YOU DESERVE BETTER

Recently, I met a young woman who works for one of the largest supermarkets in the US. She was unhappy with conditions at work. She felt her boss took her co-workers’ concerns more seriously than hers. Yet, the boss knew she was more competent and hardworking than the others.

After listening to her, I said, “Your boss treats you that way because he has studied you. He knows you’re more accommodating than the others, and he’s taking advantage of it. If you want to be treated differently, let him see your uncompromising side.”

In life, how people treat you is based on how you carry yourself and what you’re willing to tolerate. If you project weakness, they’ll take advantage of you. If you act like a clown, you’ll get a clown’s treatment. Therefore, it’s important to send the right signals about yourself. This is particularly relevant at the workplace and in personal relationships.

At the workplace, your employer won’t give you a raise out of the goodness of his heart. If you think you deserve a raise, you must speak for yourself. And make sure your performance is your strongest advocate. Also, your co-workers are your competitors. If you let them, they can step on you to further their careers. It’s important to project confidence. At the same time, do not let anyone take you for a fool. You deserve better.

In personal relationships, you deserve to be treated with respect. Make it clear that this is what you deserve, and you won’t settle for less. Similarly, in a marriage or romantic relationship, you deserve to be happy. Some people put their relationship first and their happiness second. That’s a mistake. You don’t have to suffer. You deserve better. If you must choose between being in a relationship and being happy, choosing the latter is a wiser course of action.

When dealing with people, sometimes, you need to force the issue. Don’t wait for others to treat you better. Make them know you deserve better. Take a bold step that reminds them you won’t settle for less happiness, less love, or less appreciation.

So long as people know they can treat you badly and get away with it, they’re in no hurry to treat you differently. Among the Ashantis, there’s a saying, “If people hurt you and you feel no pain, they won’t stop hurting you.”

If you want people to treat you better, you must send the right signals. When they mess with you the first time, make them regret it. The next time they’re tempted to step on you, they’ll think twice.

A final note:

Everything you expect from others, give it to yourself first. If you expect to be respected, let others see that you respect yourself. If you want others to love you, let them know you love yourself. If you want others to be kind to you, be kind to yourself. You get the point. Don’t expect from others what you’re unwilling to give to yourself.

You deserve better, so start by treating yourself better.

In love & light

Ogoe

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Live Now, Not Later

There’s no life waiting for you after death. If you want to live, this is it. This is your chance. Make the most of the life you’re given. If you think there’s a better life waiting for you after death, you’re missing out on life. Life is eternal, and hence cannot be interrupted. So, choose to live now.

There’s nothing beyond death. As Mary Baker Eddy wrote, “Death is not a stepping stone to Life, immortality and bliss” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, 203).

Life is all there is. There’s nothing before or after life. There’s nothing now but life. Life is the only reality there is. You’re experiencing life right now. There’s nothing special better than this waiting for you somewhere past the grave. Your current state of consciousness is what makes you think there’s ‘another’ life elsewhere. Any experience ‘elsewhere’ is but a different state of understanding and awareness of the one life.

If you live this life well, you’ll set yourself up for a greater expression of life. But this greater expression of life isn’t ‘another’ life. It’s but the same life, the only difference being the degree of your awareness of this one life. Therefore, you need to live now. There’s no ‘other’ life waiting for you.

 Just as there’s one God, so there is but one life. The quality of life you experience is based on your level of personal spiritual evolution. As brother Paul wrote, we go from glory to glory (2 Cor 3:18). Glory (which means life) is all there is. There’s no room for non-glory, just as there’s no room for non-life. You cannot go from non-glory to glory nor from glory to non-glory.

 Similarly, you can go from life to life, based on your degree of spiritual understanding and the capacity of your consciousness. You cannot, however, go from life to death and back to life again. When Jesus ‘died,’ He was conscious the entire time. There’s not a single moment when Jesus lost consciousness of being alive. As the Scripture affirms, “it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him” (Acts 2:24, NKJV).

This is true, for life is eternal and cannot be interrupted. Hence, the life in Jesus could not be interrupted by death. This is true of every man and woman, for the life in Jesus is the same life pulsating in everyone and everything in the entire Universe. There’s no other life.

Elsewhere in the Bible, this principle (from life to life, from glory to glory) is put another way. It says we’ve received “grace for grace” (John 1:16). Grace here, as with glory, means life. Again, you can go from grace to grace, but never from grace to non-grace nor vice versa. This means you can grow in grace, evolving from one degree of awareness of grace to a greater degree. Grace is all there is. Grace is what was, what is, and what shall be.

