Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24 AMPC).
Beloved, King David was by no means a perfect man but one thing I’ve learnt about David is that he got the revelation that God, to whom it matters most, is always looking deep into the heart of man. With God, IT IS A MATTER OF THE HEART… Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord WEIGHS AND TRIES THE HEARTS (Proverbs 21:2 AMP). I believe that’s why you would always hear David say things like… Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart (Psalm 26:2 NLT).
As Christians, this is so important. God already knows we are not perfect that’s why we have the help of the Holy Spirit. God looked down from His throne at all the people on the earth and said, “that’s the man I’m looking for” …HE RAISED UP DAVID to be their king; of him He bore witness and said, I have found David son of Jesse A MAN AFTER MY OWN HEART, WHO WILL DO ALL MY WILL AND CARRY OUT MY PROGRAM FULLY (Acts 13:22 AMP).
Beloved, do you think that when God looked down at David and said “this is a man after My own heart”, God did not know David was going to commit adultery, kill the husband and take his wife? But David always presented his heart before God. God said David… WILL DO ALL MY WILL AND CARRY OUT MY PROGRAM FULLY… How did David achieve this? …He knew all sorts of things can get in the way…self-ambition; wrong motives etc. so all day long he cried out… SHOW ME HOW YOU WORK, God; SCHOOL ME IN YOUR WAYS. Take me by the hand; Lead me down the path of truth. YOU ARE MY SAVIOR, AREN’T YOU? (Psalm 25:4-5 MSG)
God ‘RAISED UP DAVID’ meaning ‘TO TRAIN’ and David was willing to learn. He must have said “You called me into this thing; I did not call myself so SHOW ME HOW… This is a desperate cry for help from someone that knows that if you leave me to it, I’ll mess it all up. Even with good intentions, you can still miss it because… There is A WAY WHICH SEEMS RIGHT TO A MAN AND APPEARS STRAIGHT BEFORE HIM, but at the end of it is the way of death (Proverbs 14:12 AMPC). This means that as far as you are concerned, you may think you are doing the right thing but the end is disaster.
Beloved, this is a call to deal with matters of our heart. Personally, I’m by no means perfect but one thing I do is always present my heart before God; all my wrong motives, malicious thoughts etc and say… Lord help me. It’s time to be transparent before God and give the Holy Spirit permission to take over.
… Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you THINK… (Romans 12:2 NLT)
Beloved, I just got back from Africa yesterday and I was telling my brother that the journey I’m on now with Lord is one where He is working on my perception; how I see things… how I think… because whether we like to admit it or not, we are limited by the boundaries we place on ourselves.
David wasn’t limited by size. He recognized that he had a big God who is able. He told Goliath… “You come at me with sword and spear and battle-ax. I come at you in the name of God-of-the-Angel-Armies… This very day God is handing you over to me… and everyone gathered here will learn that God doesn’t save by means of sword or spear. The battle belongs to God—he’s handing you to us on a platter!” (1 Samuel 17:45-47 MSG)
On the other hand, the 10 spies were intimidated by the size of the giants they saw and couldn’t possess their promise. They said…“We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!”… Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!” (Numbers 13:31-33 NLT)
Jeremiah, when called by God said… “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!” The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (Jeremiah 1:6-8 NLT)
Moses also wanted to place limits on himself but God didn’t let him… Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? IS IT NOT I, THE LORD? (Exodus 4:10-11 NLT)
And then there was Jesus who wasn’t limited by money in the bank. He told Peter to go and catch a fish, take money out of its mouth and go and pay the tax collector (Matthew 17:24-27). Also, Jesus was able to feed a multitude of 5000 men with 5 loafs and 2 fishes. His disciples came to him with a problem but Jesus wanted to transform their minds so… Jesus said, “You feed them.” “With what?” they asked. “We’d have to work for months to earn enough money to buy food for all these people!” (Mark 6:37 NLT). Their thinking already limited them but Jesus said only 5 loafs and 2 fishes will do.
