WHO DO YOU TRUST?

 

 

The prayer meeting was good. The Holy Spirit moves freely in our midst. There was a call to come and serve God in the church. Two different women testified that, for some weeks, they could not sleep because God is telling them to join the choir in the church. Both women sing very well, they belonged to a church choir in the past but since they came to father’s House they both decided to ‘take it easy’. Both these women are not in a good position to join the choir now. One is mourning the loss of her baby who died two months ago and the other is heavily pregnant. Naturally they are not the best candidates for the choir. But the Holy Spirit is Lord. They have to say YES to God and all other things will all into place.

We sang the chorus ‘I say Yes Lord yes, to Your will and to Your ways…’ on and on for about an hour. Our spirits were encouraged and we finally said a joyful and unconditional yes to God, to serve Him, in any capacity he desires. No more excuses! Then the sermon came with power and anointing. It was from Jeremiah 17.

 

“Cursed is the man who trusts in man

And makes flesh his strength,

Whose heart departs from the Lord.

For he shall be like a shrub in the desert,

And shall not see when good comes,

But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness,

In a salt land which is not inhabited.

 

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,

And whose hope is the Lord.

For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,

Which spreads out its roots by the river

And will not fear when heat comes;

But its leaf will be green,

And will not be anxious in the year of drought,

Nor will cease from yielding fruit (Jer 17:5-8)

 

The question is this: who do you trust? If you trust in yourself or any other man, in created things like silver or gold, then your life shall be like   ‘a shrub in the desert’. The life of a man who trusts in self is spiritually stagnant, boring, hopeless and lonely.

Trust in man ends in poverty, isolation, backsliding, constant anxiety and addiction to different sins. There is no victory. The enemies surround, threaten and attack constantly. God chastises His children by withdrawing the blessings He generously gave in the past. Idolatry always ends in emptiness and hopelessness.

 

But the trust in God Almighty manifests as a fruitful ever growing abundant relationship with God. The faithful man is spiritual stable and strong because his roots are in the right location. He is planted by the river of life. Even in ‘a year of drought’ (chronic sickness, joblessness, persecutions…) he is not afraid of death, poverty of defeat. His ‘neighbor’ is Jesus Christ, the water of life. And there is no fence of separation between them. That intimate relationship with God produces the assurance of salvation. The promises of God are fulfilled in his life.

 

What is the danger? Why so many believers who say they trust in God end up so badly? The answer is the heart!

The greatest idol is self. The heart is self-deceived and incurable wicked.

Self-deception means to lie to yourself until you believe that the lies are truth.  The heart is incurably sick. Only God can heal it!

It is easy to deceive yourself. We easily justify false beliefs about ourselves. The reason we do it is because deception brings comfort. Truth is good because it brings freedom and the power to change. But truth is painful and we reject the pain to change. Then we cling to lies, as an easy compromise. After sometimes, we convince ourselves that the lie is the same or even better than the truth we rejected.

The sin of deception is a very deep. It is also very common. All men are born with the capacity to lie and deceive. It cannot be detected and removed except by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is a classic example: A child is lying to his father. The father sees enough objective evidence that his son is lying to him. But because he so much wants his son to be a good boy who never lies, that he chooses to believe his son. For the father it is much easier to believe the lies of the son. This is how the son has succeeded to deceive his father.

 

What is the solution?

You cannot mature spiritually and be fruitful if self –deception is not radically dealt with at the Cross!

Acknowledge the sin of self-deception! Ask God to search your heart and to reveal this sin to you! Repent of it!

Passive hearing of a sermon without obeying the Word of God is self-deception (Jam 1:22)

Thank God for the Holy Spirit! Thank God for the gift of a new heart in Christ! Reject empty religion! Be born again!

 

In Christ I declare:

I am born again!

I trust in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit!

I repent for self-deception and any other man-made idols!

Jesus is Lord over my life, my marriage, my home, my ministry, forever!

In Jesus name

Amen!

LOVING SERVICE

 

 

 

“Through love serve one another…For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Gal 5:13; Mat 20:28)

 

To serve it means to be useful to another; to be worthy of trust; to be faithful to another; to be a helper; to favor another above yourself; to bring satisfaction; to minister and pray for another; to wait for another, to give the proper respect to another; to perform all the duties of an office; to supply the needs of another; to accommodate and be flexible with another, to forgive, to promote another above yourself.  A servant is a waiter, a domestic helper, a secretary, an assistant, a follower, a nurse.

