JoyTrumps

 

…just the WORD to change your WORLD – John 1:1.

 

Twelveth edition  

 

TOPIC: A JUST MAN, NOT JUST A MAN

 

Hello there, it’s Christmas again! Let us celebrate and be merry as we commemorate the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. As we celebrate, remember He is the reason for the season.

As the season permits, we shall be considering the mystery of the birth of Jesus Christ; however, we shall be looking at an unpopular aspect of the story. Whenever I watch the nativity play, the characters that stand out are always Mary, the angels, the wise men and baby Jesus. Not very much significance is given to the character of Joseph, who the bible describes not just as “a man” but “a just man” (Matt 1:19); therefore, our topic is “A JUST MAN, NOT JUST A MAN”.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was espoused to Joseph (Matt 1:18). Espousal, in the Hebrew culture refers to the making of vows; it is the legal part of marriage where legal marriage documents are signed (The Dakes Annotated Reference Bible). Theology also has it that espousal and engagement are not perfectly synonymous. Espousal is deeper than engagement as it connotes legal and deeper commitment between couples involved. Using modern terms and in my reasoning, I would liken espousal to going to the court to sign legal documents before the solemnization ceremony takes place. This was the stage of Joseph’s relationship to Mary, when she was strangely declared pregnant!

It must be noted that at this time, Joseph and Mary were not yet living as husband and wife because all the marriage rites were not yet completed. It is clear that it is only in marriage that God permits sexual intercourse (1 Corinth. 7:2). When the angel visited Mary to announce the immaculate conception, she admitted that she was still a virgin at this time (Luke 1:34). Joseph, being a just man, must have been proud to be espoused to a virgin. Mary must have felt fulfilled to have kept her virginity until marriage; then the unnatural happened. “And the angel said unto her, ‘fear not Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS” (Luke 1:30-31). Before they came together (as husband and wife), Joseph found out that Mary was pregnant! (Matt. 1:18).  How he handled the situation definitely proves him not just as a man but as a just man. Let’s see some of his unique attributes.

Joseph was not willing to disgrace his wife (Matt 1:19). He loved her, he trusted her and he honoured her. These three attributes which were the bedrock of his relationship with Mary must have been so strong in his heart that he could not bring himself to accept that Mary may have been unfaithful to him, let alone think of divorcing her publicly, which would have been disgraceful for her. As a matter of fact, making Mary a public example may have led to stoning her to death in accordance to the Jewish law (Deut. 22:23-24). This just man, although hurting, did not listen to his negative emotions, did not give attention to his smeared reputation, even ignored his dented image among his peers and sought to divorce her privately and not publicly. No wonder Blaine Lee declares “When people honour each other, there is a trust established that leads to synergy, interdependence, and deep respect. Both parties make decisions and choices based on what is right, what is best, what is valued most highly”.

Joseph was an obedient man. To save him from his dilemma, God sent him an angel to explain what had happened to Mary (Matt 1:20). He listened, he believed and he obeyed. What great attributes Joseph was endowed with. According to Voltaire, “Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe”. He had faith that God’s word will bring them honour. He ignored the criticism and mockery around him. He accepted his wife, loved and cared for her (Matt 1:24). Today, many put away their spouses for the slightest issue you can think about; I am in no way an advocate for adultery, abuse or unfaithfulness of any kind in marriage.  I am also not an advocate for divorce at the slightest issue. If we sharpen our listening skills, increase our tolerance level, honour and respect each other, I believe more relationships will be saved.

Joseph went beyond being obedient; he was full of respect and dedication to his wife. He respected the holy conception and had no sexual intercourse with his wife until Jesus was born (Matt. 1:25).  He took care of his wife and baby Jesus faithfully (Matt 2:13-23). Today, the love, respect and harmony that should be found in marriages is gradually being eroded and replaced with pain, frustration, lack of trust and disrespect for each other which eventually leads to divorce. In England and Wales, 42% of marriages end in divorce (ONS 2013). This is not God’s plan for us. He is calling us not just to be men but to be “Just Men” so He can entrust His children in our care, to nurture and mentor them to be leaders of tomorrow. The future is in our care!

 

NOTE: All scriptures quoted or implied are taken from the NIV Bible.

