30. September 2014 · Comments Off on ARE YOU TRYING DESPERATELY TO SEEK THE APPROVAL OF PEOPLE? · Categories: Action, Agreement, Choices, Freedom, God's Plan, Jesus Christ

“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant” (Galatians 1:10 NLT).

The above were the words made by the great Apostle Paul who used to be called Saul and I couldn’t help but contrast his experience with his name sake, King Saul who eventually got rejected by the Lord. But what was King Saul’s issue? Simple… he was a people pleaser who tried all he could to get people to accept him.

After Prophet Samuel told Saul about God’s purpose for his life, he told him that immediately he left his presence, he would begin to prophesy. True to what the prophet said, when Saul left Samuel’s presence, he started to prophesy but the Bible says… “When those who knew Saul heard about it, they exclaimed, ‘What? Is even Saul a prophet? How did the son of Kish become a prophet?’ And one of those standing there said, ‘Can anyone become a prophet, no matter who his father is?’”.… (1 Samuel 10: 11-12 NLT)

LOL… How do you think that made Saul feel? But it did not stop there. Saul was eventually appointed king and as he went about his business… “there were some scoundrels who complained, ‘How can this man save us?’ And they scorned him and refused to bring him gifts…” (1 Samuel 10: 27 NLT).

Hmmm… As a result, as Saul ruled Israel, he carried a mindset that made him do everything to win people over (See 1 Samuel 13:8-11, 1 Samuel 15:24) and God finally rejected him as king.

People-pleasing is a real problem that we face today. We want to fit into people’s mould of what we should be or look like. We do what we shouldn’t do and go where we shouldn’t go all because we want to be accepted. We want people to like us. Hmmm… how many likes or comments can I get on Facebook? (I hope you haven’t fallen into the trap of letting that validate you?)

The truth is if we are not careful, our desire to be accepted by men could get us into trouble. The great apostle Paul was rejected and made fun of but his focus remained on Jesus and you find that he finished his course and was able to say boldly, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful” (2 Timothy 4:7 NLT).

Are you caught in the trap of desperately trying to seek people’s approval? It does not matter what people have said about you to lower yourself esteem. Do yourself a favor and find your identity, significance and validation in who and what Christ says you are and be free.

God bless you
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29. September 2014 · Comments Off on CHOOSE TO STAND OUT · Categories: Action, Choices, Covenant, favor, Grace, Jesus Christ, Relationship

But Noah found grace (favor) in the eyes of the Lord… Noah was a just and righteous man, blameless in his [evil] generation; Noah walked [in habitual fellowship] with God (Genesis 6:8-9 AMP).

In a world full of evil and wickedness, can you imagine that only one man chose to be different?… The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination and intention of all human thinking was only evil continually (Genesis 6:5 AMP). This was in Noah’s time but does it remind you of the world we live in today? The Message translation says – God saw that human evil was out of control. People thought evil, imagined evil—evil, evil, evil from morning to night.

However, amongst all the evil, one man decided to stand out. It must have been hard. He must have been very lonely because I can’t imagine that anyone was on his side… But Noah found grace (favor) in the eyes of the Lord. The Message translation says – BUT NOAH WAS DIFFERENT. GOD LIKED WHAT HE SAW IN NOAH. THIS IS THE STORY OF NOAH: NOAH WAS A GOOD MAN, A MAN OF INTEGRITY IN HIS COMMUNITY.

Can you imagine that Noah was the only one that brought a smile to the Lord’s face… and in return God said… I will establish My covenant (promise, pledge) with you, and you shall come into the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you (Genesis 6:18 AMP).

You could be that one man that will stand out in your street, in your office, school, in the shop queue, on the bus, on the motor way, wherever. Like someone said… “Integrity is when you stand alone with God… if everybody in the world were to be like you, how would the world be?”

Wouldn’t you say that’s something to think about?

God is always looking for that one man to pour out His favor on and like with Noah, His criteria is clear. We also see this with Abraham… When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, I am the Almighty God; WALK AND LIVE HABITUALLY BEFORE ME AND BE PERFECT (BLAMELESS, WHOLEHEARTED, COMPLETE). AND I WILL MAKE MY COVENANT (SOLEMN PLEDGE) BETWEEN ME AND YOU AND WILL MULTIPLY YOU EXCEEDINGLY (Genesis 17:1-2 AMP).

