The three foundational identities and purposes of this blog was birthed from a life-changing revelation of the scripture John 1:14.
1.The Good News of the Gospel: God’s supernatural, divine word was manifested into flesh as his son and our saviour, Jesus Christ, who died to save us from our sins. This powerful conversion of what was said in heaven to what was experienced on earth opened the gates of salvation and redemption to his children. In the same way, it is my heart’s desire to manifest the powerful word of God into a practical application for humanity, so that we may accept God’s love and walk through the gates of salvation that have been graciously opened unto us.
2.God’s word did not only become flesh but dwelt among us. God’s word was not meant to be defined by a moment. Jesus established a lifestyle of loving, healing, teaching and delivering so that mankind could behold the glory, grace and truth of God. God’s word is therefore established through lifestyle. It was meant to “dwell.” It was meant to inhabitate, take up space, overcome. It is permanent. Therefore, as I serve, my prayer is that these teachings will inhabitate, take up space, and overcome. They will go beyond the glorious high of a Sunday sermon or the potent presence of worship lyrics and resonate daily in our hearts in very practical ways. They will establish a lifestyle in us of loving, healing, teaching and delivering so that mankind (saved and unsaved) would come to see God’s glory in all its splendor.
3. Jesus was God’s word in the flesh. Jesus was God’s word embodied by a man. The Bible calls us the children of God, the emerging brethren of Christ and declares that we have the SAME spirit that existed within him. And so, we are also God’s word in the flesh; we are the embodiment of all that he has said. Therefore, in order to know our identity- what he calls us, what he requires of us, how he feels about us etc.- we must know his word. We owe it to ourselves to get the maker’s perspective on his creation so that we can live in the abundance for which we were created.
It’s a new year!!! New goals, new opportunities, new new new… We’ve all been here before. The beginning of the year always manages to bring with it an air of hope (even in the midst of a pandemic). There is a fresh burst of energy to plan and set goals and write visions, hopefully after considerate prayer and reflection. However, after some weeks or months, it always seems to fade into the return of our same old habits and routines. Why? Well in the midst of setting my eyes on the new, God reminded me of a truth through Matthew 9:14-17.
OLD AND NEW CANNOT COEXIST.
When Jesus was asked about why his disciples do not fast as often as John’s disciples and the Pharisees, he responds with three illustrations about the new vs. the old. Though Jesus was speaking about the principle of sacrifice in the new and old testament, this teaching can give us three important principles to keep in mind as we set our eyes on our goals and visions for the new year .
1. IS IT NECESSARY?
"And Jesus said to them, Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast."
In this era, one of the purposes of fasting was as a form of mourning one who was absent. John’s disciples were fasting to mourn his imprisonment. However, Jesus was not absent from his disciples and so, he was saying that they have no need to fast for this purpose. However, a time would come where he would be absent (foreshadowing of his death and resurrection) and his disciples would fast. Based on the time, what was necessary for them to do differed. From this response, we see the first principle. We are each in different times and seasons of our lives therefore, what is necessary for someone else in this year may not be necessary for you. This is why seeking God’s guidance is SO IMPORTANT when setting goals. You must be sure that is has been approved by him for this season of your life.
Many times we set goals not out of God ordained necessity, but out of a need to compete with others and validate ourselves by accomplishments. What God is requiring from you in 2022 will be different from what he is requiring of others. Comparison is a distraction from appreciating and maximizing where you are and what God has called you to do.
2. IS IT A COVER UP?
"No one puts a piece of unshrunk [new] cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse."
Here we see Jesus’ second analogy about the old and the new. He shares that a new piece of cloth is small and will not be able to cover over the large tear in an old garment. Rather, it would pull and make the tear larger. A lot of times we can be like this old garment. We may be in a space where we have a lot of wear and tear on our hearts. However, instead of handing it over for God to heal, we distract ourselves with new work, new relationships, new purchases etc.
As Jesus teaches though, new things simply are not capable of hiding or healing old scars. No matter what you accomplish in 2022, if you have not allowed God to heal the wounds of years past, they will remain and simply get bigger and bigger.