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  • Augustina Uwadiae (Friday, October 23 15 08:55 pm BST)

    Great encouragement sis, our Almighty God is mightier than the almighty formula. In his wisdom and awesomeness, all equations balance out.
    God bless you Ma.

  • Ayo Trumps (Saturday, July 18 15 12:50 pm BST)

    God's concept of timing itself is a complete contrast to man. "A thousand years is like a day and a day a thousand years". I remember a caption I once saw that said "God doesn't always come when we
    want him to but he is always on time". As difficult as it may seem, when we are trapped in life's struggle and we struggle to meet man's proposed deadline; please help us to remember that you make
    everything beautiful in his time. Beautiful piece "Trumps"

  • Ajibola (Friday, June 12 15 09:28 am BST)

    Another inspiring piece, sis. May you continue to grow in wisdom , knowledge and understanding in Jesus's name.

 

Eleventh edition

 

TOPIC: CRAVING FOR MILK

 

Baby Ben is crying; he is crying non-stop. He refuses to be pacified. His mum has tried singing to him and dancing with him. Ben has been offered toys and sweets, even kisses and cuddles, all to no avail. Baby Ben only cried louder and louder. “What does he really want?” asked a passer-by who had been watching very closely. Ben’s mother smiled and replied “he wants milk but …. “Woman,” the passer-by interrupted sharply, “you cannot pacify this baby until you give him milk; stop trying other tricks!.”

Today’s topic is “CRAVING FOR MILK.” Baby Ben, mentioned above, gives a picture of the comparison Peter was trying to make in 1Pet 2:2: “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.” Peter’s admonition is that we desire spiritual milk (the word of God), just as a child would milk. Baby Ben was not ready to accept anything in exchange for the real milk he wanted. Imagine a child refusing to listen to music, not moved by dancing, refused to settle for toys and sweets, even kisses and cuddles could not buy him over. All he wanted was milk and milk he must get! Lysa Terkeurst, New York Times best-selling author, explains one good reason why God made us capable of craving. “God made us capable of craving so we’d have an unquenchable desire for more of Him, and Him alone. Nothing changes until we make the choice to redirect our misguided cravings to the only one capable of satisfying them.”

According to the dictionary, craving is an intense desire for something. God’s admonition therefore, is that we have intense desire for His word. By His word alone can we grow in our salvation. It is important to note that when we give our lives to Christ, we are given a new birth; born into salvation (1Pet.1:3). When we dwell in, abide by, delight in and crave for the word of God, we grow in our salvation (1Pet. 2:2). God pronounces blessings on the man that takes delight in His word “blessed is the man…..but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night….” (Psalm 1:1-3). John R.W Stott has this to say “We must allow the Word of God to confront us, to disturb our security, to undermine our complacency and to overthrow our patterns of thought and behaviour.”  A very strong appetite for God’s word energises the acceleration of our spiritual growth.

Do not try to satisfy your inner child-like craving with the things of this world; “For everything in the world-the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does comes not from the Father but from the world.” (1John 2:16). Ben’s mum, in the conversation above, tries to satisfy Ben’s cravings with other stuff, just as we try to seek satisfaction in other things other than desiring the sincere milk of the word of God. These are all tricks and do not grant any lasting satisfaction. What we need to do, like Ben, is to refuse to settle for what the flesh has to offer but yield to our inner craving for the sincere milk of truth which daily sanctify us “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” The sincere milk of the word, and not the rationalisation of the word of man, is the nourishment our spiritual man needs for growth. According to Charles Spurgeon, “If we cannot all feel alike, we can all feed alike on the Bread of Life.” Forgetting our individual differences, overcoming our weaknesses and craving more for His word ensures growth and deeper yearning for God.

Desiring the sincere milk of the word of God (as a child craves for milk), is an admonition for all, no matter how old you consider yourself to be as a Christian. It is as strong an admonition to new converts as it is for maturing Christians. Remember, there is no “grown up” in the knowledge of God…we are all growing. As a matter of fact, the childlike spirit can never be over emphasised if we mean business about going to heaven “…I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven….” (Matt 18:2-4). Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible commentary makes it interestingly clear that “milk” mentioned in 1Pet2:2 is not elementary truth in contrast to more advanced Christian truth as mentioned in 1Corinth.3:2 and Heb.5:12. Instead, it is in contrast to all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander as mentioned in 1Pet2:1. Therefore, we are all called upon to embrace the simplicity of  the word of God in absolute child-like simplicity and thereby grow in our salvation.

