Wednesday, December 07 2022
Contributor: Alex Kokobili
The study of God’s righteousness is inexhaustible as its exposures us to numerous dimensions of His essence and its associated benefits. The emphasis on fruitfulness in the previous lesson gives us clarity on enjoying the blessings of God’s righteousness by living a fruitful life. Fruitfulness brings transgenerational benefits because each fruit contains multiple seeds with the potential to give life to others (John 15: 5-8). Righteousness is a race that comes with both earthly and spiritual great rewards “Psalm 5:12 For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield”.
Today’s study expands the previous discussion on fruitfulness dwelling on the concept of progress as part of the blessing of righteousness. Both fruitfulness and progress are synonymous with each other based on contextual application.
Psalm 92: 12 “The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon”.
Righteousness is aligning rightly with God’s way of life. This is the direction of holiness, purity, and obedience. You cannot attain holiness, purity, and obedience without God’s righteousness in you. i.e., It is God’s own way of doing things and not how we feel things should be done. The focus on PROGRESS in relation to the life of a righteous person insinuates advancement in diverse spheres of life without stagnation. Most often we hear people saying “As poor as a church rat” which is idiomatically used to link poverty with followers of the Christian faith due to some emphasis on pious living by certain groups. However, the scriptures tell us about the great gain of Godliness (1 Tim 6: 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain) and we further see that righteousness also comes with the gain of life and honour (Proverbs 21: 21 Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity, and honour).
THE BLESSINGS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS AND PROGRESS
PART A. Psalm 92: 12a (The Righteous Shall Flourish Like A Palm Tree)
• God recognizes the righteous: The first benefit of living in God’s righteousness is being recognized by the Lord Himself (Psalm 1: 6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish). The blessing of God’s recognition is weightier than any material gratification. Based on these promises God is able to commit unto the righteous all other forms of blessings that pertain to our comfort and sustainability because He knows it will bring Him glory (Mathew 6: 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you).
• The righteous shall flourish (Psalm 92: 12a). Flourish refers to a wholesome development void of deadness or corrupt cells. It means a righteous man experiences
an unusual pace and pattern of life likened to the PALM TREE (The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree).
The symbolism of the Blessedness of the Righteous and the PALM TREE
• The palm tree was symbolic in its inscription in the sanctuary that housed the Ark of Covenant in Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings 6: 29-31).
• The palm tree was symbolic as a way of honour in Jewish culture. John 12: 12- 13 The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ The King of Israel!”
• The palm tree is an embodiment of fresh life, productivity, prosperity, fertility, etc.
o Psalm 1: 2-3 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.
Part B. Psalm 92: 12b The Righteous Shall Grow Like A Cedar In Lebanon (Progression)
• The cedar tree has a strong ability to resist moisture, and decay and it is extremely durable for construction and furniture. Though the cedar tree might not grow as fast as so many others it will outlive most trees without losing its integrity and glory.
• The cedar was also used by the priest for burning incense to God in the Old Testament (Leviticus 14) due to its aromatic fragrance and also the rebuilding of Jerusalem the temple (Ezra 3:7) by those who were in captivity from Lebanon under Cyrus.
• The blessings of the righteous will be distinct and visible as the gigantic cedar. The cedar tree is always very visible and it gives coverage and comfort to other trees in the woods. No wonder when cedars are cut down in the forest smaller trees will be exposed to crosswind and the aggressive side of nature. In the same manner, the blessings of the righteous stand out in grace, comfort, mercy, favour, health, finances, etc.
• The fall of Egypt was like the cutting down of a giant cedar! What a Shame.
Ezekiel 31: 3 – 8
Indeed Assyria was a cedar in Lebanon, With fine branches that shaded the forest, And of high stature; And its top was among the thick boughs. 4 The waters made it grow; Underground waters gave it height, With their rivers running around the place where it was planted, And sent out rivulets to all the trees of the field. 5 ‘Therefore its height was exalted above all the trees of the field; Its boughs were multiplied, And its branches became long because of the abundance of water, As it sent them out. 6 All the birds of the heavens made their nests in its boughs; Under its branches all the beasts of the field brought forth their young; And in its shadow all great nations made their home. 7 ‘Thus it was beautiful in greatness and in the length of its branches, Because its roots reached to abundant waters. 8 The cedars in the garden of God could not hide it; The fir trees were not like its boughs,
and the chestnut trees were not like its branches; No tree in the garden of God was like it in beauty.
Part C. The Blessings Of Righteousness And The Nationhood Of Abraham
The righteous are considered God’s representative on earth. The righteous shall glow as long we remain in God’s concentration exponentially, numerically, geometrically, spiritually, unto quantum Infinitum until eternity to the fullness of likeness and image of God.
Proverbs 14: 34 - tells us that righteousness elevates a nation and brings a nation into prosperity, but sin is a reproach to any people. God considers the ability of the righteous as having the ability and capacity of a NATION. Also in 1 Peter 2: 9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.
This metaphoric usage of a nation represents unique people with its cultural institution, an embodiment of prosperity, etc. The nations become the coordination of our civilization. This is the magnitude of value that God sees in those who live in righteousness.
• God’s promise to bless Abram by making him a great nation provided he (Abraham) followed His righteousness and guidance.
Genesis 12: 1- 3 The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.
• Abram’s faith in God was a testimony of righteousness.
Genesis 15: 6 Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness. Like Abraham, the first hunger for righteousness is for us to please God without putting ourselves in the equation or trying to seek profit from God.
Righteousness is the testimony of Jesus Christ!
Hebrews 1: 9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (Psalm 45: 7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions). Philippians 3:9 - And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.
We have to acknowledge the testimony of Christ in relation to how He prospered in His assignment of redemption of humanity due to righteousness.
• The righteous man like Abraham is able to access God’s agenda due to intimacy.
Gen 18: 17 The LORD said, “Shall I keep secret from Abraham [My friend and servant] what I am going to do). The testimony of righteousness is greater than any material substance because it is only.
• God helps the righteous man to overcome defeat for the purpose of reigning in God’s righteousness (Proverbs 24: 16 For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again). We see things we Abraham erred (Genesis 16: 4) by having an affair with Hagar his wife’s maid. However, we will later discover God’s mercy and help showed forth urging Abraham back to righteousness – (Genesis 17: 1 “I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect”).
• The blessings of the righteous are generational, transferable, and quantum Infinitum. This is the Abrahamic blessing that we enjoy today because God willed this type of blessing to Abraham and his seed forever.
Galatians 3: 6-9 Just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.
As believers, the reward of righteousness may seem unpopular but it is worth living for (Mathew 6: 33). As we serve God, He will also and always make His blessings available to God at each journey of our life. Let us be reminded in accordance with Proverbs 34: 4 that righteousness exalts and elevates a nation and as long as we keep in such part, we become a city with blessings that cannot be hidden shining forth His glory (Mathew 5:14-16).
Wednesday, November 23 2022
Contributor: Ngozi Roberts
For the past few weeks, we have been studying the benefits of being in God’s Plan for our lives and come to understand that it brings fulfilment to us. We learnt that we are able to live an ordered life when we are living in accordance to God’s plan and last week we considered divine intervention as one of the benefits that we will enjoy when we work and live in harmony with Gods plan. We understood why we needed divine intervention, its characteristics and also had a peep into the lives of those in the bible that experienced divine intervention.
Today we are going to continue in our study of the benefits of being in Gods plan for our lives and we will be discussing
Fruitfulness. In general when one is successful it can be said that person is fruitful. In Christendom, the way we place value on success is different from the way it is done in the world. Usually, people tend to place a lot of value on every success we achieve as if it were to be by their own strength that they achieved that success. However, Paul said in 1Corinthians 15:10 that
"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me."
So we see Pauls fruitfulness being attributed to Gods’ Grace. This is why it is very important for us to understand Gods idea of success or fruitfulness. We are all destined to be great, fruitful and succeed in life as Christians. We are made aware of this fact early in the scriptures in Genesis 12: 1-2 when he called Abraham:
12 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
So being the descendants of Abraham, we are all destined to be great, fruitful, and successful in life as children of God. As we go through this study, I pray that the Lord will open our eyes of understanding to find the missing link to our fruitfulness in Jesus’ name.
Text: John 15:5-8
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish,
and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
One of the benefits of Gods plan for our lives is Fruitfulness. In other words, when we are working in accordance with the Plan of God, we will be fruitful. Let us break it down a bit.
Fruit - fulness
Fruit meaning – In God’s kingdom fruit has been used to describe an effect, or outcome or result of somethings. For example in Psalms 128 it says that “You will eat the fruit of your labour; blessings and prosperity will be yours. It means the outcome of our labour is the fruit which we will eat. This is likened to the regular meaning of fruits that come from trees like oranges or apples. So, if a farmer labours to plant an orange tree for example, he will eventually harvest the fruit to eat which is oranges.
Fullness - Simply put, the online dictionary says it is the state of being filled to capacity. This is simple enough.
Therefore, when we put them together, we can say that Fruitfulness is the state of being filled to capacity with fruit. It now depends on the type of fruit you are labouring for. So you will be filled to the brim or capacity with whatever kind of fruit that resulted from your planting or sowing.
John 15:5 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing
Remember we are talking about being in Gods plan. As children of God who are working in according to Gods plan, God is saying in this scripture that we ought to attach ourselves to Him. He brings an analogy of the plant called the Vine. There are actually different types but generally A vine is a plant that its stems requires support. It either climbs up a tree or sprawls over the ground. The most common plants that come to mind are grapes and tomatoes.
How can you differentiate the Vine from the branch?
From research I found out that the vine is the source of life for the branches. It provides the water and nutrients by which the grapes are produced. Without the vine, no fruit could ever result. So the vine and branches contain the same substance, the same life. There is one plant. The function of the vine is to pump life to the branches and the function of the branch is to produce the fruit of the vine.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
Therefore, Jesus is letting us to know that we are the branches. As long as we are attached in him, we will receive all that is need of us to be able to fulfil our purpose in this kingdom. So there is a condition to this promise just like almost all the promises of God in the scriptures. Now there is a flip side in the next verse
6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
But this is not our mission. We all want to fulfil purpose or be fruitful. Therefore, must fulfil all the conditions required of us which is to Remain in Christ. So what then can we do to remain as a branch?
To remain in Christ
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth
The scriptures made us to understand that God should be the beginning of everything in life in this kingdom. Without God being at the beginning of our purpose in life, there is no way we can succeed. Note that everyone of us is destined for greatness /fruitfulness. The fact that some of us have not attained our desired greatness is because we have not understood the steps to greatness.
These steps are highlighted in Deuteronomy 28:1-2
And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: 2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.
So from the above scripture, I understand that to remain in Christ and be fruitful and obtain these promises:
• to be set thee on high above all nations of the earth
• to be blessed and overtaken by blessings
That if I want to remain in Christ, I must fulfil these conditions:
• hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD
• to observe all his commandments
• do all his commandments
A typical example is Abraham our father. – Genesis 12:1-4
12 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee :2And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. 4 So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran
And I will make of thee a great nation, and
- I will bless thee,
- and make thy name great;
- and thou shalt be a blessing:
- And I will bless them that bless thee,
- and curse him that curseth thee: and
- in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed
- Get thee out of thy country, and
- from thy kindred, and
- from thy father's house,
- unto a land that I will shew thee
Now did Abraham fulfil these conditions? Yes. Did God fulfil his promise? Yes!
Genesis 17:6 "And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee."
Interesting! So after twenty four good years, God still reiterated and elaborated the same promise and Galatians 3:29 confirms this –
"And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
So the moment we said ‘Yes’ to Christ. The moment we accepted Christ as our Lord an personal saviour, at that point, we are surely testifying to the fulfilment of this promise.
It’s comforting to know that it does not matter how long it takes, Gods promises will surely come to pass!
Therefore, the first foundation to being a branch of Christ is to be born again. If you want to succeed in the kingdom of God, your first step is to encounter the God of the Bible. The day you encounter Christ is the day the clock of your destiny begins. John 3:3 says
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
And verse 15 says:
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life
That is the life of God, a life of purpose, fulfilled vision, why, because we have to be relevant even after this life as the testimony God has given us is eternal life.
So you have to receive and encounter God in Christ to be a branch
Secondly, you have to encounter the Holy Spirit. It is in building a relationship with the Holy Spirit that the guidance to your purpose will be found. That empowerment you need to remain as a branch will be released unto you. Jesus introduce the ministry of the Holy Spirit in
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
As branches we have the Holy Spirit to guide us in all truth as He is dwelling in us!
Thirdly, to remain as a branch we must encounter the Word of God. The logos of God. The principles and mysteries embedded in the word of God. Matthew 13:11 says
11He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
The Word of God is the instrument of transformation. We will be transformed through enlightenment. Our minds will have the opportunity to change towards the mind of Christ. Romans 12:2 tells us that 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Therefore, to become a branch, we must strive to get the knowledge and the ways of God.
Another case in point is Moses. In Exodus 33:13, Moses first asked for the ways of God to be shown to Him -
13 Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.
Then after God had answered him, Moses asked for the God’s Glory in verse 18 -18 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.
So first strive to know God’s ways before His Glory. It is when we act upon the ways of God that you have learnt from his word that you will start experiencing the manifestation of His Glory and not the other way round.
In the process of encountering the word of God, you strive to get knowledge which is the access to information but it is not enough. When you get the information, ensure that you have a godly understanding of the underlying principles that comes with the information and then finally act on it by applying wisdom. This is the experiential application of the knowledge you have received. In doing this diligently, you are gradually rooting yourself as a branch ready to bear fruit.
7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:7-8
In Matthew 21:18- 20 Jesus was hungry and went to a fig tree to pluck a fruit to eat but found nothing! Jesus was unhappy and therefore caused it and the fig tree withered.
18Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. 19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. 20 And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!
This is exactly how God feels when we do not bear fruit. It is the desire of God that we bear fruit. When we engage in the mysteries of the kingdom that we understand; the mysteries apportioned to bring result that we desire, we see ourselves exhibiting some peculiar ways and experiencing some results that are of higher dimension that is far from the norm. Then we know that we are bearing fruit.
Jesus told us another story, a parable of the talent in Matthew 25:20-30 the Master was not happy with the servant that did not yield any fruit, what did the Master do? In verse 30 30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
What then are the criteria for fruitfulness
1. Humility – Psalm 51:17 - 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
When we put on humility, meekness, broken and contrite heart, God will embrace us. The fact that we are humble enough to receive his food, learn at his feet, we will surely be filled up and bear fruit. Remember, in the beginning we established that the work of the Vine is to feed an nourish the branch. Note that even if we get the knowledge, wisdom or understanding that we talked about, they will be useless in a proud heart. The proud heart is like the heart of stone, there is no way it can yield any fruit. When there is pride and arrogance, the word of God cannot pass through the life of that person. He said to Abram, get thee out…” and he obeyed.
2. Total Trust and Confidence – Gen 12:1 - Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
In the economy of God, He does not give you details of the instruction of where you are going. The mission is “Follow me”. When he was selecting his disciples, He would simple say “follow me” and they did. The time he told Peter to follow him and went further to tell him, he will make him fisher of men. To a Fisherman, what does that even mean! It does not make sense! Yet Peter followed him. Same way the other disciples followed in trust without asking questions and followed Him.
What about Abraham, he trusted God and obey in confidence. He was 75 years when he was promised this greatness, yet here he was 99 years still being promised, am sure if it were to be some of us, we would have compromised but Abraham was still faithful and still trusted God till the end and you and I are the end product of his obedience and trust.
3. Encounter with the Spirit of revelation - At this stage you do not stop at the gaining of knowledge but become an expression of the knowledge. As a result of your brokenness, you are able to do as He guides with ease. Because you trust Him, He uses you to manifest His will. It is like having Intercourse with Him. You see yourself experiencing the word e.g.
Psalm 23: 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me
You are experiencing a life changing tribulation in your place of work or family but you are not bothered because you have the scriptures reassurance.
I will leave us with the mantle scripture
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:5-8
Wednesday, November 16 2022
Contributor: Esther Alajiki
Through the last weeks we have considered the benefits of living within God’s will; we have considered - Perfect Peace, Fulfilment, An Ordered Life, and this week we shall be considering Divine intervention. Divine intervention is the interference of a deity in human life, popularly extended to any miraculous-seeming turn of events, an event that occurs when God becomes actively involved in changing some situation in human affairs. For you to attract divine intervention, you need divine attention which attracts divine visitation.
2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. (Read Psalm 34:15, 1 Peter 3:12, Job 36:7)
Isaiah 41:18 – "I will open Rivers in high places fountains in the midst of the valleys I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and dry land springs of water."
Exodus 23:25 "So you shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will take away sickness from among you."
There is a part for both parties to play. All of God’s best blessings are conditional
Exodus 15:26 "If you will listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His eyes, and pay attention to His commands, and keep all His statutes, then I will not bring on you any of the diseases I inflicted on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you."
(Read Deut. 28 – 1, 14, Psalms 91, Ps 23)
As children of God we must be aware of not only the promises and provisions but also the conditions attached.
Deuteronomy 7:15 "And the LORD will remove from you all sickness. He will not lay upon you any of the terrible diseases you knew in Egypt, but He will inflict them on all who hate you."
WHY DO WE NEED DIVINE INTERVENTION?
1. Every great and outstanding achievement is by God’s intervention.
2. Many wonderful dreams can only be fulfilled by God’s intervention.
3. By strength shall no man prevail
4. Divine intervention and removes barriers puts an end to prolonged delay.
5. Divine intervention brings you out of the pit of reproaches, confusion and sudden death.
6. Divine intervention makes your heaven to open and release her dews upon you.
7. Divine intervention makes your cloud that is full of rain to pour it down.
8. Divine intervention sponsors sudden miracles and elevation in your life like Joseph.
9. Divine intervention brings victory
10.Divine intervention will make helpers to remember you - Mordechai and King Ahasuerus.
11.Divine intervention prevents untimely death and resurrects dead good thing - Lazarus.
12. Divine intervention delivers answers to payers.
CHARACTERISTICS OF DIVINE INTERVENTION
1. It is promised – Psalm 91:14-15. Answered prayer is promised – Matthew 7: 7, Mark 11:24, John 15: 16, Jeremiah 33: 3. If God did not promise to intervene when we face difficulties, we will have no grounds to ask for it.
2. It is for a purpose. Every miracle is done to bring glory to God’s name and to advance the cause of the kingdom.
3. It is pure. God will never use unholy means to solve your problem. Trading hard drugs, ungodly relationship, fraud
4. It is powerful, nothing can stop it. When God stretches forth his hand to deliver, nothing can turn it backwards. (Psalm 66:3).
5. It is peculiar. if your problem is peculiar, but God will give you a peculiar solution.
6. It is sometimes progressive divine intervention may be instantaneous sometimes but can occur in phases.
7. It is recipient-participatory. Your faith is absolutely essential. God is not moved by need but by faith.
8. It takes place at God’s own time, not necessarily at the time you expect. Lazarus John 11.
9. It is perfect. It is complete. Lazarus raised back to life, healed of the sickness that killed him. • (Psalm 138: 8).
10.It is permanent. The Red Sea ended the Egyptian army.
BIBLICAL EXAMPLES OF DIVINE INTERVENTION
1. Heavenly intervention: Joshua 10:11-14.
11 And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, and were in the going down to Bethhoron, that the LORD cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword. 12 Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. 13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.” 14 And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel.
Judges 5:2 “Praise ye the LORD for the avenging of Israel, when the people willingly offered themselves.”
Judges 5:20 “They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera”.
2. Financial Intervention: Matt. 17:24 – 27 Tribute money from the mouth of a fish
3. Debt Settlement Intervention: 2 Kings 4:1-7 (Go, sell the oil and pay your debt”).
4. Angelic Intervention: Angel opened the prison doors. Acts 5:17 – 20
5. Healing Intervention: Man at the pool of Bethesda John 5:1 – 4 Acts 3:6 – 9 (Man at the Beautiful Gate)
6. Security Intervention (Daniel in the Lion’s Den), Daniel 6:13–22
7. Protection/Rescue Intervention- (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) Daniel 3:22 – 25
8. Turn around Intervention (Obed-Edom) Psalm 126:1 – 6
9. Restoration Intervention 2 Kings 8:1 – 6 Restore all that was hers, and all the fruits of the field since the day that she left the land, even until now.
WHAT HINDERS DIVINE INTERVENTION?
1. Lack of Salvation – John 10:9
2. Sin – Destiny Killer – Secret Sin – Prov. 9:17-18 and Besetting Sin – Heb. 12:1; Col. 3:5-16.
3. Association – 1 Cor. 15:33
4. Compromise – Prov. 1:10
5. Unsanctified Life – 2 Tim. 2:19-21
6. Prayerlessness – Luke 18:1
7. Disobedience – 1 Sam. 13:1-14.
Ask God for divine intervention by His mercy
A cry for mercy is a key to access divine attention, Mercy opens doors can bring you into remembrance and qualify you for uncommon favour. Mark 10 – Blind Bartimaeus first asked for MERCY before asking for His eyes to be opened.
Wednesday, November 09 2022
Contributor: Martins Olubiyi
Mariam Webster dictionary defines an Ordered Life as a life marked by regularity or discipline. Moreover, order implies a neat and logical organization of items, task, or people. Now for emphasis, it may be good to consider other verses of scripture that are germane to our text.
“Man’s steps are ordered and ordained by the Lord. How then can a man [fully] understand his way? (AMP)
Psalm 37:23-24: “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by His hand.”
Proverbs 16:9: “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”
God Is A God Of Order
1 Corinth. 14:33, says ‘
for God [who is the source of their prophesying] is not a God of confusion and disorder but of peace and order’.
The Greek word for peace is inclusive of oneness and quietness. This verse is backed up by:
• God’s entire creation- Universe. Everything God made is perfect, orderly, and consistent. Living in an orderly way helps us to be in line with God. God’s universe is orderly. He created everything in an orderly sequence within six days and set the world into motion. (Gen. 1:31; Exod. 20:11; 31:17). He created the sun, moon, and stars to regulate time and seasons (Gen.1:14-18; Psa. 104:19). The cosmos, the moon and the star operate with precision and accuracy.
• Living bodies are another example of God’s orderliness. The heart pumps blood through organs designed to receive it. The brain fires thousands of messages per second to regulate pain, temperature, respiration, and thought.
• God is a God of order within His own person. Although no human being can fully comprehend the tri-unity of the Lord God Almighty, we see orderliness in the three Persons of the Trinity. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct Persons, yet they function in complete harmony (Mat.28:19; John. 14:26; 15:26). Within God Himself is completeness. He needs nothing. He is complete love, complete joy, complete justice, and complete mercy.
• God’s creation of time is another indication of His orderliness. God exist outside of time as we know it, but He created time as a way for earth to mark changes. Time is orderly, sequential, and does not vary based on anything mankind can control. Times keep us orderly. Rich or poor, young, or old, we all have the same number of hours in a day. The sun will rise and set on schedule no matter what may be happening on earth. He keeps everything in motion as He first designed it. It is His orderly hand that holds the world in place. (Heb. 1:3; Col. 1:17).
• The arrival of Jesus. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world at just the right time (Gal. 4:4). God planned the arrival of Jesus with nearly five thousand years of a sacrificial pattern designed to teach people about holiness and repentance (Lev. 4:35). Through the
Hebrew nation, He gave His law and showed us what was required to approach a holy God (Exod. 19:12; Lev. 17:11). By the time Jesus came, the Jewish people were well schooled in the sacrificial system and understood their need for a Messiah to make them right with God (Zech.9:9; Heb.9: 22-23). God did not spring the idea of a Saviour on the world. He spent centuries patiently preparing the world in an orderly fashion (Mark. 14:49; John 3:16-18; 5:39).
What Does It Mean To Have A Well-Ordered Life According To The Scripture?
The foundation of a well-ordered life is rooted in Gal. 5:25 ‘If we [claim to] live by the [Holy] Spirit, we must also walk by the Spirit [with personal integrity, godly character, and moral courage—our conduct empowered by the Holy Spirit]’ AMP.
In other words, as we walk in the Spirit, we must remain in step with Him.
The Analogy Of The Vine And The Branches- Jesus Our All In All.
In John 15:4-5, Jesus said; ‘
Remain in Me, and I [will remain] in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself without remaining in the vine, neither can you [bear fruit, producing evidence of your faith] unless you remain in Me. 5 [b]I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for [otherwise] apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing’.
We can be the most organised people on earth but miss out on the rich blessing of abiding (remaining) in Jesus day after day. A well-ordered life is a life that gains every nourishment from the vine- The True Vine- Jesus Christ. As we remain in Jesus, His life flows through us, producing fruits for His glory and the good of others. We must focus on His word and attending to details of His word as revealed in Psa. 1:1-3. Check (Job.23:12; Psa. 119: 11, 105.
We Should Do Everything For The Glory Of God
1Corinth. 10:31 says,
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God”.
This verse keeps us from trying to order our lives according to the world’s standards. Such as doing things to please man instead of God; working hard to store up treasures on earth instead of heaven. When we turn away from ordering our lives after the pattern of this world and instead order our lives in honour of God’s glory, we will find ourselves most content and at peace. We should remember that nothing in the world worth sacrificing God’s peace. Paul said
‘Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. 7And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours]’. Phil. 4: 6-7.
A well-ordered life is grounded in the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding.
Live a Quiet Life of Love, Work, and Witness. 1 Thess. 4: 9-12. (Read AMP).
Since God is a God of order, we should be, too. We were created to think in orderly ways, reason, judge, and consider all aspects of a matter. God invites us to “come, let us reason together” (Isa. 1:18). God enjoys our communion with Him, our questions, our studying of His word, and our willingness to let Him bring order to our chaotic thoughts. The more like Him we become, the more orderly our lives will be because He is a God of order.
Note: message culled from crosswalk web; contributors: Jennifer Waddle; Jennifer Heeren.
Wednesday, November 02 2022
Contributor: Okwudili Prince-Isaac
It may be good to attempt to define God’s plan. The most concise and accurate definition of God’s eternal plan is found in the Westminster Confession of Faith, which reads:
“God from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass.”
God’s plan is greater than anything we can fully fathom because it is all designed to bring Him the maximum honor and glory. God’s sovereignty, knowledge, wisdom, love, and justice (to name a few) are all displayed in his plan of salvation (which is the door-way to fulfilment). The more we grasp this, the better we understand our own finitude and reliance on God, and ultimately fulfilment.
Psalm 1: 1-3
“ What delight comes to the one who follows God’s way. He won’t walk in step with the wicked, nor share the sinner’s way, nor be found sitting in the scorner’s seat.  His passion is to remain true to the Word of “I AM”, meditating day and night on the true revelation of light.  He will be standing firm like a flourishing tree planted by GOD’s design, deeply rooted by the brooks of bliss, bearing fruit in every season of life. He is never dry, never fainting, ever blessed, ever prosperous”. TPT
1. Eph. 1:3
2. Jer. 1:4
3. Jer. 29:11
4. Gen. 39:3
5. John 4:34
6. Gen. 18:19
7. Deut. 30:19
8. Josh. 24:15
As God’s creation He has a purpose for your life that if followed will reap maximum benefit for His glory. The majority of people live in frustration and despondency because they may not know God’s plan for their lives. What’s worse is that a few may know it but still choose to ignore/avoid it.
Below are four benefits of following God’s plan for our lives:
1. Peace of mind
As children of God, we will have an internal compass that guides your decision-making based on the values of the word of God. This is the Holy Spirit who guides us in all truth revealing to us the mind of God. The Apostle John put it this way,
“However, when He, the Spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” (John 16:13)
Even when situations don’t make sense but we have peace in your heart we can trust in God’s faithfulness. We just need to be obedient to what He commands us to do. But when we choose to do our own things instead of God’s, that when we experience trouble. A good example of this is Old Testament prophet Jonah whom God instructed to go to Nineveh to preach the word; He fled to Tarshish instead. The result of his disobedience was almost tragic as many people almost perished. Exact opposite of peace. He then repented of his disobedience and did what God told him to do in the first place.
When we contend for what we should be contending for, the result will be a peace the passes all understanding (Phil 4:6).
2. Blessing and increase
The ultimate purpose of life is to bring glory to God and advance God’s Kingdom agenda. He loves to show Himself mighty on our behalf so that the earth may know that there is a God in heaven. When we walk in obedience, He will validate our purpose by causing us to prosper. (Ps 1:3). There are numerous examples in the Bible such as Joseph (Gen 39:3). Others are Joshua, Moses and Daniel who experienced the blessing of God in such a way that it made the people they led to believe on the Lord.
The blessing was not just for these individual but for the benefit of those they led too. When we are careful to obey God’s will He will certainly bless us so that you become a blessing to those around us as well.
3. Joy at seeing changed lives
At the end of our race. what matters is the difference each of us would have made in other people’s lives. Can people point to you and say their lives have been that much better because you lived? Your work and everything we do is a form of ministry that impacts the people God puts in our life.
