11. November 2017 · Comments Off on WHO’S YOUR COMPANY? · Categories: Action, Decision making, Friends, Jesus Christ, Relationship

Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked [following their advice and example], Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit [down to rest] in the seat of scoffers (ridiculers) (Psalm 1:1 AMP).

Beloved, our feature text reminds me of the Israelites Journey as they came out of Egypt on their way to the Promised Land. Their journey is one to learn from as it represents our Journey to our promised destination.

As they made their way, we are told that there was a time… THE FOREIGN RABBLE WHO WERE TRAVELING WITH THE ISRAELITES began to crave the good things of Egypt. And the people of Israel ALSO BEGAN TO COMPLAIN. “Oh, for some meat!” they exclaimed. “We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted. But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna!” (Numbers 11:4-6 NLT)

The Message translation says: ‘The riffraff among the people had a craving AND SOON THEY HAD THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL WHINING…

As a result of their company; the people that caused them to long for things they had left behind, some didn’t make it to their destination (Numbers 11:31-34).

Beloved, are there people in your life that keep reminding you of your past and taking you back to the things you used to do and what you’ve left behind? These people have got to go. We need people that will push us forward; encourage and cheer us on; not folks that will cause us to complain or like the NKJV translation says; causes us to… YIELD TO INTENSE CRAVING (Numbers 11:4)… thereby causing us to fall by the wayside.

The word ‘rabble’ means ‘a disorganized or disorderly, unrestrained crowd of people (trouble makers)’ and while I’m by no means putting anyone down, we seriously need to think about the people we hang out with. Your ‘rabble’ is anyone or anything that is causing you to stumble. Yes, you may not have all you need right now but do they know where the Lord is taking you?

I like what Apostle Paul said. He said… These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did, or worship idols as some of them did. As the Scriptures say, “The people celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry.” And we must not engage in sexual immorality as some of them did, causing 23,000 of them to die in one day. Nor should we put Christ to the test, as some of them did and then died from snakebites. And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death. These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age. IF YOU THINK YOU ARE STANDING STRONG, BE CAREFUL NOT TO FALL (1 Corinthians 10:6-12 NLT).

Beloved… WHO’S YOUR COMPANY?

God bless you in Jesus Christ name
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10. November 2017 · Comments Off on THE MUCH-NEEDED CONVERSATION · Categories: Action, Decision making, God's Plan, Jesus Christ, Relationship

Abram said to Lot, Let there be no strife, I beg of you, between you and me, or between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are relatives. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself, I beg of you, from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if you choose the right hand, then I will go to the left (Genesis 13:8-9 AMPC). Beloved, there are times when you’ve just got to say to some people; you know what… for peace sake, let’s just stop this right now. You take whatever you want to take, and I will see you later. That’s what Abraham did in our feature text. The NIV says Abraham said to Lot… “Let’s not have any quarrelling between you and me. While the New Living Translation says… Let’s not allow this conflict to come between us…

Beloved, Abraham had to beg Lot. One would think its foolishness when you back down from a quarrel and let the other person have their way. You may even feel like you’ve been cheated but in the midst of all that quarrelling, conflict and negative atmosphere, it’s hard to hear from the Lord for your next level. It was only after Abraham got rid of his conflict with Lot that he was able to hear from God… The Lord said to Abram AFTER LOT HAD LEFT HIM, LIFT UP NOW YOUR EYES AND LOOK from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; For all the land which you see I will give to you and to your posterity forever (Genesis 13:14-15 AMPC).

LIFT UP NOW YOUR EYES AND LOOK…

Beloved, do you know that as far as your focus is on people, you are looking down and not up? And unfortunately, some people can be a huge source of distraction in your life. If you find yourself always arguing and quarrelling over stuff then you need to first have a conversation with yourself and ask yourself what’s up with this. Do I have time for this? Can I afford this at this stage of my life? Do I have the energy for this? Secondly, you have to have the much-needed conversation with your Lot and say… “This fighting… has got to stop… We can’t afford to let a rift develop… I’ll tell you what we’ll do. Take your choice of any section of the land you want, and we will separate. If you want that part over there to the east, then I’ll stay here in the western section. Or, if you want the west, then I’ll go over there to the east.” (TLB)

You need to be maturing in the things of the Lord because He wants you to LIFT UP NOW YOUR EYES AND LOOK… so please STOP THE STRIFE and move on.

