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
“… Your People shall be my people, and your God, my God (Ruth 1:16)”
Have you ever wondered why there are few people who have been standing out in making greats exploits for God’s kingdom? Why there are people like Enoch, Moses, Samuel, Elijah, Elisha, and many other patriarchs of faith who stand out of their generation for God, and did what many people didn’t do? Is it that God has favourites, such that He shows his ways and acts to some people and hides it from some?
Why are there not so many people like Benny Hinn, E.W. Kenyon, Kathryn Kulman, Late Bishop Idahosa (Nigeria), Bishop Oyedepo (Nigeria), and various many others? Is it that God is in short supply of resources to make many of such people? I say NO. Each man determines his place with God.
The Determinant of the level of a man in God is the man’s personal walk with God. God doesn’t have favourites, His arms are forever open unto every-man. In-fact one of the key things that salvation brought to us, was the opportunity of a personal walk (fellowship) with God.
“That at that time ye were not without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world (Eph. 2:12)”
“Jesus said to her, “Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my father, but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father and to my God and your God” (John 20:17) ”
It is important to notice this transition between (Eph. 2:12) and (John 20:17). We never had any relationship with God before, we couldn’t call him father. But God created that relationship by sending Jesus. So it is obvious God wants to commune (have fellowship) with man just as He did in the Garden of Eden. He wants to have us speak with Him. He wants us to walk with Him.
It is also important to note that God wants to deals with every man on earth individually. God relates with each one of us one-to-one. He deals with everyone, one to one as though he/she were the only person on the face of the earth. He deals with you personally, as though you were the only person in that hall, class, office. He desires fellowship with man, and not just fellowship but personal fellowship with each man.
“You only have I known of all the families of the earth: … (Amos 3:2)”
God was addressing Israel and He said, them only has he known on the earth, but obviously they were not the only nation on earth and in-fact God created all the others. Same is true of the way God deals with each one of us. God is ready to deal with us personally. Am not placing down the place of fellowship with other believers, but am trying to lay emphasis on the place of a personal walk with God. Our corporate fellowship is to help our personal walk with God. Each of our Church (fellowship) meetings is to sharpen our zeal and thirst for a personal walk with God. Corporate fellowship is a means to an end. God wants every believer to have a personal walk with God, this is evident in all of what God is doing for us.
At Pentecost, each Person spoke with tongues. The holy-spirit filled each one of them. Also, in scriptures we are made to know that the spirit bears witness with our spirit (individually). The spirit bears witness with your own very spirit not another person for you.
“Look to Abraham your Father, And to Sarah who bore you; for I called him alone, and blessed him and increased him (Isa. 51:2)”
Looking at each of the men who stood-out in their walk of faith, we notice they had a personal walk with God.
There is a clear difference between “Our God” and “my God”. The latter clearly depicts a personal walk with God. God wants every-one of us to have a father-Son relationship with Him. A father-Son relationship clearly carries a personal intonation.
Paul, was a man who opened the Church to great truths about the Kingdom. He did that because Paul (Himself) studied the scriptures. Enough of the kind of Christianity that lives alone by all that is being told Him. We need to sit down and have a personal relationship with our Heavenly father. The reason for the creation of man was because of the lonely heart cry of the Father. The creation of man, was a response to love. God wants us individually.
The bible is littered here and there with many scriptures showing that we have our different records with God.
“Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words (Dan. 10:12)”
Notice the use of the different personal pronouns. Daniel set his own heart to understand.
“… as I was among the captives by the River Chebar, that the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God (Eze. 1:1)”
“the word of the Lord came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the River Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was upon him there (Eze. 1:3)”
“And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? (Acts 22:7)”
“So I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ and He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ (Acts 22:8)”
“And those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they did not hear the voice of Him who spoke to me. (Acts 22:9)”
Notice also the scenario of Ezekiel and Paul. Both were amidst people (Ezekiel among the captives, Paul with other people) yet the heavens opened and singled them out and spoke to them and those around them didn’t hear. Walking and having fellowship with God is personal. It can’t be done for you. You must do it yourself. As Christians we must learn to start taking responsibility for our walk with God.
It takes understanding God personally and His covenant before we can enjoy all of what God has prepared for us. It is clear and evident that all the patriarchs of faith and the great men of exploits maintained a personal communion with God. In order to attain where they attained we must be ready for a personal walk with our Heavenly Father.
For Us to grow to maturity, we must learn to personally search the scriptures. Cultivate an habit of prayer. Doing all this, add up to having a personal fellowship with Jesus.
