Tag Archives: Christianity

A Love Letter On The Real Meaning of Love

41hRKhTijSLI thought I knew what I believed. After listening to His words, I was not sure anymore. Though I tried to dismiss His teaching, I just couldn’t. And then there were the miracles He continued to perform.

Unable to take it any longer, I decided to visit Him under the cover of night. I knew I was taking a big risk by visiting Him but I did it anyway. I simply needed answers to my questions! The risk was worth the reward! Though He spoke many things that I did not understand that night, there was a particular statement He made that struck me. It was His statement about love. He said: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes Him will not perish but have everlasting life.

I thought more about His words as I walked home that night.

For God so loved the world: The word world stuck with me. Why did God love the world? What did the world do to deserve such love? Shouldn’t He punish the world? As these thoughts ran through my head, I had an epiphany. Love is not a reward but a gift. It is based solely on the heart of the giver and not the performance of the receiver. While a reward can be earned, a gift by definition cannot be earned…it can only be received. I realized that if someone has to deserve my love, then it is not love at all. I could not escape this truth: My ability to love depends solely on the condition of my heart.

That He gave His only begotten Son: This made me realize that love takes action. Love just doesn’t talk about meeting a need, it does something to meet the need. Furthermore, love positions itself to give rather than receive. And it is not just looking to give just anything, it is looking to give its very best. This is what God did concerning His Son — He gave the word His best. Therefore, I should give my best if I truly have love in my heart. Love gives its very best to meet the needs of those who are not deserving.

This really made me think about how I love those in my care. Do I treat them differently depending on their behavior? Do I always give my best no matter what?

That whosoever believes Him: That He used whosoever told me that not everybody accepts love. Though I selflessly sacrifice to meet the needs of others does not mean that my love will be accepted! This was a hard pill to swallow. It showed me that love does not expect a reward for its actions. It also showed me that love is not always a bed of roses. It can involve degrees of disappointment and pain. People may question my motivation for choosing to love them. They might even reject it outright. Yet I should love them anyway. No bed of roses at all.

Will not perish but have everlasting life: This part was beautiful for me. It warmed my heart to know that love succeeds in the end. So, though I might go through pain of rejection, the sacrifice will be worth it in the end. Love not only saves but it has a long-lasting effect in the lives of those who receive it.

By the time I got home, I had come up with two definitions for love. First, love is selfless sacrifice to serve and meet the needs of others. Second, love is determined action to lift people up and give them the best life possible according to our capability.

When I got home, I told my wife I loved her. This time I knew what I was saying and purposed in my heart to show her. Now I want you to consider…do you really love? Are you really in love?

My Relationship Lessons

  • Love is not about getting your needs met first, it is first about meeting the needs of your partner
  • When you say ‘I love you’, you should mean ‘I selflessly sacrifice to serve you
  • Love is a not a feeling, love is an action
  • Love is a gift given based on the heat of the giver and not a reward given based on the performance of the receiver
  • Love is a committed expression to others of the love we have received from God

 

Sincerely,

Nicodemus

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A Love Letter to Christian Men Who Desire A Thriving Marriage

couple-hand-in-hand_925x_08866aab-9de4-43bb-b21e-d4418aea3ca3_1024x1024[1]Dear Christian Men,

God, without a doubt, outdid Himself when He made her. Eve, my wife to be left me breathless when I saw her. When I finally caught my breath, the first words out of my mouth were ‘wow…man’. So, I dropped the ‘w’ and called her ‘woman’ as a tribute. I was love drunk and I knew it. So did she.

I remember our early days fondly. They were absolutely wonderful!

But those days did not last. The wonder went by the wayside the day we both decided to disobey God. I will never forget that day. It was the day I rejected responsibility, abdicated spiritual leadership, and threw my wife under the bus — blaming her for my disobedience to God. In that moment, I completely neglected the fact that I had my own free will and chose to eat the fruit.

Why disobey God and eat that fruit you ask? First, the fruit looked really good and appetizing. Second, I knew she desired the fruit too. So, I thought why not! I convinced myself that not only was I going to please my wife, it would also help move us towards our goal of becoming one. I reasoned to myself that God wouldn’t mind us disobeying his word. I reasoned it was better for my wife and I to agree with each other and disagree with God THAN to disagree with each other and agree with God.

