GRACE…GRACE…

HAPPY WITH CHURCH TONIGHT

“Go in peace,” Elisha said” (1Kg 5:19)

The prophetic prayer meeting was very good. The Holy Spirit came and covered us with His light heaviness. We sang in the Spirit… ‘What manner of Man is Jesus? Halleluiah! He makes the blind to see! Halleluiah! He makes the lame to walk! Halleluiah! He came from heaven to earth, to show us the way… From the earth to the Cross our debt to pay… From the Cross to the Grave…From the grave to the sky…Lord I lift Your name on high… You are the Lord…You are the Lord… You gave me eyes to see… You are the Key that opens the door… You are the Owner of my soul… You love me, I cannot tell why… On Calvary tree, You suffered and died for me…You love me and I cannot tell why…’ There is a lifting… a burden that God did not place on you… The Holy Spirit lifts it now… We reject the evil spirit of depression, backsliding, religion and false prophets… Holy Spirit please come and do what no man can do… Fill us afresh…   Glory to the Father…glory to the Son… glory to the Holy Ghost!

 

The Word was from 2 Kings 5. It was the sad story of Gehazi, the servant and prophet in training of Elisha. His name means ‘The Valley of vision’. But he was spiritually blind and a greedy man. He was blind to the grace working in his master. Elisha healed Namaan and refused to take the money he offered. You can’t buy grace! You cannot buy divine healing! You cannot buy salvation! But Gehazi saw it as a lost opportunity to become ‘rich thru ministry’. Elisha sent Namaan away ‘in peace’. Healing is peace. Grace and peace are ‘twin sisters’. Gehazi runs after Namaan and greets him with the same word: ‘shalom’ (It is well!). Gehazi takes God’s name in vain!!! He lies to Namaan that Elisha is in need of money. He spoils the reputation of the prophet. He pays for this with his health. He loses his ministry, his health and the health of his children. (See the responsibility we have as parents!!!). The leprosy Namaan left behind is placed on Gehazi and his descendants. What a turning of the tables… The sick man is healed and the healthy man takes that sickness. Grace is free… God is sovereign in His dealing with men. God has no chancellor and no judge. God is no respecter of persons! He is the judge.

 

We repented from any connection with the evil spirit of Gehazi: loving money, greed, rebellion, giving and taking of bribes. Greed kills grace. Covetousness hinders the miracle you pray for! The same Gehazi is seen later working for the King of Israel (2Kg 8:1-6).  The prophet in training is now a politician… (Who knows how many of our politicians could have been in ministry but their spirits have been poisoned by demonic bribes? Lord God have mercy…)

 

“Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the innocent” (Ex 23:8). I shared a personal testimony with the congregation. More than ten years ago, a married man with children who was attending our church at that time came to me with a big envelope. He said that he wants to bless me with ‘a substantial amount of money’. He said that I have been a blessing to him especially thru the prophetic Saturday class. He looked humble and friendly.  I suddenly felt that something was not right…I could not explain… I then decided to ‘test the spirits’ (1Jn 4:1). I told him to give that gift to my husband who is the senior pastor of the church. He said ‘no’. He was insisting that I should take the gift. I started feeling even more uncomfortable in the spirit. I then told him to put the envelope in the offering box. He said ‘no’ that this gift is for me. I then said to him: ‘If you cannot give this gift to my husband or to my God, I cannot take it’. He put the envelope back into his briefcase and he left unhappily. Not long after that he and his family left the church. Since then I met people who have been spiritually wounded by the bribes of this man. He looked very ‘nice’ but he was clearly an agent of the devil to pollute Christians with bribes. I thank God for the restraining wisdom of the Holy Spirit. This is warning to all Christians in general and to pastors in particular! The devil works thru deception. Be careful especially when you pray for financial breakthrough. You need money. But not all money is good! Not every ‘envelope’ is from God! Not every gift comes without sorrow! Pray about the money offered to you as ‘gifts’. The Holy Spirit will tell you when to say ‘yes’ and when to say ‘no’! Your soul, your ministry, your marriage, your anointing, your vision that God gave to you is NOT for sale! May the Holy Spirit awake you from slumber and strengthen you to continue the race!  Jesus is Lord!

