Skillful hands


Psalm 78:70-72 in the Bible tells us that God chose David the shepherd boy to be the shepherd of his people and David fed them according to the integrity of his heart and with his skillful hands he led them. “Skillful hands” – what does that mean? Merriam-Webster’s defines the word, skillful as one possessing or displaying skill or expertise.

The hands that was used to bring down the giant Goliath was also the same hands that played the music of the harp so expertly that it refreshed the troubled king, Saul (1 Samuel 16:23). But what made David’s hands, hands of expertise or skillful? The Bible tells us that David had LEARNABLE hands and the Lord taught his hands (2 Samuel 22:35). Not only did David have learnable hands, but he had hands that he LIFTED up to the Lord (Psalm 63:4) as a sacrifice (Psalm 141:2). David used the skillfulness of his learnable and lifted hands to lead God’s people.

Points to ponder:
Have you/I lifted our/my hands in adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication to the LORD, blessing his Name? The Bible counsels us to behold and bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD … lift up your hands and bless the LORD (Psalm 134:1-2).
Are your hands and mine, learnable; teachable by the Lord? God has given each one of us some skills and talents. The question is what have we done with the skill of our hands? I recently saw a tweet (@0xerror) which with I completely agree. The tweet expressed “The talents you have is God’s gift to you. What you do with them is your gift to God!”

2 Samuel 22:35 (KJV)
35 He teacheth my hands to war; so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.

Psalm 63:3-4 (KJV)
3 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.
4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.

Psalm 141:2 (KJV)
2 Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.

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A heart of integrity


Psalm 78:70-72 in the Bible tells us that God chose David the shepherd boy to be the shepherd of his people and David fed them according to the integrity of his heart and with his skillful hands he led them. “Integrity of his heart” – what does that mean? According to Merriam -Wesbster’s, Integrity is defined as the quality or state of being complete (wholesome) or undivided.

David who slew the giant Goliath as a shepherd boy failed to slay the giant of lust within his heart as the king (shepherd) of God’s people and commited the sin of adultery with Uriah’s wife, which displeased God. So how could it be said that David had a heart of integrity? God chose David because he was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). So David started out with a heart of integrity. But when David wilfully sinned against God, his heart was divided between the matters of the Spirit of God and the flesh; no longer wholesome, no longer complete. So God sends his prophet Nathan to confront the king and David repents. In his prayer of repentance David prayed that God creates in him a clean heart (Psalm 51:10) and later affirms that God will not despise a contrite (remorseful) heart (Psalm 51:17).

So we learn that a heart of integrity is one that is complete (undivided/wholesome); one after God’s own heart. A heart of integrity is also one that has been washed clean by the blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, in response to a penitent prayer that comes from a contrite (remorseful) heart.

Points to ponder:
Jesus answered that the greatest commandment over all is to love the Lord your God, with your WHOLE heart, soul, mind and strength. In other words, we must love God with our COMPLETE heart; with a heart of integrity. Do you/I? A heart of integrity is one that is not only COMPLETE in its allegiance to God, but one that has been CLEANED by Jesus Christ. The cleaning of our heart comes when we believe in him and repent of our wicked ways with a CONTRITE heart, for that is one that God will not despise.

Today if you hear God’s voice, harden not your heart! (Hebrews 3:8). God is willing to take our heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19); one that is COMPLETE in its devotion to Christ Jesus and CLEANED – one of integrity. Is your/my heart, one of integrity?

Psalm 78: 70-72 (KJV)
70 He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds:
71 From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.
72 So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.

Cross out the I


Merriam-Webster’s defines “individualism” as a doctrine in which the interests of the individual are or ought to be ethically paramount and in a world that is growning more and more individualistic in its cultural outlook, we find ourselves surrounded constantly with themes of self-centeredness, where our decisions are primarily based on a “me, myself, and I” motif.

Many a times, I find myself struggling in the whirlpool of self-centeredness and my pursuits are often, I, I, I … as in ‘I want to be famous’ (popularity pursuit), ‘I want to be rich’ (pleasure pursuit), ‘I want to be the top-most’ (prestige pursuit), ‘I want to be the leader’ (position pursuit), and or ‘I want to be in the one in charge’ (power pursuit).

Sadly, such a culture is not only evident in the corporate world, but is also observed within the church of Christ or even missionary organizations, where church leaders and missionaries have forgotten their purpose of their calling to serve and instead seek to be served. On that same note, it is also imperative for those who have the heart to genuinely serve to ensure that our attitude of service does not trump over the one whom we are serving (God’s people and God himself). Jesus comes before service, which Jesus made very clear in his discourse with Martha over her complaint that Mary her sister sat at his feet, while she was busy serving (Luke 10:38-42). We must be careful, so that our intent to serve is not based on “I”.

