“4Then the word of the Lord came to me [Jeremiah], saying, 5Before 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. 6Then said I, Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am only a youth. 7But the Lord said to me, Say not, I am only a youth; for you shall go to all to whom I shall send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. 8Be not afraid of them [their faces], for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord. 9Then 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. 10See, 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
Last weekend happened to be one of my best weekends. I love road trips and it was one of those weekends that you go to shagz after a couple of months not seeing your folks and siblings; and this was one of the many that I have done but it was with a difference. Apart from just enjoying the road trip, I got a chance to meet one of my sons at home and we had a long chat and he shared with me how ministry has been challenging to him and he didn’t get any support from friends and even at some point, the church leadership and even friends. To him, he expected the people around him to see and recognize what he was doing but yet, no one seemed to care.
I bet you might have reached to that point whereby you so much need support but yet no one seems to care or even see what you are engrossed in doing leave alone being committed to. At such times is when you look back and you are tempted to give up on God thinking that He sees not what you are doing and in one way or another, we find ourselves loosing our passion, dedication, motivation and commitment to what was once a motivation for us to serve God. I do not know about you but I have been there and I thought for a moment that I wasn’t the best person for the job and I might have taken over someone’s position and got myself into this mess… but I want you to know that there is nothing that catches God by surprise or will ever do. He has ordained and ordered everything to fall in the rightful place and in the right time. Most times, we start qualifying our doubts and giving God reasons as to why we are not the right people to go on with the ministry that He has called us to.
When you read the account of Jeremiah above, you will get to realize that he was telling God one thing: – I am not the right person; Look for someone else. This is the attitude that most Christians have towards what God has called us to do and until we realize why God looks at us and sees that we are the right candidates for the job that He wants done, we will always live like Jonah – Always on the un but eventually God will catch up on us. You need to know that God cut you out and created you for a purpose. You are not here by accident or chance.. you are here on a divine mission. It is the high time that we ceased giving God reasons as to why we are not the best candidates for the calling and work that He has created and cut out for us and instead start asking Him to help us to accomplish what He has called us for.
Look at Moses in Exodus 3:10-15; God meets with Moses at the burning bush and He sends him back to Egypt to deliver the children of Israel from their captivity. But from the conversation, you can clearly see that Moses thought that he wasn’t the right man for the Job. This is what He asks God in “So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (vs. 10-11). This is how many of us are. Always doubting ourselves and wondering if we are really up to and whether we qualify for the assignment that we have been called to. Let me tell you one thing. You will realize that in the bible, God never used qualified people but He Qualified them that He chose and called for s specific purpose.
You do not have to run away from God’s call simply because you feel that you are not efficient or qualified… He who called you knew that you are not qualified but yet He chose you. All you need to do is allow Him to make you what He wants you to be and qualify you for the work He has called you for. Paul encourages us and tells us “And 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 – Amplified Bible) I love the same verse and how the Message bible puts it. It says “There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.” You need to know that it is not you who called yourself, but God called you – He began the good work. And because He is God and He is the master planner, He will keep it and bring it to an end.
Just see the four highlights that I have made on the scripture above. The four highlights give us the start to the end process of How God uses us.
- God Starts – This is when God creates us, He creates us with a purpose and a calling cut out for us. In due season, He calls us and we hear his voice and when we hearken to his call, He places us in the rightful place where we will be able to fulfill our mission.
- Keeps it – God told Moses in Exodus 3:12 “And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.…” God will always make sure that what He has started will come to accomplishment. He will sustain whatever He starts in you and bring it to fulfillment. You do not have to worry about what to do next.. all you need is to trust in him. He will fight the battles for you and mould you into the kind of a vessel he wants of you only allow Him to. We are just
- Brings it to Completion – You need to know that it is the joy of the Lord when He sees us accomplish what He has called us to do. The Message bible reminds us that when God finished creating, He looked back and said… “It is good”. This is the desire at the heart of God to see that everything that He starts is finished Flourishingly and achieves its purpose. The lord will guide you in all that you need to do in the call and purpose that He has called you to.
God sees the best in you even when the people around you or yourself do not see it. You are created with a potential that only God and you can realize and together, you can activate the same and make a big impact in this world. Moses looked at himself and saw a stammer and someone slow in speech but God saw a great leader and prophet in him. Jeremiah looked at himself and saw a little boy who was young and knew not how to speak, but God saw a prophet unto the nations with a great mandate. When Gideon looked at himself, all he could see was that he was the last born in his family which was the least in their clan and the tribe of Manasseh, but the Lord saw a mighty man of valor, A mighty warrior in him.
