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.
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.
Before Christ, BC, God spoke through prophets. They were spokesmen for God, relaying only what God said but could not interpret His will. They could explain what they wrote but had no complete understanding of the total plan of God for man.
As an example. If I were to commission artists to draw and paint portions of me: an artist draws my head, another my leg, another my ear, another my eye, every part of my visible body drawn and painted by different artists. At the end when their works are displayed, no one would identify me as the one in the various paintings.
That was exactly what happened concerning Jesus.
“He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.” – John 1:10
No prophet had a complete picture of Jesus, God’s plan for man. When Jesus came they could not recognise Him, because non of the prophets gave the full description of the messiah.
But now, (A.D.), God has spoken to us by His son.
He is done speaking through the prophets, those who could not understand the full plan of God. But has chosen to speak through His Son; the one of whom the prophets wrote about. He came, not like the prophets with partial knowledge, but with the “fullness of the Godhead”.
“Has spoken by His Son” means the Son is the final authority, “hear Him” (Luke 9:35). And why? He is the complete mind of God. Where prophets spoke with partial knowledge He has full understanding. He is God’s Word, (full plan) of God made manifest.
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14.
A Spirit runs through the Scripture; from Genesis to Revelation, Jesus is that Spirit.
“……. for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” – Revelation 19:10
The full mind of God is called “THE WORD”
“And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called, The Word of God.” – Revelation 19:13.
The Word serves as a manual for guidance.
“Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.” – Psalms 119:105.
In Hebrew the Scripture is called “Torah“; which means to thrust out a finger, showing the way.
In our everyday life, how can this be applied? Especially as the Scripture does not seem to address our minute by minute activities of the day? WISDOM!
“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” – Proverbs 4:7
Wisdom takes knowledge to work. It is the right or proper application of knowledge, backed by understanding.
Before we continue, note the difference between Scripture (the combination of scriptures) and scriptures (isolated books).
The knowledge of the Scripture should guide us in our everyday life!
Even in the choice of house to live, the car to buy, the job to take, the partner to marry, the contract to go for, etc.
Decision taken based on one scripture may not stand. And this is because in the mouth of two or three witnesses -prophets or books of the Scripture – a matter (direction) is established. A scripture that informs a decision should be confirmed with one or more books of Scripture, if it agrees. Where it does not agree with other scriptures, the decision arrived at is not of God!
In John 8:3-11, Jesus saved a woman with the right application of Scripture.
The spiritual leaders of the day came to Him on a decision based on one scripture, which they quoted.
Certainly they were in error. But how would He save this woman from the noose of error threatening her life?
The people did not have a total understanding of God’s mind and were in error.
Yes, that was a scripture they quoted; but judgement passed based on that one scripture alone would at the long run come out wrong.
Moreover, it was not all about the woman. This was a trap set to capture Him!
He had to apply wisdom – a proper understanding of Scripture. How?
(1) BY THINKING.
He took time to think. The process of thinking is the process of asking questions.
“Call to me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” – Jeremiah 33:3
Many do not think before giving answers. But this is the process of interacting with God for direction.
“And thy ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it.” – Isa. 30:21
I have come to understand that WISDOM DOES NOT RESIDE in any man, but in God! That is the reason Solomon called the quest for Wisdom “madness” and “folly”.
Jesus wrote on the ground, while His heart was in a discussion with the Father. Remember, Jesus would not do a thing without consulting with the Father.
As the full mind of God, He knew God does not delight in the death of sinners. Yet He consulted with the Father, who must have reminded Him that “the heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked”; again that “no one is good, no not one”, yet again, “if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us”. Scriptures from both the Old and New Testaments must have come flooding His heart giving Him a direction.
Solomon was a great thinker. When the two harlots came to him, each claiming to be the mother of the living child, while asking both THE SAME QUESTION, his heart was probing the heart of God for direction. He was reminded that a woman would always have compassion on her child. (Isaiah 49:15), so he threatened to slay the child!
Take time to think!
(2) BE WATCHFUL!
Many are not careful to watch the reactions that follow their words. Be sensitive, look out for reactions! Even as Jesus wrote on the ground, He watched the reaction of the people while maintaining fellowship with the Father, what answer He might give.
“I will stand upon my watch, and seat myself upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say to me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.” – Habakkuk 2:1.
(3) BE PATIENT!
When he finally gave it, Wisdom came pouring forth! Halleluya!
You NEED patience!
