“I deserve better. Why do they treat me like this?” This statement has come up in many conversations I’ve had in the recent past. Honestly, I don’t know anyone who has never had a reason to feel offended or has never offended anyone. Everyone has an inborn tendency to disappoint or be disappointed and it elicits a need to retaliate, seek justice and for some bitterness towards another.
Well, let’s take this a notch higher. I don’t know any follower of Christ who has never felt snubbed by God or Jesus if u like. Actually, it only takes one thought to get offended at what God has said, done or what He hasn’t done…yet. Personally, I’ve had several moments of disappointments and emotional roller coaster. He does have a way of keeping me waiting, and waiting….and waiting, challenging my due date and ways, and showing me it’s about His due time and season. But I’ve grown past them because I know His word is life in itself and by yielding to Him over and over.
Jeremiah shares my sentiments but in a more severe and acute manner. Out of sorrow, he felt deceived and overpowered by God due to the mockery and scorning he endured for speaking the truth of the Word.
Jer 20:7 O LORD, You have deceived me and I was deceived; You have overpowered me and prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long; Everyone mocks me.
For me “deceived” is a strong word, because God is not a trickster. The devil is. Jeremiah then overrules his sorrow in verse 11-13 when he looks back in a positive light, remembers God’s faithfulness, greatness, and justice. He also has an indelible writing inscribed in his heart, a burning fire of the Word that compelled him to carry on with his assignment. I have been walking with God long enough to know that when you capture the revelation of His love you just can’t quit. It burns within. It compels you to speak out.
Fast forward to the dispensation of Grace. It is possible that Jesus still offends more than any man who has ever lived on the face of the earth. Wherever Jesus went, he offended people, or people were offended because of Him. Unfortunately for many, He never apologized for his words and actions.
Think about how His devout servant and cousin, John the Baptist, was shut up in Herod’s irksome prison and died a gruesome death, yet Jesus came to set the captives free and did nothing about John. Blessed is he who shall not be offended in me (Mat 11:6), was all He had to say to John in such a time of acute stress. “Get behind me Satan!” This was His response to Peter, just moments after Peter outshined the other disciples with the brilliant revelation of Jesus being the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Matt 16:16-23). His teaching and actions defied the wisdom of the well taught Pharisees, and He did not shy away from calling them hypocrites, serpents, and a generation of vipers right in front of their face (Mat 23:29,33). And if you thought it was all pep talk with His own family, well, you’re wrong. When His mother and brothers called for him as He ministered to a crowd, he disowned them saying “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father…the same is my brother, and sister, and mother” (Mat 12:46,50).
I’m not trying to make it appear as if Jesus was on a mission to offend people, no. He was on a mission to tell the truth. When He said, blessed is he who is not offended in me, He meant The Word. He is the Word of God, the truth, the way and the life.
The Word of God offends. Anything that is not of God, including a carnal thought will certainly get antagonized by the truth of the Word. In the same manner, those who do not accept or believe the truth get offended, and most especially by the one sharing this truth. Paul became an enemy to the Galatians (Gal 4:16) and Jeremiah a laughing stock to the Israelites for sharing the truth. The Word is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword and it discerns thoughts and intents of a person’s hearts bringing his or her true nature to the surface. For the Pharisees, pride and hate came to the surface, for Jeremiah and the disciples their love for God did, in fact, it was solidified by the truth.
This being the eschatological times according to Mat 24:10 “And then shall many be offended…” it is certain that many will be offended with how God is working in their lives more than when Jesus walked on earth. War, loss, incurable diseases, nations rising against others, earthquakes, pestilences, unemployment, financial strain, persecution, deception and death toll continues to mount up. In such times, many of Jesus followers will either persevere or give up, be blessed or offended. Those who are after earthly bread and fish (a decent way of saying prosperity) will depart and walk with Him no more as in John 6:66-69. But those like Peter and the eleven, who knows that Jesus has the words of eternal life, and that there is no other place they would rather be, will let go offences and solder on knowing the reward of perseverance awaits.
