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GOD KNEW YOU BEFORE

So one day out of the blue, God came to Jeremiah and plainly told him: I knew you before you went into your mother’s womb. That got Jeremiah’s attention. And it got mine as well, the moment I saw the meaning of this powerful revelation.

We know that Jesus existed in heaven as God’s Son before He went into Mary’s womb to take on flesh and be born into this world as a human being. But did you ever wonder when we mortal men actually begin to exist? As believers we agree that ‘life begins at conception’. But according to God’s words to Jeremiah, the truth is far deeper than that. Here’s what God said to Jeremiah:

“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” – Jeremiah 1:5 (KJV)

The key words here are “I knew thee”. So before Jeremiah was conceived and started to take on flesh in his mother’s womb, he obviously already existed! The powerful lesson here is that we begin to exist as souls first, because God starts by creating us in His image. God is Soul and Spirit. So when He first makes us, He makes us souls and spirits. That’s what we truly are. And so we begin to exist as soul and spirit before we enter our mother’s womb to be born into this world!

(We understand that it is those souls who have accepted Christ while on earth, who earn a place in heaven for eternity. So am I saying here that souls exist in heaven before they’re sent to earth? I don’t know the answer to that question. We can only know about heaven the little that God reveals to us in His word and by other means of revelation. But one thing is clear: A soul is obviously created and begins to exist at some point before it is sent into a woman’s womb. And where else but somewhere in heaven would the souls be before they are sent off to the earth? What length of time goes by between the time that a soul is created and the time that it is sent off to earth, is not known. What a soul does while waiting to be sent into a woman’s womb, is not know. How long Jeremiah existed during the time when God himself says that He knew him, we don’t know.)

Knowing that God might have actually interacted with us before we were sent into this world is a very crucial knowledge to have, because it gives us the kind of understanding that is crucial in succeeding as God’s children in this world. It was this knowledge that helped the Lord Jesus succeed, because by this knowledge He understood that He came from heaven, that He came to earth for a purpose, and that He had to go back to heaven.

Here’s one of the most powerful statements the Lord Jesus ever made:

“The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” John 10:17-18 (NIV)

Here, the Lord reveals to us a conversation He and the Father had prior to His coming to earth. You see, the Father gave Jesus an assignment to come to earth as a human being, teach humans about Himself and God, display the power and glory of God through miraculous deeds, show men the way to God, then die to atone for the sins of men. AND THEN, RESURRECT and come back to heaven.

It was during this interaction that the Lord was given His mission to earth. And what we learn from God’s words to Jeremiah is that He had had that same type of conversation with Jeremiah at some point before sending Jeremiah down into his mother’s womb.

God had that same type of conversation with you and I!!!

Unfortunately, as we are born into this world as humans, we forget all about any conversation that we might have had with the Father before being sent into this world. But our Father remembers!!! So just as at some point He reminded Jesus and Jeremiah, He can remind you too!

All you need is to ask Him. God is excited when He sees our faith in Him! Especially when it’s faith that comes from a deep understanding that we have of Him. In this case, this understanding ought to make you deeply appreciate the idea that the great God who made the heavens and the earth, actually knew you personally, and gave you a specific assignment before sending you into this world. And this ought to make you determine to live for nothing else in this world other than fulfilling that assignment!

YOUR GREATNESS IS IN BEING THAT PERSON GOD SENT YOU TO BE IN THIS WORLD. It’s in fulfilling the tasks that He has assigned for you to do in His name and to His glory.

‘I think, therefore, I am’. We all know this quote by the French theoretician Rene Descartes very well. And also Proverbs 23:7For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…” (KJV). These two statements attest to the power of the consciousness of oneself, and there’s nothing more dangerous to a man than the lack of, or inadequate, consciousness of who he is an individual.  As long as the Lord Jesus kept His focus on this understanding of whom He was and what He was on earth for, He was able to focus on accomplishing the tasks given to Him by the father, and was able to make it back to heaven.

Therefore, brethren, I urge you to begin to see yourself as not just an individual in this world, but as someone on a special assignment given to you by the Father Himself! See yourself as the ambassador of the Kingdom of heaven that you are! An ambassador sent to represent the kingdom of heaven on earth, with specific instructions. Therefore, go to your Father in prayer and ask Him to reveal to you what He had in mind concerning you before sending you into this world! Then let the knowledge of who He sent you to be in this world be the guiding purpose for the rest of your life, to His glory!

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2014 in SHORT MESSAGES

 

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GOT GRACE?

