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EMBRACE THE POWER IN John 3:8

In John 3:8, Jesus touched on a powerful secret regarding who we are. When this revelation is understood and applied, there is no telling the transformation we will experience. Unfortunately, the main point of the passage is often overlooked. My purpose today is to shed light on John 3:8, pointing out its implication for your life. Hopefully, this will awaken in you the impetus to embrace your true nature, the God-nature. The passage reads,

The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (NKJV).  

It is important to note from the outset that Jesus is not talking about the Holy Spirit. In the passage, he is describing people who are born of the Spirit. Those people, he says, are as the wind. To be “born of the Spirit” means to awake in consciousness to the truth that you are the offspring, not of flesh, but of Spirit. This awakening is the beginning of true spirituality, a point Nicodemus struggled to understand.

Let me now show you what Jesus says about you in John 3:8.

The wind blows where it wishes”: You are as the wind. It is natural for you to blow with great power. It is natural for you to travel great distances effortlessly. You can manifest yourself wherever you want, because, like the wind, you are universally present. Your presence coincides with the presence of God. Time and space cannot limit your presence and activity.

Take, Elisha, for example: “When he [Gehazi] went in and stood before his master, Elisha asked him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” “Your servant didn’t go anywhere,” Gehazi answered. But Elisha said to him, “Was not my spirit with you when the man got down from his chariot to meet you? (2 Kings 5:25-26; cf. Col 2:5). This ability is not unique to Elisha. It is our common nature.

You hear the sound of it”: You are irresistible. You have the aura of God. It is your nature to be influential. You were born to be known and recognized. Your presence is to be felt. You were born to get the attention of the world. This is your true nature.

Cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes”: Where God comes from is where you come from; where God goes is where you go. You are mystery. Your life is a wonder. You are beyond definition. You are the master of your goings and comings. No one can contain you. You are the embodiment of freedom. In essence, you are just like the God who gave birth to you. This is your true nature.

I will conclude here, but this is by no means the end of what Jesus left us in John 3:8. As you pray and meditate, you will receive more insight. I hope this brief reflection has given you more reasons to appreciate the beauty of being born of the Spirit.

Do not be afraid of who you are. Embrace your true nature.

In light & love

Ogoe

FACE YOUR FEARS

Your progress in life requires you to evolve from one stage of development to the next. This evolution takes place at a mental and spiritual level. The process will not happen automatically. You must allow yourself to evolve.

At every stage of your development, there are challenges you must overcome. Conquering these challenges will prepare you for the next phase of your self-realization. As you evolve, a key challenge you must conquer is fear.

Today, I want to talk to you about “Face Your Fears.”

Twelve years ago, I preached a revival in Bolgatanga, a city in northern Ghana. When the program was over, I went to see the famous crocodile pond in Paga, about two hour drive from Bolgatanga. I was excited about the adventure. I wanted to sit on the large reptile, lift the tail, and take a photo, just like every tourist did. But I felt scared, so I left. On my way home, I knew I had to address this fear.

Six months later, another program took me to Tamale, also in northern Ghana. This time, I decided to face my fear. I had to face my crocodile. And face it, I did. Just so you know: Not only did I sit on the crocodile, I lifted the tail and took a nice picture with a beautiful smile to go with it.

Once you become aware that you have a fear of something or someone, there are three things you should not do. At the same time, there is one thing you must do.

First, do not feel ashamed about your fears. Feeling guilty about your fears will make matters worse. Fear and guilt dampen the human spirit. Having either of them is bad enough. Do not compound the problem by combining the two feelings. Regardless of your personal struggles, always remember to love yourself unconditionally.

Second, neither suppress nor ignore your fears. We all want to appear strong. No one likes to be seen as weak. The pressure to appear strong is particularly intense if you are someone people look up to, a leader of a group, for example. There is nothing wrong with projecting strength. Remember, however, that by ignoring the fear, you are merely delaying the inevitable. Eventually, you will have to confront the problem. You can ignore the fear, but the fear will not ignore you.

Third, do not broadcast your fears. Remember, fear is contagious. Be kind to the universe. Cover your mouth until your infection has passed. If you must release something into the universe, let it be faith and positive vibes, not your fears. It took the word of only ten fearful men to infect the whole congregation of Israel with fear of the giants (Numbers 13:25-33).

Fourth, face your fears. Facing your fears does not mean you should recklessly put yourself in harm’s way to prove a point. No, it means when you become aware you are dealing with fear, you must acknowledge the problem.

After acknowledging the problem, the next step is to accept that you need to work on yourself to release all feelings of insecurity. The problem of fear does not lie with the thing you fear. The proplem lies with you. The feeling of fear is a symptom of a deep seated issue in your life that needs to be addressed, by you.

You can try prayer, meditation, and relaxation techniques. But the antidote to fear is to arm yourself with your spiritual identity as God’s image and likeness. Only a solid awareness of your divine identity will make you immune to fear. It’ll take practice, but it’s worth the time and effort.

Remember, God’s unconditional love is a shield around you. Overcome fear today by seeing yourself as God sees you.

In light & love

Ogoe

RESPONSIBILITY MINUS GUILT

How you feel about yourself is the single most important factor in your overall wellbeing. It’s important, therefore, to feel right about yourself on a consistent basis, regardless of your shortcomings (past, present, or future). This can be challenging, I would agree. We learn to control a lot of things in life, but not many people have mastered the ability to control their feelings.

One thing that can get in the way of feeling right about yourself is the feeling of guilt. Most people struggle with this feeling almost every day. To help overcome this, I’d like to talk to you about “Responsibility Minus Guilt.”

The feeling of guilt is usually a reaction to something you’ve done or failed to do. The feeling can be self-inflicted, or it can be projected unto you by others. In any case, when you allow yourself to feel guilty, you’re absorbing into your system something very toxic. You don’t want that. Offering apologies or confessions won’t free you from feelings of guilt.

To live free of guilty feelings, I encourage you to practice the following:

First, learn to separate your actions from your feelings. Understand, your action and your feeling are not the same thing. Moreover, you are not your action. There’s you, and there’s your action. There’s you, and there’s your shortcomings. Do not mix the two. To experience your full potential, this is a crucial skill you need to master.

Guilty feeling is just a state of mind, not an objective reality. Regardless of what you’ve done or not done, there’s no law in the universe which requires you to feel guilty. How you feel is entirely your choice. Therefore, you can own your actions and remain unaffected by feelings of guilt.

Second, do not absorb the judgment others pass on you. People will judge you at some point, especially if they dislike something you’ve done. While you can’t always control what others say about you, you can always control how you feel. People can point accusing fingers at you, but if you feel right about yourself, their judgment will have no adverse effect on you. Remember, the degree to which a thing can affect you is proportional to the weight you attach to the thing.

Third, never be mad at yourself. Easier said than done. But, if you want to accelerate your personal and spiritual growth, you can’t skip this step. If you’re in the habit of getting mad at yourself, it’s important to stop now. Directing negative feelings at yourself will make you a candidate for all manner of diseases and misfortunes. Whenever you catch yourself getting mad at yourself, pause immediately, take a deep breath, and quiet yourself. Then, say, “I AM always kind to myself.”

In sum, always take responsibility for your actions. At the same time, however, distance yourself from all feelings of guilt. This approach to life will make you a stronger, happier person.

