Who God says I am!

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I have seen a friend of mine speak words of promises, affirming identity in God, encouragement and positivity over his son even before the baby could speak or even understand anything. I have never asked him why he did that, but I believe, that baby will grow up knowing who he is before the world throws at him any lie to destroy and demotivate him.

Are you the kind of person who places a lot of value on what people say about you? Maybe nobody has ever told you what your identity in God is and how your life is different because you have God by your side. That’s alright – It is never too late to know.

We live in a world that demands an audition to fit in anywhere. 5 or 6 rounds of interviews for a job, 10 auditions for a reality/talent show, interviews to join a school, interviews for a passport/visa, we are persuaded with the idea that we have to earn anything worth attaining. Being caught in this lifestyle, we often tend to apply the same idea to our relationship with God, our identity as children of God and in pursuing God’s destiny for us.

The truth is you do not have to audition for God’s destiny for your life. You do not have to interview to get accepted into His world of miracles and supernatural. You do not have to earn God’s love or acceptance. You do not have to earn His blessings, forgiveness and healing. The enemy attacks us with lies that takes us away from the truth. It is important to reaffirm and declare truth over your life. It is truth that sets you free. (John 8:32)

Take some time to remind yourself of the truth in the word of God. Next time the enemy attacks you, use these verses to deny the lie that he proposes. Next time your identity is questioned, tell them who your father says you are :

          Discuss :

  • What does it require to see yourself as God sees you?
  • Which five from the list of biblical affirmations resonate the most with you?

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7 Reasons you need Fellowship.

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I believe that one of the greatest privileges we have being Christians are meaningful relationships. I owe a lot to people around me and I am always thankful to God for the advantage I’ve gained through meaningful relationships.

Here are 7 reasons why you need to avoid isolation and be rooted in fellowship :

Love

We all desire to have people to love and who loves us in return. You’ve got to build relationships with as many people possible to do this.

Inspiration

We’re all on a journey together, discovering who we are in Christ. One of the best tools we have to accelerate our growth are fathers, mothers and mentors who are willing to not just guide us, but also be an example to inspire us. Staying inspired is very important to reach our full potential and the best way to stay inspired is to be around inspired people.

True friends

Life doesn’t always go the way we want it to, and in those times it can be especially hard to stay encouraged and rooted in our faith. Nothing makes walking through these hard times easier than being around others who can mourn with us while we are mourning and rejoice with us when we rejoice.

Accountability

A big reason why many who started right fail is because of no accountability. We need people in our lives who will keep us focused on what really matters. They are people who are not afraid to tell you when you are wrong, but when they see us messing up they don’t rub it in our faces but rather remind us of who we are – calling out of us the image and likeness of God.

Encouragement

We all need encouragement every now and again, none of us ever complain that we are too encouraged. While there is a truth that we can strengthen ourselves in the Lord, like King David did, we all need people like Barnabas in our life to encourage us in our faith.

Fun

I’ve learned the hard way that we don’t do too well when we are addicted to being productive. We all need fun and times of pure entertainment. If your friends are like mine, I’m sure you agree that nothing is quite as fun as spending time with a crazy bunch of people 🙂

Receive change

We have to admit that not everybody we meet in life are like us. There are people with different way to thinking, different priorities, cultures and a different view of life. Its good to meet such people and stretch our understanding of the world around us.

What are other reasons to stay rooted in fellowship?

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That Girl is Poison – Dream Stealers

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Few months ago, I heard a sermon titled ‘That girl is poison’ by Carl Lentz, Pastor of Hillsong church New York. Speaking to 1000’s of young people at a Jesus Culture Conference, he was talking about how important it is for young people to protect their calling. He shared about how great men like David, Solomon, Samson did not fall in front of giant swords or armies, but in the hands of a women. I do not intend to type the whole sermon here(you can watch it here). I would like to write about 3 things in our lives that could be poisonous and can destroy our calling.

A Person/People :

People and relationships are among the most important things in life, but if you are not wise in choosing who influences you, they can be your dream stealers. Having people around you who inspires you, encourages you and motivates you is a much needed blessing. You’ve got to find such people.

Here’s my post on the kind of people in your life and who you should spend most of your time with.

A desire :

Desires play a part in us reflecting God’s nature as a caring father. God has promised and longs to fulfil the desires of our hearts. Desires are important because they form dreams, dreams add purpose to life and purpose defines how we live everyday.

Desires become dream stealers when we allow worldly agendas to alter a God given desire. Many begin with a good desire and along the way realise their desires are altered by success, fame, peer pressure etc.

But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. (James 1:14-15 NIV)

A desire always require wisdom to execute it. It is important to ask God for wisdom to know how you should pursue the desires of your heart.

A Culture : 

Among the many differences in cultures around the world, I have paid attention to 2 kinds that have stood out to me :

1. A Culture that accepts anything :

These are people who are fine with any lifestyle and culture. There are 2 things that stand out about them :

– There are no strong values that decide what is right and what is wrong. Values change based on trends and demands.

– Living based on only emotions, their feelings drive them to do whatever they want to. They often claim the right to control their own lives.

2. A Culture that judges everything :

“Phariseeism is born when we think it’s OK to reject people in order to protect ideas.” Bill Johnson.

People in this category live based on ideas, rules etc that fir into their own box of understanding. They are :

  • Quick to judge anything they are not familiar with.
  • Often conveys a message of self-righteousness and promotes their way to be the only way.

