Tag Archives: honesty

Prayers That Get the Job Done

Intense DevotionThe effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much – James 5:16

Jacob was in trouble! He was about to face his brother Esau twenty years after he had cheated him out of his birthright by pretending to be him to their father.  Jacob was sure that Esau remembered the episode. How could he forget such a thing! Jacob must have reasoned within himself: Not only did I steal his birthright, but I ran away as quickly as possible from the scene of the crime with my tail between my legs without uttering as much as a word of apology!

Jacob was in serious trouble. If the offense was bad enough, Esau was now coming to meet him. Oh yes, it was about to be on like Donkey Kong and Jacob knew that he had no chance. Esau was coming at him with 400 strong men while Jacob’s corner mainly consisted of women and children. Moreover, Esau had the advantage of passion on his side. Jacob knew he deserved the justice that was about to be meted out on him. What was he to do? It seemed his plea for mercy from Esau had fallen on deaf ears! What he did was make the first quality decision he had made in a long time. He went to Papa God in effective and fervent prayer as a righteous man. When he did, God answered him.

What Made Jacob Righteous?

I know what you are thinking. How can I say that Jacob was righteous? If righteousness is measured by what we do, then Jacob was on the opposite of righteous. Jacob was the kind of man with whom you did not want to be affiliated. He was a trickster and a cheater.

If righteousness is measured by what we do, then we are all in trouble, for the best that we can do in the arena of righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). All of us have fallen short of the passing mark (Romans 3:23). The good news is that righteousness is not determined by who we are but is determined by whose we are. It is not determined by performance but is determined by relationship. We know this for we are told that those who have a relationship with God are righteous. Here is how the bible puts it: For He (God the Father) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to become sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (Jesus) – 2 Corinthians 5:17

So what made Jacob righteous? He was righteous because he had a relationship with God through the promise God had made to his fathers. Similarly, we are righteous because of the relationship we have with the Father through the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus.

What Made Jacob’s Prayer Effective?

Know the Will of God: Jacob started his prayer by reminding God of His own words concerning him. He said to God: You told me to return to my country and family and I will deal well with you (Gen 32:9). I will treat you well and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude (Gen 32:12). See, Jacob knew the will of God for his life and so he prayed the will of God. The bible says that we ask and do not receive because we ask amiss (James 4:2). It is impossible to ask amiss when we ask according to the will of God! Jesus said that He will do whatever we ask in His name (John 14:13). To ask in the name of Jesus is to ask according to His will. If this is not too clear, consider the messengers in olden days who declared that they come in the name of the king. What they are saying is that they have come according to the will of the king and to declare his will. If we want our prayers to be effective, we have to know the will of God for that which we pray and then pray it.

Humble Yourself: Jacob continues with the words, I am not worthy of the least of the mercies and truth which you have shown me (Gen 32:10). In other words, Jacob submitted that his success had absolutely nothing to do with his own strength, efforts, position or character. He humbled himself before God. The bible tells us that God will not despise (turn away) a broken and a humbled heart (Psalm 51:17). Perhaps the clearest illustration of humility getting the attention of God is found in the book of Daniel. The angel of the Lord said to Daniel: From the first day that you set your heart to understand (the will of God) and to humble yourself before your God, you words were heard (by God); and I have come because of your words – Daniel 10:12.

Ask Honestly: Jacob continues: Deliver me, I pray from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him lest he come and attack me and the mother with the children (Gen 32:11). Jacob was very direct with his prayer. He did not beat about the bush but he was very honest with God. He said, I am afraid, help me. He did not try to impress God with clever words. He simply surrendered to the gravity of the situation and prayed a truthful prayer. I have come to realize I must surrender to the truth. If I have been a fool, I surrender to that truth and go to God and say, Lord I have been a fool, help me. Surrendering to the truth requires that we pray what is truly in our heart. If what is in our heart does not reflect the truth, God will show us that as well. It is crazy not to tell God the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

What Made Jacob’s Prayer Fervent?

