Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Tithes, Stewardship, God’s House & The Needy Part 1

Recently there has been a lot of hoo-ha on tithing, particularly in Nigeria.

As my pops pointed out, this is not the time to retreat on teaching the Church accurately on tithing and offerings in general. Because Satan will use every opportunity he can to rob people of knowledge & truth.

On the other hand, I also know through God’s prophetic word that He is not happy with some of our ways in the church particularly that there are things that our leadership need to address. It is time for self examination. Let us judge ourselves so we are not judged. Are we accountable with tithes and offerings? Do any of our practises when we make a call for offering promote competition/jealousy/envy/self validation/pride? Do we acknowledge or give extra honour/recognition to those who have more to give directly or indirectly, are we elitist? Are our methods man made or God inspired? Are we trying to cajole the people of God because we do not trust God enough to raise funds without a little extra muscle from us, do we get out our rolodex of expert fund raisers to enlist their help to cajole without any specific leading by God to partner with these experts? I have seen &been in environments where the need/expenses of the church/ministry are simply stated to the people of God & the people give, the needs met with overwhelming support from God’s people - scripture says in the days of Thy power, Thy people shall be willing, some versions say Your troops, another Your volunteers "His troops, His volunteers" (Psalm 110:3a). Note THY POWER (not my or our power).

How do we administer funds? Is it evidenced by transparency & accountability? There is a standard set in the bible that we can see in 2 Corinthians 8:20 “We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift.”

Are we taking care of the genuinely needy amongst us within the church from collections? Taking care can be expressed in more ways than one (scholarships, bursaries, training/education programs from within from those that have succeeded in an area, money, food, clothing) - ever heard the saying “leaving no one behind” Scripture says “Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,” Acts‬ ‭4:34‬ ‭KJV‬ “At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”2 Corinthians‬ ‭8:14-15‬ ‭NIV‬‬

On the flip side, I also want to remind church goers that they also have a responsibility & free will to choose their church. In the scriptures, letters of commendation were written to accompany brethren - Paul said“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” 1 Corinthians‬ ‭11:1‬ ‭Otherwise you do yourself a great disservice being under a church leadership that you despise, I think that is extremely counterproductive. If God has called you somewhere where you see imperfections & you are sure he called you there, then He must have work for you to do - as an intercessor, as a sent one not as a gossip, not to tear & run down. If God called you there, then He has given you grace to love your church and to stand in the gap as an intercessor or sent one. Paul said “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you,” Galatians‬ ‭4:19‬ ‭NIV‬‬

As congregants and leaders we must examine our hearts on both sides for the love of money.“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭6:10‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Now that we have got that out of the way, I can begin to teach further in my upcoming posts.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

The God of process

God likes to work through process.

Acts 13 vs 21 tells us that he gave them Saul son of Kish and verse 22 tells us that He made David their king. Please note the difference: gave and made, these are two different things.

Through process, God makes those who are fully submitted to Him, perhaps reading this you are a child of God going through something and have heard the phrase "don't waste your trials" but never fully understood what people mean when they say that. In your trials i.e. situation or circumstances that God allows you to find yourself, I would like you to know that God is doing something. He is making you into something - someone far more finer than you could have tried to fashion yourself - one who is better equipped to carry the weight of His glory.

It was said about D.L. Moody when he was invited to hold an event in England, that someone protested saying “Why do we need this Mr. Moody? He’s uneducated, inexperienced, etc. Who does he think he is anyway? Does he think he has a monopoly on the Holy Spirit?” But somebody else wiser rose and responded, “NO, BUT THE Holy Spirit HAS A MONOPOLY ON Mr. Moody.”

Does God have a monopoly on you? God is looking for children that He can have a monopoly on, fully submitted, He is looking for children who can carry the weight of His assignment and glory. And He knows that to do that, he needs to get somethings OUT of us and somethings IN. Often we like to focus on the things in (the blessings etc), however we need to think of the things OUT (those habits and character flaws that do not glorify God, which will have a hard time co-habiting with the Holy Spirit and the weight of God's glory). So, when having a diva or divo moment' I must confess to some of those thinking "I am a celebrity, Lord, get me out of here!" Think for a moment instead, Lord why am I here, what are you trying to say? Paul said I besot Him 3 times to remove this messenger of satan sent to torment me but He said to me - my grace is sufficient for you - for my power is MADE PERFECT in weaknesses!

So, do u have this obnoxious person in ur life? ur office? or are you in a situation u'd rather not be in? Perhaps it's time to stop focusing on those obnoxious people and stuff, instead to face Papa God and say Lord what are you trying to say or get out of me during this time? Paul talked to God about His circumstance - that messenger of satan, why don't you turn your face to the wall and talk to God about yours?

Sometimes these things are permitted in order to perfect your character; could be patience, could be growth in love, could be learning a higher level of dependency on God as a lifestyle as you look to Him to get through the day and for direction to navigate the troubled waters or seasons.

Jesus said be perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect. God is looking to perfect you so He will work through a process; for the ones He makes - there is a always a process, there are schools of learning, changing and perfecting.

The ones He gives like Saul - these simply have things their way; no authority of God over them, its their way or the high way - they have ejected God out of their process and then He lets them be. The worst thing is for Him to let you be!

The one He makes - He chastens, He moulds, He chisels, He is active in their life's process, an active ingredient and agent. He is not a cash machine or just a guardian angel, He is Father, He is Abba, He is looking, He is moving stuff around to chisel them and fashion them out so that they can look so much better.

