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Our world is rapidly changing. It is fast becoming more chaotic and uncertain. This feeling of uncertainty creates a yearning for peace and order in our daily lives. It is easy to neglect our walk with God in the pursuit of happiness and allow ourselves to get carried away by the chaotic nature of everyday living. Nurturing our relationship with God is a sure-fire way of finding an assured peace and order in our lives. It is not a one-way traffic affair; God is actively reaching out to all mankind in other to forge a personal relationship with everyone on an individual basis. However, He will not force Himself on anyone. Forming a relationship with God must be must emanate out of a willing heart on the part of humankind.  We are not robots that move to the whim of human programming. We can choose what we wish to do or not do. That is why God is seeking a willing and a contrite heart. A humble heart that will shun pride and give Him access to live and work through them. If you have a heart-shattered life ready for God’s love, don’t for a moment think you can escape God’s notice. [1] He wants us to let go of everything that separates us from Him and draw closer to Him. When we forsake our sins, He draws near to us and begins forging a relationship with Him. We must reciprocate in reaching out to Him as He reaches out to us.

God is forever near us and looking for ways to get into a relationship with us. God is forever standing at the doors of our hearts. He is patiently knocking and waiting for us to open the doors of our heart so that He can come in and forge a relationship with us.  He is constantly speaking to us in soft-tone-whispers as He seeks access. The ball is in our court to hear or not to hear Him. [2] However, a lot of times, we are so busy with the hustle-and-bustle of everyday life that we fail to catch His patient pleadings as He whispers to us to get that access. The truth is that we need God more than He needs us. Giving Him access will grant you an eternal pass into the best adventure time that life and eternity can offer you. Giving Him access ushers us into the world of the loving side of the nature of God.  Giving Him access grants you an exception pass to the negative side of His fury against disobedience. It gives us access to His everlasting love and mercy. He is not the problem. Very distinctively, God is the solution to all our yearnings, all our wants, all our spiritual, physical, psychological, social, financial, health, and overall life needs. He is not distant; He is forever near us. [3] Establishing a relationship with God will help us stay positive, hopeful and purpose-filled in a world that is fast becoming unhinged. God is reaching out to us to forge a relationship with Him.

God is always reaching out to mankind.

In our daily walk with God, He expects that we attain a certain level of growth that is commensurate with the time we spend in His presence. Developing a relationship with another person is the catalyst that breeds closeness. For instance, the more time that couples spend with themselves, the closer they get to each other. The same principle applies to God. The more we move towards God seeking His intimacy, the more He moves towards us to establish an intimate communication with us. The more time we devote to spending with God, the more time He devotes to spending time with us. God yearns the company of His creation, especially humankind, because He created us in His image. We need to grow our relationship with Him. That is the source of everlasting happiness here on this earth. An infant cannot remain as such forever. The natural cadence is for an infant to follow the natural growth progression of physical, emotional, and spiritual nourishment to mature with grace and in health. In a similar vein, the malnourishment of the spirit retards and shuts off the flow of His goodwill and the ability to freely commune with God. Most Christians find themselves in this awkward space of malnourishment. If many Christians are in this zone, then those who have not given their lives to Christ are in the territory of the spiritually walking dead.

Forging a sound relationship with God starts when we embrace the life that He gives.  Becoming alive is the first step towards developing a hale relationship with God.  The way, the truth, and the life that God gives can only be accessed through His Son Jesus Christ. [4]  Our morality as human beings cannot buy this life. [5] You can have access to this life by trusting Jesus Christ.  To do this, you must first, admit your guilt as a sinner. [6] Adam brought spiritual death to all through the sin of disobedience; Christ brought life to all through His obedience and death on the cross as the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. [7] Because we are human, we cannot exclude ourselves from Adam’s disobedience and sin. [8] Hence, we must express our full willingness to repent (i.e., 180 degrees turn away from sin, away from death) in other to eschew spiritual death. [9] Making a 180 degrees turn is not optional if we want the life that God gives. [10] We can access the life that God gives by believing on what Christ did (i.e., his death, burial, and resurrection) for you to have this access. This is his ultimate love gift to the world. [11] It is astonishing to see that God was thinking about mankind all along, by providing a means of escape from spiritual death? [12] We have no excuse for not embracing this showcase of love from God through His gift of life—Christ. [13] You can easily accept this new life—just ask, and it will be all yours. [14] Get to know the author of this new life better daily. [15]

7 Ways to Build a Strong Relationship with God

Embrace a new life in Christ and you will build a solid foundation in God.

New life is the foundation for building a solid relationship with God. A Turkish Proverb says that “A building without foundation is soon demolished.” It is impossible to establish a sound bond with God without first establishing a relationship with Him. God is Light, and He dwells amid light. Light and darkness has no partnership because Light dispels darkness. We embrace life through belief in His Son, Jesus Christ, is to embrace the Light. Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. [16] By following Him, He leads us out of the darkness of sin towards God to a new life that is full of Light. Our desire to grow spiritually propels us towards a secure relationship with God. If you honestly yearn to know God on a deeper level, these seven guides can help you jumpstart your journey towards building a stable relationship with Him.

First, you must desire to go on this journey with God as your partner. Do you know that God is continually looking for people who understand the importance of seeking Him? [17] One significant thing that drives human achievement is desire. The human desire is the governor of focus. A Willa Cather in “The Song of the Lark” once said that “The world is little, people are little, human life is little. There is only one big thing—desire.” What we crave after, we focus on. The will “to be” and “to do” is a result of the desire to succeed. One must desire a thing first before they can achieve it. Your passion is what motivates you to action. Therefore, if what you wish in your life is pure and glorifies God, be sure that you will receive it. God is interested in those who want to know more of him. Therefore, the first thing to do to build a strong relationship with God is the willingness to seek first His Kingdom and righteousness. 

Second, we must disassociate yourself from non-believers. We must be cautious not to form alliances with those who do not love the Lord. There is no unifying factor between light and darkness. [18] We live in the world, but we must not conform to the world. Hence, we live and relate with non-believers; however, God’s command is for us not to follow their lifestyle by association. Remember, we become who we follow. [19] Non-believers have an entirely different philosophy from a Christian’s perspective. In our walk with God, it is wise to avoid a close-welded-fellowship with those who do not believe Christ, especially if our faith is still young and untested. Remember, God disassociated Abram from his people. Abram was still very fresh in the knowledge of God; if he had remained with his people, building up his faith to the point that he became known as the father of Faith may have been impacted. Abraham grew in his relationship with God. God could not hide his intention from Abraham. He walked with God, and he became a friend of God.

Third, always find a quiet time to study the Bible.  If we earnestly look for God through His words, you will encounter Him. [20] The Word of God is food for the soul. Don’t just rely only on Sunday preaching alone. Personally, devote time to feast on the Word of God in the Bible. The typical human eating pattern is eating three times daily. Some people even exceed what is rational to their detriment. Then it makes common sense that we feed our spirit regularly too. Be aggressive in your quest to know God. Theodore Roosevelt once said that “A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.” With today’s hectic schedule, it is difficult for most people to find a quiet moment to meditate or listen to the Word of God. You must find a way to weave Bible study into the fabric of your daily calendar. Listen to podcasts or audio CDs on your daily commute to work. It takes a deliberate and constant effort to achieve all desired goals. No matter how tight your schedule might be, always create a time to study God’s word. God will be close to you if you are willing to know him.

Study to show yourself approved.

Fourth, do not abandon the gathering of believers. God urges us not to neglect church meetings. [21] Despite this directive from God, there is still a radical decline in church attendance globally. There is a drastic increase in Christian apostasy (i.e., a total desertion or departure from Christianity). People’s hearts are cold towards the knowledge of God. The Devil understands the potency of God’s word and what it can do in saving the soul of man. Hence, he does everything within his power to discourage folks from reading the bible and even going to church to hear it. He, the Devil, has blinded the eyes of people so that they can go to a Christ-less grave and spend eternity with him eventually. [22] The church is asleep; only a few people in the church are actively spreading the message of Christ to the world. We cannot and should not abandon gathering to worship together. Walking with the wise, we become wise. Walking with fools, we become fools. [23] For a steady relationship with God, you must be in close fellowship with those who already have a stable bond with Him, to learn and nourish your faith.

