Repost: Encourage Yourself

And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. 1 Samuel 30:6

One weapon the enemy is using in these last days is discouragement. He will use people to discourage you to quit your job, leave your home, quit your relationship, stop praying, stop going to church, etc. He doesn’t want the best for you so he will discourage you. He is happy when you are sick, depressed, worried, and afraid. He will tell you “there is no way this can ever be”. He will give you facts to let you believe that there is no hope in whatever you are going through. David encountered the same situation. They returned from battle to see their city on fire, and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives. The Bible says David was greatly distressed for the people spake of stoning him. Everyone was against David but he encouraged himself in the Lord his God.

Could it be that you made a mistake and everyone is against you? Could it be that your spouse or partner doesn’t trust you for a mistake you committed years ago? Could it be that you are no more accepted by the very people who appreciated everything you did in the past? Could it be that you are unemployed? Whatever the situation may be, I want you to encourage yourself in the Lord.

Sometimes when there is no one to encourage you, you have to encourage yourself. Speak positive words to yourself. Read the word of God for strength.

“…those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.” (Isaiah 40:31 AMP)

Could you guess what happened after David encouraged himself?

He enquired at the Lord, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.

God wants you to be courageous. He told Joshua “Only be thou strong and very courageous”.

I came to encourage you with these words and it is my prayer that God will give you strength and power to come out of every negative situation in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Wolves in Sheep Skin

false-prophetIn their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. (2 Peter 2:3 NLT)

After writing about Beware of False Prophets two years ago, I have been following the lives of some preachers around the globe and what I have realized is quite intriguing. In the past, false prophets were known to be antichrist. That is they don’t preach about our Lord Jesus Christ. The story is gradually changing in these last days. They have clothed themselves with sheep skin and exploiting innocent people for their personal gains, as well as leading them to eternal destruction. The sheep are now feeding the shepherd on the field.

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. (Matthew 7:15, KJV)

Jesus is the good shepherd and we are supposed to follow his examples. When you study the life of Jesus, you will find out that Jesus was not only concerned about people’s spiritual need, but their physical needs too. That was why after giving the multitude spiritual food and performing wonders for three days, he said to his disciples “I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry, or they will faint along the way.” (Matthew 15:32, NLT). Before his ascension, he told Peter in John 21 “Feed my sheep” three times. This should tell us the extend of how Jesus wants His sheep to be taken care of.

Peter, having been through persecutions, beatings, and prisons, gave this message to shepherds “Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly–not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God.” (1 Peter 5:2, NLT).  The point I want us to note is “watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it”. Peter’s message is very simple and clear. Your service to God as an apostle, pastor, teacher, evangelist, or prophet should be done willingly. The main task is to care for the sheep that have been entrusted to you.  In the book of Acts, the scripture says “So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock–his church, purchased with his own blood–over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders.” (Acts 20:28, NLT). The story today is different, that is the sheep are now caring for the shepherd.

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. (Matthew 7:15, KJV)

A friend told me “…but it is very difficult to know false prophets these days because everyone mentions the name of Jesus and quote the scriptures”. This is true because when you watch TV, read books, listen to podcast, read magazines, and other channels, you will realise that everyone talks about Jesus. They have disguised themselves as ministers of God but inwardly, they are ravening wolves. This should not be a surprise because “Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”  (2 Corinthians 11:14). He also knows and quotes scriptures. So having his prophets’ do the same is not a big thing to do. But as Jesus said, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. You shall know them by their fruits. That is something they can’t hide. They pretend to be who they are not to get what they want. They are after wealth, fame, and personal achievements. They pay attention to how to build temples and maintain them, how to drive the expensive cars, live in luxurious houses, be on every channel, to be heard all over the world, but ignore the well-being of the sheep God has entrusted to them. The point is if you are unable to cater for the few sheep under your roof, how can you care for those outside? They seek to promote themselves instead of the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered. (2 Peter 2:2 NLT)

Many people follow their evil teaching because these prophets preach what they (people) want to hear. I kind of wonder why today’s messages are all about prosperity and how to get well. This has led to believers seeking foul means to get well or successful. Some cheat to get money to pay tithe and offering because if they don’t, they wouldn’t be considered as members of their churches. Some people don’t go to church because of clothes. Such people don’t want to look or feel bad about how they dress to church. There is evil in the church today because the basics of Christianity have been ignored. Ministers spend millions on outreach programs while some members are starving and finding it hard to pay their bills.

