I had just finished from work on this beautiful Saturday 29th April when I decided to go have a haircut you know to confirm that I am wonderfully and beautifully made by God. After quite a wait at the barbers shop, it was finally my turn. I gave the barber instructions on how I wanted my cut and he followed it perfectly. Just as we were finishing up, my phone rang.
It was a call from a “Big-Brother”, someone who had been a special blessing to me in my sojourn in this foreign land. He was inviting me over for dinner and wanted to introduce me to new friends. It was an opportunity I had been waiting for, so I immediately decided to join though it was with a short notice. Plus, the possibility of eating a local dish made me more ready to attend!
We met at his house and it was great time. While the meal was being prepared, we had chatted over appetizers. My “Big-Brother” the host happened to love sports, and fortunately that night was the big boxing night for the world heavyweight champion between “Anthony Joshua” and “Wladimir Klitschko”. We were all in support of Anthony Joshua because we were all Nigerians in the room except for one Kenyan friend who had accompanied me to the meeting. I probably wouldn’t have watched the match that night if I wasn’t for him because to be honest, I’m not really a fan of boxing.
After many blows, Anthony Joshua won. So much glory and honour for him that night. I wished I was him just after he won, but not before he won. I couldn’t manage to receive those punches he received.
Here comes my analogy; in life there are 3 categories of people, those who are less than conquerors, those who are conquerors and those who are more than conquerors.
That night Wladimir Klitschko was not (less) than a conqueror, Anthony Joshua was the conqueror. He persevered through the pain receiving punches here and there on his body, and even had a black eye in the end, but still snatched the prize.
The last category of people are the most blessed. Imagine if Anthony Joshua was to go home that night. Imagine that after the match, he handed over his belt and millions of dollars in prize money to his Mum as a gift. In this case, his mum would have been MORE THAN CONQUEROR.
Why? Because she sat at home all throughout the fight, didn’t receive any punches, didn’t join him in his 12 weeks of intense training, didn’t get a black eye and yet got all the reward her son Anthony Joshua got.
This is the case of the Saviour of the world, who was beaten, bruised, disgraced, wounded, nailed to the cross, and hung on the pole, for our sins. He was killed but then he resurrected. Yes he came out victorious! He was a conqueror. After his resurrection he gave all the glory belonging to his victory at the cross to us. He credited the victory into our account. And all we need do to be more than conqueror is to believe “that He died for our sins”. If we believe we are then the MORE THAN CONQUEROR. We are MORE THAN CONQUERORS right now. We are not just going to be more than conquerors in the future; we already are right now.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37 KJV)
“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us so much that He died for us” (Romans 8:37 AMP)
Those who fight and win are conquerors. Those who allow God fight for them are MORE THAN CONQUEROR. We are more than conqueror over sicknesses, diseases, famine, poverty, shame and over every challenge we go through.
Paul speaking in Romans 8:33 – 37, listed the different difficulties he was going through at the moment, yet all those didn’t stop him from believing; he was MORE THAN CONQUEROR. Not because of anything He had done or didn’t do but because Paul had received the victory from the conqueror (Jesus Christ) by believing. He had received the love God showed him by giving Jesus to die on the cross.
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
At the Cross, Jesus said “It is finished”. And yes IT IS FINISHED. He finished whatever challenge we are going through. He is not just working on our challenges, He finished them already. It is done. He finished Poverty, Spiritual ignorance, lack, sickness at the cross and gave us the victory and the right to tread upon serpents and snakes. Amen!
This means that we are to believe and keep confessing what we believe. A closed mouth is a closed destiny. We must keep speaking what we believe. If you feel pain in your body, confess you are healed because Jesus made you MORE THAN CONQUEROR over sicknesses, if you are in lack financially, confess you are rich until you start to see it because Jesus made you MORE THAN CONQUEROR over poverty. Whatever the case keep confessing and keep your confessions right. Believing and Confessing leads to seeing.
“We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak” (2 Cor. 4:13)
I Call You Blessed!
