A Call For Obedience

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A Call For Obedience

During His earthly ministry, Jesus stressed the importance of being called to obedience. He wanted to make disciples: people who would follow Him. Accordingly, this life of obedience comes along with a divine assignment.

Ten Commandments

“Obedience,” wrote C.S. Lewis, “is the key to all doors.” What type of obedience does God require? Complete obedience. However, following the assignment or vision is not always easy.

But in the course of working out the assignment, we are bringing it to reality. Joseph had a dream about what God wanted him to become.  It was a vision. For this reason, he went through many challenges but didn’t give up because of the greater and brighter future he was seeing.

What Is Obedience to God?

And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross! Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name.” Philippians 2:8-9

Obedience has to do with love, it comes with love. John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” The truth is that you will find it easy to obey who you love dearly. Anything they call you to do, you will gladly do it for them. 

In the same manner, when God called you, he called you to obey, which means he called you to love him.

Paul used to be a person that killed.  He thought he was doing the right thing according to the law, but it was direct disobedience to God. On his way to kill more Christians, Jesus called him and it was not just an ordinary call. Everything Christ told him, he obeyed.

Are you completing your divine assignment? Don’t forget that whatever He says, we must do. God will not tell us to do what we can’t handle or what will cause our downfall. 

Exodus 33:15 ~ “Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” When we hear whatever He [God] says, the next thing that should come to our mind is, “Do it.”

Rewards of Obedience to God        

Whatever God says and when we follow it, leads to success. The word of the Lord for us all of the time is for our own good. God told Joshua what to do to have success.  

Winning

He said he should do whatever is in His word and obediently follow it. Joshua 1:8 ~ “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

Whatever God tells us, we shouldn’t try to change it or try to make an adjustment to suit our own desire. All we need to do is to simply obey. It has already been perfected by God for us to follow. 

He knows our capability. Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Jesus was at a wedding when the wine finished and His mother told Him about this.  Then she told the servant to do whatever Jesus asked them to do. John 2:5 “His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” They didn’t grumble, they merely obeyed what Jesus told them to do.

Yet, it is interesting to consider the instructions they obeyed – He told them to get six jars filled with water. What they needed was wine but Jesus telling them to get water is a bit surprising.

Obeying God Brings Protection

One of the commandments God gave us is, “you shall have no other gods before me.” The three Hebrew boys in Babylon obeyed God’s commandments and refused to bow down to the image set up by King Nebuchadnezzar.

They didn’t change what God said in order to favor the situation they were in at that time. They acted in faith and didn’t care about their fate. As such, they survived a fiery furnace.  This is an excellent reminder that God surely has a way out of every uncomfortable situation.

“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it” (Luke 11:28). The three Hebrew boys tested their obedience when they were told to bow down and worship the image the king set up. 

Fiery Furnace

They refused and responded to the king in Daniel 3:17-18 ~ “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Walk in Obedience

In the New Testament, we learn through the example of Jesus Christ that believers are called to a life of obedience.  Now, what is the work that you have been called to? 

Why do you still hesitate to commence the assignment? Don’t say you don’t have all you need to start.  That’s an excuse – get to work.

“Obedience is the burial of the will and the resurrection of humility.”
~ John Climacus

It doesn’t matter how you start but what matters is how you finish. Even the Bible admits that having faith without working is useless. James 2:26 ~ “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

Take Action

Take time to prayerfully meditate on Philippians 2:8-9 and Jeremiah 29:11. Allow the Holy Spirit to flood your heart with light and grace. Then, go ahead and take that step to obey what God has called you to. 

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” ~ John 14:23

Just remember to obey and you shall have good success!

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Appointed, Anointed & Commissioned

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Appointed, Anointed & Commissioned

David was a diligent and hardworking shepherd boy who loved God and walked in righteousness. It was this heart of reverence and love for God that caused him to be chosen (appointed – Acts 10:32) and anointed by Samuel as king of Israel in the place of Saul (1 Samuel 16:13). 

However, after he was appointed and anointed, it took several years before he was commissioned to rule the children of Israel. This goes to give us an understanding that there is a difference between being appointed, anointed and commissioned.  Let’s now define the terms:

Being Appointed

To be appointed means to be put in an office in order to function fully and accomplish a task. This word is used for the expression of a large variety of ideas including “stipulate” (Genesis 30:28), “put into office” (Genesis 41:34; Numbers 1:50; Esther 2:3); “select” (Jeremiah 51:27). 

It also means to be “put in charge” (Jeremiah 49:19; 50:44); “assign” (Numbers 4:27; Jeremiah 15:3); “designate,” “select” (Exodus 21:13; Numbers 4:19; 2 Samuel 7:10; Isaiah 61:3); “single out” (1 Samuel 8:11,12; Hosea 1:11); “designate,” “select” (Numbers 35:6; Joshua 20:2; Ezekiel 45:6); “set aside” (Exodus 30:16) and many others.

The spiritual importance focuses on the appointing and consecrating of persons for special service to the Lord and his people.

Being Anointed

To be anointed according to the scripture means to be equipped with the necessary tools to carry out a certain task.  In most cases, this is by the Holy Spirit because God’s work is spiritual and it takes the Spirit of God to fulfill this assignment (1 Samuel 16:13). 

When people were anointed, God empowered them to accomplish his tasks (1 Samuel 10:6)

Being Commissioned

To be commissioned means to be sent out to fulfill a particular purpose. It rests on a mandate, an instruction in order to fulfill a purpose. An example of this in the Great Commission (John 20:21-23).

As we can see from this, to be appointed comes first, this means being separated and selected unto a certain task.  Being anointed comes next which involves being equipped with the necessary tools to fulfill the mission. 

Lastly, after these two comes the commissioning, which involves being sent and captures in clear detail the goal of the assignment being given to such individual. The commission is the bench mark by which success will be measured.

Example of the Disciples

The disciples are a good example of this process. We see how they went through these three phases at three different times: They were first appointed as disciples by Jesus (Matthew 10:1–4, Mark 3:13–19 and Luke 6:12–16). 

Then they were commissioned when Jesus gave them the great commission in these scriptures (Matt 28:16-20; Mark 16:15-18; Luke 24:46-49; John 20:21-23; Acts 1:8).