A general misconception in some places is that in order to minister to people a person must be a full-time Minister or have some other ministerial role. We can still minister to people outside that setting through our work in the marketplace, on the sports field, social work, classroom, etc. However, our life’s calling is our ministry and the people we serve can be likened to our congregation. So whatever God has called us to do is our ministry and His plan is for each of us to follow through on it so that we touch the people He has called us to serve. Therein lies a great measure of fulfilment (John 4:34).
4. Securing the destiny of future generations
Our choices today will have an impact on future generations and understanding the weight of that will help you make the right ones (Gen 12, Gen 18:19). Choosing to be selfless and doing what God commands you will attract a blessing to your life; blessings that will pass on to our children and generations after that.
“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore, choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.” Deut 30:19
The greatest legacy we can pass on is that of the faith (Josh 24:15). The blessing is passed to the third and fourth generation in our lineage. May our families point to us as the person that made a difference in our family’s history by seeking fulfilment following God’s plan and Word.
ROLL CALL OF PEOPLE WHO OBTAINED FULFULMENT IN GOD’S PLAN
1. Abraham (Gen 18:19)
2. Joseph (Gen 39)
4. Joshua and Caleb (Num. 14:24)
5. The Rechabites (Jer. 35)
6. King David (1 Kings 11:32-36)
7. Jeremiah the Prophet (Jer. 1:4)
8. Daniel (Daniel 6)
9. Apostle Paul (Phil 1:14)
EXAMPLE OF PEOPLE WHO DEPARTED FROM GOD’S PLAN
1. Esau (Gen 25: 31-34)
2. Joab (2 Sam 3:29)
3. King Saul (1 Sam 15:9-28)
4. Samson (Judges 16)
5. The nation of Israel
6. Judas Iscariot (Matthew 27:3-10, Acts 1:18)
Most products come with a manual from the manufacturer to give you a blueprint of how to use that product. Our lives are similar, and well planned out by God. God’s plan for creation is perfect and of the highest good, and produces the end for which it was ordained. Just as Jesus told His disciples, let our redeemed souls also testify “….my food is to do the will of Him who sent me, and complete it”. (John 4:34)
This is ultimate fulfilment.
Wednesday, October 26 2022
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
So far in this exciting journey of following God’s plan for our lives we have studied what God’s plan for us is, how we can identify and live in His purpose, how the Holy Spirit leads us, etc. We were also made aware that our arch enemy; the devil seeks to thwart God’s plan for us and last week we concluded the section about the consequences of being out of God's plan. This week we will be commencing the concluding part of this year’s study. This final section aims to answer the “what’s in it for me?” question, as we consider the first of 7 parts of the benefits of being in God's plan for our lives, titled: “Perfect Peace”
Isaiah 26:3 (AMP)
“You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character], Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation].”
I. THE PROMISE
“You will keep in perfect and constant peace”
Many people do not appreciate the value of the perfect peace God promises until they lose it! Perfect peace is not the absence of chaos but an overwhelming calmness despite being surrounded by chaos. To be asleep like Jesus in the middle of a raging storm. (Matthew 8:23-27)
Psalm 119:165 says: “Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble."
Psalm 29:11: "The Lord gives strength to his people, and the Lord blesses his people with peace."
John 14:27 says: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
This peace is Perfect and Constant
In Hebrew, the term perfect peace is actually shalom shalom. This Perfect Peace is one that is absolute and complete. Peace with God (Romans 5:1), peace with yourself (Psalm 4:8) and peace with others - even with your enemies (Proverbs 16:7). Peace in all circumstances and situations and one that surpasses human understanding. In other words, the human mind cannot fathom it! Philippians 4:7 says: “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Constant Peace is one that is occurring continuously; never ending and never changing! Not here today and gone tomorrow; like the world offers!
Deuteronomy 31:6 "Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you."
Zephaniah 3:17 "The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing."
Also, note that the promise does not say the Lord will give us perfect and constant peace; but that He will KEEP US IN perfect and constant peace.
It is therefore, not just having perfect peace but living it and living in it! Perfect peace thus becomes a lifestyle as well as a dwelling place!
“the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character]:
The only guaranteed way of keeping our minds steadfast, committed and focused on the Lord is by following after His plan and purpose for our lives.
Isaiah 57:20 tells us that there is no peace for the wicked - those who are working contrary to God’s plan and purpose for their lives.
“But the wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud.” [NIV]
On Sunday we learnt that whenever there is a promise of God that comes with a condition, we should focus on and fulfil the condition and the blessings will come naturally.
This is a practical example.
The condition here is that a person’s mind is steadfast, committed and focused on the Lord – in both inclination and character. This is not an occasional or seldom commitment or focus of one’s mind on the Lord but a continuous and consistent steadfast resolve.
Many times, we commonize the mind and lay all emphasis on the spirit. But here the Bible reveals the importance of engaging our minds as well when it comes to our relationship with the Lord.
Matthew 22:37 says: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”
To be kept in this perfect peace, our minds cannot occasionally come to and lean upon the LORD; it has to be steadfast or stayed on Him.
According to Strong’s Dictionary, the Hebrew word sawmak used in this verse comes from the root “to prop,” and has the idea “to lean upon, stand fast, stay, etc.
To be kept in this perfect peace, our minds must be stayed on the Lord or steadfast on the Lord and nothing or no one else. Not on ourselves, not on others, not on our problems, or the problem people in our lives. And not on their possessions (Isaiah 31:1)
The AMP version expanded our anchor text with the addition of two important words:
Inclination and Character
Inclination is a person’s natural tendency to act in a particular way. And a person’s character refers to the sum of the moral qualities possessed by that person. It is the makeup of a person.
So keeping their minds stayed on the Lord is their nature; not only when it is convenient for them; they do not pick and choose when to be steadfast with the Lord. This condition has become their default mode. Psalm 1:1-2 characterises this further – they do not follow
the advice of wicked people, take the path of sinners, or join the company of mockers. Instead, they delight in the law of the Lord, and habitually meditate on it day and night.
They remain steadfast and committed to the Lord in season and out of season. There is no downtime for them; they live in the will of God and follow Him as sheep follow a shepherd. Psalm 23
III. CONDITION #2
“Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation].”
The second reason God keeps us in perfect and constant peace is because we trust and take refuge in Him. It is a given that you keep your mind stayed on whatever you are trusting. When we trust the LORD, we keep our mind stayed on Him. We give no room for doubts. We trust with hope and confident expectation.
James 1:6b – 7 says: “A person who has doubts is like a wave that is blown by the wind and tossed by the sea. A person who has doubts shouldn’t expect to receive anything from the Lord.”
To take refuge is to find a safe place;
It is only the knowledge of the Word of God that can bring us to a place where we can trust the Lord to the point where we are stayed on Him and seek refuge in Him.
Psalm 9:10 says “And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.”
Proverbs 18:10 (NKJV) says: “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.”
This confident hope can only be attained by a person who is following after God’s plan; being led by the Spirit of God and the result is the being kept in perfect peace.
Proverbs 3:5 says: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding."
The word for lean in Proverbs 3:5 comes from the same root as the word stayed in Isaiah 26:3.
The songwriter says: “Oh what peace we often forfeit . . . all because we do not carry everything to God in prayers”
We pray to the Lord because we trust in Him; and because we trust in Him, our minds are stayed on Him and we consequently are kept in perfect peace. So unlike the lyrics of the hymn, we do not forfeit our peace. (Philippians 4:6-7)
The perfect and constant peace the Lord offers to keep those who follow after His will in is one that is all encompassing. Peace with God, peace with yourself and peace with others.
Peace in all circumstances and situations.
It is a calm confidence that keep us unruffled regardless of whatever comes our way because we know that the One who keeps us neither slumbers nor sleeps (Psalm 121:4). That He covers us with the wings of His feathers and keeps His angels charge over us (Psalm 91) and that by Him we can run against a troop, and leap over a wall (Psalm 18:29).
Wednesday, October 19 2022
Contributor: Peter Folikwe
We have been taken through series of the consequences of operating outsides of God’s plan namely: Wasted years, Lack of fulfillment, Lack of peace, Exposure to the enemy, Failure to fulfill destiny, and last week Pastor Wale treated ‘Death’ (physical and spiritual). Today, we are concluding the series with the topic: Consequence of being out of God’s plan - Loss of eternal reward. And our anchor scripture is Matt 7:21-23.
The Most devastating and irreversible consequence of operating outside of God’s plan, is loss of eternal reward; missing out of the roll call in heaven. Eternal rewards are special reserves for candidates of heaven.
Matt 7:21-23 says
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”
Meaning not all “born again” Christians will make heaven.
Worse still; not all those anointed to perform miracles, signs and wonders in the name of Jesus will make heaven.
Jesus categorically made the above declarations.
Sound scary, but Jesus in the same passage gave the condition precedent to partake in His eternal rewards - “he who does the will of My Father in heaven”.
Simply put, if we stay within the Father’s will, we avoid the consequences we lose Eternal reward.
We are in a Race for His Eternal Reward
Since we stand the chance of either receiving or losing a reward, we can’t be tired or weary of running the Christian race to the end.
- It is a personal race. Not like earthly race where we try to outwit each other.
- Finishing well and finishing strong is the ultimate. Focus is how it will all end.
I Cor 27-9:24 NKJV
- Successful athletes are disciplined always to keep their bodies in shape for the race with an objective of getting a price or reward after the race.
- In our heavenly race, keeping our bodies under assures eternal reward.
Apostle Paul also emphasized the unending war between the flesh and Spirit in Rom 7:15 NIV
- Like sportsmen, we must discipline the body and subject it to the will of God in this race in order to receive a crown.
Types of Rewards
1. Earthly Rewards:
We have rewards meted out to recipients that do not extend beyond this world for their good deeds. They include among others, giving to charity, helping the needy, reward for hard work and dedication to official duty, profit from business etc.
Matt 6:2 NKJV explains how some chose to mortgage their eternal for earthly reward
- They show-off their gifts/deeds to impress men.
- They will receive accolades from men here on earth, and it ends there.
Matt 6:5 also detailed how some do the work of God with eye service to men.
- They offer prayers to impress men instead of reverencing God.
- Again they only receive approval of men for their deeds at the expense of answers to their prayer from God.
Matt 6:16 NKJV
- These group are classified hypocrites with sad countenance during their fast.
Gal 6:7 says Be not deceived; God cannot be mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Reward of Salvation
- The fundamental basis on which anyone can access eternal reward is premised on remission of sins and rebirth in Christ through the blood.
John 14:1-3 encourages us to believe in God, and also believe in the Son. This step of faith automatically gives us a position in a mansion prepare for the children of God.
- Jesus promised to come and receive us unto myself.
- Every born again/regenerated soul is promised eternal relationship with Jesus.
Luke 6:22-23 NKJV narrates rewards awaiting those who are persecuted for the sake of the gospel.
- Many have become ostracized in their families just because they got born again.
- Here again Jesus assures them of great reward in heaven.
3.Reward for Soul Winning
- Our Lord Jesus’ main assignment on earth was to reconcile us back to God.
John 6:38-40 NIV promises who believe in the son shall have eternal life and will be raised up on the last day.
1 Timothy 2:3-4 states that it is God's will that all men be saved.
- When it comes to the great commission, God’s will is for us to go to the ends of the earth and make disciples of men.
- If we commit ourselves to sharing the good news with others, we will be right at the center of God’s will.
- Crowns await soul winners.
4.Reward of Obedience Honesty: before God and man
Eph. 6:5-8 NKJV instructs us to with sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eye service, as men-pleasers,
- No employer can adequately compensate for your labour.
5.Reward of Loving the Unlovable
Loving our enemies come with a reward. Luke 6:35 NKJV prayer for your enemies and support for them when in need is tough, but Jesus encourages us to love them.
- Humanly difficult, but divinely easy to love those who despitefully hate you.
- It takes maturity and nurturing in the word of God to display this attribute.
6.Reward for Giving to the Poor and Needy
Luke 14:13-14 NKJV
- The poor cannot repay you for blessing them because you are better privileged
- We shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.
- Jesus also gave a glimpse of judgement day in Matt 25:35-40 NKJV Pro. 19:17 NKJV saysHe who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, And He will pay back what he has “”given.
7.Reward for Giving Towards Kingdom Advancement
- You can’t separate love form giving.
John 3:16 says ‘for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son’.
- He gave His son to reconcile the erring world back to himself.
- If you love God you will give towards the things of God.
- Giving towards kingdom advancement is not only financial.
- The ‘3 G’s’ of mission/evangelism for instance gives is a guide.
- 1Cor 2:9 says no one can imagine the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
- Matt 6:19-21 encourages us to lay not up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.
All Shall Be Settled At The Judgement Throne
.Cor2 5:10 NKJV says we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.
- Believers will be judged based on their deeds after and not before salvation.
- It will be a fair judgement and we shall be judged individually.
- It will be a big disappointment for Jesus on that day, if after all the privileges we have as Christians, we still carry loads of baggage on that fateful day.
Pro. 24:20 clearly states that “For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.”
- As a matter of fact unbelievers shall be facing the white throne judgement.
Benefits of Eternal Reward vs. Eternal Damnation:
1. Millennial reign with Jesus/First Judgement - Satan would be bound with chains and thrown into the bottomless pit with a seal not the deceive nations for a 1,000 years Rev 20:4 NKJV ; Rev 20:6.
- Those who partake in the first resurrection will not partake in the second death.
2. The White Throne Judgement: For Unbelievers.
Rev 20:12-13 NKJV says the Book of Life will be opened and the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. They were judged, each one according to his works.”
- Each time we see evil happen, we wonder why God is not responding to evil. He will ultimately respond to it.
- However God is not interested in the death of a sinner. In Luke 15:7 Jesus speaking: “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth,”
- You and I are saved by grace and forgiven our sins when we confessed Christ, however we need to keep the faith to avoid the white throne judgement.
Negative Consequences of Operating in the Flesh
- Though saved by grace, this does not absolve us from the consequences of indulging in sinful habits as a result of our fleshly desires.
Apostle Paul in Gal 5:19-21 enumerated the works of the flesh to include: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like.
- He warns that those who practice such things will not inherit eternal reward.
- These are behavioral traits that should not be heard with the body of Christ.
- All sins are forgivable, yet all sins have irreversible consequences.
- Gal 6:7-8 NKJV warns that we cannot deceive God.
- Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
- He who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life with eternal rewards.
Matthew 6:24 AMP says “No one can serve two masters. . . You cannot serve God and mammon [money, possessions, fame, status, or whatever is valued more than the Lord].”
Rev 3:11 admonishes us to jealously guard our salvation so that none loses his crown/eternal reward. The reward is too precious to lose. None of us shall lose these rewards in Jesus Mighty Name.
Wednesday, October 12 2022
Contributor: Wale Abiona
INTRODUCTION - BEING OUT OF GOD’S PLAN
Text: "The Israelites had moved about in the wilderness forty years until all the men who were of military age when they left Egypt had died, since they had not obeyed the LORD. For the LORD had sworn to them that they would not see the land he had solemnly promised their ancestors to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey." Joshua 5:6
God’s plan - 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.
Being out of Gods plan – is to not know what is coming until it comes on you suddenly and takes you out. It’s to live life anyhow without God’s guidance.
2 Kings 6:8-22 - From the passage God guidance keeps his children from harm, give them hope, protect their future, and keeps them in peace with their enemy
Proverbs 16:7 - When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
Merriam Webster Dictionary defines death as: A permanent / the irreversible cessation of all vital functions
HOW DOES BEING OUT OF HIS PLAN BRING DEATH?
We learnt in the first part of this scripture how this brings wasted years. When the Israelites were living in disobedient and refuse to honour God, God was not happy with them. The result of their action was that God delayed them from entering the promised land. God had to ensure that those people that had committed the evil had died, and it took them 40 years before the plan of God for the Nation of Israel was fulfilled.
From the wilderness experience, their death was in two-fold, hence there are 2 types of death, Spiritual and Physical.
SPIRITUAL DEATH: Some bible passages teach that death is a consequence of sin, including Genesis 2:16-17, Genesis 3:19 and Genesis 3:22, Romans 5:12-21, and 1 Corinthians 15
Humans would have been immortal without sin. In Genesis 2:17, God warns Adam and Eve, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat you shall die.” The word die would literally mean physical death.
In Genesis 3:19, God carries out this punishment, cursing Adam with labour and death, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.
In 1 Corinthians 15:22-22 Paul contrasts and compares Christ and Adam, highlighting Adam’s fall as the cause of physical death for the whole human race.
21For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.
This suggests that Adam’s sin caused the sudden painful death that we experience today, a pulling apart of the physical and spiritual aspects of humans.
If Adam had not sinned, a gentler kind of physical death or “passing” from life into life would have occurred: “Truly the first man would have passed to a better life, had he remained upright; but there would have been no separation of the soul from the body, no corruption, no kind of destruction, and, in short, no violent change.”
In this view, humans were created mortal, but intended for long healthy lives and graceful deaths, such as described in Isaiah 65:20–25.
The Old Testament speaks of death at the end of a long life in purely positive terms, such as 1 Chronicles 29:28 where King David “died at a good old age, having enjoyed long life, wealth, and honour.
These passages show that the consequence of sin is spiritual death, not physical death. If Adam had not sinned, humans would still probably have died like we do today, but without “the sense of loss, uncertainty about an afterlife and regret for unfinished work” that comes with spiritual death.
The death that entered the world with Adam is understood as something that takes man apart from God, a spiritual death, in the sense that the access to God is now closed and can be restored only through faith in Christ Jesus.
In Genesis 3:19, God tells Adam “for dust you are and to dust you will return,” meaning that Adam was created mortal from the dust. God warned Adam and Eve that they would die in the day they ate from the tree Gen. 2:16-17, and yet Adam lived to the age of 930 Gen. 5:5.
What did happen on the day they ate from the tree? Adam and Eve felt shame and were expelled from the Garden, breaking their fellowship with God–spiritual death. Gen. 3:22-24
It worth saying that some sins still bring about physical death, such as Abel’s death at Cain’s hand, and the death of King David’s infant son after the king’s adultery 2 Sam. 12:13–14
PHYSICAL DEATH: Both the believer and unbeliever will experience it, and it is the means of exiting this world for everyone. For believers, it is when mortality will give way for immortality 1 Corinthians 15:54 and for unbelievers, it’s their first death that pave way for their second death. For believers it the exit from pain into glory and for sinners it is the exit from fry pan to fire.
It is more difficult to see human death in a positive light. For those who have lost a loved one, death can feel like the ultimate evil. Jesus mourned the death of his friend Lazarus John 11, after all. Paul writes of death as the pay-check for sin Rom. 6:23 and as the last enemy to be destroyed 1 Cor. 15:26.
Rom. 6:23: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. 1 Cor. 15:26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death
The New Testament seems to emphasize death as an evil because it is incompatible with the kind of life promised in the fulfilled kingdom of God. Jesus’ earthly ministry signified the arrival of that future kingdom of God into the present age, but we still live in a world in which the kingdom has not been fully realized. Thus, the continuing reality of physical death clashes with the promise of the redeemed future. Only when believers are clothed with their new resurrection bodies will death be finally conquered.
However, death also appears in the Bible as the utmost expression of Gods’ love. Jesus said that the greatest love one can show is to lay down one’s life for another John 15:13. He then proceeded to lay down his own life for us while we were still sinners Rom. 5:6–8.
The cross for us is the supreme demonstration of sacrificial love. Jesus said, “Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” John 12:23–25. Jesus pointing out that except he dies, reconciling us to God will be impossible. His own death allows for our rebirth, so the death of Jesus leads to a rebirth and new life for believers.
So physical death today for believers, is a separation from sinful world to be reunited with the Lord.
EXAMPLES OF PEOPLE THAT EXITED THE FACE OF THE EARTH WITHOUT DYING.
• Enoch did not experience physical death. God simply took him away from the earth. Genesis 5:24
• Elijah did not die a physical death. God used a chariot of fire in a whirlwind to evacuate him from the earth. 2 Kings 2:11
• Jesus died but He resurrected and ascended to heaven. That means that He conquered the power of death.
There is a big difference between being raised from the death and being resurrected from the dead. Being raised from the dead is a temporary victory. In the Bible, all those who were brought by back to life, later died again. But being resurrected from the dead like Jesus did, is a permanent victory over death. Jesus died and resurrected and never to die again.
There is yet another set of people who will not taste death in this world. These are believers in Christ who would be alive when Jesus returns to earth in the second-coming. It will be begin with an event known as the rapture. 1 Thessalonians 4:17
So, one way or the other, God would have transition man from one level to the other without necessarily dying because of sin.
Consequences of being out of Gods Plan in our today’s study is the spiritual separation from Gods plan that leaves us to our way which exposes our frailty and subject us to circumstance out of our control without the help of the Father. These circumstances become overwhelming and leads to death. This kind of death is the first and the beginning of the second death away from God’s presence into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:14
Even our Lord Jesus, when bearing out sins could not get the fathers attention because His eyes could not behold sin. Hence, He cried Matthew 27:46.
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
Anyone who walks away from God’s plan will be forsaken by Him and will experience the fierceness the devil has for them. It’s very clear that the assignment of the devil is to ultimately destroy but he starts in a subtle way, by first stealing your intimate relationship with God, there killing the spirit of God in man and prepare them for the ultimate destruction in the lake that burns. Revelation 21:6-8
However, for those who will walk in His plan for their life will live. Though they were dead from this evil and physical world, but they will live again John 11:25
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
The first death is the door to a new life with Christ. Revelation 21:1-5
"1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also, there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” 5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”
Wednesday, October 05 2022
Contributor: Clem Roberts
Over the last four lessons we have studied the consequences of being out of God’s plan. We have truly come to the knowledge that failure in achieving God’s plan will result in wasted years, lack of fulfilment, lack of peace and exposure to the enemy.
Every man has a plan but only God disposes those plans that align with His Divine Will and Agenda.
Proverbs 19:21 says: Many plans are in a man’s mind, but it is the LORD’S purpose for him that will stand (be carried out). - Amplified Bible
The realization of God’s plan in our lives is highly dependent on the choices we make.
Deut. 30:15 “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil,
Deut. 30:19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore, choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;
God in His Majestic awe is pleading with us to choose a better life and Proverbs 16:3 states, commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. (ESV)
We must first commit to God before any of our plans can work or be successful.
When we commit to God our plan, our purpose, He carries all the burdens and frees us from any responsibility. Our only duty is to follow His directions for our lives and He is committed to bringing them all to fruition.
John C. Maxwell said “It is our decisions not our conditions that determine our quality of life”
The power to fulfil destiny is in our hands. We can plan wisely or unwisely as we are confronted with decisions, temptations, choices and priorities. We make plans every day. Some plans have far reaching consequences and other plans are not so far reaching. But the alignment of our plans will determine the values, character,
direction, and destiny of our life.
God said it, He will do it! But will you comply?
Let’s look at a few Biblical characters to see how the consequences of being out of Gods plan can result in failure to fulfil destiny.
God's plan for his destiny was known before he was conceived. For two decades, Samson walked in the Fullness of God's plan and divine authority for his life.
• He became a leader and judged Israel.
• He tormented the enemy and restrained them.
• He brought hope to the nation of Israel.
Saul: Destiny truncated
1 Samuel 9:17 - So when Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said to him, “There he is, the man of whom I spoke to you. This one shall reign over My people.”
• God's plan for Saul was reign over His people
• Rule over His people
• Lead His people
Did it happen? yes. Did Saul comply till end, no.
Jacob’s Sons: Loss of Identity and lineage
• Rueben – Lost his birthright
• Dan – Lost inheritance and missing in the row call as seen in the Book of Revelation.
Read 1 Chronicles chapter 3 to 8, 2 Chronicles chapter 2:14, Revelation chapter 7
Any plan outside of God's order will bring misery, illness, harm and death. You have the power to decide and choose God’s Word over your own or man’s ideas and philosophies in other to bring total fulfilment. Avoid chasing shadows and travelling in a direction that is going to take you to a destination that you do not want to reach.
Prayerfully consider the everlasting nature of your Creator. Remember that God is the source of all wisdom, the Master Planner. In Psalm 90:12, Moses prayed a humble prayer; “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom”. Teach us to plan our days, teach us to number our days. Moses could have asked God for anything else, but he decided to go for wisdom on how to plan his life in alignment with God’s season, plan and purpose for him.
Philippians 2:13 says, “God Himself is at work in you inspiring you to want those things which please Him and to work for them.” Just like He led Moses, God will lead you by placing His desires into your heart.
Wednesday, September 28 2022
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
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)
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.
Wednesday, September 07 2022
Contributor: Dolapo Olaoye
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.
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/
Wednesday, August 31 2022
Contributor: Alex Kokobili
The previous discussion in the series focused on wasted years (Joshua 5:6) dwelling on Israel’s derailment from God’s plan as they journeyed forty years in the wilderness instead of forty days on their way to the Promised Land. Wasted years and time on the pathway of destiny can only be recovered by the grace and mercy of God. For instance, the end of the life of Solomon regarded as the wealthiest and wisest king of Israel was with deep caution when he referred to life as “vanity upon vanity” (Ecclesiastes chapters 1 and 2). Solomon wasted years pleasing his numerous wives and concubines who derailed his heart from the God of His father David.
Today’s study aims to expand on the previous, with a focus “on the lack of fulfilment” realizing the importance of living in the fullness of Godliness; (Ephesians 1: 22-23)
“God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.”
Failure to discover God’s plan for life will lead to a miscarriage of destiny or a lack of fulfilment in life. True satisfaction in life is dependent on our relationship with God (Psalm 107: 9)
“For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things."
Being with God entails a relationship of fellowship and not necessarily a material achievement but He fills our lives with His goodness and true richness”
Also (Psalm 68: 19) says:
“Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, The God of our salvation”.
The measurement of fulfilment in life is not by material assessment or secular progression, but by experiencing the fullness of God. The real test of fulfilment in life could come at any stage in life which we must be always prepared for.
Who are Those Likely to be Unfulfilled or Derailed from God’s Plan?
Psalm 1: 4-6
"The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind drives away.5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish."
The first two verses of this chapter lists out the requirements for a fulfilled life. The 3rd verse reveals the characteristics of a fulfilled life. And then in verse 4, the comparison with the unfulfilled life referred to as the “ungodly”
This implies that people cannot quite call themselves “godly” if they do not adhere to verses 1 and 2. As a matter of fact, the Bible refers to those who do not as the “ungodly”.
1. The Ungodly - an Unbeliever not Having Regard for God: These are those who do not believe in the redemption power of Jesus Christ. Although there is an allowance for them to partake in God’s plan for the salvation for, if they refuse, they will have no place in God in all spheres of life. According to 1 Corin 1: 18 the ungodly cannot even recognize God’s plans from their human mind. They trivialize it. You cannot get blessed by anything that you trivialize.
2. Christians That Compromise and Toy with Sin: This category is those who know God’s plans or have even experienced them before, but the desires of this world have adulterated their experience of God’s goodness. – Mathew 13:1-8 “The Parable of the Sower” reminds us about how the cares of the world derail us from the plan of God for our lives.
Implications of Being Outside God’s Plan
In this section we will consider instances in the Bible where people who strayed away from God’s plan experienced unfulfilment
1. Jonah: The case of Jonah shows us the implications of how he tried to run out of God’s plan for His life to be a missionary to the country of Nineveh. Jonah 1: 1-14 tells us how the people opposed Jonah due to his disobedience. Jonah himself could not do anything because God caused the weather to work against them. He experienced Spiritual and Physical Opposition. We have to be spiritually sensitive to any form of opposition in life which could be spiritual or physical resulting from a derailment from God’s plan. The solution is to ask God for His mercy and go back in alignment with what God expects us to do.
2. The Young Prophet. 1 Kings 13: 1-33, Tells us about the story of the young prophet who derailed from God’s plan based on the advice of the old prophet that caused his death).
3. Gehazi. The story of Gehazi in (2 Kings 2: 26-27) also tells us how he missed God’s plan for him to succeed Elisha as the national prophet of Israel but died unfulfilled as a leper. Nonalignment with God’s plans could be very costly; it leaves us exposed to Grievous Mistakes. Some people have even died in that process or caused havoc to themselves or loved ones.
4. The Israelites: Haggai 1:5–6 Tells us of God’s pronouncement “Now, therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.”
The people in Haggai’s day worked hard, but their efforts were not bringing the expected result; they never had enough and were never satisfied, as a result of straying away from God’s purpose for them.
5. The Compromising Believer (Ungodly) Psalm 1:4 tells us that the ungodly will be blown away like chaff which the wind drives away. Are you living a life of secrecy, always doing things yourself without revelation, godly counsel, or wisdom because you are ashamed of being called a religious fanatic? You will end up unfulfilled at some point in life because you have limited the grace of God to depend on your self-effort and ultimately the Unfulfilment of Destiny
Aligning with God’s Plan for Fulfilment of Life
1. God’s plan as a mandate for Sonship: This is what qualifies you to benefit from God’s plan and purpose (John 1: 12) “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to those who believe in His name”.
