HE WANTS US TO BE RIGHTEOUS

(Isaiah 1:10-20)

God is very much interested in our righteousness than in the things we offer Him. In the message God sent through the prophet Isaiah to the rebellious nation of Jerusalem and Judah above, He emphasized how what He is offered by the people meant nothing to Him.

He went on to tell the people that no matter how hard they prayed unto him in their sins (whilst their hands are covered with blood), it would amount to nothing because He would hide His eyes from them. He then called out to the people to come and settle their matter. He assures purity when one comes unto Him to settle their sins. (Isaiah 1:18)

And it only takes your willingness and obedience to have your matter settled with the Lord, and earn the privilege of enjoying the fruits of the land. In verse 21-22 of the chapter one of the book of Isaiah, God tells the people how they will suffer if they refuse to come to Him. The message in boldness is God is interested in your righteousness than in your gifts.

Have a fruitful week, Amen!

WHERE LIES THE LOVE?

One very popular saying among friends, lovers, and groups of people with dwindling relationships is: Familiarity breeds contempt. A core attribute of a relationship, which we humans, due to our imperfection, fail to uphold at all times, is ENDURANCE. Love, defined in my words, is a Life Of Valued Endurance. We can never spell LOVE without ENDURANCE. God, The institutor, and the one who saw it not good for man to be alone and has hence provided a comforter, is ready to endure the pain of our transgressions and accept us back anytime we go wrong, not because we do not offend Him that much, but because in life mistakes are bound to happen, and the greatest of all wisdom lies in the forgiveness and acceptance of someone’s iniquities.

Why, at all, do I talk about offence and forgiveness when the issue at hand is familiarity? It is unarguable that familiarity sprouts its ugly head by a sparkle of an unforgiving sin. Better put, a sin that is becoming hard to forgive and forget is the speed dialler of familiarity in a relationship. Though every relationship is bound to face the wind of familiarity in one way or the other even without cause, it is the one with cause that breeds contempt. Do you know that love is the only thing that makes obedience lighter than sacrifice?

To what extent does familiarity breed contempt? To the extent of not exchanging glances, nods, greetings, or even the extent of no longer being friends as used to? A perplexed friend said, “I love my girlfriend so much, and I am beginning to imagine the day when this love we are enjoying is going to permit me to raise my filthy hands on her or tell her how foolish she was for feeling that I was going to love her forever, without thinking that the more we get closer in time, the familiar, and the farter we become in love. We get closer in time, and are bound to disregard each other in the same time, in love: Is that familiarity breeds contempt? If that is it, then I don’t think I will fall a prey to familiarity in my relationship. “

I think Ama is right to say, “Familiarity breeds contempt is when the things you once valued turn valueless, such that you overlook them and do as you please with them. For instance, love birds promised themselves not to have sex until after marriage, but as they get familiar with each other in time,  they overlook the sacred promise they uphold and go on to break it by having sex since ‘no sex till after marriage’ has lost its value before their eyes. It is familiarity that will make a man raise his hands on his wife.”

Where we all go wrong in issues of love when we are at a low ebb is the refusal to look unto the institutor of this whole thing, that some claim is fallacy. The trying days will definitely come, but how do you confront it? Do you yield unto it, or you fight it with all your might? It is absolutely amazing how God in His wisdom saw how it would help a man to be together in love with a special someone, and man in his folly is trying hard to block all roads leading to this happiness in togetherness. A very very sad and unfortunate event is witnessing a quarrel or scuffle between people who were once love doves. The kind of words they use on each other without thinking of the spiritual and psychological implications they were going to have on themselves is simply stunning. Raining curses upon curses on each other all because they have allowed the devil to use them at the time the love they have is at a low ebb. They suddenly forget that they were people who once enjoyed the most intimate of moments, having the most erotic pats and gestures ever. It seriously feels like to cry when people forgo and undermine the endurance in love.

Where is the love? That vultures will be circling the air when lovers are going to meet? That the holiest of moments between lovers will turn a stranglehold? This can’t certainly be part of God’s plan. Love is, no doubt, an amazingly complex thing. At one point your feelings confirm that you love him/her, at another point too you do not feel the love you have for him/her. It is, however, dangerous to base your love for someone on how you feel. Feelings do not last forever, and that is why you cannot trust your feelings. Get a better reason to love someone so that when a low ebb comes you would be unshakeable. Let your inner man be the witness to your love for someone and your heart always confirming that you love that person for no other condition or reason – Save love. You just love him/her and have decided to love him/her come what may… as long as God permits. Never get used to your loved ones, always hold them down in high esteem forever.

