CALLED OUT

Image result for set apart for GodDuring my first time at outreach(2013) I was paired up with a friend Kobby (Now Ps. Kobby Obeng by God’s grace, God Bless this Gentleman). I believe God really set that up because every conversation I have had with him has been very enlightening. Out of these conversations one of them (outreach 2015) was a very defining moment for me. He said “Elinam whenever God wants to transform a generation (people, a bloodline, a family, a community ) He usually uses one person — you are that one person, you are chosen and He will equip you to get this done” He reminded me of this same word during our prayer time this dawn, I’ve heard this a couple of times, I remember back in senior high one of our pastors said something similar during S.U. but this time around when Kobby said those words to me it made sense, it struck a nerve. Honestly I don’t enjoy hearing things like this, that’s because it simply means… Responsibility and Difference. 

What does it mean to be Chosen? To be set apart? To be Called out?

To be set apart means that God has His hand on you for a specific(unique) purpose. He’ll use other people to get you on track, in addition to dreams, visions, and that “still small voice” of God. A scripture that would fit nicely with this is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” He guides our lives differently than it might have been had we not submitted to His call. And even though it may appear that we are not in ministry, we are marked by God to minister in the day to day living. Because He has set us apart, we are already walking into our destinies.

Have you ever found yourself among a group of friends, and with every conversation and activity you have with them, you keep feeling on the inside that you are different? — Personally I’ve lost a number of friends due to this difference.

You will feel a pull away from people and things that distract you. Even though you may feel as if you are put on a shelf and forgotten, you have been set apart for the call of God on your life. It is during these times that we will find ourselves spending quality time with God as He molds and makes us into His image. He will build a character in us so that when it is time to go on the frontlines, He knows we will be ready. He will be able to trust us with what has been appointed for us to do. Jesus said, “Come out from among them and be ye separate.” (2 Corinthians 6:17)

Matthew 22:14 says, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” It is as if we can picture Jesus standing in the middle of a very busy, dusty, marketplace like malata market, not even aware of all the disruption going on around Him. Instead He is intently holding up and examining select pieces of fruit. After deciding on His choice, He gently places them one by one in a basket cradled in the crook of His arm, close to His side. You could say that we are separated from worldliness and given new purpose in Jesus to be used by God.

I don’t know if you’ve experienced this before — recently I paid my mum a visit — I was hungry so I chose a tuber of yam out of a lot, peeling it just to find out that it was totally rotten on the inside. Then the Holy Spirit spoke to me saying; that this fruit is symbolic to what some Christians are like. They are beautiful on the outside but the inside tells a different story. This got me deep in thought, I felt the need to check myself to make sure that I was clean before the Lord. God has chosen us to do a work for Him and we need to be “set apart”, chosen to do a work for the King. He has anointed us and equipped us to be used for the advancement of His kingdom.

I have felt called to be separated unto God. My desires to please God. I did not always succeed, but my heart has always been for God. If I get off track, God always gently guides me back onto the path He has chosen for me. 1 Thessalonians 4 tells us that we should live a life pleasing to the Lord. Paul is encouraging us to live it even more than before. 1 Thessalonians 4:9 instructs us to love our Christian families and Christians around us. He exhorts us to love them even more.

God’s Word is clear on our call to be completely set-apart for Him: “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:17). Of course, this doesn’t mean that we hibernate away in a cave or that we barricade from the world in a nunnery somewhere. In fact, God commands us to go into all the world and make disciples in His name; to seek and save the lost just as Jesus did (Mark 16:15).

But how? By engaging in the same behavior and lifestyle as everyone else, so that we can be accepted by secular society? No. Rather, the Bible says that we should expect to look strange to the world because of our set-apartness, when we do “not live the rest of this earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do – living in debauchery, lust, addictions, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you” (1 Peter 4:2-4).

God says that our lives will give off an appealing fragrance to those who are ready to receive Christ – but to those enslaved by sin, our separation from the world will cause great offense everywhere we go (2 Cor. 2:14-16). Though it is not easy to walk the narrow way that God has called us to, we must understand that being set-apart for Him is not a hamper to our Christian witness. Being set-apart is our Christian witness. 1 Thessalonians 5:6 says, “So we should not be like other people who are sleeping, but we should be alert and have self-control.” 1 Thessalonians 5:8 says, “We should wear faith and love to protect us, and the hope of salvation should be our helmet.

Do you get the point by now? If we are set apart to do the work of the Lord, then we will not have time to get into trouble; especially if our hearts are set on pleasing God. We should be working on being full of the fruit of the Spirit and telling people about the message of the Gospel of peace. That alone is a full-time job.

And as Paul ends 2 Thessalonians, “Now may the Lord of peace give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.”

Don’t expect a round of human applause when you choose the set-apart life. But remember that in its place you will gain something far better – a standing ovation from Jesus Christ. Take the story of Abraham, Moses even Jesus was set apart. I love the story of Stephen heroically giving his life for the sake of the Gospel. Just before he died, he saw heaven opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of the Father (Acts 7:56). Stephen’s willing sacrifice brought such delight to the heart of Christ that the King of all kings actually stood to welcome him into eternity. I don’t know about you, but that’s all the applause I could ever want or need. I don’t want to meet Him with my head hanged down.

