JESUS LOVES US UNTO THE END

 

“Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end” (Jn 13:1; KJ)

 

Today we had a wonderful Holy Communion service. Our Lord instituted the Holy Communion during the ‘night when He was betrayed’ (1Cor 11:23). Betrayal is the most painful emotion a man can experience. To betray it means to be unfaithful in a loving relationship based on trust. Betrayal is a crime against love. You cannot betray your enemy, only your friend. To betray it means to deceive your friend, to expose your lover to danger and shame. A traitor abandons his victim at the time of his greatest need. To betray it means that you my friend, you chose to help my enemy, to stab me in the back, to fail me in time of need. Betrayal is never accidental. It is a willful sin. To betray, it means that you disappoint me when I needed you the most.  This is the voice of the victim of betrayal: ‘My friend knew everything about me. I opened my heart to him. We shared our dreams for the future. He knew my strengths and my weaknesses. He was supposed to cover me, to protect me. But he sold our love to my enemy. Our plans for the future, our dreams for a better world, were all sold for a small amount of money that could only buy a tiny plot in a dusty forsaken cemetery…That is where our love is buried…’ Judas betrayed his Master for 30 silver coins. This was the price for an average slave. There is a small Judas in each one of us. It is easier to forgive an enemy who did you harm than to forgive a friend who betrayed you.

 

Look unto Jesus… See what He is doing in that infamous night of betrayal, at the time of His greatest loneliness on earth and most terrifying pain… Jesus did not lose faith in God or His love for the remaining eleven disciples.  Jesus ‘broke bread and fed them’. In the past He fed multitudes. He now feeds His little band of sorrowing friends. He encourages them and loves them to the end. He ‘took bread and gave thanks’ to God. Together they sang a hymn. During that dark moonless night Jesus loved His own to the end. Judas betrayed his Master with a kiss. He made love a hated criminal. But he only killed himself and his foolish dreams of religious ambition. But love went on, where flesh cannot survive. The Lord went to the Cross. He died for us! We betrayed Him but He did not betray us! Selah! As we partake in the Holy Communion we remember Jesus, who died for us, who loved us to the end. What manner of love is this? Search the whole universe and you can never find such a love! The Cross prepared the way for the Crown! Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive all power, honor and praise forever! Deep calls unto deep! Suffering calls unto suffering! Betrayal is a waste of heart. But the cold grave could not hold my Master for too long. After three days He came out! He now rules all creation! Love never fails! Jesus Christ, the King of kings and the Lord of lords! Jesus Christ, the Lord of all living and the dead! You are God! Glory to Your holy name!

 

“It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him. If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him…” (2Tim 2:11, 12; KJ) “Lord Jesus I bow before You! I worship You in the beauty of Your holiness! I say that You loved me first! Before You came into my heart, love was just an imagination, a stranger I envied from afar. But You came to me… You filled my heart with Your life! Your love has freed me from shame, regret, torment and guilt! Your love never fails! Even when I was unfaithful, You remained faithful, for You cannot deny Yourself! Oh, that I may know You better, and the fellowship of Your sufferings for me, that I may experience this joyful glory called eternal life and the power of Your resurrection! In Jesus name I pray, Amen!’

 

Singing: “Jesus You love me too much o… Excess love-o…”

SLL 37

SURROUND ME WITH SONGS OF DELIVERANCE!

“You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah!
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
or it will not stay near you” (Ps 32:7-9)
 
As a young woman, I was very stubborn. I was like a stray dog who hates its leash. I was very proud of my ‘great artistic romantic imagination’. That is why I considered practicing rebellion as creativity. I could not write a poem, compose a song or paint, until I felt angry at my ‘oppressive masters’. Self pity made an artist of me…I thought that humility and restraining obedience are leashes designed for fools.
 
I could not change my heart until I met my Savior, Jesus Christ. He removed the leash of world pleasing and put on my neck His own light and easy yoke. I became so grateful. How happy I became walking (and even dancing waltz in between the stars) under His yoke! Can you believe that? Co-yoked with my Lover, I am now ready to walk with Him anywhere, to the end of the world, now and forever! With time, His yoke became even lighter, for now, His teaches me with His eyes and guides me His smile. I am now surrounded with songs of deliverance. That is my God blessed yoke! Hallelujah to the Lamb of God!

