Saturday, 27 October 2012

When He sent leanness to their souls...

They soon forgot His works;
They did not wait for His counsel,
But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness,
And tested God in the desert.
And He gave them their request, But sent leanness into their soul.  
Psalm 106 vs 13-15

Rewind to Numbers 11 and Exodus 16, we see a lot of grumbling, we see a group of people who seem to have forgotten how God had delivered them mightly not too long before, we see the children of Israel wishing they were back in Egypt! Egypt!! where they had been enslaved - crying out for deliverance and now that deliverance had come - they seemed unable to wait for the full out working  of the same deliverance. Talk about not seeing the wood for the trees.

But before we castigate them, we need to examine and constantly examine ourselves that we are not drawing parrallels with this behaviour.

We should be mindful that we don't carry the sort of attitude and behaviour that will attract leanness to our souls. It is not enough only - to get what you want, the end does not always justify the means, it should be about entering into God's blessing with His favour & prosperity. That is that our soul prospers... as well as our hands.

Numbers 16 vs 18-20 "Tell the people: ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The Lord heard you when you wailed, “If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the Lord will give you meat, and you will eat it. You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days,  but for a whole month until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it because you have rejected the Lord, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?"

God's hand was never too short to provide the meat or to provide bread. Let us settle it in our minds now that that is not in question. Remind yourself of His works in times past, encourage yourself in the Lord; Wait for His counsel - wait for His plan to unfold - NIV translates verse 13 of Psalm 106 to say "But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold." Are you waiting for God's plan to unfold? Do you wait for His plan to unfold?

Father, you are faithful, you came through for me in times past, it's kind of tough out here but You brought me here to bring me through, there is a plan which you are working out and have strategically, lovingly, in all of Your wisdom designed that at this hour and point I should be here. So I am going to wait on You. You wrote Psalm 106 with me in mind, because You knew that I would come to this hour with all the questions. I heard that You were in the South Side River Church last night - healing the sick, giving out jobs and I hopped on the street car but by the time I got there, it seems You had left - did You really leave? On Wednesday too, I heard You would be at Eko Inn doing the same thing, I was there but my situation is still kind of the same as it was Tuesday. Hey! But You know Lord - the God of the universe - Omnipotente - All Powerful - All Seeing God - You KNOW THE WAY THAT I TAKE. The same way you came through for me in 2007, you will come through again for me! How can I forget that, how You moved things around to accomodate me, You will do it again. I am going to stick with the program - Your program - I am not going to detach myself from your process and build my agenda. I am going to be careful to hear and do all that you say to me, I refuse to be directed by the dictates of my flesh or any other flesh for that matter, I am staying on The Lord's agenda, I am going to come out of this process more refined - like gold.

Now see below:

“But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him. But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread." Job 23 vs 8-12

We will have leanness of soul when we take our eyes off the Lord and focus on our circumstances, when we are quick to forget all what He has done and how far He has brought us to date, when we can not be still and wait for his plans to unfold... constantly trying to work things out for ourselves...

I sometimes call it the spirit of the ITK - I too know and in good english - I know too much.

Grumbling is a fast track to leanness, so is being ungrateful and not drawing nearer to the Lord. For most of the children of Israel in the wilderness, they were happy just experiencing the acts of God but perhaps the story for them would have been different- if they had spent more time knowing the God of the act. Joshua did...

Exodus 33 verse 11: The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.

The majority of Israel in the wilderness
Exodus 20 verse 18: They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Understanding God backwards...

Psalm 131
My heart is not proud, Lordmy eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore. 

I love I love this Psalm... Can I say again how I love this Psalm!

Let me tell you why I love it, I love it because it stills me; it steadies me, like a lullaby sung over a baby in a rocking chair soothing the baby to sleep - this is a lullaby to my soul. When things don't seem to be working the way I expect them to, when impatience comes knocking at my door - I am learning to let Psalm 131 get the door for me.

There are times when you know you are in the right place, on the right track, on course of the plan which God gave you but the territory to which which you have been sent is tough.

Exodus 5 vs 22-23 "So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me?  For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all"

That was Moses with the Lord, after Pharoah had heaped even more hardship on the people of Israel because they had asked to go and sacrifice to the Lord. Sound familiar anyone? You have just arrived in the city where God sent you, it's your first month on the job He gave you or your first day on the ministry He asked you to begin - and all of a sudden they've cut the lights in the new church office, there's a colleague that has just been transferred to your department who doesn't seem to like you very much and the new neighbours did not roll out the drums to welcome you, actually they seemed rather put out to have a new face about.

The Lord continues the conversation with Moses and this is what He says:

Exodus 6 vs 1 -3 "Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. For with a strong hand he will let them go, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land." And God spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am the LORD.   I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name LORD I was not known to them"

Now you will see what I shall do with you in this new city... you will see what I shall do on your new job... you will see what I shall do with you in the new ministry.

