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(in)SECURED

Hey! Thanks for stopping by at my blog. I was listening to a minister of God preach in a meeting on a particular Sunday afternoon, and while he was performing biblical exegesis to drive home his points, a thought he shared became expounded in my heart and I just needed to write on it. Again, I couldn’t get a catchy topic for this, please bear with me (apologies in advance if the title and content are parallel. Laughs.). I pray that beyond the words, the truth will be expounded upon in your heart by the Holy Spirit. (Amen).

I think the world we live in is rooted and built upon competition and comparison as a performance metric for every facet of life. When you think of the best student in a class, you are basically saying the student did better compared to his mates. When you want to know the richest man in a clan, you compare his net worth with every other rich man in a clan. It’s so interesting most times that our sense of success is measured by how well we are doing compared to our peers or immediate environment. A lot of times, we say we are not competing with anyone, words like “zero competition” “no competition” “the only competition I have is myself…trying to get better and be a better man/woman” proceed out of our mouth, but you know the ‘tug of war’ that goes on in your mind or the flash of incongruent thoughts when you hear of a contemporary doing big things and making great strides. Not that you wish them evil, in fact you are so excited for them. But then, when you are about to sleep, the thoughts comes as a flash, sometimes, maybe as a subtle thought or deep thought, and at that moment you want to start evaluating your life solely because of the news you heard. And most times if we do not nip those thoughts in the bud, we sometimes end up feeling ‘defeated’ and ‘discouraged’ in our mind.

I remember my short stint as a volunteer in a primary school, somewhere in the south western part of Nigeria. It was the end of session, where parents come to school to receive the session performance on behalf of their kids. A particular mother received her son’s report and was devastated. Why? The son had an average of about 80% and had 8th position. I thought that was impressive but I was wrong. I felt the son deserved a pat on the back for hitting the 80% mark, but the mother thought otherwise. “’His mates with first, second and third position, do they have two heads?,’ The mother retorted”. I think for us sometimes as believers, success has been a function of where you are; the prevailing circumstances and measuring ourselves with others. I think at this point, it is imperative to ask ourselves, what is the object that serves as a performance indicator for success? How is success evaluated in the kingdom?

The LORD was with Joseph, and he was a SUCCESSFUL MAN; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. Gen.39:2 NKJV

The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph’s authority, because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made it PROSPER. Gen.39:23 NKJV

How do you explain putting someone in Guantanamo Bay, and yet say he is successful? Sounds ironic right? I agree. How do you call someone being sold into slavery without any glimmer of hope of returning to his native land, a successful man? Was he successful because he was the Chief of Slaves or the Director General of Prisoners? I think this scripture disabuses our mind on the world’s definition of success. You mean to say, even in Prison, Joseph was successful? If then, why did he tell the butler that he wanted to leave (Gen.40:14-16). I think no sane human mind would want to leave a place where he is prospering. I dare say if you had an opportunity of interviewing Joseph in the prison and say to him “You are successful man”, you’ll probably find yourself in the Intensive Care Unit of a renowned hospital after the question. I like to think Joseph didn’t even see himself as successful but God calls him a prosperous man. Joseph was seeing incapacitation; God was seeing progress and advancement. How do you view your circumstances? The way God sees them or the way you see them.

I like to think Joseph was a successful man because every step he took, every situation he found himself in moved him closer to purpose and destiny. From the pit to slavery to prison to palace, God described Joseph as successful because in those precarious situations, he was getting closer to God’s intent for him (the expected end) – the palace. Success is advancing towards your purpose by instructions. Success cannot be determined by any other man except the God of the purpose (For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends 2Cor.10:18 NKJV), not by measuring yourself with others (But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 2Cor.10:12b NKJV). The best person to determine how much progress you are making in your research work isn’t your buddy but your supervisor. One of the things they emphasize in a research institute is that: “Don’t compare your work with what someone else is doing because every project is different. Your supervisors are in the best position to appropriately measure your progress.” You are running a 10,000Meter race but want to measure yourself up with someone in a 4 X 100 relay race? You want to build a skyscraper but you are fixated on the foundation of the one that wants to build a bungalow? (I wish you well in your adventure then. Bon voyage!) .In the competing and comparing game, we quite miss the point of PURPOSE. We leave the location of rest and transport ourselves to a state of anxiety, worry and fear. No matter how pleasing or ‘successful’ what you are doing is, if it’s not in line with purpose, though it may bring momentary satisfaction and euphoria, but trust me, it will result in weariness, frustration, or depression. Every step you take in proceeding towards your purpose is a ‘SUCCESS’ step.

Joseph was loved than all other children. He was his father’s favourite (more like the modern day version of ‘Daddy’s little boy’). His father made him a tunic of many colours (Gen.37:3). In fact, theologians have said that the colourful coat was the type that was won by royalty. Joseph being in his Father’s house seemed to be when he was most successful, but that was when he was farthest away from purpose (palace). Success isn’t about the circumstances (good or bad) or the competing or comparison, it is about progress in purpose. Little wonder you’d hear Paul say stuffs like: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (2Tim.4:7NKJV) (Notice the constant use of ‘I’). Like my sister used to say to me while I was growing up, “Destiny is per-head per-head” (*forgive the tautology please. It’s intentional).

The answer to incessant voices of grading, comparison and competition you hear is to know God as your referee, qualifier, and approver (Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, BUT OF GOD. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant Gal.1:10 NLT) (Our PURPOSE is to PLEASE GOD, NOT PEOPLE. He ALONE examines the motives of our hearts.1Thes.2:4NLT). There is no need for comparison and no place for competition. I like to think this is the deathblow to the spirit of insecurity that can shift away our focus from purpose. There is growth in the process. Stay true to your assignment/calling/purpose. Take every ‘baby’ step of faith in response to the instruction received from the God of your purpose. There is freedom and security when God is the God of your purpose – your approver, qualifier. God’s plan for us is huge, and as the Lord was with Joseph, much more than our Emmanuel; God is FOR us; God is IN us; God is working in us to complete what he has started (Phil.1:6); The God on our inside is mighty. You can’t judge the destination based on your present location. A lot of moves will be orchestrated; dramatic turns, maybe even a complete overhaul or change of direction or even a complete change of strategy, but rest in the process trusting the one whose faithfulness has never been in question. Like Pst. Mathew Ashimolowo says, “It’s not over until you win”.

