When God is a “blind man”

There is an African proverb that says this;

“if a blind man tells you that he will throw a stone at you, he probably has his foot on one”

When it comes to faith, we do not have to worry about how God will be able to do what He says he will do.

He is

Omnipotent

Omnipresent

Omniscient

And,

He is

Able to do far more than you can ever think or imagine (Ephesians 3:20)

We just have to believe!

Or on a less serious note,

If God says He will throw a stone at you, He surely has his foot on one.

Blessed day!!!

Jesus hates fruitlessness

In today’s post, I would like to share with you a summary of a message preached by Reverend Balisasa (if I remember the name right) that has stayed with me for about 7 years. I cannot remember the title he gave to the message, but what I remember is this; he explained to me why Jesus cursed the fig tree…, it was not because of His hunger, it was because the fig tree deceived him.

I am sure that if you have lived a few decades on earth already, you may know that old saying; all that glitters is not gold” or more importantly, you may be getting used to the fact that most people are not what they appear to be once you get closer to them. But if there is something I have come to understand about the Lord Jesus, He never seemed to get used to that, in fact, he seems to have hated it.  For example, He called the Pharisees “whitewashed” tombs, white on the outside, but inside was dead man’s bones. And from Reverend Balisasa’s expose’ on the fig tree, Jesus cursed the fig tree not because of His hunger but because it did not have what it claimed to have.

Fig-tree-Umm-al-Hedamus-tb060403141-bibleplaces

In his message, Reverend Balisasa highlighted some important characteristics of the fig tree that helped to expose a deeper understanding of what Jesus did in cursing the fig tree. Firstly, even though figs bear fruit twice or thrice a year, depending on the climate and other conditions of the area, figs can fruit up to ten of the twelve months. Secondly, an interesting characteristic of the fig tree is that its fruits appear before its leaves. Finally, because its fruits remain green for a long time and its leaves were broad enough to cover them, the fruits can easily blend into the leaves. (supporting sources:https://www.gotquestions.org/curse-fig-tree.html, http://www.bibleplaces.com/fig-trees/)

Since I promised you a summary, I will make it this way; 1. Since the fig fruit appears before fig leaves, it is easy to assume that a leafy fig tree has “fruity” fig tree. 2. Since some fig trees could fruit early and some almost throughout the year, a leafy fig tree should be either one of those early fruiters or prolific fruiters, yet this one, in Jesus’ case, was none of the two.

The Lesson: Jesus may be attracted by our and your visible display of religiosity (prayer, church attendance and contribution and may be evangelism) to look for fruits (love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, patience, faithfulness and self-control) on the day of His hunger, and as true fig trees, let’s be sure to bear  fruits before our leaves.

 

 

You will not understand the world and the world will not understand you II

I will like us to begin this new year with a look at another form in which living on earth may seem to be a hectic task for a true Christian and this has to do with dealing with people who do not appreciate your Christian nature.

One of the most difficult kinds of people to deal with are those who do not see your value. Indeed, these may be people you care about dearly but who do not value what you value. They are those who do not see you for what your are; a true Christian and deal with you as if you are like everybody else. They will treat you as a liar because every person they may have met has lied to them and as such may not believe the truth you tell them. They may doubt the truth  of your qualities and capabilities and may even seem to be consciously searching for any sign of weakness or failure in your character or person. They may be quick to express their disappointment in you at the least show of blemish in your character or qualities. How are we to deal with these people? Let me share with you a simple lesson I learnt- You are primarily accountable only to God and then to godly people. As indicated in the translations below;

But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man

(1 Corinthians 2 vrs 15, KJV).

The one who is spiritual discerns all things, yet he himself is understood by no one

(1 Corinthians 2 vrs 15, NET Bible).

“But the spiritual man [the spiritually mature Christian] judges all things [questions, examines and applies what the Holy Spirit reveals], yet is himself judged by no one [the unbeliever cannot judge and understand the believer’s spiritual nature].”

(1 Corinthians 2 vrs 15, AMP)

 

The only question is this; are you a spiritual man

You Will Not Understand the World and the World Will Not Understand You I

 

There is one thing I have come to realize about the journey towards an extraordinary life; you will not understand the world and the world will not understand you.

Longsuffering (forbearance, Galatians 5:22, KJV) is one fruit of the spirit you may have to bear all the days of your life if you want to be able to live in this world. A Spirit-filled and a Spirit-led life will have to be lived in a “heathen” world; a world where Christians can be carnal and the Pastor who counsels you in a particular way in a particular situation is not able to live up to his own counsel when he is faced with a similar situation. A world where people you love dearly, hurt you the most. How do we deal with these?

