Category Archives: Rants

How Can I Make the Right Decisions in Life?

Point to Ponder: Life is what we make it. What we make of life depends on the choices that we make. We make choices based on what we believe. Hence, we ultimately live what we believe!

No matter how we label ourselves – Christian, non-Christian, Atheist, Agnostic etc – we have all chosen to believe something. In this sense, everyone is a believer. The only difference is in what we choose to believe. From the point to ponder, it is not out of the question to say that the right kind of believing will create the right kind of life. Conversely, the wrong kind of believing will create the wrong kind of life. The three things that influence our belief in life are opinions, facts, and truths. The one we engage in the most will ultimately determine the course of our lives.

OPINIONS

Opinions are born out of our mode of thought, our life experiences, our fears and insecurities, our general understanding of the world around us, and the stories told to us. Hence, everybody has an opinion.  While everyone is entitled to an opinion, we should not use opinions as the basis of our decision-making. The issue with opinion is the how they are formed. Opinions are formed based on how we process information. There lies the problem: Many people process information differently.

For example, if you and I are exposed to a particular situation, our experience (what we feel) of the situation may be different depending on who we are and our make-up. This makes the description of what we experience differ. This in turn makes our opinions differ. Thus we see that opinions may very well have nothing to do with what is true or what is the truth about a situation. Opinions are always biased and cannot be trusted!

Just because someone has an opinion (about you) does not make it true or the truth (about you)

FACTS

Facts are those things that can be proven. Hence, facts are things that are true. We are all taught to make decisions based on facts. Yet facts without context can lead to the wrong decision. If you heard that a man killed another man, it is a fact that the man is killer. But what if you found out that the man killed a man who was trying to kill the president of the U.S. Though is remains a fact (true) that the man is a killer, the truth is that he is a hero. By this we see that the facts do not always lead us to the truth.

Just because we have all wet our beds or diapers before in life does not mean that we identify as bed-wetters. Just because it is true that Jesus was a man does not mean that he just a man. The truth is that He is God. It may be a fact that you made a mistake. Yet, the truth is that you are not a mistake!

Here is the problem with facts. Facts change over time! Hence, what is true today may not be true tomorrow. While it is a fact that Lebron James is the best basketball player right now (based on stats), even this fact will change. To make decisions based on the facts is to make decisions on something that changes. We must never make permanent decisions based on temporary situations!

Just because something is true (about you) today does not mean it is the truth (about you)

TRUTH’S

Truths are those things that remain unchanged regardless of time and situation. What we get from truths are laws and principles by which we lead our lives. To be a person of principle is to be a person of character. A person who operates by the truth is predictable. This person also gets predictable results in life. A person of principle is trustworthy and does not change – and so is a natural candidate for leadership positions.

A person of true character stands for what is right regardless of consequence. The bible tells us that the word from the Lord is right and that all His works are done in truth (Psalm 33:4). Hence the only way to be a man of truth (a man of true character) is to be a man who is devoted to obeying the word of the Lord. This means we must know which is truth. We must be students of the word of God.

Many men have chosen to live by the truth over thousands of years and have achieved the same result – success and victory – time and again. Think of Daniel who went from being a slave to being the second in command of the Persian empire. How about Joseph who went from the underbelly of the dungeon to the palace of the king. How about a carpenter becoming the savior of the world? See, truths allow us to achieve the impossible!

To live life by the facts is to live by what we see; to live life by the truth is to live life trusting that the immutable principles of God will achieve great results. Hence to live life by the truth is to live a life of faith. Facts, if taken out of context can place us in bondage, but the truth will always set us free.

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life! So chose to live your life in Him

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Should I Vote Republican or Democrat in 2016?

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I recently saw a board that used president Obama’s name as an acronym to spell our a sentence that is best left to the imagination. The viewing of this board reminded me of my experience during the presidential election season in 2012.

