Foundation no 8
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you faasely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” – Matt 5:10-12 (KJV)
To persecute means to suffer some harsh treatment because of one’s belief; especially, religious belief.
A true Christian to whom the “substance” of the Word is revealed, and lives them without conforming with the standard of the world, would be hated by the world, and persecuted.
“If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” – John 15:19 (KJV)
Being rejected by the world like Jesus was; and like Him stand against opposition, he exercises Faith over oppositions and overcomes. Resting in God, he laughs at persecutions.
A man of Faith dwells in heaven – -the secret place – prepared for the righteous. This is the foundation of Faith.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.” – Gal 5:22 (KJV)
Outside these foundations one is like the unbeliever; because the difference between the Christian and the non-christian is the Christlikeness which is formed or produced by the “meekness” (Matt 11:29), the character of our Lord Jesus.
He called us to learn His character, to be like Him. That calls for the foundations, which like a jigsaw puzzle, fits together as THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT, a must in the life of every child of God.
May the help of the Lord be ours as we confirm our foundations. In Jesus Name. Amen.
Foundation no 6
Every Christian message is all about involving the heart in worship of the one true God; the pledging of allegiance with the heart wholly to God. This is the greatest emphasis of Jesus’ teachings. Outside this, one is religious.
Without a pure heart, one cannot stand in the presence of God.
“Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.” – Psalm 24:3-4.
A heart is pure when it dwells on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, praiseful, etc.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” – Philippians 4:8.
Jotham (2 Chronicles 27:6), prayed for an undivided heart and became powerful. An undivided heart proves our love for God, a love that is focused on God and God alone. An undivided heart is one that is anchored and trusts in God despite all odds.
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (Isaiah 26:3).
Amaziah (2 Chronicles 25:2), did what was right in the eyes of the Lord however, not wholeheartedly.
Being outwardly correct, yet divided inside reveals a disloyalty to God and this leads to a downfall.
Paul calls this foundation LOVE.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.”
– Galatians 5:22. (Emphasis added)
A heart of love beats toward God and dwells in all things bright and beautiful.
FOUNDATION NO 7
This is the foundation of Peace.
The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary describes Peace as a “state of being free from war, civil disorders; it is a state of rest, quiet, calm, a state of friendship and harmony.”
God had an occasion with man. Yet He took the initiative, the first step; He came down from heaven to reconcile man to Himself. God is ever searching for man, to make peace with him, though it was man that offended Him.
As many as have this foundation are like their Father “…… called sons of God”.
A life of peace is a must for every child of God, and is in fact a proof of righteousness. It goes beyond foundation no 5, forbearance. While forbearance stops at forgiving in advance, peace goes further to help the offender.
“And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.” – Isaiah 32:17.
Let us pursue it.
“Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.” – 1 Peter 3:11.
“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.” “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:” (Hebrews 12:11 & 14).
Paul identifies this foundation in its Matthew 5:9 name – “PEACE“. Gal. 5:22
“If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3).
FOUNDATION NO 4
We continue our relaying of the foundations.
Now at the fourth, which is about RIGHTEOUSNESS!
“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” – Matt 5:6 (KJV)
Righteousness means right standing with God; a clear conscience devoid of offense. A conscience that thrives on uprightness; that seeks to do “the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
“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 Foundation does not take sides with anyone or anything that is not standing right! Whoever and however close the person may be: spouse, child or relative; this Foundation would not pervert justice or twist judgment. It is not found “walking with the ungodly”.
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” – Psalms 1:1 (KJV)
Everything good inspires him: honesty uprightness, etc. He derives joy, and is filled with standing right even unto death.
Paul, in Galatians 5:22 calls this GOODNESS!
Let us desire to do good all the time.
FOUNDATION NO 5
This Foundation is the virtue of FORBEARANCE. It is the ability to hold back from inflicting punishment upon an adversary.
It is the attitude of ready forgiveness. Unforgiveness, resentment and bitterness corrode the soul. They are like acid to the soul.
This virtue in the Christian makes him or her ready to forgive, even in advance, without waiting for repentance from the other. He or she remembers that God has forgiven and is ever ready to forgive. The individual in whom this Foundation is well developed could go helping the offender in prayers and in every other ways.
In Galatians 5:22, Paul called it TEMPERANCE, which is self-control.
“If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3).
