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INTRODUCTION

Have you ever heard the story about the farmer who told his wife one morning that he was going to plough the southern side of his farm ?He got off to an early start so he could oil the tractor . He needed more oil, so he went to the shop to get it. On the way to the shop, he noticed his cows weren’t fed . So he proceeded to the cattle feed , where he found some sacks of feed. The sacks reminded him that his potatoes were sprouting. When he started for the potato pit , he passed the woodpile and remembered that his daughter wanted wood in the house. As he picked up a few sticks , an ailing goat passed by. He dropped the wood and reached for the goat. When evening arrived , the frustrated farmer had not even gotten to the tractor, let alone the field!

How many times have you found yourself in a similar situation? You intended to do something you knew was important, but were distracted and never accomplished what you set out to do.

Or perhaps you can think of something that you have always wanted to do but can never find time for.

By the same question, are you aware of something that you do often that is a waste of time ?

If you are a normal person, you answered “Yes” to both questions and thought of something specific in each case. Isn’t it strange that we can want to do one thing for a long time and never get to it, and yet at the same time we freely admit that we are wasting time on other activities ?

THAT IS WHY WE NEED TO LEARN TO MANAGE OURSELVES.

THE KINGDOM OF GOD

The reign of God means a world that is very different from the one in which Jesus and his followers lived: the Roman Empire. For that reason, most of what Jesus said went against the social norms of his day. The Beatitudes, for example, show preference for the weaker members of society, not the strong as was the custom. For example, when Jesus tells us to “turn the other cheek” (Matthew 5:39) he is not encouraging passive acceptance of violence. In Matthew he speaks specifically of someone hitting you on the right cheek. For a right-handed person ( as the majority are ) to hit someone on the right cheek requires a backhanded slap, which was the type of blow used by a superior towards an inferior person. By turning the other (left) cheek, you would force the person to hit you with an open hand, which implied equality in that culture. In Jesus’ day, turning the other cheek meant refusing to accept the role of an inferior and insisting on being treated as an equal. This is far cry from being passive, and yet it also avoids responding to violence with violence.

When people of that time put Jesus’ teachings in the Sermon on the Mount into effect, the result was a society very different from that of the dominant Roman Empire, which then included much of the known world.

By living out Jesus’ teachings together with other believers, we create an alternative society that reinforces our efforts to build that society.

POINTS TO PONDER

  • Do you seek revenge anywhere in your life?
  • Are you hanging onto a proverbial list of people who have wronged you, so you can get back at them?
  • Have you surrendered your right to retaliate to God? 
  • Where do you need to submit your thirst for vengeance to God?
  • Are you being abused? How can you remove yourself from the situation in a non-violent way? Pray for wisdom and the Holy Spirit’s guidance here.
  • Finally, what is Jesus’ true turn the other cheek meaning to you?

Child Abuse and Neglect

Child abuse isn’t just about black eyes. While physical abuse is shocking due to the marks it leaves, not all signs of child abuse are as obvious. Ignoring a child’s needs, putting them in unsupervised, dangerous situations, exposing them to sexual situations, or making them feel worthless or stupid are also forms of child abuse and neglect—and they can leave deep, lasting scars on kids.

Regardless of the type of abuse, the result is serious emotional harm. But there is help available. If you suspect a child is suffering from abuse or neglect, it’s important to speak out. By catching the problem as early as possible, both the child and the abuser can get the help they need.

To start, it’s important to separate the myths from the facts about child abuse and neglect:

Myth: It’s only abuse if it’s violent.

Fact: Physical abuse is just one type of child abuse. Child neglect, or sexual and emotional abuse can inflict just as much damage. Since the signs are not always as obvious, other people may be less likely to intervene.

Myth: Only bad people abuse their children.

Fact: Not all abusive parents or guardians intentionally harm their children. Many have been victims of abuse themselves and don’t know any other way to parent. Others may be struggling with mental health issues or substance abuse problems.

Myth: Abuse doesn’t happen in “good” families.

