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‘Our Father’

Every week, I am privileged to prepare to reach a bible study class.

This privilege is priceless.

Last week, the lesson was on Prayer and we were supposed to  build on ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ in Matthew 6 as a guide.

You know how a very familiar scripture hits you and your head spins? That was what happened as we began to read, almost reciting:

“Our father who is in heaven, hallowed be your name…”-Matthew 6:9

We read on to the end of that chapter and trust me, each verse is a sermon; but my mind stayed on that first line.

My mind is still reeling a bit at the consciousness of what hit me, so I am going to try to coherently share.

Now as a backstory to this prayer, the disciples who were Jews had gone to Jesus to ask him to teach them how to pray.  Have you ever wondered why? Jews pray. 

There has to have been something different in the effect of the prayers Jesus prayed for these guys to have wanted to know how.

And Jesus told them to start by saying ‘Our father’. Nothing relaxes a child like the words my daddy.

Jesus was clarifying our position with those two words.

We are God’s babies. He is our daddy. He loves to chat with us about everything and anything. He’s never distracted,  He’s never bored, He’s always listening- He’s  the infallible parent.

Listen, when Jesus came, God became flesh and moved into our neighbourhood.

The days of special gymnastics to get into his presence or get him to listen to us are over. 

Prayer stopped being a ritual and has become a loving conversation between a father and his child

I have thoroughly enjoyed approaching God as my father. 

How do you see God? Do you still see the deity only or do you see the father?

Our father who is my father and I are off to gist.

Who’s  With Me?

Tobiloba

The Essence of Ministry 

Welcome to March.

This post was originally scheduled to go out in January but well, it was overtaken by events.

In  January,   I resumed Sunday teaching after a six month hiatus.  My team was overjoyed.

I enjoyed myself. I had missed my class and most importantly I had missed the learning moments from those class interactions.

True to form, as I sat in service one of the sundays,  a very common verse of scripture hit me in an entirely new way.

Read with me: ‘So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the prophets and teachers to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach the unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ ‘- Ephesians 4:11-13

I read this passage and my eyes popped. 

Listen, Child of God,  your ministry is not about your title, your eloquent speaking, your depth of understanding and the level of your anointing.  

Your ministry gift has one essence,  one goal- and it is not to prove that you are anointed or designed to create an heirachy for the church.

You gift is given to you so that in deploying it, you can prepare others to serve, thereby promoting the oneness of the church and all round maturity.

If you are in ministry and you are still the only one with the answers to all the spiritual questions, Sir, What are you doing?

If you are in ministry and you’re spending more time defending the church heirachy than you are teaching and helping disciples grow, Ma, what are you up to?

If you’re in ministry and your ‘anointing’ tears people down more than it builds them up, hmm, I can’t help you.

The essence of ministry is to build people up to maturity in the faith- everything else is secondary.

Check your ministry. Is it confirming to the essence of ministry or has the focus shifted to the mere running of the organisation we now call the church?

May we not miss the essence of ministry in the midst of all the activity.

I am re-examining my ministry priorities as we commence a new year. 

Who’s With Me?

Tobiloba 

You Will Not Smell of Smoke

I was in church as a Sunday School student today,  it was a very welcome change.

As the lesson on faith was going on, we read from the book of Daniel 3. 

We didn’t read the whole chapter, but as the day progressed and I commuted with God throughout the day, lifting up my heaviness, I heard Him say to me, ‘You will not smell of smoke’. 

The Holy Spirit immediately sent me back to scripture. Read with me: ‘The Kings satraps, governors, mayors and advisers gathered around the three men. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies. The hair on their head wasn’t singed, their clothes weren’t burnt and they didn’t smell of smoke’- Daniel 3:27.

If you’ve been holding on to your faith in God and his word, you’ve prayed and nothing seems to be changing, if the conspiracies against you seem to be gaining ground and you’re at the point where it seems like it’s deny God or drown, guess what I have learned?

God is able to make you go through the fire and come out without smelling of smoke.  

You will go through the fire- no doubt, Christianity does not exempt us from trials but the trials will not consume you. 

