God will not take His pronouncement back; He will judge sin, because He knows that man knows the truth about God. Man has chosen to disregard the truth, although deep down in his heart, he knows God exists, and that he is accountable to Him. The apostle Paul reminds us, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the ungodliness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness. Since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them” (Romans 1: 18-19).


If you are reading this, and have not yet submitted to the lordship of Jesus, please do not take it lightly; because hell is for real, and once you arrive there, you cannot turn around. That will be where you will spend eternity. Act quickly!