What I have just done in the last sentence is apply Exodus 6 to "your" circumstance. That, I believe is what God wants to do, if He has sent you - there are times where that requires for you to be still - to place your hope in the Lord, to stand and remain standing to see God's salvation in your situation despite what appears to be opposition and resistance to your success in what He has sent you to do.

There is one simple thing which I have learnt to do and this was something Pastor Patrick taught me, He asked me once "what was the last thing God said to you? Go back to that..." If God has not said something new, go back to the last thing He said to you, didn't He tell you this was it and has He said its time to leave yet? If the answer is no, then friend where are you going, who are you going with??

God is not wishy washy, willy nilly, He doesn't change His mind on a whim or as per circumstance, He is very focused on His assignment. If you read further - Exodus 3 vs 4 - 8, you will see how God refers over and over again to His convenant with Abraham, Isaac & Jacob. The Lord had not changed the last thing that He said, He made a convenant, had an assignment and He was committed to keeping it, same way He is committed to keeping every promise and fulfilling every assignment He has given us.

God said something in Exodus 6:3 - He said they knew me as their sufficiency - God Almighty - the literal translation from Hebrew is "in-El Who sufficies". He is saying you have known me up on till now as the Great Provider, the Strong One, the One sufficient to provide, but now again you will see another dimension of Me as The Lord that is Master of all - Jehovah - Yahweh.

In Nigerian Pidgin English there is a term we use called "Oga". It is a term which depicts the one in charge - in control. There is also a song that we sing which goes "Jesus na You be Oga" translates "Jesus it is You that is Master". I woke up this morning with that song on my heart...

They say hind sight is 20/20. I remember coming to a point in my life and reflecting back on some experiences I had some ten years ago and saying 'now I see why God let me walk through that path, if I had gone the other way I wouldn't have learnt this or learnt that, I had to go through A so I could get to B... I had to go through C so I could handle Y' I got a sense of understanding what God had been doing from the beginning of the matter - only when I got to the end of the matter; Sometimes you will only understand Him backwards....

He has the blue print of life so He can see what you can not see - so don't concern yourself with matters too great for you. Don't suppose to know more than Him because ermm... you don't.

Wean yourself, train yourself to be content with the Holy Spirit and the Word of God as your guide. God is it time to move on - we move, is it time to chill here - we chill.

Lamentations 3:24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

Be content in this "But He knows the way that I take..." Job 23:10a. God is not oblivous to our challenges, struggles or the paths that we take.

We used the following analogy on our prayerline: God's vision is like a "helicopter" vision compared to our "foot-wagon" vision, His ways are higher than your ways and so He can see much further than you.

God was saying in Exodus 6 that He is Lord of Pharoah, Lord over circumstances, Lord over cities, governments, neighbours, colleagues, jobs - He is the God who fulfills mandates. God who keeps convenants, God who completes assignments. The God to whom everything will bow, as He lines things up to work together for your good & to fulfill His purpose.

God allowed Pharoah's heart to be hardened so that He could judge Egypt with great judgements for all the wickedness they had exacted on Israel, that Israel would come out with great spoil from the Egyptians, that He would glorify His name Yahweh and that Israel would know Him as THE LORD.

There are times when you wonder but Lord You could do this in a twinkling of an eye - If we look at Exodus 9: 15-16 - we realise that God is also aware of that fact and He makes a note of it. The Lord's ways are not our ways - He wanted to bring Israel out with great judgement on their hard task master, He wanted to show His power and proclaim His name through that experience. He made Moses great amongst the Egyptians, causing them to fear the God of the Israelites which made Egypt to be favourably disposed toward Israel such that Israel could spoil them. Checkmate!

God is the Master Chess Player and He has all the best moves!

Exodus 7: 4-5 “But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart that I may multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.“When Pharaoh does not listen to you, then I will lay My hand on Egypt and bring out My hosts, My people the sons of Israel, from the land of Egypt by great judgments.“The  Egyptians shall know that I am THE LORD, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the sons of Israel from their midst.”

Exodus 9: 15-16 "For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. You still set yourself against my people and will not let them go." 

Exodus 11:3 The LORD made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh's officials and by the people.

Exodus 12:36 And the Lord had given the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.

Exodus 3: 21-22 “And I will make the Egyptians favourably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed. Every woman is to ask her neighbour and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. And so you will plunder the Egyptians.”

My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.

I find it soothing just reading Psalm 131 and meditating on it - when anxities threathen, when impatience comes calling, when circumstances disappoint...

Sunday, 19 August 2012

The Labourer

John 21 vs 15- 19 "When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”Jesus said, “Feed my lambs." Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” "

The Lord asked Peter these three times in order to emphasis the importance of ministry; ministry is an expression of your love for God. If you love Him - you will take care of what belongs to Him, if you love Him you will feed both the sheep and the lamb - minister to both the mature and the immature -  the well behaved and non well behaved - the thankful and the unthankful - like Your Father in heaven.

