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ARE YOU LIVING IN GOD’S GLORY? YOU’RE GOD’S MASTERPIECE!

Human beings like to praise when they feel happy or joyous. Most of the time it is when things are going our way. That is when you hear songs like: “I can see everything turning around for my good”. Most human praise is conditional. We are accustomed to giving or receiving praise when something has been done to deserve it. Many of us do the same thing with God. If we feel He has served us well or come through with a miracle on our behalf, we praise Him. Songs like: “God is good, He’s good, He has done me well oh, my soul rise up and praise the Lord” come forth from our mouths. Otherwise, we don’t think about praising God much. The Psalmist however encourages us to praise God simply because He is God, not just because He has done something for us.  He of course deserves our praise when He does something out of the realms of our imaginations for us, but He also deserves our praise anyway because He is God.  We must therefore be determined to focus our prayer on the majesty, splendor, and glory of God rather than just on what we want God to do for us.

The different chapters in the Book of Psalms are devoted to praising God, but from Psalm 145- 150 the Psalms erupt in a non-stop song of praise. They include praises to God because of His majesty and love, praises to God because He is our help and the source of our happiness, praises to God for His word and providence, praises to God for all His wonderful creations, and praises to God for His salvation and His righteous judgement.  The climax of these songs of praises in Psalms 150 exhorts us to “Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heaven! Praise Him for His mighty works; praise His unequaled greatness!”  In short, we are asked to praise God not for only what He does but to also praise Him for who He is.  King David knew how to throw a punch in praise. No wonder the Lord called him a man after His own heart. This brother knew how to praise and make the Lord happy with his genuine heart of praise and worship. He was wealthy so he was not praising God for what he can get out of Him but for who He is.  In all that David did, as a shepherd boy, he praised God, as a warrior he praised God, as a King he built the house of praise and worship. Therefore, in fulfilling his God-given purpose, David praised God. In Psalm 9:1-2, he sings “I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.”

My brothers and sisters, let us emulate King David and develop a heart of constant praise for our Lord, indeed He has done so much for us. Even if we have a zillion tongues, it is not enough to praise Him. Let us live our lives in such a way that people will see us and give glory to our God who is in heaven.  Recall the story of the man who received his healing from Apostle Peter in Acts 3:7. After his healing he went into the temple walking, jumping and praising God anyhow he could. Acts 3:9 tells us that the people were astounded about what had happened to him and how he was praising God. When we praise God with all we have and however we could, people will recognize the grace of God in our lives and that also in itself gives glory and honor to God. Psalm 150:6 says, “let everything that has breath praise the Lord”.  My brothers and sisters, for just being alive this morning, praise God with all your being and “Let EVERYTHING that have breath PRAISE the Lord. Halleluia!”

SING PRAISES TO HIS NAME

SING PRAISES TO HIS NAME

Human beings like to praise when they feel happy or joyous. Most of the time it is when things are going our way. That is when you hear songs like: “I can see everything turning around for my good”. Most human praise is conditional. We are accustomed to giving or receiving praise when something has been done to deserve it. Many of us do the same thing with God. If we feel He has served us well or come through with a miracle on our behalf, we praise Him. Songs like: “God is good, He’s good, He has done me well oh, my soul rise up and praise the Lord” come forth from our mouths. Otherwise, we don’t think about praising God much. The Psalmist however encourages us to praise God simply because He is God, not just because He has done something for us.  He of course deserves our praise when He does something out of the realms of our imaginations for us, but He also deserves our praise anyway because He is God.  We must therefore be determined to focus our prayer on the majesty, splendor, and glory of God rather than just on what we want God to do for us.

The different chapters in the Book of Psalms are devoted to praising God, but from Psalm 145- 150 the Psalms erupt in a non-stop song of praise. They include praises to God because of His majesty and love, praises to God because He is our help and the source of our happiness, praises to God for His word and providence, praises to God for all His wonderful creations, and praises to God for His salvation and His righteous judgement.  The climax of these songs of praises in Psalms 150 exhorts us to “Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heaven! Praise Him for His mighty works; praise His unequaled greatness!”  In short, we are asked to praise God not for only what He does but to also praise Him for who He is.  King David knew how to throw a punch in praise. No wonder the Lord called him a man after His own heart. This brother knew how to praise and make the Lord happy with his genuine heart of praise and worship. He was wealthy so he was not praising God for what he can get out of Him but for who He is.  In all that David did, as a shepherd boy, he praised God, as a warrior he praised God, as a King he built the house of praise and worship. Therefore, in fulfilling his God-given purpose, David praised God. In Psalm 9:1-2, he sings “I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.”