Feel right about yourself.

In love & light

Ogoe

2022: Discover Your Life Purpose

There’s nothing more fulfilling than knowing the reason you came into this world and dedicating yourself to your mission. This is what it means to live by destiny. Everyone who is born into this world comes with a specific assignment and life purpose. Jesus knew his.

Standing before Pilate, he declared, “In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth” (John 18:37, NIV). Like Jesus, everyone has a right to know their life purpose. Living by destiny is the best and the most satisfying way to live.

As we welcome a new year, I’d like to talk to you about “Discover Your Life Purpose.”

A lot of people either miss their destiny or fulfill it partially. Two factors account for this.

The first and the most important factor is the lack of spiritual awareness on the part of their parents. Children’s first contact with the world is through their parents. Therefore, when parents are spiritually awake, they can detect a child’s destiny at an early stage. Information about a child’s life purpose is already available at conception. Equipped with this information, parents can provide appropriate guidance for the child to succeed.

Unfortunately, in our modern world, when couples are expecting, they seem more interested in the child’s gender, height, weight, eye color, and so forth. The child’s life purpose is the last thing on their mind. Hence, children are left to navigate the complex issues of life through trial and error, without the aid of divine revelation. Inevitably, a lot of opportunities are missed.

By contrast, the ancients were more spiritually sensitive to the destiny of the babies they carried. Take, for example, Rebecca. Like most pregnant woman, she too felt the kicking of her babies. But unlike most women, she sensed there was a deeper story behind the constant kicking. She therefore consulted with God.

Only then was it revealed that she was carrying two nations in her womb, and that the firstborn would serve the younger. Armed with this revelation, Rebecca positioned herself strategically, played her cards well, protected Jacob, and made sure Jacob didn’t miss his destiny. Imagine what would have happened if Rebecca wasn’t spiritually sensitive to the movement of her babies. You can find the story in Genesis 25:21-23; 27:1-46.

Behind every Jacob, there’s a Rebecca. Behind every child of destiny, there’s almost always a parent who saw greatness in the child.

The second factor has to do with social programming. In our modern society, everything is neatly packaged. Your job is to fit in the matrix. For instance, shortly after you’re born, you’re plugged into ‘the system’ where you’re told what to think and what not to think. You’re expected to complete elementary school, go to high school, then college. The next step is to find employment, pay your taxes, buy a house, get married, make babies, grow old, retire, then die. In such an environment, it’ll take courage to pursue your purpose, especially if your purpose challenges the status quo.

When you feel empty, unhappy, or if you feel life is a grind, it’s usually a sign that you’re living a life that wasn’t meant for you. The fact that certain life choices are good for one person doesn’t mean the same choices will be good for you.

Your choices in life should be based, not on what everyone else is doing, but on what aligns best with your specific life purpose. If you don’t know the reason you came to this planet, how can you live a meaningful life?

Today, I want you to know that you can, and should, find out the reason you came into this world. It’s your right to know. If you’re unsure of your life purpose, let 2022 be the year you discover it. Ask God for your life purpose to be revealed to you. If you want to talk to someone who is more spiritually adept at dealing with these situations, that’s fine too.

Discovering your life purpose will give you a whole new way of approaching life. It’ll fill you with unimaginable energy and passion. Regardless of the circumstances of your birth, you’re not here by accident. You’re here for a reason, a good reason.

If you’re a parent reading this, give to your children the sense of destiny you didn’t get in your childhood. As Whitney Houston said in her song, Greatest Love of All, “Show them [children] all the beauty they possess inside.”

Let 2022 be your year of self-discovery. Find your purpose. Find true fulfillment by doing what you were sent to do.

In love & light

Ogoe

TRUST YOUR STAR

Often, trusting others feels easier than trusting yourself. There’s a reason for this. As we grow up, much of our education, formal as well as informal, prepares us to trust people and systems outside of ourselves.

We’re raised to trust the news, the government, the church, the school system, the health system, friends, and family. We’re raised to look outside ourselves for answers. But, while you’re trained to trust almost everyone and everything around you, rarely will you be taught the critical truth: Trusting yourself before all others is the key to fulfilling your destiny.

I’d like to talk to you today about “Trust Your Star.”

When Jesus was born, certain men from the East became aware of it through the guidance of his star. Following the star, they made it to Jerusalem safely. Upon arrival, however, they began to ask around as to the location of the child.

When Herod got wind of it, he set in motion an elaborate scheme to destroy the child or whoever he deemed a threat to his throne. The entire story can be found in Matthew 2:1-13. There’s an important lesson here I wish to highlight.

The wise men did not need to ask others for the child’s whereabout. The star that guided them in the East could have led them straight to Jesus. Involving all of Jerusalem, especially Herod, was a mistake, one that proved costly. Interestingly, as soon as they left Herod’s presence, the star from the east reappeared, leading them to Jesus.

Sometimes, you can go about seeking guidance from too many people. In the process, you neglect the guidance of your inner star. Talking to too many people about your journey will only confuse you and attract negative attention.

Like the men from the East, everyone in life is on a journey. The specifics of the journey differ from person to person. But, no matter where your journey calls you, you have a star from God that guides you. Therefore, learning to trust your star is crucial to your success.

Your star is not in the sky. Your star is a part of you. It’s the voice and the light of God in you.

You don’t have to go through Herod to get to your destination. You don’t need outside opinions to know where you need to go or what you need to do. You were never meant to receive your guidance from outside sources.

Fulfilling your destiny requires you to trust your God-given internal guiding star above all external suggestions.

Understand, your journey is yours to undertake. Your dream is yours to pursue. Your calling is yours to answer. No one understands your journey better than you do.

When you stop depending on people for guidance, your inner star will appear to guide you.

Remember, your deepest joy in life will come from knowing, trusting, and following your star. Look within and find the guidance you need. Trust your star.

In light & love

Ogoe

UNDERSTANDING THE LAW OF USE

Success at all levels is governed by spiritual laws. The right understanding and application of spiritual laws will guarantee success. Today, I want to talk to you about one such law: The Law of Use.

The Law of Use can be stated as follows: The more a thing is used and enjoyed, the more abundantly there is to be used and enjoyed. The converse is true: The less a thing is used and enjoyed, the less of it there is to be used and enjoyed.

The Law of Use operates under a two-fold principle. Therefore, to have more and enjoy more, you must practice the following:

First, use what you already have. This includes everything you own, from your cellphone to the shoes you bought for Christmas. Use it often. Act like there’s always more for you to use. The more you use something, you’re showing appreciation for it. And, what you appreciate tends to appreciate. Not only that, what you appreciate will appreciate you.

As an example, if you have 20 pairs of shoes, wear them often. If you must wear a different pair of shoes every day, so be it. It’s nobody’s business. The things in your life are there to serve you. Let them feel your presence often. Let them feel the presence of their master. If you have something you hardly use, let others have it. The key is to keep things in motion. The Law of Use demands that the things in our possession are put to use.

If you hold on to things without necessarily using them, you’ll inevitably create an energy of stagnation around you. You don’t want that.

Second, enjoy what you use. Feel truly happy when you use anything. When you drive your car, feel joyful about it. When you wear your shoes, feel the joy it brings you. When you buy something for yourself or another, feel the joy of purchasing power. Act like you always have enough money, and that the price of an item doesn’t scare or bother you.

