Ready to follow

Ready to follow
Matthew 9:9

As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth.”Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.

Sitting on the floor of my bedroom in the silence of the early morning reading my bible during quiet time, this particular verse in scripture struck me. Only the Lord knows what Matthew had been going through at that particular time when he was called to follow Jesus .His personal struggles, failing faith in life and humanity. Questions about his future, where he was headed, Gods purpose for his life… who he was created to be and what for? would he keep living the life of a tax collector in the temple? Deep inside himself he knew he had been made for more. A tugging in his heart, a longing for a better way of life and living. A new purpose, something tangible… Something more…

Let us meet Matthew.

Matthew was a dishonest tax collector driven by greed, until Jesus Christ chose him as a disciple.

Matthew the Tax Collector

We first meet Matthew in Capernaum, in his tax booth on the main highway. He was collecting duties on imported goods brought by farmers, merchants, and caravans. Under the Roman Empire’s system, Matthew would have paid all the taxes in advance, then collected from the citizens and travelers to reimburse himself
Tax collectors were notoriously corrupt because they extorted far and above what was owed, to ensure their personal profit. Because their decisions were enforced by Roman soldiers, no one dared object.

Matthew the Apostle

Matthew was named Levi before his call by Jesus. We don’t know whether Jesus gave him the name Matthew or whether he changed it himself, but it is a shortening of the name Mattathias, which means “gift of Yahweh,” or simply “the gift of God.”
On the same day Jesus invited Matthew to follow him; Matthew threw a great farewell feast in his home in Capernaum, inviting his friends so they could meet Jesus too. From that time on, instead of collecting tax money, Matthew collected souls for Christ.

Despite his sinful past, Matthew was uniquely qualified to be a disciple. He was an accurate record keeper and keen observer of people. He captured the smallest details. Those traits served him well when he wrote the Gospel of Matthew some 20 years later.

By surface appearances, it was scandalous and offensive for Jesus to pick a tax collector as one of his closest followers, since they were widely hated by the Jews. Yet of the four Gospel writers, Matthew presented Jesus to the Jews as their hoped-for Messiah, tailoring his account to answer their questions.

Matthew displayed one of the most radically changed lives in the Bible in response to an invitation from Jesus. He did not hesitate; he did not look back. He left behind a life of wealth and security for poverty and uncertainty. He abandoned the pleasures of this world for the promise of eternal life.

The remainder of Matthew’s life is uncertain. Tradition says he preached for 15 years in Jerusalem following the death and resurrection of Jesus, then went out on the mission field to other countries.Disputed legend has it that Matthew died as a martyr for the cause of Christ. The official Roman Martyrology of the Catholic Church suggests that Matthew was martyred in Ethiopia. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs also supports the martyrdom tradition of Matthew, reporting that he was slain with a halberd in the city of Nabadar.

He served as one of the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ. As an eyewitness to the Savior, Matthew recorded a detailed account of Jesus’ life, the story of his birth, his message and his many deeds in the Gospel of Matthew. He also served as a missionary, spreading the good news to other countries.

Life Lessons

God can use anyone to help him in his work. We should not feel unqualified because of our appearance, lack of education, or our past. Jesus looks for sincere commitment. We should also remember that the highest calling in life is serving God, no matter what the world says. Money, fame, and power cannot compare with being a follower of Jesus Christ.

References to Matthew in the Bible
Matthew 9:9, 10:3; Mark 2:14, 3:18; Luke 5:27-29; 6:15; Acts 1:13.

This is what I learn from this verse and from Matthew. Our Lord God knows us well. Intimately. The number of hairs on our head numbered. That’s how well he knows us. The day will come when we are called to leave everything behind to follow him. And like Matthew, I pray that when the Savoir calls as he passes by, you will heed his call and follow.

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How do you plan your life? Do you have a plan for your life?

Been reading a lot on how to plan your life and how you can execute that plan efficiently. I’m huge fan of Pastor Olumide Emmanuel who came to our church (Grace House Family Church) in the month of March. If you are looking for a no holds-barred teaching on wealth creation, he is your guy.

I have downloaded a few of his teachings on Youtube and he teaches wealth principles like no other! He has this five year plan teaching that I have decided to dedicate the next five years of my life to. He calls it the five year plan for wealth. It’s a five year plan for wealth creation. He believes and now so do I that, you can turn things around in five years if you plan well.

