Father God, I come before your throne of grace, in the only way I know how, with head bowed, and heart humbled to say thank you. I thank you for life and strength this morning. I thank you for a covering at night while my family and I slumbered. I thank you for the many blessings you have bestowed, those seen and unseen. I thank you for your grace and mercy, and most importantly, I thank you for Jesus. I pray Father, that these blessings continue to pour on your children. I pray a blessing on the reader and doer of your word. I pray that you bless them just as you bless me, Father. I pray oh God, that we continue to let our light shine to those who are in the dark. I pray that your Holy Spirit rest, rule and abide over us in all that we do. You are a God who can keep us from falling, and I pray in the mighty name of Jesus, that this blessing never leaves us. And Father, I pray that you forgive us for any sins committed. We give you all the honor and the glory, and in Jesus we pray. Amen
I love my mother. I know some of you after reading that first sentence are probably saying, “Ooooookaaaay!, I love my mother too, what’s your point” I was just sitting at my desk wondering how I am going to write my paper for my seminary and just started to think about my mother. The memories that I remember the most are those of when I was young. I received so many beatings from her, I lost count. But hey, I turned out alright didn’t I? Of course mainly by the will of God. My mom was very unique in our upbringing. One of the things she always used to tell us is “do not bring things that do not belong to us in the house.” She did not care if it was a gift or not, if she did not purchase it, or if she did not approve of it, you better not had brought it in. As always, me and my hard-headed self, I used to defy her. A friend gave me a toy car, I would bring it home, and my mother would tell me to give it back. I brought home a pencil that was given to me; my mother would tell me to give it back. Every item that a kid normally has in his possession it was given to me and my mom would tell me to give it back.
I do not remember what the occasion was, I do not remember how I was in my friend’s home, but I do remember his mom giving me $5 dollars. Listen!!!! $5 dollars in the early 80’s was big bucks for a kid. I got home, and my mom saw the money hanging out of my pocket. With a cold whisper, she asked me where I got it from. Looking in her eyes, and seeing her nostrils flare, I knew already, that this time it was going to be more than her telling me to give it back. Before I could answer, she let me have it. Do you know those types of beatings where each strike was a word? For some reason, it felt like each strike was a letter. It went on forever, and then she took the money and I believe she made a phone call. I do not remember hanging out with that friend again.
I came to the realization later that I got what I deserved. It was not about how harmless it was for a child to give another child a gift. It was not about how cute it was for children to express sharing. Nor was it about an adult doing something out of the kindness of her heart. It was about my mother giving me an instruction and for me to follow it. It doesn’t matter if it made sense or not. I was not old enough to wipe my behind properly, so how dare I try to make sense out of it. I continuously disobeyed, and she let it go until she felt she had to make her point clear.
When I look back at that memory, I am reminded of the children of Israel. They cried to the Lord when they were in Egypt (Ex 3:7). He removed them from that bondage. What did they do with that blessing? They cried because they were in the desert (Ex 16:3). They murmured for this and for that to the point God said "I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people! "Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation.” (Ex 32:9-10) Moses sent up prayer and for the sake of Moses, God held His wrath, however they continued to murmur and they continued to show disobedience, to where God acted. They wanted meat and complained how better it was for them when they were in Egypt. God spoke to Moses and said “Then you shall say to the people, 'Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the hearing of the LORD, saying, "Who will give us meat to eat? For it was well with us in Egypt." Therefore the LORD will give you meat, and you shall eat. 'You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, 'but for a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have despised the LORD who is among you, and have wept before Him, saying, "Why did we ever come up out of Egypt?" (Nu 11:18-20)
How quickly can people forget yesterday’s blessings when encountering today’s difficulties! We see these incidents of Israel’s complaining, and God was just in calling them a “stiff-necked” people. We had stiff-necked people back then, and we have them now. They complain because they are lonely, then God bless them with a mate, then they complain about the mate. They complain because the children are never home, then when the children decides to stay home, they complain because they are eating them out of house and land. They complain because it is hard to find a job, so the Lord blesses them with one, then they find something to complain about. Blah, Blah, Blah! Whaah, Whaah, Whaah! If they would shut up, and compare the now to where they were, they would realize that God could have dealt with them worst. If they look at how others are who are less fortunate, they would realize that grace kept them. So when God decides to deal with their murmuring, and their discontent, these are the ones who will blame the devil.
I learned from an early age, what it means to be obedient. It took me a long time to realize it, but I can look back now and make proper adjustments in my life to acknowledge God’s mercy, and to pray that I will do nothing to invite his wrath. As a blessed people, and if we really look at it, we are truly blessed, we should thank God for even the little things, because there is someone out there who do not even have the little things. The bible states “Now when the people complained, it displeased the LORD; for the LORD heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the LORD burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp.” (Nu 11:1 ) In no way am I saying you’re your complaining will get you killed. However, when the children of Israel did it, it displeased God. It displeased God because they had nothing to complain about. They had God’s ears, and He loved them by answering their prayers, and they responded with an ungrateful response. Look back at your life and I guarantee that you will see many times that something could have happened that was not in your favor, yet miraculously, it worked itself out. That was God. Isn’t He awesome? Amen!