A common saying goes like this: “When you dig pits, dig long and short ones because you never know which one you will fall into”. They say life is full of ups and downs that you have to encounter thus some of us are ever discouraged when they are found in such ups and downs and they end up discouraged and give up in this journey of faith. The things we encounter day by day have different impacts to our individual lives. To some, it will be a negative impact and to others, they will bring about a positive impact and end up using them as stepping stones to their elevation. On this note, how do you view the day to day happenings in your life; what impact do they have in your Christian life and relationship with others? These are worth questions to evaluate our attitude and perception of the things that we pass through.
Joseph is a young man and beloved son of his father Jacob. He is brought up with a lot of love and care by his father but this was short lived till the minute he started having dreams. Everyone including his loving parents were almost turning against him. They were not sure whether the dreams the boy had were from God or he was trying to lift himself up. It got to a point that hatred developed between him and his brothers and the only option that they had was to sell him off to the Midian traders so that he could be gone away from them and be forgotten story. In the scripture above, we read how he was treated when he was sent by his father to take food to his brothers. When they see him from a far, they plot what they are going to do. And it is at this point that they threw him into an old well that had dried up. While down there, I believe Joseph thought about so many things and asking why all this was happening to him.
How many times have you found yourself in a situation like Joseph? You have a target that you are working with but you find yourself having hit the rock bottom. At this moments when we hit the rock bottoms, we get so discouraged but instead it should be the time that we should be encouraged than before because it is an indication that we are treading on the right path. You may ask me why I am saying it is the right path; this is because, you don’t expect everything to run smoothly, there must be some pitfalls here and there. One important thing that we really miss out is to take with us when we have hit the rock bottom is; taking the lesson that we learn while we are there. Remember Paul said that nothing happens without a purpose to all that are called according to his purpose.
While down there at the bottom of the pit; there are things that happen:
a) You are at your lowest point – I believe at this moment while Joseph was there, he was feeling so hated and an outcast. This was his lowest point in his life. He had nothing to do and all the questions he had went unanswered since he was alone. This is the time in our lives we ask God so many questions and when we look around we tend to think that no one loves us or even care for us. But believe you me, this is the best time for you to reach out and seek out help from God rather than men since no one will be there for you.
b) In the pit, your help will only come from above – In a pit, the only opening that you can see is above you. You can’t go down or sideways either. The only way that you can go is up because that’s where the opening is. When down there, you have no one else to call out to, you can only call out to God; but the most amazing thing; we try and run our minds around to see who can help us at such moments. David in Psalms 121:1-3 gives us a good answer and a solution of where we can seek out help. Remember that a human being will always fail you when you least expect him to; but when you reach out to God, he will come to your rescue and he won’t fail you.
c) You spring back higher than where you were at first – When down there, take time to relax and be rejuvenated. Ask God to re-energize you. Destinies are made in the valleys and not on the mountain tops. While you are down there, you need to know that the lower you go, the higher you will go when you spring back up. Take a logical look at the pole-vault jumpers, that’s the principle they use. When Joseph came out of the pit, he started ascending up the ladder gradually and at the end, his dream was fulfilled.
d) We come back to our senses and reconcile with God - God will always allow us to fall into pits and hit rock bottoms so that we find time to evaluate our lives, and reconcile back with him. The good thing with our God is that he will always be there for us. Take the case of Jonah; He is sent to Nineveh but he decides to disobey and go Tarshish instead. It is while at the belly of the fish that he realizes his fault and he reconciles with God. Remember the prodigal son too… he takes all his inheritance and squanders it all. When he has undergone through hard time sharing food with swines, that’s when he comes back to his senses and returns home.
God attempts to reason with us about our sinfulness through His word. He may have to go to “plan B” and allow us a time of trial before we finally get it. Like a potter, God attempts to mold us, if we only let Him. We may have to suffer to learn about His sovereignty, but if we “reason with Him,” we will learn that the Potter is attempting to mold us into a work of art.
