Archive for the ‘The word of comfort’ Category
As a believer, what is the most offensive thing you have ever heard? What is the phrase that upsets you most?
In this message I will discuss one of the most offensive and upsetting things I have ever heard and which I am sure troubles many Christians; and how to deal with it. I am sure that it can really trouble your faith in the place of prayer and in life. This is one of the variants:
“Afterward Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.’” But Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.” (Exodus 5:1-2. ESV)
It upsets me when someone says “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice…..I do not know the Lord!”
We are confronted with this phrase in various ways and attitudes. It is an affront from the devil and his agents that carries a lot of effects on many of us. There are people who are bold enough to verbalise it; some others say things that make you feel they are in charge of the world and the people in it. They just mean they have the last word and no person can do anything about it. (Many people who say such things follow it up with actions). Sometimes the enemy brings it up in our thought in the place of prayer. When this happens, you are likely for feel terrified, confused, irritated or at the worst put off from believing as you ought to. The enemy may bring pictures and memories of horrible situations, which is capable of upsetting you.
This has been an age long tactics of the devil and he has continues with it through the generations. If it is not a potent weapon, he will not deploy it in his attack; so be careful.
Lets see some more examples in the scriptures.
“Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” (Job 1:9-11. ESV)
“Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?” (Dan. 3:14-15. ESV)
“Has any of the gods of the nations ever delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? Who among all the gods of the lands have delivered their lands out of my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?’” (2 Kings 18:33-35. ESV)
There are variants of this immodest attack on God and on his people; they mean the same thing in a broad sense. The enemy uses it as occasion suits him. The devil and his agents disrespect God and his people; he is insubordinate and vulgar.
How to handle this affront
1. When you hear any of the above statements I highlighted, the first thing to do is to discern its source and the level of warfare it might signify. It is from the devil and you should be very alert and sensitive to the situation.
2. Don’t be overwhelmed because of this challenge. You might be offended but it is normal, don’t overact. You are not going into physical fight – it is spiritual. Ephesians 6: 12-13, says “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” (ESV)
3. You should understand that God is very interested in this kind of battle. The battle has shifted from just your fight; the Lord normally takes up the challenge, if we trust him to take over. There are many battles we face but something like this is attack on the person of God.
4. Search the scriptures to find out instances where such challenges took place and position yourself to allow God handle it. You must pump-up your faith with the word of God and stand firm on God’s word.
5. You should be ready to pray and do serious warfare. Pray in faith and don’t drop your guard. Sometimes it may take a prolong battle.
6. Don’t overlook any threat that carries such words; the age notwithstanding, there is usually a “power” behind the speaker. In spiritual warfare things happen that can astonish you. (please don’t engage people in physical fight; the devil commonly use them for his purpose)
7. Keep at the word of God to hear what direction he wants to go. If you have matured believers around you and you feel like talking things over with them please do but be careful, it is not everybody that really knows the implications of this matter and if they are casual about it or indifferent, you may have a serious case at hand added to the one you already want a solution to.
In all the places where these phrases were used; the Lord dealt with them severely. (Search the scriptures). If you are having such an issue at hand, hand it over to the Lord; hold on to the word of God no matter the battering pressures from the devil and his agents. The word of God says in Jer. 32:27 “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” (ESV)
The confession in Daniel 4:34-35 is interesting. “At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever,
for his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;
all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
and he does according to his will among the host of heaven
and among the inhabitants of the earth;
and none can stay his hand
or say to him, “What have you done?” (ESV)
All scripture quotes are from
“There is nothing that can justify serving God with the powers of darkness, evil and of the devil,” says the Lord. That was the word of God while I worked on this message.
Engaging the powers of evil in Christian worship is currently widely reported all over the world and I have observed awfully increases of sinister practices in the way many people are handling Christian services. These practices are not new, they have always been there and God has always declared his abhorrence to them. These confusions were common in Sodom and Gomorrah, in Egypt, among the heathen nations driven out from Palestine, during the reign of several kings in Israel and in many other instances. Solomon lost a substance part of the David’s dynasty because he got involved; Saul lost his life because he slipped back to witchcraft practice, Elijah destroyed about 400 prophets of Baal because of adulteration of worship in Israel. How come some people think it is acceptable now?
The scriptures says in 2 Tim. 4: 3-4, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
The following scriptures tell of an incidence where God frowned at consulting powers of darkness.
“Now Ahaziah fell through the lattice in his upper chamber in Samaria, and lay sick; so he sent messengers, telling them, “Go, inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover from this sickness.”
