Charles Mwewa
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15

BEAT THE COMPETITION

 

“Study to show yourself approved to [your boss, employer, competition, business, the world, and etc.], a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth,” (2 Timothy 2:15)


There are five points to take home here:


1. This verse is a principle: It can apply to any persuasion or area in life. Paul only uses it in the context of Biblical economics. It can apply to your career, field of study, profession, ministry, business, and etc.


2. Study (or learning, training, education, perfecting your skills or acquiring a trade, and etc.). Like children who have to learn to talk even though the Language Acquisition Device (LAD) exists naturally in them, so should we in all areas of life. Study perfects the raw materials we are born with. Everything we want to become has been deposited inside of us by divine providence. All we need to do is to study and perfect them. Study or training expands our understanding of who we are and of those around us, our world.


3. Show yourself: This means to get others to see you. It is like walking on a catwalk – the world is watching and seeing you on its stage, just like God is watching you if this applies to ministry. Study or training helps you to perfect your qualities and which makes you visible and attractive to those who need what you are or have.


4. When your perfected qualities come out and are seen, you will be approved: Approval does not come by dreams or wishes, it comes by excellence. Be the best at what you do. Do your best…work hard…make every effort…be diligent…win the approval of – in other words, beat the competition.


5. Failure to study or be diligent has consequences: The person who fails to perfect their qualities will suffer shame – that is, they will be unsuccessful, average or below, sub-standard, poor, and the like.


LESSON: No excuse. Its amazing how people find excuses for failure. They own all successes and deflect failure and shame. Wisdom demands that we accept the benefits of success and we also accept the shame of failure. First, the Bible does not discourage competition, even among the same fraternity. What the Bible is against is setting a human standard of success as a model. Christ is the standard. Thus, two believers can be compared so long as they aim to reach or exceed Christ’s standard.


Second, our works can be compared – and this is the basis for receiving both earthly and eternal rewards. God will “judge” every labor done under the sun.


Third, to win human approval and adulation, our qualities and works are judged. Humans judge each other, and to succeed in the world, you must meet and exceed expectations in whatever you do in life. if you are a businessperson, meet and beat business expectations; if you are in academia, meet or exceed academic expectations; if you are an employee, meet and exceed your employment expectations; if you are in Gospel Ministry, strive to meet Christ’s standards and it is absolutely right to try to beat the competition – as Paul said, “But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice,” (Philippians 1:18).


Last, if you have good qualities or you have achieved what could be beneficial to many people, advertise yourself and seek to beat all competitions. In other words, show yourself approved – that you are skilled, gifted, talented and excellent in all you do.


If you do the above, you will: (1) Easily be promoted wherever you are; (2) Easily stand out among the competition; (3) Have brand name – people will be seeking after you; (4) Your works will be quoted by people; (4) Have great connections and will many important people to yourself; and (5) You will leave a legacy and be approved by God, too!


PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Three qualified and good Christian candidates apply for a General Manager job position. All of them pray to God to succeed in getting the job and God answers all the three of them. The interviewer/company only hires one of them. Was God unfair? No. All of them prayed and God answered their prayers. When they attended the actual interviews, as far as God is concerned, they had their prayers answered; they had equal chances to getting that job. One of them, though, beat the competition – she was probably better prepared, answered questions better, dressed more appropriately, sold her strengths intelligently, gave very good facial impressions and expressions, knew or had studied the nature of the interview or the history or that company or anything useful to use, and etc. You get the point? You can apply this to marriage proposals, business success, academic progress, ministry expansion, and the list is endless.

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14

GOD HAS NO BUSINESS ON EARTH, YOU DO!

  

“Thus, says the LORD, ‘Heaven is my throne, and earth is the footstool of my feet,’” (Isaiah 66:1)


There are five points to take home here:


1. A footstool is the place where the mortals bow or kneel to worship the deity or the royalty: “Exalt the LORD our God; worship at his footstool! Holy is he!” (Psalm 99:5)


2. A footstool is a place of humbleness, not honor. The lowly and enemies belong there: “The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.” (Psalm 110:1)


3. A footstool is a symbol of rest: “The throne had six steps, and a footstool of gold was attached to it. On both sides of the seat were armrests, with a lion standing beside each of them,” (2 Chronicles 9:18)


4. A throne is a high chair for a deity, king, queen or emperor – it is a symbol of power.


5. A throne is a ceremonial posting – a deity, king, queen or emperor sits here to make judicial and other important decisions. It is a symbol of authority.