The enemy is very cunning. He uses offense as a snare to cause division in the body of Christ, and make a great man/woman who has served God faithfully feel forsaken, disrespected and less anointed to the point of caving in. However, one solid foundational truth remains; that the leadership of Jesus is good. Whatever He says, what he does or does not do, or allows in our lives is motivated by His perfect love for us. All He requires is perfect humility. But when your proud ego gets easily affronted, Satan knows that he has already won because we stop growing in love. In fact, he will be happier to give you a pampering alternative which will not offend you, one your ego can easily embrace. It won’t be long though, until it eats away every productivity in your life like a cancer, unless you release it back to God. So, don’t harbor hard feelings, nor nourish those of others. Instead, point them to the healer, and let Him work His perfect work within. That’s how we forsake all and follow Jesus.
Mat 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Mention panda mbegu (sow a seed) to Kenyans and many will hurl words of insults back at you. Others who’ve been intoxicated by ‘Preachers of L.A’ the movie will bitterly tell you how panda mbegu (sow a seed) churches have become mega through what they now believe to be a scam. To some extent, their anger is understandable following recent scandals. But to a greater extent, it is not.
The law of sowing and reaping, giving and receiving is a biblical principle that cannot be nullified. Seed time and harvest will never cease, and bread cast upon the waters will be found after many days as the bible clearly states. But, don’t get me wrong. As much as I believe in this law, I am not blind to the fact that panda mbegu (sowing) has been widely misused by those Jesus called hirelings. Those who do not care about the sheep.
Well, my intention today is not to stir anyone to send money to any televangelist with the promise of receiving a 24hr miracle. Neither am I writing to encourage those on facebook compelled to hit like, share, or type amen on those heart-breaking images/posts with the promise to receive an instant miracle if they do, or receive a curse if they don’t…No. I intend to extend the definition of this principle from monetary value to good works.
Last week, the generosity of Kenyans on social media touched the hearts of many. Following an article by a well-known blogger, Kenyans gave bountifully within 24 hrs to help Emmanuel a.k.a Jadudi meet the cost of a forth brain surgery in India. The trending hashtag #1MilliForJadudi got Kenyans donating, raising six times the required amount needed to get “that thing” (a cancerous tumor) out of Jadudi’s head.
Also, in the recent past, we’ve had similar acts of mercy, but this time on air, during a breakfast show in a popular Kenyan vernacular radio station. Listeners respond heartily to a highlighted plea, donate to off-set huge medical bills and support cancer victims acquire medical treatment abroad by giving surpassing the target in few hours. Shiro wa GP’s can attest to that. These campaigns have restored hope to many, rousing many terminally ill to soldier on and keep fighting. Well, I call this sowing mercy and kindness.
You know, we sow and reap different kind of seeds on a daily basis. When we show people compassion, we reap compassion. If treat them with honor, we reap honor. When we chose not to forgive, we reap unforgiveness. If we sow acts of betrayal, we reap betrayal. And those who show mercy obtain mercy according to the beatitudes. In actual fact, the harvest usually comes in multiples, either for good or evil deed. Just like Jacob had a taste of his own medicine. He succeeded outwitting his aging father, Isaac. Decades later, a more far reaching family deception befell him when Laban gave him Leah instead of Rachael.
The seeds of good deeds like those sown to Jadudi are always before God and bringing glory to Him. Whoever gives to the poor lends to God, and the Lord pays back those loans in full (Prov 19:17). Certainly, the best seed one can sow when trusting God for a spouse, a job, a child, or those other things we believe God for, is by making it happen for another. Pray for someone in the same situation, give shelter to a homeless person if you can, pay school fees for a needy child, rock someone’s baby before yours comes, take part in someone’s marriage plans, get involved and labor in whichever way you can for another.
Even so, we should not grow weary in instances where we do not receive any approval or appreciation from men. If we persevere, God will multiply our seed of good works and send back a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over in due season. It comes when we least expect.
