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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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AND GOD SHUT HIM IN!

‘Per ardua, as astra.’ That’s Latin for ‘through adversity to the stars.’

So Noah got all the animals and his family into the ark and shut the single door of the ark behind him, and they all settled in and got ready for the foretold deluge to hit the ground, right? Not quite!

According to Genesis 7:16 “… the Lord shut him in. (KJV)

After Noah, his family and the animals got into the ark, GOD HIMSELF shut the single door of the ark from the outside! By shutting that door Himself, God assumed total responsibility over Noah and everyone and everything that were inside the ark!

Here’s one of the powerful things to understand about what happened in the story of Noah: When the flood started to inundate the earth, people began to drown, and those who could get into boats did so. But eventually, their boats proved to be incapable of withstanding the force of the raging floods. The boats broke apart and the people in them perished.

There was another factor in play: atmospheric pressure. The flood had swelled to such a level that, as we read in Genesis 8:4 “…and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.” (NIV) So the flood had risen so high that it carried the ark to such a high altitude that after the flood began to recede, the ark came to rest on top of a mountain!

Now, note that this event took place in an era so primitive that there was no way Noah could have built the ark in a way that the ark could have survived the effects of atmospheric pressure! Every other boat that existed at that time was destroyed by the elements of nature except Noah’s ark! Why? Because God had assumed responsibility over it!!!

So here are some powerful lessons from all this:

1. Noah’s ark is a representation of Christ, therefore, of Christianity.

As that ark was the only means of escape from the flood provided by God, so is Christianity the only means of escape from the coming judgment that God has provided for mankind. As every other boat eventually failed to save its occupants, so will every other faith in this world fail its followers in the end. Christ is the only way to escape both the floods of this current life, and the condemnation that leads to hell.

2. The single door of the ark is a representation of Christ.

God had commanded Noah to build only one door on the ark (see Genesis 6:16). It was thru that one door that they all went into the ark. So does Christianity have only one way into it, which is Jesus-Christ!

3. The storms of life are never meant to kill a believer in Christ!

The heavy rains beat upon the ark, but never harmed the people inside. As the heavy rains fell, they gathered up under the ark and formed a raging flood that could never capsize the ark. So do the storms and floods of life beat upon God’s people, but can never destroy them, because they are hidden inside Jesus. Apostle Paul said it best in Acts 17:28: For in him we live, and move, and have our being (KJV) So just as the storms beat up on the ark and not on the people inside the ark, neither can the storms of life harm us, because we are hidden in Christ. Therefore, fear nothing in this world!!! Any harm that would come upon a believer would have to go through Christ first! As we know, that’s impossible!

4. Rather, the storms of life are meant to lift the believer to greater heights in life!

The flood lifted the ark to a level so high that when the ark started coming back down, it rested upon a mountain. So do the floods that God allows to come upon our lives lift us up in life! God is a Master Planner! Every hardship He allows into your life is always designed to lift you up in life! And note that the ark was carried around by the flood, so that in the end, the ark ended up at a different place than where Noah had built it. So are the hardships God allows into our lives designed to move us from where we have been stagnant, to new and higher places!

5. The storms are God’s teaching and training tools

Being ‘shut into Christianity’ means to abandon oneself into God’s hands, and allowing yourself to be constrained within the confines of Christianity. It means saying to Him: Have your way with me, Lord. I will only do what you say I should do, and will never do anything you say not to do. I will follow your ways only. It means depending on Him for everything in life, and aspiring to be nothing else in life but that person that He purposed for you to be here on earth.

Dependence on God is no easy thing, and must be learned, and God uses the difficult situations that He allows to come upon us, to teach us to trust and depend on Him for help, provision, well-being, protection, etc.

