Made Anew in CHRIST

In a few days, we celebrate the birth of Christ. It is a very remarkable day in the life of every Christian when we celebrate the birth of our Lord Christ Jesus. Not only is the day a memorable one, but it reflects on the gift and love of the Father for all mankind.

I watched a youtube video (link attached)as I retired to bed one evening about a young police officer who made a lot of difference in his area of patrol. One day he imparted the life of a convict who had stolen copper wires because he had a lot of debts to settle. Moved by compassion and the understanding that the young man will increase his debt after serving time and is most likely to resort back to stealing, he took to the social media to raise funds to pay off the debts of the guy. Thankfully, he got people to support his mission and the young convict’s debt was paid off. Breaking down in tears, the young man did not understand what a young “white” police man will do a young “black” convict in a racially prone district. He got our of prison with his debt paid and a new life to live, having learnt a lot from his experiences and the opportunities to make money and stay out of debt.

This is nothing compared to what God did for us. We were nothing to write home about. In sin, we were lost and helpless; as Gentiles we were not Abraham’s seed to enjoy God’s promises. But God, rich in mercy and Grace paid for all the debt we owed through the death of Christ on the cross and made us part of His holy family through the Holy Spirit. Today we have every boldness to call his Father because He saved us out of love and his richness in grace and not out of any good we did. As a result, Paul says that:

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

The entire book of Ephesians reveals to us what we have been made in Christ Jesus. As we celebrate the birth of Christ, let us spend time to reflect on what God has made us to be through Christ Jesus. His birth in the fullness of time was God’s set time to unveil His love and eternal plan for man. This cannot be expressed by human words, but can only be revealed by the Holy Spirit as we meditate on it.

God bless and remain a blessing. Enjoy your day to the fullest.

Prayer

Thank you Father for your word I have received today. Thank you for your love that transcends my human understanding. I am grateful for you sacrifice of Christ to gain my freedom and add me to Your holy family. I pray that you will enlighten the eyes of my understanding that I will comprehend the mystery of your love for me and humanity at large. Thank you for all I have received from your richness of grace. In the name of Christ Jesus have we prayed. AMEN!!!

StandOut Ministry International

Make a difference

We will all live on this earth for a period and die when it’s time for us to leave. The year 2020 has been a tricky one, with lots of uncertainties and casualties. But by the grace of God, we have survived to this point. We should be grateful for that.

As the year ends, I begin to reflect on how the year went and what contribution I have made to myself and the society at large. I did not do much as I planned for the year 2020, but it was something against nothing. But one question sounded again and again in my ears and I wanted to ask us today, “if you are to give an account of the year, what would you say?”.

This contemplation led me to think about the parable of the faithful servants. We were entrusted with 365 days in this year. Out of these days, some have taken leave of us into eternity. Some of us still have a few days to be granted another blank check of 365 days and more if He so wills. what difference have made in your life and community at large.

In this year, we have heard of so many remarkable deeds done by some people such as Marcus Rashford, a Manchester United forward, who has pioneered feeding programme campaigns across UK. He also had the same number of days we had, but He contributed significantly to His community.

With all the talents we have been given (time inclusive), the master will one day ask us to account for it. Will you be able to make a difference between what He gave you and how effectively you used it to serve His purpose. When we fail to work hard to make a difference, we also join the last servant who said:

He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.

Matthew 25:24-28 (ESV)

In this last month of the year, let us take time to reflect on the goodness of the Lord and ascertain how well we have used what God has entrusted unto us. God bless you and remain a blessing.

StandOut Ministry International.

Live what you preach.

I love it so much when people say that we are to live what we preach. As a young minister of the gospel, I have been told on countless occasions that what you do is very important. I remember a story one of my mentors used to tell me about a young city pastor and his experiences in the city.
The young preacher was in a city which was open to all activities. Clubbing, partying, smoking, drinking, etc were the order of the day. He was once invited to a birthday party of a member of the church. Upon getting to the church, He was faced with some challenging experiences with regards to the events that He was witnessing. Unknown to him, a couple of young boys in the community who were closely monitoring the man upon hearing many good things about him were watching what his actions would be.
The young pastor upon getting there started blending in the crowd and started talking to a few of them. The curious observers were interested to know what the young Pastor was discussing with the people. They drew closer to the people to hear what the pastor was telling them. When they got closer, they heard the young pastor telling them stories of his past and how he had been changed to become a preacher of the gospel. He emphasised that he did the worst things, but God has saved them. Then he invited them all to church on Sunday. Interestingly, most of the party attendees were at church that Sunday.
Beloved, your experiences in life pretty affects the message that you preach. Noting this, Paul writes to his son Timothy, whom he had left to take care of the church in Ephesus. After so many exhortations, exhorts him to:

Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.

