After the fall of Adam, God entered another phase of His plan: a complete separation.
Adam sold the world to satan and man was powerless against the strong man.
God made a promise to send His Son to bind the strong man, destroy his works and set the captives free, for the purpose of separation.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” – 2 Cor 6:14-17 (KJV)
CHRISTMAS IS A CALL FOR A COMPLETE BREAK!
From this world and its system!
‘And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.’ – Luke 2:7 (KJV)
There was no room for the Lord Jesus! The world would not accommodate Him! Indirectly the world told Him He did not belong here!
With His birth a new Kingdom was born; a spiritual kingdom. A Kingdom God wants us to be separated to.
“And be not conformed to this world.” – Romans 12:2 (KJV)
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” – 2 Cor 6:17 (KJV)
Every other thing done in Church is secondary! Be separated from this world! This is the primary reason for the birth of Jesus; NOT TO MAKE US RICH, but to separate us from this world for God and unto God!
This can be done through:
(1) THE BLOOD. This is the initial power that broke us loose from the clutch of satan. It has been done for us by the Lord Jesus when He shed His blood to save (separate) us. We have been called out of darkness!
”But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” – 1 Peter 2:9 (KJV)
(2) THE WORD. Retaining and maintaining this separation can only be done when we retain His word. This is our part in overcoming the enemy. Retaining the word, letting it dwell in us richly in all wisdom, circumcises our heart, strengthening us to stand, resist the devil and do the will of God that is why David said: “your word have I hid in my heart so that I will not sin against you.”
Where the world wouldn’t have room for Him we should, by allowing His word change our Character and speech!
“……but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” – Romans 12:2 (KJV)
Let us allow the Word of God separate us from the world by transforming and circumcising our heart.
“For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” – Romans 2:28-29 (KJV)
Without this, Christmas is just a pagan worship!
In Economics we are told that human wants are many but with scarce means of meeting them. People have resorted to different kind of ways to meeting those wants.
Made in God’s image and likeness, we carry His nature,
“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” – 2 Peter 1:4 (KJV)
That means His ability works in us.
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” – Phil 2:13 (KJV)
So, just as He calls those things that be not, we should equally call those things “that be not” instead of resorting to evil means; robbery, lies, prostitution, ritual killing and every other evil ways in the bid to acquire or meet our need. His power is at work in us. Lets believe and there would be a performance!
“For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” – Mark 11:23-24 (KJV)
God has created all things. Nothing is new or lacking. The things we do not see, exist in the spirit realm.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” – Eph 1:3 (KJV)
While we dwell in the natural realm, these needs are in the spiritual (heavenly) realm or place; that’s why we can’t see them! Like our Father would do, we should call those things from the spiritual realm where they are not visible, to our natural realm where they become visible and could be seen and touched. Jesus did what He saw the Father do. We should follow in His footsteps. This is Faith!
We talk and teach Faith. Yes, without Faith we cannot receive from the Father.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” – Heb 11:6 (KJV)
However for Faith to be effective, we need the Word!
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” – Romans 10:17 (KJV)
Furthermore, our “calling”, “asking” or “praying” must align with or agree with the plan or will of God.
“Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee.” – Job 22:21 (KJV)
As a carpenter, why ask God for a stethoscope? You certainly do not need it! It is not in God’s plan for you! No matter how hard you bombard the store room of heaven, you will find no stethoscope in your name! James will tell you you asked amiss!
“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” – James 4:3 (KJV)
Let us know that God planned our path on earth even before we were born. Let’s quest to know His will for us as individuals, as families, as communities; Church or secular, not comparing ourselves and His peace that passes all understanding will be ours. In Jesus Name. Amen.
Elimelech had left Bethlehem with his wife Naomi and their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, to the land of Moab to escape the famine that had come upon the land.
There at Moab, where the economy was better, things suddenly took a new and ugly turn when Elimelech died. Not long afterwards, the two sons who had married also died and things became difficult for Naomi. To survive, with her two daughters- in law, she sold off most valuables, yet…
Going back to Bethlehem she said:
“I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?” – Ruth 1:21(KJV)
They had fared well in Bethlehem before the journey to Moab. The famine forced them to move. Had they looked back to what they were before God picked them and filled them with testimonies, perhaps the tragedy that befell them could have been averted.
Some lessons could be learnt here as we approach the end of the year. We need to look back from the beginning of the year till now to see the mighty hand of God at work in our lives. This will help us humble ourselves.
