Monthly Archives: January 2010
Why cloak Bible prophecies in Symbols?
Luke 8 :10 And He said, "To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that ‘Seeing they may not see, And hearing they may not understand.’
Many of the apocalyptic prophecies were given while the prophets were in a hostile foreign land. One reason God cloaked the prophecies in symbols was to protect the messages.
Animals and their Parts
• Horse = Strength and Power in Battle Job 39:19, Psalms 147:10, Proverbs 21:31
• Dragon = Satan or his agency Isaiah 27:1;30:6, Psalm 74:13-14; Rev. 12:7-9; Ezekiel 29:3; Jeremiah 51:34
• Beast = Kingdom/government/political power Daniel 7:17, 23
• Lamb = Jesus/sacrifice John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:7
• Lion = Jesus/Powerful King i.e. Babylon Rev. 5:4-9, Jer. 50:43-44, Dan. 7:4,17,23
• Bear = Destructive Power / Medo Persia Proverbs 28:15, 2 Kings 2:23-24, Daniel 7:5
• Leopard = Greece Daniel 7:6
• Serpent = Satan Revelation 12:9; 20:2
• Tongue = Language / Speech Exodus 4:10
• Wolf = Disguised Enemies that hunt in a time of darkness Matthew 7:15
• Dove = Holy Spirit Mark 1:10
• Ram = Medo Persia Daniel 8:20
• Goat = Greece Daniel 8:21
• Horn = King or kingdom Daniel 7:24; 8:5, 21, 22; Zechariah 1:18, 19; Revelation 17:12
• Wings = Speed / Protection / Deliverance Deuteronomy 28:49, Matthew 23:37
• White = Purity Revelation 12:9; 20:2
• Blue = Law Numbers 15:38-39
• Purple = Royalty Mark 15:17, Judges 8:26
• Red/Scarlet = Sin/corruption Isaiah 1:18; Nahum 2:3; Revelation 17:1-4
Metals, Elements, and Natural Objects
• Gold = Pure Character Precious and Rare Isaiah 13:12
• Silver = Pure Words & Understanding Proverbs 2:4, 3:13-14, 10:20, 25:11, Psalms 12:6
• Brass, Tin, Iron, Lead, Silver dross = Impure Character Ezekiel 22:20-21
• Water = Holy Spirit / Everlasting Life John 7:39, 4:14, Rev. 22:17, Eph. 5:26
• Waters = Inhabited area/people, nations Revelation 17:15
• Fire = Holy Spirit Luke 3:16
• Tree = Cross; People / Nation Deut. 21:22-23, Psalm 92:12, 37:35,
• Seed = Descendents / Jesus Romans 9:8, Galatians 3:16
• Fruit = Works / Actions Galatians 5:22
• Fig Tree = A Nation that should bear fruit Luke 13:6-9
• Vineyard = Church that should bear fruit Luke 20:9-16
• Field = World Matthew 13:38, John 4:35
• Harvest = End of World Matthew 13:39
• Reapers = Angels Matthew 13:39
• Thorns / Thorny Ground = Cares of this life Mark 4:18-19
• Stars=Angels/messengers = Revelation 1:16, 20; 12:4, 7-9; Job 38:7
• Jordan = death Romans 6:4, Deuteronomy 4:22
• Mountains = Political or religio-political powers Isaiah 2:2, 3; Jeremiah 17:3; 31:23; 51:24, 25; Ezekiel 17:22, 23; Daniel 2:35, 44, 45
• Rock = Jesus/truth 1 Corinthians 10:4; Isaiah 8:13, 14; Romans 9:33; Matthew 7:24
• Sun = Jesus/the gospel Psalm 84:11; Malachi 4:2; Matthew 17:2; John 8:12; 9:5
• Winds=Strife/commotion/"winds of war"Jeremiah 25:31-33; 49:36, 37; 4:11-13; Zechariah 7:14
• Lamp = Word of God Psalm 119:105
• Oil = Holy Spirit Zechariah 4:2-6; Revelation 4:5
