Can we categorically state what God will do before we have it and be confident it will only be such? A friend once said, “do you think someone will write 66 books about himself to you and not want you to know him?” That should suffice but for that in those books we have irreconcilable personality traits of God reported, which could further strengthen the unpredictability of God. One might account that the unpredictability of God is to his glory, at least, he is the all-wise, all-knowing, all-creating, almighty and infinite. This would hold if being predictable implies weakness. The scriptures however did not paint it as such. Another might say, “why be interested in God being predictable or not”. Why? We have to deal with him! And he wants us to know him, trust him.
There are assertions about the reliability of God. Num23: 19 “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” It says God is consistent. Psa18: 25-26 “With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright; With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.” It says God can be froward, devious, depending on who he is dealing with! That man of integrity said “What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? Job 2:10b Assertions as this and many more have been used in heralding a bipolar God. Conversely, we see God demanding, requiring, instructing men to be reliable and straightforward, as a godly virtue. Hence, the valid unsettling at the thought of an inconsistent God. It is noteworthy that even Job had questions and wished he could ask God in person (Job23:3). Bless, God he came to our rescue. He came in person and all twists straightened out, all doubts dissolved. “God was manifest in the flesh” (1Tim3:16).
Since man fell into sin, he sank into death and darkness (Rom5:12-14, Eph2:1). All men were found in sin and darkened in understanding of God. The revelation of God to mankind had to be progressive, and relayed to men by other men (equally in spiritual death but) used of God. The limitations of the prophets coloured their ministry. Until God came in the flesh and set things straight, the understanding of God suffered clarity. Hence Jesus, and subsequently his apostles, made assertions to straighten how we receive the testimony of God from the scriptures of the prophets.
“No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”(Jn1:18). He is categorically stating that no prophet before Christ has seen God, only Christ made him plain. He said this just after mentioning Moses’ name. Jesus corrected Moses a number of times (Matt5:38-39, 19:8). He corrected Elijah (Luke 9:54-56). He says, “If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him…he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how say thou then, Shew us the Father?” The writer of Hebrews in comparing the ministry of the prophets and the diverse manners they spoke said Jesus is the clear-cut glaring exact character of God’s personality. (Heb. 1:1-3). He is not the “mercy-version” of God, it pleased the Father that in Christ should dwell the fullness of the Godhead bodily.(Col 1:19, 2:9, Jn16:15). In the pursuit of the knowledge of God, any testimony that is not found in consistency with Christ is to be dropped. It means it is not consistent with God. Moses gave a clause in his writings that when Christ comes, “him shall you hear” in whatsoever he will say (Deut. 18:15,18). On the mount, God said this is the person to listen to, in spite of the presence of the Law and the prophet (Moses and Elijah, Matt17:1-8)
In John16:12-15, Jesus authorised his apostles to deliver his testimony, the things of God he couldn’t say because of the state of men at that time (none was yet raised to eternal life). The apostles of Christ, being so empowered of the Spirit, taught of Christ and being men out of spiritual death, could accurately present the knowledge of God. Paul said they give the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus, adding elsewhere that this is done with grew plainness of speech (2Cor4:6;3:12). No shadows or diverse manners, as was with the prophets. No parables as when Christ could not expressly communicate to unrenewed men (Matt13:10-15). Christ is the screen in which we see God, none other. The prophets were to witness Christ, and that they did (Jn1:45,5:39). The scriptures, I.e, the writings, the documentation were inspired of God, not the content of what was written. Ignorance, the devil, evil men, rational men, prophets, God all spoke in the bible. God inspired it all to be written down. The records are true, but not everything is the truth of God. Hence skilfulness is expected of a student of God’s word to rightly divide the word of truth which will be the things consistent with the testimony of Christ as clearly stated in the epistles. Jesus in navigating the old testament scriptures stuck to the things concerning him!(Luke24:25-27).
So from the epistles, the words of Jesus recorded in the four gospels, the scriptures of the prophets, we can now investigate with consistency “Is God predictable?”
TO BE CONTINUED…
Written By Samuel Agboola
I remember growing up, I was taught how to pray in our children’s church as it was called. We were actually given a formula on how to pray. Our Teacher’s said when you pray,
1. Start with thanksgiving
2. Ask for forgiveness of your sins
We had to ask for forgiveness every-time we pray, even if we knew what our sins were or not. The explanation they gave was that there was no way we could live without sin. Now, I know that’s wrong, If we can’t live above sin, why did Jesus die? But that’s a discussion for another day.
Read Romans 6 Selah.
