GUIDED BY THE COUNSEL OF GOD

GUIDED BY THE COUNSEL OF GOD

It is always God’s pleasure to guide His children in the best way that He has cut out for their life’s journey. He leads us step by step, day by day, into His glorious plan for our lives. He has promised to do so, and He is always faithful to His Word. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) (NKJV).  And His words also say, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you” (Psalm 32:8) (NIV).  His words never fail.

The Word of God is indeed the counsel of God so, whenever we ask God for directions, He gives us a Word in the scripture that is relevant to what we are seeking answers for. This is the reason the psalmist said, “your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105 -NKJV). When we choose to walk in the Word of God we walk in His light, His counsel, His purpose, His peace, and all His abundant blessings, which means every darkness must disappear around us because we carry His presence.

Therefore, as children of light I pray that you continue to cultivate a lifestyle of seeking God through His Word, through meditations, prayers, singing edifying songs of praise, and worship on a daily basis. Asking Him to speak to you expressly on a daily basis and to give you wisdom and direction on what to do in every given situation, being confident that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion (Philippians 1:6).

Whenever we allow the counsel of God to guide our lives, we find ourselves doing His will because the Word of God is the will of God. And God’s will, leads to destiny fulfilment following His Word in Psalm 73:24 (NKJV), “you will guide me with your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.”  This shows that God is never tired of receiving me to glory. This shows that God is never tired of leading us, provided we are not tired of asking for His leading and walking in obedience.

Our prayer should always be, “Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, For in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, For I lift up my soul to You” (Psalm 143:8N KJV).  May the voice of the Lord continue to come clearly to us day by day. I pray that the Lord sends His Word of guidance to us on a daily basis that we may fulfill our glorious destiny in Jesus’ name. 

Like in Christ

LIFE IN CHRIST

John 14:19b says, “Because I live, you also will live.”  As Christians, our entire life is predicated on living in Christ.  This life in Christ is also entirely based on how we see Christ.  In fact, the whole of John 14:19 reads “Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.” Because we are people of faith, we look unto Him and we see Him. He is already sitting next to the Father, so the world does not see Him anymore, but we still see Him by faith, and we still see Him by the Spirit.  Because we see Him, we know Him, and because we know Him, we know that our life depends on Him.

Our life in Christ is guided by our faith.  The Word of God says the “just shall live by faith” – Romans 1:17. Sometimes we do not understand the effect of faith in our lives, but the truth is that our daily life is lived in faith.  We go to bed at the night, and we believe we shall wake up in the morning; it is by faith.  We travel by air to distant places trusting that we shall return all in one piece; it is by faith.  We send our little children to school daily and expect that no harm shall befall them; it is by faith.  We so much trust in the Lord that this faith that we express almost becomes a matter of course for us.  So folks fear because they are people of little faith, but as we live our life in Christ we must continue to understand that the object of our faith is more important than the size of our faith.  He has always proved Himself faithful.  Even when we break faith with Him, He remains faithful. 

Often it is our sin that stands in the way of our relationship with God.  Our sins keep us from our lives in Christ.  We however serve a merciful God.  He is always kind and gracious to us.  Colossians 2:13 says, “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins”.  Yes, God forgave all our sins.  He however does not expect that we will continue to live life in sins because the Word of God says we cannot continue in sin and expect grace to abound (Romans 6:2).  Our life of dependence on Christ can only continue when we continue to see Him by faith and be saved by the same.  The moment we take our eyes off Christ we begin to lose our spiritual life and we become dead in the spirit.  Those who are still waiting for the breath of life to be breathed into them are looking at those of us who are alive.  If we continue to live as the dead live, then what is the incentive for the dead to come alive? In fact, only the living can breathe life into the dead for the dead to come alive.  In any case, why would one who is alive in Christ want to live a life of death without Christ?  Apostle Paul says it is foolish.  “Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” –  Galatians 3:3. May that not be our portion in Jesus’ name! 