“Lord, please forgive us for forgetting that you are in control” (Jonathan McReynolds)

“Lord you’ve been faithful to plant the seeds. And you’ll be faithful to always send your rain” (Seasons Change – United Pursuit)

God will provide rain for the seeds you sow. The grain that grows will be abundant. Your cattle will range far and wide. Oblivious to war and earthquake, the oxen and donkeys you use for hauling and plowing will be fed well near running brooks that flow freely from mountains and hills. Isaiah 30:23-24(MSG)

Do have a beautiful week ahead, and Happy New Month.

Oluwafemi Olukoya (@simokool)

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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On the Journey of MORE

Hey! Thanks for stopping by at my blog. I was supposed to publish an article last week but I couldn’t but I’m glad I waited. I’m sharing some random thoughts that was just impressed on my heart during the course of the week and I just had to write about it. Trust me, it’s something you’ve heard about one way or the other, but I just hope it rekindles a fresh or a renewed commitment in the core of your being. The thoughts may seem unrelated but I hope they register in your hearts. I pray that beyond the words, the truth will be expounded upon in your heart by the Holy Spirit. (Amen)

I had heard of you [only] by the hearing of the ear, but now my [spiritual] eyes see you. Job 42:5 AMP

During the course of the week, I skimmed a paper written by Thomas Gitovich on “Second hand Information and Social Judgement” and I thought the research output had some interesting points worthy of note. The authors found out that second hand impressions are often more extreme because second hand accounts of another person’s actions frequently fail to convey adequately the role of mitigating circumstances and situational constraints in producing that person’s behaviour. The findings also demonstrated that people’s impressions of someone they have often heard about from a friend (but never met) are more extreme than their friend’s more informed opinions. The rationale for the conclusion is that many of our impressions of other people are based entirely on second hand information. Before you start asking, ”Who experimental social psychology don epp?”, Let me quickly state that, second hand impressions are pervasive in our generation.

Maybe just like Job, we had made impressions, formed perspectives solely on hearsays. It has been communicated down to us by the experience of man, or our perspectives have been rooted in the tradition delivered from our forefathers, more like “ancient landmarks”. Maybe life for us has been built on “Who do men say He is?” and not “Who do you say I am?”. I like to think, in most cases, our knowledge is often times grounded chiefly upon the instructions of men. But allow me say this, No man’s experience is perfect and flawless, only the word of God has that attribute (Isaiah 40:8, 1Pet.1:25, Psalm 19:7). I believe God intends for our life to be run on revealed knowledge – when the mind is enlightened by the spirit of God which has its own evidence with it; that causes our understanding to be enlightened by the Spirit of Grace.

There is a clear apprehension of divine things which can only be furnished by revelation. There are views from the tower of revelation knowledge which is not dark or obscure – it is earmarked with clarity, unflinching persuasion and confidence. I think sometimes, we are always preoccupied with “He said…They said…She said etc”, I think more than ever before, the fuel for running now is “what did He reveal to you? What did He say to you? What are you laying hold on?”. Mary told the attendants at the wedding at Cana in Galilee, “He may not be the master of ceremony neither is He the Governor General of the Province or the distinguished chairman of the occasion but WHATEVER HE SAYS TO YOU, DO IT (John 2:5 – paraphrase in my words)”. I believe these times call for a “powered by revelation” mantra, not as a cliché but a reality. I think this is the time we should say “I knew ONLY what others had told me but NOW I have seen you with my eyes…I have heard about you, but now I have encountered you”. I think sometimes, it just gets comfortable living off history.

Jesus asks in Mathew 16:13, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”. The disciples gave answers on what they had heard from others. They replied – John the Baptist, some say, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets. From their responses, Jesus got what they had discovered through communicated knowledge. He then questioned them, “But who do you say I am?”- a question that can only be solved by revelation (revealed knowledge) Mathew 16:12. The first question was “What Are People Saying? What have you been hearing?”, the second question was “And what about YOU?”. Revelation knowledge is the truth that God imparts directly and all believers are to be built and rooted in it. Remember the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden right? The command about the tree of knowledge of good and evil was communicated to Eve by Adam, possibly. On the other hand, for Adam, the command was revealed as God spoke to him directly. But, something interesting happened when the serpent deceived the woman, which I think is pivotal. God told Adam…not to EAT of the TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL (Gen.2:17). Eve told the serpent that God said…not to EAT nor TOUCH the fruit of the TREE WHICH IS IN THE MIDST OF THE GARDEN. (Gen.3:3). Eve misrepresented the instruction and added “nor TOUCH”. Eve also didn’t call the tree by the same name Adam called it, she simply said, THE TREE IN THE MIDST OF THE GARDEN. The instruction was given to Adam by God prior to Eve’s creation (1Tim.2:13). The Bible even recorded in 1Tim.2:14 that…” And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived…. I think the reason for Adam not being deceived by the Serpent is not far-fetched. There is something about revelation knowledge that makes indisputable, irreplaceable and irresistible. Seek revealed knowledge like the Berean Christians, (Acts.17:11) not just mental assent. Listen to Sermons, inspired teachings but also search the scriptures to soak it in so it becomes a revelation to you and not just mentally alluding to the communicated truth.

A breakthrough in revelation enables us to see from God’s perspective – we see what God sees. Our commitment to matters of the kingdom is fuelled by our revelation of God. As Mark Hankins aptly puts it, “Every advance in the call and the blessing of God comes from an advance in revelation. Every breakthrough in faith comes from a breakthrough in revelation knowledge, not necessarily new information”. The best resolution you can make is to grow in the understanding of the word by giving ourselves to study (2Tim.2:15). The charge wasn’t even to five-fold ministers. There is a way we sometimes abdicate “studying” to the five-folds. But then, I believe rightly dividing the word of truth is for all sphere of calling – whether pulpit or market place. I remember how the Apostles needed men full of Faith to serve tables (more like Deacons), so they could focus more on the ministry of prayer and word (Acts.6:3). Let me roll out the CV of Stephen (one of those selected to serve tables), it was, “…full of the Holy Spirit, full of faith Acts 7:55, Acts 6:3-5. None of them could stand against the wisdom and spirit by which Stephen spoke Acts 6:10. In Acts 7, Stephen addressed the council in a way in which quite a number of theologians have called an apt description of the Old Testament”. Jesus (the Messiah) in Luke 4:1 (full of the Holy Spirit), Barnabas (he and Paul undertook missionary journeys together and defended Gentile converts against Judaizers) in Acts 11:24 (full of the Holy Spirit), Peter (Apostle to the Jews) in Acts 4:8 (full of the Holy Spirit), Paul (Apostle to the Gentiles) in Acts 13:8 (full of the Holy Spirit). I think the points from the explanations are clear.