"that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." Mathew 5 vs 45

The command in John 21 is to follow Christ. Sometimes following Christ means giving up your time or something of yourself in order to glorify God. When the Lord asked Peter if he loved Him all of three times, I understand why Peter felt hurt but I also understand why the Lord asked thrice - because in all the hustle, bustle and challenges of life - it becomes so very easy to forget that there is a direct correlation between our love for God and our ministry to others.

1 John 4: 19 - 21 " We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.  And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. "

As I struggled with my own limitations, my incovenience, my physicality - I heard the Lord say to me - do you love me more than these?

Brother, Sister - do you love God more than these?

Matthew 9 vs 36 - 38 "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."

The labourer is one who loves God more than these...
The Lord looks with compassion on the harassed and helpless, on the sheep without a shepherd and He is calling for you brother and sister who "loves Him more than these" What part will you play in His harvest? The Bible tells us to ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest - what this means is that the Lord knows where the harrassed and the helpless are, He knows the exact location of the harvest and we are to pray to Him to send us there. When we go out and minister it is Christ working through us, what He needs is our availabilty - He will do the drawing, He will do the ministering. He is THE LORD OF THE HARVEST and He will not send you out into the harvest alone without Him.

John 6 vs 44a “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him"
Matthew 16:17  "Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven"

For me it took a load off when I understood the above scriptures that it is God who does the drawing, He does the revealing, my job is to pray and my job is to go! I don't need to think up convincing words to touch or draw anyone, I just need to open my mouth and trust God to touch hearts and changes lives - doesn't that put things in perspective?

As Pastor Patrick would say "there is no other person better qualified than you"

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Look I am about to die... what's this birthright to me!

That was Esau...

Let's take a look at the text in Genesis 25 vs 29 - 33:

Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and he was weary.  And Esau said to Jacob, “Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.” Therefore his name was called Edom. But Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright as of this day.” And Esau said, “Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?” Then Jacob said, “Swear to me as of this day.” So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob.  And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

It has been my experience that just like Esau, there are forces pulling at us in today's world to despise our birthright - to despise the promises of God. They come in "oh so" subtle ways but we need to be focused, clear on what our mandate from God is. 

There can be enormous pressure to exchange your promise of tomorrow for a momentary comfort in today - a comfort which will never carry you into your tomorrow.

You might be believing God for something being steadfast in your waiting but there is pressure on you saying look you are just about ready to dry up - what good is this promise when by the time it comes you are as good as dead, compromise and live, take a short cut and get on with it, cut corners - lie & cheat & get a living for yourself lest you perish from poverty being Mr Honest.

Remember somebody was as good as dead once when God gave him a son, that man was Abraham. Hebrews 11:12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.

When we look at the life of Abraham Genesis 12 till 25, in particular at chapter 17, we see how clear God was about his covenant with Abraham being established IN ISAAC. God has a plan for your life and His blessing will rest only that plan and that plan alone, when we move outside of the plan of God for our lives - don't expect God to bless it. God could have established His covenant with Ishmael but He DID NOT.

Genesis 17 vs 18 - 21b
And Abraham said to God, “Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!” Then God said: “NO, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But My covenant I will establish WITH ISAAC,

Monday, 30 April 2012

I am sorry I have been away...

I haven't blogged in a wee while... Been a hectic 6 months plus... First I moved and didnt have broadband internet for about 3 months, when it did come it had a habit of going off till I finally had to switch to an upgraded service which hopefully should be more reliable plus along the way I did get busy with that thing called "life" but hey, I am back! Although this is part of the thing called life too but I guess you know what I mean when I say life happened!

Well, I just wanted to give a shout out... Hopefully somebody out there missed me X! Well, I missed me - I missed writing...

I wanted to share something that I read today from Living Truth's facebook page titled the truth about Jesus & I quote Charles Price - who happens to be one of my favourite Bible teachers in the whole wide world :)

 "The Truth about Jesus

Jesus is the exact portrayal of what human beings are intended to be.

‘If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.’ (John 14:7)

Major Ian Thomas was the biggest influence on my own Christian life. He used to say that Jesus Christ is the truth about God and He is the truth about humanity. He is the truth about God because He is the truth about humanity –because humanity was created to portray the truth about God. That is what is meant to have been created in the image of God. You look at humanity and you see what God is like. That was what human beings were like before the Fall.

Jesus Christ is described as the ‘second man’ and the ‘last Adam’ (1 Corinthians 15:45-47). He was born a genuine human being; not as we are in our fallen state but as God intended humanity to be when He first created Adam. He was never for one moment less than God but He lived His life on earth as though He was never more than a man. He demonstrated what true humanity is like by living out of the triple disposition of love for His Father, obedience to His Father and dependence on His Father.

Ultimate truth about God and truth about humanity is expressed in the person and work of Jesus Christ. He is the expression of the moral character of God and the barometer against which all claims to truth must be measured. Any ideas we may hold on to that are not expressed in the person of Jesus are at fault. He, as ‘the truth, ’ is the final measuring stick of all things.

Lord, I’m grateful for the truth revealed in Jesus Christ. Help me to live according to that truth"

Stay blessed friends!