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.
.….. continued from “A JOURNEY THROUGH HELL 2”
She claimed to have heard. On the children’s education, she admitted her husband asked her to bring them back to school. Yet she kept them away through out the term.
The women of the Church had their programme. Prior to that they met, planned and rehearsed as all activities of the day would be handled by them. But, here came Judith’s daughter wanting to lead praise and worship! My wife stopped her, she was just a girl of twelve, meanwhile three women were scheduled to take it.
Because of this the girl refused to lead praise on the next service day when called; even when the brother told her I called her to lead; she shook her head. This happened in Church, just after the opening prayer! We later found out it was her mother’s advice she acted upon.
I felt a churning in my stomach; God was grieved.
“And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.” – Rev. 10:10.
Rebellion is one spirit I know God does not tolerate. Before going into the Word I told her that God was grieved by her action, which was an open and glaring rebellion. She has been barred for a while from coming up the altar.
Meanwhile, her brother who also had been cautioned severally before, kept walking up and down, from the drums at the altar to the pew, out of the hall of service, and back again. What was he doing? He was attending his phone!
I could be very patient: even to a fault. But I could not contain it anymore. I barred him from the drums after reminding him of previous warnings. There has to be orderliness in the house of God. Though we trust God for souls into His house, certain practices should not be encouraged. Moreover, warnings had been given.
God is no respecter of persons. The same God that sent Moses ambushed him to kill him.
“And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him.” – Exodus 4:24
His standards must not be compromised.
Judith and her family stopped coming to Church . This was when her real nature surfaced!
She gathered a little group of people in the small community and they went round sowing seeds of hatred in the hearts of the members of the community; all based on lies!
Those that made up her little group were parents that had brought her report to us earlier. She went to them claiming we were responsible for what she did! They went further to teachers, said some untrue and unkind things about us, making some disrespectful to my wife and leaving eventually!
We began to understand how an Angel could sow evil seed, and pollute one-third of Angels in heaven!
Sowing seeds of discord is another thing that God hates; it is even an abomination!
“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” – Proverbs 6:16-19
We became short of teachers, and consequently forced to combine classes. We made contacts for teachers. They will come, attend interview, given appointment but will fail to resume! Judith was at work!
“ For the wicked have strung their bows, drawn their arrows tight against the bowstrings, and aimed from ambush at the people of God” – Psalm 11:2 TLB
This time she and her group suspecting anyone entering our premises to be a teacher, would go wait for them at the entry of the community (the teachers came from outside the community). Their minds would be poisoned making them not to come back!
….. continued from A JOURNEY THROUGH HELL
We were thrilled when he had a job prospect with a motor company (whose name I will not give for discretion). However he needed a surety! Due to the relationship, he came to me when no one was willing to help.
Sometimes missionaries get blinded to the voice of reason, just because they believe God for a soul. I stuck my head out for Benjamin and signed a surety with the motor company to the tune of two million Naira! My wife was like, “what have you done?”
Though he used to send his tithe to Church, he seldom came to service despite all we tried, so I sent a message through the wife that he should stop sending the tithe; that the Lord is more interested in him than the money.
We continued to believe God to touch the heart of the couple when the instruction came, to relieve her of her school work!
Ah me! How can I do that? It is a hard decision for me!
This was someone who though I discourage it, called me “daddy!” I began to imagine the anger against Okonkwo in Chinua Achebe’s “Things fall apart”, who beheaded Ikemefuna, a boy that called him “nna” (father).
How would I tell people in that community that God is love? Would they not ask me “which God? That God that asked you to sack a woman from her job thereby taking away her meal ticket?” How do I defend the gospel?
But the Master of masters has given His instruction. Obey or disobey!
I know if Brother Isaiah was here he would say “don’t be lead by your emotions. Let the Spirit lead you”.
“And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.” – Isaiah 11:3-4
I wondered what I would have done if I was with them in the wilderness, and as member of the tribe of Levi, when Moses gave the instruction to go into the camp and slay everyone his brethren! Sometimes God pokes at our emotion to test our maturity and obedience.
Undoubtedly, God loves her more than anyone could ever do. There has to be a reason! Of course, God is not One to always give you reasons why He does what He does. He answers to no man, rather we all answer to Him.
“Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him? who will say unto him, What doest thou?” (Job 9:12).
Experience has taught me however that God does not go into a debate. Promptly, I called my wife, asked her to call Judith and to come with her to the office. Calmly as I could, I broke the news to her. It was not an easy thing to do! If asked I would say this so far, is the most difficult message I had ever delivered!
She pleaded and even sent people to plead on her behalf. I was torn between obedience to God and compassionate care for Judith, a sister in the Lord!
We tried encouraging her with the word of God. But how do you encourage someone you just fired? The only encouragement she expected was that we give her back her job!
