I have a big flask at home. I use it to serve porridge for my family at breakfast. My children are assured of porridge from that flask every morning, because I refill it daily. To them, it’s like the flask never runs dry!
The same applies to the groceries and supplies we need for our daily house needs. Someone in the home will do bulk or retail purchases, to ensure that there is a constant supply of the same, for the family.
Did you know that God, also has a daily supply of mercy! There is a prophet in the Bible, Jeremiah, who wrote about this in Lamentations 3:22-23.
God’s love and mercy never end, and better still, the Lord makes a mercy re-fill to us, every morning!
It is by God’s never ending mercy, that you manage to get up in the morning and go about your business. Then, his mercy sustains you through the day, until night fall, only for the same mercy to be refilled in the morning.
Let us remember to appreciate the Lord for his great mercy. Don’t take it for granted when you have a good night sleep, thinking that it is because you ate well the previous night. No, it has happened by God’s love and mercy to you. The energy and strength you used for work, during the day is supplied by the Lord’s love for you and his mercy.
Whereas the children enjoy the porridge served from my flask, I sometimes fail to get the money to buy the porridge flour and they have to take just hot water.
But with God, his mercies never end; the Lord has no limitations in his supply towards you. God has loved and continues to love you ultimately through his son Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:3). Our life depends on him on a daily basis.
Christ is God’s gift of mercy to a fallen human race. Through Christ, we get to enjoy all of God’s mercy and forgiveness, when we trust in Jesus.
Through Christ, anyone who believes in him, gets to enjoy the constant supply of God’s love and mercy. Those who have Christ in their lives will know what a mercy re-fill means…..
When I want to go partying, I go with my best friend, because I know we shall both have fun without unnecessary drama. Even on a bad day, I am not afraid to be with my good friend, because I know she will understand my pain and show love without judging me.
Think about the people in your life who are genuine lovers. Interacting with them is always sweet and peaceful. Infact, we gravitate towards those we love and more so, those who have consistently demonstrated genuine love to us. Love has a way of attracting more of itself. When we love genuinely, we attract more love into our lives.
And guess what! we have the most genuine lover, who is God our Father. The Lord pours his love to us all day long. He cares about all our needs. He provides and protects us from harm. God is a father, a friend and the greatest lover. Look around you; we see God’s love in the birds, the trees, the sunshine and the rain. God is reaching out and calling us to interact with him in a loving relationship. Psalm 149:4a“For the Lord takes delight in his people.”
No wonder, in his own words, Jesus pours his heart out to you to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30). Often, in our interaction with God, we tend to look for “what is in it for me….” Even our prayers, are primarily to ask God to meet our needs, or solve our problems. This is good for us, because we cannot handle life without the help of God. However, our God as a lover, is seeking to share a mutual loving relationship with us.
Jesus laid it out for us; loving God begins with the heart. You express love to God with your heart by believing in Jesus Christ. Romans 10:10“For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
Through Christ, you can experience a heart-to-heart connection with God. Then, as your soul gets involved, you pour all your affection and feelings to the Lord. For example, through prayer and praise, you acknowledge his love and express how grateful you are for all that he has done for you. Psalm 146:1 “Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, mysoul“. Psalm 103:2“Praise the Lord, mysoul, and forget not all his benefits”
How often do you set your thoughts or your focus on the Lord? Just like when you think about your friends and wish them well, our God is always thinking about you and seeking to hear you out. Psalm 34:15“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry”. Focusing our attention and trusting in the Lord is how we can love God with all our mind. Isaiah 26: 3“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”
What about that friend who is good at expressing how much they love you and how much they think about you, but never do anything for you? how do you feel about them? Or that friend who always finds an excuse not to support you practically when you ask them for help. This attitude is also common in our interaction with God. As much as we are very good at asking the Lord for his help, and singing to him worship songs, we sometimes cringe when we are called upon to be practical in the work of the Lord or to do something good.
