Tag Archives: Obedience

Dear Christian, Who Bewitched You To Leave Goshen?

Intro

The people had hitherto seen a more curious sight. The magicians could not explain it and the wise men were lost for words. A man slapped himself just in case he was dreaming. But this was no dream, this was reality. What is going on he cries out aloud!

Just like every other Egyptian, while this man could not believe the severity of the plagues that was devastating their land, what was more unbelievable was that all this pestilence that had come out of nowhere did NOT touch the land of Goshen. It was as if there was an invisible barrier around Goshen that prevented all these plagues from entering.

History

If you know some bible history, you may remember that Goshen was a piece of land within Egypt where the the Children of Israel settled. After suffering under the hand of Pharaoh who had put them to hard labor, the voice of their cries reached God and He in turn decided to send them a champion called Moses who would save them from the rule of Pharaoh.

Light-bulb moment: Real and lasting change starts with crying out to God.

Moses was a messenger from God who came to put Pharaoh ‘on notice’ but Pharaoh did not like it and hardened his heart…to the chagrin of his subjects who experienced the hardships of the plagues.

Light-bulb moment: We have a choice between pinning our hopes on the ruler of this land or the ruler of the land of our heart.

Application

Of the many fascinating things about the story, the one I want to point out is that though Goshen was nestled within Egypt it did not experience the craziness that was happening with all the plagues. It was as if though it was in Egypt, it was not a part of Egypt. It seemed as if the rules of Egypt did not apply to it. It was as if Goshen was a kingdom within a kingdom. While the citizens of Egypt experienced the full effects of the plagues, those that belonged to Goshen were fully insulated from the effects of what was going on around them. Because of this, unlike the citizens of Egypt who complained about what was happening around them, those in Goshen had no cause for complaint.

If you consider the parallel between then and now, we see that land of Goshen represents the kingdom of God while the land of Egypt represents the kingdom of the world.

Implication

Friends, we ought not  to operate in the world system but operate in God’s system, for although we are in the world, we are not of the world. This means that though chaos and pandemonium may be all around, there ought to be calm and stillness where we live, for we live in Goshen.

But I am afraid to say that this is not the case lately where I live. In fact, the opposite seems to be true of those who are supposed to belong to Goshen (us Christians). Everybody is up in arms and complaining about something – making enemies of their friends based on man-made ideology. Forgetting that our battle is not against flesh and blood but against unseen forces.

Why is this? It is because we have strayed outside of the land of Goshen. When we stray outside of Goshen, the laws and rules of Goshen cease to apply but those of the Kingdom of Egypt do.

Light-bulb moment: When we desert Goshen, people stop seeing us as Goshenites but start to identify us as Egyptians. Instead of being set apart, we get stuck in place.

It Is Time To Go Back To Goshen

To get back to Goshen requires that we seek the Kingdom of God. If we seek it, we will find it. Yet if we are to find it, we need to know where to look.

God tell us that the Kingdom of God is within us. This Kingdom was given to us when the Holy Spirit was given to us. So we see, the Kingdom was sanctioned by God and negotiated for us by Jesus (through his sacrifice). And since the Holy Spirit is its custodian, there is no enjoying the benefits of the Kingdom without walking in the Spirit.

Light-bulb moment: We can’t work our way into the Kingdom of God, we can only walk  our way into it.

This is why Jesus said ‘it is good that I go’. By leaving, he was able to leave us a Helper and a guide who would guide us into the kingdom – a place where we are free of the plagues and pestilence of this world. Jesus left so that we that we could be indwelt by the Spirit not only for eternal salvation but also to experience the Kingdom life right here on earth. That is good news!

What We Are Seeing Today

What we are seeing today is a direct result of not following the lead of the Holy Spirit. When in our pride and stubbornness we decide we know better than the Holy Spirit, we step out of the Kingdom and start to operate in the world system. When this happens, we find out that we begin to pin our hopes not on God but on  whoever is ruling. And of course four years later we are not satisfied and want change again – whatever it is – only to be dissatisfied again.

