Tag Archives: Victory

How to Fight to Win with Minimal Fuss

Are you in a battle that you just can’t seem to win? Does it feel as if the enemy is just overwhelming you? In life, we do not have to go looking for a fight before a fight comes knocking at your doorstep. Yet, no matter how the fight comes to be, the important thing is to know the keys to victory.

Having spent a good part of the past month reading about the wilderness journey of the children of Israel, a strategy for victory has crystallized in my mind and heart.

When the children of Israel employed this strategy, they were able to destroy a Midianite more than double their size without a single casualty.

With this strategy, they were able to go against the giants in Canaan and utterly destroy them. To get an idea of how big these giants were, the bed of King Og measured roughly 13.5 ft long and 6 ft wide.

Most astonishingly, it was this same strategy that Gideon was employed such that he was able to defeat a Midianite army of well over 100,000 with just 300 men.

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: Though the tactics for victory may change, the strategy for victory remains unchanged.

The 2-fold strategy they employed is as follows:

Only Fight the Battles God Tells You to Fight

How could one chase a thousand, And two put ten thousand to flight, Unless their Rock had sold them, And the Lord had surrendered them? – Deuteronomy 32:30

Another way of putting this bible passage is this: The only way for a man to chase down a thousand is with God’s help. Think of it this way. You and I cannot take down a thousand men unless the men had somehow been completely immobilized so that they were as stiff as statues. In such a scenario case, the battle is not fair for the thousand men!

That’s the way it is when God is fighting on our behalf…the battle is not fair!

Truly, the probability of victory is not determined by the size of the enemy we are going against or the size of our own army. The probability of victory is determined solely by who is with us. If the ‘Who’ is God, then the probability of victory is 100%, inasmuch as we follow the blueprint for victory.

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: God fights only in the battles He sanctions. Engaging in a battle that has not been approved by God leads to heavy casualty with no promise of victory.

When the Lord told the children of Israel to wander about in the wilderness for 40 years because of their refusal to enter Canaan, the people were so disappointed that they decided to try to enter Canaan in their own effort and without the blessing of God. The result is that they were crushed in battle (see below).

And Moses said, “Now why do you transgress the command of the Lord? For this will not succeed. Do not go up, lest you be defeated by your enemies, for the Lord is not among you. For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and you shall fall by the sword; because you have turned away from the Lord, the Lord will not be with you.” But they presumed to go up to the mountaintop. Nevertheless, neither the ark of the covenant of the Lord nor Moses departed from the camp. Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who dwelt in that mountain came down and attacked them, and drove them back as far as Hormah – Numbers 14:41-45

Fight the Battle the Way God Tells You to Fight it

God is the master strategist and tactician. His tactics are always right and always work no matter how crazy they sound. If He tells you to walk around the wall seven times, just do it. If he tells you to scream on top your lungs, just do it. If He tells you to tell a bunch of people to drink water and go up against a great army with 300 men, just do it.

Any deviation from the plan of God results in the withdrawal of God’s power. I don’t know about you, but I do not want the power of God to be suddenly removed while I am in battle – especially when I am outnumbered. If we want to be victorious in battle with minimal fuss, we must make up our mind that we are going to do what God commands, no matter what it takes to execute the strategy.

When the children of Israel first fought the Amalekites, they gained the upper hand as long as Moses’ hands stayed raised. No sooner did Moses’ hands drop, the Amalekites gained the upper hand. To ensure God’s strategy for victory remained in play, Aaron and Hur propped up his hands.

Why does God use such unusual strategy and tactics? I believe it  is because He wants to leave no doubt that victory is only possible with Him. Why does He want us to have no doubt that He is the author of victory? He does this because He wants to show us that we can trust in Him (have faith in Him) and surrender to Him, the one true and good God.

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: Faith is the key to victory. The proof of faith is obedience.

Application For Today

Though the enemy (Satan) is still on the battlefield (the earth), God has disarmed and surrendered him to us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Because of the victory Jesus has won on the cross, the enemy is like a barking dog with no teeth and no claws. The only thing that stops us from fighting such a dog is the belief that the dog still has some teeth and claws. Since God tells us clearly that Jesus has disarmed all powers and principalities (see Colossians 2:15), it goes that the only thing that stops us from victory is our unbelief (inasmuch as God’s will is for us to fight the particular battle).

