The Author of Unity

A bag over the head of a handcuffed black man until he suffocated to death… a knee on the neck of a black man until he suffocated to death… a black man shot in the back seven times in front of his kids and passersby… these and many more are the headlines that plaque the media. As my husband jokingly (or maybe not) says “the black race is going extinct!”

These past few days I have asked questions…well to no one in particular… if the rest of the world is not seeing the craziness happening to black folk! Where is the justification in treating a fellow human being with so much disdain and inhumanity! How can people justify the senseless profiling based on race when we are all from the same source, God Himself?

Many, in trying to justify such atrocities among many other unbelievable things that have happened in 2020, have made comments alluding to fact that perhaps God is no longer in charge of the earth. Sometimes it feels like God has just left mankind to their wiles whilst he sits and watches in complete silence. Perhaps this year it has made the most sense to ask “where was our God when (fill in the blank) happened?”

This week I came across a scripture that gave me reason to pause:

Also in Judah the hand of God was on the people to give them unity of mind to carry out what the king and his officials had ordered, following the word of the LORD.

2 Chronicles 30:12 NIV

The hand of God was on the people to give them unity of mind… that does not sound like a God that is passive about the affairs of his creation. God was the author of the unity the Israelites enjoyed.. He was the one who orchestrated their unity and this is what our world so desperately needs today… UNITY and particularly THE GOD WHO AUTHORS UNITY!

We need God more than ever! Its not too late! We need to pray for the unity among the human folk which can only come from God. We need to ask God to make good his promise from Zechariah 11:7 by infusing his creation with mercy (so we can be merciful) and unity (so we can truly love each other).

So I became a shepherd of those sheep doomed to be slaughtered by the sheep dealers. And I gave names to the two sticks I used for tending the sheep: One of them was named “Mercy” and the other “Unity.”

Zech 11:7 CEV

God please make good your promise to shepherd us with Mercy and Unity and let your hand be upon us to give us unity of mind. This we ask through your son Jesus Christ. Amen.

If you prayed this prayer with me don’t stop there… keep praying for unity and share this with others so together we can gather momentum to call upon God to unite us as one!

Yours Truly.

Wealth Management: Expectations

Money… money… money… let’s talk money! This week my bible readings led me to 1 Chronicles 29 where I have learnt so much about money and how we ought to respond to wealth or lack of it. I will break this reading into different sections and I believe that there will be something in it for everyone. If you are so inclined join me to read the whole chapter for context.

The expectation of leaders towards giving

Many times you find the leaders of God’s people encouraging members of their churches to give to support the work of God. When I used to facilitate the offering session in my church, I would quote all sorts of scriptures to encourage the people about God’s faithfulness towards a cheerful giver. In 1 Chronicles 29 though something unique happens. The people are encouraged not because their leaders motivate them with great speeches and scriptures. This is why they are motivated to give:

And the people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given to the LORD freely and wholeheartedly. 1 Chronicles 29:9a BSB

They were encouraged by how much their leaders gave freely and wholeheartedly. Their leaders walked the talk and lived a life of sacrificial giving and so the people were encouraged to do the same. Regardless of whatever capacity in which you serve God  (whether as a leader with a recognized position or not), it is imperative that we not only do so in words but in deed also and our practice of giving must reflect same. And yes although there are many other things we give to God, I am specifically referring to money in this blog.

What is the expectation of those who have in abundance?

O LORD our God, from Your hand comes all this abundance that we have provided to build You a house for Your holy Name, and all of it belongs to You. I know, my God, that You test the heart and delight in uprightness. All these things I have given willingly and with an upright heart, and now I have seen Your people who are present here giving joyfully and willingly to You. O LORD, God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, keep this desire forever in the intentions of the hearts of Your people, and direct their hearts toward You. 1 Chronicles 29:16 – 18 BSB

The first thing that is required of those who are comfortable financially, is to acknowledge the source of your wealth. It is from the hand of God that wealth passes on to us but not only that, He still owns it all. Wealth that comes from God is like a loan. And while we are not required to pay it back like a traditional loan, we are expected to be worthy stewards of the money, attributing ownership to the source who is God Himself.