Let no man deceive you - God Almighty is a God of process! He can flick things on by the snap of His finger if He wanted to but He because He pays attention to detail, when He thinks we need to go through the school of hard knocks - He will send us there to knock some sense & character into us and some lack of out of us.

I remember my mum leaving me behind in boarding school - she was in tears and came back to say good bye at my window approximately three times. However she didn't take me home with her although it was painful for her, she left me in school because she knew it was good for me... same with God.

Often we look for abracadabra but God looks for a process.

Now today I charge you, not me but Him - ask Him - Lord what are you trying to teach me today and how do I learn? I am not going to tell you that the processes are always easy but I will tell you that you must allow them drive you to your knees in prayer and time spent with God - you are going to get so intimate, you are going to know Him better; such that no one needs to tell you before you know this thing gives Him pleasure, that thing does n't etc because you have spent the time in His presence staying close enough to His heartbeat to understand who He is, what He likes, what He wants, what He doesn't want. You can only find these out in INTIMACY, it is in the secret place with God that you can become that person who can better carry the weight of His glory and it is through some of the things you experience that you learn to develop a higher level of dependency on Him, if you let them drive you to Him.

Psalm 51:8 says: "Lord let me hear joy and gladness and let the bones that you have crushed rejoice"

Shepherds crush the bones of the sheep who keep running away from the flock and become prone to wolf or bear attacks to teach them to stop running, David wrote the Psalm in his shepherd language, its about the process.

Who crushed the bones? It was The Shepherd, God Himself.

Leonard Ravenhill said "The law of spiritual progress goes like this: Process then crisis, followed by a process then crisis, ad infinitum"

Behind every process is a God of LOVE, a Father caring - peering behind the scenes to see that you are perfected that you may experience more of Him for therein lies true fulfilment.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Ask yourself, would I court a girl like me...?

I promised my Facebook friends that I would share excerpts from CS Lewis's Screwtape Letters - a letter from a senior devil to a junior devil.

"Our third aim is, by these constructions, to destroy the devotional life. For the real presence of the Enemy (they refer to God as the enemy), otherwise experienced by men in prayer and sacrament, we substitute a merely probable, remote shadowy, and uncouth figure, one who spoke a strange language and died a long time ago. Such an object cannot in fact be worshipped. Instead of the Creator adored by its creature, you soon have merely a leader acclaimed by a partisan, and finally a distinguished character approved by a judicious historian." Page 125

It's interesting that this book was written in 1941, as the devil still uses the same strategy. Gradually worship & prayer where a man can actually come "face to face" with God & encounter His glory are gently being eroded and replaced by "other agenda", less and less room or priority is given to these important foundational truths. We have become too sophisticated, "skilled" and we must demonstrate those, I suppose?

The Pentecostal church came out of the old Anglican, Methodist - etc churches however it is interesting to note how the "Pentecostal" church is also starting to become muscle bound by over organisation (to quote Leonard Ravenhill quoting Dr J.B. Phillips), administration & so called "order" - some of the things we ran away from. Order was created for man not man for order, to help man not rule man. We must not be so structured that we stifle the moves of The Spirit. We must not be so administrative that we have little room for spiritual things.

I will sound the alarm even if I may not be popular for it.

Satan doesn't always come up with new tricks - he simply reinvents the old.

Why did Jacob wrestle with God all night, why not for a few seconds or minutes?

Why did Jesus ask His disciples the question: could you not tarry with me for an hour?

Why was it the manner of the early church to gather together to pray and worship God? Acts 12:5,12; Acts 13:2, Acts 1:14, Acts 16:6

Why was Moses's face changed when he spent 40 days in the raw and living presence of God? Could it be that there are some issues in our lives, some characteristics or lack thereof - which can only be formed when a man comes to stand face to face with God's Shekinah, when he comes to do business with God and God alone?

Where can we do this type of business with God other than in prayer & worship?

Why did Jesus remind us with a whip that His house must be called a house of prayer?

Why is prayer so unattractive to most churches & Christians? Why???

Habakkuk said "I will set me upon my watch and see what He says to me"... How do we watch???

Watching is spending time with Him - when we worship Him, when we pray and when we do these things, He will speak.

Why must God speaking to His church in the rhema be a rare or uncommon phenomenon reserved for a select few? Is it because these few are willing to pay the price on a regular & consistent basis and the rest of us are not?

If I were a guy looking to marry a girl whom I had been courting for quite some time, but this girl was predisposed to only spending any significant amount of time with me seasonally, where she would go for long periods of time without spending any significant amount of time with me and just when I was getting ready to really love on her and express My feelings for her or share my points of view with her she was consistently cutting Me off because of her "schedule" - how loved would I feel? Considering that I was an all or nothing kinda Guy?

"If you want anything from God, you will have to pray into heaven. That is where it all is. If you live in the earth realm and expect to receive from God, you will never get anything. The Church has been negligent in one thing... she has not prayed the power of God out of heaven. The Lord's model prayer provides the clearest instruction on how we bring the reality of His world into this one. The generals of revival speak to us from ages past saying, If you pray, He will come! Biblical prayer is always accompanied by radical obedience. God's response to prayer with obedience always releases the nature of heaven into our impaired circumstances. Jesus's model reveals the only two real priorities of prayer: First, intimacy with God that is expressed in worship-holy is Your name. And second to bring His Kingdom to earth, establishing His dominion over the needs of mankind-Your Kingdom come." Bill Johnson - When Heaven invades Earth

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Embracing the prophetic...

