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JOY: YOUR SOURCE OF POWER!

The man hated his job so much that one day he just couldn’t take it anymore and quit. What was missing from the man’s job? Joy. He didn’t have any joy in doing that job at all.

Now remember the job you loved doing so much that you actually looked forward to going to work every morning? You liked what you did and was proud of your achievements on the job. You loved what the job was about, and felt like it was worth doing, and for that reason you applied yourself to doing it excellently. What gave you the drive to do that job well? Joy. The joy that you had in doing that job gave you the motivation, pleasure, dedication, challenge to not just show up for the job, but to want to excel at it.

Jesus too was able to do His work on earth by no other power than JOY! This joy is what is known as joy in the Holy Spirit. We read in Hebrews 1:9 “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.” (NIV)

The entire chapter of Hebrews 1 is about how Jesus was made God’s Son, was placed above all else, founded the universe, walked in obedience and righteousness, redeemed sinful mankind from death, and went back to His throne to reign forever. And we learn from this verse 9 that JOY is the source of the power by which He was able to accomplish all this. God enabled Jesus to accomplish all these great acts that set Him above His companions by anointing – empowering – Him with joy!

If joy was the source of the Lord’s strength that enabled Him to do the incredibly hard work that He did in the universe and on earth, you’d better believe that you and I could never succeed in living for Him and in serving Him without the strength that comes from joy.

Isaiah 12:3 says “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”

This passage says it all. It likens salvation to a set of wells, each of which contains at its bottom one of the blessings of God that believers are to enjoy for being saved. We became saved from the various bad and evil things of this world, therefore, salvation brings the saved person into the good things that God intends for His people to have.

But the characterization of salvation as a set of wells reveals something powerful, which is that salvation doesn’t automatically bring the good things of God into the life of the saved person. Rather salvation only brings a person into the place where the good things of the Kingdom of God are available for him to have. What remains now is for him to do what must be done in order for those good things to come to him. In order words, salvation is like being brought into a room where there are several wells, and you can now draw from the wells. What you draw out is what you get! What you don’t draw out, you don’t get.

So for example, in salvation we have a well of good physical health, a well of healthy and blissful marriage, one of prosperity, another one that contains favor from God, and so forth. Therefore it goes without saying that if you do not actively and consciously work at drawing any of these blessings from the well that carries it, you will not experience that blessing in your life, though you may be a genuine child of God in good standing.

There are principles that govern the release and the working of each and every blessing from God in a believer’s life. ‘Drawing’ The blessings from the wells simply means observing the principles that release and put to work the blessings of God in our lives. It is by following the commands that God has given us in His word (the Bible) concerning any of His blessings that we get to ‘draw’ those blessings out the wells that contain them.

Thus, a married couple WILL enjoy the love, joy and peace of God in their marriage if each spouse observes the commands that God has given husbands and wives on how to treat one another. A believer will know and enjoy financial success if he or she observes the commands and principles put forth in the word of God concerning wealth acquisition and sustenance and the ability to enjoy wealth. The same goes for every single other promise of blessing made by God unto His children.

So there’s work to do in order to get the blessings of God to work in our lives. And it is no easy work, hence the analogy to the strenuous act of drawing water from a well, and hence the need for the same kind of power that Jesus Himself had to rely on to successfully do His own work: Joy in the Holy Ghost!

Joy is the source of this indispensable power and strength because Joy in The Lord is that which keeps us sane in the midst of the most wicked of challenges. Joy is the opposite of unhappiness, sorrow, grief, bitterness. While sadness, bitterness and depression could knock the wind of life out of a person and not only try to keep him from getting out of bed, but also try to get him to end his own life, joy is that source of strength and positive feeling that helps a person get out of bed no matter what, and keeps him hoping for a better day ahead! JOY IT IS THAT HELPS TO KEEP OUR HOPE AND FAITH ALIVE IN THE LORD!  As long as we are able to maintain our joy, we WILL be able to keep our heads above the swamps of sorrow, grief and bitterness that life and the enemy of our souls sometimes throw us into, and we WILL, thereby, be able to forge ahead in our walk with our gracious Father!

Never lose your joy in the Lord! If you’ve done everything you believe the word of God says to do and you have not seen the expected result, do not despair! With joy keep observing the word of God. Though the desired results may tarry, they will come! With joy keep drawing them out till they’re yours! Wells are deep, and sometimes it may seem like it’s taking forever to draw out the water. So don’t let discouragement, sorrow and bitterness that come with hardship cause you to throw in the towel on your marriage. With joy in the Lord keep doing your part as a husband or as a wife. With joy keep drawing that marital bliss that you seek from its well! It will be yours in the end! Never tire of sowing! Keep drawing divine prosperity from its well by keeping up with the principle of sowing and reaping. You will reap indeed! Do you desire the peace of God in your life? Draw divine peace from its well by observing God’s commands and teaching concerning peace. This is why it is the truth that THERE IS A SOLUTION FOR EVERY PROBLEM IN THIS LIFE IN THE WORD OF GOD! Whatever you’re dealing with, find the ‘well’ that contains its solution in the word of God, and draw out that solution! Find out what the word of God teaches on that issue and what solution it has offered on the issue, and with joy don’t cease to apply that word to the issue until you have gotten the solution you seek!

May our gracious Lord release more of His powerful joy upon you in Jesus’ great name, AMEN!

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2014 in ATTITUDE CHECK!

 

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THE POWER OF COVENANTS

The child’s mother cried and wailed unto God for His salvation and God did nothing. But once the child of covenant wept, God jumped into action.

That’s the summary of the powerful thing that happened in the wilderness when Hagar, the mother of Ishmael, ran out of water and left Ishmael to die. Sarah, Abraham’s wife, had told Abraham to kick Hagar and her son out of their house, so Abraham sent them away with some water supply, which eventually ran out as they journeyed through the wilderness. We read in Genesis 21:15-20:

” And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. 16 And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bow shot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept. 17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. 18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation. 19 And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink. 20 And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.” (KJV)

Hagar knew that they had run out of water, so she told her child to wait in one place, and went far away from him because she did not want to watch him die of thirst. So from the time she left the boy, she started to weep and wail. BUT GOD IGNORED ALL OF HER CRYING AND WAILING, and it wasn’t until Ishmael himself started to cry that God intervened! Why? Because that’s who God had a covenant with! God had made a covenant of blessing with Abraham, that He would bless Isaac and Ishmael and make great nations out of them both. For this reason, God’s watchful eye was upon Ishmael, so that whenever Ishmael was in need of help, God provided that help!

Here’s the powerful thing to understand here: There was a considerable time gap between the time when Hagar started to weep and wail, and the time when Ishmael began to weep as well. When Hagar left the boy, she must have told him to wait for her for a little bit, and that she was going to be right back. So the child believed her like all children do, and started to wait patiently. So it would be after some time that Ishmael would begin to worry that his mom was taking too long to get back to him, and it probably wasn’t until the sun started going down that the lad would become scared and start weeping. So there we had Hagar who had been wailing since the time when she left the boy, and God ignored all that wailing, but the minute the boy began to weep for his mother – after many hours during which the mother had been wailing – God heard him and had one of His angels intervene.