Whichever category you maybe in right now, let me remind you that we are ‘in the world’ but not ‘of the world’. My understanding of that is – We have higher standards, values and a heavenly culture that we represent wherever we are. We do not get influenced by the culture, but we are called to influence the culture.

Look out for dream-stealers in your life. You have an amazing future and a great calling ahead of you. Do anything and everything you need to protect it.

What are other things that could be a poison that destroys our future? Share your comments below.

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How to live in a valley

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If you are like me, you know what valleys are. You also know how unavoidable they seem and how they suck the life out of you. I’ll be honest and admit I have ‘allowed’ them to get the better of me way too many times. It was only much later that I realised, how I feel is how I have ‘allowed’ myself to feel. Your situations don’t live inside of you. They only influence you.

I have gradually developed a list of practical things which I intentionally do now when I am in trouble. Don’t want to say I’m 100% cured, but this has helped me a lot in getting through difficult times. Here are some of them :

The trust issue : Trust is our only medicine when we are in a valley. Difficult situations are really a test of our trust than it is anything else.

How would you know if you are trusting God?

Rest portrays trust.

Whenever I see myself controlled by fear, anxiety, discouragement, hopelessness, I know I am not trusting God enough. Where there is faith, fear cannot exist. God is too good to do you any harm and too wise to make a mistake. Develop a habit of trusting God 100% with your life.

Do exactly the opposite : Thanks to Bill Johnson for this one. I learned this one from a podcast and I must say this is a real good weapon. This is how it works :

If you feel like questioning God, start praising Him.

If you feel like lying down weeping, start rejoicing, start jumping and declaring God’s goodness.

Do exactly the opposite of what you feel like doing when you are under the influence of whatever is troubling you. This is not ignoring reality or being unreal, it is declaring that there is a superior reality of who you are which is placed higher than anything else.

Make a list :

Make a list of what God has done for you. Write down everything you can remember that made you stand in awe of God’s goodness. Remembering what God has done in the past is a great way to remind you what He will do, yet again.

Live, not survive :

A big mistake I have made and I have seen many people fall into is being in a valley trying to survive and not live. We are not designed to be in survival mode. Do not look at valleys as lost time, bad luck or any of that sort of beliefs.

Your life does not take a pause when you are in a valley. I am convinced that there is never a time when God is not intimately acquainted with whats happening in your life. I have learned some of the greatest lessons and had some of the most meaningful encounters with God during tough times. There are so many amazing songs we sing today that were written during a tough phase in the songwriters life. You can create even in a valley. It could be the most constructive season of your life.

Hold your head up high and live like a child of God even during challenging times. Do what you need to do and do not give up on your dream. Survival is not your goal, place your eye on the greater glory thats ahead of you.

Do you have anything to share that has helped you live victoriously in valleys?

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Your greatest gift.

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What is your greatest gift?

Creativity?, perhaps leadership?, talents?, you don’t know?

The longevity of the health of your heart will determine the longevity of everything you lay your hand to. – Sean Feucht

I believe the greatest gift we have is our heart, not our skill or anything else. I love being skilful and creative, but I am convinced the heart is placed above everything else.

The most skilful people have days when they go blank and feel uncreative, the smallest temptation can make the strongest fall and when tragedies are unstoppable, a heart filled with hope is our only medicine.

Nurturing our heart is as important as developing any other skill. Our minds are only as strong as our heart is and we can go only as far as our heart’s health permits.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life”
(Proverbs 4:23, NIV).

The Bible mentions about the human heart around 300 times. The heart is the core of our being, and the Bible sets high importance on keeping our hearts pure and filled with hope.

How do you nurture your heart?

Share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

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The 2 risky “IF’s”

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I wrote this post a few months ago but did not share for some reason. Yesterday at a conference, Jonathan David Helser touched on the same topic and I was reminded of this post and I had to share it. So here are the 2 “IF’s” we need to watch out for :

“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.” (Matthew 4)

From the above passage, lets look at two “IF’s” mentioned there :

1. “IF you are the son of God” : 

The enemy’s biggest weapon against us is to question our identity. When we start doubting our identity, we slowly give away control of our lives. Identity plays a huge role in our world. Jobs, visas, lifestyle..everything is altered by a person’s identity. Identity carries power. Our Identity as children of God is our biggest value.

Jesus was asked to turn stones into bread if He was the son of God. There is nothing we need to do to prove our identity because we did not earn our identity. We received our identity as a gift of grace. You are unshakable when you do not doubt your identity.

Have you had moments when you’ve doubted your identity as a child of God?

2. “IF you will bow down and worship” :

Be careful what you say yes to. And even more careful when you say yes for a reward. Our life is a puzzle of choices. The enemy will place rewards in front of us to pull us into His agenda for our lives. Jesus wasn’t moved by the rewards the enemy offered. We need to be constantly conscious about living a lifestyle of worship. Jesus is the only one who deserves our worship.

I pray that you would hold on to your unshakable identity as a child of God and all your worship will be to the One who is worthy.

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Blog Shifted to New Adress

Hello Everyone, 

Please note that this blog has been discontinued and we have a new blog address : 

http://www.symphonyofheaven.org/blog

Thank You for subscribing to this blog and visiting often to check new posts. I hope to see you active at the new location too. 

God Bless, 

Joel. 

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