It was a Saturday morning in October 2012, a few weeks before the the presidential election. My friend had invited me to a prayer meeting held by her church. As I entered the well-kept building, I heard a steady stream of passionate prayers. The sound of prayer buoyed up my spirit, so I took a few moments to prepare my heart and then stepped up my walking pace to quickly join the proceedings!

After about 50 minutes of bold and passionate prayer, a person got up from the crowd, picked up the microphone and said: Let us pray against the persecution and slander that is coming against the president. At this, the room went into a frenzy! The passion that was already high went through the roof and the noise level reached deafening proportions. I am certain a few people received their heavenly language that day as it seemed the whole room burst into all sorts of tongues. There were many declarations such as: Enough is enough, the powers of darkness cannot stop your will, he will be re-elected! For another 15 minutes, folks prayed fervently against racism, prejudice, elitism, protection, and everything you can imagine for the president!

The following day, I went to a more familiar church. The atmosphere was vibrant and the worship spectacular. During the service, one of the pastors said of the coming elections: Be sure to vote, but let us pray for our president, no matter who gets elected. This is what the scripture tells us to do (1 Timothy 2:1-4).

After service, a number of people approached me gingerly…wondering which way I was slanted on the election. One lady approached boldly and said, I wish we had more people in 70805 like you. I wondered if she had ever been there. Another came forth and said: I don’t have to ask which way you are voting because I already know… for you love God. After searching my eyes for a few seconds, the person deemed it safe and then proceeded to let me know his thoughts on President Obama and the people that supported him.

As the election approached, many commented that they wanted to see God’s elected in office this time around.

The passion reached an ungodly crescendo on election night. The transformation was instant on social media: Angels turned into demons; Dr Jekyll became Mr Hyde; the frog became a charming prince. It took some people weeks to recover…some have never recovered.

After seeing the poster, I wondered what God thought about it all, so I asked him. He answered me by asking me some questions:

  • What if My people are as passionate about seeking me, reaching the lost, saving their marriages, and obeying my voice in their hearts as they are about which party or who is elected into office? Would they not be victorious by now?
  • Am I divided? I am supposed to be the head of the body – which is the church. Has not the head been choked from the body? Without the leadership of the head, the body turns against itself. The arm does what it wishes and the leg does as it wishes. The body is stumbling around in the dark all because it has decided to turn away from its source of supply
  • Has not the church become prideful? They decide what they want in their hearts and then pray to me fervently to bring to pass their own will. They have made themselves gods. I am the author and finisher of their faith. I have no obligation to finish what I have not authored!
  • Are not my people afraid? They slander and kill each other with their words because they do not trust me. They act in their own selfish interest and kill their neighbor for gain.
  • Have I already not made a way? If my people would just do what I have asked of them – go and make disciples of the people around them, then all people would know my will. But they only go to make a new convert for the sake of telling their friends. They go on mission trips for themselves and not for me. They only follow me for gain. Many are as Judas Iscariot. They have allowed the enemy a foot-hold.
  • Do they not take my name in vain? My people invoke my name to achieve their own goals. The leaders lead my flock astray. Why do they follow the law and not my Spirit though I have redeemed them from the law.

Friends, there are allegedly 2 billion people who claim to know Jesus. This is one-fourth of the world population! Moreover, 78-80% of the US population proclaim to know Jesus. With these kinds of stats, we should be able to change the world. Remember that biblical Gideon was able to down 135,000 men with only 300 men with the help of God.

This tells me that if we want real change in our world, we have to start by changing ourselves. The world will respond to who we are and not what we say. Instead of worrying about who is going to be or has been elected into office, we should pay more attention to what we are doing in the priestly office to which we have been elected. You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9)

Food for Thought: Yes I am not perfect, but am I so imperfect? Could I do better?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comfirmation is good, but never become a junkie

Today, many people seeks signs to confirm what God has told them. It is not uncommon to hear ‘I need a confirmation from the Lord’ or “I will go for prophesy to confirm what the Lord has told me’. I find this quite interesting and ponder-worthy. Have you ever asked yourself why we would need to confirm what the Lord has spoken to us? The two reasons I can think of are these: (1) We do not really know if the Lord has spoken to us (2) We doubt what the Lord has spoken to us.