There are eight foundations that should be present in the life of a true Christian. These foundations are precious in the sight of God. They summarize or form the total teachings and preachings of Jesus.
In the “Sermon on the mount”, popularly called the “Beatitudes”, Jesus taught the attitude of heaven. “BE IN ATTITUDE.”
FOUNDATION NO 2
As we continue in our quest to cultivating the Kingdom character, we look at the second foundation of the Christian.
“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4
These are people that re ready and willing to face, feel and resist anything that comes their way in their Christian journey. They are a people that are able to stand up to life’s tempest and turmoil; going the full mile with the Lord, through laughter and TEARS (mourning).
They do not see or regard the sorrow and hardness as a disadvantage. Rather, they take the strides of life as they come; and are not ashamed to take up their Cross.
These people acknowledge and are aware, that though in Christ, crisis will come (John 16:33), so brace up to face it, “loving not their lives unto the death” – Revelations 12:11
They know their help is in the Lord.
In Galatians 5:22, Paul calls this LONGSUFFERING: this is the willingness – they have the choice not to, but chose – to fellowship with Jesus in His shame and reproach.
FOUNDATION NO 3
This third foundation of the Christian is much like, but very different from the first, (poor in spirit).
“Blessed are the meek: for the shall inherit the earth.” – Matthew 5:5
Most often, this foundation is confused with MEEKNESS, perhaps because of the “meek” in it.
But it refers to a gentle strength, the power to be humble. A humility that comes, not from circumstances, but from within; a power that comes from a deep trust in God and His Word.
This foundation has the power to fight: economically, physically, e.t.c., but would rather stand quietly, trusting God to bring all things to a perfect end. You can take their coat; and though they have the power to reclaim it, they will give you their cloak. If you smite their cheek, rather than fight, they will turn the other cheek!
“But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. ” (Matthew 5:39-40).
Have you been accused wrongly, and with all the strength and fire in you, want to fight back? Bless your enemy! Let go and let this foundation be manifest!
In Galatians 5:23, Paul calls it GENTLENESS.
….. to be continued.
“If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” – Psalm 11:3.
I have often heard people interpret this scripture as meaning objects surrounding one’s birth: the sponge, water, placenta, soap, bowl or bucket, etc, even people; especially at deliverance sessions. Yes, it is possible. Oh, very possible!
However, receiving Christ, I became a brand new person, with a shift in everything, which includes my foundations. As a child of God, I have a brand new foundation now, laid by God Himself.
“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 3:11.
“NO OTHER FOUNDATION”! This is the Word of God! “No other”!
Perhaps before coming to Christ, those formed my foundation. But “NOW”! “Now Faith is …” Now, by the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1-2), I have been set free from that; now my foundation has been relaid!
Note the plural term used; “foundations”, not “foundation” as in singular!
To truly understand that scripture we should start from verse one. If clearly understood, it talks of me having challenges as a result of enemies whose arrows are aimed at me. So you invite me to leave my mountain and go with you to your mountain, your church, where I would have my deliverance. But, should I leave my mountain, it would prove I do not know my God, neither do I trust in Him!!
“….. but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” – Daniel 11:32b
So obviously, because I do not know Him or trust in Him, I would receive nothing from Him, for without faith….
“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
Moreover, Jesus said it is not the church (mountain) I go to that brings deliverance!
“Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. ” – John 4:21-24.
But the understanding of my inheritance in Him!
“Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.” – Proverbs 13:15.
So, Christ is my foundation.
A foundation is a solid base on which a building, an idea, etc, rests. It is made with various materials: granite, iron-rods, binding wire, cement and sand.
Jesus our foundation, said
“Learn of me. I am meek and lowly of heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:29
Where you have meekness and lowliness of heart, you will find love, temperance, gentleness, and the complete fruit of the Spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23.
The fruit is one and where you have one segment, the others are there; in various levels or quantities, but they are there. They go together. Against these there is no law; no limit.
The Christian is built on these. Hence, Jesus said “learn of me”. These He taught in the Beatitudes; be in the attitude of heaven.
The absence or “destruction” (Psalm 11:3) of these renders the believer powerless; impotent spiritually. When a house has cracks, the fault is from its foundation. When a Christian’s character does not reflect Christ, it is from his or her foundation.
FOUNDATION NUMBER ONE
“Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of God.” – Matthew 5:3
Jesus was not talking about being poor materially, but “in spirit”; spiritual bankruptcy.
