“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, [God’s] own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people [at all], but now you are God’s people; once you were unpitied, but now you are pitied and have received mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10 AMP)
Many times as the children of God, we tend to forget who we are and this causes us to lose our identity easily and be swayed away by every wind of change that comes our way. Why should this happen when we clearly know who we are? Isn’t our Identity found in Christ? John writes and says “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” |John 1:12-13| We are born of God. A people belonging to God. This is the same thing that Peter is reminding us in the scripture above. We are called of God and called for a specific purpose.
You need to realize that you are where you are today because you are on a mission. God doesn’t place you in places just for the sake, but He always has a specific assignment that he has for each and everyone of us wherever we are. Mordecai reminds his niece Esther and tells her “… and who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this and for this very occasion?” |Esther 4:14 AMP|. Always know that God has placed you where you are strategically and for a specific PURPOSE and SEASON and thus you need to understand that very well before your time expires.
The last couple of months, God has really laid so much in my heart in regards to this nation – Kenya; and looking at what is happening, you can only know that it is the devil at work to thwart the destiny of this land but he is defeated. Kenya is a sovereign nation with an apostolic calling and mandate. There have been numerous prophesies regarding our nation that have been spoken and we are seeing them come to pass.
Kenya will be a lighthouse unto the world.
Kenya will be a springboard of the church revival
and many others that God has spoken of and they are coming to pass in due time and season.
Thus the reason why we should be vigilant and stand up as the watchmen (Ezekiel 33:7, Isaiah 62:6; Ezekiel 3:17) and call this nation back to its original place and positioning. It is the high time that we stood up as believers and "Reclaim Kenya back unto its position…" and this is a great mandate that we have as a ministry as well as individuals in this land. We need to realize that God has strategically and intentionally placed you and me in this nation for a reason. He knew you and he chose and purposed that you will be a Kenyan for a reason and for a time and season as this.
See this, the bible says: “Then the word of the Lord came to me [Jeremiah], saying, Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a prophet to the nations… for you shall go to all to whom I shall send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Be not afraid of them [their faces], for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord. Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. See, I have this day appointed you to the oversight of the nations and of the kingdoms to root out and pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.” (Jeremiah 1:4-10 AMP)
God created you with a purpose and this purpose has to be fulfilled before you rest. The bible says this as it gives the account of David… “For this reason He says also in another psalm, You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption [to undergo putrefaction and dissolution of the grave]. For David, after he had served God’s will and purpose and counsel in his own generation, fell asleep [in death] and was buried among his forefathers, and he did see corruption and undergo putrefaction and dissolution [of the grave]." (Acts 13:35-36 AMP) Never be happy when you rest without accomplishing your mission and purpose on earth.
God speaks through prophet Isaiah and says… “God also says: “When the time’s ripe, I answer you. When victory’s due, I help you. I form you and use you to reconnect the people with me, To put the land in order, to resettle families on the ruined properties. I tell prisoners, ‘Come on out. You’re free!’ and those huddled in fear, ‘It’s all right. It’s safe now.’ There’ll be foodstands along all the roads, picnics on all the hills— Nobody hungry, nobody thirsty, shade from the sun, shelter from the wind, For the Compassionate One guides them, takes them to the best springs. I’ll make all my mountains into roads, turn them into a superhighway. Look: These coming from far countries, and those, out of the north, These streaming in from the west, and those from all the way down the Nile!” |Isaiah 49:8-12 MSG|. God is PREPARING you, FORMING you and making sure that you are ready for the work unto which He has created and called you for in this land. Make sure that you are available for your assignment which is clearly cut out.
First God says; our mandate is to: Reconnect people with Him; then put the land in order and others. I want to major on these two because, unless man is reconnected and reconciles with God, the land wont be reconciled and settled. God has called us with a mission. What is our mission and purpose as believers and Christians that God has called us to? He has called us to be agents of RECONCILIATION and RESTORATION: In the year of jubilee, God speaks of the 7Rs of jubilee and two of the 7Rs are Repentance and Restoration.
Paul speaks to the church in Corinth and tells them.. "It was God [personally present] in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself, not counting up and holding against [men] their trespasses [but cancelling them], and committing to us the message of reconciliation (of the restoration to favor). So we are Christ’s ambassadors, God making His appeal as it were through us. We [as Christ’s personal representatives] beg you for His sake to lay hold of the divine favor [now offered you] and be reconciled to God." (2 Corinthians 5:19, 20 AMP).
Jesus speaks and says “Blessed are the peace makers for they shall be called the sons of God…” (Matthew 5:6). God has called you and me to be part of his reconciliation and restoration team. Like He (God) told Jeremiah, He has chosen and approved you and me to be his chosen instruments unto the nations. It is the promise of his word that he will use us as He wills. The bible says: “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also [utensils] of wood and earthenware, and some for honorable and noble [use] and some for menial and ignoble [use]. So whoever cleanses himself [from what is ignoble and unclean, who separates himself from contact with contaminating and corrupting influences] will [then himself] be a vessel set apart and useful for honorable and noble purposes, consecrated and profitable to the Master, fit and ready for any good work.” (2 Timothy 2:20-21 AMP)
Having known that God has set us apart and called us for a specific mission and purpose, what then should we do and how? There are different ways in which God has cut us out for ministry according to our purpose and mission. Each assignment is unique but there are fundamental aspects that never change. I want to consider Gideon, a man God used to bring restoration in Israel:
There are things that Gideon did that were symbolic and we ought to do the same if we will be used of the Lord in our time. Judges 6 gives us an account of the call of Gideon and his response.
1) See yourself as God sees you:
The bible says "And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, The Lord is with you, you mighty man of [fearless] courage. The Lord turned to him and said, Go in this your might, and you shall save Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you? Gideon said to Him, Oh Lord, how can I deliver Israel? Behold, my clan is the poorest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house. The Lord said to him, Surely I will be with you, and you shall smite the Midianites as one man." (Judges 6:12, 14-16 AMP)
How do you look at yourself? What do you see when you look at yourself? Do you see a failure or a victor? Remember, the way you see yourself is how you will portray yourself and that is the same way you will act and do your stuff. It is the same picture that will be your driving force and motivation to accomplish your purpose. The bible gives an account of the spies that went to spy the Land of Canaan and they saw themselves as “grasshoppers compared to the giants in the land and also in their own eyes” (Numbers 13:33). This contributed to the report they brought to Moses.
Change the way you see yourself and the world around you will also change.
2) Cleanse your life and your household
There are some things in our lives and family lineage that hold us back from being what God has called us to be. And the only way that we can get off this cage that we are in is to cleanse ourselves and family. Gideon was instructed by God to break down the altar of Ball and Asherah pole built by his father as a way of cleansing himself and the family. (Judges 6:25-27)
Things you should do:
Cut off any linkage with idolatry and idol worship
Destroy any foreign gods Enthroned and enthrone Christ.
Raise an altar for Yahweh.
“That night this happened. God said to him, "Take your father’s best seven-year-old bull, the prime one. Tear down your father’s Baal altar and chop down the Asherah fertility pole beside it. Then build an altar to God, your God, on the top of this hill. Take the prime bull and present it as a Whole-Burnt-Offering, using firewood from the Asherah pole that you cut down." Gideon selected ten men from his servants and did exactly what God had told him. But because of his family and the people in the neighborhood, he was afraid to do it openly, so he did it that night.” (Judges 6:25-27 MSG)
Obedience is a crucial aspect in a Christian’s life. You need to know that your blessings and prosperity are both tied to your obedience. Unless you obey, you will always mark-time where you are. Always know that Obedience at times will cost you the BEST. There is a price for Obedience. But when you allow nothing to stand in your way to obey God, you are destined for a breakthrough.
Your Obedience is better than sacrifice Remember the story of Saul and the Amalekites mission? (1 Samuel 15:19-23 MSG). Do not let disobedience give God a reason to doubt you as his choice vessel to accomplish His mission and purposes through you.