 If you’re a believer in life, you cannot be a believer in death. You must make up your mind, for you cannot serve two masters. The biggest illusion ever to afflict humans is the idea of death, and this illusion is self-imposed. But the truth is, life is all there is. Life is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. Death is not part of this cosmic equation.

Therefore, live your best life now. If you want to be happy, be happy now. If you want to be peaceful, be peaceful now. If you want to be healthy, be healthy now. Don’t wait for health after the grave. Health is now. If you want to be loving, be loving now.

Don’t wait for life after death, for you’ll find none. Make every waking moment count. God is in you right now, and in Her (or Him, if you prefer), you’ve got all the life you could possibly want. Your job is to yield to this life so it can flow freely through you.

Remember, life is now, not hereafter. Now is your day of salvation. Choose to live now.

Love & Light,

Ogoe

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You Are Worthy (Pt 1)

God wants you successful, healthy, full of life and prosperous. Jesus died for you so that you might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). To appropriate the blessings that are yours in Christ, it is very important that you believe you’re worthy. When you know you’re worthy, it stirs up faith and confidence. And confidence will release you to take what’s yours. If you want to be successful and prosperous, you can’t afford to label yourself unworthy.

Many people, often unconsciously, have disqualified themselves from the good things of life because they deem themselves unfit. You need to understand this: If you entertain thoughts and feelings of unworthiness, it’ll hinder you and deprive you of blessings God wants you to enjoy. No matter what your shortcomings are, keep feelings and thoughts of unworthiness far from you. When you see yourself as worthy, you’ll maintain a high sense of self-worth. That’ll empower you and propel you forward. Sooner or later, you’ll begin to experience success beyond your imagination.

Negative social and religious conditioning can make you feel inferior and unworthy. But let me encourage you: As far as Daddy God is concerned, your self-worth has nothing to do with social labels. Your self-worth is based on what Jesus did for you on the Cross. You are bigger, more precious and more capable than you’ve been made to believe.

Let me show you something.

God went to great lengths to make you worthy. One day, John had a vision of heaven (Revelation 5). God was seated in majesty, surrounded by heavenly hosts. In His right hand He had a scroll which had seven seals. An angel proclaimed, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” (v. 2). No creature was found worthy to approach God and take the scroll from Him. This caused John to weep. Apparently, there was something very important in the scroll that would benefit all people. The only problem was that the scroll was in God’s hand. Who dared approach God and take it from Him?

When all hope seemed lost, John saw a Lamb that was slain. It was Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah. He went straight to God and took the scroll from His hand. Jesus didn’t beg God to let him take the scroll. He approached boldly and took it from Him. Do you know why? Jesus knew he was worthy. God, therefore, had no choice but to give him the scroll. When Jesus took the scroll, heaven sang a new song, saying to Jesus, “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals . . .” (v. 8-10) Again the hosts of heaven said with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” (v. 12). 

Do you know what the best part is? Jesus did all of this for you. He died and paid for all your sins forever. Then He showed up in heaven with proof (His shed Blood) that the job was done. Jesus stood before God on your behalf. From eternity, God planned to give His entire estate to all His children, Jesus being the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29). But Jesus had to first die for the will (testament) to come into effect. That will was what God held in His right hand. Jesus was found worthy to take the will and execute it for all God’s children, including you.

Watch out for the concluding part tomorrow.

Until then, stay encouraged.

Ogoe

Freedom in the Father’s House

Daily Devotion | Day 320

“Jesus answered them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed’” (John 8:34-36, NKJV).

In John 8:31-59, Jesus had a tense exchange with certain Jews who believed in Him. The debate centered mainly around freedom, slavery and sonship. Jesus opened the conversation by stating that if they wanted to be His disciples, they had to abide in His word (v. 31). At this point everything was fine. Then Jesus dropped a bombshell when He said: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (v. 32). The Jews were startled and took exception to Jesus’ statement (v. 33).

On the surface, there seems to be nothing offensive about what Jesus said. But the Jews did not see it that way. Jesus’ words implied that they were in bondage. In other words, He meant that they were not royals, but slaves. The Jews understood the implication of what the Lord said. This explains their reply in v. 33: “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never being in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” The Jews were right. Technically, they were ‘free’ people, because they were the ethnic descendants of Abraham. This could not be debated.

