Not Even The Son of Man

For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45 KJV).

Be an observer in a classy restaurant for a few minutes. Sit and watch the interactions between the waiters and the customers / diners and you will understand how nice it is to be waited on. For someone to just be standing waiting, discretely attentive to every gesture you make, even to your non verbal and facial expressions, just waiting to please you, to serve and cater to your indulgences; this feels great indeed. After dining in such a restaurant, you are most likely to remember the service even more than the food you ate.

Ensuring customer service and satisfaction is paramount for securing repeat business. Any good business person knows that everyone wants to be treated well. People go to great expense to get good customer service. It is therefore only really accessible to those who can afford it.

Now imagine that you do not have to pay for it. Now that will be heaven indeed. But it is hard to find genuine, well organised, hands on, undelegated service which is free.

The problem is that people will rather belong to the group that receives more so than the group that gives. We are not always keen on giving direct service to others if it will not benefit us in some way. Infact we find it degrading and menial especially if the recipient is in a ‘lower class’ than we are. We may be affluent and wealthy enough to give financially to others who are not so blessed but to get our hands dirty doing the actual serving, oh no, we won’t. This is too demeaning. Don’t be deceived. We are good at talking the talk but walking the walk genuinely is something of a rarity.

Society is therefore full of people who are oriented towards taking rather than giving. Where giving is done, it has to be convinient and in some way self benefiting even if indirectly. The world has a lot of charity donors and philantropists who give what they can afford in order to make a name for themselves but as popular and praiseworthy as that is, there are only a few that directly ‘touch’ the needy in society.

I like the TV program, ‘Secret Millionaire‘ because, at the end of each episode, the millionaire who has dared to live undercover amongst the needy and be part of their daily struggles comes away with a better sense of the worth of the people so that what he gives in terms of money becomes a secondary matter and pales in significance to the richness and the worth of the people he is trying to help. These secret millionaires become inwardly enriched and directly acquainted with the struggles. They are not just touched by the people’s plight from the comfort of their millionaire empires but from the dung pit of suffering and struggle. This experience is humbling to the soul and expands the heart of the giver. It makes the giver experience true greatness which money cannot buy.

‘Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud’. (Proverbs 16:19 KJV)

On the otherside of the divide, are those who are determined to become rich by taking advantage of the poor. They want to be able to afford the lifestyle of being pandered to and catered to. The celebrity lifestyle. They turn to illegimate shorthanded dealings to enable them afford the ‘affluent, everyone at your beck and call’ kind of life. This represents greatness to them.

Recently, there was a news item on BBC1 about how the police have been able to raid, established syndicates of criminals and confiscicate imitation designer items that were being produced on a large scale and being pumped into the market. Bags, shoes, watches, coats and the like with authentic looking designer logos were being sold at half the price of the genuine ones.

The question is; why will criminals make imitations of these brands and try to sell them off as the real thing? It is because of the value that the original brands have now got. Someone started them, worked hard, paid the price over many years to get the brand to where it is now. The ‘give me satisfaction quick criminals’ wanting to live affluent lives, take advantage of the ignorant poor and sell these counterfeit stuff to them.

These criminals are the takers in society, not the givers. Even the little the poor has they take away from them for consumption on their own lusts – a life of luxury and indulgence where money allows for every whim or desire to be pandered to. The police were previously destroying the counterfeit items but a Christian charity now takes them and removes the fake labels and donates them to ex- offenders and homeless people and others in need.

As bad as these criminals are, they are at least blatant in their evil scheme of defrauding others. They are no worse than the Christian, who having received the genuine authentic love of God begins to sit in their ivory towers wanting to be served and waited on by the masses in the name of Christianity.

We refuse to roll up our sleeves and serve others directly. We will rather package the grace of God and re – sell it to meet our own needs. We want the titles, the affluence and we desire to be waited on. The world is presently awash with christian celebrity superstars. The main theme if you look carefully is ‘ give me a dollar and I will pray for you’.

We are like Criminals not willing to pay the price, but wanting to benefit illegally from the popularity of the brand. The brand we are counterfeiting is no ordinary brand. The Christian life is a life paid for by royal blood. Not just any royal blood but the blood of the only begotten son of God.

We can still hear his voice calling out. ‘Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me’. (Isaiah 6:8 KJV).

