Thursday, 17 January 2013

Don't Take Grace for Granted.

"And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail. And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him"- I Samuel 17: 38-39.

One scripture we have often misquoted or, at best, quoted out of context is Philipians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." I don't intend to take anything away from it, but truth is, you cannot do what you have not learn to do. No matter how often you quote and claim this scripture even with a faith as high as mountain Everest, you cannot fly an aeroplane if you are not a pilot. Neither can you operate on a patient if you are not a surgeon no matter how anointed you are. These are basic facts of life, we don't pray them into being. We learn and master them! The good new is that, going by that same scripture, we can learn to do whatever we desire to learn. Failure to learn, breeds mediocrity even in the Church. When you expect "grace" to do for you what you should do for yourself, you set yourself up for mediocrity or outright failure. That's taking grace for granted. Please, don't! Don't get me wrong, anointing, prayers, faith and grace have their places, but there is also the place of learning, mastery and development of whether a skill, a profession, a trade or a talent. The Church is littered with folks who have refused to sit down and learn before embarking on the voyage of destiny/ministry. This is has not been the practice in Bible days, even The Lord Jesus spent years preparing for a 3 1/2-year ministry.

In our opening text, we read about what transpired at the battle front. David said, "I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them". In other words, he was like saying "I've not used them before, I'm not skilled in their usage, therefore I don't know how effective they are". "Let me use what I've mastered over time while I trust God for victory", I imagine him saying. We know the outcome of it- a resounding victory. Pls don't tell me that God directed the stone to Goliath's forehead. While this MAY be the case, I believe David's mastery of the use of slings played no small rule. David understood that no man learns to use a weapon at the battle front. The best time to do that is in training. When Abraham set out to rescue Lot, the Bible said he armed  his TRAINED servant, three hundred and eighteen of them (Genesis 14:14). When you arm a man who has not been trained, you set him up for failure. Whether you arm him with position, money, people, or opportunity, if he is not prepared or trained, forget it! No wonder Paul cautioned about ordaining novices as Bishops in the Church. The rod with which Moses lead the Israelites (and parted the Red Sea) was not picked up by the road side, rather it has been his rod right form his days in exile. He however, surrendered it to the Lord, and it was later referred to as "the rod of God". That's what happened when we yield our ability (skills, talents etc) to God. They become HIS and you can imagine what happens when God takes over our abilities, skills, talents etc. Under such arrangement, you can expect the Holy Ghost to teach you things never before known by man. You can expect HIM to amplify the effect; that was how a David could kill a Goliath with a sling. 

In Matthew 25:15 on the parable of the talents, the Bible said, the lord of the servants gave talents "to every man according to his several ability". It was not their lord's responsibility to develop or use these talents for them even though he was the one who employed them for the task. That's my point! What are those deposits of grace (gifts, talents) in you begging for development. God won't develop them for you, that's your responsibility. There are challenges and opportunities lurking in the corner, they don't need your permission to present themselves. And when they present themselves, what you make of them is a function of your level of preparedness. How many times have we messed up opportunities simply because we were not prepared for them?May this not be the case with us this year in Jesus' name! Amen!!

What assignment has God given you, what task has He called you to do? Develop and master the use of that "rod" or "sling" in your hand. Go for the necessary training. Failure to do this will not be an excuse at the end of the day if you failed in this assignment or task. What have you set as goals this year for which you are currently fasting and praying, believing God for? Whatever you are asking for will not drop from the skies, they more often come as opportunities. But are you prepared for them? Are you a student? Study as if it all depends on studying. Don't take grace for granted, God is not a magician! Are you in ministry, in business, or a career person? Don't be a jack of all trade and master of none. Let people know you for your expertise and skills. When you do your part, coupled with the grace and anointing of God not even satan can stop you. #Selah!

Thank you for your time!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

What Seest Thou?


"Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what Seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree. Then said the LORD unto me, Thou has well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it".- Jeremiah 1:11.

Let me begin with the conventional thing to do by wishing you a Happy and Prosperous New Year! Wait a minute. Is the year still new, being already 10days old? Of course, it is. But make no mistake, it is fast becoming old because at the last count, I haven't met anyone today for the first time this year.  Meaning, we may soon stop using the phrase, "Happy New Year!". Well, until then, Happy New Year once again.

I have had a few "competing" topics to blog about but have been highly constraint by time. However, I think this particular one won being, in my opinion, the most appropriate for this time of the year. 
In the scripture above, The LORD asked the Prophet Jeremiah what he saw and after the Prophet had answered, The LORD told him he had well seen and as a result, HE would hasten HIS word to perform it. The average Nigerian Christian, whether protestant or orthodox, has had a full dose of new year prophetic declarations concerning 2013. However, if we must have these declarations come through in our lives, there are a few things we must know and do, one of which, is the subject of this blog. 

