30. November 2013 · Comments Off on ALL HOPE SHOULD NOT BE LOST (PT1) · Categories: God's Plan, Hope, Jesus Christ

“Next year at this time you will be holding a son in your arms!” “NO, MY LORD!” SHE CRIED. “O MAN OF GOD, DON’T DECEIVE ME AND GET MY HOPES UP LIKE THAT.” (2 Kings 4:16 NLT)

If you’ve never been in a situation where you’ve waited and waited and nothing happened, then you won’t understand where this lady is coming from but I’m sure the rest of us totally understand.

My brother once told me a story of a grown man who waited for a very long time for a bus out in the cold London winter weather and when the bus eventually came, this man got on it and started to sob. Why are you crying? “I waited and waited and waited for the bus to come but it didn’t come”, he said. Aren’t you on the bus now? LOL. But why was this grown man crying? Because there’s something about hoping and waiting for long periods of time that just doesn’t seat well with us.

We are told of this wealthy Shunammite woman. In a specific aspect of her life, she had concluded that all hope was lost. But what might have shattered her HOPE?

The bus just wasn’t coming. Over and over again, she had repeatedly failed in the area of child bearing. Each time the pregnancy test results came back with a negative, a little bit of her hope was chipped away until there was nothing left. The Bible says… Hope deferred makes the heart sick (Proverbs 13:12 NLT). Again, if you haven’t experienced long delays, you won’t understand. For this woman, it reached a point that, instead of morning sickness, she experienced a sickness in the heart as her hope was deferred time after time. So she decided this is too painful. I just can’t take it anymore. I’ve got to stop this. She gave up because it was way easier to carry on without this expectation than to remain vulnerable and left heartbroken each time.

Also, with her husband being old, their natural conditions were no longer favourable. So naturally speaking, hoping was just a waste of time. What’s the point?

But then she looked to other things to fill the void (2 Kings 4:13). At least, I’m comfortable in other aspects of life. I’m wealthy and influential. Maybe God doesn’t want me to have a child that’s why he has blessed me in the other areas. That’s always our way of anesthetizing the pain. She took her hope of ever having a child, locked it up in a box and threw it into the sea, never to be retrieved and now addresses the prophet as a liar. No! The devil is a liar because… sure enough, the woman soon became pregnant. And at that time the following year she had a son, just as Elisha had said (2 Kings 4:17 NLT).

THE BUS CAME and that’s because God doesn’t not go by our emotions or by natural laws. ALL HOPE WASN’T LOST. Dare to hope again?

God bless you
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29. November 2013 · Comments Off on WHAT THE LORD SEES THAT WE DON’T SEE · Categories: God's Plan, Jesus Christ

Yesterday was a fun day for me. With a clear picture of a project I’m working on, I had someone design an artwork for me and I was so impressed with what I saw because they captured exactly what I wanted to capture. However, the fun part was getting other people’s opinions. Some said it was beautiful, amazing, but some said scary, some said too explicit… and some said well…

It was really interesting for me to hear the different views because having a clear vision of the end product in mind, the artwork did and said exactly what I wanted it to say. Why can’t they see what I see? Well, you may probably have to get into my head to understand the full plot before you can see what I see or wait for the finished product and then say now I see…

It was eye opening and while I’ve taken every feedback on board because I see where they are coming from, I couldn’t help but think… Isn’t this how it is with God and man? That is; what God sees when He looks at us versus what we see when we look at ourselves. Being the Beginning and the End and the One who declares the end results from the beginning… (Isaiah 46:10), He created you and is the One… who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose (Philippians 2:13 NIV).

However, when we look at our artwork, what we see is scary and well… we want Him to change it. And not just that; we also want Him to change others. People want me to make changes to the artwork just like we want God to change the people around us. We say Lord, change that person because I don’t like them; I don’t like the way they look or I don’t like the way they talk or I don’t like the way they think and we get frustrated because it seems like He isn’t listening to us. But could that not be because we want God to change the people around us to meet our own needs and not His. Without getting the full picture, we tend to make conclusions based on what we see… the outside container but that’s only because we don’t know what God is up to.

