The chief implication of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection is the glorious reality that everyone who believes in this substitutionary sacrifice becomes "the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:21 AMP tells us so clearly:
“He made Christ who knew no sin to [judicially] be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we would become the righteousness of God [that is, we would be made acceptable to Him and placed in a right relationship with Him by His gracious lovingkindness].”
The implication of this is that all the many blessings in the bible both in the Old and New Testaments, which are supposed to be exclusively for "the righteous" can now be enjoyed without restrictions for as many as have truly placed their faith in Jesus and accepted His offer of salvation.
Below are some of these scriptures and declarations that affirm them in our lives:
1. Proverbs 10:30 Amplified Bible (AMP)
The [consistently] righteous will never be shaken, But the wicked will not inhabit the earth.
I enjoy divine stability this year and beyond in every area of my life this year. I am not shaken. Because I trust the Lord, I am like Mount Zion which can never be moved, and which abides forever. Nothing moves me. Nothing shakes me in Jesus’ name. Amen.
2. Psalm 92:12-15 Amplified Bible (AMP)
The righteous will flourish like the date palm [long-lived, upright and useful]; They will grow like a cedar in Lebanon [majestic and stable]. Planted in the house of the Lord, They will flourish in the courts of our God. [Growing in grace] they will still thrive and bear fruit and prosper in old age; They will flourish and be vital and fresh [rich in trust and love and contentment]; [They are living memorials] to declare that the Lord is upright and faithful [to His promises]; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
This year and beyond, I flourish abundantly. I am irresistibly useful in my generation and to my world. God’s majesty and stability find ultimate expression in my life. I am planted in the house of the Lord, therefore anything that is not permitted in the presence of the Lord is not permitted in my life. I grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Son of God. I am a living testimony to continually declare the great and wondrous things that God’s limitless power is capable of doing. And the promises of God to me are fulfilled without fail in Jesus’ name. Amen.
3. Romans 10:11 Amplified Bible (AMP)
For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him [whoever adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him — the righteous] will not be disappointed [in his expectations].”
My expectations for this year and my future shall never be cut short. I am not disappointed in my glorious expectation of a glorious future. The Word of the Lord concerning this season of my life and every subsequent season comes to pass in full. And great shall be my joy in Jesus’ name. Amen.
4. Psalm 37:25 Amplified Bible (AMP)
I have been young and now I am old, Yet I have not seen the righteous (those in right standing with God) abandoned Or his descendants pleading for bread.
I perpetually enjoy the abiding presence of my Father. I am never forsaken and never abandoned. I am never in lack for my ever-present-Father sustains me. I have life and have it more abundantly in Jesus’ name. Amen.
5. Proverbs 24:16 Amplified Bible (AMP)
For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, But the wicked stumble in time of disaster and collapse.
Whenever I fall, I rise again. Every and any voice of condemnation directed towards me is eternally silenced. My accuser is put to shame because I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Never are my mistakes fatal. The mercy of God continually refuses to let me go. And I fall deeper and deeper in love with my saviour in Jesus’ name.
6. Proverbs 28:1 Amplified Bible (AMP)
The wicked flee when no one pursues them, But the righteous are as bold as a lion.
I am bold and courageous. Nothing scares me. As a king, I have what I say. Power and authority back up my words. My dominion is enforced. And the devil is put to shame in Jesus’ name. Amen.
7. Psalm 37:29 Amplified Bible (AMP)
The righteous will inherit the land and live in it forever.
In this year and always, I possess my possession and dispossess those who have dispossessed me. Healing is my inheritance — and I possess it. Sufficiency is my inheritance — I possess it. Favour is my inheritance — and I possess it. Excellence is my inheritance — and I possess it. Prosperity is my inheritance — and I possess it. I am the head and not the tail. I am above only, moving upward and forward only, never downward or backward. I am all that Christ says I am in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Surely, there are more. But these are a few I-am-righteous verses and declarations which we can always return to again and again.
Author's Note: This post was first published in May 2013 shortly after the UTME results for prospective University students in Nigeria were released. At least three of the young chaps whose stories were told in this post are presently members of the AMG family. Happy Reading!
I looked at all of them-all 7 of them. They were full of questions. A good number of them saw their UTME results right in my presence. 189. 154. 160. 148. 128. 053. Woeful scores. Only one of them had above 200-he had 226. I knew they were full of questions-anyone could tell. And since I spoke with them a night before their examination, I thought it wise to gather them together again and speak with them now that the results have been released.
"Before we progress, does any of you have questions-for God-for me-or for us?"
I'd hardly asked when their hands shot up in quick successions.
"Pastor Kola, before the exam, God told me to work for Him as I prepare for the examination. That was why I joined the Ushering Unit. And just before the exam, He gave me a reassuring word from 2 Corinthians 1:20 that His promises are 'yea and amen'. So how do I explain the 128/400 score?" Sincere questions from Sister Ruth.
"My own question is this: 'why must I score 154?'" Who has an answer for Brother Faith?
"Pastor, see, that night when you spoke to us about maintaining our integrity in the exam hall, I went to the examination hall the next day and did just that. Cheating in my hall was 'free', yet, I maintained my integrity, faced my work and got out when I was done. So is 160 the reward of my faithfulness?" I felt for Brother Gideon.
And what about Sister Mary? She was at a ministration the night before the exam, and according to her, the Pastor's wife of the church where she ministered had even called her out and prophesied success into her life after the ministration since she sacrificed her time for God. And what was the end-result? 053. (Only her English result was released).
They were all full of questions. Understandably so. (I know my Western friends would find this absurd. Whatever scores they got is what their efforts amounted to. If they had prepared a bit more, then they would have had better results True. I absolutely believe so and in my estimation, these guys didn't prepare well enough. But in my country, what translates into a good result goes beyond your preparation. There seemed to be a spiritual dimension as well to these things. There must be.)
Before I proceeded, I asked a question, too.
"How many of you think that deep down inside of you, there is perhaps something that you did or didn't do that could have led to this undesirable result?" And my! How they all had one such thing or the other. Fear and Doubt topped their list. And that became my starting point . . .
I'm not writing to those that failed UTME, or at least, didn't get satisfactory grades. No. I'm writing for people who felt they deserved something better than what they currently have or are going through. I'm writing to anyone that has ever felt disappointed by God like these teenagers that I Pastor.