When it comes to the enemy, God tells us to fight. He tells us to fight because He has already surrendered the enemy. Thus the only thing we have to fight for now is faith, so that we align ourselves with the plans of God in complete obedience. This is why we are told to fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12). We have to trust and belief (have faith) in what God has told us about the enemy and boldly go onto the battlefield to claim our victory (whatever that looks like). No more fear, no more surrender, no more retreat!

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: The circumstances and situations in life have no power over us BUT that which we give to them. It does not really matter what happens, we can have inner victory over them.

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The Reason You Cannot Succeed is You

We have a natural tendency to try to find someone or something to blame for our failures! If this is you, then I want you to reconsider!

In reality, the only person we can blame for our failures is ourselves. See, the moment we receive the Holy Spirit is the moment we run out of excuses. By receiving the Holy Spirit, we have received the fullness of power and love; we have received clarity and a way to carry out all the goals and dreams we could ever have! If we do not move towards success after receiving the Spirit of God, it is because we have refused to channel the power of the Holy Spirit within us.

The first step in channeling the power of the Holy Spirit is this: Believe what the Holy Spirit says about you!

The bible tells us that all scripture is inspired of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16). Hence, finding out what the Holy Spirit says about us is crucial! In light of this, God made it easy for us to find out what they Holy Spirit says about us. He provided a manual we can read. Indeed, we can read about our new status now that we have been saved (born-again).

When you read, you will find some stunning things about yourself! Some of the things you will find out about yourself (in Christ) are these:

  • You are more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37)
  • You can do ALL things (Philippians 4:13)
  • You have exceedingly great power available to you (Ephesians 1:19)
  • You are seated with Christ in a place that is far above all powers and might, principalities and dominion (Ephesians 1:20; 2:6)
  • You have an unfailing friend in the all-powerful Jesus – who will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)

Did you know these things about yourself or have you always had a wrong image of who you are? From today onwards, words such as “I am a nobody” should never enter your mind. No! You were beautifully made in the image of God for a unique and special purpose in this world. See, to give up in life is to give up on the real you. Do not let an imposter that has been created by the world rule your life. You can rise up and change your destiny in life. You can be the real you – a success!

It all starts by changing the way you view your life and by changing the way you view your circumstance. Of course circumstances are hard. Do you think your enemy wants you to be discover who you are and what you can do? Of course not! See, the hardships of life are simply the distractions the enemy tries to use to take your focus off the Holy Spirit and who you have become in Christ. Do not listen to that fool!

Instead, I want you to choose to stop listening to your own words of doubt, which are truly the words of the enemy. I want you to stop listening to the enemy and being your own worst enemy. I want you to start to surrender yourself to what your friend – the Holy Spirit – is saying to you and about you.

The Holy Spirit is your friend and your companion because of Jesus! Therefore, it is because of Jesus that the Holy Spirit only has good and profitable things to say to you and about you. He is for you and not against you…this means that you can trust Him fully! This is true especially when He corrects you and tells you to mend your ways. He says what He says because He loves you and wants to grant your heart’s desires.

If you cannot succeed, it is because you have drowned out the voice of the Holy Spirit!

Rekindle your love for the voice of the Holy Spirit today. Open the bible, and rediscover the real you!

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5 Steps Towards Greatness (Part III) – Preparation

The pyramid of Khephren (Khafre)If we want to be great, we have to follow the example of the great One; we have to follow in the footsteps of the one who was chosen to be great. I am careful to use the word ‘chosen to be great’ because although Jesus was called to be great, as a man, He had to show Himself worthy to be chosen! It was not until He had proven Himself worthy that everything was given into His hands (see John 13:3). Although God called Jesus to save humanity (see John 3:16) and then proceeded to equip Him with the Holy Spirit (see Matthew 3:16), God had to test Jesus before releasing Him unto His ministry. If you do not believe me, just read what the scripture tells us in the fourth chapter of Matthew.