Brethren, if this doesn’t convince you that you need to be in a covenant with God, I wonder what could! God is a God of covenants! That’s how He operates! He wants us to surrender ourselves – everything about us – unto His care, like Abraham did. WHEN YOU DO THAT, GOD ESTABLISHES A COVENANT WITH YOU WHEREBY YOU BECOME GOD’S RESPONSIBILITY! If you submit yourself to Him, you submit yourself to His care, protection, provision, support, help, blessings, empowerment, favor, grace (unmerited favor), joy, peace, etc.! Everyone around you might be crying for something, but it’s your cry that God will hear because You have submitted yourself to his care! Famines and pestilence may kill people around you, but God will see that you live thru them all! A thousand may fall at your right side, and ten thousand at your left, but you will live to declare the goodness of God! 

Best of all, like Abraham, you will be a true representative of God-Most-High in this world! Because of the ways in which God intervened on Abraham’s behalf, the people around Abraham saw the might of his God and declared it (see Genesis 21:22-23)! The world awaits your manifestation as a covenant child of God-Most-High! So get into a covenant with God, that He might be able to do His mighty works in your life, to His glory!

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2014 in SHORT MESSAGES

 

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YOU NEED THE PRESENCE OF GOD IN YOUR LIFE!

One of the greatest tragedies in Christianity is the fact that most believers absolutely lack any understanding of what it means that the presence of God is with them. One of the Lord Jesus’ names is Emmanuel, which means God-with-us. Therefore, by receiving Jesus-Christ into one’s life, one receives ‘God-with-us’, which means that one receives the in-dwelling presence of God into one’s life, commonly known as the presence of the Holy Spirit.

There’s an event that took place in the days of King David that gives us a powerful revelation of the significance of the presence of God in an individual’s life. It’s the story of the time when King David attempted to bring the ark of God back to Jerusalem from the land of the Philistines where it had been held in captivity for years. David and his people set the ark on a cart and headed back to Jerusalem. We read in 2Samuel 6:6-12:

  And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God. And David was displeased, because the Lord had made a breach upon Uzzah: and he called the name of the place Perezuzzah to this day. And David was afraid of the Lord that day, and said, How shall the ark of the Lord come to me? 10 So David would not remove the ark of the Lord unto him into the city of David: but David carried it aside into the house of Obededom the Gittite. 11 And the ark of the Lord continued in the house of Obededom the Gittite three months: and the Lord blessed Obededom, and all his household. 12 And it was told king David, saying, The Lord hath blessed the house of Obededom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God. So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obededom into the city of David with gladness.” (KJV)

The major points of this story are:

  • David became afraid to bring the ark into Jerusalem, lest it kills more people.
  • He decided to leave the ark in the field of a man named Obed-Edom.
  • God blessed Obed-Edom within the space of 3 months.
  • The blessing was such that even King David heard of it!

Here’s what powerful about all this: The name Obed-Edom means ‘Obed of Edom’, or ‘Obed the Edomite’. Therefore, Obed was a descendent of Edom, that is, Esau, Jacob’s brother. This means that there was a serious curse that operated in Obed-Edom’s life: The curse of Esau. This curse put every descendent of Esau under every descendent of Jacob. For this reason, the Edomites who dwelled among the Jews were treated as second-class folks. So much so that when King David became afraid of the ark, he decided to leave it on the property of Obed-Edom, with the reasoning that if the ark must kill people, let it kill those in Obed-Edom’s house. That’s how insignificant the lives of Obed-Edom and his household were to David because of the curse at work.

So when the Presence of God came into the house of Obed-Edom, it broke this curse and turned the situation around between Obed-Edom and David in such a way that if not for the eternal covenant that God had with David, God might have let Obed surpass David! God had planned before the creation of this world that David’s throne would be eternal since Jesus would come into this world through David’s lineage and reign forever. For this reason, God granted David mercy and grace and arranged for him to hear about what was happening in Obed-Edom’s house. This is why David ran to get the ark out of there! And it is also why he danced so hard when he finally brought the ark into Jerusalem. He had seen how powerfully the ark could bless people, and rejoiced because he was bringing this great Presence of God into his own city!

Kings don’t usually hear about every little thing that’s happening in the kingdom. Court officers only share important information with their kings. So what God began to do in the life of Obed-Edom was so powerful that King David’s officers felt the need to tell him about it! In fact Obed-Edom’s case is a classic example of the saying ‘the stone the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone!’ Here’s how this saying apply to this case: In the days of the kings, a person’s wealth determined his status in the society, and the very wealthy one were treated like kings. The common people flocked to the wealthy people for help with all kinds of matters, including passing judgment between them, just as they would go to the king. This is why, when Absalom wanted to dethrone his father King David, he went and sat at the King’s gate and directed the people to him for all their needs and issues. He helped them with their needs, and judged between them. Thus, he usurped his father’s office and position before the people. Instead of fighting his own son over the power of the kingdom, David chose to abdicate and leave the palace for Absalom. If Obed-Edom had been left alone with the ark in his house, he too could have grown in power and influence over King David.

In order for you to grasp the enormity of what happened in Obed-Edom’s life, consider this: It is the work and power of the curse of Esau that we are still witnessing today in the Middle-East between the Israelis and the Palestinians. No United Nations intervention and no deals brokered between the Israelis and Palestinians by anybody will ever break the hold that the Israelis have on the Palestinians. Isaac said to Esau that if he succeeded in breaking off the yoke that the curse has placed on his neck, then he would become free from it (see Genesis 27:40). The uprisings that the Palestinians engage in today is called ‘Intifadah’, which means ‘break off’.  As we know, they keep trying to break off the Israelis’ hold on them, and never succeed!

This is why it is such a powerful thing that God was willing to break this curse in the life of Obed-Edom. Here are some powerful lessons from this:

  • Whom God curses, no one can bless!
  • Whom God curses, He can turn around and bless!

Think about this: Could God bless someone while keeping his curse on the person? He had to first of all cancel the curse of Esau in order for His blessing to work in Obed-Edom’s life. THIS IS THE AWESOME BENEFIT THAT BELIEVERS GET TO ENJOY FOR HAVING THE PRESENCE OF GOD IN THEIR LIVES! He comes into our lives ready to destroy every curse that may have been operating in our lives, and to replace it all with His awesome blessings! This is why if God is with you, who can be against you??? If God’s presence is with you, how can any curse work against you? How could He stand idly by while some curses are waging war against you?!? Rather He moves in and looks around your life, and sets out to destroy everything in your life that has been causing you trouble! In Obed-Edom’s case, verse 12 says “The Lord hath blessed the house of Obededom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God.”

The keyword in that passage is ‘pertaineth’. It means that God went to work to bless Obed-Edom everything that even remotely pertained to the man. If a matter concerned Obed-Edom in any way at all, God dealt with it on his behalf to give him victory in the matter! This is what God wants to be able to do in the life of every single child of His in this world, and it pains Him so much to see His children suffering at the hands of various curses, all because we fail to live lives that would be conducive to His divine and Holy Presence!

Brethren, I pray that as you read these words, you develop a deep hunger for the presence of God in your life, and that you determine yourself to walk in holiness and righteousness, that the Lord might be willing to dwell in your life. You simply cannot make it as a Christian without his holy presence in your life because, as we know, the kingdom of God – Christianity – is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17).  It is only His presence in you that can place His righteousness on you, and enable you to have His supernatural peace and joy flowing in you.

Make your life conducive to God’s divine presence, and begin to see His awesome power at work in your life, to His glory!

 

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2014 in SHORT MESSAGES

 

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LET GOD BE GOD IN AND THROUGH YOU!

Once when the Lord Jesus needed to pay His taxes, neither He nor any of his disciples had any money. So He sent Peter to catch a fish and get the needed coin out of the fish’s mouth. (See Matthew 17:27 for the story.) God could have provided the money for the Lord Jesus by some other means, but He chose to do it in this manner. Did it matter to Jesus how He got the money? No. What mattered was that God-The-Father provided.