Fifth, be active in the things of God. You cannot live for God and yet be dormant and not be doing anything for him. [24] You must actively use the gifts and talents that God has deposited in you to do His will. You must become a conduit of His word and blessings to the world.  You cannot just be an observer on the stage of life. Don’t just be a spectator and a churchgoer. Explore every opportunity to serve God, be it in church, at work or within your community. Seek out opportunities to radiate the light of His goodness to the world. Remember, there are many people who are going towards a Christ-less death. For the Christian, this is a code red situation. It is estimated that 1.8 people die per second. I don’t know how accurate this data is, but it should make the heart of the Christian to cringe. If you become active in the things of God, your attention will likely shift away from the desires of the world. Becoming active in God will make you develop a stronger relationship with Him. [25]

Sixth, by fasting, prayer and giving of thanksgiving.  Don’t trouble yourself about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. [26] I cannot overemphasize the importance of fasting when it comes to spiritual growth and developing a healthy relationship with God. Fasting can supply you with pure strength from on high. It is a shot of red bull to your prayers. Fasting gives wings to prayers.  Fasting is an excellent way to seek the face of God. It is also a way to battle strongholds and issues that require more than prayer alone to move from our lives. It is a powerful liberation tool when combined with prayer and thanksgiving. A William Temple once said that “When I stop praying, the coincidences stop happening.” Prayer is the fresh air of God’s presence. Prayer, fasting, and thanksgiving will get the attention of God and He will draw closer to you. Fasting humbles you before God. There are many examples of leaders who have won impossible battles through fasting, praying, and giving thanks all over the Bible and in current times. Therefore, whatever you desire that is just and holy, is possible through fasting, prayer, and thanksgiving and a sure way to building a strong relationship with God.

Cultivate prayer as a habit.

Seventh, be at peace with all men.  Jesus, teaching us in the Lord’s prayer asserted that when we pray for God to forgive our transgressions towards Him, we must first forgive those who transgress against us. [27] Paul writing stated that “We should try to stay out of all quarrels with people and seek to live a wholesome and consecrated life, for one who is not set apart for God will not see the Him at the end of this life.” [28] You cannot be quick to anger with a mind filled with un-forgiveness when seeking the face of God. To build a relationship with God, your mind and entire being must be at peace. Paul also admonishes Titus not to get involved in arguing over unanswerable questions and provocative theological ideas. He tells him to keep out of arguments and quarrels about controversial Jewish laws. Establishing that these kinds of arguments only does harm and are not worthwhile. [29] So, let the peace of heart that comes from Christ be always there in your hearts and lives. Such peace is the duty and a prerogative of all who serve Him.  In all this, you must also stay thankful. [30]

We have surveyed several points on how we can cultivate a strong relationship with God. We need to pursue God passionately and grow our relationship with Him daily. Developing a strong relationship with Him is the most valuable investment that you can ever do for yourself here on earth. Master the seven principles in this article, and you will jumpstart your journey towards building a strong relationship with Him. Once again, first, you must desire to go on this journey with God as your partner. Second, we must disassociate yourself from non-believers. Third, always find a quiet time to study the Bible. Fourth, do not abandon the gathering of believers.  Fifth, be active in the things of God.  Sixth, by fasting, prayer and giving of thanksgiving. Seventh, be at peace with all men.  May the serenity of the Lord, which passes all understanding fill your hearts and mind in the knowledge of God through Christ Jesus, His son. And may the blessings of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, dwell and abide with you now and always as you journey towards seeking and building a deeper relationship with God, in Jesus name. Amen.

References [1]. Psalm 51:17. [2]. Revelations 3:20. [3]. James 4:8. [4]. John 14:6. [5]. Ephesians 2:8-9. [6]. Romans 3:28. [7]. Romans 5:12. [8]. 1 John 1:10. [9]. Luke 13:5. [10]. Acts 17:30. [11]. John 3:16. [12]. Romans 5:8. [13]. John 3:16; Romans 5:8; Romans 10:9. [14]. Romans 10:10; Romans 10:13. [15]. 2 Timothy 2:15; Psalms 119:105. [16]. John 8:12. [17]. Psalms 14:2. [18]. 2 Corinthians 6:14. [19]. 1 Corinthians 15:33. [20]. Jeremiah 29:13. [21]. Hebrews 10:25. [22]. 2 Corinthians 4:4. [23]. Proverbs 13:20. [24]. Amos 6:1. [25]. 1 Peter 4:10-11. [26]. Philippians 4:6. [27]. Matthew 6:12. [28]. Hebrews 12:14. [29]. Titus 3:9. [30]. Colossians 3:15. [The Living Bible (TLB)].

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Ogbonnaya Agom-Eze is an entrepreneur and the Founder, CEO, Editor-In-Chief of Oaekpost, LLC, a U.S.-based online media company and the parent organization of www.oaekpost.com. He is a multi-niche writer with a wide range of interests in various genres. Agom-Eze is based in the Greater Seattle Area, Washington, and can be reached at ogb@oaekpost.com.

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Good News

We Are Going Home Soon – A Dream

It was like a movie. I was standing in front of two houses belonging to two different families who were all white folks. Someone ran out from one of the houses to see what was happening outside. Suddenly, a helicopter fell from the sky into another house next door and burst into flames.

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On May 6, 2021, at 2:55 PM PST, a dear friend posted on one of the major social media platforms a dream that she had. After reading her post, I felt that the whole world needed to hear the message of this post. So, I asked her to permit me to publish what she posted. I intended to let the world know who she was and the message she had to offer. However, in her ever debonair and humble disposition, she permitted me to publish her post and make no reference to her. She wants all the glory to go to the giver of the dream—God Almighty.

“What the situation will be like in the world before the Lord returns, namely, Christ will be despised, and the preachers of the Gospel will be regarded as fools.” — Martin Luther.

So, for the sake of anonymity, we will call her Christina Urgentbaum. Furthermore, for the sake of brevity, we will call her Chrissy. Now, Chrissy really wants everyone to focus on the message and to encourage all faithful Christians to keep pushing forward in the faith. Chrissy had a dream. Her dream was so absolute and frightening, and the thought of any human missing out on Heaven’s Call far outweighs any feelings. So, let us buckle up as we delve into Chrissy’s mind as we unearth this message.

Chrissy had a dream.

“I was somewhat reluctant to post this but felt uneasy if I didn’t. I’m a very private person, but I’ve been feeling so uneasy withholding it as events unfold each day across the globe. So, I said a prayer and posted it on social media. It’s about a dream I had in February…,” said Chrissy. 

“I had this vivid dream evening of Sunday, February 7, 2021. It was about the end-times. The description of the end-times in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 is authentic,” said Chrissy. The scriptures here say that “For this, we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord, himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.”

The Rapture of People out of the world. Caught away…in a twinkle of an eye! Chrissy had a dream.

“As we read these words, for all who believe and all who will soon believe, please continue to stand in faith, trust God and recommit your lives to Jesus for salvation,” Chrissy pleads. Before Chrissy starts, she asks that we all pray for an open heart and an open mind, “Lord Jesus, open our hearts to the message you gave to me as I slept. May people hear your call and come to you through these words,” she prayed. “Here is the dream,” she began.

“It was like a movie. I was standing in front of two houses belonging to two different families who were all white folks. Someone ran out from one of the houses to see what was happening outside. Suddenly, a helicopter fell from the sky into another house next door and burst into flames. Then an airplane fell from the sky and hit the same home, and burst into flames. The wing of the aircraft fell first, and the rest of the plane followed afterward,” she said.

“Then an airplane fell from the sky and hit the same home and burst into flames.”