Let’s learn not to ask God question of why me God when we are at the rock bottoms, but rather, let’s always carry with us the lessons that we ought to learn while down there.
Tuesday, May 26th, 2009
“28 Then the woman left her water jar and went away to the town. And she began telling the people, 29 Come, see a Man Who has told me everything that I ever did! Can this be [is not this] the Christ? [Must not this be the Messiah, the Anointed One?] 30 So the people left the town and set out to go to Him… 38 I sent you to reap a crop for which you have not toiled. Other men have labored and you have stepped in to reap the results of their work. 39 Now numerous Samaritans from that town believed in and trusted in Him because of what the woman said when she declared and testified, He told me everything that I ever did. 40 So when the Samaritans arrived, they asked Him to remain with them, and He did stay there two days. 41 Then many more believed in and adhered to and relied on Him because of His personal message [what He Himself said]. 42 And they told the woman, Now we no longer believe (trust, have faith) just because of what you said; for we have heard Him ourselves [personally], and we know that He truly is the Savior of the world, the Christ.” Read ~~> John 4:1-26; 39-42
We all live in a world that is changing each and every day and we have different experiences each and every day as we live. We all long for a different day better than yesterday was and sometimes it doesn’t work to our expectations. We a times have bad days filled with uncertainties and before we realize that the day has came and gone without sometimes realizing our dreams. Does this really happen to you? Life never presents itself the way we dream and want it to be but one thing is sure, that He who began a good work in us will bring it to accomplishment (Philippians 1:6) since he has promised in his word that he has good plans for us for great future, plans not to harm us but to prosper us (Jeremiah 29:11)
As I said, we encounter challenges daily and they have a positive or negative impact on our lives. Take a look at the Samaritan woman: she meets with Jesus at the well at midday. She had come to fetch water at the odd hours of the day. Samaritan women used to fetch water in a band/group of women in the morning and evening hours but here she is alone at noon. Taking a deeper look into her conversation with Jesus, it is the time that you realize why she was alone at the well at that hour. She was more of a prostitute since she had no husband at all yet she had 7 men. And this made her a laughing stock among other women thus causing her to feel more of an outcast. It is at this point that she meets with Jesus and his life changes.
You know many are the times that I pass through hard times and I feel like I am an outcast; I am living in my own world where no one cares for me. Being in this situation is neither easy nor is it pleasing and I know I am not sailing in this boat alone. The Samaritan woman comes and when Jesus asks him for water, that becomes the start of a conversation that leads to an encounter that she had never had and it transformed her life completely. In the situations you are in and what you are passing through, you do not need anyone to come and help you out (though I recognize that we need each other in some situations), all you need is to have an encounter with Jesus and your life is never the same again.
The Samaritan woman changes her ways and mind and she becomes a witness and goes back and informs that village about the messiah and wanted everyone to come and have an encounter just as she had. She tells them, come and see the man who told me the things that I have ever done. Saul had an encounter with Jesus on his way to Damascus (Acts 9:1-17) and his life was transformed. He changed from a man who was persecuting the church and he became on of the greatest apostle of the gospel of Jesus Christ and transformed the lives of many and mentored others into the ministry. A single encounter with Jesus just like Paul had will revolutionize your life and rather than taking the direction you had, your life takes a 360 degree turn and heads towards the right direction if you were headed the wrong direction.
