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Faith

The Little World Of Difference

I recently found a message by Christine Caine that blessed me.

She shares about the little world of difference between anointing and gifting. In a very humourous and witty delivery style, Christine blows the roof by telling her music-ministers-audience that anointing and appointment are yet again, two different seasons and stages in our eternal quest for Christian Perfection.

I recommend this not just for music ministers and worship leaders but for all children of God!

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Faith

#Lent19 Just a little affection…

You don’t measure love in time.

You measure love in transformation.

Sometimes the longest connections yield very little growth

while the briefest of encounters change everything

 Jeff Brown

Everyone deserves to be loved even beyond their perceived value and opinions.

To love simply means to give. Love may be that simple act of showing little care and not usually expect anything in return.

The argument that love is created for the need and comfort of those who lack it only may not be true. While many people try to achieve love in ways, they think is best, others feel it’s not worth the sacrifice.

Have you ever wandered on the lonely path of life seeking answers to love? Yes, just to be clarified of your assumptions on whether love can change things or rather give it a different approach. To be fair, have we tried to provide same answers we’re seeking to others who have same questions? Same was demonstrated by the ultimate being (GOD) who never justified us with our deeds before loving us.

As we focus our gaze on Christ this spiritual exercise, we should attempt to show an act of love without wandering if they the receiver deserves it or not rather than allow others wander in confusion when we can be their answers.

A simple smile, that little attention you thought does not mean anything might be all someone needs to keep hope alive.

In this season of reflection, why not add to life’s value by becoming someone’s testimony of love?

Think it through!

Scriptural Reference: Rom. 5:8, 13:8, 1 Cor. 13:4-5

Reflection:

In what ways have I denied someone Love?

How has God loved me?

Do I have any reason not to dwell in self condemnation?

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Faith

#Lent19: Do you like to think?

Only thy restless heart keep still,
And wait in cheerful hope, content.
To take whate’er His gracious will,
His all-discerning love, hath sent;
Nor doubt our inmost wants are known,
To Him who chose us for his own.

                                       Georg Neumark

How often do we look forward to thinking?

Just thinking.

Allowing our minds wander in thought, asking difficult questions or just circling on an issue mentally until we find the answers that suit us? How many times do we look forward to roaming the abyss in search of answers which we often do not find?

That is how I often consider Lent.

Lent means to lend – contribute or give away with the hope of getting it back. Lent in official terms refers to a season (of about 46 days or 40 spiritually active days) where Christians observe fasting and prayers from Ash Wednesday to Good Friday. We will delve into the meanings and liturgy a bit later.

Now, back to thinking.

We think because most times, we are convinced that there are answers out there, somewhere. We only perhaps need to figure them out; weigh all sides and options. So, we give out our hearts and minds; suspend them for a period hoping they return with answers. We hope they come back different, lighter and empowered with direction.

As we begin the biggest season in the global Christian community; why not lend your heart for a few weeks to thinking, listening and conversing with your Creator?

Why not let go and risk getting it back with answers, less burden and light by Easter?

It begins with a simple answer…

Are you ready to give it some thought?

Reference: Psalm 27: 1, Psalm 136, Job 40: 1-2.

Reflection:

  1. Why I’m I here and where am I headed?
  2. What I’m I grateful for and what’s on my mind?
  3. Walk away from all those weighty thoughts…to hell with the answers!
Categories
Faith

Have You Found Him?

I sang this hymn in church on Sunday and it brought tears to my eyes.

There are many songs, hymns and literature on friendship with God but this one inspires me in a unique way.

Lyrics are reproduced for your reading pleasure.

1.
I’ve found a Friend, oh, such a Friend!
He loved me ere I knew Him;
He drew me with the cords of love,
And thus He bound me to Him.
And round my heart still closely twine
Those ties which naught can sever,
For I am His, and He is mine,
Forever and forever.

