Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ask for the rain

“Be glad then, ye children of Zion and rejoice in the Lord your God. For he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month” Joel 2:23

Brothers and sisters, I want to tell you about what God is making available to his children as they come into his presence: An abundance of rain.

The word rain is significant. Everything that grows is dependent on rain for life and sustenance. The crops that grow, the cattle that graze, the man that exerts authority over all of God’s creation depend on rain to live. Where there is an abundance of rain there is an abundance of fertility and growth. Where there is no rain there is dryness and drought.

The rain that I speak of today however is not that kind of rain, although it has all of the characteristics of the physical rain with which we are very familiar. The rain that I speak of falls from heaven and can pour out and consume; it banishes dryness and quenches our thirst but it is not made of H20.

Neither is it simply a material rain. The rain that I speak of is not the promotion at work, husbands and wives, money and recognition. The rain that I speak of is much more than these things. It is a bigger, better, soul satisfying, demon rebuking, and hell defying sort of rain that God is making available to all who seek him with an open heart. This rain may or may not bring about material prosperity but it is not obtained by those whose hearts are after material things. The rain is obtained by those who have settled the all important issue of the natural being infinitely (that is forever and ever) subject to the supernatural.

But like the natural rain this rain is preceded by a mighty rushing wind.

The wind precedes the rain

Brothers and Sisters, to get a clear picture of what this rain is all about we have to go to the first time that this rain was poured out: In the book of Acts.

But before we even go there, we must go even further back to when the Lord spoke of this rain in the book of Joel.

The book of Joel

In Joel Chapter 2, when God spoke of causing this latter rain to come down on his Children, he also said in verse 28 “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions”.

We see here, clearly, that the rain is the pouring out of the Holy Spirit in full measure. No longer will the Holy Spirit empower select individuals such as (Samson, David, Elijah and Elisha), but this anointing of the Holy Spirit will be available to all who seek the Lord with all their hearts, both Jews and Gentiles.

It is also written in the book of Joel “He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain , and the latter rain in the first month” Joel 2:23

As I write this the Lord put a word upon my heart “Cascading”. I didn’t really know what this word meant so I decided to look it up and as I did I have just seen this definition in the dictionary: A waterfall descending over a steep rocky surface. It’s not a coincidence. God wants us to know that this cascade will “descend” over us from up above.

Moreover it is escalating. Not because the Lord will pour out more rain, the Holy Spirit is already poured out, but because the closer we get to the Father, the more of this rain we experience.

Acts of the Apostles

“And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them colven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance” Acts 2: 3-4.

Brothers and Sisters, the wind precedes the rain. When the Holy Ghost was poured out on the apostles in the book of Acts he came as a mighty rushing wind. Just as the natural rain is preceded by wind at times, so is the rain of the Holy Spirit. He comes as a mighty rushing wind, then is poured out as rain upon God’s children.

The wind is simply the manifestation of the greatest force in heaven on earth: The person of the Holy Spirit. The wind is a message to us, the Lord saying “I come with authority. I come with power. I come with a loud sound and fire. And all of this to dwell in your mortal flesh”.

Brothers and Sisters, it is time we realized what great and mighty power resides in us in the person of this indwelling Holy Spirit.

Where is the rain?

Some may be asking: “I hear all about this rain and I agree, but I have been serving the Lord and I haven’t truly experienced this sort of thing in my life”.

I understand. Years ago when I was backslidden I lost the gift of tongues. When I came back to the Lord it did not come back immediately. One day, lying in bed I immediately, randomly jumped out of bed and began to pray in tongues. One minute I was lying down the next I was praying in tongues.

The only thing I was doing during that period was seeking the face of God continually. The rain is where God is.

Why the rain?

God has placed it on my heart to remind his people of what is available in his presence. We are also to remember why God sends the rain. It is not so that we can walk around as being better than the world, but it is so that we can go into the world and spread the gospel. We need only look at the first thing that the apostles did after the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Peter got up and preached and three thousand souls gave their lives to Christ.

The same Holy Spirit that was in Peter is the same Holy Spirit that is available to us. If we will only seek the face of God.

Miri nezo

In Igbo, my native tongue, Miri nezo means it’s raining. God wants to remind us that it is raining.