We don’t just love Jesus with all our heart, soul and mind, but Jesus calls you to love God with all your strength. Your strength is expressed practically by what you do. So you love God by continuing to do what is good to others. 2 Thessalonians 3:13“And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.” Galations 6:9“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” And this harvest will be more love…….
I am so proud of my dad. He is so warm and loving. I fondly recall an evening ritual created by my brothers and I, of singing the national anthem while saluting to our dad as he returned home from work. The loud noise of his green Tata lorry, would trigger us into a pleasant sprint to welcome him back home with our young soldiering spirit.
Dad loved this, but we enjoyed it more because we love him and are so proud of him. As soon as he would park the lorry, he would give each of us the biggest and warmest hugs, I can still feel that warmth. We experienced our father’s love daily, a relationship that has become pivotal to our success into adulthood.
Parental love is a practical love, which can be felt and touched. Parents express their love through words, gifts, hugs, supplies and much more. In turn, children respond back, through acts of love and giving of themselves to the parents, like what we did for our dad. But did you know that God is also a parent? He is a father! The same way our earthly parents shower us with love and gifts, our Father God has loved us in a practical way, when he gave us his son Jesus Christ to live on earth as a human being and thereafter died as a sacrifice for our sins. Infact our earthly parents are just a shadow of the heavenly Father God. His love for you is far greater and deeper than any amount we can get from your earthly parents.
We read about this in John 3:16“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”. You may wonder; is it really out of love that God gave us Christ? Indeed yes, God has given us what we need the most, and that is CHRIST. Without Christ, we perish, no matter what else we have. With Christ, we live eternally, even if we die in our bodies. Christ is the greatest gift of love, given to mankind, and in turn, some people have responded to that love by believing in Christ as their savior and giving their lives to him.
By the way, Christ on earth was fully human. We read from the Bible that Jesus ate, he walked, wore clothes, sang and even slept. He occasionally became tired and thirsty. He was cherished by some and abused by others. Interestingly, Jesus had his own home and was regularly invited as a visitor in other people’s homes. He even attended weddings and paid his own taxes. This means that Jesus is well familiar with your life experiences, because he has been through all of them. Although Christ is God himself, his earthly life was as normal as ours. Christ is the one who is qualified to save you from your sins and imperfections because he walked the same journey as you and yet he is perfect.
Hebrews 2:17“For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.” I implore you to therefore, trust him with your life and enter into the only trusted and safe relationship in this world.
In this world, we have examples of strong relationships, example, best friends “besties” or married couples or even Father-daughter relationships. But none of these can compare with the relationship between you and Christ. Best friends can part ways anytime, married couples divorce and even fathers die and leave their daughters struggling with loneliness. But the moment you give your life to Jesus Christ, you will have him for good, experiencing an ever-growing love in your life. From that time onwards, nothing will ever separate you from the love of Christ, not even death!
Romans 8:35-39“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?……..For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Never allow to live a life of emptiness or wandering, when you can find true everlasting love in Christ. This love of God, in Jesus Christ is available to everyone. Christ’s love is not limited to religious people, or people who don’t have parents, or poor people, or the elderly. Our Father God gave Christ to the whole world, because he is what all of us need. We need Christ to transform our lives from our sinful nature, back into the likeness of God, our Father. Only Christ can do this work in your life.
What is your Bible reading style? Do you have a routine or you read randomly on the fly? Do you follow any pattern? Do you read at will or only after being prompted by the preacher?
I had a one-to-one conversation with an elder brother, about his experience with the Bible. I picked up some interesting tips, and good starters in case you are still struggling to read the Bible.
Question: What is your bible reading style?
Brother’s answer: “I read the Bible in 2 parts; firstly, I read a small portion every morning as I wake up, aiming to pray through it for God’s speaking, I look for his heart or feeling over my way of living and how I can talk back to Him. I may choose a psalm when I am feeling so dull or divided in my spirit, for example Psalm 23, 103 or 100 to help lift my spirit back to the Lord.
Secondly, I create another time of day to read book by book looking to familiarize myself with the Bible generally, from Genesis to Revelation. This helps me to keep the word of God in my heart, like David says in Psalm 119:11, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
Question: Do you ever read the Bible at will or do you only read after being prompted by the preacher?