The opposite of serving means to hold back, to withdraw, to refuse, to resist or to become the master or a lord.

 

There are two types of believers, weak and strong (Rom 14). This distinction comes from the type of consciences they have. The conscience is a part of the human spirit. It is planted by God to tell us what is right and what is wrong; what is of God and what is of the devil. The conscience starts to develop in a child in the pre-school years. If the parents are believers they will use the word of God to train their child’s conscience. Soon, their child knows what the will of God is and what is not. Then he will grow to be a mature and strong believer. But in the case of unbelieving or legalistic parents, they insist on many rules and regulations, adding a false burden on their child’s conscience. When the child becomes an adult, he will be a weak and religious believer. This man is always afraid to sin. He always assumes that his sins will take him to hell. He is afraid to make God angry in a multitude of things.  A weak believer has an over-sensitive conscience. He is easily upset with things that are not so important. He is very slow in making decisions and often comes back to change them. He does not understand the freedom with have in Christ or the love that never fails.

 

When you think of marriage, think of serving. Success in marriage comes from serving one another through love, for the sake of Christ! Let me make it easier for you…

When you are ready to be useful to another, to be worthy of his trust, to be faithful unto death, to help and to bring satisfaction another, to minister and pray for another, to wait and to give the proper respect to another, to forgive, to assist, to follow and to nurse another back to health…and so much more…then you are ready to marry!

 

To serve another is not easy at all. That is why success in marriage does not come easy. There are many hindrances along the way. The flesh is selfish and proud. It wants to be bossy and in control. The flesh hates to be seen as a servant. Many ‘house girls’ marry rich men just so that they will be ‘madams’. For them, the idea to be a servant ‘again’ is crazy.

Let’s imagine that a strong Christian woman marries a spiritually weak man. Remember that strength and weakness is not physical but is connected with the conscience. For example, the wife can eat anything but the husband forbids ‘snails’ in the house, for example. This is because his mother told him that in her village, snails are forbidden. He does not take the time to study the Bible and see if such food is acceptable. What his mother said is final to him. The truth is that Jesus declared all foods clean and acceptable before God (Mk 7:19). The husband imagines that if he eats snails, he sins and he will go to hell. But the wife grew up in a house where snail stew was  a delicacy and she likes it very much. What will she do now? According to the law of a servant, she will chose to abstain from eating snails, so that her husband will not wound his already weak conscience.  If she wants to be like Jesus, she will learn to serve him as he is.  She has to be very sensitive to the (greater) needs of her husband and learn to ignore her own. Service means sacrifice. This is never easy. But this is what Jesus did. This is what love requires. The only option is that patiently, she will pray and wait for her husband to mature spiritually. Then one day, his ‘eyes will be open’ and he will see the power of the Cross, of sacrifice, love, humility and Christian service. And then, he will change…he will become a servant too. That is when marriage becomes balanced and sweet! Oh…

 

Dear wife, you cannot expect to marry a man ‘ready-made’. Even if he is a believer, you cannot expect to have an ‘easy life’ with a man who is so trained by his mother that he needs nothing from you again. Personally, I do not wait for any harvest in my husband’s character, except the one that comes from the seeds I planted in him over the years. Many tears have been the only rain for my seeds. But this is God’s law: Humble service and wisdom come before honor. I am just reaping a great harvest of ‘divine love’, from seeds I planted more than twenty years ago. At that time, it looked impossible that we can ever come to the unity of the Spirit necessary to start a church, for example. We were too different…To serve one another in love meant to cross oceans and cultures that have never met. But these days, this peculiar unity is manifesting; it is solid, real and strong. It is not just the seed. It is the abundant life harvest of the wonderful grace we found at the Cross, the promised blessings of God upon the ‘international field’ of our marriage and ministry.
Lastly…Do not dream less! Do not edit your vision! Do not limit God! Do not be tired to serve the other even in the absence of kisses and hugs! Do not give up on your destiny! God who planted it in your spirit is still watching over you! You can do all things, even serving your (difficult) spouse in love, thru Christ who strengthens you!

 

In Christ I declare:

I plant in the Spirit and I reap eternal life and blessings in my marriage!