Many people are sitting in the comfort of their own homes while it is raining outside. These are people who have refused the call of God on their lives, today God wants me to tell you one thing: It is raining. Go and let him rain on you.

Many people have stepped into the rain, but have come with umbrellas to protect their clothes and flesh from the rain. These are those that have embraced some thing’s of God, but have not utterly surrendered all to him. They want to “make it to heaven” but don’t want any of the suffering. God is saying: Put aside the umbrellas. This compromise is going to cost you more than you know.

Many have heard of the rain, desperately want the rain but don’t know where to obtain it. God wants you to seek him with all of your heart and he promises that when you do, you will find him. He is the rain.

Brothers and Sisters, Miri nezo. May the Lord cause this latter rain to soak you in an infilling of the Holy Spirit and anointing to “Preach the gospel to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted and preach deliverance to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind. To set at liberty them that are bruised and preach the good and acceptable year of the Lord”. God bless you. Amen.


By the anointing Jesus breaks the yoke. By the Holy Ghost, just as the prophet said, this is the day of the latter rain, God is moving in his power again. By the anointing Jesus breaks the yoke!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

New every morning

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceaseth. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning". Great is thy faithfulness O Lord. Lamentations 3:22-23

This morning as I prayed I set out to pray for Israel, for Nigeria and for Africa as I normally do on Saturday mornings.

I knelt by my bedside and I requested something of God. I asked him to allow me to hear his cry. And I heard a voice that told me to speak to Israel. As I opened my mouth to speak prayers unto Israel I began to cry a cry that came from somewhere deep inside me. I started crying with a sorrow that that I knew did not belong to me. I must have cried for quite some time and then I heard the voice again telling me to prophecy to Israel. As I opened my mouth I began to say “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how I would have gathered you as a hen gathers her chicks but ye would not, know ye therefore that your land is left unto you desolate. And ye shall not see me until you say blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord”. Again the words said “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, can a mother forget the baby she is carrying on her breast? Even if she does, I will never forget you”. “How I would have established you among the nations. Know that I am coming back to Judge the nations”.

I heard the voice again telling me to speak to people I know saying “I am coming back as a thief in the night, not to bring salvation because that has already been given, but to Judge the nations. I am coming back soon to Judge the nations. Now is not the time for idle pursuits, concerns about money or position, for I am coming back to separate to the goats from the sheep”.

Again the voice said prophecy unto Nigeria and I said “Nigeria, you land that I have blessed abundantly and planted my word. You o land who eats your own children. Turn to me with all of your hearts.

And the voice said yet again, prophecy unto Africa and I said “O Africa, thou afflicted and tossed about. Thou that has hardened your heart. Put aside all of the abominations and detestable things. What I want to do in your land nobody else can do it. I am your only salvation.
After praying I asked God for the grace to share it with people. I have written down only what I can remember and I cannot possibly convey through words the depths of the sorrow and affection that the Lord allowed me to feel. I cannot completely convey for as the bible says that “We have these treasures in earthen vessels that the excellence of the gift might be of God and not man”. 2nd Cor 4:7. But the Holy Spirit he will convey to you. God bless you.



Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Great Harvest of our time

Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest is plenteous but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest. Matthew 9:37-38

We are living in the midst of a great harvest. The field is ripe for the gathering; a mighty harvest indeed. But the baskets that should be full are empty as the store houses lie in waste.

We are the Josephs of our generation. We have been warned of a coming drought called eternal damnation and have been called to gather in the harvest. While Joseph emptied the fields and filled up the storehouses of Egypt with grain our harvest remains plenteous because our laborers are few.

Unlike Joseph’s harvest of grain ours’ is a harvest of souls; souls that have not come into the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Our harvest therefore bears with it eternal significance because it does not have to do with the perishing of the physical man due to hunger and drought but it has to do with the eternal damnation of those who do not accept Jesus Christ as Lord.

Brothers and Sisters God has called us to be fruitful but the truth of the matter is that we have been given everything necessary for fruitfulness. We are like potential laborers who have been given baskets, gloves, heavy machinery for gathering plants, boots, sunhats, proper training and every other provision necessary to gather in the harvest, but often find ourselves everywhere else but the field of harvest. Know that it is the devils determination to keep you everywhere but the field of harvest because when he can accomplish that there are two consequences:

1. Somebody does not get saved
2. You stand before God in the judgment empty handed, barren and fruitless

This shall not be our portion in the mighty name of Jesus.

