November 28, 2010

How to leave the past behind and move on to fulfil your purpose in life

My day started with God assuring me that the blood of Jesus still flows to cleanse the sins of many that come to him. God loves so unconditionally that even the worst criminal stands a chance before him. As I thought about it, it occurred to me that sometimes when we err we come up with excuses why we can’t move on and the excuses are usually people oriented - what they said or what they will say.

I believe I have been placed on a pedestal where I do not belong by my family and people. Sometimes I wonder if I unconsciously initiated it. I do not know if I did because I have always thought I was being myself. So maybe I did or maybe I did not. However, I do know there are things I have done in secret people do not know and if they do know, they will be highly disappointed. If my Mum were alive, perhaps she would have still died if she heard of what her daughter has done and my father would have a heart attack! That’s how bad I think my sins were!

Then around me, some of my friends have done some things that have blown up on their faces and they have allowed these things to keep them from moving forward for years.  Yes, we have made mistakes but dwelling on them and allowing them to trap us retards our growth and hampers our destinies thereby nullifying the power of the blood of Jesus to cleanse, deliver and empower us to overcome.

God has taught me to look beyond my sins and mistakes and I would like to share what I have learnt with you:

·         Come to Jesus repentant
Although he died on the cross over two thousand years ago, his blood is still as effective as then to cleanse all sins. I have heard some people exclaim that their sins are so grievous they do not think God can forgive. Well, I am glad God is not man; he forgives all sins. So try him and you will encounter the love of God that never gives up on anyone.

·         Forgive yourself
For some of us, although God has forgiven us, we are still weighed down because we have refused to forgive ourselves. You become your own enemy of progress. When you don’t forgive yourself, it becomes challenging to relate and love others. One who is dark and gloomy cannot generate sunshine for another. If God who created you in his own image has forgiven you, why not forgive yourself? Only then can you begin to give him room to actualize your destiny. David in the bible took another man’s wife. He was rebuked; he repented and went on to do more exploits for God. Imagine if he did not forgive himself, would he be the man after God’s heart?

·         Learn from your sins and mistakes
Joshua did not consult God and signed a treaty with the gideonites who the Israelites were not to associate with. Imagine if Joshua has dwelt on that instead of moving on, the Israelites would not have conquered more lands. Accept your mistakes, learn from them and keep pressing on.

·         Don’t let your past prophesy unto your future
You have things God wants to do through you for your fellow men; you have places to go and you have a destiny to fulfil. Peter (the disciple of Jesus) denied Jesus three times; he repented; he was restored and signs and wonders followed him afterwards. Paul the apostle took delight in killing followers of Jesus but when he was arrested by the one he persecuted, he did exploits. His letters became the most part of the New Testament. God is a God of second chances. Why will you let your past put a halt to who you are called to be? The devil takes delight in keeping us down but the righteous must rise up after every fall. We are not destined to be down! We are to reign with Christ. So dust yourself and keep moving.

·         Initiate and develop an intimate and consistent relationship with God
A relationship with God grants rest for our soul and we have peace despite our past. As we get into deeper worship, we will not have time to maintain regrets because you will be thinking about him and how to please and serve him.

·         Focus on who God thinks and says you are
Your friends and families have told you how disappointed they are; they have called you names and perhaps some of them have walked away. You feel alone and hopeless. Take time off and find out from God who he says you are. If he calls you a saint, then you are a saint even if your closest buddy does not think so. God will work in you with your co-operation to make you who he says you are. Let people call you names while you hang unto God. Trust me, these same people who rejected you will turn around someday and speak well of you.

I have learnt that holding unto my past will not only enslave me but also others who are to be encouraged by my exploits to fulfil their dreams. So know it now! If you don’t move on from your past, the people you are to influence will also be affected.

Are you enslaved by your past? Avail yourself to the blood of Jesus, hang on to him, forget about people’s impression of you, let God do his work in you and be determined to fulfil your destiny despite all odds for only then will you be fulfilled.

October 25, 2010

Oh Faith!

Oh faith

Why are you so far from me
Why are you not simple to have
Yet you are what moves God
But you are not as easy as a hand wave

Things around me becloud my focus
My Father desires that I look to Him
He assures me that we are on course
Sadly, I am too restless to listen to him
Oh faith
Why are you so far from me

I try to fix my eyes on Jesus
One moment on Him, the next around me
I try to hold on to His word
One moment on the word, the next on me
Oh faith
Why are you so far from me

For each challenge that comes my way
I struggle with you and often am defeated
I look forward to when I shall all the way
Be triumphant though afflicted
Oh faith
Will I ever be full of you

Why are you and patience inseparable
Oh, how trying and worrisome it is to wait
Wait, I try but not for long am I able
Lord, help me to pray, believe and wait
Oh faith
Soon, I shall be full of you

