Inspiration comes through challenges and in unusual circumstances:
Suddenly you have a “lightbulb moment”
I entered a Photo Inspiration Challenge about a year ago with this picture below.
This was my inspiration: Jonah spat out of the mouth of the fish and washed ashore.
He had disobeyed God when told to go and preach at Nineveh. He boarded a ship to Tarshish and all hell broke loose on the ship. He knew he was the cause and asked to be thrown into the sea to save the lives of those on the ship. They did and there was a great calm.
Jonah was swallowed by a big fish and there he repented and worshipped God, who had mercy on him and commanded the fish to spit him out. He was then washed ashore as we can see in the picture. Read Jonah Ch1 and 2 for the full gist.
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.
9 Do not be like the horse or like the mule, Which have no understanding, Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle,Psalm32:8-9
‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ “
8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
13 Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; Keep her, for she is your life.
18 But the path of the just is like the shining sun, That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.
20 My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart;
22 For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh.
23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life. Prov4:13,18,120-23
Abraham also obeyed God when he was told to take his only son, the son he had waited for twenty-five years and sacrifice. His obedience opened a door for him- a ram caught in the bush which he used in place of Isaac.
1 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”
2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.
4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off.
5 And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you. Gen22:1-4
Abraham departed from his home town, his father’s house, his family to a strange place on God’s instructions and he obeyed and God did not disappoint him.
1 Now the LORD had said to Abram: ” Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you.
2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
4 So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.
5 Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan.
Isaac followed instruction to stay put in spite of famine in the land and he obey and was not only blessed with a hundredfold return but made such progress that he waxed great and became very great.
1 There was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines, in Gerar.
2 Then the LORD appeared to him and said: “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you.
3 Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father.
4 And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed;
5 because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.”
6 So Isaac dwelt in Gerar.
12 Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the LORD blessed him.
13 The man began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous;
14 for he had possessions of flocks and possessions of herds and a great number of servants. So the Philistines envied him.
Joshua followed instructions and the wall walls of Jericho fell down flat.
1 Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in.
2 And the LORD said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor.
3 You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days.
4 And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets.
5 It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.”
6 Then Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD.”
7 And he said to the people, “Proceed, and march around the city, and let him who is armed advance before the ark of the LORD.” Josh6
20 So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.
Jehoshaphat followed God instructions and obtained protection, God’s presence and super-abundant prosperity
15 And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the LORD to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.
16 Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the brook before the Wilderness of Jeruel.
17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you.”
18 And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem bowed before the LORD, worshiping the LORD.
19 Then the Levites of the children of the Kohathites and of the children of the Korahites stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel with voices loud and high.
20 So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.”
21 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the LORD, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: ” Praise the LORD, For His mercy endures forever.”
22 Now when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated.
23 For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another.
24 So when Judah came to a place overlooking the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude; and there were their dead bodies, fallen on the earth. No one had escaped.
25 When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away their spoil, they found among them an abundance of valuables on the dead bodies, and precious jewelry, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away; and they were three days gathering the spoil because there was so much.
I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I set your rules before me.
A man was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and the Savior appeared. The Lord told the man he had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might.
This the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing it with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore, and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain.
Noticing that the man was showing signs of discouragement, the adversary decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the man’s weary mind. “You have been pushing against this rock for a long time, and it hasn’t budged. Why kill yourself over this? You are never going to move it.” Thus giving the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure. These troubling thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man. “Why kill myself over this?” I’ll just put in my time, giving just the minimum effort and that will be good enough.
And that is what he planned to do until one day he decided to make it a matter of prayer and take his thoughts to the Lord. “Lord” he said, “I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even been able to budge that rock. What is wrong? Why am I failing?”
The Lord responded compassionately, “My friend, When I asked you to serve me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to me with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so?”
“Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewy and brown, your hands are callused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. Yet you haven’t moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in my wisdom. This you have done. I, my friend, will now move the rock.”
At times, when we hear a word from God, we tend to use our own intellect to decipher what He wants, when actually what God wants is simple obedience and Faith in Him…
By all means exercise the faith that moves mountains, but know that it is still God who moves them.