Ezra 3: 8a "In the second month of the second year after their arrival at the house of God in Jerusalem, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jozadak and the rest of the people (the priests and the Levites and all who had returned from the captivity to Jerusalem) began the work.

Reading further down chapter 3, we can see the foundation of the temple being laid.

Some background: Before the foundation of the temple was laid, the children of Israel had been taken into captivity in the land of Babylon, somewhere down the line during their captivity, God had moved the heart of the current king of Babylon - Cyrus to allow the children of Israel to go back to Jerusalem in Judah to rebuild His Holy Temple.

As we continue our studies we see that after the foundation was laid, the children of Israel faced a lot of discouragement and opposition.

Ezra 4: 4-5 "Then the peoples around them set out to discourage the people of Judah and make them afraid to go on building.They bribed officials to work against them and frustrate their plans during the entire reign of Cyrus king of Persia and down to the reign of Darius king of Persia.

The opposition was so fierce that it continued through the reign of several kings, until eventually a stop was put to the rebuilding work.

Ezra 4:24 "Thus the work on the house of God in Jerusalem came to a standstill until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia."

It is important for us to understand here that as the bible teaches in the new testament - we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, spiritual hosts of wickedness, princes of the air. (See Ephesians 6:12). There is a very real spiritual hierarchy of satan and his demons, with institutions and strongholds they have set up over years on the earth, they outlive human kings on the earth, which is why we see this opposition continuing despite a change in kings. A christian should understand this principle very well so that we can go beyond dealing with things at a very surface level.

The work of God came to a standstill until the second year of Darius King of Persia. After the halt in the work, how it did get started back up again - what was the trigger??

It was the utterance of the prophetic word of the Lord!

Ezra 5: 1-2 "Now Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the prophet, a descendant of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them. Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Joshua son of Jozadak set to work to rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem. And the prophets of God were with them, supporting them."

2 Peter 1:21 "For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."

True prophecy is God inspired and by shutting up true prophets of God, you are only trying to shut God up. He has created different offices in the body of Christ - see 1 Corinthians 12: 28 and Ephesians 4:11-12. He never created a one fold ministry but rather a five fold ministry as we see in Ephesians 4 below. He also established an order:

1 Cor 12:28 "And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues."

"Ephesians 4:11-12 "So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up"

Until the prophets spoke forth and prophesied to the Jews, the jews did not set to work again, this only happened after the word of the Lord came. And the prophets continued with them, supporting the purpose of God until it was accomplished - the temple rebuilt!

Acts 13: 1-3 "Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off."

When the bible teaches saying forsake not the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25) - it is not just about a location - but also the coming together of the different gifts and callings of God to fulfil purpose. The scripture goes further to say - as ye see the day approaching - well if there ever was a time that we see the day approaching, it is the times we are in now! 

Hebrews 10:25 "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."

We see also in Acts 13, the prophets and teachers together, seeking God's face together, fasting together, worshipping together and as they did this God spoke and called Barnabas and Saul forth into their ministries.

In Ezra we see clearly the word of God tells us that the prophets were amongst the people, they were with the people, the prophets, priests, governor and people worked together. This kind of unity pleases God. It is OF GOD.

When the various offices come together, there is strength.

Ezra 5:5 "But the eye of their God was watching over the elders of the Jews, and they were not stopped until a report could go to Darius and his written reply be received.

Ezra 6: 3-11 "In the first year of King Cyrus, the king issued a decree concerning the temple of God in Jerusalem: Let the temple be rebuilt as a place to present sacrifices, and let its foundations be laid. It is to be sixty cubits high and sixty cubits wide, with three courses of large stones and one of timbers. The costs are to be paid by the royal treasury. Also, the gold and silver articles of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, are to be returned to their places in the temple in Jerusalem; they are to be deposited in the house of God. Now then, Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and you other officials of that province, stay away from there. Do not interfere with the work on this temple of God. Let the governor of the Jews and the Jewish elders rebuild this house of God on its site. Moreover, I hereby decree what you are to do for these elders of the Jews in the construction of this house of God:Their expenses are to be fully paid out of the royal treasury, from the revenues of Trans-Euphrates, so that the work will not stop. Whatever is needed—young bulls, rams, male lambs for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, and wheat, salt, wine and olive oil, as requested by the priests in Jerusalem—must be given them daily without fail, so that they may offer sacrifices pleasing to the God of heaven and pray for the well-being of the king and his sons. Furthermore, I decree that if anyone defies this edict, a beam is to be pulled from their house and they are to be impaled on it. And for this crime their house is to be made a pile of rubble. May God, who has caused his Name to dwell there, overthrow any king or people who lifts a hand to change this decree or to destroy this temple in Jerusalem."

Ezra 6 shows how strong the presence of the Lord was with them when they embraced the true prophetic. When the prophets were amongst them, supporting the work, the work flourished.

The enemy often wants to keep the Church from the prophetic grace of God and strives to keep pastors from prophets, teachers from prophets, causing divisions. It will do us well to understand that this is a strategy of the enemy only to weaken the Church. It will do us well to drop the us against them mentality otherwise one will only end up short changing oneself and stifling the flow of the work of God in our lives and community of believers.

