LOVE YOUR COUNTRY

The Nigerian Flag

The Nigerian Flag

Dear friends of Jesus, You must have heard that a house divided against itself cannot stand, (Mathew 12 vs. 25). One of the fundamental problems of Nigeria is lack of unity which breeds intolerance, hatred and subsequently destruction of lives and properties. You and I are not Nigerians by accident, and whatever is going on in this country today, whether good or bad should concern us. Peace is slipping away from many parts of our country and this is unfortunate because without peace, we cannot prosper. Do you love your country? Are you praying for Nigeria? Or are you just praying that God should protect and prosper your house so that even if your fellow countrymen are dying all around you, you and your family will be unaffected. Psalm 122 vs. 3 says, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, may they prosper who love you.” Only those who love this nation will pray for it.

I realize that individual success is paramount in this land but of what real good is that? Wise men understand that living like a king in the midst of thousands of beggarly sons and daughters of the land is not true prosperity. With the thousands of privileged families in this country why do you think it has done nothing for our image as a nation, on the international scene? It’s the total package the world is looking at; they know that the majority of the people living in this land are destitute. That is why as you desire progress for yourself you must desire to see it in your neighbor’s life; it is collective progress that makes a people great.

In this pretty absorbing book, “Memoirs of a Geisha”, I read about the humbling experience of a privileged man who visited America from Japan for the first time in 1951. He thought he knew prosperity because he had lived in comfort for many years but he was shocked to discover how ignorant he’d been. Excerpts:

“But in the fall of 1952, I accompanied the chairman on his second trip to the United States of America. He’d traveled there the winter before, and no experience of his life had ever made such an impression on him. He said he felt he understood for the first time the meaning of prosperity. Most Japanese had electricity only during certain hours, for example, but the lights in American cities burned around the clock. And while we in Kyoto were proud that the floor of our new train stations was constructed of concrete rather than old fashioned wood, the floors of American train stations were made of solid marble…….”

The floor of the train stations, not the floor of the house of the president, or the governor, or the senator, or the minister or the pastor or the movie and music stars, were made of solid marble. A people need to love one another. They need to place value on the life of each citizen. They need to understand that every member of the society deserves to live and live well. It is not about talk, a people who have this understanding don’t need to tell you anything, they show you. You visit their land and you see it.

I know that Nigerians love life, which is why we were said to have topped the list of the happiest people in the world some time ago. And still why I doubt we will ever stage a revolution despite the great injustice the majority of the people are subjected to year in year out in the hands of the few who have been elected into office to serve. And I know that it would seem Nigeria is not doing so badly, after all not everyone is roasting in the fire of deprivation. Haven’t you noticed how faces of the hungry and hopeless fade into oblivion with the display of flashy cars on our streets and talk of new mega cities that must be built on water? I could be wrong, but I honestly feel it is not enough to love life, a people need to love each other. And I think that there is too much hate in this land. The horrifying activities of Boko Haram speaks of that hate but so does the high rate of unemployment, corruption, misappropriation of public funds, unnecessary waste of lives, lack of infrastructure, zero welfare packages for citizens who need it, poor supply of electricity power to homes and business communities, bad roads, poor housing and the list goes on. The quality of life in Nigeria is far below what it can and should be, we need a change.

To be continued.

Yours truly,

Moni,

For Hephzibah Ministries.

DANGEROUS RULES VERSUS GOLDEN RULES.

Golden Rules

Golden Rules

Dangerous Rules

Dangerous Rules

Society cannot function without rules. They provide the checks and balances that keep chaos at bay. Rules teach and guide us, they influence our thoughts, actions, speech, decisions and the way we treat other people. Therefore, the rules we live by can either make or mar us.

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to have a successful life, and knowledge plays a big role in achieving success. In pursuit of knowledge we read books we feel can give us an edge in life. Such books are usually written by great minds who have a wealth of experience to draw from. They offer us “the secrets to a life of power, wealth and happiness”. Some popular titles include; The 48 Laws of power and The richest man in Babylon.

