Out of the Ashes

Out of the Ashes

I like the scriptures for one reason, it is fair to everyone.

It describes the response and acts of both those who were for and against its central author, God. The Bible in describing Goliath, called him a Champion (1 Sam. 17:4), even though he was against God’s people, the bible described him accurately. He was a Champion. He was killed by “small” David.

Gideon, was to lead God’s people to war, but in the initial phase, he was hiding (Judges 6:11) from the Midianites. He was fearful, yet the bible didn’t hide this. Jehoshaphat was also scared, even though he was a leader (2 Chron. 20:3 – 4). Peter denied Christ, it was recorded. When God’s people were afraid or lived in unbelief, the bible recorded it. David, although called a Man after God’s own heart, committed adultery, the bible didn’t try to talk it away, it was recorded.

Paul, formerly called Saul, who wrote a large part of the New Testament, was killing Christians in his early years. In-fact he was really passionate about this, the bible was dutiful to record this, it wasn’t removed.

You know, all these seeming weaknesses and mistakes of God’s people were recorded not just to their shame but to testify of God’s ability to work hope out of the ashes. To wrought great things through weak and ordinary people like you and me. It is to the honour of His name and ability to work courage and strength out of weakness, fear and being timid. Gideon led the army, Jehoshaphat won the war through praise, David acknowledged and confronted his mistake, Peter preached and got 3,000 people saved, Saul became Paul, a powerful apostle of the gospel.

Ezekiel 37 shows us how far God’s ability can go in regeneration, turning a valley of dry bones without life to a valley filled with an exceeding great army.

Before:

“The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones” (Ezekiel 37:1)”

After:

So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army. (Ezekiel 37:10)

The bible promises that  glory will be revealed in us;

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18)

You may look at your life now and think, how will God’s glory be revealed in me? Let me inform you, that God is an expert in working strength out of weakness, joy and rejoicing out of pain and suffering, boldness out of fear and timidity, wisdom out of foolishness, life out of death, through the breath and working of the spirit.

What then should we do? Believe, agree and obey the leadings and promptings of the holy-spirit in you.

I Call You Blessed

Written by

Samson Afolabi

Eternal life

Eternal life

I heard a pastor say, if salvation was just a ticket to heaven then once we had accepted Christ as our Savior, we would instantly be taken up to heaven to be with God forever. And this is so true! The fact that a person believes in Christ, receives Salvation and gets eternal life all while remaining here on earth is testament to the fact that there is so much more for us to experience of God here on earth. And so if eternal life – what we get in the exchange of Salvation, is not simply a ticket to heaven or an escape from hell, then what is it?

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Eternal life is a gift from God to all those who believe. It is our union with Christ, which allows us to escape the righteous judgement of God for our shortcomings and instead live in His fullness for eternity. And since it is a gift from God then it must be something which He owns and gives to us or purchased for us. In this case it is both. God possesses eternal life and Jesus purchased it on the cross for all who will believe in Him.

So eternal life is a gift, a very precious and expensive gift which the whole Bible speaks of, but if we don’t know what exactly the gift we’ve been given is, then we either take it for granted, ignore it or don’t fully maximise it.

So what does this gift of eternal life really give us?

In John 17:3 Jesus defines eternal life in His prayer, for all disciples, to God the Father:

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

Eternal life gives us a relationship with God the Father and Christ the Son. It is the reconciliation of us with the Father. What sin destroyed at the beginning with Adam and Eve, the gift of eternal life restores through Christ when we believe.

It has always been God’s intention to have an intimate relationship with us forever. He designed us for this. God wants us to live out of our relationship with Him- the way Jesus did. He is willing to share His thoughts, heart and ways (wisdom) with us. This is what He has given us as a gift through Christ – unfettered access to Himself. It is what we see Jesus live out of – oneness with the Father; fruitfulness, effectiveness, peace and so much more.

Why were God the Father and Jesus Christ so bent on restoring this relationship?

Well like any good relationship which is going to last the test of time, eternity in this case, this relationship is founded on unconditional love – love that does not require any virtue or goodness or righteousness.

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 5: 6 – 8

6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—

8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

While we were still sinners – fallen, Christ died for us and made this gift of eternal life, of a restored relationship with God, available to us. God wants us to know Him, not because He needs His ego satisfied, but because He loves us and has no desire to withhold Himself from us, plus, we actually need Him!

He created us in His image and likeness for His glory – to display His awesomeness, but how do we do that when we don’t know how awesome He is? when we don’t recognize His goodness or His faithfulness or the beauty of Christ’s love towards us in His perfect work of redemption on the cross?

If we believe in the finished work of Christ, if we claim to be His followers then we must get to know Him. This takes time- He is just that big, it takes effort, conscious and intentional steps to learn about Him and spend time with Him. No relationship grows or thrives when one person has a passive attitude towards it. We are commanded to love God with everything – heart, mind, strength, soul, and we can only love Him well the more we know Him.  

