Category Archives: Doing God’s will

Expectation

The word “Expectation” can be likened to the common but witty saying “No cross no crown”. When one is expecting something, there is the tendency to be focused and be determined towards what one is expecting. To this end, interest and attention are focused while at the same time one’s imagination gets fired up with a view to achieving the object of ones concern. Diversionary situations are disregarded, distractionist views of others are never regarded, self motivation has to be invoked to ensure one does not succumb to self defeat in the face of daunting or discouraging situation. At times there can be conspiracy against one’s honest effort but as one has set his hand upon the plough, there has to be no need for looking back.

Any one eyeing a lucrative job where the employer is sort of “spoiling” employees with fat pay packets, needs to be told that if one is lucky to be invited for interview, the prospective interviewees should think outside the box of the book knowledge acquired in College and tries to familiarize himself with the external and internal terrain of the workplace in view. Reason is that questions that would be asked would not have  College or academic  flavor at such. Rather than academic theories, the focus would be questions geared towards finding who else can bring invaluable knowledge to boost the finances of the company. In which case,every applicant is expected to show knowledge very relevant to the discipline or arm of the workplace the applicant is seeking position.

In marriage, the usual expectation is to build a happy home for a happy family. However, there are steps to be taken in order to achieve the desired objectives from the matrimonial partnership. Genesis 2: 24 states: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” From google search, the reason for marriage is described as such. “Getting married is a big decision, and it isn’t just about making a lifelong commitment to your partner. Marriage is a legal contract. When you get married, you not only accept rights and benefits, but you also take on legal and financial obligations.” All along we can see the elements of expectation and when such is not met the marriage can break down irretrievably. In 1 Peter 4:8, there is a linkage between serving for God’s glory and marriage institution. Verse  8 states: And above all things have fervent love for one another for love will cover a multitude of sins.”

There isn’t anything man does, that is not based on expectation. The farmer who sows and continuously tend to clearing the weeds and applying fertilizer is expecting a high yield all things being equal. If there is crop failure in spite of all his hard work, no one will blame that such farmer.  The lawyer who pleads in the case for one facing litigation, the wholesaler, contractor handling either petty or industrial contract indeed any professional has done his job in expectation for a remuneration, or dividend from investment ventures. Every national currency is issued in expectation that goods and services equivalent to the face value of the paper money would be given to the holder when tendered.

Besides the  covenant God made between HIMSELF and the children of Israel in Mount Horeb, HE made another one in the land of Moab Deuteronomy 29: 1, all in the expectation that the people of God will ensure worshipping HIM, the God of Israel.

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Tripartite purpose of prayers

Simply put every meaningful prayer serves a tripartite purpose that encompasses yesterday, today and tomorrow (future). In other words, all wholesome prayers are expected to start taking stock of past deeds and occurrences, what today is and casting a look at what is being projected for the future. God had endowed us with a sense that can identify the good and the bad behavior. When we do good, it gladdens our heart and when we act negatively our conscience will not fail to alert us . However, some have seared their conscience to an extent that they can even swear on their conscience that is “playing the good” for them to stick to.

For taking stock of yesterday, is our recognition of the need to thank the Lord for his protection and other blessings received personally, by one’s family, the Church family and the community at large. There are so many avenues open to all human beings towards acting against the holy will of God. These include gossips, ungodly jokes about individuals, both direct stealing and stealing by stealth, lasciviousness, adultery, fornication, forgery, even, ungodly anger and many more. As for the present (nowadays), it behoves us as Christians to ask for God’s direction to be able to do things aright. This includes the act of consulting or meeting with God everyday so that daily plan would be able to align with the holy will of God. We have seen that what was experienced in the past and what is being encountered presently can make or mar the future if we fail to anchor our faith in Christ. Job presented us with a classical example of how to faithfully not allow the past to destroy the future because what is to be belongs to our creator. Job did what was practically possible to satisfy or please God but see what befell him. It was a double trouble of tragedy which went to a dimension that man can never think of. To ordinary people, they would agree to curse God when Job was asked to curse his creator and die because the pain and anguish had become totally unbearable in man’s thinking. He accepted both the positive and the negative to buoy up his faith in God and his endurance paid off. He was blessed so much that the “new” Job was richer and possessed more than ever before.

