Your Journey Is Yours Alone

Beloved,

You might have done a lot of things “backwards” in the past year or in your life as a whole, but always remind yourself that you are not in a race with anyone – just yourself.

As you begin the new year, never try to race with anyone. Learn to enjoy your own ride – it will take you to your desired destiny. You might have been through a lot but be thankful for where you are right now. Just because you took longer than others doesn’t mean that you have failed. Your journey is yours alone and it will always be.

Ecclesiastes 9:11 (MSG) says, “I took another walk around the neighborhood and realized that on this earth as it is – The race is not always to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor satisfaction to the wise, Nor riches to the smart, Nor grace to the learned. Sooner or later bad luck hits us all”.

Live your best life today. Stop trying hard to please everyone. Go at your own pace. Go on your own terms. Walk in your purpose, for you have your own destiny to fulfill. May His Grace locate you and bring you in just at the right time.

In Him,
Ali Papa.

The Abnormal Christian

Beloved of God,

A great or perfect life is not a life that doesn’t have problems. A life without challenges is an imperfect life. As a Christian, don’t ever look for a life without challenges. Don’t look for a life that doesn’t have any needs. Without challenges, you cannot have or exercise your faith. And without challenges (faith) you cannot please God.

A perfect life is a life full of troubles. If you are looking for a life without challenges, you will end up as a failure. Without troubles, you can’t see miracles. Without troubles, you can’t stand out and you can’t have a great life.

John 16:33 (KJV) says, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world”.

Always look forward to challenges because Jesus has overcome the world for you. Always look forward to what others are not expecting. Stop crying about your circumstances. Stop crying about that medical condition. Stop crying about that financial situation. Stop crying about the troubles in your marriage. Stop crying and asking, “why me, why me”. You need challenges to conquer your current level before going to the next and higher level of life.

David said in Psalms 23:5 (KJV), “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over”.

If you don’t have enemies there won’t be a feast for God to prepare for you. God will not prepare a feast for your friends alone. He will prepare for your enemies too because a Christian is an “abnormal person” who plays by a different set of rules.

1 Peter 2:9 (KJV) says, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a PECULIAR people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light”.

The Living Bible translation says, “But you are not like that, for you have been chosen by God himself – you are priests of the King, you are holy and pure, you are God’s very own – all this so that you may show to others how God called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light”.

If the Bible tells us that we are peculiar it means we are not normal. It means that we are different from the rest of the world. It means that we are born tough. It means that we are more than a conqueror. It means that we do not see or think the way the world see or thinks.

When you are in Christ, you play by a different set of rules. An abnormal Christian gets going when God calls. His or her mind, will and emotions cooperates with his Spirit. He or she treats the Bible like the Words came from God’s mouth. He or she is a financier of the gospel. His or her money is always on a mission for the Kingdom. He or she is never afraid to cast out demons. He or she is a soul winner and a son or daughter of consolation.

God was serious when He said to Abraham, “I’ll bless those who bless you; those who curse you I’ll curse.” – Genesis 12:3.Abraham was an exceptional and an “abnormal” man – against hope he believed in hope, without any questions, he obeyed God.

It doesn’t matter who is against you in your office, at work or in your neighborhood, you are peculiar and you are a man or woman that is richly blessed. If you are in Christ, Abraham’s blessings are yours and this is the reason why: “The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ” – Galatians 3:16 (NIV).

You are not a “normal” person if you’re in Christ. You are a peculiar person. You are royalty. You are a man of the spirit. You’re a blessed man or woman. You are blessed in the morning and you are blessed in the evening.

May “the LORD bless you with peace from all your enemies” – 2 Chronicles 15:15 (CEV). May this be the time, where you decide to persevere and be determine to not give up no matter what.

In Him,
Ali Papa.

Dear Pastor (3)

Dear Pastor,

We are living in amazing days according to Luke 21:34-36. Days of destiny, days of danger, days of deep darkness in the world and days of ever-increasing light in the Church. These are the days Jesus prophesied about, days when we must watch and pray.

