Word Clinic 30: Quiet time help

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Believer one. He is woken by the blaring sound of his alarm at 4am. With the sticky mucus still gluing his eyelids together, he fumbles around his bed in the dark for his phone. And there it was, right under his pillow. He snoozes the alarm, drops his head onto his pillow and off he goes, to the dream world. Another morning of no quiet time.

Believer two. She had purposed the night before to rise up by 5am and pray. She has a problem of sleeping too much. At bedtime, she begged the Holy Spirit to wake her up. Here she was, her eyes shining. She grabs her phone to check the time; 5am on the dot. “Thank you Lord!” she mutters. She slips out of bed unto the kneeing position. With her elbows on her bed, she began the choruses. Then some adoration prayers, and more choruses. Only five minutes had passed. She rests her head on the bed and switches to praying in tongues, “Ma sanda libra hoo shabarababa… ” which only lasted for two minutes, and off she goes, to the dream world. The next tongues she would speak in her consciousness was at 7:30am. Her knees were hurting. And she was already late for work.

Believer three. He wakes up at 3am. The plan was to study his Bible before praying. He dabs his face with water and brushes his teeth, all in a bid to drive away any aota of sleep. He sits behind his table and flips his Bible to the portion to be read for that day. He begins at verse one and reads to verse five. He pauses a while. He could hardly remember what the preceding verses had said. “I must have dozed off in between” he concluded. He starts all over again at the first verse. Thirty minutes after, he was still at verse five. He had been repeating the cycle. Sleep will not allow him make a head way. He closes his Bible and goes back to bed. Another morning of truncated quiet time.

Many believers have had issues maintaining a consistent quiet time. Some have concluded by rhetorically asking, “Must I set out time daily to study my Bible and pray? I’d pray whenever I’m able to make out time.” My response is this. Who are you copying? I’m sure it’s not our Lord Jesus.

Other Christians that know they should make out time on a daily basis have been plagued with several challenges. Consistency and quality time. What time of the day should my quiet time be? How long should I spend? Which should I do first? Praying or studying my Bible? Among other questions usually asked. I’d say we have a model in Christ.

Mark in his gospel about Christ comments in the very first chapter in verse thirty-five about the prayer habit, and indeed, the effort He puts in to maintain a regular quiet time. Mark puts it this way. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” I’ve gleaned useful principles from this verse which have helped me personally with maintaining a regular quiet time.

If there’s one person who I know that was terribly busy while on earth, that person would be Jesus. He slept in the same place with His disciples and they began ministering the very moment they woke up. The crowd was already awaiting them, following Christ the whole day while He taught, healed the sick and ministered to the poor. He had to practically steal away from the crowd at night in other to rest. Yet I found Christ in the midst of His choking schedule, creating time for communion with the Father. What was His secret?

He rose up early. Christ got up early in the morning way before the others did, that He may enjoy serenity and seclusion. If there’s one time of the day you can place a handle on, it’s your morning. People can encroach into any other time of your day, but if you can rise up before them, you can enjoy your alone time. Any if there’s one thing you can spend this precious time doing, in which you’re the most refreshed, it is in communing with God.

Christ got up. You may be wondering, “Of course He rose up early. Why are you emphasizing that He got up?” Yeah! I’m actually making that emphasy because they are different. After Christ woke up, He got up from where He was lying – be it a bed or the floor. He wasn’t praying while in the recumbent position. If He was, He would most likely had fallen asleep. This is not to say one cannot choose whichever position one desires to take while praying. But you should pick a position that would help you stay alert throughout your prayer time. I usually recommend alternating between a sitting and standing position. With this postures, you can spend as long as you want communing.

Jesus left the house and went to a solitary place. Here is another principle. You must find your niche – your space where you can commune with God uninterrupted. A place where you won’t disburb others and where you won’t be disburbed – that’s why it’s called quiet time. It mustn’t necessarily be outside your house, but it can’t be a place conducive for sleep. To choose a place where you can see your bed, is to choose to truncate your quiet time.

God in no way intends us to be ‘religious’ about a time to study our Bible and pray, without enjoying genuine communion with Him. Rather, He intends for us to be consistent with setting out time to seek His face.

In most churches, quiet time seems to be a thing emphasized for the newly saved, and the so to speak matured Believers walk about in spiritual arrogance, doing a lot of church activities without making out time daily to commune with God. Please, please, be not be deceived. You can never outgrow quiet time because Christ never did.

Make it a culture. Set out time to seek God’s face, early and daily. And carry the aura of His presence through your entire day.

gidmedico.

