Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Dogged Faith In the face of Adversity .


There has been and there will be , always, among the people of God, a Godly remnant  whom God can boast of as His very own army.
" Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him ". 
1 King 19: 18.
Just as all the other Prophets bowed to Baal; with the exception of the mentioned 7000; also in this era , when they are facing oppositions  and life-threatening challenges , we hear of capitulations by sections of the people of God; as evidenced by their unfaithfulness to God's word  .
But thanks be to God, that even today , just as well , God can boast of more than 7000 of His children who have not " sold out " by kissing Baal ; or eating and drinking the king's fine meats and wines .

For this week's bible study,  I have chosen to focus on the life stories of Joseph and Daniel.
They are good examples of  persons who remained faithful to God's word even as they faced life-threatening adversities.
These men kept on believing God and trusting God's word even when  it seemed they had lost everything and when it looked as if their lives on earth were over and finished with.

Brethren , what are those challenges that could make one to deny God and to forget God's promises ?
1. Could it be situations of hopelessness and experiences of great loss?
Joseph and Daniel lost everything when they became captives and their situations became hopeless but God delivered them gloriously. They were promoted and gained back everything they had lost and even gained more. Indeed , glorious restorations and testimonies were their testimonies .
2. Or is it unrelenting temptations?
God is able to make a way of escape from every temptation.
"There hath no temptation taken hold of you but such as is common to man. But God is faithful; He will not suffer you to be tempted beyond that which ye are able to bear, but with the temptation will also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it ".
1 Corinthians 10: 13 -14.
If only we are willing to take the divine way out , we shall overcome all temptations .
Joseph faced it and he overcame the temptation of the persistent offers to commit the sin of  adultery by having a sexual affair with his boss Potiphar's wife. Genesis 39: 6-7.
Daniel faced the temptation of eating and drinking the choicest royal food and wine which the Jewish people did not eat . Leviticus 11: 46 ; Daniel 1: 5.
He also faced the temptation put to him by his enemies which was for him to choose between worshipping his God Jehovah or bowing down before the  Babylonian idol.
Daniel determined to put his life on the line by refusing to bow to the demands of his enemies.

These two young men Joseph and Daniel , could have decided to succumb to these temptations and they could indeed have chosen the easiest ways out of their predicament .
Joseph could have chosen the lifestyle of being a top society woman's pampered Toy-Boy and then be enjoying free sex and the best life in Potiphar's household .
Daniel could have chosen to enjoy free food and free wine ; and he could have followed the multitude to do the evil of bowing down to worship a graven image.
 Exodus 20:1 -6; 23: 2.
But because both of them trusted God and they knew the God they were serving ,and they believed God 's word, they said a big and emphatic " NO!" to the favours and lure of sinful lifestyles.
3. Your own challenge could be the mockery and evil counsel of friends and family.
When you are facing tribulations , you would be called all sorts of names by people and you would  hear diverse advice from all types of people who think the reason why you are in trouble is because you are a numbskull and you do not know what you should do to free yourself  .
 People would tell you what you should do and all the wonderful ways through which  to "help" yourself .
 Most of these advice could be ungodly counsel . Just the type of counsels Job was given by his close families and friends .
  Job 2: 9.
People , can God boast of you like He did about Job?
The LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. 
And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause." Job 2:3.
 Is this your testimony whereby God in heaven is boasting of your dogged faithfulness after you have shunned and reject the mockery and bad advice of many people given to you  ?