My brothers and sisters, let us emulate King David and develop a heart of constant praise for our Lord, indeed He has done so much for us. Even if we have a zillion tongues, it is not enough to praise Him. Let us live our lives in such a way that people will see us and give glory to our God who is in heaven.  Recall the story of the man who received his healing from Apostle Peter in Acts 3:7. After his healing he went into the temple walking, jumping and praising God anyhow he could. Acts 3:9 tells us that the people were astounded about what had happened to him and how he was praising God. When we praise God with all we have and however we could, people will recognize the grace of God in our lives and that also in itself gives glory and honor to God. Psalm 150:6 says, “let everything that has breath praise the Lord”.  My brothers and sisters, for just being alive this morning, praise God with all your being and “Let EVERYTHING that have breath PRAISE the Lord. Halleluia!”

GIVING IS LIVING

GIVING IS LIVING

Human beings like to praise when they feel happy or joyous. Most of the time it is when things are going our way. That is when you hear songs like: “I can see everything turning around for my good”. Most human praise is conditional. We are accustomed to giving or receiving praise when something has been done to deserve it. Many of us do the same thing with God. If we feel He has served us well or come through with a miracle on our behalf, we praise Him. Songs like: “God is good, He’s good, He has done me well oh, my soul rise up and praise the Lord” come forth from our mouths. Otherwise, we don’t think about praising God much. The Psalmist however encourages us to praise God simply because He is God, not just because He has done something for us.  He of course deserves our praise when He does something out of the realms of our imaginations for us, but He also deserves our praise anyway because He is God.  We must therefore be determined to focus our prayer on the majesty, splendor, and glory of God rather than just on what we want God to do for us.

The different chapters in the Book of Psalms are devoted to praising God, but from Psalm 145- 150 the Psalms erupt in a non-stop song of praise. They include praises to God because of His majesty and love, praises to God because He is our help and the source of our happiness, praises to God for His word and providence, praises to God for all His wonderful creations, and praises to God for His salvation and His righteous judgement.  The climax of these songs of praises in Psalms 150 exhorts us to “Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heaven! Praise Him for His mighty works; praise His unequaled greatness!”  In short, we are asked to praise God not for only what He does but to also praise Him for who He is.  King David knew how to throw a punch in praise. No wonder the Lord called him a man after His own heart. This brother knew how to praise and make the Lord happy with his genuine heart of praise and worship. He was wealthy so he was not praising God for what he can get out of Him but for who He is.  In all that David did, as a shepherd boy, he praised God, as a warrior he praised God, as a King he built the house of praise and worship. Therefore, in fulfilling his God-given purpose, David praised God. In Psalm 9:1-2, he sings “I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.”

My brothers and sisters, let us emulate King David and develop a heart of constant praise for our Lord, indeed He has done so much for us. Even if we have a zillion tongues, it is not enough to praise Him. Let us live our lives in such a way that people will see us and give glory to our God who is in heaven.  Recall the story of the man who received his healing from Apostle Peter in Acts 3:7. After his healing he went into the temple walking, jumping and praising God anyhow he could. Acts 3:9 tells us that the people were astounded about what had happened to him and how he was praising God. When we praise God with all we have and however we could, people will recognize the grace of God in our lives and that also in itself gives glory and honor to God. Psalm 150:6 says, “let everything that has breath praise the Lord”.  My brothers and sisters, for just being alive this morning, praise God with all your being and “Let EVERYTHING that have breath PRAISE the Lord. Halleluia!”

OUR YEAR OF SPRINGING FORTH

OUR YEAR OF SPRINGING FORTH

The scriptures remind us that God will cause both righteousness and praise to spring forth before all nations (Isaiah 61:11).  It is a promise the Lord has made and our prayer even as we move into a new year is that the Lord will fulfill His promises in us.  This new year must be our year of springing forth.  The springing forth of righteousness and praise will begin right here where are located and it will then spread to all nations.  The Word of God in Act 1:8 says, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  It is time for us to witness to the Lord but before we go to all the nations, we must start right here in our own Jerusalem.

