31. March 2014 · Comments Off on A CHANGE OF NAME · Categories: Faith, Jesus Christ, Promise, Words

God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her (Genesis 17:15-16 NIV).”

Yesterday was mother’s day and while mother’s day is a joy to many, let’s face it, it is also a day that others dread because it is packed with mixed feeling for them.

As is the tradition in my church, mothers were called to gives testimonies of what it has been like to be a mother. One after the other, every woman was called out but there was this lady who had challenges with child bearing to the point that her husband left her for another woman because she couldn’t have a child. After calling every mother out she was the only one left but what does one do. Naturally, I am a very sensitive person. I started to feel for her because even with my two children, I know what it is like to be waiting for the fruit of the womb for years. Except you have experienced it, one can’t explain the feeling and I remember always saying… if it feels like this for me, I can’t imagine what it must feel like for someone that hasn’t even got any.

Anyhow, this lady was called out to say something and as she was walking out, the Lord brought Sarah’s story to my mind. Even when it looked like there was no hope, He changed her name and promised that she would be the mother of nations and it happened just as He said it would. To my surprise, as this lady took the microphone on the altar she said… Well, I haven’t had any children yet but as from today I am going to call myself a mother… And I’m like YES! YES! YES!… That’s what the Lord is saying… New name for you!

She spoke the words and as one created in the image of God, she did what God did at the beginning of creation… And God said Let there be… (Genesis 1:3) and those words set things in motion. All of a sudden, things that didn’t exist before started to appear. That was what he also did in the life of Abraham and Sarah… THE GOD WHO GIVES LIFE TO THE DEAD AND CALLS INTO BEING THINGS THAT WERE NOT (Romans 4:17 NIV).

This lady has spoken the words and I believe it has set things in motion. We don’t know how God would do it but He is THE GOD WHO GIVES LIFE TO THE DEAD AND CALLS INTO BEING THINGS THAT WERE NOT.

What name have you been known by? You can decide to change it by faith today. Give yourself a new name… Call it out… and live it up to God to make things happen.

God bless you
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30. March 2014 · Comments Off on THE PREVAILING MOTHER · Categories: Blessing, God's Plan, Jesus Christ, Promise

Happy mother’s day to all you wonderful mothers and mothers to be out there. I have great news for you… NOTHING CAN STOP YOU!

I was just reflecting on all the agony Eve had to go through. From her very first appearance on the scene of this earth, the devil was after her. Yes she fell. Yes her actions had consequences but no matter how she struggled… No matter what life brought her way, she PREVAILED…

We are told… And Adam knew Eve as his wife, and she became pregnant and bore Cain; and she said, I have gotten and gained a man WITH THE HELP OF THE LORD. And [next] she gave birth to his brother Abel… (Genesis 4:1-2 AMP).

It was hard labour but WITH THE HELP OF THE LORD… she PREVAILED…

Because of the enmity between the offspring of satan and her offspring (Genesis 3:15), there was war in her household and even after she lost both sons, her story did not end there… And Adam’s wife again became pregnant, and she bore a son and called his name Seth. For God, she said, has appointed for me another child…(Genesis 4:25 AMP)… WITH THE HELP OF THE LORD… she PREVAILED…

Since that time women struggled with all sorts of issues. Barrenness was top on the list but when the world thought it was all over for Sarah, Rachael, Rebecca, Hannah, Elizabeth and the likes, the Lord changed their stories… WITH THE HELP OF THE LORD… they PREVAILED…

And then the angel of the Lord appeared to one very special woman… And he came to her and said, Hail, O favored one [endued with grace]! The Lord is with you! Blessed (favored of God) are you before all other women!…And the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found grace (free, spontaneous, absolute favor and loving-kindness) with God. And listen! You will become pregnant and will give birth to a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus (Luke 1:28-31 AMP).

The enemy fought that Son… He was crucified. Mary probably thought she had lost Him forever but He resurrected… He ascended in to Heaven and… On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place…. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them (Acts 2:1,3 NLT). That was the Holy Spirit coming to dwell inside of them. Mary, the mother of Jesus was there (Acts 1:14). She felt her Son inside her once again… She was a favored one… WITH THE HELP OF THE LORD… she PREVAILED…

Such would be your case… you would keep on PREVAILING…

On this special mother’s day, you blessed woman, favored of God, may you receive a special visitation from the Lord. May you receive gifts that you know… THIS CAN ONLY BE GOD.