4. The problem could be your fear of the future and your search for what you will eat and drink. 
There is always the pull to envy the unrighteous rich and to copy what the unrighteous rich have done to make their fortune .
But what does the word of God say about emulating the wicked? Psalm 37: 1-13.
Both Joseph and Daniel were very handsome young men.
Are you a handsome man or a beautiful woman using your fine looks to collect money and other gifts in exchange for sex with all sorts of men and women ?
You the trader, maybe you see nothing wrong in grabbing all "business " opportunities, both the good and bad; in order to make money and to become famous ?
5. The adversity could be the lure of joining the bandwagon of people who are kissing Baal.
Have you "sold out" by manipulating the word of God and "helping " yourselves because of what you will eat and drink ?
 Many people have entered into all sorts of covenants and unholy alliances just to "survive".
Man, woman, you know you had a sham marriage ceremony with a foreigner ; just to enable you obtain their foreign passport and work permit.
People who love money have built themselves up as idols and set up doctrines of money to be worshipped as idols inside the Church.
While claiming to be "Ministers and people  of God ", for the love of filthy lucre , you know you have joined the chorus of deceivers of the Flock of Christ .
Just because of your lust for money , what are you preaching?
Have you stood on God's altar to lie to people by manipulating God's word and using God's name to deceive people ?
All said and done in order to collect Church money and use it to build your personal businesses and to buy whatever you desire for yourselves and your families.
The Church offerings you have raised was NOT, as you promised, " to help the poor and needy and to do the work of God, world wide !".
You know that when you say " Please give generously to God's work , the " god " you have in mind is YOURSELF ; not the God of the Bible !
6. Many have abandoned God and His word because they think God's word is not practicable nowadays ; and that His ways are too Slow ?
Are you that person who sees nothing wrong in forsaking God and His word but you grab any chance which you are offered just because you think that choosing that option would give you the quickest solution and fastest breakthrough  which you have been dreaming of ?
You believe it and say it that: 
" the End justifies the Means ?"
The Spirit of God says "BEWARE !"
" There is a way that seems right to a man , but its end is the way of death"
Proverbs 14:12.

Repent and receive your deliverance !

8. But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.
 9.The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
10.But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.
2 Peter 3: 8-10 .

     THE REWARDS OF FAITHFULNESS
Let us see the rewards of faithfulness to God; as in the examples of the lives of Joseph and Daniel.
1. God is faithful.
God was faithful to these two men. He did not fail to deliver them and to  promote them immensely.
Genesis 41: 37 - 48 ; Daniel 6 : 1 -28.
He is able and mighty to deliver all those who trust in Him. Job 5: 19 -27 .
Our God will deliver us from every pit of captivity ! Amen.

2. We can do nothing to deliver ourselves.
" Without me you can do nothing ". John 15 : 3 - 8.
It is God who gives the power to get wealth. Deuteronomy 8: 18.
Promotions comes from God only.
Psalm 75: 1 - 7.
We have and we shall overcome every challenge we encounter because we are lifting our faces and our voices up unto God who alone is our Helper ! Job 22: 21 -30. Psalm 121 : 1- 8.

3. All we need is God's power and His favour. 
Joseph and Daniel were both in situations where they could not help themselves .
All they could do was to  rely on God's favour and power  to deliver them.
Genesis 39:1- 6 ,  20 -23 ; Daniel 1: 9.
Maybe you have believed the word which says " Heaven helps those who help themselves !"
That statement is not in the Bible and we should never embrace that sentence as our guide in life.
You cannot help yourself or help Heaven by swimming in sin !

4. Faithfulness at work is Godliness.
The bible warns against idleness and refusal to work.
 Joseph and Daniel were faithful workers in each place where they were taken to, as slaves and prisoners.
 They did not refuse to humble themselves to do the menial and dirty work of prisoners and slaves
The word of God says we should work with our hands and use our God-given talents to get our daily bread in honest ways. This is work which is acceptable to God and conformable to God's word.
Proverbs 12:11, 14: 23; 2 Thessalonians 3 :10- 12.
As healthy and able- bodied persons , instead of living in idleness and depending on government welfare handouts as "Gofment Pikin" ;  choose the paths of  honour and be proud to embrace honest labour.
May God's grace enable us to be humble enough to do any honest work we are given , however small and degrading that job is.

 5Faithfulness invokes Divine Visitation.
While faithfully doing the lowly and dirty work as a prisoner and a slave , God visited them and promoted Joseph and Daniel to the highest level as the topmost leaders in the countries of Egypt and Babylon where they were strangers , slaves and hopeless prisoners.
"The exile will soon be set free, and will not die in the dungeon, nor will his bread be lacking. 
“For I am the LORD your God, who stirs up the sea and its waves roar (the LORD of hosts is His name). 
“I have put My words in your mouth and have covered you with the shadow of My hand, to establish the heavens, to found the earth, and to say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’”
Isaiah 51 : 14 - 16.
Are you a captive alien in "prison" in a strange land and you are facing diverse limitations and restrictions  which have seemed too prolonged and insurmountable?
As you trust in God , TODAY He will visit you , deliver  and promote you gloriously from that situation of your captivity and shame  .   Amen.