2.
I’ve found a Friend, oh, such a Friend!
He bled, He died to save me;
And not alone the gift of life,
But His own self He gave me.
Naught that I have my own I call,
I hold it for the Giver;
My heart, my strength, my life, my all,
Are His, and His forever.

3.
I’ve found a Friend, oh, such a Friend!
So kind, and true, and tender,
So wise a Counsellor and Guide,
So mighty a Defender!
From Him who loves me now so well,
What power my soul can sever?
Shall life or death, or earth or hell?
No? I am His forever.

Categories
Faith

Love, a package not a buffet

“Paul was never more the wordsmith than when he crafted this sentence. Listen to its rhythm as originally written: panta stegei, panta pisteuei, panta elpigei, panta upomenei. (Now when people ask you what you are doing, you can say, “I’m reading some Greek.” Say it humbly, however, for love does not boast.) Did you notice the fourfold appearance of panta?

Expansions of panta appear in your English dictionary. Pantheism is the belief that God is in all things. A pantry is a cupboard where one can, hopefully, store all things. A panacea is a cure for all things. And a panoply is an array of all things. Panta means “all things.”

God’s view of love is like my mom’s view of food. When we love someone, we take the entire package. No picking and choosing. No large helpings of the good and passing on the bad. Love is a package deal”.

– Max Lucado

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Faith

#HappyEaster: Never, Never again be Afraid!

Text: Matthew 28

When the women arrived at the ancient cemetery on the dawn of the Sabbath, they were greeted not by a cold, sealed tomb but by an angel, relaxing in the morning sunshine on the stone that had been rolled away!

When the women arrived at the ancient cemetery on the dawn of the Sabbath, they were greeted not by a cold, sealed tomb but by an angel, relaxing in the morning sunshine on the stone that had been rolled away!

And what were the words of this angel?

“Do not be afraid!”

Let’s travel back in time about 33 years before this Resurrection morning when an angel was sent from heaven to announce the birth of Jesus. What did that angel say?

“Do not be afraid!”

When God arrives on the scene of our lives, He comes to take away all fear. Jesus lived and died to deal with your fear issues! If you are bound by fear, be set free today by the Savior Who could not be held by death!

The sealed grave, this Easter morning, was not opened to let Jesus out but to let the adoring women in. As these women, who were the first commissioned to tell the Gospel story, ran in celebration away from the cemetery, they were experiencing both fear and great joy.

Always allow your joy to be greater than your fear! Nothing in your life should be stronger than His joy. The joy those women experienced on that Sabbath morning caused them to fall on their faces in worship.

Some of the disciples worshipped while others doubted. Disciples have the same decision to make today. Will you worship or will you doubt?

Will you get on your face in worship or give into your fear?

The power and authority that Easter heralds should compel us all to go and make disciples. Once you have been told … you must go tell! God’s will for your life, and for my life, is to make disciples in our personal worlds.

The final truth of the Resurrection story is that He really is with you. He will be with you in all your tomorrows. We are sent out on the greatest task in all of History and are assured of the Greatest Presence that has ever lived on heaven or on earth.

“Hosanna!”

Copyright 2013 by Carol McLeod, all rights reserved. Carol McLeod is the founder of Just Joy Ministries, whose mission is to inspire women of all walks of life to engage in a deeper way with the Bible, and to grow in personal relationship with the Lord. 

#PRAYERS

  1. #Personal: I confess today that I will never, ever again allow my fears to triumph over my joy in you – that you rose victorious from the grave. Never again, Risen Lord….in your power and grace I declare, Never again!!! 
  2. #BodyofChrist: What manner of sacrifice, Lord Jesus? What manner of victory, Conquering King? Thine alone be all the glory!!! Make us witnesses of your resurrection power today and always, in Jesus’ victorious name, Amen.
  3. #Nation: May the strange incident recorded in Jerusalem be manifest in our nation today and always – that the proclamation of Christ was not a fairy tale but a true occurrence documented in history and proven true by science, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
  4. #Family: Thank you for the grace to belong to this family.help us to share the power of your resurrection and find strength in one another – that your victory will always be greater, louder, stronger and sweeter in our lives. That must be how you want it, sovereign and victorious King, Amen.
  5. Other extempore prayers…
Categories
Faith

#Lent2016, Holy Saturday

Text: Matthew 27:57-66, Isaiah 53

The world was cloaked in an unnatural, early and consuming darkness the day Jesus died. There was no reason for the sun to shine on this day in history. The Light of the world had been temporarily extinguished.