The most dangerous excuses are the ones we consider good excuses

What is that popular saying people have today? Ahh yes…“Happy wife, Happy life”. It didn’t quite work that way for me. When I ate the fruit, Eve was happy that I had listened to her. But that happiness quickly faded away. It did not take us long to realize we had opened up Pandora’s box of relationship problems that made our lives miserable.

After experiencing marital heaven in the early days, our new normal seemed like marital hell. Suddenly, we started pointing fingers at each other and started to argue a lot. We no longer fully trusted each other and started to compete with each other. So, instead of getting us closer to each other, eating the fruit ended up separating us.

Disobedience feels good for some time and then proceeds to hurt for a lifetime

I thank God that Eve and I were both committed to each other though. As time passed, we both realized that blaming each other and pointing at each other’s faults was pointless. We had to let go of the past in order to move forward. So we did. We moved forward with a new attitude and mindset.

We came to realize that a marriage is a threesome that involves God (He is the glue). A marriage is not about what you can gain but what you can give. The primary reason behind marriage is not happiness but fulfilling the purpose of God (happiness is a byproduct). The purpose of marriage is to refine and perfect us – therefore any pain of refinement is worth the shine in the end.

With this, we embraced the process of God’s refinement and also decided not to spend a moment longer in the fire than was necessary. In practice, we stopped debating whether to believe God or not. We realized He is infinitely wiser than we would ever be and so submitted to His lordship.

My Relationship Lessons

1. Do not sacrifice permanent joy for temporary gratification

2. God knows what is best for your relationship — trust the boundaries He sets for you

3. You have to let go of the past in order to move forward

4. Your commitment to your partner will determine whether your relationship survives

5. Your commitment to God will determine whether your relationship more than survives. It determines whether your relationship thrives

Sincerely,

Adam

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I Got Over My Father Wound When I Realized My Dad Is Not My Father

We all desire affection, acceptance, attention, affirmation, and appreciation. As little children, our parents get the first opportunity to bestow these “Five A’s” on us. Should our parents fail to take their “Five A” responsibilities seriously, they can leave wounds in us — wounds that if left untreated can hamper the way we view ourselves and hamper our ability to have healthy relationships.

Many of my friends can attest to this, including the three below.

Julie grew up with parents who compared her to her older sister. Because her sister got a lot more praise than her, she felt as if she was not good enough. She felt unaccepted and unloved. As a child, it crushed her confidence in school and she began to seriously doubt her own ability. As an adult, she started looking for love and acceptance wherever she could find it. She found it in the arms of men who made her feel loved and accepted so long as she was sexually intimate with them. Since she was praised for her sexuality, she thought to herself that sex must be the only activity she was good at doing — at least better than her sister who stayed on the straight and narrow path. When I met Julie a few years back, she could not hold down a job, slept with men for money, and suffered from bulimia.

Martial’s mother showed him little affection and attention. She was so numbed by the sudden death of her mother — who had been her rock and was helping her navigate an abusive marriage— that she abandoned Martial. As a child, Martial blamed himself for his mother’s neglect. As an adult, he becomes depressed whenever he is not in a relationship. And should his relationship fail, he finds a way to blame himself. When his ex-wife cheated on him and left him for another man, he blamed himself for not being perfect. He told me ‘Its not her fault, it is mine”.

Felia was raised in a home with a loving dad and an intellectual mom who was cold and exacting. Wanting the approval of her mother, she chose the intellectual route and obtained a doctorate in her field of study. Alas, she still did not get the affirmation she craved from her mom. In her relationship with her husband, she craves affirmation constantly and cannot stand to be told that she has put a single foot wrong. When there is any disagreement, she becomes extremely combative and verbally abusive. She becomes the person she does not want to be. She becomes her mom.

Just like Julie, Martial, and Felia, we cannot choose our parents. We also don’t get to choose whether we receive the “Five A’s” or whether we are left with a wound.

What we can choose though is the degree to which we let the wound affect us. We can choose to get bitter or choose to get better.

