Tag Archives: Wilderness

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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Success Secrets From Jesus – Day 4 – Wisdom and Understanding

WISDOM

Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ And, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”
—Matthew 4:5–7

The first thing to point our here is that Satan knows the scripture! He would not have been able to quote it to Jesus otherwise! Yet, Jesus would not listen to Satan’s words because He understood that Satan had no wisdom.

Jesus knew Satan had no wisdom for two reasons:

  • He knew that it is the Holy Spirit who gives life (John 6:63)
  • He understood that the excellence of knowledge is that wisdom gives life to those who have it – Ecclesiastes 7:12 (NKJV).

Putting it together, He understood that wisdom can only come from the words spoken by the Holy Spirit. So Jesus neglected the words of Satan and focused on the life bringing words of the Holy Spirit.

Light-bulb moment: Just because the ‘right’ words are being used does not mean the words are ‘right’ for the specific circumstance/situation

Build Your Understanding of People and the Subject Matter
While knowledge start us on the road to success, it by no means guarantees success. Success requires that we build our understanding of any subject matter. Only then can we apply the knowledge we do have in such a way to bring success.

The same principle applies to people. It is important to know the underlined motivation behind the advice people are giving us. If the heart behind the advice is evil, then it is likely that the planned effects of following the advice will be evil – even if the advice sounds good.

The way to understand a person is by placing close attention to them – examining their heart and seeing if their life generally matches up with their words. Of course, if the person speaking to you is Satan, there is nothing to examine, rebuke him instantly.

Today, too many people know people but do not understand them!

Light-bulb moment: While knowledge can explain past and present behavior, only understanding can go the extra mile to explain that behavior and predict future behavior.

Here is the key takeaway: Knowledge – Wisdom  = Failure and Defeat!

Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding – Proverbs 4:7

Check out Looking to Superman – The secret to success in life on superchampinc for more practical tips the experience of Jesus teaches us on being successful.

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Success Secrets From Jesus – Day 2 – Preparation

PREPARATION

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry —Matthew 4:1–2

The Holy Spirit led into the wilderness to be tempted. It was not Satan. Indeed, for Satan to have led Jesus means that Jesus would have had to respond to the leading of Satan; it means Jesus’ actions would have been controlled by Satan! Why did the Holy Spirit lead Jesus into the wilderness? It was to test His faith! In other words, God wanted to know if Jesus the man was ready for His assignment.

Our faith (believe) cannot be trusted until it is first tested.

For his part, Jesus did not back down and shy away from the challenge to come. He instead prepared himself for three final big tests by starting and finishing forty-days of fasting. Jesus was not released onto His purpose until He passed the test.

Do Not Despise Your Wilderness
The wilderness can be described as our place of preparation and the place where our readiness is tested. No one likes the wilderness BUT everyone must successfully navigate it. We must prepare for our purpose just as Jesus prepared in the wilderness. Why is the wilderness important? It is because preparation is the key ingredient we need to overcome any challenge we face. We must undergo a period of preparation if we are to be ready to tackle our purpose in life. We not only have to good starters but we have to finish our preparation to ensure we do not stumble when the big tests come. There are simply no shortcuts. We must start and finish our preparation just as Jesus did.

The wilderness is the gulf between barely good enough and excellent. Preparation is what allows us to successfully navigate it.

Prior preparation prevents pitiful performance.

That Jesus was not released onto His purpose (Matt. 4:17) until He first passed the test in the wilderness lets us know this: Promotion in life requires that we pass the tests of life. Since preparation is the key to passing tests, we can say the following:

The key to promotion in life is thorough preparation.

Lastly, that Jesus was hungry after forty-days of preparation (fasting) lets us know that preparation will always cost us something. While it was food for Jesus, it may very well be our denial of daily pleasure or the sacrifice of time and resources. But while preparation can have a bitter cost, its reward of success is exceedingly sweet.

Check out Looking to Superman – The secret to success in life on superchampinc for more practical tips the life of Jesus teaches us on being successful.

