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Wednesday, September 28 2022

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

INTRODUCTION
Every child of God living in the will of God and consequently His plan and purpose for their life has a spiritual and invisible hedge of protection around them that prevents any attack from the enemy. We know this from Job’s account in Job 1:1-10 when God boasted about Job, Satan then declared, confirming this truth: “Hast, not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side?” (Job 1:10). This statement tells us that the hedge of protection is not limited to the individual alone but his/her family, their property and everything that concerns them. Undoubtedly Satan must have attempted to attack Job and met with the hedge; and that is why he was protesting to God. John 10:10a tells us of the devil’s MO - “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
But he has no power to infiltrate the protection the hedge provides unless access is granted to him by a breakage of the hedge.

Psalm 125:2 tells us of this same level of protection
As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore.

Psalm 91 also tells us of this same level of protection. However, three verses in this chapter calls out the conditions for this continued protection that keeps us protected from the enemy’s attack that we should be conscious

Verse 1: He that dwells in the secret place of the most High. This implies that the protection is for dwellers; not tourists. A tourist is one who does not take any responsibility whatsoever; they come and go, they don’t dwell.
Verse 9: Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
Verse 14: Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

But when we stray away from God’s plan and purpose for our lives, we tend to veer away from these conditions and consequently remove ourselves from the protection offered by the hedge exposing ourselves to the attack of the enemy (Ephesians 4:27)

HOW CAN SOMEONE BREAK THE HEDGE?

Participating in any act of defilement that can cause the breaking of the hedge. We will focus broadly on actions that cause defilement and exposure. They are, unconfessed sins (in general), compromise, disobedience and unforgiveness.

There is however, another scenario as we see in the instance of Job, where God can choose to take away the hedge Himself for the trial of our faith. Or He can also take it away as punishment as we see in Isaiah 5:5

"Now I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed; I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled."

The difference however is that when it is taken away as a test, it is for greater glory as opposed to when we break the hedge ourselves; or when it is for a punishment where the consequences may be dire.

• Sin (Proverbs 5:22-23)
An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him. 23 He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his great foolishness. The Lord withdrew His protection from the Israelites in the battle of Ai when Achan sinned. (Joshua 7:2-5). On the cross when Jesus was carrying the sins of the world upon Himself, the Father turned His face away. Mt 27:45–46

• Compromise (Genesis 13:12-13 & Psalms 1:1-2)
The tragic tale of Lot and his Daughters in the book of Genesis. We see from the story of Lot that he engaged in a series of compromises (Genesis 13:12-13) that left him exposed to the attack of the enemy (Genesis 14:11-12). Even after being delivered from captivity by Abraham, Lot returned to Sodom. (Genesis 19:1 tells us that Lot was sitting in the gate; implying that he had so entered into the society of Sodom that he was a judge there However, in spite of his position, the men of Sodom had no respect for him because they knew he was a hypocrite. (Genesis 19:9). His belief system had become eroded by living in compromise (Gen.19:8 – offering his daughters to be abused) and finally, culminated with Him sleeping with his 2 daughters (Genesis 19:30–38).
Samson in Judges 16:20 stood up and said, “I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself.” And he knew not that the Lord had departed from him

• Disobedience (1 Kings 13:1-25)
The young prophet in the book of 1 Kings (1 Kings 13:1-25) disobeyed the Lord and the consequence was his death. Because just as in Isaiah 5:5, God took away the hedge around him and he was destroyed . “. . . I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed; I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled.”

• Unforgiveness (2 Corinthians 2:10-11)
Hebrews 12:14-15 tells us that many are defiled through bitterness, which is the fruit of unforgiveness: “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;”

SIGNS AND CONSEQUENCES OF A BROKEN HEDGE
Breaking the hedge exposes a person to the devil, his wiles as well as the powers of darkness. Ecclesiastes 10:8b says - He who breaks the hedge the serpent will bite
Isaiah 5:5 tells us that when God Himself takes away the hedge, the result is destruction
Now I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed; I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled.

Considering what Job suffered as a result of God's removal of the divine hedge (Job 1:13-22), the following are the signs of a broken or removed hedge:
• Great loss and disaster (Job 1:13-17)
• Attack by the enemy on self or any member of family (Job 1:18-19)
• Sickness (Job 2:7)

CONCLUSION
Breaking the hedge exposes a person to the devil, his wiles but that is not the end of the story for believers. Ezekiel 22:30 says: And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. This tells us that the hedge can be repaired, the walls can be rebuilt (Amos 9:14), the altar can be restored (1 Kings 18:30), what was lost can be recovered (Job 42:10), crooked paths made straight (Isaiah 40:4) and destruction averted (John 10:10b) by returning to the Lord in faith and prayers.

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 03:34 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, September 07 2022

Contributor: Dolapo Olaoye

INTRODUCTION

Last week, we looked at lack of fulfilment been one of the consequences of being out of God’s plan where we focused on Psalms 1:4-6 which enlighten us on the requirements for a fulfilled life, reveals the characteristics of a fulfilled life, and we were made to understand that that we cannot have the fulfilment of life if we do not align our life with God’s plan. While the Bible is full of promises for great things it also has warnings about what happens when you’re not living your life according to God’s purpose. What’s the most trouble you remember getting in? Did you know going into the situation that there would be consequences or were you caught off guard? The good news is, there’s nothing we can do to make God love us less than He already does. Even though nothing we do can change God’s perfect plan, there are still consequences of being out of God’s plan. Today we will continue the series and focus on the area of lack of peace.

