He Identifies With Us

He Identifies With Us

Time and Time again in scriptures, we see our God as one who doesn’t just stand far off to man wishing him all the best with his struggles or challenges. Instead, we see a God that identifies and sympathizes with us in our low estates.

“For the Law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ”  (John 1:17)

You could give someone something by post, and even these days by many electronic methods without necessarily coming to them. But instead Grace (in the person of Jesus) came to us. He identified with us. 

John testified of this, saying:

“And the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…”

The word dwelt among us! He was with us! Living and identifying with us!

Our Father is not some far away person or a god who from a distance tries to send us aid. No! He comes to us. Jesus promised:

“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:18)

Notice God’s promise here, not just that I will send you aid or grace or help from my heavenly throne, but I will come down to be with you in the journey, and the ups and downs of life. I will be with you to comfort you, supplying strength and grace to you as I dwell with you.

“Who hath remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth forever” (Ps. 136:24)

The word translated “remembered” in the above verse, actually means to identify with. He identified with us in our low estate, when we were in a bad shape and at the low of the low, He identified with us. 

“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom. 5:6)

Why is this possible? Because he understands our pains. 

“We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all —  all but the sin” (Heb. 4: 15 MSG)

He is not out of touch with our reality. What a saviour! That is why he is promised:

“You will pass through deep waters. But I will be with you …” (Is. 43:2)

How then should we react to this?

We should become bold towards life, knowing that our Father identifies with us in our challenges and struggles. 

“And if God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31)

 

I call you Blessed

Samson

Inside Out

Inside Out

I’m excited once again to bring God’s word to you, my dear reader.

It is God’s desire to establish His kingdom, His reign on earth. He wants to rule on every street, every city, every country, He wants to fill all the earth with the knowledge of His Son, Jesus Christ. In fact, Jesus taught us to pray this:

Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. (Matt. 6:10 KJV)

I believe that as believers, we are pivotal to the reign of His Kingdom on earth. He needs us to subdue, take charge and to rule over the earth. The heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth He has given to humans, and because of that, any move of God upon the earth has to be pushed and pioneered by believers. 

However, the Lord will not reign over our environments, if He doesn’t first reign in our lives. If His will is not done in me, His will cannot be done through me. The kingdom comes from Inside Out

An example of an inward transformation leading to and influencing  many more people outwardly is found in 1 Thess. 1: 7 – 9.

7 So that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.

8 For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything.

9 For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God. 

(1 Thess. 1: 7-9 KJV Emphasis Mine)

Notice in the passage above, Paul through the Holy Spirit accounts how the believers at Thessalonica became examples to other believers everywhere ( including us in this generation) but first notice, before they could be examples, there had to be a TURNING in them first. God’s work to reach the nations THROUGH them, started first, IN them. They had to first turn to God. 

A similar example is given in Isaiah 61:4.

They shall rebuild the old ruins, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations. (Isaiah 61:4 KJV)

The report of verse 4 is best understood by reading from verses 1-3. The verses 1 – 3 identify the inward change the Holy Spirit does in our lives as believers. The effect of his work in us is that we build the old ruins, we raise up the former desolations, repair the ruined cities and the desolations of many generations. But first, he (the Holy Spirit) works in us to change us. 

Beloved, God’s work in us is inside out. He works in us, so He can work through us. 

It is my prayer that we would align with His work in and through us. 

 

I call you Blessed.

Samson Afolabi

Lessons from the book of Ruth Part 2

Lessons from the book of Ruth Part 2

It is an absolute delight to bring God’s word again to you my reader. Last time we talked about:

  1. The Present Circumstance of a Believer doesn’t describe him/her, he possesses something eternal.
  2. The Need for Mentors

 

This week we continue to pick out lessons from the book of Ruth. 

3. Boaz was a good Man

The testimony recorded in the scriptures of Boaz was excellent. He was a successful man, in fact, scriptures described him as a man of great wealth (Ruth 2:1). Interestingly, despite his success, he was not a man who was proud or boastful. In Ruth 2:4, scriptures give us an impression that he had a good relationship with his workers.

