Sam Abraham

God’s New Man

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Cor 5:17

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.Gal 3:26-28

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.Romans 12:1-2

Introduction

The above passages paint vivid pictures of the new man. The moment you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you were born again into the family of God. You have a brand new spirit. The new you is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, and neither male nor female. However, because you are triune being, you still have two-thirds of you that isn’t brand new. For emphasis: you are a spirit, you have a soul and you live in an earthly suit, your body (1The 5:23).

Discover Your Distinctiveness: A Pointer To Your Potential

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous — how well I know it. 15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. 16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed- Ps. 139: 14-16.NLT

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations. Jer.1:5 NLT

From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. Act 17:26 NIV.

The following texts uniquely reveals that no one is on earth by accident; we’re all here on specific assignment from God. He packaged each of us in our mother’s womb and we were delivered/born to a family He chose, in a place/land He identified as most ideal for the accomplishment of His purpose and to fulfill His agenda for our individual lives. Unless we accomplish the divine agenda for our lives, anything else we do is worthless. Hence you need to really know your own uniqueness, because it is an indicator of the reason for your existence.

What is your Uniqueness?

God prescribed every single detail of our lives to fit the assignment He has in store for each of us. He deliberately chose your race, the color of your skin, your hair and every other feature. He custom-made your body and everything else to help you accomplish your purpose. He also determined the natural talents and abilities each of us, including the uniqueness of our personalities. Scientific study has shown that the likelihood of someone exactly like you i.e. your DNA is 10 to the 2,400,000,000th power. If you were to write that number out on a paper, the zeros will be 37,000 miles long! That’s how unique you are!! Directly related to your being unique is the ability(ies) that God has given to each of us to distinguish us. The Bible clearly says that… all abilities are from God and he wants you to serve him with the abilities-i.e. use them for him. Your job is to discover those abilities and deploy them in the right way – that is your calling.

Let’s be more practical here. There’s a reason why some folks can crunch numbers and others cannot; or why some folks like to talk, are more empathic or sensitive to the needs of other around them, while some don’t even notice it. Yes still, there’s a reason why some can sing, swim, etc, and others just don’t. When you read the story of Nehemiah, he was already comfortable in the palace, but for the way God wired him, that when he saw Hanani, the welfare of the people of Jerusalem was his concern (Neh 1:1-7). Obviously, Nehemiah wasn’t the only person that could have been used for the rebuilding of the walls. The difference was in Nehemiah’s uniqueness. Your uniqueness is an arena of your greater sensitivity, capability, interest, desire or commitment. Put simply, you just want it more than others and are willing to do anything to accomplish it, thereby fulfilling your life’s calling in so doing.

How to Discover Your Calling

The key to discovering your calling is to examine how God uniquely “wired” you – according to Rich Warren in Purpose Driven Life, this is called your SHAPE.

  1. Discovering and using Your Spiritual Gifts – God has given every believer spiritual gifts to be used in ministry. These are special God-empowered abilities for serving him that are given only to believers.
  2. Listening to your Heart – The Bible uses the term heart to describe the bundle of desires, hopes, interests, ambitions, dreams, and affections you have. Your heart represents the source of all your motivations – what you love to do and what you care about most is one of the clearest pointer to your calling.
  3. Applying your Abilities (Talents) – Your abilities are the natural talents you were born with. Make no mistakes, as I said earlier, all your abilities came from God – the bible says, “God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well”. Since your natural abilities are from God, they are just as important and as “spiritual” as your spiritual gifts. The only difference is that you were given them at your natural birth.
  4. Using your Personality – Remember when God made you, he broke the mold. There never has been, and never will be, anybody exactly like you. It is obvious that God loves variety; just look around you! He created each of us with a unique combination of personality traits. God made “introverts” and those who love “society”. He made people who love “routine” and those who love “variety”. He made some people “thinkers” and others “feelers”. Some people work best when given an individual assignment while others are better with a team. God made you to be you! By copying or trying to be like someone else will never work and you will never become the best God of what wants you to be. You are the best you that can ever be – So work it!
  5. Employ your Experiences. You have been shaped by your experiences in life, most of which are beyond your control. God allowed them for his purpose of molding you. In pursuing your calling, you should examine at least six kinds of experiences from your past.
    1. Family Experiences: What did you learn growing up in your family?
    2. Educational Experiences: What were favorite subjects in school?
    3. Vocational Experiences: What jobs have you been most effective in and enjoyed the most?
    4. Spiritual Experiences: What have been your most meaningful times with God?
    5. Ministry Experiences: How have you served God in the past?
    6. Painful Experience: What problems, hurts, thorns, and trials have you learned from?