Know from whom you have learnt these things; knowing the actual source of what you know and live by is important in knowing what decisions to take when you realize that fellow Christians or even Pastors are not able to live up to their own counsel. You may feel deceived, cheated or even hurt. Jesus shared a nugget of wisdom on this topic- Mattew 23:1-3; Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples: 2.The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3. So practice and observe everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. It is best to accept Christ as our standard for life and not men, neither a fellow Christian nor Pastor. Do not be surprised when you are hurt by people in the church, they should have been different, but the hard truth is- they are not altogether different. We are all striving to meet the standard, that is, the Word.

Helpful resource: When You’re Hurt by the Church

Surviving in the Mist of Failure II

In our article “Surviving in the Mist of Failure I” we discussed the important concept of dealing with the shadows of your failure by adopting a victor mentality rather than a victim mentality. Adopting the victor mentality is important as it helps us to keep our mind focused on the right things so as to move our lives beyond our point failure.

One other important concept in the matter of failure is the temptation to give up our God-given principles that seemed to have led or contributed to our failure. I will like us to discuss this concept under the subtopic- Don’t Get Beaten Down into Giving Up.

Human pressure (pressure from friends, colleagues, parents and spiritual leaders) may be one of the most effective weapons that fights our will to hold on to God-given principles in the face of failure. This pressure becomes even more fatal when it comes from people we have trusted or still trust. But how do we deal with such pressures especially now that we may have “failed” while applying some of our strongly held principles.

flickr-man-in-remorse

Source: mikeforchrist.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/flickr-man-in-remorse.jpg

Let me share with you three ideas I learnt in the mist of failure;

1: Know from whom you have learnt these things (2 Timothy 3:14): what is the source of your principles, if they are from God and living by them grants you inner peace, keep them. If they are self-made, re-examine them in the face of God’s word; never say never until God says never.

2: Do not take the advice of those who demonstrate little or no understanding of the truths of your situation, unless you have a clear inner witness or direction from God to do so.

3: Do not take the advice of those who base their confidence or argument in fleshly knowledge or convictions (blind physical evidence) or unguarded emotions (anger or excitement). This idea is especially critical when the matter has a spiritual component. Spiritual matters are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2: 13-14). These lessons, I have learnt, also apply to people you trust, you have to discern the times when their advice is not in line with God’s ways.

Surviving in the Midst of Failure I

Failure comes to us one way or another, no matter how hard we work to avoid it. And especially if you are working to live an extraordinary life, even the “smallest” of failures may be to you a gaping gap in the “perfect” life you want to live.

Missed opportunities, failed relationships, speaking the wrong word, accusing or being accused wrongly may be examples of nightmares or daytime horrors that we may not be able to get over. But that may just be the beginning of our horror stories. The worst part of these stories come when we have to live in the “eternity” of the consequences of these failures.

can-stock-photo_csp5729487

When you have to unavoidably see eye to eye with the woman you had a painful divorce or broken relationship with on a regular basis, or the boss whose money you lost in an erroneous investment decision that is still haunting the company.

Living with consequences or circumstances that arise out of a failure you have experienced is a constant reminder of the error or sin that led to the consequence and a haunting experience that nobody may be able to understand or bear with you fully. But what should be of outmost importance should be how to survive and thrive in such a situation.

A first step to survival is to overcome the tendency to constantly remind yourself of the error or sin that has opened the door to the many “evils” that may now be tormenting you. Constantly reliving the error or sin in your mind keeps you stack at the level of your failure and makes you a victim of your failure. It also constantly opens up afresh all psychological and emotional wounds that were born by your error or sin and makes you more vulnerable to attack from other psychological and emotional predators such as depression and self-loathing. Wounded animals attract further attacks and that is why as Dr. Mike Murdock encourages, you will need to avoid the victim mentality.

The victim mentality focuses on the error or sin that has generated the circumstances or consequences you are facing while the victor mentality (although admits error or sin and learns from error while confessing and repenting from sin) focuses attention on finding solution to the currents situation and on the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross which is greater than all sin and by which all sin can be forgiven. The victor mentality focuses on the fact that in ALL things we are more than conquerors through Christ who redeemed us (Romans 8: 37).

