I went through an article recently written by a friend. In it he said that the choices we make in life affect us whether good or bad.
Indeed it is true! The choices we make affect our lives.
However there is an angle to it that we most often overlook.
This may come hard and pungent (forgive me Edmond, if it doesn’t come soft). Sometimes Truth comes out hard.
Our choices are based on our human desires which ought not to be!
Our desires are driven by our emotions.
James says “drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” – James 1:14
Human emotion does not work with the Word of God!
In the book of Genesis Eve was driven by desire which made her stretch her hand to the fruit.
How did this desire come about?
She felt inferior! She felt she was not making progress in life; that her “divine destiny” was being delayed, and perhaps truncated. She felt she was not getting the “good things of life”, and so needed a change!
She was made to feel inferior by the serpent who planted a word of insecurity in her head. Eve’s desire was driven by insecurity; an emotional feeling that “others” were better than she was: a feeling that suggested to her that she was empty and could “improve” on God’s work in her life.
Consequently she reached for the fruit, and acting in a manner “to help herself become wiser”, she plunged Mankind into spiritual death.
Her choice was based on her desire, driven by emotion! A thing she called “wisdom”! She wanted to change her situation, which she had come to hate, since coming into contact with an alternative.
“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and He did eat.” – Genesis 3:6
Today, many remain spiritually dead. Many more are dying from the presence of God because of choices made that were not based on His Word.
In wanting to be “wise”, they “engage EVERY PLATFORMS available (including Godless platforms), EVERY AGENCIES necessary (including agents of darkness), and follow EVERY PRINCIPLES required (even demonic principles), to ensure making the right choice in life.”
This was the same desperate emotion that drove Man from the presence of God!
Things may look beautiful, “good for food”,
but if emotion is its foundation, spiritual death takes effect.
Every platforms, every agencies, every principles may be convenient, yet NOT ALL are edifying and accepted by God!
That is why God asked us to choose life!
Life is not just having everything YOU want; so you might have the accolades of men, a large acceptance by the world and recognition; James would say to “consume it upon your lust”, your human desire!
That is not the life that God sees as successful!
And that is the reason Jesus asked what it shall profit a man after he has gained the entire world, the backing and support of people, only to lose the salvation of his soul.
Yes, indeed our choices affect our lives!
But what factors “drive” our choices?
Moreover, as Christians we should not make choices based on emotion; on the desires of the flesh; we should like Jesus, not judge after the sighting of our eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of our ears. (Isaiah 11:3)
We should rather make choices based on God’s Word; judge righteously: with the fear of the Lord!
If a man because of fame, wealth and affluence, acts contrary to the Word of God, by marrying another woman, when the Word of God says if you get separated from your wife, remain single and don’t remarry. And if you have to remarry, go back to that same woman! Such a man who marries another lives in adultery! In sin! Minister or Laity!
That is the word of God!
No human reasoning or philosophy can alter or change the Word! It remains immutable!
If for fame and affluence we throw away the Word of God, our action no matter how successful and appealing in the sight of men, becomes a lie!
The desire of man is evil! God testified to this, that the thought and imagination of man’s heart is continually evil, even from his youth!
Who are we deceiving, God?
The same Word we seek to philosophize and bend to justify our actions, will also be our judge! The standard of God’s Word does not change no matter how we try to change it!
Let us learn, no matter what it takes, no matter how hurtful or painful our situation may be, not to put our desires ahead of God’s Word! The moment you do, you put God in second place.
But, He must have the preeminence!
When you go His way, He knows your frailty, your weakness and your pain; and in His faithfulness, He will supply you the grace to carry on.
Even if it was a mistake that brought the unpleasant situation, He will help you!
Only, let it be on His terms.
Often times in life we pray for open doors. Especially as Christians we want breakthroughs; we want doors to open up for us so that we can venture into new things; new jobs, new businesses, a new house, new relationships.
However in Revelations chapter 3, we see that the Lord Jesus Christ has set an open door for us. It is for those who have encountered the word and holding strongly to it.
He spoke to a particular group of believers, the group found to be on the right path or track.
In other words there is a depth of Christ that we get to and we don’t need to pray for open doors, because he has already set before us the open door. The door that the enemy shut against us.
He asked them to “behold”.
What Jesus is saying to everyone of us especially his children as Christians is that we should “behold”, “see”, “Look”, “stare at”. Behold means to look properly.