He does not give pearls to swine!! The believer who is ignorant of His place in Christ will live as a slave and not a son.
2. Harmonizing our life with God’s Will: Once you know your place as a Son of God then you can easily harmonize with His plans for your life and be full of His blessing
(Jere 29: 11, For I know the plans I have towards you says the Lord, plans of good and not of evil, to give you a hope and a future). The unbeliever believes they can benefit from God’s blessings without His plans. Those who lack God shall never be satisfied. Hosea 4: 6 says:
"My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. “Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children."
The case study of David, King of Israel shows he inquired of the Lord concerning the Amalekites (2 Samuel 5: 23). Ask God about His plans for your life as often as possible. Don’t impose your will against His desires for you. God is not wicked to cast us away! Commit your way unto the Lord and He shall direct your path (Psalm 37: 5).
3. Cautiousness about the Plan of the Devil: Do not be deceived! The devil also has plans he expects to implement at any possible opportunity. Please don’t be his victim. (John 10: 10 The thief came to steal, kill, and destroy but I have come that you may have life and have it in abundance), also, (1 Peter 5: 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour). You cannot use the spoon of the devil to eat lunch at the Lord’s supper, we have to realize that a derailment from God’s plan gives the devil a leeway to express his plans in a person’s life.
The measurement of fulfilment in life is not by material assessment or secular progression, but by experiencing the fullness of God. The real test of fulfilment in life could come at any stage in life which we must be always prepared for.
The Bible admonishes us to commit our ways unto God’s hand and He will direct our part (Psalm 37: 5). It is only when we commit our life, decisions, and destiny to God that he gives us satisfaction. This is because God’s definition of satisfaction might not be what we think would satisfy us (Isaiah 55: 8) especially if it does look popular but we must also be assured that God understands all that gives us satisfaction as human beings (Hebrews 4: 14-16).
Eccl. 3:11 tells us that God “has put eternity into man’s heart”. In other words, though His image in us is marred by sin, ultimately within every human soul we have an awareness that there is something more than what this world offers. It is a God-sized void that only He can fill and so, when we are separated from God and his plan, our rebellious hearts in futility are constantly, running after things to fill this void reserved exclusively for our Creator. The ultimate life’s fulfilment is to be in the plan and purpose of God
Wednesday, August 24 2022
Contributor: Ngozi Roberts
INTRODUCTION - Being out of Gods plan
Having learnt about Gods plan for us in our previous lessons I believe by now we understand what Gods plan for us are. We have also understood that the enemy as it is in his nature does not want us to achieve our God given plan. So he fights tooth and nail to make sure we do not achieve our goal in life - fulfilling Gods plan for us. Therefore he fuels his plan through making sure we are rebellious; live a life of bitterness, unforgiveness, ignorance, and sin amongst others. Unfortunately, many a times he succeeds in his place and we keep falling and going back and forth. It then seems as if we are not getting any headway with the plan of God for our lives but if only we can sit down and have a reasoning with ourselves we will be schooled and understand the places we have fallen short, would it be as a result of rebellious; bitterness, unforgiveness, ignorance, and sin? Whatever it is, once we acknowledge these vices, then ask the help of the Holy Spirit, trust me we are already thwarting the plans of the enemy to hinder us from achieving Gods plan. However, when we are unable to identify any of the vices or where the enemy is holding us down, and do a turnaround then we are bound to experience the consequences of being out of Gods Plan. So today we are going to touch on one of these consequences – Wasted years.
6 The Israelites had moved about in the wilderness forty years until all the men who were of military age when they left Egypt had died, since they had not obeyed the LORD. For the LORD had sworn to them that they would not see the land he had solemnly promised their ancestors to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey.
Wasted Years – (time)
One of the consequences of being out of Gods plan is wasted years. When God gave us dominion over the earth, it was all encompassing and It included time. I have come to understand that no matter what seems to be missing in our lives, when we have dominion over time, brethren, we have real dominion. You see, it takes time to Know our maker. It takes time to study his word and build a relationship with him, it takes time to be rewarded, it takes time to worship and be in his presence, it takes time to achieve his plan and purpose for us. It is much more that we think. If you don’t believe me ask Hezekiah.
2 Kings 20:1 - “Thus says the LORD: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live.’ ”
God was not happy the way he was bringing ups his household and God promised him death! But for the Mercy of God! Yes, that was what found Hezekiah. Lets read further, Verse 2-3
"2 Then he turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the LORD, saying, 3 “Remember now, O LORD, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what was good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. 4 And it happened, before Isaiah had gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying, 5 “Return and tell Hezekiah the leader of My people, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD. 6 And I will add to your days fifteen years. I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for My own sake, and for the sake of My servant David.” ’
We see, how mercy found Hezekiah, he cried and repented and God forgave him, healed him, and added more years! God restored the wasted years. So it is still within the power of God to restore wasted years. So today we are not only going to talk about the wasted years, we are also going to talk about how the wasted years can be restored.
What does wasted years mean?
• Wasted years in a relationship and Wasted years in not living authentically – when some of us live falsely, hanging out with those that we do not have business with. Especially our young ones, in the bid to belong or be classified as happening people or worry about what people will think about them, end up with wasting youthful years that God said we should use to know him –
Proverb 22:6- Train up a child in the way he should go,[a]And when he is old he will not depart from it.
Psalm 144:12 That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; That our daughters may be as pillars, Sculptured in palace style
• Wasted years in a job/career -Wasted years studying a course that we never used. I tell you this one, most of us adults in the house are culprits of this one. That is why we now train youth coordinators, parents and guardians, in our career counselling course how to counsel and guide their wards early in life so that they do not end up wasting years in the wrong path of life or career.
• Wasted years living others agendas and never our own. Years missed when we don’t find God early. We find ourselves always tagging along. When we do not spend time with God to understand our purpose and knowing God for ourselves, we end up walking in the path of another’s. Pastor Clem used to encourage the youth to strive to know the area of their gifting early and focus on that area through studying so they do not end up doing a course that is chosen by their guardian for them. If they do not know the area to go or what course to do then others will fill in that blank space for them. My prayer is that this will not be the portion of our children in Jesus name. Our children will know God early and for themselves in Jesus name.
• Wasted years through living in disobedience
6 The Israelites had moved about in the wilderness forty years until all the men who were of military age when they left Egypt had died, since they had not obeyed the LORD. For the LORD had sworn to them that they would not see the land he had solemnly promised their ancestors to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey.
So in the case of the Israelites we note that because of their disobedience and rebelliousness, God was not happy with them and as a result, one of the consequences was that God delayed them from entering into the promised land. God had to ensure that those men that had committed the evil had died and it took them 40 years before the plan of God for the Nation of Israel was fulfilled. What a waste!
It is easy for us to condemn the children of Israel but I tell you this same thing is playing out in the lives of many of us children of God. When God wants us to take a path and we disobey or allow the voices of the world to override the voice of God, what do we think will happen. Of course, the gentle voice of the Holy Sprit will let you be as you are the owner of your will and He cannot override your will. We also know that until our obedience is full in one instruction, God will not give another. So in our journey through the plan and purpose of God in our life when He gives an instruction by the Holy Spirit to take a step in a particular direction, we ought to obey and follow until our obedience is full over the first instruction then He gives another instruction. However, when we disobey or misunderstand his direction, we will find ourselves missing that season, or loosing time before we can realign. If you think I am joking go and ask Moses.
The Bible says in Gen 15:13 13
"Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years.
But in Exodus 12: 40
Now the sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. 41And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years—on that very same day—it came to pass that all the armies of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.
So what happened! The leader, the appointed person by God to lead them out of Israel was not ready! 30 wasted years! This tells me that during my wasted years, there are people that might be affected as a result of living in disobedience. It could be our parents, our children, our family members, or anyone that Gods want you to preach to. That person that will run with the God given word that will proceed from your mouth. My prayer for us is that we repent and realign ourselves before it is too late In Jesus name Amen.
How then should I turn around my Wasted Years?
Good news! God said in Joel 2:25-27
“So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, The crawling locust, The consuming locust, And the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you. 26 You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, And praise the name of the LORD your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; And My people shall never be put to shame. 27 Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the LORD your God And there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame."
Caution! This Promise of God must not only be claimed but must be walked out in our lives.
Luke 15:11-32 Jesus gave us an example of how wasted years can be reclaimed in the parable of the Prodigal son. When the son came to his senses, he repented, and asked for forgiveness and was then re-instated into the family. What happened, all the lost years were regained!
• Go back to God
When we realise we lost some years or wasted time in any area of our lives during our pursuit to fulfil Gods plan in our life, we quickly go back to the creator of those plans for the blue print. So first we get hold of Gods Promises.
Psalm 27:14 - Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD
Use your wasted years as a reminder to trust God and be patient while you prayerfully wait on Him.
While you are wating on God, you might realise that those seemingly wasted years were actually a time of Training! Take the life of Joseph for instance, those years of living in the dungeon, in prison, then, it would have seemed as if his life was being wasted, but those years turned out to be his training years that led him to be the Prime Minister of Egypt.
It could be a period of test and trials – that is, the dealings we go through in the spirit - during period of training. This is the time to secure our stability – that is why in James 1:2-4 he said
"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."
So you see Gods promise in this wise, is that we will become Perfect! In the end. – For example, sometimes God takes things from us, so that tomorrow you will not beg because in the end you will gain more- Look at the story of Job 1: 8-12.
So during your communing with the Holy Spirit and as you prayerfully stay with God, Let it become your training ground while you wait on God for the next step to realign yourself. In passing through these years, turn it into your spiritual school. Sometimes in life there are things that you go through that fuel your success in the end.
• During this time increase your level of discernment
Hebrew 2:1 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.
Pay attention to what you have heard so we do not let them slip away. … while men sleep.
Mathew 13:25 says while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way
You see we can miss opportunity and loose years because we are unable to discern. Remember, to discern, is the work that the Holy Spirit has expertise in. When we rely on Him, our tentacles will be every alert and able to know the right way to follow to fulfil Gods plan.
• Negligence / carelessness
The attitude of nonchalance and carelessness to life and destiny is a destroyer. Careless approach to life increases our years of wastage. Jesus said in John 9:4 4 I[a] must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.
In Rev 3:11. 11 [h]Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown
There is timing to density. Acts 1:20 20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms:‘ Let his dwelling place be [i]desolate, And let no one live in it’; and, ‘Let another take his [j]office.’ Let another take your bishopric.
My prayer is that while we are wasting time another will not take up our place in destiny in Jesus, Name Amen.
• Seek Knowledge
To regain our wasted years spent living in ignorance / lack of knowledge we have to seek for knowledge. Ignorance of the laws of life destiny and laws of the kingdom.
Psalm 82:5-7 "5 They do not know, nor do they understand; They walk about in darkness; All the foundations of the earth are unstable. 6 I said, “You are gods, And all of you are children of the Most High. 7 But you shall die like men, And fall like one of the princes.”
Prov. 11:9 – The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbour, But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered.
Prov. 1:7 - The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
We are not fools in Jesus name, Amen. You see, in this kingdom, our knowledge in God is gained through hunger and passion. Mathew 5:6 say that Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
It is through knowledge that the righteous are delivered. There is a kind of deliverance that happens only through knowledge. When the scripture in Isaiah 60:1-4 said –
"Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. 2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. 3 The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising."
The light here represent Gods knowledge. It is the knowledge that you have in you that will cause people to come to you, employ you, give you rewards, invite you to minister, invite you to palaces, why because they want to glean from what you have – knowledge!
That is why the time is now! To spend time to gain this knowledge in that God given area of your life. Look at the parable of the lost coin: Jesus said: The Parable of the Lost Coin – Luk 15:8-10
8 “Or what woman, having ten silver [c]coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbours together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ 10 Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
See what happened here, I like the attitude of this woman and it is the same when we are searching for knowledge. Brethren, to succeed in this life we have to be resolved to fight ignorance as if we are fight Satan. The bible says that is the Prov. 25:2 - It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
It is only when the light wins over darkness that it becomes day! There is a proverb they say where I come from - that it is whenever one wakes up that is ones morning! You will never, get knowledge at your own terms but you have to work for it. Even Elisha was ridiculed by the sons of the Prophets when his master was known by all to be on his way home. But he endured the shame until he received the double portion of Elijah’s anointing when he was leaving.
• Abuse and misuse.
Matthew 25:14-30. Parable of the talent. We see in this parable a servant that misused and abused the talent that was given to him. He said -
"25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’
Imagine! No regard for his master! But of course the lord called him a wicked man and ensured he talent was taken away from him and given to another who will used it wisely. 26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents."
Therefore, to avoid wasted years or even if we have gone through one and waiting on God for the next instruction we need to be wary and ensure that whatever God puts in our hands are used in accordance to his blue print.
Use your wasted years as a reminder that God will bring about His plans for you in a way that fulfils His purpose, not yours. Like a wise man you have to be discerning, and know the moments and opportunities to capitalise on.
Know that God can restore! No matter how many years you have lost. Know that there is hope for a tree. Job 14: 7-9.
So There is a way out! Using the power of Self-examination and evaluation – not just prayer, or finding a man of God. But you have to sit down and be thoughtful. Let us learn from the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:17-20.
Also note the power of brokenness. Psalm 51:17 - A broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise. God cannot ignore a broken person. You have to recognise and admit and not be ashamed to ask God for help.
Furthermore seek Knowledge – with hunger and passion. Through knowledge shall the just be delivered. Remember, you will never, get knowledge at your own terms but you have to work for it.
Every lost opportunity, wasted years will be recovered in Jesus Name Amen.
Wednesday, August 17 2022
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
INTRODUCTION: There is a very interesting quote that stands true today: “The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world that he did not exist.”
He has conned to world to believe that he is only a myth. Billions of people today in the world have fallen victim of this trick! They have come to believe that the devil is only a myth made up by religions, story tellers and movie makers. No wonder 2 Corinthians 4:4 tells us that the god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
However, one of his strategies to thwart God’s plan in the lives of Believers is to keep them in a state of ignorance, darkness and perpetual forgetfulness! He does this by making them hearers only but not doers. James 1:23-24 (LB)
23 For if a person just listens and doesn’t obey, he is like a man looking at his face in a mirror; 24 as soon as he walks away, he can’t see himself anymore or remember what he looks like.
Today’s study is to serve as a reminder of the consequences of ignorance as well as serve as a deterrent. Because, truly, ignorance is very costly!
CASE STUDY: ESAU
(Genesis 25: 29-34) NLT:
“One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry. Esau said to Jacob, “I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew!” (This is how Esau got his other name, Edom, which means “red.”) “All right,” Jacob replied, “but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.” “Look, I’m dying of starvation!” said Esau. “What good is my birthright to me now?” But Jacob said, “First you must swear that your birthright is mine.” So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother, Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate the meal, then got up and left. He showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn.” Emphasis mine
From this scripture we discover a couple of ignorant statements and actions Esau made that facilitated him losing his birthright and consequently, his blessing as the firstborn son!
First, he was ignorant about the value of his birthright so he treated it with levity;
“What good is my birthright to me now?”
Secondly, he showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn Genesis 25: 34
So when the time came for the blessing, he reaped the consequences of his actions. The Bible says:
“. . . afterward, when he wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears.” (Heb.12:17). NLT
In Genesis 27:36 we see him exposing his ignorance even further . . .
“Esau said, “Isn’t he rightly named Jacob? This is the second time he has taken advantage of me: He took my birthright, and now he’s taken my blessing!”
The blessing was for the first son; this right is only gotten by birth – “birthright” which he exchanged for a meal due to his ignorance.
Esau didn’t realize that the day he swore that oath, and sold all his rights as the firstborn to Jacob he also was giving away his blessing.
That is the same trick the enemy is playing on many Christians today. It may not be a birthright but one compromise or the other. It’s just a little sleep. Oh! It’s just a little slumber. Just a little folding of the arms to rest . . . Proverbs 24:33
THE DEVICES OF THE DEVIL
The enemy’s plot is to darken people’s understanding, twist the truth leave people in a state of ignorance. But 2 Corinthians 2:11 says:
“in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.”
This implies that if we are aware of the devices of the devil, he will not be able to outwit us! So let’s consider a few of his devices.
• He employs his agents to twist the truth.
Peter in 2 Peter 3:16 calls them ignorant and unstable people.
“He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.”
• He infects people with the Itching Ear Syndrome.
2 Timothy 4:3 confirms this as a condition that fuels ignorance
“For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold,”
• He injects false prophets in the circle of Believers.
Matthew 7:15 refers to them as wolves in sheep clothing. Matthew 24:11 calls then false prophets that will lead many astray. Matthew 24:24 also says
“For false Christs shall arise, and false prophets, and will do wonderful miracles so that if it were possible, even God’s chosen ones would be deceived.”
They thrive on the ignorance of people; but not the elect. The elect are not ignorant but knowledgeable
• He sets traps for the ignorant.
Proverbs 27:12 (AMP) says
“A prudent man sees evil and hides himself and avoids it, But the naive [who are easily misled] continue on and are punished [by suffering the consequences of sin].
CONSEQUENCES OF IGNORANCE
God never compromises when it comes to consequences. Galatians 6:7 says:
“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap”
Proverbs 14:18 (GNT) says:
“Ignorant people get what their foolishness deserves, but the clever are rewarded with knowledge.”
The seeds of ignorance can give rise to the following:
Alienation from God and His Plan and Purpose: Ephesians 4:18 “They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.”
Destruction: Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.”
Straying from One’s Path in Life: Proverbs 19:2 “Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.”
Derailment and Loss: Isaiah 5:13 “Therefore My people go into exile for their lack of knowledge; and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude is parched with thirst.
Death: Job 36:12 “But if they do not hear, they shall perish by the sword and they will die without knowledge.”
The opposite of ignorance is knowledge and the only solution to ignorance is knowledge
Psalm 119:144b says: “give me understanding that I may live.”
2 Tim 2:15 says: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
John 8:32 says: “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
What we all need is for the Holy Spirit’s guidance into our purpose in life and to accomplish it before we go back to our Maker. Acts 13:36 says: “Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed.
Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” This tells us that it is the Word of God that guides our path. God’s word brings light to paths
Prov. 4:18 (AMP) says:
“But the path of the [uncompromisingly] just and righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines more and more (brighter and clearer) until [it reaches its full strength and glory in] the perfect day [to be prepared].”
2 Peter 3:14-17 says
“Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.”
To be on one’s guard is to be aware! 1 Peter 5:8 entreats us to be sober, and vigilant; because our adversary is seeking whom he may devour. So turn away from ignorance and be filled with the knowledge of His will (Col. 1:9b) says: “We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives
To be filled with the knowledge of His will implies you will continually walk in His purpose for your life! Ignorance is not bliss! But knowledge will bring you to a place of fulfilment
Daniel 11:32b tells us that the people who do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.
Wednesday, July 27 2022
Contributor: Okwudili Prince-Isaac
Unforgiveness is the single most popular poison that the enemy uses against God’s people, and it is one of the deadliest poisons a person can take spiritually.
Text: Mark 11:26
“But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses”
1. Matthew 22:37-40
2. John 15:12
3. Matthew 18:23-35
4. Hebrews 12:15
5. 2 Corinthians 2:10-11
In the New Testament, Jesus gave us two commandments (Matthew 22:37-40). ‘’Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’’
Jesus gave us very important commandments to follow; one of them was to love one another, as He has loved us (John 15:12). Love is the exact opposite of unforgiveness, envy, jealousy, hate, pride and bitterness. You can’t truly love somebody and hold bitterness or unforgiveness against him or her at the same time.
OUR RESPONSIBILITY (To Forgive others)
God sent His Son Jesus to die for our sins, so that we may be reconciled to Him, without spot or blemish. He asks that we give others the same forgiveness that He paid for us. He tells a parable in Matthew 18:23-35 that says the same thing:
“Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took [him] by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So, when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not everyone his brother their trespasses.”
How Deep Is The Battle (Love)?
In John 15:12, Jesus commands us to love one another, as He has loved us. True love doesn’t hold bitterness or unforgiveness against that person. If we are bitter or hold unforgiveness against somebody, then we don’t love them as Christ loved us. If we don’t keep Jesus’ commandments, then it proves we don’t love Him.
John 14:24, “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings”
• Prevents God from forgiving our sins
Matthew 6:15, “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses”
• Opens us up to the tormentors (the devil)
“Therefore is the Kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his accounts of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him the thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, lord have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him and forgave him the debt.
But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellow-servants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying Pay me that thou owest. And his fellow-servant fell down at his feet and besought him saying, Have patience with me, and I will thee all. And he would not; but went and cats him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow-servants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told their lord all that was done. Then the lord, after that he called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave the all the debt, because thou desirest me/l Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow-servant, even as I had pity on thee? And the lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if you from your hearts forgive not everyone his brother their trespasses.”
• Blocks God from answering our prayers
Mark 11:24, 25, “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought (something) against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
Matthew 7:7, 12, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you… Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them…”
John 15:5, 10 tells us that if we abide in Christ, we will produce much spiritual fruit, and the way that we abide in Christ is by keeping His commandments. Verse 12 tells us that His commandment is to love one another as He has loved us. Verse 7 tells us that if we abide in Him (by keeping His commandments), and His Word in us, we can ask for anything and it will be given onto us! The reason a lot of people’s prayers go unanswered, is because they aren’t keeping the commandments that Jesus gave us; therefore they aren’t abiding in Christ’s love, and if we aren’t abiding in Christ’s love, how can we expect Him to hear our prayers?
• Defiles a person
Hebrews 12:15, “….. lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled”
Notice at the end it says, “many be defiled.” This is a VERY common, if not one of the most common everyday things that defile people! Many bondages can be shed when a person forgives those who have wronged him or her.
• Gives Satan an advantage
2 Corinthians 2:10-11, “To whom ye forgive anything, I forgive also: for if I forgave anything. To whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgive I it in the person of Christ; lest Satan should get advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
• Keeps a person out of heaven
Matthew 7:12, 21, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets… Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”
1 John 3:14, “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.”
• Prevents us from being fruitful spiritually
John 15:5 tells us that if we abide in Christ, we will produce much spiritual fruit, and the way that we abide in Christ is by keeping His commandments (verse 10). Verse 12 tells us that His commandment is that we love one another as He has loved us. Therefore, if we don’t love one another, as He has loved us, then we do not abide in Him, and how are we suppose to produce much spiritual fruit if we don’t abide in Him? According to verse 6, the branch that doesn’t abide in the vine will be cast into the fire.
• Opens us up to curses
When people in the Old Testament disobeyed God’s commandments, it opened them up to curses (Deut. 27:26). When people nowadays disobey God, it can do the same thing; it can open them up to curses. Curses can cause mental and emotional problems (Deut. 28:28), physical problems (Deut. 28:35, 60, 61), financial problems (Deut. 28:17, 38, 43), divorce and unfaithful spouse (Deut. 28:30, 56), emotional stress (Deut. 28:34), childlessness (Lev 20:21), and that’s not all, plus those curses can be handed down to your future generations (Exodus 20:5).
• Provokes Sickness
It causes everything from mental depression, to health problems such as cancer and arthritis. I’m not saying that in every single case of cancer, it is due to unforgiveness, but I am saying that it can cause cancer. Cancer comes from the devil, scientist can’t explain it, doctors don’t understand where it comes from; it’s the symptoms of a curse.
God allowed the Israelites to face diseases and sickness when they disobeyed Him (Deut. 28:58-61), and when they would turn back to Him, He would heal their land and take sickness from their midst (Exodus 23:25, Deut. 7:15).
PROMINENT VICTIMS OF UNFORGIVENESS
1. Joab (2 Samuel 3: 29)
2. Absalom (2 Samuel 13: 28)
3. Ahitophel (2 Samuel 15 - 17)
4. Dinah’s Brothers (Simeon and Levi in Gen 34:25)
5. Haman (Esther 3 – 5)
The blessings of forgiveness
When we forgive, it opens us up to God’s forgiveness (Matthew 6:15), it puts us in a receiving position when we pray (Mark 11:24, 25), it helps us become spiritually fruitful (John 15:10, 12, 5), and we will know that we have passed from spiritual death to being reconciled with our heavenly Father when we love each other (1 John 3:14)! When we keep God’s commandments and love one another, we prove that we love Jesus (John 14:21), and we abide in Christ’s love (John 15:10)! What a magnificent blessing forgiveness really is!!!
Let us all remain conduits for the blessings and mercies of God.
Wednesday, July 20 2022
Contributor: Esther Alajiki
What is bitterness?: Bitterness is defined as anger and disappointment at being (perceived as) treated unfairly. It is an attitude of intense and prolonged anger and hostility which is synonymous with resentment and envy. Often, it also involves feelings of deep seated resentment and a desire for revenge. Inherent in resentment and bitterness is a perception of unfairness that results in sustained long-term feeling of anger.
Bitterness (or resentment) is a complex, multilayered emotion that has been described as a mixture of disappointment and disgust, anger and fear.( Wikipedia) Bitterness starts out small, and seeps into everything.
Fruits : Because bitterness has roots it bears fruits in forms of loss of health, loss of joy - bitterness has a way of taking over, loss of spiritual growth, desire for vengeance, hatred, unforgiveness, eternal danger – Whoever cultivates it gets hurt, the deeper harm is to the nurturer.
Hebrews 12:15: Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. NLT
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Ephesians 4:31(NIV)
Forgive everybody everything. Dwelling in Bitterness is an inside job.
CASE STUDY – Ahitophel and David. 1 Chronicles 27:33. 2 Samuel 16:23
And Ahithophel was the king's counsellor: 1 Chron. 27:33. Ahithophel, served in David’s Cabinet as David’s most trusted counsellor, his advice was virtually divine. He was a man so intelligent that his strategies never failed, if followed. He was a powerful friend and a powerful enemy too. Bathsheba was his grand-daughter, Ahithophel watched as David seduced his granddaughter and had her husband Uriah killed. Approximately nine years later, in 1024 B.C., Absalom led a rebellion to overthrow and kill King David, AND AHITHOPHEL JOINED THE CONSPIRACY!, a familiar friend became a deadly foe. Psalm 41:9; He gave advice to Absalom about defiling David’s concubines and about the best ways to kill David. It is likely he had harboured this unforgiveness for nearly 10 years. When his plans failed, Ahithophel committed suicide – disillusioned and destroyed. Ahithophel must have thought David got away with adultery and murder, but unknown to him the God of Justice had addressed the issue. 2 Samuel 12: 9 – 12. God is a just God, he recompenses.
The devil uses bitterness to fulfil John 10:10 as he did in the life of Ahitophel
A. Distorts Perspective –Did not think to go with David Steals
B. Diverts Purpose – Joined conspiracy - steal / Kills
C. Diminishes Productiveness – His counsel was despised - Kills
D. Destroys Peace –- he left. Destroy
E. Destroys destiny – commits suicide - Destroy
Did Ahithophel have a right to be offended? Absolutely!
Did David do a horrible thing? Absolutely!
Did Ahitophel have a right to be injured? Absolutely!
Did he have a right to be unforgiving and to carry that bitterness through his whole life? No.
When we forgive, Satan becomes the one who is bound…He no longer has control and unable to perform his work.
HOW DO YOU OVERCOME BITTERNESS?
Bitterness is a deep and continual feeling; therefore, it takes time to find a way to defeat it. There is no instant cure. We fool ourselves into thinking no one will know or notice, but anger and resentment have a way of seeping into everything. Honestly admit that you are hurting, revealing your feelings is the beginning of healing. Proverbs 11:3 - the integrity and moral courage of the upright will guide them, but the crookedness of the treacherous will destroy them. (Amp). James 5:16 therefore, confess your sins to one another [your false steps, your offenses], and pray for one another, that you may be healed and restored. Amp. Realize that extending forgiveness is more for your benefit than for the person being forgiven.
DETERMINE TO LIVE BY GOD’S WORD AND SPIRIT, IRRESPECTIVE OF FEELINGS AND HAPPENINGS. Romans 12:9 -21
Ephesians 4:26-27, determine to put things behind you - Philippians 3:12-14, determine to show sincere love to people, Ephesians 4:29-32, determine not to be vindictive Romans 12:17 Proverbs 24:29.
Determine to be content with God’s justice. Isaiah 55:8-9, Psalm 37:38, Psalm 73:17 - determine to repay with good (20). Determine to overcome evil with good (21)
Always confront the pain and the consequences of the offence with God’s presence and comfort, He will give you peace. (Isaiah 26:3; Hebrews 4:15-16 )
Thank God that He has empowered us with the ability to forgive and release bitterness! It all begins with A CHOICE, refuse to allow the past or present to keep you stuck. Ask God to take away every negative feelings towards others. Psalm 147:3 says that God heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. be honest enough to admit the bitterness, stop nursing the bitterness.
Let God Reveal It, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Jeremiah 17:9. A deceitful heart cannot diagnose a deceitful heart. You need to let the Holy Spirit do radical surgery.