Like Shakespeare said, “there is no art to find the mind’s construction in the face.” (Macbeth – the book)
Indeed only God knows the thoughts and intents of every heart.
“I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” – Jer 17:10 (KJV)
While thinking good of others, only God knows what thoughts they have for you. That was what distressed David more than the rebellion of Absalom.
While she continued to come to Church, as usual, her attitude began to change. She had withdrawn her children from school, and now began a campaign against my wife and the school!
Believing to be her pastor, I went to her and counseled her not to involve her children, by turning them against her perceived enemy. I cited instances from both the bible and in this modern days, how God reinstated people who humbled themselves: that God alone knew why He asked me to relieve her of the job. That rather than go to people and discredit my wife and school, she should go to God in prayer. I believed God wanted to do something in her life, she should go to Him.
She claimed to have heard. On the children’s school, she admitted her husband asked her to bring them back to school. Yet she kept them away through out the term.
….. to be continued in https://jimout2002a.wordpress.com/2017/11/05/a-journey-through-hell-3/
Serving as a missionary is perhaps one of the most difficult part of Ministry. Having served in the city as a pastor, and serving now as a missionary, I can tell the difference!
In the city, you are in the midst of fairly civilized people, if they are not. You have people who understand ministry and ministers; a mixture of people which includes those that will accuse the minister and those that will defend him. It is not always so in a small community in the outskirts of the city, where most are unlearned and under exposed! They only want to accuse you! It is tough!
The journey started when the Lord asked me to relieve a woman of her duty in the school. For discretion, I will call her Judith.
My wife and I, to the glory of God, run a school where Judith worked with us as a teacher.
She and her family had joined us in Church. She used to come sweep and arrange the Church on service days, yet would not come till toward the end of the message; if she manages to come. Every month end, the Church gave her a stipend to assist her.
We took Judith and her family as part of ours: not just as Church family but as our own family. We opened our doors completely to them; even gave our keys to them!
The bonding was there to the extent we exchanged meals, the children stayed with us a couple of days when their parents traveled.
Though not a qualified teacher, my wife picked her as she had no job, to come assist in the school as a way of further helping her: at the end of every month she would earn a salary. We believe there is a lot of confidence in what you earn than in what you are given.
My wife groomed her and constantly monitored both her and what she taught the children; for she was given the kindergarten class.
In Church, she was not frequent, but we believed God to touch her as He touched the children. The eldest, a boy, in the secondary school, learnt to play the drums and the second, a girl, God groomed and blessed with the gift of leading praise. Apart from the eldest, the rest of Judith’s children schooled with us.
Their father, we will for this writing call Benjamin, used to drive a commercial bus, but was not making ends meet.
We were thrilled when he had a job prospect with a motor company (whose name I will not give for discretion). However he needed a surety! Due to the relationship, he came to me when no one was willing to help.
….. continued in https://jimout2002a.wordpress.com/2017/10/29/journey-through-hell-2/
I will be starting a series soon; in the next one week to be precise, titled: A JOURNEY THROUGH HELL!
It is not a fiction nor is it an account of some one else. It is not on Extrasensory perception (ESP), nor is it on Near death experience (NDE).
No. But an experience that is still unfolding! Yes, you got it; my testimony. It is a true life ordeal my wife and I were permitted by the Lord to go through.
The Lord has brought us out of it but, you know certain things don’t change overnight.
I believe God gave us the testimony not only to build us but to also encourage some other, that indeed, God is true to His word never to leave us nor forsake us.
Visit again and again and be lifted as you drive with us on A JOURNEY THROUGH HELL.
“If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3).
There are eight foundations that should be present in the life of a true Christian. These foundations are precious in the sight of God. They summarize or form the total teachings and preachings of Jesus.
In the “Sermon on the mount”, popularly called the “Beatitudes”, Jesus taught the attitude of heaven. “BE IN ATTITUDE.”
FOUNDATION NO 2
As we continue in our quest to cultivating the Kingdom character, we look at the second foundation of the Christian.
“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4
These are people that re ready and willing to face, feel and resist anything that comes their way in their Christian journey. They are a people that are able to stand up to life’s tempest and turmoil; going the full mile with the Lord, through laughter and TEARS (mourning).
They do not see or regard the sorrow and hardness as a disadvantage. Rather, they take the strides of life as they come; and are not ashamed to take up their Cross.
These people acknowledge and are aware, that though in Christ, crisis will come (John 16:33), so brace up to face it, “loving not their lives unto the death” – Revelations 12:11
They know their help is in the Lord.
In Galatians 5:22, Paul calls this LONGSUFFERING: this is the willingness – they have the choice not to, but chose – to fellowship with Jesus in His shame and reproach.
FOUNDATION NO 3
This third foundation of the Christian is much like, but very different from the first, (poor in spirit).