Christianity is principally a personal walk; right from salvation (you believe with your own heart), he leads you by your own spirit in you. Our fellowship with other believers is to help us achieve success in our personal walk with God. It is hard to walk in another man’s revelation of God, only if the man’s revelation, becomes a revelation to you. The church today has to learn this, we must know that we have the responsibility of having a personal communion with God.
As we make-up our minds to walk with God, I see God supplying us grace, in Jesus name (Amen)
Christ Reigns! We Win!
I Call You Blessed!
Written by Afolabi Samson
Now the (Jews) were better disposed and more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they were entirely ready and accepted and welcomed the message [concerning the attainment through Christ of eternal salvation in the Kingdom of God] with inclination of mind and eagerness, searching and examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Acts 17:11 [AMP]
But the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and gladly listened to the message. They searched the scriptures day by day to check up on Paul and Silas’ statements to see if they were really so. Acts 17:11 [TLB]
Paul’s usual practice [culture, manner of life] is to maximize every time available at his disposal to minister Christ: preaching the Gospel. After he and his company had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they got to the synagogue of the Jews at Thessalonica, where he reasoned with them from scriptures about the death and resurrection of Jesus who is the Christ (Messiah).It is worthy of note that all Christians should inculcate this virtue (and command) in their pilgrimage.
This message of Paul permeated some Jews, a great multitude of the devout Greeks and a few chief women in Thessalonica, all of whom believed and consorted (cast their lot) with the Apostle.
But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy… Acts 17:5 (why?)
A fraction of the Jews who did not believe must have held firmly to a false report which went viral after Jesus’ death, that which denied His resurrection, claiming that the Disciples stole him away while the soldier slept. This saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day. Matt. 28:11-15. It must have been a thug of war for Paul, because he actually reasoned (argued) with them for three Sabbath days in their synagogue before he got the number that believed.
We must at this junction state that; Christ actually died, was buried and resurrected on the third day, which validated the teachings of Paul. Nothing can be done against the truth but for the truth (2Cor. 13:8). For death could not hold him captive (1Cor. 15:55-58). They also accused Paul and his company of treason, in that they claimed another King, Jesus, instead of Caesar (Acts 17:7). Whereas Paul must have stated that Jesus was a King, but His Kingdom is not of this world. (Acts 18:36)
This was not the case with the Jews at Berea. We therefore seek to understand the virtues possessed by the Jews at Berea which made them nobler.
These were nobler than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed: also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. Acts 17:11-12
We can extract two important points attributed to their nobility:
- They received the word with readiness of mind
- Searched the scriptures daily whether those things were so.
The difference between a believer and a un-believer is that the first believes while the other does not. The one who believed must have accepted the truth preached because he/she was open-minded. The Jews at Thessalonica were not open-minded, they could not accept new (correct) idea because they held tightly and firmly to their old (wrong) beliefs. They did not give room for the glorious light of the gospel to flood their hearts in order for their darkness to be enlightened. Unknown to them that all were just a shadow of the real thing, which is Christ. Many of us have also fallen short of new terrains that the Holy Spirit would have launched us into, because we being myopic have decided to hold on firmly to the doctrines of men and the limitation around us. Many a times we have so acted like Peter, who first saidnot so my lord, for I have never done this before (anything unclean- of which God already made clean) Acts 11. Which unknown to him, God was clearly expounding the scope of salvation to him, stating that, it was not only for the Jews rather for every nations and tribes (gentiles).
Faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of God. If we are not eager and zealous to receive, we will end up not getting Faith to act upon.
The Jews at Thessalonica had a zeal but not according to knowledge.
Brethren, my heart’s desire and Prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For them being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes. Rom. 10:1-4
The words spoken by Paul did not produce salvation in them because it did not mix with faith in their heart. They had a stony heart (Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26). In that the message preached by Paul was unknown/unclear to them, they zealously raised an uproar in the city, thinking they are doing God a favour, by their action, but they were actually against the proliferation of God’s word. They fought vehemently against anything contrary (as it were) to the Jewish traditions handed over to them by their fathers. This was also the position of Paul before his encounter with Christ. Their zeal was wanting in knowledge.
On the other hand, the Jews at Berea received (embraced and accepted favourably) the word, the message of the death and resurrection of Jesus, with eagerness, much inclination and readiness (preparedness) of mind and there was a performance.
