Day 1 Call to greatness
We were never ‘born again’ to be average! In fact every believer ought to be higher than average in ability, quality or importance. We are not average people; if God wanted it to be so, he could have not sent Jesus to die for us on that tree of torture and shame, on that mountain of alienation and despair. God was in Christ making those who believe in him God's children. We are His children, and as such we have His genes, by which we inherit some of His characteristics.
Our Father is the Great God. His word says 'For the LORD your God, is God of gods and LORD of Lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes' (Deuteronomy 10:17). His love is great (Psalm 103:11), his law is great (Isaiah 42:21) and His faithfulness is great (Lamentations 3:23). 'Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom' (Psalm 145:3).
We are not called for goodness sake, but for greatness sake. Good and ordinary are the enemies of greatness. God promised our father Abraham, the father to all believers that 'I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you' (Genesis 12:2). Abraham is called to be the first ancestor of an entire nation. Moreover, this nation will be lager than Abram expects. Not only will he be the human ancestor of most Jews, but he will also be the spiritual ancestor of all Christians, Jews and Muslims. Abraham is our spiritual father as Paul states; 'understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham' (Galatians 3:7). If the Father is great, so are the descendants. In the other incidence, King David, discovered where his protection and victory come from, and wrote a praise song testifying that 'He (God) stoop down to make me great' (2Samuel 22:36). It is God who made us great. Christians are not just ordinary or good people but are great people called to do great things.
This is evident in the scriptures. Jesus spoke about this several times and even gave his disciples a recipe, a key, and a process for greatness. He said '…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant…' (Mark 10:43). Our Salvation, which is easily ignored, is refereed to as 'such a great salvation' (Hebrews 2:3). We were not given a good commission, but a Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Jesus declared in Matthew 22:37 and 39 that these words are not good commandments, but ‘Great Commandments’.
Moving further, few years after Jesus' departure, the Apostle Paul did not call love something that is good; instead, 'the greatest of these is love' (1Cor.13:13). Jesus himself proved that there is ordinary love and greater love, when He proclaimed that 'greater love has no one than this' (John 15:13).
Day 2. Call to greatness
A Call to greatness is a call to influence
Believers should show their greatness by the level of influence they have, in this world. The dictionary defines influence as ‘the power or ability to have an effect on someone's beliefs or action’. This is exactly what God has called us for. If he did not want us to influence the world, he could have taken us out of the world. However, he wanted us to live in this world and be exposed to the forces that may be and positively impact our societies.
Jesus said we are influencers and this is what we are to do. He said 'You are the salt of the earth' (Matthew 5:13). Believers are called to play an important part in society and the world in general. We are likened to salt that purifies, preserves and enhances the flavor of food. We must influence and make the world a better and more wholesome place. In the cooking pot, the salt works silently, however, a handful of that salt would diffuse its savor far and wide. This may speak of the influence of the Christian community in the society.
It is also interesting to note how this salt would penetrate and work irresistibly. Salt was also used as an added natural substance or fertilizer to the soil, to make the soil conducive to grow food in. In the same manner believers are to influence the world, with God's power, to conceive and produce the fruit of righteousness. We are to show the world that it is possible to be fair in business and be polite in politics.
The call to greatness is the call to excellence
Excellence is the quality of being excellent. To be excellent is to be outstanding or extremely good. The Apostle Paul speaks of the gospel as the treasure, and this treasure is stored in jars of clay. Something that is precious and valuable is stored in something that is common and ordinary. 2Corinthians 4:7 reads 'but we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.' The word 'surpassing' is translated 'Excellency' which means exceeding greatness.
That is what the gospel does, it produces excellence. Believers ought to be excellent. Excellence is being all you can be within the bounds of doing what is right for the Kingdom of God. This character of excellence comes from the God in us.
Characteristics of excellence include honorable character. Not only honorable, but also a strong character. A person with strong character shows drive, energy, determination, self-discipline, willpower and nerve. This character is composed of beliefs, values, skills and traits.
Day 3 God’s Promises
Sometime ago a dam was to be built in a certain city. The people in a small town were to be relocated because the town itself would be submerged when the dam was finished. During the time between the decision to build the dam and its completion, the buildings in the town, which previously were kept up nicely, fell into disrepair. Instead of being a pretty little town, it became an eyesore. Why did this happen? The answer is simple. As one resident put it ‘where there is no faith in the future, there is no work in the present.’
To hope is to put your eyes on things to come and hope for a better future. Hope is a human emotion that manifests itself in words and action. You know that hope is present because you can feel it emotionally, physically, spiritually and intellectually. It is not something easily described, but you can feel it at the very core of your being. You can see and experience it in others. Hope cannot be faked.
It shows up in how you appear; how you talk; on what you do and how you do it. Hope gives you more energy. Hope keeps stress away. If we are not motivated to look forward to a better future, we get discouraged and loose hope. This results to us neglecting even what we have at the present. God knows that, in order for people to improve their lives in the present, there must be a hope for the future. To give His people a Hope for the future God would give them a promise.