 

“Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you! And they answered him, “The Lord bless you”. (Ruth 2:4 KJV)

 

It was this good relationship with his workers that made him notice the “stranger” (Ruth) who had just joined them and she eventually became his wife. Boaz was a good leader, he was interested in the performance of his staff. Paul also had a similar instruction to Timothy:

 

“Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy” 

(1 Tim. 6:17 KJV)

Boaz was also a truthful person. Despite Ruth giving Boaz the signal of her availability of marriage, he didn’t swing in to take advantage cunningly of the situation. He stayed truthful, informing her that there was another man who was a closer relative than him, and who had a higher chance of being the kinsman-redeemer and eventually be Ruth’s new husband. 

 

Read more about the kinsman-redeemer here.

“Now it is true that I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I” 

(Ruth 3:12 KJV)

Paul, speaking through the Holy Ghost said:

“But speaking the truth in love may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ—”

(Eph. 4:15 KJV)

4. The End is always Sweeter

The story in the book of Ruth opened on a sorrowful note with Naomi losing her husband and children in chapter 1, chapter 4  ends with joy and happiness. I believe just like the book of Ruth, life is in chapters. The chapter you might be on now in your life might be sorrowful and sad, but scripture says the next chapter would be better. 

 

Abraham and Sarah later had a child, Hannah later had a Son, Jabez’s story changed, the Israelites didn’t remain slaves forever, Jacob later became wealthy and had a huge family, It always got better.

 

“But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day” (Prov. 4:18)

 

Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, you qualify to be called the just the who scriptures talks of in Prov. 4:18. Yes, it always gets better. The challenges you face today will be gone tomorrow your tears will turn to laughter and sorrow to joy. Stay believing and see God working things out on your behalf. 

 

For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.
(Job 14: 7-9)

 

Say this with me:

I am a child of the Almighty,

I am led/inspired by the Holy Ghost in me,

I yield/obey as I am led,

I am redeemed, I am well,

I am strong,

I do not live in fear,

 

I am blessed and I am a blessing

In Jesus name, Amen

I call you blessed

Samson Afolabi

Lessons from the Book of Ruth

Lessons from the Book of Ruth

Of all the books of the scriptures, the book of Ruth stands out. It narrates the story of a young lady from Moab called Ruth, and her journey to the land of Bethlehem.

 

In chapter one of the book of Ruth, the curtain opens on Naomi, Ruth’s mother in law after the death of her son (Ruth’s husband). Ruth loved Naomi. This love would finally lead her to become the great grandmother of the great king David. Ruth’s story is a beautiful story of grass to grace, a story of hope and one that was written for the present-day believer’s admonition.

 

I would like to share some lessons that I learnt as I read through the book. 

  1. The Present Circumstance of a Believer doesn’t describe him/her, he possesses something eternal.

 

To the physical eyes, Naomi was finished. She had just lost her husband and 2 sons. She must have thought “we made a big mistake coming down from Bethlehem to Moab”. Everything her world revolved around was all gone. But you know what? Even at that state, Ruth still clung-on to her, not wanting to let her go. Why? She had God

 

Look, said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.” But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God” 

(Ruth 1:15-16)

 

Rather than Ruth leaving Naomi like Orpah, her sister in law, she knew Naomi had God, and she was interested in having that same God, hence your God will be my God. Ruth knew that despite Naomi appearing to have lost all, she should not be judged by her present situation, she had something of far more eternal value in her possession and she was ready to cleave to Naomi for that. Because that thing that Naomi had, Ruth knew it was able to make her story better and sweeter.

 

Throughout Scriptures, you see this same scenario play again and again:

 

Paul said we are poor yet (what we carry) is making others rich… (2 Cor. 6:10).

Jesus was on the cross, stripped naked, losing his life yet he was granting forgiveness and passage to heaven for another. 

 

Jacob: cheated left, right and center having nothing yet, he was making Laban rich. (He had God, he carried the covenant). Same with Joseph in Potiphar’s house. And the list goes on and on.

