Leslie was born mentally retarded, without eyes, and with cerebral palsy. Vegetable like, he was totally unresponsive to sound or touch. At the age of six months, he was expected to die shortly. A nurse, May Lemke, was asked if she could care for him at home until that time. She did… for more than thirty years.
When May accepted baby Leslie, she accepted him as just that, a baby – no different from others – to be taught and loved. Year after year she cared for him, but there was no movement or response. Even so, she never stopped talking to him, singing to him, or praying for him. Music filled their home… still, no response. She and her husband bought an old, used piano and put it in his bedroom. She pushed his fingers against the keys. With quiet faith, she knew God would someday help Leslie to break out of his prison. She rejoiced when he began to walk at age 16.
Several years later, May and her husband were awakened one night by the sound of Tchaikovsky’s piano concerto No 1. Startled, they arose to find Leslie at the piano with a smiling glow on his face. Shortly thereafter he began to talk and to cry… and to sing. And at age 28, he began to talk in earnest.
Dear reader, I think by now we would’ve seen, heard or read enough to convince us that the only sure way not to succeed is by giving up. I believe in miracles, but I think it happens faster when we decide to hang on. All we need is faith that it will come to pass. There are times our situation will look hopeless, but pause and remember that men and women havepassed through worse situations and still made it to the top.
Man can achieve anything he strongly believes in. I remember reading the story of Prince Albert. Prince Albert of England once visited the laboratory of a scientist named Lyon Playfair. According to Playfair’s biographer Sir Wemyss Reid, as the Prince and Scientist stood near a caldron of boiling lead, Playfair asked, “Has your royal highness any faith in science?”
“Certainly,” answered Prince Albert. Playfair washed the prince’s hand in a special solution and then told him to use his hand to ladle out some of the hot metal. The prince plunged his hand into the caldron and scooped up some in his palm – and he wasn’t injured.
For those of us who are in positions of leadership, give others a chance to develop. Don’t be quick in judging others. Those who do not perform today, with little assistance and motivation can perform tomorrow. Is there someone God has entrusted in your care? Go the extra mile to make it possible for that person to discover his potentials and put it into good use.
The key is in your hands. Use it!
– Uju Onyechere
One of my most profound discoveries I have made in my journey to financial freedom is the truism of the saying – as a man thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23: 7 KJV). What truly amazed me was that I have known this in my head all along, after having been a Christian for donkey years. Why I never believed it and walked in that knowledge is a mystery I am still trying to unravel. Was it because of over familiarity with the Word? Was it unbelief? Was it the fact that it seemed too simple – think and that is it? I knew in my head that the expectation of the righteous shall not be cut off, but how come my wishes were not coming true?
It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that it fully dawned on me the impact my thoughts were having on my life. My thought pattern was my worst enemy. I ruled so many things out of my life because I thought I could not do or afford them. I was shooting myself on the foot daily. From thoughts come beliefs, words and actions – action brings results, often of the unintended variety.
I have come to know that poverty is not the state of your bank account, but your mindset. Lack of money is a symptom of poverty, not the cause. If you have a poverty mentality, you will become poor. We move towards our expectations.
A poor man believes:
He cannot afford it
Times are hard
There is no money
He is managing
His salary is not enough
He is trying to make ends meet but they never seem to do so
You cannot have everything you want
Resources are limited and human needs are insatiable (there is not enough to go round)
The rich are crooks (which is the reason he will not be one of them)
The list goes on and on and on.
The amazing thing is that whatever you think is right is usually correct. It is a self fulfilling prophecy. A poem by C. W. Longenecker captures it beautifully:
If you think you are beaten, you are,
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you like to win, but you think you can’t,
It is almost certain you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost,
For out in the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow’s will.
It’s all in the state of mind.
If you think you are outclassed, you are,
You’ve got to think high to rise,
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man.
But soon or late the man who wins,
Is the man who thinks he can.