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1, NIV)

I am not condemning any preacher’s work but I believe that if anyone has given himself or herself genuinely to God, then he or she must do so willingly. There are many false prophets in the world. I was shocked when I heard a preacher said on radio that people pay consultation fee before seeing him.  Some sell products, believed to perform miracles, in the church. The Bible didn’t say Paul sold handkerchiefs to perform miracles. So where from the selling of calendars, bottled waters, pennants, oils, etc. to extract money from innocent people who are desperately in need of miracles. God has power to work through anything but my question is can’t they be given to members for free? Must people pay huge sums of money for miracles?

You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? (Matthew 7:16, NLT)

God was able to preserve 7000 in Israel who didn’t bow down to baal. In the same way, although there are many false prophets in the world today, there are good ones who are diligently doing the task that has been assigned to them. All you need to do is to pray that God guides your heart and steps so that you don’t fall prey to any of these wolves who have clothed themselves with sheep skin.

I will close with this:

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. (Matthew 7:15, KJV)

How long, Lord?

It’s easy to get discouraged when God doesn’t answer the door as soon as you press the doorbell. Actually, no one keeps to time like God. But, God doesn’t fix or reckon with time the way we do. So, our sense and appreciation of time differ from His. The scripture says he makes everything beautiful in its time. He has set time for your needs to be met. Your Father is always on time.

As human, you may be tempted to get worried and ask questions when you don’t see results at your set time. You may feel that God hasn’t heard you, or he is keeping long in responding to your needs. Maybe you are praying for Job in the first half of the year but nothing seems to be working. Or you are praying to meet the right person and no one seems to be interested in you. It could also be that you are expecting miracle in a particular area of your life. David faced similar situation when it looked like God wasn’t answering his prayers.  In Psalm 13, he asked;

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?

How long will you hide your face from me?

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?

How long will my enemy triumph over me?

(Psalm 13:1-2, NIV)

This is what it means when you find yourself at a point where you feel that you have been left alone; God wants you to act on your Faith. An example is what happened in the ship when the disciples of Jesus asked Master, carest thou not that we perish? (Mark 4:38, KJV). In verse 40, Jesus said to them “why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?

God already has your days written in his book. His word says that “Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you” (Isaiah 49:15). He will never leave you, nor forsake you. Thus when you will have started to feel that God has left you in your situation, the loving Father whisper from above that “No child, I am with you. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. Do not be afraid, for I am with you.”

 

The New Law of Retribution

iranian1Balal (in Iran) was at the brink of losing his life when the mother of Abdollah Hosseinzadeth, the person he stabbed some years ago, approached, slapped him in the face and then decided to forgive her son’s killer.

It was told that seven years ago Balal, who is in his 20s, stabbed Abdollah Hosseinzadeh during a street brawl in the small town of Royan, in the northern province of Mazandaran. In a literal application of qisas, the sharia law of retribution, the victim’s family were to participate in Balal’s punishment by pushing the chair on which he stood. The big surprise was that the victim’s family did the contrary. Instead of avenging their son’s death, the couple decided to forgive their son’s killer at the last minute. They spared the life of their son’s killer. This news was welcomed by people around the world and I believe there are some lessons we can learn from it as Christians.

How many Christians can do what the victim’s family did?

The Law of Retribution

Quite a lot of people (Christians) believe that people should face the consequences of their evil deeds. In the case of Balal, such people would have argued that he deserved death because he killed.  Some quote this scripture to buttress their point: “You must impose on the accuser the sentence he intended for the other person. In this way, you will purge such evil from among you. Then the rest of the people will hear about it and be afraid to do such an evil thing.  You must show no pity for the guilty! Your rule should be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.”(Deuteronomy 19:19-21, NLT).