So how can we get to know God and Jesus Christ more? here are my most practical examples:

  1. Making room for God in my life  – intentionally setting a time and if possible a place to meet with God daily – I do this with a journal so I can write down whatever is on my heart and whatever I hear Him say
  2. Talking to him like a friend – respectfully still, but I bare my heart to Him, the same way I would to a dear friend, and ask for His help / instruction
  3. Study the word – what was God’s heart behind the things written? – asking the Holy Spirit for understanding when doing this is key!
  4. Coming to God in humility – understanding that He loves me perfectly just as I am not because of anything I do.
  5. Thanking Him for all things at all times! A thankful attitude helps you see His beauty in everything and everyone.
  6. Praying Paul’s prayers for believers in Ephesians 1 and 3 and Colossians 1 over myself. (you can also pray Philemon 1:4-6, Hebrews 13, 1  Thessalonians 1 and 3).
  7. Fellowship with other, more mature believers – asking them questions and being inspired by how they love God.
  8. Remembering all that Christ is for me and has done for me, what He makes available for me and what He promises to give me.

God is so loving, He doesn’t force us into loving Him but He makes all of Himself available if we want to know Him. And if we believe that Jesus is risen from the dead and so we have eternal life, we must get to know Him for who He actually is – not our idea of who He is or whatever society has told us He is like.

Jesus stands at the door of our hearts and knocks waiting for us to let Him in so He can fellowship with us. He died and rose again so we can know the only true God, and Him as Christ. And it’s all for our benefit – that our joy may be full!

May we not abuse or ignore this act of love, may we grow in our knowledge of God and Jesus Christ His son.

Written By

Wuraola Fanimokun

God and Time

God and Time

God dwells in eternity, where time is not a factor. There are no days and nights, in-fact we notice from the account of creation in Genesis 1 – 2. that time (Day and Night, Seasons) were introduced at creation, when Man was created as such we serve a God that created time but is not time bound. In-fact the Psalmist exclaimed that

“For a thousand years in sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night” Ps 90:4

So we wonder that when God makes a promise to us today, in 5 years when we are already making complaints that it’s already taking too long, to God it’s like “I just promised you some hours ago”. We must know that God is never in a Hurry to do anything. He does it at the “Right time”. Often times, we as humans don’t get into sync that word. We always want our things done fast and quick, as such at those times when it seems like God is taking too much time, we lose our agreement with God.

Here one example I believe explains it. God Created Man, loved him so much, this man he loved so much committed treason, and couldn’t come into God’s presence anymore. God desired to redeem this Man he loved and created, so he decided to send a savior to pay for the sins of Man. See this prophecy about the savior;

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6 KJV)

“Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:7 KJV)

Am sure a lot of us must have encountered this prophecy a lot of times. The most interesting for me is the last statement “The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this”. The word “zeal” reads to me like God will do this now and now-now. Note that things were really bad, Man had completely taken up the nature of the devil, doing abominable things, up until the time when God was sorry that he had created Man. In-fact he had destroyed the whole earth with water sparing Noah and his family, yet that didn’t stop going evil, So if God needed anything he needed to do it fast! And this was an issue that involved God himself!

Despite that God wasn’t in a hurry, he sent his Son as a Saviour at the RIGHT TIME.

“But when the right time came, God sent his Son, who was born from a woman and lived under the law (Gal. 4:4 ERV)

“But when the right time finally came, God sent his own Son. He came as the son of a human mother and lived under the Jewish Law” (Gal. 4:4 GNB)

Yes, the Right time. That explains it for me. Often times the delay in our prayers, is not because God is slack or not powerful but because the time is not Right. It’s as though, a pregnant woman requesting to give birth at 2 or 3 months of Pregnancy, it’s not the Right time. She must wait.

I had always wanted to travel abroad for my masters, for years I filled so many applications, all ending in rejections, or financial problems. It was a sad time for me. I remember I used to be worried about it a lot that my friends and Sisters during my one year compulsory One year service to the government in Sokoto State used to call me “Worrying Machine”. But at last, God worked it out in-fact it was a miracle. Here am I writing this from Germany where am studying. Seeing all that God did during the process of coming here and even at my arrival made me know he was preparing this place for me, and that I needed to wait for the Right time, when it was ready. The wait was Necessary. Although, it doesn’t mean I have learned patience completely but I am always trusting God for my heart.

What do we do during the Process of Waiting? Keep Believing. Don’t break the circuit by your unbelief. Once you asked, He heard and he is committed to doing it. Just keep believing and keep your confessions Right. He is with you and he is for you. And like my brother, Abraham Omotayo would always say “We always win”.

I Call You Blessed
Written by Samson Afolabi