Title: Embracing the Call: Spreading the Gospel in These Last Days
15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15
In the midst of the challenges and uncertainties that mark these modern times, one age-old command remains steadfast: to go into the world and preach the gospel to every creature. The words of Mark 16:15 hold a profound significance, especially in the context of the world we live in today. As followers of Jesus Christ, it’s essential for us to rekindle our passion for sharing the good news and to heed the call to spread the gospel, ensuring that none miss out on the boundless joys of eternal life in Christ Jesus.
1. The Urgency of the Hour
The signs of the times are all around us. Wars, pandemics, moral decline – these are not just random occurrences, but signs that have been foretold. The urgency of the hour cannot be overstated. As believers, we have the responsibility to bring hope to a world in despair, to offer the light of Christ in the midst of darkness. The uncertainties of these last days serve as a poignant reminder that time is of the essence. Our obedience to the call to share the gospel takes on a new dimension of importance as we consider the eternal destinies at stake.
2. Overcoming Fear and Apathy
Often, our hesitation to share the gospel is rooted in fear – fear of rejection, fear of not knowing how to respond to questions, or fear of being ridiculed. However, we are reminded that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Moreover, the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) illustrates that we are entrusted with something precious – the message of salvation – and it’s our duty to invest it wisely.
Apathy can also hinder our obedience. We might think, “There are others who are better equipped to share the gospel,” or “I’ll do it someday.” But we must remember that God has uniquely equipped each one of us with gifts and talents that can be used to glorify Him and bring others to Him. The time to act is now.
3. Compassion for Souls
Jesus’ ministry on Earth was characterized by His compassion for the lost. He saw the multitudes as sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36), and His heart was moved with empathy. In these last days, we must cultivate a similar compassion for souls. Behind every face is a story, a struggle, and a longing for meaning. Our willingness to share the gospel might be the lifeline someone desperately needs.
4. Embracing Creative Approaches
Sharing the gospel doesn’t always involve standing on a street corner. In fact, today’s world offers a multitude of platforms for spreading the good news. Social media, blogs, podcasts – these are all avenues through which we can reach people who might never step into a church building. By embracing creative approaches, we can engage with a diverse and global audience, transcending geographical boundaries to touch hearts and transform lives.
5. The Promise of Eternal Life
Ultimately, the driving force behind our efforts is the promise of eternal life in Christ Jesus. The gospel is not just a message of salvation from sin; it’s an invitation to partake in the fullness of life that God offers. Our obedience to the call to spread the gospel is not a burden, but a privilege. The thought of someone missing out on this abundant life should be enough to propel us into action.
In these difficult last days, the call to preach the gospel to every creature is as relevant as ever. We have the power of the Holy Spirit within us, the message of hope in our hearts, and the promise of eternal life to share. Let us overcome fear, apathy, and complacency, and embrace this divine mandate with a renewed passion. May our actions reflect our understanding of the urgency of the hour, the compassion of our Savior, and the profound importance of leading souls to the feet of Jesus. As we obey this call, we pave the way for the joys of eternal life in Christ Jesus to be embraced by all who hear the life-changing message of the gospel.
We have become his poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it! Ephesians 2:10
Perspectives are everything. Two people can look at the same thing and have two completely different views. Now, this would not be a problem, if it stays like that, but it is the action and reaction that perspectives provoke that makes it important to have the right perspective.
I am sure you know the half full and half empty analogy of pessimists and optimists and how that plays out. I am also sure you heard about the two salesmen sent out to a far country to do market research into shoe sales. The two salesmen arrived, and they noticed no one wore shoes in this land; and the first one exclaimed that ‘no one wore shoes here!’ So there is no market and he went back home. The other man sent a telegram back saying ‘no one wears shoes here, what a great potential market, send as many shoes as you can’. He stayed there and became fabulously rich selling shoes. Again, you have heard of the proverb that says, ‘I complained that I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no legs and feet’.
Today, in developing thankfulness, let us look at ourselves. Like I said LOOK AT YOU! You are alive. You have two feet, two legs, 10 fingers, two eyes, two ears. They are all functioning well. You can taste and eat food. You can breathe, your heart beats, you can think. You can move around. You can go to the toilet to ease yourself. You don’t have leprosy. You are not bed-ridden. You talk, laugh and enjoy music. The bible says, we are fearfully and wonderfully made. If you have no other reason to be thankful, at least start thanking God for what you have been given. Your heart beats over 100,000 times a day! Yes and it does not depend on you. God made it beat like that.
All your systems (circulatory, digestive, excretion, reproductive, central nervous, endocrine, lymphatic, skeletal, muscular, renal, respiratory etc) are all functioning because God created them so and it is not really up to you. If one starts malfunctioning, you and I know how dire it can be. So, why do we grumble and complain, when we have for free, some of the most vital things in life.
Let me give you a simple tip on how to develop thankfulness. Start looking at your physical self and thank God for them one by one. You will soon discover you have been greatly blessed by God. A female psychologists said whenever she finds that she is slipping into depression, she starts to thank God for her fingers one by one and her toes and her teeth and her hair strands, her eyes, then her eyelashes etc. I know this sounds absurd, but she claims it has never failed to set her perspectives right.
God has made you. You are an incredible creation of the Master. Ephesians 2:10 says We are God’s workmanship. This is better said as we are a brilliant poem written by God. We were designed by the Master Designer. Go ahead and thank God for you and thank God again for you!
Let’s Pray:Father God, thank you for creating me. Thank you for all my body parts that work very well. Thank you for making me complete. I am so grateful. Please help me never to forget that I am a masterpiece, because I was created by the Master Himself. In Jesus Name. Amen.
Wisdom the bible says is the principal thing and in all our getting we should get understanding. If you know someone well enough, you will understand them and what makes them tick. It is possible to know God intimately, because He has revealed Himself to us through His Word and His creation.