Fact: Abuse and neglect doesn’t only happen in poor families or bad neighborhoods. These behaviors cross all racial, economic, and cultural lines. Sometimes, families who seem to have it all from the outside are hiding a different story behind closed doors.

Myth: Most child abusers are strangers.

Fact: While abuse by strangers does happen, most abusers are family members or others close to the family.

Myth: Abused children always grow up to be abusers.

Fact: It is true that abused children are more likely to repeat the cycle as adults, unconsciously repeating what they experienced as children. On the other hand, many adult survivors of child abuse have a strong motivation to protect their children against what they went through and become excellent parents.

One in four people will struggle with mental health at some point in their lives. More than ever, people need a trustworthy place to turn to for guidance and hope. So , Its our responsibility to love everyone as we love ourselves , we don’t know the pain behind anyone’s life .

What is casteism? What does the Bible say about the caste system?

Casteism is a system in which society is divided into classes, or castes, based on differences of inherited rank, wealth, occupation, or race. In Hinduism India, castes are strictly observed social classes based solely on heredity. Members of each caste are restricted in their occupation and their association with other castes.

Casteism of some type exists in most other societies, if not all of them. In the Bible, the term caste does not appear, but the idea behind it does. Samaritans were considered a “lower caste” of sorts by the Jews, who generally saw them as half-breeds, neither fully Jewish nor fully Gentile.

The casteism involving the Jews and the Samaritans was also due to two other factors: the Samaritans had historically opposed the Jewish rebuilding of Jerusalem (Ezra 4:17), and the Samaritans observed a different religion (John 4:20), In New Testament times, the Jews would have nothing to do with the Samaritans (John 4:9), avoiding the whole region where they lived, when possible.

Importantly, the Jews’ treatment of the Samaritans is not condoned in the Bible. In fact, Jesus went completely against the common Jewish perception of Samaritans as lower caste half-breeds. Jesus made a point of visiting Samaria (John 4:4), and one of His most famous parables features a Samaritan as the hero (Luke 10:30 – 37). In these ways, Jesus plainly taught against casteism. According to Jesus, our neighbors include everyone, even those we might look down on as inferior.

To the Jews of Jesus’ time, everyone was of a “lower caste” than they. Only the Jews were chosen by God, after all. But rather than striving to be a blessing to every nation on earth (Genesis 22:18 , Galatians 3:7-9), they became proud of their heritage (John 8:33,39), They had forgotten that God’s choosing was not based on any quality in them but solely on His nature of love (Deuteronomy 7:7-8).

Similarly, Christians today should not see themselves as superior to anyone else. The Bible forbids thinking along the lines of caste: “He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time” (Titus 3:5). God chooses His people not because of anything we do to deserve it, but because of His own love and purpose for us. We have nothing to boast of except the cross of Christ (Galatians 6:14), and we definitely have no reason to stratify people in our minds.

The tendency toward casteism is strong. Even Peter, who knew better, fell into the trap of treating one group of believers differently than another. In Galatians 2:11-13 , Paul describes the situation: in Antioch, Peter had been used to eating with Gentile Christians, as was absolutely right to do. But when some Jews came from Jerusalem, Peter acted hypocritically and stopped eating with the Gentiles and ate only with his fellow Jews. This was a sin, showing the fear of man and an unrighteous partitioning of God’s people. Paul had to confront Peter about it, “because he stood condemned” (verse 11).

Galatians 3:28 deals a fatal blow to casteism within the church: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Here, Paul takes three common ways of dividing people—according to culture, according to social standing, and according to gender—and he destroys that way of thinking. In Christ, we are all on equal footing. We all have the same spiritual need, and we are all saved the same way: by grace through faith in Jesus. Castes do not exist in Christ; we are unified as His body ( 1 Corinthians 12:13, 27).

ames addresses another form of casteism that is still prevalent today: “My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor” (James 2 :1-6). The “special attention” given to the rich man and the neglect of the poor man are indications of casteism. Christians are not to treat one another differently. Secular society naturally loves to divide and categorize, but not “believers in our glorious Lord.” Such discrimination is sin.