One example of this from the ark, is the fact that the ark had been subjected to the rigors of atmospheric pressure due to the high altitude that it had been carried to. So this must have created a severe panic in the hearts of Noah and his people, as they feared and wondered whether the ark would be able to sustain the effects of atmospheric pressure. This is the kind of fears that believers encounter when they find themselves in situations where God is telling them to be still and know that He is God! Pressure builds from every side against us, and the attacks from the enemy can get so intense, and all we can do is wait on the Lord to see us through. Just as Noah was not driving the ark, and must have feared that the ark might smash into a mountain or fall off a cliff, we have absolutely no control over the situation we’re dealing with, and have no idea if we would make it to the end alive. Like Noah, we can only trust that God knows what He is doing. But like the ark and everyone in it, we do survive! Because Jesus, in whom we have entrusted our lives and look unto, can protect us and hold us together in the face of any kind of pressure! Jesus was that ark that carried and protected Noah and his people, and He can protect against anything in this universe!

Another powerful lesson from the ark is in how God is able to provide for, and sustain His people. At high mountain altitudes, it becomes harder to breathe because there is less oxygen in the air. But Noah and everyone in the ark had no trouble surviving up there when the ark was carried up to the mountain levels. So does our Lord make sure His people never succumb to the lack of anything, no matter how scarce the hardship they’re undergoing tries to make things in their lives! He provides them with what they need! Haven’t you read that “God is our refuge and strength; an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1, NIV), and that “…those who seek the Lord lack no good thing (Psalm 34:10, NIV)?

6. We must build our Christianity right!

Brethren, here’s one extremely crucial thing to understand from all this: The ark ‘worked’ because God had accepted it. Had Noah not built the ark exactly the way God had commanded, God wouldn’t have approved of the ark, and would not have been with Noah and his people inside the ark. Like the ark, our Christianity must be ‘built’ according to the design that Christ has put forth in the Bible. And what is our ‘Christianity’? Our relationship with God. Every believer has his own personal relationship with God, and this relationship must be based on the ways that God commanded us to relate to Him. Take for example, the fact that God told Noah to build only one door into the ark. Our Christianity must have only one door: Jesus. But some of us have other doors, through which they can escape when things get tough for them. That’s the kind of believers with one foot inside Christianity and one foot in the world. When things get tough, they still try to do things the way the world does it, instead of relying firmly on the God is showing them. We must be perfect in building our Christianity – our relationship with God – the way He wants it. By commanding Abraham to be perfect before Him (see Genesis 17:1), God made it clear that we must be perfect in our walk with Him. We must be perfect in following His commands! And if we do so perfectly, then we WILL see His power and glory at work in our lives, just as Abraham and Noah saw it!

7. We must die ‘the required death’!

Noah and his people ‘died’ when they went into the ark. When they marched into that ark and let God shut them into it, they literally died to the lives they had been living, and abandoned their lives into God’s hands. Likewise, Christianity is about dying to the life you once lived, and letting God shut you into a new life that He alone has total control over! That’s the death the Lord Jesus said we must die in John 12:24-26Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My father will honor the one who serves me.” (NIV)

There are principally two kinds of believers out there: Those who have agreed to let the Lord shut them into Christianity, and those who haven’t. The story of Noah is all about COMMITMENT. It’s the story of a man who was totally committed to the will of God. God showed him something that was about to happen, and told him what to do to escape the coming calamity. He heard what God said and committed himself to obeying to the letter, the instructions that he received from God. That, in turn, made it possible for God to be God in Noah’s life. That made it possible for His power and glory to manifest in Noah’s life. That’s what the Lord promised at the end of the passage quoted above, that “my Father will honor the one who serves me.”

This is why the majority of believers in this world are not showing forth the glory and power of our great God. They are not as committed to following His lead in their lives as Noah did, and as did the great heroes of faith that we find in the Bible! They fail to abandon their lives to His divine care as Noah did. They refuse to let God shut them into Christianity, therefore, INTO HIS DIVINE CARE! And the sad result is that they fail to allow the power and glory of God to manifest in their lives.

CONCLUSION:

Because Noah died to himself and agreed to live the life that God had for him, Noah produced many seeds indeed by becoming the father of all mankind! That’s what the Lord explained in John 12:24: ‘If it dies, it produces many seeds’. Because Abraham agreed to die to his old life and live for God only, he produced many seeds indeed and became the father of nations! The Lord Jesus agreed to leave His throne and come to earth to live the life that the Father has planned for Him. He died to His throne above to live in obedience to God on earth (see Hebrews 5:8-9). As a result, He has produced countless believers for the last 2000 years and counting!

