Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh (Mathew24:44)
We all make plans. Some of us make plans not to make plans. From lunch plans to long-term plans, family planning to unplanned medical emergencies, the wheels of our life rattles on whether we plan it or not. Individuals have plans, partners have plans, your organization makes plans so does your church. Above all God has plans for the individual, the partners, the local and the global church.
The bible repeats that Gods plans for us are good ( Jeremiah29:11, Romans12:2, Ephesians2:10). Most of us who walk with God have some inkling of where he is taking us or what promise is awaiting us. Joseph knew God would raise him above his brothers and Abraham waited a century to be “the Father of Nations”. Joseph didn’t know that plan would first take him to the bottom of a pit and then prison and Abraham couldn’t have imagined God’s timing is inconceivable.
But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only ( Mathew 24:36).
Maybe you are like Saul, zealous and thinking you have figured it all out and on a horse to strike down heretics or perhaps you are Paul, knocked off the horse and blind, learning to start all over again. Some of us are like Israel in the wilderness, stuck with the same problems we had forty years ago, with God saying “Ye have circled this mountain long enough: Now turn north”(DEUT 2:3).
Whatever state you or your plans are in, I want to remind you to “Commit your works to the LORD, And your plans will be established.”(Proverbs 16:3). The word “commit” means “to pledge or bind to”. All your efforts of the day, all your ambition for the next decade, all those goals you have set for yourself, any of it and all of it need to be bound to the Lord your God. This commitment from your end is followed by God’s commitment to establish your plans.
How do you bind these abstract concepts to a living God? I suggest you begin with the 3 C’s.
- Take Counsel
- Carry on with the cross
Communicate with God about the plans you have. Communicate through your prayers, in your quiet time, when you see signs. Talk to God about it and hear Him when he speaks. The throne of grace is open unto the children who come looking for their Fathers face.
Take counsel from God, your elders, and your partners. Seek wisdom and she will be found. To take counsel we need to be well versed in humility. Greatness cannot be achieved without humility. God places people in our lives to help us in our journey. Get the help you need.
Carry on with the cross. No matter what state your plan is in right now you have one sure calling in your life and that is to carry the cross daily.
Let each day you live be in the light of what Christ has accomplished on our behalf. Let each day be about carrying on with the work of the Gospel that you have freely received to freely give away. Keep playing your role in the work of the kingdom. Keep in mind everything we do here on earth is just the rehearsal for what God has planned for us in eternity. So in the midst of it all -be ye also ready.
May God bless you and your plans!
In the old testament, David contemplates himself, his actions and the course of his life and he submits these thoughts as a prayer to God. Self-evaluation or self-examination is a tool and an ability God has granted us. Christians should not shy away from introspection.
David and all his contemporaries who were under the law of sin and death always desired to do what is right but lacked the ability to do so (Romans7:18). The law was good and holy. The people of God desired to obey the law. But since sin entered all flesh through one man, Adam, humanity weakened in their ability to fulfill the requirements of the Law.
“Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults. Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; Let them not rule over me; Then I will be blameless, And I shall be acquitted of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock, and my Redeemer.”
But all that changed with one man – Jesus Christ.
Romans 8:3-4, For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Today our blamelessness does not come from our perfect obedience to the law but rather we are made righteous by faith in Christ who fulfilled the law.
Do we, who believe in Christ and are made righteous in Christ require self-evaluation and introspection? The bible says yes! Grace has not been given to us to live in the patterns of the flesh but rather it empowers us to overcome the effect of the tendencies of the flesh. Apostle Paul says “ consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to the God in Christ Jesus.” Sin will keep poking at us but a truly dead man has no response to this poking and prodding. On the other hand being alive to God indicates motion and growth towards God’s will and purpose for the life we have been granted.
No one is exempt from the wiles of the devil. But those who are in Christ have all that they need to resist the devil. This is precisely why the new testament keeps reminding the believer to consider himself.
In 2 Corinthians 13:5 Paul instructs the church to “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?”
Paul not only asks them to examine themselves but also tells them how to test themselves. “Do you not realize that Christ is in you?”
Are you reflecting him in every walk of your life? Are you praying with Faith the Son had in the Father? Are you serving the Kingdom with zeal? Are you reaching out in love and giving away in gladness?
Or as Peter says “To sum up all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead.. sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” (1 Peter 3: 8-15)
The litmus test of your walk with God is evident in how much you have transformed into likeness with Christ. Today as you consider yourself and if you feel like you are failing the test, don’t be disheartened, His grace is sufficient. His strength is made perfect in our weakness.
The battle between our desire to please God and chase after sin has been won by Christ on the cross. Let us live in this victory.
Pain, disappointment, fear, uncertainty or threats are all troubles we have become familiar with. Sometimes we ourselves go through pain and loss. At other times we have stood with those who suffer. Jesus said “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world(John 16:33).” What does it mean to take heart, especially on those days when troubles are surrounding us?
A Christian usually knows the state of his heart. We have experienced “peace that surpasses understanding down in our hearts” or “bubbling joy” or at least a sense of rightness and contentment after spending a little time in the presence of God. There are times when our faith is strong, so strong, we can walk on waters with gladness.
Then there are those seasons of seemingly no respite. Day after day, our little boat just gets tossed around by the tall waves, our hands hurting from holding on to the faith we profess, our breath has gone weak and stale, for we are worn out after declaring victory over the storm over and over again.
When the battles are long, it hurts a lot. Where is the God who parted the seas? Why did my faith not tame the sea? What do we do when it seems as though God’s plan all along was to break my heart? How can we ‘take heart’ when there is no heart left?
The Bible answers,
“In just a little while,
He who is coming will come
and will not delay.”
