Bible Studies, Faith

21 Truths from Hebrews Chapters 3, 4, 5.

Hi friends,

Let’s go pick up some choice gems!

We want to learn specifically about Jesus from Hebrews Chapters 3, 4 & 5. If you missed the post on Hebrews 1 & 2, here it is!

I would like to take a minute to congratulate you and I for being deliberate about learning more about Jesus Christ who is the author and the finisher of the Christian faith; as well as the doctrines and foundational truths of the faith. The insights gleaned from these studies will profit our minds, and help us to become more developed and accurate in the things we believe.

  1. Jesus is faithful to God who appointed him as an apostle and high priest, just as Moses was faithful when he served in God’s house.
  2. Jesus is worthy of more praise and honour than Moses because while Moses was a faithful servant in God’s household, Jesus is a faithful son in charge of God’s household.

It was established in John 1:1 that Jesus is the word of God.

As the word of God,

  1. Jesus is alive.
  2. Jesus is active (working in the present).
  3. Jesus as the word of God penetrates our hearts (i.e. he convicts us), to judge our thoughts AND intentions, and attitude.
  4. Nothing is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is laid bare before His eyes and we have to give account to Him.
  1. Jesus is our apostle.
  2. Jesus is our high priest. Jesus is our great high priest.

To become a high priest:

  • You had to be selected and appointed. (No one takes the honour upon themselves)
  • You had to be selected from among the people (You had to be one of the people).
  • You had to represent the people in matters related to God – to offer gifts and sacrifices for their sins.
  • You had to be able to deal gently with anyone who errs, having experienced temptation yourself.

Jesus met all these requirements.

  1. Jesus was appointed by God Himself to be our high priest.
  2. Jesus came to the world and became a human, like us, before he was selected to be our high priest. This is truth, this is a history-validated fact.
  3. Jesus represents us before God – having offered Himself once for all times as the sacrifice for our sins.
  4. Jesus ascended into heaven after He died and resurrected.
  5. Jesus is a priest forever.
  6. Jesus our High Priest had been tempted in every way, just like we are now.
  7. Jesus, when He was tempted, did not sin.
  8. Jesus, because He was also tempted as we are, can empathize with our weaknesses.
  9. He gently deals with anyone who errs, having been tempted himself.
  10. While on earth, Jesus earnestly prayed to God and he was heard because of His reverent submission.
  11. Although Jesus was God, he learned obedience from what he suffered (self-denial).
  12. Once made perfect, Jesus has become a source of eternal salvation to everyone who obeys him.
  13. Jesus was designated by God as a high priest in the order of Melchizedek.*

* We will learn more about this individual named Melchizedek in the coming chapters. Until then, stay well and happy. ❤

Bible Studies, Faith

30 Truths about Jesus from Hebrews 1 & 2

Hiya friend. Come with me as we do a Jesus-focused study of the first 2 chapters of the book of Hebrews!

The book of Hebrews is one that I have always been very curious about. I find that it contains some of the most foundational teachings about the Christian faith, especially as related to God’s “new covenant.” If you are interested in understanding the tenets and doctrinal truths of Christianity, you will find Hebrews very resourceful.

In this article, we will be sweeping through Hebrews 1 & 2 but only with the intent of learning what the Bible says about Jesus Christ.

Ready? 😉

Hebrews 1

  1. Jesus is the Son of God. God is Jesus’ father.
  2. Jesus is God.
  3. Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory – the exact representation of the being of God the Father.
  4. God created the universe through Jesus the Son.
  5. Jesus laid the foundation of the earth and made the heavens in the very beginning.
  6. God appointed Jesus as the heir of all things.
  7. Jesus sustains all things by His powerful word.
  8. Jesus sits at the right hand of God the Father in heaven.
  9. Jesus is much superior to the angels.
  10. Jesus’s throne/reign will last forever.
  11. The scepter of His kingdom is a scepter of justice/righteousness.
  12. Jesus loves righteousness and hates wickedness.
  13. Jesus is anointed with the oil of joy.
  14. Jesus will remain even after everything created is gone.

Hebrews 2

  1. Our salvation was first announced by Jesus.
  2. Jesus is the author/pioneer/source of our salvation.
  3. God put all things under Jesus’ control.
  4. Jesus, while on earth, was made fully human in every way.
  5. The reason why Jesus was made human is so that He could become a merciful (empathetic) and faithful (worthy) high priest on behalf of humans unto God.
  6. As human, Jesus suffered temptation.
  7. As human, Jesus suffered death.
  8. By his suffering of temptation, Jesus is able to help others who are being tempted.
  9. By his suffering of death, Jesus destroyed the devil’s hold on death, and is able to free everyone held captive by the haunting fear of death.
  10. Through the grace of God, Jesus experienced death on behalf of everyone.
  11. Jesus was made perfect through the things He suffered.
  12. Jesus, because he was fully human, is able to make peace with God for the sins of people.
  13. Through Jesus’ death, God is able to bring many sons and daughters (people who were previously lost in sin) to glory.
  14. Jesus is now crowned with glory and honour.
  15. It is Jesus who makes people saved and holy.
  16. Jesus is proud to call all those who experience his salvation, his “brothers” and “sisters.” (“Siblings.” “Family.” 😊)

PS: Woow, that is a lot of solid information! Feel free to go over any line that appeared new/unfamiliar, as many times as you need to. If you found a rather complex concept, I encourage you to hang in there. By the time we go through a few more chapters on ExcellerBlog, you might find just what you need. In addition, this may be the sign that you need to do a personal, thematic study of the book of Hebrews, lol. I, for one, think that the writer of Hebrews has excellent teaching and communications skills. Ideas are explained repeatedly, and the illustrations are superb. We are in for a fantastic ride!

