Speaking Forth the New Nigeria – A Proclamation

Speaking Forth the New Nigeria – A Proclamation

 

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Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21

By a prophet the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, And by a prophet he was preserved. Hosea 12:13

By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. Hebrews 11:3

So Jesus answered and said to them, “ Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Mark 11: 22-23.

 

Fellow Nigerians and Friends of Nigeria Worldwide,

I am convinced that the best days of Nigeria are not behind Her but ahead of Her. These elections are only part of a larger plan God has been working out concerning this nation and we can all be assured of one thing, God always accomplishes His vision. He is both the Author and Finisher. Nigeria is not a conception of any man, though God used men to create the nation, God clearly rules and reigns in the affairs of men and nations. So as we go to the polls this weekend, please do not despair. This country will not fall or fail. This country will move on and become greater still. Can I ask you to join me in proclaiming good over this nation? I know it may appear simplistic, but the word of God clearly says that life and death are in the power of the tongue. This tells me that what we say is important and can be for good or bad.

I believe that if we all speak good to Nigeria, by the power vested by God in our words, Nigeria will turn and become a greater nation.

God gave me a perspective that completely blew my mind about Nigeria. I saw the nations from the heavens and a lot of so-called first world an advanced nations were in serious darkness. There were only small specks of light in these nations, but Nigeria from heaven’s perspective is a well-lit nation with large swathes of the country flooded with light! This is not natural light, but the True Light. The Light of God. So I am greatly encouraged by this and believe that Nigeria is somehow moving towards greatness and the issues confronting us today are just part of our growth pains and part of the process of us developing as a nation. Nigeria is destined by God for greatness. Our best days are ahead of us, not behind us.

Please join me in proclaiming these statements daily for as long as God gives you the grace and let’s see what God will do with our words.

  • God has a plan for Nigeria, it is a plan of good and not evil, to give us a hope and a future. Nigeria has a great and prosperous future!
  • I thank God that I am a Nigerian. God did not make a mistake making one. I know and trust His judgement.
  • God will extend peace to Nigeria during these elections like a river. There will be no violence in our land. We speak peace to Nigeria. We declare peaceful elections and we declare fair elections.
  • Nigeria will arise and shine and the glory of God will be seen upon us!
  • Let God arise over Nigeria and let His enemies and our enemies be scattered.
  • Nigerians will eat the fruit of Nigeria and foreigners will not cart away our fruit.
  • All Nigerians will know the peace and prosperity of God. All Nigerians will experience a lifting up.
  • Nigeria will be led by the righteous and just and equitable leaders.
  • Nigerians will dwell together in unity and God will command His blessings upon us!
  • Affliction shall not arise a second time. We will not go to war and we will not disintegrate.
  • There will be great rejoicing in our land and in our tents and in our homes.
  • We will be a celebrated nation. No longer shall we be scorned and despised, but we will be respected and celebrated. Nigeria will take Her place in the world and among the nations.
  • Nigeria will not fail!
  • Nigeria will boom! Our economy will boom. Our industries will boom. Our education system will boom. Our healthcare system will boom. Nigeria will boom!!!
  • The youth of Nigeria will find new expressions for their energy in creativity, technology and entrepreneurship.
  • Our youths will love righteousness.
  • They will be full of hope and their hope will not be dashed.
  • Our brightest minds will return and be part of the new Nigeria.
  • Nigeria will be free of corruption. We will have accountable leaders.
  • It is well with Nigeria. It is well with me.

 The Promise

For the mountains shall depart

And the hills be removed,

But My kindness shall not depart from you,

Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,”

Says the Lord, who has mercy on you.

“O you afflicted one,

Tossed with tempest, and not comforted,

Behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems,

And lay your foundations with sapphires.

I will make your pinnacles of rubies,

Your gates of crystal,

And all your walls of precious stones.

All your children shall be taught by the Lord,

And great shall be the peace of your children.

In righteousness you shall be established;

You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear;

And from terror, for it shall not come near you.

Indeed they shall surely assemble, but not because of Me.

Whoever assembles against you shall fall for your sake.

“Behold, I have created the blacksmith

Who blows the coals in the fire,

Who brings forth an instrument for his work;

And I have created the spoiler to destroy.

No weapon formed against you shall prosper,

And every tongue which rises against you in judgment

You shall condemn.

This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,

And their righteousness is from Me,”

Says the Lord

Isaiah 54:10 – end

“The Lord bless you and keep you;

The Lord make His face shine upon you,

And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,

And give you peace. Amen and Amen.

Pastor Charles and Abiodun Abraham

24th March 2015

First Remove the Plank from your own eye!

Criticism and a Critical Spirit

 

the+speck+from+your+brother’s+eye.

I was listening to someone being critical of other people in his sphere today and it got me thinking. I felt impressed to capture these thoughts.

