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(in)SECURED

Hey! Thanks for stopping by at my blog. I was listening to a minister of God preach in a meeting on a particular Sunday afternoon, and while he was performing biblical exegesis to drive home his points, a thought he shared became expounded in my heart and I just needed to write on it. Again, I couldn’t get a catchy topic for this, please bear with me (apologies in advance if the title and content are parallel. Laughs.). I pray that beyond the words, the truth will be expounded upon in your heart by the Holy Spirit. (Amen).

I think the world we live in is rooted and built upon competition and comparison as a performance metric for every facet of life. When you think of the best student in a class, you are basically saying the student did better compared to his mates. When you want to know the richest man in a clan, you compare his net worth with every other rich man in a clan. It’s so interesting most times that our sense of success is measured by how well we are doing compared to our peers or immediate environment. A lot of times, we say we are not competing with anyone, words like “zero competition” “no competition” “the only competition I have is myself…trying to get better and be a better man/woman” proceed out of our mouth, but you know the ‘tug of war’ that goes on in your mind or the flash of incongruent thoughts when you hear of a contemporary doing big things and making great strides. Not that you wish them evil, in fact you are so excited for them. But then, when you are about to sleep, the thoughts comes as a flash, sometimes, maybe as a subtle thought or deep thought, and at that moment you want to start evaluating your life solely because of the news you heard. And most times if we do not nip those thoughts in the bud, we sometimes end up feeling ‘defeated’ and ‘discouraged’ in our mind.

I remember my short stint as a volunteer in a primary school, somewhere in the south western part of Nigeria. It was the end of session, where parents come to school to receive the session performance on behalf of their kids. A particular mother received her son’s report and was devastated. Why? The son had an average of about 80% and had 8th position. I thought that was impressive but I was wrong. I felt the son deserved a pat on the back for hitting the 80% mark, but the mother thought otherwise. “’His mates with first, second and third position, do they have two heads?,’ The mother retorted”. I think for us sometimes as believers, success has been a function of where you are; the prevailing circumstances and measuring ourselves with others. I think at this point, it is imperative to ask ourselves, what is the object that serves as a performance indicator for success? How is success evaluated in the kingdom?

The LORD was with Joseph, and he was a SUCCESSFUL MAN; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. Gen.39:2 NKJV

The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph’s authority, because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made it PROSPER. Gen.39:23 NKJV

How do you explain putting someone in Guantanamo Bay, and yet say he is successful? Sounds ironic right? I agree. How do you call someone being sold into slavery without any glimmer of hope of returning to his native land, a successful man? Was he successful because he was the Chief of Slaves or the Director General of Prisoners? I think this scripture disabuses our mind on the world’s definition of success. You mean to say, even in Prison, Joseph was successful? If then, why did he tell the butler that he wanted to leave (Gen.40:14-16). I think no sane human mind would want to leave a place where he is prospering. I dare say if you had an opportunity of interviewing Joseph in the prison and say to him “You are successful man”, you’ll probably find yourself in the Intensive Care Unit of a renowned hospital after the question. I like to think Joseph didn’t even see himself as successful but God calls him a prosperous man. Joseph was seeing incapacitation; God was seeing progress and advancement. How do you view your circumstances? The way God sees them or the way you see them.

I like to think Joseph was a successful man because every step he took, every situation he found himself in moved him closer to purpose and destiny. From the pit to slavery to prison to palace, God described Joseph as successful because in those precarious situations, he was getting closer to God’s intent for him (the expected end) – the palace. Success is advancing towards your purpose by instructions. Success cannot be determined by any other man except the God of the purpose (For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends 2Cor.10:18 NKJV), not by measuring yourself with others (But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 2Cor.10:12b NKJV). The best person to determine how much progress you are making in your research work isn’t your buddy but your supervisor. One of the things they emphasize in a research institute is that: “Don’t compare your work with what someone else is doing because every project is different. Your supervisors are in the best position to appropriately measure your progress.” You are running a 10,000Meter race but want to measure yourself up with someone in a 4 X 100 relay race? You want to build a skyscraper but you are fixated on the foundation of the one that wants to build a bungalow? (I wish you well in your adventure then. Bon voyage!) .In the competing and comparing game, we quite miss the point of PURPOSE. We leave the location of rest and transport ourselves to a state of anxiety, worry and fear. No matter how pleasing or ‘successful’ what you are doing is, if it’s not in line with purpose, though it may bring momentary satisfaction and euphoria, but trust me, it will result in weariness, frustration, or depression. Every step you take in proceeding towards your purpose is a ‘SUCCESS’ step.

Joseph was loved than all other children. He was his father’s favourite (more like the modern day version of ‘Daddy’s little boy’). His father made him a tunic of many colours (Gen.37:3). In fact, theologians have said that the colourful coat was the type that was won by royalty. Joseph being in his Father’s house seemed to be when he was most successful, but that was when he was farthest away from purpose (palace). Success isn’t about the circumstances (good or bad) or the competing or comparison, it is about progress in purpose. Little wonder you’d hear Paul say stuffs like: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (2Tim.4:7NKJV) (Notice the constant use of ‘I’). Like my sister used to say to me while I was growing up, “Destiny is per-head per-head” (*forgive the tautology please. It’s intentional).

