Thursday, 31 May 2012

EAGERLY WAITING IN ANTICIPATION

Romans 8:19-12 (Phillips Version)
"In my opinion whatever we may have to go through now is less than nothing compared with the magnificent future God has planned for us. The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own. The world of creation cannot as yet see reality, not because it chooses to be blind, but because in God’s purpose it has been so limited—yet it has been given hope. And the hope is that in the end the whole of created life will be rescued from the tyranny of change and decay, and have its share in that magnificent liberty which can only belong to the children of God!"

We are told in today's scripture that even the creation is groaning and longing for the day when God will release it from it's bondage and usher it in the new era with Christ as King. wow!!! Can you hear the sighing in the wind? Can you feel the heavy silence in the mountains? Can you sense the restless longing in the sea? In all honesty, if creation is earnestly waiting in expectation for the coming of Christ, how much more we Believers-- the sons and daughters of God? Should we have nothing less? If the whole inanimate and brute creation is eagerly looking forward to the appearing of Jesus, then my dear brothers and sisters in Christ ; this same kind of hope should be much more evident in you and I. 

How is your hope today? Do you find yourself longing and looking forward to the glorious appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ? I don't think we should wait in some sort of dull ho-hum attitude. We must rejoice in our hope. It is the joy that makes us wait eagerly in anticipation. Now anticipation means stretching or necks, yearning fervently hoping........If that is the attitude nature has about the coming of the great day, then surely you and I can learn a thing or two from  the creation around us.

Today, when you see a ray of sunlight suddenly piercing through a heavy dark afternoon sky, just think about what the Bible says in Romans 8:19,  "For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed." If nature waits in earnest anticipation for the coming of Jesus, then you and I shouldn't be caught flat-footed. As Believers, we need to constantly remind ourselves of the reality of Heaven and the coming of Christ!

MEMORY VERSE
"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us."--Romans 8:18

2012 By Enyonam Gbekle. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

WHAT A VIEW?

Revelations 21:1-5a
"Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”"

Do you find yourself all caught up in the here and now? Do you sometimes feel like a slave to time? Are you sick and tired of struggling with sin or apathy or the anxieties and sorrows that weigh down your heart? God may be using those very things to turn your thoughts towards your future home and Jesus who awaits your arrival.

Join me this morning as we meditate on today's scripture. As we visualise and enjoy the glorious view of our final home(Heaven).

2012 By Enyonam Gbekle. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

EVERY MEMONT COUNTS

 Galatians 5:25
"Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit's leading in every part of our lives."

In today's society, we are pushed foward so quickly that we tend to forget it's the moment that counts. We book our calenders months and months ahead and when obstacles loom in our carefully planned out agenda, we think of them as barriers or the hand of the enemy at work against us. That is why Galatians 5:25 for me is a great reminder of what really matters and how we should  be living our lives as disciples of Jesus. We can't expect to live by the Spirit if we seek to move through life mile by mile rather than step by step.The truth is, our walk in the Spirit is to be just that. A walk, not a sprint!

In my own personal experience, whenever I have gotten ahead of myself, I always end up disregarding the present. The people around me and the many opportunities immediately at hand. I also end up ignoring and missing the specifics, like an instant obedience. When I am preoccupied with my future agendas, I end up not having the energy to engage in the daily moment by moment struggle with sinful and selfish habits that dog my feet.

The good news is, if we keep in step with the Spirit, then He can pinpoint the areas in our lives that need changing. But when we get ahead of the Spirit trying to take life in leaps rather than steps, we will gloss over the daily obstacles and challenges. Our prayers become general, our bible reading becomes merely a 10 kilometre run that needs to get finished without meaning or revelation. Our obedience become more centred around outward actions rather than a daily cleansing. Jesus becomes a goal rather than a person to whom we  relate and communicate with moment by moment.

