Everything in creation is upheld by the word of God.
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds….Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” – ( Hebrews 1:1-2, 11:3)
Except God says it, it can never be. No demon, witch or wizard can afflict someone if God by His word did not allow them, either through breaking His word (sin) or by God’s sovereign design; this latter, leads to promotion, as in the case of Joseph in the hand of his brothers, Job and his ordeals, Abraham’s descendants in Egypt.
In all, God’s word is “aye and amen”, “upholding all things with the word of His power”.
Learning to trust His word and be anchored in it, is Faith.
In Romans 4:17-22, Abraham was fully persuaded; he was thoroughly convinced!
Being persuaded is to come to the point where one stops doubting, either by putting our education, tradition, connection or achievement, above the word of God. To be persuaded means to stop doubting and start believing; even if you do not understand it!
Like everyone else, Abraham was affected by the gravitational pull and influence of nature. With his ageing body and Sarah’s dead womb, he kept believing! Why? “Because God said!”
He faced the fact that he naturally may not have children. Ahead of him naturally there was no hope. But he “hoped against hope”!
Even if witches, wizards or demons were responsible for their situation, but “because God said”! A life of faith does not look at nature. Abraham did not stagger in unbelief. Why? “Because God said!” The One that created nature said! The One that can reverse the ageing process said! He knew that God would do what He said He would do, so he stayed rooted in the word of God!
It is not just the situations or the circumstances of life but the ONE who is able to do all things! God! What has He said to you? Stick to His word for this is Faith, and this is pleasing to Him.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” – (Hebrews 11:6)
YOU CAN’T BE BARREN!
”There shall not be male or female barren among you.” – Deuteronomy 7:14
To him time was running out. He wasn’t getting any younger, nor was his wife. He looked around the massive office, pos, exquisite and tastefully furnished. He had grown so rich that whatsoever he desired on earth he could buy.
It saddens his heart that with his wealth, he could not have a child from his own loins, brought forth by his wife, to take over the business after he was retired. Friends had persuaded him to either go adopting a baby or have a test tube baby. Being traditional and old fashioned he declined both.
He reclined on the office chair only to see the gold-framed photograph of his wife which he hung on that side of the wall opposite his table. The image in the picture seemed to be smiling sarcastically at him. His anger burned anew, devouring all his patience and his eyes burned red.
For three years he waited patiently for a child and he would have been content with one. Just one!
“The useless woman.” He turned around. “She is just good for nothing, except how to spend my money. I will show her!” He added walking out of the office, shutting the door with a bang.
Back home it was a war of words.
“But honey, the doctor said I could still have babies! She defended, her ears tingling with the pain of the slap that almost deafened her.
“When I’m dead?” He fired back. “I never knew you are barren!” He blurted out. “I’m taking a new wife and that is final!” He concluded storming out of the house, with the temptation for alcohol high on his mind.
Many a home has been broken because of barrenness, even Christian homes; for lack of the knowledge of God.
But what is “barrenness” if not the ability to conceive children when desired? Some who conceived and miscarried also see themselves as barren. Why? They have been called barren by others!
The rippling effect of words, break into the consciousness of man and lodge in the deep recess of his mind. Like a shadow, it follows people everywhere they go. With the word of God high in their life as the noon day sun, this shadow becomes small and powerless. When the word of God becomes low in their life this shadow becomes horrendously big and domineering.
The one whose words you choose to listen to is your master.
“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” – Romans 6:16 (KJV)
Is it the word of God or the words of men? Is the light of the word of God ruling in your life or is it the dark shadow of the absence of the word of God?
It is a subtle form of hypnosis. Words are tools in the hand of demonic forces against the believer to prevent him from the Truth, the word of God, and consequently from being made free.
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – John 8:32 (KJV)
Outside the word of God, all is darkness and gloom; sinking sand. Who has spoken when God did not decree it?
“Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not?” – Lam 3:37 (KJV)
God said to Adam in Genesis 3:11, who told thee that thou wast naked?” It is like asking him “who told you that lie; who told you that preposterous nonsense?” If God never told him he was naked then there was a covering! If God never told you through His word that you are barren, then you can’t be! Adam was covered with the glory of God, clothed with the garment of righteousness. But choosing to believe the lie, the contrary, he became naked! Never believe you are barren!
This can be better understood from the angle of a man whose friends and office colleague agree secretly to meet him at different times and at different places in a given day. One asked him if he was sick. He answered negative. Nevertheless, that first man from his look seemed not to be convinced. Before parting, he told the friend to ease up, relax and take care of himself.