But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, “Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say to them, ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron?
Now therefore thus says the LORD, You shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die.’” So Elijah went.
The messengers returned to the king, and he said to them, “Why have you returned?”
And they said to him, “There came a man to meet us, and said to us, ‘Go back to the king who sent you, and say to him, Thus says the LORD, Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron? Therefore you shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die.’”
He said to them, “What kind of man was he who came to meet you and told you these things?”
They answered him, “He wore a garment of hair, with a belt of leather about his waist.” And he said, “It is Elijah the Tishbite.”
Then the king sent to him a captain of fifty men with his fifty. He went up to Elijah, who was sitting on the top of a hill, and said to him, “O man of God, the king says, ‘Come down.’”
But Elijah answered the captain of fifty, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.” Then fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.
Again the king sent to him another captain of fifty men with his fifty. And he answered and said to him, “O man of God, this is the king’s order, ‘Come down quickly!’”
But Elijah answered them, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.” Then the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.
Again the king sent the captain of a third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up and came and fell on his knees before Elijah and entreated him,
“O man of God, please let my life, and the life of these fifty servants of yours, be precious in your sight.
Behold, fire came down from heaven and consumed the two former captains of fifty men with their fifties, but now let my life be precious in your sight.”
Then the angel of the LORD said to Elijah, “Go down with him; do not be afraid of him.” So he arose and went down with him to the king
and said to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Because you have sent messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron—is it because there is no God in Israel to inquire of his word?—therefore you shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die.’”
So he died according to the word of the LORD that Elijah had spoken. Jehoram became king in his place in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, because Ahaziah had no son. 18 Now the rest of the acts of Ahaziah that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?” 2Kings 1:2-17 (ESV)
Jehoram, as a king in Israel, was setting a bad course for people because of something he wanted so dearly, his health. He was misguided and went after the powers of evil to seek help. The king did not like how Elijah intercepted his messengers (just like some people may not like this message), so he sent soldiers to arrest him; and because of the rudeness and arrogance of two of the three captains sent, they suffered severely for it.
King Jehoram eventually died in his error, according to God’s judgment. Please understand that he was not seeking for medicine, he was seeking help from priests of Ekron. He was subscribing to their gods. He snubbed the right ways and felt he could do just anything irrespective of the consequences.
In Acts 8:9-13, 18-24, we read the story of Simon the magician, who deceived people Samaria for years with evil powers. He used sorcery to make himself someone. He liked being called “this man is the power of God that is called great.” Let us read more of his story,
“But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great.
They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called Great.”
And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed.
Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money,
Saying “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!
You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.
Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.
For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.”
And Simon answered, “Pray for me to the Lord that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.”
When the gospel got to Samaria, Simon’s folly got out of the bag and people discovered the truth. He was not done yet and wanted to buy the power of God so that he could lay hands on people and perform signs. Peter could not be bought over, and sternly rebuked Simon. Simon got the shock of his life. (Peter, of course, won’t be considered wise, in many places today, for turning down an opportunity to make a lot of money). Some people might suggest that he should do it and repent afterwards; that is the underlying reason why many people consciously dabble with evil.
I have heard that it is believed in some places that, “whatever you do to get money is not sin”. Shame!
Someone once said of a pastor, who had some problem with sin; “people say what he did was bad, yet his church is increasing with people” Shame! To this person church growth and fame supersedes living according to the word of God. The problem here was that even non-Christian found what happened very horrendous. The state held it against him.
You cannot use the powers of evil to please God. Satan tempted Jesus saying, “…, all this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.” Luke 4:6-7
Jesus rejected that suggestion and by it, showed us an example which is too hard for many people today to follow.
“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Luke 4:8
There are many people today who have set out to deceive other people, including believers, who are careless and greedy. Their ways were already revealed in the scriptures.
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;” 1 Tim. 4:1-2 (KJV)
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, ………. high minded lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as their’s also was.” 2 Tim. 3:1-9
You can’t serve God acceptably with the power of the devil.
Why people are deceived
Many people get deceived because they are greedy and so ready to compromise. The perpetrators believe they can deceive people and also deceive God. They believe they can always repent and outwit God. Some of these people are never believers; they saw the Christian faith as a business opportunity and they grabbed it and started manipulating people. They are very clever and many Christians are naïve.
Many people are lazy; they can’t read the word for themselves and want prayers from every person who says he prays. They feel God answers other people’s prayers except theirs. Like Simon, they are ready to pay for prayers.
