Guest Post: The Beauty of Your Own Business by Bolaji Olawoye

I would love to describe business as an art of selling excellent service to people.

The following characteristics are key:

  • It is an art;
  • It involves service;
  • It involves excellence;
  • It involves profit;
  • It involves an audience or a market – people

Let us expand on each:

1. A Successful business is not trying to exploit people or hustling for gain; but the graceful wielding of a skill, excellence and mastery in service offering, trade and relationship with people. Modern business expressions that bring out this excellent mindset are popularly termed ‘service’, ‘commerce’, ‘brand-recognition’, ‘human resource’ and ‘customer service’. Godly business people are not trying to make a living; they practice something they love doing and are good at for that matter.

“Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings, He will not stand before unknown men.” Proverbs 22:29

They know what they have to offer (product and/or service), who to sell it to (niche market), how to sell it (sales, adverts and marketing), how to distinguish their offerings (branding) and how to maintain a good relationship with their customers (customer relationship and service).

2. Your business involves service – always remember that you are doing a service to someone or people. You should be meeting a need. This is an ingredient of constant patronage – the goal of customer service. It should give you (and your staff) joy to satisfy a customer so that he/she LEAVES HAPPY!

3. Excellence is a great distinguishing factor – the way you ‘do it’, whatever it is that you do! Many people may sell food, few ensure that it is ALWAYS fresh and hot, serve it in a nicer way and maybe even bring it to you. When you ‘do it’ in a more excellent way and ‘serve’ one person, making them happy, boom, you have a great asset in business – a loyal news-spreading, mobile-advertising customer.

4. Trading for Profit, for me, can be an exhilarating exercise. It is not usually selling for a high figure that brings the profit. Profit can be buying much lower than you are selling. The skill is how to buy low (minimize your expenditures, maximize your assets/resources) and sell at a very affordable rate. Making your products/service very affordable without compromising quality is a great way of serving the customer in an excellent manner.

5. Your business needs an audience – a market. Your market should have a niche – a set of people it targets, serves and that are well suited for it. The niche may be one or more age-groups, societal class, career type and so on. You should be able to define such markets and target it excellently. Your niche type helps and guides your advert/marketing schemes as wells as product and service pricing.

The beauty of a Godly business:

“Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands that which is good, that he may have to give to him who has need” – Ephesians 4:28
“That you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

A business is beautiful because of the following:

  1. You can mind your business.
  2. You have freedom in your finances and of your time.
  3. An opportunity to express the good works in your hands.
  4. People see your good works and glorify God.
  5. You can properly carry out your responsibilities to people outside; family, relatives, friends and other believers.

Building your dream Business – your wealth generating enterprise:
I do hope that you have a good understanding of what a business really is. Wealth responds to value; the value you create and make available to people. People do pay for what is of value to them, and more easily if they can afford it. To create a valuable product and/or service, you need skill or skilful hands. You may be gifted in wielding a God-given skill or in harnessing, amplifying and managing the skill in others.

Photo Credit: www.businesscareercenter.com;

Guest Post: Write The Vision… by Bolaji Olawoye

By Olawoye Bolaji

“Write the vision and make it plain on tablets…”[1]

It is a scriptural principle of life. The first stage is to conceive it (or receive it). The second stage – document it! Write it down in details, even if it changes later. Learn to take your dreams seriously. Write down those visions of the future in your heart: spiritual calling, ministry outreaches, business ideas, financial ideas, philanthropic organizations, fashion companies, and technological breakthroughs, name it….WRITE THEM ALL DOWN!

The Clearer Your Goals, The Greater Your Faith[2]. When you write them down, they start to look feasible; then you edit, you fine-tune, and you modify. What was initially on God’s mind starts to find earthly manifestation. The sons of the Kingdom start to become instrumentations to making the earth a better place – God’s own way. Hallelujah!

