Imagine an attempt to classify the people in the world by their love for God. Maybe that stretches your imagination a bit with over 6 billion people on earth. Why don’t you try to classify the people in your work-place, business or school into those that would likely say they love God and those that do not share such sentiments? Have you ever wondered how Christianity does not have exclusive preserve to the concept of God or a supreme being with supernatural powers? Most world religions claim there is a god somewhere who desires loyal subjects. The enthusiasts of these religions show their convictions by affirming love for their supreme being.
Love makes people act in certain ways; it determines what they do and draws the boundaries on what they choose not to do. This is more so, when there are negative repercussions for actions not in accordance with the wishes of the loved one. However, despite the fact that most Christians claim love for God, we find people called by this very honorable name doing things which they know He will clearly not approve. Certain complacency seems to have set in with the church in which the grace of God is taken for granted. We frustrate the grace of God!
Rather than utilize the grace which God has given us to fulfill His purpose, many believers are taking this grace for a ride. But this should not be the case as Titus 2: 11, 12 states “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age”.
Our God loved us enough to take our place and die the death we deserved. Yet, He seems to be the most ignored one from the actions of the people who claim to believe that the death He died was to rescue and restore them. The magnitude of Apostle Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 5: 14, 15 sends shivers down my spine—“ For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”
True love for God is displayed when we willingly let go of our own best formulated plans for his ultimate plan which is ultimately far better than ours. He knows the end from the beginning and can order your steps to that expected end which He has planned for those who love Him. The hope of eternal life which we have should lead us to live purposeful lives here on earth. Sometimes this means giving up comfort, friends or family, but the rewards we get from God are eternal. (See Matthew 10:37-39). I read about the killing of some Christian aid workers in Afghanistan last week, yet the organization they work for plans to stay on in the country to minister. A knowledge that life doesn’t end with the temporary enjoyments which we see around us should motivate godly living based on our reciprocal love for the One who laid His life down for us. I have heard it rightly said that one ought to live only for something that is worth dying for.
Can you imagine the hurt Jesus felt when Peter and the other disciples went back to fishing soon after his death? They toiled all night and did not catch any fish however, as they were working in their own strengths. People who had been chosen to be fishers of men were fishing for measly fish again in despair. Extraordinary miracle workers were back to being ordinary fisher men! Oh what shame! Many of us used to be firebrands at some point especially at the beginning of our walk with Christ; we were drunk with the wine of new love. “I will always love You” was our song… but now, a few years down the line, we have turned cold, we have forgotten the love songs we sang and the promises we made to God. Jesus is however reaching back to you in forgiveness and expectation with the question: “Do you love me more than these?”
– Dr. Ifelayo Peter Ojo
*All scriptures from New International Version of the Bible
Next week we will discuss ‘Trusting God’. This series will continue our discussion of purposeful living in our earth-walk as citizens of the heavenly kingdom here to make a difference.
All I have seen teaches me to learn to thrive based on ‘God’ ideas and not just ‘good’ ideas. So it may not be farfetched why I love these words of Albert Einstein – “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
Climbing a tree may be a good idea on its own, but for the fish, swimming is God’s idea. The bible makes us to understand that all Christians are led by God (Roman 8:14). Unfortunately, many Christians in our day don’t even believe this. For those that believe it, recognizing God’s leading is a difficult thing and something reserved for the “great men of God”. No wonder many ‘fish’ in our fold are currently attempting to climb trees, and they have been robbed of excellence and fulfillment in life.
God is wholly committed to whatever he has commanded. Running with the general instructions God has given all believers in the Bible coupled with the specific instructions He constantly gives you effortless places you in the path of peace, progress, preeminence and prosperity. Surprisingly, recognizing God’s leading is simpler than many of us think.
Some people close to me always wonder how I am able to get some fantastic result in some endeavors; the truth is that most times it was because I was simply obedient to God’s leading. For most of the references they point to, I have specific instructions from God that I followed to get there – be it in career, marriage, ministry, investment, etc.
I’m keenly passionate about discussing this topic with every believer in this world and I’d be glad if you could join me as we discuss “How to excel in life by following God’s leading” at Abuja & Manchester WoC 2012. Remember to invite all your loved ones. It’s an event that is designed to turn the rudder of your life in the right direction. See details below.