Gal 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not
When we hear a minister talk of a hardened heart, our mind quickly envisions an unbeliever resisting the Word; Jesus Christ. Hebrews 4:7 also comes to mind; “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts”. Listening to a sermon at my local church few weeks ago, got me thinking how believers harden their hearts just as much as non-believers do.
A hardened heart is one which resists the Word of God, knowingly or unknowingly. This heart condition is triggered by the deceitfulness of sin, unforgiveness, pride, unbelief, fear, past disappointments, bitterness, traditions, or failure. Sooner or later, a person’s ability to spiritually perceive, hear, discern, and understand becomes dull. It can be equated to spiritual retardation…auch! Yeah, for the natural man does not understand the things of God, they are spiritually discerned by a heart willing to yield.
Hardness of heart is a spiritual condition every believer should guard against. Out of the heart flows the issues of life. Although we have received the promise of rest, it is possible to miss it when we hear the Word and fail to mix it with faith (Heb 4:1-11). This is well demonstrated by the 12 spies sent by Moses to spy the land, which the Lord had already given them. 10 of the 12 spies brought back a bad report of defeat, which was contrary to God’s word for them. Their report also instilled doubt, fear, unbelief and stirred up restlessness among the Israelites. Shocking how simple words of mouth by the 10 spies who resisted God’s promises became contagious in the entire nation resulting to the consequence of death.
On the contrary, Caleb and Joshua were exempted from that death sentence for they mixed God’s Word with faith. These spies had a different spirit called faith, and by it they obeyed and followed God wholeheartedly. Prompted by their faith in God, they did not speak what everybody spoke, even under the threat of being stoned (Num 14:10). Neither did they perceive themselves as grasshoppers when everybody did. They rose above the toxic atmosphere in a nation that would rather complain than conquer. They had the wisdom to see and believe that the Lord, who had shown Himself almighty against the Egyptians, must be equally almighty against the Canaanites.
The antidote for a hardened heart is entering into God’s rest. This is not just something we do on the 7th day. It is something we do on a daily basis by laying down our fears, anxieties, heartache, and ceasing to strive on our human strength because God is in control. We enter by degrees into rest by being hearers and doers of His Word. Worrying, murmuring, rebellion complaining, repeating what talk show experts say, or trying to figure things out using our natural intellect alone cannot add one cubit to our stature. It only hardens the heart against God’s Word.
It takes intentional effort to soften our heart; diligently standing on His word in whatever circumstance. To trust Him, count on Him, and Hope on Him more than anything else in this world. Take hold of the shield of faith, and watch God’s powerful promises extinguish all the fiery arrows of the wicked.
Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
This is an article by a friend and a sister in Christ Juliet Kyla M.K. Thanks Juliet for hearing and sharing.
Num 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent.
Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”
Why do we need to know the voice of God; His spoken word, written word, dreams, visions, trances, impressions? Why study, why memorize, why listen? Note, the written word of God is the standard by which all revelation must be judged. Dreams, visions, trances and voice must align with the written word.
What stands out for me about the Word of God is that it creates. When He speaks and says what will happen, the circumstances must reorganize to let the word come true, even if they previously disagreed.
In a dark expanse, He spoke and there was light. No sun, no moon, no lamp, just light. How that came to be is mind-boggling and it always is when we try to figure out how He could possibly do what He has said, given the circumstances. Our part is not to figure out but to know that it will come to pass. Leave the “how” to the Lord.
God told Abraham in Gen 15 that he would have his own son and then offspring as many as the stars, he believed. I would say, because at that point, God did not say that the mother of the son would be Sarah. So when God, in Chapter 17, brought Sarah into the promise, Abraham laughed at the thought of it. At that point, the father of faith almost missed the point because to him, Sarah’s case was beyond possible.“
“That is not possible,” we say. That is a phrase one cannot afford to hold onto. Even death does not define impossible for God. Take the word, believe it, stick with it, insist and persist because it will surely come to pass.
Matt 19:26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God ALL THINGS are possible.”