God also expects that we mirror the generosity in which he gives us wealth with others (see the parable of the servant who was forgiven his debt- Matthew 18:21-35) and to do so willingly and joyfully. In addition, God also expects that our hearts be directed towards him at all times so that we are not consumed by the love of money. When God Himself is our Inheritance and treasure, our hearts will be constantly directed towards him for where our treasure is, there our hearts will be also (Psalm 16: 5; Matthew 6:21).

There may be another group of you reading this and thinking to yourselves “I do not think this applies to me! I barely have enough every month”! or you are thinking, “I am not financially comfortable even though I try to be generous. What about me?”

What about me? I am barely surviving financially…

If you fall into this category, you are not alone. Many of us live in this sphere with you or straddle this category from time to time. My greatest encouragement since starting this blog has been from Psalm 23:1. I am encouraged that whatever I have at every moment of my life is enough for that moment because God is my shepherd and so I want for nothing!

Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the splendor and the majesty, for everything in heaven and on earth belongs to You. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom, and You are exalted as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You are the ruler over all. In Your hands are power and might to exalt and give strength to all. Now therefore, our God, we give You thanks, and we praise Your glorious name. 1 Chronicles 29:11-13 BSB

It is God that blesses. He not only gives wealth but also the ability to produce wealth (Deut 8:18). He blesses the work of our hands and makes it prosperous; He gives us divinely-inspired ideas as to how to make and save money; and He drives away the devourer for our sakes so that the money we make whether little or a lot meets our daily, weekly, or monthly needs. And what does God expect of those in this category (and frankly from everyone): Thanksgiving.

When I reflect through the eyes of thanksgiving here is what I see: that there are times when I think I will not be able to pay my bills but I do; that those months when I have felt the financial strain the most, no one in my household has been sick requiring care, my car has not broken down and neither has anything in my home required fixing or replacing. God has preserved the little I have enabling me to stretch my income to the last dollar to meet my needs and He deserves to be praised for that feat of greatness! God, I give you thanks and bless your Holy name.

I have been encouraged by  1 Chronicles 29 and if you have been encouraged too then share this blog with your friends. Don’t forget as usual to leave your comments as well so we learn together.

Yours Truly.

God will give you everything you need

Last year I did a series on Psalm 23 and the teachings on  …I shall not want radically changed my life. My most important take away way the fact that if God is my shepherd then at any point in time, regardless of what the circumstances appear to be, I have ALL I need.

This week something I read from the bible reinforced this. David had written this psalm long before he became king and so he understood the concept of God being a shepherd and providing for his every need. But one day he lost sight of this and got greedy. He coveted the wife of Uriah when he could have had any woman he wanted and even killed Uriah so he could have his wife. Now see what God said about this:

…’I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more… 2 Sam 12: 7-8 NIV

God knows what you need to be comfortable in this life. He knows exactly how much food you need to survive (as in the case of the Israelites in the desert and Elijah being fed by ravens). He knows exactly how much money you need to settle your debtors (as in the case of  Peter paying his taxes from the coin in the fish’s mouth). He knows you need clothes (as in the case of Adam and Eve). There isn’t a single need of yours that God does not know about and is not prepared to meet. In fact, if what he has given you is too little, he is prepared to give you more.

So why do we sometimes feel the need to be crooked and shrewd or find other ways to meet our own needs or sort ourselves out? Why do some Christians feel the need to steal or embezzle funds or take bribes so that they can meet their needs?  Is God not our shepherd? Does he not promise to supply all our needs according to his riches?

See the story of Achan in Joshua 7. God asked them to destroy everything in battle and he saw some of the battle spoils and coveted them so he took them (vs. 21). This resulted in his death and that of his entire lineage. David’s covetousness led to a curse on his family.