EKA KPUKPRO OWO, MARY SLESSOR (1848-1915)

TESTIMONY TO THE GLORY OF GOD
Mary Slessor was born in Aberdeen, Scotland. She came from a poor family. Her father was a violent drunkard but her mother was a born again Christian. She was convinced that God called her to go to Africa, to Calabar in particular. At that time Nigeria was an English colony. Very few English men wanted to go and live there. Because of malaria and other infectious diseases it was called ‘the white man’s grave’. She was a single woman of 28 when she went to Calabar as a missionary. It is hard to understand the terrible and mysterious forces against which missionaries were ranged. Witchcraft was interwoven with life in such a way as practically to rule the land. Superstition was rife everywhere. When a chief died numbers of people were murdered, and his wives, after dressing in their finery, were strangled, in order to go with him to the spirit land. Blood sacrifices were offered to ‘jujus’. The human skull was worshipped. Guilt was decided by eating poisoned beans or the hands plunged into boiling oil. When twins were born they were always killed, for they said one belongs to the devil and because they did not know which one is that, both must die. Their mother sent away into the bush to do the best she could, generally to starve and die, or to be killed by wild beasts.
Mary had heard about all these things in faraway Scotland. Now she was going to see them for herself, to fight the demons in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. She had nothing except faith in the Lord who had died to save these poor uncivilized people. Born again herself, and overflowing with love to her Savior, she had a salvation worth speaking about, a real, definite thing, and with this treasure to share with all who would, she went forward eagerly, joyfully, into the dim, mysterious future now opening before her.
She quickly learned the Efik –Calabar language fluently. She eat the native food. She always dressed in a straight baggy shapeless dress. Her reddish hair was always cut short, like a boy, for she never had time to dress it. God gave her favor with the elders, the chiefs and the rest native people. She had the courage of a man, better said of a lion. Each time the elders gathered to convict someone of stealing, witchcraft or other crimes punishable with death, she will go in their midst and argue as the lawyer of the accused. She was a smallish woman with a strong voice. Almost always she got the death sentence changed into public beating, saving the lives of many. Then she will take care of their wounds in her hut and preach Christ to them. This is how many became saved. All abandoned children were adopted by her and many grew up to help in her ministry. She was engaged once to a man from her home town, but later he became afraid and he refused to come to live with her in Calabar. The relationship ended and she never married another. She never had natural children but left behind a great harvest of fruit that still abides. She was sometimes lonely. She lived in the deep jungle villages most of the time. When her mother and sister died and she did not hear of it until a year later.
Her motto was: ‘One with God is in majority’. This is what the English High Commissioner of Nigeria said in 1909: ‘Miss Slessor can go where no white man can go. She can sway the people when we cannot sway them’.The Calabar elders gave her the title of ‘Eka kpukpro Owo’, ‘Mother of All The Peoples’
These are her words spoken before she died:
‘Heaven is now nearer to me than Britain. My life is one daily, hourly record of answered prayer….for guidance given marvelously, for errors and dangers averted, for enmity to the gospel subdued, for food provided at the exact hour needed, for everything that goes to make up my life and my poor service. I can testify with a full and often wonder-stricken awe that I believe God answers prayer… I know God answers prayer. Glory be His wonderful name!’
Her very last words were not in English, but in Efik: “O Abasi, sana mi yok…” (O Lord, release me…). She grew old but her work and ministry never stopped. She collapsed and died in one of the villages in the forest. The villagers she loved so much brought her corpse to the city by canoe. She had a state funeral with all honors. She left behind Calabar a much better place; thousands heard the Gospel of Christ and multitudes of souls got saved. Because of her ministry, twins are no longer killed in Calabar. Only God can reward such a labor of love. Amen!
The following are some of her quotes:

Mary Slessor wrote to a friend who had long prayed for her: “I have always said that I have no idea how or why God has carried me over so many funny and hard places, and made these hordes of people submit to me, or why the Government should have given me the privilege of a Magistrate among them, except in answer to prayer made at home for me. It is all beyond my comprehension. The only way I can explain it is on the ground that I have been prayed for more than most. Pray on, dear one! The power lies that way.”

“Prayer is the greatest power God has put into our hands for service—praying is harder than doing, at least I find it so, but the dynamic lies that way to advance the Kingdom.”

“Gird yourself for the battle outside somewhere, and keep your heart young. Give up your whole being to create music somewhere, in the light places and in the dark places, and your life will make melody.”

She would often repeat, “It is not Mary Slessor, but God and our united prayers that have brought the blessings to Calabar. Christ shall have all the honor and glory for the multitudes saved.”

“Not my plans, not my glory, but God’s plan, and His glory.”