Dare to stand out? Noah’s ark represents Christ… You can’t say you have entered the ark and still behave like you are. Do something that makes you STAND OUT and watch God do something OUTSTANDING in your life. It doesn’t have to be drastic. You can take baby steps… one decision after the other… and it cannot be done in your own strength… His grace is available so ask for it.

God bless you
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28. September 2014 · Comments Off on WHERE DO BROKEN HEARTS GO? · Categories: God's Plan, Jesus Christ

Therefore, behold, I will allure her [Israel] and bring her into the wilderness, and I will speak tenderly and to her heart (Hosea 2:14 AMP).

Have you ever suffered a heart break? Before you answer, let me first clarify that when you hear the word ‘broken heart’, we are not just referring to those that have been left heart broken by a man or woman. Of course, when a man or a woman that you love so much leaves you, you say they broke my heart. But before we go any further; what does a broken heart mean?

I checked the definition of a heart break and it means to be… Burdened or overwhelmed with great sorrow, grief, or disappointment. Words like… sad, dejected, depressed, downcast, downhearted, heartsick, heavyhearted, inconsolable, joyless, low-spirited, miserable, mournful, saddened, sorrowful, sorry, unhappy… are all words associated with a heart break. Yes, a heartbreak is when someone jilts you. But it’s not just when you have been jilted by a man or a woman that you feel depressed or feel grief or disappointment. Life can also jilt you and leave you heartbroken.

That dream that didn’t come to past can also jilt you. You may have been waiting to have a child but up till now nothing is happening. You may have seen somebody that is so dear to you just die like that. That child that you put all you hope in my all of a sudden start to behave badly. That friend that you trusted too much betrays you all of a sudden. All these are enough to break your heart. So to be heartbroken means those that have had their hearts set on something but have been disappointed.

However, during the last meeting by the well, I asked the question… what do you do when the Lord breaks your heart? Really? How can God break my heart? The Bible says… Hope deferred makes the heart sick (Proverbs 13:12). And I love the way the message translation puts it… Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick…

Hmmm… Have you ever had unrelenting disappointment? What do you do when God is the only one that can answer your prayers, yet He chooses to remain silent?

Believe me; there are times when God would break your heart but when He does so, please know that you are in the best hands. He does it to get your attention because at times, that’s the only way. We don’t have time for Him otherwise and so He has to devise a strategy like ALLURE US INTO THE WILDERNESS to get us all to Himself. Could that be why you are experiencing a dry season? Perhaps the Lord wants to reveal His plans for your life. I know from personal experience so why not ask Him… why am I so heartbroken?

Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come (Jeremiah 33:3 NLT).

God bless you
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27. September 2014 · Comments Off on BE THOROUGHLY EQUIPPED FOR EVERY GOOD WORK · Categories: Action, God's Plan, Jesus Christ, Obedience, Spiritual Growth

Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17 AMP).

Yesterday, I posted a message titled ‘Let Love Be Your Motive’ and in it I said that we should always check that our actions are coming from a place of love and not from a place of bitterness, unforgiveness, manipulation, revenge, pride. This is because you can tell someone the truth but in a malicious, spiteful or hurtful way.

I had no idea that the Lord has already been speaking to someone about their not so godly encounter with a fellow church member during the week. They called me to tell me that yesterday’s word was for them and that they had not only asked the Lord for forgiveness, they were going to apologise to this person. Well, I told them thank God that we have the word of God to convict and correct us when we go wrong. That’s what a complete gospel of Christ does.

Apostle Paul told his mentee, Timothy that … Every Scripture…not some…Every Scripture. Other Bible translations say… All Scripture is… and I love the Message Translation which says… 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.

What does this mean? It means that where you are hearing or have decided to focus on only the portions of scripture that is pleasing to the flesh… that makes you feel good and never convicts you or corrects you of your errors, you may have to check to ensure that you are not who the Bible refers to as having itching ears.

