LOVE SHOWERS; SOLOMON DIDN’T GET THE BEST OF IT!

100_0551_1383665698096_lLOVE SHOWERS; SOLOMON DIDN’T GET THE BEST OF IT!

Love unparalleled, love unbeatable, love unsurpassed, love coveted is what I thought, for a breathless moment, that Solomon received from God. Adonijah couldn’t stomach it and I wouldn’t be surprised if gorgeous Absalom had groaned and turned in his grave.

In spite of the ignoble way in which his parents became man and wife, God loved Solomon. Despite the fact that the right to be king after David should naturally fall upon Solomon’s older siblings, God chose him to ascend the throne. Solomon didn’t just become king, God exalted him above his predecessors and none that came after him matched him in wisdom and greatness. Solomon’s fame spread to all the corners of the earth, kings and queens sought his presence and good will, they brought him gifts and when he returned the favor, it was in greater measure. He was lavish and flamboyant in his use of gold, silver, bronze and precious stones.

Though David desired it, the honor of building the Lord’s house fell on Solomon.  However, the details of design and structure was meticulously put together by David under inspiration of the Holy Spirit Solomon was not just instructed to build; he was adequately empowered to do so successfully. He had great wealth delivered into his hands by his father David; he had the support of the whole nation of Israel as well as that of foreign nations. Solomon was prepared and programmed for great success, and the amazing thing about it all is that he did nothing to merit it. God chose to love him, and bestow on him unequaled riches, wealth, honor, glory and fame.

The only thing God asked Solomon in return was love, (see 2 Chronicles 7:16-18). Solomon did his best to express gratitude to God; at the dedication of the temple he offered a sacrifice of twenty-two thousand bulls and a hundred and twenty-two thousand sheep.  Great sacrifice, so great I wondered what its equivalent would be in today’s world.  Yet, great as it was, without keeping the statutes and commandments of God, it would amount to nothing.

I marvel at the magnitude of God’s love showered on Solomon, with a pinch, no actually a large dose of envy, and the Holy Spirit reminded me gently that greater love than that the Father has showered on me and indeed the whole world. The record is there in John 3:16 and in Romans 5:8 and in John 15:13 and several other scriptures but three witnesses will suffice. The love that God has showered on me, on the whole world, cannot be quantified in gold, silver, bronze and precious stones. Undeserving though we were, God gave us His Son who  died for us, He used his blood to pay the price for our salvation, deliverance, justification, redemption, peace, prosperity, health, joy, eternal life. God used the life of His Son to redeem ours from the power of sin and death.  Jesus gave His life to change our status from “sinner” and “condemned” to “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, called out of darkness into His marvelous light.” God’s love for us changed our status from nobody to children of God, who have obtained mercy, (see 1 Peter 2:9-10)

And the glory is still rising, here’s why; as a children/heirs of God all things are ours, (see Galatians 4:4-7, 1 Corinthians 3:22-23). If all things are ours, then God has not withheld anything from us and if so then a greater than Solomon is here and that is me and you. God loved us so much He didn’t withhold the life of His only begotten Son from us. There is no greater honor, no greater glory, no greater riches, and no greater love than this. We are blessed! Halleluyah!

The only thing God has asked in return is that we love Him back by keeping His commandments, (see 1 John 2:3-6). And that we love each other as He has loved us, (see 4: 7, 11, John 15:12).

Yours sincerely,

Hephzibah Gia

Just Another Ordinary Day

JUST ANOTHER ORDINARY DAY

It was just another ordinary day in the life of the lame man who begged for alms at the gate of the temple called beautiful, suddenly something happened.

It was just another ordinary day in the life of the man with a thirty-eight year old infirmity waiting helplessly by the pool called Bethesda. Suddenly, something happened.

It was just another ordinary day in the life of the Samaritan woman who went to the well which Jacob had dug many, many years back, to fetch some water. Perhaps she had plenty on her mind, having had five failed marriages and was now making do with a lover. Suddenly, something happened.

It was another ordinary day in the life of Moses. Out with his father-in-law’s sheep, he saw a bush on fire but strangely the bush was not consumed. He turned aside to take a closer look and suddenly, something happened.

It was just another ordinary day in the life of David, suddenly something happened. He was summoned from looking after his father’s sheep into the presence of Samuel the prophet of God, who poured oil on his head.

It was just another ordinary day in the life of Elisha when suddenly something happened! Elijah threw his mantle on him.

Great things happen on ordinary days when God is on the move.