Don’t be indifferent. If you’re indifferent to the things in your life, those things will be indifferent to you. The key is to feel joyful about anything you use to make your life meaningful. It’s the reason the Scripture says, “God loves a cheerful [joyful] giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). The joy of giving is as important as the act of giving. Likewise, the joy of using something is as important as using the thing.

Remember, the Law of Use is what activates the Law of Abundance. This principle is illustrated in the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). The key lesson in the parable is summed up as follows: “to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away” (v. 29).

Abundant living is more about attitude than the amount in your bank account. An attitude of abundance is what channels the flow of abundance. To those who say, “God knows I don’t have much,” I say, please don’t put words in God’s mouth. God knows you more than you know yourself. He knows you’re rich, because He made you so, in His exact likeness. You’re rich; you just haven’t accepted yet that you’re rich.

To experience abundance, you must express abundance.

Apply the Law of Use in your life today. Use more and enjoy more of what you already have.

Love & Light

Ogoe

Stop Accusing Yourself

Your advancement in life largely depends on how you treat yourself. Often, we care more about how others treat us. We want their love, their respect, and their kindness. Yet, how you treat yourself is far more important than how others treat you.

If you treat yourself right, you’ll have enough self-esteem to stand up against bullies and those who cannot see the good in you.

Today, I want to talk to you about “Stop Accusing Yourself.” In the Bible, the devil is described as the accuser who, day and night, accuses people before God (Revelation 12:10). When they read this text, most people assume it’s referring to a creature somewhere called the devil who goes about accusing people.

But I’d like to point out that the only accuser there is, is you. People don’t need a separate devil to accuse them, because they already do a good enough job of accusing themselves. In a court case, if the defendant accuses himself of wrongdoing, the prosecutor’s job is made easy.

No accusation can affect you unless you endorse or affirm it. If an accusation works against you, it means you’ve agreed with it.

And remember, if you accuse yourself of anything, you must suffer the consequences thereof. This is a universal, spiritual law. Jesus stated the law thus, “by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:37). You cannot escape this law, so watch what you say about yourself.

There are two things you’ll do well to remember.

First, to accuse yourself is to accuse God. The reason is simple. You and God are inseparable. Therefore, always affirm yourself in the most positive terms. Speak only what’s true of your Higher-Self, because your Higher-Self is your truth.

Second, each time you accuse yourself, either by your words or thoughts, you’re acting as your own devil. Don’t go through life being your own enemy. There are enough people who already accuse you of this and that. The last thing you need is to side with the prosecutor in your own case.

No matter what you’ve done or failed to do, never accuse, or condemn yourself. The most potent form of accusation is self-accusation. It is the fastest route to self-sabotage. Self-accusation will fuel the very fire you’re hoping to quench. It will dampen your spirit, inflict guilt, and keep you from accessing higher levels of personal growth.

Moreover, it’s important that you don’t identify yourself with the wrong you’ve done. Identify yourself, instead, with the Creator’s image which you are. That’s the only way to start heading in the right direction.

If you realize you’ve acted in error, don’t focus on the error. What gets your attention, gets amplified. Take a moment and still yourself. Turn your attention to your Higher-Self.

Truly see this Perfect Self, created in God’s image and likeness. Just look. Don’t think. Don’t analyze, and don’t judge. Just observe and see the Pure, Beautiful, Spotless, Perfect Soul you are. Then, draw strength to do better next time.

Say no more, “I AM guilty,” “I feel so bad,” “I AM such a terrible person,” “I deserve to be punished,” “I AM not worthy,” “I hate myself,” “I AM so silly,” “I AM the worst,” “I AM so dumb.”   

No matter what you’ve done, you deserve unconditional love, not self-hate. Self-hate will rob you of the energy you need to be better. Love alone can expand and uplift you. Therefore, give yourself more love, more acceptance.

Love & Light

Stephen

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What’s Your Excuse?

To get ahead in life, it’s important to liberate yourself from encumbrances. One such hindrance is in the form of giving excuses. It’s easy to give excuses. It’s cheap and readily available. It’s like self-pardon. It can provide temporary relief. But in the end, excuses weaken your drive to succeed. Excuses stifle motivation and creativity.

Be wary of excuses, especially the ones you tell yourself. Unless you’re required to provide an excuse, it’s best to avoid it. Offer excuses sparingly, if at all. Keep your life free from excuses, and you’ll be free to move forward.

Giving excuses is a form of self-pity. It might make you feel comfortable for a while, but over time, your creativity and motivation will suffer. You don’t need to explain to yourself or to anyone why you can’t do ‘X’ or ‘Y.’

A lot of people experience stagnation because they have an excuse for everything. They convince themselves they have a reason for not been able to advance in life. It’s their mom, their dad, their ethnicity, the sickness, the government, the pandemic, the economy, the unfair boss, their spouse, the kids, the traffic, lack of support, and so forth.

Once you accept a reason for your inability to go where you need to go and do what you want to do, you have no incentive to move forward. You lose momentum. In this condition, you feel you deserve sympathy and understanding. But in the long run, you’re hurting yourself.

Offer no more excuses. Don’t expect sympathy. Don’t even seek compassion. Just get up and do something. Get up and move forward.

Believe in your Higher-Self. Believe you have something to offer. Believe there’s an answer for your situation. The answer won’t come from outside. It will come from within you. Remember, Christ-in-you is your hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). As Mariah Kelly said in her celebrated song, Hero, “A hero lies in you.” Instead of waiting for someone to come along and rescue you, look to the hero within you and draw strength. Make a move, no matter how small it seems.

The Universe responds to your intention and action. You can have the most wonderful intention, but if you don’t act on it, nothing will change. Act on your intention. Act on your hopes. Take a step forward. Every step counts.

Stop drowning in your own self-pity and myriad of excuses. If you want things to move, you must move first. If you want things to change, you must change first. It’s the Law of Prosperity.

Don’t wait for God to pass by. God has already moved. It’s you who needs to move.

Consider the story in John 5:1-9. It tells us of a man who had been paralyzed for 38 years. During those years, he sat at the pool of Bethesda waiting and hoping for a miracle of healing. When Jesus asked if he wanted to be healed, he couldn’t say “Yes” or “No.”

Instead, the man offered an excuse, suggesting he was unlucky because each time the angel stirred up the water, someone got to the pool ahead of him. Many people are like this man. They’ve unconsciously chosen a life of stagnation by finding excuses for their supposed misfortune.

Let go of your need for excuses. Stop telling yourself reasons why you’re unable to get ahead in life. Instead, look for reasons to move forward. When you make a move, the right forces will align to help you get to your destination. Get up from the bed of excuses. Start working on your goals.

Love & Light

Stephen

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No Bad Days

You are the prophet of your own life. Say it: I AM the prophet of my own life. As a prophet, your words carry weight. Those who understand this are careful about what they say.

There’s no such thing as a ‘useless’ word. Your words will always return to you with a corresponding manifestation. Say it: My words will always return to me with a corresponding manifestation.

Knowing this, Jesus declared, “every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36). What seems idle in our eyes isn’t so in the vibrational or spiritual ream. Therefore, we all must reap the fruit of our words. The “day of judgment’ isn’t some future date far removed from now. No. We’re dealing with the consequences of our words right now, right here.