When I read “The richest man in Babylon”, I thought it was interesting. One law of financial prosperity that caught my attention in that book is this: whenever you earn money, make sure you give 10% to God,(he said gods), and before you spend a dime on necessities or vanities, keep another 10% as your savings. Never touch it, it is money that should be invested to generate wealth for you over time. I thought that was sound advice.

I have never read “The 48 laws of power”, but I have flipped through the book. Some of those laws are products of experience and seemingly harmless. However, most of them are theories that encourage a way of life that is manupulative and ruthless and for any genuine child of God, it is not okay. Dear Foj, when you consult books, read with the mind of Christ so that you will not begin to apply rules that do not reflect the mind of God but that of man in its selfish, sinfull state. Why, for instance should you want to make people dependent on you for their happiness, prosperity and any good that can ever come to them? Are you their maker?

Perhaps you have heard the rule, “Never apologise, it’s a sign of weakness”. And “Never be the first to say I love you”. If you love someone but you can’t open your mouth to say it because a rule forbids it, you’re in bondage. And if you can’t say the word “sorry”, you’re not strong, you are proud. Let me remind you that God resists the proud. Dear friend of Jesus, what rules are you living by? Stay away from dangerous rules. There are golden rules in the word of God, with which we can never go wrong. They are the secrets to a happy and successful life for every child of God. Below are a few of them:

  1. Be a productive and practical christian so that you can make a difference in this world and so that God can be proud of you.

    “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” -Mathew 5 vs 16.

  2. Anything that opens the door for sin in your life must go, no matter how important that thing is to you.

    “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.” -mathew 5 vs 29.

  3. Be kind to others, but resist the temptation to be a show off, so that you don’t put God off.

    “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.” -mathew 6 vs 1.

  4. Don’t be materialistic, the riches of this world does not endure.

    “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.” Mathew 6 vs 19.

  5. Live life one day at a time and trust God to take care of you.

    “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” -Mathew 6 vs 34.

  6. Don’t be quick to condemn others, because if you ever slip, no one will show understanding, they will condemn you.

    “Judge not, that you be not judged.” – Mathew 7 vs 7

  7. Some people can never place value on the treasures inside of you, stop trying to impress them.

    “Do not give what is holy to the dogs nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” – Mathew 7 vs 6.

  8. Treat others the way you want to be treated.

    “Therefore whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the law and the prophets.”- Mathew 7 vs 11.

  9. Once you choose to be a christian,stop doing what you want, do what the Lord wants you to do.

    If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me.- Mathew 16 vs 24.

  10. God respects the power of agreement, make use of it.

    “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything thay shall ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” – Mathew 18 vs 19

  11. Wait for God to lift you; when He does He will never shame you and He won’t permit anyone to either!

    “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” – Luke 14 vs 11

  12. Whenever someone tries to intimidate you, steel your heart with the knowledge that he or she is not God, but a fellow human being, like you!

    “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather, fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Mathew 10 vs 28.

There are several other golden rules in the bible, search for them and make a longer list to meditate on and live by! God bless you as you make His word your teacher and guide in life. Amen.

Yours truly,

Moni,

For Hephzibah ministries.

ESSENTIALS THINGS: RIGHTEOUSNESS

We are surrounded by miracles. We see birds in the sky and we see airplanes. We see fish in the ocean and we see submarines. We see humans and animals walking on land and we see automobiles. We see plants growing out of the earth and we see skyscrapers. The evidence of the power of life and light is indeed overwhelmingly present with us. God almighty is all around us, He is the Father of creation.

As children of God we have come to know Him as Emmanuel, God with us. And we have come to know Him as God in us,(Christ in you, the hope of glory; Colossians 1 vs. 27). We should know that having God with us and in us is the greatest miracle of all because it has to do with the redemption of man.