LESSON: No excuse. Relative to the heavens, the earth is only a footstool where God rests His feet. Heaven is His throne and has His throne. In terms of position, the earth is very low – only fit for lowliness and for God’s enemies. In reality God’s children live on earth (under God’s feet), but in terms of redemption, they live in the heavenlies with God. 

Here are six important things to remember: (1) Anyone who is out of Christ is at the bottom of the elevation and is susceptible to this world’s system and to the devil; (2) Anyone who is not in Christ is nothing before God; they are as chaff to be trodden upon by God; (3) Anyone who is rich in worldly things only or whose interest is only in worldly things, has a temporarily existence, limited joy, and no real power and authority; (4) Whoever is in Christ, is by way of position, elevated in the heavenlies where Christ is also sited: “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus…” (Ephesians 2:6); (5) Anyone who has spiritual wealth (love, faith, hope, character, justice, goodness, generosity, righteousness, grace, and etc.) is truly and permanently rich – because their position is far above in the heavenlies: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms,” (Ephesians 1:3); and (6) anyone who is in Christ has a throne and a kingdom and they are, therefore, royalty: “And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me…” (Luke 22:29,30).


APPLICATION: You should look at yourself this way in terms of position in Christ. Therefore, those who are on earth and are at the same time in Christ, have double advantage; they are on earth, but not really of this world. They can do everything every human being does on earth, but they can also experience the life of bliss and peace as it is in heaven. Because it is a matter of position, you must know when to stand on your throne and make demands, through faith and prayer. Royalty does not beg, they demand. Royalty does not ask questions; they make statements and orders. And royalty must know they are royal otherwise none-entities will challenge them or usurp their power. IGNORANCE IS NOT A DEFENCE.


IMPLICATIONS: Those who are in Christ are very powerful and have tremendous authority and access to everything in the heavenlies. But they must know and live likewise!

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WEALTH AND WORSHIP

  

“Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only,’” (Matthew 4:8-10)


There are five points to take home here:


1. When this statement was made, the devil had legitimate claim to all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 


2. Whoever has legitimate claim to kingdoms has enormous power and influence. All men and women desire wealth, riches and what comes with such. 


3. Call it flattery or making happy or worship, when you worship the one who has kingdoms (wealth and riches), they will normally give you riches. That’s one of the easiest ways of getting rich.


4. At that time, Jesus did not dispute what the devil said, namely, that all kingdoms and their splendor belonged to him. The devil was telling the truth, but of course with an ulterior motive. 


5. After Jesus died and rose again, thus fulfilling God’s redemption plan, God gave Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor, i.e., “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.’” (Matthew 28:18). Jesus has more authority and power than the devil; His permeates the heavens and the earth. The devil’s was only in the world, and he lost it.


LESSON: No excuse. Jesus has revealed two ways in which we normally get wealth and money. We either worship someone important and powerful and in turn they reward us with wealth. Or we serve (render a service) to someone with means and in turn they pay us a salary. 

We may get wealth and riches by these same means today. We could worship God and He can give us wealth and riches. And could we serve Him, and He can give us wealth and riches. When God does this, He is not being any different from us, the humans. We do so for our livelihood. If God continue to do this, He will not be any different from the devil.


But God devised a better plan: He gave us all the kingdoms and their splendor through Christ even before we worshiped or served or asked Him. They are ours whether we worship or serve Him or not. It is called GRACE. The only response God wants from us is to worship Him out of love, not duty or service – and giving Him thanks for all the wealth and riches He has already given us in Christ. That’s our position; not reality!


APPLICATION: God’s wealth and riches have been judicially given to us in the heavenly places: “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” (Ephesians 1:3). What this means is that God has already made a judicial determination that all wealth and riches are ours. But a judicial pronouncement is useless if we don’t carry out a procedural requirement. That is, if we don’t take the judgment and implement it. To translate God’s judgment into reality (from spiritual to material), we need to: (1) Think-up wealth-making ideas; (2) Learn and understand how wealth works; (3) Actually engage into money-making ventures (working or conducting businesses or investing); (4) Be diligent and persistent (not giving up easily, no matter how many times we try – yes, sometimes you may have a warranty for something and still struggle to implement it!); and (5) Be smart, including studying, observing, risk-taking (faith), and acquiring money-management skill-sets. 

