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Archive for the ‘Blessings’ Category

“Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool”. John 5, v 6 – 7 ESV.

I am increasingly convinced that God’s heart is to be good to us. That is not to say we will always have our prayers answered, God knows better than we do what we need at any given time. But God is good, we need to remember that and have hope. But while I most often hear of prayers not answered, I do sometimes come across prayers not asked, and God’s offer of help rejected. Yes, it is true that many reject God. Jesus came at Easter to set us free. Perhaps you have never met Him. I have news for you; he really is alive. That’s the whole story of Easter. Jesus loved us so much that he spent those hours on the cross slowly dying on your behalf. He willing gave his life to pay a ransom for us (see Matthew 20, v 28), but that was not the end of it. Three days later he came back to life and lives today. He longs to get to know you, and all you have to do is accept His offer of love and seek a relationship with Him. Read about it in the Bible, the book of ‘John’ and speak to Him about it today.

Perhaps you are a Christian thinking what a basic message that is, and how you cant understand anyone not taking up His offer. There are many Christians who have accepted the love of Jesus and responded by wanting a relationship with their Lord. But while I often hear of prayers unanswered, very little is said of rejected answers to prayer. Jesus asked the man at the pool, “Do you want to be healed”. We probably wonder what possible reason there could be for such a strange question. Everyone wants to be healed. Yet that would be wrong. Occasionally God provides an answer to a prayer that is left with the giver to accept or reject. Perhaps it is not what you had in mind. Maybe you would prefer a different option. Or maybe it involves giving something up in order to accept the gift God has for you; such as unforgiveness, pain, avoidance, relationships or something else. Whatever the reason; you say no to God’s blessing. I pray that you see how crazy that is and accept God’s best blessings for you today. It is “For freedom Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5, v 1), so let us take all the goodness He has for us. It truly breaks God’s heart to see you living a half – life. He has come to give us full and abundant life.

The Lord Jesus, resurrected and in His rightful throne room today still speaks to us through those words. Sometimes He challenges us through them. “Do you want to be healed”? The reply of the man is interesting. It’s very polite. Here’s the thing; if I asked you today if you wanted to be healed (I’m referring to whatever the problem is – health, work, relationships, etc), and challenged you that God has already given you the solution, that He is waiting for you, not the other way around, you would probably be very offended. If it was me, and not Jesus, who said those words to the man his reply may not have been so polite. It might have gone like this: ‘can’t you see I’m paralyzed. What I’m I supposed to do, I try to get into the pool!’ I suspect your own reply might be similar. But I want to challenge you today. Do you want healing? You are applying for jobs. But are you applying for jobs you are likely to get? Why don’t you work as a volunteer? You’re lonely. But why don’t you reach out to other lonely people you know instead of chasing those who have many friends? You get the idea. It may not be an unanswered prayer so much as God waiting for you to act and take up what he has offered you. Do you want to be healed regardless of anything, or do you want healing on your terms?

I just want to end by saying that the vast majority of people and situations I come across are not within our ability to solve. Please don’t think I am saying that ‘its your own fault’. We live through so much, and God is with us through it. He is our comforter and he is gentle with us. But if your situation is one of those that God has provided an answer for, I would encourage you to take it up. He only loves you so much and wants you to enjoy His goodness to you. Ask God in all honesty if you are just not seeing what he has laid in front of you, and be open to all He has for your life. You won’t regret it.

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Fully obeying God

We have a tendency to ‘half do’ things for God.  Perhaps we are unsure if He has really asked us.  If that is the case we should go back and ask the Lord for clear direction.  Once we know the will of God we should not hesitate to fully commit to His work. A woman came to the prophet Elisha and begged for help as she had no money and a creditor was on his way to take her two children for slaves as payment.  His reply to her was to “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbours, empty vessels and not too few”  2 Kings 4, 3.  He then filled them with oil, miraculously, which she was able to sell and repay all her debts.  There are a few interesting things in this small story.  The woman did not have enough pots of her own.  She had to go out and ask neighbours who would be wondering why.  There was no hiding that she was doing something.  This required boldness.  God often asks us to work quietly and humbly.  But that does not mean that no one at all will see that we are doing something.  In fact very often the world will see that we are living differently, even if they do not know the details.  I often feel self-conscious when God asks me to do something.  Perhaps I’ll just request a few ‘vessels’, then it will be more low key I think to myself.  But think of the blessings this woman would have missed out on if she did not obey fully.  She went out and asked for every pot she could find, and God filled every one of them.  Partial obedience is disobedience.  When God asks us to do something, let us go all out to fully do what He has asked for.

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“So the king appointed an official for her, saying, “Restore all that was hers, together with all the produce of the fields from the day that she left the land until now.” 2 Kings, chapter 8 and verse 6.  The Shunammite woman was wise.  It was her, rather than her husband, who suggested making room for Elisha the prophet.  They regularly used to host him, and when famine came to the land, he suggested the move out.  This they did, avoiding the worst of the hardships that came on the country.  It was seven years that they were away from home and when they returned they found their land and house had been taken by another.  They went to the king, who was talking with Elisha’s assistant.  They happened to be talking about this woman and how she used to look after Elisha the prophet.  This was no coincidence.  God works through circumstances and he is often preparing not only situations but people’s hearts before we even arrive.  When she arrived and presented her request to the king; that her land be restored to her, the king was only too pleased to grant her request.  He not only did so, but went far beyond what she asked for or deserved, giving her not only what was due but also the profits of the produce of her land for the last seven years she had been absent!  For those God loves he loves greatly.  He takes joy in giving us so more than we deserve.   We for our part should recognise His abundant blessings and give all the praise and thanks due to Him.

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