Serving as a missionary is perhaps one of the most difficult part of Ministry. Having served in the city as a pastor, and serving now as a missionary, I can tell the difference!
In the city, you are in the midst of fairly civilized people, if they are not. You have people who understand ministry and ministers; a mixture of people which includes those that will accuse the minister and those that will defend him. It is not always so in a small community in the outskirts of the city, where most are unlearned and under exposed! They only want to accuse you! It is tough!
The journey started when the Lord asked me to relieve a woman of her duty in the school. For discretion, I will call her Judith.
My wife and I, to the glory of God, run a school where Judith worked with us as a teacher.
She and her family had joined us in Church. She used to come sweep and arrange the Church on service days, yet would not come till toward the end of the message; if she manages to come. Every month end, the Church gave her a stipend to assist her.
We took Judith and her family as part of ours: not just as Church family but as our own family. We opened our doors completely to them; even gave our keys to them!
The bonding was there to the extent we exchanged meals, the children stayed with us a couple of days when their parents traveled.
Though not a qualified teacher, my wife picked her as she had no job, to come assist in the school as a way of further helping her: at the end of every month she would earn a salary. We believe there is a lot of confidence in what you earn than in what you are given.
My wife groomed her and constantly monitored both her and what she taught the children; for she was given the kindergarten class.
In Church, she was not frequent, but we believed God to touch her as He touched the children. The eldest, a boy, in the secondary school, learnt to play the drums and the second, a girl, God groomed and blessed with the gift of leading praise. Apart from the eldest, the rest of Judith’s children schooled with us.
Their father, we will for this writing call Benjamin, used to drive a commercial bus, but was not making ends meet.
We were thrilled when he had a job prospect with a motor company (whose name I will not give for discretion). However he needed a surety! Due to the relationship, he came to me when no one was willing to help.
….. continued in https://jimout2002a.wordpress.com/2017/10/29/journey-through-hell-2/
“And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” – 1 John 1:4-5.
At creation Adam was bright, he was a star.
Jesus called us the light of the world.
“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” – Matt 5:14
Adam, the light of the world, went off into darkness when he disobeyed God; and Man consequently went into darkness. He was naturally alive; he could move, talk, do things but eternally dead. He could only survive in his immediate environment. Even there, in his environment, he died slowly.
In His love for us, God sent Jesus to restore the life to us. So,
“…in Him was life” – John 1:4a.
That means that the life we live now is not the real life! The real life is in Jesus!
“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” – John 10:28 KJV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16 (KJV)
“Whosoever believes.” It is by covenant, by agreement; not a must, nor by force.
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” – John 1:12 (KJV)
This covenant life is beyond dying in an accident, or being killed by witches, or agents of darkness. No! This kind of life – ZOE – is above and beyond the dark powers!
“And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” – John 1:5 (KJV)
This covenant life is more than surviving in this life.
Again, this kind of Life is beyond living in eternity. Everybody lives in eternity, even the wicked!
This kind of Life refers to the quality in THAT life! Not the quality attached to our natural life, such as cars, houses, clothes, perfume, etc. You cannot carry any of these into eternity.
WHAT IS THIS COVENANT?
“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” – John 17:3 (KJV)
God desires that we know Him. Whoever fails to know Him is rejected!
“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)
God rejects whoever refuses to retain Him in his/her knowledge; one who fails to know Him. This is what He desires of us: “know Me!”.
“For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” – Hosea 6:6 (KJV)
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” – Hosea 4:6 (KJV)
This is not knowing the word of God, but knowing Him. It is not preaching the word of God, but knowing the God of that word. Moses knew His word but asked to know Him; regardless of miracles. Paul knew His word but asked to know Him; regardless of revelations.
Knowing Him is more than knowing His word. It is experiencing Him, being in awe of Him, giving Him honour; walking with Him, talking with Him and obediently doing His will.
Taste Him and see!
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF KNOWING HIM?
1) Your degree of relating to God will be greatly enhanced.
“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” – James 4:8 (KJV)
Your degree of relating to all of creation goes beyond your immediate environment.
“When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” – Proverbs 16:7 (KJV)
3) The above point makes it possible for you to survive everywhere as all of creation will be in harmony with you. Creatures die when taken out of their natural habitat, but with this higher life, you survive in places others die; having passed from the finite to the infinite realm.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” – John 5:24-25 (KJV)
4) Your present life becomes fuller and richer as all creation become responsive ans sensitive to you. No struggle.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28 (KJV)
5) You become more fulfilled; happier, because this is God’s purpose and intention for you.