PRAYER

Dear Lord, first of all, I thank you today that you have set me apart on the basis of your sovereign grace, not because of anything I have done. In no way am I godly enough to earn your favor. But I am a glad recipient of your grace which binds me to you and helps me to be more like you. My godliness is borrowed, completely borrowed. Thank you, dear Lord, for being such a generous lender. And thank you as well for setting me apart for you, not just for your work, but first of all for relationship with you. What an incredible privilege it is to know you, to have freedom to speak to you, to rely upon you, and to call you Father. Lord, even as I seek to serve you with my life, may my service be an outgrowth of my intimate relationship with you. Amen.

Set yourself apart for God’s Glory! You’re Chosen. Stay Blessed!

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SAFE PLACE

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During corporate worship, God works by His Spirit in a special way, which is why gathering to sing and worship together is so important. But then the gathered body of Christ represents an incredible array of experiences. Different people, different hopes and dreams, different fears and insecurities, different struggles and temptations.  No two people in those pews are exactly the same. Every one is unique, and in the same manner we must all yearn for personal encounters when it comes to worship —corporate worship will be of no value to you if you do not have an individual understanding and encounter of worship, 

The apostle Paul described the corporate singing of God’s people as one of the primary ways the Spirit of God works in our hearts: 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to reckless indiscretion. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord…” (Ephesians 5:18-19). Our worship life should be filled with the Holy Spirit. You’d agree with me that as little children our interest in the things of God is worth admiring (mine was to always hide in closets and under beds to cry whenever I came back from Sunday school because my teacher told me Jesus was nailed to the cross and there was blood and he died for me) whenever my mum or any one caught me there I’d say I am crying for Jesus — but that changes as we grow. Personally I’ll admit that at a point, I hesitated to treat manifestations as being the result of encountering the Holy Spirit. 

I was part of the youth choir at Perez chapel a few years back(then known as world miracle international) I’d sit somewhere in the congregation instead of joining the choir on stage to minister, during worship, I’ll hold myself from lifting my hands or expressing myself because there’s probably a cute guy sitting close to me and I don’t want him to think I am too Holy (lol I doubt I am the only culprit) there was something missing about my worship. However, when I joined the Harvest Gospel Choir back on campus I made a conscious effort by asking God to help me and also telling myself “I wasn’t going to repeat those naive mistakes again” (I started taking my worship life seriously). Where am I getting with this?

We see the exact things happening all around us especially in church — and this is because most people resist the move of the Holy spirit because it may mean losing control and doing things like swooning, shaking, growling or fainting. It’s like saying, “God, I hope no one from my neighborhood (that particular guy or lady you have a crush on) sees me here, cause of the fear of they telling everyone how weird or what kind of a wacko I’ve become — they might even end up thinking I am a witch or probably being delivered” 

Well, thank God for grace I am no longer fazed by all that — to worship is my safe place, a place where I can lay my vulnerability at his feet without holding back. In an encounter with God, the only reaction worth having is one of breaking down and surrendering to God. In fact, it would be hard to picture how it would happen. Given the rank of the One (God) we’re talking about (some do it with tears, some kneeling, some rolling, some just lying prostrate), anyway who cares what they say about your worship? Bottom line is our emotions must go crazy in such an encounter.

“Our worship on Sunday morning doesn’t meet a need in God. It meets a need in us.” — God Does not need you or me in order for Him to be God, because if we choose not to worship God, He will still be God. It is beneficial for us to worship him. We must learn to stop approaching worship as if we are doing Him a favor.

“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.” (Acts 17:24–25)

Simply put, God does not need you or me to be God. He is not insecure that he created you and I to worship rather He is altogether self-sufficient, dependent on no one. He is, in fact, the one who is responsible for the existence and preservation of all life, yours and mine. Therefore, he cannot be “served” as if he were needy or exhausted or weak or lacking something that only you and I or the people of your church or choir can supply. To worship God is to give Him our love, reverence, service, and devotion. The Lord commanded Moses;

“Worship God, for him only shalt thou serve” (Moses 1:15) He has also commanded,

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy might, mind, and strength; and in the name of Jesus Christ thou shalt serve him” (Deu 6:5).

Worship not only shows our love for God (genuinely based on how we feel) and our commitment to Him, it gives us strength to keep His commandments. Through worship we grow in knowledge and faithfulness. If we place any person or thing above the love of God, we worship that thing or person. This is called idolatry (Exodus 20:3-6). I pray this helps someone make a decision not to be distracted in his/her worship life

(My thoughts on) How to Worship 

  • I love music a lot (there’s always some music playing no matter what I am doing) and that is one of the ways to worship. Listening to worship songs
  • Prayer is one way to worship (Sometimes the music is playing, yet all you can do is pray and speak in the language of the spirit and that is equally worship)
  • You can also worship by studying the word and meditating on them. Also by listening to recorded messages or sermons (Personally I  listen to sermons from the Archbishop N. Duncan Williams, Rev. Eastwood-Anaba, Pastor Prince, TD Jakes, Heather Lindsey, Toure Roberts, etc) 
  • Another way of worshiping is through fellowship (“For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst” Matthew 18:20)