“For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye may receive the promise.” – Hebrews 10:36.
Patience is a need, not a want. You can’t hurry God. He controls time, and beautify things in His time.
Wait for Him, don’t hurry Him and He shall surely direct you. He is never late neither is He early. He comes, and speaks, just on time.
When professionals finish their work they say it is finished. Jesus partnering with God said “it is finished”.
However that is not the end. It only marked the end of an era, the Old Testament and Old Covenant era; and marked the beginning of another. (Rev. 3:7-8)
Picture two rooms. Eternity has two rooms. Christians are in the first room governed by the prince of this world, with all of its trials, persecutions and evil.
When you ask “why me?”, it is because you are in this first room!
For as long as you are in this first room, you will have tribulation.
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 KJV
Here in this first room, there is misery, pain, persecution, and trials.
Jesus said “but”.
“But” carries you by faith, into the second room where you are untouchable; where you cannot be sick, a place where you can not fail, a place you can not be defeated, caged or go hungry: a place of victory.
This second room is the place reserved for those who do know their God.
“….. but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” – Daniel 11:32b KJV
It is the room of exploits! (Isa. 35:8-9)
If so, why have we all not entered into it? SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS!
“Behold”, see, consider, stare at.
Rev. 3:9; Isa. 43:19
Isaiah, in his days, could not see the ultimate plan in God’s heart. He could only relay what God asked him to write but did not have the fullness of God’s mind like we do today. The “New Thing” did not spring forth in his days. In our days, the Kingdom of God has sprung forth. We ought to “see” (Eph. 1:8) it because “IT IS FINISHED!”
Paul prayed that our eyes be opened for us to see it, implying we do not see it!
Though “it is finished”, we still do not see it, why?
Firstly, our free will is standing against us! How?
In Deut. 30:19, God set a choice before us. He is not forcing us but rather gives us the choice to make. We choose! Jesus had a choice to make in Matthew 4, He rejected the world and its glories. Many of us His followers, on the other hand embrace what He rejected!
Our eyes are not seeing what Jesus saw; what God wants us to see, what Paul prayed that we might see.
In the parable of the sower of seed, the third category of seeds were choked and became unfruitful because of the thorns which by interpretation, means the cares of this world: materialism! This was the reason Lot’s wife looked back.
We are too attached to this world! Materialism has eaten deep into our hearts. We are satisfied with being in this first room, just because of the temporal treasures and pleasures! That is why we are not seeing the door into the second room!
Jesus said “Behold I set before you an open door.” – Revelations 3:9
The door into the second room is standing open before us yet it would take “BEHOLD” for us to see it! “Behold” means focus, attention, concentrate, stare till you see! We need to pull our faces from the distraction or attraction of the first room. The Cross of Jesus is the key that opened up that door but until we reject the “glories” of this world we may not see it.
So many things are behind the Cross, the second room, stored up only for as many as are able to “find” it.
May we strive harder, stare harder to see the OPEN DOOR, that peace and victory be ours. Amen.
“And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.” – Genesis 3:8 KJV
So much has been said on the “cool of the day”.
Was this day time or night time?
Many limit themselves by seeing themselves as not praying at the “right” or “appropriate” time when God supposedly answer prayers.
The “cool of the day” does not refer to a geographic or chronos time, but to the condition of the heart. This refers to when the heart is free from every interference or distraction. A time when the heart is noise-free; not busy with things of this world or life.
You, are God’s temple, not Jerusalem. Your heart is His throne. (1 Corinthians 6:19).
Here on earth, this is the holy place.
The power of the heart lies with the subconscious mind. What you are is from here. What limits you is for here. What kills you is not something from outside, but something you have or do not have in your heart. What you know, or do not know.
“And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.” – Mark 7:20 KJV
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” – Hosea 4:6 KJV
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – John 8:32 KJV
Jesus warned: “be careful what you put in your heart for out of it are the issues of life.”
The throne of God in your heart is the power that magnifies what you put in your heart. Whether the King is on the throne or not, the throne itself carries power.
“I sleep, but my heart waketh.” – Song of Solomon 5:2a KJV
This power of God’s throne in you, is propelled by a law; the Law of the Spirit of Life.
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” -Romans 8:2 KJV
There is a way to use or apply this Law, else death and decay would set in.
Some believe it is in vigils (all-night). I hold vigils, so don’t get me wrong. Some believe it is in very early morning prayers, “Womb of the day”. 3am – 5am prayers. Again I am not discrediting this.
