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Why You Should Never Do The Bible

Have you ever heard the saying “Do the bible”. If you have never heard of it, it is short-form of saying ‘Do what is in the bible’. While this advice comes from a good place and is well-meaning…how do I put this gently…it is not right. Let me explain.

The Holy Scriptures are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus – 2 Timothy 3:15

According to 2 Timothy 3:15, the bible is there to make us wise to deliverance through faith in Christ. Said another way, we are not meant to do the bible, we are to allow the bible to build our faith in Christ so that we may be wise to salvation (deliverance from everything evil and deliverance to everything good).

When we allow the bible to point us towards Christ and grow our faith, we find that the Holy Spirit gives us God’s doctrine, corrects us, gives us a conviction of who we are in Christ (identity and position), and instructs us in the way of righteousness – what God desires to do / guidance from God (see 2 Timothy 3:16).

The bible is there to point us towards intimacy with Christ and is not a rule book for us to try to follow in our own strength

Those who think they can obey the Scriptures in their own strength think they can fulfill the law of God on their own (for the bible contains God’s laws). I have seem many believers try to follow what is in the bible in their own strength to the detriment of their own mental well-being.

To try to fulfill the law of God in our own strength is an exercise in futility that leads to disappointment and allows the enemy to bombard us with guilt, shame, and condemnation – leading to oppression, repression, and depression.

If we could fulfill the law of God in our own strength, then Jesus would not have been needed. Therefore trying to do the bible (to fulfill its laws) is akin to playing Jesus and saying to God that Jesus’ sacrifice was not needed. Indeed, this is prideful and arrogant.

Only the flesh tries to fulfill the law of God in its own strength

The bible describes the flesh as a part of us that desires to do things in our own strength. It neglects God’s strength operating in us through the Holy Spirit and wants to make something of itself. Therefore, the flesh is prideful and arrogant. Without knowing it, its desire is to take the place of God. The flesh substitutes grace through faith in Christ, for works through self-effort.

The flesh works but faith rests

It is tempting to want to rely on the flesh. This is because the flesh does not always want to do evil, it also desires to do good. The problem is that it can never do the good it desires to do. While it may desire to do good, it ends up producing evil. That’s why nothing good lies in the flesh.

Apostle Paul warns us about the folly of relying on the flesh. He says not to be bewitched and foolish. He tells us that there is no way we can be perfected through the efforts of the flesh (See Galatians 3).

The purpose of the bible is to lead us to faith and not to lead us to self-effort. Therefore, don’t try to do the bible BUT let the bible build your faith in Christ. The choice is yours: Flesh or Faith.

If you are try to do the bible, you are trying to rely on your flesh. If you allow the bible to build you faith, you won’t try to do the bible for the Holy Spirit will do the bible for you and through you.

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One Good Reason To Read The Bible

Holy Scriptures are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus – 2 Timothy 3:15

Holy means to be set apart, and scriptures means writings. Therefore, the Holy Scriptures are writings that are set apart. They are set apart in the sense that they are different from other writings. Moreover, they are writings that help set you apart from the crowd.

The scriptures help you live a life that is set apart and helps you stand out from the crowd

For the Scriptures to be effective requires that we put our faith in Christ Jesus. If you look at 2 Timothy 3:15 closely, you will find that it does not say to have faith in Jesus Christ. This is because after we have faith in Jesus Christ for our eternal salvation, we must put our faith in Christ Jesus for our everyday salvation.

Disclaimer: When I talk about everyday salvation here, I do NOT mean that we have to work and work to maintain our salvation.

There are many who have put their faith in Jesus Christ that have not put their faith in Christ Jesus. Faith in Jesus Christ gives you grace BUT faith in Christ Jesus allows you to walk in grace. This is because faith in Christ Jesus produces humility to the Holy Spirit. And the beauty of humbling ourselves to the leadership of the Holy Spirit is it makes us wise to salvation and releases the grace (unmerited favor and power) of God. This grace over your life is what makes you stand out from the crowd.

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I know I am Not Getting Married On My Wedding Day

couple-hand-in-hand_925x_08866aab-9de4-43bb-b21e-d4418aea3ca3_1024x1024[1]I know it’s going to be beautiful. I know it’s going to be emotional. And I know it’s going to be memorable. Though many things will happen that day, I know one thing that won’t happen. I know that I won’t be married!

