What Will Your Reaction Be?

What Will Your Reaction Be?

So, Last week I wrote about BREAKING FREE FROM RELIGION. I got some responses from some of my readers,  encouraging me to keep up with the good work as they have been blessed by the write-up. On this premise, I would like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone that dropped a comment and to let you know that every word of encouragement meant a lot to me and the ALETHEIA COMMITTEE. But more importantly would be that we have the right reaction(s) to every of God’s word each time He speaks to us. Interestingly this would be the central theme of our article this week.

Whenever we read the Bible or read a scripture-inspired book or write-up or rather listen to a sermon, it’s important to know that the words spoken to us will only profit us if we make the right reaction(s) to them. Looking through the scripture, different reactions to God’s words played out when it came to people. Some disagreed, some disbelieved, some rejected while some took it up in faith and acted accordingly.

REJECTION
Peter – “Not So Lord!”

“But Peter Said, Not So, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean (ACTS 10:14)”

The Lord was about to extend the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles, and He wanted to send Peter. He showed Peter a trance while he was waiting for food to be made for him. A sheet was lowered from heaven full of different kinds of “four-footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air” and Peter was told to kill and eat. But for Peter those animals were seen as “unclean” and even though it was the Lord who had given him the instruction, his reaction was still NO. In fact, Peter was careful to say “Not So Lord!” to mean that: though you are my Lord but this your word, I won’t take it. (Read the full story in Acts 10: 9 – 16)

A lot of us, still do the same thing today. Even when we know God is telling us to do something, we rather do something else, rejecting and saying “NOT SO LORD!” in our actions. When God tells you “Stop that relationship”, “don’t take that job” yet you go ahead, know just like Peter you are saying “NOT SO LORD!”

UNBELIEF
Mary and Zacharias – “How Can these things be?”

Zacharias was a priest and his wife’s name was Elizabeth. But they had no child because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years (Luke 1:7). One day, while Zacharias was ministering in the temple, an angel appeared to him and told him he was going to have a son, told him the name they were to give to the child and a lot of wonderful things about the child he (Zacharias) was going to have. Then Zacharias said

“How shall I know this? For I am an Old man, and my wife well advanced in years” (Luke 1:18)

He didn’t believe the angel. He was more persuaded of the physical conditions of himself and his wife. He knew that at a certain age, a woman cannot have a child any longer and that was more reasonable to him than God’s word. That made him mute until the child was born. Mary also had a similar encounter, she also said:

“How Can these things be, since I do not know a man” (Luke 1:34)

Sarah also laughed in unbelief when God said she would have a son in a year time (Gen. 18: 11 -15). They all seemed to have logical reasons not to believe God’s word. You know sometimes we also do the same. Even after our Pastors have declared God’s beautiful counsels to us, we still go ahead to esteem more our physical limitations than God’s word. We act in unbelief. We prefer to keep living in fear and worry than to rise up and boldly believe and confess God’s word to us. I act in unbelief sometimes too, am not an exception but it’s not right. We see God as a Compound Capital Fool. We see our problems to be bigger than God and His word. Today, Let our hearts be grounded in the knowledge of how great our God is and the powerful potential of our faith in Him.

ACCEPTANCE
The last section of people I want to talk is those who acted in Faith and stood to take up God’s word. Those who gave the right reaction to God’s word and promise. Abraham, Joshua, and Caleb, Paul, Isaiah. These people, though looked difficult to the mortal man what God requested them to do, yet they rose up, believed in their God and did exploits. (Dan. 11:32)

Abraham

God said “Take now your Son, your only Son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you” (Gen. 22:2)

Abraham Reaction “So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him” (Gen. 22:3)

One of the things that interested me most was that Abraham didn’t just react rightly by obeying, He rose up early to obey God. Don’t blame God for making him the Father of all Nations. This was his only son of whom he had waited for a long time to have without any hope of having another, he even had to ride 3 days before he could locate this mountain God told him to go to. Yet, he didn’t change his mind. What is your own Isaac, Your Isaac could be your academics, husband, job, or whatever, think about If God says sacrifice it!  Can you? Can you rise up early to terminate it?