However it is not in the time or period of prayer but in the Law of the Spirit of life!
Many observe “the womb of the day” and “womb of the year”. Yet, they do not see Him!
The question here is, how do we apply this law?
Let’s take a cue from Jesus. Why did He always withdraw?
Answer: to be alone; to be undisturbed.
What did He withdraw to do?
Answer: to recondition His mind and pray. Part of His teaching: to watch and pray.
Why was His withdrawals mainly at night?
Answer: He was flocked around at day time.
Where did He withdraw to, a mountain? Or Jerusalem?
After the death of Jesus, a replica of the Holy place was finally birthed here on earth. That place is where I should withdraw to.
Where? A mountain? Or Jerusalem?
“Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.” – John 4:21 KJV
From Christ, the temple of God on earth shifted from the natural to the spiritual. That is why Jesus said:
“Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” – John 2:19 KJV
No physical place can contain God. Not the temple, and not any mountain!
My heart is where I should withdraw to!
“Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.” – Psalms 4:4 KJV
When Solomon withdrew to this place, that was when he knew that all he pursued were vanity.
“I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.” – Ecclesiastes 1:16-17 KJV
As we withdraw to the Holy place to meet the King, we are expected to take gifts to Him and not go empty handed. We are to present His Word to Him
“Thus saith the Lord , the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.” – Isaiah 45:11 KJV
Most often we remind Him of what we think or feel, or what others said. Consequently He does not answer us. Nevertheless, He allows the power of His throne to answer us. (His throne is alive! – Eze. 14:1-5)
His throne on earth is also our heart! It can deliver what we desire, but that spells stress because it would not last! We worry ourselves when things go wrong. Only the blessings of God does not have sorrow attached!
Anyone can activate the power of His throne, even non Christians
“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.” – Mark 11:23 KJV
How should we withdraw?
(1) Know the Holy place on earth is not a geographic or physical place, but your heart.
(2) Like Jesus, withdraw WHEN you are not flocked or overwhelmed with many things. Make time to be with Him, shutting off all other things. The best result is achieved just before bed, and when you just awoke from sleep, but still in bed.
(3) In the secret or holy place, ponder or meditate on the Word of God. This is how you present the gift; His Word, to Him.
(4) This Word conditions your mind or heart. From this overflow of your heart in adoration, your mouth should speak in prayer, powered by His Word (from His throne- your heart)
Everything about your life are affected from here.
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” – Proverbs 4:23 KJV
The condition of your heart, tells how much peace (quietness and security) you have.
Your ultimate victory does not lie in a time of day or year but in the quietness of your heart, the condition of your heart and what you used to condition it.
That was yesterday.
She sat presently in her office, worried to her stomach, hand on chin, eyes glued on the computer screen, yet seeing nothing. Somewhere deep in her heart she knew that the pastor was right. That it was just a passing phase. But the reality of the situation was getting too much for her to bear.
“I could almost hear your work screaming out loud.”
She was startled.
“What’s the matter with you Easter?”
“Oh nothing really. I’m okay.”
“You’ve not been yourself of late”. Harriet stated.
“Just a state of the mind, it will wear off soon”
“I sure hope so”. Harriet turned and walked to their office locker, “you’ll be amazed what worry can do to you”. She turned to Easter. “Want some coffee?”
“Yes please. Thanks.”
Harriet pulled open the locker, brought out a flask and poured two cups of coffee as Easter admired the wine-coloured skirt-suit of her colleague; a beautiful spinster of 31.
“Come to think of it, what could be your worry?” Harriet inquired. “You have a good job, happily married to a very handsome man—“
She started towards Easter who interrupted her.
“That could be my worry; but I have no fear. I have someone greater than all that.”
“You humbug you!” Harriet placed a cup of coffee on her table “someone I know?”
“You’ve heard about Him. But you don’t know Him; yet.”
“Who could he be?” she asked excitedly, leaning closer, eager to hear the name of the new man in her life.
“The living God, He’s more than able”. She smiled.
“Oh come, don’t start this religious thing again!” She turned away in disgust. “I’ve been a Christian all my life; born into a Christian home I should know God!”
“Should? That’s more like it. There’s a whole lot of difference between being born a Christian and being born again”
“You could be impossible sometimes”. Harriet shot her a glance taking her seat at her table close to Easter’s. “But I’m glad you’re out of your worrisome mood”. She started at the computer keyboard.
