Thursday, 11 June 2009

Relational Beings...

God created man as relational being. This is evident from when He created Adam as we read in Genesis 1:26-27, which reads "Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” 27 So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them".

Relationship is defined as a connection, association, or involvement.

Adam's first relationship was with God. He had a connection, an association and an involvement with God. However, I God wanted to increase the relational experience of man, so he created Eve. This we read in Genesis 2:18, which reads "Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”

God does want us to have relationships; but the right ones and manage them adequately.

The pattern of forming or creating and managing relationships can be likened to that of the harvest, and the steps are: Conditioning the soil, sowing the seed, watering the seed, and then reaping a harvest.

For relationships, we can write the pattern as including: Introduction, Acquaintance, Friendship and Intimacy.

In relationships, at the beginning we condition our hearts (soil) through introduction to an individual, then we get acquainted (sowing he seed) by getting to know them. When we like what we see and perceive, we then move further to work on the friendship (watering the seed) through spending time with the individual. When we are sure and affirmed and confident of the individual in areas such as their believes and maturity, we finally we move into intimacy(reaping a harvest), and this could mean marriage, or having the individual as a close friend.

In today's society, most are used to having everything in an instant. Fast cars, fast meals, fast life... and therefore fast relationships. With all this 'fastness' the relational management of most has become faulty, or none existent.

Most people seem to go from introduction to intimacy in a very short period of time, showing that they want the benefit of commitment without actually being committed to the relationship. For example, two people living together, is called involvement. However, two people married and living together, is called commitment.

Not all relationships in our lives should move on to the next level. some are meant to stay at Introduction, or Acquaintance level (pointing finger to self at this point!). It is the fact of life that there will be some people, who will be closer to us than others.

We can learn more about relational management from the life of Jesus Christ.

Jesus had a special relationship with twelve men, His disciples, as we read in Matthew 10:2-4. However, amongst those twelve men, Jesus had a special relationship with three of them - Peter, James and John. This we are affirmed when he took them up a mountain to be alone. This we read in Mathew 17:1, which reads "Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone". Within those three men, Jesus had an even closer relationship with one of them, John.

Jesus also had relationship with other people that He managed. He had relationships with the Pharisees, He even had dinner with them. He also had relationships with His family and the people He ministered to along His way. It seemed that throughout His life, Jesus managed the people around Him, relationally, seamlessly.

To us all, the question is "How are we doing with the relationships in our lives?"

What if I have someone occupying the wrong space, relationship wise, in my life, what do I do? I hear you ask. Well we could do the following:

  • Retrain: This means to review, re-asses and re-instate the nature form and shape of the relationship. It means that we could try to re-invest into the individual by putting more effort into the relationship to build it, for example spending more time with them or getting involved more in their life, and them ours, in the hope of experiencing growth.

  • Reposition: This means that we reposition the space the this person takes in our lives. For example, if we have someone at the intimacy level, and we know they are not meant to be there, we must re-asses the relationship and move them to the right level within our lives, or if need be retire the relationship completely. This however, is not an easy thing to do because with relationships comes expectations. When expectations are not met, problems will most definitely ensue, but we must manage them all the same.

  • Retire: if the two above does not work, then it might be safe to part ways, amicably.

What is the nature, shape and form of the relationships in your life? Do you need to retrain, move or retire a few of them?

For relationships to work, they must occupy the right space, and managed so that the right investment (time and resource) is spent on them, therefore providing and yielding the right reward (harvest) to both parties, all for God's glory.

Have a great time being the all relational being that God created you to be, making Him famous along your way.

Much Love


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Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Pleasurable Smiles...

"For the LORD takes pleasure in His people;
He will beautify the humble with salvation"

To take pleasure in someone, means to derive joy, delight and enjoyment in everything that individual does.

When a husband says about his wife that "he takes pleasure in her"; he is in fact saying that he enjoys every single aspect of who she is. He takes pleasure from her eating, sleeping, talking, reading or simply just sitting still. This is what I believe God means when He says in the verse above that "For the LORD takes pleasure in His people."

God takes takes pleasure in everything we do (apart from sin), if we do like we are doing it for Him and doing it as an act of worship. He takes pleasure in our waking up, our eating, sleeping, singing, dancing, working, relationships and much more.

How can we make our daily activities an act of worship, that will bring pleasure to God and cause Him to smile?

When we engage in our daily activities or tasks, we must have God very much in mind. We can have at the back of our minds questions such as "Does this activity, for example eating, bring worship to God? Does the food I am consuming and how I am fueling and looking after my body, the temple of God, bring pleasure to God? Does it make God smile"?