True worship is not limited to one day of the week, it is a daily habit. Most importantly there should be a personal desire to worship and with this desire God will enable you through the move of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, thank you for your grace and mercies that we share in day in and day out. We come before you admitting that we can not worship you based on our own understanding, hence grant unto us grace that there may be a renewal of hearts and minds with regards to how we worship, we ask that you send forth your Holy spirit to transform and enable us through grace to willingly let ourselves go and  focus more on you during worship be it corporately and individually, Let our Love for worship grow more and more in you in Jesus name. Amen

 

 

I HAVE AN ADDICTION

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Help, I think I have an addiction. No. Scratch that, Can I be honest? I am an addict. Wait. Not what you’re thinking. No. I don’t do drugs, no, not alcohol, neither is it sex — my addiction is with this small but powerful device called a smartphone.  Just like this blog, my phone is an outlet to vent to the world. In bed, propped up by pillows, eyes on my phone screen and wondering, how did I even end up on this page (yes stalker traits). The comments, the fake love, the tweets, the likes on Instagram even seem to carry some value now. I pick up my phone for one thing, my hand is on default, my fingers automatically end up doing a thousand others.

I am overwhelmed by the pieces of me floating on social media. The phone buzzes, check out the issue, respond cleverly as usual, and then hover for a moment, contemplating my next move. Nothing comes to mind, so I open up a new app — Instagram, perhaps, Facebook or Twitter, or maybe scrolling through old pictures, laughing sadly at the good times gone by. Next thing I know my phone is hot, my hands are sore, my brain dizzy and disappointed, my posture bares a strong resemblance to an overacting third grader playing car race “Elinam” You’ve been outsmarted by your very own phone — again.

Addiction is usually defined as something that begins to control your life and starts interfering with your day-to-day activities, work, and relationships.  Whiles talking about addiction, we may often think of someone who wakes up to a glass of scotch instead of a cup of tea. However, with technology, signs of addiction are now found in the form of staring at a cell phone. Catching up with a friend, then she pulls out her cell phone to post a picture on Instagram or snapchat. The same thing occurs during family meals, devotion time and even in church.(I am a culprit)

We cannot allow anything to have excessive access to our lives without denying access to something else. I am usually up between the hours of 1am – 5am, mostly I pray during these times  — honestly the number of times I end up on my phone even before deciding to pray are countless. My mind says its prayer time my fingers say check that notification out. I don’t want to place anything above the love I have for God. The bible tells us that If we place any person or thing above the love of God, we worship that thing or person. This is called idolatry (as stated in Exodus 20:3-6).

God, please show us the functions(purpose) you’ve placed inside of us and give us the wisdom to not abuse that knowledge. I don’t want to be so overwhelmed with the options that I miss out on fulfilling my purpose. We place more weight on ourselves than God requires of us and then demand in prayer that He helps us balance it. Or worse, we let the response of people become more important than our purpose. We have to reply to the text message immediately or someone’s feelings will be hurt. The office can’t wait for the email. Before you know it you’re checking out a fashion page and you forget to check the email. 

It is pretty common to brush off such incidents as etiquette issues or bad manners. But, the reality may be far more complicated than it appears. The Bible tells us “there is a time for everything” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). The smartphone has become a constant companion (very handy) whiles we leave our bibles at home. We carry it throughout the day and keep it by our bedside at night. We allow ourselves to be interrupted with messages from social media, emails and texts.We must be careful — that we aren’t tapped into so many things that we forget what’s most important. May our purpose never get lost in the shuffle.

PS: I am not saying the smartphone or social media is bad. But personally, at this particular point in time, it is distracting my walk with God.(Focus)

Measures Taken (My Thoughts)

  • Praying to God to help me battle out this addiction through grace.   
  • Last month I started a 90 day plan to stay off certain platforms by deleting the apps (Instagram, snap chat, twitter) Lol I miss Instagram tho.
  • Challenging myself to only pick up my phone when necessary. Constantly reminding myself that though my phone has a lot of functions I am only picking it up at that time, for one purpose. 
  • To share the word of God through these social platforms as well. Even though they can be distracting they can also be helpful through what I share.
  • Implementing time limits and friends who serve as a check when I’m online. Set up a DND feature on my phone (do not disturb) that prevents me from picking calls after a certain time. Turn my phone off if I have to prevent having divided attention.

Prayer

Dear Jesus, I don’t want to place anything above the love I have for you,  help me deal with this addiction, help me to focus more on you and your word. Please help remind me of Your purpose for my life. I see so many opportunities for growth in front of me. I don’t want to do something that is outside of your will concerning my Life, or something that fails at edifying and maximizing the purpose You have for me. I have the faith to stand by Your word, but life brings luring opportunities, and we get spoilt for choices, when we see good down every avenue. Everyone talks about having faith to fight the bad things in our lives. Give me the audacity to turn away from any good opportunity that isn’t ultimately going to better me for You in Jesus Name… Amen.