I’m torn between changing the artwork and leaving it as it hoping that people would eventually see what I see. Well… we’ll see. As for the Lord, He may not always make the changes that you want but that’s only because He sees the full picture and knows that at the appropriate time, you would eventually see what He’s up to so trust His design. He knew you before you were formed in your mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5) and is perfecting that which concerns you (Psalm 138:8).

God bless you
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28. November 2013 · Comments Off on GIVE THANKS WITH A GRATEFUL HEART · Categories: Jesus Christ, Thanks giving

Have you ever given something to a child that they didn’t really appreciate and as they walk away without saying ‘thank you’, you call them back to tell them off? From where I come from, you would normally hear something like this… ‘Come back here and say thank you’ or ‘Come on, wouldn’t you say thank you?’ The child would then reluctantly say ‘thank you’ but that’s only because you’ve made them do so. It didn’t really come from the heart. That to me is giving thanks with an ungrateful heart.

Today happens to be Thanksgiving Day in some parts of the world; a day dedicated to giving thanks to the Lord for the blessing of the harvest. While we are supposed to give thanks every day, I think it’s nice that a special day is set apart to give thanks to God but do you know that there are people that don’t see any reason to thank God?

It’s Thanksgiving Day alright but we are also coming to the end of another year so don’t be deceived; Satan would bombard people’s minds with all sorts of reasons to depress them. Thanking the Lord for the blessing of the harvest??? But I don’t see any harvest they would say. In fact, all year round, I have laboured and struggled but there’s nothing to show for it.

O don’t be deceived! Such people would put on their church mask, go for thanks giving service, send out posts on Facebook and twitter, wishing people happy thanks giving day but underneath the mask, there is disappointment written all over their hearts. However, while people may not be able to see what goes on under the mask, God sees the heart and wants to address that condition as it places a wall between you and Him and blocks your access to Him because we… ENTER HIS GATES WITH THANKSGIVING (Psalm 100:4). The song writer says ‘WITH THANKSGIVING IN OUR HEARTS’ … So in order words, ingratitude leaves you outside.

Look around you, there are many reasons to thank the Lord and even if things are not going your way right now, you can still find peace… Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, WITH THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV).

Looking for a reason to thank God? Here’s a Psalm of David to meditate on… Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, AND FORGET NOT ALL HIS BENEFITS— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s (Psalm 103:1-5 NIV).

Happy Thanks giving day.

God bless you
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27. November 2013 · Comments Off on MAKING THE BEST OF WHERE YOU ARE NOW · Categories: Action, God's Plan, Intercession, Jesus Christ, Peace

For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you HOPE IN YOUR FINAL OUTCOME (Jeremiah 29:11 AMP).

This has got to be one of our favourite text for hope but let’s not read this out of context. If we back up a few verses we would see that it’s a letter from the Lord to His people in the Exile… This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captives He has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem: “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! AND WORK FOR THE PEACE AND PROSPERITY OF THE CITY WHERE I SENT YOU INTO EXILE. Pray to the Lord for it, FOR ITS WELFARE WILL DETERMINE YOUR WELFARE.” (Jeremiah 29:4-7 NLT)

The Lord was telling them what to do in their current situation. In order words, go on living and don’t put your life on hold. O yes, I’ve got big plans to give you HOPE IN YOUR FINAL OUTCOME but I’ve also got plans for where you are right now and if you can just stop complaining about your situation you would be able to see what it is I want you to do right now. And notice that apart from telling them to be productive, they had power to effect some change where they were… WORK FOR THE PEACE AND PROSPERITY OF THE CITY WHERE I SENT YOU INTO EXILE. Pray to the Lord for it, FOR ITS WELFARE WILL DETERMINE YOUR WELFARE

Instead of complaining about your country… job… marriage… school or whatever situation … you can intercede for it because… ITS WELFARE WILL DETERMINE YOUR WELFARE (this is worth repeating). And not just praying, actively work for its peace.