God bless you in Jesus Christ name
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09. November 2017 · Comments Off on LET GO OF THE PAST AND MOVE ON INTO YOUR FUTURE · Categories: Action, Decision making, God's Plan, Jesus Christ, Trusting God

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT).

Beloved, the Lord says in our feature text that He has plans to give you a future and a hope. This talks about our future but the fact is that many of us have a past and for some, it’s a struggle to let go of that past. However, in order to transition and move forward, it is very important that you leave some things behind else you would be stuck between two seasons and can’t really move forward. You need to understand that God is a moving God so please don’t get stuck in the past. He knows the things that have happened to you and would want you to know that it’s not the end. People come and go but His plan continues.

He said to Joshua… “Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them (Joshua 1:2 NLT). He said to Samuel… “You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel, so fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my king” (1 Samuel 16:1 NLT).

Beloved, why do we tend to cry over who or what the Lord has rejected for us? If God didn’t want you to have it, then you definitely don’t want it/him/her. If He says NO, then don’t get stuck behind that closed door. Move on and see what He has planned. After David’s adultery, He prayed and fasted for the child to stay alive but it didn’t work. However, David was quick to let go and… then David comforted Bathsheba, his wife, and slept with her. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son, and David named him Solomon. The Lord loved the child (2 Samuel 12:24 NLT). That child happened to be King Solomon.

As Jesus ascended into heaven, His disciples didn’t know what to do without Him in their midst, so they stood there staring into empty space… As they strained to see Him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday He will return from heaven in the same way you saw Him go!” (Acts 1:10-11 NLT)

Beloved, it’s not the end. The Lord’s plan continues but some of us are bent on standing behind a closed door. However, God wants you to let go and move on to see the door that is open in front of you. Stop being bitter and angry over what has happened. Move on and see what’s ahead. As you do so, I pray you run into the exceedingly, abundantly above all that you can ever ask or think.

God bless you in Jesus Christ name
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08. November 2017 · Comments Off on ARE YOU CARRYING BAGGAGE OR LUGGAGE? · Categories: Action, Change, Choices, Decision making, God's Plan, Jesus Christ, Relationship

…stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run… the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1 AMP)

Beloved, during my flight to Israel, a few minutes after our plane started moving down the runway, an announcement was made that we had to go back because there were some issues with someone’s luggage which had to be taken off the plane before we could take off. What this meant was that we were slightly delayed. Instead of taking off, we had to go back to the beginning and thinking about it now, I can’t help but think about what someone said only a few days before our trip. They said; there’s a difference between baggage and luggage.

That made me think. It also made me search for the definition of both terms and here’s what I found. A luggage is defined as suitcases and bags containing personal belongings packed for traveling and while this is often used interchangeably with the term ‘baggage’, however, one definition of baggage says its past experiences or long-held attitudes perceived as burdensome encumbrances. Another definition says it’s the beliefs and feelings that influence how you think and behave. For example, we all carry a lot of emotional baggage around with us.

Beloved, for my trip, I ensured I travelled light because I didn’t want to be weighed down by too much load which helped a lot with my movement but the other thing I noticed as I embarked on this short study was that most airlines who make allowance for excesses we carry on board actually refer to it as ‘excess baggage’ and not ‘excess luggage’. In fact, when you type ‘excess’ in google, google suggests ‘excess baggage’. I deliberately ignored this suggestion and typed ‘excess luggage’ but then it asked; “Did you mean: excess baggage” which I found interesting.

So, what am I trying to say? If we go by the definition of what baggage is, we find that we all carry a lot of baggage around with us which tends to slow us down or delay our journey, but our feature text urges us to strip off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, so we can run the race that is set before us.

Beloved, Sunday was my birthday and as I was reflecting on the new year ahead of me, one of the things I said to myself was that this was a year of decisions and I’m not alone. Many of us need to make certain decisions.

As you move forward in your journey, plan to travel light. It’s time to get rid of those relationships that have become excess luggage and are preventing you from taking off. Like King Saul, it’s time to get rid of those attitudes and limiting mindsets that have held you down. The Bible tells us that when it was time to appoint Saul as king… they looked for him, he had disappeared! So they asked the Lord, “Where is he?” and the Lord replied, “He is hiding among the baggage.” (1 Samuel 10:21-22 NLT)

Beloved, are you hiding among the baggage? Are they slowing you down? Isn’t it time to address every baggage in your life?