October 18, 2010

How to overcome Temptation: using the temptation of Jesus as a case study

We are told by the scriptures we will not be tempted beyond our limits and even in the temptation, God gives a way of escape. I have yielded to a number of temptations that has come my way. Afterwards, I cast my mind back to remember the ways of escape that God provided which I did not take. Recently, God has made it clear to me he is dealing with flesh in me. Truly, I yield to temptation to satisfy the yearnings of the flesh.
Self or flesh is like a pampered child. A pampered child is allowed to have his way at all times even when the requests are not profitable. His parents imagine granting the child his requests will show the child they love him and also ensure his comfort. However, they get to know too late that the child’s character building is heavily hampered. The child may even turn and make life miserable for them. So when we continue to yield to the flesh, the spiritual part of us which should be our true identity is suppressed by the flesh.
Sin first comes as a temptation. The devil does not force anyone to commit sin. He entices, dangles sins and exhibits pleasures of sins but we can choose either to resist or yield to them. He did same with Christ but Christ chose to resist him.
As I studied the temptation of Christ, I realized we face similar situations:
The devil takes advantage of our weak moments
Jesus was hungry having fasted for forty days and nights and the devil took advantage of his hunger suggesting that he turned stones to bread. How many times has the devil taken advantage of our loneliness, lack of money, need for acceptance, background and unpleasant circumstances and tried to lure us into sin?
Identity and desires
I believe the devil must have heard God affirm Jesus as his son after Jesus’ baptism in River Jordan. And so he tried to lure Jesus to prove it... “If you are the son, command these stones to turn to bread. If you are the son, throw yourself down...” Do we really need to prove our identity? We are who God says we are. Period! If we try to yield to temptation to prove it, we are tempting God and it means we have not aligned with our God-identity. Then the third temptation relates to our desires. The devil pointed to the earth’s kingdoms and told Jesus he would give them to him if Jesus would bow and worship him. What are the things you want to have or achieve? How often have we tried to use ungodly ways to achieve them? How often have we bowed to other gods because we felt God was too slow with his provisions?
Pressure to live up to expectation
Sometimes we are placed on a pedestal by our design, families’ or friends’ and so we find ourselves struggling to live up to it. In some cases to live up to expectation may lead us to do ungodly things. There were pressures in Christ’s life to live up to who he said he was. One instance was on the day of crucifixion; people mocked him (including one of the criminals hanged alongside) “If you are really God’s son, save yourself, come down from that cross!” “Save yourself! Save us!” said the criminal.
How did Jesus overcome despite the tempting situations?
He understood his position
Jesus understood his position as the son of God who has come to earth to save you and I. He knew he could only achieve this by being blameless. Yielding to temptation would have rendered his sacrifice on the cross powerless. Although he was hungry, accepting the devil’s suggestion would have given devil a hold over him. Rather he chose to submit to God and waited upon him for supplies. Or imagine if he had listened to the criminal and save himself and the criminals hanged alongside!
I woke up to the realization that devil knows God has called me to be a teacher of the word in order that others may be liberated. So the devil had relentlessly lured me into sin to render me unfit. Indeed he succeeded for a long time because each time I attempted to talk about God he was quick to remind me of my sins; declaring me inappropriate for such an act. Thanks to God who never gives up on us. He opened my eyes to the schemes of the devil and I took a stand. So as Jesus refused to compromise his position in order to eat or save himself from the cross, let us do likewise. Compromising will delay or abort our visions.
He delayed gratification
I learnt the major root of sins is self gratification. Indeed Jesus was hungry but he delayed satisfying his hunger. When we don’t gratify the flesh, we open ourselves up for greater things. It was more glorious for angels to attend to Jesus’ needs than for him to accept Satan’s offer/suggestion. Forget yourself and look unto God, you will find both God and your true self.
He overcame by the word
The devil is so smart that one needs to be fully equipped with the word of God. Imagine if Jesus did not know the word, how would he have overcome? The devil attempted to quote scripture psalm 91 – Jump, God will give his angels charge over you so you don’t dash your foot against a stone. However, he was trying to entice Jesus to test God. Jesus understood that and so he quoted another scripture “Do not tempt the Lord your God” The word of God is a weapon against the enemy so equip yourself with it. You cannot survive or triumph without the word.
Once I asked God, “how can I give self a decent burial?” I heard in my spirit, “Start by starving it”
We cannot attend to every cry and craving of self and submit to God at the same time. So let us starve self so that God may increase in us and accomplish his purpose in and through us.

