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I, THE COLT

Maybe you’ve sung the song:

“I give myself away, so you can use me…

I’m not my own; to you I belong; I give myself, I give myself away…”

How sincere you are about what you say to God through those words, determines the extent of your commitment to Him and His Kingdom. Hence the problem with most believers: Most of us don’t actually understand what commitment to God and His kingdom truly means, which is why so few of us are as committed as we ought to be.

I’ll never forget the day it dawned on me what ‘belonging to God’ actually means: That it means I do not belong to myself, but to God. That as a believer in God, my life is not mine to live as I please, but in the way God wants me to live it. That no one in my life – not even my wife – comes first, but God. That where I live in this world, what job I do, all sorts of big and small decisions that I make, must be made according to His expressed will for my life. That He owns me. That I was made for His pleasure only, and must, therefore, have one goal only in life: To fulfill the purpose for which He sent me to this world!

The story of the colt that Jesus rode into Jerusalem offers a valuable insight into what commitment to service in the kingdom must be like. Please refer to Mark 11:1-10 for the story. Here are some valuable lessons from this story:

1. Only one way to go for a believer

Mark 11:4 tells us that the colt was tied a place where “two roads met”. This means that it was tied at a crossroads, and could, therefore, have been taken into any of four different directions by its owner. But because it was untied for the Master’s use, it was taken in the direction where the Master was.

The same way the colt was untied – set free from use of its former master – and brought to the Lord Jesus for His use, so are we saved – set free from our previous master the devil – and brought to the Lord Jesus for His exclusive use. Of the four directions that the colt could have been taken into, there was only one which could lead it to where the Lord Jesus was waiting for it. Therefore, the moment an individual gives his life to Jesus, he literally finds himself at a crossroads where he has a crucial decision to make: Where do I go from here? Am I ready to leave all the other choices that life is offering me, and take the one direction that would lead me to where the Master is waiting for me? If the believer truly has given his life to Jesus, then he will decide to abandon all other roads and follow the one that leads to Jesus, so that he can offer himself to Jesus and say ‘ here am I, Lord, ride on me. I’m all yours to do your will only, for the rest of my days.’ That’s what it means to give one’s life to Jesus.

2. The way of the Lord

So the colt was brought to the Lord to ride on. From that point on, it went only where the Master would have it go, and did only what the Master would have it do. It carried whatever load the Master would have it carry. So must a believer commit to living his life only the way the Lord would have him live it; go only where the Lord would have him go in life; see, think, and do things in one way only: The way of the Lord! Meaning, the way of righteousness and holiness; the way of absolute obedience to the word of God, as expressed in the Bible, and as He might specifically express it to us individually. It means not following the world’s ways of seeing, understanding, and doing things. But rather, to see, understand and do things according to the ways that the Holy Spirit of our Master leads us to. This is why we must always pray about what to do in every situation, and once we know what direction the Lord would have us go, we must follow that way by faith in He who told us to go that way.

3. It’s an ongoing commitment

Lucky for the colt, it’s in its nature to be obedient to its master. But for the fact that God gave us humans free will, we find it harder to stay committed to doing things the Lord’s ways only. Thus, we find ourselves having to renew our commitment on a daily basis, because we will keep on coming to crossroads where we will need to decide which way forward. Every day we find ourselves in situations that call for us to decide what we’re going to do, or how we’re going to do things. Do we do it the way of the world or the way of God? Is there a specific way the Lord is telling us to do something, but we’d rather not do it that way?

Staying committed is not easy! This is why spending time with the Lord in prayer on a regular basis is indispensable to a believer! If the Lord Jesus had needed to ceaselessly spend time with the father in prayer every night to refresh and strengthen His commitment to the Father, how much more we who are born of sinful nature! One of the greatest things the Lord did for me is that He taught me the importance and indispensability of having a prayer life! A serious believer must learn to spend hours in prayer daily!

4. It pays!

Imagine that as a colt is carrying its master around, it sees other colts that look like they’re better off. So are we often tempted to believe that unbelievers or the uncommitted believers have it so much better than us in life. We’re tempted to believe that the master they’re serving is treating them so much better than the Lord is treating us. We look at the rough roads that He rides on, meaning how difficult the task he has assigned unto us is, and we want to grumble and quit. Christianity is not easy! It was never meant to be easy. We have a mortal enemy in the devil who wants to see us fail; so he will throw serious hardship at us to try to get us to kick the Lord off our back and take him (the devil) back on our backs. Christianity is about getting freed from the devil’s yoke and taking on the Lord’s own yoke. But as the Lord tells us in Matthew 11:30 “…My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

So we have a choice: serve Satan and gain whatever he offers in reward, or serve Jesus and gain what He offers in reward. Again we learn a powerful lesson on this from the colt: It got to enjoy the Lord’s glory!

Mark 11:7 says “And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him. And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way.”

Before the Lord sat on the colt, people placed their garments on the colt; and as the Lord started riding the colt, the people laid out their garments and tree branches on the ground. This is an honor that the people meant to give to the Lord, but it was the colt that received the good treatment. The colt it was that was dressed up with people’s garments, and the colt is was that got to walk on people’s garments and on the branches.

That is exactly how it is: When we set out to make ourselves useful to the Lord, people come to our help by making various form of contribution to the work we’re doing. They do it for the Lord, but we’re the ones who get to enjoy their kind gestures. Also, just as the colt got to walk on the laid out branches, the feet of God’s servant get to thread on grounds that they might otherwise never tread on. Men and women of God get invited before heads of state, the rich and powerful, and all manner of influential people. The work they do for the Lord opens great doors unto them, and cause their feet to enter important places. And finally, the best reward of all: For choosing to carry the Lord here on earth, we will get to walk on streets of gold in heaven for eternity!

5. The mandate!

One of the biggest handicaps Christianity has suffered from is the fact that most believers don’t understand that by joining the body of Christ, they actually joined a task force in which everyone has a role to play. They believe that only the members of the clergy are supposed to minister to others in the name of the Lord. But the fact is that just as every single piece of organ in a human body has a very critical role that it is there to play, so does every saved individual have a very critical role to play in the body of our Lord. EVERY SINGLE BELIEVER MUST AVAIL HIM OR HERSELF TO BE RIDEN BY THE LORD TO CARRY OUT HIS WORK! There is a way for every single believer to be of great and significant use to the Lord. We just need to discover what the Lord has in mind for us individually.

So brethren, understand the reason for which you were saved: To be reconciled to God as His child and brought back into His kingdom, where you once again become a KING AND PRIEST unto Him! (see Revelation 1:5-6)

Have you ever seen a king who is not busy ruling over all that he surveys? Or a priest who is not busy ministering to people? Unfortunately, Christianity is full of such people. This is why every believer must discover the way that God has ordained and ordered for him/her to play his/her role as a king/queen and priest of God in this world!

Allow yourself to be a colt unto the Lord! Allow Him to ride on you through the rugged and hard roads of this world as He uses you to carry out His divine works in this world, and watch Him reward you for it here on earth and in heaven for eternity!

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2014 in SHORT MESSAGES

 

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CALL IT FORTH!

Jesus didn’t curse the fig tree to die. So why did the tree die? All He said to the tree was “may you never bear fruit again.” (See Matthew 21:18-22 for the story)

But because of a command given by God to all plants in Genesis 1:11-12, the fig tree died when Jesus simply told it never to bear fruit again. Why? Because the tree could not disobey the command given in Gen. 1:11-12, which says that every LIVING seed-bearing plant MUST BE FRUITFUL! So since the Lord now commanded the tree not to be fruitful any more, the tree could no longer stay alive, in disobedience to the command given to all plants in Gen. 1:11-12!

Now what did the Lord do that set off this chain of events? He spoke.

