Showing posts with label New Year. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New Year. Show all posts

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Prepare the way for the Lord

Prepare the way for the Lord

"A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all mankind will see God's salvation.'" Luke 3:4-6 NIV.

As the year 2018 starts this January, everybody is full of expectations. We all wish that good things happen in and around our lives and circumstances. This heart of expectation makes our eyes not to focus on what happened in the previous year, but to look ahead concentrating our attention on what lies ahead in the new year. Nobody wants bad things to happen. Everybody wants something good to happen. But also, this atmosphere of expectations equally makes us vulnerable to deceptions and lies. The temptations of many of God's servants increase as they are tempted to follow the trend in declaring "thus says the Lord" for the year. In the course, many will say both what God has told them and what He has not told them. It takes a lot of courage as a servant of God to stay faithful to Scriptures in the month of January of every year. Most people in our congregations have itching ears. They just want you to declare and prophesy good things to them, whether it is the mind of God for the hour or not is not their concern. They will not want you to pay any attention to their sins, instead they want to get what they want to get out of God  because they worship Him on their own terms. Indeed, the temptation can be very huge but every man has his choice to make.

What should be our attitude? Our attitude should be to look up to God to know what He wants to do in our lives, seeking Him and making efforts to live in ways that please Him. As we expect God to move in our lives, our responsibility should be like that of John the Baptist when he was sent as the forerunner of the Lord Jesus Christ. He prepared the way for the Lord. Through his preaching and activities, the hearts of the people were prepared to receive the Messiah. Expectations were very high. Many "were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem". As it were, John "watered the ground" for the introduction of Jesus. The manifestation of the Son of God has a direct link to the ministry of John the Baptist.

As the beginning of the year comes with great expectations, I will urge you to make a personal commitment to prepare the way for the Lord as concerns what He wants to do in your life, family, ministry, career etc. What God wants to do in your life is more important than what any man or woman may "prophesy" into your life. Do not be deceived by those who will want you to give money in the name of entering into any covenant with God. We dealt with this issue some years ago here. If you have committed your life to the Lord Jesus Christ, you have been brought into covenant with God through His blood and that covenant speaks for you every day of your life till your work is done. That is why you can pray and relate to God. Kindly note that the God that led you from January to December 2017 is still the same God that will lead you in this new year 2018. If you have been walking with Him all this while, the plans He has for you in this new year is a continuation of what He has been working in your life all these years. A life of disobedience and sin can hinder what God may want to do in your life this year. If you are doing fasting and prayer, let it be part of your preparation for what He may want to do in your life and ministry and not as a bargaining chip.

Do not just flow with the "prophecies" and declarations. Seek God and ask Him, "Lord what do you want to do in my life this 2018? What do you want me to do concerning what you want to do in my life?" He will lead and help you. What God wants to do is what really matters. In conclusion, I charge you with the same words from the Prophet Isaiah to prepare the way for the Lord to move in your life. Make straight paths for Him. Free yourself from every sin that entangles you. Set your mind on Him as every valley shall be filled; every mountain and hill shall be made low; crooked roads shall be made straight and rough ways shall be made smooth and the glory of the Lord will be revealed and all mankind together will see it. Hallelujah! God bless you.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Obedience to God has no alternatives

Obedience to God has no alternatives

We are close to the end of the month of January. Many of us have made resolutions and taken further steps to ‘order’ how we want the year to go for us. Most churches had one week of fasting and prayers. Others took fourteen days, twenty one days and so on while others are yet to round off because they want to reach the last day of the month. In fact, I once heard a brother in one of the churches, while leading in a prayer session, said that he would continue in fasting till the end of the first one hundred days of the New Year. Let us assume that the reasons and motives behind these efforts are correct, the activities are good spiritual exercises that will help one to focus and develop his spiritual strength.

However, there is a deception I have a burden to address here and that is, the lie of believing that our fasting and prayers can buy us favours from God and make Him ignore His demand for total obedience and trust in Him which is the platform for good success. Throughout the Scriptures, you cannot clearly see any promise of God that is hinged on fasting. On the contrary, the Bible is filled with promises of good rewards when we give heed and do what is commanded. We also see the curses that follow rebellion when we refuse to listen to God’s word.

As I read Isaiah 58, I really wondered why God asked the prophet to raise his voice like a trumpet and shout His word aloud to His people. He said that “day after day they seek me out. They seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them” Vs 2. NIV.

