|“For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, but the wicked fall by calamity” – (Proverbs 24:16).
The Bible is full of comeback stories. Apostle Peter denied Jesus three times, swore and cursed that he didn’t know Jesus when he was accosted and told that he was one of His followers! Peter recovered from that fall and became one of the greatest apostles of all times. Ruth came back from a serious setback of losing her husband at a young age and her cursed Moabite ancestry to become the great grandmother of King David and part of the lineage of Jesus Christ. Her mother-in-law (i.e. Rahab) also overcame her sordid past of prostitution to become the great great grandmother of King David and a part of Jesus lineage. The Bible is full of stories of people who failed big but recovered to win big! Below are some things to consider in order to move from setback to comeback:
Divine Realization: This is simply to become aware of oneself from Heaven’s perspective. The prodigal son in Luke 15 was said to have “come to his senses” before embarking on the journey back home to his loving father. Not until he was feeding pigs and longed to be fed from the pods the pigs ate did he actually realize himself. An heir to unlimited fortune now feeding pigs because he was estranged from his father! The first step to comeback is to realize how much one has fallen and to make amends decisively.
Divine Encounter: Everyone who has come to Christ had a divine encounter. We need many of such encounters to stage a comeback from a fall. A divine encounter usually awakens our passion towards God, leading to a desire of making a positive difference in the world. A case in point is Moses who encountered God in the burning bush which didn’t consume the grass. Another is Smith Wigglesworth, a 20th century apostle. He was a great stammerer and illiterate plumber who after getting baptized in the Holy Spirit, with evidence of praying in tongues, became very eloquent in speech and became the great apostle of faith.
Divine Illumination: This leads to self-discovery, a necessary occurrence for a comeback. Gideon overcame a setback of low self-esteem, fear and timidity when he was opportune by God to know how the enemies perceived him (Judges 7:9-15). No one can recover from a fall without first realizing his or her potentials, capabilities, strengths, opportunities, etc. In the light of God, we see light (Psalm 36:9). Moses got to know by illumination that the rod in his hand was the rod of deliverance for Israel.
Destiny Decisions: Crucial decisions ofttimes have to be made when we are at the crossroads of life. Ruth had to make a decision whether to follow her mother-in-law (i.e. Naomi) back to Bethlehem-Judah or to remain in Moab. While her sister-in-law Orphah opted to remain in Moab, she clung to Naomi and followed her to Bethlehem. This crucial decision was a destiny decision that made her story change and brought greatness to her. Right decisions will always lead to a comeback.
Divine Exaltation: The Bible says in Psalm 75:6 that God is the Judge who puts down one and exalts another. When God lifts up, it inevitably results in a comeback. Humility and total surrender to Him are preconditions to be exalted by Him (1 Peter 5:5-6). Peter recovered from a fruitless fishing expedition when he surrendered his fishing boat to Jesus for preaching. As a result, he caught so many fishes that his net got broken and his boat almost sank.
CONCLUSION: The greatest comeback of all times is Jesus coming out from the grave. Satan and his cohorts had a field day on Good Friday thinking that was the end, but they experienced the shock of their lives when He rose again. Jesus’ comeback is a testament that we can rise from every setbacks and fall.
“Then God said let there be light and there was light. And God saw the light that it was good, and God divided the light from the darkness” (Genesis 1:3-4).
The first statement God uttered in the Bible was let there be light. The first thing He created was light. The Hebrew word translated in this context shows light as illumination, something that clarifies, brightens and brings happiness. The Bible says God saw that the light was good. Darkness is the opposite of light. Darkness depicts evil, something not good, chaos, confusion, ignorance, etc. Below are some of the qualities of light:
Light shines: The believer in Christ is commanded to arise and shine because he has light (Isaiah 60:1). The Bible says the gospel of Jesus Christ is the light of the glory of God. It is this light that believers in Christ receive when they give their hearts to Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). The gospel makes its recipients to shine in this dark world, because it is the light of God’s glory. Light reigns because it shines and overcomes darkness. However, the extent of the shining and reigning of the believer is determined by the amount of light (revelation knowledge) he or she possesses and walks in. True believers radiate the glory and brilliance of God in this dark world.