Jesus was pointing to something that he wants his believers to see. He was pointing to something that he wants his disciples to see, something that ordinarily they overlook; something that is there but not easily seen. He spoke to them in comparison to the synagogue of Satan, the congregation of the dead, who go by the name Christians. They go to Church, have the form but deny the power, by not holding onto the Word.
“The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.” – Prov. 21:16
Jesus began to draw a distinction, a line between Christians and TRUE Christians.
There are people who go to church, believed to be Christians, they carry the Bible and even preach the Bible but they’re not disciples of Christ!
Jesus sets the distinction by saying, “look the door is open!”
Open door is only for those who are true disciples. They hold on to the Word of God, act like Jesus, talk like Jesus, think like Jesus. As a matter of fact it is Christ that is living in them.
But the other, the congregation of the dead? They do not hold to the word of God, they don’t act like Jesus or talk like Jesus, having wondered out of the way of understanding.
God has set an open door before those who hold firmly to His word, those who bought His Word and refused to sell it. But they couldn’t see the door because of the cares of this world, as Satan magnifies their want, making their God-given vision or dream look small and consequently, they despise the little beginning throwing the vision away. Instead of searching out divine judgement, they give up. It was so at the beginning when man bought the lie from the serpent throwing away what he thought was of no value: God’s vision and plan for him.
But, God hide treasures in trash!
They see themselves as failures, not capable of carrying the vision. They think they are the ones to carry the vision not God, so they write themselves off.
Whereas the door has been opened, it remains shut for these, making it impossible for them to enter through because of these two negative thoughts -fear and unbelief.
“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
We are told here that nothing should be allowed above the Word of God. We should not, like the ten spies, allow the devil steal the vision from us, consequently the crown of glory. We defeat ourselves whenever we write ourselves off.
As it is said and written that as a man thinketh in his heart so is he.
Stop crying, complaining and murmuring! God is saying “move on!” Don’t allow fear to paralyze you!
The key of David (praise) opens the door. You can only enter the door with the “heart-tittude” of David.
“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.”- Psalm100:4
It has to come from your heart. Remember Steven who was being stoned, from his heart he looked up, saw heaven open and from the abundance of his heart, did what was right before God.
Praise is not only in singing but in our obedience to Him no matter what we go through.
Until you learn to give all the glory to God even in the deepest agony, you are not a candidate for growth and supplies: open door.
Most often however, people abandon a praiseful life to equate themselves with others.
Learn to praise God even in the toughest of times, only then will you “behold” the open door.
“For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” – Romans 11:36 (NIV)
The Christian life is not an easy one especially with the enemy, the devil, telling us God has abandoned us. And that we cannot achieve whatsoever we have planned.
We need to realize that God has not abandoned us, and that yes, we cannot of our own do anything. He keeps His promises forever. One of which is that He would never leave us nor forsake us. (Hebrew 13:5)
By His presence, He gives us the power to do what He wants to do. The ability to do a good thing or achieve anything does not reside in us but in Him! He manifests this power in and through us. He gives strength to the weak; empowering us by His Spirit to do all things. We are His instruments, His weapons of war.
“Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms.” – Jeremiah 51:20
He is the one doing the work, we are only instruments! The plan of what to do, the power to do the work and the wisdom of how best to do the work are His! We should like weapons in our hands, respond to His leading and do all things HIS WAY! We should follow His leading, His method.
True, Adam named and defined all of creation, but God was there, interested and perhaps communicating!
Moses was asked to build to specification. Crazy, old King Saul did not and was rejected. Ezekiel made dry bones come to life! He followed God’s method. Barnabas and Paul went on missionary work. They followed God’s Way.
Success, in every endeavour, is doing things God’s way.
“And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. [KJV] Matthew 8:26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” – Matthew 8:23-27
There is something awesomely good about following the Master! Receiving instructions from and following the Master can be so much fun and rewarding. However it can also stir up much pain and agony! But if one learns to faithfully follow those instructions, the heat of the pain and agony would eventually be soothed out and changed to joy.
The scripture above tells of Jesus entering a boat, followed by His disciples. He took the initiative, the lead, and His disciples followed. The idea of what to do and where to go were His. A lot of pain and anguish many go through today are the result of trying to lead the Lord; thinking up the thing to do and asking God to come along! Of Him (originating from Him) and through Him (His Way and method) and to Him (surrendered to Him and His plans) are all things.
“For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” – Romans 11:36
All things: thought, word and deed should originate from Him; that is when, and the only time when His peace that passes all understanding is shed into our hearts.