You’re not having a bad day because the day is bad. You’re having a bad day because you’re saying and thinking the day is bad. You can’t have a bad day, but you can create a bad day with your thoughts, words, and feelings. There are no bad days.

A day is just that, a day. It’s not the job of Tuesday or Friday to make you feel great. How you feel is your job, not the day’s. Understand, feeling is a choice.

Regardless of prevailing circumstances, you can choose to feel wonderful or choose to feel miserable. Neither hormones, the weather, your kids, your boss, nor the black cat can make you have a bad day. The day is what you make of it. You make the day. The day does not make you.

You are the boss of your feelings. Say it: I AM the boss of my feelings. As Rev. Frederick Eikerenkoetter used to say, “tell your feelings how to feel.”

Every day you wake up, understand that you’re the creator and prophet of your day. Don’t just hope for a good day. Create the kind of day you want. Be intentional about it.

As you get up from bed, take a few moments to speak, feel, and think positively about the day. With feelings of gratitude and with your eyes closed, you can say, for example:

 “I bless and sanctify this day. I call this day good. I feel grateful for this day. I feel wonderful. I am having a wonderful day today. I welcome [open your arms wide], accept and embrace all the blessings of love, joy, happiness, health, prosperity, and money that God has for me this day. It is so.”

You may not control what happens in the day, but you can always control how you feel about what happens.

Say good things about your day, no matter what. Use your prophetic power to steer your life in the direction you want. The more good you speak, the more good you’ll draw to you.

No more “I’m having a bad day.” Say, rather, “Goodness and mercy follow me all the days of my life.”

Love & Light

Stephen

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Why Was Jesus Born of A Virgin?

One of the most important Christian doctrines is the virgin birth, the belief that Jesus, unlike the rest of us, was born of a virgin, Mary, the husband of Joseph. Over the centuries, thousands of books have been written about this doctrine. Central to the Christian tradition, this belief is included in the Nicene Creed. Should any Christian have the misfortune of denying this doctrine, he or she would be considered a heretic.

My aim is neither to argue for nor against the validity of the doctrine. My interest lies in something more profound, something spiritual and revelatory which seems to have escaped the Church’s attention. I therefore want to share with you the real reason Jesus was born of a virgin. Regardless of your religious background, you can draw from this reflection valuable spiritual insight for your personal growth.

Let us start by getting one thing out of the way. Most people think Jesus was born of a virgin to show how different he was from the rest of us. But that misses the point. Neither the Father nor Jesus had any intention of the kind.

On the contrary, Jesus wanted us to know we are like him, and he is like us. This was his goal all along. He knew all people are made in the image and likeness of God. He knew, too, that this image is spiritual, perfect, and immutable. Unfortunately, most people operate from an incorrect self-image.

Jesus’s mission, then, was to show us how to think and act as God’s likeness. The details of his life, including the virgin birth, are not meant to suggest that he belongs to a different class of God’s likeness. God’s likeness is the same across the board, whether it’s Jesus, you, or the self-proclaimed atheist.

When God looks at us, He is literally looking at Himself, because we are His reflection and image.

Now, to the question, “Why was Jesus born of a virgin?” We will respond to this question with an equally important question: How was Adam born and who was his parent? Adam, according to the Bible, is the first human. Understanding Adam’s origin holds the key to understanding why Jesus was born of a virgin.

One thing is clear about Adam. He had no human parent. The only parent he knew was God, who is pure spirit. God alone was Adam’s mother (father). This point is crucial. Recognizing God as his only parent, Adam understood that his origin was divine, not human. He knew he was pure spirit, just like his father (mother). No mortal (i.e., flesh and blood) could qualify as Adam’s true parent.

At this point, we must emphasize that God intended the truth of Adam to be the truth of every man and woman, because everyone is ‘Adam’ in his or her own right. The ‘Adamic ideal’ lives in us all. This means our origin is divine, not human. God is the true parent of us all. The biggest mistake humans can make is to forget our divine birth and Who our true parent is.

Those we commonly refer to as our parents are, strictly speaking, temporary custodians of God’s children. This is what Jesus meant when he said, “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.” (Matthew 23:9, NKJV). Most people don’t know what to make of this Scripture, because it upsets conventional, unspiritual thinking. Yet, Jesus meant every word of it. The master was pointing the world back to the beginning when Adam knew God alone as his parent.

Jesus entered this world to reinstate the Adam ideal which had for so long been neglected by so many people. Hence, the Bible calls him the Last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45). His mission was to reveal to all people their divine origin.

Everything about his life pointed to this. For example, whenever he spoke of his parent, he was referring, not to Joseph or Mary, but to God. He even got into trouble for it: “Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He [Jesus] not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God” (John 5:18, NKJV).

When Jesus was born of a virgin, it sent a strong, clear message. His origin was exclusively divine. God was his true parent, not Joseph or Mary. And he made sure everyone knew that. The real reason Jesus chose to be born of a virgin was to eliminate all confusion about his (and our) divine origin.

The virgin birth of Jesus is the virgin birth of everyone. Here, the idea of a ‘virgin’ represents a spiritual state of consciousness in which mortals are stripped of their supposed ability to procreate. In this ‘virgin’ state, God is acknowledged as the sole, universal Parent, Agent, and Giver of life. There’s no room, then, for mortals to boast about having brought life into this world.

What we term procreation is a misnomer. No mortal ever procreates anyone. To have a child is a privilege, not a right. It’s a favor, not the reward for our effort. Moreover, it is not we who choose the child. It is the child, rather, who chooses to join us. Those we call babies are, in fact, sovereign children of God who come to us as our guests. We don’t make guests. We receive and welcome them.

In addition to the virgin birth, there’s another fact about Jesus which sheds more light on the current subject. The Gospel according to Luke gives us an account of Jesus’s genealogy. The account starts with Joseph (the supposed father of Jesus) and traces the genealogy all the way to Adam.

Interestingly, Luke does not stop with Adam, the first man. In fact, the last line of the genealogy reads, “the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God” (Luke 3:38). The common theme is sonship. At the very end of the genealogy is God. This means one thing. Together with Jesus, our lineage is divine, not human; spiritual, not material. We trace our ancestry, not to a mortal parent, but to Infinite Spirit, God. The genealogy of Jesus is the genealogy of every man and woman.

In sum, where you trace your origin determines your identity, and your identity shapes your destiny. If you trace your origin to a mortal (biological) parent, you’ll suffer the fate of mortals: limitation, confusion, and decay. If, however, you trace your origin to a Divine Father (Mother), as Jesus did (as we all should), you’ll reap the fruit of divinity: endless peace, harmony, and vitality.

A change in origin is a change in destiny.

To know yourself as emanating, not from a mortal parent, but from eternal Spirit, is the end of mortal slavery and the beginning of heavenly bliss. Adjust your self-image today. Embrace your divine origin.

Love & Light

Ogoe

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Tune Out Naysayers

As you pursue your dreams, you’ll encounter naysayers, at some point. They can appear as a family member, a co-worker, a teacher, an acquaintance, a guru, a classmate, a friend, an ‘expert,’ or even someone you barely know.

Naysayers have a habit of focusing on impossibilities and negative outcomes. Instead of focusing on what could go right, they seem to derive satisfaction from highlighting what could go wrong.