All the Lord did was to speak a word to the fig tree, and the tree obeyed and did even more than what the Lord had commanded it to do! This is what the Lord explained to the disciples when they asked what had happened to the tree. He told them “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.” (Matthew 21:21, NIV)

You see, brethren, this powerful thing that the Lord taught us here is possible because ALL THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN CREATED HAVE THE ABILITY TO HEAR THE SPOKEN WORD! All things were created by God’s spoken word, and they all remain subject to the spoken word. So whenever a command is given to them by the spoken word, they can hear and obey it!

God, who spoke them into being, made us in His own image, thus giving us the power to do the same things that He can do, such as speaking words that all things created can hear and respond to, just as they can hear and respond to His words. Therefore, you have the power and authority to make changes in your own life, and In the lives of others, by issuing commands for things to be the way you want them to be! Do not keep silent! Speak and command mountains to move out of yours and other people’s lives! Call forth things that are not as though they were! Command the sick to be healed! Command that bad situations be turned around! Command demons to flee! Speak beauty into ugly things! Speak solutions into hopeless situations!

Now here’s another great news: The command given in Gen. 1 goes further to pertain to animals as well (verses 20-25), and by extension, to us humans as well! I was once a seed in my father’s loins, as was he once in his own father’s loins, and as was his father in his own father’s loins, and so on… It has been, therefore, established that men are born with their own seeds within them, which they can choose to reproduce as children someday!

Therefore, if you are seeking the fruit of womb, despair not. Call forth your children! AS YOUR PARENTS WERE BORN WITH YOU AS SEED WITHIN THEM, SO WERE YOU BORN WITH SEEDS INSIDE OF YOU!!! THEREFORE, CALL FORTH YOUR CHILDREN! They are inside of you, and your body must respond to the word of the Lord and be fruitful! Speak to your body to bring forth the children it already carries! Do not let any devil lie to you that when it came for your turn to be born, you were born without seed! LIE!!! Whose report will you believe??? The report of the Lord in Genesis 1 says that you are a seed-bearing creature! Therefore, command your seeds to come forth!

If you’ve been seeking a spouse, despair not! Because THE SIMPLE FACT THAT YOU EXIST MEANS THAT YOUR OTHER HALF IS OUT THERE SOMEWHERE! Genesis 1:27-28 says it all: “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (NIV)

WHEN GOD MADE MAN, HE ASLO MADE THE WOMAN AT THE SAME TIME! The woman was hidden inside the man, and was brought out of the man later on in Genesis 2:21-25. God even used a piece of the man – one of his ribs – to form the woman, so that the man and the woman share the same ‘spiritual DNA’. THEREFORE, FOR EVERY WOMAN IN THIS WORLD, THERE’S A MAN OUT THERE THAT SHE CAME OUT OF, AND FOR EVERY MAN IN THIS WORLD THERE’S A WOMAN OUT THERE THAT CAME OUT OF HIM.

So if you’ve been looking for a spouse, despair not! Call him/her forth! The fact that you exist means your spouse is out there as well! If you’re a man, call forth the woman God brought out of you! If you’re a woman, call forth the man that you came out of! Command that your paths should cross, that you may finally be together!

Let me repeat this: This world was created and established upon the spoken word. Therefore, it can be altered by the spoken work at any time! And the power and authority to speak things into being resides in you and I, just as it resides in the God who spoke this world into being. Use this power and authority to speak and call forth the things that you need in this world! An ambassador in a foreign country speaks for the head of state who sent him to the foreign country. As an ambassador of Heaven, use the authority of God who sent you to represent Him in this world to speak and fulfill His divine purposes in this world! Evil thrives where godly people stay silent. Therefore, speak up and command godly change in the world around you!

Speak up, command and call forth the glory of our great God in your life for the world to see and believe in Him!

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2014 in SHORT MESSAGES

 

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YOU NEED THE PRESENCE OF GOD IN YOUR LIFE!

One of the greatest tragedies in Christianity is the fact that most believers absolutely lack any understanding of what it means that the presence of God is with them. One of the Lord Jesus’ names is Emmanuel, which means God-with-us. Therefore, by receiving Jesus-Christ into one’s life, one receives ‘God-with-us’, which means that one receives the in-dwelling presence of God into one’s life, commonly known as the presence of the Holy Spirit.

There’s an event that took place in the days of King David that gives us a powerful revelation of the significance of the presence of God in an individual’s life. It’s the story of the time when King David attempted to bring the ark of God back to Jerusalem from the land of the Philistines where it had been held in captivity for years. David and his people set the ark on a cart and headed back to Jerusalem. We read in 2Samuel 6:6-12:

  And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God. And David was displeased, because the Lord had made a breach upon Uzzah: and he called the name of the place Perezuzzah to this day. And David was afraid of the Lord that day, and said, How shall the ark of the Lord come to me? 10 So David would not remove the ark of the Lord unto him into the city of David: but David carried it aside into the house of Obededom the Gittite. 11 And the ark of the Lord continued in the house of Obededom the Gittite three months: and the Lord blessed Obededom, and all his household. 12 And it was told king David, saying, The Lord hath blessed the house of Obededom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God. So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obededom into the city of David with gladness.” (KJV)

The major points of this story are:

  • David became afraid to bring the ark into Jerusalem, lest it kills more people.
  • He decided to leave the ark in the field of a man named Obed-Edom.
  • God blessed Obed-Edom within the space of 3 months.
  • The blessing was such that even King David heard of it!

Here’s what powerful about all this: The name Obed-Edom means ‘Obed of Edom’, or ‘Obed the Edomite’. Therefore, Obed was a descendent of Edom, that is, Esau, Jacob’s brother. This means that there was a serious curse that operated in Obed-Edom’s life: The curse of Esau. This curse put every descendent of Esau under every descendent of Jacob. For this reason, the Edomites who dwelled among the Jews were treated as second-class folks. So much so that when King David became afraid of the ark, he decided to leave it on the property of Obed-Edom, with the reasoning that if the ark must kill people, let it kill those in Obed-Edom’s house. That’s how insignificant the lives of Obed-Edom and his household were to David because of the curse at work.

So when the Presence of God came into the house of Obed-Edom, it broke this curse and turned the situation around between Obed-Edom and David in such a way that if not for the eternal covenant that God had with David, God might have let Obed surpass David! God had planned before the creation of this world that David’s throne would be eternal since Jesus would come into this world through David’s lineage and reign forever. For this reason, God granted David mercy and grace and arranged for him to hear about what was happening in Obed-Edom’s house. This is why David ran to get the ark out of there! And it is also why he danced so hard when he finally brought the ark into Jerusalem. He had seen how powerfully the ark could bless people, and rejoiced because he was bringing this great Presence of God into his own city!

Kings don’t usually hear about every little thing that’s happening in the kingdom. Court officers only share important information with their kings. So what God began to do in the life of Obed-Edom was so powerful that King David’s officers felt the need to tell him about it! In fact Obed-Edom’s case is a classic example of the saying ‘the stone the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone!’ Here’s how this saying apply to this case: In the days of the kings, a person’s wealth determined his status in the society, and the very wealthy one were treated like kings. The common people flocked to the wealthy people for help with all kinds of matters, including passing judgment between them, just as they would go to the king. This is why, when Absalom wanted to dethrone his father King David, he went and sat at the King’s gate and directed the people to him for all their needs and issues. He helped them with their needs, and judged between them. Thus, he usurped his father’s office and position before the people. Instead of fighting his own son over the power of the kingdom, David chose to abdicate and leave the palace for Absalom. If Obed-Edom had been left alone with the ark in his house, he too could have grown in power and influence over King David.