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12

A GIFT GIVES YOU ACCESS TO EVERYTHING

  

“A person's gift opens doors for him, bringing him access to important people,” (Proverbs 18:16)


There are five points to take home here:


1. A gift will get you in to see anyone: Everyone is born with something the world wants (and sometimes, even needs). Discover that something within you.


2. A man's gift enlarges him, and seats him among princes [important people]. Your perfected gift will enlarge you and make you big. The world has a weakness; it favors talent, ability and resourcefulness, and sometimes, at the expense of character or morality. To get to the great people, develop your gifts and that makes you visible and big. That way, you will both be attractive and you will attract the great. So, perfect (or develop) your gift.


3. A man's gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men: The world has no room for normal, invisible people. In fact, the world takes advantage of such people, using them for its own purpose and then discard them. You do yourself no favors by remaining average and normal. Discover your gift; perfect it; use it to make yourself big; and it will instantly create room for you. There is always room for gifted people or people who contribute something, or are a gift to the world.


4. Do you want to meet an important person? Take a gift and it will be easy. There are two meanings to gift; One, it’s the dominant, God-given talent you were born with. And two, it can be a physical gift. Both have the same effects on important people – they make great people do something for you.


5. Important people make it easier for you to get what you want. If all you have are people at your level, you cannot rise higher than your level. Important people will provide you with connections less important people don’t have.


LESSON: No excuse. In this world, there are people who have more of something – money, power, connections and influence. We call these people important or great people. They can be a president, a boss, a rich tycoon, a person with a higher position, a famous people, a connected person, a person with an historic name, a person with a recognizable talent, and so on. The more people have all these things the more they seek others with potential or gifts. To be attracted by these people, work on developing your gifts and it will open doors for you and make you big and visible.


Access to important people does the following: (1) Makes it easier for you to make progress because of easy connections; (2) It creates favor for you; (3) You are assumed, meaning that other stages of interview or approval or testing are eliminated or waived; (4) It positions you to begin at that high level; and (5) It equates you to important people.


CAVEAT: “For man sees the outward appearance, but the LORD sees the heart,” (1 Samuel 16:7). Please don’t ignore or misunderstand this injunction. Both parts are important. Man sees the outward appearance – so, display yourself to be seen by people. If you make yourself invisible, you will be a nobody as far as this world is concerned. God looks at the heart – when dealing with God, your outward appearance doesn’t matter but your heart does. So, give to Caesar (man) what is man’s (what he can see); and give to God what is God’s (heart). You will then be successful both with men and with God!

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MONEY GIVES EVERYTHING

  

“…money is the answer for everything,” (Ecclesiastes 10:19)


There are five points to take home here:


1. Money is a legal tender. This means that money is the acceptable medium of payment recognized by a legal system and is a legitimate way for meeting valid financial obligations. In a money economy, every nation has coins or banknotes that must be accepted whenever they are offered in payment for liabilities. 


2. Money is a medium of exchange. This means that money is an intermediary instrument or system which is legally accepted to exchange it for goods and services. If you have money, you can exchange it with any good or service you want.


3. Money bears intrinsic value for exchange. This means that the value of money you have can only purchase an equal value in goods or services. The more money you have, the more goods and services you can get. The less money you have, the less things you can get. If you have no money, you cannot exchange or get anything of some value.


4. Solomon wrote this statement, i.e., “Money answers all things,” in reference ONLY to the world (the earth) or “under the sun” – “I observed everything going on UNDER THE SUN, and really, it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14). This principle or observation, therefore, does not apply to spiritual or heavenly economics. It is only an earthly, but not a heavenly, principle.


5. On earth, here in this world, “under the sun,” presently in the order of the current economic setup, you need money to achieve earthly glories and accumulate things.


LESSON: No excuse. As long as you remain on earth, alive and human, you will need money to get things of the value you desire. Therefore, (1) Make making money your priority; (2) Because you need money to exchange with anything of value, make it a goal to study and know how money works and how to get more of it; (3) If you make less money, do not desire things of more value than the money you have or make. If you have more money, get the things you desire because you can afford them. In other words, be content in whichever financial situation you are; 4) Government should ensure that every citizen has a means of earning or making money (jobs or businesses) – it must create a legislative environment that favors everyone to make some money; and (5) Because money answers everything, work hard and be creative to acquire better money-making ideas. Money may be expensive, but finding ways of making it is cheap and free.