How you deal with naysayers can make or break your dreams.

There’s a story in the Bible about Jesus being called to heal the daughter of a synagogue official (Mark 5:35-43). When he got to the official’s house, he met with negative talk. There were those who laughed at him for suggesting he could save an already dead girl. The first thing Jesus did was to put them all out of the house, except for the girl’s parents and his disciples. Then, he went ahead to raise the girl.

Jesus believed in himself. He knew he could depend on the Infinite Power within him to fulfill his mission. Therefore, when he met naysayers, he wasted no time getting rid of them.

Like Jesus, you’ll meet people who are constantly telling you why your dream may not work. You must learn to guard your dream from such types. Your destiny is too important to let pessimists dictate its limits.

Remember, there’s only one way to deal with naysayers. Tune them out. Don’t get mad at them. Don’t try to convince them or win them over. And don’t try to change them. That would be a mistake.

Don’t try to negotiate with naysayers. Pursuing your dream should be non-negotiation. Don’t talk to them about your dreams, goals or plans. Let the realization of your dream do the talking.

 In dealing with naysayers, the best thing you can do for yourself is to release them from your mental and emotional space. If possible, change your phone number, so you don’t have to listen to their negativity and pessimism. Keep them at arm’s length. Maintain as much social and emotional distance as possible.

Point your energies away from naysayers and toward the life you want to build. Do not allow yourself to be distracted.

Naysayers have influence over you only if you pay attention to them. But if you ignore them, you have the advantage.

Tune out the naysayers in your life. Do not feel sorry for them. Do not give in to guilt. Tune them out quickly and without hesitation. Then, tune in to your inner God-power which presents you with limitless possibilities.

The good forces of the universe await the fulfillment of your dreams. Like a quarterback leading the offensive line to the end zone, focus on your goals. Draw inspiration from people who have made it. Encourage yourself always and keep moving no matter what.

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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Don’t Depend on Pharaoh

Joseph went to Egypt as a slave. After a few years of struggle, he found favor with Pharaoh and became a powerful leader in Egypt. Later, his whole family joined him. For several years, Egypt became a safe haven for Israel. Pharaoh loved, cuddled, and protected Israel. One day, however, a new Pharaoh ascended the throne and Israel became vulnerable. As the Scripture says, “Now there arose up a new king [Pharaoh] over Egypt, which knew not Joseph” (Exodus 1:8). Under the old Pharaoh, Israel was comfortable. Over time, Israel came to depend on Pharaoh’s friendship and generosity. They took it for granted that this situation would continue. They were wrong.

The new Pharaoh didn’t care about the long standing friendship with Joseph’s family. His priority was to put Egypt’s interests first. And as far as he was concerned, Israel’s presence posed a threat to Egypt’s security. He determined that the risk of letting Israel expand far outweighed any benefits to be gained from keeping Israel as a friend. Israel’s fortunes turned overnight. They didn’t see this coming. I won’t go into the rest of the story. There’s a key lesson here, and that’s what I want to talk to you about: Don’t depend on Pharaoh.

In the story, “Pharaoh” represents the flesh, i.e. mortal human beings as well as all human systems that are subject to change. To depend on Pharaoh means to depend on people. When people love you, give you gifts and shower praises on you, you tend to assume they’ll always be there for you. Or vice versa, when you extend love and kindness to others, you tend to assume they’ll have your back in return. Love and friendship can blind you to reality. Love itself isn’t the problem. The problem is with the mindset of the people who are in charge of expressing love.

People change. That’s the problem. But somehow, we haven’t learned our lesson. When people are kind and nice toward us, we soon forget they can, and will, change. Since the dawn of history, countless souls have been hurt and disappointed because of their dependence on other people. We come to expect, at a mostly unconscious level, that certain people, especially friends and family, will always be with us and for us. Those who think like this, and there are many who do, will soon find out the hard way. I’m here to help you, to save your heart from being broken time and again. Hopefully, you’ll open your eyes to reality once and for all. If you do, your life will become more peaceful. You’ll be happier than ever.

Understand, change is inevitable. Everyone changes, even you. It’s therefore dangerous and unwise to depend on people. Don’t fool yourself with the idea that there are exceptions. There are no exceptions. Because everyone changes, everyone is capable of letting you down, especially those you least expect. If you want a happy life, don’t depend on anyone whose name isn’t I AM THAT I AM. This includes your wife, your husband, your siblings, your relatives, your friends, your girlfriend, your boyfriend, your co-workers, your pastor, your boss, even your own children.

Does this mean you should have no friends, no family, and no relationships? No, not at all. Stay connected to as many people as possible. Have all the friends you want. Enjoy family and any relationship you want, while it lasts. But in your mind and in your heart, don’t put your hope in them. It’s about your inner attitude. Open your heart to give love and to receive love. Be kind, and receive kindness when it is offered. But remember, there are no guarantees. When people are kind to you today, there’s no guarantee they’ll act the same way tomorrow.

Nothing lasts. No one lasts. Accept the reality. It’ll save you from headaches, heartaches, and confusion. Love everyone, but depend on no one. Depend on God alone, because God alone is unchanging. The worst mistake you could make in this life is to depend on human beings or human systems to support you. The reverse is true. The best decision you could make is to depend on God alone.

Learn to love yourself. Learn to support yourself. Build a life that makes you less dependent on someone or something other than God. This is your key to true happiness and true peace of mind. Remember what the Scripture says, “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm . . . Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is” (Jeremiah 17:5, 7). Every mortal is a ‘Pharaoh.’ Don’t depend on Pharaoh. Depend on your Maker.

Love & Light

Stephen

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“Till Death Do Us Part?”

Invoking death during marriage is unwise, ungodly and dangerous. The Holy Spirit didn’t inspire the words, “till death do us part.” The words are very charming, even romantic, but they conceal a dangerous trap. It’s a self-inflicted curse in disguise. Christ wouldn’t teach us to use those words. Nor would the apostles.

In the beginning, Adam and Eve became a couple without any vow, let alone a vow about “till death do us part.”

Whoever invented the phrase, “till death do us part,” most likely meant no harm. Yet, the belief engendered by this phrase has exposed and continues to expose millions of couples to danger. We cannot call both God and death as witnesses to our marriage. Where there’s God, there’s no death.

Regardless of one’s intentions, to invoke death, sickness or poverty in a marriage vow is to enter into covenant with death, sickness and poverty, agreeing that these enemies have, or will have, power over you at some point. Invariably, this will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. No wonder many marriages feel dry and couples are constantly struggling with disease, unhappiness, and financial troubles. God cannot be party to such an arrangement.

By acknowledging death as having power over our marriage, we are, in a sense, yielding control of our marriage to death and admitting that death has the final say, not God. Surely, we pronounce our vows with a sincere heart. We mean to say we’ll remain committed to the relationship no matter the circumstances. That’s good and noble.

However, in this matter, our sincerity reveals our spiritual blindness. There’s nothing Christian about naming sickness, death or poverty in a marriage ceremony. There’s no advantage to aligning marriage with death, sickness or poverty. Love is forever. “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it” (Song of Solomon, 8:7). Love is life.

