For the rich in this world, security is a big concern. Although the security of life and property should be one of the fundamental rights of a citizen, that is not totally true in most cases, as the security apparatus of the state cannot ‘guarantee’ this. In order to secure their lives and possessions, the rich often live in secured environments, well gated and with additional security operatives to offer protection in most cases.
Well, this approach is not new.
In Luke 12: 16 – 19, we find the story of a rich man and his plans after a successful harvest. In verses 18 – 19 the rich man said:
“This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater, and there I will bestow all my fruits and my goods.”
“And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.”
Notice his approach of guarding his possessions. First, he will build greater barns to make sure his harvest is saved from pests and thieves, then he will rest. We all do that! Once we begin to notice our goods and possessions increase, we begin to think of making sure we live long enough to enjoy our wealth. We get the best health insurance, the best security, living in the most secured area of town so that our soul can live long enough to enjoy its labour.
Is this bad in itself? No! Does it guarantee blessing and protection? No!
Here is the interesting thing, we are assured that God can do the Blessing and the Keeping! He can bless us and keep us to enjoy the blessing at the same time. Notice Job 1: 8 – 10:
“And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and eschews evil? “
“Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?”
“Hast not thou made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.”
Notice verse 10, God blessed Job, but did not stop there, he built a hedge about him and his house and everything he had.
Brethren, God is a Keeper! He has the capacity to bless and to keep. From the scripture above, we can trust in the ability of God to bless and Keep! It is comforting to know that, it is part of God’s plan to keep us (security, good health, etc.) and not just bless us. We can have them both.
We see the same pattern in Numbers 6, God instructed Aaron and his sons about how to bless the children of Israel, the first pronouncement is as follow:
“The Lord bless thee, and keep thee” (Num. 6: 24)
It is comforting to know that in a world where nothing is certain we have an assurance of the blessing and the keeping of God. Brethren, be rest assured of the fact that God can do both the blessing and the Keeping. Rest on Him.
See Psalm 41:2:
“The Lord will preserve him, and keep him alive, and he shall be blessed upon the earth”
God’s blessing makes rich and adds no sorrow. As you move about and engage daily know that you blessed by God and kept of Him to enjoy the manifold blessings at your disposal.
*all scriptures are quoted from the KJV except otherwise stated.
“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;” (Eph. 4:4)
Recently, I was re-reading the account of the first pentecost after the death and resurrection of Christ. The account gave details about the infilling of the Holy Spirit received by the disciples, fulfilment of the prophecy of Joel, the boldness of Peter in preaching to those present and the resulting multitudes who came to receive Christ through Peter’s message that day.
In this account, there is a very important verse in Acts 2, which I believe was pivotal to what we read today in Acts 2, and it is the first verse of this chapter:
“And the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.”
I believe the phrase “ONE ACCORD” really describes the state of how God’s people (the Church) is to be. Everyone comes to fellowship together in unity irrespective of their background, life experiences, self worth, achievements and without any wall of division or segmentation in their hearts. The Holy Spirit through Paul wrote to the Ephesians saying:
“Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all” (Eph. 4: 3 – 6 NLT)
Notice the first statement…”Make every effort!” I believe the Holy Spirit knows strongly the importance of brethren dwelling together in unity and as such, encourages us strongly to make sure that this is seen and witnessed amongst us. So today, I want to encourage you, make every effort to keep the Church of God united in the Spirit! Note that the Church is not limited to your local assembly but believers round the world. It is One body of Christ! One Church!
Scriptures again and again tell us of the importance of this unity. In the description of the Church given in 1 Peter 2:5, the Church is described as a spiritual house.
“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 2: 5)
Jesus speaking said:
“And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand” (Mark 3:25)
I believe this explains the weakness we see in the Church today. There is so much division amidst ourselves, along denominational lines, ethnic lines etc. One person is saying I am of this group, while the other says I am of that group. One says I know better, the other says, No! I have more resources than you, so I’m better, causing so much strife and contention within a house which is supposed to stand together in one accord. It is One Faith! One body! One Father of all!
Paul writing to the Corinthians on the issue of strifes and contentions wrote:
“For you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world? When one of you says “I am a follower of Paul” and another says “I follow Apollos” aren’t you acting just like people of the world? After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us.” (1 Cor. 3 : 3 – 5 NLT)
Paul again writes:
“Some of you are saying, “I am a follower of Paul.”Others are saying, “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter,” or “I follow only Christ”. Has Christ been divided into factions? Was I, Paul, crucified for you? Were any of you baptized in the name of Paul? Of course not!
(1 Cor. 1:12 – 13 NLT)
In other instances, scriptures describe the Church as a body which needs each part to function perfectly. The eyes are not greater than the hand, neither is the head better than the stomach. All parts need each other to function. The eyes can’t walk on its own, it needs the legs for that, and of course while in motion the legs need the eyes so it doesn’t fall into a ditch. None less, none greater.
“The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit” (1 Cor. 12: 12 – 13 NLT)
“All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it” (1 Cor. 12: 27 NLT)
Today, I encourage you to strive to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Don’t seek exaltation for one part of the body over another. Strife and contentions weaken the body, don’t do it!