• Sword = Word of God Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12
• Bread = Word of God John 6:35, 51, 52, 63
• Wine=blood/covenant/doctrines Luke 5:37
• Honey = happy life Ezekiel 20:6, Deuteronomy 8:8-9
• Clothing = Character Isaiah 64:6, Isaiah 59:6
• Crown = A Glorious Ruler or Rulership Proverbs 16:31, Isaiah 28:5, Isaiah 62:3
• Ring = Authority Genesis 41:42-43, Esther 3:10-11
• Angel = Messenger Daniel 8:16; 9:21; Luke 1:19, 26; Hebrews 1:14
• Babylon = apostasy/confusion/rebellion Gen. 10:8-10; 11:6-9; Rev. 18:2, 3; 17:1-5
• Mark = Sign or seal of approval or disapproval Ezekiel 9:4; Romans 4:11; Revelation 13:17; 14:9-11; 7:2, 3
• Seal = Sign or mark of approval or disapproval Romans 4:11; Revelation 7:2, 3
• White Robes=Victory/righteousness Revelation 19:8; 3:5; 7:14
• Jar / Vessel=Person Jermiah 18:1-4, 2 Corinthians 4:7
• Time = 360 Day Daniel 4:16, 23, 25, 32; 7:25; Daniel 11:13 margin
• Times = 720 Days Daniel 7:25, Revelation 12:6,14, 13:5
• Day = Literal year Ezekiel 4:6; Numbers 14:34
• Trumpet = loud warning of God’s approach Exodus 19:16-17, Joshua 6:4-5
Actions, Activities, and Physical States
• Healing = Salvation Luke 5:23-24
• Leprosy / Sickness = Sin Luke 5:23-24
• Famine = Dearth of Truth Amos 8:11
People and Body Parts
• Woman, Pure = True Church Jeremiah 6:2; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:23-27
• Woman, Corrupt = Apostate church Ezk. 16:15-58; 23:2-21; Hos. 2:5; 3:1; Rev. 14:4
• Thief = Suddenness of Jesus’ coming 1 Thessalonians 5:2-4; 2 Peter 3:10
• Hand = Deeds / Works / Actions Ecclesiastes 9:10, Isaiah 59:6
• Forehead = Mind Deuteronomy 6:6-8, Romans 7:25; Ezekiel 3:8, 9
• Feet = Your Walk / Direction Genesis 19:2, Psalm 119:105
• Eyes = Spiritual Discernment Matthew 13:10-17, 1 John 2:11
• Skin = Christ’s righteousness Exodus 12:5, 1 Peter 1:19, Isaiah 1:4-6
• Harlot = Apostate church/religion Isaiah 1:21-27; Jeremiah 3:1-3; 6-9
• Heads = Major powers/rulers/governments Revelation 17:3, 9, 10
Why is it important or even necessary to study positions of prayer? The Apostle Paul expressed it well in Hebrews saying that he had much to teach them but found that they were stunted in their spiritual walk because of a lack of exercise in the things they had already been taught. "For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both goodand evil." (Hebrews 5:13-14) There are many things we have never learned, never experienced, never excercised, or put into practice in our lives. There are many positions of prayer we have never practiced yet. Like the Hebrew Christians we have stunted our Christian experience through stagnation of one position. God’s Word encourages us to be active in prayer varying our postions, and our actions to keep prayer vibrant and fresh. The following are some of the Biblical positions and actions of prayer refered to and commanded in the Bible. See how many you have or have not yet practiced in your prayer life. Then begin to vary your prayer experience by trying each of these.