One of my heart desires, as always been “Lord I don’t want to just be a hearer of your word, accumulating knowledge but a doer.

Joshua and Caleb is also another example. They were 2 of 12 spies sent by Israel to spy the Promised Land.

“And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it” (Numbers 13:30)

“But the Men that went up with him said, we be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we” (Numbers 13:31)

God had told these people the land was for them, He wanted them to go up and take up what He had assigned and allocated them, yet because of what they saw they were terrified. They esteemed their challenges higher than God. Their challenges were more real to them than God’s word. But Joshua and Caleb said, “If God says it, we believe it and that settles it”. What do you also say concerning all of God’s promises to you in the scriptures, do you believe them? Or are you more persuaded of your current challenges than God’s word?

Paul also said “Lord, what would you have me do” (Acts 9:6). Isaiah said, “Here I am, send me Lord”(Isaiah 6:8). You can read the full accounts in the scriptures indicated. When God words, comes to you what would your reactions be?

Yes. What would your reaction be even to this article? Positive, Negative, Discard, Find excuses. The ball is in your court but imagine if for every book we read, every sermon we listen to, every time we read the bible we gave the right reactions, we would be far more blessed than we are right now.

My dear reader, I ask you to ponder on this words, ask the Holy-Spirit to reveal to you where you aren’t responding to His word well enough and also give you the grace to respond positively.

I Call You Blessed
Yours in God’s Vineyard
Samson Afolabi

Break Free from Religion

Break Free from Religion

I remember growing up, I was taught how to pray in our children’s church as it was called. We were actually given a formula on how to pray. Our Teacher’s said when you pray,
1. Start with thanksgiving    
2. Ask for forgiveness of your sins

We had to ask for forgiveness every-time we pray, even if we knew what our sins were or not. The explanation they gave was that there was no way we could live without sin. Now, I know that’s wrong, If we can’t live above sin, why did Jesus die? But that’s a discussion for another day.

Read Romans 6 Selah.

3. Ask God for our needs, petitions and all
4. We should always end with thanks.

All these were backed up with scriptures, a good reference for such a sermon was always “The Lord’s Prayer”, so there was no way I could have questioned that then. Anytime, our teachers asked us to pray, and I used this formula, I was greatly applauded as a good student of prayer.

Things were fine, and I had strongly believed God must have been listening to me because I was using the “Prayer Outline Formula” until I started reading the book of Psalms.I am a lover of the book of Psalms. If an estimate is made, it might end up being my most frequent book of the bible. I noticed that David wasn’t using the formula. What? David, the king, the man after God’s heart, the prophet was bumping into God in prayers (many of the psalms were actually David’s prayers) without thanking and praising him first, then ask for your forgiveness. I had thought that no matter how urgent our need or situation was, one had got to stick with the formula. As a Mathematician, I understand the place of formulas, and I know it takes years of labor of some people to dig it out. And it always works, until proven otherwise. Without the formula, no going anywhere.

That was rude, I thought, for David didn’t just “bump” into God once or twice but almost every-time he prayed. Although there were times when all he did was to thank God and times when he asked for forgiveness. I noticed he prayed as it “flowed from the inside of him” and not as “our formula states”. Then I asked, does he actually know my formula? I have so much respect for David, and I knew he shouldn’t just be “ignoring the formula”. Something was wrong somewhere, I thought.

As I grew, the Holy Spirit taught me, “Prayer wasn’t supposed to be coordinated with a formula”. It should flow freely, directed by your Spirit. If God was my father I shouldn’t be making rituals and observing a formula before talking with him. Even my earthly father, I don’t have to observe rituals before talking with him. Even though we are thousands of kilometers apart now, if I need to speak with him, I will just pick up my phone, call him and tell him my concerns. Maybe I would want to say “Good morning” or “Good afternoon” first, or call him “Baba ooo” (meaning father in Yoruba language) and we would both laugh and I tell him why I called. And when I miss him, or he misses me, we make a video call. If my earthly father being evil could be like that, how much more my father in heaven? (Matt. 7:11)

I also noticed David’s prayers were in the old covenant. If the prayers in the old covenant were this liberal, how much more in the new covenant? God said:

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16)

He actually not just said this but showed it when he the veil tore in the temple when Jesus died. A stop came to all the rituals to be observed before coming into the most holy place. God is saying come boldly, Come and present your requests, no need for prayer formulas!. Just pray and pray as you are led. Freedom comes when we don’t have to observe a formula in prayers. Enjoy the liberty of the Spirit.