Take a look at Zaccheus; he had to climb a sycamore tree so that he could see Jesus as he was passing by and that day Salvation came into his house. Moses used to have a face to face conversation with God. This experience never left him the same was as he was before he met God. He used to come down the mountain with his face glowing with the glory of God. Jacob had to wrestle with an angel and he got his blessings from hence, he walked in the fulfillment of the promises of God. I can go on and on giving examples of people who met God and their lives were changed. Meeting or having an encounter with God brings about some changes in your life and the experience can never be forgotten at all. Taking a look at the examples of the people mentioned in the word of God, I can derive these:
a) Your life is transformed – the Samaritan woman met with Jesus and when ministered to her life, she was transformed and her life took a turn in the right direction. She forsook her sinful state and she started reaching out and sharing the light and the transformation she had received and encountered to the villagers. Mary too encountered Jesus at Simon’s house and her life was transformed. She left her adulterous life. Is your life, situations, family, job name them taking a wayward course? All you need is Jesus and your life will be transformed.
b) Your sins are forgiven and your heart is healed – The Samaritan woman’s sins were forgiven, Mary and Zaccheus sins too were forgiven. Their hearts were wounded but they were healed. One thing that sin does is to wound your heart; but when Jesus comes on board; he forgives you and heals your heart. You are restored back to the fellowship you had with God and people and you enjoy the blessings of a son in the kingdom of God. The Samaritan woman had no relationship with the people around her because of the kind of life that she was living, but after and encounter with Jesus, she goes out and reaches out to the people with the gospel of Jesus. Zaccheus too has his relationship restored with the public after Jesus brought salvation into his house.
c) You have the joy to share out – you cannot share something that you do not have. The Samaritan woman had the joy to go out and share her testimony with her friends after having an encounter with Jesus. Knowing Jesus and having an experience are different. When you know Jesus, it’s more of hearsay but when you have an experience with him, you have substance and a personal testimony to share of the same. Zaccheus was able to refund what he had stolen from others because of his experience with Jesus personally.
d) You leave with your blessing – Jacob had an encounter with the Lord and he wrestled with him till the break of the day. His life was never the same after that. His name was changed and he was blessed. One thing I know is that you can never have an encounter with God and remain the same. Zaccheus too was blessed by the fact that he had an encounter personally with God. Saul on his way to Damascus met with God and his life was transformed.
There is only one thing that will stand between us and having an encounter with God – SIN. If we deal with the sinful state of our hearts and cleanse ourselves, there is a guarantee that God will come down and meet up with you. Secondly, have the desire and the longing to be saturated by him. God will always hearken and respond to our heart desires and our longing to be with him. To be intimate with God and talk to him face to face, you need to be alone with him and develop the relationship with him. It is not God who will come looking for you so that you can have a fellowship with him, it is you and I who need him and thus we have to seek out and look for him.
©Monday, 25th May 2009
Where in your family are you placed? Firstborn, second born, third born or lastborn? Being born as a first born in a family is the biggest privilege one can ever have. In my culture, every first born in the family is values and is regarded as the parent or leader of the family in the absence of the parents. This is a valued position in the family and everyone would wish to be the first born if not anything else, the inheritance that he/she gets is different from the other siblings. Nevertheless, there are people who do not value this position as others do. Take a clear to the scripture above… Esau and his brother Jacob…
Esau comes from the field since he was a hunter and he had not caught anything that day and he was extremely hungry and he wanted something to eat. He meets his brother cooking some delicious lentil stew and he asks him to give him some. Jacob was so cunning (given that that is the description of his name) and he tells him that he has to part with his birthright before he gets a taste of the stew. Before taking a second thought, he says vs. 32, 34 “…what good is the birthright to me? Thus, Esau despised his birthright” with this, he gave Jacob the right to all his inheritance and blessings which were and are of great value in the Jewish culture up to date.
A birthright is the privileges you are entitled to from birth. What is your spiritual birthright? They are spiritual and physical privileges you are entitled to as a born again Christian. There are so many things attached to birthright. God has called us and with the death of Jesus Christ on the cross we were born into the kingdom of God. We were given the birthright to be co-heirs with Jesus Christ in God’s eternal kingdom. It is so unfortunate that we have behaved in a manner that shows that we do not value our birthright and we disregard its cost. For us to be given the right to be called children of God, it costed God his one and only son Jesus. Jesus bled and died on the cross paying up the price that we were supposed to pay and thus we were called his brothers and sisters; but all the same, we seem not conscious of the great value that it is.
