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.
….. to be continued.
“And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” – 1 John 1:4-5.
At creation Adam was bright, he was a star.
Jesus called us the light of the world.
“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” – Matt 5:14
Adam, the light of the world, went off into darkness when he disobeyed God; and Man consequently went into darkness. He was naturally alive; he could move, talk, do things but eternally dead. He could only survive in his immediate environment. Even there, in his environment, he died slowly.
In His love for us, God sent Jesus to restore the life to us. So,
“…in Him was life” – John 1:4a.
That means that the life we live now is not the real life! The real life is in Jesus!
“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” – John 10:28 KJV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16 (KJV)
“Whosoever believes.” It is by covenant, by agreement; not a must, nor by force.
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” – John 1:12 (KJV)
This covenant life is beyond dying in an accident, or being killed by witches, or agents of darkness. No! This kind of life – ZOE – is above and beyond the dark powers!
“And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” – John 1:5 (KJV)
This covenant life is more than surviving in this life.
Again, this kind of Life is beyond living in eternity. Everybody lives in eternity, even the wicked!
This kind of Life refers to the quality in THAT life! Not the quality attached to our natural life, such as cars, houses, clothes, perfume, etc. You cannot carry any of these into eternity.
WHAT IS THIS COVENANT?
“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” – John 17:3 (KJV)
God desires that we know Him. Whoever fails to know Him is rejected!
“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 (KJV)
God rejects whoever refuses to retain Him in his/her knowledge; one who fails to know Him. This is what He desires of us: “know Me!”.
“For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” – Hosea 6:6 (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)
This is not knowing the word of God, but knowing Him. It is not preaching the word of God, but knowing the God of that word. Moses knew His word but asked to know Him; regardless of miracles. Paul knew His word but asked to know Him; regardless of revelations.
Knowing Him is more than knowing His word. It is experiencing Him, being in awe of Him, giving Him honour; walking with Him, talking with Him and obediently doing His will.
Taste Him and see!
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF KNOWING HIM?
1) Your degree of relating to God will be greatly enhanced.
“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 (KJV)
Your degree of relating to all of creation goes beyond your immediate environment.
“When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” – Proverbs 16:7 (KJV)
3) The above point makes it possible for you to survive everywhere as all of creation will be in harmony with you. Creatures die when taken out of their natural habitat, but with this higher life, you survive in places others die; having passed from the finite to the infinite realm.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” – John 5:24-25 (KJV)
4) Your present life becomes fuller and richer as all creation become responsive ans sensitive to you. No struggle.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28 (KJV)
5) You become more fulfilled; happier, because this is God’s purpose and intention for you.
HOW DO WE MAKE THIS COVENANT ACTIVE?
“Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me.” – Luke 22:28-29 (KJV)
FELLOWSHIP WITH HIM IN SUFFERING!
“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” – Phil 3:10 (KJV)
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.
(1) DO NOT LISTEN TO NEGATIVE INDIVIDUALS
Don’t listen to negative minded individuals who tell stories of woe and defeat. Some people delight in telling stories of woe, of failure, of fear and discouragement.
Don’t listen to them! Run from them! Remember the saying, “show me your friends, or people you listen to, and I will tell you who you are.”
God confounded the children of Israel in the desert who after seeing the giants in Jericho, lived in fear.
“But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.” (Numbers 13:31).
“But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD. Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it: But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.” (Numbers 14:21-24).
God will confound you in the presence of your enemies if you dwell in fear, for then He will see you as a rebel!
“Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.” (Numbers 14:9).
He never said demonic forces will not rise against you, but that we pay no attention to them.
(2) FILTER WHAT YOU SEE AND HEAR.
What you see and hear are suggestions! They affect your heart!
“Mine eye affecteth mine heart because of all the daughters of my city.” – (Lamentations 3:51)
If they are not pulled down ( 2Cor. 10:5), but allowed to grow, saturate the mind and take control of it. And when the mind is full, like a cloud full of vapour, it releases its content.
(3) READ BOOKS OF INSPIRATION
Read books of encouragement; books that tell you mighty acts of God.
”Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons.” (Deuteronomy 4:9).