Also, when they ran out of wine at the wedding in Canaan, if it were us today, we would be running around in confusion; “How much have you got on you? Which shop is nearby?” But what did Jesus say? He said we don’t need all that, just bring me water (John 2: 1-11).
Beloved, do you need to change your perception on things? Remember… with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).
Leah’s eyes WERE WEAK AND DULL LOOKING, BUT Rachel was BEAUTIFUL AND ATTRACTIVE. And Jacob loved Rachel; so he said, I will work for you for seven years for Rachel your younger daughter (Genesis 29:17-18 AMPC).
Beloved, once upon a time, there was a lady called Leah. Unfortunately, she was beautifully challenged and society being what it’s like judged her based on looks… And to make it worse, they compared her to her younger sister. Imagine what this must have done to her self-esteem. Its tradition that she marries before her younger sister but she was overlooked because she wasn’t BEAUTIFUL AND ATTRACTIVE.
Anyway, daddy comes up with a plan. Get in to his bed when all the lights are off so he can’t recognise you… But in the morning [Jacob saw his wife, and] behold, it was Leah! And he said to Laban, WHAT IS THIS YOU HAVE DONE TO ME? Did I not work for you [all those seven years] for Rachel? Why then have you deceived and cheated and thrown me down [like this]? Genesis 29:25 (AMPC)
WHAT IS THIS YOU HAVE DONE TO ME? (LOL). Am I that ugly? Again, imagine what this must have done to her self-esteem, but then, the Lord intervened….And when the Lord saw that Leah was despised, He made her able to bear children, but Rachel was barren. And Leah became pregnant and bore a son and named him Reuben [See, a son!]; for she said, Because the Lord has seen my HUMILIATION AND AFFLICTION; now my husband will love me. [Leah] became pregnant again and bore a son and said, Because the Lord heard that I am DESPISED, He has given me this son also; and she named him Simeon [God hears]. And she became pregnant again and bore a son and said, Now this time will my husband be a COMPANION to me, for I have borne him three sons. Therefore he was named Levi [companion]. Again she conceived and bore a son, and she said, NOW WILL I PRAISE THE LORD! So she called his name Judah [praise]; then [for a time] she ceased bearing (Genesis 29:31-35 AMPC).
Beloved, she didn’t want much. All she wanted was to get rid of the feeling of HUMILIATION, AFFLICTION, DESPISE and replace it with LOVE and COMPANIONSHIP. She wanted to be cherished but a time has to come when you realise that you have all of that in Jesus… NOW WILL I PRAISE THE LORD.
There are many Leah’s out there. You don’t need to spend the rest of your life doing things to buy a man’s love. Turn to Jesus. He’ll quench your thirst. He did it for the Samaritan woman by the well (John 4). Unfortunately, she was judged for being promiscuous but there could be many reasons for her 5 husbands. It could just be that she grew up facing situations that made her develop very low self-esteem and the devil may have built strongholds in her mind…YOU ARE NO GOOD…causing her to attract the wrong kind of men. Maybe HUSBAND NO 1 made her feel worthless…HUSBAND NO 2 was violent…HUSBAND NO 3 was cheating because she wasn’t BEAUTIFUL AND ATTRACTIVE like Rachael…And in a desperate attempt to find love and acceptance, she moves from husband to husband…
AND THEM SHE ENCOUNTERS JESUS and finds that He can give her all she is looking for. You too can do the same. Focus on Him this valentine season and He would give you all the LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE you would ever need… This is not just for the ladies; it’s for the guys as well. Society has made you turn to various things in search for validation but you need to turn to Jesus.
Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and ABOVE ALL THAT YOU GUARD, for out of it flow THE SPRINGS OF LIFE (Proverbs 4:23 AMPC).