What do you see when you look at yourself?? have you ever taken time to ask God what He sees in you? Take time and speak to God. Allow him to change your perspective and how you view yourself and start seeing yourself the way He (God) sees you.
|“14When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. 15He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him. 16When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.” 18When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. 19Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” 20Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”| Matthew 8:14-20
|“1BLESSED (HAPPY, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather. 2But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night. 3And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity].”| Psalms 1:1-2 (Amplified Bible)
Another day is here and Jesus is ready to do great things in the lives of many people if only they allow him to. Jesus comes from teaching his disciples in Matthew 7 about the principles of the kingdom of heaven. He teaches them not to judge others, the A-S-K principle (Asking, Seeking and Knocking); the narrow and the wide gate, about true prophets and false prophets as well as disciples and he culminates it by talking to them about the two builders, the wise and foolish one. Enter Matthew 8, He continues healing the man with leprosy and the centurions servant and then He comes to Peters house and heals his mother.
You will agree with me that Jesus was truly tired and He needed to rest. He could have opted to lodge at Pater’s house but He goes on and many people in Capernaum wanted to follow him. One teacher of the law told him that he would follow him wherever He went. It is at this point that Jesus tells them that birds and foxes have nests and dens to rest but He had no place to lay his head and rest. What did Jesus mean? He simply meant that He had so many people following him yet they were not ready to pay the cost of following Him; they followed Him because of the miracles he was doing.
Let me pause a little and ask you this: Why do you follow Jesus? Did you get saved just because our friends got saved and you wanted to follow the trail? Think about it and give yourself an answer. The Lord is seeking a dwelling place but not followers. he doesn’t need a a place to sleep but a place where he can dwell and live in. Most Christians today are more of followers than people who can accommodate or provide a dwelling place for Christ. Remember Jesus had to be born in a manger. There was no comfortable place for him to be born only a manger was available for him to be laid. You would thing that this was His destiny but it wasn’t. He was 100% man and 100% God and He was to come and dwell in the hearts of people – you and me. (This doesn’t mean that he wasn’t supposed to live in a house).
Jesus speaking to the Pharisee, He said that He (Jesus) did not have a place to rest/lay his head but in real sense, Jesus meant that “He wanted a heart to dwell in but not just adding or getting another follower.” Our hearts should have the right ENVIRONMENT so that Christ can dwell in it. God is after our Hearts and not just our mortal bodies. He knows that He created us fearfully and wonderfully (Psalms 139:14) but “He is seeking more than what meets the eye” (1 Samuel 16:7) This is what God was looking for when He rejected Saul as a king. He was pleased by David because He found a dwelling place in his heart. Remember, Saul was a tall, Handy and handsome man when he became the King of Israel but he disappointed God when he didn’t follow his commands.
There are a few things that we ought to know that the environment of our heart matters a lot. It determines so much about us and our relationship with God. An ENVIRONMENT:
Determines how we See, Perceive and Conceive things: -There are situations and circumstances that come into our lives and if we do not have the right atmosphere/environment, the reaction that we will will determine the results. We need to realize that we do not see things the way they are but we see them the way we are. You can not see beyond who you are or give what you do not have. ATTITUDE determines your ALTITUDE and this is determined by the environment that you have in your heart and life.
Perpetuates and sustains the life of an Organism: – when you put an organism in the wrong environment, it will automatically die. When the necessary conditions for a plant are not there, you do not expect to see any growth. This principle applies to your heart too. If the environment of your heart is not conducive to sustain any form of growth and life, rest assured that your spiritual man will die. When the prodigal son moved away from the presence of his father, he squandered all he had and ended up as a beggar. If he had stayed at home where the environment was conducive, he would have grown into a more responsible son. David in (Psalms 1:3) likens us to a tree planted by the waters. The tree has got enough supply of water and minerals and thus it is well fed and the environment is right, thus the tree yields its fruits in season and it is ever green. If our spiritual man is not well fed and nourished with the Word and watered with Prayer, he will certainly die and wont be fruitful. God had to create the garden of Eden first as an environment for man to live in before He created him. Why don’t you create an environment for God before you invite him?