You who are reading this, what’s your excuse for not being productive for God??? If your Christianity has been built the way God commands, and you have truly died to yourself and are alive only for Christ, where’s the evidence? Where are the fruits produced by your death! Where are the souls that are being won over by your life? If you are indeed laboring for your Master Jesus, where are the harvest produced by your labor?

The greatest irony in the Church is that every believer would love to see the power of God move mightily in his or her life, but the majority are not willing to do what it takes to see that power at work in their lives. They’re not willing to die the death that allows the power of God to go to work in a believer’s life; they’re not willing to allow God to shut them into the kind of commitment in which he can be their all and all.

Christianity is not easy. That’s why the Lord made it plain that anyone who decides to follow Him must know what he is doing. He said in Luke 14:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?

Deciding to follow God all the way, to let Him shut you inside Christ, is not a small decision. It wasn’t small of Noah to decide whether to build the ark or not. It wasn’t small of Abraham to leave his whole world behind and set out for Canaan. But they decided to be obedient to their God, and they lived to enjoy the fruits of their decision! That’s why I started this message by quoting ‘Per ardua, as astra’: Through adversity to the stars. Allowing oneself to be shut into Christianity brings one into a world of adversity ordered by God Himself. But it is through those very forms of adversity (floods) that God takes one to great heights in life!

Therefore, I challenge you, dear brethren, to allow God to shut you inside of Christ! Allow Him to be your all and all. Give Him absolute control over your life. Do that and watch Him take you to heights that you can’t even imagine! The world needs to see the greatness of God in you so that they might believe in Him. Allow God to use you to showcase His greatness to the world! Allow Him to shut you in!

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2014 in SHORT MESSAGES

 

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ARE YOU OF THE TREE OF LIFE OR OF DEATH?

Famished after a long day of hard labor, the men looked forward to picking some oranges from the orange trees that lined the road home. One of them spotted a tree that had the best-looking oranges, and hastily climbed on the tree and threw down some oranges. The men hungrily peeled off the orange skins, just to find themselves moaning in disappointment. As great as the oranges looked on the outside, they were all dried up and sickly inside.

In 2 Kings 2:19-22 we read about a city that was said to be ‘well-situated’, but offered nothing but deep disappointment its inhabitants and to anyone who ventured into it. Why? Because it carried a river of death. According to the residents of the city, the water of the river that flowed through the city was poisonous.

The city was ‘well-situated’ in that it was located on top of a hill, and travelers could see it from miles away, and would look forward to getting to it, so they could get some much-needed water to quench their thirsts. But alas, when they got there, they were told the water from the river is deadly.

The Lord Jesus said in John 7:38 “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” (JUBILEE BIBLE 2000 version.)

So it is expected that a believer MUST carry the water of life that Christ gives. And as people expected to find good water in that city because they expected that such a well-situated city must have good water, so do people expect only goodness out of believers for the fact that we are supposed to carry the water of life. Because of what we carry, we are ‘well-situated’, ‘well-positioned’ to do so much good in the world around us! And when people know that we are Christians, they expect only that good to come out of us. Being believers makes us representatives of Christ! It makes us people who can provide solution to problems, healing to sicknesses and diseases, comfort to the sorrowful, aid to those in need, salvation to the lost sinners, etc., just as Prophet Elisha was called to do for that city. Like Elisha, we are to use the living waters of Christ that flows within us, to provide remedy for the bad situations that we encounter.

Right in the middle of the garden of Eden God planted two trees: The tree of life and the tree of death (tree of knowledge of good and evil). He forbade Adam and Eve from eating of any fruit from the tree of death. So Adam and Eve freely ate of the tree of life. That tree of life was Jesus Christ, and each time Adam and Eve ate from it, they partook more of the Lord Jesus and nourished their spirits and stayed alive and well spiritually in God. The day they ate of the tree of death, their spirits died and their relationship with God suffered a severe and critical setback.