In order for you to grasp the enormity of what happened in Obed-Edom’s life, consider this: It is the work and power of the curse of Esau that we are still witnessing today in the Middle-East between the Israelis and the Palestinians. No United Nations intervention and no deals brokered between the Israelis and Palestinians by anybody will ever break the hold that the Israelis have on the Palestinians. Isaac said to Esau that if he succeeded in breaking off the yoke that the curse has placed on his neck, then he would become free from it (see Genesis 27:40). The uprisings that the Palestinians engage in today is called ‘Intifadah’, which means ‘break off’.  As we know, they keep trying to break off the Israelis’ hold on them, and never succeed!

This is why it is such a powerful thing that God was willing to break this curse in the life of Obed-Edom. Here are some powerful lessons from this:

  • Whom God curses, no one can bless!
  • Whom God curses, He can turn around and bless!

Think about this: Could God bless someone while keeping his curse on the person? He had to first of all cancel the curse of Esau in order for His blessing to work in Obed-Edom’s life. THIS IS THE AWESOME BENEFIT THAT BELIEVERS GET TO ENJOY FOR HAVING THE PRESENCE OF GOD IN THEIR LIVES! He comes into our lives ready to destroy every curse that may have been operating in our lives, and to replace it all with His awesome blessings! This is why if God is with you, who can be against you??? If God’s presence is with you, how can any curse work against you? How could He stand idly by while some curses are waging war against you?!? Rather He moves in and looks around your life, and sets out to destroy everything in your life that has been causing you trouble! In Obed-Edom’s case, verse 12 says “The Lord hath blessed the house of Obededom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God.”

The keyword in that passage is ‘pertaineth’. It means that God went to work to bless Obed-Edom everything that even remotely pertained to the man. If a matter concerned Obed-Edom in any way at all, God dealt with it on his behalf to give him victory in the matter! This is what God wants to be able to do in the life of every single child of His in this world, and it pains Him so much to see His children suffering at the hands of various curses, all because we fail to live lives that would be conducive to His divine and Holy Presence!

Brethren, I pray that as you read these words, you develop a deep hunger for the presence of God in your life, and that you determine yourself to walk in holiness and righteousness, that the Lord might be willing to dwell in your life. You simply cannot make it as a Christian without his holy presence in your life because, as we know, the kingdom of God – Christianity – is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17).  It is only His presence in you that can place His righteousness on you, and enable you to have His supernatural peace and joy flowing in you.

Make your life conducive to God’s divine presence, and begin to see His awesome power at work in your life, to His glory!

 

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2014 in SHORT MESSAGES

 

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LET GOD BE GOD IN AND THROUGH YOU!

Once when the Lord Jesus needed to pay His taxes, neither He nor any of his disciples had any money. So He sent Peter to catch a fish and get the needed coin out of the fish’s mouth. (See Matthew 17:27 for the story.) God could have provided the money for the Lord Jesus by some other means, but He chose to do it in this manner. Did it matter to Jesus how He got the money? No. What mattered was that God-The-Father provided.

The secret to the Lord Jesus’ success on earth is simply that He lived by a strict obedience to every command that He received from God-the Father. He observed a strict obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit. He told us so Himself in passages such as:

  • John 12:49: “For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken”
  • John 14:10: “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.”
  • John 14:24: “Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”
  • John 14:26: “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
  • And Hebrews 2:10-13 quotes the Lord saying “…Even I live by placing my trust in God.” (MSG)

Therefore, in order to be as successful as the Lord Jesus was in His walk on earth, all a believer needs to do is to develop the same strict discipline of obeying, trusting in, and depending on God, that Jesus Himself had lived by.

You may read that last statement and say ‘that’s all it takes?’ And you’d be right in wondering if I’m not being too simplistic, but the simple fact is that walking with God is as simple as it is hard to do. The rules for a successful walk with God are very simple, though not easy to follow. Hence the sad state of Christianity today.

Here are the rules:

  • Believe in Christ and receive Him as your Lord and savior.
  • Give your life to Him. Meaning, submit your life – everything that makes up your life; everything that you are; everything that you own – under His leadership.
  • Consider Him to be your Master. Meaning that He owns you, and you live for one reason only: To serve Him. To do His will.
  • Depend on Him for everything in life. Meaning: look to Him for every form of need you could possibly have in this world; look to Him for protection; look to him guidance.
  • Obey EVERY instruction and command you receive from Him.
  • Comply to His rules for holiness.

Do this faithfully and flawlessly, and YOU WILL succeed as a follower of Christ and WILL see the manifestations of His presence and power in your life! Failure to faithfully and fully observe these rules is the single reason that most believers, especially pastors and ministers, do not adequately represent God in their lives and ministries the way Jesus did.

The first 3 of the Lord Jesus’ statements quoted above say it all: In those statements, He let us understand that He wasn’t just here on His own, but rather that He was ‘inside’ the Father. Meaning that as people saw Him, there was an invisible being that was there as well, but that they were not seeing: The Father. So He was saying that the Father is the main Person who is there, and He Himself is inside the Father. The point is that the work that Jesus came to do, it was the Father who really came to do the work, but He used Jesus to do it. So everything Jesus did, and every word He ever spoke, He did it all because the Father is the one who wanted to do and say those things, but He did it all through Jesus by using Jesus’ mouth and body.

So Jesus TOTALLY availed Himself to be used by God for God to do the things that God wanted to do in this world. Therefore, as long as Jesus followed every command that He received from God by doing everything that God told Him to do, and by speaking everything that God wanted Him to speak, God was able to be God through Jesus!

Brethren, THIS IS ALL that God is asking from us: For us to avail ourselves to be used by Him in the same manner that Jesus did! IT IS THOSE WHO SUCCEED AT THIS WHO TRULY REPRENSENT AND ENJOY CHRISTIANITY, because they get to enjoy the move of God in their lives! The single reason the power of God is not seen through the lives of believers the way it ought to be seen, is the fact that too few of us are willing to pay the price of submitting our lives unto God the way Christ did.

Too many of us let the ways of this world guide our decisions in life because too few of us understand the fact that once saved, we became kings and priests of God-Most-High!

Revelation 1:5-6  tells us:  “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”

God in heaven is King and Priest over the whole universe. And on earth He uses believers to perform His kingly and priestly work. So He saves people and uses them to rule as King, and to minister as Priest in this world. Jesus came to show us how this works. He walked about this earth allowing God to rule as King through Him, and to minister to people as Priest through Him. Meaning that Jesus was king and priest in this world only as a representative of God, who is the main King and Priest. And He was able to flawlessly represent God because He flawlessly followed God’s instructions on what to do as King and as Priest. All the people that are suffering in this world, God sees their sufferings and as a Priest He wants to minister His healing, deliverance, empowerment, and blessings unto them. And as the King of this world that He created, He wants to rule over the affairs of this world. He does all that thru people, as He did through Jesus.

So you that are reading this right now, understand this powerful fact: God wants to rule as King and to minister as Priest in this world through you. That’s why He saved you and called you His own. Look closely at the lives of the successful men and women of God that you know, and you will see that the one thing they have in common is their dedication to being used by God in the ways that He wants to use them! They try more than the average believer to live by God’s laws and will for their lives. As they do this they allow God to be God in and through their lives, hence the manifestation of His presence and power in and through their lives!

I have great news for you: This great God is no respecter of persons! He is a respecter of His own principles only! And His principles are that ANYONE who obediently avails himself to be used by God will not be cast away, but will be used indeed! The powerful men and women of God that you know are simply people who decided that they would be as obedient as possible, and that they would serve God as obediently as possible, and God responded to their acts of obedience the same way He responded to Jesus’ own acts of obedience. So He is anxiously waiting for you to give Him the chance to prove Himself mighty in and through your life, for others to see and pursue after you in their quest for God, just as you are currently pursuing those successful men and women of God, and just as the crowds pursued Jesus.

