Practical Bible Wealth Tips: 3 Habits That Lead to Poverty

When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth – Genesis 4:12

The scripture quoted above talks of the story of Cain, the first born of Adam and Eve (the first couple on earth), who murders his younger brother Abel. In this biblical saga, Cain starts off as a successful tiller of the ground (who had enough to make offerings) and ends up as a man who loses his livelihood and becomes a fugitive and a vagabond in a short period of time. Why did he go from success to poverty in such a short time period? It is because of the 3 things discussed below.

Taking Failure to Heart

The story goes that both Cain and Abel made offerings to God. While Abel’s offering was accepted, Cain’s was not. At this Cain became angry and ‘his countenance fell’. Instead of taking this failing as an opportunity to learn and find out exactly what he had done wrong from God, he simply became downcast and stewed in his failure, thus opening himself up to unhelpful and outright immoral and dangerous thoughts. In other words, he had taken his failure to heart.

By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain… – Hebrews 11:4

Like Cain, there may be times where we do not do things excellently…either because we do not seek the prior input of knowledgeable others (in Cain’s case this was God or Abel) or for any other reason. No matter the reason for our failing, the key is that we do not take our failure to heart but that we learn from it, brush it off, and move on to the next thing. Just because you have failed does not mean you are a failure.

…But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead… – Philippians 3:13

Being Prideful and Unrepentant

Knowing that Cain had taken his failing to heart, God immediately stepped in and warned him of his heart condition saying:

Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door… – Genesis 4:6-7

God was telling Cain not to mope around but to offer a more excellent sacrifice. Moreover, he warned him that sin was waiting to pounce on him if he did not budge. Well, as the story goes, Cain did not heed the word of God and so did not change his mind. In other words, he remained unrepentant – he did not act in accordance with what he now knew. What did he know? He knew that he could try  his sacrifice again and that he could ask for instruction on what to do! Did he ask for instruction? No! He became prideful. It was now his way or the highway. The problem was that his way led to the highway of poverty and lack.

Friends, there is no recipe for disaster quite like pride (being dogged about one’s way being the best) and unrepentance (unwillingness to change ones mind and do things differently) even in the face of failings. When this recipe is cooked with the fire of an external loci of focus, we get the end result of calamity.

Having an External Loci of Focus

Now unable to admit his own culpability in his failing because of his pride, he had to find a suitable scapegoat. Seeing that he could not take out his frustration at God, he chose to lash out at his brother.

Now Cain talked with Abel his brother, and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him – Genesis 4:8

The truth is that our reaction to events depends on our loci of focus – whether internal or external. Pride and unrepentance always leads us to have an external loci of focus. An external loci of focus tells us that we cannot do anything about what is happening to us and that we are not at fault. This focus leads to bitterness and leads us to point the finger of blame. This is what happened to Cain. Note that while an external loci of focus leads to external blame, an internal loci of focus leads to internal change.

So friends, instead of trying to change everything and everyone else, remember that real change starts with us.

Change the way you see failure, change the way you respond to failure (respond in humility and repentance), change your focal point, and you will change the trajectory of your future.

Leave a comment

Filed under wealth

Fact or Myth: Sin Keeps God From Responding to Us

What goes through your mind when it seems that God is not responding to you? In this time of spiritual vulnerability, the enemy of our soul wastes little time concocting all sorts of fascinating tales such as ‘God doesn’t love you’ or ‘Its your fault, for you have been living in sin’.

Because I am sure that most of you reading this post are way too spiritual to ever believe that God doesn’t love you (tongue in cheek), I wont address that here. This short post is aimed at looking into the school of thought that believes that God hides his face away from us because of our sin –  something I feel compelled to address again because it keeps on coming up.

Just a few weeks ago I had a dialogue with a fellow believer about this. He opened up to the scripture in Isaiah 58:1-2, read it with much emphasis and then asked quite contently, ‘What do you say to that?’

Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear – Isaiah 58:1-2 (NIV)

I responded by opening up my bible to Ezekiel 39:29 and asked him to read.