Many people are gullible and play into the hands of “religious laud talkers”. These talkers boast of high things and tell people things that suggest that they are “deputy gods”. They see themselves as “assistant gods” who actually control what God does. Lies!
They manipulate people, telling them they will be cursed if they ever question their authorities; like Simon, they hold people in great fears and terrors.
Despite the wonderful opportunities we have to study the word of God, many people are deceived because they refused to read. In some places the prerogative to read the Bible is for their leaders. Only their leaders interpret the “word of God” correctly. Lazy! I once saw a church online where their “pastor” asked people to go and eat grass; and they did. Deceived!
Go and study the word of God and learn the truth for yourself. The word of God is written for every one of us and the Holy Spirit is able to help us understand it, if we ask him. Stop running to and fro to “collect fire”; it might be “strange fire”. It will be like going from fry pan to fire.
Today, I bring the word of God to you, “…… “Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.” Gen. 19:17.
Remember Lot’s wife. Luke 17:32.
If you believe in God you must either stop using the powers of the devil to serve God or you must stop patronising those who do.
If you don’t believe God will punish people who meddle with evil powers in the name of serving him; your Christianity is suspect and you are wide open for trouble. Don’t think you can fool God and fool the devil. The devil will surely demand his ransom very soon.
God will not spare this evil, so, repent today. There is plenty to enjoy in God. He loves you and is willing to bless you.
Bible quotes: http://www.biblegateway.com
NB: This message is also published in http://www.gracefulvoice.com
1 May the LORD answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
2 May he send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.
3 May he remember all your sacrifices
and accept your burnt offerings.
4 May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.
5 May we shout for joy over your victory
and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the LORD grant all your requests.
6 Now this I know:
The LORD gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
with the victorious power of his right hand.
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
8 They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.
9 LORD, give victory to the king!
Answer us when we call!
Believe it and see the glory of God in your life; for there shall be a performance of His word.
Bible Quote: From New International Version.
Many things have been said and written about visions and there are a lot of things that can be said about visions from God. Vision is one of the ways that God communicates with us. This way of communication like many others has been so mystified that it brings trepidation to many Christians. I want to throw a bit of light on it to help someone gain more understanding about walking with God. Abraham, Isaiah, Ezekiel and many other people had visions from God.
“After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” Gen.15:1. (NKJV)
“The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah” Isaiah 1:1. (NKJV)
“Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the River Chebar, that the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.” Ezekiel 1:1 (NKJV)
Vision is about seeing. Vision in the spiritual realm is much like vision in the physical; it is the ability to see things but not with the physical eyes. Another way of helping you understand this is to liken it to a dream. In visions you have no control over the things that you see. You just see what is revealed to you. It is not something you struggle about and it is not about opening your “eyes wide enough” in other to see. In a vision from God, God allows you to see something he wants you to see. If you do “anything special” in other to see visions, then it is something to beware of.
“Now the angel who talked with me came back and wakened me, as a man who is wakened out of his sleep. And he said to me, “What do you see?” So I said, “I am looking, and there is a lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand seven lamps with seven pipes to the seven lamps. Two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left.” So I answered and spoke to the angel who talked with me, saying, “What are these, my lord?” Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” And I said, “No, my lord.” So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the LORD of hosts. ‘Who are you, O great mountain?
Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”’” Zech. 4:1-7 (NKJV)
In the scripture above, Zechariah saw a vision from God. The angel actually asked him about what he saw, just to make sure he saw exactly the “pictures” before him. The ability to see is what is known as seeing vision. This vision is entirely different from the vision of having a plan, a perception, or insight about doing or following a certain course in life.
Vision from God is not the same thing as clairvoyance or divination as practised in some places. If God gives you a vision, he is mostly likely to give you the understanding of it. Visions from God to his children are not nightmares; though God may show a believer what he intends to do as a judgement to wicked people. God will most likely show you things that are unambiguous and you may not need further search for understanding. Searching for meaning to visions can be burdensome and subject to vagaries of interpretations; so in most cases, God doesn’t put that burden upon his children but this is not usually the case for none unbelievers.
The spirits of unbelievers are dead; that is, it is insensitive to God and their minds are clogged with many things that are anti-God and they cannot understand the voice of God in any way. So, the first thing God seeks with unbelievers is to bring them to conviction and repentance before any other thing; when unbelievers close this door, the door of judgement open upon them.
