“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
“1But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. 2When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. 3For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; …” |Isaiah 43:1-3|
“My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness,” |2 Corinthians 12:9|
Have you ever been discouraged to a point that you do not know what’s next? A place where you have reached the end of yourself and all that you are seeing is doom. You can’t see any ray of light and hope at the end of the tunnel. When you look back the far you have come, the sacrifices you have made, the investments and the toil you have had and it all amounts to a total loss compared to where you wanted to get and all that you can see is gloom… I ask; what do you do? You have no strength left, you are totally weary and discouraged by everything that is surrounding you; do you give up or do you hold on?
David was in such a situation. Not once and not twice. He was always being pursued by his enemies yet he never gave up. His mind was fixed on God and he was not waivered at all. This is what he said in |Psalms 57:7| “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is steadfast and confident!…” His heart and eyes were fixed on the Lord. He retaliates the same words in |Psalms 108:1| and says “O God, my heart is fixed (steadfast, in the confidence of faith);… ” Many times, he was discouraged and downcast but David always found a reason to encourage himself and to trust in God. He would speak to his own soul and say “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again – my Savior and my God! Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you… I hear the tumult of the raging seas as your waves and surging tides sweep over me. But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me; …” |Psalms 42:5-8|.
David knew where he could run to in times when his heart was down and discouraged. He knew that God was sovereign and He (God) was in control over everything and there is nothing that bypassed Him. But on the contrast, where do we run to when we are in similar circumstances as David? David asks a question… “When the very bottom of things falls out, what can a righteous person possibly do? |Psalms 11:3 CEB|. This is what we ought to ask ourselves. When you cant figure out your way out.. what can you do? Where can you go? Where do you get your encouragement from. In |1 Samuel 30:6|, we see David in a tricky position but he found encouragement in God. The bible says “David was greatly distressed, for the men spoke of stoning him because the souls of them all were bitterly grieved, each man for his sons and daughters. But David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God.”
Although distinctly different, discouragement and disappointment are strongly related. Discouragement comes when a situation has robbed us of confidence. It can be the product of many things: anger, hurt, resentment, frustration, failure or a myriad of other circumstances. but in all this, we have a choice to make. We can choose to focus on the situation and be more discouraged or get up like David and say “despite what has happened, despite the challenges and the opposition I am facing, I choose to stand out and believe in the Lord.” Encourage yourself in the Lord. Always know that in every challenge that you pass in life, there is a lesson to learn and each of these situations carries with it a level of disappointment. It is up to you to make a choice whether you will be discouraged or you will rise above the discouragement.
There are 4 things that happen when you are discouraged and disappointed and you need to be aware of:
a) Disappointment tears at our faith. Whenever you get to that point where your hopes are squashed and crashed, you always think that God is not faithful. Your trust in Him dwindles… but if you can rise up again and use the setback to be your stepping stone to your comeback… you will have gone a great mile.
b) Disappointments hampers your ability to believe in ourselves, others, or God. Many times, when someone fails you, it is hard for you to trust that person again. This becomes like a stumbling block or a hindrance that stand in between you and others. This will cause you to have doubts and mistrust/believe in people as well as God. Sometimes, if we are not careful, this disbelieve hinders us from receiving any blessings from God.
c) Discouragements leave us vulnerable to personal and spiritual attack. You will realize that when you are down, discouraged and disappointed it’s when you are most vulnerable. This is the time that if someone does something crazy or crosses your boundary, you can easily act silly, but yet we need to be self-controlled.
d) Discouragement steals our courage. When you have been discouraged, you have tried something and failed or got disappointed, it is very rare to find someone who wants to give a second or another trial… why… you are afraid of failing again. But I encourage you, you can dust it off and try again.
Sometimes, a single event can affect us so deeply that we are get or find ourselves in a time of discouragement. More often, though, our courage slips slowly and silently away through a series of events. We become fragile, unmotivated, and anxious. Feelings of isolation and a general sense of weariness may settle over our spirit. When we are discouraged, our faults, failures and imperfections are glaringly obvious to us. Negative thoughts come more easily than positive ones. It is not our reality; it is our perception. That is what we need to always have in our minds. Discouragement, and the feelings of worthlessness it cultivates, can send us into hiding and render us helpless. Feelings of inadequacy can overtake us in waves, or torment us with drip-like rhythms. It is difficult to remember during these times that our walk with God, our faith, and our trust in Him do not prevent us from experiencing disappointment, tragedy, or calamity; But what matters is how we deal and handle ourselves in such moments!