God highly esteems ‘Thankfulness’. He sees it as an honour thing. Ps 50:23 23 Those who sacrifice thank offerings honour me, and to the blameless[a] I will show my salvation.”
He said those who honour Him, He will honour and those who treat Him with levity, He will lightly esteem too. But now the LORD says: ‘Far be it from Me; for those who honour Me I will honour, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed. 1 Samuel 2:30.
Yesterday, I treated the meaning of thankfulness and briefly looked at what the opposite of thankfulness is. I also began to share my understanding from God’s word on how to develop thankfulness. I mentioned that the first step to developing thankfulness is to LOOK-UP. In this I explained that looking at God and seeing Him for who He is, will get us into the state of thankfulness. Today, I want to show us one more way to develop thankfulness. (I have developed at least five ways, and all involve looking).
Today, we will examine “Look Back”.
It is important to look back over one’s life and track and trace the hand of God over the course of your life. Look at where you started? Look at where you are today. Look at how far God has brought you. Look at your development. Look at your near misses and even more importantly, the times when you were totally down and out, and God came to your rescue. Think back at the way you were before Christ saved you. Think about what your trajectory would have been without this timely and incredible intervention of God. I am so grateful that Jesus saved me. My trajectory was bad. I was heading for ruins and destruction. But Jesus saved me and gave me a totally new trajectory. I am so grateful. What has God done for you? List them.
Write them and recall them. As the Psalmist said, “Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Psalm 103:1-2.
Also consider the admonition of this special hymn
Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your blessings, see what God hath done; Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.
Go ahead today and count your many blessings, name them one by one, see what God has done and I tell you dear brother, dear sister, your heart will overflow in thankfulness. But it does not stop there!
By being thankful, you are honouring God and He will show you, His salvation. God never stops giving.
Let Us Pray: Father God, thank you so much for all You have done for me. Thank you for where You have brought me from. Thank you for Your care and attention. Your provision and most of all Your salvation in my life. Please grant me the grace to always have a heart of thankfulness as I reflect on Your faithfulness in my life. In Jesus name I have prayed. Amen.
Thankfulness – A Vital Tool for Surviving the Last Days
Recently, I heard the voice of God in my heart saying, ‘Be Thankful’. I immediately began to feel He was calling for a thanksgiving service or asking me to do something to thank Him for something He had done for me. But He repeated it again, saying I want a Thankful People. Then it dawned on me that what God was looking for was not a thanksgiving event or service, but a heart that is always thankful and grateful. It is what is popularly referred to as “an attitude of gratitude”.
Today, we are living in an increasingly entitled world. People are always grumbling, complaining and mostly ungrateful for life. This is a dangerous state of being and totally against the will of God for us and inconsistent with how we are designed to function.
Just have a look at what the scriptures say about being unthankful and thankfulness.
2Tim 3:1-3, 3 But know this, that in the last days [a]perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, [b]unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,
Rom 1:21, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
1Thes 5:18, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Php 4:6, 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
Col 3:17, 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
To Survive and thrive in these days, we must develop THANKFULNESS or an Attitude of Gratitude!
What Is Thankfulness?
It is a state of our heart. A state where you have so trained your inner man to appreciate the goodness of God, always, in every circumstance, in every situation!!!
Let’s break this down further. If you are to be thankful, you must have an understanding that whatever comes your way, God is fully in charge and God will work it out ultimately for your good. This is why the bible commands us in 1Thes 5:18, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
To fully grasp thankfulness, you must understand what the opposite of it is. Ungrateful, Grumbler, Complainer, Quibbler. These are people who find fault in everything and have a negative view of life. They refuse to focus on the good or even acknowledge it. They complain, grumble and quibble. The feel very entitled. God has a word for these kind of people.
Numbers 14:26 And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 27 “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me? I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel make against Me. 28 Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you: 29 The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above.
1Cor10:10 – 10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.
Notice that God took it personally. Notice that it says complainers attract the destroyer. We will deal with this in another post.
So, I am sure your big question is how do we develop thankfulness?
Look Up – Psalm 100:3 – 3 Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and [a]not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Recognising that God created you and that you belong to Him, removes the entitlement mindset. Acknowledging God as your creator, the owner of your life and days, the shepherd of your soul. The one who determines how your life will go and the one who is able to help you. Recognising His goodness, His mercy, His faithfulness, His peace, His joy, His provision. His majesty. His glory. His unlimited, eternal power. His omniscience. His omnipresence. His immanence. His love. His care. His generosity. All these and more. When we learn to look-up, yes look up and acknowledge God, it causes our faces to shine and our hearts to warm up.
They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces were not ashamed. Psalm 34:6
So, look up today and be thankful to the Lord for who He is and for His beautiful creation.
Tomorrow we will look at another place to look to develop thankfulness.
Let us Pray: Father God forgive me for all the times I have been ungrateful, complained and grumbled. Please help me to develop thankfulness. Help me to always look up and acknowledge that you are God, and you have my life in Your loving hands. I thank you today for who You are. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen
39 And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better.’ ” Luke 5:36-39
My heart is filled with an overflowing joy this morning as I write this piece. I am excited and almost giddy with laughter and joy as I muse and write. God is doing something quite profound and I want you to enter into this joy too. I think, I have a sense of what Jesus must have felt when He announced the inauguration and accessibility of the Kingdom of God on earth. He must have been full of joy. The New Nigeria is like New Wine. It just gladdens the heart.
In times past, I have entered into debates, like most of us on the future of Nigeria and how this nation can be changed and transformed. These debates and conversations mostly ended with a lot of unresolved conundrums. We all just left to resume the next time we gather. When most Nigerians gather for whatever purpose, we always end up on the state of our nation and we all talk about possible solutions etc, but never have we all agreed on a course of action to transform the nation.