The answer to incessant voices of grading, comparison and competition you hear is to know God as your referee, qualifier, and approver (Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, BUT OF GOD. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant Gal.1:10 NLT) (Our PURPOSE is to PLEASE GOD, NOT PEOPLE. He ALONE examines the motives of our hearts.1Thes.2:4NLT). There is no need for comparison and no place for competition. I like to think this is the deathblow to the spirit of insecurity that can shift away our focus from purpose. There is growth in the process. Stay true to your assignment/calling/purpose. Take every ‘baby’ step of faith in response to the instruction received from the God of your purpose. There is freedom and security when God is the God of your purpose – your approver, qualifier. God’s plan for us is huge, and as the Lord was with Joseph, much more than our Emmanuel; God is FOR us; God is IN us; God is working in us to complete what he has started (Phil.1:6); The God on our inside is mighty. You can’t judge the destination based on your present location. A lot of moves will be orchestrated; dramatic turns, maybe even a complete overhaul or change of direction or even a complete change of strategy, but rest in the process trusting the one whose faithfulness has never been in question. Like Pst. Mathew Ashimolowo says, “It’s not over until you win”.

“Lord, please forgive us for forgetting that you are in control” (Jonathan McReynolds)

“Lord you’ve been faithful to plant the seeds. And you’ll be faithful to always send your rain” (Seasons Change – United Pursuit)

God will provide rain for the seeds you sow. The grain that grows will be abundant. Your cattle will range far and wide. Oblivious to war and earthquake, the oxen and donkeys you use for hauling and plowing will be fed well near running brooks that flow freely from mountains and hills. Isaiah 30:23-24(MSG)

Do have a beautiful week ahead, and Happy New Month.

Oluwafemi Olukoya (@simokool)

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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On the Journey of MORE

Hey! Thanks for stopping by at my blog. I was supposed to publish an article last week but I couldn’t but I’m glad I waited. I’m sharing some random thoughts that was just impressed on my heart during the course of the week and I just had to write about it. Trust me, it’s something you’ve heard about one way or the other, but I just hope it rekindles a fresh or a renewed commitment in the core of your being. The thoughts may seem unrelated but I hope they register in your hearts. I pray that beyond the words, the truth will be expounded upon in your heart by the Holy Spirit. (Amen)

I had heard of you [only] by the hearing of the ear, but now my [spiritual] eyes see you. Job 42:5 AMP

During the course of the week, I skimmed a paper written by Thomas Gitovich on “Second hand Information and Social Judgement” and I thought the research output had some interesting points worthy of note. The authors found out that second hand impressions are often more extreme because second hand accounts of another person’s actions frequently fail to convey adequately the role of mitigating circumstances and situational constraints in producing that person’s behaviour. The findings also demonstrated that people’s impressions of someone they have often heard about from a friend (but never met) are more extreme than their friend’s more informed opinions. The rationale for the conclusion is that many of our impressions of other people are based entirely on second hand information. Before you start asking, ”Who experimental social psychology don epp?”, Let me quickly state that, second hand impressions are pervasive in our generation.

Maybe just like Job, we had made impressions, formed perspectives solely on hearsays. It has been communicated down to us by the experience of man, or our perspectives have been rooted in the tradition delivered from our forefathers, more like “ancient landmarks”. Maybe life for us has been built on “Who do men say He is?” and not “Who do you say I am?”. I like to think, in most cases, our knowledge is often times grounded chiefly upon the instructions of men. But allow me say this, No man’s experience is perfect and flawless, only the word of God has that attribute (Isaiah 40:8, 1Pet.1:25, Psalm 19:7). I believe God intends for our life to be run on revealed knowledge – when the mind is enlightened by the spirit of God which has its own evidence with it; that causes our understanding to be enlightened by the Spirit of Grace.

There is a clear apprehension of divine things which can only be furnished by revelation. There are views from the tower of revelation knowledge which is not dark or obscure – it is earmarked with clarity, unflinching persuasion and confidence. I think sometimes, we are always preoccupied with “He said…They said…She said etc”, I think more than ever before, the fuel for running now is “what did He reveal to you? What did He say to you? What are you laying hold on?”. Mary told the attendants at the wedding at Cana in Galilee, “He may not be the master of ceremony neither is He the Governor General of the Province or the distinguished chairman of the occasion but WHATEVER HE SAYS TO YOU, DO IT (John 2:5 – paraphrase in my words)”. I believe these times call for a “powered by revelation” mantra, not as a cliché but a reality. I think this is the time we should say “I knew ONLY what others had told me but NOW I have seen you with my eyes…I have heard about you, but now I have encountered you”. I think sometimes, it just gets comfortable living off history.

Jesus asks in Mathew 16:13, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”. The disciples gave answers on what they had heard from others. They replied – John the Baptist, some say, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets. From their responses, Jesus got what they had discovered through communicated knowledge. He then questioned them, “But who do you say I am?”- a question that can only be solved by revelation (revealed knowledge) Mathew 16:12. The first question was “What Are People Saying? What have you been hearing?”, the second question was “And what about YOU?”. Revelation knowledge is the truth that God imparts directly and all believers are to be built and rooted in it. Remember the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden right? The command about the tree of knowledge of good and evil was communicated to Eve by Adam, possibly. On the other hand, for Adam, the command was revealed as God spoke to him directly. But, something interesting happened when the serpent deceived the woman, which I think is pivotal. God told Adam…not to EAT of the TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL (Gen.2:17). Eve told the serpent that God said…not to EAT nor TOUCH the fruit of the TREE WHICH IS IN THE MIDST OF THE GARDEN. (Gen.3:3). Eve misrepresented the instruction and added “nor TOUCH”. Eve also didn’t call the tree by the same name Adam called it, she simply said, THE TREE IN THE MIDST OF THE GARDEN. The instruction was given to Adam by God prior to Eve’s creation (1Tim.2:13). The Bible even recorded in 1Tim.2:14 that…” And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived…. I think the reason for Adam not being deceived by the Serpent is not far-fetched. There is something about revelation knowledge that makes indisputable, irreplaceable and irresistible. Seek revealed knowledge like the Berean Christians, (Acts.17:11) not just mental assent. Listen to Sermons, inspired teachings but also search the scriptures to soak it in so it becomes a revelation to you and not just mentally alluding to the communicated truth.