Through salvation, this death is kicked out of our spirits, and the life of Christ is restored in us. Through Christ, we begin to receive the same nourishment that the tree of life used to give to Adam and Eve! Jesus was that tree of life, and as His representatives, we are, therefore, supposed to display the characteristics of the tree of life. !

As Apostle Paul explained in Romans 11:24 , believers are like wild olive trees that are grafted into a good olive tree. Meaning that we as individuals, are literally incorporated into the Lord Jesus, so that we are now a part of Him, as Apostle Paul declared so eloquently in Acts 17:28: “for in him we live and move and have our being.”

Therefore, as believers we are branches on the Tree of life that is Jesus-Christ, and so we must carry and display the characteristics of the Tree of life. THIS MEANS THAT NO BAD FRUITS SHOULD EVER BE FOUND ON US! Every fruit on us as branches of the Tree of life must bear nothing but the goodness, love, purity, help, healing, solutions, charity, mercy, strength and power of God that are found in Christ! WE MUST NEVER BEHAVE LIKE PEOPLE WHO ARE PART OF THE TREE OF DEATH! WE MUST NEVER BE PEOPLE WHO CARRY WATERS OF DEATH, AND WHOSE FRUITS BRING NOTHING BUT DISAPPOINTMENT, HURT, SORROW AND PROBLEMS TO OUR FELLOW MEN!

We must not be people who lead others to their spiritual death; who kill with our tongues and our deeds; who offer bad advice and bad solutions; who fan the flames of discord among people instead of seeking for peace to reign among people; who see the needy all around us and do nothing about it; who make no efforts to share the knowledge of Christ around the world. Rather BECAUSE WE’RE IN A PLACE, IT MUST MEAN THAT GOD IS THAT PLACE! The people in that place must benefit from the fact that a representative of God is in that place!

Your family, friends, co-workers, neighbors must benefit from the fact that you exist in their lives. They must have heard the Good News because you have shared it with them; they must know that God is a great God because they see the great things He does in your life; They must have experienced the love, joy, peace and goodness of Christ because they have interacted with you and seen you demonstrate those godly qualities.

It’s an inescapable fact of life that we can only exhibit the type of fruit we carry within us, even as the Lord made it plain in Matthew 7:20 “…so that by their fruits ye shall know them.” (JUBILEE BIBLE 2000)

Trees of life don’t produce bad fruits. True believers in Christ don’t produce bad fruits. So what fruits do you carry? Good-looking fruits that look great on the outside but are rotten and dry inside? Or fruits that bring nothing but great satisfaction and joy to those that are privileged to get a taste of your character?

Therefore, I implore you dear believer, in the name of our Master Jesus, to understand the kind of person you are to be as a representative of heaven, and to determine yourself to live up to that expectation for the rest of your time on this earth, to His glory! Your character is your fruit. Therefore, endeavor to develop and build a character that is founded on the holy teachings of Christ our Master, and on the definition of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, given to us in Galatians 5:22-23: “…But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance…” (KJV)

Go and show the world the beauty and glory of God-Most-High!

 
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Posted by on November 8, 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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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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UNDERSTANDING FAITH!

Understanding the thing called faith is one of the biggest hurdles that believers encounter early in their walk with God, and explaining it has been the subject of countless sermons, teachings and writings. Here’s my humble take on the matter.

FAITH AS ‘SUBSTANCE’ AND ‘EVIDENCE’

Simply put, a substance is something that exists. Though it may be visible or invisible, tangible – can be touched and felt – or intangible, taste able or tasteless, all that matters is that it is real. The air we breathe is both invisible and intangible; but it is very real. We can feel it sometimes, and it even has a chemical property.
That is what Apostle Paul likened faith to in Hebrews 11:1, where he declared:
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (KJV)

Let’s look at what Paul is saying here:
‘Substance of things hoped for’: According to that statement, if you are hoping for something, there can actually be something within you that can fuel that hope. Something that you can’t see or touch, but that you can feel deep within your being, that gives you hope. So faith is that substance – that invisible YET very real thing – that you feel within your being; something you can’t explain, but you just know for a fact that it is there within your heart.
‘Evidence of things not seen’: Ever heard of an unreal evidence? One huge burden that prosecutors always carry is that of providing the evidence of the accused person’s guilt. They can’t simply claim that the evidence exists, without bringing it forth for all to see, and simply expect the court to take their word for it. If it’s a murder case, a very real murder weapon must be presented before the court. They can’t claim that it is just a strong feeling that they have which tells them that the accused is guilty. But according to Paul, faith is like an invisible evidence, which, even though it can’t be seen, is nevertheless very real! Why? Because faith is a very real substance. Even though it can’t be seen, it is nevertheless very evident, and can be felt by the person who is carrying it!