I think a lot of times, we just get ‘worked’ up by the depth of revelation that someone else is getting, and we sometimes begin to make ‘competition’ out of it or conclude those things are for selected few while undermining your learning of Christ. No! It shouldn’t be so! It’s a process. Keep at it! Keep growing. Albert Einstein, one of the greatest scientists that ever walked the earth, did his PhD on “A New Determination of Molecular Dimensions Avogadro Constant”. In his PhD thesis: N = 2.1*10^23. He made the first correction later and postulated that N = 4.15*10^23. Later, the second correction N = 6.56*10^23, while the actual value: N = 6.022*10^23. There’s value in what you are learning of Christ. Value the process. Grow in Grace. Grow in revelation. As we make conscious effort to add value to ourselves in form certifications, higher degrees, trainings etc., we should also make effort and commitment to increase/upgrade our revelation “bank”. Enjoy the journey.

I think just like a PhD student, where you attend conferences and workshops to hear people speak about the research they are actively involved in and present their research outputs. Sometimes, you get to read journals and review papers. While all these things are very important and vital to your training, it will never take away the fact that a time would come when you’d just watch and listen, you have to be a key player – present your personal work as an independent and autonomous researcher. There’s progress to be made. I think this is a clarion call to growth. Being committed to what really matters: “knowing and enjoying Christ Jesus” (Phil.3:8) – sharing and doing life together with Jesus.

[17] asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom[a] and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. [18] I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.[b]
[19] I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power [20] that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. (Eph.1:17-20 NLT).

Whatever these unrelated thoughts mean to you, I hope it starts a fire or rekindles one.

Have a beautiful week ahead!

Oluwafemi Olukoya (@simokool)

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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The Vantage Point

Hey! Thanks once again for stopping by at my blog. During the course of the week, some thoughts were impressed on my heart and I just perceive they are crucial to the times we live in. The thoughts are probably what you are very conversant with. Like one of my mentors aptly puts its “We are not starved of knowledge in the Body of Christ, but I think we are starved of what God really intends that the knowledge should work in us”. I hope you find a word that gives you a healthy perspective about living full lives, full in the fullness of God.

Imagine you are in a lift with the richest man in the world and you have just 30 seconds to convince him to invest in your business idea! Imagine applying for a £3,000,000 grant and you just need the right words in your proposal to convince the review board! Can you also imagine being in a combat with an opponent in a boxing ring and you are just calculating your moves to land that sucker punch that gets you the Technical Knock Out! Maybe you are even a chess player and you are trying to second guess your opponent in order to play a move that checkmates him.

As we journey through life, I think there are some moments that are very crucial to some phases in our life. I think these moments are defining moments that probably sets the course of other areas of our life. I also think at these defining moments, we tend to look for that “magic wand”, “sucker punch”, “Midas touch” (*and any other word that fits the context) that just delivers the amazing results/expectations we desire or guarantees that you’d have what you need regardless of the prevalent situations. I like to think of the “magic wand” as a vantage point that gives you a higher perspective than what’s obtainable at face value. I think when situations and circumstances present themselves, you’d be able to say “none of these things move me” because you have a “Midas touch” that turns everything to gold. You just wave the “magic wand” and voilà, the sea is calm. I think it’s a vantage point – a position from which battle are won or lost.

Let’s hang in that thought there! We’d get back to it a bit later.

So the sisters sent word to Jesus,” Master, the one you love so very much is sick.” John 11:3(MSG)
In John 11, there is an interesting story about three siblings – Martha, Mary and Lazarus. In the passage, Martha and Mary finds themselves in a precarious situation – their brother, Lazarus is very sick unto death. Death had him shackled up with its pangs. Right before their eyes, death was on the verge of taking their beloved brother away.

Mary, Martha and Lazarus were great buddies with Jesus. They needed to get Jesus’ attention to come and heal their brother. They probably needed to send a mail to Jesus with a header that would communicate the urgency of the situation and made him board the next available flight to Bethany. I imagine Jesus as a regular HR officer ‘suffering’ from email overload, all of which are competing for his time and attention. In a fast-paced environment, the subject line should immediately capture the attention, else the body of the mail won’t be looked at. Maybe, a letter would do! I like to imagine they had just one great shot at convincing Jesus. So, the two sisters sat down to compose that powerful text message, the content has to be substantial because their brother’s life depended on it.

I would have probably expected the sisters to write something like: ”Dear Jesus, your faithful, loyal, honest (*sounds like Nigeria’s National Pledge already! Laughs!*), hardworking, large-hearted, holy, friend is sick. So, Lord, based on what he has done, kindly dash down here”. Maybe the adjectives would have done a great job in compelling Jesus to come.

In the heat of the moment, I doubt if they would have been concerned about opening and closing salutation. The appeal had to be airtight. The appeal had to be a good one. The Subject line had to be brief, interesting, invulnerable and unique. The tone of the message had to be convincing. The subject line of the email was probably going to be the first and only shot at connecting to Jesus. What should be the subject line of their mail?

Here is the subject line of the mail – The One whom you Love is Very Sick

I think the statement, “The One whom you love” is the most important part of the message. Notice, it didn’t say, “The One that loves you so much” or “The One that always makes your bed when you come visiting”. If I were the sisters, I’d have probably written a mail that catalogued Lazarus’ good deeds. The sisters couldn’t even be bothered with his ‘works’ neither did they make a long list of his achievements. They could not be bothered with strong adjectives or big vocabulary. They probably could have said, “You know our brother is a good man and he has been instrumental to church planting, made series of financial donations to propagating the work of God”. (I’m in no way against doing those ‘good works’. In fact, you should!). The sisters made the appeal all about Jesus’s love for Him.

It’s not really about how much we love God, it’s about how much He loves us. Our starting point is not “our love FOR GOD (love for God)” but “his love for us (love of God)”. That truth will change our perspective – the way we think, the way we talk, the way we pray. For quite a lot of us, the culmination of life has been about how much we can do for ourselves – our accomplishments, our merits, our good deeds, our plans, our works etc. And trust me, those things are gratifying to the ego, but without a healthy perspective, it becomes an endless loop. When we make life all about us, we tend to lose this perspective.

