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Freedom Vs Freewill in America

Do Americans truly live in freedom?

Before you answer, I want you to consider the following: In the book of Genesis, the first use of the word ‘free‘ occurs when God tells man: “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

What does this tell us? It tells us that freedom has boundary conditions and that some things are out of bounds. In the biblical text, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was out of the bounds. So, what is freedom? If we deconstruct the word, we find that is comes from two words: free and domain. This means that to live in freedom is to live within a domain where we are free. Naturally, this means that there must be domains where we are no longer free but live in bondage. In other words, freedom has bounds.

Therefore, living in freedom does not mean that we get to do whatever we want to do! When whatever we are doing leads to bondage in our lives, we are no longer living in freedom but living outside of it.

Freewill on the other hand is different. Freewill simply means we are free to choose based on our own will. In the biblical story in Genesis, God gave man freewill but then set the bounds of freedom. He gave man the right to exercise his freewill to choose whatever he wanted, including the choice to live outside of freedom. When the man Adam exercised his freewill to live outside of freedom, he lost the ability to do whatever he pleased. In fact, he was booted out of the domain where he previously lived.

This tells us that when we exercise our freewill to live outside of the free domain that God has set, we lose our freedom and drive ourselves into bondage. In other words, when we fail to respect the bounds of freedom, we lose it.

So, back to my question: Do Americans truly live in freedom? The answer is maybe! In reality, Americans have freewill (free to choose), but the choices Americans make decides whether they live in freedom or whether they live in bondage.

Given the increasing levels of gun violence, mental illness, obesity, racism, and political extremism we see in America, it could be argued that Americans have mistaken freewill for freedom. As such, they are allowing their freewill to steal away their freedom, leaving them in bondage to these aforementioned societal woes.

Remember how Adam exercised his freewill against the free domain God had set and so he put himself into bondage? Likewise, we cannot exercise our freewill against God’s boundary conditions and possibly expect to continue to live a life of freedom.

You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free

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Schooling Does Not Always Guarantee Upward Mobility

There is strange thing happening in different parts of the world right now…in places as far as Nigeria and Japan. Students are disenfranchised. They are graduating from college only to find out that they can’t find a job. It isn’t that these student haven’t attained the right grades or are less qualified. It is simply that there are much fewer positions available than there are prospective candidates.

When this happens, the students, who have sacrificed so much; who bear the dreams of financial and societal progress for their families, start to feel a mix of betrayal and hopelessness! Here is how young people are responding in different parts of the world:

In Nigeria, many students, after trying as hard as they can to find a job but cannot, simply resort to using their smarts to steal from others (both home and abroad).

In Japan, the graduates do whatever they can to position themselves as the best candidate and end up working for “black companies” (companies that exploit and severely overwork their employees so much that it has led to instances of people dying on the job due to work exhaustion).

In South Korea, the graduates live “Hell Joseon”, a term used to describe the anxieties and discontentment the youth feel concerning the lack of upward mobility in society regardless of ability or work ethic.

In India, there are ever increasing episodes of suicides amongst students who cannot cope with the failure to attain perfect exam grades.

To turn the tide and change what is happening across the globe requires the following:

First, we have to give equal weighting to education and enterprise (the weighting has shifted crazily towards education). The reality is this: Everyone who has an education needs an enterprise (business) to find employment opportunity. Without enough enterprises, it puts undue pressure on students to be perfect to be chosen for fewer and fewer job opportunities, and it gives companies the upper hand to set employment conditions.

Second, we must stop teaching our children that businesses are evil and that the people that run them are evil. Why would anyone want to start a business and become successful only to be deemed as an evil or terrible human being in the end? When the end of owning a business is opprobrium, it is no wonder that people shy away from starting them. Perhaps this is part of the real reason why so many businesses fail…it could be that the owners are sabotaging their own efforts due to this societal conditioning!

Third, we must incentivize people to start businesses AND let people know of the incentives. This is something that is prevalent in places like the U.S but few people know about. For example, many people in the U.S do not know that companies generally pay a lower tax rate than individuals.

Consider what the bible says: The great God who formed everything gives the fool his hire and the transgressor his wages (Proverbs 26:10). In other words, God just doesn’t want us to pull in a wage or a salary, He desires for us to be owners. This way, we are not so foolish and so sin against ourselves and society at large.

Do you agree?

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Love Your Way To Business Success

During my coaching and counseling sessions, I usually get told the symptoms or effects of the issues people are facing. It is my job to help them recognize and understand the root causes(s). It is up to me to help accurately define the issues and to segregate the effect of the problem from its root cause. A problem well-defined is a problem half-solved – John Dewey

When coaching business clients, one of the questions I ask is: Why are you in business? More often than not, my clients are shocked because they think the answer is obvious. Then they give me the classic answer: I am in business to make money OR I am in business to feed my family.