Beloved, we are known to guard things precious to us…our possessions etc. but the Bible advises that ABOVE ALL THAT YOU GUARD, you must put a fence around your heart, keeping a watch on what goes in and out. Just as a source of water can go bad when polluted, one’s life can become corrupted if the heart isn’t guarded and we know that physically, an unhealthy heart makes for a poor quality of life.
Our heart is the centre of our emotions, feelings, thinking, reasoning and desires. It’s a place where life-changing decisions are made. Some people harden their heart because they’ve been hurt in the past and hence have stored up all the hurt, bitterness, unforgiveness… and trust me, you don’t want to be around such people because all that comes from that heart is hurt, bitterness, unforgiveness and they end up living a bitter life because that’s what they end up attracting.
Be careful what you store up in your heart. Jesus said… A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart… (Luke 6:45).
Now, here are some practical steps to take to guard my heart…
1) You’ve got to keep a check on your thoughts. Personally, I know what to think to immediately bring me to tears and make me so miserable for the rest of the day but I always have to immediately shake my head and say not today. You can’t imagine how many times I’ve had to say… SATAN GET LOST when he’s trying to fill my mind with all sorts of negative thoughts. Some people don’t think you can control your thoughts but you can.
2) You have to be good at making excuses for people so that people’s action doesn’t affect your emotions. You have to take time to study and understand where people are coming from. Our values, culture, background and experience all contribute to how we think and act. This helps in understanding why people are the way they are so why would you allow somebody’s experience shape yours?
3) Be careful about what you read. Beloved, I’m so quick to delete an email or text message immediately I sense that there’s something in it that would hit me the wrong way. This also means hiding some of my friends Facebook updates from my timeline immediately I sense anything that could arouse any negative thoughts or feelings.
Well, I’m just guarding my heart.
Beloved, what are some of the practical steps you can take to guard your heart? The Message Translation says… that’s where life starts… NLT says… for it determines the course of your life… KJV says… for out of it are the issues of life. Why not ask God to show you and as you do so I pray that you receive the grace to take the steps needed for a healthy spiritual heart. Meditate on Philippians 4:8
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today (Matthew 6:31-34 NLT).
Beloved, do you know that it would be a worthwhile exercise to observe yourself for a short period of time and make a note of the kind of things that dominate your thoughts and then ask yourself this thought provoking question; am I a believer or an unbeliever? Beloved, isn’t an unbeliever somebody that doesn’t believe?
We all need to meditate on our feature text and like the man who brought his son to Jesus did, we should cry… out [with a desperate, piercing cry], saying, “I do believe; help [me overcome] my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24 AMP)
Writing this post, 3 case scenarios came to mind…
When Elisha prophesied and said… “Listen to this message from the Lord! This is what the Lord says: By this time tomorrow in the markets of Samaria, six quarts of choice flour will cost only one piece of silver, and twelve quarts of barley grain will cost only one piece of silver. ” The officer assisting the king said to the man of God, “That couldn’t happen even if the Lord opened the windows of heaven!” But Elisha replied, “You will see it happen with your own eyes, but you won’t be able to eat any of it!” (2 Kings 7:1-2 NLT)
Or when Ezekiel said… The Lord took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley filled with bones. He led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. Then He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?” “O Sovereign Lord,” I replied, “you alone know the answer to that.” (Ezekiel 37:1-3 NLT)
Or when the angel of the Lord told Mary… “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and He will be called the Son of God…” Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her (Luke 1:35-38 NLT).
Beloved, no way!… “I’m not sure… or May everything you have said about me come true… which one are you going to be? Or do you just need to say “Lord, help me overcome my unbelief”
Beloved, the word of the Lord for you today is… Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT).
“Behold, God, my salvation! I will trust and not be afraid, For the Lord God is my strength and song; Yes, He has become my salvation.” Therefore with joy you will draw water from the springs of salvation (Isaiah 12:2-3 AMP).
