Sunday, December 31, 2017

Life Lessons From Jude - Vigilance

1 Peter 5:8 (NIV)
 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
Emphasis Mine

Oxford definition of vigilant – Keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulty (ies).
In this case, there was ongoing danger – Jude 1:4a and he further goes on to tell us the characteristics of the men.

Jude 1:4 (NKJV)
For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Characteristics of the false teachers;
·       Men marked for condemnation long ago
·       Ungodly men
·       Men who say God’s grace permits us to live immoral lives
·       Men who have denied Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior

As you journey through life, it is not an excuse to be unvigilant. If you lose sight of where you are heading, you will head for danger real quickly.  My question to you is this – what are the characteristics of the people you have allowed to creep into your life unnoticed? What are they? Who are they? Can you identify them? Can you tell when the atmosphere of your life changes? It takes a vigilant person to identify those specifics.

What about the things you permit to get in through the gates of your life – like your eye gate, ear gate, mouth gate, mind gate, etc? My encouragement to you is this, live life purposefully and you will enjoy the benefits while on earth for the glory of the Lord. Amen.

Life Lessons From Jude - Priority

The Collins English Dictionary defines priority as the most important thing you have to do or deal with, or must be done or dealt with before everything else you have to do. Jude had to prioritize on whether to talk about salvation or contending for the faith.

If he talked about salvation, it may or may not have sounded like music to their ears. This is because he was writing to Christians and depending on their attitude, it will come across as telling them what they already know.

So he talked about “contending for the faith”. More like telling them to jealously guard what they already have.
Why is prioritizing most important? It is important because the bible says so.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV)
There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
Emphasis Mine

Certain information have shelf lives and may only be relevant for a particular season. When we prioritize, it does not make the secondary information of less value. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as the Lord of your life, you know that salvation is the starting point for all spiritual growthand maturation. Yet, in this case, Jude chose to talk about contending for the faith over salvation.
Jude, in his epistle, is teaching us that, even in our communication, we need to prioritize. Amen.

Life Lessons From Jude - Value of Relationships

Let’s talk about the value of relationships. I have a few questions for you.
-Which relationships do you value most?
-Whom do you keep company with?
-Whom will you rather spend your time with if given the opportunity?
-If given the opportunity to communicate to others about your closest relationship(s), which relationship will take priority in the conversation?

As you reflect on this questions, I do have two suggestions for you. Choose to make God the Father/Jesus Christ/ the Holy Spirit, your closest companion. Value this relationship, nurture it, grow in it, develop a warm relationship with the Father because, He is your true friend - a person you can depend/count on at all times. He will not only keep you company, He will also transform you as well. Either ways, you cannot lose. You will reap more than you sow when it comes to the transformation that you receive as a result of keeping company with Him.

Secondly, my encouragement to you is to let your presence be actively felt in your family. Do not despise family members or family involvement. You belong to an earthly family, find out more about the family and know your place in it.

Jude 1:1 (NIV)
Judea servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James,
To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:
Emphasis Mine

Jude shows us the value of relationship even as he introduces his Epistle. After identifying himself, he goes further to identify the two closest relationships to him – Jesus Christ and brother James. 

Life Lessons From Jude - Identity

The Epistle of Jude is the one but last book of the New Testament. This book contains one chapter and twenty five verses. The chapter begins by

Jude 1:1 (NIV)
Judea servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James,
To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:
Emphasis Mine

Let’s take a look at identity. If you were asked the question. Who are you? What will be your response? Would you define yourself by your doing or by your being? As Jude introduces us into his epistle, he begins by identifying himself…Judea servant of Jesus Christ….a brother of James. There is nothing about the statement that tells us about what he does but it has everything to tell us about who he is, whose he is and his family tie.

Society has reshaped our thinking such that when asked who we are, we immediately talk about what we do. We have misplaced priorities when it comes to our identity – the pressures of life have caused us to lose our identity. For most of us, we have refused to know God and we have little or no family value.

We learn from Jude that, it is important to have a sound identity – know who you are, whose you are and identify with your family when necessary. Our identity, our identity in Christ and our family ties are the three most important aspects in life. When we lose connection with those three areas of life, we become lost and confused in society.

The bible tells us of what Jesus approves as the right response to identity.

Matthew 16:15-16 (NIV)
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Emphasis Mine
Two things
-Peter identified HIM by His name - You are the Messiah
-Peter identified HIM by His family tie - the Son of the living God

My encouragement to you is this, irrespective of what you do and where you find yourself in society, purpose in your heart not to lose sight of your true identity and not to misplace your priorities. Purpose in your heart to allow God to take his rightful place in your heart. Allow family to take their rightful place in your life as well. In Jesus name. Amen.