So I encourage you to decide today to do the same as they did:

  • Determine to be that great servant that God expect you to be unto Him.
  • Determine to walk in His holiness.
  • Determine that you will absolutely trust in Him and rely on Him for everything in life!
  • Determine to obey every instruction and command you receive from Him.
  • Determine to submit yourself to His guidance, and to live ONLY that life that He wants for you.
  • Determine to abandon whatever you’re doing and to do only whatever He tells you to do. (He may not necessarily tell you to leave what you’re currently doing, but you need to submit it under His leadership and involve Him in it and follow His directions and how to do it.)
  • Determine to consult Him in EVERYTHING you do
  • If you’re a minister, NEVER do anything without consulting Him. The church belongs to Him. Never to you. He called you to use you to build His church, not your church. How would you then make any decisions concerning His church without seeking His consent first?
  • Determine to  ALWAYS do as He has commanded, NO MATTER how difficult the command may be to keep!

Do this and watch Him transform your life into the masterpiece that He had purposed for it to be, to His glory!!!

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2014 in SHORT MESSAGES

 

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THE BELIEVER’S RETIREMENT PLAN

So how’s your heavenly retirement plan looking these days? How big has your nest egg grown up there in heaven?

 

These are questions we never hear believers ask one another; unlike the way we ask the same type of questions about our earthly retirement plans and activities. But the cold hard truth is that just as we need to have a retirement plan in place here on earth, we need to have one in heaven as well, and the heavenly one is by far more important that the earthly one because no matter how long an earthly retirement period (the years between retirement and death) might last, the heavenly one will last for eternity!

 

One crucial understanding that every believer must have is that we were placed on this earth to work for a period of time, then go to heaven to dwell, therefore, to retire. If you can allow this understanding to guide your life, you will be able to plan for your ‘heavenly retirement’ the same way you would plan your earthly one. It’s sad enough that most people fail to even plan for their earthly retirement; what a tragedy then, that most believers fail to plan for their much anticipated home-going to heaven!

 

Just as we must ask ourselves how we will meet our financial needs after we’ve grown too old to work, we must wonder how we will fend for ourselves in heaven. The problem is that we have this general belief that in heaven, there will be no need for anything. Wrong. The truth is that we don’t really know how things work in heaven, but the Lord Jesus has told us some things about heaven, so whatever understanding we must have of heaven must come from what the Lord has told us, and here are some of the statements He has made about heaven:

 

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21, KJV)

 

Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12:33,34, KJV)

 

So the Lord has made it clear that we ought to lay up treasures for ourselves in heaven. Why would that be? Of what use would the treasures be to us in heaven, other than for us to make use of it up there? So if we will need to make use of treasures up in heaven, that means there will be need to make transactions in heaven. So things will not be free up there after all. Let’s remember that God modeled life on earth after the way things are in heaven, but without the evil that we have on earth.

 

Here on earth we save up money for retirement because during the retirement period, we have for the most part ceased all income-generating activities, which tends to limit our ability to make ends meet. Now the tricky thing about being retired is that no one knows how long one might stay alive in retirement until death comes calling. So if an individual saved up enough money to last him five years, but gets to stay alive for 10 more years, those can be very harsh 10 years. For this reason we are encouraged to work hard at saving as much money as possible for our eventual period of retirement, since we have no idea how long it will last. Using this same logic, shouldn’t our highly-anticipated heavenly retirement be an even greater concern to us, since we know for a fact that it will be for eternity?!?

 

This is why in each of the statements the Lord made above, He ended by saying “for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also“, in order to stress the need for us to be more concerned with the treasure that we accumulate in heaven more than the earthly one. Because our retirement to heaven should matter to us far more than our retirement on earth.

 

Imagine that a man figures out that when he retires, he’s going to be spending $50,000 a year on living expenses. If he decides to save up for 20 years of retirement period, that comes to $1,000,000. With this in mind, everything he does in life will be geared towards realizing this $1,000,000 goal! Whatever amount of this money he manages to accumulate becomes a treasure that he would think of and cherish every waking moment, and would do everything to protect and grow. The Lord is telling us to have this attitude towards our heavenly retirement instead! In fact that is what the entire chapter of Luke 12 is all about. (Please take a moment and read the entire chapter).

 

In Luke 12 we’re told about a man who had succeeded in accumulating a great treasure for himself on earth, and decided one day that he had amassed enough to live on like a king for the rest of his life. That night, God took his life, and he ended up having done all that hard work for naught. The point of the parable is not that the man should not have amassed a fortune to enjoy here on earth. Rather it was that he had only concerned himself with gathering an earthly treasure, and totally ignored the fact that there’s a place called heaven, where God dwells, and where he would have to go back to. And because he had failed to be mindful of heaven, he failed to engage in the activities that would have earned him treasures in heaven. He failed to serve God while he was alive. God called the man ‘foolish’. And the opposite of foolish is wise. Proverbs 11:30 says:

 

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. (KJV)

 

What’s wise about winning souls? It’s the fact that soul-winning is the means for us to gather treasures in heaven! It is the means by which we get paid in heaven! As we serve the kingdom of God here on earth, we earn wages both here on earth and in heaven, and it is the ones we earn in heaven that are gathered up as treasures for us to enjoy when we retire to heaven.

 

So again I ask, what’s wise about winning souls? Imagine the rich man in Luke 12 going to heaven to find nothing in his heavenly account. But he sees a man who is enjoying a serious amount of treasure up there. As he looks closer, he recognizes the man as someone he had known on earth, who had spent his time on earth doing the Lord’s work winning souls for the kingdom. Which of the two men was wiser?

 

The Lord asked me one day “those mansions that I said I’m going to build for you in heaven, what do you think I would be building them with?” I replied that I did not know. He said that it is the treasures that we accumulate in heaven that He uses to build them. Meaning that as we serve in His kingdom here on earth, we earn wages in heaven, and from those wages he builds our mansions for us in preparation for our retirement to heaven. Needless to say, that blew my mind!!!

 

Here’s a story I always share to illustrate this: Many Africans who live abroad work hard in order to send money to their home countries to build houses for themselves. When I was living in Nigeria, a cousin of mine who lived in Germany came home one day, expecting to find a fully-built and furnished house waiting for him. He had been working hard and borrowing money to send to one of our uncles to build and furnish a house for him. But when he came home, there was no house, just an empty lot with the foundations of a house. That’s an example of a man who tried to lay up treasure for himself here on earth, and the treasure was stolen from him. Had he endeavored instead to lay up all that treasure in heaven by investing all that hard-earned money into the work of the kingdom, he would have given the Lord the resources to build him a mansion in heaven. And the Lord would not have cheated him!

 

As in the parable of the rich man in Luke 12, the point of this real life story is not that we shouldn’t build houses for ourselves here on earth. It’s just an illustration of how we can get our priorities all screwed up, for lack of wisdom.

 

This is why the Lord admonished: “…Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth…”

 

In order to successfully save up for retirement, the principle of ‘deferred pleasure’ must be applied. One must deny oneself some pleasures in order to, instead, put away the money that would have been spent on that pleasure. Likewise must we deny ourselves some pleasures here on earth in other to send the money up to heaven instead, by spending that money on the work of the kingdom. For example, before setting out to build yourself an expensive dream house here on earth, have you considered what your mansion in heaven looks like? Even if you get to live in your earthly dream house for years, that will still be nothing compared to the fact that you will have to live in whatever you end up with in heaven for eternity. So let’s be wise and prioritize well. Let’s be busy sowing seeds into our heavenly treasure by financing the kingdom and by giving alms to the needy. Haven’t you read that“… Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.” (Proverbs 19:17, NIV). Instead of wasting our hard-earned substances on things that will eventually prove futile, let’s be wise and ‘lend’ them to the Lord. He pays back with heavenly interests!