Jesus Christ redefined greatness. The greatest is not the one being served but rather the one doing the serving. He not only redefined it for us but he lived it too. He rolled up his royal sleeves and agreed to be demoted from his throne to live and dwell with the objects of his creation and to serve them in the most menial forms possible to the point of dying for them all at his own cost. Amazing!

‘Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross’. (Philippians 2:4-8 KJV)

So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. (John 13:12-17 KJV)

But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. (Matthew 23:11, 12 KJV)

Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? (Romans 2:21 KJV)

Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, (2 Timothy 3:4-6 KJV)

For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. (Matthew 16:27 KJV)

Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. (1 Corinthians 7:21, 22 KJV)

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. (Matthew 16:24, 25 KJV)

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21 KJV)

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27 KJV)

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. (James 4:10 KJV)

And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. (Matthew 23:12 KJV)

Enough said!!!

Whose Child Are You?

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3 KJV).

I have met people who if they had a choice will not belong to the biological family they belong to. They have a thing or two to say about their parents or their siblings. At the very least they harbour a secret admiration for a friend or an acquaintance’s family and wish their own family were just as rich, happy, together, loving, supportive, educated, influential as these other families are.

There is one thing however no human can do. You cannot change your birth parents. Even if you moved and grew up with another family, you will not be a bonafide member of the family unless perhaps you were legally adopted by them. You may have shared everything in common with them just like all families do but as long as you were not legally adopted, in the eyes of the law, you were never a part of them although you lived in their house and shared everything with them.

In the same way, all humans are God’s creation. We all live in his house (earth). We live off his provisions, the air we breath, water and food from the earth. In his mercy, he continues to provide sustenance for the whole earth and all it contains.

Do you know however that not everyone is a ‘child’ of God? The concept is pretty alien to some people. They ask themselves – how can God have a child? If he can, doesn’t that mean we all, his creation are his children?

No. According to the bible there is a difference between his creation and his children. God made you just like a manufacturer will make something. He also made the animals and the stars and the moon and the sun. These are not his children. Like you and I, they are first and foremost his creations.

The bible tells us of Jesus Christ as the only begotten son of God. In the begining, he already existed. He was not made like you and I were although we were made in his image and by him. He is the legitimate family of God. Together with the Holy Spirit, they are a bonded 3 persons in one.

To become a legitimate child of God and to have access to the family inheritance not only on earth but also in heaven you and I must become children of God not by a physical transaction but by a spiritual transaction whereby we are adopted as sons and daughters into God’s family with all the rights and responsibilities of sonship.

When this happens it as as though you have been ‘born again’ and are no more just a creation of God but a child of God. This happens when you accept that you are an unqualified sinner who cannot by yourself do anything to merit becoming a child of God. You ask for forgiveness of your sins and accept Jesus Christ ( the only begotten son of God) as your Lord and saviour and agree a spiritual transaction which was sealed by covenant through his sacrificial death on the cross on behalf of you and everyone who will believe. By this exchange, he is able to give you life , everlasting life , a rebirth into the family of God.

“He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:10-13 KJV)”

Listen to his own words which are a response to a question about how to have eternal / everlasting life -; Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3 KJV)

Become a child of God today. It is never too late but it would be if you were to die today without completing the exchange. It is not that you are not good enough as you are. It is simply that the legal criteria for the redemption of your sins has not been met and you have automatically lost your chance to make that choice. In God’s view, everyday you live without becoming legally his, you are making the choice for which you will be held responsible. No one is exempted. No sin is too big or too inconsequential. We all need redemption. There isn’t a single person who doesn’t. The price has already been paid. Don’t waste the opportunity.

Enough Said!!!

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What Is Your Excuse?

Luke 8:25

Have you heard this question before? If God is all knowing why do we have to pray?

This reasoning is used by some to excuse their lackadaisical attitude towards things of faith. Some even use it to explain their bad actions and attitudes stating that God can see their heart and God knows their good intentions and God understands their inability to take certain action as appropriate.

Faith should however be an enabler and an impetus to spur us on to take action as appropriate to the circumstances that confront us. Faith in God should not disable us, it should enable us. Because you believe in God you take action against injustice, action against sin, action against anything that dehumanises, torments and harasses you as well as others.

It is faith that makes us speak up for others knowing that is what God expects of us and knowing that we have the victory because God is for us. Faith which is not demonstrated is dead and does not overcome challenges.

