Sunday, September 30, 2007

Generous on Every Occasion

For so long
I hoarded
All that you blessed me with
Thinking that they will finish
If I hid them for myself;

But your sweet gentle voice
In the form of your Word
Aroused my interest
And opened my eyes
To see treasures in generosity;

So I unfold
My hands and my heart
To give all that I am
That there may be thanksgiving
And Glory to You.

The Inspiration
There are times when we don’t want the Word of God to be right. For instance we read Deuteronomy 28:1 with joy “And it shall come to pass, if thou shall hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth…” for so many blessings follow this verse. But when we get to verse 15 “But it shall come to pass, if thou will not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee…” and the verses that follow, we wish this part was not in the Bible.

God is a just God [Isaiah 45:21]. All scripture is given by HIS inspiration, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that we may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works [2 Timothy 3:16-17]. Therefore every part of the Bible is relevant.

But there was one that took me unawares. It read, “…that you may be generous on every occasion…” [2 Corinthians 9:11]. And these words came when I decided to go on strict savings, even if it meant starving. I had to check every possible translation to find a way out But all of them kept saying the same thing. How frustrating then. Then I read the statement beginning verse 11 “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion…” It started making sense then. Part of the reason why God has blessed us is to enable us bless others. By so doing glory and thanksgiving will be given to God. Check out Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on this

But that is not all. What happens if you do not currently have money and material things to give (which I doubt)? What happens if you are a generous and cheerful giver but you do not give only money and material things? In what other ways can you be a generous on every occasion?

The cross-reference to 2 Cor 9: 11 reads “For in Him you have been enriched in every way—in all your speaking and in all your knowledge” [1 Corinthians 1:5]. This tells me that God has blessed us with so many things to bless others. It could be your words of motivation, uplifting or encouragement. It could be your time. It could be your presence. It could be your touch. It could be your smile. It could be a prayer. It could be a helping hand. It could be a call. The list is endless.

Be generous in every occasion with what you have. This does not mean that when you see an opportunity to sow a seed of money that you will tell yourself that you have other ways you can be generous. No. Always obey the voice of God. God has blessed you that you may be a blessing to others.

I’d like to conclude with the words Mordecai spoke to Esther, “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance shall arise for the Jews from elsewhere, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this and for this very occasion?” [Esther 4:14]. I rephrase and state thus that if you do not respond at this time, relief and deliverance will still come as God plans. But have you wondered if God blessed you and placed you where you are to fulfill His will of bringing glory to HIM?
With what you have, be generous on every occasion. And you will see as He continues to bless you and you will bear much more fruit.
Have a blessed day and a wonderful month ahead.

Monday, September 10, 2007

No Ordinary Calling

No ordinary calling

I heard the call
So serene and subduing
It reached my very substance
It stimulated all my senses;

I heard the call
In response to my yearns
Yet I could not respond
For I cared for what they would say;

It was no ordinary call
For it spoke about my emptiness
It knew the me not even I knew
It spoke softly to the ears of my spirit;

How could such words
“Come, My Love”
Make me toss and turn in bed
Despite the words of men;

No longer could I hold myself back
From true love, from that predestined
When I turned to take a glimpse of the source of the call
I was engulfed by the awesome love of God.

The Inspiration
A group of us sat down and discussed our fears, why we had delayed in responding to the call of God even though we’d heard the good news for so many years. Some said they were not ready to leave the enjoyable life to serve God, some said they were restrained by peer/family pressures; some said they did not really understand the essence of the messages preached. It was wonderful to hear that they did not regret answering the call. They only wished they had answered earlier than they did. The call of God that I am referring to here is the call out of darkness into the truth, into marvelous light and into eternal life. It is the call to salvation [1 Corinthians 1:24, 2 Thessalonians 2:14] (Salvation: being saved from sin and having deliverance, healing, household salvation, healed and restored relationships, peace, joy, love, abundance, answered prayer, protection, a satisfying long life, etc).

Every moment God is calling HIS children to everlasting life. The acceptance of Jesus Christ as your Lord and saviour, believing that HE died for your sins, and rose again, and asking HIM to come into your life, is a powerful response to the greatest call you could ever hear.

It was a noble prayer of Paul to say, “…The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of HIS calling…” [Ephesians 1:18] because there is so much in HIS calling. It is a high calling [Philippians 3:14], it is a holy calling [2 Timothy 1:9] not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began; and of course a heavenly calling [Hebrews 3:1]. This calling is irrevocable [Romans 11:29]. Even before you were born, God chose you and called you by HIS marvelous grace [Galatians 1:15]

When you say you are blessed, try to see beyond the material things. You are blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ [Ephesians 1:3]. You belong to those whom Peter says, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people…” [1 Peter 2:9]. This is a wonderful blessing, privilege and destiny of one who has responded to HIS call. You are God’s special treasure whom HE specially chose and purchased with the precious price of the blood of Jesus Christ. Hence you’ve been made holy. So do not envy the kings and princes of this world. They have nothing compared to you for you belong to a priesthood {all of the people qualified to perform religious duties} consisting of kings.

What then are we called to be or do? I leave aside the specific calling of God for you. That you can find out by spending time with HIM. God called us to be HIS own holy people [1 Corinthians 1:2]. HE has called us to live in peace [1 Corinthians 7:15]. God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives [1 Thessalonians 4:7; 2 Timothy 1:9]. HE did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was HIS plan from before the beginning of time—to show us HIS grace through Christ Jesus. HE called us to do good [1 Peter 2:21]. We receive our eternal inheritance and are blessed by God [Hebrews 9:15; 1 Peter 3:9].

Do not take the calling for granted especially after you’ve responded to it. You need to be worthy of this calling and fulfill all the good pleasure of God’s goodness [2 Thess. 1:11]. We have been instructed to wok hard to prove that we are really among those God has called and chosen [2 Peter 1:10] for if we do this, we will never fall away.

