Time and Time again in scriptures, we see our God as one who doesn’t just stand far off to man wishing him all the best with his struggles or challenges. Instead, we see a God that identifies and sympathizes with us in our low estates.
“For the Law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17)
You could give someone something by post, and even these days by many electronic methods without necessarily coming to them. But instead Grace (in the person of Jesus) came to us. He identified with us.
John testified of this, saying:
“And the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…”
The word dwelt among us! He was with us! Living and identifying with us!
Our Father is not some far away person or a god who from a distance tries to send us aid. No! He comes to us. Jesus promised:
“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:18)
Notice God’s promise here, not just that I will send you aid or grace or help from my heavenly throne, but I will come down to be with you in the journey, and the ups and downs of life. I will be with you to comfort you, supplying strength and grace to you as I dwell with you.
“Who hath remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth forever” (Ps. 136:24)
The word translated “remembered” in the above verse, actually means to identify with. He identified with us in our low estate, when we were in a bad shape and at the low of the low, He identified with us.
“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom. 5:6)
Why is this possible? Because he understands our pains.
“We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all — all but the sin” (Heb. 4: 15 MSG)
He is not out of touch with our reality. What a saviour! That is why he is promised:
“You will pass through deep waters. But I will be with you …” (Is. 43:2)
How then should we react to this?
We should become bold towards life, knowing that our Father identifies with us in our challenges and struggles.
“And if God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31)
I call you Blessed
I’m excited once again to bring God’s word to you, my dear reader.
It is God’s desire to establish His kingdom, His reign on earth. He wants to rule on every street, every city, every country, He wants to fill all the earth with the knowledge of His Son, Jesus Christ. In fact, Jesus taught us to pray this:
Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. (Matt. 6:10 KJV)
I believe that as believers, we are pivotal to the reign of His Kingdom on earth. He needs us to subdue, take charge and to rule over the earth. The heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth He has given to humans, and because of that, any move of God upon the earth has to be pushed and pioneered by believers.
However, the Lord will not reign over our environments, if He doesn’t first reign in our lives. If His will is not done in me, His will cannot be done through me. The kingdom comes from Inside Out.
An example of an inward transformation leading to and influencing many more people outwardly is found in 1 Thess. 1: 7 – 9.
7 So that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.
8 For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything.
9 For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.
(1 Thess. 1: 7-9 KJV Emphasis Mine)
Notice in the passage above, Paul through the Holy Spirit accounts how the believers at Thessalonica became examples to other believers everywhere ( including us in this generation) but first notice, before they could be examples, there had to be a TURNING in them first. God’s work to reach the nations THROUGH them, started first, IN them. They had to first turn to God.
A similar example is given in Isaiah 61:4.
They shall rebuild the old ruins, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations. (Isaiah 61:4 KJV)
The report of verse 4 is best understood by reading from verses 1-3. The verses 1 – 3 identify the inward change the Holy Spirit does in our lives as believers. The effect of his work in us is that we build the old ruins, we raise up the former desolations, repair the ruined cities and the desolations of many generations. But first, he (the Holy Spirit) works in us to change us.
Beloved, God’s work in us is inside out. He works in us, so He can work through us.
It is my prayer that we would align with His work in and through us.
I call you Blessed.
It is an absolute delight to bring God’s word again to you my reader. Last time we talked about:
- The Present Circumstance of a Believer doesn’t describe him/her, he possesses something eternal.
- The Need for Mentors
This week we continue to pick out lessons from the book of Ruth.
3. Boaz was a good Man
The testimony recorded in the scriptures of Boaz was excellent. He was a successful man, in fact, scriptures described him as a man of great wealth (Ruth 2:1). Interestingly, despite his success, he was not a man who was proud or boastful. In Ruth 2:4, scriptures give us an impression that he had a good relationship with his workers.
“Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you! And they answered him, “The Lord bless you”. (Ruth 2:4 KJV)
It was this good relationship with his workers that made him notice the “stranger” (Ruth) who had just joined them and she eventually became his wife. Boaz was a good leader, he was interested in the performance of his staff. Paul also had a similar instruction to Timothy:
“Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy”
(1 Tim. 6:17 KJV)
Boaz was also a truthful person. Despite Ruth giving Boaz the signal of her availability of marriage, he didn’t swing in to take advantage cunningly of the situation. He stayed truthful, informing her that there was another man who was a closer relative than him, and who had a higher chance of being the kinsman-redeemer and eventually be Ruth’s new husband.
Read more about the kinsman-redeemer here.
“Now it is true that I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I”
(Ruth 3:12 KJV)
Paul, speaking through the Holy Ghost said:
“But speaking the truth in love may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ—”
(Eph. 4:15 KJV)
4. The End is always Sweeter
The story in the book of Ruth opened on a sorrowful note with Naomi losing her husband and children in chapter 1, chapter 4 ends with joy and happiness. I believe just like the book of Ruth, life is in chapters. The chapter you might be on now in your life might be sorrowful and sad, but scripture says the next chapter would be better.