October 10, 2010

We may not be comfortable with everything but let’s choose to serve God all the same

Do you ever ponder over certain things in your life and wonder why you can’t have a smooth ride. Why should there be hitches at every phase of life? Why do I have battles that make me question the essence of my existence? I have loads of things about life I do not like. However, I have gotten to a stage in my walk with God that I believe there is no place to go from him even when I may not fully understand the following:

Unanswered prayers

The scriptures make us understand he does not withhold good things from us yet some of our prayers are not answered. Perhaps like me you wonder if it was something you had done wrong or you asked with the wrong motive. There are times I do a self-check and I find it has nothing to do with me. When I decide to look for solutions in the wrong places, I complicate my situation not knowing God is trying to teach me patience by not answering when I want him to. He takes his time to do everything right.

These days I am learning to cast my mind back to remember that indeed the one who sees the end from the beginning knows what is best for me and in the end everything will turn out for my good including unanswered prayers. I remember when I wanted to travel for postgraduate program in UK; I did pray but I was not granted study visa. Then I was upset with him for not coming through for me. But when I changed location for study, I realized indeed he had my interest at heart and in the end all glory will go to him.

So know that unanswered prayers does not mean God did not hear them or he is trying to punish you but it could be he is teaching you patience or he has something better in store for you.

Difficulties and frustrations

When I think my day is unbearable, I turn to God and ask, “Is it a crime for a day to go smoothly? Must there be hitches and hiccups on the way?” Well, you may have to watch your prayers if you don’t want challenges. I have come to realize that I get what I ask for. Let me explain. When I asked God to teach me how to be calm in crisis, he brought crisis my way. Then it dawned on me I can’t learn how to be calm in crisis without crisis. When I asked God to teach me how to love, difficult people came my way for me to learn how to love.

So I have learnt difficulties and frustrations are there to shape me in line with the life of Christ though I still have not embraced them fully. So learn with me and see challenges on the journey as one of the things God uses to shape us and help us to conform to his image.

Trials and temptations

When you come to Christ, you are told you are free to live for him; old things have passed away and a new life begins. Yet you find yourself still battling with the old things. You pray and pray but they won’t just go away when you want them to. You find yourself battling with the flesh unending. Well, as much as we may not like to be in constant battle, it seems it is part of the journey. As long as we are in this world, devil is never going to leave us alone and interestingly God allows it. Why?

Perhaps you discovered your troubles increased when you gave your life to Christ. When you were a sinner, you were probably not persecuted. Everything may have been going on fine. But when you surrendered to him, hell was unleashed on you and God allowed it. Why?

Trials and temptations are part of the unwritten contract signed when we surrendered to Christ. Even Jesus was tempted and tried. As much as we may not like trials and temptations, our Lord suffered and so we should not expect anything less. However, the good news is that no unbearable trials or temptations will come our way. God is always there to help us through them showing us the way of escape. But the problem with you and I is that we don’t always take the way of escape and sometimes we choose not to listen to the voice showing us the way. God is ever ready to fulfill his promise. So surely we can overcome trials and temptations.

Evil around us

I don’t understand how a human being can kidnap another person’s child and provoke emotional disaster. I don’t understand how a human being can be brave enough to take another person’s life. I don’t understand how a human being can work hard to destroy another person’s business. I don’t understand the height of evil around me. Perhaps you may have asked as I have, “God, where are you and all these things are happening? How could you allow all these to happen when you can prevent them?”

However, the evils around us do not negate the truth that God is good, loving, compassionate and merciful. God loves the evil doers and so he is patient with them so they may know him.

Furthermore, is it possible evil abounds because a number of God’s children are yet to manifest? Although we profess to be of Christ, our lives show that we are still hanging unto our old ways. So how can people around us change? We have not been salt for people to taste godliness nor have we been the light for people to see God’s colours. Indeed in situations where Christians have been Christ-like, lives have changed. I believe that the more Christians are truly who they are called to be, the less evil around us.

Remember above all, as much as we may not like everything God brings our way, he is working all things for our good. So whatever is happening you are not comfortable with, look to God and trust him to explain why things are the way they are. There may be lessons to learn or perhaps God has something better coming. It’s like a pregnant woman with morning sickness, decreased immunity and other discomforts but when she delivers amidst the pain, the baby overrides the pain.

We may not be comfortable but let’s not run away from God. Let us understand that despite the discomforts we are better in him than out of him.

