THE LOVE OF THE FATHER

Lately, I have understood that everything in life happens for a reason. It has been orchestrated from the beginning to happen and we are just in alignment with the orchestra, dancing to the tune of the harp and lyre being played. One thing I have begun to imbibe is, the closer you get to God, the closer He gets to you. The way you get to God is by reading, studying and researching His word.

Another thing humans fail to recognize is the omniscience of God. In our dealings with other people, we turn a blind eye to the fact that someone might be watching. King David states in the Psalms. “Where could I go to escape from You? Where could I get away from Your Presence?” He was terrified that every single action of his was being seen and recorded by his best friend. He actually wanted a timeout. I wish it was that easy.

The Bible states that Darkness and Light is the same for the Father and the night is as bright as the day. There comes a time in our life where we have to take that step of Faith, such as changing our jobs, pursuing our passions and choosing a spouse. We usually want a nod from close friends and family before we take that step because we gain confidence from their approval. But with the Father, you need no validation from human beings; because he knows the end from the beginning. Even before you were born, He knew you and allotted the days you will spend on earth in His book before you began numbering your days. Can you imagine the expanse and intensity of your relationship with Him? I doubt you can.

Averagely, a human thinks about 40,000 thoughts a day. There are times where we lose ourselves in our thoughts that someone has to nudge us before we come back to reality. This happens frequently when we encounter a very distressing situation. I have realized that when you get closer to God, he automatically aligns his spirit with yours and scans your mind. Just like a computer’s antivirus, he filters and quarantines the negatives thoughts that keep you awake at night and fills your ear with goodness. Those who are led by God’s spirit are God’s children and by virtue of that, we will possess the blessings he keeps for his children. You begin to emanate glory and favor, and other good things. Then he makes your life a living testimony and guides you in the everlasting way. Even when you walk through the deepest valley, He has promised that He would not leave you. Even through the blasting furnace, He is there with you. Remember the prodigal son? He intends to draw us closer to himself every time.  He does this through real life experiences and subtle conversations with people each and every day. He loves you and will give up whole nations just to save your life. Like the Good shepherd, He will leave the intact ninety-nine just to track and save the lost one.

For eons, human life has been devalued and there is a reason. The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. The enemy works hardest in letting us believe we have no worth and our lives do not matter. He robs us of our happiness and saps the little joy that we have. Even though we look happy outwardly, we are starving inwardly. The adversity makes us think we are worthless and our lives have no meaning and purpose. But this morning, I need you to reject that lie that has been imprinted in your mind. You are the son/daughter of a King and a child of the most High God. Do you know what this means? You have access to the throne room. As the veil was torn into two, a direct connection was established. All we need to do is go to the Father in the sincerity of our heart and talk to Him, and just like any good Father, He will heed our prayer. “Through salvation our past has been forgiven, our present is given meaning, and our future is secured.

It is important to understand your mission and the purpose for which you were brought to the world. This is your ministry. Your contribution might be saving lives in the hospital, or impacting lives by teaching. Whatever you do, make sure you are doing it to the glory of God.

As you step into today, be rest assured of the favor and glory you carry today. Touch the heart of whoever you encounter today.

Have a wonderful day!

Eliezer

PRUDENCE

Knowledge is the principal thing. In all thy getting, get knowledge and above all, get understanding. My devotion this morning emphasizes how God expects us to beg for knowledge not search for knowledge. This means he is the source of all knowledge.

Many of us want to live life on the edge and experience all there is. Yet we have been instructed to choose prudence, otherwise we always tumble into a trap. Prudence is defined as “the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason”. This also refers to the skilled use of good judgment in the use of resources.

The Book of Proverbs says the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Fear in this parlance, is defined as profound reverence and awe toward God. This means we are aware of his virtues and we practice the things that make Him happy. As we do this, he floods us with his rain and fills our thirst with a downpour of insight. All his decrees are road-tested and does not leave us disappointed. In fact, He becomes our personal teacher, assistant and guide.

As we wait to be found by Him, He reveals himself to us when we search for him with all our heart. Like the parable of the lost coin, He expects us to seek him like we try to find hidden treasure; especially in the dark. Then we will succeed in learning about God and knowing all His ways. For it is the Lord who gives wisdom and from Him, comes knowledge and understanding.

In our dealings with people, He wants us not to take advantage of the weak and the weary, the poor and the innocent. We are to treat others fairly and engage with a community of believers(people testified to be of good conduct and unquestionable character) which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.

