Walking Worthy

Lola flung her backpack into the car and slammed the door behind her. With a snort, she folded her arms across her chest and scrunched her face into a furious scowl. 

Silently, Dad navigated out of the primary school parking lot and eased into traffic headed towards their home in the Ikoyi suburb of Lagos, Nigeria. “Rough day?” He asked finally, meeting Lola’s eyes through the rearview mirror.

 “It was horrible!” Lola exploded. “Mrs. Coker made me class captain, but then embarrassed me in front of the whole class by saying I wasn’t acting like one and that Ronke should take my place. I hate her and I’m never going back to school!”

“That does sound rough,” Dad agreed. “Why did she do that?”

“Well,” Lola hesitated. “All I did was read a note Dami passed me. It was really funny and we were laughing when Mrs. Coker came back to the class.”

“What were you supposed to be doing?” Dad asked.

“She gave us an assignment,” Lola replied. “But I was already done, and she didn’t even look at my work!”

“Hmm,” Dad said thoughtfully. “This reminds me of a Bible verse in Ephesians, where Paul encourages believers to walk worthy of the calling with which we are called.”

“What does that mean?” Lola asked.

“Paul wrote to believers in Ephesus, reminding them that God had called them to be His people and representatives in the world. He encouraged them to walk or live in a way that would honor God and the high calling.”

“Oh,” Lola said.

“Being called or chosen to be class captain is quite an honor,” Dad continued. “I’m sure Mrs. Coker picked you because she believed you would act in a way that would set an example to the rest of the class and show them why you were chosen.”

“But I didn’t,” Lola said quietly.

“Not today,” Dad said, but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t do so tomorrow, or the day after.”

“I’ll have to go back to school for that to happen,” Lola grinned. “Then I’ll be the worthiest class captain ever!”

             Reference Text: Ephesians 4:1-6

Image:

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Tobi and the New Kid

“There was a new kid in school today,” Tobi said to his mom. “His family just moved back to Nigeria from the United States.”

            “That’s nice,” Mom said. “Is this his first time in Africa?”

            Tobi shook his head. “He said he’d been to Kenya before, but never Nigeria.”

            “Hmm.” Mom replied. “Everything must seem so strange compared to what he’s used to.”

            “Yeah, he kept referring to football as soccer,” Tobi said. “I had to let him know that football in Africa is not the American type.”

            Mom laughed. “Well, I hope you were nice about it. Cultural differences can be very confusing.”

            Tobi frowned. “Mrs. Dada asked me to show him around during the break. I almost missed getting picked for a football team because of it. He thought everything was strange – even our desks. I hope I don’t get stuck with him tomorrow.”

            “That doesn’t sound like you,” Mom said, raising an eyebrow. “You usually like meeting new people. Is there something about this kid that bothers you?”

            Tobi shrugged. “He’s just so different. I don’t understand how he could have a Nigerian name like Sola, but not know anything about his home country.”

            “Tobi,” Mom said gently. “Have you forgotten when you took that summer exchange class in England?”
            “No..o” Tobi said hesitantly.

            “Remember how bad you felt because some people said you talked funny? Or how everything seemed so confusing?”

            “That was different!” Tobi protested. “I was a foreigner over there, and not everyone was nice about it.”

            “It’s no different than how you feel about Sola,” Mom said quietly. “Even though he’s a Nigerian native, he’s still like a foreigner here because he’s lived abroad all his life. When the Israelites moved into the promised land, God told them to be kind to the foreigners that lived among them because they had been foreigners in Egypt, and ought to know what that felt like. God loves foreigners, and he takes care of them. As God’s children, we should do the same.”

            Tobi hung his head. “You’re right, Mom. I was treating Sola like the Israelites were treated in Egypt. I hope Mrs. Dada pairs us up again tomorrow. I have a lot to show him.”

             Reference Text: Deuteronomy 10:17-19

Something New…

Dearest Wordzpreadians,

Over the past several months, I’ve taken a step back from regular blogging to consider the direction in which I want to take this site and my writing explorations in general. Starting today, I’ll be trying out a new series of story based devotionals for children of all ages, and might even sprinkle in a few new Adventures in Bilandia!! Please don’t hesitate to let me know what you think!

Be blessed,

R

Bread that Satisfies

Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35)

According to a certain poll, four of the top five New Year’s resolutions are weight loss, increased exercise, reduced food intake and general health. An abundance of quick fix diets offer short cut solutions. The more people eat, the less they want to. The founder of a popular weight loss program presents a unique perspective on this conundrum. She believes that overeating is an emotional problem which can only be solved emotionally.

After Jesus miraculously fed 5,000 men, plus women and children, he slipped away by himself in order to prevent the crowd from forcing a kingship on him (John 6:15). The next day, the crowd went looking for him, prompting Jesus to state “you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs.” (John 6:26)

When the people declared that they also wanted to perform God’s works, Jesus “told them, ‘This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.’” (John 6:29), to which they cunningly replied, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. Our ancestors ate manna [in] the wilderness; Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.” (John 6:30-31)

Noting their fixation on food, “Jesus said, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:32-35) He then explained that anyone who ate the living bread (his flesh) would live forever (John 6:48-58). Hearing this, “many of his disciples turned away and deserted him.” (John 6:66)

The crowd was so focused on perishable food as a means to immediate satisfaction that they missed Jesus’ message of eternal fulfillment. Behind all dissatisfaction or ‘hunger’ is a void within us, which only God can fill. Jesus is the ultimate solution to every emotional problem we face.