What common, yet daily tasks can you start doing differently today, with God in mind?

To further learn how our daily activities can bring glory to God, we can learn from the life of Noah, Genesis 6. Noah's life was a life that brought pleasure to God, His life and the activities he engaged in, glorified God and made Him smile.

In the days of Noah, God could not find anyone on the earth who pleased Him. Man was consistently engaged in evil doings. It was so bad that God was sorry He ever made them, and said He was going to wipe man out. However, Noah, found favour with God. Genesis 6: 5- 8 (please read for emphasis). God found pleasure in Noah for he was the only blameless man living on earth at that time as we read in Genesis 6:9 which reads "This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God". God decided to start creation all again, and to start with Noah. He could not wipe out Noah, for he lived a life that pleased God. Can God say the same thing about us? Can God intervene in some crises happening because we are present and the grace He has over us helps to rectify the situation? (selah)

Here are five acts of worship we can learn from the life of Noah. Acts of worship that will bring pleasure to God and cause Him to smile.

We make God smile when we:
  • Love Him supremely: Noah loved God, when no one else did as we read in Genesis 6:9 reads "This is the history of the generations of Noah. Noah was a just and righteous man, blameless in his [evil] generation; Noah walked [in habitual fellowship] with God. This is the most thing God wants from us. God made us to love us and longs for us to love us back. God wants to have a daily and continuous walk with us. He wants us to have a continuous and engaging relationship with Him, through conversations; from the moment we wake up to the time we go to sleep. God wants a relationship with us, a one to one relationship. He made us to love us and longs for us to love Him back. God is more interested in our relationships rather than our sacrifices as we read in 1 Samuel 15:22 "But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.

  • Trust him completely: To trust God is to have faith in God. It is impossible to please God or make Him smile if we have no faith, as declared in Hebrews 11:6a which reads "And it is impossible to please God without faith..." By faith Noah built the ark ( a ship) in preparation for rain, even though there had never been any rain! Hebrews 11:7a reads "It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood...". Today, how many of us will trust God totally and completely with every area of our lives, even when He says to do things that makes no sense whatsoever! How many of us will do that? In what areas of our lives do we need to trust God completely, to bring Him pleasure and to make Him smile?

  • Obey Him wholeheartedly: The dictionary defines wholeheartedly as - fully or completely sincere, enthusiastic and energetic. Noah obeyed God wholeheartedly, by following specific instructions. He did everything God commanded, as was confirmed in Genesis 6:22, which reads "So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.". When God tells us to do something, regardless how insane it might seem to us, our duty (out of love and obedience to Him) is to simply obey. We must be instant in our obedience. Instant obedience will teach us more about God than a whole lot of bible school will. Also, I believe (and have experienced) that instant obedience will further unlock understanding which will not be given to us otherwise. Delayed obedience, is still disobedience.

  • When we thank and praise Him continuously: When the flood subsided and Noah embarked from the ark, his first act of worship on dry land was to offer a sacrifice of burnt offerings to God, and God was pleased, as we confirmed in Genesis 8: 20 - 21a, it reads "20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and there he sacrificed as burnt offerings the animals and birds that had been approved for that purpose. 21 And the Lord was pleased with the aroma of the sacrifice... It pleases God when we express our thanks to Him, for all that Has done, doing and for that which He has promised to do. As the Psalmist writes in Psalm 107:1, we must "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever".

  • When we use our abilities: After the flood, in Genesis 8: 15-16, God said to Noah, "Be fruitful and increase the earth". God was telling Noah, to enjoy all that God has given Him and live a life He designed for Him. God wants us to get on with our life according to his Will for us. He wants us to do the things we have been specifically designed to do. He takes pleasure in it all. When we use our abilities, for His glory and to help those around us, it brings Him pleasure, it makes Him smile. If God created you with the gift of a writer, then write. If God created you to be a runner, then run to His glory. If God created you to be a tailor then sew the best designed pieces there is!

So, are you living a life that is pleasing to God? Does your everyday actions worship and make Him smile? What area of your life or activities you engage in, can be displayed as an act of worship to God?

I encourage us all to live out the very essence of our lives as an expression of worship to Almighty God. We should endeavour to make our every activity be impregnated with the knowledge of God, causing those activities to flow in seamless praise, and adoration to Him. For this will bring Him pleasure, make Him smile, and His glory will shine through us, whilst we make him famous as we live out the intricacies of each and every day.

Much love
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