Category Archives: God is able

UNDERSTANDING PSALM 23

Psalm 23 is more or less God’s voucher for all believers with which to obtain HIS power, protection, and all other provisions as well, enabling us not to fear, fall or falter. The Psalm touched on the physical and spiritual life of any believer.  The Psalmist declared “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want”.  For everything we need to be able to survive, live a happy life, we need to realize that (we) the sheep owe our life and livelihood to the shepherd, who is God in Christ, as the good shepherd. Even though, human beings cannot create life but as a shepherd, Jesus was ready to risk His life for his sheep. God sees the heart while man looks at the face to judge others. David showed his quality of a shepherd in his fight against Goliath in defense of the children of Israel  known as the People of God. In terms of known prowess, David is apparently no match for his opponent, but as a shepherd that he was, he without traditional battle gear faced Goliath, a professional warrior, like he did when he fought a lion and a bear at different times and killed them. As he brought the terror of both lion and bear to an end, so he conquered Goliath and brought victory for the Jews and saved them from the constant harassment and shame from the warlike Philistines. David like the good shepherd risked his life for the children of Israel but the greater shepherd, “The God of Israel” fought the battle for David otherwise, Goliath could have fed birds of the air with the flesh of David. Praise the eternal good shepherd. When the shepherd is behind anyone or a church and its congregation there shall be victory, provision of food and prosperity, protection against all attacks of  enemies, either physical or spiritual. Once the shepherd abides with his sheep they cannot lack anything even during drought or famine. Where young lions hunger and suffer lack, those with the good shepherd shall not lack any good thing Psalm 34: 10. In strict compliance with the will of God, the strong, rich and prosperous  are all expected to be the good shepherd for the weaker ones or the less privileged in the society. The blind is supposed to be shown the way by the eyed-individuals. To be Christlike is to be like the good shepherd.

Furthermore to the point of  “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want”;  digging deep into David’s Psalm 23, it is clear that the sheep owe many things to the shepherd. It is the shepherd that makes provision of pen or manger for the lots of sheep concerning accommodation, or taking them to the location where livestock feeds are available. The nomadic  Fulani of Northern Nigeria know where to get feeds for their livestock and can walk long distances from place to place in search of good pasture for the cattle. In the land of Israel of David’s time up to Christ era, the importance of shepherds cannot be over emphasized because they were responsible for the economic mainstay of the nation. No wonder the prevalence of stables here and there, one of which became the delivery theater for Christ as predicted of old. Jesus was born in a manger signifying his mission of going to be the good shepherd. Jesus is always with all the children of God and especially those that have accepted Him as their Lord and savior. Sheep rearing as of today still operates on the same concept of the shepherd making provision for his sheep fold. In mechanized sheep-rearing or livestock farming total care is still the same, including the service of vet doctors to care for the health of the livestock within the existing controlled environment. Apart from the pasture, the shepherd cares for watering their sheep. Even seven daughters of Jethro in the land of Midian knew how to  keep their father’s flock. Exodus 2: 16-17 stressed how the need of the sheep was satisfied. God the higher shepherd provided Moses who drove away stronger male shepherds that had always cheated the female shepherds (daughters of Jethro). No wonder Moses became the shepherd who God, the Omni-Omnipotent father, used to lead the Jews out of Egypt. The struggle was long and tedious but the Supreme shepherd empowered Moses. As God directed, various disasters befell the recalcitrant Pharoah and his people while the people of God were preserved. Assuming when Moses instructed the his people to dub their front door with the blood of the lamb to ensure that angel of death meant to kill the Egyptians passed them over, if  some did not. they could have suffered the same fate with the Egyptians.

The concept of being a shepherd is to be found in the innumerable names of God such as Jehovah Jireh (God that provides) as in Genesis 22: 14. It states “And Abraham called the name, The Lord-will-Provide as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the Lord it shall be provided” NKJV (MacAthur ed). The shepherd does not take the back stage, he is always positioned in the front leading and directing the sheep. This fits into Jehovah Nissi in Exodus 17: 15-16 “And Moses built an alter and called its name , The-Lord-is-My-Banner, for he said , “Because the Lord has sworn: “The lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation” NKJV (MacAthur ed) No banner is kept behind any troop either on patrol or parade.