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” – Matthew 4:1

See, it was the Spirit of God that Jesus the man was equipped with that led Jesus into the wilderness (into hardship) to be tested by the devil for the express purpose of seeing whether Jesus was ready for the mammoth task that was before Him. I love that Jesus did not shirk away from this challenge. Jesus did not complain, moan, and groan at the difficulty that He was going to face like some of us do when any difficulty come our way. Instead of complaining and perhaps ‘justifiably’ deciding not to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in going into hardship in the wilderness, Jesus simply yielded Himself to obedience.

Lightbulb MomentJust because things are hard does not mean it is NOT God. God never promised it would be easy, He has promised there will be victory.

But Jesus did not simply say ‘Oh, well! God is sending me into hardship! He sanctioned this and it is all down to Him to save me.’ Rather than simply throw His hands up in fatalistic surrender, Jesus embarked upon a period incredible preparation. The bible tells us that He fasted forty days and nights. He did this so He would be prepared for the test that was to come. Yes, the preparation took a lot out of Jesus, but it was the same preparation that made Him ready to combat the test the devil threw at Him.Without this preparation, would Jesus have failed the test in the wilderness? We will never know! Likewise, when we adequately prepare for our God-given mission, we will not have to undergo failure. We may undergo setbacks, but we will not fail!

Lightbulb MomentPreparation is vital if we are to enter into greatness; this part of the journey is solely our responsibility.

It is in preparation that most of us who are called miss the boat so that we are not chosen. Most of us are looking for favor; we want to be noticed by someone and be elevated without putting in the work to be noticed. Without preparing, we are found wanting when the test, which is simply an opportunity to show what we are made of, comes.

See, Jeremy Lin understood the importance of being prepared (being ready and staying ready). When he finally got His opportunity with the New York Knicks, He was ready to pass the test! He was worthy of what He wanted. Would he have been granted another opportunity? We will never know!

Lightbulb MomentPreparation is what makes us worthy of the greatness we aspire towards, therefore, we should stay ready for we never know when God says to us ‘it is your turn to be great’

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SuperChamp Musing: Brainstorming versus Blamestorming

What do you do and whom do you blame when adversity comes your way? The answer will impact how you look at people, the quality of your relationships, and whether you spend more time in the wilderness or the promised land

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Law Mongering – The deceptive path to hell on earth

Every human being has a decision to make with regards to where he/she is going to live spiritually. We have to decide whether we are going to live in the world, in the law, or in the Spirit. Those that choose to live in the world are those that have chosen not to know about God and so live a life controlled by the river of this world which flows right towards the water fall of emptiness/deep spiritual void while bruising the individual with every inanimate object contained within the river. These are the people that have not accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. For those of us that believe in Jesus Christ and have the Holy Spirit living in us, two options remain – whether to live in the law or live in the Spirit.

Lightbulb MomentTo live in the law is to know about God; to live in the Spirit is to know God  

Wait you say! I thought that I am now living in the Spirit because I have accepted the Spirit. Not true! Paul tells us that if we have the Spirit, let us also walk (live) in the Spirit (see Galatians 5:25). So there is a difference. Yes, we are given the Spirit upon believing with our hearts and confessing with our mouths (see Romans 10:9-10) but the glorious inheritance of the goodies of the kingdom of heaven which includes a life of love, joy, peace, self-control and much more are reserved for those who live in the Spirit. See, we do not miss the mark (sin) when we are walking in the Spirit for there is no sin in God; hence we only miss the mark when we are walking out of the Spirit. Note: Only Jesus was able to walk in the Spirit perfectly for He had no sin.

Lightbulb MomentThe extent to which we walk in the Spirit determines the extent to which we live heaven on earth

The snag today for too many of us is that we spend most of our time walking out of the Spirit and instead in the law. We think we are alright as long as we do not walk in the world. No! The law only condemns and brings death. We find that the incessant walking in the law results in the church body being very little different from the world – same lack of victory, same divorce rates, same lack of self-control, same fear projection and mongering! No wonder the influence of the church in many places seems to be dwindling. Part of the issue is our law-mongering which produces no tangible fruit for the world to be attracted towards!

