When God Says “No”

Communication is an interesting matter. We all see and hear through a filter that has been shaped by our life events and how we have processed them. Our filters often like to hear “yes,” and we can even tolerate “wait,” as long as that wait is short-term. But we aren’t fond of the word “no” from God. In fact, when we hear “no,” we tend to believe it is the enemy blocking us, and so we muster our faith to rebuke the resistance.

In reality, it may be the “wind” of the Holy Spirit—that metaphor so often used to describe God’s presence and working in our lives—that is causing the resistance. I read a commentary on Acts 16 that described this passage like part of St. Patrick’s benediction that says, “May the wind be always at your back.”

This was true for Paul’s second missionary journey as they started to nurture the believers: “So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers” (Acts 16:5, NIV). In two instances, God says “no” to Paul regarding the direction he and his band of missionaries are about to take.

As we know, the wind can blow in some unexpected directions, as it did for this group. Though we don’t know the method God used to speak “no,” it was clear that they had been “kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia” (v. 6). Then again, when they tried to enter Bithynia, “the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So …’ (vv. 7-8).

The wind was blowing against them in some manner, but they seemed to understand the “no” of God was simply a redirection. Notice the word “so” in Acts 16:8. It was their response to God’s “no.” They knew the change of the wind wasn’t intended to cause them to stop moving, nor was it for them to press into the wind and go against it.

Paul and his team had also come to discern the difference between being tossed to and fro by the wind rather than being led by it.

“How does God guide his church to the right place for mission? There will be ‘closed’ as well as ‘open doors.’ There will be guidance addressed to individuals as well as to the entire team. There will be guidance via circumstances, sometimes extraordinary, as well as through the use of reason in evaluating circumstances in the light of God’s Word. And specific guidance will come only to those who are already on the road, living out their general obedience to the Great Commission. Being able to say, ‘God sent me; I come with the wind at my back,’ is a strong witness to one’s hearers that one’s message is from God and true” (IVP New Testament Commentary Series, published by InterVarsity Press).

Do you feel as if a strong wind is blowing against you? Listen for God’s “no,” and see if He isn’t redirecting you. There may be people waiting for you in your “Macedonia” (see Acts 16:9-15).

By: Tammy Dunahoo, Foursquare Vice President and General Supervisor

Support Your Spouse!

“The heart of her husband safely trusts her” – Proverbs 31:11 NKJV

The poet wrote, ‘Love in your heart is not put there to stay. Love isn’t love, till you give it away.’ We can be rejected by many, as long as we can come home and be loved by one. At times life will beat you down, so make your home a sanctuary. Here’s a story to help you do that.
He’d finally decided to ask his employer for a pay rise. Before leaving for work he told his wife about it. All day long she felt apprehensive. Finally, late in the afternoon he summoned the courage to approach his boss. To his delight he got the pay rise. Elated, he arrived home to a beautiful table set with their best china and lighted candles. Smelling the aroma of a specially prepared meal, he guessed that somebody from the office had called his wife and tipped her off. Finding her in the kitchen he shared the good news. They embraced before sitting down to a wonderful meal. Next to his plate he found a note that read, ‘Congratulations! I knew you’d get the pay rise. This dinner is to show how much I love you.’ Later, on his way to the kitchen to help his wife serve dessert, he noticed a second card that had fallen from her pocket. Picking it up off the floor he read, ‘Don’t worry about not getting the pay rise. You deserve it anyway. This dinner is to show you how much I love you.’ Acceptance! Love! She stood behind him no matter what – softening the blows, healing the wounds, believing in him. So the word for you today is – support your spouse!

Reach for Others!

A newspaper carried the story of a woman who fell asleep behind the wheel and plunged her car through a safety rail on the motorway. It dangled precariously, 60 feet in the air. Motorists stopped, grabbed ropes, tied them to the back of the woman’s car and hung on till the emergency units arrived. A ladder was extended from below to help stabilise the car while fire-fighters chained the vehicle to tow trucks. Every time her car moved she screamed. It took over two hours for passers-by, the motorway patrol, tow-truck drivers and fire-fighters – about 25 people in all – to pull her to safety. The fire captain at the scene said later, ‘It was funny. She kept shouting, “I’ll do it myself!”” Are you like that? If you want to enjoy God’s best, reach for others!