The Will Of God 07 – The nature of God’s will Part 4

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In the last three studies, I attempted expounding the one verse of scriptures that beautifully describes the nature of God’s will – Romans twelve two. I’d love to proceed by gleaning other features of His will from other portions of the Bible.

One outstanding character of God is His sovereignty. He exists in a superior class all by Himself. He created all things without He Himself been created; this makes Him God. So when it comes to God’s overall plan and design, He does whatever pleases Him.

Psalms 115 verse 3 corroborates this fact by stating, “Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases Him.” This is so because He is, or should be the object of existence, not us. So, He designs everything to achieve His overall intent.

Some folks may immediately say, “Wait, wait, wait. God is in heaven, so He can do whatever He wants. That’s His business. We are on earth, let’s live our lives like we want to. But His will and programmes cut accross. That’s why He is sovereign. Psalms 135 verse 6 expands the scope by stating, “The Lord does whatever pleases Him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths.” So everywhere, His plan prevails.

God doesn’t just set out a plan and leave it in the hand of fate; He sees it through to the end. For He accomplishes His will. Isaiah 55 verse 11 says that God’s word that goes out from His mouth will not return to Him empty, but will accomplish that which He desires, and achieve the purpose for which He sent it. I think that strikes the nail on the head. God is committed to His will.

God’s overall plan or programme cannot be thwarted. Job affirmed this nature of God’s plan in the second verse of the forty-second chapter of the book that bears his name. “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”

So, God’s sovereignty is mind blowing. And any child of His who wants to understand His will must understand His sovereignty. For we live, or should live for Him, and not the other way round.

gidmedico

Word Clinic 29: Don’t just mark time

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I currently reside in a rural community with a high life expectancy. It is commonplace to bump into very elderly men and women in their eighties and nineties, walking about, some strong enough to go about their farming businesses and attend functions like marriages, others are so frail that they just sit in front of their houses hailing passerbys. While many of these people celebrate long lives, many of them have hitherto lived unimpactful lives. Many men in their old age still come back home drunk, and only specialize in championing townhall arguments. Many women, elderly ones, specialize in throwing tantrum, so that their children, grand and great grand children can always hang around them.

For many, this is the goal – to live to a good old age. Fair enough, because the Bible promises us long life; for you shall see your children’s children… (Psalms 128:6). But remember, that the Bible also says what you should be doing in old age – the works of the Lord; for you shall not die but live and declare the works of the Lord (Psalms 118:17).

Year in, year out, people stand in churches, unbelievers inclusive, to testify of God’s goodness – how He has spared their lives. The hearers scream and rejoice with them. But I wish those same hearers could hear the testimony of God about those testifiers. Their response may be different.

The goal should not be just to mark time, but to live impactful lives. Do not stop your reading of Psalms 90 verse 12 at “teach us to number our days”, please continue your reading to, “that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” That’s the goal – to live after the wisdom of God, a fulfilled life.

Many believers are increasing in chronological age and are celebrating more spiritual birthdays, but they are waning in spiritual fervency and exploit. God is not just interested in how long you live on earth, but what you do with your time here. Some believers are already dead, but the air is resounding with the impact they have made, and the sands proudly displaying their indelible imprint. Yet, you are still alive and even some of your immediate family members and friends have zero experience of your God.

Jesus lived, as some estimate, for about thirty-three and half years, yet His impact on mankind is everlasting. Many may have commented that He died young, and a shameful death at that. But what was the comment of God concerning His life on earth, “This is my beloved Son in whom I’m well pleased.”

Paul, the apostle, also died as a middle-aged man. No immediate family, no accrued wealth, yet the impact his life made on mankind still lingers till now – for he was one of the founding apostles who took the gospel of Christ to the gentiles, authoring by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit over two-thirds of the New Testament.

It is not how long, but how well. It will be double honours, and indeed should be, that you live a long and fulfilling life. You should desire that your life remains relevant to God’s eternal purpose till the very day you breathe your last. The onus lies on you to seek to know His specific will for your life and do it. Not just some, but all His will.

Make every day, of every year count. Not just on your calendar, but in God’s agenda, by doing His will this year.

gidmedico

The Will Of God 06 – The nature of God’s will Part 3

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“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Romans 12:2 NIV

The will of God is perfect. God’s plan, God’s desire, God’s agenda, cannot be anything but perfect. His will is entirely without flaws,  defects or shortcomings. In conception and
execution, His will is perfect.

Every good and perfect gift comes from above, from God (James 1:17). For it comes from a flawless realm and a faultless being,  and even our flawed world cannot make it defective. His plan to save man was flawless in conception, for the Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8), and was perfect in execution, for the Lamb died on the cross and rose after three days.