The curtain in the temple, which symbolically separated the most Holy Place from the sinful place, was rent in two! When Jesus took His last breath on the Cross, the curtain was torn to shreds! Mankind would never be separated from their Holy God again! The Spirit of Jesus Christ ripped the dividing wall in two and made a way for you to touch God.

The earth shook when Jesus gave up His spirit. The rocks cried out in grief as the Savior of the world took His last earthly breath.

Dead people rose from their tombs! Can you even imagine the power that burst forth from heaven’s gate that day? There was no more power in death! Jesus had defeated death forevermore and even tombs could not hold back the dead. These bodies were set free by the power of life that was released in the heavenlies that day!

All of humanity knew that something gargantuan had happened on the day Jesus had died.

Joseph of Arimathea offered his grave that had never been used. This borrowed grave was in a cave hewn from the rock on the side of a hill. The Body of Jesus Christ was laid inside and then a boulder, larger than the opening, was rolled downhill into a trench.

They made the tomb as secure as they humanly could. They sealed the huge rock with clay that hardened. Jesus was literally cemented into the grave. And then, they set a guard to watch the tomb of Jesus.

“Make it as secure as you know how were the words of Pilate to the Pharisees. What the Pharisees failed to understand was that no clay … no rock … no guard … no grave … and no soldiers could have prevented the Son of God from rising again!

Jesus was about to give back His borrowed grave!

Copyright 2013 by Carol McLeod, all rights reserved. Carol McLeod is the founder of Just Joy Ministries, whose mission is to inspire women of all walks of life to engage in a deeper way with the Bible, and to grow in personal relationship with the Lord. 

#PRAYERS

  1. #Personal: Daddy, as I reflect on your sacrifice on the cross. Remind and teach me what depth of love must have led you to pay the ultimate price and what I must do to pay it forward – not in equal measure but to ensure everyone around me enjoys these benefits. Thank You for grace to preach Christ’s resurrection in glory, Amen.
  2. #BodyofChrist: Father, grant that the church will continue to exist without segregation according to wealth, exposure, location, education, tribe or gender – just as the renting of the curtains when you gave up your last breath signifies. That true unity in love through word and deed will reign in all affairs, in Jesus’ Name,  Amen.
  3. #Nation: As Jesus came to Jerusalem, a nation of the Jews at a time like this; so we ask that you come afresh into our nation – to gather us back together in unity and love – and fulfill the original divine plan even in this season and always, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
  4. #Family: Help us to enjoy a foretaste of the great family reunion in heaven, just as you painted pictures for the disciples. That ‘family’ will develop a new meaning for us, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
  5. Other extempore prayers…
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Faith

#Lent2016, Good Friday

Text: Matthew 27:1-56

Before his crucifixion, Jesus was scourged. Roman soldiers bared the upper half of his body and tied his hands to a pillar. He was forced to bend double with his spinal column exposed. Then, Jesus was flogged with a 3-pronged whip comprised of three leather thongs connected by pieces of bone and metal on a chain.

Scourging or flogging always preceded capital punishment so that the prisoner would be weakened and die more quickly on the cross. The violent lashing of Jesus’ body tore his skin and bared his flesh to the very bone. Many victims died before they even encountered the cross because of the flogging. Many were paralyzed and few remained conscious after this horrific punishment.

After the flogging came the mocking. The soldiers relentlessly, cruelly ridiculed the Son of the God of all creation.

Jesus was too weak to even carry His own cross because his torment had already been taken to the utmost limits. There was little life left in His precious Body as He reached the top of Golgotha.