The man had not gotten over that thought when the second met him about two hours later and told him that the symptom of fever was in his eyes. He advised him to take some rest.
A third man, their boss, asked him an hour later why he looked dull, permitting him to go home early. His mind began to race. Could the illness be so serious to be written all over him?
Back home his neighbour, also in the plan sympathetically greeted him, “sorry”.
It would take a divine determination for the man to remain in good health the following morning after the concern of his friends, which would set him thinking in that direction.
“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
– Prov 23:7 (KJV)
As an individual is called barren, he or she begins to see himself or herself from the eyes of others. Such a person surrenders the spiritual control of his or her life to the imagination of others. He becomes a puppet in their thought, playing out their imagination. Words heard are suggestions received from outside the individual.
Being a subtle form of suggestion the words (thoughts from others) are seen to be harmless and so often neglected and not pulled down. Paul tells us to tear down fortresses of evil by casting down imaginations that threaten our knowledge of God.
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
– 2 Cor 10:5 (KJV)
This imagination projected as suggestion from other people take root in the mind and as the person continues to listen to such words, they choke the word of God. Jesus shared a parable of the sower of seed (Matthew 13), how some fell among thorns. Thorns being plants from seeds (words) not from God, squeeze out the word and grow wildly to fill
such a mind with the thought that the individual is actually barren.
Such a mind becomes programmed to accept the inability to conceive and bring forth! It becomes an auto – suggestion as the person sees the imagination as his or her “own”. Consequently they hold on to it, and the subconscious mind (which controls over eighty percent of the body), brings the thought to be so. Until the mind is de-programmed of such thought, no amount of fasting, prayer or vigil can yield any result, as such a mind would be operating at zero faith level.
“And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.” – Luke 1:45 (KJV)
The performance comes where there is a belief in what was told or heard.
The problem is not really barrenness, but unbelief arising as a lack of the knowledge of the word of God. Jesus said that it is not what enters a person – suggestions, thoughts, words, poison, etc – that defile the person, but what he or she does with what has entered. Is it nurtured or destroyed; watered or pulled down? Unfortunately, the former is often the case. People hold on to what they have heard to their hurt.
If you are barren, it is because you are barren in the word of God. You know very little about what God has said concerning you. And you lack an understanding of the little you have heard from Him, if you have. Not retaining the word of God in your mind gives the forces of darkness the audacity to take away your miracles and actualize the barrenness you have come to accept. If you fail to retain God (and His word) in your mind He will leave you to a reprobate mind.
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.” – Romans 1:28 (KJV)
A reprobate mind is one that is left open to Satan; to toy with, buffet and steal from at will. It is said that to him that has more shall be given, but to him that has not, even the little he has shall be taken away.
“For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.” – Luke 19:26 (KJV)
Unfortunately, some have accepted that they were created to be barren; that that is their portion in life.
No! That is not your portion! Who told thee that thou wast barren? You can’t be barren! God created you perfectly beautiful; fearfully and wonderfully made!
God said “there shall not be male or female barren among you.” (Deut. 7:14), that is among His people. Are you born-again? If you are a born-again believer you can’t be barren!
I don’t care how long you may have been married and without children! I don’t care what reports the doctors have given you! I don’t care how old you are or what your family background is! I don’t care if gospel ministers have invited you for deliverance to break some certain curses in your life! If indeed you are a child of God, you can’t be barren! This is the word of God!
“Shall”, is emphatic and futuristic; from now, stating the mind of the speaker. It is an obligation, a compulsion, a must. “Not be”, means does not, cannot exist. So God is saying here that His intention, His will, an obligation or compulsion of His mind is that barrenness cannot exist in your life from now to eternity! God Himself is saying “you can’t be barren!”
As said earlier, you are barren because you are barren in the word of God. You nullify the potency of the word of God due to your unbelief and a lack of understanding.
God has good thoughts toward you; not thoughts of evil or barrenness. No.
“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.” – Jer 29:11 (KJV)
I know a woman who for the purpose of this writing I will call Gladys (not her normal name). She has been married for more than seven years without any child. She has a loving and God-fearing husband who gave all within his power to comfort her. He loved her the way she was; with or without children.
She began to see herself as barren in the second year of their marriage when people would come to her in sympathy and pray for the fruit of the womb. Some would tell her how in their Church they stood in the gap on her behalf when prayers were made for the barren.
