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All posts tagged with love

God Will Provide

Welcome to this series of - Making God First - in our lives.

 

To begin with, the Word of God assures us that God will always provide for our needs.  There are so many promises in the Bible that teach us so.  However, have you reached a point of wondering whether what God's Word promises is exactly what it means?  Have you found yourself praying and asking God for blessings according to your perceived needs and you waited and waited for answers to your prayers and got nothing.  Have you gone to God to look for answers to your problems and you came back empty handed.  Do you find yourself with a lot of questions after reading in the Bible about how others in their time prayed to God and received answers, positive answers that is, like Hannah the mother of the prophet Samuel, and you wonder why it is not happening in the similar way to you?

Perhaps you have even heard in your lifetime how others around you are testifying on how God has answered their prayers and you keep on wondering when will your turn come to also testify in the same way? 

 

It could even have happened that when you heard about how others who crossed over to other denominations, or went and consulted with "mediums" obtained solutions to their problems.  And maybe, just maybe, it even crossed your mind that perhaps you should also help God by doing the same, as it is commonly said that God helps those who help themselves!  And maybe you are wondering as to what is wrong with you that you are not receiving expected answers from God?  Does this "ask and you shall receive" thing really work, for you?

 

God in the book of Malachi 3 challenges us to test him.  We would like to take Him on his Word and "test or prove" Him.  We want to see if indeed what He says He will do for us is true, He will indeed do so even for us. 

 

So, to start, we should understand the fact that we were created for a relationship.  It is crucial and very important to understand this.  If we misunderstand this, we will always go about this the wrong way.  While it is important to give to God, while it is important to return tithes and offerings to God, we should always bear in mind that this should come after and as a result of our love relationship with God.  That is why it is very important to understand that what starts or the beginning point in this case, is a relationship with God before we go to anything else.  If we miss this step, we will have difficulties in understanding our relationship with God in the first instance.  If I may use an illustration in this case, it is like someone who wants to climb a tree by using the branches of such a tree instead of using the tree trunk to do so.  We all know that climbing a tree from the trunk is logical and relatively much easier.  The same applies in this case.

 

However, we cannot build a relationship with someone we do not know.  That is why we need to take time in Bible Study and prayer and meditation in order to begin to know this God that we want to build a relationship with.  We need to know His likes and dislikes, what is acceptable and not acceptable to Him.  We need to know how to conduct ourselves in this relationship with Him for such a relationship to continue and last.  We also need to know that we are not the only ones having a relationship with Him, there are others as well, our brothers and sisters, that we need to know how to treat and conduct our relationships with due to the relationship we have with God.

 

We should understand the fact that God does not want us to appease or bribe Him with gifts in order to gain His favour.  We should never, ever, try to give God gifts as a way of buying His favours or just to fulfil a command or an obligation on our part.  Our giving should be as a result of our love relationship with Him.  Let me try to illustrate this point this way, when we give to our loved ones, we do so because we, in most cases, have this inner urge and desire just to give them because of our love for them.  Therefore most of the times we just give them what we would like to give them even before they ask as that shows that we love them and most of the times we are thinking about them.  This may not be a perfect illustration, but at least it shows in some little way how this love relationship with our God should be like.  It should be pulling us toward Him and as a result the giving should follow as a natural consequence thereof.

 

We will stop here for now, but have a productive and blessed day further.

Build a Relationship

In the last email message I sent, we learned that it is important for us to build a relationship with God so that everything that we do for God is as a consequence of that relationship.  If we do not do it that way, then there is basically no difference between us in giving our tithes and offerings to God and a country’s citizens who pay taxes to their government.  There are very few people who actually enjoy paying taxes to the government but we all have to pay the taxes as we do not have much of a choice in the matter anyway.

 

God owns the whole world and everything in it according to Psalm 24.  He is not short of resources such that He will force us to give Him so that He accomplishes His purposes, no.  He wants us to give because we love Him and it pleases us to be in a relationship with Him and therefore we give as a result.    We are dwelling on this issue of building a relationship with God a little more because it is crucial and if we miss it, it will be difficult to understand everything else that follows.  It will also make it difficult for us to understand and know God for us to begin to trust Him.

 

That then brings us to the question, but how do we build a relationship with God?  Allow me again to use an illustration to try and explain this important matter.  For those of us who are parents, we know that when your children always want to communicate with you as their parent, they let you know how they are doing in their lives, how they feel, they tell you their challenges, in other words, they are constantly in touch, then you will be happy that there is a family relationship there.  Even in cases of just family or friendship you will be happy if you stay in touch with one another.  When there is an exchange of gifts in such kind of relationships then it becomes even more evident that there is a relationship as tokens thereof are there for display, so to speak, to anyone who may need to see them.

 

Similarly, even with our God, we cannot claim to have a relationship if we do not even talk to Him at all.  Therefore in the morning when we wake up, perhaps the first thing we should do is go and talk to Him in prayer, to thank Him for His care and protection over us during the night and also to commit ourselves in His watch care for the day ahead of us.  Then we should also allow Him time to talk to us through His Word by Bible study and meditation.  We will explore and learn a little bit on how to do Bible study and meditation in another message, but for now, let us just emphasize the point that this is crucial in our efforts to build a relationship with God.

 

The purpose of our Bible study and meditation is for us to hear from God’s Word how He wants us to conduct our lives, His promises to us on how He can provide and meet our needs.  As we read about how He dealt with others in the past, it gives us confidence that He is also able to deal with our circumstances and challenges.  This confidence should lead us to start trusting Him with our needs and challenges. 

 

Since the inception of sin, the environment here has changed to follow in the pattern of its ruler and his forces and agents.  This way of doing things is different from the heavenly and God’s way of doing things.  Therefore, when we decide to build a relationship with God, we are essentially declaring that we want to change our way of understanding and doing things.  We want to move from the worldly way of doing things to the heavenly way of doing things.  However, we have to understand and accept the fact that we know and are used to the worldly way of doing things and we are not going to just automatically adjust ourselves to start doing things the heavenly way.  It doesn’t happen like that. 

 

In the first instance, we do not even know how the heavenly way of doing things is like.  Secondly, we don’t even understand the heavenly way for us to follow it.  Therefore we need God who knows the way to show it to us.  We also need God to give us the understanding of that way for us to follow it even in instances that we do not understand exactly what is happening so that we are willing to follow it.

 

As an illustration, let me use a satellite navigational system device called the Global Positioning System (GPS).  Most travellers have developed a faith and trust in the GPS that few of them these days ask for directions to their destinations from strangers.  As a traveller, when you key in the information of where you want to go to, you just follow its directions and if you do that diligently you should arrive at your destination safely.  However, if you disregard its directions perhaps because of doubts about its reliability, you may have difficulties in reaching your destination either safely or on time.  There are times when the GPS may lead you through a longer route to your destinations, but if you follow its directions still, you will arrive at your destination.  The issue of trust in this device becomes crucial because you can easily ignore or disregard it and risk getting lost.

 

In the same way, it is important to have this relationship with God where we trust Him to lead us.  When things don’t seem to make sense, we will simply follow and that way we will make it to the other side.  In the absence of such a relationship with Him, the probability of disregarding His directions is very high as more often than not His directions will not make sense to us who are used to think the worldly way as opposed to the heavenly way.

 

We will stop here for now, but have a productive and blessed day further.