So, what must we learn about living the Christian life? We must know that while our faith guides us and helps us to see where the world does not see, our Christian life is not simply living out a creed, but the creed must live in our person. We are united with Christ by faith, and we receive the strength to live the Christian life every day through your relationship with Him. Our Christian life began when we found Christ, and it must continue with Christ.  He came so that we may have life to the full (John 10:10) but our life can only be full when it is lived in Him.  Therefore, my brothers and sisters, let us hearken to the admonition of Apostle Paul in his letter to the Colossians, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him” – Colossians 2:6.  Our Christian life began with Christ, it can only continue also in Christ.  The moment we deviate, we begin to live a life that is as good as dead, because life without Christ is a dead life.

HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY

HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY

Happy Mothers’ Day to all mothers, expectant mothers, future mothers, and the nurturing mothers out there.

As a mother, the song that comes to my mind today is “When I think of the goodness of Jesus and all He has done for me, my very soul shall shout hallelujah, praise God for saving me”. A mother might sing this song coming out of a trial, witnessing what the Lord had done for her through the years; seeing how their children were birthed, taking baby steps, going through the primitive years, graduating from grade school to high school, and moving on to college and beyond. It could also be from the excitement and fear of watching them as they drive, get a job and be independent, the joy of seeing your child or children getting married and starting their own family or the anxiety of empty-nest syndrome. The satisfaction that comes with knowing that one had contributed to the sustainment of the society can also well up “unspeakable” joy in our hearts that manifests in a song. It is a testimony to the faithfulness of God and the strength He has given us in our efforts to be the mother that the Lord has called us to be.

A mother wears so many hats. She is a chef making sure food is prepared and sumptuous for everyone; then the medical personnel caring for the sick in the family and prescribing those ancient concoctions and remedies that heal; other times a prayer warrior who intercedes for the family through fasting and prayer; and when the occasion calls for it, a seamstress, always fixing and mending those “holly” shirts, buttons, pants, and the list goes on. What can we say about mothers? They are outstanding tutors and counselors, who are vast in all topics and can communicate in all conversations presented to them especially in different languages: eye roll, open mouth, body gesture etc., when it is time to discipline their children.

Mothers are God-sent, they are virtuous women, women of integrity and full of love. Thank you, for all you do and continue to do. May the faith and spirit of Eunice and Lois in 2 Timothy:1-5 be upon us. The scriptures referred to these two godly women in the Bible who helped groom Timothy.  It is a lesson in how influential we are, as mothers, and our influence matters not only to our children but also to every child that comes our way.  As we continue to play our God-given role, let us also remember to show respect to one another; even a small child deserves to be respected; that is how we change the child’s view of the world. The same way Eunice and Lois were influential in shaping Timothy, and he became a mouthpiece for the Lord, let us also help shape our generations and the generation to come to be outstanding and be able to stand blameless before the Father. Whatever you do, do in love. Be it praying, comforting, giving a helping hand, or simply smiling. We are communicating something.

I thank the good Lord for all mothers and pray that God’s love will continue to wax strong among us. On this blessed day set apart for us mothers, I pray that the good Lord will continue to bless us all and strengthen us. May He make His face to shine upon us and lift up His countenance upon us and give us His everlasting peace. May our prayers according to the will of the Lord on our families be answered speedily, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen. Again, I wish each and every one of us a Happy Mothers’ Day. Enjoy your day.

TIME WITH CHRIST

TIME WITH CHRIST

One thing the disciples of Jesus Christ did that made them the disciples we talk about today is that they spent time with their master.  They spent time with the one they followed.  Do we spend time with Christ?  How do we spend time with Christ? To become Christ’s disciples, we must spend time with Him.  Coming from Africa, I have always heard the saying that when a leaf stays long connected to soap then it also becomes soap.  Essentially it means we become like who we hang out with.  When we spend enough time with Jesus, our attitude, our outlook, our heart also begins to look like that of Jesus.  The Bible says, “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did” – 1 John 2:6.  Whatever life we lived before must change and our new life must be lived as Jesus lived.  The only way we know how Jesus lived is to have intimacy with Him.  The idea of spending time with Jesus Christ is about intimacy, because the more time we spend with Him the more we know Him and the more we can emulate Him.