This ought not to be our portion because every provision has been made for us to succeed to the extent that we have no excuse for wasting the Lords harvest. In John 3:16 the bible says “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life”. God has given us his son Jesus Christ, he has given us his Holy Spirit, who is an “indwelling” Holy Spirit: This means that if you have been baptized by the Holy Spirit he takes control of your life as you surrender to him and you begin to do things not out of your own strength or ability but out of the ability of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

And what a powerful Holy Spirit he is. No one ever did anything of note in their own strength.
Before Samson killed a Lion or singlehandedly began to destroy thousands of Israel’s enemies the bible says “And the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him” Judges 14:6

Before David slew Goliath or united the people of Israel the bible says “And the spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward” 1 Samuel 16:13

Brothers and sisters, before our Lord Jesus Christ began his ministry he said “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor” Luke 4:18

Never look at your own abilities. No one ever did anything of note in their own strength.





The misconception

Many Christians have a misconception that they must grow up to a certain “level” before they begin to spread the gospel, before they begin to make a stand for Jesus Christ.

Oh what a lie from the pit of hell! We can certainly grow in our walk of faith but we cannot grow in righteousness. There aren’t different levels of righteousness: You are either righteous or you are not. This is because when Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins he exchanged his righteousness for our sins. See II Cor 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Jesus Christ died so that we can be made into his righteousness which is the righteousness of God. And so we can’t “grow” in righteousness. That would mean we are “improving upon” the righteousness of God which Christ gave to us when we accepted him as Lord.

Therefore we see that all the promises of God outlined beautifully throughout the scriptures are pertaining unto the righteous. Not those who have “grown up to a certain level”.

In Isaiah Chapter 54 which is a portion of scripture that is very dear to my heart, the Lord makes promises upon promises. But how does the Chapter end? The Lord says in verse 17: This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.

If you’ve accepted Christ and are whole heartedly living for him:

· You have been given the righteousness of God for a heritage
· All the provisions and promises are pertaining to you
· What then are you waiting for? The harvest is waiting for you.

And so we see that it is not a matter of your own strength or level of maturity because it truly is the work of Christ through the Holy Spirit. How else could Paul in Phil 4:13 say “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me”.

I feel the Lord placing it upon my heart to tell you a few things:

The first is that lately it seems as if the very one’s whom I have been speaking to about Christ are coming back with the most difficult questions I have ever been posed. Questions such as: What about my religion, are we all going to hell? Am I supposed to turn my back on my own family? I am not a bad person; I live a good honest life; if he is really a good and merciful God why would he send me to hell?

I tell you these things so that you can expect them. Do not be discouraged, know that the gospel was not designed to be deduced by cognitive reasoning. Trust in God’s willingness and power to reveal himself. Always remember that the bible says “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God”. 1 Cor 1:18.

The second is that you should not measure your success by earthly standards but by heavenly standards. As long as you are doing what the father expects of you, you are doing fine. Do not underestimate the power of a seed that is sown. Do not measure success by how many people fall to their knees and begin to recite the sinners prayer.

I have only led 2 people in the sinners’ prayer. One was a classmate in secondary school in Nigeria and the other was a co worker. The measure of my success is that the heavens would open up as it did when Jesus was baptized, and that I would see the Spirit of God descending like a dove and a voice from heaven saying “This is my beloved servant, in whom I am well pleased”.

Brothers and Sisters, it comes down to this: We have to be fruitful in this season of harvest. When Joseph had gathered the harvest in the years of plenty he had two sons. The second one he called Ephraim, which means fruitful. For the bible says he proclaimed “The Lord has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction”. Genesis 41:52

Let this be what the future holds in store for us in the mighty name of Jesus Christ.

I love you. Remain blessed.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

In one day, O Africa!


For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in ONE DAY. Zech 3:9

God can remove the iniquity of Africa in one day.

Africa’s problems are multifaceted; some are peculiar while others are common. The enemy uses diverse weapons against diverse regions. Children are not spared from the onslaught. In some regions it is war and strife, in others it is corruption and criminality, in others still it is disease and famine, whilst in others it is what can simply be stated as a tragic lack of Jesus Christ.