I have come to realize that most arguments are of no use. People argue out of their own reality, and they are correct. Some people say financial principles do not work and they are right – it does not work for them. You cannot prove to someone that his reality is incorrect. He lives and breathes it. Change can only come when one’s eye of understanding opens. Whatever you say is correct. As you think, so you are.
If you think you cannot, you are right – you can’t. If you think you can, you are also right – you can. Whatever the size of container you use in approaching God’s sea of abundance will be filled to overflowing – tea spoon, table spoon, soup bowl, bucket, bath tub, tanker, pipeline – whatever you come with will be filled. There is more than enough. If you choose to abstain from abundant life through your mindset of scarcity, lack and unbelief, you will do just fine with the little you get used to. When all is said and done, what you think and speak consistently will ultimately manifest.
-Usiere Uko is editor at http://www.financialfreedominspiration.com/
God’s word as a mirror seeks not to reveal defects rather it seeks to let us know what we have attained to in Christ Jesus. It is imperative for us as believers to look into the word not with the constant feeling of unworthiness to out more reasons why we are not worthy of being called by the master. Rather we should search the word with the true aim of wanting to know what God has accomplished for us in Christ Jesus. To understand the features of the glorious estate to which God has now elevated us to in Christ Jesus.
The word is meant to display who we have been made and what we have now attained to. To the believer who finds it difficult to live in agreement with the word of God, James offers a very simple logic not commonly ascribed to these days. It is not as spectacular or mysterious as considering the fact that the devil might just have held us captive again and led us into sin. He says instead that it is a very simple matter of forgetfulness. Forgetting the very essence of our being thus causing us to walk adrift and miss the point by a very wide margin.
The man who looks into the mirror of God’s word intently; and not casually, and sees all that Christ has made him to be but immediately makes a u – turn to start living the exact opposite should be reminded again of who he is. James 1:21 – 25. It is no wonder then that the ministry of reminding the believer of his glorious heritage is one the Apostles did not find tiring or time bound as long as they were still here on earth. 2nd Tim. 1:6, 2nd Pet. 1:12, 1stTim. 4:6
John says ‘And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him’. 1st John 3:19. Assurance speaks of reminding ourselves. Paul puts us in timely perspective by saying ‘only let us live up to that that we have already attained’ Phil 3:16.
The issue of forgetfulness is not new. Countless times in the Old Testament; especially in the reign of judges and kings, God was not tired of reminding the children of Israel of the miracles that was done in the past which ought to be an assurance of God’s unfailing love.
To us the matter of forgetfulness is something which we must realise still lies paramount in God’s heart as it is tantamount to unbelief. I know the word says the ‘times of ignorance has been overlooked’. You and I would not be excused for failing to take advantage of all that Christ has freely given unto us through His Holy Spirit.
Have you forgotten for instance that God is your Father and that through Christ we have been given access to Him?
Have you forgotten that through Christ He has blessed you with much more than your thoughts can possibly comprehend?
Have you forgotten that through Christ you are the healed of God and ought to dispense this healing to all?
Have you forgotten that through Christ He has endued you with power similar to the one He used to raise Christ Jesus from the dead?
Have you forgotten…?
Let us seek not just to pore over scriptures but to remind ourselves of God’s glorious work i.e. THE NEW CREATURE. This is who you are and what you have been made.
Again let us live up to what we have already attained.
-Dr. Bolaji Akanni
|How would you feel if you received an e-mail informing you that you have been chosen to be the personal assistant to Bill gates or better still Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook (be sure it is not “yahoo boys” anyway lol)? I am sure you would be filled with joy. You would be working with one of the richest people in the whole world. You would go about shoulders high, with an extra bounce to your walk, looking forward to when you are to resume and discharge your duties.