Brother’s answer: After continuous exercising myself with Bible reading, the Bible has become a part of me. Though I don’t know all the scriptures, I always feel a gap in my life whenever I don’t read the Bible. I was initially inspired to start, when I read some scriptures like 2 Timothy 3:16-17“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”.
Another passage which inspired me is in John 1:1-3, where I got to know that the Bible or the word of God is the person of Jesus Christ! John 1: 1-3“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made”.
So, from that time onwards, I decided to always come to the word of God with a purpose to touch and feel Jesus Christ. Since then, my Bible experience has been an exciting one and my life has been changing with each encounter. This is because through the word, Christ will affect my character, my way of life and my plans will start aligning with his will and character.
I am also prompted by the knowledge that I was dead in my spirit because of Sin, as explained in Ephesians 2: 1-2, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.”
Christ gave me new life in my spirit, so I must care and feed this new life that I have received. This new life is not sustained by cassava, rice and chicken; These are corruptible substances, which cannot sustain the incorruptible life of God in me. So my regenerated spirit needs the Word of God to live healthily and grow. 1 Peter 1:23-25 and 1 Peter 2:2.
In John 6:25; “Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty”. So after knowing that Jesus is the bread of life, I come to the word looking to be satisfied by Christ himself and looking to him for cleansing from the desires of sin, the world and my self.
A human being needs to live by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Jesus lived as 100 percent man depending on scripture to overcome Satan, as we read in Mathew 4:4. Whereas Christ had the Spirit of God, he did not neglect the word of God, which is in the Bible. In the same way, we who follow the Lord Jesus Christ, must live by the Bible.
My closing remark is to those who have not yet accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. I urge you to please do not delay to make such a very important decision, to give your life to Jesus and run away from anything or group that cannot lead you to be Born again. You can start a serious personal relationship with God through our Lord Jesus and from now on, you can start to treasure the Bible and read it always.
It is the small things in life, which carry the most weight. For example, the signature at the end of a letter. It takes up a very small space on the page, but the significance of all the words in that letter lie in the signature. The signature validates or approves the contents of the letter, and therefore, without it, the words can as well be ignored, however well written they are.
Similarly, a very short sentence as “Thank you” carries a lot of value in our daily interactions with people. Saying “thank you” carries much weight even if what you have received is well deserved; for example, when you get paid for a service or a monthly wage or repayment of a debt.
We often take some things for granted and overlook the value of expressing appreciation even for the seemingly small things. But whenever you say “thank you” to someone, you open up an additional flow of blessings from that person.
As I was reading the Bible in Luke 17, I found a story of a man who stood out among 10 and returned to say “thank you” to Jesus for a miracle of healing. They were 10 men who were healed of the deadly disease at the same time (Luke 17:11-19). But only one man found it in his heart to express his gratitude to the Lord.
The other 9 fellows excitedly went back home and threw a party, but they took for granted the basic act of saying thank you. They did not think that saying thank you was important.
Maybe we can reflect on our own behavior; check and see if you take for granted the good things that others do for you. You enjoy a sumptuous meal, well pressed clothes, or a neat taxi ride. Do you say thank you to the person that took the time and effort to make it happen?
Probably, you think that since it’s the janitor’s job to keep the bathrooms clean, he’s not worth your appreciation. Or the hand-out you received from the rich Neighbour didn’t cost him much and therefore he doesn’t deserve to be thanked. The bank teller who hands you your hard-earned money, will still warm up when you say thank you, and will look forward to serving you even better next time.
Saying “thank you” brings a smile to someone’s heart, but better still, you become more blessed. Our friend in Luke 17 returned and fell on his face before the Lord as an act of gratitude. The Lord was pleased with him and asked “where are the nine?” and Christ blessed him much more.
