Monthly Archives: June 2013

Called and Chosen to Leadership – Joseph the Husband of Mary

The relationship between Joseph and Mary was orchestrated by God to achieve His purpose. Joseph was chosen to be with Mary because he was a ‘just and devout’ man who completely surrendered himself to the voice of God. Unlike the Prophet Jonah, he was a man who carried out the instructions of God without hesitation and without retort no matter how uncomfortable it made him feel. His obedient to love (God) was instant and unquestionable

If you know the story of Joseph, then you know that he cared about what God thought above what everybody else thought. He was a man who put his confidence in God. He was a man who neither considered the unrighteous judgment of man nor paid attention to his own fleeting and changing emotions but was devoted solely to God. He simply did not talk about putting God above man, but had the seemingly rare quality of actually walking that talk.

Light-bulb moment: The most important thing in choosing a partner is choosing someone who will obey the voice of God above all else – even above our own selfish wants and needs.

See, Joseph had to believe the unbelievable. He had to take the word of God over the reality of the present situation. While common sense and reality dictated that Mary was no virgin – for she was pregnant – Joseph chose to believe Mary and angel Gabriel.  Can you imagine the ridicule Joseph faced in his community? I am sure ‘foolish’ and ‘stupid’ are some of the choice words that many people used to describe him. Can you imagine the number of people that must have pulled him aside and given him ‘wise counsel’?

Quite frankly, Joseph must have been the laughing stock of his time – if not for staying with Mary, then for believing in Mary’s story and paying attention to his own ‘imagined’ vision. Can you fathom the humiliation Joseph endured especially in those times? Thankfully, Joseph knew that the foolishness of God is greater than the wisdom of man (1 Corinthians 1:25)

In truth, what Joseph made up his mind to believe was and is still unprecedented! What about you? Would you believe it if someone who was pregnant told you they were still a virgin? I certainly know I would have my doubts even if I had a dream about it. But Joseph was a man who truly trusted God; a man of great resolve!

Light-bulb moment: History making often requires believing the unbelievable!

Imagine what would have happened if he had not promptly obeyed the voice of God to leave Bethlehem for Egypt? His family would have unlikely escaped the murderous hand of Herod and perhaps another woman would have had to be chosen for the Immaculate Conception. Thankfully Joseph obeyed and so led his family into a foreign land. In reality, his obedience to the word of God is what ultimately destined him to be immortalized in the bible.

Light-bulb moment: Our obedience to God is the key to fulfilling our destiny

How unbelievable that God decided to place the fate of the savior in the hands of Joseph; He placed the fate of the entire world on the leadership of one man. He did not place it in the hands of a rich, resourceful, and powerful man who commanded armies and could easily provide protection. Instead, He placed it into the hands of a simple carpenter with modest belongings BUT who would not be swayed by public opinion. He put it into the hands of a true leader!

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: A true leader is someone who submits himself to following the will of God. In reality, leadership is easy when all we are doing is following the instruction of God.

The story of Joseph also shows us the heart of God. He chooses to use man to accomplish his purpose. He does this not because He wants to share His glory but because He wants His glory to be reflected to other men so they may be drawn to Him. See, it may be that when other men see that God favors us and see His work through us that they are directed to Him – it is when they want to know him.

If we want to be chosen to fulfill something great, we have to prove ourselves to be completely surrendered to the will of God just like Joseph. Just like Joseph, we have to care not for our own thoughts or the thoughts of others, be people of great resolve and character, and obey God’s voice promptly!

Light-bulb moment: The key to being chosen by God is not our ability but our availability.

See, God chose Joseph to shepherd Mary because He knew the character of the man. My prayer is that we all grow to be Joseph’s; to be completely in love with God so that we are not simply called onto greatness but that we are chosen to achieve it.

Light-bulb moment: As children of God, we have been called to greatness. It is out love for God that determines whether we are chosen.

Food for Thought: You may be with the person you are with to achieve a greater purpose in life

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Why Can’t I Unlock the Power of God in My Life (Part II)

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused Him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for a man looks at the outside appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:9

When God tells us that He looks at the heart and not our words or actions, He means it. This is because like Judas – who asked why the perfume poured on Jesus was not sold and the proceeds given to the poor – people’s mouth may show much love, but their hearts could very well be pursing their own gain (Ezekiel 33:31).