While there are myriad of ways to get better — most involving some form of therapy or counselling — the way I got better involved neither. I got better over a very short period by considering these words that Jesus spoke:

Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven — Matthew 23:9

Soaking in these words, I realized that there is a difference between my father and my dad. My father is the One to whom I belong. He is the One in whose image I am made. He is One who determines my identity. My dad on the other hand is simply a care-giver. He is a steward. His stewardship is meant to last about 18 years or less, after which his job is done. But my father is different. His job is never done . He never leaves me nor forsake me.

I realized that my father did not wound me. It was dad who wounded me. Thus I realized I did not really have a father wound. I realized I was expecting my dad to give me only that which my father could give. By placing my “Five A’s” expectation on my dad, I was making him equal to my father, and in essence telling my father that I did not need him. In other words, I was idolizing my dad and dishonoring my father!

I also realized that the only way my dad could possibly come close to giving my the “Five A’s” is if he gets it from his father, who also happens to my father. I realized I was suffering because I had not cut out the middle-man.

Once I fully grasped the gravity of this revelation, my anger and pain at not receiving affection and affirmation from my dad was gone. I did not need them from my dad, I needed to get them from my father. So I shifted my focus from my imperfect dad and placed then squarely on my perfect father. I allowed him to speak in my heart and mind. As I got to know my father more, I found his words to be true:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest — Matthew 11:28

You don’t have to suffer from your daddy and mommy wounds. You too can go to your perfect father and have give you the very thing you crave. He is waiting.

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How Can I Make the Right Decisions in Life?

Point to Ponder: Life is what we make it. What we make of life depends on the choices that we make. We make choices based on what we believe. Hence, we ultimately live what we believe!

No matter how we label ourselves – Christian, non-Christian, Atheist, Agnostic etc – we have all chosen to believe something. In this sense, everyone is a believer. The only difference is in what we choose to believe. From the point to ponder, it is not out of the question to say that the right kind of believing will create the right kind of life. Conversely, the wrong kind of believing will create the wrong kind of life. The three things that influence our belief in life are opinions, facts, and truths. The one we engage in the most will ultimately determine the course of our lives.

OPINIONS

Opinions are born out of our mode of thought, our life experiences, our fears and insecurities, our general understanding of the world around us, and the stories told to us. Hence, everybody has an opinion.  While everyone is entitled to an opinion, we should not use opinions as the basis of our decision-making. The issue with opinion is the how they are formed. Opinions are formed based on how we process information. There lies the problem: Many people process information differently.

For example, if you and I are exposed to a particular situation, our experience (what we feel) of the situation may be different depending on who we are and our make-up. This makes the description of what we experience differ. This in turn makes our opinions differ. Thus we see that opinions may very well have nothing to do with what is true or what is the truth about a situation. Opinions are always biased and cannot be trusted!

Just because someone has an opinion (about you) does not make it true or the truth (about you)

FACTS

Facts are those things that can be proven. Hence, facts are things that are true. We are all taught to make decisions based on facts. Yet facts without context can lead to the wrong decision. If you heard that a man killed another man, it is a fact that the man is killer. But what if you found out that the man killed a man who was trying to kill the president of the U.S. Though is remains a fact (true) that the man is a killer, the truth is that he is a hero. By this we see that the facts do not always lead us to the truth.

Just because we have all wet our beds or diapers before in life does not mean that we identify as bed-wetters. Just because it is true that Jesus was a man does not mean that he just a man. The truth is that He is God. It may be a fact that you made a mistake. Yet, the truth is that you are not a mistake!

Here is the problem with facts. Facts change over time! Hence, what is true today may not be true tomorrow. While it is a fact that Lebron James is the best basketball player right now (based on stats), even this fact will change. To make decisions based on the facts is to make decisions on something that changes. We must never make permanent decisions based on temporary situations!

Just because something is true (about you) today does not mean it is the truth (about you)

TRUTH’S

Truths are those things that remain unchanged regardless of time and situation. What we get from truths are laws and principles by which we lead our lives. To be a person of principle is to be a person of character. A person who operates by the truth is predictable. This person also gets predictable results in life. A person of principle is trustworthy and does not change – and so is a natural candidate for leadership positions.