You can RSVP on https://www.facebook.com/events/321960181227649/
Tope S. Aladenusi
You are cordially invited to …
Abuja, World Outreach Convention – WoC 2012
Equipping believers to impact their world
Theme: How to excel in life by following God’s leading
Date: 11 August 2012 Time: 2pm to 4:30pm
Venue: Zuma Hall, Savannah Suites, No. 8, Faskari Street, Garki, Area 3, Abuja, Nigeria
Ministering: ‘Tope S. Aladenusi
To confirm attendance, please SMS or call: 0700 LIFELINE (0700 54335463)
Admission is free!
Note: Free transportation to the venue would be provided to and fro Minna and Kaduna. Please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or sms to 0700 54335463 to register for the free transportation service.
Watch out for details of Manchester WoC 2012 taking place on 15 September 2012.
Some months ago, a colleague mentioned that she was going on her annual leave. I enquired and she told me her intended location was London. I asked if she had ever taken a “vacation” to visit some missionaries working in remote areas, to encourage and work with them. “No!” She replied. “That has never occurred to me.” I told her how I had done that once and it had marked a turning point in my life, and given me a new perspective about life and Christianity. I recommended that she do the same, probably during her next vacation. Her response (really indicative of the attitude of most believers today) was “Tope, You know it’s not easy to do such a thing, one has to be led by God.” Then I responded with a ‘check question’ – Were you led by God to spend your vacation in London? To which she responded “Hmm, you’ve got a point there”.
It is a point – a scriptural one and that is what I’d like to stress today. There is no leading from God that can be more powerful than what He has written in the scriptures. God always honours His Word. The Word of God says to us – “Go into the world. Go everywhere and announce the Message of God’s good news to one and all.” Mark 16:15 (MSG). We don’t need another leading from God before we make this move. The message is crystal clear – Go everywhere! But what do we do today? We merely sing that we are “standing on the promises of God” while in reality we sit on the premises of procrastination and gold. We claim to be waiting on God’s leading to do His work, but we obey our own ‘leading’ to do other things. There is nothing wrong with going to London; I have been there and I know that like many locations in the world, there are many ‘unreached’ people there. I am particularly interested in what we do when we go there? Do we obey God’s command found in the scriptures? Well, it is not difficult to tell. I’ve got an indication from Facebook.
Let’s use Facebook to illustrate. We share pictures from our trips abroad, our weddings, and different views of our faces, cars and houses. But do you wonder why we rarely share pictures of our exploits for God’s kingdom? Why are believers swift to “like” it when people share gossip, jokes, football gist, or other things that would interest mere men who have not met Jesus, but display nonchalance when people share the message of Jesus Christ or evidence of impact of God’s Word? If Paul, Peter and Luke had Facebook in their time, would they have handled it the way we do today? Has this generation of believers lost its real focus? Has God saved a soul through you this year?
The purpose of God for every believer is that we stay wholeheartedly committed to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to every creature. Everything a believer does must be directly or indirectly traceable to his/her purpose on earth. You eat good food so your body will have nourishment for the work. You go to church to get encouragement/ edification for the sake of the work. You work in that blue chip Company because it gives you access to some unbelievers that God wants to use for His work. You administer the public address system in your church so that every attendee can hear the Message and be fired up for His work. Every asset and access you have is for the work God has committed to your hands. Don’t be distracted. Don’t claim to wait for God’s leading. Go! Go everywhere you can! Announce the Message of God’s good news with your words and lifestyle and in every place you find yourself.
– Tope Aladenusi
Years ago, I had trouble differentiating the times when I was relying solely on my ability to produce results from times when I was trusting God. I knew that trusting God consistently would always translate to inevitable success, but I felt that the line demarcating my trust in God from trust in myself was too thin. So thin that it would go unnoticed whenever I deviated.
I remember chatting with a lady in my university days; she would tell me how she always prayed and expected her prospective husband to propose to her before she was 25 years old. But from our conversations, it was obvious that the reason she was confident that this expectation would be fulfilled was not necessarily because she trusted God implicitly, but that she was beautiful, God-fearing and, a virgin – and of course, those were the qualities most good guys wanted (her opinion). Then I thought to myself, God gave her all those good qualities, after all “What do you have that God hasn’t given you?” So if she expected her “God-given credentials” to get her a man, did that amount to self-trust?