Today, the temptation to crave for anything other than the sincere milk of the word of God is stronger than ever before. There is a call for us to check how we crave and for what we crave. To perform this check, the starting point is still the word of God. “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Heb.4:12). May the sincere milk of God’s word bring about fresh nourishment for our hearts and grant us new strength to journey on. The more we CRAVE and DRINK of this milk, the THIRSTIER we shall be for more!

 

 

NOTE: All scriptures quoted or implied are taken from the NIV Bible.

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Tenth edition

 

TOPIC: NO FORMULA WORKING GOD

 

Hi there, are you aware that God is a miracle working God? He is an unchanging changer! He stretched out the heavens and established all the earth. He seats in heaven, yet the earth is His footstool. He needs no predicate to make complete sense. He establishes principles and not formulas. Please join me as we look at this NO FORMULA WORKING GOD.

When God asked Noah to build an ark, His instructions were clear and definite: the ark was to be built to specification; size, dimension and materials to use were all discussed (Gen 7:14-16). The same God vaguely asked Abram to relocate from his country, to a land unknown; a land where God will show him (Gen 12:1). The good news though, is that they both accomplished their mission.

The God that asked Moses to smite the rock in Gen.17:6, is the same God that instructed him to speak to the rock in Num. 20:8. As a matter of fact, this God almighty appeared on mount Sinai in the midst of thunder, lightning, thick cloud and loud trumpet blast, (Exodus 19:6). However, in 1Kings 19:11-12, He chose not to be in the powerful wind, not in the earthquake, not even in the fire but in a gentle whisper! No wonder John Wesley says “Bring me a worm that can comprehend a man, and then I will show you a man that can comprehend the triune God.”

Jesus Christ, in Matt. 14:24-32, stepped into the stormy sea and without a word to the sea, it ceased after He entered into the disciples ship. Similarly, there was another storm recorded in Mark 4:35-39. On this occasion however, Jesus chose to speak and rebuke the wind. This great Jesus, who, in Mark 8:22-26  spat and touched the eyes of a blind man to restore his sight, is the same Jesus who asked another blind man to go and wash in the pool of Siloam to receive his sight (John 9:6-7). Different ways of ministration, same result; they both got their sight!

Our miracle working Jesus responded promptly to the request of the centurion and granted his sick servant instant healing (Matt 8:5-13). Surprisingly, although Lazarus was the friend of Jesus, he did not enjoy instant healing from Jesus when he was sick. Jesus waited until he had died before He intervened; nevertheless, Lazarus was not denied his miracle (John 11:1-44). Hallelujah; our Lord Jesus heals and guess what, He still does! The lyrics of Kim Walker-Smith’s song read “I can feel your healing oil running down my brow. I wouldn’t trade another lifetime for how I feel right now.”

Likewise today, in the dispensation of the Holy Spirit, many get instant response to their request from God and some have to wait a little longer. I once attended a crusade where people testified to instant healing; in faith, I claimed to receive my healing but I did not see the manifestation until about two months later. God cannot be tied down to a particular formula. We can make our requests known to Him because He admonishes us saying “ask and it will be given to you” (Matt 7:7). Although it is very much in place to put into cognisance the fact that “it will be given to you” comes in different ways and at different times; He however concludes the matter by giving the most convincing assurance; “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11).

God may not have formulas of how He works but He sure has principles. Obedience is one underlying principle that must be in place to be blessed of God. “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all His commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nation on the earth…” (Deut. 28:1-14).  Mr X may have received instant blessing and you think God has forgotten you. The lyrics of Agatha Moses’ song read “Leave it for God, don’t worry yourself….the difference between you and I is time.” In the grand scheme of things, we will all get to our destination if we “trust and obey”. Whatever you are trusting God for, hold on. He may not do it when you think you want Him to, but He is never late. He has never failed, He never will. Your case is not an exception. Just hold on; He still cares.

 

 

NOTE: All scriptures quoted or implied are taken from the NIV Bible.    

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Eighth edition

 

TOPIC: WHY DID YOU DO IT?