But, I recall on one of such occasions, I had a distinct impression in my heart, that the problems of Nigeria were foundational and we as a nation had built a huge edifice on a faulty foundation. How do you fix the foundation of a 60 plus storey building, without bringing the whole building down. Here lies the deep enigmatic question, that hopefully I would try to answer today.
We have all been immersed in the Old Nigeria and the New Nigeria cannot rest on the template of the Old. It must have its own pure foundations. All of us, have imbibed the Old Nigeria. Some are drunk on it. We were born into it, raised in it, and became fully immersed in it. It is in all of us, regardless of tribe, tongue or creed.
It is in all of us, regardless of tribe, tongue or creed.
It will take God’s mercy to cleanse us from the Old and grant us access to the New. It can only come to the truly repentant. Some of us are so acquainted with the Old Nigeria, we do not even see it as a sinful contraption. We think it is the right way to be or the right thing to do. The Old Nigeria is diametrically opposed to the New. They have nothing in common. By the time, the New Nigeria is fully manifested, some will not even remember the Old Nigeria. It is so different.
Now let’s go a bit deeper and explore some of the characteristics of the Old Nigeria and consequently understand what we need to repent of and what we need to renounce and then what we need to embrace. In short what we need to do to enter into the New Nigeria.
In Joshua 4:1-9, God instructed Joshua to take 12 stones from the midst of the Jordan and build a memorial in the promised land with those stones, whilst they took 12 stones from the promised land and place them in the midst of the Jordan river. This is a very significant action. 12 is the number of God’s government, Apostolic Government/Council. It is Governmental. So God was helping them establish a Government in the promised land, whilst they were to fully subdue all the governments in the land.
In our case, we will use this model to determine the 12 things we need to overcome, kill, destroy, for us to leave the Old Nigeria and enter the New Nigeria and the 12 things we must manifest in the New Nigeria.
These are not in any order of importance, nor can I say exhaustive.
Esau (Profane), Cain
Jacob, Abel (Holy)
Honest full of Integrity, Truth
Careful and Considerate
Oppressive, Unjust, Unrighteous
Liberating, empowering, Just, Righteous
Short sighted (Now, NOW!)
Long Sighted (Invest, nurture)
Want to be served
Wants to serve and serves
Love of Money
Love of God
Idolatory, Witchcraft, Inpunity
Fear of God, True Reverence
Just consider the list above. I am sure you can identify.
In the days ahead we will unpack each of them and discuss them contextually, so we can repent and renounce from a place of understanding.
Before the Joshua Generation could even begin to conquer the promised land, the Lord ordered a mass circumcision of the new generation. Yes, I know it was about the covenant, but I also want to say it was about God cutting out of them the vestiges of the Old Order and the ‘Slaves’ who came out of Egypt, who had all died in the wilderness. This is what the Lord said in Joshua 5:8-9 –8 So it was, when they had finished circumcising all the people, that they stayed in their places in the camp till they were healed. 9 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” Therefore the name of the place is called Gilgal[e] to this day.
Again, we can look at 2Chron 7:14 – If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
If, means conditional. ‘turn from their wicked ways’. Here again we see the call to repentance. There must be a turning from to enter the New Nigeria.
Here is where I truly feel the Church in Nigeria needs to concentrate to first be shorn of all the Old Nigeria vestiges. The Church needs to accept its complicity in the failed Old Nigeria. The Church needs deep repentance and renunciation. Then the Church can then start to lead the nation in the New Nigeria. Today, I call the New Nigeria Church to come forth!
36 Then He spoke a parable to them: “No one[g]puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old. 37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 But new wine must be put into new wineskins, [h]and both are preserved. 39 And no one, having drunk old wine, [i]immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is [j]better.’ ”
WARNING: Jesus used the expression ‘No One’ three times in the passage above. No one means nobody. If you do not forsake the old, you cannot possess the new. You cannot hold on to the old and make the transition into the new. You have to forsake one for the other. This is a warning I plead with you to consider deeply. Out of the over 600,000 men that came out of Egypt, and wondered in the wilderness for 40 years, only two are recorded as part of that generation that made it into the Promise Land. Joshua and Caleb. God patiently waited for the rest to die off. But I am convinced of better things pertaining to us in this context. I am convinced of God’s goodness and His abundant grace, that will be made available for us to make the internal and mental change that will enable us cross into the promised land of the New Nigeria.
Now back to the building. You and I are that building. We have to tear down the old building in our hearts, by repenting and renouncing all that we have seen above, and then consciously, intentionally build the New Nigeria building in our hearts, by apprehending and assimilating the new characteristics as stated above.
39 And no one, having drunk old wine, [i]immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is [j]better.’ This verse warns us of the inertia, reluctance and resistance to the New, not from anyone external, but in our selves, we find that resistance to the new, because the Old is still very much alive in us. So, be ruthless with the Old in you, so the New can live!
The New Nigeria is New Wine and it requires New Wine Skins. The Old order cannot be patched up to fit the new. We must completely depart from one to embrace the other. It is a returning to God’s original intention for Nigeria. It is the God ordained Nigeria. This is the New Nigeria.
The door to the New Nigeria is wide open. Can you find it? Will you enter in?
Grow New Nigeria, Grow!
Let’s Pray:Father God, we cry out today for your mercy. Visit us and help our hearts to depart from the Old Nigeria into the New. Lord, grant us the gift of repentance, so we can truly change our ways. Examine us deeply by your Holy Spirit and convict us. We desire to be in the New Nigeria, please help us to be part of it, In Jesus name. Amen. (This is a short prayer, but I recommend you take these model and work through it. God will help us all and we will be in the New Nigeria.)