Lightbulb MomentLaw mongering is the attempt to fulfill what is written in the perfect law of liberty (the bible) in our own strength and reasoning; our own flesh.

Law mongering causes us to apply the word of God to our situation (most of the time based on our feelings) rather than allow God to speak His word to our circumstance. What is the difference you ask? The temptation of Jesus in the wilderness illustrates the difference: Although Satan and Jesus were both quoting from the scripture (law), only the scripture (law) that was given to Jesus by the Holy Spirit (Word) brought life. Conversely, the word spoken by the devil was obviously not from the Word (Holy Spirit). Thus, we see that the Holy Spirit speaks the ‘word of the law’ that brings life, but the devil speaks the ‘word of the law’ that brings death.

Likewise, we should not apply the word of the law as we ‘think’ it applies, but should allow the Holy Spirit to apply the word of the law that will bring liberty (instead of bondage). For example, we should not decide whether we are going to discipline our children (Proverbs 22:15) or pardon their offense (Colossians 3:21) but allow the Spirit of God to tell us which one we should do. See, both actions are scriptural, but only the one the Holy Spirit directs us to do for the specific situation brings life. If we are not living in the Spirit, we choose the word of the law to apply based on emotions, history, circumstance, and upbringing and so put ourselves into bondage when we invariably get it wrong.

So what is the point of the law? The law is useful for a myriad of reasons including testing of the spirits speaking to us. It lets us prove that it is the Holy Spirit speaking to us, for the Holy Spirit will not contradict what is contained within the bible. This is why Jesus says that He did not come to abolish the law! The law makes the nature of God tangible to us and allows us to choose Him.

In summary, to have life, we must be doers of the word instead of being doers of the law. We must allow the law to speak to us through the Holy Spirit rather than speaking and acting out the law to our circumstance. We must allow the Spirit to guide us through life and so enjoy the benefits of walking in the Spirit.

Food for Thought: Walking in the law is walking in the flesh; walking in the law makes us Pharisees.

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Godly Vision: The Role of Vision in Creating Success

Faith does not allow our present circumstance to change our outlook (the vision of the sure future that God has spoken over us), but instead allows His outlook to change our attitude about our present circumstance. Unfortunately, when there is no vision of the sure thing that God has spoken to us through His Word, we tend to allow our present circumstance if bad to turn us over to bitterness. In doing so, we tend to perish in our thoughts – thinking that He has neglected us and questioning His love for us – and so fall away from the path of blessing that God wants to shower on us by taking matters into our own hands. If we do not understand that we will all face testing circumstances, we may end up in a mixed funk of melancholy and legalism; sure that bad things are only happening to us because God is mad at us. In the depths of despair, it is at times easy to forget that our situation is temporary if we do not give up on God, for He does not give up on us.

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world – John 16:33

Without a godly vision, even the good times bring anxiety in that we can be dissatisfied with the status quo and hunger after more wealth and pleasure. The earliest example of a person who had this problem was Adam. He had the good life but he became dissatisfied with it after drinking the poisonous speech of Satan who gave him a false vision of a better life – the promise of a step-up life of being like God. Adam fell because he had no vision or outlook of the fantastic life that God has already prepared for him. All he had was a vision of lack. Since faith can be defined as the sighting/vision/evidence of the sure thing that God has promised (see Hebrews 11:1), we see that Adam ultimately perished for his lack of faith – for he disobeyed out of the fear that he was not living the best possible life.

We are not to be like Adam, but are to be like Jesus who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross (see Hebrews 12:2). What was the joy set before Him? It was the joy of being reunited with the Father, the joy of reconciling us to Himself, the joy of sitting at the right hand of the Father and being the overseer of all the Kingdoms that had been given into His hands. It was the vision of the sure things that He was to inherit that made his trials and tribulations bearable!

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: If we know we are to inherit a great collection of jewels upon completing a marathon, the hardship and pain we endure during the training and subsequent run to not much matter. Our focus will simply be on the joy that is to come.