When I met my soon to be wife, we started the process of getting close to one another. After we got close to one another, we decided that we should be joined (wedded) together.

When we become wedded together in a few weeks, we will then begin the process of becoming one.

Aha moment: Marriage is a process, not an event. The wedding (joining together) event kickstarts the marriage (oneness) process.

I did not really consider that I wasn’t getting married on my wedding day until I paid close attention to a very popular saying during weddings.

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” – Genesis 2:24

If you read carefully, you will see that it talks of the joining (wedding) and then speaks of the oneness (marriage). It says that “they shall become”. The “shall” in the passage points to something that will happen in the future. Not something that has already happened.

This is how I know that the word ‘shall’ is not being used to denote spiritual oneness, which happens instantly. First, Genesis 2:24 is used in reference to Adam and Even before the fall. This means they were already spiritually one with God and spiritually yoked to one another. Spiritual separation happened only after the fall. Second, the passage specifies that it is talking about the flesh (the part we use to interact with the world).

In its more robust definition, one flesh refers to oneness in mind and body. It is this oneness of mind and body that the devil tested in the garden of Eden. As it so happened, Adam and Eve were not quite one yet in the flesh, and had not surrendered their flesh quite yet to the leadership of the spirit.

With this in mind, I started to view the process of getting married as being similar to the nuclear fusion process. It takes considerable binding energy (work) for the two individual atoms to come together — releasing surplus energy in the process. Likewise, for my wife and I to become fully one, I know we need to focus our energy on overcoming our “self-ish” tendencies. In the process, a lot of heat will be released as we do away with those things that add no value to our union — things such as our selfishness and our desire to be right.

Aha moment: The marriage process is designed to help us get rid of those undesirable traits in our lives.

I know that I will forever be changed through the process of marriage. Though I will still be present, I will have changed. I will be a different man. I will have become refined. A better man. So I embrace the process of marriage, knowing that the benefit in the end is worth the work. I choose to do the work. I will not settle for being joined to my wife in wedlock without becoming married to her. No! I will continue to press in and pursue a greater degree of closeness.

Aha moment: If we work on our marriage, our marriages will work.

After two atoms fuse together, the struggle is over. Maybe this is the reason so many unions struggle and fail. Maybe it is because the two have not fused into one in marriage.

I do not want to experience the same heartache. And I do not want a relationship that just survives. I want a marriage that thrives. Therefore, I choose to get married after my wedding.

What about you? Are you settling on a wedding or are you working on your marriage?

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A Love Letter to Single Christian Women Who Desire to Be Married

Dear Single Christian Woman,

If there was ever a woman who did not have any hope of getting married, it was me. My first husband was dead. I did not have a penny to my name. And I was going to a land where people from my country, especially the women, were not welcomed.

If you are wondering why our women were not welcomed, let me take you back in time:

A few hundred years back, women from my country, Moab, were sent to the men of Israel to seduce them with sex and idolatry. Although hidden through fancy words, the women basically propositioned the men with this: I will only allow you to sleep with me if you turn and worship my idol.

This proposition was part of a strategy executed by the King of Moab to keep Israel weak because he was afraid Moab would be conquered. See, the King had been advised that if the men turned away from God, God would not protect them.

The strategy worked!! Many men slept with our women and those men were slain. Since that episode, Israel has looked at people from Moab with much suspicion, especially the women.

With such history, I was sure that no man in Israel would be interested in a me, a newly converted Moabite. I mean, what was I going to say to any man I met?

Hey handsome, I am from Moab. I am new here. My mother in-law and I came here after my husband died and also because we heard there was food. I know you don’t think highly of Moabites, but I am different. I turned away from my idols and converted to your religion right before coming. So, know that you don’t have to worry about me worshipping idols. And since I am being honest, I want to tell you one more thing. I am broke and have to beg just to get by in life. That’s it. How would you like to take me out on a date?

With the odds stacked against me, I put the idea of marriage far away from my thinking, though I secretly desired it. Instead I focused all my attention on providing for my mother in-law and I. This I did by going from field to field, day after day, picking up any leftovers the ground keepers were kind enough to leave behind.

Though I was first largely left to myself in these fields, people started to warm towards me as they saw my industry, tested my character, and learned of my story. Then I happened upon a field owned by a man called Boaz. I collected more grain in his field than I had collected in other fields. I was grateful for his kindness but thought no more of it.