Why do we substitute our faith and eternal inheritance for meaningless and worthless things in the face of this earth which are perishable and only worth for a short period? The devil knows what it means to be a Christian and that is why he will work out all ways to make sure that you do not attain or get what God has intended or has in store for you. He comes to us when we are so in need of something and brings up a solution that looks worthwhile and before we realize, we have messed our destiny. Esau was hungry and when Jacob presented a solution to his hunger, he was ready to part with whatever he was asking so that his hunger would be satisfied. He never realized what he had done until Jacob was blessed by Isaac instead of him; that’s the time he remembered that he had also given his birthright away to the same man for a plate of a days’ meal.
This is the same way the devil does. He will come to you and me, present himself as an angel of light with worthwhile solutions but just to help us at the moment and then leave us regretting for the rest of our lives. It is a dangerous thing for you to have an important material and not realize it. Before you give your life to Christ, God has attached some blessings to your life. When you now give your life to Jesus, more blessings are attached. Many do not know what it means to be born again. Being born again means to be begotten from above. The reason many people are undergoing deliverance now is because they are in trouble for selling cheaply, their birthright to their enemies.
Here are some of the ways in which we sell our birthrights:
a) Self-centeredness: Putting yourself first before others or exploiting and using others to accomplish your selfish goals, is a way of selling your birthright. If you give because you expect something in return, you have sold your birthright and need to buy it back. If you do good only when you will be given praise for it then you have sold your birthright. If you like self-display; you want people to know that you are the one there, you have sold your birthright. If you are primarily concerned with what others are thinking about you then you have sold your birthright.
b) Doubt and unbelief: If you are full of doubt and unbelief then you have sold your birthright.
c) Sin: If you enjoy sinning but hate the consequences, then you have sold your birthright. If you are always thinking of covering your sins instead of repenting them, you have sold your birthright. If you are so self-conscious that you can commit sin in order to please others, then you have sold your birthright. If you justify your sin instead of saying, “Oh God, I am a sinner, deliver me,” then you have sold your birthright.
d) Hypocrisy: If you refuse to admit that you are what you are and need to change, you are only caging yourself which amounts to selling your birthright. Rejoicing when other are failing, pretending to be loyal, using your mouth to pull others down and backbiting are ways of selling your birthright.
e) Being revengeful: If you are always looking for somebody as a scapegoat instead of facing your own sin, it is selling your birthright.
f) Impatience: If you who have been born again and you still act before you think and take rash decisions then you have sold your birthright.
g) Unteachable spirit: If you cannot really listen to others, you regard yourself to know so much and you are not teachable then you have sold your birthright.
Many Christians are still living in sin because they do not have the fear of God. Please pray like this: “Lord, if there is any sin in me, deal with it now, in the name of Jesus.” It will be a tragedy if after reading this message and your life remains the same. Without the fear of God, you cannot experience lasting deliverance from sin. The longer we indulge in besetting sin, the stronger its hold on us becomes. The longer you stay in any sin, the tighter the hold will be on your neck. No matter how gifted you are or how talented you are, as far as sin is in your life, you are not going anywhere. Secret sins have decaying powers, which cause destruction in every area of our lives. It is a cancer that spreads throughout the entire being, defiling our thoughts and action. The greatest inheritance that Jesus gave to us is our salvation. It will be very sad for anyone to sell it to the enemy.
Are you neglecting the calling of God upon your life? Have you lost the presence and anointing of God upon your life? Is the peace and joy of the Holy Ghost still in your heart? Is your birthright still there or have you sold it on the altar of sex, food, money, malice or anger? Have you sold your inheritance to your enemies? It is time to review your life. Why should God send His Son to die for you and you want the death to go in vain? Look at what Jesus went through. Do you think He would be happy with anyone who wants His suffering and death to go in vain? Please, tell the Lord to remove any sin that is demoting you out your life, repent of them, and possess your possession. Buy your birthright back.
