Sunday Sermon: Not My Will But Yours Be Done

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Key Scriptures: Matthew 26, Mark 16 and Luke 24

Jesus understood the personal cost of doing the will of God. Jesus in Luke 22:41-43 asks God to remove the cup of suffering He was soon to drink from; dying for all of humanity despite His innocence. Jesus’ humanity needed strengthening at this time and in the passage an angel is sent to do just that. It was the will of God that the Son of God should go through agony and pain and thank God He did. Thank God Jesus went through with the will of God and by doing so He gave all those that believe in Him access to God the Father and eternal life. Heaven and hell are real. 

Though the will of God for us doesn’t look like the pain and agony Jesus went through, that doesn’t mean that He doesn’t have a will of each and every life. He does. There are some things we must note in our exercising the will of God in our lives. As you seek to do His will you must remember that the heart can be deceitful and we are not to look to signs in an attempt to hear from God. The people that want to please themselves look for signs and the Devil will give them signs. According to Matthew 12:38-40, it is an evil generation looks for signs. As you seek to do the will of God you must be prayerful, this stops you from giving up. Also seek Godly counsel from your spiritual leaders, pastors, teachers and be patient!

In the pursuit of God’s will for our lives we must also be aware that persecution will arise. As you seek to do the will of God you are likely to face opposition. Do not take opposition to mean you are not in His will, that’s a lie. People may even go as far as insulting, mistreating and lying against you. Why would anyone do this to me? You may ask. Persecution may arise because of the joy set before you. What God has for you is on its way. What should be your response? Endurance. When you encounter opposition don’t crack but endure. Also as crazy as it sounds, be excited! Be excited because great is your reward in heaven (Hebrews 12: 2).

SUNDAY SERMON: The Parable Of The Sower

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Key Scripture: Matthew 13: 3 -9 

Many have heard the word of God before, but only in understanding it does the word of God produce fruitful results.

The seed of the word on unfertile ground can have no effect or a negative effect on the hearer; though they may still claim to be active Christians. To he who hears the word of God and does it not understand it, the word will be taken away from him. In this time, your understanding may be tested, and fruits will be expected of you from the word of God that should be in you. Are you following Jesus, with an understanding of the word of God in this period?

It is easy to live with a lack of understanding of the word of God, such was the case with the Sadducees (Acts 23:8). There are denominations that do not believe in the Holy Ghost, those who do not believe in going to church, those who believe in evolution and those who say christianity or the Bible is inconsistent. When the enemy comes, he not only takes the word of God away, but he replaces it with a lie. The word is living and just as the body without the spirit is dead (James 1:22-26), when you lack the word of God, the seed that is sown is not able to grow.

The sowing of the seed can be prevented in many ways. Some fell on stony ground (Matthew 13:5-6) where there was no root. This is when the word of God is received with joy but when temptation, trials and persecutions arise, it fades away. Are you easily offended, easily losing your peace and joy? It is important to understand that when you receive the word there is the process of conversion where you God will take you on a spiritual journey and you will mature with each day. For other people, thorns spring up (Matthew 13:22) and the deceitfulness of the things of this world, such as wealth and riches chokes the word. When you are very dedicated to wealth and the world, it is dangerous to your salvation.

However, the seed on the good ground bears fruit. The good ground is he that hears the word and understands it, and therefore produces fruit (Matthew 13:8). At such a time as this when the word of God is being cut off, are you fertile ground for God’s instruction?

If the ground is not fertile, the word will not abide in it. How is the word of God in you?

Hope

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Hope means – To trust in, wait for, look for, or desire something or someone; or to expect something beneficial in the future.  Hope is grasping for what we can’t see but we believe because of the assurance in our hearts from God.

Romans 8:24. “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for”? 

With all that is going on currently around the world, our hope and confidence is in our Lord Jesus Christ who covers us with His precious blood daily. Hope brings security, confidence, praise to God, strength, external value, faith, goodness and joy.

Hope brings security

“And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety. (Job 11:18).