I pray that as we find these gems about Jesus from the scriptures, the truths will make their way from our heads to our hearts; from our eyes to our minds and spirits. It will help us fix our gaze on Jesus the author of our faith, and make us fall in love with Him even more.

See ya soon! ❤

Bible Studies, Hope

Balancing Faith and Mental Health (Excerpts)

This post contains my notes from the talk on "Balancing Faith and Mental Health" which was delivered by Pastor Yinka Dada, MD during the just concluded Light Up Canada Conference. To watch the entire event, including other talks delivered by other seasoned ministers, please visit the RCCGCANADA YouTube Channel. I love me some exposition on mental health! If you're like me in this way, please keep scrolling! 🙂 My extras are in italics. 😉

“Jesus and Therapy”

Faith and mental health can coexist. People of faith can experience issues with their mental health. Some examples of people in the Bible who had issues with their mental health include Elijah (1 Kings 19:4), Jonah (Jonah 4:8) and David (Psalms 42:5-6).

I feel that fellow christians should really let this sink in, because sometimes, we like to act tough, or probably live in denial. I like the growing awareness that is being invested in the area of mental health. For me, this validates the recently increasingly popular quote – Jesus and Therapy)

Silence is golden

Silence can be golden, especially when comforting people. The speaker advised that rather than providing your speculations or unsure opinions to loved ones who are hurting, maybe try keeping shut, and just being there. (Hmm, imagine if Job’s friends had heeded this advice?)

Do not use spirituality to cover up things. Seek relevant knowledge.

Humans are tripartite beings consisting of spirit, soul and body. Sadly, we christians are fond of taking care of our spirits (by cultivating our relationship with God) but we must also take care of our souls (the seat of our emotions) as well as our bodies (using exercise, good food, etc.). Life is in seasons. As you grow older, you will need to take better care of your body.

Like yourself. Be comfortable in your own skin.

Possible Causes of Mental Ill-health

  1. Chemical imbalance in the brain. Lower levels of neurotransmitters can cause symptoms (like feelings of emptiness, sadness, etc.)
  2. Anatomy or physiology.
  3. Environment (where you were nurtured).
  4. Infections.
  5. Priorities.
  6. Losses. (Take time to mourn your losses. Another usual recommendation for dealing with losses is “Write down everything you have lost, go somewhere and burn the paper. Heal.”)
  7. Conflicts (such as in the family).
  8. Un-forgiveness (this blocks one’s pipes) and Bitterness (Please let go and let God.)

How to promote one’s mental health

Self-care is not selfish.

  1. Self-care: Self-care is not selfish. Self-care is unique to each person. Invest in yourself. Exercise. Read books. Practice endurance. Keep a journal of your thoughts, experiences, and learnings. Keeping journal is not old-school. It is in fact therapeutic. Be organized. Put some structures in place in your life. Do what you enjoy. Keep serving others.
  2. Self-Awareness: Have a clear perception of your personality including your strength, weaknesses, beliefs, thoughts, motivation and emotions. This helps you to understand how others perceive you. Have a healthy self-image and self-confidence. Like yourself. Psalms 139:13-14 Practice saying about yourself, “This girl/guy is beautiful/handsome. I look good, the way I have been framed.”
    • Be comfortable in your own skin.
    • Know who you are.
    • Know your habits.
    • Know the triggers of your emotions.
    • Everyone is unique and should be celebrated. Celebrate yourself.
    • Set realistic goals with tasks one at a time.
    • Do not internalize setbacks.
  3. Socialization: Have and nurture positive relationships. Do not isolate yourself. Through research, socialization helps us become healthier and happier. Luke 8:1-3
  4. Seek professional help: Seek the help of physicians, counsellor, psychologists, psychiatrist, social worker. Professional help is especially required for christians because many of us hardly ever open up.
  5. Supplication: Cultivate a deeper communion with God. Be vulnerable, avoid cover-ups. Isaiah 26:3.

Do not isolate yourself. Socialize.

I find these recommendations by Pastor Dada very relevant. Personally, I have an ever-increasing list of self-care items – unique activities that I utilize to care for my soul and body. How does a feel-good movie or a motivational book sound?! 💃🏽 I have shared a bunch of these in previous posts. (Please see below for related posts). Additionally, I like the idea of setting up structures and routines in my life, in areas where I can do so. I find that it brings a sense of order to my days/weeks; plus it is rather therapeutic. For instance, fellow parents, do you also have specific times when you begin bedtime routines; or the days when you prep meals/ do laundry; or specific meals you eat on some days in the week? 🙂 The other big thing for me is sometimes being vulnerable to God and a trusted few. But remember, you gotta trust the “few” because humans… humans can sometimes wag their tongues or turn mean. Wisdom is the rule of thumb.