1. Eyes open – John 11:41 / John 17:1
2. Tears shed – 1 Samuel 1:7-10/ Psalm 126:5-6
3. Shout/applaud/cheer – Ezra 3:11-14/ Ps 47:1
4. Sing – Psalm 100:4/ Ephesians 5:19
5. Loud voice – Acts 7:60
6. Unison – (Homo-thumadon) rush together making same noise – Acts 4:24
7. Speak to obstacle – Joshua 10:12 "Sun stand still"/ Mat. 21:21
8. Speak with no sound – I Samuel 1:7-10
9. Say "Amen" to others prayers – I Cor. 14:16
10. Fast – 2 Samuel 12:16/ Isaiah 58:6
11. Stand up – Nehemiah 9:3-5
12. Kneel – Eph. 3:14/ Philip.2:9-11
13. Lay down on bed – 2 Kings 20:2
14. Lay face on ground – 2 Chronicles 7:3
15. Walk (pace) – 2 Kings 4:33-35
16. Squat/bow down 1 Kings 18:42/ Ps. 95:6
17. Dance – 2 Samuel 6:14-16
18. Walk away be restored – Mat. 5:23-24
19. Sackcoth & Ashes – 2 Kings 19:1
20. Sit – Mt. 26:36 / Mark 14:32,37-38
21. Bow head – Isaiah 58:5
22. Raise hands in praise – Psalm 134:2/ 143:6
23. Raise hands in authority – Exodus 17 8-15/Heb.12:11-12
24. Touch together the thing – Mat. 18:19 (sumphoneo)
25. Lift hand in blessing – Luke 24:50
26. Lay hands on (for commisioning) – Hebrews 6:2/ 1 Tim. 4:14
27. Anoint – Mark 6:13/ James 5:13-15
28. Spread it before the Lord – 2 Kings 19:14-15
“Are you known at the throne?” There is an interesting event in the 19th chapter of the book of Acts. Paul was preaching in Ephesus, and God was doing great wonders among these spirit’s people. Two Jews took it upon themselves to cast out demons like Paul, using the name of Jesus as their magic words. It did not work. Jesus’ name is not a magic word. It represents a relationship.
Without the relationship, there is no power in using His name. So, the demons jumped all over these clever guys, but before doing so the demons left us with a clear spiritual insight. They said, "Jesus we know, and Paul we know, but who are you?"
You see, Jesus was known in heavenly places because of who He is. Even the demons knew Him in His ministry as the Son of David who came to destroy them. He, Jesus, was mighty in prayer. Paul was a follower of Jesus, but he also developed intimacy with God in his closet of prayer, so that he was a familiar face before the throne of God and evidently a terrifying spectacle to demons as well.
Paul was known at the throne! Paul was known in spiritual realms as a friend of God, and therefore a force to be reckoned with. God fought for him. Are you known at the throne? Jesus calls us to develop an intimate relationship with Him and the Father by becoming frequent visitors before the throne. This is why Paul could say in Hebrews 4:12, "Therefore, (since we are intimate with the Son of God) let us come boldly to the throne of grace to find mercy and grace to help in the time of need." The secret was not some pretended, forced, or ad-libbed boldness of "name-it and claim-it" before the throne, but a natural result of intimacy with God developed over long hours, days, months, and years of being a regular worshipper at God’s throne.
The lesson is clear. We are not magicians before the throne, calling things into existence by using the mighty name of Jesus, but we are "friends of God" known at the throne, and therefore feared by demons. William Cowper said it right in his work, Exhortation to Prayer, "Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees." (A hymn attributed to William Cowper)
Early in my ministry one of my favourite books on prayer was by the notable Baptist preacher, John R. Rice. One of his memorable chapters was titled, “Prayer Is Asking.” One can easily be drawn into that kind of understanding of prayer but it is not quite true. Part of prayer is asking, but “before the asking comes the basking.” We need to learn to bask in the presence of God, to revel in God himself, to soak ourselves in the presence of the Almighty, to hide beneath his wing, to take refuge in his everlasting arms. God seeks such to worship him who would worship (pray) in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24) Daniel reminds us that prayer is a relationship, “but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” (Daniel 11:32 KJV)
Worship comes before wishing , wanting or begging. We are not beggars before the throne. We are sons. Sons who only know their Father as Santa Claus are not sons. True sons revel in the relationship with their loving Father. The "stuff" is what they get as an overflow from the relationship, not a manipulation of it. Prayer is not asking. Prayer is living in the presence of God.