God bless you in Jesus Christ name
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07. November 2017 · Comments Off on MAKE SURE IT’S NOT JUST A GOOD THING · Categories: Choices, Decision making, God's Plan, Jesus Christ

When David was settled in his palace, he summoned Nathan the prophet. “Look,” David said, “I am living in a beautiful cedar palace, but the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant is out there under a tent!” Nathan replied to David, “Do whatever you have in mind, for God is with you.” But that same night God said to Nathan, “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord has declared: You are not the one to build a house for me to live in (1 Chronicles 17:1-4 NLT).

Beloved, every time I read this story, it makes me want to go back to the Lord to ask for another confirmation about all the things I’m doing. We all know the story of David. He was a man after God’s very own heart. He loved God with all his heart and was totally committed to doing God’s will. He was a very enthusiastic man, always looking for ways to please the Lord and our feature text lets us know that He reached a place in his journey where he felt the need to build a house for the Lord. He ran his idea pass Nathan who felt it was a good idea, but it took God to step in to say that though it’s a good idea and I know your heart is in the right place, but you are not the one to build a house for me to live in.

Unfortunately, there are many things we do that though they are ‘good’ things, they may not necessarily be ‘God’ things and the reason why this is important is because, with the limited amount of time and resources we have, we need wisdom with what we get involved in else we would be pulled in every direction and we become weariness which is a tactic of the enemy‎.

Beloved, it’s not that building a house for the Lord wasn’t to be done but just not by David. The Lord told David, your son, Solomon… He is the one who will build a house—a temple—for me… (1 Chronicles 17:12 NLT). It was Solomon to do the work and many are struggling, wondering why they are not finding the grace to do certain things but perhaps the Lord is saying it’s because I haven’t asked you to do it.

I like the story of the good Samaritan. He was going on a journey but met a wounded man along the way that needed his help, but he also needed to continue his journey so, going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds… and bandaged them… and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’‎ (Luke 10.34-35 NLT) and he continued his journey. However, many of us have been side-tracked.

Beloved, are you currently doing just ‘good’ things and not ‘God’ things? Do you need to stop and ask for confirmation?

God bless you in Jesus Christ name
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01. November 2017 · Comments Off on NOT MY WILL BUT YOU WILL · Categories: Choices, Decision making, God's Plan, Jesus Christ, Relationship, Spiritual Growth, Trusting God

Going a little farther, He fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from Him. “Abba, Father,” He said, “everything is possible for You. Take this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 14:35-36 NIV)

Beloved, yesterday I had the opportunity of visiting the garden of Gethsemane, the place in our feature text where after struggling with His flesh, Jesus had to surrender His will to His Father’s will. We were asked to spend some time in prayer in this garden and for me, it was a moment where I had to give the Lord a fresh ‘Yes’. I had the opportunity to ask for whatever I needed but, it was a moment where I knew I had to say; Lord, not what I will, but what You will and there’s just this peace that comes with knowing that you have reached or are getting to a place in your spiritual journey where you are open to the will of the Lord, trusting that… though He slay me, yet will I wait for and trust Him (Job 13:15 AMPC). Yes, it’s not always easy but the keyword is ‘trusting’ that all things would always work out for your good (Romans 8:28).

Beloved, I did my MA dissertation on the Fatherhood of God and I remember reading as part of my research where someone said one of the characteristics of mature sons of God is that they are all about the Fathers will. This is what we read about Jesus when He says… Then I said, Behold, here I am, coming to do Your will, O God—[to fulfill] what is written of Me in the volume of the Book (Hebrews 10:7 AMPC). We also see that Jesus teaches us to pray in this manner. He says… Pray, therefore, like this: OUR FATHER Who is in heaven, hallowed (kept holy) be Your name. Your kingdom come, YOUR WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN (Matthew 6:9-10 AMPC).

YOUR WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN…

Beloved, those of us that call Him Father ought to know that our mandate here on earth is to carry out the will of our Father as it is in heaven and this is one of the most common verses quoted by many of us but like someone once said, in many cases, when we say Lord, let Your will be done, what we mean is let Your will be done as far as it is according to my will.

