Take Up Your Cross

Take Up Your Cross

And he said to them all, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23)

 

Jesus, speaking in the verse above used the word ‘cross’ to denote the ‘death’. Of course, through the death of the cross he paid for the sins of humanity. So, did he mean we are also to expect to be crucified like he was? No. Rather “taking up our cross daily” signifies “dying to the flesh daily”. 

 

As believers we must be aware of the potency in our flesh to hinder or possibly stop the move of the spirit, the work of God in and through us. The flesh sometimes manifests as a veil denying men to see the glory of God upon us. As we allow the working of the spirit, putting the flesh to death, we create room and space for the holy spirit to work in and through us.

 

Oftentimes, the manifestation of the flesh is in our holding on to material things. We want to boast about our certificates, cars, houses, achievements and even sometimes our spiritual knowledge of scriptures. If there was any man in scriptures who had enough things to boast about, Paul was one. 

 

In Philippians 3:  4 – 7, he itemized a lot of these things that he could boast about. Asides those, looking at his life, there were a lot of things to boast about. He was a Hebrew of the Hebrews (this was a strong spiritual boast in those days), a scholar who learned from the best (more like attending Harvard in our time), in prayers, fervent, in spiritual understanding he wrote a large part of the new testament we all read today and the list goes on and on. But instead of holding on to all of these, he said:

 

Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake, I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ. (Philippians 3: 8)

 

Paul, instead of holding on to all he had achieved, he counted them as “dung”, “garbage” instead, why? To gain Christ. To give more room for Christ to be revealed to him. As such, our holding on to these things actually rob us of the possible revelations of Christ that have been given to us to walk in.

 

It is interesting how we allow the flesh to have its way in our affairs every day without even noticing it. Recently, the Lord began to show me this in my own life. I noticed many of them were things that even though good to have, they were taking too much space in my heart. 

 

Sometime ago I said to myself, I want to achieve this and buy that before the end of the year. I want to get better at work so I need to take that course, or learn that new software, etc. Even though all of these things are good, the moment they begin to become my top premonition, that’s likely the flesh. 

 

The Lord wants to be first in all our affairs. The moment this happens in our lives, we are likely to have died completely to the flesh. This is also explained in Luke 9: 57 – 62.

 

Lastly, when temptations come, they are meant to check the amount to which our flesh is in control of our lives. To think that Judas and Peter were both followers of Jesus, but the devil knew that if Judas was tempted by money, that his flesh was still alive in that area, and he could be led by the flesh into betraying his master, is a strong indication showing us the potency of the flesh. 

 

“But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions)”  James 1:14 AMP

 

Jesus overcame temptations by dying to the flesh. He didn’t just overcome by knowing scriptures, which is good but, he overcame because he didn’t allow lust for the material things of this world to be found in him.

 

“…And he has no claim on Me. [He has nothing in common with Me; there is nothing in Me that belongs to him, and he has no power over Me]” John 14:30

 

I will close with the words of Jesus, deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Christ.

 

I call you blessed

 

Your brother

Samson Afolabi

 

THE BLESSING

THE BLESSING

Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the Children of Israel, saying unto them, The Lord bless thee and keep thee. (Num. 6: 23 – 24 KJV)

 

It is the Father’s will to bless us. Beyond that conviction, it is important to know what the blessing is, how it is received , what qualifies one for it and why God blesses.

 

And God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man]; and gave dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of air, and over every living creature that moves upon the earth.
(Gen. 1:28)

 

The account above is of the beginning; God was proclaiming a blessing to man even before he was created. Even when he was without works, without any good or bad deeds, he was blessed. He came into life with that blessing upon his life. He was created to be in charge, to subdue, to have dominion. He was blessed. Even though this blessing was lost, when he fell but it was restored in Christ. Even before we had any works, the Father blessed us!

 

May blessing (praise, laudation, and eulogy) be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual (given by the Holy Spirit) blessing in the heavenly realm! (Eph 1:3 AMP)

 

He blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm. I find this amazing, that the account in Ephesians 1 is similar to Genesis 1. While Genesis 1 explains what happened at the beginning, Paul, in Ephesians 1 through the Holy Spirit explains to us what happened at the point we were born into God’s household. And in both instances, God blessed us when we were without any good works. Before we even thought about service to Him or doing good or paying our tithe or offerings, we were blessed with all spiritual BLESSINGS in CHRIST JESUS.

 

Everything we want is in God’s blessing for us. Everything God has blessed us with is in Christ. All our requests for life are in Christ and Christ is in us. 