In physical management strategy, people or companies have to plan in terms of short, medium and long range development. Planning recognizes doing first thing first if success is to be accomplished and maximally too. In this case, there should be definite individual and corporate dos and don’ts that will ensure not working without policy guidelines. Permit me to liken prayers to planning and forecasting for personal strategy, aiming at working for specific goals. In a prayer life, there are what to place at the front burner or are immediate like ones daily bread and how to stock the pantry for things needed at various times in future. This consists of “what to do list” for today and thereafter. By prayer and supplications for future needs, the divine workbook or constitution for living well is – The Bible.

Lawyers or Attorneys have to consult a whole library of books in the discharge of their professional duties while Christians have their own code or conduct or their own constitution divinely inspired, written and never goes obsolete or revised from time to time, like mundane code of conducts.

Deviation from what the bible prescribes can constitute sins for all times, just like murder or homicide in the case of Cain and Abel remains homicide even in today’s reckoning. Jesus granted the adulterous woman remission of sin, after all things were considered, Today, judges would always consider many factors before giving the verdict of guilty or not guilty, and occasional discharge for want of enough evidence. Prayers to God through his son our Savior Jesus Christ enable us build up our morals and fortify ourselves against the wiles of the enemies of Christian faith. As for our life and times , prayer is our rod, shield and strength that will continue to comfort us in Jesus most holy name.

God and Idols

There is no comparison between the Almighty God and idols. In order for us to separate the living God from the non-living or dead gods, it is necessary to actually clarify the concept of the Almighty God, for he is the Omnipotent and Omniscient, the self-existing, as well as the everlasting Sovereign God. HE is the “I am that I am”, the Beginning and the End. The living God cannot be seen with our naked eyes and yet we can talk with Him. He hears us, we feel Him. He speaks to peoples’ hearing at times audibly or quietly putting in our thought system. His greatest attribute is that of being eternal, from age to age, He remains the same everlasting Jehovah, the creator of heaven and the earth, the unchangeable changer as well as for us a conqueror of all evil forces that tend to militate against us.

Conversely, each idol or the dead god, from age to age continues to be the creation of man. An idol has ears but cannot hear, has eyes but cannot see, has legs but cannot walk neither can its hand be used to hold anything. Its movement is characterized by man moving it from one spot to the other. Above all, it is a physical representation of evil or Satan that delights in sorrow by seeking to steal kill and destroy as exemplified in John 10:10

The Almighty God gave the Jews the order not to have any other God beside Him, the God of Israel as contained in Exodus 20: 3-4. In the history of the children of Israel, we read that, anyone, and especially a King who fails to worship, obey and honor God  “YAHWEH” always succeeded. David was a case in point. He defeated Goliath because he convinced himself that the battle was God’s own and HE would never fail. The scenario instantly became a story of the unexpected. Overtly, there was no possible way a novice, an inexperienced young man like David could have dared to challenge Goliath, a veteran of so many battles without the help of the God of Israel. Jeroboam as king over the Northern kingdom with its capital in Samaria. He severed relations with the Southern Kingdom of Judah and Jerusalem and also created man-made gods for his people to worship to ensure his subjects did not have any connection with Shiloh or the temple in Jerusalem. His reign showed that he was desperately wicked and caused the children of Israel to sin. His act of rejecting God to embrace worship of idols was so sinful that it continued to be a reference point of wicked sin against God that led to their going into slavery once more.

