You Cannot Hide From God; He is Everywhere

“Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:24).

Grace and peace be unto you.

A Word of Encouragement…

Most of us will agree that God sees everything. Since God knows everything, I must ask the question, why do we do evil deeds? Perhaps in those moments we are consumed by the anticipated satisfaction from our evil desires to the extent that we forget about God or cannot hear his voice. The story is told that King Ahab and his wife Jezebel murdered their neighbor, Naboth to obtain his vineyard. But, when Ahab went to take possession of the vineyard, he was met by the prophet Elijah who had a Word from the Lord for him (1 Kings 21). God sees all our actions; nothing is hidden from him. The writer of Proverbs says, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3). Furthermore, he has a day of judgement for everyone (Acts 17:31).  

Running away from our assignments

God chose you and I before the creation of the world to carry out his plan (Ephesians 1:4). Nonetheless, sometimes we do not agree with his plan and are reluctant to obey. Interestingly, he always has a strategy to redirect us to his plan. Jonah recorded that God told him to go and preach to the Ninevites and he did not want to obey, and so he ran away. However, he faced a life-threatening situation which motivated him to pray, repent, and promised God to obey him. God forgave him and he followed through with the assignment (Jonah 1-3). The psalmist says, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there” (Psalm 139:7-8).

Perhaps you have been running away from something that God has told you to do. Well, you will not be at peace until it is done. The prophet Jeremiah wrote, “But if I say, I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name, his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones” (Jeremiah 20:9). Hence, I encourage you to repent and obey God. It is always more pleasant and rewarding to obey.

A Prayer For Parents Whose Children Have Died.

Grace and peace be unto you.

Heavenly Father, God of Love, and Peace.
Glory be to your holy and matchless name,
Your wisdom and knowledge are beyond our understanding.
I bring before you all the parents whose children have died.
Whether from disease, murder, suicide, accident or any other means.
Lord, you know the pain they are going through, only you can understand.
May your Holy Spirit comfort them as only he can,
May he give them peace amidst the turmoil and the desire to face another day.

Lord, parents would prefer to outlive their children, but because of sin, many lives
have been cut short.
Help them to reflect on the wonderful moments they had together and cherish
the precious memories.
Reveal yourself to them in a new way so they know you are the God who cares.
I pray that they will experience your great love that passes all understanding.
May you give them joy after they are finished mourning and hope for despair.
Help them to trust in your amazing grace, knowing that you are in control.
In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

We Live In The World But We Are Not Of The World.

Grace and peace be unto you.

The journey continues…

Are we conformed to the Image of Christ or the world? We are living in an era where worldly image is admired. Worldly image is acting in ways that give the impression that your life is perfect and you are always happy. Have you noticed the pictures that are posted on social media? Most of them show happy smiling faces and people seem to be in perpetual bliss. If you are not being led by the Holy Spirit and wisdom you would believe that the pictures are a true reflection of their life. Consequently, you would desire to have this “happy life” and engage in undesirable behaviors such as having multiple relationships, taking drugs, or stealing to attain this goal. Nonetheless, Scripture says, “…Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!” (Psalm 144:15).  

Sadly, this worldly image has crept into the minds of some believers and displayed in their lifestyle. Scripture says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). We are called to display Christ’s Image and not that of the world. Christ’s Image is one of truth and his work and associations reflect this noble virtue (John 14:6). During his earthly ministry, there was no discrepancy between his personal and public life. Furthermore, he was focused on doing his Father’s will and accomplishing his purpose rather than creating an image for public display (John 4:34).

The Christlike Image

Although Jesus did not manufacture a public image, his words and deeds created an image of someone who is blameless and righteous. Similarly, our words and deeds, that is, the things we do in private and public create our true image. Scripture says, “…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

Christ’s Image is evident in his character, the relationships he formed, and the work he did during his earthly sojourn.

1. His close inner circle were his disciples. They shared his values and mission. Do your close friends share your values and mission?

2. He walked in integrity before God and man, “He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth” (1 Peter 2:22).

3. He expressed anger but did not sin, “So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables” (John 2:15).

4. He showed compassion, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).

5. He sympathized with people who were crying when Lazarus died (John 11:35).

6. His life displayed the Fruit of the Spirit, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…” (Galatians 5:22-23).

7. He discussed biblical principles with wisdom and authority, “Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers” (Luke 2:47).

8. He went about doing good (Acts 10:38).

God desires that we use words and do deeds that please him. This behavior reflects the Image of his Son, Jesus Christ. Our Christlike Image testifies about his goodness, love, mercy, and draws people to him. Before Jesus’s ascension, he prayed this prayer for us, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. “They are not of the world, even as I am not of it” (John 17:16). 