And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,’ says the Lord God.” – Ezekiel 39:26

His expression changed after reading this passage for he knew from the scripture that God has already poured out his Spirit (Read Acts 2 if you in doubt).

Since God has already poured out his Spirit, He no longer hides His face from us. While it is true that when we were living under the law, and righteousness was based on our ability to adhere to the law, lawlessness would indeed hide God’s face from us; It is also true that now that Jesus has sacrificed himself once and for all for our sins, and our righteousness is based on His finished work, God sees us through the lens of the perfect finished work of Christ and so our ability to adhere to the law no longer has anything to do with it.

Point to Consider: Jesus moved with sinners, He did not move away from them.

Leave a comment

Filed under Teaching

Take The Road Less Traveled To Significance

The graveyard is the richest place in the world for it is utterly filled with untapped potential.

It is unfortunate that many of us will leave this earth without coming close to fulfilling our God-given potential and purpose for a myriad of reasons – ranging from life circumstances to cultural beliefs and to fear and unbelief. While it is quite tempting and very easy to give reasons and make excuses for why we are not on the path to fulfilling our God-given potential, a closer look at our world reveals stories of people those that have overcome unimaginable odds to accomplish something wonderful in their world.  A well-known example of this is that of Joyce Meyer, a now world-renowned preacher who had to overcome protracted abuse. Another example is that of Dana Bowman, a double amputee who re-enlisted in the U.S Army and is a well-known motivation speaker.

When thinking of Joyce and Dana, we shouldn’t stop at admiration, but should ask the question ‘How did they do it?’. Two things they both did are as follows: (1) Both did not allow their circumstances to determine their identity and worth. (2) Both determinedly followed the road less traveled to its eventual end of receiving the promise.

So what makes anyone take the road less traveled? The simple answer is boldness and courage. For a believer, that boldness and courage should be rooted in our identity in Christ, His power towards us, and His unfailing love for us! It is when we have this foundation firmly established that we stop asking ourselves questions like, ‘what if I go after my dreams and fail miserably?’ and ‘What if I miss God?’ This foundation tells us that He will pick us up if we fail just like he did to Peter when he lost faith and sank. If we miss God, He will find us and correct our course.

Image result for road less travelled

If you are considering taking a road less traveled, here are a few things you need to internalize.

God’s Power Follows His Purpose

God never tells us to do something without giving us the power to do it. When God commanded Moses to go back to Egypt, he gave him signs and wonder, a rod of power, and a side-kick. When Joshua began his journey, God made him a promise that no one would be able to stand-up to him. When He prompted Jesus to begin His ministry, He equipped Him with the Holy Spirit and empowered Him. When He commanded the disciples to give the bread He had broken to the 5000 men (excluding women and children), the bread never ran out in the hands of the disciples, meaning that the miracle happened in the hand of the disciples as they followed God’s commandment!

God will not tell you to go for it without giving you the supernatural ability to accomplish what He has told you to do. So do not worry about not being qualified or not having the ability.

Delay Does Not Mean Denial

Delay in life can occur due to circumstances beyond our control or our own mistakes. Consider Sarah who was unable to have a child because she was barren. What about Moses? His heart intention of delivering the Israelites was delayed 40 years because he tried to do it in his own strength (when he murdered the Egyptian). The children of Israel’s entry into the Promised Land was delayed some 40 years because they were disobedient to God.

Remembering these cases, we find that Sarah did have a child called Isaac at 90 years old, Moses did deliver the Israelites our of Egypt at 80 years old, the children of Egypt did enter Canaan – including Caleb who was 85 years old.

Thus, it neither matters that you have made mistakes nor does it matter how old you are, what matter is that you submit to God now. Remember that Jesus’ ministry spanned just 3 years, yet it remains the most powerful ministry in the history of mankind. So do not worry about having wasted too much time or being too old.

Your Disobedience Does Not Negate God’s Faithfulness Towards You

Note that the above says that our disobedience does not negate God’s faithfulness and does NOT say that God’s faithfulness negates consequences for those mistakes. While there are consequences to our disobedience, our disobedience does not put an end to God’s calling on our lives. Indeed, Gods gift and calling are irrevocable (Romans 11:29). He is faithful to keep His word even when do not keep our own. He is not like man in this regard, for man tends to change his mind based on the actions of other men.

