“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen” (2 Pet. 3:18)
I opened the Facebook App on my phone just to take a sneak peep as a short break from my mathematics books, then I saw my one of my very close friend wishing is Pastor’s wife happy birthday and he added “grow in grace”. This 3 words jumped at me, and I asked what does it mean to grow in grace? I had also used the phrase as a prayer for many of my friends and this time I wanted to find out what it really meant. My search led to writing this.
This phrase is contained only in Peter’s last words in his epistle in 2 pet 3:18. Now what did Peter mean by grow in grace? This was what I saw;
1. A deliberate Action
The use of the word “grow” informs us of the deliberate, intentional aspect of the statement. Every believer is responsible for their “grace level”. We have to make the choice to grow up spiritually. Yes, do the work to grow. Paul speaking in Ephesians 4:14 encourages us not to be children tossed to and fro. So it means it lies in our capacity to choose either to be children (babies) or matured men and women of faith. And how can we be matured, by learning grace. Grace speaks of the Person of Jesus. So the next time someone tells you to grow in grace, know it’s more than a prayer, it’s a charge. Luke 1:80, and Luke 2:40 points out to us that our Lord Jesus also choose to grow. He grew and increased in favour before God and Man.
Spiritual growth is not measured by how many years you’ve been in church, it is measured by how much deliberate effort you’ve put into growth. Growth doesn’t fall on people, people put in effort to grow spiritually.
2. Learning Grace to Stand
Another question to ask would be why did Peter tell this men to grow in grace? The answer is found in reading some earlier verses. You will discover that they were to grow in grace to be able to stand against people who were misinterpreting Paul’s epistles. The Message translation from 2 Peter 3: 16 -18 makes it clearer. It reads,
“Some things Paul writes are difficult to understand. Irresponsible people who don’t know what they are talking about twist them every which way. They do it to the rest of the scriptures, too, destroying themselves as they do it.
But you, friends, are well warned. Be on guard lest you lose your footing and get swept off your feet by these lawless and loose talking teachers. Grow in grace and understanding of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ.” [2 Peter 3:16 – 18] MSG
Many People have thought that when grace is taught, we give people the ticket to sin, NO! Peter says here “Learn Grace to Stand!”
3. Expand Your Capacity
“Enlarge the site of your tent [to make room for more children]; Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, do not spare them; Lengthen your tent ropes and make your pegs (stakes) firm [in the ground]” Isaiah 54:2 [NLT]
To grow in grace is to increase in capacity. You will be able to do more as your capacity increases. Expand your inner capacity to do more. A 10 year old child would do more than a 2 year old child. If you want God to use you the more than you are doing now, then you have to grow, you have to enlarge your capacity. You need to train your spirit more, set yourself more to the tune of the spirit. Take away those things that distract you. Focus more on Grace (the person of Jesus). As we look steadfastly on Jesus, we are changed to the same level of grace as Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18). Let me scream it out once again, GROW IN GRACE!
How do I then grow in grace? Study the scriptures and pray especially in the holy-ghost, listen to more edifying songs, listen to preaching’s that edifying your spirit, read spiritual books, fellowship with other brethren, have a spiritual company and every-other spiritual exercise that energizes your spirit man. As a final note, let’s know that it is God’s delight that we grow just as it is delight of every father to see his children grow. He delights to give us grace as we decide to grow in grace.
I Call You Blessed!
Written by Samson Afolabi
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord (Isaiah 55:8)
Is it not interesting the way God goes about his things? In consideration of his ways, I am awed by his strength, wisdom and sense of humor. That he delivers from the lion by shutting its mouth all night (as in the case of Daniel) and He may also decide to give a man the strength to tear it in pieces (as in the case of Samson). That he wins Israel’s battles by turning soldiers into spectators and sometimes assigning a single angel to battalions of enemy forces. At one time he may decide to instruct the choir to lead the war with melodies of worship like He did during the days of Jephthah and another time he decides to fight for Israel with hailstones. The God we serve is definitely not short of ideas.