You will come out on the other side of those trials and no one will ever believe you went through them.

No matter what the devil throws at your faith this year, you will not smell of smoke.

I will not smell of smoke.

Who’s  With Me?

Tobiloba

God In The Flesh

In the last couple of years, Christmas seems to have lost it’s appeal. This year was no different. Christmas Eve was just bland and as I went to bed, I was borderline sad.

I woke up this morning and the sadness had not fully lifted. So I started to talk to ‘The Reason For The Season’.

And oh, He lives up to His name- wonderful Counselor every single time.

Our conversation today has lifted my spirit but there’s a part that I’d like to share that I hope lifts your spirits if you’re feeling down today.

‘God become human and moved into the neighborhood – John 1:14 (Paraphrased)

It’s so easy to think of Christmas only as it relates to Salvation, but as I was reminded this morning, He did not need to live 33 years on earth if the only goal was to shed His blood and guarantee Salvation.

Christ became one of us, so that we can trust him to make us one with Him.

Christ walked the talk so that we can do the same. He became flesh so that we can have proof that He gets it.

He gets the pain, He gets the doubts, He gets the confusion. He’s lived it. So when He says ‘Trust Me’, we can!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

This Christmas, I’m grateful that Christ became flesh.

Who’s With Me?

Tobiloba

God’s Masterpiece

The ‘increase your faith to receive healing’ brigade came at me a few weeks ago and I’ve sat on this post since then.

Because they are church leaders, I kept quiet.

But it saddened me.

You see, the issue they have is that I have Cerebral Palsy.

It’s a developmental disability I have had since birth that affects mostly my movement, gait, posture and depth perception.
I have had this my whole life and I have thrived and served despite this my whole life.

Now I’m wondering….

How many parents, kids, young people with disabilities have we saddled with the guilt of their ‘being sick’ being their fault because they lack faith?

How many mothers are depressed because all of their ‘faith’ isn’t working and their pastors and churches insist it’s their fault?

How many have we driven from the faith with this misguided theology?

Child of God, Listen, God does not heal every condition or disease. God does not take away every thorn. He will use everything in your life for His glory whether or not He chooses to heal.

You are God’s masterpiece created for good works that he has prepared before time that you would do- Ephesians 2:10

Do not let anyone, no matter what their church given title is, tell you otherwise.

Repeat after me: I am God’s masterpiece.

Who’s With Me?
Tobiloba

Gender Specific Marriage Instructions

Why Are The Commands To Submit and Love in Marriage Gender Specific?

As I was teaching yesterday, someone asked me this question.

I gave an answer and the class continued.

I woke up this morning and the Holy Spirit in His usual way continued the conversation.

Here’s what I just learned. I’m so excited, I can’t sit still and I can’t wait to share.

When God created man, He gave both man and woman the mandate to dominate every other thing that He had created except each other-Genesis 1:26-28 shows this clearly.

However, at the fall of man in Genesis 3, things got altered a little bit.

God, in dishing out consequences for their actions said to the woman: ‘In pain will you bring forth children; your desire will be for your husband and He will rule over you.

This changed the dynamics of the marriage relationship.

The woman would always love her husband and he started to ‘rule’ her.

However, the original DNA of the woman has not been completely overriden. She somehow knows she was not created to be dominated, so she kicks back against the husbands ‘rulership’.

This rulership is fine by the man anyway because it works very nicely into the dominion mandate he was given at creation.

The rulership & Kickback mechanism is why God inspired Apostle Paul to make gender specific instructions for Christian marriages.

Submission is difficult for a woman who is kicking back from being ruled.

A man focused on ruling will not find it easy to love.

We need to be reminded about God’s original plan.

Mutual submission to each other that plays out in reverence/ submission on the part of the wife and unconditional love on the part of the husband!

I just learnt a serious lesson.

Who’s With Me?

Tobiloba

What Are You Serving?

I was teaching yesterday morning and I came across a verse of scripture that has got me thinking. I’ll share my thoughts as usual,

Read with me:

29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.– Ephesians 4:29 (KJV)

Let’s look at the same verse in another translation:

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)

While I was teaching, the verse was read in the King James Version of the bible

A few things struck me.