Thankfully my mother in-law was more discerning than me. She explained to me that it was unusual to come home with such large amounts of grain. She explained that Boaz must have taken an interest in me. I doubted her and said: Of all the women he could have, why would he be interested in me?  And if indeed he has taken an interest in me, then why hasn’t he pursued that interest? Why hasn’t he at least mentioned something to me?

My mother in-law simply laughed. She explained that there are men who can hardly speak to women because of shyness or for fear of being rejected. She said: You know how successful and well-respected Boaz is in the community. I am sure many women have been interested in him, and I am sure he has been interested in some of them. But I bet those women waited for him to approach them and pursue his interest in them. But you know his demeanor. He is quiet and unassuming. After waiting for a long time, these ladies either lost interest, felt rejected or simply thought of him as not being serious. They might have even thought he was not interested in marriage.

Undiscerning women! They waited for him to act in line with cultural norms and tradition, but he never did. Don’t be like the other women. He has shown interest in you. Now you have to leave no doubt in his mind that you are interested. He is the kind of man who does not take hints well. If you like him, you have to pursue the interest he has shown in you.

Scared and fighting against my own fear of rejection, I followed my mother in-law’s advice. I showed him that I was available and told him what I desired. Instead of finding my actions appalling, he found it appealing. My honesty and openness gave him the boldness and confidence to pursue what he also desired. Marriage.

I later found out that he had secretly enquired about me and thought the world of me. If I had not listened to my mother in-law’s advice; if I had not decided to do something out of my comfort zone, I am pretty sure I would still be single today.

If you are a woman who desires to be married, there is hope. If I could end up married with the odds stacked against me, then you can too. There is no predefined process to follow, so get rid of any picture you may have conjured in your heart about how it is going to happen. Whether he pursues you or you pursue him is inconsequential. The only thing that matters is that you are both interested in each other and that you are honest and open about your feelings and intentions.

Take a chance. Take a leap of faith. Don’t let religious traditions and cultural norms get in your way. In fact, feel free to break all the rules so long as you are not breaking any of God’s laws and principles. Remember, even Jesus broke many man-made religious rules without breaking God’s laws and principles.

Here are My 5 Love Lessons

  • Don’t allow the things you can’t do anything about stop you from pursuing your desire to married. When the right man comes along, he won’t care about things such as whether you were previously married, have kids, how old you are, etc.
  • Not every man is comfortable pursuing a woman. If you are interested in him, you may have to make the first bold and sure move.
  • There is no full-proof process to follow to get into a relationship and get married. The most important thing is to make sure that you choose wisely.
  • If you desired to be married, make sure you put your very best foot forward. And remember this if things don’t work out: There is no such thing as rejection, there is only redirection.
  • Sometimes you have to break with culture and traditions to get what you desire. Don’t let that stop you as long as you are not breaking God’s commandments.

With Love,

Ruth

P.S: You can read my love story and how I got married in the Book of Ruth in the bible

This blog post was shared with permission from www.relationshipminibooks.com

 

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Winning the Battle Over Depression – Part I – Root Cause Of Depression

This series comes as a result of a friend who battles with depression asking that I write something on the topic that may help her. I promised her that I would do it about two months ago. This series looks at depression from a biblical perspective. I hope it helps anyone struggling with depression in some way.

Root Cause of Depression

Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad

– Proverbs 12:25 (NKJV)

 The wisest man (outside of Jesus) that ever lived reveals to us that the root cause of depression is anxiety!

But before we go further into this topic, it is important to note a few things:

  • The original Hebrew text reads something like this ‘Heaviness in the heart of man makes it stoop’.
  • The meaning of ‘heaviness’ is sorrow, anxiety, and fear.
  • The meaning of ‘stoop’ is to bow down, pay homage, or worship

Another thing we must note is this: The passage says ‘anxiety in the heart of man”. It does NOT say “anxiety in the soul of man”.

That is to say that to feel anxiety or sorrow in our soul is part of the human experience – there is nothing wrong with you if your soul experiences episodes of anxiety from time to time. This is normal, for there are situations and conditions that can bring on the onset of anxiety.

