CRUISE REVIVAL

 

 

““I am a Jew; I worship Jehovah, the God of heaven, who made the earth and sea.” Then he told them he was running away from the Lord…Then they picked up Jonah and threw him overboard into the raging sea—and the storm stopped! The men stood there in awe before Jehovah, and they sacrificed to Him and vowed to serve Him” (Jon 1:9-16; LB)

 

The boat looked like any ordinary boat. The seamen on duty did not know that soon they shall have an encounter with God, that their lives will be changed forever. The trip looked like any other. The route was the old Jewish port of Joppa, across the Great Sea and unto far away Tarshish in Spain. The passenger called Jonah stood in line with others bought his ticket. He then quietly went bellow, to the darkest part of the cabins. That third class cabin ticket was all his money could purchase. Anyway, this was not a pleasure trip he thought to himself. He was not ready to spend more money running away from the Lord. He went to his bunker and straight to sleep, trying to ignore this anxiety that Jehovah may locate him, in the belly of this old ship. But of one thing he was sure: he was not ready to go to that wicked city Nineveh and waste all his compassion on some stupid, idolatrous people for whom nobody cares. So he exchanged the anointing for ministry for a cheap cruise on the Mediterranean Sea.

Maybe God will forget… Maybe God will have mercy on him…Maybe God will forget saving the pagans…After all, Jehovah is his God, not theirs…Comforting himself, the prophet fell asleep…

 

For some time all things were quiet. Jonah slept on and off. He even indulged in a half smile, thinking that he outran God…Then suddenly, the ship started shaking…the wind started blowing like mad…the waves went up and down with a vengeance…No stars, no moon, no light at all…

The seamen tried to steady the ship. They did all they can to balance it on the angry waves. But nothing worked…Suddenly they knew that this storm was different than all others they’ve witnessed in the past. This was a strange storm…this was so unexpected…this was not even the season for storms- they said…something is wrong… the gods are angry, the gods are after them…

These were strong and hardened men, but the wind brought them to their knees. When all hope was gone, to their surprise, they found themselves praying… pleading with any god to have mercy on them all…They never prayed like this in all of their lives…Then one had an idea to cast lots, to find the guilty one, the one who offended the gods…and the lot fell on passenger number…Jonah Amittai….Who is this Jonah?… Anxiously, the Captain and all the rest went down below and found Jonah sleeping…This was a careless sleep of death…They asked him why sleep at such a time as this…he said that he was running from the God of Heaven, who created the land and the sea…the sea?…this was the man who had the boldness to enter a ship and ignore the call of God who made the sea…This is the call of the sea…Jonah has to go and meet the God of the sea…To save the rest of men, Jonah must die… then Jonah was thrown overboard…and suddenly the sea became quiet, satisfied with its offering…

The seamen fell down in awe, and worshiped Jehovah, the God of Jonah, the Creator God, the God who calls men to His service, the Jealous God, the God who purses His backsliding servants, the God who seeks and finds His own worshippers, the God who none can defeat, the God who accepts the death of one man, so that others may live…the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and our God forever! Among crew and passengers, brought together by an invisible hand and a strange call, revival has started on that old ship…

 

As you know, Jonah did not really die. The same God who provided the storm, also provided a big fish who swallowed and carried him free of charge to his primary place of ministry. This is not just the prophet’s testimony of repentance and restoration. It is also the story of how revival can come suddenly on a people who never dreamt of God before. It is the story of God’s compassion on pagans, on sinners, who need a Savior too.

This is a great lesson for us all, even as we pray for revival to come… When all things seem ‘normal’, in the midst of business as usual…suddenly, the power of God may hit your comfort zone and shake your boat. It may be losing a job, a sickness, pain, divorce…or it may look like death. But the storm is intended to humble you, to bring you to your knees before your Creator. Trapped between darkness and rough seas, in the midst of loneliness, loss and the anxiety of a million unanswered questions… you will meet with God. You will discover the power of prayer and the fragrance of worship to be the only Balm for your thirsty soul. The grace of God shall be your portion and revival your reward! Amen!

