prayer

MY CONFESSION – MY LIFE

This is inspired by the words of Job in Chapter 29 of the Old Testament book of Job.

God takes good care of me

He always holds a lamp before me

I walk through the dark by His light

God’s friendship graces my life and home

The Mighty One is always by my side

My children are all around me

Everything is going my way

My steps are bathed in cream and the rock pours out rivers of oil for me

Wherever I am, the young and the old greet me with respect

I am honoured by everyone in town

When I speak, people listen; they hang on my every word

People who know me speak well of me

My reputation goes ahead of me

I am known for helping people in trouble

And for standing up for those who have no helper

The dying bless me and the bereaved are cheered by my visit

All my dealings with people are good

I am known for being fair to everyone I meet

I am eyes to the blind and feet to the lame

I am a father to the needy and the champion of the outcast

I break the fangs of the wicked and pluck the victim from his teeth

My days are multiplied as the sand

My life is deep-rooted and well-watered

The dew lies all night on my branch

My glory is fresh within me and my body stays robust

Men and women listen when I speak; they hang expectantly on my every word

After I speak, they are quiet, taking it all in

They welcome my counsel like the new rain, drinking it all in

When I smile, their faces light up and their troubles take wing!

I lead, establishing the mood and setting the pace for the world around me

This is me because I have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and the Spirit of God lives in me.

SELAH

©www.godreignsamedari.org

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PLEASE, DON’T GIVE UP ON ME

As we turn 49 and mark our anniversary with several other countries that gained independence in the same year, we worry if there is anything to celebrate. The picture is gory, the news is depressing, the future looks bleak, and there is nothing about the country that is particularly exciting. From politics to sports, from the market place to the church, it appears nothing good is coming out of naija. Every day we are affected by the realities of the enormous problems plaguing the nation. We are not sure of which or whose script our leaders are following as they discharge their responsibilities. We could go on and on. Now, all we want to do is run away or maybe wake up and realize that we were just having a bad dream. Yet the image of the country keeps following us like a badly caricatured shadow. And the truth is that the blood flowing in our veins has the name ‘Nigeria’ embedded somewhere in it. The mud thrown at Nigeria is definitely also slung at our faces too. This nation belongs to us.

If there is anything we can do, it is to continuously bring our nation before the Lord. Yes, we have been praying and I believe our prayers have worked in the past. I have seen the power of prayer concerning certain national issues. Prayer has helped sustain this seemingly divided unity we call Nigeria. Let us keep praying. Let us pray for the restoration of Nigeria. That classic scripture in the Bible, II Chronicles 7:14, is still very relevant today. If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. The word of God also says in Isaiah 14:28 that, as He as thought, so shall it come to pass; and as He has purposed, so shall it stand. God’s word is true and His good thoughts for Nigeria shall be fulfilled.

This independence anniversary is a good opportunity for all children of God to lift up their voices on behalf of the nation and pray down the mercy, justice, righteousness and prosperity of God upon Nigeria. This we should do and continue to do daily. Though it might tarry, change will definitely come. Since a man’s belly shall be satisfied by the fruit of his lips, I also believe that the citizens’ nation (Naija) shall be satisfied by the fruits of their lips (their prayers and declarations in righteousness, not curses) Proverbs 18:20. History is replete with stories of nations that have sunk to the lowest levels of failure and risen to the highest pinnacle of success and remained there. Our story can have a similar ending. I am told that the darkest hour is usually just before dawn. These might be our darkest hours with our dawn just by the corner. Let us usher it in with our sincere prayers. Keep praying for Nigeria. We shall rise again and we shall all live to witness the turn around. I seem to hear Naija say, ‘Please don’t give up on me.’