As the year wears on, my encouragement is to trust God for your every need. He is your shepherd and so you have access to everything you need. Just ask.

Yours  Truly.

Our Daily Bread

Give us this day our daily bread. Matthew 6:11 NIV

I have spent almost a month pondering over what this scripture means to me and I learnt two lessons from this line of the Lord’s prayer.

Lesson 1

Many times in my life when I have prayed about my needs and wants, there is some measure of extravagance to it. I am asking God (with all earnestness) for some really big things… we are talking lots of moolah and always for many good causes but in the course of thinking of this scripture, there was a paragraph from the book I am reading, Pursue Overtake Recover, that really struck me. The author, Kerry Kirkwood said:

Many of us pray big prayers and yet prepare little for the answers. Without wisdom from above, the answers to some prayers would be destructive. For instance, you may ask for a million dollars to flow through your hands and yet are not prepared because you have not been faithful and responsible handling hundreds of dollars… The receiver of the gift must be equal to the size of the gift so as to contain the answer when it comes.

That really hit home for me. so what has this got to do with my daily bread? Everything. I am learning to ask for my DAILY bread. Not more than what I need but exactly what God knows I need each day. Since I learnt from Psalm 23 about not wanting because God is my Shepherd, god has proven Himself to me and my family. We have had enough to get us through every day. Some days, this means we have enough to give generously to others and other days it means we have just enough for our family unit. Regardless of the day, whatever God blesses us with is enough for the day. It is our DAILY BREAD. I am 100% in agreement with the prayer of the wise man:

Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonour the name of my God. Proverbs 30: 8-9 NIV

Lesson 2

A lot of times when we think of daily bread, we think of our physical and financial needs and while that is all well and good, bread in scripture represents far more than that! let’s look at these scriptures together:

Yes, I am the bread of life! I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” John 6: 48, 51, 58 NLT

Jesus contrasts two kinds of bread. One is for physical sustenance and the other is only found in Him and it gives life, even eternal life. Because it is Jesus himself. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world (John 6:38 NIV).  So when Jesus is teaching us to pray for our daily bread, we are asking God to give us enough of Himself for another day; enough presence, enough power, enough revelation, enough of His spirit for the day.

So how do I access this bread and how does it give me life? Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” (Matthew 4:4 NIV). The Word of God is key and when God Himself inspires us with the exact Word we need for the day, how blessed will our day be! We will experience the life-giving power of God’s word. The same breath of life that was breathed into the first man’s nostrils making him a living creature is manifest in every word in scripture because All Scripture is God-breathed… (2 Timothy 3:16 NIV)

So if you have been following along in this series, we start by acknowledging who God is as our Father and identifying our place in His kingdom and the next step is to ask for God’s enablement by asking for enough of God for the day. Perhaps if I start my day with a measure of God’s spirit, I may not struggle as much with my thoughts, with what I say, with my actions, and with my motives and motivations throughout the day! So:

This is the air I breathe
This is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me
This is my daily bread
This is my daily bread
Your very word spoken to me
And I’m desperate for you
And I’m lost without you

Yours Truly.

Hallowed be thy name

For the past two weeks, I have been wrestling with this single line of the Lord’s prayer. I have been asking myself what it really means when I say to God, “Hallowed be thy name”. What does the word ‘hallowed’ mean? According to the Oxford dictionary, it means sacred, consecrated, holy. So why is it important that when Jesus taught us to pray, he taught us to declare that God’s name is Holy? Here are a few thoughts:

Saying to God, “holy is your name” is an acknowledgement of who He is. If I were to describe a person I know, my first inclination will be to start with a name. So we start praying by acknowledging that we have a Father in heaven and then we call Him by name.

For the Mighty One has done great things for me. Holy is His name. Luke 1:49 BSB

He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever- holy and awesome is his name. Psalm 111:9 NIV

For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy… Isaiah 57:15 ESV

Secondly, acknowledging that God’s name is Holy should put us in a certain posture before Him. Almost all the scriptures that describe God’s name as holy are accompanied by a call to praise, worship, give glory, exult in or exalt the Holy name of God. Acknowledging that God’s name is hallowed puts us in a place of worship.