“The dream continues as the father of one of the families quickly gathered his wife and children; they packed up and asked his neighbor to join them so they could escape to another location. He said it was safer there. So, his neighbor packed up, his wife and children and both families got in a truck and drove off. That was the first scene of the dream,” said Chrissy.

“Next, like another scene in a movie, I saw this road with lots of cars in line because there were traffic delays. I could hear on the radios the voice of a man talking about Jesus, asking people to repent and give their lives to Christ so they can be with God in Heaven. Some people were not bothered, nor did they care about the voice on the radio. There was this guy in a vintage car. He was listening to music and bouncing his head to the tune and didn’t care at all,” Chrissy continued telling her dream.

“Next, like another scene in a movie, I saw this road with lots of cars in line because there were traffic delays.”

Still in the dream state, “I started moving along the road and wondering why the traffic delays. It seemed like some confusion up ahead, and I moved towards the direction of the chaos. I then noticed it was those two families that had left earlier. One of the fathers was the one broadcasting on the radio. He had a small broadcast set-up with a microphone, and he was sharing the Word of God,” she shared.

Continuing the dream, Chrissy shares, “a large group of soldiers with their airplanes parked right in front of the family. The soldiers were harassing this family, trying to stop the broadcast. They were taking their equipment, the generator and trying to cut their power supply. Finally, chaos reigned; a full-blown riot broke out, the byproduct of the widespread disappearances. The children and wives kept screaming as these soldiers were harassing them,” and this concluded all the scenes of Chrissy’s dream.

“Chaos reigned; a full-blown riot broke out.”

“This was so real for me. I woke up and later heard these words from God— ‘We are going Home,’” Chrissy sharing as she concluded the story of her vivid dream. It all seems like a movie, right? However, the truth remains that there are hidden truths in the dream that she received on that fateful day.

Chrissy continues by saying that, “The helicopter and airplane falling from the sky seemed to be that the pilots had been taken as described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17,” she ascribes. “So, with no pilots on board, it seems as the helicopter and flight crashed in mid-air,” could be the speculation.

It is wise to ponder on these things.

Further describing her dream, Chrissy establishes that the families left behind warned others to give their lives to Christ and turn to God. Albeit too late already, meaning that those who don’t have an inkling of God or Christ in them would harass those left behind for their faith. Meaning that these left-behind folks will be disturbed by the authorities if they speak of their faith.

“Please guard your faith and keep pushing so we make Heaven the first time. It is better to believe and live for God now than to cry, “had I known,” when the Rapture takes place tomorrow,” Chrissy urges. “Don’t give up on God. He will not give up on you…Instead, believe in the Lord, and confess your sins to Him, and you will be saved,” Chrissy finally urges and ends the tale of her dream and story. 

Don’t give up on God. He will not give up on you.

Believing Christians are looking forward to the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. However, readers may choose to doubt that this will ever occur. After Jesus was taken up into heaven on Mount Olivet, and the disciples stood gazing, behold, two men (most likely angels) stood by them in white robes. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

The word Rapture is a Latin word derivative that means snatching away or catching up. So, the exact word derivative, Rapture, is used for Philip when the Spirit of the Lord carried him away, and the Ethiopian eunuch saw him no more. The Ethiopian then went on his way, rejoicing.2 The same word is also used of Paul—although he does not stipulate it clearly as himself—was also caught up to the third heaven, receiving revelations which no man may not utter.3

The word Rapture is a Latin word derivative that means snatching away or catching up.

The Rapture will happen in time; it is unavoidable, whether we like it or not. God will perform all His words. He also promises that it will never be delayed.4 God watches over His words to accomplish it.5 The world—the stellar atmospheric heavens—the blue firmament above us; the solar system, the galaxies, and the universe and all universes will evaporate first into thin air, but God assures us all that His Words will not pass away-they will all come to pass.6

That day will come unexpectedly. When thieves rob you, they don’t tell you that they are coming. Instead, they invade your space when you are not thinking about it. That is how the Lord’s return will be—the trumpet sounds, and He catches or snatches away His own—those that believe in Him and are living for Him.7Chrissy’s dream may seem like a fable now or a work of fiction. However, it may just be God warning us to be ready and stay ready. 

His coming will be like a thief in the Night.

What shall we do? We must change our ways (repent) and believe the gospel.8 We must consider Chrissy’s dream as a warning. However, we must also see it as God’s act of love to humankind. Christ can come at any time. However, I implore you to be careful not to make light of this offer. You must never forget that the Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness. He is forever patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should reach repentance.9

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.” — Revelations 22:12, ESV.

Do you hear Him, Jesus, whispering to you and knocking on the door of your heart right now, asking you to give Him a chance?10 Do yourself a favor and do not harden your heart.11 Ask Him to come into your heart and save you. Believe in his finished work. Embrace God’s gift in offering His Son Jesus to pay the debt that He did not owe—your debt, your sins.12 Don’t hang onto your sins; its payment is death and eternal separation from God.13 You really don’t want that to be your story. Instead, believe in God and walk in the Way of Life He has provided.14Walk in that Way today—the Way of God’s Love.

Remember, we are going home soon—sooner than you think!

References

[1]. Acts 1:9-11 (English Standard Version (ESV)). [2]. Acts 8:39 (ESV). [3]. 2 Corinthians 12:2, 4 (ESV). [4]. Ezekiel 12:25 (ESV). [5]. Jeremiah 1:12 (ESV). [6]. Matthew 24:35 (ESV). [7]. Revelation 16:15; Matthew 24:43; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:4; 2 Peter 3:10 (ESV). [8]. Mark 1:15 (ESV). [9]. 2 Peter 3:9 (ESV). [10]. Revelations 3:20. [11]. Hebrews 3:15 (ESV). [12]. John 3:16 (ESV). [13]. Romans 6:23 (ESV). [14]. John 14:6 (ESV).

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Make Seeking God’s Kingdom Your Chief Goal

The first, second, and third priorities of your life should be seeking God’s Kingdom. Hence, it should be the chief goal of your existence after which all things can now follow.

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Usually, at the start of New Year’s, a lot is always being said about pursuing God’s purpose for one’s life. As always, this is a great vision. However, we must remember that the reason God has asked those who believe in Him through His Son is to obey the Great Commission. The Great Commission is to take Jesus to the Nations so that He can save the world. However, God does not want to redeem that person in some remote village or distant city and lose you in the process. Yes, you. We must always remember that our relationship with Him is the first thing we must endeavor to sustain. Maintaining our relationship with Him is the very first foundation of seeking God’s Kingdom.

“The seeking of the kingdom of God is the chief business of the Christian life.” — Jonathan Edwards.

Fulfilling your purpose is not just about carrying out some routine assignments God asked you to do. It’s not enough that you obey Him if you do not have communion with Him. Obedience and communion go together—they are not mutually exclusive. Remember Mary and Martha. Mary spent her time listening attentively at the feet of Jesus. She was in sync in communing with the Master. However, Martha was the jittery type, busying herself with the “work” of dinner preparation but neglecting communion.1 He is a Shepherd who doesn’t want to lose even one sheep, and that includes you.2 Don’t show the world the way and be left out at the end of the day.3 As you show the world the way to heaven (i.e., Jesus, the Word of God)4, be sure to remain also in the Way not to be lost.

The Word of God is the Highway to Heaven.

Begin to see it as “Seeking God’s Kingdom” than as pursuing your purpose. Seeking God’s Kingdom puts it in perspective for you. It gives you a sense of responsibility that you are part of something bigger than life itself. See the big picture and embrace it. It helps you realize that you are part of God’s family—some of this Kingdom family is already in heaven and come down here on earth.5 It helps you see that you really cannot lose sight of The Father. Yes, you are working for him and doing His purpose. However, that diurnal inception of that work dwells on maintaining a sustained relationship and communion with Him. Jesus fulfilled His purpose but was entirely dependent on The Father. Aim to fulfill yours likewise; however, like Jesus, you also need to be entirely dependent on The Father. Hence, a daily communion is fundamental.