There is a life that is at the disposal of every son of God, his for the taking that will bring glory to God. That people will look at and say, “How did he achieve that? That can only be God. That life is taken by faith in the God of impossible; believing in His seemingly impossible plan. That is how the previously barren woman from the Eastern side of Kenya brought forth twins, that is how many have been healed from cancers that are in untreatable stages and that is how one Andrew Womack had his own son come back to life from death. Selah.
Juliet Kyla M.K
“…Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls…” Jer 6:16
Life crossroads are inevitable. We are all faced with a myriad of small and huge decisions to make on a daily basis, most requiring discernment. Lately, I’ve found myself standing at the crossroad with a handful of acceptable options but an end I cannot see. Should I take this job offer or not? Should I quit or keep on? Should I stay or move on? Should I say yes or no? Should I invest in this business or not? If you are like me and have made some dumb decisions in the past, you would know that this is not a place to go rushing headlong. My greatest concern as a believer, would be choosing a way that seems right in my human eye, and end up missing God’s best.
Naturally, life crossroads are not easy. They are full of uncertainty and can keep you second-guessing. You are not sure what to embrace and what to bid fare-well. At times, they can result to sleepless nights with the “What if” question constantly hammering in your head. “What if I screw up?”, “What if I miss a life-changing opportunity?”, or “What if this is a blessing in disguise…what if it’s not?” The fear of making wrong choices always creeps in because some decisions made at crossroad can lead to years of regret, sorrow or happiness.
We don’t have to rely on our limited human understanding on crossroads or while making our day-to-day decisions. Our understanding is limited to what we see, think, or imagine. God’s understanding is unsearchable and infinite. Having grasped this truth, crossroad moments for me are times to trust in the Lord, lean on His understanding, acknowledge Him and wait for His directions. I know for some, the words “trust in the Lord” have somewhat become a cliché and they’d probably say, “this one has been overused please say something new.” Truth of the matter is, the bible does not give specific/step-to-step guidance to life shaping decisions. It only commands us to trust in the Lord.
Moses understood how vital it was to have God lead and guide his people during the exodus. He did not want to go anywhere if God was not going to be there with them (Exo 33:15-16). God then assured him of His presence, and guided them with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Whenever the cloud stopped, the Israelites would stop and set up camp. When it began moving, they did too. His presence set the pace for their journey.
We often go wrong when we fail to believe that God has such a life-plan for us. We decide our own course of action, lay our own plans, choose our own profession, decide upon our own business and expect God to follow us. No, It doesn’t work that way. In one of the Israelite’s moment of disobedience, God warned them from attacking the Amalekites and Canaanites. His presence would not be with them if they went to war. “Do not go up…you will be crushed by your enemies because the Lord is not with you…you will fall by the sword,” Moses warned the Israelites (Numbers 14:41-44). However, they disregarded the counsel of the Lord, went to war and fell flat on their faces. Yes, the end result was disastrous.
We express trust in God by seeking counsel from the Word and through prayers. He orders our steps. His Word illuminates our path. As we tune our ear to the voice of His Word and the prompting of the Holy Spirit, we position ourselves to receive instructions and clarity. We begin to hear His voice saying, this is the way, walk in it… (Isa.30:21). Through perfect submission, we become sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit who searches the deep things of God and reveals them to us (1 Cor 2:10-11). The Spirit then gives us peace that surpasses human understanding, helping us come to a solution and settle the issue of concern.
Isn’t that great? We don’t have to fumble about blindly or struggle to find the way, when we can trust in an all-wise and all-knowing God. He knows the end result before the beginning. Sometimes, He may direct us in a path we least expect, or one that is contrary to reason. We ought to trust and obey. His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts than our thoughts. God can see the big picture in such a way that we cannot fathom. At first you may fail to understand how things will work out in the path He’s leading you. But don’t try to figure Him out with your finite mind, no, don’t do that; just trust. As you follow and walk in obedience, the beauty of His plan and purposes will eventually unveil. Bless you!