Beloved, on monday, we lost an old classmate of ours. He was chatting with us in our WhatsApp group in the morning only to hear that he was dead hours later. The news of his passing made everyone very sad. He only got married 5 months ago, and we were all celebrating with him only to hear that he was now dead. It really made every one sad. It also made everyone reflect which made me become very low in spirit just thinking back at all the storms of life and I just couldn’t shake it off but then, I became even more annoyed that I found myself in that mood. Why on earth am I back here again? Why am I feeling like this? However, it was then that our feature text came to mind. I felt the Lord was trying to tell me that the enemy wants to stop your flow. Off course, it made sense. If it is with joy that we draw water from the wells of salvation, then it makes perfect sense that the enemy would always want to do things that would steal that joy so you have nothing to draw with.
The Voice translation says… With joy in each step, you will drink deeply from the springs of salvation… It makes perfect sense that the enemy would want to try and do things that would prevent you from taking those steps and that’s why we have to be intentional and do everything to fight for our joy. Apostle Paul said… Rejoice in the Lord always. AGAIN I WILL SAY, REJOICE! (Philippians 4:4 NKJV). You have to be reminded of this.
But how do you do this in such a case? Well, Apostle Paul also said… whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, THINK CONTINUALLY ON THESE THINGS [CENTER YOUR MIND ON THEM, AND IMPLANT THEM IN YOUR HEART] (Philippians 4:8 AMP).
It means rather than think of the sad moments, you must choose to center your mind on the good ones you had and implant them in your heart. We are told that we must… Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8 NLT).
Beloved, this thief wants to steal your joy so you have got to fight for it. Choose to think on the fun memories. The Voice translation says… Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy.
Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I HAVE HAD ENOUGH, LORD,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.” (1 Kings 19:4 NLT)
Beloved, these are the words of Prophet Elijah who had just finished calling down fire from heaven to consume a very wet sacrifice, humiliated Baal, the people’s god and killed 450 of its prophets and then called down rain after three and a half years of no rain. He had just finished doing great things for God but then here comes the enemy with what he knows how to do best; intimidation, frustration, depression, weariness… Jezebel threatened to kill him so he ran away as fast as he could to find a place to hide and now he wants to end it all.
Are you feeling like Elijah felt? Feeling down? Is the enemy bombarding your mind with rubbish, trying to get you to focus on the negative rather than on the great things God is doing in your life? Have you had enough and just want to give up? Have you withdrawn in to your shell? Well… thank God that He is Omnipresence and He knows where you are hiding. The Lord found Elijah in the cave where he was hiding and… said to him, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE, ELIJAH?” (1 king 19:9)
Could the Lord be asking you the same question today? Perhaps you are feeling down because you think that all your efforts have come to nothing but God is asking, “What are you doing in this lonely place after all you’ve achieved?” Several times the Lord asked Elijah the same question (See 1 king 19:9-14).
Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.” (1 Kings 19:10 NLT)
Elijah was about to give up based on the lie of the enemy. The Lord told Elijah, you’re not the only one… I will preserve 7,000 others in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal or kissed him!” (1 Kings 19:18 NLT)
Beloved, by now you should know how the enemy works. Know that there are great things ahead. What you need is for Jesus to energise you… Then the angel of the Lord came again and touched him and said, “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.” (1 Kings 19:7 NLT).
Maybe you need time to recuperate but whatever you do, don’t give up.
May we never tire of doing what is good and right before our Lord because in His season we shall bring in a great harvest if we can just persist (Galatians 6:9 Voice).
… David and his men immediately set out for Jerusalem to take on the Jebusites, who lived in that country. But they said, “You might as well go home! Even the blind and the lame could keep you out. You can’t get in here!” THEY HAD CONVINCED THEMSELVES THAT DAVID COULDN’T BREAK THROUGH. BUT DAVID WENT RIGHT AHEAD and captured the fortress of Zion, known ever since as the City of David (2 Samuel 5:6-7 MSG).
