By God’s grace we are provided everything that we need to survive. God has commanded that everything that lives submit themselves to our survival. So, if one needs a job God provides. If one needs a car, He provides. It does not matter ones need or walk of faith God provides. God’s name of provider is YAHWAH YIREH. In fact, Jesus said that God provides for the plants and animals (Mt6:28-29, ps104:14). One of the favorite verses that speak about God’s providence is Philippians 4:19 ” And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus “. Solomon understood that God’s providence is for sure but it can whither away (Prv30:8-9). Through God’s daily providence we find no reason or excuse not to thank him and recognize that he is real. It is one of the ways everyone we find our way to God, by his providence.
And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,10 Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.
But, what if there is more? What if God’s there is a greater providence then our daily bread? There is it is the supernatural aspect of his providence. So, God’s providence has two aspects the one is our daily bread and the other is his supernatural providence. Take for instance in Matthew 17:27 Peter tells Jesus that the tax collectors were requesting taxes from Jesus, so Jesus sends him to the lake and fish, and from the first fish he caught he was to pay. In that urgent moment where if Jesus did not pay the tribute those who were against him would have stumbled, God’s supernatural providence came through for Jesus. God comes through in a strange way; not in the common way we normally see him, that requires urgency or it has purpose. Such a way as in the Old Testament where this prophet who borrowed an ax to cut a tree and it fell of its handle and into the water. Elisha in 2 Kings 6:4-6 caused the ax to float in the water returning it to the prophet. The disciples were sent to preach and because of that they were going to be provided supernaturally to their needs. When we take heed to God’s call he promises to take care of all our needs in a supernatural way (Mt6:33).
What do we normally do when our world is turned upside down? Who do we question, God? In fact, the majority of us at some point or another during the tribulation we direct or indirect question God as to why those tumultuous moments. No one wants hard times, and if we had the chance; of which some do we get to run even though we would still not be able to escape. Luke tells us in Hebrews 12:8 that if we do not undergo hard times or discipline we cannot be his children; God’s children. We should not be too surprised when hard times come, I mean who isn’t, after all we are not all that different (1Pt4:12). When God wants to shake us up and call unto our attention he does so in many ways especially with tribulations and trials. Paul tells us that we should rejoice in trials, because they produce patience (Rom5:3-4). Hard moments come no matter what, and we cannot escape, but it is preferably that we stand.
Acts 8:1 On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.
Back in the times of the early church since a great growth out broke, many of the members we getting content and were not out reaching to neighboring communities. So, God allowed a critical persecution to erupt to the point that we noticed the death of Stephen and the rise of Paul the persecutor. The members of the church could not stand the persecution and so they fled preaching the gospel everywhere they went; except for the apostles. And, so I questioned why did the apostles not leave the city, were not they too persecuted? The apostles learned first hand not to run when they were persecuted for the cause of Christ. They saw when Jesus stood up face to face after healing a man who was invalid and laid near a pool to the religious and conquered (Jh5:16-18). The disciples also saw when the religious people confronted Jesus about he claiming that he was the bread of life and that they needed to eat it if they wanted to enter to the kingdom of God (Jh6:41-44). Jesus set an example of still standing after the persecution when he mentioned John the Baptist as a reed in the desert (Mat11:7-9). The promise that tribulation or hard times is secure (Jh16:33), but if we stand they will pass.
The art of making feel people guilty has been used since the beginning of time. Throughout history we have read and heard of stories of people made to do things using this art of guilt. Guilt is the feeling of wrong doing that a person realizes after it is done. It is an innate feeling placed there by God when we are being packed into an embryo. In the spiritual battles we face, Satan uses the false guilt, which is the feeling of wrong doing even after we have repented and have been forgiven, to continue to make us feel unworthy. But, the bible tells us that our sins though they are red as scarlet they will be made white as snow(Is1:18). It tells us that God takes our sins and casts them to the deep of the sea (Mic7:19). The feeling of guilt is ever present in us, but it is up to us to listen to it. We can become callous to it, which is what is happening in today’s day and age.