MIDLIFE CRISIS IN WOMEN (2)

Our Women’ Fellowship was very good. We prayed and we praised God. We shared testimonies of the goodness of God. This is the sermon that was given:

There is a psychological phenomenon called ‘midlife crisis’. It is a time of increased anxiety concerning the future. It is more common with men but the women experience it too.  Women go through it earlier than men, often between the ages of 35 and 40. There is a major difference between the way men and women react during this crisis. Men are anxious for provision and women are anxious for identity. Men hate that they are getting old. They look back and wish to be young again. That is why they experience greater levels of anxiety. But for women, midlife crisis manifests more as a time to ask questions about their identity and purpose in life. Most women dream to marry and have children. Some also desires to achieve success in their careers. For many years they try hard to be ‘super-women’. They combine taking care of their families with involvement in business. These dreams are good enough for them when they are young, when they go to university and fall in love with the man they have been praying for.  These dreams are the source of most of their prayers from childhood until late thirties. But a time comes when they realize that God has already answered their ‘old’ prayers. By this time the children leave the home to go to the boarding house or to the university. Their husbands are more interested in making money than making love. The wine of romance is not bubbling again. In the office, the younger women are coming from behind and push them off from their pedestal of success. This creates a crisis in any middle age woman’s heart. Their youthful dreams are fading away and they awake to the reality that life is not easy and time is waiting for no one. As they reach menopause, most women become anxious, angry and depressed. They feel like losing control. They start putting on weight. They become careless with their appearance. To add to their problems, their husbands experience midlife crisis as well…

 

These are some signs of midlife crisis in women (I look these from the internet):

1-Starting to ask questions about life, destiny…

2-Desiring a simpler life

3-Realizing that many of your youthful dreams may not be accomplished (owning your own house… being slim and beautiful…)

4-Thinking about your ‘happy’ childhood a lot

5-Being jealous when you discover that your friends are richer or more successful than you

6-Buying a very expensive gift for yourself out of anger (something you can’t even afford…)

7-Worrying about your appearance (your hair is getting thinner, your waist is getting bigger, your face has wrinkles…)

8-Taking up a new hobby (like learning to play a musical instrument…)

9-Feeling sad when you look at the pictures showing you when you were much younger

10-Fearing that your parents will die soon (even if they are not sick…)

11-Reading obituaries and always checking how people died

12- Obsessively comparing your looks with others who are the same age with you

13-You stop telling people how old you are

14-Taking vitamins and supplements hoping that they work ‘miracles’

15-Worrying about High Blood pressure, Diabetes and other ‘old people’s sicknesses’

16-Always observing when your boss, your pastor, your landlord etc is younger than you and you feel embarrassed

17-Worrying that a younger person will take your job in the office

18-Dreaming about having hair transplant (men) or cosmetic surgery (women and men)

19-You are anxious, easily distracted and unhappy for no good reason… You lose your temper about little things

20-You stop reading books to educate yourself (you only check things on the internet on your phone for quick information)

21-You always complain that ‘you have no time’ for yourself …

 

How to prevent midlife crisis or any other emotional disappointment in life? It is to trust God and His Word!

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,

But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.

Give her of the fruit of her hands,

And let her own works praise her in the gates” (PV 31:30, 31)

To find peace, joy, comfort and wisdom we have to go to the Bible. The Word of God applies to all, men, women and children; young and old. No matter the season in life, you will find encouragement and healing in the Word. Read Proverbs 31 and you shall find the model for us women. For example we are told that some things like sexy charm or physical beauty are temporary. They can deceive you thinking that they last forever. Nice dresses, jewelry, hairstyles are all good. Thank God for them. But if you give these too much importance you shall be disappointed and the crisis will be deeper. (Dear wife, no matter how nice you look in that new dress, your husband may be attracted by a younger (fake) version of you, whose face is smoother and whose body is slimmer than yours). Trusting and investing in these temporary things will end in disappointment.  But there are other things which are permanent: spirituality and ministry. The fear of God is the source of wisdom and godly character. The work, the business of a godly woman is always successful and fruitful.  May God encourage you at such a time as this!  In Jesus name!

SEPARATED UNTO GOD

‘It is God’s will that you should be sanctified’ (1Thess 4:3)

Do you want to know God’s will? So that you can do it? Read the Scripture above. God desires that you should be ‘sanctified’. This word means to be holy like God. If you say that you are a child of God, then you must resemble your Father in heaven in the way to think, speak and behave. To be holy it means to be different than the ordinary men and to be dead to sin. Do you hate sin? Or are you still addicted to sin, still a slave to sin?