Prayer is loving God and letting ourselves be loved by Him. We must learn that prayer is a love relationship. If it is anything else it is no different than the prayers of all other religions – it becomes merely an attempt to manipulate God for our own benefit. Only when we see prayer as a relationship can we understand the exhortation, "Pray without ceasing." (I Thessalonians 5:17 KJV)
"Shall I bring to the time of birth, and not cause delivery?" says the Lord. "Shall I who cause delivery shut up the womb?" says your God. (Isaiah 66:9)
You might have suffered many untold hardships in the past, yet you were not swallowed by them. May be you have undergone many embarrassing situations to the extent that you have become the laughing stock of friends and neighbours, yet you are still around to keep on keeping on. You have passed through the waters of life, yet they did not overflow you. You passed through the fire of life, yet you were not consumed. The only reason for this is because God has been sustaining you.
God has brought you this far for a purpose. He cannot bring you this far without any reason. He said, "Shall I bring to the time of birth and not cause delivery?" Your season of pains and labour are over. The Lord who sustained you up to this moment is ready to cause delivery in your life. Nobody can stop whatever God has purposed to do. It is too late for anybody to convince God to abandon you. He could have abandoned you long ago, but because he has a plan for your life, he has brought you this far.
What this means is that now is your season; your past labour and pains will begin to yield fruit. This year is your time and point of birth and you are bound to deliver. God says he will cause you to deliver. He reassured us with all emphasis that, "Shall I who cause delivery shut up the womb?" The womb here represents doors and windows of opportunities and blessings. What this implies is that every shut door of blessing will be opened by God. If God says He cannot shut those doors and windows, nobody can shut them.
A word of prophecy
I prophesy that this year is your year of delivery. It is a year of delivery in your ministry. It is a year of delivery in your marriage. It is a year of delivery in your business. It is a year of delivery in your reproductive organs. I am confident that this message of prophesy will come to greater fulfilment in your life and you will give your testimony in the congregation of God’s people.
A word of prayer
Jehovah our deliverer will work for you this year. He will accomplish what he has promised you and you will thrive in his glory in Jesus Name Amen.
Abandoning that one, he dug another well, and the local people finally left him alone. So Isaac called it "Room Enough", for he said, "At last the Lord has made room for us and we will be able to thrive. NLT. (Genesis 26:22)
Isaac’s move to Gerar: Isaac had settled near Beer-Iahairoi (“the well of the Living One who sees me”), where his sons, Jacob and Esau, were born. A famine drove him to Gerar. But when he became wealthy, his jealous neighbours asked him to leave. From Gerar he moved to Beersheba.
Isaac came to the land of Gerar as a foreigner in the year of a devastating drought when it was unwise to plant anything. Isaac went ahead and planted crops. The Bible records that he recorded a bumper harvest that year. That is not our focus today. Our focus is that in that same year, he reopened the well that was dug by his father Abraham. But the local shepherd came and threw thrash and garbage inside the well. He went ahead and dug another well in the valley of Gerar and he found a gushing spring. Again the local people of Gerar came to quarrel with him about the well. He left it for them and named the well "Argument" or "Esek". He went to another place to dig another well and also found water. The people of the place also came to oppose him bitterly. He left the well for them and named it "Opposition" or "Sitnah." He went to dig another well and as usual, he found water and the local people finally left him alone. He called the well "Room Enough" or "Rehoboth"
A word of prophecy
Here is a prophetic word for you this year. This year, as you dig it, you will find water. Any direction you go, there shall be outstanding grace and favour that brings result. Vanity has become a thing of the past for you in Jesus’ name. Every opposition and protest against your breakthrough has come to an end. This year, all your enemies will leave you alone. Those who have been saying "no way" for you will leave you alone this year. Jehovah Rehoboth-God of Enough Room (God of Open Space) shall arise for you this year. He shall make enough room for you to become whatever you want to become this year. You don’t have to be a citizen of any country before you can make it. Isaac was a foreigner in Gerar, yet every where he dug, he found water. This is how your case will be this year. Your blessing is not dependent on the economy or the value of the currency of your country. It depends on the God’s grace, God’s favour, and God’s promise. Isaac operated in Gerar when the economy of the place was in total shamble, but, that was the year he made it. This is because Jehovah Rehoboth was working for him.
