Simple Prayer: “Wash Me, Lord”

Most of my childhood was spent in the states, specifically New Jersey, but I was born and raised in a village in Nigeria. Though most of the memories are faint, I have distinct memories of people “fetching water”, or plainly, going to the stream every morning to collect water in a basin and carrying it back skillfully on their heads. This water would be utilized for all of the household needs: cooking, cleaning, bathing, and washing.

I have a vivid memory of my grandmother “washing” the household clothes one day. I put the term washing in quotation marks because, if you saw what I saw, washing would be an understatement. With the rhythmical pounding and beating and throwing of the clothes over the clothesline, you would think that my grandmother was involved in a physical altercation with the washed clothes and was determined to prove her superiority. It wasn’t until I came across this verse and dug deeper into the Hebrew meaning, that I began to understand what my grandmother was doing:

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7

In this context, the term “wash” isn’t the same as if you were to wash your hands with antibacterial soap; rather, it is synonymous to the pounding, beating, and throwing of the clothes when my grandmother was involved. Please hear my heart, as I am not suggesting pounding and beating as the way God wants to approach us, but I will say this: there was a more intentional and more purposed approach taken to was the clothes, with a surety of a deeper, more thorough, and longer lasting cleansing.

I would humbly submit to you that the psalmist had the aforementioned in mind when he penned this verse. He wasn’t interested in being damp on the surface from a superficial sprinkling of water; he wanted God to thoroughly wash him of everything and anything that was contrary to the Father. Imagine the level of humility and vulnerability that is required for such a stance of the heart: the places of ignorance we shelter from the public, the thoughts we hide from social media posts, the struggles we mask in front of our loved ones, and the never-ending hallways of justifications we have up our sleeves for our prideful and arrogant natures.

The spiritual challenge, and accompanying prayer, today is quite simple: allow the Lord to wash you completely, thoroughly and above all, lovingly. Because He does love you. Yes, it is a vulnerable prayer. Yes, it is a pride-sacrificing prayer. Yes, it is a humbling prayer. But I am confident to say this: the joy, freedom, and clean slate that you will experience is worth it. 

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Leadership Training w/ Apostle Ndifon: Strategic Time Management

The last six years of my professional life have been marked with highly contrasting career changes, experiencing life transitions from the single life to marriage to parenting, and building an educational institution from the ground up. Suffice it to say, it has not been a laid back season.

If I spent 24 hours articulating all of the life lessons I’ve acquired in that six year time frame, I would barely be scratching the surface; in light of this, I want to take the opportunity to share one of the key lessons I’ve learned that, without a doubt, has transformed my life. The concept of “Strategic Time Management” is one which is often overlooked by young professionals yet is imperative to the success of all.

We all hear the same complaints from our social and professional circles: “there isn’t enough time in the day” or “I feel like I don’t have time for myself” or “I can never catch up.” The business model truly has adjusted over the past decade, where an increase in work output may not have the perfect correlation to the increase in the physical workforce, therefore causing those in the workforce to have more on their plates to accomplish within the same time frame. With this, now is the time to purposely key in on strategic time management principles that will increase productivity, effectiveness, and quality of life for all.

In this teaching, Dr. Charles Ndifon, a world-renowned author/speaker/teacher/apostle of the Christian faith, shares priceless insight into Strategic Time Management principles:

The Problem vs. The Promise

There is a dilemma that has plagued mankind since the beginning of time. It is a dilemma that we face almost every day, both on trivial and major scales. From the time of Adam and Eve up to today, there have been countless instances of this quandary:

The Problem vs. The Promise.

We KNOW that we can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13). We KNOW that all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28). We KNOW that we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37). We KNOW that it is in our DNA to be victorious (1 Corinthians 15:57)!

Despite everything that we may KNOW, our knowledge, convictions and encounters oftentimes become a fleeting thought at the first sign of a PROBLEM. This is evident in the Israelites that were sent to spy out the land of Canaan in Numbers 13. All of the spies witnessed the same PROMISE: clusters of grapes too large for one person to carry, flowing with milk and honey, exquisite fruit, lavish land…everything God had promised! Yet 10 out of the 12 spies gave a response that focused on the problem:

“Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there.” (Numbers 13:28)

The remaining two spies, having witnessed the same evidence of the promise AND potential manifestation of the problem, gave a much different response:

Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” (Numbers 13:30)

Caleb (and ultimately Joshua) teach us a fundamental principle to living a successful life, not void of problems or circumstances, but more importantly (and more powerfully) dominated by the faithfulness of God:

Your temporary problem should never BLIND you from your eternal promise.

I would be lying if I sat here and tried to articulate that you will never face another problem again. That’s unbiblical and false. Problems and circumstances that arise are a fact of life, but I have confidence that the facts of life are superseded by the promises of God, sealed by the blood of Jesus Christ, and made alive in us through the power of the Holy Spirit. Just like Joshua and Caleb, we can take a biblical and faith-based stand against the problems that arise in front of us, make a determination to look through the temporary fog, and continue to focus on the eternal promise that we wholeheartedly believe God has established for us. 