 

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Thanks and Praises

To stress the importance of this topic there is need to recall the firework fanfare with which people welcomed the New Year 2016 at the Times Square in New York. New Yorkers and millions of Television viewers were exceedingly happy that they were able to cross-over to the New Year. However, not all that kept vigil really knew why they kept vigil to usher in, the  year of our Lord Jesus Christ. I believe Christians knew it was the height of thanksgiving to the Lord that spared their life for so many evils had claimed many people’s life and were consequently not able to witness the transition from the out-going year into the new one. Oh! what a lovely sight it was as the firework rose to sky. It was a moment of great joy. People were ecstatic just to be like others without thinking about the spiritual meaning of the ceremony.

A deeper insight into what ought to be paramount in our mind is the believer’s  understanding of having succeeded in crossing over to the New Year. Many wanted to but were unable without having sinned to an extent that one could say it was due to their sin. We do not own ourselves, we belong to our creator, the author and finisher of our faith. We believe, what He says He would do and what He does, He would say. Again, it is not only that we did not die before the New Year; there are other areas of life in which we receive God’s blessings at individual level, household, co-workers, friends and relations. Indeed, any good thing that happens to any one belonging to this category brings joy to the circle of people. Other events that call for thanksgiving, include the birth of new born baby, promotion at work, house warming, birthday party, surviving a ghastly accident or getting over a critical situation that defies rational of scientific explanation. All that one can say is “Thank you Lord”. New Year celeberation we believe is a milestone in the life of every individual, because it is not as of right. There is no constitutional fundamental human right clause binding The Lord to grant us life. So, in all things give thanks.

To every Christian, we need to thank and praise His holy name for the inestimable gift of life as well as the opportunity to serve in His vineyard in the kingdom work of seeking lost souls. Besides, what of the daily blessings we receive? We pay for electricity and do not pay for the sun that shines, from where man taps solar energy that they turn around to charge fees. Mississippi River , geograpghers told us is the longest river in the world. It supplies water for transportation , irrigation and the alluvial soil it deposits along the areas it traverses. God never charges us a dime for these free gifts but man turns round to charge fees on water travel on the river, and farmers that use the aluvial soil and irrigated water in their never remit neither cash nor check to God for these free gifts while man turns round to charge fees on any opportunity created from the free gift. They have a point though, in that if there is no value added we could not have derived maximum benefit from them. Let us face it, God demands from us to give thanks as his payback for His transcendental efforts.

There is a gulf of difference between thanksgiving and praising Him. A song writer has helped to bring out the difference: “I will enter His gate with thanksgiving in my heart; I enter his court with praise “, the idea is that Thanksgiving is saying that Lord I am grateful for immediate things you have done or you continue to do that I benefit from; praises go further than that. You use praises to massage ego of someone you appreciate and revere. Praise does not have conotation for ephemeral benefits. It is more of refering to more fundamental and spiritual aspects of life. By the time we are thanking God, we are calling His attention to past goodness. The gate to His heart is being opened to receive praises for who He is as the our faithful God whose steadfast love never ceases, His mercies never come to an end , for, they are new every morning. It is from everlasting to everlasting. No wonder, at the height of Paul and Silas’ praising God in Jesus name, even in detention and under heavy stock, God caused an earthquake that shatered the chain used to hold them down in maximum prison, the locked gate flung open. When the jailor woke up he felt they have escaped and wanted to kill himself but Paul assured him not to for no prisoner escaped. We believe that the praise caused God much joy that He caused the earth to quake and made their release a foregone conclusion. When they were brought for judgement the following day the fear of he Lord who caused them to panic made them to only flog and not kill them. By hind sight one can say that by God’s acknowledging the praises of Paul and Silas, He caused the vestigies of oppression and wickedness to be broken and completely shattered.

Anyone caught in the middle of crossfire of opposing forces in any war zone and survived would really know how to thank and praise God. Such survival is more of a miracle than a mere rescue. This is the essence of Psalm 100:4-5; “Enter into his gate with thanksgiving, and into His court with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good ; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations”.(NKJV)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meeting With Jesus