 

Therefore, it is imperative that we truly submit EVERYTHING we own unto God and let Him guide every facet of our lives. Only He can help us spend our resources in the best and most profitable ways, and help us maximize our treasures in heaven. So brethren, I URGE YOU TO TAKE A MOMENT AND PONDER THIS ISSUE VERY CONSCIOUSLY! Allow the Lord to ingrain in your consciousness the fact that all this is very real. If you’re somebody who has taken the time to consider the fact that you will retire one day from the work you’re doing and that you need to have a retirement plan in place, then it should be easy for you to understand how crucial it is for you to work even harder on your eventual retirement to heaven.

 

There are 4 major types of retirees:

  • Those who planned for retirement and worked on saving up for it.
  • Those who didn’t plan and didn’t save anything.
  • Those who didn’t plan, but were simply fortunate to have made a lot of money, and retired well.
  • Those who planned and tried, but simply couldn’t save up a lot.

 

So it is in heaven. Most believers have never thought about these matters at all. Therefore in heaven we find the following kinds of believers:

  • Those who worked hard for the kingdom and built great treasures for themselves.
  • Those who didn’t work for the kingdom at all.
  • Those who worked, but not much at all.
  • Those who worked hard, but not in the ways or in the areas God wanted them to serve Him.

 

You will agree with me that if those who had failed to work hard had known that their service would earn them treasures in heaven, they most likely would had have tried to do better. For this reason, LIFE IN RETIREMENT IS NOT SOMETHING TO BE LEFT TO CHANCE. Rather we must consciously work on setting ourselves up as best as possible for our retirements here on earth and in heaven.

 

Therefore, as you would sit down with a financial consultant to help and guide you in planning your earthly retirement, you need to go to the Lord and let Him show you where and how He has planned for you to serve in His kingdom. NO MATTER WHAT YOUR OCCUPATION MAY BE, THERE IS A WAY FOR YOU TO SERVE GOD IN THIS WORLD. And if you can’t serve Him in deeds, serve Him in kind! REMEMBER THAT NOTHING YOU ACHIEVE HERE ON EARTH IS WORTH IT IF IT STANDS IN THE WAY OF YOUR ACHIEVING SUCCESS IN HEAVEN! No treasure or good life that you can create for yourself here on earth is worth it if it prevents you from creating a treasure and a good life for yourself in heaven! BE WISE ABOUT THIS!

 

I will close by pointing out once again that the Lord repeated the phrase “…For where your treasure is, there will your heart be alsobecause it is a strong urging from the Lord for us to be more mindful of our heavenly treasure than of our earthly one. I pointed out earlier that a man who has a retirement plan will cherish and protect his nest egg more ferociously than a hen would protect her nest. The Lord is admonishing us to have this attitude even more towards our heavenly nest egg. This doesn’t mean that our motive for wanting to serve Him should be based on the rewards we receive in heaven, but He’s simply urging us not to make the mistake of neglecting the treasures that we accumulate in heaven, BECAUSE WE WILL NEED IT TO LIVE when we get up there!!!

 

The work abounds in God’s vineyard, and the harvest has been ripe, waiting for laborers! Be that laborer and watch God faithfully bless you here on earth and in heaven!

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2014 in SHORT MESSAGES

 

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BE NOT A CHILD BUT A SON OF GOD!

What does God desire the most from us believers? It is that we would all become sons and daughters to Him, not just his children. Because there is a world of difference between being a child and being a son or a daughter. A child is an immature human, and a son is a mature human. A child cannot be very useful to a father because he cannot help the father take care of business, whereas a mature son can.

Apostle Paul admonished the Galatian brethren that “…As long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2 The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces[a] of the world. But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.[b]Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba,[c] Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” – Galatians 4:1-7

Now, the main point Paul sought to make here is that though all men are made in God’s image and are therefore, His offspring, an unsaved man cannot operate as God’s son because the sinful nature of the unsaved man makes it impossible for him to relate to God as His son. So Paul likened this to a child whom, though he is his father’s son, does not yet live up to his proper and expected role as a son to the man, because there’s something still standing in the way: childishness and immaturity. And in the context that Paul used the analogy, what is standing in the way of a man being recognized as God’s son is sin. Therefore, the salvation from sin that Jesus has provided has made it possible for men to be fully recognized as heirs of God, as through salvation:

  • The nature of God is restored in men, and we can now call Him Father.
  • The power and authority of God is restored in men.
  • The ability to take care of God’s business as His sons is restored in men.
  • The ability to represent God on earth as his sons is restored in men.

So while that was the context in which Paul made that admonition to the Galatians, there are more contexts in which more understanding can be gained from that admonition. The story of the Prodigal Son provides one such context in that in this story we have the father and his sons representing God and His children, and the father’s estate representing God’s kingdom. [Please refer to Luke 15:11-32 for the full parable of the prodigal son]

This story reveals a number of issues that prevent God’s children – born-again believers – from being God’s sons, namely:

  • LACK OR INADEQUATE AMOUNT OF LOVE FOR GOD
  • SPIRITUAL IMMATURITY
  • LACK OF UNDERSTANDING OF WHO WE ARE AS HEIRS OF GOD
  • SPIRITUAL CARELESSNESS

Though the prodigal son and his older brother were their father’s sons, they behaved more like children even after they had grown to the age when they should have behaved like sons unto him. As we know from the story, their father had a huge estate; the kind that requires that he appoint people in important positions to help him run the affairs of the estate. But his sons fell short of such important positions. Likewise do the majority of God’s children woefully fall short of expectations that God has of us, for the reasons listed above.

Though the prodigal son and his older brother had two very different personalities, both were very immature sons who lacked understanding of who they were in their father’s house. The prodigal son’s issues were more obvious than the older brother’s. The prodigal son didn’t care about their father at all, and simply wanted to go and live his own life for himself, at his father’s expense. Meaning that he didn’t have a sense of ownership over their father’s estate like a son would, and therefore, didn’t care to help grow the estate. Many in the church are like this man. We only see God’s kingdom as His kingdom, and not ours as well. We don’t see it as our Heavenly Father’s property that we must take part in helping to grow in this world. But most of our prayers are about asking God to give us our piece of His riches.

Had the prodigal son loved his father, he would have lovingly stayed and helped to build the father’s estate, and wouldn’t have even thought of the inheritance. And had he been wise, he would have understood that in helping to build the estate, he was building his own estate; that he was building his own future. Because you see, had he been wise, and had he loved his father, he would have waited for his father to die before receiving his inheritance. For instance, let’s say that his share of his father’s estate was 20%, and that the estate was worth 100 million dollars on the day he received his inheritance. That would mean a share of 20 million dollars. But then let’s say that their father got to live 20 more years before dying, and that at the time of  his death, his estate was worth 1 billion dollars. The prodigal son’s inheritance at that time would have been 200 million dollars! So had he been wise, he would have stayed and worked to build up his own inheritance!

If only we believers were wise to understand the glorious stake that we have in our Father’s kingdom!!!

The Lord spoke to me one day, and asked me “those mansions that I said I’m going to prepare for you in heaven (see John 14:2), what do you think I’m building them with?” He then proceeded to explain to me that it is the work that we do for Him here on earth that produces the resources that He uses to build our mansions in heaven. In other words, as we serve in His kingdom here on earth, we get paid both here on earth, and in heaven for our services, and the Lord uses the payments that we receive in heaven to build our mansions for us. This is why He told us in Matthew 6:19-21 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (KJV)

Here’s an illustration: Many Africans who live abroad endeavor to send money to their home countries to build houses for themselves. When I was living in Nigeria, a cousin of mine who lived in Germany came home one day, expecting to find a fully-built and furnished house waiting for him. He had been working hard and borrowing money to send to one of our uncles to build a house for him. But when he got there, there was no house. That’s an example of a man who tried to lay up treasure for himself here on earth, and the treasure was stolen from him. Had he endeavored instead to lay up treasures in heaven by investing all that hard-earned money into the work of the kingdom, he would have given the Lord the resources to build him a mansion in heaven. And the Lord would not have cheated him!