Let Grace Respond to it. A response of bitterness is never right when someone has done something wrong to you. You need to ask God for grace to forgive and act instead of reacting.
Let Good Replace It. "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." Hebrew 12:14. When you forgive. you set two people free and one of them is yourself.
NOTE: When we return grace and love, it may not change them, but it will change us. Offering grace and love will cost a lot, but withholding it will cost us even more. Do not allow yourself to be denatured.
Forgiveness is not a matter of time but a matter of choice. It is not a matter of emotions but a matter of the will. Bitterness is a sin and you need to deal with it like any other sin.
LET IT GO - I'm never going back. The past is in the past!
The Devil will not Thwart God’s plan for my life.
CONFESS AND REPENT.
Wednesday, July 13 2022
Contributor: Peter Folikwe
We have been studying God’s plans and purpose for man, how to identify with His purpose, and how to live a life of purpose by seeking to know his will. We were also taken through the hindrances to knowing His will, how to remain resolutely connected to His will and how the Holy Spirit lead us in different ways to connect to His will and purpose for our lives.
Today we shall be looking at the satan’s plan to thwart God’s plan for our lives through rebellion.
God’s world before Gen 3:
• We read about God and His creations from Gen 1-2. After the creation of man, God noted in Gen 1:31 that everything he had made were very good.
• Incidentally, the account of what happened in Gen 3 fundamentally changed everything about God’s original plan for mankind.
• From then sin entered the world.
Subtle approach of the Enemy - Gen 3:1-3
• The serpent being referred to is the devil himself. The Bible in Rev 12:9 attest to this.
• Satan is described here as the old serpent and a deceiver of the whole world; starting with mummy Eve. One of his subtle weapons is deception.
• Rev 20:2 says “And he (the angel of the Lord) laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,..”
• Above verses attest to the fact that the serpent that deceived Eve was the devil.
• Satan’s subtle question posed to Eve in Gen 3:1 creates a euphoria of doubt in the mind of Eve. He made it look like God is hiding information from them. This naturally made Eve inquisitive.
Eve responded to Satan’s barrage of questions in Gen 3:2-3. Invariably the first error Eve commented was to engage the devil in a conversation.
• Satan is very subtle in his approach. He seeks to contradict the word of God in every way. Finding his victim vulnerable, he goes for a kill. 1Pet 5:8 cautioned us to “be sober, be vigilant: your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”
The Rebellion: Gen 3:4 - 6
By the time you get to Gen 3:4, Satan had emotionally connected with Eve, boldly confirming to Eve that if she eats the fruit she will not die. In V5, Satan informed Eve that eating the fruit will open their eyes and they will become like God, knowing good and evil.
• Satan was indirectly telling Eve that God wants to keep then inferior and ignorant, with a belief that God was threatened by them. A complete lie from Satan.
• Satan already knows the divine purpose of God for man and became envious of man after his fall. His primary assignment therefore is to thwart God’s purpose for mankind.
At this point Eve and Adam entered into the decision that alterate the forbidden fruit.
Eve’s description of the fruit:
• It was good for food - that is the loss of the flesh.
• It was pleasing to the eyes - the loss of the eyes, and
• Desirable for gaining wisdom - this is the pride of life.
The above are the 3 principal areas the enemy uses to thwart God’s plan for man. Our Lord Jesus Christ was tempted by the devil in these 3 categories.
1Jn 2:15-16 warns us “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
• Eve did ate the forbidden fruits, and gave to her husband Adam who ate also.
• There was discussion at a bible study on this same subject where people blamed Eve for all the troubles of the world today.
• Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy in 1Tim 2:14 “And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.”
• Eve’s sin was though deception but Adam’s sin was through wilful disobedience.
• As much as we need to be apprehensive of falling prey to the wiles of the devil as Eve did according to Eph. 6:11, we also need to overcome wilful disobedience to the instructions/commandments of God.
The usual Bait of the devil: Power and Influence - Gen 3:7 NIV
• Their eyes of discernment truly popped open and they realized they were naked. Remember that Satan told Eve their eyes will be opened in V5., if they eat the forbidden fruit.
• The greatest lie the devil embellished with some truth was that they will be like God.
• The devil has used and is still using the bait of “man becoming like God” to cajole lot of undiscerning souls into secret cults in quest of power and influence.
• Again we read in Gen3:7 that they realized that they were naked. Meaning they became self-aware (focus on self and not on God). If you and I do a self-examination, we will realize that this is the bedrock of conflict in homes, churches (not RCCG Miracle Land), communities governments, nations and the world at large.
Apostle Paul warns in Gal 5:17-21 NIV
That the flesh works contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit works contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
• To have a continuous communal relationship/fellowship with God the spiritual nature of man must be in tune with that if God. Because God is Spirit.
• But the moment we become self-aware and focus more on our lustful desires of the flesh our spirit man is weakened, just as was the case with Adam and Eve.
Every child born into this world except Jesus, is born with sinful/fleshly desires. A regeneration of our spirit man took effect when we become born again.
Bible passages where we are admonished to stay connected to God:
Col 3:1-2 NIV, Rom 13:14 NIV
You and I can’t afford to be fleshly minded in this carnally minded world.
Besides what shall it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? Mar 8:36, Luke 9:25, & Matt 16:26.
Consequence of Sin: Guilt and Shame - Gen 3:8 NIV
• Weight of guilt and shame often wear us out when we fall into sin, because God is Holy & Righteous.
• Whatever man does that may seem covered, it will be revealed by the light of God. Luke 12:2
• Sin always make us run away from God and sometimes justify our actions to gratify our ego. God have mercy.
God never stops calling: How do you respond?
Gen 3:9 - 15
• God is still in the business of calling out to people. Interestingly, He calls those even the world has condemned. For instance Jesus abided in the house of Zacchaeus a tax collector - Luke 19:5-7.
• No one comes to the son except the father draws him - John 6:44.
Adam’s answer in V10 saying he hid himself because he was naked and the follow up question from God attest to what we have reviewed earlier.
• Adam and Eve’s self-centeredness brought guilt and shame as a result of sin.
God further asked if they have eaten of the tree that He commanded them not to eat from and in Gen 3:12, Adam responded with a factual statement that the woman whom God gave him, presented him with the fruit and he ate. The truth remains that he wilfully disobeyed God’s instruction which was an act of rebellion.
Now in Gen 3:13 God turned to the woman and asked the same question.
• Like Adam, she smartly pushed the blame to the serpent. The devil made me do it – she said.
In Gen 3:14-15, unlike Adam and Eve, God did not give the serpent an opportunity to be asked any question.
God pronounced a curses on them in Gen 3:16-19 God reeled out curses on Eve and Adam.
• Besides God’s pronouncement of labour pain for Eve, God made it clear at this point that her desires will be for the husband, clearly instituting the leadership role of the man in the home. Not necessarily for the wife to be a slave to the man.
• By the time we get to V18, Adam had his full dose of curses, to toil before the ground produces food for him and in V19, God pronounce death sentence on man. “For dust you are and dust you will return”.
• I believe a difficult decision God had to take despite His love for man.
• Only Jesus the son of the living God was not born in sin, but took up the sins of the world and also tasted death.
The Loving Nature Of God
In Gen 3:21 God in His loving nature had to present them with a better and more durable covering for their body.
• He gave His only begotten Son – Jesus (the 2nd Adam) to reconcile the world back to Him. Col 1:20-21.
From Gen 3:22 - 24, God reckoned that they are now self-aware and may also reach out to the tree of life to live forever in their sin.
• He therefore banished man form the garden and drove them out of the garden and placed a flashing flaming sword to guard the tree of life.
The death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus, the 2nd Adam gave us the privilege of a new life of righteousness as was originally planned and purposed by God for us.
We thank God for providing Jesus to reconcile us back to His original purpose for us. However, we need to remain vigilant to avoid being used by the enemy to rebel against God.
Wednesday, July 06 2022
Contributor: Wale Abiona
In many of the ways that God speaks to His people today He uses dreams and visions as the one of the acceptable media. God has communicated, and He is still communicating to His prophets and apostles in a variety of ways including dreams and visions. But dreams and visions are unique in that they can be used to communicate not only to prophets and apostles(leaders) but to all believers and non-believers. For example, Acts 9:10-12 tells us that God gave Ananias direction in a vision regarding Saul, who later became the Apostle Paul. Ananias was a Christian but not an apostle. This important truth is also supported by the fact that God communicated to Joseph, the husband of Mary, by dream (Matt. 1:20) In Acts 10:1-4 we discover that God gave a vision to a non-Christian, Cornelius.
Cornelius was not a follower of Jesus Christ. He is described as one who feared God. He was a man looking for God. So, God gave him a vision in order to help him know that He (God) was sending Peter to share the truth about Jesus Christ.
In Acts 2:17 we read the following:
And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams.
This passage is a quote of Joel 2:28. The quote strongly indicates that the Holy Spirit would be directly involved in dreams and visions in the last days. The passage implies that men and women will see visions and dreams because the Holy Spirit would be poured out on them.
Dreams A series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person's mind during sleep, OR A cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal
Visions An experience of seeing someone or something in a dream or trance, or as a supernatural apparition OR The ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom.
Visions are basically the same as dreams, except that dreams happen whilst a person is in a state of sleep and visions will happen whilst the person is fully awake.
DREAMS AND VISIONS ARE FROM GOD:
As created beings, we are created in the image of God. God had a dream of what He wanted the heavens and the earth to look like. He then proceeded to create them according to that dream. Dreams allow us to see things as they really are, not as they appear to be.
Dreams from God are usually very spiritual experiences that are not easily forgotten, they become bound up in the heart of the person receiving the dream They almost become a part of the heart and mind of the person receiving the dream.
Dreams are so important that God mentioned them in His Word, telling us who dreamed, their dreams, and it purpose.
Passage: Genesis 20:3
The dream and it purpose: “Indeed, you are a dead man, the woman you have taken is another man’s wife. God was letting Abimelech know that Sara was not available when Abraham lied to him about her being his sister. God sought to protect Abimelech.
Passage: Genesis 28:10-13
The dream and it purpose: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac.” God was seeking to encourage Jacob about the future.
Passage: Genesis 31:24
The dream and it purpose: “Be careful that you speak to Jacob neither good nor bad.” God was warning Laban that he was to treat Jacob with respect.
Passage: Genesis 37:5
The dream and it purpose: Joseph’s dreams and the outcome is a sign that God was with him, and He is the source of the dreams.
Passage: Genesis 41:1-13
The dream and it purpose: God spoke to Pharaoh in dreams to tell of the 7 years of plenty and the 7 years of famine that were to come.
Passage: 1 Kings 3:5
The dream and it purpose: God was asking Solomon what it was that he wanted. God was testing Solomon’s heart.
Passage: Matthew 1:20
The dream and it purpose: “Take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel.” God was protecting Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
As we see from the above Scriptures, it is not unusual for God to communicate with His people (and even those who are not His people) in and through dreams. Dreams are the chosen way in which God uses to bring to people His plans, will and His purposes.
Clearly God does not need to speak to us in dreams, and can use many forms of media to do so. The most obvious form, being His Word.
However, God has chosen to reveal His will and His character to us through speaking to people in dreams.
THE PURPOSE OF DREAMS AND VISIONS:
1. To Keep us humble and from being destroyed by his own pride and sin Job 33:14-18 These verses clearly tell us that God speaks to keep a man from being destroyed by his own pride and sin. Jeremiah 17:9 - Sometimes God will use dreams to show us the content of our own hearts
2. Revealing of his prophets - Numbers 12:6 – “if there is a prophet among you, I, The Lord make Myself known to him in a vision.”
3. To restrain us from evil - Genesis 20:3-8 (prevent us from making mistakes)
4. To reveal God’s will & Answer - Genesis 28:11-22, Ezekiel 1:1
5. To encourage - Judges 7:13-15
6. To reveal the future - Genesis 37:5-10
7. To instruct - Matthew 1:20, Daniel 2:24-45 (in the things of God)
8. To warn - Matthew 2:12, Daniel 4 (us about hidden danger/Save life)
9. To Glorify God (Daniel 2:47).
DREAMS TO UNBELIEVERS:
God can and does speak to unbelievers in dreams.
Genesis 20:3-7 Warning Abimelech that Sara was not a woman that he was free to sleep with.
Genesis 41:1-7 Warning Pharaoh that 7 years of plenty were coming followed by 7 years of famine.
Daniel 2:1 Warning Nebuchadnezzar that he was to fall and lose his kingdom.
Matthew 27:19 Warning Pilate’s wife that Jesus was not to be falsely accused.
IDENTIFYING THE SOURCE OF DREAMS:
If we dream every night, then how can we tell which dreams are from God, and which dreams are from our own mind due to daily activities?
If we are conversant with the Holy Spirit and keeping the Word of God in our hearts and mind, then discerning the origins of our dreams will not be a hard thing to do. This will be based on your walk and relationship with God
If you are not sure whether your dream is the substance of your own mind or from God, upon waking, ask the Lord for his help.
If the symbols and principle in the Dream or Vision reveals more about the character and nature of God, then it is safe to receive the dream as from the Lord and seek the interpretation.
INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS:
Listening to the Holy Spirit is the most important aspect of finding the honest interpretation of any dream that we have.
Seeking the interpretation of dreams is only natural and right. This is not divination and not to be confused with such. We are not to seek dreams and interpretations as our ways of getting through life. We are to seek God and His Word.
Dream Interpretation is not listed as a spiritual gift, but clearly a dream given by the Holy Spirit will be interpreted by the Holy Spirit (Genesis 40:8, Daniel 1:17).
The dreams that Pharaoh received in Genesis Chapter 40, were given by God, and God gave Joseph the interpretation. The dream that King Nebuchadnezzar had in the Book of Daniel was given by God, and we see that God gave Daniel the interpretation.
We are to rely on the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to confirm and interpret dreams and visions given to us by God.
God will not give us dreams to amuse you or to stop you from relying upon Him and His Word.
LITERALLY OR NOT?
Can all dreams be taken literally?
Again, we need to ask God for His interpretation. God may be using this dream to speak of another hidden matter.
SUMMARY God is supernatural, and all that He has to give is supernatural. He wants to display His supernatural knowledge, ability and power through His Church, so that the world will see that Jesus Christ is alive. That is why dreams and visions cut through the agendas of a man’s heart and touch the spirit of a man. Dreams and Visions is for everyone, whether believers or non-believers.
They serve as God instruction, guidance, warning and revelation of God’s plan for us. Each one of us needs a Dream from God. Our Dreams will keep us going through the storms of life
The Dreams that Joseph had, kept him while he was thrown into the pit because he believed the Dreams were from God; the Dreams kept him from sinning and from sleeping with Potiphar’s wife. The Dream of others, namely the baker and butler, were the media that God used to restore Joseph to the place of honour that God had intended for him (Genesis 41:9-15, 38, 41-44). The Dreams that Joseph had were fulfilled.
God will give Dreams to teach, warn and instruct, not to create suspicion or juicy gossip.
CONCLUSION Our destinies are tied up in our Dreams. As we look at the Biblical figures who Dreamed, they were all destined for something. Their Dreams revealed their destinies and, as they kept true to God and their Dreams, their Dreams and destinies were realised or fulfilled in their own lives.
Interpretations – if we ask, seek, knock, the door will be opened (Matthew 7:7). We are to search (Proverbs 25:2).
The New Testament opens with a burst of Dreams and Visions in Matthew and closes with John the revelator’s incredible and dramatic Vision of Jesus.
Wednesday, June 29 2022
Contributor: Clem Roberts
In the past few weeks, we have been looking at the different ways the Holy Spirit Leads. From how He personally leads, the inward witness, to the exposition on how He leads through the still small voice. Today, we will be looking at how He leads via the authoritative voice.
Our text is taken from Acts 8:29 and it reads; Then the Spirit said unto Philip, go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
The power of the voice cannot be over emphasized. it is so powerful and vital in all human aspects and operations. You need a voice whether in you are government, educational institutions, business owner or entrepreneur, administration, church, politics, family or relationship, the list is endless.
It is a means to convey needs, interests, issues and concerns. In the program of God, the exact same principle applies; God has needs, interests and He responds to ours with passion and urgency via His voice.
Over the course of our Christian experience, we discover that some voices have something to say. others do not. Some have been a source of information and inspiration. Others have sown confusion and concern. The voice of a God makes a difference. It can transform who we are and how we respond to the challenges and the world system.
God in His word says in John chapter 10 verse: 3 to 4, reading from the NLT.
3.The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come tohim. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice.”
What is the Authoritative Voice of God?
The Word of God is the authoritative voice of God. He honors His word more than His name. He has used it authoritatively from the creation of the world. God says in Isaiah 46:10
"Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’"
Effect of God’s Authoritative Voice
• Luke 4:32 - people were amazed by HIs voice and authority
• Mark 4:39 - the mighty storm became still by His voice
• God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things which we cannotcomprehend.
• Psalm 46:6 - The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, theearth melted.
How to decipher God’s Authoritative Voice
I have seen people say some unimaginable things as God said.
• First, they build a mystery around God
• Secondly, they create this impression of am the “only one that can hear from Godsyndrome”
When they are done deluding you with sophistry it will be too late for you to know or even pay attention to details. Once you fall victim you become like a child who has the wrong impression about his father and nothing, he says makes a meaning anymore.
How to Authenticate the Authoritative Voice of God.
• It is advisable to always check our motives
• What we think God is saying, will it bring God glory or is it aggrandizing our desires?
• Are we trying to enhance our reputation beyond what is justified by the Word of God?
• Has my wishes, desires and dreams beclouded my ability to know His.
• Am I in His permissive or perfect will?
Benchmark 1: - The Word; Is it in the scripture? - Hebrews 6:18 says
" that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us."
What are these two things?
a. God's promise and
b. His oath
Benchmark 2: Is there a proper alignment?
When we compare what we think God is saying to us with God's written Word; does it align or contradict the Scripture?
What is the purpose of God’s Authoritative Voice?
Deuteronomy 5: 24 (NKJV) And you said: ‘surely the LORD our God has shown us His glory and His greatness, and we have heard His voice from the midst of the fire. We have seen this day that God speaks with man; yet he still lives.
Genesis 18:17 And the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, 18 since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?
Authoritative Voice of God gives direction with clarity and speed
i. Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac
ii. God Authoritative voice to Elijah on to escape Famine
iii. God authoritative voice to Elijah to anoint Elisha, Jehu and Hazael
The Authoritative Voice of God gives direction, clarity of purpose, speed to business, ministry, family, career, etc. You will do justice to your spirit, soul and body if you whole heartedly obey His voice. It is a key to supernatural living and escape from likely disappointments. If you go to the wrong person for help in time of dare need, lacking identity, information and direction, you will find yourself living a life of genuine excuses filled with aches and disappointments.
Let us be rightly positioned so that heaven can constantly, without restriction, communicate God’s intentions into our hearts. So that will can be done in our lives on earth as it is in heaven.
Wednesday, June 29 2022
Contributor: Esther Alajiki
In the last 2 weeks, we started to look at ways in which the Holy Spirit leads us. We learnt that the Holy Spirit is Person of God Himself and His Presence. Since He was gifted to the church, He has not stopped speaking to us and fulfilling His role as our Helper, and also we also discussed His leading as an “inward witness” point of view.
Our text reveals that our God is a sovereign God, He reveals Himself in diverse ways, He can reveal Himself in majestic ways as in the strong wind, the earthquake, and fire and He can decide to come as a still small voice. Whichever way He chooses we must realize that God lovingly speaks to us as we need. Because He is God, He is not confined to a single manner of communicating with His people. He is said to communicate through a whirlwind (Job 38:1), to announce His presence by an earthquake (Exodus 19:18), and to speak in a voice that sounds like thunder (1 Samuel 2:10; Job 37:2; Psalm 104:7; John 12:29). In Psalm 77:18 His voice is compared to both thunder and a whirlwind. And in Revelation 4:5, we’re told that lightning and thunder proceed from the throne in heaven.
Why a Still, Small Voice?
1. It was what Elijah needed
In this moment Elijah didn’t need the power and strength of wind, an earthquake, or a fire. Elijah needed the calming reassurance of God’s presence. God knew this and he met him in that manner. The Mount Carmel incident could have been spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausting for Elijah and for it to have been followed by a death threat?? He was in a fragile state – even requesting suicide. God came to him in a still small voice as he often does to us when there seems to be chaos around us, God is the one who chooses how he comes to us.
2. It revealed the tender nature of God
God deals with us more often than not with grace and loving-kindness. The God of fire and brimstone draws us to himself by his kindness, his mercy, his compassion and love. Romans 2:4 God met his brokenness with tenderness.
3. It was a foreshadowing of things to come
All throughout Scripture we see God from time to time move in dramatic ways. In the book of Acts on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came upon them. The infilling of the Holy Spirit in our lives is not always with thunder and our experience is mostly with a calm, reassuring sense of God’s presence that you carry with you from day to day.
4.It is the place that God speaks from
There is one more thing I find in the significance of God appearing to Elijah in a gentle whisper. In 1 Kings 19 after God appeared in the gentle whisper, he spoke to Elijah. I believe this is the same way he speaks to us when we need it. Apostle Paul in (1 Thess. 5:14). “admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all” reflects diverse ways of reaching out. Our Father generally uses that which is soft, tender, gentle, quiet, calm, peaceful most times.
We must make room for his presence and you must tune our ears to his voice, the ones who hear God speak most often are the ones who have prepared themselves to listen. Most people will not hear God speak audibly; you may hear God speaking to your heart through prayer, or you may hear God speaking to you through reading the Bible. Jesus has left us with an advocate and helper who lives within all believers.
Without being filled with the Spirit, we cannot be led by Him, (Romans 8:14). The Holy Spirit of God can lead us through the still small voice to fulfil His role in our lives, He is our helper who teaches and reminds (John 14:26, ESV). The Greek word “Parakletos” “Helper” (ESV) “Advocate” (NIV), and “Counsellor” (KJV). He gives us “legal counsel.” HE convicts the world of sin (John 16:7-8, ESV). HE dwells in believers and fills them (1 Corinthians 3:16, ESV), HE is the source of revelation, wisdom, and power (1 Corinthians 2:10-11). HE guides to all truth, including knowledge of what is to come. HE is called the “Spirit of Truth” in John 16:13. HE gives us spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). HE is God’s seal in our lives (Ephesians 1:13). HE helps in our weakness and intercedes for us (Romans 8:26-27). HE works to renew, sanctify, and make us holy and partakers of eternal life. (Romans 8:10-11). HE sanctifies and enables us to bear the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-25). The still small voice is not a hearing of the mind, nor it is of the intellect, it comes directly from Christ Himself. It is God Himself speaking to us through the Holy Spirit.
The point of God speaking in the still small voice was to show Elijah that the work of God need not always be accompanied by dramatic revelation or manifestations. Divine silence does not necessarily mean divine inactivity. Zechariah 4:6 tells us that God’s work is “not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” meaning that overt displays of power are not necessary for God to work. Hearing from God is more of an art than a science. The more we learn it, the readier we will be to recognize His voice when He speaks, hearing from Him must be valued and practiced. It is a lifelong lifestyle and walk. God is a living Person and not an inanimate force. He can be wooed and He can be grieved. He can be received and He can be shunned. He can be valued and he can be rejected. As powerful as God is his presence so often shows up in the gentlest, most loving fashion. Regardless of your situation, God cares. He is not too busy to meet with you. The Holy Spirit has never stopped speaking since the time of Pentecost. The bigger issue is are you listening?
God is inviting you in. “Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David”. Isaiah 55:3
Wednesday, June 15 2022
Contributor: Dolapo Olaoye
Last week, we started to look at ways in which the Holy Spirit leads us. We learnt that the Holy Spirit is not an object that we can compare to a metamorphic symbiotic process but the Person of God Himself and His Presence. Today, we continue and look at it from an “inward witness” point of view -WHEN YOU JUST “KNOW”.
A View of the mechanisms of how the Holy Spirit leads us
Bible Reference: Romans 8:16 (NKJV): The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
The word spirit above has been highlighted on purpose as people sometimes use the words "spirit" and "soul" interchangeably. But they are not interchangeable and trying to use it as if they are similar we can become confused. The Bible clearly tells us that man's soul and spirit do not refer to the same thing as it differentiates between them in Heb.4:12 - "The word of God is living, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the DIVIDING of SOUL and SPIRIT…."
The Word of God teaches that you are a spirit, you have a soul, and you live in a body. The Holy Spirit will witness to our spirits, not our minds or intellect.
In Your Spirit
Since God dwells in you, in your heart or spirit, that is where He is going to speak to you from. He does not communicate directly with your mind, because He's not in your mind; He's in your spirit. Think about it this way, remember it is your spirit that becomes a new creation in Christ when you are born again. When we are born again, we still have the same body we had before. The outward man doesn't change. But the spirit man on the inside has become a new man in Christ. Since God guides us through our spirit, it's important to allow that inward man to dominate our lives.
As the scripture says in Proverbs 20:27 (KJV), your spirit is a candle of the Lord – “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward part of the belly”. Meaning God will implant light in your spirit man, to lead and direct you on what to do.
Inward witness - explained
When the Holy Spirit speaks to your spirit, you do not hear an audible voice. This is what people call “the inner witness”. The voice of the Holy Spirit to your spirit creates a quiet assurance—a relaxed knowing about something.
Let’s look at it this way, say you pray about clear guidance for a certain direction you want to go in your life, and you get an unease or a red light in your spirit. Or to say it another way, on the inside of you there is something that tells you no or asks you to stop. On the inside - in your heart, you just don't feel right/good about going in the direction you're praying about. That check in your spirit is the Holy Spirit telling you not to go in that direction. However, say you pray about a something and you get a go-ahead signal or peaceful feeling in your heart, that's the witness of the Holy Spirit telling you to proceed.
God leads us by the inward witness (inward voice). With the inward voice, our own spirit speaks to us what it picks up from the Holy Ghost. When the Holy Spirit communicates something directly to you through the inner witness, it will be a knowing without any shadow of a doubt. This inner witness also guides us on several aspects of our lives – in ministry, business, marriage, career, daily decisions, etc. It can give us a green or red light about our plans. We are to obey when we sense this inner witness.
How many times have you heard people use the slang expression that their “gut” was telling them what they needed to do, and then later on it turned out to be right. Those “gut knowing” or “gut feelings” are many of the times the inner witness from the Holy Spirit. In fact, it seems this is the primary way God speaks to us, because this method of leading is available to almost everyone.
What differentiates the inner witness from an ordinary thought?
1. The inner witness is different from reasoning thoughts - It is not mental knowledge or logical reasoning. If what you are having is just a clever idea, then it’s probably not the inner witness.
2. The inner witness is not a physical feeling - You will not have a physical feeling so to say, since the inner witness is the voice of the Holy Spirit to your spirit.
3. The inner witness is best identified by eliminating other voices - A great secret to identifying the inner witness is to eliminate other voices. Ensure that it is not your flesh that wants to do something. Make sure that it is not just a reasonable proposition. There may be some good reason and some good feelings when the Spirit is leading you, but make sure it is not just that!
4. The inner witness is an impression of peace - The inner witness is an awareness of peace. It is the peace of God that is beyond (passes) understanding, reasoning, logic, and physical things. As you develop spiritually, you become aware of the peace of God as a method of direction. You will say, “I don’t have peace about this!” At other times you will say, “Even though it sounds odd, I have a peace about this issue. I know it will be well with me.” The inner witness is the peace of God there “to direct” and “to govern” - God uses peace to direct and govern you. “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body: and be thankful”. (Colossians 3:15 – NKJV).
5. The inner witness is a strong conviction - The inner witness makes you certain about what the Lord is saying. You begin to have a quiet assurance and confidence about the will of God. As you cannot easily explain the faith you have! You cannot always explain the convictions you have!
6. The inner witness is repetitive - The inner witness is the repeated voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart. As the Spirit continually cries, it creates an impression in you. You begin to have a conviction about certain things. You begin to know that you know.
7. The inner witness is an incomprehensible knowing - After you have heard the voice of the Spirit several times, you begin to know what to do. It creates in you “a knowing”. Before you take the next decision, you are going to take from now, watch out for that quiet assurance of peace in your heart. That is the Spirit of God, leading you into the will of God for your life.
Learn To Train Your Spirit
Jesus said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out from the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4).
A key principle to following the inward witness is to develop and train your spirit. How do you train your spirit?
1. Feed on God's Word.
2. Walk in love regardless of whether or not anyone else did.
3. Pray much in other tongues. Praying in other tongues is one of the best ways to develop your spirit man.
We get better at recognizing the inward witness leading of the Holy Spirit as we spend quality time in God’s Word daily, worshipping and meditating. Then our fleshy mind and intellect will have a lesser hold of us while our spirits come alive with God and recognize His leadings often.
Look back in your life and try to list a few inward witnesses that you followed and the ones you did not follow. Let’s surrender our hearts to God – ask him to please lighten your spirit and cause us to understand when He is speaking to us by the inward witness in Jesus’ name (Amen).