If you really desire to be used by God, you must understand one powerful truth: “The very experiences that you have resented or regretted most in life – the ones you’ve wanted to hide and forget – are the experiences God wants to use to help others – They are your ministry – they are your calling.”

Finally, remember that Jesus’s parable of the talents illustrates that God expects us to make the most of what he gave us. We are to cultivate our gifts and abilities, keep our hearts a-flame, grow our character and personality, and broaden our experiences so we will become increasingly more effective in our service to God. Paul told the Philippians to “keep on growing in your knowledge and understanding” and he reminded Timothy, “Kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you”.

Developing The Virtue of Generosity

God is a generous God, loving us so much He gave His one and only Son (Jn 3:16), and because we are His children, we are to be generous like Him.

What is Generosity?  It is beyond giving away our possessions or not withholding.  Prov 11:24 says the generous will get richer but that the stingy will lack.  God’s principle for increase includes generosity (Psa 112:9; Pro 19:17, 28:8).  Unless, however, we ARE selfless, we cannot be generous.

The question is: Why are people selfish? Often it is self-preservation–they think they might run out, yet God says it is the person that withholds that becomes poor (Pro 11:2; Hag 1:9-10). It doesn’t seem to make sense, unless we come to terms with the fact that there is nothing we have that we have not been given (1Cor 4:7).  This is one thing David knew and taught well to Solomon his son, as seen in 1Chr 29:16.  Everything belongs to God, and it is out of what He has given to us that we give back to him.

What does it take to develop generosity?

  1. Deadness to self, which is selflessness. We must bring our body into subjection (1Cor 9:27), otherwise we won’t be able to show generosity at all.
  2. We need to trust God as our source and know that even if we were down to our last meal, like the widow of Zarephath, (1Kg 17), God would still meet our needs.
  3. We need to glean lessons from generous people in the scriptures — for example, the young man that gave his lunch of five loaves and two fishes to Jesus to feed the crowd. Who do you think they gave the 12 baskets that were left to?  (Jn 6:1-14).
  4. God says that when we are generous, we are lending to Him, and He assures He will pay us back (Pro 19:17).
  5. Generosity is one way we store treasure in our heavenly bank account, which can never be depleted – Mat 6:19-20.

A few people that exemplified generosity:

  1. Barnabas, “the son of Encouragement” – sold his land and gave it as proceeds for kingdom expansion – Acts 4:36
  2. The widow of Zarephath gave all and saved her son and herself from disaster – 1Kg 17:1-16.
  3. Joseph of Arimathea – Mat 27:57-60
  4. The church in Macedonia – 2Cor 8:1-5
  5. The Shunamite woman – 2Kgs 4:8-10
  6. The Israelite givers in Exo 36:1-7 – They had to be stopped from bringing their resources.
  7. The Good Samaritan gave more than money – Lk 10:25-37
  8. Joseph gave when it made no sense, to a wicked family – Gen 45
  9. By the giving of the man of his food – Mat 14:14-20, Jesus was able to do the impossible, which is the purpose of generosity.
  10. The generosity of Zacchaeus attests to his transformation – Lk 19:1-10

 

Bible Study Methods That Work

 


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 – Josh 1:8.

People do what they do for various reasons. In the journey of life, only those that can learn to stay afloat will thrive and the principle of living is God’s Word. The question has very seldom ever been whether the Word is our instrument for it. It has always been how do I do it? It’s always been a question of process, process, process. The best of plans without a process or strategy for accomplishing it is nothing short of willful thinking, the thought of any couch potato, ever wishing and putting nothing to work.

Yet I have found over these years that there are many that have the best of strategies without execution. What therefore I am sharing with you are basic plans and strategies that if you put to work will change your life and your world without fail.

Putting it in simpler terms, you don’t just make a man fly a plane. Show him how. It’s process, process, process. It’s about taking certain steps in certain order to guarantee certain results. It’s not just any steps, not just any order and not just any results. It’s what the Bible means when it says, ‘Precept must be upon precept, line upon line’ (Isa 28:10).

