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26Mar
CHOICES WE MUST MAKE AS WE JOURNEY THROUGH LIFE – Part 3
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3- CHOOSE TO EMBRACE THE SUFFERING. 

Here’s a link to Part 1 & Part 2

Haggai 2:7-9

And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts.The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts:and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts.

It is a warped kind of theology that does not expect suffering in life and particularly for the sake of the gospel. There are depths of our relationship with God that we will never reach if we are not prepared to participate in His sufferings!

Philippians 3:10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,

What are you after? Are you after HIM, or the things?  If you go after Him you’ll find that God’s plan has been that your faith will not fail! Sometimes you will “fail”, things in your hands will “fail” but God’s will is that your faith will not “fail!”

2 Corinthians 4:16-17  – Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,

But our light affliction… whatever you go through…don’t build a house there, it’s for a moment  and It’s working me for you!

Glory comes in different weight.  The next weight of glory you will operate in is often on the other side of your current affliction! Learn to stand in the fire! Learn to do what’s hard! Learn to outlast your trouble! There is a greater weight of glory coming!

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02Mar
What are you learning from your Pain?
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Pain instructs.

I believe God allowed pain to instruct us. It wasn’t his first choice. He is not sadistic to choose pain as an instructor. His first choice was obedience. God’s best plan has always been that we learn by listening to Him and obeying His instructions.

The fallen state of man however, makes it highly possible that we wouldn’t know how to discern the voice of God.

And even when we do, our sin condition often persuades us that there is life outside of LIFE HIMSELF, wisdom outside of the instructions of WISDOM HIMSELF. So we reject God’s instructions.

But God has set things up in such a way that even the negative consequence of being outside of God’s will, is pregnant with opportunities to return to Him. This is the mercy of God in action.

Pain and Hurt is a testament of the mercy of God. Pain is God saying, you didn’t hear me last time, will you hear me now that it hurts?

The trouble is that we have an enemy, His job is to pervert something that God allows for our good, he turns it around for evil.

So when we get hurt in relationships, the hurt was teaching you who you are, what you like, what is important to you.

But the enemy perverts that, and teaches us to hate others for hurting us. Teaches us to live a distrustful life because we’ve been hurt. Teaches us not to try again because failing hurt the last time.

I think this is why it is important to learn to yield our pain to God. When we do, He uses our pain to teach us His lessons.

When we don’t yield our pain to God, we open ourselves up to pick up the perverted lessons that the enemy wants us to learn in pain and hurt.

We don’t need to ask you if you are learning from your pain, because we all are. We do need to ask, what are you learning from your pain?

The right lessons will make you better, not bitter, wiser not foolish. The right lessons will provoke growth not stunt your growth. The right lessons will make you bolder, not more timid.

Don’t waste your pain. Tell God about what hurts. Find good friends who will partner with God to bring out the best lessons from your pain.

This is the gospel, that in darkest and most painful parts of the journey of life, resurrection is possible because God turns our pain and our hurt in to resurrection power!

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12Feb
Consider Jesus…
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Hebrews 3:1-2

Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus

To consider is to scrutinise, to look closely at, to examine carefully…

the quality of your life, the quality of what you build here on earth, the quality of your legacy in the eyes of God, will be determined by your ability to see and understand Jesus right.

When we stand before God to give an account of our lives, and our talents, it will all be in relation to how we saw Jesus and who we perceived Him to be.

One day, there will be no other human beings to impress, no jobs to work, no cars to drive, no cities worth visiting, no career ladder to climb, no grind, no school fees to pay, no social media attention to covet. One day ALL OF THIS will become meaningless!

Actually, it wouldn’t be meaningless, it’s meaning will be redefined in relation to Jesus.

1 Corinthians 3:11-13

For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.

…In the final conclusion, the worth and value of everything we do here on earth will be defined in relation to Jesus.

We all owe it to ourselves to look carefully at this man Jesus. Who did He say He is? How does who He is and what He said affect my life today?

Consider The Apostle (sent one) and High Priest (one who stands before God on behalf of men).

Learn to do life, the small things and the great things, in full consideration of Jesus!

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29Jan
Beating Shame
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Shame is defined as a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behaviour. From my experience (personally and pastorally) I have found that when shame matures, it goes beyond being a feeling of humiliation that passes, as most feelings do. It becomes a force that seeks to shape our identity. That force makes us begin to be humiliated by who we are because of a wrong or foolish behavoior of ours.