A word of prayer
Jehovah Rehoboth will work for you this year. He will make room for you and you will thrive.
Before the birth pains begin, Jerusalem gives birth to a son. Who has ever seen or heard of anything as strange as this? Has a nation ever been born in a single day? Has a country ever come forth in a mere moment? But by the time Jerusalem’s birth pains begin, the baby will be born, the nation will come forth. (Isaiah 66: 7-8) NLT
One of the prophecies that will be fulfilled in your life as a faithful believer this year is that the Lord will do strange things for you. I mean things that are strange to ears and eyes. This is the year of greater fulfilment of strange things.
Let me give biblical insight to this assertion, what we are used to is that every birth must come with pain and labour. This will not be case for the faithful believer this year. The word of God for you is that before your birth pains begin, your baby will be born. If the world is saying, "No pain, no gain", what you are going to experience this year is painless gain. The grace of God will take care of the pain. Where there is grace of God, there will be no stress and sweat. If you are having struggles in the past without anything to show for it, this is the year that you need to be faithful to the Lord. You must be faithful in all your dealings with God. Your faithfulness will pave the way for God’s grace. Then the grace of God will remove your pain and usher in your gain.
Moreover, we should remember that when there is grace there is speed. What takes ten years for some people to achieve can be achieved in one year by somebody under the grace of God. For example, people of the world usually say that Rome was not built in a day. But with God, Rome can be built in a day especially when He is ready to do something to manifest his power. If it took man one thousand years to build Rome, it only took God one day to build Zion.
The Bible declares that as soon Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. (Isaiah 66:8) You are the Zion of God. The Lord will answer you with speed. You will recover every lost ground with speed. It may take the unbelievers many years to build their Rome, your own Rome will be built in the shortest possible time. The people of the world will say it is not possible. The people of the world will say they have never seen such a thing before, but that is what God says he will do for the faithful this year.
A word of prophecy
I prophesy concerning you that the Lord will do a strange miracle in your life this year. They will come to ask you, "How did you do it?" They will inquire from you, "How manage?" All you will be able to say is, "It is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in my eyes too."
A word of prayer
El-Shaddai will work for you this year. He will do many strange things for you and you will thrive in Jesus Name Amen.
St. Thomas Aquinas
Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire; and to know what he ought to do.
Our lifelong quest for wisdom can strengthen our belief in God and our bonds with our children. On the path to wisdom we need to acquire knowledge. Yet too many of us live in darkness, failing to learn more about our relationship with God and also neglecting to understand how our relationship with our children should change as they mature.
Our pursuit for knowledge, both secular and sacred, needs to go on throughout our lifetime. Our earthly journey involves learning about ourselves and our children, staying close to them, listening to them, and understanding their needs and issues. Our spiritual journey involves understanding that we are all part of the larger kingdom of God. Through our actions and prayers, we can make a difference.
Too many of us, however, slow down the learning process as we age. How many times have you resisted learning about new technology, ignoring the Internet, for example, hoping it will go away? Have you judged your child by your own experiences as an adolescent, refusing to recognize that our present environment is much more dangerous for young people? Do you try to educate yourself about your child’s world, meeting his friends, listening to his music, watching his TV programs, reading about the youth culture? Doing so doesn’t mean you must become a modern-day Dick Clark, rockin’ and rollin’ to the beat. But if you never pick up a teen magazine, read what you teen daughter is reading, how will you understand your competition? When your daughter stops eating in a quest to be slim, you might blame your cooking, not the rail-thin stars she has adopted as her role models. Parenting education doesn’t stop when our children become young adolescents. In fact, gathering knowledge becomes much more critical during these years.
Similarly, our religious education doesn’t end with confirmation. That might be the last time we were required to study Catholicism and our faith, but it shouldn’t be the stopping point for enriching our understanding about religion.