1 Timothy 4:16 (NLT)

Beloved, we need to watch closely how we live. There are always people who are looking up to us and what our next move will be. On social media, people are being posted almost every day for some actions they have done. Some of them were not aware that they were captured, but however, received applause or criticisms for their actions.
Being surrounded by such cloud of witnesses, we need to be diligent in preserving our faith in God and what he has taught us and live them out by the help of the Holy Spirit. For our lives are like letters that are read by everyone.

God bless you and remain a blessing

StandOut Ministry International.

Don’t lie because you want favor

I remember a movie I watched some time ago. A young man wanted to marry the daughter of a rich man. He went about plotting ways he could impress the rich man so he would be allowed to marry the man. He went to friends and borrowed a substantial amount of money from the friends that he was going to start a business.

As a car mechanic by occupations, he usually went out with the daughter of the rich man with them. All along the lady liked a simple life and enjoyed the company of a street hawker she normally buys fruits from. One day, the young man attended the lady’s birthday party. Unknown to the young man, the girl had made background checks on the guy and has found out who he really was. He came with many big gifts for the lady to impress her. Upon entering the room, he met all his friends he had borrowed money from. Trying to hide the gifts from his friends, he was met by a couple of them demanding their money, since he has been avoiding them. The lady during the party introduced the street hawker that they were marrying soon.

Many a time, we are tempted to go the extra mile beyond our capabilities to gain the favor of others. Going beyond our limits, we resort to lies and hypocrisies. Starting with lies, we are obliged to continue with these lies to enjoy the continued favor. Hanging tightly to these as they draw away our uniqueness, we face the challenges of always smiling to make others happy but are actually discontent.

This is what happened to the Amalekite who came to David with the crown of King Saul. By his own confession, he had killed Saul as his dying wish. But this was a lie. King Saul died by falling on his own sword after his armor bearer was afraid to kill him when he requested that (1 Samuel 31:4-6). The Amalekite thought by claiming to be the killer of David’s long time pursuer, he will be hugely rewarded. However, David asked his young men to kill him because He claimed to have killed God’s anointed servant. This is what He says:

David said to the young man who brought him the report, “Where are you from?”. “I am the son of a foreigner, an Amalekite,” he answered. David asked him, “Why weren’t you afraid to lift your hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed?” Then David called one of his men and said, “Go, strike him down!” So he struck him down, and he died. For David had said to him, “Your blood be on your own head. Your own mouth testified against you when you said, ‘I killed the Lord’s anointed’

2 Samuel 1:13-16 (NIV)

Let us be true to ourselves. Optimism should make us aspire for greater heights. It is not a license to live in hypocrisy and lies. The lies would one day lead to downfall, most assuredly. For Paul asks us to learn to live in content in all things (Philipians 4:11-13). Let others know you for who you are and what you can offer them. If they honor you this way, they will honor you forever.

Prayer

Thank you Father for your word I have received today. Lord I have learnt to be content in all things. I pray that you will grant me the grace to learn how to be content in all circumstances. Thank you very much for your constant love. Amen!!

StandOut Ministry International

Whenever I think of you.

A nurse received a parcel from a person she could hardly recognise. In her line of duty, she had come across a lot of people and some tend to send her cards occasionally. But this parcel seems different and special, she felt.

After coming back from her shift, she opened the parcel and the card in it as she retired to her sofa. In the card was written a note from a 12 year old she took care of a year ago. This is what she wrote:

” I know I am the last person you expect to receive a package from. You are surprised right? If you are receiving this letter, then I want you to know that I am taking my last breath. I have fought hard with the cancer, like you asked me to. My encounter with you two years ago gave me the energy to fight the cancer. Although I was constantly afraid of death, I knew that there was someone out there rooting for me and praying for me, and eagerly waiting to celebrate my 13th birthday to me. Whenever I think about you, I break down in tears and give thanks to God for meeting. Thank you for being instrumental in my journey in life and last days. “

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.