The Greek word “ptochos” from which the word “poor” is translated means “chosen poverty”; a voluntary emptying of the inner being: giving up, surrendering or choosing to become dependent, not on oneself but on another – the Lord Jesus.
This foundation says “Lord, help! I can’t make it on my own.”
It is self-renunciation, surrendering of the ego to Jesus: self-denial. It is not self-centered but Christ-centered.
In Galatians 5:23, Paul identifies this as MEEKNESS, a character trait that makes one look foolish!
…… to be continued.
Lets make riches.
By the grace of God the world is a marketplace, we are sent in here to trade having been equipped with the resource of heaven. We have all been given different quantities of the same thing; depending on our ability, what we have to do. In other words what we have to do is responsible for the quantity of time that is given to us. It is said that to whom much is given, much is expected.
Some are given at birth 50 years, some 70 years, some 100 years and more. God gives everybody according to their abilities; according to the work they have to do for Him here on earth just as in the parables where the servants were given different quantities of the same thing. One was given five talents, the other two and the last, one according to their abilities, what they are capable of doing individually.
At birth we all received Time. Time is something that we all received when were coming to earth. Everyone of us big or small received the same thing in different measures.
If we have to check the average lifespan of a human being which is 70 years.
“The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” -Psalms 90:10
Multiply 70 years by 365 days and you have 25,550 days. In other words every man came in with 25,550 days. Only? Multiplied further by 24 hours, we have 613,200 days. Only! However some received, just like in the parable, more and others less, according to the work we have to do for the Lord here on earth; according to the various responsibilities that God has sent us with here on earth.
No individual person, no one person came into the world with money or with cars or houses or clothes or gold or silver. No! We all came in naked with nothing at all whatsoever.
The only thing you brought into this world is TIME! And God expects you to exchange time for your basic need. Time is the money that followed you into this world, time is your greatest investment. When companies or institutions engage you what they take from you is part of your time. No company or individual is rich enough to engage ALL your time; they can only have part of your time and in exchange they give you some money: termed salary or payment.
How rich you are depends, not on how hard you work or how long you work, but on what you do with your time.
“I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.” – Ecclesiastes 9:11
For a lack of understanding many are wasting this resource, they are burying it! Just like the last man in the parable dug the ground and buried his talent, so many because of ignorance are literally digging the ground and burying the time that God gave to them to invest!
This is the basic difference between the rich and the poor. The ability to turn or translate Time to riches. Many are burying their Time.
But we are expected to manage our time.
“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” – Ephesians 5:16
To redeem means to buy back, to exchange or put value on something that you need back earnestly. With various distractions, the enemy has stolen our money -Time! Today, we have the phones, internet, social media and all, eating up our time! We need to redeem it!
Like the servants in the parable who gave account of the talents received , we would give account of Time because this is Heaven’s resource given to us before we came to this world. Does what was done justify the time used? How relevant is that thing in relation to the time spent on it? Idle words eat up time! You will give account of idle words because you have wasted heaven’s resource!
What makes a word idle if not the non- justification of the Time spent on it!
There are only three ways to spend time. No matter who you are or what you do your time is spent on these three things.
(1) Thought. Watch your thought and its direction.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” – Philippians 4:8
(2) Word. Watch what you say. Would it build or edify others?
“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” – Matthew 12:36
(3) Deed. Watch what you do and be careful not to walk in the counsel of the ungodly, or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of the scornful!
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” – Psalms 1:1
And it shall be well with you in the Mighty Name of Jesus. Amen.
Religiously, Medically, Traditionally or otherwise, circumcision has come to stay!
Circumcision, the removing of the foreskin of the male reproductive organ, has been barbarically extended to the female folk in some traditions. Medically, this could be of advantage to the men but extremely very barbaric for women!
However our focus is not on the physical.
When Abram started his journey with God there was no covenant of circumcision. He only had faith and obedience. God for this, pronounced him righteous. But when he chose his wife’s advice over God’s leading, he walked out of faith. Though his business being born of God continued to blossom, God did not visit him for twelve years.
In the thirteenth year when God did it was with a rebuke!
“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.” – Genesis 17:1
God’s standard does not change. His Word is the same, eternal. His standard from which His Word comes says “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), and “the soul that sinneth shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:20).
These words are from the immutable standard of God. He is His standard, and His standard is Him. This standard cannot be lowered even for Abram. And so for what he did, he had to die!