God has a vision for each of our lives, and the vision is to prosper us and to give us a good future. The problem is that many of us do not see it. The truth is we do not have to walk this life without vision. We can set ourselves apart and go up to our quiet place away from the busyness of the world below – seeking the Lord in fasting and prayer. When we do this, the scripture tells us that we will get a vision of what God wants for us.

I will stand upon my watch, and set myself upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved – Habakkuk 2:1

Once we are given our vision, we are then told to write it down so that we do not forget and so that we may continually chase after it.

And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, so he may run that reads it – Habakkuk 2:2

See, vision is what makes us run! The vision of the sure thing God has promised; that which will surely come to pass for God cannot lie is what produces diligence and energizes us for our work; it is what produces patience and perseverance. Let’s put it this way: If we know we will gain our dream vacation simply by cutting down a tree, we will find a way to do it and do it quickly! The problem is not the lack of patience, diligence, and energy (these are the symptoms). The real problem is the lack of vision.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: While vision produces faith, diligence, and patience, lack of it produces laziness, lethargy, and defeat

If you do not have a vision today, I urge you to set yourself apart and go up to your watchtower and then see what He will say to you. Say yes when you are corrected and acknowledge your wrong-doing. Clean the muck out of your house and start running after the target God has given you knowing that His power is following His purpose for you; knowing that all things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose for them. Then watch and see again what happens to your attitude about your circumstance; watch and see what changes occur in your life.

Food for Thought: No man who has ever had godly (love based) vision has ever been defeated in life

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The Mind of Christ – How Can I Grow in Humility?

As discussed in The Mind of Christ – Are You Experiencing the Love of ‘The One’, the key to experiencing victory in life and the fullness of the love of God is to develop and the mind of Christ.  Our ability to cultivate and operate in the realm of humility, prayer, seeking the face of God, and obedience ultimately decides the extent to which we experience heaven on earth. Now, if our minds are ever to be re-programmed to resemble the mind of Christ, we will have to renew it with the Word of God – for it is the Word of God that conforms us to the image of Christ, breaks the barrier between the realm of the mind and the realm of the Spirit (see Hebrews 4:12), and transforms our mind into the mind of Christ (see Romans 12:2). The bible puts it this way:

“Like newborn babies, thirst for the pure milk of the word so that by it you may grow in your salvation.” – 1 Peter 2:2

So there it is! It is the Word of God that causes our soul (mind) to grow (develop) so that we experience salvation (deliverance) from the filth of this life (fear, doubt, pride, lust etc.) and instead experience the gift of the God (heavenly things such as joy, peace, love) right here on earth!

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: It is nigh impossible to fully develop the mind of Christ (and so experience the fullness of its riches) without immersing ourselves in the Word of God!

Note: We know that Peter was talking about the salvation of the soul rather than the salvation of the Spirit from eternal separation from God because he explicitly states it earlier in his letter (see 1 Peter 1:9). Second, we know that the salvation of our spirit comes through confession that Jesus is Lord (see Romans 10:9 – 10)

So you say I have been studying the Word but it has not produced the mind of Christ in me. Why? Hopefully we can come to some answer by looking at the qualities that make up the mind of Christ. Let’s start with humility.

How Humility Grows

As we continually hear and/or read the scriptures, the water of the Word begins to infiltrate the gaps of our stony hearts and begins to soften the soil of our hearts. As our hearts soften, it becomes receptive to receive the seed (or substance) of the Word of God. Once implanted in our hearts, we start to gain an understanding of the enormity of God (His power, His might, His love) and if we are honest with ourselves, begin to realize that we are but mere nothingness in comparison to Him. We start to realize that our hearts cannot even begin to compare to His heart; that while He killed Himself to restore our unworthy selves to Him, we kill our neighbors just because they do not look like us! See, it is only through the watering by the Word that humility (having a modest opinion of ourselves) which leads to surrender to God is developed.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Honest self-examination (in comparison to God) leads to true humility. True humility leads to surrender to God – His will, His truth (word) about you, His promises, His statutes, and judgments.