Let me first make a confession, that I am no better and I have been many times guilty of the same thing. I have been known to criticise and sometimes, quite openly. So, this piece is first to me, before anyone else.

Chances are we also have been on the receiving end of criticism too. Sometimes these can be so damaging that it destroys one’s self esteem and kills one’s confidence!

If you criticise another person or people, you have inadvertently said a few things.

  1. I know more than them
  2. I can do better
  3. I don’t care about their context
  4. I can’t learn from them

These statements are powerful, and they have deep pointers to who we really are.

This says we are proud. You cannot be sincere about your criticisms without some degree of pride, even if it is only slight. I hear the statement ‘constructive criticism’ because it is acknowledged that criticism can be destructive, and I am yet to see how it is constructive. I think it is plain negative and we should not try to use words to obscure or deflect the negative impact of criticism. I would rather we give feedback and in that we can the separate our feedbacks into positive and negative feedback. More like what you get in an assessment. Positive feedback is the breakfast of champions.

It is a manifestation of being conceitful. You have placed yourself above the person you are criticising. This may not be a conscious effort, but it has nonetheless taken place deep within our hearts.

We have relegated whatever wisdom they possess to the realms of irrelevancy. This is dangerous as it can lead to fatal errors, because wisdom can be found in some very unusual places.

It also says we are somewhat insensitive because you do not recognise that their context has a lot to do with their perspective and actions. Not understanding the context of a situation or person, before criticising them can expose a deep-rooted insensitivity and lack of empathy in us. It shows we are impatient and somewhat rude! Context is everything.

Knowing a person’s context can help you understand their position and place you in a better place to offer positive feedback that can help transform, rather than criticise and destroy.

Like I said, these are personal musings.

Now I want to explore what the Bible says about criticism.

Matthew 7:1-5 ESV “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

James 4:11-12 ESV / Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

James 1:19-20 ESV /Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Galatians 6:1 ESV /Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

Romans 14:4 ESV / Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

Ephesians 4:29 ESV / Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

2 Timothy 3:16 ESV / All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

Proverbs 27:6 ESV /Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.

Proverbs 15:31 ESV /The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise.

2 Timothy 2:24-25 ESV / And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,

Hebrews 10:24 ESV / And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,

It is obvious from scripture that God does not want us to criticize each other. He wants us to be careful with how we use our words. He wants us to consider the consequence of our words. He wants us to speak the truth, but in a lot of love. Not to tear anyone down but more to build them up.

Instead of criticizing, can we offer feedback in humility.

Why humility? Because we want them to decide what the next course of action will be. Criticism demands change on our own terms. Humble feedback offers perspectives that the person can consider and adopt if they so choose. Feedback is empowering, whilst criticism is disempowering. If they don’t do what you said, you are not being disrespected. The choice is theirs not yours!

Learn to listen and probe for context before judging. Resist the urge to judge. Instead open your heart in grace and listen for context that can help you understand the situation better. Just hold back a little!

Critical thinking as opposed to a ‘Critical Spirit’, will lead you to scenarios, that will help you see it from the other’s perspective and give you ways to help the person with positive transformational ideas. Never take the initiative from the person. Let them arrive at their own conclusions.

Once an Apostle of Christ came to teach us about prayer and he made a profound statement that has stayed with me ever since. He said there are two voices in heaven. There is the voice of the accuser and the voice of the Intercessor. He said we had to decide who we would side with. The ‘Accuser or the ‘Intercessor’. Now we all know who the accuser is and who the Intercessor is. When you criticise are you doing the work of the Intercessor or the Accuser?

Never approach a matter with preconception. Ask yourself if you know all the facts! This is really the issue with the log in our eyes!

Try giving feedback by starting with simple words like:

‘Thank you for that’. ‘I see what you tried to do’. ‘Maybe I can suggest looking at it from this perspective’.

‘I commend your effort’. ‘I understand your challenges on this project’. ‘I can see why it was a bit difficult’. ‘Let me suggest a few areas you can spend some more time on next time’.

‘I know you always try to give your best’. ‘Help me to understand what your challenges were on this project’. ‘I am not sure I fully understand what you are dealing with’.

‘Thank you. This really helps. I now know where I can help. Here are my thoughts’.

I am very concerned at the state of the world today and especially the complication of social media. People are being destroyed by careless, prideful and insensitive statements made by people, who really have no knowledge or business passing comment or judgements on matters. I just want to appeal to you to hold your fire and consider the person you are about to tear down. Think about the consequence of your words and on their life and mental health. Suicides are on the rise. This is not a coincidence, it is a consequence of the ease at which people can be torn down with words.

Let’s all make a decision to build others up. To be an edifier. To be an encourager. To be a positive influence. To speak in love. To treat others nicely and be humble! Just plain humble.