“Blessed are the meek: for the shall inherit the earth.” – Matthew 5:5
Most often, this foundation is confused with MEEKNESS, perhaps because of the “meek” in it.
But it refers to a gentle strength, the power to be humble. A humility that comes, not from circumstances, but from within; a power that comes from a deep trust in God and His Word.
This foundation has the power to fight: economically, physically, e.t.c., but would rather stand quietly, trusting God to bring all things to a perfect end. You can take their coat; and though they have the power to reclaim it, they will give you their cloak. If you smite their cheek, rather than fight, they will turn the other cheek!
“But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. ” (Matthew 5:39-40).
Have you been accused wrongly, and with all the strength and fire in you, want to fight back? Bless your enemy! Let go and let this foundation be manifest!
In Galatians 5:23, Paul calls it GENTLENESS.
….. to be continued.
One of the greatest prayers of Apostle Paul for the Church is that our eyes of the spirit be opened.
“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” (Ephesians 1:18).
More often than not, our natural eyes stand against us. Most times they join up with the enemy, and are in fact the greatest weapon in the hand of the enemy against the Children of God.
True, we see with the eyes, yet what they interpret is the greatest undoing of the human race!
The eyes are the foundation or starting point of most vices: adultery, starts from the eyes! Idolatry starts from the eyes, envy, jealousy, hatred, greed, etc, find entry to the soul through the eyes. Even failure and defeat, are offsprings of sight!
The major reason most Christians are weak spiritually is the lack of spiritual sight. We have become like the Israelites in the wilderness, who fell because of spiritual blindness.
“And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.” (Exodus 32:1).
They took Moses as their god; now he could not be seen, neither did they know what could have befallen him, for him to delay this long. He had never delayed like this before, and this made them uncomfortable; they needed to see their god, to be assured their god was with them. They could not endure not seeing Moses, so “up Aaron, make us gods! ” What we can see!!!
Journeying to our promised land through the wilderness called earth, many Christians cannot see God in their situations, their homes, jobs and businesses, and have not only “heaped pastors to themselves”, they have pressured them to make gods that they can see and follow: the god of success, “mammon” the god money, the god of technology, the god of cars, of fame and affluence. This has weakened Christians; we have a name, the form “Christians” but lack the power!
Spiritual blindness weakened the “desert Church” by robbing her of the presence and power of God, and here we are, the Church of the New Testament and New Covenant, being robbed of the same!
Moses endured trials and contradictions because he saw beyond the natural eyes; he saw beyond sight!
“By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.” (Hebrews 11:27).
Most Christians buckle and fall at the slightest trial because they are not seeing beyond natural sight.
When Moses noticed the nakedness of (departure of God’s glory from) the people, he went to the entrance of the camp and called “who is on the Lord’s side come to me.” The tribe of Levi went to him. So why did they go to join Moses? What put them “on the Lord’s side”, because at this time they had not been chosen to represent God before the people? They saw what others could not see, not even the first born sons that God had chosen to represent Him!
What did they see? They saw and felt the presence of God in the camp, and also saw the consequence of walking against Him!!
In the presence of our earthly fathers, and filled with the consciousness of their presence, we would not do things we know they will not approve. This knowledge of their presence makes us uncomfortable and sort of paralyzes us from getting involved in any vice, no matter how much we would have desired to.
The Sons of Levi saw both the presence of God and the consequence of acting outside His approval. So they did not get invinvolved!!!
We see Pastors and Ministers, but do we see the Lord Jesus in His house, and at every gathering of the Saints? Do we see Him in our homes, our jobs and every areas of our world? He is our greater than Moses, presently “on the mountain”, in heaven interceding for you and I. Can we see Him in the “Camp”, the Church? Spiritual coldness is a product of spiritual blindness. Christians are almost begged to go to Church!
Why are we not able to stand and resist the enemy? Why are Christians so afraid: afraid of the devil, of lack, of failure, of sickness and all? If I know my Father is with me, I should not be afraid, knowing He would take care of me and all that concern me. That is Faith!! In other words, Faith cannot be in operation where spiritual blindness operates!
Look at the Church. Can we really say there is faith? Jesus spoke prophetically when He asked:
“I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? ” (Luke 18:8).
If faith is lacking, it is due to the absence of spiritual sight. Because faith comes only by perceiving through the Word of God.
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17).
Jesus, our Lord, Master and Example, endured because He saw!
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2).
No servant can be greater than the master. If our Lord endured and triumphed by what He saw, we need to see God’s way. This does not come by prayer. Prayer is done by revelation; after you have seen. And revelation is spiritual sight.
Only the Word!
A deep hunger and thirst for the Truth is the eye salve that opens the eyes. God will pour water on the ground that is parched and thirsty. When you begin to be dissatisfied with lies and seek after Truth, genuinely; not for what you can gain for yourself, the Holy Spirit shall open your eyes.