You Have The Power To Exercise Self-Control

A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls” (Proverbs 25:28).

Grace and peace be unto you.

Self-control is defined as the ability to regulate our desires and emotions. When we receive salvation, God immediately bestows on us the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38), who then gives us self-control (2 Timothy 1:7). As we mature in Christ, we become more proficient in regulating our desires and emotions. Exercising self-control is important because it helps us achieve our divine purpose. Scripture says, “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27).

The story is told that King David lusted after Bathsheba and then slept with her. She became pregnant and David had her husband killed to hide the fact that he fathered her child. God was displeased and punished him. The consequences included the death of three of his sons, one of whom was conceived from the adulterous relationship (2 Samuel 11-18). David did not exercise self-control, hence he disobeyed God’s Word and stepped out of God’s plan. However, through the consequences, he learned the wisdom and importance of exercising self-control.    

We developed self-control through trials and temptations. As such, God allows them in our lives. The reality is that we always have a choice to resist and maintain self-control or give in and lose self-control. Nevertheless, the comforting thought is that no matter how appealing the temptation or difficult the trial, we have the power to maintain self-control. Scripture says, “God will not allow you to be tempted beyond your ability…” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Have you noticed that you are often tempted by situations or things that appeal to you? For example, if you do not drink alcohol, Satan will not tempt you with it. On the other hand, if your besetting sin is envy, he will present situations that will stimulate that desire. Since the desires that we embrace are used to tempt us, curtailing them will help us to overcome temptation and maintain self-control. Six ways to practice self-control are:

1. Know your desires and besetting sins. You can do an introspection, ask the Holy Spirit or a close friend to help you identify them.

2. Commit your desires and weaknesses to Christ and trust him to help you control them.

3. Avoid situations that will encourage you to yield to these desires, for example, avoid the bar or other places where liquor is sold if you have the tendency to consume too much alcohol.

4. Learn to be happy and satisfied where you are. If your circumstances are unfavorable and you cannot change them, change your perspective. You can achieve this by identifying the good things happening in your life, and in the world, and giving God thanks.

5. Practice praying frequently.

6. Utilize your time wisely, “The devil finds work for idle hands.”

Keep Out The Distractions And You Will Accomplish Your Purpose.

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

Grace and peace be unto you.

Distraction is defined as anything or anyone that prevents you from having an intimate relationship with God and completing your divine assignments. Some examples of distractions are yourself, friends, and social media. The Bible says, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7). When we meditate on God’s Word and practice them, we are in unity with Christ and John 17:21 is fulfilled, “That they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” In this state, we know God’s desires and ask according to his will.  

The story is told that the Shunammite’s son died and she went for the prophet, Elisha. When Elisha arrived, he entered the room and closed the door so he was alone with the boy. He then prayed, stretched out on the child twice and he came back to life (2 Kings 4:32-37). Elisha had an intimate relationship with God, hence, he knew that God wanted the boy to live. Furthermore, he discerned that the boy’s mother and his servant were distractions and so he closed the door on them. Keeping out the distractions helped him to perform the miracle and accomplish God’s plan. As you journey through life, you must use discernment and put measures in place to shut out the distractions. By so doing, you will complete your assignments and fulfil God’s plan.       

Anxiety and impatience are two distractions that can rob us of our blessings. Scripture says, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34). The prophet Samuel wrote that he told Saul to wait seven days for him to come before offering a sacrifice to the Lord. Saul waited for seven days, but not the seventh hour, and when Samuel did not show, he offered up the burnt offering. As soon as he was finished, Samuel arrived. Samuel was angry and told him that his kingdom would not last because of disobedience (1 Samuel 13:7-14). Saul’s anxiety and impatience prevented him from obeying God. As a result, he missed out on his blessings. The psalmist says, “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways” (Psalm 119:15).

There are many other kinds of distractions but the most common ones are the lies we believe from Satan. Lies are defined as information that is contrary to God’s Word. For example, Satan may tell you that God will not answer your prayer hence it is futile to pray, or praising God is a waste of time because you have not received the expected blessings. However, Scripture tells us to pray without ceasing (1Thessalonians 5:17), God answers prayers according to his will and in his time (Isaiah 49:8), and praise God continually (Hebrews 13:15). In these situations, you must decide if you will accept God’s truth or Satan’s lies; you cannot do both. Embracing Satan’s lies will prevent you from accepting God’s truth, completing your assignments, enjoying yourself, and living a successful life. The Bible says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

When Your Faith Fails, Bring Your Mind To Your Condition.