 

In Christ I declare:

I shall not die, but live and declare the wonderful things of God!

I am saved by the Blood of the Lamb!

I have answered the call to worship and serve God, forever!

The grace of God is upon me!

God has revived my heart!

I am healed and restored!

Revival shall come to this land!

In Jesus name

Amen!

LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION

 

“And bring us not into temptation but rescue us from evil” (Luke 11:4; AMP)

Our prayer should be:

“Heavenly Father, We come before Your Throne of Mercy and Grace! We worship You, we bow at Your feet, Lord Jesus! We need You more than ever! We pray for wisdom! We pray for strength! We need a fresh impartation of Your Spirit!

Please do not allow us to choose the type of test we think we can withstand in life. Please do not let us be independent from Your leading. Please restrain and discipline us in preparation for the future and necessary temptations. You alone know our capacity to withstand different trials. You alone know our weaknesses and strengths. Our hearts are deceitful and we may overestimate our strengths and foolishly ignore our weaknesses. You alone chose our path in life. You alone chose our life partner! You alone chose who should be our children. Please shut any door that will bring failure during times of temptation. Please shut any door of pride and disgrace. May the door of faith be opened!

We desire to glorify Your name at all times, even during temptations, Trusting You to the end, we resist the devil; we reject his lies; we destroy his hold over our minds and emotions!  We trust in You, even today, even right now! There is nothing impossible for You to do! You know the end from the beginning! You never panic and Your never withdraw in crisis! Help us to be like Jesus!

Dear Heavenly Father, I desire to bring a smile on Your face…I desire that You boast of me, Your child!

In Jesus name I pray,

Amen!”

 

Prayer requests please… Tomorrow we have our annual Drama called The Nativity. Each year we mount a stage in the middle of the town and present the story of the Birth of Jesus, in open air, for all to come and see the glory of God! All the participants are members of our church. There is no ‘professional’ actor.

The girl who plays the leading role for the angels’ ballet just manifested signs of ‘chicken pox’. She is 12 years old. The 3 months old baby boy who ‘plays the role’ of baby Jesus just developed pneumonia (?) and the doctors said that he has to undergo a surgical procedure tomorrow (?). I do not practice medicine anymore so I cannot confirm or not these diagnosis. But both looked sick today at the final rehearsal. The parents had faith and came with them like this. We prayed for both of them for divine miraculous healing. We reject any false report. The devil is a liar and we chose to reject all his attacks of fear, discouragement, confusion and doubt. Jesus is Lord over these two children, over Father’s House Bible Church and over Warri, Nigeria! May heavens be opened tomorrow as we present the story of God’s love for sinners like me and you. We promise to give God all the glory for the healings, for the salvation of souls, for the joy in our hearts and for the mighty testimonies that will surely follow! In Jesus name, Amen!

BELIEVE AND BELIEVE!

 

“Believe in the Lord your God and you shall have success!

Believe His prophets and everything will be all right!” (2Chr 20:20; LB)

This is a testimony from our church. Last month, during or women’s fellowship, a prophetic word was given: ‘No mother shall bury her child’. We all sensed that it was the Holy Spirit encouraging us, especially the mothers. We all believed. We all shouted a loud ‘Amen!’ Then we prayed that the seed of faith concerning this prophetic word shall not be quenched in the future trials, but it shall stand and be fruitful! To the glory of God!