Pray this with me:
“As a believer,
I will make every effort to keep myself united with my brethren,
As a part of the Spiritual house that Christ is building,
I will not be part of strife or contentions that weaken it.
As a part of the body of Christ,
I will contribute my part to its growth and functioning,
Without thinking I’m better or lesser than the other parts,
All this by His grace.
It is one faith, We have one body and one Father over all,
Who is Lord of all. Amen”
Thanks for reading.
I Call You Blessed
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.
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.
** 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
“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
As we learnt in “The Man Christ Jesus; The Message”, the whole message of the scriptures points back to Christ. And so that must mean every promise given is a picture of Christ.
We see God make promises to people in the old testament. Each promise in the old testament speaks of the promise to send the Messiah; Jesus Christ. And in turn, the fulfilment of every promise spoke of the fulfilment of even the prophecies concerning the Messiah. For example, Genesis 21:1 says:
“The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised.”
The fulfilment of God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah to give them a child, even in their old age, was a picture of the faithfulness of God to keep His word regardless of the hopelessness of the natural situation. (Genesis 17; 16 -21 and 18:9-15).
In the old testament, we see numerous examples of God keeping His promises to His people – and because of this they could have faith for the Messiah – even though they did not physically see Him. The whole of Hebrews 11 gives us numerous examples of faith actions in the old testament that were counted as righteousness and belief for the Messiah. And it shows that the faith which we act out – in obedience to God’s word and instructions, speaks of the faith which we have for His promises of salvation and redemption – That Christ is indeed all He promises to be.
In the new testament, Christ has come. The promise of a Saviour is fulfilled. The man Christ Jesus is THE promise of God fulfilled as well as the fulfilment of every promise. In Christ – in the fulfilment of the promise of a saviour, there are manifold promises which cascade unto all those who believe.
Ephesians 1:3 says;
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,”
These promises are all fulfilled IN CHRIST. God has blessed us IN CHRIST. In our belief that Jesus is indeed our saviour, we have access to a host of spiritual blessings which we did not previously have access to. In Christ our spirit is saved and we have access once again to the blessings God intended for us to have – the Holy Spirit, promises of peace, healing, grace upon grace, favour, righteousness before the Father, redemption from our fallen state, and so much more.
Perhaps the most important is the promise of forgiveness of sins. Jeremiah prophesied saying:
“And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, says the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jer. 31:34)
God was saying their sins He will remember no more! But we know that this was only a promise fulfilled in Christ Jesus. The book of Hebrews explains that before Christ’s sacrifice, there was still a remembrance of sin despite the sacrifice of bulls and goats being offered.
“But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” (Heb. 10: 2-3)
But talking about the sacrifice of Christ, He says:
“But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he has perfected forever them that are sanctified.” (Heb. 10: 12 – 14)
Hallelujah! He offered one sacrifice for sins for ever! Now, God doesn’t remember our sins because of the man Christ Jesus. Because of His sacrifice for sins.
Every promise of God is redemptive. Redeeming us to what He initially planned and predestined us to be (Ephesians 2:10).This is why Christ is the fulfilment of every promise because He is our Redeemer – the same way Boaz was a kinsman redeemer to Ruth – restoring to her what she had lost, Christ is our redeemer, restoring to us all that the devil aimed to kill, steal and destroy in our lives. Jesus Christ was the perfect sacrifice, paying fully for our sin which separated us from God, and allowed us to be righteous once again in the eyes of the Father. He makes us new creatures.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says;
“Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”
So everything that would be Christs’ – as the son of God, would be ours IN CHRIST. Every promise to the people of God would be ours IN CHRIST. Because in Him we are once again God’s people.
Jeremiah also prophesied:
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Jer. 31:33 ESV)
Peter, writing to the gentiles (to us), informs us that this promise has been fulfilled in Christ:
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a[special] people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies [the wonderful deeds and virtues and perfections] of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.”(1 Pet. 2:9 AMP)
“Once you were not a people [at all], but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1 Pet. 2:10 AMP)
In fact, we are not just His people, we are Sons of God. Glory!
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God…”(1 John 3:2 KJV)
Scripture goes further to state something that is mind-blowing;
“For all the promises of God in him are yes, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us” (2 Cor. 1: 20 KJV)
The message translation of the bible states it like this:
“Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God’s Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident” (2 Cor. 1: 20 – 21)
The version above calls Christ Jesus, the great Amen. Amen means so shall it be or let it be so or I strongly agree. We can look into Christ and find God saying “yes” to us who believe for all His promises. All of God’s promises are fulfilled in Christ. This should be a joy and rejoicing of heart for us! He is the Yes and Amen to all of God’s promises to us who believe. Have you looked through the Old Covenant, and seen any of God’s promise to us His people? 1 Cor. 1: 20 says we should rejoice, it is fulfilled in the Man Christ Jesus.
***Special thanks to Wuraola Fanimokun for helping out to co-write and edit this article***