 

Have you ever been faced with such question before? The reason for our action is as important as the action itself. Many times, actions are carried out or not carried out for wrong reasons. No matter how well we frame our excuses, if our reason for any action is wrong, then it is wrong.

 It is easier when this question is from an adult to a child. It is more difficult when a child confronts an adult with this question which is by no means a polar question; an explanatory answer is required.

The conversation below ensued between a partially blind young teenage boy and his aged mother:

 

Boy:    mum, you have never told me how I lost my right eye.

Mum:  Son, you will not understand. Please let’s not talk about it.

Boy:    No mum, (insisting with all seriousness) I will understand. I’m a

             teenager now; I need to know please.

Mum:  (trying to hide her tears)if you insist on knowing,then I must tell you.      

When you were three years old, you were playful and full of life. You loved to explore. One day, you were playing with a metal spoon. I tried to get it off you but you cried loudly and refused to release the spoon so I allowed you to play with it. You ran into your room with the spoon and the next thing I heard was a loud painful scream. I rushed in and there you were, in the pool of your own blood! I almost fainted; I managed to pick you up and saw that your right eye had been badly hurt. Your sister, crying by your side explained that while you were using the spoon as your hammer to hit the bed, the sharp end of the spoon had gone into your eye. I rushed you to the hospital but it was too late; your right eye was already badly damaged. This is the sad story son (still trying to hide her tears).

Boy:    (crying uncontrollably) why did you do it mum?

Mum:  (surprised at her son’s outburst) why did I do what?

Boy:    Why did you allow me to play with a sharp object?

Mum:  Son, you were crying and you refused to let go of the spoon. Don’t you understand?

Boy:    (still crying) if you had left me to cry eleven years ago, I will not be crying today and I will still have both eyes. Mum, it hurt you to see me cry so you let me have my way when I did not even know my way. It was about you mum; about how you felt. I call that selfish love! Oh why did you do it (crying even more).

 

Many parents are guilty of selfish love. This kind of love deters us from carrying out God’s given instruction “Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 26:6).

Every child is supposed to enjoy the tutelage of their parents or guardians and not left to their devices. We are warned that “he who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him” (Prov. 13:24). Despite this injunction, today, it is considered civil to allow children to have their way, whether right or wrong. We love them too much to let them cry; selfish love! Discipline has been thrown into the air. To have well behaved children is now an exception rather than the norm; yet we want a healthy society?

Bill Cosby declares “Raising children is an incredibly hard and risky business in which no cumulative wisdom is gained: each generation repeats the mistakes the previous one made”. Unfortunately, this hard truth is the reason for our deteriorating society. Principles, laws, and decrees are being made to take the place of God’s divine design and the results show that now than ever before, children are being abused, neglected and abandoned.

In the UK, one in eight children are said to be unhappy. 25,000 have problems with drug and alcohol. 30,000 children are on the Mental Health Services waiting list and 175,000 school children are reported as persistent truants (Mail Online 2012).  The question these children are asking is “why did you do it?” The neglect, the abuse, the indiscipline is destroying the lives of those left in our custody. Jesse Jackson warns “Your children need your presence more than your presents” and according to Charles Swindoll, “Each day of our lives, we make deposits in the memory banks of our children”.

Let’s go back to doing it God’s way, for there is no other way. “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). We have the task of building positive kids in a negative world. We must ask God for wisdom to do it right. Then and only then can we leave a positive mark on the sand of time.

 

NOTE: All scriptures quoted or implied are taken from the NIV Bible. 

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Seventh edition

 

TOPIC: FOUR DAYS LATE, BUT STILL ON TIME. 

 

Hi folks; Today, our piece is titled “Four Days Late, But Still On Time.” Does it not sound paradoxical to be four days late and still be on time? In the dictionary of man, a minute later than the designed time may just be too late. I remember once, getting to the train station a minute later than the departure time and a gentle but firm voice stopped me on my track saying “I’m afraid you are a minute too late; the train just left!” Yes. I was too late; one minute late but still very late.

The ageless God we serve is not time bound; “with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day” (2 Pet 3:8). The inspiration to write this piece was derived from the lyrics of the awesome music video “four days late”- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=se7yAkqu3Ek. Please listen to this piece by Bill and Gloria Gaither and be blessed.