So faith is that thing that you feel or sense within yourself, which makes you believe that what you are hoping for WILL happen! You can’t see how it could possibly happen, but you have this unseen evidence deep within you, that it WILL happen! If someone asked you how you can be so sure that it will happen, all you can reply WITH ALL CONFIDENCE is that you just know!

The Lord Jesus made allusion to the fact that faith MUST exist in a believer as a real substance when He likened faith to a mustard seed, in this story recorded Matthew 17:14-20:
“And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, 15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. 16 And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. 17 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. 18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. 19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? 20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” (KJV)

Though the mustard seed is one of the smallest fruit seeds, it is nevertheless very real. And ironically, it grows into quite a big tree. So can – and must – faith be very real in a person, and must grow within the person!

THE ORIGIN OF FAITH

So where does this very real and evident substance known as faith come from?
To answer this question, we must first of all answer another one: where do we feel faith? In our spirits. Therefore, faith is a spiritual thing. And if it’s a spiritual thing, then, in the Christian context, faith comes from God’s Holy Spirit. Let’s see how.

1. Faith comes by spiritual hearing
According to Romans 10:17 “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God…” (KJV)
I’ve heard a lot of folks turn this statement around and say ‘… and by hearing the word of God’, instead of ‘… and hearing by the word of God.’ Why? Because they can’t make sense of the way the preposition ‘by’ is placed in the original text.

This is VERY UNFORTUNNATE because it has led many to believe that faith comes by hearing and hearing and hearing the word of God over and over and over… The point being that as one hears the word over and over and over, one will eventually develop faith in what one has been hearing. WRONG!

The truth of the matter is that ONE ONLY NEEDS TO HEAR THE LORD SPEAK ONCE in order for one to receive the faith in what one has heard the Lord say! Meaning that you can hear and hear and hear something over and over and over, but unless the kind of hearing that produces faith occurs within you, faith will never be produced!

Simply put, the statement should have been:

‘Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing [cometh] by the word of God.’

What happened was simply that the authors of the King James Bible chose to not repeat the word ‘cometh’.
So what we are being told basically is that while faith comes from hearing the word, the hearing – which produces the faith – comes from the word of God. Here’s how the NIV puts it:
“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”

Meaning that faith comes from hearing the message, which itself is heard through the word.

As we know, Jesus is the Word of God. So what we have is: Faith comes by hearing, and hearing comes by the Lord Jesus. Therefore, you can hear the word spoken to you by a human pastor over and over and over, but unless you hear the Lord Jesus himself speak to you somewhere along the line, you cannot hear the word in a way that will produce faith in you.

This ‘hearing’ that produces faith, is what is referred to as ‘spiritual hearing’. It is the hearing that occurs when the spirit of a man hears what is spoken to it in the realm of the spirit. Therefore this hearing will produce faith in a man when the man hears the Holy Spirit speak to him, or it will produce doubt and fear when the man hears the spirit of the devil speak to him.

Here’s an example to illustrate this phenomenon: One day, my wife was reading the Bible and as she came across the words ‘fear not’, she said it was as if those two words took on life and spoke to her in a way that she heard the Lord tell her that she should fear not! She said that suddenly she felt a surge of faith in the Lord that gave her total confidence that the Lord would take care of the issue that she was dealing with at the time.

From this example we can see how faith came to be in my wife’s heart from that moment forward concerning the issue that she was dealing with. She suddenly had this thing in her inner being that told her that she should fear not. She suddenly had this substance within her heart; this feeling that she couldn’t put her hand on, but which was nevertheless very real and evident!!! From that point onward, she could say that SHE KNOWS that all is well! Why? Because hearing had occurred within her. Because the Word – Jesus – had spoken the word in a way that the necessary kind of hearing had occurred within her spirit.