Biblically, there is no reason for casteism to exist. Casteism is the product of the worldly thinking of fallen mankind. Christians should eschew castes, because the thinking behind casteism is made obsolete in Christ.

Source : http://www.gotquestions.org

What causes guilt and how to overcome it

Most of us feel guilt from time to time – it’s part of our human nature and completely normal. From guilt about not spending as much time as we’d like with loved ones, saying no to friends or colleagues, to cheating on a partner. And because we’re all unique, we respond to it in different ways.

In its true sense, guilt is a feeling of remorse or sadness over a past action, experienced when we think we’ve caused harm or breached our moral code. It’s our moral compass. Our values and how we process our emotions will all inform the way we react to certain situations. So while one person might catastrophize (view or present a situation as considerably worse than it actually is.) about a situation, another may not think twice about it.

Types of Guilt

Guilt falls into two categories – healthy, appropriate guilt and unhealthy, irrational guilt.

Appropriate Guilt

Although an unpleasant feeling, ‘appropriate’ guilt helps to regulate our social behaviour. Feeling guilty for a justifiable reason is a sign that our conscience and cognitive abilities are working properly to stop us repeating or making mistakes. This gives us the opportunity to learn and change our behaviour in the future. The perpetual feeling of guilt is known as ‘guilt-proneness’ and people who experience guilt prone-ness are believed to have a strong connection with their own – and others’ – emotions.

Irrational Guilt

The irrational kind – when we mistakenly assume responsibility for a situation, or overestimate the suffering caused – is another matter entirely and can be very damaging if we don’t take steps to resolve it.

Excessive irrational guilt has been linked to mental illnesses, such as anxiety, depression, dysphoria (feelings of constant dissatisfaction) and obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). It can cause sufferers to believe they’re a burden to their loved ones and those around them. Unchecked guilt can also result in flagging concentration and productivity, low mood, increased stress and lack of sleep. As a result, our relationships, daily actions and overall outlook on life can be badly affected.

So what can we do to stop these feelings spiralling (show a continuous and dramatic increase)out of control?

  1. Practise mindfulness. Mindful meditation focuses on breathing as a way of paying attention to the moment. This can connect the mind and body and help put your guilt into perspective.
  2. Distract yourself with whatever helps you relax – your favourite music, a book, some exercise or just a breath of fresh air.
  3. Be proactive: if you feel that your guilt is justified, and you’ve come to this decision through rational thinking, take action. Learn from your mistakes, make amends and move on.
  4. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Constantly revisiting past mistakes won’tbenefit anyone, least of all yourself.
  5. Remember that perfection doesn’t exist: looking for the perfect solution can lead to mental ‘gridlock’(a situation in which there are so many problems in life that you cannot move at all.), which is unhelpful. Learn to accept the ‘best’ solution for the circumstances instead and keep a sense of perspective.

There’s no magical solution to guilty feelings. But if they’re justified, it’s much healthier not to try and get rid of them. Instead, forget them and use them to behave more positively in the future.

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. – The Holy Bible

GOD’S MASTER PLAN

“He was bringing up Hadassah, that is Esther, his uncle’s daughter, for she had no father or mother. Now the young lady was beautiful of form and face, and when her father and her mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter. So it came about when the command and decree of the king were heard and many young ladies were gathered to the citadel of Susa into the custody of Hegai, that Esther was taken to the king’s palace into the custody of Hegai, who was in charge of the women.

Now the young lady pleased him and found favour with him. So he quickly provided her with her cosmetics and food, gave her seven choice maids from the king’s palace and transferred her and her maids to the best place in the harem” (Esther 2:7-9).

When we reduce the Bible to a collection of random stories and a list of rules, we also fail to see the mighty hand of God at work in the subtle details of our lives. How easily this moment in time could be interpreted as a tragic abuse of power: an orphan girl, taken away from her loving guardian against her will, into the house of a king who only wants her for her beauty.