According to Martha, in the story of the death of Lazarus, Jesus showed up too late because Lazarus was already in the tomb for four days before Jesus arrived  (John 11:17-21). It is important to note that Mary and Martha had a level of faith in Jesus, for they said “if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21, 32).

 Is it not however funny how we try to explain God using our human knowledge? Mary and Martha calculated that Jesus probably could have been able to heal the sick but not very sure about raising the dead. No; not when Jesus was four days late. This case brings to mind the story of old Sarah, who had gone from menopause to “menostop” (if there is any word like that), yet our timeless God promised her the fruit of the womb…no wonder she had to laugh in disbelief (Gen. 18:12). The good news however is God declared that “as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thought than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).

According to John Green, “we need never be hopeless because we can never be irreparably broken.” Although sometimes we do not understand why He waits so long but our part is to keep hope alive because He is never late. After four days in the grave, Jesus shows up, calls out Lazarus and he who was dead, came back to life! (John 11:43-44). No matter how dead we or our situation appears, like Abraham, we need to hope against hope and in faith, call out those things that are not as though they were (Rom 4:17&18). At the right time, He will show up, He will roll out the stone and He will call out your name.

Stop believing the lies of the devil; “you will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done.” (Psalm 118:17). He will keep you, He will sustain you “…He will neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:4). Whoever tells you that your situation is hopeless? Just like the woman with the issue of blood, refuse to take “no” for an answer; instead, reach out and touch the hem of His garment and the flow of trouble will cease; that which is dead will come to life (Mark 5:25-34). Note the words of Stephen King “Remember, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things; and no good thing ever dies.” Death has no power over you; keep believing, keep proclaiming, keep hope alive. He might be four days late, but trust me, He will be right on time! 

 

 

NOTE: All scriptures quoted or implied are taken from the NIV Bible.   

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Sixth edition

 

TOPIC: BE CAREFUL

 

There are so many things we have to be careful about in life; however, if we are careful with the thoughts we incubate in our hearts, so many other issues of life would already be taken care of (Prov.4:23).  For now, let’s explore how careful we are in describing other people. Imagine this conversation that ensued between two friends:

Mazinka: I have a meeting to attend with that guy.

Pauliky: (frowning) which one… you mean the thief? (Pointing to a young man sitting on a bench afar off).

Mazinka: (slightly raising her voice) he is not a thief, he is a very good singer!

Pauliky: (trying to defend her statement) well, I saw him commit the crime; honestly, I did.

Mazinka: (smiling mockingly) what do you know; I (her hand gently beating her chest) witnessed him confess to his crime, asked for forgiveness and he turned a new leaf. Ever since then, he has been singing and has been declared “the best voice” in the province. ( Looking straight into Pauliky’s face) you have to be careful about what you think of others. You might be there when they commit the crime, but you are never there when they confess and repent. They are free and happy but you are saddled with the weight of their dark past. They become the victor and you the victim…..be careful mate!

This conversation is very much likened to the episode between Jesus and the accusers of the adulterous woman in John 8:1-11. The accusers presented an adulterous woman before Jesus but the story changed when the focus shifted from the accused to the accusers- “Let anyone of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7). They departed in shame, with a full understanding of the proverb “those that live in glass houses don’t throw stones”. Wayne Dyer puts it right by saying “when you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.”

What happens when only Jesus and the accused are left standing? (John 8:9). The taunting accusers, the cheering crowd and the busybodies, all gone their different ways, leaving the accused and her creator alone; what happens? You may be aware of the crime but not of the confession and the cleansing. Be careful how you see others “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.” (Romans 14:4).

The admonition is for us to be careful with our perception of others. In the account we just read, yesterday’s adulterer has just become a saint (John 8:11). In the case of Paul and his experience on his way to Damascus, yesterday’s murderer has just become a preacher (Acts 9:1-17). Unknown to you, the criminal down the road has just become a trusted comrade!   Joel Osteen’s word of advice reads “Your job is not to judge. Your job is not to figure out if someone deserves something. Your job is to lift the fallen, to restore the broken, and to heal the hurting.”

Do not judge people by their past or their mistakes. They are long past that page; they have opened to a new page and already inscribing the lyrics of their new song. Steve Maraboli has this to say “We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.” Let’s now pick up the bricks of love and start to mend the broken walls in one another. Together we stand!

 

NOTE: All scriptures quoted or implied are taken from the NIV Bible.