APPLICATION: Remember that money gives everything – but that may not mean that everything money gives you is good for you. It is, therefore, wise, to only use your money to exchange for those things that are good, valuable to you and others, have eternal value and that will make you and others truly happy.

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Additional Information

  

“You cannot be the slave of two masters! You will like one more than the other or be more loyal to one than the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon,” (Matthew 6:24)


There are five points to take home here:


1. Mammon means money, wealth or riches. In this context, money or mammon is regarded as people’s attitude towards money, specifically, where money is regarded as an evil influence or an object of worship and devotion. It, in this sense, always depicts the demon of greed, covetousness and a voracious pursuit of gain.


2. Money, wealth or riches is neutral. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that money is bad or good. It is always your attitude or approach towards it which is a subject of good or bad. For example, in (1 Timothy 6:10), it states that, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil…” Not money itself, but one’s attitude towards it – “the LOVE of money,” not the POSSESSION of money, or the accumulation of wealth – is what makes money enslave them or breed all kinds of evil in and through them.


3. Masters have slaves or servants WORKING for them. It is not the name “Master” that makes you their slave, it is how the Master relates you to their work that makes you his or her slave. If someone bought you to work for them, you are their slave. Even if someone did not buy you, but if they command or require you to work for them without pay or without adequate pay (unless there is an agreement to the contrary or it’s a gratuitous relationship), then you are their slave.


4. A Slave is owned or totally depends on the Master. A Slave serves (works) for the Master under a strict and restrictive code. The Slave has neither rights nor liberties; he is a perpetual prisoner. He is worse than a criminal, at least criminals reserve some rights and freedoms within their confinements.


5. The only way a Slave can be free from the Master is when the Master dies, the Master sells him to another enslaver, the Slaves escapes, the Slave dies or the Slaves buys back his freedom or wins it through a fight/combat. If a Master dies, a Slave may be “inherited” by the Master’s successor; If the Slave is sold to another enslaver, the Slave is still a slave; If the Slave escapes, he could be arrested and the penalty may be death; and if the Slave dies, he is dead (others may claim that this is ultimate freedom. I don’t know that). The best is to buy back his freedom or win it through combat. That way, he is free here and now and becomes equal to his former Master.


LESSON: No excuse. God is a better Master than money. If God “enslaves” you, He, in fact, gives you real freedom – freedom to live without fear, to inherent eternal life, to worship Him, and to love and be loved. If money enslaves you, it binds you to worry, to stress and fear of losing it. The more you are enslaved by God, the more loving, caring, generous, hopeful, helpful and liberated you become. The more you are enslaved by money, the more lost, greedy, impetuous, frivolous, callous, avaricious, pompous, proud and useless you become. A slave of God is richer than a slave of money.


APPLICATION: (1) If money is your Master, God will be less important to you and eventually you may lose your soul; (2) If God is your Master, you will be less inclined to be controlled by people and money. Money will serve (work for) you; (3) Do not let another man or woman enslave you – not as a marital or sex slave or a labour slave, a house slave, a church slave, an industrial slave, a corporate slave, an academic slave, a mental/psychological slave, a social slave, a political slave (cadre), slave of the government or the media, or any form of slavery; (4) Work hard to acquire a lot of wealth – but then do to it what makes snakes useless, remove both its fangs and venomous pouch – give it away to the poor, the needy, the vulnerable and similarly-situated projects. If money is held on to tightly and ravenously, it becomes your Master. If money is given away for good causes, it becomes your Slave; and (5) Have only one Master (God), and demand to be equal with everyone – neither man nor the devil/money should be your Master!

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WORK INTELLIGENCE

  

“For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.’”  (2 Thessalonians 3:10)


There are five points to take home here:


1. The world, the earth or life dies when it is not worked. Work ensures continuity;


2. Food, similarly, ensures continuity. So, where there is no work, food will either be scarce or non-existent;


3. Food is a prerogative (an entitlement) of those who work. Only those who are not willing to work should not eat. Those who are willing to work (even if at the moment they don’t have work) should eat;


4. The one who works longer, harder, more diligent, should be rewarded more and should eat more, and should feed on good food. Similarly, a hard worker deserves a good rest;


5. A lazy person should not also eat or should be denied food. Laziness and poverty are related; usually a poor person is also a person who is not willing to work longer or harder.