MORE: Read Isaiah 55:1-3 for God’s invitation to receive food which truly satisfies.

NEXT: Think about the primary sources of discontent in your life. How do you attempt to satisfy them? What can you do to obtain the true fulfillment that Jesus offers?

Image Attribution: https://kelleylattaministries.org/tag/bread-that-is-blessed-broken-and-given-away-feeds-and-satisfies-the-hungry/

Weapons of Our Warfare (WOOW): PRAYING THE WORD OF GOD

praying god's word bible btnc

So far in our WOOW series, we’ve looked at Prayer and the Word of God separately as weapons of warfare. Today, we’ll be talking about a WOOW Combo – i.e. combining the two weapons of Prayer and the Word in our ongoing fight against the enemy of our souls.

In Acts 4, we see the fledgling church threatened by the religious leaders responsible for orchestrating Jesus’ crucifixion. Just when they thought they’d put the Messiah out of commission, He resurrected and His disciples sprang up filled with the Holy Spirit and a renewed zeal to share the gospel. After Peter’s sermon led to 3,000 converts, and then God used him and John to heal a 40 yr old lame beggar at the Temple, the chief priests had them seized and arrested.

Furious that the irrepressible duo used this opportunity to preach Jesus yet again, the religious leaders gave them a stern warning to cease and desist and then let them go. After all, they couldn’t risk the ire of the crowd by bringing direct harm to them.

Upon their release, Peter and John went back to the other disciples and reported all that had happened. Even though the chief priests were treading lightly, they still posed a risk to the believers and the church. So what did the disciples do? They prayed. What did they pray? The word of God (Acts 4:24-26). And “after they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly” (Acts 4:31)

Halleluyah! This WOOW Combo resulted in a physical manifestation of God’s glory descending, with an outpouring of the Holy Spirit to boot. Nothing in the Bible is there by accident…if the disciples prayed the Word and got those spectacular results, we should be doing and expecting the same.

Now, let’s go and get our Word Prayer Combo on!

Be blessed,

R

Image Attribution:

http://kevinlaewing.blogspot.com/2016/09/include-word-of-god-in-your-prayers-if_3.html

 

Weapons of Our Warfare (WOOW): THE WORD OF GOD

Take-Up-the-Sword

What can we say about the Word of God as a weapon of warfare that God hasn’t already inspired? Here are a few references to the Word in the Word:

  • In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1)
  • Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away (Matthew 24:35)
  • Isnot My word like a fire?” says the Lord, “And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29)
  • For the word of God isliving and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12)
  • So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thingfor which I sent it (Isaiah 55:11)

WOOW!! God’s word is alive and powerful, like a fire and a hammer that breaks rocks/mountains of obstruction!! It is sharper than any two-edged sword and never returns void, but always accomplishes what God pleases!! His word will remain after heaven and earth; Jesus IS the word who speaks into existence – Halleluyah!

How can any stronghold or errant imagination or principality withstand the FIRE of the Word???

Thank you, Lord for this awesome weapon you have given us; may we ever decree and confess its power in Jesus Name!

Be blessed,

R

Image Attribution:

http://www.henrymorris3.com/spiritual-warfare/

Word Declarations:

I prophesy the breath of God over ever dry bone in our lives – in our careers and finances, and decree that they stand up, a strong and mighty army! I declare that the Lord is a shield for us, our glory and the lifter of our head. The Lord will light our lamp and enlighten our darkness. By Him we can run against a troop and leap over a wall. The Lord is our light and our salvation; we shall not fear. The Lord is the strength of our lives; we shall not be afraid. As the wicked come against us, they stumble and fall.  Our faces look to him and are radiant; we are not ashamed. The Lord delivers us out of all affliction; He guards our bones, not one of them is broken. The Lord is our refuge and our fortress. The scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to us. Our help comes from the Lord. All those who were incensed against us shall be ashamed and disgraced; they shall be as nothing. We shall seek them and not find them. The Lord will contend with those who contend with us. Whoever assembles against us shall fall for our sake; no weapon formed against us shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against us in judgement we shall condemn. We shall arise and shine, for our light has come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon us. He has given us beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Out of our bellies shall flow rivers of living water. Instead of shame we will have double honor; instead of confusion, we shall rejoice in our portion. The Lord will open for us the windows of heaven and pour out for us such blessing that there will not be enough room to receive it. And He shall rebuke the devourer for our sakes, so that he will not destroy our fruit and the vine shall not fail to bear fruit for us. The Lord will restore to us the years that the locust has eaten from us, and the glory of our latter shall be greater than the former. We will not fight in the battle, but we shall stand still and see His salvation, and every Egyptian we see today, we shall see no more again forever in Jesus Mighty Name – Amen!