The first thing that  hit me was the word ‘minister’ . The word ‘minister’ means to serve . Therefore when I speak my words are supposed to serve my hearers in some way.

This got me thinking about food. So I essentially had to ask myself.’ If your words were meals that you serve your hearers, what kinds of meals will they be eating? Our words should be able to be likened to wholesome meals that should nourish our hearers according to their needs.

This reminds me of how my mum fed the family when we were kids. I have special needs so I ate somethings that my siblings were not mandated to  eat. My dad had diet restrictions, so his stew had different components.

She served what was wholesome  and nourished us according to our needs

This is what scripture  infers when it says our words should edify and minister grace to our hearers.

If your words were the meals your hearers are going to be eating today, what kind of meals would you be serving them?

What are you serving today?

I choose to serve up wholesome words to my hearers.

Who’s with Me>

Tobiloba

 

You Will Call It ‘Good’

Have you ever been in a situation so bleak, you couldn’t see any way in which something good could come out of it?

Has someone ever quoted ‘And all things work together for the good of them who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose- Romans 8:28, and you’ve thought, not this time?

Relax, you’re in good company.

The disciples of Jesus were in the exact same position some 2000+ years ago. Their messiah and hope of salvation was dying.

Nothing good seemed to be happening. It was indeed a dark day, I mean, even the sun darkened at noon. It was a no good, everything had gone wrong irretrievably kind of day.

In the lifetime of these same disciples, the story changed. The darkest friday of their lives became their biggest testimony.

Hold on! It may be dark right now and everything may seem to have gone irretrievably wrong, but if we can celebrate good friday’ today, that irretrievably wrong sutuation will become a reason to celebrate.

Happy Easter Everyone!

You will call it good.

Who’s With Me?
Tobiloba

Words In Pictures

There’s a passage of Scripture that has left me baffled for a long time because it didn’t make gramatical sense to me.

It baffled me because I knew there had to be a meaning if it was left in the bible that way.

Read with me: ‘I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what He will say to me and what answer I am to give to this compaint’- Habakuk 2:1

Do you see my grammatical confusion yet? It on the line that says ‘look to see what He will say…’

From my basic understanding of scripture, you look at what is shown, you listen to what is said.

So why the seeming confusion?

God cleared it up for me with a simple but personally relevant question.

Why do you (me) prefer books to movies?

The more I thought about it, I realized it ia because words create pictures in my mind and the details provided in the books always create a richer motion picture in my mind than the movies ever do.

That’s the reason I have always asserted that the movies made from books never do the books justice.

Same rule applies here. When words are spoken, the create pictures in our minds.

Whose words are creating the pictures playing in your mind today, God’s words or the words of the world- the world news perhaps?

Who is saying what you are seeing today?

I choose to see what God is saying.

Who’s With me?
Tobiloba

The Restoration Prayer

Happy New Year Everyone.

It has become customary for a lot of Christian congregations to start the year with prayer and fasting.

One of the prayers I have found to cut across denominations is usually ‘The prayer of restoration’ and most of the time the scriptural reference for that prayer is usually taken from Joel 2:25-26.

Read with me: I’ll make up for the years of the locust, the great locust devastation -locusts savage, locusts deadly, fierce locusts, locusts of doom, That great locust invasion I sent your way. You’ll eat your fill of good food, you’ll be full of praises to your God…’ -Joel 2:25-27 (MSG)

Does this verse apply to you today?

Let’s look at the verse again.

The word ‘I’ in verse 25 is referring to God. Therefore God sent the locust devastation on the Israelites as a result of their disobedience.

He made this promise that we like to quote in response to their repentance.

So, before you quote this scripture again, answer the following questions.

1. Has God told you that He sent ‘locusts’ your way and why?

2. If yes, have you repented as God requires?

If your answer to question 1 is ‘No’. Errm, what are you doing?

I leave the answers to you.

P.S I do not have anything against the ‘prayer of restoration’ in itself, I just want to encourage believers to pray with understanding of scriptures.

I choose to pray in understanding in 2016.

Who’s With Me?
Tobiloba

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