Point A: You are not abnormal or broken because you experiences episodes of anxiety

If you think you are abnormal or broken because you experience episodes of anxiety, consider that what you are saying is that you want to do better than the most perfect man that ever lived, Jesus, for even he experienced anxiety. Consider the following scriptures:

Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch” – Mark 14:23

Do you see that? Even Jesus was sorrowful in his soul when he faced a very difficult situation. But this is not the only time that Jesus was troubled! The bible tells us that Jesus was also troubled and wept when others were sorrowful for the death of Lazarus (see John 11).

Point B: It is okay to tell others that you are suffering from anxiety and to ask for help

The scripture in Mark 14:23 tells us that Jesus told his disciples that he was exceedingly sorrowful. He did not hide when he was going through his deep bout of anxiety but told those whom he trusted in his inner circle. Then he further asked them to help. Specifically, he asked them to stay and pray for him.

With those two points behind us, it is important to say that the type of anxiety that causes depression is the anxiety that enters into our heart. Why is that important? It is because the heart is what ultimately drives our actions through our mind.

Point C: We do not always do what is in our mind, but we always do something when that something has alignment in both our heart and our mind. Hence, anxiety is deadly when it enters our heart for it ultimately controls our behavior.

Next Time We Will Discuss The Topic – What Anxiety Does To Your Heart!

 

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From Slavery to Freedom – How Wisdom Overcame Foolishness

Introduction: In Old Testament times, some cultures held the practice that should a person who owed another person a debt have no financial means to pay, he or she could sell or herself into the service of his creditor to work off the debt owed.
In this arrangement, a bond between both parties would be made, such as ‘work for me for these many years or make for me these may baskets to pay off the debt you owe me’. In this arrangement, the person was ‘bonded’ by law to the creditor and so became a ‘bond-servant’.
Moreover, at times the written bond agreement was placed at the entrance of the person’s habitation to remind him and everyone else that he was in a debt bond. Indeed, such a person was in ‘bond-age’, because he/she was not free to go as he/she pleased.
Consider: Imagine walking up to the house of a person and seeing a bond statement. Imagine that out of curiosity, you reach for it and discover the following: The man sold himself into bondage though he owed no debt to his creditor when he first sold himself. And because he sold himself of his own freewill for nothing, and his now master agreed to the surrender of his freedom and freewill for bondage, no sum of money or work could redeem him, for indeed, there was nothing to pay.
Seeing this, I bet you’d be somewhat dumbfounded. You’d wonder whatever possessed the man to do such a thing – sell himself voluntarily into bondage for nothing. You might also feel sorry for the man!
How one moment of temporary insanity and foolishness can lead to a lifetime of bandage.
The interesting thing is this: You and I are the ones that sold ourselves into bondage for absolutely nothing (this is what plays out in the story of Adam and Eve for they owed the devil absolutely nothing). God saw what we did and took pity on us. Knowing the only thing the slave master (Satan) would settle for to let us go was the utter control of God’s kingdom and domain, God immediately formulated a plan.
Story of Wisdom: So how did God overcome our foolishness? He overcome it with Wisdom. Since the scripture tells us that Jesus is wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:30-31), we see that God combatted our foolishness with Jesus (wisdom). Jesus came and substituted himself for us of his own free will so that we could regain our freedom. Here is how he did it.
He started by writing a new bond agreement that allowed himself to be a substitute for the man in bondage. Then he knocked on the house (heart) of the bondservant and said: Lets make an exchange; lets make a binding perpetual accord – your freedom for my bondage. I will take your place under the same bond that you agreed with your current master. Dumbfounded by Jesus’s love, the man accepted and was immediately set free, and Jesus took his place. Jesus then took the parchment that contained the man’s bond agreement and folded it into two, signifying the debt of the man is now invalid, and kept the agreement between him and the man with him.
Next day as the creditor comes, he sees Jesus instead of the old bondservant. The creditor asks Jesus what happened, and Jesus explains that he has taken the place of the man. Glad that he has a bondservant, the creditor asks Jesus to get to work. Then Jesus asks the question, why? The creditor replies that because he has taken the bondservant’s position. To this answer, Jesus asks said, what is his debt so that I may begin to pay it? When the creditor replied, well he has no debt, Jesus simply said, well consider his non-debt paid, and simply walks out!
The creditor knew he had been outmaneuvered. While he could have argued that debt of the bond-servant was his freewill promise to him, he could not argue that Jesus owed him a debt for He had not made any such promises or agreement with him. Furthermore, since Jesus was substitute for the old-bondservant, he could now no longer go and get the man back.
Upset, the creditor quickly tried to see if he could convince the old bondservant to tear up his agreement with Jesus. When he found the old bondservant, he simply laughed at the creditor and said ‘why would I fall for your trap again! And besides, even if I wanted to tear up that agreement, I can’t because a condition of our agreement was that only He could tear it up. You will have to find Him and convince Him. Moreover, our agreement supersedes my agreement with you. Therefore, if something ever possesses me to work for you again, I can walk out freely when I come to my senses. You can no longer hold me against my will’

Point to Ponder: Anyone suffering in bondage is wise to consider accepting Jesus’ proposal for freedom and sign up.