God bless you
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29. March 2014 · Comments Off on IS THERE NOT A CAUSE? · Categories: Action, Choices, God's Plan, Jesus Christ

The Bible tells us that… The steps of a [good] man are directed and established by the Lord when He delights in his way [and He busies Himself with his every step] (Psalm 37:23 AMP).

I don’t know about you but for quite some time now as I started to focus on what God is up to in my life, this verse has given me so much comfort because it helps me realise that like a good GPS (Global Positioning System) or Satellite navigation system, the Lord busies Himself with my every step. This means that even when I take the wrong step, He has a way of redirecting me back to where I should be.

Oh… you need to also know the peace that comes with it as well. Instead of fretting too much that I have taken the wrong turn when driving, I just put it down to the fact that there is a reason why I have come this way… Lord show me the reason I am here. OK… I must admit that with my very poor sense of direction, some may be down to silly mistakes but even then… it’s still… Lord show me the reason I’m here.

The point I’m trying to make is that no matter where you find yourself, it’s important you focus on the Lord who directs your steps.

As a young boy, David was sent to take food to his brothers who were on the battlefield. Little did he know it was a trip to destiny. David arrived just in time to see how Goliath was terrorising the Israelite army. Now the king had offered a huge reward to anyone who can kill Goliath so out of curiosity, David asked the soldiers standing nearby what the reward was. But then the Bible says…

Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger was aroused against David, and he said, “WHY DID YOU COME DOWN HERE? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.” And David said, “What have I done now? IS THERE NOT A CAUSE?” (1 Samuel 17:28-29 NKJV)

WHY DID YOU COME DOWN HERE? I like how David answers back in the KJV and NKJV Bible translation… IS THERE NOT A CAUSE? Oh Yes… There is A CAUSE. It’s the plan that God has for you that directed you there…

Some other versions translate it to say… CAN’T I EVEN SPEAK?… WAS IT NOT A HARMLESS QUESTION? You would be surprised how offended some people around you can get when you start to take that all-important step… When you start to make those all-important enquiries but you know how David’s story ends. He ignored them… went for the price… and his life was never the same…

I’m not sure where you are right now but if the Lord truly busies Himself with your every step, one question is worth asking… IS THERE NOT A CAUSE?

God bless you
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28. March 2014 · Comments Off on THE PATH TO ABUNDANT JOY · Categories: Hope, Jesus Christ, Joy, Peace, Praise, Prayer, Restoration, Thanks giving, Thoughts

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, YET I WILL REJOICE IN THE LORD! I WILL BE JOYFUL IN THE GOD OF MY SALVATION! (Habakkuk 3:17-18 NLT)

The saying that ‘HAPPINESS IS BASED ON THE THINGS HAPPENING AROUND YOU’ suggests that you can only be happy when conditions are favourable. So one minute you could be happy but the next you could be sad. Joy, on the other hand isn’t based on what’s happening around you. As Christians, this is based on the hope we have in Jesus Christ.

Apostle Paul should serve as an example for us. Physically confined behind the prison walls, he proclaims… REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS. AGAIN I WILL SAY, REJOICE! (Philippians 4:4 NKJV). How free could he have been? If you ask me, I would say freer than most of us on the outside. Here’s a man writing from prison to people not in prison asking them to REJOICE. The New Living Translation says… ALWAYS BE FULL OF JOY IN THE LORD. I SAY IT AGAIN—REJOICE!… The Message Translation says… CELEBRATE GOD ALL DAY, EVERY DAY. I MEAN, REVEL IN HIM!

Paul did not focus on his past nor present situation. He said… I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead (Philippians 3:13)

He learnt how to be CONTENT AND CONFIDENT IN CHRIST. He said… I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have LEARNED THE SECRET of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength (Philippians 4:12-13 NLT).

Paul advises that you should focus on Christ and not on the struggles you are facing. You are meant to REPLACE WORRYING WITH PRAYER AND THANKSGIVING. He says… 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).

He also advises that you should…Fix your thoughts on what is TRUE, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8 NLT) and not on the FACTS of your situation.

