Ohana means family…

… family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.” Lilo and Stitch

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That quote comes from a children’s show which is also a movie, such a small phrase with huge impact. The kingdom of God (which is the church) is composed of disciples which is the spiritual family.

“Since the one who saves and those who are saved have a common origin, Jesus does not hesitate to treat them as family…” Hebrews 2:11 MSG

To often I have heard disciples say that they do not feel as if they are part of a family or that no one cares. Unfortunately, that is usually also from the disciples that do not give their whole heart or are not (truly) vulnerable with others so they set up walls and barriers expecting others to overcome when they have set up traps surrounding the walls. The Hebrew verse says that Jesus does not hesitate to call us his family when we mess up all the time so why are there still some hesitating to really embrace the church as a family?

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household… In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”

Ephesians 2: 19 & 22 NIV

In this scripture, as one commentary pointed out, there are three metaphors for unity in (1) common citizenship, (2) membership in a single household, and (3) mutual parts of one holy temple. People take pride in what country they are from and what their last name is (though not always the case). As humans we recognise the need to identify ourselves with something. So why not fully embrace yourself as a member of God’s house? If you keep one foot outside while your standing in the front door way, I am sure your parent or guardian would tell you to make up your mind whether you are going to be in the house or stay outside and shut the door based on your decision.

Same thing with God’s family, if you declared “Jesus is Lord” and believe that you are part of the body, why do you keep the front door open where all the insects can come in?? Your passport no longer says *insert country name here* but it says Kingdom Of God. I am tired of disciples saying bro/sis out of tradition/compulsion when they do not fully believe it or else their actions would show it.

I believe the kingdom is it and there is nothing else out there. This is the one place everyone has the Bible as their standard and challenge each other to live like it. No unstable “one the preacher knows their Bible” type of church. Because of this conviction I have done two hospital A & E runs and stayed until the early hours of the morning, almost got police called on me trying to protect a sister, ran after a sister who ran out of church, showed up at disciple’s houses at night time to check in on them, topped up oysters, fed disciples, been to two funerals ( a disciple and a non-disciple) and commemoration of a brother’s mum who was not a disciple, and even bought housing items for disciples in need. This is not to make me big up myself but simply to show that my convictions are in my actions. So, when I call a disciple bro/sis I really mean it. Imagine how much closer the family of believers could be or even how greater of an impact we would have if we followed through with our convictions.

 “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood”. Acts 20: 28 NIV

Do you draw limits to the distance you’ll go for your spiritual family or is it really the Agape love we’re called to have?

Let’s keep an eye out of each other, even the ones that we are not so close to because they may be the ones who need our help the most!

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Back to University 

Clocktower Building University of Otago Dunedin New Zealand

It’s that time of year again where schools throughout the world have started up again, waving goodbye to long lazy summer days and hello to autumn, filled with pumpkin spice lattes, homework and essays. Mine starts in a month’s time so I’m enjoying every second that I can!

While reading through Daniel, I realized that the first two chapters can really apply to university students. I shows how we should be an example on our campuses as Christians. Daniel and the others were chosen to be trained for three years so they could go on to serve the king. In the United Kingdom, most BA degrees are completed in three years and after go off to get graduate jobs to serve under a boss, CEO, whomever it may be.

A few things that needs to be remembered…

  1. Be excellent

The King wanted those who were chosen to be “…young men without any physical defect, handsome,showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians.” Daniel 1 :4

These men had criteria they needed to fill before they were accepted to study the “language and literature of the Babylonians”. The same way we fill in the criteria with our grades and take exams to get into university like the SAT in the USA. Since you were chosen to enter thatt university, you should be grateful and do the absolute best that you can because not everyone will have the opportunity that you have. The scripture says to chose people who “SHOW aptitude”. Aptitude, according to dictionary.com, is readiness or quickness in learning. So showing aptitude in uni is asking questions, engaging with the professor, working hard to get the best possible grade without anyone telling you to work hard. If someone has to tell you to work hard on something, you don’t really have an aptitude for it so you will not be excellent in that area.  Jesus never did things halfway and he instilled in those who follwed him, such as Paul, to work hard at everything they set out to do. Always have the mindset that all the essays, projects and presentations are not for the ones who will give you the grade but as if God is looking at it himself. You can not use church commitments or bible studies as an excuse to do not study diligently or complete assignments on time.

“Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.” 

Colossians 3:22‭-‬25 MSG

2. Don’t eat junk / fast food all the time

“The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table… But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Daniel then said to the guard…, “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.”

Daniel 1:5‭, ‬8‭‭-‬12‭, ‬15‭ NIV

Who hasn’t fallen into the trap of snacking while studying or not eating properly because You forgot to cook the night before? I sure have! Daniel knew that his diet would affect his spiritual life even more so than his physical. If you don’t eat a balanced diet you will be more fatigue and emotional unable to focus 100% on anything. Eat fruits and vegetables. Stay away from munching on crisps all the time. Start having ready meals so you can grab it on the way out the door as you’re running to the train or bus. Wouldn’t you want to be “healthier and better nourished”? If you don’t take care of yourself spiritually and physical, how will you take care of others? Especially being a christian, if you aren’t strong spiritually you can’t help others get close to Jesus which hinders your mission.