Let’s Pray: Father God, please forgive me for being critical of others and for passing judgement on others without fully understanding their perspectives. Father I am sorry and I ask for your forgiveness and mercy. I now ask you for the grace to always speak the truth in a lot of love. To be an edifier of people. To be an encourager. To help lift someone rather than pull them down. I choose to side with the heavenly intercessor tan join with the accuser. Lord help me in Jesus name. Amen

Flowing in the Rhythms of Success in 2020!

Flowing in the Rhythms of God.

 

‘I do nothing on my own initiative!’ –  John 8:28

 

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God is Omnipotent. Omniscient. Omnipresent. God is absolutely sovereign and does not have to consult anyone before He acts. He is completely self existing, yet His ways can be learned and followed.

I am absolutely convinced that the key to living successfully is not in our own wisdom, but His. I am also convinced that it is possible to live in a rhythm of successes. I mean outstanding, spectacular, stupendous, mind-boggling, successes and breakthroughs, if we can learn to flow in His rhythms.

Jesus said I only do what I see my Father doing. This simple yet profound position seems to me, the most wise and effective way to live.

New King James Version John 5:19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.

The Passion Translation John 8:28 “You will know me as ‘I AM’ after you have lifted me up from the earth as the Son of Man. Then you will realize that I do nothing on my own initiative, but I only speak the truth that the Father has revealed to me.

Think about this again. I only do, or I do only, what I see my Father doing. So Jesus never did anything the Father was not doing. He only went where the Father led, said only what the Father spoke and touched only those the Father was touching. That is why Jesus had 100 percent success. He flowed in His Father’s, God’s rhythms.

I know this is not as simple as it sounds. Or perhaps it is!

We must first learn the art of waiting on Him, then making sure we see what He is doing and then going out to execute it according to what we saw.

God has promised in Jeremiah 33:3 – Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’

Also in Psalm 32:8 – I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.

The other day whilst walking with my wife. (Did I say she is quite wise!) She dropped a point of prayer. She said Lord help me to see with your eyes. Or help me to see from your perspective. I said wow. That is profound. I added that God should also let us think with His mind and act with His heart.

So, we are determined to live a successful 2020, punctuated with Extraordinary, Spectacular Breakthroughs, by simply flowing in the rhythms of God.

We wait on Him. We hear Him. We do what He shows us or says to us. We experience God’s extraordinary spectacular breakthroughs.

Will you join us? What an exciting prospect for 2020 and beyond.

Let us pray: Father God, I am so delighted that you have great and good plans for me this year. Lord I want to live in the fullness of your provisions and blessings for me this year! Lord teach me to hear you clearly and follow your instructions, so I can experience your extraordinary breakthroughs this year! I ask this in Jesus name. Amen.

Joseph a Steward of God – 2

1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.”

 

hotel-waiter

A steward is a trusted associate. One who can be depended upon to perform assigned tasks when commissioned. Imagine going into a fine dining restaurant with some eminent guests you have invited. Then the liveried waiter comes up welcomes you and sits you at your choice table, makes sure everyone is comfortable. Smiles, pleasantries and even some jokes and banter.

You immediately begin to think, I have selected the right place. He produces the menu, serves you some aperitif and gives you time to select your meals from the a’la carte menu. He comes back and takes your orders very meticulously, even double checks to ensure it’s all perfect. He disappears to get the meals and allows you to enjoy your company.

Then a few minutes later he arrives with the starters and it is all wrong. It’s not what was ordered. He completely messed up the order, he apologises profusely and goes back to amend the order. Comes back and serves the correct meals, then comes the mains and again it is all wrong. Mixed up and totally wrong in some cases. You by now have started regretting your choice of restaurant simply because you have a well behaved, courteous, but most incompetent steward. The steward is important.

Joseph the husband of Mary was not just a nice man, he was an effective steward. He stewarded Mary’s pregnancy, protected her, cared for her, took her from Nazareth to Bethlehem and got her there just in time to have the Baby. He looked for a place where they could stay, and when there was no room in the Inn, he made do with a manger. Mary delivered JESUS safely, thanks in part to Joseph’s faithfulness.

Then he had to raise Jesus to be the man CHRIST. He had to train him in the Torah, the ways of God, the skill of the carpenter’s trade. He did a fantastic job. He was faithful in stewarding baby Jesus till he became a man and could answer and fulfill his call as our Saviour and Redeemer. Scriptures testify of Jesus maturity.

One must never ignore what manner of man, Joseph was. He was so dependable that God entrusted His Son into his steady hands.
It is said in the bible that ‘Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.’
Another way of saying this is that stewards must be dependable. Trustworthy. Effective. Competent. Loyal.

One last point, as I reflected on Joseph, I discovered that all the Josephs in the bible were faithful stewards. Joseph the son of Jacob, faithful steward in Egypt, Joseph of Arithmathea, faithful steward of the body of Jesus Christ, Joseph also known as Barnabas, faithful steward of Paul’s calling and the revival in Antioch. Perhaps there is something about Josephs and stewardship.
I’m not sure if this is simply a coincidence or God is trying say something to us. Whatever it is, Joseph was a faithful steward.