"Gideon said to Him, If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You Who talks with me. Do not leave here, I pray You, until I return to You and bring my offering and set it before You. And He said, I will wait until you return. Then Gideon went in and prepared a kid and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket and the broth in a pot, and brought them to Him under the oak and presented them." (Judges 6:17-19 AMP)
Worship the Lord with a sacrifice. The bible commands us not to go before the Lord empty handed. Honour the Lord, with yourself, your substance and everything that you are. Sacrifice will make you go an extra mile. David said “I won’t sacrifice that which costs me nothing…” (2 Samuel 24:24; 1 Chronicles 21:24). Feel the pinch of that deserting that which is hindering you serve God wholeheartedly and fulfill your purpose unto which God called you to. Forsake some things and lifestyle. Samson was a Nazarite who compromised and that cost him his anointing. Make sure that you stand for who you are in Christ at all cost.
What am I saying? There is a task, purpose and mission unto which you were created for and thus, you need to fulfill the same. But how many of us are ready for the same? It is the high time that we arose to our task, calling and purpose for unto which we were created for.
Our beloved nation Kenya needs watchmen, people who will stand and be counted, people who will stand in the gap and wage warfare on their knees on behalf of this nation. Are you ready to be one of them?
My clarion call to everyone reading this:
Are you ready for the task ahead of you?
Are you ready to answer the call of The Lord?
Are you ready to be the Gideon..
The bible says “…also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8 NKJV)
Will you answer the call??
“The Lord said to Samuel, How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil; I will send you…” |1 Samuel 16:1 AMP|
Many times, we pass through things, issues circumstances and predicaments in life that bruise us and we are wounded. We find ourselves in positions that we are not able to push ourselves to the next level or even be able to explain why things are happening the way they are… but I submit to you this morning that there is one who cares for you even in such moments. Many times we find ourselves asking God questions that he seldom doesn’t answer. You find yourself struggling with the happenings and asking God why this, why that.
Of late, I have been at that point in life and most of the times, I have found myself mourning and lamenting why some things had to happen the way they did. Have you ever been at that place where nothing makes sense? No one who is around seems to care about you and what you are going through? Instead you get more pain and bashing than you need? You try anything and you hit a snag, there is no breakthrough? You receive bad news after another just like Job did and you wonder how to respond? Do not FRET… I have news for you… That’s a MOURNING season for you, all you need to do is MOURN and MOVE ON! Do not make a mistake of staying there longer because you will miss the timing and the season that God has ordained for you.
There is a phrase in the bible I like… “… and it came to pass.” The word “It came to pass” is mentioned 2,761 times in the Old and New Testaments of the bible. This means that whatever you are going through is just but for a season and soon… “It will come to pass” too. There is nothing that is permanent. There is nothing that comes our way that God permits to last forever… Solomon speaks and says “To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 AMP.) He had realized that everything fell in its own season and when it happened was the rightful time and season for it! thus, it was able to accomplish it’s purpose.
The reality of life is that we shall go through a time of loss. There is a time to gain and a time to loose. There is a time when new things are born in our lives and a time comes when the same things that brought us joy, dies and we are left empty and wondering. In this world nothing is permanent and that is why it’s important that when God gives you a blessing don’t hold it tightly and deceive yourself that you can’t live without them and when the time comes when they are taken away from you, you cry and go through a lot of pain because you thought they were not supposed to go. And this is the mistake that many of us do. we hold on and cling on things, people and jobs etc. that have already finished their time and season in our lives. In essence, what we are saying is that we are simply not ready for what God has for us next.
Samuel mourned many days because his project called Saul had failed but God rebuked him and told him to rise up and go and anoint David to be the next King. Maybe your project failed, it’s not over, rise up and do something different or try the same differently, and you will succeed. Your Job/Contract has come to an end; your relationship broke up and you are still living with the pains of the same… I challenge you; time for mourning is over… Arise and move on to the NEXT Assignment that God is giving you! There is a new level that God is taking you. Don’t dwell there!
When you are done with mourning over the dead thing, a gone season, a broken relationship, a job/contract that has come to an end, name them… I tell you for sure that God will give you something else which is better than what you had. God speaking through prophet Haggai, He told the children of Israel: “This Temple (read situation, relationship, joblessness etc.) is going to end up far better than it started out, a glorious beginning but an even more glorious finish…” (Haggai 2:9a MSG). There is not a time god will give you something inferior/less than what you had before. The bible says “we move from one glory to another, from one level to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18) so be assured that there is not a single day God will retrogress you but will always progress you.
After God rejected Saul, He spoke to Samuel and told him to go and anoint David as the king. When David came, he ruled Israel better than Saul did. In this case, we can conclude that amidst his many flaws as a human being, David was better than Saul. When David’s son with Bathsheba died, God gave him Solomon who was the wisest man to ever live. (2 Samuel 12:14-25). This is what the bible records of Solomon at his birth: “David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went to her and lay with her; and she bore a son, and she called his name Solomon. And the Lord loved [the child]; He sent [a message] by the hand of Nathan the prophet, and [Nathan] called the boy’s [special] name Jedidiah [beloved of the Lord], because the Lord [loved the child].” (2 Samuel 12:24-25 AMP). The bible says… “God loved the child (Solomon).” God gave him favour among all the children of David, and honoured him with wisdom as well.
When the devil had squandered everything Job had, killed his children and struck him with sickness, God repaid him a Double portion of whatever he had. This is what the bible records: “And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. (Compare this Job 1:3 says “He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and a very great body of servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the East.) He had also seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first Jemimah, and the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-happuch. And in all the land there were no women so fair as the daughters of Job, and their father gave them inheritance among their brothers. After this, Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons and his sons’ sons, even to four generations. (Job 42:12-15 AMP). Job had a long life after he came out victorious in the test that the devil had put up against him to test his faith.
There are times you will face trials to TEST your FAITH, TRUST and BELIEF in God. And it is your stand that will count at the end of the say. All you need to do is stand your ground and on what you believe in and focus on God. He will for sure bring you through it all.
What am I saying? Do not sit down there and moan and grief for long over what has already happened or happening… There are better days and things ahead of you. The Latter is always glorious than the past. This is the charge God gave Joshua “After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses My servant is dead. So now arise [take his place], go over this Jordan, you and all these people, into the land which I am giving to them, the Israelites.” (Joshua 1:1-2 AMP)
The same Challenge I give you… Rise up and TAKE the new position… Moan no more!! Move on because God is not in the past… He is Moving, so should you!
“1Keep your foot [give your mind to what you are doing] when you go [as Jacob to sacred Bethel] to the house of God. For to draw near to hear and obey is better than to give the sacrifice of fools [carelessly, irreverently] too ignorant to know that they are doing evil. 2Be not rash with your mouth, and let not your heart be hasty to utter a word before God. For God is in heaven, and you are on earth; therefore let your words be few. 3For a dream comes with much business and painful effort, and a fool’s voice with many words. 4When you vow a vow or make a pledge to God, do not put off paying it; for God has no pleasure in fools (those who witlessly mock Him). Pay what you vow. 5It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. 6Do not allow your mouth to cause your body to sin, and do not say before the messenger [the priest] that it was an error or mistake. Why should God be [made] angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands? 7For in a multitude of dreams there is futility and worthlessness, and ruin in a flood of words. But [reverently] fear God [revere and worship Him, knowing that He is].” Ecclesiastes 5:1-7 AMP
Some times, as human beings we are so happy and hyper and we find ourselves saying things that we may not mean. Some of us make promises just to please the people around them but yet we come to realize later that we never meant what we said and that messes us up because we made a promise and now we have to fulfill it.
It is so unfortunate that we find the same thing happening in the presence of God. We come in his presence and because we are in dire need of something, we make pledges of what we will do in return when the Lord fulfills or answers our prayers.
We make these pledges before God so as to please Him and later forget that it is a vow that we have made before him and we MUST fulfill it. In (vs. 4-6), Solomon urges us not make a vow before God and fail to fulfill it before God. You need to know that unfulfilled vows before God block our blessings and render us as sinners.
See this… in Deuteronomy 23:21-23 ESV, the God speaks to the children of Israel and tells them “If you make a vow to the Lord your God, you shall not delay fulfilling it, for the Lord your God will surely require it of you, and you will be guilty of sin. But if you refrain from vowing, you will not be guilty of sin. You shall be careful to do what has passed your lips, for you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God what you have promised with your mouth."