God’s response to shame is the gospel. The good news of God’s unmerited favour! 

Paul was writing in Romans 1:16 to the christians in Rome who had heard of all the humiliating things that he had been through since he answered the call to preach the gospel. He said to them: 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,[a] for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

In other words he was saying, I know that based on what you know of my experience for the the sake of the gospel, you have reason to think that I will be ashamed of preaching it, but I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ! If you knew the story of what he had been through for the sake of the gospel you will agree that that was an amazing statement.
When a person has an experience of the true gospel that they hear, it  strips you of shame and guilt!
Shame says you’re a pervert because of what you did with your body last night! The gospel says your body is special, the temple of the Holy Ghost, that’s why you shouldn’t have done that!
Shame called you an adulterous woman who deserves to be stoned…the gospel says you are not condemned, go and sin no more!
Shame calls you a failure and says you should stay down because you fell, the gospel calls you the righteous who falls seven times and gets up every time!
Shame says people like you shouldn’t be talking when these educated folks are speaking because you don’t qualify. The gospel says before I formed you I knew you and appointed you a prophet to the nations! The gospel says I’ve given you something to say! The gospel says that God justifies the ungodly!
Shame says you denied Jesus 3 times Peter go back to fishing because you are hereby disqualified from thinking you can change the World…the gospel says go tell my disciples and Peter that I have risen! The gospel pulls you back into the fold in spite of your betrayal!
Shame says the mistake of your youth will determine your future and confine you to bearing the identity of what you did…But the gospel says in Isaiah 54:4
“Fear not; you will no longer live in shame.Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you. You will no longer remember the shame of your youth and the sorrows of widowhood.
I pray that this will be the season where you open your hear to hear the gospel. I pray that this will be the season when you set your expectation to have a personal experience of the gospel, the good news of God’s unmerited favour! I pray that inspite of how loud shame seems to be shouting, tugging or pulling, when you hear God’s Word, you will not harden your heart!
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06Jan
How to make an impact this year
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Acts 20:35

I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Notice that there is a comparison between two options; giving and receiving. None of these are demonised. It is a blessing to receive! But it is more blessed you give!

Most of the time we see ourselves as blessed because of what we receive. That’s good and true! But it is more blessed to give!

God has set things up in such a way that the one who is constantly giving, will be constantly blessed (well of, fortunate, happy) because it is more blessed to give than to receive!

It’s great when you get the job of your dreams, but it’s more blessed you give someone the job of their dreams!

It’s great to have someone love your deeply, but it’s more blessed to love someone deeply!

The bible refers to us as vessels. Some vessels are used for storing stuff, others are used for giving out.

You and I are not created to be vessels that store. We are created to be vessels that give! We are most useless when we are not giving!

When you receive, you are impacted and that’s good. But when you give, your world is impacted. It is more blessed to give than to receive because we were created to impact our world!

You cannot impact your world if you’re not giving and I’ll even go as far as saying that we are completely useless here on earth if we are not giving anything!

The plan of the god of this world is to get you so consumed with what you need! When your need is what’s on your mind, you are not making any impact because impact is made by what you give.

How about today we make a decision to be givers regardless of where we are! Give friendship. Give kindness. Give money. Give wisdom. Give what you know. Give what you have. Your giving is more powerful than your receiving.

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20Dec
LITTLE BY LITTLE
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 Exodus 23: 30 – Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased, and you inherit the land. (Exodus 23:30 NKJV)

 When we step into a partnership with Him through faith in His only Son, Jesus you become joint heirs with Jesus, co-owning everything the father has!

However we can get frustrated in our walk with God because even though He has put your name on the title deed, just like he did for the children of Israel, He releases the land to us LITTLE BY LITTLE!

He does this because He want us to increase first. Jesus said in John 16 there are some things I’d like to tell you, but you can’t yet handle them, however when the Holy Spirit comes, He’ll reveal all things to you!

God is interested in authentic growth and increase in our capacity. He wants increase in our character. It is only when we have increased or matured in these areas that because then you can handle what He has for you!

That’s why He said in John 15:7 when my words abide in you then you can ask whatever you desire!