It has been said that even our good works can become evil, when we do not have intimacy with Jesus. Naturally when we have a heart like that of Jesus, it motivates us to do good works.  However, there are other motives for good works that are not good.  Therefore, all our good works must be predicated on the knowledge and love of Jesus.  The Bible teaches that there are true disciples and there are false disciples. The first indicator of a true disciple is their knowledge of the Lord and how much time they spend with Him.  The Word of God says, “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” – Matthew 7:22-23. As we continue our strive towards becoming a true disciple, let us make it a point of priority to spend more time with Christ so we can know Him more.  The essence of having that time with Jesus is to put our action where our heart is.

How do we spend time with Jesus?  Different people do it different ways.  Some spend time reading the Word of God, some set aside time to pray, others spend some time daily to just commune with Christ by sitting quietly with Him, and some may find it easier to just join a Bible Study group.  The important thing is to give ourselves the opportunity to hear from Him and these methods and many others not mentioned can put us in good stead to hear from the Lord.  There is no perfect way to do it, and in any case, the essence of spending time with Christ is about pursuit and not perfection.  Each must do it in the way they know how.  We do not need to do it the way someone else does it. The story of Mary and Martha in the Bible is a great example of two sisters who know Jesus very well but who have chosen different methods to get to know Him and hear from Him.  In rebuking Martha when she complained that her sister was not helping her, the Lord told Martha that what Mary has chosen will not be taken away from her (Luke 10:42). Spend time with Jesus and whatever method you choose to do this will be counted for you.

If we want to be disciples who make disciples who love God, and love our neighbors, then we need to spend time with Jesus.  We must do it consistently and it must be a priority in our lives. The time we do it is irrelevant. It could be in the morning, afternoon, or nighttime, as long as it accomplishes its main purpose, which is to change us completely from the inside out.  Spending time with Jesus is transformational.  When we spend time with Christ we end up with a spiritual heart transplant.  Jeremiah 24:7 says, “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.”  When we spend time with Christ our heart becomes the heart of a disciple.

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THE REALITY OF OUR REDEMPTION

One of the most important words in the Bible is beautifully captured in one theological word—Redemption. The redemption of the man following his fall from grace to grass is a major Biblical theme that runs through the pages of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. The fall of man was set in motion when Adam (Man’s Federal headship) disobeyed the commandment of God when he listened to the voice of an outlaw spirit, Satan, who is God’s major adversary on earth.

The Lord had created Adam, a free moral agent with the authority to make his own decisions and choices and to obey or disobey the voice of God. To be sure, God did not create Adam a robot that is programmed and ordered around the beautiful garden of Eden. Indeed, He created Adam with his own free will. More importantly, Adam was also created in the image and likeness of God – Gen. 1:26.

The Lord had commanded Adam, saying, “of every tree of the garden you may freely eat, but the tree of the Knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat for in the day that you shall eat of it, you shall surely die.” – Gen. 2:16-17. As said earlier, Adam had full authority to obey or disobey God having been created as a free moral agent by God. Unfortunately, Adam and his wife, Eve, opted to disobey the commandment of God and ate from the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil following Satan’s deception.

Adam and Eve lost their authority in the garden and became slaves of Satan following their disobedience. God came and sent them away from the beautiful Garden of Eden. God also pronounced judgment on the man, the woman, and the devil who deceived them. By his disobedience, Adam also ushered into man’s bloodline the reign of sin and physical and spiritual death. Apostle Paul captures Adam’s fall thus: “Therefore just as through one man sin entered the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because all have sinned” – Romans 5:12.

However, the gracious God had a plan for man’s redemption even before the foundation of the world. Immediately after the fall, God disclosed His redemption plan for man in Genesis 3:15 which says, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between her seed and your seed. He shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel.” God’s redemption plan will be actualized through the seed of a woman (Jesus) who will be man’s substitutionary sacrifice. Jesus, the second Adam will undo the harm that the first Adam caused humanity.

According to Amos, the Lord does nothing unless He reveals His secrets to His servants, the prophets. It is on this note that the Lord revealed His detailed plan for man’s redemption through Prophet Isaiah. God gave Isaiah detailed prophetic revelation concerning His suffering son who will be man’s substitutionary sacrifice on the cross of Calvary. Isaiah writes, “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon him and by His stripe, we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4-5.