Various solutions to these problems have been attempted. Food has been sent, money has been thrown at the issues by western governments. The United Nations has been left confounded, the African Union is incapable of solving Africa’s problems and even the Church in many regions has been under attack.

The fact is that the Africa’s problem is a spiritual issue and not a natural one. So far these organizations and philanthropists who mean well have been trying to solve spiritual problems with natural solutions. This is an exercise in futility. The natural can be combined with the spiritual but true revival is a spiritual thing.

Yet I ask: Can money forgive our sins? Can aid heal our hearts? I am here to tell you however that my bible tells me that God can remove the iniquity of a nation, of a people, of a land in one day. And just as importantly he is ever willing to do so, but there is a prerequisite.

Landing in Lagos


I just returned a few weeks ago from a trip to Nigeria which I can only describe as one filled with the sweet voice of God. Now Nigeria, being the most populous black nation in the world can often serve as a microcosm of Africa’s problems.

Of paramount interest to me was getting a sense of the spiritual climate of the land. This was brought home to me when as the plane landed at Murtalla Mohamed airport in Lagos a thick booming voice sounded from the back of the plane declaring: “Praise the Lord!” Virtually the entire plane responded “Alleluia!”. Again he shouted “Praise the Living Jesus!” and everyone intoned “Alleluia”. Finally he shouted “God is good?” and the entire plane agreed saying “All the time”.

I smiled and knew that I was home. My Nigeria, where God is given glory for everything, where that there is God is a natural thing to assume.

As I attended Church that Sunday and heard the message that was preached there was an internal battle that was waging within me. Much has been made with regards to prosperity preaching and I asked the Lord if I was being self righteous for not agreeing with a lot of the message that was centered mostly around the claiming of promises. However one thing God made me understand was: “If you go to a hospital you will preach healing. If you go to a burial you will preach death and resurrection. If you go to Nigeria you will preach prosperity”.

This harsh reality is brought to bear by the tough living condition of the people. However, God showed me that to the extent that these people are coming into his house on Sundays to worship, to the extent that they still know where their help comes from, there is much that can be done with that.

Another Level

But God wants to take us all to another level. God wants us to move on as hard as it is from praying for ourselves and our prosperity to praying for our neighbors, leaders, pastors, nation! God wants us to be intercessors and only then will we begin to see change take place.

In America I spend time praying for Africa with friends and various prayer groups. But the reality as I saw it in Nigeria was that the there is hardly a sense of Nigeria let alone a sense of Africa. The living conditions are so hard for people that it is hard to think beyond seeking God for your basic needs to seeking him for the needs of others.
I took a sample, just asking people I came across if they prayed for Nigeria but 1 person said yes: A dear friend of my sister whom God placed it upon her heart to start praying for Nigeria. At first she did not understand why but the burden grew bigger. Seeing that God is speaking in this way gave me joy. The truth is this is what God has required of us in this generation.

The prerequisite

God wants to heal our land. He wants to take away the iniquity of Africa in one day, but there is a prerequisite. This prerequisite can be found in II Chronicles 7:14.

One afternoon, in the city of Enugu in eastern Nigeria as I cried out to God for that city the word of the lord came to me in the form of this scripture “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” II Chr 7:14
On the surface one might tell me that of course, I know this scripture by heart…didn’t I know that it applied? Yes, I do and yes I did…however on that day I heard it from the heart of God. I can only describe it as a desperation in the voice of the Lord as he said over and over these words “I will forgive their sins, I will heal their land”. It was with many tears that I spent time in his presence that day, and such was the desperation that was transferred over to my heart that I left this message with 2 Pastors in Nigeria that God gave me the opportunity to speak to, and now I leave it with you. That the person living in sin is no longer just doing something terrible to himself/herself but there is a healing that God wants to bring that the person is delaying because he is not joining others in turning to God, because the seeking that God requires has to be done by people in unity.

There has always been a prerequisite. The healing that we seek will not come until we turn to God in one accord, putting aside every sin that has held us back.

The scripture that God gave me concerning Africa’s healing is Ezekiel 11:19-20 “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you, and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people and I will be their God”.

I went back to take a look at that scripture and decided to read the verse that preceded it and there in verse 18 I saw a prerequisite: And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence.
This is what must happen before he takes away our hearts of stone and gives us a heart of flesh.