In my first and second letter to you, I tried to remind you that God is not looking for perfect preachers and professionals. He is looking for those who can nurture and build His people. As usual, this is another reminder that you must make a conscious effort to nurture and build people. People are hurting and sometimes they keep their feelings to themselves  because its hard to find someone who understands.

People are coming to your Church because they are seeking refuge. Everyone is coming because they need encouragement. Don’t let them get anything short of that. Romans 10:13-15, 17 (ESV) says, “13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ”.

One out of every couples that will come into your Church this week are dealing with an issue they wouldn’t want to discuss with anyone. They’re hurting, desperate, and powerless, but they can’t openly share it with you. Please reach out to them as the Spirit leads you. Comfort, encourage, and hold them securely until He touches them. Offer guidance, not for them to trust you but so that they can trust God. Your success as a Pastor is obedience, not affluence, influence or attendance.

People all over the world are facing financial problems. Many of them will show up in your Church this week. Please don’t try to make Church uncomfortable for them by demanding they drop all the $$’s in their wallet. Allow them to give willingly, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” – 2 Corinthians 9:7. Remind them that God is their sufficiency and not you.

Let the attention be on Him this week and not in your drama. Don’t be too consumed with your ego and you can’t reach out to everyone in your Church service. If people can’t pick a word from any of your messages then there’s a problem.

Allow people to come into your Church the way they are. It’s not your responsibility to clean them up, the Lord will do that. Don’t allow you members to raise the roof before they can get to you. Whatever ‘roof’ is separating you or the person you love from Jesus must be removed. You must tear it off! Don’t let anything stand in your way! Yours is to share His Word, the Word of His saving grace.

Love has an attitude. Don’t discriminate or judge people by their colour. God is not colour blind. Let your door be opened to everyone. Don’t let people down because of their skin colour. Pick everyone up, refuse to let them down because most often, people who are hurting don’t know what they need. Let them see Jesus in you.

Always remember that your whole job as a pastor is to make it as easy as possible for people to experience Jesus. When you minister to people, be aware of their need. They may look like they’ve ‘got it all together’, yet inwardly they may be lying on a stretcher. So take the gospel to where the sinners are. It will make your Church more exciting. Committing to bringing people to Jesus means picking them up, refusing to let them down, and carrying them the whole way.

Though you are a spiritual leader (Hebrews 13:17a), you are also human and can be wrong. Don’t expect all your members to follow you blindly for things that are contrary to God’s Word. Don’t turn your sermon into a political speech. That’s not your calling. You  have a responsibility to choose your words carefully, do not stoke the flames of violence and hatred.

Don’t be a poor ambassador of the Kingdom of God in your nation or city. Stop borrowing money from your members neither should you beg. Don’t enjoy what you cannot afford. There is nothing you desire to have that God cannot give you. You are not a Pastor for what you will gain. Don’t seek the comfort you get from being served, seek the grace you get from serving. Integrity matters more than the size of your ministry or church.

Always remember that the language of familiarity tends to rub you off of your responsibility. Don’t take sides with people when issues come up, even if it’s your spouse or relative, let the Holy Spirit use you to bring the truth in any dispute. Get rid of tale bearers. Proverbs 26:20 (BBE) says, “Without wood, the fire goes out; and where there is no secret talk, argument is ended”.

People have issues and because people are growing at different pace and at different levels of maturity, you should never complain that your members have too many issues. God has made you a problem solver and that’s why He made you a Pastor over your members. Don’t be a burden to your brethren. You’re there to inspire faith to them. God is concerned about your responsibility as a Pastor. Don’t be too much in a hurry to dismiss your members. Listen to them until they are done expressing themselves. If you can’t listen to what someone is going through, you can’t provide God with an opportunity for Him to do something in them through you. You are the chief servant in your Church. Just like Jesus, you are not there to be served but to serve.

1 Peter 5:2-4 (NIV) says, “2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers – not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away”.

You are a Pastor in love not in lust. Having sexual relationship with your members will not only destroy your members but the Church too. It’s a calling you are fulfilling when you take care of God’s people in the right way.