“At last the fulfillment of the age has come! It is time for God’s kingdom to be experienced in its fullness! Turn your lives back to God and put your trust in the hope-filled gospel!” Mark 1:15
Around the year 2000, our church in the UK received a strong prophetic word that we were to become a major discipling Centre in the UK and Europe. It meant we would have to shift our emphasis from a program driven church into an intentionally disciple-making church. As we prayed in the leadership, we felt distinctly led by God to go and understudy a church in Bogota, Columbia, who had transitioned into a full disciple-making church and were running what was called the G12 vision. At the time our Snr Pastor invited all the leaders of the church to come with him for two weeks to experience and study this revival and its distinctive discipleship model. The day we arrived in Bogota; we all went to a very big meeting of about 50,000 people. Now that was a lot of people in a church, coming from London. The presence of God was so thick. The worship was so intense, and we noticed that there was something quite authentic and genuine about this move. Most of us just wept and cried out to God for His grace. We were so desperate for God to replicate this in our City and Nation. Whilst on my face weeping and sobbing before God in that hall, I heard the Lord say to me, that there is only one way into this vision, and it is through the route of repentance. Repentance. It was crystal clear.
Over the next 10 days, we immersed ourselves in the mechanics, modalities, terms etc of the vision. We asked many questions, and the leaders of the Colombian church were ever so gracious. They painstakingly explained things to us. They gave us notes, tapes, etc. They invited us to all kinds of meetings. We experienced the vision in full flow. It culminated in a mega-rally at the stadium, with clearly over 100,000 people present. All disciples of Jesus. It was simply sublime. We went back to London and immediately dismantled our program based structure and began to replace it with the modalities of the G12 vision. We were extremely professional. We created all manner of materials to promote this new vision. I remember at one of our leadership meetings, the Lord spoke to me again, this time with a bit more detail. He said, this vision is a heart matter. It is not so much about your head. It can only truly work if the heart has been touched by The Lord. He then said, repentance is the only way to enter this vision. At this stage, I really started repenting of all my preconceptions of church and how it should be. I repented that I had never really seen the great commission of Matt 28:18-20, as the Lord gave it to us. I asked the Lord to forgive me for trying to build the church with my own ideas. I also told our leadership what I had received and how God says we should not spend too much time trying to master the dynamics, mechanics and modalities, but we should cry out for an impartation of the heart of the vision.
We eventually went to Bogota again after about three months, now with a much larger team, our disciples etc. I kept on telling people, that the mechanics is not as important as the heart or the Spirit of the vision. I was sitting down one late morning on my own outside one of the halls, when I began to sense God’s intense presence coming upon me. I simply asked the Lord to come even more as I was hungry for Him. Next, I saw a vision of a flaming torch coming towards me. The torch came and went straight into my heart and stayed there. The Lord then said I have made you a leader in this vision and I have given you the torch of discipleship, you will now be able to walk in the fullness of this vision. What happened next was that my wife also got a major impartation at one of the meetings and we went back to London. From that moment on our cell groups began to multiply, we began to have many disciples and our group became the group everyone wanted to belong to. People asked us what we did differently, and I just kept on repeating that this only came through an impartation arising out of deep repentance. By the way, repentance is also a gift from God, and it is his goodness that leads us to repentance. So, no credit to the person repenting, but to the Lord who grants a heart of true repentance.
I recounted this long story, to simply say, the New Nigeria can only be accessed through a genuine repentance. What is REPENTANCE? The Greek word is metanoia, which simply means change your mind or the way you think. Whilst I understand this meaning, I am afraid I don’t fully subscribe to this definition, because it is premised on the Greek mindset, which is all about logic and thinking. It is important to think and be a thinker, but the seat of real transformation is the heart first, then the mind. The next word is Hebrew. The word for repentance is Teshuvah. It simply means to return. It goes beyond a mere confession of sins. It goes further than feeling pain, remorse, or angst for error of missing the mark. It includes all this, plus a metanoa or change of mind or thinking, and it also means to move away from something or change direction from one way to the other. So, In Israel every year during the High Holydays, Rosh Hashannah to Yom Kippur, the entire nation goes into active Teshuvah in what is often referred to as the ’10 days of awe’. This is why I subscribe more to true repentance as teshuvah. Now, since Teshuvah means to return, what are we then returning to? Primarily, it is returning to God. Just like the young man in the parable of the prodigal son, returned to his father, so we are all called to return to God first as a Person and then to His plan and His ways.
We have all been immersed in the Old Nigeria and the New Nigeria cannot rest on the template of the Old. It must have its own pure foundations. All of us, have imbibed the Old Nigeria. We were born into it, raised in it, and have become fully immersed in it. It will take God’s mercy to cleanse us from the Old and grant us access to the new. It can only come to the truly repentant. Some of us are so accustomed to the Old Nigeria ways, that we do not even see them as a sins. We have become so expedient in our actions that, the conviction for sin is almost non-existent. We think it is the right way to be or the right thing to do. The Old Nigeria is diametrically opposed to the New. They have nothing in common. By the time, the New Nigeria is fully manifested, some will not even remember the Old Nigeria. It is so different.
The door to the New Nigeria is wide open. Can you find it? Will you enter in?
Think Repentance. Think Teshuvah
Grow New Nigeria, Grow!
Let Us Pray: Father God, I cannot force my way into the Kingdom, without following the protocol. So, also I now understand that to be in the New Nigeria, the way in is through repentance. Father grant me the grace and mercy of repentance. Starting now, begin to convict my heart by your Holy Spirit of the vestiges of the Old Nigeria that is still within me. I surrender my heart to Your dealings and I thank you for helping me, make it into the New Nigeria. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. Luke 2:40
If I say I am excited, happy, joyful and at peace, I know some may find it difficult to relate! But the truth is I am. On Saturday, after the voting exercise, I left the polling unit to go back home and await the final results. As I walked towards my car, I had an epiphany. It reminded me of the day I got born again. Something had changed drastically, fundamentally in this country. I knew without a shade of doubt we would never be the same again. I became even more conscious of the atmospheric shift from the old Nigeria to the New Nigeria. I knew that the baby just took its first bold step.