The Bible says, “Narrow is the path that leads to life, few there be that find it,” meaning that not many will find it.
Will you not cry to the Lord today from the bottom of your heart so that He can rescue you from the well of the enemy? Open your mouth and pray like this: “O God, deliver me from this wicked generation, in the name of Jesus. This generation must not mess me up. I will not sacrifice my destiny on the altar of this wicked generation, in Jesus’ name. I shall not surrender to my enemies, in the name of Jesus. If I have sold my birthright to the enemy, blood of Jesus, buy it back for me, in the name of Jesus. I refuse to be wasted, in Jesus’ name. The enemy shall not waste my life, in Jesus’ name.”
Tuesday, 12th May 2009
Stand still and look up!!
2 Kings 6:8-22
Troubles, problems, situations that discourage us in life will never cease to come our way. You are not the first neither will you be the last person to be encountered or enclosed by hard situations and circumstances. There are many examples in the word of God and even in the world that we are living in of people who were faced with hard situations and they came out successfully. In other words, they used the stumbling blocks standing in their way as stepping stones to God’s promises and blessings.
How do we see or react when we encounter or we are faced by tough situations in our lives that we have very little to do about to solve or sort them out? Many a times, we give up or we give into the situation or circumstance. Take a look at Gehazi, Elisha’s servant (2 Kings 6:15), He arose one early morning as it was his custom only to look outside and realize that they are surrounded by Arameans soldiers. He ran back inside to his master Elisha to tell him, afraid and not knowing what to do. He knew that their time to die had come since the army had chariots surrounding the whole city. Do you know that this is how many of us behave or act when we are surrounded by circumstances and issues in our life that threaten our faith or even livelihood? Instead of being strong, we are so afraid and we coil ourselves and rush back to hide ourselves.
Look at the way Elisha responds to him in vs. 16 “… do not be afraid, those who are with us are more than those who are with them” This is what usually eats us up FEAR. The devil capitalizes on this and he brings us down. Instead we should be the ones reminding him of his defeat. Elisha tells Gehazi that God’s army is mighty and more in numbers than the physical army that he could see surrounding them. Gehazi was so fearful thus ended up frightened but thank God for Elisha; he was there to help him and restore him. Fear will come and also be facilitated by our lack of spiritual alertness. Why do I say this? Gehazi was spiritually blind thus he couldn’t see the armies of the Lord in the spiritual realms. It is at this point that Elisha prays for him so that his spiritual eyes to be opened and see the army and chariots of fire that were surrounding them.
When our spiritual eyes are blind, we never see the Lord fighting the battles for us, instead, we struggle and fight a losing battle while the Lord stand there watching at us struggle because our eyes are blinded that we cant see him. And it is so unfortunate that after we have reached our end, that’s when we remember that God is there and He can help us out. I like the action Gehazi took; even though his eyes were blind, he ran back to the right person to seek guidance. What about you and me? Where do we run to when we reach our end or we are faced with uncertainties? Take a look also at King Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20:1-17); he is faced by 5 kings who had joined forces against him. Being a king alone, but he chose not to go and also form an alliance so that he could fight back; instead he turned back and looked up to God and sought his guidance. In response, we see God telling him and the whole nation of Judah to stand still and see the deliverance of the Lord; they did not have to fight the battle because the Lord would fight it on his behalf.
Again, there is punishment for ignorance of the same. Remember the children of Israel in the wilderness? (Numbers 21:4-8) The children of Israel spoke against the Lord and instead, God sent enormous snakes unto them. They sinned and murmured against the Lord as it was their norm. At times, this is how we behave again, we murmur against the Lord asking him why he is allowing us to pass through hard stuff, why he has left us etc but we are so privileged to have the grace of God that He doesn’t punish us, instead, he helps us and forgives us and also provides a way of escape.
