Do you believe in miracles?

by Yewande Olamiju

One of the headlines of Jewish Telegraph of July 2014 reads “Their God changes the path of our rockets mid-air.”

The response of the church to this news has been varied and diametrically opposite. Some Christians believe it’s yet another testimony of God awesome power of deliverance on behalf of the Jews, yet there are other Christians that believe that God fighting for Israel is a myth.

Will God do such miracles today? Will God fight against another nation in defense of Israel today?

We read in Joshua 10:14 that the LORD fought for Israel. Josh 10:42 says, the LORD God of Israel fought for Israel. Joshua 23:3 says, the LORD your God is He that hath fought for you.

Based on God’s everlasting covenant with Israel (Gen 15:18-21; Gen 13:14-17; Gen 22:2, 12, 16-18; Deut 30:1-10) and Ezekiel 38-39 prophecy of a future war involving Israel, yes, God will still fight for and on behalf of Israel.

Does God still perform such miracles? Yes. The bible is full of supernatural events such as:

Battle conquests – armies conquered by angels of the Lord’s host on behalf of the people of Israel (2 Kings 19:35; 2 Kings 7:6-8), an entire army struck with blindness by the LORD and led straight into Israel’s hands (2 Kings 6:8-23), Pharaoh’s army thrown into the sea (Exod 14), the walls of Jericho fell down flat (Josh 6), the sun and moon stood still for a whole day (Josh 10:12-14).

Prison breaks – supernatural escapes from prisons (Acts 5:17-23; Acts 12:6-18), chains falling off (Acts 6:7), iron city gates opening of their own accord (Acts 6:10), an earthquake opens prison cells and unlock chains (Acts 16:25-26).

People rescued from what would be called “certain-death” – Daniel in the lion’s den (Dan 6), 3 Hebrew boys thrown into a fiery furnace come out without a single burn (Dan 3).

People raised from the dead – Lazarus after four days in the grave (John 11); The Shunemite woman’s son (2 King 5:18-37); the widow of Zarephath’s son (1 Kings 17:8, 17-24); a widow in Nain’s son (Luke 7:11-15); Jarius’ daughter (Mark 5:22-24,35-43); Dorcas (Acts 9:36-43); Eutychus (Acts 20:7-12)

Multiplication of food (Mark 6:30-44; 2 Kings 4:1-7, 42-44, 1 kings 17:8-16).

Healing – Peter’s shadow healed people (Acts 5:15-16) while people were healed when handkerchiefs and aprons that touched Paul’s body were brought to them (Acts 19:12). Jesus healed “all manner of sickness and disease” (Matt 4:23).

In Matthew 13:58, we read that Jesus did not perform many miracles there because of their unbelief and lack of faith. Likewise if you choose to not believe then like the 10 spies and the unbelieving Israelites in the wilderness you will not see the Promise Land (Num 14:22-23).

In 2 Kings 7, an officer in the King of Israel’s cabinet learnt this lesson too late.

And it came to pass after this, that Benhadad king of Syria gathered all his host, and went up, and besieged Samaria. And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass’s head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove’s dung for five pieces of silver…

Then Elisha said, Hear ye the word of the Lord; Thus saith the Lord, To morrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria. Then a lord on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God, and said, Behold, if the Lord would make windows in heaven, might this thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof…

For the Lord had made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise of chariots, and a noise of horses, even the noise of a great host: and they said one to another, Lo, the king of Israel hath hired against us the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of the Egyptians, to come upon us. Wherefore they arose and fled in the twilight, and left their tents, and their horses, and their asses, even the camp as it was, and fled for their life…

And the people went out, and spoiled the tents of the Syrians. So a measure of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the Lord. And the king appointed the lord on whose hand he leaned to have the charge of the gate: and the people trode upon him in the gate, and he died, as the man of God had said, who spake when the king came down to him.