The will of God is perfect. It is complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement. No matter how hard man tries to improve on it,  he cannot. He will end up creating his own will. For it is whole in conception and should maintain that wholeness in execution.

God’s plan of making Abraham a great nation was to be executed through Isaac his son, but Abraham tried to improve or salvage the will of God when the promise of Isaac delayed by inventing Ishmael. But no matter how hard Abraham tried,  Ishmael remained Abraham’s will. For God’s will was perfect and whole in Isaac, needing no improvement.

The will of God is perfect. It exactly fits the need in every situation and in every purpose. God who in His sovereignty knows the needs, designs His plan to perfectly meet those needs. No need beats the imagination of God’s will; for His plan precedes the needs, and comes in just in time to meet the needs.

When Moses was reiterating the law to the Israelites in Deuteronomy thirty two verse four, he exclaimed concerning God’s will, “… His work is perfect,  all His ways are judgment… ” David the psalsmist sang in second Samuel twenty two verse thirty one that “as for God,  His way is perfect,  the word of the Lord is tried… ”

Whenever the will of God is put to the test, it always passes, with a perfect score. It may appear flawed when beheld with the eyes of flesh and analysed by hearts of stone, but when those eyes are anointed with eye salve (Revelation 3:18), and those hearts of stone fall on Christ and are broken (Matthew 21:44), the exact nature of God’s will is discerned as perfect. For the word of God,  which is the will of God is perfect,  converting the soul (Psalsm 19:7).

gidmedico

BIBLE ALIVE 25: The Wise Arabians

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Twelve wise men, Arabians from the east, arrived Jerusalem late in the evening, the sun already going down over the city. It was the 37th year of the rule of Herod the great, an Edomite, made king over Judea by Augustus and Antonius.

These wise men arrived Jerusalem famished and fagged out, their camels trudging through the city gate, bearing their weights, their backs cringing under it. They had seen a magnificent star in their country, unique from all the others they had seen before. This star reflected royalty; royalty like none they had seen before. So they decided to journey, following the direction of the star, which brought them to the very gate of Jerusalem and disappeared.

They alighted from their camels and stood by the gate, asking passerbys whether they knew a king which was recently born. “Where is He that is born the king of the Jews?” They asked. But no one knew.

It was only less than two years ago that Jesus was born in the lonely horse pen in Bethlehem. The shepherds in the fields were the first to take note of His birth; for they saw and heard glorious things concerning him, and made them known abroad, to the amazement of all that heard them. Simeon and Ann thereafter spoke of Him by the Spirit to all those who were disposed to take heed to what was said. One would have thought that the inhabitants of Jerusalem would have embraced tightly the long awaited messiah, but they continued almost two years without taking note of Christ till these wise Arabians arrived.

Then a young man, dressed in a messenger’s attire, obviously one of king Herod’s messengers approached them, being sent by the king. For the news of who they sought was all over the city. “Sirs, please come with me.” The messenger said to them. “The king would want to make some enquiry concerning who you seek.” Then the wise men went with him.

Herod was pacing furiously in his courtroom. He was greatly troubled. I know the Old Testament prophesied about the messiah and His kingdom. But I was really hoping those prophesies will forever fail, Herod thought. I just hope they are not coming through. He immediately summoned all the chief priests and scribes to the courtroom and asked, “Where is the king of the Jews to be born according to the writings of the prophets?” And they all answered in unison, “Bethlehem! Bethlehem in Judea.”

Not too long after, the wise men were led into Herod’s courtroom. After the salutations and exchange of pleasantries, they asked the question they’ve been asking the whole day. “Where is He that is born the king of the Jews?” “Why do you make this enquiry?” asked Herod.  “It is because we have seen His star in the  east.” they replied. “What business have you with Him? What have the men of the east to do with the King of the Jews?” asked the king. “We have come to worship him.” they echoed. Then the king said to them deceitfully, “Go and search for Him, then bring me word when you find him, that I may go and worship Him.”  Then the messenger who brought them led them out Herod’s palace.

These Arabians walked the desert path leading to Bethlehem alone. What kind of people are these? They thought. Not one person from the court, church or city could accompany us. We came from a far country to pay their king homage and they aren’t even curious enough to find Him. How do we even locate Him in a city so large as Bethlehem?

As they pondered on these things, the star which they had seen in the east appeared right before them, its glow almost blinding their eyes. With exceeding joy that they could not contain, they leaped, screaming and hugging each other, rejoicing that they had at last found their lead for this great quest; that they had not embarked on this journey in vain. For the God who led Israel by a pillar of fire to the promised land was going to lead them by a star to the promised Seed, who Himself is the bright and morning Star.