Nebuchadnezzar was originally empowered by God to be able to enslave the children of Israel as punishment for their rejecting their God; but later became proud and self-conceited to the extent that he asked people to pray to him instead of God. He was punished at the peak of degrading the Almighty God, he was turned into a beast with hairy body and long nails. It was only when he got back to his senses that God restored him to his erstwhile position. His golden image could not save him as God dramatically saved the three Hebrew young men namely; Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

 

Lessons From Giving

There is no coin , at least , in our contemporary society that has only one side. Each coin features head and tail sides. The act connotes opposite situations like good or bad. king or the ruled, right or wrong as well as the right or the wrong side. Many people count on the positive effect while some do not care a hoot over revelling on the negative and its after effect. A traditional saying  that one good turn deserves another is relevant to the content of this topic. Let us reflect on why David should search for any survivor from King Saul lineage. It is in order to repay the good turn of Jonathan to him.  Jonathan gave his total love to David. Were it not to be so, King Saul could have killed David out of jealousy, but Jonathan preserved David’s life. Jonathan took a vow with David. “So Jonathan made covenant with the house of David, saying, let the Lord require it at the hand of David’s enemies”. He caused David to vow thus, “Jonathan caused David to vow, because he loved him; as he loved his own soul. 1Samuel 20: 16-17. In the art of giving,  Jonathan gave David series of vital information, otherwise, he could have died in the hand of King Saul who took 3000 soldiers to pursue David, a fugitive. He got Mephibosheth and gave back all Saul’s family property to the “Lame Duck” Mephibosheth. II Samuel 9:1-13  (NKJV)

Back in the early days of life on earth, Abel gave the best of his livestock product for sacrifice to the Lord while Cain was reported to have given farm produce that was not of the best quality. God therefore, did not honor Cain’s offering. Genesis 4: 1-4. Giving is a spiritual investment that draws to the giver positive or negative returns relative to what was given out first. God loves cheerful giver for it to be worthy of being accepted. By all standard, Nabal was prosperous but could not oblige to help his benefactor who was in dire need of food for self with his people and his men of valor. I Samuel 25: 3-11(NKJV). He refused to give and even called David names not befitting neither him nor David. It was Abigail (Nabal’s wife) that quickly remedied the situation otherwise, David could have taken punitive measure against the house of Nabal.

There is joy in giving. Another common saying states that “the giver’s hand is always over and above that of the taker”. The hoarder usually finds (especially food products or electronic items) them to have become rotten or overtaken by new and upgraded products. The giver  gives every room for bringing in new stocks into the store house. The “Giver” is known to be more helpful, purposeful, and generous than the non-giver who spends  money lavishly on ungodly reasons who can be considered guilty of squandermania. Jesus observed that the widow’s mite  was greater than the rich people’s offerings. The widow’s mite amounted to giving all. By it, Jesus stressed the importance of giving in Luke 21: 1- 4. The King of Salem blessed Abraham for giving the tenth of his proceeds from the victorious war he had just fought. The widow of Zarephath in a godly obedience gave first to satisfy Prophet Elijah, the Tishbite and she was blessed: “The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah” 1 Kings: 16 (NKJV)

The lying tongues

Lying tongues are associated with false prophets and teachers of the holy Word of God. I would like to evaluate them as agents of the devil. Mildly put, they are agents of destabilization in the Church of God as of old up to now. They would have studied the Word of God to a reasonable depth. This tends to give them leverage and give them the opportunity to sound convincing. Within their own heart, they have different agenda that lead into turning young or weak Christians from the genuine way of the Lord. To the Almighty God, it is a complete abomination.

They are wolf in sheep’s skin whose sole but hidden purpose is self-aggrandizement, simply put self-seekers. It is not peculiar to Christians of contemporary era but had begun even in Prophet Jeremiah’s historical times. For instance in Jeremiah 14, the bible recounted the sins of the Jews and God decided to punish them with famine. The main reason was sin against the God of Israel. The Lord explained to Jeremiah what he would do mainly because the prophets were not genuine and were guilty of false prophesy. Disaster was looming large but the false prophets, were busy with their lying tongue and perverting the truth as God had made it clear. In Jeremiah 14: 13-14, the bible recorded:  “Alas, Sovereign God! The prophets keep telling them, You will not see the sword or suffer famine. Indeed   I will give you lasting peace in the place.” Then the Lord said to me   “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatrous and the delusion of their own minds. Jeremiah 14: 13-14 (NIV)

In the Churches today, it behoves born-again Christians to avoid the consequences of the act of being false teachers, prophets, pastors, evangelist, bishops, deacons and even the class of Church workers.