Life Lessons from Jude - Introduction

The character traits you build through the Word are guaranteed to be lasting. The Word of God is the only non-judgmental tool that can be used to build character because it is out to help you not condemn you. The Word of God is that mirror that can be used to self-examine in order to evaluate growth. If you want to know whether or not you are improving in your character traits, use the Word of God as a mirror to make that judgment.

True, stable, quality and lasting change can only come through studying the Word of God and practicing the Word of God. If you want to experience genuine transformation, spend time in the Word. When we experience a character deficiency, we quickly seek the help of counselors. Why not seek help from the counselor instead of a counselor? The Holy Spirit is the best counselor. When you partner with Him on purpose you will be guaranteed a transformed life full of positive character traits.

As we proceed with our studies, we will look at a man called Jude. A man of God who possessed positive character traits. The book of Jude is one of the shortest epistles in the bible. It contains one chapter and twenty-five verses. Yet this chapter is so rich and so full of wisdom. As we study the book of Jude together, I pray that the Lord will open up our ears and eyes to hear and see all that He has for us this season.

The book of Jude is written to Christians. Reminding the church of the need for constant vigilance. Jude refers to himself as a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James.

Father, we thank you for another journey. We pray that you open up our eyes and ears to see and hear all that you have for us this season. As a result, we will grow for your glory and properly represent you wherever we go.
In Jesus Name we pray. Amen.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Through the Knowledge Of HIM – Divine Nature / Escape Corruption

Escaping the corruption of the world is possible through our knowledge of HIM. When we become students of His promises, we begin to understand how we should live because we now know who we are in HIM. Amongst many promises on identity, the Word tells us

2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV)
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Emphasis Mine

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
Emphasis Mine

These knowledge changes our thinking, our views and more. As a result, our desires change. We start longing for the things he longs for, thereby escaping corruption. In order to maintain this position of the divine nature, we need to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18 (NIV)).

2 Peter 3:17-18 (NIV)

Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
Emphasis Mine

In this state, we are not held bound by the standards of society. True freedom is experienced from the inside – out. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed (John 8:36 (NKJV)).

Through the Knowledge Of HIM – Promises

Through the Word, we get to know the promises of God to us. We also get to know the heart of God towards us. The promises of God are too numerous to count, however, required to reign in life. The beauty about God’s promises to us is that they never fail. He will do His part to fulfill His promises to us. However, most of us may live through life and never get to place where we experience the full benefits of these promises to us.

Some of the reasons why we do not get to be participants of these great promises is because
·       We may not know that these promises exist
·       We may know they exist, yet think we are not qualified to be participants. We allow unbelieve to rob us.

Ignorance of these promises will keep us in bondage, slavery, poverty, mediocrity, etc.

Spend time in the Word educating yourselves about the promises of God to you. An example of God’s promise to us is Salvation. Salvation has been made available to “whosoever” yet not everyone has accepted this gift of Salvation.

John 3:16 (NIV)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Emphasis Mine

Romans 10:9 (NIV)
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Emphasis Mine

God’s promises of Eternal life, abundant life, freedom from bondage and of sin, protection, guidance, wealth, prosperity, etc. 

Through the Knowledge Of HIM – Abundant Life

We commonly refer to John 10:10 when we talk about abundant life.

John 10:10 (NIV)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

In the context of “Through the Knowledge of HIM”, this verse tells us two things.
·       The purpose of the thief.
·       The purpose of Jesus Christ.

However, the question remains? How can you experience the more abundant life? If indeed His coming is the access through which we have abundant life; it therefore means when we understand the purpose of “His coming” we can then enjoy abundant life. Amen.
Through the knowledge of the Word, we are given details of the reason for His coming. Several scriptures tells us about His coming. Let’s examine a few below.

John 3:16 (NIV)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Emphasis Mine

John 3:17 (NIV)
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
Emphasis Mine

Experiencing an abundance of peace and grace is part of the abundant life according to 2 Peter1:2 (NIV). 
Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
Emphasis Mine

This is only possible, through the knowledge of HIM (God and Jesus our LORD).