(1) They could not see the hand of God at work. They must have attributed their success to their own efforts. So when the famine came, “common sense” dictated to them to move.
Let’s remember that whatever we may have become is the doing of the Lord. And if He delights to bless us in any land, no famine can overtake us as the Lord will be there to deliver us.
(2) They did not see God where they were. Jacob said, “God is here and I knew it not.”
“And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.” (Genesis 28:16).
They did not appreciate where God planted them.
We can be so busy we fail to see God in the place we are and consequently, not appreciate Him for the place He has placed us. Let’s learn not to think or talk evil or negative of the place we are. Neither should we agree with people who run down where we are.
It is only when we praise God that the land will open its treasure to us.
(3) The fact that God is there does not mean you cannot have a famine; headaches, and challenges.
Where God was Jacob slept on hardness; without comfort: on a pillow of stones!
“And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.” (Genesis 28:11).
Stick in there through thick and thin!!! God is there!!!
Your bones may be screaming and your joints shouting their protests, stick in there!!!
Your stay at the place proves your faith in Him. Naomi and her family proved faithless despite God’s blessings to them before their journey to Moab. And without faith, it is impossible to please God or receive from Him. No wonder they lost everything and she came back empty!
(4) Joy does not come because you have things you want! No! Joy comes when you thank God for the things you have now!
“But godliness with contentment is great gain.” – 1 Timothy 6:6
Great gain; joy!
As we look back to the outgoing year, let us be mindful of where we met with God and return there again and again; if possible like Peter would say, make the place our dwelling.
It started like every other Sunday service: same time, same sequence but with a different atmosphere. Expectations were high; it was our yearly thanksgiving.
After the opening prayer made by Brother Chuks, Sister Franca led in praise and worship, with Brothers Solomon and Victor backing up.
Pastor Yinka who was present all through the 3-day programme, took a brief exhortation based on Jesus finishing His course, and being our example, we are expected to finish; and finish strong!
“And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse. When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.” (Mark 5:25-29).
Pastor Ike spoke from the above text. He told how the woman heard about Jesus; how an idea was formed in her mind, which put her in a personal race. She defied the Law of Moses, left her separation and came into town despite her issue of blood!
In this personal race, neighbours, friends and even enemies could have seen her and advised her to go back into separation. But every word she heard sounded “touch His garment, touch His garment!”
Her mind was so saturated with this thought it made her radical in faith. No situation or circumstance, friend or enemy can stop her from touching Jesus; she must finish the race! For us, this means defying the odds by shutting out the voice of discouragement, doubt and any word even people that make us question the word of God.
Ultimately, the spiritual year is coming to an end. We should look beyond the natural year and remind ourselves that the spiritual year is rounding off.
How prepared are we? This calls for personal examination. His appearing is so close and can come any time!
Are you ready?
“Finishing strong is not only a matter of how you run, but IF you finish.” Pastor Mary said as she stood in the Name of the Lord.
This was after a steamy session of praise and worship led by Brother Adino, with Mrs Itachomi and Sister Favour on back up. A praise leader is indeed a praise leader! He was dripping with rivers of sweat at the end of the praise session which left everyone basking in the glory of the Lord.
“God is not looking for runners,” Pastor Mary continued, “neither is He looking for the fastest runners. He is looking for finishers!”
She told the story of the race between the hare and the tortoise, whom no one thought would win. But overconfidence made the hare loose the race. She encouraged that we should not be full of ourselves but to be filled with Christ; like Saul who fell from himself and rose filled with Christ.
As in the first day, she pointed three things from Philippians 3.
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” – Phil 3:13-14 (KJV)
(1) Forgetting the past. We should not allow the situations of the past: what we suffered, achieved, lost etcetera, to stop us from finishing our race.
(2) Striving forward. With God the Holy Spirit in us, we should reach, strain, and strive to reach the end of the race, even if it takes all our strength. This, she said, is a mark of Christian maturity; that God wants for us to keep moving, growing up spiritually.
(3) Press on. We should know that the enemy is out to hinder our finishing the race. That he would throw many obstacles on our “lane” in his bid to stop us. We are not to be ignorant of this because many have made a shipwreck of their race due to ignorance. This she said, will help us keep our faith.
Further, she reminded us of King Joash (2 Chron. 24), who started his race well, raised up in the house of God but did not finish strong.
Being in a race, we should be unique, minding our race and not follow the crowd.