There has been a lot of persecution of prophets within the body of Christ, such that some have retreated, however it is time for all parties including the prophets to be open to embrace their rightful place in the church of God.

Earlier in Ezra 3, it is not stated that the prophets were amongst the people at the time the initial rebuilding work started or if they were - they were clearly not taking an active enough role worth a mention. 

The Holy Spirit specifically showed me the trigger which caused the work to flourish, He drew my attention to Ezra 5:1-2 - when the prophets spoke - that my friend was the trigger.

Granted there has been an abuse of this ministry in times past, possibly still going on; however the Bible clearly provides guidelines on how to judge prophecy. There has also been an abuse of other offices but the prophetic has been one of the most persecuted even from "within".

Why does the devil oppose this ministry so much? Because he doesn't want the bride of Christ to see! The prophets also provide part of the function of eyes of the Lord in the body - Jesus said “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!" Matt 6:22-23

Prophets have been blessed with an eagle eye, to see beyond. The cherubim who surround the throne have the face of a man, a bull, a lion and guess what - an EAGLE! Eagles have a keen vision. Their eyes are specially designed for long distance focus and clarity.

The prophetic must be embraced by the church if we are to go beyond where we are now.

The Apostolic and Prophetic are foundational to the Church, we see that emphasis in 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4. If we are to become what we are called to be, the prophetic must have it's rightful place in the Church. Foundational does not mean most important - Jesus taught us that the first must be last, foundational is the base on which something is built - a vision established.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Tell them I want them to pray...

Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.” John 13:23 KJV

That disciple was John. What made John so unique that the apocalyptic revelation was revealed to him?

John was unique because he found a place by Christ's bosom, that was why God kept and used him to deliver the book of Revelation, knowing that if there was anybody who would know what to do in exile, whose habit it was to lean on the Lord's bosom, it was John.

Now let's look at our lives today, at our private lives and our churches, how does that translate?

People are often eager to know God's will for their lives, eager to ask Him to do stuff for them. But are we willing to get to know the God Who provides the stuff? Can we spend time with Him enough ourselves to know His will for our lives or do we always run to somebody else to find out on our behalf? Have we made the time to know Him - what He likes, what He is thinking about, understanding what the stuff on His mind is, what His priorities are for our lives, for us as His Church and our role as His representatives in the world?

Or do we think that God doesn't have stuff on His mind that He can share with us and take us in to confidence about? Or have we limited this to a calling for a select few?

God told me something this morning, He said tell them I want them to pray - that's one of the things He told me and we had a conversation about it. He has been saying this for some time now but will we listen, will we obey? Or has prosperity blinded us? Intellectualism? Distractions? Have we given in to satan's ploy to get Christians not to pray?

"But I withheld my hand, and for the sake of my name I did what would keep it from being profaned in the eyes of the nations in whose sight I had brought them out." Ezekiel 20:22

There are times when God does certain things, just about enough for His name sake but He won't let you have that tangible shekinah glory of His awesome presence. And even if at all He does it will be in a limited measure (which is often related to the extent to which you let Him).

Well friends, I believe that is where most of the body of Christ is now. People think that because they have prosperity they think they really really have the mind of God, the heart of God and the presence of God but God says: No, you haven't - I have done just about enough for my name sake so as not to profane My name - because you are My Church and people know you profess Jesus so I prosper you - you bring the offerings to me, yes I bless you in return. But My tangible shekinah I have withheld for those who are really hungry for Me and only Me, those who revere Me and keep My Sabbath.

The level of enquiring and hearing from God in the rhema, experiencing His awesome Shekinah glory is largely absent in many churches today, hence in most of the body of Christ.

Do we know why this is?

By large, the body of Christ is not a house of prayer, we are not a consecrated Church, we don't know how to tarry in God's presence, we are not worshippers who are serious about getting His attention and The Father SEEKS such to worship Him. Look at John 4:24 the literal translation from the Greek says For The Father such IS SEEKING. Can we not understand what that means? ...that His eyes are roaming looking for such a people who know how to honour Him, worship Him and fellowship with Him - as a lifestyle and in their churches!

He is not looking for a worship which is largely driven by teleprompters and time management, where God wants to speak but we shut Him up. It is becoming hard to find churches which really pray, if you find one which does - often the prayer meetings are need driven rather than by The Father's heart. The Father's heart does include our needs but our prayer meetings can not be spent on just material things, there is a world falling apart all around us and many on the fast road down to destruction, there is an enemy out there named satan with his demonic hierarchy - an organised order of wickedness who have been around for thousands of years on the earth who do not rest but yet christians are still sleeping and playing! I am sorry but today is a day for deep truths!

We have exchanged activity for prayer, administration for prayer, entertainment for worship, teleprompter for quality time with God, agendas & schedules for the move of the Holy Spirit, seeking stuff instead seeking The Father's delight.

When God asked satan in the book of Job what have you been doing - he said I have been walking up and down the earth (Job 2:2), going through and fro the earth, do you think that is one sleeps and relents? No, there is a very active order of spiritual wickedness.

Let me say one truth - you will not defeat him with your organising, administration and empty words and activities, you can only defeat with The LORD. That is why Jesus taught us in The Lord's prayer to pray Father lead us not to temptation and deliver us from evil - it means God help us to circumvent satan's plots and fight him on our behalf.