Today, lets thrive to slow down. Take time to meditate on the words from James 5:13-16, "Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil." Because really, our Christian faith is meant to be lived moment by moment. It is isn't some broad, general outline. It is a long walk with a real person (Jesus). With Him, details counts. Like passing thoughts, small sacrifices, a few encouraging words, little acts of kindness and brief victories over nagging sins. If you are going to walk with Me, the Spirit is saying; pay attention to the present.

If we can keep running ahead, we will find ourselves walking solo. And that is not only dangerous, it is also very very very lonely. As we  go about our daily routine today, lets remember Jesus is walking beside us every moment and His Spirit is living inside of us. That is a reality!!!

MEMORY VERSE
" I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,.."----Ephesians 3:16-17

2012 By Enyonam Gbekle. All rights reserved.

Friday, 25 May 2012

LOVE NEVER FAILS

1 Corinthians 13:8a
"Love never fails."

Today for those of us who are looking for ways or the right words of comfort to say to alleviate the pain or hurt of a friend, colleague, husband, wife, a sister, brother, fiancee a neighbour. Don't  look any further, because the Bible says "Love never fails". And the good news is; each and every one of us have the capacity to give love to heal a hurting, bruised and broken soul. We don't need to know or have all the answers, we don't need to know all the  specialised scriptures or a thousand reasons why God allows suffering. All we we have to know is "Love" will never fail us; and that should be our sure gift to give.

The scripture we might need at first is 1 Corinthians 13 and we don't have to understand whether the person in pain want to be cheered up or consoled either. We don't have to rationalise, wondering what possible good could our presence do. We don't don't have to keep playing guessing games whether or not they want to talk about their pain or not. Instead of getting ourselves all tangled up in all these confusions, lets remember the only precious gift we can give to a hurting and bruised soul is "Love". And you are capable of giving that precious gift because you are born of Love (God).

FURTHER READING
1 Corinthians 13

2012 By Enyonam Gbekle. All rights reserved.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

SALT AND LIGHT OF THE WORLD

1 Peter 2:11-12
"Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us."

As Christians living out the Kingdom of God down here on earth, we are to be pilgrims on this planet. That means we must not mistake this world for home. However, the Bible doesn't encourage us to be by standers like tourists taking pictures from a distance and being uninvolved. Or casually observing all the goings on around us at a polite distance. The Bible clearly states in Matthew 5 13-14,  “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden." This clearly implies, God wants us to get seriously involved, to rub shoulders with our brothers and sisters around us even though we are only here for a season.


Dear beloved,  lets wake up and make ourselves accountable because honestly, we've got a lot of work to do and only have a very short time to do it. Today, I want you and I to ask ourselves these honest questions. Do we consider ourselves pilgrims when it comes to living out our lives for Christ? Or are we more like a tourist staying arm's length from any kind of involvement in our local churches, neighbourhood and communities? I see too many of us Christians living as tourists crowding our way through life with no care for what we have been called for. But the good news is, God is reminding us today that, He doesn't want any more spectators. Rather He is telling us He needs pilgrims, sober-minded and serious who will make their impact for Him on our way through this life and into the next. Lets, put away all our cameras of excuses and be the salt and the light we have been called to be.


MEMORY VERSE:
 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house."

2012 by Enyonam Gbekle. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

YOU'RE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR REACTIONS

 Acts 16:22-24
"The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks." 

Let us just consider for a minute the incident in Philippi, desccribed in Acts 16. The magistrates handcuffed Paul and Silas to a scourging pole and ordered them to be severely beaten with rods. As if that wasn't enough, the Philippian authorities then took the bruised and lacerate missionaries and placed them in a stinky and a wet dungeon in the inner city jail. At this stage, I can only imagine how weak and faint they must be. With every bone aching and their fresh wounds oozing with blood and almost infected. Yet as we recall in the story, they did something incredible and amazing. At midnight, in the darkest and loneliest hour; they began  praying and singing praises to God. Listen to this, they weren't just humming along lightly or mumbling their prayers in between moans and groans. No! The bible says that in spite of the thick walls and the heavy doors, the other prisoners could hear them (Acts 16:25). 


