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From Slavery to Freedom – How Wisdom Overcame Foolishness

Introduction: In Old Testament times, some cultures held the practice that should a person who owed another person a debt have no financial means to pay, he or she could sell or herself into the service of his creditor to work off the debt owed.
In this arrangement, a bond between both parties would be made, such as ‘work for me for these many years or make for me these may baskets to pay off the debt you owe me’. In this arrangement, the person was ‘bonded’ by law to the creditor and so became a ‘bond-servant’.
Moreover, at times the written bond agreement was placed at the entrance of the person’s habitation to remind him and everyone else that he was in a debt bond. Indeed, such a person was in ‘bond-age’, because he/she was not free to go as he/she pleased.
Consider: Imagine walking up to the house of a person and seeing a bond statement. Imagine that out of curiosity, you reach for it and discover the following: The man sold himself into bondage though he owed no debt to his creditor when he first sold himself. And because he sold himself of his own freewill for nothing, and his now master agreed to the surrender of his freedom and freewill for bondage, no sum of money or work could redeem him, for indeed, there was nothing to pay.
Seeing this, I bet you’d be somewhat dumbfounded. You’d wonder whatever possessed the man to do such a thing – sell himself voluntarily into bondage for nothing. You might also feel sorry for the man!
How one moment of temporary insanity and foolishness can lead to a lifetime of bandage.
The interesting thing is this: You and I are the ones that sold ourselves into bondage for absolutely nothing (this is what plays out in the story of Adam and Eve for they owed the devil absolutely nothing). God saw what we did and took pity on us. Knowing the only thing the slave master (Satan) would settle for to let us go was the utter control of God’s kingdom and domain, God immediately formulated a plan.
Story of Wisdom: So how did God overcome our foolishness? He overcome it with Wisdom. Since the scripture tells us that Jesus is wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:30-31), we see that God combatted our foolishness with Jesus (wisdom). Jesus came and substituted himself for us of his own free will so that we could regain our freedom. Here is how he did it.
He started by writing a new bond agreement that allowed himself to be a substitute for the man in bondage. Then he knocked on the house (heart) of the bondservant and said: Lets make an exchange; lets make a binding perpetual accord – your freedom for my bondage. I will take your place under the same bond that you agreed with your current master. Dumbfounded by Jesus’s love, the man accepted and was immediately set free, and Jesus took his place. Jesus then took the parchment that contained the man’s bond agreement and folded it into two, signifying the debt of the man is now invalid, and kept the agreement between him and the man with him.
Next day as the creditor comes, he sees Jesus instead of the old bondservant. The creditor asks Jesus what happened, and Jesus explains that he has taken the place of the man. Glad that he has a bondservant, the creditor asks Jesus to get to work. Then Jesus asks the question, why? The creditor replies that because he has taken the bondservant’s position. To this answer, Jesus asks said, what is his debt so that I may begin to pay it? When the creditor replied, well he has no debt, Jesus simply said, well consider his non-debt paid, and simply walks out!
The creditor knew he had been outmaneuvered. While he could have argued that debt of the bond-servant was his freewill promise to him, he could not argue that Jesus owed him a debt for He had not made any such promises or agreement with him. Furthermore, since Jesus was substitute for the old-bondservant, he could now no longer go and get the man back.
Upset, the creditor quickly tried to see if he could convince the old bondservant to tear up his agreement with Jesus. When he found the old bondservant, he simply laughed at the creditor and said ‘why would I fall for your trap again! And besides, even if I wanted to tear up that agreement, I can’t because a condition of our agreement was that only He could tear it up. You will have to find Him and convince Him. Moreover, our agreement supersedes my agreement with you. Therefore, if something ever possesses me to work for you again, I can walk out freely when I come to my senses. You can no longer hold me against my will’

Point to Ponder: Anyone suffering in bondage is wise to consider accepting Jesus’ proposal for freedom and sign up.

Bible Verse: You have sold yourselves for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money – Isaiah 52:3 NKJV.

Disclaimer: This story is not meant to fully and accurately depict how Jesus won liberty for us. He did it through the shedding of His blood.

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Disappointments In Relationships – What To Know Before You End It

The truth is we live in a fallen world filled with flawed people. As such, in this life, it is not a matter of if we will deal with disappointments, it is a matter of when we will deal with them.