Think on them, ponder on the dreams, and subject them to the scrutiny & illumination of the Holy Spirit with the help of the Word of God. The greatest dreams all began with a thought. If it is birthed in the place of the Holy Ghost, it is a future miracle begging for manifestation at your feet! I personally testify that the greatest breakthroughs and solutions I have had in web development (an area of gifting) have come, usually during a service, during my quiet time or just while thinking! Please, write them down, they may never come back again that way.

Run Of The Vision…

“…that he may run who reads it”[3]

A Mentor once wrote, “You will never make significant success with something until it becomes an obsession”. Start doing something about those dreams & visions. Add them to your daily schedule. Make sure no day ends without you doing something (no matter how little) that contributes to the fulfilment of that dream, even if it is just writing down a thought! Read about it. Prepare for it. Learn about it. Let it have permanent residence in your heart.

Run along with the Spirit of God…

“The preparations of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirits. Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established”[4]

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths”[5]

Regularly lay it before the Holy Spirit. A moment with Him will reveal the flaws of your most carefully laid plans. Talk about it to other Christians who will support it and encourage you. Most importantly, spend time with God’s Word, studying scriptural examples, admonitions, warnings & illuminations. Take out time to pray. Pray in tongues. Pray concerning your fears and doubts; discuss freely with God. His presence is the proper place to receive confirmation about the validity & authenticity of your dreams, whether it is of Him or not. Your spiritual sensitivity and obedience is crucial at this stage.

The Holy Spirit will lead you every step of the way and supernaturally open doors of opportunity before you. When He does, make use of them! He will bring the right people your way; the right connections. He will schedule timely instructions as well as timely warnings. Please do not take either lightly! Disobedience or disregard of warnings (i.e. chastisements, rebukes and/or intentional delays) can cost you dearly!

• Some people can discourage you simply because they do not understand your dreams and visions and so they do not appreciate them. Notwithstanding, make use of wonderful people around you.
• Acquire or develop skills you may require. They may be mental, physical, emotional or spiritual.
• Learn about things you do not know about, such as forming/building organizations, raising/managing people, raising funds, etc.
• Build up your most holy faith in the Holy Ghost. Deal with your weaknesses; study His Word like never before; soar in the Spirit on the wings of prayer.
• Support other people’s dreams & visions; appreciate them, encourage them and sow into them.

This is your youth – the morning part of your days, the time for purpose, preparation, planning & process. Before the flood of circumstances begin to sweep many away, embrace your destiny in God and partner with divinity. Shod your feet with the boots of vision-created stamina. Launch out into life with a sense of direction towards purpose, abundance and fulfilment.

“For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but in the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”[6]

Importance of Vision

Having a vision of the future gives you focus. Focus is being ‘un-distracted’ by the many distractions in life. Focus is one of the most important ingredients for outstanding and extraordinary success in life. You cannot stay focused unless you have something to look unto – a reason to live; a reason to press on; a reason to wake up each day and a reason to work on, despite the bad situations of things at the present.

Your vision is of an expected end. This God approves of:

“For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope (or an expected end).”[7]

“The fear of the wicked will come upon him, and the desire of the righteous will be granted”[8]

“My son, eat honey because it is good, and honeycomb which is sweet to your taste; so shall the knowledge of wisdom be to your soul; if you have found it, there is prospect, and your hope will not be cut off”[9]

The dreams of the future that you have are little scenes from the big pictures of God’s thoughts. They might not look feasible. The dreams may not be the complete picture because visions of the future only get clearer and brighter as you mature and advance in your partaking of God’s thinking pattern.

“But the path of the just is like the shinning sun, that shines brighter unto the perfect day”[10]

“For we know in part … For we now see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face”[11]

Having a vision keeps you from envy, jealousy and comparing yourself to others. Your God-given vision fully gives expression to your God-given potentials and talents – the best of you and what you were actually created to be. You have to stay focused in training to attain that picture that the Lord has for you. Even when other vessels of God are gloriously manifesting His excellence in their God-given calling(s), you are not envious. Instead, you are challenged to step up and continue in what He has specifically called you to be in its God-given fullness.

