“A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart” (Matthew 12:35, NLT).
The above scripture likens our hearts (or minds) to a treasury. A treasury is a storage for treasures. Human activities, endeavors and accomplishments are all produced from the human mind. It is from the mind that we do life. People’s life progress or stagnates based on the thought pattern of their minds. Some thinking patterns allow for stagnation, while others boost achievements and breakthroughs. The human mind is a garden that can be cultivated or left fallow. Below are some mindsets and thinking patterns that promotes breakthrough:
The Open Mindset: This is a thinking pattern that allows for flexibility and does not view the world from its own perspective alone. It is open to ideas from other climes. Apostle Paul was such an apostle. He was sent to the whole Gentile world. The contrast is Apostle Peter who struggled with God after seeing a vision three times of diverse animals that the Jews are not allowed to eat under the law of Moses. God asked him in the vision to kill and eat the animals and he vehemently refused because the Jews are not supposed to eat these kinds of animals. Theologians told us Apostle Paul was more fitted for the ministry to the Gentiles because he had an open mindset being a lawyer with dual citizenship. An open mindset as opposed to a closed mind is a sine qua non for breakthrough.
The Renewed Mindset: The Israelites mindset remained set on Egyptian ways even though they were delivered physically from there. They did not allow God and the many breakthrough experiences they had being delivered from Egypt to renew their minds. They were stuck and fixated on Egypt, and they could not enter the Promised Land as a result. Only Joshua and Caleb who had a different mindset and inner disposition were allowed access into the Promised Land. We cannot think like slaves and reign as princes on earth. We should allow the scriptures and our experiences of God shape our minds to see possibilities in God. Scripture reference: Numbers 14:20-24
The Sanctified Mindset: This is a spiritual mindset as opposed to a carnal one. This is a mindset surrendered to God and His laws. It is a mindset that is determined to obey God regardless of the odds. It is a mind that is being controlled by the Holy Spirit. The Bible says some minds are set on gratifying the flesh while others are set on gratifying and pleasing the Spirit. The mind that is set on gratifying the Spirit will experience divine interventions and breakthroughs regularly.
The Mindful Mindset: This is an appreciative and grateful mind that is always mindful of God’s deeds. King David had several breakthroughs because he was mindful and always quick to recollect how God brought him from being a shepherd boy to becoming a king. Because of his mindfulness and grateful mindset God gave him a lasting and forever dynasty. (2 Samuel 7:18-24). The Israelites on the other hand were not mindful and forgot how God delivered them from Egypt. They became rebellious in their hearts and wanted to return to Egypt. A grateful heart softens and humbles the heart towards God. It is a fascinating mindset to God that attracts His favor.
The Growth Mindset: This is a mindset that grows and stretches. Abraham grew from an idol worshipper to becoming a friend of God (James 2:23). He grew from a childless person to becoming the father of nations. All the major religions of the world today revere him and consider him as their patriarch and father. Gideon grew from a fearful man hiding from the Midianites to a mighty man of valor who defeated the Midianites. Those who grow inwardly overcome the barriers and limitations within them and in time they overcome externally.
CONCLUSION: The journey of stagnancy to breakthrough is an inward journey. The journey of mediocrity to living a life of excellence is also an inward journey.
“And because of His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.” (2 Peter 1:4, NLT).
Apostle Peter in the above scripture stated that God’s promises are great and precious. We are partakers of God’s divine nature through these promises. We can live the God-kind of life here on earth when we believe and are able to operate with His promises. Below are some points to consider:
Seek the promise(s): God’s promises cover every challenge life poses to mankind. And we operate as gods (supernatural deities) when we hold tenaciously to these promises and actualize them. There is the need to seek for the divine promise that relate or speak to our situations. Attorneys in the law court will always seek for relevant authorities, references or precedents to buttress their points. Once they find similar cases from the past that furthers their cause, they have found a strong point of persuasion to tender before the judge. The Bible enjoins us to present our case and bring forth strong reasons for our justification (Isaiah 41:21).
Take the promise: After seeking and locating the divine promise(s) that speak to our situation, the next thing is to own them. There is a difference between how people treat the cars they own vis a vis the car they rent. A rental car is not treated too well because it will be returned to the rental shop. There is a marked difference between ownership and rentalship. We are responsible for the things we own. God wants us to own His promises and embrace them as ours. Joseph the patriarch in his dying moment got his kinsmen in Egypt to promise him they will take his body out with them to Canaan (the promised land). He was so assured that the promise God made to Abraham was going to come to pass, and that Egypt was not the final destination of his people.
Activate the promise(s): To activate something means to give life to the thing. The mother hen sits on her eggs providing warmth to the eggs until they hatch to become chickens. The mother hen makes life happen by providing the right environment for the eggs. We give life to God’s promises when we create the right environment by wrapping our minds around His promises and meditating on them regularly. David said in Psalm 39, verse 4, “my heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned, then I spoke with my tongue”. There is a right environment for God’s promises to thrive.