A breakthrough in revelation enables us to see from God’s perspective – we see what God sees. Our commitment to matters of the kingdom is fuelled by our revelation of God. As Mark Hankins aptly puts it, “Every advance in the call and the blessing of God comes from an advance in revelation. Every breakthrough in faith comes from a breakthrough in revelation knowledge, not necessarily new information”. The best resolution you can make is to grow in the understanding of the word by giving ourselves to study (2Tim.2:15). The charge wasn’t even to five-fold ministers. There is a way we sometimes abdicate “studying” to the five-folds. But then, I believe rightly dividing the word of truth is for all sphere of calling – whether pulpit or market place. I remember how the Apostles needed men full of Faith to serve tables (more like Deacons), so they could focus more on the ministry of prayer and word (Acts.6:3). Let me roll out the CV of Stephen (one of those selected to serve tables), it was, “…full of the Holy Spirit, full of faith Acts 7:55, Acts 6:3-5. None of them could stand against the wisdom and spirit by which Stephen spoke Acts 6:10. In Acts 7, Stephen addressed the council in a way in which quite a number of theologians have called an apt description of the Old Testament”. Jesus (the Messiah) in Luke 4:1 (full of the Holy Spirit), Barnabas (he and Paul undertook missionary journeys together and defended Gentile converts against Judaizers) in Acts 11:24 (full of the Holy Spirit), Peter (Apostle to the Jews) in Acts 4:8 (full of the Holy Spirit), Paul (Apostle to the Gentiles) in Acts 13:8 (full of the Holy Spirit). I think the points from the explanations are clear.

I think a lot of times, we just get ‘worked’ up by the depth of revelation that someone else is getting, and we sometimes begin to make ‘competition’ out of it or conclude those things are for selected few while undermining your learning of Christ. No! It shouldn’t be so! It’s a process. Keep at it! Keep growing. Albert Einstein, one of the greatest scientists that ever walked the earth, did his PhD on “A New Determination of Molecular Dimensions Avogadro Constant”. In his PhD thesis: N = 2.1*10^23. He made the first correction later and postulated that N = 4.15*10^23. Later, the second correction N = 6.56*10^23, while the actual value: N = 6.022*10^23. There’s value in what you are learning of Christ. Value the process. Grow in Grace. Grow in revelation. As we make conscious effort to add value to ourselves in form certifications, higher degrees, trainings etc., we should also make effort and commitment to increase/upgrade our revelation “bank”. Enjoy the journey.

I think just like a PhD student, where you attend conferences and workshops to hear people speak about the research they are actively involved in and present their research outputs. Sometimes, you get to read journals and review papers. While all these things are very important and vital to your training, it will never take away the fact that a time would come when you’d just watch and listen, you have to be a key player – present your personal work as an independent and autonomous researcher. There’s progress to be made. I think this is a clarion call to growth. Being committed to what really matters: “knowing and enjoying Christ Jesus” (Phil.3:8) – sharing and doing life together with Jesus.

[17] asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom[a] and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. [18] I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.[b]
[19] I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power [20] that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. (Eph.1:17-20 NLT).

Whatever these unrelated thoughts mean to you, I hope it starts a fire or rekindles one.

Have a beautiful week ahead!

Oluwafemi Olukoya (@simokool)

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Aside

There is an interesting event that happened to Paul and Silas in the Bible which is really worthy of note as it holds a lot for the times we are in. On a particular day, Paul and Silas were on their way to the place of prayer as it was their usual custom, a slave girl ran into them. She was a psychic and, with her fortunetelling, made a lot of money for the people who owned her. She started following Paul around, calling everyone’s attention to them by yelling, “These men are working for the Most High God. They’re laying out the road of salvation for you!” She did this for a number of days until Paul, finally fed up of the daily yelling, turned to her and commanded the spirit that possessed her, “In the name of Jesus Christ, get out of her!” And instantly, the spirit left her.

When her owners saw that their lucrative little business was suddenly bankrupt, they went after Paul and Silas, roughed them up and dragged them into the market square. Then the police arrested them and pulled them into a court with the accusation, “These men are disturbing the peace of the land–dangerous Jewish agitators subverting our Roman law and order.”

By this time the crowd had turned into a restless mob out for blood. The judges went along with the mob, had Paul and Silas’s clothes ripped off and ordered a public beating. After beating them black and blue, they threw them into jail, telling the jailkeeper to put them under heavy guard so there would be no chance of escape. The jailer did just that–threw them into the maximum security cell in the jail and clamped leg irons on them.

Have you ever been in a situation where it seemed like you were getting less than you deserved or in a scenario where you are being persecuted for doing good all because some people are feeding fat on the products of a corrupt system? Paul and Silas should have been given National Honours for casting a devil out of the nation but what they got was the treatment a public enemy deserved. The whole world was against them for fighting a just cause and that earned them a place not in the Presidential villa but in the maximum prison meant for hardened criminals.

Along about midnight, Paul and Silas were at prayer and singing a robust hymn to God. The other prisoners couldn’t believe their ears. Acts 16:25 MSG

But, despite the treatment these men received, Paul and Silas were not bitter about their circumstances. They were fully aware of what they were up against yet they weren’t too bitter to praise. Their legs and feet were bound but their mouth wasn’t. They kept on praising despite the fact that they were on a seemingly dead end. The chains and fetters were real, the brass of Iron Gate was not imaginary but they held on to the truth that is greater than their reality – not even their condition could stop their praise.

#1 Your Praise is doing more than you think

When Life hits hard and it looks like hell is let loose on you; when you are faced with questions of Life that you don’t really have a grip on and when the challenges you are going through are too much for your age and experience. If there is anything you must not lose in times like this, it’s your praise.