Jesus was in the boat with His disciples, yet a “great tempest” rose against them!
Walking with and obeying the Lord’s instructions does not make us immune to trials! Rather, it opens us up to trials! The Lord may be mighty in your life, your job, business, ministry, home and marriage, yet storms arise!
Translated from “seismos”, the Greek word as used in Matthew 24:7 and Matthew 27:54 which means earthquake, this was not an ordinary storm, but an EARTHQUAKE! A sudden, violent movement of the earth’s surface; this, under the sea.
Some of you maybe experiencing earthquakes in your lives: a job moving normally, a business making waves, a Ministry touching lives, a marriage full of fun and promise, a normal healthy life. Then all of a sudden, unexpectedly and without warning, a violent change comes; a severe attack, an EARTHQUAKE that comes with such great force that leaves you despairing for life and possibly asking for death!
“For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life. But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.” – 2Corinthians 1:8-9
Even with Jesus in the boat!
These fishermen who had spent all their lives at sea became helpless. Their knowledge, experience and abilities had failed them! Their peace was gone! Indeed no man should trust in his knowledge, experience, education or connection, “for by strength shall no man prevail!”
Despite the earthquake you may experiencing now, God wants you to have peace! Even in the midst of turmoil, strife and trial, with every ground breaking up around you and falling apart, God wants you to know that He has you covered; you are secure. A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right, no harm can come on you! (Psalm 91:7)
The disciples were worried, afraid and not at peace because of the Earthquake, and Jesus rebuked them as faithless! Imagine being in a summersaulting vehicle and with no seat-belt, and for crying out in panic, God rebukes you!
What does He expect you to do?
Ignore the storm! Jesus ignored it! That was why He rebuked them.
“And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.” – Matthew 8:26
He was disappointed that they were afraid and woke Him up. Why was He disappointed?
They did not ignore the storm!
He had told them how much they mean to God and how much God cares for them. (Matthew 6:25-34.) They were not to worry! Satan cannot do anything to you except God allows him. That was why Jesus could sleep in the boat! But obviously, the disciples did not learn it; they lived in fear and worry.
Whereas the Word of God tells us not to fret because of evil doers (Proverbs 24:19)
Thankfully, they began to practice, for over ten years later Peter faced a situation that threatened his life. He had learned and exercised himself to be at peace with his everyday situations, no matter the environment.
In Acts 12:1-5, with just a few hours to be beheaded, he did not rehearse his fate, or try to figure where he went wrong. Rather he slept soundly, peacefully in the midst of a “quarternium” of soldiers (16 soldiers).
Now he knew. There was a knowing now, that we are hidden in Christ where no devil or harm can come. They can raise every kind of storm but cannot touch a child of God that knows the power of God that works in him!
“But the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” – Daniel 11:32b
Knowledge is powerful, it delivers!
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – John 8:32
It takes knowledge of the Word of God, to be free or delivered from worry. Peter knowing the Word of God and having an understanding of same through practice, was able to put his trust in Him who gave that Word. And as trust begets peace, he was filled with peace and was able to sleep!
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” – Isaiah 26:3
Trust comes by knowledge, and knowledge does not come cheap! It does not come overnight, but with time, patience and consistency.
It took Peter over ten years of practice, over ten years of “tasting” the Lord, before knowing He is good.
“O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” – Psalm 34:8
To taste means to get involved, to experience, which sometimes, come with a high price.
Learn to leave some things alone. After you have huffed and puffed, leave everything in the hands of the Lord and go to sleep. Allow peace into your heart kknowing that God is working all things to your favour!
After Their Kind.
Like begets like. The seed of the being is in the being.
And so, a dog begets a dog, a pig begets a pig. Trees produce after their kind. And man gives birth to Man.
Everything in Creation is upheld by the Word of God, which can never be broken.
“Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” – Hebrews 1:3(Emphasis added)
God put the nature of everything in its source: whatever gives birth to a thing passes to the thing its nature.
This is the first principle of Life.
“And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.” – Genesis 1:11
“And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.” – Genesis 1:24
Whatever you are today is passed down to you from your father or Source. Locked in your DNA, your Yesterday is read by your cells and interpreted into the reality that you are today.
At New-birth, this principle also applies. You are what you came from!
However, your New-birth status gives you the opportunity to choose your paternity; Divine or Natural; Jesus or Adam. The nature you carry depends on your choice! Who is your father, your source; God or Man?