Babies R Us

That we do not know if the Lord has spoken to us  reveals that we are still babes in Christ. All of us have to go through this stage in our walk with the Lord. As babes, we lack in-depth knowledge and understanding of the word, therefore our level of discernment is low. Note: The correlation between knowledge of the word of God and discernment can be found in Hebrews 4:12.

As babes, it is easy for the devil to take passages of scripture out of context and try to pass it off as truth. Remember how Satan tried to fool Jesus in the wilderness by quoting scripture out of the context? This is why we need confirmation at this stage!

There is nothing wrong with admitting that you are babe in Christ. Even the great Prophet Samuel started off as a babe in Christ. He did not know that God was calling out to him at night, so He kept on going to Eli. After the third time, Eli realized that it was God calling out to Samuel and so told Samuel to answer (1 Samuel 3:1-10). In essence, Eli confirmed to Samuel that it was the Lord.

It is okay to be a confirmation junkie in the baby stage of our walk with God

But what if Samuel did not grow to know the Lord and know His voice? What if He always needed someone else to confirm the word of God? He wouldn’t have been chosen to be the next great Prophet, for he would have led the people astray. In other words, He would have missed out on fulfilling his calling.

Think about this: What if Moses waited for confirmation and so never moved to mark the door posts for protection before the Angel of death descended down into Egypt? That would have been the end of the story of Israel!

Jesus says that my sheep know my voice. Do you know the voice of Jesus or do you think you know it?  In truth, we cannot follow Jesus closely if we do not know His voice. This is why babes in Christ tend to stray. To remain a confirmation junkie is to remain a babe in Christ!

The reason only a few are chosen out of a great multitude that are called is because too many of us choose to remain babes!

‘Sign’ Me Up

There is no doubt in my mind that doubt has caused too many of us to spend hours in prayer in search of confirmation instead of actually doing what God has called us to do. As we do this, the blessing that the Lord wished to bestow upon us walks right by as we keep our heads buried in our pillows. Then we turn around and wonder why it is that we miss out on God’s blessings. For example, we say to God, ‘that guy that you told me was my husband, how come he married someone else?’. The answer may very well be that you never said a word to him as God commanded you!

Please do not misunderstand what I am saying here. It is always a great idea to pray when in doubt. But the whole point of praying when in doubt is to receive the guidance of the Lord. Once we have received the guidance of the Lord, the next step is to obey the Lord. In the context of which I am speaking, doubt causes us to pray for confirmation instead of simply believing God and moving on with what He wants us to do. Like Gideon, we look for a sign before we make a move.

Gideon was a babe and so needed confirmation –  and so it was granted. Once we move from being babes, any sign seeking reveals unbelief! 

The Pharisees were no babes in having knowledge of the word of God, yet they sought a sign time and again. Here is what Jesus thought of their sign seeking ways:

 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah – Matthew 12:38-39

Ouch! Jesus called then evil and adulterous! He called them this because their asking for confirmation showed that they were filled with doubt and unbelief. Doubt and unbelief is the opposite of trust and faith. Doubt and unbelief is the result of hardening our heart to the truth; it is the result of tolerating fear; fear toleration is from the evil one. Moreover, Satan is also very good at signs and wonders! Hence, it is easy to be led astray if we are looking for signs.

Many of us seek confirmation through prophetic words because we secretly doubt our ability to hear from God or doubt what the Lord has spoken to us. So we would rather base our life on what someone has prophesied – at times still not realizing we have to take action. Instead of hearing from God, we want to hear from God through a 3rd party, and we want that word to be a word of exaltation! Hmm, I suppose we would not like Prophet Jeremiah too much if he was here today!

The best type of prophesy is confirmation of what God has spoken to you; not instruction of what God wants you to do!

