“REBUKE THAT HURTS YET SO GOOD”

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Related imageOur walk with Christ is one full of “Choices” and honestly one of the great wonders of the Christian life is that we never have to end on a bad note. There’s always a choice to choose the right path. God always gives us something good to say. He gave us a Book filled with His own words of hope, even when we need to identify, expose, and lance sin with words of love and truth.

Okay… So when was the last time someone sat you down to tell you that you were wrong?

Rebuke doesn’t always feel nice, especially when it is not done right. Personally, these have been some of the most memorable and important conversations in my life, the conversations when someone I loved — father, mother, mentor, pastor, roommate, friend,— had the compassion and courage to tell me when I was out of line. However I felt in those difficult (and often painful) moments, I now treasure those memories (For instance I can now leave home well dressed and covered because my parents especially my mum during our adolescent age put us in check)  — the kind confrontations, the caring corrections, the loving rebukes.

We all need a steady diet of parental and friendly course correction, because our hearts — even our new hearts in Christ — are still susceptible to sin (Hebrews 3:13; Jeremiah 17:9). Do you value the hard conversations that keep you from making more mistakes, and guard you against slowly wandering away from Jesus?

We often under-appreciate rebuke — in our own lives, the departments we join in church even in our churches — obviously because we have such small understanding of what rebuke really is. If we are truly going to speak the hard truth in love — or appreciate when others say the hard thing to us — we need a bigger, fuller picture of what this kind of love looks like in relationships.

Reprove, Rebuke, Exhort — As the apostle Paul closes his second letter to his son in the faith, Timothy, he says, “Reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2).

Meaning you can’t go rebuking that sister or brother with a harsh tone expecting a good outcome. Paul in his bid as Timothy’s mentor — He warns Timothy that people will turn away from faithful preaching, preferring instead to listen to messages that conform to their desires and make them feel good about themselves. They will gladly trade away truths for myths, as long as the myths make much of ‘me’ — and downplay their sin and need for help and change.

Do you love the people in your life enough to “reprove, rebuke, and exhort,” even when they don’t want to hear it? Reprove with Honesty. Why reprove, rebuke, and exhort? It may sound redundant and excessive at first, as if Paul was saying, “Rebuke, rebuke, by all means, rebuke!” The three words are related, but distinct, each highlighting a critical aspect of healthy, biblical correction.

The word Paul uses here for “reprove” appears several other times in his letters, and can mean simply to rebuke (Titus 1:13) or correct (Matthew 18:15). But in most or all of the uses, it means to reprove by exposing sin or fault. For instance, Paul writes, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11). Or, “As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear” (1 Timothy 5:20).

Similarly, the apostle John writes, “Everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed” (John 3:20). And then again, about the Holy Spirit, “When he comes, he will convict [or expose] the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8). Timothy, be ready to call out sin, not just when it’s convenient, but when it’s needed, and even when it’s socially uncomfortable or costly to do so.

To care for each other well, we need to ask God for the courage and faith to tell the truth about sin, and expose it as such, even when doing so might offend someone we love.

When Jesus rebuked someone or something, he demanded, in effect, on God’s authority, that it cease and desist. Winds quieted. Demons exorcised. Fevers dismissed. And sin forsaken. Jesus says, “Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him” (Luke 17:3). Timothy, after you have exposed sin for what it is — deceitful, empty, fatal, evil — summon your brother to stop, on the basis of God’s word and authority. Open the Bible, point to or quote a particular text, and call for repentance. And if he repents, extend forgiveness from that same Book and with that same authority.

If we are going to rebuke well, we must ask God to show us in His word what sin is, and what it is not. And having seen sin in one another, we must consistently and boldly — and graciously — speak up and charge one another to change, to turn, to cease from sin.

 

Welcome to the month of February!

Stay blessed, Always!

PS: I don’t own the rights to any of the images

MOVE FORWARD WITH INTEGRITY

Did I tell you I have integrity and excellence slated out as my resolution for this year? Well, I think I just did. Let’s see the definition of Integrity; the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles — honorable. Joseph is our sure reference.

The key to Joseph’s turnaround in life is something we can easily overlook, which is the fact that he continued to do what was right whenever he was being wronged.

Joseph was simply a man of integrity. His life is proof of the truth that — If you will trust God in the pit and in the prison, God will bring you into the palace. He will bless and favor you.

Have you been there before? How many times have you wanted to give back a “wrong for a wrong” response? I have been — okay confession — countless times.

