A FORGIVING HEART 2

Easter-Cakes again

 

 

The story of Easter precedes its traditions, so while you can have fun with the eggs and the bunnies and the cakes if you wish, you mustn’t forget how it all began and what it’s all about.
God’s love for mankind demonstrated through the redemptive work of Christ on the cross of Calvary is the reason for this season. Our creator gathers us with His long arms of mercy, compassion and forgiveness, gently steering us off the path of disobedience to that of righteousness. Through Adam sin entered the world and all souls stood condemned, and worse, left at the mercy of the devil. But today, it’s a different story; we are forgiven, with our souls redeemed back to God because Jesus died for us. And through the help of the Spirit of God living in us we are being changed, remolded to be like God.

Frankly speaking some of us are resisting the Spirit of God, refusing to change form. We want to remain vindictive and vengeful while claiming to love God, just like Jonah.

Jonah said: “Out of the belly of sheol I cried, and you heard my voice,” (Jonah2 vs. 2).

Why should God hear Jonah’s voice? He wasn’t perfect. Yes in all fairness, compared to the average corrupt citizen of Nineveh, he was a saint but anyone who willfully disobeys God cannot claim to deserve God’s mercy, he or she can only pray and hope to receive it, as one receives a gift of goodwill from someone with a large heart. The indignation of Jonah is unwarranted, that he would rather see Nineveh burn just as predicted, rather than enjoy God’s redeeming love depicts him as arrogant and proud. It couldn’t have been the same spirit that was in Moses, who interceded for Israel, when God, on the brink of anger threatened to destroy the entire rebellious nation; Exodus 32 vs. 11-14. Or in David who mourned the disgraceful fall of Saul, his arch enemy, 2 Samuel 1 vs. 17 – 27. Or in Samuel, who didn’t scoff at Saul for being such a disappointment but mourned that giant’s misfortune before moving on with God’s new agenda; 1 Samuel 15 vs. 35, 1 Samuel 16 vs. 1. It will take a gentle and meek spirit to generate pity, compassion, mercy and ultimately, forgiveness for the undeserving.

 
EASTER BUNNY 2

 

“That which is born out of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born out of the Spirit is spirit”- John 2 vs. 6.

While a vengeful heart is natural to anyone who does not have the Spirit of God dwelling in him or her, a forgiving heart ought to be the supernatural condition of the heart of a child of God. That is not to say that anyone who isn’t a Christian is incapable of showing mercy, but that if they don’t they’re attitude can be explained as not knowing better. But if someone claims to be in Christ, he or she has no excuse to be cold and cruel.

 

 

EASTER BUNNY

 

 

 

 

We serve a God who says, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first”, John 8 vs. 7. And who says, “But you should not have gazed on the day of your brother, in the day of his captivity; nor should you have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; nor should you have spoken proudly in the day of distress”, Obadiah 1 vs. 12. God is too compassionate, loving and merciful to take joy in seeing anyone suffer, even His wayward children. God’s way is compassion, is it your way? Can you stomach it when prodigal sons and daughters repent and receive forgiveness? Can you appreciate it when forgiveness provokes mercy and impending destruction is averted? Or is there something in you that would prefer that those who are lost be gorged on, right into the pit of God’s vengeful wrath? Well, God would rather win a soul than lose it. In Luke 15 vs. 7, Jesus said; “I say to you that likewise, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine persons who need no repentance.”

 

EASTER EGGS

 

 

Dear friend of Jesus,

The urge to have pity must be stronger than the thirst for revenge in your heart. If it is not in you to be compassionate then it’s not okay. You should be as worried as a fish that can’t swim, or a bird that can’t fly or a lion that can’t roar. To love God but find it difficult to forgive people who wrong God or wrong you personally, even when they ask for forgiveness, calls for prayer. You need to have the spirit of God recondition your heart, make it tender and meek and humble. We all need hearts that synchronizes with the nature of God, so that people don’t begin to wonder who we resemble, as I did wonder about Jonah. I mean look at us, we can celebrate Easter because God choose to give us a chance to repent and be saved rather than decree our doom and not falter.

Yours Truly,

Moni,

Hephzibah ministries.

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A FORGIVING HEART

The indignation of Jonah reminded me of the pain of the obedient son. To Jonah’s chagrin, God said, I forgive Nineveh. And to the obedient son’s dismay, his father said, I forgive my prodigal son. Why should an act of forgiveness unsettle and upset anyone just because they are not the direct beneficiary?

Jonah sinned against God by an act of willful disobedience, putting his dear life in jeopardy.

“I went down to the moorings of the mountains, its bars closed behind me forever”, Jonah 2 vs. 6a.

Jonah’s eloquent description of his encounter with death provokes thoughts, paints a picture of a prophet in a robe thrown overboard a ship. Too dazed, or inexperienced to maneuver, he does not keep afloat, like a piece of rock, he sinks, traveling down quickly to the deepest part of the ocean, from where he would normally never return. Though hounded by death, Jonah remembered he had an anchor.

