Listen to me, o earth,
Give me your ears all humans,
for you all came out of my loins,
I am the first man who lived,
this is the story of the beginning,
how I lost my boldness to go into the creator’s presence,
and how the saviour bought it back with his blood,
he paid on the cross with his life.
What a beautiful view as I gazed through my window. It was my first view into life, and the only message my immediate environment told me was “life indeed must be very beautiful”. Only thoughts of hope, Peace and Joy ran through my mind as that was the only message my view painted to my pure, and never used mind. Everything had been beautifully prepared and arranged by my host and all I was expected to do was to enjoy what had been prepared for me. What to eat, where to sleep were questions I didn’t need to ask myself because everything was already made available by my host.
Ranging from little animals with sweet voices singing in the morning and peacefully flying from one tree to another without any fear of any predator hunting them down, entertaining the other animals around the environment to little springs of either warm or cold water all around everywhere nourishing bright and beautiful flowers with beautiful scents in the garden and to having a lot of “pet-friends” to cuddle around and play with. I later had the privilege to name this my “pet-friends” and I carefully picked very beautiful names for them. It was clearly written everywhere in my environment that there was peace, No-one could be on this island and have a troubled mind. None of the creatures meant any harm to another. A lot of people this days would pay a lot of money to travel anywhere they could get to this garden and here I was enjoying this all free.
There were no laws, no police-man to pursue thieves, no worries about anything. I was free to eat anything in the garden except one tree in the garden which my host called “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”. And, for me that was quite simple. My host was my family, my confidant, what I enjoyed most were those cool evening walks with my host through the garden, I gathered a lot of wisdom from his words, he very wise, explaining to me a lot about myself and his intentions for creating the garden. One thing I never wanted to lose was the relationship I had with my host and leaving this beautiful garden.
While I was busy with trying to keep the Garden, my host thought it wouldn’t be good for me to be alone. He made for me a beautiful damsel. She was exactly the lady of my dreams. She was the definition of beauty, from white nice set of tooth, to round soft lips, which made me want to kiss her all day, to long cully hair, and a general appealing appearance, every feature of her body was just perfect. I loved her. Now, I don’t have to cuddle my pet-friends around anymore but now someone just like me, and that was just good for me. She was a great companion as she completed my beautiful world as I did hers.
Oh what a horrible it was, the day the deceiver came. Oh! How I wish it never happened. How I wish I never disobeyed my host. It was the saddest and painfully the last day of my life in the garden. The serpent deceived me and my wife into eating the fruit of the tree my host told me not to eat. Immediately, I did this, I had a strange feeling, a feeling of guilt, unworthiness, and fear for my host. It was very strange because I had never felt this way before. In the evening when my host came to relax and discuss with me, I hid myself. I hid myself because of the guilt of disobedience. I felt very unworthy of His presence. I could no longer look into his face anymore. I tried to act as though nothing happened but I just couldn’t. I had lost it. I had lost the boldness I had to come into his presence.
“And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool [afternoon breeze] of the day, so the man and his wife hid and kept themselves hidden from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.” [Genesis 3:8]
“But the LORD God called to Adam, and said to him, “Where are you?” [Genesis 3:9]
He said, “I heard the sound of you [walking] in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” [Genesis 3:10]
I wept and cried but it was too late, my host was holy and just couldn’t look over disobedience. He called it Sin. And Sin had a legal punishment which was death. From that day, everything changed. I died! Everything was corrupted. I and my wife were chased out of the garden, it was painful to me so much that my children had just been denied the possibility of living in this beautiful world. As from that day we had to toil, labour before we could eat. Our only hope of having that express permission with my host was to wait for the saviour.
Every man came from me. I am the father of all living. And because of my fallen nature (Sin) and the consciousness of sin that accompany it every man also lost the boldness to come into the creator’s presence.
And after a lot of years, the saviour came, He paid for our sin. And now we all who have received him can boldly enter into his presence. Now what was lost is back to us.
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Heb. 4:16)”
“For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father (Eph. 2:18)
We have been forgiven, we can come boldly into God’s presence because we have his righteousness, our sin nature is gone. Glory! We have a new spirit. We have a right standing with God. We are can now come boldly into His presence without any sense of guilt.