The Man Who had turned over tables … held little children on his lap … calmed the storms … and raised the dead … was now bleeding in agony. His lungs were struggling for one more gasp of earth’s atmosphere and His eyes were glazed with vicious pain.

I wonder if the guards could hear the Savior gasping for breath. His mother, who had witnessed His first precious breath, now heard Him breathe His last. She had giggled over His first coos and gurgles, and now had to stand and hear Him fight the pain.

He could have called 10,000 angels at that moment. They would have come to His rescue!

He could have removed Himself from the cross but He chose not to! He chose to contain His power. Why? Why didn’t He save Himself from the mockery of hell itself?

He stayed there for you … because YOU were the joy set before Him. You were on His mind while He hung on Calvary’s cross.

Copyright 2013 by Carol McLeod, all rights reserved. Carol McLeod is the founder of Just Joy Ministries, whose mission is to inspire women of all walks of life to engage in a deeper way with the Bible, and to grow in personal relationship with the Lord. 

#PRAYERS

  1. #Personal: What you did today, thousands of years ago, is the reason I am here. I do not ever want to take these for granted – your love and my salvation. Please help me remember when it matters most and stay grateful forever. So be it, Amen.
  2. #BodyofChrist: Daddy, I ask for your grace upon the church today and always to show the world that we all are alive and saved because of you, what you did on the cross today. May salvation and eternity never elude anyone who sets foot in any place of worship and accepts you as Lord, in Jesus’ Name,  Amen.
  3. #Nation: Jerusalem was different today, especially the hour you died. May our nation be different because of this season and the power of resurrection, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
  4. #Family: As the curtains in the temple tore, help us to tear all that veils your glory in our lives, habits that do not give the Holy Spirit a place and may all our relatives enjoy unrestricted access to you at all times till their lives end – for this reason, you journeyed to Golgotha today. May we grasp the depth of your love, bask in it and share it with everyone we know, with your grace enabling us,that made you embark upon this great journey. May we grasp this, show to our relatives, neighbours and communities, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
  5. Other extempore prayers…
Categories
Faith

#Lent2016, Maundy Thursday

Text: Matthew 26:31-75

Jesus took three disciples with Him to the Garden of Gethsemane. Peter, James and John had been with Him on the Mount of Transfiguration, and Jesus needed them to stand with Him in prayer. But while Jesus prayed … they slept. While Jesus sweat great drops of blood … they snored. While Jesus cried in agony … the three men He trusted were slumbering.

Knowing that He was about to die the violent death of a criminal, they dozed and drooled.

Three times Jesus came to the disciples … and three times they were sleeping.

We become outraged at the seemingly careless actions of Peter, James and John and yet how often have we been caught giving into the twilight of lackadaisical behavior when Jesus calls our name?

We watch television when there are prayers to be prayed.

We read novels when there are people to be loved.

We snore while our culture crumbles.

Just as the Savior needed Peter, James and John … your Savior needs you. He has entrusted you with the power of prayer. He has entrusted you with the Great Commission. He has entrusted you with the Gospel.

In this Garden, Jesus prayed, “Not as I will … but as You will.” Have you ever tried praying that prayer when your life was crumbling? Have you ever prayed, “Father, Your will be done”, when faced with cruel circumstances?

If we learn nothing else from this event in the life of Jesus, we should learn to pray while others sleep and to desire the will of the Father above all else.

When Jesus finally roused the three from their slumber, they had a view in the moonlight of a mob coming up the western slope of Mt. Olive. After the mob, led by Judas, seized Jesus, Peter stayed in the courtyard of the high priest. It was there that Peter denied Jesus three times.

I wonder if Peter would have denied Jesus if he had prayed rather than slept. I wonder how different my life would be if I would pray … rather than sleep.

Copyright 2013 by Carol McLeod, all rights reserved. Carol McLeod is the founder of Just Joy Ministries, whose mission is to inspire women of all walks of life to engage in a deeper way with the Bible, and to grow in personal relationship with the Lord. 