What does it mean to spring forth?  Springing forth is about leaping out, rushing out, or to arise with vigor. In essence, this year is our year to arise and do what this scripture says, i.e., it is time for us to rise and be a witness to the Lord. It is time for us to be part of the righteousness and praise that will rise in all people in such a way that it will be a witness to all the nations.  The Lord has prepared us for a time like this and it is time for us to take our place in His plans for us.  Every virtue, every knowledge, every wisdom that the Lord Himself has sown in us will spring forth to achieve the purpose for which the Lord had planted all these attributes in us.

For the righteousness of God to spring forth from us, we must lay aside our old ways of doing things and embrace God’s way.  God’s way is commitment.  God’s way is putting Him first.  God’s way is about love for Him and for His people. God’s way is living a righteous life.  We cannot bring the sheep in unless the love for the sheep fills our hearts. The old us must go and make room for the new us.  “Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert” – Isaiah 43;19. It is time for us to make room in our lives for the great and wonderful things the Lord wants to do with us.  Not only has He prepared us Himself, His promise is that He will also make a way.

We are a people who love God, who love His people, and who are being transformed daily to serve Him.  We have been prepared to become disciples of Christ so we can yield to His command for us to go and make disciples of the world.  We have been prepared for a time like this.  The Word of God says, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound.”  The Lord Himself has chosen and anointed us for this task. Not only shall we spring forth to declare His Word so that righteousness and praise will fill the earth, every aspect of our lives that will enable us to do the work He has called us to do will also spring forth.  He will make a way for us.  Our blessings shall spring forth.  Our healings shall spring forth.  Our breakthroughs shall spring forth.

The only thing the Lord asks of us is to seek first His righteousness.  For good things to spring forth for us, God requires that we serve Him in righteousness.  The Word of God says, “Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard” – Isaiah 58:8.  In short, He has set us apart for this task and He will make it possible for us to accomplish.  Our righteousness must however lead the way for us.

So, my brothers and sisters, let us arise and spring forth to do the work of God in this new year.  His promise for us is that when our righteousness goes before us, His glory shall follow us. I pray that you will spring forth to do God’s work in this year, and every blessing He has in stock for you will also spring forth in Jesus’ blessed name.

A DIFFERENT CHRISTMAS

A DIFFERENT CHRISTMAS

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go…” (Song by Michael Bublé)

Christmas means different things to different people:

  • A season of festivity for some
  • Just a holiday break from normal routine for others
  • Some say it’s a gift-giving season, family get-together and celebration
  • Or just another holiday for Christians, etc.
  • But what does this Christmas really mean to you? Have you had an opportunity to think through it and deeply meditate on what this season may mean?

A season for personal check-up

Christmas season for me is a moment of personal reflection on my relationship with God, a moment of spiritual check-up and evaluation of my walk with God. It’s also a moment to admit my faults, and inadequacies, a moment to surrender all to God admitting that I can’t move on into another year except by His grace. Christmas is a season to ask for mercy and prepare to receive the Savior Lord Jesus personally in our hearts and to recommit our lives back into his hands and better serve him as we enter into another year.

A season of grace

Helen Baylor, a composer song writer, sang a song with lyrics that reads: “If it had not been for the Lord, on my side, tell me where would I be, where would I be…?” Where would we all be if not for the grace of God? Not only should Christmas be a season for “Spiritual Check-Up”; it is also a season of Grace, God’s unmerited favor lavished on humanity. We can further understand this by reading the lyrics by another Gospel composer and song writer named Bill Traylor in his song titled “At Calvary” – “…Oh the love that drew salvation’s plan, Oh the love that brought it down to man, oh the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary”. And the chorus reads: – “Mercy there was great and grace was free, pardon there was multiplied to me, there my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary”.

