Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What is Fellowship of the Holy Spirit?

The heavenly GPS consisting of the pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night. When Manna drops from God’s kitchen to feed me when I’m hungry. When water from the Rock of Ages quenches my thirst. When my steps are directed by the Lord and my thoughts are fixated on Him. When the Lord comes into my garden daily and I’m naked before Him. When I’m covered with the same divine Health Insurance that maintained 3 million people such that they wore the same clothes and shoes for 40 years and none was feeble among them. When my daylight activities reflect patterns shown to me on the mountain of night prayers. When my worries drive me to Him rather than from Him. When line upon line, precept upon precept, I learn from Him what He wants me to do and how He wants me to live. When I know that I know that it is well with me, the righteous regardless of what I’m going through. When I know that with the comprehensive insurance of God on my side, Holy Spirit within, ministering angel without, Shadow of the Almighty overhead, favor as a shield in front, goodness and mercy behind, no evil shall befall me neither shall any plague come nigh my dwelling. When the daily tithing of my time produces a storehouse of wisdom for living. When I inquire of the Lord for permission, purpose and power before I fight any battle. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

“Do you have a Rewards Card?”

At the checkouts of some supermarket stores, you may be asked, “Do you have a rewards card” It’s interesting to note that there’s a system of rewards in our dealing with God. We don’t deserve it, we don’t merit it. Rewards exist purely because of the goodness and benevolence of the Almighty. There are rewards for earthly conduct. What we do while limited by time and age in this world matters in eternity. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” 2 Cor. 5:10. “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done” Rev 22:12. “God blesses you who are hated and excluded and mocked and cursed because you are identified with me, the Son of Man. When that happens, rejoice! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were also treated that way by your ancestors” Luke 6:22-23. Rewards are not only received in heaven but are also given on the earth. They are both present and future. “For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come” 1 Timothy 4:8 (NKJV) “So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life” Mark 10:29-31 (NKJV). Another important reward on this part of eternity is the fruit of the womb. Children are a reward from the Lord. “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward” Psalms 127:3. God made getting rewards easy. There is the cup of water principle. “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward” Matthew 10:42 A cup of water was one the easiest things you could do to another human being in those days. You didn’t have to be rich to extend such a generosity. The fact that such a simple act of kindness is rewarded suggests that God is very generous with his rewards and that everyone has an opportunity to be rewarded. There are 9 reward-generating actions: 1.Giving. Charity is one of the most important ways to get a reward from the Lord. You are rewarded on this earth for your acts of generosity. “But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly” Matthew 6:3-4. “He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, And He will pay back what he has given” Proverbs 19:17. You are also rewarded in heaven for your gifts to the needy. “Then he turned to his host. “When you put on a luncheon or a dinner,” he said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will repay you by inviting you back. Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. Then at the resurrection of the godly, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you” Luke 14:12-14. 2. Seeking God. This is another opportunity to get rewards. God has promised to reward all those who seek him. Seek God and you are guaranteed to be rewarded. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” Hebrews 11:6. 3. Great work ethic. Our jobs, careers and businesses are another source of rewards. A believer in Jesus is not working for me but for the Lord who will reward him or her. “Slaves, you must obey your earthly masters. Show them great respect and be as loyal to them as you are to Christ. Try to please them at all times, and not just when you think they are watching. You are slaves of Christ, so with your whole heart you must do what God wants you to do. Gladly serve your masters, as though they were the Lord himself, and not simply people. You know that you will be rewarded for any good things you do, whether you are slaves or free” Ephesians 6:5-8. 4. Self-denial in His service. “Then Jesus said to his disciples: If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross and follow me. If you want to save your life, you will destroy it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find it. What will you gain, if you own the whole world but destroy yourself? What would you give to get back your soul? The Son of Man will soon come in the glory of his Father and with his angels to reward all people for what they have done” Matthew 16:24-27. 5. Serving God’s people. When we serve God’s servants, He promises to reward us. “He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward” Matthew 10:41-42. Note that these rewards are generously shared between the simple giver and the mighty prophet. The Shunammite woman and the prophet. Mary, Martha and Jesus. You will share in the rewards of the important people in the kingdom when you help in the work of the ministry even with a cup of water. 6. Prayer. “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly” Matthew 6:6. 7. Fasting. “But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly” Matthew 6:18 8. Be extraordinarily nice. “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil” Luke 6:35. 9. Suffering for His name. “Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man’s sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets” Luke 6:22-23. Crowns Apart from general rewards, the Bible also describes a system of rewards involving crowns. “I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown” Revelation 3:11. There are 4 Crowns. The Crown of Joy- For Winning Soul The Crown of Life – For Enduring Trials and Tribulations. The Crown of Righteousness – For Finishing our Ministry. The Crown of Glory – For Faithfulness in Ministry. Crown of Joy This crown is for those who win souls for Christ. "For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy” I Thessalonians 2:19-20. "Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends! " Phillipians 4:1. Crown of life This is a reward for those who are persecuted for righteousness sake. “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him” James 1:12. “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life” Revelation 2:10. Crown of righteousness This reward is for fulfilling one’s God-given ministry. “Paul says “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of His return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to His appearing” 2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NLT). Crown of Glory This is an important rewards for all those who lead in the household of the Lord. “To the elders among you, Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away" I Peter 5:1-4.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Don't be afraid of trouble