Bible Verse: You have sold yourselves for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money – Isaiah 52:3 NKJV.

Disclaimer: This story is not meant to fully and accurately depict how Jesus won liberty for us. He did it through the shedding of His blood.

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Disappointments In Relationships – What To Know Before You End It

The truth is we live in a fallen world filled with flawed people. As such, in this life, it is not a matter of if we will deal with disappointments, it is a matter of when we will deal with them.

The truth is everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for – Bob Marley

A dire but commonly employed strategy for dealing with disappointment (especially in a relationship) is to try to avoid being disappointed in the future at all cost. This strategy calls for the tactics of putting massive walls around our hearts, looking for perfection, being overly sensitive and critical of mistakes, and withholding intimacy. These tactics so distance us mentally and emotionally from relationships, that we sacrifice real love and connection for the illusion of safety. The problem with this strategy for the person that employs it is that (1) it leaves a gaping hole in their heart and (2) it does not take away the relational desire. It is not unusual for a person who has employed this strategy to be plagued by bouts of melancholy and depression because they have starved themselves of one of the human basic needs – the need for a close relationship. I do not recommend this strategy but prefer the one of offering our disappointments to God that He may turn our hurt and pain into gain and glory.

We should neither set ourselves up for disappointments, nor try to avoid them – Anonymous

While there is an element of not setting ourselves up for constant disappointments by choosing our partners carefully, there is another element of expectations we must be careful to manage. Below are two expectations that set us up for disappointments.

Expecting Our Partners to Be Perfect

Born out of selfishness (for the person who expects perfection is themselves not perfect), this expectation looks to gain more than it gives in the relationship, and expects from the other person what they cannot give.  Asking someone for something they do not have the ability to give is a sure strategy to be disappointed.

Instead of expecting perfection, we are better off accepting their imperfection, just as we accept our own.

Expecting To Change Our Partners 

Born out of arrogance (for we try to do only what God can do), this expectation encourages the would be changer to alter the environment of their relationship to effect a change in their partner. Though it may start off lovingly, it usually reeks of manipulation, and will likely end up in frustration and disappointment for the one who engages in it.

Instead of trying to change our partners, we are better of praying to God that our hearts change towards our partners as He effects His change in His time on both us and our partners.

Disappointments are inevitable but discouragement in a choice – Charles Stanley

We tend to get discouraged when we think that things will not change. The thought that things will not change is what leads us to want to give up. It is what has led many people to divorce their partners or end relationships prematurely.

To think that things will never change is to limit the power of God. The root of this line of thinking is unbelief for it truly does not believe that with God all things are possible. Choose to think differently. Before pulling a plug on your relationship, consider these three things:

God Will Finish What He Started

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns – Philippians 1:6

God is not done with our relationships yet. His heart is that relationships not only survive, but that they thrive. We must submit ourselves to Him so that He can finish the good work He has begun in us. As His hands mark our lives, so will it mark our relationships. It is a process – we must let God do His good work. Things will not always be the same in Him.

God Can Create A New Relationship With the Same People

But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland  – Isaiah 43:18-19

While people say “well if I tell you what happened”, God says “well if I tell you what I am about to make happen”. See if we knew the future God has planned for us, the past would not discourage us. Our plans compared to God’s plans are rubbish. It’s time to surrender our plans over to Him so He can create rivers of life giving water to sustain the relationships that have become dry wastelands

God Brings To Pass What We Commit To Him

That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of His return – 2 Timothy 1:12

Though you may feel you are suffering and serving a prison term in your relationship right now, understand that He is able to guard everything you entrust to Him. So entrust your relationship to Him and watch as He keeps it and guards it. With God as the guard, no enemy can penetrate. So let go of it and release it into His hands for safeguard. You will not regret it.