Following the star’s lead, they arrived at a lonely hut with thatched roof, the star resting over the house. On entering in, they found Mary sitting on a wooden chair, carrying the babe Jesus. Joseph stood beside her; for it was he who had opened the door for them.

The twelve wise men stood in awe. Awe, because of the magnificience that exuded from the babe. For though His current residence and attendance did not reflect the glory and eminence of a natural king, they were wise enough to see through the veil into the glorious eminence that this king of the Jews and king of the world radiated.

They presented first themselves, and then their gifts. They presented themselves; for they fell down before Him and worshipped. For no mention was made of them giving Herod such an honour inspite of all the royal grandeur he put on. But they honoured and worshipped Christ, not just as king, but as God.

They presented their gifts; for they opened their boxes before the babe, from which they brought out Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh – which were money and money’s worth. For this was going to be a relief to Joseph and Mary who were in a poor condition.

And far beyond that, these Arabians, being wise by divine providence, displayed symbolism in the gifts they offered. They offered Gold, for they recognized Christ as king, paying tribute to Him. They gave Frankincense, for they acknowledged Christ as God, honouring Him with the smoke of incense. And they added Myrrh, because they saw Christ as a Man that should die, and whose body would need embalming.

Food For Thought: (1)Many times those who are nearest to the means, are furthest from the end; for a prophet is not without honour, save in His own country. (2) Those who truly desire to know Christ, and find him, will not regard pains or perils in seeking after him. (3) The King of kings should be offered the gift of our lives first, and then the gift of our substance.

Scriptural references: Matthew 2:1-12; Micah 5:2; Revelation 22:16;

gidmedico.

The Will Of God 05 – The nature of God’s will Part 2

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The will of God is good,  acceptable and perfect. It is not good at one point and acceptable at another time,  and then perfect at a later time. It always contains these three attributes. I treated God’s will as good in the last study. I would like to dwell on God’s will as acceptable.

Romans twelve two wants us to renew our minds so that we can discern God’s will as acceptable. God’s will is acceptable and pleasing. Acceptable to who? Acceptable to God. He prescribes it,  so it has to be acceptable to Him. Nothing else pleases Him except His will.

“This is my beloved Son in whom I’m well pleased” said God the Father about Jesus the Son at His baptism. Jesus is God’s will personified,  and God was pleased with Him. Jesus did the will of His father,  which was acceptable and well pleasing to God.

Any remedial way or measure we take,  short of God’s will,  cannot be pleasing to Him,  no matter how we fine-tune it. Only the will of God and a life that does His will is accepted by Him. For He created all things; for His pleasure they are and were created (Revelation 4:11).

Some well meaning christians and bible scholars have interpreted this acceptable will to mean the permissive will of God. I have also been a victim of this interpretation in the past. But with careful and holistic study over the years,  and gleaning from other believers,  I discovered that there is no such qualifier of God’s will as permissive. I found out that many believers have used the permissive will of God as a perfect coverup to indulge their own will.

One common example in the bible that these well-meaning believers use to justify their ‘permissive will’ theory,  is that about the leadership of Israel that I cited in the last study. They usually render it thus. “God’s perfect will for Israel’s leadership was that He ruled them directly through judges,  but they didn’t want it. So they pleaded with God that they needed a king like the other nations,  and he obliged them. This is His permissive will.”

I would say,  they didn’t read first Samuel eight well,  because if they did,  they would have found out that after the elders of Israel told Samuel that they wanted a King instead of judges,  Samuel was displeased,  and God too. And God told Samuel in verse nine,  “hearken unto their voice,  howbeit yet,  protest solemnly unto them and show them the manner of the king…” That doesn’t look like the permissive will of God to me,  but what is clear was God allowing them to do their will, not His.

Another commonly referenced example is that of Hezekiah,  the king of Judah. The Lord sent the prophet Isaiah to him in Second Kings twenty,  asking him to put his house in order because it was time for him to die. But Hezekiah prayed begging God,  and God obliged him and added fifteen more years to him. Many call this God’s permissive will. But I don’t see how Hezekiah living more fifteen years was God’s will at all,  because from the above Scripture,  God made His will known to Hezekiah,  he wanted him to die at that time. God obliging Hezekiah was He granting Hezekiah his own will,  which we would later find was not good,  neither was it pleasing.