Thru faith and patience I inherit the promises of God!

My marriage is promoted from seeds to harvest time!

To the glory of God!

In Jesus name

Amen!

FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE

 

 

“For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!” (Ps 139:13-17)

Dear Heavenly Father I ask for forgiveness for the abortions I have done in the past, as a doctor and as a mother.
For the sake of Christ, I receive Your peace!”

God knows everything about you. God knows everything about your children. You are not a mistake. You were in God’s mind before you came on earth! You are a planned pregnancy! God formed you in the secret place where no human eye can see and no human hand can touch.
Today take a moment and praise the God who formed your inward parts! He started with one little cell and lovingly multiplies it to become a baby! All your organs function well without asking for help from you!
God covered you in your mother’s womb! The word means to place a screen over the baby, to protect and defend him or her from many enemies. There are so many reasons why a pregnancy can end in a miscarriage: the baby may be sick, the womb or the placenta may have a problem, the mother may be sick too. But even so, at just the right time, you came out alive and well. Praise God!

God made all the organs. He formed the inward parts. These words mean the kidneys, the heart and all the rest organs. Everything inside you, all your organs, visible or invisible, co-operate with the will of God. That is why you live! God made and protects your body. The words mean to be jealous over the wellbeing of the organs!
God protects your baby’s heart and mind, from the time of conception until the very end. No heart beats by itself. God counts the beats, the seconds and the days! You will not be cheated by untimely death! God knows His job! God is in control! Praise Him! I mean really praise God aloud with singing!
Today I praise God for His protection over me from my conception until the very end?
Today I praise God for His continuous personal loving protection over my children and grandchildren?
My life and my children we are signs and wonders of the only Living God!
From the bottom of my heart, we praise You Lord!

I am fearfully and wonderfully made. My very body declares the power and the glory of Almighty God! I can never feel ugly! I can never feel too short or too fat! He that made the stars and placed them in the sky, made me as well! God made me unique and special! His name is Wonderful and I am His child!
God placed a soul in my body. God breathe His Spirit inside my soul!

In Christ I declare:
I was conceived and born to know God and to praise Him!
I shall fulfill God’s purpose for me!
With long life God will satisfy me and show me His salvation!
My children are all stars and they shall all be saved!
We shall praise God forever!
In Jesus name
Amen!

KISSES AND WINE

 

 

“Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth: for Thy love is better than wine” (SS 1:2)

God the Son is the most romantic person in the whole universe. Can you imagine that some people, even among the believers, think that Jesus is a boring, hard master? The devil has deceived so many, especially about the character of God. From the time of Adam and Eve, satan has tried to convince men that he is the one who loves and cares, he knows what love is, he is the one who really understand us. This is the terrible power of sin…

When God molded Adam from the earth, He kissed him to live. We are created and live by the power of His breath and by passion of the Father’s kiss. Can you believe this? Are you afraid of too much passion? Are you afraid to get drunk with His wine? God’s first command is to love Him with all our heart and all our strength! Can a kiss be missing from all our heart? Can wine become water in all our strength? To the pure all things are pure, but to them who are corrupt, nothing is pure…Are you proud of your doubts?

The tragedy is that most people do not want to know the truth; so few believers are willing to pay the price for spiritual maturity. I look around and I see so many ‘baby Christians’. They like to come to a church where there is a little preaching combined with a lot of music and excitement. Much effort is spent in creating ‘the right atmosphere’ or ‘the right sound’; but at the end of the service the hearts of men remain unchanged. It is in fact a double tragedy because the people do not even know that they are unchanged, at least not for a long time. The emotions are swelled with the personal charisma of the preacher or the voice of the singers. People cry and ‘worship’ and all along they are ignorant that they do not touch the heart of the Father. I see that the hem of Jesus is too clean…Why so few come and touch it with needy sickly trembling dusty fingers longing for a drop of life…

In Hebrew, the name Solomon is translated ‘peace’. It is one of God’s very powerful names. It reveals the best God has for His children. It means to be perfect, wealthy, healthy, friendly, safe, happy and whole. But this is another wonderful revelation: the word for his bride, the Shulammite, comes from exactly the same root. Think of it…One is a rich and great king. The other is just a village girl whom he loves. The gap made by the world has been closed by the love that never fails. The Cross has made them one! Bride and bridegroom become one in Christ! May you long for the kiss of God, for the wine of His lips…I pray…

In Christ I declare:
Jesus has just kissed my heart!
I am drunk with the Holy Spirit!
I love God!
In Jesus name
Amen!