3. ARE YOU CAPABLE OF CARRYING IT OUT?
"Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
In this time, it was common to store wine in pouches known as wineskins. However, as wineskins grew old, they would become hard, rigid, and inelastic. This would be a problem because new wine would ferment and expand. So given that the old wineskin was inflexible, it would burst under the pressure of expansion, thereby spilling the wine. This analogy presents to us the third and possible most important of these three principles.
When setting our goals, we need to assess where we are as believers with honesty. Are you capable to facilitate the “new wine” that you have been praying and planning for? Are you ensuring that you are a vessel worthy of what God has called you to? Many times we want new, but we choose to remain stuck in our old habits and mindsets and become rigid and inflexible like an old wineskin. As a result, we cannot facilitate the new thing that God is trying to do in and through us, and so we forfeit it. A new thing will always stretch us. It will always require expansion and growth, which means surrendering to the comfort of the old. If you truly want to see new changes in 2022, you need to ensure that your vessel (body, mind, soul and spirit) is surrendered to God and aligned with that which you wish to manifest.
In essence, we must realize that when we try to step into new and simultaneously hold on to the old, it does more harm than good. So as we set new goals this year, I pray that we will keep these three principles in mind so that we can be achieve them.
Don’t set goals that are not necessary for the season you are in. Surrender to God’s guidance.
Don’t set goals to distract you or hide scars of old. Surrender to God’s healing.
Don’t set goals that you are not capable of facilitating. Surrender to God’s refining.
As we wind down the Christmas season and prepare for the New Year, I wish to share what I have been meditating on for the past week and how it has helped me confront my fear. Each year God reveals something new to me from the Christmas story and this year, these two verses really struck my heart.
28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
We must first realize that the angel who was sent by God only spoke to Mary after “having come in.” This is important because Mary did not receive word of her calling and promise outside of God’s presence! Many times we expend so much energy on figuring out our purpose but we don’t seek to find it in the presence of the one who created us and gave us purpose to begin with.
Before the angel told Mary of her purpose, he initiated his declaration with joy and rejoicing. It was an invitation for her to rejoice and see this message as one of favor and blessing.
xaritóō (from 5486/xárisma, “grace,” see there) – properly, highly-favored because receptive to God’s grace.
eulogéō (from 2095/eú, “well, good” and 3056/lógos, “word, reason”) – properly, to speak (reason) which confers benefit; hence, bless.
The call that the angel brought to Mary; to give birth to the Savior of the world, was one that was given in grace and conferred for benefit. This teaches us that any call on our lives can only be given through grace! It is not because we are worthy but because He is good. He chooses to use us even with our flaws and imperfections for his glory. Also, any purpose that we have be given is meant to be beneficial, not just for ourselves but for those around us. It is meant to change the environment around us for the better.
29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.
Mary’s response to God’s declaration of favor and blessing over her life was one of turmoil and worry. I CAN RELATE. How many times are we favored with talents and gifts and opportunities but our initial response is one of worry and inner turmoil: Can I do this? Am I good enough? What would people think?
Amidst the inner turmoil, when Mary asked how it would be possible that she would carry the Son of God, the angel reassured her with a truth that should dwell in the hearts of us all: There is nothing that God will ever entrust us to do without his help.
35 “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you"
I realized that any purpose requires a submission to something bigger than ourselves. It requires the ability to look beyond fear and worry and doubt and find joy in the grace and blessing that comes with purpose. It is never easy but as the Christmas story proves, it is so worth it.
1The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: 2 “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.”
Before releasing His word, God instructed Jeremiah to GO to the Potter’s House so that he may hear Him. There are specific environments that provide us with the inspiration to hear God speak. As His followers, we have to be willing to get into the right environment that is conducive to hearing the word that He has ordained for a specific time. God speaks to the surrendered and the seeking. What has He been instructing you to do so that he can cause you to hear Him? Is he asking you to change your environment? Increase your time spent in the word? Pray more? Fill your life with more persons that hold you accountable to his word? Or maybe, he is asking you to change your heart position… Release unforgiveness? Love more?