But despite this, Jesus clearly instructed them to tarry in Jerusalem till they received the power from on high.   He realized that they could not succeed in their appointment and commission without being anointed by the Spirit of God. 

Jesus said to his disciples “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8, 2:1-15).

Even our Lord Jesus, though He was the Son of God, had to wait for the anointing and empowering of the Holy Spirit to rest upon Him so that He could enter upon and fulfil His earthly ministry (Luke 3:22).

Our Local Shepherd

At Rhema Kingdom Ministries, we have a good testimony. Our shepherd, Pastor Kendal McKenzie has been tested and proven to be a man of great honor. He is appointed, anointed and commissioned to accomplish the purpose of the kingdom.

Just like Moses, he has been given a job to do. God had called him and He appointed to Moses a task. He has dedicated the rest of his life to the accomplishment of that task. 

He set himself to the purpose and plan of God. Moses had His burning bush but Pastor McKenzie has the fire of the Holy Spirit burning in his heart.

He has also been duly anointed, empowered by God to function in this appointment. Through signs and wonders, the preaching of the word with power, and making disciples of men, God works through him to change lives through His word. 

God has empowered us to be His witnesses in the world around us. It is through His power that the strongholds that fill the lives of those in this community will be torn down.

Proverbs 29:18 says “Where there is no vision, the people perish” This is why he has also been commissioned with a vision, a purpose by which God has called him. God has appointed him for such a time as this, and He has anointed him to do this work: “To be an example of Righteousness, Holiness, and Integrity; endeavoring to achieve the purpose and plan of God for Kingdom growth by developing and nurturing disciples.”

Pastor McKenzie, we celebrate your obedience, anointing and passion. Happy Anniversary!

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Celebrating God’s Servant

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Celebrating God’s Servant

Why should you be celebrating God’s servant? From the time of the Old Testament, God has been speaking to man through His servants. They are the prophets; their work is to listen to God and pass the information to His people. 

That was in the Old Testament but in the New Testament, Jesus came to reunite us with God. He made us understand how much God loves us.

And while Jesus was ascending to the heavens, He promised a Holy Spirit that would teach us everything we needed to know. The fact that Jesus brought us closer to God made it possible for us to hear and speak directly to God through Christ (Hebrews 1:1-3).

Appointed By God

Some of the full-time positions in the church currently may be Senior Pastor, Executive Pastor, Adult Ministry Pastor, Church Administrator, Associate Pastor, Worship Pastor, Children’s Pastor, Evangelist, and Elder. These are the overseers, especially the Senior Pastor, whom we sometimes regard as “spiritual father” since they are all truly appointed by God. 

Ephesians 4:11-12 reads: “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”

God Himself chooses these people so that the great and marvelous work He is doing among us can be made manifest. Paul the Apostle shared how he was appointed and about the work he was assigned to complete. 2 Timothy 1:11 ~ “to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.”

These Christian ministry leaders water us with every word that comes from God through them. They constantly bless us, and they advise and tell us what to do in most cases. As such, these laborers in The Word need to be celebrated. Proverbs 11:25 ~ “The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself.”

They have deposited value into our lives at some point in time. This means they have been generous to us, they have watered us; therefore, we must replicate this. The work is never easy. Sure, they may be the head but they are also human and possibly may need us more. 

Paul was narrating the ordeal of the elected in this ministry in Romans 8:36, “As it is written: “For Your sake, we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

Fulfilling A Divine Assignment

It’s one thing to be a servant of God but surely a discipline to be a faithful servant. There are qualities that must be found in a servant. Additionally, there’s a divine assignment for every servant of God.

They are called to preach the gospel to the lost soul. Jesus Himself ordered us to go into the world and preach the gospel because people need to hear it.

The servants of God are called to build up people in Christ. Their purpose is to encourage and nurture people to grow in Christ. But surely you can appreciate that it’s not easy to keep up to the Christian work as tiredness may come in.

How to Celebrate God’s Servant

Do you observe the servant of God and desire to do something to demonstrate your appreciation for their dedication to the work of God but don’t know how? Celebrating them could also mean appreciating them and this may be done openly or privately. There are several methods you can employ to start celebrating God’s servant.

Shield God’s Servant by Praying for Them

Do you understand the purpose and power of your prayer and what it can do for them? Prayer goes a long way in covering your spiritual shepherd. They face many trials and temptations every day aimed at weighing them down.  

However, our prayers for them will keep giving them the strength to carry on. They have continually watered us, so we must also water them.

Praying for them shows that we care about them.  It’s a way of showing appreciation for their dedication to the work of God. This might be how you are privately celebrating God’s servant as no one else might know about this.  

It will be between you and God. Matthew 6:6 ~ “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”

Bless God’s Servant by Giving Gifts

There is a wonderful gift you can send them to celebrate them, you know them and you are close to them. Examine them very well and get what kind of gift will be the best for them. Let them know that there is someone that really appreciates them. Get their birth dates, anniversary dates, and then surprise them with the gift.

Encourage God’s Servant by Giving Support

If there is anything they want to do either inside or outside the church, perhaps you may choose to volunteer to help. In this manner, you can help financially to boost the work of the Kingdom.

Publicize God’s Servant by Word of Mouth

This is free and costs you nothing. It’s good to tell your friends and family about these servants of God.  Tell them of the good they’ve done and how they’ve impacted the lives of many. Let your family and circle of friends know that they are making a difference.  Surely, this will provide God’s servants with more strength and encouragement to continue the work of the Lord.

Honor God’s Servant by Spending Time with Them

It would be so encouraging if you took your family down to your pastor’s office just to pay a visit. Perhaps you all can have dinner together or schedule a party to celebrate their works in the house of the Lord. Let them know they are appreciated and that they are important. Don’t keep yourself far away from them; you need to get closer to them.

Celebrating God’s Servant at Rhema Kingdom

A faithful servant, Pastor Kendal McKenzie has dedicated his life to serving God.  He was born in Nassau, Bahamas and has been married to his sweetheart Juanita for 40 years! Their union has been blessed with a beautiful daughter, Octavia (Peachie), who is married to Officer Ken Ferguson of the Royal Bahamas Police Force.

