Foundation no 8
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you faasely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” – Matt 5:10-12 (KJV)
To persecute means to suffer some harsh treatment because of one’s belief; especially, religious belief.
A true Christian to whom the “substance” of the Word is revealed, and lives them without conforming with the standard of the world, would be hated by the world, and persecuted.
“If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” – John 15:19 (KJV)
Being rejected by the world like Jesus was; and like Him stand against opposition, he exercises Faith over oppositions and overcomes. Resting in God, he laughs at persecutions.
A man of Faith dwells in heaven – -the secret place – prepared for the righteous. This is the foundation of Faith.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.” – Gal 5:22 (KJV)
Outside these foundations one is like the unbeliever; because the difference between the Christian and the non-christian is the Christlikeness which is formed or produced by the “meekness” (Matt 11:29), the character of our Lord Jesus.
He called us to learn His character, to be like Him. That calls for the foundations, which like a jigsaw puzzle, fits together as THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT, a must in the life of every child of God.
May the help of the Lord be ours as we confirm our foundations. In Jesus Name. Amen.
Foundation no 6
Every Christian message is all about involving the heart in worship of the one true God; the pledging of allegiance with the heart wholly to God. This is the greatest emphasis of Jesus’ teachings. Outside this, one is religious.
Without a pure heart, one cannot stand in the presence of God.
“Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.” – Psalm 24:3-4.
A heart is pure when it dwells on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, praiseful, etc.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” – Philippians 4:8.
Jotham (2 Chronicles 27:6), prayed for an undivided heart and became powerful. An undivided heart proves our love for God, a love that is focused on God and God alone. An undivided heart is one that is anchored and trusts in God despite all odds.
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (Isaiah 26:3).
Amaziah (2 Chronicles 25:2), did what was right in the eyes of the Lord however, not wholeheartedly.
Being outwardly correct, yet divided inside reveals a disloyalty to God and this leads to a downfall.
Paul calls this foundation LOVE.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.”
– Galatians 5:22. (Emphasis added)
A heart of love beats toward God and dwells in all things bright and beautiful.
FOUNDATION NO 7
This is the foundation of Peace.
The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary describes Peace as a “state of being free from war, civil disorders; it is a state of rest, quiet, calm, a state of friendship and harmony.”
God had an occasion with man. Yet He took the initiative, the first step; He came down from heaven to reconcile man to Himself. God is ever searching for man, to make peace with him, though it was man that offended Him.
As many as have this foundation are like their Father “…… called sons of God”.
A life of peace is a must for every child of God, and is in fact a proof of righteousness. It goes beyond foundation no 5, forbearance. While forbearance stops at forgiving in advance, peace goes further to help the offender.
“And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.” – Isaiah 32:17.
Let us pursue it.
“Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.” – 1 Peter 3:11.
“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:” (Hebrews 12:11 & 14).
Paul identifies this foundation in its Matthew 5:9 name – “PEACE“. Gal. 5:22
“If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3).
FOUNDATION NO 4
We continue our relaying of the foundations.
Now at the fourth, which is about RIGHTEOUSNESS!
“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” – Matt 5:6 (KJV)
Righteousness means right standing with God; a clear conscience devoid of offense. A conscience that thrives on uprightness; that seeks to do “the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” – Romans 12:2 (KJV)
This Foundation does not take sides with anyone or anything that is not standing right! Whoever and however close the person may be: spouse, child or relative; this Foundation would not pervert justice or twist judgment. It is not found “walking with the ungodly”.
“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 the scornful.” – Psalms 1:1 (KJV)
Everything good inspires him: honesty uprightness, etc. He derives joy, and is filled with standing right even unto death.
Paul, in Galatians 5:22 calls this GOODNESS!
Let us desire to do good all the time.
FOUNDATION NO 5
This Foundation is the virtue of FORBEARANCE. It is the ability to hold back from inflicting punishment upon an adversary.
It is the attitude of ready forgiveness. Unforgiveness, resentment and bitterness corrode the soul. They are like acid to the soul.
This virtue in the Christian makes him or her ready to forgive, even in advance, without waiting for repentance from the other. He or she remembers that God has forgiven and is ever ready to forgive. The individual in whom this Foundation is well developed could go helping the offender in prayers and in every other ways.
In Galatians 5:22, Paul called it TEMPERANCE, which is self-control.
“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.
“If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” – Psalm 11:3.
I have often heard people interpret this scripture as meaning objects surrounding one’s birth: the sponge, water, placenta, soap, bowl or bucket, etc, even people; especially at deliverance sessions. Yes, it is possible. Oh, very possible!
However, receiving Christ, I became a brand new person, with a shift in everything, which includes my foundations. As a child of God, I have a brand new foundation now, laid by God Himself.