Logical Explanations often fail when God does His things. All we are left to say by faith is “It just has to be God”. He brings down tall walls through unintelligible shouts as in the case of Jericho. While many have tried to collate armories of knowledge, their vast arrays of intellectual properties and professorial endowments, yet their efforts are squelched by a virus so microscopic as not to be handled by the doctoral knowledge of the scientist. And God freely heals the blind using mud as his means. He casts out devils with just a word. He may also decide to allow the dead die well for four days and then show up to weep but yet to resurrect with words like he did for Lazarus.
He speaks to storms too. I mean real storms, just like the one you might be struggling with right now. It might be overwhelming. Storms are definitely dangerous and could drown the strongest of men. But my God, He speaks to calm them. He speaks to yours too today and I believe there shall be a great calm. He also has other ways of handling great water bodies especially when they obstruct passage into promises. There was this time he decided to part the sea and cause Israel to walk on dry land. Scripture says ‘…and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left (Exodus 14:22)’. This is so amazing for me! You just think about it. The waters would be like glass, housing a variety of beautiful sea creatures. Then, on this fateful day, he allowed Peter have his own experience of ‘the ways of God’ by a walk on water. Peter, walking, right on the storm! He walked on the boisterous waves. God might lead you to walk on stormy seas. You can dare to ask for it! It’s also included in the ‘ways of God’.
This is my Prayer, Lord, these things written, may it serve to remind your people of the kind of father you are. May it not form tales that excite our emotions but yet leave us unchanged. Change us with a taste of your glory. May your great wonders of the past stir us to seek you more. May we again walk in the limitless boundaries of the ‘ways of God’
Help us to Keep Gazing and looking at this things you have done that this will build faith in our hearts and help us to build a stronger trust in you.
“You will keep him in Perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you: because he trusts in you (Is. 26:3)”
“Trust you in the Lord for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength (Is. 26:4)”
Written by Alao Rotimi
This is a wake-up call!
Do you notice the unbalanced and unhealthy dietary teaching on wealth aimed at feeding the self-life instead of promoting kingdom agenda? What about the baseless and ridiculous gymnastics all geared to ‘’conquer our enemies”? The unscrupulous teachings on our enemies are highly pathetic! Spiritual warfare meant to clear principalities and wicked spirits away from the path of the gospel spread is now geared toward witches and wizards- the very least in the kingdom of darkness. Have you also observed the bulk of church and board meetings is on program and convention planning with no concern for the lost, not even the Muslim? Gradually church-goers are already given into believing that good people such as the kind and seemingly loving Muslims will make heaven, since we are all serving the same God? Have we not become visionless and blind? What about the much criticism between churches and pastors under the false umbrella of correcting in love. Consequently, having a congregation is now a lucrative business with every Dick and Harry bearing ridiculous titles. Churches multiply daily in geometric progression with baby Christians who were not properly breastfed aiming only to make heaven and live a luxurious life on earth with no kingdom agenda. Where did they get that from? Which apostle of Christ taught them that?
Chaos! The Ekklesia (The Church) no longer knows who she is, what her mission is and the available tools to accomplish her mission hence Paul’s prayer in Eph. 1:17-19. “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ; the Father of Glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of His glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power towards us who believe…”’ Job 38:31-33 and Eph. 6:12 tells us who is responsible for this-principalities, powers, rulers of darkness and wicked spirit all living in the heavenly places. ‘’Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, or loose the belt of Orion? Can you bring out Mazzaroth in its season? Or can you guide the Great Bear with its cubs? Do you know the ordinance of the heavens? Can you set their dominion over the earth? Job 38:31-33. They are the ones who have created a veil of covering over God’s people like they did to man through Eve. “…the face of the covering cast over all people and the veil that is spread over the nations” Isa. 25:7. They are against God’s counsel over the earth, they have been in existence before Adam, and thus they understand our frame as men.