12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand 14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.15 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’[a]
Now, God knows that this mechanism of guilt is in us and that we have become masterful in tuning it out, so he set some ordinances for sacrifices towards it. But, before anyone could offer sacrifices they had to ad heed to their conscience’s guilt(Lev4;27-28). Sometimes we sin or make mistakes unconsciously and we offend, and it is not until we recognize and accept that we have done wrong that the blessing will return. These people whom Jesus spoke about intentionally covered their ears and closed their eyes against their guilt. The purpose of guilt is to draw us unto God for healing and that of the conscience (He10:22). Once the conscience is healed then the rest the of the body receives healing.
As Christians we cannot live without each other. Surrounding ourselves with people of faith is vital to the survival of our faith. In order to maintain a healthy relationship with God we need to have a growing relationship with those of the faith. The bible teaches us that we are members of the same family and that of God (Eph2:19). The relationship we are to carry out with those of the same faith needs to be the same as with our biological family. Jesus displayed this same type of relationship with his brothers when his brothers and mother were inquiring of him as in Matthew 12:46-50 and he told the listeners that those who do the will of the Father are his siblings and parent. Being part of the family of God is highly regarded by God. In fact, the psalmist says that God sets the lonely in family and that of great families (ps68:6, 107:41).
Luke22:7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”
9 “Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked.
10 He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, 11 and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 12 He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.”
13 They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
The time of Jesus’ ministry was coming to an end and he was going to go the way the scriptures had prophesied. Isaiah said that he (Jesus) would not have any form and that he was going to be reject and despised filled with sorrows; and it pleased the Lord to bruise him (Is53:5 &10). The last supper initiated the hardest thing Christ was going to go through to save man kind. Jesus sent two of his disciples to prepare the place for the supper. The owner of the building was some how forewarned that his facility was going to serve a purpose for the Messiah and so the time was now. Jesus was going to leave his disciples physically forever, but still was going to be with them. So, he told his two disciples to follow the man with the jar of water, and go where he would go; to the upper room. That jar of water was for the washing of the disciples feet it was an act of Christ that the disciples needed to practice in remembrance of him (Jhn13:14). Jesus was going leave his disciples, but he was going to leave to actions to which going to freshen their memories of the Lord. The washing of the feet is a symbol that reminds us Christ in you (1Cor1:21-22). Each time the disciples would wash each others feet they would see Christ in them.
Gods’ people should not get into the habit of worrying about their own things. There are so many promises that God will provide for us and he will supply to our needs. There are about 2000 verses that speak about money in the bible and most of them speak about God providing for us. For example, The Lord shall increase you more and more, you and your children (Ps 115:14), and “The lions may grow weak and hungry but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing” (Ps 34:10). And, my favorite “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Ph 4:19). So, as believers in Christ we should not be worrying about our providence in fact Jesus said that we should not take no thoughts about what we should wear, eat and everything else, because our Father in heaven knows our needs (Mt6:24-26). We don’t preach the gospel of prosperity because they focus on putting emphasis on gains, but we focus on God’s providence and not worrying about it.
Jeremiah 33 :1Moreover the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying,
2 Thus saith the Lord the maker thereof, the Lord that formed it, to establish it; the Lord is his name;
3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
So, when God tells Jeremiah to call upon him and that he would show him great and mighty things, it was towards his people and not just towards his circumstance. The promise of restoration was for God’s people, but Jeremiah was to pray for it. The people were in devastation and defeat, there cities were burned, the families were separated and taken into captivity. God had a plan to restore them and the time was at hand, but Jeremiah needed to take some action. The voice of Joy and gladness was going to be heard again (Jer33:11) in the city. There was also going to heard a little praising God. The land was going to once again be covered with fresh pasture where Pastors were going to able to bring their cattle and feed them, kind of like the church(v12). The call to prayer in these rough days is raised again, God’s people need to pray more earnestly than ever (Zac8:20-22).
One of the components of the human being is the soul and such is probably the most important and hardest to take care of. That’s right to take care of the soul is the hardest to look out for, because since we cannot see it we neglect to even think about it. One would think to take care of your life because it is the only one you have and yes we need to take care of it, but life is something that goes back to God and so it will not suffer perdition (Ecc12:7). And, your body, well that needs to be taken care of otherwise it will deteriorate and go back to dust, but whether you take care of your body or not it will go back to dust because it is corruptible; and Paul tells us that it must be redressed with incorruptible (1Cor15:53-54). The bible tells us that the one thing we need to guard is our soul, because from it the issues of life come out (prv4:23).
