“And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are – northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever” – (Genesis 13:14-15).
In the secular world, many organizations and countries have been counting down to the year 2020. Many have expectations and believe it’s a year visions and aspirations will be realized. The World Health Organization (WHO) in 1999 launched a global initiative that by 2020 all cases of avoidable blindness would have been eradicated. The WHO launched Right of Sight for humans. Eye specialists also talk about vision 2020 as being good sight and use this as yardstick to measure eye deficiencies generally.
As it is in the secular, I believe so it is in the spiritual. The Bible says in the latter times that there will be a preponderance of visions and dreams because of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:16-18). To have a clear vision from God the following are imperative:
Visualize: In our opening text, God instructed Abram to lift up his eyes and see. It’s a spiritual principle that whatever we see (and behold) is what we possess. Vision is a function of the heart, while sight is a function of the eyes. Real faith is a matter of the heart. God wants us to visualize His Word and promises in our heart till they become reality to us. Our hearts can be so flooded with enlightenment from the scriptures that we take a hold of spiritual realities even before they become physical realities. God responded to Abram’s complaint, when he said he has no child of his own, by bringing him outside in the night and asking him to look at the stars. We become what we constantly behold (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Inspire: Visions are often borne out of inspiration. Inspiration means breath. Breath is life, and breath animates. The scriptures say that divine breath in the soul of a man will produce understanding and insight in him (Job 32:8). David was inspired and animated when he saw Goliath. He saw differently than the soldiers of Israel. While the soldiers saw Goliath as too big to hit. David saw him as too big to miss. Inspiration makes one think, feel and act differently. On the other hand, a deflated tire will stagnate a vehicle. As we stay inspired in 2020, we will catch a vision.
Spiritual Intelligence: By deepening our walk with the Holy Spirit we become spiritually intelligent. Spiritual intelligence means we are able to evaluate and discern things from within our spirit man (1 Corinthians 2: 14-15). The Bible says because of the anointing within us we are able to know stuffs because the anointing teaches us all things (1 John 2:20,27). Many times, we don’t look for the witness of the Holy Spirit; rather, we are always prone to look for the spectacular (open visions, audible voices, etc) as God’s methods of communicating to us.
Insight: Foresight (ability to see ahead) and Far-sight (like God was recommending to Abram in our text) are critical and very important. Hindsight on the other hand is said to be 20/20 vision, because we have the benefit of clarity of vision after the event has taken place. Foresight and far sight are all based and hinged on insight. The light has to be turned on inside first before it can begin to shine all around. This light is the light of the scriptures. The Psalmist said in Psalm 19 verse 8b in the NLT version that “the commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living.” May we all receive grace for ardent study of the scriptures in 2020.
Ownership: To have clear divine vision in 2020, we have to take ownership of the impulses and convictions of our hearts. We take ownership by journaling what we think the Spirit is ministering to us in times of prayers, worship, biblical meditation and other spiritual activities (Habakkuk 1:1-2). When Heaven sees we are diligent in wanting to know and understand, more visions and revelations are released. On the other hand, when we are carefree and careless about Heaven’s downloads, the visions are withheld.
New Perspective: Our perceptions usually are our realities. How we see colors what we see. The kind of sunglasses and goggles we put on will certainly color what we see. The new and better way to see and adopt is seeing through the lens of redemption realities wrought for us by Christ Jesus. To hear Heaven correctly it must be through salvation in Christ and also through the baptism and sanctification of the Holy Spirit. These are perilous times that Satan shows up as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).
CONCLUSION: Happy New Year! Our Year of Perfection!