Marriage, as understood by Christians, is of God, modeled on the relationship between Christ and the Church. Christ didn’t come into the world to teach us how to cope with sickness, death and poverty. He came to destroy them and he gave us authority to do the same should any of these enemies raise its ugly head.

It’s a grave error, therefore, to base Christian marriage on un-Christlike vows, no matter how ‘religious’ those vows appear on the surface. We enter into agreement with Christ and at the same time agree with sickness, death and poverty. Our good intentions don’t matter at this point. What matters is the inherent contradiction in our belief system.

There’s no spiritual justification for affirming belief in sickness, death or poverty. Weaving this harmful belief into the fabric of the marriage covenant exposes couples to the very enemies we hope to conquer.

As we grow in spiritual understanding, it’s important to adjust our beliefs and practices accordingly. There’s no shame in leaving behind harmful beliefs and practices. We must strip our marriage vows of any references to, and agreement with, sickness, poverty or death.

If we want marriages to flourish, it’s necessary to abandon our agreement with death, sickness and poverty. Instead, we must enter into covenant with life, abundance, health and prosperity.

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Stephen Ogoe

PRAY THE PRAYER OF FAITH

Daily Devotional: Day 5

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1, NIV).

God doesn’t honor prayer (Don’t be shocked! Read on); he honors faith. Prayer by itself doesn’t change your life. To benefit from prayer, your prayer must be a prayer of faith. This means, if you petition God for anything, believe without doubt in your heart that God has heard you and answered your prayer. Remember, without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). The parable Jesus told in Luke 18:1-8 was about the need to pray the prayer of faith. Some erroneously interpret this Scripture to mean that Jesus wants us to pray and pray and pray. They think that Jesus is telling us to pray more. Praying “more” doesn’t hurt. But that is not what Jesus is teaching here. The point Jesus wants to drive home is that, due to a lack of faith, many people give up on their own prayer. When they don’t see immediate results, their faith wavers; then they quit believing that what they asked for will come to pass. It’s this attitude of unbelief that Jesus wants to correct. Jesus is saying that when you pray for something, don’t lose heart if you don’t see instant change.

Don’t quit believing, because your faith is the currency of your prayer. Without faith, prayer is meaningless. God is moved, not by your prayer per se, but by your attitude of faith in his promises. Remember that anyone can pray, but not everyone prays the prayer of faith. At the end of the parable, notice what Jesus says, “However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). If you think that praying more is the key to being heard, you need to change your thinking. The truth is, the effectiveness of your prayer has nothing to do with the duration or frequency of your prayer. The key is faith. As you exercise faith, you’ll realize that you don’t need a lot of words or a lot of time to get prayer results.

Confession:

God is for me; he’s not against me. By his grace, I’m a new creation through faith in Jesus. I know that the righteous shall live by faith. Through the blood of Jesus, I am righteous. Therefore, I walk by faith, not by prevailing circumstances. I pray the prayer of faith, for I know that my God is faithful, and he shall perform what he promises. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

 For further study: James 1: 5-8; 5:14-18

Have a faith-filled day!

Pastor Steve

Charis Temple (non-denominational church)

Email: charristemple@gmail.com

 

Understanding 1 Peter (1:13-25)

God is holy. So are we – his children. Our “sinner” identity was buried with Christ when we got saved by grace through faith in Christ. God no longer calls us sinners. We are his saints. That is our true identity. Let us, therefore, live like saints.

A Reply to Rev. Gerard-Marie Anthony

In my previous blog post, I wrote about Mary’s exemplary life of faith as a daughter of Abraham. I gave an in-depth account of how the writings of the Apostles, especially Paul, and other passages of the Bible corroborate Mary’s statements in the Magnificat. The Rev. Anthony gave a thoughtful and passionate reply to my blog post. He took issue, however, with some of the things I said. He questioned my honesty and alleged that I was spreading false information about the Roman Catholic Church. The purpose of this reply is to clarify my position and to shed light on the accuracy of the statements I made about how the Catholic Church treats Mary as God.

As the Rev. Anthony may have observed, I focused almost exclusively on Luke 1:48 and the Magnificat. I stated that Catholics often quote this passage to support their elevation of Mary. However, at no point did I suggest that this is the only passage Catholics quote in support of their devotion to Mary. Being a former Catholic priest and a scholar of Catholic theology, I am familiar with the range of passages cited to defend Marian practices (for example, Genesis 3:15, Luke 1:28, and Revelations 12, to name a few). I focused on Luke 1:48 and the Magnificat because some Facebook friends (Catholics) cited it as one reason why Mary deserved all the titles bestowed on her by people. This is also why I noted that my blog post was “an expanded version” of my Facebook reply. I took the opportunity to put Luke 1:48 in context, showing that the highlight of the Magnificat is Mary’s reference to God’s covenant with Abraham. I then challenged Catholics to show us from the Magnificat or any of Mary’s statements in the Bible where she suggested that all generations shall bestow on her divine titles reserved exclusively for God.

Additionally, I clearly stated in my blog post that “Catholics deny that they treat Mary as God.” Nowhere in my post did I say that Catholics teach or believe that they worship Mary. But I did say that, “Simply stating that one does not worship Mary proves nothing. Official doctrinal statements (by the Magisterium), ecclesiastically approved prayers to Mary, Marian songs, and Marian devotional practices provide the strongest evidence based on which objective conclusions can be drawn.” The logic is clear: The fact that we deny something proves neither innocence nor guilt. Some people go to court and deny the charges brought against them, yet later the evidence proves them guilty. So, I went on to state that, “Official doctrinal statements (by the Magisterium), ecclesiastically approved prayers to Mary, Marian songs, and Marian devotional practices provide the strongest evidence based on which objective conclusions can be drawn.” From this one can notice that I mention four sources from which we can prove that Catholics do treat Mary as Deity – even if they deny it.

Of course, as the Rev. Anthony rightly stated, the Magisterium flatly denies that the Catholic Church gives to Mary what is due to God alone. I know that and I agree with him. But my point is this: If we delve deeper into the Magisterium’s declarations on Mary (in Encyclicals, for example), prayers to Mary approved by the Magisterium; and if we examine the actual content of Marian devotional practices, what shall we find? The Rev. Anthony rightly quoted the Magisterium’s denial that they elevate Mary to the level of God. Yet, evidence from the sources I’ve mentioned show otherwise. In my article, I quoted just one such proof, from #971 of the Catechism. I quoted that alone, because it was sufficient to prove my point. I could bring to the attention of my readers a whole lot more, but I decided to be brief. If the Magisterium believes and teaches that “devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship,” they have given us sufficient proof that their denial of idolatry is not to be taken seriously. Every Christian will agree that Christian worship is about God, not about Mary. Anyone who believes or teaches that devotion to a creature is intrinsic to the worship of the Creator is promoting idolatry. This is true, regardless of whether the creature involved is Noah, Abraham, Elijah, Peter, Paul, or Mary.