Is this not our condition today? We run around doing all kinds of prayers asking God to avenge us of our enemies and prosper us. We look like those who are seeking God but our hearts are very far away from Him. We are not willing to do what His word says. You know, God’s people have a way of developing spiritual lethargy and hearing problems, especially the older we become in church. Hence God told the prophet, ‘shout it aloud with your voice like that of a trumpet. These people fast and seek me day after day as if they really want to know me. But they are stuck in their own ways. They continue in their rebellion and expect me to come down and answer them. No! They cannot be heard from on high’. Observe carefully that God did not condemn their efforts of fasting, but He frowns at their rebellion. Obedience has no alternatives.

There are people that do not have the intention to change their ways. They want God to do something for them but they ignore His word. Their attitude demands that it is God who should shift grounds and change His mind and not them. What they do not understand is that you cannot be living a disobedient life and enjoy blessings at the same time. You cannot sleep on the laps of Delilah and wake up in the bosom of Abraham. The two do not go together. Obedience to God is the key to a life of blessing.

King Solomon leant many lessons late while he was alive. In his old age, when he had lost it all, the little recovery he had just before he died, he concluded, “After all this, there is only one thing to say: Have reverence for God, and obey his commands, because this is all that we were created for.” Eccl 12:13-14 GNT.

King Solomon had blown everything before he came to this conclusion towards the end of his life. Just one thing to say, ‘fear God and obey Him, this is all that we were created for’. You were not created to live for yourself or someone else but to live for God. What God has asked you to do is more important than what you want to do for Him, no matter how ‘spiritual’ and noble. Doing what He tells you to do is more important than a sacrifice of a thousand rams. Taking time to note what brings God glory, what makes Him smile, and doing it attracts favour and blessings than fasting in the midst of a lifestyle that is contrary to Scriptures. Living a lifestyle that violates God’s word cannot bring us to a life of blessedness. In fasting we humble ourselves. It builds our spirit in our walk with Him but it cannot replace an obedient spirit. Please do not be deceived.

Like the prophet, I am shouting on top of my voice to all that care to listen, ‘obedience to God has not alternatives’. Decide to obey God this year in all that you know are His will. Walk with Him and you will testify at the end. Is somebody hearing me? God bless you.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Beware of liars

This is another year that the Lord has granted us the privilege to enter. He has ordained everything that concerns you and all that are yours. As you walk with Him in relationship and obedience, He will perfect all that relates to you and bring you to a place of fulfillment. He has promised, “Never will I leave you and never will I forsake you”. Heb.13:5

However, you have to ‘beware of dogs’ Phil.3:2. Those wicked and mutilators of God’s Word. They come in different garbs and tend to speak for God but the truth is that their god is their appetite. They will speak and declare all kinds of things even when the Lord has not spoken.

At the beginning of every year, people are full of expectations. By our make up, we want new beginnings and look forward to better things. This is not bad in itself. But if you do not remember that the God that saw you through 2010 is still alive and watches over you and will definitely see you through 2011, you will become gullible. Nothing makes January more divine than February. Nothing makes March more divine than April and every other month. After all, we must not forget that the world has used all kinds of dating systems before now and what we are using today was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom the calendar was named, by a decree signed on 24 February 1582. There is nothing divine about it.

The fasting that many of us do at the beginning of the year is for us and not for God. It is for us to prepare ourselves for whatever God may want to do just like every other time we set apart to seek His face. It is not a way to bribe God for the year. Some of these liars may even confuse us to sow some certain ‘seeds’ for 2011 as if we have to invest for the year and go and sit down with a hand-fan telling our hearts that we have paid our bills.

There is nothing that makes January different from December in divine agenda. What God does in our lives is an ongoing thing. This January and in fact 2011, God will continue what He has been doing in your life in December 2010 and through the past years. They are all connected. For example, if there is any demand of obedience that God was making on our life last December, He will not suddenly change it just because one man declared 2011, ‘A year of laughter’, or ‘A year of new favours’ or any other tag like the ones you see on car and door stickers. For your personal spiritual health, the best thing to do is to listen to God’s instructions and obey them. If you do, you will be blessed.

11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jer 29:11 NIV

Your life here on earth is like a single string that connects your birth and your death. It has no breaks. The plan God has for your life connects from one end to the other and beyond. It is only by following Him will that plan be accomplished. 2011 is only a part of the piece where the plan works out. God bless you!