I pray, dear reader, that God will keep your mind in perfect peace. I pray that every raging storm in your life ceases. I pray that you get lifting from every weight, relief from every discomfort, victory from all oppressions, joy in every way, and double for your troubles in Jesus’ name, Amen!

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Bible Studies, Faith

Grace… And Other Five Letter Words

Grace.

Grace is partial.

Grace is unfair.

Fair requires that the convicted pays a just penalty for their crime.

Fair requires that the innocent be acquitted.

Fair required that I, a chief offender, should pay with the last drop of my blood

For transgression that warranted a death sentence,

The offence that only blood could remit.

But mercy!

Mercy.

Mercy grew a voice and called my name.

Mercy said No! There is no way you would go.

Mercy reached out and saved a soul doomed for hell.

Mercy became a man so he could die in my place.

And die he did, though innocent and without fault.

He chose to die for me, a most shameful death on a cross.

The cross.

Oh, the cross.

To many, a couple old pieces of wood.

To some, a symbol of shame, disgrace and fatality.

But to me, the very representation of hope, honour and life.

For though my Savior was beaten, ridiculed and killed at the cross,

With Him was crucified my depravity, guilt and ultimate death.

And on the third day, he resurrected!

A victor, a hero – my hero.

The exchange is complete.

See, it is finished.

His death for my death,

My life for His.

Shame for dignity.

Guilt for liberty.

Lack for prosperity.

Sickness for vitality.

I died when he died.

Now I am risen to newness of life.

And I will yet rise, at the ripe time, to reign forever with Him.

Do you believe this?

This can be your story as well.

Happy Easter! Christ is risen!

Bible Studies

Weekly Nuggets #9 – Fruit Check

I was born in Benue State, a state located in the middle-belt region of Nigeria. Benue State is popularly known as “the Food Basket of the Nation” and rightly so, because in all the years that I have lived in other regions of Nigeria and now in Canada, I am yet to see a land that NATURALLY compares, in fertility and diversity of agricultural produce.

I am not exaggerating, folks. 😅

Let me give you an example.

Mangoes. I cannot even count the species of mangoes that I ate growing up. From around April every year, trees will begin to fill up with luscious, juicy mango fruits. Guess what? The different species had very cute names. 😁

We had Peter Mango. (I am not making these names up, friends. Look it up. 😅) Peter Mangoes are gigantic, typically bigger than your hand can hold. So, you would cut open a small section of its thick skin close to the top and use a spoon to drink up the juice of the fruit inside. Yummy, yummy in ya tummy. 😋💃🏽

Then, there is Julie Mango. That one has a more tender skin, allowing you to eat everything – outer skin, juice within, everything. Délicieuse! 💃🏽

Kerosene Mango has green, non-edible skin but oh-so-juicy inside. 🤤

I could go on and on.

You can simply imagine the joy we felt when mango seasons rolled by; and the disappointment we felt whenever we arrived at a particular tree and found that it didn’t produce fruit.

Self-check – Fruitfulness

It is God’s expectation that we produce fruit – the right kind of fruit.

It is also our responsibility to check the kinds of fruit that we produce – and how much of a certain fruit we do produce.

“What kind of fruit do I produce?” “Am I producing enough of this kind of fruit?”

“Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” (Matthew 7:20)

I was reflecting on this, and I thought of 3 kinds of fruits I would love to see in myself:

  • Excellence: Doing things properly, and beyond expectation.
  • Integrity: Being ethical, with or without an audience.
  • Resilience: Sticking to the course, no matter what.

What kinds of fruit will you like to see yourself produce?

Fruit Check for Relationships

There are 3 other kinds of fruits I would recommend that one looks out for, in a potential partner, especially at the onset of the relationship. This is irrespective of their physical appearance, the attraction, social status, or what title they hold in church. Fruit is key. Fruit is evident of what they really carry inside.

  • Kindness: How do they speak to you? (This is only one of the ways to check kindness!)
  • Support: How do they treat your dreams or aspirations?
  • Fairness: How do they treat others?

Fruit Source

What determines the kind of fruit a plant or tree produces?

The seed (and more specifically, the embryo).

When a mango seed is planted and maintained in the right environment, it will grow into a mango tree and produce lots of mango fruits.

Similarly, when the word of God is planted inside you, and you receive it (believe in it), it births the nature of God in you which in turns produces desirable fruit including love for others, peace within and with others, control over oneself, integrity/being dependable, patience, perseverance, among others.

“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” (1 Peter 1: 23)

🤔 What if you already became a Christian, accepted God’s word, but are still deficient in some fruit? Don’t you worry! You will need to employ the grafting technique in farming. Feed on what the word of God says about that specific fruit and before you know it, you will begin to produce that fruit as well! It is just the same technique that farmers use to make a sour orange tree produce sweet fruit!