Saul was an untested man before he was made king by the people of Israel. He became king because he looked like one. In contrast, David was made king after he had been tested several times. He did not look like a king. He had not the 'presence' of a ruler. But he was a tried man, purified and molded through the furnace of affliction. When he had to challenge by a bear, he could easily have run home to his father, Jesse and say, 'Dad, I was almost killed today by a bear. This profession of shepherding is too dangerous. Try one of my older brothers. They are bigger than I am. May I be excused' He could have repeated the same mantra after a lion confronted him. He learnt not to quit in difficult times. He learnt not run away from problems, hoping they will disappear from inattention. We are to speak to mountains, not run scared of them. We are to command valleys, not weep in terror of them. We are to encourage ourselves with the testimonies from the past. Use previous victories to challenge the doubts of the present. The God who gave victory over the bear and the lion is the same yesterday, today and forever. He never changed. He never lost His power. David made some mistakes as a king but he accomplished much more than Saul because he had been tested before ascending the throne. Many of us want to be showcased by God as untested, pampered individuals but this often leads to fatal mistakes on exposure. David was unbeatable as a warrior because he had fought and won many small battles over several years before he became crowned. Rather than complain when things are not going the way we anticipated, be positive. Seek to be an overcomer. You don't become an overcomer with nothing to overcome. Even in your Garden of Eden, when everything is perfect and you are not in sin, you will be tested. As an unknown person doing menial jobs, you will be challenged. The only way to get to the mountain top is to climb it, not ignore or run from it. It is often lonely at the top because few get there. It takes boldness and an unshakable belief that the God we serve never fails. If He sent Jesus to die for you, He won't abandon you. He promises, "I will never leave you nor forsake you. So that we may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my Helper, I will not fear what man shall do unto me" Hebrews 13:5-6. It is when times are hard that we get to practice habits and attitudes that develop our character and make us look like our Heavenly Father. You cannot hope to defeat goliaths when you whine and complain about the lion and the bear; smaller obstacles allowed by God to train and prepare us. Tough times never last but the character development does. No tests, no testimonies. No trials, no triumphs. You are who you are today because of all the previous battles you have fought, won and lost. "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him......." Job 13:15. Our Lord passed the same process. The Captain of our salvation was made perfect through suffering. Hebrews 2:10. Apostle Paul faced hard times from enemies within and without. You may problems from both true and false brethren: "I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers" (2 Corinthians 11:26 NIV). Difficulties are often opportunities in disguise. Challenges may be potential sources of miracles. Trials and tests are the necessary ingredients of testimonies. Light comes after shadow. Weeping at night precedes morning joy. There is light at the end of the tunnel but you have to go through the dark hollow to enjoy the brightness. There is a reason stars don't shine during the day but at night. "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. (Isaiah 60:1, 2 NIV) Don't be afraid of the dark. You have victory over it because the Lord your God is with you. "Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me" (Psalm 23:4 NIV) The song, "Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine" was