Pastors Kendal and Juanita McKenzie are the Visionaries/Founders of Rhema Kingdom Ministries, a non-denominational, progressive and dynamic ministry located on Queen’s Highway, Bahamas Sound #18, Exuma. Pastors Kendal & Juanita serve the congregation of Rhema Kingdom Ministries with distinction, seeking first to honor God in everything they do as they lead this church in its mission. 

Our pastors are extremely passionate about the Word of God and its ability to change lives. They believe in spiritual honesty, integrity, and accountability, and this is conveyed in their messages.

The past sixteen years, we have been blessed to have this dynamic duo impacting lives throughout The Exumas and other islands of The Bahamas.

Their love for the Lord and their sweet, caring spirit have also given them success as recognized destination wedding consultants, particularly throughout The Exumas and The Exuma Cays.

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Celebrating A Greater Purpose

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Celebrating A Greater Purpose

“The greatest tragedy in life is not death,” wrote the late Dr. Myles Munroe, “but a life without a purpose.” In today’s world, many people are following routines influenced by society or practices our parents have set for us without stopping to ask, “Why am I on earth?”

For those who stop to ask, they either wonder what the answer is or settle for an assumption that isn’t true. People wrongly believe we just came into the world accidentally and we will also leave without completing our kingdom assignment.

Well I am sorry to disappoint and happy to inform you that your coming to this world is not a mistake, and that you have a great assignment for which you were born. 

Even if you are termed a bastard, know that there are no illegitimate children before God, only illegitimate parents. Therefore, there is something great that this world will not experience except you discover and walk in that purpose.

What is Purpose?

Throughout the pages of his bestselling book – Pursuit of Purpose – Dr. Myles Munroe defines purpose as “…the master of motivation and the mother of commitment. It is the source of enthusiasm and the womb of perseverance. It gives birth to hope and instills the passion to act.”

Purpose is simply the reason for which something is done, why something exists, a person’s sense of resolve or determination. Without understanding God’s Big Idea man is lost.

Our world is rich with products such as televisions, smartphones, laptops, automobiles, and pens just to name a few. They all have their own unique functions. Wouldn’t you will look foolish if you tried to write with your television, or tried to ride your laptop to work?

In order to avoid abuse due to the lack of knowledge about a gadget’s true function, the manufacturer includes a leaflet or book called the “instructional manual”. This manual also allows us to maximize the potential of each product by telling us how to use it properly. 

If a mere product, made by man for our comfort goes through such finesse to ensure it fulfills its purpose, don’t you think we as humans also have a purpose on this earth we have to fulfill?

Life by Design

God is our manufacturer, and He did not create anyone of us on this earth without a reason. He also gave us an instructional manual (The Bible) to clearly reveal to us our objectives and how to fulfill them. But being good at something doesn’t mean it’s your plan for life.

Sitting on a speaker might work as a chair because it will bear the weight of your body. But it was not designed to be a chair. It is not being used for its highest and best use. Many times, we are pushed into functioning in an area that is not our highest and best use because someone needed us to be something we were not created to be.

The Apostle Paul helps us to realize there is a greater purpose in life than just living, making money, having a business, children, a career and so on. Paul understood that the believer’s role was part of the divine plan from the very beginning of time (Romans 8:28-29). 

God’s purpose is specifically characterized by his pre-selection of man for such a purpose based on the man’s qualities that he might not even be aware of (Jeremiah 1:5).

Realizing Your Purpose

Some of the disciples were great fishermen, but until they encountered Jesus, they did not realize and function in their true purpose. Because we are created by God, we are made to fulfill His purpose. 

Jesus could have been a great carpenter, or the leader of a great religion alongside the Pharisees, or even a king by overthrowing the Roman Empire.  

However, God had a greater purpose for Him, one which involved dying so that the whole world could be saved. This purpose was so great that it gave Jesus more power and glory (Philippians 2:3-10) than he could have ever received if he followed any of the previously mentioned paths. 

Yet he touched humanity by saving all men and He still pleased God by restoring men to Him.

Your purpose isn’t just about you but incorporates helping humanity in a significant way while pleasing God. It is beyond giving money to charity or just creating a miracle drug. 

A greater purpose is much more than pleasing yourself with all the pleasures of life and it is clearly defined in Matthew 6:33.

Wrapping Up

Do you possess the obedience and passion to follow this great mission? Do you have a love for souls being transformed by the Word, the advancement of God’s kingdom and the dedication to see this greater purpose fulfilled?

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Transformed for the Future

Transformed for The Future

March 15, 2019

Ricardo Newbold

Written by Ricardo A. Newbold

When you study the caterpillar to butterfly metamorphosis, you may wonder if you are truly prepared to be transformed for the future. Actually, why do caterpillars turn into butterflies?  Well, they have no way of reproducing as caterpillars, which is why they must morph into another species to continue their cycle of life.  Suddenly one day, the caterpillar stops eating, hangs upside down from a twig or leaf and spins itself a silky cocoon or molts into a shiny chrysalis. Within its protective casing, the caterpillar radically transforms its body, eventually emerging as a butterfly or moth.

Life’s Journey

Likewise, to every man born into this world, life is a journey. We start our journey the day we were given birth to.  The social status of your parents doesn’t matter, where and how you were born doesn’t matter – you still have your journey, a race set before you to run.

Life’s Journey

Every journey must be well-defined, it must have a clear purpose. However, the plain truth about the journey is that it has never been easy.  Life is not smooth, and it’s rough with dangers along the way.

Yet, we all have one way or the other got stuck in some unpleasant situation.  The situations broke us down and we felt like there wasn’t any hope. These situations seem to change us; they change our mindset. Nevertheless, what determines whether your future will be different from the present is when you decide to be transformed for the future.

The Bible tells the story of Job, a rich man who possibly never had the thought of becoming poor again in his life, but soon faced a great calamity. Job lost his riches and his wife told him to curse God and die. 

Indeed, Job struggled with suffering, to the extent that he started complaining to God. Job 10:1 KJV ~ “My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.” Job was tired of the kind of life he was living, he wanted a new life and he wanted a renewed mind. This is certainly the time to ask God for a new clean heart.