The truth is everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for – Bob Marley

A dire but commonly employed strategy for dealing with disappointment (especially in a relationship) is to try to avoid being disappointed in the future at all cost. This strategy calls for the tactics of putting massive walls around our hearts, looking for perfection, being overly sensitive and critical of mistakes, and withholding intimacy. These tactics so distance us mentally and emotionally from relationships, that we sacrifice real love and connection for the illusion of safety. The problem with this strategy for the person that employs it is that (1) it leaves a gaping hole in their heart and (2) it does not take away the relational desire. It is not unusual for a person who has employed this strategy to be plagued by bouts of melancholy and depression because they have starved themselves of one of the human basic needs – the need for a close relationship. I do not recommend this strategy but prefer the one of offering our disappointments to God that He may turn our hurt and pain into gain and glory.

We should neither set ourselves up for disappointments, nor try to avoid them – Anonymous

While there is an element of not setting ourselves up for constant disappointments by choosing our partners carefully, there is another element of expectations we must be careful to manage. Below are two expectations that set us up for disappointments.

Expecting Our Partners to Be Perfect

Born out of selfishness (for the person who expects perfection is themselves not perfect), this expectation looks to gain more than it gives in the relationship, and expects from the other person what they cannot give.  Asking someone for something they do not have the ability to give is a sure strategy to be disappointed.

Instead of expecting perfection, we are better off accepting their imperfection, just as we accept our own.

Expecting To Change Our Partners 

Born out of arrogance (for we try to do only what God can do), this expectation encourages the would be changer to alter the environment of their relationship to effect a change in their partner. Though it may start off lovingly, it usually reeks of manipulation, and will likely end up in frustration and disappointment for the one who engages in it.

Instead of trying to change our partners, we are better of praying to God that our hearts change towards our partners as He effects His change in His time on both us and our partners.

Disappointments are inevitable but discouragement in a choice – Charles Stanley

We tend to get discouraged when we think that things will not change. The thought that things will not change is what leads us to want to give up. It is what has led many people to divorce their partners or end relationships prematurely.

To think that things will never change is to limit the power of God. The root of this line of thinking is unbelief for it truly does not believe that with God all things are possible. Choose to think differently. Before pulling a plug on your relationship, consider these three things:

God Will Finish What He Started

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns – Philippians 1:6

God is not done with our relationships yet. His heart is that relationships not only survive, but that they thrive. We must submit ourselves to Him so that He can finish the good work He has begun in us. As His hands mark our lives, so will it mark our relationships. It is a process – we must let God do His good work. Things will not always be the same in Him.

God Can Create A New Relationship With the Same People

But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland  – Isaiah 43:18-19

While people say “well if I tell you what happened”, God says “well if I tell you what I am about to make happen”. See if we knew the future God has planned for us, the past would not discourage us. Our plans compared to God’s plans are rubbish. It’s time to surrender our plans over to Him so He can create rivers of life giving water to sustain the relationships that have become dry wastelands

God Brings To Pass What We Commit To Him

That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of His return – 2 Timothy 1:12

Though you may feel you are suffering and serving a prison term in your relationship right now, understand that He is able to guard everything you entrust to Him. So entrust your relationship to Him and watch as He keeps it and guards it. With God as the guard, no enemy can penetrate. So let go of it and release it into His hands for safeguard. You will not regret it.

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3 Things You Must Do to Hear God More

Do you have a desire to hear God more often and on all issues that relates to your life? If so, there are 3 things you must do; these 3 things are embedded within the scripture below.

Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid – Proverbs 12:1

  

(1) Study God’s Word: Another way to say ‘whoever loves instruction loves knowledge’ is to say that knowledge is the pre-requisite to instruction. Put another way, if we want to be instructed by the Holy Spirit (hear from the Holy Spirit), then we first need to have knowledge of the words of the Holy Spirit which have already been given to us in written form (see 2 Timothy 3:16).

All Scripture is God-breathed (inspired by the Holy Spirit) and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness – 2 Timothy 3:16

If we do not know what the Holy Spirit has already written down, then we will not be cognizant of what He is telling us. In other words, the pre-requisite to hearing the spoken or revealed word of God (Rhema) is to first know the written word (Logos). Indeed, theology (the study of God which leads to knowledge about God) is a must if we are to have a strong fellowship (of which instruction is a part) with God.