A person of true character stands for what is right regardless of consequence. The bible tells us that the word from the Lord is right and that all His works are done in truth (Psalm 33:4). Hence the only way to be a man of truth (a man of true character) is to be a man who is devoted to obeying the word of the Lord. This means we must know which is truth. We must be students of the word of God.

Many men have chosen to live by the truth over thousands of years and have achieved the same result – success and victory – time and again. Think of Daniel who went from being a slave to being the second in command of the Persian empire. How about Joseph who went from the underbelly of the dungeon to the palace of the king. How about a carpenter becoming the savior of the world? See, truths allow us to achieve the impossible!

To live life by the facts is to live by what we see; to live life by the truth is to live life trusting that the immutable principles of God will achieve great results. Hence to live life by the truth is to live a life of faith. Facts, if taken out of context can place us in bondage, but the truth will always set us free.

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life! So chose to live your life in Him

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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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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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2 Things You Must Do to Experience Heaven on Earth

God desires that we live a life that is abundant in every way imaginable (see John 10:10). Not only does He want us to enjoy the treasures of eternal life in heaven, He wants us to enjoy a portion of heaven right here on earth. If you do not believe me, perhaps you will believe Jesus. Here is how He puts it:

Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life – Mark 10:29-30

It is clear that Jesus distinguishes between what we inherit in this life versus what we inherit when we pass through the door of death. In this life, we have the ability to receive a hundred fold in material wealth (lands and houses) and be awash in enriching and meaningful relationships (family and friends).

But because we live in a fallen world, we are to increase a hundred fold in persecutions in this life as well. Even so, God tells us that He will deliver us from all negativity that comes our way (Psalm 34:19) for He has overcome the world (John 16:33). Moreover, great is our reward in heaven for enduring these persecutions. Therefore, persecutions are simply opportunities for us to be victorious in this life and store up treasures for the life to come.

Here are two things you must do if you are ever going to experience heaven right here on earth

Surrender Your Will

In other words, you must surrender your stinking thinking for the sweet thoughts that God has to prosper you and to give you a future (see Jeremiah 29:11). Many times, the way that seems right to us leads to terrible consequences (see Proverbs 14:12) but the way of God leads to honor, riches, and life.

Solomon understood this and so He asked for wisdom to do God’s will. Jesus also understood this and so cared not about His own will (see John 5:30).

Lightbulb MomentThe result of surrendering wholeheartedly to the will of God is wholehearted obedience to His voice and commandments. When you do this, He promises that blessings will overcome us wherever we are and whatever we do. Just read all the blessings He has promised us in Deuteronomy 28:1-14! How incredible. God will always make good on this promise for He cannot lie (Numbers 23:19).

If you love yourself, you will surrender to His will. If you want to know His will, start reading the word of God. The word of will speak into your heart.

Surrender Your Heart in Humility

A great reason to surrender your heart to God is because your heart is what He examines (1 Samuel 16:7). God wants to perform surgery on your heart but you must willingly surrender it to Him – God is a gentleman and not a tyrant. When you do, the first thing He does is remove all those hardened areas of your heart – areas of hurt, fear, insecurities, anxiety, and turmoil. He takes all the muck out of your so that you can start to enjoy your life. Instead of fear, you can enjoy love. Instead of anxiety, you can enjoy peace.

Lightbulb MomentWhen you open your heart up to God is when you open your heart up to love in all its forms.

When you submit your heart to God is when He is able to purify it so that you can see Him (see Matthew 5:8). No one see’s God without seeing the attributes of God. So when you see God, you will surely see love, goodness, mercy, kindness, patience, miracles, favor, peace, council, and so much more in your life. When you are poor in spirit (humble) is when you inherit all the goodies of the kingdom of heaven right here on earth (see Matthew 5:3).

I want to encourage you today to get over yourself (your past mistakes, your pride, your will) and surrender all you are to Him. You will not regret it.

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Is it ever okay NOT to honor my father and mother?