A new persecution

I struggle with evangelism. I also struggle with presenting my faith to others. Sometimes you wonder if it’s the right place or time to do so. You wonder if you would be able to say it right. You are scared of being called a religious bigot or if you are in the right spiritual or mental state to do it. But one thing I have come to realise is that what Paul said in IITim 3:12 (Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.) is actually true and is being fulfilled among us even unknowingly. One of the aims of persecution apart from making us deny our Lord is to keep us from witnessing (both are related anyway). The early Christians had it rough, being burnt alive, fed to lions, sawn into two, etc but we are having it rather subtly but equally deadly. Friends hush us or make fun of us when we sound too ‘Christian’, office and school policies are not too favourable. And equally importantly, our mindset, strongly influenced and shaped by the media, would make witnessing out of place when we try to. Our faith and values are seriously being weakened by the internet and media since most of what is thrown at us is anti-God. So a thousand and one opposing thoughts bombard our minds when one thought about shining God’s light comes to mind.
One of the things the devil does when we try to speak for Jesus or the truth is to remind us that we are not particularly any better. He reminds us about our faults. But I believe that if I do something wrong and realise it is wrong and turn from it; I am justified to tell someone else who is doing the same thing that it is wrong without feeling bad. That doesn’t make me a hypocrite; it only means I don’t want you to make the same mistake I made. I think that is witnessing too.
Let us make a simple decision to change our style of praying. Focus more on praying according to the word of God. Pray that God’s priorities would become ours. Ask God to teach us the secrets of pleasing Him. And remember to always pray for others too. And like I have discovered from personal experiences – sincerely – God would always cover your back. That surely does not rule out warfare prayers because we are still soldiers for Christ engaged in battles.
Also in our present world we must make a very conscious and deliberate attempt to stay connected to God via his word and in prayer. There is so much pressure around us, from work or school, from friends, from the media, etc, that hearing from a pastor on Sundays and during mid-week services is not enough. Satan is very busy at his assignment of stealing, killing and destroying and we too should be busier at growing in maturity and talking to others about Christ. It requires discipline and actually setting goals for ourselves, for example concerning how many chapters of the bible we would read in a day, how long we would pray, friends and places we would stop visiting, etc. Yes you might say it is easy to start but difficult to continue. But I say start first. And each time you stop, start again. Very soon, you would be starting everyday to do what you purpose to do. Catch my drift?

SMS FROM GOD?

 

Recently, I received a phone call concerning a text supposedly from one of the respectable men of God in Nigeria urging Christians to offer prayers at a certain period of the night so that they would not mourn over any loved one. I learnt that text messages were sent and received all over the world concerning this. But then subsequently, a confirmation came that the purported text was not initiated by the man of God, although he still encouraged everyone to pray, of course because it wouldn’t be wrong to pray anyway. I have heard from several sources that people obeyed and offered prayers as ‘instructed’. My findings reveal that there was approximately 100 percent compliance. In fact I am told some streets were exceptionally noisy that night because of the intensity of praying in various houses.

Three things would have happened that night. One, the telecom companies would have noticed increased network activity that night which automatically translated to more revenue generated, thanks to the countless short messages sent that day. Secondly, God would have had an increase in the number of humans talking to him at the same time. If He were a man running a prayer call centre, the lines would definitely have been jammed that night. Thank God Jehovah is not a man. I guess the last time He got such level of attention would have been on New Year eve when most people would have spent the first minutes or hours of the New Year in the house of the Lord. Lastly, people would have found out that they had more well-wishers than they actually thought. Text messages crossed international boundaries to various corners of the world. Some even sent to people they had not spoken to in a long while, Christians and non-Christians alike. People showed that they were their brother’s keepers.

But as my Spirit churned this event, some issues/questions came to mind that really got me thinking:

Are we actually praying Christians? Do we need to be ‘threatened’ before we get to pray? It is not out of place if the period specified for the prayers in that text was regularly spent with God every night. God will be so pleased with us. We all have so many things to talk to God about that 2 or 3 hours might not even be enough. Do we realise that we would have greater successes and victories if we spent more time talking to God? Our lives should be prayer-lived lives so that such messages don’t come as sudden interruptions; rather they would just dovetail seamlessly with our plans, as long as they are of God.

 I also started wondering what our response would have been if the content of the text were different.  What if the text had urged us strongly to evangelise and win a soul for Christ during the week? Would it have gotten a commensurate response? Well, maybe, if there were an attached blessing, like some super financial blessing for all who follow the instruction. I guess this reveals where our focus is and our level of selflessness or should I say selfishness. All instructions from Jehovah must be taken seriously, whether it concerns us or others, obvious blessing attached or not.

And to what level are we willing to search and see if what we see, hear or read is true? How much of our walk with God is influenced by sensationalism and sentiments? How committed are we to checking in our spirits to see if we have a witness from God about any issue? The Holy Scriptures speak of the Berean Christians as followers who went back to research what they had heard to know if they were true. This should apply to everyone and everything that come to us in the name of our Saviour. We should be willing to test every spirit, every word, every revelation that is labelled ‘of Christ’ to know if it is actually so. This is what our Father commands. Some do not even believe that God could speak directly to them except through someone else. I can assure you, even God enjoys pillow-talk with his pals. It is very important that God and his instructions via the Holy Scriptures are the number one priority in our lives. His commands from the scriptures MUST carry more weight than that of any man.

Well, in all this I am grateful that in a world were few are trusted, some men of God are still held in such high regard that we can take whatever is said to come from them. And I believe this is on account of their level of integrity. I pray God will make us trustworthy pillars of relevance in our generation that others can look up to too in Jesus’ name. Amen.