Encourage yourself in the LORD

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Just want to share my thought with you from 1 Sam 30:1-25

Life could be stressful when a burden seems heavier than we can handle. There can be times of fear when our so called ‘sense of security’ is threatened. These are times when an individual deemed so wise now needs counsel. When the strong needs help. When the physician needs healing…

Check this out. David and his guys were helping out in the military. By the time they got back the Amalekites have taken their wives and children as slaves, and grabbed every valuable stuff! ‘David and his friends wept until they had no more power to weep.’ Some blamed David, while others planned to stone him! But David encouraged himself in the LORD. Wow!

When life gets tough, we could be tempted to take it out on someone else, just like what David’s friends did. Because we’re hurting we hurt someone else. Some turn to things that give ‘short-lived ecstasy’ just for them to ‘wake up’ to a deeper depression. Some form a pity party. Some get mad at GOD. Some develop hatred for their Pastor and fellow believers. Some go back to what they already said ‘goodbye’ to. What do you turn to when challenges arise?

The real solution is to strengthen ourselves in the LORD like David did. It means to remind ourselves of what God says about us and HIS promises; and then we apply HIS truth to our current situation. It has to be intentional and persistent effort. Scriptures never promised a life without obstacles, but God gave us guarantee that HE will be always be with us. Weeping may endure, but it’s for a night, because joy comes in the morning!

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Look into the scripture and see what God says about your current situation. Is it barrenness? Joblessness? Poverty? Loneliness? Sickness? Debt? Marital issues? Or overwhelmed by so many things that you don’t even know where to start? Hear this. There will never be genuine gold without fire. Those challenges are to make you better, stronger, wiser! GOD knows the way you take; and when the tests are over, you will come out as fine gold! In fact, the only reason you’re still standing is because GOD has bigger plan.

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I challenge you today to encourage yourself in God’s word. And I’m praying that your joy be full in Jesus name, even as I decree unspeakable peace to your heart. I pray that God will give you the grace to be still and know that HE is GOD.

You’re lifted!

Ref: Is. 43:2; Jer.29:11, Deut. 31:8, Ps.50:15

The Holiness of God

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At the hearing of the phrase ‘Holiness of God!; one likely runs farther away from the ONE whose eyes behold no iniquities…we quickly admit we’re not worthy! And that’s true. We wouldn’t be worthy, if not for HIS love, mercy & grace. But for a regenerated mind, God’s nature is even far deeper…As a child, my father’s holiness gives me hope! How? You see, my Father’s nature means He cannot sin against me. He cannot lie to me. His words are established stronger than the foundation of the earth. He cannot fail in His promises…because He is upright! My Father’s holiness gives me more love rather than fear! His immutability is my assurance!

And now, to be holy like my father simply requires daily obedience from me…ah! Not worrying about tomorrow… just a step-at-a-time obedience…And to help us in following HIS daily instructions, He’s asked us to ’come boldly to the throne of grace in order to obtain mercy and find grace in time of need’

You’re lifted!

Ref: Ex. 34:6-7, Ps. 25:8, Ps. 145:17, Mal. 3:6, Rom. 3:”4, Heb. 4:16

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving, Praise & Worship [Singing Context: Beyond tempo]

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When I ask people to differentiate between Thanksgiving, Praise & Worship, I get responses like ‘Praise and thanksgiving are fast songs and worship is the slow part’ or some say ‘I’m good with praise songs but not that good with worship’. These non-musical answers are driven by culture rather than the scripture. So let’s talk about it.

From a musician’s view-point, although tempo, i.e. the speed at which a passage of music is played/sung; is a key attribute of music, however there are other attributes that far better define a song. Say for example, you have 2 songs of same tempo, it doesn’t mean they’d have similar soul, texture, feel, emotion, scale, lyrics, purpose etc. So now we know tempo by itself is not enough. In our own scope, we could have 2 slow songs but different purpose. 2 slow songs where one is praise and the other is worship. Thanksgiving songs could even be slower!