In the fifteen more years that Hezekiah lived,  his life didn’t exactly please God. For when the king of Babylon sent ambassadors to him,  in a prideful gesture,  he displayed all the treasures of God’s house to them,  from which the prophesy of Judah’s exile to Babylon stemmed. It was also within this fifteen years that his son Manasseh was born,  who went on to be one of the most wicked kings in Judah,  making his sons to pass through the fire.

I could mention more and more of such misinterpreted examples from scriptures. What I consistently find is this. Once God makes His will about a matter known,  He is only pleased when it is done. The famous teacher of God’s word,  Kenneth E. Hagin described the concept of the ‘permissive will’ of God as washing your feet with your socks on. It doesn’t work,  because such concept really doesn’t exist.

Jesus is our perfect example. For when he was faced at Gathsemane with His will and that of His Father,  He did not beg to have His own will by refusing to go to the cross,  but He chose the will of God which was acceptable and pleasing to God.

The will of God is only that that satisfies Him. And for Him to be well pleased with you,  you have to accept and do His acceptable will.

gidmedico.

The Will Of God 04 – The nature of God’s will Part 1

The Will Of God 04 – The nature of God’s will Part 1

The best way to fully understand anything is by characterising it. Or put differently, if one can properly describe the components of anything, then that person has a complete grasp of it. The same applies to God’s will. The intriguing features of the nature of God’s will are littered across scriptures. I’d love to pull some together.

Among other scriptures, Romans twelve two is one portion of scriptures that compresses three superb qualities of the will of God.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, acceptable and perfect will.” 

The apostle Paul in this portion of scripture was trying to admonish the believers in Rome on how to live a victorious christian life. They were not to assume the mold of the system of this world, nor were they expected to be well adjusted to the world’s traditions. But they are to renew their minds with God’s word that they may be able to discern the will of God. Then he goes further to mention these superb qualities of God’s will which is good, acceptable and perfect.

The will of God is good. The word “good” is one word that is difficult to describe. Dictionary.com in an attempt to define the word “good” uses about fifty different descriptions for it – as an adjective, noun, interjection, adverb – all in a bid to properly capture the meaning of the word. Wow! So many definitions just for one word, I wondered. Then I found out why.

The best description of good is God. If one takes out the letters “G”, “o”, “d” from the word “good”, one is left with the letter “o”, which I believe is a good symbol of emptiness. Whatever doesn’t have God cannot be good. No matter how innocent, useful, or appealing it may appear, once it is void of God, it cannot be good.

“No one is good, except God alone…” This Jesus said, in response to the rich young ruler in Mark ten eighteen. For he had called him “good master”, without necessarily acknowledging His deity. So, Jesus had to remind him that if God was taken out of anything or any person, that thing or person could not be regarded as good. “You are good, and you do good…” proclaims the Psalmist boldly about God in Psalms 119 verse 68.

Also, James one seventeen tells us that every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. So, whatever is good is of God. And whatever God does, and whatever he gives, proscribes and plans is good.

The will of God is good. It is suitable for you. You do not know what you need, nor what best suits you. But you can be rest assured that God’s specific will for you is suitable for you, and has your best interest at heart.

“It is not good for the man to be alone,” God said to Adam in the beginning. “I will make a helper suitable for him.” And God brought Eve to Adam, and indeed she was well suited for him. Still speaking about marriage, Proverbs eighteen twenty-two says that the man who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favour from the Lord. Chapter nineteen verse fourteen of the same Proverbs reiterates that a prudent wife is from the Lord. So, that which God gives is always good.

Are you at the junction of making any decision? Of where to live? What course to study? What job to do? Which business to delve into? Which person to marry? What school to enrol your kids in? One thing is certain, if you seek God’s specific will at this junction, what He gives you will be well suited for you. Even if it is not what you had envisaged, and even if it is not your preference, if it is God’s will, you can trust that it is well customised for you. And in the long run, you will enjoy it, every bit. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord , “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

His plans for a people or nation is always good. God’s plan for Israel as a nation, as regards how they were to be led as a people, was good. He wanted to rule them through His elect – judges, handpicked by Him. But they wanted to be ruled by a monarch – a king, like the other nations, which was not good. God even told Samuel to solemnly protest to them about their choice, by making them know what terrible things they would suffer at the hand of their king. But they would not bulge. They thought God’s judges were not suitable for them. How myopic! So, He allowed them to have their will. And they ended up suffering the consequences (1 Samuel 8).

The will of God is always good – satisfactory in quality, quantity and degree, and well suited for us, because it emanates from God.

Hopefully if Jesus tarries, I’d elucidate the next quality of God’s will as acceptable in the next study.

gidmedico.