God did not take away the manna, the cloud by day, the fire by night, and the supernatural miracle of clothes and sandals not wearing our when the children of Israel disobeyed Him. God did not take away the crown from David’s head when he decided to take Bathsheba as his wife and kill her husband. God does not rip away His Holy Spirit from us when we disobey Him. No, God is faithful even in the midst of our unfaithfulness.

God is merciful towards our disobedience and extends His grace towards us that we may grow in faithfulness. So do not worry about making a mistake.

Old Doors Close When New Doors Open

The manna stopped falling from heaven after the children of Israel entered the Promised Land and they had eaten of the produce of the land (Joshua 5:12). The produce of the land represents an opened new door while the manna represents a closed old door. Thus we should not be surprised if some old doors close the moment we decide to take the road less traveled.

How daunting and strange it must have seemed to the children of Israel. They were used to effortlessly picking up manna for 40 years, then one day it suddenly came to an end. Though there had to be some ‘letting go’ that had to happen, it was the right thing and blessed thing to do. In the same way, we should not be surprised when old doors close when God opens the doors to that road less travelled. We should acknowledge what the old door meant but never to the point where we do not let go of the old – for the old will only lead us back into the wilderness and away from God’s best.

If a door closes suddenly, we should open our eyes to see the door that He has opened that we may walk through it. The angels are cheering your on to go for it.

Image result for open and closed doors

Leave a comment

Filed under Inspiring

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.

41hRKhTijSL

1 Comment

Filed under Growth, Uncategorized

Don’t Fall for the Facts

“And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, “Are you the coming One or do we look for another?”

That John the Baptist sent disciples to Jesus to ask him if He was the Messiah is quite astonishing considering that (1) he (John) was the forerunner who told everybody about Jesus (2) baptized Him, and (3) saw the heavens up and heard the voice the proclaimed Jesus as the Son of God.

That John – that man who Jesus called the greatest man to ever live – doubted the identity of Jesus tells us that the people must have had some credibility with John and or were very convincing. It also teaches us that we must be careful to examine what we are told before we allow ourselves to internalize it – to let what may be facts become truth to us.

The folks who spoke to John I am sure came as angels of light. ‘Oh John, we don’t want you to think of us as tattle tales, but we  must tell you that you have been bamboozled. He is not who you think He is. It pains us to tell you this but we must tell you nonetheless for we care about you and we don’t want you to spend time in jail. Why should you die in part because of your allegiance to this phony fellow’, they must have said. Then they proceeded to tell him some carefully chosen facts.

Now why did they present only a few facts? It is either because they ‘loved’ John or because they hated Jesus. Either way, they wanted to get their own way!

For whatever reason, instead of seeing the wonderful things that were happening through Jesus – the deaf hearing, blind receiving sight, demons being cast out and much more – they were more concerned that he hung around with tax collectors and sinners. In other words, they were more concerned about holding onto their laws than giving their life to people (selfishness versus selflessness)!

They cared more about when he decided to heal (whether on the Sabbath or not) than that people were getting healed. They even paid attention to what he ate and what he drank. In other words, they were busybodies instead of staying busy helping everybody!

Check out what Jesus says about these folks (Matthew 11:18-19 paraphrase): They accused John of having a demon when he decided not to eat and drink. Yet when I eat and drink, they accuse me of being a glutton and being a drunk! But wisdom is justified by her children.

What Jesus is doing here is warning us of people that (1) you can’t satisfy (2) have preconceived notions in their head about the way things ought to be (2) only see what they want to see (3) want people to fit into a bubble that they construct for them so they feel secure (4) are very resistant to change (something different) even if it is good (5) want to keep a hold of traditions that worked before but have now outlived their usefulness (6) are blinded by the futility of their own thinking (7) have their own agenda.