What are you facing that has sapped the life out of you? Why not ACTIVATE YOUR JOY today. Focus on Jesus and He will anoint you by pouring out the oil of joy until it overflows.

God bless you
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27. March 2014 · Comments Off on ARE YOU STILL AFRAID? · Categories: Covenant, Faith, Fear, God's Plan, Jesus Christ, Relationship

Yesterday, in our Bible study, as part of the Freedom in Christ course (by Neil Anderson) that we were doing, we were taking a closer look at the consequences of the first sin that Adam and Eve committed in the Garden of Eden. Immediately they ate the forbidden fruit that they were commanded not to eat by God, their eyes were opened and they suddenly realized they were naked so they tried to make coverings for themselves and when they heard the sound of the Lord they hid from Him… But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, AND I WAS AFRAID because I was naked; so I hid.” (Genesis 3:9-10 NIV)

AND I WAS AFRAID… The very first emotion expressed by man was FEAR. That was the first time FEAR was introduced into the world. But why were they afraid?

With the new found worldly wisdom that they had just gained, all of a sudden, they were now exposed to all the vulnerabilities of life. They no longer had the covering of God. They had lost that relationship with Him. As a result, they were left to discover their identity, purpose and meaning in life independently of the God that created them… THEY WERE NAKED and it was a scary thing and that emotion governed man from then on.

It’s no wonder that the phrase ‘DON’T BE AFRAID’ is mentioned about 170 times in the Bible. Subsequently, as God revealed Himself to the men in the Bible, most times the first thing He often did was to say… FEAR NOT, FOR I AM WITH YOU.

Now, as Christians who have accepted Christ, we are no longer uncovered. Our relationship with God has been reestablished. We have been brought back to a position of security, acceptance and significance in Christ. However, for some reason we still try to make a covering for ourselves… trying to tackle life by ourselves and doing thing in our own understanding and strength… which still leaves us vulnerable, leaving us with nothing but that same FEAR. But when you truly know that… I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME (Philippians 4:13 NKJV), the game changes. The opposite of that fear becomes faith.

Fear is a negative emotion that belongs to that old self because… if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV).

ARE YOU STILL AFRAID? If so, you need to question where it is coming from because… God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV).

Renounce that spirit of FEAR today and put on your new nature.

God bless you
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26. March 2014 · Comments Off on DON’T LET PRAISE GET TO YOUR HEAD · Categories: Humility, Jesus Christ, Praise

I was reading the story of the centurion whose servant was ill and needed the intervention of Jesus. While the focus of the text has always been on the man’s faith, there’s also some other detail in Luke’s version of the story worth noticing.

We are told that… when the centurion heard of Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to Him, requesting Him to come and make his bond servant well. And when they reached Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, SAYING, HE IS WORTHY THAT YOU SHOULD DO THIS FOR HIM, FOR HE LOVES OUR NATION AND HE BUILT US OUR SYNAGOGUE [AT HIS OWN EXPENSE]. And Jesus went with them. But when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent [some] friends to Him, saying, Lord, do not trouble [Yourself], FOR I AM NOT SUFFICIENTLY WORTHY TO HAVE YOU COME UNDER MY ROOF; NEITHER DID I CONSIDER MYSELF WORTHY TO COME TO YOU. But [just] speak a word, and my servant boy will be healed (Luke 7:3-7 AMP).

Did you notice the difference in opinions? The Jewish elders felt he was a very worthy candidate to receive from Jesus purely based on his works but fortunately, he didn’t think so. He knew it was all about Jesus and not his own works but can you imagine sitting around such people all day long and what their flattery can do to one? This is something a lot of us can easily fall for. I’m also guilty. There are times I get so frustrated with God when He is not answering me that I’m tempted to start to recount the things I’ve done or given up for Him but then I immediately come to my senses… Lord please forgive me!

But I absolutely love this man’s humility… Regardless of what he had done and what people felt about him, he felt… I am nothing. I am not worthy. You’ve also got to be weary of those that praise you and their different agendas. I once used to know someone that whenever they call me, they first start by singing my praises but you just know they want something from you and I’m like what do you want? Here, in this story we’ve got the Jewish elders report versus his friends report. I’m sure you know the Jewish elders had an agenda based on their keen interest in the ministry of Jesus but our centurion was clever enough not to get caught up in it.