“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 3:11.
“NO OTHER FOUNDATION”! This is the Word of God! “No other”!
Perhaps before coming to Christ, those formed my foundation. But “NOW”! “Now Faith is …” Now, by the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1-2), I have been set free from that; now my foundation has been relaid!
Note the plural term used; “foundations”, not “foundation” as in singular!
To truly understand that scripture we should start from verse one. If clearly understood, it talks of me having challenges as a result of enemies whose arrows are aimed at me. So you invite me to leave my mountain and go with you to your mountain, your church, where I would have my deliverance. But, should I leave my mountain, it would prove I do not know my God, neither do I trust in Him!!
“….. but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” – Daniel 11:32b
So obviously, because I do not know Him or trust in Him, I would receive nothing from Him, for without faith….
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” – Hebrews 11:6
Moreover, Jesus said it is not the church (mountain) I go to that brings deliverance!
“Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. ” – John 4:21-24.
But the understanding of my inheritance in Him!
“Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.” – Proverbs 13:15.
So, Christ is my foundation.
A foundation is a solid base on which a building, an idea, etc, rests. It is made with various materials: granite, iron-rods, binding wire, cement and sand.
Jesus our foundation, said
“Learn of me. I am meek and lowly of heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:29
Where you have meekness and lowliness of heart, you will find love, temperance, gentleness, and the complete fruit of the Spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23.
The fruit is one and where you have one segment, the others are there; in various levels or quantities, but they are there. They go together. Against these there is no law; no limit.
The Christian is built on these. Hence, Jesus said “learn of me”. These He taught in the Beatitudes; be in the attitude of heaven.
The absence or “destruction” (Psalm 11:3) of these renders the believer powerless; impotent spiritually. When a house has cracks, the fault is from its foundation. When a Christian’s character does not reflect Christ, it is from his or her foundation.
FOUNDATION NUMBER ONE
“Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of God.” – Matthew 5:3
Jesus was not talking about being poor materially, but “in spirit”; spiritual bankruptcy.
The Greek word “ptochos” from which the word “poor” is translated means “chosen poverty”; a voluntary emptying of the inner being: giving up, surrendering or choosing to become dependent, not on oneself but on another – the Lord Jesus.
This foundation says “Lord, help! I can’t make it on my own.”
It is self-renunciation, surrendering of the ego to Jesus: self-denial. It is not self-centered but Christ-centered.
In Galatians 5:23, Paul identifies this as MEEKNESS, a character trait that makes one look foolish!
…… 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.
Ife stirred awake. Lazily he looked at the bedside clock, 9.30am. Like a bolt, he jumped out of bed having a 10.30am appointment to keep.
With the Lagos traffic, he knew he ought to be on the road now. To be composed when ushered into the office of the Senator.
He, being a busy man, is a stickler to time and if he, Ife, missed the appointment would take almost six months to fix another.
Hurriedly he brushed his teeth, washed his face, no time for a bath, he got into his clothes which he heavily perfumed, and ran out of the room. It would take a miracle to meet the appointment; one he must not miss.
No thanks to his friends who kept him up late last night. No matter how he protested, they refused to go home; rather they teased him the more. Now he would have to deal with the rush alone.
His eyes were red and pepperish, and he prayed no one would notice his sleeplessness or the fact that he did not have a bath. This was one of the few situations that prompted him to pray; for a traffic-free road, and for God’s favour.
Surely God was on his side, for evidently the traffic was light and moving. He heaved a sigh of relief as he drew near the office.
Not being truly composed, his heart thumped louder with every step that took him nearer the Senator’s office. He looked at his wrist watch; a few minutes more. His strides became longer as he tried to cover the few yards with a few steps.
“Brother Ife, you’re just on time”, the Secretary told him as he entered the reception, “the Senator will see you now.”
“God!” he breathed quietly, walking to the door to the Senator’s office; no time to rest or catch his breath. He knocked at the door.
“Come.” A deep voice invited.
He turned the knob and suddenly found himself in the massive, posh office of Senator Ken. The man’s presence was intimidating. From the Secretary’s office, he began to feel the man’s presence; powerfully strong and intimidating.
Rivers of sweat began to cascade freely under his singlet, and he prayed it would not show on his shirt.
“Sit”, the man told him without looking up from the file on his desk.
But he kept standing; transfixed by the energy of the man’s presence. His perfume, aura and personality combined as a whirlwind emanating from him, that he felt like running away. What was he doing here? He suddenly forgot the reason for the visit, feeling like an insignificant pest in that massive office that even the butterflies he felt in his stomach seemed to seek an escape route.
No doubt you have felt like that some time. But that is just in the presence of a mere man.
This is one thing we often overlook or forget as we go into His presence, either because He is not really there, or we have become too familiar with Him. This portends a very dangerous trend for us as Christians.