The same Paul told Timothy… preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather round them a great number of teachers TO SAY WHAT THEIR ITCHING EARS WANT TO HEAR (2 Timothy 4:2-3 NIVUK).

The Amplified Bible says… For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, CHOSEN TO SATISFY THEIR OWN LIKING AND TO FOSTER THE ERRORS THEY HOLD

What can I say? May the Lord help us in these last days that we don’t have itchy ears that lead us astray.

God bless you
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26. September 2014 · Comments Off on LET LOVE BE YOUR MOTIVE · Categories: Action, Jesus Christ, Love

For God SO LOVED THE WORLD that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16 NKJV).

Love was God’s motive for sending Jesus Christ. In the same way, He expects everything we do to be done out of love. Jesus said… ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:37-39 NKJV)

Jesus also said… A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35 NKJV)

But then, He later writes to the church in Ephesus… “I see what you’ve done, your hard, hard work, your refusal to quit. I know you can’t stomach evil, that you weed out apostolic pretenders. I know your persistence, your courage in my cause, that you never wear out. “But you walked away from your first love—why? What’s going on with you, anyway? Do you have any idea how far you’ve fallen? A Lucifer fall! “Turn back! Recover your dear early love. No time to waste, for I’m well on my way to removing your light from the golden circle (Revelation 2:2-5 MSG).

Hmmm… I believe Jesus is saying here that I see everything you are doing but what are your motives?… Remember, He sees the heart of man.

As Christians, do you know that you could be doing all the right things but for the wrong reason? Do you know that rather than draw people to Christ, by their actions some Christians have driven people further away from Christ? Personally, I reflect a lot. I have to go over and over my actions to check that it’s not coming from a place of bitterness, unforgiveness, manipulation, revenge, pride. In the past, there used to be times when I would tell people… “you know the Bible says…” Yes, I told them the truth… I gave them a piece of my mind and felt really good about it. Yes… You ought to know that I’m right and you’re wrong but then immediately I’ve gratified my flesh, I hear the Lord saying… you know you’ve just made that person feel this little or feel so bad… and I found myself saying, ‘please forgive me Lord’.

LET LOVE BE YOUR MOTIVE for whatever you do. Love is the greatest virtue… not being right or following rules… Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity (Colossians 3:12-14 NIV).

God bless you
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25. September 2014 · Comments Off on WHEN GOD SAYS NOTHING · Categories: God's Plan, Jesus Christ, Obedience, Patience, Restoration, Trusting God

Okay, so I’ve been lying down there for hours trying to get a message from the Lord to share today and I got absolutely nothing. My mind was blank and I’m thinking okay this isn’t good but then after wondering off and getting carried… browsing the internet and everything else you can think of, my mind went back to what my counselling tutor told us yesterday afternoon and that is the fact that the famous Mother Teresa had to own up to her confidant that she had not heard from God for about 40 years.

What? 40 years? Hmmm… I tried to do some research and as usual all sorts of information came up. I didn’t want to get bogged down with the details so didn’t explore it further but I just wanted to ask the question… what do you do when you so desperately want to hear from God and He says absolutely nothing? That’s when prophets become your best friend. But have you ever been in a room where the Lord has a message for everyone else but you? Very, Very frustrating!

What do you do when you want to hear from God and He says nothing? Hmmm… some have likened the experience to using a Satellite Navigation System also known as a Global Positioning System (GPS) where you are supposed to continue on the same road until it’s time to make a turn and that’s when you hear a voice saying; “in about 200 yards make a left or a right turn”. However, even though you know that the voice would speak when its time, there’s always that uncomfortable feeling in the silence which our very good friend, Job in the Bible knows too well.

Job said… If only I knew where to find God, I would go to His court. I would lay out my case and present my arguments. Then I would listen to His reply and understand what He says to me… I go east, but He is not there. I go west, but I cannot find Him. I do not see Him in the north, for He is hidden. I look to the south, but He is concealed. “BUT HE KNOWS WHERE I AM GOING. AND WHEN HE TESTS ME, I WILL COME OUT AS PURE AS GOLD (Job 23:3-10 NLT).