The secret to the Lord Jesus’ success on earth is simply that He lived by a strict obedience to every command that He received from God-the Father. He observed a strict obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit. He told us so Himself in passages such as:

  • John 12:49: “For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken”
  • John 14:10: “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.”
  • John 14:24: “Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”
  • John 14:26: “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
  • And Hebrews 2:10-13 quotes the Lord saying “…Even I live by placing my trust in God.” (MSG)

Therefore, in order to be as successful as the Lord Jesus was in His walk on earth, all a believer needs to do is to develop the same strict discipline of obeying, trusting in, and depending on God, that Jesus Himself had lived by.

You may read that last statement and say ‘that’s all it takes?’ And you’d be right in wondering if I’m not being too simplistic, but the simple fact is that walking with God is as simple as it is hard to do. The rules for a successful walk with God are very simple, though not easy to follow. Hence the sad state of Christianity today.

Here are the rules:

  • Believe in Christ and receive Him as your Lord and savior.
  • Give your life to Him. Meaning, submit your life – everything that makes up your life; everything that you are; everything that you own – under His leadership.
  • Consider Him to be your Master. Meaning that He owns you, and you live for one reason only: To serve Him. To do His will.
  • Depend on Him for everything in life. Meaning: look to Him for every form of need you could possibly have in this world; look to Him for protection; look to him guidance.
  • Obey EVERY instruction and command you receive from Him.
  • Comply to His rules for holiness.

Do this faithfully and flawlessly, and YOU WILL succeed as a follower of Christ and WILL see the manifestations of His presence and power in your life! Failure to faithfully and fully observe these rules is the single reason that most believers, especially pastors and ministers, do not adequately represent God in their lives and ministries the way Jesus did.

The first 3 of the Lord Jesus’ statements quoted above say it all: In those statements, He let us understand that He wasn’t just here on His own, but rather that He was ‘inside’ the Father. Meaning that as people saw Him, there was an invisible being that was there as well, but that they were not seeing: The Father. So He was saying that the Father is the main Person who is there, and He Himself is inside the Father. The point is that the work that Jesus came to do, it was the Father who really came to do the work, but He used Jesus to do it. So everything Jesus did, and every word He ever spoke, He did it all because the Father is the one who wanted to do and say those things, but He did it all through Jesus by using Jesus’ mouth and body.

So Jesus TOTALLY availed Himself to be used by God for God to do the things that God wanted to do in this world. Therefore, as long as Jesus followed every command that He received from God by doing everything that God told Him to do, and by speaking everything that God wanted Him to speak, God was able to be God through Jesus!

Brethren, THIS IS ALL that God is asking from us: For us to avail ourselves to be used by Him in the same manner that Jesus did! IT IS THOSE WHO SUCCEED AT THIS WHO TRULY REPRENSENT AND ENJOY CHRISTIANITY, because they get to enjoy the move of God in their lives! The single reason the power of God is not seen through the lives of believers the way it ought to be seen, is the fact that too few of us are willing to pay the price of submitting our lives unto God the way Christ did.

Too many of us let the ways of this world guide our decisions in life because too few of us understand the fact that once saved, we became kings and priests of God-Most-High!

Revelation 1:5-6  tells us:  “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”

God in heaven is King and Priest over the whole universe. And on earth He uses believers to perform His kingly and priestly work. So He saves people and uses them to rule as King, and to minister as Priest in this world. Jesus came to show us how this works. He walked about this earth allowing God to rule as King through Him, and to minister to people as Priest through Him. Meaning that Jesus was king and priest in this world only as a representative of God, who is the main King and Priest. And He was able to flawlessly represent God because He flawlessly followed God’s instructions on what to do as King and as Priest. All the people that are suffering in this world, God sees their sufferings and as a Priest He wants to minister His healing, deliverance, empowerment, and blessings unto them. And as the King of this world that He created, He wants to rule over the affairs of this world. He does all that thru people, as He did through Jesus.

So you that are reading this right now, understand this powerful fact: God wants to rule as King and to minister as Priest in this world through you. That’s why He saved you and called you His own. Look closely at the lives of the successful men and women of God that you know, and you will see that the one thing they have in common is their dedication to being used by God in the ways that He wants to use them! They try more than the average believer to live by God’s laws and will for their lives. As they do this they allow God to be God in and through their lives, hence the manifestation of His presence and power in and through their lives!

I have great news for you: This great God is no respecter of persons! He is a respecter of His own principles only! And His principles are that ANYONE who obediently avails himself to be used by God will not be cast away, but will be used indeed! The powerful men and women of God that you know are simply people who decided that they would be as obedient as possible, and that they would serve God as obediently as possible, and God responded to their acts of obedience the same way He responded to Jesus’ own acts of obedience. So He is anxiously waiting for you to give Him the chance to prove Himself mighty in and through your life, for others to see and pursue after you in their quest for God, just as you are currently pursuing those successful men and women of God, and just as the crowds pursued Jesus.

So I encourage you to decide today to do the same as they did:

  • Determine to be that great servant that God expect you to be unto Him.
  • Determine to walk in His holiness.
  • Determine that you will absolutely trust in Him and rely on Him for everything in life!
  • Determine to obey every instruction and command you receive from Him.
  • Determine to submit yourself to His guidance, and to live ONLY that life that He wants for you.
  • Determine to abandon whatever you’re doing and to do only whatever He tells you to do. (He may not necessarily tell you to leave what you’re currently doing, but you need to submit it under His leadership and involve Him in it and follow His directions and how to do it.)
  • Determine to consult Him in EVERYTHING you do
  • If you’re a minister, NEVER do anything without consulting Him. The church belongs to Him. Never to you. He called you to use you to build His church, not your church. How would you then make any decisions concerning His church without seeking His consent first?
  • Determine to  ALWAYS do as He has commanded, NO MATTER how difficult the command may be to keep!

Do this and watch Him transform your life into the masterpiece that He had purposed for it to be, to His glory!!!

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2014 in SHORT MESSAGES

 

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THE BELIEVER’S RETIREMENT PLAN

So how’s your heavenly retirement plan looking these days? How big has your nest egg grown up there in heaven?

 

These are questions we never hear believers ask one another; unlike the way we ask the same type of questions about our earthly retirement plans and activities. But the cold hard truth is that just as we need to have a retirement plan in place here on earth, we need to have one in heaven as well, and the heavenly one is by far more important that the earthly one because no matter how long an earthly retirement period (the years between retirement and death) might last, the heavenly one will last for eternity!

 

One crucial understanding that every believer must have is that we were placed on this earth to work for a period of time, then go to heaven to dwell, therefore, to retire. If you can allow this understanding to guide your life, you will be able to plan for your ‘heavenly retirement’ the same way you would plan your earthly one. It’s sad enough that most people fail to even plan for their earthly retirement; what a tragedy then, that most believers fail to plan for their much anticipated home-going to heaven!

 

Just as we must ask ourselves how we will meet our financial needs after we’ve grown too old to work, we must wonder how we will fend for ourselves in heaven. The problem is that we have this general belief that in heaven, there will be no need for anything. Wrong. The truth is that we don’t really know how things work in heaven, but the Lord Jesus has told us some things about heaven, so whatever understanding we must have of heaven must come from what the Lord has told us, and here are some of the statements He has made about heaven:

 

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21, KJV)

 

Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12:33,34, KJV)

 

So the Lord has made it clear that we ought to lay up treasures for ourselves in heaven. Why would that be? Of what use would the treasures be to us in heaven, other than for us to make use of it up there? So if we will need to make use of treasures up in heaven, that means there will be need to make transactions in heaven. So things will not be free up there after all. Let’s remember that God modeled life on earth after the way things are in heaven, but without the evil that we have on earth.

