Tomorrow about this time I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be leader over My people Israel; and he shall save them out of the hand of the Philistines. For I have looked upon the distress of My people, because their cry has come to Me. ( 1 Samuel 9:16 )
In order to send Saul to Samuel, God created a situation that led to the lost of Saul’s father’s donkeys. One would have thought, what would missing donkeys have to do with someone’s call and ordination? Kish (Saul’s father)would probably not have sent his son to go beyond that region to incidentally meet Samuel if not for the missing donkeys. Sometimes, God sends people through and with circumstances that seem vague in themselves and so unrelated to their call. And he brings people into our lives almost the same way. To Saul, he was looking for the missing donkeys but to God, he was responding to a call of destiny. God had planned his meeting with Samuel without his permission and notice, but he would honour it nonetheless because God was luring him. We may not be privileged or opportune to know the call upon our lives yet, but whatever it is God has called us into, He will lead us on until we find ourselves in the center of it. This is why it is so good to have a yearning and yielding heart. God will stir us to the place of meeting Him with our hearts. And wherever the heart goes, the man follows. Our call is often necessitated by the needs of people. Our gifts are for the benefit of others and our talents and leadership skills is because of others. Israel had a need/desire, and in order to answer that need, Saul’s purpose was ignited. Wherever God leads, go and you wouldn’t know how you got to the center of your purpose in a matter of time.
Prayer_Bead:Almighty Father, as I yield my heart to your navigational system of grace, lead me to my purpose and call. Ignite my purpose by meeting the needs of the world and showing the world your glory as a result.
Hannah said, Let your handmaid find grace in your sight. So [she] went her way and ate, her countenance no longer sad. (1 Samuel 1:18 )
Hannah, the wife of Elkanah, had been barren for many years and each time they went to Shiloh (the Lord’s house at the time), she would pray for a child but it seems her heavens were closed. Hannah had always allowed the voice of her rival, Peninnah and her provocations drown her faith. She had almost given up because of the continuous torment from her rival. Like Hannah, sometimes we receive the opinions of people and take the advice of experts as if it were the final say. Hannah would probably have given up if her hope was only on the comments of people. But the Scripture says we should pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). And so it happened at one Shiloh, Hannah was stirred to pray one more time and this time she engaged the principle of first fruit. And then she received peace in her heart after she had prayed this time. Her countenance was no longer sad because her spirit was relieved of the weight of her need—there was a witness in her heart. That sign of relief (peace) in ones heart after they have been with the Lord is the sign that things are going in the right direction. Hannah didn’t stop praying until she had peace of heart. That is what an effectual and fervent prayer consist. Do we desire change, then we must continue in prayer until that trigger of peace.
Prayer_Bead:Father in heaven, whose hands are not short to save and ears are not corked to hear, thank you for your commitment to answer my prayers always. Satisfy me with the desires of your heart.
He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” ( Genesis 3:10 )
Usually, guilt makes people want to hide from themselves and others. That reality extends to our spiritual experiences. Whenever people realize that they are in the wrong against God, their first reaction is to “hide” from God and the things of God. Some will not visit the church again, others will continue to do more of the wrong they had done to make themselves feel bad all the more. It surely didn’t start from them, it’s probably in the Adamic DNA. When Adam sinned against God, he didn’t confront God about his wrong by confessing to God, instead he hid from God out of guilt. On the other hand, the man in Christ is called to come boldly to the throne of grace to obtain mercy and find grace (Hebrews 4:16). The man or woman in Christ, has been given a Spirit after the Spirit of God and He is not a spirit of fear but of power, love and sound mind. In other words, He does not condemn those in whom He dwells. The individual in Christ who tries to run from God is still in Adam or yet still has not come to the throne of grace. In Adam, our glory is in our strength but in Christ, our glory is in His grace, for we can do nothing by ourselves. Another thing that happens when we are far from the throne is that we see our weakness and frailties because the covering of his grace is thin. It is God’s glory that is supposed to cloth us and apart from His glory we are naked and cold. And so, we are called into the covering of the Most High. His grace is calling out to us.
Prayer_Bead:Almighty Father, most merciful and compassionate king, thank you for calling out to me that you may cover my nakedness. I approach the throne of grace for mercy and grace so that I can live my days in your glory.
