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Having a Relationship with God – Series 8

Having a Relationship with God – Series 8

Matthew 13:1-9 – You can only get somewhere when you know where you currently are. As a farmer sows seed, we as the ground fall into 4 different categories.
1. Those who receive the word, but it does not stay with them. It is snatched away due to lack of understanding.
2. Those that lack depth in Christ. They are shallow and easily discouraged by troubles and hardships.
3. Those that lack focus. They are consumed by the worries of life and give priority to chasing the world. This chokes their faith.
4. Those that have an active relationship with God. They know their Father and understand Him and His expectations of them.
Today’ s word is about understanding where you are as an individual and take responsibility. Self-reflection and introspect allow you to understand where you are so that you know where to go.

Matthew 13:18-33- Have you ever wondered why you hear the word of God, but no change in your life, you hear it and still remain in the same situation with no progression? How many times have you felt compelled to leave your church, alter your contribution to a church project, or just simply be discouraged because of other peoples opinions or words. How many times have you been inspired to take your ministry to greater heights but peoples responses have hindered your progress. The thing is, in life there are many hurdles. You cannot change what adversity you face, but you can take responsibility of your own actions and spiritual maturity and development.
Joshua 1:7-8. There is an intriguing lesson in these verses. The fact that God had chosen Joshua did not nullify Joshua’s responsibility to be determined and focused. Joshua had to be intentional. As soon as a person gives their life to Christ and embarks on their personal walk with Him, they are automatically engaged in spiritual warfare thus the need to be intentional, determined and focused. Lack of these aspects causes you to miss opportunities as you become distracted by the devil. You have to make a firm decision that when in church you will intentionally sing and dance , engage in the word and purposefully seek God and worship Him, otherwise that time spent in church will be fruitless. The more value you put into something, the greater the reward. Therefore you must be intentional in your walk with Christ. If you consciously decide to hear and understand the word of God, you retain it, but if you have no intent or focus you lose it.
Analogy- there was once a group of 10 merchants faced with adverse weather conditions on a particular day. 9 of them decided to forego their daily tasks and chose to remain at home, warm and comfortable. However 1 decided to brave the weather and set up his stall as usual. That merchant sold more on that one day than ever before as there was no competition. The merchant chose to ignore the barrier presented to him. He used a negative situation to his advantage. He flourished in persecution and stood in adversity.
God’s intent was to use Joshua, but it was Joshua’s responsibility to be determined regardless of whatever came his way. So be empowered today. Overcoming persecution leads to stronger character and depth in Christ. Always remain focused. Apostle Paul (2 Timothy 2:4) taught about how soldiers do not mingle with civilian affairs so as to please their superiors and remain focused on their task at hand. Likewise, as a Christian, be like a true soldier. Do not concern, dabble and mingle in affairs that do not concern you, but rather be focused and determined to be deep rooted in your relationship with God. Let go of perceptions and things that affect your ability to be effective. So today, take time to analyse where you are in Christ now and start to make the necessary changes and steps to get closer to where you want to go.

Having a Relationship with God – Series 7

An investment in a relationship with God remains key. A relationship with God empowers Christians to be active in the word. A person deep rooted in the word of God will know and recognize that the battles they may face are not theirs to bare, but the Lords. Therefore the word of God is not to be listened to passively.

Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23. The parable of the sower pertains to all of us. Everyone has a category that they fall under. Ask yourself this, how much of the word of God have you retained over the past few weeks? Evaluate then, which category you fall under!

Understand that the sower did not harvest what he expected to, in relation to what he sowed. The type of soil is what makes the difference. The seed is the same, the sower is the same so the variable is the ground. Therefore you hold the keys as to what type of person or soil you are. There are 4 different categories that have been identified in the scriptures.
1. Those who receive the word, but it does not stay with them. It is snatched away due to lack of understanding.
2. Those that lack depth in Christ. They are shallow and easily discouraged by troubles and hardships.
3. Those that lack focus. They are consumed by the worries of life and give priority to chasing the world. This chokes their faith.
4. Those that have an active relationship with God. They know their Father and understand Him and His expectations of them.

What you spend your time doing is that which you become. You therefore cannot expect to connect with God at the end of the week if you have spent that time invested in other things that do not concern Him.
Colossians 1:9. When the Spirit of God is in us, we get understanding. Your recognition and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit only comes from having a relationship with God.
Analogy – At a job interview, all employers are interested in 3 main things, knowledge, attitude and the skills. Knowledge alone does not make you competent, neither does attitude or skills on their own. Likewise spiritually, one must possess all the above to be competent as an effective christian. You need to understand what is “understanding ” in order to fully have a relationship with God.