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Truths to Keep in Mind in Times of Trouble

You are Not Alone

Just as God provided His people a pillar of cloud by day for guidance and a pillar of fire by night for safe travels in the wilderness, it is also true that God will never leave your nor forsake you. No matter if it is daytime in your life or if you are experiencing a dark period in your life, He is ever present. What you must do is make sure that you stay under the cloud by day and that you stay by the fire by night. You must stay close to God. If you do not, you are liable to get scorched by the hot sun and get chills from the cold nights.

Lightbulb MomentThe truth is that God will not allow you to suffer alone but will always provide a comforter to help you (see 2 Corinthians 7:6).

Today, do not shy away from the comforters that God has provided you but move closer to them. It may very well be that they have walked through the same wilderness you are walking through and they can provide guidance. It may very well be that they are walking through the same desert you are right now and you can comfort one another. Whichever the case, avoid the urge to go it alone and reach out to whomever you need. Reach out to both God and man.

Your Attitude Can Make Things Worse  

An attitude of complaint can change what you experience in your wilderness.

It is interesting that the manna God provided in the wilderness was originally white and being sweet like wafers with honey (Exodus 16:31). But after much complaining, we see that the manna became off-white and tasted like pastry with oil upon being grounded and baked (Numbers 11:8). See, the original manna was naturally sweet, but the new manna tasted shabby even after doing a lot of work.

That tells us that a bad attitude will always make the sweet things in life tasteless. It will turn a blessing into a something that does not satisfy.

Lightbulb MomentThe truth is you must drive out the scoffer in you in order for all contention, strife, and contempt to cease (Proverbs 22:10)

Today, choose to focus on what you do have (your manna) and be grateful for them instead of focusing on what is wrong. When you focus on will consume your life. If you focus on negativity, then negativity will consume your life and nothing will ever be good enough. When you focus on the positive and on the goodness of God is when you are able to make lemonade out of lemons.

 Your Victory Waits on the Other Side    

The only good thing about the wilderness is that God uses them to lead us to a land flowing with milk and honey. Why are you going through a wilderness? If you are faithful, the wilderness experience is simply a set-up for greater victories to come.

Remember how Jesus was released onto His ministry after He passed the wilderness test? Remember how Daniel was promoted after experiencing the den of lions? Remember how God promised to bless Abraham after He passed the test of obedience? You too can experience the spoils of victory if you do not faint in the wilderness.

Lightbulb MomentThe truth is that God will not allow you to be tested in life beyond what you can handle (1 Corinthians 10:13)

You can handle all the tests that life throws you. If you do not faint, you will experience the victory after the test. Why doesn’t God take away every single test Satan throws at you? It is because He wants you to experience the victory that comes after the test so you want nothing while He provides for all your needs during the test.   

The only way for gold to be refined is to be put through the fire.

You Can Shorten Your Time of Trouble

Lightbulb MomentThe truth is that persistent unfaithfulness can lead you from one fire (trouble) to another (Ezekiel 15:7-8)

The problem with unfaithfulness is that you experience the fire of life without ever becoming refined as gold. If you have been in the wilderness for a long time, then you must re-evaluate your thought process, decision making, and most importantly, the state of your heart. Do not be like the tribes of Israel who spent 40 years in the wilderness although the journey should have been over in a matter of days. Just as their unfaithfulness led them to circle around the wilderness for years, you spend more time than you need in the dark places of life if you choose not to do what is right and obey the voice of God.

What is right is to soften your heart and give it to God. So I ask you: Is your heart open or have you allowed someone or something to harden your heart.

Remember, while the walls you put up keep away hurts, it also keeps away love.

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Breathe In God (Part I) – Old Testament

Sever yourselves from such a man whose breath is in his nostrils for of what account is he? – Isaiah 2:22

Prior to the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, man was spiritually alive for the breath of life was breathed in by God into his nostrils (see Gen 2:7). Hence, prior to the fall, it was perfectly alright for man to breathe from his nostrils.

