Anticipating a God-given, Good Life

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (Psalm 23:1-6)

Psalm 23:6 promises that goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives because God is with us. God is more faithful to us than we are, and we will dwell in His house forever. David proclaimed these promises, knowing the Lord as his Shepherd and revealing his attitude towards God.

We can adopt one of three attitudes towards life:

We can live without thinking and merely exist.

We can be fatalistic, living defeated lives.

We can adopt an attitude of expectation, believing that we are empowered creators of our circumstances and destinies.

It is clear that we should seek to have the third attitude. Here are some important points to consider as well as some roadblocks that can hinder an attitude of expectation:

  1. Anticipation is often hindered by pessimism.

Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you.” (1 Samuel 17:33-37)

As a young boy, David was hindered by his age and occupation, as he was only a shepherd and the youngest of seven brothers. He was met with a lot of pessimism, but his confidence in God empowered him to conquer Goliath. God will defeat the Goliaths in our lives and promote us when we move forward with the right expectations.

  1. Learn how to handle your heart.

Crises can cause our hearts to lose confidence and become discouraged. Be careful to always guard your heart. Every discouraging situation is an opportunity to trust God in disguise.

This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead. (Ecclesiastes 9:3)

  1. Root yourself in righteousness.

Be like a tree rooted in fertile soil. Even when it is cut down, it will soon spring up again. When drought comes, the Living Water will sustain it and bring forth new branches.

“At least there is hope for a tree: If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail. Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant. (Job 14:7-9)

Baggage That Hinders Your Dream

Past mistakes can come back to haunt you. Do not live according to your past experiences. Baggage comes in many sizes, from hand bags to trunks. The bigger the unsolved problem, the larger the baggage.

Joseph never let the terrible experience with his brothers weigh him down. Although David endured extreme hardship at the hand of King Saul, he chose to love him and trusted God. Ruth never allowed her broken heart to become bitter. We need to deal with the root of our bitterness, forgive and move on.

See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. (Hebrews 12:15)

People deal with their baggage in several ways:

  1. Some live empty or limited lives.

People who live in social, spiritual or economic poverty need to know that Christianity is not about just believing in God but living a God-filled life.

This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. (Psalm 34:6)

  1. Some are broken.

There are hurting people everywhere, and they cannot see God beyond their imperfection. They need to come out of hiding and see God as they are.

  1. Some have surrendered their lives to the rule of another person or situation.

We live in a highly self-absorbed culture, culture that unapologetically ascribes to escapism.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind and to set the oppressed free, …” (Luke 4:18)

  1. Some have lost their dreams and vision.

Many people have completely given up. They cannot see how their situation could ever improve. We need to know that sometimes our dreams will die for a greater dream. Failure is a step closer to success, and facing it is part and parcel of life.

Never Give Up on Your Dreams

“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” (Acts 2:17)

In Christ, we can all walk with God-given vision and dreams for the future. If God is a part of your life, you will always have dreams to bring Him glory in new ways. If you have no dreams, there is no room in your life for godly intervention.

Research has proven that people like to associate themselves with organizations that have vision and purpose. There is fire in the hearts of people who have a vision. They take risks without fear, and their dreams come true in time if they do not give up.

I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly. So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.’ “Now then, just as the LORD promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” (Joshua 14:7-12)

Scripture tells us that Joshua had to wait 45 years for God’s promise to come true. Never give up on your dreams. Life is a challenge all the way to the end. Like Joshua, we will encounter giants on the road to the land of honey. The question is, what is your focus?

  1. You must never give up but out-live them.

The Bible says that Joshua and Caleb were the only two members of their generation who entered the Promised Land. Be mindful of negative people around you. All of the negative people around Joshua and Caleb died one by one, and none of them reached the land that flowed with milk and honey.

  1. We need to overcome the giants.

Face the giants in your life and overcome them with the help of the Holy Spirit. Only Joshua and Caleb saw the Promised Land as a promise from a trustworthy God. The rest saw it as a land wrought with danger and disappointment.

Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. (Numbers 14:6-8)

There are four keys to realizing your dreams:

Make sure your dream is from your heart. Sometimes dreams are founded on your own thoughts, desires or emotions, but godly dreams flow from the heart. Believe Him at His Word and fight every battle that challenges His promises.