Light-bulb moment: The kingdom life cannot be obtained through legislature. It can only be obtained through obedient surrender to God

What Should We Do

The bible says we will eat of the good of the land if we are willing and obedient. It does not put stipulation on who is where, what they are doing, and why they are doing it. This means that whether we experience the kingdom life or not ultimately depends on us and us alone!

Light-bulb moment: Disobedience to the voice of God is what got us where we are. Obedience to the voice of God (and not of man) is what will get us where we want to be.

What if we had applied ourselves when He told us to; what if we had gone to school? What if we had listened?  What if we listen and obey now!

Friend, lets choose to follow the lead of the Spirit today and obey his promptings. All he wants to do is lead us into the kingdom life – a life of love, joy, and peace. A life of nothing missing and nothing broken. A life that paid for by giving his own life.

Therefore, let us not expect any man, woman, political party, or otherwise to give what only God can give us. To do so is to set ourselves up for disappointment.

Food For Thought: I am the only one who can decide to leave the hell of Egypt for the heaven of Goshen.

 

 

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How Can I Get Doors of Opportunity to Open for Me?

Called and Chosen to Execute – Bezalel

For a minute imagine that you are an architect. What a great honor it would be if the pope asked you to build the next great cathedral or the Queen of England asked you to build her a castle! It would not only be a great honor but it would the opportunity of a lifetime. Your name would be immediately stamped in history and people would read about you and get to know your works long after you were gone. Moreover, you would not have to worry about finding work anymore, and financial worries would be a thing of the past.

This is exactly what happened to Bezalel. Once day, Moses called out to him and told him that God had selected him to build His (God’s) house.

I bet the other skilled architects must have wondered within themselves, why Bezalel and not us; we are just as highly skilled as he is! Not finding a suitable answer to this question, it would not surprise me if many of them simply put it down to luck. But luck had nothing to do with it.

Luck hardly ever has anything to do with being chosen. What may look like luck is usually the hand of God in action.

I reckon many of them were called to be great architects. I would wager that many were filled with the spirit of wisdom, ability, knowledge, understanding, and intelligence in all works of craftsmanship. Yet, only one was called by name (chosen).

If you have been filled with the Spirit of God, then you have been filled with the spirit of wisdom, ability, knowledge, understanding, and intelligence to prosper you in everything you do. It means you have the ability to be called by name just as Bezalel was called by name. Even so, to be chosen you must not just have the ability of Bezalel but you must have the character of Bezalel.

To have ability is to have potential; to be chosen to fulfill potential requires character

Bezalel’s Character

Honesty and Integrity: Large sums of gold, silver, bronze, and clothing were required to build God’s house. Bezalel knew how much of each material was needed to build the house to specifications based on his skill. When the people started to bring more material than was required, he promptly told Moses to tell the people to stop the collection (Exodus 36:5-7).

Bezalel could have stashed away some of the superfluous material for himself. He could have colluded with the other artisans to make a profit. But he did not do this. He did not allow his eyes to become greedy nor did he covet the gold and silver. His thinking did not become selfish. He did not say: what am I getting paid to do this work? He did not convince himself that it was his right to take of some of the collected material. He did not want to defraud the people of their belongings by continuing to collect unneeded supplies.

Would you have done the same if you were Bezalel?

Patience  and Obedience: Moses looked at the work Bezalel did and saw that he had done it just as God commanded, therefore Moses blessed him (Exodus 39:43). Since we know that the children came to the wilderness of Sinai in the 3rd month after the start of the journey out of Egypt (Exodus 19:1) but the tabernacle was not raised until the 2nd year of the exodus (Exodus 40:17), we see that it took a while for Bezalel to be paid for his work. He did not know he was to be paid and was only paid after the work was completed. Thus the honor of doing the work in obedience to the will of God was enough for him.

Can you say the same? Are you focused on what you have been called to do or are you focused on the blessing?

Moreover, he did not doubt the instruction that Moses gave him. He could have said to himself, I know a better way to do this work, let me change this and change that. No! He let God be God, forgot about his own opinion, and did exactly what God commanded through Moses. He would have missed out on his blessing if he had not obeyed without adding or subtracting a thing.