Sanctification means to be separated from the world (from its way of thinking) and unto God (for pure and holy living, for true service and spiritual worship). Sanctification is a process. It is the work of the Holy Spirit in the soul of the believer. The Holy Spirit uses God’s Word to teach us faith and obedience. Sanctification starts when you become born again and it continues until you die and see Jesus in heaven.

This is my testimony: Immediately I became saved I became consumed with a holy hunger for God’s Word. I was born in Romania, a Communist country at that time. I did not see a Bible with my eyes until I came to Nigeria in 1980. I did not pray any prayer before March 1986. I became born again thru a crisis conversion. I became filled with the Holy Spirit even before I understood ‘the technicalities’ of religion. What a day!!!
God, the Holy Spirit started to do a deep work in my heart to separate me from men’s desires and from their expectations of me… The Holy Spirit destroyed ‘the unholy battery’ that moved me to perform to please the world…Since then I hate entertainment especially in the church The same Holy Spirit pushed me closer and closer to God, to love and understand God… I cannot take any credit for this mighty transformation… This deep work is totally for God’s glory…To my greatest surprise I became free from all fears (fear of death, of sickness, of poverty, of men’s opinions, of the future…).

(I have changed so much that when I visited my parents in Romania after I became saved they could not understand me, they thought that I am a stranger… This change scared them and provoked them to seek for the same Jesus who is now my Lord. Before my father died he became saved and my old mother is also saved now…)

God called me to preach His Gospel. In the natural I am a very shy person. But the Holy Spirit strengthens me, surrounds me and carries me on His ‘wings’. He gives me the right words to be spoken, in the right way at the right time… What is left is just for me to co-operate with the Spirit of God, which is my wonderful privilege…). More and more I see my heart free from the power of sin and I hear my spirit singing songs of worship… I find the peace of Jesus filling my heart and surrounding me… it is all around me… It is so comforting… I am never alone… God is with me…

“I worship You Lord! Yes, Your name is Wonderful…”

VICTORY OVER DISCOURAGEMENT

‘And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to go round the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became impatient because of the journey (their soul was much discouraged because of the way)’ (Nu 21:4)

After many years of walking thru the wilderness, the people of God came close to the Promised Land. The country of Edom was the last hindrance for them to conquer. They were finally ready to possess their possessions. Moses sent a message to the king of Edom. He asked for a passage thru their territory. Moses promised that they will only walk on the ‘King’s highway’. They will not damage Edom’s fields and vineyards; they will eat their own food and pay for the water they shall drink along the way. The people of Edom were the descendants of Esau, their far relatives. The request seems reasonable. But to their surprise, Edom refused them the passage. Across the fields of Edom, they could see the Promised Land but they could not enter in. The heavenly cloud (re-)directed them to withdraw and to change direction. They have ‘to go round’ Edom to enter the Land of Promise thru the land of Moab and thru the River Jordan. This means a longer journey… They have to postpone their joy of entering their inheritance… This was hard for the people of God. Their souls became discouraged ‘because of the way’.

In Hebrew, the word ‘discouraged’ means to cut down to size, to diminish hope or to reduce your dreams. Essentially, discouragement is a loss of confidence in God. This feeling cripples faith and leads to sin. This is a warning to all believers and especially to the pastors who try to encourage discouraged people daily. We see discouragement as just a harmless weakness. We often try to encourage people with simple words: ‘Don’t worry… it will be better…’ But most of us don’t realize just how dangerous discouragement is. Discouragement is a spiritual virus!!! It leads to impatience, ingratitude, doubt, unbelief, selfishness (pity party), sins of the tongue (careless speech), distraction, blindness to temptation, anger, giving up (you lose spiritual strength, you become weak and lazy. A discouraged person retreats from the race. You say: ‘why should I bother to be a champion, a leader, a mentor? No need to fight… You are on your way back to the world. You become a discourager tempting others in the church to backslide! You choose to live your life in spiritual passivity, regrets, fault finding, resignation, bitterness or self-pity. God forbid! I hate that way!

How do I know that discouragement is a sin? Because God punished them with death! ‘The wages of sin is death’ (Rom 6:23). Discouragement made them to dishonor God. They complained about the longer way to enter the Promised Land. They spoke against God and their leader, Moses. God takes it personally when you insult His servant. This is rebellion. Complaining is rebellion!!! They started to doubt God’s salvation and God’s purpose. ‘Why did you bring us out of Egypt?’ They complained against Mana, which represents the Word of God. Discouraged people hate the Bible! They cannot enjoy the Christian life. They want to backslide. They blame everything and everybody. They drag many on the road back to the world. But they soon discover the discipline of God! The serpents bit them and many of them died!