“Who knows, the Lord could have sent you to pull me out of it. Thanks anyway, I feel better.”
But what has righteousness with unrighteousness? Or light with darkness? Why would a believing child of God go sharing her challenges with an unregenerated person? What kind of advice or counsel will come out of that?
Most often in our desperation to find solutions to the challenges facing us, we veer away from godly counsel and open up a portal or doorway that ought to remain shut. And it is he that opens (breaks) the hedge that the serpent bites.
We feel we can always handle whatever we hear, forgetting that words are spiritual seeds, and as such may not bring forth fruit there and then. But in the long run, after perhaps some months, and even years, bring forth fruits that would threaten our Faith.
Who do you share with? God is interested. He asked Adam
“who told thee thou wast naked?” -Genesis 3:11
“Who have you fellowshipped with?” God seemed to ask. For His name’s sake, He is interested in the company you keep and what information you share.
He asked Hezekiah, through the prophet Isaiah,
“what said these men? And from whence came they unto thee?” -2 Kings 20:14
Who are you speaking with? God is interested! Sometimes we think they don’t matter, yet they do! Man fell when he shared certain information with a stranger. Daniel, Shadrack, Meshach, Abednego and other Jewish children were carried into captivity because their forefather, Hezekiah entertained strangers.
Who are you sharing your deepest challenge with? A work colleague? A neighbour? A relation? Or a God-fearing pastor?
God loves you and has sent you His servant, the Pastor. Share with him. We all need to unburden our hearts sometime,but not just to anybody. That is why God gave you THE pastor, he is the best person to speak to. Take your challenge to God through your pastor, but rest your faith in God.
Christ, the burden bearer will surely, lift the burden off your shoulders.
Meanwhile, a powerful church service was in session with Esther and Deborah in attendance.
After he left that morning, she cleaned up the flour-strewn kitchen. It was then she decided to see her pastor for counselling.
This is one opportunity that believers seldom use. They suffer in silence, not sharing their burdens with anyone; not even with their pastors, but the Bible enjoins us in Galatians 6:2 to bear one another’s burdens thereby fulfilling the law of Christ, which is love.
“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” – Gal 6:2 (KJV)
However, most Pastors, Elders, Deacon and Deaconesses are so engrossed in their private affairs that they have no time for their brothers and sisters in the Lord. Some that give audience do so in a hurry. And some do so to have tales to tell; to see the skeleton in other people’s cupboard and have what to preach. And things spoken of in confidence, become the root of malign rumors. In the house of God! Where then is the love that Jesus stands for? The love He so preached in the book of John 13:34 and 35, that we should love one another even as He has loved us; for by that love would people know that we are His disciples?
Her pastor was different though; caring, loving; a full time pastor who made time to attend to his flock, individually.
“He hardly gives me money anymore for the up keep of the house” Easter lamented in the pastor’s office.
“How then have you been coping?” Eunice, the pastor’s wife was alarmed.
“Only on my salary but that is not what I’m worried about. He’s getting more and more unattached to the family. He seem not to care anymore”.
“Listen to me Easter”, the pastor started gently. “You have no worries. It is only the devil trying to make you believe you have problems or worries. Put your trust in God and you will overcome.” He studied her a while. “Or have you forgotten His word in Mathew 11:28, ‘come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest’. There is no better place to rest than in the Lord. Just submit yourself totally to His will and commit everything to Him in prayer”.
“I do but it’s taking forever!”
“Don’t despair, Easter, God’s time is the best”. Eunice encouraged. “The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:11, that He makes all things beautiful in His time. Don’t forget you are not the one fighting the battle. He does, but gives you the victory”.
“Precisely, He sees everything that is going on. He knows everything. Just commit all to Him in prayers.”
Today, Christians have become dismembered. We stand alone as individuals, rather than together as a “body”, needing one another. We keep situations of agony and pain to ourselves, and this hurt us. Many are dying in silence.
The command is for us to share with and be interested in the welfare of fellow brothers, that we may perhaps be used by the Lord to bring them solution. But we have everyone, dismembered from others because of the fear that we might be made a laughing stock. This has also further deepened the disunity of Christians brought about by denomination.
Yes, true. Many leaders are flippant with their tongues, but I think we still need to share; else the burden will not only remain but become heavier. God did did not create us, saved us and called us to be “islands” in Christ. No.
Beloved, share your burden with someone: don’t carry it alone! If the person becomes a backstabber, he or she will have the Lord to answer to.