From this account it clearly shows that their words won the battle against Satan in the mid-hour. The Psalmist  also says in Psalm 106:47, "Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us. That we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise " (emphasis added). When we are accused, mistreated, betrayed, it is easy for us to whine, grumble, fret, murmur, complain or lament. However we are told by doing so we would be inviting defeat unto ourselves even though we are the victims here. Rather, we are told from the account of Paul and Silas's experience that they didn't succumb to defeat with thoughtless, ill-tempered words - instead they triumphed in victory with their praise. Wow, what a testimony and an encouragement to you and I as Believers. 

This got me thinking about my spoken words. Do we actually fully understand their power? Can any of us really grasp the mighty force behind the things we say especially in or time of distress? I realised, I have to stop and think before I speak and consider the potency of the phrases I utter. No wonder the book of James took time to explain to us the power and the danger of the tongue. How can we bless at one moment and curse at another? Today if you and I are looking for victories over our circumstances,we need to praise. No matter how much any one offences us at work, how often we feel stepped on by others, either in church or in a family gathering; victory in Christ is possible when we hold our spiteful tongue and win it with words that bless our Lord.

 MEMORY VERSE
 "For our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!"-- 2 Corinthians 4:17

2012 By Enyonam Gbekle. All rights reserved.

Monday, 21 May 2012

OUR SECRET WEAPON

 2 Chronicles 20:2-4
"Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria; and, behold, they be in Hazazontamar, which is Engedi. And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the Lord: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord."

By the time King Jehoshaphat got this bad news, there was very little he could do about it. And at this time the, great force of multitude was less than thirty miles away from Jerusalem's gate. This means it was very close and there wasn't enough time for strategies or a plan of action. All the same the King decided to take stock of what he had on hand. And frankly, it wasn't much! He had no chariots, no defence, no allies, no time and no army worth riding home about. You can imagine at this point how stressed and under pressure the King was not knowing what the next move was going to be. However, whether he knew it or not, He had a secret weapon - Prayer and Praise!!!


So he went down on his knees before the whole nation and poured out his heart before God. He didn't bluff, he didn't rattle his saber neither did he make any patriotic speech. He just prayed an honest prayer - as though his life depended on it and mind you it did. Then right after that, he consulted his elders and the people and decided the choir should lead the march, clothed in sanctified garments singing "His loving kindness is forever" praising and thanking God for His continuous faithfulness whilst they walked and marched along. Wow, talk about out of the ordinary weapon of warfare. I am sure you are probably thinking what a looser! Who ever heard of putting a choir out in front of an army. With harps and lyres leading an infantry instead of  tanks and artillery. This got me thinking too. How could this work? And yet it did!


The Bible says, the moment they began to praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir to begin fighting among themselves and destroyed each other one at a time. Hallelujah!! For me the story of King Jehoshaphat isn't just a historical event. Actually, it has meaning for you and I as Believers in this very day. Like the King, as Believers we are surrounded by multitudes of enemies. Well trained and well equipped. The armies of Satan are experts at battling our faith as Believers when we need it the most. And the enemy knows that none of us by our own strength can withstand his fiery darts so he comes unexpected when we are low in our faith towards God to attack us. But what he doesn't know is, we have a secret weapon - "Praises." The demons hate it. Human opponents are irritated by it. 


That is why you and I need to learn to Praise God in such a way that our enemy will be thrown into a complete rout. When we step into our spiritual warfare which by the way happens every day, we won't be frightened by the adversities or the schemes of the enemy; because we know we have the resources in Christ Jesus to totally confuse and destroy our foes - Hallelujah!! For some of us this might be a very difficult lesson for us to learn. Because usually when things in our lives goes haywire, the first thought is to do something and anything to rectify the problem. And for some of us fighting back with revenge, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, legal systems seems like such a logical fronline defence. However from reading 2 Chronicles 20 we are told our first reaction to any attack of the enemy should be prayer then followed by our "Praises" unto the Lord.