Beloved Child of God, the calling of God is no ordinary calling. Fret not when you hear the calling, fret not when you respond to the calling, and fret not when the tides of life want to shake your roots. For in HIS kindness God called you to share in HIS eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So should you suffer a little while, HE will restore, support, and strengthen you, and HE will place you on a firm foundation [1 Peter 5:10].

Have a blessed day and a wonderful week ahead.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Tried, Tested, Tasted, Testified

Tried, Tested, Tasted, Testified

I have tried you, Oh Lord
In my days of unbelief
But you showed me Grace and Mercy
And you never let me down;

I have tested you, Oh King
Though I am not worthy to do so
In my moment of weakness, in my times of trials,
You did not forsake me;

I have tasted you, Oh Father
I have drank of your love and goodness
I can boldly say My Lord is good
Better are the plans you have for me;

I have stretched my faith for your course
No, you did not disappoint me
I have experienced the trueness, love and power of your words
That I long for your sweetness more and more;

Let me testify of your goodness and mercy
Let me bring forth my gratitude with words of thanks
Because you are a good God
Tried, Tested, Tasted and Testified.

The Inspiration
One of my favourite lines during my teenage years was “Taste and see that the Lord is good” [Psalm 34:8]. Funny enough, I never knew that was a bible passage until recently. When I look back now, I thank God for HIS enlightenment and grace. I was actually using that line for carnal things.

I tried to put together the inspiration behind this poem. I could not. It was taking me so much time. I wanted it to be a 3-page write-up because there is so much to HIM and so much HE has done. I wondered why the long story could not be conceived in me. It was this morning I realized why – HE is simply a Good God. There is no complexity, no secret, or too much talk about it. Once again I say, HE is a Good God and HIS mercies endure forever [Psalm 106:1] (There are so many other biblical references to this statement).

My piece of writing today is to testify that HE is a good God, HE is faithful, HE is gracious, HE is true to HIS words and promises, HE is wonderful, HE is merciful, HE is excellent, HE is ever-present, HE is beautiful, HE is light, and HE is love. There is none like HIM. It is a privilege, honour yet a blessing to be called the child of such an awesome God and Father.

Just hold on tight to HIM and never let go. HE is ever faithful and never failing.

Have a wonderful day, Child of the Most High God.

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Angels, The Branches

The Angels, The Branches
Getting to the top of the tree
Was preceded by holding on to branches
Some from where I rested to take fruit
Some of which I broke off along the way;

I find myself here today
Able to look back at how far I’ve come
Enjoying the blessings that come with the position
Forgetting that I would not be here
‘Cept for the branches that aided along the way;

Bring to my remembrance, Oh Lord
The angels you sent to lift me up
Your instruments to fulfill your promises to me
And may I never cut off branches
As I move to the next step.

The Inspiration
You are about to be lifted up, above your current situation and above your current status. Did I hear a loud Amen? But before you move, please take a pause.

God has been wonderful. HE has been true to HIS promises. HIS words have accomplished what HE pleases. I have listened to many testimonies of people concerning jobs, finances, healing, relationships, fruit of the womb, saving from danger, etc. God has done it again, I say to myself. HE is unchangeable. To God be the Glory. But one thing has been consistent in all those testimonies – God used people to realize HIS promises.

You might argue with me that you prayed night and day for your healing, you stood on the word alone, and because of your faith your prayers were answered. Try to get to the root of this. Don’t be surprised if you find out that you stood on a word someone once shared with you, or a message your pastor preached, or your faith grew by the testimony of someone else. Even if you had to go to a doctor to get treatment, God used the doctor to bring about your healing. Haven’t you heard of cases where doctors made mistakes?

What of you who got a job? You say you were praying in tongues hence you got the job. But was it not someone that told you about the advert? Or was it not someone that gave you money to buy the paper? Or was it not a friend that agreed with you in prayer concerning it? What of when you were stranded and you called on the name of the Lord? Was it not someone that came to your rescue?

Today’s message is to remind us that when we pray according to HIS will, HE answers. The physical manifestation of these prayers answered come through physical means – in most cases human beings. I liken this situation to HIS Word, “Behold, I send an Angel before you, to keep you in the way, and to bring you into the place which I have prepared” [Exodus 23:20]. When HE takes you to a different level (in form of answering your prayers or performing a miracle in your life), HE sends an “angel”.

As you take the pause, have you acknowledged the “Angels” HE sent to ensure you get to what HE has prepared for you? Have you appreciated that parent that gave you the right advice, that guardian that sowed seeds of Tuesday Guardian into your life, that friend that prayed with and for you through the trying situation, that Pastor who preached the Word that collided with your spirit and the word became flesh?

Acknowledging and appreciating such people does not require much. You could sow a seed into their lives even if you think they have everything. You could pray for them especially the ones you may never come across again. You could call them up and remind them of the wonderful thing they did in your life. They may not know how much they impacted on your life and your call might be all they need to assure them that they have worth in this life. Don’t be selective. Even the person that denied you entrance for the visa was only a person God was using to tell you that was not what HE prepared for you. Or the man that asked you to sleep with him before you get a job? Thank God for him for if you had taken that job probably you won’t be where you are today. And what about the doctor that said your case is hopeless? Thank God for him for it was through HIS words that God showed Himself through and proved that HE is not a man, that HE should lie; or the son of man, that HE should change HIS mind; That which HE has spoken HE did and that which HE promised HE fulfilled [Numbers 23:19].

And as you move to the next level, be thankful to God for everyone that comes your way for it is for a reason. Do not judge by the outward appearance, for you do not know who is the next angel HE is sending to prepare the way for you.

Have a blessed week and month ahead.