Psalm 29: 2 says Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to his name; worship the LORD in the splendour of his holiness. So in essence, if you recognize and acknowledge that God’s name is Holy, then you are postured to worship Him according to the worth you place on His name. This brings me to my third thought: What is God’s name worth to us? For many, the name of God and of His Christ have been reduced to swear words. I am deeply offended when I hear people throw the f-word in front of the name of God or of Jesus (as should be everyone who acknowledges that God is their heavenly father!). I would not take it kindly if someone used the f-word in reference to my father so why should it be ok that they can do so with my heavenly father? Hopefully, no true child of God does this but many of us are still guilty of not knowing the worth of the name of Jesus and so we do not ascribe Him the glory that is due to his name!

All week, two references to scripture have been on my mind in reference to the name of God:

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Prov 18:10

Not sure why I have been stuck on this scripture but I ask again… What is the name of the Lord your God worth to you, and do you give Him the glory due His name?

The second reference has to do with being called by the name of God; the name HOLY.

The LORD will establish you as His holy people, just as He has sworn to you if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways. Then all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will stand in awe of you. Deut 28: 9-10 BSB

When we acknowledge that God’s name is holy, it is also an acknowledgement of our heritage and responsibilities as holy people. We are identifying ourselves as having a right to communicate.  I like sci-fi movies so I imagine it like a code to get access to the other side- when you say “Hallowed is your name”, the computer scans your voice and all of you; body, soul and spirit and runs its checks to see if belong. After a few seconds, the screen flashes “Holy Identified” and then the door swings open to give you access to enter into the presence of God (smh.. I think I watch too many movies! Help me, Lord…).

In my sci-fi movie, as in real life, there are things you have to do to be called by the name of God. You don’t just gain access because you say the password, “Hallowed be thy name”. Deuteronomy  28:8 says we must keep His commandments and walk in His ways. Psalm 24:3-4 says, “Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to falsehood, who does not swear deceitfully. John 10 talks about the Shepherd-sheep relationship. Many other scriptures attest to the life one must lead to be called by the name of God (HOLY) many of which I have spoken about in past blog posts.

So next time when you pray, “Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name…”, don’t just recite it as a childhood prayer. Pause to think about God’s holy name and ask yourself the hard questions:

  1. Am I truly acknowledging that God is a Holy God?
  2. What does the name of God mean to me and am I postured to give Him the glory due His name?
  3. Am I called by His name (Holy)?

Food for thought!

Yours Truly.



With a Grateful Heart

As I look back over the year, I have tons to be thankful for despite the disappointments, losses, and heartaches of 2018.

One of such to be thankful for is this blog which has provided me with an outlet to express what God is doing for me on the inside. So, I just want to take a moment to say thank you to all my readership. Your encouragement in reading, commenting, sending me feedback about my posts, and sharing testimonies with me about what God was doing in your life through my blog was everything to me. It was like God Himself (through you) was saying “Well done!”  and I am truly grateful. So as I end this year, I will like to say a prayer for all of you:

I pray that God walks with you as you cross over into 2019. As you step into 2019 you step into freedom and the troubles of 2018 will bow down to the name of Jesus and cease. I pray that God will be your shepherd and you his sheep in 2019. May the peace of God guard your heart and garrison your mind from all fear. May your hunger and thirst for God be met by a deep revelation of the personhood of God and of His Christ. And may all your hopes and dreams for the new year be established. May God grant you the ability to love freely, the fortitude to forgive freely, and the grace to give freely. Finally, I pray that in 2019 you walk in blamelessly in the light of God and in the sight of all men. Amen.

Welcome to the end of 2018 and the beginning of the best year of your life yet.

Be intentional.

