God Has Equipped You To Be Faithful; Stand Firm During Your Trials 

Grace and peace be unto you.

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).

Are you willing to remain faithful to God no matter the cost? As we journey through life, we will face many trials. Sometimes they come in rapid succession, while other times, we get a moment to rest and prepare for the next one. Our trials are a part of God’s plan, hence, we cannot pray or wish them away, we must go through them. Nonetheless, Scripture says, “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10).

The story is told that Daniel and his three friends, Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego refused to bow down to an image of King Nebuchadnezzar. Consequently, they were bound and thrown in a burning fiery furnace. It was so hot that the men who threw them in were burned to death. It so happened that after a while, the king looked in the furnace and saw four men walking around unbound, and the fourth one looked like a son of the gods. In amazement, he instructed Daniel and his friends to come out. They stepped out of the furnace, and Nebuchadnezzar’s advisors looked at them and saw that they were unhurt (Daniel 3:8-27). We are confident that Jesus walks with us during our trials and protects us from harm.

God desires that we remain faithful regardless of our circumstances. Therefore, he allows us to face challenges that we have the power to overcome (1 Corinthians 10:13). Our power comes from God’s armor which is truth, righteousness, peace, scripture, faith, and salvation (Ephesians 6:14-17). As such, we are encouraged to put on his armor and check daily to ensure that it is in place. When we are clothed with God’s armor, we will withstand our trials. Are you wearing God’s armor?

God is able to give us a life without difficulties (Luke 1:37) but he will not do so. Oftentimes, he wants us to have the experience and reap the benefits. The benefits include learning insightful lessons that enhance our character and our relationship with him. For this reason, we rejoice in our suffering (Romans 5:3), trust him wholeheartedly, and remain faithful.   

A Word From Jesus Can Solve Your Greatest Problem; Do Not Give Up.  

Grace and peace be unto you.

I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27)

The story is told that there was a man who has been an invalid for 38 years. He was lying beside the pool of Bethesda waiting for someone to put him in so he could be healed. It so happened that Jesus came by and heard about his condition. He asked him if he wanted to be healed. The man told him that he had no one to put him in the pool. Jesus then told him to get up, pick up his mat and walk. He obeyed and was healed (John 5:1-8). This invalid man only needed a Word from Jesus and obedience to be healed.  

Although the invalid man was at the pool for some time, he was still hopeful that he would be healed eventually. His hope was not in vain since the opportunity came through Jesus. He was so prepared for his encounter with Jesus that there was no hesitation, nor question, he simply obeyed his instructions. When Jesus approached him, he readily spoke with him, listened, and complied. Jesus knows your greatest need and has the word that will fulfill it, but you must talk with him, listen, and obey. How prepared are you for an encounter with him?

It is interesting to note that when Jesus asked him if he wanted to get well, he answered neither “yes” nor “no.” Instead, he told him why he was not healed, “there was no one to put him in the pool.” He avoided the direct answer and stated the obstacle. Perhaps, he wanted Jesus to put him in the pool, even so, Jesus had another plan. Scripture says, “Jesus can do more than we can ask or imagine…” Ephesians 3:20). The obstacle was beyond the invalid’s control but within Jesus’s power and authority. Therefore, Jesus taught him the invaluable lesson that he only needed him and obedience to be healed.

The Bible says, “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). If you have been waiting on someone for a long time to help you achieve a goal, it is time to talk with Jesus. You may not need that person and Jesus will tell you. In the event you need help from someone, Jesus will inspire the right person to assist. The Ethiopian Eunuch was reading the Bible and did not understand. And so, Jesus sent Phillip to explain the Scripture to him (Acts 8:26-35). Jesus is waiting to share his life-changing word with you. Will you give him the opportunity?

Give Willingly; It Shall Be Multiplied And Given Back To You

Grace and peace be unto you.

The journey continues…

“You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake” (Deuteronomy 15:10).