Cast not away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised (Hebrews 10:35-37).
If you have answered God’s call in your life, if you have obeyed the will of God, if you have submitted your wit and your will to the guidance of God, chances are you have faced adversity, experienced loss and wondered why. As soon as we align ourselves with the things of God we are in a actively hostile territory. The trouble is a guarantee. But so is His presence in the fire. If there is a fire burning against you, willing to devour you, then you can be sure He will join you in the fire.
In the Bible, rivers are used to symbolize the Holy Spirit.
Through a season where I realized I don’t have what it takes to stand in times of adversities, the Lord showed me this river of Healing, that carries the richness of the provision borne by the Holy Spirit in us.
We hear sermons on bold faith, quiet trusting in seasons of mystery, waiting, patience, endurance so on and so forth. These attributes are seen in the heroes of the bible – Abraham’s faith, Joseph’s endurance in the pit, Daniel’s faithfulness, Joshua’s courage.
These individuals are known for their assets in the Lord due to which the Lord lift them up. But there are also individuals whom God exalted from the dust of the earth; The Gideon who was the least, Moses who was the stutterer, Peter who denied the Lord, Paul the murderer.
The Lord teaches us to wait, to hope, to persist. However, He also allows us to fall. We often perceive that standing displays a level of strength as opposed to falling displaying a sense of weakness. But the truth is that when you do allow yourself to be vulnerable and fall, you are trusting the streams of His river to carry and strengthen you for the journey ahead. If you remain standing because you feel that is what is expected of you, you are being deceived into perfecting things in the flesh.
He never despises the weak nor stays away from us when we got messy instead, He embraces us. He isn’t afraid or ashamed when we fall as most of us think. In fact, He loves it because when we fall we realize that there is nothing left of us to sustain us and we derive from the true source of strength.
All you are doing is clinging to an illusion of strength and not realizing that you are weakening minute by minute by standing on your own. Works cannot sustain what was given by grace. But when you realize that you can fall, you are trusting your life to a good Father knowing He will catch, replenish and fuel you back to your purpose.
John 12:24 says, “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”
The truth is that each of us has to reach a point in our lives wherein we are willing to let go of ourselves, abandon our logical thought processes and die to the flesh in order to live as the tree whose leaves neither wither nor grow dry but producing fruit in every season.
The word of God is the steadfast truth that has stood the test of time. The ancient words still ring true with the power of God’s love and goodness towards us after all these years. There is no situation, no day, no trouble that does not change when the truth of God’s word is released upon it.
Hebrews 5:14 says Solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have trained their senses to discern good and evil. To wield the truth of the word of God as a weapon and a powerful instrument requires dedicated practice in not only feeding on God’s word but also in allowing it to impact your senses i.e. your perception and thoughts. Practice speaking it over your adversities, over the stagnant areas of life. When situations try to tell you of your defeat convince your situation with the scriptures.
We are a favoured people. We live in the grace of God with the joy of salvation in our hearts. We have been made righteous in Christ and Psalms 5:12 says that the Lord surely will bless the righteous and surround them with the shield of favour. How blessed are we to be surrounded and shielded by the favour of the Almighty God!
This is the year for us to walk in the revelation of the truth of God’s word and in the realization of His unending favour over our lives. Isaiah 61 says that the Spirit of God declared favourable year of the Lord over the Israelites. The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. And instead of humiliation, they will shout for joy over their portion. Therefore they will possess a double portion of their land, Everlasting joy will be theirs.
We who have been made righteous, adopted into the family of God through Christ and gifted with the infilling of the Holy Spirit have been called to live in the favourable year of God always. Let’s enjoy the months ahead and train our senses to perceive the favour of God upon our lives as we walk victoriously together with Christ
“Now for the house of my God I have prepared with all my might: gold for things to be made of gold, silver, precious stones, bronze, wood… because I have set my affection on the house of my God, I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house, my own special treasure of gold and silver” 1 Chronicles:29:2,3
Even though Solomon was ordained to build the temple, David prepared for the work that Solomon had to undertake out of adoration, love, and sincerity toward God. David not only wanted to offer the best treasures he had to God but he disciplined himself to prepare wholeheartedly to accomplish what he wanted to do. No matter what he went through, no matter what season he faced, he kept preparing himself to fulfill his desire to honor God by partnering in the building of the temple.
“For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord.”1 Samuel 1:27,28
Hannah was barren for many years. Peninnah provoked her severely, to make her miserable because the Lord had closed her womb. Hannah prayed to the Lord asking him for a child who she will dedicate to the service of God if her prayer is granted. Soon she was with child and she named him Samuel. Samuel was her prayer, petition, dream and need. When Samuel was given to her she gave him right back into the service of God. Hannah could part with her great treasure, her son, because she had prepared herself mentally from the very beginning.
When she entrusted her treasure to honor her God. It was an act of reverence acknowledging the giver for the marvelous thing He did for her . In giving away Samuel, not only was Hannah blessed with another child to love and care for but Samuel became a primary piece in shaping the purpose God had for the land. Hannah received her double portion from the right hand of God.
Beloved, we often desire to give God something dear or important from a heart of gratitude. The bible teaches us that its beneficial to prepare the seed that you intend to sow, so that you can gladly give with trust and cheerfulness. If you intend to sow financially it is good if you prepare yourselves early in the week for what you want to give.( On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. Paul to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 16:2).
If you intend to spend your time serving God, you would be better equipped to do so if you plan your schedule in advance so that whatever time you wish to put in will be spent without distractions of the day. Be accountable and disciplined in this matter as He is worthy of all honor and glory and praise.
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. (Luke 6:38)