Few days later a sister came to share with me her testimony of faith during trial. She is heavily pregnant waiting to deliver soon. She told me that she was not able to attend the last women fellowship. But she phoned another sister to ask how it was. She was told about the theme of the meeting and about this prophetic word. She too quickly answered: ‘Amen!’ She said that she knew the word was from God. Few days later her faith was to be tried by ‘fire’. This is her testimony:

 

Her son of three drank half a bottle of ‘Raid’ (an insecticide used against mosquitoes here in Nigeria). She found the boy on the floor, unconscious, with the bottle by him. She held him and ran to the hospital. Many people, friends and relatives gathered to help and sympathize. Most of them could not even pray for the situation seem hopeless. Even the doctor looked worried. But to everybody’s surprise, the mother looked calm, quietly praying in tongues. She told all people that her son will not die because it has been prophesied in the church that ‘no mother shall bury her child’. She insisted that she believes the word of the prophet! She said that she will not be disappointed by God because she believes! She looked foolish with her faith. The doctors tried their best but the condition remained unchanged. The little boy remained deeply unconscious, his body shaken with seizures and foaming at the mouth.

Then something happened!!! After one and a half hour suddenly, to everybody surprise, the boy sneezed and woke up as from sleep. He called ‘Mummy…’ And that was it! He started playing and he asked for food. He was sent home that same day.

The doctor called the mother in his office and asked her: ‘what church do you attend?’ She answered: ‘Father’s House Bible Church Warri, Sir…’ The doctor kept quiet for few seconds then he said: ‘that is a good church…Continue to serve God there…Today you have inspired me with your faith! Dear woman, you are blessed!’

It is so wonderful to be a child of God! It is a miracle to trust the Living God!  It is a great privilege to attend a living church! It is great gain to trust in prophetic words given under the anointing of the Holy Spirit! For the boy’s healing, for the victory of faith, for the testimony of this dear sister…All glory goes to God alone!

 

In Christ I declare:

I trust God!

I trust in His prophets!

I reject false prophets and false prophecies!

My faith in God shall be rewarded with great testimonies!

I believe 100%!

In Jesus name

Amen!

FREEDOM LANDING

 

“For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently” (1Cor 10:13, AMP)

 

All believers have to pass thru trials and temptations. These are permitted by God to purify our faith and to increase our strength of character. Pray that God will be totally in control in choosing the type of trial you shall encounter. Do not boast of personal wisdom or strength. God alone knows our strength and weakness. He knows what we can withstand and what we cannot. A proud person ignores the provision of strength and wisdom God provides during the trial of faith. Pride will not allow him ‘to beg’. The season of temptation is difficult because we see no way out of it. The devil is not original. The same way he has tempted Eve and Samson that is the same was he will attack you. It is the same ‘old story’ of money, sex and lust for power. The devil will also attack with fear and confusion. You feel trapped in the midst of circumstances that you cannot change. Your flesh loves to be in control. But during difficult times of trial, you painfully discover that your flesh, pretending to be ‘God’, is indeed useless, Trials reveal the truth and truth is always painful to a deceived man. And the truth is that without Christ, we can do nothing. Without Christ, we are doomed. The truth is: we need a Savior! We need God! We need Jesus Christ!

But trials can be a source of spiritual holy adventure. You do not have to fall in the midst of the temptation. You do not have to fail during your trial of faith. This pain may be sent to you as an opportunity to shine for Jesus! There shall be a medal and a crown for the overcomers. God has promised to be with us in the midst of troubles, He has also promised to provide an open door of relief and escape. When all things look that they conspire to ‘quench’ the life in you, please actively look for that door of freedom. It has to be there for God who promised is faithful! God cannot lie! This door may be small or may be not what you expect. But by faith pass thru it and you shall see that it leads outside the grip of darkness and smoke of confusion. Jump outside and you shall land not in death, but in freedom.

For example, this is the simplest advice you should remember: during sexual temptation, the bedroom’s door is your door of escape. It is that simple! May the desire for freedom of sin overpower that wicked deceitful demon of lust! May the desire to please God prevail against the weakness of your spirit! Do what Joseph did! Say NO to sin! Run away, even if half naked. It is better to be disgraced in public than to lose your reward! It is better to be classified by the devil as a coward than to silently fall with him, pretending to be helpless, betraying the God you say you love so much. Go to that door! The landing of freedom is sure! I have tried it many times! It never fails!  You can do it!

 

In Christ I declare:

I am not alone in my pain!