“The Kingdom of God is not a matter of getting individuals to heaven, but of transforming the life on earth into the harmony of heaven.” — Walter Rauschenbusch.

You honestly cannot give what you don’t have. To give to the world as you work to fulfill your purpose, you must renew and refill yourself daily in God’s presence. Seeking the Kingdom of God and fulfilling the will of the Father starts from the place of communion. In God’s presence, you become empowered. In His presence, you receive an infilling. You gain from His presence to give out to the world. In God’s presence, you will experience the joys of life and the exquisite pleasures of God’s eternal presence.6 Stop running to serve tasteless food to the world. Seek and serve the Kingdom of God first by dining with The Master. Let Him satisfy your soul with His pleasures, and then you will be able to serve a delightful and savory dish of His word to the world. Then serve the dish hot the way the Father loves it.

Make seeking God’s Kingdom the chief goal of your life.

You must make seeking God’s Kingdom the chief goal of your life. For you to achieve this loft goal, you must be consistent in honoring and representing the Kingdom. It should show in every aspect of our life. It should show how we deal with family, friends, work, leisure, etc. It cannot be otherwise. If we say that we are pursuing God’s Kingdom, then our lives must be a clear reflection of the principles of the Kingdom that we represent. We cannot hide the light of the Kingdom principles. They must be reflected in our lives—that is our purpose as true Kingdom citizens. Don’t hide your light! Let it shine for all; let your good deeds glow for all to see so that people will truly acknowledge God making a difference in our lives.7

“The only significance of life consists in helping to establish the kingdom of God.” — Leo Tolstoy.

Many things will compete for priority when you make it your life goal to seek God’s Kingdom. People, objects, goals, money, pleasure, and many other desires will compete for your time and focus. These things in themselves are not bad; however, if you do not take precaution, any of these can quickly nudge God, His Kingdom’s pursuit, out of the chief place in your life. This will happen if you don’t actively make an effort to give God and the pursuit of His Kingdom the first place in your life. When we make seeking God’s Kingdom the chief goal of your life, God will, in turn, make it His priority to add all these previously stipulated benefits a part-and-parcel of your life.

References

[1]. Luke 10:38-42. [2]. John 6:39. [3]. 1 Corinthians 9:27. [4]. John 14:6. [5]. Ephesians 3:15. [6]. Psalm 16:11. [7]. Matthew 5:15-16. [The Living Bible (TLB)].

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God Recognizes and Sees Everything

You cannot hide from God. He knows everything. He sees everything. When you err against Him, it’s better to own up to your mistakes. Don’t hide from Him.

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God knows and sees everything, but He wants and expects you to tell Him everything. Because of this, He is always seeking to establish a close relationship with His creation. When Adam sinned, He asked him, “Where are you? Why in the world are you hiding from me?”1 God knew Adam and Eve had disobeyed Him, but He still wanted them to tell Him everything that had transpired. That is the essence of a true relationship with God—a relationship with God is spelled C-O-M-M-U-N-I-C-A-T-I-O-N. When Cain murdered his brother, He asked him, “Where is your brother?”2 God knew very well of Cain’s vile deed, but He still wanted him to tell Him everything about what had transpired. God knows everything! Even though He knows everything, He also sees everything. Even the things that we perceive as our deepest secrets. He is the most powerful “Big Brother” of all “Big Brothers,” so there is no hiding from Him.

“God knows what you’ve been doing, everything you’ve been doing. You may fool me, but you can’t fool God!” — F. Scott Fitzgerald.

We experience new events, new year’s, new accomplishments, to mention but a few. Sometimes, the new things that we experience are not always hitch-free. Sometimes, a complication or two may arise, and sometimes the complication may be due to our own errors. Brand-new milestones in our lives could come with errors that we make as we go through life. We always seem to err in one way or another, but the fact remains that we should never hide from God—whatever our error may be. Adam tried to hide from the all-knowing and forever universally present cosmic CCTV—God—that is funny and stupid at the same time.3 We must come boldly to Him, confess our wrong, and ask Him for mercy when we are wrong.4 That is the attitude that always wins. That is the attitude that gets you forgiven as He begins His restorative work in your life. Our attitude will determine our altitude in Him.

We must make prayer our habit, our culture, and our lifestyle!

What does God desire? A broken spirit—that is just what He wants from those who err and transgress against Him. God wants remorseful people (i.e., people who have deep and painful regret for wrongdoing; people who are full of repentance). Not only should you be sorry about your wrongdoing—He wants you to go a step further by turning away from those errors and embracing Him utterly for the help you need to live above those errors. As the Psalmist said, “a broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not ignore.”5 God will forgive you every time you come back to Him by His Way (i.e., through the cleansing that comes from the blood of Jesus Christ).6 However, you can’t afford to go back to doing wrong—it’s like a dog that goes back to its vomit.

“The fact that God knows everything does not mean that He is directly causing everything. He respects our freedom at our level. He makes it possible for us to act freely. If He didn’t, we wouldn’t act at all—we wouldn’t be at all.” — Francis George.

Every healthy relationship needs this level of communication to ask anything from your partner, including forgiveness, freely. I can imagine some of you feeling relaxed with the thoughts of sinning against God and gladly running back to Him seeking forgiveness. God is merciful, yes. However, do not mock God with insincere repentance. You cannot mock God deliberately and get away with it. Taunting God is toying with your own soul. Remember, He is all-merciful and all-powerful. However, He is not stupid. You will eventually reap what you sow into the ground of your life.7 God will forgive you, no doubt. However, it would help if you remembered that repentance opportunities are not infinite because we have finite lives. Be genuine. Remember, eternity—heaven or hell—is infinity—your choice. 

It is either Heaven, or Hell—You choose!

Just as God is ready to forgive you always; remember, you must also be unhesitant to forgive anyone who mistreats you as often as they wrong you and repent. Be willing to forgive others that hurt you—be sure never to hold grudges towards those that offend you.8 Avoid strife in your hearts. Remember that you are not verbally exchanging words with someone does not mean you’re at peace with them. Some people are experts at holding grudges with people in their hearts. Drop all discord with others. Expunge all roots of quarrel, hatred, or bitterness from your heart towards others that offend you.9 God hears everything in your heart. As your heart speaks, it is even louder than your vocal voice. Living in your own wrong inclinations (jealousy, discord, bitterness, hate, etc.) is the fastest way to lose God’s Presence.10 It is like you leaving the Garden of Eden and venturing into No Man’s Land.11

“The great news is that God knows everything about you, both good and bad, and He still loves you and values you unconditionally. God does not always approve of our behavior. He is not pleased when we go against his will, and when we do, we always suffer the consequences and have to work with Him to correct our thoughts, words, actions, or attitudes. And while you should work to improve in the areas where you fall short, nothing you do will ever cause God to love you less…or more. His love is a constant you can depend on.” — Joel Osteen.

God’s Presence is your security. You must always stay in Eden to maintain your eternal security. Your pass to Eden is repentance and drawing near to God through faith in the atoning work of Christ’s death on the cross. To retain your residency in Eden is to sojourn in Christ. To distance yourself from Christ via a life of sin and insincere repentance is to distance yourself from Eden—the symbol of God’s presence. Don’t leave Eden, and don’t do anything that drives you away from it. Sin will push you away from Eden or God’s presence. Remember, whenever you’re in God’s Presence, you’re in Eden. God’s Presence will give you every good thing that you need in every new venture that you embark on. Remember that God knows everything, so do not hide your sins from Him; it can’t be done. Never lose Eden. If you’re not saved yet, you’re in No Man’s Land. If you’re not saved yet, you’re in the Badlands of Sin. The devil can do with you as he pleases.   

References

[1]. Genesis 3:9. [2]. Genesis 4:9. [3]. Genesis 3:10. [4]. Hebrews 4:16. [5]. Psalm 51:17. [6]. John 14:6; Ephesians 1:7. [7]. Galatians 6:7. [8]. Matthew 18:21-35. [9]. Hebrews 12:15. [10]. Galatians 5:19-21. [11]. Genesis 4:16. [The Living Bible (TLB)].