HOW DO WE MAKE THIS COVENANT ACTIVE?
“Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me.” – Luke 22:28-29 (KJV)
FELLOWSHIP WITH HIM IN SUFFERING!
“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” – Phil 3:10 (KJV)
Have you ever wondered what people see in you to want to be around you? Especially your spouse; husband, wife?
What if in ignorance you cover, douse or kill the thing, would they still want to be around you? That is what self discovery is all about.
Many a home would have been saved the pain of separation and divorce had the couples taken the extra time to really get to discover themselves. No, I’m not talking about the man studying the wife or the wife studying the husband. But the man studying himself and the wife studying herself!
Who we are is so often dictated by society and people around us. That was the life Jacob lived until God encountered him.
We seldom know the uniqueness of our being; that much has been hidden in us that needs to be discovered!
“It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.” – Proverbs 25:2 KJV
I am sure its not everything in your city that you know or are aware of. You are a city! You do not know yet all you need to know about you. The human body is a complex machine. Self discovery is the key!
It is not actually a lack of radiant look that is the problem but a lack of personality! Until you are an original, you are not a personality and therefore not beautiful. You are just “another person, not “THE” person. And this is mainly from copying others and listening to advice of unqualified people, like Jacob did.
Copying others will not bring out the best in you. You are a peculiar person; fearfully and wonderfully made.
“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” – Psalms 139:14 KJV
You are an original, dare to be unique!
There are things that God has created in you that cannot be found in any other. Those things are the real beauty in you. They are the things that God used to draw your spouse to you. That is why what I call beautiful may not be so to you.
The entire world is waiting for you to manifest those things. Don’t copy others! Don’t do what they are doing! The fact it works for them does not guarantee it would work for you. Neither does it mean that anything which fails to work for them would not work for you.
What would look so stunningly beautiful in another, may not look good on you.
Imagine a fat woman who decides not to play down her natural figure, but admires a slim woman wearing a mini-skirt and goes to make the same.
“Horrible”, you would say!
But imagine the same woman who accentuates her natural beauty by wearing a flowing skirt. She would no doubt look stately and attractive.
Copying others destroyers your creative ability as you would be too busy looking at others, to think of what is best for you.
Years ago, in the 70’s, at Adeniran Ogunsanya area of Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria, I was a pace-setter. I still am (Ah..hem, chuckle!).
Most children that lived in that area were from wealthy parents, who had between between three to four cars, because of the even and odd number plates driving-alternating days. My neighbours had easy access to money and could afford whatsoever they wanted: designer clothes, shoes, toys, magazines, etc. After school hours, we had morning and afternoon sessions then, each would push a car out from their compound and drive around, have fun and go shopping.
Coming from a middle-class home, my father had only one car. I had no access to the luxury and affluence that others had, yet I was the pace-setter in fashion! How? Next week!
But know there is so so much in you that needs to be discovered. Remember, made in the image of God you are deeper than you know!
……. to be continued next week.
“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” – Psalm 139:14
She was in high spirits. The children, three of them were in institutions of higher learning and were away from home. Not until the end of the semester before they would come home again.
They were together alone as when they started; before the children started coming.
Her husband had gone to work and she knew by experience that he did not remember that day was their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. They had surmounted the odds together: family pressures from both sides, financial pressures, business pressures, etc; pressures that threatened to tear them apart. but glory be to God for with every pressure came a greater strength and determination to continue. Every pressure had left them more bonded than before.
I was not easy, but looking back, she cannot but thank god for those times. for so the bible enjoins.
“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
She hurried with the cooking, after which she went to the salon to have her hair fixed. A particular hair-style was on her mind and she asked for it. She had seen it on some other women and it was a breath-taking sight each time she saw it. That style was the rave of the moment. It made the wearer accepted in social circles as being “current” or up to date.
Some days earlier, she had gone to her dressmaker and asked also for a particular design that she admired. it was a design in one of the international fashion magazines. A design that looked stunningly beautiful on the model.
She was all out to please her husband; to present her very best to him. The flame of love was still in their marriage and she desired to fuel it to burn bigger than before.
Back home, she set the food and dressed herself. Like a teenager going out on a date for the first time, she spent some time in front of the mirror, admiring her new hair-style and the new dress.
Not long afterwards, the door opened and her husband walked in. She flashed a genuine smile at him, savouring the shock and surprise written on his face.
He stood staring at her as though he had seen a ghost. His gaze went to her hair, down to her dress and finally their eyes locked.
“Surprise! Don’t you like it?”
“Like what?” His face squeezed into a frown.