Yours sincerely,

Hephzibah Gia

God of Mercy

100_05Dear FOJ…. I believe that the best thing that could happen to any of us is experiencing “The mercy of God”, especially when it comes as a pleasant surprise. In this letter my thoughts are inspired by the story of the lame man who sat at the temple gate called “Beautiful,” you will find this story in the book of Acts chapter 3. God demonstrated mercy to a man who was lame from birth and who had been in that unfortunate condition for over forty years. Here was a man who had suffered the misfortune of being handicapped from birth, a man who had lived with his limitations for half a life time. This was a man who must have known various degrees of shame, sorrow and frustrations as a result of his condition. This was a man who must have asked all manner of questions because of his predicament. But I imagine that as years come and go, he was finally able to make peace with the situation. He was lame, he didn’t know why, what was clear was that he would never walk like all the “lucky” people trooping in and out of the temple every day. But he could at least survive. By soliciting for the mercy of that privileged lot; he would be able to feed, clothe and have a roof over his head. The world is a tough place and a lame man could easily be despised or ignored, so asking for alms and receiving is a miracle of some sort. It was something to hope for and be thankful for, if gained. But to rise up and walk? With many people, many, not all, (for there will always be exceptions) there are places a man’s mind just never wonders to. That is the realm of no, that’s just not possible! The realm of rise up and walk didn’t exist to the lame man, (this is not the same as the realm of wishful thinking, where o f course anything can happen for anyone) only the realm of please help me with my daily bread. Though a difficult realm, it doubtless saved him the agony of hoping that by some act of God he would just wake up one morning and find himself able to walk, only to live out his life and not experience it. So this man’s hopes and expectations were limited to his basic needs but the God who says I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, decided to surpass his expectations. God came to him and said, I can give you more than your daily bread, in fact I want to give you what you never imagined was possible. You need it, you’ve desired it, but you never thought it was possible; RISE UP AND WALK! Rise up and walk means I set you free from your limitation; I give you the power to dream and achieve your dreams. I give you the power to do all the things you’ve desired to do for over forty years but simply couldn’t because you couldn’t walk. Nobody’s going to carry you anymore, nobody’s going to look down on you anymore, nobody’s going to get to step on you only to look down and say, “Oh, you’re there? I’m sorry I just didn’t see you.” Dear friends of Jesus, the gift of God’s mercy and compassion that is beyond our wildest imagination is just awesome, just reading about it is such a wonderful experience. How much more receiving it? May the Lord visit you and visit me. May His visitation revive dreams we have lost and birth the ones we have been too afraid to dream, Amen. Yours sincerely, Anu-moni Agbedeh (Hephzibah Gia) Hepzibah4eva@gmail.com 51_1383665698096_l

Dear FOJ….

I believe that the best thing that could happen to any of us is experiencing “The mercy of God”, especially when it comes as a pleasant surprise. In this letter my thoughts are inspired by the story of the lame man who sat at the temple gate called “Beautiful,” you will find this story in the book of Acts chapter 3.

God demonstrated mercy to a man who was lame from birth and who had been in that unfortunate condition for over forty years.

Here was a man who had suffered the misfortune of being handicapped from birth, a man who had lived with his limitations for half a life time. This was a man who must have known various degrees of shame, sorrow and frustrations as a result of his condition. This was a man who must have asked all manner of questions because of his predicament. But I imagine that as years come and go, he was finally able to make peace with the situation. He was lame, he didn’t know why, what was clear was that he would never walk like all the “lucky” people trooping in and out of the temple every day. But he could at least survive. By soliciting for the mercy of that privileged lot; he would be able to feed, clothe and have a roof over his head. The world is a tough place and a lame man could easily be despised or ignored, so asking for alms and receiving is a miracle of some sort. It was something to hope for and be thankful for, if gained. But to rise up and walk?

With many people, many, not all, (for there will always be exceptions) there are places a man’s mind just never wonders to. That is the realm of no, that’s just not possible! The realm of rise up and walk didn’t exist to the lame man, (this is not the same as the realm of wishful thinking, where o f course anything can happen for anyone) only the realm of please help me with my daily bread. Though a difficult realm, it doubtless saved him the agony of hoping that by some act of God he would just wake up one morning and find himself able to walk, only to live out his life and not experience it. So this man’s hopes and expectations were limited to his basic needs but the God who says I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, decided to surpass his expectations. God came to him and said, I can give you more than your daily bread, in fact I want to give you what you never imagined was possible. You need it, you’ve desired it, but you never thought it was possible; RISE UP AND WALK!