The Song by Bill Traylor may sound like an Easter song, yes! But, guess what? Jesus had had to be born first before he could die! Grace was born this season. In Matthew 1:21, we read – “And she will bring forth a son and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins”. At Christmas, a Savior was born for our sins. To be saved from the burden of sin is much more than a condemned prisoner set free. The Christmas story is one that reveals an “amazing Grace”. Like the story of Lazarus in John, Chapter 11:38-44, we were all dead in sin, but Christ’s birth celebrated at Christmas gave us the opportunity to be free indeed (John 8:36).

Six Lessons from our text today

  • God had a plan for humanity, even though life may sometimes seem dark, gloomy, uncertain, and evil. According to Luke19:10b, that which was lost in the Garden of Eden, Jesus came to seek and save.
  • With God, all things are possible – Isaiah 7:14, Matt. 1:23. If a virgin can give birth to a child, what are your impossible situations that God cannot handle? Please trust Him.
  • Christ’s birth is the demonstration of the love of God for us – John 3:16. If nobody ever loved you, always know that God will never hate you, His loving arms are ever open to embrace you; run to Him.
  • Christmas is a season of joy, gladness, peace and goodwill to all mankind (Humanity) – Luke 2: 8-14. Joy is a gift from God but man must accept it willingly to experience it. Don’t allow the enemy to steal your joy and happiness this season. Hear the lyrics of an old song – “This joy that I have, the world didn’t give it to me, … and the world cannot take it away…”. I pray that you will have a permanent joy this season in Jesus’ name! Amen!
  • It’s a season of good news – Luke 2:15-17. I declare that it shall be your season of good news in your life and family in Jesus’ name, Amen! It shall not be one of bad news but good news only!
  • Christmas is also a season that saw the birth of Evangelism. The Shepherds and all that heard of his birth spread the word abroad. May the spirit of Evangelism be awakened in your life this season in Jesus’ name, Amen! I pray that this season will not be just another Christmas season but one that will make a difference in your life. Amen!
ARE YOU LIVING IN GOD’S GLORY? YOU’RE GOD’S MASTERPIECE!

ARE YOU LIVING IN GOD’S GLORY? YOU’RE GOD’S MASTERPIECE!

Psalm 3:3 – “But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.”

David is known to call God very intimate names. In Psalm 27, God is his Light and Salvation. In Psalm 118:14, “The Lord is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.” Of course, Psalm 23 is full of the Covenant identities/names of God. In Psalm 3, God is his shield, defender, and his glory! In doing so, David personalizes the awesome essence of God as the King of Glory [Psalm 24]. That’s audacious. Was David taken on God’s glory? But we know God does not share His glory with anyone [Isaiah 48: 11].

In the world, when we glory in say, an achievement, we take pride in that thing. So really what David is doing here is taking pride and confidence in God! He’s saying, “God, You’re not just my Defender, my Shield, you are my JOY & PRIDE!” This is truly a reflection of his intimacy with God. Not only is God living in us through His indwelling Spirit, He also wants to show us off as David showed Him off!

How can God’s glory be seen in us?

Because God’s glory embodies everything about His essence, His majesty, His power, when we use all He’s given us to thank Him and show our gratitude, we are manifesting His glory. We are the light to the world [Mathew 5:14].  We worship Him in spirit and truth, obey His Word, and partner with Him in everything we are and everything we do.

“So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13

Living in God’s glory [radiance/ beauty/goodness] means that with Christ living in us, we are daily, gradually, and continually being transformed into His image. As we are transformed, our lives cannot but give glory to God. He can see Himself in us.

God seeks to be glorified not for vain glory [like man does], but because that shows we have become one with Him – restored to our original glorious state. He desires His glory in us out of His love for us.

Living in His glory means no matter what life throws at us, we know and recognize that God is at work making us into His Masterpiece. We then allow His purpose to be fulfilled through our experiences.

Joni Earekson Tada tells the story of a young man who came to pray healing into her. He had it figured out that sin was her problem. He referenced the story of the paralyzed man. She was very patient with him, attesting that neither faith or sin was the issue. He wouldn’t stop, so she then asked him to go to the story again and pointed out that Jesus had considered the faith of the friends. She then waited for his faith to act. What an embodiment of God’s glory that woman is. In her condition, her achievements for God’s glory cannot be matched.