 

Here on earth we save up money for retirement because during the retirement period, we have for the most part ceased all income-generating activities, which tends to limit our ability to make ends meet. Now the tricky thing about being retired is that no one knows how long one might stay alive in retirement until death comes calling. So if an individual saved up enough money to last him five years, but gets to stay alive for 10 more years, those can be very harsh 10 years. For this reason we are encouraged to work hard at saving as much money as possible for our eventual period of retirement, since we have no idea how long it will last. Using this same logic, shouldn’t our highly-anticipated heavenly retirement be an even greater concern to us, since we know for a fact that it will be for eternity?!?

 

This is why in each of the statements the Lord made above, He ended by saying “for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also“, in order to stress the need for us to be more concerned with the treasure that we accumulate in heaven more than the earthly one. Because our retirement to heaven should matter to us far more than our retirement on earth.

 

Imagine that a man figures out that when he retires, he’s going to be spending $50,000 a year on living expenses. If he decides to save up for 20 years of retirement period, that comes to $1,000,000. With this in mind, everything he does in life will be geared towards realizing this $1,000,000 goal! Whatever amount of this money he manages to accumulate becomes a treasure that he would think of and cherish every waking moment, and would do everything to protect and grow. The Lord is telling us to have this attitude towards our heavenly retirement instead! In fact that is what the entire chapter of Luke 12 is all about. (Please take a moment and read the entire chapter).

 

In Luke 12 we’re told about a man who had succeeded in accumulating a great treasure for himself on earth, and decided one day that he had amassed enough to live on like a king for the rest of his life. That night, God took his life, and he ended up having done all that hard work for naught. The point of the parable is not that the man should not have amassed a fortune to enjoy here on earth. Rather it was that he had only concerned himself with gathering an earthly treasure, and totally ignored the fact that there’s a place called heaven, where God dwells, and where he would have to go back to. And because he had failed to be mindful of heaven, he failed to engage in the activities that would have earned him treasures in heaven. He failed to serve God while he was alive. God called the man ‘foolish’. And the opposite of foolish is wise. Proverbs 11:30 says:

 

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. (KJV)

 

What’s wise about winning souls? It’s the fact that soul-winning is the means for us to gather treasures in heaven! It is the means by which we get paid in heaven! As we serve the kingdom of God here on earth, we earn wages both here on earth and in heaven, and it is the ones we earn in heaven that are gathered up as treasures for us to enjoy when we retire to heaven.

 

So again I ask, what’s wise about winning souls? Imagine the rich man in Luke 12 going to heaven to find nothing in his heavenly account. But he sees a man who is enjoying a serious amount of treasure up there. As he looks closer, he recognizes the man as someone he had known on earth, who had spent his time on earth doing the Lord’s work winning souls for the kingdom. Which of the two men was wiser?

 

The Lord asked me one day “those mansions that I said I’m going to build for you in heaven, what do you think I would be building them with?” I replied that I did not know. He said that it is the treasures that we accumulate in heaven that He uses to build them. Meaning that as we serve in His kingdom here on earth, we earn wages in heaven, and from those wages he builds our mansions for us in preparation for our retirement to heaven. Needless to say, that blew my mind!!!

 

Here’s a story I always share to illustrate this: Many Africans who live abroad work hard in order to send money to their home countries to build houses for themselves. When I was living in Nigeria, a cousin of mine who lived in Germany came home one day, expecting to find a fully-built and furnished house waiting for him. He had been working hard and borrowing money to send to one of our uncles to build and furnish a house for him. But when he came home, there was no house, just an empty lot with the foundations of a house. That’s an example of a man who tried to lay up treasure for himself here on earth, and the treasure was stolen from him. Had he endeavored instead to lay up all that treasure in heaven by investing all that hard-earned money into the work of the kingdom, he would have given the Lord the resources to build him a mansion in heaven. And the Lord would not have cheated him!

 

As in the parable of the rich man in Luke 12, the point of this real life story is not that we shouldn’t build houses for ourselves here on earth. It’s just an illustration of how we can get our priorities all screwed up, for lack of wisdom.

 

This is why the Lord admonished: “…Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth…”

 

In order to successfully save up for retirement, the principle of ‘deferred pleasure’ must be applied. One must deny oneself some pleasures in order to, instead, put away the money that would have been spent on that pleasure. Likewise must we deny ourselves some pleasures here on earth in other to send the money up to heaven instead, by spending that money on the work of the kingdom. For example, before setting out to build yourself an expensive dream house here on earth, have you considered what your mansion in heaven looks like? Even if you get to live in your earthly dream house for years, that will still be nothing compared to the fact that you will have to live in whatever you end up with in heaven for eternity. So let’s be wise and prioritize well. Let’s be busy sowing seeds into our heavenly treasure by financing the kingdom and by giving alms to the needy. Haven’t you read that“… Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.” (Proverbs 19:17, NIV). Instead of wasting our hard-earned substances on things that will eventually prove futile, let’s be wise and ‘lend’ them to the Lord. He pays back with heavenly interests!

 

Therefore, it is imperative that we truly submit EVERYTHING we own unto God and let Him guide every facet of our lives. Only He can help us spend our resources in the best and most profitable ways, and help us maximize our treasures in heaven. So brethren, I URGE YOU TO TAKE A MOMENT AND PONDER THIS ISSUE VERY CONSCIOUSLY! Allow the Lord to ingrain in your consciousness the fact that all this is very real. If you’re somebody who has taken the time to consider the fact that you will retire one day from the work you’re doing and that you need to have a retirement plan in place, then it should be easy for you to understand how crucial it is for you to work even harder on your eventual retirement to heaven.

 

There are 4 major types of retirees:

  • Those who planned for retirement and worked on saving up for it.
  • Those who didn’t plan and didn’t save anything.
  • Those who didn’t plan, but were simply fortunate to have made a lot of money, and retired well.
  • Those who planned and tried, but simply couldn’t save up a lot.

 

So it is in heaven. Most believers have never thought about these matters at all. Therefore in heaven we find the following kinds of believers:

  • Those who worked hard for the kingdom and built great treasures for themselves.
  • Those who didn’t work for the kingdom at all.
  • Those who worked, but not much at all.
  • Those who worked hard, but not in the ways or in the areas God wanted them to serve Him.

 

You will agree with me that if those who had failed to work hard had known that their service would earn them treasures in heaven, they most likely would had have tried to do better. For this reason, LIFE IN RETIREMENT IS NOT SOMETHING TO BE LEFT TO CHANCE. Rather we must consciously work on setting ourselves up as best as possible for our retirements here on earth and in heaven.

 

Therefore, as you would sit down with a financial consultant to help and guide you in planning your earthly retirement, you need to go to the Lord and let Him show you where and how He has planned for you to serve in His kingdom. NO MATTER WHAT YOUR OCCUPATION MAY BE, THERE IS A WAY FOR YOU TO SERVE GOD IN THIS WORLD. And if you can’t serve Him in deeds, serve Him in kind! REMEMBER THAT NOTHING YOU ACHIEVE HERE ON EARTH IS WORTH IT IF IT STANDS IN THE WAY OF YOUR ACHIEVING SUCCESS IN HEAVEN! No treasure or good life that you can create for yourself here on earth is worth it if it prevents you from creating a treasure and a good life for yourself in heaven! BE WISE ABOUT THIS!