written by a blind lady called Fanny Cosby. Joseph Scriven lost his fiancĂ©e to accidental drowning the night before their wedding. Tragedy came the second time when he fell in love again and his bride to be died of tuberculosis before their wedding could take place. That is the background to the beautiful song, "What a friend we have in Jesus" Depth often comes from people who have been to the depths of despair and overcame. There is a song in our lives that can only be written in the crucible of trouble. The best counselors are not theorists but those who bear the scars from many battles and are still standing. Scars serve three purposes: scare away the enemy, provide experience to deal with new challenges and make us competent counselors to those who are going through their shadow of death. A Chicago lawyer, Horatio G. Spafford lost his only son to scarlet fever at age four. A year later, it was fire rather than fever that struck. Horatio had invested heavily in real estate on the shores of Lake Michigan. In 1871, every one of these holdings was wiped out by the great Chicago Fire. Aware of the toll that these disasters had taken on the family, Horatio decided to take his wife and four daughters on a holiday to England. And, not only did they need the rest -- DL Moody needed the help. He was traveling around Britain on one of his great evangelistic campaigns. Horatio and Anna planned to join Moody in late 1873. And so, the Spaffords traveled to New York in November, from where they were to catch the French steamer 'Ville de Havre' across the Atlantic. Yet just before they set sail, a last-minute business development forced Horatio to stay behind. Spafford persuaded his family to go as planned. Anna and her four daughters sailed East to Europe while Spafford returned West to Chicago. Just nine days later, Spafford received a telegram from his wife in Wales. It read: "Saved alone." On November 2nd 1873, the 'Ville de Havre' had collided with 'The Lochearn', an English vessel. It sank in only 12 minutes, claiming the lives of 226 people. Anna Spafford had stood bravely on the deck, with her daughters Annie, Maggie, Bessie and Tanetta clinging desperately to her. Her last memory had been of her baby being torn violently from her arms by the force of the waters. Anna was only saved from the fate of her daughters by a plank which floated beneath her unconscious body and propped her up. When the survivors of the wreck had been rescued, Mrs. Spafford's first reaction was one of complete despair. Then she heard a voice speak to her, "You were spared for a purpose." And she immediately recalled the words of a friend, "It's easy to be grateful and good when you have so much, but take care that you are not a fair-weather friend to God." Upon hearing the terrible news, Horatio Spafford boarded the next ship out of New York to join his bereaved wife. Bertha Spafford (the fifth daughter of Horatio and Anna born later) explained that during her father's voyage, the captain of the ship had called him to the bridge. "A careful reckoning has been made", he said, "and I believe we are now passing the place where the de Havre was wrecked. The water is three miles deep." Horatio then returned to his cabin and penned the lyrics of his great hymn. The words which Spafford wrote that day come from 2 Kings 4:26. They echo the response of the Shunammite woman to the sudden death of her only child. Though we are told "her soul is vexed within her", she still maintains that 'It is well" No matter what circumstances overtake us may we be able to say with Horatio Spafford... When peace like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blest assurance control, That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed His own blood for my soul! It is well ... with my soul! It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