When we read the Bible as a meta-narrative, a carefully designed and unified story from start to finish, we find peace and comfort in spite of the many circumstances which seemingly force their will upon us. Read this story again. What does the author want you to see? He wants you to see Abraham and Sarah, who found themselves in nearly identical circumstances: Sarah was taken into Pharaoh’s house against her will on account of her beauty; Abraham was temporarily separated from Sarah, but also chosen by God to bless the world (Gen 12:11-16). Now look one more time: and you will see the God of Israel at work, the God who is far more powerful than Egypt and Persia. These subtle clues in this story about Esther and Mordecai give us every reason to believe that, in spite of these troubling circumstances, we can expect a happy ending! This story about Esther and Mordecai is the same old story about the God of Israel who uses unlikely people to fulfill his redemptive purposes.

You may not be so happy with the current chapter in your life. But this chapter doesn’t belong to your personal story. It is part of God’s Master-Story, a story which most assuredly will conclude with a truly glorious and eternally happy ending! “The LORD will reign forever, Your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the LORD” (Psalm 146:10)

What does the Bible say about faith?

Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Perhaps no other component of the Christian life is more important than faith. We cannot purchase it, sell it or give it to our friends. So what is faith and what role does faith play in the Christian life? The dictionary defines faith as “belief in, devotion to, or trust in somebody or something, especially without logical proof.” It also defines faith as “belief in and devotion to God.” The Bible has much more to say about faith and how important it is. In fact, it is so important that, without faith, we have no place with God, and it is impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:6), According to the Bible, faith is belief in the one, true God without actually seeing Him.

Where does faith come from? Faith is not something we conjure up on our own, nor is it something we are born with, nor is faith a result of diligence in study or pursuit of the spiritual. (Ephesians 2:8-9)  makes it clear that faith is a gift from God, not because we deserve it, have earned it, or are worthy to have it. It is not from ourselves; it is from God. It is not obtained by our power or our free will. Faith is simply given to us by God, along with His grace and mercy, according to His holy plan and purpose, and because of that, He gets all the glory.

Why have faith? God designed a way to distinguish between those who belong to Him and those who don’t, and it is called faith. Very simply, we need faith to please God. God tells us that it pleases Him that we believe in Him even though we cannot see Him. A key part of Hebrews 11:6 tells us that “he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” This is not to say that we have faith in God just to get something from Him. However, God loves to bless those who are obedient and faithful. We see a perfect example of this in Luke 7:50. Jesus is engaged in dialog with a sinful woman when He gives us a glimpse of why faith is so rewarding. “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” The woman believed in Jesus Christ by faith, and He rewarded her for it. Finally, faith is what sustains us to the end, knowing that by faith we will be in heaven with God for all eternity. “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8-9).

Examples of faith. Hebrews chapter 11 is known as the “faith chapter” because in it great deeds of faith are described. By faith Abel offered a pleasing sacrifice to the Lord (v. 4); by faith Noah prepared the ark in a time when rain was unknown (v. 7); by faith Abraham left his home and obeyed God’s command to go he knew not where, then willingly offered up his promised son (vv. 8-10, 17); by faith Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt (vv. 23-29); by faith Rahab received the spies of Israel and saved her life (v. 31). Many more heroes of the faith are mentioned “who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies” (vv. 33-34). Clearly, the existence of faith is demonstrated by action.

According to the Bible, faith is essential to Christianity. Without demonstrating faith and trust in God, we have no place with Him. We believe in God’s existence by faith. Most people have a vague, disjointed notion of who God is but lack the reverence necessary for His exalted position in their lives. These people lack the true faith needed to have an eternal relationship with the God who loves them. Our faith can falter at times, but because it is the gift of God, given to His children, He provides times of trial and testing in order to prove that our faith is real and to sharpen and strengthen it. This is why James tells us to consider it “pure joy” when we fall into trials, because the testing of our faith produces perseverance and matures us, providing the evidence that our faith is real (James 1:2-4).

Source : gotquestions.org

HOW TO LOVE LIKE JESUS

Loving like Jesus is the best way to live. When we love like Him, we can step outside ourselves and clearly see our loved ones and their needs. We can shed layers of selfishness, resentment, anxiety, pettiness, and entitlement. Most of all, we can rise above our human imperfections and step into transcendent love.