Light heals: It is reportedly known that a good number of babies are born jaundiced. Jaundice is a liver disorder that causes the white part of the eyes and skin to turn yellow. Though potentially dangerous, it has an easy cure. The baby is put under a special light. The skin absorbs this light and stimulates the liver to start functioning well. Human beings are morally and spiritually sick because of sin. The truth of the scriptures is the light that heals us of spiritual sickness.
Light dispels darkness: Satan is called the prince of darkness. His agents and demonic spirits are called the rulers of the darkness of this world (Ephesians 6:12). His kingdom is called the Kingdom of Darkness. He majorly rules his dark kingdom with fear, ignorance, hatred and deception. The Bible says light shines in darkness and the darkness cannot understand nor overpower nor extinguish it. Light wins over darkness without a fight. Faith in God, the love of God and the truth of the scriptures are embodiment of the light of God. These qualities when possessed by the believer make him or her to overcome the darkness of this world.
Light rules: The Bible says God created two great lights on the fourth day of creation. The greater light He created was to rule over the day, and the lesser light to rule over the night (Genesis 1:16-19). To rule is to exercise authority or dominion over something. The believer in Christ rules over sin, sickness and death because of the understanding which the light of God’s word provides him or her. What one understands he gains mastery over. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life” (John 8:12). Our understanding of redemption, forgiveness, sanctification and justification gives us mastery over the deception of darkness.
Light quickens: It enlivens and produces life. For most living organisms, life ebbs or ceases to be when light is no more. Plants live by photosynthesis. They convert sunlight energy into food and produce oxygen for mankind. Life and light are mysteriously inseparably linked. Jesus said those who follow Him will have the light that produces and leads to life. Life means being present with God both in this world and in eternity. Darkness is the absence of God.
CONCLUSION: Light organizes and creates order (Genesis 1:2-5), light exposes (Ephesians 5:13) and shields (Romans 13:12). We are enjoined, as children of light, to walk in the light and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them (Ephesians 5:8-11). Receive grace to become an embodiment of light of God in Jesus’ name.
“He who overcomes I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name” (Revelation 3:12).
To overcome means to gain victory over a challenge or opposition. The Christian is no stranger to opposition while he or she lives here on earth. The overcoming Christian is the one who appropriates the grace of God and walks in the victory Christ has purchased for His elect (Galatians 5:1). The person whose faith does not fail and endures to the end is the overcomer (Hebrews 10:38-39). The overcoming Christian is the one who uses his faith to obtain divine promises and possess divine inheritances (Hebrews 11:33-36). He is one who regularly looks at temptation or sin in the eye and looks the other way without yielding (James 1:12).
Being overcomers is what God has ordained for His children. That is when we truly operate in the liberty given to us in the covenant of grace and do not live in bondage to debt, sin, people, worry and anxiety, etc. God’s plan is for His children not to experience depressing defeat, but to experience exhilarating victory that comes through overcoming. There are three major obstacles the Christian has to overcome in order to live the overcoming life:
The World System: The Bible tells us that Satan is the ruler of this world (John 14:30). He is largely in control of the systems, the culture, the government, the modus operandi of this fallen world. This is, off course, for a time and season after which Jesus will replace the world with the New Earth with all the perfection, glory and righteousness of the Kingdom of Heaven (Revelation 21). Until then, the Christian will have to swim against the tide of sinful enticement, injustice and evil of this world. The challenge of the Christian is trying to impose God’s righteous will in a world that does not know God and is hostile towards Him. However, Jesus is the Chief Overcomer; we follow His example and receive the power to overcome from Him (John 1:12). The Bible says, “For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory by faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:4-5, NLT). We overcome the world system by appropriating the victory Christ has won for us.
