ISRAEL: SECOND REPUBLIC … PT 59

Lessons from the Book of Joshua

​Joshua 24: … the seed of Terah …

Since it was God speaking and He mentioned Terah, Abraham’s father, it confirms to me that God had dealings with Terah much like He had with his son. 

Genesis 11:31-32  And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt [settled] there.  And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran. 

I’ve had course to study the maps and it was clear that a journey towards Canaan beginning from Ur could very well pass through Haran. 

Genesis 15:7  And He said unto [Abraham], I [am] the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. 

God said He brought Abraham out from Ur but it was from Haran, Abraham must have started. It would mean that the initial directive to move to a place unknown was given to Terah who came upon Haran and decided to settle there. However, God who always works all things to His plan was actually calling Abraham through his father but Abraham didn’t hear God until after his father died and left him in charge.

Terah settled for less than what he potentially had access to. Who knows, maybe we could have been referring to Terah as the father of faith, the temporary holding place for the souls of dead saints before the cross of Christ would have been called the Bossom of Terah rather than the Bossom of Abraham and we would have been called the seed of Terah.

Anyway, it’s quite clear that God will accomplish what He set out to do. He invites us to partner with Him but should we drop the ball, His plan will not be stopped, He’ll simply call another to take our place.

1Kings 19:14-19  And Elijah said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, [even] I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.  And the LORD said unto him … yet I have left [me] seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.  So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who [was] plowing [with] twelve yoke [of oxen] before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him. 

1Samuel 13:13-14  And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him [to be] captain over his people, because thou hast not kept [that] which the LORD commanded thee. 

1Samuel 15:26-29  And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.  And as Samuel turned about to go away, he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and it rent.  And Samuel said unto him, The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, [that is] better than thou. 

1Sa 15:29  And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he [is] not a man, that he should repent. 

My prayer, for myself and for you, is that God will not have a reason to replace us in His glorious eternal plan. 

Do not settle; I know I won’t.

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ISRAEL: SECOND REPUBLIC … PT 58

Lessons from the Book of Joshua

Joshua 23:15-16 … The good land

Many years back, when I was posted to a region I’d never been and that most people in my life would avoid like a plague, I prayed and God said to me, “Anywhere you go with the promises I have made to you becomes your promised land”. Folks are fighting Israel for their land thinking it’s the land that makes them great but it’s the other way round; it’s the blessed people working the ground that make the land great. Baalam said, “I cannot curse those whom God has blessed” and David said of such blessed people, “Anything he lays his hands upon shall prosper”.

This was the story of Joseph in Egypt; he never let go of the promises of his God and he didn’t let go of the God of his promises and, therefore, he prospered in everything and in every place. “The passionate longing of all of creation is the manifestation of the Sons of God”. The earth, the land, the world is waiting for those who know what to do to make it blossom to step up and step in. It is those of us who walk in the consciousness of the promises that God has made concerning us in the scriptures that have access to the wisdom of God to bring out the best of anything.

Perhaps, the reason I am struggling is not because where I am is not good but because I am not good. It’s not because the land is not good for me but because I am not good for the land; I have not been good to the land; I have not be fair to the land; I have failed to help the land achieve its fullest productivity.  He said “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good of the land but if you rebel, you shall be destroyed. These are the options, God has said so”. If you think and operate like this, you would realize quite quickly that God is everywhere and you can prosper everywhere but far beyond that, everywhere can be made to prosper once you get involved … once you get the divine aspect of your life involved.

The prosperity of your family is in your hands, the profitability of your place of employment is in your hands, the prosperity of your locality and your nation is completely up to you now. 

“Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life”.

The blessing is literally everywhere you go. Numbers 23:8, Isaiah 1:9-10, Psalm 23:6

PS: I am still living in that much avoided region, God told me to stay and, till date, I have no reason to regret it. I am eating the good of the land. When He decides it’s time to move, I will follow Him.

How do I hear God clearly?

Someone asked me this question recently and he was only one of several who have asked me in person and they are merely a tiny fraction of the number of saints worldwide across all times who have been asking this very same question but not so many have found workable answers.

I have something for you and trust it would be of tremendous help to you.

First of all, let’s capture some basics.

1. God speaks.

God speaks to us all. This is one thing that distinguishes our God from other false deities around us. In fact, you can know that he spoke to someone because he can tell you as well.

2. God’s children do not have hearing problems

If you’re a child of God, you hear God. I didn’t say you can you God, I said you hear God. Many times you were about to make a decision and you had a thought and you changed your mind and things worked out, that was God. When narrating the episode to people, we use expressions like “my spirit told me” or worse, ” something told me”.