Is this you or do you mix your own way with God’s way?

Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it – Deuteronomy 12:32

Good Steward: Moses only saw what Bezalel made when he brought it to him (Exodus 39:43). Thus the only way Moses knew how much gold and silver was used (Exodus 38:25) is because Bezalel was a good steward of all materials used. Bezalel was an overseer of the work that was being done and ensured that nothing was wasted.

Are you a good steward of everything God as given you? Are you a good steward over your time and resource? Are you disciplined enough in your stewardship?

The way we answer these questions will ultimately determine whether we reach our full potential or if our lives will be summed up by could have, should have, and would have!

Food for Thought: Dedicate yourself to honesty, integrity, patience, unwavering obedience to God, and good stewardship and you will see great doors of opportunity swing wide open for you.

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Meekness – The Secret to Inheriting the Earth (Conclusion)

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” – Matthew 5:5

Jesus is the ultimate example of a man who walked in meekness. He was completely surrendered to the leading of the Holy Spirit to the point that He only spoke only what the Father spoke and did only what the Father did (see John 14:10). He did not question, when the Holy Spirit told Him to venture into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He chose not to disobey when the Holy Spirit then told Him to make His way to the cross to be mutilated and killed. Furthermore, Jesus makes mention of His meekness as written in the gospel of John where He says:

I am able to do nothing from Myself [independently, of My own accord—but only as I am taught by God and as I get His orders]. Even as I hear, I judge [I decide as I am bidden to decide. As the voice comes to Me, so I give a decision], and My judgment is right (just, righteous), because I do not seek or consult My own will [I have no desire to do what is pleasing to Myself, My own aim, My own purpose] but only the will and pleasure of the Father Who sent Me – John 5:30 (AMP)

Importance of Meekness

It was love-driven humility (meekness) that made Jesus the most successful man that ever lived.

In three years of being led by the Spirit, he changed the course and history of the world, undid the wages of sin which Adam unleashed on the world, defeated sin and death, reconciled us to God, made available to us all covenant blessings and promises of the New Covenant, and inherited all kingdoms of the earth.

Thus it is no wonder Apostle Paul encourages us to have the same mind which was in Christ – the mind of humility and obedience.

  • Meekness is important if we are ever to take possession of the honor; riches and life that has already been made available to us (see Proverbs 22:4).
  • Meekness is important if our prayers are to be answered (see Daniel 10:12).
  • Meekness is paramount if we are going to live victoriously here on earth (see 2 Chronicles 7:14)

It is no wonder Apostle Paul tell us to put off self-imposed rules and regulations which is cloaked in false humility (see Colossians 2:18-23). While false humility has the appearance of being good and is usually lauded by the world for it aims to please the world, it profits absolutely nothing.  True humility on the other hand usually finds the persecution of the world because it puts God first and always, goes against the herd mentality, and is the road less traveled. Even so, it is what makes all the difference in our existence and allows us to fulfill the purpose of God for our lives and to reach the destiny God has in store for us.

Conclusion

A lack of understanding of what is means to be meek (humble) has unfortunately made a mockery of the words of Jesus when he says the meek shall inherit the earth. This is because the world’s definition of meekness has to do with what others think about of us instead of what God speaks to us. As a result, too many people are trying to gain the favor of man by walking in false humility instead of walking in the grace (favor) of God by walking in true meekness.

To be truly meek requires that we let go our own will and completely submit to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. When we do this, we find that we are able to walk just as Jesus walked and we are able to become successful in life just as Jesus was successful. Moreover, just as Jesus was given all the kingdoms of the earth as an inheritance, we find that we also inherit the earth. Indeed, blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

 

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Called and Chosen to Leadership – Joseph the Husband of Mary

The relationship between Joseph and Mary was orchestrated by God to achieve His purpose. Joseph was chosen to be with Mary because he was a ‘just and devout’ man who completely surrendered himself to the voice of God. Unlike the Prophet Jonah, he was a man who carried out the instructions of God without hesitation and without retort no matter how uncomfortable it made him feel. His obedient to love (God) was instant and unquestionable

If you know the story of Joseph, then you know that he cared about what God thought above what everybody else thought. He was a man who put his confidence in God. He was a man who neither considered the unrighteous judgment of man nor paid attention to his own fleeting and changing emotions but was devoted solely to God. He simply did not talk about putting God above man, but had the seemingly rare quality of actually walking that talk.