The wisdom we will gain will be like a fragrant incense which rises pleasingly to the Lord. The insight we will gain will provide us with a long, pleasing and happy life. We will not be afraid when we go to bed and we will sleep soundly through the night, because we know who has got us! The joy we will experience would be more than we have ever imagined with our corn and wine.

The knowledge we will gain directs our steps and teaches us what we have to do. For there is a time of planting and there is a time of harvest. For it is a disgrace to sleep through the time of harvest. It is time for us to reap bountifully from everything we have sown from the beginning of our lives.

Wisdom calls out to us like a shield and treasure. It helps us make the hard choices that go against our desires. It should be our guide and direction. Whoever finds wisdom finds life and gains favor in the sight of God and man.

Thanks for reading. Have a wonderful Monday.

Eliezer

CHOICES

We all want things that will make us happy, healthy and complete. As children, we thought the world was only full of giggles, smiles and laughter. Being gifted with the latest toys sent us running helter-skelter. However, being an adult, I have realized that wants will always remain insatiable and there are times you get hit with bouts of pain and disappointment. Like the classic Oliver Twist fable, we will always want more. When we drive a simple car, we always think upgrading that car will finally give us the satisfaction we desperately desire. This applies to desiring a bigger house, better job or fancy trip. We always get back to square one when these demands are met ultimately.

When these fail to fulfill us, we reach for alcohol and other recreational drugs to soothe our aching hearts. Sadly, they leave us disappointed yet reaching for more.

As the year draws its curtains down, it is time for us to reflect on how the year has unwinded for us. Most of us might have formed resolutions at the beginning of the year. Introspectively, we have to go over these and double up our steps trying to achieve and check most of them before the year ends.

It is perfectly normal not to meet all the targets we set for ourselves, especially when the expectations are high. Take a break from it all, relax and breathe. Get back on your toes when you are done. There’s a lot more to achieve.

As cliché as resolutions sound, they have been very instrumental in my life and upbringing. My laid-back friends describe me as being too ambitious. However, the parable of the talents in the gospel demands that we put to use the skills, abilities and talents that we have been gifted with. Because when the Master comes, he is going to demand results of whatever he entrusted us with.

I have some friends who say they haven’t identified their talents even in their adult age. If you think this way, you are not alone. I have been there before. It took a conscious effort of reflection and prayer to uncover and unearth my talents.

When God reveals your talents to you, he rewards you with satisfaction and fulfillment even in the midst of chaos and despair. Talents take a lot of hard work and persistence to hone, because they usually come in the bud stage.

It is normal for us to have addictive tendencies. These addictive tendencies propel us to strive for more and achieve the best that we can. They drive us to think creatively and put our talents to good use. It is important that we strive to remain addicted to Him and his word. For his word is our light, guides our path and shapes our vision.

To those of us who have fought unspeakable battles this year, still keep fighting. Keep pushing and holding on to that faint invisible thread. Notice how diamonds are refined by fire? Tough battles in our lives make us stronger, faster and better. They help us move from victory to victory. When others walk, we run. When others run, we bolt. When others bolt, we leap! When others leap, we fly! Because we have our backbone and victory being resident in the promises of the Creator.

Even though, I have not achieved all the resolutions I set for myself this year, it is a clarion call to stay focused and sharp; giving my set goals my best shot before the year ends.

Remember happiness is free and you call the shots. Don’t be too hard on yourself and remember to enjoy a healthy life to the fullest.

Have an amazing day and a Happy November!

Eliezer.

IMPERFECTIONS

In my devotional today, I learnt that community is necessary for growth as a believer. Fellowship is the hallmark of Christians. It is essential that we encourage each other in our day-to day activities and our walk as Christians.

Seeking God is a conscious effort. It is just like growing up. It is normal to fall when you try to walk for the first time. It is more of a journey rather than a destination. Everyone has their misgivings and that is what makes us human. It is totally normal for us Christians to falter sometimes. There is no need to be so hard on yourself. When you sidetrack, kneel and go before God in total reverence to Him. Acknowledge your imperfections and ask Him to strengthen you and give you the grace to continue this walk of Faith. There is no one perfect. Not even one.

Even in your pain and anguish, you know God is keeping you strong and opening new doors for you. It may not be evident, and you may not understand what you are going through. But in the end, it will make sense. Remember you are inscribed in the palm of His hands, He knows your every being and has destined you for great things. New opportunies, better connections and above all grace!

It is through grace you have been saved and not by your own strength. If it had been your strength, trust me, you would have faltered a long time ago.

As you step into today, it is my prayer that He gives you the grace to overcome any obstacle that comes our way. May Joy fill our hearts and mouth. And may favour locate us wherever we find ourselves.