Note that theology is not a pre-requisite to having a relationship with God but it is required to build a relationship (have fellowship) with God. To have a covenant relationship with God (Salvation) only requires that we have an encounter with God. To explain further, consider Apostle Paul: His encounter with God on the way to Damascus lead to his conversion (salvation), but instruction and direction only came as he walked closely with God (as he fellowshipped or built a relationship with God).

Now, it must be said that the study of God’s word does NOT automatically translate into instruction from God. Consider the Pharisees who were extremely knowledgeable in the word of God and could quote the law backwards and forwards, yet did not hear from God (as they were not instructed by Him). Why did they not hear God though they were theological juggernauts? It is because of they hated correction (see the other half of Proverbs 12:1).

See, the instruction of God corrects us (our ways, our path, our steps). Thus to hate correction is to despise the instruction of God. Two things that causes us to hate correction and so not hear the voice of God are pride and hurt.

(2) Get Rid of Pride: Pride says ‘I got this’, ‘I don’t need any help’, ‘I am smarter than everyone else’, ‘It’s my way or the highway’. Moreover, pride says to God, ‘I know you know all sorts of things but I know better than You in this situation’.

If we consider what pride says to God, a question that should pop into our heads is this: Why would anyone say to an all-knowing God that He does not know what is best, right, and what will work in any situation?

The answer to that question is a lack of trust. Pride appears where there is no trust. A place devoid of trust is a place of insecurity. A place where we do not feel secure is a place where we feel the need to exercise control. A place where we feel the need to exercise control to protect ourselves is a place where fear exists.

By this, we see that fear and insecurities lead to pride. Pride in turn causes us to reject the correction of the Holy Spirit, and thereby leads us to make unwise decisions. In other words, if we do not trust God in an area of our life, then we are less inclined to listen to God in that area of our life.

(3) Submit Your Wounds to God: One thing that people who get badly hurt in life tend to do without realizing it is make a vow NEVER to get badly hurt again. While this sometimes unknown vow has the appearance of protecting us, what it actually does is lock our subconscious mind in the room where the hurt sleeps and then throws away the key! What this means is that it is no longer us that controls our relationships on a subconscious level, but our hurt.

Our hurt reminds us to NEVER put ourselves in any position to be wounded again. Our hurt tells us to ‘trust no one’, ‘keep people at an arms length’, always follow your gut (which is not a bad thing normally except that now your gut has been held hostage by fear and hurt), ‘do not open the door of your heart to anyone’, ‘you know what is best for you (instead of God knows what is best for you)’. In other words, deeply hurt people have a need to be right.

Deeply wounded people attach their worth to being right because being wrong (about a person or situation) is associated with unbearable and overwhelming pain. The problem with this is that a person who HAS to be right cannot bear to be corrected, for any such correction is a direct assault on their worth. Moreover, to accept that someone else may be right is to open themselves up to potential hurt (even if God is speaking through that someone). Thus, a wounded person in any situation or relationship has a tendency to fixate on what’s wrong – this is a defensive/protective mechanism.

While we understand why the hurting person cannot stand to be corrected (something they see as manipulation), this does no good since each and every one of us NEED to be corrected, for no one is perfect and no one knows it all. By refusing to accept correction, the wounded person makes mistakes with people (for they cannot truly relate to them); the mistakes make the hurt and wound bigger; the bigger hurts shuts the person in more, and the ‘has to be right’ cycle repeats. It is this need to be right that causes the wounded person to listen less and less to the voice of God, and by so doing experience even more hurt. What a tragedy!

Conclusion: If you see yourself in the above, then your homework is to find and mediate on scriptures that deal with (1) how much God loves you, and  (2) your identity in Christ. This will allow you to surrender your pride and hurt to the one who loves you and will never hurt you. If you would like to know more about dealing with fear, you can check out my book Love Deficit.

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4 Things We Keep Doing That Keeps Getting Us In Trouble

IGNORING WEAKNESSES

We all have weaknesses. To say we do not is to lie to ourselves. But what do we do with our weaknesses? Do we simply ignore them and focus on our strengths? No, that would be a mistake for we are only as good as our weakest link. Is the answer to focus on strengthening our weakness at all cost? No, that is also a mistake because our weaknesses will never match our strengths no matter how hard we work at them.