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Fifth edition

 

TOPIC: A MESSAGE TO THE DRY BONES

 

Hello there; our topic for today is “A MESSAGE TO THE DRY BONES” (Ezekiel 37:1-14). For bones to be dry they must be dead; as a matter of fact, they must be stone cold dead! Well, our great God has a message for the dry bones; can He trust you to deliver the message?

God graphically presents a scenario of very dry bones to prophet Ezekiel and asked him a seemingly absurd question “son of man, can these bones live?” (Ezekiel 37:1-3). In the same capacity, He is asking the same question today “behold, I am Jehovah, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27).

God specialises in making the impossible possible; “…the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not” (Romans 4:17). Jeremiah declares “But God made the earth by His power; He founded the world by His wisdom and stretched out the heavens by His understanding” (Jeremiah 10:12). Isaiah 40:28 states “do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom”.

Yes. We serve a very great God. He is the God who created the world without the assistance of an architect; the God who forms children in the womb without directives from any gynaecologist. He is the God who prepared food for his people without the input of a nutritionist. He made a road on the red sea without the support of any constructor. He is so great, the earth is His footstool yet so humble, He dwells in our hearts! Common lets join the song writer, Chris Tomlin to sing “our great is our God”.

In response to God’s question posed to Ezekiel, he answered “Sovereign Lord, you alone know” (Ezekiel 37:3). God went on and said to him in verse 4, “prophesy to these bones…”  Note that Ezekiel’s part is to prophesy. In the same vain, we have a part to play in our seemingly impossible situations. We are not to give up or give in; we are not to run from pillar to post, but we are to stand upon the word of God and prophesy to the dry bones. God’s word says “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go throw yourself into the sea’, and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them” (Mark 11:23). Your part is to say (in faith); God’s part is to do (according to His word).

It is time to give God’s message to the dry bones in our lives: “Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 37:4-6).

These bones, no matter what they are, must respond to the word of God; “for the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?” (Isaiah 14: 27). Guess what- the bones responded to the word of God! (Ezekiel 37:7-14). No matter how lifeless our situation may be, God is able to breathe life into it. Richard Bach declares “what the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly”. March around the dry bones today and deliver God’s message to them. When you stand up in faith, God stands up in action. Vince Lombardi warns that “winners never quit and quitters never win”.   You are declared a WINNER.

 

NOTE: All scriptures quoted or implied are taken from the NIV Bible.

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Fourth edition

 

TOPIC: THE JOURNEY AWAY 

 

Hi comrades, it’s time to reason together again. Today, we will consider “The JOURNEY AWAY”. “Can I really journey away?” I hear you ask. Well, we sometimes do. Let’s see a gentleman that did and how we sometimes find ourselves in his position.

“The word of the Lord came to Jonah, son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it…” (Jonah 1:1&2). This is a clear instruction and the destination conspicuously stated. Jonah, however, took steps that aided him to journey away from the right destination:

  1. He ran away from the Lord
  2. He headed for Tarshish
  3. He went down to Joppa
  4. He found a ship
  5. He paid the fare (Jonah 1:3)

Can you reckon with any or all of the points above? Well, these are the five steps Jonah took to journey away instead of journeying to accomplish his God-given assignment. Many a time, we run away from God’s plan for us; we want things to happen fast and in our own way but the bible warns “there is a way that appears to be right but in the end it leads to death” (Prov. 14:12).

How possible is it to run away from God? David explains that this is not possible “ If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there…” (Psalm 139:7-13). Instead of leaning on our own understanding, we need to trust in God and He will make our path straight (Prov. 3:5-6). Martin Luther King Jr declares “faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase”.

Jonah got to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish (Jonah 1:3). Where ever we are heading, the kind of “ship” we enter determines where we eventually find ourselves. Entering the wrong relationSHIP or the wrong friendSHIP only gets us to the wrong destination.  Sonya Parker warns “bad relationships are like a bad investment. No matter how much you put into it you’ll never get anything out of it”. In order to get to your God given destination, you must choose your ship wisely.

Don’t forget that whatever “ship” you choose to take, you must pay the fare. Entering the wrong ship (relationship) can be very expensive and can make you journey away from the right destination. Do not forget the old saying “birds of a feather flock together”. To go from where you are to where you should be must cost you something; however, if you take the wrong route, it may cost you double if not more to get to your destination- be wise and sensitive.