Simply put, the power of God is NOT released into our lives when our hearts are filled with self-seeking, envy, jealousy, greed, pride, sensuality and worldly passion. These things block the path through which the power is released.

Though we can fool man to think we are the sweetest and most incredible human beings through our actions and words, God cannot and will not be fooled. He is looking at the heart behind our words and action. If the intention is to portray something we are not, then we have made people pleasing and fear-based disguise our idols.

Instead of faking fruit, why not actually produce fruit? Instead of faking who we are, why not become the person we want to be by surrendering our all to God?

Why continue to see the power of God operate in other people’s life (perhaps through our prayers) but never experience the same power in our lives? If this is happening to you, please do not blame the devil for Jesus has already put the devil underfoot and has made available the power to defeat him through the Holy Spirit. If you are not experiencing the victorious power of God in your life, the only person you can blame is you! Instead of faking victory in your life or excusing away victory in your life, I beg you to please let go and let God rule over your heart.

Again, we should not be fooled that everything is alright with us because our prayers for others are being answered. God will always answer the prayer of faith which works through love (Galatians 5:6). See, our prayers for our loved ones can flow out of genuine love for them – such as the prayers for our mother and father. But what about our own requests; what are the heart motives behind what we are requesting for ourselves? The truth is that God does not care for double-sided heart intentions!

Unfortunately, many do not realize that God looks at the heart and not actions. They fling themselves into complete rule keeping without a heart change.  After many years of struggle, they eventually give up on God when they think they have done all they can do and nothing seems to be coming out of it but hurt. Because they will not blame God (out of fear of retribution), they start blaming everything else instead of blaming themselves – they do not blame themselves because in their heads they have kept all the rules and requirements. Wrong, and bad move! Those who never understand that God looks at the heart spend all the lives fighting instead of enjoying the abundant life Christ said He came to give us (John 10:10). This is truly sad!

The only solution is to take a deep look into their hearts, confess and surrender all bitterness,unforgiveness, and all other strongholds to God.

To conclude, the question of why God’s power is not released in our life is not of whether God loves us. It is a question of how much we love God. While God is merciful to us in His love, our ability to rule in life is dependent on who much we love Him. How much we love Him determines how much we walk in the fullness of the grace (power) of God.

In life, if we do not love God, then we truly do not love ourselves!

Food for Thought: I can continue to drive my life into the ditch or I can allow God to drive me to heaven. The choice is mine!

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Filed under Love, Victorious Living

Why Can’t I Unlock the Power of God in My Life? (Part I)

Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God – Luke 22:69

During His trial, Jesus tells the members of the Sanhedrin that He is going to be seated at the right hand of the power of God after His death (Luke 22:69). Note that Jesus does not say He is going to be seated at the right hand of God, but at the right hand of the power of God. This means that the power of God is released only through Jesus or that God only releases His power through Jesus who is seated at His right hand. In addition, this means that any power released outside of Christ is NOT of God but of a worldly and sinister nature.

Now, here is the process by which God’s power is released: When we call upon Jesus, He hears us and makes intercession on our behalf to the Father (Hebrews 7:25). The Father then decides whether to grant the petition of the one who calls on the name of Jesus based on whether it will glorify Him (John 14:13). Should the request be granted by God, Jesus then releases the power to fulfill the request through the Holy Spirit who resides within us (John 14:16-17). In the event the fulfillment of the request requires our action, Jesus speaks the instruction from God to the Holy Spirit who then instructs us (John 16:13).

Though we are worthy of getting the attention of God through the sacrifice and worthiness of Jesus,  John 14:13 reminds us that God will only grant those requests that glorify Him. Here is how the bible tells us we glorify the Father: If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, so you will be My disciples – John 15:7-8

So we see that it all starts with abiding in Jesus. Since Jesus is love, we can say that it all starts with abiding in love. When we abide in love (Jesus), then everything we ask will reflect the heart of love and will fulfill the requirement of love. In other words, God will only grant those requests that come from a heart of love and fulfill a loving purpose. Since the heart of God is the heart of love, we see that our heart and God’s heart align when we abide in Jesus. That’s why He grants those requests that flow out of love.

Now we see why Jesus tells us that all the law and prophets instructions are fulfilled in the commandment to love – to love God with all our being and to love one another (Matthew 22:37-40). Simply put, love is the secret to unlocking the power of God! This is why Jesus wants us to focus on love! He wants us to have victory in our lives so that we can share the booty of the victory with others.