Written by Samson Afolabi and Edited by Christine Talens
John chapter six describes how Jesus miraculously fed five thousand men with five loaves of bread and 2 fish. He was moved to do this after noticing that they were tired and exhausted. (What a loving teacher he was.) So he asked his disciples to get food for these people. Naturally, this is how they replied:
“There is a little boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are these for so many people?” (John 6:9)
With the bread and fish that they had, they believed they couldn’t do it. To Jesus’s disciples, it was humanly impossible to feed five thousand people with this. Had you and I been in their places, we probably would have also thought the same way.
God wanted to reach the whole world with the message of Salvation – that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died for the sins of mankind – but all he had was eleven disciples (minus Judas Iscariot) and some other followers totalling to 120 people (Acts 1:15). Compared to the number of people on earth at the time, 120 people was a really small number. Just like the five loaves of bread and two fish was not enough to feed five thousand men, 120 people was nothing. It was ‘’not enough’’ to get the message to the people of the world. It was humanly impossible.
However, our God is a God of the humanly impossible. He is a God of miracles! After the first followers received the holy-spirit, very soon the message spread to Jerusalem, and later on Judea, Samaria, Asia, and today to a large part of the earth. In-fact it was said of this people that:
…”These men who have turned the world upside down have come here too (Acts 17:6)”
Sometimes we look at the seemingly impossible task of the great commission …”Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation (Mark 16:15)” and we look at how huge this task is and ask “what difference can I make if I preach the gospel?” or “how many people can I really reach?” And we feel discouraged and hopeless, and then we go with the crowd, forgetting that God can multiply our little efforts. There are as well many examples, of how we may think that our efforts and what we can do are little compared to what has to be done.
We ask, “What difference does this make if I choose to be godly, or choose to stand for righteousness? Seeing that the whole world is ungodly anyway”.
Luke 13 also illustrates the kingdom of God in this way:
“It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his own garden; and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the sky found shelter and nested in its branches.” (Luke 13:19)
Did you know that mustard “seeds are usually about 1 to 2 millimetres (0.039 to 0.079 in) in diameter? (Don’t worry, I didn’t either, Wikipedia told me.)Can you imagine how small that is? The bible says even this small seed later became a very big tree providing shelter for birds.
God is still in the business of multiplying our little efforts today, He is happy to do it. Your little efforts can make a huge difference. Your little prayers of intercession and evangelism to just one person can make a big difference. There is so much stored up in a believer that can never make his contributions worthless. There is so much in me and you, God’s power is at work in us. We too can turn the world upside-down for Jesus through our efforts. However ‘’small’’ they may be, they are powerful.
So what does this mean for you and me today? This means that we are called to arise like Deborah, and put in our best into whatever God has committed into our hands.
“The inhabitants of the Villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel” (Judges 5:7)
Deborah decided to arise, to stand-up and be God’s voice and through her God won the battle for Israel. She didn’t see her contribution as small. What did the disciples do?
“Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands” (Acts 14:3)
They spoke boldly. Yes you also speak boldly. Your contribution is not too little. Whatever you are doing, leading a small group, reaching out the gospel to a friend, leading the Praise and worship in Church, know that your contribution is huge in the body of Christ and it is highly needed. Your contributions are not small or little, God doesn’t see it as such and he even delights in multiplying them.
I Call You Blessed
Written by Samson Afolabi
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Matthew 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Philippians 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
I have come to realize that everyone on the surface of the earth has got that “one thing” that makes their lives tick. It is a constant of life. There is “the what” that drives our lives at every point.
For teens and much younger folks, it may be the quest to perform well educationally. For the youth, it may be a quest to become success (by whatever success metrics used). This includes escaping the much dreaded poverty, so money is pursued like a piece of diamond placed at the end of a 100 metre race. Well, who wouldn’t pursue? Only a glimpse at the shame and embarrassment a lack of it portends, is enough motivation. For the older adults, it may be the quest to consolidate on whatever they have tried to build for the past 20-30 years of hardwork, or lingering hope of better days again for those who fate hasn’t smiled on and as such have nothing to consolidate.
Why this demographical analysis?