Beware when people sympathize with you, and what patterns of prayers are made over you! They drive this negative suggestion deeper in you wearing out your faith or resistance.
The sympathy for Gladys became too sentimental that it got to a stage it became the major subject of discussions around her, at her local Assembly and at prayer meetings. Gradually, anxiety was aroused in her mind by the concern and sympathy of others that whenever there was an altar call at her local Assembly for those believing God for the fruit of the womb, she would be the first to go out. And in her absence, someone would stand in the gap on her behalf.
The thought of others about her being barren, so filled her conscious mind that it spilled into her subconscious; Satan began to use that door – that thought that she never pulled down, to haunt her with dreams of spirit children, making her believe that she cannot parent children on the surface of the earth. On some occasions she conceived and miscarried due to the state of her mind.
Medically, this has been proven; that the mind has a role to play in conception.
The effect of anxiety in her min opened up another horrible door into her life. Fear! Fear of loosing her husband to another woman, the fear that her in-laws would grow weary of her childlessness and throw her out. In her fear she began to make visible and noticeable mistakes. She became inhibited in the presence of her in-laws, keeping to herself and not contributing to discussions. The in-laws who were good natured, God fearing and understanding began to see her as queer. Some started to avoid her.
Gladys, a woman full of life and verve became dull as her health was affected. She refused to eat, having lost the appetite to eat. Her weight plummeted and she looked gaunt.
She began looking for help where help can not be found; going from one prayer house to another, from one deliverance meeting to another. She prayed all manner of prayers; prayed nude at midnight, destroyed evil links to the past and to spirit husband; she destroyed evil hands, all sorts! The situation persisted. She became a contractor, looking for what has already been given to her!
At her first counseling session with me, I made realize how Satan tricked mankind through Eve, into thinking the forbidden fruit must be eaten before man can become a god, whereas God had already made man god by giving him dominion over all things!
“I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.” – Psalms 82:6 (KJV)
“Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet.” – Psalms 8:6 (KJV)
Outside God man was god over everything. Man lost his place due to unbelief of the word of God which gave birth to disobedience.
I made her understand that children have been given to her but Satan made her look away from the word of God and that is the reason the children are not manifest. She needed to de-programme her mind of every unbelieving thought by changing her mentality: changing her focus, renewing her mind!
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” – Romans 12:2 (KJV)
This she did.
CHANGE YOUR FOCUS!
She filled her consciousness with the promises of God concerning the fruit of the womb. Every scripture she came across on the fruit of the womb, she devoured. God opened her understanding of His word and with that anxiety flew from her; she overcame her fears, dreams of spirit husband and children ceased, she became her lively, robust self again. She was so rooted in the word of God that no negative wind of demonic doctrine would convince her otherwise.
With her mind in God’s perfect will, peace came upon her like never before. Through this rest in her mind, God strengthened her feminine hormones and before long her tummy protruded with a set of twins, a boy and a girl, in perfect health!
You too can receive your miracle when you change your focus. Meditating on the word of God, especially the scriptures that have a direct bearing on the situation you are going through. God said to Joshua “…..this book…..” – this scripture (Joshua 1:8). There are specific scriptures for specific situations. Search them out, locate them and present them to God in prayers. His words are powerful, encoded with life which can only be revealed through meditation. The word of God is spirit, go beyond the written word. The letter killeth. It’s the spirit of the word that gives life.
“Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” – 2 Cor 3:6 (KJV)
Not just the reading of the word but deep consideration of it that releases the spirit which gives life.
“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” – John 6:63 (KJV)
Apply them to where they are applicable in your life. If you put a square peg in a round hole, it won’t work! Imagine applying “by His stripes I am healed” when praying for safety! Search the scriptures daily!
ATTEND HIS WORD.
As you seek them out, eat them, drink them, sleep them and live them. Jesus said:
“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” – John 15:7 (KJV)
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” – John 15:4 (KJV)
Meditate on them (on the word of God). Get an understanding of the scripture. Let it digest even to your marrow.
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” – Heb 4:12 (KJV)
It is the understanding of a scripture that grants you access into the power inside that scripture. That is why God told Joshua to remain on “this” scripture till he finds the power (good) success in it.
MAKE A VOW
Make a vow to God. Gladys gave her substance to the work of God, separate from her tithe and offering. Look out for opportunities to serve God and do so with all gladness. Sow into Ministries and into the life of Ministers that are committed to the gospel, especially those who have no other work outside the service of the Lord.
Hannah gave unto God.