Stop and check; are you on a journey to the right destination or are you on a journey away? Where are you heading? Which ship have you chosen? Have you paid the right fare? Friend, it is not too late to retrace your steps if the need be. According to Sophocles “all men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil.” No matter how far you have journeyed away, God is still ready to put you on the right track.  Even if you feel swallowed up by a big fish, God can bring you out and plant your feet on the dry land. Like Jonah, all you need to do is cry out to God for help (Jonah 2:1-10). He hears, he sees; He is waiting for your call (Psalm 50:15). He wants us to journey on and not away; then we can wear a crown that lasts forever.

 

NOTE: All scriptures quoted or implied are taken from the NIV Bible.    

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Third edition

 

TOPIC: THE HAND HOLDING YOUR HANDS.

 

Hi folks, hope you are enjoying God. I learnt a lesson from God and I am eager to share it with you… there is love in sharing; isn’t there? We shall look at THE HAND HOLDING YOUR HANDS.

 It was in a friend’s child birthday party, kids were jumping on the bouncy castle and God drew my attention to this conversation between father and child.

Father: (holding daughter’s shaky hands, unwilling to jump). Go on; you can now jump.  I’m holding your hands and I will hold them for as long as you want to jump.

Daughter: (not really trusting yet, took a very lifeless leap) Oh dad, I am going to fall; I can’t jump any higher.

Father: (smiling and looking lovingly into his daughter’s tearful eyes)…. C’mon darling, learn to trust me. For as long as I hold your hands, you will not fall.

Daughter: (with a sigh of relief) Okay dad, I will trust you and jump higher.

Higher and higher, this little girl jumped until she was jumping higher than everyone else. God taught me that this is exactly what happens when I let him hold my hands.

Friends, God has promised our safety if only we allow Him to hold our hands “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:13). How often we fret and struggle when all we need to do is put our hands into God’s outstretched hand. “…His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?” (Isaiah 14:27).

When we fail to trust the hand holding our hands, all our effort will only help us to take lifeless leaps. However, a Chinese proverb says “Be not afraid of growing slowly. Be only afraid of standing still.” The little girl in the conversation above started really slowly, because she was not trusting. She gradually built trust in the hand holding her hands because her father lovingly reassured her and he was patient with her. Do not despise your days of small beginnings (Zechariah 4:10).

Sometimes, we are beclouded by our problems and refuse to trust the hand holding our hands. Remember, when Jesus asked Peter to come to him, the only time he began to sink was when he became concerned about the boisterous wind around him. Jesus in His infinite mercy, still reached out His hand and caught him (Matthew 14:28-31).  Take your eyes off your worries and trust on; then and only then can you gain the stamina to jump higher. Emily Freeman admonishes “when you can’t see God’s hand, trust His heart”- He cares.

 Sometimes we get it wrong by wanting to hold God’s hand instead of the other way round. We want God to fall into our plans. We ignore His instructions but desire His support. We want to drag God to accept our ways and when He doesn’t, He is no longer God. Every man wants to have his own idea of who God should be; our sovereign God however warns “trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and He will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Have you been wasting time trying to invent a God that fits your plan, quit trying. His hand is still outstretched waiting to hold you firmly so you can jump as high as you want. Theodore Roosevelt’s admonition is “in any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing”. Take action today; place your hands in His, and jump as high as he leads. The sky is not even a limit because with your hands in His hand, YOU CAN BURST THE SKIES

 

 

NOTE: All scriptures quoted or implied are taken from the NIV Bible.   

 

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Second edition                                  

 

TOPIC: DIG IT AGAIN

 

Hello there; guess you are still wrapped in the sweet love of God as always. Today’s topic is DIG IT AGAIN. C’mmon; pick up your spades lets go digging. You sure know digging is hard work; if you must find water, you must dig deep. Let’s consider a man who did not stop digging until he found fulfilment; as a matter of fact, he continued digging even after he found rest...he learnt to “dig it again” (Gen 26:15-33).