“Help me find it” by Sidewalk Prophets. Hope the song blesses you:
If there’s a road I should walk, Help me find it
If I need to be still, Give me peace for the moment
Whatever Your will, Can you help me find it
Whenever I come across a great man or woman of God, I tend to dig up their biographies, memoirs or listen to their testimonies to understand how they got where they are today. Interestingly, most of them recount a life of struggle and hardship while growing up in their biographies. How their family used to be the least respected in their community or neighborhood. Some claim to have struggled with abuse, rejection, addictions, health complications, or bad company and habits. Others were far from being the “golden child” in the family. And like there is always a beautiful ending to a good movie, these great men then narrate how their lives were transformed by trusting in God and by seeking Him radically. Somehow, God handpicked them like He did with David and Joseph, positioned them for greatness and restored honor.
Does this sound familiar? God also used the seemingly weak people and things in the Bible; Moses the run-away and stammerer, Peter and John the unlearned and ignorant, Jeremiah who thought he was just but a child, Paul the chief persecutor of Christians, and Balaam’s donkey among others.
This week I’ve been meditating on the life and words of Saul and Gideon. When Prophet Samuel told Saul that he would be king over Israel, his response was “I belong to the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest tribe in Israel, and my family is the least important one in the tribe” (1 Sam 9:21). And when he was publicly declared as king, Saul went into hiding (1 Sam 10:22). Saul may not have been the best king, but this shy donkey keeper would become the very first king of Israel.
Gideon tried to counter God’s call to deliver His people from the Midianites with a string of excuses; “But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!” (Judges 6:15). Saul and Gideon must have felt less worthy, inadequate, or unqualified for what God was calling then to do. But the key for their assignment was the same for Gideon and Saul; God’s faithfulness. The Spirit of God came upon Gideon (Judges 6:34) and upon Saul to the point he prophesied (1 Sam 10:6). God assured Gideon of His presence, and to Saul He gave a new heart.
It is amazing how God shows no favoritism. He shows mercy and compassion on whomever He wills. He puts down one, and exalts another. I’ve seen Him handpick young men and women from interior places away from civilization, and place them into international limelight for His glory. I have seen Him lift up unskilled, terminally ill, rejected, and uneducated people from ash heaps, heal wounds from their past, increase their faith, and use them to impact the life of others. Such are times when we can only get to taste God’s mercies and goodness when He delivers us from Satan’s onslaughts and from the pit of destruction by setting our feet on a solid rock.
You know, it is easy to focus on our strengths, personal achievements, good salary and qualifications and forget the flipside; that God is glorified in weaknesses not strengths. For this reason, God specializes in using the foolish to shame the wise, and the weak to shame the strong, so that no one can boast in the presence of God.
Confidence is our human strength is rivalry with God, for it is God who causes us to live and move and have our being. He delights in exalting and giving more grace to the humble, who acknowledge that they are deficient and limited in their personal strength. It is in His characteristic to meet us in our hopelessness and make meaning out of it.
God bless. Mary K.
Using a dull axe requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed – Ecc 10:10
Happy new month 🙂 . If you are anything like me, you must have started the year with so much expectancy to become better, more focused, more knowledgeable, and more successful than last year. Nevertheless, I’ve had my share of disappointments in the past five months, but also, a lot of exciting things happened to me and to the people close to me. I started blogging, my siblings have been doing pretty well at school and are about to graduate, been part of an evangelistic team at my local church and have seen souls and more souls come to Christ, I celebrated two “new” mums who were blessed with bouncing baby boys recently, and last month I was part of a relative’s marriage ceremony, which was very b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l! The list of these exciting things is long, but what I love most is that however small these accomplishments sound, the labor has not been in vain. There has been a shift to new levels, new experiences, new life, progress and momentum since the year begun.
‘Stuck’ is not a good place. Personally, I loathe going round the same mountain over and over, more like I hate routine; wakeup, work, eat and sleep year in, year out. ‘Stuck’ is mostly the effect of a “dull axe” in our lives and the most common excuse is TIME! No time to read the bible, no time to pray, no time to revise for an exam, no time to work out, no time to sharpen your gift/talent, no time for any adventure, no time for fellowship and evangelism, no time for a coffee date, no time for family and friends and so on.