Points to ponder:
I am going to ask you to do something for the next few minutes and so please follow through.
Take a minute and think of all the things you do or aspire to do. Now write at least five of those things in a piece of paper, with each statement beginning with “I”. For example, if you seek/desire a promotion, you can say something like … “I need to become the Director or the top-most”. Pause for a moment and read what you have written down. This next step is crucial. Draw a line through (strikethrough) each “I” in the statements that you have written, a little above the horitzontal center of the “I” and a little shorter than that length of the “I”. What you will find is that when “I” has a line drawn through it, it makes the symbol of a Cross. Now read the statements that you have written, replacing the letter “I” with the the words “The Cross” or “Christ”. So for example, the statement “I need to become the Director or the top-most” becomes “The Cross needs to become the Director or the top-most” or “Christ needs to become the Director or the top-most”.
When was the last time, you thought of making a decision where the benefactor was someone other than yourself or your own? It is time to Cross out the I and this one thing is needful (Luke 10:42) – Christ must increase and we must decrease (John 3:30).

John 3:30 (KJV)
30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
31 He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.

Luke 10:38-42 (KJV)
38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Approved of God :: Action


Th Bible avers that Jesus Christ, was a man approved of God (Acts 2:22) and since we are counseled to be imitators of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:1), we ought to be approved of God as well. We learn from the Scripture that the one who is commended by God is the one approved of God (2 Corinthians 10:18).

In my article, “Approved of God :: Faith“, I wrote that to be commended is to be entrusted for care or preservation or be considered worthy of confidence or notice. Both these have to do with faith. For in believing (faith) in Jesus, we are entrusted into the hands of God the Father, from where no one can snatch us away and we are kept safe from evil, and in believing (faith) in Jesus is one imputed Jesus’ own righteousness on him/herself, making him/herself worthy of confidence or notice.

But to be commended also means to be mentioned with approbation or praise.  This has to do with serving (action). While faith in Jesus Christ approves us with God, we learn from the book of James that faith without action is dead.  To receive the highest accolade (praise) one can recieve which is “Well done, my good and faithful servant”, one must be a servant as was Christ, humble and obedient.

Points to ponder:
Are you approved (commended) of God not just for your faith, but also your action. Remember, faith without action is dead (and needs to be resurrected by the power of Christ Jesus).

Acts 2:22
22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

2 Corinthians :10:17-18 (KJV)
17 But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
18 For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth

James 2:26 (KJV)
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. 

Approved of God :: Faith


Th Bible avers that Jesus Christ, was a man approved of God (Acts 2:22) and since we are counseled to be imitators of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:1), we ought to be approved of God as well. But what does it mean to be approved of God? According to the Bible, to be approved of God, we ought not to glory in ourselves but solely glory in the Lord for he who commends himself is not approved, but approved is the one whom the Lord commends (2 Corinthians 10:17-18).

The Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines the word “commend” as the following:
To be commended is to be entrusted for care or preservation (or)
To be commended is to be recommended as worthy of confidence or notice.

In his prayer, Jesus entrusted his believers for care and protection to God the Father (John 17:15).
When we trust  in Jesus, receiving and believing in him, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit and made worthy unto the praise of his glory (Ephesians 1:13-55).

Points to ponder:
Are you approved of God? In other words, have you put your trust in Jesus and believed in his Name, so that he can entrust you to be kept safe from evil and secure in God the Father’s hand? When we believe, Jesus’ righteousness is imputed on us and we who are unworthy are made worthy to be called the children of God (John 1:12). Can God recommend you/me and deem you/me worthy of confidence and/or notice. Are you approved of God?

Acts 2:22
22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

2 Corinthians :10:17-18 (KJV)
17 But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
18 For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth

Ephesians 1:12-15 (KJV)
12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Qualified by God?


A very famous one-liner that preachers often quote when soliciting a response of commitment to serve in the ministry of Jesus Christ is “God does not call the qualified, but qualifies the called.” Abraham was old, Jacob was a cheater, Moses was a stammerer,  Rahab was a prostitute, Ruth was a Gentile, Gideon was of the weakest clan, David was an adulterer, Paul was a murderer, Peter denied, Thomas doubted and Lazarus was dead and yet God used each one to be of service to him and to show others his glory.

But, have you ever wondered as to what it means to be qualified by God? According to the Scripture, to be qualified by God is to be made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light (Colossians 1:12). In other word’s, to be qualified by God is to be co-heirs with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17), that only comes from believing in Jesus Christ, for to all them that receive him and believe in his name, He (God) gave them the power to be called the sons of God (John 1:12).

Points to ponder:
Are you Qualified by God? In other words, are you a child of God, co-heirs with Christ and a heir with God, made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints? To become a child, one must be born again which comes by believing on the name of Jesus Christ. To be qualified by God is to become his child and then co-heirs with Christ and heirs of God’s inheritance in the kingdom of light. Are you Qualified by God?

Colossians 1:12 
12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. (NIV)
12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: (KJV)

John 1:12 (KJV)
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

No Peace (or) Know Peace


Without Christ, one has no peace.
With Christ, one gets to know peace.

Points to ponder:
Jesus said, that the peace he gives is a peace unlike what the world gives (John 14:27) and so let our hearts not be troubled or afraid. He can give us this peace because he is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Not only is he the Prince of Peace, but he is in the order of Melchizedek. Besides, meaning, King of righteousness (or justice), Melchizedek also means King of Salem (or the King of Peace). Not only is Jesus the Prince of Peace and the King of Peace (Genesis 14:18, Hebrews 7:2), but He is also the God of Peace (Philippians 4:9). Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, for in knowing Him, you will know peace; real peace, unlike what the world gives and the kind that the world cannot take away.

Philippians 4:7-9 (KJV)
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.