Now of course I’m not saying that one should not build houses for oneself here on earth. But I am very much encouraging us to re-evaluate our priorities in life! Because it is a fact that we believers do spend AND WASTE the resources God gives us on personal things, instead of spending it on things that concern and benefit the Kingdom.

  • A TRUE SON OF GOD IS ONE WHO UNDERSTANDS THAT KINGDOM MATTERS COME FIRST IN HIS LIFE!
  • A true son of God understands that he is only a steward of whatever God puts in his hands, and that paying tithe of 10% doesn’t mean that the remaining 90% is for him to spend as he wishes. Rather He asks God how he is to spend every red cent that comes into his hands.

So much more work would be accomplished in the kingdom of God if more believers committed their possessions to serving God with it first.

Brethren, so many people will be shocked when they get to heaven and see the mansion that was built for them. Those believers who spent their time on earth pursuing their own things, seeking fulfilment in their own ways, serving God how and when it pleased them, will be shocked to see what they got. And they will be even more shocked to see the greater mansions that were built for those who selflessly and tirelessly served God! Those who gave Him their all here on earth, WILL go to heaven to receive their great rewards! All because they were wise enough to understand that their reward up in heaven is the more important one.

Proverbs 11:30 says “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. (KJV)

I used to wonder a lot about the meaning of the second part of this verse; I mean it’s obvious that winning souls is a good thing to do, which all believers are expected to do anyway. But what has wisdom got to do with it? I used to ponder this issue until the Lord gave me the understanding about the relation between serving in His kingdom and laying up treasures in heaven. If the work we do for the kingdom here on earth is the means by which we’re paid in heaven, then you’ll agree with me that a person who denies himself much personal pleasure here on earth in order to devote himself to the work of the kingdom is a lot wiser than a man who doesn’t, because he is wise enough to look ahead and build up a treasure for himself where it truly matters – in heaven – where he will get to enjoy the fruit of his labors FOR ETERNITY!

So we can see how the prodigal son lacked insight into the future, and was not wise enough to make the best decision for himself. ALL BECAUSE HE DIDN’T CARE ABOUT HIS FATHER’S AFFAIRS! Believers who spend their earnings on themselves and neglect the affairs of the kingdom are no different. True sons of God are mature and wise believers who know better! Who understand that true fulfilment in life is in helping to build their father’s kingdom by helping to populate it with His lost sons and daughters! Who understand that if they don’t do it, nobody else would! If they don’t do it, who would? The unbelievers? The careless and unserious believers who don’t have time for God?

So from all this we learn that a true son or daughter of God:

  • Loves God and wants to serve Him out of love and devotion, not for what he can gain from God
  • Sees God’s Kingdom as his own, and devotes himself to helping build it
  • Is wise to understand that worldly gains cannot be compared to eternal gains in heaven, where it truly matters. Like the prodigal son who would have gained much more if he had stayed and served his father to the end, we stand to gain so much more if we serve wholeheartedly, and never stop serving to the end!

Let’s now take a look into some of the older brother’s issues, which are summed up in his angry comments to his father when he said: “‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’” (Luke 15:29, NIV)

By his own admission, the older brother was so immature that he didn’t understand who he was in his father’s house. He saw himself as a slave, though he owned the estate. He served his father, not as a heir to his father, but as a slave because that’s how he saw himself. Not as a co-owner and co-builder of the estate, but as a slave. Hence another lesson from Paul’s statement to the Galatians that “as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2 The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father.

The employees at a multi-billion-dollar retail chain don’t have a sense of ownership in the company as do the owners of the company because they are not heirs to the company. And by owners I mean the man or woman who owns the company along with his/her children. They’re the ones enjoying the billions. The employees only get their fixed salaries, so it’s understandable that they couldn’t care any less whether the company is doing well or not, because as far as they’re concerned, even if the company went down, they could go somewhere else and get another job making the same salary. But if the heirs of the company’s owner are grown up and are working in the company, they would take their jobs and positions more personally than the employees would, and the wellbeing of the company would mean everything to them.

We believers must see God’s kingdom as our very own kingdom because it belongs to us. We are heirs to it; so what concerns it MUST concern us! We must take personally the affairs of the kingdom of God. The church we belong to does not belong to the pastor-in-charge or the overseer, but it belongs to us because it belongs to God our Father. What concerns the church MUST concerns us deeply. The needs of the church must be our needs. We must love the church as Christ loves her, and avail ourselves to be used by the Lord to see that the affairs of the church are running smoothly.

If an heir to the retail company needed a 60-inch TV set, all he would need to do would be to order that one TV set be brought to his house from one of the company’s stores, because he knows that  the TV set, along with everything in the stores, belongs to him. The prodigal son’s older brother didn’t even have this understanding. He didn’t know that he had the right to order a servant to kill a goat for him to enjoy with his friends. He was waiting for his father to see him working hard one day and tell him to reward himself with a goat, when he himself was in the position to see one of the servants working hard and tell the servant to reward himself with a goat. But if he didn’t even know that he could reward himself with a goat, how could he tell the servants to reward themselves with one?

Brethren, if you don’t know who you are in Christ, how can you tell others who they are in Him??? If you don’t know who you are in Christ, how can you know what rights, authorities and powers you have in his kingdom as co-heirs with Him??? How can you call yourself a son??? It is a child who goes about his father’s house not understanding these things, because he is a child. Which is why the father assigns servants to care for him and provide him with things that he needs but doesn’t know how to get for himself. But it is expected that with time, the child would grow into a mature man who knows what rights he has as his father’s son, and begins to exercise his authority over the estate. Likewise MUST a believer grow into a son or daughter of God in whom now dwell God’s power and authority, and who knows how to use this power and authority to perform his God-assigned duties in the kingdom!

And just as a small child cannot be expected to work alongside his father to help build the family estate, neither can an immature believer successfully work with God. So it is expected that a believer MUST mature into a son whose existence on earth is all about working alongside God-the-Father and our Senior Brother Jesus, to help build and advance the kingdom!

This is why Romans 8:19  says “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” (KJV)

Not the manifestation of the ‘children’ of God, but of the ‘sons’ of God! Only true sons of God have what it takes to manifest His power and glory for the world to see and believe in Him!

Lastly, we see the same lack of love in the older brother as well. In fact it’s not at all surprising that with all his immaturity, the older brother would also lack love, because a mature son would be man enough and loving enough to graciously welcome back his wayward brother. One of the greatest failures of the Church is in the way newcomers are treated sometimes. The existing members can at times be incredibly hostile to newcomers. Whether they realize it or not, they react as if they aren’t happy to see a lost soul come home to the Father. But a true believer is a son of Love. God doesn’t just have love, HE IS LOVE! So as His children we are children of love! And as we grow into sons, we grow to become sons of Love! Love MUST be a defining trait in a true son of God. AS GOD IS LOVE, SO MUST A TRUE SON OF HIS BECOME LOVE! The ability to love ALL men unconditionally and to readily welcome them into the kingdom must dwell in a son of God! Our lives must be all about working to reconcile our lost brethren to our Father, out of deep love for our Father and for our lost brethren!

WHO THE BROTHERS BECAME

In the parable, the Lord did not say what happened after the prodigal son returned and was accepted back into his father’s house as a son. But as we can see from the story, he and his older brother were subjected to some serious life-changing lessons on who they ought to be in their father’s house. The older bro found out that his father’s possessions were his to use freely, and that he was not to see himself as just one of the servants. And the prodigal son became a different person from who he was before he left.