“The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” (Exodus 14:14 KJV)

Continuously renew your mind to let go while God plays defense attorney on your behalf. And guess what we’ve been assured of peace. The one true peace that surpasses all human understanding. Jesus — Peace.

Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him. (Psalm 105:19 KJV)

These very words were spoken with reference to Joseph, during the period of his imprisonment. For the understanding of them I think we must observe that there is a contrast drawn between two ‘words,’ ‘his’ (i.e. Joseph’s) and God’s. If we lay firm hold of that clue, I think it will lead us into clear daylight.

Look what happened when Joseph chose to move forward with integrity,
God rewarded him.

40 Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou.

41 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.

42 And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck;

43 And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt. (Genesis 41:40-43 KJV)

You may not be able to see it now, but the same God who did these things for Joseph will do them for you. He will restore the things taken from you.

May the gatekeeper of wisdom redeem your life from the pit and crown you with love and compassion. Amen

Win from the inside with integrity.

 

I don’t own the right to any of the images”

Submission — Simply Yielded

Ultimately, submission centers us directly in the will of God and gives us the opportunity to experience the best we could ever imagine.

Surrender. That’s the key. Orient yourself toward a posture of obedience—up front!—that’s how the door flings open for His voice to be heard and His will to be accomplished. The Lord says to those of His children who freely submit their wills to His:

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8)

So hold it in your hands today. The key, I mean. Right now, in your mind’s eye, picture God’s guidance and directives to you as a large, ornate, silver key. It runs the full length of your palm, extending beyond your fingertips on one end and beyond your wrist on the other. It’s unlike any other key you’ve ever seen or used before—that’s how you know it must be able to unlock something you’ve never experienced before. It’s worth it. This key. It’s as unique as your own fingerprints. And it’s yours. It is God’s specific assignment and calling for you.

Now, right here, right now, make the commitment to use this key. I promise He will give you opportunity for it throughout this study and in the days beyond. Choose right now, before you do anything else, to receive this key and take seriously the privilege of using it.

I know it’ll require courage and tenacity. Yet even without full clarity as to what He may ask you to do or where He may instruct you to use it, either now or in the future, make the choice in advance to say “Yes, Lord,” sure that this key of obedience will unlock every good and perfect gift your Father intends for you. Think back to the things that are keeping you from surrendering to God in every aspect of your life. Offer each of them to Him.

Then, be brave enough to let God search you further. Ask Him to reveal any calloused places that may be blocking you from clearly hearing His voice. Yield to Him any area where you sense resistance and doubt.

You’re making a “key” decision here, crucial to being able to experience what walking confidently in His will is all about. 

Just thought I should share what I’m currently learning in this season, hope it blesses you.

Stay blessed!

Finding Life’s Balance

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We are a few weeks into the new year new me season right? Lol. But it is not too late to wish you a Happy New Year, as usual I haven’t kept to my promise of posting more but that’s going to change definitely this year as I have made discipline and excellence among others, my core resolutions this year. I hope you won’t mind sharing some of your resolutions with me…

So I am coming your way with a few lessons from last year. I believe that our lives consists of an ongoing hand-off of tasks and juggling responsibilities that need strict precision to keep moving. There have been many times when I lived without a pause button, but last year tops them all. I took on four jobs, all with demanding and herculean tasks and that could be your story too. Where days ran into nights and weeks blurred into months without us having any time to relax and catch our breath. 

Thankfully, that season of busyness came to an end, but I declared that kind of overload would never, ever happen again. There was absolutely no margin for error or sickness. In the aftermath, I realized I had no non-negotiable boundaries set in place to protect me against that kind of crazy. Everything was secondary to cancel so I could get more done: I gave up family gatherings, leisure time, hangouts with friends and didn’t guard the Sabbath.

That season, and many others before it, proved that unless I put borders around my busyness, I will be a wreck, my family and relationships will too. But it also begs the question: Does life balance even exist?

 Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12(NIV)

For most of us, there are few non-negotiable boundaries when it comes to busyness. We live without the built-in rhythms of the rising and setting sun that guided our parents just a few generations back. 

We could work 24 hours a day if our bodies and minds would let us. Hence, we get drawn into a nonstop lifestyle of work. Although I firmly believe the Bible honors hard work, the Bible does not say we need to be busy all the time. This is where we need wisdom to find a balance between work and rest.

I love how King David acknowledges God’s perfect plans:

LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places: surely I have a delightful inheritance” (Ps. 16:5-6).