Next time, we will talk about “the right environment” for our flourishing.

But for this week, I hope you start to desire and working towards producing some good fruit in your personal and professional life. 💚 And I hope that you get the opportunity to munch on some fruit you enjoy! 😜 Yummy in your tummy! 😋

Bible Studies, Faith

“Secrets of a Prayer Warrior” by Derek Prince (Book Summary)

Hi friends,

I just completed “Secrets of a Prayer Warrior” by Derek Prince. It is a fantastic book!!! It is written so simply that nothing can be missed, and yet so profound with core Biblical principles and truths that every Christian needs to study and imbibe. I loved it!!! 😃

In this post, I’ve put together my notes from the book. By the time you finish reading this, you would have successfully completing another fantastic book. Shall we? Leggo!!! High five! ✋🏽😉

Opening

A family friend of Derek and his wife wrote about a very unusual experience that he and his wife had when they visited the Princes’s for lunch. According to him, every now and then, Derek’s wife would prompt, “I think we need to pray for so-and-so person(s)” and at once, in a most organic way, everyone would connect hands and Derek would say a simple and direct prayer, “Thank you Lord for this fellow, help them…” Still at the table, they could pray for someone or something else. That’s a good kind of weird if you ask me. In fact, I would say it is worth emulating when we consider how much impact our prayers have, compared to the usual “normal” dinner where we typically complain about the economy or chat about past events. Suffice it to say that Derek Prince was indeed a prayer warrior and the information he wrote in this book were based on revelation as well as experience.

Derek’s opening statement was “For my part, I love to pray; and what is more, I get what I pray for. And that is just what I’m going to teach you – how to pray and get what you pray for.” (Sounds gutsy, I love it! 😃) He further explained that the condition for getting what we pray for is to align ourselves with the Lord by taking delight in what pleases Him. Psalms 37:4. When we do so, prayer becomes like a blank cheque that God gifts us.

Whenever we come to God, He does not scold us, He welcomes us.” (I love this one too! 🤭) A story that illustrates God’s absolute and continuous reception of us is the story of the Prodigal son. When we have this correct perspective of God’s personality, it amplifies our willingness to pray. Mark 11:24, Jn 14:13-14

“Prayer is one of the greatest opportunities, privileges and ministries.”

We are to take our place as priests in God’s kingdom by approaching God’s throne with our prayer requests. Others may not see you when you pray, but your life will count before God. “The people who rule the world are those who know how to pray.” 🔥

Steps to getting your prayers answered

  • Come with reverent submission. “Not as I will but as You Lord will.” Replace your will with God’s. We must consistently ask, “Am I praying for this because I want it or because God wants it?”
  • Have faith. Heb 11:6. 
  • Pray in Jesus’s name. John 15:7. When we pray in Jesus’s name, we come in the basis of who Jesus is.
  • Approach God boldly (with confidence and without condemnation)
  • Forgive those who hurt you.
  • Be directed by the Holy Spirit.
  • Praying in accordance with the Word of God. Know the scriptures, discover those exceeding great and precious promises.

“The Spirit of God and the word of God always work together, for a prayer to be effective.”

Different kinds of prayer

  • Praying for our nation’s government is a top priority prayer for us Christians. We have no injunction in scripture to criticize our government, rather we have an obligation to pray for our leaders, pray against prejudice, injustice, bad governance.
  • Our responsibility in the world is to give the world flavour. Flavour for who? For God. We are to make the world acceptable to God’s taste. We are the salt of the earth.
  • God requires us to be humble, pray, seek God’s face (i.e. to pray until we know we’ve met him and the answer is on the way) and turn from our wicked ways.
  • Praising God for His greatness and thanking him for all He’s done for us are gates. They are the ways we are encouraged in the Bible to approach God’s presence, and they are also weapons of warfare. Praise and thanksgiving are both vocal.
  • Worship is an attitude or position of the body. Worship comes before, and is twice as important as service. Worship is a heart bowed low in God’s presence.
  • Petition: Asking for things. Follow petitions up by thanking God continually for answering the request. In the matter of prayer, we also need faith and patience. Keep the plug in. Learn to make bold confessions in line with your faith.
  • Intercession: This is one of the highest acts of the Christian life. It requires maturity and standing before the Lord on someone’s behalf. Here are four qualities of an intercessor: They must have an absolute conviction of God’s righteousness and judgement/justice. They must have a deep concern of God’s glory. They must be an intimate acquaintance with God. To be an intercessor requires holy boldness.
  • Supplication: Supplicants pray for mercy and grace.
  • Command: Joshua 10. Command prayers begin with first speaking to the Lord in prayer, then speaking to that circumstance/element/thing on God’s behalf.
  • Commitment: If you commit something to the Lord, trust God and leave it.
  • Dedication: This is similar to commitment but in this case, you are offering yourself to God, not something or someone. 
  • Persistence.
  • Miracle and Healing. 
  • Spiritual warfare.
  • When you praise the name of Jesus, you shut the devil’s mouth.
  • The devil’s work since after he was cast out of heaven is that of accusing God’s children before God. When we criticize ourselves or others, we join the devil to do his work. We must not criticize.
  • We are accepted in the beloved, not because of what we are, but because of what Jesus is.
  • Here is how to use the Blood of Jesus. Personally testify to what the Word of God says that the Blood of Christ does for you. Who should you testify to? Testify to Satan – your accuser. Some biblical testimonies and confessions that Derek recommends are as follows:
    • “Through the Blood of Jesus, I am redeemed out of the hand of the devil. Through the blood of Jesus, all my sins are forgiven.” Eph. 1:7, Psalm 107:2.
    • “The Blood of Jesus continually cleanses me from all sin.” 1 John 1:7. (Note that the condition for enjoying this benefit is that we must live in the light and stay in fellowship with other believers.)
    • “Through the blood of Jesus, I am justified, made righteous, just as if I had never sinned.” [Rom 5:9]
    •  “Through the blood of Jesus, I am sanctified, made holy, set apart to God.” Heb 13: 12.
    • “My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, redeemed, cleansed, sanctified by the blood of Jesus. Therefore, Satan has no place in me and no power over me through the blood of Jesus.”1 Cor 6: 19 (Condition: You must ensure that your body is for the Lord, especially that unruly part – the tongue. 
  • Here is a prayer of thanksgiving that Derek suggested to follow the confessions above. “Thank you for the precious blood of Jesus. Thank you for the redemptive blood of Christ. Thank you for the justifying, sanctifying, precious blood of the lamb of God. Blessed be the name of the Lord. I praise You Jesus for You paid the price of my redemption. You shed your precious blood on the cross. You are the lamb slain from the foundation of the world. And now Lord, I have taken the blood from the basin and transferred it to my own personal needs by the hyssop of my testimony, Amen.”
  • Knowing God’s will for us or a situation should provoke us to a new measure of spiritual earnestness. We must persist in prayer.