Philippians 1:3 (NLT)

Apostle Paul in writing most of His letters to the churches opens it up with what He does whenever He thinks about the people. Although He may have been in prison when preaching to them, had issues with them he had to address, although he was going to defend his apostleship, he always gave thanks when He thought of the people. Amidst all the negatives and the positives, it did not cloud His attitude of thanksgiving for the people.

Today, I want us to reflect on people we have encountered this year. Although it been a year of many uncertainties, there are people who have played some roles in making this year a success. As you reflect on these, kindly send them a note or message and let them know what you do when you think about them. A thankful heart always has open doors in every way, and you are always assured that someone will come through for you.

Don’t forget to also let God know how you feel when you think about Him. He has been with you through it all, and he deserves to hear from us how appreciative we are for what He has done.

StandOut Ministry International.

Always stay humble.

“I remember like it was just yesterday when he got his promotion as the manager of this company. Today look at him! He walks with his shoulders high and treats us as rubbish”, a colleague in the company retorted.

Upon many varied times of advice and confrontation, Emmanuel still stood to his arrogant ways and maltreated the employees. Five years ago, he was sleeping on the streets and by the recommendation of someone, he landed this job. Having though he had worked hard to secure this position, he would not let anyone mess it up for him, hence the harsh treatment.

After sometime, the financial controller in the company warned him about a transaction he was about to enter into. Still sticking to his arrogance and the “I know it all attitude”, he went ahead with the transaction. After a month, the transaction was backfired and then he had to loose his position as the manager and landed himself in prison for the misappropriation of funds.

This is God’s dealings with the people of Nineveh. Some hundred years ago, He decided to deal with them for their evil way. He sent Jonah to warn them and they actually repented of their sins (Ref: the book of Jonah). God then relented from his punishment and gave them an opportunity to be saved from the impending danger He was sending to them.

After some years, they became very wealthy and the capital city of the great Assyrian empire. Relying on their military prowess and wealth, they treated their subjects in disdain. They were known to be a city city of murder (Nahum 3:1) and a city of cruelty (Nahum 3:19). They were also involved in idolatry, pride, murder amongst many other. God through another prophet Nahum speaks to them about their impending danger that He is going to send their way. He the Lord God of Israel has passed judgement on them, and they were going to be dealt with.

God always lifts the humble up by granting him grace, but also remember that He resists the proud. God grants us various opportunities to become successful in life, and sometimes we are caught in the moment and think it was by our hard work and skills that has made this possible. Like the rich fool, we then tend to tell our soul to eat and drink for we have gathered enough for a lifetime.

Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves

Philippians 2:3

Always reflect on the opportunities that God has made possible for you throughout your journey in life and give thanks to Him. The secret to staying humble is not to focus on the achievements but the God that made the achievements possible. With this, all the success seems vanity without Him and you will continually remember to rely on Him. Remember that God always grants grace to the humble, but He resists the proud (James 4:6-10).

Prayer

Thank you Father for your word that I have heard today. Thank you for your abundant grace that has been made available unto me. I pray that you grant me the grace to stay humble under your feet for the rest of my life. In the name of Jesus I have prayed with thanksgiving. Amen!!

StandOut Ministry International.

God of second chances

One morning a young minister received a mail early in the morning. To his utmost surprise, he had been transferred to go to a small county to pastor the church. Unfair as he thought, having considered how well he had been pastoring the branch of the church he was now, he decided to seek other opportunities than go to that small county. “After all, my qualifications make him fit into the city”, he thought to himself.

After searching tirelessly looking for opportunities in the job market, he landed himself a job in a reputable company. He started settling into his new job and making as much impact as he could until a misfortune hit his way. A contract he has appended his signature under was a fraudulent one and was sacked from his job after six months working for the company.

One evening as he retired to bed, he felt like looking at the photo album that laid on the table close to the bed. He hesitantly took the album and found the transfer letter he had received in the page that separated a photo of when he pastored and his first day at his job he was sacked. He was convicted about His mistake and repentantly cried to God to forgive him and send Him wherever He wants him to go to.

Early the next morning, the new pastor of the church He left visited him. He informed him that He was transferred to that church because He was God’s answer to the needs of the people in the community and not the only the church. With his background in law, he could help some of the folks with advice on how to deal with the injustices the people in the community was facing.