Since we won’t necessarily know when people are behaving out of such a heart (for we can all be guilty of being like those who went to John), this passage of scripture in Matthew gives us 3 things to always do when we are hear something about someone that we are not sure fits.

superchamp_logo_symbol_lg.jpg

Pray: In a spiritual sense, what John did by sending his disciples to have a chat with Jesus about it was pray. When you are hearing all sorts of slander about someone, the first thing you need to do is go to Jesus and ask Him about it. Ofcourse in the case of John, that person was Jesus.

Examine the Person’s life: Jesus said in response to the people that were accusing of everything that ‘wisdom is justified by her children’. Moreover, he told John’s disciples to give him a report of the wonderful things that were happening. Friends, wisdom always gives birth to the fruit of the Spirit and achieves good, both in the life of the wise and the lives of people the wise touch.

Ask the Person: After praying and examining the person’s life, the next thing to do is ask the person (if needed). John did not guess at it when he could not corroborate or deny the words of those that spoke to him. He went straight to the accused.

Note: John was unable to truly examine the character of Jesus’ life for he had been thrown in prison. That’s why I believe he asked

———————————————————————-Friend, if you are unsure about Jesus, instead of asking everyone else about their opinion of Him, how about asking Him to reveal Himself to you? It will save you a ton of confusion and wasted time.

Leave a comment

Filed under Teaching

Are You Really Worshipping? What it Means to Worship

Do you believe in God?During Sunday service, you may hear the pastor say for you to ‘press in to worship’ or ‘adopt a position of worship by lifting up your hands’. You may also hear he/she say that worship invites Jesus into our situation and that ‘His presence is here; can you feel His presence?’ If all this sounds like Christianese you’ve never understood then I hope this blog post helps.

Worship cannot be measured by tangible actions such as closing your eyes, lifting up your hands, shouting, crying, jumping up and down, or throwing yourself to the ground. While these may occur during worship, the actions themselves do not prove that worship is taking place. Indeed, it is all too easy to be so used to performing a particular act that it becomes second nature. True worship is a love-based outward expression of what has taken place in our heart. If this still sounds like Christianese to you, consider the following passage:

“And behold, a leper came to Him and worshipped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean” – Matthew 8:2

The passage tells us that the leper worshipped Jesus by saying something. Hence, we know that worship always says something. Indeed, worship always speaks from the heart. What came out of the mouth of this leper was a reflection of what was settled in his heart. What was settled in heart can be sifted out by paying careful attention to his words.

Worship Calls Jesus ‘Lord’

The first thing that worship entails is acknowledging Jesus as the Lord (master) of our lives. For Jesus to be the master of our lives means that we allow him to control everything. It means that he takes first position in our lives. When we come to worship, we come to say: Jesus, you are most important in my life and there is nothing or no one that I put above you. It means we have to put out and put away those idols that try to claim first position in our hearts. You know what idols I am talking about. Is Jesus the master of your life or is something mastering you right now? Is your mind half on your job, money, or a romantic interest all the time? If you are single, is your want to be married your idol? Let’s truly worship by putting these other things in their rightful place. To worship is to put Jesus back on the throne of our hearts

Worship Says ‘If You are Willing’

The heart of worship submits to the will of God in humility. Indeed, worship says ‘not my will but Your will be done’. In order words, worship surrenders all to God; it takes the burden off us and casts it upon Him. Worship acknowledges our own powerlessness and submits to our complete and utter reliance on Jesus. See, Satan wants us to be self-reliant because he knows he can continue to rain down those haymakers on us as he pummels us to bits in our mind. Worship on the other hand is a heart posture of being God-reliant. Instead of being in-secure, we become God-secure in worship. If there were words to describe this heart of worship, it would be the words ‘yield control to God’ and ‘humble yourself before God’

Worship Says ‘You Can Make me Clean’

‘You can make me clean’ is an assertion of what God is able to do. He trusted in the sovereign power of God to bring about good in his life and change his situation for the better. Just like the leper, a heart of worship is one that has faith in the power of God to bring about that which is good in our lives no matter what situation we face. See, worship comes expecting and trusting that something good will happen because we understand that our God is a good God; He is the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.  So we see that worship does not lose hope, is filled with endurance, and is convinced about the goodness of God in all situations and circumstances.

