“You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows” (Ps 23:5)
The women fellowship was very good. We praised God with songs and we shared testimonies of God’s power and grace. We encouraged one another in the way of the Lord. Then there was a prophetic word concerning marriages in Nigeria. Many couples struggle with the idea of marriage. There are very few successful Christian, Spirit-filled homes. There are very few role models for the younger couples preparing for marriage. Most marriages are based on worldly, pagan, religious concepts or the practice of polygamy. I have lived in Nigeria since 1980. Both as a doctor and a pastor, I have rarely seen truly happy marriages. It is very rare. If the husband is happy, the wife is sad. If the wife is happy, the husband is frustrated. Most couples are more concerned about their children, about money, than the level of happiness in their marriages. Most couples here do not divorce but they learned to ‘manage’. Because they come from polygamous background, many wives are not devastated when the husband cheats on them. In a way, they even ‘expect to be betrayed’. Many wives tell me: ‘I don’t care about my husband’s girl friend. When he go tire he go come back home. So far he takes care of me and my children, I go manage…’
Spiritually and romantically, this is a compromised marriage. That is the reason why love is not getting stronger, holier, more romantic, pure and passionate. The love is more of less ‘practical’ and lukewarm. This is more or less the culture here. This ‘tolerating evil for the sake of peace’ is very dangerous. This attitude spills over even in the relationship the women have with Jesus Christ. The spirit of religion allows for a little bit of emotional display in worship, but the rest is ‘business as usual’. Praying becomes boring routine and worship is some musical entertainment. Men and women become too shy to display their true feelings. They feel guilty to be seen ‘in love’. The devil has taken advantage of this and quenched the Spirit in many churches. The marriages suffer too. If there is any woman who loves Jesus with all her heart, like the way Mary of Bethany did, that one may be tagged as a witch in the church. Any wife who next to Jesus loves her husband with all her heart, she may be called ‘materialistic’. Her in-laws may say that she married ‘our son or our brother’ for money. It is hard to fight such painful unfair accusations. As a pastor, I am a witness to their pain.
Tonight we did spiritual warfare! We prayed against the demons that hate agape love in worshiping God and in Biblical marriages. We prayed against the demons that attack the holy pure intimacy with have with our Lord Jesus Christ! We prayed against the demons that try to destroy our good, Christ glorifying marriages. We declared that we are not ashamed of Jesus and we are not ashamed of our love for our husbands. We commanded the evil spirits of religion, confusion, poverty, divorce, fear, sickness (malaria, typhoid fever, diabetes, hypertension, depression…), ogbanje, water spirits and untimely death to leave us and to go away, in the name of Jesus! We asked the Holy Spirit to come and fill our hearts. We declared that we are hungry to know and love Jesus more than ever before. We prayed that God will ‘turn the water into wine’ in our marriages. We prayed that the Holy Spirit will purify our hearts with a new holy boldness to stand for Jesus and to serve Him forever! I am a witness that the Holy Spirit came and filled these needy precious holy vessels. I so much love the women of God who obey God’s Word!!!
In Christ I declare:
I am a woman of God! I am born again by the Holy Spirit! My husband and I are happily married and Christ is glorified thru words and deeds in our home! I declare that the Lord has set a good table of ancient wine and great promises before us. God’s promises are fulfilled in our home! I declare that our marriage is blessed and our children (spiritual and natural) are blessed! Our cup of love overflows! This overflow will drive away our enemies and bless our friends! This table of blessings is an open door of ministry that no one can shut! All glory and praise to the Lamb upon the throne! In Jesus name, Amen!
My husband and I are pleased to announce that in few months we shall be grandparents for the 7th time! Our daughter, Jemine and her husband, Matthew Oakes are expecting a second baby boy. Their son Oliver will have a little brother! We are so happy hearing this wonderful news!!! In this world of pain, any good news is so much welcomed! To God be all the glory! Praise the Lord! Singing Nigerian chorus: “Jesus You love me too much-ooo….Too much-ooo … Exces love-ooo…”
HAPPY WITH CHURCH TONIGHT
“Restore unto me the joy of Your salvation
And grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (Ps 51:12)
The prayer meeting was good. I say ‘good’ because the Holy Spirit was with us, to direct, rebuke, comfort and strengthen. Tomorrow many people celebrate ‘Mother’s Day’. Maybe I needed to remember the feelings of a mother whose baby is sick. The congregation was weak this evening. My instincts as a mother in Zion were stirred to the core of my being. The baby was too weak to swallow the solid food I prepared in advance. I had to give the baby the water of life, drop by drop on its feverish tongue. I reminded the brethren that only the child of God ‘feels’ the presence of the Holy Spirit. Only the child of God is able to truly love God and other people. The unbelievers talk about love but it is only a fading imagination in their confused puffed up minds. Only in the presence of God there is ‘fullness of joy’. Nowhere else can this free powerful liberating joy be found!
King David committed adultery with Bathsheba. For an hour of pleasure he killed her marriage, he killed her husband. Unbroken and unrepentant, for about a year, the beloved King of Zion survived on past glories. He gained a woman and he lost the joy of his salvation. He repented at last but the pain was deep and lasting.