Having a vision also helps in one of the most important decisions in life – the choice of a life partner, i.e. marriage. In the second chapter of Genesis, while Adam was in the garden, God saw he the need to provide a help meet (fit, proper and comparable) to him. A help(er) meet for his assignment and his person. As a man, when you have started walking in the fulfilment of God’s purpose, I believe recognising a helper comparable to you is easier. The same also goes for the woman of purpose. It is until then that she can recognise the man with the calling and potentials to husband her life. The commandment to multiply, fill the earth and subdue it was given to both man and woman. We equally have a calling to fulfil purpose in our lives.

The reason why life seems so ordinary for so many is this: If your heart cannot picture a future, your person cannot achieve (or manage) it. Some say, “If you can dream it, you can achieve it”. An older and well-established lawyer friend once told me (along with another colleague), “God works with the picture you have in your mind”. It’s like, when you see far, you give God work to do in bringing it to fulfilment. You however, must not lose the caution of subjecting every thought, dream and aspiration to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to ascertain whether they were of Him in the very first place.

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[1] Habakkuk 2:2; [2] Mike Murdock quotation; [3] Habakkuk 2:2; [4] Proverbs 16:1-3 (with author’s emphasis); [5] Proverbs 3:5-6; [6] Habakkuk 2:3; [7] Jeremiah 29:14 (with author’s emphasis); [8] Proverbs 10:24 (with author’s emphasis); [9] Proverbs 24:13-14; [10] Proverbs 4:18; [11] 1 Corinthians 13:9,12

Photo Credits: www.2writewithpassion.com; photoblog.statesman.com; www.flickr.com; blog.writeyourvision.org; projectmicah.blogspot.com

Guest Post: Purpose, Calling & Dreams by Bolaji Olawoye

By Olawoye Bolaji

Perhaps you have for a long time held the notion that your Future or Assignment (in life) is something God will have to decide on later in your life, and you consider it something very difficult to discover.

The Holy Spirit teaches otherwise! Through David – “…and in your book they were all written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them”[1]. Through Jeremiah – “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born…I ordained you a prophet to the nations”[2]. Through Paul – “…God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace.”[3] Joseph also had dreams of a future right from when he was little.[4] The bottom line is, every one was created to fulfil a purpose and that purpose does not show-up in life (or occur by happenstance) but was implanted before birth! “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom he foreknew, He also predestined…whom He predestined, these He also called…”[5] The mustard seed carries within it instructions on how to become a mighty mustard tree, so do you!

The process of fulfilling your purpose and calling begins as you gradually discover it. One thing is primary however, and that is the gradual revelation and unfolding by the Holy Spirit as your spirit becomes responsive & attentive to Him. His relationship to you as Mentor (who understands the fullness of your Purpose & Assignment as well as the timing of every event) is important!

You also need to understand the place of your Dreams, Aspirations & Visions.

Dreams, Aspirations & Visions

Dreams & Visions in this context refers to those little ideas and pictures of the future that grow in your mind and spirit over the years. They can also manifest in your night dreams.

Usually, in childhood, we all had childhood desires to be pilots, or doctors or even the president of your country! As we grew older however, God placed other (or even similar) dreams in our maturing minds & hearts to give us a glimpse of the possibilities that lie on His mind.

Some of us have dreams of building a large orphanage or day-care centre; some a vast fashion empire; some an IT corporation. Some have dreams of coordinating an anointed evangelical outreach; some a church; a philanthropic ministry; a teaching ministry or an online 24-hour prayer ministry! God is grooming some woman, greatly anointed with the ministry of healing or worship. Praise God forever more! Notwithstanding, others have dreams of becoming a Professor Emeritus in their field of discipline and a force to reckon with whilst others have a dream of a vast business empire. A friend blew my mind when he shared with me his dream of building an academia comprising primary, secondary & tertiary schools. Some surprisingly will still live a very calm life of a gentle mother or father quietly raising their children as God’s arrows for the next generation.