The Bible heroes we read, preach, and teach about also experienced heartache, pain, disappointment and discouragement; so, know that you are not alone, you are not the first to be discouraged either. They were flesh and blood, like us. Their stories are there as examples to us to encourage us and remind us that if they made it, we can also make it. The prophet Elijah had recently raised a boy from the dead, arranged a powerful display of the power of God against the prophets of Baal at mount Carmel, slain 450 of them, and then he outran the kings chariot. Yet, after a death threat from Jezebel, he fled in fear to the desert. Finding a juniper tree, he sat down and prayed that the Lord would just let him die. "I have had enough, LORD,” he said, I am no better than my ancestors” |I Kings 19:4|.
Has there ever been a time when you, like Elijah, cried out to God and said “Enough is enough”? Like Elijah, we sometimes feel that we have had enough, have lost our value, and we should be replaced by a newer, better, shinier model. In such times, to our weakness, God brings strength; to our turmoil, He speaks peace. To our confusion, He brings clarity. To our hopelessness, He brings vision and a plan for our future. It is only that we as human beings we do not trust in God. In such moments we need to have our FAITH, HOPE and TRUST focused unto God. But the question is… how many of us in our walk of faith with God always look up to Him in moments of distress and discouragements? we are so much engrossed in finding solutions o our distress and discouragements rather than looking up to God.
Remember Hannah in |1 Samuel 1:6-7|? The bible says that the Lord has closed her womb and her rival/co-wife Peninnah kept provoking her. But look at how she reacts and handles her situation… She takes it to the lord in prayer and seeks God’s guidance. How many of us would have done so? we would have picked up a fight with her and later on come to regret or get to some unsuitable consequences. What does this mean? Sometimes in our moments of discouragement, God is waiting to see how you will react, where you will turn to for your help; but the good thing is that, whenever you turn to God, He glorifies himself though your situation and takes of the reproach and shame that you were to go through and turns it to a testimony.
In our walk with God, disappointments will come and discouragement may follow. However, we are slaves to our circumstances when we remove God from them. There are times when things are patently out of our control and there are other times when God simply wants us to relinquish control and trust Him with our lives. But how many of us get to that point where we can say like Carrie Underwood in her song “Jesus Take the Wheel”? We all cling on to what we think is the best option whereas we clearly know that we are just beating about the bush and eventually when we get to our dead end, we are quick to call unto God.
There are two questions that stand out in my mind: How does one react to tough times? and in such times, many of us, we have different ideas and options to counter or deal or react during the tough times. What can you do to increase your dependence upon the Lord? You will realize that some of these moments in life engulf us and we look at life with negative thoughts and attitude and thus we get more confused and we mix up ourselves. We make many wrong decisions that we come to regret later. When life seems uncertain and we aren’t sure what our next step will be, fear can imprison our courage. Nevertheless, there are steps we can take to prevent and overcome the onslaught of discouragement:
1. Recognize the signs: Sometimes we feel uneasiness in our spirit, but cannot discern the origin. These feelings can affect our attitude and our demeanor. Pray that God will show you what is disturbing you. It may be as simple as an untimely or off-hand comment, or it could be something of spiritual significance.
2. Know your enemy. Disappointment and discouragement can create division in our relationships. Whether they are family, professional, or church relationships, we need to guard against casting blame. You need to know that the enemy is not your loved one, your friend or co-worker; there is more to them. We cannot approach the enemy on a carnal level and be victorious. Paul reminds us that “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds” |2 Corinthians 10:4|.
3. Praise, Worship, and Pray. Take time to mentally separate yourself from your situation and spend time with the Lord. This will not remove you from your circumstance, but you will connect with God and He will guide you through it. David says “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him,” |Psalm 62:1|.
4. Use the Word. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He did not get into a showdown of power with Satan. Jesus quoted the Word |Matthew 4:1-11| and He won. This tactic is still effective. David knew this secret and he writes and says “Your word, have I hidden in my heart that I may not sin against you…” |Psalms 119:19|. In our discouraged times, we may sin against God in what we say, think or act… but the word of God should be our guide.
