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.
(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.
A young man took a lady out to an ice-cream bar, settled at a table, before going to get their order. He returned with two cups of ice-cream, placed one in front of her before sitting opposite, across the table.
They talked a while, eating from their cups of ice-cream, when suddenly, she jumped to her feet, almost throwing out a mouth-full of the cream, in her struggle to bring out whatever she ate with the cream.
That was his cue. The young man was on his knee as she brought a ring out of her mouth.
“Would you marry me?” He asked.
He had asked the bar attendant to bury the ring in the ice-cream.
It was indeed a surprise for her.
That is the kind of surprise God has for us as we pass through trials.
“We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.” – 2 Cor 6:1 (KJV)
The third thing to know is that with every package of trial, there is an attachment: grace!
In 2 Corinthians 6, Paul asks us not to receive grace in vain, and encourages that we stand through storms and trials.
There is certainly a connection between grace and trials.
I do not dispute that grace is God’s riches at Christ’s expense, but I believe it is more than that.
Grace is power; the power and ability of God manifested to help us stand and overcome. Like the Holy Spirit raising a standard against the flood of the enemy, grace is stirred up when we go through trials; when we KNOW it exists!!!
However most do no know that grace is available with every trials and persecution. We see and feel only the pain and discomfort. Not knowing grace abounds therein. Satan blinds us from this to make us think God has abandoned us!!!
Paul learned in 2 Corinthians 12, when faced with an infirmity which he prayed thrice to be removed, and thrice too, the Lord Jesus asked him to hold on to the grace which was abundantly available.
“And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” – 2 Cor 12:7-9 (KJV)
Knowing grace was available, he would then “most gladly rejoice in infirmities”, knowing that in his weakness, God’s power (grace) takes over!!!
Tapping into Grace.
Finally, we need to know how to tap into grace, as it would be available, yet in vain.
In vain because we do not know how to draw from it!
Peter and James agree with Paul that only by humility can we tap into God’s grace.
“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” – James 4:6 (KJV)
“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” – Peter 5:5 (KJV)
Let us learn not to think too highly of ourselves, so that the power of God would sustain us through trials.
Where are you?
“Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come:
but woe unto him, through whom they come!” (Luke 17:1).
Jesus is the door (John 10) into God’s Way.
It is easy to come to the door, but that is not the ultimate or end, rather it is the
beginning of the journey.
As Christians, we are expected not only to go through the door, but to continue
further into the life behind the door.
Many have turned back after going through the door because of the life behind it;
a challenging life, full of trials and persecutions. God dislikes those that pull back.
“Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have
no pleasure in him.” (Hebrews 10:38).
Walking in the way of God while on earth makes you an enemy of the world.
“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.”
Walking with God makes you a candidate of trials and persecutions.
How you react in the dark tunnels of tribulation would tell if you are matured for
promotion into the next level or not.
As you pass through the fire of affliction, would you change; mangled from what you profess to be (a Christian)? Do you loose your saltiness and drop every goodness? Or do you maintain
who you are?
Spiritually it tells if you are on top of or below the trial mark.
Adam fell beneath the trial mark when he dropped every goodness by blaming Eve, refusing to take responsibility; even when given a second chance.
Cain, reacted violently when God asked him for his brother Abel. Even when God made him know He knew what he had done, there was no remorse or goodness in him.
Abram, Called to walk with God, could not retain the word of God when the pressure of childlessness became too great for him. He followed his wife’s advice and acted according to the “culture” of the people. God “killed” Abram, and called forth Abraham.
Elijah lost his ministry to Elisha, when he allowed despair to change him from a man of Faith to a man of fear.
Hezekiah, went through a trial when on the issue of the ambassadors from Babylon, God left him to see what he would do. He got carried away by fame and affluence and could not repent of going into friendship with the enemy.
The list is endless!
However, Joseph, despite all he went through, from the pit to slavery and prison, did not stop doing good. He remained on top of his trials.
Moses, shamefully ejected and rejected from Egypt, could have charged against God for not giving him support when he tried to “liberate” Israel, walked the serpent and scorpions infested desert. Yet, in his hunger and weakness, the good in him could still be seen as he fought for the helpless daughters of Jethro.
Jeremiah, was tempted to drop the will of God, and quit the ministry to go into business. But no; he had to be the man God wanted him to be.
Steven forgave his killers, despite the pain he went through.
Our ultimate example, Jesus, went through a battle at Gethsemane. A trial that made His sweat as droplets of blood. And on the cross, with all the pain, refused to change from Whom God wanted Him to be.
We are all being measured, even through trials.
When trials come, do you lose your saltiness and change from good to bad?
to be continued …..
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” – Eph 3:20 (KJV)
God can do much more than we can ever ask or think!
But why are we not experiencing it?
The power in you! God can work only to the extent of His power in you!
You and I are the limitations to God’s work in our lives.
How can we grow this power?
First we need to know what the power is.
“Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” – Heb 1:3 (KJV)
His Word or plan has been set in motion and things unfold accordingly. He does not need to come uttering His voice every time for things to move. No. All things are upheld by the “Word (that came) of His power.”
Joel tells us that whosoever carries out His word is powerful!
“….. for he is strong that executeth his word.” – Joel 2:11b (KJV)
The word of God we retain is His power in us!
So we should:
(1) Digest His word for it is the source of Faith.
No amount of tongue-talking can produce faith. Yes; tongues can build Faith, but not produce it! Faith comes only by the Word!
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” – Romans 10:17 (KJV)
(2) Pray from your heart!
“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.” – Jude 1:20 (KJV)
The revelation that comes from the Word should inspire you to pray not just with your lips but from the overflow of the heart!
“My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue.” – Psalms 39:3 (KJV)
Beloved, build yourself and see God do for you, beyond your wildest imaginations!
Our God is awesome!