When you are at that point where you are engulfed by problem and you don’t know what to do, always remember to stand still and look up!! When you look up:
a) There is healing for you – When the children of Israel looked up, they were healed. Some of them were ignorant and they ended up dying. When you make it a habbit to look up to God for help, you can rest assured of victory no matter what you are passing through or what stands your way.
b) Your spiritual eyes and sensitivity will be restored – Gehazi’s spiritual eyes were opened when he went back to his master Elisha and told him what was happening. It is your obligation as a child of God to back to him and inform him of what is happening in your life. He knows what is happening in your life but he still awaits you to go to him and have a fellowship with him. Secrets of the kingdom or even families are revealed during a deep conversation with the father. If you won’t go to your father in heaven and have a deep conversation with him in prayer, you won’t know the secrets of the kingdom.
c) God fights your battles – King Jehoshaphat was invaded by five kings but when he turned to God to form an alliance with him, God told him to march ahead facing the enemies in praises and God fought the battle for him. God will always give you a way out on how to solve your problems and you will always emerge victorious.
It’s my prayer that in all that you pass through, you will not behave like the Israelites but you will always remember to turn back to God and seek his assistance in all that you do and pass through and since He is faithful, He will see you through.
Taking on from last Sunday, God’s love is so immense and great for us. I am reminded of a sing I used to sing in Sunday school… that Jesus’ love is very wonderful, such a wonderful love, so high that you can’t get over it, so low that you can’t get under it and yet so wide that you can’t get round it… that’s such a rare love that you can’t get anywhere else.
This is the love that made God send his only son Jesus Christ to come and die on the cross for you (John 3:16a) “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten son…” Jesus said also it is because of love that he came to the earth not with much to do, but seek and save the lost. In the scripture above (Matthew 11:28-29), Jesus knew that people had so much of burdens and baggage that they were carrying in their hearts and lives and they were seeking someone to help them carry.
In this regard, Jesus tells them to bring all their burdens unto him and he will give them rest. He further goes ahead and tells them to take up his yoke which is light and won’t tire them. What did Jesus mean? He meant that there are things, issues and a lot of baggage that you are carrying that he can help you sort out if you only allowed him to get into your heart and life… The problem with us is that we want to be helped but we don’t want the helper to be with us.
You may be carrying unnecessary baggage in your life that you ought not to carry simply because you don’t want to release it to God. What is that you are so mindful of that you don’t want to release it to God? We are too careful to let go but if we could only take a second thought and allow Christ to take up what we worry about so much, we would live a stress free life.
The only way to release and allow God to take up our burdens is to go to him in Prayer. His ears are attentive to your cry and he will come to your rescue as soon as you call him. Remember he is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother.
“”Our greatest battles are that with our own minds.” ~Jameson Frank~
Reminding ourselves of last Sunday’s thought we just need a single word from the Lord and if we obey it, take it and run with it, our lives will never be the same again. Ever asked yourself why we sometimes doubt the word of God? We reach some points in life when we really think that God has forsaken us and the next thought that comes is that God doesn’t love us.
Paul reminds the Romans of God’s unending and undying love for you and me. He asks a simple question; “what then shall separate us from the Love of God?” he goes ahead and samples a few that he thought could have made the Romans doubt or make them sway away from the love of God.
I have been there. No one by my side to talk to, open my heart to and I thought that no one loved me at all God included. How could He (God) allow me to go through such a time if he claimed to love me? But God’s words to the children of Israel have been so clear… “Despite all that you are going through, don’t be afraid, God is by your side. He promised never to leave you nor forsake you till the end of time” Deuteronomy 31:8
Are you there just like I was? You can rest with this assurance that God is there for you. If you only believe in him, and trust in his word that nothing will lead you astray form his love. Paul says that neither death nor life, present life or even life to come, tribulations, trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … For in all these, you are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus.
“Though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not.” – C.S Lewis