It is just to buttress the fact that at any point in time of our lives, there is “the what” makes our life tick. For this thing, you can spend any amount of money to fund it. It is that thing that can make you stay awake for hours in the night. It can make you disappoint even humans, as it controls the core of your entire being. Such is the huge effect that whatever makes our life tick have on us. And On our death beds, it would be what will be most remembered. It is our rallying point!
This thing that makes our lives tick can range across several options, as people have chosen several things to expend their energy on, but the case is very different from a God-minded Christian.
Jesus was teaching the disciples on the Mount and he said to them( and all of us in extension);
Seek ye FIRST the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33
There are four components of this Scripture worthy of note here;
- God ( to be sought)
- God’s Kingdom ( to be sought)
- God’s righteousness ( to be sought)
And then the reward for faithfully seeking these first three is presented in the fourth as ALL THESE THINGS or ALL OTHER THINGS.
The Scriptures clearly shows the Christian what to seek and set as the basis for life’s pursuit. And so, although we may be engaged in various activities in life, God expects only one thing to be the first in the rallying point of our lives and existence – THE KINGDOM.
According to Phillipians 2: 10, Scriptures show us the hierarchical grading of all things in God’s universe.
- There are things in heaven.
- There are things in earth.
- There are things under the earth.
Little wonder Apostle Paul through the Holy Spirit admonishes us to “…….SEEK those THINGS which are ABOVE”,
And also to ” …set your affection on THINGS ABOVE, not on things on the earth”. Colossians 3:1 and 2.
Now let us look closely again at 2nd Peter 3.
But the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word at kept In store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgement and perdition of ungodly men. 2nd Pet 3:7
“….in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the WORKS THAT ARE THEREIN shall be burned up”. 2nd Pet 3:10
This includes money and all that it can buy.
“Seeing then that all these things shall be Dissolved……..” Verse 11.
It is striking to discover that there are some things that have been reserved for destruction, inevitably! And God in his infinite wisdom has warned us to steer off the temptation to make them the rallying point of our life or core of our existence.
In these last days, God seeks Christians who are not just in Christianity for themselves or what they stand to gain, but people whose hearts are set out for HIM and His purpose. People who indeed are “fellow workers unto the Kingdom of God” (Colossians 4:11).
These people have the matters of the Kingdom as what their lives revolve around. They may have businesses to run, families to keep and report to, certificates to acquire or careers to pursue, but in the midst of all these they have the overriding rallying point of their lives as God and His Kingdom. The purposes of God and being relevant to His program is what makes their lives tick! They sleep it. They breathe it. You wonder why David (even after all his misdeeds) was a man after God’s heart. He had matters of the Kingdom as what made his life tick.
Just recently, a prayer came to my heart strongly and that is; May what makes my life tick, not be what has been reserved for destruction.
I believe this should be your prayer too. There could be no greater tragedy.
Again the Spirit the LORD is asking you….
What makes your life tick?
Written by Olowo Endurance
**All Scriptures cited, unless otherwise stated are from the King James Version**
Blessed is the man that trust in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. (Jer. 17:7)
It will be an ignorant thought or speech to say or think that all of our “spiritual exercises” are just mere activities to make us feel like we are Christians. The act of meditating, studying the scriptures, praying , listening to sermon’s or perhaps your taking time to read this article now, and every other related activities all work together to help improve our response to God.
“It is the Spirit that quickens, the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63)
The state of being dead, means not being able to respond again. For-example, if someone calls your name, you immediately respond, either by saying Hello, or giving some other reply to inform the person, he has your attention. That is called RESPONSE. We all know, dead people can’t do that. Many times, God is also seeking our attention about several issues of our lives, He is calling us, but because we seem to lack God’s word, we tend not to respond to him. But as we read (listen to) God’s word, and as we exercise our spirit man through prayers, every part of us is quickened to life to give God the response He deserves, when he calls. IT IS THE SPIRIT THAT QUICKENS.
I pray that as you read this article, may your spirit be quickened again, and may we all be able to RESPOND to God when He calls.
Writing this article, is for me trying to give a little account on what God has been teaching me for quite some-time now through the scriptures and through my experiences.