You must wholly follow the Lord. Keep God in the consciousness of your mind. God wants us to live victoriously. Commit to following Him daily.

Claim your inheritance. Joshua 14:9 tells us that Joshua was promised the inheritance. Stay the course until you receive what God has promised you.

You must want it. In Joshua 14:12, Joshua claimed his inheritance based on the Word of God. Remember, when someone steals from you, they will have to pay you back sevenfold (see Proverbs 6:31).

Foundation of All Success: The Dream, the Dreamer and the Finisher

If God is part of your life, this is an important message to share with others. It is dangerous to become a boring Christian. People who are dreamers finish well. We need to dream, for when we dream, energy flows into our lives through the Spirit. People will not only follow your speech, but the divine inspiration behind your words.

They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t even go into the village.” (Mark 8:22-26)

When Jesus touched the blind man’s eyes, he suddenly could see clearly. Similarly, our dreams are not always clear at first, but with Christ they can become reality.

  1. The ability to dream is important.

Abraham was a dreamer. God asked him to count the stars – an impossible task. In Genesis 28, Jacob had a dream very similar to the promise God made to his father, Isaac, and his grandfather, Abraham. This happened at a time when his life was in crisis. God can inspire us to dream at any time.

Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the LORD, and he said: “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.” Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz. (Genesis 28:10-19)

  1. Your dream gives you the strength to push through.

We are liable to care for our God-given dreams. Always focus on the positive rather than the negative to see your dream fulfilled.

Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request. (1 Chronicles 4:9-10)

We need to be like Jabez – to pull through the pain and ask God to enlarge our territory in order to fulfill our dreams. Learn to dream, and know that with God, you are free to dream big.

  1. What is a finisher?

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30)

Jesus is the greatest Finisher of all time. God sent Jesus to redeem us, and He completed the task, taking suffering as it came in order to fulfill God’s dream to restore mankind. John the Baptist was another finisher who was faithful to God all the way to his gruesome death. Paul also kept the faith and finished the race (see 2 Timothy 4:7).

We need to be strong and have courage, mastering our fears in order to be a finisher.

After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. (John 9:6-7)

Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. (Acts 9:18-19)

Sometimes we think too much, and we need to let God cleanse our eyes of the spiritual blindness brought on by the ways of the world in order to receive His miracle.

  1. You need to do your part

Dreams are a mixture of God’s intervention and your decision. Salvation is the work of the Spirit empowered by your decision to accept it.

Your Life Is the Fruit of God’s Tree

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

You are the workmanship of God. You are the fruit of His tree. God is committed to making you successful. Allow Him to empower you. What does it mean to be empowered? It simply means that you have authority, license to act freely for God’s purposes because He has equipped you. God’s empowerment is in every season and area of your life.

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. (Philippians 2:12-13)

According to Ephesians 2:10, God has prepared good works in advance for us to do, which means He has a clear mandate for each one of us. There are four fundamental keys in the mandate of God:

  1. Empowerment begins with seed which is the Word of God.

Learn and hold on to the principles of God’s Word.

He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” (Mark 4:26-29)

  1. Meditate on the Word day and night.

When you meditate, wisdom and understanding will flow from Scripture, strengthening your spirit.

Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 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. (Joshua 1:7-8)

For I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. (Philippians 1:19)

So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” (Galatians 3:5-6)

  1. It is a process, not an event.

Precept by precept, line by line, we gain wisdom and become mature in Christ.

“For it is: Do this, do that, a rule for this, a rule for that; a little here, a little there.” (Isaiah 28:10)

  1. Action requires initiative.

The harvest will come, the seed will never fail, and the seed inside of you is an incorruptible seed.

“As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” (Mark 4:29)

Success is for people who take their faith seriously. You need to be physically, mentally and financially strong in order for all these to fall into place. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (Matthew 6:33). Your life is the fruit of God’s tree.

When a Dream Becomes a Nightmare

Joseph was pledged to be married to Mary. Matthew 1:20 tells us that he had a dream, and at the time, his dream must have seemed like a nightmare like a nightmare.