If you cheated and failed, congratulations! If you cheated and you passed, watch how your life will be fast-forwarded in your very eyes only to enter an automatic rewind at some junction in the nearest future. And your latter end shall be worse than your beginning. But if you are God's child and you've felt cheated by God (or still feel so), to you I write, UTME or no UTME.
The qualification that earned me the boldness to speak with such people is because I've been there.
Was it not God that gave a nod of consent to the trip I embarked upon with some colleagues in 2009? A trip to a wedding turned out to be a trip to the bush, to the hospital, to the police station, and to the cemetry-to bury a dear brother.
Was it not God that spoke to my church through a prophetical message years back that one of our Elders that was sick and hospitalized will be restored only to hear later that night that the man is late?
Where was God when BCH 304 results were being compiled and in a curios series of events, my name was tagged with the grade 32F? (after the Course Coordinator had generously buffered every student's score with an additional 5 marks)
Truth is, we've all been there-where our questions are more than the answers we get. But these few things I know:
1. I ACTUALLY DON'T "DESERVE" ANYTHING FROM GOD.
On what basis do I deserve an 'A'? On what basis do I deserve to go on a trip and return safely? On what basis do I deserve to have my prayers answered? . . . but for His Grace and Mercy-both neither merited nor deserved!
But maybe you quite agree that you don't deserve anything from God and you're already a customer of His Grace, then you might be asking, why didn't His Grace and Mercy speak on your behalf? Why was the grade so poor when you are a candidate of His Grace? Why did you have to lose that beloved relative or friend despite your prayers of mercy and grace? Then I have a second reminder:
2. I CAN ONLY RECEIVE ANYTHING FROM GOD ON THE BASIS OF FAITH!
James 1:5-7 comes to mind.
James 1:5-6 KJV If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
Verse 7 says "A person who has doubts shouldn't expect to receive ANYTHING from the Lord" (God's Word Translation).
Someone said it this way: "Feed your doubts and your faith will starve. Feed your faith, and your doubts will".
Have you truly received His grace by FAITH? Have you prayed for that desired result WITHOUT DOUBTS? Have you decreed your desire in FAITH? If your answer is "YES", then I can't help but wonder what you understand by FAITH . . . and that leads us to the next point . . .
3. FAITH IS NOT THE BELIEF THAT GOD WILL DO WHAT YOU WANT. IT IS THE BELIEF THAT GOD WILL DO WHAT IS RIGHT.
Faith is not the believe that you will pass because you want to pass; faith is the believe that God has got your life in His hands and is free to use any tool He desires (even failures) to shape it into the best life it can be. Faith is the believe that ALL THINGS indeed work together for the good of God-Lovers!
And when the limits of faith seems exceeded, just TRUST! While faith believes that God can do a thing and hopes that He does it, Trust believes that He can do it, hopes that He does it and also understands that EVEN IF HE DOESN'T, HE IS STILL GOD! (Daniel 3:17).
In conclusion, I may not have an answer to the questions of my teenage friends that I spoke with in my office yesterday . . . but I'm sure of the fact that God does not disappoint. Anyways, life is life. Earth is earth. Heaven is heaven. And I've learnt to lower my expectations of earth. This isn't Heaven, so I don't expect it to be.
And I'm sure, anyways, that you weren't an accident. You weren't mass produced. You aren't an assembly-line product. You were deliberately planned, specifically gifted, and lovingly positioned on the earth by the Master Craftsman. You are the only you God made … God made you and broke the mold. You are unique! So the past does not have to be your prison. You may have written UTME 5 times, but you still have a voice in your destiny. You have a say in your life. You have a choice in the path you take. And you can sit with God and plan out the next 1 year of your life. Or the rest of it altogether. Affliction shall not arise a second time.
Remember, God loves you just the way you are. With your 053 or 226, he loves you. He loves each one of us like there is only one of us to love . . . but He refuses to leave us that way. He wants us to be just like Jesus. And He goes to any extent to get that done. He uses any tool to make that happen. Failures, successes, delays, speed, good news, bad news, and JAMB. Yes, JAMB.
Why not let go . . . and let God!
And who says that low score of yours can't get you an admission this year?
Who says that genotype can't change before tomorrow morning?
Who says that sack letter can't be revoked tomorrow by another letter calling you back with promotion?
Never you forget; IMPOSSIBLE is one of God's favourite words!
I celebrate your New Found Hope!
Author's End Notes:
1. UTME is UNIFIED TERTIARY MATRICULATION EXAMINATION which is the examination that Nigerian Students write in order to gain admission into an institution of Higher Learning. It is anchored by JAMB-Joint Admissions Matriculation Board
2. I found it interesting that about two years after this post was published, all the guys whose stories were told had gained admission into one tertiary institution or the other-except the guy that scored more than 200. Indeed, the race is not to the swift…
#iRemember is a daily mentoring retrospective look at Chronicles of our past—my wife and I—drawing life lessons from past experiences. It is exclusive to members of Alive Mentorship Group—an online mentorship platform for young adults across the world that provides an avenue to learn practical life lessons across geographical barriers. If you will like to be a part, just click hereand/or get added to the Telegram group here.
For the first time in my life, I’m celebrating Christmas as a dad—the proud dad of a seven-month-old namesake of Jesus. (Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua, Jeshua, and Jehoshua). And the interesting fact that my name is Joseph (same name as Jesus’ earthly ‘dad’) has inspired me to think through some parallels between these last seven months of my life and what it must have been like when God became a baby. My findings stretched my boundaries on the humanity of Jesus.
I love Joshua. Like all babies—in fact, all humans—he poos. (His poo tends to be so colourful and beautiful that his mum calls it ‘Vitamins’ ?). He wees. He depends on his mum for food. He speaks baby language. He smiles a lot. And, yes, he cries, too. Eleos and I have watched him grow in seven months through different phases (a major one being the onset of the teething phase). He has gone from being the cute little quiet baby that rarely cries to becoming the (still cute) energetic playful little lad that rarely stops talking (if only we could understand his language). He was asleep a couple of days ago and it felt like we both saw him anew and almost exclaimed together: “He’s grown so much!” It’s amazing how much change had happened in seven months to the tiny little fragile bundle of joy we left the hospital with seven months ago… And we can’t help but imagine the phases that lie ahead of him. (Schooling, Girls, Purpose Discovery…on and on it goes).
Makes me wonder what it was like for Jesus to have gone through all these baby stuff… Think of it for a moment. Imagine all the babies in your world and try to picture Jesus being like that.
