PurposePursuit

Quitters and Finishers

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In his book, Finishing Strong Steve Farrar tells of an observation John Bisagno’s father in law, Dr Paul Beck shared with him.

He said, “It has been my observation that just one out of ten who start out in full-time service for the Lord at twenty-one are still on track by the age of sixty-five. They’re shot down morally, they’re shot down with discouragement, they’re shot down with liberal theology, they get obsessed with making money…but for one reason or another, nine out of ten fall out.”

Of course, the young minister did not believe it. So, he made a list of 25 young  ministers including himself to observe their life journeys and in another 35 years, he found that only 3 were still standing in the faith.

Now, as I read the story of Israel’s wisest and richest King Solomon, I see how he started well but had a lousy finish. This question crosses my heart: would I still be preaching purpose 30 years from now if Jesus tarries?

I believe, if the answer was solely for God to provide, He will certainly say Yes. Afterall, His divine power has given us all that we need for life and godliness. But what about my end of the bargain? Am I ready to stick it out with God no matter the circumstances that rise to prove my resolve? Am I ready to make the kind of choices that will keep me under God’s protection and power?

It would be foolish to think we can finish strong merely by our own determination and strength. By strength shall no man prevail. Strong men fall but weak men who find strength in Another always stand tall.

Would God help us finish strong if we continue to rebel against the still small Voice by which He leads us? I think not. Larry Libby remarked that the very gates of hell cannot make us stumble unless we choose to remove ourselves from God’s protection and power.

How then do we stay under God’s protection and power? By fixing our eyes on Jesus who is our perfect example of someone who finished strong. We must learn to do only what he does. We must study His lifestyle, understand and live by the principles that helped Him finish well. We must yield to God’s working on our inside as He conforms us to the image of His Son.

If you’re reading this and  you know you may have walked away from your life assignment, the good news is God’s arms are open to receive you again. It is not too late to start all over. That is the power of God’s Grace.

It’s a long walk from here.  I want to invite you to join me to make the choice to finish strong. I invite you to make or renew your resolution to serve God’s purpose in your generation. As we make the choice to fix our eyes on Jesus, I am confident that though the odds may be against us, by God’s grace, we shall finish well and strong.

PurposePursuit

Is Your Life-Dictionary Up to Date?

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Most of the ideas, terminologies and principles that guide our existence evolved by virtue of man’s first act of disobedience in the Garden of Eden.
He lost his dominion over the creation and fell short of God’s glory.

Thus, words like fear, shame, guilt, impossibility and other negative expressions entered into man’s dictionary.  Take fear for example, the first time Adam and Eve expressed the feeling of fear was when they heard God’s voice and hid from Him for they were naked. It is from that fear that kept them from God’s presence in the garden, that every other kinds of fear flowed.

Take note that the idea of being naked was principally a symptom of their guilt and shame and not about their lack of Louis Vuitton or D&G designer clothes.

So, fear, guilt, shame and other negative ideas were not in God’s original plan for our lives and if we have appropriated the finished work of Jesus unto our lives by faith in Him, then, we must update our dictionary. We must expunge those ideas that are contrary to the life of the Kingdom from our dictionaries!

Someone said it is our heart not the dictionary that gives meaning to our words. I agree. The quality of our existence and our ability to manifest the Kingdom Life are determined by how updated our life’s dictionaries are. It is not enough to give our lives to Christ, we must grow into all that God planned for us to become.

We must continually align our lives with our identity as declared in the Scriptures and in the light of the finished work of Christ. This is what it means that as we behold the word of liberty, we are being transformed from glory to glory. As we read, study, meditate and confess God’s Word, our dictionaries are being updated and we are able to live the life of dominion God originally planned for us.

There’s an old story of a boy who stood on a sidewalk, waiting on a bus. A man walking by spotted the boy, and gave him some gentle instruction. “Son,” he said, “if you’re waiting on the bus, you need to move to the street corner. That’s where the bus stops for passengers.”
“It’s OK,” said the boy. “I’ll just wait right here, and the bus will stop for me.”
The man repeated his argument, but the boy never moved. Just then, the bus appeared. Amazingly, the bus pulled over to where the boy stood, and the child hopped on. The man on the sidewalk stood speechless. The boy turned around in the doorway and said, “Mister, I knew the bus would stop here, because the bus driver is my dad!”

When we enter into God’s family through our faith in Christ, we begin to enjoy the power and splendour of the Kingdom. But our enjoyment can be limited by the ideas from our unupdated dictionaries. When we deliberarely update our dictionaries, we will know we don’t have to stand at the bus stop to get the bus to wait for us. We have a direct link to the driver!

UseThisPlatform

Abobarin IkeOluwa: Abiyamo

I have had the privilege of meeting some very young people with incredible passion for God and the progress of God’s Kingdom. IkeOluwa, a 400level student of Pharmacy in Nigeria’s Premier University, is one of such persons. She has continued to inspire me and people around her with her ability to communicate a spiritual truth in a unique and creatively interactive manner.

She has graciously permitted me to publish this piece as the first of my UseThisPlatform category series. I am introducing this new category of posts to provide a platform for people to share their thoughts on issues from their pursuits of purpose and issues that catch their interest. If you have an issue you want to communicate to people using this platform please contact me!

I hope you will enjoy Ike’s piece as I have!
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Abiyamo- The Milking Mother

Abiyamo, you nurse our spirits at the breasts of Your Word
You feed us with Your milk till meat our teeth can chew
You wait patiently for us to grow
In Your nourishing presence we sit, then crawl
Fixing our eyes on you we stand and take our first step

In the euphoria of our stance we lose focus like uncle “P”
Gradually our hearts begin to sway to the deceiver’s rhyme, lost in the melody,
We dance our way into his ship.
The door shuts and the reckless journey begins, and we are still totally oblivious of how far we have strayed from You

The ride goes smoothly- no waves
And it seems all is well.
SUDDENLY!!!
We hit a rock and then we realise how lost we are

Injured, drowning and lost we remember the rock from which we were hewn
Too weak to run to You
Too breathless to mutter a cry for help

But our heart’s weak voice called to You in repentance and hunger
A deep longing that nothing else will satisfy
In its feeble voice it reached out to You.

Limbs weak from malnutrition
Throats scorched with thirst
Eyes filled with tears
We gaze into Your eyes speechless
When You showed up and stretched forth your arms to us.

In Your majesty You kneel at our side and bind our wounds
You carry us in Your arms of mercy and restore us into Your nourishing presence
And You cause us to regain all that was lost

Oba tii fife baniwi
(the God that corrects in love)
Oba  abaniwi tunise
(the God that corrects and “restores”)
Oba asonidomo tii se baba falaini baba
(the God who confers SONSHIP and Father to the fatherless)