My first Air-travel was a great experience. The holy-spirit pointed my attention to the behaviour of people in the aeroplane. Though flying in an air-plane was something that posed a little risk because aeroplanes don’t have accidents they CRASH. And just a little error from the pilot, or the team who manage the flight, and all the lives on board will be lost. Yet, people as I noticed weren’t even scared, everyone was just happy, taking pictures and some even slept. No one cared to ask questions like is the pilot good? Hope he isn’t drunk? Hope the plane is in good condition? We all just TRUSTED our lives into the hands of the pilot and his team.
I have also been privileged to be on large cruise ships, conveying about 3000 passengers and about 1000 crew members. As dangerous as water travel looks, the experience is just pretty the same as the air-travel. They are all just simply TRUST their life into the hands of the captain and his crew.
After I noticed all this and I know that “Life is Just basically a Ride”, I asked “Why Can’t we Just Simply Trust God with our lives like we trust all this Human’s?”
One thing I also discovered is that “it is possible we trust God, as to be our Saviour, we believe His promise of eternal life, heaven and all that BUT not trust him with some other areas of our lives like our finances, marriage etc.” We try to work out those areas ourselves.
We have to know that Rest only comes to us, when we trust. That is why the world today is full of sad people. People strive so hard, and never get the desires of their heart, because they have refused to come to the REST the master has provided for their hearts. Trusting God is not weakness or laziness as the world as made us to believe. It is clinging to the master’s saving grace, knowing that we can’t help ourselves and He alone can help us. Trusting God is actually being STRONG.
“Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength” Isaiah 26:4
Faith and Trust are close brothers. When we believe in God’s word, and know that He means every word He says, and He says what He means, we will be able to trust Him easily. Trust builds up just as faith comes. How well we trust depends largely on how well we believe Him (and His word). How well we trust, really affects the amount of quietness and stillness we get in our hearts.
We will only be able to agree with the lord if we can trust Him completely. And we can only journey with Him in this Christian faith if we agree with Him (Amos 3:3). This is important, because many things will come our way that we won’t be able to explain by our minds. At such junctions, all we need to do is just trust God, and know He is in perfect control of the situation of our lives.
We must also emphasize the importance of the new-birth in the topic being addressed. God is the God of all as a creator, but He is our Father as to why we can cry Abba Father. We have a more intimate relationship with Him. Children trust their parents and siblings so much because of the love and the family bond between them.
To develop our potency to trust God, we need to build a deeper consciousness of the spiritual, through prayers and study of the word, and every other thing that makesthe spiritual more real and tangible to us. Trust is birth by intimacy which is built on love. As we fellowship with the spirit the focus turns from us and turns to HIM and we continue to see His Awesomeness and His ability to help us with our challenges and we gradually learn to trust and submit to HIM. There-in lies true REST for our souls.
I CALL YOU BLESSED!
Written by Afolabi Samson
I left others behind, and followed him as he led. I had to wait and watch with him, as he moved ahead to pray. He fell upon his face and began to pray. The way he prayed surprised me. “Is he not the son of God?” I reasoned. “How is it that he’s praying in this manner? Groaning in prayer? Why exert so much energy” Those were questions I tried to answer within myself. I tried to watch him for some minutes, but it didn’t take long for me to sleep off. Suddenly I woke up from my sleep. It was him tapping me. I checked my time, and discovered that one hour had passed already. “One hour?” I reasoned! “What’s he praying about? Has he forgotten that he’s the son of God? And now he’s even sweating profusely. Is God no longer his father?” I thought he came to wake me so we can start leaving, but I was wrong. He came to wake me to join him in prayer as he went to pray the same way two more times. I couldn’t just stand it and had to fall asleep again and again.
As we left that place, I kept thinking about the prayer scenario. And really, I shouldn’t have been so surprised. That has been his attitude from the onset. He had always kept times of prayers. I remember after one meeting we had, where there were so much miracles, he still went somewhere to pray till midnight. I had thought he would just go somewhere to relax, but I was wrong. At another time, he prayed from evening till morning; which was around 12 hours. “Why that long?” I asked in my heart. At some other times, he rose so early to a very quiet place to pray. I had been wrong in my thoughts that he wouldn’t have to pray if he was the son of God. I came to understand many of these things later.