AS FAR AS THE LORD is directing your steps, everywhere you find yourself is ordered by Him and no moment is wasted. Joseph was sold to slavery and found himself in Potiphar’s house… but the Lord was with Joseph, and he [though a slave] was a successful and prosperous man… (Genesis 39:2 AMP). He was prosperous! Maybe not by the world’s standard but by God’s standard and that’s what matters. The Lord was working behind the scenes and when it was time, the world got to see what the Lord was doing.

So what are you to do right now concerning your situation. Be productive… And seek (inquire for, require, and request) the peace and welfare of the city to which I have caused you to be carried away captive; and pray to the Lord for it, FOR IN THE WELFARE OF [THE CITY IN WHICH YOU LIVE] YOU WILL HAVE WELFARE (Jeremiah 29:7 AMP).

God bless you
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26. November 2013 · Comments Off on STAY ON THE CROSS · Categories: Choices, God's Plan, Jesus Christ, Restoration, Suffering

And they said, You Who would tear down the sanctuary of the temple and rebuild it in three days, rescue Yourself from death. IF YOU ARE THE SON OF GOD, COME DOWN FROM THE CROSS… He rescued others from death; Himself He cannot rescue from death. He is the King of Israel? LET HIM COME DOWN FROM THE CROSS NOW, AND WE WILL BELIEVE in and acknowledge and cleave to Him (Matthew 27:40, 42 AMP).

In the above text, Jesus was challenged to do something that He could easily have done but He chose to ignore the voices. This would have been the perfect solution for someone who was already passing through a lot of pain and anguish. He could come down from the cross alright but can you just imagine what would have happened to you and I if Jesus had actually listened to them and said… OK, buckle your seat belts… Do you wanna see the power of God in action? Well for one, they would have all taken to their heels. But can you also imagine what would have happened to the rest of us? Rather than take the easy way out… He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant… He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:7-8 NIV)

Jesus chose to hang in there. As a result, He was again able to overcome the tempter who first tried to stop Him at the beginning of His ministry. The same tempter that said… “If you are the Son of God,” … “throw Yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command His angels concerning You, and they will lift You up in their hands, so that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’” (Matthew 4:6 NIV)

Jesus did not give in to the devil then and so… the devil left Him, and angels came and attended Him (Matthew 4:11 NIV). Neither did He give in to the devil on the cross… therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name… (Philippians 2:9 NIV)

Asking people to endure suffering is probably one of the hardest messages to pass on but things always workout for our good in the end so please look onto Jesus who is the source of your strength… Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus… (Philippians 2:5 AMP). Whatever you are going through might be tough but some people’s welfare may depend on the fruits of your labour and the good news is that… our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! (2 Corinthians 4:17 NLT)

God bless you
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25. November 2013 · Comments Off on STOP THE STRIFE · Categories: Fruit of the Spirit, Jesus Christ, Peace, Self Control, Spiritual Growth

There are times when you’ve just got to say to people; you know what… for peace sake, let’s just stop this right now. You take whatever you want to take and see you later. That’s what Abraham did… 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 AMP).

The NIV says… “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…

Abraham had to beg him. 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. 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 AMP).

LIFT UP NOW YOUR EYES AND LOOK… Do you know that as far as your focus is on people, you are looking down and not up?

Yesterday, I talked about baby and mature Christians. Another term for this is ‘carnal’ and ‘spiritual’ Christians. Carnal Christians allow their flesh rule them… Now the doings (practices) of the flesh are clear (obvious): they are immorality, impurity, indecency, Idolatry, sorcery, enmity, STRIFE, JEALOUSY, ANGER (ILL TEMPER)… (Galatians 5:19-20 AMP)

On the other hand… the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control… (Galatians 5:22-24 NLT)

If you find yourself always arguing and quarrelling over stuff then you need to ask yourself what’s up with that. 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… do all that you can to live in peace with everyone (Romans 12:18 NLT).

