Advent Calendar day 17: The conclusion of it all

As we come to the end of the book of Ecclesiates, I have reflected on it all and realized the whole book culminates in a few simple key advice:

  • Be content with the life you have and find joy in the days you have been blessed with
  • Life lived without a higher purpose is meaningless because our toil and status on earth does not hold any currency in the afterlife
  • Finding purpose cannot be done apart from God

Solomon concludes Ecclesiates with a reflection on what gives meaning to life and what finding higher purpose looks like

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.

Ecclesiastes 12: 13 NIV

We make our lives meaningful on earth by using it to secure a place in God’s kingdom for all eternity. Our life takes on meaning when everything we do in public and in secret is geared towards living in complete obedience to God’s will and purpose for our lives

For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

Ecclesiastes 12: 14 NIV

These words are certainly worthy of pondering over.

Yours Truly

Advent Calendar day 5: A season of giving

I am going to start with a disclaimer: This post is going to be weird for some audiences but for some of you, this would be right up your alley.

Have you ever received a gift from someone and not felt right about it? It is Christmas season and as usual, it is season for gift exchanges. Earlier in the year, I had a conversation with some members of my family about whether or not a Christian could accept gifts from someone who is a known worshipper of “foreign gods” and I was first introduced to this scripture:

For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

1 Timothy 4:4-5 NIV

We know that some people are desperately wicked and have ill-intentions and take advantage of the season to carry out evil through gift giving and sharing food. However, this scripture assures us that nothing is to be rejected if received with thanksgiving- the gift is consecrated by the Word of God and prayer. However, it is not only important to sanctify gifts received always and bless the giver, but it is also important to listen for God’s direction regarding the use of gifts received. Sometimes when we are blessed with things- they are for the benefit of others and God’s direction may be to send that blessing the way of someone else. And when we obey, there is even greater blessing in that.

And so in this season, it is imperative that we receive all of God’s bountiful blessings with thanksgiving (which sanctifies and consecrates the gifts) and with a heart of obedience. Let us be intentional in our posture in receiving gifts.

Yours Truly.

Our Covenant Relationship

Referencing We are Covenant People

So let’s continue from where we left off, shall we? To recap:

Abraham was the mediator of a covenant with God sealed with blood. The terms of reference of this covenant were that all that entered into it would love, obey, fear God, serve God, and keep the commandments. This covenant was meant to be an everlasting covenant between God and Abraham and his descendants, never to be broken by either party. But guess what? the children of Israel fell into a cycle of breaking the covenant, repenting and asking God to take them back only to break it all over again. Enter Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ became the mediator of a new and better covenant the new covenant which promised three things:

  • to be inclusive, not just for the descendants of Abraham but for all
  • to give access to an eternal inheritance
  • to set people free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant

Therefore Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, now that He has died to redeem them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. Heb 9:15 BSB

Just like the old covenant, the new covenant was ratified with the blood of Jesus on the cross of Calvary. And all who are willing to partake of this covenant enter into it by the circumcision of  the heart

For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, and true circumcision is not something visible in the flesh. On the contrary, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart—by the Spirit, not the letter. That man’s praise is not from men but from God. Romans 8: 28-29 HCSB

And how does one circumcise the heart you ask? You are to have put off, concerning the former way of life, the old man, which is being corrupted according to its desires of deceit (Ephesians 4:22 BLB) and you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips (Colossians 3:8)

But you know the best part of all of this. Jesus did not come to invalidate the old covenant ratified by God or nullify its associated promises. He came to offer this opportunity to all.

And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you. Galatians 3:29 NLT

This means that all the blessings of the old covenant are available to me a non-Jew through the new covenant. this also means all the stipulations of the old covenant are also enforceable: the covenant is a blood covenant that can never be broken and the parties involved are blood partners and everything one has is placed at the disposal of the other.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence. 2 Peter 1:3 ESV

Pentecostal Christians know how to claim the blessings under Abraham’s covenant. We sing … “Abraham’s blessings are mine!”…perhaps too often… and rightly so because everything God has is placed at our disposal. we have full access but is the flip side true? Can God count on our everything to be placed at His disposal? Abraham, of whom we sing placed everything at God’s disposal even to the point that when God said “give me your beloved son”, he was prepared to give up Isaac! Are you prepared to lay it all down?