But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. [ James 1:14 ]
Quite often, the believer attributes temptations to God, saying God is tempting them. But James says that God cannot be tempted, neither does He tempt others with evil—James 1:13. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world (1 John 2:16). James teaches that temptations come from desires and whatever entices us. Desires are like the bait on hooks. We don’t immediately see the hook (the evil that may be hidden behind our desires). So in order to avoid temptations, we must expose the hook behind the bait of our desires. The scripture goes on to say when desire hatches, it produces sin. Whenever a desire presents itself in our hearts, the first question to ask oneself is, “what will this desire conceive in the end?” Or is this desire a lust of the eye, pride of life or lust of the flesh? Because our desires, if they will lead to sin will be categorized into one of these. Once it is lust or pride, then sin is at our door. If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it (Genesis 4:7). This is what God told Cain before he killed his brother. Sin was crouching at his door (heart) because he made room for negative desires (he did not do what was good). And then we see God giving Cain the solution to his problem—to rule over that desire; Love. The power to rule over negative desires and sin is LOVE. But Cain didn’t rule over his desire with love and then sin took over him. We may all have negative desires but as to whether they are conceived as sin or not will depend on us. Let Love lead.
Prayer_Bead:Loving Father, Ancient King, thank you for the knowledge you have made available to me through your word. I rule over every negative desires that crouches at the door of my heart. I live in love. Glory be to God.
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. ( 2 Timothy 1:6 )
The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, his son in the Lord telling him about his sincere faith that is bequeathed to him through his blood line. Even though Timothy had this worth of deposition of faith, fear had clouded his faith. And so, the apostle asks him to fan into flame the gift of ministry that is in him. Timothy had a sound spiritual foundation inherited from his mother and grandmother. And at his ordination, Paul and the elders laid hands on him. But even though they had laid hands on him, Timothy had to stir the embers of that flame. He was to first of all guard the deposit and then stir it aflame by the help of the Holy Spirit. We may have powerful gifts of the spirit and gifts of ministry but without engaging the proper protocols of stirring and fanning them to flame, the circumstances of our lives will still be as cold as the bodies in the morgue. Usually, fear prevents us from fanning our gifts to flame. All the people God had called in the past till our day, people like Gideon, Jeremiah, Moses, etc were held bound by fear. They all almost gave up their calling until they shook fear off in the power of the Lord. This is why Paul told Timothy that, the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7). The Spirit of God breaks the clutter of fear that stops us from stirring His gift in us. He has given us power and when we speak in the power of His might, we see the glory of His grace. So, stir the gift in you by the help of the Holy Ghost.
Prayer_Bead:Precious Holy Spirit of power, love and sound mind, thank you for making Your abode in me. I boldly confess and exercise the authority of Your presence in me. I live above reproach and all the works of darkness. :Speak in tongues for some time if you can
And she said, I will surely go with you; nevertheless, the trip you take will not be for your glory, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh. [ Judges 4:9 ]
The word of prophecy came to Barak through Debora, the prophet that God had handed Sisera, the general of Jabin’s army to Barak (who fought for Israel). But maybe because Barak was not assured by the word of the Lord, he wanted the one who gave the prophecy to go with him to the battlefield—as an insurance of some sort. But then, a different word came through Debora that the glory of the battle was taken from him and given to a woman [who was not even a warrior]. And so, Jael the wife of Heber was handed the army general, Sisera to kill because Barak refused to lay hold on an opportunity presented to him by God (see Judges 4:21). In verse 8, Barak the prophetess had told Debora that he will not go to the battle field unless she goes with him. His trust was not in the word rather in the one who gave the word. And so God denied him what had been promised. The choices we make after the word of God is spoken to us may affect the results we see afterwards. God will not lie about what He declares but He also gave us the ability to operate our choice apart from Him. Whereas we could act in faith, believing whatever He tells us inspite of our ability to make contrary choices. Do not treat prophecies with contempt—1 Thessalonians 5:20. God will not lie, so we must trust every word He speaks.
Prayer_Bead:Everlasting Father, Prince of Princes, thank you for your word spoken to me through prophecies. I believe in your voice and I will honour your word. May I never despise prophecies no matter how trivial they may seem.
One man of you shall put to flight a thousand, for it is the Lord your God Who fights for you, as He promised you. ( Joshua 23:10 )
The equation above can only be true when God is the constant in it. One man, ordinarily cannot put a thousand people to flight but when God fights for a people, that is possible. There are so many “impossibles” of life with the arm of flesh but leaning on the shoulders of God’s providence and grace, nothing is impossible. This is why when life says no, the believer can say yes! It is written, When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, there is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person.—Job 22:29. When the ability of God comes upon a man, even his/her utterances change too. For instance, when David faced Goliath on the battle field, David lost every ounce of fear in him because the ability of God rested on him. And then he spoke to Goliath as if he had already seen his end. He wasn’t in charge of his utterances when the ability of God took over. And so, he prophesied to Goliath about his end. After the words of our verse of Scripture was spoken to the Israelites by Joshua, he added that they should take careful heed to love the Lord and to obey him. The secret source of their strength and abilities is God. When God is out of the equation, they are doomed to think they can stand their enemies. The same applies to us today, without the Spirit of God, everything about our lives will be a lie. The equalizer of our equation therefore is God, without Him, we have an imbalanced reality.