Closing

In the concluding part of this book, Derek went into a powerful prophecy concerning the church of Jesus as a whole. He said that the body of Christ will bloom, she shall come forth and take her place on earth. He wrote about the spiritual and material prosperity that the church will experience, how the church will be very relevant to the world, and what the later days will look like. Such wonderful pictures of a glorious church to which I say Yes. Amen. So be it, Lord. Let Your kingdom come, and your will be done! 🙏🏽

I hope that you enjoyed reading Derek Prince’s “Secrets of a Prayer Warrior” with me? 😊 I happily recommend this book to anyone interested in learning about prayer.

Have a most FANtasTIC and BLESSed new week ahead! 💚

Bible Studies, Faith

Rainbow Reasons for Daily Quiet Time

Introduction

Quiet time is a fundamental discipline of the Christian faith. It is the time that an individual specially sets apart daily to communicate with God alone. It often involves a two-way conversation; you listening to God from His word, and speaking to Him through prayers, praise and worship.

A christian’s personal devotion is a very important and irreplaceable part of their everyday life. Young christians and mature christians alike need to have a daily personal devotion. It cannot be replaced by your family devotion, your church’s daily morning/evening prayer, your favourite television ministry, or any corporate ministerial altar that you enjoy participating in. Those are all helpful, they have their place and should not be neglected. But your quiet time is a priority. It is like your inheritance, your esteemed right. 

Imagine that your father is a wealthy and loving king who enjoys handing out gifts to his children daily. Will you be satisfied with hand-me-downs or collective shares from your siblings? I believe not. What is more, God our heavenly father looks forward to hearing from us exclusively everyday! (Isaiah 50:4, Psalms 8:4)

Daily fellowship with God is an indication of a thriving Christian life. Personally, consistency in my personal devotion proves to me that my relationship with God is healthy and growing. Whenever I begin to slack, it alerts me to be on the lookout.

Even Jesus our role model, whilst he was on earth, made it his lifestyle to seclude himself from everyone else in order spend time with the Father (Mark 1:35). It is little wonder that he enjoyed such intimacy (John 10:30) and approval from God (Luke 9:35, Mark 9:7).

In other posts, we will delve into the quiet time process and its setting but for this article, I would like to show, mostly from Psalms 119, seven benefits of going to the Bible and God’s presence everyday. We would design each benefit with one of the rainbow colours, just for the fun of it!

Rainbow Reasons

  1. Immediate Needs: It delivers to us our daily bread/meal/rest/sleep/laughter.

[His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence. II Peter 1:3] [May my supplication come before you; deliver me according to your promise. Psalms 119:170]

The different things that we need in the day or season of our lives, including affirmation, peace, promises, warnings and directives can be received during our personal devotion. Sometimes, you could be reading your bible and you hear God saying, “Today, be slow to speak” and that singular instructions would save you a world of heartache! Or while praying, you could hear God speaking to your spirit, “In this season, I will show myself in an extraordinary way to you. I will hold your hand and assure you of my presence like you have never experienced it.” What delight, especially if it has been a rather trying period!)