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3 Things You Must Do to Hear God More

Do you have a desire to hear God more often and on all issues that relates to your life? If so, there are 3 things you must do; these 3 things are embedded within the scripture below.

Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid – Proverbs 12:1

  

(1) Study God’s Word: Another way to say ‘whoever loves instruction loves knowledge’ is to say that knowledge is the pre-requisite to instruction. Put another way, if we want to be instructed by the Holy Spirit (hear from the Holy Spirit), then we first need to have knowledge of the words of the Holy Spirit which have already been given to us in written form (see 2 Timothy 3:16).

All Scripture is God-breathed (inspired by the Holy Spirit) and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness – 2 Timothy 3:16

If we do not know what the Holy Spirit has already written down, then we will not be cognizant of what He is telling us. In other words, the pre-requisite to hearing the spoken or revealed word of God (Rhema) is to first know the written word (Logos). Indeed, theology (the study of God which leads to knowledge about God) is a must if we are to have a strong fellowship (of which instruction is a part) with God.

Note that theology is not a pre-requisite to having a relationship with God but it is required to build a relationship (have fellowship) with God. To have a covenant relationship with God (Salvation) only requires that we have an encounter with God. To explain further, consider Apostle Paul: His encounter with God on the way to Damascus lead to his conversion (salvation), but instruction and direction only came as he walked closely with God (as he fellowshipped or built a relationship with God).

Now, it must be said that the study of God’s word does NOT automatically translate into instruction from God. Consider the Pharisees who were extremely knowledgeable in the word of God and could quote the law backwards and forwards, yet did not hear from God (as they were not instructed by Him). Why did they not hear God though they were theological juggernauts? It is because of they hated correction (see the other half of Proverbs 12:1).

See, the instruction of God corrects us (our ways, our path, our steps). Thus to hate correction is to despise the instruction of God. Two things that causes us to hate correction and so not hear the voice of God are pride and hurt.

(2) Get Rid of Pride: Pride says ‘I got this’, ‘I don’t need any help’, ‘I am smarter than everyone else’, ‘It’s my way or the highway’. Moreover, pride says to God, ‘I know you know all sorts of things but I know better than You in this situation’.

If we consider what pride says to God, a question that should pop into our heads is this: Why would anyone say to an all-knowing God that He does not know what is best, right, and what will work in any situation?

The answer to that question is a lack of trust. Pride appears where there is no trust. A place devoid of trust is a place of insecurity. A place where we do not feel secure is a place where we feel the need to exercise control. A place where we feel the need to exercise control to protect ourselves is a place where fear exists.

By this, we see that fear and insecurities lead to pride. Pride in turn causes us to reject the correction of the Holy Spirit, and thereby leads us to make unwise decisions. In other words, if we do not trust God in an area of our life, then we are less inclined to listen to God in that area of our life.

(3) Submit Your Wounds to God: One thing that people who get badly hurt in life tend to do without realizing it is make a vow NEVER to get badly hurt again. While this sometimes unknown vow has the appearance of protecting us, what it actually does is lock our subconscious mind in the room where the hurt sleeps and then throws away the key! What this means is that it is no longer us that controls our relationships on a subconscious level, but our hurt.

Our hurt reminds us to NEVER put ourselves in any position to be wounded again. Our hurt tells us to ‘trust no one’, ‘keep people at an arms length’, always follow your gut (which is not a bad thing normally except that now your gut has been held hostage by fear and hurt), ‘do not open the door of your heart to anyone’, ‘you know what is best for you (instead of God knows what is best for you)’. In other words, deeply hurt people have a need to be right.

Deeply wounded people attach their worth to being right because being wrong (about a person or situation) is associated with unbearable and overwhelming pain. The problem with this is that a person who HAS to be right cannot bear to be corrected, for any such correction is a direct assault on their worth. Moreover, to accept that someone else may be right is to open themselves up to potential hurt (even if God is speaking through that someone). Thus, a wounded person in any situation or relationship has a tendency to fixate on what’s wrong – this is a defensive/protective mechanism.

While we understand why the hurting person cannot stand to be corrected (something they see as manipulation), this does no good since each and every one of us NEED to be corrected, for no one is perfect and no one knows it all. By refusing to accept correction, the wounded person makes mistakes with people (for they cannot truly relate to them); the mistakes make the hurt and wound bigger; the bigger hurts shuts the person in more, and the ‘has to be right’ cycle repeats. It is this need to be right that causes the wounded person to listen less and less to the voice of God, and by so doing experience even more hurt. What a tragedy!