Have a blessed Saturday!

INFLUENCE

My devotion this sunrise spoke about the power of influence. About how influence helps in impacting other people’s lives and reaching out to help others. This is a snippet of what I learnt.

Influence is defined as the power to change or affect someone or something. This is also defined as the power to cause changes without directly forcing them to happen. We have seen people reach high levels of influence in their careers and lives. Time Magazine lists the 100 Most Influential People in the World in this hyperlink. https://time.com/collection/100-most-influential-people-2021/ These are people who either rose from places of riches and power to make significant influence in their personal lives and the lives of others. Examples include Michelle Obama, Prince Harry and Meghan and Elon Musk. In a recent global shutdown, we know how people/businesses were rendered stagnant when social media was down for some hours. Some teens described their worlds as being a standstill because they couldn’t log in to interact with other users and posts.

We all influence those around us whether we are aware of it or not. Perhaps it is when we lead in some sphere of life as a parent, teacher, team leader, captain of a sports team or board member. At some point in life there will be people looking up to you or observing you. Does our behaviour contradict the very truths we are trying to get across to others? Does your lifestyle reflect one that is entirely in love with Christ and submitted to God?

Influence doesn’t come to us instantaneously. It is something we have to work build and grow intentionally. Everyone of us has influence, but our influence is different with different people. We can influence others positively or negatively; the choice is ours. There are people who monetize their influence, gain and craft and even money from it.

What is essential to recognize is that how we influence impacts our results. If you influence others through manipulation, over time you will lose trust. If you influence others through skilled collaboration, you will gain trust and respect.

Even the world of business hinges on influence. You cannot buy or sell a house, advance in your career, sell a product, or even gain employment opportunities without building healthy relationships. The truth is that learning how to influence people is about centering on the humanity of others.

It is important to be authentic because it is hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself. Get comfortable with your uniqueness first, and then get out there and influence others. Come up with exciting and interesting ways to keep people engaged. Be creative!

The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority

Ken Blanchard
PhotoCredit : GoogleImages

Have a wonderful day!

Eliezer.

INTUITION OR DISCERNMENT?

We’ve all experienced that moment in time when we were certain of something that we could not logically be sure of. We just “had a feeling” that something was not right or that something was going to happen. That’s intuition—a gut feeling when “something” inside puts you on alert.

Intuition is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as the power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference. Words used in place of intuition include hunch, clairvoyance, gut reaction, discernment and insight. If you are in the medical profession, I am sure you are used to the term “insight

Intuition and discernment often work hand in hand, but they are not the same. While intuition refers to a gut feeling or a hunch, discernment helps you wisely recognize and use your intuition when you need it. When looked at this way, we see that intuition isn’t just a reliance on flighty emotions but is grounded in intelligence. Intuition can cause unnecessary fear or worry, and discernment can help you reel in those emotions and not let them incapacitate you.

Discernment is defined as the acuteness of judgement, the ability to grasp what is obscure, the ability to decide between truth and error. Discernment is one way we connect with God. Discernment is not just a series of steps we take to seek direction from God but also an instrument of healing. When exercised in love, discernment can be the surgical scalpel in surgery that makes emotional healing possible.

How to Develop Your Intuition

 Recognize it. Be on alert to recognize when you are having an intuitive moment. If you find yourself thinking about someone more than usual, and they call you up shortly thereafter, it was likely your intuition at work. 

 Silence your inner critic.Many times, we try to rationalize away our intuitive thoughts, thinking we should be more logical and rely on facts. The next time you have an intuition about something, don’t analyze it or argue with yourself about it. Give in to it and see what happens. Realizing you were correct will enable you to have more faith in the process the next time.

 Embrace your creativity.Creative activities such as painting, drawing, writing, and crafts allow your mind to flow freely. They can put you in a mindset that allows you to be more open to new ideas and insights.

 Take notes. Carry a small journal or notebook (or use your electronic notes on your cell phone) to record your thoughts, gut feelings, and hunches. Sometimes, we have such reactions throughout the day, but then we forget about them. Writing them down will allow you to review them at your leisure and remember fleeting, but important, feelings that occurred throughout the day.

 Get physical. Go for a walk or a run or even take a shower. Often, taking a break from the daily grind frees our minds to mull over problems and come up with solutions. 

 Evaluate your dreams. Often our dreams are windows into our subconscious. Dreams help us process information and deal with stress or unacknowledged desires. They can reveal deep and symbolic messages that escape our attention when we are awake.