I hadn’t come up with an answer yet when I heard a fellow believer say – “To excel in your academics, read your books as though you don’t have a God and have never prayed, and then, pray to God as though you have never read”. Wow! I thought it made absolute sense at the time and, I immediately began an attempt to excel by this principle. But as the days went by and I grew as a Christian, I started asking myself – could you ask a fish to swim as though it were out of water? If in God I live, and move and have my being, how can I read as though I don’t have a God? From that day on, I started practicing “Spirit-directed reading” i.e. getting direction from the Holy Spirit regarding the major topics from which the examination questions would be culled, and then actually studying on that basis. I got fantastic results this way, but I knew deep down that there was more to trusting God than I had discovered.
A friend of mine shared this powerful statement regarding trusting God after reading last week’s devotional, and I think he was spot on. He said “It is not that God starts where our strengths end, it is that we start with and follow Him all through our life’s journey or end up failing woefully on our own”. It’s either ALL of Him or NONE of Him. I love this! At any time, our efficiency without God’s sufficiency is a deficiency. We have to walk with him all the way. You don’t need to veer off the road to remember that Jesus can take the wheel; let him take the wheel as you start your engine. You don’t need to be diagnosed with an incurable disease before you remember the healing power of God; learn to live in good health by His power everyday. You don’t need an embarrassing quit notice from your landlord before you remember that God has the whole world in his hands; start seeing yourself as a provider of shelter for the needy.
In a nutshell, the habit of running to God only when there is “fire on the mountain” is not biblical trust. Trusting God goes beyond and should precede our obvious daily needs. You can make living in perpetual trust in God a lifestyle by understanding and appreciating the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Before you knew what sin and success was, Christ paid the price for your redemption. Before you understood how to interpret the clock, He secured the best future for you by his blood. Likewise, before you see any need, your heart should be firm in God. Seek Him for who He is; of course He is also a rewarder of them that seek him. Embrace the redemptive work of Jesus – it is a total package. Rest assured that your challenges are infinitesimal when compared to His infinite love. God did not keep back his own Son, but he gave him for us. If God did this, won’t he freely give us everything else? (Romans8:32 CEV).Let this mind-set rule your heart always.
It is incredible that people live ordinary lives all through the year and suddenly start expecting things to change remarkably for them just because the calendar shows a new year approaching. I chatted with a number of believers towards the end of last year and in the first week of this year and I heard good resolutions and goals welling up from their minds. But for most believers, a greater number of their goals are about what they wish to achieve for themselves and their families with the help of God. Very few people are specific about what God wants to achieve through them. Interestingly, such people claim to believe that the measure of life is not in its duration, but in its donation.
I have also observed that most believers who think about donating to the world are usually not specific about how they intend to make their donations like they are specific for things they wish to get. For instance, a brother prays to God – “I want to get a job paying 15 million Naira per annum this year”; “I want to buy a Honda Accord 2011 model by June”; but when it comes to the thing that matters most, he says – “God, I want to bless lives this year”.
What does it mean to bless lives? Why are we not specific when it has to do with our donations to the world? Do we not think that God has specific goals for everyone of us this year? Have we taken time to find out what they are? Could it be – at least 30% of my earnings will be donated for evangelism to unreached nations; or 54 souls will be won to the kingdom by my preaching of the gospel? How about a discipleship class for young believers in your sitting room every Saturday by 6pm? Could it be something specific that you need to be doing in your church or Christian organization?
I love the Amplified version of Ephesians 5:15-17 – “Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil. Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is”
It is difficult to live purposefully and accurately without having specific targets that are inspired by God. Have you taken time to firmly grasp the specific thing God wants to achieve through you this year? What are your donation goals for 2011?
|Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11: 28, 29
One thing that bothers many Christians is the inability to decipher what it takes to please God. Like the Pharisees at the time of Jesus, the abundant life has become a “struggle to please” situation for many. They have forgotten the call of Jesus in chapter 11 of Matthew to come to Him with all burdens and He will give rest to our souls. We say we have come to Him by faith, but neglect the request which He makes in the same sitting “Take My yoke upon you” and “learn from Me”.