Maybe sometimes like me, you find yourself stressing over your own inconsistencies and inadequacies, over what could have worked or what you could have done better, over your own love or lack of love for God. I think our vantage point is discovering it’s all about God’s overwhelming love for us. It was God’s love that created our love (1John 4:19). He loved us before we were us. He loved us while we were of no use whatever to him (Rom.5:18MSG). Nothing can get between us and God’s love for us. No one can drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us. His love is consistent. Let the mountains walk away. Let the hills fall into pieces. His unfailing love won’t walk away from you (Isaiah 54:10 MSG)

As I pondered over this thought, it became clearer to me that the best perspective is gotten from a vantage point. Allow me drop this thought – your vantage point is knowing you are the one whom He loves. When “For God so loves THE WORLD…” becomes “For God so loves ME…”.You are the object of his obsession. You are the one He loves. You are his favourite. The revelation of your position and identity in Christ has its source from that vantage point. You should start making confessions with words like “For I know how dearly God loves me”, “None of this fazes me because God loves me” etc.
The dimension of Christ’s love is extravagant. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God (Eph.4:18-19 MSG). Make yourself at home in his love. God loved us first and He loves us best. You are God’s beloved. Believe in his love. Embrace it heart and soul. There is so much power in knowing you are God’s beloved. Feed on his love for you, then you’ll start loving because He first loved you. Our trust shouldn’t be in something that waxes and wanes. Maybe, like me, your love for God is sometimes sinusoidal – high up there today and normal on some days (*I applaud you if yours is ‘ever-increasing’ and ‘steady’ tho’). Our trust should be in God’s love for us that is always constant and consistent regardless.

The next time you pray, the next time you fail at something, the next time you bungle an opportunity, the next time you are facing a difficult situation…from your vantage point, you’d see the situation with a healthy perspective. Just picture God’s love for you. It’s a revelation that revolutionizes everything. Nothing compares to God’s love. Find freedom in His perfect love. Be established in His Unconditional love.

Let me end with this particular portion of the scripture that was impressed on my heart during the course of the week. I hope it blesses you:

“Yes indeed, it won’t be long now.” GOD’s Decree. “Things are going to happen so fast your head will swim, one thing fast on the heels of the other. You won’t be able to keep up. Everything will be happening at once–and everywhere you look, blessings! Blessings like wine pouring off the mountains and hills. (Amos 9:13 MSG)

So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:
They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. (Rom.8:31-39 MSG)

Thanksgivings will pour out of the windows; laughter will spill through the doors. Things will get better and better. Depression days are over. They’ll thrive, they’ll flourish. The days of contempt will be over. (Jer.30:19 MSG)

Oluwafemi Olukoya (@simokool)

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2016 in Assurance, Confidence, Faith, Love

 

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The Evidence, My Confidence

Hey! Thanks for stopping by at my blog. This is one of those days I don’t really have a ‘striking’ topic, so just allow me share some random thoughts with you. Like I always say, the thoughts aren’t necessarily deep stuffs but they are simple, sincere and heart-full. I have two different stories to share and I sincerely hope you relate with the thoughts and find a word (assurance, evidence, confidence…) that’s changes your perspective about living life based on the fullness we have received.

At a point in my church service as a worker, I was drafted into the protocol department – a department saddled with the responsibility of providing a hospitable and conducive environment for visiting guest ministers with the sole aim of making them feel at home outside their home. The unit ensures warm reception of guest ministers upon their arrival into the city – monitor them with phone calls till they get to the church, show them where to park their car(s), be on guard/standby to be ready to attend to their needs amongst other things. (*I know I’m actually boring you with my church operational manual for protocol department. Just bear with me. It’s a ‘light affliction’* LAUGHS!).

Around a particular season of the year, we had a run of programs and for a particular Sunday, we invited a renowned music minister. The Sunday morning was top-notch and the protocol department was at its best with clean black suits, sparkling white shirts and a red tie to make the outfit grand. And lest I forget, our black shiny shoes in all its glory completed our elegant look. (*We only needed a Bluetooth earpiece and a walking-talking to pass as your regular SSS/DSS official). We stood regal in front of the church premises waiting to receive this particular minister.

If you’ve ever had to work in the protocol department, you’d know how these guest ministers can be, when it comes to telling you their exact location. You’d call them and you hear words like “We are around your vicinity”, “We’ll be with you shortly”, “We are on our way” and a myriad of such words. The panoply of the variations of such words makes predicting their time of arrival a bit difficult, you just have to make sure you are alert at your duty post.

We eventually got confirmatory words that the guest minister was close, so we moved closer to the main entrance of the church so as not to miss the time of “visitation”, so that ours will not be the tales of “And God was here and we knew it not” (Laughs Out Loud!). While our eyes were fixed steadfastly at the entrance, the host music minister, obviously “surprised”, called our attention to the fact that the guest minister is already at the car park. Did He come with invisible chariots of fire? I said to myself. Our gaze were fixed at the main entrance of the church auditorium that it was practically impossible for us to miss him, yet, the guest drove in and “we knew it not”.

How did we miss him, despite our alertness and preparation? That’s the 64-million dollar question! The answer is: the minister arrived in a way we weren’t expecting. The guest minister and crew drove in a ‘normal’ commuter bus. The kind of regular buses that ply Lagos – Ibadan at garages (nothing special or significant about the bus). But in that “non-spectacular” bus was the “spectacular” man we have been waiting for. Personally, I think I expected a convoy of the “Mercedes E-class-es” of this world or the “Range-Rovers” of this world to announce his arrival. I’m very sure I wouldn’t have missed that.

…And a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper… (1Kings 19:11-13NLT)

This particular scripture has a lot of deep theological meaning but I won’t bother you with that. I think we can all relate to the story in our walk with God. There just comes a point in our lives, where we just want the spectacular. We want God to move in ‘mysterious’ ways…we want to hear his voice thunder and tear the ancient Iroko tree beside your house or you’d want the foundations of your building to vibrate. I think the dramatic appeals to everyone…it catches our attention. I think the dramatic revelation and manifestations are great, but silence does not always mean inactivity.