Although David refers to property lines, this is a lovely image of God’s plan for balancing our lives. God has boundary lines established for us that are pleasant and manageable. He never meant for our lives to be a jumble of overcommitment. Rather, God’s plan is peaceful and ordered.

And in order to find that pleasant place, we need to have healthy boundaries on our time with lots of margin built in. Margin plays an important part with a boundary, whether it’s on our property or in our lives. Margin creates safe places, adding beauty, breathing room and balance for the eye and mind.

Did a little research on editing and publishing and learnt this. The beauty of “a well-designed page isn’t just what you see; it’s also what you don’t see. The un-designed area, called white space, carries as much, if not more, impact as the words or graphics.”

A significant value of white space is to make the page visually appealing so you want to read it. As our eyes scan a crowded page, our minds tell us it’s too much work and we disengage. But a page with lots of white space invites you in. It doesn’t feel overwhelming or chaotic. It feels simple, doable, calm. White space gives the reader a mental break while at the same time drawing your attention to what’s most important.

And this is what a life with margin around boundaries does for us. When our lives are overcrowded with “content” and lacking white space, we will feel cluttered and confused. It’s hard to identify what’s most important because it all runs together in a blur. But by creating balance in establishing boundaries for our busyness, we give ourselves breathing room. We give ourselves time to think, dream and plan. Busy gets seriously out-of-control without boundaries.

Finding balance is possible. Establishing healthy boundaries involves editing the content in our lives, carefully identifying what’s most important… what God is asking us to do today and this very season of our lives. Then as we remove what’s not ours to do, we can breathe a sigh of relief at the beauty that’s revealed in our lives.

Prayer

Lord, thank You that Your plan for me is pleasant and secure. Be with me today as I seek to find the blueprint for my life ahead. I ask often; help me to listen well. Help me see those areas of my life that are crowded and confusing, and give me the wisdom to create a balance… to set boundary lines that bring peace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Stay Blessed, Always!

Hearing From the Lord.

Image result for image of someone listening to the word of god

Just thought I should share this with you; I hope you’ll forgive me for going silent while you’re at it. Does God ever speak? Perhaps you and I need hearing aid…

Get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls” James 1:21 (NLT).

We’ve all noticed that the reception quality on a cell phone varies widely. The same is true with you. You must be positioned correctly to hear God speak.

Sometimes we don’t give God a chance to talk to us. We’ve made up our minds. We want to do what we want to do, not what God wants us to do. Our hearts are hardened, and we’re unwilling to listen. I am definitely a culprit. 

When you have a closed mind, of course he’s not going to talk to you!

But if you really want to hear from God — and what believer doesn’t? — you have to understand what is keeping you from hearing from God. Sharing on three mental barriers that keeps our minds closed to God’s message.

  1. Pride. If you think you don’t need God in your life and you want to handle things yourself, you’re probably not listening for God to speak. Pride keeps you from being open to the possibility that God might want to say something to you.
  2. Fear. A lot of people can’t hear God because they’re afraid to hear God speak. Maybe you think that hearing God’s voice or sensing his leading makes you some kind of religious fanatic.
  3. Bitterness. When you hold on to hurt, resentment, or a grudge, you’re not going to be able to hear God, because your heart is hardened. It has grown cold and made you defensive, even to God’s love.

Perhaps you have been hurt badly, maybe this week or even years ago, and you’re still holding on to it. I want to tell you that you’ve got to let it go. Not for another person’s sake, but for your sake. The resentment is killing you! Resentment is a self-inflicted wound that allows people from your past to continue to hurt you today. You need to let it go, not because they deserve forgiveness but because you need to get on with your life. You need to get rid of the bitterness, fear, and pride that keep you from hearing God’s voice and living out his purpose for your life.

James 1:21 says, “Get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls” (NLT).

“Humbly accept” means you let go of your pride and stop trying to figure it out on your own. This is the key to opening our minds and hearts so that we can hear from the Lord.

Think this through;

  •  How do you hear God’s voice or sense his leading? (John 8:47, John 10:27,28, Psalm 25:4-5)
  •  In what ways has he spoken to you? (Mark 4:27, Proverbs 2:1-5, Romans 10:17, John 10:2-4)
  •  What changes do you need to make in your life so that you can get rid of the “filth and evil” (distractions) and hear God’s voice? (Ezekiel 3:10, Deuteronomy 32:1-2)

 

“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God.” Deuteronomy 28:1-2

Stay Blessed!