Here’s a quote from her: “Do I pray for healing for my chronic pain. You bet I do! Am I expecting it? If God wills, yes. ‘Whatever You want, Lord’, I pray. If it would give You more glory and advance Your gospel more quickly, I’m all for it! Always and always, I want to be in submission to the Father and obedient to the Word of Jesus –knowing full well that if I had everything else in life and lacked that, I would have nothing at all. Because isn’t that the bottom line? That Jesus gets the glory, whether I jump out of my wheelchair pain free and tell people that my healing is genuine evidence of God’s awesome power . . . or whether I continue to smile in my chair, not in spite of my pain but because of it, knowing I’ve got lessons to learn, a character to be honed, other wounded people to identify with in a hurting world to reach with the gospel, and a suffering Savior with whom I can enjoy intimacy. And every bit of it evidence of God’s love and grace.”

Joni Earekson Tada: A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God’s Sovereignty – September 1, 2010

The end of us is God’s glory because that’s what we were made for. Also read Isaiah 4:2-6.

Secret place

THE SECRET PLACE OF GOD

The Bible talks of the secret place of God in different areas of the Bible.  Sometimes we wonder where exactly this secret place is.  Some folks believe it is a place where you can be by yourself and no one else knows you are there.  It does make a lot of sense, after all the concept of a secret place speaks to a place that is hidden from the knowledge of others.  So, it is not far-fetched if the mention of a secret place in the Word of God conjures an image of a hiding place. “For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle, He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock” – Psalm 27:5 (NKJV). As much as it is a hiding place, I want to believe that the secret place of God is still a place that we can all have access to.  It is a place that everyone does not go, but it is a place that is completely accessible to those who have been saved by the blood of the Lamb.  It is a place where God manifests His presence, and it is a place where we also can abide in. 

The secret place is a place of protection, a place where we are safe and secure in the palm of God’s hands. It is a place where we can be fully in Christ and where every Christian should want to be.  The secret place is a place of intimacy.  The same way a bride and groom get to know themselves better when they are out of public view is the same way we have intimacy with God when we meet Him in His secret place. When we are in the secret place of God, He gets our full attention, and we get His attention too.  It is a place of no distraction, a place where we give ourselves completely to God our maker.

The secret place of God is a place we can only enter by faith.  The Word of God says “we live by faith not by sight” – 2 Corinthians 5:7. Even as we enter by faith, we also dwell there by faith. This secret place of God is a place of prayer; it is a place where we become one with our maker. Our Lord Jesus Christ taught that “when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly” – Matthew 6:6 (NKJV).  Every time we pray, we are praying to our God in the secret place.  God dwells in His secret place and whenever we are fortunate to meet Him there, we can receive forgiveness, love, encouragement, protection, provision, grace, and strength. Whenever we enter the secret place of God, we never exit the same way we went in.  It is a place of overcoming, a place of victory, a place of transformation.

The Bible teaches that we should not forsake the assembly of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25).  However, our effectiveness and the power that emanates from our corporate prayers will depend a lot on the individual time that we have spent with God in His secret place. John 4:24 says, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”  When we are in the secret place of God, we have no choice but to worship Him in spirit and truth because that is the place where we can commune with God Spirit to Spirit.  The secret place of God is the place where our spirit can commune with God in a way that our body, mind, and soul are completely at His mercy. It is a place where we relinquish ourselves completely and ask that He does with us as He pleases.

Our Lord God has a secret place and today He is asking you and I to come in.  It is a secret place, but His doors are wide open to us who believe.  The Lord is asking us to come in, not to visit, but to live there permanently. The Psalmist says in Psalm 91:1 that “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” It is a place where we should all seek to be.  God dwells in His secret place, and for us to also dwell there is to dwell with Him.

THROUGH ALL THE CHANGING SCENES OF LIFE

THROUGH ALL THE CHANGING SCENES OF LIFE

The preacher says God has made everything beautiful in its time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).  While our seasons and circumstances in life may go through changes, our God remains the same, and He will make even our painful circumstances beautiful in its own time.  The changing times of our lives are sometimes difficult to deal with.  Depending on how far I look back I can see many changes in my personal and spiritual life.  Some of these changes are pleasant and some others are not so pleasant.  The only one thing I can count as having been constant within all these changing times, is the faithfulness of God.  Indeed, amid our changing times and seasons of life we have an unchanging God who is faithful and has all the seasons of our lives in His hand.