So I ask you this: How is your love life? Do you really care for people or only care for people that can offer you something? Is your heart right or is it hardened?

In part II, we will see that we cannot buy God’s love through words and actions

Food for Thought: The only way to truly love yourself is to learn to love – by submitting your fears to God

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Prisoner of Love

 

I was a prisoner but You have set me free!

I was blind but You have opened my eyes to Your love and Your light

You have called me out of darkness and into Your marvelous light

So I will magnify Your name and do the mighty works to which You have called me; I shall not fear for You are with me and You are my help

I shall proclaim Your mighty name because You have empowered me beyond all measure to make You known and bring You glory

All the world will rejoice Your name and Your victory

No stone shall be left unturned!

You have called my name and given me a mantle to show Your love

I know You are my strength, so I know I will not fail

I live in You so Your victory through me and for me is assured

I love You Lord

You came down from Your palace to take my place as a Prisoner

You took me from my prison and made me sit in high places

I deserved death but you offered Yourself for me even though I despised You

I did not understand what you did and it is still difficult for me to understand

How can you love me so much?

Jesus, though you have removed me from my prison to Your Palace

I realize that I am just a prisoner of Your love

A love I can never escape!

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 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 8:31-35; 37-39

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Read and Speak Your Way into Success and Away from Trouble

“Put on a pot, set it on,
And also pour water into it.
Gather pieces of meat in it,
Every good piece,
The thigh and the shoulder.
Fill it with choice cuts;
Take the choice of the flock.
Also pile fuel bones under it,
Make it boil well,
And let the cuts simmer in it.”

                                                                           – Ezekiel 24: 3 – 5

The children of Israel are depicted as pieces of meat that are placed in a pot (Jerusalem) filled with water in the 24th chapter of the book of Ezekiel.  In this passage of scripture, God calls the children of Israel choice meat because he specifically chose them and set them apart – like we are upon salvation.  Now, the purpose of immersing or baptizing the meat (His people) in water is so that it could clean away all the filthiness of the meat. To accomplish full cleansing, the meat was not only immersed fully in water but the fire of the Holy Spirit was also kindled so that all the unsavory parts of the meat – the stinking thinking, bad habits, and unprofitable ways of the people – would be washed out as scum.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: God does not leave us alone after our initial cleansing (salvation) but burns away all unsavory parts of our character through the fire of the Holy Spirit (fire) so that we are conformed to the image of Christ.

Yet, the scriptures tell us that God was not pleased with His people for the scum which He had removed from within them was still present with them (Ezekiel 24:6). God said to them: ‘I have cleansed you, but you were not cleansed’ – Ezekiel 24:13.

Today, the image of the meat immersed in a scum filled pot symbolizes the believer who has been cleansed of all filthiness through confession (see 1 John 1:9) but has refused to change his/her mind or turn away from the scum of the past. It is a symbol of a person who has acknowledged (confessed) their sin but has not repented (turned away) from it.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Confession opens the door to repentance – it is not possible for us turn away (repent) from filth if we have not first been cleansed from it through confession.

To truly turn away (repent) from our sins, we must read and meditate on the word of God, for only it has the power to renew our minds and transform the way we think (Romans 12:2). Given enough time studying, we find that we no longer find comfort in the scum that was once embedded deep within us and was so familiar to us. Given enough time, we begin to naturally desire to separate ourselves from all the filth around us. Normally this means breaking some associations and doing away with some things in our lives.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: While we speak our way onto confession (cleansing), we read the word onto repentance (changing).

We have to make sure our mind and body (the exterior of the meat) do not interact with scum despite the truth that our spirit (our interior which is sealed by the Holy Spirit) can no longer be touched by scum once it is burned out from within us. Why? It is because the result of interacting with scum is uncleanliness, and the end of living an unclean life is mountains of trouble. Here is what God has to say to the meat that refuses to be cleansed:

I will not hold back, nor will I spare, nor will I relent; According to your ways and according to your deeds, they will judge you,” says the Lord God – Ezekiel 24:14

Notice that the scripture above says that it is our ways and deeds that judge us (when we do not turn away). The reason behind this is because all judgment has already been poured out on Jesus, hence the only reason we experience judgment (different from trials) is that we refuse to walk with Jesus as our Lord.

Food for Thought: Jesus is your Savior, but have you truly surrendered to Him as your master?

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