" The mighty God, even the Lord , hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof.  Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.  
Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.  
He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people.  Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. 
 And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah ". Psalms 50:1‭-‬6 KJV

In summary , we have learnt the ways of Jehovah The Faithful God who always rewards those who remain dogged and faithful ; trusting in Him only and obeying His word.
 In the lives of these two Biblical icons which are worthy of emulation, we see the similarities of their Dogged Faithfulness and Trust in God as follows : -
1. They were both captives and lived as  slaves in strange lands .
Joseph was in captivity in the dungeons of Egypt while Daniel was one of the Hebrew children who were living  as slaves in the king's palace in Babylon.
Genesis 39 : 16- 20 ; Daniel 1: 1-6
2. The two of them were  very handsome young men whose  good looks made them targets for temptations.
3. The two of then overcame temptations because they knew their God whom they were serving .
Joseph refused to enter into sexual sin with a wealthy woman.
Daniel refused to eat unholy food and refused to stop praying and bowing to Jehovah God only.
4. Even in their captivity when their lives looked hopeless , the life stories  of both men became glorious testimonies  because they trusted God and they believed God's word.
5. Both Joseph and Daniel received great rewards and awesome promotions in the land of their captivity because they were OVER COMERS who trusted God.
6. All their enemies who lied against them , were put to shame.
7. Thousands of people have heard the glorious testimonies of the lives of Joseph and Daniel and they have been converted from unbelief to faith in the power and deliverance of Jehovah God.

May our lives be testimonies to the world that God's faithfulness and power are steadfast and mighty to deliver  those who trust in Him.
Amen.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

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Thursday, 1 December 2016

Yours O Lord is All the Glory , Honour and Praise !

The Happiness of Those Whose Help Is the Lord

Praise the Lord, O my soul!
While I live I will praise the Lord;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

Do not put your trust in princes,
Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.
His spirit departs, he returns to his earth;
In that very day his plans perish.
Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
The sea, and all that is in them;
Who keeps truth forever,
Who executes justice for the oppressed,
Who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.
The Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
The Lord raises those who are bowed down;
The Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers;
He relieves the fatherless and widow;
But the way of the wicked He turns upside down.
10 The Lord shall reign forever—
Your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the Lord!

Psalm 146:1-10 (NKJV)

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

The Peaceful Way

57. " As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 
58.  And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”
 59. To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead.
 But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 
62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9 : 57 - 62. ESV.

In the above passage , the Lord Jesus Christ Jesus gave men who had encountered Him and volunteered to follow Him , the first hand introduction to how their new life as Christ's followers would be.
The first man who volunteered to follow Jesus must have been put off  by the lack of suitable accommodation for Jesus and His followers.
The second man person was actually called by Jesus Christ ( what an honour !) but this man asked for permission from the Lord for him to first go and pay his father the last respect of a befitting funeral.
Then the third man , another volunteer , asked to be allowed to go take proper leave of his family before following Jesus.
Their desires to  meet their  different needs and to adhere to their community's cultural laws were the reasons why these persons who had encounters with Jesus Christ could not make the total commitment to follow Him.
Each of these men who made their excuses for not , immediately , following Jesus  did not ask for too much . 
All they wanted was a nice place to live in ; or to do the proper thing by burying a departed father ; or to do the polite thing by saying "good bye " to friends and families before embarking on their New Life with Jesus .
In those days and even now , all these three demands were and are perfectly in order.
Normal human beings live in houses with the basic amenities , at least.
Burying one's father is the duty of every child.
Especially , informing family and friends is the proper and polite thing  to do , before leaving home for an extended period of time.
No responsible child or adult would just " up sticks " and leave home without first informing , at least, their immediate  families about where they are going , why they are going there and with whom they will be embarking on their adventure or journey.
Failure to inform their people about their whereabouts , was and still is considered as rude , selfish and insensitive to the feelings of their loved ones .
The effects of such "AWOL " escapades on their families would be worries , fears , panic and anger.
"Where is he ; what has happened to him ? He knows we would be worried ! He couldn't even send us a message through someone or even a phone call or text message ?
Why ? How could he do this to us ? "
Nowadays , after 24 hours of hearing nothing from the incommunicado absentee ,  most people would inform the police to declare their loved one "Missing" ; and they would launch a search party for them .