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Image by Bsilvia @ dreamstime.com

October 3, 2010

Understanding putting off old life and putting on new life

I was stung by Colossians chapter 3 yesterday and so I spent time trying to comprehend it. Verse 4 talked about my old life being dead and my new life being in Christ; then in verse 5 I am told to put to death everything related to the old life. So I wondered; if my old life is dead and I have a new life in Christ what do I have to put to death again?
The questions
Verses 5 -8 listed some of the old ways which include sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires (described by The Message as doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it), greed (grabbing whatever attracts your fancy – The Message), anger, rage (irritability), malice, slander and filthy talk. I believe I have the new life but I know I still see some of the old life in me. I know I am in Christ and the scripture says if I am in Christ, old things have passed away; behold the new has come. So why are old things still within my flesh? If old things have gone, why am I being told in Colossians to put them to dead? Then from verse 12, I am told to put on compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline, patience and the list goes on. When I gave my life to Christ, did not the old die and new life given to me? Why do I notice the old more than the new? I made up my mind to continue to meditate on Colossians 3 until I am convinced it is woven into my cells. So as I pondered and asked questions God began to explain to me:
Pictorial explanation
Imagine a slave whose master informs he is no longer a slave but a son having access to the wealth of the master. The master gets him a new set of wardrobe but every morning the ‘slave turned son’ wears his slave clothes. He wears his slave clothes out of habit. For more than 10 years, he has thought, spoken and behaved like a slave. Although he has been given a new life, he is still on automatic drive. His mindset needs to be altered and this may not happen overnight. For him to begin to wear his new wardrobe, he had to make a conscious and deliberate effort. He has to understand the change of roles, learn how to talk and act to depict his new role. Furthermore, to ensure he wears his new wardrobe, he may choose to help himself by burning his slave clothes. In fact it may not be advisable to keep any clothes for memorial because he may wear them someday. Also, keeping any slave clothes may slow down the process of speaking and acting like a son.
The process
When the scripture says we have been given a new life, it means a fresh start. We have to make a deliberate effort to put off the old life and embrace the new life. We had our old wardrobe of impurity, anger, hatred, unforgiveness and more. This old life has woven itself into our cells. However, God has placed before us a new set of wardrobe which includes gentleness, humility, compassion, discipline, forgiveness and patience. We have to dress in the new wardrobe. The new life needs to be woven into our cells thereby displacing and flushing out the old life.
Putting off the old life and putting on the new life is a daily process – daily walk in the spirit and daily death to self. Imagine your physical wardrobe; only a few of us if any can change our wardrobe at once. It is usually a gradual overhaul. However, if you tuck the old clothes somewhere around, someday you will pick them and wear. But if you give them away or burn them, you will no longer have access to them. Putting off the old life can be instant in some areas of our life or can be gradual. However, focus on putting on the new wardrobe God has for you. Consciously put on the new wardrobe daily and with time it becomes an unconscious daily activity. As you continue to do this with focus and intentionality, you will realize with time the percentage of your new wardrobe is far higher than the old wardrobe. This summarizes the process of perfection in Christ.
Practical Example
This morning as I was getting ready to go to church, a few things went wrong and I was unhappy and irritable. Then I heard in my spirit (having been meditating on Colossians 3), “Irritability! Don’t wear it!”
I responded, “Yes Lord.”
When I responded in affirmation, I began to relax. So I stripped off the old cloth (irritability), wore a new one (quiet strength) and I felt good.
Conclusion
It dawned on me that we do not manifest as the children of God because we do not apply what the scriptures say. It is meaningless hearing or studying the word without applying it. For us to put the old life to death we should understand that:
·         We have been empowered by Christ when we yielded to him and his grace is available for us.
·         We must be willing to give up the old life. If we set out to strip and burn the clothes of the old life, we are free to live as Christ has called us to live.
·         We must prayerfully put off the old life; then embrace and put on the new life. For it is not by our strength but it is God who energizes us to live for him. So seek his help
·         Obeying at every step ensures you conquer more grounds.
And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your all basic, all purpose garment. Never be without it (Colossians 3:14 –The Message).
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity (NIV).
Therefore, if God says put off the old life, it means he has given us a fresh start, leverage and wardrobe for the new life. It is up to you and I to burn the old clothes; accept and wear the new clothes custom-made by our maker and lover. Our lives, families and the world will be better as we begin to manifest as children of God.
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Image by greyman @ stock.xchng

September 26, 2010

The benefits of confessing our sins one to another

Free Stock Photo - Beautiful woman praying Every Christian is familiar with confession but it is certainly not an easy thing to do especially if it is a sin the family or society frowns at. At most, some of us would want confess only to our father in heaven. Have you ever wondered why you keep crying unto God to deliver you from your sins and it seems you got no answer? It does not mean God is not willing to help; however, some of his principles ought to apply:
Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed... (James 5:16a; The Message)
 
To confess means to acknowledge openly your sins. For James to advocate this, it means it has benefits one should not ignore if one sincerely wants to live a godly life and be a true representative of Christ. When I confessed my hidden sins, there are some benefits I observed which I would like to share with you.