“But beloved do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Peter 3:8)
God operates in eternity (Isaiah 57:15). God operates out of time but yet He is in time. God created time; He put time in place at creation (Genesis 1: 5,8,13,19,23,31). At the end of each day of creation, the day was announced. He created time but He isn’t bound by time. One of the definitions of time in the dictionary is the duration in which all things happen or a precise instant that something happens. This definition encapsulates both times and seasons (Ecclesiastes 3:1-12). A season is a process of time, while time can be defined as a point in a period. The scriptures say a thousand years with God is just as a passing day as brief as a few night hours (Psalm 90:4, NLT). Though God operates in timelessness, He still regards time (the times and the seasons of humankind). One resource that when lost is out of man’s control is time, but God has control over time. Below are ways that God can handle and control time:
God can collapse or compress time: “…. And Ahab mounted and rode (his chariot) and went (inland) to Jezreel. Then the hand of the Lord came upon Elijah (giving him supernatural strength). He girded up his loins and outran Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel (nearly twenty miles).” (1 Kings 18:45b-46, AMP). God collapsed time for Elijah and gave him supernatural strength to bare-footedly outrun chariots. Elijah made the journey from Mount Carmel to Jezreel in record time because God facilitated time for him. May we all receive divine speed this month in Jesus’ name.
God can stagnate time: The Israelites who came out of Egypt’s captivity went around and round in circle for many years because they refused to learn the lessons God wanted them to learn. A journey of eleven days took them forty years, and a whole generation (except Joshua and Caleb) didn’t enter the land God promised them (Deuteronomy 1:1-3). If one refuses to use time well and appropriately God can stagnate time. When people think they have time, they take their time. We are enjoined to redeem the time and not trifle with it (Ephesians 5:15-17).
God can expand or extend time: “After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. So, Job died, old and full of days.” (Job 42:16-17). After Job lost his seven sons and three daughters in one day, God gave him a new set of seven sons and three daughters, and also gave him long life (after healing him of a satanic affliction). God expanded Job’s time, allowing him to live till 140 years and to see 4 generations. It is God that determines when the sun sets for the righteous.
CONCLUSION: As 2019 ends and a new year approaches, we must be assured that our times are in God’s hands. He controls the times and seasons. Even though He operates in timelessness, He still regards us who live in the realm of time. As we cooperate with Him, He will compress time for us by blessing our labors and enable us to achieve more in a shorter period of time. He can also choose to expand our time by giving us more opportunities to fulfill life and ministry. Receive grace to end 2019 strong in Jesus’ name.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).
The dictionary defines habit as a settled tendency or usual manner of behavior. It is an involuntary act that we do without exercising control. Human beings are creatures of habit. We create our habits, and our habits in turn determine the course of our lives. Great and successful people create good habits which bring them success and good outcomes, while less successful people create habits that bring failures and unfavorable outcomes. Bad habits are disastrous and create addicts, alcoholics, lazy, indulgent, miscreants and the likes. Below are some ways to break the yoke of bad habits:
Be Born again: Being born again is having an encounter with the word of God (1 Peter 1:23) and the Holy Spirit (John 3:6). A genuine encounter with God totally transforms and converts sinners into saints; weak and indulgent people into powerful and decisive individuals. It is a spiritual rebirth that changes the tastes, inclinations and proclivities of the individual. It is God coming to take up residence in a hitherto dead and unregenerate spirit man.
Renew your mind: As the mind goes, so does the man. The mind of man is very powerful. Habits are formed when the brain registers a particular event or action. If the act is repeated and it is pleasurable, it becomes reinforced in the brain. As this act is repeated the brain continues to reinforce it until it becomes a stronghold in the mind. This is essentially how people become addicts. Exposing the mind to large doses of the word of God continuously renews it and shatters negative strongholds in the mind. The word of God converts the soul (Psalm 19:7). God was able to deliver the Israelites from Egypt (Spiritual deliverance) but He couldn’t get them into Canaan, the Promised Land because of their unrenewed and slavery mindset. Mental strongholds, at times, are more difficult to deal with than spiritual strongholds.
Engaging the help of the Holy Spirit: It is by the Holy Spirit that we put to death the desires of the human nature (Romans 8:13). Without the Holy Spirit there cannot be permanent victory. Engaging the Holy Spirit by praying regularly in tongues is a must, if we want to overcome bad habits. The Holy Spirit is fire that destroys the yoke of sin and destructive habits. We also stir up the anointing of the Holy Spirit when we actively engage Him; it is the anointing that destroys yokes and undo burdens in our lives. Bad habits are yokes that are to be destroyed.