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Are You On the Right Track?

Life is a Journey. The journey of life is full of rigors and many ups and downs. For you to succeed and be on top of your game, you need to be resolutely determined to forge on forward irrespective of all the darts that life throws at you. Life deals its blows and benedictions on everyone; however, one needs to keep pushing forward encapsulated in the cocoon of knowledge and determination.

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Are you on the right track? Where are you going to? Source: Ogbonnaya Agom-Eze

When we talk about the word “track,” a couple of things usually come to mind.  My first thought when you mention the word “track” is a railway track. A railway track is “a structure consisting of a pair of parallel lines of rails with their crossties, on which a railroad train, trolley, or the like runs,” like we see in the photograph above. For a train to get to its destination, it must stay on track. If it derails from its tracks, then it is usually catastrophic. Another popular notion of the meaning of track is that of a “path made or beaten by or as if by the feet of people or animals; it can also be a trail.” For instance, when people go on a journey or an expedition, you often hear admonition for the expedition team to stay on track in other to ensure that they reach their destination. Should they go off trail, they will not get to their intended target. Your destination is your goal. Staying on the right track will ensure that you will get to the end of your destination—hence, your goal accomplished. If you derail from the tracks leading to the goal that you hope to achieve, the result could be catastrophic to say the very least. So, once again, I ask, ‘Are you on the right track?’

A derailment can be catastrophic—Stay on the right track!

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” — Will Rogers

Life is a Journey. The journey of life is full of rigors and many ups and downs. For you to succeed and be on top of your game, you need to be resolutely determined to forge on forward irrespective of all the darts that life throws at you. Life deals its blows and benedictions on everyone; however, one needs to keep pushing forward encapsulated in the cocoon of knowledge and determination. A Claude D. Pepper once said that “Life is like riding a bicycle. You don’t fall off unless you stop pedaling.” I totally agree with him in the sense that we must keep pedaling forward so that we can get to our designated destination called destiny. If you fail to keep pedaling in life, you will eventually fall. A fall hurts. It could be minor, and it could turn out for the worse. So, keep pedaling; however, make sure you are on the right track and going in the right direction. Won’t you just hate it if you happen to pedal all the way to the end of a destination only to realize that the track you were on only led you to a wrong destination? The concept of the right track and right directions can be viewed from different perspectives. These perspectives could be the notions of purpose, career, life choices, faith, etc. 

Keep pedaling!  Make sure it’s in the right direction!

From the faith perspective, the journey of life brings to bear the question of destinations in the afterlife—Heaven or Hell. These are the eternal destinations of all life. God gives everyone ample opportunity to find the track—path—trail—way, whatever you choose to call it, back to Him. [1] Are you on the right track? Your options are life or death, which is wholly dependent on whether you would obey or disobey God’s call to believe in Him through Christ or not. [2] Two paths are set before you—Heaven or Hell. The track to heaven is a narrow gate, and the route to hell is a broad one. [3] Choose one. For me, my journey in life is that of promise and prowess hinged on the confidence that I have in the Holy Writ. I live with the hope of eternal life in heaven, which is my ultimate destination—God willing. Why? Because of my faith in the saving grace of what Christ did by dying on the cross, being raised on the third day, ascending back to Heaven, and coming back to take me to be with Him through all eternity. [4] What way do you choose? Heaven or Hell. You decide. 

Road from Hell to Heaven—Choose Heaven today!

Are you on the right track? From the perspective of faith, would you say you are on the right track? If you should leave the planet today, how confident are you that your destination is Heaven if you ponder the path that you are currently traveling on today? The only way back to God is your faith in the finished work of Calvary, and the sacrifice that Christ paid with His death on the cross—plain and simple. There are no ifs or buts about it. You just must make that right choice to be on the right track to an eternal destination that will eschew Hell from the equation of the afterlife. Are you on the right path that will take you to Heaven? That is a question that I throw at you and for you to answer. However, you must understand that the opportunity of reading this article certifies that you have heard of God’s love to us all that gives you a chance to escape the fires of Hell. [5] Know this—when you accept Christ, the Word of God becomes the Global Positioning System (GPS) device that ensures that you remain on the right tracks to Heaven. It becomes your guide. If you follow God’s mind through the Words of the Holy Writ, then be sure that you will get home (i.e., Heaven) safely. Once again, the choice is yours, and I sincerely hope you make the right one by choosing Christ.

Follow Jesus today—He is the only Way, the only Truth, and the only Life.

“Jesus told him, “I am the Way—yes, and the Truth and the Life. No one can get to the Father except by means of me.” — The Bible, John 14:6

Have you ever been on a road trip where you were driving and heading towards a destination, but found out that you mistakenly took a wrong turn that started taking you towards the wrong direction? After a couple of minutes or even hours of driving, you realized that you were heading towards the wrong direction. You went off track. Maybe you did not have a GPS that was guiding you, nor were you with a traditional road map. If you have ever encountered this sort of scenario, you know how frustrating it is trying to reconnect yourself back to the right tracks towards your actual destination. In the journey of life, if you are on the wrong path and you close your eyes in death, you will end up in a place you will regret—Hell. Hell is a place of eternal separation from God. It is a place of eternal pain and suffering. It is a place of eternal stench and filth.  There will be weeping, there will be pain, and it will never stop. [6] I will leave the deeper discussions about Hell for another day. Just know that it is a horrible place and it is for eternity. Eternity does not end—remember that. And how does a man benefit if he gains the whole world and loses his soul in the process? What value is there if you gain the entire world—and lose eternal life? What can be compared with the value of eternal life? [7] What do you have to lose if you choose today to believe in Jesus? You will have nothing to lose but everything to gain. Consider this carefully after reading this.

Walk away from Hell! Walk into Heaven! Choose wisely!

Take some time and ponder on all that you have read about the path that you are currently on. Are you on the right track as you travel through life from a faith perspective? Sit back and rethink the course that you have covered so far and ask yourself this very vital question—Am I on the right track? We all have a transmundane fire within us called the conscience that continually nudges us in the right path to which we should travel. It is but a still small voice of seraphic-sanity that whispers into our subconscious, “Take this path, take this path!  Turn right, turn left!” Warning us concerning certain or possible dangers ahead. [8] The worst thing you could ever do to yourself is to be on the wrong track and choose to remain on it till you get to the end of the track. Everyone is on a track, and all tracks must one day come to an end. A Jean-Jacques Rousseau once said that the “Conscience is the voice of the soul.” So, be careful not to sear your conscience via stubbornness. [9] If you are on the right track, then be wise and careful not to derail. Rethink the path that you travel. Rethink the track of your life today, so that you will smile when you reach the end of your journey. My hope for you is Heaven.

References

[1]. John 14:6. [2]. Deuteronomy 30:15-20. [3]. Matthew 7:13. [4]. 1 Peter 1:3-6. [5]. John 3:16; Acts 16:31. [6]. Revelations 21:8; Matthew 25:46; Psalm 9:17; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; Matthew 13:50; Acts 2:27; Mark 9:43; Jude 1:7; Proverbs 15:24; Proverbs 23:14; Matthew 13:42; Matthew 25:41; Revelation 19:20; Proverbs 15:11; Matthew 16:19; 2 Peter 2:4; Revelation 20:13-14; Matthew 10:28; Ezekiel 18:20. [7]. Mark 8:36; Matthew 16:26. [8]. Isaiah 30:21. [9]. 1 Timothy 4:2. [The Living Bible (TLB)].].

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The Power of Words

Words may indeed seem innocent, harmless, and powerless in black and white on paper, or on an electronic screen. However, to the skilled user, they come alive with potency in spoken and written words.