Let’s Pray: Father thank you for highlighting Joseph to us. help us to grow in our stewardship and become more dependable and effective stewards to You and those you assign us care over, in Jesus name. Amen.

Consider Joseph the Steward

Joseph the Steward

Matthew 1:18-25 – 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.

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Again it is quite easy to see that Joseph the son of Jacob was a steward. The dictionary describes a steward as ‘A person employed to manage or look after (another’s property).’ Joseph was a steward in Potiphar’s house, he was steward in the prison and eventually rose to be the chief steward over the resources of Egypt and managed a global crisis successfully. Stewards are very very important people.

Today, I want to continue my reflections of Joseph the husband of Mary, the Stepfather of Jesus Christ. Yes, Joseph the carpenter was a great steward. He was a steward in three main areas. I will examine each separately and draw some conclusions that we can apply to our lives.

Joseph was God’s steward. God had a most important project on the earth. It had to be executed in a specific time frame. It had to be done exactly as He planned it and nothing can go wrong. So God looked into the world and found just one man with the right pedigree (his genealogy was traced all the way back to Abraham, David and all those great men from the tribe of Judah, including Boaz), the right character and temperament to steward three most important projects.

The first one was stewardship of his own life. Joseph probably was born in Bethlehem, but at some point moved up to Nazareth. The bible is silent about this remarkable man’s formative years and all we can do is speculate. But he was in Nazareth and ran a successful business there. He was a carpenter and at the right time, he selected a wife, and was betrothed to her.

For a man to be engaged to a young lady in the Jewish culture, it required a lot of commitments. Spiritual, physical and emotional as well as financial. Do you know that during the season of betrothal, the man is required to go and build or prepare a house or make a place suitable for him and his bride to dwell in. Now you know why Jesus said to the Church that He is going away to prepare a place for us. Amazing!

John 14:2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Betrothal is a community affair. Everyone knows what is happening and everyone is looking forward to the wedding date. It is nearly never broken off, unless death or serious infidelity. In which case the offending partner is summarily executed by the whole community by stoning them to death.

That’s why I find it so disheartening to hear of men calling off engagements and breaking public promises to marry a lady and vice versa. It is just not done. It speaks volumes of the character of those individuals. It simply reveals the stuff they are made off. (Another topic for another day!).

Clearly Joseph had no skeletons in his cupboards or else he would have been deemed unworthy of such a bride like Mary. His life was lived well before all. This seems to be ignored these days, as people are quick to pass off certain indiscretions as youthful exuberance. But stewarding one’s life in a clean and pure way even if people never acknowledge this, is very important and the Lord most certainly sees this. For God to choose Joseph he must have lived correctly before him.

Now, please don’t misunderstand me. God’s grace certainly covers people especially the repentant and I am the first to acknowledge God can use a person with a past, because the blood of Jesus washes away all sins and God can certainly qualify the unqualified. Otherwise people like me stand no chance. Having said this and knowing what I now know, giving another opportunity, I would certainly make different choices with my early life. Truly, I appreciate the value of living right.

For Joseph to be chosen by God, and I know he was selected, he did not just stumble into this call, he had to have been a good steward of his personal and community life.

The bible describes him as a just man. The word just is the greek Dikaios, meaning clean, upright, balanced, innocent and holy. These are all qualities one can safely assume Joseph possessed and as such stewarded his life so he became useful to God for the purpose God required of him.

To conclude, Joseph was the right man in the right place because he had the right character, value systems and moral rectitude to perform the tasks God assigned to him. He was first a faithful steward of his own life before he could steward others.

My question to you today is are you a good steward of your personal life? Are you faithful when no one is watching? Are you morally sound, just, holy and righteous before God and man? Can God count on you in the day He needs a person to act for Him? If your answer is yes, then all I can say is God’s reward is coming, but if your answer is no, I definitely need to improve, then I want to encourage you. The first thing is to acknowledge you are not the best you and you want to change. Second is to make up your mind to stop something and start some things. Whatever they are. You know them. Third, ask God for help and grace. 4. Believe you have the power to change and become much better and you will. Perhaps one more thing, find someone you can be accountable to on your new decision.

Consider Joseph!

Let’s Pray: Father God we thank you for opening our eyes to see the man Joseph and explore the stewardship of his personal life. Father in many ways we are not our best. Please forgive us and help us to be better people and more faithful even when no one is looking. We ask for the grace to be good stewards of our lives. Thank you for helping us. In Jesus mighty name we pray. Amen.

A man like Joseph

This is a long post, but I am sure it will bless you and those you share it with.

 

Consider Joseph.