There is no mountain too big for you to move and no trials too difficult to overcome if you will keep your praise switch ON. Your praise in the midst of grievous oppositions, bitter hostility, and stormy times is faith in action. Your praise is a declaration of God’s rule and reign in your affairs.

Your praise is an affirmation that God is working it out for your good – making a masterpiece out of the broken pieces. Your praise releases the ability and energy of God in you and propels you out of a place of defeat and depression into complete victory. Your praise releases your authority and proclaims your superiority and dominance over the enemy. Your praise makes the triumph of Christ real to principalities and power. Your praise strikes fear in every enemy of God and sends confusion to the camp of the enemies. Your praise is an affirmation that your trust and hope is in God. Your praise is a testimony of your faith in God’s promise and thankfulness for his glorious mercy.

#2 God is in your praise

Let’s take our place outside with Jesus, no longer pouring out the sacrificial blood of animals but pouring OUT SACRIFICIAL PRAISES FROM OUR LIPS TO GOD IN JESUS’ NAME. Heb.13:15 MSG

Sometimes your praise is a sacrifice. It is not something convenient for you, it’s costing you something. It’s a thanksgiving that takes the spotlight off your prevailing trials and travails of life and magnifies the Lord’s faithfulness. When Life hits you hard and all you can say is “Thank You Jesus”, Life hits you again and your response remains the same. Suddenly, you begin to see God at work in your life, working behind the scenes and turning your storms into divine orchestrations leading to his eternal plan and purpose for your life.

Instead of whining and getting frustrated about life, let the praise on your lips burst forth. Even in the night and midnight hours of your life, there is praise on your inside like streams of water locked up. In the midst of Apostle Paul’s many beatings and multiple shipwrecks, he also learned to rejoice. In Php.4:4, he said “Rejoice in the Lord always. And again I say Rejoice”. Life’s trials will seem so small when the high praise of God is in your mouth.

#3 Don’t be too bitter to praise

Don’t be too bitter or disappointed about life not to always have a praise break. A praise break could be as simple as just lifting your hands to heaven and saying, “Father, thank You because you are at work in me! Thank you because your thoughts towards me are of good and not of evil! Thank you Father because you are good and your mercy endures forever! I will bless you at all times with everything in me! You Oh Lord are my source and sustainer”. There is no chain that can bind up the spirit of a person who is full of praise.

Probably you are recounting the events that have occurred in your life and you really do not see why you should praise God because previous happenings in your life have been marked by hurts, pains, disappointments, heartbreaks, failures, betrayals and every heart-rending events you can think of. But the truth is God’s best is never in your past. God’s best is never in who left you but in who you are still going to meet. Think of everything seemingly terrible that has ever happened to you and you would realize it wasn’t the worst. The worst did not happen to you; not because the Devil was mild or played fair, but because of God’s mercy and faithfulness. Here you are still standing, the devil meant it for your end but God said NO. You have a hand to lift, a foot to dance, a mouth to praise. Why not just take a praise break and just give a shout of praise to God.

Instead of sulking around about the insecurity of the nation and the emergence of the deadly Ebola virus, why not thank him because you are in the secret place of the most high and all your sicknesses and diseases have been taken away. If you can’t thank him for who left you, why not thank him for whom He is bringing your way. If you can’t thank him for your present unemployed status, why not thank Him for the dream job coming your way. If you can’t thank him for anything, why not praise him for the gift of Life. If you can’t thank him for what you lost, why not thank him for the restoration he’s working out for you. If you can’t thank him for the stages of your life you seem not to understand, why not thank him because all things are working together for your good and your steps are ordered. Praise him because you are wonderfully and fearfully made. Praise him because after the storm, there is going to be calmness where He wraps everything up.

Paul had been snake bit, beat in the head and left for dead, suffered multiple shipwrecks, was imprisoned on numerous occasions, yet he could still stand up and say, “I am more than conqueror”. Even when he was forced to spend the end of his life in chains, Paul still wrote the book of Philippians – a short letter that mentions joy and rejoicing 16times. His praise was always conditioning his attitude and response to life.

Praise is vocal. It can be seen and heard by others. We see a great example of this in Acts 16, Paul and Silas were imprisoned, their hands and feet in stocks, but the authorities forgot to tape their mouths shut! I like to say that as long as you have your voice, there is no prison that can hold you. Your voice is your address in the realm of the Spirit.

Just believe what the Word says Jesus has done for you. Think about it, talk about it, sing about it, and shout it at the rooftop. And do these continually, do it every day. Make it a lifestyle. No matter what challenges you might be facing today, the divine strategy is to send praise ahead of you.

Have a great weekend!

