Friday, June 3, 2016

Bless or Curse?




Reporting on our Wednesday Prayer over our city.
 
Pastor asked me to save my prepared lesson for next week's prayer meeting, because he had something he wanted to share from Ezekiel 47.  The location was changed just for this Wednesday as we met on the green walking bridge looking over the river.  We thought about Ezekiel 47 and the flowing waters from the river and the healthy trees on its banks. We prayed over our city that the healing living waters would flood over our city.

Below is the lesson I will pass out to the early birds who come to our church for coffee on Sunday morning.  They look forward to a brief  Bible lesson they can enjoy with their coffee and treat.
 
Shall we Bless or Curse?
 
Do you ever get upset and angry with the people who live in your city?

Many are sinners, needing Jesus, and as a church, we are praying that their eyes and ears of understanding will be opened to the truth of the Gospel.  The Good News is that Jesus loves even the sinner and is anxious for them to repent, and receive Him as Lord of their life.  

In Numbers 22-24, we find the story about Balaam and Balak the king of Moab. 
 
The King of Moab wanted to weaken the children of Israel, who had moved in on his territory as they traveled on their way to the Promised Land. 
 
The king of Moab, believed in curses and sent a request to Balaam to come and proclaim a curse that would eliminate the Israelites from his land.
 
Balaam was a Prophet but his heart was not right.  He was willing to give a blessing or a curse for riches, but first he needed to ask permission from God.  Naturally God did not want his people cursed, so he told Balaam “NO.”  The king of Moab was troubled but he asked Balaam to come anyway, and perhaps God would change His mind.  

Balaam was smart enough to know God seldom changes His mind, but he figured “Who knows?”  Besides he thought he might get a payment from the King - - somehow. 

Balaam saddled his donkey and began his journey.  Along the way, there was a steep place with walls on each side.  The donkey pulled over crushing Balaam’s foot.  Balaam was ready to curse now – except it was the donkey he cursed as he beat the poor animal.

Imagine his surprise as his donkey spoke with a voice and proclaimed, “Why are you beating me as I am a faithful servant to you?” 
 
Suddenly Balaam's eyes were opened to see a fierce looking angel with a large sword in his hand. 
 
The angel told Balaam, you are fortunate your donkey swerved, because I was ready to strike you dead for your willful attitude and disobedience.  The angel told Balaam to go and meet the King of Moab, but to ONLY speak blessings over the Children of Israel. 

What kind of people were the children of Israel?  They were stubborn, rebellious, murmuring and complaining and quick to serve other gods instead of Jehovah God. 
 
Did they deserve blessings?  Probably not, because God does not always give us what we deserve, but He is patient desiring us to repent and be blessed.

The Children of Israel were very much like the people in our city!!  God did not want curses, disaster, misfortune, trouble and disease to fall their lot any more than he wants to send calamity on the citizens of your city.  (or on you and me) . . .

Many in our city are already suffering in their body and in their emotions from their own willful lifestyle, and we are praying that their minds and thoughts will be turned to the Lord.  That the eyes and ears of their understanding will be open to receive Truth.
 
We are not praying that they will all get rich with silver and gold, but that the spiritual riches of Jesus will enlighten their spirit. 

Many in our city were in Sunday School and church as children, but they have turned their back on the Lord.  This is what Paul was saying to those who professed to be Christians but were believers in Name only.    

(Romans 2:2-5) And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice wicked life styles. But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.

Do you need Jesus?  He is ready and willing to change you when you invite him into your life.  He desires to bless you.

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