Grace and peace be unto you.

The Journey continues…

Many of us are motivated by the concept of great faith. Hence, slogans such as, “Believe and it will be done,” “You must believe,” “Believe and you will be successful” are frequently heard in church services, songs, and Christian media.

The Bible teaches that we should believe for all things, and the righteous shall live by faith (Hebrews 10:38), hence the attraction to faith is understandable. However, the Bible also teaches that there is a time and place for everything under the sun (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Hence there are instances when we should exercise great faith, that is, elevate our minds above our condition and achieve extraordinary results, for example, when Moses parted the Red Sea. On the other hand, there are moments when we should accept our circumstances, that is, bring our minds to our condition and achieve “ordinary” results.       

Jacob had to bring his mind to his condition when his sons told him that Joseph was dead. He accepted the idea that he would not see him again (Genesis 37:32-35). Likewise, Moses had to bring his mind to his condition when God told him that he would not lead the Israelites into the Promised Land (Numbers 20:12). At some point in our lives, we will encounter unfavorable situations which “extraordinary faith” cannot change. This does not mean that our faith has decreased or we have none. Instead, it is a sign of God’s Sovereignty and we are expected to trust him (Romans 8:28). In these moments we must rely on the Holy Spirit to help us accept our circumstances.

You might have pondered the question, How do I accept my situation when my faith has not produced the expected results? The following suggestions will help:

  1. Reflect on God’s goodness and praise him (Psalm 145:9).
  2. Pray without ceasing and listen for God’s Voice (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
  3. Testify about God’s goodness at every opportunity (Psalm 107:2).
  4. Embrace the opportunities that God presents and maximize them (Colossians 3:23).

What happens if you refuse to accept your situation? Well, if you are in the season where you should accept your situation and you are refusing, you will experience the “novice swimmer trying to swim upstream effect.” This swimmer fights against the current until he gets tired and gives up. As followers of Christ, we are expected to accept God’s plan, therefore, opposing it will lead to poor choices, frustration, fatigue, confusion, and despair. The Bible says, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand” (Proverbs 19:21).  

God’s Word Is More Powerful Than Environmental Influences.

Grace and peace be unto you.

A Word of Encouragement…

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1). When we believe the Word of God and allow it to transform our lives, we have divine protection and provision. God’s Word can transcend your environment, change your perspective, and give you favor with God and man. Scripture says, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).    

The story is told that the prophet Samuel was raised in Eli’s household where evil was present and disrespect for God was evident (1 Samuel 2:12-17). Yet still, Samuel chose to serve the Lord wholeheartedly. His environment did not determine his choices or lifestyle; God’s Word was his guide. Scripture says, “The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground” (1 Samuel 3:19). 

You might be living or working in an environment where God is not respected and you are wondering how you can remain faithful to him. Firstly, obedience to God’s Word and faith in Jesus Christ will supersede negative environmental influences. Secondly, God’s Spirit lives in you and he gives you wisdom and courage to make decisions that will honor him. The Bible says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).

Thirdly, God’s Word is more powerful than all the environmental influences combined (1 John 4:4). Therefore, do not be intimidated because of lawlessness, threats, or power. Ask Jesus to open your spiritual eyes for you to see the angels that surround you or increase your faith so that you will understand his power and authority.

God Rewards Us Handsomely When We Honor The Promises Made To Him. 

Grace and peace be unto you.

A Word of Encouragement…

“Lord, if you deliver me from this unpleasant situation, I will serve you wholeheartedly for the rest of my life.” Does this promise sound familiar? Jephthah promised the Lord that if he won the battle against the Ammonites, he would sacrifice whatever greeted him when he returned home. Sadly, his daughter greeted him when he got home (Judges 11:30-39). We must think very carefully before making promises to God.   

It is customary for some of us to make promises to God when we are in what is perceived to be a desperate situation. Unfortunately, as soon as the situation is resolved we renege. Perhaps we were not genuine or at the time, we felt that the situation was a sign to repent and serve the Lord, but after it was resolved, our perspective changed. As such, we no longer view the circumstance as a call to repentance, but just one of life’s challenging moments that happen to everyone. Whatever the reason, God honors his promises and is pleased when we remain true to ours. The Bible says that when we make a vow to God we should fulfil it (Ecclesiastes 5:4).