There are levels and places we cannot get, until we create time to sharpen our skills, knowledge, training, productivity, or creativity. Some trees, like the Goliath kind of “tree”, cannot be not be brought down by a dull axe, no matter the strength exerted. David sharpened his skill and calling while still a shepherd boy wrestling with lions and bears. God was preparing David in the shepherding ground and when his moment of glory came, he brought down Goliath with a single sling shot to the head. It took David less energy and time to kill Goliath, but many years of preparation.
God is always up to something in every season, but you got to be doing something. There has to be momentum. If we are faithful in the little we are currently doing and are doing it heartily, He qualifies us to another level of greater responsibility and greater honor. We may have lost it and strayed in the first half of the year, but as the second half approaches we need our blade sharp. Be intentional, pray more, read more, love more, seek wisdom more and serve more. To the gifted and talented, pull out your paint brush, building blocks, pen and paper, musical instrument, or anything that spurs you to produce something magical. Get your creative juices flowing and level up!
Finally, in Abraham Lincoln’s words, take your time in preparation: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
Lord, in all of our labor, help us to keep a sharp axe.
God bless. Mary K.
Are you a nepios, paidion, teknon or huios?
This month we began a teaching series at my local church on ‘Sonship’. I felt it would be mean of me keeping the knowledge I gained to myself, when there are so many sons of God who might find this helpful, especially in their calling. In addition to becoming a few Greek words wiser…yeeeah 😉 , I learnt the need to pursue spiritual maturity as a son of God in the Kingdom, that is, mature from nepios to huios. I don’t want to outrun myself so I will be sharing later what those terms mean.
God has been raising sons (irrespective of gender) in His kingdom for thousand years through Jesus. A sinner enters the family of God as a child and later comes into the fullness of God’s inheritance as an heir, or mature son. The adoption into the household of God places believers in a position of honor, privilege, and authority since they become heirs to the family name of God. However, Paul states that as long as an heir is underage, he does not differ from a servant even though he owns everything. This means that as long as we are spiritual babies, this inheritance may lack value in our hands. The promise of an inheritance is reserved for the mature sons because spiritual babes are ignorant, immature, and rebellious, and must remain under guardianship until they are ready to receive their inheritance as mature sons.
Believers mature spiritually in a pattern similar to that of human growth and development. The terms nepios, paidion, teknon and huios are Greek words used to describe the four stages of spiritual maturity. We start off as nepios (infants), then paidion (young child), then teknon (spiritual teenagers) and then huios (mature sons).
Paul refers to nepios as spiritual babes, who are carnal and immature (1 Cor 3:1-3), easily influenced by teaching and schemes of men because they have not exercised their senses to discern both good and evil (Ephesians 4:14). Nepios also feed on the milk of the Word of God and are unskilled in the word of righteousness (Heb 5:13,1 Pet 2:1-3). Although they have received a revelation of who God is and have entered in the new life, nepios are inclined to the natural and flesh life. They are quick to gossip, cause conflict and division, are self-centered and enter into strife. They are spiritual babies, and that is what babies do, they whine, fight, scream, and always cry when they do not get their ways.
Believers who are at the stage of paidion have learnt humility and have begun to know the father intimately. Jesus calls his disciples “children” or paidion in John 21:5. The word ‘children’ in the verse implies that there is an existing relationship, a deficiency in maturity, and reveals the childish nature of the disciples at that time. These disciples had slipped back and disconnected from their assignment as followers of Christ after the death of Jesus, by going back to their usually routine; fishing. When we disconnect from our assignment following an offense, a heartbreak or bitter moment, we are still children. Paidion are under the tutelage of a spiritual father in church because they are not ready for the world on their own.
The teknon sons have Christ formed in them. They have a legitimate relationship with God, understands forgiveness, overcomes sin and practices righteousness, walks closely to the doctrine and ways of his/her spiritual father in the Lord, joins spiritual father in the work of the Lord, and submits his/her own ambition and will to a spiritual father, who through instruction of the word, matures the nature of Christ within him. In Luke 2:46-51 we meet Jesus at age 12 as a teknon son, who although was subject to his parents, sat among teachers hearing them and asking questions (v46).