The people may seem strong, but our God is stronger. The circumstance might seem great, but our God is greater. The problem may seem unconquerable, but our God has conquered all. It is not too late to grab hold of the PROMISE.

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Short Arms, Deaf Ears…nope, not my God!

A few days ago, I was working in my home office, and I called out to my wife Tara because I wanted her attention (realistically, I probably just wanted Twizzlers or something…don’t judge me). There was no response. I knew she wasn’t too far away, so I called out again. No response. I cautiously elevated my voice (just in case she couldn’t hear me)…still no response.

I finally stormed upstairs to see what could be more important than my needs in that very moment, only to see Tara multi-tasking with a phone call and doing her nails. Not only could she not hear me, but the overwhelming smell of acetone and nail polish let me know that she couldn’t have helped me anyways.

Unfortunately, many of us view God in the same manner. We’ve said many prayers, cried many tears, endured many trials, all to feel as if
•God isn’t hearing me, or
•Even if He is, He’s too busy to lend me a helping hand.

Take a look at what the prophet Isaiah has to say:

Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is His ear too deaf to hear you call.                                   (Isaiah 59:1 NLT)

I believe this is a wake up call for us to begin (or go back to) viewing God for who He really is. Society has attempted to nullify the existence of God, diminish the power of Jesus Christ, and trivialize the necessity of the Holy Spirit. I have news for you:

God is not deaf to your prayers!
God is not blind to your situations!
God is not powerless to your need!

My challenge to you today is look at your current circumstance or situation, and then be honest with yourself about how you’re viewing God through it all. Is God some Sunday morning notion that is a last minute lifeline…or is He your ever-faithful Abba Father, loving enough to hear every prayer and strong enough to conquer every mountain in your life? I don’t know about you, but I serve the ever-faithful, ever-powerful, living God!

Choose today to serve the Isaiah 59:1 God.

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No Attack Shall Stand

Scripture

1Now it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah,that Rezin king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up to Jerusalem to make war against it, but could not prevail against it. 2And it was told to the house of David, saying, “Syria’s forces are deployed in Ephraim.” So his heart and the heart of his people were moved as the trees of the woods are moved with the wind. | Isaiah 7:1-2

Then the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out now to meet Ahaz, you and Shear-Jashub your son, at the end of the aqueduct from the upper pool, on the highway to the Fuller’s Field, 4and say to him: ‘Take heed, and be quiet; do not fear or be fainthearted for these two stubs of smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria, and the son of Remaliah. | Isaiah 7:3-4

Observation

King Ahaz was facing imminent attack by the kingdoms of Israel and Syria. Ahaz’s reaction was that of sorrow, fear and timidity, and his reaction imparted down to his people. Not only was his faith in God not evident in his life, it also negatively impacted the faith of his people.

Application

As leaders, we are always subject to an agenda of the devil against our lives. After all, the devil is only troubled by those that actually threaten his plans for humanity. Despite his agenda, we know that we are more than conquerors through Christ, and that there really isn’t any battle, since the battle was already won on the cross at Calvary…AMEN! Although we know this in our spirit, we sometimes fall victim to the weakness of our soul, and the threat of natural attacks begin to permeate into our thoughts, feelings and emotions. In this passage, God highlights through the prophet Isaiah three key things to be mindful of as leaders when the threat of an attack arises:

1.) Take heed and be careful. As leaders, we need to mindful and aware that the devil has an agenda against you. But take refuge in the fact that no matter the agenda, the plan and purpose God has for your life triumphs over all! As you continue to understand and receive God’s plans for you, there will be less room for the devil’s agenda to manifest itself in your life.

2.) BE QUITE & STOP COMPLAINING! We need to stop claiming things that were never intended for our lives! The power of life and death are in the tongue, and as a leader, we cannot afford to be operating in the lies that the devil tries to impart into our lives. Not only should you stop complaining ABOUT the problem, but also stop complaining TO people! Find encouragement and direction in the Word of God, and pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance through your situation.

3.) DO. NOT. FEAR. Our victory is rooted in our praise and our faith, not fear. This implies an on-going reliance and trust in God, not in the temporary circumstances that make present themselves in our lives. God is not moved by our problems; He is moved to action by your unshakable faith and unstoppable praise.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, I thank you for calling and choosing us as leaders for Your kingdom. We understand that the threats of attacks in our lives are nothing but aggravation against the devil’s agenda, but we take great joy in knowing that there is no battle, no struggle, and no problem. We operate and walk in faith, and we thank You for Your faithfulness to us. In the name of Jesus, we declare that our mind, thoughts and actions will transform to that of champions that will triumph over every single situation. By the authority of name of Jesus, we cancel every attack spoken against our lives, our families, our families, our circles of influence, and our respective ministries. We declare the blood of Jesus to cover and protect us, and for the Holy Spirit to continually guide us as we continue to conquer hell. We thank You for broken chains and restored faith through this prayer, and we seal the fruit of this prayer in the name of Jesus…AMEN!Image

Have we missed the Opportunity…and embraced the Offense?