We can not defeat satan by mirroring the world but only by the power of The Spirit and walking in spiritual authority - to walk in it you need to be in step with The Holy Spirit. You need to make time for God to download from heaven, bringing heaven down to the earth - finding out God's will praying it into fruition, receiving insight for the future to circumvent evil pitfalls - therein lies the scripture Thine will be done as it is done in heaven.

Jesus asked to pray this way, the church is supposed to pray and live this way.

"For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way." 2 Thessalonians 2:7
The above gives a part of our job description, who should be holding back the power of lawlessness - darkness? The Church! Until we are raptured, that is part of our job description.

In Ezekiel 20, the elders of Israel went to enquire of the Lord and He was having none of it! People who want to enquire of God must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth, they must keep His "sabbath".

When you look at Ezekiel 20, God was upset about several things: disobedience, a lack of consecration/carelessness (vs 21) and in vs 24 - he talks about idols and the desecration of the sabbath.

Why did God create the sabbath? He created it as a day of rest from our labours, our activities - a day to honour Him as creator and as source.

"If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honourable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken." Isaiah 58: 13-14 

For the new testament believer - the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, I am not talking about Sunday or Saturday but about The Sabbath of the Lord as a lifestyle.

As a church - the body of Christ - can we ask ourselves if we give God quality time? As an individual, do we give God quality time? Do we lean against His bosom?

When The Lord said to keep the sabbath holy, this is what He meant - say to anything else that God is your source, you won't worship your business or your career that it takes all of your time, you can say to your self I will stop before that last deal because it is going to take my time away from God and give that time to God because one understands (and acts like it) that it is not by trying to cut that last deal that gives one the power to get wealth, it is our God!

Pls read Isaiah 58:13-14 carefully - the literal translation of you will find your joy in the Lord is then you shall enjoy the deliciousness of Yahweh. God's presence is indeed delicious!

Can we for a minute put aside our mobile phones, our laptops, TVs, businesses, careers, teleprompters, itchy ears, activities and honour God in our lives and in our churches?

Can we prioritise prayer, worship and bible study? Prayer is not a happenstance, it is a deliberate seeking. It requires effort on our part. You make time for prayer, somethings will have to suffer so you can pray, you will have to go to bed early sometimes just so you can make sufficient time to pray and love on God before you leave for work in the morning, not waking up with only 5 mins to spare for the God of all the earth and heavens!

I remember hearing a sermon years back - Could you not tarry with me one hour?

Mark 14: 37-38 "Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Matthew 26: 40 "Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter."

We were urged to spend at least an hour with the Lord, I decided to deliberately and purposefully incorporate it into my lifestyle, I wondered if I would run out of things to say; I prayed in tongues, I prayed in my understanding, I worshipped, I sang to Him, to make sure I reached the hour and I tell you now one hour is just not enough for me - I wish I didn't have to work :-)

What am I trying to say here? Jesus asked the disciples a question because it will take a willingness on your part. There is a level of responsibility that must come from you, thats what I found, which I will try to describe below. It will require you taking yourself to that meeting point with the Lord and discipline to watch with Him as a starting point for a recommended one hour. It will also take a willingness to commit yourself to Him to ask Him to give you that grace to tarry - asking His Holy Spirit to help you.

My personal experience was that I heard the word and I complied, grace was also there, I was not a big prayer warrior, I didn't know so so many songs, initially I didn't flow so quickly i.e. having so much to say for an hour, so when words failed me, I prayed in tongues, I worshipped Him, I sang to Him. Till it became a case of the time not being enough by any means for me these days. And then as time went on, He gave more grace for intercession - prayer mantle to press further, also I can tell Him everything under heaven - so before I know it, time is never enough.

What I am trying to say is simply, start somewhere and He will meet you, He will take you higher that you ever thought. I think one hour is a good starting point.

If we know we are struggling - tell Him, don't shy away from telling Him - He will give us the grace. The devil doesn't want you to pray, so if you are struggling take the battle to the gates and cry out to God about it.

Find the time and meet with Him there even if all you can start with is to say "Father I love you, I thank you, I praise you".

In a corporate setting (body of believers/church) there is further grace, because we will encourage each other, when you pray with someone else even if you could not pray as long in the past, you receive strength from that corporate anointing and encouragement from standing with others in prayer and worship.The job of the sheep includes leading the lambs into God's presence and from the doing with the more mature - they will learn. Prayer is best learnt by doing more so than by teaching alone, we can teach why we pray as we do - that is important but we can not teach on prayer and not pray corporately. A church must pray! The Church MUST pray! Jesus Our Lord said my house shall be called a house of prayer! Matthew 21:13. Even The Lord took his disciples with Him to pray at the garden of Gethsemane.

The church without prayer is a powerless church - yes we may have some level of prosperity financially but not the shekinah glory - the tangible presence of God where demons flee and the power of God is present to heal, where prophecies are uttered with direction and vision given to the Church as a corporate body, where spiritual eyes are opened, where hearts are converted and the whole world is turned upside down by the fruits of these gathering pulling men from the fire as we go forth in power to preach the gospel of salvation to a dying world.

Are we no better than a morally balanced country club OR ARE WE THE LIVING CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST?

When He gave me this message on Sunday morning, this was how He started: Get My Church stronger - that is His objective, saints.

God bless.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Finding higher ground...

What is it to find higher ground and why is it important?

Exodus 33 vs 11 "The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.

There is a song which goes "Down at your feet oh Lord is the most high place..."