Then Joseph her husband, being a just man – Matthew 1:19

 

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I know your thoughts would immediately go to Joseph the 11th son of Jacob and the first son of Rachael. The one who became the Prime Minister in Egypt and saved his family and the whole world from famine. Yes. He was a great man. But today I want to look at the other Joseph. The one we hardly talk about. The one I have never heard a sermon on. The one who history seems not to want to remember.

Joseph the stepfather of Jesus Christ. Yes this Joseph.

One of my early morning musings with my heavenly Father, He simply dropped this statement into my heart.
‘Consider a man like Joseph, the one man in the entire world I could entrust the care of my Son to.’ I had to pause to get the impact of this statement. Then as I was still thinking through this statement, as messages from heaven sometime come, my heart and mind was flooded with revelations of the Man Joseph.

Let me share some of them with you. Most young unmarried women pray to God to provide for them a Boaz or someone like that, and yes they are right, but I have never heard any woman cry out for a man like Joseph.

Why Joseph?
1. Consider the only man to meet God’s requirements for a Father figure in the life of Jesus. He was responsible for training Jesus up to perform His unique role in history. I can only imagine what type of man he must have been. He must have had an impeccable character. Consider a man like Joseph.

 
2. When he became betrothed to Mary the bible recounts that before they came together, Mary was found to be with child and he wanted to put her away secretly.

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 

This man had the shocker of his life, when his supposed virgin fiancè was found to be with child. In the Jewish custom and under the law of Moses, this woman once exposed would be summarily executed by stoning. Joseph could have just exposed her and got her killed, but I believe he truly loved Mary and decided not to expose her but get her out of town secretly, so her life would be spared. Hmmm. Ponder this. A man who covered and protected his woman despite the fact that she had seemingly erred gravely. Consider a man like Joseph.

 
3. Joseph was later informed by an Angel that the child was God’s child and that Mary had not done any wrong, and Joseph believed.  

But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Two points here. Joseph must have been extremely devout and committed to God for him to hear so clearly and secondly, he totally believed and did not doubt. He believed God and trusted his intended. Absolute trust. Consider a man like Joseph.

 
4. After this he looked after Mary, not mentioning anything of the origin of the pregnancy to anyone, but looked after her, cared for her and took her from Nazareth to Bethlehem to have the baby and named him according to the revelation. The bible records that he did not have any sexual relations with Mary until after Jesus was born.

24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.

He was a man of conviction. He had supreme self control and he understood what it means to be consecrated. Qualities that are so rare today. Consider a man like Joseph.

 
5. Now Herod rose up to kill all the young male children under the age of two and again Joseph was warned in a dream and he took the boy and his mother and fled to Egypt. Most men will immediately see this as the god given opportunity to be rid forever of the problem. But at great risk to his life and great sacrifice he left his hometown, his kinsmen and fled with Mary and Jesus to Egypt. Joseph was prepared to risk it all for Mary’s son.

13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”

14 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, 15 and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”

He was prepared to sacrifice his comfort and security for this young woman and her child. Consider a man like Joseph.

 
6. Now when Herod died he was informed and he was instructed to return to the land of Israel. He was going back to Bethlehem. Why was he prepared to go back to Bethlehem? I can think of two not so obvious reasons. a. Joseph was from the royal house of David. He must have a place of prominence in Bethlehem and would possibly be able to leverage his position and power to look after Mary and Jesus. b. He felt more comfortable with being in Bethlehem, because most people would not be familiar with the history of Mary. But again he was instructed to go to Nazareth and he simply took the young woman and her son there.

19 Now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.” 21 Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel.

22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee. 23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

He was ready to live in obscurity for the sake of his love for his family. Consider a man like Joseph.

 
7. He trained Jesus to be a carpenter and become a very responsible man. He had taught Jesus the Torah that by the age of 12, he was able to discuss the Torah with the elders. He was a dedicated and loving father and blended his family so well. Do you know that two of Jesus’s brother wrote two books of the bible.

Matthew 13:55 New King James Version

55 Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James,  Joses, Simon, and Judas?

Consider a man like Joseph.

 
8. Finally, it is quite interesting to note that both Joseph and Boaz are from the city of Bethlehem and both hail from the tribe of Judah. Both are relatives of King David. Why is this important? Judah is the kingly tribe and they produce great breakthrough leaders. Judah, Boaz, Jesse, David, Solomon, Joseph and our Lord Jesus all come from the tribe of Judah. Bethlehem means the house of bread. Bread is a symbol of God’s word. Jesus said in Matthew 4:4 Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. So both Boaz and Joseph were men who came from a strong life in the word of God. They were from Bethlehem. Lastly Judah means PRAISE. It is important to note that Judah was chosen to go first into battle. These men must have been men of praise. This probably accounts for David’s musical skill and his ability to play anointed music on his harp that chased away the demons from king Saul’s life. Joseph was both a man of praise and a man of the word.

 

Consider a man like Joseph!