What you vow, you do it voluntarily without being coursed and thus you shouldn’t be coursed to pay that which you vowed voluntarily. Consider Hannah in the book of 1 Samuel 1, she earnestly and dearly needs a child and she made a vow to the Lord (see 1 Samuel 1) that the child The Lord gives her, she would give him back unto The Lord, and thus prophet Samuel was born. She later waned Samuel and when he fully weaned, 1 Samuel 1:20-28, she brought up Samuel to the temple where he remained the rest of his life serving God. There are some vows which are meaningful and others aren’t. By this, I mean that you need to be careful the kind of a vow that you are making least you are left regretting.
Consider Jephthah in Judges 11. This is what the bible says: Jephthah made a promise to the Lord, saying, “If you will hand over the Ammonites to me, I will give you as a burnt offering the first thing that comes out of my house to meet me when I return from the victory. It will be the Lord’s.” Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the Lord handed them over to him. When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, his daughter was the first one to come out to meet him, playing a tambourine and dancing. She was his only child; he had no other sons or daughters. (Judges 11:30-32, 34 NCV)
The bible says that Jephthah mourned for his daughter for 30 days, and he also gave her time to go to the mountains with her friends and moan too then he released her. There are some vows that we make before the Lord that really cost us more than we expected they would cost us but the fact that we made the vows, we should be careful to fulfill the vows that we made because we made then voluntary without being coursed by anyone. We should be careful of the vows we make before God because He takes into account if every vow we make and he awaits for us to fulfill our word.
God is a promise/covenant keeping God; and since He keeps his promises and word unto us, so should we. We are created in the nature of God and thus we should take up his character and be like him in all aspects of our lives. The bible says that when we make a vow, we should be careful to fulfill it and never say that we were forced to make it or we never meant, that is why, rather that say something that you will come to regret, let your words be few and refrain yourself from sinning.
Solomon urges us that when we come to the presence of God, we should be ready to listen more than talking because it is the Lord who is I charge and not us. But you will come to realize that many of us are in there to blurb and then leave and you come to realize that in the multitude of the many words we said, we have sinned or made a vow that we weren’t ready to fulfill or never meant it.
This is what the MSG bible says: "Watch your step when you enter God’s house. Enter to learn. That’s far better than mindlessly offering a sacrifice, Doing more harm than good. Don’t shoot off your mouth, or speak before you think. Don’t be too quick to tell God what you think he wants to hear. God’s in charge, not you—the less you speak, the better. (Ecclesiastes 5:1-2 MSG)
Our talk in the presence of God ought to be minimal so that we can learn more than speak because we are not prolific in whatever we say, we are just but learners in every aspect of life. This is the reason Moses could come in the presence of God and make a very simple prayer in Psalms 90:12 "So teach us to number our days, that we may get us a heart of wisdom."
You and I need a heart of wisdom so that we can be knowledgeable on what we should say and what we shouldn’t say and when. We end up speaking things we shouldn’t speak/say because in our hearts we doe not have wisdom. Isaiah was a wise man. When he got into the presence of God in Isaiah 6, this is what he says of himself: "Then said I, Woe is me! For I am undone and ruined, because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:5 AMP). When he got into the presence of God, he was not quick to speak to the Lord but he was cautious first to see his sin and allow The Lord to cleanse him then he could be able to respond to the call of the Lord. (See Isaiah 6:6-8)
Consider these two men who went to the temple to pray. Jesus gives a parable of the tax collector and the Pharisee who went to the temple to pray…
"Jesus told this story to some people who thought they were very good and looked down on everyone else: “A Pharisee and a tax collector both went to the Temple to pray. The Pharisee stood alone and prayed, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people who steal, cheat, or take part in adultery, or even like this tax collector. I fast “The tax collector, standing at a distance, would not even look up to heaven. But he beat on his chest because he was so sad. He said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I tell you, when this man went home, he was right with God, but the Pharisee was not. All who make themselves great will be made humble, but all who make themselves humble will be made great.” (Luke 18:9-14 NCV)
Do you realize how many times we are like the Pharisee and all we do is justify ourselves in the presence of God rather than being like the tax collector and start with first start with accepting that we are sinners and seeking reconciliation with God. Remember the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples in Matthew 6? The aspect of forgiveness is prime. Many of us harbor so much contempt, hatred and unforgiveness towards other people on the basis of us being hurt. But consider this: you and I were sinners yet God chose to forgive us and he sent his one and only son Jesus Christ to die on the cross to pay the ransom for your sins. Imagine now the way God is hurt every time we sin or offend him, how would it be if He chose not to forgive you as most us do? This is the moment that God turns his face away from us because He doesn’t want to behold the sins that we are committing and offending him.
Paul writes to the Romans and reminds them of the Love God has for us.. and says “But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us.” (Romans 5:8 AMP). I love the way the Message bible puts it.. it says “But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.” (Romans 5:8 MSG). because of our sinful nature, God didn’t have anything he could do with us, but because of His love for us, He sacrificed His begotten son for you and me.
I want you to know that on your own, you can not make it/you are not competent/adequate to make your words be few or make a judgment that your words are appropriate or Ideal, but when you allow God to teach you and make you competent, then you are on the right track. Paul speaks to the Corinthians and tells them this: “We are not saying that we ·can do this work ourselves [are able/competent/adequate to consider anything as from ourselves]. ·It is God who makes us able to do all that we do [ But our ability/competence/adequacy is from God].” (2 Corinthians 3:5 EXB). We should know that this principle not only did it apply to Paul and the Corinth Christians, but it applies to all of us, for we all fall under the category of being insufficient because we are sinners only that through the death of Jesus, we have received our forgiveness.
What am I saying even as you finish reading this? We must let our words on earth, about every subject, be very, very few! The Word of God clearly magnifies this truth; within man there is no criteria to correctly evaluate any subject. In his natural state man thinks subjectively, rather than objectively. Too many people speak from their own limited resources, using idle words that do not originate from the mind of Christ Jesus. Instead of allowing their words on earth to be few, many people freely give opinions without thinking "with God" concerning the details of life. Whenever a person speaks from his human resources, it is not correct scripturally because it is not a divine provision. Therefore, he is speaking idle words. Idle words include all words that originate from our frame of reference in Adam… "Therefore let thy words be few" Ecclesiastes 5:2b.
“3For I am conscious of my transgressions and I acknowledge them; my sin is ever before me. 4 Against You, You only, have I sinned and done that which is evil in Your sight… 7Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 9Don‘t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. 11 Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.” Psalm 51:3-4; 7, 9-12
It has been said again and again the season that we are in as a nation is the Year or Season of Jubilee. As I had shared in my earlier devotion titled “The 7R’s of Jubilee” you will realize that “Repentance” comes first before the rest. This is because, “There can never be a blessing where there is no fellowship.” and any broken fellowship can be restored through Repentance and Forgiveness.
Repentance is the ultimate goal of worship, which makes it the number one priority of our worship. This is the reason why God is always calling us back to Himself. Isaiah 1:18 says “Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be like wool.”
This is the reason why we are calling back Kenya as a nation to God; thus the theme for this year “Re-establish Kenya back to God and decree a new dispensation for the next 50years”.
Metanoia is the Greek word commonly translated as “repentance,” but it literally means “changed thinking.” So, talk about truth that leads to change; talk about selecting a different option; talk about taking a divergent path—all these with the goal of leading people to repentance, which is a change of thinking and/or a turning from sin.
When we come before God in worship, one of the things we sometimes forget to do is repent. In the scripture above, David is confessing and acknowledging before God his sin of adultery, and that of having the husband of his partner in adultery killed. Not only is David acknowledging what he’s done, but he says, "My sin is ever before me." David knew what he had done and he wasn’t blaming anyone else for it.
When we come before God in worship (not "coming to church", but "worship"; the two are very different) we must see to it that we bring a clean heart before Him. David speaking in Psalm 24:3-4 said only those who have "clean hands and a pure heart" may stand in his holy place. You need to know that just about that anybody can praise God, not everyone can worship Him.
There are 4 things that worship requires:
a) Worship entirely requires TOTAL SURRENDER on our part.
b) Worship requires TOTAL FOCUS on God and His worth, majesty, and power.
c) Worship requires a TOTALLY CONNECTED heart with God.
d) Worship requires an ATTACHMENT to God, not just an ATTRACTION to Him.