Light-bulb moment: The most important thing in choosing a partner is choosing someone who will obey the voice of God above all else – even above our own selfish wants and needs.

See, Joseph had to believe the unbelievable. He had to take the word of God over the reality of the present situation. While common sense and reality dictated that Mary was no virgin – for she was pregnant – Joseph chose to believe Mary and angel Gabriel.  Can you imagine the ridicule Joseph faced in his community? I am sure ‘foolish’ and ‘stupid’ are some of the choice words that many people used to describe him. Can you imagine the number of people that must have pulled him aside and given him ‘wise counsel’?

Quite frankly, Joseph must have been the laughing stock of his time – if not for staying with Mary, then for believing in Mary’s story and paying attention to his own ‘imagined’ vision. Can you fathom the humiliation Joseph endured especially in those times? Thankfully, Joseph knew that the foolishness of God is greater than the wisdom of man (1 Corinthians 1:25)

In truth, what Joseph made up his mind to believe was and is still unprecedented! What about you? Would you believe it if someone who was pregnant told you they were still a virgin? I certainly know I would have my doubts even if I had a dream about it. But Joseph was a man who truly trusted God; a man of great resolve!

Light-bulb moment: History making often requires believing the unbelievable!

Imagine what would have happened if he had not promptly obeyed the voice of God to leave Bethlehem for Egypt? His family would have unlikely escaped the murderous hand of Herod and perhaps another woman would have had to be chosen for the Immaculate Conception. Thankfully Joseph obeyed and so led his family into a foreign land. In reality, his obedience to the word of God is what ultimately destined him to be immortalized in the bible.

Light-bulb moment: Our obedience to God is the key to fulfilling our destiny

How unbelievable that God decided to place the fate of the savior in the hands of Joseph; He placed the fate of the entire world on the leadership of one man. He did not place it in the hands of a rich, resourceful, and powerful man who commanded armies and could easily provide protection. Instead, He placed it into the hands of a simple carpenter with modest belongings BUT who would not be swayed by public opinion. He put it into the hands of a true leader!

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: A true leader is someone who submits himself to following the will of God. In reality, leadership is easy when all we are doing is following the instruction of God.

The story of Joseph also shows us the heart of God. He chooses to use man to accomplish his purpose. He does this not because He wants to share His glory but because He wants His glory to be reflected to other men so they may be drawn to Him. See, it may be that when other men see that God favors us and see His work through us that they are directed to Him – it is when they want to know him.

If we want to be chosen to fulfill something great, we have to prove ourselves to be completely surrendered to the will of God just like Joseph. Just like Joseph, we have to care not for our own thoughts or the thoughts of others, be people of great resolve and character, and obey God’s voice promptly!

Light-bulb moment: The key to being chosen by God is not our ability but our availability.

See, God chose Joseph to shepherd Mary because He knew the character of the man. My prayer is that we all grow to be Joseph’s; to be completely in love with God so that we are not simply called onto greatness but that we are chosen to achieve it.

Light-bulb moment: As children of God, we have been called to greatness. It is out love for God that determines whether we are chosen.

Food for Thought: You may be with the person you are with to achieve a greater purpose in life

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3 Reasons Why Prophesies Fail! (Reason 2) – Unpredictable Response

I dont know why my prophesy is not coming to passThe instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it – Jeremiah 18:7-10

Did you know that it is possible to change God’s mind about the word that He has already spoken? The passage of scripture quoted above certainly proves that it is possible. How do we do it? God tells us that our disobedience or obedience is one way for us to change His mind about what He has already spoken. Another way to do is through the petition of a righteous man.