When Jesus left us with the ministry and we had to continue preaching the gospel, we had to devote ourselves also to prayer and the word. It was as if there was something in us that just pushed us to pray. Same way he did during his time, we made prayer a priority; we had daily times of prayers, even though we pray without ceasing. We didn’t miss our prayer times for anything. And we saw so much healing and miracles just as when he was with us. We devoted ourselves fully to prayer. I remember praying somewhere one day, and even when I became so hungry, I still continued to pray. It was already the sixth hour and food was being prepared for me, but I continued in prayer. Even when we faced problems with the governing authority, that didn’t stop us from praying; it was like breathing to us. It is just our nature to pray.
Now I know why our master would always pray. That was his nature. As he was always in constant communion with the heavenly father, we were also in constant communion with the father. Some from among us even while they were remanded in prison couldn’t resist the urge to pray. They prayed, they sang praises to God. No situation was too big to stop prayers. At a time when I was also arrested and put in the prison, what the other brethren did was to pray. It was as if what God would do is dependent on our prayers. We cooperated with God in prayer to see his will established here on earth. Every one of us in the group was a man and woman of prayer. Prayer was not left for some certain group; everybody prayed. What was He praying for? He prayed that God’s will be done and His Kingdom Come.
He taught His disciples the same in what we call the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6: 9 – 13).
One Common act practised by our Patriarchs of Old is Prayer. Yes, they prayed. Elisha prayed earnestly, Elijah Prayed, the prophets prayed, Paul Prayed in Ephesians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Peter Prayed, the Apostles Prayed they prayed and prayed until they were able to reveal and establish the kingdom of God on earth. The 120 people who gathered in the upper room prayed until God’s Promise of the Holy-Spirit was released to the Church. Paul encouraged us to Pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17). Pray without STOPING. The Apostles said we “would give ourselves to the ministry of the word and Prayer (Acts 6:4). Prayer get things done. The Holy-Spirit came on the wings of Prayer. Our Father in Heaven is ready to hear us,
“And this is the Confidence that we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1 John 5:14)
“If you shall ask anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14:14).
Now the Baton has been passed unto us, the Church. It is time for the Church to rise-up to pray and not just pray, but Pray for God’s will to be done and His kingdom Come. Prayer aligns us with God’s will for corporate turning that can activate our journey towards God. Prayer opens the eyes of our understanding just as Paul prayed in Ephesians, Colossians etc. for the Church. Prayer can create in our spirit a Hunger for the Lord. Prayers is Praying the Scriptures. God’s will is specifically declared in the Bible. That is a very safe way to pray the will of God.
The whole region knew us. We were accused of turning the world upside down. We did it through the word and prayer. As for the sick people, it didn’t matter if we touched them, or used handkerchief from our bodies, or our shadows, or just our words, they always got healed. Dead people were raised back to life too. There was no room for laziness. We were so fervent in prayer. And it was glaring that we took over the whole world, filling it with the wonderful name of the savior Jesus. Prayer to us is like breathing.
And yes we are the new creature; created in Christ Jesus for every good work. Yes we are! We pray because that is who we are. Our call was not to irresponsibility and laziness; it is a call to take over the world with his name. We are taking over. Not just by mouth; we will yet pray, and pray more, and pray. We will act too. Yes we will! Pray! Men that took over prayed, so pray now. Pray! Pray now! Have you started praying already? What are you waiting for? When you are weak, pray. When you are strong, pray.
Our Generation may never witness the Power and wonderful acts of God as we see in the bible, if we don’t learn to Pray. The effective and fervent prayer of the righteous makes tremendous power available, dynamic in its working.
The church will keep being insensitive, and Babes if we don’t Pray. We must arise. This is a wake-up Call, Pray. Pray for your Family, Pray for your country, Pray for the Church, Pray for yourself. Pray and Pray and Pray. Pray until something Happens.
Don’t waste time, pray. Pray and Pray and Pray. Shut down the Television, Shut down the Radio, Shut down that Laptop instead PRAY. Yes, I said PRAY.
Written by Ajayi Samuel and Afolabi Samson