Beloved, Jesus said… My food (nourishment) is to do the will (pleasure) of Him Who sent Me and to accomplish and completely finish His work (John 4:34 AMPC) and I wonder whether we are at that place where our motivation is about doing the Fathers will. I’ve come across quite a few tour guides in Israel who have said they are working for their Father and you can just see the passion with which they do what they do and they are proud to tell you all about this family business. So, the question is what about you?

God bless you in Jesus Christ name
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25. October 2017 · Comments Off on DON’T BE DOUBLE-MINDED · Categories: Choices, Decision making, Faith, God's Plan, Jesus Christ, Trusting God

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways (James 1:6-8 NKJV).

Beloved, if I’m honest, our feature text was one of those verses in the Bible I didn’t really like very much. It was a verse that when I read it, it made me want to try and find a way to freeze my thoughts when they were positive and full of faith so that I’m always able to present it as what stands as my evidence of faith for what I was believing the Lord for. It was more like saying, “Lord, this is the state of mind ‎I’m in agreement with so, please disregard everything else that comes from this feeble mind of mine.

Beloved, I’m thinking of the father who brought his son to Jesus saying, “help us, if You can.” But… Jesus said to him, “[You say to Me,] ‘If You can?’ All things are possible for the one who believes and trusts [in Me]!” Immediately the father of the boy cried out [with a desperate, piercing cry], saying, “I do BELIEVE; help [me overcome] my UNBELIEF.” (Mark 9:23-24 AMPC)

How can BELIEVE and UNBELIEF be going on in one person’s mind all at the same time? However, many of us are like Peter who said… “Lord, if it’s really You, tell me to come to You, walking on the water.” “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the STRONG WIND AND THE WAVES, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” (Matthew 14:28-31 NLT)

Peter stepped out full of faith because His focus was on Jesus. However, when He took His focus off Jesus and started looking at the things happening around him, faith turned into fear; belief turned into unbelief. He began to doubt and like James tells us about a double-minded person, he became like a wave in the sea, blown up and down [driven and tossed] by the wind.

Beloved, I started by saying there was a time I wished I could find a way to freeze my positive thoughts. Do you know there’s a way to do that? The Bible says… looking away from all that will distract us and focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity]… (Hebrews 12:2 AMPC). The NIV Translations say… fixing our eyes on Jesus.

That’s the way to avoid being double-minded… FIXING our eyes on Jesus at all times.

Shalom!

God bless you in Jesus Christ name
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12. October 2017 · Comments Off on WHEN WE TELL THE LORD WHAT HE ALREADY KNOWS‏ · Categories: Action, Decision making, God's Plan, Jesus Christ, Obedience, Trusting God

The Lord looks down from heaven and sees the whole human race. From His throne He observes all who live on the earth. He made their hearts, so He understands everything they do (Psalm 33:13-15 NLT).

Beloved, I wonder what goes through the Lord’s mind when we try to give Him reasons why we can’t do what He’s asked us to do.

I’m thinking about Ananias who was sent to minister to Saul, also known as Paul… The Lord said, “Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying to me right now. I have shown him a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying hands on him so he can see again.” “But Lord,” exclaimed Ananias, “I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers in Jerusalem! And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon Your name.” (Acts 9:11-14 NLT)

Now, if you know anything about the Lord, you can admit that He’s not usually One to give you full details when He sends you on an assignment. Most times, you have to step out in faith trusting that He will tell you what you need to know when He feels you need to know it… no sooner and no later. But in this situation, the Lord gives Ananias the full details of His assignment. Nothing missing, but yet Ananias comes up with excuses. But Ananias, didn’t you hear anything the Lord has just told you? You’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things he has done but what about what I, the Lord, your God is saying? I just told you… “He is praying to me right now…” What do you think he is praying to Me about? That I should send Ananias so that I can arrest him for calling upon Your name?

Beloved, this is a case of what people say versus what the Lord says and if we keep listening to what people say, then we would only hear negative reports. Probably why Jesus asked His disciples… “Who do people say I am?” “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other prophets.” Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Messiah (Mark 8:27-29 NLT).”

Some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah…

People can’t even come to the same conclusion and that’s why you have to have a personal word from the Lord. People may say… but this is what the Lord says…

Beloved, this is what the Lord says; I already know what’s ahead and … “I will go before you and level the mountains; I will shatter the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron (Isaiah 45:2 AMP).