 

I will close by pointing out once again that the Lord repeated the phrase “…For where your treasure is, there will your heart be alsobecause it is a strong urging from the Lord for us to be more mindful of our heavenly treasure than of our earthly one. I pointed out earlier that a man who has a retirement plan will cherish and protect his nest egg more ferociously than a hen would protect her nest. The Lord is admonishing us to have this attitude even more towards our heavenly nest egg. This doesn’t mean that our motive for wanting to serve Him should be based on the rewards we receive in heaven, but He’s simply urging us not to make the mistake of neglecting the treasures that we accumulate in heaven, BECAUSE WE WILL NEED IT TO LIVE when we get up there!!!

 

The work abounds in God’s vineyard, and the harvest has been ripe, waiting for laborers! Be that laborer and watch God faithfully bless you here on earth and in heaven!

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2014 in SHORT MESSAGES

 

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THE INCOMPATIBILITY OF CHRISTIANITY AND HOMOSEXUALITY

The purpose of Christianity is for it to be an avenue for sinful men and women to come and get reconciled to a holy God. Therefore, just as hospitals are places where the sick are to go and get help to get better, the Church is a place where sinners can go and get help from the Lord Jesus to overcome their sins. It’s a place where those who recognize God and Jesus as their Savior and Master, congregate with one another to worship God, learn from one another, and grow together in God.
 
One fundamental aspect of Christianity is that it is not a democracy! Rather it is a kingdom where God is King, and where He rules by His own set of laws, which He spelled out in the Bible. Therefore, anyone who wishes to belong to Christianity MUST adhere to God’s laws, as stated in the Bible. You don’t have to be a Christian; but if you so choose, then you must determine to abide by God’s laws.

For this reason Christianity is a faith based on repentance from sin, and repentance itself is based on agreement. I repented from my sinful ways and chose to follow God’s ways, because when I discovered His ways, I agreed with Him that my ways were wrong, and that I needed to forsake them and follow His holy ways. Therefore, as a Christian, I endeavor now to live by God’s ways, as revealed in the Bible.

Hence the problem with homosexuality in the Church, which stems from the fact that some homosexuals who would like to follow God have refused to agree with God’s expressed view that homosexuality is evil, and that they need to repent from it, and stop indulging in it. Rather they want to be accepted as ‘homosexual Christians’.

To non-Christians this seems like a legitimate demand, hence their belief that the Church is being unfairly intolerant of homosexuals. But the fact is that homosexuals ARE welcome in the church. The church IS for such sinners. It’s just that instead of them to come to church to get help with their condition, they want to impose their evil practices on the Church.

Let me be blunt about this: There can’t be such a thing as a ‘Christian homosexual’, just as there can’t be a Christian thief, or a Christian wife-beater. These are all unacceptable behaviors that we expect anyone with such issues to come into the Church to seek help with. The problem, therefore, is that when homosexuals come into the Church and demand to be left alone as they are, they are in fact asking that the will of God concerning homosexuality be ignored, and that they be allowed to continue in their evil ways. 

The Church is for people who have recognized that they have a problem that they need the Lord Jesus to help them with. Just as the sick are expected to get well in hospitals, so are sinners who come into the Church expected to drop their sinful habits, and become righteous people who endeavor to abide by God’s ways. Therefore, homosexual and proud of it, and unwilling to change? That’s fine. Just stay out of the Church of our Lord Jesus-Christ. That’s all we’re asking.

Yes, everyone in the Church, including the pastors, is still battling one sinful habit or the other. But they have agreed that they have a problem with sin, and they are working on changing their ways to be conformed to the ways of God. Like a sick person who goes to the hospital to get well, we go to church to get help to overcome sin and become holy before our God.

WHAT IS EXPECTED OF THE CHURCH?

The Church must treat the sin of homosexuality the way it treats any other sin. The notion of being ‘tolerant’ of homosexuality has been misconstrued by so many folks, believers and unbelievers alike. A pastor who thinks that being tolerant of homosexuals means teaching that it is alright to be homosexual is not a Christian pastor – a Christian pastor bases his teachings strictly on the word of God. Not telling a gay person the truth about the way God feels about their lifestyle is not love or tolerance, but murder. The sin of homosexuality is one baggage he or she simply cannot carry into heaven.

And a pastor who refuses to admit homosexuals into his church does not understand his calling, which is to bring all sinners into the church and show them the way to freedom from sin.

Being tolerant of gays simply means accepting them the way we accept everyone else. The doors of the Church are open to all men from all walks of life. But the ultimate goal and purpose of the Church is for it to be a place where people come to reconcile with their Maker, and the way to do this is to lovingly bow to His will and seek after His holy ways. To love God is to hate sin! Anyone who wishes to remain in any type of sin has no place in Christianity.

When we discover that a brother or sister is still actively involved in some type of sinful behavior, we lovingly call them to order. So when we discover that a brother or sister who is homosexual has not only refused to change his or her views on homosexuality, but is actively flaunting the lifestyle, and trying to make a case that he or she has the right to be a ‘Christian homosexual’, of course we have a problem. It’s like an individual with any other sinful habit, say a wife-beater, or a thief, who comes into the church and tries to make a case that it is all right to be a wife-beater or a thief. You would see the same kind of spirited rebuke from the Church against any group that tries to claim that it is alright to engage in any other type of activity that the Bible has declared to be sinful.

This is why the two fundamental reasons that the Church has a problem with homosexuals are:

1. They are the only group of sinners demanding to be allowed to indulge in their sin.
2. They actively seek to change the Church’s views and stance on the issue of homosexuality.

You don’t hear of thieves or fornicators or any other type of sinners who demand that the Church change its views and stance on their type of sinful practice. But homosexuals do. They have actively mounted a fight to get the Church to embrace homosexuality, and they’ve been using all kinds of vile attacks and intimidating means to get their ways. Ironically, this fact alone totally discredits their stance, because it reveals the very evil and mean spirit behind homosexuality. Only the spiritually-blind can fail to see the homosexual attack on Christianity for what it is: An attack from the pit of hell to destroy the Church at its very foundation!

GOD’S CASE AGAINST HOMOSEXUALITY

Here’s what’s fundamentally wrong about homosexuality in God’s eyes:

Genesis 1:26-27 says: “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.(NIV)

You see, brethren, when God created man, He also created the woman at the same time, with the woman hidden inside the man. So though the man was alone until the time when God brought the woman out of him, he wasn’t alone in God’s eyes. God always saw the man and the woman united as one when He looked at the man.

Fast-forward to Genesis 2, where God ‘formed’ both the man and woman. To some, Genesis 2 simply retells the story already told in Genesis 1. No!!! To understand the difference between what God did in Gen 1 and 2, one must understand the difference between ‘creating’ and ‘forming’. You create something out of nothing; but you ‘form’ something by using things that already exist.

Thus, in Genesis 1 God created man out of the blue by multiplying His very self into another being that looked and behaved just like Himself. And since God is Spirit, then the man that God created was a spirit – that’s what it means that He created man in His own image. So in Gen 1, God created the spirit of the man and the woman, with the woman’s own spirit being inside the man’s spirit.

Then in Genesis 2:7 we are told how God now took some dust from the ground – which already existed – and ‘formed’ the body of the man. This is why the body dies and goes back to dust, but the spirit never dies.