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (Col. 1:14)”
I Call You Blessed!
Written by Samson Afolabi
These days, many people talk about “losing their salvation”. Preachers, in the name of trying to keep their members, emphasize so much on the need to keep themselves away from the defilement of this world. As good as this sounds, it often has caused more people to live in fear rather than in boldness and certainty that God can keep them faultless and blameless to the end of their lives.
The one way I believe God has been instructing me on “keeping one’s salvation” is by shifting my attention away from myself and instead towards God. Yes, I know the world is defiled with sin, and ungodliness. I know that sin contaminates, but I believe that the way to victory over the world, is to keep our gaze on Jesus (the Author and finisher of our faith) rather than ourselves. We must start to know that “God wants to keep our faith more than we want to keep ourselves”. David said,
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalms 23:1)
As believers, the Lord is our shepherd. He is our keeper. He is the keeper of our faith. The boast of every shepherd is that he keeps his fold and that none of them is missing. David made this boast before Saul when he was presenting his CV to him, proving he was strong enough to confront Goliath.
“Then Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight him. For you are [only] a young man and he has been a warrior since his youth” (1 Samuel 17:33)
But David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, (1 Samuel 17:34)
I went out after it and attacked it and rescued the lamb from its mouth; and when it rose up against me, I seized it by its whiskers and struck and killed it. (1 Samuel 17:35)
Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted and defied the armies of the living God.” (1 Samuel 17:36)
Jesus, the great shepherd also made this boast at the end of His life on earth,
(John 17:11) And now I am coming to you; I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world. Holy Father! Keep them safe by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one just as you and I are one.
(John 17:12) While I was with them, I kept them safe by the power of your name, the name you gave me. I protected them, and not one of them was lost, except the man who was bound to be lost—so that the scripture might come true.
The shepherd is never scared to lead the sheep out even though the wolves are nearby. He knows that it is his duty to keep the sheep and he will go above and beyond to do that. It is not the sheep’s duty to worry about the security of the field. God knows we are in the world. In-fact Jesus prayed that God keep us in the world, because He knows he can protect us. We don’t have to rely on our ability, rather we rely on His ability to keep our faith and our feet from falling. We must stop looking down on ourselves and start looking up to Him, who is able to keep us from falling. Whenever we talk about our salvation, let us know that it is about the faithful God and never about our own unfaithfulness. It is all of God and none of us. The Sheep doesn’t keep himself, the Shepherd does.
(Jude 1:24) To him who is able to keep you from falling and to bring you faultless and joyful before his glorious presence
Yes, he is able and I chose him to be my strength to stand for my faith in this perverse and ungodly world. He alone can be my strength. I have no strength of my own. This is not to mean I would deliberately sin and keep saying there is “Grace” but I won’t rely on my own strength. I would trust the shepherd to keep me from falling.
David speaking in Psalms 121 said, The Lord is my Keeper… (Vs 5), he went further saying The Lord shall preserve me from all evil; he shall preserve my soul (vs 7) and He will not suffer my foot to slip (vs 3).
In-fact, 1 John 2:13 – 14 says we have already overcame the wicked one.
…I have written to you, young men, because you are strong and vigorous, and the word of God remains [always] in you, and you have been victorious over the evil one [by accepting Jesus as Saviour]. (vs. 14 AMP)
….I am writing to you, young men [those believers who are growing in spiritual maturity], because you have been victorious and have overcome the evil one…. (Vs 13 AMP)
…He Protects the souls of His godly ones (believers), he rescues them from the hand of the wicked. (Psalms 97:10)
We overcame the evil one already, not that we will overcome later, we overcame him already (NOW). We overcame him not because of what we did or didn’t do but because we have accepted Jesus as our saviour.
God is not scared that I will lose my salvation. Therefore, why should I be scared? I will walk in the world, knowing that God is keeping me from falling. I will walk at school, at the office and everywhere I go with the confidence that God is my keeper. I won’t act like religious fanatics who put themselves under rules and regulations, avoiding to talk and interact with people because of the fear that they might lose their salvation. I won’t be afraid of the world contaminating me with sin, rather I will influence the world with Righteousness just like Jesus did.
I call you blessed!
Written by Samson Afolabi
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**