I guess, for a lot of people, the events of the past few days are depressing and disappointing, shambolic and disgraceful. But I am not fazed or perturbed. You also should not be perturbed. Perspectives are everything!
The Lord has been ministering to me for a while now about the fact that there are no emergencies in heaven. So, if I see chaos, confusion or what one may refer to as an emergency on earth, I only need to pull back and look up at the Lord and gain His perspective on the matter and I would immediately lose my panic and regain my peace, but also know what to do! Perspective is everything.
Many are erroneously looking at the natural to interpret the spiritual. This is the wrong order. The spiritual perspective helps us understand the natural world. So, why do I say the New Nigeria is already born.
The New Nigeria was not born on Saturday the 25th of February 2023. No. It was born a while back. God first spoke to us about the New Nigeria as far back as 2004. My wife and I were driving and listening to some worship on the radio in our car. Suddenly my wife began to prophesy. A New Nigeria will arise out of the ashes of the old corrupt Nigeria. She went on to say that there would come out of Nigeria a new sound that would literally affect the world and that our Adire and Ankara fabric will become mainstream on fashion run ways and catwalks across the world. (Full prophesy will be published in future blogs).
Just over two years ago, during the Lekki Toll Gate protests turned massacre, the Lord called a few of us to start daily intercession for the New Nigeria. So, for the past 28 months, we have been praying everyday for the New Nigeria. Our motley group, made up of mostly Nigerians from and in the diaspora and other nationalities, that have been called to intercede for Nigeria, stand daily before God to affirm the New Nigeria and pray His will.
So, the New Nigeria. What is it? To understand the New Nigeria, you must understand the Kingdom of God. Mark 1:14-15 14 Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
First point you cannot access the Kingdom of God without repentance. It is accessible only through a repentant heart. So, is the New Nigeria. You have to change your thinking to access it.
Luke 17:20-21 – Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
20 Jesus was once asked by the Jewish religious leaders, “When will God’s kingdom come?” Jesus responded, “God’s kingdom does not come simply by obeying principles or waiting for signs. 21 The kingdom is not discovered in one place or another, for God’s kingdom realm is already expanding within some of you.” Luke 17:20-21 TPT
Next, Jesus said the Kingdom of God does not come with observation. What? I thought He said it was at hand. Well here lies the conundrum and why people miss the Kingdom and also miss the New Nigeria.
The New Nigeria is not so much a physical geographic expression as it is the following: An Expression. A State of Being. A Consciousness. A Set of Values. An Ideal. A People. A Paradigm or Mindset. It is a firm sense of a definite future state of a people about who they are, what they are called to be and what they will become. It is a heart condition that we have been righteously afflicted with and would never recover from. We will only get deeper in it. With every passing day, the immersion gets more profound. The New Nigeria is a mystical or spiritual experience or state. It is within us. It is atmospheric. It is among us. It is growing every day. It cannot be killed. It cannot be shot at. It cannot be legislated against. It is enigmatic.
It is a phenomenon.
It is an incurable, beautiful affliction. It is us as God ordained and empowered. It is that which sends terror into the devil’s heart. It is God’s expression of Nigeria in the hearts of His people. It is unstoppable. It will gain full expression. Because it is more than the New Nigeria.
It is primarily not about us. It is about those whose liberty, expression, identity, and destiny has been inextricably linked to the emergence of this phenomenon called the New Nigeria.
It is about the propagation of God’s Kingdom on earth. It is about the New Apostolic order. It is about the third Reformation. It is about the triumphant Ecclesia. It is about the end time harvest. It about the Army of God in these last days. It is about the Youth. Young people! It is about Gen Z++++. It is also about Joshuas and Calebs.
Don’t get me wrong. It will have physical expressions. It is already having it, but its primary manifestation is not physical. It is an ideal whose time has come.
So, why should we lose our peace because some people refuse to let go? Ask Pharaoh. Ask the Egyptians. Ask Herod. Ask the Philistines. Ask King Saul. Ask the Emperors. Ask the Demagogues. Ask the Tyrants. Ask Hitler. Ask Franco. Ask Napoleon. Ask Stalin. History’s highway is littered with the tattered decomposed relics of all these and more. They all failed and woefully too. So, why should we be discouraged? When we have the future in our hearts and flowing in our blood. No one in their right senses will stand in front of a freight train at full speed, trying to stop it.
Let me end this first part with this scripture.
2Sam 3:1- Now there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David. But David grew stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.
A long war. In warfare, there are many battles that makes a war. As battles go, there are some you must fight to win the war. There are some you ignore, because they are what we call ‘skirmishes’. They appear important, but they are not consequential to how war plays out. But great generals often use skirmishes to distract their opponents and cause them to lose sight of the purpose of the war. They use skirmishes to cause a diversion of resources and a dissipation of energy. This is a marathon, we must not run it like a sprint. The house of Saul is diminishing daily, growing weaker every minute, but David is growing stronger and stronger with every passing day.
The Old Corrupt Nigeria is wasting away. Decrepit, old, frail, failing, bumbling, spent and incoherent. It is on its way out! The New Nigeria on the other hand is rising in strength, growing in stature, growing in favour, wisdom and grace. Full of life and vitality. What an irony. What a vignette! What a parody as we even today observe our nation. What a parable!
Grow New Nigeria, Grow!