The primary purpose of personal Bible study is not to numb God, eliminate guilt or fulfill all righteousness. Its purpose is to Radically Transform our lives (RTL). Once the purpose of a thing is not grasped, abuse is inevitable. But when RTL remains our driving force, everything else falls in place. The purpose of personal Bible study is what it changes you into, how it impacts your life. If it is in not changing you, it is a waste.

The question therefore is this: How will all your personal Bible study change you? Let’s keep it simple by sticking to this age-old tested and thoroughly proven process. It’s a simple three-step approach that pretty much guarantees RTL, that is Radically Transformed Lives. These steps must follow one another in the order they are given. They are:

1. Observation

This is the first step, that is, purely of observational nature. When you get to a Bible passage you simply ask what is it saying? What’s here? What are all the facts? Like a detective investigating a crime scene, you gather all the facts, leaving nothing out. Nothing is too trivial. All the facts must be collected. If you leave anything out here, everything else you do will fall apart. It is the foundation upon which everything else is built. Gather all the facts, leaving absolutely nothing out.

2. Interpretation

This is the stage when you get meanings for all the facts you collected in Step 1 above. In a quest for answers, you ask, what does this mean? Unfortunately, the travesty common today is that people read and begin saying it means so and so. How can you reach correct conclusions without getting all the facts? And the sadder aspect is that once they reached an interpretation, it all ends there. No. Life-changing personal Bible study does not begin with interpretation and interpretation is not the end of the process. There is still a third step.

3. Application

Here is where you ask, how can I put this to work in my life? How does this apply to me? Hear this, the Bible is the revealed Word of God. It is therefore God’s instruction manual for living. When we return to the Bible, we return to reality. Every time we read and do what it asks us to do, we cannot but experience transformation. No food, no matter how nutritious or delicious it may be, will do you any good unless eaten. Just reading scriptures and interpreting them without applying it to our lives by doing what it says is therefore an exercise in futility. Back to the core purpose of personal Bible study. It is life changing, which automatically occurs as we gather all the facts from our study, correctly interpreting them and then putting them to work in our lives. In the words of Hendricks, “Method is methodical with a view to becoming receptive and reproductive”.

Do you want your life to make a difference? Do you want to impact your world? Do you desire to leave an imprint on the sand of time? First it has to begin by you allowing scriptures to impact your own life. Do you know the analogy of sperm and egg? Neither the male sperm nor the female egg by itself can produce a new life. Conception and reproduction are the result of the fusion of both, that is, the sperm must be embraced by the egg.

What is true of egg and sperm is true of the Life Transformation. Rom 12:2 says, be transformed by the renewing of your mind. When God’s word and a receptive and obedient heart get together, something extraordinary happens. It is referred to as a Radically Transformed Life (RLT). And what’s more, the more the lives are impacted by the Living Word of God, the better our society and world becomes.

Let’s add yet another small flare to our definition. “Method is methodical with a view to becoming receptive, and reproductive, by means of first hand acquaintance with the Word.”

By way of emphasis therefore, there is no substitute for personal prolonged exposure to the Bible. You have to read it for yourself. No substitute. The alternatives to it is you would have to depend on a third party or an intermediary to tell you what the Bible says. Imagine having to rely on a third party to tell you what your spouse is saying. Exactly how long do you imagine that such marriage will last? Remember always that Christ, the Living Word is the husband and head to His body (Eph. 5:23). A good marriage is not designed to thrive upon a third party but on a smooth interaction between the couple. Don’t be a let down to your beloved. Get the Word for yourself. You can never be over-exposed to Scripture. The more you get into Scripture, the better opportunity you must get transformed by it.

Grace be with you in 2018 and beyond!! AMEN!!!

Divine Rest

Read: Hebrews 4:1-10

“Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. ….9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.”

The English dictionary defines rest as follows:

  1. To cease from work or movement, to relax, sleep, or recover strength, be placed or supported so as to stay in a specified position;
  2. To be free from whatever worries or anything that disturbs you;
  3. To lie down, to be settled or to be fixed;
  4. To remain confident, to put your trust in something, in other words, you rest in something in the sense of confidence;
  5. To lean on something.

Surprisingly, God’s kind of rest not only means all these five things but much more spiritually as well physically. Divine rest means a relationship with God in which you are trusting and relying on the finished work of Christ, and not on your own efforts or on yourself.

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