Archive | April 2014

Staying Connected

Laptop isolated on whiteTwo of the greatest inventions of my time have been the laptop computer and e-mail.

The laptop means I no longer have to stay in one place to be productive in my business life. E-mail has allowed me to stay connected to people all around the world with the touch of a button.

My greatest frustration is when either of these does not work. Sometimes e-mail cannot be used because I can’t get a connection. Sometimes I cannot use my laptop because I have not properly charged it, and then the charge runs out while I am on an airplane.

Both of these situations mean I am unable to tap into the resource that allows me to fulfill my calling in my work to the fullest.

The morning time with God is much like these situations.

God pours His Word into my spirit, and I am recharged. This recharging has an important effect on my day.

It allows me the greatest opportunity to hear the small voice that directs my steps. If I refuse to “get connected,” I risk following my own ways of fulfilling the duties of my day. It sets forth the opportunity for God to speak into my spirit what He desires for me each day. It allows me to focus on God’s purposes, not mine.

The only way to know someone is to spend time with him or her. The only way to discern the voice of another is to hear that person’s voice.

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul.” – Psalm 143:8

David, the author of this Psalm, was a warrior, king, and businessman. He understood this principle of connecting with God in the morning. His morning allowed him to connect with God’s love, renew his trust in Him, and hear His directions for his life.

Shouldn’t you and I do the same?

by Os Hillman


A PRACTICAL MANAGEMENT TIP

I have studied and practiced many forms of management strategies. In refinement, I find this to be the most effective – Building a team of creative thinking leaders, rather than being the only leader with “built-up” subordinates. Here’s how it has worked for me:

(i) Clearly define the problem to your team/workers and a provide justifications why it needs to be solved
(ii) Spell out very concisely and tightly, the results you want to have
(iii) List down very clearly, the resources they have available for the task – i.e. time, monetary, human support, etc
(iv) Leave them to get on with it and ignore their initial cries that they don’t believe they can get it done (babies always cry until they discover they can climb the table)

I have found out it helps people build their own creative problem solving skills that suites their own personalities, gives them ownership of solutions (and therefore, buy-ins), it is great motivation for them to know that they somewhat engineered a solution that became part of the bigger picture success.

We need to shift from the Management Attitudes that appear like “employees are only told what to do, and they do it, Period”. The truth is, the so-called manager, as soon as he puts himself in the position of “I am the only one who really knows how to get it done, so I’ll order everybody else to do it my way” – has set the entire team up to fail, including himself.

What Is Heaven Like?…Ep3

III. Who is in heaven right now?

This question is not difficult to answer. God is in heaven because heaven is his dwelling place. The Lord Jesus has been in heaven ever since he ascended from the earth shortly after his resurrection (Acts 1:9-11). The Bible tells us that angels are in heaven. In fact there are myriads of angels-uncountable numbers of heavenly beings-all of them serving the Lord in various ways.

And the saints of God who died on this earth are in heaven. [Note: I mean by this that heaven includes the Old Testament Saints who by faith trusted in God’s Word and looked forward to God’s redemption at Calvary (which they did not fully understand). It also includes every true believer from every continent and every denomination. Everyone who has genuinely trusted in Christ as Lord and Savior will be there. I also think that children who died before the “age of accountability go to heaven and I would also include those born with such mental limitaitons that they cannot understand the gospel.] The Bible teaches that the moment we die we go directly into the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul spoke of this in 2 Corinthians 5:7-8 and Philippians 1:21-23.

But I do not want to be ambiguous on this point. Not everyone is in heaven now. Some people won’t make it. The Bible speaks of the saved and the lost. The saved are those who trust Jesus Christ as their eternal Savior. The lost are those who do not trust Christ as Savior. This is the great dividing line of humanity-you are either saved or you are lost. And there is no middle category. You will either spend eternity in heaven or eternity in hell.

Last night a man I do not know called me to talk about the moral crisis currently engulfing our community. “You’re on record,” he said, “as saying you don’t believe that people who disagree with you will go to hell.” “That’s right,” I replied. “My job is not to decide who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. That’s God’s job. I’m in sales, not administration.”

I simply want you to know what God has said about heaven and who will go there. The saved of all the ages will be there – and that vast throng will no doubt include many people who would surprise us if we knew it now. Certainly heaven will be more wonderful than our imagination and it’s population more diverse than we expect.

But I am sure of this one truth. No one will go to heaven except by the grace of God and through the merits of the blood of Jesus Christ. If a man says “No” to Jesus, he has no hope of heaven.

[Content provided by Keep Believing Ministries.]