He pooed like them. He spoke baby language like them. He probably got playful when He saw other babies, too. Perhaps, He had pimples when He reached puberty. For all we don’t know, He may have been tone-deaf or colour-blind! Isaiah prophetically said concerning Him, “There was nothing special or impressive about the way he looked” (Isaiah 53:2 ERV). Even His name—Jesus—was as common in His incarnation days as Oliver or Harry is in England today. For all we do know, He had to make difficult choices like you and I do daily and He faced the same temptations we all face. One thing’s for sure: He was, while truly and completely divine, also truly and completely human.
Strange as it is to our rational minds, the humanity of Jesus tells us that God was born (Luke 2:7); had a common human name (Matthew 1:21), grew (Luke 2:40, 52); got tired (John 4:6); got thirsty (John 19:28); got hungry (Matthew 4:2); experienced physically weakness (Matthew 4:11; Luke 23:26); died (Luke 23:46); and had a real human (but glorified) body after His resurrection (Luke 24:39; John 20:20, 27).
His heart—as His emotions reflect—was also truly and fully human! So human that Jesus could marvel—could be dazed! (Matthew 8:10). He could feel sorrowful and weep (John 11:33-35). In fact, He sometimes prayed emotionally “with loud cries and tears” (Hebrews 5:7). And His (finite) human mind meant that God had to “grow in wisdom” (Luke 2:52)—that doesn’t even make sense! His mind was so human that God the Son—Who knows all things—doesn’t know when He’s coming back again (Mark 13:32); so human that even though He has “come down from heaven, not to do [His] own will but the will of [the Father]” (John 6:38), He still had His human will intact so much so that He could pray to the Father, “Not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)
All that to say this: While Jesus was, and is and will never stop being truly and fully God, He also became man in the entirety of what that means. And what’s more? HE IS STILL BOTH! Jesus did not just take on a human body for 33½ years. He actually ascended to heaven in a human body—a glorified human body—the kind of body we will get when Jesus comes again. As such He’s in heaven right now both as God the Son and AS A MAN—truly man and truly God. That’s why Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 2:5 “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, THE MAN Christ Jesus.”
SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR US TODAY?
For one, it assures us that the price for our Salvation has been fully paid. But on a more practical level, that God became a man means that you can relate with Jesus on a deeper and more intimate level—the same way you relate with a physical BFF. It changes the way you pray when you realize that the Person you are praying through is as truly human as He’s truly God in all respect. He understands physical needs as much as He understands Spiritual needs. That there is nothing that you will ever go through—or any temptation that you will ever fall into—that He will not understand (Hebrew 4:15-16). His invitation to come boldly to the throne of grace now makes more sense because there is One Man on the throne that truly and fully understands what it is to be human—and all the tendencies, complexities and intricacies that come with that.
And most especially, becoming like God becomes reachable. When you remember that He that “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38) was also a man like you and I, godly living becomes attainable. More so, He lives in us to make that happen!
I think that’s what Christmas is really about.
The reason why Christ is the only One whose birthday we celebrate by revisiting His birth is because that moment in History changed everything—including history itself. His nativity became our gateway to eternity. If He was never born, He wouldn’t have died and if He didn’t die, we wouldn’t have access to eternal life. But He was born crucified that we might become glorified. GOD became MAN so we can start relating with Him not via other people, but personally. Intimately. Intentionally.
Back to Joshua. Two days before he was born, I wrote him a letter which he will get when he’s old enough to understand its content. But in the letter, I chronicled the story of his mum and I—where we were coming from and THE SECRET we both found that changed our stories for good and forever! I will end this piece with a paragraph from the letter since what it says rings true not only for Joshua but for all humanity.
“…the secret is in fact not hidden…The secret is A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH A GOD WHOSE LOVE FOR US IS UNFATHOMABLE. Your mum found out that what she couldn’t get from home…she could get directly from the source—God! I also found out that there is Someone that loved me so infinitely much that not even my ‘lust problem’ could make Him love me less (and not even my ‘being a good boy’ could make Him love me more). Then I found out that He could live inside of me in a PERSONAL AND INTIMATE WAY and empower me to do what I couldn’t do on my own…”
Christmas made that possible.
If you haven’t, today is a good day to take the ultimate gift.
Meanwhile, from Joshua, Eleos and I, we wish you a Merry Christmas!
 Overpaid, in fact. God’s justice demanded that only a man—a SINLESS man—could die for the sins of humanity in a once-and-for-all dimension. Unfortunately, no man qualifies for all of us were “born guilty” (Psalm 51:5 GW). But God Himself became man via an immaculate conception and died for the sins of humanity. Only Jesus Christ could be said to be sinless—not just because He never did anything that anyone could term as ‘wrong’ by whatever standards—but much more because He wasn’t born with the sin nature like the rest of us.
Author's note: I wrote this at a point in my courtship with my fiancée when it dawned on me that nothing short of my death (and her death) will make our marriage work. Want to know what I mean? Read on...
“A man in love is incomplete until he’s married. Then he’s finished.” Zsa Zsa Gabor
A couple of verses from a Pauline epistle gave rise to these thoughts. Let’s revisit the passage.
1 Corinthians 7:25-28 MSG25The Master did not give explicit direction regarding virgins, but as one much experienced in the mercy of the Master and loyal to him all the way, you can trust my counsel. 26 Because of the current pressures on us from all sides, I think it would probably be best to stay just as you are. 27 Are you married? Stay married. Are you unmarried? Don't get married.28 But there's certainly no sin in getting married, whether you're a virgin or not. All I am saying is that when you marry, you take on additional stress in an already stressful time, and I want to spare you if possible.
Very typical of Paul. Sharing thoughts in lumps—sometimes in lumps that are too difficult to swallow. Here, it’s understandable. It was a time of distress (7:26) when society was going through change (7:31). There was not much time left for serving the Lord (7:29). For all we know, it is possible that there were political and economic pressures in Corinth at the time. So in view of the difficulties, Paul submitted that it would be better for a person to be unmarried.
However, the lenses through which Paul viewed marriage here reveals more than some first century circumstantiality to some age-long all-time deep truth about marriage! And that is the quarry where we’ll be mining . . .
Attending a wedding for the first time, a little girl whispers to her mother, ‘Why is the bride dressed in white?’ Mother decides to keep things simple and replies, ‘Because white is a happy colour and today is the happiest day of her life.’ The girl thinks for a second, then says, ‘So why is the groom wearing black?’ (You figure that out!)