So instead of remaining in your comfort zone or feeling unable to take action or to make any effort to change your adverse circumstances, it is important that you get up to your feet and do what God expects you to do as a believer. Take action! Pray! Speak the word! Put your hands to the plough and do not look back!

The bible tells us the following:

‘For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith’. (1 John 5:4 KJV)

‘But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him’. (Hebrews 11:6 KJV)

In Luke 8:25, Jesus rebuked his disciples because they refused to exercise their faith in the face of a storm and instead were expecting that he will wake up and calm the storm on their behalf. Infact they asked him, ” don’t you care that we perish? Implying that he should know that they were unable to do anything about the raging storm themselves. And he should know that they expected him to do it for them. But this is Jesus’s response “Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him” (Luke 8:25 KJV)

Yes, with faith, even the winds and the water will obey you. But you must get up, face the storm and speak the word to the storm.

We must always exercise our faith. It is the only way to show our true colours as children of God, as overcomers in this world. Come on. Let’s make God proud and pleased with us. Lets exercise our faith today.

Enough Said!!!

Wisdom Is As Wisdom Does

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever. (Psalm 111:10 KJV).

I watched a children’s TV Program in which two competing groups played a memory and recall game. One person was given a message either verbally or by gestures without the others being allowed to see or hear the message. The message was then passed on from this person to another until it reached the last person. It emerged that the message that reached the last person although sensible was nothing like the initial message. While it was being transmitted down the chain, it got totally distorted. A message did come across but it was definitely not the intended original message.

Wisdom is quite like that. It has many variants and many who claim to be the original proponents of it. What they are in actual fact are recipients down the chain. Their message although often sensible to the carnal mind is still a distorted form of the true original.

‘There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord’.(Proverbs 21:30 KJV). The Lord is the fount of all wisdom. The source and root of all wisdom. His wisdom is so condensed and undistilled that it takes him enabling a person for them to even begin to drink from it. Any wisdom which tries to stand against the wisdom of God will ultimately prove ineffective.

An attempt to understand God using our common sense before accepting that his wisdom is supreme to all other wisdom is a futile attempt. His wisdom is too deep to be fathomed without his help. He is the only one who can reveal it to you. It is not found in education, in much learning or any other such endeavours of man. When you get an education you only get knowledge. It takes wisdom however to make full, purposeful use of that knowledge and if this wisdom is not the God Kind of wisdom, your acheivements do not necessarily ultimately last nor are they optimally beneficial to you. But God can give you the total package, wisdom and with the wisdom, knowledge and understanding which will not destroy or harm you but will truly build you up.

‘But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding? Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living'(Job 28:12, 13 KJV).

‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts’. (Isaiah 55:8, 9 KJV).

‘For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding’. (Proverbs 2:6 KJV)

God’s wisdom is priceless. There is nothing you can give in exchange for it. The only way to access God’s wisdom is to reverence him enough to begin to do his commandments even if they are meaningless to you to start with. God’s commandments are actually more for our benefit than his. How does it affect God for example, if you steal or kill someone? The person it affects most is yourself and others of the human race. You may very well be caught and incarcerated and the blemish and consequences of your actions will follow you forever.

However, as you begin to do God’s commandments, your own life becomes safeguarded. You begin to see in retrospect snippets of what obeying God has saved you from. As we submit and obey him by doing his commandments, we begin to gain ‘good understanding’ not only of him but of ourselves, our own potentials and abilities and uniqueness and value which until then had mostly been locked away from us. We then feel empowered for the best in us to be released. We begin to access true wisdom. Godly wisdom. We begin to understand God’s ways and his work and we can then follow him even more closely without unnecessary deviations from his plans and intentions for us.That is why the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

Nothing and no one is inaccesible to you if you are operating by the wisdon of God. He is able by that wisdom to direct every network, every resource and every promotion that you need to you. It is simply a process of time and of obedience to his commands.

‘And all the earth sought to Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart’.(1 Kings 10:24 KJV).

Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her. The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. (Proverbs 3:13-19 KJV).

Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets:……… saying, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: (Proverbs 1:20-23, 27-29 KJV).

Before you start trying to define exactly what wisdom is and whether yo have it or not, it is better to just start to journey to it in the way prescribed by God. Start by obeying his commandments. Do what he says. Please my friends, let’s choose the fear of the Lord. Let’s order our lives aright. True wisdom will be within our reach.

“Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” (1 Corinthians 1:20 KJV).