The tall palm trees of Calabar
During my stay in Nigeria I visited the old city of Calabar. It is a beautiful place filled with history and natural beauty.

During my time in that place I visited a slavery museum. As I saw the harsh realities of the trans Atlantic Slave trade brought to life, as I looked upon the waters upon which the slave ships were docked I could not help but think that in many ways this is where it started.
The gospel had to come to us somehow. Jesus Christ had to be preached and the light of this world had to shine even in Africa. And here we are…
Through many tears and many tragedies, many struggles and forced removals Africa stands on the edge of a mighty visitation from God. We know what God wants to do and what he has required of us. Go and tell your friends and family that in Zechariah Chapter 3:9-10 the lord says “I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbor under the vine and under the fig tree"
To this Lord of hosts be all the glory, honor and power. For he has created all things, and for his pleasure they are and were created. Through Christ our lord. Amen.





Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Loving the Judgments of God


“The fear of the lord is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb”. Psalm 19:9-10

If you are anything like me then the word “judgment” is probably not your favorite word. You recognize that it is a good thing when judgment happens but that it had to happen in the first place is a bit troubling and that it can possibly happen to you is cause of some concern. The word judgment here is used in the context of deciding between right and wrong and delivering justice to the wrong.

There is also another context in which the word judgment is used and this is in the context of exercising wisdom in determining the right course of action. The word is used in this context when we urge one another “Use your judgment”. Judgment in this sense is less threatening as it has more to do with making good decisions and less to do with appropriation of blame and delivery of resulting consequences.

Alas, last night God revealed my heart to me as I began to understand that the first context had colored my view of this word especially as it relates to God. As I read Psalm 19 in which David lavishly pours love and adoration upon the judgments of God I was struck by how at odds this was with how I felt about God’s judgment. Here is what David had to say about it starting from verse 9: The Judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much gold: sweeter also than honey and honeycomb.

Before I surrendered completely to Christ I was afraid of his judgment, but last night I realized that even now the judgments of God though good in my eyes, could not inspire such passion and adoration as David displays in this Psalm.

Why O why was this so?

The disobedience problem


Brothers and sisters, the fear of God’s judgment among the children of this world and the lack of appreciation by the children of God are all traceable to the disobedience problem.

If I knew that there was nothing I could ever do to be on the wrong side of God’s judgment then perhaps I would be more inclined to love them. The unyielding sinner is already on the wrong side of God’s judgment and so lives either in fear of them or in denial of them. Stories of “Judgment Day” are very well known and the finality of it is something that many struggle with even as they try to live a life of obedience.

The heart of the matter

“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one man many shall be made righteous” Romans 5:19

It starts with our hearts.

On the surface it would seem that the harder an instruction from God then the harder it is to obey it and the easier the instruction then the easier it is to obey, but this is not the case. If your heart is not yielded to God he can give the simplest instruction and you will still not obey it.
Obedience lies in the heart and there is no instruction beyond the obedience of a heart totally yielded to the father, nay, rather obedience then becomes our total focus, source of joy and only possible destination.

As Paul pointed out in the book of Romans, the disobedience of Adam juxtaposed with the obedience of our Lord Jesus Christ is a perfect illustration of how a thing that seems so easy (Do not eat the fruit of this tree) was disobeyed by Adam who before then knew no sin, and a thing that seemed so difficult (die for the sins of the world) was obeyed by Christ who knew no sin. The difference here is that Christ’s heart was set upon the lord and therefore he loved his father’s judgment even if this very same judgment was going to send him to his death. At this time I am reminded of the words of Job “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him”. Job 12:15

O my friends! Can you see that when we surrender our hearts to God in total obedience then his judgments become sweet as honey and more desirable than the finest gold?

Honey and Gold

I believe that God wants us to adore his judgments; in whatever context the word is used because it is as result of his judgments that we have life and it is through his judgments that we will have victory. God judged all that he created and saw that it was unfinished and then he created Adam. God judged Adam’s loneliness and saw that it was not good and so he created Eve. God judged the suffering of Israel and saw that it was great and so he sent Moses. God judged the condition of man and knew that we could not make atonement for our own sins and so he sent his son Jesus Christ to die for our sins. God’s judgments are out of love and we must respond in love, there is no other way. David recognized this when in verse 11 he said “Moreover by them is thy servant warned and in keeping of them there is great reward”.