#PRAYERS

  1. #Personal: Daddy, by your grace; I resolve never to sleep when I should be praying or keeping watch. This, I confess, knowing full well it is possible by your grace and trusting in your word (Philippians 4: 19). So be it, Amen.
  2. #BodyofChrist: Help the church not to become more worldly even as the world becomes more churchy. May we not slumber whilst many perish without the knowledge of salvation and may we not deny you, especially when you need us and when it matters most, in Jesus’ Name, Amen. As you washed the disciples’ feet, dying Lord; may we serve one another in humility – always following in your example till our lives’ end, Amen.
  3. #Nation: My Lord and my God, raise your children to save our nation and other nations from destruction. In business, politics, government, and civil society; may your children become Apostles in the Marketplaces – like Peter on the day of Pentecost. May we not sleep when our wealth depletes and/or is devoured too, in Jesus’ Name.
  4. #Family: Help us to be there for one another in love, as you commanded that we love one another; and as Christ loves the church. Today, it was love that made you replace Malchus’ ear; love that kept you calm, love that made you embark upon this great journey. May we grasp this, show to our relatives, neighbours and communities, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
  5. Other extempore prayers…
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Faith

#Lent2016, Holy Wednesday

Text: Matthew 26:17-30, Exodus 6:6-7

This was the third Passover meal Jesus had eaten with His disciples.

The Passover meal was organized around drinking four cups of wine, each representing the four-part promise of redemption in Exodus.

The first cup remembered the promise “I will bring you out”. God, the Father, brought the Israelites out of Egypt as now, Jesus, His Son, would bring all His children out of sin. The second cup commemorated “I will rescue you from bondage.” The children of Israel were set free from the bondage of slavery in Egypt; Jesus, the Great Emancipator, has set us free from the bondage of satan. “I will redeem you” was the promise of the third cup. God redeemed the Israelites to the Promised Land and now, we, the beneficiaries of the death of Jesus, have been redeemed to a new and abundant life! The fourth cup symbolizes the promise, “I will take you as my people and I will be your God.”

Jesus said that He would save the drinking of this fourth cup for when we all celebrate together in the Kingdom of God. Jesus was communicating to His earthly family that there would be a reunion dinner someday and that they would be there.

If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you will be there, too!

Jesus will begin the celebration by welcoming you home at last. You will see Peter and James … the woman with the alabaster box. … and Lazarus! You will be there! At that grand reunion, there will be no sin or suffering. There will be no cancer, bad backs or migraines. And you will be there!

When everyone has gathered, Jesus will pick up the fourth cup … the one that He didn’t finish that night in Jerusalem. In the presence of the Father, He will hold up that cup and a glorious cheer will fill the air! A resounding shout will echo from the rafters of heaven … hands will be raised … the sound of singing will fill the atmosphere of heaven!

And you … will be there!

Copyright 2013 by Carol McLeod, all rights reserved. Carol McLeod is the founder of Just Joy Ministries, whose mission is to inspire women of all walks of life to engage in a deeper way with the Bible, and to grow in personal relationship with the Lord. 

#PRAYERS

  1. #Personal: I ask that you grant me the grace to do everything required to be there when you lift the fourth cup in heaven. As I reflect on Christ’s last days on earth; teach me to model my life like His, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
  2. #BodyofChrist: As Jesus fellowshipped with the disciples, help us to enjoy and observe true fellowship with you and one another, in Jesus’ Name. Above all, may the Body of Christ teach all people across the world, the essence of this season through works and unwavering faith, in Jesus’ Name.
  3. #Nation: Grant that Nigeria and other nations of the world will experience your redemption as promised to Israel, for the confirmation of your word even at this season, in the name of our soon-to-be-crucified Lord and Saviour, Amen.
  4. #Family: This season, we will grasp what is the length, breadth, height and depth of your love in our lives, in Jesus’ Name. Henceforth, we will never remain the same because Easter will have a new meaning, in Jesus’ Name.
  5. Other extempore prayers…