And while you are figuring that out on one hand, and looking forward to walking down the aisle in white gown with Mr. Right on the other hand, may I inform you in-between both thought threads before you get too deep into the journey that: MARRIAGE IS DEATH!
Song of Songs 8:6 GWT
“. . . Love is as overpowering as death. Devotion is as unyielding as the grave. Love's flames are flames of fire, flames that come from the LORD.”
Marriage is death—death to self. Death to “I”. Unfortunately, our culture has turned individualism into a virtue—a culture that screams that we “deserve” to be fulfilled and have a “right” to personal satisfaction and true-to-me happiness. That model just doesn’t work with the model of marriage! The cruel irony is that fulfillment, satisfaction and happiness are ultimately found in sacrifice, serving and giving—even to the point of giving one’s "life"! Are you ready for this?
"Are you married? Stay married. Are you unmarried? Don't get married. "
(1 Corinthians 7:27 MSG).
This death-thing is counter-cultural. It’s a paradox to logic. In the book of Ephesians, Paul calls it a “mystery”—something that we wouldn’t have figured out with our human logic. This is a model that was given by God.
Andrew Peterson poetically captures the difficulty of this journey. I recently stumbled across his song “Dancing in the Minefields”—a lovely wedding anniversary song! (I look forward to penning my version of that to Eleos in about twenty years' time).
The second verse of the song refers to John 15:13 – “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” In stating this, Jesus is referring to what He was about to do for His people. Jesus calls us His friend (John 15:14) and He laid His life down for us so that we may live eternally with Him. And remember, our marriages are a reflection of Christ and His church (see Ephesians 5). I once heard that the love of God, and His sacrifice in Jesus Christ for us, is a frame for us to place our wedding picture in. (Cute, right?)
Through a beautiful word-picture, Peterson makes a poignant point of what happens at a wedding, and it is something that most people fail to recognize when they enter into marriage. A very large part of marriage is giving up your own life for your spouse. I do not mean this in terms of your literal life, although many of us readily admit we’d die for our spouse, but when we marry we must recognize that our life is forever changed and that some of our old habits, friends, interests, and activities might, and sometimes should, end. Are you ready for this?
"Are you married? Stay married. Are you unmarried? Don't get married. "
(1 Corinthians 7:27 MSG).
Too many young couples marry with the illusion that they are adding their “soul mate” to their existing life, and then they get frustrated when their spouse necessarily demands more of their time, interest, resources, and affection than anticipated. We seem to think that our spouses are just going to adopt our lifestyles as their own, which is a faulty assumption. Well, that was my assumption, and few months into the prelude to the melody of my marital life, I can see how wrong I was!
Christ makes it clear that we are to “submit to one another” (Ephesians 5:21). Husbands are to love their wives “as Christ loved the church.” (Ephesians 5:25) How did Christ love the church? He served her! Wives are to submit to their husbands (not in a demeaning way, as if they are their husband’s maid or slave—but equal partner with different roles). Each person in a marriage should be willing to give up their independent life to become one with their spouse, in all areas of life.
A good marriage is hard work. A great marriage is the hardest of all because it requires the equally selfless devotion of both parties. Are you ready for this?
"Are you married? Stay married. Are you unmarried? Don't get married. "
(1 Corinthians 7:27 MSG).
Refreshingly, there is an anchor—God’s Grace!
Grace changes us. Slowly. Emphasis on slowly. We learn to look at our spouse through the lenses of grace. We begin to see our spouse (and by extension to the community of believers) not as sinners trying to become saints by more right behaviour but rather as saints who still sometimes err. (Many times, in the case of people like me). It is an important distinction. We are all saints who are righteous because of Christ alone. We still err. We need grace. All of us. So when I err (as I often do), grace compels Eleos to run towards me and not to run away. Grace does not allow her to condemn and judge me. I need grace to be restored as she will need that same grace soon. Likely very soon.
Grace is always the answer.
Paul wrote to the Church at Corinth about hardships and the message he received from the Lord. I like his choice of words—His choice of words:
“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12, NLT)
Jesus told the story of a Father who runs to embrace His child who has made terrible mistakes. He doesn’t wait for him to crawl back and grovel. At the first turn of repentance He sprints to him and throws a party. That is grace.
The same grace that appeared to you does appear to your spouse
Are you willing to give up habits (good or bad) if they seem to be detrimental to the health of your marriage?
Are you willing to end relationships that do not honour your marriage?
Are you willing to pool your financial resources into one account?
Are you willing to participate in leisure activities that are not of interest to you—but that your spouse enjoys—so that you can have quality time together?
If you aren’t, well, there is an alternative . . .
1 Cor 7:33-34
33 Marriage involves you in all the nuts and bolts of domestic life and in wanting to please your spouse, 34 leading to so many more demands on your attention. The time and energy that married people spend on caring for and nurturing each other, the unmarried can spend in becoming whole and holy instruments of God.
So? Maybe you should consider staying single!
Until you are willing to give up your life and lay it down for the sake of your spouse, your marriage will not be what you desire it to be.Marriage is when a man and woman become as one; the trouble starts when they try to decide 'WHICH ONE'. I know without a doubt that marriage, and life in general, will eventually be harder than we dreamed that it could be. But I have no fear at all that, with Christ at the center of our relationship, Eleos and I can accomplish anything. Face anything. Walk through anything. Together. Clinging to Jesus. Always. (We know which "One"!).
I can't wait to start that journey!
The plight: "Good morning sir, please I need your help. I've been battling with masturbation right from my childhood and I don't know how to put an end to it totally. I pray and fast about it at times, then it will stop for some weeks and later on, I'll be back to it. Pls, help me to stop it totally sir."The Response:
Pleasant evening, my friend.
Glad to read from you.
I can definitely feel the sincerity of your pain in the mail you sent, however, this much I will say for now (and I pray you "get it"):
1. NOBODY can help you "stop it totally"; not me, not you—except God and His grace.
2. This has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with whether or not God loves you or accepts you. He always will love, accept, cherish, provide for, bless, and help you day in day out, whether you stop this or not.