In the game of life, what you see is what you get. Hope you know that life is a game? O yes, it is! Mind you, when I say 'game', it doesn't mean its a game of luck. Every game has rules and even if there are atoms of luck, it responds to the right and skilful application of the rules and principles governing that game. In fact someone defined LUCK as "Labouring Under Correct Knowledge". Life is a game of principles and strategies. And you must play by these principles if you must win in the game of life. One of such principles is the principle of vision (or visualizing)

If you must win this year, you must consistently visualize your expectations. That is, your imagination and thoughts must align with your expectations and goals.
This is important for a number of reasons, some of which are:

What you see is what you possess. When God told Abraham that HE would make him a father of nations, it was pertinent for Abraham to begin to see himself as such even when he was yet childless. This was why God brought him out one night and asked him to look up into the sky and count the stars. In another place he was asked to lift up his eyes that as far as he could see would be given to him for a possession. (See Genesis 13:14-16; 15:5-6). Prior to that point, in Chapter 12, God had given him the promise but his faith, as it were, seemed shaky. But after God had had him visualize the promise in 15:5, in vs 6, the scripture recorded that Abraham believed God. If you can't see it, you can't believe it. And if you can't believe it, you can't possess it. No wonder Yongi Cho said, "seeing his possessing". True faith sees. In Hebrews 11, most of the heroes of faith acted on the basis of what they saw. Are you finding it difficult grasping the promises of God? Spend time visualizing and meditating on the them. You have to move from the realm of hearing to seeing.

How far you go in life is a function of how far you can see. There is something about seeing your expectation or goal that energies you and makes you never wanting to give up no matter what. The Bible says The Lord Jesus endured the cross, despising the shame because He had His eyes fixed on the joy that was set before him, Moses forsook Egypt not fearing the wrath of Pharaoh because he saw Him who is invisible, and 2 Corinthians 4:16 -18 declares "for which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day...while we LOOK not at the things which are seen but at the things which are not seen (Our rewards in the heavens)" (emphasis mine). Quitters don't see and seers don't quit. Those who give up in life are those who lost sight of their goals. If you see a glorious future and hold unto it, no amount of failure can deter you from pursuing it.

Your life flows in the direction of  what you see. Put another way, your vision defines your direction. Here's a simple practical example. If you were to move from your present location (where you are now) to a new one, say from your office to the car park, you don;t just move about aimlessly. As you move, your eyes go first, then your body follows. You don't set your eyes in the opposite direction to the car park and expect to have a smooth movement down there. You may not have thought of this, but truth is, your life consciously or subconsciously flows in the direction of what you consistently visualize in your mind. "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he"- Proverbs 23:7. Let me share this experience with you. I started praying for job when I was in third or final year in the university (that's some 12 or 11 years ago now). Guess what? I had a picture of a job of 15k in mind and when I later shared it with a brother, He screamed, "What! What is 15,000? When you should be thinking of 70K and above". Even though I started praying for such mega job, I subconsciously held unto the 15k kind of job. You know what? My first job after service was on a salary of 15k. Here's another one: I recently stumbled on my 2005 new year list of expectations and one of the points was (a new) job on a particular salary level (in fact the exact amount was stated in it). I was surprised to discover that my present salary is just that amount. It was a surprise 'cos I had forgotten about it. I didn't just get a new job, I got the salary I had expected as well even though when I first started it was on a salary lower than that.
Without vision, your life will have not direction. Spend time visualizing the attainment of  your goals and expectation before setting out in pursuit of them. Remember your life flows in the direction of your vision.

Your transformation begins with what you see. "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord"- 2 Corinthians 3:18. It is what you behold (see, visualize) that you are transformed into. "Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind"- Romans 12:2. If you can't see it, you can't become it. Some Christians have difficulty living above sin because they have not imagined (visualized, conceived) the possibility of a life without sin; the same holds true for prosperity and success. You can never be prosperous or successful with a consistent image (or picture) of poverty or failure in your imagination. What's your perception of your yourself? How do you do see yourself? You are not limited by your location or background. You are limited by your vision. If you can't see it, no amount of physical effort can make you become or achieve it. One of the important battles you will have to win is that of guarding your imagination and thought life- the battle of the mind. This explains why Proverbs 4:24 admonishes us to "keep (our) heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life". Why? Because what you see consistently in your imagination will definitely manifest in your life.
Looking into the glass of 2013, what beholds thou? This year won't be any different for you if you still hold on to the failures and disappointments of 2012. If that's all you still see, I'm afraid you will be setting yourself up for a repeat of them this year.
But I'm sure you see opportunities, greatness and success this year? If these are what you see, hold on to them 'cos what you see is what you get.