So its darn if you do and darn if you don’t right? No again! God gives us a way to handle our weaknesses without expending energy and without compromising our strengths. Instead of moping about our weakness and wishing it goes away, what we have to do is submit our weaknesses to God and allow His power and favor to wash over us. What? Is that all there is to it, you must be wondering. Yes, that’s it. It is so easy that it is difficult.

Practically, the way we do this is by: (1) realizing those things that trigger our weaknesses  and (2) praying to God when those triggers are pressed. How do we know this works? We know by these two things: First, when the prospect of dying on the cross triggered weakness in Jesus, He responded by praying to the Father who in turn sent an angel to strengthen Him (Luke 22:43). Second, God told apostle Paul when he was tired of his weakness to simply really on His strength (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Personally I have found out that it is impossible to beat myself because (1) it hurts when I punch myself and (2) no matter who wins, I lose. I find that it is much easier to submit to God and have Him handle me. He is gentle and oh so effective!!!

KEEPING  THE WRONG COMPANY 

Just as keeping bad company will keep you from achieving anything in life, keeping the wrong company will keep you from achieving all that you can achieve in life. If you keep the wrong company, you will not feel fulfilled AND it will cause a lot of trouble in your relationships. Just think of the eagle and the dove. While both the eagle and dove are wonderful in their own right, they are not meant to flock together. If the eagle flocked with the dove, the dove would feel like it is holding the eagle back and the eagle would feel unfulfilled because it is not reaching its fullest heights. If they loved each other, they would let each other go to be the best that each can be.

If you are a dove, should you try to be an eagle? No way!!! There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a dove. If you feel as a dove that you are inferior to an eagle, then you have drunk the Kool-aid of comparison and self-imposed inferiority complex. The dove cannot help being a dove just as much as an eagle cannot help being an eagle. God made them the way they were supposed to be. Our job is simply to reach our fullest potential (not someone else’s). Anything else will bring dis-contentment!

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus – Galatians 3:28

REJECTING HONEST AND TRUTHFUL INPUT

We all need four sets of eyes. We need a set of eyes in front of us to see where we are going and we need another set of eyes in the back of our head to see what is coming behind us. Now perhaps the reason we are made with only one set of eyes is so that we are reminded of our need to be in relationship with other people.

All of us need someone to watch our backs to make sure we are not blind-sided by unseen forces. Failure to do this means that we are always learning by experience instead of by correction. If you are like me, you do not want to learn everything by experience – experiences are just too painful.

If you are the ‘I don’t need anybody’ kind of person, I implore you to reconsider your stance. The truth is that we all need somebody. If you have someone who is encouraging you to change (like your family), do not despise them. Take your pride out of it. It is much better to learn a lesson from home than to learn it from the world. The world will not be as forgiving and only wants to capitalize on your flaws.

Remember, the people who love you most will give you the most honest and truthful input. Also remember that just because an input is honest does not mean it is truthful. You do not want someone to just tell you what they honestly feel – for the feelings may be erroneous. You want people to tell you what they have honestly seen based on their close observation of your behavior.

Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses – Proverbs 27:6

BEING INSENSITIVE

If you wrap a diamond ring in dung, do not be surprised if no one opens up the package. If you think that it is silly to forego a diamond ring just because of its package, you are right! But the point is not that you are right, the point is that the gift has not been received.

The point of the diamond ring example is this: People act more on emotions than they do on facts. If you do not cater to people’s emotions, people will immediately take it to mean that you do not care about them – even if that could not be farther from the truth. Since nothing has the ability to damage emotions faster than words, you must be careful of not just what you say but how you say it. Most people will remember how you said something versus what you said. If fact, how you say something will often change the meaning people associate with what you said. Thus you must continue to be sensitive to people in the way you communicate at all times to ensure that the love you so want to give is received. Do this and you will save yourself a lot of grief.