33. " But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in heaven.
34.  Do not assume that I have come to bring peace to the earth ; I have not come to      bring peace , but a sword . 
35.  For I have come to turn  a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.…" 
Matthew 10: 33 - 35 ( Berean Study Bible )
The above Bible passage has been cited as the support for many attitudes by Christians.
Back in the day  and even presently , there were and there still are doctrines preached from many church pulpits stating that in order to avoid the sin of "looking back " and "the defilement of the world " ,Christians should shun all contacts with "sinners" ; even the "sinners" in their own families .
These doctrines have resulted in Christians being  at "war " with persons who are  not born again whether such persons are members of their own  families , or their long-term bosom / close friends and keeping at arm's length their neighbours , their work colleagues and  even their business partners.
Some churches even preach that their members should shun all contacts with members of  many other churches which they brand as " demonic " and "sinful"  !

What is the purpose of our Christian Faith expressed through the Gospel of Jesus Christ ?
The purpose is for us to see God and to lead men to see God.
The Bible states in Hebrew 12: 14 -15  :
 " Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 
 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; "  .
So what was the message the Lord Jesus Christ was trying to send to His followers in the above  passage in Luke 9 : 57- 62  ?
Was Christ saying the proper lifestyles of His followers would be for them to roam about homeless ; or that His followers should shun and reject contacts with "dead people"meaning all non- Christians ?
Or was He saying that rudeness and aggression towards family and friends were the requisite attributes of His true disciples ?
Simply put , in those encounters the Lord Jesus was saying to those men; " You wanna Follow Me ? Come , but no sitting on the fence !"
Sitting on the Fence means indecision  and inconsistency in Faith and Focus.
From the words of Christ in His response to these man , we could hear the Lord declaring the PRICE to pay for following Him.
This PRICE entails Detachment , Complete Trust ( Faith ) and Unwavering Commitment to life with Jesus Christ.
Unwavering Commitment to Life in Jesus Christ does not begin and end with working inside the Church only. There is Life inside and outside the Church because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is all-encompassing and it covers every aspect of human life in earth.
" I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 
10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 
11I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 
John 10: 9-10.
Putting one's hand to the plough and looking back does not mean performing one's lawful duties which would ensure one's survival and sustenance on earth .
Engaging in day-to-day activities in communities in the world is the duty of all good citizens , including all committed Christians and performing these daily duties does not necessarily result in Compromise with the world.
Fear of being tainted by the worldly system is no excuse for Christians to be reclusive , lazy ,unfriendly , anti-social , ignorant and unproductive .
" You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world ". 
1 John 4:4.
Followers of Christ could remain committed to following Him and yet Christians could live in this world , peaceably and with holiness  , while meeting up with their responsibilities to their families , friends , jobs and their communities .
The Way of Peace to be  followed by Christians is the way of Faith and Wisdom through Grace which ensures  obedience and commitment to the Christian Walk and Work as the Disciples of Jesus Christ .

" And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God ". Romans 12 : 2.

May we be blessed and fruitful , always. Amen 



Friday, 12 August 2016

Glory Arising from the Ashes of Defeat

" As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth..
 2And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.
 4We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”  John 9 : 1 - 5.

In any relationship, the parties involved know what they should give and receive from each other .
The more special and more intimate the relationship , the more the expectations of reciprocity from the people involved .
The relationship between God and His people is sealed by covenant .
 Divine Covenant is founded on the word ( promises ) of  God which is infallible and it is sealed with the shedding of blood.
When Jehovah God chose a nation out of all the nations on earth , He entered into a covenant with them .
Firstly, divine covenant was sealed by the blood of bulls and sheep ; then it became the covenant sealed by the blood of Jesus Christ the Lamb of God. Hebrew 9: 11- 15.

As in all relationships , the Divine Covenant is packaged with promises of blessing , victories and glory from Jehovah bestowed on His people if they abide within the requirements of the covenant relationship. Exodus 19 : 3 - 8.
Jehovah God has been so faithful to His people that beauty , glory and victory has been the portion of His people ; so much so that even their enemies testified of how unique God's people were in all the earth.
 5.How fair are your tents, O Jacob, your dwellings, O Israel!
      6“Like valleys that stretch out , like gardens beside the river,
          Like aloes planted by the LORD, like cedars beside the waters.
      7“Water will flow from his buckets,
            And his seed will be by many waters,
            And his king shall be higher than Agag,
            And his kingdom shall be exalted.
      8“God brings him out of Egypt , He is for him like the horns of the wild ox.
            He will devour the nations who are his adversaries,
            And will crush their bones in pieces, and shatter them with his arrows.
      9“He couches, he lies down as a lion, and as a lion, who dares rouse him?
            Blessed is everyone who blesses you,
            And cursed is everyone who curses you.” Numbers 24: 5 -9.( NASB )