The solution is found in Jesus; the Word. In Luke 24:46-49, He told His disciples to ‘’…tarry in the city of Jerusalem until…’’ they are empowered by the Holy Ghost. The early Church waited for the initial outpour, the latter Church too must wait for the final outpour in prayers and fasting. James 5:7 puts it well ‘’ Therefore, be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruits of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain” The messiahs who will reverse this order will come from Zion “ Then saviours shall come to Mount Zion to judge the mountains of Esau and the Kingdom shall be the LORD’s’’ Obadiah 21. What are we to pray for while waiting? Is it personal needs and desires? Nope! Matt. 6:9-13 with emphasis on verse 10 has the answer it is “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is heaven”’ This was what brought the former rain (the first outpour of the spirit) and this is what will bring the latter rain (the last outpour of the spirit) that will usher in Christ coming. You see, if you expect a royal visit, you must prepare your house. If you want aircraft landing, we must prepare the airport. If we want Christ to come, then we must harvest the earth by the latter rain.
What do you think will happen if two or three churches come together to pray by the spirit’s leading for their community? Can you imagine a church service with no program or agenda but completely under the spirit’s control in waiting? It is such heavy prayers by the spirit’s help (not gymnastics) that will bring revelation or vision back and put the Church on the pedestal to contend and conquer the Islamic opposition to the gospel; the Islamic State ISIS, the Al-Queda, Boko Haram etc. With a revelation of who we are as God’s government, why we exist (To show His manifold wisdom Eph. 3:10) and the resources available at our disposal (‘’…has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness…’’2Pet 1:3). If we cannot spread the gospel and if the gospel is not spread, we should not talk of Christ second coming and if we cannot talk of Christ second coming, we should anticipate greater depth of darkness, gross iniquity, and worse degradation of our environment and economy such that it will be practically impossible to live or even shine as light!
‘’But thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ…” 2Cor. 2:14. God is already raising soldiers, recruiting babes and suckling whose heart desire is to see His kingdom manifest on earth. God is recruiting His last day’s battle axe. This article is a proposal letter from Him to you (reading this) to come join His army! You still have a choice; To remain in the prison of ’church’ and religion, die and go to heaven with regrets OR to come out and face the giants that has harassed the faith of our fathers with a daring confidence that can only be birthed by waiting for the last outpour of the Spirit.
Wake up oh sleeping Soldier! Know you not that you are the arm and strength of Yahweh? Why allow yourself to be chained by religion when the field is full? Isa.52:1-2.Only foolish sons sleep in harvest and such are destined to inherit shame. Prov. 10:5. There are medals to be won by daring the princes at work in ISIS, in the entertainment sector, in our economy and in every sector of human endeavour, militating against the knowledge of God. Do you know that the glory of God has already filled the earth as waters filled the sea? Isa. 6:3 it is just that the princes of darkness has covered or hidden this knowledge from men.2 Cor. 4:3-4, 10:4-6. And God had vowed to reveal this ‘’ The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, (no longer hidden, AMEN.) and all flesh shall see it together FOR THE MOUTH OF THE LORD HAS SPOKEN” Isa.40:5. But how will God do this? If He comes down Himself, He would be violating His law ‘’The heavens, even the heavens, are the Lord’s; but the earth hath He given to the children of men” Psa.115:16. He shows us how in Jer.51:20-24 ‘’You are my battle axe and weapons of war…. Says the LORD’’ Enough of talking and saying the grace, it is time to face the real culprit, make war from the position of victory. Refuse to be caged by religion or denomination, it’s time to let Jesus come and reign as the King that He is
He is already at the door but waiting for the Church; the Bride to say ‘’COME’’. I join the Spirit to say ‘’COME, LORD JESUS!’’ Rev.22:17, 20. What about you?
We Say Come!
Written by Otutu Sunday
The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, salutes you; and so does Marcus my son. [1Pet 5:13] KJV
Do you remember Babylon? The same Babylon of the Chaldeans.