Apostle Paul put it in a nutshell for us in 2Corithians 10:3-4, "For the though we live in this world, we do not wage war as the world deos. The weapons we fight with are not weapons of this world."  Please remember today that when all those legions line up against you, they will turn on themselves one after the other when they hear you lifting the name of the Most High God higher in your praises offered unto Him. As Believers, we have power over our enemies. So right now, where ever you are whatever you are doing, lift up the name of the Lord your with a shout of praise with every ounce of breath in you.  




MEMORY VERESE:
"Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding." ---Psalm 47:6-7


By Enyonam Gbekle. All rights reserved.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

JESUS STOPPED

 Mark 10:47, 49a, 51a
 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.

I don't know about you but there has been many times in my life when I have felt like Bartimaeus, the blind beggar at the gate of Jericho. When I have aimlessly wandered off the path God has put me on and predestined for my life.When I have sinned, maybe deliberately and perhaps thoughtlessly or been disobedient to God's word. And I feel so far from Him, I picture myself lost in the crowd and in the mess of my disobedience like this blind beggar, pushed around; groping in the dark. And desperately wanting to find my way back to the right path but sometimes I feel too ashamed and discouraged to even approach God.


When things get that way, even though I don't shout; I feel like whispering those exact words of the blind beggar, " Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" And some how the hustle and bustle of the crowd stops and the Lord hears my cry for help and not only does He just hear, but He actually stops everything He is doing to just attend to my need. Just because I asked for mercy..............how humbling and what an honour?


Right now if you sense a deep spiritual need or a weight of guilt or regret crushing your shoulders; just remember that Jesus of Nazareth is passing by and all you have to do is to call out for mercy. In that moment precious child of Jehovah, He will stop whatever He is doing to attend to your need no matter what it is. The Bible says in Jeremiah 33:3a, "Call to me and I will answer you...."


MEMORY VERSE:
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."--Hebrews 4:16


2012 By Enyonam Gbekle. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

THE LORD OUR ROCK


 Psalm 61:2-3
"From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than l. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy."

Life can sometimes be very harsh and almost unbearable, however, as precious children of the Most High God, I just wanted to remind and encourage us all today that whatever it is that might be threathening to distort our view of the reality of God's promises, provision and purpose for our lives; lets take a deep breath and remember that God is our rock that is higher than any deadlines, frustrations, lost hope, poor health, career issues, families, work or any situation that may seem unbearable in this season of our lives. Why? Because He is the God of all flesh and nothing is too difficult for Him. And He is the Rock of ages!

Now the dosage for experiencing and living in this reality is; to spend quality time with God in the high places of His faithfulness and love by doing that we will gain a better and a wider understanding of His purpose for our lives. From my personal experience, life viewed from the Lord's heights can clear our minds, help us sort out our priorities and will always allow us to see how our seconds, minutes, days, months and years can be manageble after all.

In saying that maybe like me, you have faced demands  from your family, frustrations with work, your church or ministry commitments and expectations from your friends. You feel like your heart is growing fainter with each added pressure and you may not be able to take time off to clear your mind and thoughts. Don't look any further dear friend, investing solid and concentrated time with the Lord, He will give you a whole new perspective. And from the depth of His love, you will see things as they really ought to be through His eyes for our lives.

Memory Verse: 
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." --John 16:33

2012 By Enyonam Gbekle. All rights reserved.


Tuesday, 15 May 2012

THE GREATNESS OF PRAYER

 \Psalm 42:8
 "But each day the LORD pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life."