There are many tired Christians today because many are struggling to please God using various styles and techniques. Jesus gives rest to all who come to Him (Hebrews 4: 9,10). The call to rest is a call to cease from our own works and attempts at making God happy, to a life lived in synchrony with Him. I recently heard a preacher describe the yoke Jesus was referring to in Matthew 11 as a double looped instrument which is used to connect two oxen together. In this way, they can work together to till their master’s field and bear fruit. Jesus requests that we come to Him with our burdens and find rest for our souls; but He’s offering us something in replacement for our burdens—His yoke. Jesus asks that we take His yoke upon ourselves because He wants to come alongside us and work with us; He wants to be your partner and the one you look to for counsel. We learn from Him that we already please God because of the price that He paid on the cross.
We also learn from Jesus that He has given us the Holy Spirit to come alongside as our helper. The double loop yoke reminded me of the statement of Jesus about the person of the Holy Spirit. “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever” John 14:16. Jesus does not leave us by ourselves to express the godly nature. He gives us the Holy Spirit to come alongside us and help us fulfill His own good purpose for our lives. The Spirit teaches us all things and leads us on in the way of real life. Pleasing God becomes all we do then because we are acting out all He leads us to do.
Praise God, we have the Holy Spirit who empowers us to do all that God will have us do. Learn true rest by accepting that you please God and He works in you to fulfill His good pleasure.
It is interesting today what the parameters of choosing a life partner is for a Christian. I believe we have gotten so much information and we are lost as to how to apply them to our lives. Recently, I was going through my life and how I chose to marry my husband, I learnt a few lessons and I want to share some of them you.
After God created man, He prepared the Garden of Eden and placed Adam there. He gave him the task of dressing and keeping the garden. He also gave him a commandment to keep. He then took a second look at the Adam and said it is not good for him to remain alone, so God went to work on finding a mate fit, while Adam was busy fulfilling God’s task for him. Then God put Adam to sleep and created from Adam, Eve. Adam woke up to find a mate carved every inch to his specs, and exclaimed ‘The Bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh’. Genesis 2:7-25
Before I go any further I want us to have this in mind, God is a God of order, He has standards, as much as the spirit can move us to do things, they must be in line with God’s order of doing things.
After God created Adam, He gave him accommodation; a source of food; He prepared an office for him to operate and placed him there. Adam had a clear knowledge of his calling, he understood what he was supposed to be doing and he was doing it. He was not complaining of being lonely or making excuses for why he could not do what God had called him to do.
How do we relate this to us as modern day Christians?
Bible says that every born again person is a new creature, like a baby, in its rawest form, that need to learn to eat, smile, hold up his neck, seat, talk, crawl, walk, run, jump, read, write, reason etc. This reminds me of when I had my son; he was so delicate and depended on me for everything, even his immunity. It took six months for his digestive tracts to be ready for what I call food. This really describes us when we newly give our lives to Christ.
When we give our lives to Christ we are like a new born babe, open to a new world, a new order of doing things and so we need to learn the principles of our new world and God’s standards of doing things by renewing our mind with the word of God (Rom12:1-2). Studying to show ourselves approved (2Tim 2:15). Associating with a set of people (born again children of God) in order to learn how to live the life. It’s unfortunate that today we have very few genuine Christians to associate with and that’s why we have a community like Christ Lifeline.
As we grow in faith, one of the things God does, is show us the purpose of our calling as we seek Him. Just like Adam, it is essential we know what our calling is before going into marriage.
Why? Knowledge of your calling is essential to discovering yourself, and ability to know who your mate should be. Adam did not have to ask God what Eve was meant for when she was presented to him. He knew. When we know God’s call upon our life we get direction.
A lot of Christian courtship is in trouble today because both parties have not identified what their calling is, hence don’t know why God brought them together and so the best they can do when their together is look into each other’s eyes, admire their bodies and fall into sin so easily. The attraction was just physical, no destiny in mind.
I have some questions that I want to leave with you (single or married) today –
Do you know your calling?
If you do, what are you doing about it?
And if not, are you on your way to discovering purpose?
There’s still so much to say but I will leave it here for now.