The Angel of the Lord visited Jacob because he prayed an effective prayer. Once visited by the Angel of the Lord, he continued in fervent prayer, asking for the blessing of the Lord over his quandary with Esau. He was so determined and relentless in his pursuit that he wrestled with the Angel of the Lord even after his hip came out of joint. He wrestled until day break. Elijah is another man who would not relent in prayer. He prayed seven different times until a cloud of rain appeared in the sky.

We must be as Elijah and Jacob. We must wrestle until day break (until there is light at the end of the tunnel). The presence of the Lord signifies that something significant is about to happen. That is not the time to give up but it is the time to press into God and wrestle with him until we receive the blessing.

When we doggedly pray the will of God in all humility and surrender is when we will see results in our lives.

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How Can I Get Doors of Opportunity to Open for Me?

Called and Chosen to Execute – Bezalel

For a minute imagine that you are an architect. What a great honor it would be if the pope asked you to build the next great cathedral or the Queen of England asked you to build her a castle! It would not only be a great honor but it would the opportunity of a lifetime. Your name would be immediately stamped in history and people would read about you and get to know your works long after you were gone. Moreover, you would not have to worry about finding work anymore, and financial worries would be a thing of the past.

This is exactly what happened to Bezalel. Once day, Moses called out to him and told him that God had selected him to build His (God’s) house.

I bet the other skilled architects must have wondered within themselves, why Bezalel and not us; we are just as highly skilled as he is! Not finding a suitable answer to this question, it would not surprise me if many of them simply put it down to luck. But luck had nothing to do with it.

Luck hardly ever has anything to do with being chosen. What may look like luck is usually the hand of God in action.

I reckon many of them were called to be great architects. I would wager that many were filled with the spirit of wisdom, ability, knowledge, understanding, and intelligence in all works of craftsmanship. Yet, only one was called by name (chosen).

If you have been filled with the Spirit of God, then you have been filled with the spirit of wisdom, ability, knowledge, understanding, and intelligence to prosper you in everything you do. It means you have the ability to be called by name just as Bezalel was called by name. Even so, to be chosen you must not just have the ability of Bezalel but you must have the character of Bezalel.

To have ability is to have potential; to be chosen to fulfill potential requires character

Bezalel’s Character

Honesty and Integrity: Large sums of gold, silver, bronze, and clothing were required to build God’s house. Bezalel knew how much of each material was needed to build the house to specifications based on his skill. When the people started to bring more material than was required, he promptly told Moses to tell the people to stop the collection (Exodus 36:5-7).

Bezalel could have stashed away some of the superfluous material for himself. He could have colluded with the other artisans to make a profit. But he did not do this. He did not allow his eyes to become greedy nor did he covet the gold and silver. His thinking did not become selfish. He did not say: what am I getting paid to do this work? He did not convince himself that it was his right to take of some of the collected material. He did not want to defraud the people of their belongings by continuing to collect unneeded supplies.

Would you have done the same if you were Bezalel?

Patience  and Obedience: Moses looked at the work Bezalel did and saw that he had done it just as God commanded, therefore Moses blessed him (Exodus 39:43). Since we know that the children came to the wilderness of Sinai in the 3rd month after the start of the journey out of Egypt (Exodus 19:1) but the tabernacle was not raised until the 2nd year of the exodus (Exodus 40:17), we see that it took a while for Bezalel to be paid for his work. He did not know he was to be paid and was only paid after the work was completed. Thus the honor of doing the work in obedience to the will of God was enough for him.

Can you say the same? Are you focused on what you have been called to do or are you focused on the blessing?

Moreover, he did not doubt the instruction that Moses gave him. He could have said to himself, I know a better way to do this work, let me change this and change that. No! He let God be God, forgot about his own opinion, and did exactly what God commanded through Moses. He would have missed out on his blessing if he had not obeyed without adding or subtracting a thing.