The bible says… Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but A PERSON IS TESTED BY BEING PRAISED (Proverbs 27:21 NLT).

What does human praise do to you and your ego? Could it be robbing you of anything?

God bless you
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25. March 2014 · Comments Off on SINCERE SEARCHING · Categories: Deliverance, God's Plan, Healing, Jesus Christ, Restoration, Revelation

A few days ago, I was listening to some very touching testimonies of some young men who have now become youth pastors, street evangelists, gospel singers and so on but they had a terrible past. Some of them were ex-gang members, ex-drug addicts, ex-convicts and all the ex’s you can think of. From the tattoos and everything else you could tell that they used to be real hard-core but they talked about the various things that led them into that lifestyle including abuse so gross I don’t even want to think about it… circumstances that led them to indulge in one thing or the other to try and fill a void in their lives that nothing could satisfy.

They had all been involved in nasty stuff but as they shared their stories, the one thing they all shared in common was the fact that though they displayed hardness on the outside, when they were behind closed doors, they would cry out passionately to God saying… God I can’t keep living like this. If you are real, reveal yourself to me. One of them said he kept on asking how come I cannot experience you like such and such a person did. I want to know for myself that you are real and not from anybody else. If you are real then reveal yourself to me. He kept at it until one day as he was crying out, the glory of the Lord filled his room. That was it. He said that the presence of the Lord was so strong that for 8 good hours, he couldn’t stop weeping in his room. And I’m like yep… I know that feeling… not for 8 hours but I know what you are talking about.

From that day on, he became a changed man and now God is using him to minister to those on the streets and everywhere else in ways that you cannot imagine.

They came as a group to minister in this church and you could tell that something happened that day. People with secret addictions and struggles… young and old, heartbroken parents who’ve lost children due to street live, all sorts… they all came out to receive a touch from the Lord. There was healing and restoration flowing so strongly in the room. It sounds like I’m exaggerating but I could actually feel the anointing in my room.

Who would think God can use such people but only Him can turn such messy situations into a ministries and this is what He says… For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:11-13 NKJV).

If you desire Him, keep searching with all your heart and you would find Him

God bless you
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24. March 2014 · Comments Off on HAVE I MISSED OUT ON SOMETHING? · Categories: Action, Faith, God's Plan, Jesus Christ

You believe there is one God… Good [You do well]! But the demons believe that, too, and they tremble with fear [shudder]. You foolish [senseless; emptyheaded] person! Must you be shown [Do you want evidence; Can’t you see] THAT FAITH THAT DOES NOTHING [WITHOUT WORKS] is worth nothing [useless; barren]? (James 2:19-20 Expanded Bible)

Over the past month, we’ve been studying the topic of faith. We had to go back to the fundamentals and it would surprise you how a topic that is supposed to be at our core is still difficult to grasp.

Out of everything we covered, one of the things that caught my attention is the difference between believe and faith. Somehow, we tend to use these words interchangeable but there’s a big difference. Here are two examples to illustrate my point;

A sick man has a bottle of medicine. He believes that if he takes the medicine he would recover. But he can believe all he wants; it’s not until he acts on his belief and actually swallows the medicine that the medicine would work.

Another illustration given by Apostle Fred Price; you can flash the keys to your cars before everybody to prove that it’s your car and that you believe it can take you anywhere you want to go. Off course you believe it’s your car. You bought it with your money but the fact is that you can name it, claim it and do whatever you want to but until you put the car keys in the ignition, start the car and drive off, the car is not moving from that spot.

According to Price, “everywhere you see faith expressed in the Bible, you see action. In fact, faith is an action. It is acting on what you believe. Many people confuse belief or believing with faith. Believing is a starting point, but if you stop there you would wind up with nothing”.

Hmmm… This got me really thinking. How many times have we prayed and said I’m believing the Lord for something and just leave it there. Every morning and evening and perhaps throughout the day, we keep repeating the same prayer but no accompanying action. The Amplified Bible says… Are you willing to be shown [proof], YOU FOOLISH (UNPRODUCTIVE, SPIRITUALLY DEFICIENT) FELLOW, THAT FAITH APART FROM [GOOD] WORKS IS INACTIVE AND INEFFECTIVE AND WORTHLESS?