God bless you in Jesus Christ name
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11. October 2017 · Comments Off on MAKING THE DECISION TO TRY AGAIN · Categories: Agreement, Decision making, Jesus Christ, Trusting God

“Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again. And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear!” (Luke 5:5-6 NLT)

Beloved, there are those moments in life where after you’ve done all you think you know how to do, you get to that place where you feel “I can’t do this anymore because it’s just going to produce the same old results”. However, how are you sure about that?

Looking at our feature text, we find that Peter and his team were in a similar position. They had done all the work they were going to do and had nothing to show for it but then, Jesus comes along on the scene and instructs Simon to try again.

Oh yes, Peter had his justified argument which went along the lines of “I know the ins and outs of this business. I’ve been doing this for a long time. I’ve invested, laboured and given it my all, but unfortunately, as you can see, I haven’t seen any returns. However, Jesus said, “I want you to try again”.

I remember listening to someone say that at this point, Jesus checks the heart of Simon. Surely, Jesus knew Simon had been toiling all night and with no catch. He also knew that people were watching; people that knew that he hadn’t caught anything. The story tells us that… as Jesus was preaching… great crowds pressed in on Him to listen to the word of God. He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets (Luke 5:1-2 NLT)

Off course, some if not all of these great crowd knew that Simon hadn’t caught anything but now, Simon has a choice to make which is either to risk looking foolish in front of people and trying again or be deterred by what people may say. As an experienced fisherman, he knew what the chances were of catching anything. He probably heard shouting voices in his head saying, “don’t do it again because people would laugh at you” but Simon was not going to allow his pride get in the way, causing him to miss out on what Jesus wanted to give him and the results were amazing.

Beloved, regardless of what had gone on in the past, when Jesus got on his boat, things changed. Unfortunately, many times, we end up doing things without His presence or instructions and end up catching nothing despite all our efforts but when Jesus is present and He is finally the one directing your boat, things are bound to change and the interesting thing is that His presence brought about the right type of assistance and partnership.

Beloved, are you at that place where you are afraid to try again? Could Jesus be saying “trust Me and just obey My leading and see what happens? Your abundant catch could be one try away.

God bless you in Jesus Christ name
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10. October 2017 · Comments Off on YOU MIGHT JUST BE QUALIFIED FOR IT · Categories: Decision making, God's Plan, Jesus Christ, Trusting God, Wisdom

But God has selected [for His purpose] the foolish things of the world to shame the wise [revealing their ignorance], and God has selected [for His purpose] the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong [revealing their frailty]. God has selected [for His purpose] the insignificant (base) things of the world, and the things that are despised and treated with contempt, [even] the things that are nothing, so that He might reduce to nothing the things that are, so that no one may [be able to] boast in the presence of God (1 Corinthians 1:27-29 AMP).

Beloved, this may probably make you laugh so laugh if you must but our feature text has been one that has stuck with me for a while now and it’s something I had to use to encourage the team I work with. Recently, the Lord took us way out of our comfort zone to do something we’ve never done before. We didn’t have the experience and most times we felt foolish but the one thing I kept saying was that that’s the one thing that qualifies us for the job. I said for this job, we are foolish and God knows how to use the foolish things of this world to shame the wise… so that no one may can boast.

Did we try to ask for help? Yes, we did but the Lord frustrated all our efforts because He didn’t want anyone to share His glory.

Beloved, one of the things the entire process made us do was that we had to rely totally on God for wisdom and direction. All I kept saying was “Lord, You know there’s no way we can do this on our own. Without your wisdom we are finished”. After all, Your word says… If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him (James 1:5 AMP).

We also had to totally rely on Him for strength, for sanity, for funds… you name it… and that was when I knew the Lord’s favour is more powerful than money.

To cut a long story short, the Lord used foolish Ruky and her team to do something that we know there’s no way we can boast about it. It’s a case of “don’t look at us. We’ve got nothing to do with this. This was all God.

I like how the Message Translation puts our feature text… Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God.

Beloved, your so-called status as a ‘nobody’ may just be what the Lord is looking for. So, don’t be surprised that you qualify for what the Lord wants to do through you. Well, are you laughing now or are you sober?

God bless you in Jesus Christ name
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