Jesus’s model of love challenges us to stop settling for anything less than “the most excellent way.” If you want to love like Jesus, read on.

CAN ANYONE REALLY LOVE LIKE JESUS?

When it comes to love, Jesus raised the bar astronomically. He teaches us to love our enemies, turn the other cheek, and walk the extra mile. To our human minds, that sounds completely outrageous–but that’s the point.

If we want to love like Jesus, we have to open our hearts and our minds. We need to be able to fully utilize our emotion, reason, thoughts, and feelings. We can’t bring perfect love into our imperfect lives without this kind of complete vulnerability.

Why? Because opening your heart allows love to change your mind. When Jesus touches your heart, your mind can follow suit and be completely transformed. Allowing your heart into the conversation will revolutionize your thinking. We believe that’s what Paul meant when he said, “You’ll be changed from the inside out” (Romans 12:1).

If you’re in search of reasonable love, you’ll miss out on a love that’s extraordinary–on the opportunity to find a love you didn’t realize you had.

Jesus’s ideal model of love can rub off on our imperfect lives. Why? Because loving like Him is more attainable that we realize.

It’s a common misperception that loving like Jesus means that you must become a doormat, a weak wimp, or a spoilsport. Some people believe that loving like Jesus means we have to deny ourselves everything, miss out on all the fun, and smother our joy. But that’s not true.

According to research, having the ability to practice love in our daily relationships–marriage, friends, family, and otherwise–is actually the defining mark of human happiness. When we give of ourselves and do good for others, we use higher-level brain functions that trigger neurochemical reactions in our brains. The result? A cascade of positive emotions.

God designed us to want happiness because he wants us to be happy. But we seldom realize that the things we think will bring us happiness actually won’t. The things we chase after actually hinder our ability to truly enjoy life. We get used to pitiful pleasures that only last for a moment–and we miss out on the deepest enjoyment life has to offer.

Learning to love like Jesus isn’t illusive, out of reach, or pie-in-the-sky theology. It’s available to you and me right now. At times, we will fail–but each time we dust ourselves off and start again, we’ll learn a little more. It’s not easy, but it can be done. 

How should a Christian view climate change?

It is interesting to note how the phrase “climate change” is replacing “global warming” as the catch phrase of environmentalism. Some scientists/climatologists are certain that human activity, primarily greenhouse gas emissions, is impacting the environment. What they are not certain about is precisely what the impact will be. A couple of decades ago, “global cooling” was the fear, with warnings of a new ice age being the primary scare tactic. While most scientists/climatologists today believe that global warming is the primary risk, uncertainty has led to “climate change” being used as a less specific warning. Essentially, the climate change message is this: greenhouse gas emissions are damaging the environment, and, while we are not certain what the effect will be, we know it will be bad.

Climatologists, ecologists, geologists, etc., are unanimous in recognizing that the earth has gone through significant temperature/climate changes in the past. Despite the fact that these climate changes were obviously not caused by human activity, many of these same scientists are convinced that human activity is the primary cause of climate change today. Why? There seem to be three primary motivations.

First, some truly and fully believe the greenhouse gas emissions are causing climate change. They honestly examine the data and come to that conclusion. Second, some hold to the climate change mindset with an almost religious fervor. Many within the environmentalist movement are so obsessed with protecting “Mother Earth” that they will use any argument to accomplish that goal, no matter how biased and unbalanced it is. Third, some promote the climate change mentality for financial gain. Some of the strongest proponents of climate change legislation are those who stand to have the greatest financial gain from “green” laws and technologies. Before the climate change mindset is accepted, it should be recognized that not everyone who promotes climate change is doing so from an informed foundation and pure motives.