 

 

Let’s Pray: Lord Jesus raise more men like Joseph for our daughters. We pray for all fathers and husbands that we will learn from Joseph’s life and emulate him. We ask for grace to grow in wisdom and dedication to God and steward correctly the children so they can fulfil destiny in Jesus name. Amen.

God’s Love Language is Obedience

John 14:15

There is a book by Gary Chapman, (5 love languages) we all read in the 1990’s that opened the concept of love languages. The book captured 5 love languages and encouraged us to analyse and discover our love languages and even more importantly, discover those of our spouses and loved ones. The conclusion is if you understand a person’s love language, you can be more effective at expressing love to them. I recommend this book. It is an eye opener and perhaps you may be generous and share your love language with us sometime. It would help us love you better. See test link below: https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/

Recently, I was studying the bible and I came across a statement Jesus made that I simply could not move from. You know those !**ping**! moments, when the Spirit of God just arrests you. I found myself running through the bible, searching and reflecting until it became abundantly clear to me, that God also has a love language and it is OBEDIENCE.

Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

It dawned on me that the one-way God knows if someone loves Him is by how much they actually obey Him.

Think about Abraham. He was called the friend of God. He obeyed God even when God commanded him to go and sacrifice Isaac the son of promise.

Think about David, in the book of Acts 13:22, God said of David that He has found a man after His own heart, (wait for it), who will do all His will. Saul was removed because of disobedience and God chose his replacement based on the heart of obedience.

It is simply amazing.

Acts 13:22 says, “After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.‘”

The bible refers to David as the beloved. He had such a love relationship with God, that God so honoured him. Even today in Israel, David still has a place of high honour. No one really remembers much of king Saul.

Jesus, made it clear that because He loves His Father, He does His will. In the garden of Gethsemane, faced with the impending sheer brutality of the cross, Jesus asked His Father if this cup would be taken away, but he quickly added, not my will but yours be done.
There are people who spend their lives chasing after God, but God will chase after you if you become obsessed with obeying Him.

Hear what Jesus said in John 14:21 “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

And in John 14:23-24, Jesus said “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.

These words are so profound. If you keep God’s word and obey Him, God will come to you and live with you. Jesus said He will manifest Himself to you.

I have decided that the paramount thing in my life right now is to obey God regardless of the consequence. I have discovered that God loves the obedient and if we really want to love Him, we should obey Him. There is no point in buying jewellery for a lady whose love language is not gifts but acts of service.

Let’s truly love God not with mere words but in the way He wants to be loved. By obedience.

Let us pray: Father I thank you for making your heart known to me. Forgive me for all my acts of disobedience to you, I am very sorry. Lord please grant me the grace to always obey you from now on. I love you. In Jesus name. Amen.

Only by His Grace…

But by the grace of God I am what I am – 1 Corinthians 15:10

I have been in a very interesting season with the Lord. Like many in the body of Christ. I have been questioning many things, perhaps too many to enumerate in this piece. But clearly, I have been very concerned that there seems to be a major gap between my experiences and what I see written in the scriptures and what I have apprehended as God’s promises to me. Don’t get me wrong, I am not suffering a crisis of faith, but I am asking questions, so I can make the adjustments needed to align myself properly with the will of God for my life.

This search has led me to be very vulnerable, broken and sober about many things. Are we different from the church in the book of acts? Why are we losing so many people? Why does it appear that we are regressing rather than advancing? What has happened to the power of God? Why are we not apprehending all that the Lord has provided for us in His word? Are we lacking in faith? Are we less committed to the Lord in devotions and prayers? What is the problem? Why?

Amid this excruciating search, I began to see a glimmer of light break through this fog. I saw something that captured my heart and gave me some level of comfort. What is this light?

Let me say, that I began to discover a consistent factor in all the lives of those who God has used powerfully, those who have obtained the promises of God in their lives, those who seem to have ‘broken through’ as we say. No, it is not their faith. It is something other than their faith. From Noah to Abraham to Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David, Nehemiah, Ezra, all the prophets, the Apostles and those in the church today I can honestly say have broken through.

I can see clearly that they received GRACE! Simply put Grace was given to them. It is a grace thing. It is the grace factor. Nothing else but the grace of God. This simple truth has liberated me. It has set me heart free and given me joy like I never expected. It has lifted a heavy weight from my heart and given me a new impetus in seeking the Lord. Grace.

I discovered that grace is God’s ability where man’s ability fails. It is God’s excellence in our rubbishness. It is God taking us much further than our strength and power can ever reach. It is God stepping into your life and making you become the person He ordained you to be. Let me tell you, no one can ever boast that they became great because they did anything right. It must be that God gave you grace.

Without the grace, we struggle. We need to recognise that it is the grace that makes the difference.

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:10 New King James Version (NKJV)

10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 

This is a new day for me and I pray for you too. I commend you to His grace like Paul again said in  Acts 20:32 New King James Version (NKJV)

32 “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

So, let go and let God in. Let His grace be made available to you and you will suddenly start experiencing the dimensions of His abilities working in your disabilities.