OVERCOMING TEMPTATION
One needs to draw a clear distinction between test and temptation. Job in the Old Testament is perhaps a very appropriate circumstance that can be used to differentiate what test means as distinct from temptation. In the Book of Job 1: 6-22 the bible made it clear that HE (God)knew Job as a perfect man who would never abandon HIM, the God of all creation. The basis for allowing Satan to test Job was that He was very sure who Job was, it was a means of proving Satan wrong that Satan has not conquered all the children of God; more so that not all his children had allowed pride to ruin their relationship with God. Whereas, Satan’s idea of temptation is seeking to destroy those who stood in complete obedience to God. In Job 1: 6-22 Job was blessed richly and would always make sacrifices to cleanse his children in case they have committed sin against God. The following scenario proves the point. When God called His children, Satan followed them. At a point Satan referred to Job as being reverent to God because of his riches and went ahead to take excuse to tempt Job. God trusted the faith of Job that he would not fail; and therefore allowed Satan to tempt Job whose excellent relationship with God would prove Satan wrong. As far as Satan was concerned he was to tempt or coax or persuade Job to do wrong, or simply put to coax Job into denying God. In this, he troubled Jobs’ life with a series of losses or calamities including loss of all his children and complete destruction of his wealth. Within twenty-four hours all he stood for in life was ruined. His health was afflicted, three friends provoked him so as to denounce God, even his wife asked him to curse God and die as the pain and anguish got to a breaking point. In all, the faith of Job stood unshakened

In another circumstance, the serpent’s deceptive method to cause Eve to sin was by carefully leading Eve to take an action forbidden by God. The popular quote verse from Genesis 1: 1 “Yea, has God said, Yea shall not eat of the tree of the garden?” was the misleading question with Satan’s answer “Ye shall not surely die”, which led to the fall of Adam and Eve. Genesis 3: 1-4 (KJV) Joseph was also tempted with amorous relationship with Potiphar’s wife, but he being guided by God refused the overture Genesis 39:7-23. It landed him in jail and the wisdom of God led him from “From prison to the Palace” of King Pharaoh as the Prime Minister in a foreign land. To Potiphar’s wife, it was an enjoyable offer but to Joseph, it was an abominable breach of trust and heinous crime against God. 

It is crucial to know and watch out for the ways in which Satan has always tempted we humans. He attacks that most vulnerable part of any person in order to make human species sin. According to 2Corinthians 2: 11 (KJV). It says “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are ignorant of his devices”. Briefly, temptation has the nature of “carrot and stick” whereas testing a person has the nature of who is on the defensive mode and cannot be moved?  The barrenness of Sarah did not cause Abraham to stumble in faith. The need for him to sacrifice Isaac to God was the most daunting test of faith. Abraham obeyed and God showed forth at the point of slaughtering the promised child. Testing is thus for evaluating known faith, or standard of living, but more so, faith in God. Is there anyone that is above temptation? Of course, no one is above temptation. Our Lord Jesus was even tempted by the devil. In Matthew 4: 1-11 Jesus used the word of God known to be the sword of the spirit to defeat the devil. Jesus always countered the devil by saying.  “It is written: Man shall not leave by bread alone, but by every word that procedeth out of the mouth of God”. To be able to overcome temptation it is still the precept of Christ we are supposed to follow, because that was how Jesus Christ overcame the devil. The way to corner and defeat the devil using THE WORD OF GOD can be traced to 1 Peter 5: 8-9 where Jesus declared “Be sober, be vigilant because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh  about, seeking who he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world”. 

Let us realize that Satan always shows itself as Angel of light 2 Corinthians 11: 14-15 “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” What can we do to overcome the temptation always posed by Satan? Jesus has told us to watch and pray or else we would yield to temptation as in Matthew6: 13 “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and power, and the glory for ever Amen”. It is reechoed in Matthew 26: 41 that says: “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak”. In 1 Corinthians 10: 12, we are admonished to take heed: “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves, but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves are not wise. Also in James 4: 7, we are enjoined to; “Submit yourself therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you”. We should be praying without ceasing.