The Flesh: This is the fallen human nature that is opposed to God. Jesus on the cross of Calvary abolished the reign of the human nature when He was nailed to the cross. Mankind was in union with Christ when He hung on the tree (Romans 6:4-6). By virtue of that unity, anyone who believes in His substitutionary work becomes a partaker of His divine nature which is given to believers by the Holy Spirit. Though the flesh’s power is abolished, the Christian still has to rely on the grace of God to overcome the works of the flesh. We overcome the cravings of the flesh by walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16). We also overcome the temptations of the flesh by deliberately doing the things that are contrary to the wishes of the flesh. We please God when we walk in the Spirit. We overcome and attain spiritual maturity when we choose to please God over and above the cravings of the flesh.
The Devil: The devil and his cohorts have every genuine Christian on their hit list. We wrestle against evil spiritual forces. The Bible makes us to realize that God has an armor set for Christians by which we are to stand against the enemy all the time. But as typical of God, He has given us free will, leaving us the responsibility to deliberately wear His armor. Salvation, righteousness, faith, truth, preaching the gospel, the Word of God, praying in the Spirit are all part of God’s armor which the Scripture enjoins us to wear all the time (Ephesians 6:12-18). We are not to overrate the enemy by paying undue attention to his cunningness and activities. Rather, we are supposed to submit to God, resist the enemy by exercising our God-given authority against him, and he will flee from us (James 4:7).
CONCLUSION: Those who overcome are made permanent pillars in the kingdom of God (Revelation 3:12), are given authority over more territories (Revelation 2:26), are clothed in white garments (Revelation 3:5), will sit with Jesus on His throne (Revelation 3:21), will be forever branded with Jesus (Revelation 3:12). Be counted among the overcomers today. Have a blessed month!
|“Arise (from spiritual depression to a new life), shine (be radiant with the glory and brilliance of the Lord); for your light has come, and the glory and brilliance of the Lord has risen upon you” (Isaiah 60:1, AMP).
The scripture above admonishes us to arise and shine. God has ordained His children on earth to be light and shine forth His glory and beauty. Before we can shine forth, we have to arise! Below are some of the things we have to do in order to shine forth in 2018:
Arise from besetting sins: Besetting sins are petty sins that we are susceptible to, enjoy and find difficult to jettison and give up. The Christian journey is like a marathon race, and no marathon runner goes into the race all dressed up. They all appear in light clothing of singlets and shorts in order not to be bogged down, weighed down and slowed down. Besetting sins are weights that slow down the Christian and has the potential to terminate the race for the Christian before getting to the finished line. The Bible admonishes us to set aside besetting sins and run the race before us with endurance (Hebrews 12:1).
Arise from mediocrity: One of the synonyms of mediocrity is average. Average may be defined as the best of the worst and the worst of the best. An average person doesn’t have extraordinary results, and this may be due to failure to exert himself or herself. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 9:10, “’Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.” We are to give 2018 our best shot ever, and with God’s blessings our results shall be extraordinary.
Arise from procrastination: Procrastination is truly the thief of time. It is true many people will miss heaven because they keep on postponing the time of salvation to a future time. Procrastination can have very disastrous consequences. This is why the songwriter Andrae Crouch sang, “count the years as months, count the months as weeks, count the weeks as days.” By so doing, we maximize time and opportunities. Successful people are acutely aware of the brevity of life and they maximize every moment. The Bible says we should overcome the evil in the day by redeeming the time and stop acting thoughtlessly (Ephesians 5:16-17).
Arise from shame: Mephibosheth, the grandson of King Saul, lost his father Jonathan and grandfather on the same day. He fell as a five-year-old and became lame in his feet the same day his forebears died. He later was abandoned in a desolate place called Lo Debar. Kind David showed magnanimity and kindness to Mephibosheth by bringing him to live with him in the palace at Jerusalem. He lifted him from a disgraceful condition to a graceful one. And this depicts the grace and mercy of God. The grace of God is a lifter from deplorable conditions (Psalm 40:2-3). It is the kindness and benevolence of God that removes reproaches from our lives. In 2018, exercise faith for more grace.