 

Notice Ephesians 1:3 tells us He blessed us in Christ Jesus, telling us the channel with which God blessed us is Christ Jesus. As the verse describes this blessing as spiritual, I do believe they can be manifested in the physical. Various scriptures tell us of God’s blessings upon the believer. 

 

But of him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption: (1 Cor. 1: 30)

 

Christ has been made unto me wisdom

Christ has been made unto me righteousness

Christ has been made unto me sanctification

Christ has been made unto me redemption

 

It is in Christ that we are blessed not on account of any good works we have done. In Christ, we have a sound mind. Notice scripture does not say we will have it, it says we already have it. 

 

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love and of a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7)

 

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed. (1 Pet. 2:24)

 

It is part of God’s blessing upon the believer’s life that we should be in good health. Scripture also tells us that the blessing of Abraham is upon the believer. 

 

“That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Gal. 3:14)

 

And here is one of the blessings God proclaimed upon Abraham:

 

“And I will make of thee a great nation, that I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 12: 2 – 3)

 

I believe one of the reasons God blesses us is so we can be a blessing to all the families of the earth. We are God’s channel of blessing the earth. One might be tempted to say, “of the 10 richest people on earth, none of them is a believer”. Well, we need to start seeing that the blessing is not first, financial! Of course it may manifest as financial but God’s blessing upon our life is far more than money. We need to have this perspective. That’s why every now and then, I tell myself “Samson, you are blessed”. 

 

Brothers and Sisters, whether we feel like it or not, we are blessed, and not because of what we do or don’t do but because of what Christ did. And we are blessed to be a blessing.

 

He Calls us blessed.

Your Brother

Samson Afolabi

 

BEING REDEMPTION CONSCIOUS

BEING REDEMPTION CONSCIOUS

If a believer becomes Righteousness-conscious, Son-conscious, Satan will be afraid of him –  E.W. Kenyon

At Redemption, we were transferred from death to life. Our spirit man was regenerated, made a new creation and gained the righteousness of Christ so that we can boldly declare that we have the same standing before the Father as Christ has. We are now His beloved children (as Christ is beloved) accepted in Christ Jesus, free from the hold of sin and death and now translated into the kingdom of God. We who were slaves and servants to sin, and by extension were under the domain and rule of the devil, can now boldly declare that ‘Now are we sons of God’. Yes, we can call him Father.

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God,…” (1 John 3:2)

“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:” (Col. 1:13)

“Having predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1: 5 – 7)

Redemption brought so many benefits to the believer, that it will take until Christ returns for us to fully unravel it. Scriptures teach that the salvation of our soul occurs as our soul learns of what happened to our spirit at redemption, and this will continue until Christ returns or we are translated in death. This indicates the magnitude of what happened to us when our spirit was regenerated and of the awe of the wisdom of God demonstrated at redemption.

As believers, we are to seek to know about these mysteries. We are to learn about who we are. In all of Paul’s letters, two things he taught the most were (1.) Christ – who He is, and (2.) the Church – who we are and who Christ has called us to be. It is in learning about this that we can really take full advantage of the benefits of redemption.

“But these oppressors know nothing; they are so ignorant! They wander about in darkness, while the whole world is shaken to the core. I say ‘You are gods’, you are children of the Most High. But you will die like mere mortals and fall like every other ruler” (Ps. 82: 5 – 7)

Ignorance is expensive. Trust me, you don’t want to be ignorant. We need to know who we are. We know who we are as we learn of our rights at redemption. We learn that at redemption we received sonship; the right to call him Father, having a right standing as regards righteousness before the creator of the universe. We learn of our right to rule over sin, sickness and diseases and over principalities and powers and every ruler in the dark places of this world. We learn of our right to God’s presence every minute of the day, and our right to use the name of Christ in healing those who are sick and raising the dead and much more.

With our knowledge must come consciousness. When we learn of this truth, we are to live daily with the consciousness of it, that is the secret to living victoriously in this wicked world. 

We are conscious that God is with us, assuring His protection.

We are conscious that we are seated in heavenly places far beyond the reach of principalities and powers, as such we don’t live in fear. 

We are conscious that we are loved by our heavenly father, as such we cannot be depressed because all things (both good and not so good experiences) work together for our good.

We are conscious that we are not slaves to sin, but servants unto righteousness.

We are conscious that by his stripes we are healed, and can speak to our bodies ‘No sickness here’.