Having a Relationship with God – Series 7
Having a Relationship with God – Series 6

Having a Relationship with God – Series 6

In this series, we are talking about having a relationship with God. It is about empowering Christians of today not to rely solely on leaders or wait for Sunday service, but rather have a personal relationship with God. This is achieved by living in God’s standards and His perfect will for our lives. In today’s society, unfortunately some Christians are taken advantage of and mislead because they do not understand the scriptures of God. This series of lessons seeks to equip God’s chosen. When you align yourself with God by making a conscious decision to be God’s treasured possession (Exodus 19:5), you will be able to defy situations and walk in extraordinary faith. Daniel’s prayer (Daniel 6) wasn’t about coming out of the lions den. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednigo’s prayer (Daniel 3) wasn’t about coming out of the fire. But when we understand
God, who He is and His mighty power, we are able to go through any situation and not trade our love or faith in Christ for anything. We have spiritual authority.

1 Peter 3:12 – There is a notion that God listens to everyone, that you can live anyhow and still call upon the Lord. But this verse dispels that notion. Draw your attention to the words WATCH and LISTEN. Having a relationship with God is key as it draws God’s attention to our lives. He WATCHES over us as His eyes are always upon us, and He LISTENS to us as His ears are always open to hear our prayers. God is attentive to our every need regardless of whether we are aware or conscious of them. He will alert you of hidden dangers in your path without you consulting Him, and listen to your prayers with great assiduous. However, in order for us to enjoy this privilege, we must be aware of our role. The spirit of NEGLECT affects many Christians of today. If you neglect your duty or role as a Christian, one day when you are in a critical moment in your life, God will reject you. You can go to church every week but still neglect your part in the covenant between you and God. This will compromise the quality of your relationship with the Lord. One neglects their duty by not following the word of God daily. Neglect always results in negative consequences even practically in our everyday roles as a husband, or wife or child. So in all aspects, we must be people that take responsibility in our duties. Passive christianity won’t get you anywhere. Be intentional in your prayers, understanding and believing in God’s principles. For example, you cannot pray the Lords prayer in one moment, then walk in doubt and fear in another.
Matthew 6:33 – seek God first. Value God first. This verse in other words is saying if you are in a relationship with God and living in the way He has set for us then we will have all the things we need even without us asking.
1 Peter 4:2 – God desires us to live the rest of our earthly life as controlled and constituted by His word. Not our own desires.

Therefore, it is time to solidify our relationship with God. Do not succumb to the blame culture, but rather take responsibility for your actions and fulfil your role as a child of God. Then God will LISTEN and WATCH over you.

Having a relationship with God – Series 5

Exodus 19:5. To recap on the last few sermons, it is paramount to remember that God wants a relationship with His chosen people. As the children of God, we are His chosen. Just as he has demonstrated His mighty power to the Israelites, God wants us to honour and worship Him.
2 Timothy 1:7. Apostle Paul emphasises that amongst the gift of love and self control, God has also given us the spirit of POWER. All these things work together. Power is unique as it gives you the ability to practise love and self control.

Isaiah 59:2. As a people we are not to allow our iniquity to separate us from God. The principle of POWER is relevant because it is the gift of power that will allow you to overcome the urge to commit sin. The Spirit of Power that Apostle Paul refers to in 2 Timothy 1:7, can manifest in two different ways. Firstly it can be portrayed through “STRENGTH “. One can have the understanding and the knowledge to refrain from sinning, but may lack the ability. Once you lack the strength to execute the things you need to overcome, then your relationship with God is compromised. Secondly, power can be portrayed through “AUTHORITY”. As Christians we require a higher level of spiritual authority. In principle, the greater the resistance, the greater the power or force to be applied. Therefore the greater the situation, the greater the authority that needs to be applied.
Ephesians 6:10 & 12. Here we are urged to be strong in the Lord. We are in essence the temple of God. If the temple has no power, then it ceases to be the temple. Remember then that even though the devil has power, God is superior and so is His power that has been gifted to us. That is why a close relationship with God is mandatory. In conclusion, the journey of a Christian is never easy. There will always be challenges, however with power you have the ability to pray for yourself, other people and even do extraordinary feats. The bible refers to peacemakers as blessed. One can only be a peacemaker if they posses the “power” to overcome, sin, conflict, anxieties, situations and negative thinking.

