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On our transient afflictions

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2nd Corinthians 4:17)

It is important for us as believers to learn to how to respond to difficult situations. God speaks to us in the text above that, first, the afflictions that God allows us to pass through are light. “For our light affliction…” We are told in the book of  1st Corinthians 10:13 that  No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”  The first response in any moment of trial should be thanksgiving: “Father I thank you because I know that this is a trial that I can bear and that you’ll provide the graces to overcome”.

The next thing we see in the text above is that “the affliction is but for a moment”. This should signal something to our spirit: There is a purpose for which God allows the affliction: It could be to test our faith, to correct us, etc. but one thing is certain: it is but for a moment. In the book of Hebrews 12, we see that the writer admonishes us not to take light the Lord’s discipline because God intends to use such chastisements to correct us and produce the fruit of righteousness.  …but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness” (Hebrews 12v10-NIV). Elsewhere, the Lord speaks to us in James 1v12 (NIV) “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” The crown of life spoken of here is used to mean having a share in God’s kind of life.

The third thing we see is that the affliction works for us “a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. God in his mercy and love desires that we share in His glory. As we walk in God’s holiness, we share in His glory. Hence, we see that though no affliction seems pleasant, but God allows us to undergo such difficult situations in order that he may produce in us a life that possesses his glory.

Have you been accepted in the beloved and are distraught about your present trials and temptations? Cheer up! Give thanks to the Lord! Seek his face and trust him to reveal to you the very purpose of the afflictions; and then prayerfully rely on his grace to endure the trials and rely on his inward working power.

Stay blessed in Christ!

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2015 in Religion

 

Trust in the Lord

 

download (1)“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him… The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live…Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the Lord blessed him..”(Psalms 37:7b, Genesis 26v2,12-NIV)

One of the staggering realities of life and especially our Christian walk is the fact that we would surely face difficult situations. Many would hardly retain this truth in their heart but the mature believer knows better. In God’s dealings with His children, this is a process that must be undertaken as it: 1.Proves the tenacity of our faith in God and in His precious promises. 2. Strengthens our faith and helps us to develop patience. 3 Checks the very essence of our religion. 4. Enables us to grow in the grace of the Lord, etc.

I must readily admit that it isn’t easy going through such a ‘season’. In fact, there are times, when we, like Isaac, are often tempted to take succour in Egypt. We just can’t bear the difficulty any longer. (It must be stated here that I don’t intend, at all, to limit the scope of this discourse to economic hardship; of course it could also include persecution for righteousness sake, rejection from trusted allies, loss of a loved one etc.).

God’s Word to us today is to trust in Him. We need to be still and wait patiently for Him, bearing in mind that God will never allow us to go through situations that we can’t bear. We need to turn deaf ears to the mounting pressures in the environment that cause to seek alternatives. We must always be rest assured of this, that God is always with us. We may seem abandoned, rejected and left alone; Christ also felt this way(Matt 27:46). But the truth is, God really never leaves us nor forsakes us.

So whenever we are in our season of trials, we need to:1. Pray to the Lord and ask for the grace to bear. 2. Thrust our faith in Him, knowing that God will surely see us through. 3. Strengthen our faith in Him by meditating on His Word and holding on to His precious promises. 4. Stay away from sin(every act of rebellion and disobedience inspired by the devil). 5. Rest in the Lord and see Him work.(Psalm46:10)

No season (good or bad) lasts forever; God is always taking us through both seasons in order that our relationship with Him may be stronger. He’ll always assure us of His presence and overwhelming love. Are you weary? Rest in Him today!

God bless!

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2014 in Religion

 

Principles of true giving

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The issue of giving has become a pertinent issue that confronts God’s church today for several reasons but the most worrying of all is that many so-called ‘ministers’ see church-giving as a tool for enrichment and self-gratification. And sadly, there are many church goers who have come to believe that the ulterior motive for becoming a minster is to make money. So it’s unsurprising then, when church folks get irate when there’s a call for donations, pledges, ‘sacrifices’, ‘seeds’, etc. This widespread culture, often resulting in the reluctance of folks to part with their hard-earned money, results in many Church leaders striving so hard to make the congregation see why they should give: “it’s an instruction”, “ there is a reward,” etc.  Let’s leave common church practice. What does it mean to truly give? What are the principles of true giving? Thankfully, the Holy Scriptures has consistent answers to these questions.

