“Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way” - Romans 13:14 (NIV).
A stumbling bloc can be compared to a road bloc standing in the way to a destination. During the days of some of the worst regimes in Uganda encountering a roadblock was a most dreaded experience. One could be detained and kept back, till possibly mercy prevailed and let go. There were those who were not so lucky. Stopped and held back at a road bloc, that was the last they were ever seen. A road bloc was a stumbling bloc for one eager to travel around the country.
Jesus once rebuked his disciple Peter after he raised a certain matter, “But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s” (Mathew 16:23). Elsewhere he also castigated the religious leaders of the day for putting up conditions that hindered others from knowing God, “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in” (Mathew 23:13).
The Apostle Paul once noted that one believer could also become stumbling bloc to another, like where he indulged in a certain matter that caused distress to another. Knowing that the eating of meat was an issue for some he cautioned the mature believers, “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak” (1 Cor 8:9). What Paul is here noting that there are certain things we could indulge in at the expense of fellow brethren, and why stress the matter, just give it up for the sake of mutual edification.
Personal relations can be strained because of a stumbling bloc that has come in the way. For example, a certain brother might have hurt another, and is owed an apology. Yet, by failing to consider saying “sorry”, perhaps making light of the situation that caused offense, his pride becomes a stumbling bloc.
Then there is also the sharing of the Gospel. While a preacher could be doing everything right there might be those close to him, not warming up to his sermon, because there is matter that has becoming a stumbling bloc. “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you,” Jesus advised, “leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift” (Mathew 5:24).
What is the stumbling bloc affecting your relationship with God? Perhaps, it might help to look around and see if there is any, and deal with it.
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, help me deal with that stumbling bock in way of my knowing and experiencing your goodness, this I pray in Jesus’s name
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“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God”- (Philippians 4:6).
Perhaps you have heard of a certain old magical trade known as mind reading. According to this trade which has been around for millenniums and has its share of tricksters, mind readers are able to discern thought patterns of individuals before they even utter a word. There are places in the world where this, as expected, is a lucrative occupation, with practitioners, often crafty magicians, demanding hefty fees, just to tell thoughts of others.
As Christians, of course, we have an all knowing God, who has said, “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” ( Mathew 6:8). Further, our Lord has pointed out, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words” ( Mathew 6:7). As Christians when we come to God, we do so with full confidence, that He already knows our needs and will meet them according to his glorious riches in heaven.
Of particular interest for us here is that while God perfectly knows our needs before we even dare utter a single word, still it is incumbent upon us to make our requests known to Him. A parent may have long noticed a child has a need for a new pair of shoes; but it is another dimension, when the child does come out and share aloud that his pair is worn out, hurting and is quite in need of a new one. The parent takes notice, especially when the matter is presented with such conviction and urgency. This is why Hannah cried out to God for a child ( 1 Samuel 1:9-18).
In our relationship with God, as the Apostle Paul advises us, it is not just enough to assume and let matters be, that after all God knows all our needs, but we too bear a responsibility to make our requests known to Him. Once we are done with that, we let God do His part, allowing “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” ( Philippians 4:7) to flood us.
So, today, do not hold back your needs from the Almighty God. He has paved the way to walk to Him through His son Jesus Christ, to present your case, bear out your heart’s desire, and let Him do His part!
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I rise to make my requests known to you, knowing you have heard me even before I utter a single word, assured that you will meet each and every one of my needs, according to your glorious riches in heaven!