Brethren, the key is not just to have a mental acceptance of the truths of redemption but to be conscious of them daily. That is exactly what scares the devil, the knowledge of who we are in Him. No wonder Paul prayed for the Ephesian Church (and us in extension):

“Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;”

“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto 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, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints”

“And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power”

“Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places”

“Far above all principality and power and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only this world, but also in that which is to come” (Eph 1: 16 –  21)

It is my prayer that we may come into full understanding of what Christ did on the cross for us.

 

I call you blessed

Samson Afolabi

 

RECEIVING INSTRUCTIONS

RECEIVING INSTRUCTIONS

** All scripture is in the AMP version except otherwise stated.

 

I’m happy for the opportunity to bring God’s word to you once again. I’m even more excited to be sharing on this topic because it is one particular lesson I have seen work testimonies in my life. The lesson is this: the connecting line between requests and answered prayers is often receiving instructions.

 

“The Lord said to Moses, Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward!”

“Lift up your rod and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the Israelites shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea” (Ex. 14: 15 – 16)

“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night and made the sea dry land; and the waters were divided” (Ex. 14:21)

 

The instruction, “stretch out your hand over the sea”, was what transformed Moses to a victorious man singing sons of deliverance from his enemies, in Exodus 15. Prior to the instruction Moses had been a man crying for help for fear of being overtaken by the Egyptians and as a result returning to captivity.

 

At various junctions in our lives, we seek God’s intervention about a particular matter needing a miracle. We pray hard, talking and crying to God without being patient to listen to Him for instructions that will take us out of the situation. Sometimes we listen, but when these instructions that are supposed to bring our needed solutions come our way we disobey because, to us, these instructions seem so inconsequential and illogical to the solutions we seek. We do not realize that our victory lies in our obedience. See this:

 

“So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stopped at Elisha’s door”

“Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean”

“But Naaman was angry and went away and said, Behold, I thought he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and heal the leper.” (2 kings 5:9 – 11)

“Then he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, as the man of God had said, and his flesh was restored like that of a little child, and he was clean”. (2 kings 5:14)

 

Many of us are like Naaman, we want to dictate how God performs miracles in our lives. No! He is sovereign over all. The best posture is to be careful to listen to what He has to say, and be diligent to obey. Yes! Whatever He says to you, do it! That was the same advice Jesus’ mother gave the servants at the wedding at Cana of Galilee (and in extension to us, today). 

“His mother said to the servants, Whatever He says to you, do it” (John 2:5)

“Jesus said to them, Fill the waterpots with water. So they filled them up to the brim”

“Then He said to them, Draw some out now and take it to the manager of the feast [to the one presiding, the superintendent of the banquet]. So they took him some.”

“And when the manager tasted the water just now turned into wine, not knowing where it came from–though the servants who had drawn the water knew–he called the bridegroom…”

 

The servants at this wedding went from having no wine at all to serving the best wine at the wedding, by doing what He said.

 

Two Important things that need to be emphasized is the need for every Christian to learn to listen to God for directions and obey them. Prayer ought to be two-way communication. We talk to God, and God talks to us. Each part is very important, one part should not be emphasized over the other. We need to be able to receive the instructions that will bring the solutions we seek. As believers, we must learn to train our senses to hear Him for ourselves. Do not worry, He is committed to lead us:

 

“I [the Lord] will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you” (Ps. 32:8)

 

So when you receive an instruction, receive it and obey it.

 

“Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not” (Prov. 8:33 KJV)

“Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured” (Prov. 13:18 KJV)

If you are a believer say this:

 

I am a child of God,

I have light and directions from above,

I receive the instructions providing solutions to my challenges,

When I receive them, I obey them,

I have a sound mind and I am blessed from above. Amen

 

I call you blessed

HE ANOINTS MY HEAD WITH OIL

HE ANOINTS MY HEAD WITH OIL

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” Psalms 23:5 (NIV)

 

Welcome to a New Year, a New Decade. I pray it marks the beginning of great things in your life. This new year, I want us to be deliberate in deciding to live from within our spirit; making sure that life flows from within our spirit, into every area of our lives. This article aims to explain this.

 

The word ‘anoint’ is nothing new to any Christian. Throughout scripture we see people being anointed for new positions, mostly as leaders. Examples are Moses anointing Aaron and his sons as priests (Leviticus 8: 12 – 13), Samuel anointing Saul as king (1 Sam. 10:1), and also anointing David right in the midst of his brethren (1 Sam. 16:13). Of importance, in this article is what happened after these people were anointed.

 

After Saul was anointed the Spirit of the Lord came upon him and he prophesied. (1 Samuel 10: 1 – 11). The same happened to David; the Spirit of the Lord came upon David. 