Secondly, the terms of reference remain the same:

What does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God by walking in [obedience to] all His ways, to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I am giving you this day for your own good? Deuteronomy 10: 12-13 BSB

So I ask you: Do you love God? Do you fear God? Do you obey God in all things? Are you serving God with all your heart and with your soul? and Do you keep the statutes and commandments of the Lord? I know I fall short of these most days and if you are like me and you fall short too, then I pray this day that God will help us   to be intentional in our covenant relationship with Him, to keep our part of the covenant so we can fully experience and enjoy the blessings of Abraham.

Yours truly.

The Evidence of Love

Have you ever found yourself saying, “I love you Lord” but deep down you are not really sure if you even know what that means? Well…that is me 99.9% of the time. However, today I discovered that I can finally put the question of whether I truly love God or not to rest with this simple test:

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. 2 John 1:6a NIV

Wow! this actually stopped me in my tracks!

The evidence of the love we have for God is found in our obedience. To rephrase, obedience is the inertia (the driving force) of our love. It is the vessel that carries out the intent of our love.  It is the donkey that carries a triumphant Jesus into Jerusalem.  A scripture comes to mind:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son… John 3:16 KJV

The intent of this love was that Jesus, would pay the ultimate sacrifice to redeem us back to God. However, if Jesus had not been obedient, the purpose for that love would have never been fulfilled.

He humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Philippians 2:8 NLT

We sing wonderful songs of the love that motivated Christ to die for us and that is amazing. But let me tell you,  it was obedience that sealed the transaction of love the day an agonizing Jesus carried His old rugged cross up to Golgotha. Jesus had a choice (authority) to lay his life down and take it up again and that day, He was intentional in His obedience  to choose you and I (read John 10:18).

For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. Romans 5:19 NIV

The victory of salvation and redemption came through the obedience of Jesus. This is why you cannot speak of a victorious christian life outside of obedience. As one of my readers said, obedience is key. But I digress…

Jesus testified to His love for God in His obedience:

But I do exactly what the Father has commanded Me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. John 14:31 Berean Study Bible

So I leave you with this thought: To love is to obey and to obey is to love. Be intentional.

The Intentionality of Obedience Part 1

via Why marry a Godly person? Part 1

A few days ago God taught me a valuable lesson on obedience through this post on “Why marry a godly person” referenced above. As I was reading and re-reading my post as I always do, my eye caught something I had written in the moment without much thought. This is what I wrote:

“So the question today is, “Why is it important to marry a Godly person?” The obvious answer is because the bible says we should not be equally yoked with unbelievers… and rightly so! But why? Two answers…

In part 1, I shared about foundation and then proceeded to share about God’s Spirit in us in part 2. As I pondered over the blogs again, I realized I had missed the more obvious and most important answer: BECAUSE GOD SAYS SO!

Wow! that simple…

I love to ask and answer the question of why…why this?…why that? In fact I’d have fit right in with the Berean Christians (Acts 17:11) back in the day! It is how I process life and my world, and it is part of my process with God. When I read a scripture and want to go deeper with it, I ask, “why?”. When my expectations for life fall short and the answers to prayer is not forthcoming, I ask God, “why?” Sometimes when my husband randomly says ” I love you”, I ask “why?”

I do not believe the statement, “God is unquestionable” in the sense that we should never ask God why. I am certain of the fact that God is interested in a passionate and open relationship with creation where we can ask Him anything. He is not a Father so far removed from His children; a Lover so distant and cold; that we only have a one-sided relationship with Him. I am sure that as much as God is interested in our business, He wants us to be curious and inquisitive about His. So dare to ask, “why?” (In the same breath I caution not to be arrogant. Do not ask questions in a manner that demands that the Creator justify His ways to His creation. Ask with the willingness to be content with His answer even if He does not give an answer at all).

When it comes to obedience, I am learning that God does not mind when we question His demands and His righteous laws in our quest to obey them. Many righteous men of old did same. We have examples in Moses, Gideon, David, Job, prophets of old, the disciples, and many others. However, God is more impressed when we obey without questioning… just trusting fully that He will never lead us astray.

Abraham, the patriarch of faith, is an exemplar of such obedience. He trusted God in the face of many difficult life decisions. And in every instance, even though he did not have all the pieces of the puzzle, he simply obeyed because… GOD SAID SO.

As much as I love to know the what, the why, the how, the when, the who,  and the where of every circumstance, I believe God is leading me to a place where I can step  outside of the confines of what I know to a place of absolute trust; A place where my trust is without borders and goes beyond the questions to the place of “because you say so”

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” Luke 5:5 NIV

So as I start this journey into the intentionality of obedience, I encourage you to hop on this train with me and be open to saying, “I will obey…BECAUSE GOD SAID SO”

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior (Hillsong UNITED: Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)