Out of curiosity, I looked up the meaning of the word “intrinsic” on Google. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word means “belonging to the essential nature or constitution of a thing” (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intrinsic). Every true Christian will agree that Christian worship is exclusively reserved for God. If devotion to a human being is intrinsic to Christian worship, it means that devotion to that individual belongs to the essence of Christian worship. The Magisterium of the Catholic Church believes this to be true. But it wants us to believe also that they are not promoting idolatry. They cannot have it both ways. The teaching that devotion to Mary is intrinsic to Christian worship is an affront on God’s inspired Word. No Apostle or Prophet supports such a teaching. If devotion to Mary is intrinsic to Christian worship, then Mary and God both deserve worship. In vain does the Magisterium try to distinguish between Latria, Hyperdulia and Dulia. The appeal to semantics does not erase the reality of idolatry. The Magisterium’s only hope is to obey God’s commands in the Bible and not create their own version of Christian worship. I can write an essay in which I deny that I have visited Rome, but if my footprints, DNA and surveillance footage place me in Rome, then my denial is proven to be false. If the Magisterium’s denial of the sin of idolatry is to be taken seriously, then they should back up their statement by putting a stop to some of their Marian doctrines/Dogmas and the Marian devotional practices it promotes among the faithful. The evidence is in the doctrines and practices, not in the statement of denial.

In defense of the Magisterium, the Rev. Anthony quoted #487 of the Catechism which says that what the Catholic Church believes about Mary is based on what it believes about Jesus. But we must ask, “What exactly does the Magisterium believe about Christ?” The Scriptures bear testimony to Christ, because in Christ the Scriptures find their fulfillment (Luke 24:27, 45-47). In Jesus’s own words, “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:39-40; emphasis mine). The Scriptures paint for us the most accurate and the most reliable portrait of Christ. If the Magisterium claims to base its teachings about Mary on what it believes about Christ, then we must find out what it believes about Jesus. More importantly, we must find out if what it believes about Christ is based on the Scriptures, for as Jesus has said, the Scriptures testify about him. So, where do the Scriptures bear testimony that devotion to Mary is intrinsic to the Christian worship? Can we find this teaching in the Old or New Testament Scriptures? To be faithful to Christ, the Magisterium must be faithful to the Scriptures. If the Magisterium teaches anything which contradicts the Scriptures, it is contradicting the testimony of Christ.

The Magisterium has no right and no authority to contradict the Scriptures. It has no right to rise above the Scriptures inspired by the Holy Spirit. But, we know that the Magisterium’s teaching that devotion to Mary is intrinsic to Christian worship contradicts the testimony of the Scriptures. The Scriptures bear testimony about Christ. Therefore, to undermine the Scriptures is to undermine Christ. We have evidence now that the Magisterium is promoting a teaching which undermines the testimony of the Scriptures. It claims to base its teachings about Mary on what it believes about Christ. But the Scriptures testify about Christ. The same Scriptures also tell us about Mary. Where did the Magisterium get the idea that devotion to Mary is intrinsic to the worship of God? The Magisterium is in error, for it is corrupting Christian worship by neglecting the testimony of the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures. If what it believes about Christ is the basis for what it teaches about Mary, then the Scriptures should bear them witness. It is not me the Magisterium is dealing with; they are dealing with the Holy Spirit who inspired the Scriptures the Magisterium is contradicting. The Magisterium should remember the following warning: “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar” (Proverbs 30:5-6; emphasis mine).

The Rev. Anthony also quoted #971 of the Catechism in which the Magisterium confirms that “From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of ‘Mother of God,’ to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs . . .” These words of the Magisterium only confirm that they have no problem treating Mary as they would God. In one moment, they deny treating Mary as God; yet in another moment they are not shy to make statements which clearly elevate Mary to the level of God. In #971 of the Catechism, the Magisterium proudly describes for us what Catholics have been practicing since ancient times. It says that Catholics fly to the protection of Mary in all their dangers and needs. If we did not know that the Magisterium was talking about Mary, we would think that the statement was referring to God. And rightly so, because to God alone do Christians fly for protection in all their dangers and needs. If we fly to Mary in all our dangers and fears, the obvious conclusion – which the Magisterium will not admit – is that Mary is our God. In the Old Testament, faithful people did not know of anyone to whom they run for protection in all their dangers and fear, except God. Likewise, in the New Testament, Christians did not know of anyone, apart from God, to whom they run in all their dangers and needs. If we fly to Mary in all our dangers and needs, is it necessary to run to God? The conclusion is obvious: God and Mary are equivalent. Christians can run to Mary for protection in all their dangers and needs just as much as they can run to God for protection in all their needs and dangers. If we fly to Mary for protection in all our dangers and needs, she must be Almighty. Unless we believed that she possessed Almighty power, we would not run to her for protection in all our dangers and needs. The Magisterium has confirmed the conclusion without explicitly stating it: Mary is our God.

If Christians fly to Mary for protection in all their dangers and needs, they are treating her as God – plain and simple. The following prayer to Mary – known in Latin as Sub tuum praesidium – is approved by the Magisterium and is recited by many Catholics around the world: “We fly to your patronage, O holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin” (https://www.smp.org/resourcecenter/resource/2827/; emphasis mine). To address this prayer to Mary is to treat her as we would God. If we remove Mary’s name from the prayer and replace it with God’s name, we will discover how the prayer works perfectly for Mary as for God. Let us try: “We fly to thy patronage, O God; despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed God.” As we can see, the prayer works for Mary as well as for God. Contrary to what the Magisterium boasts of in the Catechism, the Scriptures testify that God a lone is the refuge to whom we run in all our dangers and needs. The Psalmist repeatedly calls on God a lone as a refuge in times of need. He says, “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies” (Psalm 18:2-3). David is praying to the one God. The content of his pray sounds like the prayer Sub tuum praesidium which Catholics address to Mary. The essential difference between the Catholic prayer and David’s prayer is that David is addressing God while Catholics are addressing Mary.

In addition to quoting from the Catechism, I also referred to the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary and briefly touched on the Hail, Holy Queen prayer “Most Gracious Advocate.” The Rev. Anthony will agree that the Litany and the Hail, Holy Queen are approved by the Magisterium for use by the faithful. I cited only a few of the titles conferred on Mary, not by God, but by human beings. At least some of these titles are equivalent to titles which are the exclusive prerogatives of God Almighty or of the Son of God. To attribute to a creature the titles of Deity is to treat the creature as Deity.

We must also note that all Christians are sons and daughters of the Heavenly Father. Mary is not more a child of God than other Christians. Writing to the Christians in Ephesus, the Apostle says, “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2; emphasis mine). Furthermore, every Christian is the temple of the Holy Spirit. The Scriptures do not teach that Mary is more special a temple of the Holy Spirit than the rest of Christians: “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; emphasis mine). Paul was not speaking of Mary; he was speaking of all sons and daughters of God. Furthermore, the Scriptures do not support the strange idea that Mary “was in need of Christ’s redemption in a more excellent way.” In the Scriptures, God does not distinguish between those who are redeemed in a more excellent way and those who are redeemed in a less excellent way. There is one redemption by Christ for all people. The testimony of the Scripture is clear, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24; emphasis mine).

The same Scriptures also expose as false the idea that “the Father blessed Mary more than any other created person.” This idea comes from people, not from God. Neither Jesus, nor the Apostles, nor any Old Testament Prophet ever said that. God promised, rather, that he will bless all nations of the earth through Abraham. In Ephesians 1:3-6, Paul was not writing about Mary. He was writing to Christians in Ephesus. He stated what was true of all believers, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ, For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will” (emphasis mine). Paul does not say “Mary;” he says “us.” He teaches a fundamental truth of Christianity, that God has blessed us in the heavenly places with every spiritual blessing in Christ. This is our inheritance as believers. The Scripture does not say that God blessed Mary more than any other created person. We should not put words in God’s mouth or create our own version of Mary. As far as the Holy Scripture is concerned, God has blessed us all in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens.