As long as we don’t consciously acknowledge that it t was the Holy Spirit who was guiding us, we will keep short changing ourselves in this regard not because He will get offended and hold back but because we will never consider him a valid resource person we can always turn to when were in a tight spot.

3. This is more than God speaking, it is a relationship

The implication is that if you do not put to use what you do hear from God, you will not ever get to build your confidence in the concept that you can hear from God. Christianity is a walk and one testimony builds on the last. If you haven’t listened or heard God on other non-critical matters, you will naturally panic when it comes to hearing him on the matter of choosing a spouse knowing how much risk is involved. We are on a journey of faith and panic won’t let us hear God.

Now, many Christians, knowing that the devil also speaks get scared that they might hear from the devil when they ask God to speak. As valid as we feel that concern is, it is actually baseless … or perhaps based on ignorance or fear. 

If you ask God for something by faith, the devil cannot respond, God is the one who will respond that’s how the spirit world works. People think that when they ask and God is bringing an answer, the devil will rush and give a misleading word. This assumes that Satan is faster than God. Well, Satan is fast but God made Him so He can’t be faster. Besides, God is omnipresent, Satan is not. God doesn’t need to even move to get to you. 

And you know what, He lives in you so communication between the two of you is not on telecom but intercom. Have you ever heard someone say they couldn’t communicate with a colleague via the intercom because network was down? It doesn’t happen.

There is a very real story of Angel Gabriel being waylaid by the prince of Persia for 21 days until Michael went and freed him. Christians remind themselves of this story and worry forgetting that in Daniel’s days, God did not dwell in man but by faith in Jesus, God moved house when you got saved, and you are his temple. So, nothing really can stand between you and God talking to each other. 

All this is fine and dandy but how do I now hear God? I never consciously heard him before how do I start? 

Here, I’ll tell you my story. 

I was in fellowship and Pastor George Woodbridge, who was obviously one kain spiro like that, was talking about what I can’t remember but every few minutes he would say, “be sensitive to The Spirit and ….” or “with a high sensitivity to The Spirit, you’ll get …” and along the way he said, “increase your sensitivity to the spirit” but he never said how. So after the service, I walked up to him and asked, “How do I increase my sensitivity to the Spirit?” His answer was, “Study the word” and he walked away. If you’re thinking along, you like me were expecting more but, guys, that’s all I got. 

At first, I was disappointed that he didn’t give me more but then, I thought “maybe that is all” so I went back to my hostel and started to study. I started with the notes I took from service and went through all of the scriptures quoted. I made this my routine. I noticed after some time that as I studied those notes, I was making new notes, writing down things that “came” to me that were not said in the service. And after a while, I got used to it, I always expected it to happen and it never failed. 

Then one day, a though occurred to me that was not tied to the noted I took or the scriptures in them. The thought was this, “When you’re studying and things seem to be jumping out at you, it’s because I am there with you, as though standing over your shoulder pointing them out to you”. 

It was a first person comment to me. It was a thought but it claimed an identity of its own and I understood that the Spirit of God had spoken to me. I even did a painting in my drawing pad back then capturing that idea.

And friends, that is how my journey with God took off. All those times I was studying and getting new stuff, it wasn’t because I was so smart, it was because the author of the scriptures was giving me tutorials in His work first hand.

See the word says, every good gift comes from God so I concluded that if anything good was happening in me, it’s not me but the treasure of heaven inside me. So each time I got a good idea, I’d say thank you to the one who gave me the idea, not because I was being spiritual but because I was being real giving credit where it was due. That way, I kept Him front and centre of everything I did.

The more I spent studying, the more time we had together, the more He spoke and the more I heard his voice and gradually got used to how He “feels” and sounds in my spirit. Then in the place of prayer, He would tell me stuff about my siblings at home and I would pray and some days later, I’d get a message that something did happen about that time but God intervened.

From then on, since I’d become used to having Him around, I could talk to Him about anything at anytime I wanted and He always … always … always talks back. So, choosing a spouse was just one of those things two good friends talked about between me and Him. Two good friends …  just that one is all knowing and all wise and the other is a mere jar of clay that knows nothing really but together, we come off as one good team and I look good.

This story began in 1995 and till today, I have never heard the voice of God in my external ears and I really don’t need to. But those who know me can attest that they see signs that I am a man led by God and full of the wisdom of God. Am I boasting? Well, maybe I am but I am merely boasting in the friend that I have had all these years who walks and talks with me every time every where.

If you want to be led by God, pray in the spirit, study the word and you’re good to go. But practically speaking, start by asking small innocuous questions that have no risk attached so that fear will not build. For example, “what shirt should I wear today, what should I have for lunch, should I even have lunch?” Use what He tells you and the testimonies will build your confidence. From there, grow on up and don’t be afraid to say, “God told me”.