  1. God’s Pleasure: It guides us to live pleasing to God.

[You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed. Psalms 119:4] [How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. Ps 119:9] [Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me. Psalms 119:133]

God has expectations for the way we ought to live. Obeying Him shows that we love Him and are subject to His lordship over us. There is no better place to address the inconsistencies in our character, our flaws and failures than during our personal devotion because in that place, there is no fear of public opinions or criticism. Just us and God, the Father and Master who is committed to building us to become the best as He is. We can be vulnerable and sincere to Him. We can also celebrate our progress, in His presence.

  1. Direction for Life: It illuminates to us the big picture AS WELL AS the baby steps – the next few days or years of our lives.

[Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. Psalms 119:18] [Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalms 119:105] [For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11]

Daily devotion reveals to us the plans that God has for us. The light for our path is like the big picture. Countless people have come to understand their career direction or ministry focus while they sat reading the Bible by themselves. Others realized a burden in their hearts for certain underserved groups, the government or military as they stayed in God’s presence. The lamp for the feet can be the next line of action or decision that one may be contemplating. For instance, it is not out of place to perceive an impression in your mind saying, “That business deal will not end up profitable, do not engage.” There are so many advantages of spending time with God.

4. Spiritual Understanding: It reveals God’s person and His ways to us.

[That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. Ephesians 1:17] [You are good, and what you do is good. Psalms 119:68] [Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations: you established the earth, and it endures. Psalms 119:89-90]

Digging into the Bible brings a revelational knowledge of God, it builds personal conviction, it increases intimacy with Him. What easier way to get to know a loved one than to spend quality time with them? What better proof of our love for God than frequent one-on-one communication. When we draw near to God, He in turn draws near to us and rewards our seeking Him with understanding of His ways that could never be comprehended by the human senses, the logical mind or academic learning – things that are only revealed by the Holy Spirit. (I Corinthians 2:11)

  1. Triumph: Daily devotion keeps us victorious over the devil, tough situations & challenges.

[Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. Psalms 119:165. This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life. Psalms 119: 50]

Every knee bows to Jesus’s name, and that includes sickness, hardship, depression, satanic attacks, you name it. All power belongs to God and He always wins. One of the things that we do during personal devotion is that we bring our challenges and those of others in our lives to God, and He addresses them all. He puts the devil under our feet and hands us the victory, hallelujah! One of my favourite verses in the Bible is Psalms 119:165 above! When certain tough situations stand before me or when I feel overwhelmed or troubled, that verse is one of the weapons I draw out, reciting it quietly under my breath or a few times as fiercely as I need to. And before long, I see God take over, and my peace is restored!

  1. Conventional Wisdom: Quiet time makes us smart – “wiser than our peers, our enemies and our tutors.”

[Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies. Psalms 119:98] [I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. Psalms 119:99] [I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts. Psalms 119:100]

There are wells of wisdom that can be drawn from God’s word and His presence. He is the One who with infinite wisdom created the world and everything in space, in the oceans, under the earth’s surface and everywhere else, much of which are still being discovered by humans and scientists! By learning from Him, we would definitely be people of value to our worlds. We can glean hands-on wisdom that we can apply in business, the workplace, family life, parenting, community service, to mention only a few!

  1. Joy and Delight: Reading the Bible brings unexplainable and sustained joy

[Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Ps 119: 97] [How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Psalms 119:103] [Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart. Psalms 119:111]

There is fullness of joy in God’s presence! Everyone who goes to meet Him with a heavy heart, tears or bitterness experiences a relief from the burden. This joy is resident, irrespective of circumstances. It comes from an assurance that God is taking care of everything that bugs us! It does not matter if everyone else is complaining that there is a casting down; any christian who has learned to cultivate the presence of God testifies to a lifting. Do you want a daily portion of joy and happiness? Becoming consistent with your quiet time may just be what you need! 🙂

Conversing with God breeds His presence in me.

Praising His name makes me healthy and happy.

Meditating on the Word keeps temptation at bay.

Sitting at His feet takes me leaping with wings.

A Bible verse each day keeps the devil away.

A word from God n’ I’m in sync with His Spirit!

excellerblog
Bible Studies, Faith

JEHOVAH EL – HAPPENSTANCE (Case Study – Ruth)

This morning, I was reading the story of Ruth and Boaz and it struck me how God exploits the ordinary occurrences in our everyday lives to bring to pass His good intentions and to take us where He wants us. 

God is sovereign, He is a master strategist, the CEO of the entire world and of our lives – the Master of the Universe. 

I mean, if you imagine this world to be an organization, then God is definitely sitting on the Board, making policies and rolling out strategic plans, programs and projects that would all coordinate to achieve the business value of His kingdom. This is without doubt a very powerful position – top management and all. Normally we should be concerned about one single Being having such enormous influence under His wing but guess what? We aren’t! We are not concerned or worried about God’s greatness. On the contrary, we are thrilled by it because we know that God is absolutely loving and is working for our good at ALL times.

And every now and then, He utilizes the situations of our lives, the people we meet and the even our mundane routines to accomplish the most amazing things.

Check out what happened with Ruth.