In the last three months, my wife and I left our home in which we have lived in for close to twenty years, and that I have called a home for more than 25 years.  During all these, my wife was also changing jobs, my daughter left the home for an extended period for the first time, and my nephew suddenly found himself living alone. Moving out things from Athens was a challenge, still a challenge, and yet we had to carry on daily as if life is nothing but normal.  It is in periods like this that we realize that to keep going we must draw strength from the God who has promised never to leave nor forsake us.

The God we serve is not only faithful, but He is also worthy of our trust during the changing seasons of our lives.  God Himself has made it that we have different seasons and times in our lives. Ecclesiastes 3:1-6 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away”.  This essentially means our lives will consist of ups and downs.  There will be times of joy and there will be times of sadness, there will be easy times and there will be difficult times.  Our circumstances will always change, but we must always remember that through all these changing scenes of life, our God never changes. 

He created the seasons, so He is not surprised or caught unawares by what happens in our lives.  God knows for sure that my wife and I have been praying for many years for the opportunity to move to Columbus.  Many job opportunities came and went but none of them worked out because they came out of season. Even now that we have moved here to Columbus, we do not know what exactly He has in stock for us.  We are however sure that whatever it is God has for us, He will bring to pass in its own time, and in His characteristically faithful nature.  He is good, He is just, He is perfect, and He is always loving.  Our circumstances in life do not change Him.

My brothers and sisters, no matter what you are going through today, God knows.  God sees you and God loves you.  There is no season or time, or circumstance that you may be going through that takes you out of God’s sight.  Things may seem like they are unraveling in your home, in your health, or at your work; never stop to trust God because He is able to make everything beautiful in its own time.

look up

LOOK UP

In this life, we all go through some struggles, troubles, or problems. For example, we have illnesses, job losses, immigration matters, and relationship issues either through our spouses, children, or co-workers. The book of Ephesians 6:12 says that “for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” In such a time like this and when these situations in our lives occur, we cannot but need help. The greater help and power that we need during those situations can only come from our Lord. Psalm 121:1, “I look up to the mountains and hills, longing for God’s help,” talks of where our help is coming from. For He has promised to keep us from all evils and calamities as He continues to watch over us. Hence, we must look up to our God, the author, and finisher of our faith.  Let us consider some of the ways to look up to God which include:

KNOWING GOD: “The people that know their God shall be strong and shall carry out great exploits.” – Daniel 11:32. Firstly, one needs to confess Jesus as Lord and personal savior of one’s life. Do you know your God? He is at the door, knocking, calling, and waiting for us all to come to Him. Jesus says, “come to me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give your rest” – Matt 11:28.  1 Peter 5:7 also encourages us to bring all worries and troubles and leave it on God for He cares for us.

FEAR OF GOD: Another way to look up to God is to have the fear of God in you, which means to reverence God. Like Abraham had the fear of the Lord and it fostered his obedience under great stress. “Do not reach out with the knife in your hand against the boy and do nothing to harm him, for I know that you fear God” (with reverence and profound respect) – Genesis 22:12.

INCREASING FAITH: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, evidence of things not seen” – Heb 11:1. Continuously increasing our faith is by studying the Word of God, praying daily, and positive confession of our faith. Put faith into action like the Shunammite woman. We are told in the scriptures that she was a “great woman” who had faith and one who showed hospitality to prophet Elisha and who God used to make sure she did not remain childless in her life as she gave birth to a son a year after the prophecy (2 Kings 4: 8-37).

REJOICING IN THE LORD: Today is Thanksgiving Sunday, which the Church has set aside to give thanks to God for all He has done for us. Let’s come before Him with an attitude of gratitude and rejoice just like one of the ten lepers who came back to appreciate Jesus for the healing (Luke 17:14-16).  Our life experiences often reveal that we do not show enough gratitude to those good people in our lives who go beyond and above to assist us and sometimes we take their help for granted. As Christians, we must act like one of the ten lepers who came back to show gratitude, though not needed by our Lord Jesus Christ, after the miraculous healing of the sick lepers in question. Also let’s praise God for those things He is yet to do for us.  As in the first book of Thessalonians 5:15, it says, “In all things give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for us.”