3. But then (and most importantly) for the sake offruitfulness in God's kingdom (by being able to inspire and encourage others that are presently or will be passing through this same street in the future as I’m doing for you now), it is a BIG NEED for you to stop for good... [And understand that fruitfulness is the ONE THING that will distinguish believers from believers when we stand before God on the last day, for the fruitful shall be rewarded and the fruitless shall "suffer loss"]
4. But (as in my own case) I didn't stop because I wanted to stop (otherwise, I would have stopped immediately after it started). I later found out (after mastering point number 2 above to a fault) that the tempter let me be because he came to terms with the fact that come-what-may, he will always lose.If he brings the temptation and I shrug it off, I win (and become stronger). If he brings the temptation and I fall for it, I still win (because when he reports me to My Dad, it doesn't change the way HE sees me and Jesus never stops interceding for me—so the devil is just helpless in all of this—he always [and will always] lose!)
5. You've tried fasting; you've tried praying (and trust me, I tried both, too); but try embracing the simple fact that you are still God's child even if you still masturbate. And the more God's unexplainable love seeps through you, the more you get the power to be free as you've always wanted."I write this, dear children, to guide you out of sin. But if anyone does sin, we have a Priest-Friend in the presence of the Father: Jesus Christ, righteous Jesus. When he served as a sacrifice for our sins, he solved the sin problem for good—not only ours, but the whole world’s." (1 John 2:1-2 MSG)
As I watched the Centenary celebration service of The Apostolic Church held in Penygroes tonight, my heart is full—so full that I could hardly type these words. I type only because I hope that in so doing, I will lighten the burden and give expression to what God is saying primarily to me, and secondarily to whom it may concern. I hope to be able to capture them in 7 bullets:
I HAVE A FAMILY TREE. More than ever, tonight, I felt like I belonged to a family with a history. As I heard again the stories of Pastors D.P. Williams and Andrew Turnbull, as I learnt that the first Missionary Office of TAC was in Bradford (where I now study in a Bible College because The Apostolic Bible College is no longer in existence) I felt like I stumbled on a chest that contained photos that told my family tales from time immemorial. I felt like I'm part of a river winding through a great canyon. How true is the saying that "knowing where you came from says much about where you are going." Little wonder the Bible started with Genesis... "God wants us to know from where we came, for learning that will teach us much about the place we are going." (Max Lucado, 2004)
DESPISE NOT THE DAYS OF LITTLE BEGINNINGS. To think that a movement that is now manifestly present in about 100 countries around the world started in a tiny dot on the map spear-headed by a man who was just about 10 years in the faith at the time speaks volumes! Has the Bible not said that "whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world?" (1 John 5:4). "Don't be afraid to start small". Those were God's exact words to me in February 2012 as I stepped out of Gombe State in Nigeria as a young man ready to "start living". Perhaps, He's saying the same to you today...
IT'S OKAY TO GO WEARY, BUT DON'T STAY WEARY. To be honest, weariness happens with life. Ask every Pastor called of God—they've had moments when they almost gave up. And the same can be said of any genuine child of God. And I think often time, the devil finds us most vulnerable at our moments of weariness such that rather than do what the weary should do, we find ourselves losing our confidence in That which brought us hitherto in the first place. As I stand to look from without (in a manner of speaking) the oriental view of TAC (especially in Nigeria where I come from), I find a picture of a weary congregation and more painfully, weary ministers. The only thing more painful is that many have mistaken their weariness for productivity or efficiency when it is in fact, mere busyness. And this can as well apply to you (as an individual, or an organisation; whatever eyes you might be reading this with). But in all sincerity, (as Pastor Daniel Jenkins read the Scriptures) I felt the Lord saying, "It's okay to be weary, but don't stay weary". Has the prophet not spoken that "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength?" Has Jesus not called in clear language "Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy-laden and I will give you rest"? Embrace His restoration. And when He restores, don't expect Him to give you back what you lost; He restores in dimensions consistent with His limitless creativity. Whatever part of your ministry/business has gone weary, don't expect Him to restore the modus-operandi. Opening yourself up to God’s strength and rest is positioning yourself for His creative ideas that will revive your viability and vitality and give you more rest and greater impact. I write by the Spirit of God.
REPOSITIONING FOR GREATER IMPACT COMES WITH ITS EMBARRASSMENTS; SHRUG THEM OFF! I could see a form of disappointment on the face of some people in the failed initial attempt to connect live with the Ghana Church while the programme was on. Leveraging on technology for a greater impact is a great thing but the devil wants to discourage the attempt despite the fact that it had been tested to work last night. The good thing is it eventually happened at a later time in the programme. And I think the same is true for all of us in different ways. When Peter stepped out of the waters, that was a repositioning that was to launch him to a whole new level amongst the apostles, but then came the embarrassment that the venture attracted. What I don't know, however, is if Peter ever tried water-walking again... But for you, this much is sufficient: to walk on the water, you need to get out of the boat!
DON'T JUST “DO” IT, “TEACH” OTHERS TO DO IT AS WELL! Wasn't that Jesus' pattern? "...the things which He began both to DO and to TEACH..." Powerful message from Pastor Eric Horley. That was a timely word! And that's what leadership and discipleship is all about—and that's, in fact, what our calling is all about. Don't be so big on "doing" that you forget to teach—you tend to shorten your life span by so doing and lose the coming generation to those who are doing what you fail to do—teach! That's why, in some parts of the world, The Apostolic Church is tending to become more of a church for the elderly and less a church for the youths... And don't be so big on "teaching" that you fail to "do"; otherwise you become practically irrelevant to your community and outsiders will label you as being hypocritical—and rightly so!
NEVER LOSE SIGHT OF WHAT YOU BELIEVE! Oh, I also love the "We Believe" song that was rendered during the service. You need to listen to the real song to appreciate it more. You can watch it here. I'm proud to say that the composer of that song is actually one of my lecturers in my Bible College,Matt Hooper.(And on a lighter note, I wondered if the people that picked the song also knew that the composer wears a tattoo and is a pastor...lol). But, hey! That's all that matters on the long run—what you believe! What do you believe? We believe in God the Father, We believe in Jesus Christ, We believe in the Holy Spirit and He’s given us new life. We believe in the crucifixion, we believe that He’s conquered hell; We believe in His resurrection and He’s coming back again….
YOUR DESTINY IS GREATER THAN YOUR MEMORY. That's the take home for me tonight. That come what may, my destiny in God is greater than my memory. That my yesterday is incomparable to my tomorrow. That eyes had not seen, ears had not heard, and neither has it gotten to the hearts of men the things God is preparing for me and for you.