… And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever

referencing The Lord is my Shepherd…

So far we have looked at all the verses that make up the 23rd Psalm. My husband describes all the statements as a confession or declaration of who God is to us and the benefits of this shepherd-sheep relationship.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,he leads me beside quiet waters,he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff,they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and [mercy] will follow me all the days of my life… Psalm 23:1- 6a NIV

The psalmist is enthralled by everything God is to him and it leads to a response and a commitment to God: I will dwell in your house forever! What is the house of the Lord? Where is the house of the Lord?

In the old testament, the house of the Lord was the temple of God where the Israelites worshiped. It was not uncommon for people to live in certain quarters of the temple and dedicate their lives to the service of God; case in point: Samuel. But…

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples made by human hands. Acts 17:24 Berean study bible

But God no longer dwells in buildings, he dwells in hearts and we know from previous posts that the house of the lord represents the presence of the Lord. So if Jesus lives in your heart, then you are the house of God and you carry the presence of God.

So what exactly is the psalmist saying when he says “and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever”? The psalmist is making a lifelong commitment to live in the presence of God. Many times, we carry ourselves as if to say the presence of God is found in a place and when we go to that place we go into the presence of God. For some, it is a church building. For others, it is in assuming a certain position to pray or during personal devotion or times of fasting that the presence of God is felt.

Through this series, we have learned that Jesus our shepherd, promises us his abiding presence. He is always with us.  But it takes another level of commitment to make the presence of God a dwelling place. It means you constantly live in God’s presence. You don’t visit. God’s presence is home. For those that like abstract proverbs it is not only buying the milk; It is buying the cow.

When my husband and I were dating, we spent so much time together but at the end of the day, he went back to his own place or I, to mine. It was not until we got married that his presence became a constant in my life. The psalmist is making a pledge to God very much like in marriage. The psalmist is saying, God,  I promise to always be with you always just as you promise to be with me always.

And I will dwell in your house forever…

  • Is a commitment to be more aware of the presence of God and be intentional about living with that consciousness and practicing presence.   It is a commitment to inviting Jesus into your heart every day and with every time you say this psalm so that you can be a carrier of His presence wherever you go. It is a commitment to being comfortable enough in the presence of God to be your authentic self because that’s what you do when you are home. You don’t put on a facade for anyone you are yourself.
  • Is a confession when you are struggling with the notion of being in God’s presence. It may be that you don’t feel worthy to be in God’s presence. Or you feel disappointed with life or with God. This psalm serves as an encouragement and perhaps a self-talk that you are going to strive to live in God’s presence no matter what. When you don’t feel like being in God’s presence you will be in God’s presence.
  • Is an assurance of the hope we have in the afterlife. It is common knowledge that we come into the world naked and take nothing out of it. When you have a shepherd-sheep relationship you take the presence of God with you. Not only will God’s presence be with us on earth but it will be our companion into the afterlife and forever thereafter. Jesus did not take lightly the promise: “lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). You can be confident that eternity will be an easy transition because you will be “home”- in the presence of God; a home you will recognize because you’ve experienced it on earth.

So dear friends, I conclude the Psalm 23 series with a prayer for you:

Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord

…Surely Goodness and Mercy Shall Follow Me All the Days of My Life

Referencing The Lord is my Shepherd…

The last part of Psalm 23 is the most popular part of the Psalm. It serves as a benediction in many churches. But have you ever stopped to think about what constitutes the goodness and mercy of God and how they are manifest? I will attempt to describe this from the following scriptures.

Then Moses said, “Please show me Your glory.”“I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you,” the LORD replied, “and I will proclaim My name—the LORD—before you. I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” Exodus 33:18-19 Berean Study Bible

Moses asks to see God’s glory and God’s response is I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you and if you read further God says to Moses but you cannot see my face because no one can see my face and live! Two things can be inferred from this: All of God’s goodness is the physical manifestation of  God and is also the embodiment of His glory.

So when the psalmist says goodness shall follow him he is referring to the glory of God accompanying him wherever he goes. Now get this: Jesus is the very essence of God’s Glory and represents the Glory of God.