Beloved, you probably know by now that the enemy have vowed to do all he can to prevent you from being who God has called you to be so would use all sorts of tactics to stop you but it will not work as far as you press on in Christ. We read about David who matched on and took what was his despite the enemy’s intimidation.
The NKJV says… NEVERTHELESS DAVID TOOK THE STRONGHOLD OF ZION… but what did he have to get rid of? It was … the lame and the blind, who are hated by David’s soul (2 Samuel 5:8 NKJV).
Zion (Jerusalem) became the centre of Israel’s spiritual life and David had to get rid of the lame and blind standing in his way so for you today, is there anything that has spiritually blinded or paralysed you that you need to overcome?
The text talks about stronghold and while this could be a physical situation, satan also builds mental strongholds in our minds which is defined as a mind-set impregnated with hopelessness that causes us to accept as unchangeable, situations that we know are contrary to the will of God. Because of reoccurring situations, past experiences, family background etc., we develop mind-sets that make us think defeating thoughts like “I’m hopeless, I’m cursed, I’m a failure…” Unfortunately, these presents a false view of God’s reality for your life.
Beloved, even the blind and the lame could keep you out… If your mind is clouded by satan’s smoke screen, it would prevent you from seeing things the way God desires you to see them so you must pull those strongholds down and… we use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NLT).
Beloved, you are to use the truth in God’s word as a weapon to drive out these strongholds. You are not a failure; God always leads us into triumph (2 Corinthians 2:14). You are not hopeless… Christ in you is the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). And you are not cursed because Christ redeemed you from the curse of the Law (Galatians 3:13-14)
Beloved, you’ve probably realised that I’ve been dealing with negative mind-sets and strongholds recently. This is because demolishing strongholds is the greatest breakthrough you can ever have so as you decide to be strengthened by God’s truth, I pray that you take hold of everything the Lord has for you.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well (Psalm 139:14 NKJV).
Beloved, I’ve said that this is a year that the Lord has been taking me back to revisit many things from my past so I can resolve any identity crisis that could hold me back from my future.
Towards the end of last month, we held a mini school reunion with a few of my secondary school classmates based in the UK. Some of these guys I hadn’t seen since 1989 when we finished secondary school so as I entered the venue where we held our mini school reunion, someone immediately posted in my picture standing with a few other guys to our class WhatsApp group with the caption saying “pretty Ruky is in the house” and I’m thinking really? Anyway, it was a great reunion and during the course of the day, I caught one of the ladies staring at me and when I asked her why, she said something like I’m amazed at how pretty you are.
Hmmm… I went home thinking “they think I am PRETTY”. But if only they knew that I spent my whole secondary school years believing they felt I was ugly!!! Oh my God, satan lied to me!!! And it affected my choices in life which cost me 1001 heartbreaks and two divorces all because I was looking for validation from handsome men (LOL). I posted the pictures on Facebook with exactly what I am sharing with you now and many of my schoolmates were surprised. Why would you think like that? We always thought you were… this, this and that. The comments were so flattering that I replied to one saying I need to go and take another look in the mirror.
Oh how satan lied to me. Unfortunately, this is how a wrong perspective about your identity can shape your life in a wrong direction. I was listening to someone say the greatest thing you will ever learn is how to think correctly about yourself and about God because it impacts our success in the kingdom and everything else.
Also, I remember listening to a prophet telling someone that God says it offends Him the way you see yourself. We tend to say God see me differently but God says it’s not how I see you but how you see yourself and if you see you differently, you will see Me differently. If not, you would be moulded into something I didn’t ordain for you. SELAH!!!
I love how the Voice translation puts our feature text… I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe. You have approached even the smallest details with excellence; Your works are wonderful; I CARRY THIS KNOWLEDGE DEEP WITHIN MY SOUL.
Beloved… you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:32 NKJV). What knowledge about yourself is your soul carrying? It’s time to knock down the strongholds of false human reasoning and teach your rebellious, negative thoughts to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).