Let us Pray: Father, thank you for the New Nigeria. Thank you for the revelation and reality of the New Nigeria. Thank You for bringing me into it. Lord, deliver me of all the vestiges of the old, corrupt failing Nigeria. I renounce all its ways and embrace those of the New Nigeria. Lord, give me strength to play my role in the New Nigeria. I am so grateful that the best is yet to come. In Jesus name. Amen.
1 Chron 26:15 – to Obed-Edom the South Gate, and to his sons the storehouse.
God specialises in great outcomes! I think I want to say that once again. GOD SPECIALISES IN GREAT OUTCOMES!
Luke 1:37 says with God nothing shall be impossible. Jer 32: 27 – God says’ behold, I am the God of all flesh, is anything too hard for me? Jeremiah also cried out in Jeremiah 32:17 ‘Ah Lord God, You have created the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for you.
Who you align with; who you serve; who you worship; who you fear; who you follow and who you submit to, has a great implication of who you end up becoming in this life!
Such is the curious story of Obed-Edom. How can a Philistine, a sworn enemy of God, a pagan, an idolater, under divine judgement, end up among the Israelites and even more profoundly, a Levite? Levites are from the tribe of Levi and they are exclusively separated unto God for the temple worship and caring for the tabernacle. Out of the Levites, you have the priests, and only they can offer the sacrifices in the Old testament. All Priests are Levites, but not all Levites are Priests. Such was the exclusivity of these roles, that only one family were made priests. The family of Aaron. So, how does Obed-Edom and his sons end up in the tabernacle as Levites?
1 Chron 26:1-8 Concerning the divisions of the gatekeepers: of the Korahites, [a]Meshelemiah the son of Kore, of the sons of [b]Asaph. 2 And the sons of Meshelemiah were Zechariah the firstborn, Jediael the second, Zebadiah the third, Jathniel the fourth, 3 Elam the fifth, Jehohanan the sixth, Eliehoenai the seventh.4 Moreover the sons of Obed-Edom were Shemaiah the firstborn, Jehozabad the second, Joah the third, Sacar the fourth, Nethanel the fifth, 5 Ammiel the sixth, Issachar the seventh, Peulthai the eighth; for God blessed him.6 Also to Shemaiah his son were sons born who governed their fathers’ houses, because they were men of great ability. 7 The sons of Shemaiah were Othni, Rephael, Obed, and Elzabad, whose brothers Elihu and Semachiah were able men.8 All these were of the sons of Obed-Edom, they and their sons and their brethren, able men with strength for the work: sixty-two of Obed-Edom.
In the previous blogs, I have explored possible reasons why God blessed Obed-Edom and his household. I have also considered the level of sacrifice Obed-Edom and his family expressed as they took the Ark of God into their house.
It has just also occurred to me that Obed-Edom was not a random choice for David. David knew this man quite well. He must have become one of David’s men, whilst David was a fugitive in the land of the Philistines. He must have shown David unusual loyalty, dedication to service and to God, to warrant David bringing him along into Israel and giving Obed-Edom a place in Jerusalem.
But after the three months of looking after the Ark, and God having blessed him and his entire household, David established an elaborate Levitical system of worship, appointing roles to different Levitical and Priestly families. He then drops inside this exclusive family of Levites, the man Obed-Edom and his sons. A Gittite. A Philistine. They were appointed gate keepers of the of the South Gate to the tabernacle area, and in addition, they were also appointed as the store keepers of the tabernacle! Wow! This is like double promotion.
A non-Jew, non-Israelite, ends up as a Levite! How does that happen? Simple answer, God. Obed-Edom allowed God into his life, altered his setup to accommodate God, like I said, made room for God, and God completely transforms him and his family and grafts them into an exclusive family, with incredible privileges in Israel. This is our God. This is the God we serve.
He took Ruth a Moabites and turned her into the great grand Mother of King David and consequently the Great, great, great, great grand mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ruth today is seen as a matriarch in Israel, not as a foreigner. The day Ruth decided to follow Naomi and align with the God of Naomi, that day her destiny changed and her eternal status changed.
How about Rahab? A prostitute from Jericho, a Canaanite woman, became the mother of Boaz and also ends up in the genealogy of David and Jesus the Christ. The day Rahab chose to show the Israelite spies favour and habour them in her house. The day she aligned herself with Israel and consequently the God if Israel, her destiny changed forever.
Now, let us not be in doubt. God can take anyone from anywhere and make them whoever he wants them to be and use them wherever He so desires to use them. God will render all protocols, discrimination, prejudices, nuances, preferences and preconceptions useless, if he so chooses to use you or make you! No one can stop Him.
We have a saying in Africa, that God can choose to fetch water in a basket, just to disgrace a bucket. He can decide to crack a palm kernel with an egg, just to disgrace a stone.
We call this AWAMARIDI. Unsearchable God. What is the most preposterous thing you can imagine. God can do it!
But this narrative will not be complete, if I fail to let you know, that God specializes in great outcomes and for some of us, He has already performed the impossible.
We were gentiles, pagans, unbelieving, idolaters and sinful people. But we heard the gospel of His Kingdom, we believed in the perfect atoning work of Jesus on Calvary. In that moment, God transferred us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the Kingdom of His dear Son, Jesus Christ. He made us earthlings into citizens of heaven. He grafted us into the commonwealth of Israel. He adopted us as sons and gave us a place next to Him. He made us heirs along with Jesus of His Kingdom. He made us Levites like Obed-Edom, who can access the temple, but He went further and made us Priests, so we not only can worship before Him, we can handle the holy things of God and not get struck down like Uzzah! But He went even further and made us kings. What can I say? All I can say is THANK YOU LORD!
1 Sam 2:8 – He raises the poor from the dust And lifts the beggar from the ash heap, To set them among princes And make them inherit the throne of glory. “For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, And He has set the world upon them.