Avoidance of public humiliation
God is so loving he will not allow you to continue to live secretly in sin for long. Indeed he is patient and will continue to nudge you to take the necessary steps required for your deliverance. But if you continue to allow the flesh to hinder you and not take action, he will allow you to be exposed so you can be helped. If you feel the consequences of public humiliation will be grievous; then go look for someone to confess your sins to. 

The hold of Satan is broken
When a sin becomes a habit, it is an indication the sin is ruling your life. You find yourself going on and off the guilty lane. This happens because of self centeredness - the strong desire to satisfy the cravings of the flesh. Furthermore, the devil thrives in secrecy. So no matter how hard you try to help yourself you do not succeed because of the hold of the devil over your life. When you allow Mr. Self not to let you tell someone because you believe you will be condemned or you are seen as spiritual and so no one must know about the hidden sins, then you hinder yourself. However, when you confess, you expose the devil, breaking his hold over your life and with help from other Christians; you are on your way to victory.

Power of agreement
I remember when I was sick and I would keep praying alone, my healing was not made manifest. However, when my mother prayed with me, I received instant healing. There is power in agreement. By yourself you may be overpowered but with a friend you can defeat the enemy (paraphrased - Ecclesiastes 4:12). This is also confirmed by another scripture which says ‘how can one chase a thousand or two put ten thousand to flight...(Deut 32:30 NIV). Yes you have been praying concerning your sins but when you and the person you will confess to pray concerning the hold of Satan over your life, its impact is more in the spirit realm. 

Healing and growth begins
From the book of James, it is clear and even sounds conditional that when we confess our sin, we are healed. The NIV version of the bible says we should confess our sins to each other and pray for each other so that we may be healed. So that is a clause used to indicate purpose or give explanation. What is the purpose of confessing to one another? The purpose of confessing to one another is for us to obtain healing. Healing is explained by strong concordance to also mean wholeness. Hence open confession activates cleansing and wholeness.

It encourages trust and support
Confession of sins one to another builds trust in relationships. A number of us are able to handle offenses in relationships better when the offender tells us than when we find out or a third party tells us. It is more profitable in a relationship if you are open about your weaknesses the devil may take advantage of. When you are open, it tends to be less of a habit because you know someone knows. Because of accountability, you are less prone to sin and less of a target for Satan to control.

Ability to continue with God’s work
When I had hidden sins, I was always hesitant to minister lest the demons expose me by saying “Jesus I know; Paul I know but who are you?” I found out I could not correct anyone because I felt I had not moral justification to do so. I knew who God said I am but I could not agree or appropriate because I felt really unworthy. I felt hopeless, helpless and hypocritical; a person bearing the name – Christian - without power. Confession enables you to step into your God-given destiny without fear or guilt. It empowers you to minister to others as God has directed – casting out demons, healing the sick, teaching and encouraging people in the path of righteousness.

The journey to victory begins
 When I confessed my sins and the person prayed for me, I saw in my mind’s eye someone walking out through the door. I believe it was the devil walking away defeated. Now I feel I am free to live, be and love God. However, I know it shall be like in the case of Satan tempting Jesus. It was stated the devil retreated but was waiting for another opportunity. I know the battle for my mind may continue but the bible provides solution for me to overcome. I shall be alert and continue to live daily in God’s presence. My mind shall be renewed by saturating it with the word of God. If I guard my heart, victory is certain because that where life starts - thoughts become words/actions, actions become habits and habits become character.

Therefore, confessing our sins one to another is the beginning of our journey to victory. If you try to avoid the beginning of a journey and decide to start from the middle, you will continue to struggle with sins on the way and may never get to the finish line. 

Remember, the devil will continue to have his hold over you if you don’t seek help. Do not allow your flesh to hinder you. Go today and confess to your pastor, pastor’s wife, an elder in church or whoever you can be accountable to so that you can be made whole and be a true representative of Christ.  

I would appreciate your comments. How else can one benefit by confessing openly? 
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Image by Roman Milert @ dreamstime.com

September 19, 2010

If you know you sit in heavenly places with Christ Jesus, what will change?

God reminded me of his word in Ephesians 2:6; “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,” (NIV)

And as I began to meditate upon this, it became clear that I am not acting like one who is sitting in heavenly realms with Christ. So I asked myself, “What should change in your life if you begin to appropriate what God has said in his word?”

As I thought about it, four distinct things that should change came to my heart and I want to share them with you.

You will gain authority

If you are sitting in the heavenly realms with Christ, it means you are reigning with him. You have gained authority not to gratify your flesh but to do exploits for God. God wants to work though you and I to achieve his purposes on earth. As one who sits with Christ, you ought not to be timid but bold exerting God’s influence in your environment. You become the leader people look up to. You will not be a leader that dictates, manipulates and threatens; you will be a servant-leader. Your authority is purpose and people-driven and not for any selfish interest. Remember, Christ is your role model. He led by example and he served his disciples.