Arise unto godliness: What will make a remarkable difference in 2018 is our consistent and daily walk with God. Christians who do well walk consistently with God. They daily meditate on scriptures, pray, and make investments in the spirit by obeying God. Enoch the patriarch was said to walk in close fellowship with God and then one day he disappeared because God took him (Genesis 5:23-24, NLT). People who walk closely with God are a blessing to their world. A godly person is one who has a dynamic relationship with God that is unaffected by worldly pleasures and fleshly appetites (Galatians 5:24).
CONCLUSION: 2018 is a year loaded with divine opportunities. Arise and make it a glorious year by the grace of God. Have a blessed year!
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NKJV).
The above-cited scriptural quote from Jesus is very instructive. As Christians, we are supposed to abide consistently in Christ, so that we would have His peace which exceeds human understanding. In the world, there are many troubles; but our triumph over them is certain, if we abide in Christ. Below are some principles we should live by in order to be of good CHEER:
Count your blessings: The human nature is much more inclined to lament over issues than to testify and recount God’s goodness. Many are quick to call up friends and family members and complain when a misfortune happens; but they rarely call up the same people to testify of God’s goodness. Many crave for pity and sympathy from others; hence, the propensity to lament. And many refuse to testify of His goodness because they feel God hasn’t done enough. They fail to realize that testimonies beget testimonies because they fuel faith in both the sharer and the hearer. Lamentation, on the other hand, begets more lamentations because it fuels unbelief. David said we should recount all His benefits, whether we deem them inconsequential or not (Psalm 103:1-5).
Hold onto your dreams: It is true that hope deferred discourages the heart (Proverbs 13:12). There is no better option to holding on to one’s aspirations, hopes and dreams even when they delay in coming through. The prophet Habakkuk wrote: “this vision is for a future time, it describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed” (Habakkuk 2:3, NLT). The patriarch Joseph was able to maintain a good attitude and was cheerful in his thirteen years long ordeal, because he held onto his dreams. If God said it, it will surely come to pass.
Engage faith in the Word of God: To engage something, in this sense, means to activate and deploy it for one’s benefit. To be cheerful in this world, we must give premium to the inspired and infallible word of God. We should stop allowing what our senses perceive determine what our hearts believe. Faith in God is of the heart. The basis for our faith is the Word of God. The Apostle Paul, under divine inspiration, wrote: “So we don’t look at the troubles that we can see now, rather we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever” (2 Corinthians 4:16, NLT). We can be cheerful amidst difficult times when we develop eyes of faith which envision and practically keep in view the Word of God.
Encounter fresh grace: There is grace for every new season of life. Yesterday’s grace may not be sufficient for today’s challenges. The Israelites were instructed to pick the manna only for one day, except the day before the Sabbath, when they were allowed to take enough for two days, since the Sabbath ordinance forbade them to work on that day. Those who disobeyed and picked for two days (except for the Sabbath) had their manna turned stale and spoilt the following day. God was emphasizing to them – and by extension, to us – that daily walk and communion with Him ought to be our lifestyle. There is grace for every day, every new assignment, every new year, every challenge, etc. To be cheerful, it is mandatory to lean entirely on God and His grace. By strength shall no one prevail (1 Samuel 2:9).
Respond to divine ability: The word responsible is from two words, viz. response and ability. Spiritual maturity occurs as we respond to the divine ability within us. In other words, we yield to the Holy Spirit and not the dictates of the flesh (Galatians 5:16-17). An irresponsible person is the one who responds wrongly to God, life opportunities, his talents and abilities, etc and then, in turn, blames others for his mediocre life. We can be cheerful in this evil world when we respond correctly to God, His Word, divine abilities, etc. The Holy Spirit enhances our ability to respond correctly to life.
CONCLUSION: As 2017 comes to an end, the word of Jesus, though spoken many centuries ago, is still relevant. Jesus is our Overcomer! Strong and unwavering faith in Him makes us overcome in this evil world (1 John 5:4-5). Be of good cheer!