Perspectives on Prayer from Daniel 9–10

Randy Alcorn

1. Position yourself for prayer by reading Scripture first.

“In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years” (v. 2).

2. Follow Scripture’s lead toward what you should pray for. (If prayer’s the train, make Scripture the rails.)

“So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition…” (v. 3)

3. Pray humbly, recognizing your utter unworthiness before an all-holy God.

“…prayer and petition in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.” (v. 3)

4. Begin by praising God for His attributes, His greatness and faithfulness. Let God’s character provide the context for prayer, so He’s the center of gravity, not you.

“I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: ‘O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands…’“ (v. 4)

5. Confess your sins, taking full responsibility, without rationalization, spin or self-exemption.

“We have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.” (v. 5–6)

6. Permeate prayer with affirmations of God’s amazing grace and your profound gratitude—never asking for what you deserve, but thanking Him that He’s given you infinitely better than you deserve.

“Lord, you are righteous but we are covered with shame…you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you…we and our kings, our princes and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you. The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled; we have not obeyed…. All Israel has transgressed your Law and turned away, refusing to obey you.” (v. 7–11a)

7. Before bringing your requests, repeatedly affirm God’s worthiness and your unworthiness—never forget who you are, and Who you’re talking to.

“Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the law of Moses…have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you! You have fulfilled the words spoken…by bringing upon us great disaster…just as it is written in the law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us.” (v. 11b–12a)

8. Never blame God for sin, its consequences or for life’s hardships.

“Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. The LORD did not hesitate to bring the disaster upon us, for the LORD is righteous in everything; yet we have not obeyed him.” (v. 12b–14)

9. Make requests in light of God’s past acts of faithfulness. Rehearse those acts to God, as demonstrated in Scripture, history, and your own personal and family life.

“Now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned and done wrong. O Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem…” (v. 15–16)

10. Pray for God’s sake, His glory, and His reputation, reminding yourself it’s all about Him, not you.

“Our sins and the iniquities of our fathers have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us. Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. …O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.” (v. 17–19)

11. Pray with a heartfelt recognition of God’s undeserved grace on behalf of you and others.

“We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.” (v.18)

12. God hears our prayers and starts responding to them (when we pray with Daniel’s attitude and perspective) before we can see results, and even when we can’t see results at all.

“While I was still in prayer Gabriel the man came to me in swift flight. “I have come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given…which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed.” (v. 21–23)

13. God deploys angels on missions in response to humble, biblically-based, God-centered prayers.

“I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks…I looked and there was a man… ‘I have been sent to you’ …. Then he continued, ‘Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.’“ (10:12)

14. Prayer mobilizes righteous angels, who engage in intense turf warfare against fallen angels, with kingdom claims at stake. Answers to prayer may be hastened or delayed as a result of this warfare.

“But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Now I have come [in response to prayer, having been immediately dispatched, but delayed three weeks in warfare]…. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the King of Persia…. Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come…. No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince….” (10:13–14, 20–21)

Conclusions

1. Prayer isn’t passive, it’s active. It’s really doing something. Prayer isn’t the least we can do, it’s the most.

2. Prayer is supernatural. It’s reaching out of the visible world into the unseen world, and tapping into powers beyond this dimension. (Prayer picks fights with demons—and empowers righteous angels to win those fights.) “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12).

3. Prayer is never secondary, it’s always primary. It’s not the last recourse, when options run out, it’s the first and best recourse. Prayer is the central work which causes all other work to bear fruit. (No prayer, no power.) “Therefore put on the whole armor of God…take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the gospel…. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly” (Eph. 6:13, 17, 18-20).

4. God’s greatest works, accomplished through prayer, are often invisible to us for now. (What’s visible to us, except in rare moments of clarity, are not God’s greatest works.)

5. We pray now in faith, believing our prayers are making an eternal difference; we anticipate heaven, where we’ll learn God’s breath-taking answers to our prayers, including many that seemed unheard and ignored.

6. There is no greater ministry, no higher calling, no better investment than prayer. (It’s not just right, it’s smart.)

7. Prayer is trusting God that He can accomplish more when I’m on my knees than I can accomplish on my feet.

[This articles is used by permission of Randy Alcorn, Eternal Perspective Ministries, 39085 Pioneer Blvd., Suite 206, Sandy, OR 97055, 503-668-5200, http://www.epm.org]


HERE!! 7 REASONS WHY I BELIEVE YOU SHOULD MAKE A DENT ON THE WORLD!!

By: Charles Kofi Fekpe

The world is BIG enough, for all of us to make an impact, to make a dent, be celebrated and live proud footprints in history, as a launchpad for the successes of the generations after us Go on!! Make a dent on the world. Here are my 7 reasons I believe you should find a way of making a dent on the world (Enjoy):

(1) The world and History remembers those who have solved some of its problems or given it knowledge hitherto unknown, not passengers who just passed through.