Sometimes we ask in doubt, “How is it ever possible that you know God’s will & purpose in life?” Paul explains “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard … the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit”[6] via the little dreams that seem so big, unattainable or even ambitious in our own little minds! These dreams (when placed on the filter bed of His Word and under the illuminating laser beam of His Spirit) are usually pointers (or a glimpse) of what is on the Father’s mind for you & for your future.

Through Jeremiah, God explains: “For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope (or an expected end). Then you will call upon me…and you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart”[7]

These are dreams and aspirations that give full expression to your emotional, psychological, temperamental make-up as well as your spiritual endowment. Though they may not be fully developed at the present, they are worth paying attention to!

What God is trying to do is to give you a reason to run, a problem to solve, an object of planning, a goal, an aim worth achieving, a reason for living and ultimately a life Assignment. He deposits His greatest revelations into your spirit and your mind. Your mind has to participate to get you moving and ultimately bring it to physical fulfillment. God told Abraham, “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are – northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land you see I will give to you and your descendants forever.”[8]

At certain times in life, God asks you, “What do you see, son?” Look well with all spiritual foresight and all the creativity of a renewed mind and respond! If you see well, He will tell you what to do next; otherwise, He probably continues His work upon your life and then asks the same question sometimes later.

The Dreams of a Leader

“And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them.” (Deuteronomy 28:13, with author’s emphasis)

Sometimes we think it is humility not to want to be the head. It is not! It is disobedience! This is why our minds need to be renewed by God’s word and by the help of the Holy Spirit. Your spiritual specie is head only and not tail. Your humility is not to be induced by unfortunate life circumstances such as “na condition bend crayfish.” Your humility is because of a spiritual nature that remains true in both affluence and abasement.

Get a life and live as God wants you to live. Notwithstanding, leadership comes at a price – obedience.

Clues to the Assignment within

Mike Murdock, in his book, The 3 Most Important Things In Your Life, suggested the following clues to discovering your Assignment:

¨What You Love Most Is A Clue To Your Assignment;
¨What Grieves You Most Is A Clue To What You Are Assigned To Heal;
¨What Angers You Most Is A Clue To What You Are Assigned To Correct; and
¨Your Assignment Is Always The Problem God Has Designed You To Solve For Others.

All these things are just pointers to the details of your God-given physical, psychological, temperamental, emotional and spiritual constitution; a clue to the real design within. It is intended to make you discover in which areas of life God created you to function optimally and maximally. I love to suggest some other clues: What would you do if finances, parental influence, societal conditions and other situations (that might sometimes be limitations) were absent? What would you do for Christ if you had all resources at your disposal? What gifts within you can benefit humankind if you have all the resources needed?

Pursuit and Obsession

You cannot have significant success with something until it actually becomes an obsession. Until your God-given dream becomes an obsession, something that daily preoccupies your mind, something you build towards daily; you will not make significant headway with it!

The Pursuit of the Dream

Mike Murdock also wrote, “The Proof Of Desire Is Pursuit” and “You Really Have No Right To Anything You Have Not Pursued”.

The entire Kingdom of God is all about Pursuit – of His Nature, of His Power, of His Presence, of His Wisdom, of His Principles, of His Truth. The Kingdom requires violence[9]…taking the grace made available to you and breaking loose from the enslaving clutches of sin, of which Jesus had made you free!

Listen to Wisdom: uncommon men & women are few! You wonder why? – It is because God made it so! “IT IS THE GLORY OF GOD TO CONCEAL A MATTER, BUT THE GLORY (OR HONOUR) OF KINGS IS TO SEARCH OUT A MATTER”[10]

Break loose from mediocrity, live the privileged life God is giving you.