From the age of 12 until 30, Jesus remained subject to his father and mother until the appointed time to begin his heavenly Father’s assignment as a mature son, huios. Huios are ready for commissioning. Does this sound like the pattern ministers follow today? Most often, when some ministers begin to taste of the sweetness of God’s anointing, they never want to submit under anyone’s authority again. Sometime they don’t care whether they are mature enough, but once they know they have a calling and feel a radical zeal to serve, they just take off to fulfill it. By failing to submit under a spiritual authority and waiting for the appointed time, it is possible that one cannot sustain that fire and zeal of their calling without a guardian even for half a decade. More like the prodigal son in Luke 15.
Jesus is our model of spiritual maturity. He grew in every dimension of humanity; in wisdom, in stature and in favor with God and men (people). God desires that children in the Kingdom grow and become mature sons, huios, who operates in His inheritance. This inheritance is His very nature that we received the moment we came into His new life as nepios. Huios operating in this inheritance display God’s very nature, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control acquired by dying daily to the flesh. We need to mature from milk to the strong meat of heaven, which includes deeper revelations of the Word, greater power and anointing of the Holy Spirit, divine secrets and mysteries, and the very glory of God which becomes our own atmosphere. So, purpose to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ daily because, “age will not necessarily fill you with maturity, just wrinkles” ~ Seamand.
God bless. Marie K.
And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us ~ Rom 5:5
This scripture has been resonating in mind and spirit, and at one point I thought to myself, “Apostle Paul, seriously? You must have had crazy life experiences (like imprisonment) as a bond servant of Christ. Wasn’t there one time you felt like your hope was crushed? Then I went like, “Ok Paul, I rest my case. I know you wrote this under inspiration, you heard accurately and from whom this word came it cannot return void”
I don’t know about you, but there are times in my life I’ve felt disappointed by hope. I’ve had big dreams, the kind of dreams I cannot make happen on my own. I have stepped out in faith, invested my time and money in a business and in people then got disappointed horribly (who is keeping count anyway…I’m not!). In obedience and quietness, I have trusted God for huge and crazy things in my life and ministry. Longed to visit some weird and interesting places; those that are beyond my asking and imagination. Like that isn’t enough, I’ve prayed in anticipation, waiting…and waiting for a hint of the great future ahead of me. Sometime wondered, “am I alone in this, or am I being delusional?” And when I take a look around, I see anxious and hopeful men and women who’ve been waiting for years on God for healing, a spouse, a baby, financial breakthroughs, a job and the list is endless. How is it then possible that hope does not disappoint?
Hey! Before you begin judging or sympathizing (especially those who’ve never lost hope at all), you should know that my hope is still very alive, it is rock-solid, and built on nothing less but Christ 🙂
Hope is not wishful thinking. It is a confident expectation or a firm assurance of the unknown. The kind of hope that does not disappoint, or put to shame is objectively anchored in Christ. It does not see any impossibility with God. It remains constant, and goes way beyond the grave. God causes our hope to abound (thrive, flourish) by filling our hearts with joy and peace in believing. The presence of His joy and peace within keeps us from being tossed to and fro in the midst of disappointments.
In my moments of disappointment, I have found purpose by being conscious of the love of God shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Spirit. His love overrides disappointment unveiling the beauty of perseverance and waiting on God. Even when reality doesn’t match up to the things I hope for, I still find strength in knowing that He makes everything beautiful in its time and does not cut off the expectation of the righteous.