It is useless trying to force a vision. Many people attempt to do this to appear special or to manipulate others. It is falsehood and it is just like a blind person who attempts to describe something he cannot see or feel. The problem really is that many people allow themselves to be deceived by the ploys of people who manipulate spiritual things. For instance, does it take hitting ones head on the wall to see? If anyone does that, he may become fantasized and prone to demonic influences. The scriptures revealed this about some who called themselves prophets in Israel many years ago.
“And the LORD said to me, “The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them; they prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart.” Jer. 14:14 (NKJV)
I know that sometimes, in believers’ meetings or services, someone can fall under the anointing and may not be conscious of his environment for some time and when he comes round, he might say he saw a vision. Such experiences are normal for as long as they are not attempts to manipulate other people.
Every vision is subject to biblical scrutiny and confirmation through the word of God, the Bible. Nothing should be accepted in isolation and if you are under undue pressure from another person to accept a “vision”, walk away from it. True visions have nothing sinister about them. The proof of visions is their fulfilments.
If you don’t see visions, you are no less a Christian; you are not superhuman if you do. God gives us various abilities according to his purpose. The most important thing is to be a child of God. God can speak to you and there are various ways he speaks to his children. I have had the privilege of being involved in some of them. The best attitude to these things is to see oneself as a messenger, “just like the mail man” whose job is to deliver mails to people’s houses. The joy of the job is in doing exactly what it demands.
We must not see ourselves as lords over God’s people because we have the gifts of God; doing so is much like taking the glory that belongs to God. Every gift must be exercised in love.
Visions are still part of the ways God speaks to us today and if you have this gift please exercise it in a godly way. You must not allow people to put you off it. Let Jesus be glorified in all you do.
Bible Quotes: http://www.biblegateway.com
The recent circumstances surrounding the missing plane MH370 and the unexplainable motive behind such evil raises further questions about evil. Why on earth would anybody do such a thing to passengers who were about their own businesses? What could have been the fate of the passengers on board the plane? If they are alive, what would be their state of mind and body? Our society is fully of many such evils and you get filled with sorrow every time you tune to a News channel on Radio or Television. In some News media, some horrible incidents are turning into “horror entertainments”, as a considerable time of News bulletins are used to feature trials of such incidents; some station broadcast special programmes on high profile “celebrities involved in crime”. (Their explanation is that the public wants it). Evil happens all over the world and cuts across all sections of the society. It is like the “world is mad with evils”. Science can’t explain the mystery of evil because it cannot be measured or calculated; it is usually unpredictable, and full of pain and sorrow. It is difficult to predict who will be doing evil or harm to someone soon. Nobody could have predicted that one of the 12 Apostles would betray Jesus for money.(Only Jesus himself did)
The available information on the mystery of evil is found in the Bible. The Bible says,
“And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”
Jesus said in John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
The devil had taken it upon himself to wreck humanity and cause as much damage as he can. If you read the book of Job, you will get further insight about evil and the activities of the devil. He wants to prove that God is in the wrong and attempts to drag humanity into that belief and his way of doing it is through pain, loss, and deceit.
It is very unfortunate that people who are unsuspecting get involved in these horrible activities of the enemy. When evil happens, many people get drawn into it one way or the order.
What is the best attitude to things like that?
• We must be sensitive at all times how we handle incidents involving evil occurrence.
• We must empathise with those involved in every way possible
• We must do all we can to help, we must not come up with wrong conclusions and judgements (it is better to keep quiet than offer wrong perceptions of things, in words or actions).
• We must stay away from taking advantage of people in such situations.
• We should pray for those directly affected
In dealing with evil, we must continue to pray at all times.
Jesus taught his followers to pray; as we can read in the following scriptures.
“So He said to them, “When you pray, say:
“Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us day by day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.” (Luke 11:2-4)
I have highlighted the last bit to show that the Lord wants us to pray against temptations and evil. We are to pray against the activities of the evil one. It should be a constant prayer – do it every day. God can handle everything that we encounter. When we have prayed, we should believe God to help us.
Evil will not last for ever; God will bring evil to an end and the evil one will be judged. Evils are inspired by the devil, who finds it convenient to possess people and use them to accomplish evil work. Whether planned or spontaneous, evil is still the same thing. Evil is bad and has no justifications. Psalm 125: 1-3 says,
“Those who trust in the LORD
Are like Mount Zion,
Which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
So the LORD surrounds His people
From this time forth and forever.