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. (Matthew 1:18-25)

  1. Realize that God has a great plan.

We are born with the capacity to dream, and godly dreams are meant to help us progress, not digress. Joseph’s dream must have shattered his plan with Mary, but God had a greater plan to save mankind.

  1. Demonstrate the strength of your Christ-like character.

Your character is your moral fortitude, the strength that is within you.

Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger. “Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were ploughing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the heavens and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. (Job 1:8-22)

The above scriptures describe Job’s strong character. Joseph responded similarly to the dream God gave him. Life always presents us with choices, and they will not all necessary be good and safe.

  1. We must see things from God’s perspective.

Only through sincere trust in the goodness of God can we be willing to look see our shattered dreams as part of the journey to His greater blessings. Matthew 1:20 tells us that Joseph made a decision based on God’s higher perspective. As a result, the nightmare of his reality became a great testimony of God’s provision.

  1. We need to respond with pure faith.

Resist the temptation to question God. He is still in control. If need be, we should stand up for what is right against public opinion. Be willing to embrace God’s plan. In Matthew 1:24-25, Joseph did exactly as God told him.

Breaking the Tyranny of Routine

The greatest enemy the Church faces is the dictatorship of routine. When our behavior falls into a routine, we begin to die. If everything goes on as usual and nothing out of the ordinary happens, life becomes rigid and we lose sight of opportunities to do the work and will of God.

In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old. Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.” (Luke 1:5-20)

Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.” Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the LORD, who do their work in darkness and think, “Who sees us? Who will know?” You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, “You did not make me”? Can the pot say to the potter, “You know nothing”? In a very short time, will not Lebanon be turned into a fertile field and the fertile field seem like a forest? (Isaiah 29:14-17)

How do you break out of the routine of life?

1. Take responsibility for your life.

The Gospel of Luke tells us that Zechariah was so deeply committed to a cultural, religious routine that he doubted the Word of God through Gabriel regarding the birth of his son, John the Baptist. We easily become like Zechariah, conditioned by our practices. We need to continually check the motives that dictate our life and break out of ungodly routines.

2. Discover God’s will in your life.

We are created to be different than the world. The Bible tells us that we are wonderfully made. Do not let other people control your life. Celebrate who you are; do not try to be somebody else.

For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. (Psalm 139:13-15)

3. Do something bold.

When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy. On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.” They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.” Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. (Luke 1:57-64)

Following the story of John the Baptist’s birth, Elizabeth made the bold choice to name her son John, going against tradition.

4. Believe that change is possible in your life.

The only thing that is constant in life is the presence of change. Break the tradition of religion where it hinders you from hearing God. We must change according to the season as we follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. (Galatians 1:13-16)

Paul was caught up in his practice of persecuting Christians until God set him apart to become a great apostle for the Lord Jesus Christ.

5. Learn to have faith and obey God.

Zechariah lost his ability to speak when he doubted God’s Word, but when the prophecy of John‘s birth was fulfilled through obedience and faith, he regained his speech. The births of John and Jesus defied nature. God did not follow tradition.

Divine Destiny, Dreams and Destination

What exactly is a divine destiny? It is the way of life for Christians. We all think about our future and success, but let us look to Scripture to understand our true destiny in Christ.

1. We are called to serve and worship the Lord.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:4-10)

We are called to be priests who serve and worship God. What you do makes you who you are; your actions reflect your character. The Bible tells us that we were dead in our transgressions and have been made alive by His rich mercy. In light of the above truths, what should be our way of life and the road to our destiny? We are made to worship Him, obey Him, and be Christ-like.

And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.” (Exodus 3:12)

“You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” (Exodus 19:4-6)

2. To fulfil your divine destiny, you are called to conform to Christ’s likeness.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. (Romans 8:28-29)

God knew us even before we were born; He has predestined us to conform to His image.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

Success in life is not determined by our actions or possessions, but by how accurately we reflect the One who lives within us.

3. Fulfilling in our divine destiny means following God’s plan through lives of faith and obedience.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had an opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:6, 13-16)

In conclusion, our divine destiny is our way of life, and ultimately, the divine destiny is Heaven. Balance your life based on these objectives.