Prayer_Bead:Capable God, Mighty King, you have in your hands all it takes to do all you say. You train our hands for war and our fingers for battle. You arm us with strength and teach us to leap over walls. Thank you for all your deeds.
Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the LORD. ( Joshua 9:14 )
The Israelites had entered the Land of Promise with power, conquering the cities that were occupying the place. As a result, the dread of the Israelites came upon the other cities. One city, Gibeon decided out of fear, to form an alliance with the Israelites through deception. The elders did not inquire of God where the people had come from or whether they should form an alliance with them. Instead, they made their conclusions based on the lie they were told by the Gibeonites. These Gibeonites in 2 Samuel 21:1 brought famine to Israel when Saul tried to kill them. Saul was breaking the covenant his forefathers made with the Gibeonites and so the repercussion was three successive years of famine. But some years back, while still in the wilderness, there was an issue regarding some Israelites and the Assembly wanted to react to what had happened without consulting God first on the matter. The leader, Moses told them to wait until he hears from God to know what to do. Moses answered them, “Wait until I find out what the LORD commands concerning you (Numbers 9:8). And because Moses heard from God, they didn’t do what they shouldn’t have done. In our walk with God, it is very safe and burden free to always at all times consult God before we make any moves. Ignoring God on a matter that needs His inputs only leaves us regretting and wishing we could go back to time and change things. Now that we have the opportunity, let us consult God on every issue. When people come into our lives, we must ask God about them and when opportunities come we must consult God. Because sometimes what we see to be what they seem to be, are not what they seem.
Prayer_Bead:Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. May your kingdom come and your will be done in us. Teach us your ways and your will. And may we consult you on every matter.
Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. ( Galatians 6:8)
Fundamentally, every farmer sow seeds with the intention to reap more of what they put in the ground. The reason why anyone will sow something is to allow the law of multiplication take effect on that seed. The statement, “sowing to please the flesh” in our text for today, will lead us to the temptation of Eve by the devil through the serpent; Genesis 3:6—When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Sowing to please the flesh means doing or approving of anything that makes the flesh comfortable at the expense of God’s word. When Eve saw that the fruits of the tree were good for food and pleasing to the eyes, she disregarded the command of God and ate it. The flesh is always pleased with lust and pride. And these lead to destruction without compromise. Whatever excites the flesh so as to sin also grieves the Spirit of God and leads to destruction. But on the other hand, investing in things of the Spirit of God leads to reaping eternal life. And we know that without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). So we can only sow to please the Spirit when we act in faith and in obedience to God’s word. The choice is ours then to make, whether to sow to the flesh or to the Spirit.
Prayer_Bead:Dear Lord, thank you for your word sent to guide me into the truth. Help me through the spirit of these words to sow not to the flesh but to the Spirit so that I may reap eternal life.
If you will listen diligently to the voice of the Lord your God, being watchful to do all His commandments which I command you this day, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. ( Deuteronomy 28:1 )
This charge was given to the nation of Israel, almost before they crossed the Jordan into the Land of Answered prayers—Canaan, the land of promise. God had named so many good things that would happen to the Israelites and many things He would do for them once they are in Canaan but we would discover quite later that these promises rested on covert conditions. Most times, God will only spell out the good things He would do for them making the conditions implications. Just as baits for fishes have hidden hooks, so the promises of God have hidden conditions that must be met. In our anchor verse of Scripture, God through Moses expressly mentions that “if you will” to tell that what comes after will only be done after a certain condition is met. God was telling them that He will set them above all nations if they obey all His commandments. They will not automatically be set above other nations. Our individual uplifting is tied to the conditions that we meet in our walk with God. A true walk with God is not coincidental, it is well intentioned by the Believer. So, if we want to be set apart for God in these times, then we must obey the Lord in all things; in all things.
Prayer_Bead:Prince of peace, Lord of Lords, you are worthy to receive praise, honour and glory. Thank you for giving me a willing heart to obey you and to live for you.