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Items filtered by date: June 2020
Sunday, 21 June 2020 15:43

Wait on the Lord

 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

“Waiting on the Lord” entails much more than praying and fasting. Waiting involves trusting the Lord in times of challenges, as difficulties and trials tend to wear-out our physical and spiritual strength. These difficulties cause us to be weary and discouraged. Waiting simply means to trust Him fully with our lives – surrendering completely to Him, knowing that He is able to handle every issue that concerns us. This implies we look to the Lord with expectation, because we see Him as our source of grace and hope. According to Psalm 121:1-2, we depend on the Lord when we wait on Him.

The eagle is a bird whose way of life properly illustrates the benefits of waiting, as highlighted in Isaiah 40:31. It is observed that the eagle has the ability, as well as the secret to surmounting pressure and soaring to greater heights. Its body is designed to maximize the power of the air to soar upwards rather than come downward. As it depends on the unseen force of the air to enable it soar high, God wants us to depend on His unseen power – the power of the Holy Spirit – which has the ability to help us overcome challenges and turn things around for us.

Still analyzing the strength of the Eagle, it is worthy to note that, the mountains – which naturally, are obstacles for the eagle in its flight - generates a force that can take the eagle to greater heights and help it maximize its potentials. Hence, God expects us to see the obstacles around us as a medium to soar because obstacles can generate grace that can take us to a higher ground, but this is determined by our outlook toward these obstacles.

Another point to be considered while waiting on the Lord is in Colossians 3:2 This is Focus. In waiting on the lord, our focus determines the level of strength we draw. When our focus is on earthly things, it would be difficult to attract God’s strength that comes with waiting on Him, but when we look upwards to Him, grace is released without measure.

 

The power of waiting on the Lord

  1. You will not be ashamed - Psalm 25:3-5. Everyone who waits on the Lord is never put to shame. On the contrary, those who would/should be ashamed, are those who transgress against the Lord. Also, in waiting on the Lord, He will show you what to do that will bring a difference in your life.
  2. Your heart will be strengthened - Psalm 27:14. You must work on your courage. It is within your power to determine what rules your heart. The answer you are looking for concerning that situation or difficulty starts from your heart, hence he advised that we wait upon the Lord for direction.
  3. The presence of the Lord will be with you at all times and your expectation will not be cut short - Luke 2:25-27; 36-38. These scriptures show a record of two people who waited upon the Lord, Simeon and Anna. Simeon was described as a just man who remained devout and committed, waiting faithfully for the promise of God – the Child Jesus. He was not deterred and as he waited, God brought His promise to pass. It is pertinent to point out that, while others were gathered, celebrating the birth of a child, both Simeon and Anna knew that Jesus was not just an ordinary child. Age was not a deterrent to these two - they trusted and waited on the Lord.
  4. You will receive a visitation and be blessed- Psalm 40:1-4. Everyone who waits upon the Lord gets a visitation. May God reach out to you and hear your cry.

 

The following are additional blessings that accrue to those who wait on the Lord

  1. The strength of God will revive them.
  2. They receive the ability to rise above their difficulties. All we need is, to be focused. In difficulties, our strength is made manifest.
  3. They receive the ability to run spiritually without being worn out and to work steadily without fainting.
  4. Although some get discouraged waiting on the Lord due to unfulfilled dreams, those who wait on Him will have a daily renewal of strength.
Published in Bulletin
Sunday, 21 June 2020 15:39

The Weapon of Prayer

Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4: 6-7)

In between anxiety or worry and peace we have prayer. Prayer is a weapon of all time, it can suit any challenge, any situation you find yourself in. The truth is that situations that will stir up anxiety and worry are sure to come, there is little or nothing any man can do about that. Today we have a problem that is affecting the whole world. But, amid those challenges, difficulty and stress, there is something that can usher us into peace. To have a request is one thing, to channel it to God is another, and the only means to channel our request to God is through prayer. Prayer is a weapon, an agency that can connect us to God, connect our situation to God for God’s intervention. Prayer is like air; we cannot do without it. We need it in everything, we need it in every situation, and we need it in every circumstance, in everything by prayer. Prayer remains the channel to handle every situation.