Wednesday, June 08 2022
Contributor: Alex Kokobili
We learned from the previous lesson about developing our spirit as an antidote against the struggles of the flesh. The Christian journey cannot be detached from its foundation of the Holy Spirit as Christ’s gift to the church (John 14: 16, Acts 2: 2-12). Today’s study progresses on how to recognize the leading of the Holy Spirit with an emphasis on how He speaks to us as individuals. The Holy Spirit is quite audible and He speaks but most often He is not heard because we do not understand the spiritual mechanism of hearing Him. In approaching the study, we must bear in mind that God is a Spirit and for Him to speak to us means that there is a spirit in us that can also connect with Him (John 4: 24). The text before us would help us to understand the qualities of the Holy Spirit as it relates to Him speaking to us but also the onus is on us to understand or know when He speaks.
A View of The Mechanisms Of How The Holy Ghost Speaks To Us
Bible Reference: John 16:13 (NKJV): However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will tell you things to come.
1. He is called the Spirit of “TRUTH”: There is no ambiguity, error, or heresy in Him. You might not be sure at times, but according to 1 Corinthians 14: 33 “God is not the author of confusion”, 1 John 4: also tells us to “Test all spirits”, because there are a lot of mixtures that might try to be like the truth but are not. Matthew 7:16 says that by their fruits you shall know them and not by the miracles they perform. You must be willing to accept God’s Word as the only and final Word without which you cannot understand the voice of the Holy Spirit.
2. He Guides: This relates to actions, decisions and involvement of divine direction. For instance, in Acts 13: 4 we see that Paul and Barnabas were sent (on their journey) by the Holy Ghost to Seleucia. This does not mean the Holy Ghost spoke audibly to them but that they were convinced within their spirit. Also, Isaiah 30: 21 explained the Spirit to be a voice that speaks and directs us in the manner to go. Romans 8: 14 reveals “for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God”.
How Does He Guide?
- Faith: We cannot be guided by the Holy Spirit by logic. Hebrews 11: 8, by faith Abraham, followed God to a country he did not physically see, but he believed in God’s leading.
- Through the "Spirits" of His Spirit (Isaiah 11:2). This is expressed in us through His 1. Authority (Lordship), 2. Wisdom, 3. Counsel, 4. Might, 5. Knowledge, 6. Understanding (see also Ephesians 1: 8), and 7. Godly fear. We would be subject to His Spirits which is also a measure of His Spirit or else we would never be able to recognise His voice.
- His Word: His Word becomes a living Spirit when we allow the Holy Spirit to give us revelation. We cannot hear by dwelling in the letter (Acts 8: 26-40) is the example of Philip and the Ethiopia Eunuch. As we study His word we get accustomed to revelations and all the spiritual corridors would be opened for us to get direction from God such as in through a Prophet, Fasting/Prayers, Giving, Holiness, Obedience, Humility, etc. See also John 6:63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.
3. Authority: This removes timidity and hopelessness and gives us boldness and spiritual might which is missing in our human effort fails. We see in 2 Tim 1: 7 Paul desired Timothy to lead the church with authority (boldness) without thinking less of what God is doing through Him in the church. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”.
4. He Speaks: This is could be through spiritual expressions of gifts such as 1 Corinthians 12: 7-10 we see a whole list: words of wisdom, words of knowledge, unusual faith in God, or the gift of faith over an issue, divine healing, miracles, prophecies, discernment of spirits, speaking in tongues, and also the interpretation of tongues. Most Christians are not used to hearing when He speaks because they think it is ordinary. For instance, Revelation 19: 10, tells us each time we hear testimony about what God has done, it is the Holy Spirit that speaks. “The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy”.
5. He is not stagnant (“He will tell you things to come”): This can be in form of something futuristic such as a prophecy, dream, vision, word of knowledge, etc. At this point, you must be spiritually inclined not to trivialize certain events or experiences in your life. John 14: 26 “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
The Holy Spirit is not an object that we can compare to a metamorphic symbiotic process or spunky humming ghost but the Person of God Himself and His Presence. Since He was gifted to the church, He has not spoked speaking (Acts 2: 1-13), but unfortunately lots of people cannot recognize His voice (1 Samuel 3:7 as we see initially in the life of Samuel despite residing in the temple). It will amaze us if the Holy Spirit leaves the earth completely today, 99% of the church might not be aware until 10 years. We need to desire intimacy if we want to hear the Spirit of God because He is not as talkative as many people think (Psalm 62:11). We also need to open up every bit of our life to Him because He speaks – “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion” Hebrews 3: 15.
Tuesday, June 07 2022
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
A person is made up of three parts: spirit, soul, and body/flesh (1 Thessalonians 5:23). The body is the outward part that is seen by the natural eye, referred to as the “earth suit”. The soul is composed of mind, emotions, will, and attitudes, our personality. And the spirit is the breath of God that gave all humans life. It is the hidden, inner part that has access to God. No other creature was created by God with this third part. Today, as part of ways to function in God’s plan for our lives, we will be looking at the topic “Develop Your Spirit”.
Man was created in the image of God, and since God is spirit, we are also spirit beings. Proverbs 20:27a says: “The spirit of a man is the lamp of God” It is by this spirit, the Lord leads us and accomplishes His purposes in our lives.
Job 32:8 (NCV) says: “But it is the spirit in a person, the breath of the Almighty, that gives understanding.”
When man fell in Eden, the spirit of man (the part that has access to God) was overthrown by the flesh and since then there has been a constant battle between the flesh and the spirit. And our enemy has since then used the flesh of the fallen man to control and derail man from the original purpose and intention of God for him. That is why our spirit needs to be strong so that it can take the lead; not our flesh. Our spirit needs to be alert to be able to perceive and receive from God; whatever direction He wants us to take. That is why it is
therefore very important to build a strong spirit.
At the point of being born again, every one of us was given a measure of the renewed spirit
Ezekiel 36:26-27 says: “26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws."
We have the opportunity to nurture this new spirit or starve it. The choice we make about this determines the part that wins in every conflicting circumstance between the spirit and the flesh.
TEXT: Galatians 5:17: “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”
A DEVELOPED/STRONG SPIRIT
A developed spirit is a strong spirit. Proverbs 18:14a (MSG) tells us that a strong spirit is what sustains us in any kind of trouble. It says: “A healthy spirit conquers adversity,”
A strong spirit is confident, established, unmovable and ready for anything. It is steady under pressure, full of joy and peace—and it never quits.
Proverbs 24:10 says: “If you faint in the day of adversity, Your strength is small.”
A strong spirit will get you through anything—physical attacks, financial problems, relational difficulties, career setbacks and whatever else the devil throws your way; ensuring that we do not deviate from God’s original plan and purpose for our lives
WAYS TO DEVELOP A STRONG SPIRIT
1. Feed Your Spirit, Starve Your Flesh
“Man shall not live and be upheld and sustained by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” –Matthew4:4 (AMPC)
Healthy, nutritious food for our spirit is the Word of God. Whether you know it or not, your spirit has a voracious appetite for God’s Word. The Word feeds your spirit just like natural food feeds your body. It’s like a healthy meal to your spirit.
Job 23:12 says: “I have not gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed and treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.”
2. Get Spiritual Exercise
“Train yourself toward godliness…[keeping yourself spiritually fit].” 1 Tim 4: 7 (AMPC)
The Bible tells us that while there is some value in physical exercise, spiritual exercise is much more important (1 Timothy 4:7-8). That’s because exercising your faith will strengthen your spiritual muscles.
The stronger you are spiritually, the easier it is to believe God and receive from Him.
Take on spiritual activities that stretch your faith, that deepens your trust and reliance in the Lord. Spend time fasting and praying, spend extended periods meditating and carrying out in-depth studies of the Word. Volunteer and participate in Kingdom related projects that you may have never engaged in before.
Isaiah 6:8 (NIV) “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
3. Take Spiritual Rest
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest….” Matthew 11:28 (AMPC)
Rest isn’t always the state of doing nothing. Instead, it’s an active choice to press in and trust God. Such as casting all our cares upon Him (1 Peter 5:6-8), praying in tongues will edify and build up your spirit (Jude 1:20 & 1 Corinthians 14:4) and waiting on the Lord (Isaiah 40:31). Go on spiritual retreats; pulling back from the maddening crowd, and from activities that drain virtue from us while we draw closer to the Lord for replenishment and revitalization.
4. Develop Good Habits
Ephesians 6:10 (GNT)
“Finally, build up your strength in union with the Lord and by means of his mighty power.”
TPT renders this verse thus:
“Now my beloved ones, I have saved these most important truths for last: Be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the Lord Jesus”
- Get time with God everyday (Ps 25:4, Luke 5:16, John 15:7)
- Get together with believers every week (Heb. 10:25, you by yourself like a block of coal will grow cold and weak, Acts 5:42, Eccl 4:9-10)
- Give a tithe to God (Matt. 6:21, Deut. 14:23c says: “The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives.”)
- Never shy away from the opportunity to serve God. (Exodus 23:25)
5. Don’t Run Away from Challenges
God always has a purpose for our challenges. No pain, trial, tribulation gets to us without our Father’s approval. He lets them come to us because He has a purpose for them! Challenges come to make us strong.
James 1: 2-4 (MSG)
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colours. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”
James 1:12 (AMP)
“Blessed (happy, to be envied) is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation, for when he has stood the test and been approved, he will receive (the victor's) crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him.”
God is not interested in children that only have a superficial relationship with Him, He wants us to have depth, develop roots that go deep down and stabilize us and this is not achieved in a hurry. So we are to stay on until He is through with His work, He has a purpose and a plan. So put up with it and go through it, don’t even think of quitting because He will bring you out at the end a better person. He wants us to grow! Not to remain stagnant. Psalms 66:9-12 (MSG) says:
“Didn't he set us on the road to life? Didn't he keep us out of the ditch? He trained us first, passed us like silver through refining fires, Brought us into hardscrabble country, pushed us to our very limit, Road-tested us inside and out, took us to hell and back; Finally he brought us to this well-watered place.”
PITFALLS TO AVOID
To remain spiritually strong, there are certain attitude traps we must avoid. These attitudes leave us exposed to the whims of the devil.
1. Self-Indulgence - Judges 14:1-20
The first pitfall we will consider is self-indulgence; living only based on your feelings; doing whatever we like and want. The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:23
“23 You are certainly free to eat food offered to idols if you want to; it’s not against God’s laws to eat such meat, but that doesn’t mean that you should go ahead and do it. It may be perfectly legal, but it may not be best and helpful.”
Also in 1 Corinthians 6:12 (MSG)
“12 Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims.
Rick Warren says:
- Just because I want something doesn’t mean I must have it
- Just because I can afford it doesn’t mean I must buy it
- Just because it’s pleasurable doesn’t mean it is good
- Just because everybody is doing it doesn’t mean I have to do it
To be spiritually strong, you must therefore discipline your desires.
2. Anger and Bitterness - Numbers 20:11-12
We have been taught time and again how anger can truncate a person’s destiny. Moses’ anger caused him entering the Promised Land. Ephesians 4:26-27 tells us that anger exposes us to the attack of the enemy. It says: “26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.”
One of the original purposes for man we learnt earlier in the year from Micah 6:8 which says: He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
James 1:20 (AMP) says: “for the [resentful, deep-seated] anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God [that standard of behaviour which He requires from us].”
Letting your anger consume your thoughts and actions will only lead you down a sinful path with consequences; one of which is being derailed from God’s plan and purpose as we see in the case of Moses.
Psalm 37:8 says: “Don’t give in to worry or anger; it only leads to trouble.”
Job 5:2 says: "To worry yourself to death with resentment would be a foolish, senseless thing to do." (GNT)
Job 18:4a says: “You are only hurting yourself with your anger.”
3. Negligence, Carelessness and Compromise - Judges 16:1-20
Negligence is the failure to take proper care of something or a refusal to pay the required attention to something. It lies at the opposite end of the spectrum to Diligence. Carelessness carries the consequence of sapping your spiritual strength. Anytime you get careless with any aspect of your life you are headed in the wrong direction, Carelessness leads to little compromises and little foxes do spoil the vine.
Song of Solomon 2:15 says: “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.”
Samson toyed with sin and slowly slipped to the point where he finally fell; after the Spirit of the Lord left him, he lost his spiritual strength.
Negligence in one area of our lives is an “unhealthy cancer” that can very easily spread to other areas. It’s sneaky so let’s be careful! When we are negligent over any area of our lives, we are simply creating an environment for disaster; we are digging a pit, breaking the hedge, and exposing ourselves to the enemy to drain out our spiritual strength.
Proverbs 19:16 (MSG) says: “Keep the rules and keep your life; careless living kills.”
Developing one’s spirit does not happen by accident — it’s the result of the choices you make and habits you develop. Since the fall of man in Eden, the spirit of man (the part that has access to God) was overthrown by the flesh and since then there has been a constant battle between the flesh and the spirit. From our study today, we learnt that Samson chose a lifestyle that sapped his spiritual strength.We learnt that Moses, missed the Promise Land due to anger. It is therefore very important that everyone of us evaluate our spiritual condition. 3 John 1:2 NLT says:
“Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.”
Every believer has the potential to stand in a greater place of supernatural strength. As we build a stronger spirit, it will become easier to receive, resist and stand. We will be victorious with a strong spirit! And we will be strong enough to strengthen others. And even more importantly, we will be better equipped to remain on track as we function in God’s plan and purpose for our lives.
Parts of this study was culled from
Wednesday, May 25 2022
Contributor: Ngozi Roberts
Since the beginning of this year in our studies, we have been focusing on God’s plan for us. And in doing this we have been able to explore how to identify His purpose for us and live that purpose. As it’s a daily affair, we went further last week to discuss how to function in living out His purpose for us. We delved into the three important requirements that will enable us function in God's plan. We discussed extensively about these functions - Diligence which is hard work, Fervour and Service. We understood that for us to be able to function effectively and diligently in our service to God in every area of our living, we to have the zeal (fervour) to serve Him.
Now that we know all the requirements needed to function in God's plan. Today we are pushing further in our studies towards an area that will make our effective function a lot easier. This aspect allows us to be led by the Holy Spirit. By the grace of God, we will be able to understand the need to totally rely on the Holy spirit in our daily living and find out how easy and stress free such life will be.
Be Led By the Holy Spirit
When we say to us ‘Be led by the Holy Spirit’, for me by implication it means that there are also other kinds of spirits but we are not going into in these other spirits today. We are having our discussion on the Holy Spirit. Essentially we are to understand that when we got born again, the Holy Spirit came in to dwell in us. It is in the fellowship with this Holy Spirit that we are lead into fulfilling effectively the life of the purpose that God has called us into. So there is a need for us to have a little understanding of who the Holy Spirit is.
So Who is this Holy Spirit?
He is a person. So if we are to be led by someone, it would be wise for us to know who that person is. Yes, the scriptures has confirmations for us that he is a Person. A person is meant to have intellect, Mind and Will and this is confirmed of Him in 1Corinthians 2:10-12 -12
10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us."
So as a Person, He is able to search the Mind of God for our benefit. Also as a Person He has emotions. In Ephesians 4:30 , it says that:
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
Above all, this Person is also known as Jesus Christ because in Matthew 1:18 the scriptures says:
"18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[d]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit."
So we know that the Person we are to be led by, is God Himself in the person of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that made the word flesh.
Benny Hinn once said that the Holy Spirit is Jesus without Limits. Why, because, he said when Jesus was in the world, he was limited, in that he could not be physically present in many places at the same time. So with the Holy Spirit, He can live in everyone that accepts him, He is therefore limitless!
Our Text for today Romans 8:14:
"14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."
We now know who our leader, the Holy Spirit is. Who then does He lead?
Sons of God
To be qualified as a Son of God, entails quite a lot. Let us consider who can call himself or herself a ‘son of God’. I believe that when there is relationship between an offspring and a father then one can say there is a son/father relationship. It could be through a natural descent or by adoption. Our Text today Roman 8:14-16 confirms this:
"14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children." (NIV)
How can we then be led by the Holy Spirit?
I have drawn out some of the ways that the Holy Spirit can Lead us from the below scripture. The idea is that in our daily living towards fulfilling our purpose, we ought to rely on this Peron, the Holy Spirit, to lead us aright.
The scripture tells us in John 14:15-26 that this Person is:
- The Spirit of Truth
- He is our Advocate
- He is our Teacher
- He is our Reminder of all things.
“If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be] in you. 25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
From this scripture, we can draw out how the Holy Spirit leads us:
- Telling us the truth at all times
- Being our advocate
- Teaching us all things
- Reminding us and revealing all things
In our todays’ text, Romans 8:14: 14 "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."
We have a reassurance as believers that once we are led by the Holy Spirit, we can consider ourselves as sons of God.
To be led can be defined as to show the way by going in advance; to guide or direct one on a course. A child can easily be led or guided or directed to do something. Why is that? Because a child by nature is not yet knowledgeable enough to guide him or herself. A child at this stage might not even know what is good or bad for him/her. That is why the child has to depend on someone to guide him or her. The scriptures emphasis on this in Matthew 18:3 He said:
“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven"
So, to qualify to be called a ‘son of God’, we ought to be like little children. Now as children, so long as we are steadfast and develop the habit of holding on to the Holy Spirit guidance, then we will be able to grow into maturity. It is at this stage that one can look at us and attest that we are sons of God. When you allow others to lead you, one can say you are matured. When we mature as sons, we would have developed through the teaching of the Holy Spirit in such a way that some particular attributes becomes our nature. Attributes like:
Followership – It is our responsibility as sons to follow and it is the responsibility of God to make us. Matthew 4:19
"19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him."
Also 1 Corinthians 11:1 also confirms this. “ Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”
So as followers, we must be willing to buy into His ideology. It is trust. You follow him blindly knowing that He is your Father. You see, it takes a childlike approach to be follower. You must forsake somethings like your ambition, ego etc. just like Abraham left everything to follow him. Just like the disciples left everything to follow Him.
Total Dependence – Another attribute that must be seen in us as sons is total dependence. You see in the kingdom of God Independence is equal to rebellion. John 5:19 Jesus said:
"19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise."
So you see Jesus was not able to do anything on his own independence. He was totally dependent on His Father. Thus, whenever we see someone’s life glorifying God, it is a proof that the lifestyle of God is being followed and we can easily say such a person is a son of God.
Empowered - Another attribute that should be seen in us as sons is the ability to Say and it comes to pass. The ability to declare a thing and it becomes so. We come into a dimension of power that Jesus exhibited. Note that the real power is from the authority that is over us. In Matthew 8:5-10 we read the story of the Centurion that wanted Jesus to come and heal his servant and when Jesus wanted to go to him, the man restrained him but said -
"9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it."
This is a man that understood the law of submission.
You will always manifest the power of the submission you are under.
To be led by the Holy Spirit, requires that one must have gone through the levels of development into maturity by the Holy Spirit. When we get born again, we go through the school of the spirit. During this stage of development, we learn how to let go of our old self and nurture that spirit of God that we received. We do this through our communication and fellowship with the Lord, digesting the word and allowing the Holy Spirit through the word of God to prune us and develop us. By the time we do this day in day out, we apply what we have red in our daily living. Sometimes we fail, but we pick up and learn from our mistakes through the direction of the Holy Spirit. As we do this daily, it becomes a habit. We then come to a stage where before we say something to anyone, we pause and ask the Holy Spirt for guidance on what to say. Same thing on what to wear, where to go etc. until this becomes our true nature.
At this stage one can see us and point out that we are being led by the Holy Spirit. It will be obvious. I believe that this is the stage of sonship. It is the state that we become strong. It is at this stage that the word of God lives in us. It is at this stage that we overcome the evil one. Why? Because, no one can be strong, have the word of God living in them, overcome the evil one without the help of the Holy Spirit.
The scripture confirmed that the Holy Spirit is a Revealer. 1 Cor. 2:9 –12 - 9
However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” [—the things God has prepared for those who love him— 10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us"
Therefore, in every area of our lives, in our Marriages; In our studies; In our business dealings; In our family relationships / parenting / child; Friendships, the Holy Spirit will always guide us. He is our revealer. In living through the fulfilment of the purpose of God in our lives, it is important for us to understand that the key is depending on the Holy Spirit, through our fellowship with Him.
Wednesday, May 18 2022
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
In the first quarter of the year the study was focussed on understanding what God’s plan is for us, identifying His purpose for us and living out that purpose. Since the beginning of the second quarter we have been considering how we can function in God’s Plan; treating topics such as: “Except the Lord Build the House”, “Remain connected to the Source”, “Align Your Plans with God’s”, “Walk in the Light of God’s Word”, “Walk in Love”, “Consecration to God’s Plan” each of them revealing requirements for functioning in God’s Plan. This is important because it is not just only about knowing God’s plan and purpose but living it out by functioning in it. Today we shall be identifying a three-in-one way of functioning in His plan – “Diligence, Fervour & Service”
Romans 12:11: “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord”
TPT says: “Be enthusiastic to serve the Lord, keeping your passion toward him boiling hot! Radiate with the glow of the Holy Spirit and let him fill you with excitement as you serve him.”
Our text identifies three vital requirements for functioning in God’s Plan. There is a very interesting connection between these three parts of our text as it relates to functioning in God’s plan. To function in God’s plan requires diligence (hard work) and service. But for these two be meaningful, effective and productive, it needs fervour.
1. Not Slothful In Business
The NASB renders this statement as “never lagging behind in diligence.” Not lagging is a phrase translated from a Greek word that means “lazy”. It is the same word Jesus used to describe the lazy servant in Matthew 25:26 who hid his talent. To function in God’s plan requires action from us. That is why we must be engaged in His service. In one of the parables of the Kingdom, Jesus in Luke 19: 11-13, invites us to occupy till He comes.
"11 And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. 12 He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. 13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come."
Not to be slothful in business means we must be diligent in whatever we are doing. Proverbs 22:29
2. Fervent In Spirit
The word translated "fervent in spirit" means to boil with heat, be hot. It is used of boiling anger, love, and zeal for what is good or bad. As used in our text, it means to have a burning zeal to do the will of God.
To be fervent means to exhibit particular enthusiasm, zeal, conviction, persistence, or belief. It is to be sold out; not half hearted, passionate, fully committed & consecrated
Solomon had the heart to be a wise ruler (1 Kings 3:1-15),Moses had a heart for his people (Exodus 32:30-33), Nehemiah had a heart for Jerusalem. (Nehemiah 1:1-2:9)
Let your heart always be in whatever your hands find doing!
John 2:17, says of Jesus: "Then His disciples remembered that it was written, 'Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.'"
Fervour and enthusiasm are the keys to success in the Lord's work. The church at Laodicea was chastised because they were lukewarm (Rev. 3:14-16).
The TPT says: “keeping your passion toward him boiling hot! Radiate with the glow of the Holy Spirit and let him fill you with excitement”
How can we achieve this? Romans 12:1 (MSG) spells it out:
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.”
3. Serving The Lord
One of the purposes why God made us is for service. (Ephesians 2:10) MSG says:
“God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.”
The first two parts of our text in Romans 12:11: (not slothful in business and fervent in spirit) tell us how we should serve the Lord. Diligently, passionately, enthusiastically. (Colossians 3:23)
1 Cor. 15:58a says: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord”
a) All believers are called on to serve the Lord. (Romans 12:4-8).
The Apostle Paul creates an analogy of the church as the body of Christ. Every part of the body is valuable and useful to the overall functioning of the body. Even so, every believer has been given spiritual gifts to use for the building up of the body of Christ. There is no such thing as a non-serving member of the body. If you’re not serving, you need to ask the Lord how He wants you to serve and begin doing it.
1 Peter 4:10 says, “God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God’s many kinds of blessings” (TLB).
Ephesians 4:16 says: “He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”
b) We serve the Lord as His slaves, not as His volunteers. (Luke 17:7-10)
Volunteers choose when and how they serve; slaves are on call day and night, whether they feel like serving or not.
First, make sure that your motivation is right. You serve Him because of His great mercies toward you in the gospel. That motivation moves you not to be lazy, but diligent in serving Him. Serving Christ becomes your passion, so that you do it fervently. And, remember that you’re serving none other than the Lord Himself.
Two verses of scripture lay a solid foundation of the kind of service that pleases the Lord.
• Ephesians 6:7 (AMP) says:
“Rendering service readily with goodwill, as to the Lord and not to men,”
To render service readily means to render service enthusiastically, gladly and cheerfully. And to render it with goodwill refers to rendering service with willingness, concern and kindness. So let’s rephrase our Ephesians text:
“Rendering service enthusiastically, gladly and cheerfully and with willingness, concern and kindness, as to the Lord and not to men,”
The second verse of scripture we will consider is
• Colossians 3:23 (KJV)
“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;”
To render service heartily means to render service whole heartedly, enthusiastically, etc.
So let’s rephrase our Colossians text:
“And whatsoever ye do, do it whole heartedly and enthusiastically, as to the Lord, and not unto men;”
Our text today refers to people who are motivated and passionate in their service for the Lord. So we must ask ourselves this question: “Am I diligent and fervent in spirit in my service for the Lord?” Or, like the church in Laodicea, whom the Lord threatened to spew out of His mouth, could I be lukewarm?
The last thing anyone of us will want is that these year’s series of Bible study “Following God’s plan for Your Life” ends up being only a cliché in their lives. You can be following God’s plan for your life in your secular job; nothing wrong with that. But if you limit it to only that and be indifferent to the Lord’s business, you miss out on certain perks that come with the service of God (Exodus 23:25) and secondly, you will not be a functioning part of the body of Christ (Romans 12:4-8 & Eph. 4:16). That is why time and again, we have encouraged ourselves to become useful in the body of Christ. Also, our call to service does not end in church alone but everywhere we find ourselves, our lights must shine (Matt.5:16). The MSG version of Colossians 3:23 says: “Servants, do what you're told by your earthly masters. And don't just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best.”
Wednesday, May 11 2022
Contributor: Okwudili Prince-Isaac
Consecration is the amount of our unconditional surrender to God! Consecration is a process or practice of making something or someone sacred. Dedicated and set apart for the Lord. It also means the devoting or setting apart of anything or anyone to the worship or service of God (Exodus 28:41).
In Matthew 26, we see Jesus praying the prayer of dedication. These verses give us an example of His devotion to consecrate Himself to do the Father’s will.
“36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matthew 26:36, 39)
What was Jesus talking about when He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane? He knew the cross was before Him. He knew He was about to be made the sacrifice for sin on our behalf (Heb. 9:26). Jesus battled the temptation to draw back from what was to come and prayed, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from Me!”
It wasn’t easy for Jesus to fulfill the Father’s plan. But He knew the outcome of redemption meant salvation for mankind. So, for the joy set before Him, He surrendered to His Father’s will (Heb. 12:2). Jesus’ prayer of consecration was “O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done” (Matt. 26:42).
God is looking for believers who will consecrate themselves entirely to Him to carry out His plan for their lives, just as Jesus did at Gethsemane and throughout His earthly ministry. God is looking for believers who will say as Jesus did, “Not my will, Father, but Your will be done.”
The prayer of consecration is not a one-time prayer. Jesus virtually prayed the same prayer three times (Matt. 26:39, 42, 44). It is a prayer we pray throughout our lives. We will only be able to follow God’s plan if we always maintain an attitude of consecration and surrender to His will, whatever it might be.
God is looking for believers who will say as Jesus did, “Not my will, Father, but Your will be done.”
Other Texts: Romans 6, Romans 12, Exodus 28:41, Heb. 9:26, Heb. 12:2
Five Stages of Consecration
•Salvation [Romans 7:6, Col 1:13]
•Self [Eph. 4:22]
•Surrender [Gal 2:20]
•Servanthood [Col 3:23]
•Slave (Finish Line) – [Romans 6:18, Jn 21:18]
Be Willing to Do Anything for God
It’s important to be willing to do anything God asks. We need to commit ourselves to obey Him and do His will every day for the rest of our lives. Unwillingness to obey God can hinder or delay His plan for us from being fulfilled.
We will only experience the fullness of God’s plan and the full measure of His anointing and blessing on us if we are willing to obey Him in every area of our lives. We’ve all had to “drink some cups” that we would rather have passed up. But when we know that the cup is God’s will, we can rest assured the outcome will be for our good and to God’s glory.
Many Christians have never surrendered everything to the Lord. They only are willing to make Jesus Lord of part of their lives. But sometimes they aren’t willing to give up control of certain areas their carnal nature holds dear.
It’s critical to make a quality decision to follow God’s plan for our lives. That decision becomes an anchor to our souls that keeps us in His perfect will when the devil brings temptations to distract us from the plans of God. If we’re never fully surrendered to Him, we stand in danger of being persuaded by the devil’s temptations to pursue our will and desires. As a result, we lose out on God’s best.
The Crossroad of Decision
Many Christians are at a crossroad. They face decisions that will influence the course of their lives. The road of obedience is what we must choose if we want to follow God’s plan. Although it seems hard to say ‘no’ to our will and plans, the result of obedience will cause our spirits to rejoice. We will make our way prosperous and be fulfilled beyond anything we can imagine.
