Will Your Anchor Hold?

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An anchor is a heavy metal object, usually shaped like a cross with curved arms, on a strong rope or chain, that is dropped from a boat into the water to prevent the boat from moving away:

The main reason a ship needs an anchor is to ride out storms so that it is not blown off course or into the rocks or reefs. Even in a safe harbour, a ship needs an anchor so that it will not drift, hit something or sink.

Whether in the storms of life or in the harbour during the calm times of life, we all need an anchor for our souls so that we do not destroy our lives. There is so much deception in the world at the moment and only those who have a strong anchor will not be drifted. 

Abraham had his storms as he waited on God. (Hebrews 6:15) In two different moments of weakness, he thought that powerful men would take his wife from him, which would have nullified God’s promise of a son through her so he lied that Sarah was his sister. (Genesis 20:2)                                                      At another moment of despair, he took Sarah’s maid, Hagar, and conceived Ishmael. In spite of these failures, in hope against hope, he believed until God fulfilled the promise.  (Romans 4:18)

We all face numerous types of storms that threaten to rob us of our hope in Christ. There are storms of false doctrine that can blow some Christians off course (Ephesians 4:14). We must stand by holding firmly to the promise of salvation in Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone. 

There will be storms of doubt, storms of persecution, storms of the existence of God and salvation We can weather them by coming back to the truth of the resurrection of Jesus, which is the bedrock of our entire faith (1 Corinthians. 15:1-19).  If Jesus is not risen, our faith is in vain. But if He is risen, then our salvation is certain and our hope can rest confidently in Him.

There will be storms of difficult trials, where we wonder why God is allowing them and question whether He loves us. We can overcome and have the victory by remembering that God, who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, has promised to bring us through every conceivable difficulty or challenge to ultimate glorification especially at this time.

There may be storms of defeat, where we fall into sin. We can overcome even these storms if we realise that Jesus our High Priest is sitting at the right hand of the Father praying for us, that our faith may not fail, and that by His grace, we can be restored.

As Christians living in a world that Paul describes as “having no hope and without God, we should stand out as people of hope. The hope is the anchor that God has given to us to hold on, even in the times of storm these times of so much unrest and uncertainty. ” (Ephesians 2:12-14)

We have a high priest within the veil. He has promised to save all who take refuge in Him. Let’s continue to take hold of our hope in Jesus!

Youth Class: God the Father

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Ephesians 4:6 – One God, and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Today is father’s day across the UK and I’m sure all of you are finding one way or another to celebrate your father for all his hard work in raising you. Our dad’s do not only provide financial support to our upbringing but also mental and spiritual support as they encourage us.

Sadly, like me, and maybe some of your friends and peers, we do not have physical fathers to celebrate, this may be due to loss or absence but there is a shared value in which we all believe in and that is God the Father; the first father and the true father that will never leave any of us.

1 John 3:1 – Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God

Jesus also makes it knows to us in John 14:9 that “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father” The acceptance of Christ into your life is the confirmation that you believe God is your true father.

So today I implore you as you celebrate your earthly Father to also raise up your hands and worship your Father in heaven for keeping you and sustaining you. Also reach out to those you know who may not have an earthly father and encourage them to accept Christ and remind them that Psalm 68:5 says God is “a father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows.”

Sunday Sermon: The Temptation of Jesus

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Key Scripture: Matthew 4:1-3

God took on the shape of a man to partake of man’s weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus became a human and was tempted like us. Have you complained a lot of the times when you have been tested and tempted, do you easily give up? Jesus brought himself so low to the point of human beings that Angels came to minister to him, showing us that Angels will minister to us also in our time of need (Philippians 2:5-7). When you are tested and tried it is so that the goodness of God will come out of you.

When you are born again, the grace of God will sustain you. These are the days of strong temptations and you will not be lured away in Jesus name. Those who are born again will be tested and tried. The who have made an open declaration of faith will be tested and tried. Baptism is an open declaration and the grace of God is sufficient to sustain you.

The common patterns of temptation which sometimes lead to sin is found in 1 John 2:15-16: the lust of the flesh; the lust of the eyes; and the pride of life. The lust of the flesh is the desires of the flesh, you need to tame the flesh and control what you do and where you go. There are also monetary lusts, the lusts for power and pleasure (Mark 4:19). Lusts take away the word of God from the heart of Man. The lust of the eyes include watching things that are not pleasing to God. The pride of life includes boasting and the wrong use of social media.

Jesus was tempted yet without sin. The act of temptation is not sin but what comes after can be. Mathew 4:3-4 – here Jesus was able to give the devil a specific answer to the temptation. Paul said that we should flee from the appearance of evil. If you don’t understand certain things, sit at the feet of Christ (Mathew 4:7).

Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. When you put yourself in danger because of ignorance it is tempting God. When you deliberately ignore instructions or walk into danger this is tempting God. We cannot take the things of God for granted. You have to make sure that when you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death it is because your enemy wants to attack you, not because you have put yourself in harms way. Your friendship with the world is enmity with God. Make sure that before you are doing things you are covered. Exodus 17:6-7 – We must also consider loose talk, sometimes the punishment of the people of Israel was not through what they did but what they said.

Mathew 4:8-11 – when you bow to the desires of the world, you are worshipping the anti-Christ. The worship of the beast may be subtle but 1 Peter 5:8 tells us to “be sober and vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”. Resist the devil steadfastly and please the Lord. 

Youth Class: Making an impact

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You don’t need to be an Instagram influencer to make an impact. The Bible gives us many examples of people who may have felt inadequate at the time, but made a HUGE impact in their area of influence. They weren’t perfect but the key is they did something and made the effort.

John the Baptist recognised the importance of Jesus before he was even born. He was ONE man with ONE voice, but he repeated the same message day after day. He told anyone who would listen about Jesus. He told people about a messiah and saviour who was to come. It was a simple message with a lasting spiritual impact because it was John’s GOAL to make an impact for Christ.

Matthew 3:1-3

In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

You might be thinking that you can’t make an impact like John the Baptist, Jonah or even Josiah but you would be wrong. The obstacles that stood in their way isn’t any different than the obstacles that stand in your way right now. You may think no one will take you seriously, you can’t do it alone, no one will listen or that the task is too big. However, you must make the simple daily decision to follow God in your everyday life like they did.

There are three things you can do to make an impact:

  1. Love Others (John 13:34-35) – Through love, others will know that we follow Christ. 
  2. Determine Your Area of Influence – Make a list of the people you interact with and think about some simple ways that you can bless them. 
  3. Get Involved – Check with your pastors to see what you can do to be a part of the crucial work.

You don’t have to be famous to make an impact for Christ; you simply must follow God’s lead.

Sunday Sermon: The Voice Of One Crying In The Wilderness

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Key Scripture:   Luke 3:3-5

It is key to remember that John’s cry was of God, not of the will of man, there were many voices in the world crying out but the word that came to John was for a  set time, in the wilderness from God. If God has a plan for your life and wants to use you no matter where you are He will find you and prepare you, and ensure that your life has meaning and purpose. You need to align yourself to the will of God, your life is not just for the sake of it.

When God wants to use you, there will always be voices of opposition.The opposition to John was strong. The things of God will be opposed by those who don’t have the mind of God but with the mind of the flesh. To be a child of God means you carry your cross everyday.(Matthew 14: 1-4) Is your voice heard or are you quiet? God looks for people who will tell the truth irrespective of what others are saying. You are to please God and not people. You should declare the  truth even if it costs you your position amongst friends or family (1st Kings 18:36 – 39). Remain steadfast and do the things of God – let God abide in you. Do not underestimate the power of God in your life and do not fear as that is what the devil wants. God will take you to certain places (Jeremiah 14: 14 & 16).The state of the country is such that there are many false voices crying out, don’t join them but stand out and speak the mind of Christ. 

The voice of Elymas the Sorcerer (Acts 13:8-12) was not of God. Those who tell people to cry for revenge, who lure people to themselves are not the voice of God. There are those who convince others to destroy things but it is only the devil that comes to steal, kill and destroy promising change and yielding evil. May God help everyone one of us so that we are not lured into works of darkness. 

Are you is ready to be the voice of Christ in various parts of this country. During this time of lockdown we should be working harder so that evil will not prevail, our country needs Jesus – He is not found in violence and rage.

Where is it that God has called you? What is it that God has called you to? Be the voice of Christ and God will establish you.

I Am!

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Jesus is God’s Son and because of who He is we can perfectly trust what He says in whatever circumstance we find ourselves. By trusting Him, we can understand God’s message and fulfill His purpose in our lives even when we don’t see it. All over the world we see chaos and men are trying to find solution elsewhere, but Jesus is the solution. He is ‘The I am and He never changes, He is the answer to it all. 

When Jesus uses this phrase “I am” in the gospel of John, He affirms His pre-existence and eternal deity. Jesus says, I am the bread of life (John 6:35); I am the good shepherd (John 10:11, 14); I am the resurrection and the life (John 11:25); I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6); and I am the true vine (John 15:1).

1. Jesus, The Bread of Life: And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. John 6:35

Jesus is the bread of life and also He who comes to Him will never thirst. 

2. Jesus The Light of The World: Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life.” John 8:12

Those who follows Jesus and believe in Him will not be ignorant of spiritual matters but will have the power of understanding especially of the spiritual truth that brings eternal life. When we take the time to learn and apply these truths in faith, we discover that is true. Jesus is always the answer. Are you worried or discouraged? Philippians 4:4-7 says Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Verse 19 says And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.                                                                       The Lord will supply all of your needs even at this time and always because He is the great, I am.