Having a relationship with God – Series 5
Having a relationship with God – Series 4

Having a relationship with God – Series 4

Analogy- Gym membership is ineffective in giving you the body shape you require unless you begin to use the equipment it provides. Likewise, the word of God is not effective in us unless you put it into practise.
The matter of LOVE greatly affects our relationship with God and our level of worship is determined by our actions.

2 Timothy 1:7 – For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, LOVE and self-discipline. If we are true children of God and have been baptised in His Spirit, then we have been given love within us. Unfortunately in today’s society and churches, there are a lot of relational shortcomings. Ask your self this, why do you relate more with some people over others? God does not want anyone that is not at peace with everyone and treats all people equally.
Matthew 22 :34-40. The issue of LOVE can disqualify you in the presence of God. Our failure to accept each other as equals goes against the scriptures. Lack of Love in church communities is exemplified by group formations within the body of Christ. If you find yourself using avoidance to deal with certain people, it means that there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. Love is the fundamental foundation of all aspects of worship.
Matthew 5:43-48. God has given a mandate to not only accept our differences but go further by loving even those who persecute us. Loving your friends is normal and ordinary. But extraordinary creates perfection in Christ our Father. Therefore be elevated to a higher level of spiritual maturity by praying for your enemies. How do you exhibit love? Have a clear conscience. Take practical steps, write it down and actively make peace with all those you hold inhibitions towards. Remember, the death of Christ puts the level of Love God expects of us into perspective. If Jesus Christ could give His life on the cross for sinners, then surely we have the power to rise above any squabbles, grudges and negative feelings we harbour over careless words spoken to us.

Having a relationship with God – Series 3

2 Timothy 1: 3-7. Apostle Paul acknowledges that Timothy had faith, however as an experienced teacher of the word of God, he understands that faith alone is not enough. So he encourages Timothy to fan into flame a gift that is already inside him. A gift received by laying of hands through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Apostle Paul in this instance can be likened to a modern day mentor. It is important in your walk as a Christian, to not only read and understand the word of God, but also allow mentors placed and proved by God to speak in your life.

Remember the Spirit of God has already placed within you a gift of power, love and self discipline.
The bible speaks about serving God with a clear conscience. In order to do so, you must have self discipline. It is the ability to do away with the things that affect the conscience and solely focusing on God. When someone comes across a barrier, naturally one concentrates on that barrier, but those whom have received power and self control from God are focused on the end goal, to serve God.
Understand your focus. Do not be a passive observer. Know where you are going. Know your purpose. Chose your battles and let go of things that are not important. Only then can you serve with a clear conscience. In everyday life, everyone faces challenges through general interaction with the people around us, hence the importance of self control. What starts, a thought or a feeling? Analyse your thought process. Dwelling on the negative can only result in negative feelings which determines your preceding actions. We often put blame on situations and forget the power of self control. Positive choices in thought result in positive actions. Therefore our actions towards one another have the ability to compromise our relationship with God. Remember eternal joy is internal, it is not governed by the external.
2 Timothy 2 : 3-6. Be loyal to God. The path of a christian is not easy and is full of hurdles. But if we have chosen God, then we must take part in the suffering and endure it. Be an active soldier on duty. Distinguish yourself above the ordinary. Remember everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. An athlete’s discipline determines their victory, likewise the life of a true Christian should attract Gods approval. Do not concern yourself with the physical pursuits of life, but in the will of the Father.

Having a relationship with God – Series 3
The problem of pleasure

The problem of pleasure

Ecclesiastes 2: 1-11, Judges 7: 5-7

Untamed pleasure is more deadly than holding a grenade without a linchpin. In this modern day, the quest for pleasure has conquered the fear of the consequences of sin. So often times, we find ways to justify our quest for pleasure because our ego forbids self-blame. This justification usually comes in the form of changing wants into needs.

Solomon; the richest and wisest man that ever lived tried it all and concluded that, “.., indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.” (Eccl 2:11). The key phrase is “under the sun” which he sometimes refers to as “under heaven” (Eccl 1:12). Here, Solomon is emphasizing that any sort of pleasure that we seek that is not in line with the heavenly mission, that is purely focused on the life we have here on earth (under the sun) is of no benefit, he tried it all. It is this quest for pleasure that led Solomon to marry foreign women that then led him astray (1 Kings 11). It made him the teacher of wisdom and practitioner of foolishness. If Solomon couldn’t profit from all kinds of pleasure he pursued, how much more can us common people benefit from the same pleasure?