UNQUENCHABLE LOVE (2)

 

 

“Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away” (SS 8:7)

 

Brother G started attending our church about seven years ago. He was saved but found no joy in his former fellowship. He had to change his address and with it, he decided to look for another church. One Sunday, he went to a church not far from ours. He said that he became very restless and could not even sit down. He came out and started walking down the street. He then saw our sign board and on the spot he made up his mind to enter in. He said that immediately he felt at home. At the end of the service he went to the head usher and told him that he wants to join the ushering ministry. He told me he never did that in the past. He said that because he is naturally very shy he decided to push himself beyond his comfort zone. He also made a vow to God that he will come every Friday and Saturday to clean the sanctuary and arrange the chairs for the Sunday service. Nobody appointed him. Lead by the Holy Spirit he appointed himself to do this humble ‘unglamorous’ but very necessary work for God. As his pastor, I am a witness that he has been faithful to his vow ever since.

 

He comes from a poor family. His mother had two children for two different men. She could not take care of them. When her son was one year old, she gave him up to a richer aunt living in Warri. Bro G  grew up there with his cousins. But the aunt sent only her children to school. G worked in the house and in her shop. He managed to go to school much later. When he was twenty, he left his aunt’s place and hired a room for himself. He worked as a driver and did other odd jobs. He gathered some money and bought a printer. That is how he started a ‘business center’. He also went into a partnership with a company and drove a ke-ke for them, paying daily the rental fees. At the end of two years, the ke-ke became his (a ke-ke is a covered tricycle used here as taxi).

When he was about twenty five, his birth mother came from the village to look for him. That is the first time he saw her as an adult. She explained that she could not take care of him that is why she gave him to the aunt. He was very angry that she ‘abandoned’ him and refused to accept her apology. She went away crying…

 

Brother G is now 37. He is a very committed Christian. Each Friday and Saturday I see his ke-ke parked in front of our church. I know that he is inside cleaning the sanctuary. He never had a girl-friend. He never dated any girl.  He is very shy. For the past two years he has been coming to my office telling me about his desire to marry. He told me that in the past, if he likes a sister and tries to talk to her, his tongue will ‘seize’. He will be unable to talk properly and begins to stammer. That is how his heart got ‘broken’ three times. In Nigeria, the women generally like to marry confident men. When the sisters saw him struggling to even talk, they rejected him immediately. To make matters worse, he does not know how to dress properly. He has no ‘fashion sense’ at all. His shirts are too big for him ‘flying’ on his (too big) old man’s style of trousers. He also told me that the sisters hate his ke-ke. They could have preferred a car (of course). To add to his problems, he is a Genotype AS. That means he has to marry only a woman whose Genotype is AA. This is to avoid the risk of having children born with Sickle cell anemia (This is the advice we give to the young people in our church who desire to marry).

 

Each time Bro G came to my office, I encouraged and prayed with him. I told him that the problem is not the tongue, is not the clothes, is not the ke-ke and is not the Genotype. His problem is that he has not found his own ‘rib’. I told him to be patient and continue to serve God and that one day, he will meet his bride. The sign that the sister is his true bride will be this: she will love him exactly as he is and she will not be afraid to change him for the better. I also told him that she will be a mature Christian, a woman who has suffered but by the grace of God she overcame her past. I told him that she will be about the same age with him and that she is a beautiful woman. Her sufferings, combined with the work of the Holy Spirit, have made her a humble and mature woman of God. I told him that she will have her own hand-work and she will never be a liability to him. She will be a true God given helper, an encourager, a challenger and a true blessing to him. I could see it in his eyes… It was in my office that he learned how to dream. For most poor people all over the world, romance is too much a luxury. But he is a child of God. That was my confidence in encouraging him. Nothing is too hard for God to do for His children.  At the beginning he was even afraid to say ‘Amen!’ He will open his mouth and forget to close it when I will tell him things about his future bride. At the beginning, he will always look down. But with time, his faith increased. The breakthrough came sometimes last year when he said that now he believes that I am not just his pastor, but his mother in Christ. It took him almost seven years to receive this revelation.