So how should we define Thanksgiving, Praise & Worship beyond tempo? We use the lyrics. The message behind the tune. Thanksgiving is an expression of saying ‘thank you’ to someone who has done something for us. It is a form of appreciation. I can say ‘thank you for reading this article’ or ‘thank you for the gift’. In other words, an exchange or expectation of goodwill precedes thanksgiving. For example, ‘thank you Jesus for the salvation of my soul’ or I can even express thanksgiving on your behalf. For instance, I thank God for His mercies, protection and preservation over your life. I also thank God for that miracle you are about to experience in your life!

praiseWhat is praise? Although sometimes intertwines with thanksgiving, praise is more of an expression of commendation or applaud. When a student finishes his/her degree with a distinction, we praise them. ‘You’ve done well!’ ‘Well-done!’ In our own scenario, I praise God for His wonderful works. The creation of this planet. I praise Him for His mighty deeds! Many times we find a connection between praise and thanksgiving.

Worship is an expression of reverence. It’s the deepest of the three. It is also a place of surrender. When we sing ‘Jehovah, you are the most high! You are the most-High GOD!’ we’re singing a worship song. In fact this example of a Nigerian popular chorus is often sung in fast danceable tempo, however the lyrics is an expression of God’s greatness. So Worship expresses the awesomeness of God. His Holiness. His Power. His Majesty…Not because of what He’s done for us, but for Who HE is! He is GOD all by Himself!

 Practically, in our services we could have ONLY thanksgiving, praise or worship session throughout! Or we may have the three together! When you read Psalm 145, you’d notice the psalmist had a mix of all three expressions integrated within a psalm. You see God is interested in the three expressions, irrespective of the tempo in which they are articulated. You can have a session of worship expressed in both slow and fast tempos. I could also sing ‘Thank you, thank you Lord. Thank you Lord for everything you have done’ that’s a thanksgiving song in slow tempo! Or ‘Immortal God invisible God, Immortal God how great thou art!’ a fast song but worship by lyrics.

In conclusion, we are expected to give all forms of expression in line with the word of God. Although tempo can influence our worship experience; what matters to God is not the tempo. It’s the heart from which the song comes from.

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 Ref: Ps. 9:1, Ps. 145, Ps. 107:8-9, Jer. 30:19, Neh. 12:46, Ezra 3:11, Lk. 4:8, 1 Cor 1:4-5

Let’s talk about Worship

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A worship leader recently pointed my attention to some of the songs we sing in Churches nowadays. And how one in particular does not have the word Holy Spirit, Jesus, or God mentioned once throughout the whole lyrics. For some, it doesn’t really matter as long as the song is soul-lifting.

My take? Well, to start with, there’s something about the name of Jesus. Whether we preach, pray or sing the name, so much power is released such that the demons tremble and flee. We should never get tired of singing the name. Our victory is built on the name of Jesus!

Now on the other hand, the lyrics of a song by itself does not necessarily create an atmosphere of worship. The people do. As important as offering might be, even much more important is the person rendering the offering. Jesus said ‘‘these people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” We can sing and yet not worship.

What we need more than the song is a heart of worship. And of course, our attitude during worship is determined by our understanding and knowledge of GOD. While some are totally immersed in the Spirit during the time of worship, others walk round greeting and chatting with fellow brethren…and some just use the time to get busy on the phone.

Whether it’s personal or corporate, kneeling or standing, lifting of hands or bowing of heads – in any form, we must always pour out our whole inner being, with no reservation whatsoever, to the ONE who deserves it all.

You’re lifted!

Ref: Isaiah 29:13, John 4:4, Matthew 15:8, Psalm 100:2

Is there favouritism with the Holy and fair God?

Favouritism I know God loves me so much and I desire to love HIM with every breath in me. No doubt He has great plans for me. But you see the thought that HE could actually prefer or choose some over others baffles me. So I ask you ‘does HE have favourites?’

HE revealed HIS character to Moses but HIS deeds to the people of Israel. In other words Moses had the privilege to know the personality, nature, disposition, temperament, and constitution… the make-up of God. Wow! – While the whole nation of Israel, only knew HIS actions…activities. God showed Moses ‘Who & How’ while He showed others ‘what’

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I want more than the gifts. I want to know the Giver! But do I have to be a Minister, Deacon, or a Pastor to have Moses-like privilege? Doesn’t the scripture say ‘there is no partiality with God’ Fair enough, I know some got the call to ‘go higher’ but there were also those who volunteered. Moses was chosen. Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ to which he replied – “Here am I. Send me!”