So in Gen 1, God created the main part of the man and woman that matters: Their spirits. Then in Gen 2, He took dust and molded a physical body over their spirits, so they can be able to dwell in a physical earth.

As we can see from the Gen 2 narration, the woman was still inside of man even after man was given a physical body, and he carried her around inside of him until God decided to bring the woman out and give her her own physical body (Gen 2:21-25). It was only at that point that they became two separate entities here on earth, BUT IN GOD’S EYES, THEY WERE ALWAYS ONE! Notice that when God gave the woman her own body, he didn’t just scoop dust from the ground to form her body, but he used a piece of the man’s own body to form her body. This signifies a spiritual bridge that preserved the concept of the man and woman being of one flesh!

This kind of union is God’s intent and purpose for men and women, and that is why right after God separated them into two people, we read: “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24, NIV)

It’s crucial to understand this: There’s a serious spiritual phenomenon that occurs during sexual intercourse. The parties involves LITERALLY become one spiritually! In the realm of the spirit the two beings become one. This is why God intends for sexual intercourse to be strictly between a man and a woman who have been united in holy matrimony. If it is between a man and a woman united by holy matrimony, it is the most beautiful thing for God to behold!!! Otherwise, it is evil in His sight! This is why a healthy sexual relationship is crucial in a marriage. During intercourse, the man and the woman complete one another and exchange virtues.

There’s a story about a young man who let his curiosity about sex lead him to having sex with the family dog, just to see what sex feels like. Unfortunately for him, as he and the dog united spiritually, some of the dog’s personality got transferred to him. One day, as the boy sat down to take a very important exam at school, he suddenly started to bark like a dog. That’s all he could do at that time. They thought he had gone mad and sent him out of the exam room. At home, he confessed what he had done, and the parents sought spiritually help for him.

The point of all this is that sexual intercourse is something that God designed for a man and his woman to enjoy together and through it strengthen their union and get to know each other better. It is not something that He takes lightly!

It is crucial to understand what I’ve explained here in order to understand the way God feels about the idea same-sex relationship. IT GOES AGAINST HIS INTENT AND PURPOSE!!! I can’t emphasize any more the idea that God can never accept the idea of two men or two women uniting together as one both in sexual intercourse and in matrimony. HE CAN NEVER ACCEPT SUCH MATRIMONY AS HOLY. It goes against everything He intended! It is a lie from Satan that God is okay with it!!!

Think about it: when God created man, MAN AND WOMAN CREATED HE THEM! You want to tell me that God very specifically designed the concept of man as a being that came with his woman inside of him, just to now accept the idea of a man and some other man, or a woman and some other woman, together? Such unions are abomination in God’s sight!!! This is what so disgusted Him about the people of Sodom and Gomorrah that He sent fire to destroy them!

THERE IS HELP!

The notion that homosexuality is not a curable habit? Another lie from the pit of hell! There is power in Jesus-Christ to save human beings from every type of sin! Just ask the people at such ministries as http://www.SBMinistries.org. The Lord is doing wonders in the lives of homosexuals who are willing to recognize that they have a problem, and are willing to work with Him to have a change of life. That’s what Christianity is all about.

I enjoyed reading an article recently in CHARISMA magazine, about a lesbian who went to a church service with her partner with the intention of provoking the congregation with their lifestyle. But once she got there, God literally ‘arrested’ her and delivered her from the habit. They had thought that the church folk would be mean towards them, but what they received was pure love and indifference. This made one of them curious about Christians because she had only heard about how mean they are towards gays. So she decided to visit again, and began to read the Bible. Soon she discovered that her lifestyle truly offends God, and decided to allow Him to make a change in her. She is now free to live the way God intended for her to live, and is sharing her story to help deliver other gays.

WHAT TO DO

Outside the Church, the law of the land rules. So be sure to abide by the existing laws concerning the treatment of gay folks. And within the Church, we have an obligation to preserve the purity and holiness of the Church. This means that we must follow the lead of the Holy Spirit and lovingly teach the truth about the way God feels about homosexuality. As believers we are to love the sinner while hating the sin. NEVER HATE A PERSON for any reason, and certainly not for being gay. But do hate the sin in their lives, and pray that they would be delivered from it, that they might be able to make heaven. Relate freely and gladly with them as you would with anybody, and apply godly wisdom if you ever wish to minister to them on the issue.

God bless you.

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2014 in SHORT MESSAGES

 

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BE NOT A CHILD BUT A SON OF GOD!

What does God desire the most from us believers? It is that we would all become sons and daughters to Him, not just his children. Because there is a world of difference between being a child and being a son or a daughter. A child is an immature human, and a son is a mature human. A child cannot be very useful to a father because he cannot help the father take care of business, whereas a mature son can.

Apostle Paul admonished the Galatian brethren that “…As long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2 The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces[a] of the world. But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.[b]Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba,[c] Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” – Galatians 4:1-7

Now, the main point Paul sought to make here is that though all men are made in God’s image and are therefore, His offspring, an unsaved man cannot operate as God’s son because the sinful nature of the unsaved man makes it impossible for him to relate to God as His son. So Paul likened this to a child whom, though he is his father’s son, does not yet live up to his proper and expected role as a son to the man, because there’s something still standing in the way: childishness and immaturity. And in the context that Paul used the analogy, what is standing in the way of a man being recognized as God’s son is sin. Therefore, the salvation from sin that Jesus has provided has made it possible for men to be fully recognized as heirs of God, as through salvation:

  • The nature of God is restored in men, and we can now call Him Father.
  • The power and authority of God is restored in men.
  • The ability to take care of God’s business as His sons is restored in men.
  • The ability to represent God on earth as his sons is restored in men.

So while that was the context in which Paul made that admonition to the Galatians, there are more contexts in which more understanding can be gained from that admonition. The story of the Prodigal Son provides one such context in that in this story we have the father and his sons representing God and His children, and the father’s estate representing God’s kingdom. [Please refer to Luke 15:11-32 for the full parable of the prodigal son]

This story reveals a number of issues that prevent God’s children – born-again believers – from being God’s sons, namely:

  • LACK OR INADEQUATE AMOUNT OF LOVE FOR GOD
  • SPIRITUAL IMMATURITY
  • LACK OF UNDERSTANDING OF WHO WE ARE AS HEIRS OF GOD
  • SPIRITUAL CARELESSNESS

Though the prodigal son and his older brother were their father’s sons, they behaved more like children even after they had grown to the age when they should have behaved like sons unto him. As we know from the story, their father had a huge estate; the kind that requires that he appoint people in important positions to help him run the affairs of the estate. But his sons fell short of such important positions. Likewise do the majority of God’s children woefully fall short of expectations that God has of us, for the reasons listed above.

Though the prodigal son and his older brother had two very different personalities, both were very immature sons who lacked understanding of who they were in their father’s house. The prodigal son’s issues were more obvious than the older brother’s. The prodigal son didn’t care about their father at all, and simply wanted to go and live his own life for himself, at his father’s expense. Meaning that he didn’t have a sense of ownership over their father’s estate like a son would, and therefore, didn’t care to help grow the estate. Many in the church are like this man. We only see God’s kingdom as His kingdom, and not ours as well. We don’t see it as our Heavenly Father’s property that we must take part in helping to grow in this world. But most of our prayers are about asking God to give us our piece of His riches.