Scripture

Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables, that He departed from there. When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” So they were offended at Him. | Matthew 13:53-57 (NKJV)

Observation

Jesus is finally returning to the hometown that had contributed to His childhood upbringing and helped shape Him into the natural man He had become. All this time, He had been pouring into those that weren’t an integral part of his early years…those that have been in desperate need of a Savior, a Helping Hand, and above all a Friend. And now, He is returning home.

And yet Jesus finds Himself met by offense. His countrymen, those He went to school with, those He ran around the playground with, those that babysat Him while Joseph and Mary were out on date night (work with me here), the people He had the most familiarity with…all have turned from family friend to emerging foe.

The most striking angle of the offense is the comparison of Jesus to natural standards. Just like everyone else, wasn’t He just a man, with a mother like you and I, a father like you and I, siblings like you and I? In His countrymen’s mindset, “What makes Jesus so special if He’s just one of us?” 

Application

If we were to take a serious look at our lives, specifically the moments where we have taken up offense(s), would our mindset, words and actions line up with those of Jesus’ countrymen? Where an individual that is operating in the gifting that God has birthed into them causes us such animosity and insecurity, which ultimately leads to offense? The circumstances may differ from situation to situation, but the reality remains the same: offense blinds us from opportunity

This is what I mean by opportunity. Matthew 13:58 states that Jesus didn’t do many mighty works in his hometown. basically, He performed average works, less than the caliber of works He had been performing outside of Nazareth. Can you imagine the magnitude of opportunity the Nazarenes passed up by taken up an offense against Jesus? If He had been casting out unclean spirits, restoring broken bodies, making the mute to speak and the blind to see, and raising people from the dead…imagine how much more He could’ve done for His own people!

Interestingly enough, I believe that we do the same thing when we take up an offense with an individual. If God was to place someone in my path and in my life that is operating fully in their potential, gifting, and supernatural power, then I would venture to say I’m somewhat of a fool to push them away with an offense versus being drawn to the opportunity. By opportunity, perhaps my faith needs to be strengthened by someone who is fully operating in their calling. By opportunity, perhaps my insecurities can be minimized by being mentored by someone that has full confidence in who they are in Christ. By opportunity, perhaps my feelings of “fighting this faith battle alone” are being removed by a fellow warrior in the faith being divinely introduced into my life for the continued work of the kingdom.

Too often, we are blinded and distracted from the opportunities God has for us. In those moments where animosty, insecurity, and worst of all offense, desire to bubble up in our spirit and overtake our emotions, we should instead look to and grab hold of the opportunity God has for us in the situation. If we serve a good God that thinks good thoughts towards us and has good plans for us, then we must understand that there is a good opportunity that God has for us in every situation, through every circumstance, and especially with every individual.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, I thank you for Your desire to do good, greater, and the greatest works in our lives. I thank you for the impartation of our spiritual gifts, but also for the unseen blessings of those that you divinely place into our lives. Regardless of our feelings and emotions, Your opportunities for our lives are perfect and ready for us. In the name of Jesus, I declare thoughts of animosity, insecurity and soul-binding offenses to be eradicated from our lives! I declare that the dutimous power of Jesus come into our lives and heal all soul wounds in order for us to clearly see, appreciate and take hold of the opportunities You have for us. In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen.

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All I Do Is Win!

Scripture

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” 1 Corinthians 9:24 (ESV)

“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!” 1 Corinthians 9:24 (NLT)

Observation

This is a harsh reality of life: at the end of the day, not everyone is a winner. Everyone is moving with such momentum and acceleration, and often times, the people you interact with on a daily basis are pursuing the same things as you. Whether it be professional aspirations, personal accolades or spiritual development, we are moving with the idea to be progressing towards a goal…but so is everyone else.

Despite the promises in God’s Word, the prophecies spoken into our lives, and our relentless pursuit of God for answers, we often find ourselves in motion but rarely coming out on top. In this race of life, we are defining ourselves more as mere participants and less as winners. I believe that the disconnect lies in us having good INTENT but not being INTENTIONAL.

Application

For us to be true winners in life, we need to stop thinking about it…we need to start acting like it! Furthermore, there needs to exist a sense of tenacity towards being a winner in life! The word “obtain” in 1 Corinthians 9:24 comes from the Greek word katalambano, which means to take eagerly. Being a winner and victorious in life is yours for the taking, but you must not only want it but passionately & purposely pursue after it! Declare this with me:

I WILL be a WINNER in my family.
I WILL be a WINNER in my relationships.
I WILL be a WINNER in my job.
I WILL be a WINNER in my finances.
I WILL be a WINNER in my ministry.
I WILL be a WINNER in the emotional health.
I WILL be a WINNER in the spiritual battles of life.
I WILL be a WINNER in everything I put my mind to today.

Now, if you truly believe those declarations…what are you going to do differently from yesterday  so you can be a true WINNER today? You are not only destined for greatness…you are destined to WIN.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, I pray that you impart into us the strength to put action behind our intent to win in life. Your Word declares us to victorious and more than conquerors, and we receive that not only in thought, but also in our every day steps. Guide us in our journey of being intentional, so through our nature of being winners, our life’s testimony may bring more glory to Your name. In the name of Jesus, Amen!

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