Feeds us so that we can Accomplish our purposes: – In Psalms 1:3 the tree is well fed and thus it is able to produce. Jesus said in (John 15:4-7) that “Unless a branch is attached to the tree, it won’t bear any fruits”. We ought to remain connected to God so that we can be able to know his mind and purpose for us and thus, we accomplish what we have been created for. Some of us struggle to know where God has called us and to do what; simply because, we have not taken time to get to connect with God and ask Him to reveal unto us what He created us for.
For us to have such an environment, we need to have FOUR things that will enable us to cultivate/create such an environment: -
Prayer: – It keeps us connected with the father and thus we are able to know his mind. Whenever we are stuck, we can communicate with him and ask Him questions and there He gets to speak to us too and give us direction.
The WORD: – The word of God provides us with the appropriate, necessary and needed nutrients to feed on so that we can bear healthy fruits. Do not depend on the word that you get every Sunday from your pastor or preacher and think that it will sustain you… Dig and teach yourself a habit of reading the word on your own. Be like the Bereans. The bible says: “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (Acts 17:11).
The Holy Spirit: – The Holy Spirit is the CATALYST that synthesis our lives and creates the right environment that accommodates/facilitates the dwelling place of God and Growth. Remember the Spirit cannot dwell in an unclean vessel, thus we got to make sure that we are sanctified and holy for the inhabitation of the Holy Spirit as a catalyst to create the right atmosphere for Growth.
The RIGHT Spirit: – David prayed in Psalms 51:10 and said “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” This ought to be our daily prayer and desire unto God that He will renew us each and every day of our lives. The bible records of God testifying about Caleb. God said in Numbers 14:24 that “But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.” How beautiful would it be when God gave a testimony of you and me that we have followed him wholeheartedly and we have a different spirit from the rest?? When we have a different spirit, we view things differently and this places us in a different realm in life where you stand a place of receiving your inheritance and blessings.
My prayer for all of us this day is that we will strive to create, have and maintain a conducive environment for God to dwell in and that will stir our growth.
|“38 So Saul clothed David with his armor, and he put a bronze helmet on his head; he also clothed him with a coat of mail. 39 David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them.” So David took them off. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine.” 1 Samuel 17:38-40|
Early in the morning, 4 am, I woke up… I had this dream in the night that I found myself running away from a monster that was after my life. At such a point in time, what do you do? everyone is dead asleep save my mum who was deep in prayer and my dad would be awake anytime from now to prepare for his early morning shift in the barracks. One thing is sure… if the monster is real, I am convinced that it can’t come home because I know my dad will take care of it. but hold on, Does he even know that I had such a dream? and so I choose to keep it to myself and I get back to bed hoping that I won’t see the same monster again. I spend the whole day replaying the dream in my mind and all I pray is that in he evening, the monster won’t come again in my dreams.
This is the story of our lives. Each and everyday of our lives we are faced with monsters and giants in our lives that are after our lives, our faith, our careers, our families, loved ones… name them. But unfortunately, we are all running away from them. It is true that we want to fight them off and deal with them once and for all but we do not have the courage. At times, we want to find someone we can share with about the giants but hold on; what will he/she think of me? You are struggling with what to do. I did struggle whether or not I should tell my mother or dad about the dream but I choose to keep it to myself. And this is the same story of many of us. We have struggles and battles that we are fighting each day but we are afraid to share.
The children of Israel have been camping in the valley of Elah in battle with the Philistines. Not one day, not two days but 4o days, they have been camping at the valley, but one thing you realize from the scriptures is that everyday, they came, drew lines ready for battle but no battle was fought. Why? One man, a giant challenged them to give out a man who will fight him and who ever won, the defeated became the slaves of the others; but for 40 days, Israel had no one to fight Goliath. But one day came when David was sent to take food to the battle field.
Everyday, we are facing challenges in our Christian walk of faith, difficulties in our workplaces, we are faced with death, betrayal, debts, diseases, addictions and habitual sins that we struggle with; and the question you ask God is; “when will I get delivered from this? When will these battles ever end? You will realize that David always faced challenges in his life. One time he is fighting a bear, a lion, Goliath, other times he is being trailed by Saul, Nemesis, the Amalekites have come and taken away his wives, children and possessions of his soldiers…temptation of Bathsheba, killing of Uriah, writing songs in the wilderness, name them; – he was always in battle, and so we are everyday that we wake up. Each and everyday, the devil has a new scheme against you to bring you down.