Conclusion: If you see yourself in the above, then your homework is to find and mediate on scriptures that deal with (1) how much God loves you, and  (2) your identity in Christ. This will allow you to surrender your pride and hurt to the one who loves you and will never hurt you. If you would like to know more about dealing with fear, you can check out my book Love Deficit.

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4 Things We Keep Doing That Keeps Getting Us In Trouble

IGNORING WEAKNESSES

We all have weaknesses. To say we do not is to lie to ourselves. But what do we do with our weaknesses? Do we simply ignore them and focus on our strengths? No, that would be a mistake for we are only as good as our weakest link. Is the answer to focus on strengthening our weakness at all cost? No, that is also a mistake because our weaknesses will never match our strengths no matter how hard we work at them.

So its darn if you do and darn if you don’t right? No again! God gives us a way to handle our weaknesses without expending energy and without compromising our strengths. Instead of moping about our weakness and wishing it goes away, what we have to do is submit our weaknesses to God and allow His power and favor to wash over us. What? Is that all there is to it, you must be wondering. Yes, that’s it. It is so easy that it is difficult.

Practically, the way we do this is by: (1) realizing those things that trigger our weaknesses  and (2) praying to God when those triggers are pressed. How do we know this works? We know by these two things: First, when the prospect of dying on the cross triggered weakness in Jesus, He responded by praying to the Father who in turn sent an angel to strengthen Him (Luke 22:43). Second, God told apostle Paul when he was tired of his weakness to simply really on His strength (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Personally I have found out that it is impossible to beat myself because (1) it hurts when I punch myself and (2) no matter who wins, I lose. I find that it is much easier to submit to God and have Him handle me. He is gentle and oh so effective!!!

KEEPING  THE WRONG COMPANY 

Just as keeping bad company will keep you from achieving anything in life, keeping the wrong company will keep you from achieving all that you can achieve in life. If you keep the wrong company, you will not feel fulfilled AND it will cause a lot of trouble in your relationships. Just think of the eagle and the dove. While both the eagle and dove are wonderful in their own right, they are not meant to flock together. If the eagle flocked with the dove, the dove would feel like it is holding the eagle back and the eagle would feel unfulfilled because it is not reaching its fullest heights. If they loved each other, they would let each other go to be the best that each can be.

If you are a dove, should you try to be an eagle? No way!!! There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a dove. If you feel as a dove that you are inferior to an eagle, then you have drunk the Kool-aid of comparison and self-imposed inferiority complex. The dove cannot help being a dove just as much as an eagle cannot help being an eagle. God made them the way they were supposed to be. Our job is simply to reach our fullest potential (not someone else’s). Anything else will bring dis-contentment!

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus – Galatians 3:28

REJECTING HONEST AND TRUTHFUL INPUT

We all need four sets of eyes. We need a set of eyes in front of us to see where we are going and we need another set of eyes in the back of our head to see what is coming behind us. Now perhaps the reason we are made with only one set of eyes is so that we are reminded of our need to be in relationship with other people.

All of us need someone to watch our backs to make sure we are not blind-sided by unseen forces. Failure to do this means that we are always learning by experience instead of by correction. If you are like me, you do not want to learn everything by experience – experiences are just too painful.

If you are the ‘I don’t need anybody’ kind of person, I implore you to reconsider your stance. The truth is that we all need somebody. If you have someone who is encouraging you to change (like your family), do not despise them. Take your pride out of it. It is much better to learn a lesson from home than to learn it from the world. The world will not be as forgiving and only wants to capitalize on your flaws.

Remember, the people who love you most will give you the most honest and truthful input. Also remember that just because an input is honest does not mean it is truthful. You do not want someone to just tell you what they honestly feel – for the feelings may be erroneous. You want people to tell you what they have honestly seen based on their close observation of your behavior.

Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses – Proverbs 27:6

BEING INSENSITIVE

If you wrap a diamond ring in dung, do not be surprised if no one opens up the package. If you think that it is silly to forego a diamond ring just because of its package, you are right! But the point is not that you are right, the point is that the gift has not been received.