Ok point taken… ENOUGH OF THE INSULT. This makes sense because a lot of my major achievements have come from me taking bold steps. Those steps that I’ve said, I’m not exactly sure how this would turn out but we would cross that bridge or mountain when we get to it but I never seem to come across the mountain because I guess faith moves it out of the way. But reflecting back, I can’t help but wonder if I’ve missed out on something because I’ve failed to act on it.

Are you missing out on something? Do you just believe or are you acting on what you believe?

God bless you
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23. March 2014 · Comments Off on WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON UNDERNEATH THE SURFACE? · Categories: Anger, Freedom, Jesus Christ, Joy, Love, Relationship

Every time we look at the story of the prodigal son, we always tend to look at the younger brother who was bored of staying at home and decided he wanted to live on the wild side but let’s take our eyes off him for a moment and focus on his older brother. Unlike the younger brother whom everyone in town knew to be the problem child, this son does the work of his father and obeys his every instruction but we get to see another side of him pretty soon.

After squandering his wealth in wild living, the younger brother came to his senses and returns home and a big party was thrown for him but… THE OLDER BROTHER BECAME ANGRY and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! ALL THESE YEARS I’VE BEEN SLAVING FOR YOU and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ (Luke 15:28-32 NIV)

What really caught my attention was the fact that he said… ALL THESE YEARS I’VE BEEN SLAVING FOR YOU??? Who would have thought this was how the older brother was feeling? These are not the words of a man who is happy to be working for his father. I sense frustration and I am thinking of the kind of Christians that have been serving the Lord for years but have no joy.

And another thing I noticed. The father… divided his property between them (Luke 15:12 NIV). I was thinking about this. The older brother had access to the wealth of the father which was also his inheritance but maybe he felt… how can I be seen having any kind of fun? What would people say?… it’s work, work, work but secretly he desired to have a celebration with his friends… SLAVERY!!

Frustration, offense, anger, resentment, pride, jealousy, unforgiveness, hated… all hidden underneath. He displays all the external acts to be seen on the outside but displays none of the qualities that Jesus looks for on the inside… the greatest of all which is love was missing.

Unfortunately, the story ends there. The older brother became angry and refused to go in but we don’t know whether he changed his mind and went in. However, we know the prodigal son definitely went in.

Are you free or do you see your Christianity and service as slavery? WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON UNDERNEATH THE SURFACE?

God bless you
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22. March 2014 · Comments Off on WHEN MEN PRAY · Categories: Intercession, Jesus Christ, Prayer

AND ISAAC PRAYED MUCH TO THE LORD FOR HIS WIFE because she was unable to bear children; AND THE LORD GRANTED HIS PRAYER, and Rebekah his wife became pregnant (Genesis 25:21 AMP).

There’s this notion that women are the prayer warriors of the family but I’m not sure where it came from. Maybe it’s because men have somehow pushed that responsibility to the women but reading about how Isaac prayed for his wife and God answered in double portion got me thinking. Barrenness was a generational problem that ran in his family but he was the only one that responded to it differently.

Now let’s see what Isaac’s dad did when faced with the same challenge…

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said (Genesis 16:1-2 NIV).

Hmmm… I wonder what would have happened if Abram had said… Don’t be silly sweetheart… No thanks… I’ll rather pray to my God who gave the mandate to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28). Instead, he chose to listen to his wife who was an emotional wreck at the time and wasn’t thinking straight. Hmmm… Maybe you shouldn’t try this because the world is a war zone because of this.

And then let’s see what Isaac’s son did when faced with the same challenge…

When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” Jacob became angry with her and said, “Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?” Then she said, “Here is Bilhah, my servant. Sleep with her so that she can bear children for me and I too can build a family through her.” So she gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife. Jacob slept with her (Genesis 30:1-4 NIV)

Hmmm… just like granddad but like I said, maybe you shouldn’t try this option. Jacob’s home was a war zone because of his many wives…

Women being very emotional beings sometimes don’t always think straight when going through crisis and may need you as the man and head of the house to stand in the gap and intercede for your family like Christ is interceding for His church (Romans 8:34)

Have you thought of the difference it would make if you take up the mantle of prayer in your home? As for you woman, maybe it’s time to start asking your husband to pray for you and the family.

God bless you
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