Affirm yourself constantly: One of the downsides of bad habits is that it makes us lose confidence in ourselves and taint our self-image. After doing something for a long time the tendency is for us to define ourselves as such. We are not what we do; we are what God, through the scriptures, say we are. A healthy self-image is a sine qua non to breaking bad habits. We will always rise or fall to the image and picture of ourselves that we carry within. It is vital we constantly affirm who we are in Christ regardless of our circumstances. Just like (in Christ Jesus) we aren’t our past, so also, we aren’t what we repeatedly do. As Christians we are God’s righteousness and we carry the seed of righteousness within us. As we affirm ourselves with the scriptures the hold of destructive habits will be broken.
Keep standing: To keep standing is to continuously maintain our victory in Christ. Our opening scripture in Galatians 5:1 lends credence to this. Freedom always comes with a cost. After colonized countries fight and obtain their independence, they have to keep maintaining their independence and seek total independence from their colonizers; otherwise, they will fall back in some bondage again (neo colonization). The Amalekites were a recurring enemy of the Israelites; from the time they came out of Egypt till the time of Haman the Agagite (an Amalekite), they constantly were a thorn in their flesh. There is need to totally exterminate and root out all evil habits in our lives, else they will be detrimental to our eventual success and wellbeing.
Conclusion: Other vital ways to break bad habits are to avoid idleness, to create good habits to replace the bad ones, and to have worthy mentors and accountability partners that you will open your lives to unashamedly.Have a blessed month.
“Three things will last forever – faith, hope and love – and the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13, NLT).
Faith, hope and love are three virtues or graces that will transcend the temporal world. The opposite of these virtues is unbelief, despair (or hopelessness) and hatred. No one can make it to heaven with unbelief, hopelessness and hatred. These three virtues are to be carefully and diligently cultivated by every child of God. These virtues will give us a good and abundant life here as Jesus promised (John 10:10b), and also guarantee us a place in Heaven.
Faith: Simply defined is abiding trust in God and His promises. It is through God’s promises that we are able to share in His divine nature and operate as “gods” in this world (2 Peter 1:4). Peter the Apostle called God’s promises great and precious. It is the assurance of these promises that help us confront life and overcome life challenges. The rod in the hand of Moses by which he operated as a god over Pharaoh and with which he wrought many wonders can be likened to faith in God and His promises in the new testament. The word rod is “shebet” in Hebrew, and it means a tool for correction and a symbol of authority. David spoke about His rod and His staff comforting him. The Word of God (and His promises) is a tool for correction and also a symbol of authority. God said to Moses, “And you shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do signs” (Exodus 4:17). Believing and confessing God’s promises makes us to rule and reign in this world. We are saved by faith in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-10).
Hope: Simply defined is having a future expectation and anticipation. It relates to the future (Romans 8:24-25). While hope deals with the future, faith deals with the present. Faith gives substance to hope, converting future expectation to present reality. Jesus while still hoping to start His ministry of signs and wonders at a particular time in the future was compelled by the faith of His mother Mary to perform His first miracle i.e. the turning of water into wine at a wedding in Cana of Galilee (John 2:1-9). While faith obtains, hope sustains. As Christians, through the resurrection of Jesus, we have the hope of eternal life (1 Peter 1:3). Hope is confident expectation of eternal salvation. Hope transcends this present world to eternity. Apostle Paul said we are to be pitied if our hope in Christ is only for this world (1 Corinthians 15:19).