 

  1. It starts with consecration.                                                                                                                                                                                    “And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord and unto us by the will of God.” (2 Corinthians 8:5)

Any message of giving without the doctrine of consecration isn’t complete. It must be known that when a person decides to give his life to Christ, they didn’t just come to Christ for forgiveness of sins, but they surrendered their lives; they made a decision to give themselves to God. I readily admit that, in practice, this is not the case with many believers. However, the truth still remains that if we say we belong to Christ, we ought to yield ourselves (including everything we have) to God. We are not holding unto anything as ours anymore. Everything, yes everything now belongs to God. Willful giving, which is often stressed in many church circles, cannot be effectively practiced without consecration. We must come to a point where we truly admit that everything we have is God’s.

David realized this principle. “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.”(1st Chronicles 29:14-KJV). This is not a scripture for just mental comprehension; we must sincerely pray that God will help us see that all we have are his.

 

  1. …The heart must always be upright

“Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the Lord: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.” (1st Chronicles 29v9)

God is pleased to receive our substance when our hearts are upright. We must understand that God is more interested in our heart disposition than in our substance. David rightly conveyed this truth when he said :

“I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee.” (1st Chronicles 29:14).

 

  1. …Why are we giving?

Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.(1st Corinthians 16v2)

The truth is that if ministers don’t effectively communicate the need for regular collections, church folks are likely  to show an uncooperative response. And sadly, some pastors worsen the situation by making statements like “God is not a beggar. No one should ever put twenty naira in the offering basket. You are not giving to any man but to God”.  A logical response then might be, “If I’m giving to God, leave me to God. Let Him judge me. It shouldn’t be your concern what I give to God.” But we know that such a response does not make sense, so Pastors and Church leaders should ensure that they make their congregation see what the money is used for. It’s not wrong to do this. For instance, in the book of Exodus 35, we see why the Israelites had to give an offering; in 1st Chronicles 29, the Israelites of David’s day gave for the same purpose. When I was in school, I remember the Pastor would tell us that the offering was for the purpose of rental payment. This usually created a sense of responsibility in us and we joyfully gave our offerings-mostly sacrificially. No one was compelled to give.

 

  1. Willful giving then becomes  a consequence

“Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the Lord: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.” (1st Chronicles 29v9)

Where there are believers who have yielded themselves to God, who are upright in heart and know why they are giving, willful giving is never wanting. Such believers give, not because of what they want to get in return but because their love for God propels them to give selflessly. There would be no need for them to come to the altar for public recognition. God sees them. There would be no need for their leaders to spend quality time hammering on what they’d get in return if they gave ‘sacrificially’. Willful giving has always been God’s way: “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering. (Exodus 25v2). It’s not about giving out of an abundance of wealth. Paul speaks of the Macedonian church:“How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.” (2nd Corinthians 8v2).

 

  1. God rewards those who truly give

Even though, for true givers ,reward isn’t the primary motive of giving, nevertheless  we must admit that God is always faithful in rewarding believers who truly give. How God does this in His wisdom and manifold grace cannot be explained. But one thing is sure: if we selflessly give to others in their times of need, God will always provide for us in our times of need. I believe this is what Apostle Paul meant when he said:

“But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philipians 4:18-19-KJV)

May the Lord bless His word in our heart.

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2014 in Religion

 

Who was Obededom really?

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When we hear the name “Obededom”, what comes to mind is the man who received the ark of the Covenant from David; the man whom God eventually blessed to the surprise of many who thought that he would witness God’s fiery judgment. Let’s briefly consider what the bible has to say about this man.

He was a righteous man.

From the texts in 2nd Samuel 6 and 1st Chronicles 13, we see that there was panic after the death of Uzzah because he touched the ark to steady it. Who shall take the ark? David eventually reasoned that there was a Levite named Obededom-a man who had moral authority. David didn’t choose just anyone; he searched for a man who had the fear of God. At that time, the only option was for the ark to rest in the home of a man whom David thought would have God’s approval-and he was right! The bible records that God blessed Obededom and his family after the ark was taken to their home to confirm to them that the ark had come to the home of a righteous man. The opposite (disaster) would have been the case had it been that Obededom and his household walked in iniquity as was the case with the Philistines (1st Samuel4-7).

He was blessed by God

In the book of 1st Chronicles 26v4-5, we see that after the Chronicler listed the eight sons of Obededom, he added that, “for the Lord blessed him (Obededom)”. Obededom wasn’t the first man to have many sons. But there seem to be something deeper in those words which the subsequent verses reveal. “Also unto Shemaiah his son were sons born who ruled throughout the house of their father [Obededom]; for they were mighty men of valor. The sons of Shemaiah: Othni, and Rephael, and Obed, and Elzabad, whose brethren were strong men, Elihu, and Semachiah.All these were of the sons of Obededom; they and their sons and their brethren, able men with strength for the service were threescore and two of Obededom.” So, beyond the numerical count of progeny, we see that God blessed Obededom by giving him valiant sons.

