Over-time I have discovered as a writer that my readers relate most when I explain scripture as I have applied them to my personal experiences. This approach brings more light to the bible, those stories tend to stick more to the mind, and they are always enticing to read.
People enjoy reading stories. As such, I have always trusted the Holy Spirit to remind me of specific experiences which I can use to understand the scriptures. Once the Holy-Spirit told me, “I am always speaking to you, sometimes directly to your spirit and sometimes through the experiences around you. If you would learn to open your minds and take careful note of your experiences, you would discover my wisdom expressly shared and demonstrated to you’’
So I decided to add this to my prayers: “Dear Holy Spirit, I know you are not an illusion or a mirage, neither are you a mere belief or a thing. You are a Person, the third person of the Trinity. You are the power of the Godhead and you have been given to me to be a comforter and a partner. Help me to stay conscious of your presence and help me STAY CONNECTED to you”
Let me give you an illustration. I have noticed that when two people are in love, they have an overwhelming desire to share moments together but if they are not talking for quite some hours or – even worse a full day- , there must be a problem.
The same relationship can be seen between a Christian and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has emotions, He can be grieved (Eph. 4:30) and He loves. Many of us often forget that the Holy-spirit always wants our company, he doesn’t like to be ignored, he has been given to always be with you when you sleep, when you walk the streets, when you eat, when you drink.Every-time, every second, he wants us to talk with him, he wants our attention. He wants us to tell him our challenges, and he wants to also talk with us, he wants to give us wisdom on how to make decisions, he wants to tell us more about God’s kingdom. He wants our fellowship. He wants us to STAY CONNECTED. He doesn’t just want 10 minutes out of the 24 hours of our day. He is not an errand boy. He is our love.
If we will be diligent enough to stay connected and be careful we will learn a lot from our day to day experiences.Let me share two lessons which I learned in the past weeks. I hope it encourages our heart.
After my exams, my plan was to immediately take a vacation. I wanted to visit some nearby countries to give my brain a good break . I was so tired from studying. I planned the trip with two of my friends.
They planned the flights, the buses and the accommodations, and we shared the bill. The trip was really beautiful -peaceful flights, nice discussions, sweet meals, interesting places.It was fun! In Amsterdam, my friends had planned that all night we would keep walking around and to see places , so they didn’t bother to book a room that night. Since I didn’t plan with them, I didn’t know this,. Unfortunately, our planned night tour in city was far below expectations. We had already seen all the interesting places that day and by night-time we were all really tired.
We couldn’t leave the city because our bus was booked for the next morning according to the plan. The night wasn’t comfortable at all. We were visitors with no place to sleep. The only place available was the concrete seats at the Central Train Station. And even though we were tired and weak, the security men allowed us to only sit and not sleep. And we were like that all night! In the midst of this, the Holy Spirit said to me that this is an illustration of Christians on earth.
Christians are sojourners, we are travellers.We shouldn’t expect luxurious comfort here on earth. Our comfort comes when we remember our home, the place where we can finally be with God in body. Many Christians get distracted by seeking comfort here on earth.
“And if you call on Father, who without respect of persons judge according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear” (1 Pet. 1:17)
Paul speaking, said when we are pressed on all sides, we must keep moving. Our encouragement is that one day we will be home. Every traveller is encouraged at the thought of the word HOME. It’s always an encouragement. It always gives strength and hope. Likewise we are supposed to be encouraged as Christians. Our consolation shouldn’t be from the things here.
To continue the story, we survived the night, travelled to Belgium where we had booked a room. We were all tired resulting from a sleepless night. We just wanted to check into the room and rest before going around to see that city. Then we encountered another problem. We couldn’t check into our room. We felt like dying. Just then I remembered that a day before I travelled, I was sharing with a friend about my trip. Then he said “hey, my parents live in Belgium have their contact in-case you need a place to stay”. I never asked for their contact, in-fact I was merely sharing it with him, so we could pray together about it. I never saw the need to have their contact, because I believed all had been settled by my friends. I reluctantly collected their contact. It was when we were denied entry into the room that I remembered my friend’s parent. They were very kind and hospitable to us. We had a nice dinner together with them, with very soft and cosy beds and they even drove us again to the airport the next morning, to catch our flight.. We lost a room and got a house. We wished we had planned to stay longer with them.
Out of this experience, Psalms 46:1 made more meaning to me.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalms 46:1)
God had seen that we were going to be in need of a place to be, and he made adequate preparation for us. The help was suited and crafted to perfectly suit the trouble we had. It was timely. This once again made me learn to trust God. Now, I know even better “He’s got my back”. Many of us are worried about the future not knowing that God has made adequate preparation for it without Him informing us, He only wants us to cast our cares upon him.