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. Hebrews 1:3a NIV

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 Berean Study Bible

So if you have a daily relationship with Jesus, Our shepherd, you have a daily encounter with God’s glory which is manifested as ALL OF GOD’S GOODNESS.

In the scripture from Exodus 33, we see that God’s goodness evokes His mercy and compassion. Where God’s goodness goes, mercy follows. The Bible records that wherever Jesus went, he was moved with compassion [mercy] for the people he encountered and He demonstrated this mercy by healing the sick and broken-hearted, delivering the oppressed, and setting the captives free. If Jesus is your Shepherd it means that you have 24 hr access to mercy and all of God’s goodness. Now let’s talk about what that looks like:

How great is [Your] goodness you have stored up for those who fear you. You lavish it on those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world. You hide them in the shelter of your presence, safe from those who conspire against them. You shelter them in your presence, far from accusing tongues.Praise the LORD, for he has shown me the wonders of his unfailing love. He kept me safe when my city was under attack. I had said in my alarm, “I am cut off from your sight.” But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help. Psalm 31:19- 22 NLT

This is my definition of a stress-free life. This is a good life. A life that is accompanied by goodness and mercy. And finally, the best part is that these benefits are for as long as you are on this earth: all the days of your life. Not some; but all.

If Jesus is not your shepherd yet, all hope is not lost. He is always moved with compassion for sheep without Shepherd. He wants everyone to benefit from the shepherd-sheep relationship.

Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36 NASB

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. All the days of your life is a long time and you want to live it well; with goodness and mercy following you!

…My cup runs over

Referencing The Lord is my Shepherd…

This part of the verse has always evoked thoughts of abundance. I always imagined this abundance to be what is bestowed on me by God and rightly so but from the last lesson on ‘…you anoint my head with oil‘ I discovered a unique link between the anointing which represents the Holy Spirit and His power and one’s cup running over. Let me draw the parallel.

When  God anoints us it is with the Holy Spirit and with Power and wherever the Holy Spirit is, the manifestation is as of a river.

“…Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them”. By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. John 7: 38-39 NIV

Rivers are not stagnant. They flow. Every river has a source and the river of the Holy Spirit has its source from the presence of God.

Then the angel showed me a river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. Revelations 22:1 Berean Study Bible

In the book of Ezekiel 47, the prophet Ezekiel has a vision of this same river that flows from the presence of God. This river had its source right from the temple of God which represents the presence of God. The more Ezekiel ventured into the river, the deeper it got; from ankle-deep to the point where it was too deep to stand in, too deep to cross.

This is the type of abundance God promises when we are anointed with the Holy Spirit. There will be an overflow in our lives. The caveat is that the more of the Holy Spirit you have, the deeper you will get into this river of God (God’s presence, the knowledge of God, the experience of God) and the greater your overflow. As you may have realized, I am not speaking of overflow and abundance in terms of what you get from God but what pours out of you. Think about the scripture again….my cup runs over. What is inside of you that fills your cup and then pours out to the people around you?

Let’s get back to the analogy of the river in Ezekiel 47.

Then he led me back to the bank of the river. When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. He said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Dead Sea. When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live… Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.” Ezekiel 47: 6-12 NIV

When this river that flowed into the Dead Sea, it changed the very nature and composition of the water from salty to fresh. Wherever the river flowed there was life; fish, trees, fruits. There was life. So I ask again; what is your cup overflowing with? Do you bring freshness to the saltiness of life around you? Does your presence bring life to those who are dead emotionally, spiritually and even physically? Or do you suck the life out of people when they hang around you?

Now let’s talk fruit. In Ezekiel’s vision, wherever the river flowed it brought with it, fruit. The presence of the Holy Spirit in one’s life will be evidenced by the fruit He brings.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, [and] self-control. Gal 5:22-23 ESV

The one thing I just noticed about this scripture is that even though it lists 9 qualities they are all described as one fruit, not fruits! The same spirit that brings love, brings joy and the other 7 fruit with it. So I ask yet again? What is overflowing from your cup? Is it Love? Joy? Peace? Patience? Kindness? Goodness? Faithfulness? Gentleness? Self-control?