Frankly, the only way we can develop a real appreciation for prayer is to take a small step of faith and simply pray even when we don't feel like it. I know it's easier said than done but as a disciple of Jesus prayer isn't an option at all. What I have come to learn and understand about prayer is, it is an art which only the Holy spirit can teach. Like any other disciplines, prayer can only be appreciated when we actually quality time in it. Spending time in prayer with our Heavenly Father will elevate our thinking, strengthen our spiritual passion and will also help us grow closer to Him in love and knowledge of who He is.

From my own experience, I realised the more time I spend with God in prayer, the more He reveals Himself to me and closer I grow in my walk with Him. This is experience has not only helped me to appreciate prayer but has also helped me to understand the need and the importance of prayer. It also helps us to identify with others who fight long battles and find great joy on their knees. And will us appreciate not only the greatness of prayer but the greatness and awesomeness of our God. How amazing is that?
 

VERSE TO MEMORISE:
And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;--Luke 18:1

REFLECTIONS:
If you are new to the subject of prayer, start with a few minutes. Then turn to one of the psalms of praise and read God's words back to Him as a prayer. You can also pour out whatever is in your heart to Him as you would to a trusted friend.  Think back of all His blessings in your life this very moment, the day before and recount every moment in gratitude to Him. Tell Him what you love about Him. Think of some areas in your life you would like His help in changing. Take a deep breath and confess those things to Him, asking for the Holy Spirit's assistance in those areas.

2012 By Enyonam Gbekle. All rights reserved

Monday, 14 May 2012

MAKE THE WORD YOU HOME

 Colossians 3:16a
"Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you,...." 


I believe this scripture is reminding us of the importance of allowing God's word in our hearts and not only that but also learning to live in it's light. This means we need to know it as much as we know our individual homes really. By so doing, we will know where to place and find every promise, instruction, word of wisdom, comfort and encouragement on it's pages. I don't know about you but I want God's word to dwell in me richly so it can a place I find refreshment, relaxation and peace of mind by making myself familiar with it's commands as I learn to relax in it's promises.

Like my Pastor, he knows the Bible like the back of his hands. He knows where each individual verse is on it's pages and he can quote you any scripture and narrate it's stories with such enthusiasm and passion. With him when it comes to God's word, he is at home where he his hearts longs to be!

As I pondered over today's scripture, it go me thinking..... How many of us actually consider God's word a dwelling place? Does it truly live in our hearts? Or is the word of God just something we visit now and again for occasional refreshment when our backs are against the odds of this uncertainty world?

Dear Beloved, God desires to have an intimate fellowship with us and very much wants His word to become a home to us. A strong refuge, a warm and restful sanctuary from all the hassles, bruises, anxiety, stress and uncertainties of our daily lives. So this morning I want to encourage all of us to let His word live within us with all it's richness, promises, teachings and direction for our lives. Let us make it our own special retreat away from this cynical, pressure-filled world we live in today and in turn it will make us rich in His wisdom. And remember wherever life takes us, wherever our roads leads us, home can be as close as our heart.

VERSE TO MEMORISE:
"Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You."--Psalm 119:11



2012 by Enyonam Gbekle. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

OVERFLOW

John 7:38
 "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water."


Today I want to encourage you all to join me in emptying ourselves of all selfish desires, letting go of our own rights, clearing out the debris of habitual sins by humbling ourselves before the Lord for us to be filled with an overflow of God's Spirit. As our lives brim over form this ever fresh wellspring within us, there will be plenty of refreshment and nourishment for the thirsty souls of those around us.

When we are overflowing with the Holy Spirit's life, we will see the evidence in or thoughts, words and actions. Because they will all reflect the holiness of God. And a life that reflects God's purity can't help but have an impact on others around us.

Reflections:
What evidence do you see of the Spirit's upwelling inside you?
How can you clear sinful obstructions from the flow making way for His abundant life?

Scripture for meditation:
"I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws."--Ezekiel 36:25-27

All rights reserved by Enyonam Gbekle 2012