What a loving God we serve

What a loving God we serve

God is big, very big. Man is small, really small. Why then do we have many examples in the Bible and in our lives of God caring for us, providing, defending and occasionally suspending natural laws because of those who believe in Him? God truly loves man and shows this in amazing ways. If you will wait on Him, you will surely see His wonders in your life and circumstances.

For since the world began,
no ear has heard
and no eye has seen a God like you,
who works for those who wait for him! (Isaiah 64:4 NLT)

Most of us think of a God who sits in the heavens, enjoying and receiving worship but many times we see a different picture in the Scriptures. We a Father who is actively engaged in the affairs of His children; looking for ways to help, encourage, deliver, heal, counsel, guide and guard.

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. (2 Chronicles 16:9a NKJV)

The secret to life is not self-love but God-love. When we align our lives with Jesus, we truly begin to live and control our circumstances rather than being controlled by them. We become proactive rather than reactive. We dictate rather than being subjects of our environment. What a privilege!

The Bible expressly declares that after resurrection, the Lord Jesus sat at the right hand of God in heaven. We read in the books of Ephesians and Hebrews;

which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, (Ephesians 1:20 NKJV)

Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, (Hebrews 8:1 NKJV)

If indeed Christ is seated at the throne of God, does He ever get up and under what circumstances? He gets up when those who are sold out to Him need attention. He rises up to stand by, defend, deliver and save those whose hearts are after Him. This was what happened to Stephen when he was being stoned.

But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, (Acts 7:55 NKJV).

From this passage, it's clear that the Lord Jesus would stand up for any of His people when the need arises. The love that drove Him to the cross continues to push Him to care deeply for us. Every believer who has this understanding should not suffer from depression, worry, anxiety and restlessness.

Is your heart loyal to the Lord? Do you wait on Him in praise, prayers and sometimes fasting? If so, be rest assured that God is on your side and His thoughts toward you are thoughts of good and not evil to give you a better than expected end.

Thank you Jesus for You not only died for us but You also intercede for us before the Father. Even when we don't pray as we should, Jesus, our Prayer Partner, continuously prays for us. It was the prayer of the Lord Jesus for Peter that saved him from permanent fall away from grace (Luke 22:31-33).
Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25 NKJV).

Worship Him who sits on the throne. He'll stand up for you when the need arises.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Group greater than self

What is a Group?
A group is a collection of people who interact with one another; accept rights and obligations as members and who share a common identity.
Criteria for a group include:
• formal structure
• 2 or more persons
• common fate
• common goals
• interdependence
• recognition by others

Stages of group development
Bruce Tuckman (1965) developed a 4-stage model of group development. He labeled the stages:
1. Forming: The group comes together and gets to initially know one other and form as a group.
2. Storming: A chaotic vying for leadership and trialing of group processes
3. Norming: Eventually agreement is reached on how the group operates
4. Performing: The group practices its craft and becomes effective in meeting its objectives.
Tuckman added a 5th stage 10 years later:
5. Adjourning: The process of "unforming" the group, that is, letting go of the group structure and moving on.
Forming - stage 1
There is high dependence on the leader for guidance and direction. Little agreement on team aims other than received from leader. Individual roles and responsibilities are unclear. Leader must be prepared to answer lots of questions about the team's purpose, objectives and external relationships. Leader directs.
Storming - stage 2
Decisions don't come easily within group. Team members vie for position as they attempt to establish themselves in relation to other team members and the leader, who might receive challenges from team members. Clarity of purpose increases but plenty of uncertainties persist. Cliques and factions form and there may be power struggles. The team needs to be focused on its goals to avoid becoming distracted by relationships and emotional issues. Compromises may be required to enable progress. Leader coaches.
Norming - stage 3
Agreement and consensus is largely formed among the team. Roles and responsibilities are clear and accepted. Big decisions are made by the group. Smaller decisions may be delegated to individuals or small teams within group. Commitment and unity is strong. The team may engage in fun and social activities. The team discusses and develops its processes and working style. There is general respect for the leader and some of leadership is more shared by the team. Leader facilitates and enables.
Performing - stage 4
The team is more strategically aware; the team knows clearly why it is doing what it is doing. The team has a shared vision and is able to stand on its own feet with no interference or participation from the leader. There is a focus on over-achieving goals, and the team makes most of the decisions against criteria agreed with the leader. The team has a high degree of autonomy. Disagreements occur but now they are resolved within the team positively and necessary changes to processes and structure are made by the team. Team members look after each other. The team requires delegated tasks and projects from the leader. The team does not need to be instructed or assisted. Team members might ask for assistance from the leader with personal and interpersonal development. Leader delegates and oversees.
Adjourning - stage 5
Tuckman's fifth stage, adjourning, is the break-up of the group, hopefully when the task is completed successfully, its purpose fulfilled; everyone can move on to new things, feeling good about what's been achieved.