Ever true to His word, throughout the ages past, Jehovah has always shown up to deliver His people and God's people have always taken it for granted that they would always be victorious against any attack from their enemies.
After the Israelites suffered heavy casualties during one of their battles with their unrelenting enemy the Philistines, there was fear and astonishment in the battle camp of the Israelites.
Their resounding question was ; "Why has God forsaken us in battle today ?!" 1 Samuel 4 : 1-2.
"Why has God forsaken His people and  made His enemies to ask "Where is their God ?!"
 In their desperation for help , the Israelites resorted to bringing into their camp the Ark of the Covenant .  1 Samuel 4: 3- 4  .
As the Ark of the Covenant of  God entered the camp of Israel , there were shouts of  relief , joy and victory because of the people's  faith and trust in the delivering presence of Jehovah the God of Israel in their midst.
However in the camp of the enemy , the  Philistines were filled with fear as they heard the shout in the Israelite's camp ; for the enemies of  God's people knew about the awesome and unfailing power of Jehovah the God of Israel, the Mighty God in Battle and how He had  delivered  His people.
  1 Samuel 4: 3 - 8.
During this crucial battle, the fear in the camp of the enemy spurred them on to fight and they defeated the Israelites !
But on that day, the Israelite's shout of faith and show of trust in their God was not enough to get them their expected victory.
Why ? How did fear triumph over faith ?

When disappointments , delays and losses happen there could be one or several reasons for such.
Some of these reasons could be sin , doubt , fear, foolish choices; or it could be self-inflicted defeat through careless and shoddy preparation for battle.
SIN is the blanket name for all forms of disobedience of God's laws.
Faith births Obedience and these two conjoined are imperative in birthing blessings and victories .
Sin and lack of faith in God are usually the first accusations levied against people who have suffered  afflictions - heavy losses , delays, failures and disappointments.
Such afflicted persons would wonder and ask ;
 "What is my sin ; why has God forsaken me or forsaken us ?"
Their enemies and even family, friends and Church brethren would mock them saying, "Why have all your loud prayers , praises and church attendance not given you your expected blessings and victories ? Is your God deaf or is He sleeping or away on an extended trip ? Where is your God ?
"How about confessing your sins and changing your bad character ?"
" Surely you are being afflicted because you have sinned , because you had no faith , or because you have not engaged in long and loud prayer sessions and because you have not given enough money for the work of God ! "

On that day , Israel went into battle , expecting God  to fight for them , as usual .
But their expected victory and glory failed to materialise ; Israel suffered a great defeat and shame.
The people of God fled before their enemies !
Israel was astonished and they wanted to know why they had been defeated in battle .
 As if Israel  did not know why they were defeated !
Of a truth , Israel had sinned against God ; severally.
Before this defeat, God had issued His warnings to Israel about their sin and the repercussions they should expect when they disobeyed His laws.
All to no avail .The Israelites were a stiff-necked people .
“I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” Jeremiah 17: 10.6.
27When your dread comes like a storm And your calamity comes like a whirlwind, 
When distress and anguish come upon you.
 28 " Then they will call on me , but I will not answer ; they will seek me diligently but they will not find me,
29 Because they hated knowledge  and did not choose the fear of the LORD.…
Proverbs 1 : 27 -29.

Acknowledging the presence and power of God to deliver them would make men to seek Him for His intervention and deliverance.
Disobedience of God's words is an evidence of lack of faith in the power of God.
This an invitation to defeat and disaster on the battle front.
Israel had sinned and grieved God severally and they had forgotten the warnings of Jehovah that sin would result in their defeat in battles with their enemies.
The Israelites believed in the power of God's presence in their midst but Israel had sinned against God  therefore incurring the wrath of God .
Why pay lip-service only to this awesome God without the corresponding heart-service ?
Isaiah 29 : 13- 14.
When people disobey God's word and thereafter they end up in a jam;  then,  they would remember God and His love , His mercy and power to deliver.
They would suddenly remember the same God whose word and presence they disregarded before they landed in their self-inflicted jam .
 God's love, grace and mercy are taken for granted by people who show disregard for God and His commandments; yet they expect to be spared the consequences of their sin.