Do you know you have been called to a greater work than being the personal assistant to billionaires? 2 Cor 6:1 says we as co-labourers with God. Wow!!! What an awesome privilege to be a co-labourer with God. Also 2 Cor 4:1 says it was when we received mercy (salvation) that we were given the ministry. Every single believer has been called into ministry. It reads, ‘Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.’
2 Cor 5:17 is a very popular verse talking about whosoever is in Christ is a new creature (i.e. salvation) but verses 18 and verse 19 are as important as 17. It says in verse 18: ‘Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, AND HAS GIVEN US the ministry of reconciliation. Verse 19: that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and HAS COMMITTED TO US the word of reconciliation.
With the salvation package comes ministry which is a partnership business between yourself and God. No wonder Jesus said, ‘Don’t you know I have to be at my Father’s business?’ In Matt 9:35-38 Jesus told his disciples to pray the father that he might send labourers into his vineyard for the harvest is plenty. Friends, that prayer was answered in redemption. We believers (every single one of us) have been made able ministers of the new covenant, able to work in the vineyard of God.
Don’t wait till you are “called”. If you are a Christian at all, then you are called. In fact, the meaning of church is ‘the called-out ones’. So, why do you think you are not called? Eph 4:11-12 clearly states that the job of the pastors, evangelists, etc is to prepare the church for the WORK OF THE MINISTRY.
So I say unto you: just as you would be so excited and quickly get working with Bill Gates or Zuckerberg, so also get working with the greatest being in the universe, the one who created all things, including the billionaires. Resume your duty today by reconciling men back to God because He reconciled you in Christ back unto Himself. YOU ARE CALLED!
As a young boy, we reared ducks and chickens. Overtime, I realized that the eggs of the ducks were usually bigger than that of the chickens. So one day I said to myself, ‘if I could take some of the duck eggs and replace them with hen eggs during incubation, the hens would hatch bigger chicks (since the duck eggs were bigger)’. So I went ahead with my idea and swapped the hen’s eggs with that of a duck, while hoping my dad wouldn’t detect my experiment.
The eggs were hatched after a few weeks. I was expecting to see some giant chicks but alas, I saw small ducklings. I became confused; I thought to myself – ‘but this hen sat on these eggs all along, how come it hatched ducklings?’ But because I did not want anyone to know that I was experimenting with the poultry, I could not voice out my confusion. However, as I was reading my bible some years later, that experiment came alive to me again and it helped me understand our identity in Christ.
What made the difference in those ducklings’ lives was not the source of the heat that hatched the eggs but the source of the seed that brought them forth. The sperm/egg came from a duck. Wow! That reminds of I Peter 1:23 “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God...” So how do you think this affects your new life in Christ?
The identity of those ducklings was not misplaced because they were hatched by a hen; I never called them chicks. Their origin affected their identity. No wonder the bible called us gods (Psalm 82:6), because we proceeded from Him. 1Cor. 15:47-48 sheds more light on this: “The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.”
Those ducklings never behaved like chickens; they could swim even though the hen could not dare do that. Likewise, we should make it a priority to ensure that all our lives activity is aligned with our identity. We should be found doing miraculous things unbelievers cannot dare to do. We should also not be found messing around with sin. I John 3:9 (MSG) says “People conceived and brought into life by God don’t make a practice of sin. How could they?God’s seed is deep within them, making them who they are. It’s not in the nature of the God-begotten to practice and parade sin.” Hallelujah!
To be continued …
– tope aladenusi
A lion is a pretty strong beast. I am always fascinated when I see the claws, those teeth and the huge paws. I wonder how Daniel would really have felt knowing he did not just have to deal with one but was flung into a den of lions. Truly when the Lord is on your side … even lions can be tamed. Well, today however, I am again reminded that as fierce and strong a lion looks, it still tactfully takes on its prey. I mean it tends to always chase after a herd of buffaloes but would in the process isolate one. One very unlucky victim suddenly becomes cornered and fight as it may, it just cannot match those paws all by itself. ISOLATION…..a strategy of the lion for centuries. Oddly enough the devil who tends to think he is a lion loves this strategy as well.