We will continue this discussion in the next post.
|“And yet we Jewish Christians know that we become right with God, not by doing what the law commands, but by faith in Jesus Christ …” Galatians 2:16 (NLT)
If you approached an average believer and said to him: “we become right with God by faith in Jesus Christ and never by doing what the law commands”, he would probably nod his head in agreement. But if you repeated the same statement by emphasizing on “the law”, for instance – “we become right with God by faith in Jesus Christ and never by doing the commandments in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, etc.,” you can be sure that he would not take it lightly with you and may even conclude that you are backslidden. This goes a long way to show that most of us do not really know the implication of what we claim to believe.
What gives you the assurance that God will answer your prayers? What keeps you going in your Christian race hoping that one day you will be with the Lord? What gives you the confidence that God’s blessings will be resident and manifest in your life? What makes you think the devil is under your feet? What drives you away from sin to absolute surrender to the almighty God? What makes you think you are still saved? For many of us, it is simply because we have been able to live by a set of standards. But Apostle Paul was quick to make us reason simply by stating that “… if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die.” Galatians 2:21 (NLT)
The requirement for becoming righteous by keeping the law is expressly stated in Galatians 3:10 (MSG) – “Utterly cursed is every person who fails to carry out every detail written in the Book of the law.” Yes! There are only two possible scores you can have – 100% or 0%. Do we even know every detail of the law, not to talk of keeping it? Then why do we brag and think we exist in God’s inner circle because we have not lied, not killed, paid tithes or prayed thrice a day?
Am I saying you should carry on in sin? God forbid! I only want you to see the importance of launching from the right platform. In this new dispensation, if we always think we are getting God’s approval only because of what we have been able to do, then I am tempted to say we have not really started true Christianity. But I think a better way to put it is that “we are attempting to launch from a platform where we are bound to crash”. It’s like a plane trying to use the desert land as its runway for take-off.
Beloved, let’s get back on the right track and ensure we always launch from the platform of grace. If you have trusted in your efforts in the past, go to God in prayer with a heart of repentance. Live an excellent and holy life not because you want to be right with God, but because you are already right with God through faith in Jesus Christ.
– tope aladenusi
The past year was a very eventful one for me, there were high and low times. Today standing on the top of the hill 2008, alive, happy, full of Joy, I can say God has been very faithful.
As we begin the journey into 2009, let’s take stock of our relationships again and learn from our mistakes or achievements of the past year?
I took time to ask some people around (both single and married) this question and here are some answers……..
- Money indeed is like liquid and it takes the form you give it. If you make it a source joy in your marriage, then you run into problems when there’s scarcity of it. Money is great to have but should not be glorified above God! He (God) is the most important factor.
- Don’t let anything stand in the way of purpose. You will frustrate everyone around you (including your family) and yourself, if you fail to follow purpose.
- Forgive and Forget!
- You will need a bigger lie to cover a big lie. Never consider telling a lie as an option.
- Love is giving and giving and giving…………………………it is not selfish.
- Be a good team player, you write it in your CV all the time, now let team work begin at home.
- Don’t talk when your spouse is angry, allow the bubbles settle first. (This applies to me).
- Prayer works, there’s absolutely nothing that cannot be resolved on your knees.
- Soak yourself in the word always, it’s your sword! And don’t forget your shield, Faith!
- Always let go, God is the Master mould, He alone can change all things especially concerning your spouse and confusing situations.
- As you work on changing yourself, you will see your partner change.
- Be slow to speak, it pays to listen more and don’t speak hastily, for you cannot retrieve your words.
- Communication is very important; learn how to share your thought with one another but never during an argument.
- Do things together!
- When things back fire never say I told you. Share the pains and joys together.
- Woman, be submissive to your husband and Man love your wife.
- Seek God’s face for all things.
- Even in marriage there is personal spirituality and joint spirituality.
God help us all as we work towards making things work this year.
|Invest your time for eternity
Invest your life for the life to be
Forever gone are the hours you’ve lost
Don’t waste your life; count again the cost;
Your money place in the Saviour’s hand
It’s only safe when in heaven’s strand
You never lose what you give to God
But lose all else when you withhold;
Invest your work in the Saviour’s plan
Work hard for God and His will for man
Don’t count the hours that you toil and plod
You will reap again all you do for God;
Don’t waste your life for a passing joy
Don’t sell your soul for a fragile toy
Give till it hurts; give your very blood
You live but once; LIVE ALL OUT FOR GOD.
– segun eshorun