Reason 2: We cannot predict people’s response to prophesy

We have to be careful about judging a person a prophe-liar when what they have prophesied has not come true. Why? This is because the fulfillment of prophesy is in part due to disobedience or obedience of the person, people, or nation to which the word applies. Remember that prophesy is the word of the Lord.  At times, this word from God is simply a warning aimed to get a change of behavior or heart so that God may relent. At times, the word is an unchangeable proclamation! Either way, both of these are words from God.

In essence, prophetic words are words that foretell what God has planned for us. But just like when Abraham intervened on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah, we may be able to petition God to change his mind on what he has pronounced. Remember that God was going to destroy these cities for their unrighteousness, but Abraham was able to talk God down to looking for a few righteous men. Sadly, even this was too much to ask.

Now, if the example of Sodom and Gomorrah does not grab you, for God destroyed the city anyway, what of that of King Hezekiah? Prophet Isaiah brought the word of God to Hezekiah that he was going to die (Isaiah 20:1) from his illness. Not wanting to die, Hezekiah petitioned the Lord for His life and lo and behold, the Lord changed what He had planned. We see in 2 Kings 20:5 that the Lord extended Hezekiah’s life because of His prayer.

This shows us that God puts loving mercy and grace above prophesy. He wants us to give Him an occasion to relent and speak new words of life over us. What a loving Father! This is why Paul tells us that while prophesies might fail, love never fails!

Even Jesus had to take obedient action to fulfill prophesies about Him – He had to be obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit. See, God will never take away the free-will He gave us just so that prophesy is fulfilled. No! He is more in the business in convincing us that His prophetic words are profitable for us to act upon. This action may be confessing our faults, petitioning him, or acting in obedience.

For every word of prophesy from an individual to be fulfilled regardless of obedience requires God to disregard justice, mercy, and his other attributes. He will not do that! Furthermore, He loves us too much to take away our free-will so that every word of His would be fulfilled. If He did that, He would be a tyrant and not a loving-King.

Food for Thought: We have to move a muscle to enter into the good things God has already spoken over us.

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3 Keys to Take Hold of Your Birth Right

Morning Sunrise near BellingenWhile the Lord had already given the promised land of Canaan to the Israelites, they still had to take possession of it (see Jeremiah 32: 22 -23).  Just as Israel had to take possession of the land God gave them, we also have to take possession of all the victory and glory that has already been won for us on the cross of Calvary. See, God has already paid the price for us so we may live heaven or earth and attain all the covenant blessings. It is now ours by birth-right – by being born again of His Spirit. Yet, many of us constantly forfeit our birth-right simply because we do not know how to take hold of it. How much it must hurt God to see us refuse His blessings.

So how do we take hold of our promised land (heaven on earth)? We take hold of it the same way that the Israelites took hold of their promised land – through faith and obedience, and by patience and prayer. And unlike the Israelites, we make sure that we keep our promised land by refusing to revert back to disobedience. We have to maintain an attitude of letting go and letting God.

Faith and Obedience

In the battle of Jericho, the children of Israel were successful because they obeyed the commandment of God by marching around the city seven times and by blowing their trumpets so that the city walls would fall. Think of how silly the commandment of God must have seemed. Some may have said, ‘Do what God? You mean to tell me that if I march around this city and blow my trumpet, that this wall, this great wall that is more than twelve feet wide is going to fall.  You are very funny God!’ But Joshua was well trained and understood that no commandment of God is silly. His faith was strong in the Lord and he had seen the power of His might beforehand. He knew He had to do just what God told him if the walls were to fall down and if they were to take the city.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Victory is not about our logic, thoughts, or feelings. It’s about faith-filled obedience to the word of God.