Isaiah’s prophetic revelation was actualized on the cross of Calvary where the Son of God Jesus became the substitutionary sacrifice for man’s redemption. According to Apostle Paul, “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the son of His love in whom we have redemption through His blood and the forgiveness of sins.” – Colossians 1:13-14. The Lord Jesus was born into the world for one purpose – to die on the cross of Calvary for man’s redemption. This was necessary to satisfy God’s justice because without the shedding of blood there is no remission of our sins. – Heb. 9:22.

In all, we need to continually thank God for our redemption and the indescribable gift of His glorious Son Jesus Christ – the rock of our salvation. Following our redemption, Jesus has made us “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people that we may proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

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TAMING OUR TONGUES

Our words are powerful and that is the idea that the Word of God teaches us in the book of proverbs 18:21, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”  Which fruit are we set to eat?  The power of life or the power of death.  Our words are so powerful they can be used to kill or give life.  In the same vein that our words can encourage or discourage someone, so also it can cause deep trouble for the speaker.  Proverbs 21:23 says “Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.”  We can avoid a whole lot of calamities for ourselves when we watch our tongues.  While not condoning violence, one can easily conclude that the commotion that happened at the Oscars was instigated by words of mouth.  James (3:6) calls the tongue a fire and a world of evil among the body parts.  It corrupts the whole body.  There is no gain saying that whatever we can do to curb the excesses of the tongue must be done.  “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.”  When we allow our tongue to be corrupt by speaking evil, we also become invariably evil.  We must tame our tongues. We must control our words.

As desirable as it is to tame the tongue, the Bible tells us that it is not an easy task.  “All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” – James 3:7-8.  This is to say that without the grace of God it is difficult to tame one’s tongue.  We must begin by surrendering our hearts and our whole being completely to God.  “For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” – Matthew 15:19.  If we must tame our tongues we must then first and foremost surrender our hearts to God.  It is by so doing that we can guard our hearts with the peace that only God gives.  Our best efforts will not cut, but our total surrender to the God of all creation will do it.  We must learn to dedicate our heart, our mind, and our tongue to the Lord in total surrender.

We must also practice speaking edifying words.  We must pray that God himself will make us consciously aware of the words we speak, so we can make the efforts to speak right all the time.  The Word of God says “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” – Ephesians 4:29. You know that story about a man who owns two wolves that are always fighting. The question is, which wolf wins? “The one that is fed”. The power of the tongue to subdue and destroy can be tamed if we refuse to feed it, while the power of the tongue to uplift and edify can be strengthened by feeding it.  God has given us the freedom to choose between good and evil.  When we follow Apostle Paul’s exhortation to the Philippian Church in Philippians 4:8, choosing to think of things that are true, things that are noble, things that are right, things that are pure, things that are lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy and then verbalize those things, we are making conscious efforts to feed the power of the tongue to uplift.  Philippians 4:9 says “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”  Whenever we put into practice the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, which Apostle Paul also embraced, we are feeding the power of good in us, and when we verbalize them, we are feeding the power of good in our tongue.

My brothers and sisters, there is nothing that is too hard for God to do.  Taming our tongues begin with trusting God as a change agent and surrendering our hearts and mind to Him.  We get better at it by making sure we pray and stay focused so we do not get distracted by the enemy.  Whenever we must say things that are important and can affect other people, always THINK about it first. T – is it True? H – is it Helpful? I – is it Inspiring? N – is it Necessary? K – is it Kind? “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” – Colossians 4:6.  Remember also that “when words are many, sin is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise” – Proverbs 10:19.  May the good Lord help us to restrain our tongues.