Put Aside Procrastination And Excuses

Put aside procrastination and excuses for doing nothing at all.
There is a famous compound interest story about the Emperor of China who offered the inventor of the game of chess one wish. The inventor replied that he wanted one grain of rice on square one of the chessboard, two grains on the second square, four on the third and so on through square sixty-four. The unsuspecting emperor agreed to the seemingly humble request. Yet, two raised to the sixty-fourth power is eighteen million trillion grains of rice, more than all the rice in China! Do you think your actions might only be a tiny drop in your bucket? Have you ever placed a bucket under a dripping tap overnight?

Become God’s Friend 4

Become God’s Friend (4)

“I have called you friends” – John 15:15 NKJV

Another step in developing your friendship with God is choosing to be honest with Him! God doesn’t expect you to be perfect, but He does expect you to be honest. If perfection was a requirement not one of us would qualify. In the Bible, God’s friends were honest about their feelings – sometimes even complaining and arguing with Him – yet He didn’t seem to mind. In fact, He encouraged it. God listened patiently to David’s accusations of unfairness, betrayal and abandonment. He didn’t zap Jeremiah for claiming God had tricked him. Job was allowed to vent his bitterness and God actually defended him for being honest. On the other hand, He rebuked Job’s friends for faking it: ‘… “You haven’t been honest either with me or about me – not the way my friend Job has… My friend Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer”‘ (Job 42:7 TM). To be God’s friend you must share your true feelings with Him, not what you think you ought to feel or say. Until you understand that God uses everything for good in our lives, you’ll harbour resentment towards Him over your looks, your nationality, your economic background, your unanswered prayers, your past hurts, and the things you’d change if you were God. Actually, revealing your feelings and releasing your resentments to Him are the first steps to becoming spiritually whole. Isn’t it encouraging to know that God’s closest friends felt just like we do, but instead of masking their feelings in pious clichés they voiced them openly? Why? Because expressing them leads to healing and a deeper level of intimacy with Him.

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Become God’s Friend – 3

Become God’s Friend

“I have called you friends” – John 15:15 NKJV

Friendship with God is maintained and strengthened through continual meditation. It’s impossible to be God’s friend apart from knowing what He says. You can’t love God unless you know Him, and that’s only possible through the Bible. ‘… He revealed himself to Samuel through his word’ (1 Samuel 3:21 NIV). Now you can’t spend all day studying the Bible, but you can think about it throughout the day, recalling verses you’ve read, mulling over them in your mind. Meditation isn’t some mysterious ritual, it’s simply focused thinking – a skill anybody can learn. When you think about a problem over and over, that’s called worry. When you think about God’s Word over and over, that’s called meditation. If you know how to worry, you know how to meditate. Just switch your attention from the problem to the solution! The more you meditate on God’s Word the less you’ll have to worry about. The more time you spend meditating on the Scriptures the more you’ll understand their secrets. The Psalmist said, ‘The Friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant’ (Psalm 25:14 ESV). After Jesus told His disciples, ‘… “I have called you friends”… ‘, He went on to say, ‘… “I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you”‘ (John 15:16 NKJV). The benefits of friendship with God include abundant living and answered prayer. So if you want to become God’s friend, read, digest and meditate in His Word.

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A Better Tomorrow

A Better Tomorrow

“To bestow beauty instead of ashes” – Isaiah 61:3 NIV.

The Chinese have an interesting symbol for the word ‘crisis’; it indicates both danger and opportunity. When the stakes are high and the outcome in doubt, purpose can emerge from pain like beauty from ashes. But real healing can’t begin until you face the facts and express your pain. That means doing what David did: taking it to God. ‘How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?… ‘ (Psalm 13:2 NIV). Just as lancing a boil is a necessary first step to healing, facing the truth is the first step towards becoming whole. Those who grow through a crisis learn which hopes, dreams and expectations were violated by the event. They identify where the repair work is needed, then they develop a road map for the future. At first you will feel as if ‘nothing will ever be the same again’. That’s normal. You may have to make adjustments in how you work, where you spend your leisure time, and how you relate to your family and friends. It’s the nature of a crisis to destabilise your world. But it also forces you to reach deep within yourself and find hidden strength you didn’t know existed. You may not feel courageous or hopeful right now, but that doesn’t mean those things aren’t there waiting to be tapped. Even though you don’t feel strong today, you can draw strength from the One who is. ‘The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God… in Whom I will trust… ‘ (Psalm 18:2 AMP). Face it. Find God in it. Follow Him, and He will give you a better tomorrow.