House alarms and security systems offer some hope for protection against thieves and intruders. The eternal hope in Christ means that you’re completely secure in God. He will protect you, your family and all your substance so that nothing shall by any means hurt you. As a child of God, your anchor is the hope that God is in control.

Hope brings confidence

No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame” (Psalm 25:3).

Because of our hope in the blood of Jesus, we don’t have to worry about anything. Even when we feel down and hopeless. We can come boldly to the throne of grace and seek God’s help.

Hope brings praise to God

“But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more.” (Psalm 71:14)

In the darkest hours and the deepest pain, we can still have hope. At such a time as this when everything around us looks dark and fear has gripped the world, our continuous hope in God reveals that He is in control and He uses everything for our good.

Hope brings eternal value

There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off” (Proverbs 23:18)

No matter what is going on around us, we have hope in Christ. He’s not only working in us at this very moment, but He’s also working out our destiny in His kingdom. 

Hope brings strength

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31).

The demands of this life can beat us down spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Yet remember we have hope in Christ to overcome and to draw on His word daily. This gives us renewed energy to face every challenge.

Hope brings goodness and joy

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him” (Lamentations 3:25).

The favour of God rests on those who put their hope in Him. He gives us the ability to excel in our gifts beyond our expectations. We may be facing difficult situations even at this time of ‘lock down’. Everything has changed – from shopping to taking a walk and having to observe a 2-metre distance; but because of our hope in Christ, we still have joy.

Hope brings faith

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1).

The evidence or assurance of our faith in God is hope. We don’t have to see Him to believe that He exists. The Spirit gives witness to our spirit that hope in God is a sure foundation that we can build our lives on. Hope is the gentle tug within the heart of every Christian to comfort us when we are tossed to and fro by challenges. Hope is a powerful stimulant for the broken hearted

God has planted hope in the heart of every believer so that we can build a strong relationship of love and trust with Him. Where is your hope? Let it grow and be nourished in the word of God everyday even at this time.

Written by Pastor Lydia Riley-Poku

One instruction does not fit all

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Judges 15:14-17 

And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him: and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands. 15And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith. 16And Samson said, with the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men. 17And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking, that he cast away the jawbone out of his hand, and called that place Ramathlehi. 

In Judges 15 Samson took revenge on the philistines because, his wife was given to one of his companions.  The Spirit of the Lord came on him and he found a jaw bone and killed a thousand men with it then threw it away.

What Samson did was remarkable: killing of a thousand men with a jawbone of an ass then casting away the jawbone. You would think the jawbone would have been the choice weapon for Samson to use afterwards.

There is no power in the jawbone 

When the Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson, He gave him strength to break free from the chords round his arms and the Spirit of God lead him to the weapon for battle: the jawbone. 

Samson understood that the jawbone was the weapon for that battle on that day, that hour, for that day’s victory and he also knew that after the battle it would be useless for the next battle, because the source of its power was used up – so he threw it away. From reading the accounts of all his battles, we can see that Samson understood that no two spirit-inspired strategies were the same. 

Not many people would have the courage to do what Samson did; to let go of their jawbone and wait for the leading of the Holy Spirit. It is usually the case that those who won’t let go learn the hard way; like Joshua.

Joshua Chapter 7 God gave a strategy and assurance as to how to take down Jericho and indeed they had a great and miraculous victory

In Joshua Chapter 8 Joshua and his army were preparing to fight the next city called Ai men from Joshua’s army told him that not many soldiers would be needed to attack Ai because it is a tiny town compared to Jericho. Joshua sent 3,000 men and when they went to attack Ai, the army of Ai chased them back and killed 36 Israelite soldiers.

Joshua failed to seek God for the next battle because he didn’t find it necessary to bother God with the tiny city Ai, after all God victory gave in mighty Jericho, so God we’ve got this. It was after the defeat that Joshua sought the Lord  

Psalm 25:4-5

Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.

In this Psalm David, he asks the Lord to teach him and guide him ALL DAY LONG, – in other words in all his daily routine – what he knows to do well and the ones he does not, his hope is in the Lord all day long to teach him and guide him that it will be well with him.

There is specific Instruction for every promise.