5. Always be in the fellowship of believers: You will realize that in the animal kingdom, the lions, cheetah and other hunting animals in the animal kingdom will always go after animals that are alone and not in the company of others. That’s the same with the spiritual world. The enemy will attack a Christian who is in his/her own company. Make sure you are in a company of believers even when you don’t feel like it. Their ministry is important in our lives and is evidenced by the value placed on it in Scripture. We are encouraged to always be together exalting each other. The bible says “You should not stay away from the church meetings, as some are doing, but you should meet together and encourage each other.” |Hebrews 10:25|. God has placed leaders and fellow Christians in our lives. Allow God to minister to you through the preached Word and through the fellowship of believers.
6. Recall God’s faithfulness in your past. Sometimes, and more often, we easily forget what God has done for us in the past. During such moments when you are down and discouraged, you should remember of the Lord’s faithfulness in the past and be encouraged. Moses spoke to the children of Israel and told them “Be careful! Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God…” |Deuteronomy 8:11|. When Joshua called on the children of Israel to make a commitment to serve God, they recounted their history as their reason for continuing to serve Him |Joshua 24:16-17|. When David faced Goliath in battle, his confidence was not in his own strength or prowess, but in his past experience with God |I Samuel 17:37|. His previous encounters with deliverance gave him the courage and assurance that the Lord would be with him again. Thus, he would write and say “When I remember thee… because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice” |Psalm 63:6-7|. When you are discouraged, allow your heart and mind to recount of the faithfulness of God in your life and you will be encouraged.
7. Find the humor/irony in your situation. Sometimes, there is too much pain in what we are going through but I do believe in one way or another, despite what we are going through or what people may tell you, and as much as some of the events in our lives are painful and we do not have the courage to look back at some events in your life; we can gather up some courage in the midst of our troubles and there find humor in them. Do not be afraid to laugh at the absurdity of your situation. It doesn’t negate your pain, but research has proven what the Word of God says: “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine,” |Proverbs 17:22|. Be of good cheer despite what you are going through. Jesus said… “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]” |John 16:33|
8. Wait on the Lord. There is no greater temptation during a time of discouragement than the one to hurry God. This is in us so as to avoid suffering. It is in us to revel in our strengths. But, the Lord is not afraid of our weakness. “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the LORD” |Psalm 27:14|. Read more about Waiting on God here.
What situation are you facing now that you can apply the above steps to overcome your discouragement? There are few things in life that are exclusive to us. Always remember that other people have gone before you, they have suffered and wept; they have felt sadness, discouragement and fear; they have been abused and abandoned. They have felt worthless and hopeless and they wanted to give up; but, because they didn’t, they have found that: “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that, ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you” |I Peter 5:10|.
After all, may God’s grace abound for you and in you through all that you go through and know that God’s grace is sufficient for you in all that you go through. Let this be an encouragement to you.
|“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.”|Psalm 62:5 ESV
Seated on the couch on a Sunday mid-morning, I switch on my iPod and I started listening to John Waller’s song “While I’m waiting” a soundtrack off the movie “Fireproof” and I couldn’t help but wonder how many of us behave when we are waiting on God. Many of us, we pray and we trust God for many things… but meanwhile as we wait for God to fulfill our prayers, what are you doing? What are you involved in doing?
This is the time where most of us miss the mark and we compromise and God looks from heaven and sees that we had other options or plan B’s just in-case He tarries to answer our prayers and thus allows us to work it our way till we get to our end. I remember, when I was in Sunday school, we used to sing a song “when he calls me, I will answer… I will be somewhere, working for my Lord”. This got me thinking… as much as we are really patient on waiting on Him… where will our miracle find us? What will we be doing? How do we spend our time, or prepare ourselves for what we asked God for as we wait on Him?
Whenever we pray and God seems not to answer, I do believe that we are actually in the “waiting room” and this is where God
a) Prepares us for what He is about to release unto us.
b) Checks on our patience, dependence and trust in Him.