Churches are filled every Sunday with people who are attracted to Jesus, but never become attached to Him through salvation and various available means of spiritual growth. A true worshiper not only understands what it means to worship God in spirit and in truth, but also understands that we cannot come to God any kind of way. True worship unto God requires from us a pure heart, and a humble spirit.
As a worship leader, never have the impression that weepy people falling on their faces at the altar is the only real evidence of repentance. While repentance does often take the form of a strong emotional response, it can also be seen in much smaller moments of realization. Repentance is any recognition of sin that leads to an alignment with God’s plan and purposes. Here’s my favorite definition of repentance from one of my favourite speakers: “Repentance is a willful, personal response to the continuing call to follow Christ that leads to a change in outlook, action, and obedience.”
We must remember that intellectual knowledge is just the beginning of transformation. Information plus inspiration plus action leads to transformation. God provides the inspiration; we provide the information and the call to action. Thus, there must also be a clear call to repentance and, most importantly, the congealing inspiration of God. None of us is in the business of creating transformation in people. God is the only one who can do that. Our job is to create an authentic environment and atmosphere through worship where the transformation can happen and intentionally invite others into God’s truth.
Repentance is not for God’s sake… it is not that He takes delight in watching us squirm; it is for our own sake. Sin becomes like a thick layer of calloused skin over our hearts that obstructs our spiritual sensitivity.
This is what sin does to you:
1) It reduces your pleasure in being in God’s presence;
2) It lessens your ability to feel it when you are getting even deeper into sin;
3) It keeps you from unimpeded closeness to the rest of God’s family;
4) Worst of all, it deafens the ears of your heart to the sound of God’s voice.
As a worshiper, you need to spend more and more time in God’s presence so that you can be able to know his mind and heart. This is the only way that you can be able to lead others into his presence -where you have been. But when you have sin harbored in your heart, thus, you cannot be able to get to Hid presence or even hear His voice when He is speaking to you.
This is the principle that David understood and he prayed in Psalms 51:10-12 and said: "cast me not away from your presence oh Lord; take not thy Holy Spirit from me, restore unto me, the joy of my salvation, and RENEW the right spirit within me."
If people aren’t seeing their lives transformed by the reality of Jesus Christ, we may not be doing our part to make sure the worship service is having the effect God wants it to have. People should be more like Jesus when they walk out of worship service than when they walked in, and every aspect of our services should be created with that goal in mind. When we come before a holy God in worship, He is not interested in our accomplishments, our status in the community, or how much money we put in the offering plate; instead, He wants to know we are coming clean before Him, confessing our sins and choosing to live life His way. God just wants us to get real with Him.
Of all the things we lay before God in worship, let us remember to make repentance one of them. Repentance is the deepest kind of worship.
6 1-3 “So what do we do? Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving? I should hope not! If we’ve left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in our old house there? Or didn’t you realize we packed up and left there for good? That is what happened in baptism. When we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind; when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace—a new life in a new land!” (Romans 6:1-3 MSG)
Nobody likes death, but yet it is the gateway or passage to the other side of life (eternity or hell) and whether we like it or not, we will die. The bible says “And just as it is appointed for [all] men once to die, and after that the [certain] judgment…” (Hebrews 9:27 AMP). But what counts is how we live here on earth and thus we do not have to fear death. Jesus said “most solemnly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains [just one grain; it never becomes more but lives] by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces many others and yields a rich harvest.” (John 12:24 AMP)
Similarly, we also need to die to SIN so that we can live in Christ. It is only through our DEATH to SIN that we can have LIFE in Christ Jesus through his death and resurrection. Paul speaks to the Roman church and asks them if they wanted to continue living in sin so that the grace of God could abound… But he goes ahead and gives them reasons why they need to quit living in sin and how their death to sin translates to life. Paul refers to our baptism as death to sin and resurrection in Christ and thus we ought not to go back to sin anymore.
Once someone is dead, they are dead and they aren’t active at all. Then the question is why are you actively living in sin if you are already dead to the same? That means that there is a part of you that aren’t dead. There are two things that death brings:
- End of life – once you breath your last and die, it means that your life has come to an end and thus, we do not expect to see you anymore. Thus, same applies to sin. Once you accept Christ and you die to sin, then, we do not expect to see traits if sin or even the fruits of the flesh manifesting in you in any way.
- Forgetting: Once you are dead, people tend to forget you after a while. All what people remain with is a memorial of you through photos posts and writings and more importantly your deeds. Thus, if we die to sin, we need to forget the pleasures that we enjoyed and ask the blood of Jesus to cleanse you.
Paul shares some insights of our death to sin resurrection in Christ into life and shows several key principles that I believe that are key for us to know and adhere to so as we can be victorious over sin and more so, die completely unto death.
1) Repent your sin, renounce it and leave the camp:
"So what do we do? Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving? I should hope not! If we’ve left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in our old house there? Or didn’t you realize we packed up and left there for good?" (Romans 6:1-2 MSG)
Many of us renounce sin and we profess Christ as Lord and saviour of our lives, yet in the bottom of our hearts, we know that there is something that we haven’t let go from our past. Paul says, sin is sovereign and it rules over our lives, and when we renounce sin, it’s like we are moving houses and we pack all our belongings and leave for good since we aren’t going to live in the same house again… But some of us leave something’s in the "old house of sin" that keeps calling us back. If you choose to leave sin, Repent, renounce it and leave the camp completely.
Consider this: "For by the death He died, He died to sin [ending His relation to it] once for all; and the life that He lives, He is living to God [in unbroken fellowship with Him]. Even so consider yourselves also dead to sin and your relation to it broken, but alive to God [living in unbroken fellowship with Him] in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:10-11 AMP)
2) Do not yield to the desires of the flesh:
“Let not sin therefore rule as king in your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies, to make you yield to its cravings and be subject to its lusts and evil passions. Do not continue offering or yielding your bodily members [and faculties] to sin as instruments (tools) of wickedness. But offer and yield yourselves to God as though you have been raised from the dead to [perpetual] life, and your bodily members [and faculties] to God, presenting them as implements of righteousness.” (Romans 6:12-13 AMP)
Apostle James writes and says "But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions)." (James 1:14 AMP) Note that it is your desires that lead you to be DRAWN away from other brethren, ENTICED by sin and then BAITED into the same and then find yourself deep in sin. This comes with you yielding yourself to the desires and the lust of the flesh.
Paul exalts the Romans not to yield themselves cravings, lusts and evil passions of the flesh and thus offer themselves and their bodies to sin as instruments of wickedness. But instead, they should offer themselves unto God as implements of righteousness. This is what Paul writes to the Romans: "I APPEAL to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship." (Romans 12:1 AMP)
3) Know and exercise your power over SIN:
“…you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God” (Romans 6:12, 14 MSG)
I love the words that Paul uses… “…you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life.” That means that many times, it is us who joke around with sin and give it a foot hold and once Sin gets a loophole to penetrate into our lives, it starts ruling us… but you need to exercise your power and dominion over sin.
How do we exercise dominion over sin?
- Hide the word of God in your heart:
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalms 119:11 NIV)
- Flee from Sin… Do not entertain it.
“Shun youthful lusts and flee from them, and aim at and pursue righteousness (all that is virtuous and good, right living, conformity to the will of God in thought, word, and deed); [and aim at and pursue] faith, love, [and] peace (harmony and concord with others) in fellowship with all [Christians], who call upon the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22 AMP)
- Tame/master your desires and lust of the flesh:
“Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted from God; for God is incapable of being tempted by [what is] evil and He Himself tempts no one. But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions).” (James 1:13-14 AMP)
“God spoke to Cain: “Why this tantrum? Why the sulking? If you do well, won’t you be accepted? And if you don’t do well, sin is lying in wait for you, ready to pounce; it’s out to get you, you’ve got to master it.” (Genesis 4:6-7 MSG)
· Confess victory over the same
“And they have overcome (conquered) him by means of the blood of the Lamb and by the utterance of their testimony…” (Revelation 12:11 AMP)
· Be accountable to someone/Get accountability partners.
“Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.” (James 5:16 MSG)
I love the amplified bible version, it says: “Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].” (James 5:16 AMP)
Just like a seed, we all look to live a productive life and more so leave a legacy, but unroll we die to self, we will never be able to replicate ourselves to beget others who will carry on the work that we start to the finish. And I would echo Paul’s clarion call to the Hebrews saying "THEREFORE THEN, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]." (Hebrews 12:1, 2 AMP)
Brethren, the journey of faith to heaven isn’t easy but yet, we can make it. All that we need is to make sure that we master the sin that is crouching at the door before it masters us, and thus we can live a victorious Christian life.
have you ever been at that point in life and you feel like everything that you are doing is just like taking you the motions of Life and you are just swayed east-west by every wind of change that comes your way? Sam speaks to us and gives us a few tips on how to run through the motions of Life and come out at the end as victors.. Read on:
“God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” Numbers 23:19 NLT
Jeremy was brought up like most a good child, he was taught to be a good boy, he attended Sunday school, did his bible verses and never missed a Sunday in church even if he was sick because he could get prayed for in church and he’ll get better (said his parents). As Jeremy grew up, he was in the drama team, the dance group at some point and served and even was a leader to his peers in ministry in the church. Basically Jeremy was a good or maybe even a slightly above average Christian.
The bible is quite profound in scripture, promises, teachings and lessons. For a long time I have watched those that have gone before me in their salvation and I have seen them go through the motions just like in the story above. What many of us don’t realize in our Christian walk is that God actually went through a whole lot for you to get where you are and all He wants of you a relationship. You will realize that a times, God is a dictator and in such times, He says “Follow me or die”… and He leaves the choice to us to follow Him.
God is good. I know this sounds very much of a cliché but allow me to discuss a few pointers that makes me say this with confidence and simplicity. Here is a lesson I learnt about God and it made me the Christian I am.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him” Psalm 34:8NIV
Psalms 34:10 is among my favourite bible verses. The bible says “The young lions lack food and suffer hunger, but they who seek (inquire of and require) the Lord [by right of their need and on the authority of His Word], none of them shall lack any beneficial thing.” (Psalms 34:10 AMP)
It came out in new light when I asked God, to let me see His face and experience who He is for myself. See, like Jeremy, I had gone through the motions, but this time I wanted a little action. I didn’t know what was coming. The Lord clearly said to me “Taste and see that I am good”.
So what does tasting entail? Let’s take food for example.
1. You make a Decision on what to TASTE.
Much like I would do for anything; the first thing is to determine/resolve within myself whether I want to taste of the Lord or not. This will mean making a personal resolution that God, “It is you that I want, and it is you that I must experience.” That desire is the one that will keep you going.
2. Getting TOOLS to TASTE.
As you would get the plate full of food, fork and knife, get yourself the bible, notebook and pen, and a time of day that you want to set aside for God. Our God is a jealous God, He will not share time with your spouse, your TV, phone, gadgets, etc. He wants your full attention, and you have to give Him. I made a personal decision to wake up at 5am on my journey and to use the hard copy version of my bible, leave the phone version alone and read the word as I listen to Him speak to me before the start of each day.
3. PUTTING the sample in your mouth
As you read the word, MEDITATE and PRAY; else, it gets difficult to pinpoint that still small voice, because of the desperate attempts of the evil one to distract us from what/who we are attempting to connect to. So keep on meditating, chewing and finding out what the word saying and how does it apply to your life. Some verses will stand out and others will speak directly to you. With your mouth, audibly praise and love on God as you would your spouse to bring them closer to you, tell God of his goodness. He draws near to those who lift him up and praise his name.
4. FINDING the different FLAVOURS
Now is the crux, God will speak, through his word, in your thoughts, in an audible voice and in your circumstances. In various ways, the Lord will speak great things. Here the notebook will work wonders as you record the happenings in your life, different flavours begin to explode. The best thing about the notebook is that, it shows the journey that you have taken and you will be able to count the blessings that God has brought your way.
I know this may seem trivial, but I can personally attest to among many others:
- I had attacks on my health during this journey
- I had attacks on my Faith during this journey
- God told me to quit my job and start a business during this journey
- The business grew in leaps and bounds during this journey.
- My marriage and family grew stronger during this journey.
As you take your journey, let your motivation be to know God. I am still on mine, and I know that greater things are yet to come because He is in control and He is in charge.
I pray that you find it plausible to surrender all to God in this journey so that He can check-in and make a loud statement. I like my friend’s paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 15:10 and Matthew 6:33 which we will close with.
"Attempt something large enough that failure is guaranteed… unless God steps in!" - 1 Corinthians 15:10
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” – Matthew 6:33 NIV
© Sammy Kitoto
About the writer:
Sammy Kitoto is a husband and father, a writer, worshiper and an established instrumentalist. Sammy has served with the International Christian Center (ICC) Church for more than two decades with the Worship team and more with the Youth Ministry – Frontrunners.
Sam is also a passionate blogger and also together with his wife Cate, they are passionate about marriages and relationships.
You can read more of Sam’s Real life situational inspired Stories that portray mistakes made, life lessons learnt, or just random happenings that may or may not help someone on http://samkitots.wordpress.com
“1And I lifted up my eyes and saw, and behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand. 2Then said I, Where are you going? And he said to me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its breadth and what is its length. 3And behold, the angel who talked with me went forth and another angel went out to meet him, 4And he said to the second angel, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited and dwell as villages without walls, because of the multitude of people and livestock in it. 5For I, says the Lord, will be to her a wall of fire round about, and I will be the glory in the midst of her.” (Zechariah 2:2-5 AMP)
This is a new year and we are all, if not some of us anticipating a good year that will bring back great returns and more so, see ourselves in another new level than we have been in the last year. For the singles, you are anticipating to find that man/lady who tickles your heart and start dating and eventually get married; some couples are anticipating holding their bundles of joy; others are joining school and others finishing, we have projects that we look forward to finish up and others to start. What am I saying… We are all anticipating new and better things this year and I know God will not disappoint us at all. The bible reminds us that when we Delight ourselves in the Lord, He will meet even with our most secret desires of our hearts (Psalms 37:3-4 AMP)
Every one of us has had his/her own share of good and bad tidings in the past year and in this year we are trusting God for a new lease of life and favour and breakthrough in whatever we embark to do. This may cause some of us to lose their morale and psyche towards pursing whatever we have set to pursue or even get discourage us. Why? The reason is that, we still have memories of the challenges that we encountered, the obstacles we met on the road an more so, the negative feedback we might have got from our friends and even discouragements emanating from within us for the sole reason that we failed in some instances last year.
The experience from last year as well as the fear of what lies ahead of us might have gripped you and you are wondering how or whether you will make it in the coming year and thus, many of us have resulted to making an option not to try at all something new or even try again on what failed last year. But I challenge you this moment as you read this… Do not let the experiences of your past curtail you and confine you in a cocoon of failure… Break the cage and refuse to be caged in your past and pursue your dream. Other may have had such great success that you do not want to venture out and launch into new fields and territories, remember the words of apostle Paul… "I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward." (Philippians 3:13-14 AMP). May it be failure or success, the devil wants you to be at your comfort zone and thus he can plan and plot your downfall.
Zechariah lifts up his eyes and what he saw was a man with a measuring line/tape measure and when he asked what the tape measure was for, the man said that he was going to measure the width and length of Jerusalem. You may be reading this and there are people who have looked at you and have measured you and marked your territory. They have LIMITED you to a certain size and perimeter and said you will never expand or increase… I challenge you not to believe them. Our God is a God of increase and his purpose and desire for you and me is to increase and expand. If He didn’t intend for you and me to increase and multiply, He couldn’t have blessed man in the garden of Eden and told him to be Fruitful and Multiply (Genesis 1:28).
When you are fruitful, it means you are increasing and that’s the desire of God. Prophet Isaiah speaks and says "Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; spare not; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes, For you will spread abroad to the right hand and to the left; and your offspring will possess the nations and make the desolate cities to be inhabited." (Isaiah 54:2-3). God could not have given this prophesy if He didn’t have the intention for you to increase. I challenge you to prepare yourself for increase this year and see of God won’t increase you.
The bible continues to say that another angel was sent to come and tell the man with the tape measure that "Jerusalem will be a city without walls and it will be bursting with people and livestock in it" (vs. 3). I want you to see and understand this. When you talk of "walls", it means and talks of a permanent structure that won’t be moved anytime soon. Realize that when you have bought new furniture or equipment in the house and they do not fit in your current house, you move to a bigger house that will fit you. That disturbs your comfort and changes so many things in your life and the lives of those dependent on you.