You will not fear the powers of the dark world

By sitting with Christ in heavenly realms, you are above spiritual forces of the evil one. As long as you are in agreement with Christ and his word abides in you, evil forces cannot pull you down. You have power over them and so you do not need to fear them. You would not need to introduce yourself to them; rather they will tremble in your presence. Hence, you can break their hold over your life and the lives of people around you. You will step forward and begin to heal the sick, cast out demons, raise the dead and draw men to God.

Your lifestyle will show it

Anyone sitting with Christ will think like him. You cannot be sitting with Christ and have a different mindset and behaviour. You will not meddle in things God disapproves. If you are a partner in a company, you will desire the success of the company. You will not sell out to your competitor no matter how enticing. Remember, you are a partner, not an employee. You are in partnership with Christ which will necessitate your total devotion. Dining with the devil at intervals will expose you to his darts and slow down progress of the heavenly projects you are involved in. So your lifestyle should align with the word of God (Jesus). One way to help your lifestyle align with Christ is to spend time with him and he will reproduce his character in you.

You will be calm in crisis

In the scriptures, we never read that Jesus panicked. He slept through the storm. He knew Lazarus was sick but he took his time. It was not that he did not care but God had to be glorified through Lazarus’ resurrection. When there was no food to feed the people, he simply asked, ‘What do you have?” The day he was arrested, he did not worry about himself. Rather in the midst of his ‘danger’, he was busy restoring someone’s ear. Christ said there shall be trouble but we should take heart for he has overcome the world. We are sitting above our problems and as we abide in Christ, we have dominion over them. Worrying and panicking over our problems will not solve them. However, we can call forth peace and joy from our position in heavenly places.

You may be thinking, “I have been a Christian for a while but my mindset and attitudes have not changed much to indicate my position with Christ”. Well, in the words of George Eliot, “It's never too late to be who you might have been." You can set the motion for change today.

First, agree (believe and respond) with the word that says those in Christ are sitting with him in the heavenly places. Then, focus on Christ, your model because you are who you behold. As time progresses, with intentionality and focus on your part, you will notice you are operating from the heavenly places.

If you sit in heavenly places with Christ Jesus, whatelse will change? Please leave a comment.

September 12, 2010

Sit at my feet and learn from me




Lately, there has been a longing for more of God and at the same time, I pondered about my slow walk with God. Then a sentence dropped into my mind:
“Sit at my feet and learn from me.”
As I continued to ponder, I remembered the story of Mary and Martha.
38 -40As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. "Master, don't you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand."
   41-42The Master said, "Martha, dear Martha, you're fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it's the main course, and won't be taken from her." (Luke 10: 38-42. The Message)    
Then I began to have a grasp of why my walk with God was slow. I have allowed the pressures and pleasures of this world to distract me. Even being involved in the church has given one some form of deception. Like Martha, I have become busy with secondary things. I have allowed these secondary things to take the place of God in my life.
As I continued to meditate on ‘sit at my feet and learn from me,’ God began to throw more light on it:
When a child’s father comes home from work, the child will run to the father, sit on his lap and ask for a story. You will know that the child listened to the story when you hear, “Daddy said...”
Then I imagined, “Fine! I will sit on my rug daily and study the word” Then I sensed in my spirit, “It is not just the physical sitting but also the spiritual sitting”
How?                                                                                                                     
Make out time
Martha was busy running around to ensure every visitor in her house was fed and comfortable while Mary chose to shut out other things competing for her time and sit at Jesus’ feet. There are times when the first thing that occurs to me is to sit at my masters feet; then I remember the kitchen needs to be tidied up, I have a deadline to meet, I have work assignments that were overdue and the list would go on. I guess you know what I would do. You are clever! I would forget about Jesus and attend to these secondary things and would blame him when my day does not go well. But Jesus, ever so loving is encouraging me now to take Mary’s approach – seek God first. Make out time to spend with him daily.
Listen
As stated above in the scripture, Mary was hanging on every word Jesus said. I guess you would have experienced a situation whereby you are talking to someone about something important and after a while it becomes clear to you the person is not listening. Listening is not only hearing but also internalizing and comprehending what is being said. Listening requires full attention, keeping an open mind and good auditory memory (ability to listen and remember).  God is encouraging us to give him our full attention when we sit at his feet. He does not like approaches such as hit and run or for the record purposes. He wants us to come to him in all sincerity and patience to learn from him.
Meditate
Meditation is defined as continued or extended thought; reflecting or contemplating upon a thing, situation or word. Meditation means to churn the word over and over again. Musing over the word we have heard or read expands it and we receive more revelation making it much clearer for us to follow. Mediation helps to engrave the word in our hearts. So I understood that God expects me to meditate on his word after I have heard it or read it.
Apply
Having meditated upon his word, the next step is to apply it. God is not looking for hearers of his word but doers.
22 -24Don't fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don't act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. (James 1: 22-24. The Message)
The more we act on what we hear, the closer we get to him and the more he reveals.
Repeat the steps daily
Imagine a child who usually runs daily to her father for stories; as she grows she begins to feel she knows enough stories to last her a lifetime. Then she declares her independence. I remember those days I would remind my father I was an adult so he should stop treating me like a child. I wanted to do my own thing when and how I chose. The same way our earthly parents keep seeing us as their children despite the fact we may have children of our own, we are children before God. If you declare your independence from God, you lose the essence of living. So the steps above: make out time, listen, meditate and apply should be enshrined in our lives till death.
Behold, ‘sit at my feet and learn from me’ has been expanded as above. And when this dawned on me, I worshiped God feeling honoured he has exposed his word to me.
Then I sensed him saying, “It is because you sat at my feet”

