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Psalm 16 seems to portray the saying of a happy man. “This writer may have had plenty of nothing – no money, no property, no status and no security but he was satisfied with God as his sufficiency and that alone made him happy.” The writer started, “Preserve me O God, for I take my refuge in you. You are my Lord and I have no good apart from you” [Psalm 16:1-2]. This is a statement of complete resignation. He must have learned this important truth from his personal experiences with God. He learned that a man with God can be happy even when he has nothing else; God alone gives true happiness. He went further to say, “My life is filled with joy as I delight in the Saints who live holy lives on earth. Their lives are also filled with happiness because they have God as the Lord of their lives; those who worship and serve other gods multiply their sorrows. I have no delight in them because they are fetish; neither share in blood offerings nor swear by their names.” Until someone comes to the point where God means everything; nothing except Him, only Him matters, He or she has not known God. Nobody becomes a true Christian until He/she can say truthfully, “I have no good apart from You.”
Since I have God as a portion of my inheritance, I have a goodly heritage. I am satisfied in Him because He’s all I need. Many people are dissatisfied with their heritage. They wish they were born of different parents, different race and social background with better dispositions and opportunities; in some other country of the world. Some are ashamed to identify with their parents, ethnicity and root. They feel cheated and deprived by nature and humanity such that they become always unhappy and mean in behavior. Since God is my inheritance, I am a citizen of heaven and just passing through this earth. I am a child of God and have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. I have a great family; brothers and sisters, known and unknown, all over the world. We are all great happy family in the Lord and we enjoy His presence even when we do not see Him physically or feel less of Him.
We are saved by putting faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross. Some amongst us are going through a season of difficulty, trials and persecution. Others have fallen a couple of times but still enjoy the warmth embrace of the Father’s love in their attempts to rise and walk again in faith. Yet they are not considered as failures. God grace is ever sufficient at all times. This great God determines our destiny and holds our future; no one can cut us short or pull us down or away from Him. Our destiny is not determined by wealth, by tribe or race, by influence or education and earthly goodness. We shall not die before our time because we are secured, protected and hidden in God. He’s our shield and refuge against the wiles of the enemies. God is also our cup; He satisfies our tastiness. In Him we drink the water of life that quenches our thirst and we taste no more; our cup run over. God sometimes allow us pass through some periods of dryness. However for a good purpose – those seasons of dryness test our faith and strengthen our resolve as well as keep us in track.
More-so, His boundary lines marks out pleasant places for us. We are disciplined as we sincerely follow the limits mapped out for us; such that we achieve good success. Many people believe if they possess the good things of life that is evidence that they are enjoying life and that meets man’s deepest desire and needs. But in reality, the reverse is the truth. When God created man, He left such a vacuum that only Him can fill; gave man thirsts that only Him quench and hunger that God alone can satisfy. Little wonder Apostle Paul said, in Him we live, we move and have our being. Saint Augustine confessed, “Thou has made us for thyself and our souls are restless until they find their rest in thee.”
A certain group of people believe that if they change location, live in a White or Red house and juggle a few things around, they shall find contentment and be happy. I doubt the full correctness of this opinion. However, I know that contentment is a state of mind and it comes from the inside out. The Psalmist found satisfaction and contentment in God and that brought him true happiness. I ask: where is your source of happiness? Is it on things that do not endure; that terminates after a time or vanish like dust blown by wind? What is it?
The Psalmist revealed his source of happiness: “I bless the Lord who has given me counsel; my heart also instructs me in the night seasons, I have set the Lord always before me. Because He’s at my right hand, I shall not be moved” [Verses 7-8]. The Book of Proverbs of Solomon added, “Counsel is mine and sound wisdom, I am understanding; I have strength. Riches and honor are with me; enduring riches and righteousness” [Proverbs 8:14, 18]. The Psalmist acknowledges and for this reason, blesses God who gives him advices and instructs him while he sleeps at night. Some people pride in saying I did it; it was my ingenuity and sound judgment. They forget they did not create themselves. It was God that made them and deposited such great sense of smartness and while they sleep He still talks to them. Praise the Lord for every good and perfect gift comes from Him, The Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” [James 1:17].