Over-time, I have noticed that just like me a lot of Christians are still caught in the web of Religion; a dogged practice of what we have been taught from child-hood that doesn’t conform in what way ever with the truth, just like in the prayer example I gave above.

Freedom comes when we break the cords of Religion. Anything could become religious. Going to church without the understanding of why we go, why we give, fasting could also become religious,giving etc.  When John the Baptist was given birth to, Zacharias his father was mute because he didn’t believe the prophecy of John’s birth. When he was given birth to, according to the words of the angel, the mother of the baby, Elizabeth requested the child be called John. The family members and neighbors who came for the circumcision said,

Luke 1:59 – 64
So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias (vs 59)
His mother answered and said, “No; he shall be called John (vs 60)
But they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name” (vs 61)
So they made signs to his father – what he would have him called (vs 62)
And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote saying, “His name is John”. So they marveled. (Vs 63)
Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God (vs 64)

The Custom was that John be named Zacharias. It was a norm. But God said he is to be called John which was against the custom. Just like Zacharias, a lot of us are caught in the web of religion, doing things the way we do them because that’s the way we’ve been told to them from our childhood, or the way accepted by the society. We oftentimes don’t ask why we do them the way we do them. Zacharias obedience to breaking the cords of Religion brought his freedom from being dumb. I believe the Holy-spirit is trying to paint an example for us from this scenario of how we can also be free if we dared to break the bonds of Religion. One way to do that is to always ask “why”. Why do you do what you do? Why do you have to do what people do?

I have had to ask, this kind of questions, like why should I be married?, why should I have a wedding ceremony, and even why should I have a reception afterward?. Interestingly I found many of my answers in scriptures and I am holding on to them. That’s the true test of spirituality. This would open the eyes of your understanding, and bring freedom your way swiftly from what bounds others. You would also have a good conviction of what you do.

Again let me say Freedom comes when we break the cords of Religion and also add that Christianity is not a Religion it’s a Life.

I Call You Blessed
Written by Samson Afolabi

New Year… New Prophecies…  New Beginnings

New Year… New Prophecies… New Beginnings

At the beginning of each year, there are always prophecies in almost every congregation, given by God to the shepherd in charge. It’s always beautiful to hear the promises of God for a new year as it always serves as a source of direction as we chart our course for the year, without which we would have been full of uncertainty and apprehension. With knowledge of the prophecies for the year, we can run with them and ensure their actualization by fulfilling our side of the promises. True prophecies never contradict the scriptures and the Bible make us understand that God always confirms the words that come through His prophets, and if we believe we will be established.

So they got up early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah, and you inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe and trust in the Lord your God and you will be established (secure). Believe and trust in His prophets and succeed.” 2 Chronicles 20:20

Reading through the Bible, we see that God never did anything without revealing to His children ahead of time, including the birth of Jesus and the surrounding events. Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others foretold the future, as we see from scriptures:

All this happened in order to fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet [Isaiah]: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and give birth to a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel”—which, when translated, means, “God with us.” Matthew 1: 22-23:

They replied to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is what has been written by the prophet [Micah]:‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not in any way least among the leaders of Judah; For from you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ Matthew 2:5-6

Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled:“A voice was heard in Ramah,
Weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; She refused to be comforted, Because they were no more.” Matthew 2:17-18

When Jesus was born, the wise men saw a star in the east and it went ahead of them all the way to the place the child was. How did the wise men know what the star meant? So many commentaries have tried to explain this, but I believe the wise men by some means knew about prophecies concerning the Messiah in the first place, and that’s why they could identify the star. Also, in the account of Matthew, Herod asked for the place the child was to be born and sent the wise men there. The answer was also from prophecy.