– Author Unknown
Prosperous and successful. No one will reject that offer.
Having a prosperous and successful life is the dream of every human on the planet.
Money. Cars. Trips. A gazillion things to own
That may seem like a life of prosperity and successes.
But, I have to admit. That is not true prosperity.
Frankly, true prosperity and success the way God intended it to be can only be achieved by following God’s plan.
Here is why: Read Joshua 1:8 (New International Version)
“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
In the Message bible, the same verse is paraphrased this way:
“And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed.”
Think about it: Ponder. Meditate. Reflect. Memorize.
These are key words that will help you be successful in life.
But not just any self-help book or philosophy to contemplate. It should be the Word of God – The Bible.
That is why we encourage you today to memorize scripture.
You may say, “I don’t believe you.”
Well, you don’t have to believe me.
Believe in God’s Word.
God blesses those who obey His commands.
But how will we know if we do not read.
And how will we retain if we do not memorize.
So instead of wishful thinking, memorize the scriptures today.
Then, it will not depart from your mind and, thus, your mouth.
And you will live a prosperous and successful life.
1 Samuel 15:22
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice.
King Saul had been commanded to slay utterly all the Amalekites and their cattle. Instead of doing so, he preserved the king, and suffered his people to take the best of the oxen and of the sheep. When called to account for this, he declared that he did it with a view of offering sacrifice to God; but Samuel met him at once with the assurance that sacrifices were no excuse for an act of direct rebellion. The sentence before us is worthy to be printed in letters of gold, and to be hung up before the eyes of the present idolatrous generation, who are very fond of the fineries of will-worship, but utterly neglect the laws of God. Be it ever in your remembrance, that to keep strictly in the path of your Saviour’s command is better than any outward form of religion; and to hearken to His precept with an attentive ear is better than to bring the fat of rams, or any other precious thing to lay upon His altar. If you are failing to keep the least of Christ’s commands to His disciples, I pray you be disobedient no longer. All the pretensions you make of attachment to your Master, and all the devout actions which you may perform, are no recompense for disobedience. “To obey,” even in the slightest and smallest thing, “is better than sacrifice,” however pompous. Talk not of Gregorian chants, sumptuous robes, incense, and banners; the first thing which God requires of His child is obedience; and though you should give your body to be burned, and all your goods to feed the poor, yet if you do not hearken to the Lord’s precepts, all your formalities shall profit you nothing. It is a blessed thing to be teachable as a little child, but it is a much more blessed thing when one has been taught the lesson, to carry it out to the letter. How many adorn their temples and decorate their priests, but refuse to obey the word of the Lord! My soul, come not thou into their secret.
Obedience releases God’s hands
Disobedience ties God’s hands.
Obedience disarms the devil.
Disobedience arms the devil.
Obedience is the key to advancement.
Disobedience is the key to a downfall.
Obedience opens doors for you.
Disobedience closes door on you.
Obedience brings further instruction.
Disobedience delays further instruction.
Obedience brings light and life.
Disobedience brings darkness and death.
Partial obedience is disobedience.
Complete and continual obedience is essential.
Philip Lead to the desert to witness:
Outreach & salvation
Christ Is Preached to an Ethiopian
26 Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert.
27 So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship,
28 was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet.
29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.”
30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him.
Blessing of Obedience: outreach & Salvation
35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.
36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?”
37 Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.
39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.
40 But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.
10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the LORD of hosts, ” If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.
11 ” And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the LORD of hosts;
12 And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a delightful land,” Says the LORD
Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.