She had just migrated to a new country in search of greener pastures with only a single family member (who was a dependent!) and a baggage of bereavement, personal loss and uncertainties. She must have been plagued with the concerns that every single/widowed, immigrant woman would have, even in the best of circumstances: 

  • Will life in Bethlehem be significantly different from my country of origin Moab?
  • Will I experience the much-spoken-of culture shock?
  • If I do, how long would it take me to overcome it?
  • Would my skills be relevant in the foreign land?
  • Will I be able to make a livelihood and care for my mother-in-law who is now advancing in age and very much depends on me?
  • Will I get a second chance at love and marriage?
  • How much would it matter that I had once been married?
  • Will I have the opportunity to mother a child?
  • How different will I be? Will my difference matter?
  • How receptive will the Israelites be of a formerly heathen woman?
  • Nothing seems to be working right now. What if I ‘fail’ at life again?

To be clear, these are very legitimate concerns that anyone in Ruth’s shoes could have. In fact, these considerations may be helpful for preparing one’s self for what lies ahead. For instance, if an immigrant woman notices that her skills are inadequate, she might consider acquiring skills that are suitable for her new location. 

But very often, the unknowns in our lives fast become worry- or depression- traps. 

Last year, I was doing a research for work on the various personality traits and I found IBM’s (now deprecated but enlightening) description  of someone who has a high range of depression as a person who “thinks quite often about the things they are unhappy about;” and someone who is prone to worry is described as a person who “often feels like something unpleasant, threatening, or dangerous is about to happen.”

Needless to say, depression and worry are two emotions we definitely should not cultivate or aid in any way. And guess what breeds them: dwelling on unhappy circumstances or unpleasant happenstances.

So, what did Ruth do in her case?

She refused to succumb to the appeal of depression or worry. She would not throw in the towel. She braved the unfortunate situations of her life and faced the uncertainties with her back as straight as a ramrod and her eyes in the future. I imagine that she woke up one morning a week after their move, had the talk with herself, took a bath, threw on some clean cloths, made breakfast for herself and Mamma Naomi, and set out! You know the talk I mean. That frank conversation we often have with ourselves when we need to come to terms with some hard realities in our lives and then proceed to take definite decisions or steps. I have had the talk countless times in my own life and I am sure that you also have. 

I can picture Ruth having that conversation in her head maybe in front of a mirror,

“Girl, let’s face it, life's been tough! These past few years have been dry and unpleasant with the famine and hardship in my home country, the demise of hubby  and Papa Elimelech, and Mamma breaking down in despair, now merely a shadow of herself. And now, you both live in this unfamiliar land. Honestly, you are all  you’ve got, gurl. Yes, everyone has been warm and supportive so far but very importantly, you’ve got to be strong for yourself and for Mamma, and if the God  of Israel is anything like Mamma Naomi says, then I think that things will get  better. The future that now looks bleak would become bright! But first, I need  to get up and get out!” 
Ruth gleaning. Photo credit: https://images.app.goo.gl/AJtSmAWMGQbD98dn8

We read in Ruth 2 that she said to her mother-in-law, “Mamma, I’m going to work; I’m going out to glean among the sheaves, following after some harvester who will treat me kindly.” (MSG translation paraphrased) and Naomi gave her thumbs up.

Now, see Jehovah El-happenstance at work! See how the Lord ordered Ruth’s steps in a most spectacular way on this day that anything – good or bad – could have happened.

Ruth 2: 3-4, “And so she set out. She went and started gleaning in a field, following in the wake of the harvesters. Eventually she ended up in the part of the field owned by Boaz, her father-in-law Elimelech’s relative. A little later Boaz came out from Bethlehem, greeting his harvesters, “God be with you!” They replied, “And God bless you!”

Wow! What coincidence? In an unexplainable turn of events, Ruth just happened to walk into the area of the field owned by Boaz who also happened to be her late husband’s relative. Bear in mind that it was normal practice in those days in Israel for the less privileged to glean after the owner of the land had harvested. This was part of the policies that God had given his people to ensure that the poor or foreigners were fed; you do not get to harvest ALL your crops – you leave some behind for anyone who might need them! (Leviticus 23:22) Therefore, as a matter of fact, Ruth could have been in any other person’s farmland at the time because everyone left gleanings behind. But I am persuaded that God in His infinite wisdom and power controlled Ruth’s steps to somehow come into Boaz’s portion at when she did!

And yet in another baffling coincidence, Boaz happened to come out to greet his workers at the same time when Ruth was still in his farmland! And as every responsible business owner would do, he noticed an unfamiliar face, asked to know who it was and when he heard that Ruth was that Moabite woman who had shown kindness to Naomi his relative and when he heard about Ruth’s stellar work ethic, he instantly gave her an open cheque and open arms. I imagine him saying to her, “From now on, please do not bother to go to any other farmland, stay with my people, work with my young women, harvest, harvest, harvest all you want. Take breaks with us and eat whatever we are eating! I’ve got you, and in all humility, I am a prosperous man. Frankly, this is the least that I could do because my dear woman, you will be immensely blessed by God for all the help you give Naomi!”