The story is told that the widow of Zarephath gave Elijah a meal from the flour and oil that she had left. In return, God multiplied the flour and oil and they lasted a long time (1 Kings 17:7-16). The apostle Paul informed the Philippians that he received the gifts from Epaphroditus which they had sent. He further said that they were sacrifices pleasing to the Lord and he would meet their spiritual and temporal needs, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4: 18-19).

God is pleased when we give to his servants because we are contributing to the sharing of the gospel. The good news about his love is spreading across the globe and he is being glorified. As a result, he shows his appreciation by rewarding us. The reward may include increased finances, good health, favor with men, miracles, or more wisdom. Scripture says, Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38).

Some time ago, I saw a picture of a child in poverty and was reminded that poor people need our help. According to the World Bank, about 9.2% of the world, or 689 million people, live in extreme poverty. These people are alive because of the assistance they receive from various organizations around the world. Do you know that God has commanded us to give to the poor? The Bible says, “For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore, I command you, You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land” (Deuteronomy 15:11). Thus, you and I have a responsibility to contribute continually to the needs of the poor, “If you love me, keep my commands (John 14:15).  

When we give, we must do so with wisdom (James 1:5). Some believers have become disheartened with the idea of giving to the Lord due to unpleasant experiences. For example, they were told to give sacrificially and the Lord would meet a specific need. They obeyed and the need was not met. However, in everything that we do, we must ask the Holy Spirit to guide us, and prepare our heart and mind for the outcome (Psalm 37:5). The Lord keeps his promises, therefore he will reward us every time we give, but it may not be what we anticipate. For instance, he might give us good health rather than increased finances because that is what we need to accomplish our purpose.

God has given us the resources and desire to share with others. When we give, we testify about his lovingkindness. I pray that we will follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit and give accordingly.

You Are The Light of The World; Show Love To Everyone

Grace and peace be unto you.

A Word of Encouragement…

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14).

Is the world seeing your light? It is recorded that Peter and John were going to the house of the Lord to pray, when they met a lame beggar who asked them for alms. They looked at him and Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.’ He took the beggar by the hand, helped him up and he began to walk (Acts 3:1- 8). Although Peter and John were going to the temple, they recognized an opportunity to help someone in need and bring glory to God. The Bible says, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God” (1 John 4:7).

Sometimes we are so focused on doing our business or “God’s work” that we fail to recognize that he wants us to help someone in our immediate environment. The story is told about the man who was beaten by thieves and left to die. It so happened that a priest came by, saw him, and walked on the other side (Luke 10: 30-31). Perhaps he was going to Mass and did not want to be late, we do not know. But whatever the reason, the fact is that he did not make the time to help the man in need, thereby missing an opportunity to show God’s love. Scripture says, “Let all that you do be done in love” (1 Corinthians 16:14).    

God wants us to have an intimate relationship with him in order to recognize his priority and do it. He knows we live in a society that teaches the importance of doing activities in a timely manner, for example, some of us were taught that we must be punctual for church because we have an appointment with God. He is not encouraging us to minimize the importance of time for our earthly duties. Instead, he wants us to understand that we were created to serve him, he has activities for us to do, and they should be given priority.   

Our priority is to love the Lord with our entire being (Mark 12:30). Our love for him is evident when we keep his commands, “If you love me, keep my commands (John 14:15). Keeping God’s commands involve helping people in need that he brings to our attention. Peter did not give the beggar money because he had none. But he had the gift of healing and so he healed him. God desires that we use our gifts to help others. What is your gift and how can you use it to help the people in need who cross your path?

What resources do you have that can help others? Help takes many forms. It includes prayer, a word of encouragement, directing people to the appropriate resources, or giving them needed resources. The apostle Paul wrote, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God” (Hebrews 13:16).

Your Faith Releases The Power in God’s Word

Grace and peace be unto you.

A Word of Encouragement…

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). 