“The hair, the dress!”
“What is that?” He asked in disgust.
Her shoulders drooped and her voice trembled.
“You, don’t like it?” She stammered, less confidently. She could feel her pride dissipating through the pores of her skin.
“You look ugly in that hair-style. And the dress looks……..” , he shook his head, not finding the proper word to use.
“Thank you” she said angrily storming into the room with tears brimming in her eyes.
So much for trying to please her husband.
All she wanted was to excite her husband by bringing out the beauty in her.
However all she did was copy other people, and failed to be herself. She could not see herself, and so did not really bring out the beauty inside of her. She simply mirrored the beauty of some other women; women her husband did not marry and maybe did not fancy! She ought to have sought after what was best for her, not what was best on others; what her husband saw in her before asking her hand in marriage; at least it is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Like finger prints, there is a uniqueness about each individual person that is peculiar to just that one person. We may look alike, but not really the same. It is that uniqueness in people that we actually call “beauty”!
God hides this beauty, this uniqueness, for us to locate.
“It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.”
Proverbs 25:2 KJV
Everyone is ugly, but potentially beautiful; till we have searched out this unique matter hidden in us!
Many are in bondage to satan through “what will other people think of me?” And “what are others doing?” They go about copying what others wear or do. Paul said that people who compare themselves with other people are not wise.
Many homes have been broken, not due to a lack of love, but for the demonstration of love which was not properly done!
Beloved, you are fearfully and wonderfully made! You are beautiful! Locate the beauty in you and accentuate it!
Remember, your discovery is your beauty!
– to be continued next week.
Jesus talked about the net cast into the sea and open to every kind of fish.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.” – Matthew 13:47-48
He likens the net to the Kingdom of heaven which is open to every body on earth, irrespective of their nationality, tribe, tongue, sex or race. A Kingdom to which many are called but few are chosen.
The rejected fishes were good and edible but not to specification.
He likens the chosen fish to the believer who meets a certain standard.
This believer has a rich store of knowledge, is able to seat down and by maturity and use of his senses, separates the old teachings from the new.
These are teachers.
A teacher is a matured person in the Kingdom, not a neophite.
Paul said matured believers ought to be teachers through word and character.
“For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for He is a babe.”- Hebrew 5:12-13
“…… a babe”, not matured!
It takes maturity which comes by experiencing or tasting the Word of God to discern between good and evil.
Our heart is like a net that grabs all forms of teachings; good and bad, edifying teachings and destructive teachings.
Our heart is like that tree of knowledge capable of good and evil which God asked man to stay away from.
The heart indeed is not so smart!
Experience, maturity, calls for us to sit down and sort out the old teachings that served in their time from the new and better teachings which came by divine revelation: a message of the hour, of now, of Faith.
For example, Jesus said He chose us to bear fruit and if our fruit remain we shall ask anything of the Father in His Name and He may give it to us. We have been told concerning this that fruit bearing refers to the souls we win! No!
This is a distraction from the real fruit! And it is a major contribution to the moral decay in church! No single one of us has the power to keep a soul! God will not hold us responsible for souls that did not remain! Every soul must answer, and be responsible for itself. True, we should encourage one another to keeping faith in God, yet salvation is a personal race! God holds us responsible when we fail to warn them of the consequences of indulging in sin, and of ultimate judgement!
Paul could not retain all the souls he won to Christianity. Even Demas, an evangelist under Paul, could not be retained! Non of us can retain a soul.
What then is the fruit we are expected to bear?
This can be developed only through exercising the senses with the Word of God.
In Matthew 3, Jesus likens man to a tree. Isaiah agrees. ( Isaiah 61:3)
“Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance. And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” – Matthew 3:8-10
You are a tree!
The kind of tree you are determines the fruit you bear! We are known by our fruit, not our seed!
In Christ, God empowers us to bear fruit. But we have to initiate the process. God will not force us against our will. This is implied in Romans chapter one; if we fail to meet our initial part: “retain Him”, He would leave us to ourselves and not help us.
“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
He rather “prunes” us to bring forth much fruit when our zeal, determination and trust are in Him.
“Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” – John 15:2
We need to have the hunger ( Matthew 5:6), not a wish, but the burning desire that would drive us to exercising our senses with the Word of God and put our body under subjection to the Word.
Jesus chose you to make a difference, to make an impact in your home, your job, your business, your neighbourhood. Do the right thing whether your employer is there or not.
Be “filled with the fruits of righteousness” – Philippians 1:11
“…..abounding in fruit in every good work” – Colossians 1:10
Make an impact through your character!