2. Spiritual vs physical hearing
Man is made up of a soul, a spirit, and flesh. The soul and the spirit are the parts of man that are made in God’s image. The flesh is simply a physical housing that enables the soul and spirit of man to dwell and operate in the physical nature of this world.

God is Spirit. He has no flesh. Therefore, He only speaks a spiritual language that ONLY man’s spirit can hear and interact with. This is what makes it so challenging for men to relate to God, because most of the time, we are living by our flesh – our physical senses – and cannot readily communicate with his Spirit. This is why acquiring the ability to communicate spirit to Spirit with God is a must for a believer! A believer must acquire the ability to hear, see, and discern spiritually, so he can communicate with God.

With his physical ears, a man can hear another man promise him a thing, and believe in the promise, because he actually heard the man make the promise. He was able to hear the man with his physical ears because the man spoke with his own physical mouth, and spoke physical words. Likewise, we can only begin to believe in God’s promises if and only if we actually hear God make the promises, and this can only be possible if our spirits are able to catch the spiritual words spoken to us by God’s own Holy Spirit. When we hear with our spiritual ears, that’s when ‘hearing’ has occurred, and this hearing then produces faith in us!

Every word of Scripture is spiritual, and only our spirits can hear, and understand and accept them. We can read and read and read them over and over, but never ‘hear’ and understand and accept what we are reading until and unless God Himself speaks to our spirits as we are reading those words. This is why we must always pray before we set out to spend some time reading the word of God. Pray and ask the Lord to speak to you as you read His word, and give you the ability to understand and believe in what you are reading.

A minister can preach the word of God all he wants, but unless the Lord speaks thru the words of the minister, the minister will be speaking in vain. Unless the people listening to the minister are also able to hear the Lord speak to them thru their spiritual ears, then the minister will have spoken in vain. The kind of hearing that matters will occur if they actually hear the Lord speak to their spirits even as the minister is speaking to their physical ears.

This is why no man can save another man. Only God can save a man, because only God can speak to a man’s soul and spirit, and convinces the man to believe in Him. The only thing God asks of us believers to do, is to open our mouths and share His words with others. As we do that, we give Him the chance to now speak thru us in the unseen real of the spirit. So we must always know and do our part only, which is to deliver the message God puts in our mouths, and leave God to do His own part of convincing and convicting the people we are speaking to.

3. Faith in God comes from God.
The last paragraph already said it all: It all begins with the Lord making contact with man within man’s spirit, and convincing man to believe in Him. This is why it is said of Abraham that “…he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” (KJV) From this statement we see that righteousness can only come from two sources: From God, and thru faith in God.

If a man never promised to give you a car, should you somehow begin to believe that the man will give you a car? No. But if you hear a rich man promise to buy you a car, you would believe it to the point where, as far as you’re concerned, you already have a car because you have faith in the man who made the promise. Likewise faith in God comes from the fact that He actually spoke to you and you heard Him speak to you, and you believed what you heard him say.

Therefore faith in God can only come from God Himself. If He hasn’t spoken, and you begin to have faith in Him for something you never heard from Him, then what you’re feeling is not faith in Him, since He never gave you any reason to believe in Him for that which you are having faith in Him for.
On the other hand, once you do hear Him speak a thing to you, believe in what you heard Him say to you with your heart and with all your mind! Allow faith in what you heard to blossom within you and grow into a mighty substance that you know is very real within you!

No man alive has ever seen God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. But we believe that they exist because we have faith that they do. And we have this faith because we heard them tell us in their Word that they are real, and we believe it!

Furthermore, faith comes from God because faith is produced by Christ. Christ is the Word of God (John 1:1). The reason the word can speak up in a manner that produces faith in a man is that the word is Jesus.
As we know, salvation is thru Christ only. He is the Bridge between us and God the Father. He comes and dwells in us and helps us believe in the Father. THEREFORE, Jesus is the source of the faith that we feel in our hearts and spirits! He is the Word that speaks to us and tells us to believe!