It is up to you to decide if you will wait on the Lord or you will be in a hurry and miss your blessing. You will realize that the times that we live in and the generation that we are in is an “Instant things Generation.” They have what they want instantly. We have fast foods almost at the end of every street thus no need to cook always; you can do most things through the internet and run life as you want. And this has resulted with many people having the same attitude when it comes to their prayers as well. Very few of us can tarry in the presence of God and listen to Him. All we do is come and speak and speak to Him and then leave before he speaks to us.
You will realize that if there is one thing people in our generation hate to do, it is to wait. And why should we? We can Google questions rather than wait for an answer; we can order whatever we want online rather than suffering the long weekend lines at the retail store. We can even book reservations ahead of time rather than waiting for a table at our favorite establishment; But God doesn’t operate any faster in the twenty-first century than He did in the first/in the earlier years; and so while we rush ourselves, we can’t rush God. In fact, much of life is spent waiting. You will never rush your lecture to give you your term paper, you will never rush a doctor to give you your medical diagnosis or even rush your employer to pay you before the stipulated date… why then RUSH God? If you can wait for other things… why can’t you wait for God’s PERFECT Time for Him to answer your prayers?
The question then arises; what do I need to do/what can I do while I am waiting? This is a question that all of us need to ask ourselves. We may not get the answers but Jesus said… “But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things.” [John 14:26 AMP] and Jesus echoed the same words again in [John 16:13] and said “But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth).” This tells us that when we do not know what to do, the Holy Spirit is at hand to help us. But how many of us bother to consult and listen to him? We are so engrossed in doing what we what and deem is right.
Just the same way that you can’t switch on a TV set when it’s not connected to the antennae and expect to view any pictures on the screen, so is a Christian who is not tuned to God. Without the Holy Spirit, you can’t lead the kind life God expects you to live simply because you are not tuned to him. The Holy Spirit is your antennae to be connected and tuned to God who is the master planner of our lives program. You need to continually surrender to God and have him guide your steps.
While our natural inclination is to hate waiting, this period of uncertainty can actually be a time of great personal growth. Here are some things you need to know while waiting.
Recognize that God is in control, even when it seems He has forgotten you.
God speaks to Habakkuk and tells him; “Look around at the nations; look and be amazed! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it” [Habakkuk 1:5, NLT]. Often when it seems nothing is happening is when everything is happening behind the scenes. The problem is that we look so much with our physical eyes and we just can’t see it. I want to let you know as you read this that, when you think that there is nothing that is happening, that is when God is working behind the scenes for you. He is fighting battles that you couldn’t have managed to on your own. Just be patient.
Renew your faith in God’s quiet, steady providence.
Most of the time as we wait we are filled with anxiety and thus we act as we do. This is because sometimes (most times) we do not know how to handle the anxiety/how to quell the anxiety. You will realize that you are not the first or last to wait. You will be amazed to find that every major figure in the Bible was forced to wait for some period of time before God brought them to a place of success. Abraham waited twenty-five years before his wife Sarah gave birth to their first child. Joseph went through thirteen years of betrayal, false imprisonment, and abandonment before assuming the leadership of Egypt. Moses spent forty yearstending sheep before God called him as a deliverer of His people. David spent fourteen yearsbefore the throne of Israel would be his and in Jesus’s own ministry, he often told his own mother “My hour has not yet come.” [John 2:4] Waiting is not incidental to faith. Waiting is the DNA of faith. It is worth and important for you to wait on God’s time and always have FAITH in Him because He (God) has never failed and never will he fail. You can bank on His faithfulness.
Redeem your time in the waiting room of life.
Take an example of a scenario whereby you are in a hospital waiting room waiting for your wife, sister, mother or a friend to deliver… you are there preparing yourself how you will react, act or even better still treat the new born baby. And you will realize that we often do that in our own waiting periods. We are so anxious for that “next step,” we languish in despair. But [James 1:4] reminds us to “let patience have her perfect work.” Times of uncertainty and doubt are useful periods in which we can draw into God, sharpen our skills and prepare for the time when that big breakthrough comes. For example as a single man/lady, you can take this time while waiting to get ready for marriage. As a potential employee, learn about the different working/office etiquette as you wait for employment and/or even take a few extra classes and every other person. Perfect your skill and redeem the time. Maximize the time you have as you wait.
