Nuggets of Wisdom (From A Man Named AGUR) — Rachel Mathias

Agur the son of Jakeh is a Bible Character found in the Book of Proverbs Chapter 30, better known as Agur Bin Jakeh. The word Agur means ‘one who is brave in pursuit of wisdom’.

We can glean several prized nuggets from this chapter in verses 5 to 9 such as:
God’s Word is true and flawless, all else a falsehood. God always keeps His promises. We are not to add to His Words. He understood what it meant to live a life of contentment and the paradox of poverty and riches – wherein asking for poverty might lead to stealing or speaking evil against God or asking for riches that might lead to being full of himself and denying God. So he asked neither for poverty nor for riches but only for his daily bread.

Agur understood the significance of the Book of Proverbs which displays the need for God’s Wisdom to be found only in God’s Word that teaches you how to live well; the need to be open to hearing God, receiving His Wisdom through His Word recorded in the Bible.

We are told in 2 Chronicles 1:7, 10, how God was willing to give Solomon whatever he asked for and how Solomon opted for ‘wisdom and knowledge’ to govern and lead His people rather than riches, fame, honor, long life, and victory. Not – surprisingly, he received what he asked inclusive of great wealth (vs 12).

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:7. We need to start with wisdom, add to it knowledge, and we will get true understanding.

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus I come before you today with a humble heart bowing down before you in worship. I ask you to fill me with the spirit of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of Your Word.

Oh, how I long to be in Your presence. Speak to me words of wisdom through Your Word. Lord help me to be both hearer and doer of Your Word. Since the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom help me obey Your Word in fear and reverence; that Your Word would guide me to live a holy and peaceful life in Christ Jesus. Amen!

Keys to Overcoming Discouragement — Dr. Jonathan D’Souza

Definition of Discouragement: ‘a loss of confidence, or enthusiasm, or dispiritedness’.

I am certain that every individual has faced some form of discouragement during this wonderful journey called life. Discouragement can drain you of all motivation and make you give up on your dreams/goals. We live in a time where true success needs perseverance. Let’s take the story of the famous scientist Thomas Edison (the inventor of the incandescent light bulb).

In a 1910 biography, Edison’s friend and associate Walter S. Mallory said:

Thomas Edison 10,000 ways something won't work‘’Isn’t it a shame that with the tremendous amount of work you have done you haven’t been able to get any results?’ Edison turned on me like a flash, and with a smile replied: ‘Results! Why, man, I have gotten lots of results! I know several thousand things that won’t work!

Persistence is an outdated concept in our daily routine that is ‘instant-oriented’. Instant coffee, 2 min noodles, next day delivery etc. However, discouragement is the biggest killer of persistence.

overcome discouragementLet’s see a lovely example from the Holy Bible in Haggai 2:1-9. Here is a prophetic word given by God through His prophet Haggai to His people involved in the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple. The foundation of the temple was laid approximately 15 years before, but the project was shelved. In response to Haggai’s word, the leader and people commenced rebuilding of the Temple. In Haggai 2:1-9 we discover that God encourages his discouraged people to persevere in His work.

What touched me personally while reading this passage is that God—the Almighty, Lord of Hosts, all Powerful One—cares about His people being discouraged. What an understanding God!

There are 5 major causes of discouragement:

1. Loss of initial enthusiasm
Whenever we launch a project, we begin at 100%. But as time passes, that excitement dies down. This is evident in every aspect of our lives, be it a school assignment, an office project, even ministry work.

We can try and visualize how the Temple could have looked. Imagine the walls being constructed, tiles being set in place, gold decorations being arranged, but the finishing touches were simply missing. Maybe the gold available at the time was insufficient. Perhaps the number of laborers thinned down as the years passed by leaving the construction rubble aside.

2. Delays can discourage us
The Bible rightly says in Proverbs 13:12 “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” People who love multi-tasking hate delays. In fact, delays affect our entire schedule and push a project way beyond its stipulated time. The Jewish Temple was huge and the material requirements would have definitely met with unexpected delays.

3. Opposition from outside (Criticism)
Haggai 2:5 mentions God’s message to His people “Do Not Fear!”. Ever wondered why God is telling His people not to fear.

Consider this. Why does a seemingly smooth activity within the Church or in work suddenly turn messed up? Why everything that is moving in the right direction has people falling out, afflictions coming by and roadblocks that suddenly seem huge (like a mountain)? Because, for every work of God, satan will try and bring obstruction.

4. Opposition from within (pessimism, comparison, and faulty expectations) Ezra 3:11-13
The youngsters celebrated the building of the new Temple. But the old timers, people who had seen the past glory of Solomon’s Temple, wept when they say that the temple of the present day was nothing like the past.