@simokool

SEND PRAISE AHEAD

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Aside

But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them Mark 15:11
Mark 15:6-15 portrays a scenario which I believe it’s very profound to the work of redemption. The Chief Priests with the religious leaders and scholars arranged a congress with the entire Jewish Council where Jesus was tried and was later presented to Pilate. It was a custom at the feast of Passover to release a prisoner, anyone the people asked for.
There was one prisoner called Barabbas. He and some others had been arrested for murder during a riot. As a usual custom, Pilate asked the people who they wanted to be freed. Pilate expected them to support the releasing of Jesus because he didn’t find any fault in him but he was appalled when the crowd gave their unflinching support for Barabbas to be released. And Pilate desiring to do what was pleasing to the people let Barabbas go free and gave up Jesus to be crucified according to their wish.
Barabbas had committed insurrection against the government and a murderer too. Barabbas was a threat to national peace and security. The presence of Barabbas alone is a threat to the security of lives and property. Barabbas had masterminded a lot of terrorism attacks with series of bomb blasts that claimed thousands of innocent souls and massive destruction of properties and amenities. Barabbas is a number one public enemy. Any Government would give half of its annual budget to anyone with useful information on how to arrest Barabbas. Now that the Roman Government had arrested the public enemy that troubled the peace of Rome, as a result of envy the Chief priest incited the mob to release the most-wanted person in Rome.
Jesus, on the other hand had been giving life everywhere he went. He was setting the captives free, healing the broken hearted, proclaiming liberty to them that are in bondage, healing all forms of sicknesses and diseases, raising the dead, giving recovery of sight to them that are blind. He was giving a higher and better life to the people than they ever dreamed of…preaching the good news. Jesus wasn’t a threat to the security of lives and property; rather he went about giving life and undoing all the works of the enemy.
Barabbas was released and set free but Jesus was crucified. The innocent went in guilty and was crucified. The guilty one became innocent because the innocent one became guilty. The one who deserved nothing was crucified and the one that deserved every judgement and punishment could go free because of what Jesus did. Barabbas was given a clean slate. He was granted Presidential pardon as though he had never done any wrong all because the sinless man became guilty. It was a beautiful exchange. The guilty became righteous because the innocent one was crucified and punished for the crime he didn’t commit.
Every Barabbas should go free because Jesus went to the cross. Jesus took our punishment and God gave us credit for Jesus’ perfection. The reason we can’t be punished was because someone innocent went in and received the punishment on our behalf. The Incarnation of Deity and humanity in the babe of Bethlehem solved the problem and agony of mankind. We became justified simply because of Jesus’ perfect substitutionary sacrifice on the cross. We became “JUST-IF-WE’D-NEVER-SINNED”.
Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ took our place and fro every sin you and I have committed and will ever commit, He bore it at the tree and He was punished so that we will not be punished. He was condemned. He took our place, so that we might take his place – a position of power, dominion and authority. He became sin that we might become the righteousness of God. He became our curse that we might be blessed. He cried, “My God, My God! Why have you forsaken me?” so that our cry might be, “My Father, My Father! Why have you so loved me this much?”
If the greatest need of humanity was food, God would have sent an Agriculturist with vast experience and skills in Commercial farming. If our greatest need was information, God would have sent an educationist. If the greatest need of mankind were to be condemnation and criticism, I guess the Devil was already doing a good job with that so God wouldn’t have intervened. Our greatest need is not technology, if it had been, God would have sent a Scientist with so much technological innovations. If the greatest need of mankind was pleasure, God would have sent an entertainer. The greatest need of mankind was redemption and forgiveness of sins, so God sent a Saviour.
The gospel is the good news about Christ. The centrality of the gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The gospel is the power of God at work saving everyone who believes. The good news is about the beautiful exchange, the sinless man punished that the guilty one might become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. What a beautiful exchange!
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 2Cor.5:19
God has given us the ministry of reconciliation and has entrusted to us the ministry of reconciliation – bringing others back to him. The ministry of reconciliation is simply proclaiming that the sin problem has been settled in the body of Christ because God is not putting their sins into their account as Christ paid it all. The enmity between man and God has been abolished. Man has been redeemed and freely forgiven.
We’ve been given the responsibility of bringing the world back to him. It is not the era of a sinner in the hand of an angry God; it’s the dawn of a sinner in the hands of a loving God. God wants us to shout it at the top of the mountains and hills that every Barabbas should go free because Jesus went to the cross. The message of reconciliation is telling every Barabbas that there is no more enmity between him and God. The message is proclaiming to every Barabbas of the better and abundant life that is in Christ Jesus. It’s no longer the ministry of condemnation; it’s the ministry of reconciliation.
It would interest you to know that Jesus didn’t die with a pointing finger. He died with his arms wide open and it was deliberate. His loving arms are ever wide open to receive every Barabbas. There’s a home in Jesus. God gave Jesus up to rescue every Barabbas. Every Barabbas needs to hear about the love of the Father. It will never be about our love for him, but His love for us (1 John 4:10). That’s our message!
The cross was heavy, the blood was real, and the price was extravagant. It would have bankrupted you or me, so He paid it for us – Max Lucado

@simokool

BEAUTIFUL EXCHANGE

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Aside

The day GOD gave the Amorites up to Israel, Joshua spoke to GOD, with all Israel listening: “Stop, Sun, over Gibeon; Halt, Moon, over Aijalon Valley.” (Josh.10:12 MSG)

Joshua, Moses’ Personal Assistant and successor who led the children of Israel into the Promised Land was someone who dared to ask big. When Joshua was caught in the thick of the battle with his enemies and the sun was about to set, he cried out and ask for something that has never been done before and that looked seemingly impossible. Joshua asked God for more daylight because the sun was about to set and the momentum of the battle was to their advantage. Joshua wanted both the sun and the moon to stand still. Joshua seemingly wanted an abrupt halt in the Solar System so that there won’t be movement of both the sun and the moon.

Joshua asked a request that was audacious. Science has it that the earth rotates around the sun, and not the sun around the earth. So technically, when Joshua called for the sun and moon to stand still, God made the earth stand still instead. Joshua’s request is scientifically and logically inaccurate, but nevertheless God honoured Joshua’s faith.

I thought God would have corrected Joshua and written him a note on the principle of operation of the solar system explaining how it is built and functions. I was thinking God would have written Joshua a piece, saying;

Dear Joshua! I salute your doggedness and resilience and it’s worthy of commendation. I must also commend your leadership skills and abilities in leading my people but one thing is not right. The request you made is impossible as you want to alter my creation. The Solar System is built to function by the earth moving around the sun and not the other way round. Your request has been declined as it is illogical and out of this world. Feel free to contact me if there is anything else I can do to help you. Have a great day Joshua!