Elijah had called fire to consume burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench (1Kings 18:38-40). Elijah had also called for a mighty and terrific rainstorm after there had not been rain for three and a half years (1Kings 18:41-45; James 5:17)…Elijah outran Ahab’s chariot (1Kings 18:46 *Ahab would probably have the fastest chariot in the whole kingdom*). I could go on and on. Elijah had seen God in the dramatic but this time around God was not in the wind nor the earthquake nor the fire. But in the sound of a gentle whisper…in the silence…God showed up. In the silent whisper, Elijah rediscovered God and knew He wasn’t alone. In the moment of depression, frustration in the wilderness…a pregnant whisper was all Elijah needed. Elijah had witnessed the spectacular, but it wasn’t enough to sustain him as he took to his heels when he heard Jezebel wanted to hunt him down. Elijah latching his heart to what God said in the silent whisper was all he needed. It’s not about the minister coming in ‘okada’ or convoy of ‘prado jeeps’ – the focus should be the MINISTER.

Now, moving from the sublime to the practical, I see the story holding a lot of truths in it. I think sometimes, just like me, we want the long convoy to be in procession to be persuaded the minister is in it. I think sometimes, we want to build our faith on the spectacular because it makes us feel good…it probably gives us some goose bumps and makes the hair at the back of our head tingle. I think, much more than that, the word in your spirit is all what God needs to do business with. I think this is a clarion call to quit chasing the spectacular – it is more beneficial to see Christ in the word than physically. The universe was created with words – and in those words, the power of God is displayed (Heb.1:3). We don’t have to be subject to what we can see, touch, feel and see…The ‘unseen’ came before the ‘seen’. Our lives and existence should be designed around the revealed word. The culmination of life and the pinnacle of our existence should be the word in our spirit irrespective of the theatrics.

It’s all so easy to get so caught up in the spectacular and lose focus on the person of Christ. Christ is the ULTIMATE miracle of God. The “spectacular” might sometimes be a distraction to the “spiritual”. There are lot of dramas going on around us. A lot of distractions around us trying to shift our focus from what really matters. I think there are a lot of man-made opinions posing as infallible truth. God’s word in your heart and on your lips should be the center of your thoughts. Goliath’s ranting didn’t stop David’s from declaring the counsel of God.

Imagine requesting for an elevator using the call buttons to get you to a preferred destination. The call buttons usually consists of an up and a down button that illuminates to indicate the request has been received and an elevator is on the way. The indicators are the evidence that your request has been received. When people try to talk you out of waiting for the elevator because it doesn’t look forth-coming, you simply tell them you have evidence (illuminated indicator). Your words should be in consonance with the evidence received while you remain expectant. Even if the elevator persists, the illuminated indicators and a beep that you received when you made the request gives you confidence and assurance. This affirmation (illuminated indicator) is the substance of the things hoped for (the elevator). I dare say, the word of God in our spirit man is our confidence. When life hits hard and people expect you to be shattered and broken, just show them your evidence. When besieged and all hell breaks lose, you remain calm not as a result of denying the situation, but because you have an affirmation in your spirit about the end of the matter that is more real and tangible than the boisterous wind.

Another quick story!

I had a transaction with someone recently via email. The terms of the contract were fully signed and sealed. All in my inbox. I also have words of assurance from both parties. At any point, I begin to doubt the deal made, I just go back to the mail because the mail has all the assurance I need, and the signatures of the parties involved reminds me of the potency of the deal. It doesn’t matter whether there was a loud ring when the mail came in or whether it was just a small beep…all that matters is I have an assurance that the deal is guaranteed.
Two important points I meditate on when I think about the infallibility of God’s word.
1. God’s word cuts through EVERYTHING, whether doubts… (Heb.4:12 MSG)
2. NOTHING (thoughts life, attitudes, emotions, will, marital, career, job) and NO ONE (administrations, governments, authorities, rulers etc.) is impervious to God’s word (Heb.4:12 MSG). They ALL respond to God’s word.
3. The consistency of the character and nature of He that has promised is my anchor. I’m not the performer, I’m just the believer. So, all I need do is lay claim on his faithfulness and rest.

Let me end with this:
God has said:
I will never fail you
I will never abandon you
I won’t give up on you
I am striding ahead of you
I won’t leave you
I’ll see the journey to the end
I’ll stick with you until I’ve done everything I promised you
I’m with you every step you take
So, I say with confidence:
The Lord is my helper
I have no fear
He’s my ever-ready help before the need arises.

God’s word revealed to me is my evidence! In that evidence, I find all the confidence and assurance I will ever need.

Oluwafemi Olukoya
(@simokool)

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2016 in Assurance, Confidence, Faith, Victory

 

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On The Bills of Grace

“No chance at all, if you think you can pull it off by yourself, but we have every chance in the world if we let God do it” Mark 10:27 (MSG)
“And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace” (John 1:16 NKJV)

When making it over the long haul seems impossible
When chaos, uncertainty, doubt and fear seems to be the order of the day
When the voice of reality presents pitched compositions of depression, frustration and confusion
When the rubber meets the road and push comes to shove
When the heats get turned up and the fight of faith looks dead on arrival
When lamentations seems to be in a heated battle with your praise on my lips
May my focus remain fixated on you
May the Father’s love always lead my life
May I always remain careless in the care of God
May I always walk in the reality that I have a heavenly Father that cares for me
May I always remember that I have a present help even before the need arises.
May my heart be filled with the revelation of your ever-abiding presence whispering You are not alone.
I ask this in Jesus’ Name
Amen.

This piece is so personal and means a lot to me (*So, I agree, it may not be relevant to you. But thank you for reading it anyway *big smile*). The everyday travails of life are real. I have been drenched and wet by the torrent of the craziness of life. I have been discouraged, distracted and sometimes frustrated with happenings around me. I have made mistakes, called the wrong shots in grief and desperation. People have been disappointed at me over my decisions and actions. I have made career decisions that almost put my entire ambition on the edge of a cliff and I slacked in God’s assignment for my life. At that point in my life, nowhere looked like a head way – my ‘world’ stood still with nothing tangible to show for it. I was practically living on the edge – was between two extremes, just a little push would make me take a side. Life became a dichotomy between “what is probable” and “what is possible” – permutations and combinations took over trusting in the invisible. At those times, I also realise that Life should be lived on the bills of God’s overwhelming goodness and grace.

In the heat of the fire, people want you to be proactive. By being proactive, they want you to pace more, worry more, call SOS, sweat it out, complain more and move about in circus. People could become so vested in “movement”, that they don’t even mind if “progress” is being made or not. Most times, in order not to appear careless, we are tempted to join the worry gang. But, like a popular cliché on social media, I dare say “who worry don epp?”. Worry is a negative energy, saps you of your strength and changes your focus from “what is true” to “what is real”.