It’s like when parents are expecting a baby, they make ready everything for the baby, the baby doesn’t have to worry about what to eat, what to wear, or how to live. It’s made ready, the baby just comes to enjoy it. We are also “God’s Baby”. Let’s learn to trust in the provisions already made by our father.
I Call You Blessed
Written by Samson Afolabi
“God is not dead, He’s alive” we say boldly today. “But where’s the proof?” The Unbeliever’s reply. As Christians, we don’t just go about showing off knowledge. But REPRESENTING the God that is alive – with INFALLIBLE proofs. This stirs up the unbelieving.
Paul said “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in DEMONSTRATION of the Spirit and OF POWER” 1 Corinthians 2:4
He wasn’t just preaching – he was manifesting the God he preached. There should be signs and wonders – following the Gospel being preached.
To whom also He shewed himself alive after his passion BY MANY INFALLIBLE PROOFS, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3)
Jesus (God) proved himself alive.
And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15)
So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. (Mark 16:19)
And they went forth, and preached every-where, the Lord working with them, and CONFIRMING THE WORD WITH SIGNS FOLLOWING. (Mark 16:20)
There should be signs and wonders – following the Gospel being preached.
As Christians we should be HUNGRY for the Supernatural. It reveals God to some people. Healing the sick, opening blind eyes, working miracles and raising the dead is supposed to be normal with us. These signs “Back up” the GOSPEL.
The scriptures say,
Also…Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: (Hebrews 12:14)
Many have said this, to explain how holiness will take you to Heaven. No, that’s a misinterpretation of the verse.
As it says, Be a representative of God on earth by Following peace with ALL MEN (Not God), Loving all men because if you don’t, nobody can encounter God through you. They won’t “See the Lord”in your life
You’re a Christ Ambassador. Re-presenting Christ to the world. In words and Deeds.
Do it well.
Written by Richard Robinson Abdalla
“To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6)
Just as the story of the prodigal child, who was welcomed home not as a servant but as a son (Luke 15:11 – 32). When a man believes the gospel (about the death, burial and resurrection of Christ) i.e. become saved, His spirit is given life, because his spirit was actually dead in Adam (Gen. 2:17) and he becomes born into the family of God (Eph. 3:15). God legally becomes his father just as the devil was his father before he was born again. On this account he is linked up and rooted and joined to Christ. God becomes the vine and he the branch, he becomes one with the father, a level of spiritual oneness with God (John 15:5). He carries God’s nature, he has Jesus’s own righteousness, he is not condemned anymore, because Jesus carried all his guilt, shame and condemnation, all this happened when he accepted Jesus as lord (1 cor. 15:33). So he now deserves, all that Jesus deserves because Jesus took his place at the cross. He is accepted in God’s beloved, Jesus.
“Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God… (1 John 5:1)”
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!… (1 John 3:1)”
Every Christian is accepted as a son, he has a legal right to the things of God, wherever he goes he can boast of God as his father, he represents God wherever he goes (2 Cor. 5:20). He can legally demand things to be done in the name of his senior brother, Jesus Christ. He is accepted. God accepts him as much as he accepts Jesus. God loves him as much as he loves Jesus. And God can only stop accepting or loving him the day he stops accepting or loving Jesus (Matt 3:17, Rom 8:29). Every believer has a legal sit at God’s right hand (the place of all authority), he is accepted and welcomed always in the church in heaven, so he can command things to happen in the name of Jesus, and make requests because he is righteous in Christ (1 John 4:6 , Eph. 2:6 , Is. 54:17). We must learn not to walk according to our feelings but according to the fact that we are accepted.
Children normally grow bold in making requests or even accessing their parents (no matter who their parents are) because they know they are loved by their parents, they know they are accepted, so it doesn’t matter the offence they committed yesterday, they know today and always they are loved by their parents. This is because they didn’t earn their parent’s acceptance by what they did, so it can’t be lost by what they do or didn’t do, rather they earned it simply because they were born into the family. Any other stranger may not have this acceptance even if he/she continues to do right, this is because he is not born into the family. So Likewise are we before our father in Heaven.
Christians who know they are loved, accepted, chosen before the foundation of the world (i.e. before they were born physically) are always candidates for exploits in faith (Dan. 11:32). A very good example is the apostle Paul. They grow bold in coming into God’s presence (Heb. 4: 16) to make demands, so as such it is important for every Christian to know that they are “accepted in the beloved” as Paul puts it in Eph. 1:6, and also to know “why”. We are accepted in Jesus as Paul states, not in ourselves.