“I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction and He answered me. Out of the belly of sheol I cried, and you heard my voice”, Jonah 2 vs. 2.

Those are definitely not the words of a man thinking for a second that God will not have mercy on him and spare his life. How wonderful it is to be able to tap into God’s mercy, Jonah of all people should know the feeling yet, when Nineveh received mercy, it “displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry.”

The profile of a prophet who gives precise and unfaltering declarations is admirable, besides awe-inspiring, but a prophet is a servant, a messenger, not a Lord or Master. If there is no confusion or misconception, complications wouldn’t arise. There are many messengers who forget themselves because men reference them as “masters”. And there are others who despise the principles of their master. How possible is it to submit to a master whose judgments you question and whose essence you hold in contempt? Jonah said:

“Ah, LORD, was not what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness, one who relents from doing harm,” Jonah 4 vs. 1.

Jonah knew his master well, but he didn’t agree with Him. In fact, he would rather die than live to serve Him; Jonah 4 vs. 2. Does Jonah love the LORD? I believe he does; Jonah 2 vs. 9. But he finds it difficult to reference the LORD because the ways of God confuses him. Unlike the acts of God that’s all for power and might, the ways of God is encapsulated in one word, mercy. God esteems the demonstration of mercy above the demonstration of power. So even though He says “the soul who sins shall die,” Ezekiel 18 4, He also makes it clear in Ezekiel 33 vs. 11 that “ As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live…..” It is on the principle of mercy that God sent His son to die for us while we were yet sinners, Romans 4 vs. 8. On this same principle, in the book of Luke 23 vs. 34, Jesus prayed for those who bruised and battered Him; “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

To be continued.

Yours truly,

Moni,

For Hephzibah ministries.

LOVE YOUR COUNTRY 2

So what if we need a change? Who should be responsible for fixing Nigeria, is it you and I or the government? The truth is while we may personally have lots of responsibilities as someone’s father, mother, brother, sister, child, employer, employee and so on and so forth, those responsibilities definitely excludes fixing of bad roads in our environs, creating jobs for the unemployed in the society, maintenance of public infrastructure, fixing the seemingly insurmountable frequent power cut experienced all over the nation, holding corrupt public office holders accountable and so on. Nonetheless, each one of us have a crucial part to play in taking Nigeria out of the woods to a place where development is not just coveted and talked about but achieved through vision, conscious effort and sacrifice.

Many of us believe that the bane of Nigeria is lack of good leadership, but I have heard it said that a people deserve the leaders they get, is this true for Nigeria? Let me rephrase by asking is it only our leaders that are corrupt or is it all of us? I go to buy myself a printer and the sales girl asks me, “What do you want me to write on the receipt?” she expects I should want to make some money off my boss, as many other customers do. We need to ask ourselves, in what ways are my activities contributing to the “corrupt” status of Nigeria. I have heard some members of a particular tribe in this country use the word “animal” for members of a different tribe from theirs. You need to ask yourself, in what way is my attitude contributing to the hate in this land. These are dark corners where we must collectively light the fire of change and let it burn. To love our country, we have to love our neighbor. There is no perfect tribe, perfection is what people of all tribes and tongues attain by living for Christ through the help of the Holy Spirit. Embracing this truth will stop the killings in Bornu, in Plateau, in Benue and other parts of this nation.

And now, from one friend of Jesus to another, I say to you, we need to cultivate the habit of praying for Nigeria. Some of us have never bothered to because we don’t believe our prayers can make a difference. Don’t you think that suggests that we don’t believe James 5 vs. 16? It states that “the effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much”. Some of us used to pray, and then we got “weary of doing good”, as no good seem to be coming out of it. But wouldn’t you agree with me that it is time to make a conscious effort to look beyond the mess, and begin to visualize the Nigeria we desire to see evolve? Hebrews 11 vs. 3 say: “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” We need to begin to call the Nigeria we want to see into existence by employing the power of prayer and faith. This is not a campaign for wishful thinking or advocacy for living in denial, but a rising to stand in the gap for our country by praying for her and aligning our confessions with our convictions. Somebody says “this country is doomed” and you say “no, I see change”, not because you’re stupid or blind but because you believe God hears you when you pray for Nigeria.

I’m going to say this again, not everyone is roasting in the fire of deprivation. So, in the midst of all that ails Nigeria today, you could be getting by, or even having fun and therefore not paying enough attention or carrying a burden in your heart for this land. Here’s something we need to get, it’s not just about you and I but about an entire nation of people who are here today and generations to come. If we don’t make the effort to stretch out of our comfort zone and mourn with those who are mourning then this country is not in our hearts and it should be because things could get worse. Personally, I want things to get better, do you? Pray for Nigeria, don’t be discouraged, pray. And you know what; no one is too young or too old to pray.

Dear FOJ,

There is gross darkness all around us no doubt, but as long as we pray, that darkness cannot engulf the land. The prayers of God’s children will burn like millions of lamps floating in the sky, dispelling the darkness.

Yours truly,

Moni,

Hephzibah ministries.