Rise up and walk means I set you free from your limitation; I give you the power to dream and achieve your dreams. I give you the power to do all the things you’ve desired to do for over forty years but simply couldn’t because you couldn’t walk. Nobody’s going to carry you anymore, nobody’s going to look down on you anymore, nobody’s going to get to step on you only to look down and say, “Oh, you’re there? I’m sorry I just didn’t see you.”

Dear friends of Jesus, the gift of God’s mercy and compassion that is beyond our wildest imagination is just awesome, just reading about it is such a wonderful experience. How much more receiving it? May the Lord visit you and visit me. May His visitation revive dreams we have lost and birth the ones we have been too afraid to dream, Amen.

Yours sincerely,

Hephzibah Gia More

The covenant keeps those who keep it

As a Christian you need to be clear about the lines you cannot cross no matter what. Know what you cannot eat, no matter how hungry you are, what you cannot give in to no matter who’s putting pressure on you and where you cannot go no matter who’s there, waiting for you.

I have read about a few men who knew their limits, men like Joseph, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. I have also read about some people who didn’t. People like Adam and Eve, Esau, and Saul. What is that thing that makes the difference between somebody like Daniel and a person like Saul? I believe it is the understanding of the covenant that has been established between a man and his God. This covenant does not exist as an idea or mere information in your head, you are living your life in the reality of the truth that God is your Father and your God; you are His son, daughter, friend, servant. His word is an oath binding on you, a sword fighting for you. When you are in this place, you do not bow to satanic pressure, you resist, and you fight, until you conquer. The devil will bring it on, challenging your faith with fire, and when you don’t melt, he makes the fire seven times hotter, the purpose is to terrorize and oppress you into submission. When the satanic heat is severe, there is the temptation to disregard God’s word as unrealistic. The satanic heat tries to get you to be “practical”, “to face reality”. We are in the world, and the world has its traditions, and we are to embrace these traditions if we expect the world to make room for us. But here’s the thing, God has made us to understand in His word that we belong to Him and that He is in charge of the affairs of our lives, He is the one that settles His own people, not the princes of this world. Our joy, our peace, prosperity should come directly from God.

Giving in to satanic pressure out of fear will never deliver the comfort or safety promised, what will happen is that in the end, you will discover you have been deceived into jumping out of a frying pan straight into naked flame. Things will go from bad to worse until there is utter destruction. But when we withstand satanic pressure on the strength of the word of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, the pressure will bow. We will not die, but live. We will not be defeated, but emerge as conquerors.

Dear FOJ,

Are you under any kind of satanic pressure to conform to a lifestyle you know God objects to? You may find temporary relief if you do but be rest assured that the end will not justify the means. You can enjoy long lasting peace and prosperity by holding on to the word of God. When you choose to endure temporary hardship because of your covenant relationship with God, the Lord will be with you every step of the way to strengthen and comfort you until the storm is over. Will the storm be over even when it doesn’t feel or look like it will? Yes! How can I be so sure? Joseph didn’t die in the prison, and Daniel didn’t perish in the Lion’s den, neither you nor I will perish in any storm of life while standing firm on the word of God.

Yours truly,

Moni.

LEARN FROM A BOOK (Julia’s Hope)

Book Title: Julia’s Hope.
Author: Leisha Kelly

HOPE PRODUCES RESULTS THAT SURPASS EXPECTATION

If one encounters great misfortune in life, and still try to carry on in whatever way possible in anticipation of change, I would call that hope.

In the biblical book of Ruth, Naomi lost her husband and two sons, Ruth lost her husband, both women needed a new beginning and they embarked on a journey together. All Naomi wanted after her great loss in Moab was to return home to Israel and be with her own people. And Ruth just wanted to be with Naomi, I’m not sure she knew why she felt that way, but she did feel strongly that the future for her meant sticking to her mother-in-law, no matter what. Ruth felt this way because God had prepared a future for her in Israel; a new home with Boaz, a relative of her late husband, and a child of her own, for the very first time. The child was not just a comfort to Ruth but also to Naomi. Neighbouring women called the child Naomi’s redeemer; they prayed that baby Obed would be to Naomi “a restorer of life” and “a nourisher of her old age”. Wow, hope produces results that surpass expectations.

In Leisha Kelly’s “Julia’s Hope”, Samuel Wortham and Julia, his wife needed a fresh start. They had lost everything in the heat of a national economic crisis. With no work, money or roof over their heads and two children to provide for, the future looked bleak but God, whom they both loved and trusted had it all worked out.

