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.
“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart, for out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” – Luke 6:45
Nightfall was fast approaching; she shivered. Her fear of the dark had steadily grown like a colossus; so monstrous that she dreaded it.
Where would she run to? Where would she hide? If only she could lay down without shutting her eyes in sleep. that would be better. But sleep is a natural thing that no man can resist.
Even with her husband in bed with her, the horrors of the dark still haunted her. She thought that once married she became one with her husband; morally and spiritually right to share every intimacy together.
Did God not create them one? Man and woman created he them? To share not only the intimacy of the home, bed, children and office but also the night?
Or does it mean that there is somewhere that the husband and wife cannot share together despite their heavenly permission? A place so intimate that it is lonely?
She just could not understand. Her husband would be fast asleep, peacefully by her side, oblivious of the prey that she had become in her dreams. A quarry to be crushed and exterminated by the marauding beasts from the deep dungeons of hell. While he eagerly looked forward to nightfall, she prayed in futility that it would not come.
They had done all what the Christian belief permitted; so they thought. They had fasted, prayed, tarried, done all to stand but the nightmare persisted. It was so visible, that she lost some weight.
She believed she was haunted. Earlier she had thought it was the house that was bewitched and because of this, they moved from one house to another without any change or improvement. Now, she thought, she was under a curse.
Many a night she stayed awake, watching her husband snore. Tears became her constant companion as her eyes blazed with the pain of sleeplessness. She became tired, confused and discouraged.
That was when a friend brought her to me for counseling.
Listening to her, I found out she was in bondage in her mind.
“But their minds were blinded! For until this day remaineth the same Vail untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament, which is done away in Christ.” – 2 Cor. 3:14
She was in bondage to fear as a result of negative thoughts and imaginations.
And so are many today.
…. 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!
What you see is what you get!
Imagination supplies you the mental pictures that you alone can see – in your thought Chamber! It is the “evidence” of what you desire; the “evidence” of your faith. If you cannot see it or “imagine” it, you cannot have it!
Faith cannot operate without spiritual sight. That is where imagination comes in.
Everyone has imagination. When properly used or directed, it can carry you from the visible, physical realm to the invisible spirit realm. It can also transport things from the invisible spirit realm to the visible physical or natural realm. Everything in the physical realm first existed in and came from the spirit realm.
“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” – Heb 11:3 (KJV)
Imagination is a visible picture seen only by the creator, the “visioneer”. The more the picture or image is “retained” (Rom. 1:28) and nurtured, the more life it is given.
That is why Jesus said, if any man look lustfully at a woman, he has done it!
“But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” – Matt 5:28 (KJV)
It is not just that one looked; but HOW the person looked: LUSTFULLY! In other words, creating, or raising a mental picture of the woman without her clothes. This employs the imagination.
Physically, visibly, people see the person as innocent; not committed adultery. But in the invisible realm, the spirit realm, such a person is guilty, and has committed adultery!
There may be no “evidence” of what has been done. But spiritually, there is “evidence”!
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” – Heb 11:1 (KJV)
“.. evidence of things not seen”!
Faith is thought that is hopeful, anchored on the Word of God and backed up with love.
With the “evidence”, your thought, you can be convicted; “accused” by the accuser of brethren. Your thought can convict you in the spirit realm!
Hate or hatred is a negative emotional thought toward someone or something.
“Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” – 1 John 3:15 (KJV)
The person is called and judged a murderer; though has not physically killed anyone! Negative thought or imagination, not pulled down or destroyed can convict you in the spirit realm!
Here the Holy Spirit reaffirms that our thought can act in “evidence” against us. Physically, you can be smiling with a person, but spiritually there is “evidence” that you have killed the person!
“By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son.” – Heb 11:17 (KJV)
Was Isaac really, naturally “offered up”? No!
The concluded thought in Abraham, and the sweet surrender of Isaac rose to God as a sweet smelling savour; it is as good as done!
Your thought goes beyond what you do in the natural realm. It enters into the spirit realm and opens you to either Faith or fear. It tells God continually who you are.
“The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.” – Psalms 94:11 (KJV)
Demonic forces also see your thought!
“….. he that seeketh mischief, it shall come unto him.” – Prov 11:27b (KJV)
They see your thought, else they will not have “evidence” with which to accuse you.
What you think will come to you: good or bad. So:
(1) Cast down imaginations and put thoughts into captivity.
“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 Cor 10:5 (KJV)
(2) Entertain only good and pure thoughts.
“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.” – Phil 4:8 (KJV)
May God help us keep our thoughts pure. Amen.