I once heard someone say that when you are in an examination hall, your tutor is in the room with you though they have to remain silent. They are not allowed to say anything but they are hoping that they have taught you enough in class to be able to do the exams on your own. Does this make sense? Could the Lord’s silence be that He is testing to see if you would put into practice all He has been teaching you?

BUT HE KNOWS WHERE I AM GOING. AND WHEN HE TESTS ME, I WILL COME OUT AS PURE AS GOLD.

God bless you
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You may have been praying for something you really need but are you really expecting an answer or does that thing seem almost impossible that you are only praying because religion says so. If you really check yourself, is there that silent voice that says “I can’t see how this can happen”?

This was the case with Peter while awaiting execution in prison… the church prayed very EARNESTLY for him (Acts 12:5 NLT). The Amplified Translation says…FERVENT prayer for him was PERSISTENTLY made to God by the church… and God heard their prayers but when he was released and went to the house where they were praying for him, what did the people tell the girl who went to get the door? … “YOU’RE OUT OF YOUR MIND!” they said. When she insisted, they decided, “IT MUST BE HIS ANGEL.” Meanwhile, Peter CONTINUED KNOCKING. When they FINALLY opened the door and saw him, they were AMAZED (Acts 12:15-16 NLT).

Hmmm… So please tell me; when they were making those earnest prayers, what were they really expecting? They were amazed. This means… shocked…surprised… Does this mean that you can be praying but also thinking that “there’s no way God would answer your earnest prayers?

Are you really expecting an answer to your prayer? A preacher once said that anyone expecting a visitor prepares for them. They go shopping; prepare a nice meal; tidy up the house; wash up and then put on decent clothes – all in readiness for when the visitor comes. Likewise, if you are expecting from God, He expects you to be READY. Are you ready or will you like the church, keep your answer knocking outside because you aren’t expecting it? Now you have to run around tidying the house before you let them in. And then, when they come in, you’ve nothing to offer except excuses… “sorry my house is in such a mess…it’s the children…Sorry, I only have water to offer you…” Could this be why God hasn’t released your answer yet?

Or maybe you’ve left them knocking outside too long that they’ve left thinking no one is at home. I can’t tell you the number of times the delivery man has left me a note saying… “while you were out, we tried to deliver a parcel…” But wait! I’m in! I’m in!… The only problem is that I wasn’t properly dressed and by the time I managed to throw something on and run to the door, they’ve driven off with my parcel. It then takes more effort to get my parcel redelivered.

What am I trying to say? If you are praying for something, please be EXPECTANT and READY.

This should be your attitude while waiting… “Sing…Break into loud and joyful song..Enlarge your house; build an addition. Spread out your home, and spare no expense”! (Isaiah 54:1-2 NLT)

God bless you
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23. September 2014 · Comments Off on HOW BRIGHT IS YOUR LIGHT SHINING? · Categories: Action, Jesus Christ, Light, Praise, Salvation

You are the light of the world… Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven (Matthew 5:14,16 AMP).

During our Sunday school study, we looked at the above verse and the question was asked – what does this mean and as Christians, how can we apply it to our daily living. The general consensus was that regardless of what we are passing through, we should always live a life that sends a positive message about our God to our neighbours, colleges and friends.

I then remembered a story I heard about a time a non-believer was in an airplane and all of a sudden they were alerted that there was major turbulence or something more serious (can’t really remember). However, while everyone was panicking, this non-believer went about saying confidently that nothing was going to happen to the plane. When asked why he was so confident, he said it was because he saw Billy Graham board the plane with them. Isn’t that something? A non-believer being assured of the fact that because of you, they are safe. That your grace would cover them and the fact that your GOD IS ABLE. The one thing I hope is that Billy Graham also felt that way.

As the light of this world, how do people in your neighbourhood, your work place or wherever you find yourself see you?

I am also reminded of the time Paul and Silas were locked up in prison… About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, AND THE OTHER PRISONERS WERE LISTENING TO THEM. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once ALL THE PRISON DOORS FLEW OPEN, AND EVERYONE’S CHAINS CAME LOOSE. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” (Acts 16:25-31 NIV)

Has your action or lifestyle provoked anyone to ask the question… WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED? HOW BRIGHT IS YOUR LIGHT SHINING?