Get this right, God speaks of Jerusalem being a city without walls, meaning that the city residents will not be limited in space or movement because they will be many… I mean multitudes. Get this revelation here: God speaks in Isaiah 54:2-3 and asks us to lengthen the chords and strengthen the stakes… that means, God looks at us and sees that where we are is not PERMANENT but just temporary, thus, when He says you will expand, God meant that there will be enough space for you to move to the right, left, north and south… so do not make yourself comfortable and permanent in the situation or circumstance that you are in today.
Have you ever asked yourself why Abraham, Isaac and Jacob dwelt in tents and never made permanent houses like we have done in our times? This is because they understood the principle of expansion and increase. They knew that God could ask them to move to another place anytime. A good case in scenario is Genesis 12:1-3 when God asked him to leave his native land; in Genesis 20:1, we see him again changing his residence and so did his son do severally thus, they dwelt in tents. You will realize that it is us who make the situations that we go through permanent by how we call and refer to them. Sometimes you have a certain sickness that afflicts you and rather that believing God for your healing, you start labeling it "my sickness" but remember, God didn’t create you with any illness or disease.
God has destined you and me to increase and expand. God decreed that Jerusalem will be a city without walls and it will burst out with multitudes of people and livestock. In this statement, i can see two things/areas of increase:
- Increase in your family: - When you look at children in our African culture, it is a sign of blessing and extension of your lineage. In other words speaks of longevity and lasting of your name on earth because once your children increase, your name is sustained. This is the blessing that God was speaking over the inhabitants of Jerusalem who were descendants of Abraham whom God spoke to and said "… I am making you a father of many nations. I will give you many descendants. New nations will be born from you, and kings will come from you. I will be your God and the God of all your descendants.” (Genesis 17:5-7 NCV). God has destined you, your name and family to increase.
- Increase in wealth: - Again, in our African culture, when you look at livestock, it is a sign of wealth and no one in this world who would want to be poor; we all want to be established and be termed as wealthy people. And God was reassuring the covenant that he had made with Abraham. Abraham was wealthy and so was his son Isaac. At one instance, the bible says that Isaac became so wealthy that the people living around him were afraid of him. The bible says "Then the Lord appeared to him and said: Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the Lord blessed him. The man began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous; for he had possessions of flocks and possessions of herds and a great number of servants. So the Philistines envied him.” (Genesis 26:2-3, 12-14 NKJV); and this is the same portion that The Lord has for you this year.
Not only does the Lord want you to increase UNLIMITEDly, but He has promised that He will be “a Wall of Fire around you.” (vs. 5a). When the bible talks about a wall of fire around you, it means PROTECTION and if there is no protection, it means that you are vulnerable to all forms of attacks. You will agree with me that when something is surrounded by fire, it is hard for you to go near it or even dare to touch it, because you will burn. Now imagine, that’s the security that God wants to accord you this year. God knows that when you prosper, there will be people who will be against you just as the philistines were against Isaac when he prospered. Thus, God promises to shield you from your enemies and protect you by himself. Remember the children of Israel, God protected them at night by a pillar of fire. See this “The Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.” (Exodus 13:21 AMP). When the devil came to accuse Job before God, this is the testimony he had about Job… “Have You not put a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have conferred prosperity and happiness upon him in the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.” (Job 1:9-10 AMP). This is the same protection and cover God will give you.
More over, God continues to say… “and I will be the glory in the midst of her.” (vs. 5b). May be people have looked at you and they do not see your value at all when you are around them, but I want you to know… The people who didn’t value you will come looking for you. They will see the value that you add to them when in their midst and they will want you back amidst them. God will be your Glory, He will make you to glow, favour will go ahead of you; Grace will abound in you and for you and he will fight battles for you while you watch. the bible says “A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes…” (Psalms 91:7-8a AMP). You will not need anyone to endorse you because, God will be your glory from within and He will show up on your behalf. Joseph was rejected and hated by his brethren but God went ahead of him in Egypt, shielded him, protected him and glorified him and we see when he revealed himself to his brothers, they all reverenced him.
I could go on and on and on.. but 3 things I want you to know and internalize as you finish reading this. This year, remember that:
- God is committed to your increase and expansion.
- God is committed to Protect you and surround you.
- God will be your Glory in you and within you.
Everything else may fail and fade away, but remember God’s promise and commitment doesn’t change for He is not a man that he will change his mind nor a son of man that he should lie (Numbers 23:19) and again, God has exalted His word above himself (Psalms 138:2) and what He has purpose will come to pass for who can change what the Lord almighty has purposed? (Isaiah 14:26-27). See this “I have sworn by Myself, the word is gone out of My mouth in righteousness and shall not return.. (Isaiah 45:23 AMP). This Year you can rest assured and convince in the words of Paul as he Said “I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.” (Philippians 1:6 AMP).
Look out for Part II of “The Year of Unlimited” as we see how God prepares us for the
“Unlimited overflow". Don’t Miss!!
8-12 “There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.” 13-14 At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises:
“Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.”
15-18 As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.” (Luke 2:11-18 MSG)
“18Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place under these circumstances: When His mother Mary had been promised in marriage to Joseph, before they came together, she was found to be pregnant [through the power] of the Holy Spirit. 19And her [promised] husband Joseph, being a just and upright man and not willing to expose her publicly and to shame and disgrace her, decided to repudiate and dismiss (divorce) her quietly and secretly. 20But as he was thinking this over, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary [as] your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of (from, out of) the Holy Spirit. 21She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus [the Greek form of the Hebrew Joshua, which means Savior], for He will save His people from their sins [that is, prevent them from failing and missing the true end and scope of life, which is God]. 22All this took place that it might be fulfilled which the Lord had spoken through the prophet, 23Behold, the virgin shall become pregnant and give birth to a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel—which, when translated, means, God with us.” (Matthew 1:18-23 AMP)
It’s another year gone and the Christmas season is here again with us. This is the time we all make merry, have parties, visit friends and family and basically, it’s a fun time as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. It is a time to exchange gifts, show mercy and compassion to the less fortunate and such. Everyone celebrates this which includes the people from other faiths… they celebrate this important season and holiday but my question for us this season is one… "Where is Jesus in your life today even as you celebrate this season?"
A few days ago, I was waiting for a client I was supposed to meet and in the hotel that I was waiting for this client, there were two mothers celebrating a birthday of a 2 years boy. They were making merry and having fun until one of their friends joined them and they went on hack g fun and making merry. This other lady asked them what was the essence of the fun, joy and the celebration that they were having. She was told that they were celebrating the birthday of the 2 year old boy but when asked where the boy is, the mother said that the boy is at the grand mothers place.
Looking and thinking about this happening of these three ladies as I was still waiting for my client, I thought how many of us celebrate someone whereas the person is not even near where the celebration is nor do they even know that there is a celebration going on because of them. I could quickly conclude that these women were celebrating a birthday of someone who is almost totally forgotten at his grandmother’s place.
And bringing this into the context of the season that we are in, "Where is Jesus in your life this season?" Is he in your heart or he is almost forgotten? During this season it’s a time for us to think about our relationship with Christ. Let us not be carried by the wave of celebration and merry making and forget on the most important aspect and the reason of this season which is reconciliation and restoration of our relationship with God.
In the scriptures above, you get the four people who were involved in the Christmas season story: Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and the wise-men; we see the following two things that Christmas is:
1. Time for us to walk in integrity. ~> “Joseph, being a just and upright man” (Matthew 1:19)
You need to realize that "The strength of what we believe in is measured by how much we are willing to suffer for the same beliefs." Are you willing to stand for what you believe in this season or you will compromise, use just to be at par with your peer and friends? Joseph walked in integrity and Mary was a virgin too meaning that she had kept herself with integrity.
Obedience is key and paramount for us to be able to stand for what we believe in without compromising or feeling as if we are losing because of the choices and decisions that we make. Thus, we need to be sensitive to what God is leading to and to obey is of paramount importance. Joseph and Mary could have parted ways were it not that Joseph heard the angel and obeyed and cringed on to Mary. Obedience is the only key to our success in whatever we choose to embark on in Life.