God bless you
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24. November 2013 · Comments Off on A CALL TO SPIRITUAL GROWTH · Categories: God's Plan, Revelation, Spiritual Growth, Wisdom

There is so much that God wants to reveal but do you know that most times we are responsible for where we are in life? I’m by no means perfect but I often say to myself… if only you had known then what you know now, you would have been so much further in life. Why have I cheated myself like this? Most times, we sit down there waiting for the Lord to move in our lives but do you know He just might also be waiting for us to grow up so that He can move in our lives?

Hebrews 5:11-14 (NLT) says… There is much more we would like to say… but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.

Our capacity to feast on solid food (deeper knowledge of God) is dependent on our spiritual growth. But like my study Bible rightly put it, “too often we want God’s banquet before we are spiritually capable of digesting it.”

Paul said I speak baby talk to infants but… when I am among mature believers, I do speak with words of wisdom… the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God… God revealed these things by His Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:6-10 NLT). Talking about spiritual truths, Paul goes on to say… But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means (1 Corinthians 2:14 NLT).

In a nutshell, I’m talking about operating in a higher dimension of God’s wisdom and revelation and there are times when we’ve just got to let the Holy Spirit minster to us like only Him can so who does the Bible call babies? Let’s see…

Peter said… get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment (1 Peter 2:1-2 NLT).

But Paul says grow… I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. AND YOU STILL AREN’T READY, for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world? (1 Corinthians 3:2-3 NLT)

Is the Holy Spirit speaking to you?

God bless you
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23. November 2013 · Comments Off on WHY DO YOU KEEP TRUSTING ME WITH TROUBLE? · Categories: God's Plan, Jesus Christ, Pain, Suffering, Worship

Why do You keep trusting me with trouble? I heard someone say this a few days ago and I couldn’t help but echo what they said. Yeah! Why? This is a question I’ve always asked God and I can remember telling Him that though He says He won’t allow me to be tried more than I can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13), I felt He was definitely overestimating me.

What do you do when you keep doing what He expects of you, yet you still keep getting into trouble? My mind immediately went back to Job. After his first ordeal, we are told… Job stood up and tore his robe in grief… FELL TO THE GROUND TO WORSHIP. He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God (Job 1:20-22 NLT).

This was a remarkable response after what he had just experienced. But you would think that after this, God would be so pleased that he would begin to open doors for him but NO… it was more trouble. Satan went back to ask for permission to bring him more affliction and you won’t believe the Lord’s response… “All right, do with him as you please,” the Lord said to Satan. “But spare his life.” So Satan left the Lord’s presence, and he struck Job with terrible boils from head to foot (Job 2:6-7 NLT).

I’m sure Job couldn’t believe it. Why? But I’ve been praising and worshiping You and saying and doing all the right things. Where did I go wrong? But he didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, as we know, the Lord had just finished boasting about him to satan… “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil. And he has maintained his integrity, even though you urged me to harm him without cause.” (Job 2:3 NLT)

The Lord trusted Job enough with trouble. Could this be your case too? Satan would always attack. The Bible says we should… not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you (1 Peter 4:12 NIV) because your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith… And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast (1 Peter 5:8-10 NIV).

Stand firm. Know that the Lord trusts you and if He restored Job, He would definitely restore you.

God bless you
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22. November 2013 · Comments Off on TAKE HEED · Categories: Action, Grace, Help, Jesus Christ, Mercy, Relationship, Sin, Worship

Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands [who feels sure that he has a steadfast mind and is standing firm], take heed lest he fall [into sin] (1 Corinthians 10:12 AMP).