How, then, should a Christian view climate change? We should view it skeptically and critically, but at the same time honestly and respectfully. Most importantly, though, Christians should look at climate change biblically. What does the Bible say about climate change? Not much. Likely the closest biblical examples of what could be considered climate change would be the end times disasters prophesied in Revelation 6-18, Yet these prophecies have nothing to do with greenhouse gas emissions; rather, they are the result of the wrath of God, pouring out justice on an increasingly wicked world. Also, a Christian must remember that God is in control and that this world is not our home. God will one day erase this current universe ( 2 Peter 3 : 7-12) and replace it with the New Heavens and New Earth (Revelation 21-22) . How much effort should be made “saving” a planet that God is eventually going to obliterate and replace with a planet so amazing and wonderful that the current earth pales in comparison?

Is there anything wrong with going green? No, of course not. Is trying to reduce your carbon footprint a good thing? Probably so. Are solar panels, wind mills, and other renewable energy sources worth pursuing? Of course. Are any of these things to be the primary focus of followers of Jesus Christ? Absolutely not! As Christians, our focus should be proclaiming the truth of the gospel, the message that has the power to save souls. Saving the planet is not within our power or responsibility. Climate change may or may not be real, and may or may not be human-caused. What we can know for certain is that God is good and sovereign, and that Planet Earth will be our habitat for as long as God desires it to be. Psalm 46 : 2-3 “Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”

Source : gotquestions.org

What can we learn from Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000?

Aside from resurrection, the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 is the only miracle recorded in all four Gospels. Obviously, the Gospel writers considered this a significant miracle. When Christ fed the masses that day, He began with only “five barley loaves and two fish,” borrowed from a boy’s lunch. To feed 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish is indeed miraculous, and Matthew further emphasizes the point by adding, “Besides women and children.” Many Bible scholars believe the actual number fed that day could have been 15,000—20,000 people.

Jesus’ disciples had wanted to send the people away because evening was approaching and they were in a remote place, They knew the people needed to reach surrounding villages soon to buy food, find lodging, etc., or they would likely go hungry, But Christ had a better idea: “You give them something to eat”. At this point, the disciples should have recalled the many miracles they had seen Jesus do. Perhaps some of them did, but Andrew asked, “What are [five loaves and two fish] for so many?” And Philip exclaimed, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”.

Jesus called for the bread and fish to be brought to Him . He then gave thanks for the meal, broke the bread, and gave it to His disciples to give to the crowd. Amazingly, the entire multitude was fed with that small meal. Jesus provided “as much as they wanted”, and “they all ate and were satisfied”, Christ did not just meet the need; He lavished them with so much food that there were “twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish” left over.

God will shatter the pint-sized expectations of what His followers can do if they would learn to bring Him what they have already been given. “Little is much when God is in it.” When Christians are willing to offer their lives sacrificially, relinquishing their hold on whatever God has given them in terms of time, money, talents, etc., God will use these ordinary things to create extraordinary things. Christians must never believe their resources are too little to serve God. God delights in taking a humble, seemingly insignificant person and using him or her for His glory.

Philip’s mind immediately ran to the cost of the project. He quickly calculated how many man-hours of work it would take to feed all those people; he saw the task as impossible because he approached it as if everything depended on his own work. Jesus’ approach was different. Jesus bypassed all human effort and did the impossible. It’s “‘not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty”

It is noteworthy that Jesus fed the people through the agency of His disciples. He could have simply snapped His fingers and caused everyone present to have a meal, but He didn’t. Instead, He “gave . . . to his disciples to distribute to the people”(Mark 6:41). In this way, the disciples had to trust the Lord for everything they distributed. They could only give as they received. Philip, Andrew, and the rest were put in a position of total dependence upon the Lord for the supply. God still uses people the same way today.

Christians should also be reminded that their problems are never too large (the “many” John 6:9)for God to handle. Surely, Andrew was wondering, “What good are we going to do with only five loaves and two fish?” Of course, theoretically, believers know God can easily multiply whatever He wants, to feed as many people as He wants—He is God. The problem comes when we are faced with a practical outworking of the theory; we tend to doubt that God will want to meet our need.

Christians must bring their lives to God in a spirit of obedience and sacrifice, no matter how insignificant they may think their gifts or talents are, When doing so, expect God to do far beyond what can be imagined, Also, Christians should trust that God not only wants to meet the needs of His children, but He wants to lavish His children with spiritual blessings, even to overflowing .