27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
So, why guard your soul? After all, it is where all your emotions and feelings are stored, and we can always go and see some sort of therapist to put us back on track. At the soul level is where all the learning takes place, so when Solomon tells us that we need to vehemently guard our hearts (soul) it is because those learnings will become an integral part of our lives(prv2:10). The soul is the storage place where all the memories, sounds and life events are stored. And, Jesus said that those things that he speaks to us in the dark; referring to the soul, we should speak proclaim them from roof tops. His words speak to our soul and they register there(Jhn6:63). But, when we do not listen for the souls edification the words slip away and Satan will remove them (Mt13:19). Now, Jesus said that we should not fear man, because they cannot kill the soul, and that the only one that can kill the soul is God. James tells us that it is through the word of God that we can become saved (Jms1:21) and that if we can through the same help convert a sinner their soul can be saved as well (Jm5:20). The fact is that soul can be put to suffer want (prv19:15), and it can also be healed. The soul can be spoiled by others (ps35:12:13) with the ways they treat and react towards us. God’s sole interest is in saving a soul and not so much into your life because it is his and your body because it is going back to dust.
Have you ever felt that whatever could go wrong goes wrong, that you suddenly wake up from a night of tossing and turning and the phone rings and messages start pouring like rain of negative things with no end in sight; and it is only 8:00 a.m. Throughout your day all you have witnessed is not good things from friends, family and work, and all of a sudden you start to feel a bit dizzy and fatigue. In your quest for answers the last thing on your mind is, maybe I have done something wrong and God is not pleased. The fact is, that we displease God quit often. Paul tells us in the letter to the Romans that we have all sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God (Ro3:23). In fact, throughout the bible we find God’s side on wickedness and sin, it says that he hates such (ps11:5). God dispersed his people from out of his house because of their wicked ways of which he hates (Ho9:15). Luke tells us that if we deliberately continue to sin salvation will be taken away from us (Heb10:26). One thing rests for sure and that is that God does not quit on us, he does not stop seeking after us and drawing us to him; even if the things we are doing are not pleasing to him. The fight for your soul is on!
He has made my skin and my flesh grow old and has broken my bones. 5 He has besieged me and surrounded me with bitterness and hardship. 6 He has made me dwell in darkness like those long dead.7 He has walled me in so I cannot escape; he has weighed me down with chains. 8 Even when I call out or cry for help, he shuts out my prayer. 9 He has barred my way with blocks of stone he has made my paths crooked.
Jeremiah was struggling, because like many of us he woke up one day and found that God was against him and his people. He felt that God was not please with him. He felt sick, bitter, sad, trapped, bound, and an answerless prayer life which are all signs that something is wrong with God and me. One might say that is a bad state to be in, but it is better to have God against us then to have him completely absent from us. David shared this feeling after he sinned by sending out a census out to survey God’s people; an action provoked by Satan. The bible tells us that God gave him 3 choices for handling this sin; either three years of famine, three months of fleeing from the enemy or three days of plague in the land (2Sam24:13-14). And, David chose to fall into the hand of God then of that of the enemy. It is better to have God against us, because he knows what is best for us then to have him absent from us. That is what Jeremiah understood as well, that it is better to have God with us even if he is not too happy with us, then to have him absent (Lam3:31-33). Because God’s mercy are for ever, he does not mean to afflict us.
Knowing your family’s God purpose and call is vital for keeping unity and bond of it. God has a call to the family for service and ministry and it is up to the head of the house; the dad, to acknowledge it and build it up. God not only has a plan for adults but for the entire family. But, knowing the call is not sufficient for a home to be edified, there needs to an agreeing reaction and releasing to God of the family(Mt19:14). The bible teaches us that we need to prepare our children for God’s calling (Deut4:9) and that through witnessing and testimony’s. There are blessings to the dad who seeks out God’s calling for his home (Ps128:2-4) such as no other family will have. The children will be like shoots of olive producing oils of knowledge and talents. Going against the grain of society is what it takes for a family set on a course God’s call.
59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”
61 They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”
62 Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God.