View your time in the Waiting Room as a season of growth and development and you’ll find you’ll be that much more ready when your moment comes.
Someone said, “You can look, but don’t touch.” This is bad advice. There is much visual distraction today. It’s easy to be lured away into worldly thinking and be deceived by the enemy by (continually) looking at something that is beneath a Christian’s dignity. [1 John 2:15] says “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.” What you allow yourself to see will dictate what you think. Job discovered this and he said in [Job 31:1] “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look…” We all know the Scripture that says, “For as man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” [Proverbs 23:7]. But the verse right before it says “Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye…” What are you looking at? If you allow your eyes to see things they shouldn’t, you will eventually wind up doing it. Do not allow your mind to wander off the focus. Maintain the focus that you have and stay there. [Read Proverbs 13:15 and Judges 2:13-15].
Don’t Look Down
When troubles come upon us, we often do not want to look up [read Psalm 40:12]. Never once in Scripture are we told to look down, we are always told to look up. David says it all in [Psalms 121.] The problem with us is that when such moments, we are so wrapped up in self-pity which comes and causes us to exaggerate how bad the problem really is and hinders us from seeing the door of escape that God provides [read 1 Corinthians 10:13]. Whenever you dwell on the bad, we focus on the current trials and not the ultimate good as the as Paul encourages us to do in [Philippians 4:8].
You may be experiencing a temporary trial now, but it’s nothing compared to what He has for you in the future [read 1 Corinthians 2:9]. Many Believers miss God because of their negative thoughts… ~> don’t join them. The Father is looking from above… turn your gaze toward Him, not your problem. Whenever you are in this kind of a situation, your heart should be thankful… always knowing that God is working behind the scenes (see point 1). Paul tells us “Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].” [1 Thessalonians 5:18].
Live in the Garden of Purity and Desperation
God can bring solutions to our problems, but He does so by first solving a deeper problem – SIN. Some seem to forget the sinfulness of sin. God is greatly grieved when we sin. Resisting sin is not always easy, but it is POSSIBLE [Read James 1:12-16]. Stay pure [1 John 3:3 AMP] says “And everyone who has this hope [resting] on Him cleanses (purifies) himself just as He is pure (chaste, undefiled, guiltless).”Personal purity brings God’s blessings. David says in [Psalm 18:20-21] “The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness (my conscious integrity and sincerity with Him); according to the cleanness of my hands has He recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord and have not wickedly departed from my God.” Stay pure and holy and God will bless you and honour you.
We also need to be desperate for God in our lives. For us to know him more and for him to increase in us as we decrease. Often, the fulfillment of God’s promise in your life comes only after you’ve surrendered yourself and your will down before God and prayed in utter desperation.
Always remember that God’s delays are not denials…hold on, the promise will come.
Paul said in [1 Thessalonians 5:24] “Faithful is He who called you, who also will do it.” If God gave you a promise, He will fulfill it. Sometimes God leads us into the wilderness on the way to blessings. When we face trials, we shouldn’t give up, but we need to look up to God and He will strengthen us to keep going on until the promise “is ready to be fulfilled.” God’s timing is always perfect. ”As for God His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried; he is a buckler to all them that trust in Him.” [2 Samuel 22:31]. And as you wait, you must keep feeding and nurturing His promise with the Word, prayer, and thanksgiving no matter what comes your way and no matter how long it takes. Be patient and wait on Him. If He has carried you this far, He is not about to stop now.
If you want His word fulfilled, stay on the main road, avoid sightseeing, look up and stay pure with your faith focused on Him. “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” [Psalm 27:14]
Be of good courage, God’s promises are Yea and Amen, and He makes all things beautiful in His time. Never ever give up, for your blessing is on the way and you are just a praise away from a miracle. God gives us what we need while we are going through the processes that lead to where he is taking us to. Stay on the main road, the road that God has you on, do not be distracted and do not be deceived by the glitz and glamour around you, but rather focus on God and remain in Him and in his word.There are times when you are anxious and weary; you tend to want to get off the road, the one that God has you on. But in those times, remember that God is faithful and He will see you through the tough times, because tough times never last, but tough people do. Wait on Him, wait for His perfect timing.