Food for Thought: If all prophesy is instruction to me, then it is a ‘sign’ that my walk with the Lord is weak! If I do not hear from God, it is confirmation that I am a babe in Christ.

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Relationship Rant – How is Your Mindset affecting Your Relationship?

A society that is too reality-focused always settles for the flavor of the day. This society allows itself to be carried away by the ebbs and flows of life in fatalistic surrender. It seldom strives to make tangible improvements. The people of that society are likely to say ‘well, there is nothing I can do about this’.

Now, while the positive aspect of being reality-focused is that it allows for peace of mind and unnecessary wrangling, the problem is that putting too much emphasis on reality allows for much needed improvements to fall in between the cracks. Moreover, people who are in overly reality-focused societies many times fail to live the best life for they are okay with just about anything.

Conversely, a society that is too ideal minded is never satisfied with the status quo.  The people of these societies cannot stand it when things are not as they should be and are always looking for improvements. The people of these societies are likely to say ‘there must be something I can do about this’. Standing still and doing nothing is usually not an option for the ideal-focused society. Innovation is the name of the game!

Now, while the positive part of being ideal minded is that it always allows for continuous improvements, the snag is that people in these societies are never satisfied with where they are and so never truly get to be fully happy with life as it is.

Our ability to balance the ideal and the real determines our ability to cope with life and our ability to find happiness in life

If we attempt to divide the world into these two camps (ideal-minded versus reality-minded), we find that Africa is on one end of the spectrum with it being highly reality-minded while North America (especially the US) is on the other end with being highly ideal-minded. While this is great for the US with regards to living standards, it has a deleterious effect when it comes to the sphere of relationships. Let me explain.

Most people I know are looking for the man or woman of their dreams. For the ideal-minded believer, nobody but Jesus will do for only He is ideal or perfect! In fact, most people consider going for someone who does not look like Jesus as ‘settling’. Here is the problem: no one truly looks like Jesus yet because we are all being conformed to His image of daily (Romans 8:29). That means we are not ideal but simply heading towards it.

Unfortunately, most people out of fear of being single (because of not being ideal enough) set themselves up as being closer to being ideal than what they really are. In essence, they fool their partner into thinking they are something they are not. When finally the relationship happens, they both stop pretending and stop the charade overtime and then the partner sees the reality of who they are. Once past the initial shock, each partner starts to access whether they can live with the reality they now know. If they cannot, and the other person does not move any closer to a level of idealism that person can stand within a particular time horizon, the relationship suffers and is usually severed.

Why severed? It is because highly uncompromisingly ideal minded people set up for themselves unrealistic expectations that make them susceptible to being disappointed and hurt – even by the most menial offense. Once hurt, the ideal-minded person starts to look for ways to fix the problem because waiting it out is not an option. If Innovation (counseling, change, fearful control) does not work, then the ‘there must be something I can do about this’ query only leaves two options. Cheat by finding someone that seem closer to being ideal or sever the relationship! Seems a familiar problem doesn’t it?

See, the end of looking for perfection in people is unhappiness, loneliness, and depression.

In truth, we look for people who are perfect because we are afraid of getting hurt – so it comes from fear. Furthermore, it comes from a sense of entitlement or greed in that we are looking for something we are not ourselves. Unfortunately, when we do get something that seems perfect, we become afraid of losing it and then try to control the other person’s life. As a result, that person falls or starts to become imperfect.

If we find someone that is perfect, we should stay away from them because our own imperfection will only sully whatever is making that person seem perfect.

Today, instead of trying to find someone who is ideal (perfect), look for someone who is chasing after the ideal – someone who desires to be conformed to the image of Christ. Befriend the person and make the person comfortable so they feel free to show you who they truly are. If you can cope with the reality of this person and this person is chasing after the ideal, then you have hit the jackpot in that things are only get better as the person continues to be conformed to the image of Christ.

Food for Thought:  Is my unrealistic expectation of perfection the root of my unhappiness? Is it driving people away and encouraging them to be phony around me?

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