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COURAGE FOR LIFE’S TRIALS

My dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful test you are suffering, as though something unusual were happening to you. Rather be glad that you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may be full of joy when his glory is revealed-1 Peter 4:12-13

Have you noticed that the stuff that is going on right now actually occurred in the Bible? Even the negative stuff happened already. The Bible is full of “present-current” things. I have always been encouraged by the above Scripture though, for (1) that I am not the first one to go through the trial, someone else has experienced the same trial before (2) That the trial will produce a much greater glory- something positive, something valuable, or something of with a significant impact.

Consider the following if you are in a trial now or when you will get one:

1.God already knows the timing and the intensity of the trial (1Cor 10:13)
2. The trial designed to accomplish a specific purpose to fit the destiny God has for you (Psalm 12:6, 2 Timothy 2;20)
3. Faith will be an instrumental tool for responding to the trial (Heb 11.1)
4. Persevere under the pressure of the trial, your perseverance is an opportunity for God to demonstrate His great power (1 Peter 4:12-13)
5. The trial when handled right will help develop Christlikeness in you (James 1:2-4)
6. The trial when handled correctly will mature us spiritually (Romans 5:3-4, Hebrews 12:7-11, 2 Timothy 2:3-5)
7. God will be with you in the trial – in such times God gives us the grace to endure and go through the trial (2 Corinthians 12:9)
8. By God’s grace and by the power of the Holy Spirit you will overcome the trial (Isaiah 59:19, Zechariah 4:6)

This week, give the trial a switch. FLIP IT OVER, spin it. Consider this, other people have gone through it, God has a timer on it-remember the story of Job, Joseph, even Jesus, consider that God is expanding your capacity to contain a much greater valuable treasure as a result of the same trial !Take courage, God’s got you!

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EVERY DAY IS A NEW DAY

All weekly blogs are personal experiences that I often have way before the day they are posted. Some though are very fresh like this one. Hope you will be encouraged through this one as well. Yesterday, I had such hectic day at work with demands coming from all ends; one of them involved dealing with a very challenging person. The person’s attitude was rude, unprofessional, angry etc., etc., blah, blah, blah.

Initially, I just wanted to “give it to them” in fact I even proposed submitting a compliant about the person’s behavior. The other issue though, is that I started developing “anticipation anxiety or strategies about how to deal with the person for the rest of the week. I allowed myself to strategize during the night, but every strategy was inconclusive. In fact the more I strategize, the more frustrated I got. I knew this would affect my prayer time and peace so I decided to submit it to prayer

As I prayed, God gave me the strategy, in fact He showed me that the person was hurting and that the person’s identity was wrapped up in their profession. That the best approach was to love and honor the person, with understanding that the person may not acknowledge the love or honor. 1 Corinthians 13 on Love, Galatians 5:22 on the Fruit of Spirit and Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone, gave me a totally new meaning to be being Light in darkness. Danny Silk’s book on A Culture of Honor also came to mind

As I compared the yesterday from today, I concluded that EVERY DAY IS A NEW DAY. We may strategize and anticipate the future but God in His love gives us grace to face each day afresh. We cannot take yesterday’s plans into today. God’s mercy and loving kindness are new every morning. We receive FRESH MANNA EACH DAY. DO NOT GO INTO A NEW DAY WITH THE OLD. Each day has its own special anointing

Lesson-Never let a person’s bad day ruin your day. You have the authority to dictate how to react to everything. Choose peace at all costs. Every new day is a day to start a fresh- BLOG BACK PLEASE

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ACTION PACKED SIGN LANGUAGE

While  reflecting on the Gospel of Jesus, I noticed that the evidence of Jesus ministry were action packed. Jesus not only taught but He lived what He taught; See all Gospels from Matthew to Acts. If Jesus taught about prayer- He is recorded to be secluding Himself to pray. If He taught about obedience- He is recorded to have done only what He saw His Father do. If He taught about mercy and compassion, He, fed, healed and delivered many.

Then I thought, as believers, what is our sign language. Commonly sign language is associated with motion and action. Speaking and acting out often concurrently What if each believer took that approach? That we read the Word, speak or teach it but also act it out.