Matthew 2:4-8
4 So he called together all the chief priests and scribes of the people and [anxiously] asked them where the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed) was to be born.
5 They replied to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is what has been written by the prophet [Micah]:
6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not in any way least among the leaders of Judah; For from you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod secretly sent for the magicians and learned from them the [exact] time the star [had first] appeared.
8 Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.”

God has always revealed his mind to man. It is not His style to keep his children in the dark. In this dispensation, God hasn’t changed. He still tells his children about the future. The good news is that we don’t have to wait for the beginning of the year to know about the future, or our pastor because we have the word of God, our certain and sure word of prophecy. Prophetic revelations aren’t meant to be a one-off.

So we have the prophetic word made more certain. You do well to pay [close] attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and light breaks through the gloom and the morning star arises in your hearts. 1 Peter 2:19

The Bible is all the prophecy we will ever need. It tells us everything we need to know, and every child of God has access to this revelation-it is not hidden. God has given us His Spirit to help us understand it, interpret it and appropriate it in our lives.

1 Corinthians 2:9-13
9 but just as it is written [in Scripture] Things which the eye has not seen and the ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him [who hold Him in affectionate reverence, who obey Him, and who gratefully recognize the benefits that He has bestowed].”
10 For God has unveiled them and revealed them to us through the [Holy] Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things [diligently], even [sounding and measuring] the [profound] depths of God [the divine counsels and things far beyond human understanding].
11 For what person knows the thoughts and motives of a man except the man’s spirit within him? So also no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the [Holy] Spirit who is from God, so that we may know and understand the [wonderful] things freely given to us by God.
13 We also speak of these things, not in words taught or supplied by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining and interpreting spiritual thoughts with spiritual words [for those being guided by the Holy Spirit].

This prophecy doesn’t come once in a year; it comes as many times as we study the scriptures and fellowship in the Spirit. This means that every day of the new year and beyond, we can receive prophecies and see prophecies fulfilled.

In conclusion, the whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelations is our sure word of prophecy. We cannot walk in the light of what we do not know, and prophecies cannot be fulfilled if we don’t fulfill the requirements. Therefore, we must read, believe, speak and do the Word. The Bible wasn’t given to increase our knowledge, but to change our lives. If we do this, we will see prophecies fulfilled because God’s Word can never fail and we will be able to say like Joshua after all is said and done, “and I know in all my heart and in all my soul that not one word of all the good words which the Lord my God has promised concerning me has failed; all have been fulfilled for you, not one of them has failed”.

Written by Iyinoluwa Onobote

The “No” of God

The “No” of God

I remember those days we would pester my mum, ”mummy can I go to John’ s house?” Sometimes she would say no and at other times she would give her assent. The Yes answer always excited us as we would rush out to either play football together or squat on the floor for a game of ‘lego’ soccer. We were free to express ourselves, we were free to explore once we got the Yes answer. But no one liked to be given a No. No meant sorrow, restrain and sometimes confusion as it seemed you had nothing else to do except that for which you had just been denied permission. It was most painful when we had already dreamed big and fantasized about the prospects of fun, only to be denied permission to fulfill our ‘dreams’. We would sulk and become irritable, wasting the opportunity for better endeavors. But we were kids, we knew not much.

As I think on this I am reminded that God says No. God stops his children from embarking on purposes already planned out. Be it at the onset or right in the middle of proceedings, God still speaks to conquer our desires. God still speaks to stop our rational processions. Yes, God still speaks to redirect our spiritual passions and fiery enthusiasms. Even when it is logical, spiritual or sensible, God still speaks and it could be a No.

The Holy Ghost stopped Paul preaching in Bithynia, stopped him in Asia too (Act 16:7). The Lord stopped Amaziah from going to war with Israeli soldiers he had hired with a lot of money (2Chronicles 25:7). I mean, he had paid for them already. Yet the Lord said, ‘let not the army of Israel go with you.’ And then he got worried and voiced out his trouble having to see all the money he used for hire waste away. The Lord answered, ‘I am able to give thee much more than this.’ (2 Chronicles 25:9) So, friend, thy investment no matter how bounteous, thy journey no matter how far and thy race no matter how extended, if the Lord says no, it is a No.