While trying to relocate from Harrisburg to Illinois in search of greener pasture, the Worthams stumbled on a farm house belonging to Emma Graham, an old woman with a fragile health. They had not reached Harrisburg but Julia and the children felt they had arrived at their fresh start.

Emma wasn’t clamouring for a fresh start until something that smelt like it was suddenly up for grabs. She was just an old woman who had had her fair or unfair, if you like, share of losses in life. She had lost her husband, her son and the use of her legs and was now living in a care facility. It was a reasonable arrangement, she had trained people to care for her and there was a doctor within reach, should she have an emergency. But she was lonely and she missed her farm house, the only thing left to remind her of the good life she once had with her late husband and late son.

Julia wortham told Emma she could live in her house again after she asked her to lease the house to her own family, for free. It was preposterous; to live in a stranger’s house, and use her things, all for free. Samuel didn’t like it, and neither did Emma’s age long friend, Miss Hazel Sharpe. Samuel kept insisting on moving his family on to Illinois even though he knew there was nothing out there for them. On the other hand, Miss Sharpe kept threatening to run them out of town if it would take the last breath out of her old but apparently agile, bones.

I don’t blame Samuel; he was a husband and a father, one who believed in working to provide for his family. And I don’t blame Miss Sharpe, she was just trying to be… sharp! For all she knew, the Worthams could be a bunch of skimming vagabonds out to prey on an old, sick, helpless widow. But Julia was hopeful and that hope sparked faith in Emma’s heart. Leaving the care facility and trusting herself in the hands of strangers was a brave decision that Emma boldly took and she didn’t regret it. Each day she spent in the company of the Worthams on her farm house made her feel she did the right thing. She saw a son in Samuel, a daughter in Julia and grand children in little Sarah and her brother Robert. God was working in mysterious ways for Emma, she had lost a family and now, she had gained a new one. Emma Graham would not die a lonely, old woman.

Naturally, people inherit property from parents or some other relatives, but when God is moving, things happen in a supernatural way. One moment the Worthams were homeless and the next, Emma, a total stranger, was offering them the deeds to her house and land. What a miracle, such favour, shocking. It was shocking for Samuel, who never could imagine that Emma would even consider leasing her house to them free of charge. And it was shocking for Julia, who for all her high hopes, only could imagine being allowed to stay in that house until God made a way for her family to move on. Hope produces results that surpass expectations.

Dear FOJ, hope is a wonderful thing, it is a powerful thing, and it is a gift from God. It is God’s way of telling us that the best is yet to come when it looks like it is all over.

Yours truly,

Moni.

THE BLESSING OF GOD

God loves to bless us.

“I will make them and the places around my hill a blessing; and I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing. Then the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase…..” Ezekiel 34 vs. 26 & 27.

Permit me to liken God’s blessing to a beautiful garden. Now, in any beautiful garden that the Lord plants for his children, the tempter might sneak in to spoil things. Adam and Eve were in paradise, they had a great relationship with God, they had a fantastic job of tending a beautiful garden, and they had each other, to love and to hold. Life was good but all of a sudden, they lost everything. They lost their innocence which protected them from the poison of sin. They lost the favour they had with God. They lost the awesome garden which was their work place as well as their comfortable home. Their stress-free life became stress-full.

Satan has diverse names; the deceiver, the tempter, the thief, and so on. He delights in turning the joy God’s blessing fills our life with into sorrow. He turned Adam and Eve’s joy into sorrow but he didn’t do it without their help. Adam and Eve were already richly blessed but Satan gave Eve the impression that she could have more; she could have the rest of the blessing which God was depriving her of.

The bible says that we get tempted when we get carried away by something we lust for. (See James 1 vs. 13-15) When Satan told Eve she could eat from a tree God warned her and Adam not to touch, the bible says Eve looked at the tree and lusted for its fruit. Her lust for the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, made her eat it and not strictly the enticement of Satan. In other words, we can’t run away from being enticed to do something we shouldn’t once in a while, but we don’t have to yield to the temptation. The temptation to get more when we have been given all we need is a set up to make us lose all we are already enjoying.

Joseph was sold into slavery by his envious brothers. In the house of Pot’i-phar, he was in paradise, because he was not treated like a slave or a servant but like the manager of a great estate. Joseph was blessed, for someone in his predicament, life was good. Satan smelt it, and he sneaked in, looking for an opportunity to mess things up.