Now, Zachariah was a priest whose turn came up by the choice of lots to burn incense in the temple while the people prayed outside. He and his wife Elizabeth were descendants of Aaron the priest. They were up in age and his wife was not able to conceive. The priest whose function was to bring incense to the temple was to have tied to his feet a bell with a rope of which would sound as he walked into the temple. If the priest would die in the temple the bell would make a stomp sound and stop sounding signaling those who waited outside to pull him out. When Zachariah walked into the temple the Angel of the Lord appear and gave him the good news that he was going to be a dad, but he needed to name him John. Zachariah was challenged to go against the currant of tradition and family and in this time and age we too are challenged to go against the currant. Zachariah became mute because he chose not to believe the news, and so for nine months he could not speak. He had the choice when the child was born to either go with tradition or sign the name of descendants or the one associated with the kingdom. As dads we decide with whom are we going to associate our children and family’s as Joshua did (Josh24:15) to serving God.
One of the great challenges churches have is finding people that are willing to volunteer without limitations; devoted people to the work of the ministry. And, part of the reason for a lack of volunteers is that feeling of commitment; that once I join I am responsible and cannot quit especially when things begin to get difficult. The US census says that 1 out of 4 adults volunteer in churches, which is about 43% of the people. The goal of churches is to transition volunteers to servants of the Lord. And, once one has become a servant of the Lord the task that is handed to him comes with powers and enriching experiences one has never experienced before. Like the disciples of Jesus Christ, after the Lord resurrected, he told them to stay in Jerusalem until they were empowered with the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts2:1-4). But, the task that was going to be laid before them was not going to be easy, they were going to go through hunger, homelessness, and persecution. Paul was one of those who after receiving his call to servanthood (Acts9:3-6) tasted how good the Lord is, and set out to pursue his calling at all cost(2cor11:23-28). When we become more then volunteers the taste of the ministry will continually be in the palatal of our tongue.
Do not be afraid of what they say or be terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people. 7 You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious. 8 But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious people; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”
9 Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me. In it was a scroll, 10 which he unrolled before me. On both sides of it were written words of lament and mourning and woe.
Ezekiel’s calling was like many others called with a specific purpose. He was specifically called to speak God’s word to a very rebellious group of people. He was given a scroll to eat of which was sweet as honey to the palatal of the tongue but became bitter to the belly. Such leads us to interpret that our calling when it moves from the volunteer mindset to that of servanthood will have a sour aftertaste. Ezekiel left the presence of God and sat with his people in a depressed mindset. This scroll he had eaten was filled with all kinds of lamentations, and woes, which depicted how God felt about how his people were behaving. Our calling has its highlight, but at the end of the day, it is for the difficult task of helping to save mankind and equipping other believers (Acts4:12-13). Within the ministry, in the belly of those who have eaten the scroll of God’s words, lies a distasteful feeling against sin(pro6:16-19). He hides his face and rejects to hear prayer when we persist to sin (Is59:2). Ezekiel’s calling turned him to a powerful and hard man, because of the people he was to minister too.
Good things come to them who wait, some say. And, for special days like this Mother’s Day, the idea of blessing people like moms is in the air. Doing a good thing is good, and most people are content with just good, but a great thing is much better. Sometimes exerting ourselves much more to blessing someone even greater is better then just doing a good thing. God set that example when he sent the very best of heaven to earth save humanity (Jhn3:16). In order for man to be saved back in the old testament a visit to the priest with some offering, and keeping about 600 and some laws would have given a person a chance to make it to heaven; it was a good plan but not a great plan. Many people had a really hard time keeping all the laws of the old testament. God decided to up his way to saving man and began to more frequently announce that a savior was on his way (Deut18:15); it was a great plan a prophet was coming. And, this prophet was not coming out of thin air, he was to be born from a virgin (Is7:14). Something great was about to happen to a young women, that helped her to become a great women and that is she gave birth to a great man.
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
Something not just good happened to Mary, but great thing. Mary received the greatest news every women wants when she gets married, and that is that she was pregnant; she was going to be a mommy. The connection and bonding experience between Mary and Jesus was going to be one of the greatest experience both were going to have; like every mother and her child. A child is a great thing to have, it is a treasure and a reward from the Lord(ps127:3). Children are that great thing God does in every women. Jesus held children close to his heart in Mark 19:20 he told his disciples to allow the little children to come to him. The enemy and life has a way to steal the great thing God has done. As soon as children begin to taste life and be tempted with evil, they begin to slip out of our hands. This great thing that Mary was to experience was going to be that very thing that was going to pierce her heart (lk2:35). And, unlike today’s mothers whose great thing either is taken away or abandon, Mary kept hers till the very end. God chastise and heals with the same hand (Job5:16).