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On Saturday, January 13, 2007, at my one-bedroom rental home in the city of Antioch, California, the light filtered into my room via the slices of the Venetian blinds, as I woke up that very morning to the smile of the rising sun. I laid there thankful for seeing a new day, pondering, as I rhetorically spoke to myself, “Shall it be another beautiful day in the paradise of my existence?”  It was always a refreshing feeling to be greeted by the chirping birds, singing sweet songs with melodies that were pure and true. After the necessary morning rituals of that day, I remember sitting back to muse and dialogue with my subconscious on the Power of Words. What spurred these thoughts on that day? I remember taking up my dictionary and flipping through its pages, and all I saw was words, words, and more words—that was the catalyst to the thoughts. It is absolutely fascinating to sit back and reminisce about my views concerning the Power of Words.

“Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate, and to humble.” — Yehuda Berg

Going through the dictionary that day takes my mind to what a Nathaniel Hawthorne once said that “Words—so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become, in the hands of one who knows how to combine them!” Words may indeed seem innocent, harmless, and powerless in black and white on paper, or on an electronic screen. However, to the skilled user, they come alive with potency in spoken and written words. The master wordsmith can bring to life words with cogent powers, making them kinetically constructive to build up or destructive to tear down. The right use of words can cause the common become uncommon. It can make the ordinary shift into the realm of the extraordinary. The accurate use of words can make a dull destiny to become utterly radiant. However, on the flip side, the wrong use of words can tank your destiny. It can crush foundations of purposes and bring grand edifices that took years to build to ruin. It can cause your whole life to be razed down to ashes. There is power in the spoken and written word. As a Pearl Strachan Hurd once said, “Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs.”  Words are bullets that can kill in the mouth of the unwise.

Words are Bullets that can kill, use them wisely.

As I sit back pondering on these notions concerning the power of words, I begin to question myself and my subconscious. Could I say that my word usage so far in life is adequate or inadequate?  Have I said too much in life or have I said too little? A Thomas Fuller was right on the money for his statement, “A deluge of words and a drop of sense.” No wonder the wise King Solomon had a lot to say about the use of words in the book of Proverbs in the Bible. You put yourself at jeopardy when you talk too much. In the outpouring of too many words, you are bound to say something that you shouldn’t, which could land you in a Herculean load of problems. So, sometimes, it makes sense to just shut up instead of putting your foot in your mouth. [1] It is better for you to utter just a few words and make sense than to open your mouth and you infect your ambiance with your lack of awareness, mediocrity, and utter stupidity. So, shutting up at times, when you have nothing meaningful to say is an art and an act of wisdom to say the very least. [2] There is much wisdom in the words of Pythagoras that “Either be silent or speak words that are better than silence.”

I really think that Mies van der Rohe’s architectural minimalist statement, “Less is more,” also spills over to the usage of words. Could I agree more with an Arthur Schopenhauer who said that “To use many words to communicate few thoughts is everywhere the unmistakable sign of mediocrity. To gather much thought into few words stamps the man of genius.” There is much value in the economy of words. We make more impact when we say few words with meaning than when we spew out a deluge of words that absolutely make no sense. In other words, we need to make concerted effort to ensure that the words that we speak add value to the lives of those who hear or read what we say. To speak or write words of value, you must internalize words of wisdom, knowledge, and common sense. You can only give what you have. What you internalize is what you externalize. You must think before you speak. It is foolish to just spew out words without first thinking it through. You must be careful of the words you speak and the words that you write. [3] A Proverb once said that “A spoken word cannot be recalled.” So, think about it before you speak about it.

Reason and think before you speak.

You contradict your Christian walk when you say harsh words. You are only deceiving yourself, and your religiosity isn’t worth a penny. [4] Learn to speak right, appropriate, kind, gentle, soothing, and healing words that are beneficial. [5] You will do yourself an immense favor by not being careless with your words. People say thoughtless things that they end up regretting and will have to account for down the road, ceteris paribus. [6] For instance, some couples say very negative words to themselves when they’re arguing that end up destroying the foundation of their relationships that may have taken so many years to build. A Thomas Fuller once said that “To talk without thinking is to shoot without aiming.” Now, that is a dangerous man or woman—one who blurts out words without processing the effect of their words. In the words of some of my funny friends, these fellows have a case of an oral-diarrhea—they would need some tablespoons of buccal Pepto-Bismol to bring their stench of their running mouth to order. So, if you’re someone who has a quick temper, you may want to learn how to cool yourself down before you say things that you end up regretting. [7] As a Christian, you cannot curse someone out in a moment and then turn around and praise the person with your words from the same mouth—you contradict yourself and stain the garment of your Christian walk. [8] So, hush it and flush it—flush out bad words out of your system.

“Be careful what you say. You can say something hurtful in ten seconds, but ten years later, the wounds are still there.” — Joel Osteen

Isn’t it amazing just thinking about the power of words? That is the main reason we need to watch our tongues and what we say with our mouths. We use a harness to control a horse’s movement when riding it. As small as the harness is, it controls the action of the horse—and the horse obeys. The same goes for a huge ship—a tiny rudder—compared to the size of the ship—controls the direction of the vessel. As the Captain or designated seaman turns the Ship’s Wheel, the course of the craft changes with every turn via the motion of the rudder. In a similar vein, the tongue is comparable to the harness and the rudder—it may be small—but it can do a lot of damage via the kinds of words it is able to unleash. [9] People can say words—knowingly or unknowingly—to people that could cause some irreparable damage to the lives of the recipients. Death and life are in the power of the tongue. [10] We can speak life-giving words to people. Words that can build people up; words that can change destinies and encourage people towards carrying out noble and positive actions. People also possess the ability to speak death-giving words. Words can kill—literally. So, be cautious about what we say—spoken or written. Guard our words with all diligence.

Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer—be wise how you speak.

Rudyard Kipling once said that “Words are…the most powerful drug used by mankind,” and I cannot agree less. When adequately used, they heal; and when abused, they could kill in an instant. We must consciously choose our words with care because according to a Greek saying, “A word out of season may mar a whole life.” When we speak or write rashly, it is like the thrusting of the sword which is obviously a painful experience. The potency of words cannot be underestimated, and its effects—positive or negative—should not just be considered from a Christian perspective. For instance, the power of words and its effects can be seen at work in the business world and beyond. Leaders, who are careless with their words can destroy the morale of their followers. We hear of instances where good employees end up leaving organizations because of what a leader or manager said negatively—directly to an individual or to the team. Leaders and managers who are careless with their words can erode the psychological safety of their followers. Hence, organizations need to invest in themselves by teaching their leadership and management how to use words in building up morale, rather than pulling it down. As we see, the power of words cuts across all industries. 

“A man has no more right to say an uncivil word to another man than he has to knock him down.” — Samuel Johnson

In summary, we have seen that words are powerful—they can build, and they can destroy; they can give life, and they can also kill. We must be cautious with our words. It is better that we speak less than utter so many words and eventually say the wrong things that we end up regretting. Relationships have been broken. Destinies have become sullied or even terminated prematurely due to the power of words being used negatively. Sometimes, being silent is wisdom.  Hence, economize your words.  Learn to listen more than we speak. A La Rochefoucauld once said that “The surest rule [for excelling in conversation] is to listen much, speak little, and say nothing that you will be sorry for.” Think before you speak. Remember always that what you take in is what you will eventually give out. So, if you internalize wisdom, be sure that you will begin to speak wise words. Speaks words that heal. Remember that the tongue may be a small member of the body, but capable of unleashing hell via the words that it says. Also, the power of words cuts across all industries—not just in Christendom. So, watch your tongue—watch what you say. If you will remember nothing from this column, at least remember the words of Christ that said, “And I tell you this, that you must give account on Judgment Day for every idle word you speak.” [6] It is something worth pondering on.   