Every product comes with its own instruction. So is every promise of God; each promise comes its own power, instruction and provision and it is very important we know that instruction and follow it diligently to unleash the power and the provision.

The instruction you follow would bring about the fulfillment of a specific promise by God.

Written by Pastor Daniel Riley-Poku

Sunday Sermon: The Wait before the Answer

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Key Scripture: Matthew 2:12-14

The Son of God being taken to Egypt is a form of lesson to us. The year Jesus was born was around the 35th year of Herod’s reign and Jesus was in Egypt for approximately 2 years. The instruction was to “flee” to Egypt and simply wait. God is a God of time, if you don’t understand the times we live in as a child of God you will miss what God is saying. Ecclesiastes 3:2-7.

Reacting too soon

There are various things that God has set for individuals and our lives. 

In 1 Samuel 13:8 Samuel asked Saul to wait. Patience is a virtue, when you learn to react based on the instruction of the Holy Ghost you get the best from life. However, the devil piles pressure on people to do the opposite and we must resist reacting to this.

Reacting without due diligence or care. 

When we assess the instructions given to Joseph, we will note that he didn’t argue and he knew how to react to the voice of the Holy Ghost. Proverbs 22:3 “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished” is repeated in Proverbs 27:12 for emphasis. The punishment is not the punishment that God puts on people but the activities of the enemy.

Zechariah 3:1-3 – If you are called by the Holy Spirit to do something, you have got to allow the Holy Spirit to lead you in that thing. Keep your vision and dream safe. There are vision killers and dream destroyers and when you speak too soon they jump on board and begin to destroy your visions and dreams. Do not allow people to speak against the Word of God in your life. You cannot love father, mother, siblings or friends more than God. Obey God first and keep silent when He instructs you. Psalm 17:8 confirms that God spreads His wings and invites you to come under for protection. Habakkuk 2:1-2 tells us to stand on our guard and wait patiently for the Lord’s answer, and while we wait patiently He will give us His answer. Write what God tells you in a simple form and don’t confuse things. In all these things, seek counsel.

The appointed time of God

Habakkuk 2:3 tells us that the vision is for an appointed time; there are some things God will not give you until you pay the price for it and patiently wait. In Matthew 2:19 Joseph was told to go back to Israel after two years in Egypt; he did leave before the appointed time. Don’t declare yourself or move before the appointed time. Don’t announce yourself before the appointed time. The time of Jesus’ announcement was held before the time he came openly to John the Baptist and was announced from Heaven. Do not be like everyone; you are not like everyone. 

At times you may expect your dreams and visions to go in a particular way and then you start the ministry and the beginning may look different. Whatsoever God has for you, rejoice in His will and purpose and His will be fulfilled in your life. 

Youth Class: Our Mind

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Key Scripture: Ephesians 6:6-7

2 Timothy 1:7 – For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a SOUND MIND.


During this time it is important to look after your mind. If we turn on the news all we hear is negativity and the picture is painted as if this period we are currently in will not come to an end so it is very easy to buy in to that and one will begin to doubt the voice of the Lord. The truth is God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear, but one of a sound mind and it is important to remember that so we aren’t plagued by the tactics of the enemy and fall into bad ways of thinking which will onl y lead to us feeling down.


How we can help ourselves?


There are two scriptures that I like to use whenever I get into a place that does not exhibit godly thinking;


Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the THOUGHTS that I THINK toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of PEACE and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.


2 Corinthians 10:5 – Casting down IMAGINATIONS, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;


Also let’s learn how to check on each other, as a class lets make it a goal to reach out to one member of the youth class that does not live in our household every week.

For The Singles – To be the Greatest

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Extract taken from “The Master The Wise & The Lazy” by Pastor Bayo Adeyemi

Chapter 4 To Be The Greatest

Luke 22:24 – 27

And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.

We live in a world where aspirations are set at nothing less than greatness. We all want to be great but not all want to be servants first. When I was a student, we were given responsibilities which we accounted for daily.  Students today see no need for responsibilities and see studying as the only way to success. This is true to some extent but we must remember that greatness comes with responsibilities which revolve around serving others.   

