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).