Now, therefore perform the doing of it: that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also of that which ye have. 2Cor. 8:11
This virtue expresses the reason why Isaiah said if ye are willing (desirous and ready) and obedient, ye shall eat the good (fatness) of the land. God works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasures. The predicament of the unbelieving Thessalonians was the hardness of their heart. Some folks have not received the engrafted word of God with meekness, openness and readiness of mind, some on the other hand had held tenaciously and firmly to the traditions of men, old wives fables and the rudiments of this world, all of which had robbed them of the finished works of Christ and the power thereof. Others have unknowingly retarded and consequently brought to halt the next phase (new things) that God wants to commit to their hands all because they were satisfied with what they have, as such are not hungry nor thirsty for more.
Dear reader, I implore you to be ready, eager and willing to explore and receive new levels of victory/grace from the WORD of God; for God is set (determined) to manifest in greater dimensions, the savour of His knowledge in every place by us. We are blessed with ministry gifts for this purpose.
While wanting to receive new things, the Apostles exhorted the church about the rising of many false teachers and prophets in the last day. They thus encouraged a test (to prove) every spirit/teaching/prophecy whether they be of God by the instrumentality of the Spirit and by the word of God. 1John 4:1; 2Pet. 2:1
Study to show thyself approved, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2Tim. 2:15
Another prominent virtue exhibited by the Jews at Berea, was their diligent search of the Scriptures to confirm what was said by Paul. A diligent search and study brings increased knowledge and empowers to do the content. Under the tutelage of the Spirit and by consistent search of the scripture with open-mindedness, the truth is communicated to us. We thus shed off the imperfect (shadowy) that the perfect might have free course.
All scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. 2Tim. 3:16-17.
There is no perfect understanding gained from scripture outside the tutelage of the Spirit. This is because, he is the custodian of Truth. He glorifies Christ by revealing the intent of all purposes, events and prophecies in Scriptures, as they relate to Christ. This is made bare to the church by teachers and pastors.
Jesus said “Search the scriptures: for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” John 5:39 (KJV)
You make search in the Holy writings, in the belief that through them you get eternal life; and it is those writings which give witness about me (BBE)
You examine the scriptures carefully because you suppose that in them you have eternal life. Yet they testify about me. (ISV)
The Jews at Berea carefully and diligently searched and x-rayed the messages of Paul in scripture daily to confirm whether they are in alignment: Little wonder he commended their Nobility.
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth: but thou shall meditate therein day and night, that thou may observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shall make thy way prosperous, and thou shall have good success. Josh. 1:8
Their Readiness of mind and confirmation by search from scriptures go hand-in-hand, they are complementary. We should inculcate these virtues in our day to day activity, this will makes us stand out.
Let your zeal be according to knowledge
Christ Reigns! We Win!
Love Always Win.
Written by Akintayo Damilola
“Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me (Psalm 42:7)”
In the Kingdom, many words and expressions carry very different meanings from what they are implied in the normal world. Such of those words, is the word “thirst”. From the natural standpoint, we know that when a man thirst and he gets water, he is satisfied, and therefore no longer thirsty. In the spiritual, kingdom thirst is not satisfied. Yes I mean Spiritual thirst is not satisfied, when it gets some it still calls for more. So as this thirst is satisfied, shortly after, a deeper thirst begins.
“The leech has two suckers that cry out, ‘More, more!’. There are three things that are never satisfied – no, four that never say, ‘Enough’: (Prov. 30:15) NLT”
“The grave, the barren womb, the thirsty desert, the blazing fire (Prov. 30:16) NLT”
“Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me (Psalm 42:7)”
From the scriptures above, we clearly see that true spiritual thirst is satisfied to only create a deeper spiritual thirst. “Deep calls unto deep”, is the definition of spiritual thirst. A knowledge of God revealed to us today, makes us want to know God the more tomorrow. That is why, you can’t claim to have a thirst for God, and not have a regular act of fellowship with Him. No man claims to have a genuine thirst, without having a strong desire for prayers and study of the scriptures. Spiritual thirst is not a one-time activity, it is a life. Men of thirst pursue God every second of their life with all their breath.
David, a very good example of a man with a thirst also says this.
“O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; (Psalms 63:1)”
“To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary (Psalms 63:2)”
David once again brings us back to our definition.
Notice what David said in Psalms 63:2, to see thy power and glory as I have seen thee. He had already seen God, yet he still wanted to see God. Spiritual thirst only proclaims for more. Another example is Moses, whom God said he spoke to face to face, and yet Moses still told God he still wanted to see his face the more. (Num. 12:8, Exo. 33:18).