Remember, a problem shared is a problem solved.
To be continued
It was a quiet Sunday morning. One devoid of the usual Lagos noise, as most people were laying in bed, oblivious of the sun shining in all its splendours.
Up with the rising sun was Easter-named after the Christian holiday-whose spirit was high as she sang praises unto God, while fixing breakfast for her family.
She recalled the previous night. A wonderful one she had had in a long time. An experience she had almost forgotten. She knew marriage was not always an easy thing, but never anticipated that it would plunge into the gloom like it did. Not after the promises and vows.
But should man really be trusted to keep promises? Man, a creation that can change with time and tide? Only one is unchangeable; the creator. Glory be, for He is not man that He should lie, nor the son of man that He should repent. Has He spoken and would He not bring it to pass?
No doubt, God was still on her side. She sang louder, recalling the intimacy of the previous night and looking forward to a Sunday with her husband. After church service, they would come home and consummate their love life.
Lost in thought, she did not hear the kitchen door open and Richard stepped in. He regarded her spitefully for a while.
“Take care”, He said, “I ‘m going out”.
She turned suddenly, loss of words.
“what?” He asked rather stern.
“I was hoping you’d go with us”
“To Church?” He blurted out as though it was an abominable thing to do. Do I go with you before?” He asked seeing her nod her head, “or is this your new way of making trouble?”
“Honey, God is—“
The hand moved like lightening, striking her across the cheek and shutting her off before she could finish her sentence. The force of the slap sent her staggering unto the bowl of flour on the kitchen cabinet.
“God is what?” He snarled like an enraged animal, kicking her legs off the floor and she fell to the ground with a thud; her face a mask of flour.
“I’ve told you not to mention that name in this house anymore.”
Like the fury of a mad man, he rammed his tennis shoes again and again into her sides as her cries of pain filled the house.
“You can go to your church if you want to, but don’t you ever try persuading me again!” He let up at last, breathing heavily, eyes blood-shot, as he stared at her with disdain written all over his face.
He took a step backward and turned to leave but came face to face with their seven-year old daughter who was glaring at him in fear. He could sense some animousity behind those frightful eyes, as tears built in them.
However, even that could not deter him from going out. He stormed out and Deborah ran to her mother in tears.
They sat in a corner of the little inn; one of their many get away spots. He could afford bigger and better Hotels but chose to meet with her in remote places where their whoredom would not come to light. At least to those who knew him. Places where the deceit and evil imaginations of in their hearts were played out to reality.
He ordered more drinks as excitement or what he thought it was, enveloped his total being. He was a prideful man, unbending in his beliefs and desires, regardless of who gets hurt.
Richard looked across at Ronke. A big, almost massive woman that is ready to do his bidding anytime, anywhere for a few contracts. A woman, who though beautiful enough to have a husband of her choice, chooses to remain single and unattached and even brings other women to him! A married man? He did not understand, nor did he care, so long as she came, when he called.
He had had his heart seared with a hot iron (1 Tim 4:2), leaving the path of uprightness and delighting in the ways of darkness, of ignorance, all in the name of fun.
“Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” -1 Tim. 4:2
She picked her glass of black-foamy-beer, her eyes glistering with the euphoria of the moment.
“When are you going to approve my contract, Richard, I need money urgently”.
“I told you that there is a new company policy that prevents me from awarding or approving new contracts till the backlog of debts are cleared”. He answered, reaching for his drink, “Of course you can be rest assured that yours will be first I’ll approve”.
‘I need money to finish the work in my supermarket”.
“Sorry, my hands are tied there, I can’t help you”.
“Or would you loan me some, handsome” she cooed, robbing her legs against his under the table. He smiled.
“Even if you call me pretty, that will not swell my account”.
“But tell me, Richard,” she started rather seriously, “what do you do with your money, I know you hardly touch your salary; not with the fat bonuses contractors give you?”
“Do you give me? Or are you not a contractor yourself?”
“Ah!” she uttered with a pout. “But I give you more than just bonuses! “she reached across the table and touched his cheek lovingly.
The effect on him was instantaneous.
“How much do you want?”
“Three hundred thousand naira”.
Many men spend more outside , on strangers that would not be there for them tomorrow; especially in their hour of need.
This is also true of some women.
But, is this a manifestation of the untamed greed in all of us?
What do you think?
I would like to hear from you.
Gideon had the presence of God, but did not know it!