LESSON: No excuse. No matter where you live or how poor you were born, hard work will position you to move from your poverty status to well-off. There is nothing like a permanently poor place or person; there is only a place where people are perpetually lazy to manipulate their environment (work) to create food. No matter how much you wish or how strong you pray, if you don’t work, you will die from hunger. To have good result, work must be joined to wisdom: If you work hard to cut a tree without fruits on it, even if you succeed to make it fall, there will still be no food on it. You would have wasted your energy (work). So, choose where you should exert your energy (work) to achieve the best outcome (food).


APPLICATION:


(1) It is not the role of government to provide food to the people; Government should only promote an environment where everyone can find or create work and make their own food; 


(2) It is the role of every parent to provide food to their minor children (to children 16 or 17 years and below). It is not the responsibility of parents to feed their adult children (those 18 years and above). All adult children should be willing to work and fend for their own food; 


(3) Government should not deny food to any citizen who is willing to work – but government should not provide food to any adult citizen who is not willing to work; 


(4) If anyone has work or is willing to work but spends all their money or resources on pleasure, beer or drugs, girlfriends or boyfriends or on gambling, they should be denied food as well; and 


(5) Those who are willing to work or who work but do their jobs poorly, carelessly or without any regard to quality or excellence, they should be allowed to eat, but not to rest.

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8

THE EMPEROR, GOD AND A COIN

  

“Then Jesus told them, ‘Give the Emperor what belongs to him and give God what belongs to God.’ The men were amazed at Jesus.” (Mark 12:17)


There are five points to take home here:


1. Politics, Law and Religion: These three are among the central classifications in the world;


2. These systems, together, ensure earthly (worldly) survival and stability;


3. God uses them all – to run His affairs and govern the conducts of men and women on earth;


4. What happens in one, directly or indirectly, affects what happens in the other; and


5. All three are recognized in Scripture as authentic, powerful and essential to human experience. For example, God is said to exhibit all three in one: “For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our 

lawgiver, the LORD is our king; it is he who will save us” (Isaiah 33:22). In other words, God is a Government (with Separation of Powers); Judge (or Judiciary); Lawgiver (or Legislature); and King (or Executive). God (Religion), gives his commands (Law) and He governs or rules (Politics).


LESSON: No excuse. There is God on one end and politics/law on the other. You are directly involved or controlled or affected or expected to be part of one or both. You cannot be free from either or both all your days of your life. It does not matter whether you belong to one or both, you are a part of one of them, you are affected by all of them. If you chose to know or to ignore, it does not change the order of things.


APPLICATION: (1) Politics, Law or Religion – in whichever you belong, you should consider it your calling; (2) You cannot disparage or despise one and love the other; (3) God will not reward one more than the other – they are co-equal in importance before God; (4) In whichever you belong, glorify God; and (5) Perform your obligations to each one according to what each demand: Thus, pay taxes to the Emperor (Government) and obey its Laws – at the same time, love God and obey His commands. You cannot do one while avoiding the other!

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7

WISE AS SERPENTS, INNOCENT AS DOVES

  

“Behold, I am sending you as lambs among wolves; be therefore crafty as snakes and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)


There are five points to take home here:


1. Nature of our present world: It is a rough world, filled with intrigue, subtleness, problems, troubles and all kinds of challenges. But it is also filled with goodness, joys and pleasures. Survival in this world is not automatic, you have to understand your world to thrive in or dominate it.

2. Every challenge or joy you will encounter in the world is already represented in one of God’s created fauna or flora. This means that there is no challenge on earth we cannot conquer. To do so, we just have to study a particular animal, bird’s characteristics. 

3. Two sets of animals’ examples: There is a duo, unavoidable relationships that exists in the world: You’re either a wolf or a lamb, a hunter or the hunted, a victor or the victim, a winner or loser, a champion or the vanquished, and etc. Unfortunately, that is both the nature and experience of life on earth.

4. To defeat life’s challenges, you must observe and learn from nature – that’s, how certain animals and vegetation live, thrive and survive. 

5. Two creatures are particularly interested and were chosen and used by Jesus strategically: A snake and a dove. These two have identical strengths and weaknesses but in reverse to each other. In particular:


A Snake: 


(a) The normal genius IQ is about 160. The snake’s IQ may reach 180. 

(b) The snake is intelligent because it has a strong facet for remembering (a cobra, for example, will never forget its captor). 