Nullify contrary opinions and views: Satan is overly concerned about stealing God’s word in our hearts. He knows that as we embrace the promises and muse over them God will always respond. The enemy uses everything possible to stop the process when he sees that we are on course. He will use logical arguments, persons close to us, contrary circumstances, etc just to stop us in our tracks. David had to turn away from his oldest brother Eliab when he confronted him as he was about to face Goliath in battle (1 Samuel 17:29-30). We are to take contrary thoughts captive and submit our minds to God when we are being opposed. This is how we fight the good fight of faith.
Declare His promises: Faith in God boldly declares the word and promises of God. David, standing before Goliath, boldly declared that the battle is the Lord’s and God will give Goliath into the hands of the Israelites. We are enjoined to boldly declare that God is our Helper and we shall not fear what man can do (Hebrews 13:6). David said because of his meditation in God’s promises the fire of expectation and possibilities burned within him, and he spoke as a result. There is a timid declaration of His promises which happens when we are not persuaded of the promise(s); and there is a bold declaration of the Word and promises.
CONCLUSION: Receive fresh grace to stand on the Word of God. God’s promises are Yes and Amen through Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20).
“So, David came to Baal-perazim, and he defeated them there, and said, “The Lord has broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water.” So he named that place Baal-perazim (master of breakthroughs)”
– (2 Samuel 5:20)
A dictionary meaning of breakthrough is to overcome something and have an achievement. All the incredible things in different spheres of human endeavors are because of numerous breakthroughs. In the scripture above, David had just been made king over all of Israel. The Philistines, the arch enemy of the Israelites, mobilized all their forces to make war against him. They reasoned it was a vulnerable moment for David and wanted to take advantage of him. By divine direction David prevailed over the Philistines and achieved victory over them. Below are some things to consider.
Break in: A wise man said for us to break out we must first and foremost break in. The challenges, obstacles and difficulties that we face in life are not just external, but they are also internal. Saul and the armies of Israel were held bound for 40 days by Goliath and would not attempt to fight because they were defeated within them. They were so overtaken with fear within that they did not even make any attempt towards Goliath. When David got on the scene, and on hearing the threats of Goliath tried to fight him. David was able to fight Goliath because he had a different mindset from the others. The self-image David had within him was that of a Giant Killer. The struggles we face most times are as a result of our beliefs and the image we carry within. We must first breakthrough within in order to breakthrough without.
Break out: A rut is a long deep track made by the repeated passage of the wheels of vehicles. On muddy and bad roads like we usually have in some developing nations, the first vehicle that passes on the muddy road creates a track (or rut) and subsequent vehicles will follow the track. And because of repeated passage on the same spot, the road gets deeper and deeper and at some point in time vehicles will get stuck in the rut. A person stuck in a rut is locked in a behavior (usually bad) that is not allowing them to overcome and have breakthroughs. To have breakthroughs we must break out of unproductive and destructive ruts, and take on good, productive and habitual behaviors that will make us overcome and achieve.
Breakthrough: The victory and breakthrough of David in Baal-perazim was possible because of divine direction. It was also possible because of the mighty men of David. Some four hundred men who were in distress, debt and discontented had gathered around David in the wilderness when he was running from King Saul. He became captain over them. It was these undesirable men that David groomed and developed to become mighty warriors. Thirty-seven out of the four hundred had incredible dossier and they were called the mighty men of David (2 Samuel 23:8-39). David was able to transform low lives to mighty men by providing leadership and modeling what a good leader should look like. He transformed their thinking by helping them to breakthrough the limitations within them. He transformed them by helping them to break in and break out. These men in turn never allowed David to lose any battle. He was able to let loose the giants within them.
CONCLUSION: To have breakthrough, our minds must be regularly renewed, and we must cultivate behaviors that make possible the outcomes we desire. God will only help us to the degree that we cooperate with Him in thoughts, words and deeds. Have a month full of breakthroughs in Jesus’ name.
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”
– (Revelation 12:13, NKJV)
A testimony in Christian parlance is simply an evidence or proof given by a person who experienced firsthand the power and miracle of God. Below are some points to note about the power of testimonies viz:
Testimonies tell of God’s acts: “O God, You have taught me from my earliest childhood, and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things You do” (Psalm 71:17). Testimonies are praise reports of what God has done. Testimonies are tools of witnessing the good news and reports of the Almighty God. Joshua was instructed by God to bring out of the Jordan River 12 stones and set them up as a memorial in Gilgal to testify to succeeding generations how God gave them passage by parting the Jordan River (Reference: Joshua 4). God wants us to testify of His good deeds.
Testimonies encourage others: “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” (2 Corinthians 1:4, NLT). The aforementioned scripture says one of the crucial reasons God delivers us from trouble is for us to relay to others going through similar challenge how God delivered and comforted us. Many have triumphed over challenging situations because of the encouragement they received from others who have gone through same.