If you are reading this and you may not have a calling as a pastor, preacher, or leader in a church setting you must remember that you are called to be light, you are called to live by example, and to share the good news. Build on that which has been laid by others. Rest in His finished work and be blessed in the Lord’s Grace.

@IamAlipapa

Stop Struggling. Rest! 

Dearly Beloved,

I have struggled to be alive from the day I arrived here on earth. I have struggled in my finances and in my businesses. I have had struggles in my relationships. I know what it means to be loved and to be hated. I know what it means to be suicidal. I know what it means to be depressed. I know what it means to be on the street at age 7. I know what it means to be in and out of school. I have struggled with low self-esteem. I have struggled in every areas of my life. But all that struggle came to an end when I allowed God to help me. I stopped struggling when I said to myself, “enough is enough”. I stopped struggling when I realised that before I had all these challenges, God already had the solution. God has already been there and paved the way for me.

Hebrews 4:9 (MSG) says, “The promise of “arrival” and “rest” is still there for God’s people. 10 God himself is at rest. And at the end of the journey we’ll surely rest with God”.

I know it’s difficult for me to ask you to stop struggling when I haven’t walked in your shoes but I will tell you anyway because you can’t stop me from sharing the love of God and how I express it. Should I be talking this way? Isn’t that rude? No! I am not trying to be rude. I am only trying to let you know that we don’t have control over people. You will be struggling without knowing it if you are trying to change me. That applies to you too. Stop struggling to make things happen. Stop struggling to justify your failure and setbacks. Stop struggling with how to ask her out. Stop struggling to impress your Pastor. Stop struggling to impress your boss. Stop struggling to impress your spouse. Stop struggling to impress anyone and everyone in your sphere of contact. Stop struggling to make ends meet. The Lord is your shepherd. Make a demand on your daily bread – Matthew 6:11 (KJV). The reason why God lifted your burden is so that you will stop struggling under the weight of things He didn’t plan for you. So trust Him today with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding – Proverbs 3:5.

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Stay The Course (11)

Dearly Beloved,

Yesterday is gone. Today is a new day. Only God knows what tomorrow is going to bring. Leave the past where it belongs. Don’t let your past be your prison. Don’t let the mistakes of yesterday or any outside circumstances and events have power over you.

If your relationship or marriage has become a silent hell for you and your life is in danger, don’t cling to it. If you are no longer finding satisfaction in your work, don’t cling to it, it’s probably time for you to start something new. If you are depressed because of the circumstances around you, guard your heart and free yourself from depression. Proverbs 4:23 (AMP) says, “Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life”.

We have all made mistakes in life. At some point in our lives we have all made the wrong choices and some of them are life changing. But irrespective of what your wrong choices may have brought your way or taken you into, always remember that God has guaranteed you victory! He has promised to make all things, including your mistakes, known and unknown, work together for your good.

No matter how far you have gone in the wrong path, forgive yourself for your faults and your mistakes and move on. God can re-direct you, He can guide you, He can change the course that you must follow and give you an ending you never thought possible. Romans 8:28 AMP says, “We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose”.

Today is a new beginning, don’t mistake your condition for your portion. Stop making snap judgments, stop jumping to conclusions, stop becoming impulsive and “judge nothing before the time” – 1 Corinthians 4:5.

Your yesterday’s success is gone. You had faith for yesterday’s success but today is a new day. There is a future for you. There is a tomorrow to look forward to. And here are my questions for you. What  can you see? What becomes of you? A man is either intimidated by his past mistakes or errors or he is motivated by his success of the past. You must never be intimidated by your past because you are bigger than your past. Make up your mind to go ahead and confront what is ahead of you. 

As you prayerfully make a conscious effort to leave your past behind, I encourage you to stay the course and on purpose. Take hold of the Name of the LORD in your battle against the giants in your life and you will subdue them. Have the confidence that God will always look beyond your frailties and mistakes. His love came down for you – it is constant, it doesn’t change. God is not about to get tired of you. He is not about to give up on you. He is not about to leave you as an orphan  He will always look beyond today, beyond your mistakes and see the possibilities that are ahead of you.

Be blessed in the Lord’s Grace. Trust the past to God’s mercy, the present to God’s love and the future to God’s providence.