The story is told that Hannah could not have children because the Lord closed her womb. One day, she prayed out of the anguish of her heart and promised God that if he gave her a child, she would give him back to him for all of his life. God answered her prayer and she gave birth to a son and named him Samuel. In accordance with her promise, she gave him to Eli, the priest to raise him for God’s service (1 Samuel1:1-11). God was pleased that Hannah kept her promise and blessed her with more children, “Hannah kept her promise and gave Samuel to the Lord. And the Lord was gracious to Hannah; she gave birth to three sons and two daughters” (1 Samuel 2:21).

God blessed Hannah with five more children after she gave Samuel to him. His generosity is beyond understanding. How often have we missed out on rewards because of unkept promises? You might be in a situation where you made promises to God and did not follow through. Well, you have another chance to keep your commitment. I encourage you to revisit your unkept promises, ask Jesus to forgive you, and where possible fulfill them. God’s heart and hands are wide open, he will pour out his blessings on you. He is able to do more than you can ask, think, or imagine according to his power that is at work within you (Ephesians 3:20).  

God’s Patience Is Nearing An End With You.

Grace and peace be unto you.

The journey continues…

God’s love is everlasting, his grace and mercy have no end (Psalm 107:1), but his patience with us will end one day. Scripture says that Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phineas’ behavior greatly displeased the Lord. They ate the best portions of the sacrifices that belong to the Lord and slept with the women who served in the sanctuary. Eli heard about their conduct and rebuked them, however they did not listen to him (1 Samuel 2:12-17; 22-25). Sadly, Eli took no further action to curtail their behavior and the blatant disregard for the Lord continued. The writer of Ecclesiastes wrote, “…Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

God sent a message to Eli

Finally, God had enough contempt from Eli’s sons and sent a prophet to give Eli a message. The prophet reminded him that he was chosen to be a priest and God was good to him. Yet still, he showed disdain for the burnt offerings and honored his sons above the Lord. The prophet informed him that all his descendants would die in the prime of their life and his two sons would die on the same day (1 Samuel 2: 27-36). Not long afterwards, the Word of the Lord was fulfilled. Eli’s sons died in a battle and when Eli heard the news, he fell backward from his chair, broke his neck and died (1 Samuel 4). God’s tolerance of sin does not last forever.

God is always unhappy with our ungodly conduct and encourages us to repent, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Unfortunately, there are instances such as Eli’s in which confession of sin is not done, the sin continues, and God administers punishment. Even so, because of his great love, he explains the reason for his displeasure and diligently outlines the consequences.

God’s message to you

You are engaging in activities that displease the Lord. He has spoken to you privately, whether through his Word or your conscience. He has warned you publicly, through sermons, songs, conversations with friends and family members, or articles that you read, but your inappropriate conduct continues. God has not blinded you to the truth, you simply refuse to repent and return to him.

In the midst of your disrespect for God, you are asking him for blessings in abundance and to enlarge your territory. Why do you think he should give you more blessings? What do you plan to do with them? God’s blessings should be used to help others and bring glory to him. If you are not living a life that is pleasing to him, with the blessings he has already given to you, why do you think he will give you more blessings? You have not proven yourself to be faithful with the ones he has given you, and so he cannot trust you with more, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much (Luke 16:10). God will answer your prayers when you start obeying him, “This is what the Lord Almighty says, Give careful thought to your ways” (Haggai 1:7).    

God is tired of you professing to be his disciple while doing your evil deeds. His patience is coming to an end and he is about to administer discipline. Nevertheless, you have another chance to repent and make it right with him. Scripture says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). Do not wait until it is too late, humble yourself and talk to God today.

God’s Presence Makes A Difference

Grace and peace be unto you.

A Word of Encouragement…

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). Today, I plan to spend some time in God’s presence and I rejoice in anticipation of the revelations I will receive. Indeed, I am looking forward to spending another wonderful day with Jesus, “…in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).

Scripture says, Paul and Silas were imprisoned and at midnight they started praying and praising God. The power of God was activated, an earthquake shook the prison building, all the doors flew open and everyone’s chains came loose (Acts 16:25-26). The Holy Spirit lives in us therefore God is always with us. When we take the time to acknowledge his presence through prayer and praise, he reveals himself in remarkable ways. 

Lord, I thank you for these things:

  1. Your faithfulness, kindness, and grace.
  2. I am wonderfully and fearfully made.
  3. Sparing my life to see another day.
  4. The opportunities that you will send my way today.
  5. Your everlasting love.

Heavenly Father, I pray for your guidance throughout today. Help us to be sensitive to your presence and the needs of others. Grant us the strength and wisdom to please you. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.