God bless you
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22. September 2014 · Comments Off on GIVE THE WORD OF GOD A CHANCE TO WORK · Categories: Faith, God's Plan, Jesus Christ, Patience, Promise, Trusting God

Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Jeremiah, what do you see? And I said, I see a branch or shoot of an almond tree [the emblem of alertness and activity, blossoming in late winter]. Then said the Lord to me, You have seen well, FOR I AM ALERT AND ACTIVE, WATCHING OVER MY WORD TO PERFORM IT (Jeremiah 1:11-12 AMP).

Yesterday, a preacher asked his congregation… Why do you waste your time year in year out coming to this place to hear the word of God if you don’t believe it would work in your life? Good question. GIVE THE WORD OF GOD A CHANCE TO WORK… they said. Hmmm… that really caught my attention. I went to sleep but woke up with that word still ringing in my ears and I immediately thought of what the Lord said to Jeremiah… I WATCH OVER MY WORD TO PERFORM IT.

If the Lord is watching over His word spoken over your life, where would He find it right now? Hidden away? Abandoned? Or are you still holding on to the word believing that one day it would surely come to pass? The problem is that we give up too soon and when I say too soon, we may just have to look at the number of years the likes of Abraham had to wait to receive the promise of God. Well… you may say that was in the Bible days but this particular preacher had to wait for 16 good years to have children and every time the Lord must have looked down for His word, He found it mixed with this preachers faith.

Are you standing in faith? Don’t be like the Israelites of old for …the message they heard did not benefit them, because it was not mixed with faith (with the leaning of the entire personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) by those who heard it… (Hebrews 4:2 AMP).

I don’t know what word you have received from the Lord. Maybe you feel it’s taking too long and want to or have already given up. Today, I want to encourage you to… GIVE THE WORD OF GOD A CHANCE TO WORK.

The Lord says… For as the rain and snow come down from the heavens, and return not there again, but water the earth and make it bring forth and sprout, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it (Isaiah 55:10-11 AMP).

God bless you
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21. September 2014 · Comments Off on FILLING THE VOID IN YOUR HEART · Categories: God's Plan, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Joy, Love, Peace

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He also has planted eternity in men’s hearts and minds [a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which NOTHING UNDER THE SUN BUT GOD ALONE CAN SATISFY]… (Ecclesiastes 3:11 AMP)

According to the Scriptures, do you know that there is a desire in the heart of man which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy? Nothing… not even money, wealth, prosperity, power, the need to be successful, alcohol, drugs, fashion, sex… can satisfy. All these are man-made wells that the world presents to us to make us believe that we can find satisfaction, fulfillment, acceptance in them but they only leave us heartbroken.

Just like the Samaritan woman, we tend to try and draw water from these man-made wells which only give us momentary satisfaction but then like I said, leaves us heartbroken. This is because we are trying to MEET A SPIRITUAL NEED WITH A PHYSICAL SOURCE. We turn to these man-made wells to draw PEACE from without getting satisfied. We turn to these man-made wells to draw JOY from without getting satisfied. We turn to these man-made wells to draw LOVE from without getting satisfied. That thing keeps disguising itself and promising that this time it would be better but it keeps deceiving you and each time, you are left heartbroken. However, because of that aching desire, before you know it, you find yourself right back where you started. But I put it to you that people go to these various man-made wells in search of the true Well that gives living water and there are times Jesus, the true Well, would have to go out of His way to seat by your man-made well to rescue you from that vicious cycle and say… could it be Me you are looking for?

The woman said to Him, I know that Messiah is coming, He Who is called the Christ (the Anointed One); and when He arrives, He will tell us everything we need to know and make it clear to us. Jesus said to her, I Who now speak with you am He (John 4:25-26 AMP).

Then the woman left her water jar (John 4:28 AMP) because she no longer needed to draw water from her man-made well. She had met what she was searching for in men all these while. Are you able to identify your own man-made well? A song writer once wrote… Fill my cup, Lord; I lift it up Lord; Come and quench this thirsting of my soul. Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more. Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole. Why not make this your prayer today?

God bless you
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