2) Time to allow the ministration of the angels. ~> “An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” (Luke 2:9-10)
We need to allow ourselves to have time to hear from the Lord. Many times we miss that chance to hear from God simply because we are so busy to tune in and hear from the Lord. Joseph would have missed God’s will for him and Mary if he hadn’t heard God and obeyed. Sometimes, it is the little things that happen in our lives that speak and communicate to us God’s will for us but we take them for granted and thus we miss God’s plan and purpose for us.
Always be careful to receive the ministration of angels who:
- Bring God’s message ~ Angel Gabriel was sent to bring the message to Mary and many others.
(Acts 8:26, Daniel 9:21)
- They protect Gods people (Daniel 6)
- They are guardian angels, they watch over us (Psalms 91:11-12)
- They encourage God’s people. (Matthew 4:11, Acts 5:19-20, Acts 27:23-25)
- They will give you guidance to your way which to go. (Exodus 14:18)
- They will patrol your steps. (Zechariah 1:14)
- They fight for us (2 Kings 6:16-18)
3) A time for us to worship. ~~> “At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises: Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.” (Luke 2:13-14)
The angels worshiped Jesus the born messiah as they pronounced his birth to the shepherds. The magi/wise-men came all the way from the east to worship the born king. The bible says “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11). If these people knew who Jesus was and they worshiped Him, what about you and I who are beneficiaries if the sacrifice that Jesus became at the cross? We have more reasons to lift up our hands and worship him better this time than we ever did before….
But you will realize that you cannot be able to walk in integrity, receive the ministration of the angels and worship someone whom you do not know. It all starts with knowing Jesus Christ and making that deliberate decision to have Him in your life and not just celebrating a baby born but not in your life.
Where is Jesus in your life this season? In your heart or outside your life? Don’t be like the three ladies celebrating the birthday of a child who was somewhere else, celebrate the birth of the Saviour when he is in your heart.
Have Jesus in your Heart this season; celebrate the Saviour with you not without Him and don’t forget the reason of this season: “reconciliation and restoration of our relationship with God.”
“…these people who have entered your group. They are guided by dreams…” (Jude 1:8b NCV)
Many times, we do not know the power of our dreams. You got to realize that a dream is a form of a vision and what you perceive is what will LEAD you to what you will be and where you are going. You may ask, what is a vision? A vision is something or somewhere that you see you being in the future or what you want to achieve. More or less, I would say that it is an end goal/focus that you want to to achieve or see.
God speaking through King Solomon in Proverbs 29:18 said "Where there is no Vision, People Perish." And many of us are "perishing" because we do not have a FOCUS; an AIM or a TARGET that we are pursuing. We are just beating about the bush hoping to someday arrive somewhere with something or get something. If you do not have a dream of any sort; a vision of where you envision yourself being in Life, I submit to you… even when you get there, you will not know simply because you didn’t see it at all. I challenge you even as you read this note… Have a plan, A vision and a dream for your life.
If God has a plan for you and me, what makes you and me not to have a plan? Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I have a PLAN for you; says the Lord…" All that you need to do is CONNECT your plan and His (God’s) plan and align them in His will and purpose and you will succeed. You will come to see that people who made an impact in life and also biblical times and those who have an impact even in our ties are people who have a dream and a vision and are guided by a vision. There is a focus that they have; a target that they want to hit and daily, they strive to make sure that they achieve the same. But many of us today are living in the shadows of the dreams of other people. We are living, toiling and working hard to make the dreams of other people come to pass but all the same, you need to know that for you to get people to work for your dream, you need to invest in other people’s dreams as well.
Jude speaks to the brethren and tells them of the people who had come and joined them, they mingled with them and became part of them. They had contaminated themselves with sins simply because of the dreams that they had. I do not want to focus on the state that they were in but what had made them to be who they were. The NCV bible clearly puts it… "They were lead/guided by their dreams." This is where I will ask you even before you go ahead reading this… "What is guiding/leading you?" What is your dream?
Take a look at Joseph in Genesis 37; he gets to dream at a tender age of 17 years and he knew what lay ahead of him. He knew his destiny but what he didn’t know was how he would get there. Sometimes, we do get dreams that define and show us our destiny but because we are not sure of the dreams, we shun them off and we never take them serious and thus, we miss an opportunity to build ourselves and prepare adequately for the same.
There are two things dreams will always communicate and we need to be very careful and attentive and more so discerning so that we are not caught up either the happenings or the fulfillment of the dream and the vision when we are not ready. A dream or a vision will always come to communicate two things:
- Something bound to happen/Future.
- To sound a Warning
When a dreams comes to speak of a coming event/future; you need to be careful to note the warning that is being sounded so that you can act on the same or communicate the same to the relevant/concerned parties if it is not just for you alone and make the necessary changes and adjustments preparations needed. When Joseph heard the dream that pharaoh had, he gave him the interpretation of the dream and went ahead and gave him the remedy of the situation that was coming and how Egypt could prepare for the same. This is what he tells Pharaoh:
"You had two dreams which mean the same thing. This shows that God has firmly decided that this will happen, and he will make it happen soon. “So let the king choose a man who is very wise and understanding and set him over the land of Egypt. And let the king also appoint officers over the land, who should take one-fifth of all the food that is grown during the seven good years. They should gather all the food that is produced during the good years that are coming, and under the king’s authority they should store the grain in the cities and guard it. That food should be saved to use during the seven years of hunger that will come on the land of Egypt. Then the people in Egypt will not die during the seven years of hunger.” (Genesis 41:32-36 NCV)
When a dream sounds a warning, it is more important as well to be careful to note the warning and make the appropriate change least the wrath of God befalls you. King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that was giving him a warning for him to change his ways but he assumed the same even when Daniel interpreted the dream for him. These are the words of Daniel to the king. He told him: "Then Daniel, who was called Belshazzar, was very quiet for a while, because his understanding of the dream frightened him. The he said “My master, I wish the dream were about your enemies, and I wish its meaning were for those who are against you! So, O king, please accept my advice. Stop sinning and do what is right. Stop doing wicked things and be kind to the poor. Then you might continue to be successful.” (Daniel 4:19, 27 NCV)
Daniel gives the king the message and asks him to change his ways but the king didn’t heed to that and thus, later on, we see him in Daniel 4:28-37 the dream coming to pass and he was eating grass like an animal for 7 years. When the hand wrote on the wall (Daniel 5:5) giving a warning to king Belshazzar, Daniel again interpreted the dream (Daniel 5:25-28) and the same night the king lost his kingdom.
What kind of dreams have you had/having and what messages are they conveying to you? Sometimes we may be waiting to hear God speak to us audibly but the bible says that he speaks in a still small voice saying "this is the way, walk he in it." But how many of us are careful to obey and follow the guide/warning or even adhere to what the dream speaks us of? We are deviant like King Nebuchadnezzar till we find ourselves at that place where God chooses to humble us himself… Capitalize on the chance that God gives you and amend what He wants you to amend and prepare for what He wants you to prepare for.
There are 2 things a dream will give you:
- Purpose to Live for.
And unless you have these two… you will be living a lie to yourself. The dream you have will always be a motivating factor to where you want to get and what you want to achieve. Your dreams gives you a passion and a purpose to live for and pursue. Martin Luther, once said "If You’ve Got Nothing Worth Dying For, You’ve Got Nothing Worth Living For.” ~ Dying for something important is better than living just for existence. If you do not have anything that you can die for, then you are not worth living." What is your passion? What is that one thing/cause that you can be ready to sacrifice your life, material possessions for just to see it come to pass?
Take a look at Nehemiah; one could say that even though he was a slave, he was living well in the kings palace, but there was more to him than just being in higher kings palace. He had a concern and something that could not allow him to be happy and live lavishly in the kings palace. The bible says in Nehemiah 2:2-5 (NCV) “So the king said to Nehemiah, “Why does your face look sad even though you are not sick? Your heart must be sad.” Then I was very afraid. I said to the king, “May the king live forever! My face is sad because the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire.” Then the king said to me, “What do you want?” First I prayed to the God of heaven. Then I answered the king, “If you are willing and if I have pleased you, send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so I can rebuild it.”