But remind thy heart, that God’s No is for thy good. He – God – will eventually bring you into the, Yes you need. He is very intentional about your life to bring you into the best. His No is definitely for something better that has not entered thy sphere of thought. His No might bring a present pain but it is for a future gain. He is working something out, yes He is. If God says No, weep not, but rejoice that God is thinking about you and leading you with His mighty hands. If the Almighty has decided to be deliberate with my life then I shall instead rejoice. For is it not true that not everything we desire is the best for us? The Shepherd knows better, He shall lead us well and we shall find pasture.

Hence, we must be in constant inquiry as we travel. Let us not make the Lord look like ‘the sense of Logic.’ God is not logic and He is not always logical. Before we dream dreams and build castles in the clouds of uncertainty, let us make sure our desires are founded upon the word from God. Let ‘thus saith the Lord’ always be our watchword.

Written By Rotimi Alao

Right or Wrong?

Right or Wrong?

I would rather be wrong in my Lover’s embrace, than right away from Him.

For if I am wrong, I shall be taught aright, following my Lover, as He makes me lie in green pastures, and leads me beside quiet waters

His Spirit guides me on the right path, for my Lover is true and truth personified.

However if I was right and away from my lover, then my right is false as it is devoid of truth and what I know would soon run false as my knowledge would puff. And that which I know is nothing, for it is better to be known of Him, than to be knowledgeable without him, knowing nothing. To be known of God is to love Him.

For Truth is greater than right or wrong!

Blessed am I, when I seek Truth above right and wrong. For I come to know the love of my lover which passes knowledge. This knowing, is one that is built on intimacy, rooted and grounded in love which is produced by fellowship with Him as He dwells in my heart by faith.

In my Lover’s embrace I am taught, for he will draw me and I will run after Him. My Lover’s love is unfailing, He loved me before I could spell the letters of love, outside of my Lover I am dead, for He is my life, paradoxically though he slays me yet would I trust in Him.

In the end, my goal is neither to be right nor wrong but to be at the center of my Lover’s will. Pleasing Him. For I know that in loving my lover, my knowledge is pure and my lover is Truth.

Written by Abraham Omotayo
Abraham Omotayo is a is a teacher of the gospel of the Kingdom, he teaches on how believers are expected to live in the reality of Kingdom at all times by being the light and salt of the word as they conform to the image of the son. Contact him on meetomotayo@gmail.com

The Baton

The Baton

“And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us” (Hebrews 11:39-40 NKJV)

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1 NKJV)

The plan of God is one whole plan, and that was settled before the foundation of the earth (Psalm 119:89 Forever, O Lord, your word is settled in heaven), but He has chosen to make them in dispensations, and at every dispensation he uses men to carry out the assignment in that dispensation. Each dispensation is a part of the whole and the players are men. Not all men, but men who align to His purpose. Criterion for alignment has always been faith, so Hebrews 11 gave us the litany of men who aligned to God’s will, they are men of faith. This men had faith in Christ though they didn’t see his days in the flesh, yet there was a signal in them that prophesied ahead of his days and that made them live the kind of life they lived.

“Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow (1 Peter 1:10-12 NKJV)”

Although the beautiful stories of the acts and dealings of God in the past recorded in this very chapter are trilling, anytime I read through their exploits as presented in Heb. 11 I wonder, something confronts me immediately, the fact that “without us, they cannot be made perfect (Heb. 11:40)”. It dawned on me that God’s whole plan is not accomplished yet, there is still so much to do and experience.

“But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)”

I Conclude that. It is our time to take the baton, to engage the Holy Spirit to know our place in God’s agenda, to enthrone our Lord Jesus. Just as we see that Heb. 11:40 didn’t end without the introduction of Heb. 12:1. This is a wake-up call to us and there is no better time to rise than now. You are also part of the plan. There is a role you have to play. If you don’t, then it’s going to be left undone. You are here for such a time as this.

Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.” See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,”

I pray that God will quicken us to live a life that will cause generations behind us to find courage to walk in the path of faith in Jesus name.

You are blessed.
Written by Idowu Olasupo