The Beauty of Worship

Why is this important you ask? Why is it important to (1) Place nothing above Him (2) Surrender to Him in humility (3) Have faith that He will bring about what is good and best in our lives. The answer is found in Matthew 8:3 where Jesus says ‘I am willing’, and then promptly makes the leper clean. In other words, the worship brought about the miracle!

See, God has never turned away anyone who worships Him in Spirit and in truth! Indeed, ‘Placing nothing above Him’ moves us towards Jesus, humility invites Jesus into our situation, and faith gives Jesus permission to do the good that He loves to do in our lives (See Daniel 10:12 and Hebrews 11:6).

So my friend, if you want God to move in your life, then you want to come to truly worship. I hope you agree with me that we have too much to gain for us to simply go through the motions.

Food for Thought: Am I acknowledging Jesus as master, surrendering to Him in humility, and have faith in Him in my life or am I just going through the motions in life?

Leave a comment

Filed under Teaching

How to Fight to Win with Minimal Fuss

Are you in a battle that you just can’t seem to win? Does it feel as if the enemy is just overwhelming you? In life, we do not have to go looking for a fight before a fight comes knocking at your doorstep. Yet, no matter how the fight comes to be, the important thing is to know the keys to victory.

Having spent a good part of the past month reading about the wilderness journey of the children of Israel, a strategy for victory has crystallized in my mind and heart.

When the children of Israel employed this strategy, they were able to destroy a Midianite more than double their size without a single casualty.

With this strategy, they were able to go against the giants in Canaan and utterly destroy them. To get an idea of how big these giants were, the bed of King Og measured roughly 13.5 ft long and 6 ft wide.

Most astonishingly, it was this same strategy that Gideon was employed such that he was able to defeat a Midianite army of well over 100,000 with just 300 men.

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: Though the tactics for victory may change, the strategy for victory remains unchanged.

The 2-fold strategy they employed is as follows:

Only Fight the Battles God Tells You to Fight

How could one chase a thousand, And two put ten thousand to flight, Unless their Rock had sold them, And the Lord had surrendered them? – Deuteronomy 32:30

Another way of putting this bible passage is this: The only way for a man to chase down a thousand is with God’s help. Think of it this way. You and I cannot take down a thousand men unless the men had somehow been completely immobilized so that they were as stiff as statues. In such a scenario case, the battle is not fair for the thousand men!

That’s the way it is when God is fighting on our behalf…the battle is not fair!

Truly, the probability of victory is not determined by the size of the enemy we are going against or the size of our own army. The probability of victory is determined solely by who is with us. If the ‘Who’ is God, then the probability of victory is 100%, inasmuch as we follow the blueprint for victory.

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: God fights only in the battles He sanctions. Engaging in a battle that has not been approved by God leads to heavy casualty with no promise of victory.

When the Lord told the children of Israel to wander about in the wilderness for 40 years because of their refusal to enter Canaan, the people were so disappointed that they decided to try to enter Canaan in their own effort and without the blessing of God. The result is that they were crushed in battle (see below).

And Moses said, “Now why do you transgress the command of the Lord? For this will not succeed. Do not go up, lest you be defeated by your enemies, for the Lord is not among you. For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and you shall fall by the sword; because you have turned away from the Lord, the Lord will not be with you.” But they presumed to go up to the mountaintop. Nevertheless, neither the ark of the covenant of the Lord nor Moses departed from the camp. Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who dwelt in that mountain came down and attacked them, and drove them back as far as Hormah – Numbers 14:41-45

Fight the Battle the Way God Tells You to Fight it

God is the master strategist and tactician. His tactics are always right and always work no matter how crazy they sound. If He tells you to walk around the wall seven times, just do it. If he tells you to scream on top your lungs, just do it. If He tells you to tell a bunch of people to drink water and go up against a great army with 300 men, just do it.