So, it is clear that the way God intends for us to come to the point of humility is by studying His Word – this is why the bible says that all scripture is profitable for reproof and correction (see 2 Timothy 3:16). Unfortunately, many of us choose not to allow the Word of God to humble us but instead allow the circumstances of life to bring us to our knees in surrender.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Since humility in life is inevitable, we are wise to humble ourselves voluntarily before God than have the crisis of life humble us!

Can life-long humility come from a crisis? Yes! However, the humility that comes through crisis tends for many of us to be temporary as it only lasts for as long as the crisis remains – because we see Jesus only as our Savior (deliverer) and not our Lord (master). Without fully immersing ourselves in the Word and gaining an appreciation of His love and our reliance on Him during our crisis, it is likely that we simply surrender to our own foolishness once more as soon as He rescues us – how ungrateful of us! Yet, how merciful of God! Thus we go from crisis to crisis because we often revert back to our own mindset. If we are to follow the example of Jesus, we should not allow crisis to bring us to the point of humility. He humbled Himself out of love for the Father and us. We ought to develop the same mind of humility in love.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: It is the knowledge and appreciation of the extent of His love for us that keeps us surrendered in humility.

So then, some practical steps to develop a mind-steeped in humility are as follows:

  • Be honest with ourselves about who we are (in our heart) – take our focus off what we do
  • Stop comparing ourselves to other people but only compare ourselves to God
  • Study the Word to specifically find out about the love of God – to know how His ways are so much better than ours

And here are a few reasons to develop humility

  • Honor, riches, and life (see Proverbs 22:4)
  • The acceptance and attention of God (see Psalms 51:17)
  • Promotion (see 1 Peter 5:6)
  • Power and favor (see James 4:6)

Food for Thought:  A mind steeped in love is a mind that is steeped in humility

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What Love Has to Do with It – Why Is My Faith Not Working?

John the Apostle tells us that whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God (see 1 John 5:1). He then goes on to say that whatever is born of God overcomes the world (see 1 John 5:4). Thus, as believers who have been born of the Spirit of God, we have the power to overcome every obstacle and challenge that life throws our way. We have the ability to attain victory in every area of our lives because Jesus, the One who has overcome the world (see John 16:33) lives in us.

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” – Galatians 2:20

Even though endowed with the ability to overcome in Christ, too many of us are being overcome by the world rather than overcoming it. Why? We do not overcome because not every part of us has been born of God. Although our spirit has been born of God, portions of our minds have not yet been born of God (for we fail to renew our minds) and so that portion does not overcome but instead is overcome. Hence, the only reason we ever experience defeat in our lives is because we fail to surrender all of who we are and all of what our experiences have turned us into over to Him so that He can remold us and make every inch of us new.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Surrender is the first step towards victory. Every part of ourselves we surrender to Him, He is able to crucify and resurrect (born it again) into His image

If we do not surrender an area of our life to Him, it is because we do not know how much He loves us in that area. If we do not know how much He loves us in that area, it is because we have not thoroughly searched for His love through His word there; for the word says that if we seek, we shall find (see Matthew 7:7).

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: When we seek God by immersing ourselves in His Word, the Holy Spirit reveals to us how much He loves us. It is this revelation of His love that prompts us to surrender fully to Him

The truth is that we only trust the people that we know truly love us and so would not do a thing to harm us. Indeed, the bible says that faith works through love (see Galatians 5:6) or in other words, true trust is based on love. Therefore, when we tell God, ‘I cannot trust You with this area of my life’, we are telling God that we doubt His love. We are telling the God who offered Himself as a sacrifice for us and drew us to Himself that we cannot trust Him! Good Lordy! It is doubt, which is the opposite of trust (faith) that leads to defeat in life.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Any faith (trust and belief) that is not born out of love is not born of God (for God is love). It is not faith at all and so will not work

So there it is. When we surrender ourselves because we trust (or have faith) that His love for us is true, we overcome the world!  Simply put, faith is the ‘whatever’ that is born of God that produces victory.

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world –our faith” – 1 John 5:4

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Since faith is the victory that overcomes the world, it can be said that the defeat that overcomes us is our doubt of how much God loves us.