When you have a God you can depend on and that supplies all your needs, then you need nothing else than rest on Him; even when all you see and pass through could sadden you, but with Him you can’t help being not only happy but joyful. King David, who had escaped death severally, knew how God had enveloped and secured him. With the assurance of wonderful life here on earth and thereafter in God’s kingdom, the Psalmist happiness flows to no bound and he testifies, “My heart is glad and my glory rejoices; my body shall rest in hope. For I know you will not leave my soul in hell or allow your holy one to see corruption. Rather you will show me the path of life and fullness of joy in your presence as well as eternal pleasures in your right hand” [Verses 9-11]. This joyful life is availed here on earth and after we pass in heaven by the resurrected Savior to all who put faith in His saving grace. “When you relinquish the desire to control your future you obtain happiness.” The choice is up to you; better make it now.
Reach: Ogbonnaya, Godswill at: firstname.lastname@example.org or P. O. Box 720035 , Houston , Texas , 77272 .
The only sure way to make a doubter believe is to make him/her experience the power of God. This for sure puts an end to all the cynicism and doubts that often robs off the reality of God and break our holds of Him. We have heard much sermons and academic speeches but we need personal revelation knowledge of God. Just one experience of miracle shall dispel all our doubts and turn our cynicism to praise. Some people do not believe in God and others who believe, doubt that He hears and answer all prayers. They claim that they have prayed several times and have received no answer. Is it that God answers and they have no signs or evidence? Something could have intercepted or delayed the answer. Does that surprise you? Read Daniel 10:12-13. The scripture says Satan can delay but can’t deny what God has approved. Again, does God answer all prayers? The response on verse twenty three of Daniel chapter nine may amaze you, “You are highly respected. So as soon as you begin to pray, the Lord gave you an answer I have come to tell you what it is………..”
Another condition that could quicken God to answer prayers is: Are you praying or playing? Most times we could position ourselves to pray but have a lot of distractions in our minds and our focus deflected. Are you sure you were not doing lip service? The heart may be right with God but the head may be wrong in error, yet God’s mercies prevail. When Saul, later named Paul started praying, God answered [Acts 9:11-12]. Do you wonder all the years Saul of Tarsus prayed as a practicing Jew, his prayers did not touch God? Had he not repented and accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior? Perhaps, he was still searching for God or God chasing him to get him to the place and purpose of his calling in life. I do not intend to suggest that God answers only Christian’s prayers. Rather the Epistle of James says, “If any of you need wisdom, ask God for it. He will give it to you. God gives freely to everyone. He does not find fault. But when you ask, you must believe; you must not doubt. People who doubt are like waves of the sea. The wind blows and tosses them around. A man like that shouldn’t expect to receive anything from God. He can’t make up his mind. He can never decide what to do” [James 1:5-8]. Indeed, the prayer of the righteous avails much.
If God would not answer, He wouldn’t ask us to: ask [A], seek [S] and knock [K] = [ASK]. He taught, if you ask you will receive, if you seek you will find and if you knock it shall be opened to you. The Psalmist says, “I love the Lord because He hath heard my voice and supplication. Because He had inclined His ear unto me, therefore will I call upon Him as long as I live [Psalm 116:1-2]. King David testifies, “I cried out to the Lord with my voice and He heard me out of His holy hill” [Psalm 3:4]. He continued, “But know that the Lord has set apart him that is godly for himself; the Lord will hear when I call unto Him” [Psalm 4:3]. King David shared throughout the various Psalms, the unshakeable basis of his implicit faith and trust in the Lord. He discovered that the Lord of man’s experience is one that hears and answer prayers. The Psalmist expressed to the world how readily available the tremendous power of God to those who call unto Him in faith. Those who invite God into their daily experiences; He comes in and not only dwell but become the solution.