God always has a reason for why he chooses us for certain assignments. Whether His calling is fair or unfair (speaking from a human perspective), He sees where the needs of people are and deploys us to be solutions to these needs of people. God’s investment in us is to make us a blessing to other people.
When we think of the benefits and costs of what the deployment will bring to you, we may resort to running away from our calling and purpose. This is exactly what the book of Jonah was communicating to us. Jonah wanted to run away from the assignment that God gave him. He boarded a ship to run away from God, but havoc hit the ship and his next destination was the stomach of the fish. After repenting, God gave him the second chance by letting the fish deliver him to the shores of Nineveh.

From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. … And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

Jonah 2:1, 10 (NIV)

God is ever willing to receive you back and direct you towards His calling for your life. Despite where you have been from His purpose for your life, God still awaits you as the father awaited daily for the prodigal son to return home. He allows certain misfortunes to come away so that we can come back to our senses and surrender our will to Him. Don’t run any further. Draw nigh to Him and He will give you another chance to fulfil your purpose.

Prayer

Thank you, Father, for your word that I have heard today. Thank you for your love abound beyond my mistakes. Thank you for always giving me the opportunity to do that which you have called me to do. Today I surrender my will to you and ask that you use me for your perfect will. In Jesus name have we prayed with thanksgiving. Amen!!!

StandOut Ministry International.

Don’t rejoice over someone’s downfall.

Two brothers were up to write their professional examinations. The younger brother passed his exams with distinction but the other could not. Taking advantage of his success, he started gloating about his victory at the expense of his brothers misery.

Unknown to both brother, their names were recommended for a position in a company. They both arrived at the company headquarters for the interview, and that was where they knew they were both on for the same job. Confidently enough, the younger brother knew the job was his for the taking, cos he had the certificate. During the interview, the elder brother showerd he had experience from his service on church and other volunteering jobs he had done and the younger brother only relied on his professional certificate.

Two weeks later, they both received their responses from the interview panel. The elder brother had gotten the job. The comment from the panel was that, “although he had failed his professional exams, he had the attitude and character the company needs to achieve its goals”.

This was God’s imagery in the message He was delivering through Obadiah. The people of Edom had relied on their refuge (mountains), possessions and allies; and had dealt treacherously with their brethren (people of Israel). Although they had some encounters in the past (Ref: Num. 20:14-22; 1 Samuel 14:47; 2 Samuel 8:13,14; 1 Kings 11:14-22; 2 Kings 8:20-22; 2 Chron. 28:16-18), God was still expecting them to give away their brothers to their enemies nor rejoice over their captivity and failures.

Possibly in response to the prayer of the Psalmist (Psalm 137:7), God reprimanded Edom for their actions. They gloated, rejoiced, spoke arrogantly, plundered the land of Israel, seized their wealth, stood at the crossroads and killed all those who were trying to escape for their lives, and even captured the survivors and delivered them to their enemies (Obadiah 1: 12-14). So God told them that He was going to strip them from their refuge, take away their possessions and turn their allies against them (Obadiah 1:4-9).

Don’t rejoice when a brother goes through difficult times. Out of love, help the person to get back to his feet. Mocking them for their downfall only sets you up for failure. The story may change and you will need the help of the others. Don’t rely on your securities (refuge, wealth and allies) and treat your fellows in disdain. Thank God for what you have received from Him in Christ Jesus, and help those who are yet to recover from their feet. This is because of what God told the people of Israel after what they went through in the hands of the Edomites:

But on Mount Zion will be deliverance; it will be holy, and Jacob will possess his inheritance. Jacob will be a fire and Joseph a flame; Esau will be stubble, and they will set him on fire and destroy him. There will be no survivors from Esau.” The Lord has spoken.

Obadiah 17-18

Let love lead us in all that we do. Do enjoy a blessed day and be a blessing to someone today.

Prayer

Thank you Father for your word that I have received today. Thank you for all the blessing that I have received from you through CHRIST JESUS. Forgive me for all the times I have looked down and treated treacherously my friends, families and enemies. I pray that you will grant me the grace to love amidst the desire to repay the evil others have done to me. May I live as Christ lived and love other like CHRIST loved me unconditionally. In the name of CHRIST I have prayed with thanksgiving.

StandOut Ministry International.