 Evaluate the past. There have, no doubt, been many times in the past where you had an intuition and didn’t act on it. You kicked yourself for not listening to yourself. Recall those times and allow them to bolster your confidence in the future.

Pray. Most important of all, when we need to make a decision, we often have a choice we are leaning toward. However, we second-guess ourselves by going back and forth, unable to decide. In responding to Job, God declares, through a rhetorical question, that he is the source of intuition. “Who gives intuition to the heart and instinct to the mind?” Don’t dismiss the concept of intuition as something mystical or magical. It is God-given. Simply ask the Holy Spirit to lead you as to when to rely on it.

Christians should be cautioned that not all our inner thoughts and feelings should be heeded, for they can lead us astray. “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.” That “feeling” or “something” must be submitted to the Holy Spirit’s discernment for our next step. He is the fountain of wisdom and understanding that Jesus sent specifically to teach and guide us.

As you step into today. Pray all your actions and thoughts will be led by discernment. Be the best you can be, and chase your goals.

Have a wonderful day

Eliezer.

BUILDING RESILIENCE

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

—Philippians 4:12-13

Resilience and persistence often work hand and hand. While resilience refers to bouncing back after enduring a crisis, persistence refers to the ability to steadfastly pursue an objective despite opposition, delays, or other disadvantages. Both resilience and persistence are important because one must not only recover from a setback but have the endurance to continue and not give up. 

Persistence naturally requires being resilient, as you can’t persist if you never get back up. On the other hand, it is important not to take persistence to the extreme. It may seem reasonable to keep going when the odds are stacked against us, but there are times when we just need to learn to let go. 

Strategies for Handling Adversity

When adversity rears its head, it is wise to follow some predetermined guidelines as to how you will cope. Here are some strategies that have helped me to overcome many problems. 

 Maintain a good attitude.“How frail is humanity! How short is life, how full of trouble!” Job proclaims in Job 14:1. Trouble is inevitable, but it is also a tool that produces spiritual, emotional, and psychological strength. When we resist the temptation to feel that our trials are unfair and resist the pressure to respond in a negative way, we develop the “mental muscle” needed to overcome whatever obstacles arise. We learn to analyze the situation, ask for divine assistance, and anticipate a positive outcome.

 Believe in the God who resides within you. Often in the face of adversity, our self-esteem takes a hit. Don’t allow any circumstances to make you feel less worthy. Your challenges do not define you. Adversity is just an experience; it is not your identity. Whatever happens, you are strong enough to regain control over your life. You simply need to remember that with God you can do all things. 

 Rely on your support network. Everyone can get down occasionally. During these times, you can rely on your support network to cheer you on and encourage you to get back up again. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Rely on colleagues, friends, or loved ones to help get you through hard times. Challenges are easier to handle when we have someone to talk to. The people in our support group can remind us of who we are when adversity tempts us to forget. Nurture your support group and do not forget that support goes both ways. Be there for others during their trying times.

 Don’t be overly critical of yourself. Beware of allowing your mistakes or any setback to define who you are. You are not a failure if you lose your job or get passed over for a high-profile role. You still have worth and value, and you just need to get back up and prove it. Every defeat gives you the chance to learn from your mistakes, if any, and be wiser in the future.

 Don’t be afraid to accept responsibility. Sometimes adversity seems to come inexplicably out of the blue; other times, it comes as a result of our own actions. If you find that you have made unwise decisions, don’t let this incapacitate you. Accept responsibility for your part in creating the problem and learn from your mistakes. Prepare a game plan to take those necessary next steps.

 Don’t neglect self-care.Ironically, the key to resilience is first learning how to stop rather than forge ahead. It is essential to take care of your physical, mental, and spiritual health. Eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercising are critical. Most importantly, the time spent in the empowering presence of God and his Word will reap big dividends. 

We often underestimate our ability to recover from challenging situations, but most people are far more resilient than they give themselves credit for. Many of us have already made significant accomplishments that required resilience. Often, it’s just a matter of looking back and evaluating past successes. Success in one area breeds confidence in other areas. It is often fear that holds us back from being either resilient or persistent; however, most situations aren’t as bad as we think they are. They are certainly not too hard for our omnipotent God.

PhotoCredit: Pinterest

GRATITUDE

Over these last few days, God has been teaching me something about gratitude. In subtle ways about how gratitude is an essential key in our walk with Him.

Over the past few months, I recall correctly, having to go through a very stressful ordeal for which I had to be on a hospital bed for a couple of months. During that period, I wondered why God puts his children through challenging and dire situations. Was it a measure of the test? A gauge of faith? A stepping stone of great things to come? During this period, I pondered countless times in isolation.

