“If the ax is dull, and one does not sharpen the edge, then he must use more strength; but wisdom brings success” (Ecclesiastes 10:10, NKJV).
Cutting edge in the secular world simply refers to the latest or most advanced stage in the development of something. Cutting edge institutions are those which are at the top of their game. Divine wisdom requires Christians not just to be celestially equipped and relevant but also to be terrestrially equipped and relevant. Evangelism becomes easier for the Christian as we attain to some worldly success. There is need for Christians to compete favorably in the marketplace, and to do that we have to continuously up our game and sharpen our tools. The following are some tools (edges) to sharpen:
Skill Set: “So he (David) shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands” (Psalm 78:72, KJV). The referenced scripture tells us that David was very effective as king over Israel because he had a good heart and many skills. He had musical skills, leadership skills, people’s skills, poetic skills, literary skills, sling shooting skills, etc. He had character and was charismatic in displaying varied skills. Many patriarchs in the Bible like Joseph and Daniel excelled in their time because they had great skills. Skill is the know-how. It is to have the knowledge of some craft in an increasing measure. Skill, although, is a work of grace still has to be worked on and perfected. There is need to give diligence in discovering, developing and deploying our giftedness and skills. Those who do so are the ones who stand before the kings and presidents of the earth.
Creativity: “The heavens proclaim the glory of God; the skies display His craftsmanship” (Psalm 19:1, NLT). Our God is the Creator and the Master Craftsman. He is the brain behind the beautiful universe we live in. Because He is a generous God, He didn’t finish the work of creation but allow man, who is the zenith of His creation, to continue the work of creation. There are still many gaps in human societies, and creative people fill these gaps by producing what is needed. Human societies are also still evolving. It is creative people who introduce new things, replacing the old through refinement and innovation. Being made in the image and likeness of God makes us creative. To exhibit creativity, we have to believe in our God-given abilities and harness the power of the mind. Start from where you are today and begin to think of how to better your world.
Spirituality: Being able to access the Spirit realm and the mind of God is a plus for the believer and the world at large. There are certain worship songs we sing in our churches today that angels sing in heaven. This is so because someone was able to download from the heavenlies. The Bible says that one of the reasons we have the Holy Spirit is for us to know the wonderful things God has freely given to us (1 Corinthians 2:12). Sharpening our spiritual edge will make us more receptive to the Holy Spirit resident within us. Sharpening our spiritual edge entails deep fellowship with the Holy Spirit, more meditation in the Word and a heart of obedience. These are the days the wisdom of God will be displayed through the church of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3:10).
CONCLUSION: Preparation time is never wasted time. The time the tree cutter is using to sharpen the edge of his equipment is never wasted. Being hasty and lacking preparation make people live mediocre lives. We increase capacity and enhance effectiveness as we create ample time for constructive thinking, honing our skills, and deepening our spirituality. Have a blessed month.
Where there is no vision [no revelation of God and His word], the people are unrestrained; But happy and blessed is he who keeps the law [of God] – Proverbs 29:18 (AMP).
Vision, from the Christian perspective, is having the ability to grasp the mind of God and what He wants to do in the future. Vision is the bridge between present reality and future possibility. A God-given vision is very powerful; it focuses, it compels and it is a force that delivers the future. At the turn of a new year, it is very important for us to seek and articulate the mind of God for 2019. Below are some of the ways to catch a VISION:
Visualizing: Whatever one constantly beholds is what one becomes. Whatever one puts before his or her face continually magnifies in the heart. God instructed the Patriarch Jacob to mate his sheep before poplar stripped trees. White male sheep mating with white female sheep as they beheld poplar trees while mating produced speckled spotted sheep (Genesis 30:37-39). The Bible says as we behold the glory of God we are changed into His image. The principle of visualization is real and powerful. What are you constantly beholding?
Inspiration: The word “theopneustos” is the Greek word for inspiration. And it means God-breathed or divine influence. Inspiration from the scriptures is more than motivation. Martin Luther King Junior wrote and delivered a speech in August 1964 that inspired many people to seek equality and brotherhood in the polity of the USA. The ‘I Have A Dream’ speech fueled many other dreams that eventually became a reality. One can be influenced (inspired) to catch a vision through the dream of others. Dreams beget dreams. The Word of God which is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16) remains the greatest tool and influence of all times for spawning new visions.
Studying: The Patriarch Daniel learned from reading the scriptures that Jerusalem was going to be desolate and lie in ruins for 70 years. Armed with this information, Daniel began to pray and seek the Lord for the deliverance of Jerusalem (Daniel 9). He caught a vision by studying, and this vision led to further visions for him. Darkness is synonymous with ignorance, while light is synonymous with understanding. Learning enlightens and enlivens, whereas ignorance incapacitates and destroys. Visionaries are always studious researchers seeking to know the mind of God and what is ahead.