THE INDISPENSABILITY OF FAITH

As we know, another word for religion is faith. Whatever religion a man follows, he does so because he has faith in that religion. Therefore, faith in God is indispensable to His followers for the following reasons:

1. Without faith it is impossible to relate to God
Has any man alive today ever seen Jesus? No. Not even the great Apostle Paul had seen the Lord Jesus in person. But like Paul, many have literally given their lives up for the Lord Jesus! Because they believed in Him! They believed that He is whom He says that He is! That faith in Him is the only thing that made possible their relationship with Jesus. What’s the point in trying to have and build and relationship with an invisible God that you don’t even believe to be real? Or whose claims about Himself you don’t believe? Those who are willing to die for God obviously have such great faith in Him that they are willing to lay down their lives for Him!

Without faith in God, how can one grow in God? Satan fights a deadly battle against anyone who begins to believe in God, and the only thing that can help the new believer to keep on believing in God is the faith that he has in God. It is only this conviction –this faith – that he feels deep within himself that can help him withstand any assault from the devil, and stand strong in God!

When I hear God speaking to me spiritually, or when I see something with my spiritual eyes that I feel that He has just shown me, or when I sense the move of His Spirit in me, it is only by faith that I can believe that I have just heard or seen, or sensed that thing. Needless to say then, the greater one’s faith in God, the greater one’s ability to relate to God; therefore, the greater one’s relationship with God!

It is by this faith that I know – because I believe it – that I am His child! It is this faith that speaks up and tells me to be joyful at all times! Faith is that feeling that comforts me during times of tumult; that reminds me that greater is He who is in me than the jerk that is in the world! It is faith that tells me that God loves and cares for me, and produces peace and calm within me when I have so many reasons not to be at peace! Faith it is that gives me a steady dose of power, courage and confidence when I’m going thru a worrisome ordeal!

This is why relating to God is all about having ‘faith’ in Him. And this faith comes from nowhere but His words, therefore, from Jesus Himself! A believer will swear that he knows that God is real, and even allow himself to be killed rather than renounce this faith in God, because he feels this thing – this real substance called faith – deep within his being, that tells him that God is real!

So brethren, never cease to seek after a deeper relationship with God so you can keep improving in your ability to interact with Him spirit to Spirit. Never cease to ask the Lord for more faith in Him! Let the substance of the faith that dwells in you continue to grow, that you may be able to do great and mighty acts of faith for the world to see and believe in our great God!

2. Faith is the currency in God’s kingdom
When you need something, you go out to the place where they sell that thing, and you purchase it. This action requires that you exchange something – like money – with the owner of the thing you wish to purchase. Well, things from God do not come free either, and faith is the currency that He requires from us.

No matter what we set out to do that involves God, whether it is simply to ask God to do something for us, or if we’re trying to call down fire from heaven, our faith in God is what will make it happen for us! And as we know, the more money one has on earth, the more things – and more expensive things – one can afford. Needless then to say, the greater one’s faith in God, the greater things – greater miracles, favors, answers to prayer – one can obtain from heaven!

3. How much faith is enough?
Earlier we read the story of the time when the Lord rebuked His disciples for not having the faith to heal a sick boy. He told them that if their faith was even as small as a mustard seed, they could, by the power in that faith, command mountains to move, and the mountains would obey! This means that faith even as small as a mustard seed is all we need! What this means is that to God, faith is faith!

The story of the time when God told Elijah that He was going to send rain upon the drought-stricken land, offers a great illustration of how this works. 1Kings 18: says “And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.” (KJV)]

And 1Kings 18:42-46 says:
“And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain. 42 So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees, 43 And said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times. 44 And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down that the rain stop thee not. 45 And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel. 46 And the hand of the LORD was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.” (KJV)

As we all know, rain comes from clouds. For 3 long years, there had been no rain in the land of Israel. So it is safe to assume that for those 3 years, there hadn’t been any clouds in the sky over the land of Israel. Then one day, out of the blue, God told Elijah that He was going to send rain. When Elijah heard this from God, he believed God!