King Herod loved to hear John-the-Baptist, even though John always gave him grief over his illicit affair with his brother’s wife…  You’ve probably heard or read the statement “God will never lead you where His grace will not be with you”. Very true statement, because God would never set you up for failure; and without the backing of His grace, you will find it very hard to succeed in your endeavors.

That’s how crucial grace is! Grace is ‘unmerited favor’ from the Lord. Favor from the Lord opens doors; makes hard things simple; makes impossible things possible; provides divine and miraculous help from above; puts angels to work on our behalf; causes people to be favorable towards us; helps to succeed where others have failed; causes the elements of creation to work for us; and so on… And grace is that unmerited favor from the Lord, which does all these wonderful things in a believer’s life.

Grace is unmerited, because it is something that God chooses to bestow upon a believer. A good human father who has the power to do all things will be willing to help his child in every way possible. Grace is that willingness from God to divinely and supernaturally help His children succeed and enjoy life in this world. The only condition is… that we be in God’s will for our lives.

This is why it is indispensable that a believer always be where God wants him to be at any given time! God has designed a particular life for each of us; this means that there’s a specific place that He has ordered that we must be, according to the plan that He has made for us. WHERE GOD HAS ORDERED FOR US TO BE IS WHERE HE HAS ORDERED HIS GRACE TO WORK FOR US.
Needless to say then, that one of the chief reasons that believers struggle in life is that they are not where God has purposed for them to be. They’re living and working outside His will for them, where they don’t get to enjoy the power of His grace in their lives.

As long as John-the-Baptist was where God wanted him to be, he enjoyed a serious dose of grace! According to Mark 6:20, King Herod, whom John rebuked constantly, was afraid of john, and enjoyed listening to him. Instead of trying to kill John, Herod loved him. That’s an example of how grace from God can cause even your enemies to love you. During Abraham and Isaac’s days, their rivals and enemies came and begged them to be at peace with them, because God’s favor that was upon them caused the dread of heaven to fall upon their enemies for their sakes!

So John was able to get away with saying to people things they didn’t want to hear. So does a minister who is ministering where and how God wants him to minister, enjoy divine grace, help, protection and success from above! The problem is when we fail to see where God has ordered for us to be; how He has ordered for us to serve Him; what He would have us do; how He would have us do it… In John-the-Baptist’s case, he failed to understand what set time had come upon his life.

You see, John was called to proclaim and announce the coming of the Lord Jesus. So obviously, this ministry of announcing the coming of Jesus was supposed to end the day Jesus started His own ministry. If you’re announcing that somebody is coming and the person comes, do you continue to announce that he is coming? No. But John kept on baptizing and preaching. What message was he preaching now, since God did not give him any new message to preach? Therefore, he was now clearly operating outside the will of God for him. Here’s what should have happened: Now that Jesus had started His ministry, John should have sought to know from God what he was to do next.

Personally, I believe that John should have become Jesus’ very first disciple! Now that his Master had come and started His ministry, he should have placed himself at his Master’s service. He should have started following Jesus to hear and see what Jesus had come to say and do. And it is this failure to follow Jesus that caused him to start doubting whether Jesus was truly the Messiah or not. This is why when John sent his disciples to Jesus to ask if He was indeed the Messiah, Jesus told them to tell him that the blind are seeing, the deaf are hearing, and the cripple are walking. That was to tell John that if he had been here  with Jesus like he should have been, he would have seen the Lord do those miracles for himself, and would have no doubt that Jesus is indeed the Messiah.

You see, brethren, as long John was doing what he was supposed to be doing ACCORDING TO GOD’S PLAN FOR HIS LIFE, the grace of God was with him, and he was untouchable! But when he failed to see the new direction that he was to take in life and follow Jesus, but kept on ministering and announcing the coming of Jesus, the grace moved on from him, and the same Herod, who used to enjoy listening to his rebukes and insults, had him arrested. And, before long, he was killed.

Never dwell outside the will and plan of God for your life! His grace is available for you only where He has purposed for you to be; only in the particular ministry He has called you into; only at the particular church where He has purposed for you to worship and serve Him; only with the particular spouse He has made for you; only in the job He has purposed for you; and so forth…

Someone eloquently said “if your will is God’s will, you will have your will”. If what you set out to do is what God wants you to be doing in the first place, then His grace will be with you in doing that thing, and success would be guaranteed for you.

Grasp this understanding and determine to make His will for your life your will for your life! Make out time to earnestly seek His face to know exactly where He has purposed for you to be in every area of your life. That’s where His grace and the hosts and powers of heaven are waiting to work for you and help you accomplish the great things that God has purposed for you to accomplish, to His glory!

 
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Posted by on September 10, 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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