Jacob said “The LORD is in this place and I know it not”. Many of us enter into the place of prayer not knowing that God is there. We are so full of ourselves and our fleshly requests, we fail to acknowledge Him in the place of prayers. It is like walking in a bright and well lit room where there is a pillar, but being occupied with other things, one bumps into the pillar.
Jacob eventually knew God was there. Do we eventually?
Many do not. Neither are they troubled or bothered. We play religion; make some noise called prayer, work up sweat as we jump up and down the prayer room with a zeal that has no foundation or substance.
It reminds me of the prophets of Baal who prayed, cut themselves, jumped up and down the altar producing sweat, yet producing no fire! All because the presence of God was not with them.
That partly explains why we hardly produce fire today, as Christians. Because there is no presence of God in most prayers. He who fills heaven and earth IS there in the secret place or prayer room. But we fail to connect Him! We ignore and despise His presence!
HOW DO WE CONNECT HIM?
(1) Draw high to Him and He’ll draw high to you!
“Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” – James 4:8
This is a deliberate action, not forced by the situation or circumstances that sometimes threaten us like Ife who was forced to pray as he walked along. Nothing is wrong with praying on the road, but let it not be the only time we pray. Such prayers are not only hastily done, but are not focused because of distractions; our heart needs to be fully on Him.
We need to deliberately make time for the secret place, not to run in there when situations threaten. Many Christians, like Ife, only remember prayer when situations threaten! And we do so hurriedly. It should not be so!
(2) Treasure Him.
We place a high value or premium on things we treasure, and our heart gravitate around them.
Whatever is dear to us is constantly on our minds. We place it on a scale of importance above every other thing.
One of the reasons we do not connect God in our prayers is because we do not treasure Him enough.
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” – Mark 12:30
Most often we forget the one to whom our prayers are directed, placing value on other things, and making Him jealous.
Love Him, treasure Him above your vocation, even if it threatens your life!
“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.”
– John. 21:15
(3) See Him through the eyes of faith.
Entering the place of prayer with spiritual blindness stands against our receiving. What we see, we receive.
Elijah said to Elisha that receiving his request would only be possible if he saw. If Elisha failed to see Elijah, the one from whom the request was made, he would not have received his desire.
Till you see God in the secret place you cannot receive what you ask!
God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. You have to seek Him in the secret place before you can receive your request. Seek Him for Who He is, not just for the solution of a situation at hand; seek Him diligently and with all your heart then you will find Him and be rewarded. Jacob could not inherit Canaan till he had wrestled with God.
See Him first then He would usher you into inheritance.
Let your eye be single, no distractions; for God will never share His glory with any man or situation. Disconnect from external things; they distract! Peter began to sink when he regarded the boisterous wind.
“But when He saw the wind boisterous, He was afraid; and beginning to sink, He cried, saying, Lord, save me.” – Matthew 14:30
(4) Use The Power Of Imagination.
This is the only time I advice the use of this power.
Paul’s advice is that imagination should be used only on things that honour God, else, don’t use it!
“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
Imagination can kill, and it can make alive! It is in Man, what the tree of knowledge of good and evil is in the garden of Eden.
Imagination can lead you into adultery! It can inspire you to steal, to kill and to destroy! What you imagine, rather than restrain you, will empower you! That is why Jesus said that whoso looks at a woman lustfully has committed adultery; that imagination if not dealt with will grow and become real!
That is my grouse with “motivational” speakers or preachers. The “word” motivation, is relative! A robber can be motivated! A murderer can be motivated! An adulterer can be motivated! Motivation can be good or evil. What direction are we motivating ourselves!!!
The mind is home to motivation, and thrives on imagination. Imagination can produce what you direct it to.
But ask Nimrod and all in Genesis 11; they had results, but because the results were not of God, they did not last! Do you still wonder why your blessings don’t last?
Even the strong-willed Christian will fall if he employs his imagination outside the leading of the Holy Spirit, because imagination would always conquer the Will when pitched against each other. Like in the military we are not called to think for ourselves but to obey instructions.
Its only but a matter of time and you will be overtaken by your imagination! As much as it is possible, do not use this power!
But in the secret place (prayer room), and in the direction of God, yes; employ your imagination. See Him through the eyes of faith, seated upon the throne, and you at His feet in humble adoration!
Imagination can connect you to God if directed to Him. It can also disconnect you from Him if directed to any other person or thing. Train and use the power of imagination only towards God.
The Secret Place is the only place no one can follow you, not even your spouse. Like Ife in the Senator’s office, you have to be alone in the presence of God. The direction of your heart has a lot to do in your appointment with Him. Fill your heart with the joy of His presence and let not your heart be troubled.
Remember, He is your Father.