To digress a little, prior to the redemptive work of Christ on the cross, man’s spirit could be corrupted and die for his spirit was not yet sealed with the blood of Jesus. It is because Adam’s spirit was not yet sealed that his spirit was able to die when he was disobedient to God. But hallelujah, because of the blood of Jesus, our spirit no longer dies when we are disobedient. What a loving God!

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: The blood protects our spirit-being from corruption. Just as the blood protected the Children of Israel from the angel of destruction in Egypt, the blood protects our spirit-being from being touched by evil. It is the blood that keeps us clean and so guarantees our entry into heaven.

Once Adam’s spirit died, the breath he was drawing from his nostril was no longer the breath of life or the breath that leads to a life of abundance, goodness, and greatness. Because his spirit had died, his breath had become the breath of death – a useless breath that produces only those things that come from death – things that cuts down rather than builds up, destroys relationships, and produces all manner of ungodly things. Prior to Christ, many men were not living but simply existed!

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Without being born again of the Spirit of God, the only thing we draw from within us is the breath of death.

But God is not cruel. Prior to Jesus, he made a way for man to experience life. Although the Holy Spirit could not reside within man, the life of God could be experienced when the Holy Spirit breathed His power into man from the outside. Since man could not breathe life from within, the Holy Spirit became the respirator that sustained man as he waited for Doc Jesus to perform spiritual surgery. Hence, prior to Christ, real life was only experienced by allowing the Holy Spirit to breathe into man’s nostrils.

It was this external breath of God (and not the breath of man) the prophets and men of God in the Old Testament relied upon. It was the breath of God that propelled Abraham to wealth, Isaac to become prosperous, and catapulted Joseph from the pits to the palace. Conversely, those who relied on their own breath such as King Nebuchadnezzar were relegated from the palace to the wilderness. Hence it is clear why Prophet Isaiah warns us to not to keep company with people whose breath is in their nostrils. The ungodly things that come out of them will corrupt our good character.

Food for Thought: When we choose Christ, we choose the ability to live every second of every day. We do not have to go through periods of merely existing.

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5 Steps Towards Greatness (Part IV) – The Test

The pyramid of Khephren (Khafre)Having being equipped and prepared for the purpose to which we have been called, the final hurdle we all have to overcome prior to being chosen by God onto greatness is the test of our faithfulness and readiness. Even Jesus was not exempt from the readiness and faithfulness test. Indeed, the bible tells us that He was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted (tested) by the devil (Matthew 4:1). It was not until after He passed that test in the wilderness that He was released onto His ministry. How do we know this? We know because the bible tells us that Jesus began to preach the gospel of the kingdom for the first time only after departing to Galilee –  after His wilderness experience (Matthew 4:17).

Just in case you think the Test only applies to Jesus who was both man and God, I want to assure you that this applies to ordinary men. Elisha was an ordinary man who was put to the test before he became a prophet. After calling Elisha to walk with him for years, Elijah suddenly told Elisha to no longer follow Him. In essence, Elijah was telling Elisha that their journey together was done (2 Kings 2:2)! I can only imagine what Elisha was thinking at the time. I imagine it may have been the following:

‘I can’t believe this guy. After I have served him faithfully for years, now he is just dumping me…especially after I left my family and my livelihood behind’.

Elisha could have chosen to depart in rage, BUT he did not and so passed the test of faithfulness. Later, when the sons of the prophets for lack of better words said ‘dude, your master is about to leave you man, why don’t you just go home?’ Elisha did not despair or say in his heart: ‘these guys are like top notch Christians, I will listen to them’. No! Instead, Elisha told them to hush their mouths (see 2 Kings 2:3)! See, Elisha was ready to follow Elijah wherever he went and so continued following him. For this, Elisha was rewarded with the mantle of prophet and a double portion of Elijah’s spirit.