September 6, 2010

Why can't I trust him?

                 
                  
                     Hitches make me ponder
                     Is God still in this?
                     Obstacles make me shudder
                     Will I ever achieve this?
                     Why can’t I trust God?

                  
I worry so much that my head aches
Every move or attitude by someone is suspicious
I think so much that my heart aches
Every word by someone is suspicious
Dear Lord,
Why can’t I trust you?

Doubts fill my heart
Discomfort and anxiety dislodge my anchor
My aches and sadness beclouds my sight
Lord, in you shall I find succour
If only I can trust you

Worries help me not
Anxieties make me restless
Worries strengthen me not
Anxieties make me fruitless
Yet, why can’t I trust God?

O my father
Help my unbelief
O my Father
Grant me relief
Help me to trust you

Your promises are there
For me to hold onto
You are ever so near
I must draw near too
I must trust you

For you take no pleasure in they that do not trust you
But your delight is in they that rely wholly on you.

August 22, 2010

How I can have more of God and less of me

Yesterday, I read Matthew 5:3;

"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule." (The Message)

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (NIV)

I have heard 'more of God less of me' in songs and its been preached. But when I read it in The Message, I paused and thought about it. So Ndidi, since you have been hearing this, is self dead in you? Can you now say there is more of God and you have submitted to God's rule?

Then I turned to God today in prayer asking how there can be less of me so there may be more of Him and his rule. I sensed in my spirit these words:

"Declare daily you submit to God's rule; resolve to obey every instruction without rationalizing and giving excuses. When you begin to obey every instruction even when they are not convenient, the domination of the flesh begins to decrease"

Strong's concordance describes submission as a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility and carrying a burden.

So despite the flesh's (self) attempts to keep dominating, if I can submit to God's government, allow myself to be trained to obey him (which he is willing to do) at all times, accept that he knows the best for me, depend on him and not myself then there will be more of him and less of me.

It all boils down to total surrender; not in measures but wholistically.

August 19, 2010

He is ever so patient: So should I

I have come to realize that God's patience towards me does not run out. It does not mean he supports evil but it means he is giving me room to change. He also searches my heart and knows that I sincerely want to be who he wants me to be - a true representative of him

However, I believe he also wants me to be as patient as he is (with me) with my colleagues, family and neighbours. This means when someone offends me, I should not blow my top. God does not when I displease him. He loves me and encourages me through my shortcomings. So he expects me to treat my fellow men as he treats me.

I get quite impatient with people especially when they are slow in taking corrections. I also can't stand difficult and proud people. However, I have to learn to rebuke tenderly and show the way in love.

Its not going to happen overnight but I will pray about it each day and take baby steps which I know if I am consistent will become giant steps.

Please pray along with me and let me know how you deal with people that get on your nerves.

August 15, 2010

His love never gives up.

A chorus of a song sang in church today went thus:

Your love never fails
never gives up
never runs out on me

Indeed, the song reassured me of God's unconditional love for me. And while we worshipped, I sensed God reaching out to me and asking me to come to him. He is ever ready to receive us more than we can imagine. We self-condemn ourselves, walking about with guilt while God has opened the door of freedom. He expects us to walking in through the door to him appreciating the great sacrifice undertaken by Christ.

So if Christ does not condemn us but loves us unconditionally, why should we condemn ourselves?

I have chosen to respond to God's giving, invitation to freedom and I have set out on the journey of knowing him. What about you?

August 12, 2010

A walk to Repentance: Part II

Last post on 'a walk to repentance' was more of questions.

And as I pondered on the questions I asked myself, I decided that going back to the basics may do me some good. I began to think I may have been building my life on sand and so whatever I tried to build gets blown away by the wind (or even the air from a child's mouth!)! Terrible! you would say!