How to Become Transformed for The Future

The forces of sin kept us doing what we ought not to do.  It kept us thinking the same old sinful thoughts in our mind but we really want to change. In Romans 7:15, Paul lamented and stated, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” It doesn’t matter the path you’re taking now.  Whatever you are facing, avoid the mistake of thinking it’s over with you. You still can have a renewed mind. Let’s discover how to be transformed for the future.

Decide In Your Heart That You Want To Be Transformed.

A decision is very important as everything we do starts with a decision in our heart. Decide that you want to stop being frustrated.  Decide that you want to be free. Finally, decide that you want to follow the right way out of your struggles. 

Make A Decision

The only way is Jesus, so decide that you want to follow Him now.  But you’ll need to renew the way you think. Ephesians 4:23 “Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.”

Act On Your Decision.

It’s often quoted, “Decision without action is a waste of thought.” It is good to decide but when you decide without taking action, it is simply a waste of time. Start to do the things that will encourage a new beginning in Christ. Let God see that you want a new life, confess your sins and tell Jesus to give you a new life. The word of God is life, meditate on the word and receive life.

Start A New Godly Relationship.

The people you move with often define who you are. They can determine how you will live and how far you can go in life.  You may have old friends that caused you much pain. You must be careful how you allow them to influence your life and evict where necessary.   

Rather, seek a new relationship. Follow the kind of people that can move your life forward; those that will affect your life positively. Above all these, the greatest friend you can ever have is Jesus Christ. Start a relationship with Christ. He is a friend to all and will make things work out for you.

Pray for Transformation.

Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” If you really desire to have a renewed mind, then you must not joke with prayer, you must pray to God as the Psalmist did. Only God can give a new mind; only He can make your heart clean. You need to go to Him in prayer and ask him to renew your mind.

 

Fix Your Eyes On Jesus.

Hebrews 12:2 “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer, and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Focusing on Jesus should be our ultimate goal, in him alone we can find joy. Not that storms will not come, not that it will always be smooth but the interesting thing is that Jesus will always be there to give us victory and joy.

Obedience

Your Future Starts Today!

We began this post by highlighting the caterpillar changing into a butterfly. Butterflies are deep and powerful representations of life. Many cultures associate the butterfly with our souls. The Christian religion sees the butterfly as a miracle of transformation and symbol of resurrection. Around the world, people view the butterfly as representing endurance, change, hope, and life.

As such,  it doesn’t really matter where you are coming from; the past doesn’t matter anymore. You should be embracing yourself to have a good future. 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

Realize that the only moment you can conquer is the moment that exists now. We cannot do yesterday, today. We cannot do tomorrow, today. The future depends on what you do now. Each day you are creating your future life, so use your time in a wise manner.

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Celebrating The Past, Embracing The Future

Celebrating The Past, Embracing The Future

March 13, 2019

Ricardo Newbold

Written by Ricardo A. Newbold

Are you celebrating the past or embracing the future? Perhaps this is your personal mantra, which makes clear, an appreciation of your accomplishments with a strong resolve to enhancing your future possibilities. Yet again, you may ask: How do I stop my past from affecting my future? How can I be happy and let go of the past?

Does Your Past Define Your Future?

It is true that your current life is, to a large extent, the result of your past actions, choices, and experiences. The great news, however, is that your future is determined by how you act in the present moment. In other words, your past does not have to define you or your future. Rather, you should be celebrating a greater purpose!

Past vs Future

Yet, there is a certain truth about the new creation which, as Christians, we must be conscious of and live by. These are not promises but they are the truths in the word of God which are present hour realities.

When you received Christ into your life, you became new. 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  This passage is talking of the “present”, not the “past.” It means you became a new creation immediately.

Another truth is that the word of God is an agent of cleansing, it purifies and makes all things new.  John 15:3 ~ “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.” By His words, we are made clean from all that might have stained us, which includes our terrible past. We should then not even think of the old but of the present because Christ has made us new and that alone should give us joy.

Now that we are a new creation, we are also made joint-heirs with Christ. Therefore, this is an opportunity for us to get what is of Christ also. Today, think of yourself as a new creation and never let your past slow you down. Rather, let Christ move you forward quickly as you begin embracing the future.

Focus On The Future

If you’re one hundred percent focused on embracing the future, then it doesn’t matter what your past was all about. The good news for every man is that even though we fall, with the help of Christ we shall rise again. 

Yes, by the grace of God, it’s not until the day of resurrection that man will rise again. But with God’s blessing of wisdom, given to man to come to the understanding, that Jesus alone can help. Consequently, he rises again and is guided through troubles.

A mighty man will recover his strength and rise again. The fact about rising up again is that we become stronger than we were. Therefore, what caused our downfall at first will never have the power over us again. 

However, if you are finding it hard to rise again, the reason could be that you are using your physical power alone.  You are not seeking the help of God. Micah 7:8 “Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me.”

“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.   Whether the past is good or not, we must be able to learn from the events which occurred at the time. 

Costly Mistakes

Some mistakes we made were costly and may have caused serious consequences but God pulled us through. God does that for us so that we can appreciate Him and learn from our mistakes.

Folks often suggest that it is better to forget the past and focus on the future. This is true and it helps but this world revolves. What has happened before might occur again. So we must quickly use the experience we have to overcome it.


Related: The Challenges of Sharing the Gospel


 

Greater Than The Former

Our lives are a living testimony. So, we must share it with the world to help others to know God.  When you look into the past, appreciate God for what you have been through. However, you must now start embracing the future.  

Remember that God has already promised us that the future would always be better than the past.  Haggai 2:9 ~ “The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And in this place, I will give peace,’ says the Lord of hosts.”

The temple here can be referred to as our body. The Bible stated that our body is the temple of God. 1 Corinthians 3:16 ~ “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”  So, when God said the glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the previous one, it meant that if we embrace the future, it surely will be better than yesterday.

5 Steps to Embracing the Future

Do you often find yourself thinking about the past, reliving situations that happened a long time ago?  Are you still wondering what you could have done differently and wished for things to be better?