It gives me great encouragement to know that God honours our faith and hope in him. It is worthy of note that Joshua’s faith said ‘Yes’ and God couldn’t say ‘No’ to his request. Even though in the natural realm, it was impossible for what Joshua said to come to pass, Joshua believed God anyway. Joshua had not seen or read about anyone that altered the mode of operation of the Solar System but He believed in his heart and spoke what he wanted. He wasn’t trying or attempting to see if the sun and moon would stand still. He spoke the word in faith and received his request. Faith moves God. Faith moves mountains.

And since we have the SAME SPIRIT OF FAITH, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,”* WE ALSO BELIEVE AND THEREFORE SPEAK, (2Cor.4:13 NKJV)

ACCESS#1 (We Believe)

Faith has to be in two places – in your heart (believe) and in your mouth (speak). The spirit of faith has an attitude and an action. Believing is the attitude and speaking is the action. The first and the most fundamental truth about the spirit of faith is that it believes. It believes the word of God whether natural circumstances agree with it or not.

Find out from the Scriptures what you are trusting God for and what God has said about it and receive the word as the truth. Then keep putting the word in your heart day after day and night after night until faith rises up within you. You already have faith within because your being born again was by faith and God had given to every man the measure of faith. You may not be acting on it. You may not be speaking it. But it’s in there and the more you hear the word of God and act on it, the more it will grow and develop.

ACCESS#2 (Therefore We Speak)

The reason majority of believers appear weak is because they have never dared to make a confession of what they believe. Your mountain needs to hear your voice and it will obey you. The first part of you that faith moves is your mouth. Any faith that can’t move your mouth can never move a mountain. The word of God you believe must be spoken through you. God’s word in your mouth is just as powerful as God’s word in his mouth. God is holding you responsible to frame your world with his word. Confession is a spiritual law that few people recognize. Nothing will establish you and build your faith as quickly as confession.

The spirit of faith stands in the midst of the most impossible circumstances and believes God anyway, and then it begins to speak. The spirit of faith causes you to shout while the walls are still standing. The spirit of faith causes you to speak to the mountains despite its magnanimity. The spirit of faith speaks life to dead situations. The spirit of faith speaks God’s word. When headache attacks, faith doesn’t say, “This headache is killing me” Faith says, “I’m healed by the stripes of Jesus. He took my sicknesses and infirmities away so I don’t bear them anymore”

There is nothing like believing God quietly. You can’t believe God and not speak. Faith has a voice. If you are not speaking yet, it means you don’t believe it yet. Kenneth Hagin of blessed memory said, “If your faith isn’t talking, it isn’t working. Faith always has a voice”.

ACCESS#3 (My Reality…My Mountain or God’s Word)

Jesus said for you to speak to the mountain, not deny its existence. Faith is not denial of situations and circumstances; it is elevating the unseen over the seen. The truth of God’s word is our reality. The facts you have are not superior to the truth of God’s word. Of course, I agree that our challenges are real but according to God’s word, they are temporal. The spirit of faith calls the things which are seen as temporal (2Cor.4:18). The seen are subject to change, the unseen is eternal and the ‘change agent’ is God’s word.

Faith for the impossible is changing natural circumstances by calling those things that are not as though they were. God changed Abram’s name to Abraham (father of many nations) when he was still a childless old man with dead sperm cells married to a barren old woman that has passed menopause. But it is God who quickens the dead, and calls those things that be not as though they are (Rom.4:17).

In Genesis 1, we see God creating by speaking his word. Over and Over again, it says, God said…God saw…and it was good. That’s how we operate too because we have the same spirit of faith. We say God’s word…we see the result…and it is good.

We have to be consistent with our confessions of faith. Not just once or twice but speaking the word of faith consistently. Your confession must be in line with God’s word not according to your circumstances. Your confessions should stem out of the truth of God’s word in your heart and not out of prevailing situations and circumstances.

Faith for the impossible doesn’t consider the natural impossibilities of the situation. It does not focus on our own limitations because within our reach are unlimited possibilities with God. Live life fully assured and confident. Don’t live life with fear of the unknown, rather live life by faith in the unseen.

Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. HE ALWAYS KEEPS HIS WORD. Heb.10:23MSG
So DON’T LOSE YOUR CONFIDENCE. It will bring you a great reward. (Heb.10:35 GW)

Don’t lose confidence in God’s faithfulness and ability because He always keeps his word.

@simokool

FAITH FOR THE IMPOSSIBLE

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Aside

Sometime later the Moabites and Ammonites, accompanied by Meunites, joined forces to make war on Jehoshaphat. 2Ch.20:1 (MSG)
The blood-thirsty and marauding armies of Moab, Ammon together with the Meunites joined forces to make war on Jehoshaphat, the King of Judah. King Jehoshaphat received this intelligence report and called for a state of emergency and gathered all of Judah to seek help from the Lord. All the men of Judah, with their wives and their kids, stood before the house of the Lord with gloomy faces, waiting anxiously to hear from their King. They were quite aware of the fact that they can never match the fire power of these three great nations. Their enemies outnumbered them many times over and they stand to lose everything they have. Most of the women cried uncontrollably, fearing for the lives of their husbands in the ensuing battle. The ladies wallowed in deep groaning, being tormented by the fact that they might end up as sex slaves in the hands of the captors. The young men were heaving a deep sigh and the fear of becoming bond servants all the days of their lives crushed their spirits. The children in their midst were wailing, seeing the fear in the faces of their parents and relatives left them downcast and dumbfounded. In the midst of all the aching groans and wordless sighs, everybody just waited with uncharacteristic quietness for King Jehoshaphat to speak.
Have you ever been in a situation like this, where your circumstances seem to be completely hopeless? Where challenges come at you from all sides and you are enveloped in trials of all sorts. Where you are so much under pressure to act but still overwhelmed by the challenges surrounding. Where it looks like you are too young for the kind of challenges you are facing.
This is exactly what happened to the small tribe of Judah when they were besieged on all fronts by three powerful marauding armies forcefully advancing towards them. They knew that their enemies outnumbered them many times over and were hell bent on annihilating them, it was a forlorn and hopeless situation, and it looked like they were bound for a tragic end. The circumstances looked like the end has come for the tribe of Judah and nothing will ever be heard of that tribe again.
There may be seasons in our lives where it seems like our challenges are coming at us in quick successions from all directions and we are completely overwhelmed by the different stages at which they surface. Perhaps the hassles caused by unemployment led to cracks in your relationship as well as the development of a mental oppression. Maybe you even have a demanding job which has been causing some hitches in your home and in a bid to salvage your home and family; you are also at the end of losing a high-paying job coupled with the development of a medical condition as a result of the stress. Perhaps you are very close to being on probation in school, coupled with problems at home and also kissed by the strain of financial challenge. Under the accumulated weight of all of these coming at you, you feel your world is spinning out of control. And if the story of your circumstances can be made into a movie, the title will be ‘Things are falling apart’. Day by Day, your circumstances appear to be progressively worse despite your efforts in trying to hold everything together. It appears as if life is hitting hard with some heavy blow and knock-out punches.
In such times of despair, what do you do? At such desperate times, when you honestly don’t know the next step to take.
And Jehoshaphat FEARED, and set himself to SEEK THE LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. 2Ch.20:3 (KJV)