When someone asked her about her rewards in heaven she said: “What would I do with starry crowns except to cast them at His feet?”

(in the picture there is Mary with some of her adopted children, her house in Calabar built in 1880, now a museum and her tomb in Calabar)
Mary Slessor with her childrenMary Slessor's house
mary slessors tomb 2
Mary Slessor 1

DRAW ME

“Draw me… Take me away with you—let us hurry! Let the King bring me into His chambers” (SS 1:4)
 
‘Draw me closer to You, my Lord Jesus.…’ This is one of the greatest prayers for a Christian. You may ask: why do I have to pray such a prayer? I already know Jesus Christ. I am a child of God. Why then should I ask the Lord ‘draw me’? This is because there are many levels of intimacy with the Lord. The Christian life is not stagnant. It is not a lake that slowly evaporates in the heat of a merciless sun. The eternal life is like a river, ever increasing, becoming a flood, until finally it disappears into the ocean of God’s grace. Another reason to pray such a prayer it is because the heart of man is deceitful. You may have your feet close to the throne in heaven and your heart is still looking down on earth, longing for the things left behind…
 
‘Draw me…’ This is called ‘the drawing of love, the drawing of grace’…. Love is like a magnet; its force breaks every chain of the world. It is a royal voice calling you into the chambers of holy things never felt before.
 
As for me, I am right now sited at His banqueting table and His banner over me is love! I have tasted and I now testify that my Lord is good and strong and sweet. His voice is powerful and gentle in the same time. His song is like trumpet and strings in the same time. In His embrace I finally lose myself, I let go… of my fears, of all these unanswered questions bothering my mind… He knows all things and that is enough for me… He whispers love to my heart…He breathes peace to my soul. This is my morning dose of the Spirit. Just because the way it started I know for sure that today is a good day!
 
‘Draw me closer to You my Lord until all that is left is You and You alone…In Jesus name, amen!’
SLL 26

MY NET IS FULL WITH BLESSINGS

We bind the evil spirits that hinders worship! Holy Spirit please come, and help us conduct this service… We cannot sing, dance, pray or preach without You… I am hungry to worship God… I am hungry for a mighty move of God… Jesus said: Simon, I came to your house but you did not embrace me, you did not kiss me…But do you see this woman? From the time she entered this room, she washed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair…she kissed My feet… She worships Me… She did not come to meet with Peter or John… She came for Jesus only… Oh, the Holy Spirit wants to fill you more than you want to be filled yourselves…
 
Peter said: Master, we have worked the whole night but we caught nothing…there is no fish in our nets… we are tired, disappointed and hungry… Jesus said: Peter, go back to the same water, but this time throw your nets into the deep… the fishes have left the usual place of shallow waters… they have gone down, into the deep sea… The place of mystery, where treasures are deposited by the Holy Spirit… no man knows the place and no man can steal your blessings…Throw your nets there and you shall have more fish that you can eat… There shall be overflow… I throw my net into the deep… as Jesus has said… My net disappears in the ocean of God’s grace… Now I see many fishes coming in… these are the answers to my prayers of long ago… the net is now heavy… my blessings are many…my muscles pain me… but it is a good pain for I draw the answers to my prayers… I come to draw, draw, draw from You again… Oh… Oh…
SLL 36

INTERCESSION FOR WARRI- EFFURUN

“A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord GOD has spoken! Who can but prophesy?” (Amos 3:8)
 
This morning I pray for the city of Warri- Effurun, Nigeria! I pray that God has mercy on the people of this land! I pray that many souls will be saved; the sick are miraculously healed and spiritual oppression is destroyed! I know by revelation and by experience that the devil hates this land. But I am confident that God loves this same land. The battle is spiritual first of all. We shall fight and win in the name of Jesus! Almighty God is with us! He who is with God is called ‘majority’. I know that many people have become bitter about Nigeria in general and Warri in particular. But bitterness can never be the portion of a child of God. I cling to God Almighty in hope! I have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the faithful God. Since I gave my life to Christ, He has answered many of my prayers. God is good and all powerful. I shall continue to pray to this my God. The pain coming from these challenging circumstances shall not quench my spirit. The same pain will revive my prayer life and increase my intercession for this land. Nothing is impossible with God! I shall not limit God! I shall trust God to the end! I shall give thanks to God to the end!
 