No comparison can be made between a life of walking in the flesh and one of living according to God’s perfect plan! As we choose daily to obey the Lord’s will, we will be a blessing to many. And God will lead us to places of abundance in every area of our lives!
Outcome of Consecration
The first result is described in Romans 6, and the second result is described in Romans 12.
• Our Benefit (Romans 6)
• God’s Benefit (Romans 12)
The consecration in Romans 6 is for one’s own benefit; it is to bear the fruit of righteousness. The result of consecration in Romans 6 is deliverance from sin to be a slave of God in order to bear fruit unto sanctification. This is what it means to live out the overcoming life day by day. Our hands, feet, and mouths belong to the Lord. We dare not use them ourselves. Every time temptations come, we have to say that we do not have our hands with us. When we consecrate ourselves this way, we will be sanctified and bear the fruit of sanctification. Hence, consecrating ourselves is the first thing we should do after the overcoming experience, and it is also the firstfruit of the overcoming experience.
There is a true story of a Christian brother who had consecrated himself fully to the Lord. When he was on a train ride, a few friends decided to have a card game. Three people were present, and they were short one person, so they invited him to join in. He answered, "Sorry, friends. I do not have my hands with me. These hands are not mine but Another’s.” While the friend still struggled to understand his response, he continued “They are merely placed on my body. I dare not use them."
The consecration in Romans 12 is for God’s benefit; it is for the accomplishment of God’s will and for acceptable service to Him. The result of the
consecration in Romans 12 is not just God’s pleasure but the proving of God’s good, well-pleasing, and perfect will.
The result of the presenting is in Romans 12:2. "Do not be fashioned according to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect."
This is our ultimate goal today. God has an eternal purpose, which is accomplished through His Son. God created everything through Him for this purpose. Redemption is for this purpose, the defeat of Satan is for this purpose, and the salvation of sinners is for this purpose. We have to know God’s eternal purpose before we can accomplish what God wants us to accomplish. We are not here merely for the salvation of sinners; we are here for the accomplishment of God’s eternal purpose. Every kind of work must be linked up with God’s eternal purpose.
“There the true story Asian Preacher coming back home from short visit to part of town. He was about to board a bus but the driver told him to “get off”. Stunned, he looked carefully, and realised that it was not an ordinary bus, but a chartered bus. The Spirit used the incidence to teach him lesson - Every Christian should be a "chartered" person, and not a "public" Christian. We are not public, but "chartered," fully reserved for God’s will and separated.”
Lack of Consecration in Believers
In our days many believers seem willing to lay some things on the altar, but not all! God’s plan for their lives is hindered. Many of His blessings are withheld because they haven’t wholly consecrated themselves to do His will instead of their own.
Benefits of Consecration
1.Overflowing blessings (Exodus 32:29).
2.Overflowing anointing (Hebrews 1:9;10:38; Acts 5:12).
3.Becoming a chosen vessel of God (II Timothy 2:21; Acts 9:15).
4.Ever abiding presence of God (Psalm 91:1; Matthew 28:19-20).
5.Outstanding victory without a fight (Proverbs 16:7; II chronicles 20:15-19).
Every Christian should consecrate himself; it is wrong to assume that only special Christians should consecrate themselves. His blood has purchased us, and we are His. His love has constrained us, and we live for Him. Let’s consider how consecrated we are to the Lord. Let’s consider whether we’re able to say from our hearts, “I’ll do whatever You ask of me. I’ll go anywhere You send me. I’ll stay wherever You want me. No matter where You lead me, I’ll carry the Good News of Jesus Christ to others.” We must ‘let go’ in order for the Lord to mature us and lead us deeper, like he did to Prophet Ezekiel –Ezek. 47:2-5
If we do not consecrate ourselves, we will never realize that this will is good. God’s will is not only good but also perfect. All of God’s will toward those who love Him is profitable. If we know this, we will not reject His will. Presenting our bodies to Him is holy and well pleasing to Him. Christ ultimately lived out John 21:18 “Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go”
May we find His will well-pleasing to us and find that His will is good and perfect. Amen
Thursday, May 05 2022
Contributor: Esther Alajiki
In today’s study, we will be studying about the fourth way we can function in God’s plan by considering the topic “Walk in Love” If we wish to function in God’s plan, we must walk in love. The word “walk” in the Greek language, peripateite, is defined as to go, walk about, or be occupied with. In Hebrew, it means to live. In other words, to walk in love is to live in love. We are exhorted as Christians to be motivated by, and focused on love. To have a Biblical mind set, focused on obeying God by following the example of Christ, willingly giving ourselves daily to Him and obeying His Words, it also entails growing in intimacy with God and getting to know His heartbeat.
1 Cor. 12:3 But earnestly desire and strive for the greater gifts [if acquiring them is going to be your goal]. And yet I will show you a still more excellent way [one of the choicest graces and the highest of them all: unselfish love]. AMP
2 John 1:6 And this is love: that we walk in accordance with His commandments and are guided continually by His precepts. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should [always] walk in love. AMP
Mandate: Imitate God by Walking in Love (Ephesians 5: 1-2).
Be imitators of God - We are commanded to imitate God, to be like Him. This is the only place in the NT where Paul uses the language of imitating God by walking in love - walking is the metaphor for living.
To walk in love is to tell the truth, control your anger, work to share with others, speak edifying words, put away all forms of relationship destroying attitudes and actions, practice kindness, compassion, and forgiveness, let your actions provoke others onto love and to good works (Hebrews 10:24)
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. (1 John 4: 11-12). To live a life of love to others is to imitate God. It is our mandate.
Motive: Walk in Love because You Are Loved by God as His Child (Ephesians 5: 1)
As dearly loved children. We are to walk in love because we have been loved. Eph. 1:4-5 tells us in love God predestined us to adoption into His family. Romans 5:5 tells us that the love of God has been poured out into our hearts by the Spirit. When John reflected on this idea of our being loved by God and made His children, he said, “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us that we would be called the children of God” (1 John 3:1). By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:35
Since we are dearly loved children, recipients of the love of God, we must also walk in love. There must be a family resemblance. We are to look like our Father in the sense that we ought to be able to say “any resemblance to God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ is
purely intentional. We are motivated to walk in love be remembering that we are loved by God and His love is poured out in our hearts.
Model: Walk in Love as Christ Sacrificially Loved You (Ephesians 5: 2).
Christ is our model for love. To imitate Christ is to imitate God for Christ is the ultimate revelation of God. He is God in human flesh. We are to model our lives after the love He has already displayed. The love that is selfless and sacrificial. He gave Himself up. His will His desires and ambitions for helpless, godless, wicked, and hostile sinners (see Rom. 5).
It is selfless and sacrificial love for the unlovable. Loving the way Christ loves places us in a position of vulnerability. It is costly and often painful to love the way Jesus loves. We must be willing to make sacrifices. We must be willing to risk the pain of loving those who will not return our love.
C.S. Lewis describes it in this way.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to be sure of keeping your heart intact you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully around with hobbies and little luxuries, avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safely in the casket of your selfishness. And in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will not change, it will not be broken. It will become unbreakable, impenetrable and irredeemable. The only place outside of heaven where you can be perfectly safe from the dangers of love is hell.” (C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves)
Love makes you vulnerable, as you must love those who oppose you and will not return your love, forgive those who wrongfully abuse you, have compassion on the weak and powerless, serve others with no thought of being repaid, befriend those who are downtrodden and discouraged, share the good news of life with those who are dying in sin, a call to love is a call to a sacrificial life.
If we are going to cultivate this kind of love, we must keep Christ and His cross before our eyes. He was not coerced. He gave Himself. The depth of His love was sacrificial to the point of making His life an offering on the cross. It was an offering given to God as a substitute for hostile sinners like us. It was a sin-bearing offering. It was an offering that was pleasing to God like a fragrant aroma wafting toward heaven.
If you want to love like Jesus, think often of Jesus’ love and draw deeply on his grace. Remain in the shadow of His cross where you can see the One who did not shield himself from the ravages of sacrifice but freely gave Himself for the sake of others. Don’t only think what would Jesus do daily reflect on what Jesus has done
To imitate God is living and loving like Jesus loved. Mankind is born with the tendency to think and act selfishly, but the agape love of God is deposited within your heart when you became born again. Once a believer develops in love, power becomes available, but walking in love is a process that requires sacrifice and intentional growth. But it is by this process that we find we are functioning in God’s plan.
Deuteronomy 10:12-13 “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require from you, but to fear [and worship] the LORD your God [with awe-filled reverence and profound respect], to walk [that is, to live each and every day] in all His ways and to love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul [your choices, your thoughts, your whole being], 13 and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?”
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God; for God is love. (1 John 4: 7-8)
Love is a verb! It’s main characteristic is action. It propels us to act; and because God is love, when we are propelled by His agape love we remain constantly aligned with and functioning in His plan,
And now abideth faith, hope, love; and the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)
Love is the greatest. So we are to walk in love.
Further reading: 1 John 4, Ephesians 2:1-10, Luke 10:27. Mark 12:30, Matthew 22:37, Deuteronomy 6:5, Deuteronomy 11:13, Joshua 23:11
Wednesday, May 04 2022
Contributor: Peter Folikwe
In last week’s study, we treated the second sub topic of how we can function in God’s Plan titled: “Align Your Plans with God’s”
In today’s study, we will be considering the third way we can function in God’s plan by considering the topic “Walking in the light of the Word of God.” This topic will be approached by first defining key words in the topic for today, understanding why we need to walk in the light of His Word and the benefits of walking in it.
1. Key Words To Be Defined Are:
a) Walking (daily taking a journey to an expected destination) - in our case a journey with an expectation to ultimately make heaven.
b) Light: Any devise serving as a source of illumination. Gospel of John 8:12 tells us “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
Jesus here introduces Himself as the Light of the world. The one who gives spiritual awareness and illumination in every circumstance.
c) Word of God. John 1:1-5 tells us that
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”
• Jesus is the Word of God.
In V14 of John 1, the bible says “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us”. Meaning each day we read and meditate on the Word of God, we take in a piece of Christ with us.
2. Why Do I Need To Walk In The Light Of His Word?
a) So as not to stumble and fall when the trials of life confront us:
Our anchor scripture in Ps 119:105, says “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” speaks to this.
In this dark world, it is too risky to grope in the dark. The Word of God ensure our feet do not stumble when confronted by obstacles of our journey in life. At the same time it makes our vision clear in order to choose the right path to take in life in order to overcome the obstacles.
James 1:2-3 AMP encourages us saying: “Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace].”
b) To become light in this dark world
Jesus addressed us - his protégées - as the light of the world in Matt 5:14 “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.”
With the light in His Word, we are equipped through the name of Jesus to cast out devils; speak with new tongues; take up serpents; and if we drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt us; when we lay hands on the sick, they shall recover. Mark 16:17-18.
c)We are able to command the heavens and the earth:
Matt 18:18-19 categorically states that “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
Rather than live in fear and uncertainty, we confidently approach the issues of life with boldness premised on His Word in 2Tim 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
3. Hindrances To Walking In The Light Of His Word:
a) Sin is our No 1 hindrance.
Except Jesus Christ, The Light cleanses us from all sin, we remain in the darkness of sin. Our 2nd anchor scripture 1 John 1:7 alludes to the fact that it is only the blood of Jesus that washes our sins.
The Bible tells us in Rom 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”.
Prov. 14:34 tells us “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people."
Is 59:1-2 affirms that “Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”
b) Remaining a nominal Christian: A dangerous position to be in.
Some have made being born again a cliché.
• They receive salvation and go to sleep. They remain stagnant, refusing to grow in their most Holy faith. Rev 3:15-16 “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
• They continue to feed on milk of the word and not the meat and grow to chew bones.
• They remain complacent with the word of God.
Eph. 4:14a says “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine”.
Heb. 5:13-14 says “For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."
c) A wavering faith in God: those not sure of the salvation power they carry.
Some hop from place to place seeking miracles, signs and wonders, instead of seeing themselves as carriers of His miracles, signs and wonders. John 4:48 is my witness, when Jesus spoke to a nobleman whose son was sick. “Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.
• Some are like Job’s wife in Job 2:9 who requested that her husband curse God and face the ultimate consequence of death; when challenges of life become overwhelming. They begin to doubt the efficacy of the word of God to overcome.
James 1:5-7 tells us “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.”
Heb. 10:23 admonishes us: “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)”
There is a popular saying in: Happy moments, Praise God; Difficult moments, Seek God; Quiet moments; Worship God; Painful moments, Trust God & In every moment... Thank God.
4. Benefits Of Walking In The Light Of His Word:
a) Equipped with accurate word in season:
Our Lord and Saviour Jesus exemplified this when He was led into the wilderness by the spirit to be tempted of the devil in Matt 4, from V1-11. He kept repeating “It is written”. The Bible tells us the devil is an accuser of the brethren (Rev 12:10); accusing us before God day and night, therefore we must be abreast of the light in the word of God to silence the accuser.
Secondly, when we apply the light in the word of God by praying in unknown tongues, we confuse the accuser, because we speak to God with the help of the spirit; we speak mysteries 1Cor 14:2
b) We become a terror to the camp of the enemy.
The word of God in Heb. 4:12a says “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword”.
There is power mighty in the Word. There is power mighty in the name of Jesus. There is power mighty in the blood of Jesus.
c) It engenders our relationship with God. John 1:1-5 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, .........”
Only through Jesus are we qualified to have a relationship with the Father.
Daddy G O recently thought us about praise and worship. When we praise God, we reel out God’s CV. And worshiping Him is telling Him what He is capable of doing - this leads us to holy of holies.
d)Revelation of His hidden secrets. Deut. 29:29 “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, …”.
We are able to know what He loves or hates:
“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 17 A proud LOOK, a lying TONGUE, and HANDS that shed innocent blood, 18 An HEART that deviseth wicked imaginations, FEET that be swift in running to mischief,……”
Ps 92:12-14 says “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 13 Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;”
Walking in the light of God enable us to fulfill the purpose of God for our lives: Ps 119:11 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
Wednesday, April 20 2022
Contributor: Wale Abiona
Our life becomes meaningful and fulfilling when it is in line with God’s plan for us. Until this happens, progress and success in the life of a genuine child of God is at a standstill. Therefore, many experience frustration, and do not get satisfaction in their endeavors
- Have you ever wondered where God is calling or leading you?
- Have you ever asked yourself if you’re on the right path?
These questions are very important because God is interested in the work that we do. He wants to use our work as a tool to bring light to those in darkness. Yes, that’s His calling for us.
It makes sense to ask where God is calling and leading us in life. And where else can we find the answer to the question than to go to Scripture.
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
This passage shows how precious we are to God, and how he had planned it all out before we are born. We only need to understand the value that that heaven place on us and how we more than just a number on the surface of the earth.
What Does It Mean To Be God’s Masterpiece?
We are uniquely designed individuals and set apart from others with a divine purpose. We are one of a kind, special and beautifully made in his image. Psalm 139:14
God never makes a mistake, there are no imperfections in us. We therefore need to value ourselves as He does, and others will begin value us too.
“The value of life is not in its duration but donation. You are not important because of how long you live; you are important because of how effective you live.” -- Myles Monroe
Why Did God Have Me Here At This Point Of Your Life?
It can be anything from a stay-at-home mum to a career person or an entrepreneur etc. And this can change from time to time or at different points in our life’s journey.
The work we do is so important to God because we were commissioned to share the Gospel, bringing light to the dark world through the work of our hand.
1 Peter 2:9 - But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
Psalm 145:10 - All of your works will thank you, LORD, and your faithful followers will praise you.
Each opportunity that we have been called to can be a mission field that brings glory to His kingdom.
What a joy and privilege to live in alignment with God’s purpose! And know that He will be with us every step of the way.
7 Ways to Align Your Plans with God’s
• Discover Who You Are in Christ
Your purpose as a believer is to build the Kingdom of God. Your role in His Kingdom will require your natural gifts and talents. As Christians, it’s important to start the exploration of calling with the call to follow Jesus. The call to belong to Christ is everything. When we belong to Jesus, we’re finally able to make God look glorious in our lives. This will also empower you to live a greater life in Christ. There’s no way you can follow God’s purpose in your life if you don’t know who you are in Christ. Allow the Holy Spirit to dwell in you and draw you closer to Jesus. The Bible tells us that we will receive the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Jesus and the eyes of understanding will be enlightened (Ephesians 1:17-18). God reveals a calling only to those who accept Jesus as Savior. Knowing Him intimately will change you.
• Allow the Holy Spirit to Lead You
Romans 8:14 says, “For all those who are led by God’s spirit, these are God’s sons.” One of the greatest gifts God offers us is the privilege of being led by the Spirit of God. As children of God, we can expect to be led by the Holy Spirit which will provide us with the wisdom of God to make the right decisions. Our ability to tap into our calling is much easier when we make decisions based on the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit. This wisdom will allow us to make decisions today based on knowing what will happen tomorrow. What many people fail to realize is that you can develop a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit just like you already have with God and Jesus. John 14:26 says, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit is not only a personal guide but also a teacher in this life.
• Let Go of Distractions
In this world, it’s so easy to get distracted but if we want to fulfill God’s calling for our lives, we must refuse to be distracted, particularly by advances made by the enemy. The Bible tells us, “Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of you own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:16).
When we’re trying to build up things like our careers, our families, even our finances, it is so easy to get sidetracked. It’s important that we keep the most important things in focus so that we are not distracted. One great way to do this is by designating time for prayer and meditation daily. Before you rush out in the morning, spend time with God and pray that His Will be done in your life.
• Trust God’s Judgment
God knows what’s best for your life, even when you can’t understand His plan for you. This is why it’s so important to trust God’s judgment. The Bible tells us, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Trusting God needs to be the first steppingstone on your faith journey. God had a plan for you before you were even born, and His plans will always be greater and more beautiful than all your disappointments. We can follow His plan by believing that He has everything in control and that His dominion will guide us exactly where He wants us to go.
• Discover Your Talents
God gives us each unique talents and passions. These are used to help us live in alignment with His purpose. Set aside time to pray and write about what brings you joy and what you are naturally good at. It is a good practice to reflect on what God has given us and how we can use it to live out His purpose. No matter what, if God called you, He will qualify you!
God may be revealing His plan for your life, but you may not be able to align with it because you’re not paying attention to the signs around you. You may also be quenching the Holy Spirit and what the Spirit is trying to reveal to you. The Bible tells us, “Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His presence continually” (1 Chronicles 16:11). Prayerfully seek God and ask Him to discern His calling for your life. Ask Him to give you faith and courage to follow Him wherever He leads you. This will enable you to follow God’s greater call and better advance His Kingdom on earth.
• Align Your Values and Mission
To find out what our purpose is, we must do the reflective work of what our values are in life. Where you place your time and energy will determine if you are aligning with God’s purpose or not. Spend time in prayer and ask God what He values so that the desires of your heart will be aligned with His.
Then investigate whether you’re living your life in alignment with your values and mission. It’s up to you, with the Holy Spirit’s guidance, to change your ways and live life on purpose.
Aligning your values and mission will allow you to set healthy boundaries
• Give God Your Best
The plan God has for your life can only be accomplished when we give the best of our time, efforts, gifts and focus to our specific task. God brings out the best in us when we give Him our best. The Bible tells us, “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:12). Just as Timothy was focused and committed to God’s call, and not distracted or distracted by those around him, we too should model this in our own lives. As you grow in your relationship with Christ and separate yourself from the distractions that hold you back from being related to Him, it’s only natural that you will want to give God your best.
To fully appreciate the journey God has predestined, you and I must be willing to trust and obey, and then align ourselves with his plans.
When we walk with the Lord
in the light of his word,
what a glory he sheds on our way!
While we do his good will,
he abides with us still,
and with all who will trust and obey
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
The key to unlocking God’s plan for our life and live to our full potential is the ability to take Him at His word.
'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word
Just to rest upon His promise,
Just to know, "Thus saith the Lord!"
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I've proved Him o'er and o'er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!
Tuesday, April 19 2022
Contributor: Clem Roberts
The book of John gave several insights of our Lord Jesus proclaiming Himself as I AM in various occasions. One of such of occasions is in our text here today where He declares “I am the true vine”. These few verses show us how our relationship with Christ and the Father should be.
Starting with Verse 1 Jesus said “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser."
Every one of us should pause and ponder on this very first verse. If there is a true vine, then there is also a false vine. And if God is the dresser of the true vine, obviously we know who the dresser of the false vine is. The true vine is genuine and holy.
Verse 2: Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
• God takes away so that the affected branch does not affect the other branches
• For those that bear God takes care of them, so they keep bearing more fruit.
What is this fruit?
• Our Character
• Our attitude
• Soul winning - You are saved but have you led anyone to Christ?
Verse 3: You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
How are we clean?
• we are already clean by the written word of God and
• by the spoken Word of Jesus Christ
verse 4: Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
Verse 5: “I am the vine; you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned."
• The secret of fruitfulness is achieved by remaining connected to the source, and not in the branch making any kind of effort to produce the fruits.
• The branch is entire useless on its own.
• The branch is only to bear fruit.
Benefits of fruitfulness
• To give glory to the almighty God
• To bear more fruit
• God is honoured
• Evidence of being a true disciple
Disadvantages of not staying connected to the source.
• Get cut off from the source
• No more nutrients
• Dries up
• Thrown into the fire and they are burned
Verse 7: If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
There is absolute power in obedience. It opens the door of the kingdom without delay.
• What is your ask? It shall be done God Jesus emphasized
• Do you have unanswered request or prayers? Check your obedience, are you abiding?
• Abiding cannot come without obedience
• Our obedience should be in Jesus Christ not people, not denomination or organisation.
• It is not a legal obligation. Obedience is the response to our love for God as He first loved us. It is borne out of our love for Him because He first loved us.
Verse 8: By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
• Fruit of Holy Spirit - character
• Fruit of holiness - conduct
• Fruit righteousness
• Fruit of the lips – our conversation
• Fruit of our Hands –service
God’s purpose is for us to flourish in His plans and our plans and bear fruits. Ps. 1:1- 6
Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Monday, April 11 2022
Contributor: Alex Alajiki
Last week we looked into living a life of purpose based on Matt. 5:13-14; "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavour, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Is very interesting that our calling to be light and salt in this world is embedded in every Christian purpose for living.
There are two major ways we can use to find our purpose based on our teachings last week
1. Ensure you are spirit filled and prayerful
2. Believe in the purpose and Submit to the guidance of the Holy Spirit
Finally, if we miss it, God is so gracious that he can He can make all things to work together for our good according to Rom. 8:28.
Today, we are looking at another important topic in line with our series on Purpose; Except the Lord build the house, Ps.127:1; Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman wakes but in vain.
We shall be focusing on the fact that God is the master builder of all things and we must work with His plans if we are going to achieve His intended purpose in life.
Most of our labours in life can actually be a waste when we are not mindful of God’s plan.
1. God the Builder; Heb. 3:4,
For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God God the builder does not imply that the Lord has a hammer and nails and actually performs construction work. Rather, it speaks metaphorically of the Lord’s direct involvement or development in the building of our lives. The Hebrew word for “house” in Psalm 127:1 appears nearly a thousand times in the Bible. It is used literally to refer to temples, palaces, and homes, and figuratively to refer to households and families—all of which are important structures in a person’s life. But, we can narrow it down to the building of our individual lives and families. So, we cannot hope to live a purposeful life without the help, guidance and protection of the master builder.
There are 3 major factors that are very important in any building project; Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding.
Wisdom is the correct application of knowledge and understanding. Prov. 23:3-4; Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; 4 By knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches
If we are going to construct a great building that can stand the test of time, then the builder must have latest, not outdated, knowledge of building engineering and proper understanding of materials needed for the construction. So, wisdom to build a house is the combination of proper engineering knowledge and understanding of necessary materials for the construction.
God is the only one with the wisdom of building our lives according to His original intention. He has the intricate knowledge and understanding of what He want to achieve with our lives. Jer. 1:5; Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations
2) God build according to His plan; Prov. 19:21, Prov. 3:5-6, Jer. 29:11
There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel that will stand.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
For I know the thoughts(Plans) that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts(Plans) of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope
A plan is a detailed proposal for doing or achieving something. Only God can boast of a detailed proposal (God’s original road map) for the building of our lives according to His own purpose. You cannot build a great building without a standard plan.
God developed a detailed plan both in our creation and the full content of our existence on earth according to Ps. 139:15-16; My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skilfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. and in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.
God completed His plans for each of us before we were even conceived in our mother’s womb. In every building construction site, the building will always be making reference to the original plan in consultation with the architect that designed the building to make sure they are not deviation from the original plan. We cannot build our lives, family, ministry, business and any project ordained from God without God’s involvement by the guidance of His Holy Spirit.
3) Following God’s Plan to Build; Ps. 32:8, Isa. 30:21, Rom 8:11,
Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left. – Isa.30:21
The promise of God is to guild us in our journey through life but how can we know and follow His plans to build our lives according to His purpose;
a. we need to seek His face in prayers. Jer. 33:3
b. we need to understand His plans: Ps. 119:144
c. we need to take actions to build according to His plan; Matt. 7:24-27
d. we need to constantly check if we are building according to plan; 2 Cor. 13:5
CONCLUSION; Eccl. 1:2
“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”
Trying to build anything without God’s plan and wisdom, is foolish. It leads to futility in the end and to the lament of Ecclesiastes 1:2: “Everything is meaningless.”
If you want the ultimate success in life and be satisfied at the end of the race, then we must build according to God’s plan for our lives.
Wednesday, March 30 2022
Contributor: Ngozi Roberts
In our last lesson, we learnt about the hindrances to knowing Gods will and understood that for us to accomplish Gods will in our lives we are not to allow Sin, or our Will hinder God’s Will from being accomplished in us.
So today we are continuing our quest for knowledge in our Christian living by attempting to understand what Living a Life of Purpose all is about. In his book The Purpose driven life, Rick Warren gave us a design for Christian Living. He explained to us what is meant by living a lifestyle-based on God’s eternal purpose and not cultural or social values.
Our topic today is about living a life of purpose. I want to believe that from our last lessons we now have an idea of what our purpose in life is. So today we are going to explore how to live that purpose. I have attempted to simplify this topic by breaking down into bits the words and into sections so as to bring out a basic meaning to this topic. I pray that this way our understanding of the topic will be better enriched.
What is Living? Miriam Webster defines Living as
(i) having life, (ii) the condition of being alive
What is Life? Miriam Webster defines Life:
•as the sequence of physical and mental experiences that make up the existence ofan individual.
•as any system capable of performing functions such as eating, metabolizing,excreting, breathing, moving, growing, reproducing, and responding to external stimuli.
Another definition says:
- it is the state characterized by the ability to get and use energy, reproduce, grow, andrespond to change: the quality that plants and animals lose when they die.
- the period during which a person or thing is alive or exists.
What is Purpose? Miriam Webster defines Purpose as:
- The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.•INTENTION, INTENT, PURPOSE, DESIGN, AIM, END, OBJECT, OBJECTIVE,GOAL
- Mean what one intends to accomplish or attain
If we put all these together one can then say that Living a Life of Purpose is the condition of being alive during which period, one has something to accomplish.
Therefore, I can say that when one is Living a life of Purpose, the person is alive for a period to accomplish something.
So, the question is, do I know the purpose for which am alive for? Do I know the goal for which I am supposed to accomplish while I am alive?
If I then know the reason or the gaol for which I was created to be alive for, then the next question is am I on the right track? In other words, am I living out the life? Am I carrying out the steps that will lead me to fulfil the goal or purpose? Lets look at purposeful living.
I know that in the circular teachings we get all the steps of achieving goals, purposes in life. Usually these are set out by either oneself or the institutions we are under or the projects that we undergo. For example, we are advised to set our new year resolutions, or organisations could ask you set out the goals for achieving a particular task or project. Or even goals are given to you and either your team or self to achieve within a set time. OR an institution that gave the goal would usually set out steps to achieving these goals. Ultimately once these steps are followed through, it will lead to the accomplishment of the set goals. Interestingly, enough when we are in the right course through these steps we are appraised and scored excellently well, and we are happy. In the same manner on the larger scale, when we were created Jeremiah 1:5 confirmed that we were known before we were born.
"Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
God created you and I having known us first. In knowing us I believe, it’s because he had an assignment for you and myself. That is why we were given birth to a particular area of the earth, and through a particular woman/man. He has a purpose for us. Now, having by His spirit guided us into being born again, He expects us to lay hold on the manual for living and find the part that will guide us into fulfilling our purpose on earth. So, there are steps to follow for us to live that purpose fulfilling life. When we lay hold of these steps, and follow it diligently, automatically, passion follows with fulfilment, joy and contentment and the ease with which we go through life will be so amazing that we eventually end up living a life of purpose. As we go through this study my prayer is that we will be able to know where we are at so as to realign ourselves into fulfilling our purposes in Jesus Name Amen.