Loving God would then mean loving one another through our actions i.e., respect, honor, truthfulness, accountability, authenticity, being genuine. It would mean tolerating one’s weakness while lovingly supporting them. It would mean taking time to understand one another instead of being quick to judge or criticize. Our sign language as believers would mean, willing to stay unrecognized while we advance another. Our Sign language will include supporting a difficult person even when we know that their success will be in bits; while staying committed to seeing them through. It would include obeying and trusting God even when you do not understand; but just doing because He said so.

Acts 11:26- The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch. This is the early church. Were their actions so Christ like? Was there life so action-packed so much so like the Christ beyond just confessed that they were labelled Christians? They must have been doers of the Word.

This week, purpose to have an action-packed Christ language. Consider the application of sign-language which is motion or action. Let us act Christ out, Let us act the Word out. Let us be the Christ people can see and point to – THEY MUST BE CHRISTIANS!

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BE THE PRAYER MOUNTAIN

Spiritual retreats are integral part of our journey as believers. They are often recommended to allow us to recharge, refocus and refresh. We often return from these retreats, energized ready to face life. However with time, we tend to get tired again, relapse and want to head out for another retreat. My encouragement to you this week is that you can have an endless prayer mountain experience right now, wherever you are.

I do not refute the need to go to mountains to pray or take breaks for retreat; it is my hope these are not the only ways you can stay refreshed in the Lord. Prayer is an area that most believers struggle with; yet it also the most potent arsenal for a believer.

To stay recharged and refreshed, consider the following:
*Review your daily routines and identify two slots of time that you can dedicate to reading the Bible, Praying and Listening to God
*Start small, may be with just 15 minutes when you wake up , and 15 minutes before you go to bed
*You can break the 15 minutes, into, 5 minutes Bible Reading, 5 minutes, 5 minutes keeping quiet and listening to God
*Always have a journal next to write what you sense God may be telling. It may come as a thought, or a song or a vison
*You may also consider praying for different things on different days of the week. For example, Mondays are dedicated to praying for work, Tuesdays- your marriage, Wednesdays-Kids, Thursdays-Ministry, Fridays-finances, Saturdays- Thanksgiving for what God has done, Sundays-praying for what God showed you throughout the week in your journal
*If praying for specific issues, always identify a Scripture that aligns to that issue and use the Scripture in prayer
*If filled with the spiritual gift of tongues (prayer language) pray more in the Spirit, in fact press to pray more in that. This is partnership with the Holy Spirit interceding  for you. See Romans 8:26-27

Consistency is the key to success in most areas of our lives. This applies to our walk with God too. As you continue in prayer, you will notice that your commitment to prayer will start to enhance you spiritually. You may notice that you are praying more with ease, God in turn will respond to your prayers.

This week, BE THE PRAYER MOUNTAIN. Start your own retreat where you are. The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth (Psalm 145:18.) Oh GOD who hear prayer, To GOD all men come. (Psalm 65.2)

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BARRICADES MUST BE REMOVED

This week’s blog is a continuation of last week’s. You may recall, last week we spoke about speed bumps-the bumps of life. Bumps are what we must climb over to get to our destination (purpose or goals). Like speed bumps, we cannot remove the bumps or bypass them, often there are no shoulder spaces for bumps. We must just obey the speed limits and drive over them while remaining focused on the goal.

Unlike bumps, barricades though must be dealt with directly. They require physical action-removing them to proceed. Some may require changing the course/route As believers though, we face spiritual barricades. They may include false beliefs, negativity, wrong perception, spiritual attacks. Review the following types of barricades. Can you identify with any of them?

Barricades-These are obstacles. Their placements always demand a detour; some long route that takes you in the backroads of places you never knew existed in your neighborhood. If you know you need to be on other side of the road to your goal, such barricades are to be removed, torn down and destroyed while still maintaining focus on the road. This too requires staying on the road and keeping your eyes focused on the destination

Barricades Type-2- This occurs when God shuts the door. He ends what you are familiar with or stops you while you are on road forcing you to take a detour so that you can learn some new things. If you pass God’s training, you will resume the journey. If do not, you will repeat the training.