The Pursuit of the Mentor

The same man of God wrote, “An Uncommon Future Requires Uncommon Preparation” and “An Uncommon Dream Will Require An Uncommon Mentor”.

A mentor is one who has been equipped and enabled by the Holy Spirit (your primary Mentor) to equip you for a future assignment or responsibility. Mentorship is simply Wisdom without the stress of learning by Experience! You increase in Wisdom via mentors or mistakes (or both). A mentor stands fit to equip you via his/her words, character/lifestyle & teachings. You are the Protégé; the one who needs what is in the heart of the Mentor.

Don’t get me wrong! This is not about following-after or glorifying man. A Mentor is not necessarily someone you should be like! It is just that he/she carries a contactable anointing that you know you require in your life. I personally have a number of mentors, some on my major spiritual calling & Assignment; others on God’s Principles of Fruitfulness & Financial Prosperity and still others on the believer’s Faith and Authority. Notwithstanding, the daily School of the Holy Spirit is the greatest mentorship programme I have and continually partake of.

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[1] Psalms 139:16; [2] Jeremiah 1:5; [3] Galatians 1:15; [4] Genesis 37:5-10; [5] Romans 8:29-30 (with author’s emphasis); [6] 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 (with author’s emphasis); [7] Jeremiah 29:11-13 (with author’s emphasis); [8] Genesis 13:14-15 (with author’s emphasis); [9] Matthew 11:12; [10] Proverbs 25:2 (with author’s emphasis)

Guest Post: Your Finances: Wetin Man Go Chop? by Bolaji Olawoye

By Bolaji Olawoye

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…. For where your treasure is, there you heart will be also”[1]

What God battles for is not the presence of, or the abundance of life’s necessities, but for your heart. What masters your heart masters your life – in its entirety!

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (riches)”[2]

Life is in this way: You either run with a purpose in heart and a vision in goal OR the tidal waves of the world will wash you along, dumping you in the trench of financial & social circumstances and you will continue trying to keep-up.

Why would Jesus call mammon (or riches) a potential master? It is simply because it has the power to become one! The (necessary) cares & worries of this world are potent enough to master a man’s heart.

According to Ecclesiastes 10:19, all the physical cares of the world are solved by one thing – money! Mammon is a master because you will continues to need it to satisfy ephemeral necessities until you learn the secrets of the Kingdom. The question is not whether we need money, we do! Neither is it how to get more money, as that might arouse greed and worry, leading to the trap of the devil. The concern usually is, “how we get those things that money answers?”

“…Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?”[3] or ‘Shall we not drive cars?’ or ‘Shall we not work?’ “For after all these things, the Gentiles (the unbelieving, the ungodly) seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. (Notwithstanding) … seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you!”[4]

The scriptures above (and their interpretations) reveal the balance Jesus strikes, between your needs and His provision for them. He reassures that God knows you need these things, but He does not want you to live life, seeking to lay hold of these necessities because He has His own means of making them available. What Jesus recommends is that you seek God’s Kingdom. In it you will find mastery over finances, and then you will not have to worship mammon. God’s kingdom is within you. It is the sphere of dominion of God’s nature, His power & His principles of life. You will find these things in the Bible and as the Holy Spirit leads you into all truth.

Live life, avoiding the snare of excessively accumulating money and material possessions for personal use!

“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and to many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction & perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows”[5]

Let me paint you a picture of what Jesus is saying, the way I understand it:

Most adults that are responsible for fending-for or taking care of themselves are daily in pursuit of riches, without even knowing it. If you are not a working-class adult, you might be used to collecting allowance from someone else as a typical youth. When you start working, you might start seeking after mammon unconsciously! Certain challenges arise; you need an accommodation – you need money; you need a car – you need money; you have a fiancé/fiancée – you need money; your parents deserve some spoiling – you need money; you need clothing, feeding, etc – you need money!