Jesus told His disciples about the need for them to be servants if they want to be great. A dictionary definition of servant is a person employed by another, especially to perform domestic duties; a person in the service of another, a person employed by the government: a public servant. In the kingdom of God, we are expected to serve one another, render help to those in need and be accountable to a leader or leaders who may serve as pastors, teachers and mentors. 

Matthew 10:41-42

He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.

The Contemporary English Version of the same verse explains it as ‘anyone who welcomes a prophet, just because that person is a prophet, will be given the same reward as a prophet. Anyone who welcomes a good person, just because that person is good, will be given the same reward as a good person. And anyone who gives one of my most humble followers a cup of cool water, just because that person is my follower, will surely be rewarded.’ If for instance you are called to be a pastor, I think it is better you serve under those who are already pastors.  Serve under those with great record of service where possible in order to receive a pastor’s reward. The reward described here is not just in Heaven but here on Earth as well. 

Moses and Joshua

Joshua served Moses with total obedience. He received instructions from Moses. He was referred to as Moses’ minister; other versions called him Moses’ assistant.

Exodus 24:12-14

And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them. And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God.

He served Moses as if he was directly serving the Lord and every instruction was followed as instructed by Moses. So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill (Exodus 17:10). Here we see the act of prompt obedience on Joshua’s part and the willingness to support his master in fighting and defeating the Amalekites. He was a good student of Moses from his youth and was referred to as one of the young men of Moses.

Numbers 11:27-28

And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp.

And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them.

It is likely that Moses had an army of young soldiers who were given duties and promptly reported to him.  I am of the opinion that you cannot be served if you are not willing to serve others. You cannot be promoted to a position of leadership if you are not willing to be under leadership. When Moses died, God saw Joshua capable enough to be the next leader of Israel. He was well mentored by Moses and God made him a leader to mentor others just like his master Moses. There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee (Joshua 1:5). Please note the reference to Moses “as I was with Moses” meaning the way God blessed Moses is the same way He was going to bless Joshua as a result of his faithfulness towards Moses.  

Reflect and Pray 

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This period of ‘waiting on the Lord’ has made me to reflect a lot more not just on myself and my walk with the Lord but the ‘church, the body of Christ as a whole and the state of our country. We live in a country, and in this part of the world where many do not fear God. Many live in a life of circles. You wake up each day:  go through the routine – eat, work/school, home, eat. sleep: we all work so hard pursuing our dreams or working to put food on the table. If care is not taken, the things of God will be left behind or suffer. I say this because after work, one can be so worn out and mostly can’t even read their Bible or pray before going to bed. 

For many, the excitement of working from home during this lockdown, began to die down as work began to intensify as if nothing has changed.  The same seems to be the case for some students. Teachers keep piling homework on their students as if nothing has changed or the students has nothing to do.  

The question I ask is, do people see a shift in the atmosphere?  There is such a shaking all over the world yet, the attitude of many is still the same – as if nothing has happened. Life is still normal, and business is as usual for many. This is the time to pause, reflect and ask the question – is the creator of the universe trying to tell us something? What happens after death?  There is famine locust in many parts of the world, yet still the message is not sinking in.

At the same time some countries around the world organised National Day of Prayer been declared by their presidents. Is our country ready and waiting to cry unto the Lord for mercy? Many churches, Christians and individuals have been praying for the country.  

Many lives have been lost all over the world yet, the nation has not turned to God for solution. People are counting days and looking forward for the ban to be lifted completely so they can party again and go about their normal duties.  This should actually be a period of reflecting on all that has been happening and repent. Crying out to God for mercy. 

It reminds me of the story of Noah where Noah was preaching, asking the people to repent. They laughed at Noah, continued to live their normal life until the day the floods came and only Noah and his family were saved. (Genesis 5)

Acts 8:22  22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.

As a child of God, what is your priority? What is the priority of the body of Christ? What is the priority of the country? My prayer is that as we continue to cry unto the Lord for mercy, He will turn the hearts of our leaders and country to Himself. 