(2) There are some levels of wealth, that will only come to you as a result of service you give and impact you made on humanity

(3) Making an impact in the whole world or some part of it is a major legacy to leave the generations yet unborn – it serves as a foundation of fame and world-acceptance from which they can launch their own destinies

(4) Impact/making a dent on the world is prove that you serve a creative, living God. Otherwise how else can you prove that you God is great if you cant prove that “his power in you” can indeed make impact

(5) Making an impact in your chosen Area is the real fulfillment of destiny. God does not create inefficiency. You’ll only every filled fulfilled if what you live for is impacting a larger community than just you and your household, because then, your live receives added value for every other life it makes happy. That’s just how it is

(6) Making an impact in your own gifting or calling, is mostly the only way you can ensure that your voice is heard. In fact I believe its the easiest way to ensure that your voice counts, on issues you want to see change on. Because then when you speak, your voice carries the approval of all those you have impacted.

(7) Making an impact one way or the other is really the only investment that never stops paying out handsome rewards beyond your own lifetime.

Peter’s Command

Focus Verse of the Week

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. – 1 Peter 3:8

Classic Commentary

Though Christians cannot always be exactly of the same mind, yet they should have compassion one of another, and love as brethren. If any man desires to live comfortably on earth, or to possess eternal life in heaven, he must bridle his tongue from wicked, abusive, or deceitful words. He must forsake and keep far from evil actions, do all the good he can, and seek peace with all men. For God, who is all-wise and everywhere present, watches over the righteous, and takes care of them. None could or should harm those who copied the example of Christ, who is perfect goodness, and did good to others as his followers.

(Adapted from 1 Peter 1:1)

A Thought to Keep

If we’re busy practicing Peter’s exhortation, we have less time to be offended when our brother inevitably stumbles. Likewise, grace will be there for us when we fall short of perfection in this life.

Make It a Priority

by

Preparing for worship means making time and making choices. Worship, especially corporate worship, takes time. It takes commitment. We must set aside time to come. We need to guard our schedules and consider times of corporate worship a priority.

Listen to what the Word of God tells us about gathering together:

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near (Hebrews 10:24–25).

Here the writer of Hebrews highlights the importance of regularly meeting together with the church. He also acknowledges that “neglecting to meet together” was a problem in the early church, and had even become a habit of some. The word used here in the Greek for meeting is episunagogen. We are not to neglect the “coming together,” “assembly,” or “gathering” [synagogue].

Though we should daily encourage and pray for one another as we have opportunity to invest in each other’s lives, there is a measure of encouragement, participation, and life in the church that cannot be attained or replicated apart from the regular assembly of God’s people in corporate worship. We need to hear God’s Word read and proclaimed together. We need to pray and sing God’s praise together. Listening to sermon recordings or broadcasts can’t replicate it. Singing worship songs along with your iPod can’t match it. We need to see and hear and know and feel the testimony of lives changed by the power of the Gospel, covenanted, unified and gathered together all in one place, in the same room, for His glory.

We live in a sad day when for many the church and worship have been pushed to the periphery. It is a sad day when people are willing to profess Christ, but unwilling to identify with His body. It is a sad day when making time to gather for worship is more a matter of senseless habit or convenience than spiritual hunger or conviction. It is a sad day when, awaking to a beautiful day outside, the idea of skipping church to go to the beach or a golf course is even an option that Christians would entertain.

The early church “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). They were constant and committed to worship: being under the preached Word, breaking bread, and praying. And their worship was together, fellowshipping—encouraging and strengthening one another by being together as God’s people.

As you prepare for gathered worship, make worshipping God together with your church family a priority. Remove hindrances that might keep you away and apart from worship. Set aside one day in seven for rest, as God commands. Cherish that day. Regard it as special. Make it clear to family and friends that gathering with your church family is the priority of that day. If you are providentially hindered by illness or circumstances beyond your control, or by a work schedule that requires you to miss the gathered worship of your church, then make it a priority of prayer.

And don’t stop making worship a priority when you arrive for a worship service. We live in a day when it is a simple thing to bring our distractions along with us. We open our Bibles on our phones and iPads, where Facebook, Twitter, email, and messaging all reside alluringly close by. Tune out the world and enjoy the rest of adoring Christ and delighting in His Word with your brothers and sisters in gathered worship.

“Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). He obtained it “with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). The church was a priority to Jesus. And it should be for us as well, not just in theory or theology, but in practice and attendance. Make it a priority to worship God regularly and faithfully together in the church.

 

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