There was something about this two men that set them apart.

First, we'll look at Moses:

Psalm 103 verse 7 - in the literal translation from the Greek ( says the Lord was making His ways known to Moses and to the children of Israel He made known His activities.

My ways and my activities are two slightly different things; if you know my ways you will really get to know me a bit better, you will understand my thought process, where my heart is and have some depth into why I do the things I do but if you only know my activities - you know less about me, you have seen some things I have done but we don't have intimacy which would give you an insight to my heart - you have no idea about the what that makes me tick. 

Moses knew God intimately:
  • They talked like friends as we see in vs 11 of Exodus 33 
  • Moses asked God to teach Him his ways - he was hungry for more of God. "if you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favour with you" in verse 13a 
  • Moses did not just stop at teach me your ways or talking like friends, his hunger for intimacy was far more, he asked God a question, He said in verse 18 of Exodus 33 “Now show me your glory." 
  • I also noticed something really interesting: God ENJOYED Moses too! The feeling was very much mutual. When Moses asked God to blot him out of his book if he would not forgive the sin of the Israelites in Exodus 32 vs 32. The Lord replied in vs 33 this way "Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book". Do you notice how The Lord did not directly respond to the request? It reminded me quite a bit of my mum when she ignores a question and responds to a different question than you asked. I got a sense of God not willing to let go of Moses! Under no circumstances am I letting you go son. The one who speaks with me, who carries my people on his heart for me, faithful in all I send him, who just spent the last 40 days with Me and just Me. No I won't let you go because I enjoy your company!

Now lets look at Joshua. Joshua was not a big prophet like Moses was when we see him in Exodus 32. He was just Joshua, Moses's helper. He didn't speak to God face to face, He wasn't a leader but this man desired more of God. Joshua did not let his current level of revelatory knowledge or position keep Him from God. Even when Moses was not at the tent of meeting, Joshua remained. I got a sense of someone who just said to himself "you know what The Lord may need someone to go get Moses from the camp so I'll just hang around here so he can use me".

Lord I am ready to be your butler, your houseboy, just tell me what you need Sir.

Joshua had a hunger and a value for God. He stewarded God, He knew the presence of God was precious, so he was just gonna hang around and steward Him incase He needed him for anything. This kind of attitude really helped Joshua, so much that when the camp fell and the people of Israel turned to idols. Joshua was oblivious to all of it because he was too busy stewarding the presence of the Lord.

He didn't get caught up with "The God was taking too long ideology" or "I want to be just like my neighbours ideology". Having his focus in the right place shielded him from satan's temptation which fell on the camp, this is higher ground - abiding in God's presence always so that you don't get carried away when satan throws his storms and waves of temptation.

See, it's so easy to read the Bible and judge our predecessors and say "this Israelites were so stiff necked". However I think it is important that we stop to think to ourselves and say how can I keep myself from falling where they fell? To ask ourselves about those that did not fall, and find out how did they achieved it knowing that we are all susceptible to temptation. As it is a wonder to me, how they could fall so far after the red sea was parted and they were brought out of Egypt with signs of 10 mighty plagues, and still turn around and serve an idol.

I wonder how differently things could have been if they had sat around the fires and talked about the might works of God and praised His name - shared testimonies of things He had done in times past whilst they waited on Him and on Moses's return from the mountain - where God was busy working stuff out on their behalf!

Some things I learnt about Joshua:
  • Joshua never took God's presence for granted 
  • He stewarded God's presence with the heart of a servant 
  • He was fascinated by God, He regarded God 
  • He didn't want to be like everybody else unlike the children of Israel who wanted to be like their neighbours not understanding that satan was exposing their nakedness and making them a laughing stock - see Exodus 32:25. Joshua always defined himself by God's standards. It was Joshua who said in Joshua 24:15 "As for me and my house, we will serve The Lord"! Today so many of us want to pattern ourselves against the world standards, we think we are meant to be the same - talk about the same things, copy their way of doing things and import it into the Church regardless of the impact or appropriateness to God's palate and agenda.
  • He didn't let anything limit him, it didn't matter that he didn't talk to God face to face like Moses yet or part the red sea, eventually this same Joshua commanded the sun and moon to stand still (Joshua 10:12). He was able to do this because persisted in his pursuit of God, he had a great regard for God's presence. 
Abide in the presence of the Lord - there is no-one more fascinating than God! Nothing else compares! It will keep you from being shaken when the world is being shaken and sift like wheat. It will deliver you from evil and keep you from temptation.

Pause and think about it.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

John The Baptist's Style of Ministry

John Chapter 1 vs 6-8: There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

John Chapter 1 vs 19-22: Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.” They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”

The message I felt impressed upon to share today is simple, I was reading through John 1 last week when I felt The Holy Spirit draw my attention to John the baptist's style of ministry. His ministry constantly pointed to Jesus, the Bible notes that he confessed freely that he was not The Lord Jesus Christ. As a minister of God and witness of the testimony of Jesus, we must always point those we disciple or preach the good news to on to Jesus Christ. We can not disciple people on to ourselves, they must be discipled on to Jesus.

What is it to disciple to Jesus?

John Chapter 1 vs 35 - 39: The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.

We must teach intimacy with The Lord. In the above passage we see two disciples of John the baptist after learning the identity of the Lord Jesus as The Lamb of God from John, they went after The Lord themselves, they followed him until He noticed them and they inquired further to know where He lived; they did not just stop at knowing the address of His house, but they went in and spent the day with him - that is intimacy

John Chapter 3 vs 26 - They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.”