Why is that continuing education so important? We relate differently to religion as we age. When we view religion through our own life experiences, we can ferret our deeper meanings that may have eluded us earlier. "The Prodigal Son" is perhaps the one example that springs to mind. Jesus told this story as a parable about heaven, that even those sinners who stray far away will be welcomed back into the fold by God. As a child listening to this story, you probably focused on the unconditional love the father had for his son, possibly hoping that your own father would feel the same way if you happened to wander off. Now that you are a parent, no doubt you see this story through the father’s eyes, hoping that your child, like the prodigal son, will one day return to you. "Rejoice! This brother of yours was dead, and has come back to life. He was lost, and is found." Oh, how you long to utter those words!
We related differently to our kids as they grow and we get older. Without enough knowledge on both fronts, we fumble around, not knowing where we are or where we are heading. If you are bogged down in the day-to-day trials of dealing with a difficult adolescent, you may feel helpless. You’re not. You have two powerful weapons. You have the ability to gather the information you will need to assist your child. After you have done everything you can, you can leave the rest to God.
When we understand that God lives within each of us, we will no longer feel powerless. We know that He is there and that with His guidance, nothing is impossible, even rescuing a troubled child.
Hearing the Good News of the Lord
All knowledge comes from the Lord, and the Bible is the physical presence of that enlightenment. The earlier believers can also be our guides because they were the first "reporters." Why was it necessary for the Bible to exist? To record for humanity the beginnings of the earth and the coming of Christ. In the New Testament, the apostles painstakingly covered the events of their days because they knew the power these words would have on succeeding generations to spread the word of our Lord. Who would believe these miracles if they were not written down?
We may be tempted to think of the saints as blind followers, men and women who did what they were told and asked no questions. We forget that the saints were human. Many came to the Lord after suffering desperate times when they questioned their beliefs. St. Therese of Lisieux, while on her deathbed, was nearly seduced by atheism. What saved her? She didn’t turn away, but faced her doubts full on. Thus, she found the spiritual strength to survive her crisis of faith, even while she could not muster the physical strength to defeat the tuberculosis that racked her body.
Parents may believe that "ignorance is bliss," that if they do not know what a child is doing, do not intervene; things will work themselves out on their own. This laissez-faire attitude will only lead to more difficult times. It takes strength to confront the truth about a wayward child, just as it took St. Therese courage to face her doubts about her faith. God is well aware of our plight, as spelled out in the New Jerusalem Bible’s Old Testament, book of Joshua (1:9): "Have I not told you: Be strong and stand firm? Be fearless and undaunted, for go where you may, Yahweh your God is with you."
Knowledge of God’s Presence
How many times have you felt you are struggling alone, that no one (perhaps not even a parenting partner) understands your agony? If you are a single parent, this suffering may be truly overpowering. When your child was younger, it might have been easier to find others to discuss the trials of parenting. You met these mothers and fathers at the playground, school, parent meetings, even on the supermarket checkout line as you bought diapers and formula. Now, with an adolescent, connecting with these parents is not so easy.
Reach out to others. Reconnect with some of the parents you may have lost touch with. Perhaps one of them is worrying and would welcome a call. Join a support group. If your child has an alcohol or drug problem, find an Al-Anon near you and attend regular meetings. You will find other parents who share your feelings. Many support groups are also available in cyberspace. Parent Soup on AOL and the Web has many message boards where you can share your concerns with others. Along the way, you may find others can offer sage advice on how to handle your dilemma, perhaps showing you resources you didn’t know where available. Whatever you do, don’t continue to endure alone. You need to fortify yourself so you can find the strength the help your child.
The knowledge that God is with us can help to fortify our spirit. If you doubt that, you are in good company. Think of St. Peter, who was put to the test on the Sea of Galilea. After performing the miracle of loaves and fishes, Jesus went up into the mountains alone to pray. He asked His disciples to get into a boat and go before Him across the water to the opposite shore. When Jesus returned, the boat was being tossed about in a stormy sea. Jesus terrified the disciples when He started toward them, walking on water. They thought He was a ghost. Jesus reassured them, but St. Peter called out: "Lord, if it is really you, tell me to come to you across the water." The Lord said: "Come!" St. Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But then he faltered and Jesus had to stretch out His hand and save him.