Barricade Type-3 God may also place a barricade to protect you if He sees you have not matured yet to attain that goal. OR

Barricade Type 4– He may place barricades as He waits to for the RIGHT TIMING to advance you. The story of Joseph in the Bible is a good example

We are in a season where God is ASCENDING the Church. This means we are moving upwards spiritually, naturally and emotionally. Picture that you are climbing a mountain and you need to reach the submit for the gold medal. What are you currently facing? A Bump or a Barricade. If a Barricade, what Type? OR are you back on the road?

Either way this week-Fight the good fight of faith like a good solder. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules.2 Timothy 3b-4

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BUMPS AND BARRICADES

-A focused lifestyle can never be boring. In fact, most people dislike redundancy. Some of us in the workforce love that constant change in routine; not any one day is the same! Globally there is more emphasis on Diversity and being multifaceted in skills. In a believer’s journey though, such changes in routines may present as bumps and barricades.

Notice though that I did not label bumps and barricades challenges but rather “slight changes to routine” . I consider bumps something you need to go over, like the speed bump. Barricades are obstacles you need to remove to proceed.

Bumps- something you need to go over- as you pursue your goals or vision. You may hit some bumps. When you come to them, stay on the road, keep your focus, reduce your speed you cannot drive around them because they cover the whole length of the road. So, what should you do. Pray and ask God to give you the strength and wisdom to raise up above the bump and overcome. Once you’ve gone over it, recharge, hit the gas pedal and continue with journey focused on reaching your destination.

Bumps also come with speed limit restrictions. If you drive too fast you will wreck the car as you hit the bump. You may get a speeding ticket. A car symbolizes your career, calling, vocation or ministry. Advancing outside the timing of God will destroy you and or end or cause a delay. These would be the consequences of speeding. Don’t wreck your car, collaborate with God to synchronize with His timing

Life’s bumps come in so many forms. Are you approaching one or are you on top of one? OR are you currently wrapping up a bump ?Receive new strength. Be encouraged this week; thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.1 Corinthians 15:57

To be continued-Stay tuned for the next blog on BARRICADES
#bumps
#barricades

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NURTURE THE “ONE SEED” –GOD WILL MULTIPLY IT

I am rubbing my palms with excitement as I write this today. Studying this subject has been fun. Anyways, let’s get back on track. The “seed” that you have could be the idea, the job, the skill, the ministry, the church, the family, the business; collectively whatever you have right now in your possession.

Humanly, it may not be sufficient, it may not make sense, and maybe you are questioning whether it’s really from God because “it is not what you expected. My encouragement to you this week, nurture it, steward it well, continue to pray over it. Stay faithful in it. Take good care of the apartment, soon you will own homes!

What you currently have is a seed from God; He will increase it. 2Corinthians 2:10 says Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. Multiplications or Harvests come much later, endure, stay persistently faithful, eventually, you will reap much more!

The Scripture that led to this study is Genesis22 15-18. In it God blesses Abraham for being faithful with the one son Isaac. Abraham was so faithful to God to the extent of losing that one seed. Can we be faithful to this extent? If God says let go, can we still trust that He will replenish and multiply,

Meditate on these Scriptures this week. May God increase you as you nurture what you currently have faithfully.

Genesis 22:15-18The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

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WEAR RED WITH PRIDE-GOD ACCEPTS YOU

Among the common things that every person wants are love, acceptance, affirmation, a sense of security and protection. If you look closely, even the most hateful person craves for these. Today as I dressed in red in recognition of Valentine’s Day, a thought flashed through my mind. I recognized that the Blood of Jesus made us acceptable to God.