If you are from God, the Creator of the Heavens and Earth, what does that make you? A CREATOR!
The power of God is in you to re-create your world!
Remember Jabez? He was not satisfied with the world he inherited from his natural source, a world of sorrow.
“And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow.” – 1 Chronicles 4:9
Not only was he born in sorrow, his name was Sorrow! And as we know, destinies are enveloped in names. Jabez carried a destiny of sorrow! But he cried out to God to be truly blessed.
“And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.” – 1 Chronicles 4:10
This process of crying to God filled his consciousness with the thought of God.
“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
Jabez so “retained God in his knowledge” that his cells’ membrane by-passed his natural DNA, read the “God-filled” thought and gave him a new nature: God’s nature; the truly blessed nature! A nature that can neither be bought with silver nor with gold!
To manifest God in your life and be god in your world, you need to develop three key areas as contained in Revelation 12:11.
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” – Revelation 12:11
(1) Your blood relationship (your paternity)
(2) Your Word (power of confession)
(3) Your ability to bear risks. (living on the edge)
“And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God. And David was displeased, because the LORD had made a breach upon Uzza: wherefore that place is called Perez-uzza to this day. And David was afraid of God that day, saying, How shall I bring the ark of God home to me? So David brought not the ark to himself to the city of David, but carried it aside into the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. And the ark of God remained with the family of Obed-edom in his house three months. And the LORD blessed the house of Obed-edom, and all that he had.” (1 Chronicles 13:10-14).
David knew God was angry so he did not take the Ark with him. He was afraid of what the Ark could do so he left it. Everyone also abandoned the Ark. David dissociated himself from it handing it to Obededom because he was a Levite.
David was like saying “it is your business, not mine. Take care of it. Even if the Ark will kill you let it kill you! If anyone will die let it be you!”
Sometimes men expect you to die. They push what they feel is evil, bad, deadly or poisonous toward you. As far as they are concerned you do not deserve to live.
Perhaps Obededom would have abandoned it too but the King’s command forced him to take it into his house. What could have been going on in Obededom’s mind knowing the Ark just killed his friend and colleague Uzzah? How would he regard the Ark that was forcefully entrusted into his care? Would it not wipe out his entire family? But the King’s command?
It is possible he had resigned his fate to death; and maybe believing that he was not good enough for the earth. Maybe he was just an “addition” to mankind, you know one of those “mistakes” of nature and consequently insignificant to human progress and well-being. The King had written him off! Else why would he ask that the Ark which had been on rampage and killing spree be brought to his house!
There are certain situations and circumstances you cannot run from because our King and Lord commands it. People may have been used to push those situations and circumstances to you. They may not be convenient and may threaten all of you: your home, marriage, job, business, etc. Do not murmur! Do not complain! For there is a reward! Obededom did not know that blessings were coming when a life-threatening situation was placed on him!
Nothing takes God by surprise. He rules in the affairs of men. He knew the Ark would be taken to Uzzah’s house. He knew everyone would run from it. He knew Uzzah would be afraid of it. Yet He was watching if Uzzah would receive the Ark into his house. To Uzzah, this was a great challenge!
Look at Joshua and the Captain of the LORD’S host. (Joshua 5:14)
“I’m neither for you nor for your enemies. I am here to do the will of God”, the Angel seemed to say. Even the challenges that come your way, come to do the will of God!
People have their expectations for you. They push you with advice on who to marry, what to do and where to go. Because its your life, if you refuse they expect evil to befall you! From corners and windows they peep like rats through holes, at your home, job, business, marriage, ministry, health, etc. They meddle indirectly in your affairs! And like Sanballat and Tobiah laughed at Jeremaiah, they will laugh at you and riddicle all you do!
Their expectations shall be cut off! And rather than see you fall, they will see you get better and better and better! For the glory of this latter house shall be greater than the former! Despite his fear, Obededom took the Ark (the will of God)in. He “loved not his life unto the dead” – Rev. 12:11
When people force things against you, they move you to the place of blessing! God can use the devil to push you to the place of blessing! Joseph was pushed by his brothers, Jephtah was pushed by his brothers, Mordecai was pushed by Hamman. They all were pushed to places of blessing! If you could just shut your eyes to and receive the “evil” situation, abandon yourself to the love of God and let the will of God unfold, you will come out of the situation smiling and fired up with blessings!
When people expect you to die, know that God is still at work ” in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13). That is why you should not be angry when people push you!