3. The Gate/ Door: I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10: 9

Salvation is found through Jesus, He is the gate to the Kingdom, and no one can enter except through Him. Not through any man or through any other name. Jesus is the only way. Let us use this time being at home, to work out our own salvation. 

4. The Good Shepherd:  I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.

John 10:11   Our Shepherd Jesus Christ died to save us. He cares for you. 

5. The Resurrection and The Life: Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. John 11:25  Even though a believer experiences physical death, he will still have life. 

6. The Way, The Truth, And the Life: Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6 

There is no other way into the presence of God other than accepting Jesus. Jesus is the only way. 

7. The Vine: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  John 15:5 

We cannot bear fruit automatically after we are saved. But as we yield our life to God and respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirt, we can bear much fruit. Each of these “I Am” spoken by Jesus makes us to realise that He is the one who sustains us. As we learn that through Him, we gain spiritual understanding and wisdom for living. It also means that Jesus has given us free and unlimited access to His Kingdom. Jesus the Son of God loves us and the whole world and all who believe in Him will have eternal life. I pray we continue to know who Jesus is and desire to be more and more like Him. 

Sunday Sermon: The Wind of False Doctrine

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Key Scripture:  Ephesians 4:13-15

Currently, the world is going through trials and tribulations which makes people react in a certain way. Some Christians are deceived by the wind of the doctrine of the world and by the media. The wind of doctrine makes people forget who they are, but we are children of God and we have been redeemed by Jesus Christ because of what He did on Calvary. Do you know your God? Are you doing exploits in this season?

There are three elements that can set a nation on fire: The wind that carries lying politicians, deceived people and the sleeping church. Those who are rooted in Christ will remain because when you’re planted by God, you will stand strong. Waves of the enemy deceive people who are like chaff (Psalm 1) and they won’t be able to stand in the congregation of the righteous. 

When people do things in the name of peace, such as peaceful protests, it will never hold because Jesus is the Prince of Peace. Is it of God? Did God lead you? Be careful not to blindly follow trends without first finding out the source (1 Kings 19:18) because many trends originate from the enemy, for example the bowing of the knee. We pray in the name of Jesus so the actions we carry out should be in the name of Jesus too.  A prayer walk should be our peaceful protest because Jesus is the only source of peace. A prayer walk will cause the witches, demons and the evil doers to flee because there’s power in the blood of Jesus.

Christians should not avenge themselves because vengeance is of the Lord (Romans 12:19). Do not be swept under in the wave for the cry for justice which is not under the name of God. It’s not possible for you to be a Christian and be involved in violence. You were once a sinner and now you’re redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. You should pray instead of having a mind of condemnation and anger (John 8:4-7). While the world is preparing for the eventual ruler who will charm and deceive, we are waiting for the coming of Jesus Christ. Be sober, be righteous and be godly. Do not backslide and be deceived by the media who sow seeds of discord.The Lord will keep you, hold you, fill you with the Holy Spirit and your life will be pleasing to Him. You will continue to shine as light in darkness in Jesus name.

Sunday Sermon: The Act of Faith

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Key scripture: Matthew 9:20

At times it can feel like our circumstances are weakening us and causing us to waste away, both physically and spiritually, but God is looking for those who will look away from their own circumstances and infirmity and walk in faith. We learn this in Matthew 9:20-22 when the woman with the issue of blood 12 years touched Jesus’ garment from behind. She was weak and wasting way as a result of her sickness. Her sickness also meant she was unclean according to Jewish custom and should not keep company. Yet, despite her situation saying to her: “Don’t touch, don’t mix with the people”, she was determined to touch Jesus. It wasn’t only the touch that brought about the woman’s healing but her faith – Jesus emphasised that it was her faith that made her whole. 

When true faith is the basis of your actions you can’t go wrong. When you have faith you will spring into action, you will say: “This is what I am going to do”. Many today say they have faith but they don’t move. Faith has works; it makes you to get up and do what is necessary. If you do nothing, you will get nothing. James 2:14 explains just how important it is to accompany works with faith. Faith has actions, works and measures. No actions, works or measures, means no faith.

Faith is not a feeling we conjure up but a way of life. Through faith in Jesus Christ our sins are forgiven and we receive salvation, just like the woman with the alabaster box in Luke 7, who is described as a sinner, who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, wiped them with her hair and anointed Him with precious ointment. In verse 47 Jesus forgives her sins, saying in verse 50 her faith (act of faith) has saved her. Faith is also from the heart. When a person truly walks in faith it is not because they are compelled to walk in it by others, rather they chose to act in faith. God only accepts offering from the heart as we see in Hebrews 11:4. This hasn’t changed and acts of faith are no different. Don’t try and force faith, acts of faith, but rather if you find that this is a struggle, address why. It may be a symptom of unbelief. If it is, then ask the Lord to help your unbelief like the man in Mark 9:24. It’s the first step to experiencing genuine faith and acting in it. 

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