So later that day when the time came for the rain that God had promised to fall, Elijah set out to call forth the rain thru prayer. And while Elijah prayed for God to fulfill His promise and send the rain, he acted on his faith in God’s promise by having his servant look out for the clouds that were to bring the rain. So get this: Once the servant saw a patch of cloud in the sky that was as small as a human hand, Elijah stopped praying. Why? Because as far as he was concerned, the promised rain was coming!

Here’s the point: By faith, Elijah believed that the tiny cloud that had appeared was the first of many – and bigger – clouds that would eventually produce the promised rain! That tiny cloud was all he needed to see to know that the rain was coming. This illustrates the way faith is born in the human spirit. When you believe in God for something, it might start as something very tiny in your heart, which is why the Lord Jesus likened it to a tiny mustard seed; then as you keep on believing in God for the fulfilment of His promise, that tiny faith will steadily grow into something bigger, just as the tiny cloud grew into thick clouds that dropped a deluge upon the land.

So how much faith is enough? From all this, what we can understand is that faith is faith! All that God wants to see in us is faith. Even if it’s as small as a mustard seed, it is faith, and that’s enough for God to be pleased in us. If faith as tiny as a mustard seed is enough for us to move mountains, then that’s enough faith to please God. If that tiny faith can enable us to move mountains, it means that God is pleased enough with the tiny faith to grant us the power to move mountains. Therefore, whenever hearing occurs in you and the smallest glimmer of faith sprouts in you, hold on to that faith and keep believing, and acting on it. It will be enough to see you through because God will honor and work with it! That tiny faith is all He is asking for!

CONCLUSION

Just like Elijah saw that tiny cloud and was satisfied that rain was coming, so does God see the tiny faith in a man and is satisfied that the man has started to believe in Him. God then sets out to help the man grow that tiny faith into a giant faith! What does this mean?

The mustard tree teaches us a serious lesson on what is expected of us believers. The Lord Jesus spoke highly of the mustard tree when He said in Luke 13:19 “…it is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.” (KJV)

A quick search on Google revealed that there are many types of mustard trees, and some grow to be as high as 20 feet tall, with widespread branches adorned with pink fleshy fruits. Here’s an interesting description I ran into: “While many trees provide shade and food, the mustard tree also serves as a toothbrush, treats dental problems, soothes away body pain and functions as a medicine . Properly known as Salvadora persica, the blooming mustard tree is a multifunctional evergreen shrub.” (1)

A very productive, useful and beneficial tree indeed! And all it takes to produce such a tree is a tiny seed. So MUST the tiny faith that springs within our spirit-man cause our spirit-man to grow into a spiritual giant! Once we begin to believe in God, a tiny faith in Him springs within us, and that tiny faith must grow into a strong, mature, unshakable, immovable and undying faith in Him!

Because we believe in God, we MUST, by this faith, allow Him to work on us and make us into spiritual giants, the way He made Paul, the other Apostles, and the great men and women of the Old Testament! They all started to believe in God at some point in their lives, and they nurtured their tiny faiths into giant faiths! As they grew their faiths in God, they grew into people who were great blessings to those who came into contact with them!

That’s what the Lord Jesus is talking about in Luke 13:19. Just as the mustard tree offers shade, food, and a variety of benefits to people and animals who come into contact with it, so must a believer offer all kinds of blessings to everyone around him! As believers we must grow into people who represent our great God in every sphere of life. Like the tree that is productive and bears fruits, we must prosper in all areas of life, and share the prosperity with all men. Thru our faith in a miracle-working God, we must grow into great miracle workers as well! Like the tiny cloud that gave way to thick clouds that produced a deluge, our faith must grow and produce in us a giant well that pours out rivers of living water upon everyone around us!

Dear reader, the world awaits the manifestation of your faith in God! Seek to grow your faith into a giant one thru which you are able to do great and mighty acts, to the glory of our great God!

[REFERENCE:
(1) BLOOMING MUSTARD TREE by Christa Sheehan http://www.ehow.com/facts_7154132_blooming-mustard-tree.html#ixzz2yRN0siJJ%5D

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2014 in SHORT MESSAGES

 

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