We are taught to honor our father and mother so that our days may be prolonged (Exodus 20:12). Before breathing a sigh of relief that this scripture is found in the Old Testament, Apostle Paul repeats this instruction in his letter to the church in Ephesus – teaching us that it is applicable to us today and reminding us that it is the first commandment with a promise.

But does this mean we have to acquiesce to every wish of our parents? Absolutely not! The bible tells us that we are to not to seek the honor that comes from man but to seek the honor that comes from God (John 5:41).

What does this mean? It means that we are never to honor the wishes of any man – including our parents – above honoring God. Why? This is because in being human, the wishes of our parents are at times driven by their fear, prejudice, selfishness, history, upbringing, culture, and life experiences.

In essence, the will and wishes of man is not always good for us and acceptable to God. Conversely, the will and wish of God for our lives is always good, acceptable and perfect (see Romans 12:2)

Lightbulb MomentIt is alright to honor the wishes of our parents only if what they want lines up with what God tells us to do as instructed by the Holy Spirit.

Put another way, our ultimate authority is God and not man – not matter how close the relationship! The perfect example of honoring God above man is that of Jesus. If Jesus had listened to his family, He would not have done the will of His father to do good and heal those who were oppressed of the devil (Acts 10:38). We know this because the bible tells us that His family wanted to whisk Him away from the crowd to which He was healing, setting free, and preaching. Why? They thought He was out of His mind (Mark 3:20)!

Have you wondered why Jesus’ teachings and wonderful miracles did not excite His family? It is because they were only thinking of themselves! See, Jesus was the first-born son of His household; therefore, the responsibility of caring for the family fell on Him after Joseph’s death. Being a skilled carpenter and not breaking a jot of the law, He provided for His family very well! How do we know Jesus was well off? We know for the God promised great things for those who kept his commandments and obeyed His voice (see Deuteronomy 28). Since God is not a liar, it is clear that He commanded blessings into everything to which Jesus put His hand –  including His storehouse (see Deuteronomy 28:8).

See, the family of Jesus had it good! By Jesus leaving it all behind to embark on this new ministry of His, He had not only seemingly shunned His responsibility as the patriarch of His family, but they were also worried that He was no longer going to be able to provide for them! They would no longer live the good life. They wondered to themselves: ‘Why is He leaving this goodness to go perambulate the wilderness – just walking from place to place? God has blessed Him and given Him a duty to take care of us. And why is He going against our traditions? What will people say? Why is He simply throwing all He has away? Surely, He has lost His mind’.

You see, His family were being selfish in thinking only about themselves without pausing to think of how wonderful Jesus’ ministry was for those He was setting free.

Thank goodness Jesus did not decide to honor His family above the word and voice of God. Can you imagine if He had said: ‘Well, I must honor my family and so stop what I am doing’? How horrible for the entire multitude to which He ministered; how horrible for all humanity! Though His family did not understand, He understood what He was doing, and that is all that mattered. As we know, His own brother did not believe in Him at the beginning but would later come to understand and believe.

This tells us that every decision made in Christ will sooner or later be understood by all who doubted us. Why? It is because wisdom (the instruction of God) is always justified by her children (its results). In obeying the voice of God, Jesus not only honored God but ultimately honored His family and all humanity by paying the price for our sins on the cross and honoring us with a way back to God.

Moreover, He made sure His mother was going to be well taken care off as well (John 19:26).

Lightbulb MomentThe only way to truly honor man with love is to honor God. Anything done outside of God is not love but fear in disguise.

Food for Thought: I am right for honoring my parents, but I am wrong for honoring them above God.

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3 Reasons Why Prophesies Fail! (Reason 3) – Pompous Attitude

I dont know why my prophesy is not coming to pass And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.” But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, “Indeed, I said to myself, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.’ Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage – 2 Kings 5: 10 – 12

Perhaps the reason the wonderful things spoken into our lives are not coming to fruition is because we have dictated to God how He is to accomplish them. An attitude of ‘I am too good to do this’ or ‘surely God cannot use this person to help me’, keeps us from fulfilling His best for us. See, too often we judge a book by its cover (its outwards appearance), but God judges a book by the substance of what is inside (see 1 Samuel 16:7). I wonder how many times we have missed out on the treasures God wants to lavish on us simply because we pass on the old rickety, web covered box.