The Sin of The World and Their Only Hope

1 Why do the nations conspire[a]
and the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the LORD and against his anointed, saying,
3 “Let us break their chains
and throw off their shackles.”
4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord scoffs at them.
5 He rebukes them in his anger
and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
6 “I have installed my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”
7 I will proclaim the LORD’s decree:
He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have become your father.
8 Ask me,
and I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You will break them with a rod of iron[b];
you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”
10 Therefore, you kings, be wise;
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the LORD with fear
and celebrate his rule with trembling.
12 Kiss his son, or he will be angry
and your way will lead to your destruction,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
(Psalm 92, NIV)

Footnotes:
a. Psalm 2:1 Hebrew; Septuagint rage
b. Psalm 2:9 Or will rule them with an iron scepter (see Septuagint and Syriac)

Source: http://www.biblegateway.com/

The Extraordinary Mindset

By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born because they saw that he was no ordinary child…(Heb 11: 23, NIV)

There was something uncommon or extraordinary about Moses at birth and that was his beauty. It is believed by bible commentators that this uncommon beauty seemed to be an indicator of the great destiny Moses had and as such his parents were ready to risk hiding their child against the command of the Egyptian king.

But there was something else about Moses that distinguished him from many men, his mindset.


Moses had a mindset that was embedded with the right value system and this made him a candidate for the extraordinary manifestations of God to and through him. Moses had accurate knowledge of the value of God’s rewards.

He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt because he was looking ahead to his reward. (Heb 11: 26, NIV)

With this mindset, Moses undertook the right actions which made him the right person that God could use in implementing His will, the redemption of His nation.

By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to share ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king; for he endured as seeing him who is invisible(Heb 11:24-25).

Moses had a mindset that gave him the desire to live beyond the desire to sin and to enjoy pleasures that were outside the will of God. Beyond denying himself these pleasures he was ready to take risks because of his trust in God and His promises. Moses was living his life for God.

How did he achieve this, simple: he understood the value or rewards in following the will of God rather than available alternatives. Knowing the superiority in value of God’s will over available alternatives made his choices much simpler though seemingly “difficult”.

Our choices will be much simpler, wiser and more rewarding if we understood the value of God’s reward vis-à-vis the available alternatives, and if we really knew and appreciated the value that God offers now and for eternity. How much of God’s promises do you know? How accurate are your valuation of God’s rewards?

What am I driving at?

Our faith in God should be nurtured through the study of the word and prayer to provide us with the right mindset and value system. And whenever you want to make any decision, don’t forget to compare values.

Related article: Prioritizing: The Value System Approach

Two sorts of people will never have enough…

…of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body (Ecl 12:12) …

Image source: childbehaviorsolution.blogspot.com

Image source: childbehaviorsolution.blogspot.com


some people eager for money , have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs (1 Tim 6:10).

Image source: mightymag.org

Image source: mightymag.org

Two sorts of of people will never have enough. Those who thirst for knowledge and those who lust after riches. – an Arab saying

So what do we do. Maintain the “Golden mean”- Sidney Bremmer- aquire, multiply, and distribute knowledge and money in the will of God guided by “Godly contentment” and not to satisfy the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life.

Never forget to be Extraordinary.

References
Bremmer S.(1967). How to get what you want. Rhema Publishing Mininisty Inc.

Prioritizing: A Value System Approach


In the past weeks I have been so concentrated on one side of my life that it became so difficult for me to write a single blog post! I have always thought I will make enough progress in that side of my life that I will have the peace of mind needed to write a truly inspired post. Sadly, no progress seems enough and if things continue that way I might never get to write a post!

So I decided to check what really mattered most to me and in effect what I have preached mostly, a balanced and fulfilled life. Though I have had spurs of fulfillment by some achievements during the times of imbalance, I have always been haunted by the clear lack of balance in my life. I was doing great in the career side of my life but my ministry was suffering, no blog posts, not Facebook messages and little impact in the life of those around me, I nearly sacrificed my service to my church as well but thank God I am back on track. I trust Him to keep me on track for good for as He has said

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21, NIV)

How am I hoping to get back for good? By getting my priorities right, using the value system approach.

The value system principle says this, What you value determines your value

As the bible says
Thus says the LORD: “What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthlessness, and became worthless (Jeremiah 2:5, RSV).

I have chosen to be more consistent with what the LORD considers as worthy of my attention and as much as possible not sacrifice it for other things of less or equal worth. For if you value what God values then you are of great value to God. I have chosen to give deserved attention to each facet of my life. If you find yourself in a similar situation of living an unbalanced life, do what I did, repent of it through self-reflection, choose to value what God values and walk in your resolutions , Prayerfully. Do not, however, out of zeal act out your own will but the will of God, for

…in repentance and rest is your salvation in quietness and trust is your strength…
Isaiah 30: 15

Start by knowing what God will like you to do and continue in his will, trusting him to bring to a successful end what he has started.

God bless you and I hope to hear from you through your comments. Have an Extraordinary week.

For more on the value system please check out my book, The Extraordinary Gentleman: A Handbook for Christian Men