To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some – 1 Corinthians 9:22

 

 

 

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A few Good Reasons Why You Should Stop Trying to Live for Jesus

There are two main modes of thought when it comes to how to live. The first mode of thought comes from the world. If you listen to the world, it’ll tell you to ‘live for you’. It’ll encourage you to be true to yourself and be honest with who you are. The problem with the advice ‘live for you’ can be summed up with the question ‘who are you?’ The second mode of thought comes from religion. If you listen to religion, it’ll tell you to ‘live for God’. If you are a Christian,  you’ll be specifically encouraged to ‘live for Jesus’.

Is there a problem with trying to live for Jesus? You better believe it. How can you and I live for a perfect and sinless savior? The simple answer is that we cannot. Try as hard as we might, we fall short of living up to the standards of Jesus (God). In fact, the only person who can live for Jesus is Jesus. Thus to try to live for Jesus is to set yourself up for a life of wondering if you are doing enough, a life of performance anxiety, a life of fear and doubt, and a life of endless striving to be good. It is a life of law keeping –  a life of bondage.

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: If you find no peace in your christian walk and you feel shackled as a christian, it is likely that you are trying to live for Jesus.

The good news is this: God does not want us to live for Him, He wants to live for us! If you don’t believe me, perhaps you’ll believe the Holy Scriptures.

 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me – Galatians 2:20

The scripture above says ‘I no longer live’. If we are no longer alive, how can we live for anyone? Moreover, if we are dead, then someone has to live in place of us. That person who is supposed to live for us is Christ.

Since God is not a control freak, He will only live for us if we allow Him to do so. Now if you are like me, the only way I’d allow someone to take my place in anything is if (1) that person is better than I am (2) that person is worthy (3) I have faith (trust and believe in that person). I’d say Christ fits that billing extraordinarily well.

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: The only way Christ can live for us if for us to surrender in faith

Why allow Christ to live for us rather than try to live for him? Here are 8 good reasons:

  • Living for Jesus involves works and requires a lot of effort, but allowing Jesus to live for us involves faith because only our surrender is required.
  • Living for Jesus leads to anxiety, but Jesus living for us leads to peace.
  • Living for Jesus leads to condemnation unto despair, but Jesus living for us leads to conviction unto repentance.
  • Living for Jesus leads us to keep up appearances, but Jesus living for us leads to transparency.
  • Living for Jesus leads us to be depressed about who we are not, but Jesus living for us leads us to be confident about who He is and who we are in Him no matter our shortcomings.
  • Living for Jesus leads us to shy away from God when we get it wrong, but Jesus living for us leads us to move towards God when we get it wrong.
  • Living for Jesus leads to fear and doubt, but Jesus living for us leads to faith and love
  • Living for Jesus comes out of religion, but Jesus living for us comes out of relationship (intimacy).

Story of Job

Job was a man who tried to ‘live for God’. By all intents and purposes he succeeded in doing just that. In fact he was blameless when it came to living for God. Yet, his life was filled with fear. He would quickly go and make penance for his children after parties out of fear (Job 1:5). He also feared that he was going to lose all he had (Job 3:25).

In due time he found out that religion could not sustain him. After losing everything, he came to the realization that he had only ‘known about God’ (religion) instead of knowing God (relationship) (see Job 42:5). The turnaround for him came after he realized that he could trust God and that there was nothing that God could not turn around (Job 42:1). Once he surrendered to God in his heart fully, he not only regained all that he had lost but got a double portion of what was lost.

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: Even if you are doing a great job living for Jesus (obeying the law), the glory of living for Jesus pales in comparison with glory of Jesus living for you.

 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious – 2 Corinthians 3:7-11

If we are to see the manifestation of the glory of God in our midst, we have to stop trying to live for Jesus and we have to allow Jesus to live for us. We have to move beyond religion and move into intimacy. I speak to myself.

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Redefining Your History

What would you say to me if I asked you to tell me your history – would you tell me a series of events in your life? If you had asked me to relay my history to you a few weeks ago, I would have gone into a tirade about my past – telling  you tireless stories of both the good and bad.

If you asked me today, my answer would be different. I’d tell you that I cannot tell you my history as it is still being written!

What does history mean to you?

History is a complex word that comes from two root words: ‘His’ and ‘Story’. Using this root definition, it goes that anyone who asks you for your history is really asking you for your story. As long as you are breathing, your story is ongoing. Hence, your full story cannot be told until all the stories that make up your life have been fully complied. In other words, your history cannot be fully told until after you have breathed your last breath. ,

Light-bulb moment: History is nothing but the story of the compilation of the stories that you have written over the course of your life.