I strongly agree with C.S Lewis. He proposed that ‘when it comes to knowing God, the initiative lies on His side…If He does not show Himself, nothing you can do will enable you to find Him. And, in fact, He shows much more of Himself to some people than to others — not because He has favorites, but because it is impossible for Him to show Himself to a man whose whole mind and character are in the wrong condition. Just as sunlight, though it has no favorites, cannot be reflected in a dusty mirror as clearly as in a clean one.’

That’s why HE said ‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart’ Meaning the finding is guaranteed when we seek HIM with all our heart!

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Father, help us to seek you above all else. Prepare us and make us ready and receptive to your will. And please reveal yourself to us, to our children and children’s children in Jesus name. Amen

Ref: Rom. 2:11, Jer. 29:11-14, Rom. 9:13, Ps. 103:7, Is. 6:8

let go and let GOD!

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King Solomon, with all his riches and wisdom, once said : ‘Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight’

A friend recently sent me pictures from their skydiving experience. You know for some, just thinking about the sport alone is spine-chilling. But here’s the thing: if you’re doing it for the first time, you got to trust your instructor. So basically, they are the ones doing the main work. And as you’re attached to your instructor, your only job is to trust them and let yourself go – literally and psychologically!

This exactly is what God is asking us to do. To trust Him absolutely. To let Him and let go. He carries the weight of the world upon His shoulders so why do we think ours is heavier than the whole world’s put together? We only need to stay attached to HIM. You see life is full of jumps and there are only 2 options: either we stay within the fear group or move to the faith camp. Men say show me and I’ll trust you. God says trust me and I’ll show you mighty things. To trust God is to say Yes to His will.

It’s true that skydiving instructors are human. And parachutes can be sabotaged. But God will never fail! Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and HIS understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall.  But when you trust in the LORD, HE will renew your strength. you will soar on wings like eagles; you will run and not grow weary, you will walk and not faint.

You are blessed and highly favoured!

Ref: Zech. 4:6-7, Proverbs 3:5-6, 1 Chronicles 16:11, Isaiah 40:28-31

 

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You’re not a grasshopper

…I’ve seen my God heal cancers, mend broken hearts, fix relationships, save souls, make provisions, cancel debts, transform even the worst of men, remove fibroids, lift a man from prison to palace and many more. He’s never out of ideas. Neither sleeps nor slumber. You may be small but HE IS GREAT! …

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The story of those 12 chaps that were sent to spy canaan is a fascinating one. And it’s so applicable to us even now.

These guys came back with lovely fruits from the land to show Moses and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. They told Moses ‘We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit’ However 10 out of 12 spies said  ‘the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan…. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them’ Can you imagine all the scaremongering? SMH

Only Joshua & Caleb gave an encouragement statement. These 2 guys trusted that the same God who brought them out of Egypt, parted the red sea, fed them in the wilderness, was able to give them victory over of the so-called-Nephilim. Anyways in the midst of all the negative reports, with the help of God the Israelites went on to take the land of Canaan!

Have you ever been in a situation where most people say ‘It’s not possible’ ‘You can’t achieve it’  ‘it’s never happened before’ – I’ve been there many times. To overcome we must first win the battle of the mind. We must cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. We must bring every thought to the obedience of Christ who had already told us ‘WITH GOD NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE!’

I’ve seen my God heal cancers, mend broken hearts, fix relationships, save souls, make provisions, cancel debts, transform even the worst of men, remove fibroids, lift a man from prison to palace and many more. He’s never out of ideas. Neither sleeps nor slumber. You may be small but HE IS GREAT! And because your God is great, you’re about to experience HIS Mighty intervention in that situation. Just remember God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind! You’re not a grasshopper.

Ref: Num. 13, 2 Tim 1:7, 2 Cor. 10:5, Luke 1:37

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