God does not come to be with and in us for nothing, but to demonstrate His mighty power through us to the world. This is the desire of the Lord but in the lives of many children of God this beautiful desire is hindered because of sinful lifestyles. God said, “Be ye holy, for I am holy”, (Leviticus 20 vs. 7, 1 peter 1 vs. 16 ),that instruction hasn’t changed but if we carry on as if it doesn’t apply in a modern world, the spirit of defilement will have a nice time exploiting us. Often, the social, cultural and spiritual practices around us do not align with God’s words; rather they are obvious violations of God’s commandments. If we, as children of God subject ourselves to such practices so that we do not appear as weird or misfits, we do ourselves great injustice. There is a wealth of blessing that is available to us in Christ Jesus but God has given a warning that His children will not have access to these blessings while living a life of compromise.

“Therefore say to them, ‘thus says the Lord God: “you eat meat with blood, you lift up your eyes towards your idols and shed blood, should you then possess the land?

“You rely on your sword; you commit abominations and defile one another’s wives. Should you then possess the land?” Ezekiel 33 vs. 25&26

Should you then possess the land” simply means how can we prosper? Or how can we have access to the promises of God? How can we have the fullness of life available to us in Christ Jesus if our lives are not pleasing to God? The Lord is good, He is gracious, He is faithful but we have a part to play when we are in a relationship with Him. In psalm 103 vs. 17&18 David wrote:

“But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting

On those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children,

To such as keep His covenant and to those who remember His commandments to do them.”

The message is clear, if we want God to honor His word to us, we have to honor Him by keeping His commandment and covenant.

Dear FOJ,

Permit me to ask, is there anything defiling your life at the moment? Is there any impure thought that you indulge again and again? Impure thoughts are not as harmless as they seem, Jesus said by just looking at someone and having sexual desire for that person makes one guilty of sexual sin. (See Mathew 5 vs. 28) Is there anything defiling your life? Perhaps it’s something you do, you know it’s wrong but you do it any way. Is it your utterances? You know a child of God shouldn’t talk in a certain way but you do anyway. Is it the company you keep? Is it the kind of movies you watch? Is it the kind of music you listen to and even sing along? Is it the kind of books or magazines you read? Why don’t you do make a decision to do something about anything defiling your life right now? You can decide to break free from whatever grip the spirit of defilement has on you. You will have to pray, you may even need to fast. I pray that as you call upon the Lord, the power of the Holy Spirit will set you free. And I pray that the blood of Jesus cleanse you, in Jesus name, amen.

Yours truly,

Moni,

Hephzibah ministries.

KEEP YOUR LAMP BURNING!

At first glance, I take these away from the parable of the ten virgins; foolishness can stop people from achieving their goals in life but a wise person will be unstoppable. It is important to think and plan ahead. It is necessary to anticipate a future need and make adequate preparation for it. Knowing when to say no can save one’s life. There is a thin line between compassion and sentiments, and it is crucial to be able to spot the difference.

Taking a closer look I ask myself why the Lord compared the kingdom of heaven to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. They were ALL virgins and they ALL loved the bridegroom but only five of them got to be with Him, the other five didn’t make it. Those who didn’t make it were ill prepared. Lack of adequate preparation can ruin our expectations. As friends of Jesus we are all on earth today, living our lives while anticipating the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus who is the bride groom, how adequately prepared to meet him are we?

Femi Kutu sang:

“Wonder; wonder, wonder, wonder, wonder
Wonder, wonder, wonder, wonder
Till you turn to wonderer”

One of the things Femi wondered about was whether Jesus will ever return. It looks like the coming of the bride groom is delayed, where is He? When will He arrive? You and I are waiting. It is okay to get a little tired, and decide to rest by taking a nap but even while resting; we must be ready and good to go. Five virgins didn’t make it, not because they were tired and slept a little, but because at the last moment, the moment they had been waiting for all their lives, they were not ready, so they were forced to take a fall.