The point of the diamond ring example is this: People act more on emotions than they do on facts. If you do not cater to people’s emotions, people will immediately take it to mean that you do not care about them – even if that could not be farther from the truth. Since nothing has the ability to damage emotions faster than words, you must be careful of not just what you say but how you say it. Most people will remember how you said something versus what you said. If fact, how you say something will often change the meaning people associate with what you said. Thus you must continue to be sensitive to people in the way you communicate at all times to ensure that the love you so want to give is received. Do this and you will save yourself a lot of grief.

To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some – 1 Corinthians 9:22

 

 

 

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A few Good Reasons Why You Should Stop Trying to Live for Jesus

There are two main modes of thought when it comes to how to live. The first mode of thought comes from the world. If you listen to the world, it’ll tell you to ‘live for you’. It’ll encourage you to be true to yourself and be honest with who you are. The problem with the advice ‘live for you’ can be summed up with the question ‘who are you?’ The second mode of thought comes from religion. If you listen to religion, it’ll tell you to ‘live for God’. If you are a Christian,  you’ll be specifically encouraged to ‘live for Jesus’.

Is there a problem with trying to live for Jesus? You better believe it. How can you and I live for a perfect and sinless savior? The simple answer is that we cannot. Try as hard as we might, we fall short of living up to the standards of Jesus (God). In fact, the only person who can live for Jesus is Jesus. Thus to try to live for Jesus is to set yourself up for a life of wondering if you are doing enough, a life of performance anxiety, a life of fear and doubt, and a life of endless striving to be good. It is a life of law keeping –  a life of bondage.

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: If you find no peace in your christian walk and you feel shackled as a christian, it is likely that you are trying to live for Jesus.

The good news is this: God does not want us to live for Him, He wants to live for us! If you don’t believe me, perhaps you’ll believe the Holy Scriptures.

 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me – Galatians 2:20

The scripture above says ‘I no longer live’. If we are no longer alive, how can we live for anyone? Moreover, if we are dead, then someone has to live in place of us. That person who is supposed to live for us is Christ.

Since God is not a control freak, He will only live for us if we allow Him to do so. Now if you are like me, the only way I’d allow someone to take my place in anything is if (1) that person is better than I am (2) that person is worthy (3) I have faith (trust and believe in that person). I’d say Christ fits that billing extraordinarily well.

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: The only way Christ can live for us if for us to surrender in faith

Why allow Christ to live for us rather than try to live for him? Here are 8 good reasons:

  • Living for Jesus involves works and requires a lot of effort, but allowing Jesus to live for us involves faith because only our surrender is required.
  • Living for Jesus leads to anxiety, but Jesus living for us leads to peace.
  • Living for Jesus leads to condemnation unto despair, but Jesus living for us leads to conviction unto repentance.
  • Living for Jesus leads us to keep up appearances, but Jesus living for us leads to transparency.
  • Living for Jesus leads us to be depressed about who we are not, but Jesus living for us leads us to be confident about who He is and who we are in Him no matter our shortcomings.
  • Living for Jesus leads us to shy away from God when we get it wrong, but Jesus living for us leads us to move towards God when we get it wrong.
  • Living for Jesus leads to fear and doubt, but Jesus living for us leads to faith and love
  • Living for Jesus comes out of religion, but Jesus living for us comes out of relationship (intimacy).

Story of Job

Job was a man who tried to ‘live for God’. By all intents and purposes he succeeded in doing just that. In fact he was blameless when it came to living for God. Yet, his life was filled with fear. He would quickly go and make penance for his children after parties out of fear (Job 1:5). He also feared that he was going to lose all he had (Job 3:25).

In due time he found out that religion could not sustain him. After losing everything, he came to the realization that he had only ‘known about God’ (religion) instead of knowing God (relationship) (see Job 42:5). The turnaround for him came after he realized that he could trust God and that there was nothing that God could not turn around (Job 42:1). Once he surrendered to God in his heart fully, he not only regained all that he had lost but got a double portion of what was lost.

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: Even if you are doing a great job living for Jesus (obeying the law), the glory of living for Jesus pales in comparison with glory of Jesus living for you.

 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious – 2 Corinthians 3:7-11

If we are to see the manifestation of the glory of God in our midst, we have to stop trying to live for Jesus and we have to allow Jesus to live for us. We have to move beyond religion and move into intimacy. I speak to myself.

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