What does all this tell us? It lets us know that a hefty reward is the end of our readiness to follow Jesus to wherever He leads us…even if it is towards the wilderness. It lets us know that a prize follows our dogged determination to stay faithful to Him no matter how great the temptation. Thus, we have to start taking a look at tests and temptation differently. Rather than wail and gnash our teeth at another attack from the devil, we ought to look at it as a last ditch attempt by a frantic enemy to keep us from the blessing that God wants to shower upon us. But here is the thing, the devil cannot stop us from greatness since we have been equipped with the Holy Spirit – the very power that conquered the grave and put the devil underfoot. Therefore, tests of the wilderness (where trials and tribulation abound) and of temptation should simply strengthen our resolve to push through by the grace (power) of God.

It is when we pass the readiness and faithfulness test that God says ‘okay, I can choose this one for his/her love for me does not flick on and off like a light switch’. You see, the bible tells us that many are called but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14). If we want to be chosen, we have to pass the test. In order to pass the test, we have to be equipped with the One who has never failed. In order not to fail at what we do, what we choose to do must be what God has called us to do!

Food for Thought: You have to pass the test in order to get the best

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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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The Mind of Christ – Praying and Seeking God’s Face

Humility is a must if we want our prayers not just to be heard BUT accepted by God (see ‘The Link between Humility and Answered Prayer’). When we humble ourselves and pray to the Father, for many of us, the first thing that He shows us is the reason why He has not been able to say yes to us. When we go to God in humility, He shows us the true condition of our hearts – those portions of our heart that have not been broken up and so cannot bear the good fruit we have requested. The truth is that when we go to our watchtower – that quiet place where we cannot be reached or disturbed; that place of solitude where we can humbly set our sight on God in prayer – our vision becomes clear and we can through His help see the true and full layout of our land (our heart). I love the way this truth is written in the book of Habakkuk. There, the word of God says:

I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me,
and what I will answer when I am corrected – Habakkuk 2:1 – 2

It is through fasting and praying that we stand our watch and set ourselves on the rampart. When we do this, God reveals to us what we truly look like and corrects our prideful and flawed attitudes and image. If we are at all smart and want to shorten our wilderness experience, we will not try to argue with God when He corrects us but instead will apologetically fall on our face, say sorry, and agree to what He tells us to do.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Prayer is a key ingredient in discovering what is keeping us from God best!

After we have sought the Lord and He has corrected us, the right response is to break up our fallow ground. If we do not, anything we do is simply a waste of time – just as a farmer who plants on soil that has not been prepared is simply wasting his seed. The house of Jacob did not understand this during the time of Prophet Isaiah. They did not understand why God was not responding to their fasting, praying, and reading His Word. They asked God ‘Why have we fasted and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls and You have not taken notice?’ To this, God in essence replies ‘You have sin. You keep on doing the ‘right’ things but you have not corrected your erroneous ways’. The 58th chapter of Isaiah describes this very well – one excerpt from the chapter is given below:

“Tell my people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek Me daily, and delight to know to know My ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and did not forsake the ordinance of their God…they take delight in approaching God – Isaiah 58:2

Our refusal to be corrected by God is the biggest impediment to us progressing in life. No amount of fasting, prayer, seeking or any other magic formula will do. We can ask, but His response will always be ‘Clean house in this area I have shown you first’.

Just as a piece of jewelry is just another lost item in a very junky house, the seed of the word of God gets lost and quickly losses its value if not sown into a receptive heart. The word of God tells us that the pre-requisite to seeking the face of God (seeking the word of God) is breaking up our fallow ground. Once prayer has revealed the location and depth of the ground we must break up, we must actively begin the digging with the help of God by exercising forgiveness, letting go of past baggage, journeying through our childhood to rid ourselves of past hurts, and laying all of what we are at His feet.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: After prayer has revealed the junk in us, we must begin the process of ‘cleaning house’ if we are to find the face of God!

Glory to God that we do not grow weary in seeking His face but persevere, we will find it and He will shower us with the riches of His inheritance. Hallelujah!

Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you – Hosea 10:12

So, why is important to pray and seek the face of God? It is the only way we can experience the flood of His goodness (righteousness) in our lives.