Something very profound happened when Jehoshaphat received the intelligence report that a huge force is on its way to fight him. He feared. King Jehoshaphat’s first reaction was fear. This tells us a lot about his personality. He was a regular guy with blood and water running through his veins. He was not a valiant warrior king whose dexterity at fighting wars is second to none. He was just like us. When he received the bad report that three blood-thirsty nations were teaming us against him, he did what you and I would have done – he panicked!
I want to draw your attention to the fact that even in his fears he sought the Lord. Troubled times are not the times you should run away from God or get bitter, angry, frustrated or waiver in your faith. Challenging times are opportunities to prove that the word works. Even in your fears, don’t take away your gaze from Jesus, and bask in his love because His perfect love casts out all fear.
Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the LORD in the front of the new courtyard and said: “O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. POWER AND MIGHT ARE IN YOUR HAND, AND NO ONE CAN WITHSTAND YOU. (2Ch.20:5-6)

Instead of telling God about his fears, King Jehoshaphat was telling his fears about God. Instead of relaying his fears to the Lord and lamenting about how their enemies outnumbered them, Jehoshaphat centered his prayer and petitions on how big and powerful his God is. He proclaimed that no one is able to withstand the Lord not even the forces of Moab, Ammon and the Meunites put together. In hopeless situation, Jehoshaphat hoped in the Lord.

You won’t have to lift a hand in this battle; JUST STAND FIRM, Judah and Jerusalem, and watch GOD’s saving work for you take shape. Don’t be afraid, don’t waver. March out boldly tomorrow–GOD is with you.” 2Ch.20:17 (MSG)

The best thing to do when you don’t know what to do is to stand firm – stand your ground. Standing firm does not connote inactivity or doing nothing. It is a position of hope anchored on Jesus and a confident expectation that everything is turning around for good. It is a position of unwavering faith declaring boldly that, ‘Faithful is He that has promised, faithful is He who will also do it.’ It is a position where you are established in the faithfulness and ability of God. When the armies of Pharaoh were chasing the Israelites, Moses simply declared to the terrified Israelites, “”Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and watch GOD do his work of salvation for you today. Take a good look at the Egyptians today for you’re never going to see them again. (Exo.14:13 MSG)”

When you are caught in a seemingly hopeless situation, learn to position yourself – stand firm and see the saving power of Jesus at work on your behalf. He will never leave you nor forsake you. And as you center yourself, your thoughts, your beliefs and your hopes on him; He will lead you concerning what to do, just as He led Jehoshaphat to a triumphant victory over his enemies.

No one can withstand our God…not even your medical report, financial strain, family issues, insecurity, fears etc. God, who rebuked the wind and turned a raging storm to a great calm. God, who raised the dead and conquered the grave. God, who made the lame walk, the blind see, and the deaf hear. God, who turned bland water into the finest wine. God, who suspended the heavens above the earth without concrete pillars. God, who multiplied five loaves of bread and two fishes to feed a population of 5000. God, who rained manna from heaven and brought forth water out of dry rock. God, who helped Judah to overcome her enemies without even lifting a finger in the battle. God, who helped the Israelites bring down the walls of Jericho without bulldozers and caterpillars. God, who led His people in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Nothing can withstand our God.

There will be challenges, troubles, trials and issues to deal with in this world. But you can rest in Jesus, be encouraged in Him, continue to hope in Him, and know beyond the shadow of a doubt that He will see you through your adversities. He always leads us in triumph. With Him, it is always a perpetual victory parade. He has already overcome the world! On your part, determine to be of good cheer, rejoice in the Lord always and keep having a confident expectation of good.

Greater years are still ahead!

@simokool

FINDING HOPE WHEN ALL SEEMS HOPELESS

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Aside

And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years…Mark 5:25
Let’s take a quick walk into the life of the woman with hemorrhage for twelve years
She was a high profile career woman who had everything at her beck and call. In her garage were fleet of posh cars; her mansion is such an architectural masterpiece that the Society of Engineers had to use it to grace their annual Engineering Innovations’ magazine cover; the exquisite furniture in her living room is second to none. The clothes and jewelries in her wardrobe were always having a ‘confab’ fighting for her attention to be picked. She is well respected by all and sundry. Her husband walks in the streets with his shoulders high for being the hubby of such a successful woman. Her children are known all over the city because of their mother’s profile of upper-class elite. She has so much reserve in foreign bank accounts and every indigenous bank have been looking for that rare privilege to have her bank with them. She seems to have everything all together.
Like every other woman, she had her monthly menstrual cycle which normally lasts for three days. But this particular one had stayed on through the fifth day. She was scared. She immediately picked her phone to call a female family doctor who told her there is no ‘biggie’ about the unusual variation, as hers lasts for seven days. Waoh! What a soothing comfort to her misery! The Doctor convinced her that it must just be one of those unusual variations. But alas! The story is still unfolding. The flow of blood didn’t stop on the seventh day; it became a fountain pumping out ceaseless flow of blood.
Let me take you back to the Law of Moses because that was their operating rule as Christ had not yet died and the law held sway.