God Bless you all.
|33At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)… 37With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. 38The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”|
Read Mark 15:21-41
We are fast approaching the Easter season which is the most important season in the Christian calendar. This is what reminds us the cost that God had to pay so as to restore the fellowship between us and Him that was lost in the Garden of Eden. Too bad that many of us just look at the events of the Easter weekend as though they were just normal happenings of the season… but I want to submit to you that we are who we are today because of what happened at the cross. The death of Jesus Christ at the cross meant a lot to our existence to day.
Women of Faith sang a song about God’s grace…
“But for Your grace I could not be saved
but for your grace I would go my way
I’m forever grateful,
That You have been faithful to me, Lord
for Your amazing grace.”
I equate the word ‘Grace’ to “cross”. Were it not for the Cross, we couldn’t be saves. We could have lost our way and footing in this world and above all, we ought to be grateful for the cross. The cross changed everything that concerns us and has made us to be who we are. The question then arises… What is the cross?
Apostle Paul writes to the church in Corinth and says: “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” |1 Corinthians 1:18| The death of Jesus on the Cross had a lot of significance but very few people can see or recognize so. This is the reason why Paul spoke to the Corinthians and brought this fact to their attention. And I sit down and wonder how many such Christians we have today who haven’t still recognized the “Power of the Cross” where our Saviour died.
When you look at the cross, you have to angles at which that you will see the cross;
a)You look at the cross and think – that’s pathetic.
b)You look and you think – that’s powerful.
It’s either pathetic or powerful. If you think it’s pathetic, Paul says “you are perishing.” But if you think it’s the power of God, you are being saved. That means you have been plucked from the perishing crowd and set on a one-way street to heaven. But it’s one or the other. And the latter is the main reason why Jesus had to come and die… to display the Power of God and reconcile us back in fellowship with our father and God.
The Cross was a place of ridicule. It was a capital punishment for the offenders. That is why we see Jesus crucified with two robbers… but as Christians, we no longer view it as a place of punishment or ridicule but as a source of strength, power, redemption, forgiveness of sins and reconciliation to our maker.
When you consider what Jesus went through on the cross, you may wonder, “Why did He have to suffer and die like that? Was it really necessary?” Importance of the cross:
1) A source of growth for Christians in their faith as they contemplate the cross. – If you are a believer already, you and I need the message of the cross daily. Paul continues to say; “I’m determined to know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” |1 Corinthians 2:2|. Just accepting Christ is not enough… you need to continually subject ourselves to the message of the cross for our growth and renewal.
2) The cross is a sign or public display of Christ’s love for us. Giving is one of the best ways to show or express Love. And God didn’t withhold his Love for us… He displayed it openly by giving His beloved and begotten son Jesus Christ. “For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son…” |John 3:16|. If ever you’re tempted to doubt God’s love for you, look at the cross.
3) At the Cross, Jesus suffered and died to absorb the wrath of God. If God wasn’t not just; there would be no demand for His Son to suffer and die. And if God was not loving, there would be no willingness for His Son to suffer and die. But God is both just and loving. At the cross, God lovingly met His own demand for justice. We have sinned against and have offended God. So a just and loving God sent Jesus as the substitute for us. God’s wrath that should have been placed on us was placed on Him. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us… so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.” |Galatians 3:13-14; ESV.|Colossians 2:13–14 says, “He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross”.
4) On the cross, Jesus suffered and died to pay the price for our forgiveness and justification. “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him” |Romans 5:9 NIV|. Justificationis a powerful and meaningful word used to describe what God has done for those who put their faith in Him. To be justified means to be forgiven of the wrongs we have done. In a legal sense, it means, “Just as if it never happened.” So, God not only forgives you of your debt, He also forgets what you have done. God says, “I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds” |Hebrews 10:17|.
5) The cross gave us access to the throne Room of God. After the death of Christ, the temple curtain tore into two giving us access to the Holy of Holies. Paul tells us “Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it]. |Hebrews 4:16|.
At the cross we have all that we need… if we are only careful to go there and pour ourselves out to our master and Saviour Jesus Christ
PS! This is an article I contributed to the Grace Today Magazine of House of Grace Church (www.houseofgrace.or.ke).
Visit the church and get your free copy of the April 2012 Edition.