  Isaac dug many wells after he left Philistia. He dug again the wells of water which they had dug in the days of Abraham his father (Gen 26:18). We are not sure what the temperature was like…but consider digging under the biting winter cold, with blisters in your hands or under the scorching sun, with sweat dripping down your forehead; I tell you, none sounds soothing to the body. The painful bit however, is that after digging the first well, Isaac and his servants had to abandon it because there was a problem. They encouraged themselves and dug another; yet they had issues again. It would not be out of place to think “…you know what, we are not destined to own our well”. But no! Just like Ola Rotimi, an African writer declares “to lie down resigned to fate, is madness”, Isaac and his men did not wallow in self-pity; they did not resign to fate; they decided to dig again. Guess what… this time there was no worries, no strife and they called it “Rehoboth” Gen26:22 “for now the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land”. After this, you would imagine that they would stop and enjoy… not just yet friends; they dug yet another well (Gen 26:25-32). They entered into the realm of more than enough.

So many people have reasons to stop digging into the well of opportunities but they fight against all odds and learn to dig it again and again. Thomas Edison failed six thousand times in his attempt to invent light bulb but guess what, he eventually succeeded. Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company failed in his early business five times before he found success. Walt Disney started a number of businesses that failed and landed him in bankrupcy before he eventually found recipe for success. Michael Jordan, one of the best basketball player of all time has this to say“I have lost more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost 300 games…I have failed over and over again in my life; and that is why I succeed”. Winston Churchill admits “success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts”. In few words, Tom Kelly’s advise is “fail often to succeed sooner”.  

How many wells have you dug that ended in strife? Maybe you found no water, perhaps some were claimed by others. The good news is that you are not alone. Have you tried some businesses and failed, attended futile job interviews or started a career and failed? Whatever the case, always remember that people that make history must have a story to tell. See yesterday’s failure as today’s opportunity for tomorrow’s success. Forget about your critics and stay focused “do not rejoice over me, my enemy; when I fall, I will arise” (Micah 7:8). It is more honourable to try and fail than to succeed in doing nothing. You have the ability and the capability to achieve your dreams; let nothing and no one tell you otherwise. With God on your side, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Phil 4:13). Let’s dig the wells again. It is time to dig it again… remember, IT IS NOT OVER, UNTIL WE WIN.

 

NOTE: All scriptures quoted or implied are taken from the NIV Bible. 

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First edition

 

TOPIC: OUR WORD…OUR WORLD

 

You are welcome to the very first edition of “JoyTrumps”. We will reason together; we will rightly divide the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15). In this first edition, our topic will be “….OUR WORD…OUR WORLD”. As we start this New Year, 2015, what world is your word creating around you?

Life is given to words the moment it is released. Every word spoken is encompassed with energy wave that has the capacity to make or mar your world. Pearl Strachan says “handle them carefully, for words have power than atom bombs”. God, in His greatness, used words as the bricks to build this world (Gen 1:3). Jesus, in His infinite mercy, even while hanging on the cross, declared freedom with His words proclaiming “it is finished!!” (John 19:30). The words you continually confess form the bricks with which you build your world. Mike Mason declares “the tongue is a pen, which, pressed deeply enough, will write upon the heart”. Watch your words….it builds your world.

Words spoken to other people also matter a great deal. Proverbs 17:27-28 states “a man of knowledge uses words with restrain...even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent…” Speech is silver, but silence is golden. If you have nothing to say, then say nothing. It is more honourable to be silent than to say regrettable words; remember, Brian Tracy warns that words are a lot like toothpaste; once they are out, you can never put them back in. Words can begin war and can end war; words can build and destroy relationships; words can break and heal hearts. If you cannot build your neighbour, do not break them with your words. Colossians 4:6 let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone”.

 

The words we utter to God very well design our world. Psalm 19:14 let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight…” God does not inhabit the complaint of His people; He inhabits the praise of His people (Psalm 22:3). Appreciate Him for what He has done, rejoice in what He is doing and believe in what He will yet do. Believe it, say it, get it (Mark 11:23). Remember, your mouth plays a significant part in your salvation because you believe in your heart, confess with your mouth, then salvation takes place (Romans 10:10). Beloved, in 2015, we must allow God’s word to dwell in us richly, for what we see, is what we say and what we say is what we get. Always remember, OUR WORD IS OUR WORLD.   

 

 

NOTE: All scriptures quoted or implied are taken from the NIV Bible. 

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JoyTrumps 11th Edition
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