‘Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding’. (Proverbs 4:7 KJV).

Enough Said!!!!

A Modern Day Dilemma

1 John 4:1

I am constantly astounded at the speed with which technological advancements take place. Almost everything can be done instantly now. Information can be accessed and shared instantly. There is an explosion of all kinds of information both good and obscene ones. It is like an avalanche that carries everyone and everything with it. Even those who try to resist are inevitably caught in it’s web.

Take Facebook for instance. There are people on Facebook now who previously shun away from any kind of social networking but are presently hooked on it, myself included.

It is clear that in our present generation you almost cannot hide from technological advancement particularly information technology. It is in your face every where you turn. It is inevitable therefore that without quite being aware of it our mental stance and attitudes will be impacted by all the different things we see and hear everyday so much so that in this modern day even the self proclaimed conservative person usually ends up having some liberal perceptions towards certain things consciously or unconsciously.

The world is gradually being forced to consider everybody’s point of view or at least be tolerant towards it. That is the politically correct thing to do. Right or wrong has become very subjective. It depends on who you are talking to. It is difficult to find people who are true to themselves and stand for one thing only and maintain that stance.

When it comes to religion for example it is the age of pick and mix. Take what you think is good from each, mix it up and come up with your own customised version of a Religion. I, for one am weary of the term Christian now. Not all Christians believe singularly in the word of God. The minute you catch yourself saying; ‘I am a Christian, but…..’ then my friend you’re in trouble. It is difficult nowadays to find unadulterated, authentic preaching of the bible. If you listen carefully there seem to always be qualifiers. I believe in God but….., I believe the bible but……., I go to church but…….,

This situation looks set to get worse. As a Christian , it not only impacts on you but on your children and your children’s children. The generations to come. What will their mind set be? How will they treat the word of God and things of God? What new philosophies will develop to confuse them; even worse to dilute what we pass on to them? It is a serious situation.

The solution if you are a Christian is to re- evaluate your own beliefs and values and see if they truly conform to the word of God or whether they have been diluted by the world around you? The bible says: ‘Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall’. (1 Corinthians 10:12 KJV).

Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. (Hebrews 2:1 KJV).

The Christian message or gospel is clear in what it says. Jesus is the only way to God. The only mediator. The one who died and shed his blood for the redemption of the lost. It is God’s will that none of us will be lost but that we will all be reconciled to him. If you reject Jesus, you reject God’s provision for your redemption. He is the only way. It does not matter what you have heard and what is attempting to influence you. There aren’t many ways to God with Jesus as an option. Get on track. Do not be deceived.  The criteria is clear. If you do not meet it, you are out. This is what Jesus says; ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a theif. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth;and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And  when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers’. John 10:1-5 KJV).

‘For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus‘.(1 Timothy 2:5). ‘Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me’.(John 14: 6)

If you are Christian and you hold this belief, then there is no room for any other beliefs and there are no ‘buts’. For the sake of your children and your children’s children make sure you pass on a true legacy that nothing and no one in the world can take away from them, a solid unadulterated faith:

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” (1 John 4:1-6 KJV).

Enough Said!!!

Purpose needs Opportunity. Opportunity is of no use without Preparation.

2 Peter 3:8

When I was at school, both through my secondary education as well as college, I always purposed at the beginning of every new term that come the end of term I will be very prepared for the final examinations. I usually start of very well, with good planning, attending every lecture, setting time aside for study, adhering to my timetable.

Unfortunately, this often does not last for too long before I start trying to take things a bit easier, telling myself the end of term is still some time away and that I did not need to be so hard on myself. Almost too soon, the examinations timetable will be out at which time I begin to realise that there was no longer enough time to prepare. That is when the late night coffee and sleepless nights begin. What this demonstrated to me was that even when purposes and timings are known, preparation can be difficult to maintain.

When it comes to our life’s purpose, our destinies, time is not something we can control. It will not move faster than 24 hours a day and it will not go slower than that either. Time does not respect deadlines. It does it’s thing irrespective of who it affects and how it affects them. Our destinies, our futures, our dreams, our expectations, our purposes are always locked away in time waiting to be unraveled. All we can do each day we are alive is to prepare to make them a reality by wisely using the opportunities that come our way.