And it came to pass as the man of God had spoken to the king, saying, Two measures of barley for a shekel, and a measure of fine flour for a shekel, shall be to morrow about this time in the gate of Samaria: And that lord answered the man of God, and said, Now, behold, if the Lord should make windows in heaven, might such a thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof. And so it fell out unto him: for the people trode upon him in the gate, and he died (2 Kings 6:24-25, 7:1-2,6-7,16-20).

Heb 13:8 says, Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever. God still performs miracles. He still delivers people from trouble, distress and captivity. He still provides by His great power. Today, He continues to heal the sick, create body parts and perform wonderful miracles too many to count.

Do you believe?

The Abuse of Grace

adapted from a message by Pastor Dele Oyeleru

Where purpose is not know, abuse is inevitable. A believer who describes grace as merely unmerited favour will at a point in life inadvertently misuse grace because this definition does not include the purpose of grace. Grace  is unmerited favour, forgiveness of sin … and also empowerment, enablement for man to do what he could not do on his own to please a holy God.

Abuse is defined as  to use badly or improperly.

If we do not know the purpose of God’s grace we will abuse grace. God’s purpose for grace is stated in Titus 2:11-13

For the grace of God (His unmerited favor and blessing) has come forward (appeared) for the deliverance from sin and the eternal salvation for all mankind. It has trained us to reject and renounce all ungodliness (irreligion) and worldly (passionate) desires, to live discreet (temperate, self-controlled), upright, devout (spiritually whole) lives in this present world (Titus 2:11-12 AMP).

How is grace misused?
1)Turning God’s grace into a license to sin
For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 4).

If you think grace is just unmerited favour then you’ll treat it like free-for-all-rain water that can be put to just about any use. You’ll sin with the mentality that “I can sin as much as I want. All I need to do is plead the blood of Jesus and voila God has no choice but to forgive me.”

2) By not growing in grace or not multiplying grace But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Pet 3:18).

When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God  (Acts 13:43 NIV).

In John 8:31, Jesus says continue in My word. There is no vacuum in nature. You can’t give the excuse that you’ve remained on the same spot. If you are not advancing or progressing then you’re actually regressing. Put grace to work in your life by using it.

3) By not receiving grace Grace is always given so it must be received. If you don’t come to the throne of grace then you don’t receive grace. You are the one who needs grace so you must connect to God’s grace. God says come because grace is available (Hab 4:16)…God brings grace to you the way He wants, He is not bound to bring grace the way you want. People who are focused on nothing except Jesus are the ones who connect to God’s grace anywhere, any how and any time it shows up.

Sometimes God’s grace is released through His word by preachers or people we do not like. Forget the fact that you do not like the preacher and connect to God.

4) Not sharing grace with others Paul shared freely so we could be partakers of God’s grace (Phil 1:7; Acts 20:20). Freely have you received so freely should you give (Matt 10:8, 1 Cor 9:18). As a part of the body of Christ you are a joint which supplies (Eph 4:16), a saint speaking to another (Mal 4:16) and you are admonished to exhort one another daily (Hebrews 3:13).

but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—  from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love (Eph 4:14-16 NIV).

You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house (Acts 20:20 NIV).

5) Receiving grace in vain As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain (2 Cor 6:1 NIV).   Is there anything to show that you have received the grace of God?

Do you lightly esteem the grace of God like Esau who lightly esteemed his birthright? Do you refuse to give value to the grace of God by a continuous life of sin? Properly estimate the cost of God’s grace. It cost the life of His Son, Jesus.

6) By frustrating the grace of God I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? (Gal 2:21, Gal 3:1-3).

Your assurance of salvation should not rest on your works outside of a relationship with Christ but on the work of Christ on the cross. You could do no good works until the good work on the cross had been done. Your righteousness outside of this is filthy rags. The work of Christ on the cross makes you do good works. (Titus 2:11, Eph 2:8)

Conflict

Paul and Barnabas Separate

And after some time Paul said to Barnabas, Come, let us go back and again visit and help and minister to the brethren in every town where we made known the message of the Lord, and see how they are getting along. Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark [his near relative]. But Paul did not think it best to have along with them the one who had quit and deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone on with them to the work. And there followed a sharp disagreement between them, so that they separated from each other (Acts 15:36-39 AMP). Continue reading

Lonely People

adapted from Lonely People by Warren Wiersbe  

Sometimes we feel like we’re on the outside looking in. We feel unwanted, unneeded and uncared for.