The importance of groups from a biblical perspective
Principle 1: It is God-like to be group minded.
The Godhead is a group consisting of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. They are different yet the same. They function as 1 unit. In Genesis, we learn how the Trio worked to create the cosmos. The Father spoke (Genesis 1:3-26) and the Spirit hovered (Genesis 1:2) but concerning the Son we read, "All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him was not even one thing made that was made". (John 1:3). In making man, He said, "Let US make man in Our image after our likeness" (Genesis 1:26). The Trinity is a small group.
After creating man, he was found to be incomplete until a woman came into the scene. Man is like the Godhead in this respect. He is at his best as a small group called family.
After founding the family unit in Genesis 2:18-24, God moved on to recognize the extended family. In saving Noah’s family, he and his wife, his sons and their wives were all saved. (Genesis 7:7).
In the New Testament, upon being born-again, a believer becomes a host to the Holy Spirit. A Representative of the Trinity comes to live within. This makes every believer a group even when single! (1 Corinthians 6:19).
Ephesians 4:4-6. There are 7 Ones in these verses:
One Body, One Spirit, One Hope, One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One God.

“Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” Psalm 133:1
Beyond this, we are all members of the Body of Christ. Ephesians 4:3-6. “You are called to belong, not just believe” (Rick Warren).
Principle 2: Loners are losers; networkers are net winners.
Two are better than one, because together they can work effectively.
If one of them falls down, the other can help him up….
Two people can resist an attack that would defeat one person alone.
A rope made of three cords is hard to break. Ecclesiastes 4:9 TEV
Life is not for loners. Life is like a symphony. “No one can whistle a symphony. It takes an orchestra to play it”. H.E. Luccock.
There are gifts deposited in each of us that require other people’s input for us to maximize output and reach our utmost potential. How do humans develop? A baby is deposited into a loving family to groom and develop. Then he leaves for school to receive other inputs from other adults outside the family. He develops friends who also help shape his mind and hone his skills. He joins clubs, churches and associations where he learns more of life’s lessons. He gets married, linking up with another human to go through the battles of life. He becomes a parent, starting the cycle all over again.
Principle 3: Fellowship is God’s home address.
There are 2 addresses for the Almighty on earth: the praises of his people and fellowship. God inhabits the praises of His people and He also inhabits their coming together. “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there in their midst”. Matthew 18:20. Internet church can never fully duplicate a local church. Where is “their midst” when you attend an internet church? Is God sitting on a server somewhere? You miss God when you miss church.
Principle 4: Tough times never last; group people do.
“If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble” Ecclesiastes 9:10.
There comes a time in life when we all need the assistance of some other person to come along and help through adversity. Visions often need platforms but platforms are easier for those who have linked up with other people.
Barriers to Group Dynamics
Pride Proverbs 16:18, James 4:6. “Teamwork: Simply stated, it is less me and more we”. (Unknown). The following are barriers to benefitting from any group: competitive spirit, un-forgiveness, impatience, lack of vision and direction, too quick to judge (Matthew 1:7), mis-communication, gossip and tale bearing, immaturity in love (1 Corinthians 14:20).
Benefits of the Group
1. Group effort is the most powerful building tool in the history of creation. The tower of Babel demonstrates the power of many people working as one. Genesis 11:6. “The locusts have no King, yet go they forth all of them by bands” Proverbs 30:27. The acronym, TEAM, means Together Everyone Achieves More. One locust is easily destroyed by one person but a swarm of locust made Pharaoh to ask God for mercy (Psalms 78:46, Exodus 10:14-15, Joel 2:25)
2. Leverage. “How could one person chase a thousand of them, and two people put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, unless the Lord had given them up?” Deuteronomy 32:30. In this equation, 1 = 1000 but 2 = 10000. Teams share the burden and divide the grief.
- Doug Smith
3. The impossible becomes possible when individuals within a group are prepared to sacrifice for the common good. When a swarm of locusts reach a river, they search for the bank for a likely spot to cross, then fearlessly cast themselves upon the water where they form floating islands of insects, most of which usually succeed in getting to the opposite bank, though many perish in the attempt. Goals are almost always achievable for the group as long as necessary sacrifices are made by some of the members. “There is no I in Teamwork”. (Unknown).
4. Every minister needs a support. “If you don’t kick things around with people, you are out of it. Nobody, I always say, can be anybody without somebody being around”. (John Wheeler). Aaron and Hur supported Moses by lifting up his hands in the battle against Amalek (Exodus 17:10-12). Joshua and Caleb supported the ministry of Moses by declaring a positive report. David and Jonathan were covenant friends. Elisha poured water over Elijah’s hands and served him. Timothy labored with Paul, his mentor. “A single arrow is easily broken, but not ten in a bundle”. (Japanese proverb).