Abraham and Sarah later had a child, Hannah later had a Son, Jabez’s story changed, the Israelites didn’t remain slaves forever, Jacob later became wealthy and had a huge family, It always got better.
“But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day” (Prov. 4:18)
Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, you qualify to be called the just the who scriptures talks of in Prov. 4:18. Yes, it always gets better. The challenges you face today will be gone tomorrow your tears will turn to laughter and sorrow to joy. Stay believing and see God working things out on your behalf.
For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.
(Job 14: 7-9)
Say this with me:
I am a child of the Almighty,
I am led/inspired by the Holy Ghost in me,
I yield/obey as I am led,
I am redeemed, I am well,
I am strong,
I do not live in fear,
I am blessed and I am a blessing
In Jesus name, Amen
I call you blessed
Of all the books of the scriptures, the book of Ruth stands out. It narrates the story of a young lady from Moab called Ruth, and her journey to the land of Bethlehem.
In chapter one of the book of Ruth, the curtain opens on Naomi, Ruth’s mother in law after the death of her son (Ruth’s husband). Ruth loved Naomi. This love would finally lead her to become the great grandmother of the great king David. Ruth’s story is a beautiful story of grass to grace, a story of hope and one that was written for the present-day believer’s admonition.
I would like to share some lessons that I learnt as I read through the book.
- The Present Circumstance of a Believer doesn’t describe him/her, he possesses something eternal.
To the physical eyes, Naomi was finished. She had just lost her husband and 2 sons. She must have thought “we made a big mistake coming down from Bethlehem to Moab”. Everything her world revolved around was all gone. But you know what? Even at that state, Ruth still clung-on to her, not wanting to let her go. Why? She had God.
Look, said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.” But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God”
Rather than Ruth leaving Naomi like Orpah, her sister in law, she knew Naomi had God, and she was interested in having that same God, hence your God will be my God. Ruth knew that despite Naomi appearing to have lost all, she should not be judged by her present situation, she had something of far more eternal value in her possession and she was ready to cleave to Naomi for that. Because that thing that Naomi had, Ruth knew it was able to make her story better and sweeter.
Throughout Scriptures, you see this same scenario play again and again:
Paul said we are poor yet (what we carry) is making others rich… (2 Cor. 6:10).
Jesus was on the cross, stripped naked, losing his life yet he was granting forgiveness and passage to heaven for another.
Jacob: cheated left, right and center having nothing yet, he was making Laban rich. (He had God, he carried the covenant). Same with Joseph in Potiphar’s house. And the list goes on and on.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us
(2 Cor. 4:7 KJV)
- The Need for Mentors
Reading the book of Ruth, you will notice how following Naomi’s instruction and mentorship, Ruth was able to change her story from being a widow to being the great grandmother of King David. Getting a mentor helps you stay on the shoulder of someone taller than you, so you can see far.
For young believers, my admonition is always that Life is too complex, for you to start to figure it out with your brain. Get a mentor, someone who can guide you and you can do life better under his instructions.
The book of 1 Timothy, is full of instructions from Paul on how Timothy was to do life and run the church. Timothy needed that guidance, Paul was there to grant it. So do you need guidance, my reader.
To be contd.
Say with Me:
I know who I am,
I am not defined by my present situation,
Greater is he that is in me,
I’m a covenant carrier,
I’m a grace giver,
I’m blessed in all that I do,
I’m blessed to be a blessing,
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I Call You Blessed
And he said to them all, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23)
Jesus, speaking in the verse above used the word ‘cross’ to denote the ‘death’. Of course, through the death of the cross he paid for the sins of humanity. So, did he mean we are also to expect to be crucified like he was? No. Rather “taking up our cross daily” signifies “dying to the flesh daily”.
As believers we must be aware of the potency in our flesh to hinder or possibly stop the move of the spirit, the work of God in and through us. The flesh sometimes manifests as a veil denying men to see the glory of God upon us. As we allow the working of the spirit, putting the flesh to death, we create room and space for the holy spirit to work in and through us.
Oftentimes, the manifestation of the flesh is in our holding on to material things. We want to boast about our certificates, cars, houses, achievements and even sometimes our spiritual knowledge of scriptures. If there was any man in scriptures who had enough things to boast about, Paul was one.