In the face of the storm, I started wallowing in my fears and anxieties, my memories became filled with regretting the past and fearing the future. I made a strong resolve not to repeat the mistake of the past, but on the bill of my effort and strength. I stood up, staggered, walked and made the same mistake over again. I found it difficult to trust God in the moment, while my heart could not fathom the real-time, present-day God. My focus shifted from “who God is” to “who I was” at the moment. I was blinded by my weakness…I schemed, strategized and designed framework to set me back on course, but the output had no “master” in the “piece”, so it wasn’t a masterpiece. (*Haha! I just felt like a wordsmith with that punchline). My life became about what should have happened, what might have happened and what hopefully will happen, not realising that God is in my every moment.

I ‘disconnected’ from every support system – friends, pastors, family, mentors etc. I just wanted to be alone…alone time with me in the murky waters of the travails. Disappointments and Rejections became so overwhelming that the sun that rises each morning became more real than the word of Him that causes the sun to rise. My email box was full with messages starting with “We regret to…, I am afraid, we cannot…, However, I am sorry…, We are sorry…, However, We regret that…” On the outside, I looked all fly like a diamond in the sky, but on the inside, I was falling like a pack of cards. At those times, a lot of voices came to me like the words of the chief priest to Jesus when He was being crucified “He saved others, He cannot save Himself…(Matt.27:41-42)”. I heard words in the same similitude “You know a lotta stuffs about God and His word, let your knowledge save you fah…na head knowledge baba get, baba no get fruits”. I heard so much of such words both implied and direct. I wonder the kind of comments Peter would have been burdened with in my generation when he denied Jesus, but still stood up to preach about that same man he betrayed on the day of Pentecost (Luke 22:54-62, John 18:15-27, Acts 2:14-42). I still get subliminal messages on social media and other platforms because of some mistakes I made but then, I’ve realised there is peace and contentment in finding and owning your ‘subs’ (Another One! Another punchline! *punchlines ti take over*). If I have not made sense or whatever to you, I’m sorry but take this line with you, GOD IS IN YOUR EVERY MOMENT.

I learnt three vital points I’d like to share with you when life hits hard and it seems your head is below water and getting drowned.

1. Focus on Who God Is.
One of the major things, season of travails tends to do is to make you doubt the character of God. It wants to undermine your perspective of God’s character. God is a good and gracious father. God has your best interest at heart and He is more interested in your well-being than you are. God is not just a God of the past or the future; He is God of the present. He is not bounded by time and space. God is present and active on the timeline of humanity.
Moses was interested in knowing why the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. God was more interested in reminding Moses who He is – I AM THAT I AM (Exodus 3:1-14). Martha needed Jesus to come in time to heal his brother Lazarus of his sickness, but was very perplexed when Jesus came at the late hour. Jesus seemed no longer needed as Lazarus has been dead for days. Mary and Martha needed a Jesus that would heal the sick but Jesus was more interested in revealing who He is, I AM THE RESURRECTION AND LIFE (John 11:17-44). The answer to our travails is not first and foremost focusing on who we are, but focusing on who God is. His “I am” is always greater and more than enough for our “I need”. Relate with God like a friend. He listens. He cares. So, if you are looking for any ‘major key’ in troubled times, grow in your revelation of Jesus (2Pet.1:2-3, 2Pet.3:18).

2. God loves you. And it probably does not matter what you say or do.
I know, right? The second point sounded ridiculous, common knowledge and simple enough, you do not need to be reminded? But then, embedded in those three simple words is all the assurance you need. Each day should be lived with fresh revelations of the Love of God for you. I believe life is a journey of continuous discovery of God’s love.
We think the answer to frustration is more efforts…not more efforts, but the revelation of His abundant grace (Rom.5:17). Your flesh wants to exert more to face frustration. In His love, you find peace and freedom, where you become persuaded of the outcome in God irrespective of the circumstances. In the knowledge of His love for you, you find ammunitions to keep fighting the good fight of faith. One of the most dangerous locations for a believer is not an ISIS infested territory, but anywhere you find yourself doubting the love of God and losing faith in God. I feel there are no deep stuffs in this second point right? (*smiles*).
Always remember, it’s a lie from the pit of hell to believe YOU ARE ALL ALONE or YOU ARE IN THE TRAVAIL ALONE (Heb.13:5). At those moments in life, when you just want to throw in the towel and give up on anything that’s overwhelming at the moment making you feel drained and alone, YOU ARE NEVER ALONE (Rev.3:20, Joshua 1:9). On the timeline of humanity, God is always posting, liking and commenting on your status with full assurance. When you shut the door on everyone and they give up on you, He is still at the door knocking. I may not know how you have started, but one thing I’m persuaded of is this: Keeping ourselves in the love of God is the way to end well. And in the knowledge of His love, we find true life. With His love, he calms all our fears (Zeph.3:16-17). Our lives must start and end with a dependence on God. With Faith and the knowledge of His great love in our hearts, we win always. In His loving arms, you find rest. He has made us accepted in the beloved (Eph. 1:6). That’s the greatest validation and acceptance – approval of the father.

3. Stay Grateful.
At those times, you may want to pray and not find words to utter. You just want to lie in your bed all day and think of how your life has gone from ‘100’ to ‘0’ real quick. One sure thing to do is: remember His faithfulness in some seemingly hopeless situations He has showed up in times past. Let His past faithfulness dominate your mind. Someone once said “If you want to get out of the pit you are in, Start thinking about the goodness of the Lord. Good news has a way of replicating itself”. God still does things that do not add up. Live life on the bill of overwhelming goodness of God.

And if you are thinking, you’ve ‘lost’ things or it’s a little too late, I’d like you to know that God’s best is never in the past (Prov.4:18). Ruth probably thought Mahlon’s death was the final blow, but there was a Boaz in the future.

Back to my story! God is faithful regardless. He will never lie. God’s mercy is greater than my mistakes and He sure fixes situations better than ‘Olivier Pope’. In my dealings, I find myself a toolkit for the journey of life: Life is to be lived on the bills of God’s overwhelming grace and goodness. Stay on course! Know who is in your boat and you aren’t going down. You are called by His Name, It’s on His Bill.