God is with me in my pain!

I shall overcome!

I shall find the door of escape and the landing of victory!

My testimony as a believer is sure!

In Jesus name

Amen!

A SONG FROM THE BANQUETING HALL

       

“He brings me to the banquet hall, and everyone can see how much He loves me… He took me home with Him for a festive meal, but His eyes feasted on me” (SS 2:4, LB, TM)

Lust desires lust. .Male lust’ will chase after ‘female lust’. The opposite is also true.  Inwardly, the secret lust desires its satisfaction by longing and looking for outward visible lust. Without discipline, a seed of lust multiplies into a poisonous harvest of sin that kills any other good plantation. Do not be deceived that a little ‘innocent’ lust will ‘add spice to your love life’. It is not spice but poison. The sin of lust will exhaust you, mentally, emotionally and physically. What you call ‘a little lust’ is ‘a little viper’ that will betray and bite its owner before she is charmed to cooperate for a show to others (Ecc 10:11).

Even after a thousand years, lust will never develop into true love, for no lie can spring out from truth. For an unbeliever, lust is the only option to experience ‘love’. But for you dear brethren, the fountain of eternal true love is ever available, the well of living water always fresh, the bread of life ready on your table. Why spend money on what does not satisfy? Why go under the table and compete with the dogs for crumbs mixed with dust? Why don’t you give Jesus a chance to teach you how to love?

Now wait…I have to go…Listen…My Lover is calling me to the banqueting table…Are you seeing it… His banner over me is open, unashamed, destiny changing, free and wonderful love! I am singing as I go…Bye…

“He loves me I cannot tell why…

He loves me I cannot tell why…

On Calvary tree, He suffered for me…

Jesus loves me I cannot tell why…”

In Christ I declare:

I belong to Jesus!

I love Jesus!

Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so…

In Jesus name

Amen!

SPIRITUALLY SELF-CONTAINED

 

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (Jam 1:2-4)

We should rejoice during temptations, not because they are pleasant, for they are not, but because these difficult times give us an opportunity to mature spiritually. God needs mature sons and daughters. God cannot trust ‘a baby Christian’ but He can trust and use a mature believer.  He is a warrior in the army of God, a servant who pleases Him and a holy vessel in His hand.

During the painful trials, we shall be tempted by the devil to grumble against God. Resist the desire to blame God for your pains! Do not be deceived by the devil that God does not love you or that God does not care for you. These are all lies! The truth is that God loves you! God cares for you! That is why He sent His Son to die for you! There is no other reason! If you believe the lies, you are already falling in the midst of the temptation. Trusting in lies is a sign of backsliding.

Make up your mind that for as long as you live, you will never blame God, you will never doubt Your heavenly Father’s love, goodness, grace and mercy towards you! This is a decision you have to make during your quiet time, long before the fire of testing starts to burn.

 

For example, Eve failed the test of faithfulness because she doubted God’s goodness towards her and Adam. She believed the lie of the devil that there are other means by which she can become ‘like God’. She believed that God did not offer her the best. That was the point when she failed the test.  But observe Joseph, who was tempted by Potiphar’s wife. He completely refused to yield to her lustful desires. He passed the test of temptation and even though he went to prison for some time, God rewarded him with ‘the crown of life’, according to His promise. That is why each time we read his story we are encouraged afresh to press on in life. That is why when we think of Joseph, we are reminded of our Lord.

A patient man is a strong man. A patient man who quietly endures and continues to trust God’s Word in the fires of temptation being conscious of the presence of God, that man shall become ‘complete’. He will become a source of blessings for many and a true leader. He shall be spiritually ‘self-contained’ like God. He will stop running after men’s approval. He has the resources to live a successful Christian life.

 

I remember the day I decided that I shall constantly pray to be like the heroes of the Bible: Patient like Sarah, Faithful like Joseph, Strong like Deborah, Bold like Esther, wise like Daniel, humble like Mary, anointed like Paul… God has answered me and I see myself getting more mature spiritually and more confident in ministry. Follow me as I follow Christ! We shall suffer together but we shall rejoice together too! I know it! I can feel it in my heart and even in my bones! Amen!