These are the things the Spirit of God ministered to me from being a part of this centenary celebration. pray it blesses you, too.
Joseph Kolawole Ola
Life Church College, Bradford
Ed. note: This is a guest blog from OpeOluwa Ola, a Medical Doctor based in Lagos, Nigeria. Below are his thoughts on the subject of #Firstfruits which is a topical (and somewhat controversial) issue amongst christian circles, especially in the African community. For questions or contact purposes, His personal details are disclosed at the end of the piece.It's pretty long but worth the read! TEXT: EXODUS 23:14-19
INTRODUCTION: Payment of FIRSTFRUITS is one of the ordinances that God instituted and instructed HIS children to observe in the scriptures. However, this has become a controversial issue in the Church of God today. At the mention of the word “firstfruits”, some people raise eyebrows and some others raise lots of questions. Is the payment of Firstfruits still relevant today? If not, WHY?
LESSON AIM AND OBJECTIVES:
• To open and/or broaden our understanding to some important truths about Firstfruits (John 8:32).
• To correct some misconceptions about Firstfruits.
• To make us realise how easy it is (and can be) for anyone to pay Firstfruits.
• To increase the number of believers who are positively responding to the payment of Firstfruits (James 1:22-25).
TRUTHS AND FACTS ABOUT FIRSTFRUITS
• God Himself instituted the payment and/or redemption of Firstfruits/Firstborn.
• The first mention of the word "Firstfruits" in the Scripture can be found in Exodus 23:16. However, the issue of redemption of Firstborn males and some animals can be found in Exodus 13:1, 2, 12-15
• The word Firstfruits appeared 34 times in the King James' Version of the bible. (Tithes appeared 38 times)
• Firstfruits, like Tithes, are to be brought to the house of the Lord (Exodus 23:19) and given to the Priest in charge (Leviticus 23:10, Deuteronomy 26:1-4)
• Firstfruits are paid as a way of honouring and appreciating God who has delivered us from bondage and has blessed us with a means of livelihood (Proverbs 3:9)SOME MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT FIRSTFRUITS
• That our God asks us to give HIM ALL... All of what? All of our first salary ever? All of our first farm produce ever? All of our first profit ever made in a new business? All of our January salary/first salary of every year?
• That firstfruit of increase is the difference between your old salary/income and the new salary/income. And we must bring ALL of the increment in salary or profit as our First fruit of increase.
WHY MANY BELIEVERS FAIL TO PAY FIRSTFRUITS
• Many believers don't pay first fruits because they have been told that they must bring ALL...if they want to pay Firstfruits, and this is something they find very difficult to do.
• Some believers are innocently ignorant or unaware of what First fruits are and how to pay them. But such believers are so few in number.
CATEGORIES OF FIRSTFRUITS
There are three main categories of Firstfruits. These are:
• Firstfruits of increase
• Firstfruits of human beings and animals
• Firstfruits Sacrifice
FIRSTFRUITS OF INCREASE
This is what you bring to the priest from your first harvest / produce / salary / profit of a New Year or New Job or New Business, as the case may be. This was adopted from Proverbs 3:9. We will consider this bible verse in 5 different versions of the bible (to see other translations for the word "increase")
"Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the Firstfruits of all thine increase" (KJV)
"Honour the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything you PRODUCE" (NLT)
"Honour the LORD with your wealth, with the Firstfruits of all your CROPS" (NIV)
"Honour the LORD with your substance and with the Firstfruits of all your PRODUCE" (RSV)
"Honour the Lord with your capital (and) sufficiency (from righteous labours) and with the Firstfruits of all your INCOME" (AMP)
Did you see that? Increase in KJV is NOT synonymous to increment in salary or whatever. It simply means PRODUCE or CROPS or INCOME.So, if God raises your salary from #50,000 to #100,000, such a person is NOT expected to bring #50,000 (difference between the old and new salary) as firstfruit of increase.
Though the salary has been increased, what God requires from such a person is to BRING SOMETHING WORTHWHILE in appreciation of the increment that God has given to him or her.
This clarifies the misconception about Firstfruits of increase.
FIRSTFRUITS OF HUMAN BEINGS AND ANIMALS
In Exodus 13, God told Moses to sanctify unto Him (i.e to DEDICATE unto Him) all the firstborn of man and beast. He (God) said the firstborn is His own (Exodus 13:1-2). However, He went further to say that the firstborn of man and that of the ass (or donkey) should be redeemed.
Note: The firstborn that are to be redeemed are the sons and male animals, not the firstborn daughters or female animals.
Exodus 13:12 says:
"That thou shall set apart unto the Lord all that opens the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou has; the males shall be the Lord's. (KJV)
"You must present all firstborn sons and firstborn male animals to the Lord, for they belong to HIM. (NLT)
In essence, we are under obligation to redeem our firstborn sons and firstborn animals. But it should be noted also that the redemption price is not commensurate to the value of the original thing to be redeemed. For instance, according to Exodus 13:13, an ass can be redeemed with a lamb. Can you compare the price of a lamb to that of a donkey in the market? Or how much can you pay to redeem the life of a son? (See Numbers 3:47 for the redemption price of man: just 5 pieces of silver!)
This is a way to show us that God is not really interested in "ALL" as some pastors preach it today.
This is when you give God ALL of your first salary / produce/ profit/ income ever in your newly found job or business. It can also mean giving to God ALL your first salary / produce / profit made in a new year. For instance, the whole January salary can be brought to “your priest” as a FIRSTFRUITS SACRIFICE.
What we should know about this is the fact that IT IS NOT AN OBLIGATION to any believer.To give ALL your January salary or first salary ever to the priest is NOT God's commandment/instruction to us as believers. However, if we can afford to do it, IT IS A GOOD AND HIGHLY COMMENDABLE SACRIFICE. That is why it is called FIRSTFRUITS SACRIFICE.MY PERSONAL TESTIMONY:
By the grace of God, when I got my first salary as a student working in a church office, I gave all back to God as my first fruit. Also, when I got my first salary as a medical doctor, I gave all of the first month's salary to God as my Firstfruits. This I did, by the grace of God, of my own volition: not as an obligation, neither was it because any pastor told me to do so. But having had an understanding of the great blessings attached to such a SACRIFICE, I gave it all back to God.