Text - Matthew 5:13-16
13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavour, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Supreme Goal - From the above scripture, we know that our goal is to be the
a.Salt of the earth.
b.Light of the world
c.Glorify our Father
Therefore, whatever we find our selves doing in our pursuit in life, it has to fulfil the above three things. Earlier on we established that God has a purpose for everyone from the scripture Jeremiah 1:5 - 5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
Note that Job said in Job 42:2
“I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted”
God’s purpose cannot be reversed. Therefore, Once God has established His purposes for our lives—no one can change it. Remember Pharaoh?
In Exodus 9:16, the scripture said that “But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth”
God put Pharaoh in the place of being an Egyptian leader for His purpose. God has a purpose for everyone—including those who resist Him.
FINDING OUR PURPOSE
We were thought in school that to fulfil your goal and mission, one must make plans and follow the steps in the plan. Remez Sasson categorized these into 10 steps as below:
1)Be specific about what you want to achieve
2)Draw up a plan of action
3)Make a list of steps
4)Act do not be passive
5)Read and listen to advice
7)Examine your goals periodically
9)Visualize your goal
Interestingly though, I find that in the fulfilment of life’s purpose we also need to follow some steps.
Proverbs 20:5 says that “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out”.
We all are made in the image of God, and we have established that we all are born with a purpose. However, the truth is that we can either discover it or completely miss it. Thank God, provisions have been made for us the believers, so we do not miss it. So, I have below the 2 main steps that can lead us into living a life of purpose.
1.Ensure you are spirit filled and prayerful
The Holy Spirit is the one that helps each believer and gives us the insight to God’s purpose for us. We find peace and courage when we sense the confirmation of the Holy Spirit that we are in the right place at the right time of our individual purpose. Therefore, for each step that we take, the Holy Spirit is there to witness that we are walking in the right direction.
So, in our pursuit to fulfilling our purpose, we carry out plans, make mini goals, follow the steps in each of the mini goals and if we are double checking with the Holy Spirit to ensure that we are walking in the right direction we will fulfil our purpose.
Proverbs 19:21 the message translation says,
"We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but GOD’s purpose prevails."
In finding your purpose, God’s purpose is the one that lasts. We can make our plans and set out to see them accomplished but only if it is in alignment with the purpose of God for us would it last. We can make our plans and set out to see them accomplished, but if we don’t pray and seek God’s direction—we could find ourselves drifting in an ocean of challenges without a sail. Every plan should begin and end with God in mind first.
2.Believe in the purpose and Submit to the guidance of the Holy Spirit
Once we acknowledge the purpose, we should then believe in the purpose. It is when we start believing in the purpose that it becomes easier to submit to the guidance of the Holy spirit in obedience. As long as we are working in total obedience and submission to his plan, we will surely fulfil our purpose. Take the life of Mary for example, when the angel told her that she was going to be the mother of the son of God, what did she say in Luke 1:38: 38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. Mary believed. And in her belief, she knew her purpose, and allowed the Holy Spirit to take over her life so that she was able to live a life of purpose for her. She fulfilled her purpose when she gave birth to Jesus.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE MISS IT?
Yes, sometimes we might miss a step (Romans 8:28). - “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”.
God works through all situations to fulfil His purpose. You see, the enemy is not happy that we are in the right track doing what God has ordained us to do. So sometimes he brings challenges that seems too difficult to handle and when we get beclouded, we tend to lose it. Hard times can make it difficult to see God’s purpose especially when we only feel pain and grief. Many times, we don’t want to be reminded that God is working our difficulty for our good. However, if we practice living our lives with the mindset that God is working things out for us, we can have smoother transition of accepting this truth during challenging times. The key is being very conscious of the presence of the Holy Spirit and with practice He will always guide us through. You see when we genuinely work in error and miss the step. The Holy Spirit will always find a way of bringing the right step to where you are so that you can become re-aligned to the original purpose. They key is working in partnership with the Holy Spirit.
John 16: 7 "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you."
Vs 13 - "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew your things to come."
Isaiah 30:21 says - "And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, this is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left."
We are designed to take advantage of the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit. Being aware of his presence is good but when we allow him to minister to us is better. The Holy Spirit is the strengthner, revealer, preserver, anointed, comforter of all of us as believers.
if we are in partnership with the Holy Spirit, as a revealer, He will always reveal to us the truth of what our purpose is in life. He will guide us through all the steps required to living a life of purpose.
To ensure that we live a life of purpose, we must ensure that it is not a living of power and might. We must acknowledge that we can only live this life in partnership with the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy spirit which knows the mind of Christ. Jesus Christ left us with the Holy Spirit to comfort and guide us. When he lived in this earth, he knew all the ups and downs that can block and hinder us from fulfilling our purpose. But He in the end overcame and was able to fulfil his own purpose. That is why He left us with a Helper in the person of the Holy Spirit so that we are certain to make it and fulfil our own purpose also. Jesus Christ in fulfilling his own purpose was able to fulfil the goal of Matthew 5:13-16 being:
a. Salt of the earth.
b. Light of the world
c. Glorify our Father
In the same manner with the help of the Holy Spirit, we are meant to live a life where we are seen as the Salt of the earth, light of the world and ultimately a life that brings glory to God. My prayer is that we all will let the Holy Spirit lead us into living a life of purpose in Jesus’s name Amen.
Wednesday, March 23 2022
Contributor: Dolapo Olaoye
The Bible tells us that God’s will is good, acceptable, and perfect in every way (Rom. 12:2) so of course there will be hindrances stopping us from this. Knowing what God wants us to do at each particular time can be difficult at times. However, God himself does want us to know His will and so once we learn to recognise His leading, it’s a lot easier than we think. I think sometimes God doesn’t answer our prayers right away perhaps because they do not align with His Will for us.
"Call to me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know." (Jer. 33:3)
Text: Mark 11: 24-26 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
1. SIN/The Devil
Sin is a blocker of communication with God (Ps 66:18). We have a very real enemy (The devil). He does not want God’s will for your life because the devil doesn’t like anything good/perfect. The devil wants to break up the church, break up your home, break up your business, and many more. God gave us the whole Armour of God to stand against the tricks of the devil. The devil cannot stop us from doing God’s will but he can hinder us to the point that we quit and don’t get God’s will done. We need to fight, if need be, like a good soldier, to accomplish God’s willing for your life. You cannot stop just because you have an enemy.
Our feelings sometimes can interfere with clear thinking – Do we really want to know God’s will, or are we just trying to get Him to approve ours? We are our own biggest obstacle; you cannot do your will and God’s will. To follow God’s plan, we need to surrender our rights to Him and embrace His ways. We must choose every day to let Him rule over our thought life, emotions, families, work, and decisions.
The feeling of fear is a normal part of being human. Choosing to dwell in fear, however, will always hold you back from knowing God’s Will. Sometimes we choose to live in fear because of terrible pain or rejection that has come into our lives. Fear can be our way of protecting ourselves against further pain. But it never works. It only serves to shield us from the love of the Father. Let go of all fears (fear of rejection, failure, the future, intimacy, authority etc. and allow God (love) in. 1 John 4:18 - There is no fear in love…
4. Not applying the Word of God
Disobedience – not acting on what God has shown us. Fear of the unknown when we want to know all the steps before we follow God’s step, but he isn’t obliged to show you all remember that – just the next step.
5. Expecting answers immediately
No one likes the waiting but sometimes we need to wait as God has his perfect time for everything and he will answer – What do you do in your “waiting period”. We can easily get in such a hurry that we forget that God’s plan. God is not only positioning us for a certain task or career but is actually helping us become the people He wants us to be in the meantime. The way of faith is often the way of patience as we trust that God will, in His time, not only reveal but also position us where He wants us to be.
WAYS OF OVERCOMING HINDRANCES
1. Confess your sins:
1 John 1:9. In other to be in right standing with our maker, there is a conscious need to renounce our sins, it helps remove whatever hindrance that prevents or withholds God’s will from manifesting in our lives.
God commands us to cultivate humility in all our endeavors, by humbling ourselves before God and accepting His word and providence without grumbling even if it sounds or looks foolish by human standards. Humility and the fear of God works alongside each. humility is attributed to the fear God and in turn knowing what His plan for our live is. The reward for humility and fear of God is “riches and honor’’ these are the things God promised Abraham, Solomon, and Jesus promised Peter.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 the bible encourages us to be thankful. Taking time to recognize what God has done and expressing our gratitude is important to developing our relationship with Him. In any situation we find ourselves, we need to be thankful. Gratitude makes us less self-centred. We stop focusing on ourselves so much. It takes us outside of ourselves and focuses our attention on God and draws us closer to Him. The expression of gratitude to God plays a key role in our relationship with Him. Gratitude is like a glue that binds us to God. Gratitude develops endurance and trust in God. We must look for God’s grace in all circumstances. This must become a constant habit.
Practicing patience, when God has you waiting because He is not a magician. Sometimes, it is very difficult to be patient. When we’re bringing our concerns to the Lord again and again, we grow tired of waiting. We can begin to feel like our prayers are falling on deaf ears. Often our desire is to take control and just “do the best we can’’ even though we know Galatians 5 lists patience as a fruit of the spirit. When this dawn on us, we might confess our desire to rule our own lives, inviting the Holy spirit to direct us and empower once again as we continue to wait on the Lord is important in knowing God’s will and plan for our lives.
One of the many ways in discovering God’s plan for us is through living in obedience to God in all things, Obedience, is a great way to show your love and respect for him. Obedience is also a suiting way to draw near to him and grow in your relationship with him. For many reasons, obedience is an important part of a Christian’s relationship with Christ. Thus, helps in revealing God’s ultimate plan for one’s life
Another way to know that you are in tune with God's plan for your life is by praying; Take time each day to devote yourself to the Lord and His will. If you are giving each area of your life to God, then He will bless it and be able to work through it abundantly.
If you want to accomplish God’s will then you cannot let sin, the devil, your own will, fear or eagerness hinder you to the point that God can’t get his will done in your life. If God has shown you an area in your life that is hindering your ability to do God’s will, then address that hindrance tonight, so that God can get his will done in your life.
Wednesday, March 16 2022
Contributor: Alex Kokobili
To seek His will is to know His purpose and surrender God to be involved in the affairs of their lives. This means our expectations must be harmonious with God’s will in our lives. Also, this is an attempt to uncover something that is not visible which could involve a process that results in finding a solution, knowledge, or an answer to a question, concerning our purpose in life
Text: Proverbs 3: 5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
TYPES OF WILL
1.God’s Absolute Will for Humanity. This is God’s supreme desire for us His esteemedcreation.
Ephesians 2: 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”
For instance, the salvation to all people (John 3: 16-17), Life of Holiness (Hebrews 12: 14, without Holiness, we cannot seek or see God), Life of Thanksgiving as God’s will for humanity (1 Thessalonians 5: 18), To prosper humanity (3 John 2), etc.
2.God’s Permissive Will Borne Out of Human Persuasion to Have Their Way
Psalm 81: 11-12, “But My people would not heed My voice, And Israel would have none of Me. 12 So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart, to walk in their own counsels.
3.The Human Free Will (But God Expects Us to Synchronize our will to His Absolute Will to Guide Our Choices
Psalm37: 5 "Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass"
Deuteronomy 30: 15-16 says:
“See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;16 In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.”
Seeking God’s Will Does Not Mean You Are A Religious Fanatic As Many Assume!
A. God understands our needs, feelings, and humanity, so don’t live in delusion or fear about involving God in every area of your life.
Hebrews 4: 15
For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted [knowing exactly how it feels to be human] in every respect as we are, yet without [committing any] sin.
B. When we seek God’s will, it is a sign that we are not just earthly residents but also thirst and hunger for the kingdom.
Mathew 6: 33
Seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness and all other things shall be added unto you.
C. As long as your expectation is with God’s word, He will bring it to pass.
Proverbs 23: 18 For surely there is an end, and your hope will not be cut off.
Psalm 16: 3 Commit they work unto the Lord and He shall bring it to pass
D. Never be afraid to pray for God’s will to be done (Surrender to His will).
Mathew 6: 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven
Isaiah 55:8-9 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
How Do We Seek God’s Will In Pursuance Of Our Purpose In Life?
1. THE WORD OF GOD.
The Word of God is the revealer of all truths and mysteries of life. Don’t make vague decisions, but study to know the mind of God on all things.
Psalm 119: 105 “They word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path”
2 Tim 2: 15 ”Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Daniel 9: 1-3 “In the first year of Darius the son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom 2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.
Through the Word of God, you would find the need for wisdom, knowledge, and direction.
a. The Word of God gives us an understanding of life.
Ephesians 1:18 “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,”
b. The Word of God is wisdom
Proverbs 4:7 “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.”
c. The Word of God is knowledge.
Hosea 4: 6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.
2. FAITH IN GOD.
Once you study God’s word in relation to any area you need answers in your life, be ready to accept His will and believe (have faith) that he will never mislead you.
Hebrews 11: 1-3
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for.3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
3. FASTING, PRAYER, AND PERSONAL RETREAT
Acts 4:31 “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”
(i) Pray all manner of prayers
Ephesians 6: 18
And pray always with all manner prayer and supplication in the spirit: and watch thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all Saints.
1 Corinthians 14: 14-19
14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. 16Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say? 17 For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified.18 I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; 19 yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.”
(ii) Add fasting to the prayer from time to time
Mathew 17: 20-21
“Because of your little faith,” Jesus told them. “For if you had faith even as small as a tiny mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move!’ and it would go far away. Nothing would be impossible. 21 But this kind of demon won’t leave unless you have prayed and gone without food”
4. COMMUNAL FELLOWSHIP WITH OTHER BELIEVERS.
Don’t isolate yourself from a Bible-believing Church as the experiences of the believers have a way of pointing us towards God’s will. Unfortunately, lots of people don’t realize the harmony in fellowship as a church. We learn from ourselves, pray and study God’s word, provide counselling, etc.
“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! 2 It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe.3 It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.”
Hebrews 10: 25 “not forsaking our meeting together [as believers for worship and instruction], as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more [faithfully] as you see the day [of Christ’s return] approaching.”
5. SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY/ MENTORSHIP AND DISCIPLESHIP
It is dangerous to live yourself without the guidance of a shepherd. Even a true shepherd also looks up to another Shepherd. (Avoid being critical of your pastor or a spiritual shepherd who can guide you).
Hosea 3: 7 “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing unless He revealed His secret unto His servants the prophets.”
1 Corinthians 11: 1 “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ”
6. THROUGH THE MANIFESTATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
We have to be spiritually sensitive and deliberate because God can reveal His purpose to us through diverse manifestations
1 Corinthians 12:4-11 e.g., Word of Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith, Healing, Miraculous happenings, Prophecies, Spiritual discernment, Praying in Tongues.
However, be careful not to be a prophecy seeker, but if you seek God in a genuine fellowship, he would send a word of hope, healing, power, assurance, etc., to you.
7. IN DREAMS AND VISIONS
Don’t be quick to trivialize certain dreams or visions because that might be God speaking about His purpose for your life.
Judges 7: 13-15
“When Gideon came, behold, a man was relating a dream to his friend. And he said, “Behold, I had a dream; a loaf of barley bread was tumbling into the camp of Midian, and it came to the tent and struck it so that it fell, and turned it upside down so that the tent lay flat.” His friend replied, “This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; God has given Midian and all the camp into his hand.” When Gideon heard the account of the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship. He returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise, for the Lord has given the camp of Midian into your hands.”
Daniel 2: 19
“Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.”
The bedrock of discovering God’s will starts from knowing Him and building a genuine relationship with Him. We will discover from the main text that it is easier to seek God’s will if we surrender to our will to Him. An example was David who inquired of the Lord after becoming King concerning the Philistines despite being skilful in the act of war.
2 Samuel 5: 17-19
Now when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. And David heard of it and went down to the stronghold. 18 The Philistines also went and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. 19 So David inquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand? “And the LORD said to David, “Go up, for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hand.”
We are advised to always seek God’s will regardless of our mood, or assurance of decisions, wealth, spiritual might, etc. because His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8), and He is not unfaithful to forsake those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11: 6).
Wednesday, March 09 2022
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
God has a plan and purpose for us; one we can find by following His plan for our lives. Learning how to follow this plan is the reason for these series of studies. In the second and third lessons we studied His Original Plan – to have dominion (Genesis 1:26), and what He expects of us, to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly (Micah 6:8)
And in the last four, we have looked at four vital plans He has for man. Abundant Life (John 10:10), Health & Wealth (3John2), Fellowship, to love Him and love people (Matthew 22:37-39) and finally, Eternity, to be with Him in heaven (John 14:3)
Why these topics are important as a foundation is that they keep us aligned and guided in His will. And it is true that by looking into what God’s original plan for mankind, and walking in it, many have found their purpose in life!
In today’s study we are taking a closer step to following His plan for our lives by looking at ways of identifying our purpose in life. There are several different examples in the Bible of the many ways people have found and fulfilled their purpose in life. One of them is by making use of the gifts and talents you have been blessed with and getting the Lord’s approval as we see in today’s text.
1. MAKE USE OF YOUR TALENTS/ABILITIES
“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. . .” Matt 25:21a
From this text we can also infer that this parable teaches that some of us are five-talent people, some are two-talent people and some are one-talent people. Matthew 25:15 says: “And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability”
And even more importantly, that a “no talent” category does not exist. So you and I have been blessed with at least one talent, or an ability.
In Genesis 1:28, when God blessed Adam and Eve saying “Be fruitful and multiply.”, He empowered them to prosper. God’s plan for us is to be productive! And in no small measure!
He did not make anyone "empty". He created and wired us to be fruitful and implanted the ability we need to multiply in us by pronouncing His blessing!
We can be fruitful in one or all of the following
• Our Mouths - The fruit of our mouth (Prov. 18:20)
"From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied." (E.g. Motivational speakers, and other orators)
• Our Lips - The fruit of our lips (Heb. 13:15)
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.” (E.g. worshippers and singers)
• Our Minds - The fruit of our thoughts (Jer. 6:19)
“Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it." (E.g. Inventors, designers, etc.)
• Our Hands - The fruit of our hands (Prov. 31:31)
“Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.” (E.g. Everyone who works!)
This list is not exhaustive. Can you mention any?
a) HOW CAN I IDENTIFY MY TALENTS/ABILITIES?
There are two types of talents: Inborn and Learned
Inborn: This comes naturally to people; like running, singing, drawing, painting, etc. Exodus 31:1-6, Bezalel and Oholiab gifted craftsmen, Daniel 1:17b “And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds”
Learned: Abilities acquired by learning; the ability to learn is also God given. Daniel 1:17a
“To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning.”
Some gifts that do not come naturally, can be learned; in that case, it becomes an ability.
Your talent represents your gifts, skills (inborn or acquired), time, energy, education, intellect, strength, influence and opportunities. So everyone definitely has something to offer to God.
There several ways to identify your talents; but for the purpose of today’s study we will consider just three.
• Identify Your Interests
• Identify What You Love to Do
• Identify What You Find Easy to Do (what feels like second nature)
2. DIFFERENT WAYS OF IDENTIFYING ONE’S LIFE’S PURPOSE
In our quest of identifying our purpose in life, history has proven time and time again that there is no one size fits all approach that is remotely applicable. So in this section, we will consider a few
a. By Prophecy
Some people may have theirs spelt out to them right from birth and they simply walk in it.
• Samson, in Judges 13:2-5 gives us this account
“2 A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was childless, unable to give birth. 3 The angel of the Lord appeared to her and said, “You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. 4 Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean. 5 You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”
• John the Baptist (Luke 1:5-25)
• Jesus (Luke 1:30-33)
b. By Divine Intervention
• Saul of Tarsus who was yanked from his self-appointed life purpose onto his God given purpose. Acts 9:1-6 gives this account
“Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” 5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” 6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
• Abraham was pulled away from his uneventful way of life in Genesis 12:1, 4
• Cyrus king of Persia in Ezra 1:1 was moved by God Himself to make a proclamation
In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing:
And then the Lord declared of him in Isaiah 44:28 & 45:1
“who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt,” and of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid."’
“This is what the LORD says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut:”
c. By Following the Lord
There were others who found theirs by simply following Jesus. Peter and the other faithful disciples of Christ. Matthew 16:17-19
“17Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by My Father in heaven. 18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
d. By Serving the Lord
Others still by simply serving the Lord diligently.
• Joshua, Moses’ aide who served faithfully in Joshua 1:1-5
“After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
• Elisha who served the prophet Elijah in 2 Kings 2:9-10
“After they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken away from you?” “Please, let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied. 10“You have requested a difficult thing,” said Elijah. “Nevertheless, if you see me as I am taken from you, it will be yours. But if not, then it will not be so.”
e. By Revelation
God revealed His purpose for Joseph through his dreams. Genesis 37:6-7, 9
6 He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: 7 We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”
9 Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”
f. By Asking in Prayers
Saul of Tarsus, when he encountered Jesus on the way to Damascus asked in Acts 9:6a; And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?
And the response was in Acts 9:15
“But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel”
And confirmed in Rom. 1:1
“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God”
g. The Wild Card
If at this point there is still no clarity of your purpose in life, don’t despair! Just go ahead and continue to serve the Lord with sincerity of heart; not religiosity or show off but instead in uprightness and fairness (Amos 5:24). This is important because there are many that have walked in their life purposes without realizing it because they served the Lord with sincerity of their heart! The story unfolds of Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus in John 12:1-12 & Matthew 26:6–13
“6 While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, 7 a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. 8 When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. 9 “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” 10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. 12 When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
Finding one’s purpose is one of life’s greatest blessings. It helps a person live a guided, focused and purposeful life. But the quest for it should not be treated as a “ticking the box” exercise or completing a check list. Because it is not about knowing God’s plan and purpose alone, but walking in it, fulfilling it and finishing well!
The Bible gives us examples of those who knew their life’s purposes but didn’t finish well; Samson, King Saul, King Solomon, just to name a few.
There are many today that have also missed the mark because what they want is to be in the lights, they want the front row seats, to be applauded, to be seen, and to be known; but this pursuit of life’s purpose is not meant to be an exercise of being in the lights but being the light
Matthew 5:16 “. . . let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
So the light we shine is not for our glory but for His! You have been created for His Pleasure (Revelation 4:11). What greater way then is it to fulfil one’s purpose in life other than to give Him pleasure?
Wednesday, February 23 2022
Contributor: Okwudili Prince-Isaac
Eternity to Eternity is the study of God’s plan for man through the ages from eternity past, through eternity present, to eternity future. I believe that this study of God’s plan for man from eternity past to eternity future is the most important subject of human existence. The study of God’s plan for man through the ages may be called the backbone of the Bible because it takes in all the ages and dispensations and all the important subjects of the Bible from eternity past to eternity future.
Text: John 14:3
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also”.
Reference Scriptures: Ephesians 1:1-10, Ecclesiastes 3:9-11, Ephesians 3:10-11, 2 Timothy 1:9-10, I Timothy 6:6-7, Matt: 6:19-24, James 5:1-3, Rev 22: 1-5
To have a clear understanding of what God's Purpose is for us would certainly change our whole outlook on life (and eternity) and our commitment to God's service. Our life would take on a whole new dimension!
Ecclesiastes 3:11: “He has made everything beautiful and appropriate in its time. He has also planted eternity [a sense of divine purpose] in the human heart [a mysterious longing which nothing under the sun can satisfy, except God]—yet man cannot find out (comprehend, grasp) what God has done (His overall plan) from the beginning to the end.” -AMP Version
1. Predestined Adoption - Ephesians 1:1-6 (NIV)
Paul, in writing to the Ephesians, starts, not with the fall of man, but with the “Eternal Father.” And, he states that God's purpose began “before the foundation of the world.” Paul goes on to teach that God’s purpose for the entire universe is to be realized through, and centering in, His Son, Jesus Christ! To get a grasp of God’s eternal purpose, spoken of by Paul, we must realize that it was determined in God's “Father-heart” – not because man sinned, but before the world was made. In Ephesians 1:1-6 (NIV) we read:
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Chris! For He [God, the Father] chose us in Him [Jesus Christ] before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will - to the praise of His glorious grace, which He [Father] has freely given us in the One He loves” (verses1-6).
2. Conform to Image of His Son - Ephesians 1:7-10 (NIV)
Let’s consider this purpose that was in the Father's heart before the foundation of the world! The fellowship between God, the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, in the eternities past was so prized, so amazing, that God desired to have many sons conformed to the image of His Son. With great anticipation, God planned that His “eternal Son” would become the incarnate Son, robed in flesh, and share His vital life with the human family, yet to be created! God planned to visit planet Earth, by the incarnation of His Son, not because man sinned, but that Jesus became the very life of man. Paul does points out in verse 7 that, because man would sin, he needed redemption and this provision was also in Christ Jesus. He writes, “In Him [in Christ Jesus] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace.” Verses 8-10 continue,
“He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment--to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ."
Don’t miss this all-important fact, God, the Father, determined that His Son should become mankind incarnate as the means of bringing a vast family of sons into the glorious measure of full stature.
3. Display His wisdom for All Eternity - Ephesians 3:10-11
Apostle Paul sees the eternal Father yearning for a vast family of sons conformed to the image of the eternal Son, in whom He found such delight. Just think of it, from very beginning, “before the foundation of the world,” the Father planned to share His life, through His Son, and express Himself throughout the universe during all ages to come! Ephesians 3:10-11 states that, “His intent [God’s intent] was that now [in this day and age] through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to His eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus or Lord.” God's eternal purpose and intent is to display to the entire universe, for all of eternity, His matchless wisdom by conforming “many sons” into the image of His Own dear Son, Jesus Christ. This is addition to the obvious: displaying man as the master-piece of His creative power as earlier seem in creation (garden of Eden) and redemption (garden of Gethsemane).
“What difference does it make?” The ‘problem’ is that we have placed the emphasis on the “crisis act” of believing that, “Christ died for our sins,” and have neglected to understand the continuous work of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life. “Salvation” is a crisis act and necessary because of man’s sin. However, a “process of growth,” is God's eternal purpose! God's plan and eternal purpose was to share His life with man and to bring him to perfection, spiritual maturity. It was not man's sin (or, defection) that determined this purpose of God sharing His life, but rather, it was in the Father's original (eternal) planning. “Before man was ever created, before he ever sinned,” God determined to share His life through His Son. When man “turned to his own way,” God did not suddenly change His plan. He still would share Himself through His Son, only now He would provide “redemption” by way of the Cross (in pursuit of His eternal plan for man). When God redeems man out of his predicament, it is a crisis act. Here man “believes” in the finished work of the Cross, and receives the divine life God intended for man! Interesting, that is not the end of the story. God designed a continuous work of the Holy Spirit, making possible a daily, receiving, or “sharing,” of God's life – having a continuous and present participation of God’s life! Growth.
Redemption is only the initial step in realizing God's ultimate intention for mankind. 2 Timothy 1:9-10 teaches, the [God, the Father] has;
(1) Saved us, and
(2) Called us to a holy life
None of the above (salvation, and call to holy living) could be attributed to anything we have done but “because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, [vs10] but it has “now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” When God created man, He had an ultimate purpose in mind, which did not necessitate man’s fall into sin. However, man did sin and, therefore, must be lifted from “fallen condition”
and brought back to the position Adam lost. 2 Timothy 1:9-10 tells us that God's called is twofold:
(1) The first issue; God dealt with the gateway to bring man back to God’s original holy calling. God must deal with man’s fallen condition!
(2) The second issue; God's original desire for a family, “before the world began,” to impart the life of His Son, and conform man into His image.
Rev 22: 1-5 – “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever”.
Think about this, “When God created man and placed him in Garden of Eden, was Adam, freshly created, all God intended for man? Was Adam the Full Stature” that God wanted man to become?” i.e. complete without God? His design for man, was that Adam become a son in full stature, through inner spiritual development. Like a flower bud moving to full blossom, God designed Adam for development. This, in no way, necessitated sin for its accomplishment. Man was given the choice between two trees in Garden of Eden, representing two ways. He could choose God's way or he could go his own way. Opportunity for development was along two mutually exclusive lines. He could go his own way (soulishly - refers to man living only by the powers of his soul – his mind, will and emotions); by eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, choosing the development of his soul powers, independent of God or (spiritually), he could choose God's way by being in union with the tree of life, and thus, develop spiritually.
May God help us to see His eternal purpose is to develop us into Full Stature. Hence our walk of perfection with the Father should be an eternal endeavour.
Closing Scripture: Matt: 6:19-24 “Lay up for yourselves”, “Lay not up for yourselves” – Contradiction or contrast? With the consciousness and awareness of greater prospects in eternity;
1. Where are our resources being invested? Matthew 6:19-20
2. How do we use some of our resources for living life? I Timothy 6:6-7
3. What is our attitude toward our resources here on earth? - James 5:1-3
4. Do we hoard all income for our own temporal existence or invest much of it in eternity & eternal things for God’s glory?