What to do within a group?
1. Maximize your strength and minimize your weakness. Celebrate diversity. There is a reason our fingers aren’t equal. “You don't get harmony when everybody sings the same note”. (Doug Floyd)
2. Act like Christ did within the Godhead (Philippians 2:5-8)
3. Be quick to praise, slow to blame. (James 1:19). “If anything goes bad, I did it. If anything goes semi-good, we did it. If anything goes really good, they did it. (Coach Bear Bryant).
4. Lead by serving (Matthew 23:11). “Wearing the same shirts doesn’t make a team”. (Buchholz and Roth). Don’t be neutral. Be committed. Someone wrote this poem:
There was a very cautious man Who never laughed or played. He never risked, he never tried, He never sang or prayed. And when he one day passed away, His insurance was denied. For since he never really lived, They claimed he never really died.
5. Be tenderhearted (Philippians 2:2-4, 1 Peter 3:8).
6. Be adaptable. (1 Corinthian 9:22).
7. Avoid strive (2 Timothy 2:24, 1 Corinthians 1:10-11).
8. Always act in love (John 13:35, 1 John 4:7-8, 1 Cor 12:25-26).
9. Sow accord so God does not hate you. (Proverbs 6:16-19).
10. Find common ground (Amos 3:3). A boat doesn’t go forward if each one is rowing their own way. (Swahili proverb).
John 17:11, 21-23
“I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are on”.
“That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me”.
The standard for our group formation is not the country club goal of tolerating each other. This is not a call for some form of affirmative action on unity. We are to be one in our group just as Christ is one with the Father. It is not simply putting up with people so we can fulfill some selfish ambition. It’s not using people in the name of the Lord. It’s being inter-dependent on others within the Body to the extent we are willing to lay down our lives for them just as Christ laid down his for us. It’s not lip service; it’s life service. “And all who believed were united and they had everything in common” Acts 2:45.
When we function as God wants us to, miracles and spectacular testimonies will abound, millions will be saved, prayer venues will be shaken, no one will go to bed hungry among us and the Lord will be glorified. I believe a people in these last days can come together in such a kindred spirit that God will take note of them just as He noticed the people who came together to build the Towel Babel. We saw a glimpse of this in the Acts of Apostles when many wonders were accomplished because the brethren were in one accord. May you and I be willing and available in the day of His power, Amen.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Obedience: The Foundation of Life

Obedience is the foundation of life

In Luke 6:46-49, the Lord Jesus told a parable of 2 houses. One was built with foundation, the other was not. The one built with foundation represents the man who hears and obeys the Lord. The house without foundation represents the individual who either cannot hear or refuses to obey God.

When life is good, there is no difference between the 2 houses. Each house stood firm without serious challenges. When things are going on well, no one issues the lack of foundation. However, when the storms of life come, the lack of foundation destroys the house that does not have it.

Obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit is the foundation of life. Those who learn to follow the voice of the Lord when times are good are able to stand in the day of trouble. This is because they have the ability to listen to what the Spirit is saying to them. Such individuals can therefore receive comfort, solace, assurance and instruction from the Lord without much ado. Please note that hard times come to all persons whether disobedient or not. Hardship happens to all without exceptions. Survival during difficult times depend on our ability to hear from the Lord what He wants us to do and not to do. Logic, networking, consultation, counseling etc all have their place and limitations. Learning to hear and obey the Lord is priceless. It comes from a lifestyle of regular feeding on the Bible, prayer and fasting. If you and I can adopt a lifestyle of:
Praying constantly
Meditating on the bible day and night
Fasting regularly,
We shall grow to become very sensitive to the voice of the Lord within and we shall be ready to take on the world no matter what storms may buffet us.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

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