Is this you or do you mix your own way with God’s way?

Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it – Deuteronomy 12:32

Good Steward: Moses only saw what Bezalel made when he brought it to him (Exodus 39:43). Thus the only way Moses knew how much gold and silver was used (Exodus 38:25) is because Bezalel was a good steward of all materials used. Bezalel was an overseer of the work that was being done and ensured that nothing was wasted.

Are you a good steward of everything God as given you? Are you a good steward over your time and resource? Are you disciplined enough in your stewardship?

The way we answer these questions will ultimately determine whether we reach our full potential or if our lives will be summed up by could have, should have, and would have!

Food for Thought: Dedicate yourself to honesty, integrity, patience, unwavering obedience to God, and good stewardship and you will see great doors of opportunity swing wide open for you.

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What Women Want from Men (Part I)

Men are often clueless when it comes to what women want! The lack of skill in handling women has left many men frustrated in their relationships.  The movie What Women Want highlights this dilemma. In it, ladies man Mel Gibson had absolutely no idea what women really thought about him. He thought he had women figured out but he had no clue!

He had no idea how far off base he was when it came to women until an accident gave him the ability to hear women’s thoughts. But even after this, he did not know what to do what the thoughts he heard for they differed from woman to woman!

The last point brings me to this disclaimer: No one can say they have mastered what women want. To think this would be ignorance at best. Even so, the things that I am about to share is likely to help any man in his relationship. Of course, women will ultimately be the best judge of this.

So, what do women want? The first thing women want is SECURITY

Women want a secure man

Women feel secure with men who are secure in who they are and what they want in life. It brings a sense of stability and security. Indeed, how can a woman be secure that she can be led by a man if the man does not show that he can lead himself?

Nothing fills a woman more with insecurity than a secretly insecure man. It makes the woman feel as if the man is trying to hide something. This in itself makes women feel very uncomfortable.  The discomfort and insecurity that the lack of manly security evokes in women often shows up as the woman wanting to control the relationship. It may also show up as a power struggle in the relationship.

Men, if women are not showing you the respect you want, it is likely because there is something about you she is insecure about.

Light bulb moment: A secure man is one who finds his security in God. A secure man is one who can share his insecurity with his woman.

Women want to feel secure in the relationship   

Honesty is the key for a woman to feel secure in any relationship. The key advice for men is this: Be honest and truthful with her every time and all the time. Do not hide the truth even if you know she will be disappointed with you.

The lack of honesty and truthfulness in a man is a deal breaker for most women. She will think: If he is lying to me about this, I wonder how many other things he is lying about? Once this thought starts to enter into the mind of a woman, it is nigh impossible for her to get rid of them. Conversely, when a man is honest, the woman feels secure that she knows what she has – even if it is not the best thing.

Many women leave relationships not because of what was done but because their men were unable to tell the truth about it. In other words, while what was done may sink your relationship to the bottom, the bottom of truth and honesty can be the bedrock to rebuild the relationship.

Light-bulb moment: A woman who is secure in her relationship will feel free to focus on all that God has called her to be because she does not have to worry about her future. 

Women want to feel secure financially   

Financial security for a woman does not necessarily mean that she wants the man to be the bread winner of the house. It does mean that she wants to be secure in the knowledge that the man can take care of her if the need arises. This is especially true when she starts to bear children.

Many women secretly carry ‘momma guilt’ for leaving their kids and having to go to work. Moreover, many women resent needing to work. They want the option to work but need to know they have the option to stay home if they so choose.

Today, too many women choose to work despite not having to do so because they are insecure in their relationship. This comes across as ‘I do not want to depend on a man’. This saying normally comes from a woman who is fearful and insecure in her relationship or who has been deeply hurt.

But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever – 1 Timothy 5:8

Light-bulb moment: Nothing unleashes the full potential of a woman than a secure man who provides financial and relationship security.

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