Oh the wonder of His GRACE!

Jehovah is Your Name!

Exodus 6:3 New King James Version (NKJV)

I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name Lord[a] I was not known to them.

I feel led this day to start this piece with a popular chorus in Nigeria.
Jehovah is Your name (2ce)
Mighty Warrior, Great in Battle,
Jehovah is Your name.

Click on the link below and enjoy, whilst you read the piece.

The above scripture is quite often misinterpreted. Clearly from the bible God had been known by this name through out the book of Genesis. The Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all had encountered Him and called Him by this name, so why did God say they did not know Him as Jehovah?

Let’s read this passage again to really apprehend the impact of this statement. “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name Lord[a] I was not known to them.

God had shown Himself to them as El Shaddai, the All Sufficient God, The God of Provision, The God of Deliverance; The God of Protection; The God of Succor; The God of Comfort; The God who nourishes and cherishes. By this name, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob experienced God and He manifested Himself to them, but as LORD, JEHOVAH, they really did not know Him. He never manifested Himself to them.

The answer to this conundrum is in the context. After God commissioned Moses to go to Pharaoh and demand the release of Israel from Egypt, Pharaoh dug his heels in and intensified his oppression of Israel and Moses was forced to go and complain. It was at this point that God told Moses that He is THE LORD! Exodus 5: 1-18.

God then proceeded to let Moses know that He would not only bring Israel out of Egypt with a mighty hand, but that He would establish them in the land He promised their fathers. He said that He would do this alone! In effect God was at this point telling Moses that there is an aspect of Himself that the Patriarchs did not experience. The God who fulfills His promises with His might at His appointed time and in His Own way.

In short, He was telling Moses that He was the God of Incredible Performances.

So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. For with a strong hand he will let them go, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land.”
And God spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am the Lord. Exodus 5:22-6:2

So, what is the mystery of this name Jehovah? This name means, the Completely Self-Existing One, the One who Speaks and Does What He says, The God of Incredible Might. The Owner of All Creation. The God who executes His word and cannot be stopped. The God Who is careful to perform His promises. The God who does not need anyone or anything to do what He said He would do.

If you can read the verses that follow this statement, Exodus 6:4-8, you will begin to appreciate why God said Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did not really know Him as Jehovah. There is an intensity and fierceness to this name that makes it awesomely fearful. So fearful that the Jews don’t want to pronounce it and even when writing this name, they deliberately omit some letters, so you cannot call the name in full.

The God of fierce wrath, the God of judgements, the God of awesome and terrifying wonders, the God who cannot be denied access or denied His demands. The God whose decision is final. The God who holds every life, every creature, every nation in His Almighty Hands. The God who has no equal and no known competitor. The God who is God all by Himself. That is the LORD. That is JEHOVAH. This is our God! This is our LORD!

I sense we are entering a new season of Jehovah God. The God of divine performances. The God who cannot be denied. The God of our destinies. Hold on tight, Jehovah is on the move in the earth! He is on the move in your life and my life. JEHOVAH is HIS NAME!

Let’s Pray: Thank you Jesus for bringing us into the family of Jehovah. Thank you that we are children of Jehovah by faith in You. So, we know that we are not on the wrong side of this Great God. The God of the blazing fire. The God of fierce wrath. The God of terrible judgements. The God who cannot be denied. Its time for another Exodus. The people of God coming out of bondages worldwide!!! Its time for our destiny to manifest and its time for us to possess our inheritances. Jehovah, we look to YOU and we wait for YOU. In Jesus matchless name. Amen.

A Successful Slave

39:1-2 Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there. The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.

An amazing paradox. An incredible contradiction. A biblical irony.

Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt and was a servant in the house of Potiphar, yet the bible described him as a successful man because the God was with him. This is a deliberate, intentional plan by the Holy Spirit to provoke a cognitive dissonance in us, that will draw us into a deeper revelation and confront is with a profound truth.

How can a slave be a prosperous man?

A slave is a prosperous man because God is with him and a prosperous man is a slave because God is not with him. Simple. Which would you rather have, given the choice?

Joseph had something permanent that made his physical condition irrelevant and very temporary, whilst the Rich Man in Luke 16:19-31, had something temporary that could not keep him or be kept eternally.

There is a deep deception that has swept over the world and had taken deep root in the church. It is the belief that material possessions are a mark of success. It is even more insidious in that people believe that without material prosperity a person is not successful. What a deception.

Jesus said:

Luke 12:15 New King James Version (NKJV)

15 And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of [a]covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”

The message bible states it this way:

15 Speaking to the people, he went on, “Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot.”



Success is a function of Purpose not Possessions. Our creator sent us into this world to fulfil a specific assignment and the degree to which we carry these assignments out are the measure of our successes. Don’t be deceived. I repeat again, DON’T BE DECIEVED!