Brothers and Sisters, we live in a very grave and dark hour in which the foundations of every society in the world right now is being shaken to it’s very core. We are called to love the lord our God with all our mind and with all our hearts, we cannot therefore choose which parts of God to love more and which to love less. We must love all or not at all.

Last night I made a decision: I will love the judgments of God.

Tonight I say a prayer: Judge my hidden faults O Lord my redeemer and make plain my foolishness. For I would rather embrace your judgments now, whilst you tarry o blessed savior, than wait until the day that will be the end of days.

I love you. Remain blessed, now and forever. Amen.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

He restores my soul


And the King said unto his servants “Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel?” II Samuel 3:38

There is something that I feel God doing to my spirit and indeed my entire life; it is something that mere words even fail to describe. There is calmness about it and a confidence in it, there is a hunger within me as I desire more of him. And alas, sometime yesterday a phrase came to mind…a phrase that gives the closest hint to what I feel God doing. It is from the 3rd verse of the 23rd Chapter of the book of Psalms, and it is simply this: He restores my soul.

Restoration.

The word restoration implies that there is something that you are being restored to; it invariably intimates that there is a purpose, indeed a destination of this restoration.

It does not mean that I am being restored to something I used to be-even though there is restoration in this sense-because I also feel God taking me to places I have never been. Rather I am convinced that God is restoring me to who I was meant to be, the person that he pictured when he created me.

Man’s wrestle with restoration

I believe that ever since mans fall from grace man has been trying to restore himself by himself. But alas only God can restore us and beyond being an impossible task for us to accomplish, I believe it a dangerous business when we go about trying to restore ourselves to whatever we feel our rightful place is, be it spiritually or in the physical world.

The best examples I find of this quest for self restoration are in the both books of Samuel.

Saul’s quest for self restoration:

Saul disobeyed God when God commanded him through the Prophet Samuel to go and destroy the Amalekites, everything down to their sheep and oxen. But when Saul had destroyed the Amalekites he saved the best of the sheep and the oxen to sacrifice unto God instead of completely destroying them. This act brought forth the word of the lord which said “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice” 1 Samuel 15: 22. The bible says “And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee for thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee from being King over Israel” I Samuel 1:26

From this day forward the rest of Saul’s life was spent in trying to restore the Kingship that God had taken away from him. He embarked on a quest for self restoration.

When God anointed David (Who in Psalm 23 said “He restores my soul”) to be King over Israel, the bible says that the Spirit of the Lord came into David. The bible also says in 1 Samuel 16:14 “But the spirit of the lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him”.

Saul made himself an enemy of David and made many attempts to take his life. All of this led to the death of Saul on the Mount of Gilboa, as wounded in battle he fell upon his own sword.

The story of Saul is a tragedy that tragically applies to many men and women in the world today. You see, when one is without the spirit of God there is a void that is created. Christians who are trained in the spirit can tell when they have done something wrong and the spirit is grieved, but those who are not do not understand what it is that is lost, what it is that they seek so faithfully to restore. I believe that Saul did not understand what it was that needed to be restored – His soul. He thought it was his kingship, which is why he pursued after David’s life. And so if he knew that it was his soul that needed restoration he would have abandoned this foolish quest and gone somewhere to inquire if this merciful God will yet have mercy on his soul but he did not.

And so many in the world who are devoid of the spirit know not how to fill this void, and so they try to fill it with fulfillment in various spheres of life – Successful careers, beautiful spouses, money, wealth, possession, everything that the world tells you is worthy of our pursuits. But in the words of CS Lewis “Everything that is not eternal is eternally useless”. These people soon find that the void they are trying to fill cannot be filled by anything that they can comprehend. If someone like you or I do not tell them about the Holy Spirit, they will never know what it is that can fill that void and bring about the restoration that David spoke of.


Joab’s attempt at restoration (II Samuel: 3)

After the death of Saul, there was a certain man by the name of Abner who fought against David on behalf of Saul’s heir. But at some point the lord touched his heart and he vowed to transfer the Kingdom of Israel from the house of David to the house of Saul and so he met with David and spoke to the elders of Israel on behalf of David. After a meeting with David as he was going home he was overtaken by Joab, one of Davids men, whose brother was killed by the hands of Abner in the days when Abner fought against David. And Joab killed Abner for the blood of his brother.