Love: This is the nature of God. As children of God we grow in this divine love as we progressively understand God’s love for us. The disciple Stephen was able to forgive those stoning him to death on the spot because he was filled with the Holy Spirit and also had a revelation of the love of God (Acts 7:54-59). This love overcomes evil by doing good; it is never conquered by evil. A testimony was told about a sister who had a stubborn neighbor who hated their guts because they lived in an upscale part of town that people of their nationality aren’t supposed to live. This unfriendly neighbor did everything possible to frustrate this sister and her family. This sister, rather than reacting to her hostile neighbor in kind, chose to pray for her in love. Within two weeks of praying, this neighbor surprisingly turned around and began to entreat this sister and her family. The turnaround of this neighbor was nothing but supernatural. The Bible says the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself in love (Galatians 5:6, NIV). The new testament way of relating with our enemies is to feed them when they are hungry, and give them drink when they are thirsty. Love is the greatest of the virtues.
CONCLUSION: As potent as faith is, it only works and produces by divine love. As futuristic as hope is, it needs faith for the future and the One who holds the future. Love is a stand-alone virtue. Just as everything rises and falls on leadership, in God’s kingdom and economy everything rises and falls on agape love. Love is the ultimate!
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” – (Genesis 2:15, NIV)
Work, as defined by the dictionary, is an activity that involves mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result. God’s intention is for man to work. He put Adam, the first man, in the Garden of Eden to tend and cultivate it. In creation, God worked daily for six days and after ending His work, He rested on the seventh day (Genesis 2:1-2). Jesus also declared, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day…” (John 9:4). Below are some benefits and blessings of work:
Work Releases Potential: Potential simply defined is unused ability. It is what one can do that he or she hasn’t done. It is also what one can become that he or she hasn’t become. Work provides the opportunity for us to grow, develop and evolve. It leads to self-discovery and self-awareness. It is by working we discover our talents and sharpen our potential. It is also by working and releasing potential that human beings contribute their quota in solving human problems.
Work Brings Fulfillment: According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, self-actualization or self-fulfillment is a human need, and it is the greatest need humans desire to fulfill. Though work, in itself, cannot bring maximum fulfillment (only God can), it still brings sufficient fulfillment to man. Even God as He created the earth was proud of His work each day. The Bible says, “And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good (i.e. suitable, pleasant) and He approved it completely” (Genesis 1:31, AMP). After each day of creation, it was written that God saw that what He created was good, fitting, admirable and He approved of His work. In other words, God got some fulfillment from the work of His creation.
Work Releases Creativity: Human beings are co-creators with God. At creation, God gave man the basic raw material to continue the work of creation with Him. We unleash the creativity in us by applying ourselves to work, thinking through processes, and working with our hands to create and produce. From mixing ingredients and making food, drawing architectural plan and building structures, developing software programs and driving technological advancement, the creativity and ingenuity of man is released through the endeavor of work.
Work Is Antidote To Idleness: The Bible warns against idleness. Apostle Paul admonished young widows not to be idle and become busybodies as a result (1 Timothy 5:13). The truth is that we have a higher tendency to sin when we are idle. King David was idling in his palace at a time of war when he ended up committing adultery with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:1-6). The Bible says in Proverbs 16:27 (TLB version) that, “idle hands are the devil’s workshop, idle lips are his mouthpiece.” The reverse is also true. We think less of indulging the human nature when we are productively engaging the mind and putting the body to work.
Work Brings Profit: The Bible says in Proverbs 14:23 that in all labor there is profit. It also says in Proverbs 12:11 that anyone who works his land will have plenty of food. Profit and productivity which come as a result of work supplant poverty. God has designed creation in such a way that we will always reap the labor of our hands. In His wisdom as we put our hands and minds to work, He blesses our work and teach us to be profitable (Isaiah 48:17).
CONCLUSION: Some spiritual, exercises as good as they are, cannot replace work. Prayer and fasting have their role, while working with our hands also has its place. God works through our prayers to accomplish for us what we cannot do. God will not do for us the tasks we can do for ourselves. And the dominion charge he gave man in Genesis 1:26-28 is still in operation and has not expired. It is all encompassing and will remain so possibly till God creates a new earth (Revelation 21:1).
Have a blessed month.