That I gave ALL by the grace of God is not a reason for me or for anyone to make it a DOCTRINAL OBLIGATION for believers. If I do so, those who cannot afford to give ALL may be feeling some measure of condemnation or guilt in their hearts, on an issue that God has not made an obligation for them. So, why not say it the way God has put it, so that everyone can respond positively to this issue of FIRSTFRUITS?
We shall consider some bible passages that tell us about FIRSTFRUITS to establish the fact that God is NOT demanding for ALL:
Numbers 3:11-16, 39-51
~God commanded Moses to count all the male Levites (not only the firstborn) from one month old and above. (They were 22,000 in number).
~God also told Moses to count all the firstborn male children of Israel from one month old and above. (They were 22,273 in number).
~God said, instead of taking all the firstborn male children of Israel, He would take all the male Levites as substitutes.
~He also said that redemption prices should be paid for the EXTRA FIRSTBORN SONS in Israel (273 in number) only, instead of the whole 22,273 in all.
Did God demand for ALL?
"The first of the first fruits of thy land thou shall bring into the house of the Lord thy God..." (KJV)
"As you harvest your crops, bring the very best of the first harvest to the house of the Lord your God..." (NLT)
"Bring the best of the first fruit of your soil to the house of the Lord your God..." NIV
Is God asking for ALL or a PART (which is the BEST PART)?
"Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, when ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruit of your harvest unto the priest:" (KJV)
"Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. When you enter the land I am giving you and you harvest its first crops, bring the priest a bundle of grain from the first cutting of your grain harvest." (NLT)
Is this also depicting ALL or a PART?
(Verse 2) "That thou shall take of the first of all the fruit of the earth, which thou shall bring of thy land that the Lord thy God gives thee, and shall put it in a basket, and shall go unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose to place his name there." (KJV)
"Put some of the first produce from each crop you harvest into a basket and bring it to the designated place of worship... The place the LORD your God chooses for his name to be honoured." (NLT)
Isn't it obvious that God is not asking for ALL as it is being preached in many churches today?
And finally, 2 Chronicles 31:5"And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel in abundance the first fruits of corn, wine and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field: and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly." (KJV)
"As soon as the command went abroad, the Israelites gave in abundance the first fruits of grain, vintage fruit, oil, honey and of all the produce of the field: and they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything" (AMP)
If according to this verse, they brought first fruits in abundance AND the tithe of all things, this tells us that they brought BOTH the first fruits and tithes from what they had. If they had brought ALL as firstfruits, what else would they have brought as tithes?CONCLUSION:
Let me conclude by saying that God has always requested for a FRACTION of our substance (though HE owns us and everything we have). He is only asking for a PART that spells out our honourfor Him (the BEST PART of our substance) as FIRSTFRUITS. Irrespective of how much we are bringing, HE wants us to HONOUR Him with our First fruits. He wants us to do it cheerfully and with a grateful heart.NOT of NECESSITY (2 Corinthians 9:7).
Note: If you can offer ALL as first fruits, please do because God loves, respects and honours sacrifices. But know also that offering ALL as first fruits is NOT an obligation.
• With all sense of humility and honour to the anointing, Teachers and Preachers of the Word should not try to HELP God by insisting on people bringing ALL as their first fruits. They should rather teach the people of God what is written in the scriptures.
• God is just and fair! His laws and ordinances are not grievous. Don't condemn yourself or others on what God has not called an obligation for anyone.
• If people can get the right information and understanding on the subject of FIRSTFRUITS, there will be a drastic and improved positive response to this subject matter, to the glory of God—and solely to that purpose, I type these words!
Thanks for taking your time to read through this (long) article. God bless us all in Jesus' name. Amen.
P.S. For correction(s) or comments on this article, please contact Opeoluwa Ola on this GSM number: +2347035483108 or send an email to email@example.com.
For more scriptures on FIRSTFRUITS, see:
Exodus 23:16, 19; Exodus 34:22, 26; Leviticus 2:12, 14; Leviticus 23:10, 17, 20; Numbers 18:12; Numbers 28:26; Deuteronomy 18:4; Deuteronomy 26:1, 10; 2 Kings 4:42; 2 Chronicles 31:5; Nehemiah 10:35, 37; Nehemiah 12:44; Nehemiah 13:31; Proverbs 3:9; Jeremiah 2:3; Ezekiel 20:40; Ezekiel 44:30; Ezekiel 48:14; Romans 11:16; Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 15:20, 23; 1 Corinthians 16:15; James 1:18; Revelation 14:4
Ed note: Over the last few years, when a year draws to a close, I look into the scriptures and get a light into the new year. What I do is simple: I look up the verses that has a reference that will make up the 4 digits of the new year and listen to what God is saying to me from the verse... The interesting thing is that each year, it has been a worthwhile venture as these verses launch me into the new year with confidence, hope and the necessary caution. So for 2016, I have looked up ALL the Bible books that has a 20th chapter and a 16th verse and I will be sharing my findings below>>>
a year of VINDICATIONGenesis 20:16 “Abimelech said to Sarah, “I gave your brother Abraham twenty-five pounds of silver to make up for any wrong that people may think about you. I WANT EVERYONE TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE INNOCENT.”
Have you been lied at?
Have you been falsely accused?
Have you been labelled as the one that did what you knew nothing about?
God’s word says to tell you: “He wants everyone to know that you are innocent”…and He will do it.
a year to exalt HONESTY/LOVEExodus 20:16 “YOU MUST NOT TELL LIES about your neighbor.”
That’s simple and clear. If you love your me, you won’t tell lies about me, right?
Make that a 2016 virtue!
a year to beware of COLLATERAL DAMAGELeviticus 20:16 “If a woman approaches an animal and has sexual relations with it, YOU MUST KILL THE WOMAN AND THE ANIMAL. They must be put to death. They have brought it on themselves.”
“Collateral damage” is a general term for unintentional deaths, injuries, or other damage inflicted incidentally on an unintended target.
I thought the animal was innocent, but God says both the woman and the animal should be killed. It simply tells me these two things: “watch who you relate with” and “abstain from biblical abominations”. A word, they say, is enough for you—for I assume you are wise.
a year of DELIVERANCENumbers 20:16 “but when we cried out to the Lord, HE HEARD US and SENT US AN ANGEL TO BRING US OUT of Egypt...”
What’s your Egypt?
A bossy boss?
A character flaw?
A negative addiction?
An undesirable work place?
An unpleasant housing condition?