So to the basics I have gone. I went ahead to buy 'The Walk Series - A walk to repentance' by Steve Gallagher. Its a 24 week guide to personal transformation and its my desire that after going through it, I will be transformed.

Now, because of my work schedule, it becomes difficult to follow it day by day and I was beginning to feel pressured. So I decided I would not struggle to study it as it is. Its a daily study for 24 weeks which means there is a study for Monday, Tuesday etc. However, I miss Tuesday studies because of my work. So I decided not to worry about the days and study page by page instead. And so far, its been great learning about submission, authority and accountability.

It became astounding when I went to church and a lady gave me a word of prophecy. She said God was taking me back to the basics; like a child learning how to wear her dress, tie her shoe lace etc. It dawned on me that deciding to go back to the basics was from God himself.

What the prophecy has done is I now have it on my subconscious that I will not quit the walk series no matter the challenges I face. Furthermore, I am confident that this journey I have embarked on will be a fulfilling and indeed a transforming one.

August 8, 2010

The devil only dangles sin

I woke up in the morning and wished I could sleep some more. On a Sunday morning, it was quite tempting but I dragged myself off the bed and got ready for church. I felt I may miss out if I did not go to church and I was glad I did.

One of the pastors shared her one month experiences at the Bethel school of worship. Afterwards, we arose and worshipped God. While we were worshipping, I found myself focusing on God's love and mercies upon me. I did not think I deserved them for I had displeased him times and times. I personally was not pleased with myself and as I discussed with him about it, he showed me a picture.

I saw a man standing, his face was not distinct but he held in his hand what looked like a pendulum and kept swinging it. He stood at a distance, not too far but at the same time did not attempt to draw close. He kept swinging the pendulum and I moved towards him to take it from him.

Then God explained that the devil dangles sin and I am the one that takes it from him. He does not shove it down me but dangles it. I look at sin for a while, then I reach out and accept to commit it.

What struck me and broke me was that the devil did not move. I did! As I thought about it, I realized that I can chose not to sin. The devil will dangle sin alright, but when I choose not to dwell on what he is dangling, then it is possible not to take action in that direction.

The death of Jesus on the cross has broken the chains of sin and so I am no longer bound. I have been set free to live a godly life and I can live a godly life. The devil will swing sin in front of me but he does not have the power to force me to commit it.

However, I also realized that dwelling in God's presence and focusing on him will help me not to set my thoughts on sins that the devil swings my way. Although I can choose not to sin, it is my continual dwelling in God's presence will ice my choice.

Indeed today I felt like someone whose chains have fallen off; like someone who was blind but can now see; and like someone who was ignorant and has gained knowledge.

August 2, 2010

A walk to Repentance: Part I

Are you hesitant about saying how long you have known Jesus as your Lord and Saviour?

Well, If you are not, good for you. I have been and am still hesitant to tell how long I have supposedly known Jesus. I keep feeling that the years are not commensurate with my level of growth and intimacy with him.

My shortcomings are still glaring and there are still foxes. The little foxes seemed to have grown to big foxes. Shockingly, some foxes I did not know before I encountered Jesus have appeared (or should I say have been born?).

Then I ask, "What happened to the scripture, 'old things have passed away and all things have become new'?"

I once asked a friend as we discussed our battles, "Is the flesh greater than the spirit?"

I asked another, "Why is my growth so slow? Why am I such a slow learner?"

Why do I yield to the flesh so often? God has made a way of escape for every temptation, why on earth don't I take the ways all the time.

These are my ponderings and answers will be welcomed.

July 29, 2010

All I need is God

While I was studying 1 Peter 5, verses 6-7 and 13-14 stood out:

6 -7So be content with who you are, and don't put on airs. God's strong hand is on you; he'll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.

13 -14The church in exile here with me—but not for a moment forgotten by God—wants to be remembered to you. Mark, who is like a son to me, says hello. Give holy embraces all around! Peace to you—to all who walk in Christ's ways (The Message).

It made me realize I may be on a fruitless journey when I choose to be independent of God. I could have less frustrations, make better decisions, fret less and prosper if I could hand myself over to God and trust him to know what to do with my life.

The Church in exile was not for one moment forgotten by God.

As I studied and reflected, I turned to God and said, "All I need is You! In you I have everything. If I can solely rely on you, all things will fall into place..."

Then I sensed God said, "I know. And I don't need to be convinced. However, are you convinced that all you need is me?"

Do you want to know the truth?

I did not answer. I realized it was not enough to say it but my thoughts, attitude and actions should imply it. It got me thinking and I am still churning it. I know that the more I meditate on it and have it engraved in me, every atom in me will be convinced that all I need is God and it will reflect in my attitude.

Are you convinced that all you need is God or do you have other life lines?