Some things that can make our hearts to be overwhelmed listed in Luke 21:34 – 36 are:

  1. Surfeiting – Surfeiting is caused by excessive consumption or participating in pleasure
  2. Drunkenness – Occurs when people consume excessive alcohol and their heart is overwhelm to the point that they lose control.
  3. Cares of this life –If you open your heart to the cares of this life, it can overcharge you.

In verse 36, it says “watch ye therefore, and pray...” The only thing we must do to get ourselves free from being overwhelmed, from being anxious, from being overtaken by pressures around us, is to watch and pray. Praying is the key to handling any situation and challenge. The same view is put forward by Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 5:7-9 “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” God cares for you, He understands your cares, but you need to cast it upon Him, channel it to Him. And how do we cast our cares upon Him? It’s through the means of prayer.

The devil your adversary uses your challenges as a weapon. He capitalizes on some of the problems that come our way, making them seem overwhelming, giving us a feeling of having lost control thereby making us easy prey for himself. How can we rise above situation? We must resist the devil steadfastly in the faith. We must constantly remind ourselves that our challenges are not peculiar to us as other Christians face same. How do we resist him in faith? It is by prayer.

Another example can be seen in Luke 18:1-8 of the importunate widow which emphasizes the force of the power of prayer, it is a very interesting story telling us how much power prayer has. The issue is not if we pray but when we pray, which means prayer is something we must do all the time. Christ expects all men to always pray otherwise you will faint. To faint here means to lose heart. Our power is not mechanical but spiritual and spiritual power comes through the agency of prayer. It is through prayer the Holy Spirit comes upon our life and gives us strength.

In Luke 18:1-8, we find a very interesting parable which is an analogy of two classes of people, a judge with a lot of power to decide the fate of people either to condemn or to set free. This judge was difficult and did not fear God nor respect man. The second person is a widow, in most societies like in the context of the text, widows were helpless because they had no husband to speak for them. It was an uphill task for the helpless woman approaching someone so difficult, even getting assess to him must have been difficult.

This woman went to meet this judge almost daily saying “avenge me of mine adversary” that is, give me justice, but true to the nature of the judge, he did not pay attention to her. But after a while he said to himself “...Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me..” The woman was using the weapon of prayer, she continually petitioned and troubled him. As weak as she was and as difficult as the man was yet there was a force that could weaken him and bring him to yield to her petition, he said “..Lest by her continual coming she weary me”. Prayer puts pressure and power that can weary any situation. There is no force that can stand power. The woman got justice not because the man was considerate, or soft but because a force was released that the man could not resist, prayer releases that force. If this unjust judge could succumb to her constant petition, how much more God the righteous judge? He will grant us our request and address our situation when we cry to Him day and night.

Lastly in verse eight, he finishes with an assurance “I tell you that he will avenge them speedily..” we are assured that God will answer, if there is any man who is ready to pray, there is a God who is ready and willing to answer. If there is anytime we need the weapon of pray, it is now. Christ when teaching on prayer, talked about three categories, asking, seeking and knocking (Matthew 7:7)

Prayer is a spiritual exercise and that is why we must desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit is our helper in prayer. Romans 8:26 tells us we don’t know how to pray but the Spirit helps us in our weakness. Prayer is a battle, while we are unleashing the power of prayer, hell will also unleash its forces to withhold us, but if we are in the spirit, heaven will send help to us through the Holy Spirit to quicken us.

Not every prayer will be answered instantly, we need to persevere. Just because you prayed today and did not get the answer a week, a month or even a year ago, should not stop you from praying. Some people think prayer is like fast food - answer is gotten instantly.  Sometimes, there may be delay, but God expect us to press on in prayer. Colossians 4:2 “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving…” If you have started praying continue in prayer, if you have not started praying, start praying and continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving. To be vigilant in prayer with thanksgiving means that even if you have no answer yet, you should thank God in anticipation of the result. Thanksgiving strengthens our faith and fill us with expectation.