We need to understand the same way John the baptist understood that Jesus is the bridegroom, His church is the bride and as a minister of God (a worker in God's vineyard) our role is to ALWAYS point others to Christ and NOT to ourselves.

We all must learn to know God for ourselves. My job is not to get you to know me but to get you to know Jesus and develop your own relationship with Him. The reality is that God does not have grandchildren, He has only children, therefore it behoves us to develop our intimacy with Him.

Intimacy is to spend time with God - in worship, prayer and His word - we must prioritize that above everything else along with obedience to Him.

As Rev Patrick would say - cheek to cheek - let God know you cheek to cheek, He is your Father.

For the minsters of God (all His children who preach Christ in one way or the other - on the pulpit, as a worship leader, on the street corner, in Bible Study, to our friends, our families, our children) - we must like John learn to say - I am not the answer but I know someone who is - discover Him for yourself, my job is to introduce you to Him and then you must learn to run with Him.

The weaknesses we see in the body of Christ today are as a result of many not racing to know God for themselves and the lack of the message of intimacy. 

I am not Jesus, my job is to get you to Him and for you to understand that you can and must know Jesus for yourself. The disciples in John 1 vs 35 - 39 quoted above, left John and went after Jesus, they spent time with Him, they desired to know Him.

If there is one message we must learn to preach, it is the message of INTIMACY.

It is written: No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. Hebrews 8 vs 11

Thursday, 25 February 2016

You are not your need!

You my friend are not your need but rather you are God's gift for this hour! Something needs to break in your mentality so that this can sink in. I ask The Lord to touch you now as you read this and speak to your soul.

"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us" 2 Corinthians 4:7

You my friend are that earthen vessel where God has placed His treasure - His Holy Spirit. God has chosen to dwell in you not just with you but IN you. Therefore I submit to you today that you can not be reduced to a need.

I once said I would share a little bit about my getting married if I felt it would bless someone, well this is probably going to be it! I got married at ~39. 

I remember years before, hearing Rev Patrick preach a message about the Shunammite woman, the Word of God hit me - Jesus said the words that I speak THEY ARE SPIRIT AND THEY ARE LIFE. I had never heard the Shunammitte woman taught like that before. The message he preached was simple: this woman didn't focus on her need - pls read the passage (2 Kings 4: 8-37), Elisha had been passing through and she perceived that he was a prophet,she decided to do something to make him comfortable, in deciding to do that she was in essence making a contribution to God's kingdom - God's agenda, not only did she do that, when Elisha asked her if she needed anything - she said she needed nothing, this woman was definitely NOT her need, it was Gehazi who jumped in and said to Elisha that she had no son and that her husband had gotten on in age.  

Here I was over 30 and still single and I was not being told there was something wrong with my faith, that I was not believing hard enough that's why I didn't have what I wanted, this was new to me! That day God unlocked something in my thinking, He began a process...

I remember some time after that lying on my bed, I had been reading the parable of the sower, some things had just happened that had shaken the body of Christ and whilst I lay there meditating on those things and the parable I had just read (Matthew 13), I felt like I heard The Lord say to me: if you keep focusing on your need, you will just perish!

Previously the order of the day for me was: moan and moan, chat with other friends - even christian friends - moping around discussing how difficult it was to meet good men, the right kind of guy, failed attempts, we rarely even thought about standing together to pray about it, we just moaned most of the time. 

I realized that God wanted to take me beyond my need, He needed me to see myself beyond that and any other need. He reordered my life and placed valuable mentor-ship in my life and started me on a journey of discovery. He had need for me in His house, in His presence, in simply getting lost in  the passion of Him, serving Him, chasing Him, following His agenda, so much so that I often forgot that I had a need. I learnt that I could triumph in my singleness and live a life filled with pure joy from the greatest pleasure which is just belonging to Him - the pleasure of being His. 

He started to show me and to teach me to pursue instead intimacy with Him; not just good works, my focus became finding out what was on God's heart, listening for his heartbeat and making it mine, letting Him show me what HIS Kingdom agenda was and running with it (Thine Kingdom come, Thine will be done on earth as it is done in Heaven) and in that place I found my freedom! You can be a christian who pays their tithes, serves in a ministry in church but still so bogged down by the cares of this life - so much that your capacity to love on Him has been eroded because you have learnt erroneously to make your problem your focus just like I did.

Revelations 2: 2-5
I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. 

Did I meet up with friends and sometimes talk about botched introductions to guys who just weren't ready or just not right for me - yes I did but this time I could truly in my heart laugh it off. Every introduction or blind date I was set up on did not all start working out just like that but it didn't really matter, I could truly say so, they didn't have the power to slow me down - I just kept moving because His truth had set me free! I also learnt that it was okay to go out and have a pizza or some fillet mignon or good jollof rice & dodo (whatever rocks your boat) in between doing that thing called life and let my hair down and just relax, alongside with prayer and hiding in God's presence.

It was in the middle of doing all this, that the Lord came to me at the ripe old age of 36 and told me in a dream that He would visit me at 38! I thought to myself did He really say 38, maybe He meant I would meet the guy now at 36 or at 37, give us some time to date and then we would get married at 38! Surely! I am sure He was smiling up there knowing His daughter's planning and analysis mind at the time. 