Abram had broken God’s command, he had to die; and what better place to put the knife than on the tool that did the havoc!
How did Abram die?
The life of the creature is in the blood. (Gen. 9:4; Lev. 17:14) Abram’s blood (his life) had to be shed (run off). That half-believing old man that played with Haggar must die! Abram, put a knife on the “neck” of that creature that made you imperfect! If ABRAHAM must live and walk with me cut that old man of sin and let the poisnous blood (the life of ABRAM) run out. God’s Word cannot be broken! For Abraham, a new creature, to come to life, old things (Abram) must pass away; the old life must go, blood has to be shed!
And so, the circumcision of the flesh came into Man’s walk with God. It was not so at the beginning!
“This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.” – Genesis 17:10
God demonstrated both His judgement and His mercy by giving Abram a second chance as Abraham. A second chance at life, a new life. (2 Cor. 5:17) God gave Abraham the gift of a renewed life, of being born-again; a divine youthfulness.
“…………but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans 6:23b
When a man dies he ceases to answer his name physically. Abraham, now you are a new creature. Abram is passed away, dead; with his old habit and nature. You are different both in habit and nature. When called Abram, you must not answer because the bearer of the former name is dead! Henceforth, you are Abraham! Behold I set before you a new beginning, new strength, new vigour and a new future. Walk before me in this new nature: blameless!
This new creature called Abraham cannot be married to the old woman called Sarai. So in you, I renew her youth! From today I remove that old barren woman full of sorrow and sadness. I replace her with the productive young woman who shall know no more sorrow or sadness. Her life shall be full of laughter! Her name shall be SARAH! For behold I do a new thing! I am Jehovah Elshaddai!
The same woman called barren, laughed at, rejected, despised, written off and regarded dead by reason of age was renewed in her youth. It had stopped to be with her after the manner of women but God, with Whom nothing shall be impossible, renewed her youth. The Almighty God made her the mother of Laughter at the YOUNG (?) age of 91! Hallellujah
Know Abraham, that walk with me is not what you can do for or by yourself but what I will do for you! I will be your exceeding great reward! My ageless strength will renew your strength like that of a young man. Stop looking at your age, look at what I am doing in your life! I am the Omnipotent God, with Me nothing shall be impossible!
What God did for Abraham, He did for everyone of us that believe in Him but we need to change the way we think.
That is the true circumcision. Circumcision is the proof of a new person, a renewed person who promises to be faithful. The higher dimension of circumcision is the proof that one is married to Jesus.
In our walk with God, physical circumcision is profitable IF we keep the Law.
“For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.” – Romans 2:25
Nadab and Abihu did not profit from circumcision because they did not climb to the higher circumcision. Korah, Dathan and Abiram though circumcised died without inheriting God’s blessings. Eli a Priest, was rejected because he could not operate in the higher circumcision. The Pharisees and Sadducees were circumcised but Jesus called them “white-washed sepulcre”. The “devout” men in Acts 2, were circumcised but could not receive any inheritance in God.
It does not matter what work one does for God or what title one carries, inheritance in the Kingdom of God can only be attained through the higher dimension of circumcision. It does not matter today whether you are physically circumcised or not, if you attain this higher circumcision you will receive from the Lord.
What is this circumcision?
That of the heart!
Man looks at the outward circumcision. But God looks at the inner circumcision. Man looks at age, at height, facial beauty, at covering of HAIR, at clothing; the natural. God looks at the unseen, at the supernatural.
Saul was circumcised but God rejected him. If you like be circumcised in the flesh, if you are not circumcised in your heart you will not have an inheritance in the Lord.
“A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.” – Romans 2:28-29 (NIV)
Every message you hear is God’s knife peeling off your spiritual foreskin.
“You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” – 2 Corinthians 3:2-3 (NIV)
His Word is the razor, sharper than any two edged sword, your heart is the foreskin. So in your heart think of yourself according to God’s thought for you. Any other thought should be pulled down; rejected. Take away from your heart whatever is not of God. That is the true circumcision.
Your heart should be a reflection of Christ: humble and contrite in spirit and sticks to the word of God. (Isaiah 66:2b)
Let’s renew our minds and think more on the things of God, His Kingdom and His Word, even above our comfort and His peace that passes understanding shall be ours. IJN. Amen.
“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!
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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