Year 1

Information. He calls this first year the information year. Gather information about wealth. Gather all the information you can about money. Educated yourself on all aspects of money. How to manage, create and figure out money. Go to workshops, attend seminars, read books and research money. Be informed.

Year 2

Action. Time to act on the information you have gathered. Make sure you act. Knowing about money but not being able to do anything about it, defeats the purpose of gathering this information. This is not a time to stop gathering information though. You act and continue to gather information. Continue to educate yourself. Continue to learn.

Year 3

Set systems and structures into place. You can multiply your actions by using systems and structures. Get a team to help you with your goal or vision. Multiply your team and staff. Use them to enforce your goal.

Year 4

Expansion. This is the time to expand on your goal or vision. Time to think out of the box and set bigger goals. Time to enter new markets and new arenas. Time to conquer new frontiers.

Year 5

Freedom year. Time to be free from the person you were at the beginning of the 5 years. By now through patience and perseverance you should have achieved the level you wanted to rise to. Have become financially independent and have amassed a vast amount of wealth that will see you doing all you ever wanted to do. And being all you ever wanted to be.

Sounds like a simple plan, huh? But it will need persistence and perseverance. See, the future you create is the future you inhabit. Today is the tomorrow you spoke about yesterday. If you don’t plan, you will fail. If you don’t plan, you plan to fail! Ascertain where you are. Where is your starting point? What is your destination? Where are you going? What do you need to do to get there? Where are you going to get help to get there? Decide on an action plan on how you will get there and who you need to ask for help to get there.

An old Chinese proverb says,” a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step”. Its time you took that one step. Have a dream. Have a plan to execute that dream. A dream is an inspiring picture of the future.

Mediocrity is always a personal choice. Refuse to remain mediocre.

Abigail Phiri
@theraphafoundation
Courtesy of The School Of The Money
The Common Sense Group (Pastor Olumide Emmanuel)

Jesus Changing Women’s Lives

This is the basis or motto of this amazing vision God has given us. We are daily amazed by a love so true and deep that even at our lowest and deepest of sin he loved us and died for us.

What are we doing? We are teaching women to fish as the Lord Jesus commissioned.Our aim and goal? To teach a beauty trade. We teach nail therapy, braiding and weaving and professional makeup application.We are a christian NPO teaching bible principles and empowering previously disadvantaged women.we are reaching the single mother,stay at home mom and high school drop-out how to make money for and by themselves.we offer start up training and then support once the trade has been taught.we do this in conjunction with shelters,homes, care centers and churches.

“Give a man a fish and feed him for a day.Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime” This is our vision.

Abigail Phiri
@theraphafoundation

Grace House Family Church Free Mall Day

It was a great initiative on the part of the church board to bring about such a fantastic way of giving to the next person, sowing a seed into a fellow church member’s life and into the kingdom of God. Members of the church were asked to donate any item of clothing, personal effect and property to the church to create a mall where our members could shop for free.

Bright and early, the members of the Hands of Grace (a volunteer department of Grace House Family church) gathered to organize and build a make shift mall. Ideas were swapped around as everyone tried to bring together the idea and design of our mall. Within a few hours the mall was set up and we were ready to go. An hour of teaching from our man of God pastor Chuks Ozabor energized us for the task we were to face.

After the service, we returned to our make shift mall, excited and waited in anticipation. The weather held although bad weather had been predicted. We prayed that the heavens would hold and not drop of rain would ruin our day. And by the power of God, it did not rain although the day had begun chilly and overcast.
The mall was declared opened and floods of people poured into our mall. The donations had been generous and so there was so much to be ‘shopped’.

There were a lot of pleased faces that were caught on camera.

By the grace of God we look to make this an annual event. An event to be looked forward to and a chance to impart the word and a gift into a fellow church members lives.

Abigail Phiri
@theraphafoundation

Our relevance..

Malcolm X when asked by his future wife on his opinion of women and marriage responded.”…We have to be very careful around women. We don’t protect, we don’t value, we don’t support .see, the building of a new nation begins with a woman. Because the mother is the first teacher of the child. the message she gives to the child is the message it gives to the world”.

I AGREE.

Abigail Phiri
@theraphafoundation