Let us daily in our own time draw closer to God and continue to cry to the Lord for mercy. 14 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.

15 Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.   2 Chronicles 7:14-15

Written by Pastor Lydia Riley-Poku

Supernatural abundance – Preparing for the coming rain

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2 Kings 3:16

He then said, “God’s word: Dig ditches all over this valley. Here’s what will happen—you won’t hear the wind, you won’t see the rain, but this valley is going to fill up with water

In 2 Kings 3, we have the account of the wonderful deliverance of the three kings when they were trapped in a dry wilderness without water. We read how God sent water without any wind or rain; the water came in a mysterious way from the direction of Edom. In 2 Kings 3.16, Elisha the prophet told the three kings (the kings of Israel, Judah and Edom) to dig ditches to capture the water that would come. That way they and their armies and their beasts could drink the water and be saved.

“Make the valley full of ditches!” So the kings spent the whole day digging ditches in the valley. There was no sign of rain, no sign of clouds or wind; yet they dug. What does that mean? It means that you and I should dig our ditches, expecting God to answer in a wonderful way. It is exercising true faith. This is the year of supernatural abundance, and we say we have the faith to lay hold of all the Lord has for us, but sometimes that faith is filled with doubts. When we start ‘digging our ditches’, we are doing so in the strong confidence that those ditches will be filled with water.

Digging ditches

Digging ditches means expectant and assured faith. That is a very strong kind of faith. It is absolute trust in God and His Word (His promises are sure!).  How do we translate ‘digging ditches’ into spiritual terms? 

First, it means we exercise steadfast faith, confident that God will answer ‘above our asking or thinking’, Eph 3.20. 

Second, since digging ditches involves hard labour, we too should labour in our prayers (remember Epaphras!). Praying is not easy; we need to travail in prayer. When Zion travailed, she brought forth her children! Prayer is hard work. It is labouring on our knees. 

Thirdly, it means we must get involved in working for the Lord especially during this period of lockdown we can’t be passive; we have to do our share in God’s work. If you don’t know what to do start praying, God will show you what to do. We can be witnesses for the Lord by sharing the gospel with others. When we do our part, God will  certainly do His.

God wants us to be active servants, always labouring for the Lord. Know ye not that your labour in the Lord is not in vain? 1 Cor 15.58. 

Speaking of the valley of Baca in Psalm 84.6, we are told that pilgrims (to Jerusalem) dug wells in that dry valley, so that other travellers could benefit. Paraphrased, the verse says, “As they pass through the valley of Baca, they make wells; the rain (from heaven) fills the pools.” We ought to dig our ditches and our wells, and God will pour down showers of blessing to fill the wilderness with rivers of living water. Are you going to step  out in faith and do your part? “

Written By Pastor Daniel Riley Poku

Youth Class: Service

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Key Scripture: Ephesians 6:6-7

If Jesus walked into your house today, would you have any issues serving him? 

Ephesians 6:6-7

6 not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men,

Christians are called to a life of SERVICE as Christ was. It’s not just about serving, but it’s about serving WHOLEHEARTEDLY. Has your mum or dad asked you to do more chores around the house? Or have they asked for help in any other way? You must do the BEST YOU CAN as you would in any other area of your life. When you serve others, you are ‘doing service as to the Lord’ so put your best foot forward regardless of the task because you’re not doing it for men.

John 13:5

5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.

Jesus should be our example in true acts of service. Not only was he the son of God, but he was to be betrayed and killed shortly after this act of service. Jesus could have said and did anything but instead he decided to serve the people close to him. 

Jesus came so we could have hope and died so EVERYONE’S sins were forgiven — no matter their level. So, if Jesus could show us the ultimate act of service, then why are we above it?

Once you realise that no one is better than the next and if we are to be like Jesus, then we must be willing to serve others.

Sunday Sermon: The Alabaster Box of Precious Ointment

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Key Scripture:   Matthew 26:6-8

Alabaster is a dense previous stone like marble and it originates from Israel. In Mark 14:2-3 describes the oil the woman poured on the woman spikenard, which was used for traditional medicine, perfume and ceremonies. This woman came with this expensive oil, broke it and poured it on Jesus. However, the disciples felt it was a waste and were angry because they assumed it would have been better if she had given it to Jesus so they could have sold it for money. 