Reason 3: Pompous Attitude

The reading of the story of Namaan in 2 Kings 5 warns us of the peril of determining for God how he is to bring things to pass in our lives. If we are not careful, we can fall into the trap of prideful dictation to God – telling Him how to do what He has promised to do. Too often I hear believers state that they will not settle for less than what God wants for them. That is great and admirable! The problem many times is that they have not asked God about what He wants for them, when He wants it for them, and how He wants to give it to them. Too often, we allow Gods best to bypass us simply because of our dreaming and fantasizing; our dictating to God. See, life is not about what we want and how we want it, but it is about what He wants for us and how He wants us to attain it. Trust me, what He wants for you is far better than what you could possibly imagine for yourself (see Ephesians 3:20)

Unlike Namaan, we must take our eyes off the outward appearance and focus it instead on what God says. We do not have to understand it; we just have to humble ourselves and follow His plans for us.

Just think about the fact that Jesus – the savior of the world – was born in dingy old manger where animals eat and likely do their business. If someone told you today that a king was born in a manger, would you believe it? If we are honest, most of us would probably say no! Instead of questioning God about His tactics, we ought to be like the shepherds who were told about the birth of their King. We should just listen and obey.

Remember, God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (Proverbs 3:34).

Food for Thought: It is not wise to oppose your blessing by being prideful.

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5 Steps Towards Greatness (Part V) – Surrender

The pyramid of Khephren (Khafre)As mentioned in Part IV of this series, Jesus was not released onto the ministry He was called to fulfill until He had passed the test set for Him by the Holy Spirit.

Now, while being equipped, prepared, tested, and released onto ministry is one thing, actually fulfilling the purpose to which we are called is quite another. The essential quality we must have to run a good race and so win the prize of greatness that is set before us is the quality of surrender. We must have a heart and attitude that thinks nothing of ourselves but thinks everything of God. We must not rely on our own ability but wholly depend on His ability.

Jesus had this heart and attitude. The bible tells us that although He was equal to God, He made Himself of no reputation (thought nothing of Himself) but out of love and in humility and obedience took the form of a man and sacrificed Himself on the cross (see Philippians 2:5-9). Wow! How incredible that is for so many reasons. What a love driven surrender to purpose!

See, surrender was behind every single thing that Jesus did while on earth; surrender to the will of the Father as revealed by the Holy Spirit. This is why Jesus said ‘I only do what I see the Father doing and I say only what the Father tells me to say (John 14:10, John 5:19 paraphrase).  This is why He stayed behind to spend time with the biblical scholars in the temple at the age of twelve; why He chased out the money changers and traders out of the temple; why He willingly chose to die on the cross for us instead of choosing to let the cup of wrath that we deserve pass from Him.

Indeed, Jesus has shown us that surrender is the final ingredient needed to achieve true greatness that the previous four keys simply give us a chance of attaining.

But there is more! He not only showed us the key to greatness through His life, He also taught us. He taught us that the greatest person in the kingdom of heaven is one who becomes as a child and humbles himself (see Matthew 18:4). Just as a little child is wholly dependent on his/her parents for every single thing and those parents are the center of the child’s world, so does the Father desire to be the center of our world. He wants us to center our life around Him so He can lavish us with the very best that He has planned out for us. He wants us to center our life around Him so He may grant us life and grant it to us more abundantly.

Lightbulb MomentWhen we are most helpless is when Christ is most helpful.

So here is my question to you: Are you living the abundant life of love, joy, peace and so much more? If not, it may well be that you are holding onto something that should be surrendered to God. What is it? Offense, past experiences, past hurts, a person, a relationship, an idea, some fear, pride? Whatever it is, it is time to surrender it so that you may move forward towards greatness!

Now is the time for you to once again commit to a life of surrender to Christ. There is no better Christmas present to give you than Jesus. He is the present that will deposit all other presents you could ever imagine onto your lap.

Lightbulb MomentSurrender your life to Christ who is calling you today and He will take you on an adventure you will never forget.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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