Day One. As the day slowly began to turn to evening, at 6:10pm a brother, Chuks, took the opening prayer. Sister Franca came up afterwards for the praise and worship, backed up by sisters Favour and Miracle. Wao! It was an awesome time as everyone danced to His glory! An exhortation was given, charging the atmosphere the more, as we were reminded of the power in the Word of God and how powerful a person is, that executes the Word. Pastor Yinka was then invited to the altar. He ministered from 1 Samuel 8:1-9. He told how man does not want to loose any material thing, yet would not seek or God. However, God is still in control and should He want someone to have a taste of something, it will come to pass no matter the prayer or prayer mountain one goes.He challenged that we might be finishing if not the will of God. And mentioned how much Jesus desired to finish the work God sent Him to finish.
He encouraged us to locate the will of God for our lives that we might finish same. He also reminded us from the book of Lamentations 3, how children of God could be afflicted, yet stand and not pull back. He finished by giving us 3 keys to finishing strong, taken from 2 Timothy 4:7-8 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8). (1) We should know that we are in a battle and though the enemy does not want us to, we should fight on the side of the Lord; the good fight of faith. (2) We should search out what lane of the spiritual race God has called us to run and believe Him for strength to finish our course. (3) Above all we should keep the faith. This is what the enemy wants; to steal, kill or destroy. Like Paul, we should hold firm to the end and not drop our confidence which has a recompense of a reward. Even after closing and sharing the grace at 8:35pm, no one wanted to go!!! We look forward to day 2. Join us; if you can. Remain in His love.
Lesson no 3
God chooses us whilst still in the fire of affliction.
“Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” (Isaiah 48:10).
And not everything can pass through the fire and remain the same. Most things would change or be mangled, yet this is where we are chosen.
As in the case of Hezekiah when God pulled back to watch his reaction:
“Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart.” (2 Chronicles 32:31).
God watches His children as they pass through the fire to see their reaction.
Would you change as you go through the fire? Would you be deformed or mangled when you come out at the other side of the fire?
This tells if you are matured or not for promotion.
God watched to see if we would allow the enemy take away our joy, our confession, the thought in our hearts.
Would we engage in character assassination, fight tooth for tooth and eye for an eye?
Or would we keep standing holding firmly to His word and praying for those who persecute us and despitefully use us?
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; ” (Matthew 5:44)
Would we change? That is why it is a trial!
Walking with God can be demanding sometimes, especially when it has to do with relating to others; and most especially if they have hurt you so deeply you decide to “avoid” them; not necessarily malice but holding them at arms length, not to be hurt again by them.
After publishing post four of this serial, God spoke to me at five-thirty (5:30) am.
I do morning cry from 4:30am to 5:30am. This day, Thursday 16th of November I spoke from the gospel of Matthew,chapter 25, the Groom and the ten Virgins. I spoke particularly on the trimming of the lamp and the significance of the wick. Rounding up with a prayer at 5:30 the Lord broke forth with a command to go to Judith and pray for her and her house hold!
Ah! Why Lord? With all that she did? Not that I haven’t forgiven but to go there?
My wife and I have learnt over the years to forgive even in advance but not give room to be offended a second time.
But God rules in the affairs of men!
“But God”, I argued, “I have been there twice before and no good came out of it.”
“Go and pray with her.”
“Lord is this really you or is it my mind?”
God will not go into an argument..
Many Christians cast aspersion on the Prophet Jonah for running away to Joppa.
Honestly I felt like running away! What would people in that little community think of me? The flesh was speaking. Especially knowing Judith would announce I came to beg her!
Unknown to me, I was to put in motion that age -old principle that says the way of victory is the way of the cross; the way of shame!
The hurdle is always the flesh!
I told my wife and left to Judith’s. To the glory of God her husband was home but she was not.
He was shocked seeing me. Nevertheless I told him my purpose of coming. I thought he would not accept my prayer. But he did.
As I left their house and started for home, I saw Judith coming so I waited. After praying for her, we had a little discussion. She had gone to call a nurse for her most Junior daughter who was ill.
Asking if they would permit me pray for her, they ushered me into the room where she laid.
Afterwards I said goodbye to them and left.
Back home my joy knew no bounds. I sensed in the spirit that God was up to something!
It is in the darkest hour of the day, that light shines the brightest! God within this season, opened up a door of ministry that we never saw. Details will be given but not now; at the maturity of the testimony.
May we not change but keep doing good. For whatsoever we sow we shall reap.