MY TESTIMONY: GOD IS ABLE

GOD IS ABLE

 

In the morning of Saturday 4th of January, 2014, I woke up feeling nauseous and eventually vomited twice, consisting only of sputum since I had not taken breakfast. My wife offered me tea and while I was in the bedroom getting set, I was suddenly hit with a sharp piercing pain in the middle of my chest all the way to my back between the two scapulae (shoulder blades). I bent over, eventually knelt beside our bed, sweating profusely that cold morning, in excruciating pain. I thought it was ulcer, because I had that in the past, but the location of the pain suggested otherwise.

 

All I could say was, “Jesus, what is this? What should I do?” He said to me, “Call your wife and get to Federal Medical Center Accident and Emergency Room” and I did that. She gathered our boys into the car and rushed them to our pastor neighbour’s house, briefly explained the situation and left for the hospital.

 

Based on the history of peptic ulcer disease and some reflux I had, the diagnosis was Gastroesophageal reflux disease (a condition where the acidic contents of the stomach flow back into the oesophagus and cause pain) and I was managed for that along with painkillers. All the while, I was vomiting.  My pastors came and prayed with me and anointed me with oil.

 

I was later moved to the amenity ward and the problem continued till the next morning when I was seen by a physician who, on examination, picked up a third heart sound (i.e. an abnormal heart rhythm) and ordered for a chest x-ray, which showed enlargement of the heart, and ECG, which showed marked ST elevation on all anterior leads indicating extensive myocardial infarction (i.e. abnormal heart beating pattern due to damage of the heart muscle caused by obstruction of blood supply to the heart by a major blood vessel. Simply put, a massive heart attack of the very worst type).

 

That afternoon, a severe pain started suddenly in my abdomen. It was so painful that I was screaming terribly loud. At this point, thoughts of dying and leaving behind my wife and two boys crossed my mind several times and on each occasion I would aim the scream at the devil and yell out “No!”

 

My wife came to me, leaned over me and said, “We’ll get through this. The devil came late because the victory started on Friday when God made sure you got back home instead of on Saturday as was usual for you.” And I agreed.

 

The consultant physician came back to see me and saw the ECG and commented that it was incredible for someone with my physique would have Myocardial Infarction (heart attack with damage to the heart muscle) so extensively. He prescribed Morphine and sent me to the ICU. I also had abdominal ultrasound scan and x-ray which both turned out normal.

 

That night, my wife put the song “God is Able” led by Reuben Morgan of Hillsong Australia on repeat on her phone and left it on my bed.

 

The next day, Monday, a consultant cardiologist performed an echocardiography and found evidence of extensive anterolateral myocardial infarction(i.e. extensive damage to the front part of the heart). He counseled that the extent of damage would require angioplasty (repair or reconstruction of blood vessels) or possibly a major heart surgery although an angiography (a study of the blood vessels that supply heart) would be needed to see the exact heart structures that had been damaged. Contact was made with a center in Lagos that had both the required personnel and equipment.

 

My pastors from various locations called in prayers, prayers were going on in church and at other groups in other churches. Some friends sent communion elements from the one they had at church that evening which I took till the next morning. And we made arrangements to have our tithes paid in our absence.

 

I had a very high temperature that Monday and an antimalarial was commenced.

 

Tuesday was dominated by travel arrangements and goodbyes from friends who probably entertained the possibility of never seeing me again. I couldn’t blame them; they’d never even as much as heard of me being ill let alone seeing me so pitiable.

 

We went to Kano by road and completed the trip to Lagos by air. We arrived Lagos at about 10:30pm and were transported by ambulance to the hospital. I was assessed again with all the x-rays, ECG, and finally with another echocardiography by a second consultant cardiologist at about 1:00am Wednesday morning and all the tests and examinations came to the same conclusion as before – extensive anterior myocardial infarction requiring angioplasty or major heart surgery after angiography to ascertain the extent of damage. This was scheduled for later that morning. And so I slept off.

 

A few hours later, I was awakened to be prepped for the procedure and surgery. We got to the theater table and the angiography was performed and to our amazement, there was no heart damage to be found and the place where the plaque had formed which caused the obstruction was identified but it had ulcerated (broken up) so much that no stent (a small pipe inserted into a blood vessel to keep it open) was required in anyway. There was obviously no need for surgery and I was cleaned up, returned to my room and placed on some drugs for preventive purposes. I was discharged the next day.

 

God showed up at the eleventh hour and resolved my situation in a way that only He can and I live evermore to praise His name. I am grateful for all the prayers of all the saints; I felt it because my faith, nor my wife’s, did not fail.

 

Indeed, our God is able.