Any deviation from the plan of God results in the withdrawal of God’s power. I don’t know about you, but I do not want the power of God to be suddenly removed while I am in battle – especially when I am outnumbered. If we want to be victorious in battle with minimal fuss, we must make up our mind that we are going to do what God commands, no matter what it takes to execute the strategy.

When the children of Israel first fought the Amalekites, they gained the upper hand as long as Moses’ hands stayed raised. No sooner did Moses’ hands drop, the Amalekites gained the upper hand. To ensure God’s strategy for victory remained in play, Aaron and Hur propped up his hands.

Why does God use such unusual strategy and tactics? I believe it  is because He wants to leave no doubt that victory is only possible with Him. Why does He want us to have no doubt that He is the author of victory? He does this because He wants to show us that we can trust in Him (have faith in Him) and surrender to Him, the one true and good God.

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: Faith is the key to victory. The proof of faith is obedience.

Application For Today

Though the enemy (Satan) is still on the battlefield (the earth), God has disarmed and surrendered him to us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Because of the victory Jesus has won on the cross, the enemy is like a barking dog with no teeth and no claws. The only thing that stops us from fighting such a dog is the belief that the dog still has some teeth and claws. Since God tells us clearly that Jesus has disarmed all powers and principalities (see Colossians 2:15), it goes that the only thing that stops us from victory is our unbelief (inasmuch as God’s will is for us to fight the particular battle).

When it comes to the enemy, God tells us to fight. He tells us to fight because He has already surrendered the enemy. Thus the only thing we have to fight for now is faith, so that we align ourselves with the plans of God in complete obedience. This is why we are told to fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12). We have to trust and belief (have faith) in what God has told us about the enemy and boldly go onto the battlefield to claim our victory (whatever that looks like). No more fear, no more surrender, no more retreat!

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: The circumstances and situations in life have no power over us BUT that which we give to them. It does not really matter what happens, we can have inner victory over them.

1 Comment

Filed under Victorious Living

What Makes a Woman Want to Submit to Her Husband?

I had the pleasure of attending two wonderful weddings in the past 30 days – one in the U.S and another in the U.K. On both occasions, the minister in charge made mention of the scripture where husbands are to love their wives and wives are to submit to their husband (Ephesians 5:22 – 28).

Being good sports, both couples took the advice and everything went as planned. Yet it was clear by looking at the expressions of quite a number of the ladies in the congregation that the statement had gone in one ear and come out of the other. From my conversations, it is clear to me that a substantial number of women toil with the issue of submitting to their husband. And should they somehow wrap their heads around it, it is nigh impossible for them to fully wrap their hearts around it.

What it Means To Submit

When the bible tells a woman to submit to her husband, it does NOT mean that the woman is to be a slave to every one of her husbands whim and wham. The word ‘submit’ itself is a complex word that can be broken down into two components: ‘Sub’ which means under AND mission. In other words, for a woman to submit to her husband is for her to come under the mission of her husband.

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: For a wife to submit to her husband is for her to come under her husband’s mission

What is the Husband’s Mission?

Now before any man goes ‘yeah that’s right, God said my wife must come under my mission’, God in His providence does not leave what the mission of the husband is to chance. He tells the man  his mission is similar to the mission of Jesus Christ.

What was Jesus’ mission? His mission was to love His bride (the church) by giving His life for her (putting down His crown and taking a lower position to the point of laying down his life) in order to marry Himself to her so that He might provide spiritual leadership over her ( that is to cleanse and sanctify her by the washing of water by the word) that she might become what she was predestined to become (holy and without blemish).

So what is the Husbands mission? Once the Husband and wife are wed (for that is the only way he becomes a husband), his mission is to marry (join) himself to his wife in love by taking the position of a servant leader who provides spiritual oversight over his household for the express purpose of propelling her to be all that she was to made to become. It is not about him. It is about her!

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: First comes the wedding, then comes the marriage.

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: For a wife to submit to her husband is for the wife to come under her husband’s God-given mission, which is to be a servant leader and provide spiritual oversight for the purpose of having her become all that she was meant to be and for her to fulfill her destiny.