“And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.” – 1 Sam 1:11 (KJV)
“For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord ; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord . And he worshipped the Lord there.” – 1 Sam 1:27-28 (KJV)
It is not only in finance or in material things. You can vow to work in a department of the Church or set time aside to intercede privately for others; especially for those seeking the fruit of the womb.
God is a just and faithful employer. As you give from your heart unto His work, He will not withhold your due. But you must do it from your heart!
KEEP YOURSELF HEALTHY
Do not be reckless or careless with your health! Keep yourself healthy and observe every health precaution. Don’t take drugs without prescription! Don’t take what others are taking because it is working for them. Only when your obedient is complete would you eat the good of the land.
“If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land.’ – Isaiah 1:19 (KJV)
LOVE, NOT HATE
Hold nothing against your spouse and be sure he or she has nothing against you either. Agreement must precede performance.
“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” – Amos 3:3 (KJV)
No amount of prayers, fasting. Vigils, or tongue-talking can produce pregnancy if you do not sleep with your spouse! It is Love! The devil will try coming between you and your spouse. You will need to be sensitive and not give him any grounds to operate, All could be well and smooth going but when it approaches bed time, he will come lurking. Do not let him! Sacrifice your ego if need be: admit fault even if you are right and your partner wrong; just do not argue!
Encourage others who see themselves as barren. Give them the knowledge you now have acquired. As you do this, your faith is strengthened, for “he that watereth shall in turn be watered”.
Finally, there is the divine factor. God makes all things beautiful in his time (for the things).
“He hath made every thing beautiful in his time.” – Eccl 3:11 (KJV)
As a seed your time of germination is different from others. God has given time to every seed. Never compare yourself with others. Patiently wait for God to beautify your life. Even if it tarries (Habakkuk 2:3 ); never loose hope, for it will come. Never see yourself as barren, no matter how long it takes for you to take in. Hope is the bridge to your miracle. Never loose it.
“whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed; but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.” – Proverbs 13:13
(1) Change your focus by filling your conscious with the word of God.
(2) Live the word.
(3) Make a vow to God.
(4) Watch your lifestyle.
(5) Be at peace with your spouse.
(6) Encourage others.
(7) Wait for God’s time.
“Barrenness thrives in a life barren of the word.” – J.C. Ike
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“Judge not, that ye be not judged.” (Matthew 7:1)
Have you ever disagreed with somebody? You have judged! Simply put judging others is saying “you’re wrong and I’m right!”.
Considering then that we disagree with people everyday and in various matters, we judge!
There is a HUGE misinterpretation and misrepresentation of what the Lord said. He was not saying you should not judge people or discriminate between their character, beliefs, and doings as against yours, because we can never be the same! You and I can never agree on every point. Even in a home or marriage, the husband and wife do not always agree, nor do the children agree with all their parents believe. This misunderstanding is the main instrument of “asunder”, separation and divorce.
No, that was not what the Lord meant!
When the Lord said “judge not”, HE simply meant we not using our personal or individual standard to judge others! Note that He was quick to add:
“For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and the measure which ye give, shall be measured to you again.” (Matthew 7:2).
When you disagree with people on the basis of your personal standard, they will also disagree with you! Imagine a man standing on the ceiling of a house – upside down. While people tell him he is upside down, he argues that everyone, not him, is upside down! Such arguments do not end because everyone sees from their personal standard!
In other words, the Lord is saying ”do not use your personal, or individual standard to judge or measure others!” Why? We are imperfect beings and our judgment would be wrong! The verse three of that scripture reminds me of my imperfection:
“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thy own eye?” (Matthew 7:3).
So does that mean we do not judge others? No. That would be deadly dangerous as we would accommodate and even emulate all kinds of evil. Because for me to be accepted by you even in my imperfection, I shut my eyes and applaud your evil deeds!?
And everyone would do what is right in their own eyes, giving birth to a lawless society as recorded in the book of Judges.
“In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25).
A lack or absence of a King made people do what they liked! I wouldn’t want you to judge me so I refrain from judging you!
That sounds so much as “don’t judge others”, which we hear of today!
But, thanks be to God, the King is on the throne! Haleluyah!! His Word, not mine, not yours, is our Standard of judgment! His Word, not mine, not yours, holds sway! His Standard, not mine, not yours, should be lifted and upheld! His standard is “righteousness”, which neither you nor I can produce. Husbands, wives, do not judge yourselves with your individual standard. Stick to yor individual standard and you create an “asunder”. Judge only by the Standard of the Lord. What has He said? Do not twist, bend, modify or modernize it! This is His Kingdom!