“Love Everybody, Always!”

It’s easy to love kind, lovely, humble people. I mean, who wouldn’t? These are the ones I’ve spent much of my life loving. Loving the people who are easy to love made me feel like I was really good at it. Because the people I loved were kind and wonderful, they made sure they told me what a great job I was doing loving them.

What I’ve come to realize, though, is that I was avoiding the people I didn’t understand and the ones who lived differently than me. Here’s why: some of them creep me out. Sure, I was polite to them, but sadly, I’ve spent my whole life avoiding the people Jesus spent His whole life engaging. God’s idea isn’t that we would just give and receive love but that we could actually become love. The way we do this can be summarized like this:

His plan is that we would love everybody, always.

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:36-40 KJV)

People who are becoming love see the beauty in others even when their off-putting behavior makes for a pretty weird mask. What Jesus told His friends can be summed up in this way: He wants us to love everybody, always—and start with the people who creep us out. The truth is, we probably creep them out as much as they do us.

Are there people you should give a wide berth to? You bet. There are people in my life and yours who are unsafe, toxic, and delight in sowing discord wherever they go. God gave us discernment, and we should use it as we live our lives. He’s also given us love and understanding and kindness and the ability to forgive, which have power we often leave untapped.

There’s a difference between good judgment and living in judgment. The trick is to use lots of the first and to go a little lighter on the second if we want to live the big life Jesus talked about.

Remember you heart is one organ that is always vacant and the tenant is LOVE.

God loves you,

I do too.

Stay blessed, Always.

I’d like to recommend Goff’s book, Everybody, Always, click here: https://amzn.to/2I5UF4K

When it’s Hard to Hope…

Sometimes it’s hard to hope for a miracle — it’s hard to believe in what God says when your reality seems so starkly dark, blurred, completely different. By nature, God is a promiser. He’s made a ton of them to His children.

A promise is the assurance that God gives to His people so they can walk by faith(hope) while they wait for Him to work. 

The Christian life would be easy now if the space in time is small between when you claim God’s promises and when you receive what He promised. Read it one day and get it the next. Wouldn’t that be great!? 

But life’s not like that.

The hard part is in the waiting between the promise and the answer; and even harder, when the waiting comes with uncertainties. 

Where’s this going? Where am I going to end up? What’s my future look like?

The reality is, we just don’t know and it’s this not-knowing that crushes us. We doubt because we don’t know. We worry and despair because we don’t know. We falter and sometimes fail – all because we don’t know. If only we knew how this trial was going to play out, we would be OK. But we don’t.

I can take a bad day. I can take a bad month. I can even take a bad year, if I have to, as long as I know how it will end up. For some of you it’s a health crisis. For another, it’s a question about your big moment. For someone else, it’s a restlessness in your soul. We all have areas of uncertainty where we need to hold on to what God has said. His promises are what we cling to while we wait for Him to work. Our Hope is in God. He knows what He has promised, He can’t lie, and He can’t forget. He will deliver on time, all the time.

Who else can make promises like that?

We see reflections of this same struggle in the Bible: Abraham and Sarah waiting for a son, Joseph waiting in prison, Moses waiting to reach the Promise Land, David waiting to be appointed king … or Jesus waiting for His ministry to begin.

How did they endure years of waiting?

11 It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed[b] that God would keep his promise (Hebrews 11:11) NLT

Another version says “She considered him faithful who had made the promise.” – (Hebrews 11:11) NIV

No matter the situation you find yourself in, you must choose to focus on the good, be hopeful. Focus on what is going right in your life. The devil often uses everything that is going wrong in our lives to make it seem like God is not working. But God is always at work in the lives of His Children. 

Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalms 121:4)  

We serve a God that does not sleep. He does not miss a thing. Even while you are sleeping or waiting for your miracle and your enemies are awake doing mischief. God is up working the night shift on your behalf. He is fighting on your behalf. Despite what you may be facing today, examine the hand of God in your life. Don’t get me wrong, not everything in my life is going well but I am determined to Hold on to Hope.

Sometimes it helps to reflect on where God has brought you from. You’ve come along way; You’re still alive. You were sick he healed you. You were jobless but you have a good job now. It helps to count your blessings. Don’t allow other people’s progress in life to cause what God is doing for you to go unnoticed. We’re all different and move at a different pace. Be patient with yourself and stop being so hard on yourself. You are doing great, and God is greater than your struggle!

“Hold on to Hope of His faithfulness”

Stay Blessed, Always!