From the story of David’s life, we can learn a few things from his battles in life. In his life, he fought many fights and defeated many kings; he made grievous mistakes before God but we still see God saying that he was a man after his own heart. Three things that I derive from his life is that David realized:
- When we focus on God, our giants fall, but when we focus on our giants, we fail. – The armies of Israel looked at goliath each and every day but rather than them seeing their Great God, they saw the big giant ahead of them.
- No giant is too big: – from his life, we have many testimonies of the battles that the Lord gave him victories, and we can too rest assured that God will give us victory too.
- How to face our Giants: - David was not afraid of goliath; and the bible tells us that he ran towards him and killed him. You too can face your giants today and defeat them.
The bible tells us that David didn’t use the royal armor that he was given by Saul to fight goliath. Instead, he used his sling and five stones. He refused to use the armor for he had not tested them. (vs. 38). He went down to the river and he CHOSE 5 smooth stones and with them, he approached goliath with them. In life, you need to make important and critical decisions to face your giants, fight and kill them once and for all. The five stones that David took signify the following:
- The stone of the PAST: - David remembered the past victories that God had given him when he was in the wilderness taking care of his fathers sheep. This is what he told Saul: |“But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it.” |1 Samuel 17:34-35| God has given you victories in the past; use them as a testimony and encouragement for you to face the current giants in your life.
- The stone of PRAYER: – David went down the valley to the stream to choose his stones before he went up for the battle against goliath. “Never face your giants before first facing God.” When we go down on our knees, we can stand up tall and face any giant. It is said; “He who kneels before God can stand before any man” but you can’t stand if you have not taken any time to kneel down. Prayer is essential in our lives and it is the source of our strength and victory. Every time David prayed, he had victory but whenever he didn’t, he failed terribly. Go down on your knees before you go up to fight or face anything ahead of you everyday.
- The Stone of PRIORITY: – What matters to you most? your reputation, gaining fame or popularity? David didn’t think of the fame that he would gain after he killed goliath, he didn’t mind the reward that Saul had set for the person who would kill goliath but what mattered most to him was the reputation of the name of the Lord. He was angered that the name of the Lord was being defied by Goliath. This is what he says: |“Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”… “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied… This day the LORD will deliver you into my hands, …and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.”| (1 Samuel 17:26, 45-46). What matters in your life as a Christian is the name of the Lord. God allows us to face these giants in our lives so that He can display His strength, power and glorify himself. What if you stopped running away and complaining about the challenges that you are going through and you saw them as an opportunity for God to show how strong he is in your life? Remember, He works all things together for our good. We learn from David that our priority is not our comfort but God’s glory.
- The stone of PASSION: - David had passion to see the glory restored back to the name of the Lord after goliath had defied the Lord. The bible tells us that David ran towards goliath. He didn’t go hiding or creeping secretly, but he ran towards goliath and struck him down. God wants us to have the passion that David had and use the same to confront our giants. When is the last time that you faced your giants without jittering? Most times, we run away from the giants in our lives but we need to face them. Let us not run backwards but lets run forward and fight them.
- The stone of PERSITENCE: - You may wonder why David choose five stones and not more or less. The bible tells us that goliath had 4 relatives and they were bigger than him. David knew that once goliath fell down, most probably, the other four will appear and thus he needed to be ready to strike. You need to know that there are some giants who will not die with the first strike, thus, you need to be persistent and fight on till they die. One effort is not enough, Once you fail, keep trying and you will make it. keep fighting and eventually, the giant will fall.
My brother, my sister, don’t focus on the giants in your life, but rather focus on God. No giant is too big to fight if God is your God and you rely on Him. Face and focus on God and your giants will fall but the minute you focus on your giants, you fall. What is that giant in your life that has brought you down always? This giant has always been challenging you and you fear and you do not have the courage to face it and fight it.. Today, you can go down on your knees, face God and then come up and face the giant and I promise you, the giant will fall!
\”And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:10|
A times, I really feel like giving up on some things when I do not see any progress but a challenge comes and I am back on track. It’s hard to give up on God even on the slightest occurrences. Has anyone dared to trust God in the slimmest of all hopes? I have and I have never been disappointed. Many times we trust God for some things, make some prayers that seem not to have reached God and thus we are so discouraged and down… David says in Psalm 42:11 "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God."