@IamAlipapa

You’re His Outstretched Arm

Beloved of God,

There are people who are never happy because of the things they think they don’t have. If you are one of such people, you must realize that your life is more than things. Your life is more than material possessions. Choose to be happy irrespective of your circumstances.  If you want to start feeling better, help others. Unselfishly helping those in need will bring you joy.

Luke 12:15 (KJV) says, “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth”.

You are higher than things. Everything you see around you will expire but your life doesn’t because your life was created for something else. Starting today, make up your mind to enjoy this life and stop complaining about the things you don’t have. Some people didn’t realize how many years they have cheated themselves because they are constantly worried about everything. Learn to live a life of joy. Christ has died and he didn’t remain there. He came out victoriously.

Your life is for a higher life and every minute of it count. Anything that you do today that can help people fulfill their own purpose is your purpose as a human being. It is what will fulfill you and give you satisfaction. This video clip below is a reminder that in this world, fame is honored but not in the Kingdom of God, the king honors obedience. That is why no matter how rich a man may be, no matter how strong a man is, no matter how famous, if he is in prison it is useless.

How do you treat those who are thought to be the “least,” who seemingly cannot help you in any way? Respect them, become faithful with whatever that is committed into your hands and God will show up for you. God said to Joshua in  Joshua 1:5, “As I was with Moses, so shall I be with you.” In Joshua 6:27 the Bible says, Joshua became very famous because God was with him. We are also told in  1 Samuel 3:19-20 that the child Samuel grew until he became known all over the nation because God was with him.

Stop waiting for something to make you happy, create the happiness now. You are not the one to turn your captivity but God. Psalms 126:1-2 (KJV) says, “1 When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. 2 Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them”. 

From time to time, God wants to do these for us and as you go around doing good to others, God will show up for you. At whatever level you are today in life and wherever you find yourself, fix something. Bake something. Build something. Plant something. Start something. Invent something. Nurture something. Help someone knowing that your own help is near. Jesus said, Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work – Rev. 22:12. This tells you that whatever you do in helping people, Jesus takes it personally. Mathew 25:40 NKJ says, “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me”.  There are people who have fallen on hard times and they need a helping hand so that they can get back on their feet.

You can start and finish anything. You can start a project and finish it. People have human faith to start building a house with just a monthly salary of $500. How much more when you activate your spiritual faith? Anything is possible! That’s why every time you take a step of faith, you are like that child learning how to take the first step. You are the outstretched arm of God and God is willing to hear you when you call, and He is able to lend a helping hand to you too. So become a blessing to fellow believers who are in need. Open your heart; open your home; open your pocketbook; and be willing and ready for the Lord to use you to help others. Believe that God can use you to make an impact in other people’s lives. Believe that He will bless you for stepping out of your limited little social circle to do a good deed for a fellow believer who really needs a helping hand. Don’t just casually carry out an occasional act of mercy. Instead, aggressively pursue the attitude of hospitality until you catch it and become a genuinely hospitable person.

Remember, when you see a man in need and you allow yourself to be withheld from extending a helping hand, you just told Jesus, “I really do not love you”.  You  cannot help everyone but you can help the one in front of you even if it is just giving a smile, a word of encouragement, or a helping hand. Do not look at people to love them. You might end up selecting those you’ll love and to the others, you might pretend to be blind. When you look at people, do not see them; choose to see God because you want to love God. Love them even if they do not deserve your love.

Don’t say you don’t have the means or capacity to help because of your own situation. Every encouraging word, and every smile you share in the midst of your trials can go a long way. Everyone can use a helping hand at some point. It might be running an errand, picking up a package, offering to baby sit, loaning some decorations, making phone calls for your church, or taking a meal to someone who is housebound. You are called to save men, lift the downtrodden, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the prisoners, heal the sick, raise the dead, deliver the oppressed, set the captives free, preach the gospel to the poor and just love them all the way on your way to our eternal home. So I ask that you prayerfully consider how you can make a difference in the lives of those around you today. It’s not the size of your gift to others, but a kind smile, an encouraging word accompanied and confirmed by a helping hand and whatever the Lord has put in your heart that truly matters.