The bottom line in Ephesians 6: 10-13 (KJV) “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand”. Praise the Lord.

Christian Goal

The word “goal” means ‘The state of affairs that a plan is intended to achieve and that when achieved terminates behavior intended to achieve it’. Its synonym is “end” in this context. Therefore, what is the goal for being a Christian? Looking at the word “goal”, it fits in as the ultimate of the endeavors of a Christian which undoubtedly is a desire “To  make Heaven”. Like in any area the word can be applied, once the destination is reached the end would have justified he means. The Christian goal, to my mind, is a means to an end. The end is to spend eternity with Jesus and all the heavenly Saints in God’s kingdom. By all we have read about, seen or experienced, one has to struggle hard to be able to win the race. Even on earth, building a habitable house or home or obtain academic or professional certificate with the license to be able to practise the acquired knowledge, it involves worthy hardships at such.

It is obvious that he who wants to eat honey embedded in the rock must not look at the cutting edge of the axe. There would be strain and stress consequent  upon cutting deep into the rock before the honey can start to flow. To be able to eat fresh corn in tropical dry season, there has to be mechanized farming facilities that incorporate irrigation. It is an essential requirement for pursuing Christian goal to “walk the talk” as a follower of Jesus with a view to meeting the biblical transcendental goal of making heaven. Jesus’ coming to the world is to make mankind acceptable  into God’s kingdom eternally under his code of conduct per his preaching,

As man is striving to follow Jesus with a view to inheriting the kingdom of God, the devil is perfecting its own strategy towards thwarting the believer’s endeavor. Satan had always been foxy. The serpent (Satan) won over Eve by deception and Adam fell for it as well. Clearly, satan manifests by the names of Demon, or Devil. The bible recorded that the Devil has come to steal, kill and destroy. Through this means it was able to mislead and enmesh many great anointed people of God  like King Jeroboam, and King Saul. Remember their elevation to kingship was of God but they were not able to hold their own as their conscience was turned away from God. Starting from Adam and Eve the number of such people is countless. Think of Hazel who got a prophesy that he would become king of Syria and then felt he was wiser than God who would surely have fulfilled the prophesy at his own time. He decided to carry out a palace coup by killing his master, of course, he never enjoyed the grace of God that goes with legitimate kingship.

Satan finds it difficult to coerce people who have given their life to God. since they have submitted their lives to God they can no longer divide their loyalty between God and the devil, by so doing, they become untouchable and are able to achieve their goal of making heaven. We find such people in the nature of people like Jeremiah, Enoch (who did not die but was no more) and Daniel. Let us recall the famous response of Daniel to the King who went to the site of the lion’s den early in the morning to find out if Daniel’s God has saved him. Daniel 6: 22 states: “My God has sent his angel, and has shut the lion’s mouth that they have not hurt me: as much  as before Him innocency was found in me ; and also before thee, O king, I have done no hurt” (NKJV)

Impediments to Christian goals are a situation in which people go into various studies that make them look smart or able to find a short cut to God.  Alas ! They really miss the ways of the Lord. The fate of practitioners of spiritism in the form of Tarot card, Palmistry, sand reading, charms and amulets or ancestral worship is sealed in what we read in Deuteronomy 18:10-11. “There shall not be found among you anyone that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire , or that uses divination, or an observer of times or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer” (KJV). After Paul’s conversion, he became unassailable to Satan’s attempt at making him fail in his newfound faith.

If we really understand the admonition in Ephesian 6: 10-13, we shall be able to practise Paul’s saying in James 4: 7-8 thus: “Submit yourself therefore to God, Resist the devil and He will flee from you…….Draw near to you. Cleanse your hands ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double-minded…..(verse 10) Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up” Max Lucado describes the situation( of seeking to achieve Christian Goal in this submission) , He says: “God planned for His people to be distinct by their peaceful and humble attitudes. By  words and actions mark these qualities”