Who decides your history?

The excerpts of your history are written on a daily basis based on your choices and decisions. You cannot blame any person, people, event, or condition for writing or deciding your history…they cannot. The best they can do is influence and impact your story. Your history is just that…your story. Your history is what you decide to pen.

Consider the story of a minister who decided to obey the call of God and move his family to Turkey. Shortly after reaching Istanbul, he became gravely ill with cancer. What was he to do? He had spent a bulk of the family to relocate his family and was now out for the count. Instead of allowing his condition to make him sour; instead of feeling sorry for himself; instead of blaming God or simply fading away into the sunset, he choose to write a different story. He numbered his days and decided to redeem the short time he had left to fulfill his purpose. So he poured himself into the work of ministry and served the people. Note: The word ‘minister’ means to serve.

The community he served watched him closely and were astonished at his joy despite his grave condition. Upon his death, the community held a grand funeral for him and buried him on a hill reserved for the most accomplished and revered. Moreover, a lot of people flocked to the local church after his death for they wanted what he had. Gloria Deus!

See, he could have allowed his condition to influence him to write a life story of gloom but he instead chose to let his life tell a story of boom for the kingdom of God. He turned the lemons that life gave him into lemonade.

Light-bulb moment: You history is not decided by what happens to you but how you respond to what happens to you

When we define history as a story that is written by us rather than a compilation of events , then the real history of something as brutal as slavery starts to look somewhat different. The story of slavery written by the slave owners is a story of power, greed, inhumane behavior, and savagery. But the story of slavery written by the slaves themselves is that of resilience, perseverance, courage, and strength. Not a bad story. In fact, it is a story that should fill anyone with boldness. Looking at history this way, slavery should no longer be a mental stumbling block for those affected by it. It should be a psychological stepping stone. Note that this is not to excuse the story written by those who practiced slavery but to remove the power the story has on so many.

Redefining history: What if I am writing a terrible history?

Your story is a jigsaw puzzle you are putting together. While the pieces in play are often put there by uncontrollable circumstances, others, and external forces, you ultimately decide which piece to put on your puzzle board and where the piece fits. While you can rearrange normal jigsaw puzzles, your life story is different in that you do not get a redo if you put a piece in the wrong place (since no one can go back in time). Instead, what you get to do is pull another piece of bag of choices that life gives you, reshape it, and fill the gap that was left by your wrong choice.

In other words, it does not matter how many mistakes you have made up till now in putting your life story together – it does not matter how off your jigsaw puzzle may look –  you can recover and fill in the gaps.

This is exactly Moses did. At 40 he made a very bad decision of killing a man. For all intent and purposes, it looked like his story was done, but this was not the case. Forty years later he got another chance to redeem himself. He took his chance and at 80 years of age went to the same place where he had committed murder. This time instead of killing, he saved over 2 million people. Though 80 years of Moses’ life was nothing to write home about, hardly anyone remembers that those years. The story people remember is that of him leading a nation out of bondage.

At age 65, rotten luck seemed to have ended Colonel Sanders retirement dream. His business had gone bankrupt and he was penniless! Instead of focusing on how his jigsaw puzzle looked, he focused on his next move. Long story short, he ended up getting someone to pay him royalties for his friend chicken recipe. The KFC franchise was born and Colonel Sanders became a very wealthy man.

How will my story read?

Your story is novel you are writing for the world to read. If you do not like what you have written so far, just start to write a different story. What most people care about in a novel is a good ending. Likewise, what people care about most is how you finish your life story – not how you start it.

Apostle Paul was one whose story did not start so well. He caused a lot of ruckus and ballyhoo in his early days and cheered as a lot of good people were killed. But after seeing the light, he decided that he was going to write a different story. He no longer cared to be a persecutor of Christians but a promoter of Christianity. So he choose a different path and put all his energy into promoting his belief. When he was finished, he had penned what is now 2/3rd of the New Testament –  an undeniable wealth of knowledge for all believers.

Friend, for you to decide against writing a new story today is to allow the past to unduly influence your future. And to allow the past to unduly influence today’s story is tantamount to copying yesterday’s story and rewriting it as today’s story. It shows lack of faith and imagination. Why take away from your present life by rewriting your past story?

