Occupy Until The Lord’s Return

Grace and peace be unto you.

“Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount” (Luke 19:8).

What would be your greatest regret if the Lord comes today? What would you have done differently? Jesus shared a parable about the noble man and his ten servants. He said that the noble man went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then return. And so, he called ten of his servants and gave them 10 minas and told them to put the money to work until he returns (Luke 19:11-13).  

Jesus ascended to heaven many years ago and will return one day. Until such time, God gave us gifts, graces, privileges, to help ourselves and others, and glorify his name. Regrettably, some of us are focused on meeting our basic needs as we wait on the rapture, while others are accumulating earthly possessions and indulging in worldly pleasures. Nonetheless, God desires that we enjoy ourselves in him (Colossians 3:17), and share the gospel with the lost so they can be a part of his kingdom.  

Jesus will return when we do not expect him, hence we should always be ready (Matthew 24:44). It will be to our benefit if Jesus finds our thoughts and deeds pleasing to him when he returns (Matthew 24:46). Then, we will receive the crown of life and reign with him eternally.

Heavenly Father, please help us to use our blessings and glorify you. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

All Is Not Lost; God Is Reaching Out To You

Grace and peace be unto you.

“Instead of shame and dishonor, you will enjoy a double share of honor. You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours” (Isaiah 61:7).

The story is told that there was a tax collector named Zacchaeus who lived in Jericho. One day, he heard that Jesus was passing through and wanted to see him. He was short and could not see over the crowd, therefore he climbed a sycamore tree. It so happened that when Jesus reached the sycamore tree, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today” (Luke 19:1-5).

Perhaps you are searching for meaning and purpose in life. God is looking at you right now. He is asking you to come to him and he will live with you permanently. Scripture says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Revelation 3:20). Will you accept the invitation?

God will clear your confusion and help you understand your purpose. He will give you peace, joy, and hope. The Bible says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).  

Heavenly Father, please help us to answer your call so that we will have hope and a future. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Use God’s Time For His Design

Grace and peace be unto you.

“Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16)

Do you have adequate hours in each day to complete God’s approved activities? Are you sometimes frustrated because of the many incomplete tasks you have at the end of each day? There are 24 hours in a given day and we have the responsibility to use them according to God’s design. Interestingly, God has activities for us to do each day, and he patiently waits for us to complete them. Scripture says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).  

The story is told that on one occasion, Jesus was on his way to raise a ruler’s daughter from the dead and he stopped to have conversation with a woman who had an issue of blood (Luke 8:40-48). Although Jesus was going to do an assignment, he made room for another one. Still yet, he had time to complete the original assignment. Jesus understood his mission and so he accommodated assignments accordingly. When we understand our purpose and trust God to guide us, we can successfully complete all our daily tasks.

In another situation, the apostle Matthew wrote that, “When Jesus saw the crowd that surrounded him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake” (Matthew 8:19). Jesus knew when his body needed rest. He was confident in himself and his purpose to make the time for it. He was not influenced by people’s desires or praises to ignore his need for rest and continue working. Jesus understood that rest revitalizes the body, provides energy, and improves concentration for greater service.

Similarly, God wants us to rest when we need it. There will always be more work to do. However, Scripture says that there is a time for everything under the heavens (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Regrettably, sometimes we forego rest to impress our boss, earn more money, or ignore personal problems. As a result, our mental and physical health decline and our effectiveness is significantly reduced.

God is displeased when we do not use his time and get adequate rest. Our body is his temple and should be cared for appropriately. The psalmist wrote, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). Time cannot be regained when do not use it for God’s design.  

Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of time, please grant us the wisdom to use it according to your purpose. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.  

Rejoice! Your Light Has Come

Grace and peace be unto you.

The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined” (Matthew 4:16).

Arise , shine for your light has come,
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you,
Arise, shine, for your light has come (Isaiah 60:1)

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path (Psalm 119:105).

Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your light into this world. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

You Have A Choice Between Good And Evil

Grace and peace be unto you.

When was the last time you made a major decision? What were your options? Life is so arranged that evil presents in the midst of every decision whether simple or complex. Scripture says that on one occasion, angels presented themselves to God and Satan was among them (Job 1:6). When we are self-aware, socially aware, and spiritually aware, we are better able to choose good over evil.  