A promise is God’s pledge for the future. God’s promises are anchored in his unchanging character and steadfast love. The Bible is filled with promises upon which the believer can depend. Where even our most heartfelt promises sometimes falter, the Word of God is his promise and never fails.
He has no reason to lie:
He remembers all his promise- the psalmist says “For he remembered his sacred promise to his servant Abraham.”
He keeps all his promises- Joshua on his death bed once reminded Israel that God keeps his promises when he said “Soon I will die, going the way of everything on earth. Deep in your hearts you know that every promise of the Lord your God has come true. Not a single one has failed! But as surely as the Lord your God has given you the good things he promised…!
He is faithful to his promises. For the bible says ‘the one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.’ In Hebrews it says ‘let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.’ Paul said to Corinthians, ‘for the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached… was not ‘yes’ and ‘no’, but in him it has always been ‘yes’. For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘yes’ in Christ. So the amen is spoken by us to the glory of God.’
Thursday- God’s promises
In Exodus 23:20-30, Israel was about to possess the Promised Land. The land of Canaan was promised to Abraham, and God has not forgotten his promise. He is now giving them ‘other promises’ to the promised land. There are at least three promises in this text, that I want you and me to claim for our future.
1.THE PROMISE OF PROTECTION/GUIDANCE
“See, I am sending an angel before you to protect you on your journey and lead you safely to the place I have prepared for you.’
1.1. Life is a journey: In this text, I am always reminded that life is a journey. The fact is that none of us knows what tomorrow has in store, except God. It is therefore important to do as Solomon advised: ‘. . . Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths’ Proverbs 3:6. John prays for his friend Gaius: ‘Beloved, I wish above all things that thou may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers’ (3 John 2). He prays that Gaius ‘prospers’; to prosper means to have a ‘well journey’ or to have a prosperous journey. Prosperity means more than to arrive at your destiny, but arriving well. That is what God wants and desires for us.
1.2. Protected to prosper: There is also a very important promise from this text. God promises to protect us on our journey. This promise is for everyone who knows God’s will for their lives. ‘... Commit your work to the Lord, and then your plans will succeed’ Proverbs 16:3. God protects His plan for our lives. When we get out of His will, we get out of His protection. ‘To protect you’ implies that there will be obstacles. Not all obstacles are bad, I must say. Conflict is simply meeting an obstacle on the road to your answer. Growth and success do not eliminate obstacles, they create new ones. Obstacles can stop you if you are not protected by God! If protected they can temporarily detour you, but only ‘you’ can make you stop.
1.3 An Angel has been assigned God created an angel to protect them. Angels are important to believers:
They provide for us 1Kings 19:5-8
They protect us Psalm 91:11/Daniel 6:22
They guide us Acts 8:26/Acts 27:23-24
1.3. Place designed and prepared: This passage shows that God has a plan for our lives; for He has prepared a place specifically for each and everyone one of us. God has not only designed a place for you, but He has prepared the same place to suit you. “I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Day 5 God’s Promises
THE PROMISE OF COMFORTABLE SETTLEMENT
The other promise is that, if they remain faithful to God, they will be comfortable in their settlement in Canaan. This is what he will do:
He shall bless their bread and water; He shall bless their health (prevent sickness or remove it); He will increase their wealth (their cattle will never be barren). Remember that wealth consists in assets and behavior that promise a future stream of income; and He will prolong their lives.
I believe that these promises are still true for us today. I claim each and every one of these blessings for my life.
THE PROMISE TO CONQURER
The last promise, is that they will conquer their enemies. However I am much more interested in how this is going to be done. The land was to be conquered in stages. I picked two principles from this text:
Principle one: “Everybody is important in your life journey, including your enemy”. ‘…because the land would become desolate and the wild animals would multiply and threaten you.’
The all powerful God could have given them the land at once. But, the unburied corpses of the enemy and the portions of the country that might have been left desolate for a while, would have drawn an influx of dangerous beasts.
You need your enemies to protect you from wild beasts. God has a way of making your enemies your protection. I do not know how, but he has a way!
You need your enemies to maximize your potential: your enemy will surely drive you to the limit. Soon or later you will realize that, had it not been for your enemies, you would still be complacent. I have played foot ball for sometime. Our best games have been the games we played against best teams. Because when ever you play the best, you always do your best. You need to check the size of your enemy. The stronger your enemy, the stronger you are. The bigger the challenge, the bigger the gain, the bigger the victory!
Principle Two: ‘Do not take more than you can manage!’
‘By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.’
We are living in a generation of quick fixes. The bible says ‘Riches gained too quickly are soon lost’ Proverbs 20:21 because if you gain riches too quickly you wont have the skills to manage them. That is why those who get rich rarely stay rich for long. Accumulating riches is not based on how quick you get it. It is based on the ability to manage what you get responsibly. ‘Do not take more than you can manage!’ Success does not happen over night. Be patient, and motivate yourself with the Promises of God. They are ‘Yes’ and ‘Amen’. Your day will come!