The New Law: Forgiveness

We were condemned to death but One Man decided to sacrifice his life for us. In John 15:13, Jesus said “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”. He went through hostility from man so that you and I can be set free. Even on the Cross, he prayed for forgiveness for those who had crucified him. This was the life of Jesus and he has commanded us to love one another.

God showed you mercy when you least deserved. He forgives you when you deliberately do something wrong. When people condemned you, He stood by you. He loves you so much that he sent his dear son, Jesus, to die in your place. And now, he wants you to love your neighbour by forgiving them when they sin against you. When I read the news article about Abdollah Hosseinzadeh’s death, I felt the pains his family went through in 2007. Society would have judged them right for Balal’s death but they chose to let him live. I could imagine Hosseinzadeth’s mother telling Balal’s mum (in my own words) that “I know how it feels to lose a son. I have been there and I know it hurts. I can’t afford to put you through that situation. I have forgiven your son though it is not easy”

“Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD.” (Romans 12:19, NLT).

Let us learn to forgive when it hurts most. Look around you today; Is there anyone you have to forgive? That person might have lied about you, disgraced you, insulted you, killed your relative or friend, abused you, destroyed your properties, witnessed against you, etc. Let us forgive one another just as God in Christ has also forgiven us. In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus teaches to say “Forgive us our debt as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Jesus concludes by saying “For if you forgive other their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”

I will close with this:

“You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also.  If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too.  If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile,carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.” (Matthew 5:38-42, NLT)

Relax! God is Watching Over You.

The Lord watches over you.

(Psalm 121:5, NIV)

There is violence in our schools, on our streets, malls, and other places. If we are not careful, we will end up living in fear instead of faith. The good news for you, as a child of God, is that your Father is watching over your life. The scripture says

“Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you – the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. (Psalm 121:4-8, NIV).

angelsecurity_niv

God protects you everywhere you go. He protects when you go out and He guards you when you return home both now and forevermore. He works behind the scenes so you don’t see what He does. He wants you to relax and enjoy life as His angels guard you and your family. When you wake up in the morning, or hear any bad news about shooting, terrorist attacks, accidents, outbreak of diseases, etc. say this in Faith; “RELAX! GOD IS WATCHING OVER ME”

Friend the things you see on TV, Internet, listen to on radio, or read in Newspapers; Economic hardship, suicide attacks, Islamic militants attacking Christians, enforcing unjust laws, rumors of war, earthquakes, tsunami, hurricane, etc.  are signs that THE END is at our door step.  Jesus is coming soon.

As we wait for our Lord’s return, let us encourage ourselves with these words that “The Lord will keep us from all harm – he will watch over our lives”.  He will protect you from sicknesses, shooting, suicide attacks, militants, Jihadists, unjust laws, and any evil you could think of in Jesus’ Name.

I will close with this:

Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. (Jeremiah 32:17. NIV)

Today Is My Birthday!

Today is my birthdayLast night I sat down for about 2 hours thinking about events that has happened between 27/05/2013 – 26/05/2014. I couldn’t keep quiet but to sing songs of praise to the Most High for His gift of life. Many would have loved to see their birthday but they couldn’t make it to 2014.  It’s good to be among the living, and I am more than happy to see today. It is the doing of the Lord. Hallelujah!

The theme for this year, as God revealed to me last night, is to focus on the new things He is about to do in my life. He told me that a lot has been done in the past years. He picked me up from nowhere, from the gutters and He is taken me to a High place of Honour. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”  (1 Corinthians 2:9, NLT). I was nobody (Gideon is a perfect example) but looking at what the Lord has done in my life…it so amazing. So last night as I was thinking about His goodness and mercies, I heard His voice. I heard Him say “Son the future is bright. My hedge of protection still surrounds you. Nations will call you blessed, and nothing you have seen can be compared to what I have started in your life. Just focus on the New”. I believe in His Word and I trust that the Best is yet to come. Hallelujah!

I also want to thank you for your prayer and support. I know that, by the Spirit of God and in the Name of Jesus, this year will great. We will grow in spirit, strength, prayer, wisdom, knowledge, understanding, etc. God bless you!