There are however those who work hard, do the best they can but feel that their breakthroughs never seem to come. They seem to have a lot of motion but no progress.There are others who get the breaks they need at the right times and appear to have mastered the rhythm of life. The wise man Solomon in the bible puts it this way:

‘I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them. (Ecclesiastes 9:11, 12 KJV).

Time and Chance (opportunities), they make the difference. Both of these unfortunately are out of our control. They are out of our control for a reason. There is a purpose for your life, for which cause, you were born and allotted a specific amount of time to live to fulfil that purpose. God is the one who knows this purpose and the time allotted to you and the opportunities you need for this purpose to be established. He alone therefore maintains control over both time and opportunities. The most important thing to him is that you fulfil your purpose and not necessarily the longevity of your life or the abundance of the opportunities he brings your way.

Time and opportunities are means to an end as far as God is concerned. Purpose is the deciding factor when it comes to how much time and opportunities he gives you. He therefore uses them (time and opportunity) to prepare you for purpose.It is a tragedy therefore to live without identifying your God ordained purpose. You will most likely be wasting the time and opportunities that come your way. You can’t afford  to do so because their supply as far as you are concerned is limited.

God on the otherhand walks in purpose and he subjects time to purpose. (“But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day”. (2 Peter 3:8 KJV))

You unlike God,can only walk in time to fulfil an assigned purpose. When the allotted time for that purpose is up, there is nothing you can do to change it. But it will be a tragedy for your time to be up and the purpose allotted to it and to your life has not been achieved.

But how can your purpose be achieved, if you spend your time refusing to be submitted to God and to be accountable to him so he can lead and direct you? You may seem successful at what you spend your time doing but is that the reason God is keeping you alive? Remember, there is no extra time once your time is up.

The Psalmist understood this and so prayed; ‘The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom’.(Psalm 90:10-12 KJV).

While you are still alive, now is the time to allign yourself with God, so you can spend your time making the right preparation for the God ordained opportunities coming your way. Remember they are linked to your purpose. However if you are spending your time preparing for the wrong thing, you will miss those opportunities, then you have no one to blame but yourself.

You can live a very long life and never fulfil your purpose because your preparation and opportunities never matched or synchronised. Your end will be full of regret and disillusionment. You can also live a short life but achieve all that God intended for you to achieve, in his way and in his time. That is fulfilling. Whether time and opportunities are on your side or not the most important thing is that you have lived the life God purposed for you. At the end of which you will hear him call you a good and a faithful servant / steward. My advice to you is as follows:

‘……..Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation’. (Hebrews 3:15 KJV).

Enough Said!!!

The Best Gift Is You. Please Dont Give Me Less

 

I am my beloved‘s, and my beloved is mine: he feedeth among the lilies.(Song of Solomon 6:3 KJV)

It is often said that we are defined by our relationships. The best way to know who you are is to have a look at who you associate with. One’s influence is most felt by those one interacts with on a regular basis.

In a relationship where there is no interaction the bond soon wears off and it becomes a relationship in name only. Therefore there are many who base the value of their relationships on the frequency of interaction between them and the people they are in relationship with. Others base it on the gifts they receive from each other or other tokens of friendship. The more a person is able to lavish these tokens on you the more valuable the relationship is.

This fickle basis of estimating a relationship’s value is often pushed by motivational and self development experts. What you end up hearing is this; ‘if a person does not seem to be adding value to your relationship with them then they are of no use to you. Cut them off’.

But that is not God‘s way. If it was, many of us will have been cut off long ago. The value of a relationship should be decided from the beginning. In which case, distance, lapse of time, challenges etc do not devalue it. God made a decision to love you even before you got your act together. If something or someone is not worth giving yourself to from the beginning then no amount of gifts or interaction can change that. If these can change that, then you are either being bribed or a wrong estimation or assessment was made by you in the first place.

Relationships should be based on conviction. They should not be entered irresponsibly. The question is, will you be satisfied with me as I am if what you see now is what you will get for always? Or are there strings attached to your friendship. I have found in my own experience that the best relationships are those where there is an understanding and an agreement right from the start whether spoken or unspoken that both parties are convicted and convinced of each other’s value and therefore pledge their very selves to each other. There is an unspoken acknowledgement that what I am giving you is myself and there is nothing more valuable than that that I can give to prove your value to me. The time, the interaction and the gifts are things and only cement our relationship but even without them, your value to each other does not diminish. Greater love has no man than this; that a man will lay down his life for his friend. Beyond the gidfts and other tokens of friendship, what we should rather look for is the heart behind the actions. Are you giving and receiving the invaluable gifts of one another’s self(s) or are your friendships wholly superficial.