In Christ, when we begin to work on our character, exercising our senses with the Word of God, He steps in to help us. There has to be a genuine interest. Not a wish, but a sincere desire. The desire that can stand the purging fire, the strain and rigours of exercise.
There is no good in man. Without God’s help we cannot bear good fruit.
Spiritual exercise is not only good for our spiritual health, it helps keep us raptureable; in shape.
If we stop exercising we go out of shape.
Moses was trained by God in the wilderness for forty years. A mighty man in word, an orator ( Acts 7:22). He became a stammerer because of training. Deposits of Egypt: pride, self, arrogance, and all, were burnt out of him. He bore the fruit of being the meekest man on earth.
But he lost it when he stopped exercising. When you start don’t stop!
The process of purging is a very painful process. Even trees cry out when cut!
Jesus learnt obedience through the things He suffered (Hebrews 5:7-8). He was hundred percent God and hundred percent man, meaning He felt pain like you and I. What He went through in training helped form His character. Though God’s son, He had to go through it Himself.
So let’s go to the gym of the Spirit and exercise; “work out” our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).
Work out and keep working out your salvation!
A man was told at a counselling session to live in the spirit.
He accepted but asked, “how do I do that?”
“Just live in the spirit!” His counsellor repeated.
“Tell me how!” The argument continued.
That is a big question that even some Pastors are not able to answer. Christians have been told to live in the spirit but have not been told how to enter into the realm of the spirit. It is like asking people to enter a house to the point of getting angry at their delay when the key to the door of entry is not given to them. Many, as Children of God, want to live in the spirit but do not know how to do so.
It takes exercise to enter that realm.
“Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for He is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” – Hebrews 5:11-14
There is so much to say about God, about Jesus and about the Kingdom of the spirit.
But how do I begin to tell you about them when you do not yet understand some elementary or basic things about God and His Word, the writer seemed to say.
Jesus said He had many things to say to us which only the Holy Spirit can make us understand, on condition that we listen to and obey Him.
“For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for He is a babe.” – Hebrew 5:13
Obeying Him means not bringing our human knowledge, thought or tradition into it. Tradition nullifies the potency of the Word of God in our individual lives, and is the major reason many have not grown in the way of the Spirit.
“But strong meat!”
“But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age…………….” – Hebrew 5:14a
Like the physical body, the spiritual body needs food.
“Meat”, “Food” here is not referring to the natural food but to secrets of the Kingdom; deeper Truths about God, the benefits of spirit-life, which belongs to, and reserved only for those who are matured; who have come of age.
The more matured you are in the Kingdom, the more the benefits you get. The benefits of the Kingdom do not come by how long you have been there but by how matured you are. Paul, a much younger believer could stand and rebuke Peter openly, a “pillar” in the Church, just because of spiritual maturity which is a matter of understanding!
Just as in a family where the first born gets more privileges than the younger who may not be so matured.
“………….even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” – Hebrew 5:14b
“Who by reason of use…..”. They have tasted, experienced, gone through the fire, and consequently have matured, having the ability to discern between good and evil. To them secrets, privileges are given.
To those not matured, those outside, it is given in parables, while secrets of the Kingdom are given to the “inner”, a select few; selected to have such information because of their maturity; because they have exercised their senses and can discern the mind of the Father.
The basic difference between maturity and immaturity is the mental faculty; their sense, not height or form. Maturity comes by training, by exercising the senses.
In the things of the spirit, living a matured Christian life comes by exercising the senses. Paul implies here that there is no other way.
The spirit life in Christ Jesus opens more and more to those who exercise their senses.
Spirit-life can be likened to a coin with two sides. It is exposed to two worlds: the spiritual and the physical. It gravitates to the direction it is trained. This is what leads to addiction. No one is born an addict. Training or exercising one’s senses in a certain direction tells it to gravitate to that direction.
When we train our senses toward God, we will retain Him in our knowledge.
“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
To exercise is to deliberately employ or engage the mental or physical organs of the body in activity, in training; it means to discipline the body or mental abilities toward an aim.
Like every good thing, exercise has benefits.
(1) It Builds Shape: Exercising your senses conforms you to the image of God.
“For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” – Romans 8:29</em>
If you desire to be like Jesus (The Word), you must train at it. Study all about Him, act as He would, talk as He would, go to places He would, think as He would (or as you think He would).
He is our standard, our role model. God wants us to be like Him! It is God’s expectation for us “…..to be conformed to the image of His Son”.
(2) Exercise Makes One Strong: A weak and wimpy person who takes to exercising becomes strong.