Nehemiah had a desire and a passion to see the city of Jerusalem rebuilt and he couldn’t be at peace when the city was lying in ruins and thus why he wasn’t happy before the king. And the bible continues to say that the king granted his request and the queen gave him an entourage to go with him to do the work. You will realize that from this passage and story, the desire to rebuild the walls of the city of Jerusalem were deeply sited in the heart of Nehemiah and thus he was disturbed when he couldn’t do anything. But there are two things that I pick out from this portion of text.
- God will always make a provision for your dream/purpose to be fulfilled.
- Not everyone will be happy with your dream but you can’t afford to let it die, fight for it.
The queen gave Nehemiah the letters he needed to get all the supplies for repairing the walls of Jerusalem as well as the kings palace and the temple. I have seen and heard this phrase repeated over and over again by my friends on twitter and Facebook that… "God will never take you where his grace will not sustain you." This is very true because the bible tells us that God has provided all that we need for every good work that we are to do for the glory of his name. Apostle Peter writes and says "Christ has the power of God, by which he has given us everything we need to live and to serve God. We have these things because we know him. Jesus called us by his glory and goodness." (2 Peter 1:3 NCV). You do not have to worry for the supply of what your dream requires… because God has already supplied.
There are people we call dream killers and stealers. These are the kind of people who will never be happy for you, support you or ever be on your side regarding what you want to do or achieve in life. The bible tells us that "When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite officer heard about this, they were upset that someone had come to help the Israelites." (Nehemiah 2:10 NCV). There are people who will come and fight you so as to make sure your dreams don come to fruition; but I submit to you this moment as you read this: "If the dream is God given, He will protect the same for you."
Tobiah and Sanballat sought to fight the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem by Nehemiah, but God gave Him wisdom and he was able to finish up the task. Joseph had dreams and his brothers hated him and sold him to Egypt thinking that they had killed his dream but all they didn’t know was that they were just accelerating the realization and actualization of the dream. Thus, Joseph could stand and tell his brothers… "But now, do not be distressed and disheartened or vexed and angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me ahead of you to preserve life. God sent me before you to preserve for you a posterity and to continue a remnant on the earth, to save your lives by a great escape and save for you many survivors. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God” (Genesis 45:5, 7, 8 AMP)
Sometimes, the enemy will think he is sabotaging your dreams but in the real sense, God is using them to accelerate the accomplishment of your dreams. Not all the times the devil comes to derail and fight you, but sometimes, he comes to shake you off your comfort zone and accelerate and propel you to your destiny. And many times, we are complaining rather than looking beyond what is surrounding us and see the destiny.
What is your Dream? Can you see beyond the troubles and tribulations that you encounter now and in the process of your dream being realized? Your dream will be tested and tried; people will try to quench and kill your dream, but the thing is… Will you give up or will you PUSH on? Will you hold on and fight for your dream like Nehemiah?
I pray that God will give you a Dream, Purpose and Focus to live for…
10[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope] 11That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body]. |Philippians 3:10-11|
I was driving home and a common hymn played in one of the radio stations… “At the cross, at the cross, where I first saw the light and the burdens of my heart rolled away…” and as the song was playing, I got to reflect back on the death of Christ at the cross, what happened and the impact and benefits of the same. Paul writes… “The Message that points to Christ on the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the [manifestation of] the power of God.” |1 Corinthians 1:18|. On my reflection, the song moved me to tears of joy and thankfulness that I had embraced the cross and its power works in me.
The cross is a symbol that is recognized worldwide as an emblem of Christianity. You will realize every church is marked or adored with the symbol of a cross. Any location of a church on the Google maps or even geographical maps and drawing, the cross is used to depict the presence of a church building. It may look a simple but alone, it has no power; but with the death of Jesus on it brings meaning to it to us as Christians. There are a few things that I learn or can draw from the happenings and events that happened at the cross.
First, the Cross is a place of weakness. Anyone who hangs on a cross is completely helpless. It doesn’t matter how strong you are; how rich you are, your prominence and popularity; once you are on a cross, you are helpless. Even the Lord Jesus, who could have called more than 12 legions of angels to help him, but He took the lowly position and humbled himself to that extent for you and me. To the world, hanging on a cross means “reaching the very depths of weakness and foolishness.” |1 Corinthians 1:18-25|. Christ humbled Himself not only to death, but “even the death of the Cross,” where “He was crucified in weakness” |Philippians 2:8; 2 Corinthians 13:4 NKJV|
Secondly, the Cross is also the place of a curse. If a capital crime had been committed in Israel, the usual way to carry out the death sentence was by stoning. However, hanging on gallows or tree would be reserved for the most detestable criminals. God declared “He who is hanged is cursed of God” |Deuteronomy 21:23|. Paul refers to this principle in |Galatians 3:13|, noting that Christ’s death has redeemed us from the curse of the Law since His very mode of dying was a cursed one.
Thirdly, the Cross signifies end of life. Someone who carries a cross has no future plans; no thoughts of tomorrow; no hope etc. He cannot promise to do anything for you. He no longer controls his own destiny. All that is left for him is to die, and his actual death is so certain. Whoever is nailed to a cross has been destroyed and removed from the world. This was exactly the high priest’s desire when Jesus’ death was planned |John. 11:47-50|.
There are benefits that come with the Cross. The cross is the basis of our salvation. Paul says “it is the [manifestation of] the power of God” |1 Corinthians 1:18b|. It is at the cross where all our sins are taken away and forgiven. Remember the hymn I started with? The second art of the chorus says… “It was there |at the cross| by faith, I received my sight, and now I am happy all the day.” At the cross, once we lay down our burdens and we receive the forgiveness of sins |sight|, we have joy and happiness.
The cross establishes our faith and stirs our devotion. By itself, the Cross contains no spiritual power. Its significance is derived entirely from Jesus, the Lamb of God, who died upon it. It is remarkable enough that Jesus Christ was willing to die sacrificially and became the one substituting for those who were unjust. But the Lord Himself made it clear to His disciples that crucifixion awaited Him |John 12:32-33; Matthew 20:19|. His death was to be the death of the Cross. From His death we get encouragement that we can make it to our appointed destiny and leave a reckonable mark.
The cross is the place of weakness, humility, rejection, and the end of ourselves. At the Cross, we die to self but we are become alive in Christ. Paul says “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” |Galatians 2:20|. Every Christian must learn to think this way: Christ was crucified instead of me; therefore, although I am physically alive, I consider myself to have died with Christ. God sees us as having died with Christ |Romans 6:8|; here, Paul declares that he understands this, too. For believers, it means that Christ’s life is displayed instead of their own.
It is at the Cross we crucify all our canal desires that are in conflict with the Spirit man. “Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” |Galatians 5:24|. This is perhaps the most challenging to live out. When we get to the cross, we crucify our natural desires for self-satisfaction and self-advancement and we allow God to deal with us. This is amplified in |Colossians 2:11|, where the death of Christ – figuratively called His circumcision – has removed the “body of the sins of the flesh.” Both eternal salvation and daily Christian living are completely emptied of any dependence on the flesh. “Our old man was crucified with Him … that we should no longer be slaves of sin” |Romans 6:6|.
The above points are not the only important results of the Cross of Christ. The cross also paved the way for our reconciliation to God |Colossians 1:20; 2:14|; the cross reminds us to be humble |Philippians 2:8; 3:18-20|; the cross ends cultural differences and hostilities |Ephesians 2:11-16|.
Can we have pride in ourselves when we remember that Jesus Christ was crucified for us? His Cross highlights our own weakness and emptiness before God. Do we deserve what we have? No; I see all this in the Cross. Therefore, an ongoing appreciation of the Cross will mean the end of our self-righteousness and selfishness, not only regarding our faith in God for salvation but also in our approach to daily Christian living.
The Cross is central and key to our acceptance before God. Christ’s death upon it was the concentrated essence, purpose, and culmination of His entire earthly mission |John 12:27; Hebrews 10:5-10|. Without the Cross, we would have remained dead in trespasses and sins, which are unspeakably heinous in God’s sight. We stand in freedom before God, accepted by Him and separated to Him, because Jesus Christ loved us and gave Himself for us on the Cross.
PS! This was a contribution post for Flame Keepers Magazine. Check more on www.flamekeeperspublishing.org