It might feel like what you expected to happen has not happened yet. However don’t focus on the time that you have been waiting, focus on your character, focus on God’s WORD. Subject yourself continuously to the WORD.

 Every time the WORD comes forth, it’s a divine set up by God to do something about your character so that he can bring you closer to the full grain in the head

 Take every little opportunity you get to act out the WORD you are hearing, you’re increasing your capacity! With every act of faith, you’re closer to the fullness of God’s promise to you!

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18Dec
The Throne or The Towel?
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A common deception for leaders and aspiring leaders is the deception that the goal of leadership is the throne. Particularly when we are inspired by others who are wielding great influence already. This is where you just see the position occupied by your boss at work, a leader in church or another community or thought leader.

When this happens we begin to jostle for a position. We start jostling for the throne. If you are a person of faith, your prayer requests becomes mainly positional requests and supplications that sounds something like this “God, please make me a …”.

Is it wrong to desire a position? Absolutely not! The bible says that it is a good thing to desire to be a bishop. However the goal of the position or title is not the throne!

In Matthew 20: 24 – 28 Jesus was addressing his disciples who had a ring side seat that gave them the privilege of seeing the influence that Jesus wielded in His time. James and John got their mum to ask Jesus for positions on His right and His left hand side. The disciples also became indignant because they thought that Jesus granted them their request.

But Jesus turned it around, He said look. if you are really looking to go to the top, you’re going to have to change what you are looking at! Stop looking at the glory and the majesty of the throne! Start looking for a place to serve like a servant!

Pride causes us to aim for the throne, whilst humility causes us to crave service. As part of your service, you might need a throne. Infact the truth is that the throne was designed to be used for a greater level of service. However humility understands that even when you get the throne, you are a servant on a throne.

Even with Jesus, it wasn’t the allure of a throne that drew Him to come to the earth, it was the opportunity to serve! He did not come to be served but to serve. Authentic  leadership is servant leadership.

Philippians 2:6-7 Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God, did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained, But stripped Himself of all privileges and rightful dignity, so as to assume the guise of a servant slave, in that He became like men and was born a human being.

The reason Jesus is Lord, the all powerful God, with the highest influence in every realm of existence is because he set his sights on the privilege of serving. His eyes where not on the throne. His eyes where on the opportunity to serve humanity.

The life and achievement of Jesus leaves us with one profound truth that every leader must embrace – You will NEVER really lead anyone or in any sphere that you have not really served!

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13Dec
An important key to thriving relationships
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The fact that someone says they love you, is not enough. It’s the actions they take consistently overtime that validate what they say and clarifies what they mean.

I am not suggesting that we become cynical of people’s declaration of love, I am saying that over time the actions of people will validate their declaration.

More interestingly, their actions will clarify their declaration. Their actions will clarify what they mean when they say they love you…because not everyone who loves you, loves you in the same way.

Your ability to understand the love you feel or are receiving will influence the health of your relationships.

In 1 Samuel 18 we find a story of David who has just been propelled into the radar of Saul the king, and Jonathan, the prince following David’s victory over Goliath.

1 After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.

2 From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family.

Jonathan and Saul were impressed by David and loved him. Jonathan’s Love lead him to enter into a covenant with David. Sauls Love lead him to retain David in the palace and among the army ranks.

Two people were impressed with and even loved David, but their expressions of the love and admiration they felt for him were different.

One of the great skills we would need trust the Holy Spirit to help us with is that of knowing the kind of love you have for your neighbour and the kind of love that your neighbour has for you.

Do they love me as themselves like Jonathan loved David? Do I love them because of the political benefits they bring to my life?

In pastoring people, I have learnt that most people will love the pastor for being their pastor, but many can’t handle the pastor as a person. Or even as person with flaws! 😱

Most people in church love you because you understand “christianese” but can’t they handle you when you don’t speak christianese.

Some of your friends love you because you are funny and you make them laugh. But they don’t know what to do with you when you’re crying!

Now it is not necessarily a bad thing for someone to love you because of what you bring to the table. Truth be told, more often than not, we connect in relationships as a result of what we perceive that you bring to the table in the early stages of our relationship.

However the onus is on us as individuals to understand how people love you. Do they love you like Saul loved David, or do they love you like Jonathan loved David.

Many times we get burnt because you were trying to relate to Saul as if he loved you like Jonathan. You were trying to relate to your boss as if he was your pastor. Or trying to relate with your girlfriend as if she’s your wife.