The purpose of a car is to primarily provide transportation. Hence if you purchase one, keep it in your garage, and do not use it for transportation, you will not benefit from the pleasure, convenience, and comfort in using it. Similarly, if you have a Bible and do not read it, you will not receive most of the blessings within. Likewise, if you read it mindlessly or treat it like an ordinary book with fascinating stories, you will not experience the power of God or his Words being fulfilled in your life. The apostle Paul wrote, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

The story is recorded that God told Elijah to show himself to King Ahab and he would send rain on the land (1 Kings 18:1). Elijah obeyed but there was no rain. He prayed and asked his servant to go and look toward the sea for signs of rain. His servant returned and told him “No.” Elijah told him to go back seven times before it finally rained (1 Kings 18:41-44). God waits until we exercise sufficient faith in his Word before he acts. He knows the amount of faith he wants from each of us. Therefore, if God has laid something on your heart, keep praying, believing, and giving thanks until you receive it. He watches to see that his Word is fulfilled (Jeremiah 1:12).

The notion of exercising faith is not new to us, we do it everyday, subconsciously and consciously. For example, when you sit in your favorite chair, you are believing that it will hold your weight and not fall apart. Or when you go shopping and park in the parking lot, you have the confidence that the car will be there when you return. We are all experts at exercising faith in worldly matters but not concerning spiritual issues. Hence, God is asking us to have faith in his Word and believe that he will do what he promised. When we believe in God’s Word, Jesus responds favorably to our faith (Matthew 21:22). The result is that shackles are broken, problems are solved, the impossible becomes possible, and miracles happen (Jeremiah 32:17).

The question then arises, how should we approach the Bible when reading it?

  1. Believe that the Bible is God’s Word.
  2. Recognize that every time you read the Bible, God is speaking to you.
  3. Examine your intentions and ask these questions, why am I reading the Bible today? What are my spiritual needs? What is God saying to me?
  4. Begin with prayer and ask the Lord to reveal his message to you.
  5. Choose a book and read a small section each day, for example, a chapter or part of it.
  6. Maintain your focus as you read and do not be distracted. You will have a better understanding of what God is saying to you.
  7. Write down the insights you receive.

Our Heart Is Deceitful But God Is More Powerful   

Grace and peace be unto you.

The Journey continues.

We are living in a world where evil is rampant. Everyday, there is a report in the media about a gruesome murder. Sometimes, seeing the headline is enough to send chills down my spine. The prophet Jeremiah wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). And the apostle Paul said, “For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out” (Romans 7:18).

We can concur with Jeremiah and Paul because we know that our heart is also devious. A reflection on some of the ungodly thoughts that we have entertained are reminders. The truth is that we do not have the power to control our evil desires, therefore we must rely on God to help us. He has given us his Holy Spirit who is more powerful than evil. When we fully submit to his leading, we do good deeds and evil is defeated (James 4:7). However, we must believe that we have the Holy Spirit, he is more powerful than Satan, and he helps us to control our evil desires.      

When we disobey God’s teaching, we yield to evil, but still have the power to rule over it (Genesis 4:7). Hence, we are encouraged to repent whenever we sin and God will forgive us (1 John 1:9). When we repent, our relationship with God is restored, likewise our confidence in him. As a result, his supernatural power within us is activated and we are motivated to do good and resist evil.

We have a responsibility not only to control our evil desires but to encourage others to do the same. We can achieve this goal by doing two things: Firstly, practice being kind to everyone, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32). Hopefully, our kindness will help them to see the error of their ways and they will be motivated to be kind to themselves and others. Secondly, pray for everyone that they will receive salvation and do good deeds (1 Timothy 2:1).       

God Can Improve Your Self-Confidence; Trust Him

Grace and peace be unto you.

A Word of Encouragement.

A lack of self-confidence can limit our level of success. If our self-confidence needs a boost, we need not worry because our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ will help us. The Bible says that King Solomon needed a discerning heart and Moses wanted someone to help him deliver God’s message. They shared their desires with God and he fulfilled them (1 Kings 3:12; Exodus 4:10-16). What do you need to improve your self-confidence? Have you talked to God about it?

