VOWS TO GOD ARE VERY SERIOUS THINGS

 

 

 

Most vows are made in times of trouble. Even then, be careful with making vows to God for he expects you to fulfill them! A vow is a solemn promise to do something for God. So a vow is a very serious thing for it is a binding thing on you. God will punish any man who takes His name in vain. He will expect the vows to be fulfilled. After a period of ‘grace’ if the vow is still ignored, the punishment shall come. We usually make pledges and vows to God when we are in trouble. For example we say: “God, if you help me get a job I will become an usher…” or “God, if you heal me, I will pay one million naira to the church…” Then God hears and answers you. Now you have your job and you are healthy. And the vow is long forgotten. You excuse yourself, saying that God understands your situation…That is a snare and God will punish the foolish man.

“It is a trap to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider one’s vows (counting the cost)” (PV 20:25)

 

STRANGE POVERTY

A broken vow is one of the main reasons for poverty among the believers. God says that if you ignore your vow, He will not bless the works of the hands. In a way, God will extract the penalty of broken vows and pledges done in His name. For example, you hastily and foolishly pledged to give one million naira to the church. Even if you ignore the vow you made, God will take that amount from your salary. For the next ten years you shall suffer lack. This is something to think about when you see men very active in church activities and still unbalanced financially. This judgment is a proof that God will punish any man who takes His name in vain (Ex 20:7). Be careful not to manipulate God when you are in trouble! For God can never lose!

 

THE FEAR OF GOD IS THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM

What to do then? The first thing is to fear God! When coming to church talk less! If you are in any doubt, better do not make vows or pledges to God or to men!

This is what king David said;

“I will go into Your house with burnt offerings;

I will pay You my vows,

Which my lips have uttered

And my mouth has spoken when I was in trouble” (Ps 66:13, 14)

 

MY TESTIMONY

In 1986 I became saved. The conviction of the Holy Spirit was so strong upon me that I thought I will die. For the first time in my life I saw myself as a sinner. I did not know God before then. But seeing no other way to survive God’s confrontation, I prayed for the first time in my life. I also made my first vow. I told God that if He comes down from heaven and saves my soul, that I will be His friend and servant all the days of my life! He did save my soul. My life was never the same again. By the grace of God I also kept my vow! I testify that God has blessed the work of my hands and the words of my mouth. The spirit of poverty does not have a foot hold in my life! Selah!

 

In Christ I declare:

I paid (and I’ll continue to pay) the vow which my mouth spoke when I was in trouble!

To God be all the glory!

In Jesus name

Amen!

DREAMS COME TRUE – BUT SOME DO NOT (1)

 

 

The prayer meeting went well. My sermon was a difficult one. I felt like a doctor before doing surgery. The case was not easy and I did not know what to expect.  I needed the wisdom, strength, compassion, patience and love of   the Holy Spirit. The congregation was ‘flowing’ with the Spirit. There was a desire to worship God, a longing to thank Him for all things he has done for us. It is possible to pretend thanksgiving. But tonight it was real and deep. The hearts became tender in the hands of the Potter. Then the message followed…

 

“Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.

Do not be rash with your mouth,

And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God.

For God is in heaven, and you on earth;

Therefore let your words be few.

For a dream comes through much activity,

And a fool’s voice is known by his many words” (Ecc 5:1-3)

 

This is a true saying: God gives visions and dreams to men on earth. All these shall come to pass. But a word of caution is needed here. The church attracts men who manufacture dreams for themselves expecting God to fulfill them. Their dreams seem good and they claim God is their source. But then something is wrong. After years of waiting for any manifestation, with many prayers and prophetic utterances following, their dreams become a barren land, just a pet fantasy. These dreamers love to make vows to God promising great things. Later they ignore all those great promises. These vows and the emptiness of their lives hunt them later. These men become disappointed, angry and bitter with God who refuses to be manipulated and fulfill their secret ambitions for fame and wealth, all wrapped in lofty man-made dreams. The church environment in particular attracts this type of religious spirits. That is why we need to be sure that the dreams planted in our hearts are truly of God!

 

We generally take it for granted that it is a good thing to invite men to church. We reason that if they hear the Word of God they shall change and become spiritual. Indeed, it is a good thing to invite men to the presence of God who alone can change hearts. But in the passage above we see that there is a warning in coming to God with a wrong attitude.  The danger is to practice a superficial religion, having no desire to repent of it, lacking the fear of God and still insisting to come into His presence. God knows the hearts of all men. Not all prayers are acceptable to Him. Not all worship is pleasing to Him.