It is a tragedy to take a fall at the last minute and this is what foolishness can do to anyone. In as much as no one would like to be called foolish, that is the apt way to describe a lazy or sluggish or careless attitude in the faith walk of any child of God. Most, if not all of us, are on fire for God when new in the faith. We are excited about meeting the Lord and all we want to do is please Him with our lives. We spend time reading the Word, praying, and fellowshipping with the brethren, talking about our faith. We don’t struggle too much to count it all joy when going through trials and temptations but as time passes the excitement dwindles. It begins to dawn on us that we have chosen to travel on a narrow and difficult path in this life, and worse, the bridegroom is delaying in His coming! Eventually, some people become discouraged, they become too tired to care the way they used to when they first accepted the Lord Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They still go to church and they never renounce the Lord but their hearts are no longer on fire for the Lord. They become like lamps that were once burning brightly but which were now going out for lack of oil. When children of God become too tired or discouraged to pray, to read the Word, to fellowship with others like them, to do good, their lamps begin to lose oil and if care is not taken it will go out and they will be plunged into darkness. This is not God’s will for us, the Lord wants us to be diligent from the beginning of our faith walk to the end, and this is the only way to inherit God’s promise of eternal life. Hebrews 6 vs. 12 says:

“And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope to the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

Dear FOJ,

If you know your heart is not right with God, this is the time to make things right. It doesn’t matter whether you have stopped attending church or you still do so religiously. Stop procrastinating, quit saying I know I need to mend my ways, I’ll do it, I’m just not ready now. You know you love the Lord; you know you want to be with Him, you know you’ll be devastated if you don’t make it as one of the wise virgins so stop procrastinating. Remember, the “last minute” is not in our power to know, and it’s either we are ready for the Lord or we are not. At the sound of the trumpet, this is not the time to run around looking for some oil, that won’t cut it! Here, now, every day, is the right time to fill our lamps with oil and keep it burning for Christ.

Yours truly,

Moni,

Hephzibah ministries.

ESSENTIAL THINGS: HUMILITY

The ability to worship God with all of one’s heart and might without requiring the recognition of men as motivation or reward is an essential thing in the life of a Christian. Our worship must stem out of faith, absolute believe in God as the almighty. And our service to God, in whatever capacity must be an act of reverence to Him.

Within the Christian community some people are always in the spot light by virtue of their God-ordained offices. Brethren who are called to climb the pulpit to preach, teach or sing are always visible. Permit me to say they get to sparkle. But I suppose I can’t say the same for brethren who come in to clean or labor in prayer before every church service. Nobody gets to see them, in other words, they don’t get to sparkle. And there are brethren who simply put a tract in someone’s hand, every week, smiling and saying, “Jesus loves you”. And yet, there are brethren who preach Christ with their attitude or behavior wherever they happen to find themselves. Because of them, somebody is saying, “wow! So there are still real Christians out there”. Because of them somebody made a decision to give God a chance in his or her life. Yet, these silent Christ ambassadors walk among us unrecognized. But not by God.

The bible tells us about the man Cornelius, a non-Jew but a “devout man who feared God with his entire household, who gave alms generously to the people and prayed to God always”, (Acts 10 vs. 1&2). That Cornelius decided to fear God and worship Him with his entire household was his own cup of black coffee! The original covenant children of God, (speaking of the Jews), would never recognize him. As far as they were concerned people like Cornelius were uncircumcised gentiles, an unclean lot. A good thing Cornelius never bothered to seek recognition or approval of the Jews, he just put his whole heart into serving God because he believed and God visited him.

God is God. And by that I mean that He rewards anyone who diligently seeks Him. The angel of God said to Cornelius, “your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God”, Acts 10 vs. 4. Our true worship and service to God may go unrecognized by men and women who matter but it is not going without notice in heaven. This is not to say that we carry on as though God owes us, (Cornelius was surprised when he saw an angel, he wasn’t seeking a sign from heaven, some sort of assurance from God that he hasn’t been wasting his time) but rather, that God is true to who He is. He rewards service, how can He do that that if He does not pay attention?