Day 6 Persistence Pays
Trying times are no times to quit trying. If you have failed before, you have no choice, for the secret to success is to start from scratch and keep on scratching. As Mike Mrdock says, ‘you have no right to anything you have not pursued. For the proof of desire is the pursuit.’ Success is rated by what you finish not what you started. The great inventor, Thomas Edison, was told that he was “too stupid to learn anything!” when asked what made him great, he simply explained that the majority of his inventions were someone else’s. He just finished what others started!
Then I am convinced that people do not fail, they just quit too easily. Luke 18 records a parable of a persistent widow. All of us need to have the attitude of this woman. The attitude that never gives up! To persist 'is to simply continue to do something in spite of difficulty or opposition'.
Jesus says there was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard men. A woman who did not have a husband to speak on her behalf; she did not have money to bribe the corrupt judge; and she did not even tie herself to the formalities of the law. But made personal application to the Judge from day to day, crying. All she had was persistence!
What the Judge would not do out of compassion for her or reverence for God, he would do out of frustration with her persistence. It was George Allen who wrote that ‘people of mediocre ability sometimes achieve outstanding success because they do not know when to quit?
Persistent people are people of faith. Once they vision and see their goal, they become true to it until it is accomplished. They may fail nineteen times but succeed the twentieth. They may fall seven times but rise again. They refuse to give up. For them, faith is keeping on keeping on. Faith is never giving up. The people of faith simply do not know how to quit.
Persistent People Persevere: Perseverance is to continue in a course of action in spite of difficulty or lack of success. It means to stand firm in the face of resistance. Perseverance is to refuse to quit. Jim Watkins says ‘a river cuts through a rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.’ Persistence then is the ability to stand up in the face of the opposition.
Persistent People are Courageous people: If perseverance is the ability to stand in the face of opposition, courage is the ability to stand in the face of fear. Fear is the surest cause of failure. Because when we are afraid we build walls around ourselves and hide. Fear is the dark room where negatives develop.
Persist, keep on keeping on! An Elderly lady was once asked by a young man who had grown weary in the fight; whether he ought to give up the struggle. He said ‘I am beaten every time; I feel I must give up? The old lady replied, ‘have you noticed, that when the Lord told the discourage fishermen to cast their nets again, it was right in the same old spot where they had been fishing all night and had caught nothing? So, cast your net again. Knock, seek and ask, who knows, you may wake someone in the inside. “The strong-willed, intelligent, persistent man will find or make a way where, in the nature of things, a way can be found or made” Marden
Day 7 Potters Hands!
God never gives up on us. He is always ready and willing to put you back together again. No sin is too much for him, no life is too complicated for him. He wants to give anyone who turns to him for help a second chance.
The word of the LORD instructed Jeremiah (in chapter 18) to go down to the Potter’s house and see how God deals with people by observing the potter working on clay. Jeremiah notices that one of the pots the potter is working on is not a success. It is not coming out the way the potter intended it. As a result, the potter squashes the soft clay back into a single lump and begins to ‘make it again into another vessel as it seemed good to the potter to make’ (18:4).
Three things I picked up from this text:
1. The vessel has the potential of not being what it was intended
It is not always easy to work with the clay; as it is not easy to work with people. Some times clay gets too stiff and simply refuses to be what the potter wants it to be. So are we, many times we refuse to be what God designed us to be or says we are. Some clay may be having a stone in it, making it difficult for the potter to work on. The potter cannot use clay with a stone; God cannot use us with sin. Deal with the stone of unbelief and disobedience, and God will deal with the wheel of life.
2. The patience of the potter in dealing with the clay (he does not mind starting from the beginning)
The clay marred in his hands; it just disintegrated into a shapeless heap of clay. Notice, the potter does not throw this clay away. He simply turned it into another shape; just as seems good to the potter. That is what God does with us; He never gives up on us. He knows we are too hard to deal with, he knows we fall many times. But God still says, ‘can I not shape you, and take you from your shapeless form and reform you?’ He takes His time and energy to do deal with us. ‘God never takes time to build a ‘nobody’. Everybody God creates is created to be somebody’- Schuller Robert.
3. The message is not in the potter’s house but in the potter’s hands!
The message is in the potter’s hands. Many strive to enter the Potter’s house and be content with it, but that is not enough. It is not enough to be in the house, you need to be in the potter’s hands. To be in the potter’s house is to be in the presence of God. Nevertheless, there are times when the presence is not enough. The most painful thing that can happen to you is to share the same space with God and lack the intimate relationship with Him. It is possible to have the presence without intimacy! You need intimacy.
GOD seeks YOU!
God’s work is people. He makes people. He wants you to allow him to make you to a person He wants you to be. Look at this text: “I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one” Ezekiel 22:30 (NLT).