But is sin , lack of faith and insufficient prayers the only reasons for defeat and failure in human lives?
Beloved reader, have you been beating your chest  with pride , like the Pharisee in Luke 18 : 9 - 14 ;  or have you been pointing your fingers at afflicted people , accusing them and claiming self-righteousness and superiority over  them?
If you have been guilty of doing all these , what you are saying , in effect , is that you and other persons who have been blessed by God, have received your miracles because you have  not sinned or because your characters are better than those of people who have not received their expected blessings .
 What about your own sin which is different from the sins of the persons whom you are mocking?
How "good" is your own character ?
How much prolonged prayers and large offerings have you made to qualify you to receive your blessings from God?
And WHO has never sinned ; among all the humans who can testify of the blessings of God  ?
" If You, LORD, should mark iniquities,O Lord, who could stand?
  4 But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared ". Psalm 130 : 3, 4.
Indeed , there are millions of persons who do not even acknowledge God in their lives ; and they have no space for God when planning their time and money , yet they have received freely of those same blessings and victories which the people of faith are expecting to receive .

Israel sinned and they suffered heavy losses in that crucial battle with the Philistines.
However , subsequently,  the hand of God and His purpose for that defeat was revealed in spectacular dimensions through the events that followed as recorded in the Biblical accounts in 1 Samuel chapters 5 and 6 .
God's grace , sovereignty and His infinite wisdom determine the course of the affairs of men .
Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. John 9 : 3
God's ways are past finding and His reasons for events in human lives are beyond human comprehensionIsaiah 55: 8-9.
The Philistines did not know God ; yet they went into battle propelled by fear and not by faith  but they triumphed over the people of God who had made a great shout of faith in their God.
"That You may be feared ..."
The heathen mocked the God of Israel because they had defeated His people !
After their victory , the Philistines were emboldened and they displayed the effrontery of placing the Ark of the Covenant which bore the presence of Jehovah God, next to their own god Dagon !
If Israel was not defeated how would the heathen have had a testimony of the impotence of their god to condemn Dagon with the same mouth with which they had mocked the God of Israel ?
Israel's defeat led to the manifestation of the power and the glory of Jehovah God before the heathen.
Never before had the presence of God been carried  as a trophy of defeat; with great heathen celebration ,into the same place of worship of the god of a heathen nation.
But God showed Himself mighty in the midst of the heathen by  striking fear , awe and reverence in the very heart of the pride of the heathen .
Why did God wait for Israel to be defeated before showing His mighty hand ?
Why does God wait for His people to be afflicted , to weep and mourn before delivering them?
God says He has bottled every tear shed by His people Psalm 56:8 ; and He has heard the mockery heaped on them . Psalm 89 : 50-51.
Why has God allowed  these tears to be shed and these mockeries to happen at all, before intervening to stop them ?  
If Israel was not defeated and the Ark of God was not taken , how else could the heathen know the difference between Jehovah and all other gods ?
" This is why the priests of Dagon and all who enter the house of Dagon do not tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day ". 1 Samuel 5:5.

Why are you despondent and why are you  joining your enemies to mock God and to ask ,
"Where is THIS God?" 
 If you did not hit the bottom of the pit of despair and shed the tears of defeat and shame inside the deepest and darkest dungeon;  how then would you have been promoted from that prison to the palace where you are today ?
How then would your enemies have no choice but to bow the knee before you ?
" And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt ". Genesis 41: 43
If your mockers who celebrated your fall and defeat have not been made to eat their own words today ; how then could they have acknowledged the glory of God in your life as they are doing right now?
Have you never read this Scripture: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
This is from the Lord and it is marvelous in our eyes ? "  Mark 12 : 10 -11.
If God had not stood by and watched people as they ganged up  to stop your blessings , how else could the mouths of these same persons become sour ; when they are forced to bear testimonies with their own mouths about your glorious blessings ?
28. They said, “We see plainly that the LORD has been with you. So we said, let there be a sworn pact between us, between you and us, and let us make a covenant with you, 29that you will do us no harm, just as we have not touched you and have done to you nothing but good and have sent you away in peace. You are now the blessed of the LORD.” Genesis 26: 28 - 29.

May God manifest His beauty and glory from  the ashes of every  fiery furnace of defeat in your life . Amen.