As a result of this transformation that took place within both sons, they could now truly be sons to their father! How so?

The prodigal son was now a broken man. He had had his fun in life and was no longer interested in having fun. All he wanted before was to use and abuse his father’s wealth, but now he was ready to be useful to his father! HE HAD ‘DIED’ AND WAS BORN ANEW into a reformed and responsible person who could be counted upon, as a true son! The experience that he had gone thru was the kind that gives wisdom, and produces in a man the right kinds of personality traits, such as humility, wisdom and understanding, graciousness, dedication, selflessness, temperance, etc… Therefore, I can imagine that he must have gone to his father the next morning and asked where he could be of service on his father’s estate! And we can be sure that WHATEVER he was told to do, he would have done it judiciously and excellently, as he was now selflessly dedicated to the service of his father!

This is the kind of brokenness – and resulting reformation to our personalities, that God seeks to produce in believers that He is looking to make into sons! This is why He takes His time to put us thru harsh ordeals that are akin to the hardship the prodigal son endured.

The older brother also underwent a transformation that day, stemming from the understanding that had just been handed to him by his father. Here’s how his own future might have changed: From the way he saw himself, and the way his father spoke to him, it is doubtful that the father had given him a befitting position of responsibility and authority in his estate. Let’s remember the statement “As long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2 The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father…

Their father had servants who occupied positions of authority and helped him run the estate, instead of his own sons. One son had run away, and the older one who had stayed was unfit to take on such important positions. Just as the father waited for the day his prodigal son would come back and be a son to him, he waited for the day his older son would overcome his shortcomings and become a son to him. Therefore, if the father’s words to the older brother had had the right effects on him, then the older brother would have had the kind of change of heart, change of perspective, and change of self-view, that would have transformed him into the person his father had been waiting for him to become: A grown man who knew who he was as his father’s son! It is to such a son that their father would assign a position of importance within his estate.

The ‘new’ older brother would be a new person in that he would no longer be insecure and resentful of his younger brother and his father. His anger towards both men would dissipate and turn into love. And this love would produce in him the gentleness and graciousness with which he could lead the servants and treat them well and justly. He was already dedicated to serving their father; but while he used to do it with bitterness and resentment, he would now do it out of love and devotion to his father, and would happily and lovingly serve alongside his reformed brother.The Lord is not looking for slaves in us! He is looking for dedicated sons and daughters who CHEERFULLY seek to serve Him because they have grown to love and value Him above all things!

CONCLUSION

We will conclude this teaching by pointing out the powerful role that righteousness plays in all this discussion about sons. BECAUSE RIGHTEOUSNESS IS THE SOURCE OF THE POWER IN A SON OF GOD!
We’ve mentioned that a son of God must be holy. But holiness is simply man separating himself from sin, and the simple fact is that no matter how much we try to be holy before God, we could never attain the standard of holiness that God has. Therefore, God devised a system by which He puts His own righteousness upon us once we believe in His Son. That way, He overlooks our imperfect state by looking at us thru His Son’s own perfection, and sees us righteous.

This presence of God’s righteousness in us brings us into an incredible position! In fact the greatest tragedy this world has ever known is the fact that believers do not understand the kind of position the righteousness of God brings them into in this world! Imagine a homeless vagrant with no good name and origins, no possessions, nothing whatsoever to boast of in this world. One day, a wealthy and powerful man takes in the bum, adopts him and confers upon him his own powerful name, then places him in a position of power within his estate. This is literally what happens when God confers His righteousness upon a man! His authority and power are suddenly placed upon the man!

Now imagine that the only condition placed upon the bum is that he be faultlessly obedient to the man who has adopted him and made him his son. That’s exactly the condition that sons of God MUST meet without fault! The secret to the Lord Jesus’ success is simple this: He was always obedient, even to the point of death!!!!! (See Philippians 2:8) As long as He was obedient to the instructions that He received from God the Father, the power and authority of the Father were upon Him and worked for Him. Likewise, as long as every single person in the Bible whom God had worked with, had been obedient to God, His righteousness was upon the person, and produced the mighty manifestations of the power of God in the person’s life!

God’s kingdom belongs to God!!! He decides how things are done in it. His Church belongs to Him. He decides how it is to be built! His sons are his servants. Therefore, all that is expected of them is to listen attentively to His instructions and do as instructed. Nothing else and nothing more or less!!! If the Lord Jesus came to earth and did nothing other than to receive instructions from the Father and then do strictly as He was instructed, how much more we whose righteousness comes thru Him!?! As long as the prodigal son and his older brother obediently served their father as instructed, he would be pleased to maintain his authority and power on them. The day any of them disobeyed in any way, his position of authority would be in jeopardy. The estate belonged to their father, and he had a specific vision for where he wanted to take his business. The sons were there to help him take his business where he wanted, and the only way they could do so was by receiving their father’s instructions, and strictly doing as instructed. Even if they never understood where he was taking the estate, they would obey faithfully because they now believed in their father, that he knew best, and they loved and respected his judgment.

So brethren, God is looking for sons and daughters of His who have grown into mature believers who have learned to be obedient to His every command, for therein lies the secret to their success as sons and daughters of God! EVERY SINGLE SON AND DAUGHTER IS UNIQUE! Therefore, the way God works with one son or daughter is not the way He works with another. Every church or ministry is unique. Therefore, God has a way that He plans to build every church or ministry. Watch and learn the way God works with you to build what He has committed to your care, and determine to follow His lead no matter what the cost of doing so may be! Seek out and faithfully follow His instructions no matter how ludicrous, crazy, unpleasant or scary they may sound! Therein lies the key to your success as a son or daughter of God!

If you’re a man, be a SON unto God! If you’re a woman, be a DAUGHTER unto God! Go and be great in our Father’s kingdom and vineyard! Be blessed!

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2014 in SHORT MESSAGES

 

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APPREHENDED TO BE BLESSED

In the message titled APPREHENDED FOR SERVICE (previously titled ‘Apprehended For What?’) we explored what it means for a man to be apprehended by God for His service, and we alluded to the fact that every believer would love to hear that God’s hand is upon him, because it means that God’s blessings are flowing upon him. [NOTE: It is highly recommended that you read APPREHENDED FOR SERVICE before reading this.] So in this follow-up message, we will explore the ways in which the Lord’s blessings flow upon the man whom He has apprehended.

 Someone said “everybody want go heaven, but nobody want dead” (sic). This is very similar to the attitude that believers have towards God and His blessings. We all want His blessings, but not many of us want to do what it takes to attract his blessings, and that’s where the problem lies because His blessings are reserved for those who serve Him. Like an employer who remunerates his workers, so does God rewards those who work to advance His kingdom here on earth. Simply put, God apprehends to use and bless! Here are some of the ways this works.

 SERVING AS AN AMBASSADOR OF HEAVEN

 An ambassador is a person that has been appointed – apprehended – by the head of a state to represent him in a foreign nation. When the ambassador enters a room, it is considered that the head of the state that he represents has entered the room. He speaks for, and carries the authority of the head of state. Everything that belongs to the ambassador – his residence, office, vehicle, hotel room, luggage, mail, etc. – are ‘sovereign property’ that are considered to be the property of the state that he represents. Thus, being inside an embassy of France in any country means being in the state of France. The laws of France apply inside that embassy, not the laws of the host country. The embassy and all the folks that work therein, from the ambassador down the guards at the gate, enjoy the full backing, protection, provisions and authority of France. 

 This is the kind of privilege a servant-believer enjoys for having been apprehended to be a servant of the kingdom of God. He is made a representative, an ambassador of the kingdom of heaven! Any believer who dedicates himself to serving the Lord in the specific ways the Lord leads him to serve, WILL see the hand of the Lord at work in his life! If human heads of state know how to support and care for the ambassadors they send out to represent them on foreign lands, how much more our great God!!! Wherever he sends a believer to serve Him, He is faithful to provide for every need that believer might have!