Believing in Jesus Christ and having great self-confidence go hand in hand. But sometimes that is not the case. There are instances when we allow unpleasant experiences to negatively affect our self-confidence. Some examples are failing an exam, divorce, bullying, and illness. When we have low self- confidence, we do not have a realistic view of ourselves. Furthermore, our thoughts are negatively skewed that is, we focus on negative thoughts and the “bad side” of situations. Nonetheless, the Bible encourages us to think positive thoughts (Philippians 4:8). Therefore, it is recommended that we put corrective measures in place to overcome low self-confidence and increase our positive thoughts.

The Bible says, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26). When we invest time in studying God’s Word, the Holy Spirit will remind us of the pertinent Scripture as the need arises. Not so long ago, I recall considering my options about a matter and got confused in the process. Interestingly, the Holy Spirit reminded me that God is not the author of confusion. Thus, I was motivated to eliminate the confusion and make a decision. Our receptiveness to the Holy Spirit helps us to obey God’s Word thereby improving our self-confidence.  

5 Bible verses that can help you to restore or improve your self-confidence:

  1. “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
  2. I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).
  3. I am made in the image of God; I have intelligence, creativity, and free will (Genesis 1:27).
  4. God has a plan for my life, “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).
  5. I will meditate on God’s Word and everything I do shall prosper (Psalm 1:3).

Jesus promised that he will be with us always even unto the end of the world (Matthew 28:20). When we genuinely believe that the All-Powerful God is with us, we know that he will meet our needs and protect us, therefore we exude self-confidence. The psalmist says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). Trials are a part of life hence we will encounter difficult circumstances, but we have the assurance that God will help us. We know this because he has helped us in the past and we have heard others testify of his goodness. Moreover, the Bible tells us about his love and faithfulness, “Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds” (Psalm 36:5).

Give Your Pains To Jesus And Live The Abundant Life.

Grace and peace be unto you.

A Word of Encouragement…

The Bible says, “And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail” (Isaiah 58:11). Jesus feels your pain and sees every part of your body that hurts. During his earthly ministry, he encountered a woman who was crying because her son had died. He looked at her with compassion and said, “Do not cry.” Then, he brought her son back to life (Luke 7:11-15).      

I have heard heartbreaking stories of men and women who were severely abused, spiritually, physically, sexually, and psychologically. Their narratives brought me to tears as I try to understand the pain, betrayal, and helplessness that they endured. Some of them received spiritual, psychological, or psychiatric treatment and are healed, but the scars remain as vivid reminders of the trauma. On the other hand, others do not get the needed mental health treatment and live their lives with the open wounds. Therefore, they experience mental health issues such as low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, among others. Sadly, many of them engage in socially unacceptable behaviors that include taking drugs, drinking too much alcohol, sexual promiscuity, or abusing others in order to numb the pain that is hidden so deep within. 

Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come so that you may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Jesus died on the cross to restore your good life that was taken away by people filled with hatred and who were being led by the devil. The past cannot be undone but Jesus can heal your wounds supernaturally or through mental health practitioners. Healing does not mean that you will forget the abuse. Sadly, you will remember but there will be no pain attached to your memories. The question of why you were abused will surface occasionally, however as you get closer to Christ, your purpose becomes clearer and the answer is revealed.  

Perhaps you are asking the question, how can I receive healing? There are two methods that you can consider. Firstly, you can give all your hurts and pains to Jesus and trust him to take care of them. The Bible says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). Jesus will perform surgery on your mind and heart to remove the strongholds and pains associated with the abuse. He will rewire your mind and emotions to function accurately. Furthermore, he will give you the medication of faith and meditating on relevant scripture to ensure complete healing of your thoughts, emotions, spirit, and body. Secondly, you can utilize the services of trained mental health therapists if your faith is not strong enough to believe Jesus for healing.

Jesus said, “Satan has asked to sift you as wheat but he has prayed for you that your faith will not fail…” (Luke 22:31-32). The abuse that you experienced is not a surprise to God. He knew everything that would happen to you before you were born. Therefore, he has given you his Holy Spirit to help you heal, accept and enjoy the abundant life that is available.