Oh Babylon, the Babylon that besieged Jerusalem, took from her choice vessels and retrained the mighty men of Judah so that they should speak its language and serve her gods. Do you remember the Babylon that imprisoned men of prayer? The same Babylon that gave the servant of God, Daniel to lions that they may have his flesh for their fill. The Babylon that erected idols high unto the sky and threw men who didn’t bow into the fiery furnace. Yes, the same Babylon. It is spoken of here as a city within which there was a church. Is it not amazing that the mustard seed of God dropped in Babylon (through the captivity of Israel) blossomed into a tree large enough to house vessels of grace? For she now had in her a church. This is the way we (Christians) must we see ourselves. We are in the world but not of the world. This is what the three Hebrew chaps (Daniel, Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego) knew and it served as the seed that later established the church in Babylon. We must indeed converse in this world and yet ensure through grace that the world does not dwells in us. We would live in it but it won’t find space in us.
If there could be a church in Babylon, it means that grace can keep a man no matter the adversity of opposition and the darkness of sin. For a church to survive in the land, we who are saints in such a dark world must be encouraged in the strength of God to keep his church. We shall live in this Babylon as signs of the answers to the prayer of our master (Jesus Christ) – I pray not that thou should take them out of the world but that thou should keep them from the evil one (John 17:15). We have no excuse, for we are the church in Babylon (World).
The church in Babylon? Does not this exclude me from the many activities of this sinful land? While the Chaldeans may sin their way through life, I must remain holy, separate as the chaste virgin of my beloved. I cannot walk as they walk, I cannot talk as they do. The way they live must not excite and lure me into worldliness. I am called to holiness and glory; purity and blessedness. I must be the remnant of God in this Babylon. I must be her church. I must abide in Christ while Babylon despises and laughs at such things as I hold dear. I must remember who I am – the church in Babylon.
The church in Babylon? Does not this speak of my great responsibility unto this land. I am her church, sanctified that she may be? I have entered into the covenant of life as a sign that she can enter. I am a testimony, given concerning the great intentions of God towards Babylon. For it is the Lord’s desire that she also may enter into his courts and call upon his name. God wills also that she be redeemed and transformed into his church as saints – redeemed, justified and sanctified. For he has paid the price for them even as he made the sacrifice for we all. Shall we forget this great task? Rather, let us be reminded. Let us seek the lost. Let us carry them in intercession. Let us also be their priest no matter how imperfect we seem. Let us rise and fight for them. Let us stand between the living and dead and weep until the dead become alive. For Jesus died for them also. As the church in Babylon deemed it fit to die that through her sacrifice Babylon may call upon the Lord. May I be the Daniel who will purpose in his heart (Daniel 1:8), the Meshach who fears not man but honours God, the Shedrach that has the Holy Ghost as a companion in fire and the Abednego who shall love not his life unto death. May I arise and be the church in this Babylon of the world.
The church in Babylon? What does this really mean? Is it not a picture of Christ in this dying world? Is it not the picture of the Son of God lying in a manger, living among the poor, dinning with sinners, dying for the lost, interceding for the saints and resurrecting for thy justification? Is this not a message for the child of God to follow in the steps of our Saviour – to live as he did?
Written by Alao Rotimi
As I was approaching my room, I had already started making plans for the 3 hours of free time I had on this beautiful Friday after my hectic week. The plan was simple: (1) get something to eat and (2) to sleep for as long as possible before my work shift later in the evening. I hurriedly boiled some rice, and made my favorite fried plantain and some stew and boiled eggs. I wouldn’t call myself an expert at cooking, but this particular meal was welcoming. I hurriedly reached for a bottle of Cola in my fridge to accompany my food. Everything was set, and it was written all over the atmosphere, as I sat on my bed to eat that I was set to have a nice time with my “special” brunch.
Then I decided to watch a short movie as I ate. To me, this was the perfect way to relax-to have a nice meal while watching a movie. My friend had just told me about this website where I could watch the latest movies and I decided to try it out. On getting to this website, I searched to find a movie I liked and then I saw a recent movie entitled “Beauty and the Beast”. It was a movie acted from the fairy tale written by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve in 1740. And it was indeed a good one.