James gave us the example of Elijah (James 5:13 – 18) who confronted the challenge of ungodliness in his time, he needed to show forth the power of God in his time. What did he do? He prayed. The scripture says “Elias was a man subject to like passions” he was a man like you and me, at some point in his life, he was afraid of a woman and ran away, but there was one weapon that anytime he used it, it was so potent and brought down the power of God. That weapon was prayer. There was no other way, even though he was a prophet, prophesies could not handle the situation. He gave himself unto prayer. He prayed that there should be no rain, and it happened and to restore the rains, he prayed again. Prayer was a constant!

Dear friend, God is waiting for the prayers of His saints, to turnaround our situation. We must rise up in our spirit to hold unto heaven and bring down the power of God, bring down His righteousness. We do not understand God’s agenda in this time of a global pandemic, but I believe prayers will accomplish every one of them. Peace that flows and you cannot even control, understand and comprehend comes through the channel of prayer, “Seek the Lord and His strength, seek His face continually.” (1 Chronicles 16:11)

 

Published in Bulletin
Sunday, 21 June 2020 14:17

Be of Good Cheer!

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. (Isaiah 40:1 – 8)

Dear friend, God is encouraging you in this season. He knows what you are passing through and what your experiences are. His message is BE OF GOOD CHEER!

In John 16:32,33, Jesus told the disciples how they would be scattered due to the crisis leading to his death. It is similar to what is happening today, we are all scattered and cannot fellowship together as we wish to. But there is an assurance that God is with us. Jesus knew that even though He would physically be alone, He was not alone because His father was with Him. The Father is with you right where you are! Even though you do not have all the leverage and privileges. No matter the situation. Do not allow it to affect your spirit and your faith. Do not turn social distancing to 'spiritual distancing'. Do not experience a locked heaven in this lockdown. God’s word is the answer in times like this. We must seek his presence, commune with him.

Some of us are passing through peculiar pressures that no one can appreciate or solve. God knows you are passing through that pressure, distress or challenge. He knows! In the world there is trouble. This is a fact! But in Christ there is peace. Jesus offers the opposite of what the world offers. Where you lean towards will determine what you get. Are you leaning on the world or on Jesus? If you lean on Jesus, there is an assurance of peace and comfort. I do not know the storm you are going through, but there is an offer of peace (John 14:27). When there is peace, every storm will become quiet. There is help for you. I declare God’s help to you.

How we handle our challenge is critical to the outcome we will get. We can choose the path of being worried, despondent or choose the path of comfort and courage from the Lord. Jesus is our peace. (Ephesians 2:14) Be of good cheer! It means to dispel sorrow. The target of the troubles we are having is your faith. To cheer is to gladden, infuse life. Jesus is saying infuse life into your spirit, instill with hope and courage. For example, the role of a football fan club is to cheer their team despite their position. A good fan club does not stop singing until the match is over. They keep hope alive until it is over. The bible tells us of a cloud of witnesses that cheer us on.

I encourage you, you are going to rise up again. Draw strength from God’s word. Your victory or defeat is determined by the state of your heart. Make up your mind to cheer up.

Reasons to be of good cheer

  1. Sorrow of heart breaks the spirit. Proverbs 15:133; 17:22. This also refers to physical bones. How you react to your situations can affect your health.
  2. We have a God of comfort. Isaiah 40:1
  3. There is an end to every battle Isaiah 40:2
  4. The glory of the Lord shall be revealed Isaiah 40:5
  5. We are not hopeless. John 16:33
  6. The word of God stands forever, God’s word will prevail Isaiah 40:8

Take responsibility

  1. Iniquity must be dealt with Isaiah 40:2
  2. Prepare Isaiah 40:3. Every visitation from God is preceded by preparation. Preparation of your heart. Make a straightway in the desert. Some hearts are as dry as a desert. Every valley must be filled. Straighten crooked paths. This is the time to take charge of your life.
  3. Have faith (Matthew 9:2). Jesus saw their faith and may He see your faith. May your faith be released now. The first ministering of Jesus to this man was to cheer him up. The state of your heart even when there is no answer, is important to connect to him.

Be of good cheer, know that His word will never fail. Even before you see the miracle, begin to rejoice, cheer up!

 

Published in Bulletin

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