Yes, beloved, we are permitted to judge!
“And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and JUDGE RIGHTEOUSLY between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him.” (Deuteronomy 1:16).
In Christ, we are Kings and the admonition to kings is to judge righteously!
“Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:9).
In Christ, we are spiritual. We have the mind of the King! We know His Word and by His Word we judge!
“But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged by no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But WE have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:15-16).
Our judgment, however is to be based on His Standard.
Love cover sins but does not accept them. My judgment of you is not based on my individual standard but on the standard of my King! I love you; but, I am forbidden to accept you! My King’s Standard will not permit me to accept you; I love you nonetheless. My King loves the everyone (John 3:16), but has not accepted them all. He has a condition:
“…..touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you;” (2 Corinthians 6:17).
The “unclean” thing is your standard that you have refused to drop! He loves you and wants to receive you. But you need to drop, deny your individual Will or standard, take up His standard and let His Will be done!
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“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” (Deuteronomy 30:19).
This is a very dangerous scripture! I call it dangerous because it makes you and I responsible for whatever fortune or misfortune we find ourselves in.
God has a set choice for us and would not because of the free-will He gave us, compel us to follow His way. However, He tells us the consequence of our following our thoughts and desires.
As Christians two kinds of life are open to us:
(i) The Fallow life, and
(ii) The Plowed life.
The Fallow Life.
This is the life that is lived from a heart left fallow, unrefined and uncultivated. This refinement is not about being civilized or of being educated. No! This is of not allowing the heart to be circumcised with the Word of God! As a farmland left fallow and overgrown with weeds, such hearts have been overgrown with thorns and thistles: the cares of this world, the words of philosophy and “what they know naturally”. They do not retain the Word of God and consequently devoid of Life; they reek or overflow with malice, envy, anger, deceit, jealousy, hatred and every vice of the Self-life.
No matter how many times mouths connected to such hearts confess the Word, it profits them nothing! Mouths should speak from the overflowing contents of hearts.
“O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh.” (Matthew 12:34).
The Plowed Life.
A good farmer clears the land of weeds, of unwanted plants. He knows what crops he wants on the land and so removes every other, edible or not.
As spiritual farmers we sow into our hearts.
“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he shall come and reign righteousness upon you.” (Hosea 10:12).
There is a choice of what to sow.
The Plowed life is conscious and careful what he plants in his heart. He guards or keeps his heart so violently that he censors even what his ears hear.
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23).
He knows his entire life depends on what he has in his heart and so like Abraham who was asked to leave nation, kindred and father’s house (Gen. 12:1), and like the Levites in the wilderness (Exodus 32:27), he is ready to cut off from friends, neighbours, relatives and colleagues that would want to influence his heart against the Word of God!
Such hearts over-flow with love, temperance, patience, meekness and all other segments of the fruit of the Spirit because of the richness of the in-dwelling Word.
He pulls down everything that may stir up self.
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Such a life becomes a candidate of the Life that God promised in Deuteronomy 30:19; and “He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” (Psalms 24:5).
Beloved, we have been set over kingdoms. Let’s root out, pull down, destroy, and to throw down, their belongings from our hearts, and build, plant (Jeremiah 1:10) therein, what is of God. Let’s not bring what is Caesar’s into the temple of God, so that the prince of this world would not find anything of his in us.
I have chosen the Plowed life. What about you?
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The word “bond” means a force that ties together; a uniting force, something that brings two things and makes them as one.
“Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3).
We are not permitted to operate alone (Gen. 2:18). We need others, in our homes, community and Church.
Despite our differences the Church family, the Holy Spirit has bonded us together.
We are not working to create the bond but like Adam to “keep” or “tend” it. It is already there.
Paul calls us to give every diligence; make every effort; do our best to maintain this “bond of peace”.
HOW DO WE MAINTAIN THIS BOND?
Whether in our homes, community or Church, we need to be:
Do not pride yourself over others or run them down, no matter who you are, what you have, where you have been or what you have attained in life.
“Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” (Philippians 2:3).
Yes, you may be better than others, don’t flaunt it!
Do not judge people by outward reasons. There must be a reason why people do what they do! They certainly wouldn’t set out to hurt or offend you. Do not be harsh to them simply because they do not see things your way. Again you need to know we are all prone to making mistakes; even you! Give room for others to make mistakes. That way you’ll not be hard on them.