Both answers are wrong! No one is in business to make money or to feed their family. These two things are effects of being in business and not the cause. The reason every single business exists is to serve and meet the needs and wants of people. The better an organization is at seeking to understand the wants and needs of people, and then doing all they can do to meet those needs and wants, the more successful the business will be; the more the business will grow; the more money the business will make.

What I find interesting is that the concept of serving to succeed is nothing new! In fact, it has been around for centuries. You hear it in the words of Jesus when He says: The greatest amongst you will be your servant (Matthew 23:11). Others have modified the saying by stating: It is not about a title but a towel. Again, Jesus says that the greatest commandment from God is to love (Mark 12:28-32). Love can be defined as selfless sacrifice to serve and meet the needs of people. With this definition, it is clear that the reason for business to exist is to love. So, what do you know…it seems as if love (rather than money) makes the world go round after all. The better a business is at ‘loving’ their customers, the more money the business will make. The effect is money but the cause is love!

How can you effectively love people if you don’t study them, ask them questions, see what their likes and dislikes are? How can you effectively love people if you don’t understand them? Taking time to really know your customer needs and wants is essential to business success. If you stay customer focused and do all you can to serve them, you will win with them and they will gladly pay you for the value you add. This is how you win in business.

In conclusion, remember, love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8).

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Every Christian Should Choose To Be Famous

If you believe in God, then you are called to be a light in this world. This is made clear in the bible where Jesus tells his disciples that they are the light of the world (Matthew 6:14). Furthermore, He tells them that they should not hide their light under a basket (Matthew 6:15).

As lights, we shouldn’t just sit back and complain about all the darkness in the world, hoping and praying that someone does something about it. As lights, we are responsible for shining so that the darkness in this world is eradicated. Thus, I don’t believe the problem in our world is the darkness. I say this because the darkness is simply a symptom of the real problem. The real problem is that lights have stayed hidden for too long. If we as lights simply choose to shine, then the darkness simply disappear – just like what happens when switch on the light in a dark room.

Light-Bulb Moment: The Problem is not the darkness, the problem is the absence of light

Unfortunately, too many of us have not allowed our lights to shine. We are either too afraid, have fallen afoul of group-think, or think of ourselves as incapable. In other words, we have substituted significance for security, think no differently than the rest of the world, and don’t know who we truly are and the power that God has given to us.

Your light is that gift, talent, ability which God has given to you to positively impact your community. To let your light shine in the world means you purposefully and deliberately market and showcase your gifts and abilities to the world around you. You do this NOT because you think you are better than anyone else or because you need your ego massaged, you do it because you have the ability to solve a problem that the world has and you can no longer sit back and watch people suffer unnecessarily (when you have the ability to help).

Light-Bulb Moment: People suffer when people who can do something sit back and do nothing

After the original light of this world (Jesus) left the wilderness in the power or ability of the Spirit (Luke 4:14), He purposefully went to Galilee and surrounding areas and showcased the ability that was given to Him. As a result, the bible says that his fame spread throughout the region as people realized that He was not just a talker, He was also a doer who made an impact on people!

It is time for you to stop talking talking about what you plan to do to solve people’s problems and start doing! It is time for you to start using your abilities and talents to make a difference in your world. When you do, you will find out that some people will be appreciate of your efforts while others will be against you. Don’t pay attention to those who are against you and the accusations they bring against you. Remember, even Jesus had people who were against Him – and all He ever did was improve and impact people’s lives. Just focus on what you are doing to help people, and in due time, you will be recognized for what you are doing and your influence. You will become famous for the right reasons!

Light-Bulb Moment: When your light is hidden, you will remain anonymous. When you let your light shine, you will become famous in your community

There is so much more to this topic, but I hope that this short message has inspired you to stir up the abilities that you have and allow it to shine for the benefit of all. More good people like you need to be showcased so that we all benefit. Don’t allow your light to stay hidden!

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How To Respond To COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories

Have you noticed how many COVID-19 conspiracy theories are out there on social media? I have been sent numerous videos by well-meaning people concerning these theories.

There are people saying this pandemic is about a vaccine conspiracy; its about a new world order; it’s about China trying to take over the world; its a ploy by the Democrats; its the beginning of the end of the world, so on and so forth.

So what should you do with all these conspiracy theories? Should you pay attention to them?

I suggest you do what God told Isaiah to do when it comes to conspiracy theories

The Lord has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does. He said, “Don’t call everything a conspiracy, like they do,
and don’t live in dread of what frightens them. Make the Lord of Heaven’s Armies holy in your life. He is the one you should fear. He is the one who should make you tremble. He will keep you safe.
– Isaiah 8:11-14

See, every time there is danger and uncertainty, there are people who come out with conspiracy theories. Judging from Isaiah 8:11-14, it is clear that God does not want us to pay attention to them. Why? It is because most conspiracy theories are born out of fear…and fear is not of God. Let me clarify…any fear outside of the fear (respect and awe) of God is NOT of God.

