As a messenger who are you affecting? Every messenger carries a message. What message do you carry? When people see you, are they inspired to hope, gladness and smiles? Or does your presence stir in them hopelessness, and suggests to them they can never amount to anything in life? Does your presence encourage or condemn others?
The duty of the messenger of the Lord is to prepare His Way.
“As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.” – Mark 1:2 (KJV)
“Listen! I hear the voice of someone shouting, “Make a highway for the LORD through the wilderness. Make a straight, smooth road through the desert for our God. ” – Isaiah 40:3.
Your duty is to prepare that dry place so the Lord might come in. Soften that situation for that brother, that sister; show the love of God, shine the light of God into that troubled soul! Give hope to people around you. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven! (Matt. 5:16 KJV)
You are a messenger, not only the “ordained ministers”!
Messengers do not do their own will, but the will of their master!
“For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” – John 6:38 (KJV)
Where He sends you should go! What He desires, you should do!
Imagine Matthew the Custom officer following Jesus to the house of Peter the fisherman, a demonstration of love and humility. Or of Peter (a Jew) in the house of Cornelius (a Gentle), a proof of self-denial.
One key to being a good messenger of the Lord is to KILL SHAME!
Kill shame in two areas of your Christian Faith.
(1) Shame of the crucified Saviour.
“Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” – Mark 8:38 (KJV)
“Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord Jesus, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.” – 2 Timothy 1:8 (KJV)
Many do not believe in a suffering Messiah; they are ashamed to be identified with Him. By confession, many acknowledge Him Lord and Master. But in everyday practice, they deny Him, by believing no disciple of His should carry his or her cross. They believe Christianity is a call to “feel good”, a bed of roses, “at least did He not become poor that we might be rich?” they query. (2 Cor. 8:9) A highly misunderstood scripture!
Many are ashamed of the Word, yet not aware they are. When we chose our own way over the Word of God, we prove our shame for it. The rejection of the Word is a result of having a “better alternative”; a result of our intellectual prowess which we are proud to carry out. Those times we feel the Word limits us and not “befitting” our status.
Again that scripture.
“Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” – Mark 8:38 (KJV)
Being ashamed of His Word is manifest whenever we disobey. Every disobedience is a mark of pride; a mark of feeling that the Word is not good enough.
Masters do the thinking and issue instructions. Servants and messengers obey. As messengers, our duty is to obey.
“If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;” – Isaiah 1:19 AMP.
THE REASON FOR THE SEASON.
Over two thousand years ago, a virgin gave birth to a baby boy; something that has never happened nor ever will again.
Shepherds came to see the Child, to worship the Child and to spread the good news that the long awaited Child has been born.
Wise men, Sages, led by a Star, came from the East to pay homage and acknowledge by submission, that this IS the prophesied Messiah and Saviour of the world. They gave Him Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh; representing wealth, worship and power.
And because He lives, we can face tomorrow.
Merry Xmas everyone!
Belshazzar threw a party and invited his nobles. They ate, drank and were merry. When they used their own vessels at the feast, God did not trouble them. They could eat their own flesh and drink their own blood; so long as it was theirs and not God’s own.
However, when he stretched his hands to the vessels of God, God reacted.
“Belshazzar, while he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink in them. Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone. In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.” – Daniel 5:2-5
And because he did not humble himself and repent, that night, he was killed.
“In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.” – Daniel 5:30.
God would always protect His own, provide for His own and build for His own.
Why would God kill a man because of ordinary cups?
These were not ordinary cups! They belonged to God; they were His!
God had put so much treasure into the cups; they had been sanctified, dedicated to God and separated for His use only. The cups were no more ordinary; they had been transformed by the purity of the Divine God into extraordinary vessels.
God invests so much into His vessels, that is why He would always rise to defend what belongs to Him.
If God so invested into inanimate objects and could kill for them, of more worth are you that fear His Name and carry His presence!
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God, and not from us.” – 2 Corinthians 4:7.
You are of greater worth than those cups. If God could kill a man because of cups, think what He would do to anyone that tries to harm you!
“He suffered no man to do them wrong: yes, he reproved kings for their sakes; Saying, Touch not my anointed, and do my prophets no harm.” (Psalms 105:14-15).
The cups had no power or say against the king; they could not resist his servants who picked them with ease. Many may think you are helplessly powerless and that they can pick on you, oppress you and get away with it. They are mistaken!! Oh how wrong they are!!! God is the same, yesterday, today and forever! He will fight for you!!!