I remember reading many years ago, the story of Arnold Schwartzenegger. He was so skinny that he was easily bullied by even those younger in age. He was afraid of his colleagues at school and nursed dropping out.
However, things turned around when he took up exercising. Not only did he build his physique as in (1) above, he became strong and was no more bullied!
“………. but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” – Daniel 11:32b
Spiritual strength comes by the knowledge of God! Zechariah agrees in 12:8, that God will empower His Children so much so that the feeble among them shall be as David in his youth!
Are you weak spiritually? Exercise your senses to know God more!
(3) Exercise Develops Immunity Against Diseases And Contamination. A person given to exercise is one full of good health.
He burns out toxins in sweat.
Spiritually, exercising the Word of God strengthens our blood cells and helps to maintain divine health.
The Word of God is:
“………. life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.” – Proverbs 4:22
The process of finding is the process of exercise. Do you desire to enjoy divine health? Find the Word of God.
(4) Exercise Sharpens Reflexes. A person that constantly exercises is alert. Such a person is seldom caught off guard.
Exercising the senses with the Word of God makes you quick, alive and active! It heightens your spiritual sensitivity and reflexes and helps you to be vigilant!
In Acts 18, Paul was spiritually sensitive enough to know that underneath the “good” sounding words of the girl was a spirit of divination.
“And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And He came out the same hour.” – Acts 16:18
Spending time with and in the Word makes you alert!
(5) Exercise Renews Your Youthfulness. As toxins are burnt off the body and strength is increased, youthfulness is maintained and renewed.
“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31
Waiting on God is exercising our senses with His Word and this renews our youthfulness.
(6) Exercise Sharpens Your Vision.
Exercising your senses with the Word of God opens your spiritual eyes to see thing that ordinarily you would not be able to see; things that others cannot see. Your ability to discern or perceive is heightened.
In 2 Kings 6, Elisha saw something that his servant could not see. The woman of Shunem, 2 Kings 4, “perceived” that Elisha was a prophet., meanwhile her husband could not.
“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.” – Ephesians 1:18
One constant prayer of Paul was that our spiritual eyes be opened as that is the way by which the greatest benefit would come to us.
Jeremiah knew in advance what God was going to do. (Jeremiah 1:12)
So did all the prophets. Today, you and I are His prophets. We should see!
(7) Exercising Makes You Confident.
Because you know who you are and what you have in Christ, the boldness of the righteous follows you wherever you go.
The knowledge that you are the apple of God’s eye and the fact that God has given His angels charge over you, establishes peace and confidence in you that is not only visible, but puts fear in many.
“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” – Hebrew 12:11
Exercise may be gruesome and painful but the benefits of it are awesome!
Every training programme has its tools. There are tools to build the arms, some other tools for the chest, some for the neck. Every part of the body has its exercise and its tools. Some of these tools are in the gym with the trainer, others are supplied by the individual trainee.
So does exercising the senses! We would look at the tools later.
Before going to the gym however, there are things you need to posses or provide. To have that admired shape, your input is needed, for no man would “build” without first sitting to count the cost.
(1) You will need to have a rugged determination! The body loves ease and resists exercise! Determination is something no gym would supply you, no matter how well equipped.
You have to decide that you want to go ahead with it and be ready to bear the cost. Esther said “if I perish, I perish!”
You must have a violent determination to start exercising, to sustain it and not give up. A man that lays his hands on the plough and looks back is not fit for the Kingdom! Nothing good comes easy!
(2) You need a Trainer. Trainers are experienced and know what exercises to put you through to bring out what you desire and give you the much admired shape or image.
Your trainer knows you: your strength, your weakness, your limit and breaking point. He knows how to turn your fat, flabby and shapeless body to one that will turn heads in admiration!
Mordecai trained Esther and brought out the best in her!
“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth.” – John 16:13
The Holy Spirit is our trainer! He knows everything about us. Our weaknesses, our strengths, where we need to work on, the duration, the needed tools, everything!
He is our Trainer! Let us cooperate with Him.
(3) You also need a “spiritual” stop-watch.
Exercises are timed! Some to the count of 12, some to 15, some to 20.
The timer is most often with the trainer. While you provide time for training, your trainer supplies the expertise to shape you. He would push you to the limits, to do things you never imagined you could do!
In exercising the senses, you do not have control of time! Your Trainer, the Holy Spirit knows and determines what to put you through, with what tools and WHEN!
Yours is to relax, be not afraid, for He would not put you through what you cannot bear. Let Him fashion you, mould you and display you. Welcome to the gym of the Spirit!
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.