I was telling someone the other day that the closer your relationship is with Jesus, the more you realise that you desperately need His help to survive this world. Using Old Testament examples, 1 Corinthians 10 warns us of the things we shouldn’t do so that God would not be displeased with us. It starts by saying we should not lust after evil things as our forefathers also lusted. We should not become idolaters as they did. We shouldn’t commit sexual immorality as they did. Some of us would be able to read some of these with a little bit of ease. We may say so far we are not doing too badly but then it starts to get trickier. It starts to say we should not… tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted…; NOR COMPLAIN, AS SOME OF THEM ALSO COMPLAINED, AND WERE DESTROYED BY THE DESTROYER (1 Corinthians 10:12 NKJV).

NOR COMPLAIN!!!!!! At this point, if Jesus were to stand before us and say let he who is without sin cast the first stone, I’m sure all of us would drop our stones and would find ourselves before the throne of grace asking for help. With everything that is thrown at us on a daily basis, isn’t it hard not to complain? Don’t you wish some things were taken out of the Bible? But as we know… every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us (2 Timothy 3:16-17 MSG).

We’ve been given reasons why God was not pleased with our forefathers and we are told… these things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age (1 Corinthians 10:11 NLT).

We shouldn’t lust after evil things… We shouldn’t become idolaters… Well if you think of this and only see a golden image, then you are fine but when you start to think of all those things that you’ve placed first before God e.g. your favourite TV that you just have to watch, precious time spent on Facebook, your career, your own will… What are the things we worship? We shouldn’t commit sexual immorality as they did…. But how does Jesus define this? We shouldn’t COMPLAIN…

Let anyone who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. The Message Translation says… Don’t be so NAIVE AND SELF-CONFIDENT. YOU’RE NOT EXEMPT. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence… May the Lord help us is all I can conclude with.

God bless you

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21. November 2013 · Comments Off on MEETING BY THE WELL · Categories: Action, Freedom, Healing, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Relationship, Spiritual Growth, Worship

The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the MEN, “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did…” (John 4:28-29 NKJV)

The walk to meet Jesus by the well can sometimes be a long and lonely one. Most times, it is filled with pain, disappointment, rejection, bitterness, shame, endless pursuits, unending routine, ineffective traditions of men to mention a few and if you don’t drop by the wayside, by the time you get there, you’ve been all tramped on, broken, worn out and thirsty.

These things stand as barriers and they tend to prevent people from having a real encounter with Jesus. Fortunately, these were the same barriers that Jesus had to break down as He met with the Samaritan woman by the well. She was a broken woman alright but we do the story no justice when we reduce it to just her past. To get to her, we agree that Jesus had to break down the barriers of her pain, isolation and rejection. But there was more. There were also barriers of human reasoning (John 4:11), tradition, race and culture, gender, religion and routine…

As Jesus broke through each barrier, her knowledge of Him grew. First, from seeing Him as just an ordinary Jewish man… “YOU ARE A JEW, and I am a Samaritan woman.” (John 4:9 NLT) However, as time went on, she got a new revelation… “Sir,” the woman said, “YOU MUST BE A PROPHET (John 4:19 NLT).

Though there were many things against this woman, I like that she was sincere in her dealings with Jesus. She actually expressed a longing for Him to answer the many questions she had and by the time Jesus addressed the issue of true worship, she got a revelation of who He really was… The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When He comes, He will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus told her, “I AM THE MESSIAH!” (John 4:25-26 NLT)

At this point, this woman dropped her waterpot and became a free woman and went to bring people to Jesus and the interesting thing is that she didn’t have to preach a great sermon. She didn’t have to quote many scriptures. She just told them her story – how Jesus delivered her from carrying her heavy waterpot.

Do you know it’s difficult to truely encounter Christ and minister to others about Him when you are carrying so much baggage? Have you got barriers stopping or limiting you? If Jesus was waiting to have a conversation with you by the well, what issues in your life would He pick on? What is that no go area in your life that you would rather everybody just leaves alone? Have you got heavy waterpots you need to drop by the well?

Why not start with a little prayer asking the Holy Spirit to help you let go of every weight because the burden is too heavy for me.

Please, also join me as I step out of the boat and embark on a new journey.

WELL

God bless you
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