Light-bulb moment: If you do not like your history, just write a new one!

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Men, How Do You Know If You Have Found the Right Woman?

‘A man who finds a wife finds a good thing’. I have heard this verse spoken of in the context of how a man should pursue a woman and how he should treasure and love his wife. As I was reading the scripture a few days ago, I was compelled to make the sentence negative. If you do this, you’d get ‘A man who does not find a wife does not find a good thing’.

Is God telling us that he wants every one of us to be single? Heavens no (although there is nothing wrong with being single)! Is God telling us that we should chase after someone who is married? God forbid…that is wrong! What God is telling us is that He wants us to find a woman who is already married to Him… that is why the scripture says ‘A man who finds a wife’!

 

She makes God No. 1 in her life

Her first husband is God. Since her first marriage is to God, He is to take first position in her life and you are to be No.2. And so He should be No.1 for He is better at everything! You should not try to compete with God for the first place in her heart because you cannot compete. You are not as loving as God, you are not as strong as God, you are not anywhere close to being as selfless as God…you cannot make her nearly as happy as God can. So you must not try to take a position that rightfully belongs to God!

Remember the phrase ‘Happy wife, happy life’? If you want her to be happy and want to be happy, then you have to encourage her relationship with God. So have you been pushing her closer to her first love or are you trying to take the place of her first love? Only he gives her life purpose and controls her destiny. Do you want to have your way with her or do you want God to have His way in her life?

A man who finds a woman who is married to Jesus finds a good thing

She is faithful to her first Husband

God is wonderful and marvelous! He is the prince of peace and the author of all good things! If she is not faithful to that kind of a husband, then how can you expect her to be faithful to you?

If she is running after other lovers (idols) and committing harlotry while married to God, then do not be surprised when she continues the practice while with you. Moreover, do not be surprised if you are one of the lovers that she has run towards. Note that any woman who is willing to sacrifice her faithfulness to God to please you has made you an idol. Since all idolatry leads to pain, all you will do in the end is cause her pain. Do not make yourself the idol who causes her to compromise God.

What you want is a faithful woman. A faithful woman is a helper. She will help you stand strong in the Lord when you start to stray. Do not despise such a woman!

A man who finds a woman who is faithfully married to Jesus finds a good thing

She is a good thing

Since only God is good (Mark 10:18), being a good thing means that she is a God-thing. A God-thing will reflect the characteristics of God. More often than not, she will produce the fruit of the Spirit and be a virtuous woman. You will sleep easy at night with such a woman; trust is no issue for she is a God-thing. You know that the intent of thoughts of her heart is to do you good.

Imagine a woman who reflects the things of God. That is a woman who is worth cherishing and sacrificing yourself over. See, it is easy to love and sacrifice yourself for a wife. So let her bring you love, joy, peace, and victory by remaining a God-thing.

A man who finds a woman who is faithfully married to Jesus finds love, joy, and peace! 

So men, let us not be afraid of a wife! If you are courting, do not say…oh man she is super-spiritual. Do not say…oh man, she does not want to be alone with me past 9 pm! Let us step to the plate and become husbands ourselves prior to getting married.

She who is found by a husband is found by a good thing.

 

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Who Has Stolen the Glory of God?

It is not unusual to hear the words, I give God all the glory, honor, and praise when a person is giving their testimony or a praise report. It is not unusual to hear the same words when in the middle of singing worship songs during service!

Today, we seem to think that giving God praise and saying thank you to Him is the same as giving him glory. We think that it glorifies the father when we scream and shout of God’s goodness. We think we have glorified God when we proclaim how worthy, powerful, and deserving he is. We think we can honor him with the word of our lips.

But Jesus tells us clearly that it is the fruit of our lives that brings God glory. It is by our fruit that people know that we are His disciples (His followers).

“By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples” – John 15:8

Our lives must produce the fruit of the Spirit; the fruit of love, joy, peace, gentleness, faithfulness, kindness, patience, goodness, and self-control if we are to bring glory to God. We cannot say we are bringing glory to God if we are not walking in love, if we are worry-wort’s, if we have no joy but walk around in a bad mood, if we are snappy, and can’t control ourselves.