Patience

Looking again at the battle of Jericho, can you imagine the complaints against Joshua? ‘Come on Joshua, this is silly’, they must have said. ‘We have already walked around this city six times and nothing has happened. Instead of wearying us by walking, why don’t we build up our strength to take this city in battle?’ While it is tempting to revert to our own ways when we do not see the result of what God is telling us instantly, it is best to stick with what God has told us even if it means going around the same mountain many times. Remember, it took 21 days for the angel of God to reach Daniel because the Prince of Persia withstood him (see Daniel 10:12 – 13). Likewise, patience is essential if we are to take hold of the blessings God has for us. Remember, it is by faith and patience that we inherit the promises (see Heb. 6:12).

Prayer

After the victory at Jericho, Israel decided that they no longer needed God. They allowed success to get to their heads and so did not go to God in prayer prior to sending out an army against the puny city of Ai. As a result, they tasted defeat and lost men in battle. Oh, how too many of us leave God after He has granted the desires of our hearts. The story of the battle at Ai is a warning to us that we lose every time we forget God and take matters into our own hands.

If only Joshua had asked God (prayed) concerning what to do before he sent men to battle at Ai, God would have beforehand revealed the sin that existed in the camp (see Joshua 7:10 – 11). But no! Men had to die before God was sought after.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: We suffer unnecessarily when we leave God out of our lives. Just as prayer was the first thing that went out of the window after the victory at Jericho, the erosion of a prayer life (not when asked) is always the first sign that we have begun to rely on our own strength.

To conclude, the keys to take hold of what is rightfully yours by birth are as follows:

(1) Seek God in prayer

(2) Obey His voice no matter what

(3) Patiently wait for the victory that is already yours.

When you do this and do not turn back, you ensure you spend all of your days in the Promised Land rather than be cheated taken into captivity by the king of Babylon (Satan). Satan has stolen too much from us. It’s time to take back what is ours!

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5 Steps Towards Greatness (Part III) – Preparation

The pyramid of Khephren (Khafre)If we want to be great, we have to follow the example of the great One; we have to follow in the footsteps of the one who was chosen to be great. I am careful to use the word ‘chosen to be great’ because although Jesus was called to be great, as a man, He had to show Himself worthy to be chosen! It was not until He had proven Himself worthy that everything was given into His hands (see John 13:3). Although God called Jesus to save humanity (see John 3:16) and then proceeded to equip Him with the Holy Spirit (see Matthew 3:16), God had to test Jesus before releasing Him unto His ministry. If you do not believe me, just read what the scripture tells us in the fourth chapter of Matthew.

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” – Matthew 4:1

See, it was the Spirit of God that Jesus the man was equipped with that led Jesus into the wilderness (into hardship) to be tested by the devil for the express purpose of seeing whether Jesus was ready for the mammoth task that was before Him. I love that Jesus did not shirk away from this challenge. Jesus did not complain, moan, and groan at the difficulty that He was going to face like some of us do when any difficulty come our way. Instead of complaining and perhaps ‘justifiably’ deciding not to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in going into hardship in the wilderness, Jesus simply yielded Himself to obedience.

Lightbulb MomentJust because things are hard does not mean it is NOT God. God never promised it would be easy, He has promised there will be victory.

But Jesus did not simply say ‘Oh, well! God is sending me into hardship! He sanctioned this and it is all down to Him to save me.’ Rather than simply throw His hands up in fatalistic surrender, Jesus embarked upon a period incredible preparation. The bible tells us that He fasted forty days and nights. He did this so He would be prepared for the test that was to come. Yes, the preparation took a lot out of Jesus, but it was the same preparation that made Him ready to combat the test the devil threw at Him.Without this preparation, would Jesus have failed the test in the wilderness? We will never know! Likewise, when we adequately prepare for our God-given mission, we will not have to undergo failure. We may undergo setbacks, but we will not fail!

Lightbulb MomentPreparation is vital if we are to enter into greatness; this part of the journey is solely our responsibility.

It is in preparation that most of us who are called miss the boat so that we are not chosen. Most of us are looking for favor; we want to be noticed by someone and be elevated without putting in the work to be noticed. Without preparing, we are found wanting when the test, which is simply an opportunity to show what we are made of, comes.

