RESOURCES TO BUILD THE TEMPLE
1 Chronicles 22: 2-5“And David prepared iron in abundance for the nails for the doors of the gates, and for the joining and brass in abundance without weight.” 1 Chronicles 22:3 Not many pastors like to preach about raising money for God's work in the church. One reason they give is that some people become uncomfortable once the pastor starts talking about the needs of the church, and asking members to give. David did not feel bad that God refused his desire to build the temple. Though he was disqualified, he demonstrated commitment to this God-given vision by making all preparations that will make the project succeed. He organised the human resources and prepared the materials such as stones, iron for nails, wood, brass in abundance. David prepared abundantly before his death. He recognised that the project was not really about him, so it does not matter who does it, as long as God is glorified. God is the source of all resources, who makes all things available for the furtherance of His kingdom. But He has given us charge of these resources, and He expects us to always show willingness to give towards His work. You don't need to wait to be manipulated with high-sounding words before you can give. In fact, the kind of giving that pleases God is that which is done wholeheartedly to meet a need, without being hand-twisted.
- Birthday Blessing: “...for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation” Isaiah 12:2
GOD TO BUILD THE HOUSE OF DAVID
1 Chronicles 17:9-15“He shall build me an house, and I will establish his throne forever.” 1 Chronicles 17:12 David was moved to build a house for God. God saw his good intention, but refused him without rejecting him. In turn, God promised to build David a house and raise his son to build the temple. Eventually, Solomon took over the responsibility of building a temple for God. Every house has an architect, and professional builders who would build the house to the pattern. However, people will conclude that it is the owner, the supplier of money and materials, who actually built the house. Hebrews 3:4 (NCV), says “Every house is built by someone, but the builder of everything in God himself.” God is the ultimate power, intelligence and idea behind everything that is conceived and built by humans. All of life's labour becomes futile without the backing of God who is the builder of everything. No matter how smart, intelligent or hardworking we might be, our toil would not yield the desired result unless God is in it. Give God the charge over your life and let Him build you so that you will be successful in all you do, and that you may fulfil your life's purpose.
- Birthday Blessing: “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.” Psalm 40:2
SAMUEL ANOINTS DAVID KING OF ISRAEL
1 Samuel 16 1, 11-13So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power... 1 Samuel 16:13 In ancient Israel, anointing was a common practice. Anointing kings and priests with the oil was done as a way of consecrating and separating them for a sacred service, and empowering them to operate in their offices. That is why the priests and kings were called 'the anointed'. Anointing a king was equivalent to crowning him. As God commanded, Samuel poured the anointing oil on David, and he thereby singled him out from amongst his brothers. By the anointing, David was consecrated, separated to God's service in leading the people of Israel. Believers need the crowning by the Holy Spirit to serve the Lord in an acceptable manner. Anointing is power for service, and we would only keep struggling to live the God-kind of life without the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Jesus says we will receive power (dunamis) when the Holy Spirit comes upon us. The dunamis that the Holy Spirit gives is like dynamite which blasts away everything that is not of God. Have you received power to live the supernatural life that God called you to live in Christ? Will you ask for a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit today so that you can live a victorious Christian life?
- Birthday Blessing: ...he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.” Luke 2:40
PEOPLE HEAR GOD’S WORD FROM MOSES
Exodus 20: 18-26… And said to Moses, “speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” Exodus 20:19, NIV The Israelites had a rare privilege of hearing God speak to them at the mountain. But instead of cherishing that experience, they told Moses that henceforth, he should listen to God on their behalf, and then relay God's message to them. By choosing to hear God’s word from Moses, the Israelites preferred a mediator to stand between them and God (vv. 18 & 19). God was using this display of power to inspire in them a reverence that would help keep them from sinning (v. 20). But they had this feeling of being inadequate to stand before Him. What could make a child dread hearing the voice of his or her father? What could bring a feeling of inadequacy which makes a believer run away from fellowship with God? The answer is sin. Sin brings fear, and takes us away from fellowship with God. And when we are out of fellowship with Him, we begin to look for 'prophets' and 'seers' to tell us His mind. Believers need not feel inadequate, because they have a mediator in Jesus through whom they can approach God with confidence without irrational fear (Hebrews 10: 19-22). God's Word is your key to a meaningful life, so, do not allow anything to hinder you from hearing from Him.