"How little faith you have!" Jesus exclaimed. "Why did you falter?"
How many of us have lapsed, too, believing that God has forsaken us in our misery? "Our lives are full of storms and struggles," said John J. O’Keefe, associate professor and chair, Theology Department, Creighton University, Nebraska. "When we keep our eyes on the Lord, we are fine, but too often we are distracted by the overwhelming size of the storm and the ferocity of the wind and waves. We easily lose heart: God will never deliver us from this."
"He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well you." Deuteronomy 8:15-16(NIV).
In God’s system of provision there is a way He usually provides for His children which they usually overlook. And that way is God making available for use that needed resource before or at the time you come to your point of need. It may come to the point where you will be needing it through another means or source or channel, or it may be you that carried it to that point where you will be needing it.
To lack does not mean not to have something, but not to have it available for your use at the time of need. This is where trust (faith) in God comes in. That you do not have it in your hand now does not mean that you will not have it, and that at the time of need.
When Moses had led the children of Israel from the Red Sea (Exodus 15:22-27) and they had traveled for about three days without finding water they came to a place where they found water but it was bitter and they could not drink it. The truth was that the water was what God had intended they should drink but only one step in the process of provision remained for the provision to be complete. They could have insisted on drinking it like that anyway because of thirst but that would not really be God’s provision because it was not exactly what He had intended they should drink. What He intended they should drink was to come out of what was already available the bitter water.
Well the Bible says Moses cried out to the Lord and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. Sometimes God lets the situation deteriorate so badly so that you will desire the change He desires for you and cry out (pray) for it, and appreciate it when it comes.
One may say, ‘but it’s only a piece of wood. What good will it do?’ But it was that ‘piece of wood’ that God had anointed to produce the change the whole Israelite community needed at that point in time. The piece of wood had been brought to that point of need maybe hours, days, weeks, months or years before the children of Israel arrived.
The Bible says that Moses threw the piece of wood into the water and it became sweet. So they drank healthy water, needed water. The water they got from this place probably was enough to sustain them till they got to Elim where there were twelve springs, water they could drink.
Truly what God will provide to meet your need and how He will do it is completely up to Him. But you must make yourself available to Him as a willing vessel or instrument He could use to provide your own need. Whether he will use you is completely up to Him as well.
In the case of giving the children of Israel manna and quail (Exodus 16) He needed them to just go out at the times He had appointed and ‘collect’ their food. The rest He handled. They could also have said ‘What is this? (manna)’ because of little or no variety like they actually said but the truth remains that in the manna, and quail, provided over a period of forty years were contained all the necessary nutrients that could be supplemented (or complemented) by those in water that they would be needing for forty years.
When Samson had taken his vengeance on the Philistines (Judges 15) he was so thirsty that He almost died and there was no water available. He cried out to God, ‘"You have given your servant this great victory. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?" Then God opened up the hollow place in Lehi, and water came out of it. When Samson drank, his strength returned and he revived.’ Judges 15:18-19(NIV). God knew that someday Samson would be in dire need of water in that area and so started preparing the place, orchestrating things in order to provide him with water to drink but still he had to ask. And when he asked the final stage(s) of provision were completed.
So when God says to move, when God says to do, do not hesitate, obey because truly He will prove faithful. "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19(NIV). This He will do because He is your Shepherd and you are his sheep for "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want." Psalm 23:1(NIV).
The Writer: Onyekachukwu Ukeje is an itinerant preacher based in Enugu, Nigeria and can be reached through e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
What happens when you plan your life, map out your future, strategize your goals without first seeking God? The short answer is discontentment. The long answer is that if you’re willing, He’ll change your heart.
The evening of our wedding reception, my husband boldly announced that he hoped we’d one day be the proud parents of six children. "SIX?" I laughed. "Was he serious? Who had six kids these days? NOT me! Wrong wife," I chuckled. I wanted one child, maybe two.