3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make
While Jeremiah was observing the potter, he noticed that the vessel being made was marred. It teaches us that being in the hands of the potter doesn’t mean we won’t be marred.
Marred – to gradually decay or come to ruin
[Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance]
Being in the hands of the potter is not a guarantee of perfection. There is still room for decay and ruin even while God holds you. We were born in sin and shaped in iniquity and so, there is no expectation that we will be perfect. HOWEVER, in the face of the marring, the potter made the vessel again. Being in the hands of the potter is a guarantee of remaking and refining imperfection to make a new thing according to God’s good desire and will.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!
Choosing a life in the hand of the potter is not saying “God, I’m perfect.” Rather, it is saying “God, I’m imperfect. Refine me! Remake me!” It is a guarantee that the finished vessel will be in his image and likeness, because as he begins to work on us, he is faithful to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.
This passage of scripture presents two side of a coin. It shows us what it looks like to place TRUST in God vs. man.
trust – hie for refuge
[Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance]
It is not a discouragement from walking in community because throughout the word, God calls us to value our brethren, live in accord and bear each other’s burdens. Rather, this prophecy was intended to teach the people of Israel the danger of trusting and idolizing the surrounding nations INSTEAD of God. Certainly, it can apply to us today, as we can easily make our relationships the SOURCE of our TRUST our initial hie for refuge in place of God. When you encounter trouble, who do you run to first for protection and comfort? Do you first consult God or man? Is your first act of defense praying to God or venting to a friend?
“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who draws strength from mere flesh
and whose heart turns away from the Lord.
6 That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;
they will not see prosperity when it comes.
They will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.
cursed – to receive what is harmful
[Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance]
Another human cannot sustain you as God can. We are all just as flawed and weak as each other. Therefore, placing a relationship above God, the ultimate and eternal source of strength, means forsaking the benefits of a relationship with the Almighty, All-powerful and All-knowing divine. It also means opening ourselves up to more harm than good. The one who makes man their source:
Will not grow much in their stature (remains as a shrub/bush)
Will not have vision of good and prosperous things (will not see prosperity)
Will not have a source of refreshing (dwell in parched places)
Will curate a life of dryness/barrenness ( a salt land)
Your family, friends, partner etc may disappoint you with their words sometimes. They may not validate or challenge you in the times when you need it most. They may not always do a great job of reassuring and encouraging you in the face of difficulty. On the other side, you will develop a life of people pleasing and valuing the word of man more than that of God. It will not bring you God’s intended growth for your life, simply because no matter how close you are, your fellow men will never know you as well as your creator does. He knows your innermost thoughts and outermost expressions. He knows your past, present and future self! It is through the intimacy of His knowledge for us that he can provide us with just what we need to flourish and thrive.
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord. 8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit."
blessed – to receive what is beneficial
[Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance]
When God is the source of our trust and strength, we can be sustained by the One who is stronger than us, greater than us, wiser than us, kinder than us… BETTER THAN US in every sense. Instead of depending in one who is just as flawed as you are, you depend on the one who is perfect and blameless! Our shortcomings and weaknesses does not phase Him. He even promises us that His strength is perfected in our weakness. It means that he works best in the areas where we are at our worst. The one who makes God their source:
Will grow in their stature to great heights (like a tree)
Will dwell where there is a source of refreshing (planted by the waters)
Will grow deeper in their walk with God, be more firm and less shaken (spread its roots)
Will not allow fear to change your character, countenance or appearance in seasons of difficulty (leaves will be green even when the heat comes)
Will not allow anxiety to change your sense of purpose or service in seasons of difficulty (will not cease from yielding fruit)
This is because when God is your source, you will always run to him regardless of the circumstance. You will continue to pray, worship, read his Word and do what you must to remain in His presence. It is in his presence, that he challenges us to grow in obedience and surrender, encourages us to refresh our souls and affirms us in our identity in Him that we may stand and be rooted deeply. When God is your source, seasons of heat and drought will come, but how you show up in the world and what you contribute to the world to advance His kingdom will continue to endure. In essence, when we make God our source, we are sustained regardless of the circumstance and we can yield more success in our spiritual and physical lives!