But I am not here to enumerate devil’s tactics. Rather to give a word of caution to you, to me. Are you getting bored with the brotherhood? Are you drafting excuses to stay all by yourself? Well … Be careful. It might be nice to know it was spent in some prayer sessions or truly waiting on the Lord. But don’t bask in isolation for too long. Learn to be in the company of the believers in prayers, in worship, in study and even in tearing of bread.
Hebrews 10:25 gave a word of caution to us being by ourselves. Have you noticed our fathers in the faith? Some great errors were made upon standing alone – David, Samson, Noah, Lot, etc. Be on guard. Do not despise the brotherhood. No doubt there may be arguments with your brother but let love grow in the midst of us. Let our unity truly be strength. Let us pray and not tatter endlessly on what should be that is not. Let us worship God and wait on the Lord. Let our meetings together be a source of inspiration and not a means of disintegration. Let us truly be one. Let us meet and desire to meet again and again. Let us meet for God and not for ourselves.
I have always been moved close to tears each time home is brought closer than I could ever imagine in the midst of the brotherhood. While briefly in Asia I had the opportunity of attending a house fellowship; I would not trade that experience for any other. Everything seems to stand still. Truly how wonderful and how beautiful it is for brethren to dwell in unity. When I consider the one to whom we are gathered, all tribal sentiments, all divisions, all gender strife, all bickering, all mistakes, all errors, all headaches seem inconsequential in the light of Christ to whom we are gathered. And they can’t prevent me from coming again and again.
Are you miles away from one? Start one at home, in the field, at work. It doesn’t require much really. Just you and another believer.
Don’t be isolated from the brotherhood. Don’t be on your own.
Till I see you brother and sister. Go be with the brotherhood close to you.
Dr. bolaji akanni
Why do you do the good things you do?
Whether we like it or not, this is a question we will all have to answer one day. It is an unpopular question that probes for the motives behind our actions. The reverse is the case these days. People talk only about the actions (what has been done) – “Oh! He gave a million bucks to charity”; “She has been moving across the Arab nations preaching the gospel for the past 7 years”; “That pastor is so nice, he visits all his members every month”; “that couple is so loving, they are always working together to bless lives”; etc. But God has made his position clear – “… I do not judge as people judge. They look at the outward appearance, but I look at the heart” I Samuel 16:7 (GNB).
Beloved, God will not reward us based on the size of the work we did for him; he will reward us based on the size of the heart with which we worked with him. 1Corinthians 3:13 (GNB) says “And the quality of each person’s work will be seen when the Day of Christ exposes it”. I think a good question to ask here is – how does God measure quality?
Every week I try to compose an exhortation and send to subscribers of Christ Lifeline weekly devotional messages. I remember there was a week I did not feel like writing at all and I didn’t want to send any message. But it occurred to me that I have a reputation of posting messages on a weekly basis. I immediately composed a message and sent it. Guess what? I received numerous testimonies from people who were blessed by that message, but I knew afterwards that I was ranking very low in terms of quality. Why? My motivation for writing that week was just to sustain my reputation. I began to see more clearly why some pastors have said that on the Day of Judgment, many will be shocked.
Why do you do the good things you do? Is it to sustain your reputation; retain people’s attention; obtain worldly satisfaction; or to maintain an impression? Men may give kudos to the outward form, but God will look at the motivation behind the outward form. One key yardstick God will use to judge our works is elucidated in 1 Corinthians 13:3 (BBE) “And if I give all my goods to the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it is of no profit to me”. Hmm! The most arresting outward appearance without a corresponding inward compliance to the rule of Christ’s love is utterly useless.