 

What then are the signs of trouble, warning that God may be ‘angry’ with you in the church?

*A rash mouth

This is a religious man who talks too much. He does not worship God while he is praying or making requests from Him. This man does not think before he talks, prophesies or makes vows to God. His mouth leads his body. He is loud, proud and foolish. He wants others to hear his prayers and vows, to gain their admiration. He has no interest in fulfilling his vows for he does not fear God. He will be greatly surprised that God expects that vows done in His name should be paid without delay.

*A hasty heart

This man is too impatient and easily moved. The ‘anointing’ in a service will make him say things that he will regret later. He is not prepared to meet with God. He is too emotional and his flesh rules his decisions. He makes vows and later regrets them. He does not fear God.

*Foolishness

It is a strange sight to see a religious fool. The presence of God should make men wiser and better. But some never change. Their worship and ministry is called ‘the sacrifice of fools’. God does not accept their labor and prayers. They come to church for many years but still, they do not even know that they do ‘evil’. Their ignorance of God is a shame and a rebuke!

 

I Christ I declare:

I am a child of God!

I repent for talking too much, when addressing God or men!

I repent of impatience and foolishness!

I separate from the evil spirit of religion!

I give all the glory to God!

In Jesus name,

Amen!

PRAYER ALERT

 
The wife of a man of God asked me for prayer. They are family friends from the US. They were missionaries in Nigeria. Now they have a ministry in Mexico. The pastor has kidney stones and is in serious pain right now. They trust God for a healing miracle and they do not want surgery. Please pray for them! Thank you for your prayers! God bless you all!
“Many followed Him (Jesus), and He healed them all” (Mt 12:15)

STOP TOLERATING JEZEBEL

 

 

“But I have this against you: that you tolerate that woman Jezebel…” (Rev 2:20)

Our women’s fellowship this evening was very good but not the way I planned it to be. I prepared my message and was very excited to share with them. Five sisters shared their testimonies. Two of them recently had been delivered from spiritual attacks cause by the evil spirit of Jezebel. By the mouth of two witnesses, every truth is established. I knew that I have to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit. I decided ‘on the spot’ to expose the religious spirit of Jezebel and that we should do warfare against it. This was ‘an old’ topic we have studied long ago. But the Holy Spirit made it to sound new and gave me the utterance to preach God’s Word. We combined prayer with praise, worship with intercession. We made prophetic declarations: “I shall not die but live and declare the works of the Lord!”  The Holy Spirit was totally in charge and the service was flowing ‘like the oil’. I am so blessed even as I write this letter to you all! May you feel and tap from the ‘hot anointing’ released this evening in Father’s House!

 

Below are some points from the (unprepared) exhortation:

*Stop tolerating Jezebel! To tolerate it means to stay passive, to permit misbehavior without confrontation. Do not allow your children to misbehave! Pray for wisdom, love, patience and strength to be a godly mother to them!

*Submit to God and resist the devil! We did both!

*The effects of Jezebel are seen in the attack on Elijah (1Kg 19). This man of God was bold yesterday and had a great victory. He killed 850 false prophets. Now a woman (Jezebel) threatens him with death and he runs away from his place of ministry. These are some of the effects: Fear, intimidation, loneliness, tiredness, confusion, lack of sleep, depression, suicide thoughts, a desire to resign from his office (job, ministry) and self-pity.

*Other effects of Jezebel spirit are sexual immorality, homosexuality and lust

*Chronic sicknesses that defy ‘regular’ prayers or medical treatment, bareness,

*Imbalanced marriages (one partner is too strong and the other too weak), divorce,

*Financial Imbalance: For example, you want to buy a car. It costs 200, 000 naira. You easily gather 180,000 but the last 20,000 will be impossible for you ‘to rise’. The money will be stuck at that level and you shall not be able to buy the car. After that, you start losing even the money you have gathered. With all your efforts and prayers, you are not able to finish family projects. It makes you feel like a failure, tired, frustrated and angry.

 

We then prayed as a congregation. We also prayed two by two. We proclaimed the power of the name of Jesus! We proclaimed the power of the Blood of Jesus! We praised God until He ‘came down’. We invited the Presence of the Person of God the Holy Spirit! Some of the women manifested the spirit. Some got delivered. Some got healed. All were blessed. We ended with a call to be filled with the Holy Spirit and with thanksgiving to God.

 

In Christ I declare:

I am a child of God!

I am a woman of God!

I refuse to tolerate the evil spirit of Jezebel! She is a liar and I refuse to listen to lies!