1 out of 10 is the minority. It takes a lot of personal resolve to do the right thing even if the majority are not with you. In this world where the majority votes go to the winner, being among the 10% is like swimming against the tide. But if you stay firm and do the right thing without following the majority, there is a reward at the end. The Lord loves those who do what is right, and more blessings are poured out to them.
Two weeks ago, during our weekly Bible study, our Church elder Brother taught about the temptations of Jesus in Matthew 4. One verse caught my attention; Mathew 4:4:
This event happened when Christ had been fasting for forty days and nights in the wilderness. When Satan tempted him to turn stones into bread, Christ confidently replied, that even in his own situation of extreme hunger, he was being sustained only by the supply from God throughout the forty days and nights, without food. So it was not necessary for him to make the need for food an urgent priority at that time. Christ was fully satisfied by the supply from God His Father.
Jesus introduces an important concept of God’s supply vs the world’s supply. Whereas we need food for our bodies’ nourishment, physical strength and good health, Jesus says that it’s not enough, for our daily living. One illustration we all experience, is that even with all the daily meals and balanced dieting, we still fall sick once in a while and some even die from illness. It is really by God’s Grace that we live. Our daily experience of God’s grace illustrates how as human beings, we cannot depend on food or on the perishable worldly supply alone. We need every word that comes from God, for our daily living.
The concept of food is not just “food”, but it’s the worldly things which we tirelessly pursue. It could refer to money, riches, popularity, fame and all the worldly attractions we consume, in search for peace, enjoyment and well-being. But in all our seeking, may we never lose sight of the fact that our true sustenance is from God. Without the word from God, your life is missing out, however much else you have attained. Try to look back at your life; there were times when you did not have much money for long periods of time, but you had a daily meal on your plate, and you had a place to rest and you even had friends and family to surround you with love. This is how God supplies love, joy, peace and true contentment, in such abundance. Your needs can never be fully met unless you receive this kind of supply from God. God’s supply for our living is abundant for everyone, through His word.
What is the word from God? Where can we find it? Look in the Bible in John 1:1-14. The word of God is a person, and this person is Jesus Christ. God’s word was there before the world was created, this world was created through God’s word and this word became flesh and lived among us as a human being. Jesus Christ came to the world to save us from our sins. When you accept Jesus into your life, he becomes your daily supply of life, because he is the bread of life. John 6:25; “Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty”. You and I, and everyone in this world, can enjoy a day to day relationship with Jesus Christ as we consume the words of the bible, as our daily supply from God.
Whereas, sometimes we tend to read the bible as a novel, but unlike novels, the Bible is really a very unique book, it is a book that supplies life to the reader. It is likened to a flowing river, which refreshes and washes you as you search the truth in there.
We approach the bible and read it as a full supply of life. Let’s take the illustration of a husband and wife who come together for their enjoyment, but through that action, life comes out of them, when they conceive a child. In the same way, every time you interact with the bible, you are consuming the life of Jesus Christ as a supply for your daily living.
Let me leave you with some practical bible reading tips, that I picked up during a recent conversation with one of our Church elders:
I always cringe at the thought of having to do anything against my will. As part of life, it is common to find yourself compelled or forced to do something against your will. It happens a lot, either because of having been bullied, manipulated, blackmailed or having signed up to certain agreements of the kind.
One other scenario is being under slavery. My basic understanding of a slave is someone who has been ripped of human rights and lives at the mercy of his master, doing whatever the master demands of him.
I therefore find it intriguing that in the Bible, Paul the Apostle, often referred to himself as a slave of Christ through his numerous letters to the believers (Romans 1:1, Philippians 1:1). Slavery to Jesus Christ is one of Paul’s credentials, for which he proudly introduced himself to the churches.
I’ve been thinking about this lately, and have come to find peace in this paradox. Whereas slavery is not desirable if we look at it from the human perspective, there seems to be an exception when it comes to our relationship with Christ. There is something attractive about the Lord, such that everyone who falls in love with Him becomes enslaved by His love. It is a kind of slavery that frees us to let go of our selfish will and surrender to Him in love.