Here are the practical steps we have seen so far to set ourselves up to experience the flood of His goodness:

  • Humble ourselves (see How can I grow in Humility?)
  • Fast and pray to discover unsavory areas of our lives (see Habakkuk 2:1 – 2)
  • Deal with the junk that God reveals is present in us by His power (see John 15:2)
  • Seek His face (His word)

Food for Thought: We experience the blessings of God when we till the land of our heart

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Wilderness Experience – Are you missing God’s oasis by remaining a victim?

Are you missing God's oasis

It is impossible to go through life without hurting someone or being hurt by another person….even if it is unintended. Regardless of whether we are the “hurter” and the “hurtee”, as believers, it is likely we go through a rough patch – experience some wilderness – until we are restored.

This wilderness experience is not simply reserved for the victim but also for the perpetrator of the hurt. While the victim may land in the wilderness as a result of anger, resentment, bitterness and so forth, the perpetrator may experience their own wilderness because of perpetual self- condemnation and an inability to grant self-forgiveness. Here is the thing, whether we are the hurter or the hurtee, our ability to escape the jaws of the wilderness depends on how determined we are to fully surrender our hurt to Christ.

  Lightbulb Moment  Light-bulb moment: Irrespective of what befalls us, we choose whether we are victor’s in Christ or victims of life. We prolong our wilderness experience by choosing to remain victims.

Just as it is important to know what to do when in the wilderness to survive, we must know what to do to move past our hurts.

When I got hurt, I chose to remain a victim. Instead of surrendering my hurts to Christ, I took matters into my own hands and purposed in my heart and mind that I was never going to put myself in a position to be hurt again – so I guarded my heart and built a fortress around my mind. I ensured that nothing moved me deeply and so segregated emotions, feelings, and sensitivity from all things. Nothing was going to penetrate my shield…….not even God! In effect, I told God, “You can control everything else, but I control my heart, so shoo…go away”. I was at the wheel and I almost drove my life right off a cliff by making decisions based on my hurts. As a result of choosing to be a perpetual victim of my past hurts rather than surrender it to Him, I ended up victimizing the people I came into contact with.

Lightbulb Moment     Light-bulb moment: I should not be driven by my life experiences or emotions, but only by Christ!

Whilst the natural tendency after being hurt is to take control and guard our own hearts out of fear, the bible shows us a better way for our hearts to be guarded.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6 – 7

Thus it is the peace of God which comes through prayer  and supplication that guards our hearts and keeps us alive until we escape the wilderness and are restored to our oasis.

Upon learning how to survive, we must become action minded and start to look for a way out. We pick up the trail back to our oasis when we stop our self-pity, self-righteousness, and self-focus but instead focus our attention on our guide, Jesus. When we pay attention to what He tells us though His word, we get jolted with the  reality that all have hurt and all have been hurt. That no one has been hurt more than God (through our sin and disobedience) and no man more than Jesus when he lived. But then we also get jolted with the truth that He has paid the price for all we could ever do, say or feel. That through Him, we are restored and are the head and not the tail. When we focus on Jesus, we start to trust Him and allow Him to lead us out of our wilderness.

This is exactly what Jesus did as a man when experiencing His own wilderness. What if Jesus had not trusted God but allowed His experience and emotions to lead Him? What if He had focused on all the wrongs that were done to Him – the insult, the ridicule, the scourging, and the betrayal – none of which He deserved? What if He had not surrendered fully to God? He would not have been glorified and would not be sitting at the right-hand side of God now, and we may still be living under the law.

But He did fully surrender to God and won victory for all the hurt that could ever come our way!

The trust we build in Jesus is what allows us to lay all our hurts and burdens on Him in humility and prayer while taking all the necessary steps to find closure as He leads us – perhaps through counseling. In time, we find that our ashes are turned into beauty and have been made into new beings – with the muck of the past and its impact on our lives washed away. Truly, the old passes away and everything becomes new.

“If only my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14

So, why surrender our hurts to God? He alone can heal us and will refine us. No one else can.

Food for Thought: I find my oasis when I choose to focus on God rather than on my hurts

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