Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Righteousness of Faith

Christians go through a painful learning process in order to learn absolute reliance on God. When God humbled them and fed them with manna, which they knew not, neither did their fathers know that He might make you know that Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord does man live (Deut 8:3).

When an individual does not draw that conclusion, he prolongs the duration of that process within his life. This process is meant to be educative but its whole essence could be wasted if you refuse to learn the lessons embedded in it. Without successfully passing through this stage, a lifestyle of labour and striving sets in.

This was the mindset that Paul was trying to address in the Galatian church (Gal 3:1-8). The Christians in this church had been trying to match up to the standard. They had the desire to do God’s will but lacked the knowledge on how to perform. They found their faith to be dead due to their lack of knowledge (James 2:26).

When they met with this brick wall, they discovered that there was a right way of doing things which produces what they believed God for. This right method is communicated by God when an individual trusts in Him for the manifestation of their desires. In Gal 3:6, Abraham believed God and that belief was turned into a life of rightness.

As Abraham started living in that righteousness, he got the results promised. This spiritual principle is accessible to anyone who fulfils its demand of belief. If a person exercises genuine faith in God for financial prosperity, God communicates the righteousness of the expressed faith to such an individual i.e. He communicates the right way of going about it to the person. When the individual lives out that righteousness, results are produced.The Christian life is lived by the Spirit of God in us.

As Christians, we can only do the dictates of the Father by relying on the Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit longs to produce God’s excellent life in us. For instance, it is a good thing for an individual to envision and make some desirable confessions about his family life. However, he needs to rely on the Spirit’s guidance for wisdom on how to achieve the results he wants.

The future of a believer is hinged on obedience to such Spirit-inspired promptings. It is not based on any organisational code of conduct, but on the Holy Spirit’s dealings. These dealings are very personal they are based on the faith that the person has exercised in God that no one else knows about.

God’s work in you does not start until you lay hold on His will for you. The starting point is that every Christian in a vital walk with God embraces God’s will for their life. God started His work in Abraham when He declared His will unto him (Gen 17:4). When this work was initiated, Abraham started making decisions as the Holy Spirit revealed.

At that stage in his relationship with God, the Holy Spirit started regulating his decisions and actions. It was a father/son relationship because even when Abraham missed God’s will at some points, God lovingly corrected him. He then created opportunities for him to get things right all these took place without condemnation because God is always primarily interested in the relationship.

His only desire is that we approach Him by faith in order to obtain wisdom from Him, wisdom on how to inherit the promise (Gal 4: 1-2).

From the Desk of Pastor Poju

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Seed of Abraham

Genuine faith always moves God to open His treasury of wisdom to us. It is, however, worth mentioning that this learning process is not one size fits all. It is customised for every believer according to what is necessary for them. This is because what is necessary for one person might just not be right for the other. This thought should eliminate criticism as no one has any right to judge another man’s servant (Romans 14:4). The same thought is also against stifling doctrines and codes of conduct: adherence to codes does not necessarily mark out Abraham’s seed. The only distinguishing feature in all heirs of the promise is productivity in their endeavours whatever they do blossoms. Jesus emphasised this in John 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit so shall ye be my disciples.

Even in desolate places, Abraham’s seed springs forth as a tender plant. Wherever he is situated, he reveals the arm of the Lord to the nations. Through discretion and wisdom, he becomes extolled (Is 52:13). As Abraham’s seed, every believer must personally take up the responsibility of walking in and fulfilling the covenant. It is a personal decision that every heir must make if he is to differ from the servant (Gal 4:1). Isaac and Jacob each made this decision at some points in their lives. And there was a famine in the land besides the first famine that was in the day of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech….. And the Lord appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt dwell in the land which I shall tell you of… Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year a hundred fold and the Lord blessed him. The man waxed great and went forward, grew until he became very great. And it came to pass . . . that Jacob said unto Laban, send me away that I may go unto my own place, and to my country. . . And Laban said unto him, I pray you, if I have found favour in your eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the Lord has blessed me for your sake (Gen 26:1-212, 30:2527).

As seen in the foregoing scriptures, every one that is the seed of Abraham should experience this quality of life. This level of manifestation should be seen in their daily lives. Just like Isaac and Jacob, our bosses and associates should be able to testify of the distinct productivity they have seen in us. When we take up personal responsibility as heirs of the promise, we become blessings to all and sundry. It is at this stage that life offers us a blank cheque every little thing we touch becomes a multitude (Gen 30:28, 30). This level of manifestation God only bestows on sons. Though we are all heirs, “. . . the promise was not to seeds as of many but t the seed as of one” (Gal 3:16). Even in Abraham’s biological lineage, the fullness of the promise was usually transferred to one man in every generation i.e. Abraham #8594 Isaac #8594 Jacob #8594 Joseph. This was in spite of the fact that there were several potential heirs in each generation.