3. Ask God for our needs, petitions and all
4. We should always end with thanks.
All these were backed up with scriptures, a good reference for such a sermon was always “The Lord’s Prayer”, so there was no way I could have questioned that then. Anytime, our teachers asked us to pray, and I used this formula, I was greatly applauded as a good student of prayer.
Things were fine, and I had strongly believed God must have been listening to me because I was using the “Prayer Outline Formula” until I started reading the book of Psalms.I am a lover of the book of Psalms. If an estimate is made, it might end up being my most frequent book of the bible. I noticed that David wasn’t using the formula. What? David, the king, the man after God’s heart, the prophet was bumping into God in prayers (many of the psalms were actually David’s prayers) without thanking and praising him first, then ask for your forgiveness. I had thought that no matter how urgent our need or situation was, one had got to stick with the formula. As a Mathematician, I understand the place of formulas, and I know it takes years of labor of some people to dig it out. And it always works, until proven otherwise. Without the formula, no going anywhere.
That was rude, I thought, for David didn’t just “bump” into God once or twice but almost every-time he prayed. Although there were times when all he did was to thank God and times when he asked for forgiveness. I noticed he prayed as it “flowed from the inside of him” and not as “our formula states”. Then I asked, does he actually know my formula? I have so much respect for David, and I knew he shouldn’t just be “ignoring the formula”. Something was wrong somewhere, I thought.
As I grew, the Holy Spirit taught me, “Prayer wasn’t supposed to be coordinated with a formula”. It should flow freely, directed by your Spirit. If God was my father I shouldn’t be making rituals and observing a formula before talking with him. Even my earthly father, I don’t have to observe rituals before talking with him. Even though we are thousands of kilometers apart now, if I need to speak with him, I will just pick up my phone, call him and tell him my concerns. Maybe I would want to say “Good morning” or “Good afternoon” first, or call him “Baba ooo” (meaning father in Yoruba language) and we would both laugh and I tell him why I called. And when I miss him, or he misses me, we make a video call. If my earthly father being evil could be like that, how much more my father in heaven? (Matt. 7:11)
I also noticed David’s prayers were in the old covenant. If the prayers in the old covenant were this liberal, how much more in the new covenant? God said:
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16)
He actually not just said this but showed it when he the veil tore in the temple when Jesus died. A stop came to all the rituals to be observed before coming into the most holy place. God is saying come boldly, Come and present your requests, no need for prayer formulas!. Just pray and pray as you are led. Freedom comes when we don’t have to observe a formula in prayers. Enjoy the liberty of the Spirit.
Over-time, I have noticed that just like me a lot of Christians are still caught in the web of Religion; a dogged practice of what we have been taught from child-hood that doesn’t conform in what way ever with the truth, just like in the prayer example I gave above.
Freedom comes when we break the cords of Religion. Anything could become religious. Going to church without the understanding of why we go, why we give, fasting could also become religious,giving etc. When John the Baptist was given birth to, Zacharias his father was mute because he didn’t believe the prophecy of John’s birth. When he was given birth to, according to the words of the angel, the mother of the baby, Elizabeth requested the child be called John. The family members and neighbors who came for the circumcision said,
Luke 1:59 – 64
So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias (vs 59)
His mother answered and said, “No; he shall be called John (vs 60)
But they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name” (vs 61)
So they made signs to his father – what he would have him called (vs 62)
And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote saying, “His name is John”. So they marveled. (Vs 63)
Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God (vs 64)
The Custom was that John be named Zacharias. It was a norm. But God said he is to be called John which was against the custom. Just like Zacharias, a lot of us are caught in the web of religion, doing things the way we do them because that’s the way we’ve been told to them from our childhood, or the way accepted by the society. We oftentimes don’t ask why we do them the way we do them. Zacharias obedience to breaking the cords of Religion brought his freedom from being dumb. I believe the Holy-spirit is trying to paint an example for us from this scenario of how we can also be free if we dared to break the bonds of Religion. One way to do that is to always ask “why”. Why do you do what you do? Why do you have to do what people do?
I have had to ask, this kind of questions, like why should I be married?, why should I have a wedding ceremony, and even why should I have a reception afterward?. Interestingly I found many of my answers in scriptures and I am holding on to them. That’s the true test of spirituality. This would open the eyes of your understanding, and bring freedom your way swiftly from what bounds others. You would also have a good conviction of what you do.
Again let me say Freedom comes when we break the cords of Religion and also add that Christianity is not a Religion it’s a Life.
I Call You Blessed
Written by Samson Afolabi
This week I will like to bring us to awareness of something I believe is quite important for us to have at the back of our minds as Christians. The lesson is simple, and it is we should have a world perspective of Christianity. What do I mean? I mean God has the whole world in mind. He is interested in the affairs of the whole world, and most especially he wants the whole world saved.
“Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” 1 Timothy 2:4
Yes. All men means all men. All men every-where in the world. Every men in all nations in the seven continents of the world. See here also
“And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father” (Philippians 2:11)
All through the scriptures, both from the old and new testaments, especially in the book of Psalms we see phrases such as “clap your hands all ye people (Ps. 47:1)”, “Praise him all peoples (Ps. 117:1)” and many similar phrases. If it says all nations, it means all countries, all nations. He wants all people to declare his praise. We must also have this destination in mind. We have been called to save all nations. God isn’t just interested in Nigeria, or some streets in Africa, he is interested in everyone around the world.
Every tongue means every person from all nations of the earth. Nigeria, Ghana, Jamaica, Germany, India, Malaysia and everyone. We are to start from our streets, neighbours, friends, but we must know that getting the whole world saved is our destination. Jesus speaking with the apostles about the great commission gave this same insight, he told them start from Jerusalem then to Judea and then to the ends of the world. Simply interpreted, start from your friends, neighbours, streets, states and then to the ends of the world.
“And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” Luke 24:47
Now, as His ambassadors here on Earth, we should have the same mind set, so that we can walk in agreement with God. See this:
“Can two walk together except they agree” (Amos 3:3)
Having a world perspective of our mission starts first about having a concern for happenings to other Christians in many other countries of the earth. We must know that God is not just working things in our environments alone, he is at work in every country. We should learn to pray for missions work all around the world.
I presently attend International Baptist Church, and what a beauty to see people from different nations, backgrounds, cultural beliefs and ways of life come gather in a room in unity in the name of Jesus. We must learn that as a Christian, we are a part of a body. A part of a whole. And the body comprises of all Christians on earth.
Brethren, Christianity is a world issue, a global issue. And we should see it as such.
I Call You Blessed
Written by Samson Afolabi
Edited by Omotayo Abraham
I would rather be wrong in my Lover’s embrace, than right away from Him.
For if I am wrong, I shall be taught aright, following my Lover, as He makes me lie in green pastures, and leads me beside quiet waters
His Spirit guides me on the right path, for my Lover is true and truth personified.
However if I was right and away from my lover, then my right is false as it is devoid of truth and what I know would soon run false as my knowledge would puff. And that which I know is nothing, for it is better to be known of Him, than to be knowledgeable without him, knowing nothing. To be known of God is to love Him.
For Truth is greater than right or wrong!
Blessed am I, when I seek Truth above right and wrong. For I come to know the love of my lover which passes knowledge. This knowing, is one that is built on intimacy, rooted and grounded in love which is produced by fellowship with Him as He dwells in my heart by faith.
In my Lover’s embrace I am taught, for he will draw me and I will run after Him. My Lover’s love is unfailing, He loved me before I could spell the letters of love, outside of my Lover I am dead, for He is my life, paradoxically though he slays me yet would I trust in Him.
In the end, my goal is neither to be right nor wrong but to be at the center of my Lover’s will. Pleasing Him. For I know that in loving my lover, my knowledge is pure and my lover is Truth.
Written by Abraham Omotayo
Abraham Omotayo is a is a teacher of the gospel of the Kingdom, he teaches on how believers are expected to live in the reality of Kingdom at all times by being the light and salt of the word as they conform to the image of the son. Contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a wake-up call!
Do you notice the unbalanced and unhealthy dietary teaching on wealth aimed at feeding the self-life instead of promoting kingdom agenda? What about the baseless and ridiculous gymnastics all geared to ‘’conquer our enemies”? The unscrupulous teachings on our enemies are highly pathetic! Spiritual warfare meant to clear principalities and wicked spirits away from the path of the gospel spread is now geared toward witches and wizards- the very least in the kingdom of darkness. Have you also observed the bulk of church and board meetings is on program and convention planning with no concern for the lost, not even the Muslim? Gradually church-goers are already given into believing that good people such as the kind and seemingly loving Muslims will make heaven, since we are all serving the same God? Have we not become visionless and blind? What about the much criticism between churches and pastors under the false umbrella of correcting in love. Consequently, having a congregation is now a lucrative business with every Dick and Harry bearing ridiculous titles. Churches multiply daily in geometric progression with baby Christians who were not properly breastfed aiming only to make heaven and live a luxurious life on earth with no kingdom agenda. Where did they get that from? Which apostle of Christ taught them that?