A Robert Fulghum once said that “Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will break our hearts.” We must think about the end-product of what we say before it. Don’t go around breaking people’s hearts.  Our words can either make or mar our destinies. King Solomon of Israel in all his wisdom once said that “Everyone enjoys giving good advice, and how wonderful it is to be able to say the right thing at the right time!” [11] Hence, it would be a worthy investment of your time if you take a moment and ask God to give you the words of wisdom so that you will know how to answer everyone. Ask God to teach you how to speak right, appropriate, kind, gentle, soothing, and healing words that are beneficial. May God open your understanding to His will through His words, as this will fill you up with His wisdom. You externalize what you internalize. Externalizing His internalized word is a wholesome experience on us and others. [12] May we become people who understand the potency of words. May we become people who say positive words that build up, rather than negative words that destroy. May we choose the right things to say; and when we speak, may it be a life that thrives.

References [1]. Proverbs 10:19. [2]. Proverbs 17:27-28; Proverbs 21:23. [3]. Proverbs 15:28; Proverbs 12:18; Proverbs 13:3. [4]. James 1:26. [5]. Proverbs 25:11; Proverbs 31:26; Proverbs 16:24; Proverbs 15:4; Proverbs 12:18. [6]. Matthew 12:36. [7]. Proverbs 29:20. [8]. James 3:10. [9]. James 3:3-6. [10]. Proverbs 18:21. [11]. Proverbs 15:23. [12]. Isaiah 50:4. [The Living Bible (TLB)].

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When All Goes South

Have you ever been in a situation where you had to wear the shoe whose brand name is called “Adversity”? Have you ever been in a quagmire of desperation sinking faster and faster as you struggle more and more? Have you ever laid down and cried out saying, “What hard blows life has dealt out to me?” Don’t worry my friend because “Help is on the Way.”

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Have you ever been in a situation when all has just gone wrong? You look to the left intensely and no help. You glance to the right expectant of aid, and nothing is forthcoming. You look around you, and no help seems to be coming your way. Have you ever been surrounded by crushing circumstances that spell out the words “N-O H-O-P-E”? Have you ever been in a situation where you had to wear the shoe whose brand name is called “Adversity”? Have you ever been in a quagmire of desperation sinking faster and faster as you struggle more and more? Have you ever laid down and cried out saying, “What hard blows life has dealt out to me?” Don’t worry my friend because “Help is on the Way.”

“Leave your troubles with the Lord, and he will defend you.” — The Bible, Psalm 55:22

We have all had seasons in our lives when we let out the “Save-Our-Souls” (SOS) distress call. We have all passed through various difficult circumstances that make us wonder if life is worth living at all. Today, I am here writing to encourage and let you know that all hope is not lost so long as you are yet breathing. Thinking thoughts that life is not worth living should be the last thing on your mind. Help is really on the way to deliver you from your delirious circumstances. However, I do not know your situation, neither do I claim to have any sense of the pain that you are going through. However, I write this to encourage you with the words of Robert Schuller that “Tough times never last but tough people do.” I encourage you to be strong and never lose hope. God is always poised to step in at the point of our greatest need if we can only ask. 

Christ is always reaching out to pull you out of the quagmire of despondency.

“There are three stages in the work of God: Impossible; Difficult; Done.” — Hudson Taylor

When all goes South, look North—look to Jesus Christ—cry out to Him in prayer, believing, and help will be on its way.  Keep your gaze on Jesus believing. [1] Call unto Him for help because He hears your prayer. [2] God can deliver you from the biggest and deepest problems that you face in this life. [3] No matter the circumstance that you find yourself in, God can deliver you to the uttermost parts of your problem. [4] When all is going south in your life, look unto God. Look to Him because nothing is impossible to Him, all things are possible through Him. [5] God can rescue you—through Christ—from any kind of hardship that you are facing. However, how beneficial is it to your eternal well-being and eventual eternal destination, if he rescues you from your earthly difficulties without rescuing your soul from death—to be forever separated from Him through all eternity? [6] 

“God delights to increase the faith of his children. We ought, instead of wanting no trials before victory, no exercise for patience, to be willing to take them from God’s hands as a means. I say—and say it deliberately—trials, obstacles, difficulties, and sometimes defeats, are the very food of faith.” — George Müller

So, as He saves you from your southward situation, be sure to give Him what matters most—your heart—your soul. He is more than able to solve your earthly problems; much more, He is more than able to deliver your soul likewise. Your earthly problems can be solved easily by Him, in His time. [7] He does not like seeing us suffer—in His time, he will make all things beautiful that concerns us, His own. However, He wants to develop a fruitful and intimate relationship with us first. He wants you to call upon Him, not just because we are in trouble. He desires that we communicate with Him because we want to cultivate a relationship with Him. God wants you to accept His ultimate gift, which is the sacrificial death of His Son, Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary. [8] By embracing Jesus Christ, you are accepting the ultimate solution to all your problems. As you now begin to look northward in the place of prayer and faith in Christ, get up and begin acting in faith also. [9] Benjamin Franklin in the Poor Richard’s Almanac once said that “Diligence overcomes difficulties, sloth makes them.”  Even as you pray, do not be lazy. Work in faith believing that He is more than able to actualize your prayers. That is faith with works. So, when all is going south in your life, He wants you to trust Him absolutely. He can rescue us all. So, when all goes South, look North—look to Jesus Christ—and help will be on the way. Carpe diem!

References [1]. Hebrews 12:2. [2]. Psalm 116:2. [3]. Psalms 50:15; Isaiah 41:10. [4]. Hebrews 7:25. [5]. Matthew 19:26. [6]. Mark 8:36. [7]. Ecclesiastes 3:11. [8]. John 3:16. [9]. James 2:14-26. [The Living Bible (TLB)].

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He Made the Greatest Impact

We will all be remembered in life for either the problems we solve or the ones that we help create. We are all born to make an impact whether it be positive or negative. I am acquainted with a man who once lived and still does, who I have solely credited as having made the most exceeding impact on the history of mankind and will never be surpassed by any other.

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We will all be remembered in life for either the problems we solve or the ones that we help create. We are all born to make an impact whether it be positive or negative. I am acquainted with a man who once lived and still does, who I have solely credited as having made the most exceeding impact on the history of mankind and will never be surpassed by any other. An Unknown Author once said that “Nature forms us, sin deforms us, school informs us, Christ transforms us.”  We came into this world via our mother giving birth to us. Our conception and birth deform us by the sin of our Adamic nature. We walk through life informing our minds via the instrumentality of formal education or by tacit or experiential knowledge. When it comes to the transformation of life, only Christ can do that. Martin Luther, the German professor of theology, composer, priest, monk, and a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation, in his days writing about this man said, “In his life Christ is an example, showing us how to live; in his death he is a sacrifice, satisfying for our sins; in his resurrection, a conqueror.  In his ascension, a king; in his intercession, a high priest.” 

“He was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like she have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth.” — The Bible, Isaiah 53:5-7 (AV).

Christ made the highest impact ever by dying for our sins as our substitute. He suffered immensely to give us a channel and access back to the Father.  He is the Way—yes, and the Truth and the Life.  You are doomed to be eternally separated from God unless you go through Him. [1] He is the sole access back to God. This access came by His passion, His suffering, His death, His resurrection, and His ascension back to heaven. Mel Gibson in his 2004 debut movie, “The Passion of the Christ,” attempted to depict Christ’s passion, suffering, death, and crucifixion—a fabulous attempt in my opinion. In the film, the main characters amongst others—Christ and His mother Mary—were played by the actor and actress, Jim Caviezel and Maia Morgenstern, respectively and they did an excellent job in their character portrayal. Mel Gibson’s depiction of the death of Christ in the movie was gruesome—with scenes that still send chills down my spine on how Christ was tortured and then crucified. However, this was just an enactment. Have you ever imagined the pain and agony Christ must have gone through in other to become the perfect sacrifice and bridge the gap across the vast chasm of sin that separates us from God? Christ made the most notable impact ever, and none can ever surpass it.

He paid the debt He did not owe; we owed a debt we could not pay.