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

1 Corinthians 6:19‭-‬20 NIV

3. God will help you 

“To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning… The king talked with them, and he found none equal… so they entered the king’s service. In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than in his whole kingdom.”

Daniel 1:17‭, ‬19 – 20 NIV

Daniel received wisdom from God because he wouldn’t compromise on his convictions. He was a hard worker before anyone even noticed him and even stuck to being healthy when he had the perfect opportunity for some great free food! God will give you what you need as long as you put him first (Matthew 6:33). Disciples need to be the ones who set the standard on campus not follow what everyone else is doing so people can find “none equal” to those who practically apply the Bible to their lives daily.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

James 1:5 NIV

Hard work, healthy diet and God on your side! Have a great uni yeat! 

A Biblical Concept of Yourself 

Lately, I have been going through a series by J. Hampton Keathley III called Marks of Maturity: Biblical Concept of Christian Leadership, it has really heed me think through some of my thoughts. However, the chapter that has really helped me recently is chapter 3 which in the title of this entry A Biblical concept of oneself. When I got on to write this was looking at some of my drafts that didn’t make it to the published side. One those entries is called inferiority complex. Something I can struggle with in my christian walk is how I view myself which usually isn’t how the Bible says that God sees me. The study is quite long but I’ll share the things that really impacted me or greats points he makes.

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”

– Romans 12:3 NIV

This scripture tells us to not think that we are not to think of ourselves as if we the best thing that has ever Wales on earth but to really look at ourselves as God sees us. What women hasn’t struggled with her image? Her worth? Her characteristics? I’m sure everyone has at one point but the beautiful thing is that we need to think of ourselves with SOBER judgement which means a real look at who we are and where we want to be. Better yet, where God wants us to be. If we have the right thoughts about God, we’ll have a right view about ourselves. On the oher hand, if we don’t like who we are, we will have the crazy notion that no one like us either. That’s a sad mental state to be in because it can paralyse yourself,  your ministry and the relationships around your (friends, family, etc). That mentality will put your further in isolation and selfishness and as Christians we need to consistently pour ourselves out (deny ourselves) as mentioned in Luke 9 : 23. If we live in a state of self hatred and hating others, we will focus on our own personal strength and not on the strength tat God provides us with and when failures come around it becomes a huge hindrance in the Christian walk. God has made us able to accomplish his plan into reality.

“Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant…”

– 2 Corinthians 3:4‭-‬6 NIV

If we focus on what people think about us, we’ll never really get anywhere past of what the limitations people will give us. You don’t want to be a slave to the opinions of people but be fully confident that God has equipped you and made you competent. I love what Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 2:4‭ & ‬6,

“On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority.” NIV

Paul had the mindset that he could honestly care less what the people thought about him because he was confident in his calling and how God saw him. Paul didn’t measure success by men’s standards but by God’s grace which helped him to be grateful and work harder.

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.”

– 1 Corinthians 15:10 NIV

Paul also knew the danger of measuring up to men’s standard, instead of God’s. When you look at men to set your standard and give you approval, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Not only that, it’s sinful because you’re idolizing people.

“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. But, ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.’  For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.”

– 2 Corinthians 10:12‭, ‬17‭-‬18 NIV

Keathley gives a list of what false standards lead to which are:

  • False motives – Philippians 1 : 17
  • Guilt, frustration, depression – 1 Thessalonians 2 : 4 – 6
  • Feeling of pride and false success – 1 Timothy 3 : 6
  • Fear of failure and not wanting to go for the ministry – 2 Timothy 1 : 6 – 7
  • Self deprecation with the belief that we aren’t good enough

Falso standards -> false feelingso of significance

He continues to say that all those attributes lead to “handicapped people who are divisive and unloving because they compete with others and themselves for a sense of significance” and become defensive, argumentative and fearful. Have you ever been a person who is defensive, argumentative and fearful? I have and that was because I allowed my emotions to keep a hold of me and not rely on the word of God for the truth.

A mature believer… (From Keathley)

  • Act on the truth in their identity in Christ
  • Rest and act on God given abilities

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.”

– 1 Corinthians 12:4‭-‬6 NIV

  • Act on God’s purpose and nature for this life

“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 NIV

To summarise what I learned from this lesson is that if I know who I am in Christ, I will act accordingly regardless of the response or success of others because I know of where I am going. Jesus knew who he was and where he was going that he did not really care for the negativity of the people of the leaders of the time. It’s always about the cross and our relationship with God. You should only measure yourself with Jesus and not other people because their sense of measurement is broken. God knows you more than anyone and even yourself and he has really made you one of a kind with gifts and talents! Find out what those are and excel in them and be okay with your weaknesses.

“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.”

– Psalm 139:13‭-‬14 NIV