MY FOOTSTEPS BE LOST IN HIS FOOTPRINTS

I once sat listening to the radio and one elderly man made this statement on it, “Sometimes in life, one needs to have his/ her own footsteps, and not walk in the footprints already created by others. It is better to take your own steps and leave bad footprints behind than having taken no step at all, at least there is joy in having done something, whether bad or good, than nothing”. However, after reading a book authored by Robert Liardon on how Kathryn Kuhlman was yielded to the Holy Spirit, I realised that as Christians we ought to walk in the steps of God’s Holy Spirit. In truth, this is true worship. Moses prayed that if God’s presence does not go before the people of Israel, they will not go. Actually, people who are ready to yield themselves completely to the Holy Spirit have their minds prepared to walk in the footprints of the Spirit.

Bible says that walking according to the spirit prevents one from fulfilling the desires of the flesh. We Christians cannot be without the Holy Spirit for it is our make-up and the legacy left us by Christ Jesus Himself. Making one’s own steps is bound to create difficulties for a life, especially one in/ toward ministry. The truth is that every believer is called into ministry. When it comes to spiritual matters, no one can live without the Spirit. That is why God, by His Holy Spirit, creates the path: makes the steps for us to tread.

If there is any step worth making for me, may it be in the footprints of the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Let me indulge a case study to buttress this point. People living in areas where the road surfaces are made of clayey soil and undressed, like me, will attest that the roads become difficult to ply whenever it rains heavily; the whole path becomes thick with mud. Well, and if someone has gone ahead of you, you can see the deep footprints left behind as a result of the person carrying the mud at that area on his/her shoe. So if you are able to step in the footsteps of the first person, then it is possible that you will carry less mud, and have a trip with less attempts at biting the dust. However, this is highly dependent on whether the first person stepped at good places and at intervals convenient for you. Beloved, the footsteps that the Holy Spirit makes are solid and trustworthy and at intervals that we can easily and freely walk in.

Please Heavenly Father, let my footsteps be lost in the footprints of the Holy Spirit that men would not be able to see my footsteps but yours.

Courtesy: Ameyaw Bernice Ama

GIVE RIGHTEOUSLY

(Genesis 18:1-15)

Giving in righteousness triggers the blessings of the good Lord

Some people do good to others expecting some material things in return; others do it for the satisfaction of putting a smile on someone’s face; some too do it in expectance of a heart’s desire(s) from God; and more often than not do people give to impress and show off that they have something in abundance.

The Lord surely rewards every giver. Let your reason for doing good be a good one and your blessings from the Lord will know no bounds. Reading the reference scripture, it is evident that Abraham gave the three messengers of the Lord that special treatment because He wanted them to bless His house before leaving. And surely they did. Abraham gave off his best to the messengers of the Lord and he received the best from the Lord.

Beloved, before you start thinking that you can bribe the good Lord with the good you do for others, or your offerings unto Him, read Isaiah 1:10-15. In your sin, know that your offerings are as good as nothing, they attract no reward rather curses. In as much as we are aware that giving triggers blessings from the lord, let us give with good hearts, pure intentions, and clean hands. God be with us all. Amen!

THE TRAGEDY OF LIFE

The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. It isn’t a disgrace to not reach the stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach for. It isn’t a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream.

Benjamin E. Mays

FORGETFUL FORGIVENESS

The one prerequisite for membership in the true Christian church is that you be a sinner. If you do not think you are a sinner, you are not a candidate for the church. But the other side of the paradox is that Christianity holds that if you confess or acknowledge your sins with contrition, then it is wiped out. The word “contrition” is very important here, and what is required is feeling bad, suffering over what you have done. If you acknowledge your sin with contrition, then the slate is wiped clean. It is as if the sin never existed. You can start over again fresh and clean every time.

There is a very sweet story about this concept. A little Filipino girl said she talked to Jesus, and people in her village began to get excited about that. Then word got around to some of the neighbouring villages, and other people began to get excited about it. Finally, word reached the Bishop’s palace, and the Bishop became somewhat concerned, because, after all, you can’t have any unauthorized saints walking around in the Catholic Church. So he appointed a monsignor to investigate the case.

The little girl was brought to the Bishop’s palace for a series of psychotheological diagnostic interview. At the end of the third interview, the monsignor threw up his hands and said, “I just don’t know, I don’t know what to make of this. I don’t know whether you are for real or not. But there is one acid test. The next time you talk to Jesus, I want you to ask Him what I confessed to at the last confession. Would you do that?” The little girl said she would. She went away and came back for her interview the next week, and with barely disguised eagerness the monsignor asked, “So my dear, did you talk to Jesus again this past week?”

She said, “Yes, father, I did.”

“And when you talked to Jesus this past week, did you remember to ask Him what I confessed to at the last confession?”

“Yes, father, I did.”

“Well? When you asked Jesus what I confessed to at my last confession, what did He say?”

And the little girl answered, “Jesus said, ‘I have forgotten.’”

If the one we sin against forgives and forgets, why do we want to bother ourselves by keeping our confessed sins in mind? Once our sins are confessed with contrition, they are forgotten: they no longer exist in the mind of God. Let that guilt go now!

Courtesy: page 158, Further along the road Less Travelled, m. scott peck