Had the prodigal son loved his father, he would have lovingly stayed and helped to build the father’s estate, and wouldn’t have even thought of the inheritance. And had he been wise, he would have understood that in helping to build the estate, he was building his own estate; that he was building his own future. Because you see, had he been wise, and had he loved his father, he would have waited for his father to die before receiving his inheritance. For instance, let’s say that his share of his father’s estate was 20%, and that the estate was worth 100 million dollars on the day he received his inheritance. That would mean a share of 20 million dollars. But then let’s say that their father got to live 20 more years before dying, and that at the time of  his death, his estate was worth 1 billion dollars. The prodigal son’s inheritance at that time would have been 200 million dollars! So had he been wise, he would have stayed and worked to build up his own inheritance!

If only we believers were wise to understand the glorious stake that we have in our Father’s kingdom!!!

The Lord spoke to me one day, and asked me “those mansions that I said I’m going to prepare for you in heaven (see John 14:2), what do you think I’m building them with?” He then proceeded to explain to me that it is the work that we do for Him here on earth that produces the resources that He uses to build our mansions in heaven. In other words, as we serve in His kingdom here on earth, we get paid both here on earth, and in heaven for our services, and the Lord uses the payments that we receive in heaven to build our mansions for us. This is why He told us in Matthew 6:19-21 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (KJV)

Here’s an illustration: Many Africans who live abroad endeavor to send money to their home countries to build houses for themselves. When I was living in Nigeria, a cousin of mine who lived in Germany came home one day, expecting to find a fully-built and furnished house waiting for him. He had been working hard and borrowing money to send to one of our uncles to build a house for him. But when he got there, there was no house. That’s an example of a man who tried to lay up treasure for himself here on earth, and the treasure was stolen from him. Had he endeavored instead to lay up treasures in heaven by investing all that hard-earned money into the work of the kingdom, he would have given the Lord the resources to build him a mansion in heaven. And the Lord would not have cheated him!

Now of course I’m not saying that one should not build houses for oneself here on earth. But I am very much encouraging us to re-evaluate our priorities in life! Because it is a fact that we believers do spend AND WASTE the resources God gives us on personal things, instead of spending it on things that concern and benefit the Kingdom.

  • A TRUE SON OF GOD IS ONE WHO UNDERSTANDS THAT KINGDOM MATTERS COME FIRST IN HIS LIFE!
  • A true son of God understands that he is only a steward of whatever God puts in his hands, and that paying tithe of 10% doesn’t mean that the remaining 90% is for him to spend as he wishes. Rather He asks God how he is to spend every red cent that comes into his hands.

So much more work would be accomplished in the kingdom of God if more believers committed their possessions to serving God with it first.

Brethren, so many people will be shocked when they get to heaven and see the mansion that was built for them. Those believers who spent their time on earth pursuing their own things, seeking fulfilment in their own ways, serving God how and when it pleased them, will be shocked to see what they got. And they will be even more shocked to see the greater mansions that were built for those who selflessly and tirelessly served God! Those who gave Him their all here on earth, WILL go to heaven to receive their great rewards! All because they were wise enough to understand that their reward up in heaven is the more important one.

Proverbs 11:30 says “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. (KJV)

I used to wonder a lot about the meaning of the second part of this verse; I mean it’s obvious that winning souls is a good thing to do, which all believers are expected to do anyway. But what has wisdom got to do with it? I used to ponder this issue until the Lord gave me the understanding about the relation between serving in His kingdom and laying up treasures in heaven. If the work we do for the kingdom here on earth is the means by which we’re paid in heaven, then you’ll agree with me that a person who denies himself much personal pleasure here on earth in order to devote himself to the work of the kingdom is a lot wiser than a man who doesn’t, because he is wise enough to look ahead and build up a treasure for himself where it truly matters – in heaven – where he will get to enjoy the fruit of his labors FOR ETERNITY!

So we can see how the prodigal son lacked insight into the future, and was not wise enough to make the best decision for himself. ALL BECAUSE HE DIDN’T CARE ABOUT HIS FATHER’S AFFAIRS! Believers who spend their earnings on themselves and neglect the affairs of the kingdom are no different. True sons of God are mature and wise believers who know better! Who understand that true fulfilment in life is in helping to build their father’s kingdom by helping to populate it with His lost sons and daughters! Who understand that if they don’t do it, nobody else would! If they don’t do it, who would? The unbelievers? The careless and unserious believers who don’t have time for God?

So from all this we learn that a true son or daughter of God:

  • Loves God and wants to serve Him out of love and devotion, not for what he can gain from God
  • Sees God’s Kingdom as his own, and devotes himself to helping build it
  • Is wise to understand that worldly gains cannot be compared to eternal gains in heaven, where it truly matters. Like the prodigal son who would have gained much more if he had stayed and served his father to the end, we stand to gain so much more if we serve wholeheartedly, and never stop serving to the end!

Let’s now take a look into some of the older brother’s issues, which are summed up in his angry comments to his father when he said: “‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’” (Luke 15:29, NIV)

By his own admission, the older brother was so immature that he didn’t understand who he was in his father’s house. He saw himself as a slave, though he owned the estate. He served his father, not as a heir to his father, but as a slave because that’s how he saw himself. Not as a co-owner and co-builder of the estate, but as a slave. Hence another lesson from Paul’s statement to the Galatians that “as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2 The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father.

The employees at a multi-billion-dollar retail chain don’t have a sense of ownership in the company as do the owners of the company because they are not heirs to the company. And by owners I mean the man or woman who owns the company along with his/her children. They’re the ones enjoying the billions. The employees only get their fixed salaries, so it’s understandable that they couldn’t care any less whether the company is doing well or not, because as far as they’re concerned, even if the company went down, they could go somewhere else and get another job making the same salary. But if the heirs of the company’s owner are grown up and are working in the company, they would take their jobs and positions more personally than the employees would, and the wellbeing of the company would mean everything to them.

We believers must see God’s kingdom as our very own kingdom because it belongs to us. We are heirs to it; so what concerns it MUST concern us! We must take personally the affairs of the kingdom of God. The church we belong to does not belong to the pastor-in-charge or the overseer, but it belongs to us because it belongs to God our Father. What concerns the church MUST concerns us deeply. The needs of the church must be our needs. We must love the church as Christ loves her, and avail ourselves to be used by the Lord to see that the affairs of the church are running smoothly.

If an heir to the retail company needed a 60-inch TV set, all he would need to do would be to order that one TV set be brought to his house from one of the company’s stores, because he knows that  the TV set, along with everything in the stores, belongs to him. The prodigal son’s older brother didn’t even have this understanding. He didn’t know that he had the right to order a servant to kill a goat for him to enjoy with his friends. He was waiting for his father to see him working hard one day and tell him to reward himself with a goat, when he himself was in the position to see one of the servants working hard and tell the servant to reward himself with a goat. But if he didn’t even know that he could reward himself with a goat, how could he tell the servants to reward themselves with one?

Brethren, if you don’t know who you are in Christ, how can you tell others who they are in Him??? If you don’t know who you are in Christ, how can you know what rights, authorities and powers you have in his kingdom as co-heirs with Him??? How can you call yourself a son??? It is a child who goes about his father’s house not understanding these things, because he is a child. Which is why the father assigns servants to care for him and provide him with things that he needs but doesn’t know how to get for himself. But it is expected that with time, the child would grow into a mature man who knows what rights he has as his father’s son, and begins to exercise his authority over the estate. Likewise MUST a believer grow into a son or daughter of God in whom now dwell God’s power and authority, and who knows how to use this power and authority to perform his God-assigned duties in the kingdom!