Peter was so confident about this he said:
“And who is he that will harm you, if ye are followers of that which is good?” – 1 Peter 3:13
Its a question “who is he?” In “pidgin” English we will say “who be dat? Them never born am!” Meaning such a person does not exist and can never be born!
God will fight for you!!!
But… the cups belonged to Him. Do you really belong to Him? No, no, I’m not talking about going to Church for this is beyond that. I mean really belonging to Him. Dipped in the blood of Jesus Christ and living His life?
Those cups had no life of their own; God and His glory were their life. Do you own your life? Live for yourself? Fight to preserve your ego and self-worth? Or do you live humbly, for the One Who gave Himself for your sake?
The vessels, having no ambition, thought or desire of their own were wholly yielded to God and consequently enveloped in His glory.
It is the measure of your surrender and yieldedness that determines the measure of His presence or power in your life; which in turn determines how much attention you get from Him.
“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” – James 4:8a.
Imagine putting a cheque of fifty thousand Naira you would cash the next day, in a 1970 newspaper and the sum of five hundred Naira in a current edition of your favourite magazine. Coming home you find your children playing with the magazine and the newspaper. Which would you rescue first? The current edition of your favourite magazine holding the sum of five hundred Naira or the old 1970 newspaper holding fifty thousand Naira cheque you would cash the following day? I believe your deposit in the papers will determine which one you rescue first.
God loved all the Children of Israel carried to Babylon in the days of Daniel, but He was closer to Daniel, showed him more favour, gave him greater grace than others and granted for him to be called “a man greatly beloved” (Daniel 10:11), because Daniel “understood by books” (Daniel 9:2), he chose to retain God more than anything and was not ashamed to show it!
God will not leave you in the hand of the enemy if you retain Him in you.
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;” (Romans 1:28).
Your worth to God and heaven CAN be increased.
(1) Receive His Word.
(2) Obey His word
(3) Build yourself on His Word.
A regenerated mind overflows with the Word of God.
It is a mind that sees nothing of value in this world and consequently counts all things as nothing compared to the joy of knowing Christ and being in His Kingdom. Such a mind is not moved by anything else but Christ and all about Him. He holds on to nothing and “loves not his life so much as to shrink from death”. (Revelation 12:11c)
A regenerated mind is wholly and completely offered as sacrifice to God; he does not live for himself but for the Lord, acknowledging that the life he lives is not his but Christ that lives in him.
A regenerated mind thrives on the Word of God and upon it does he meditate day and night. When he opens his mouth, nothing else but the Word of God overflows from it.
“My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then I spoke with my tongue.” (Psalms 39:3).
The regenerated mind does not speak anyhow. Neither does it speak or respond to everything it hears. He weighs what he hears (musing)…
“(Oh, I know, I have been rash to talk out plainly this way to God!) I will (in my thinking) stand upon my post of observation and station myself on the tower or fortres, and will watch to see what He will say within me, and what answer I will make (as His mouthpiece) to the perplexities of my complaint against Him.” – Habakkuk 2:1 AMP
I have been much of a talkative, the Prophet seemed to say, I spoke too soon and much too much; only for my words to come out foolish and out of place. I have learnt my lesson and will be more careful next time to “muse”, to meditate, consider, ponder, over what I hear, and depend on God for the answer I will give, as His spokesman.
“…. and will watch to see what He will say within me.” – Habakkuk 2:1b
He considers his speech and the possible consequences.
“…… and what answer I will make as His mouthpiece.” – Habbakuk 2:1c
The process of “musing“, pondering, is the process of waiting to hear His word of instruction; His word of direction, which comes like fire.
“Is not my word like a fire? saith the LORD?” – Jeremiah 23:29a.
While musing; waiting for instruction, “the fire burned“, signifying the entrance of His words, bringing light and direction.
“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple.” – Psalms 119:130.
This word shines a light on our path through the darkness, and uncertain terrain of this world, showing us where to follow, what to do.
The Psalmist said “Then“:
“…… then I spoke with my tongue.” (Psalms 39:3).
Even in other tongues!
The “speaking” comes after the word of instruction or direction has been given.
Good success is a product of walking along the path of this revelation. (Joshua 1:8)
That was the path Elijah walked. His instruction to fill the trench with water (1 Kings 18:33) was not his. It was born out of divine direction. He did not pray his mind or will. As a vessel empty of self, all that poured from him on Mount Carmel were sourced from the Holy Spirit.
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26).
Elijah did not depend on his ability; he depended on the leading of the Holy Spirit.