We need to realize that when we trust in God, we need to relax and wait on him… and while we are waiting, we ought not to be complaining but rather giving thanks. But woe unto us human beings, we know better how to complain rather than give thanks or praise. I must say we got a Masters Degree in that! I want to challenge someone this Today:- "Will you dare trust God again even when you feel like he is quiet and seems he never heard your prayers? You can trust him regardless.
Many a times we think that since God did for me this and this and now am not in any problem, I don’t have the problem to seek out for him now; but Solomon challenges us not to lean on our own understanding – (Proverbs 3:5). When you put out your own understanding before God, you are destined to fail. Remember the bible says that the hand of flesh will fail us but God never fails. Isaiah 31:1 says “Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!”
When God delays to answer, we are quick to turn back to our Plan B’s which fail us. Do we have to be hurt, broken and pass thru’ painful experiences for us to learn to trust God no matter what? Sometimes we sacrifice our eternal joy, pleasure and peace for something that will last for a few minutes, hours, days, months or even years (As per our projections) not knowing that God has promised us WEALTH and RICHES untold. Have you taken time to count your blessings that God has done for you when you trusted him? Too bad that some of us trust God when we have no other option – I mean when all has failed us, that’s when we can dare trust God coz we have nowhere else to go… Shame on you! You ought to trust God in and out of season
In (Daniel 3:16-18), we see three men who dared to trust God despite the circumstances that were surrounding them. You see, there is one thing here… They could have opted to bow down before the Kings image and have their lives spared… but then lose what God had in store for them; but they had a DARING FAITH. They told God, we are daring you to fail us; we are putting our lives at stake. See this. “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, it is not necessary for us to answer you on this point. If our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up!” (Daniel 3:16-18), That’s the answer that they gave the king. Can you stand with such faith when you are facing trials and a hard and tough terrain in your Christian Life and trust in God is such a manner?
oh my!!!… I feel this.. Look at Esther in Esther 3:16 says that “I will fast and then go to see the king even though it’s against the law, if I perish I perish.” One thing that you ought to know is that the devil is not happy when you prosper. The higher God lifts you, the more fierce the battle to fight becomes. An in this case, Haman was not happy to see Mordecai sitting at the Palace gate and he wasn’t bowing down unto him as the others were doing. You need to know that some people will be affected by your actions, your integrity, character and faith. The plot to kill the children of Israel came up not because they had done anything, but it was because of Mordecai. As a child of God, when you stand and take your place, you need to know that you cause a lot of harm to the devil’s camp because you are a stumbling block to many of his plans. You act as a barrier prevailing over his plans.
God will always place you strategically in places where you will have an upper hand over the enemy. Haman didn’t know that Mordecai was the uncle to Queen Esther. But because god knew what the enemy was plotting, He made sure that He had placed Esther at the right place so that she could act and thwart the plan of the enemy. It is at this point that we see Esther saying that she will go and see the king against the rules of the kingdom if she looses her life, well and good.
Look at these two scenarios; Remember at the back of your mind that some lives are at stake. Someone can lose his/her life here but they are not afraid. There are some things that will demand you to put your life at stake and act on your faith. People say that the line between Faith and foolishness is very thin but I would rather have faith rather than be foolish yet have nothing to hold on and be proud of later. If the three Jewish boys didn’t risk their lives to be thrown in the fiery furnace, God would not have been glorified in Babylon… I like this!! If Esther had not heeded the call of Mordecai his uncle and risked her life to go before the King, the nation of Israel would have been killed then; but they had the DARING FAITH to put their lives at stake and trust God beyond all odds.
I want you to know this morning that "Trusting in God pays a great deal rather than depending on your own strength." These two set of instances are an encouragement to us. The outcome was a testimony that we still hold on to and they serve as an encouragement to you and me. Why don’t you trust God today and be an encouragement to someone? You can give a testimony and encourage someone to trust in God too and benefit.
I believe you will not only trust God alone for your needs but also trust him for your spiritual life and growth too. Do not seek his hand, but rather seek his face then he will show you his hand. I mean do not trust God because of what he can do, but trust him because of who He is then He will show you what he can do to and for you. Some of us we want to SEE what he can DO FIRST then we can TRUST. Let’s not become like Doubting Thomas. When you seek his hand, He will show you his hand but you will know him. You won’t know his face. We seek the blessings and not the Blesser; When you are sick, you need to be healed but you do not want to know the healer; You need PROVISION but you do not want to sit down and know the PROVIDER intimately.