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: When a man is truly on mission, a woman starts to gravitate towards that most noble mission and desires to come under it (if she loves herself).

What About When He is Not on Mission

A wife is told to come under her husband’s mission, she is NOT told to come under her husbands omission (mission that has been omitted or aborted). Whenever the husband is operating outside of the mission God has prescribed to him, he is no longer under mission but rather he is under omission.

It is like when the prophet Jonah went to Tarshish instead of Nineveh – Instead of being on mission, Jonah was on omission. Now if Jonah had made some missteps while on mission, this is different from going the opposite way. Similarly, a wife is to come under the mission of her husband and must learn to forgive some of his missteps along the way ( for he is not perfect) just as he forgives her for not always coming under his mission (for she is not perfect).

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: If Christ’s mission was not good and profitable for us, no one would submit to it. No one would have faith in Him. The same goes for the husband. If his mission is not good; if he is walking in omission, then no woman will willingly submit to Him.

Pitfalls of NOT Loving and Submitting

Failure of a Husband to Love: It is interesting to note that the Fall took place because Adam did not provide spiritual oversight for Eve. If he had provided such oversight, he would have intervened the moment Eve accepted the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil from the serpent. He would have snatched the fruit and said “Now wait a minute, God said we are not to eat from this tree. We are out of here! And don’t let me see you talking to my wife again serpent, lest I lay hands on you.”

Note: At this point Adam had dominion over everything – including the serpent. He could have easily dismissed the serpent but he decided to surrender his leadership and oversight. The result is that he and the rest of his offspring suffered.

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: When a husband does not follow his mission, he hurts himself and his family

Failure of Wife to Submit: There is no better example of a wife not coming under the mission of her loving husband than this: We who are the bride of Christ (the church) do not always listen and obey Christ (our Husband) though everything He does for us and wants for us is good. See, God has wed himself to us (the church) yet he is trying to get us to come under His mission (submit) by faith so that we may experience the fullness of His love. When we do not come under God’s mission, we hurt ourselves.

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: When a woman does not come under the mission of her loving Husband, she hurts herself.

Hence we see that the only way to avoid real hurt in a marriage is for the husband to love his wife and for his wife to submit to her husband. It is truly a symbiotic and life-giving relationship.

Food for Thought: The marriage compromise is that the husband surrenders to love his wife (instead of loving himself and preserving his own life) and that the wife in turn surrenders to come under her husband’s mission (instead of walking in her own mission).

2 Comments

Filed under Relationships

8 Things That Christians Should Never Say

I AM A FAILURE

You became a new creation when you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior (2 Corinthians 5:17). If you have indeed accepted Jesus, it is no longer you who lives but Christ who lives in the real you (Galatians 2:20). Since we know that the Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of power, love, and sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7), and we know that the fruit of that Spirit consists of love (Galatians 5:22), then it goes that love lives inside of us. Why is it important to know that love lives inside you? It is important because love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8). So if Christ who is love is living in you, and love never fails, then it goes that you are not a failure. Since your identity is now in Christ, you should never again identify as a failure.

You have to be able to separate the results of what you did from who you are. In fact for the believer, there is no such thing as failure, the only thing that exists is results. Moreover, the reason any of us fails is because we chose not to do things God’s way. When you do things God’s way, you do things love’s way. Though love’s way may at times take you through trials and tribulation, you can rest assured that the end result is victory and success.

If you want to know more about love’s way, I implore you to mediate on 1 Corinthians 13: 4- 7.

I CAN’T

Henry Ford is famously quoted as saying those who believe they can and those who believe they can’t are both right. If you believe that you can’t, then it is likely that you have turned many opportunities into traps and many stepping stones into stumbling blocks. It is likely that you take decisions based on security and reality – playing it safe all the time and never disturbing the waters of familiarity.

As a believer, you are not meant to live by the reality that you see around you.  Though you are to acknowledge it,  you are meant to live by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7). If you focus on reality, your focus will be on the way things are. If you focus on faith, then your focus will be on the way things should be. In that sense, all progress requires faith! To make my point, just imagine what the world would look like today if the cave man never saw beyond his present reality.