Our Lord Jesus Christ as our redeemer, died for the sin of all men both Jews and the Gentiles. By his great commission to the disciples, we learnt that they should make all men disciples of Jesus who are supposed to carry the good news even to the uttermost part of the world. From Mathews 28: 18-20 (KJV) we learnt: “And Jesus came and spake to them saying; All power is given unto me in heaven and in the earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world Amen”
One thing is clear from inception and indeed from the time of the Prophets that He was coming to save the lost children of the House of Israel as can be seen in the Book of Isaiah 9: 6-7: “For unto us a child is born,unto us a child is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom,to order it and to establish it with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts shall perform this.” (KJV). In Micah 5:2, his mission was stated: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of the shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose going forth have been of old, from everlasting”
The idea of meeting The Lord Jesus is far from mundane meeting to socialize, rather,it is for meeting the Lord Jesus for His divine intervention to solve man’s problem. Mary mother of Our Lord asked the service people at the wedding feast at Cana of Galilee when the celebrant of being disgraced for starting a feast he could not sustain to a logical conclusion. The servants met Jesus and did according to Mary’s instruction. “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it”. The product of the unalloyed obedience, brought to the occasion a refreshingly qualitative wine usually served at the beginning of a wedding party. The wine was so sweet and heavenly tasty that it was highly commended by the chief guest at the occasion.
The day the lady with the issue of blood, that day as she succeeded in touching the helm of Jesus’ garment instantly she became whole. The incident was recorded in the synoptic gospels of Matthew 9: 20-23; Mark 5: 25-34′ Luke 8: 43-48 the woman did not just ordinarily get cured but had worked hard before getting the rightful result. She had issue of blood for 12 years without solutions in spite of spending all her fortune. The only solution open to her was Jesus. She then resolutely pursued meeting Jesus who she knew was the right person to solve her problem by miracle healing, far superior to the art of the physicians. In spite of all impediments, as people seeking help thickly surrounded Jesus; she had a focus just “touching the edge of his garment” and by unyielding faith on instant healing “if only she could” ; she dated the devil by not shying away from receiving what, by God’s grace, was hers. I dare say that her faith was in

tune with the healing power and holiness of Jesus. In other words,she faithfully prepared to receive the grace of God that cost her nothing except her unwavering faith. In contemporary times, there are still men of God who possess the gift of miracle healing. All those who have faith are still being healed like Jesus did and asked subsequent generation to do likewise. In Luke 5: 17-20, the faith of those seeking for the paralytic man’s healing is comparable to the woman with the issue of blood. They had to beat all odds by opening the roof bring the man to the feet of Christ for his assured divine healing. In Hebrew 13: 8 (KJV) we learnt; “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today and forever” Malachi 3:6 in the Old Testament echoed the same assurance, “For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed”. James1: 17 says “Every gift and every perfect gift is from above and cometh down from the father of lights, with whom is no variable ness, neither shadow of turning”. Whatever any believer is believing God for , without any shadow of doubt will manifest for the world to see. As great as Prophet Daniel was the Princes of Persia withheld the answer to his prayer already already sent by God.It took his fervent his fervent prayer and unshakable faith to provoke the intervention of Angel Michael before the hindrance was dismantled. Meeting Jesus in spirit and in truth ensures forgiveness and healing of all wounds, be it spiritual or socio-economic and all.

Providence of God (Part Four)

Provision of God is both at macro and micro levels. Thus, we see how God provided the Israelites means of freedom from a four hundred and thirty years in bondage in Egypt. Then, at micro level, Jonah as an individual prophet of God adamantly refused to heed God’s call to go and warn the people of Nineveh to desist from their sinful ways or else they would incur the wrath of God. He went to Tarshish instead which is in an opposite direction to where he was expected to preach repentance to the people or else they would be faced with calamity. By God’s means of enforcing his will on Jonah, there was storm at sea that threatened the safety of the Mariners, passengers and the vessel itself. The ship’s Captain found out who he was and asked him to identify himself. He did and the Captain asked him to pray to his God to calm the raging sea. Finally, he asked them to throw him into the sea perhaps in his resolve not to go to Nineveh. But at this stage, God provided His desired means of transporting Jonah to Nineveh. In Jonah 1: 17 “a great fish” became God’s vessel for carrying Jonah to God’s desired destination. Biblical record states: “Now the Lord has prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights. Chapter 2-10 covered how the big fish, by God’s provision, vomited Jonah on dry land at the waterfront of Nineveh.

In line with how God treated Jonah, an African proverb says: “When you flog or reprimand a child with the right hand use the left hand to draw him closer to soothe the pain he suffered”. All is in the attempt at fostering positive development in the child. Such is regarded as making provision for future useful life, which invariably is provision of God in the right parentage. Proverb 22: 6 (NKJ). Related to the foregoing are words in Lamentation 3: 31-33 ” for the Lord will not cast off for ever: But though He cause grief, yet will He have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For He does not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men” (KJV)

Provision of God is tied to the result of Proverb 21: 1 “The king’s heart is in the hand of The Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever he will” (KJV) especially while seeking favor from higher authorities on earth. By the same instance one who is looking for job to be able to earn means of livelihood and continues to pray with Psalm 23. Such applicant has seen God as a good shepherd for the provision of his/her needs irrespective of level of faith, the steadfast love of the Lord will see such a person through because God knows man’s need more than man does. God possesses sovereign power to make good things happen or to avert disaster. With faith, granting prayer is made more certain than with doubts in one’s mind.