(c) A snake can easily recognize its geographical boundaries. 

(d) A snake is rarely motivated by things that animals would kill for, such as food or light; a snake is motivated by darkness and silence – and these are things most animals are vulnerable in. Thus, a snake nearly invisible, it is camouflaged by design so it can blend in almost all environments. When a snake moves into a new environment, it has the most patience to study, understand and learn its environment – to situate opportunities and dangers before it does anything (You may be living with a snake for years and you will never know that it has existed all this time!). 

(e) A snake is a fast learner and has almost the same learning abilities as humans – so it can easily conquer you by learning your habits and anticipating. A snake has a penchant for solving puzzles, natural mazes and this is apparent in its movements. 

(f) A snake is the most elusive, sneaky and sly animal, as such it can easily escape and navigate complicated systems, terrains or situations. 

(g) A snake is the only animal that can renew its own life by shedding/sloughing its old skin – this is, thus, seen as a sign of eternity, fertility, rebirth, transformation, immortality, and healing. Just with all the hatred people have for snakes, but a snake has survived and continues to increase in numbers!

(h) A snake is very prudent, careful, cunning, discerning, thoughtful, intelligent, sensible, sensitive and very creative. That is, it can at will invent a strategy even when cornered. 

(i) A snake is a meticulous thinker and swift decider – that’s, it invests more time in thinking through an idea and acts very quickly to take action, before another takes it. In other words, a snake knows when to seize the moment and strike.

(j) A snake has two undesirable qualities: Because of the above qualities, a snake can easily out-think, hoodwink, outsmart and deceive anyone. And also, a snake is lethally poisonous. It has the mind (cognition), and the venom (biological attribute), to accomplish its missions!


A Dove:


(a) A dove is considered a clean creature (bird). It is a symbol of purity. It is usually used in sacrifices.

(b) A dove is used as symbols of peace. It is one of the most innocent creatures God has ever made.

(c) A dove is gentle and compassionate. It is a symbol of love

(d) A dove is known as the, “Sheep of the bird world,” because of its soft, gentle appearance and disposition.

(e)  A dove is a timid, trembling, and frightened bird

(f) A dove is too trusting of humans and is easily entrapped or snared 

(g) A dove is a symbol of fairness and goodness. If sent on errands, it delivers as instructed.

(h) A dove is a symbol of mourning – because of its low and soft cooing sound.

(i) A dove has two weaknesses: It is full of indecision and vacillation: It flies to and from and it seems disillusioned and disoriented in regards to its destiny. In other words, a dove is accused of lacking in commitment 

(j) And the second weakness is that a dove can easily be deceived and is in need of a deliverer or deliverance.


OBSERVATION: Human beings are the only creature that can exhibit multi-quality excellencies animals and vegetation can only exhibit in exclusivity. For example, the grass is green, lions roar, roses may have many species but each can only display one permanent colour, and etc. But humans can choose to wear red, green, or blue at will. Or humans can choose to roar, screech, or hiss at will. Or humans can choose to change their habitation at will. Or humans can choose to change their preferences at will. What about a chameleon – all it can change are colors and nothing else. And humans can choose to study and imitate nature’s techniques and strategies and apply such to their own lives.


LESSON: No excuse. In this lesson, we are being invited to experience life in balance, if we are to survive and be wise. We are implored to exhibit and understand the qualities of a snake, on one hand. And to display the qualities of a dove, on the other. 


We must know: (1) That shrewdness has its place in life; (2) That innocence also has its place in life; (3) Shrewdness by itself is dangerous; (4) That innocence alone is a weakness; (5) That to overcome the challenges and issues of life, we need to be both – as serpents (shrewd) and as doves (innocent); (6) That shrewdness, though useful, in extreme, however, is a quality best tempered by innocence; and (7) That if we lose this balance, we will become vulnerable to the world’s volatility, machinations and ruthlessness. Without this balance, we are vulnerable to The System and others as a lamb is vulnerable to a wolf.


INSIGHT: A snake is not a devil. The devil is called a serpent because he simply understands the qualities of a snake deeply and he uses them with practical precision. The devil, though, is unbalanced. He is skilled, smart, decisive, creative, sneaky, and etc., but he is not innocent, loving, peaceful, nor considerate. By observing a snake and a dove, we can match any shrewdness and also neutralize its deleterious effects. With this balance, we can win in every sphere of life!