PS: All Scripture quotations are based on the New International Version (NIV), unless otherwise indicated.

[Rev. Gerard-Marie Anthony is a Deacon of the Roman Catholic Church, a Catholic apologist and a friend with whom I worked closely when I was a Catholic priest. See the comment section for his response to my blog post, Mary: Daughter of Abraham].

 

Thank you for reading my blog!

Ogoe

More Than Conquerors

What words can sufficiently describe the victory we have in Christ Jesus? Paul attempted to share the revelation of our victory in the following words:

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:37-39, NIV; emphasis mine).

  What does it mean to be more than conquerors? Why is just being a conqueror not enough? This is a powerful revelation which defies the logic of the natural mind. Such profound revelation can be grasped only with the help of the Holy Spirit. We know that Christ died on the cross, rose from the dead and ascended to take his throne at the right hand of God. From the cross to the throne, our victory is utterly complete in Christ.  In the passage cited above, Paul mentions nine specific things, including powers visible and invisible, which are incapable of separating us from the love of God in Christ. That statement is one way of asserting the believer’s unshakable assurance of salvation and of our eternal union with Christ. This statement also reveals an important fact: From the cross to the throne, Christ and Christians are inseparable. Yes, inseparable! The result is that the victory of Christ from the cross to the throne is the victory of the Christian as well.

I am going to share with you just three passages from the New Testament which will show you the utterly amazing nature of our victory in Christ Jesus. My hope is that you will realize why every day of your life should be spent in complete confidence, never again living in fear of death, hell, demons, condemnation, or separation from God. To be a conqueror is enough; but to be more than a conqueror is something else; but that is precisely who you are in Christ – more than a conqueror!

Our first Scripture passage is from Romans 6:3-4:

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (NIV; emphasis mine). 

From the cross to his throne, Jesus did nothing without us. We were with him all the way. As you can see from the passage in Romans 6, on the cross, we were crucified together with Christ. Then, we were buried together with Christ. We know that it was on the cross that Jesus made complete eternal satisfaction for sin. We died a real ontological (not metaphorical) death together with Christ. What was the result? Our old being or spiritual self which was stained with sin and deserving of condemnation died along with Christ and was buried (literally) with Christ. This means that when all our sins (past, present, or future; the timing of our sins makes no difference to the cross. What happened on the cross was a once-for-all event which transcends all divisions of time) and the corresponding penalty for sin were finished when we died with Christ and were buried with him. In other words, the crucifixion of Christ was our crucifixion. His death was our death, and his burial was our burial. We and Christ were inseparable from the cross onward.

If this sounds overwhelming for you, I understand. It happened to me too, at first. Just pause for a moment, and give yourself time to think about it or better still, pray about it, because the spiritual realities we are talking about now concern your eternal destiny. God wants you to understand and believe it for what it is, for it is a matter of life and death. Have an open mind and allow God to lavish you with his love. I trust God to help you grasp this revelation. Once you grasp it, Satan is exposed for who he is (liar, deceiver, murderer, accuser) and you will enjoy lasting peace, joy, freedom, and confidence. You will even notice changes in your body! Don’t be surprised. The lies of Satan are toxic, not only to our spirit, but to our body as well. In the same way, knowledge of the truth is liberating and it brings healing to our whole being, spirit, body, and soul.

Lets’ return to the Scripture. Through his crucifixion, death, and burial, Jesus paid for all the condemnation we deserved for our sins. The power of sin over us, and it’s ability to hold us captive under judgement was broken. So, Jesus’s victory over sin was our victory. At the cross we won, because we and Jesus were inseparable. Do you see what is happening? None of this is merely symbolic or metaphorical. When Christ died, the old “you” (i.e. the sinner “you”) died a real death together with Christ, then it was buried, never again to be seen. Your “old you,” the one who deserved hell, no longer exists. He or she is dead and forever buried! This is victory!. You should be shouting at this point! But there’s more to come. God is not done with you, yet.

We will now look at our second Scripture passage which takes us to the resurrection of Christ.

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace,expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:6-7; NIV; emphasis mine)

We know that God raised Christ from the dead. But the complete truth is that God raised us together with Christ. That means you are risen from the dead together with Christ. Does this sound like victory? Think about this for a minute. And say it aloud so you can hear yourself: I am risen with Christ! Again, we are not dealing with the metaphorical. This is reality of realities. The passage from Ephesians tells us about two things the Father did to us and Christ. He raised us with Christ. He didn’t stop there. He also seated (Notice the past tense, referring to a completed action) us with him (the Father). Where? In the heavenly realms! Do you see where God has placed you? More than that, you are in Christ Jesus. You are in heaven already! Do you see yourself there? These are spiritual realities to be grasped with spiritual minds. Human logic will break down in the face of this supernatural truth. Notice the pattern of the expression “with Christ,” from the time of the cross to Christ being seated in heaven. Christ and us are inseparable. His victory is our victory. And nothing can separate us from him. We and Christ are united by an eternal ontological bond. Therein lies the truth of the statement, “We are more than conquerors.” We are not just conquerors.

We are spiritually seated with Christ in the heavenly places. What can possibly make you doubt God again? What can possibly make you panic? What can make you think that you will go to hell? What can possibly separate you from Christ? What can possibly make you live under condemnation? What can make you afraid of Satan? Satan is afraid of you, because you reign now with Christ from the heavens. Satan is under your feet, including all powers of darkness. You and Jesus share the same power! You are joint-heirs with Christ. What could possibly make you feel inferior? What could possibly make you feel powerless? Nothing!

Our third and final passage is from Colossians 3:1-4:

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life,appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (NIV; emphasis mine). 

Take a look at v.4. Notice how the Apostle says that on the last day when Christ appears, we also will appear with him in glory. Do you see how we and Christ are inseparable? And why will we appear with him? The answer is simple. We will appear with Christ, because our life is hidden with him in God. This means Christ and us are one. He cannot appear in glory without us. Our future looks glorious! For those who believe in Christ hell is no longer an issue. We are past that point, and that is why we are more than conquerors. Jesus was not crucified without us. He was not buried without us. He did not rise from the dead without us. He did not ascend to heaven without us. He is not seated on the throne without us. And on the last day, he will not appear in glory without us. How amazing! What can separate us from the love of Christ? Nothing! We are more than conquerors indeed.

At then end of this message, I invite you to say the following prayer with me:

Father, you are love, and your love for me is stronger than I can imagine. Thank you for the great love you have shown me. Thank you for washing away all my sins through the blood of Jesus. Thank you that I am risen with Christ. Thank you that you have seated me with you in the heavenly places. Thank you that you have made me more than a conqueror. Thank you for the truth you have shown me. From this day forward, I set my mind on things above where Christ is seated. I take authority in the name of Jesus. I declare that I am more than a conqueror. I declare that I am free from the power of Satan. I am free from fear, guilt and condemnation. I declare my freedom from all demonic bondage. I am alive in Christ. And I live for Christ alone. Amen.

God bless you.

Steve