In Ezekiel’s vision where ever the river went, fruit never failed. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Are you lacking in these fruit that the river of the Holy Spirit brings? Pray to be anointed with more of God’s Spirit; Draw close in relationship with God; Be intentional in spending time in His presence.

It’s the river of God’s spirit that flows from the presence of God which will keep you bearing fruits day after day…month after month… in season and out of season. Then you’ll love everyone in spite of, you’ll have joy in spite of, you’ll have peace in spite of… and demonstrate all the other gifts even in your off seasons.  So for the last time I ask…


…You anoint my head with oil

…Referencing The Lord is my Shepherd… and  The Lighthouse Keeper

David, as a shepherd is using this elaborate description of how he relates with his flock to describe his relationship with God. So why does a shepherd anoint the heads of his sheep?

Sheep as does other livestock get afflicted with flies, ticks, lice and other insects.  These little insects would especially attack the most vulnerable part of the sheep: the head, burrowing into their ears and noses. This would result in range of symptoms from mild irritation to death. To prevent this, the shepherd would anoint the head of the sheep with a concoction of olive oil (sometimes with herbs mixed in there for perfume), especially rubbing the oil  around its nose, eyes, and ears. The oil was a protection and a repellent against evil.

Many times in our lives we are “bugged” by many challenges but often it is the “little things” that cause many a Christian to lose heart, to get discouraged, or to get upset and offended. We are left disheartened and it steals our joy. I started this blog series with my first post on gracious conversations recounting a conversation I had with a friend that has probably had lasting irreparable damage. I think of conversations I have had with others where I have felt offended.  I ruminate on the things in the conversation that did not sit right with me and  dwell on them till they grow out of proportion in my head tearing down every hope of ever giving the other person the benefit of the doubt or having a discussion or even allowing for reparation. It’s like a little bug that crawls up the sheep’s ear into its brain and gnaws at the tissues till the sheep gets sick or dies. These little bugs ruin friendships, kills marriages, tears families apart, and split churches. So what is the cure?

We need the shepherd to anoint our heads with oil. When Jesus Christ our shepherd started his ministry on earth, He modeled this for all of us. He himself was anointed by God and he went about doing good to everyone; even the most undeserving of sinners.

…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. Acts 10:38 NIV

We need the Holy Spirit in our lives more than ever before.  To overcome in the battle that rages in our minds… we need the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the power that comes from Him. Oil is a symbolism of God’s spirit. Whenever anyone was anointed in the bible, we know that the Spirit of God came upon them (case in point: David)

So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah. 1 Samuel 16:13 NIV

So when we ask God to anoint our heads with oil, we are asking God to repel any evil from us. We are asking God protect us from seen and unseen forces; but more especially to protect our minds and guard our eye gate, our ear gate, our nose gate, and our mouth gate against all forms of attack from “little bugs” or even the big ones. We are asking for the enablement of the Holy Spirit for this purpose and His power to rest upon us so that we can overcome these little foxes that ruin the vine. We are asking God to help us be open to all people, to not hold grudges, or keep malice. We are asking for the ability to love freely without holding back, or being trapped in unforgiveness. And among other things, we are asking God to break every bondage that we have been subjected to by our minds by bringing all thoughts under the authority of Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 10:5) because the anointing breaks yokes (Isaiah 10:27 KJV)!

When our minds are free from the grudges, the unforgiveness, the malice then the second part of this verse becomes a reality: my cup runs over. Love will pour out of us like a river;  Joy will pour our of us like a river; Peace will pour out of us like a river. For where ever the Spirit is…. there is a river….

“…Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them”. By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. John 7: 38-39 NIV

Stay tuned for ‘…my cup runs over’ and be intentional in living out your faith.