Each time we prayed, he always knelt down… I saw him bowing his head to God Almighty… His humility and faith encouraged me too… I knew in my heart that one day, all these words will come true…I rejoiced, Oh… I rejoiced!

 

During our Christmas and Jesus Mega Party program, he volunteered to use his ke-ke to carry the female ushers free of charge. That is how he ‘discovered’ sister L. He told me later that his ‘eyes got opened’. He will take extra care with her. He will take L and her daughter home every evening.

One day, Sister L was surprised when he wanted to know her Genotype. He begged her to come with him to the laboratory not telling her why he is interested in the result. Eventually she agreed. The next day the result came. She was AA. Usually so shy, Bro G got so excited… He jumped and jumped with the paper in his hand. He said: “I knew it! I knew it!” Then they entered his ke-ke to go home. In front of her parents’ house, with the traffic and the dust all over them, Bro G took her hand and asked her to be his wife. He had an engagement ring that he bought in the market. Sister L said ‘yes!’ Later, she told me that the same anointing that came upon her in my office, that same anointing and joy suddenly came upon her in the humble ke-ke in such a way that it was easy for her to say ‘yes’. The day was 17th of February, 2014, exactly one year from the day she gave me her wedding shoes. The dust and (the ‘cheap’ two sizes too big) ring could not stop the angels jumping for joy… Is that not wonderful? The eternal God counts our days and moments… What a beautiful story of love and faith!

When L came to my office the next day she was happy like a teenager in love.  The first question I asked her was this: does Bro G stammer? She laughed and said not at all. She told me that he is very ‘talkative’. She said that she loves that ke- ke because ‘God is in it’. She told me that she has ‘a designer plan’ how to improve his clothes, that she will sew them all. Then I looked into her eyes and with all the confidence of heaven and earth I said: ‘Congratulations! You are indeed Bro G’s bride!’ The long awaited sign has finally come true!

 

Then Sis L wanted to meet his mother. He was silent for a time. They went to see his aunt who was surprised that G will get married to such a beautiful girl. After the visit, L asked him if this lady is birth mother. He said no. She insisted that she wants to see his ‘real’ mother, to thank her for bringing her future husband to earth. For the first time since they knew each other, he got very angry. He refused to tell her the truth. For a moment he started stammering again…

Later in my office, L told me that she had to fast and pray for him to open up his heart and mouth and to tell her about his pain of rejection. He promised to inquire about his mother. One day, his sister, her husband and their three children came to visit him. They said that they located their mum and they want to go and visit her. He said that he will come along. L said that she will come too. That is how one early morning; all of them went to the village in ‘the bush’ where the mother lives. It was a long journey, by bus and by motorbike. L told me that to her great surprise, bro G paid the transport fee for everybody. When they arrived at the village, they were told that the mother is in a church. They were all surprised because the mother was a pagan and never attended church before. They went to look for her there. When she heard that her only two children came to look for her, she ran bare feet on the village road thanking God for such a miracle. The pastor and the villagers soon gathered. That is how they discovered that two years ago, mama G became born again and the whole village knew that she was praying for a miracle to see her children. There was praise and worship, clapping of hands and dances of joy. She ran to the kitchen and cooked rice and stew for the ‘visitors’. Her daughter told her that L is her soon to be daughter in law (in love). That she was the one who interceded for this miracle of reconciliation, love and victory. They hugged and praised God and danced some more! The next week G’s mother came to Warri to stay with her son. She wanted to meet L’s parents and to thank them for bringing her to the world as a wife to her son. She promised that from now on, by the grace of God, she will be the best mother she can be to her children! Wonderful! Praise the Lord!

 

The wedding between Bro G and Sis L is coming soon. Please pray for them. Living here in Nigeria, I have learned so many things, holy beautiful things of God. One thing is sure: When poor people who have nothing and nobody except God by their side become vessels of honor for the Master’s use, their faith blooms like a rose in the desert. That is when the true testimony of grace and glory begins! I testify that I have seen God smile over Warri, Nigeria! Praise the Living God, who loves ‘the nobodies’ of this world, who is mindful of the humble state of His servants and who makes all things beautiful in His own time!

Dear reader, you too, be encouraged today and forever!

 

In Christ I declare:

Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever!

God is faithful!

God is love!

God is good!

All the time!

In Jesus name

Amen!