In church ministry and like any other task, the greatest hurt is felt when opposition comes from within. People may not intend to hurt you, but it just happens. Like it did in the temple.

Pessimism, comparison, and faulty expectation are like three musketeers that go hand-in-hand. Imagine when you go tell someone who is serving in ministry ‘hey, you know what, that church or that person is very anointed.’ However, what you are implying (even though it is not intentional) is ‘Hey..you know that this church or you, as an individual, lack anointing or you need to be doing something differently’. Imagine, what sort of encouragement you are giving the pastor or the serving team members?

5. Mistaken perspective (wrong view) of success. Haggai 2:7-9
People were expecting the Temple to have all the gold and silver they could put in. A grand memorial, an extravagant place of worship, a monument to the Lord! Seeing things through the human perspective can be really demoralizing. There was nothing in the present situation that made the builders of the Temple see the objective in sight.

We need to have God’s perspective of a situation. Do you know, this is the very temple in which Jesus (the promised Messiah) set foot after many years (over 500 years later).

The true measure of success is in the light of eternity.

What is really touching to see in the passage of Haggai 2:1-9, is how our Lord understands and feels the discouragement of His people. It is not that He criticizes them but rather provides His encouragement.

Here are the 5 Keys to overcoming discouragement:

Key#1 Be Strong! (Haggai 2:4a)
People become weak when they turn their focus off the Lord and instead look to the slow, disappointing progress at hand. Think how much our attitude affects our ability to persevere. The Lord asks His people to be strong!
What does He mean by this?

2 Corinthians 3:5 says “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God”. The Lord asks us to find strength in Him. Through His strength, we can achieve anything.

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength”. All we need to do is place our faith in Him.

Let’s recount the story of the 12 spies who went to look at Canaan land. Only Joshua and Caleb came back with a positive report. That is because they didn’t rely on their own might but on the strength of the Lord. That is the first key to overcoming disappointment.

Key#2 Work! (Haggai 2:4b)
While having the right perspective and being strong is good, it isn’t sufficient by itself. In Haggai 2:4, the Lord advises His people to be strong and work. James 2:22 says “Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?”. Joshua and Caleb had to be strong, not just by believing but also by putting their faith into practice. They had to go into the land and physically fight off the giants.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.

When you ask for God’s strength, you start out believing that you already have it. By putting your faith into action, you are allowing God’s divine strength to work through you. By this alone, people will see and marvel that it is not the hand of man, but the Hand of the Lord on your life.

Key#3 His Presence will be with You
God’s presence is sufficient for us. Haggai 2:4-5 says that the Lord of Hosts (Lord of the armies) is with us. Even Prophet Moses recognized the significance of the Lord’s presence. In Exodus 33:15 Moses said to the Lord “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” God’s presence assures victory in every situation in our lives.

Key#4 God reminds us of His Promises (Haggai 2:5)
God refers to the promise He made with the nation of Israel when He brought them out of Egypt. A God who honors His promises, He reminds the people of the promise He has made. We are fortunate that we worship an unchanging, loving and merciful God who doesn’t change and forget His promises.

In fact, the Lord has made a better covenant with us now. Hebrews 8:6 says “But now hath He obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also He is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.” Jesus has sealed this New Covenant with His own precious blood and given us the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as promised in John 14:16 “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever”.

All we need to do is remember what God has promised us. That will give our lives purpose and the power to pursue our projects.

Key#5 God encourages us through His prophecies
The prophecies mentioned in Haggai were not to just show the future but also to strengthen, encourage and uplift the faith of His people. Haggai 2:6-8 is directly quoted in the New Testament in Hebrews 12:26-27 as a reminder of the supreme Power and Authority of God. When He says that silver and gold are His, the Lord is saying that He is capable of bringing in all the wealth that is necessary to rebuild the temple.

Finally, in verse 9 of Haggai chapter 2 God speaks that He will give peace. A quick reference to the fulfilment of these prophecies can be seen in Ephesians 2:17 “He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.” and Romans 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”.

My dear friends…brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, be encouraged in your work for Him, knowing that your work for the Lord is not in vain.

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58.

Stay Blessed!

The Eagle Christian — Prophet Tony Mathias

A tiny eaglet fell out of its nest in a tall tree near a farm, & landed in a chicken coop. He found himself surrounded by little chicks & thought they were his siblings. He grew up like them, learning to scratch for insects & peck at the seeds the farmer scattered in the barnyard. The young eagle’s wings & feathers began to grow, but it never thought it was different from its chicken family.

One day an older eagle, soaring in the sky, spotted it in the barnyard. The eagle swooped down & had a face-to-face talk with the young eagle. “You are not a chicken,” he said, “You are an eagle. You are not supposed to hop around the ground looking for bugs. This is not your life. You are meant to fly in the heavens & ride the wind.” These words opened the little eagle’s eyes to who it really was & gave him the desire to join his new friend above in the clouds. It spread his wings & after a few attempts it lifted off and flew to the nearest tree. With each attempt, it flew higher & farther away. Soon it mounted up with the wind & disappeared in the vast deep blue sky.