Joab took vengeance into his own hands even after David had told him that Abner had made peace with him and was now on his side.

As I read this my soul cried out for mankind. It is easy to take matters into our own hands and try take what we feel is rightfully ours. When we are grieved it is easy to lash out because we feel that our actions are justified, “how can they not be?” we rationalize, as the person who grieved us committed a legitimate wrong. We attempt to restore our pride and position, our honor and reputation...but all the while God wants us to trust him with our reputation, position and all of our lives.

To Joab the avenger David cursed saying “Let it rest on the head of Joab, and on all his father’s house, and let there not fail from the house of Joab one that hath an issue, or that is a leper, or that leaneth on a staff, or that falleth on the sword, or that lacketh bread” II Samuel 3:29

Of Abner the repented slain David lamented, refusing to eat anything until the sun went down. Of him the bible says “And the King said unto his servants: Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel” II Samuel 38.

We have choice to make

Brothers and Sisters, he restores my soul.
I believe that we all have a choice to make today: We can either let God restore our souls to their rightful place, surrendering all of our affairs to him even as David did, or we can try to take matters into our own hands as Saul and Joab did. The end result is plain in II Samuel 3:1 “Now there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David, but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker of weaker”.

The lesson is plain – The one who lets God restore him will wax strong, while the one who seeks to restore himself will even become weaker than when the futile quest began.

Letting God take control is not easy and can only be accomplished by trusting and surrendering to the Holy Spirit. It requires patience knowing that we may not see the results when we like but it will surely come in God’s time. Many years passed between David’s anointing by Samuel and his acceptance by the elders as King of Israel, but it was worth the wait and God restored his soul.

May you rest in the lord this day, may he restore your soul to amazing heights that he envisioned when he first thought of you.

To God be the glory and honor, who reigns with the Son and Holy Spirit as one God, now and forever. Amen.



Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Kingdom of God is at hand


“And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying: Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, the days are prolonged, and every vision faileth?” Ezekiel 12:21-22

My Mother, being an honourable Justice of the Nigerian High Courts is able to recite long strings of sentences that have been deposited in her mind over time. She’d attended a British run secondary school in eastern Nigeria in the nineteen sixties, attended law school, served as a defense lawyer, a (chief) magistrate, a (chief) register and now she is a Judge. Doubtless she’s has had to memorize countless laws, the legal profession being what it is. What I find now to be very interesting is that I inherited some of her ability to remember words, because looking back many of the things she would recite on occasion would somehow stay in my memory word for word. Of all the things my Mother recited there is one verse that has stayed with me through the years. It is a verse from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and it reads: There is a tide in the affairs of men which when taken at a storm leads on to success. Omitted, all the voyages of their life are bound in shallows and in miseries. In such a sea are we now afloat and we must seize the current as it serves or lose our ventures.

I thank God that in a season such as this where he will make known to my heart the urgency of the times in which we live, that verse will come to mind in all of its application to the world right now. I believe that the world exists at a very special time in history where God has given us a sea of provisions and blessings which we must seize or lose his kingdom. As I searched for words to convey the urgency of the times in which we live that verse by Shakespeare came to mind.

I searched with a sincere urgency to convey urgency because I believe that there is a lie that the enemy has told which attempts to dull our Christian and even human senses to a realization of the times in which we live. That lie is this: That the things long spoken of by the Prophet’s and the times long spoken of by our Lord Jesus Christ are still far in the coming. The enemy has attempted to dim the glory of our Lords coming by trying to get the world to believe that there is no God or believe in a false god. The enemy is trying to get the Church to remove its focus from the coming of our Lord, by placing it on such things as “fulfillment” and “claiming promises”. But the coming of our Lord can never be dimmed for the word says that “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness comprehended it not”. The Light of Jesus will shine; it is up to us to decide if we will stand in the glorious light or be in incomprehensible darkness.

With light comes enlightenment and knowledge. Lately I have heard sermons speak of the urgency of the times in which we live, and the return of our Lord Jesus Christ but God confirmed this to me tonight as I revisited a passage that I had come across in the book of Ezekiel.