Through the Knowledge Of HIM – Eternal Life

Through the Knowledge Of HIM, we can experience Eternal Life.
After speaking with His disciples, Jesus prayed to the Father for His disciples. In His prayers he mentioned Eternal life – John 17:3 (NIV)
Now this is eternal life: that they know youthe only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
Emphasis Mine

We are looking at the benefits we experience through the knowledge of God and Jesus our LORD or benefits we experience as a result of our knowledge of God and Jesus our LORD.

Jesus is praying for His disciples (we can choose to be His disciples) that they should know God as the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. Therefore, we experience eternal life through our knowledge of God and Jesus our LORD. And because we have the ability and access to that knowledge while still living on earth, we can begin experiencing eternal life on earth.

Eternal life is not reserved only for the death in Christ. It can be experienced and lived by the living in Christ. Amen.

The disconnect with eternal Life occurs when
a)     We do not believe there is God (…that they know you…)
b)     We believe in many gods (…the only true God…)
c)     We believe there is God, however, he is not the only one and true God (…the only true God…)
d)     We do not understand why Jesus was sent (agreeing that God the Father gave Him to die on the cross for our sins) – (…and Jesus Christ whom you have sent).
e)     We do not believe in God the Father and God the Son (…that they know youthe only true God, and Jesus Christ…).

How else can these truths be made known to us if we are void of HIS knowledge?

Through the Knowledge of HIM – Godly Life

2 Peter 1:3 (NIV)
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
Emphasis Mine

What is a godly life? A godly life is a Spirit – led life.
To live a godly life will mean to live a Spirit-led life. God is Spirit according to John 4:24a (NIV).  We are His offspring, therefore, we are Spirit beings. So, in order to be “godly” – we need to be led by the Holy Spirit.

Our knowledge of Him is the permission/access through which we can experience a godly life. Living a godly life will therefore mean living a life that God will live if in our position. Therefore, we have the responsibility to live like Him (represent HIM) through a godly life and through godly actions.

How can you know that an act is godly without the knowledge of HIM?
Only the Word of God tells us what is godly. So without the knowledge of Him, how can you possibly know that an act is godly?

A “goodly life” is not a “godly life”. God is most pleased when we are Spirit – led.

Through the knowledge of HIM, we get to understand that there are certain actions/behaviors that when we engage in, increases ungodliness. A knowledge of these actions will propel us in the right directions, to start engaging in godly actions.

2 Timothy 2:16 (NIV)
Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.
                                                            Emphasis Mine

Through the Knowledge Of HIM – Introduction

The book of 2 Peter was written by Peter. Peter was one of the disciples of Jesus Christ. The purpose of the book is to warn Christians everywhere and the church about false teachers; also to exhort Christians to grow in their faith in the knowledge of Christ.

The foundational scriptures for this teaching will be based on 2 Peter 1:1-11 (NIV)
Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:
Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

Confirming One’s Calling and Election
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble,   and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Through the knowledge of HIM – the HIM being referred to in this context is God and Jesus our LORD”. Can you picture a life, better still, your life, governed, directed, influenced totally by the knowledge of God and Jesus our LORD? Beautiful right?

There are many benefits of knowing God and Jesus our LORD. This knowledge is only obtained through studying the WORD of God for yourself and doing the Word. The enemy will do everything in his power to rob you of spending time with the Word and by this relentless effort of his, we are placed in positions to make excuses - giving reasons why we cannot study the word. Guess what? Whether or not we agree, we will never function at our full potential because we have cooperated with the enemy to live at a level in life whereby we are perpetually being shortchanged.

·       What will it take for you to re-structure your schedule such that you spend some time of your day studying the WORD?
·       What will it take for you to identify that where you are right now is not God’s best for you? There is more to be discovered through the knowledge of HIM.
·       What will it take to say “NO” to the tricks of the enemy and “Yes” to God?
·       What will it take to say goodbye to living a “good life” and welcome a “godly life”?

Let’s delve deeper into this series and rediscover the benefits of living through the knowledge of God and Jesus our LORD. Amen.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Prayer For You

Loving Father, we thank you for teaching us from Paul’s Epistle to Philemon on how to be excellent Brother’s Keepers – a selfless journey worth pursuing and staying on. Father, as we desire to reflect Christ more and more and to establish the kingdom of heaven here on earth, we choose not to stop pursuing wisdom from the word because it is the only sure way to do so.

So far we have learned that in order to be a brother’s keeper, we will work as a team, live accountable lifestyles, remain prayerful, praise and rejoice with and for one another. Reconcile. We will be considerate, we will encourage and forgive. We will keep likeminded companionships and develop trustworthy character traits and more.