You Wouldn’t Want to Lose the Fire or Anointing of God or Take It for Granted

Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, so the Lord delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years. A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was childless, unable to give birth. The angel of the Lord appeared to her and said, “You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean. You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”

The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew and the Lord blessed him, and the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol. (Judges 13:1-5, 24-25)

The above scriptures depict the miraculous birth of Samson, one of the Old Testament judges who was anointed by the Holy Spirit. The scriptures following describe how he lost his anointing.

So he told her everything. “No razor has ever been used on my head,” he said, “because I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God from my mother’s womb. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.” When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, “Come back once more; he has told me everything.” So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him. Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him. Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding grain in the prison. (Judges 16:17-21)

Why did Samson lose the anointing?

  1. Personal weakness

Samson was anointed, set apart to be a Nazirite for God. He was not allowed to drink wine, cut his hair or eat fruits or vegetables grown on the vine, nor was he permitted to touch any dead carcass.

The devil will allow you to use your strength, as long as you allow him to exploit your weaknesses. This is precisely what happened to Samson. The devil knows your weaknesses, and when you play with your weakness, slowly but surely, it will get to you. Samson did not give away his secrets immediately, but as the pleasure became deeper and deeper, his strength was sabotaged.

  1. He did not take his calling seriously.

He ate the honey from the lions’ carcasses which God had forbid him to do. It is possible for your anointing to feed your ego to a point that you think you can rely on your own strength instead of God.

He did not take self-discipline seriously, thereby revealing his weakness. You will meet your Delilah, and in the heat of temptation, it is easy to slip into the deep sinkhole of sin. The cunning schemes of the enemy can dull your senses until it is too late and give you false confidence in your own abilities. Delilah may not come in the form of a temptation to lust; your temptation may be to pursue power, wealth, or any other delight of the flesh.

Entice and do not be enticed. No man or woman is strong enough to dance with the devil. Do not play around your temptations; flee. Try to imagine Samson’s position. He lost his strength, he lost the woman he loved so much, he lost his sight, and he became a slave. What a sad, painful fall. Do not let the enemy tempt you to misuse your anointing.

How do you get back?

But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.

Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived. (Judges 16:22, 28-30)

Get your life right with God. Realize that everything is vanity in life except a life lived for God. We have to learn in the Spirit and not revel in the flesh; this will change your perspective. This is what Samson did near the end of his life when he fully realized the purpose of his calling.

Change your life. Change your lifestyle, know your calling, and understand your purpose. It is not an easy journey, but you need to find the true meaning of your life. Read the Bible, and have fellowship with people of God who will help you understand your unique calling and hold you accountable.

Start doing what is right. There is no greater joy than knowing that you are doing what is right. You will have peace when you are on the right track.

Why We Miss the Anointing

Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they travelled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them. Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. (Luke 2:41-52)

Now the Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.” (John 1:24-34)

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)

Being filled with the Holy Spirit and having the anointing of the Holy Spirit are two different things. The Holy Spirit lives in every believer, but that does not necessarily mean that every believer walks in His anointing. If we have the anointing, we will have a special power that He gives us. We each have a different anointing, like Samson, Elijah, Elisha and so on.

There are several practical reasons why we may miss the anointing:

  1. We fail to seize key moments God places in our path, as a result of fear, pride or even a religious spirit.

Scripture tells us that Mary and Joseph busied themselves with religious duties for three days until they realized that Jesus was missing. We tend to be involved in church activities to a point that we are not focused on worshiping God. We need to be present in His presence to receive His anointing, we need to seize the moment as He leads.

  1. Our lives become too crowded.

Spend time in the presence of God so that you can develop sensitivity to discern important moments.

  1. We get so caught up in the present that we fail to realize the importance of the future.

We are so busy with our lives and daily activities that we forget the future. We will spend eternity with the Lord. How are you actively investing in the Kingdom of God?

But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth.

As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him. (1 John 2:20-21, 27)

Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. (2 Timothy 1:14)

Whoever fears the LORD walks uprightly, but those who despise him are devious in their ways. (Proverbs 14:2)

There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. (Proverbs 14:12)

If we realize we have lost Jesus, we need to go back and look for Him like Joseph and Mary did. The Bible says that they found Him in His Father’s house. We will find Jesus if we seek Him.