Don’t worry. You’re not alone. So many people go back to the past daily. Unfortunately, this brings nothing but disappointment and regrets.

In today’s world, we need to prepare well for what is coming and not get stuck in the past. The past happened so that we could gain the experience, which is to be used as a reference point. 

As someone said, “the future is not tomorrow, the future is now.” We can’t keep staying down and thinking the future is somehow far from now. If we really want to correct our past mistakes or create a better day ahead, then it must start now.

The path to embracing the future goes through letting go of your past and experiencing the present moment intentionally, as if you have chosen it. By accepting your past and practicing mindfulness, you’re not only living in the present, but you’re also establishing the best possible future for yourself. 

Escape to Freedom

Follow these five steps to properly embrace your future:

  1. Understand that the past no longer matters.
  2. Learn from what happened.
  3. Simply accept it.
  4. Bounce back to the present moment.
  5. Look forward to the future with excitement.

These are the mental transformations one should go through in order to live a meaningful life. There’s no better time to do that than right now. It’s such an easy and pleasant way to live life. I challenge you to begin embracing the future. Let’s give it a try.

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The Keys of The Kingdom

The Keys of The Kingdom

March 11, 2019

Juanita McKenzie

Written by Pastor Juanita McKenzie

What are the “keys of the kingdom” you ask?  In both the Old and New Testaments, keys symbolize power and authority. Astonishingly, Jesus gives to Peter and the church (that is, to us) ‘the keys of the kingdom.’  Jesus was talking to Peter – “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19).

So many Christians feel incapable and powerless, lacking in any kind of spiritual authority. They do not seem to comprehend what Jesus has given to them. You are not helpless. You possess the immense privilege of having been given ‘the keys of the kingdom’.  There’s authority given to every Christian upon receipt of the keys.

In verse 18 of Matthew 16, Jesus told Peter, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”  Accordingly, we have been told to seek the Kingdom first, which is why getting these keys is necessary. Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

Building His church on Peter meant he would start a church through him. Peter might not be the rock itself, because Jesus Christ alone is the chief cornerstone. However, there were important keys that Jesus gave Peter, which allowed him the authority of binding and loosing (locking and unlocking). Let’s discover how we can obtain these ‘keys of the kingdom.’

Gain Access to God by Salvation

Undoubtedly, this is an important key.  Without this particular one, no one obtains the authority. This particular key unlocks and Jesus confirmed this in John 3:3. He was talking to Nicodemus here about this key and how important it is to get it. He said to Nicodemus, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Peter confessed and acknowledged the fact that Jesus is the Christ. Matthew 16:16 – “Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” The is the basic requirement to be saved given by the scripture. Romans 10:9 “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Acknowledge that Jesus Christ is The Way

You’ve got to fall in love with Jesus. There is no other way to get these keys at all without Him.  He’s the one that gives them to us. James 1:17 – “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” These gifts spoken about here called “perfect” are the keys needed. Jesus is God’s gift to mankind and if anyone wants to access the kingdom, must go through Him.

Jesus shared that there is no way to the kingdom of God without Him.  He is the only way and other keys revolve around him. John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Receive the Keys of The Kingdom by Faith

For us Christians, faith is essential and without it, we can’t please God.  In Matthew 16:18 Peter lacked boldness and couldn’t open or close the gates to the kingdom because he didn’t yet possess the keys, which God was promising him.  

Eventually, Peter grabbed the key of faith and was able to stand and face the crowd. That day, Peter used this key to unlock the kingdom for people to enter. After Peter had spoken, many gave their lives to Christ, which meant they also got the keys. “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; that day about three thousand souls were added to them.” ~ Acts 2:41

Realize Your Power and See Lives Changed

When Jesus told Peter that, “whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” it involved power. 1 Corinthians 4:20 “For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.” Peter demonstrated the power – the power to speak and the power to unlock the kingdom.

Luke 11:20 – “But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you” (KJV).  Jesus was talking here about the power and the kingdom, which is sufficiently obvious. As the “hand” denotes power generally, so the “finger” symbolizes power in its concentrated and specially-directed energy. Clearly, God was the source of His power to cast out demons.

Study God’s Word

The revelation of the word is key. Jesus told a parable of a man that bought a field. Matthew 13:44 ~ “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy, over it, he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” 

The kingdom is compared to land filled with treasures.  But to obtain this treasure or to locate it, there must be a guide, compass or map.  In this same way, the Bible is like a map to the treasure, which is the Kingdom.  Knowing God’s Word is surely necessary to locate and unlock the kingdom.

Understand the Purpose & Power of Prayer

According to the book of Ephesians, God’s desire is for us to pray “on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Ephesians 6:18). 

That is simply because prayer is key for all Christians. It locks and unlocks. When Jesus gave Peter the keys, in order to activate every other key, prayer was required. Accordingly, to open the kingdom for people to enter, prayer must be used. 

The apostles were all locked up in the upper room praying. Before Peter came out boldly to preach, which led a thousand souls to Christ, he had also prayed.  Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Recognize Your Divine Assignment

God will use you to call people into the kingdom – that’s your divine assignment. The apostles were used in the Bible. Jesus called them unto Himself for the work He had for them.  While Jesus stayed with them, however, the real work started after they left. 

The people of the world want to see the kingdom of God but they need a key. That’s why they are awaiting your manifestation. Romans 8:19 “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.”

You are the one to bring people into the kingdom. 1 Corinthians 3:16 ~ “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”

So, the keys of the kingdom are God’s gift to his people to state heaven’s verdict on who will and will not enter the kingdom based on their response to the gospel.  God’s will is that sinners be granted access to heaven through the righteousness of Christ.  Therefore, we must use these keys to unlock the gates of Hades and set people free.

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Recognizing Your Divine Assignment

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Recognizing Your Divine Assignment

God has a divine assignment for each Christian. Your assignment is any problem that you were created to solve.  These problems are also your doors to rewards.  This is where favor comes in. But how do you recognize your divine assignment?  

God has laid out a road map for you to be successful in His plans. He has also given you His Holy Spirit to guide you to your divine destination. However, if you rebel against your assignment, God may allow painful experiences to bring you to a place of surrender.