For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest
On the land allotted to the righteous,
Lest the righteous reach out their hands to iniquity.”
God bless you.
Bible quote: http://www.biblegateway.com
We cannot underestimate the power and influence that our negative past has over our present. It is very subtle how it creeps in from time to time. There are many people who have so much complication with their past that their present is a wreck. You must deal with that stronghold if you are to enjoy liberty, freedom, productivity and fulfilment. Many nations, people and individuals are still wallowing with the evil of the past; things that they can’t change and the pains they only play out in their imagination. Year after year nations commemorate catastrophes; re-awakening the hurts of the past to the demise of the present. The following scripture tells the story of people like that and the response that all of us should pay attention to.
“When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.
His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said.
But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.” Gen. 50:15-19 (NIV)
These were men that concealed their evil deed for several years. They were under a hideous oath not to divulge anything about what happened to Joseph. Now their past refused to go away even after Joseph showed them love. They were not convinced of his sincerity. That is exactly how many of us treat the love of God. Many people keep coming back to God to confess the same old sin over and over, without acknowledging that “God’s mercy endures for ever” They can’t accept that his love is everlasting. In this mood, they fail to enjoy the freedom that salvation brings.
The following scripture speaks about people who find it difficult to accept who we are now. There are many parents who still “babysit” their adult children. They “baby them” all about the places. They are others who cannot bear the site of our new level of life. They want us to still be “old fools” world without end. They see themselves as the “choiced, gifted, born-leaders, etc.” They are quick to play down other people’s achievements in very subtle ways. The Jews treated Jesus like that. The scripture says,
“Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Messiah? But we know where this man is from; when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.” Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him,” John 7:26-28 (NIV)
Jesus resisted their backward and parochial mentality. Most times people paint the false humility picture of this evil. However, the question is, would Jesus have been considered “humble” if he accepted their perception of him. Would Jesus have fulfilled his ministry better if he accepted their view about his divinity? While I don’t support pride or arrogance in anyway, I must stress that being who you are irrespective of what other people think of you, is the best life you can ever live.
You cannot make a difference in your generation being someone else. You must discover yourself and live it out. Sometimes, your life might be carved out for a future generation and the present system or community viewpoint cannot understand a thing about you or pay for your worth. Many things we enjoy today sounded foolish to the first people who heard about it. For example, the Wright brothers announced they could fly and were called “foul”; who dares undermined their claim today? You can name others. Many great inventions that were foolish to many people who first heard about them are just all around you (Just look around you where you are now)
Many “school drop-outs” are doing great exploits in many areas of life but their former brilliant old teachers still wonder about “that dull boy” they had committed to “would amount to nothing” garbage bins. You must deliver yourself through the power of God from your negative past. It is time to move on. Forgive those who you need to forgive, leave behind you those that refused to forgive your past. Forgive yourself and move on.
God has made you new. Live it.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Cor. 5:17-21. (NIV)
We are products of our past choices and our future is as predictable as the choices we make today. Choices are tricky because there a many things that work underground to influence whatever we choose to do.
Choices vary in weight and consequences; some have lasting effects on us while others are just “one of those things” issue. We must be very careful when making choices whether big or small. For example, making a relationship choice is weightier than making a choice about what to eat but a wrong food choice can be as problematic as a wrong relationship choice at a long run.
Choices are elastic in nature and can be dealt with, with proper support. We can deal with whatever choice we have made with proper information, education, mentoring and counselling. We can prayerfully handle past, present and future choices and their probable consequences. However, the problem with choices is that many of them are like the spider’s web. If an insect gets entangled in a spider’s web, it seems to me that, the insect normally feels, “I can handle this” and starts to struggle with it. Most insects never get free without some external help. An on-looker sees the web as fragile but it never is to the poor insect caught in it. Most people see people in difficulty as “stupid”, however, if that is true, then all human beings are. Someone once said “who does not need help?” I want to ask, who has never made a poor choice?
Another problem with choices is that many people get to a point where they fear that making a change in their life is very late. For example, many people who are having career problem may feel that making a fresh start is impossible but when placed side by side with a wrong choice, I feel that a new beginning is the winning streak. It is the mark of courage; it is the mark of a champion. It is never too late to make a fresh move. Some require gradual adjustments while others might require radical actions. If for instance you have been made redundant because of technological developments in your industry, you can choice to get some training elsewhere rather die bemoaning your “bad luck”. You can always find a way in life if you choose to have a positive attitude to life.
