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TURN ASIDE and LOOK, GOD WILL RESPOND

Sermons and teachings on “hearing the voice of God” are commonly sort after- I believe it’s because most people really want to hear God for the themselves. The Bible is a good place to start if you are eager to hear from God. Both the old and new testaments are full of examples of how God speaks. What God did in the past with others is still replicated today.

The story that triggered this blog is the story of the burning bush in which we see the initial calling of Moses as deliverer of the Israelites.  I was intrigued by these words.” So, when the Lord saw that he (Moses) turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses! “And he said, “Here I am.” (Exodus 3:2, Exodus 3:1-10). From the story, it appears that Moses’ turning to look, triggered God’s response. That the burning bush was an invitation for conversation and relationship.

This kept me questioning how many things God has wooed you with -inviting to Him or warning  you, that you have ignored. God can draw our attention through repeated dreams, reoccurring themes or words, through impressions, through memories of past prophesies or instructions; a strong desire to pray, worship or read the Bible, a recurring song in your mind; even an urge to drive a different route to work or an unplanned strong desire to call someone you have not spoken to in a while. Have you stopped to wonder, why now? Why I am thinking of that today? It could be that God is waiting for you to “turn aside and look”, then He will give you further instructions. Do not ignore them.

Turning aside to look may also include you taking time to put the dots together; you may be surprised by the outcome of the completed puzzle and the message God has for you in that puzzle. The more you respond in obedience to these nudges; you will quickly recognize how God talks to you. Better yet, you will soon discern what each urge or prompting means and what to do about it. You too will get to experience frequent invitations for conversations with God that will result in great friendship with Him! This relational friendship is an aspect of “walking with God” just like Moses, Enoch and Noah did. Our God is a relational God!

This week, slow down, take time to stop and look—God may just be waiting for you to do that. If you are waiting for answers, I encourage you to reflect on what God has shown you in the past. Put the dots together, the answer may just be at the tip of your nose!

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WALKING IN LOVE IN THE MIDST OF AN OFFENSE

After forgiving your offender, the challenge often comes in how to relate with the person after reconciliation. This can be tough based on the nature of the offense and the damage it caused. Among the areas I’ve asked God to help develop is how to relate with the person lovingly through God’s agape love after the offense.

This blog is specific to relationships fostered among friends, associates or acquittances, Loving the offender does not mean agreeing with what they did. Walking in Love does not require reinstitution of the relationship to the level that it was before. There could be a need to set healthy boundaries or to permanently end such relationships.  At times God allows people in our lives to accomplish specific tasks within a given period. Wisdom calls for us to know when seasons with such people have ended. Overstaying a relationship result in hurts and disappointments simply because the person was not meant to stay long-term.

Walking in love towards a person who has offended you requires a level of humility and determination to still love God despite what happened. Jesus taught that if we love Him, we must follow His commandments (John 14:15). Among His commandments is to love on another as we love ourselves and to love the Lord my God with all our hearts, minds and soul (Mark 12:30-31). This means that if we say we love Jesus, we will love our offender. If we say we Love God, we will love our offender. Love is generous, trust is earned.

So, what does love look like amidst the offense? It is viewing the offender from Jesus’s perspective, ministering and serving the person in love, not being defensive, rude short or abrupt in your relationship with the person; responding to their texts, call and emails in love, not blustering them on Facebook and WhatsApp chat groups; not reminding the person of the offense, not being vindictive, praying for the person, blessing the person; it is being the light in the midst of darkness (Romans 12:20; Proverbs 25:21-22).  Even a little dim light overpowers darkness!

Walking in love in the midst of an offense is a test of faith! As you pass each “love test” every time you relate with your offender, you will be maturing concurrently with each test. Continue to do this even when your offender does not recognize your efforts. I must warn that it can be painful to do good to someone who does not acknowledge or recognize the good being done; it hurts when the offender refuses to admit the offense; but continue to do good, God will reward you-Galatians 6:9

Forgive, then keep walking in love!