- Birthday Blessing: “No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders...” Isaiah 60:18
LUST LEADS TO ADULTERY
Matthew 5: 27-32...anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:28, NIV Elisha A. Hoffman's hymn "Is thy heart right with God?" captures the essence of a right heart in a Christian's walk with God. Some lyrics of the song include: "Has thy affection been nailed to the cross? Has thou dominion over self and sin...over all evil without and within?" Jesus, in today’s passage, condemns the deliberate and repeated filling of one’s heart with fantasies and unhealthy sexual desires which He termed sin. What changes in us when we become believers is our heart, therefore, a genuine change in the outward starts from the inward - the heart. David knew the importance of the heart in living above sin, and that was why he prayed, "Create in me a new heart O Lord, and renew a right spirit within me...." What is the condition of your heart? Is your heart right with God? When your heart is right with God, everything else will be right. When you have conquered sin from the heart, then you truly have dominion over sin. You need to be drastic in dealing with unhealthy desires (vv. 29 & 30). Examine your life for anything that causes you to sin, and take every necessary action to remove it today. The Scripture says, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
- Birthday Blessing: “"The enemy will not get the better of him; the wicked will not oppress him." Psalm 89:22
ANGER LEADS TO MURDER
Matthew 5: 23-2But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment…. Matthew 5:22a, NIV A lady I met at the prison during prison evangelism narrated what brought her there. At a community tap where they used to fetch water, a woman came who, instead of waiting for her turn, wanted to fetch water before those she met there. The lady could not tolerate this woman who was adamant, even after others had condemned her action. In anger, she walked up to the woman, and pushed her. The woman fell down, and became unconscious. Every effort to resuscitate her proved futile. They had to rush her to a hospital, where she was confirmed dead on arrival. Jesus set a contrast between externalistic interpretation of the rabbinic tradition and the correct interpretation of the law. Murder is a sin as much as the anger that can fuel murder (vv. 21, 22). God’s law is given to protect life, which is to be respected and cherished. No life is to be taken, either one’s own life or the life of anyone else. Killing is a terrible sin, but anger is a great sin too. However, there is a justified anger – anger at those who do wrong either against God or against others. Such anger seeks to correct the situation in the most peaceful way possible. One way to deal with destructive anger is to acknowledge it, and pray seriously for deliverance from God.
- Birthday Blessing: “I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places....” Isaiah 45:3
THE LAW FINDS FULFILMENT IN JESUS
Matthew 5:17-20“Don’t assume that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfil.” Matthew 5:17 Jesus told His disciples, “I did not come to destroy (the Law or the Prophets) but to fulfil (them)”. In other words, though Jesus Christ came in the era of the New Testament, He did not come to nullify the Old Testament, but rather, the Old Testament found fulfilment in Him. This particular teaching found accomplishment in Matthew 17:5, “While (Jesus) was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said: This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him. Listen to Him”. Moses and Elijah met with Jesus on the mount of Transfiguration to submit the Law (which Moses represented) and the Prophets (which Elijah represented) to Jesus Christ. And the Father in heaven said, “Listen to Him”, which implies that every law and prophet in the Old Testament are still valid but only in Jesus Christ. No matter how long you have been in the church; or how much activity you do; you may have even memorised the whole Scripture; it is only in Christ that God can reckon with you. Have you given your life to Christ? Are you walking in His ways? You can only find true fulfilment in Him.
- Birthday Blessing: For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous….Psalm 1:6
DAVID INSTRUCTS SOLOMON ABOUT THE TEMPLE
1 Chronicles22: 6-16“Then he called for Solomon his son, and charged him to build an house for the Lord God of Israel.” 1 Chron. 22:6 Right from my elementary school days, I have learnt that one of the secrets of passing examinations is taking the instructions attached to the question paper seriously as the questions themselves. If one does not follow instructions, one is likely to fail an exam. David called Solomon his son to give him details about the temple to be built. God had earlier revealed the architecture of the temple to David as He also did for Moses. David hereby transferred the vision and burden of this all-important project to Solomon his son for proper execution. David's sincere concern for building a befitting house for the Ark of Covenant is revealed in that though he was not the one to build the temple, he still instructed his son on giving God the best. He made available men and materials needed for the successful completion of the building. What Solomon needed to be successful was God's presence, wisdom and understanding to obey the words of the Lord. God’s work done successfully, but with a wrong method can never be acceptable to Him because He cares about the method as much as the result. Obedience is better than sacrifice. Decide to always follow God’s instruction to the letter.
- Birthday Blessing: “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD” Psalm 27:14
GUIDE FOR HUMAN RELATIONSHIP
Exodus 20:13-17“You shall not covet . . . anything that belongs to your neighbour.” Exodus 20:17b, NIV We are created for relationship – relationship with God and fellow humans. This is the reason why Jesus Christ summarised the entire Ten Commandments into two – Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind . . . (and) love your neighbour as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39). God told the Israelites that they must not long to have anything that belongs to their neighbour. By this law, God wanted the people to know that those around them are worthy of respect, and they should be treated as such. God expects every Christian to treat people around them, whether Christian or non-Christian, with respect and dignity. When you respect and love your neighbour, you would not abuse them; you would not take advantage of them, and you would not intimidate them. You would treat him as you would treat yourself. How do you relate with people around you? Perhaps you do not know that how you relate with people matters as much as, if not more than, what you profess. Your love for God reflects in the way you treat human beings whom He created.
- Birthday Blessing: How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you. Psalm 31:19, NIV
GOD’S EXCLUSIVE CLAIM
Exodus 20:1-12“And God spoke all these words: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery” Exodus 20:1-2, NIV Branding as a concept in the marketing world seeks to make a product or service stand out amongst others. Experts say a brand depicts the exclusive ownership of the one who has created it. Brand ownership comes with freedom to use the brand and own its copyright. God lays claim to the Israelites when He declared, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, you shall have no other gods before me”. Since God was the reason for their deliverance from captivity, they must acknowledge Him by serving Him alone, and not any other god. Believers are God's brands, and He should have freedom to use them for His purpose and own an exclusive copyright over them. How much control have you given to God over your life - total or partial? Is Christ the Lord of your life? Many received Christ as Saviour, but they are yet to make Him Lord of their lives. If you call Him Lord, you should always say 'Yes' to Him - to His will, His way, and His purpose for your life. God deserves your loyalty, dedication, commitment and love as a way to acknowledge His kindness and goodness to you.
- Birthday Blessing: "Blessed be God...the father of mercies, and the God of all comfort." 2 Corinthians 1:3