Christ’s coming in my Life

In January when this year began, God gave me certain words concerning what he will do in my life this year. He gave me specific instructions which I was to obey, and outlined specific outcomes which I could expect. Many of these were given me through scripture, some of them a conviction that came upon me in prayer; and as the year went along the lord continued to speak. When the enemy tried to bring doubt into my heart the Lord immediately rebutted him as he directed my eyes to Joshua 21:45: There failed not aught of any good thing which the Lord had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.

The first words the Lord had given me concerning this year had come from the first book of Joshua. Here God was saying – It shall all come to pass.

Two of the things that I was waiting on the Lord for were his help in graduating from my Masters Program this year and that he take my career where he wants it to be. And so miracle by miracle, from January to November the Lord had fought vigorously for me. It was now clear that I would be graduating from school in December. What was not so clear was what would happen with my career as the global financial crisis continued to take a turn for the worse. And so it was in the midst of this that the Lord led me to the book of Ezekiel Chapter 12.

The Lord had given the people certain promises and had spoken many prophetic words through his servants over the years. But when the people did not see them coming, they rationalized amongst themselves that the days of which the Lord spoke are still a long way in coming. Basically assuming that since those things had not occurred they probably will not for a very long time. They even made a proverb out of it, limiting in their eyes the power of God to do something now.

And so the Lord said through his Prophet Ezekiel “Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, the days are prolonged, and every vision faileth? Tell them therefore, thus saith the Lord God, I will make this proverb cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but say unto them: The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision”. Ezekiel 12:22-23

God continues in verse 25 by saying “For I am the Lord, I speak and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass, it shall be no more prolonged: for in your days O rebellious house will I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord God

As I read these words, I began to realize that the enemy had been trying to get me to postpone the occurrence of all that God had said to me throughout this year, and assume that God meant it for a time yet to come. God was saying no, I said I will do it this year, I will do it this year.

Brothers and Sisters, December has just begun and tomorrow is my last class in school, tomorrow my promotion will be announced at work, and I am ever more convinced that before this year is over God will take me far beyond all that I ever thought possible. He said he will do it and so he is doing it.

Christ is coming to the world

Brothers and Sisters, I tell you this story of my life because the Kingdom of God is at hand. In Matthew Chapter 24 our Lord Jesus Christ talks about his coming. He gives his disciples signs and wonders that they can expect in anticipation of this time. In verse 30 he says “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory”.

The signs that our Lord gave us have come to pass: There have been wars and rumors of wars; many have come claiming to be Christ. There have been famines and earth quakes, the gospel has been preached in the entire world.

But my friends, there is a lie that the enemy has told the world. It is in the form of the proverb which the children of Israel spoke to themselves in the days of Ezekiel- That the days are prolonged and the vision faileth and are for many days to come. I believe that God wants to shake us out of this complacency.

The words that he showed me in the book of Ezekiel were not only pertaining to his arrival in my life in the midst of all he said, but it pertains to his return to our world. And so in a moment such as this, I cannot help but carefully consider two things –

1) Christ has brought to pass and is bringing to pass all that he said to me that he will do this year; they were not for a season prolonged in the future.

2) The Kingdom of God is very close now; it is not for a time far prolonged.
So, what?

And so in light of these things how do we proceed? I assume that if we knew that Jesus was coming tomorrow we would be less concerned about many of the things that we are concerned about. Those who have not accepted him would quickly do so, those who have will somehow double their efforts, those backslidden or lukewarm would rededicate themselves and go searching for others to bring to Christ. Basically we would start doing what we ought to have been doing all along.

Brothers and sisters…as I lay down this evening considering my walk in Christ I thought to myself that the only retirement for me is death. There is no vacation from the cross once it is picked up and so long as I live there is no point I will get to where I would have gone far enough. These thoughts were overwhelming when the spirit of God settled in my heart that his grace is sufficient.

And so I urge you, get deeper into the life of Christ, accept him as your lord and savior if you have not (For any questions about this please reach me at wendu.nwakanma@yahoo.com) and live everyday as if the lord would come that day.

There is a season spoken of by our Lord Jesus, a season in which we now live…and we must seize salvation and all that it means or lose his Kingdom.

God bless you forever…