We know not WHAT to pray as we OUGHT (should). The WHAT and the HOW of prayer are not ours.
Many parade themselves as “prayer warriors”, “prayer giants” as though the ability and direction of prayer is theirs.
A regenerated mind humbles himself before God, and even in prayer he does not lean on his own understanding.
When we forget about ourselves in His presence, His fire will fall; making us speak.
The Water represents the Holy Spirit and His peace that surrounds our heart, like the mountains surround Jerusalem.
Let us learn to depend on Him; He is our guide, our comforter, our shield and buckler. He is our Rock of defence and our Rock of offence. He also will bring us to the fullness of God’s plan for us individually. Let us draw closer to Him for He is the friend that sticks closer than a brother. And , let us obey Him, no matter how “wise” or “foolish” his instruction may be.
John the Baptist said he was not the Messiah; and that the Messiah would baptize men with fire.
The Messiah came and confirmed sending fire on the earth but not until He had been baptized Himself: on the cross.
“I am come to send fire on the earth, and what will; and how am I straitened till it shall be accomplished!” – Luke 12:49-50.
Consequently, He asked the disciples to wait at Jerusalem to receive the promise of the Father, which came on the day of pentecost, turning them into awesome vessels. Fearful men became fearless; they became flames of fire! The fire of Heaven was kindled on the earth and earth has never remained the same.
This fire separates brothers, sisters, families, friends, etc, because like Jeremiah the Word of God is like fire in the bones bringing about the difference between Godliness and worldliness.
In the previous write up we talked about rebuilding the altar of the Lord, to be Living Stones; STONES OF FIRE.
(2) DIG A TRENCH
The second thing Elijah did was dig a trench ROUND the altar.
Do not allow anyother thing go near your heart! Place a check, a garrison, around your heart.
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” – Proverbs 4:23
You are not only to “keep” or “guard” your heart but expected to decisively deal with any threat that comes close to it!
“Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.” (Proverbs 4:24).
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” – 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.
“PUT AWAY”, “PULL DOWN”, “CAST DOWN”; these suggest that something should be protected!
If you compromise with the world, it is from your heart. Starve Satan of his desire to have your heart by not allowing worldliness to creep close to it.
Hear God’s instruction to Moses.
“And thou shalt set bounds to the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up upon the mount, or touch the border of it: whoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death. There shall not a hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned or shot through: whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount.” – Exodus 19:12-13.
The throne of God must be protected, revered and honoured. Be separate; live sanctified and entertain only good thoughts and imaginations.
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think on these things.” – Philippians 4:8.
There are family members and friends that stir evil thoughts in us, through suggestions, advice or even by their conduct and character. They will want to lure us back to the life we lived before meeting Christ; a life of immorality. They would make jest of us and ridicule us for our faith and belief, making us angry.
We should note these ones and as much as possible keep them at arms length, yet not hate them. We are not permitted to hate anyone, but rather expected to love them and as much as lie in us, to live at peace with them.
Nevertheless, there should be a limit to whatever interactions we have with them, in the work place, in the community, in the bus, on the street, etc.
Yes, we may meet often, yet not influenced by them.
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of scoffers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth its fruit in season; its leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he doeth shall prosper.” – Psalms 1:1-3.
We cannot avoid interacting with people, however we should not forget who we are, where the Lord brought us from, where He is taking us and how we need to agree with Him to get us there. And one of the “how’s” of getting there is in having no part in the unfruitful works of darkness.
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” (Ephesians 5:11).
“No, fellowship”, irrespective of the interaction. We should always remember this no matter where we are or in what company we find ourselves:
“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.” – 2 Corinthians 6:14-16.
The fire of God does not come cheap and will cost you! It comes with a high price and as in the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, is not transferable. You, and you alone are responsible for the presence or absence of the fire of God in your life!
For the fire of God to come down into your life, you need to:
(1) REPAIR THE ALTAR
The first thing Elijah did was build an altar of twelve stones. The nation of Israel at this time was divided into two kingdoms; Judah with two tribes and Israel with ten tribes. Elijah repaired the breach by building an altar of twelve stones.
An altar is the place of sacrifice within a temple.
You are the temple of the Holy Spirit.
“What, know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God, and ye are not your own?” – 1 Corinthians 6:19.
Every temple has an altar of sacrifice. Your heart is the altar of the Lord Jesus; that is where His throne is, where He dwells.
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love.” – Ephesians 3:17.
A divided heart can never produce the fire of God!