Intimacy with the maker of heaven and earth; You are seeking LOVE. You want to be loved and you want to love back… I tell you today… Till you MEET and FALL in LOVE with the AUTHOR of LOVE who is God… You will mark time… You will jump from one relationship to another with no satisfaction because you will not get REAL LOVE and neither will you give REAL LOVE because you do not have a connection with the source of LOVE and you do not have that REAL LOVE to give out!! God is Love and if you have an encounter with Him, your life can never remain the same. Jacob had an encounter with God and he never remained the same; Saul on his way to Damascus met with God and his life took a turn… You too can be changed by him!
Bottom line… this is what the Spirit says…
- For you to DARE trust the Lord and put your life at stake.
- You got to have a deeper connection than that meets the eye!!
Shadrack, Meshack, Abednego & Esther were people who knew God beyond the physical; they connected deeper with the Lord. Get deeper and intimate with God and some things that you struggle with will come to an END…not just an END but will DIE… DARE to TRUST God again against all ODDS, not only when you got no other OPTION… Have and cultivate that DARING FAITH to dare God.
|“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.”| Psalm 37:3-6
24"I assure you, 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)
Dying to self daily is what Paul spoke of so often. It is how we walk in the "Spirit" and not in the "flesh" as we are instructed in Romans 8 and Galatians 5. The whole issue of dying to self daily is the absolute key to living a victorious life in Christ. It literally means that you have to die to self DAILY! This is why so many people who are saved, love the Lord, live beneath their blessings and in constant turmoil. This is how people who know Christ as their Savior end up committing adultery, cheat people, lie, get in bondage to drugs, alcohol, food, sex, gambling, shopping, greed, and anything else people become enslaved to. They don’t die to self each day and end up walking in the "flesh" and NOT the "Spirit." Maybe you are wondering how you could be raising your hands to Jesus, speaking in tongues, and being used by God to touch lives one day, and sinning against God the next. The answer is when you fail to die to self each day; you are walking in the "flesh," not the "Spirit."
Jesus speaking to his disciples, he was telling them about his forthcoming death but amidst the multitudes, the bible tells us that there were some Greeks who had come to worship at the festival and Jesus knowing that they wouldn’t and they knew not the mission of Jesus, He spoke to them in a parable and He spoke to them about the Seed. Jesus was a seed that God sent to the earth that needed to die, so that it could reproduce more fruits of itself. We all know the principle of planting seeds, germination, growth, multiplication and harvest and you and I are one of the fruits that the death of Jesus on the cross bore. We too know about seed and harvest time… and Jesus being the seed, his mission was to die on the cross, be buried (as the seed is buried on the soil) and resurrect with increase of souls which were saved. This is evident in the book of Matthew where he records that when Jesus rose from the dead, saints who had died were seen ascending to heaven.
What am I saying? If Jesus didn’t die on the cross, we wouldn’t be saved, we wouldn’t attain our salvation. Jesus said… ‘if a seed doesn’t die, it remains SINGLE… but once it dies, it replicates itself…” and because of the death of Jesus, we are saved and called Christians which means "Christ-like’ When a seed dies, it replicates itself meaning that the outcome of the seed resembles the seed that died. And when you and I accepted Christ into our hearts, the same DNA that was in Jesus is in you and me today. That is, the power to multiply, increase and have more "Christ-like" people in this earth… but this will not happen till we die to self. We are so filled with selfishness and we do not want to release ourselves to die so that we can be a blessing to someone else. We are called to be a blessing to each other. This can only come if we die to self Jesus continues in vs. 26 and says… "Whoever loves his life will lose it, but who ever loses his life will gain it” Are you ready to lose or to gain your life?
Get your ‘self’ out of the way so God can work! “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30) John the Baptist was talking about Jesus. At first glance, you may think he is talking about their respective popularity or ministries. He may have. But it must also happen in our individual lives. Jesus must increase in our lives and worldly thoughts that we have must decrease. You must know that our wants and desires as fleshly people are directly contrary to God’s desires and In order for your spirit to grow, it must become unencumbered by your flesh and soul (Mind, will, emotions).