The Psalmist expected God to answer his prayers and request. He commenced in Psalm 4:1 saying, “Lord, faithful God, answer me when I call out to you.” His expectation was the underlying power and basis for his prayers, praises and thanksgivings. He did not ask God for asking sake but believed He will receive a suitable and a more appropriate answer; sometimes even better than what he desired and asked for. He trust in God’s judgment and believed in the efficacy of his prayers. When He was sick, he told God he depended on Him alone for healing and God did it because it was a prayer of faith. The Psalmist believed that God could do exceedingly and abundantly beyond what we ever asked or desired. God is interested in total cure and healing. Sometimes God gives us exactly what we asked for. At other times He gives us something better than we asked for. God could reject, ignore or even delay answers when our request is short-sighted, baseless and with wrong motives. On the other hand He could withhold our request when He has better plan for us. We ought to understand that He’s God and can do whatever He likes. More so, He knows the future even before the beginning of the world. It may not always be in our interest but to His glory. Sometimes God allows us to suffer our thorns in the flesh [sharp pains]. Apostle Paul begged God thrice to take away these pains and thrice God heard him and answered, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” [2 Corinthians 12:9]. God neither made life easier nor removed the nagging thorns on the flesh of Paul but He did promise him the spiritual resources equal to life’s demand. “He helped him made the best of the thorns and let it make the best of him. God didn’t answer Paul’s petition the way He made it but He had answered Paul himself”- L. Griffith
Why is faith an underlying factor in our receiving from God? Leonard Griffith opined in God in man’s experience that, “Faith opens our eyes to the fact that God is answering many of our prayers………” It’s our faith that gives us the assurance that God’s more than enough and can do whatever He decides to do; is dependable and worthy of our trust. Little wonder the scripture assures: For with God nothing shall be impossible [Luke 2:37]. More often than I can remember, I have to ask myself when Prophet Elijah stood before a large crowd of Israelites surrounded by both worshippers of God Almighty and Baal; he called on the God of heaven. Did he ever think for a minute, supposing God did not answer? Or just threw his whole faith on God, trusted He will honor Himself? And indeed, He did send down fire to consume everything – wood, fire, water and pieces of lamb for sacrifice.
As if that was not enough, amongst the various exhibitions of God’s power in the scriptures, Jesus demonstration in Mark 1:40-42 endears my heart. Jesus preached throughout the synagogues in Galilee and cast out demons. In the large crowd where the dignitaries and the important personalities gathered, a leper [an unclean] walked in and knelt down begging Jesus, saying unto Him, “If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” He did not mind that he belongs to the untouchable, dirty and an outcast. Do you wonder how some were already covering their noises and those seated near the altar area where Jesus sat had to move or change their seats? They did not want to be contaminated because leprosy is a deadly disease and very contagious. Jesus looked at the leper beyond his outward disposition into his faith; moved by compassion He put forward His hand and touched him and said unto him, “Yes I can, be thou clean.”
The Psalmist prayed for healing of his whole personality. In some places, he cried to God to deliver his soul. He believed that many organic illnesses had spiritual causes – guilt, resentment, depression, unforgiveness, fears, plaques and lust, etc. These must be identified and dealt with, and then its physical symptoms disappear. Healing therefore is supposed to deal with the totality of the problem. In another instance, when Jesus saw their faith He said unto the paralyzed man, “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee [Mark 2:5]. That means the penalty is remitted, the sense of guilt removed and you are made right and now in good standing with God.
The Psalmist prayers were an expression based on his relationship with God. Griffith said “it was not a neon-marked emergency exist to be taken only in time of calamity when all other exist are blocked.” When the Psalmist prayed to God his heart was spiritually conditioned to receiving an answer and he recognized it as such in praise and thanksgiving. It therefore means if it never seemed to us that God answers our prayers the reason could be that we have not believed and spiritually conditioned to receive it and recognized an answer.
Reach: Evangelist Ogbonnaya, Godswill at: email@example.com or P. O. Box 710025 , Houston , Texas , 77272 .
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