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HONESTY IS USELESS UNLESS IT CAN PUT FOOD ON YOUR TABLE

  

"The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are shrewder in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light,” (Luke 16:8)


There are five points to take home here:


1. When it comes to this world we live in, being smart in dealing with the people, is supreme.


2. Position without possession is useless. In world economics, position must also bring possession ($). When you have a position (job, business, politics, church, and etc.), build a house, buy property, accumulate the nice things of life for yourself and your children (leave an inheritance), and etc.


3. Honesty is currency, but only if it can protect your possessions. If you are honest and you lose, you are likely a fool.


4. Shrewdness is king – the ability to predict human nature and behavior and take appropriate steps to guard yourself or protect your possession.


5. Jesus said that Christians are weak in using their brains and minds in this world; that’s why they fail to compete favorably with the world in creating wealth and gathering possessions.


LESSON: No excuse. Whether you like it or not, you are first born into this world (and are impacted by what goes on in this world) before you are born into God’s family. To succeed in this world, be shrewd (astute, sharp, smart, perceptive, intelligent and discerning).


APPLICATION: If you want to win a political election and you are a conservative Christian, do not dwell on your faith much until you win the election. That way the people of the world (who are the majority voters) will give you their vote. If you are a Christian business person, study business trends, markets, accounting, marketing, profit hubs, and etc. and do not relegate everything to “simply praying.” If you have skeletons in your past, don’t share with your enemy who will only dagger you while you are falling. If you want to marry the most beautiful woman or the most handsome man, make a strategy and woo them to you, of course, prayerfully. If you are poor and don’t have money, make friends with the rich, powerful and influential who will give you a way to the corners of wealth and power – if you mingle only with those struggling like you, you will be both dead in few days! And so on.


CAVEAT: After you conquer the world using its own weapons, then use your gift, position, wealth, properties, possessions and influence, spiritually, to advance God’s Kingdom…

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5

EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL VALUE

  

“So, I said, ‘Wisdom is better than strength.’ But the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are no longer heeded,” (Ecclesiastes 9:16)


There are five points to take home here:


1. Both wisdom and strength (power, influence, or abilities) are good. But wisdom is better.


2. Wisdom creates your strategy and tactics; strength brings about the victory, the spoils.


3. Thinking (wisdom) before you do (action, strength) is the best policy, anywhere, everywhere, and it  ensures that your victories are sustainable and lasting.


4. Both poor and rich people may have wisdom. But the rich may have better resources to translate them into victorious results.


5. The wisdom of the poor is silenced by the wealth and influence of the strong and powerful.


LESSON: No excuse. There is no intrinsic value in being poor, because the resultant end is to benefit the rich, wealthy or powerful. So, the poor can do only one thing with their wisdom: If the poor person has wisdom, the poor person MUST sell their wisdom to the rich who have need for it and also the means to purchase it. 


Application: You may serve or help a powerful person win or achieve greatly, but in the end, you will be forgotten and dumped. Therefore, make sure that they (the rich, powerful, strongmen) pay you for the value of your wisdom (words, contributions), and anything less than that is foolishness.

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4

ROCK WISDOM

  

“Rock badgers: they are not a mighty people, but they make their homes in the rocks,” (Proverbs 30:26)


There are five points to take home here:


1. Rock badgers – they are a “people”, just like us (humans). A way of saying that they are susceptible to similar dangers and weaknesses as humans. 


2. Rock badgers (also known as dassies or pimbi, pelele and wibari or rock rabbit or conies, or hyraxes), are feeble, not mighty, not strong, weak, or lacking in power. That’s what nature has given to them – their weakness. That, they can’t change. They are made as a weak creature. 


3. The Rock badgers live in, or among the rocks, their choice of habitation.


4. The Rock badgers are hunted or preyed upon by leopards, Egyptian cobras, puff adders, rock pythons, caracals, wild dogs, hawks, and owls. These predators all have one thing in common: They are stronger, relatively larger and capable of killing the Rock badgers without difficulty.


5. The Rock badgers chose the rocks for strategic advantage. All of its predators, although relatively larger and vicious and even venomous, they struggle with the rocks or are took large to navigate the rock crevices, and mostly exhibit the Savannah and rain forests. And for the three types of snakes which prey upon them, although they are found in rocks, these predators are large and do not effectively penetrate the rocks. In that sense, the choice of rocks as their habitation, is the safest and most secure place to dwell for the Rock badgers.