In Philippians 3: 4 – 7, he itemized a lot of these things that he could boast about. Asides those, looking at his life, there were a lot of things to boast about. He was a Hebrew of the Hebrews (this was a strong spiritual boast in those days), a scholar who learned from the best (more like attending Harvard in our time), in prayers, fervent, in spiritual understanding he wrote a large part of the new testament we all read today and the list goes on and on. But instead of holding on to all of these, he said:
Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake, I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ. (Philippians 3: 8)
Paul, instead of holding on to all he had achieved, he counted them as “dung”, “garbage” instead, why? To gain Christ. To give more room for Christ to be revealed to him. As such, our holding on to these things actually rob us of the possible revelations of Christ that have been given to us to walk in.
It is interesting how we allow the flesh to have its way in our affairs every day without even noticing it. Recently, the Lord began to show me this in my own life. I noticed many of them were things that even though good to have, they were taking too much space in my heart.
Sometime ago I said to myself, I want to achieve this and buy that before the end of the year. I want to get better at work so I need to take that course, or learn that new software, etc. Even though all of these things are good, the moment they begin to become my top premonition, that’s likely the flesh.
The Lord wants to be first in all our affairs. The moment this happens in our lives, we are likely to have died completely to the flesh. This is also explained in Luke 9: 57 – 62.
Lastly, when temptations come, they are meant to check the amount to which our flesh is in control of our lives. To think that Judas and Peter were both followers of Jesus, but the devil knew that if Judas was tempted by money, that his flesh was still alive in that area, and he could be led by the flesh into betraying his master, is a strong indication showing us the potency of the flesh.
“But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions)” James 1:14 AMP
Jesus overcame temptations by dying to the flesh. He didn’t just overcome by knowing scriptures, which is good but, he overcame because he didn’t allow lust for the material things of this world to be found in him.
“…And he has no claim on Me. [He has nothing in common with Me; there is nothing in Me that belongs to him, and he has no power over Me]” John 14:30
I will close with the words of Jesus, deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Christ.
I call you blessed
If a believer becomes Righteousness-conscious, Son-conscious, Satan will be afraid of him – E.W. Kenyon
At Redemption, we were transferred from death to life. Our spirit man was regenerated, made a new creation and gained the righteousness of Christ so that we can boldly declare that we have the same standing before the Father as Christ has. We are now His beloved children (as Christ is beloved) accepted in Christ Jesus, free from the hold of sin and death and now translated into the kingdom of God. We who were slaves and servants to sin, and by extension were under the domain and rule of the devil, can now boldly declare that ‘Now are we sons of God’. Yes, we can call him Father.
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God,…” (1 John 3:2)
“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:” (Col. 1:13)
“Having predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1: 5 – 7)
Redemption brought so many benefits to the believer, that it will take until Christ returns for us to fully unravel it. Scriptures teach that the salvation of our soul occurs as our soul learns of what happened to our spirit at redemption, and this will continue until Christ returns or we are translated in death. This indicates the magnitude of what happened to us when our spirit was regenerated and of the awe of the wisdom of God demonstrated at redemption.
As believers, we are to seek to know about these mysteries. We are to learn about who we are. In all of Paul’s letters, two things he taught the most were (1.) Christ – who He is, and (2.) the Church – who we are and who Christ has called us to be. It is in learning about this that we can really take full advantage of the benefits of redemption.
“But these oppressors know nothing; they are so ignorant! They wander about in darkness, while the whole world is shaken to the core. I say ‘You are gods’, you are children of the Most High. But you will die like mere mortals and fall like every other ruler” (Ps. 82: 5 – 7)
Ignorance is expensive. Trust me, you don’t want to be ignorant. We need to know who we are. We know who we are as we learn of our rights at redemption. We learn that at redemption we received sonship; the right to call him Father, having a right standing as regards righteousness before the creator of the universe. We learn of our right to rule over sin, sickness and diseases and over principalities and powers and every ruler in the dark places of this world. We learn of our right to God’s presence every minute of the day, and our right to use the name of Christ in healing those who are sick and raising the dead and much more.
With our knowledge must come consciousness. When we learn of this truth, we are to live daily with the consciousness of it, that is the secret to living victoriously in this wicked world.
We are conscious that God is with us, assuring His protection.
We are conscious that we are seated in heavenly places far beyond the reach of principalities and powers, as such we don’t live in fear.
We are conscious that we are loved by our heavenly father, as such we cannot be depressed because all things (both good and not so good experiences) work together for our good.
We are conscious that we are not slaves to sin, but servants unto righteousness.
We are conscious that by his stripes we are healed, and can speak to our bodies ‘No sickness here’.
Brethren, the key is not just to have a mental acceptance of the truths of redemption but to be conscious of them daily. That is exactly what scares the devil, the knowledge of who we are in Him. No wonder Paul prayed for the Ephesian Church (and us in extension):
“Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;”
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:”
“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints”
“And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power”
“Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places”
“Far above all principality and power and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only this world, but also in that which is to come” (Eph 1: 16 – 21)
It is my prayer that we may come into full understanding of what Christ did on the cross for us.
I call you blessed