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Look For The Best In The Worst  

“God turned the curse into a blessing” – Deuteronomy 23:5 NCV

When Thomas Carlyle completed his manuscript on the French Revolution, he asked his neighbour John Stuart Mill to read it. Later, Mill came to Carlyle’s house, shaken and pale. His maid had inadvertently used it to light the fire! Carlyle despaired – two years lost! Writing it initially was daunting enough; rewriting it was unthinkable. Then one day, watching a stonemason build a wall, he observed it was going up one brick at a time. Inspired, he thought, ‘I’ll write a page today and one tomorrow. One at a time; that’s all I’ll think about.’ It was slow, tedious work, but he persevered and the result outshone his original. Jon Gordon writes, ‘If you’re concerned about the future… I know how you feel. I lost my job in 2001… the company sank faster than the Titanic… I thought it was the worst event of my life. I was two months away from bankruptcy. I’d a wife, two children, a mortgage, no health insurance, and very little savings. I was a payslip away from losing it all and… I had to make some important decisions. Eventually they led to the work I now do as a writer, consultant and speaker. I went from Fired to Fired-up! My lay-off led to my life’s mission… what I thought was the worst… led to the best… When the wave hits we have a choice… allow it to crush us, or learn from it and ride it to a positive future. We can move forward with determination and faith that our best days are ahead.’ Rejoice. Refocus. God can turn the curse into a blessing.

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Illustration: Marriage, Forgiveness

On her golden wedding anniversary, a grandmother revealed the secret of her long and happy marriage. “On my wedding day, I decided to choose 10 of my husband’s faults, which (for the sake of our marriage) I would overlook,” she explained. A guest asked her to name some of the faults. “To tell the truth,” she replied, “I never did get around to listing them; but whenever my husband did something that made me hopping mad, I would say to myself, ‘Lucky for him that’s one of the 10.'”

No one is perfect. So marriage is the union of two imperfect people, with their individual faults, bad habits and undesirable qualities. As Christians, marriage should be a place to practice grace. When you can look past the faults of your spouse and concentrate on encouraging them, you will find satisfaction and peace.]

Check for more at iboluwatise.blogspot.com

Engaging the Surpassing Power of God

Engaging the Surpassing Power of God Eph. 1.19-23

We cannot afford to have any problem with what the word says about the power of God. God’s word is exalted above his name – Ps. 138.2. With his name the word constitutes the two immutable things by which it is impossible for God to lie – Heb. 6.13-18. Is this his word? Yes all scriptures are given by the inspiration of God… – 2 Tim. 3.6 this is God’s word expressed through Paul.

God’s power is surpassingly great – Eph. 1.19. His power is also at work towards/for us. The word power means ability; its being at work suggests that God’s power is quickened or energised towards/for us. The power of God is not latent; it is quickened/active – according to the working power which he wrought in Christ…..

The power, being active, works. It works to heal; deliver; save; bless; lift; give victory; change. It produces change wherever it is directed. What energises it is not just the intention of God, but also the agreement of man with God. When man believes, all things become possible – Mk.9.23; the working mighty power becomes activated in him.

Here we see the significance of the prayer of Paul. It is for us to have a spiritual experiential consciousness of this power and the way it worked in the Lord.
How did it work in him? Initiated by the Father’s design, the power was activated by the son’s resignation (trusting faith) to the Father’s will and effected by the work of the Holy Spirit.

We are to maintain/have a consciousness that uses the awareness of how the power worked towards Jesus.

He was raised (resurrected) from the dead, never to die again. Christ death is the death of death itself – 1 Cor. 15.54-57; Eph. 2.5;

He was seated in the heavens and we also in him – Eph. 2.6, thereby granting us control in the spiritual realm (aerial control) with a wider reach and distance removed.

He became exalted above all… Eph. 6.12; Col. 2.15. His resurrection exalted him above all of hell. They are defeated, though still here. We fight not for victory, but from victory, by taking stand (with the word) always

He got everything under his feet. The victory is won

He was given as head to the church which is the fullness or compeletion of Him that fills all in all. The power fills the universe through us with all the fullness of His authority, His victory, and His glory. We are His body and the comic force with which He penetrates everything here..

We are not denying the power of the devil; we are rather appreciating and establishing our preference for the power of God. The devil hates us and could attack all the plantings of the Lord around us. We do not avoid him or run from him; we consciously engage him every day with the full consciousness of God’s power taking our stand with it always.

This is what he hates. He is frustrated with those who know the power at work towards them; and these are they that win in all life’s battle.

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