The story is told that King Ahab and King Jehoshaphat wanted to attack Ramoth Gilead. Consequently, they sought counsel from the Lord. King Ahab’s four hundred prophets told him to go ahead because God would give him victory. Nonetheless, Micaiah, a prophet of God told him that it would be a disaster. He believed his prophets and went to war against Ramoth Gilead. In accordance with God’s Word, he was killed (2 Chronicles 18). King Ahab chose to believe his prophets because they told him what he wanted to hear.

Similar to King Ahab, sometimes we choose evil by accepting advice that is contrary to God’s instructions, because it aligns with our desires. In those moments, we are more interested in having our desires met than fulfilling God’s purpose. While we cannot run away from evil, we can overcome it. The Lord told Cain that evil was crouching at his door and desired to have him, but he must rule over it (Genesis 4:6).

How do I choose good over evil?

1. Measure your options against God’s Word and reject those that are in violation.

2. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the courage.

3. Trust God with the outcome.  

Heavenly Father, please give us the wisdom and courage to choose good over evil in every situation. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

To Speak Things Into Being Or Not

As it is written: I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed, the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not” (Romans 4:17).

Have you ever fallen victim to false doctrine? How was the experience? The Bible warns that there will be a time when people will listen to teachings which suit their passions, rather than those that teach the truth about God (2 Timothy 4:3-4). Sometimes false doctrines are very subtle but when we know the Word of God and develop our discernment skills, we can identify them.  

Along my Christian journey, I was taught that I have the power to speak things into being according to Romans 4:17. Being naïve at the time, I believed and expended lots of time and energy speaking my desires into being while declaring selective Scriptures. Nonetheless, after a while, it dawned on me that my desires were not materializing. Desperate for an answer, I sought the face of the Lord. He revealed that he is the only one who has the authority and power to speak things into being. He further shared that Romans 4:17 was misinterpreted to make it appealing to people’s carnal desires, and cause disappointment and confusion.

God called Abraham, “The father of many nations,” before he was (Genesis 17:4). He called Gideon, “Mighty man of valor” while he was discouraged and hiding from the Midianites (Judges 6:12). Similarly, God told Elijah that he would end the three years of drought in Israel and send rain (1 Kings 18:1). Elijah did not speak rain into being; God did. Scripture says, “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21).

In retrospect, the false teaching was appealing because it introduced a novel and easy way to have my desires met. Hearing that I could “name and claim” them in Jesus’s name and they would be fulfilled was motivating and comforting. Regrettably, I was more interested in having my needs met than doing God’s will. Since then, I have acknowledged the error of my ways and now earnestly seek to do God’s will (Hebrews 11:6).   

If you have embraced a similar false teaching, you will be disappointed and frustrated. The reality is that your attempts to speak your desires into existence will be futile since only God’s plan will materialize. The best way to have your desires met is to do the following:  

1. Submit them to God.

2. Ask that his will be done in your life.

3. Patiently wait for his response.

4. Do what he says.

5. Delight yourself in him.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your grace and mercy. Help us to study your Word and spend time in your presence so we can identify and reject false teachings. In Jesus’s, Name. Amen.

Give More Love Today

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12).

Have you showed God recently that you love him? When was the last time you give love to yourself and others? Well, you are alive today therefore you have another opportunity to show more love to God, yourself, and others. Scripture says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).

The story is told that the Corinthians valued spiritual gifts above love. Consequently, the apostle Paul told them that the gifts were meaningless without love and it is the greatest of all virtues. Hence, they should desire to increase their love (1 Corinthians 13). God desires that love is the driving force behind our actions and evident in our daily life. The apostle James wrote, “If one of you says to them, Go in peace; keep warm and well fed, but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” (James 2:16).

What is love? “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

Perhaps your love is buried deep in your heart because of exposure to unpleasant circumstances. For example, you might have endured abuse, oppression, or injustice which has left you traumatized and distrustful of humanity. As a result, you have built a wall around your heart and are unkind to others. Even so, God is asking you to give him your problems and accept his love. His love will wipe away your pain and negative thoughts, and replace them with his lovingkindness (Matthew 11:28-30).   

When you fully embrace God’s love, your thoughts and actions reflect his, and your desire is to please him. Consequently, you treat yourself and others in a loving manner. There are many ways you can show more love, but the three main ones are:

1. Obey God’s Commandments.

2. Be kind to yourself in thoughts, words, and deeds.

3. Be kind to others in thoughts, words, and deeds.

Heavenly Father, please help us to love you, ourselves, and others more each day. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.  