STAYING FOCUSED: Finally, let us stay focused and connected to God for He is our unending eternal salvation. “I am the vine, and you are the branches, He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit, for without me you can do nothing (John 15:5). The fruit that our heavenly Father looks to in His children is Christlikeness. To be productive, a vine must submit to pruning, the beneficial discipline of the Father and we are all encouraged to recognize and do that in our lives. “The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal 5: 22-23).  Therefore, when we abide in Him, we will begin to bear those fruits mentioned in the above scriptures.

In conclusion, brothers, and sisters, look up to God as He has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us. He will be with you until the end. “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8: 38-39).” Therefore, I encourage you to LOOK UP.

foundation

OUR FIRM FOUNDATION

I always remember that passage in John 14:15 that says, “if you love me keep my commandments”, and I wonder what the things are that keep us from obeying His commandments.  Many times, it is because we have conflicting or competing instructions.  And we decide to follow the other one because the root of our knowledge of the God we serve, or our faith is not deep enough. So, this makes it very easy for any wind of thought to blow us wherever it may.  There is this familiar biblical story of two men building their homes. Both men had access to the same materials. Both had choices as to where and how to build their homes. But one man’s house stood while the other man’s house collapsed in the great storm. The difference, we were told, was in the foundations. One built on the Rock, the Eternal Rock, the other on the shifting sands of time (Matthew 7:24-27).  This story was told by our Lord Jesus Christ in regards to listening to and obeying the Word of God.  However, the principle is time-tested and could be applied in many areas of our lives.

In this life we are all builders, building one thing or the other, and the Bible basically tells us that whatever we build stands a better chance of remaining standing if we build it on a solid foundation.  The flip side is also true if the two men had the same foundation and one builds with superior materials while the other builds with inferior materials.  It will not take long before the building with the inferior materials also collapses.  So once the foundation is taken care of, we must also worry about the quality of materials that we are using to build.  Sometime ago, I was watching a Nigerian TV channel, Channels TV, and the principal of a secondary school was asked his thoughts about why a block of classrooms in his school built in 2010 had collapsed in 2015.  He asked the TV journalist to follow him.  Then he said, “Look at this rafter here, it was supposed to be 2 X 4 but they used 2 X 2; look at the blocks, they were supposed to be 9-in blocks, but they used 6-in blocks.  Why will the building not collapse?”  In essence, the contractors collected money for a solid building but instead used inferior materials.  It only took 5 years for the building to collapse.  I can also bet that in this particular case both the foundation and the materials were inferior.

We, Christians, are building a temple for God.  What is the foundation for our building?  We must always build on the foundation that our Lord Jesus Christ has laid.  Even after building on that foundation, we must take time to make sure that we build with quality materials.  The Bible tells us that when the foundation is bad, the wind comes and blows it down.  Similarly, when we use inferior materials, when the fire comes, it burns everything to ashes.  There are different types and shades of thoughts out there.  People with weak foundations can easily be swayed and unduly influenced by these dangerous thoughts. Christ is our firm foundation and only He can keep us standing when the tempters come.

My brothers and sisters, let us build our faith in a qualitative manner.  We do that when we build on Christ’s firm foundation.  No outside influence, no contrary spirit can derail us from doing our Father’s will.  Our life will be lived in the fullness of God’s perfect will, working diligently for Him and walking in the light of His perfect plan.  In our walk with Christ, the Bible enjoins us to “walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise.” A life that is influenced by all sorts of ungodly ideas is a life that has a shaky foundation.  A qualitative life builds the character and spiritual achievements of the godly life on that solid foundation as we walk with Him. At the end of our lives, the temple of our soul will be tested to see if it can withstand the fire test. We are told that if any of our work remains after it is tested with fire, then we will be rewarded. On the other hand, if a person’s temple is burned to the foundation, it indicates that a person did not live to potential. I plead with you brothers and sisters, let us live each of our days in joyful service by being intentional, diligent, hardworking, resourceful, and obedient servants of God, “For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil” Ecclesiastes 12:14.