“If God be with us ……. “ he said. (Judges 6:13)
Today, many have the presence of God so mighty in their life, yet they do not know and consequently do not follow His leading! God gives grace – His power, ability and presence – to the humble.(James 4:6).
“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” – James 4:6 KJV
Gideon was exceptionally humble! He claimed to be from a poor and insignificant family in Manasseh, whereas his family was notable and influential! His father erected the altar to Baal where the people of the city went to for sacrifice and worship. They were well known in the city. But like Moses, Gideon did not regard the wealth of his family as something to be proud of. Even he had servants…., yet said he was the least! He was unique, an original! He never followed people’s opinions. Though he listened to them, he allowed the inner voice of Spirit to lead him. He valued himself.
(3) PLACE VALUE ON YOURSELF!
I placed value on myself. I knew I could not compare with the others in terms of being in vogue fashion-wise, yet I believed in myself. Believed in yourself. People won’t believe in you until you first believe in yourself. If you wait for people to value you, you will amount to nothing and come to nothing. Gideon had to be encouraged to place a value on himself. The Prodigal son learnt the hard way and re-valued himself. No one told him he was worth more than pigs; but pulled himself off their realm. If he hadn’t, no one would have related to him. That was were circumstances placed him, because he cooperated with the circumstances. But after he discovered himself and took charge of his life, he was not only accepted in the realm of men, he was celebrated. You too can be celebrated!
Place a value on yourself before expecting others to have a regard for you.
A person without self-esteem is like a man in a coma. He could be the richest man on earth, however until he regains consciousness, he has no control over his riches. A bad self-image of yourself denies you of your God given entitlements. You are a book read by others!
“Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men.” -2 Corinthians 3:2 KJV
Like one would dump a boring book, even your friends would forsake you as in the case of the prodigal son. Your true friends are those who remain with you when you show your true worth.
A low self-esteem is contrary to the word of God in 2 Corinthians 3:18 which says you ought to change from glory to glory. The least you can ever get is “glory!” And that is your starting point! God has put so much in you, and He expects much from you. But a low self -worth will make you live below capacity and your input or investment in the Kingdom of God fall short of expectation.. According to Romans 12:3, God has given you a level of faith. Grow it, don’t hide it!
Someone said, “the way you are dressed is the way you are addressed.”
When you stop whining in self-pity and place a value on yourself, you will value your decisions and stand by them; taking full responsibility for those decisions whether they turn out good or bad. That is a mark of maturity, a mark of a leader; that is true beauty!
The prodigal son said “I will say to my father, I have sinned …..” He took responsibility for his actions. He did not try to pass the blame like Adam, and like many do today; blaming others instead of blaming themselves.
Believe in your self and take responsibility for your actions!
(4) PUT ACTION TO VALUE.
Gideon, recognising his worth in God, put an action in the knowledge. He gathered an army of 36,000 men and without fear or doubt, listened to God and sent home 35,700! Suggestions and advice could have been given him, yet he believed in the value God placed on him.
The prodigal son took an action after placing value on himself. I took an action of neatness.
No matter how “current” or expensive your dressing, you can never be fully confident when your clothes are dirty and rumpled. Cultivate the culture of neatness! Keep your finger nails clean, short and well manicured. If you wear your finger-nails long, give them some extra attention. What is the point in keeping long nail only to hide them under some table? Most men wash their hair everyday, I wash mine every other day, and I have a particular brand of hair cream I use. Groom your hair!
If you are a woman, do not stay too long before going to the hair salon. And whatever you do, don’t over-grease your hair, be it long or short! Be modest in your use of make-up. You certainly don’t want to look like a painted devil!
Your confidence will rise enhancing your value as you apply modesty in your appearance.
“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.” – 1 Timothy 2:9 KJV
When you can afford it, buy a sweet smelling perfume, bless it and use it. It is not a sin!
Do not put up a false appearance by borrowing clothes to wear as sometimes this can bring you embarrassments. And do not go after things too expensive for you.
Be modest! Be strong! Be courageous!
Manifesting your beauty will give you a joy so priceless it cannot be bought with money.
But it starts with discovery; of who you are. What are the things you enjoy doing? Don’t despise those things, so long as they do not infringe on the rights of others. What clothes bring out the best of you? Are they neat? And not offensive to the public? Wear them! They do not have to be in vogue, or expensive!
As an original, you become a leader because others who have not discovered themselves will begin to copy you.
Remember, there’s is a beauty in you that needs to be discovered.