The Law of Moses states that, “If a woman has a discharge of blood for many days, but not at the time of her monthly period, or has a discharge that continues beyond the time of her period, she is unclean the same as during the time of her period. Every bed on which she lies during the time of the discharge and everything on which she sits becomes unclean the same as in her monthly period. Anyone who touches these things becomes unclean and must wash his clothes and bathe in water; he remains unclean until evening (Lev.15:25-27 MSG).

Since the flow of blood remained continuous, it means she can never be clean. She remains ceremonially unclean. If you touch the same door knob she has touched you become unclean too. You must not have any contact with whatever she has come in contact with lest you become unclean. What a dilemma!

She had to resign from her workplace as the Chairman, Board of Directors left her with no choice because nobody wants to relate with an unclean woman. The company was losing clients solely because of her. Her husband can no longer share the same bed with her let alone allow her prepare dinner for the kids. She was in isolation. Her very own immediate family was avoiding having contact with her. The husband could no longer bear it as its obvious she may never be out of the dilemma. The husband vacated the house for her, and took the kids to Granny’s house. The mansion that was the cynosure of all eyes had become the island of desolation. The cooks, cleaners, housemaid and everyone else working in the house had to leave.

She had not been negligent of herself; she had tried every means she had to get her wholeness but, all to no avail. She had sold the posh cars, mansions, jewelries, furniture, clothes and every other valuable she had left to service the best medical attention to herself but all was an effort in futility. She became a laboratory specimen. Respectable Doctors, Consultants and Specialists took all her money leaving her worse. She had exhausted the queue of long succession of Physicians waiting to treat her.

A woman that once had everything all together is now an object of public ridicule and shame. No taxi driver wanted to render their service to her because that’s bad business for them as their taxi becomes unclean till evening. She had to fall in love with a new means of transportation called ‘foot-wagen’. She was dejected, rejected and isolated. She had nothing left on her. She had lost all including relationships.

Then, she overheard neighbours relaying the track record of a new Physician who heals every diseased person that comes to him. But that news didn’t really excite her because of her past dealings with Physicians. Every Physician that had treated her had left an indelible memory on her mind as they caused her enough psychological traumas from the numerous haemostatis and Kleihauer test, the piercing surgical knives, infringements of the syringe and needles, and the uncountable pills consumed but, without a cure. However, she was snapped out of her thinking state when she heard from the ongoing discussions among her neighbours that this new Physician makes people whole without collecting a dime and since she had nothing to lose but everything to gain if the reports were true, she decided to harness this opportunity with every energy she’s got.

I’m sure you know the end of the story.

For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” Mark 5:28

Whatever you are going through, you will see God happening at the same time. At the same time, the dead son of the widow of Nain was being carried out through the city gates; a Jesus that could raise the dead was also passing. When a terrific storm came up suddenly on the lake and the ship was about to capsize, a Jesus that could rebuke the wind and raging waters was also present with the terrified disciples in the boat. While the first wine was running out at the wedding at Cana of Galilee, a Jesus that could produce the best wine was also present at the wedding. When Peter looked at the boisterous wind beneath his feet and started sinking, we saw a Jesus that can help Peter up available too. All you need is to make a choice of what gets your attention. If you look at your circumstances, you will be shut down, if you look at Jesus, you will have a reason to hope. As long as Peter kept his gaze on Jesus, he was walking on water; as soon as the boisterous wind got his attention, he started sinking. When we fix our eyes on Jesus and make him the center of our lives, we will definitely walk above the churning waters of our situations and circumstances. Fixing our gaze on the boisterous waves of our challenges can only make us to begin to sink into the raging tempest of despair.

The woman with the issue of blood was resolute on seeing Jesus. She was so sure that all she needed was to touch Jesus. For the first time, she silenced the voice of her circumstances. She didn’t care about what people would say. She didn’t even bother if her touching of Jesus would make him ‘unclean’. All she wanted was just to touch Jesus. The circumstances had been her master for twelve years, but at the instant she determined to see Jesus, she was full of hope again.

For whatever was thus written in former days was written for our instruction, that by [our steadfast and patient] endurance and the encouragement [drawn] from the Scriptures we might hold fast to and cherish hop Rom.15:4(AMP).

Friends! I know your situation and circumstances are very real. In fact as you are reading this, the thought of some of them is flashing across your mind. Storms are good at doing that. They overwhelm you. Wave after waves of relentless battering that knocks you off your feet till every ounce of energy is used up and you feel so weak, abandoned, lonely and dejected. But don’t go by those negative feelings and emotions. Feelings, circumstances and human conjectures can’t be compared to the Father’s goodness. Live by the truth of God’s word, which encourages you to be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid and do not panic.

Live life with confidence and assurance because the one who created the Universe is the shepherd of your life. He is not the Father that goes ahead of you in a separate boat and leaves you in your own sinking boat. He is the Father that comes to you in the midst of the storm and leads you to victory every time.

Things are getting better for you. If it is not good and perfect, then God is not through yet. He that created time isn’t bound by it. Anchor your thoughts and emotions on the unshakable word of God. Let the word of God have your focus and not your problems.

We win always!

@simokool

THE DOOR OF HOPE IN THE VALLEY OF TROUBLE

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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