The Lord is set to take 99 steps out of 100 to bring about your miraculous exodus—but He leaves the 100th step to you: CHOOSE TO ACCEPT HIS OFFER. Will you?
a year of ABSOLUTE TAKE-OVERDeuteronomy 20:16 “But LEAVE NOTHING ALIVE in the cities of the land the Lord your God is GIVING YOU.”
The simple phrase impressed on my heart for this verse is “absolute take-over”.
There is plenty of room God is giving you in the beautiful niche He’s bringing you named “2016”. Feel free to go in His might and take-over the territory He’s tagged your name on—and take it over absolutely!a year of DIVINE ACCURACYJudges 20:16 “Seven hundred of these trained soldiers were LEFT-HANDED, each of whom COULD SLING A STONE AT A HAIR AND NOT MISS!”
So look into your hand luggage as you board the JAN-01-2016 flight… That ruler-shaped medal in your left pocket—yeah! That’s Divine Accuracy at your disposal. Feel free to make the most use of it
a year of DESTINY PARTNERSHIPS1 Samuel 20:16 “So JONATHAN MADE AN AGREEMENT WITH DAVID. He said, “May the Lord hold David’s enemies responsible.”
Watchout as God brings destiny helpers your way. Don’t treat them like something else. May you be sensitive to the destiny-laden relationships 2016 has to offer to you IJN.
a year when WISDOM will SPEAK...2 Samuel 20:16 “But a WISE woman shouted out from the city, “LISTEN! LISTEN! Tell Joab to come here. I want to talk to him!”
What have you been listening to?
Who have you been listening to?
Which frequency have you been receiving signals from?
Wisdom FM is on frequency 24.7. Do you self a favour: tune in—24 hours a day, 7 days a week!
a year to MAXIMISE THE MOMENT...1 Kings 20:16 “They MARCHED OUT AT NOON, while Ben-Hadad and the thirty-two rulers helping him were GETTING DRUNK IN THEIR TENTS.”
I love the humour in God’s Word—and in real life.
Some were marching out at mid-day taking the battle to the enemy’s gate; some others were getting drunk in their tents.
And by the way, in 2016, you get to choose which team you belong to!
a year to LISTEN TO THE LORD2 Kings 20:16 “Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “LISTEN TO THE WORDS OF THE LORD”
Clear enough. Stop listening to the voices of your prevailing conditions (good or bad) and start listening to the only voice that matters: The Lord’s!
a year of SPECIFIC DIVINE INSTRUCTIONS...2 Chronicles 20:16 “Tomorrow go down there and fight those people. They will come up through the Pass of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the ravine that leads to the Desert of Jeruel.”
How more detailed can God be in giving out instructions as He was in the above verse? And how much do we long for details in our walk with Him as He directs our paths. Well, in 2016, if you will be open enough to receive it, He’s got a lot of SPECIFIC instructions for you.
He won’t just tell you “get married”; He probably will tell you “get married to Johnson on the second Saturday in the second month of the second quarter in the lake view behind St Anthony’s Cathedral…” (okay, that was me being cheeky ~smiles~)
a year when the wicked shall SELF DESTRUCTJob 20:16 “They will suck the poison of snakes, and the snake’s fangs will kill them.”
Who are the “they/them”? Verse 3 of the same chapter tells us—“the wicked”.
Ain’t you glad? Whoever plans evil for you in 2016 shall fall into their own traps!
On the flip side—see to it that you are not the one planning evil for someone else.
a year of FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE Proverbs 20:16 “Take the coat of someone who promises to pay a stranger’s debts, and keep it until he pays what the stranger owes.”
I don’t know how what Solomon said in the quote above sounded to your ears. It seems to me that someone is taking accountability serious. It sounds like someone understands that there is a difference between benevolence and accounting. It sounds like someone understands financial intelligence. May that “someone” be you.
a year of PERSECUTIONJeremiah 20:16 “Let that man be like the towns the Lord destroyed without pity. Let him hear loud crying in the morning and battle cries at noon,”
That was Jeremiah reeling out his sixth complaint to God—literally cursing whoever it was that broke the news of his birth to his parents because he thinks he shouldn’t have been born.
I get it. Under some instense persecutions, words like that can fall out of our mouths. I get it—and God gets it much more.
I know not many will claim this bit in this series (as it were) but be reminded that “blessed are those that are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is thy reward…”
Have you been eyeing the post of Prime Minister of the UK in the New Earth? Then welcome some persecutions in 2016—with joy!
a year of DELAY FOR THE DISOBEDIENTEzekiel 20:16 “ I CANCELED MY PROMISE because they despised my laws for living obediently, wouldn't follow my statutes,”
That was God chipping in why it took the Israelites much longer to get to the promised land He purposed for them—they were disobedient!
May the promises of God for your new year be speedily accomplished on the wheels of your obedience in the name of the Lord.
a year of DIVINE REPOSITIONINGMatthew 20:16 “So those who have the last place now will have the first place in the future, and those who have the first place now will have the last place in the future.”
I like the first part. (I guess you do, too). Have you been tagged “last” in some pretty good stuffs. Then brace up! God is about to reshuffle the roles!
a year of DIVINE REPOSSESSIONLuke 20:16 “He will come and kill those farmers and will give the vineyard TO OTHER FARMERS…”
For every incident of repossession, someone loses while the other gains; I pray you are the gainer, not the loser. God is willing to deliver to your possession the hidden wealth of the gentiles. You will reap where you’ve not planted and live in houses you didn’t build. That’s not me promoting insolence, that’s God advertising His grace!
a year to be TAUGHT OF THE LORDJohn 20:16 “Jesus said to her, “Mary.” Mary turned toward Jesus and said in Hebrew, “Rabboni.” (This means Teacher.)”
Again, who has been your teacher? I know One who’s got no match—His name is Rabboni—the Greatest Teacher. You can subscribe for His 24/7 lecture sessions and podcasts here: #theBible
a year of STRATEGIC DECISIONSActs 20:16 “Paul had already decided not to stop at Ephesus, because he did not want to stay too long in the country of Asia. He was hurrying to be in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, if that were possible.”
How strategic have you been in your decisions? It’s time for some bold and strategic decisions, buddy. God’s got your back.
Now sit back, relax and enjoy your flight.
Happy New Year!
***In another news, my fiancee and I will be launching a website in the new year for anyone that is going through any issue whatsoever and are willing to draw some strength and comfort from the conversations and confesions of people like them (including our stories as well!). You can check it out by clicking here.