I love the truth that sets me free!

I resist the Jezebel spirit and it must flee from me!

I destroy every spell of Jezebel over my body, soul, spirit, marriage, family, ministry and all that belongs to me!

I destroy every evil covenant done against my life and destiny!

I declare that I am healed, delivered and free!

Jesus my Lord has opened a door of peace, joy, prosperity, happy marriage, fruitfulness and ministry! No man or demon can shut it!

Jesus is Lord!

All glory to God!

In Jesus name

Amen!

PRAYER ALERT

 

 
A man of God, a friend of the family, asked me to pray for him. He has been sick for about two years. Because of the pains, he has difficulty doing his ministry. The doctors say that he has stomach ulcer. He took all the prescribed medication but there is no much improvement. He is born again, Spirit filled and he believes in miracles. Thank you faithful humble powerful intercessors for all your labor of love! God bless you all!
“Many followed Him (Jesus), and He healed them all” (Mt 12:15)

PRAISE REPORT

“May you see your children’s children!” (Ps 128:6)

This is a very personal testimony. I could not have shared it with you, but it gives glory to God and that is all that matters. When our youngest daughter Jemine was born, we were in the middle of a terrible crisis. We moved from Benin to Warri and started a private hospital in partnership with a much older colleague. That business collapsed and we lost all our money. When she was born we could not afford to buy fancy baby things; only the basic stuff (survival kit). I remembered that I wept looking at our beautiful baby wrapped in old bed sheets. I was not born again, so I could not really pray…but I made a silent wish in my heart… that the story of this baby girl I hold in my arms shall be different than mine…that when she will be a mother, she will have all she needs for her baby…

More than thirty years have passed since then. By the grace of God her father and I we became saved. We started praying for our family. O, how things have changed… Jemine is now happily married to Matthew. They are expecting their first baby. Jemine told me that her friends and colleagues in the office have organized two ‘baby showers’. The gifts received are more than enough to take care of the baby. There was an overflow of love and generosity that only God could have ‘organized’.

This evening I remembered my tears as a young mother and the wish made to ‘a star’…God over-ruled the star…My God is Jehovah Jireh. He is the One who supplied all that is needed, and so much more…

Baby Oakes, you are blessed!

To God be all the glory!

WISDOM IN DIFFICULT TIMES

“So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. 2 And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron…

But Joshua and Caleb said: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’ Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.” (Nu 14)

This is the story of the people of God. Ten out of twelve spies gave a negative report about the Promised Land. Only Joshua and Caleb tried to encourage them. The congregation over-reacted emotionally and rejected the promises of God. God was angry and punished them to stay in the desert for forty years until all the adults died there. From the old generation, only Joshua and Caleb entered the Promised Land.

As a child of God you need wisdom when trials of life come your way. You need wisdom on what to do and what not to do. The following are principles of restrain and self-control in difficult times:

*Do not despair!

When the people of God heard about the giants, ‘they cried the whole night’. Their disappointment with the news that they have to fight some giants became discouragement and eventually depression. It is ok to be disappointed. That is a temporary feeling. But it is not ok to allow the disappointment to go further. Discouragement and depression in a child of God are sins and the foundation of bitterness and rebellion. Reject depression!

*Do not complain!

Complaining against the circumstances is a sign of rebellion against the Almighty God. In all things- give thanks!

*Do not blame your leaders!

When you blame men for your difficulties, you are an agent of the devil who thought Adam to blame Eve and even God for his disobedience. Blaming men or even the devil is negative and unproductive. It does not change the circumstances. Instead of blaming your leaders, pray for them!

*Do not look for an easy way out!

The people of God wanted to enter the Promised Land without any effort, opposition or sacrifice. That is not possible. To be able to possess a good thing you must pay a price. The Cross is the price. The higher is the dream, the higher the sacrifice. Even to enter the promised and the blessings of God, you must pay a price!

*Fear not!

God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power love and sound mind! Reject the demon of fear! God is with you! That is the secret source of true success!

Joshua and Caleb represent the lonely voice of faith. The crowd chose the easy fake song of doubt. Who wins at last: the mass choir or the soloist? God is not interested in numbers. He knows the heart of each man! The worst sin is doubt and unbelief! To believe a lie when you know the truth, that is unbelief! God punishes sin and rewards faith! Selah!

Pray about yourself! There is destiny moment hidden in a life crisis! The decision you make in a difficult moment shall determine your future! May you never regret your choices! May you have peace in all you do! In Jesus name amen!