Psalm 1 also helps us understand this even more

Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the 
[a]ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he 
[b]meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the 
[c]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.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the ungodly shall perish.



Men may see you as successful, but God may judge you a complete failure. Ultimately God’s assessment of your life will be all that matters and all that remains.

Therefore, I believe that the pursuit of the presence of God is the chief pursuit of every wise person. If you pursue and find the presence of God, you will invariably find the following:
1. Peace 2. Purpose 3. Power 4. Protection 5. Provision 6. Prosperity
7. Pleasures

And these will be permanent in your life.

Why waste time chasing something you cannot keep, prosperity, and forfeit the one thing that once you get it, guarantees all the other things you may ever require or desire, the presence of God?

It was Jim Elliot, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Elliot the intrepid missionary to the Auca Indians who said “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Psalm 16:11 You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Joseph was a slave and he was a successful man. His slavery was temporary, because the God of all freedom and liberty was with him. His condition changed and he became a ruler rather than a slave.

Please pursue God’s presence, it is the most valuable possession you can ever have. It is the possession that guarantees all other possessions.

Shalom.

Let us Pray: Dear Lord, please deliver us from the deception of worldliness and materialism. Help us to recognise that having your presence is the greatest possession any man can have and with Your presence comes everything that You are, and You are the giver of all good things. Please grant the grace to prioritise Your presence and follow hard after you. This we ask by faith in the name of Your Son and Our saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

A difficult night and a glorious morning.

Genesis 32:31 New King James Version (NKJV)

31 Just as he crossed over [a]Penuel the sun rose on him, and he limped on his hip.

A difficult night and a glorious morning.

Life certainly has its rhythms. It has its ebbs and highs. But we must be conscious that some of our deepest struggles are just before our greatest triumphs. Like I have often heard it said, the darkest night is just before the break of dawn.

Jacob just left his uncle turn father-in law’s home, after a twenty-year sojourn that was marked with hardship, cheating and difficulties. Imagine him having to negotiate his wages 10 times in those years, working 14 years to purchase his wives and six years to earn a living. No wonder he chose to leave. Then he came to Peniel and came face to face with God. Peniel means Face of God.

At Penuel, he had to face the brutal truth about himself, because he was going to meet his elder brother Esau, who he cheated out of the birth right and stole his blessing; Esau had vowed to kill Jacob after Isaac passed. Hence his flight to Padan Aram to the house of Laban. He had to face God and God faced him. The God who knows him better than he even knows himself. He had to look into the face of God.

Just before he met Esau, he spent a night alone at Peniel. He was met there by God and they wrestled till all night. Now this is a most interesting situation. How can a mere man wrestle with God? But what really happened here was Jacob held on to God and will not let Him go until…

Until he received the assurance that Esau will not kill him. Until he received the blessing of the Lord. Until he got a character transformation. Until he was free of his old nature. Until his name was changed and he got a new identity. Until he obtained mercy and received grace from the face of God.

Just read the exchange and get a glimpse of this epic struggle.

Genesis 32:24-31 New King James Version (NKJV)

24 Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the [a]breaking of day. 25 Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He [b]touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. 26 And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.”

But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!”

2So He said to him, “What is your name?”

He said, “Jacob.”

28 And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but [c]Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”

2Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.”

And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there.

3So Jacob called the name of the place [d]Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” 

Have you got a major adversary who has promised to deal with you? Are you troubled by a situation that defies all natural remedies? Have you arrived at a place where you know unless your character is changed you will be a big failure in life? Or are you perhaps in the battle of your life at your own Peniel. Do not let God go. Do not let Him rest until He meets you at the point of your need. Remember this may be a dark night, but the morning will break soon. Just don’t let go of God.

New Living Translation
For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. Psalm 30:5

As the day was breaking, God granted Jacob all he needed. He was left with a limp, but he was also a transformed man. He was broken, but he had been fixed right in God’s  way.

Now to this incredible phenomenon the bible captures on Jacob as he crossed Penuel.

31 Just as he crossed over [e]Penuel the sun rose on him, and he limped on his hip.

The sun rose on him. This was God showing that this is a transformed man and now all of creation will work in concert with Jacob now turned Israel to fulfil his destiny. It signaled that Jacob had become a Prince with God and this Prince will always prevail. It signaled a new beginning. It signaled an everlasting favour of God. It revealed that God had just joined himself to this man.

Jacob had a very rough and dark night, but his morning was glorious. He started the night as Jacob, but by day break he was already Israel.

Your dark and troubled night will also pass and day break will come and you will be transformed.

Let’s Pray: Father thank you for your dealings in our life. Help us to learn to surrender in time, so our struggle does not get prolonged. We recognise that coming face to face with you will change us forever positively. So we ask for this encounter with You. We desire Your transformation in our lives. We ask this in Jesus name. Amen.