You should be able to say, ‘I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine’. No doubts about it. Our gift to each other is ourselves and not things. Without the giving of ourselves, the pledging of our loyalty and faithfulness from the very beginning, our relationships become too high maintenance and tasking and draining. But where there is genuine giving of ourselves first and foremost, the rest flows naturally. Relationships do need evaluation but that evaluation is not based on the receipt and givinng of tokens. It is based on whether you still have the heart, the true self of the other.

If you are finding your relationships tasking and burdensome, then ask yourself the question? What is my investment in this relationship? Have I given myself? Am I my beloved’s and is my beloved mine? If this equation is unbalanced and you are trying to balance it off with gifts, attention and the like, then you are in for a disaster as this is not maintainable long term. True friends are friends for life. They have been thoroughly persuaded of each others value from the start. They are not forever walking on egg shells trying to prove themselves to each other. That my friend is slavery not a relationship.

Enough Said!!!!

Why Do Some Say ‘I DO’ and Others Just Won’t?

John 8:24 KJV

What makes someone run into your arms can make another person run as far as they can away from you. There isn’t that much distance between COURAGE and FEAR.

Most often this is the basis for the decisions we make. Two people can be presented with the same situation. One may respond with fear and the other may respond with courage. Sometimes the one responding with fear may see elements of the situation that makes it so much more of a challenge or even an impossibility. The only logical response must be one of retreat or suspicion or fear.

There are times that our intellectual prowess and ability to think through things and weigh them in every way possible becomes an impediment to exercising courage. Those who exercise courage tend to do so in the face of uncertainty. Those who exercise fear tend to do so after considering the variables and being more certain of failure than success. This plays a factor in all major decisions we make about whether we go ahead with something or whether we retreat or withdraw from it.

Those who withdraw usually have good reasons to substantiate their fear. Those who exercise courage usually do so often  inspite of evidence of one sort or another to suggest that they shouldn’t. They take a step into the unknown often based on a conviction which they may be unable to fully explain. Does it mean they are being illogical? Have they lost their senses? Not necessarily.

We are confronted often with the need to make decisions about relationships, carreers and jobs, changes in our lives, entrepreneurial ventures  and other matters.  We can base all our decisions on logic but once so often we base it o something beyond logic. on a conviction that we canot shake. I see that this also applies when it comes to making a decision about whether to believe the good news of the gospel, whether to make a decision for Christ or to reject him. I find that many reject him out of fear. Fear for what he stands for, fear about the almost overly simplistic nature of the salvation he offers, fear about what it implies for their own life, fear from what they have observed happening to others who accept him and many other fears that the human mind can come up with. Many will not call it fear. When it is all stripped down however, it boils down to fear. Fear of what others will think about us. Fear of the changes we will have to make in our lives. Fear of the loss of previous privileges and relationships.

I imagine an invisible line. Let’s call it the start line that all human beings stand on. Following our birth irrespective of our background, as we live our lives, there comes a day when we each are confronted in one form or another with the opportunity to make a decision either to give our live over to God‘s control or not to do so. Irrespective of whatever form it might take, whether, through sickness, through a miracle we have observed, through devastation in someone else’s life or our own, through hearing the word of God being preached, there will be a time, a day in each person’s life when we each have to make a conscious choice with regards to the issue of belief or faith. The decision you make is based on whether you exercise courage or fear. Courage will make you run into God’s arms but fear will make you run in the opposite direction. Afterall there is so much unknown and ununderstood about the whole notion or concept of the existence of God. There are many reasons we can find to excuse ourselves.

‘But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him’. (Hebrews 11:6 KJV).

It takes grace to believe. But to speak in a layman’s language, it takes great courage to exercise faith. The evidence we have about God is around for everyone to see inspite of arguments to the contrary. We each in our lives and particular circumstances will have enough evidence if we so choose to  see that God does exist. We may not like what we see of him or the things we see around us but we will each have the evidence to gain the conviction that God does exist. What we do with that is however entirely in our hands.

‘For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools’, (Romans 1:20-22 KJV).