The question then is, does it mean that if you are a true Christian there will be nothing to enjoy? I thank God because there is something for us. What pleasure does is it quenches some form of thirst, whether it’s thirst to be noticed, feeling superior, to have control, for men or women etc. Pleasure refreshes, that’s what most people say. What then is true pleasure for a child of God? Judges 7:5 “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues as a dog laps from those who kneel down to drink.” Those who lapped the water with their tongues were equally refreshed as those that knelt down. He who drinks 2 litres of water from a 2 litre container does not get more refreshed that he who drinks 2 litres of water in small quantities from a 300 ml cup. The difference between the 2 groups is on the “HOW” the refreshment was achieved.

Those who lapped the water with their tongues are people who are refreshed without deviating from the mission. Their God given mission was to fight the Midianites therefore; the thirst for refreshment was supposed to align with the need to defeat the enemy. True pleasure for a Christian is therefore; that kind of pleasure that refreshes you yet not straying you from your God given mission. We are fighting the devil every day of our lives which means we don’t have even a single day to hang our boots and refresh. Before you pursue that pleasure your heart is longing for, ask yourself; “Am I lapping or kneeling?” We cannot afford to kneel and drink.

The Walk

The Walk

Luke 15:17-24, John 9:6-7

It is easy to trust God when all is going well with us. A true measure of our trust is seen when all hell is breaking loose. Would you trust God when your life seems stagnant or on a rollercoaster yet His word is saying something else? Would you trust God when you are not feeling well yet His word says, “By His stripes we were healed”? Would you trust God when you seem to be failing yet He says, “You are the head and not tail”? It is difficult but possible. We should not cry for it to be easy, we only need it possible.

The advancement in technology has led most of us to expect God to upgrade His system yet we know that He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He never changes. Most believers believe in everything being instant, instant porridge, instant photos, instant messaging etc. In as much our God is a now God, there is a period when you have to walk and trust and nothing else would work.

The prodigal son, returned home, not because of his love for his father but, because of hunger. Vs. 17, “.., ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here with hunger!” Not everyone came to Christ because we love Him. Most people were forced to look for Christ through difficult circumstances. When the son came to his father, his father saw him from a distance, vs. 20 “But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.”

Note, the father ran to his son not holding any food yet that’s what the son wanted. After embracing and kissing, the son will still be hungry. The son has to walk the distance that his father ran in order to get to the food, which is his goal. What makes the son walk the distance to the house is the knowledge he has. He knows that even though he is still hungry, the one who has all the food is on his side. Without this knowledge, the son cannot trust and without the trust, he cannot take the walk and without the walk, the son can die of hunger even though the father has what he wants.

The same applies to us believers. We came to Christ with our problems, He first gives us His love. He embraces and kisses us. The embracing and kissing doesn’t take away our problems, instead, it should give us the assurance that He is on our side. This assurance should be the energy we need for the walk to whatever we want in our lives. Most people throw in their towels when they give their lives to Christ and still don’t see what they are expecting from Him. Let me remind you that, you are on your way, hold on little longer. Let me give you this assurance, you are walking to the house, don’t give up on Him.

It is important to note that not everyone is at this initial stage as described above. There are some people that are advanced in their Christian lives. They have been with Him and He touched them. At this stage, you are no longer a baby but a grown-up. For grown-ups, you don’t need Christ to walk you home, instead, He sends you. The walk is common between babies and grown-ups in Christ. The difference in the two groups is the direction of the walk. For babies, He walks you in but, for grown-ups, you walk away with His word. He gives you an instruction and you have to follow. John 9:7 “7 saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Silo′am””. The pool of Siloam was a distance away so the blind man had to walk.

Of importance is the fact that the man was still blind. His instruction does not bring sight but, following His instruction does. In order to follow His instruction, you have to walk away, trusting the one who said the word and the word He said. This man, had to walk blind all the way to the pool of Siloam and what sustained him is the knowledge of the authority in the one who gave him the instruction.

I don’t know what God told you, whether through prophecy or His Word but you have to trust and walk the distance. I don’t know how long the distance is going to be before you see that marriage, that job, that good health, those disciplined children but you need to trust He who started the work in you for He is faithful to see it to completion. The reason why we are not told how long the son walked with the father or how long the blind man walked is for us not to lose heart when we hit that specific number. It could be 500m, 1km, 5km etc., no one knows. The same applies to us, it could be 1 day, 3 months, 4 years, 11 years but you can only eat or see if you trust and walk the distance.

Let’s trust, walk and see what the Lord has in-store for us.

God bless you.

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