However, this type of productivity is not automatically obtained. It is only bestowed on heirs who are hungry for wisdom. Jacob, Isaac and Joseph were all men of understanding, who were ‘mind-full’ of their business. When we begin to walk in the fullness of this covenant, God communicates the spirit of excellence to us i.e. He causes us to develop a high degree of expertise in our work. This is because a successful enterprise can only be built when all resources (spiritual, intellectual and physical) are combined. No marriage or business is successful simply because the tool of prayer was used neither will anyone have a fulfilling career on the sole basis of intellectual soundness. Rather, an enriching life is only achieved when you accurately blend all these resources while towing the line of God’s plan.

From the Desk of Pastor Poju

Monday, March 17, 2008

On people and books (part 2).

Books are very powerful tools in the development of thoughts. For you to be able to develop a right plan of action towards the attainment of your goals you must seek the assistance of other people in form of advice, experience and knowledge.

The easiest way to get this done is by reading books. Books contain practically every event and knowledge that has shaped humanity. They contain the seeds for the events which are to come Concepts are developed and nourished through reading.

The power behind the printed page is this, when you read you have fellowship with the best part of that person, you are not hindered by the personality of the person, you have access to the most valuable and important thoughts of the person.

God is able to communicate with us without the personality of the person colouring the thoughts. The Corinthian Church confirmed this that the best part of Paul was his writings, when they said his letters were weighty and powerful but his bodily presence (personality) was weak and his speech contemptible.

His writings made a better impression than his person. Frank Gaebelein, a former editor of Christianity today, wrote: "Among the eternal resources available to the Church the printed page stands first." Isolation has only been right for people who have withdrawn temporarily from others for the development of thought by prayer and reading.

You have got to understand the balance between books and people in evolving a right plan of action. All successful people are studious but also sociable. Too many people are studious but don't socialize so they don't find the proper balance in their actions by the knowledge they have acquired. Thought development towards a right plan of action must be interactive.

Jesus interacted heavily with people yet strictly maintained the process of development by being studious. He visited with friends, attended feasts and weddings. This was one of the problems the Pharisees had with Jesus, he was more of a socialite than a hermit.” Never let the devil push you out of this developmental process, that which helps your thoughts to grow (books) and that which is relational.

Whatever God intends for your life He would bring it primarily through the hands and the minds of men. He told John the apostle on the island of Pathmos "what thou seest write and send...." God commanded John to document his thoughts in the form of a book.

Today we can open the book of Revelation and have access to the knowledge John gained in his personal encounter with God. Without books, the knowledge and experiences of others which could be beneficial to us, would be wasted. The scriptures record that Daniel understood by books the purpose of God for the nation of Israel in his time.

He developed his thoughts by reading and then asked God to express, through events the thoughts he had acquired reading. No one else saw what he saw, for they did not understand that the plans of God for the future are contained in books available to them today.

Bill Gates testifies to the fact that had a man An Wang a Chinese immigrant who built Wang laboratories recognized the importance of compatible software applications there might not be a Microsoft today. He said he might have been an attorney or mathematician somewhere. Microsoft, his plan of action for the future, was born while reading the January 1975 edition of Popular Electronics magazine. He saw on the cover a photograph of a very small computer not much larger than a toaster oven and from that point on a stream of practical ideas flooded his mind.

From the Desk of Pastor Poju

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Prepare for High Performance Tasks!

There are times in your life when there will be tasks that require high performance. At such times, you need to perform at optimum level. And because of the demand placed on you at such a time, it is possible for you to get stressed because of the perception that you do not have access to the mobilization of sufficient resources to meet the demand.

However, as Christians, we ought not to find ourselves stressed because the Word makes it clear that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (who supplies the resources for me to do all things) Phil 4:13. Therefore, we shouldn’t harbour any perception of not having sufficient resources at our disposal. We will however not see these resources, being physically manifested, when we are in our comfort zone. As Jesus told Paul, God’s strength is made known when our infirmities are unveiled. It is when we are at our wit’s end that God’s covenant is most significantly manifested.

Therefore, if we do not welcome challenging situations, we are never going to truly experience God’s grace.One challenge most people face is the ability to mentally lay hold of the resources made available to us in Christ even when it seems that there is a dearth of such resources in our immediate environment. One classic example is when demands are placed on Christian employees by their employers in their workplaces.

Deadlines are given to all employees and results are expected. Because of the lack of knowledge, most employees (Christians and non – Christians alike) get jittery and blame their frustrations on their bosses when actually Christians in such organisations should rise up at such strategic points in their lives and bring the essence of the Christian walk to bear on their work.The essence of this walk is that when demands are made on us, we should lock into the supernatural in a practical way and unveil the immense treasure which God has kept in us from the foundation of this world.

The unveiling of this treasure is what is known as God’s glory. We should therefore take pleasure when such demands are placed on us because when perceived and handled properly, they usher in seasons of great growth and of learning the secrets and laws of life.

Pastor Poju