The Infallibility of God’s Word
The dependability of His Faithfulness
The consistency of His Character and Nature
My Sure Anchor

Judah Smith in his book “LIFE IS___” gave four blueprints about life: 1. Life is to be loved and to love 2. Life is to trust God in every moment 3. Life is to be at peace with God and yourself 4. Life is to enjoy God. I think I want to add a fifth blueprint, 5. Life is to be lived on the bill of God’s overwhelming grace and goodness

“Jerusalem will be told:
“Don’t be afraid.
Dear Zion,
don’t despair.
Your God is present among you,
a strong Warrior there to save you.
Happy to have you back, he’ll calm you with his love
and delight you with his songs.” (Zeph.3:16-17 MSG)

For every ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘Zion’, I hope this piece ministers hope and faith to you.

Oluwafemi Olukoya
simokool@yahoo.com
@simokool.

 
8 Comments

Posted by on April 1, 2016 in Love

 

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Aside

There is an interesting event that happened to Paul and Silas in the Bible which is really worthy of note as it holds a lot for the times we are in. On a particular day, Paul and Silas were on their way to the place of prayer as it was their usual custom, a slave girl ran into them. She was a psychic and, with her fortunetelling, made a lot of money for the people who owned her. She started following Paul around, calling everyone’s attention to them by yelling, “These men are working for the Most High God. They’re laying out the road of salvation for you!” She did this for a number of days until Paul, finally fed up of the daily yelling, turned to her and commanded the spirit that possessed her, “In the name of Jesus Christ, get out of her!” And instantly, the spirit left her.

When her owners saw that their lucrative little business was suddenly bankrupt, they went after Paul and Silas, roughed them up and dragged them into the market square. Then the police arrested them and pulled them into a court with the accusation, “These men are disturbing the peace of the land–dangerous Jewish agitators subverting our Roman law and order.”

By this time the crowd had turned into a restless mob out for blood. The judges went along with the mob, had Paul and Silas’s clothes ripped off and ordered a public beating. After beating them black and blue, they threw them into jail, telling the jailkeeper to put them under heavy guard so there would be no chance of escape. The jailer did just that–threw them into the maximum security cell in the jail and clamped leg irons on them.

Have you ever been in a situation where it seemed like you were getting less than you deserved or in a scenario where you are being persecuted for doing good all because some people are feeding fat on the products of a corrupt system? Paul and Silas should have been given National Honours for casting a devil out of the nation but what they got was the treatment a public enemy deserved. The whole world was against them for fighting a just cause and that earned them a place not in the Presidential villa but in the maximum prison meant for hardened criminals.

Along about midnight, Paul and Silas were at prayer and singing a robust hymn to God. The other prisoners couldn’t believe their ears. Acts 16:25 MSG

But, despite the treatment these men received, Paul and Silas were not bitter about their circumstances. They were fully aware of what they were up against yet they weren’t too bitter to praise. Their legs and feet were bound but their mouth wasn’t. They kept on praising despite the fact that they were on a seemingly dead end. The chains and fetters were real, the brass of Iron Gate was not imaginary but they held on to the truth that is greater than their reality – not even their condition could stop their praise.

#1 Your Praise is doing more than you think

When Life hits hard and it looks like hell is let loose on you; when you are faced with questions of Life that you don’t really have a grip on and when the challenges you are going through are too much for your age and experience. If there is anything you must not lose in times like this, it’s your praise.

There is no mountain too big for you to move and no trials too difficult to overcome if you will keep your praise switch ON. Your praise in the midst of grievous oppositions, bitter hostility, and stormy times is faith in action. Your praise is a declaration of God’s rule and reign in your affairs.

Your praise is an affirmation that God is working it out for your good – making a masterpiece out of the broken pieces. Your praise releases the ability and energy of God in you and propels you out of a place of defeat and depression into complete victory. Your praise releases your authority and proclaims your superiority and dominance over the enemy. Your praise makes the triumph of Christ real to principalities and power. Your praise strikes fear in every enemy of God and sends confusion to the camp of the enemies. Your praise is an affirmation that your trust and hope is in God. Your praise is a testimony of your faith in God’s promise and thankfulness for his glorious mercy.

#2 God is in your praise

Let’s take our place outside with Jesus, no longer pouring out the sacrificial blood of animals but pouring OUT SACRIFICIAL PRAISES FROM OUR LIPS TO GOD IN JESUS’ NAME. Heb.13:15 MSG

Sometimes your praise is a sacrifice. It is not something convenient for you, it’s costing you something. It’s a thanksgiving that takes the spotlight off your prevailing trials and travails of life and magnifies the Lord’s faithfulness. When Life hits you hard and all you can say is “Thank You Jesus”, Life hits you again and your response remains the same. Suddenly, you begin to see God at work in your life, working behind the scenes and turning your storms into divine orchestrations leading to his eternal plan and purpose for your life.

Instead of whining and getting frustrated about life, let the praise on your lips burst forth. Even in the night and midnight hours of your life, there is praise on your inside like streams of water locked up. In the midst of Apostle Paul’s many beatings and multiple shipwrecks, he also learned to rejoice. In Php.4:4, he said “Rejoice in the Lord always. And again I say Rejoice”. Life’s trials will seem so small when the high praise of God is in your mouth.

#3 Don’t be too bitter to praise

Don’t be too bitter or disappointed about life not to always have a praise break. A praise break could be as simple as just lifting your hands to heaven and saying, “Father, thank You because you are at work in me! Thank you because your thoughts towards me are of good and not of evil! Thank you Father because you are good and your mercy endures forever! I will bless you at all times with everything in me! You Oh Lord are my source and sustainer”. There is no chain that can bind up the spirit of a person who is full of praise.

Probably you are recounting the events that have occurred in your life and you really do not see why you should praise God because previous happenings in your life have been marked by hurts, pains, disappointments, heartbreaks, failures, betrayals and every heart-rending events you can think of. But the truth is God’s best is never in your past. God’s best is never in who left you but in who you are still going to meet. Think of everything seemingly terrible that has ever happened to you and you would realize it wasn’t the worst. The worst did not happen to you; not because the Devil was mild or played fair, but because of God’s mercy and faithfulness. Here you are still standing, the devil meant it for your end but God said NO. You have a hand to lift, a foot to dance, a mouth to praise. Why not just take a praise break and just give a shout of praise to God.

Instead of sulking around about the insecurity of the nation and the emergence of the deadly Ebola virus, why not thank him because you are in the secret place of the most high and all your sicknesses and diseases have been taken away. If you can’t thank him for who left you, why not thank him for whom He is bringing your way. If you can’t thank him for your present unemployed status, why not thank Him for the dream job coming your way. If you can’t thank him for anything, why not praise him for the gift of Life. If you can’t thank him for what you lost, why not thank him for the restoration he’s working out for you. If you can’t thank him for the stages of your life you seem not to understand, why not thank him because all things are working together for your good and your steps are ordered. Praise him because you are wonderfully and fearfully made. Praise him because after the storm, there is going to be calmness where He wraps everything up.