 

He was an active worker

Contrary to what some think about Obededom as just some miserable low-life popper whom David wanted to experiment with by virtue of his authority a the King of Israel, Obededom was a highly respected Levite who served as part of the choir leaders (1st Chronicles 15).

 

The bible records in 2nd Chronicles 16v9 that  “…the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him…” God used the life of Obededom to teach the Israelites that if their ways pleased him, he would bless them. And God is saying the same today to us, that if our hearts are drawn towards Him, he would surely bless us with blessings (true blessings) that the disobedient cannot boast of.

May the Lord bless our hearts.

God bless.

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2014 in Religion

 

The light that shines

 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, (Matthew 5:16; Phil2:15)

Lights are known by the very function they serve: illumination. Wherever there is light, it will be seen. God in His infinite mercies has called us, who were once in the thick darkness of ignorance, into His light. Col 1:13 says He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love”. The kingdom of His Son is the kingdom of light. All who have genuinely opened their hearts to the gospel of truth receive this light as the evidence of their ‘conveyance’ into the kingdom of Christ(Light). The bible says “in Him is light and there is no darkness at all”(1st John 1:5). All who have been drawn to Jesus have been drawn to light.

Christ’s call to us in the text above is one of responsibility: we are to shine our light-the one we have received from Him. Those who are yet in the dark are to see us and see something different-light! This light is nothing of man’s origin. It is from its rightful source-Christ. The believer, by his actions, is to make men see that he carries the light of Christ. However, there is a caveat: some believers, in an attempt to try to prove a point to those in the world, put God to the test. For instance, a believer is told  by an unbeliever, “if you are truly a child of God, do this and do that…” and in an attempt to proof their sonship,  they start to do all sorts of foolish things. God is against this. On at least two occasions, Satan tried to tempt Jesus to do this. His first attempt was in the wilderness: If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread…If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down.(Matt 4:3-6-NIV). And the second was on the cross: “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”. In the first case, Christ answered Satan “Do not put the Lord your God to the test”; in the second instance, he simply kept silent. In both cases, he knew that he didn’t have to prove a point to the devil that he was God’s Son.

Many of us get into situations where we are tempted to do foolish things just to prove that we are what we say we are-children of light. Scriptures tells us that we are able to silence the ignorance of the foolish by our good works. “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men”.(1st Pet2:15-NKJV). The proof that we are children of God isn’t in our shouting but in our actions. Our actions should reveal light, contrary to the expectation of the unenlightened. For instance, Christ tells us in the same book of Mathew 5 that “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy,But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”(Matt5:43-45-NKJV). Note the emboldened words “that you may be sons of your Father in heaven”.The proof of sonship is in living a life of light. 

May the Lord help us walk in this knowledge.

God bless you!

 

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2014 in Religion

 

Teach me your grace- a poem

Hi there! I’d like to share a poem that I feel will strengthen those who are embattled with sin and are looking unto Jesus for grace.

 

A feast is prepared, Death closely whispers
With the wages of sin are hasty fingers
Again have I deserted your secret place-
It’s all because I’ve never known your grace.

A pious tree with fruitless branches;
A dazzling raiment with hidden patches
Seeking strength from intellectual might
The ray of faith vanishes from my sight

To be alone: a fleshly hope it seeks
And now it groans but then it’s free
My soul’s freedom is surely slavery
And any uttered prayer is really mockery

My eyes are blurred with muds of shame
Yet this weary soul shall seek your face
For your truth reveals the path of light
And in it I’m sure I’ll win this fight.

Now in child-like faith I pray this way:
Heavenly Father teach me your grace
All fleshly will and like at your feet
And a holy fellowship help me to see. 

(c) Yisa Samuel. 2014 

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2014 in Religion

 

Our sufficiency is God

The book of 1st Kings 17 shows us how God miraculously provided for Elijah. First, he was told to go to a certain ravine where he’d drink from a brook and be fed by the ravens. And the ravens fed him twice daily. Next, he was told to go the home of a certain widow who’d supply his needs. In both instances, God assured Elijah, saying, “I have commanded the ravens to feed you there…I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food” (1st Kings17v4, 9). This is to show that as Moses and Jesus truly said, man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. (Deut8v3; Luke4v4).

Elijah did not have to pray to God before God made these provisions because “our heavenly Father knows that we have need of these things”. If He takes care of the birds of the air, he’ll surely take care of us. The environment may be harsh (as in the case of Israel in the days of Elijah) but we should not be moved by the prevailing external circumstances because our sufficiency is God. No matter how much money we have or could ever have, our sufficiency is God. God’s word says “…the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the earth to show himself strong to all whose heart are perfect towards him.”(2nd Chron 16v9).  

Blessed is the man whose trust is in the LORD.

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2014 in Religion

 
 
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