The story-line of the movie was quite interesting, with a lot of singing and funny imaginations. One of such imaginations was a talking clock, a living lamp-stand, Mrs Pot, a human tea cup, a talking wardrobe and some other fantasies. All talking and behaving like human beings. Of all the things in the movie, their characters was the most interesting to me. I watched in amazement. I had finished eating and was tired and ready to sleep, but I just couldn’t get my eyes off the special characters. I wanted to see how the story unfolded to the end! As soon as the movie ended, I fell asleep almost immediately. Now, here is the most interesting part of the story that afternoon. As I slept, I had a peculiar dream. I had this Mrs Pot, Mr lamp-stand, boy tea-cup, visit me and I was talking with them. I couldn’t really remember what our discussion was when I woke up, but I knew they came to me in my dream and that we had a “nice” chat.
The video I was watching some minutes ago, has now become a reality in my dream. Though this was funny and harmless, it opened my eyes and show me how the mind is in capturing sounds and images. This reminded of a particular lesson in the bible, which it is to “Guard your heart with all diligence”.
“Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23 NLT)
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23 KJV)
The 2 entrances to a man’s heart are his/her eyes and ears. Therefore, why should I guard my mind?
I guard my mind because it is very powerful in capturing visions and words. I am who I am today, because of the words I have heard and the things I have seen since I was born, and the same is also true for everyone including you, my dear reader.
Sex-addicts, drug-addicts, thieves, terrorists, Pastors are all products of words they heard and things they saw. Even being a Christian, you must hear and believe the gospel. Therefore, everyone is basically a product of what they have heard and believed.
Let me explain. I remember being taught in university that the mind is like a reflecting mirror. It only reviews and contains what is being exposed to it and that at birth it is like a “clean slate”. The later part of Proverbs 4:23 in the KJV says that out of the mind are the issues of life which means that a man is a product of how he thinks. So that’s why someone born in Nigeria won’t act like another born in Germany, because the cultures in this two countries are clearly different, and these two people have been exposed two different cultures entirely making them think different.
Many people have been captives of some strange and wrong beliefs all their lives because of such exposure. While I don’t say we shouldn’t be open minded to hear people and watch videos, it is advisable to be careful. It is good we are open minded to listen to people, learn and try new things, but we must be careful to examine everything we see or hear newly to be sure they agree with God’s word, the bible.
“Do not be carried away by diverse and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be established and strengthened by grace and not by foods [rules of diet and ritualistic meals], which bring no benefit or spiritual growth to those who observe them. (Hebrews 13:9 AMP)”
The Bible gives this admonition: “It is good that our heart be established in grace”. Listen to and watch things that establishes us the more in grace. Listen and watch things that reminds us that Jesus loves us, that he died for us and rose up for our justification and everything that makes the spiritual more real to us. So how do we know what is ‘’good for our heart’’? It’s very simple – it is everything that makes us understand the bible more and strengthens our faith in our lord, Jesus. As we do this, just as in my story, what we see and read becomes a reality and our hearts are established in GRACE. As we listen to God’s word we become like God.
As I round-off this article, it is important we also note that as Christians, the Bible encourages us to “renew our minds”.
“And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]” (Romans 12:2 AMP)
As we renew our minds, let us expose it to the right things (songs, videos, words etc.). So that we are changed towards the image of Christ. And as our minds are changed, we are changed from our old way of life to live as Christ did on earth. Let us be selective to the songs, the videos, the gatherings we expose ourselves to. Some things are worth skipping, not because they are sins, but because they are not fruitful to the renewal process of the mind. So, I won’t do some things not because if I do them they are sins but doing them will not help the process of the renewal of my mind. My Pastor once said, God won’t change us without our consent. To Allow God change us, our consent must be given in what being careful in what we feed our minds through our eyes and our ears.
I have often said that our environment are filled with a lot of junks and nudity already that deliberating watching a video or song in support of it is not doing myself any good at all. I encourage you, as you progress in this journey of renewing of your mind, to guard your heart with all diligence, because whatever we allow into our minds sooner or later becomes our reality.
I Call You Blessed
Written by Samson Afolabi