Wednesday, 27 July 2016

The Offending Truth

" Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened ". - Winston S. Churchill

In any human society, citizens are expected to adhere to the "acceptable mode " of speech and behaviour .
This acceptable norm is that people should comply with this mode in their manner of speech and behaviour by being kind ,decent ,  reasonable, considerate, courteous and law-abiding .
Honesty and integrity are  the virtues which would enable human beings to adhere to the required norms.

The Truth
The definition of the Truth should not be limited in its scope ; therefore a few words cannot adequately encompass the definition of what is truth .
Concisely ,Truth is that which corresponds to reality and it matches the object of the Truth.
Truth by its nature excludes all that is opposite  to it ; therefore the opposite of truth are lies or falsehood , fraud , deception and everything that are not the actual descriptions of a person , a place or a thing.
 Therefore , simply , speaking the TRUTH means " saying it as it is " .
Now, truth that is diluted , soft-padded, embellished or seasoned ceases to be the truth.
Some people would say "The Truth is Relative ".
The Truth could be described as eccentric and arrogant utterances because of Truth's claims that it is absolutely unique.

But is it arrogant for a maths teacher to insist on only one right answer to an arithmetic problem? 
In arithmetic , 1+1 = 2 and forever it will be so.
Or is it eccentric and arrogant for a locksmith to state that only one key will open a locked door ? 
Truthful declarations though unusual , are backed with power and authority .
  " Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me". John 14 : 6 . ( NASB )
The Truth in order to declare itself accurately ; indeed, would seem arrogant and judgemental.


Truth could also be perceived as aggressive and judgemental as theTruth is declared. 
" 7.Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. 
8. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. 
9. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
10.The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly " . 
John 10: 7-10 KJV.


People feel betrayed and hurt when they discover that they have been lied to ; but telling people the truth could be just as hurtful and unpalatable to the hearers as when they are lied to. Some people would even prefer not to hear the not the exact truth about themselves.
The Consequences of speaking the truth.
In every society there are indeed serious consequences for speaking the truth .
The most severe consequences would depend on the perceived "harm " which the spoken or written  truth has caused.
The truth is bitter,indeed .
Therefore many people chose to exhibit the cowardice of not speaking the truth.
For fear of serious reprisals , being "mum"(silent) or the words " I don't know " have become the preferred response of people when confronted with any request for them to speak the truth.
Therefore the majority of the human race who know the truth would not dare utter it ,or write about it at all ; or if they did , they would present the embellished and diluted version of the truth.
In some homes , parents teach their kids from a tender age not to be " too forward , too out-spoken and never to be the one to "bell the cat" by declaring the truth always ".
The admonitions such as " Let other people speak it or write it ! But you keep quiet !" ; are the usual counsel from family and friends to those persons who want to tread where angels dread by revealing and speaking the truth about very sensitive matters.


When you speak the truth , you would become a marked person ; you would be hated , condemned and called names such as a "loose cannon and a loud-mouthed trouble-maker " Usually, the adherents to the truth incur wrath and they are seen not as heroes but as fools deserving social ostracism and elimination through imprisonment or even death !
Jesus laid His word bare to the Pharisees and Scribes , thereby  incurring their wrath.
" But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. 
Matthew 23:13.

John the Baptist incurred the wrath of Herod and Herodias for speaking the truth .
" For Herod himself had sent and had John arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, because he had married her. 
18For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 
19Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death and could not do so; 20for Herod was afraid of John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. And when he heard him, he was very perplexed; but he used to enjoy listening to him ".
John the Baptist became marked for elimination and eventually he was arrested , imprisoned and beheaded for speaking the truth.

 21. A strategic day came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his lords and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee; 22and when the daughter of Herodias herself came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you want and I will give it to you.” 
23.And he swore to her, “Whatever you ask of me, I will give it to you; up to half of my kingdom.” 
24.And she went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.” 
25Immediately she came in a hurry to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 
26And although the king was very sorry, yet because of his oaths and because of his dinner guests, he was unwilling to refuse her. 27Immediately the king sent an executioner and commanded him to bringback his head. 
And he went and had him beheaded in the prison, 28and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. 
29When his disciples heard about this, they came and took away his body and laid it in a tomb.
Mark 6: 18 -29

The usual accusations against those persons who speak the truth are : "Why did he or she say it like that ?!".
 "He /she could have said it in a nicer , kinder , gentler and more cautious way !".
This accusation confirms that those who oppose the declaration of the  truth of any matter , know what the truth is; but they would rather hear it seasoned with salt or they would rather  not hear the truth spoken or written by anyone at all !