Boast in the Lord

A father and a son ski trip took a wonderful turn that I want to share with you. On their last visit, the young boy won the race between him and his father because His dad pulled back a little just to make his son happy. Throughout this year, his son has been bugging him about how good he was at skiing and with all his father’s years of experience, he could still beat him. On this expedition, the father decided to teach His son a lesson. Hefinished the skiing race some minutes before his so could do finish. Upon completed, he tapped his son on the shoulder and remarked, “last year I wanted to make your winter great for you, so I decided to remain behind for you to win. You may feel proud of winning,but always remember that someone contributed to your success”.

We all have things we take pride in. Irrespective of what we may succumb our thoughts and actions to, we have some attachments to the things we have so much been acclamatised to. Taking pride in our accomplishments, we are tempted to believe that these things are the definition of our success, and therefore become a symphony on our mouths in every discussion of ours.

The things we have has been freely given unto us. Every facet of life and its successful episodes has been because God has been in the helm of affairs and has made all things worked out on our favor. He has always been pulling strings behind the scenes to make sure that the spectators see a glorious show. Judging from the human perspectives leaves us at the brink of our human inputs thats is nothing compared to the strings God has pulled for us.

I wish I could write the whole chapter of Psalm 124. But the Psalmist claims that if every feat they have enjoyed as a nation is not because God was on their side, let them say. I want you to reflect on this passage of the Bible. If God had not been in the story, what would have become of you now. Really, what would your story have been? My dear, my story would have been a mess. But thanks be to God that through Christ Jesus, we are more than overcomers. Paul summarises it this way:

As it says in the Scriptures, “If anyone is going to boast, let him boast only of what the Lord has done.”

1 Corinthians 1:31 (TLB)

There is only one boasting you can make; and that is in the name of the Lord. Whatever you have to take pride in, do it in the name of CHRIST.

Prayers

Thank you Father for another opportunity to hear from you today. I thank you for everything you have made available unto me. I am grateful to you for making available me all the grace and provisions needed to achieve what I have now. Indeed I will boast but in the name of the Lord. Amen!!!

StandOut Ministry International.

Do you love me than these?

A father set out on a journey for work over the weekend. Before travelling, he instructed his son to clean the house instead of playing video games. He directed his son on where to start the cleaning and where to end. On the shelf of the end of the cleaning expedition was the newest edition of the video game he had wanted for the Christmas.

Halfway through the cleaning and with dad out of the house, he got tired of cleaning and went back to the video games. Unknowingly he had spent quite some time playing the game with his friends he invited over. He constantly expressed desires for the new game he had wanted and how his dd was hesitant in getting it for him.

Early the next morning, his dad came home. He summoned His son and asked if he had done the cleaning. His son responded with a yes. Then the father told him that he had bought him the new game but he did not find it becuase He was still focused on His game and could not make time for the task He had given him.

This is the encounter Jesus had with His disciples. After His death and ressurrection, some of the prolific fishermen missed their days of fishing and embarked yet again on their fishing expedition. Having tried but had caught nothing, Jesus appears on the shore and instructs them to cast the net on one side. Their nets were full. The John told Peter that it was Jesus (Remember Jesus first encounter with Peter in his boat). Peter run to meet Jesus and after breaking bread with His disciples, He asked Peter this question:

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

John 21:15 (NIV)

God’s assignment for us sometimes comes with sacrificing what we used to do. In sacrificing these things, we are always been tempted to them. Having been called as a follower of Christ brings about a lot of sacrifices with the things of the world. We have been called to do away with most of the pleasures of life for the sake of taking up Christ as our Lord and Savior.

Yes, you may be tempted to go back again and again, and you would actually go. You may be tempted to go back into fornication, pornography, adultery, masturbation, among many other things. But Jesus has not rejected you yet. He stands at the door of your heart and is knocking; seeking for you to keep your focus on Him and enjoy the fellowship in His presence. He is asking: “Do you love me than these things?”

Like that son who wanted the video game, God has provided all you need in CHRIST. In Him, you have the assurance of a newness of life and blessings upon blessings.

Prayer

Father thank you for your word that I have heard today. I am grateful for the sacrifice that you made to redeem me from my sins. I pray that you will grant me the grace to continually focus on Jesus, amidst the constant desires to return to my former ways. In Jesus name I have prayed with thanksgiving.