5. Where are our desires being invested, bearing in mind that what we desire in life we will make room for, and this will ultimately be the focus of our lives? - Matthew 6:21-23
6. The desire of our hearts is what all of life are made of? - Proverbs 4:23-27
7. Where are our lives being invested in, bearing in mind that serving, worrying and seeking all requires about the same energy and time? Matthew 6:24-34
As it were, we were placed here (earth) to train for eternity. Our bodies were (each) only intended to be a house for our immortal spirit. It’s ignorant to think we are physical beings headed for a spiritual place. But the reality is, we are spiritual beings living temporarily in a physical place. Are we busy preparing for our rewarding experience in eternity (heaven)?
Jesus stated “….. prepare a place……,come again…….receive you to Myself; .. where I am, there you may be also”
Wednesday, February 16 2022
Contributor: Martins Olubiyi
Introduction: What is biblical Fellowship? The word fellowship is derived from the Greek word Koinonia. Koinonia can be defined as “holding something in common” and is specifically used 20 times in the New Testament (e.g., Phil. 2:1-2, Acts 2:42, 1John 1:6-7). Freddy Cardoza maintained that Koinonia is the unity of the spirit that comes from Christians’ shared beliefs, convictions, and behaviours. When those shared values are in place, genuine Koinonia (biblical fellowship) occurs. However, going by today study text, we may conclude that what is capable of sustaining these shared values is rooted in the love of God that bind believers together. Therefore, our focus will be on love as exemplified in our reading text.
Text: Matthew 22:37-39
"37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
The root of the word Love- The word love is shrouded with misconception in many languages. Love is communicated deeper in Greek words (Eros, Storge, Philia, and Agape). These four unique forms of love are found in the Scripture. They are characterised by romantic love, family love, brotherly love, and God's divine love.
Eros: Love in the form of Eros seeks its own interest and satisfaction—to possess the object of love. God is very clear in the Bible that eros love is reserved for marriage. (1 Corinthians 7:8–9). Eros love should be within the boundary of marriage, eros love is to be celebrated and enjoyed as beautiful blessing from God: "Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love." (Proverbs 5:18–19; see also Hebrews 13:4; 1 Corinthians 7:5; Ecclesiastes 9:9).
Storge: Storge is the Greek word that describes family love, the affectionate bond that develops naturally between parents and children, and brothers and sisters. Many examples of family love are found in Scripture, such as the mutual protection among Noah and his wife, the love of Jacob for his sons, and the strong love the sisters Martha and Mary had for their brother Lazarus. Rom. 12:10 portrayed Storge love clearly
Philia: It originates from Greek term Philos, meaning beloved, dearly loved intimate way; a trusted confidant held dear in a close bond of personal affection. It expresses experience-based love. For instance, the love between David and Jonathan in 1 Sam. 18: 1-3.
Agape: Is the highest of the four types of love in the Bible. It defines God's immeasurable, incomparable love for humankind. It is the divine love that comes from God. Agape love is perfect, unconditional, sacrificial, and pure. Jesus Christ demonstrated this kind of divine love to his Father and to all humanity in the way he lived and died: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16). After His resurrection, Jesus asked Peter if he loved him (agape). Peter replied three times that he did, but the word he used was phileo or brotherly love (John 21:15–19). It is important to know that Peter was incapable of agape love because he had not received the Holy Spirit baptism. But after Pentecost, Peter was so full of God's love that he spoke from his heart and 3,000 people were converted.
What is Love in the Bible?
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away”. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
The personality of God: God is love (Agape). God is omniscience (all knowing), omnipotence (all-powerful), and Omnibenevolence (supremely good). His attributes are: God is a Spirit, is eternal, is infinite, unchangeable, is wisdom, is power, is holiness, is justice, is goodness and is truth.
Love is sacrificial: Agape love is sacrificial. It is putting yourself in a position where you are easily taken advantage of by another person. John 3: 16; John 15: 12-14
The covenant aspect of love: Agape love is unconditional. However, elements of covenant are involved: commitment, mutual respect, promises or oaths, witnesses and seal. John 3:16; Luke 22:19-20; Rom. 8:32; Heb. 9:13-14; Heb. 5:8; Luke 1: 68-73. As we partake in His blood via communion, we are sealed with Holy Spirit of Promise. 2Corin. 1: 21-22. Therefore, Agape love is more than feeling of emotion.
The nature of God of God is love: But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love 1 John 4:8. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in His love. God is love, and all who live in God are in love, for God lives in them.
1 John 4: 7-21 reveals God’s loving nature. God’s sole make up is love. His love is complete and perfect. Loves come from Him. He is the source. Since God is love then, we, His redeemed children must also love one another. In other words, a genuinely born again who is saved by love and filled with God’s love, must live in love toward God and others. God’s love is unconditional. It is not based on feelings. The Lord taught us how to show His love to others, to our friends, to our enemies, and to our families. God does not love us because we please Him. But He loves us just because He is love personified.
We are partakers of His divine nature. (2 Pet. 1:4). This means that the characteristics of God’s nature become my own- through His creating work in me. Love is the hallmark of Christianity. Our character and disposition must be rooted in love. We receive God’s love in our relationship with Him. We experience God’s love in our relationship with others. God’s love is a gift. God’s love is a life-giving, energizing force. It was demonstrated in Christ Jesus. We are commanded to abide in His love John 15:9. See John 15:13; Romans 5:8; Eph. 2:4-5; 1 John 4:7-88 (NLT); 1 John 4:17-19; Jere. 31:3
The contention- my human nature: In James 1:13, Scripture says God cannot be tempted by evil. Human being as a corporeal substance, has a flesh containing lusts and desires, or the inclination to sin, which causes us to be tempted. That is our Adamic nature. However, if I am faithful to overcome when I am tempted to sin, step by step I can develop, so the sin in my flesh is put to death. Then these Godly characteristics, which are pure and perfect, can be created in my life by the creator. It is a process of transformation. As I progress, the fruits of the Spirit, which is divine nature, starts to replace the sin in my flesh (Gal. 5:16-26).
You can disarm sin. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these…. (Gal 5:20) But God said, “do not let sin reign in your mortal body to fulfil the lust thereof. Rom. 6:12. He further commands, “be ye holy, for I am holy”. 1 Pet. 1:16. Lev. 19-20. The word for holy in Heb is “qadash”, which means to be sanctified, consecrated, and dedicated or to be separated from the world and worldliness. However, if holiness is not a possibility, it will make God to be an unjust God. But holiness is attainable if we are ready to pay the price! How? Lay aside every weight, and the sin which do so easily beset us…” Heb. 12:1. We must consciously die daily (1Corinth. 15:31) by crucify the flesh (Gal. 5:20, 24). In other words, by mortifying the deeds of the flesh (Rom. 8:13; Col. 3:5). By building yourself in the most holy faith by praying in the Holy Ghost (Jude. 20).
Remain in Fellowship with Him- When we remain in fellowship with Him, we shall continually walk in love. “If we say we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanse us from all sin”. 1 John 1:6-7.
Conclusion: Love is one of the most powerful emotions human beings can experience. For Christian believers, love is the truest test of genuine faith. Through the Bible, we discover how to experience love in its many forms and to share it with others as God intended. To walk in love is not a choice! It is a command we must obey. However, it is a matter of willingness. (Isa. 1:19). The power to become is already vested in us. (John 1:11-13). We ‘ve got to yield our vessel in an honourable way to Him so as to eat the fruit of the land. (Phil 2: 13).
Reference: message partly culled from: www.active.org ; www.seminary.grace.edu. Reference (Addendum)- Dynamics of holiness. (Dr. David O. Oyedepo); Radiating His glory. (Zac Poonen); Four Kinds of Love. (C.S. Lewis); Confession. (St. Augustine of Hippo); Leviathan. (Thomas Hobbes); Love is a feeling to be learned (Walter Trobisch).
Wednesday, February 09 2022
Contributor: Esther Alajiki
When we talk about prosperity and health, 2 things immediately come to mind, money and physical health.
“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”
Health: is defined as the state of being free from illness or injury, a person's mental or physical condition, there are different spheres of health, physical, emotional, spiritual, health is God’s will for his children.
Wealth: is the state of being rich, prosperous, having plentiful supplies of a particular resource, a plentiful supply of a particular desirable thing:
Prosperity: From our definitions we can deduce that there are different spheres or realms of prosperity, the prosperity of the soul is spiritual prosperity (as your soul prospers) and material prosperity (that you may prosper in all things and be in health) “All” connotes more than one instance.
Prosperity of the soul: Man is made up of the Body which is our flesh, the soul which is our conscience our reasoning that carries our character and personality to a degree. And the spirit which is the spirit “inner man, the invisible part of man.
The Soul is your decisive part – the deciding factor of our thought process, it is to be controlled by the “New Man” the regenerated spirit, your soul must be saved, sanctified, dominated, and influenced by the regenerated spirit of Man that is regenerated by the Holy Ghost and the Word of God. But our souls determine a lot of our influence. Your character is a reflection of how much influence our soul has.
Our soul can prosper, when we deliberately infuse the Word of God into our spirit man, the stronger our spirit, the more it influences the capacity of our souls to make godly decisions and vice versa. Our souls will begin to align with the truth of God’s Words and it will begin to prosper. We must receive the Word of God, submit under the authority of God’s Word, whatever it says we obey, we must believe that this Word of God has the power to perform what it says it would perform, and exercise our faith in the Word of God. The reason many don’t prosper is because many don’t believe. The word is activated by faith, and then your soul prospers.
We must proclaim the blessing of God over the facts of life. The truth of God’s word will always prevail over the fact of man’s word and situations.
Evidence of Spiritual Prosperity: You live in truth , you dwell in God and God in you. The Bible refers to this as good Success Joshua 1:8. You walk in truth Psalm 1:1-3. You are a doer of the Word and not a hearer only.
Evidence of Physical prosperity: relates to material possession, the Bible also recognises the prosperity of the wicked,
Psalm 73:3 - For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
Proverbs 23:17 Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always continue in the fear of the LORD.
It is God’s will to bless our physical bodies, our families, our homes, our jobs, our nation, His eyes are not dim, His hands are not short and He can never run out of resources.
When our pursuit is spiritual prosperity, physical prosperity will follow.
Matthew 6:33 says: seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
2 Chronicles 26: 5. And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper.
When the glory of the Lord is upon you:
Isaiah 60:5 “Then you will see and be radiant, And your heart will tremble [with joy] and rejoice Because the abundant wealth of the seas will be brought to you, The wealth of the nations will come to you.
It is the will of God for us to be healed and whole.
The Lord wants to make us whole in every area of our lives, spiritually, physically, emotionally/mentally/psychologically, maritally, relationally, vocationally, socially, nationally in every sphere you can think of. The Lord wants to make us whole . He wants to minister total healing to us.
The Lord wants to heal us spiritually
We must be prepared and willing to receive His healing. Jesus asked the man who was an invalid for 38 years whether he wanted to become well. We should not allow prolonged suffering to rob our hope, confidence, dream and desire. Once we are delivered by God we will have to take responsibility for our life. We will face drastic changes in our life. And once God delivers us, we must be careful to walk in obedience to God lest a worse tragedy occurs in our life. He wants to heal our backslidings. He wants us to live in close fellowship to Him.
The Lord wants to heal us physically.
The Lord is a healer. When we walk in obedience to Him, He promises to heal our sicknesses. we must claim the promises of God and experience His healing in our lives.
The Lord wants to heal us emotionally.
He wants to heal our broken hearts and wounded emotions and painful memories. We must not live all our lives with a broken heart because of a painful experience in the past. The Lord wants to reassure us that He will do a new thing in our lives and therefore we should be willing to forget the past and face the future with confidence.
The Lord wants to heal us relationally.
He wants to mend our broken relationships. The Lord wants us to be free from bitterness and anger and malice. He wants us to be kind and tender hearted towards each other and forgive one another. Just as God has been merciful to us and forgave our sins , we must be willing to forgive others . When we obey His commandments we will experience loving relationships in our life.
The Lord wants to heal us vocationally.
He wants to bless the work of our hands and cause us to prosper in our endeavours. The disciples had tried all night to catch fish and failed to catch any . But the Lord gave them instructions to fish and they caught more fish than they could handle and had to get help from others. The Lord wants to bless us in our vocation and bring healing in the areas where we have failed in the past.
The Lord wants to heal us socially.
He wants to use us to bring healing to our society and community. The prophet Elisha healed the waters of the city and brought healing to the community. The prophet Elijah prayed for rain and brought prosperity to the land. The Lord wants us to carry a burden for our society and community and use our spiritual authority to bring the blessings of God upon it.
The Lord wants to heal us nationally.
He wants to bring healing to the nation. When God’s people humble themselves and pray and seek the face the God and turn from their wicked ways , the Lord will hear their cry and heal their land. Our prayers for the nation can bring peace and prosperity to our land.
But 3 John 2 goes beyond money and health. 3 John 2 talks about God’s desire to make you a complete individual, if your soul does not prosper, you will not have a good testimony as a Christian - 1Timothy 6:18,19 -That they do good, that they be rich in good works. It is his will for us to be prosperous, spirit soul and body. Ps 35:27 Let the LORD be magnified, who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.
When you prosper and you are in health you will be able to do more exploits in the kingdom. Never adjust yourself to a life of paralysis, spiritually, physically or emotionally.
Do you want to prosper and be in good health? God is right here in our midst. He's prepared to hear our requests and heal our afflictions if we are willing to receive and follow Him.
John 5:6 -Wilt thou be made whole?
Wednesday, February 02 2022
Contributor: Peter Folikwe
As we know we are treating the series “Following God’s plan for your life". The sub-theme for tonight’s study is “abundant life”. God’s purpose for our existence is to extend his kingdom here on earth. Ps 24:1 says: “The earth is the LORD's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” Gen 1:28 reiterating what other speakers on the topic had emphasized in the last 3 studies. God created us to dominate our world.
Anytime we tend to lose our domineering nature, we are uncomfortable and sometimes act abnormally. E.g. Loss of financial independence
Proverbs 22:7 attests to this “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”
No one wants to serve ‘another of equal standing’.
The fight for dominance is from our mother’s womb.We were created to achieve divine purpose; our dreams. Until purpose is discovered, life will be a struggle.
Text: John 10:10
“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
Back to Gen 1:28 God commanded us to be fruitful, multiply, replenish the earth, subdue and have dominion.
Man started very well at the beginning: with abundance of resources and the authority to dominate his world. Read Gen 2:13-20.
In the course of our second study, we were given an expose of the thief. Sin came in Gen 3:1-6. Man and wife hid themselves from God in verse 8 (‘shame’ took hold of these glorious creation of God). Then came ‘fear’ in verse 10 (they were afraid of God). From verse 14 and 16-19 heavy burdens of curses came upon them and they became homeless in verse 24.
Since God is a loving and kind God, in Gen 3:16 despite their sins, He made provisions for restoration. He promised that the son of man (Jesus) shall crush the head of the devil. Despite the authority and power were lost to sin in the garden of Eden & God sent Jesus for the singular purpose to restore our dominance over all of God’s creatures.
2 Cor. 5:17 says “If may man be in Christ. . . .
Satan realized the restored plan of God for man on resurrection day. Satan is doing everything to return man back to our adamic nature. 1Jn 3:8 says “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”
Back to the “thief” in Jn10:10. The context in which Jesus spoke these words were preceded by Him painting a picture of a true Shepherd (Jesus) and false/fake shepherds (thieves/robbers). In verse 1 the true shepherd enters through the door of the sheepfold, thieves climb over the wall or through the window. In verse 3 the sheep knows the voice of the true shepherd. In verse 4 the sheep follows the true shepherd as he leads them, but in verse 5, Jesus stated that the sheep will not follow, but flee from strangers. By the time we get to verse 9 Jesus stated “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture”.
As children of God, we have the responsibility to discern between the thief (false teachers) and the good shepherd. Some so-called Christians who are loyal to false teachers don’t know the true Shepherd.
Heb. 10:26 says "For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,"
2Pet 2:20-22 concluded that it is dogs that return to their vomit.
Long before the coming of Christ, God spoke through several of His prophets, one of whom was Joel.
Joel 2:25-27 says: "And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. 26. And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. 27. And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed."
God promised restoration of blessings ‘thief’ has stolen, dreams he has killed and the destinies that have been destroyed.
James 4:7 says "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
One of the oldest tricks of the devil is creating an illusion of fear, just like it happened in the garden of Eden to deprive us of abundant life in God.
1Jn 4:4 "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."
We are told the word “Fear not” appeared 365 times in the bible. One for each day.
2Tim 1:7 says “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love and a sound mind”. The power to rule our world in soundness of mind.
We also need to exercise the authority we have in the redemption blood of Jesus to enjoy abundant life.
Job 22:28 “Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways”.
Luke 10:19 “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”
3rd John 2 says “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”
God Almighty desires for us to live in prosperity: physically, spiritually, financially, emotionally and indeed in every facet of life.
Wednesday, January 26 2022
Contributor: Wale Abiona
Last week, while studying God’s Plan for Man, we understood that His original plan for man and location He placed man was to replicate what was present in heaven here on earth. The Lord’s Prayer in Mat. 6:10 gives us this insight …“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”
Rev 4:11 also tells us that God created all things for His pleasure
Gen. 3:8 revealed to us that God walked with man in the Garden for fellowship, and after the fall of man, He didn’t put man off but He sought to keep His original plan by giving us instructions on how to maintain the fellowship.
The book of Micah revealed three things that will help us with that and continue to give God the pleasure He desired in our daily fellowship with Him.
As we go through this verse of scripture, I want us to ask ourselves one question and as we progress in today’s today, we should individually answer the question
What does God want from me?
Text Micah 6:8
“He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?"
A. TO DO JUSTLY
Acting justly, or doing justice, is “the quality of being impartial or fair.” Our world is full of injustice and God wants you and I to be different. This could be achieved by questioning our actions
1. Who will suffer the consequence(s) of my action(s)?
2. At what cost am I getting this done?
The 4 way test of the rotary club comes to mind
• Is it the TRUTH?
• Is it FAIR to all concerned?
• Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
• Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
In Proverbs 12:3 the Bible says: “Wickedness never brings stability, but the godly have deep roots..”
Proverbs 12:19 also says: “The truthful lip shall be established forever, But a lying tongue is but for a moment.”
Perhaps some people try to accomplish things and advance in life through deception. But it is clear that it will not last! What is done right is what will stand at the end.
Jesus spoke about the two houses, the house that was built on the sand and the one built on the rock. The house on the rock was not shaken when the storm beat against it. Everybody encounters the storms of life, the elements of life, both the righteous and the ungodly. But the house of the righteous is built on a rock; it is built on righteousness and it stands firmly.
So, what does the Lord require of you?
To choose righteousness and goodness in all your ways! To try and gain something for yourself in an ungodly way never pays. There is no blessing in that.
Doing justice is helping the needy around us. Jesus said the poor you will have with you always. Mat.26:11
In Proverbs 21:13 we learn that God’s Word shows no impartiality. It says, “Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need”
B. LOVE MERCY
The next command offered by God in Micah 6:8 is “to love mercy.”
This means to show compassion. It is a combination pity and love that produces a kind reaction towards others.
Mercy refers to God’s loving kindness to us. It is interesting to note that God wants us to show mercy—having compassion for those in need. This is not always easy, as we see so much human need; it is on our streets and are bombarded daily by social media. It is easy for our hearts to harden and our minds to judge.
“As one of my people, I hope you love mercy—for that is what you have received.”
There is the story of the founder of Food for the Hungry Organisation (Dr. Ward) whose core value is mercy. He had learned that 10,000 people worldwide were dying of hunger every day and was distraught over the number, begging God for an answer to how he could help. “I’m just one person,” he prayed.
He sensed God saying to him, “But they die one at a time, my son, they die one at a time.”
Dr. Ward realized that if people die one at a time, we can help them one at a time. He founded FH on the concept that mercy can be shown to one person at a time, by one person at a time.
Moved by compassion, each of us can take the step of showing tangible mercy to a person in need.
One of the challenges we face is the thought of the numbers needing mercy and this has prevented us from doing what is expected of us. One at a time, that is all that is required. We cannot solve the world problem, but you can help one person. And he will later help one person and so on and so forth.
C. WALK HUMBLY
The third command in Micah 6:8 is “to walk humbly with your God.”
The “walk” is used often in Scripture to describe the overall direction one’s life is heading. The adverb “humbly” moves us away from arrogance and the egocentric need to always be better than others, to the simple acceptance of the gifts that God has placed within us
In Deuteronomy, there are a number of references to walking in the way of the Lord, several psalms refer to a walk being blameless, and 1 John 1:7 encourages us to walk in the light.
This gives us an insight into what type of relationship God is calling us to, a life that fits into that path. Humility is what helps us to trust and obey God.
Humility is the hallmark of our walk with Him. To acknowledge that without God’s grace, we are nothing, we are poor but He is rich and became poor so that we may become rich in His love. To understand that we’ve been saved by His grace is a sign of humility.
Walking humbly with God is of key importance when relating with people especially those who are below us. On many occasions, we often forget that we were once in their shoes and it was only by His grace that we are who we are today.
The hymn “Trust and Obey” comes to mind as the first verse reads
“When we walk with the Lord in the light of his Word, what a glory he sheds on our way! While we do his good will, he abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey.”
QUESTIONS TO PONDER
1. What does the Lord desire for me?
These we have seen through our study today
2. What gifts and abilities has He given me for that?
The power and ability to make right choices and the Holy Spirit is available to guide us
3. How can I step outside my comfort zone to other areas the Lord may be desiring for me? (obeying God rather than my flesh)
By taking a step of faith, trusting God by holding unto His Word
4. What are ways I can make Micah 6:8 an action in my life?
By purposefully doing what we learnt today, always desiring to do His will.
John 1:12 tells us that for as many that believes, to them He gave power to become what they desire in line with His plan, according to the power that work in us.
Ephesians 3:20 says: “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,”
God’s expectations are actually very simple, there is no beating around the bush with Him. His desire is that His children should be like Him, have the same mind, the same thoughts, and the same life, and the same godly sorrow over unrighteousness in our hearts. The same honesty and straightforwardness in every areas of our lives.
Disciples of Christ are characterised by integrity and honesty. There should be no deceitful, or hidden agenda in our behaviours. Everything should be direct and straightforward, as we follow in His footsteps.
God’s desire; what He requires from us is to do what is just, show mercy and be humble.
Wednesday, January 19 2022
Contributor: Clem Roberts
God has knowledge that will bring results in our lives. Knowing His plan will yield tremendous outcomes to our journey that He has predestined for us all. When God created Heaven and Earth in Genesis 1:1, He created the heavens and the earth because He wanted two places where He could have fellowship. A place to Fellowship comfortably in Heaven and also comfortably on the earth. You are on this earth to become better, to know God, and to find happiness. And as you follow God’s plan and His commandments, you can experience joy now and throughout your life.
Text Gen 1:28 -
"Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
•God's will is what He desires;
•His plan is what He desires we follow.
•His will is that we keep His commandments
•So that we can become like Him and experience everlasting joy
God's Original Plan Was For Man
•To live forever on earth
•Live without sin
•Be in perfect health
•Of a sound mind and body
God's Wants To Talk - He Craves Communion
That why He says in Isaiah 1:18
18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool."
Man's Deviation From The Original Plan Brought:
•Loss of communion and fellowship with God Isa. 59:2, Eph.2:11-12.
•Death - Spiritual (Rom.6:23a); physical (Heb.9:27); Eternal (Rev.20:15).
•Received the nature of sin and debt to sin Gen.1:27 and Gen.5:3.
•Transferred our fatherhood to the devil (Jn.8:44).
•Slavery to Satan (Col.1:13, 2 Tim.2:26).
•Loss of God-given authority to the devil – Jn.14:30, Lk.4:5-6; Eph. 6:10-18
•Loss of Dominion over all the works of God’s hand Gen.1:28.
•Loss of freedom from diseases, sorrow, hardship and sufferings, Gen. 3:16-19.
God's Plan Does Not Include:
•Being religious or churchy – Acts 10:1-9, Jn. 3:1-3
•Keeping the Law – Rom.3:20, Gal.2:16-21
•Being self-righteous – Isa. 64:6, Phil.3:8-9
•Educated and cultured – 1 Cor.1:18-25, Matt.15:2-3, 8-9
These things are good and important but they will not Substitute for the plan of God
Salvation – God’s Realignment To His Original Plan
•It is the redemptive process put in place by God to rescue man from theprecipice of eternal separation from Him.
•It is God’s life-line to save His creation from the helplessness and devastationof man’s treachery against his Creator.
•Salvation therefore is the comprehensive road map designed by God to redirectman from his fallen nature to the embrace of the newness of life.
God’s original plan made provision for joy and eternal bliss. The more you understand and follow His plan, the more you realize you can only make it back to Him not by following your own plan by His own plan alone.
•He made it possible for every sin and every mistake you make to disappear
•He made possible for your sin be forgotten through Jesus Christ.
How To Follow God's Plan
•Baptism and Receiving the Holy Ghost.
•Constant and Continuous Effort to Return to God.
•Acknowledge that Jesus Christ and only Jesus is the Center of God’s Plan
Benefits Of Salvation
•You become a new creature in Christ Jesus. 2 Cor 5:17
•You receive the spirit of adoption into the beloved sonship of God - Rm 8:15;Eph 1:3-6
•God makes His domain in you - 1 Cor 3:16
•You become Heir with Christ - Rm 8:18
•You are entitled to all of the blessings heaven has - 1 Cor 3:21-23
•Demons flee from you- Mark 3:15, 16:17-21
•Angels assist you - Heb 1:14, Psalm 91:6-7
•Your name is written in heaven - Heb12:23
•Eternity awaits you as a priest and as a king - Rev:1:5-6
•You have access to the throne of grace - Heb 4:14-16
•You carry divinity in your humanity - 2 Pet 1:3-4
Proverbs 19:21 says:
"There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand."
The Bible directly tells us that no matter what our plans are, the Lord's plan is what will come to fruition. And the conclusion of the whole matter is for us all to fear God and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty(“plan”) of man. (Ecclesiastes 12:13)
Tuesday, January 18 2022
Contributor: Alex Alajiki
4 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah. 1:4-5
Welcome to our bible study sessions for 2022. I strongly believe that the Lord will use this series of studies to help us know Him better for ourselves, allow God to take note of us and eventually make God known to our world by shinning His light through Christ Jesus. I will encourage us to take the studies of this year more seriously than we have ever done, because this will practically affect the directions of the rest of our lives, individually and collectively. Let us be like the Berean believers in Acts 17:10-11
“Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”
The studies will practically be focusing on God’s purpose, plan and pursuit. This will take us into different aspects that will help unfold the mind of God through scriptures to us.
God’s Big Picture; Matt. 6:10
Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
The above scripture gave us insight into God’s supreme agenda in our world since the beginning and the fall of man. We need look no further than Jesus, who was in every way the complete and full expression of God’s will in action. In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus prayed,
“Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”
The propagation of God’s kingdom and the doing of His will on earth can only be perfectly realised when each one of us can discover his/her purpose, embrace His plan and be willing to pursue His plan to the end. Jesus Himself discovered God’s purpose, embraced His plan and followed it to the very end.
Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” John 18:37
Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, 8; I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. Ps. 40:7-8
1. Understanding God’s Purpose; Jer. 1:5
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
The purpose or reason why anything exist can only be defined by the creator. Our purpose was already programmed into every creature of God and nobody can discover purpose outside the creator. Our complete identities, compositions and assignments were in God before we were created, and nobody can change that original intention of God except Him. There are two reasons why it is important for everyone to discover their purpose in life;
a) Your sense of purpose is important to your well-being; Ps. 82:5
"They do not know, nor do they understand; They walk about in darkness; All the foundations of the earth are unstable."
Our individual identity is rooted in our purpose. Maybe you know someone who bases their identity on the things they own, their partner or even a job, what happens if they lose any of those things? Their sense of self quickly crumbles and they’re left trying to figure out what to do. Our well-being and self-acceptance is rooted in discovery of purpose. Finding your purpose in God doesn’t carry that risk. God never changes and so we can be sure that when we ground our identity and purpose in Him, the foundation remains firm.
b) It is God who gives you purpose; Isa. 43:7
"Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory, I have formed him, yes, I have made him.”
God specifically created everyone of us for His glory and only the people who discover and fulfil that purpose can bring glory back to God. Every man must find out their purpose from God.
2) Embracing God’s Plan; Jer. 29:11
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peaceand not of evil, to give you a future and a hope"
A plan is a product of several thoughts. God’s plan is His thought-out steps, with details of timing and resources to accomplish our purpose in life. His ways are not always the way we like to go, but only His plans can take us to His desired destination for our lives.
3) The Pursuit of God’s Purpose and Plan; Prov. 3:5-6
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 6; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."
When we embrace God’s plan, then we have simply put our trust in Him. We must now be ready to pursue that plan of God for our lives. The Holy Spirit is ever committed to lead us all the way through the journey of our individual destinies.
Ps. 32:8-9 says:
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. 9 Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near you.