How to Discern Your Divine Assignment

Many people believe that whatever you like doing without going through stress might be what God wants you to do. This might be true in some cases. God gave us some gifts that we can use to execute those assignments given to us. Yet, the problem might not be on how to carry out these assignments but how to recognize them.

Many of us do one work or the other and we remain confused because we don’t know if that’s the will of God for us. Most of the time we find ourselves failing some simple task.  It may be because we are not in the right place, where God wants us to be. How then do we discover the exact assignment God gave us or wants us to do?

Let us now look to the scriptures to help ascertain our assignment.

Develop A Closer Relationship With God

The only way to be sure of understanding and completing your divine assignment is through constant fellowship with God (Secret Place). You can’t know the plans of the people you don’t know – even if a third party tells us about someone’s plan, it won’t be as true or convincing as hearing it from the person directly. In this same manner, we must build a strong relationship with God to be able to know His purpose.

Firstly, we must know His word. The word of God draws us to Him. We get to know him more and more – what he likes and what he doesn’t like. To be able to grow in Christ daily, we must eat the spiritual food which is known to be the word of God. When we read His word, we get to understand our purpose.

Another way we can build a strong relationship with God is through prayer. Prayer is essential as it links us with God.  He talks to us and makes his plans known to us through prayer. When we pray in the morning before going to work or anywhere, we receive guidance from Him that will direct us through the day.

Simply Listen

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” ~ Psalm 19:14 (NKJV)

This may look strange but yet it is important that we learn to be at peace and listen to whatever God has to say to us. After meditating on the word or after praying, we must listen to what God has to say. Listen to know why He has called you – don’t be the only one talking every time. 

God speaks to our mind and uses our thoughts to speak to us about His plans. Yet, there are different things you must pay attention and listen to, which are;

The Holy Spirit

Seeking the Lord in prayer, meditation on the Word of God and by fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit, you will discover the assignment of God for your life. The Holy Spirit talks to us in a still small voice. Hence, we must listen to get what He is passing across to us. The Holy Spirit is the spirit of God in man’s heart.

Your Heart

Now that you are in Christ, your heart is renewed and your thoughts are not just ordinary. Your heart is a tool God can use to reveal your divine assignment. Sometimes, you will get to ask yourself some questions about your life. 

Questions like, “How will I make it in life?” “What is the next in my life?” “How should I handle my family?”  When you ask yourself such questions, God also uses your thoughts to give you an answer. You will then notice you are thinking of possible solutions to the questions you asked yourself.

The Prophets

Listen to the ministers of God. Don’t raise a conflicting spirit against whatever they are saying – they have been anointed to speak the mind of God.

Study the Map (The Bible)

To fulfill your divine assignment, you must know God’s word. The Bible is a book of guidance to the Christian.  2 Timothy 3:16 stated that the Bible was written by the inspiration of God and it is useful for correction.  Does the result of the prayer you are seeing or the voice in your head align with the word of God? 

God exalts His word more and His word can never change. He can never say anything against what He has already spoken. His word doesn’t contradict. Matthew 24:15 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”

Follow Clear Instructions

God’s will won’t cause you to be confused. Particularly, the kind of confusion that causes difficulty in doing the will of God, thereby causing frequent stumbling. 

1 Corinthians 14:33 “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” The word of the Lord is clear and direct, He will instruct you on the way to go. 

Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”

How Does It Affect Others?

God has told us to love our neighbors but when we are getting something that is contrary to that, then it’s not the will of God. Galatians 6:10 “Therefore, as we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

You cannot say because it’s the will of God that you do His work and abandon your responsibility as a wife, a husband, a boss, or whatever position you are in. 1 Timothy 5:8 “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”  

Doing the right thing for your family and the people whom you love, including the people at your workplace is the will of God.

Build Your Life Around Your Divine Assignment

God has already placed a specific assignment in your life that only you can accomplish with His help. Your job is to discover that assignment, complete it with God’s help and be a blessing to the Body of Christ.  

Your assignment or plans can be found in studying the Word of God. (NKJV) Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  

God’s thoughts and plans for your life are for good and not evil. They are to prosper you!  God’s assignment for you will not fail when you do it His way. Continue to seek Him and He will reveal it to you.

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A Worker Approved By God

A Worker Approved By God

March 7, 2019

Ricardo Newbold

Written by Ricardo A. Newbold

What does it really mean to be approved by God? The apostle Paul wrote to the evangelist Timothy, Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

Believers present so many questions to God and other people.  Particularly, questions such as “What’s God’s plan for me?” or “How can I make it in life?”  and “Which road to I travel for success?” 

They are good questions to ask but we have forgotten that there is a question we must ask ourselves and provide an answer for. Answering this question will help us to determine the purpose of our lives and where we belong. The question is “Am I being called by God?”

There are some things we must do to be approved by God. One thing is certain – God is too holy that He cannot behold sin and the inequities of man. There are a few considerations which we dismiss, believing them to be irrelevant as far as God is concerned. 

Yet, they are the matters that can destroy or disqualify us from working for God. Nonetheless, there are certain tools that God has entrusted us with. Tools which He expects us to use to advance His Kingdom. Let’s look at a few.

Your Talent

To every man or woman born to this world, there is at least a talent. Sure, it takes time and the grace of God to discover the talent. Yet, we Christians have been given different talents to use, not only for our personal use but also for the glory of God. 

Your Talent

Quoting Romans 12:6 – “We have different gifts according to the grace given us. If someone’s gift is prophecy, let him use it in proportion to his faith.”  

Since God gave us talents, then we should be willing to glorify His name with the talent. “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” ~ 1 Peter 4:10

Your Wages

Another thing we need to surrender when God calls us is our wages. Ah well. You might be shocked by this because you’re probably thinking what you earn is little. Luke 16:10 states, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” 

Spiritual growth for the believer is impossible without mentioning the area of giving.

Your Wages

Working for God requires giving, in fact, it is a spiritual thing. Everything we have in this life is given by God so no one should boast. This is what the LORD said in Jeremiah 9:23: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches.”  

To yield to God’s ownership of our possession, we must then surrender all to Him as part of our service to Him. When we start giving, it helps us to trust God more and it lightens our financial burden.