 

“Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.” (1 Sam. 16:13 KJV)

 

The Holy Spirit through David, in Psalms 23, tells us what the anointing does:

 

‘You anoint my head with oil; causing my cup to overflow’ Ps. 23 : 5 

 

You see brethren, everything is spiritual. Everything manifested in the physical is as a result of something affected in the spiritual. The Spirit comes over me, causing my cup to overflow (making me to abound in abundance). The Spirit comes over me, causing my career, my academics, my finances to succeed. This should not be surprising, since scripture says, everything comes out of the spiritual:

 

“Through Faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” (Heb. 11:3)

 

This is actually very serious. This scripture warns us to guard our spirit, because from our spirit flows the issues of our lives. The spirit of the believer is in the class of God, because He that is born of the Spirit is Spirit(he is not less John 3:6). So out of this Spirit flows life (John 7:38).There is always a flow from our Spirit. As believers we have to be intentional about channeling this flow into every area of our life.

 

‘Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.’ (Prov. 4:23 MSG)

 

Yes, out of your belly (spirit) flows life. If there is any new year resolution you should make, I will advise that it be to have a sound spirit. Be careful to nurture your spirit to the point that your spirit is able to transfer Life to every area of your life. This new year, we should be intentional in spending time in fellowship with the Holy Spirit. This new year, we should consciously learn of the anointing that dwells within us.

 

“As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit — just as it has taught you, remain in him”. (1 John 2:27 NIV)

 

Despite what may be happening around us, the Holy-Spirit is able to perform a contrary work in us so that we are not affected. There may be sadness, confusion, darkness, despair through the circumstances and situations we face, but in spite of this the Holy-spirit is able to work peace, comfort, joy within us. Brethren we need to deliberately nurture a robust spirit this new year.

 

“You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit” (1 Thess. 1:6)

 

The anointing of the Spirit is able to flow into every area of our lives, to bring about the change we desire.This new year, my prayer for you my dear reader, is that you will be strong in faith, energized through your spirit-man and continue to grow in love. Welcome into your season of a better walk with God.

 

I Call You Blessed

The Gospel: The Power of God Revealed!

The Gospel: The Power of God Revealed!

‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek’  (Rom. 1:16)

As believers we have been called to preach the gospel. Reaching out to the lost and unsaved. This message in our hands contains a massive load of reformative power. It is able to cause unimaginable changes in people’s lives. In this article, I desire to show us, from scriptures, instances of how the gospel completely changed people’s lives and I hope that this would in turn spur you, my readers, to be more bold in preaching this message knowing the power contained therein.

The Gospel Quickens (Brings back to life)

It is interesting to note that, when we go out to preach the gospel to the unsaved, we are actually trying to ‘raise people from the dead’. Scripture says;

‘And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;’ (Eph. 2:1)

‘Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed (1 Pet. 2:24)’

Scripture describes the man who is not “in Christ” as being dead! Dead in sin. He is living but doesn’t have life! He/She doesn’t have eternal life. What a miracle it is to raise the dead back to life! And that’s exactly what happens when we save a soul. No wonder, there is much rejoicing when one soul is saved. Brethren, The Gospel contains life-giving power.

 

A Change of Life and Life Situations

 

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; (Isaiah 61:1)’

‘To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. (Isaiah 61:3)’

The scriptures above show us the ability of the gospel. It can change a man’s life and circumstances. From darkness to light. From being broken-hearted to joy. From captivity to liberty, prison doors opened. From ashes to beauty. From mourning to joy. From heaviness and tears to praise. The gospel can do this! I believe this was the experience of Paul and his ministry team as they went from place to place preaching the gospel.

A testimony of a radical change as a result of receiving the gospel is recorded in the book of 1 Thessalonians; 

 

8 For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.

9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;

10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. (1 Thess. 1: 8 -10).

This change came as a result of …

..we preached unto you the gospel of God (1 Thess. 2:9)

The interesting thing we see is that, God is committed to the scriptures. When we go out preaching, He backs us up with His authority:

‘Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands’ (Acts 14:3)

That’s exactly what we should also do today, speak boldly in the Lord. Preaching the gospel, knowing that it contains the power of God that is able to save, deliver and rescue. And if you are reading this and you are not saved, today know that receiving the gospel gives you eternal life and it can turn your circumstances around. Believe in your heart for salvation and confess unto righteousness.

 

Say this with me:

 

I choose to preach the Gospel,

I choose to believe it,

I allow God’s words have free course in my life and in return it changes my life and circumstances,

I welcome the Involvement of the Gospel in my life and as a result I see the power of God flow in my situation, In Jesus name. Amen

 

I Call You Blessed.

Samson Afolabi