Loneliness is described as a feeling of isolation even in the midst of a crowd – a feeling of being all by yourself even when you are surrounded by people.

Whatever the cause of your loneliness Jesus can comfort you and give you rest. Continue reading

Disciples or Fans?!!!

by Omolola Oriogun

It has always been a thing of wonder to me every time I have a discussion with the so-called ‘Arsenal fans’ on what they see in Arsenal that makes them keep their support and loyalty for a club that has not given them a trophy in 10 years. Their responses always amaze me because you’ll hear answers like: “Wenger is a great manager; He has helped the club to be a rich club;  He doesn’t waste money on players Continue reading

Dusty Bibles

It’s the end of the yet another month and you still have not reached the bible reading goals you set for youself at the start of the year.   Here are a few tips, testimonies or simply just how others, just like you (i.e. me) have made some headway thus far

1) What not to do
When it comes to daily (or not-so-daily) Bible reading, January 1 can be a welcome arrival. A new year signals a new start. You’re motivated to freshly commit to what you know is of indispensable importance: the Word of God. Yet this isn’t the first time you’ve felt this way. You were entertaining pretty similar thoughts 365 days ago. Continue reading

Pain: the Gift Nobody Longs For

by Omolola Oriogun

Pain – the gift nobody longs for
Still it comes
Somehow leaves us stronger when it’s gone away
Pray – I try and pray for Your will to be done
But I confess it’s never fast enough
For me, it seems the hardest part is waiting on You
When what I really want is just to see Your hand move

I want a peace beyond my understanding
I want to feel it fall like rain in the middle of my hurting
I want to feel Your arms as they surround me
And let me know that it’s okay to be here in this place
Resting in the peace that only comes in the waiting Continue reading

Whose Culture?

by Omolola Oriogun

I recently attended a traditional wedding ceremony in the Eastern part of Nigeria – Aba to be precise. The program was scheduled to start at 2 p.m. in the afternoon but it was delayed because of some traditional rites that had to be done, cultures that had to be followed. As a Christian I thought and said to myself, “this is not right,” and asked the bride-to-be, “must you do this?” She replied saying, “if I don’t do all this, I won’t be considered married.” I couldn’t say anything but just had to shut my mouth because her response startled me.

While seated somewhere waiting for the traditional wedding to start, I thought back to 2006 when my elder sister had her traditional wedding in the Western way i.e. the Yoruba way. The program was billed to start at 8a.m but it didn’t officially start until 10a.m Continue reading

Bondage Unlimited

adapted from a message by Pastor Dele Oyeleru of TCBC, Ejigbo

God’s commandments are not irksome, burdensome, oppressive, troublesome or grievous (1 John 5:3b).

Sometimes we view God’s commandments as killjoys or restraints to be cast off. A dour faced matron who looks like she’s sucked on too many lemons, holding a cane over our heads, preventing us from enjoying a good life.

Not believing that God’s commandments are because He loves us will surely lead you into sin, just like Eve did when she believed the Serpent’s lie that God’s law was just holding her back from being all she could be.

The book of Jude speaks of different groups of people who cast of restraint and did not stay within God’s laid down boundaries. These men stepped over the guard rails of protection of God’s word because they believed God’s law was cramping their style. Continue reading

My Neighbour

by Omolola Oriogun

I once asked my mentor the question “who exactly is my neighhbour?” Is it my own family members or the next door families to my right and to my left, the next person beside me in the public bus or the driver to a taxi that picked me up or my hired driver that gets paid monthly?

Her response stunned me when she said..”The entire human race GOD created is your neighbour.” In shock I said, “no way.Are you telling me to love a hired assassin, a robber, a rapist, a fraud, the killers in the Northern part of my country? No way!!!” She didn’t argue with me but took me down Bible lane.