God Feels Your Pain And Wants To Help

Grace and peace be unto you.

Are you struggling with a physical, spiritual, or mental health issue? Do you sometimes feel as if no one understands? Although your loved ones may get tired of hearing about your circumstances, God is always available to listen and talk with you. In some instances, he will heal you supernaturally. Indeed, we have an high priest who is touched by the feelings of our infirmities (Hebrews 4:15).

The apostle Matthew wrote that when Jesus received the sad news of John the Baptist’s death, he got on a boat privately and went to a solitary place. But when he arrived, he saw people waiting on him for help. Despite being grief stricken, he had compassion on them and healed their sick (Matthew 14:13-14). Similar to Jesus, our Heavenly Father is compassionate, hence he is always willing to help us (John 5:17).

The people went to Jesus for healing because they believed that he could heal them and they were not disappointed. When you are hurting, God feels your pain and desires to provide relief. Nonetheless, he is waiting on you to give your condition to him and trust him for healing. There is no illness that he cannot heal (Luke 1:37). The Israelites sinned against God and suffered as a consequence. Even so, God felt their mental distress and rescued them (Isaiah 63:9).  

What is preventing you from submitting your illness to God and trusting him to heal you completely? The Bible says, “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7) and he will give you the desires of your heart when you delight in him (Psalm 37:4).  

Heavenly Father, help us to embrace your compassionate nature, give our illnesses to you, and trust you for healing. In Jesus Name, Amen.  

God is working For Your Good; Trust Him

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Are you familiar with the phrase, “I did not understand then, but now I do.” Sometimes, we find ourselves in unusual situations and wonder how they will contribute to our progress. Nonetheless, time always reveal that God works through every situation for our good. The psalmist says, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes” (Psalm 119:71).

The story is told that Queen Vashti disobeyed her husband, King Xerxes a Persian king and was deposed. Hence, the king was in search of a new wife. Esther, a Jew was asked to compete for the position and complied. Interestingly, the king found favor with her and she was crowned queen. When we ask God to guide our activities, he does so based on his plan, Scripture says, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us” (1 John 5:14). God’s plan is good and perfect.

God used Vashti’s removal to create the opening for Esther to become queen. This act not only placed Esther in an envied position but gave her the power to influence the king’s decisions in favor of the Jews. Although I do not know your circumstances, I can assure you that God will use them for your good and to accomplish his purpose. Therefore, when you make your requests known to God, you must believe that the outcome is according to his good plan and trust him. Scripture says, “…my purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please” (Isaiah 46:10). 

Heavenly Father, please help us to understand that you work in all things for our good. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.  

God Has Forgiven you; Move On With Your Life

Grace and peace be unto you.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

The story is told that the teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus who was caught in adultery. They told him that she was caught in the act of adultery, then enquired if she should be stoned according to the Mosaic Law. Jesus said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” The accusers walked away one by one. Afterwards, Jesus told the woman that he did not condemn her, and she should go and sin no more (John 8-11).  

When we sin and people try to condemn or ostracize us, we must not feel intimidated, unworthy, or unloved. It behooves us to remember that they have sinned in some regards and as such, are not in a position to criticize anyone. We may not know their sin, but the Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Furthermore, the apostle Matthew wrote, “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?” (Matthew 7:3). In such instances, we could consider encouraging our accusers to work out their salvation with fear and trembling.  

As long as we live in this earthly body, we will sin, whether in thoughts or deeds. Nonetheless, Scripture says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”(1 John 1:9). God expects us to genuinely repent of our sins, accept his forgiveness, and continue working towards the fulfillment of our purpose. He is displeased when we harbor guilt for our sins or become stagnant after he has forgiven us, “So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free” (John 8:36).

Perhaps you have considered this question, “What if I have difficulty accepting God’s forgiveness?”

The following suggestions can help:

1. Talk to God; share your thoughts and feelings with him. Listen for his response.

2. Ask him to help you accept his forgiveness.

3. Go on a fast.

4. Meditate on 1 John 1:9 and the following Scriptures daily.

  • “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” (Hebrews 4:16).
  • “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Heavenly Father, please help us to repent of our sins, accept your forgiveness, and accomplish our purpose. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.