Insightfulness/Revelation: Stephen Covey, in his book The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People, wrote that all things are created twice. First, there is the mental creation, and then the physical creation. God ofttimes reveal what He wants to do to His own before doing them. The inner witness (Acts 27:10), the inner voice (Acts 13:2), audible voice (Acts 9:4-6), open visions (Acts 9:10-12), night visions (Acts 16:9), word of knowledge (Acts 21:10-11), etc are all workings and demonstrations of the Holy Spirit given to spiritual believers to enlighten and cast vision. These supernatural occurrences will be more in 2019 since we are in the last days.
Observation: A vision can easily be caught as one observes or understudies a visionary. Pastor E. A. Adeboye (the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God) on a visit to Seoul, South Korea in the 1980s saw how Paul Yongi Cho appealed to church members to skip church attendances because of space constraints. He saw hundreds of thousands of people worshipping God together. He said he instantly caught a new vision of multitudes worshipping God in his own church and ministry. That vision is being realized monthly as millions of people gather at the Holy Ghost services in Lagos, Nigeria. A vision can be replicated. It is a spiritual truth that what God has done for one, He is willing to do for another. And what God has done before He is able and willing to do again. Who or what are you observing in order to catch a vision?
Newness: Being born again is to be spiritually renewed. The spirit man of an erstwhile sinner is enlightened by the glory and brilliance of the Holy Spirit. The veil covering the mind of the sinner is ripped off as he or she surrenders to Jesus Christ. This new believer is now given the eyes of faith with which he or she becomes convinced of spiritual realities, and also comprehends as facts things that aren’t revealed to the physical senses. He is able to see the unseen and comprehends the incomprehensible. May we all regain the cutting edge of the new birth in Christ Jesus.
CONCLUSION: Vision makes us live life by design and not by happenstance or chance occurrences. Vision refers to a change for the better. Vision shapes the future. May you catch a new vision in this new year in Jesus’ name.
“But You are holy, O You who are enthroned in (the holy place where) the praises of Israel (are offered)” Psalm 22:3 (Amplified).
The Bible has a lot to say about praising God. It says praise is comely and appropriate for the upright (Psalm 33:1). Praise perfects miracles (Luke 17:11-19). Praise is a winning battle strategy (Psalm 149: 6-9). Praise is a debt the living owes God (Psalm 150:6). Praise brings great yield and increase (Psalm 67:5-7). Praise is God’s habitat (Psalm 22:3). Praise is therapeutic to the one who offers it (Proverbs 17:22). Praise renews the anointing (Psalm 84:4-7). Praise magnifies and refreshes God (Psalm 69:30). Praise is the highway to the throne of God (Psalm 100:4). Below are some truths about God and Praise:
God Expects Praise: Every creature of God is commanded (and designed) to praise God the Maker of all things. The great sea creatures, mountains and hills, the sun and moon, beasts and all cattle, etc. are all commanded to praise God in Psalm 148. Living and non-living things alike are commanded to praise God because He expects their praises. When the tree sways, it is a way of praising and reflecting the beauty and glory of God. When the ocean roars, it is praising God. Out of all of God’s creatures, only human beings can choose not to praise Him. Ten lepers were healed by Jesus and only one of them returned to give thanks to God. And Jesus’ response to that one leper was, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? …… And He said to him, arise go your way, your faith has made you whole” (Luke 17:11-17). Jesus expected the other nine to return to thank Him for their healing. Not only does God expects praise all the time from us; He also expects special praise sessions after every victory, deliverance, breakthrough and major events. And regardless of what 2018 has offered us so far, God still expects our praise.
God Inspects Praise: Michael W. Smith, the Christian singer, wrote in his song, “the heart of worship” that what God seeks for is more than a mere song or lip service. He wrote that God is searching deeper looking into the heart of every man whether the praise being offered is genuine, heartfelt and intense. The Bible says God is seeking for true worshipers that will worship Him in Spirit and truth (John 4:23-24). David carried much weight before God, and was highly commended by Him because when God inspected his life, it was full of gratitude to God. David was adept in constructing adjectives for praising the only true God. He also combined his praise narratives with being a dexterous musician. Not only does God examines our hearts, He also inspects the words we use when eulogizing Him. Become adept today in praising and worshiping Him.
God Respects Praise: On two occasions in Judges chapter 1 and 20, the Israelites were going out to battle, and they enquired from God which tribe should lead them in the battle. On these two occasions, God responded Judah (which is Praise in Hebrew). And the Israelites on these occasions won the battle. Judah is the tribe from where Jesus was born. King David is also from the tribe of Judah. The regard of God towards the tribe of Judah is evident in the Bible. These are similitudes and symbols of the way God views and regards praise and the one who ardently offers it. God commended David and called him a man whose heart beats to my heart (Acts 13:22, Message). Through praise, David had access to God’s inner recesses. Though an old testament saint, he constantly had revelations of Jesus and the Grace Dispensation.
Conclusion: To finish strong in 2018, hike up your praises. You can’t go wrong praising God from a genuine heart purged by the blood of Jesus. Have a praise filled month in Jesus’ name.