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

 

THE MAN CHRIST JESUS: GOD’S PROMISES FULFILLED

THE MAN CHRIST JESUS: GOD’S PROMISES FULFILLED

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***