In this relationship, we surrender to the Lord daily, and desire to do his will. It is a real love relationship, which like Paul, you and I can experience the full surrender to Christ and like a slave, we choose his will over our own.
Unlike the worldly kind of slavery which is brutal, this one is the kind which is filled with love, compassion and mercy. It is because of God’s great love, that He gave His only Son Jesus Christ to be the sacrifice for our Sin. It is still this same love that draws us to Christ when we accept Him and become Born Again (John 6:44). So great is this love attraction that it cannot be understood by the human mind, yet is can be accepted in our hearts to be very real.
The deeper we get into love with Christ, the more we become captured or enslaved by the sweet and comforting relationship. This is the beauty of the Christian life.
In an average home, you will find utensils and tools of every kind, used for various tasks. Forks, plates, cups and saucepans for the kitchen; hoes and slashers for the garden; brooms, rags and buckets for sanitation. It is a common practice to take good care of these utensils, to keep them in good useable condition at all times. And indeed the most valuable ones are given special attention and care.
Even in the Bible, we find this same concept addressed by the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 2:20-21“In a wealthy home, some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use. If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.”
Did you know that the Lord is looking to use you for every good work? Probably this is something you have never seriously thought about. Christ is busy doing the work of saving people from their sins and he wants to use you as a special utensil for this divine and honorable work. From this Bible passage, this can only happen if you keep yourself pure and clean.
Just like in the home, we clean all our utensils and maintain them in good condition, ready for the next use, the same way, we must keep ourselves clean, ready for the Lord to use us at any time. How can we keep clean? Christ himself cleanses us through his word. We just need to keep abiding in Him at all times, calling upon him and seeking his forgiveness from all our sins and failures.
We can find this in the book of Titus 2:12-14“And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.”
In my life with the Lord, I really desire to be his honorable vessel, always ready to be used for his work. Sometimes it may be to encourage someone with his word , or to share some food with the hungry, or helping the elderly. Whatever good work that you can find to do, please do it as serving the Lord. As you continue to keep yourself ready for him, he will be more pleased to use you for more good work.
Last weekend, I had visitation day at my son’s school. My son is in boarding school and visitation day is that day, when family and friends are allowed to visit the children and spend some time with them.
We had a great time together, telling each other one story after another. VD, as we call it is one of those happy-sad days of my life as a mother. Happy, because I get to see my child, hug him and tell him how much I love him and miss him. And sad, because I have to say good bye at the end of the day.
After saying a short prayer together, I looked at my watch and it was time to leave the school. That was the moment I felt sad and disappointed that I was going away and leaving my boy at school. He too was sad and kept holding my hand until we had the last hug as I jumped into the car.
Driving back home, I began to talk to the Lord, praying for our children and dedicating them to Christ Jesus. I suddenly realized that Christ is not limited by visitation day. He is always there with our children at school. It is only the Lord Jesus Christ who can be with the children all the time, caring for them and helping them daily.
This is such good news and encouraging. We can confidently dedicate our children to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is ever present, to comfort, strengthen and transform our children to His likeness.
And more so, the Lord Jesus Christ is ever present with those who have dedicated their life to Him. We too, can enjoy a continuous and comforting relationship with Christ, without fear of separation at the end of the day.
The VD experience is a simple illustration of the day by day disappointments we face in this world. Even happy moments can end up becoming sad moments. You may be experiencing loneliness or the death of someone dear to you. You may have been betrayed by someone, who you least expected, or you are suffering from a disease with no cure. Take heart, Christ is able and willing to comfort you daily as you dedicate your life to Him.
In the Bible, in the book of John 16:33, Jesus taught about this world: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Praise the Lord that Christ has overcome the world. Let us take heart, trust the Lord and look to Christ always (Proverbs 3:5-6).
King David also attested to this in Psalm 46:1 that the Lord is an “ever-present” help in trouble. Christ is the only one who is ever present, people and things eventually leave us. Everything else will disappoint us sooner or later. May we always remain looking to Christ and give ourselves more to Him in our day to day walk. That way, we shall overcome the world along with Christ.