Are you living up to your God-given spiritual potential? Are you soaring with Elect Eagles or scratching around with Chicken Christians? “ …those who wait for the Lord expectantly shall renew their strength; they shall lift their wings, rise up close to God as eagles rise up to the sun; they shall run and not be weary, walk and not faint or become tired.” Isaiah 40:31

Joseph waited years for his breakthrough Genesis 37-41 Potiphar’s wife lied about him, he was thrown into prison. Pharaoh’s butler forgot him and he continued in prison. Yet he kept trusting God and became 2nd to Pharaoh. Moses waited for 40 yrs before God used him to deliver the Israelites [Exodus]. – You are never too young or old to do anything important. God is not concerned about your age. He is more concerned about your availability and willingness to obey Him.

David waited for 15 yrs before he became King of Israel: 1,2 Samuel though he was anointed King 15 yrs. earlier. During the interim time of waiting, he continued to worship and trust God in a time of great hardship and King Saul’s attempts to kill him.

What happens to those waiting expectantly for the Lord? – They will ascend! How? – Close to God over storms of life by riding the wind of the Spirit with tireless energy, just like eagles rise up to the Sun soaring over storms by riding the wind with great energy. “The joy of the Lord is your strength” Nehemiah 8: 10. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” Philippians 4:13. Christians are called to be Eagle Christians, but many live like chickens searching for worms with a mindset that resists change in their comfort zone. By doing this they hinder God’s plan for their .lives – their problem? – Complacency. They resist change.

The Eagle is a very active bird. “As an eagle stirs up her nest, flutters over her young, spreads out her wings, takes them and bears them on her wings.” Deuteronomy 32:11 The mother eagle watches her eaglets in the nest till they are fully feathered and sufficiently mature. Then she “stirs the nest” practically tearing it up making it uncomfortable for her little ones to stay on. She then trains them to fly.

Lately, have you found your nest, comfort zone being stirred, threatened? – job, career, family, church, potential… Wondering what’s happening to your life? Are you one who doesn’t like changes? Are you uncomfortable and worried about it? Did you consider it may be God stirring your nest? That’s His way of telling you that you’ve stayed too long in the nest and He doesn’t want His eaglets to be nest dwellers all their life. His eaglets are meant to fly. So are you!

God has a plan and purpose for your life. Get out of your comfort zone! Just as Mother Eagle spreads her wings and commands her eaglets to step out on them firmly grasping a feather in their beak. In the same way, God trains us by spreading His Word before us commanding us to step on it, grasping firmly to God’s promises in obedience. He has given us the Bible, His manual for life! Just as Mother Eagle watches her little ones in training making sure they don’t fall to the ground when they lose their hold on her feathers. And if they do she lifts them up on her wings to try again. Even so, God watches His own in training to keep them from falling when they lose hold on His promises. If they fall He lifts them up to try again.

Church, you are not chicken scratching the ground searching for bugs and small things. You are Eagle Christians. You are meant to fly and soar in the heavens. You are to think big and set your goals high and achieve them, to dream the impossible dream because you are the children of the King. You have to leave your legacy behind that you passed through this earth once, find God’s plan and purpose for your life and do it. So that your heart will be delighted when you hear the King of heaven say: “Well done thou good and faithful servant!” “He who began a good work in you will carry it onto completion…” Philippians 1:6.

Boost Your Confidence In God’s Spoken Word — Rachel Mathias

Deborah the prophetess – Judge has been cited in this article as a prime example to boost our confidence in God’s spoken word and watch the amazing results.

Deborah placed her confidence in Yahweh Elohim, the God of Israel, because she heard from Him and obeyed Him. She trusted in God alone and His plan for victory.

Consider, if the Lord has spoken will He not show up, will He not bring His words to pass? He will surely keep His Word. His promises are Yes, and Amen! Isaiah 46:11; Numbers 23:19. 2 Corinthians 1:20. The Master says: “My sheep hear My voice and they follow Me.” John 10:27 – All we need to do is follow the Lord closely, follow-after His Will – His ready plan for our lives.