Thirst opens every believer to deeper insights of God. Mysteries in the kingdom are not opened to people who do not have (show) a strong desire (respect) for such mysteries. The Mysteries of God are not delivered to careless people. And until you show that you will be careful and respect such mysteries of the kingdom, you may never be entitled to them.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls (Matthew 13:45)”
“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you (Matthew 7:6)”
Many of the secrets which our fathers in the faith possessed, came through a strong hunger for such secrets. And today we are all enjoying the wonders of the kingdom. But some people paid the price, which was their thirst. In fact Jesus, emphatically told us that the price to pay to know more about the kingdom was our thirst. Your thirst is your ticket.
“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled (Matt. 5:6)”
Notice the use of the words “do hunger and thirst” which implies a continuous act. Not just a one day act. They desire continuously. They don’t stop. They being satisfied today, is the reason they come tomorrow. Their deep today calls for another deep tomorrow (Ps. 42:7). And so every day they keep coming, seeking to see through the secrets of the kingdom. To be sincere, our 10, 15 minutes daily devotion is not showing any act of seriousness. We can’t continue like that and expect to handle some big and deep truth of the kingdom.
This generation, always seek someone to teach them everything. Without them learning to search the scriptures themselves, and that is why we have remained at this point ever-since. We can’t continue to remain at the level we are. Our visa into the next level is our thirst.
“Call unto me and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not (Jer. 33:3)”
God doesn’t reveal secrets to people, if they don’t ask. Our asking will come out of our desire to know. Our thirst, is just like a drill in an oil field, it keeps digging until it reaches oil. Our thirst creates the will power to keep searching, seeking the things of the kingdom. King David was a man of such thirst, this was what he said in one of the psalms.
“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God
“My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: When shall I come and appear before God (Psalm 42:2)”
“My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, where is thy God (Psalm 42:3)”
With all this David’s thirst, little wonder God loved him, and called him a man after His heart and even showed him a lot about the mystery of the coming messiah. Many of the patriarchs of old, Isaiah, Moses, Samuel, Enoch, Elisha and Paul, just to mention a few, were thirsty men. Aggressively seeking for God and wanting to know more of Him. This was clearly evident in their lives. They sought him through prayers and searching the scriptures (fellowship with the spirit). And that was why they were able to record the Bible. Can your thirst get anything for your generation? Or you just want to be spoon-fed every time?
Paul had this to say.
“That I may know Him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death (Phil 3:10)”
The bible calls us “priests and kings (Rev. 5:10)” in the kingdom. One thing worthy of note of priests is that they were SEEKERS. Always coming into the tabernacle to worship and to offer up sacrifices. They were seekers. Seeking God, so Israel could be forgiven and blessed. Now He has called us priests, are we not supposed to live worthy of our call?
“And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins (Heb. 10:11) ”
Note the word, “every”, “daily”, “ministering” and yet the bible says all that didn’t take away sins. Now we are in a better covenant, which the mysteries of the kingdom are given for us to know, but the truth remains that we may not handle this secrets if we don’t build a strong desire and crave for them.
Now, thank God for the dispensation of the new covenant. I Believe God is more than willing to see more sons arise to begin to thirst for the things that He says are rightfully ours. The holy-spirit works out this thirst in us. But we need to agree with His work in our lives.
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure (Phil 2:13)”.
“Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen
So as the Holy-spirit prompts us for fellowship (which leads further to thirst), our agreement to the call opens up God’s thirst in us, hereby qualifying us for more of God. Know that we can always get as much of God, as we will pursue.
If you ever desire God the more in your life, develop a heart of thirst for him, create a passion to seek him continuously. Seek him with all your heart and shortly you will you see your soul being transformed, and yourself being a custodian of great truths that will liberate the world.
God being our Father desires we thirst for His presence, because as we know him the more, so we also get to know who we truly are. Ask Him to create a thirst for Him in you today. Develop a thirst for God and qualify for more of Him.
I Call You Blessed!
Written by Afolabi Samson
Bible trends reveal that God often pairs or groups people together. One may wonder, why is it that after making a perfect man, one that God looked at and called ‘good!’, He said, “it is not good for man to be alone”? Why did Jesus ask the disciples (day of ascension) to gather together in the upper room? When He sent out His disciples to heal the sick, why did He instruct them to go in twos? These are merely a few pointers to the fact that when doing the Master’s work, a one-man army is not better than a “mature body”.
Here are a few reasons why gathering together with other Christians regularly is important.