Listen to these wise words: “Discouragement makes the hard path—much harder; and the heavy load—much heavier. Discouragement is a slow but methodical killer that feeds upon the unresolved disappointments of your life. It is a predator of the human spirit, dragging its prey, over muffled pleas, to the dark cellar of broken dreams” (J R Miller)

What is the cure for discouragement? God told Moses to make a serpent of brass and to lift it on a pole. Anybody who was biting by a fiery serpent and who looked at the brass serpent, that one shall live! Jesus said that the brass serpent represents Himself, the Savior who died for our sins (Jn 3:14, 15). What about us today? We too must look unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith (Heb 12:1-3).

This is my testimony: that by the grace of God I have fought and defeated the demon of discouragement!!! That is why I enjoy my work as a pastor. I made up my mind that I will obey God’s Word and leading Spirit. If the road is long or short, if the road is crooked or straight, if it passed thru valleys of across the mountains, in the midst or good people or bad, I must follow Jesus. I am not saved just to enter my ‘Promised Land’. I am saved not only to enjoy the promised blessings of God. I thank God for the blessings, gifts and rewards promised to me in Christ. But I know that I am saved primarily to give glory to God by becoming more and more like His Son Jesus Christ. You may be surprised that I say this: my destination is not heaven. My destination and destiny is my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And because Jesus lives in heaven, I too will go there. My holy priority is to maintain and mature my relationship with Christ. My desire is to walk with Him daily. My passion is to be filled and led by the Holy Spirit. For me life is simple because God made it simple: Jesus Leads and I follow. The length and the narrowness of the road do not matter. Sooner or later I will have my testimony, that I have entered my Promised Land. I refuse to be discouraged by anything and anybody, man, angel or demon. I live free and happy to serve my Lord! This is the truth! May this be your portion too! In Jesus name, amen! Glory to God!

Promised Land

WELCOME FAVOR! GOOD MORNING JOY!

HAPPY WITH CHURCH TONIGHT

“For God’s anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Ps 30:5)

The prayer meeting was very good. Outside it was raining heavily. Few people made it to church. But the Holy Spirit came heavily upon us. There was an expressed passionate hunger in our hearts to draw closer to God… We sang: ‘Fill my cup Lord, I lift it up Lord, Come and quench the thirsting of my soul, Bread of heaven fill me till I want no more, fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole”… I want to be made whole… The opposite of being whole is to be scattered. The evil spirit of religion attacks my mind, bringing conflicting thoughts, distracting feelings and scattering imaginations. But the Blood of Jesus makes me whole. I plead the Blood of Jesus upon your lives (your bodies, souls and spirits); upon your marriages and children… We prayed for a new filling with the Holy Spirit. We prayed for revival. We prayed for a fresh touch from the Master. We prayed that God does a new thing in our lives, something that only God can do; something that money cannot buy and nobody can steal away.

 

We rejected the evil spirits of depression, pornography, homosexuality and empty man-made religion. Some Christian people told me that they hide to smoke Indian hemp, take cocaine, drink alcohol and take sleeping tablets each evening. They tell me that ‘prayer is not enough’. They tell me that it is because of ‘life’s frustrations’. This is a lie! The devil is a liar! This is a wrong medicine! They need Jesus in their soul and to be filled with the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit comforts like no other. Jehovah Rapha can heal any disease! Jehovah Jireh is the great Provider! The Holy Spirit brings peace in the midst of the storm and joy in the midst of loss. We wept at the feet of Jesus. Our tears belong to Him alone. Then the joy of the Holy Spirit took over and we danced ‘like David danced…’ Joy came as a wave of living water on all of us this evening. Happily we said: ‘Welcome Favor! Good morning Joy!’ And we praised God!

 

Two teenagers: Bro. B and Sis. M, knelt down and thanked God for His grace upon their lives. Their father died two years ago leaving their mother with four kids. They are the oldest. Against all odds, God kept them. They just passed the exam to enter university. It is not easy to have good children even when both parents are alive. It is not easy to bring up godly children in Nigeria. But these two young people and their mother held onto Jesus. They knew that He is their only Hope! They attended every church activity. Bro. B decided to live in the church premises. Sis. M lives with a Christian family to help them with their children. Their mother is a usher in our church. Each time we gather for service they weep, worship and pray like there is no tomorrow. The Lord did not disappoint them. We pray that God will continue to provide all that they need, school fees and all… We ended the meeting with Spiritual worship and heart felt thanksgiving. We sang: “Oghene Miguo…” (It means ‘Thank you Lord’ – in Urrhobo language).