Listen to messages of hope. Messages that give life, and play music that will edify your spirit. Video is good, but watch only those films that inspire you towards righteousness. Don’t watch just any “wolvish” video in “lamb clothing” by the title “Christian film”.
(4) CONFESS POSITIVE WORDS.
As you speak godly words aloud to yourself, faith will grow in your heart to counter any influence of evil that may have been deposited there.
Finally, no matter the situation, confess positive words. What you programme or sow into your heart is most certainly what you will reap!
“A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth: but the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence.” (Proverbs 13:2a)
The fear was incredibly thick that it became an open door for satan to come into our lives. Did God not say He will confound us in the presence of the enemy if we feared?
“Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them.” – Jer 1:17
We had various forms of attacks; of roaches: big, black, hairy roaches, swarming in hordes, through windows that had mosquito nets, while the multi-tenement kitchen, just next door had no net on the window, yet no invasion of roach!! Scorpions were discovered in the house, a small wall-gecko that though it could not come in because of the net, stayed upside down on it for one week and released a vibration that affected my man-hood.
I felt embarrassed and frustrated, especially as we were only a few weeks into marriage!
Even after a cup of boiling water was poured on the gecko, it came back some minutes later to the same spot, and in the same position: upside down!!!
Indeed we should not war with the weapons of the flesh!
One night my wife found a live gecko under my pillow!!!
All these and more, are true-life experiences God used to groom us!
Having given room to satan through fear, we sold our precious sleep. Every night, either birds or pussycats will come in our window and cry like new born babies!
Like a barrage of machine guns we would rain curses at them, calling down fire and brimstone thinking that we were engaged in a warfare being “spiritual giants”. Whereas it was God who had confounded us in the presence of the enemy due to the fear in our hearts. God did not give us the spirit of fear, but of boldness.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7
The mind is a dynamic force that does not sleep. Solomon said,
“I sleep, but my heart waketh.” – S.O.S 5:2
The heart continues in the night with the thought that the individual dwelt on during the day.
If you sow your thought into negative news, you will reap a harvest of nightmares and masquerades. Sow your thoughts into positive news and you will reap a harvest of sound mind and sweet dreams.
That is why we are warned to guard our hearts with all diligence.
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life .” – Prov. 4:23
WATCH YOUR THOUGHTS
What thoughts have you been dwelling upon? They would either make you or mar you. You are a product of your thought.
“As a man thinks in his heart so is he.” – Luke 6:45
You need to review your thoughts. Until the meditation (thought) of your heart is acceptable (pure) before God, demons will continue to oppress you.
“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” – Psalm 19:14
Think only of things that are lovely, that are positive.
“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
She was in bondage to fear as a result of negative thoughts and imaginations. And so are many today.
She had heard frightful and bizarre stories in the past and held on to them in her mind to the point that wherever she was, those thoughts loom out larger than life. She had filled her consciousness with so much fear that in the night, her subconscious mind, an extension of her conscious mind, continued in the fear recorded in her mind.
The mind has an awesome recording power that captures all it is engaged in. It has the ability to play back what it has recorded and that is the source of most dreams.
Imagination is a very powerful thing! Even God attested to its power.
“And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.” – Gen 11:6 (KJV)
He was referring to the children of men. (verse 5)
Imagination cannot be restrained! It can see things that are not really there! When you meditate so much on a thing, you give life to that thing.
“For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.” – Job 3:25 (KJV)
Meditating on the Word of God brings out the power in that Word.
“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” – Josh 1:8 (KJV)
Equally too, meditating or dwelling on messages centered around activities of demonic forces brings out the power in their activities.
At one time, my wife and I were sitting under teachings of, and counsels that centered on activities of witchcraft and demonic forces. Our minds became full of negative thoughts that we did not only dream of masquerades and pursuits by demonic forces, we became afraid of nightfall!
At 10:30pm on vigil nights, I would only muster courage as a man to walk to the Church with my wife. We would be looking over our shoulders; and on two different occasions, I thought I saw a figure rounding a corner!
The fear was incredibly thick that it became an open door for satan to come into our lives. Did God not say He will confound us in the presence of the enemy if we feared?
“Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them.” – Jer 1:17 (KJV)
….. to be continued.
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.