The Psalmist in Ps 133 talks about the blessedness of brothers and sisters dwelling in unity. The easy-to-read version says “Oh, how wonderful, how pleasing it is when God’s people all come together as one!” This seems to be a declaration of a truth that had been experienced. One can almost picture him reminiscing on past gatherings where he had glorious experiences of sweet fellowship, liberation, and beholding the beauty of the Lord’s holiness; hence he utters “Oh!”, revealing his longing. There are certain indescribable pleasures obtained when we fellowship together. Usually, an experience of awesomeness makes you hunger for more.
It will be appropriate at this juncture to answer this question: What happens when saints gather together?
God is pleased! Just like it will please any parent to have his children and grand-children gathered around him, so it is with God. And what does God do in response to that? He blesses the gathering with his presence. Jesus said in Matt 18:20, “For where two or more are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them”.
And this is where the fun starts.
God being among us
Naturally, some would wonder, “but God already lives in me through His Spirit”. Yes, that is very true. Nonetheless, just the way God is 3 and God is 1, there is a place for God in you and a separate place for God in our midst. They both have different yet interwoven roles and expressions.
It is important to remember that Matt 18:20 is referring to a gathering unto God. NLT says “when 2 or more are gathered as my followers, I am among them”. It is refers to ambassadors of Christ coming together to establish wishes of the One that sent them. Although the verse was used in the context of how an assembly should manage a misbehaving member, it was mentioned as a fact and used to support a specific context; hence it is not restricted to this case alone.
So when we gather together as believers, God comes to be in our midst and fellowships with us as a group. An atmosphere is created for amazing things to happen.
When God is among us, Warmth is generated. Though physical warmth is not totally ruled out, warmth here means tenderness of heart causing genial disposition towards others which helps to build/foster cordial relationships. This will eventually lead to agreement. The hearts and desires of the members are unified by the same Spirit and the group develops what I like to call it the “tower of babel potential”. Of course this does not mean it is a sin for Christians to disagree on certain issues. Nevertheless, the Spirit of God should be given headship, so he works out peace and unity. Eph 4:3 reveals that members have to “ensure” that it happens this way. The fruit of the spirit in the form of patience and love plays out and in time, the truth will prevail. Sometimes both parties are wrong and sometimes both parties are right. Tommy Tenny in his book, Secret Sources of Power said: “An atmosphere of disunity is especially attractive to the enemy because it empowers him. … His kingdom is secure for a moment, because just as unity brings revival, disunity dispels it!”
Coming together will cause us to be united in faith and united in the knowledge of Christ Eph 4:13. As a result, we can do things in one accord and come to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Such a unified group easily defeats others, but cannot be defeated easily.Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (please read!). Other
Prayer is simply communication with God, ideally a bi-directional one. As important as it is to separate yourself from others to pray, it should not replace the corporate prayer and agreement. Many times, corporate gatherings help to fuel your private worship. Nonetheless, this is not an attempt to prove which is more important.
A noteworthy occurrence was when God told the 120 disciples to stay in one place/room and pray, until the Spirit came upon them. I must confess that such is no more common. Are people ready to commit? I believe the Christians realized the power of praying together and they applied the same principle and got Peter delivered from prison in Acts 12.
An opportunity to build, help and strengthen each other though:
- Wise counsel. Matt 18:15-20. In the church, one has the privilege of getting a combination of “brains” controlled by the Lordship of Jesus. Where else can this be found? There are people in your gathering that can easily judge that problem you are going through often because they have more experience in walking with God than you. Prov 11:4, 15:22, 24:6; Luke 14:21.
- Pooling resources (both spiritual and material). As a church we can pool our resources to help our brother who is in need, instead of letting him bear the burden alone. We can also pool resources to achieve set goals! What do you have to offer?
Ephesians 4 reveals the “capital investments” the Holy Spirit made in the church (vs 7, 11) and the purpose for them: for perfecting the saints, for the work of the ministry, and for edifying the body of Christ (vs11-12). Did you notice the transition? In vs 11, it says “He gave to some…”, but goal in vs 13 is “Till we all …” I believe God is an advocate for division of labour, because the gifts are meant for duties. The gifts you’ve been given are not for you alone, but for the benefit of the whole group as well. Team work! It is better, faster, more efficient and more fun when like-minded people work as a team than when either of them works alone.
The proper working of each part contributes to the growth of the whole body (Eph4:16). Once you play your role as an individual, the whole church will grow a little more. Everyone is encouraged to take responsibility for their duty. Passionately steward it! Care a little less about the person who isn’t doing his part correctly. The body of Christ depends on it. You are more significant and influential. (Heb 10:25) Let’s come together to form a mature body, striving towards attaining the fullness of Christ.
Be present! Be available!
Written by Boluwatife Falaye
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