Cornelius was serving God with his household but all was not well with them spiritually. God was doing a new thing, saving humanity through faith in His Son, Jesus. Cornelius feared God but for him to have everlasting life, he needed to receive Jesus as his Lord and Savior and so God decided to honor him and his entire household with the gift of salvation, complete with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. God instructed Peter to visit them, and with that visitation, He perfected the faith of Cornelius and his family. What an honor! Such glory! And all because one man served God for no other reason other than that he believed. It takes humility, I tell you. And it is worth it because when we serve God with a humble heart, He will visit us to perfect all that concerns us. And when He does, people will cry, oh what honor! Oh such glory!
Yours truly,

Moni,

Hephzibah ministries.

ESSENTIAL THINGS: DISCIPLINE

Discipline is the hallmark of a true soldier.

Discipline requires self control, it requires going the extra mile which is difficult because doing the required miles is challenging enough. It requires discernment. You have to be able to tell the difference between good and evil, as well as the difference between what is good and allowed but not for you and what is good, allowed and absolutely right for you, under the circumstances. Discipline requires that your conscience is alive, with a voice allowed to speak freely. It requires that your spirit, soul and body are in tune with God. Your conscience will check you, and the Spirit of God will check you but it takes a disciplined heart it to adhere to instructions, instructions that might, or might not make sense, instructions that only an excellent spirit can appreciate and value.

Discipline requires self denial, the ability to deliberately refrain from what will give you pleasure, for a period, and for a reason or reasons that are important to you. Discipline starts with a resolve in one’s heart to do something but it takes understanding and will power to follow through. As children of God, the Holy Spirit can supply us with understanding, remember He is the Spirit that leads us, (guides us) into all truth. If we don’t really understand the power of discipline as a virtue and how crucial it is to our wellbeing, we might think it’s not such a big deal. We must have a vivid understanding of we stand to gain or loss.

But even with a clear understanding of how much discipline can make happen for us, one might get caught up in a dilemma that has always been the Achilles’ heel of all mortals; the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak! Discipline takes will power and will power requires extra-ordinary strength, which the Holy Spirit, thank God, can supply. Remember He is our helper. The golden rule is to ask, ask Him for understanding and ask Him for strength and you will receive.

Dear FOJ,

We may marvel at men like Daniel, (Daniel chapter 1) who chose to feed on water and vegetables while others had a nice time enjoying the king’s buffet, but the power at work in Daniel is resident in us today in full measure! Jesus said to His disciples, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…” (see Acts 1 vs. 8). The presence of the Spirit of God in our lives fills us with power, from this power we can draw strength required to live a disciplined life which is essential. Without discipline, we cannot live a godly life and without a godly life we cannot please God nor successfully fulfill his purpose for our lives.

Yours truly,

Moni,

Hephzibah ministries.

FOR YESTERDAY, TODAY AND TOMORROW

Your faith is all you’ve got,
Child of God, believe.
Believe that God will do what He says He will.
Believe you will receive whatever you ask of Him.

Your faith is all you’ve got,
Child of God, trust.
Trust the Lord with all your heart.
Trust Him in spite of your five senses.
Trust that God is working still,
Even when the labours of your enemies
Seem to bear much fruit.

Your faith is all you’ve got,
Child of God, hope.
Hope to see the power of God come through for you,
Setting you on high, sorting your persecutors out, forever!
Hope to celebrate the victory of Jesus,
At every point in time when you have to stand still,
And see the salvation of the Lord.

Your faith is all you’ve got,
Child of God, fight!
Fight to keep your faith,
Your adversary desires to take it from you, fight to keep it!
You cannot become an empty shell.
You cannot become a rattling piece of tin.
The dead must not mistake you for one of their own!

Your faith is all you’ve got,
Child of God, live!
Live the life that God intends for you here and now.
Live that life and you will live long.
Live that life and you will live forever.

Yours truly,
Moni,
For Hephzibah ministries.

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