 

In Christ I declare:

I rejoice in all things!

I give thanks in the midst of all things!

I trust God to perfect the good work He has started in me!

I refuse to doubt God’s Word!

My testimony shall increase! To the glory of God, to the shame of satan and for the encouragement of many!

To God be all the glory!

In Jesus name

Amen!

LOVE CROWNED WITH ETERNAL LIFE

“Blessed (happy, to be envied) is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation, for when he has stood the test and been approved, he will receive [the victor’s] crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him… Do not be misled (deceived), my beloved brethren” (Jam 1:12, 16 AMP)

The greatest danger for a believer is to ‘fall into temptation’, to fail the test of true love, to become infatuated with lust for the world and to betray God and His purpose for your life. Do not ignore the danger to compromise your faith during difficult times! The devil wants you to replace love with lust. That is a spiritual demotion of destiny. Love is a champion. Like a lion, love is a leader and fears nothing. True love never fails any test to remain faithful to its lover. But lust is a loser and a coward. Lust deceives many that he is love. Lust is ‘fake love’ and can only succeed in the heart of them that betray the best. Lust fails all tests to prove its worth. Lust is destroyed in the trial. All who indulged in lust end up regretting it! Lust is a criminal that comes to you with a rose in the hand and a gun in the pocket. Do not be deceived dear brethren!
The word ‘deceive’ means to be misled, to wander, to go astray, far from truth, virtue and safety. Lust is an impostor, a wicked unmerciful leader of the blind, taking them into the pit of shame. Indulging in lust is already backsliding. Repent and come back to the Cross, to the God of the Bible! Even if you have failed the test, you are still alive, so there is hope for restoration! Do not be deceived and chose to dwell in sin! Remember Jesus Christ Crucified!
The word ‘temptation’ in Greek is a neutral word. It is not negative, the way it sounds in English and it is not positive. The word means to test, to try, to prove, to examine or to experience by a piercing pain. It is like enrolling to pass a very difficult examination. Your attitude during the exam shall determine the result. If you pass the exam, like Joseph, you shall be rewarded as a champion and leader, and you shall be given ‘the crown of life’. But if you fail the exam, like Eve, you shall suffer as a loser in life. The consequence for failure during temptation is shame, sickness and death and it affects your descendants too.
We cannot totally avoid temptation. The Lord Jesus was also tempted as a man on earth. Temptation itself is not sin, but betraying God during the process of temptation, that is sin. We are to be prepared to encounter temptations. We are even to rejoice when they come. This is because we can now practically apply all the lessons of wisdom gathered from the Word of God. Temptation comes to prove and to separate the wise from the foolish, the faithful from the rebellious or the winners from the losers.
Temptation does not come from God but from the devil. God permits temptation to visit us so that we become stronger spiritually. Our character has to be tried in the fire, our faith needs to become mature and our testimony needs to be sealed. If temptation is totally absent in your life, you are not a child of God. As parents, we pray for our children that they may not encounter ‘negative things’ or temptations. But in the absence of all temptations, they shall remain weak spiritually, without the confidence needed to be successful servants of God. As parents we need wisdom how we should pray for our children.
Temptation separates love from lust. Even the unbelievers value true love. All the wonderful poems of classical literature, the music of the masters and the art of great artists, all these are inspired from an hour of true love. Even if the love did not last, they counted themselves ‘lucky’ for tasting that that only the ‘gods’ can provide. All these for just an hour of true love…
But as believers we are offered true love that is everlasting!!! True believers are artists, and composers and musicians, creating masterpieces of encouragement and hope and grace that the world will never know!
“Lord Jesus, I bow my knees to You… You loved me first, with an everlasting love that nothing can destroy…I worship You forever…”

In Christ I declare:
I love God!
I love my husband and children!
In Jesus name
Amen!