Spiritual Discernment Is A Key Factor In Completing Your Divine Assignments

Grace and peace be unto you.

The journey continues.

God presents regular opportunities for us to help people or testify about his goodness. The question therefore arises, how do we make use of these opportunities? Spiritual discernment is knowing what God wants us to do in any given situation. Our powers of discernment are developed from having a close relationship with Christ and through constant practice in distinguishing good from evil (Hebrews 5:14).  

The apostle Matthew wrote that on one occasion, Jesus was talking to John’s disciples and a certain ruler came and knelt before him. He told Jesus that his daughter was dead and he wanted him to bring her back to life. Jesus ended the conversation and immediately left with his disciples and followed the ruler (Matthew 9:18). In another instance, the apostle John recorded that Jesus received information that Lazarus was sick and he said, ‘the sickness will not end in death, it is for God’s glory, so that God’s Son will be glorified through it.’  As such, he stayed where he was for two days before starting the journey to Lazarus’s home town. When he finally arrived, he found that Lazarus was in the tomb for four days (John 11:1-17).

Both situations were opportunities for Jesus to help someone and he responded favorably. Nonetheless, he responded immediately to the ruler’s request and waited a few days before visiting Lazarus. How do we determine how quickly to respond to an assignment? Our earthly wisdom which is grounded in morality can only guide us in dealing with worldly matters. We need spiritual discernment to do our divine assignments.

Scripture says that Jesus is in unity with his Father, and so he knows his desires and always does what pleases him (John 8:29). Therefore, through communicating with his Father, he knew that his assignment was to raise Lazarus after he was buried. As a result, he allowed the time to pass for Lazarus’s death and burial before visiting his hometown. Effective communication and obedience to God helped Jesus decide when and how to respond to the assignment.

Similarly, when we are in unity with Christ, we know his desires and find pleasure in doing them. Unity with Christ occurs through study and obedience to his commands and having an intimate relationship with him. When we communicate with him frequently, he tells us how and when to respond to assignments, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).  

God Reveals Information When He is Ready    

Grace and peace be unto you.

A Word of Encouragement.

The story is told that the Shunamite’s son died and she went to visit Elisha. She approached him and held his feet and he said to his servant Gehazi, “She is in bitter distress, but the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me why” (2 Kings 4:27). God reveals information when he wants us to know. Hence, what he has not revealed, he does not want us to know at this time. Scripture says, “Trust in the Lord with all thy heart and lean not to thy own understanding. In all your ways, submit to him and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

According to the Bible, Joseph lived in Egypt for at least 15 years before his father Jacob, who lived in Canaan, found out that he was alive. Jacob’s sons had given him Joseph’s coat covered with blood, which led him to believe that he was dead. Jacob loved Joseph very much and grieved deeply for him (Genesis 37-47). It is interesting to note that Jacob had a good relationship with God, yet still, God did not reveal to him that Joseph was alive during those 15 years that he was grieving. I cannot help but wonder why God withheld such pertinent information which would have comforted Jacob to some extent. However, the answer is quite simple, it was not a part of God’s purpose, and he does not act outside of his purpose, “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 works through situations to accomplish his purpose therefore he knows what he is doing. Sometimes, we do not know his purpose, therefore we cannot connect the activities or events in our lives in a way that make sense. That is okay, because God did not ask us to understand his ways, he asked us to trust him, “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act” (Psalm 37:5).  

If you are at a place in your life where you are trying to understand how God is working or what he is doing. I encourage you to do three things. Firstly, submit your concerns to him. Secondly, ask him to help you focus on the assignment he has given you at the moment. Thirdly, ask yourself this question, how is my attempt to decipher God’s actions beneficial to my spiritual and general development? I propose that the time you spend trying to connect your activities to your divine purpose can be better utilized in prayer, praise, study of God’s Word, or doing good deeds. The reality is that time is a precious commodity that cannot be used after it has passed therefore, we must use it wisely, “Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16).