In the same way, this evening, we repented because our hearts were hardened too. Religion is spiritual adultery. In the midst of men who lust after miracles and grieve the Holy Spirit, we stumbled and fell. Thank God for the drawing power of the Holy Spirit! Back to the Cross! God wants our hearts to be tender, trembling at His Word, humble and faithful, at peace with Him and self. Led by the Holy Spirit, we came back to the source of life, to the fountain of joy. We sang and prayed: ‘Create in me a clean heart, Oh, Lord…And renew the right spirit within me… Cast me not away, from Thy Spirit, Oh, Lord… Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me… Restore unto me, the joy of my salvation… And renew the right spirit within me…’ In the presence of God we found ourselves. It is so easy to become hard of hearing and stiff-necked. It is so easy to lie that all is well, when all is not well. It is so easy to become proud. Truth liberates but truth is so hard to be appreciated. Truth is a choice. We choose truth tonight! ‘Unto Jesus I surrender…Unto Him I freely give…Worldly pleasures now forsaken, Take me Jesus, take me now…’ I love You Lord Jesus! There is none like You! In weakness and strength I am Yours! I will never be ashamed of my tears! I was born to worship You Lord Jesus! I love You Jesus! Let the whole world say what they may, nobody can take this joy away….Lord I believe… Take me Jesus, take me now!’
David Livingstone (1813-1872) was a Scottish explorer, medical doctor, missionary, and anti-slavery campaigner. By the time he turned twenty-one, Livingstone had accepted Christ and made up his mind to become a medical missionary. He became a great hero for his epic discoveries in the heart of unexplored Africa. He spent the last six years of his life almost cut off from the outside world, refusing to leave his beloved Africa. He preached the Gospel to the un-reached tribes in Africa. He used his medical knowledge to treat many people in the jungle and in the villages of Africa. After suffering a variety of tropical illness’ throughout his life, Livingstone died of dysentery in 1872, aged 59. He passed away kneeling in prayer. His body was taken to England and buried in Westminster Abbey. However, the local African attendants were somewhat reluctant to give up Livingstone. In the end, they cut out his heart and buried it in the African soil. They gave back his body to the English men saying: “You can have his body, but his heart belongs in Africa!” Because of his books, Africa became at once the favorite field for missionary enterprise of almost every denomination.
Some sayings of David Livingstone:
“People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of a great debt owing to our God, which we can never repay? Is that a sacrifice which brings its own blessed reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter? Away with the word! It is emphatically no sacrifice! Say rather it is a privilege! Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger now and then with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life, may make us pause and cause the spirit to waver and the soul to sink; but this is only for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice”
“Would you like me to tell you what supported me through all the years? It was this promise of Jesus: ‘Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’ On these words I staked everything, and they never failed me.”
“Therefore watch carefully how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise” (Eph 5:15)
This month, three years ago, I fell and broke my left ankle. It was a painful time, but I had learned many lessons. To the glory of God, I am now healed, both in my body and in my spirit. Part of the healing was to become wiser in the way I walk. I cannot avoid that place in my house that brought so much pain. Daily I have to pass thru the same ‘dangerous’ area at the bottom of my steps; the place were I missed it and fell. I am wiser now. I am more humble. I am slower… I carefully study my steps. I do not just run ignoring danger. My heart is filled with thanksgiving for what God has done in my heart since that terrible fall. It could have been worse. Thank God for His presence and for His healing!
We are commanded to walk carefully, wisely and not foolishly. It is our responsibility to avoid pitfalls. This is a command for the believers! Our ‘walking’, our behavior, our way of life should be totally in the Spirit and not lead by emotions or by the lust of the eyes. We should walk ‘circumspectly’, says King James. What does it mean to walk circumspectly? The answer is simple: walk like a cat!
Have you seen a cat walking on dirty or wet ground? She hates it! She has decided to remain clean. She wisely chooses her steps. She walks carefully, slowly, looking where to place each foot, jumping over if the place is too soiled…At the end of the journey, unbelievable, walking on mud and dirt, her body and even her paws are still clean. At last, she will not rest until every stain is removed by her rough tongue. You may not like cats like I do, but please accept this: pigs are dirty and cats are always clean!
This world is full of sin. Some believers boast that they can go anywhere and visit anyone, no matter how corrupt or wicked. If the Lord sends you with a message to ‘the red district’ or to ‘the mafia headquarters’, then go with faith and you shall be protected. But if the purpose of your spiritual journey is a mixture of religion, adventure and material gain, you will not be protected from the corruption of the flesh or from unclean spirits soiling your garments. You shall lose your spiritual ‘virginity’ to satan, just like Eve lost hers. You shall hate the light for exposing your stains and you will run towards darkness like unto a friend.
It is only true confession and repentance, the deep work of the Cross, that can change the heart. It is only the Blood of Jesus that can cleanse these stains of lust, foolishness, deception, mockery and shame. Be wise therefore! Even a stray cat knows how to avoid dirt! Be clean! Be pure! In Jesus name, Amen!