And just as a small child cannot be expected to work alongside his father to help build the family estate, neither can an immature believer successfully work with God. So it is expected that a believer MUST mature into a son whose existence on earth is all about working alongside God-the-Father and our Senior Brother Jesus, to help build and advance the kingdom!

This is why Romans 8:19  says “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” (KJV)

Not the manifestation of the ‘children’ of God, but of the ‘sons’ of God! Only true sons of God have what it takes to manifest His power and glory for the world to see and believe in Him!

Lastly, we see the same lack of love in the older brother as well. In fact it’s not at all surprising that with all his immaturity, the older brother would also lack love, because a mature son would be man enough and loving enough to graciously welcome back his wayward brother. One of the greatest failures of the Church is in the way newcomers are treated sometimes. The existing members can at times be incredibly hostile to newcomers. Whether they realize it or not, they react as if they aren’t happy to see a lost soul come home to the Father. But a true believer is a son of Love. God doesn’t just have love, HE IS LOVE! So as His children we are children of love! And as we grow into sons, we grow to become sons of Love! Love MUST be a defining trait in a true son of God. AS GOD IS LOVE, SO MUST A TRUE SON OF HIS BECOME LOVE! The ability to love ALL men unconditionally and to readily welcome them into the kingdom must dwell in a son of God! Our lives must be all about working to reconcile our lost brethren to our Father, out of deep love for our Father and for our lost brethren!

WHO THE BROTHERS BECAME

In the parable, the Lord did not say what happened after the prodigal son returned and was accepted back into his father’s house as a son. But as we can see from the story, he and his older brother were subjected to some serious life-changing lessons on who they ought to be in their father’s house. The older bro found out that his father’s possessions were his to use freely, and that he was not to see himself as just one of the servants. And the prodigal son became a different person from who he was before he left.

As a result of this transformation that took place within both sons, they could now truly be sons to their father! How so?

The prodigal son was now a broken man. He had had his fun in life and was no longer interested in having fun. All he wanted before was to use and abuse his father’s wealth, but now he was ready to be useful to his father! HE HAD ‘DIED’ AND WAS BORN ANEW into a reformed and responsible person who could be counted upon, as a true son! The experience that he had gone thru was the kind that gives wisdom, and produces in a man the right kinds of personality traits, such as humility, wisdom and understanding, graciousness, dedication, selflessness, temperance, etc… Therefore, I can imagine that he must have gone to his father the next morning and asked where he could be of service on his father’s estate! And we can be sure that WHATEVER he was told to do, he would have done it judiciously and excellently, as he was now selflessly dedicated to the service of his father!

This is the kind of brokenness – and resulting reformation to our personalities, that God seeks to produce in believers that He is looking to make into sons! This is why He takes His time to put us thru harsh ordeals that are akin to the hardship the prodigal son endured.

The older brother also underwent a transformation that day, stemming from the understanding that had just been handed to him by his father. Here’s how his own future might have changed: From the way he saw himself, and the way his father spoke to him, it is doubtful that the father had given him a befitting position of responsibility and authority in his estate. Let’s remember the statement “As long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2 The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father…

Their father had servants who occupied positions of authority and helped him run the estate, instead of his own sons. One son had run away, and the older one who had stayed was unfit to take on such important positions. Just as the father waited for the day his prodigal son would come back and be a son to him, he waited for the day his older son would overcome his shortcomings and become a son to him. Therefore, if the father’s words to the older brother had had the right effects on him, then the older brother would have had the kind of change of heart, change of perspective, and change of self-view, that would have transformed him into the person his father had been waiting for him to become: A grown man who knew who he was as his father’s son! It is to such a son that their father would assign a position of importance within his estate.

The ‘new’ older brother would be a new person in that he would no longer be insecure and resentful of his younger brother and his father. His anger towards both men would dissipate and turn into love. And this love would produce in him the gentleness and graciousness with which he could lead the servants and treat them well and justly. He was already dedicated to serving their father; but while he used to do it with bitterness and resentment, he would now do it out of love and devotion to his father, and would happily and lovingly serve alongside his reformed brother.The Lord is not looking for slaves in us! He is looking for dedicated sons and daughters who CHEERFULLY seek to serve Him because they have grown to love and value Him above all things!

CONCLUSION

We will conclude this teaching by pointing out the powerful role that righteousness plays in all this discussion about sons. BECAUSE RIGHTEOUSNESS IS THE SOURCE OF THE POWER IN A SON OF GOD!
We’ve mentioned that a son of God must be holy. But holiness is simply man separating himself from sin, and the simple fact is that no matter how much we try to be holy before God, we could never attain the standard of holiness that God has. Therefore, God devised a system by which He puts His own righteousness upon us once we believe in His Son. That way, He overlooks our imperfect state by looking at us thru His Son’s own perfection, and sees us righteous.

This presence of God’s righteousness in us brings us into an incredible position! In fact the greatest tragedy this world has ever known is the fact that believers do not understand the kind of position the righteousness of God brings them into in this world! Imagine a homeless vagrant with no good name and origins, no possessions, nothing whatsoever to boast of in this world. One day, a wealthy and powerful man takes in the bum, adopts him and confers upon him his own powerful name, then places him in a position of power within his estate. This is literally what happens when God confers His righteousness upon a man! His authority and power are suddenly placed upon the man!

Now imagine that the only condition placed upon the bum is that he be faultlessly obedient to the man who has adopted him and made him his son. That’s exactly the condition that sons of God MUST meet without fault! The secret to the Lord Jesus’ success is simple this: He was always obedient, even to the point of death!!!!! (See Philippians 2:8) As long as He was obedient to the instructions that He received from God the Father, the power and authority of the Father were upon Him and worked for Him. Likewise, as long as every single person in the Bible whom God had worked with, had been obedient to God, His righteousness was upon the person, and produced the mighty manifestations of the power of God in the person’s life!

God’s kingdom belongs to God!!! He decides how things are done in it. His Church belongs to Him. He decides how it is to be built! His sons are his servants. Therefore, all that is expected of them is to listen attentively to His instructions and do as instructed. Nothing else and nothing more or less!!! If the Lord Jesus came to earth and did nothing other than to receive instructions from the Father and then do strictly as He was instructed, how much more we whose righteousness comes thru Him!?! As long as the prodigal son and his older brother obediently served their father as instructed, he would be pleased to maintain his authority and power on them. The day any of them disobeyed in any way, his position of authority would be in jeopardy. The estate belonged to their father, and he had a specific vision for where he wanted to take his business. The sons were there to help him take his business where he wanted, and the only way they could do so was by receiving their father’s instructions, and strictly doing as instructed. Even if they never understood where he was taking the estate, they would obey faithfully because they now believed in their father, that he knew best, and they loved and respected his judgment.

So brethren, God is looking for sons and daughters of His who have grown into mature believers who have learned to be obedient to His every command, for therein lies the secret to their success as sons and daughters of God! EVERY SINGLE SON AND DAUGHTER IS UNIQUE! Therefore, the way God works with one son or daughter is not the way He works with another. Every church or ministry is unique. Therefore, God has a way that He plans to build every church or ministry. Watch and learn the way God works with you to build what He has committed to your care, and determine to follow His lead no matter what the cost of doing so may be! Seek out and faithfully follow His instructions no matter how ludicrous, crazy, unpleasant or scary they may sound! Therein lies the key to your success as a son or daughter of God!

If you’re a man, be a SON unto God! If you’re a woman, be a DAUGHTER unto God! Go and be great in our Father’s kingdom and vineyard! Be blessed!

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2014 in SHORT MESSAGES

 

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