How then do you season these truths below  which some people find "offensive" and "politically incorrect " ? 

How do you "not say it just like that ! " or say them in a  kinder , nicer or more cautious way ? :


" The soul that sinneth, it shall die ...!" Ezekiel 18:20 .

24."That is why I told you that you would die in your sins.
For unless you believe that I am He, you will die in  your sins."
 25“Who are You?” they asked. “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning,” Jesus replied.… John 8: 24 -25.

17. "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. 
18. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned but whoever does not believe is already condemned because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
19And this is the verdict: The Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness more than light, because their deeds were evil.… John 3 : 17-19.

" 1 and the Father are one ". John 10:30.

8 " We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 
We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me".
1 Timothy 1 : 8-11.

There are persons who would speak the truth  not minding the consequences .
Such persons are a rare breed whose boldness are divinely -sourced.
They are men and women of integrity whose Rock and Stay is the Truth Himself.
John 10 : 27.
" Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.
Isaiah 51:1.

Just as there persons who would speak the truth ; not minding the consequences ; there are also persons who are notorious for not needing any reason or any encouragement before they would lie at the drop of a hat .
" None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.
5They hatch cockatrice' eggs, and weave the spider's web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper.
6Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands" . Isaiah 59 : 4 - 6.
Among those groups of persons  who are most likely not to be willing to be  forth coming with the truth are :
1. The fearful persons who dread the consequences of speaking the truth such as Cowards who when faced with the truth would rather remain silent than speak the truth which they know .
The Coward's Mantra is " He who lies by keeping quiet , stays alive to lie another day !"
2. Sales persons and  advertisers are notorious for peddling half-truths and for their embellishment of the actual facts regarding the actual quality and real value of their products which they are offering for sale .
The desirable end  or purpose for this group of liars is their desire to close the deal for a lucrative sale .
For this group of deceivers , their mantra is "The end ( i.e.the sale)  justifies the means! ".
Through deceptive packaging of products ,some advertisers and sales persons have even succeeded in selling snow to Eskimos !
When dealing with this group, a wise person's policy should be "Buys Beware!" . 
3. Men { the male specie ) and Politicians are most likely not to speak the truth .
The general complaints against this group of liars is that the vows and promises made by Politicians to their electorate are similar to the vows and promises made by men to their girl- friends and wives .Their vows and promises are fickle and unreliable and as such they are subject to future "amendments".
Therefore , in order to avoid emotional shocks and disappointments in the immediate and distant future, promises and vows made by males and politicians should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Politicians in order to further their political ambitions, would deliberately choose to utter only "politically correct " words ; some of which they know are untrue and downright false promises to their electorates.
Therefore most Politicians believe that "political correctness" and not the actual facts or truth about their future intentions would please their electorates and that such falsehood would win them and their manifestos acceptance and many votes .  
 Some men believe that women do not deserve to be told the truth because according to such men ,  females prefer to hear not the truth from their men , but only the false promises and flattery which would make the women happy . 
Majority of men actually believe that all women are gullible and that women are not intelligent enough to see through men's lies and fake promises of  " everlasting love and faithfulness ".
4. Persons in positions of trust such as  business partners, solicitors , doctors, bankers and economists are expected to lay out the true state of affairs to their partners and clients ; but these group of people sometimes prefer to shield the facts for their personal gains .
Lies have been preached from the pulpit by Clergymen ; who covered up their lies knowing that the majority of  their audiences would believe anything they say which have the backing of scriptural reference to support such falsehood.

Consequences of not speaking the truth.

Just as there are consequences for not speaking the truth , also there are indeed consequences for concealing the truth and for remaining silent in the face of prevailing falsehood.
In every facets of human lives , the truth will eventually be revealed and it will always prevail.
If falsehood had a head-start of 100 miles before the truth,the truth would catch up with the lie and over take it.
Lies are like a web. Once inside it , the more you struggle to get out of your lies , the more lies you fabricate and the more entangled you become in the web of lies.
"Your sins will find you out "

The Gospel of Jesus is the Truth 
7."  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8. which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight  
9. making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ   
10. As a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 
11.In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 
12.so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.  
13. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,  
14 . who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory ".
Ephesians 1:  7 - 14.

This blog is an extract from the book  "Just  Say  It ? "  
by Tina Edgal David.

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