Gratitude

SHOWING GRATITUDE FROM THE HEART

Gratitude is a positive emotion that involves being thankful and appreciative of what is given to us or done for us.  It is also a feeling that spontaneously emerges from within, not simply an emotional response but a choice that we make to be appreciative. Gratitude sometimes does not come easy because there are many times, we look at what we are lacking and think our prayers are not yet answered while ignoring the treasures in front of us. There are also times we think we know what is best for us, and we try to achieve it with our own strength. However, when the time is right, the miracle worker, the unchangeable changer, the “Alagbada Ina”, steps into the situation and begins to align circumstances to favor us, His children. Then we are amazed and our heart leaps with joy and suddenly we cannot stop showing gratitude or appreciating God. This is when we know we do not have what it takes to make things happen unless the Lord works through us and with us. We will become like them who dream dreams because things have started falling in pleasant places (Psalms 126:1).

Our God is good and greatly to be praised. The psalmist said: “We bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord as we offer onto Him the sacrifices of thanksgiving and of praise”.  Personally, when I think of the goodness of God in my life, I shake my head and wonder why the Lord is so mindful of me. Therefore, second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, month by month, year by year, until the lord tarries, I will forever be grateful for His grace, mercy and love over me and my family.

How do we show our gratitude to the almighty? By being grateful every second of our life, by not bickering, murmuring, or complaining, by appreciating each new day as it comes.  Thanksgiving is also a way to show gratitude, because when we thank God about His goodness in our lives, it shows that we cherish or appreciate what we have received from the Lord.  Telling people of what the Lord has done in the form of testimonies is another way of showing our gratitude to God. Listing so many things we are grateful for, like counting our blessings and naming them one by one and seeing what the Lord has done, helps us keep focus and keep things in perspective.

Serving one another and lending a helping hand is another way of showing gratitude. At a toll booth in West Virginia, there is a slogan “Paying it forward”. There are times the car in front of you will pay your toll fee and when it is your turn to pay, the attendant lets you know your fee has been paid by the person who was in front of you. Even though it is a small token, it still gladdens the heart knowing a stranger who does not know you can pay your toll.  I have also tried to emulate that stranger occasionally when I go through the toll booth and pay for the car coming behind me. We are all called one way or the other to serve one another; the stranger did his part, and moved on and I believe the Lord who is a rewarder of good, blessed that person. Sometimes we should try to look for ways to alleviate others’ burden if possible. Everybody can do a little of something. We are called to love one another and share each other’s burden.  Every time we do this, it shows that we also appreciate the good deeds that have been directed at us. In Philippians 2:17, the Bible lets us know that “our faithful service is an offering unto the Lord”. Christ himself said “the son of man has come not to be served but to serve” – Matthew 20:28. 

There was a woman in the Bible named Dorcas. The Bible tells us that she was so faithful. Helping the poor, serving wherever the need may be, to the point that when she died the people called unto Peter, interceding for the dead woman, telling Peter what good she had done while she was alive, and the Lord brought her back to life through Peter. I will say her works spoke for her.  Brethren, what can people say about you today? We need to serve wherever we find ourselves. While at work, let us serve as unto the Lord. At home, let us serve as unto the Lord. At Church let us serve as unto the Lord. Serving people is serving God, and we serve God because of His mercies towards us.  It is a form of gratitude. So, my brothers and sisters, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” – Galatians 6:9. God bless you all.

BUILDING CHARACTER WHEN OUR FAITH IS TESTED

BUILDING CHARACTER WHEN OUR FAITH IS TESTED

The Webster dictionary defines character as one of the attributes or features that make up and distinguish an individual.  It also calls character moral excellence and firmness.  So, in a lot of ways character can be a choice. It is also something that develops in ways that transcend education, training, or position. You cannot acquire character by reading a book.  As a matter of fact, it is built rather than acquired.  Character is many times used in place of integrity and moral uprightness. People of character are admired because they consistently do the right things for the right reasons.  We can learn what it means to have good character but that does not necessarily translate into having good character.  We know character is built and not learned; but how do we build character?  In Romans 5:3-4 the Bible tells us that we glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  This seems to be telling us that our character is built through adversities. These two verses reveal that the building of your character begins with God’s instruction to rejoice in our sufferings. God is definitely not telling us to be happy because we are suffering, instead, He is telling us to rejoice in the assurance of His grace and provision in the midst of our sufferings.