Remember this: Faith can but fear can’t

You and I are meant to live by faith (Galatians 2:20). We are meant to achieve great things to the glory of God. To live by faith requires that we trust and believe in God’s ability no matter what.

Therefore it is not a question is of if you can or can’t, it’s a question of how strong your trust and believe in God is!

I AM A NOBODY

The moment you accepted Jesus is the moment you were adopted into the family of God (Ephesians 1:5). In that moment, you took the name of God and gained access to all the power and privilege that the name commands. Since God is the King and you are now a son or daughter of God, then it goes that you are now a prince or princess. Moreover, you are not just a prince and princess of any earthly king, you are that of the King that made the heavens and the earth.

So for you to say that you are a nobody is to misunderstand who you have become in Christ. You are not just somebody but you are a very important body. You were born again not only to receive eternal security but to rule and reign in this life. Isn’t it time you started to live your true identity?

I AM POOR

The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it belongs to Him (Psalm 24:1). If that is the case and you and I have become heirs of God and co-heirs with the Lord through adoption (Romans 8:17), then you and I are very wealthy indeed. Now just because you and I are not enjoying the fruit of our inheritance just yet does not mean that we are not wealthy. In Christ, all the resources that we could ever need are available to us.

Yet here is the thing: God will only entrust his riches to those good stewards that will carry out His purpose. God will not give you and I something we do not have the character to handle. If we do not have the character to handle wealth, then wealth becomes an instrument of destruction and not of blessing. God loves us too much to allow that to happen. So instead of saying I am poor, the best question to ask is where can I make a tangible change.

IT IS IMPOSSIBLE

Since Christ tells us that nothing is impossible for those of us who believe (Mark 9:23), Impossible is a word that you should remove from your vocabulary. While it is okay to say in humility that it is impossible for you, you should follow it up by saying nothing is impossible with God. Since Christ lives within you and I, impossible things can and will flow through us through faith-full action.

So stop saying that it is impossible for your situation to turn around. Stop saying that no one wants you because of your situation. Stop saying that it is not possible for your relationship to be mended. We serve a God who specializes in the impossible.

Do not let your unbelief be the reason you are not seeing the manifestation of God’s power in your life.

I AM PHYSICALLY UGLY

God says that we are wonderfully and fearfully made. While God spoke the worlds into existence, we are told that He formed us (Genesis 2:7). This means that He took His time to craft you and I. He decided what you should look like and He set your features especially as He liked it.

For you to say that you are ugly is to say that God has made something that is imperfect. The only reason you think that you are ugly is because you have gone away from God’s standard of beauty and imbibed that which has been made popular in your particular culture.

Friend, the only thing that makes you and I ugly is sin – both as persons and in person. That’s it.

IT IS TOO LATE FOR ME

To say it is too late is to give up on God. God never gives up on us so we should never give up on Him. There is nothing we have done or can ever do that God cannot redeem.

No matter what you have done so far, it is not too late. Just because you have written a few bad pages, chapters or have written a horror story so far does not mean that you cannot change the story around. Simply hand the pen of your life to Jesus and watch how He turns your story around. With God it is not over.

If God can perform a miracle through Elisha after his death, realize that even death does not end the impact of your life. So do what you can now even if you have a few days and watch your story live on forever through the people you touched.

We serve a God that may tarry but is never late (Habakkuk 2:3).

I HAVE NO FRIENDS

No matter how many earthly friends leave you – perhaps because of what you did or what you did not do – I want you to know that you will always have a friend in Jesus. His friendship does not hinge on your behavior but hinges on who He is. So do not allow the enemy to tell you no one loves you and cares about you. It simply is not true! Jesus is a friend who loves at all times (Proverbs 17:17).

Now Jesus is your friend but are you His friend? Have you accepted Him into your world? If not, then today is your day to ask Him into your heart. Now here is the cool thing, the more you become a friend of Jesus (love), the more you will find that real friends who are loving gravitate towards you.

In Christ, you are never alone!

Leave a comment

Filed under Inspiring, Victorious Living

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

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized, Victorious Living