Brethren, let us rejoice because we are accepted before God in Jesus Christ, not because of what we did (Titus 3:5), but because of what Jesus did. Let us also rejoice because he is continuously supplying us grace that we may keep standing in the salvation which he has granted us that we may not fall from this exalted position. The knowledge of the fact that we are accepted is what we need to continuously overcome sin, live a life of dominion and do exploits in faith (works greater than what Jesus did). 1 John 5:4, Heb. 10:39.
Grow in Grace!
Written by Samson Afolabi
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
These days, many people talk about “losing their salvation”. Preachers, in the name of trying to keep their members, emphasize so much on the need to keep themselves away from the defilement of this world. As good as this sounds, it often has caused more people to live in fear rather than in boldness and certainty that God can keep them faultless and blameless to the end of their lives.
The one way I believe God has been instructing me on “keeping one’s salvation” is by shifting my attention away from myself and instead towards God. Yes, I know the world is defiled with sin, and ungodliness. I know that sin contaminates, but I believe that the way to victory over the world, is to keep our gaze on Jesus (the Author and finisher of our faith) rather than ourselves. We must start to know that “God wants to keep our faith more than we want to keep ourselves”. David said,
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalms 23:1)
As believers, the Lord is our shepherd. He is our keeper. He is the keeper of our faith. The boast of every shepherd is that he keeps his fold and that none of them is missing. David made this boast before Saul when he was presenting his CV to him, proving he was strong enough to confront Goliath.
“Then Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight him. For you are [only] a young man and he has been a warrior since his youth” (1 Samuel 17:33)
But David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, (1 Samuel 17:34)
I went out after it and attacked it and rescued the lamb from its mouth; and when it rose up against me, I seized it by its whiskers and struck and killed it. (1 Samuel 17:35)
Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted and defied the armies of the living God.” (1 Samuel 17:36)
Jesus, the great shepherd also made this boast at the end of His life on earth,
(John 17:11) And now I am coming to you; I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world. Holy Father! Keep them safe by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one just as you and I are one.
(John 17:12) While I was with them, I kept them safe by the power of your name, the name you gave me. I protected them, and not one of them was lost, except the man who was bound to be lost—so that the scripture might come true.
The shepherd is never scared to lead the sheep out even though the wolves are nearby. He knows that it is his duty to keep the sheep and he will go above and beyond to do that. It is not the sheep’s duty to worry about the security of the field. God knows we are in the world. In-fact Jesus prayed that God keep us in the world, because He knows he can protect us. We don’t have to rely on our ability, rather we rely on His ability to keep our faith and our feet from falling. We must stop looking down on ourselves and start looking up to Him, who is able to keep us from falling. Whenever we talk about our salvation, let us know that it is about the faithful God and never about our own unfaithfulness. It is all of God and none of us. The Sheep doesn’t keep himself, the Shepherd does.
(Jude 1:24) To him who is able to keep you from falling and to bring you faultless and joyful before his glorious presence
Yes, he is able and I chose him to be my strength to stand for my faith in this perverse and ungodly world. He alone can be my strength. I have no strength of my own. This is not to mean I would deliberately sin and keep saying there is “Grace” but I won’t rely on my own strength. I would trust the shepherd to keep me from falling.
David speaking in Psalms 121 said, The Lord is my Keeper… (Vs 5), he went further saying The Lord shall preserve me from all evil; he shall preserve my soul (vs 7) and He will not suffer my foot to slip (vs 3).
In-fact, 1 John 2:13 – 14 says we have already overcame the wicked one.
…I have written to you, young men, because you are strong and vigorous, and the word of God remains [always] in you, and you have been victorious over the evil one [by accepting Jesus as Saviour]. (vs. 14 AMP)
….I am writing to you, young men [those believers who are growing in spiritual maturity], because you have been victorious and have overcome the evil one…. (Vs 13 AMP)
…He Protects the souls of His godly ones (believers), he rescues them from the hand of the wicked. (Psalms 97:10)
We overcame the evil one already, not that we will overcome later, we overcame him already (NOW). We overcame him not because of what we did or didn’t do but because we have accepted Jesus as our saviour.
God is not scared that I will lose my salvation. Therefore, why should I be scared? I will walk in the world, knowing that God is keeping me from falling. I will walk at school, at the office and everywhere I go with the confidence that God is my keeper. I won’t act like religious fanatics who put themselves under rules and regulations, avoiding to talk and interact with people because of the fear that they might lose their salvation. I won’t be afraid of the world contaminating me with sin, rather I will influence the world with Righteousness just like Jesus did.
I call you blessed!
Written by Samson Afolabi