Joseph was blessed with good looks; Pot’i-pher’s wife found him attractive and longed to have sexual relations with him. It must have looked natural to her, how she was feeling, but the tempter was at work. Thankfully, Joseph looked beyond the natural, the realm of feelings; he understood that it would be an act of wickedness to betray Pot’i-pher’s trust by sleeping with his wife. And he understood that it would be a sin against God. Turning down lady Pot’-pher’s advances got Joseph framed and thrown into prison, but the good news is that, in that particular garden, Satan was unable to find delight.

When Joseph was thrown into prison, it seemed he had lost his blessing because he was trying to obey God, but as it turned out, he gained his blessing, the original, authentic blessing for which God brought him to Egypt. We should not be afraid to obey God, when it looks like we will lose something good if we do, then we must realize that God has something better in store for us. The blessing you need to keep is not the one that requires you to sin because the blessing of God makes us rich and adds no sorrow.

Dear FOJ, God loves to bless the work of His hands and so He is constantly blessing us, but the tempter’s main preoccupation is to try to make us lose our blessing. But can we stop him? Yes we can. Remember he can’t take away what you have without your help. Jesus told his disciples to watch and pray so that they will not fall into temptation, you could call that the winning formula and it hasn’t changed.

Yours truly,
Moni.

Learn From a Movie (The Descendants)

Movie title: The Descendants.
Based on a novel by: Kaui Hart Hemmings
Screen play by: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash.
Produced by: Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, and Jim Taylor.
Directed by: Alexander Payne.
Lead character: George Clooney

“LOST CHANCE”

The Descendants; I love this movie. And for me it’s beyond George Clooney; his presence, his voice, his talent. It’s all that and much more.

The movie has a unique appeal that is entertaining in a soothing way. The picturesque city of Hawaii, where the movie is set, with her easy, traditional but elegant style of music also contributes to the allure of the production. Although the movie explores a weighty matter, I don’t feel the weight dropped on my shoulders, rather I see it played out in front of me and when it ended I found myself yearning for a sequel; Elizabeth King’s side of the story. What was life like for her before she had the fatal boat accident that threw her into a coma? Before all her dirty secrets about the affair she was having with Brian Speers, an estate agent, spilled.

The marriage of Matt and Elizabeth king was troubled and Matt didn’t even know his wife had moved on. In his ignorant head it was like a broken down car, parked in the garage, something he could get back to, whenever he was ready to fix it. It took a boat accident to get Matt in the mood to make peace. When he saw his wife lying unconscious on the hospital bed for days he said, “I’m ready now; I’m ready to be a real husband and a real father”. But it was too late.

Dead. Elizabeth, dead? How could she be dead when they had so many unresolved issues? And there were fresh allegations. Alexander, their teenage daughter claimed Elizabeth was having an affair and Matt verified the story from a family friend and even learnt from them that Elizabeth was planning to leave him. Elizabeth had questions to answer, she had no right to be in a boat accident, and she had no right to die. But she was dead. It didn’t matter that Matt was angry at her, it didn’t matter that her daughter Alex was angry too, as well as Julie, Brian’s wife. She couldn’t apologise to any of them in her present state. And it didn’t matter anymore, whatever kind of fears and frustrations she died with. It was too late for her to share them with Matt.

Matt said goodbye to Elizabeth in simple words. He said, “Good bye Elizabeth, my love, my friend, my joy, my pain.” Hearing him say those words and watching him kiss her lifeless lips for the last time while a tear ran down his face, the obvious was re-echoed. Matt king loved his wife. So why were they fighting? Why had they not spoken to each other in weeks? Sure, they both had their reasons, but they must have also had several chances to resolve their issues. Here’s a tricky question, If Elizabeth had survived the boat accident, would she have tried to make her marriage work? The truth is there’s no telling. She might have still insisted on having a divorce. But surviving the accident would have given Matt a chance to try to right all the wrongs in his marriage. He was desperate for that chance the moment he heard about his wife’s accident but unfortunately, that chance was lost.

Dear FOJ, It’s sad that sometimes we put off what we should deal with immediately for later. We let the important become an emergency, forgetting that an emergency can easily become an irreparable situation. There are many things we cannot afford to take for granted; our health, work, finances, marriage, children and so on. But above all, our salvation. Jesus is coming back soon, every day that He tarries is a chance to make sure we have a right standing with God. As friends of Jesus, we cannot afford to take our relationship with the Lord for granted. We cannot work it like a marriage where love, faithfulness, devotion and trust no longer exist. We may keep telling ourselves we’ll get to it, we’ll fix it, but one day, suddenly, the chance to do that will no longer be available. There will be nothing left to do but to submit to the unpleasant consequences of a lost chance. (See Ephesians 4: 5, 6)
Yours truly,
Moni.

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