Apostle Paul understood this principle when he said – “we are ruled by the love of Christ …” 2 Corinthians 5:14 (GNB). Beloved, let’s start checking our motives before we face eternity. Before we commence or continue racing on any “good lane”, let’s ask ourselves – what is my motive? Let the love of Christ be our motivation so that when our work is made manifest in the day of Christ, we will receive a reward.
– tope aladenusi
‘Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth IN YOU?’ 1 Corinthians 3:16
‘Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is IN YOU, than he that is in the world’. 1 John 4:4
In all of His might. In all of His Ability. In all of His Omnipotence.
Jehovah God lives in you.
Are you burdened by a list of needs and wants? The One Who fed more than 5,000 people with 5 loaves and 2 fishes dwells in you. The One Who sustained more than 2 million people in the wilderness for 40 years lives in you.
Are you afflicted by a sickness or a disease? The One Whose garment the woman with an issue of blood touched dwells in you. The One Who told Naaman the Syrian to wash in the River Jordan dwells in you.
Are struggling under the weight of guilt from your sins? The One Whom the Baptist identified as the Lamb of God dwells in you. The One Who made an appointment with a thief on a cross dwells in you.
He is at work in you, both to will and to do of His own good pleasure!
– jide lawal
For we have quoted the scripture, “Abraham believed God, and because of his faith God accepted him as righteous.” When did this take place? Was it before or after Abraham was circumcised? It was before, not after. He was circumcised later, and his circumcision was a sign to show that because of his faith God had accepted him as righteous before he had been circumcised. And so Abraham is the spiritual father of all who believe in God and are accepted as righteous by him, even though they are not circumcised. He is also the father of those who are circumcised, that is, of those who, in addition to being circumcised, also live the same life of faith that our father Abraham lived before he was circumcised”. (Rom 4:9b – 12)
Let us consider importantly how Abraham received his righteousness. We cannot but be amazed on the fact that Abraham was called before he was circumcised. ‘Un-circumcision’ represented the filthiest form of man before God.
Circumcision thus served as a sign of what has been received. It was nothing anyone could take personal glory/praise for. Without God calling the person, circumcision was useless.
Many people have placed the cart before the horse. The issue that matters most is not so much what you are doing or will do. It is – ‘have you believed?’ When the jailor asked Paul “Sirs what must we do?” We do not see Paul giving a 10 point memorandum on church etiquettes rather he said simply “believe on the Lord Jesus and thou shalt be saved.” Also, when Jesus was asked what work must we do? He did not fail to let those inquiring realize that the work was to believe on the one sent. This is first and above all.
Of practical note is this again that salvation is open to all in whatever state they might be in. God as echoed above is not expecting anything of you but simply calls all men in all nation in whatever state they are to trust him for salvation.
No matter how far gone you may be. It is not about what you have as much as if you’re willing to believe. What happened to Abraham typifies what would happen to as many as would simply believe not minding their state. I leave you with these lovely reminders as to what we have received in Christ Jesus.
But God commends His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
Romans 5:8 – 10
Christ also brought you the truth, which is the good news about how you can be saved. You put your faith in Christ and were given the promised Holy Spirit to show that you belong to God. Eph 1:13
“But I am persuaded, my brethren, I myself also, concerning you, that yourselves also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another” – Romans 15:14.
“And let us consider one another for provoking to love and good works;
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the custom is with some; but encouraging one another, and by so much the more as ye see the day drawing near”. – Hebrews 10:14-15
One of the greatest oddities of Christianity in our times is that most believers only hear the Word preached in a church service. For the vast majority, a sermon from their clergyman on Sundays just about does it.
That deviates considerably from the original plan. Thank God for pastors and other preachers in church services, but the intention of God is that all of us would admonish one another. What a world it would be if everyone of us would make the most of every opportunity to preach the Word!
We don’t need too much of eloquence. We don’t need too much oratory, too. We don’t need people with a lot of education. No! Every believer exhorting those around him and pointing them again and again to God and His Word…
You are ABLE to admonish others. Go ahead and do it!
– jide lawal