LESSON: No excuse. To survive on earth: (1) Know and understand your weakness (know who you are, what you are capable of, and what you are not able to do); (2) Know the characteristics of your enemy – those who seek your defeat (the devil, bad people or the environment you live in and etc.); (3) Choose your place wisely – where you can maximize safety, wealth-creation and even favor; (4) For example, if you are marrying, choose a partner who completes you, complements your weaknesses or is strong where you are weak, and vice versa; or choose a career you can do within the strength make-up of your being; choose the means of making money that, within your abilities, provides the best returns, and etc.)

God has given each person or creature something to overcome their limitations, weaknesses, or disadvantages. No-one can blame God for their failings – all they need is to consider the Rock badgers and make the right, strategic and thought-through choices. It’s not too late to learn and apply “Rock Wisdom.” 

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3

THE “LOCUST LOGIC”

 “Locusts have no king, yet they advance together in ranks,” (Proverbs 30:26)


There are five points to take home here:


1. Everyone knows the effectiveness of their missions – when locusts land, they archive their purpose with precision; they devastate whatever they target. Locusts are effective.


2. Locusts always move in the same direction, together.


3. Locusts have no king, no ruler, no leader – but they all move in the same direction. How do they do that? They have sectional “commanders” and these command in tune together and with no overall leader, they know exactly where to go, when to go, and when to retreat.


4. Locusts advance together in ranks – that is, they know where each belong and they don’t break their ranks. They don’t envy any other ranks; they don’t covet each other. They advance (make progress) together, as a leaderless team.


5. Locusts exemplify group-purpose, collective wisdom, and systematic synergy. They demonstrate "unity" and not "union."


LESSON: No excuse. The story of locusts is the story of THE SYSTEM. Where there is an effective system, leaders are secondary. Without a system, anyone person (a leader) can become too strong and manipulate (dictate over) others. Systems ensure equality – where everyone is equal regardless of rank. For example, most African nations have not achieved the “Locust Logic.” They are still a “One Strong Man Rule,” – where one man, usually a president, dictates and determines all national transactions. Another example, most marriages can be happy where only if both partners are equal, but each knows their “rank” and walk in it without usurping the other. Or two friends can succeed in one enterprise (partnership) without each trying to beat or hoodwink the other. 


And an important reason why the LOCUST LOGIC is needed, The System (vision, business, enterprise or dream) does not die with the death of the strong leader – things continue the same way and progress!

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2

Lizards are Easy; Spiders Use Hands

  

“Lizards—they are easy to catch, but they are found even in kings’ palaces,” + “The spider skillfully grasps with its hands, and it is in kings’ palaces,” (Proverbs 30:28)


There are five points to take home here:


1. Lizards are common and are easy to find and catch – That’s their weakness.


2. Just like most of us, we are not born with influence, power or connections. Sometimes, we are simple and very accessible. 


3. Lizards are found in Kings’ palaces – that is, they know two things:


(a) How to make important connections

(b) How to rise in ranks


4. Spiders have only one strength – grasping with their hands.


5. With only that one skill, spiders are able to reach and abide in Kings’ palaces.


LESSON: No excuse. Your birth, name or background does not matter – you don’t need to be already powerful or influential or wealthy to make it to the top. You don’t need many skills, either. Use the one skill (hands, and etc.) that God has given you, and weave your way to the top with it.

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Wisdom in Little ants

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“Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer,” (Proverbs 30:25)


There are five points to take home here:


1. Ants are creatures – just like us (humans). In that regard, they are not different from us.


2. Ants have little strength – that is their weakness. If they want, they can dwell on their weakness and die. But they can do something instead of mere complaining. 


3. “They…store up…food…” – ants know that they have little strength. But they also know that there is strength in numbers. So, they team up to achieve a huge task, storing up food in the summer. What they can’t achieve individually, ants know, is possible through team-work.


4. The most important need ants have is food. They can’t store it in inclement weather or seasons. They choose to work in good months of summer to get food ready for wintry and windy seasons.  If they sleep or play hard in "work-season", they can't reap the benefits in "harvest-season."


5. Ants have wisdom to read seasons and to prepare using collective strength. Failure to do so, may mean end of their existence.


LESSON: No excuse. God has given each person or creature something to offset their weaknesses so that they can survive. Every creature should discover what is its advantage and use it appropriately to survive. So, no more complaints!