A military ruler in Nigeria some years back received the judgment of God as a result of so many prominent citizens he eliminated from a particular ethnic group for daring to oppose his draconian ruler ship from the hands of his henchmen. He tried some military top brass from the same ethnic group and found them guilty
of a phantom coup plot. They were to be executed on a Monday and he miraculously died on the Sunday before he could have signed their death warrant the following morning. God’s providence saved those that were to be executed, for no earthly power could have saved them. History tells us that President Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865) had exceeding political reverses but remained prayerful until he won election that made him to become the 16th President of the United States. In short, he fitted into the group of those that pleased God and at such his erstwhile political enemies joined with others to vote him into the highest political office in the US. (Proverb 16: 7) During his Presidency: Emancipation Proclamation during the battle of Gettysburg became a reality and many more commendable legislations. He became prominently one of those
unforgettable Presidents that The US has ever had.

We know that economists talk of Arithmetic or geometric progression; researchers look for what is logical but the “THEO-METRICS” in God’s providence is not fathomable by man because of His sovereignty Isaiah 46: 10-13 (KJV); for God moves in a mysterious way, during which no man can ever encumber Him from performing his wonders. Can you imagine what brought a mail man to the door step of a house in New York when a child was falling from some floors above and fell into the out stretched hands of the mail man! Were it not for divine providence, the child could have died falling from above on to concrete floor below. Interested readers are enjoined to give testimonies of such providence of God. The testimonies or witness account will be published with the names (optional) of such contributors. In conclusion, God’s providence is real yesterday, today and for ever.

Oh! My God!

Here is an expression, each part of it carries a distinct meaning that ranges from mere idle talk to either serious emerging conditions of fear, failure or expression of faith or of joy. At times it is not expressly said but the non verbal action that could be observed tells the story. The above topic is the title of a poem in ValuPlus Poem: Focus on Behavioral Tendencies” copyright August 2008. It presented many situations one differing from the other. For instance, if a student happened to fail his test, It is either he did not prepare well or did not recall enough of all he had learnt. It, expresses failure. Like the student, if a traveller misses his flight , in exasperation you hear “Oh! My God!” It is either he failed to heed  the stipulated departure time that waits for no man or would have to blame it on unexpected traffic jam on his way to the airport.

Gehazi, Prophet Elisha’s apprentice could have burst into this regretful expression were he to be in our contemporary age, because his greed and dishonesty, even as Elisha’s student prophet-in-training earned him life-long leprosy rather than becoming a celebrated prophet like his spiritual master. 2 King 5: 20-26 (KJV). Judas Iscariot was in a position of uttering “Oh! My God!” when he de-robed himself from being an apostle of Christ the day he mortgaged the life of his master and “Rabbi”. Some people have argued that he served a purpose. By the same token, it is right or proper to enhance the counter argument, should he be the particular person who would not allow all the teaching of his master to have impact on him. “Oh! My God!” would have been the sound of regret from the precocious Peter after he had denied Jesus three times before the cock crowed during Jesus Christ’s trial before the High Priest Luke 22: 54-62 (KJV) Thomas knew that Jesus had died but found it difficult to accept the resurrection story. He quickly cleared his doubt on seeing the scar of the nail on his palm and feet. He was objective and scientific in approach. “Oh! My God!”, he would have said, “My Rabbi is truly not an ordinary mortal” John 20: 24-29 (KJV) Conversely, Zaccheus would have jumped for joy when “The Son of Man” , the expected King of Israel chose to pay him a visit and even dine in his house in spite of his being a Publican a decidely one of those the Jewish tradition regarded as sinners . To Zaccheus it should have been a pleasant surprise Luke 19: 1-10 (KJV)

The day Senator Barak Obama won the Presidential election there we heard the two versions of “Oh! My God!”. To many it was regrettable that he won against their expectation while to others it was a pleasant surprise. They joyfully exclaimed “Oh! My God!”. We saw a national figure shedding tears of joy, because it happened in his life time. (To be continued)