“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined into our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6).
There is some light, something good in people, look for this light and shut your eyes to their mistakes (darkness). Jesus endured Judas this way. People may call your attention to the short-comings of others, remember, no one is perfect and no one is good!
An understanding of the above will help you endure with others, patiently as they work on themselves. In overlooking their faults, the capacity to forgive grows in you.
“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith to him, I say not to thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21-22).
Your capacity to forgive grows when you learn to be patient with people.
Maintaining the bond of the Spirit will not be complete without speaking encouraging words to others. Rather than castigate, criticize and condemn, unity is maintained when we speak soft and positive words of encouragement.
“Wherefore, comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
“Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.” (Isaiah 3:10).
In maintaining the bond of the Spirit, do not allow any corrupt word proceed from your mouth but words that would build and edify.
Remember, your duty and mine is to maintain this bond. Let’s think less about ourselves and do all within our power to keep this bond.
You are blessed!
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“Book Me Down!” He told the woman. That had been his language for years. He had become a well known customer in that grocery store; so popular was he that a book was opened for him, to take eventry of everything he purchased and how much he owed.
The woman started to write even before he asked her to and this hurt him especially as people had thought him to be unable to meet his need without going into debt.
The astronomical height of his bill had always surprised him at the end of every month that he could have argued it out had it not been that it was written, and with dates. After settling the old bill, virtually nothing would be left from his salary other than money for paying house rent and the electricity bill. He found himself buying again on credit! A circle he tried to, but could not break. He had prayed and fasted to no avail.
Many are in that vicious circle. A circle of shame that once entered into is difficult to come out. My wife and I were once in that circle. We had taken groceries on credit. At the end of every month, after paying the old bill we went on another circle of credit buying as financially everything would have been used to settle the previous bill. We took up organizing evening lessons to meet up, but the circle continued. We were virtually working for her! Every money that came in ended in her hands!
It was then we learnt that staying out of credit buying does not depend on the size of your income! Rather the more you earn, the more you want! For months this continued to the point we became ashamed and stopped going by her shop.We would go by a longer route so long as the woman does not see us. It got to the extent that when I saw people looking at me or laughing, I felt they knew about my indebtedness and were laughing at me. My ego was greatly punctured as a man.
We developed a deep seated hatred for credit buying and after searching the scriptures one day, we took some far-reaching measures which, today, we thank God for. You can apply these measures too and I know that as you faithfully follow them that circle shall be broken.
(1) Until you hate a thing, you may not break free from it. There will be that tendency of romancing with it “just this last time”. Yet you keep going back to it. We paid half of the bill and pleaded with the woman to give us another month to bring the balance.
(2) Take the step of Faith! The Bible says that without Faith it is impossible to please God. (Heb. 11:6) You do not need ceremonies to stop! Logic will tell you to go gradual but if you hate the shame, you will not go gradual: you will stop suddenly! There will be a temptation to buy “a little” especially when the pangs of hunger threatens. But if you really want a thing, go all out and pay the price.
(3) Discipline your appetite. You will need to discipline your appetite and prayerfully believe God will supply your need. (Phil. 4:19) If it is a need, God knows and will supply it BUT NOT WANT! We ate no pleasant thing, lost some weight, people talked, but we never wavered from our goal, even when it was like God was not responding. We held on and before long we saw His faithfulness
(4) Cut off little spending. An occasional biscuit, sweets, chewing gum, etc. These loose change or coins you think are useless can go a long way to restructure your finance.
(5) Look for alternatives. Meat disappeared from our meal while our intake of beans and vegetables increased. My wife hated beans, but we were resolved on breaking the circle. We grew our own Vegetables. Rather than buy, we began to sell. If it wasn’t necessary, we didn’t buy. If we had to drink tea, we did so without milk.
(6) Cut down on your transportation! Transportation gulps a huge chunk of income.We cut down on visitation. If the place wasn’t important we never spent money going. In some cases we walked lomger distance just to save money.
(7) Buy bulk. Finally we began buying in bulk. It is a lot wiser and more economical buying wholesale.
Today, though we stopped the evening lessons and selling vegetables, we do not buy on credit anymore. And what more, meat, milk, eggs, e.t.c. It was only a matter of time and the circle was broken. And I am convinced it will be broken in your case too. Only, be steadfast. Do not waver, for a double minded man would never receive anything from the Lord. (James 1:6 -7) It may seem an impossible venture, but remember that “With God, all things are possible.” – Matt 19:26
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