The question that needs to be addressed today is HOW does a person "die to self?" The first step is an action, something that you must do. Dying to self is a conscious choice that you must make, one nobody can make for you. It is the act of surrendering your life completely to Christ. The reason why God’s word talks about dying to self DAILY is because it is something that we must do each and every day. Our life with Christ is not for an hour or two on Sunday, but literally 24/7. It is critical to make the choice to die to self each and every day. When we get saved, we not only ask Christ into our heart and life by faith, but we give our very lives to Him. In dying to self each day, we are reaffirming that our life doesn’t belong to us any longer, it is His.
As you surrender your life afresh to Christ at the start of each day, you are allowing your life to be controlled by the Holy Spirit and not by your flesh. It is no longer you but God that is in complete control of your life. You have traded in your thoughts and desires for God’s thoughts and desires. It is not YOU that is living; it is Christ living in you as Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20. All of the benefits in God’s word exist and are available to those who believe, but there is a price to pay and that price is our very life surrendered, yielded to the Lord. It is a choice, an act that nobody can force you to commit.
Spiritual maturity will happen or be evident as a result of removing the obstacles between you and God. Just like when you were a kid, no conscious effort could make you grow one inch; you eat right, get exercise, and growth happens; same with your spirit. With spiritual growth, as with a healthy body, there are things you need to eat and there are things you must stop eating. The spiritual things you need to ‘eat’ are many. The basic food groups are: study your Bible, fellowship with other Christians, and be helpful and charitable. In other words, live as godly a life as God give you the grace.
Major things to get rid of (with God’s help and guidance. You cannot do it alone):
a) Flesh must die: Dying to self is not physical death. You must consider yourself dead to your flesh. If you are thinking about fleshly things – things of this world – you are not thinking about God. Jesus said that in order to follow Him, we must deny our flesh, and take up your cross daily. (Matthew 16:24)
b) Rebellion or Disobedience: Follow your conscience. If you know something is wrong, don’t do it. But remember to het guidance from God through the Holy Spirit. The bible reminds us that “The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
c) Deliberate Sin: This is the most commonly recognized block to God. (Colossians 2:21) God cannot look upon sin. Sin is forgivable though if you are repentant (sorry for what you have done and turn from that activity) but that doesn’t give you a license to keep on sinning. God’s grace is not a license to sin, but a way out. Accept it and He will remove not only the sin, but even the very desire. It is awesome. An old sage once said; a clear conscience is the softest pillow.
d) Resentments and Un-forgiveness: A mind that is thinking about how badly they were treated is not thinking about God (God is very polite. He will not yell and scream in your face.) Forgive the wrongs others have done to you. Even if they are not sorry they did it. Resentments only do you harm. I’ve heard it said that un-forgiveness is like taking poison hoping the other person will die. It’s that important. How to forgive? Pray for the other person. Not just some generic prayer for their well-being; but pray that they get all the good things that you wish for yourself. After a few weeks, or even month or so, you will begin to truly feel like you want good things to happen to them. It really works. Also, thinking upon all the things you have been forgiven for is a big help.
e) Fear: The opposite of fear is not courage. Courage is doing what needs to be done even when you are afraid. The opposite of fear is faith. If you have faith in almighty God, what can there possibly be to be afraid of?
f) Guilty Feelings: Confess your sins, and Jesus is just to forgive. (1 John 1:9) if you have confessed your sins and have turned form that sin, and still feel guilty, it is probably just the devil trying to steal your peace. Just keep reminding yourself (out loud is best) that you are forgiven by the blood of Jesus, and it will go away over time.
Brethren, in few words, I am saying; let’s die to self. Some things which are stumbling blocks in our lives exist because we have not died to self. We ought to be willing to offer ourselves. Paul said, "Put to death the deeds of the flesh’ Colossians 3:5. These deeds are what make us not yield to God and these block our blessings! Once you have died, you replicate yourself and above all, you live in the spirit and you will be able to say like Paul Said… “It is no longer I who lives, but Christ lives in me.” Choose to die to self today and rise up to be a blessing to many others! The key to living a victorious life in Christ lies in you waking up each morning and making the conscious choice to die to self and allow Christ to control your life. If we don’t do this each and every day when we wake up, we will soon find ourselves walking in the "flesh" and not the "Spirit." This is a season of becoming a blessing to others, being the change that you want to see in someone’s life…