Christ in us is the hope of glory. We all love glory, don’t we? The world’s standard of glory has turned many people’s hope towards education, wealth, job promotion, fashionable looks, personal strength, hardwork, or eloquence, but this is fleeting glory. The pathway to the glory born from hope in Christ is narrow. Although this glory is eternal, very few are willing to walk down the narrow road of waiting on God, chastening, humility, obedience, testing of faith through fire etc. Authentic hope can only be conceived by rejoicing (not complaining) in tribulations, and it comes packaged with maturity, patience and proven character. You know, lack of patience and character has brought high ranking and mighty men down, right? That is an article for another day. Today, keep abounding in hope! God Bless
I often get pumped up whenever I sing along to the song, “I am an overcomer, because He overcame, my victory is guaranteed, I am an overcomer…” Don’t I love the decrees in this song and the verse from which the song is drawn (Rom 8:37)! Sometime back after giving much thought to these lyrics, i quietly wondered whether I fight my spiritual battles as though victory is guaranteed, or as though victory will be guaranteed, that is, ‘from a place of victory?’ or ‘for victory?’. Let’s get real, life trials, heartbreaks, pain, humiliation, bitterness, or unmet heart desires can at times be very agonizing until we begin to think that we are enduring, or waiting on God to give us victory. When things begin to go well and the dark cloud is lifted we again tend to think that we have finally acquired our victory…and sigh in relief! Truth of the matter is, as long as we have Christ, we already have victory with us even in those darkest, humiliating, discouraging, and painful moments.
Picture this, it’s like playing a fixed football game, and long before the game commences, you’re guaranteed that you are on the winning team. That does not mean that your opponent won’t strike or play defense! Neither does it mean that they won’t play rough, they won’t try to score or that you’ll be free from any physical injuries. It simply means that however rough or tough it gets, the top place is already secured if you stay in the game and fight. Just like the Israelites in the wilderness, God had promised them a land flowing with milk and honey, and His very presence that would go before them. His presence guaranteed victory. However, they were not immune to enemy attack, the struggle with sin, thirst and hunger, but were immune to defeat as long as they placed their trust in God. Yet, staying on course and fighting from victory was a test many failed, except for Joshua and Caleb.
The same is true for us. When we are in the heat of life battles, we do not become subject to defeat because Jesus won us the victory. It is by staying in the game, pressing on, and fighting the good fight of faith that we enforce the ultimate victory that has already been secured for us by Jesus. You see, when the Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land, there was a practically impenetrable barrier; the wall of Jericho.
“Now Jericho was strongly fortified because of the Israelites; no one went out or came in. And the Lord said to Joshua, See, I have given Jericho, its king and mighty men of valor, into your hands. You and your fighting men should march around the city once a day for six days…and the seventh you shall compass the city seven times ~Joshua 6:1-4.
Regardless of the barrier, God by His Word, assured them victory and in addition gave them a war strategy; marching around the wall for seven days. I’m sure this strategy sounded absurd to many including the people of Jericho, but it worked perfectly! From God’s perspective, the wall was no barrier, and as far as He was concerned, the city of Jericho, its king and mighty men were already in the hands of the Israelites long before they went to war. But, the key to acquiring and inhabiting this land was dependent on Israelite’s response to the Word. Do you know that our attitude, eyes of faith, and response to the Word largely influences the outcome of our spiritual warfare? Well, the Israelites would have viewed marching around a fortified wall as futile, some a waste of time, while others would have chosen to hold back in fear. But they chose to march-on and bank their confidence in God’s Word and promise.
Like the Israelites, we fight a defeated foe who is aware of how victorious we are in Christ (Joshua 2:9-10). He may try to distract us from our assignment by sending all kinds of fear-instilling, joy-stealing, and life-wrecking barriers, but he cannot take our Christ given victory. By staying on course and putting our confidence in God, we experience joy unspeakable and peace that surpasses all understanding in the midst of trials. Not easy you say, but that’s where the sufficiency of God’s grace comes in. We overcome the world by our faith and seeing what God sees; that we are more than conquerors and not losers, the head and not the tail, strong and not weak, rich and not poor, lenders and not borrowers, and above and not beneath. Use the Word to pray from a place of victory and remind the enemy where he belongs; under your feet. It is then that you will approach the darkest valleys with confidence that the Lord is with you, and shall comfort you with the cordials of His love and promises. God bless
He is the Lord of the breakthrough!