Testimonies beget testimonies: A brother in our church lost his job unexpectedly. He pleaded his case with the organization and surprisingly he was recalled back within a week. He shared his testimony in church. Not too long after, another brother lost his job and based on the strength of the previous brother’s testimony he believed God and got the exact job back. Testimonies ignite faith in the hearts of the hearers, and what God has done before He is willing to do again.
Testimonies eliminate grumbling and complaining: Many people do not see grumbling and complaining as sins. A close look at the scriptures show that they are sins that God detests so much. We are admonished not to complain and grumble like the Israelites in the wilderness (1 Corinthians 10:10). Many of them were destroyed in the wilderness because they kept complaining against Moses and God. A habit of regular testifying of the acts of God will reduce and eliminate complaining in our lives.
Testimonies silence the devil: Our main text tells of how Angel Michael and other angels overcame the devil when war broke out in heaven (Revelation 12:7-12). They overcame by the blood of the Lamb and the words they spoke. The same way they overcame, we will also overcome. Satan is the accuser of the brethren, and one sure way to counter his accusations is by the words of our mouth and our testimonies. By going forth and telling of God’s goodness to us, we silence the voice of accusation raised against us (Isaiah 54:17). Testimonies are confession of faith that silences the devil.
CONCLUSION: Testifying about God’s acts also includes regularly speaking of His wonders as elucidated in the scriptures. As we tell of how He parted the Red Sea, brought down the walls of Jericho, stayed the sun for 24 hours nonstop, etc, our faith in Him will grow and personal testimonies of His gracious acts will be enormous in our lives. Have a testimony filled month in Jesus name.
“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, TO GIVE UNTO THEM BEAUTY FOR ASHES, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”
– (Isaiah 61:3, KJV).
Prophet Isaiah in the above verse was stating part of the roles and functions of the anointing. Ashes in the Bible is a symbol of deep grief, mourning and penitence. Job was said to sit in ashes after he got news of losing his children, possessions and struck with painful boils (Job 2:8). Tamar, the daughter of David was said to put on ashes after she was raped by her half brother Amnon (2 Samuel 13:19). Many are in deep mourning at this time due to the loss of loved ones to COVID-19. Some people have suffered losses of jobs, health, opportunities, etc. Many are hopeless because of what life has thrown at them. Below are some truths to consider:
Isaac received beauty for ashes: “And Isaac brought Rebekah into his mother Sarah’s tent and she became his wife. He loved her deeply, and she was a special comfort to him after the death of his mother” (Genesis 24:67). Because Isaac was born to Sarah when she was 90 years and being her only child, he was very pampered. Isaac and Sarah shared a serious bond. The death of Sarah had a devastating blow on Isaac. The scripture quoted says Rebekah, the new found wife of Isaac became a special comfort to him. She filled the gap Sarah left in Isaac’s life. Our God is a Restorer who heals wounds and binds up the broken-hearted. He gives beauty for ashes once we do not give up hope and trusts implicitly in Him.
Jacob received beauty for ashes: “But when they told him all the words of Joseph which he had said to them, and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived (and warmth and life returned)” (Genesis 45:27). Jacob had thought his son Joseph was dead after his brothers sold him to slavery, and in turn lied to him that Joseph had been killed by a wild beast. Jacob was devastated because Joseph was his favorite son. He never really recovered from the news of Joseph’s death. By divine orchestration, after 22 years Joseph was found and reconciled to his brothers. When the news got to Jacob that Joseph his son was alive and was Governor in Egypt, the Bible says his spirit revived, and warmth and life returned to him. God compensates those who mourn in Zion and gives them beauty for ashes (Psalm 30:11).
The nation Israel received beauty for ashes: Prior to 1948 there was no nation called Israel. The Jews were scattered all over the world while the Arabs occupied the Promised Land. They suffered under Adolf Hitler who wanted to exterminate all of them in the Holocaust and in the process killed six million Jews. They were scattered all over the world and were dominant in Europe, and having no homeland of theirs they were persecuted, harassed and oppressed wherever they found themselves. They were hated because of their religious inclination and economic prowess. Satan drummed up hatred for them because of God’s special interest in them. With the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Jewish independence lost 2000 years prior was renewed. The Prophet Ezekiel affirmed that the dry bones God asked him to prophesy over was the nation of Israel. From hopelessness and despair their homeland was restored. They got beauty for many years of ashes.
CONCLUSION: Have you suffered loss of any kind in this pandemic? The God of Heaven appoints to those who mourn in His Kingdom beauty for ashes. The one thing that guarantees restoration, renewal and recovery from God is being in His kingdom. It is those who mourn in Zion (His kingdom) that has the guarantee of their ashes being replaced by beauty. Are you a member of His kingdom? If no, accept Jesus Christ today.