For many years the evil spirit of jezebel (also called ‘mammy water spirit, ogbanje spirit’…) has tried to penetrate and take control of this city but she has failed! She has deceived and wounded many people. But all her arrows: sexual immorality, polygamy, prostitution, sugar- daddy, sugar- mummy, greed, religion, idolatry, witchcraft, pornography, pride, violence, juju, cultism, stealing, deception, 419, depression, AIDS …are totally powerless to wound the children of God who are Spirit filled! She is now disappointed! She has gone back to her fake empire under the ocean, to the poor wretched souls who blindly serve her unto death! But her reign is not forever! She shall be burnt with fire by her own worshippers, when they get tired of her fake prophecies and her digital magic!
 
God has heard our plea for revival on behalf of this land! The Lion of Judah has roared over Warri- Effurun! There is a sound of victory over this land. People shall fear God! They shall become wise! They shall come back to Jesus! Jehovah Sabaoth, the God who can never lose a battle, has ‘come down’ to make it happen! Hallelujah!
 
“For out of Jerusalem (Warri) will go forth a remnant and out of Mount Zion (Effurun) survivors! The zeal of the LORD of hosts (Jehovah Sabaoth) will perform this.” (Is 37:32)
 
I hear the sound of freedom and after the heavy storm, I now see peace!
I see trees resting from a terrible storm…
I see happy flowers that can now bloom in peace…
I look around this rejected place, this suffering city… I see life springing forth, none is able to quench it…
I see the thorns and wild bushes suddenly replaced with roses and lilies…
I see the sour grapes changed into sweet and ripe fruit…Sweet wine of joy is now flowing from Africa to other parts of the world…
I see former dictators, transgressors and stubborn men bowing down; loving discipline…this is a miracle indeed…
I see the dirty, stagnant, smelly, mosquito breeding camps changing into clear pools of fresh water, ‘a place of broad rivers and streams’…
I see the former kidnapers and robbers repentant, lifting hands in worship, tears on their faces, as they behold the face of Him who saved them at last…
I see the lack of all good things replaced by an abundance of spoils divided by the lame and poor…
I do not see malaria, diabetes, high blood pressure, typhoid fever…for these are all gone!
I see doctors putting down their stethoscopes and worshiping Jehovah Rapha for there is nothing else to do…
I see police men planting flowers in front of their offices, for there is no crime in town…
I see judges and magistrates doing Bible studies in their offices for there are no court cases anymore…
I see true godly romantic love blooming in this city!
I see husbands loving their wives as Christ love the church!
I see wives submit and honor their own husbands as unto the Lord!
I see children who honor and gladly obey their parents!
I see families coming together to fellowship and worshipping God!
I see happy weddings and many children happy going to school…
I see tenants becoming landlords…
Behold…I see the King in His beauty, smiling over Warri- Effurun… Yes, it is Jesus!
All glory to You, Almighty God! For just and wonderful are Your judgments! Praise Your holy name!
Warri
 
(In the picture, Warri City Drone Shot by Michael Osaji)

I HAVE DIRECTED THE RAVENS TO SUPPLY YOU

“Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.” So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook” (1Kg 17:2-6)
 
Some time ago I read about this story. It was from a sermon titled ‘Elijah, the secret of his power’ preached by Rev. Al Martin. There was a very cold snowy winter night in a village in Germany. A single mother and her 7 years old son were alone in the house. They had no food and no wood for the fire. They were hungry, cold and afraid. The mother was a Christian. Few days previously she read the story of Elijah to her son. Their situation was now desperate. She told her son; ‘Let’s pray for a miracle…’ They knelt on the cold floor shivering. Suddenly, the boy got up and ran towards the door. He opened it widely. The cold air from outside rushed in and the room became freezing. The mother shouted: ‘Son, why do you open the door on such a cold night? You are making the matters worst…’ Joyfully, the boy replied: ‘It is for the ravens, mummy, so that they can come in and bring bread…’ With simple faith, the boy trusted that God will provide for them the way He provided for the Prophet Elijah. As the cold wind was blowing in the house, the mother struggled with doubt a bit… She was thinking about closing the door to protect the little warmth they had, when suddenly, a man appeared at the door. He was the mayor of the village. He said that he decided to go round the village to see if anyone needs help. He asked what the matter is. Why is their door opened? The mother explained to him their situation and the faith of her son that ravens will come to help them. The mayor said: ‘I will be your raven both now and forever’. Immediately he made sure that they were well provided for. He later married the woman and adopted her son. Praise the Lord!
 
What are the lessons? Have faith in God! You are never alone! Pray! Act in faith! God will surely answer! He will give you more than you imagine! Let God’s ravens meet you today! Be encouraged!
Elijah