If you ever need a helping hand yourself, you’ll find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.

I declare that this day is blessed for you. The fruits of your labour will not be in vain. Like Jesus, men will remember you  for good (Luke 22:19).

Be blessed in the Lord’s Grace.

@IamAlipapa

Stay The Course (10)

Dearly Beloved,

Many times in your journey of life,  your actions will be perceived differently than how you meant them to be perceived. You will be misunderstood and your motives will be called into question. Whenever you try to do something you will risk rejection, you will risk ridicule, and you will be misunderstood. That’s life but don’t allow that to stop you. Many times it will shock you to hear what others thought about you, especially when you knew your intentions were right. You may have meant one thing, but everyone may have seemed to perceive something totally different from what you intended. At such times, you must remind yourself that you are not alone. Jesus was misunderstood. He suffered in the hands of men. In His short lifetime He encountered both love and hate, acceptance and rejection, belief and unbelief. Jesus lived with people who understood Him and with those who misunderstood Him.

There may be sometimes when someone may question your motives when you are trying to get the blessing from God. Someone may think you want that to be puffed up. You want that job so you can be a big shot. You want that so you can be better than others. Your Pastor and folks in the church may even misunderstand your motives, but persevere in your prayer anyway.

Do you feel misunderstood and forsaken by the people you love? Have you been falsely accused and stripped of everything, without a dime to your name? Don’t cry. Don’t quit. Don’t pack your bags yet. Back off, take some time to think and pray about the matter before you proceed. Don’t let the devil get you all upset because you were misunderstood. Stay the course and on purpose because our Lord knows how to relate to you in your situation. He has been there and He is in it with you. He said to us in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world”.

So I say to you today to be of good cheer. You will always be misunderstood, mistreated, and maligned but again, stay the course and on purpose. Joseph was misunderstood, mistreated, and maligned but he stayed the course and everything worked together for his good. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose”.

You know the story of Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:1-21. The Bible says the other wife, the adversary, mocked her, tormented her, and used every opportunity available to show her she is barren. Even the prophet, when he saw Hannah praying, thought she was drunk. The prophet misunderstood her, but that didn’t stop God. God has decided her time and season. When her day came, the mockers were silenced. All things worked together for her good.

If in your place of work, you did something you thought was good and required commendation, but instead you found yourself being persecuted for your good works, don’t feel bad about it. Just because you’re good and doing the right thing doesn’t mean everybody is going to be cheering you on. There might be those that’ll resist you, and try to make you stray away from your path; they might even call you evil, in spite of your good works; you must maintain your composure. Refuse to change. Stay the course with the Word of God in your heart and in your mouth. As you do, keep manifesting His righteousness, no matter the criticism’ and you’ll always win.

Learn to give Him thanks in every situation. If they treated you bad, give Him thanks. if they lied against you, give Him thanks. If they hate you, give Him thanks. If they misunderstood you, give Him thanks. Give Him thanks for this is the will of God for you – 1 Thessalonians 5:18. No matter how dark and hopeless the situation may look – give Him thanks. Today, give Him thanks! It doesn’t matter if what you’re praying for is yet to materialize. It doesn’t matter who is against you in your office or in your home. It doesn’t matter where they are planning against you. It  doesn’t matter how deep the valley is. He will walk with you. He will comfort you – Psalm 23:4. It doesn’t count who is trying to bring you down or talk down on you, “…God will never let you down; He’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; He’ll always be there to help you come through it”. (1 Corinthians 10:13 Message).

Hannah prayed from her heart, and Eli thought she was drunk because people who pray are most generally misunderstood (1 Samuel 1:14). So don’t be discouraged when you are misunderstood. “Don’t be afraid… The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” – Exodus 14:13-14 NLT. When you have been wounded, unfairly treated and misunderstood, forgive and stay the course. Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you – Deuteronomy 31:6 MSG.

God is your present help. You can call out to Him and He will answer AND deliver. Rest, knowing that what looked like a really bad situation is about to become your praise report that God really does use ALL things for your good.

In His Service,
Ali Papa.
@IamAlipapa