We celebrated our first anniversary with our newborn son in our arms, and I knew we’d have more. I’d fallen in love with motherhood. By our fifth anniversary, we had two sons and two daughters, and while I loved our gaggle of children, I also longed for nights of sound sleep, meals without high chairs, no more diapers, and time to think in full sentences. I thought our family was complete, perfect. My husband graciously agreed, but always quietly hoped for more.
Months later, after returning from a business trip, he gathered our kids together and told them all about "this family I met at the airport with five small children." I watched his face, the longing still in his eyes, and prayed silently, "God, You know my heart. You know I don’t want another child. I’m content, and I’m tired. Yet what if that’s what You want for our lives? What if that’s Your will for us? If somehow it is, You’re going to have to change my heart and give me that desire."
I awoke the next morning thinking: "I could almost imagine having another baby." What?! "Oh, You are so not funny, God! That’s not the answer I expected, and it’s not the one I want! Clearly," I grumbled, "Your plans are not my plans; Your thoughts not my thoughts; Your ways not my ways."
God wasn’t the least daunted by my attitude, and didn’t diminish this new desire for another child, so I finally confided to my husband, "I think God wants us to have another baby."
"Really? Are you sure? I won’t ask you to go through that again. But," he added with a grin, "I will pray about it."
Nine months later Megan arrived – a joy, a blessing, and a promise – for her birth confirmed the beautiful truth of Isaiah 48:17b: "I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go." I’m so thankful God didn’t leave me to my own designs. I would have missed so much.
My husband’s hope to one day be the father of six children was also fulfilled within those nine months, albeit very differently than he would have hoped, for Megan was a twin. Her tiny twin was gone before we knew she was there, but we both recognize God’s Hand in this mysterious, incomprehensible gift. We know His plans are far above our own, His ways beyond anything our finite minds can comprehend, for He alone is God, and always His ways, His timing, and His will for our lives are absolutely perfect.
The Writer: Cindee Snider Re lives in Sussex, Wisconsin with her husband, their five children and two cats. She enjoys quiet evenings, long walks, homeschooling her children, good books, lots of tea, and travelling on the Harley with her husband.
Genesis – The one who spread the idea to build a tower.
‘And they said to one another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.’ Genesis 11:3
The Sun was setting when the workmen removed the last burnt clay. The fires lighted around the camp sites of the workmen from near and far off countries which stretched far and wide. The discovery of the use of burnt clay brick and bitumen instead of stone made it possible to construct faster, stronger and higher structures which resulted in hectic construction activity. This resulted in new techniques being developed in building pyramid like structures and high towers attracting the best of the craftsmen and experts in the fields of metal.
‘And they said, Go to, let us build a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.’ Genesis 11: 4
All the workmen and the supervisors gathered around their creation and were proudly appreciating it. If they could just have the same limitless supply of burnt bricks they could reach even the heavens. The amalgamation of the best workmen from far and wide and man thought nothing is impossible in this world. They can reach the heavens and make a name for themselves amongst the other countries that they are the most powerful.
That evil thought emanating from one person is enough to spread and percolate down to the last person that he could achieve the impossible. This spontaneous gesture ignited the enthusiastic workmen and goaded all idol worshippers to defy the Almighty. That thought must have revolutionized the mental setback of those around who saw imminent success in their bold venture.
‘Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.’ Genesis 11:7.
And God put a stop to this evil construction by scattering the people.
A man of God should be aware of any evil thought being put into practice. It can be a revolutionary idea, a thought which may look innocent and implementation of which may bring untold wealth and honor. But if you could weigh the consequence of that action, you as a child of God would immediately know whether it glorifies Him or deifies Him.
Evil unchecked grows; evil tolerated poisons the whole system.
JAWAHARLAL NEHRU (18891964)
Get rid of these evil thoughts and ask God to forgive you.
The Writer: Victor Jasti, from India, working full time has this passion to write short stories based on Bible and real incidents. He also writes Christian fiction & poetry. Five of his poems were published in Temporal Currents compiled by an American author Ms Christine Tricarico.