Indeed, Oghene, Miguoooo…..

FH 4

WISDOM IN EVERY TRIAL & LOVE IN EVERY CROSS

 

“Jesus is infinitely wise and immutably holy–therefore His love is a wise and holy love. He wisely manifests His love, so as to . . .discountenance sin,encourage holiness, and further His people in their heavenly way and work. He visits in trials, reproves for folly, smites for sin, and withholds the light of His countenance, to testify His disapprobation of our ways–and yet, all this is in love! He will not caress the believer–when he is indulging in pride, worldliness, and backsliding from Him. Those whom He loves–He wisely corrects! He never spares the rod–to the spoiling of the child–but says, “I will correct you in measure–but will not leave you wholly unpunished.”

 

His wisdom and holiness shine in every part of His works–but in none more than in His dealings with His people. Was He less wise, we might have more comfort–but it would injure us. Was He less holy, we might have fewer trials–but we would assuredly be losers. Divine love, wisdom, and holiness combined–drew the plan of the Christian’s lot; and the same divine love, wisdom, and holiness–executes that plan. All the wisdom of Deity, under the guidance of Almighty love–shines in our path, our portion, and our circumstances; and when we enjoy the clear light of eternity–we shall see that this was the case. O if we really believed this now–how different would be our feelings and our practices often! How quietly would we submit to every painful dispensation of divine providence; how cheerfully would we acquiesce in every intimation of our Father’s will; and how readily would we take the cup which He has prepared for us, and drink it saying, “The cup which my heavenly Father gives me–shall I not drink it?”

 

There is divine wisdom in every trial–and divine love in every cross.Holiness and wisdom in Jesus, demand that our way should at times be hedged up with thorns. The infinite love of Jesus, shines in every painful discipline. He is no indulgent parent, no foolish friend, no unholy companion; He will not tempt us to evil, nor with evil–neither will He indulge us to our injury. He would rather close His ears to our cries–than His heart to our best interests; and the day is coming when we shall see that all our trials were needful–and not a trial could have been omitted, consistently with the wisdom and holiness of His love. May His love shed abroad in my heart–lead me to love, seek, and pant for holiness!”

(James Smith  1676-1724)

PRAYER ADVENTURE

“Ask, and it will be given to you…Don’t bargain with God. Be direct… Ask for what you need… Keep asking, and it will be given to you” (Mt 7:7)

This is the command of Jesus. To ask it means to pray to God. How long do you pray? Until the answer is given to you! In Greek, the word ‘given’ also means ‘to minister adventure to you’. Adventure is defined as an exciting experience involving some risk. Cowards will never desire adventure. Their lives are stale and boring. They can never inspire anybody. For fear of danger, they chose to die a slow death, without songs and without dances. But a believer in Christ has seen the end of the story, the glory ahead. So, for him, danger with God is just a training school. If God is with you, you can never lose! What an adventure to be born again and Spirit filled!!! Do you know what I am talking about?

When in need, asking men and asking God is totally different. When you pray to God and the answer comes, it is much more than ‘an answer’. For example, if you ask a man to give you $100, if he has the money and if he desires to be generous, he will give it to you. But he cannot give you more than that. Often, because of their attitude, when you receive money or gifts from men, you feel bad, ashamed and humiliated.

With God this is so different. When you ask, when you pray for something, the answer comes in a most wonderful way. The prayer strengthens your relationship with God. Even if the answer is different than what you expected, you can never regret God’s ‘giving’. It builds faith and a sweet expectation. God retains the right to be ‘mysterious’. It is part of ‘the game’. You will never know how God will bless you by answering your prayer. But one thing is clear: God never gives cheap gifts. All His blessings come from the royal store. All gifts from God come without sorrow. They come wrapped in inexpressible joy and a mysterious peace. They open doors of holy adventure. Men will wonder and angels rejoice with you. What do you lose if you believe? This is the promise of God: “For EVERYONE who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Mt 7:8)

Are you among ‘everyone’? Then pray…and let the adventure begin…In Jesus name Amen!

VK

(In the picture, my sister in Christ and friend for more than 20 years, Veronica… Broken before God… praying and worshiping God last Sunday service in our church)