Do you jump to conclusions when you think someone is doing something which appears pointless? Remember that not everything is about money. The woman didn’t give money but she gave her precious ointment. Anything you give to Jesus will be recognised. Jesus did not see it as a waste, rather He stated that this action would be a memorial for her. What has God been telling you to do lately? When you have light and it shines in darkness, then people will be able to see.

People usually quote verse 19 of Philippians 4:17-19 but forget verses 17-18. There was a man that was sent to gift something to Paul. Paul was happy that those things were done because it adds to their account. When you do these things, it reaches heaven and they all matter to God. You should not be doing things for recognition. 

The other alabaster box 

This woman poured oil on Jesus’ feet and used her hair to wipe them. The story found in Matthew 26:6-8 and the one found in Luke 7:36-38 are not the same. In Luke, the woman was in the house of a Pharisee, she was a sinner and it wasn’t said to be precious anointment. This woman’s act was a form of surrender to Jesus as she wanted to be saved. Similar to the woman in Matthew, this woman also faced criticism. We should be careful not to criticise things we do not understand as we can bring the indignation of God on ourselves. 

If you’re born again, you used to be a sinner and there are still others who need salvation (Luke 7:40-47). Your life should always reflect who you were from the beginning because you are nothing without Jesus. God loves lost sheep in the same way He loves you; the only difference is that you surrendered your life to Him and received salvation. Be humble, sober and vigilant. Wherever people are pouring their precious ointment today, think before you speak and criticise so that you do not act against the will of God.

For The Singles

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Extract taken from “The Master The Wise & The Lazy” by Pastor Bayo Adeyemi

Chapter 3 Process & Progress

Jacob going back to Bethel

Genesis 35: 1 – 3

And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went.

This was a unique case in the sense that God told Jacob to go back to the place he first met him. Bethel was a unique place and a lot of importance was attached to it in the life of Jacob. It was in Bethel that Jacob set up a pillar and poured oil upon it; he said, how dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven (Genesis 28:17).  He called the place Bethel meaning “house of God”.

The house of God is the place where God blesses the saints. As far as Jacob was concerned, the fulfilment of his destiny was attached to him going back to Bethel. There was to be no argument about it. A lot of young people today will stress the application of common sense. “You don’t need God to direct you when it comes to that, just use your common sense.” The result of such an approach normally gives temporary relief to daunting problems.

Solutions to challenges are attached to our willingness to obey God when He speaks to us. One of my mentees who is currently in University always wanted to leave home whenever a disagreement occurred with his dad. This went on for a period of five to six years and every attempt by family, friends, pastors and church leaders to suppress the situation was to no avail. I made him realise that disobedience to parents carries serious repercussions as we are commanded to Honour our parents. On this particular night, I told him to go back home. At the time of writing this book, this young man has developed a special relationship with his dad, and the idea of leaving home has gone.  You cannot have it both ways, Jacob chose to go back to Bethel and God appeared unto him and blessed him there. 

Genesis 35: 9 – 11

And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padanaram, and blessed him. And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel. And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins.

Joseph in prison

You may find yourself in unpleasant situations where the people around you are not encouraging. Those people should not become the determining factor in the progress of your ministry because God is the giver of the ministry. When we started the ministry “New Inspiration” lots of unpleasant things were said about us. They were untrue and degrading but the Lord showed me the story of Joseph. I spent four weeks just studying the account of Joseph’s life and how God sustained him in the midst of his brother’s persecutions.

Genesis 37:8

And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.

Genesis 37:19

And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh.

Persecution at times can be used by God to refine us. Jesus was called names and they even said he had a demon. When Joseph finally came face to face with his brothers he said;

Genesis 45: 4 – 5

Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.

Joseph saw forgiveness as a process needed before the attainment of God’s favour.  In every trial and percussion I pray that you will receive strength to carry on doing God’s will in Jesus name.