So, rather than respect and live in awe of conspiracy theories; rather than allow them to keep you up at night, the best thing to do is focus your attention on God and understand that no matter what happens in this world; no matter how this virus came to be, He will keep you safe and sound.

Don’t be a worrier concerning your future, become a warrior concerning your faith.

Look to God and see what He has to speak to you. Those who have done this find out that God speaks something to them that doesn’t have to do with the virus. Why? God is saying to them “Don’t worry about this virus, I got it…instead think about the areas of your life I am working in”.

Instead of the thinking about conspiracy theories, think about future God is cooking up for you

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I Have Decided…Have You?

I have decided that I am going to be successful. That’s right! Success is not an outcome, success is a decision. Success or failure are just two outward expressions of the person you have chosen to become.

You will be successful if you decide to have these 7 traits: Sacrifice, Unconditional Commitment, Consistent Focus, Concentrated Effort, Empathy, Selflessness, and Service.

You might have noticed that these 7 traits spell the acronym S.U.C.C.E.S.S

Now, you can try to cultivate these traits through sheer will, or you can take the shortcut. Here is a secret – these 7 traits emanate naturally from you when you care about people and discover something you are passionate about that adds value to people.

So, here is how you decide to be successful:

(1) Genuinely Care About People: This means you have to get your mind off yourself and consider other people. Another word for genuinely caring about people is LOVE. If you have a heart of love towards people, then you are already on your way to success. No wonder God calls us to love each other. It is not just for the other person…it is also for you. Why? When you genuinely care about people, people will know it and they will be willing to support you.

(2) Be Passionate About Something: If you truly care about something, you will find that you can commit to it, consistently focus on it, and apply concentrated effort towards it. And here is the thing about passion…it is infectious. The more passionate you become, the more passionate people around you who support you and are a part of your team will become.

(3) Make Sure Your Something Adds Value: If you want your passion to have staying power, then you need to make sure that your passion adds value to people. In other words, your passion must take someone from a place they do not want to be to a place they would rather be. If you passion does this, you will develop a fan club of people that want to lift you higher because you would have changed their life.

So go on, decide to be a success. Just like I have.

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Respond Well To COVID-19: Stand In The Present and Prepare For Your Future

During these times of uncertainty with COVID-19, it can be easy to be paralyzed with fear. It is easy to be overwhelmed with the myriad of opinions and facts in the news. It can be jarring when you go to the market and can’t find items for you home…

To make things worse, you don’t know what is true and what is not…which only makes you more afraid. Perhaps you are waiting and anxious to see what is going to happen and how it is going to affect the population, your business, and the broader economy. You have questions: Will I be safe? Will it be like another Italy? What about my job? Will my business survive?

I am not immune to these concerns but I do want to share something that works for me and will work for you: Instead of worrying about the future, I stand in the present and prepare for the future.

Note: If you are really struggling with fear to the point of panic, I want you to watch a video I recorded on standing in the truth. You can find it on my home page: http://www.richbeyondwealthsystem.com ( watch before March 17) or directly on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emuIKcIPvic

Instead of blaming life for what it gives you, concentrate your energy on making the best of whatever you have. A wise man once said to me: If life gives you manure, make sure you use it to fertilize the land and grow a farming business. It is another way of saying, if life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Another wise person said: It is not what happens to you that matters, it is what happens in you that matters. Most people survive what happens to them, but many never recover from what happens in them.

There are two things that can happen to you in this moment – fear or faith.

Fear will paralyze you with inaction, but faith will propel you to action.

I want you to choose faith.

Here are the faithful actions I want you to take to stand in the present and prepare for the future:

Stand In The Present:

  • Care: Take all the personal precautions that you can possibly take – practice social distancing (make sure people work from him if possible), sanitize surfaces you touch often, and wash your hands often. For the best information, go to http://www.cdc.gov
  • Communicate: Talk to the people that you lead and serve. Let them know that you care about them and also let them know of the precautions you are taking. Be authentic in your communication BUT make sure you keep them informed. Be honest if there are going to be delays in anything you promised
  • Compassion: The people you are leading and serving may be struggling. If it is in your power to help and add value, do it now. This will mean the world to them. For example, if you are a landlord, you may give additional time for payment or waive the late payment fee.

Prepare for the future:

  • Trim: It is time to take a look at what you are doing and trim away those things that are adding little value. Remember the Pareto Principle: Only 20% of your activities is generating 80% of the value. That means there is some fat that you can trim. Trim that fat the costs you the most and is not bringing much benefit.
  • Try: Times of trouble and uncertainty unwittingly become times of creativity and innovation. You have to do things that maybe you haven’t done before. So be creative and innovative. For example, if you are a brick and mortar business with no online presence, this is the time to start thinking of the possibility of an online presence. Okay, let me be clearer…you NEED to have on online presence for your business

Hope this has been helpful. And remember, this too shall pass!!!

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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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