Chaos! The Ekklesia (The Church) no longer knows who she is, what her mission is and the available tools to accomplish her mission hence Paul’s prayer in Eph. 1:17-19. “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ; the Father of Glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of His glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power towards us who believe…”’ Job 38:31-33 and Eph. 6:12 tells us who is responsible for this-principalities, powers, rulers of darkness and wicked spirit all living in the heavenly places. ‘’Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, or loose the belt of Orion? Can you bring out Mazzaroth in its season? Or can you guide the Great Bear with its cubs? Do you know the ordinance of the heavens? Can you set their dominion over the earth? Job 38:31-33. They are the ones who have created a veil of covering over God’s people like they did to man through Eve. “…the face of the covering cast over all people and the veil that is spread over the nations” Isa. 25:7. They are against God’s counsel over the earth, they have been in existence before Adam, and thus they understand our frame as men.
The solution is found in Jesus; the Word. In Luke 24:46-49, He told His disciples to ‘’…tarry in the city of Jerusalem until…’’ they are empowered by the Holy Ghost. The early Church waited for the initial outpour, the latter Church too must wait for the final outpour in prayers and fasting. James 5:7 puts it well ‘’ Therefore, be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruits of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain” The messiahs who will reverse this order will come from Zion “ Then saviours shall come to Mount Zion to judge the mountains of Esau and the Kingdom shall be the LORD’s’’ Obadiah 21. What are we to pray for while waiting? Is it personal needs and desires? Nope! Matt. 6:9-13 with emphasis on verse 10 has the answer it is “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is heaven”’ This was what brought the former rain (the first outpour of the spirit) and this is what will bring the latter rain (the last outpour of the spirit) that will usher in Christ coming. You see, if you expect a royal visit, you must prepare your house. If you want aircraft landing, we must prepare the airport. If we want Christ to come, then we must harvest the earth by the latter rain.
What do you think will happen if two or three churches come together to pray by the spirit’s leading for their community? Can you imagine a church service with no program or agenda but completely under the spirit’s control in waiting? It is such heavy prayers by the spirit’s help (not gymnastics) that will bring revelation or vision back and put the Church on the pedestal to contend and conquer the Islamic opposition to the gospel; the Islamic State ISIS, the Al-Queda, Boko Haram etc. With a revelation of who we are as God’s government, why we exist (To show His manifold wisdom Eph. 3:10) and the resources available at our disposal (‘’…has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness…’’2Pet 1:3). If we cannot spread the gospel and if the gospel is not spread, we should not talk of Christ second coming and if we cannot talk of Christ second coming, we should anticipate greater depth of darkness, gross iniquity, and worse degradation of our environment and economy such that it will be practically impossible to live or even shine as light!
‘’But thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ…” 2Cor. 2:14. God is already raising soldiers, recruiting babes and suckling whose heart desire is to see His kingdom manifest on earth. God is recruiting His last day’s battle axe. This article is a proposal letter from Him to you (reading this) to come join His army! You still have a choice; To remain in the prison of ’church’ and religion, die and go to heaven with regrets OR to come out and face the giants that has harassed the faith of our fathers with a daring confidence that can only be birthed by waiting for the last outpour of the Spirit.
Wake up oh sleeping Soldier! Know you not that you are the arm and strength of Yahweh? Why allow yourself to be chained by religion when the field is full? Isa.52:1-2.Only foolish sons sleep in harvest and such are destined to inherit shame. Prov. 10:5. There are medals to be won by daring the princes at work in ISIS, in the entertainment sector, in our economy and in every sector of human endeavour, militating against the knowledge of God. Do you know that the glory of God has already filled the earth as waters filled the sea? Isa. 6:3 it is just that the princes of darkness has covered or hidden this knowledge from men.2 Cor. 4:3-4, 10:4-6. And God had vowed to reveal this ‘’ The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, (no longer hidden, AMEN.) and all flesh shall see it together FOR THE MOUTH OF THE LORD HAS SPOKEN” Isa.40:5. But how will God do this? If He comes down Himself, He would be violating His law ‘’The heavens, even the heavens, are the Lord’s; but the earth hath He given to the children of men” Psa.115:16. He shows us how in Jer.51:20-24 ‘’You are my battle axe and weapons of war…. Says the LORD’’ Enough of talking and saying the grace, it is time to face the real culprit, make war from the position of victory. Refuse to be caged by religion or denomination, it’s time to let Jesus come and reign as the King that He is
He is already at the door but waiting for the Church; the Bride to say ‘’COME’’. I join the Spirit to say ‘’COME, LORD JESUS!’’ Rev.22:17, 20. What about you?
We Say Come!
Written by Otutu Sunday
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