For every sin that you commit, there is a price to pay—there is a debt owed. [2] You cannot pay for the debt of your sin with all the monies of the world put together. The score of transgression can only be met with a “sinless” life—mark the word, a life with no iota of transgression or disobedience. [3] If you cannot present yourself faultless, then be sure that after this life, you will be weighed on the scales of God’s balance and you will be found guilty.  Before you cast the first stone criticizing this writing, make sure you have no sin in you. [4] Everyone on this planet has sinned and come short of the expectation of God, no man or woman, living or dead can say that they have no sin. [5] Through Father’s love, He provided a means of escape through the sacrificial death of His Son, Jesus Christ. [6] Only one person has lived without sin; died without sin; resurrected without sin; and transitioned back to heaven without sin—that is the person of Jesus Christ. He paid a debt He did not owe, we owed a debt that we could not pay.  In our helpless estate, we needed someone to stand in our place and pay the debt of sin.  Christ paid the debt of sin.  He carried our sins on His body. [7] By sacrificing Himself, He freed all who will believe in the redemptive work He did on the cross from their sins. [8] Now, every tribe, language, nation, and race have free access to God the Father only through believing in His sacrifice. [9] He made the greatest impact, and none will ever surpass it.

“If the life and death of Socrates are those of a sage, the life and death of Jesus Christ are those of a God.” — Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Everyone reading this column owes Christ for the debt He paid. He does not want your money—by the way, He owns everything in the whole cosmos including all the galaxies and planets. So, He owns what you own—it’s His. [10] The only payment He wants for the love He has expressed to the whole of mankind is your heart. [6] He is whispering to you right now as you read this article, “I want your heart. I want your soul. I want your spirit. I want your body. I want you. Give me your heart, let me abide in you. As I stand at the door of your heart now knocking, I am whispering, and I am saying—Give me access to your soul.” [11] He wants access to your soul. He wants to build a relationship with you. He wants to give you the very best in life. He wants to make you become the intended best version of yourself at your creation. He wants you to achieve the purpose of your design. [12] You can have the debt of sin forgiven by accepting Christ into your heart today. Open the door of your heart to Him today as He whispers to you.  Do not harden your heart, do not shut your ears to his whisper. [13] He made the greatest impact, and none will ever surpass it. You can be a recipient of His love by believing Him and the accepting the debt He paid today. Christ has solved the problem of sin. Do not remain in sin. Christ is our connection back to God. Crossover to God by believing in the sacrificial work that Christ has done on the sin-canceling Cross of Calvary. Remember, He made the greatest impact, and none will ever surpass it.

Christ is the Bridge that connects us to God.

Augustine of Hippo once said that “Christ is not valued at all unless he is valued above all.” Friends, you need to value Christ above all things in your life and earthly existence. You cannot place a value on the price that He paid for your soul. He paid for all your sins with His own blood. You must value this sacrifice above all if you desire to see God and spend the afterlife with Him. I cannot agree more with what a Victor Hugo once said that “Pythagoras, Epicurus, Socrates, Plato, these are the torches of the world; Christ the Light of day.” He is the Light of the world, then you need to run towards him out of the darkness of sin. [14] If you keep on shunning the Light and fail to embrace it timely, then you will eventually stumble into “outer darkness,” a place of eternal separation and punishment from God in the afterlife. Remember, it is forever. The pain and anguish will never end. There will be weeping and grinding of teeth ad infinitum. [15] He made the greatest impact, and he wants you to be part of this impact.

“Christ would have lived, and taught, and preached, and prophesied, and wrought miracles in vain, if he had not crowned all by dying for our sins as our substitute!  His death was our life. His death was the payment of our debt to God. Without his death, we should have been of all creatures most miserable.” — J. C. Ryle, Practical Religion

Finally, I have read about men who have made an impact in their days, and there are still men making a strong impression in our days likewise. However, I stand by the opinion that this man, Christ, made an impact on mankind, through his passion and sacrifice, that surpasses all the excellent intentions of all human beings put together as one. You cannot compare His impact to anything or anyone. It is exceptional and unequaled by anything on earth and beyond. Blaise Pascal in his days once said that “Jesus Christ is the center of all and the goal to which all tends,” and I totally agree with him. He is expressly asking all mankind to draw closer to Him. If you draw close to Him, He will draw close to you. [16] A man who made such a sinless sacrifice and impact is worthy to be trusted and should be believed in. I do, do you?

References [1]. John 14:6. [2]. Romans 6:23. [3]. Hebrews 9:22. [4]. John 8:7. [5]. Romans 3:23. [6]. John 3:16. [7]. 1 Peter 2:24. [8]. Revelations 1:5. [9]. Revelations 5:9. [10]. Psalms 24:1; Psalms 50:10. [11]. Revelation 3:20. [12]. Jeremiah 29:11. [13]. Hebrews 3:15; Psalm 95:8. [14]. John 8:12. [15]. Matthew 22:13. [16]. James 4:8. [The Living Bible (TLB)].

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The Power of Forgiveness

There is a famous quote that a lot of people are conversant with by Alexander Pope which states that, “To err is human; to forgive, divine.” In this statement in his poetry, “An Essay on Criticism” his saying meant that, “every human can make a mistake, so we should forgive those that do, just as God is said to show his divine mercy in forgiving sinners.”

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One of the greatest disservice that any human can do to themselves is to harbor a grudge.  In life, it is inevitable that offenses are bound to arise.  There is a famous quote that a lot of people are conversant with by Alexander Pope which states that, “To err is human; to forgive, divine.”  In this statement in his poetry, “An Essay on Criticism” his saying meant that, “every human can make a mistake, so we should forgive those that do, just as God is said to show his divine mercy in forgiving sinners.”  Jesus said in Matthew 6:14-15 that, “In prayer, there is a connection between what God does and what you do.  You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others.  If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part” (The Message Bible).

How are you able to ask God for forgiveness for your own mistakes against others where you are harboring a grudge for a wrong done to you by another?”  When you choose not to forgive others, you potentially become a prisoner of unforgiveness.  When you open the Pandora’s Box of Unforgiveness, vices such as hatred, grudge, animosity, bitterness, and they like, start rearing their ugly heads.  In choosing not to forgive those that hurt you, you willfully become a prisoner to unforgiveness.  Bearing a grudge will ground you.  Talk about the weight of negative psychological feelings that the unforgiving person must sustain towards those that they have an issue with.  In the video below makes a lot of commonsense in exposing the deleterious effects of harboring a grudge and serves as an encouragement towards being free from the captivity of unforgiveness. 

When people offend you, it has the possibility of eroding the level of trust that we have towards others.  This can eventually lead us into bottling ourselves and our emotions to the world.  This eventually leads us towards isolating ourselves from others.  However, in this life, you cannot be an island.  In trying to be an island, you will only end up crippling your purpose, which in turn causes your destiny to sink into the quagmire of a murky-funk.  We live and exist in the community of life.  By detaching yourself, as a byproduct of unforgiveness, you stand the chance of missing out on positive potential relationships that life offers you, which could be life-changing.  A Thomas Carlyle once said that “Isolation is the sum total of wretchedness to a man.”  To be honest, that is one of the worst things you could do to yourself.  Hence, is it worth the trouble to stay unforgiving and miss out on the other opportunities that life presents to you?  You judge.    

Jesus further said in Luke 17:3-4 that, “Be alert. If you see your friend going wrong, correct him.  If he responds, forgive him.  Even if it’s personal against you and repeated seven times through the day, and seven times he says, ‘I’m sorry, I won’t do it again,’ forgive him.” (The Message Bible).  This is a clarion call to all to forgive.  However, how we handle ourselves when we are offended by people will tell a lot about our character and personality.  Forgiveness is an art as well as a process.  You need to make a conscious effort to let go of all the hurt.  There is a potent power in forgiveness that liberates.  To forgive shows the extent to which show our capacity to love despite the ache that we face.  It is difficult to forgive those that hate us, those that mock us, those that treat us like dirt.  But we must put arm ourselves with the same mind as Christ, who forgave those that crucified him and became the ransom for many.  We must, therefore, embrace the power of forgiveness.

References

  1. I Encourage Somebody. (2017, December 22). The power of forgiveness [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxXKTN32n8I&t=2s                      

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