Word for today
We learn from this narrative, the necessity of human agency. The draught of fishes was miraculous, yet neither the fisherman nor his boat, nor his fishing tackle were ignored; but all were used to take the fishes. So in the saving of souls, God worketh by means; and while the present economy of grace shall stand, God will be pleased by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. When God worketh without instruments, doubtless He is glorified; but He hath Himself selected the plan of instrumentality as being that by which He is most magnified in the earth. Means of themselves are utterly unavailing. “Master, we have toiled all the night and have taken nothing.” What was the reason of this? Were they not fishermen plying their special calling? Verily, they were no raw hands; they understood the work. Had they gone about the toil unskillfully? No. Had they lacked industry? No, they had toiled. Had they lacked perseverance? No, they had toiled all the night. Was there a deficiency of fish in the sea? Certainly not, for as soon as the Master came, they swam to the net in shoals. What, then, is the reason? Is it because there is no power in the means of themselves apart from the presence of Jesus? “Without Him we can do nothing.” But with Christ we can do all things. Christ’s presence confers success. Jesus sat in Peter’s boat, and His will, by a mysterious influence, drew the fish to the net. When Jesus is lifted up in His Church, His presence is the Church’s power-the shout of a king is in the midst of her. “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.” Let us go out this morning on our work of soul fishing, looking up in faith, and around us in solemn anxiety. Let us toil till night comes, and we shall not labour in vain, for He who bids us let down the net, will fill it with fishes.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
(James 1:22 NIV)
The Bible says in Mark 12:30, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength” (NLT). Another way to say this is, love God with all your talk, all your feelings, all your thinking, and all of your acting. God shaped you to be primarily either a talker, feeler, thinker, or a doer.
Talkers love God with their hearts. Feelers love God with their souls. Thinkers love God with their minds. Did you know that you can also love God with your intellect? Did you know that when you’re doing intellectual activities, it brings glory to God? When you’re developing and strengthening your mind, it is an act of worship.
People who are thinkers fall in love with the Bible when they become believers. They love to study that book. There is no other book in the world like it! It has the answers to life’s questions, like: “Why am I here? Where am I going? What is the purpose of life? Does my life matter? What’s the past? What’s the future? Where did I come from?” Thinkers love Bible study. Psalm 119:97 says, “How I love your law! I think about it all day long” (TEV).
We need thinkers, because the world needs consideration. Somebody has to be thinking through complex issues and the implications of what the rest of us are doing. We need people who think through tough problems and bring solutions to the table. That’s why we need scientists, writers, philosophers, and innovators.
But thinkers have to be careful to practice humility. The Bible says, “Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom” (Proverbs 3:7a NLT). Why? Because God is God, and you’re not.
Humility is a choice. Not once in the Bible are you ever told to pray for God to humble you. It says to “humble yourself before the Lord.” It’s a choice. Humility is something you do to yourself. Nobody else can do it to you. They can humiliate you, but they can’t make you humble. In essence, humility is total dependence on God. It’s not denying your strengths; it’s being honest about your weaknesses.
Thinkers also need to be careful to practice what they know. If you know it, then do it! James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (NIV).
Do you believe you ought to give to the poor? Do you do it? Do you believe that people need Christ to go to Heaven? Do you tell them about it? Do you believe in tithing? Do you do it? You only believe the parts of the Bible that you do.
Talk It Over
• Is it harder for you to deny your strengths or be honest about your weaknesses? Why do you think this is so?
• Make a list of the things you believe in. Are you doing those things?
12 For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield. Ps5:12
Favour can find you and follow you like it did Abraham, Joseph, Hannah, Esther, Nehemiah, Jacob, Isaac, Mordecai and the disciples. Favour is not fair. It is unmerited benevolence and disposition toward another person. God favoured us because of Jesus Christ. While we were yet sinners He died for us.
Whereas we do not work for favour, there is a walk of favour that we need to walk for favour to continue to follows us all the days of our lives. Just as children in a family no not do anything special to be members of that Family, like little Prince George Alexander Louis, extra-ordinary benefits come to those who respond well to their parents.
So if you want to enjoy the uncommon favour of God you have to be obedient to Him, love Him with all your heart, all your soul and all your might. That is the walk of favour. You can get beyond what other members of the Family will get by reason of your worshipful life. Favour brings provision, protection, prosperity, creativity, significance, wisdom of the Kingdom and the presence of God.
The decision is yours. We are all blessed, but the key to the manifestation of the blessings depends on our obedience. Decision determines destiny. choices carry consequences. So make the right choices today.
You do not have to work for favour
But there is a walk of favour
You have to walk to get uncommon favour.
Common or Uncommon favour
What you get depends on you.