Your Body As A Living Sacrifice

One thing that hinders the Holy Spirit from entering our lives is sin. God hates sin and He cannot behold it (Habakkuk 1:13 – “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil.”).

Your Sacrifice

Whenever we act contrary to the Word of God, that’s considered disobedience, which is sinful. Our obedience alone will make the Spirit of God descend on us, enabling the Holy Spirit to work in every area of our lives. Staying away from sin yields spiritual maturity.  That is when we will begin to show forth the fruit of the Spirit.

Your Love For Each Other

What brings about forgiveness is love.  When you have love, you will find it easier to forgive just as Christ forgives. Ephesians 4:32 reminds us to “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Paul understood the importance of love; he knew without love, he wouldn’t be anything.

Forgiveness

It doesn’t matter the level of your faith. The knowledge or the wealth you have acquired. If you don’t have love, you have gained nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). Even if we possess all manners of gifts of the spirit, the Bible says: 

“Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.”  ~ 1 Peter 4:8 

Therefore, learn to forgive out of love and do away with bitterness and anger.

Your Commitment To The Work Of God

Your commitment, notwithstanding life’s circumstances and those defining moments, goes a long way in magnifying Christ. Romans 8:35 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?”  

Your Commitment

The apostles were committed in their love towards Jesus Christ. The three Hebrew boys were very committed to their God.  Even in the face of death, they never stopped being faithful. Through their actions, the name of God was magnified.

Joseph, a boy sold into slavery, was so committed to serving God that Potiphar (his master) realized that God was blessing his household because of Joseph. Hence, God was magnified.

If you are committed to God, you will do the right thing. And when people see you doing things that are right, in you, Christ shall be magnified. They will want to learn more about your God and will naturally seek to follow your example. Doing this, God and His son Jesus Christ are then magnified.

Approved by God – My Utmost for His Highest

By reading/studying God’s Word daily, we are also at the same time allowing God to be intimately close to us. I believe it is pleasing to Him. He enjoys being with us. The goal of being an approved workman should be the goal of all of God’s children.

Nothing will help us more to please God than to handle carefully and correctly God’s written word. We should look to the written word of God with the same reverence as the psalmist who wrote, Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path (Psalm 119:105).

Just as the apostle Paul wrote to the evangelist Timothy, I once again encourage you. Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

 

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Leadership Worth Following

Leadership Worth Following

March 3,  2019

Ricardo Newbold

Written by Ricardo A. Newbold

What are the qualities of good leadership? How do you become a spiritual leader at home?  What makes an effective leader? These are all good questions, right?  Understand that a leader simply means someone who directs, and oversees the affairs of his members or people. Leadership is merely influence; hence, John C. Maxwell coined the phrase “Law of the Lid.”

Law of the Lid

Definition: leadership ability is the lid that determines a person’s level of effectiveness. The lower an individual’s ability to lead, the lower the lid on his potential. Your leadership ability—for better or for worse—always determines your effectiveness and the potential impact of your organization.

What Are Biblical Examples of Leadership?

There are many examples of biblical characters who became leaders. Ancient history also records that many of them came from humble beginnings. They were not highly regarded or recognized in their own country. Yet, Jeremiah 1:5 proclaims – “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; Before you were born, I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” 

So, it doesn’t really matter who you are; you are destined to rule. However, there are good and bad leaders. There are successful leaders and some leaders who failed. We will dig a little deeper into these types of leadership. The goal, simply, is to learn how to become a leader worth following.

Leadership

Leadership Lessons from Joseph

Joseph had been shown in a dream that he would become a leader. Such a dream  – one would expect that the road ahead should be smooth but it wasn’t. Joseph was hated by his brothers and was later sold into slavery. Nonetheless, he eventually emerged as a leader and we observe several traits along his journey:

1. Diligence. Joseph was diligent in all that he did since being sold into slavery. This made him successful in the house of Potiphar. Genesis 39:2 “The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.” This is why Potiphar made Joseph a leader even in slavery.

2. Fear of the Lord. Joseph considered his creator with the highest regard. When the wife of Potiphar came to tempt him, he declined not minding the consequences. Rather, Joseph chose to fear the Lord. Genesis 39:9 “There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”

3. Perseverance. Joseph was thrown into prison despite being innocent. He did not go against God but chose to remain faithful. Yet, even in the prison, he was made the leader and God was with him. Joseph surely could have complained to God. He could have engineered a scheme for his freedom but he persevered.

4. Forgiveness. Joseph’s brothers had sold him into slavery, an act we possibly could deem as unforgiving. Yet, he still forgave his brothers.

Leadership Lessons from Moses

Moses was born during a time when the Pharaoh of Egypt had ordered every male Hebrew to be drowned. Moses is traditionally credited with leading the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt and across the Red Sea to the “promised land” of Canaan

God declared that the Israelites were his own people and that they must listen to God and obey His laws.  Hence, Moses is best known as the lawgiver who met God face-to-face on Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments after leading his people out of  Egypt. 

The Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments were given to Moses on two stone tablets. They set out the basic principles that would govern the Israelites lives.

When it was time that God’s children would be freed from slavery, God ordered Moses to visit the Pharaoh and command that His people be released. However, Moses had great difficulty speaking and lacked boldness in the presence of the Pharaoh, who was a strong man. 

However, Moses simply obeyed God and through him, the people were led out of slavery. Obedience is key. Consequently, God used Moses to perform great wonders. Therefore, we can learn from the life of Moses that a leader must be bold, attentive and obedient, 

Leadership Lessons from King David

David was just a lowly shepherd boy who spent much time in the fields attending to flock. Little did he realize that he was about to become a great leader. We observe from the onset of his story that he was always diligent in his assigned tasks. When the beast of the field came to snatch a sheep from the herd, David went after it and killed it. 

David already possessed leadership characteristics even while he was a shepherd. We note the following leadership traits from David.

1. Courageous in the Face of Challenges. David believed in God, therefore, he was fearless. He faced the beast and when Goliath came to terrorize his people, he too went after him. Goliath was a giant that no one in the country would face. Yet, this small boy went after him as he did with the beasts. David was fearless because he believed that God would also win this battle for him. 1 Samuel 17.