Inspired from : gotquestions.org

THE FAITH OF ABRAHAM

We see one result of the great wealth Abram accumulated in Egypt. There wasn’t room enough for him and Lot to coexist. Today, if you’re wealthy, your money is tied up in invisible things like stocks and other investments. A bank holds your money. But in Abram’s day, wealth was carried around from place to place, taking the form of animals and people.

The solution to the problem was to split up, Abram going one way and Lot the other. Here is another test for Abram. He has the right to claim the land he wants. He can take what God has promised him. Lot was just along for the ride. God didn’t speak to him, making him the blessing to the nations. That was Abram’s role. But it’s what Abram did about the problem that shows his repentance was real and his faith was strong. 

Beginning in verse 8, Abram says to Lot, “Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.”

Abram gave Lot the pick of the land. Verse 10 tells us “Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar.” From their vantage point, Lot saw the fertile land before him, and he wanted it. So he journeyed East, just as Adam and Eve did when God cast them from the Garden of Eden. He settled near Sodom, where the author of Genesis hints at what is to come: “This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.” It was fertile but tempting and full of sin.

Do you blame Lot for taking that portion of the land? It was near the cities. It was fertile. It was well watered. It was perfect for raising a flock. It held prospects of gaining even more wealth because there would be an abundance of people and traders. He chose the obvious place.

There is more to Lot’s choice than the obvious, however. Lot wasn’t just going to the place that looked the best. Something spiritual was going on. He was going to the place that touched a spiritual nerve, a sense of longing, a homesickness. Lot wanted good land, yes, but deeper than that, he wanted the Garden of Eden. He wanted paradise. We all do. The question this passage forces us to ask is this: Where is paradise in this post-fall world?

When Lot goes east, he’s doing what we all do naturally. He’s searching for the thing that will make his life matter. Abram, however, gave that up. Abram saw the same land. He could have taken it. Instead, he gave Lot first choice. He must have known what Lot would choose. In giving Lot first dibs, Abram was taking the land of Canaan. Why did he do that? Because Abram knew the land of Canaan was the Promised Land, even if it looked less than promising. Lot was trying to get back into the Garden. Abram knew he was already there. “Lot, choosing the things that are seen, found them corrupt and insecure; choosing selfishly, he was to grow ever more isolated and unloved. Abram, on the other hand, found liberation.”

We live in a world filled with the tension of choosing what is seen for what is not. What will we choose? The contrast between Abram and Lot instructs us on the nature of trusting God. Lot chose by sight; Abram by faith. Lot moved to the edges, Abram to the center. Lot found corruption and temptation; Abram found assurance and peace. Lot was spiritually compromised; Abram was spiritually alive. Lot moved in with sinners; Abram moved in with God. Lot built no altars; Abram built them all. Lot chose by sight alone, and that is always a mistake.

Jesus faced what Abram faced: a shortcut to the kingdom of God. Jesus wouldn’t take it, and neither did Abram. Instead, they believed the word of God and placed all their hope on that sufficient promise. “You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.” Like Jesus, Abram’s response was worship. There was an altar in Hebron to bear witness.

Unlike Abram, though, Jesus didn’t need to learn the lesson of failure before he tasted the sweetness of faith. His faith kept him from failure. And Abram, though he never saw Christ, saw the redemption he would bring that day on the mountain overlooking the valley. He knew that the promise of God was strong enough to sustain him in the chosen land. He knew God’s grace and mercy forgave his sins in Egypt. He knew what paradise looked like and he found it in the word of God, in the presence of God, in the worship of God. He knew—somehow—the promise of God sprang from the wilderness.

It is the same for us all. But what Abram saw by faith, we see now in history. Jesus came. Jesus lived and died and rose again. And like the thief on the cross, if we trust in him, when we die we go to be with him in paradise. Jesus brought the promise to pass for us all. Abram shows us how to trust in it today.

Source : Things of the sort.