We are all presented with the same view. The ‘wise’ are unimpressed with the evidence and choose to reject him. Those who choose to exercise courage and allow themselves to be drawn to him by the evidence before them, he rewards with his grace for salvation and the promise of eternal life. Friends, the difference between a believer and an unbeliever (atheist etc) is simply the distance between FEAR and COURAGE. This is why we have different responses when it comes to God.

The evidence that Jesus is Lord is so clear that in my view, it takes more faith not to believe than it takes to believe. To look at everything around you, all the events of our days, to look at creation and all the miracles around us and to refuse or reject the Lord, that must take a lot of faith in the validity of your own reasoning power and your FEAR.

I hope that you will take a second look and exercise COURAGE instead. You will find that you made the right choice. See Jesus‘s own words below, possibly the most chillingly conclusive words I have ever read. Instead of fear and the thought of retreat, these words propel should propel you forward. They should give you the courage to run into his arms and to acknowledge that he is Lord.

“And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins”. (John 8:23, 24 KJV).

Enough Said !

Is it possible to be a happily married woman and be successful outside the home too?

This is a million dollar question on the mind of many women.

Can a girl really expect to have it all ? Can she be a success both in her home and outside her home in a way which isn’t just superficial but real?

Can she effectively be a good wife, mother, homemaker and be a CEO of a company, run her own business, be in public ministry or office, just plain be out there making a comparatively equal contribution as the best of them ?

Granted, not all women want this, but many actually do even if they never voice it out.

It often seems that most women have to choose to be very effective on one end and mediocre on the other. If they don’t, over time, they loose their marriages, or have to give up on careers or public lives.

Women need to know the truth.  Be given realistic views of how things really are. What works and what doesn’t.  Stories of successes and failures. If you know of any women (could be you),  who are effectively doing both good solid marriages and good solid public lives, please share their stories here, in the comments box or privately send it in an email to selasiebulmuo.yahoo.com.

Let’s gather the stories and come up with a realistic picture. If you made the choice to not marry or got divorced (for reasons related to success outside the home), lets hear from you too. Real women, real talk.

I aim to compile the findings for inclusion in a publication so please share your views, don’t hold back.  You would be helping other women with your story. Thanks.

You can use the following suggested guideline:

  • What is your (their) profile and philosophy? ( Christian or Non Christian)
  • How long have you (they) been married?
  • What is your (their) family composition?
  • Do you (they) work  outside the home? Why?
  • How do you (they) manage both?
  • Do you (they) work outside the home with their spouse ? (Women in Ministry alongside their spouses, Family Run Businesses etc)
  • Is the arrangement working for all involved?
  • Share your favourite quote

Short responses that do not conform to the suggested guidelines are also welcome.

Do It Yourself Generation

Psalm 147:11 The lord takes pleasure in those that fear him. In those that hope in his mercy.

In this modern day and age it is important to be seen as competent, efficient and striving to be the best at whatever you do. If you can’t compete you are out. It is a survival of the fittest. Most people climb over others, break promises, break ethics, speak lies and believe in aggrandising and promoting themselves just to ‘make it’.

Leveraging is a now word. Branding is another. The days when you come just as you are, those days are no more. For anyone to associate with you they need to know explicitly or implicitly what you have to offer them. People consider themselves ‘self made’ and there is very little room for a genuine acknowledgement of God as the orchestrator of their ‘success’.

As important as it is to move with the times, never sacrifice what you can be in God for what you can be through your own efforts mainly. This is important when it comes to choosing your vocation, your career, your friends, associates and all other choices you make . It is even important in the way you portray yourself and how you ‘sell’ yourself. God can see the bigger picture of your life much better than you ever can. Don’t just go by what you are good at or what you can do all by yourself. Beyond manual, intellectual and economic power is supernatural power which comes from God. He gives you that power that can take the most menial, disrespected, inconvenient, uncomfortable, lonely thing, be it a job, a person, a calling  and any other endeavour. He can make it into something beautiful.

You may not always know where he is leading when he starts to lead. You may not be able to leverage or take advantage of circumstances like others can. You may not even be able to brand yourself by what you are good at but if you reverence God and allow him to lead and control events, you will become a ‘God Made Person’ which is far superior and longer lasting than becoming a ‘Self Made Person’ and when God takes pleasure in you even the sky ceases to be the limit.

Instead of striving to do it yourself, put God in charge and hope in his Mercy. He will take pleasure ( be interested, be supportive, be instrumental ) in all that concerns you. If God be for you, who can be against you.