Deborah did exactly that – she followed God and obeyed His command. This brought deliverance and victory to the Israelites. The battle was won, the Canaanites were defeated. She trusted in God and had confidence in His Word. She stepped into her calling as a prophetess, spokesperson, before the leader – ruler, with the message God had given her, assuring him of success and capture of the enemy. Judges 4:4-7

Deborah, the prophetess, was a judge of Israel. She held court between Ramah (elevated) and Bethel (house of God) in Mount Ephraim where Israelites came from all over the country so she could rule their cases. Deborah was also given the title of prophet, an acknowledgement that she was inspired by God in ruling the Israelite community. So we see that in addition to being a judge she was a prophetess, used to win wars, battles, sing victory songs, lead the people out of enemy-clutches, deliver the oppressed, lead as God’s spokesperson, speak to rulers and leaders, prophesy-speak as an oracle of God. She sang a victory song giving praises to the God of Israel Judges 5:1-5.

As Deborah would sit under the palm tree between Ramah and Bethel in the mountains of Ephraim and receive insight and inspiration, likewise where we sit and pray does have great significance.

This sharing is meant to encourage all Christians, especially women to place their confident trust in the Lord. From Deborah we learn that God can accomplish great things through people willing to be led by Him. Trusting in God can make the ordinary in our lives extraordinary. We can expect God to bring us before great, powerful, influential people in society, at our workplace, marketplace or amidst family members to deliver a word of encouragement, speaking confidently as God has spoken to us.

Brokenness — Prophet Tony Mathias

Psalm 51:16-17: ‘You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.’ In this scripture, David the psalmist tells us here is that firstly God is not interested in externals. Although sacrifices and offerings are necessary He does not want them to be first and foremost. If external practices of religion are all we have in our lives then God takes no pleasure in them. They are only superficial. He looks below the surface at the heart, motive, and attitude.

beautyinthebrokennessHe tells us that the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: “A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” What is this ‘broken spirit’ that God desires? He does not want to crush us, beat us down or humiliate us. If we have a broken spirit it means we have come to the end of all our independence, self-will and self-righteousness; the end of our own resources, a place where we have no hope but in God; we turn to Him for His mercy and faithfulness, clinging only to Him not our own merits.

There are many experiences in life that can break our hearts such as disappointments, deaths, hurts, failures, and so on. At such times we may feel lonely and forsaken. The wonderful promise is that the Lord is close to those who are ‘broken hearted and crushed in their spirit.’ The Lord Jesus is close to us at such times. We must allow him to heal our broken hearts.

What does scripture tell us? Psalms 34:18: Isaiah 57:15 – “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted saves the crushed in spirit” Matthew 5:2. – “Blessed are those who mourn…” Psalms 147:3 – “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” The Lord heals our broken hearts and wants us to minister to others who are likewise experiencing the same. Whenever we experience brokenness in life, we are in a position to be used by the Lord to minister healing and restoration to the broken hearted. The wounds of Jesus minister healing into our lives and through our brokenness into the lives of others if we allow Him. Instead of mourning over heart breaking experiences, we must see the possibility of using them as a channel of healing to others with the compassion and love of Jesus.

Alive — Jyoti Samudre

When we think of the word ‘Alive’, what comes to our mind?
We think of something that is alive and not dead.

The Bible tell us in Ephesians 2:4-5: “…God, Who is rich in mercy, for His great intense love with which He loved us (even when we were dead in sins) has made is alive together with Christ!”

Are we made alive? If so, then our praise, worship, words should be streaming with life and generating life in the atmosphere. Now my question is… Is our praise and worship (words & songs) of the same level as it was when we were saved, maybe five, ten or even twenty years ago? Well, the Lord convicted me that my praise was the same. We all will agree that if we repeat the same things again and again, it could become routine or even boring.

colossians-2-13-he-made-you-alive-with-him

For example, if we love a popular Indian dish called ‘Biryani,’ could we eat it every day? No! The Bible says that the mercies of God are new every morning. If God comes to us with the newness of His mercies daily, then would it be appropriate to offer the God and maker of heaven and earth – the same routine prayers, praise, and worship? God is creative and He delights in newness.

The Psalmist encourages us to sing new songs to Him Psalms 33:3. He says excitedly in Psalms 40:3 – “He [the Lord] has put a new song in my mouth…” In Psalms 96:1 he tells the whole earth to sing a new song unto the Lord!

Wow! How good and beautiful it is to sing a new song of praise to the Lord! God has put a love song in everyone’s heart. So sing it out to Him. Let Him know how beautiful and amazing He is and how wonderful His works are. Apostle Paul exhorts us in Hebrews 13:15 to offer unto Him a continual sacrifice of praise. He states further in Romans 12:1 that we should present our bodies as a living sacrifice [worship] that would please God. And you can be sure He would be delighted!

In fact, everything in heaven is alive and there is continual singing unto Him. The angels behold His beauty and continually sing new songs to Him.

Beloved of the Lord, He has placed new songs of beautiful praise in your heart. All you need to do is just bring them out!

God bless you!

Fruit of the Lips — Prophet Dr. Tony Mathias

What you say locates you. What you say determines what another sees. The words you speak may be considered windows, walls, doors or bridges.