 It is crucial to understand something: The Lord knows what tools, equipment in order for us to effectively and efficiently render our services unto Him, and He is more than willing and ready to supply them. But the reality is that so many servants of His seem to be struggling to make ends meet, and to adequately equip their ministries or originations. The reason for this is always that we, the servants, fail to properly attract His blessings and provisions. How? 

  • By failing to be obedient. An ambassador NEVER does anything that he was not asked or ordered to do by the president who sent him. He does not set his own agenda, but is given an agenda by the one who sent him. And he must strictly follow any measures given him on how to execute the agenda. So must we believers learn to strictly obey our Lord’s commands and follow His directions very faithfully. If we do this, WE WILL see his rewards in our lives.
  • By failing to apply the principles provided in His word. An ambassador must know the rules, regulations, international laws and treaties, that regulate that way embassies must operate in foreign lands. If not, he would fail at utilizing to the fullest extent the rights afforded to him by the existing international laws and treaties, and would thus find himself in unpleasant situations that he could simply get out of by invoking the appropriate law or treaty. Likewise, the glory of the great God that we believers serve is not seeing in our lives the way it ought to because we fail to successfully apply the principles that He has set forth in His word. These principles govern the affairs of this world, therefore, knowing and following them faithfully is the key to having dominion over ALL sphere of life in this world!
  • By failing to ask for the right things. An ambassador will be provided with things that he needs, not things that he wants. The responsible state will supply even private aircraft to some of their ambassadors if they deem it necessary for their service to the state. Likewise, our God is known to provide aircraft for some of His servants, and I will submit to you that He is more than willing and ready to supply more of His servants with aircraft if only we would give Him reason to do so, and if we would properly call it forth!

 SERVING AS A COLT FOR THE LORD TO RIDE ON

 The story of the colt upon which the Lord Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem, shows us a powerful thing about the way God’s servants get to enjoy His blessings. We read in Mar 11:7-10:“And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him.>And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way.And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: 10 Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.” (KJV)

 The Lord Jesus needed to enter Jerusalem in a triumphant way, as prophesied about Him long ago. In his day, the donkey was the ride of kings. So he ordered for one to be literally apprehended and brought for Him to ride on. Now as He rode on the donkey, the people wanted to honor Him by laying down their cloths and branches along the way. But who got to walk to walk on those clothes and branches? The donkey! In fact even before the Lord sat on the donkey, the disciples dressed the donkey with their garments, in order for it to look good enough for the Master to ride on.

 Likewise, it is as a believer, who has been apprehended by the Lord, serves the Lord, that the believer gets to enjoy some of the blessings that are actually directed at the Lord. Like the Jewish priests and their families enjoyed the gifts that the people brought unto the Lord, so do his servants today get to enjoy the various gifts that people bring unto the Lord. It is a common thing for people to sow financially into the lives of God’s servants. It is God whom they really wish to bless, but since they can’t throw the money up to heaven for God to receive, they have to bless him by blessing His servants. And these are some of the ways that He provides unto His servants.

 This is why the irony of those who criticize God’s servants for having aircraft is that they only see the aircraft, but don’t see the Jesus that the servants are carrying on their backs. They don’t understand that the people who are financing the aircraft’s operation are doing so because it’s the Lord Jesus’ work that they seek to finance. It’s just that it’s the servants who are carrying Jesus on their backs who will get into the planes and go where the Lord wants them to go and do His work.

 SERVING AS A CARETAKER OF GOD’S AFFAIRS

 The story of Obed-Edom and King David offer a powerful example of the way God rewards those who take care of His belongings. We read in 2samuel 6:6-12:“When they came to the threshing floor of Nakon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down, and he died there beside the ark of God. Then David was angry because the Lord’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah, and to this day that place is called Perez Uzzah.[e] 9 David was afraid of the Lord that day and said, “How can the ark of the Lord ever come to me?” 10 He was not willing to take the ark of the Lord to be with him in the City of David. Instead, he took it to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. 11 The ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months, and the Lord blessed him and his entire household. 12 Now King David was told, “The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God.” So David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing.” (NIV)

 This is a popular story of the time King David tried to bring back the ark of the covenant from captivity in the land of the Philistines, to Jerusalem. But he followed the wrong procedure for transporting the ark, and as a result, a tragedy ensued. In anger, David decided to abandon the ark in the field of a man name Obed-Edom.

 Who was Obed-Edom? From his name we can understand that he was a descendant of Edom, meaning, a descendant of Esau. And David of course, was a descendant of Jacob. This means that Obed-Edom carried the curse of Esau, which states that the descendants of Esau must serve the descendants of Jacob. Because of this curse, the descendants of Esau were treated as second-class folk in the land of Israel. This is why when David became afraid of the ark and decided not to bring it into the city, lest it kills more people, David decided to leave the ark in Obed-Edom’s compound. The point was that if the ark was going to kill anyone else, let it be the people in Obed-Edom’s household that would be killed. That’s how insignificant the lives of Obed and his family were to David, because they were Esau’s descendants.

 But instead, the opposite happened. The presence of the ark in the midst of Obed-Edom’s household caused his household to prosper! In fact, God prospered Obed-Edom in a way that his prosperity became a threat to David’s kingship! Which is why after David learned about it, he ran and took the ark away from Obed’s place. The Lord was set to prosper Obed in a way that would have surpassed King David’s prosperity and power in the land, and the only reason the Lord didn’t go that far was because of the covenant that He had made with David that his throne will be established forever! It was only the grace that God had on David because of this covenant that saved David’s throne!

 Why did the Lord bless Obed-Edom so much? Because Obed took care of God! The ark of God carried God’s presence. It wasn’t just a box. It was God Himself! The Lord told me that when David abandoned the ark in that field, it was He Himself that David had abandoned like that. David did not make even a single provision to care for the ark, meaning, to care for God. He just left God like that in the open field for the sun and the rain to beat on Him. But Obed-Edom took care of God, and that’s why God blessed him the way He did! We don’t know exactly what Obed-Edom might have done to care for the ark, but it’s easy to imagine that he probably pulled the ark into a barn, away from the sun and rain, and fed the oxen that pulled the cart upon which the ark rode. It was this act of caring for the Lord’s affairs that caused the Lord to bless everything Obed-Edom had!

 Now get this: The curse of Esau that was on Obed-Edom dictated that David shall be greater than Obed. And it was so. But because of the great service that Obed-Edom had rendered unto the Lord by tending to His affairs, the Lord broke that curse and turned it into blessing in a way that if not for the covenant that He had with David to establish his throne forever, He would have made Obed-Edom greater than David!

 Brethren, I urge you to take all matters concerning the Lord very seriously! Consider yourself apprehended by Him to care for His affairs. Who else do you think is going to do it? The unbelievers??? The church you belong to, whose responsibility is it to care for it? Who is going to make His voice heard around the world? The unbelievers? Who is going to represent and defend his name in the society? The unbelievers?

 I urge you to make it your personal responsibility to see that the work of God is done in this world! Love God with all your heart and love to tend to any matter that pertains to Him. He will bless you for it! The story of Obed-Edom teaches us that we cannot serve a big God, and remain cursed in life! You can’t be an ambassador of heaven and be small in life! You cannot carry the Lord on your back and let Him use you to accomplish His mighty deeds, and be small in life! God is no man that He would use a person and not reward the person. As He rewarded Peter with a great catch of fish after using Peter’s boat, He WILL be faithful to reward anyone whom He uses for His kingdom work. He apprehends to use and bless!

 Go and be great for God in His service, and watch Him bless and prosper you on every side!

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2014 in SHORT MESSAGES

 

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