James 1:2 says we should consider it pure joy whenever we face different kinds of trials.  It added in verses 3 and 4 that this is because we know that the testing of our faith produces perseverance which is a precursor to becoming mature and complete.  I have personally learned that the way I respond to trials can have a great effect on whether they become roadblocks in my life or opportunities to learn and grow. When I agonize over difficulties, the experiences only serve to weigh me down, but when I remember that these trials are part of the great plan of God for me to build my character then I can actually see them as opportunities to grow and learn.  This is a guarantee that God has given us, that our God-trusting perseverance will ultimately build our character.

Just as victory requires fighting a battle, the development of character requires persevering through our trials. God is the author of our character and the object of our hope and He does not disappoint. Trials give us opportunities to show the Lord and ourselves that we will be faithful. So, we can choose to feel sorry for ourselves and ask, “Why me?” or we can grow from our trials and increase our faith in the Lord.  We can let adversity break us down and make us bitter, or we can let it refine us and make us stronger. We can allow adversity to lead us to drift away from the things that matter most, or we can use it as a stepping-stone to grow closer to things that have eternal worth.  Often, Spiritual growth happens because we have been through some trials, whereas comfort and peace tend to lead us into self-reliance and wrong attribution of power and ability.  We must learn to bear whatever comes our way knowing that God’s grace is sufficient for us and “our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” – 2 Corinthians 4:17.  So, how can we pull through when adversities come knocking?

First rely on Christ.  In fact, one of the purposes of trials is to help us come to know Christ, understand His teachings in our minds, feel them in our hearts, and live them in our lives.  I believe that the challenges I have faced in my life were very instrumental in learning the lessons I needed to learn. I believe I am whatever I am today because of the trials I have experienced, not in spite of them. Also, when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges, be patient because as we patiently endure in righteousness, He may reveal to us greater understanding about our trials and the purpose of them in our lives. Finally, always keep an eternal perspective.  Always think, this is happening now as part of God’s eternal plan. In our circumstances, let us always look forward with hope and not at our circumstances with despair.  That is the plan of God for us.  May His plans be perfected in our lives.

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THE CHRISTIAN JOURNEY

From birth to death there is a journey in between and one we all cannot avoid though some walk it longer than others. I will start off on this topic by defining and explaining some basic but very essential steps that will serve as the bedrock to the subject.

IT IS FAITH-BASED

The Christian journey is not just another trip in life, it is a “faith-based” journey and therefore primarily designed for those whose are referred to as “Christians”; but who really is a Christian and how can one become a Christian? In general terms, a Christian is someone who on their own volition (freewill), decides to believe and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior from their sins. (Romans 10: 9-10). In other words, a Christian is one who responds to God’s calling into His (God’s) family (John 1:12), repents of their sins, (and in most cases), willingly gets baptized, receive God’s Holy Spirit, and decides to follow the footsteps of Jesus Christ. (Matthew 5: 13-16).

Darrell W. Robinson in his statement wrote that a Christian is a “slave” …. (Greek “ianos”), an adherent and a committed follower of Christ. Three times in the New Testament (NT), the “Believers” were referred to as “Christians”. In Antioch, (Acts 11:26), by Agrippa, (Romans 26:28), and by Paul in 1 Peter 4:16. Robinson concluded that a Christian is one who becomes an adherent of Christ, and whose daily life and behavior facing adversity is like Christ. In short, you must whole heartedly adopt this faith to be part of this journey.

YOU MUST BE BORN INTO THE FAMILY – (John1:12, 3:3-8)

The only way to become part of God’s family… (The Christian /Church Family), is by birth into that family. In a similar way we must be physically born into our earthly family before we can belong to that family. The miracle of a spiritual birth is the only way we can enter the Heavenly family. Jesus said ‘…you must be born again…” (John 3:3-8). This birth only takes place through personal faith in Christ (1 Peter 1:3, Titus 3:5, Ephesians 2:8-9).

CALLED OUT AND SEPARATED

Below are a few definitions for the term “Called Out” according to Merriam Webster:

  • An act, or an instance of calling out.
  • To summon into action (e.g. Troops into action)
  • To challenge to a duel
  • To order on a strike
  • To be separated, set apart, identify self.