But then, after listening to a series of podcasts during this period. I have realised that irrespective of our circumstances, there is nothing as meaningful as showing gratitude irrespective of our current circumstances. For the apostle Paul states in the book of Philippians that. “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want.”

This morning I would like to admonish you, irrespective of your current situation; there is nothing more potent than our great God. If he came through for people in times past, remember, He is still the same. He is unchanged. He expects you to leave the past behind and show gratitude for what He has done for you.

Being alive is a miracle you should be grateful for. That incurable medical report? That declining academic report? The financial crisis? My friend, just leave it into His hands. He will come through for you.

I will end with a memory verse from my devotional this morning. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”

1 John 5:14 NIV

Have a blessed Friday, Go and be great!

Eliezer

Source: Google Images

ABOUT CONVICTIONS

I was reading the book of Numbers this dawn about Joshua and Caleb, and I’m not surprised why my uncle Rev Edward Otu named his sons after them. Very courageous people. They were spies that were sent to bring back word to Moses, after surveying the land that had been promised them. Their report was “We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.” Good news right? But their identities were at risk.

Being a spy is a dangerous mission. I’m sure you have seen in movies how spies have to disguise their identities, take up fake names, multiple passports just for intel (Classic Lupin style) To be a spy, you have to be trained to have wit, direction discernment and above all conviction. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines conviction as a strong persuasion or belief about a decision, move, direction or ability.

The conviction I would like to emphasize is that from the Holy Spirit. The people were distraught before the news came, because they had uncertainties about the land they were going to possess, but Caleb quieted them and said “We are well able to overcome it because of the conviction He had received from the Holy Spirit – A positive affirmation”

Sometimes the walk of God encourages you to take a very bold step which people might not understand. You might have to be put in places to protect a specific location or person, keep the good in and the bad out, and guard prized possessions. This is what makes you a bold Christian. Because God has not given you the spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.

Our convictions are like security guards. Put in place to protect our souls, our minds and our spirit. They help us to have wisdom in decision making, courage in complex situations, and give us discernment in relationships. Convictions not only protect our personal lives, but they also protect our reputation, our dreams, our relationships, and our future. When you realize your convictions are guarding your most prized possessions, you become constrained by conviction to protect them. 

When you feel deep within your spirit about something not being right, do heed to the voice of the Holy Spirit, for this conviction comes from Him.

THE PRAYER LIFE OF A CHRISTIAN

As a Christian, you aren’t really defined by just your good works, but by your connection with Jesus. I have come to the realization that we place so much security in our willpower to stay on course and away from sin. “Oh I know myself” “Oh I’m stronger than you think” But relying on your own strength is a recipe for disaster.

Your prayer life is very essential in your journey with God. Just as constant communication keeps a relationship going, your prayer life drives and fuels your passion for God.

Just before a city is invaded, its’ walls have to be broken down either by an external force, or an internal one. Before any army is subdued, the strongest person is either held hostage or killed. It is the same with our prayer life! When an attack is mounted against any Christian, it starts as a strike on your prayer life. Your zeal for the things of God disappear so quickly and you begin to feel too busy to pray because “the prayers you have prayed your entire lifetime are enough to cover you for the whole week.”

But the Bible encourages us to pray unceasingly. The amazing thing with prayer is, sometimes you don’t know what you have to say, but that is where the Holy Spirit comes in, He intercedes for you through wordless groans and intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
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Don’t feel you are too ‘sinful’ that you project a subconscious feeling of rejection in the eyes of God. God chooses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; and the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

As humans, we are not beyond redemption. For there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. Only the name of Jesus. It behoves on us to come to God in all the sincerity of our heart, and gain a personal connection with Him by reading and meditating on His word on a daily basis. The amazing thing is, He gives you fresh insight, enriches your understanding and makes you itch when you don’t open your Bible.

You might feel a void in your life that can not be filled by anything else, no matter how hard you try. It might be time for you to give your life to Christ for the Bible says there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. This means you automatically take pride in being called the son/daughter of a King.

No matter the stressful experience you might have gone through that has made you doubt his existence, please bear in mind that, the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. A broken spirit and contrite heart means that you go humbly before God acknowledging your sins and proclaiming His goodness. This form of humble spirit expresses our need for God and His salvation alone.

So in just a few minutes, just reach out to God and talk to him in complete intimacy, from the bottom of your heart, and watch him address your worries with ease.

When he enters, he fill your heart with joy and your mouth with praise. Your life shall be a living testimony and you will cast your mind back to your past and say “It’s always been You, God”

Have a wonderful day!