Fear and insecurity mounts and the accumulation of money and material wealth seems to be a necessary pursuit! At some point, some of the “seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness”[6] spiritual teaching start meaning less.

You then discover you need a good-paying job (or a change to one); you hustle a bit, God is merciful and you get one. However, there are usually two (2) types of jobs employees get. One that pays well with little time for other things in life OR the type that gives you ample time for other things but pays little.

For the well paying job, you wake up early, work till late, for at least 39 hours a week! You might be involved in some church work, at least so you do not loose the zeal for spiritual service. But perhaps you are serving someone else and spending less of your time digging into God, spending time with your family and bearing more fruit in the things that God has deposited into you.

For the not well paying job, some use the free time profitably in Kingdom service but with tight financial situations. Other less godly ones use the time to hustle and ‘breakthrough’.

If you get married and raise a family under these conditions, the situation most likely gets complicated. There is an increased demand for your time and money. Then you realise that you need more money to make ends meet. There might now be less time for paying attention to God’s voice or His word. This might continue for a long time. Life is continually spent trying to make ends meet; man must survive; your family must feed, kids must to go school’. Though there will be the good times, but life essentially becomes the pursuit of its necessities.

Everything is now a pursuit of money, because truly, “…money answers everything”[7]. However, you will never have fulfilment in it because you do not use life doing what you were built for, what you are talented in doing. What everybody is doing may seem necessary but it is certainly not God’s initial purpose and design.

However, it is always a nobler thing to walk in the fullness of God’s perfect purpose and design – to seek His Kingdom.

Seeking the Kingdom of God

God’s Kingdom is not some external religious structure:

“The Kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you”[8] It is the operation of a system that obtains in Heaven – God’s dwelling place, being manifested here on earth within adopted kingdom sons. It is a spiritual reality that is in our lives and over our affairs. It is not the denial of our existence on earth but living on earth within the spiritual sphere of heavenly principles. Seeking the kingdom is living a life subjected to- and manifesting the principles of God’s kingdom.[9]

Principles of the Kingdom of God

These are the principles by which Abraham lived: his faith relationship with God and his demonstration of earthly reign. Jacob prophesied, “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a law giver from between his feet.”[10] Paul taught, “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood…”[11] John declared, “And (Jesus) has made us kings and priests to His God and Father”[12]

Notice the lifestyle of Abraham: He was a great worshiper and friend of God and he reigned on earth. Christ is the Seed of Abraham[13] and so are we, living with the same principles that were passed to Judah by prophecy and down to Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah. It is a Kingdom of kings and priests – of worship within and dominion without. You worship like a priest, you rule like a king. It is a kingdom of the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit. It is a duo-principled kingdom of the nature and power of God. His nature is His Person – He is Love. His power is His Dominion, His Glory and His Creativity. A daily passion and walk in these principles is seeking after His kingdom.

Wherever you are placed in life, God must be able to manifest His love and His power to the world through you! Every God-inspired and God-provided employment, service or entrepreneurial endeavour that will allow you to fully live in the fullness of your natural gifting and spiritual calling will be truly seeking His Kingdom.

In addition to these, you will also need to find out what provisions God has made in His Word for your financial freedom and abundance.

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[1] Matthew 6:19-21; [2] Matthew 6:24; [3] Matthew 6:31; [4] Matthew 6:32-33 (with author’s emphasis & non-quotations); [5] 1 Timothy 6:9-10; [6] Matthew 6:33; [7] Ecclesiastes 10:19; [8] Luke 17:20-21; [9] I acknowledge some insight provided by the article (THE KINGDOM OF GOD by Jack W. Hayford) Spirit-Filled Life® Bible, © 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.; [10] Genesis 49:10; [11] 1 Peter 2:9; [12] Revelations 1:6 (with author’s emphasis); [13] Galatians 3:29