Like Elijah, you need to repair the altar of the Lord; your heart. Uproot the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches (Matthew 13) that has invaded the hearts of men, becoming the image of jealousy and squeezing the presence of God from our life rendering us unproductive spiritually.
“Then said he to me, Son of man, lift up thy eyes now the way towards the north. So I lifted up my eyes the way towards the north, and behold northward at the gate of the altar this image of jealousy in the entry.” – Ezekiel 8:5.
The North Gate was the most influential gate; of both the City and Temple.
“And the gates of the city shall be after the names of the tribes of Israel: three gates northward; one gate of Reuben, one gate of Judah, one gate of Levi.” – Ezekiel 48:31.
Dedicated to, reserved for, and given to three tribes: Reuben, the first born son of Jacob; Judah, the messianic tribe and Levi, the priestly tribe. All three tribes prefigure our Lord Jesus Christ.
He should have the preeminence and rule in our heart; but behold, some other thing is there represented by the cares of this world and the deceitfulless of riches!
“For thou hast said in thy heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:” – Isaiah 14:13.
The North, reserved for the King of kings, now has an intruder!
“When therefore ye shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoever readeth, let him understand,)” – Matthew 24:15.
We have to deal with the intruder! Uproot his representatives else fire will not come!
We need to dethrone the image of jealousy. It distracts us from the Lord and His Will. That is why He said:
“This people draw nigh to me with their mouth, and honour me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” – Matthew 15:8.
We need to repair the altar of the Lord, by “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” – 2 Corinthians 10:5.
Beloved, in this dispensation, the fire of God is not something physical. His servants are fire! He will make you fire if you do not waste your precious and expensive time worrying over what you have or do not have. They are not important! The devil wants you to see them as important and so steals, kills and destroys your God-given joy and peace, and keeps you cold!
Seek, more than anything, the Way and Will of God (His Kingdom), and all your need will be met!
BRINGING FIRE FROM HEAVEN
“And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt-sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.” -1 Kings 18:36-38.
Fire is the divine indication of God’s approval, given in worship. It comes as a seal of approval upon every true and sincere worship.
Elijah offered a sacrifice in worship and fire came down; a sign that his sacrifice of worship was accepted or approved.
Moses led the entire camp in worship and fire came down.
David worshipped at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusit, God responded by fire.
Shedrack, Meshack and Abednego, worshipped and became flames of fire; hotter than fire.
Worship brings the fire of God. When it comes, it consumes, licks up and eats up everything in its path; wood, hay, stone, everything! Nothing can withstand the fire of God; demon, curse, affliction, nothing!
DOES FIRE STILL FALL FROM HEAVEN?
WHY IS IT NOT SEEN?
In the Old Covenant, they atoned for sin with physical things – animals. Things that can be touched. In the New Covenant it is not so: atonement is not done with what we can see or touch.
Also in the Old Covenant, materials and items of worship were external; incense, candles, the Ark, etc.
“Now“, in the New Covenant all materials of worship are in the heart.
The fire falls in the heart of a true worshipper, consuming, licking up, eating up the person and turning the individual into another man, for a better and greater glory. The fire burns in the bones, fills the heart, bursts through the mouth as mysteries!
It sat on the head of the disciples and they never remained the same!
The fire of God is a must for every child of God. Imagine going the extra mile, doing exploits, having extra strength, standing when others are falling, being a sign and wonder! It is the fire of God!
An occult sect once stood against my wife and I. They came against us several times and in several ways, yet they could not succeed. On one occasion, the Lord woke me up at 1am and asked me to “watch“. That was the only instruction I received, “watch“. Obediently I sat on the bed and just watched. Suddenly I saw two men come through the wall! I recognized one of them: the tall leader of the sect. He was in front, with a whip in his hand. Of course it was not an ordinary whip but a charmed one that has been known to bring death to their victims.
Quietly I watched as they went all over the house for us asking in yoruba, “awon da?” which means “where are they?” They went to the passage, into other rooms and came back to our bedroom. It was obvious they knew where our bedroom was. Equally obvious too, was that they could not see us! Halleluyah!
Every true worshipper is covered by the Lord.
“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” – Psalms 91:1-4.
That week, the leader of the sect died!
True worshippers are signs and wonders! The fire of God turns them to awesome vessels. God makes His servants (worshippers) flames of fire! You see them, but you cannot catch or cage them! They may look weak and fragile but you cannot break them! They are indeed wonders; to the demons, to the native doctors, to the philosophers, to the psychologists, to the atheist and to the world as a whole.
Join us next week for part 2