However, they missed Jesus’ point. He was describing their spiritual condition. And as the conversation progressed, He shed more light on the issue. The first clarification of His statement is found in today’s opening passage (John 8:34-36). In the passage, Jesus explains what He means by “slavery” as well as the difference between a son and a slave. Let us examine the passage.

Jesus said, “whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (v. 34). In making this statement, He defined the meaning of spiritual bondage. Earlier, the Jews challenged Jesus when He suggested that they were slaves. But now He clarifies Himself by stating that in His eyes a slave is anyone who commits sin. Jesus implied that the Jews He spoke to were in sin, and therefore they were in bondage.

Contrary to what they thought, they were not royals. Therefore, when Jesus said, “the truth shall make you free,” He meant, “the truth shall make you free from committing sin. And when you are free from committing sin, then you are no longer a slave but a royal indeed.”  It is the same thing He meant when He said, “if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (v. 36). The Son is the truth which makes us free, because He is truth personified (John 14:6).

Next, Jesus explains that he who is made free from sin is a son (a royal) as opposed to the one who is not free from sin (a slave). Then He tells us the ‘residential status’ of the son and the slave with respect to the Father’s house: “A slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.” This means the one who is made free from sin (the royal) has a permanent place in the Father’s house. But a slave’s status is temporary, at best. Sooner or later, he would be asked to leave.

We will conclude today’s message by applying it to The Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32).

The prodigal son relinquished his position as a son when he left the house for a life of sin (the life of a slave). When he came to his senses, he knew (rightly so) that he had lost his place as a son (15:18-19). But when he returned, the father had compassion on him and reinstated him to the position of a son. The change in status is evident from the father’s own words: “this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (15:24).

Notice that the younger son used to be alive (while still in his father’s house). But when he left the father’s house, he died (spiritual death). When he returned, he found life again. In contrast, listen to what the father told the older son who did not leave the house, “Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours” (15:31). 

Jesus came to redeem us from sin that we might live as royal priests. The Father wants us to be always with him. Let us therefore remain in His house, for in His presence is fullness of joy and liberty. Amen.

For further studyRomans 6:8-23; 8:1-11

Praying for Those Who Don’t Deserve It

Daily Devotional |Day 228

 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28, NASB).

Love is the most powerful weapon you have. Have no doubt about that. You will never win by hating or even disliking people. Keep your heart free from all resentment. The condition of your heart determines the condition of your whole life. If your heart is pure, your whole life is pure. If your heart is bitter, your whole life is bitter as well. You don’t want to make resentment your friend. Listen to what Jesus is saying today. It will liberate and strengthen you.

You will be tempted again and again to resent people, but you must say “No” to resentment and hate. The kind of love Jesus is talking about in today’s Bible passage is possible through faith. Jesus wants you to take, not just the highroad, but the divine road. Specifically, Jesus says, pray for those who mistreat or abuse you.

Being able to pray for those who hate or hurt you, identifies you with Jesus. Do you want to be like Jesus? Start by doing what He tells you. Prayer connects you to the Lord in a special way. When you pray for people who don’t deserve it, you are glorifying God and shaming the devil. The enemy wants you to hate; he wants you to resent. In short, he wants you to be like him. Don’t be like him, because you are a child of light (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:5). The truth is, when you hate, you lose. Haters are losers. Hate weakens you. Hate never wins anything. Love, and love alone, empowers you. When you pray for those who mistreat you, the power of Jesus will flow mightily through you

What you need to realize is, the spiritual realm, just like the physical realm, operates on laws and principles. You can’t hold on to anger/grudge/resentment and hold on to the grace of God at the same time. One has to go. As Christians, we are beneficiaries of God’s abundant grace which He lavished on us through His Son and the Spirit. We, in turn, are called to be ministers of graceWe give grace because we are grace people.

Identity and behavior go hand in hand. They are two sides of the same coin. You are from grace (identity); therefore, you show grace (mission). One prominent way of extending grace to people who mistreat you or hate you is to pray for them. Jesus wants you to pray for them, not against them. 

Jesus’ teaching is deep and radical. You need to receive it with faith and a spirit of submission, even when your feeling is pulling you in the opposite direction. Keeping Jesus’ teachings will fill you with life, because His words are spirit and they are life (cf. John 6:63).

Take Jesus’ message to heart. You may not feel like praying for people who have hurt you. But be led by the Spirit of Christ, not your feeling. Feeling is just feeling. If you follow your feeling alone, you may never do what is right.

Do what Jesus tells you, your feelings notwithstanding.

May the Lord grant you victory over every adversity through The Power of Love! Amen.

 For further study: Romans 12:9-21