No way! Ruth couldn’t believe her eyes. Just yesterday, it looked like her and Naomi’s morning would never break. But today, the God of Israel has changed their story! She was beyond excited! She took the goodies home and told Naomi everything. The latter was shocked! She said, “Why, God bless that man! God hasn’t quite walked out on us after all! He still loves us, in bad times as well as good!” This was the same Naomi who not in the distant past had lost all hope and even legit changed her name to Bitter-lyn because she just couldn’t!

But from that day, their good fortune did not end. Things got better and better. 

  • Ruth very much enjoyed her new and significantly different life in Judah
  • Her skills and values were relevant and even commended in the foreign land
  • She made a living and secured a good life for Naomi and herself!
  • God gifted her a second chance at love because in yet another wonderful chance occurrence, albeit aided by an idea given to her by her beloved Mama Naomi, Ruth eventually got married to Boaz her benefactor and guess what, they had a son together! Apparently, it didn’t matter to Boaz that she was a widow. If anything, that may have been a catalyst itself!
  • Ruth served the God of Naomi, the God of Israel, the God whom she realized loves them very much!
  • She was accepted and became a part of the community. The towns-women literarily threw a dance party for Naomi after her delivery.
  • Ruth’s life was a huge success, so much so that she, a once bereaved, seemingly-forsaken and once foreign/heathen woman became a part of the direct lineage of Jesus the Messiah. Her name is one of the few five female names listed in this prestigious family tree of Jesus! That is like modern day Guinness book of records, but in a class of its own. She was an all-round success.

Personally, I have had countless ‘coincidences’ that in retrospect could only have been God’s hand at work, pulling through His good plans. Many of the people who made significant impact in my life seem like I met them by chance, which makes me wonder, “Was it a coincidence after all? Or was it as a result of a master plan from a Master Strategist?

Anyone who feels like they have had it with life, that everything seems so wrong; or anyone who has been expecting a particular thing for such a long time that they are on the verge of giving up hope must remember this passage;

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

There is a God who created the heavens and the earth, who has a good purpose, and who will work out all the many details of your life if you love Him. Just picture a master chess player and the way they maneuver the pawns till they win. God is a way better strategist and He always wins. And every time He wins, you win also!

To wrap this up, there are 3 considerations I would like you my dear reader to mind:

  1. Notice the condition for the Romans 8:28 promise where God works out the details of life for our good: We have to love God. What does it mean to love God? It means to obey Him; to treasure His words and do what He asks us to in the Bible. It means saying, “I will no longer be in charge, I want the God who created all things to be my master. I accept forgiveness for my past wrongs because Jesus – God’s son died for my total pardon and redemption. From now on, I am free to serve God!
  2. I have learned that sometimes, in the course of life, we have to wait! In those seasons, God is working behind the scenes and all we have to do is wait. I mean, no matter how thrilled an expecting mother is at the prospect of receiving her baby, she still has to wait some 9 months for the baby to be fully formed.
  3. While waiting, by all means, we must do what we can. Do whatever the present situation allows you that is fair and right. 

There is a Jehovah El-coincidence – a God who would maximize our situations and efforts to give us a story as beautiful as Ruth’s.

Bible Studies

MY INSURANCE POLICY STATEMENT

Most adults pay for at least one kind of insurance (Car, Life, Education insurance, etc.)
Why?
Because we want to ensure SUSTAINED survival and progress.
Guess what?
I found some insurance promises in the Bible.
I am super excited! Can’t stop dancing.

Check these out.
1. The favour of the Lord is for a LIFETIME. (Ps. 30:5)
2. The steadfast love of the Lord never CEASES. (Lam. 3:22)
3. God’s mercies never come to an END. In fact, they are new EVERY morning. (Lam. 3:23)
4. Goodness and mercy will pursue me ALL the days of my life. (Ps. 23:6)
5. See, God’s presence is with me ALWAYS, even to the end of time. (Matt. 28:20)
6. NOTHING can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus. (Rom. 8:28)
7. ALL things work together for my good because I love God and am called according to His purpose! (Rom. 8:38-39)
Glory!
I am insured.
It gets better.
I update my list of dividends on this life insurance policy everyday! The policy document is God’s word. It’s all in there. For me.
My life is full of light, life, glory, grace, love, favours, goodness, help, blessings, health, vitality, miracles, acceleration, fruits, impact, excellence, anointing, peace, joy, integrity. My life is full of Jesus. Because it has pleased the Father that in Him (Jesus) should all fullness dwell. And I am complete in Him.

Bible Studies

Spirit –  Led, not Mind – Led

Everyday in the life of a Christian #Exceller, there is a silent but severe battle. A battle to decide whether to be led by the Spirit of God or to be led by our minds; our sensuality and intellectual. Boy, this battle is strong! Our senses are five (or six) in number. Our knowledge is vast and our intellects are fast expanding. 

But there is a resounding victory for every time our spirit wins and we listen to God’s still small voice. And we act in obedience to His nudging. We move forward in the positive – x direction of our destinies. We please God and align with divine purpose. 

Keep pushing, bro. Keep pushing, mi’lady. Victory is in sight. Victory is ours. 

For as many as are led by the Spirit of the Lord, they are the sons of God. Keep winning, keep listening, keep excelling. This post is with much love from Excellerblog to you, dear reader.