Paul had been snake bit, beat in the head and left for dead, suffered multiple shipwrecks, was imprisoned on numerous occasions, yet he could still stand up and say, “I am more than conqueror”. Even when he was forced to spend the end of his life in chains, Paul still wrote the book of Philippians – a short letter that mentions joy and rejoicing 16times. His praise was always conditioning his attitude and response to life.

Praise is vocal. It can be seen and heard by others. We see a great example of this in Acts 16, Paul and Silas were imprisoned, their hands and feet in stocks, but the authorities forgot to tape their mouths shut! I like to say that as long as you have your voice, there is no prison that can hold you. Your voice is your address in the realm of the Spirit.

Just believe what the Word says Jesus has done for you. Think about it, talk about it, sing about it, and shout it at the rooftop. And do these continually, do it every day. Make it a lifestyle. No matter what challenges you might be facing today, the divine strategy is to send praise ahead of you.

Have a great weekend!

@simokool

SEND PRAISE AHEAD

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Aside

But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them Mark 15:11
Mark 15:6-15 portrays a scenario which I believe it’s very profound to the work of redemption. The Chief Priests with the religious leaders and scholars arranged a congress with the entire Jewish Council where Jesus was tried and was later presented to Pilate. It was a custom at the feast of Passover to release a prisoner, anyone the people asked for.
There was one prisoner called Barabbas. He and some others had been arrested for murder during a riot. As a usual custom, Pilate asked the people who they wanted to be freed. Pilate expected them to support the releasing of Jesus because he didn’t find any fault in him but he was appalled when the crowd gave their unflinching support for Barabbas to be released. And Pilate desiring to do what was pleasing to the people let Barabbas go free and gave up Jesus to be crucified according to their wish.
Barabbas had committed insurrection against the government and a murderer too. Barabbas was a threat to national peace and security. The presence of Barabbas alone is a threat to the security of lives and property. Barabbas had masterminded a lot of terrorism attacks with series of bomb blasts that claimed thousands of innocent souls and massive destruction of properties and amenities. Barabbas is a number one public enemy. Any Government would give half of its annual budget to anyone with useful information on how to arrest Barabbas. Now that the Roman Government had arrested the public enemy that troubled the peace of Rome, as a result of envy the Chief priest incited the mob to release the most-wanted person in Rome.
Jesus, on the other hand had been giving life everywhere he went. He was setting the captives free, healing the broken hearted, proclaiming liberty to them that are in bondage, healing all forms of sicknesses and diseases, raising the dead, giving recovery of sight to them that are blind. He was giving a higher and better life to the people than they ever dreamed of…preaching the good news. Jesus wasn’t a threat to the security of lives and property; rather he went about giving life and undoing all the works of the enemy.
Barabbas was released and set free but Jesus was crucified. The innocent went in guilty and was crucified. The guilty one became innocent because the innocent one became guilty. The one who deserved nothing was crucified and the one that deserved every judgement and punishment could go free because of what Jesus did. Barabbas was given a clean slate. He was granted Presidential pardon as though he had never done any wrong all because the sinless man became guilty. It was a beautiful exchange. The guilty became righteous because the innocent one was crucified and punished for the crime he didn’t commit.
Every Barabbas should go free because Jesus went to the cross. Jesus took our punishment and God gave us credit for Jesus’ perfection. The reason we can’t be punished was because someone innocent went in and received the punishment on our behalf. The Incarnation of Deity and humanity in the babe of Bethlehem solved the problem and agony of mankind. We became justified simply because of Jesus’ perfect substitutionary sacrifice on the cross. We became “JUST-IF-WE’D-NEVER-SINNED”.
Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ took our place and fro every sin you and I have committed and will ever commit, He bore it at the tree and He was punished so that we will not be punished. He was condemned. He took our place, so that we might take his place – a position of power, dominion and authority. He became sin that we might become the righteousness of God. He became our curse that we might be blessed. He cried, “My God, My God! Why have you forsaken me?” so that our cry might be, “My Father, My Father! Why have you so loved me this much?”
If the greatest need of humanity was food, God would have sent an Agriculturist with vast experience and skills in Commercial farming. If our greatest need was information, God would have sent an educationist. If the greatest need of mankind were to be condemnation and criticism, I guess the Devil was already doing a good job with that so God wouldn’t have intervened. Our greatest need is not technology, if it had been, God would have sent a Scientist with so much technological innovations. If the greatest need of mankind was pleasure, God would have sent an entertainer. The greatest need of mankind was redemption and forgiveness of sins, so God sent a Saviour.
The gospel is the good news about Christ. The centrality of the gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The gospel is the power of God at work saving everyone who believes. The good news is about the beautiful exchange, the sinless man punished that the guilty one might become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. What a beautiful exchange!
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 2Cor.5:19
God has given us the ministry of reconciliation and has entrusted to us the ministry of reconciliation – bringing others back to him. The ministry of reconciliation is simply proclaiming that the sin problem has been settled in the body of Christ because God is not putting their sins into their account as Christ paid it all. The enmity between man and God has been abolished. Man has been redeemed and freely forgiven.
We’ve been given the responsibility of bringing the world back to him. It is not the era of a sinner in the hand of an angry God; it’s the dawn of a sinner in the hands of a loving God. God wants us to shout it at the top of the mountains and hills that every Barabbas should go free because Jesus went to the cross. The message of reconciliation is telling every Barabbas that there is no more enmity between him and God. The message is proclaiming to every Barabbas of the better and abundant life that is in Christ Jesus. It’s no longer the ministry of condemnation; it’s the ministry of reconciliation.
It would interest you to know that Jesus didn’t die with a pointing finger. He died with his arms wide open and it was deliberate. His loving arms are ever wide open to receive every Barabbas. There’s a home in Jesus. God gave Jesus up to rescue every Barabbas. Every Barabbas needs to hear about the love of the Father. It will never be about our love for him, but His love for us (1 John 4:10). That’s our message!
The cross was heavy, the blood was real, and the price was extravagant. It would have bankrupted you or me, so He paid it for us – Max Lucado

@simokool

BEAUTIFUL EXCHANGE

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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