Do not be box-in by traditional way of thinking, like “the old wine is better”. Think outside the box, embrace changes and be positive. Life has many sides and you can always enjoy some fun even if there is “a shift” or change of horizon. What will friends think? I don’t know and I won’t suggest you do their thinking for them; you will be sapped if you choose to do that. What will they say? I don’t know but it is more likely they will be limited by their “environment which is always parochial, Judgmental and self-centred.” In any case, you are responsible for your life and accountable for whatever you choice. However, you are never going to sit down to give account to many of you “limiting influences”.
You can you to win today no matter what the challenges are. The first step could be making a good choice (a fresh start, maybe!). The next will be following it through with courage and focus. The journey is always better with God; so commit your ways to the Lord and trust him to come through for you. You have a friend in me – I want you to succeed.
There are a lot of argument about healing and miracles. Many of those arguments are appalling because they come from people who should know better (Christian religious leaders.) They argue that signs and wonders, healing and miracles don’t happen again. I have made up mine mind to distance myself from such circles because such discussions are unbeneficial and boring. However, it is nothing new as you will find in the following scripture.
“On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.
Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”
The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”
When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.” Luke 13:10-17.(NIV)
There are people who have the idea like “I don’t care if and when you are healed (or receive your miracle), for as long as it is not now. Some people consider talk about the Holy Spirit, miracles, healing, signs and wonders as “insanity” or misguided teaching.
My concern is about believers who need to enjoy the provision God made for their well-being. If you don’t believe in the supernatural, miracles, healing, sign and wonders, what are you in church for? If you don’t believe in God’s intervention in human affairs, what are you carrying the Bible for? A believer must come to terms with what the word of God teaches. God wants us to make heaven as well as enjoy his goodness on earth. There are a lot of pressures from the devil and many people need help. We can get help from God as we ask for it in prayers. We must persevere in hope for deliverance and victory over the powers of darkness.
The woman that Jesus healed was described as a “daughter of Abraham”. She must have been fervent in serving God but was content to live with her infirmity for life. The religious leaders of those days were not bothered about people’s problems. Like we read from the scripture, they ended up in embarrassment when Jesus exposed their errors. I believe in the power of God to intervene in human affairs. I have seen and experienced sign and wonders, miracles, deliverance, healing, etc.
Healing, miracles, sign and wonders are your portion. You can receive help now. Ask God for it; it won’t cost you anything; ask by faith. Do it now and never give up.
“Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him.
If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” 2Tim.2:11-13 (NIV)
I have always found this scripture very interesting every time I read it. And the part that holds my attention most is verse 13.
I am reminded that God is faithful, no matter the situation or circumstance. His faithfulness is not measured by whatever we choose to do. We did not make him God and we cannot demote him. The views of people do not diminish him. We cannot add to him to make him who he is. He once told Moses; “I AM who I AM.” Moses was to tell the Israelites that that was God’s name.
“God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” Exodus 3:14. (NIV)
He is God and that is it. There had been many attempts to describe God (or define him). All those efforts, even in the Bible, were just reflections of him through what he does.
God is faithful. The scripture says that God cannot deny himself (He cannot disown himself). That is awesome. Jesus proved this before his crucifixion
Matt. 26: 62-65, says,“Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” But Jesus remained silent.
The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”
“You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy.”
Jesus knew the intention of the high priest, he knew he was sly and evil. Jesus answered to who he is. He did not deny himself. He cannot deny himself.
What does this mean? It means that you can count on God to live up to his name. You can trust his faithfulness. It means that his promises are sure and reliable. What he says is trustworthy despite the lies of the devil. God is not out to make empty promises; he is not a politician. He does not cow people into serving him; as much as God wants people to be saved, he doesn’t cajole people into it.
He cannot deny himself. Assuming everyone refuses to accept him; that is a pity but God still remains who he is, – faithful and graceful. It is wonderful to know the unchanging God. He cannot be modified and he cannot be bought over. Those that put their trust in the Lord should rejoice because they have come to a sure place; a foundation that cannot be moved.
Times and seasons cannot make God to change. He made them and controls them. Leaders come and go. Great people live and die but the Lord abides for ever. His mercies endures for ever and his people will not continue to suffer and live in shame. The word of God says,
“For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5 (NIV)
You can rely on God, you can count on his promises and his love for you will never diminish. Trust the Lord even if things are tough for you now; problems don’t last for ever. The scripture says,
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” Psalm 46:1-4, 6-7. (NIV)
Be strong in the Lord.