We take authority over any and every desire to live mediocre lifestyles and settle for the status quo. We refuse to be shortchanged in life. We choose to experience victory in every relationship we engage in. We will not barely make it in life; we will live excellently and prevail in every situation because we are knowledgeable about what your word says concerning that situation.

We are so grateful that you love us so much not to live us in the dark. We do not take this for granted. We receive the grace, ability, and willingness to do as expected. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Know Your Place

Something very outstanding is revealed to us in this epistle that should not go unnoticed. We are taught to be knowledgeable about our place in the lives of the people we associate with. Let’s look at this together – Paul related with several people in this Epistle and I want us to see the progression and differences of the relationships.

When Paul related with Timothy, he referred to him as my brother/our brother (Philemon 1:1b)
When Paul related with Philemon, he referred to him as a good friend and companion (fellow laborer/worker, co-worker (Philemon 1:1c)
When Paul related with Onesimus, he referred to him as his spiritual child (Philemon 1:10a)

As you practice to become an effective and excellent brother’s keeper, your success will become even more evident when you do so skillfully and knowledgeably - by knowing your place in the life of the person you relate with and also knowing their place in your life. It will save you so much confusion and lack of direction. It will create a healthy platform for discussions and interactions. It will completely eliminate vain living.

Knowing your place will also increase your influence in the life of the person. Do not be quick to relate with others without vision and purpose. It is possible to influence and impact relationships. This can only happen when you prayerfully know your place in the life of the person and their place in your life. Amen.


A trustworthy person is a reliable person. It is commonly said that trust is built or developed over time. Trust is earned through a series of exchanges and occurrences of character traits exhibited by a person. When we trust God, we are simply saying that in the absence of any trace of Him, when the occurrences around us do not seem to reflect Him, we can depend and trust in His never changing character over time. Amen!

The Epistle of Paul to Philemon communicates an aspect of trust between Paul and Philemon. After encouraging Philemon to receive Onesimus no longer as a slave but as a brother in the Lord, Paul further tells Philemon to credit His account on anything that Onesimus owes him. Then he says

Philemon 1:21 (NKJV)
Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say.
Emphasis Mine

I call that a statement of trust – having confidence in your obedience. In the absence of Philemon’s presence, Paul could still rely on his character. This is what I call a true brother’s keeper relationship. He trusted and could count on his character.

Now, examine yourself as you improve on becoming an outstanding brother’s keeper. Has your character overtime been that which has built trust between you and your fellow brethren in the Lord? If not, all hope is not lost. Carefully and intentionally work on yourself so that you offer nothing but the best of you in your relationships.

Like-Minded Companionship

Companionship is not limited to a tangible company. By this, I specifically mean, company that can be touched physically. The thoughts we meditate on, the books we read, the social media exposure, the television shows we watch are all different ways we can choose to keep company with something or someone. As we read through Paul’s epistle to Philemon, one thing is very obvious; Paul and Philemon were not in the same location, however, thoughts of Philemon kept running through the mind of Paul as he penned this epistle to Philemon.

Paul refers to Philemon as …my good friend and companion in this work (Philemon 1:1a MSG). When we refer to like-minded companionship, we simply mean keeping company with someone who has similar goals and interests as you. This is very obvious in Paul’s statement… my good friend and companion in this work (Philemon 1:1a MSG). By implication, they were together for a reason – they worked together and in this case, for kingdom purposes. One of Paul’s responsibilities was to plant churches and one of the churches planted was in Philemon’s house (…and to the church in your house (Philemon 1:2b (NKJV)).

By implication, it was not idle companionship. The goals were clear, there was a vision and possibly a mission. When they met, they had a platform for communication. I believe it was almost unlikely for Paul and Philemon to have a conversation and not mention the well-being of the church in terms of problem-solving, goal setting and how to make changes in order to benefit the church, etc.

There are great benefits in like-minded companionship because the returns are even greater. Purposefully keep company with like-minded people. The question that may arise is this, if indeed I am a brother’s keeper, should I not care about the well-being of my brethren who are perishing? Yes, indeed you should care and there are skillful approaches you can all use to make that companionship beneficial to both of you. Relate with knowledge and by so doing, you will know which skill should be implemented.

There are many, and I will mention a few as seen in the book of Jude 1:22-23 (NIV)
Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear-hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

It was on the basis of Christlike mindedness that Paul was calling on Philemon to accept Onesimus. Amen!


There is an endless list of individuals in scriptures who served as instruments of change in the lives of others. The frequency of th...