Anyways time passed, I continued trusting Him, I hit 38 and lo and behold I met my husband :-) And to show how considerate God is, things didn't take that long, we were married within a year, in fact a month short of my 39th Birthday we were married on my Rev Patrick - my small papa's front porch in the USA before 5 witnesses before the big bang wedding celebration which followed some months into my 39th year. 

What am I really trying to say here: keep going for Jesus! Make Him your focus, your goal, as long as you can still sit up or breathe - worship Him, press hard after Him, follow the path of intimacy with Him. Don't just become a church freak - become a JESUS freak! Go out and preach the gospel, go out there and minister to others, let God use you to pray with others, be a vessel of a word of knowledge for somebody, pray for the body of Christ, pray for revival - just by listening to His heartbeat, spending time in His presence - you will begin to know where He needs you to add value, because you are the value that He has prepared for this hour!

2nd Corinthians 4:7-12
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

Paul had gone through a lot of challenges. He went further to say to the Corinthians death is working in me so that life can work through you - he died to his own needs so that God could be glorified through him for the benefit of the Corinthians, he died to his own agenda so that he could live out Christ's agenda.

And you will also find that when you seek out God's kingdom and righteousness, He will NOT forget you. But you have to seek His kingdom and righteousness FIRST (FOREMOST) and THEN all things shall be truly added on to you. (see Matthew 6:33).

I remember going to prayer meeting because I wanted to join in praying for nations - I had heard about this particular group who were hungry for God and seeking His plans and purposes so I joined their prayer meetings, there God met me in so many ways on a personal level related to my needs even though that was not why I went there. I just wanted to experience more of Him and align myself with what He was doing. I wanted the fire of His presence! Some months before I met my husband, three women at the meeting saw a vision of angels coming into the meeting room with wedding rings and saw me go up and pick one, (3 people saw the same thing) not long after that my husband arrived into my life and we were making wedding plans! I didn't go there because I wanted to get married, I went there because I wanted more of Jesus and Jesus met me there with messages confirming what He had already told me before that He would visit me at 38, releasing me into my marriage and giving much needed 
additional wisdom and direction.

Am I saying, not to pray at all about your needs - No, that's not what I am saying but I am telling you today that you are bigger than your need. I am simply just sharing my experiences with you in the light of His word to give you some useful nuggets which have done me well and I trust will do you well if you apply them.

You will have less stress in life when you pass your burden to Jesus in exchange for His yoke - He said Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30 

Exchange your singular burden to include His agenda at the fore front, stop letting your need dominate you, your thoughts, your life or the way that you see yourself. To carry a burden is singular - something you carry on your back or head or hands, to yoke is different - a yoke is plural in the sense that it holds two. Oxen are yoked in twos to plough the field. Jesus is saying come and join your neck with mine!

Picture of a yoke

You can not function properly from a position of need/weakness but rather from a position of strength which is Jesus.

After the Lord opened my eyes and I started to learn to yoke myself with Him, He taught me how to fight better and I am still learning all the time, but this time - I am not the captain, my need is not the captain - He is and I follow His command and lessons.

This means that I am not saying you will stop praying for your needs entirely but He will teach you and lead you how best to pray and go about things, He will even send messengers to you in due season as you continue alongside Him. Some may be messengers with gifts of healing, some may be sent to help you to address certain strong holds in your life, some may come with words of wisdom or correction on why you are failing at certain things etc and sometimes the Holy Spirit will speak to you directly on these things. When you and I are rightly positioned with Him, a lot of these things will happen easily.

I still prayed about my needs. I still went to prayer meetings where singles were being prayed for if God led me to, I still came out when singles were asked to come out for prayers during church/fellowship and I did still pray in my personal time, but better still I had learnt that there were things that God had designed me to do which needed doing so much that they were not to wait until I got out of singleness!

Next I think we will share on learning to multi task - like the children of God when they rebuild the walls in the book of Nehemiah, as I think it ties in nicely into this.

Love & Freewill - Dr Ravi Zacharias - why does God let bad things happen?

Many ask this question often: why does a good God allow bad things to happen?
Dr Ravi gives an excellent answer here!

Without free will, there is no true love, that is what makes us humans & why we have the freedom to ask such questions. God in His infinite wisdom allows certain things to happen, part of loving Him is also trusting Him and we will understand better His wisdom when we stand before Him and some events are best understood backwards and because He can see the end from the beginning, He allows them. If we walk with Him we will come to have a better understanding about certain things and if we wait till we stand before Him, all things will become clear.

In this simple answer Dr Ravi gives a most profound answer...

Friday, 19 February 2016

Interview of witnesses from the Azusa Street Revival

Pls watch and enjoy! I think we can learn a thing or two & also be encouraged...

They testify that they could not control the Holy Spirit and they didn't try...
They prayed as the Spirit gave utterance and ceased only when He wanted...
They all prayed...
There was love, race was erased...
Healing... both witnesses received life long healing
Tarrying - they had a room where they tarried before The Lord...
Words of knowledge, Prophecy, Speaking in languages not learnt (Americans speaking Japanese type of thing) were the order of the day
They were not ashamed of their faith - they carried their Bible everywhere...

The move of God was quenched because man got in the way as these witnesses testify - man got proud and felt they could do things instead of the Holy Spirit.

1 Thessalonians 5:19 Do NOT quench The Spirit.