Acceptance is the opposite of rejection or denial. As you dress yourself in red this week/month, consider that you have been reconciled to God through the Blood of Jesus. It is also through the same Blood that God says that nothing, not event your sins and failures will separate you from His Love, This new identity came with total wholeness. Shame, guilt and condemnation were all removed, Romans 8:1, Isaiah 1:18

Acceptance also means belonging. The red in the Blood of Jesus welcomes you to union and communion with God. You have been transposed into a new family; the family of God. It is the family of the new covenant, an inheritance that you now share. . Now we have been grafted in. We belong. Romans 11:1

Consider the red that you are wearing as the Blood that restored your identity in God. Through the Blood of Jesus, you are a royalty, seated with Christ in high places, a conqueror, a royal priesthood, a peculiar person, set apart for Him. In Psalm 139 and Colossians 2:9-10 among other Scriptures show the fullness of your identity in Christ

The Blood of Jesus empowers you, the Blood speaks for you, the Blood fights for you, and the Blood of Jesus overcomes for you! RED=THE BLOOD OF JESUS

The Blood has afforded NONDISCRIMINATORY ACCEPTANCE. We can be bold to say that GOD IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY FATHER & LOVER. He continues to accept us just as we are. He is a respecter of no person. In Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise, Galatians 3:28-29

Wear red with pride this season. You are the accepted of the Lord. Happy valentine’s week!

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BEAT UNBELIEF

In you are in the mid-west or mid-Atlantic region it can be difficult to imagine that better weather is coming. Temperatures a frigid right now, one would wish for the heat wave. While winter stays true to itself, say hopeful that spring and summer are on the way. Stay hopeful that what God said will come to pass

Stay hopeful that God has heard your prayers. Stay hopeful that the marriage will work out. Stay hopeful that the runaway child will return home. Stay hopeful that you will get the right job. Stay hopeful that your breakthrough will come through.

I have come to learn that Unbelief is the number one enemy to a believer, followed by Satan. Fear, anxiety, insecurity, pride, arrogance, compromise, settling for second best, manipulation, control, witchcraft , jealousy, strife, anger, gossip, slander, rationalization and self -dependence, all stem from unbelief

Unbelief is what caused the Israelites to delay entering the promise land. Unbelief is what causes us to miss resting in Jesus; yes-we can rest in peace while still alive here on earth. This happens when we come to total surrender in Jesus, embracing His love and allowing the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

This week, take time to evaluate any issue that triggers, fear, faith, anger or anything that causes you to act contrary, examine your fruits (actions and words), could it be unbelief? If so fight it with this Scripture in mind as long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night Genesis 8:22. God will bring you the expected outcome, only trust Him. Jeremiah 29:11

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CELEBRATE DELIVERANCE

Often deliverance is associated with demonic oppression and exorcism, yet in the entire chapter of Psalm 107 we see the various forms of deliverances that the Lord exercised among the Israelites and continues to do so today for each believer.

I could not help but reflect on my life and testify of key areas of my life that I experienced the Lord’s deliverance. Together this week, let’s reflect on those areas and join together in thanksgiving with declarations that “the Lord is good and His mercies endures forever”
Consider these highlights:
• Have you ever gone through something that left you so lost as though you’ve lost your mind? OR even concluded that if it were not for God, you could have gone crazy. Did you cry out to the Lord and He brought you to your senses guiding you in wisdom- if so, consider Psalm 107:4-6

• Have you ever waited so long for an answer; you thirsted and waited and after sometime God responded filling you with more than you expected? If so consider Psalm 107: 9

• Have you ever acted in rebellion, got mad at God, decided to do your own thing, but yet seeing the failing outcomes of your independence, you ran back to the Lord and He still bailed you out? If so consider Psalm 107:11-13

• Have you ever been through something the world and experts say is impossible and unsalvageable, yet an encounter with our Almighty reversed it because all things are possible with Him? If so consider Psalm 107: 15-16

• Have you ever compromised so much so that the consequences were dire? Your friends died from of the consequences of what you compromised on yet, you escaped without a scratch? If so consider Psalm 107:17-22

• Have you barraged with attack after attack, seeing no breakthrough in things , facing days when your business was dry, your plans were at a standstill, when you lost all hope yet suddenly, the Lord intervened , bringing favor and fruitfulness in your life. If so, consider Psalm 107: 23-43.

I am sure you can write your life story testifying of the many accounts of the Lord’s deliverance in your life just from reading Psalm 107. This week ponder on them. Take time to celebrate God’s many deliverances in your life.

Oh the Overwhelming Reckless Love of God…. (YouTube Cory Asbury-Reckless Love) Sing along as you celebrate your deliverance!