1 Peter 2:9-10 – But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
It seems a ‘no brainer’ to give all our hearts to God. It seems a bit obvious that if we allow God to rule our lives, we will reign in life. So, why don’t we all submit to God without reservation? I am not going to answer this question, because it is rhetoric.
All I would say is be wise! If you are looking for a great outcome! An ‘awamaridi’. Then go with God with all you have. He still specialises in GREAT OUTCOMES!
Let us Pray:Lord today, I just want to thank you for the radical transformation you have already wrought in my life. I am amazed at how You have taken me from being an enemy to being a son of Yours. I want you to do the same for anyone who is reading this and has not yet committed their heart to you by believing the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that the will also experience the joys of the new birth in Christ Jesus. I also pray today, that you will make us who You want us to be. You will take us where You want us to go and You will establish us in whatever position or estate in life You so desire for us. I anticipate Your AWAMARIDI in my life. In Jesus mighty name, I pray. Amen
1 Chron 26:6&8 – because they were men of great ability.
All these were of the sons of Obed-Edom, they and their sons and their brethren, able men with strength for the work: sixty-two of Obed-Edom.
Today, looking at these sons of Obed-Edom and how they turned out, makes me want to reflect on why these sons became so significant. Was it the fact that God blessed Obed-Edom’s household? Was it what Obed Edom did with these sons of his? Was it just a fluke? Really why were all his sons so great, that the bible records it twice?
I have lived over 60 years on this earth. I have seen many people show great promise and end up ship-wrecked and I have seen others born into dire circumstances and without any hope of becoming significant, yet they have transcended their seemingly disadvantaged backgrounds and become great people. Do good homes naturally produce good children and vice versa? This is not a simple conundrum. It baffles the mind.
The ark was in the house of Abinadab for about 20 years and not one of his sons was captured by the bible as significant. Samuel was a great prophet, used so mightily by God, yet his sons were not great men. Aaron was the father of Nadab and Abihu, who offered profane fire before the Lord, Eli was the chief priest in Israel and his son (Hophni and Phinehas) were referred to as sons of Belial (sons of the devil, wicked and worthless). David had sons like Absalom, Adonijah and Ammon. He was also father to king Solomon. Yet David was a man after God’s own heart. Jabez was born in pain and misery, yet the bible reflects that Jabez was more honourable than all his brothers and God heeded his cry for transformation. Esau and Jacob were twins. One was loved by God and the other was referred to as a profane man. Cain and Abel were most probably also twins. One was righteous and the other a murderer. Jacob had twelve sons. Ruben the first born defiled his father’s bed by sleeping with his step mother. Simeon and Levi were known for their cruelty and anger. Yet they had a brother, Judah who was full of integrity, Joseph who was full of mercy. Rachael was beautiful, yet a crook and an idolater (she stole the family idols) and Leah was a woman of delicate eyes and seemed to have become the matriarch of her time. She was buried in the same burial place, Abraham and Sarah were buried, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah in Hebron. What an incredible testimony. Judah had two sons God killed because they were wicked. The list goes on.
Let me clear. Upbringing, family circumstances, values, discipline and training all have a way of affecting lives and making people turn out right. Also, God’s grace, favour and mercy is probably the most important reason for doing what is right and ending up being upright and righteous. Education, friends, acquaintances and even your spouse can be instrumental in how your life goes. But, none of these is an exact science and cannot be a cast-iron indication that one will end up right.
I have a theory, or maybe it is a hypothesis, that personal choices are the most important determinants in how a life is lived.
You can be born and brought up in the most abysmal situation and end up a resounding success in life. Whilst on the other hand one could be born with all the right genes, right family, right values, discipline, education and training and still end of a disgrace to your family. So, the choice as to what one does with one’s life is most important. Obed-Edom must have given his sons the right teachings etc, but these men must have heeded the instructions and made individual personal decision to follow the way of the Lord. This to me is the defining factor. At some point, parental input will cease and children will have to make their way in life. It is at this stage that the heart of the child is exposed and the Lord is able to transact and deal with that child on their own personal choices and relationship with Him.
Let me quickly bring a character into this narrative today. His name is Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron. His uncles, messed up before God and were destroyed. Let’s read the account of what he did in Numbers 25:1-15 – 251
While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, 2 who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate the sacrificial meal and bowed down before these gods. 3 So Israel yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor. And the Lord’s anger burned against them. 4 The Lord said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of these people, kill them and expose them in broad daylight before the Lord, so that the Lord’s fierce anger may turn away from Israel.” 5 So Moses said to Israel’s judges, “Each of you must put to death those of your people who have yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor.” 6 Then an Israelite man brought into the camp a Midianite woman right before the eyes of Moses and the whole assembly of Israel while they were weeping at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 7 When Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, saw this, he left the assembly, took a spear in his hand 8 and followed the Israelite into the tent. He drove the spear into both of them, right through the Israelite man and into the woman’s stomach. Then the plague against the Israelites was stopped; 9 but those who died in the plague numbered 24,000. 10 The Lord said to Moses, 11 “Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, has turned my anger away from the Israelites. Since he was as zealous for my honor among them as I am, I did not put an end to them in my zeal. 12 Therefore tell him I am making my covenant of peace with him. 13 He and his descendants will have a covenant of a lasting priesthood, because he was zealous for the honor of his God and made atonement for the Israelites.” 14 The name of the Israelite who was killed with the Midianite woman was Zimri son of Salu, the leader of a Simeonite family. 15 And the name of the Midianite woman who was put to death was Kozbi daughter of Zur, a tribal chief of a Midianite family.
Phinehas, at this moment showed his heart for God and undertook and action that stopped the plague that had killed 24,000 people. God spoke to Moses and singled Phinehas out as the one who stopped the plague and also blessed him and his descendants with a covenant of shalom and a lasting priesthood.