See, Jeremy Lin understood the importance of being prepared (being ready and staying ready). When he finally got His opportunity with the New York Knicks, He was ready to pass the test! He was worthy of what He wanted. Would he have been granted another opportunity? We will never know!

Lightbulb MomentPreparation is what makes us worthy of the greatness we aspire towards, therefore, we should stay ready for we never know when God says to us ‘it is your turn to be great’

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SuperChamp Musing – Law keeping or Word keeping

Is your robotic obedience to the statutes in the bible not bringing the desired result you expect? The problem may very well be that you are keeping the law instead of keeping the word. Have a listen!

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SuperChamp Musing – Saved But Not A Christian

If you think being saved and having a relationship with God makes you are Christian, think again! Have a listen to see the missing ingredient.

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The Mind of Christ – The Obedience That Wins

While humility, prayer, and seeking the face of God are the first three legs of our race towards victory, obedience is the power that pushes us across the finish line and unleashes the blessings of God in our lives. This analogy to the relay in track and field illustrates that obedience is only powerful when done out a heart of love – a heart set on humility which in turn leads us to prayer and seeking the face of God. If our obedient action is not motivated by love, then it is motivated by greed or by fear. Too many of us are obedient to God because we simply want to use Him as our cash cow!

 Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Cash cow obedience is not born out of love but instead is born out of our greed and self-seeking.

Jesus gives an example of obedience that does not please Him when he describes the people that put ashes on their cheeks to show they are fasting. Although they were being obedient to fast (for Christ says when and not if you fast), the motivation behind it all was the adulation of the people around them. In actuality, their action had morphed into a form of idolatry, with their god being the need to be recognized. Since the penchant to be glorified rather than give God all the glory comes out of fear (of not being good enough, or of rejection), we see that it cannot please God for it is not done out of love. This is why Cain’s offering was not pleasing to God; why Jesus called the seemingly perfect and obedient keepers of the law brood of vipers; why our obedience at times do not yield any fruit for us

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Obedience is simply a seed. Just like any other seed, it has to be sown into ground that has been fertilized by love to be effective and yield fruit

Since the opposite good is evil (wickedness) and anything that does not flow out of God (love) is no good, it becomes clear that the command to ‘turn away from our wicked ways’ is not simply talking about turning away from disobedience, but is also addressing obedience that is steeped in fear. Therefore, the only way to turn away from our wicked way is to turn to love. Why turn to love-driven obedience? We do it so that healing can take place in our life and we can have peace. See, while our obedience can yield fruit in other people’s lives, why we are obedient is what determines whether fruit is produced in our lives. A fantastic example of this is Prophet Jonah.  Although his preaching of the Gospel yielded the fruit of deliverance for the people of Nineveh, it produced bitterness in him because He was not obedient out of love. This is why Jonah asked God to take his life even when Nineveh was spared. Sheesh!

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: What we do determines whether other people are blessed. Why we do it is what determines whether we are blessed!

Once we have truly developed the heart of love behind obedience, the question is how do we put it into practice? How do we ensure we do not fall into the trap of looking at ourselves in the mirror and forgetting what we look like as soon as we leave – of falling into complacency? (See James 1: 23 – 24).

Some Practical ways to ensure we do not fall into complacency and into disobedience are as follows:

  • Read the Word (Give no place to the devil – Ephesians 4:27): We do this by arming ourselves with the sword of the Spirit (the Word of God). We have to get to the point where we are so filled up with the Word of God that it leaves no room for any junk to enter.
  • Have Accountability Partners (Bear one anothers burdens – Galatians 6:7): We help each other lift our loads when we do not forsake godly gatherings but keep each other accountable to lead a godly life
  • Stay Away from Ungodly Company (A little leaven leavens the whole lump – 1 Corinthians 5:11): We have to ensure we rid ourselves of the sin (leaven) that is leavening our lump. At times, that means we must distance ourselves from people who do not care to discard their sin for any leaven is infectious and has a tendency to spread. Once the leaven is removed, the fellowship may be restored. Note that the relationship was never broken.

Food For Thought: Those who love God obey Him because they love Him

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