Stripped of all the theological debates and boiled down to its raw essence, Christianity and Christians will be judged by two actions: how much we love GOD and how well we demonstrate this by loving our neighbour. Continue reading

Things to Seek

by Miss Mo

1Contentment: God, teach me contentment in all aspects of my life.
Hebrews 13:5; Psalms 37:16; Philippians 4:11; 1 Timothy 6:6; 8 Matt 6:28-34 -32; Philip 4:12; Prov 30: 7-9; Ecc5:10; Prov 19:23

2Wisdom: God, teach me wisdom in the management of all resources You have provided me with.
Proverbs 4:7; Proverbs 3:13; Proverbs 8:10-11; Proverbs 24:14

3God’s Spirit: Cause Your spirit to dwell within me.
Eze 36:26-31 Continue reading

Errors We Hold On To

For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold (2 Tim 4:3 AMP). Today in christendom there are a lot of errors we hold on to either in ignorance or willfully.
A few of such errors are: 1)      Name it and claim it Continue reading

Conviction or Condemnation

By Miss Mo

For the past few month, I had been hearing some messages from church that have really been hammering on the soon coming of Jesus Christ and even the news just piles on the impending doom of the end. This impending doom and the messages from children of God that I had been hearing really started to point out my errors to me and I was in a conundrum, I was wondering why the word of God was coming to me when it seemed as though there was so little time to make the changes I needed to make so I asked God why His word was coming to me if He knew the time was so near, was it just to condemn me? And if I was going to hell anyway, would it not be better for me if I “quit while I was ahead”? I mean, why not keep sinning if I have already missed the mark? Thoughts floated in my mind for weeks. Continue reading

Dealing with the Consequences

by Yewande Olamiju

Are you sitting in gloom, wondering, “How long, Lord, till I get out of this? I made a mistake, but will I pay for it for ever? Is there no way out? no end in sight? Is this unreedemable? Lord, are You no longer concerned about what I’ m going through?”

Are you going through some dark days because of the wrong choices you made? Like David, repent and receive God’s forgiveness. Trust and believe God when He says that : Continue reading

Truth: A Person, a Word or both?

By Omolola Oriogun

I often heard statements like this: “I’m telling you the truth; the truth of the matter is; GOD knows I’m saying the truth.” When I hear such, I wonder what truth is?!!!

Ask anyone today, “What is truth?”, and you’re sure to start an interesting conversation. Try it on a university campus and you’re likely to receive laughter, scorn, and derision. The concept of truth has clearly fallen on hard times, and the consequences of rejecting it are ravaging human society. So let’s go back to the starting point and answer the question: What is truth? Continue reading

Prepare for the Life Which is To Come

by Yewande Olamiju

There’s this life and there’s the life to come. This life is the one we’re currently living here and now on Planet Earth while the life which is to come is the one we’ll live forever and ever, in Heaven or in Hell. The life which is to come  lasts forever and ever and ever. This eternal destination has no end.

Where do you want to spend eternity? Continue reading

God-substitute

Put God first He’ll put you first. Put Him second, He’ll put you last.

I heard these words in a service in church and have never been able to forget them. I was expecting that the end of the sentence would read put Him second He’ll put you second. But after some bible study I realised that if I didn’t give God first place in my life, then things would quickly unravel and I’ll end up flat on my face. If God is not on the throne of my heart and first in my life then whoever or whatever was the usurper, seating in God’s place would keep me separated from God. Continue reading

When I don’t know which way to go… The bible is my wisdom

by Miss Mo

Late last year, I saw a video of Tyler Perry laying hands on Bishop T.D. Jakes. This video rattled my beliefs because it seemed unnatural that a Christian (and I use this word loosely) actor/movie producer will have the spiritual audacity to lay hands on someone that is so renowned in christendom. So I set out to do the research as to why this might be okay according to the scriptures.

Here’s what I found: Continue reading