It seems that parents need to teach their children to fear God more than anything else in this life. It appears that the ability to stand for God is the defining posture that makes people stand out and be ‘successful’ in godly terms.
The sons of Obed-Edom were called ‘men of valour’, men of ability, men with strength to do the work. Perhaps the greatest legacy of Obed-Edom was his ability to transmit to his sons, the singular heart to prioritise God in their lives.
So, it does not matter so much what your past or antecedents have been, it matters most what you do for and on behalf of the Lord. Children from good homes end up bad and those from bad homes end up good. It boils down to the heart of the individual and their decision making before the God who sees and knows all things.
Let us Pray:Father God, today I want to ask you to give me the grace to love what you love and hate what you hate. Grant me the grace to always choose what pleases you even if I am unpopular and people reject me. Lord, help me to stand unshakingly for You in my generation. Let this quality be passed on to my descendants. Let my generations to come have this legacy that they are god fearing and will never compromise on God’s standards, no matter the personal cost. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
Key passage: Song of Songs 8: 6-7 – Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord. 7 Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised
Key Text – Song of Songs 8:7 – Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.
If you follow the secular media, especially the tabloids and lifestyle/celebrity magazines, you would clearly get the impression that love is some fleeting, whimsical feeling that wafts into your life and leaves almost as quickly as it came. You get the impression it is an unpredictable phenomenon like the British weather. The ease at which the celebrities fall in and out of love, and the frequency of their love cycles is quite alarming. They give the impression that love is transient. Nothing can be far from the truth. Love never ends.
One is really burdened, because the bible says in Hosea 4:6 “My people perish for lack of knowledge”. People have been fed with junk and lies and as such many people have broken lives and relationships, because they are no longer in ‘love’. The big question is was there love at the foundation of the relationship or infatuation or just plain lust? Love is not what you feel, it is something you do, and you give. It is a deliberate act of your will and once you commit to real love, you never pull out. It is for life. It is cast iron.
One of the reasons for the misconception is the general application of the word love. Love in the Greek has at least four meanings.
1. Eros – from where you get the word erotic and that has to do with sexual love, which is purely a physical thing and must not be confused with the sexual intercourse shared between two married people, which is a consummation of their love and in a very deep spiritual way the two become one flesh. Eros is another word for lust. Because people feel sexually attracted to each other, does not mean they are committed in love. That warm fuzzy feeling, that weakness you feel around the knees, that light headedness, the sudden palpating wildly heart thing you feel is not love at all. It is simply an attraction. That attraction can often be misinterpreted as love and when it is no longer there, people then say they no longer love. Complete error. That is not love!
2. Phileo – This is the where we get the word filial love which is the love friends have for each other. It is delighting to be in the presence of another, a warm feeling that comes and goes with intensity. This type of love requires some level of commitment, but it is still not the love that should exist between man and woman or more specifically husband and wife.
3. Storge Love – Storge is the natural bond between mother and infant, father, children, and kin. William Barclay states, “We cannot help loving our kith and kin; blood is thicker than water”
4. Agape or Agapa, this is the love of God shed into human hearts. It is the love that is totally unconditional, without prejudice and without expectation from the recipient by the giver of the love. Agape is the highest purest form of love. It is the love that God loves us with, and He expects us in turn to love others with such love. It is this love that makes marriages endure.
There are four aspects to agape love that will help us to discern it.
a. It is voluntary – The giver gives without being compelled or coerced. It is free from the giver’s will.
b. It is sacrificial – Agape is always willing to give everything to the object of love, even if it means you losing something. It is ready and willing to go through inconvenience and pain to express love and keep loving. Just think of Jesus going to the cross!
c. Love anticipates the needs of others and meets it without any request from the one loved. Love is always looking for a way to serve the other. How can I bless her? How can I help him? Love focuses on the one being loved and almost instinctively knows what to do to love the one they love!
d. Love’s reward is in loving. This is perhaps the least understood. The world teaches reciprocal love and I am not against it, but it is diametrically opposed to real biblical agape love. Agape love is not looking to be loved back. Agape love is not looking for the one loved to reward them for loving them. Agape love is fully satisfied by the act of loving. When you love the agape way, the cycle or loop is completed by loving. Nothing else to add.
Our text today shows us that the flames of love are most vehement flames. They cannot be quenched by a deluge of water, nor can it be drowned in floods. Love has in-built in it the capacity to overcome the worst life can throw at it and still come up looking bright and beautiful. Love is not whimsical, Love is rugged, dogged and can never die. Love is eternal, because it comes from eternity. Love never fails. It never stops and never runs dry.
Jeremiah 31:3 says “The Lord has appeared [a]of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” God’s love for us is not a fleeting love. It is everlasting, that is why God is so committed to us His children.
Romans 8:37-39 shows us “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The bible tells us nothing; absolutely nothing can come and separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
Isaiah 49:15-16 says ‘Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;’ This is one of the most profound illustrations of God’s love to us His people. He asked if a breast-feeding mother could forget her child and not breast feed him? He said even if she can forget, He would never forget. He went on to say He has engraved us on the palms of His hands. WOW!
I suggest to you that this was a prophetic word about Jesus Christ whose hands were pierced at the cross. The wounds are love marks and every time He reaches out to do anything with His hands, He is reminded of His love for us. If you really want to know how much God loves you, just look at Jesus on the cross. If you want to know how committed God is to you, look again at the cross. This was no whimsical, fleeting act. This was an indelible, deliberate, permanent decision. God loves you and I.
This is LOVE!
This is an updated version of a blog first published 15/02/2014
Let’s pray: Father, give me a fresh understanding of love and help me to receive deep within my heart your love so I can love people with the same love. I ask this in Jesus name. Amen.