So how do we know that our faith is born of God? To know that what we are holding onto has been promised by God and not a counterfeit, we first have to take a look at how faith comes.

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” – Romans 10:17

This passage does not say that faith comes by hearing the word of God. No! Many have heard the word of God without ever developing faith. Rather, the word of God must speak to us in order for it to produce faith. For the word of God to speak to us, our hearts must be prepared to receive it. This is what happened when we got saved – the word of God cut through to our hearts and spoke to us so that we developed the faith (belief) to confess Christ.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment:  To truly have faith, we must truly believe in our hearts that the specific word is for us. Head or surface knowledge does not mean faith has been produced

When we study and meditate on the Word, the Holy Spirit reveals and confirms to us that the specific word (verse) we are reading is for us…we hear from the Holy Spirit. Now, knowing that the word which He has spoken to us will not be altered (Psalms 89:34) and cannot return to Him void (Isaiah 55:11) for He cannot lie (Numbers 23:19), we are assured that it shall come to pass; all of our doubt is removed and real faith that we can hold onto in obedience is produced!

Anything we hold onto that has not spoken to us is simply not of God for the Holy Spirit has not confirmed it. For example, if God has not spoken to us that we will win the lottery while studying His word, then we can say we believe it and confess it all we want – it is likely not to happen since it does not come from God but from our own desires (see James 4:3). Conversely, it is prudent to hold onto everything that God has spoken to us – that will always be confirmed as we spend time in the Word. In this light, we are wise to hold onto every promise that is written in the scripture for the bible is the word of God spoken to us. We are also wise  to hold onto everything that He has told us specifically as we fix our eyes on Him.

Food for Thought: If we want our faith to work, we must grow in love

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The Peril of Being Unequally Yoked!

We should not deceive ourselves. Our existence is more likely to resemble that of Penelope Pit-stop who stumbled into peril after peril, if we are unequally yoked within ourselves (see Ready for Marriage – Are you equally yoked?) and become yoked with an unbeliever (see Unequally yoked – So you think you are marrying a believer!). Should we become unequally yoked, we find that we encounter the hooded claw of life’s dangers; it is only the mercy and grace of God that keeps us from disaster. Therefore, it is best to avoid testing God by choosing to be unequally yoked – both individually and corporately.

The peril of being unequally yoked in a relationship

Many a men have experimented with marrying unbelievers to disastrous ends. The first ones to try were the sons of God who took the daughters of men as their wives (see Genesis 6:2). By choosing not to yoke themselves with the daughters of God, but instead with those that were not being led by the Spirit of God, their hearts turned towards evil.

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God” – Romans 8:14

God was not well-pleased with man’s disobedient decision! Rather than strive with man, He first decided to shorten man’s life to 120 years and then proceeded to send a great flood to wipe man off the face of the earth – except for Noah and those housed in his ark! Hmm! All other men ultimately perished because godly men decided to become unequally yoked with ungodly women.

Note: While emphasis is being placed on men because the Word says that it is a man who finds a wife (see Proverbs 18:22), it goes without saying that women have to ensure they are marrying godly men as well.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment:  Our thoughts turn towards evil when we decide to yoke ourselves with ungodly partners. Eventually, those evil thoughts manifest into heavy burdens that lead us away from the victorious life God intended for us and potentially shorten our life-span.

Rather than learn from the earliest of warning against being unequally yoked and heeding the warnings of Moses and Joshua, King Solomon decided to marry ungodly women. As a result, he lost his kingdom which was split into two (Judah and Israel) and ushered in a period of prolonged idol worship (spanning many kings) that led previously loyal territories (such as Moab and Edom) to revolt.

If we choose not to learn from the Word, which is profitable to us for correction (see 2 Timothy 3:16) and choose to yoke ourselves with unbelievers, we have no one to blame for the unnecessary troubles (that God can fix) we heap on ourselves.