Bible Reference: Isaiah 57:20 (NKJV): But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.

Have you ever found yourself doing something and you had internal conflict in your spirit? That’s usually the Holy Spirit telling you that you’re going off course because where there is no peace, you are most likely heading for danger. If you allow the Holy Spirit to lead you, he will keep you from unnecessary trouble.  It’s only a fool that will not heed warning signs and suffer the consequences that come as a result. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be your guide here on earth to lead you in the direction of His purpose for your life. Isaiah 26:3 tells us, “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee.Peace is the legacy Jesus gave to His disciples and to all believers through the person of the Holy Spirit. There is an expectation of peace for those who trust in God.

Any child of God who loses his peace is open to the enemy’s attacks. The scripture reveals how God uses lack of peace as a revelation to warn us of error or danger. Lack of peace is God’s supernatural warning system. When our teenage child wants to attend a party and we have a strong check in our spirit, or when an opportunity just doesn’t feel right, we need to recognize that God may be revealing error or danger.

Each day we are confronted with choices. Just like you decided today whether or not you would join bible study. You are here because you decided to do that and acted upon it. Each step of our spiritual life is the same. When God looks down at us, He sees three areas that impact our lives. He wants to transform, control, and fill each of those three areas (1 Th. 5:23): Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let’s look at a few symptoms of emotional affliction of lack of peace to emphasise the importance of always being in-line with God’s plan for you:

 

1.     Anxiety – This is number one sign of no peace. Once you feel a bit anxious within you stop and identify the source so that it doesn’t pierce any further. Obviously, being anxious expresses lack the peace of God. Lack of confidence in God’s ability to help you, protect or deliver you will make you insecure and that will aggravate the anxiety (Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future). You may express the anxiety in hot-temper and anger towards others.

 

2.     Eating disorder – Some people not knowing how to handle the anxiety building up within them resort to eating anyhow and uncontrollably and yet others lose appetite (1 Corinthians 6:19-20: Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honour God with your bodies). Eating disorders eventually leads to health challenges and all these because there is lack of peace of God somewhere.

3.     Instability – Lack of peace of mind can lead to Instability. You may find yourself doing one thing now and the next minute the very opposite thing. One minute you are happy and another minute you are sad (uncontrollable mood swings), one minute you are rational and another minute you are irrational. At one point you seem to know what you want and then you lose it (James 1:8: A double minded man is unstable in all his ways). The dangerous part of it is that you will worsen to the negative part, even to the extreme of suicidal thoughts if you don’t regain your peace fast.

 

4.     Prolonged Sorrow – This saps you of energy and hinders you from actively forging ahead to live a happy and successful life. It can lead to depression which is not a good state of mind at all. Hopelessness is not of God, for where there is life there is hope (Isaiah 40:29: He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak). Lack of peace triggers lowliness of the spirit. Depression snatches your future and destiny from you. But when you have peace of mind, you are able to coordinate well. The peace of the Lord enables you to quickly overcome sorrow, because what the enemy planned for evil, God can use to be a blessing to you and many others.

 

5.     Unhealthy relationships – Some people on the other hand vent their troubled minds on others. They become unforgiving and fault-finding, nothing the other does pleases them. They become bossy, unbearable and unpleasant to be with. When you do not have the peace of God, you wouldn’t deal wisely with any challenge that comes up in your relationship with people. You need to be at peace within you before you can make peace with another.

Cain, in Genesis 4, lost the peace of God when his sacrifice was rejected, and Abel’s was accepted. He became stressed emotionally and rather than dealing with his attitude towards sacrifices unto God, he chose to vent his anger on his brother to the point of killing him.

 

God detected that he was going to do something terrible if he didn’t control his anger and warned him, but he didn’t listen, and he got severely punished for killing Abel. An inner peace causes a peaceful relationship. You are a true child of God if you are a peacemaker (Matthew 5:9) and where God is there is liberty.

 

CONCLUSION

As we have learnt today, lack of peace is extremely dangerous, and we need to remember that we have Peace in us already (Holy Spirit) we just need to listen carefully and always work in alignment with God’s plan for our life.

You can achieve a state of inner peace by teaching your mind to be silent and let you be (let the Holy Spirit take over). All the worries, fears and thoughts just go away, and you feel calm, happy, and free. Just imagine how it would be to live your life, work, interact with people, read, watch TV, travel, read or do whatever else, without thoughts and worries claiming your attention. Think how your focus will become steady and your senses become enhanced, because there is nothing to distract them. Just imagine how your understanding, comprehension, awareness, and intuition will increase.

This will not happen overnight. To be silence and have your mind at ease, to shut down its never-ending thinking and enjoy inner peace, you need the Holy Spirit inside you activated. There are no short cuts to overcoming nonstop thinking and lack of inner peace.

Ref: The Effects Of Lack Of Peace Of God - Steps with God - https://stepswithgod.com/

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 04:23 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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