The way we get the fruit of righteousness (of being in right-standing with God through the sacrifice of Jesus), is by walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16).

Apostle Paul puts it this way:

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit – Galatians 5:25

Moreover, Jesus says that those who abide in Him will bear much fruit (John 15:4). By this we know that those who are walking in the Spirit are the ones that are abiding in Jesus.

If you are a believer, the question of bring glory to God is not a question of whether Jesus is abiding in you, it is a question of if you are abiding in Him. It is not a question of if you are righteous, it is a question of whether you are walking in righteousness…it is not a question of if you are a convert, it is question of if you are a follower (disciple).

Things will change in our lives when we give God His glory by abiding in Him and fully surrendering to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. This is when we will experience the fullness of His victory in our lives – not just his mercy but his favor and power alike.

God has honored us by granting us His Holy Spirit. We should honor Him by allowing the Spirit of God to lead us in life.

So where is God’s glory? If we are not seeing His glory, it is because we have turned our face away from Him. It is because we have ceased to love Him. It is because we have neglected the leadership of the Holy Spirit of power… in our pride and arrogance.

Conversely, there is victory, love, and life where the glory of God is present.

Food for Thought: I must abide in Jesus if I want to see His glory.

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A Glimpse into the Life of an Immigrant called Neffy

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/93278156″>Neffy Episode 1</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user26059546″>Melissa Blake</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Many immigrants take a leap of faith and exhaust their life savings to take the treacherous journey from their homeland to Western Europe or the United States in search of a better life. Unfortunately for many life Neffy, they do not find the paradise they hoped to find. Instead, they find themselves to be pariah’s and are unable to make a better life for their families after paying their bills. Unaccepted and lonely, many like Neffy cling on to the only friend and hope they know – King Jesus!

Friends, next time you see someone who looks destitute, take at least a second to flash a smile and say hello if nothing else. It can make all the difference in the world.

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What Women Want from Men (Part III)

In the first two parts of this series, we have seen that it is important for a woman to feel secure in her relationship and to have true companionship.

The third thing women want from men is to know she is SIGNIFICANT

Put another way, a woman wants to know that she is valuable and important in the life of her man. She wants to know that she occupies first place in his life (apart from God). She wants to know that those things she considers important are also important to the man in her life.

Take for example anniversaries and birthdays. Should a man forget an anniversary, it communicates to her that he does not hold the occasion important AND in turn communicates to her that he does not hold her important.

Men, she needs to know that she is a significant part of your life. Simple things such as involving her in the decision making process (and truly listening to her) makes her know that she is valued. Letting her know what she brings to your life will go a long way in making her feel loved.  Complimenting her on her new hairstyle shows her that you care about her.

A woman wants to feel significant as a woman

While men and women are equal, we are not the same. God has made the woman different from the man so that she may complement man. This is why the wife is called a ‘helper’ in the bible. Women bring wonderful qualities such as undying and unyielding love, empathy, care, softness, and incredible resilience (just to name a few) to the table.

A woman needs to know that these qualities are significant and appreciated by the man in her life.

Light-bulb moment: Men, if you do not appreciate the natural qualities of a woman, then you are saying that God made a mistake in the way He made her!

Unfortunately, the world has lied to many men and women that many of the qualities women possess make them weak. This is why many women do not feel comfortable in their own skin because they feel that they need to be ‘manly’ and exhibit ‘manly qualities’ to be significant and to be taken seriously.

Light-bulb moment: While a woman is a weaker vessel physically, there is nothing weak about who she is and the qualities that she possesses.  

The key point is this: A woman wants to know that she is valuable because of who she is and NOT because of what she does. She does not want to have to prove her worth to her man by doing what he does.

A woman who does not feel significant will start to compete with the man in one form or the other. If she feels she cannot compete, she either become overly submissive or will become overly combative – always pointing out what is wrong in her man.

Light-bulb moment: If a woman is tearing you down all the time for no reason, it is likely because she feels valueless (her opinion does not count). It is likely because this is the only way she knows to even the playing field.

Men, please do not fall into the trap of trying to get a woman to become like you. After all, we need softness to complement our hardness. After all, every beast needs a beauty. When you show your woman that she is significant, you are validating her femininity and womanhood. This way, she knows that she is a pearl of great prize instead of a pearl that has been cast into a pit

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