 

Scriptures says:

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us 

(2 Cor. 4:7 KJV)

  1. The Need for Mentors

 

Reading the book of Ruth, you will notice how following Naomi’s instruction and mentorship, Ruth was able to change her story from being a widow to being the great grandmother of King David. Getting a mentor helps you stay on the shoulder of someone taller than you, so you can see far. 

 

For young believers, my admonition is always that Life is too complex, for you to start to figure it out with your brain. Get a mentor, someone who can guide you and you can do life better under his instructions. 

 

The book of 1 Timothy, is full of instructions from Paul on how Timothy was to do life and run the church. Timothy needed that guidance, Paul was there to grant it. So do you need guidance, my reader.

 

To be contd. 

 

Say with Me:

I know who I am, 

I am not defined by my present situation, 

Greater is he that is in me, 

I’m a covenant carrier, 

I’m a grace giver,

I’m blessed in all that I do, 

I’m blessed to be a blessing, 

 

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

I Call You Blessed

 

Samson Afolabi

ONE NOT MANY!

ONE NOT MANY!

*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.” 

(Acts 2:1)

 

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

Your Brother,

Samson Afolabi

The Night Comes

The Night Comes

I had the privilege of visiting a senior residence a few weeks ago. I was there with a friend, my friend is a close pal of the old folks there, so they invited us to have coffee and cake with them. In all the time we spent with them, which they enjoyed, I couldn’t help but notice how slow they moved and how their hands would tremble as they tried to grip the coffee cups and eat the small pieces of cake we shared. I kept looking at how much strength was available in me and how little strength and coordination they had in their bones.

Even long after I left the residence, I kept thinking about this. Then I remembered;

“I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night comes, when no man can work” (John 9:4)

Yes. There is a “night season”. After the glorious/beautiful day comes the dark night. There’s a time of having full strength, and there is a time when the strength will fade. The night season doesn’t have to be a difficult time or a time full of problems/troubles. But it means, a time when those opportunities that come our way are no longer there. A time when those things that we are proficient in and able to do, we will not be able to do any longer.

When I was a student at the University of Ibadan, in my little capacity then I tried being a blessing to those around me and served in my student fellowship. You will agree with me that now it is more difficult to reach those same classmates to bless them. It’s because there is a night season over that phase of my life and the relationships I had. 

Brethren, the night comes, and because of that, we need to know how to discern the times and maximize the opportunities God brings our way by knowing what God’s will is in every season.

“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:16 – 17)

Notice this phrase from the scripture above “Understanding what the will of the Lord is”.I believe this is very key. 1 Kings 5, gives an account of how Solomon started building a temple for God. David, his father, had fought a lot of wars during his time as king. When Solomon became king, God gave him peace with all his neighbours. He didn’t make light of that opportunity, he discerned that the season was a time to build and he set out to do it immediately. He didn’t use that period to play around because he knew the night season would come.

The bible also tells us about the story of Joseph; he was able to discern that there was going to be seven years of plenty and abundance, followed by another seven years of lack and famine. Because he could discern the times and know God’s will, he was able to save the whole Egypt and was promoted to second in command in Egypt. Imagine, if the initial season of plenty was squandered and spent with a lackadaisical attitude, what would have been done in the night season (the next seven years) that followed. 

The Bible also talks about the children of Issachar; because they could understand the times and Season, they had their brethren under their control. They were in charge. When we can learn to discern the times and seasons, we can distinguish ourselves for positions of responsibility.

“And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment” (1 Chron. 12:32)

I have a habit of seeking to know God’s will for the year on my birthday. My last 2 birthdays, the Lord told me, “I am putting you strategically in positions so as for you to be able to help and bless people”. When resources and special opportunities started coming my way, I knew exactly what God’s intention about them was and made sure to be a blessing to people. My knowledge of God’s will for that season, helped me to make use of the opportunities according to God’s will.

As believers, God has given us His spirit by which we can be led and discern His next move. We are His children and qualify to hear His voice and be led by Him. Today, I encourage you to learn to make maximum use of the opportunities that God brings your way by discerning properly God’s will per time.

 

I Call You Blessed

Samson Afolabi