But in driving our relationships with love…we need to understand the level of love or the type of love in operation at the time and operate at that level!

Don’t love your boyfriend like he is your husband. Yes he loves you, but until that love moves him to put a ring on it, it’s not time for him to enjoy the benefits due to a husband!

Same for you gents, ladies are just as bad sometimes, don’t give her what is due for your wife!

Be educated on the type of love those around you have for you and the type of love you have for others.

If the actions we take in our relationships are driven by love and expressed appropriately, your relationships will flourish!

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11Nov
When you’re weak, stop ‘trying’ to be strong
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I know we hear well meaning people in our lives demand strength from us when we are weak. Society has even made being weak a dirty, shameful state. So we force the weak to be strong! We feel so vulnerable and even ashamed of being weak that we start “trying”to be strong.

But I have found that trying to be strong when you are weak is unproductive for several reasons:

  • You’re trying to be what you’re not. You are weak. It’s not a crime. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. You are not a weakling because you are weak. Weakness is a part of life. It is absolutely exhausting to try to be something that you’re not. Weakness is not a permanent state. It can change. But you can’t authentically change a state that you don’t acknowledge. Just like you can’t cure a sickness you refuse to acknowledge.
  • You’re actually draining whatever strength you have when you’re trying to be strong when you’re weak. The state of weakness is a state that we get to because you’ve lost strength. We lose strength for so many different reasons (let’s save that for a different blog). But if you’re weak and you’re trying to be strong, you will lose/spend whatever strength you have left in trying to be strong. That’s unproductive. That’s not God’s best for you.

What should we do when we are weak?

The only answer I have and trust is a biblical one. And here it is: Just like in the natural, When you are weak, that’s definitely the time to rest. It is good practice to make rest needs to be a part of our daily grind. More so when you are weak.

Ephesians 6:10

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

2 Timothy 2:1

You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

It seems to be the case that our strength, according to God, is in Christ Jesus. We access this position in Christ through our faith in Him and in what He did when He was on earth.

When you are weak, don’t deny your weakness. Acknowledge your position IN Christ.

Reaffirm the supremacy of Christ Jesus over everything that might be draining your strength.

Reaffirm the truth that in this position in Christ, you are truly safe, well and provided for.

If you can believe the above, and learn how to actively stay or get conscious of the these truths, you will move from weakness to strength!

Your circumstances might not have changed, but you can be strong, even when you are weak.

Thank God for encouraging external situations. Thank God people who encourage & strengthen us. But God’s best plan for our strength is to position us in Christ Jesus. We are strong in Him.

When you are weakened by life, don’t try to be strong. Reaffirm your position in Christ. Reacquaint yourself of all His benefits. That’s what it means to wait on the Lord. Your strength will be replenished as you wait on Him.

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18Oct
Bitterness doesn’t suit you
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Bitterness is poisonous for your life. It sometimes sounds naive to believe the best in people at all times. With every opportunity you get.

But this is not just a nice thing to do, it is an essential thing to do. Bitterness is what happens when you reach a negative conclusion about someone’s actions and even their motives.

Bitterness is what happens when we allow the thing we perceive to be wrong on the outside to sip into your soul.

Bitterness in our hearts is the product of letting certain thoughts about another person go unchecked in your heart.

Bitterness is evidence that the thoughts you’ve been entertaining about an event, a person or a situation have been processed wrongly in your heart.

Bitterness is visible in your words, posture and attitude. Bitterness will destroy you and attempt to infect everything you’re involved in.

When your heart is bitter, you become bitter. When you are bitter, you become like a capsule of poison. You change every atmosphere you step into.

Like a capsule dropped in water, it’s only a matter of time before the bitterness inside sips out and changes the taste and feel of your environment.

Bitterness will eventually isolate you. Non of us are maximised in isolation.

I’ll be honest with you. I have been bitter about so much. But in recent years I discovered that there is only one true remedy for avoiding bitterness. It’s choosing to believe the best in people and in all circumstances even when you have good reason to believe the worst.

You’re not naive to see the worst and believe the best so strongly, that your response is more in line with the best you choose to believe than the worst that you saw.

You are too beautiful to be bitter. Bitterness doesn’t suit you my friend. Don’t entertain it.

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