(1 Peter 2:9-10), (NKJV) Also read: Romans 8:28-30

Below are instances of God calling people:

  • Genesis 6: 5-end – Noah was called out to start a new generation.
  • Genesis 12: 1-8 – Abraham was called out from his home country to an unknown land.
  • Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, all were called out at different times for different missions.

Do you Know your calling? Are you faithfully fulfilling that calling? Something to ponder on.

THE CHURCH ON A JOURNEY – (Read John 15:16)

Here are few familiar quotes about the journey of life:

  • “The journey, not the destination matters” – (T.S.  Elliott)
  • “I made up my mind not to care so much about the destination, and simply enjoy the journey” – (David Archuleta)

As stated earlier, from birth to death, there is a journey in between and the Church likewise has been called out and set on a journey to teach, preach and heal, a journey to be the salt and light of the world. From personal experience here are few lessons and “take-aways” from this journey; these are our survival steps:

  1. You are part of a family, not an island, therefore stay in the family – (Heb.10:25, Matt. 18:20)
  2. The Journey can be very dangerous and treacherous – (Acts 27)
  3. No guarantees that we can make it alive; many have fallen asleep, that started with us.
  4. Enjoy the journey and keep on keeping on – (1Thessalonians 5:24, 1 Cor. 15:58)
  5. Stay focused, committed and humble; the battle is the Lords – (2 Chron. 20:15)

We are the Lord’s Church moving on triumphantly and we are not serving in vain.

FAITHFULNESS IN SERVICE

FAITHFULNESS IN SERVICE

The call to serve, as we have seen in Romans 12:1, is also a call to faithfulness. To give our acceptable and reasonable service, faithfulness is required. Faithfulness is total trust and loyalty to God. It means complete surrender and unwavering faith in God as we know that He so loves us that everything He does or allows in our lives will ultimately work out for His glory and for our good. A faithful servant is ready to take any step in obeying his Master for he knows that his Master has no other motive but love for him.  In 1 Corinth 4:2, we read, “Moreover, it is required in stewardship that a man be found faithful.”

It is important to know that faithfulness is not something we can just decide to have by our own might. Faithfulness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. In Galatians 5:22, we see faithfulness is listed as a fruit of the Spirit.  One cannot develop in faithfulness except he or she has a deep personal relationship with the Holy Spirit and consistently meditates on the Word of God. The Spirit is the one that enables us to have a deep commitment and unflinching loyalty to God no matter what comes our way, and we’ll need to continue to ask for His help to grow in faithfulness to God.

Faithfulness is required in our service to the Lord. It is needful because there will be times on this Christian journey when we will go through trials, and fiery trials sometimes, and the only thing that will sustain us in His service at such times is faithfulness.  Job said “though He slays me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15). Job resolved in his heart that God is good and that there is no unrighteousness in Him. Job knew God’s goodness and love which enabled him to trust Him even when calamity struck. There will be times when obeying the Lord will be very hard and risky. Sometimes, our bodies may be tired, but our Master can ask us to do work that may not be easy. The only thing that will keep us in such moments is our faithfulness to the Lord.

We can see in the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30 that to please the Master, the servants who received the talents had to take some risks in doing business till the Master returned. This means taking the step of faith required to obey the master. He commanded the servants to “Occupy till I come” (Luke 19:13).  The two servants went and did that. Their steps of faith were rewarded with success as they made 100 percent profit when they obeyed their Master. The one servant was afraid and did not obey. “He played it safe,” and did not use the talent he was given. So while the other servants heard “Well done, good and faithful servant,” he was rebuked and was cast out into outer darkness. His problem was in his heart. He was not faithful to his Master—he had doubts in his heart about his Master’s character and intentions.

Faithfulness is a quality that should be in the life of every follower of Christ. Apostle Paul urged Timothy in 2 Timothy 2: 2 to commit the teachings he had received from Paul to faithful men who will be able to teach others. When we are faithful, the Lord will make us able. In the Kingdom of God, faithfulness is esteemed above competence.  God is looking for faithful men and women and I pray that He will find us faithful in all His house!