The peril of being unequally yoked with ourselves

When we do not bring our minds (soul) into full alignment with our spirit (which has been infiltrated by the Holy Spirit) via the transformation that comes from the perennial renewal of our minds with the Word of God, we find that we become double-minded. We find ourselves flip-flopping between being led by the Spirit and being led by our own fleshly desires. We yo-yo between fear and faith and so never gain a productive and full harvest, for we never fully nurture the seeds of faith we have been given with the water of the Word.

The mark of the unequally yoked believer is inaction, indecision, procrastination, timidity, vacillation, and an overall lack of boldness. Such a one is a good starter but a poor finisher – for sustained effort is hard to achieve without sustained faith.  If we are unequally yoked, we find that we make many plans and conquer many kingdoms with our mouths! Worse of all, we do not receive anything from God

“For let not that man (who doubts) suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” – James 1:7 – 8

How sad it is that we do not receive anything we ask for, simply because we will not allow our minds to be renewed by the Word.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: We cannot just tick the box of reading the Word, but we have to prepare the soil of our hearts so that the Word can renew our minds and so transform us into who we truly are in Christ

Rather than yoke ourselves to our flesh, we are wise to yoke ourselves to the Spirit and join the winning team.

Food for Thought: No one who has ever yoked themselves to Christ has ever been defeated!

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The Three Amigos – Whom do you call when El-Guapo strikes?

The Three Amigos is one of my favorite movies. In it, the Mexican village of Santo Poco is tormented by a band of thugs led by a bandit called El-Guapo. To combat El-Guapo and his minions, a villager contacts the three amigos who she thinks are real heroes that can put a stop to El-Guapo’s reign of terror. Alas, unbeknown to her and her fellow villagers, these amigos are simply actors who think they are being invited down to Mexico to take part in a movie with El-Guapo! As can be imagined, pandemonium ensues once they reach the village.

While the Three Amigos is a comedy film, it does reflect the reality of living in a fallen world. Just like the villagers, we will all face El-Guapo’s (trials and tribulation) in this world (see John 16:33). Yet, unlike in the movie, we do not have to make a comedy of errors while battling El-Guapo. We do not have to pin our hopes on clowns and pretend heroes while crossing our fingers that we have found the magic touch. No! Our weapon against El-Guapo is divinely powerful; we have the power that conquered the grave, a living superman to call upon; we have our very own three amigos – The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

These living superheroes do not have to suit up but are always ready, pumped up, and itching to come to our rescue. They specialize in kicking El-Guapo’s posterior and showering down blessings on us. They cannot help but to save and bless us for it is in their nature. Simply put, it’s what they do. All we have to do is call! Even with this knowledge, too many of us neglect to push the easy button in the midst of our turmoil. We put on our own superhero costumes instead of picking up the phone and hitting the speed-dial button (prayer) for deliverance and restoration. By not calling, we tell God that we do not need Him! We tell Him to take a break (as if He wants one). In our pride, we say to God, ‘God, I can be a hero too. I can play You just fine. I do not need you on this’.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: When we put on our own costumes and play God, all we are doing is playing ourselves. Furthermore, why allow the joker (Satan) to run riot when we have batman (God), robin (Jesus), and cat woman (Holy Spirit) to call upon.

When we put on our own costumes, we become our own three amigos since we rely on our own spirit, soul and body. Unfortunately, the real El-Guapo (Satan) can spot a phony from a mile away. He sees that we are not the real three amigos but that we are simply clowning about and so he laughs and defeats us in battle.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: For as long as we refuse to call on the three amigos of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in battle, El-Guapo will be victorious over us!

This is what happened to the King of Israel (see 2 Kings 6:24 -33). Rather than inquire of the Lord and call on Him when besieged by Ben-Hadad of Syria, he waited until the resulting famine led to cannibalism amongst his people. I believe his pride kept Him from going to God! When out of anger (rather than humility), he finally did seek God (through the Prophet Elisha), the city was delivered out of famine the very next day. Let me say it again, the very next day!

That makes me wonder how many battles we keep fighting that we should just give to God for an immediate victory. The Lord longs to grant us victory in every area of our life. All we need to do is win the battle over our pride and ego and call on His name quickly.

Food for Thought: The secret to victory in life is the name of Jesus

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