David vs Goliath

2. Cherished His Relationship With God. One thing you’ll notice about David is that his relationship with God is central to his life. He loves God with all of his heart and this relationship with God is his priority above all other things.

David always trusted God and was passionate about prayer. He was a man that sang praises to God at every moment. This, he took seriously!  For this reason, God called him a man after His heart.

The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?  – David (Psalm 27:1)

Leadership Lessons from Jesus Christ

The greatest leader to ever live is Jesus Christ. There are so many acts of sacrifice that Jesus performed to make our lives better. He possessed every leadership quality and surely is the leader worth following!  Not only did he possess a servant’s heart, Jesus gives leaders the ultimate pattern to follow. 

He was willing to do the work, He was willing to bring others along, and when they couldn’t quite come through He was willing to do what they could not. 

Jesus

1) Jesus knew the value of a team.  

Jesus understood that He couldn’t do anything without a team of people around Him. Therefore, He recruited twelve disciples who partnered with Him spreading the Good News.

As leaders, we must realize the value of having a team of people around us to accomplish our mission.

  • 2) Jesus empowered people.

Jesus understood that as leaders we cannot do it all, and therefore, He empowered people around Him to go out and fulfill His mission.  Deeply rooted in the lesson above, it’s stated that ‘Together, Everyone Achieves More.’

‘Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.’ Luke 10:19 (NKJV)

How Do I Become A Better Leader?

If you have a family, whether you recognize it or not, you are a leader. And if you’ve read this far, then you are interested in learning how to become a better leader. Start by understanding your leadership style.

Be the leader of your family by establishing family values, being passionate, creating the culture of your home, being present, controlling your schedule, planning with purpose, listening and communicating effectively, displaying a positive attitude, serving as a role model and living by example.

Consider some of the above tips for how to become a better leader and think about ways that you can implement these strategies in your daily life.

Being an effective leader doesn’t mean making the fewest mistakes.  Rather, it means being open about them and being quick to ask forgiveness and get back on the right path.

 

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Natasha Robinson

We Must Fight

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The Challenges of Sharing the Gospel

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The Challenges of Sharing the Gospel

Why should you share the gospel? While we understand the importance, Christians face numerous challenges when sharing the gospel today.  

Sharing the Gospel

At the instruction of the Lord Jesus, the believers, including the twelve, met at the upper room in Jerusalem. While they waited, the promised Holy Spirit, like tongues of fire rested on the disciples. 

There, with the evidence of the gifts of speaking in tongue, the Church of Christ was birthed.

The birth of the Church at Pentecost saw the first message of the gospel preached by Peter, with accompanied conversion of 5,000 men. Interestingly, as the Church witnessed growth throughout Jerusalem through the spreading of the gospel of Jesus, so also does her persecutions.

Sharing the gospel, then, came with a price – imprisonments, beating, killings. From James to John, the list is endless, comprising believers who faced fierce resistance while sharing the gospel of Christ.

Since the time of the apostles, the challenges of sharing the gospel of Jesus have continued to evolve. 

Just as the Great Commission remains important for every professing believer, the challenge of preaching the gospel has also remained. Sharing our faith with someone else should naturally become a priority for everyone who has received God’s generous grace. 

Winning Souls

Sadly, this is far from our experience.

Eager and enthusiastic about knowing Jesus, as a believer, perhaps you too looked forward to talking to someone about Him. Yet, you observe your energy and enthusiasm quickly dissipate before a candidate for salvation, and fear sets in. 

This experience is not limited to a few. Quite a number of believers – old and young, lay and clergy – are confronted with this challenge of sharing the gospel

For the purpose of clarity, let’s categorize these challenges into two – intrinsic and extrinsic.

Intrinsic Challenges

Our feelings of inadequacy to share the gospel largely finds expression through fear. Fear has suppressed the believers’ zeal to let others know about Jesus. 

What are we afraid of? Our fears customarily stem from dread of rejection – due to our social class, and even our faith. Oftentimes, we think of our faith as not socially acceptable, and could hurt other’s feelings.

Timothy was also in this situation when Paul wrote the second letter to him. Timothy was young and Paul, his mentor, was in prison. So, Paul, in his letter, wrote Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:7-8 (NLT)

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him.”

Spiritual Rejection

You have the spirit of God in you, and He’s not timid. Do not be afraid, this gospel message holds the key to liberate humankind. So, go and share it boldly.

Sharing the gospel message requires some basic communication skills. Though we rely on the Holy Spirit, it’s prudent to arm oneself with the necessary tools for starting conversations. 

Paul took advantage of an altar inscription in Athens to engage the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. 

The Samaritan woman was engaged in a conversation that led to the salvation of a community by Jesus.  Jesus found a common ground, and keyed into it.

You, too, can look for opportunities, or common grounds for sharing the gospel of Jesus. Such opportunities abound in lecture halls, college campuses, cafés, airport lounges, public places etc. 

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes – the hope of the world hangs on it (Rom 1:16).

Extrinsic Challenges

The church, since the time of Paul, has had to confront philosophies that challenge God’s existence, and deny the Christology of Jesus. In the age of information (and knowledge), this is one major challenge to sharing the gospel of Christ. 

It has become expedient for the believers to equip themselves with knowledge to confront this challenge. Here’s Peter’s admonition:

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)

In a 2018 report by Open Doors USA, a total of fifty countries were listed (identified) where it is most dangerous to be a follower of Jesus. Nations are becoming more and more hostile to the gospel. 

With increasing exposure to torture, imprisonment, loss of home and assets, rape, and death, Christians remain one of the most persecuted religious groups.

Handcuffed Hands

Despite these, our resolve to share the gospel must be firm. 

Committed to Sharing the Gospel

As daunting as the outlined challenges may be, they are offshoots of a bigger challenge. If our love for sinners is true, and our conviction in the gospel as the only means of salvation is far-reaching, nothing will hinder us. 

Do you love the world (unsaved people) as much as you’ve enjoyed God’s love? What’s your conviction about the gospel? Do you believe it is God’s power unto salvation to everyone that believes? 

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Natasha Robinson

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