Browsing articles in "Devotionals"
May
15

What is Your Net?

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“You have made men like fish in the sea, like sea creatures that have no ruler. The wicked foe pulls all of them up with hooks,  he catches them in his net, he gathers them up in his dragnet;  and so he rejoices and is glad” ~ Habakkuk 1:14-15 (NIV).

In the above verses the prophet gives us an apt commentary on mankind – men  are like fish in the sea. Not only are they numerous but they are ‘like sea creatures that have no ruler’, and so will readily follow whoever is able to catch them with their hooks or nets.

In our world today, many are able to amass a large following for themselves by the effective use of their ‘nets’. Think of the millions of followers that a confused woman like Lady Gaga has. There is something she has that draws (or attracts) people to her.  That is what I am referring to as her net, and it is by casting this her net into the sea of men that she has dragged along such a big following. Men use their nets for good and for bad. For example, it was the same net of passionate oratory that Adolf Hitler used to drag millions of followers to destruction; and that another man called Billy Graham used to drag millions to life in Christ.

What I am seeking to point out to you is simple. First, look around your world and realise this – men are like fish in the sea, without leadership and so they are vulnerable to anyone that can hook them and drag them with him. Secondly, realise that you have been given a net. This is why the Lord calls us ‘fishers of men’. He uses the term ‘fisher of men’ because he knows men are like fish and because he has given each of us a net.

So what is the net you have been given by God? What is the thing that you have that draws others to you? You see, in the economy of God, people must first be drawn to us before we can draw them to Him. The first step of winning men for Christ is to draw them to yourself.

Our problem is that we often look down on the net God has given us, because we compare it with the ‘bigger and better’ nets that others seem to have. Yet some of the most powerful nets are the simple ones, like the net of hospitality for instance.

Don’t let the size or form of your net distract you from casting it into the sea of men, because no matter how large the nets of others may be, there is enough space for everyone in the sea. In fact there are some types of fish that only a net like yours can catch. I remember visiting the fishing port in Lome, Togo, with my family several years ago, and seeing that though there were so many fishermen, there was space for every fisherman who was willing to use his net. There were even some using hooks and they too were catching fish.

So I ask you again what is your net? I want you to identify it. What is that thing God has given you that draws people to you? Is it your ability to sing or  write, or is it your natural beauty? Is it your cheerfulness, seriousness or your brilliant mind? Or is it your business acumen? Identify it and begin to use it for God.

One thing the enemy often does, is to attack us in the area of our ‘net’. That is why people whose greatest gift is, for example, their infectious zeal, will find themselves struggling with repeated attacks of gloominess and discouragement. The enemy wants to make holes in your ‘net’. Perhaps it is time to mend the holes so that your catch may be great.

Finally, as we seek to use our nets, let’s be wary of the error of men as we see in that scripture;

‘Therefore he sacrifices to his net  and burns incense to his dragnet, for by his net he lives in luxury  and enjoys the choicest food’ ~ Habakkuk 1:16 (NIV)

Our nets can become our idols if we are not careful. We know how it works – some worship their beauty, while others their business acumen. When men see what their net can do they tend to worship it – to elevate it to a place in their heart that it shouldn’t have. Rather than worshipping our nets let us consecrate them to God.

So I am asking you to do three things – identify the net (or nets) God has given you. Consecrate them to God for his glory and service. Then go out and cast them into the sea of men around you. Go ahead and use your nets to drag men to Christ.

May
8

A New Thing

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“See, I am doing a new thing!” – Isaiah 43:19a (NIV)

“God is doing a new thing!” is a very popular refrain among Charismatic believers. We are always looking for a new move of God. And indeed our God loves to make all things new. I believe that even now he is saying to those who have ears to hear;

‘See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland’ – Isaiah 43:19 (NIV).

But there is a mistake we often make. When God says ‘See, I am doing a new thing’ our first reaction usually is to look for our circumstances to begin to change. And indeed they would – eventually. But I want you to understand that whenever God talks of doing a new thing for a person (or people), the first place he starts is inside that person. God always works from the inside out. To change our circumstances, he needs to change us. In some cases once we have changed, we are positioned to become his partners in changing our circumstances. And in other cases, once a new thing happens to us, it no longer matters if our circumstances don’t change, because we now engage them with new eyes.

Consider Gideon in Judges 6. A man who had longed for ‘new things’ for his ravaged country, Israel. Yet when the angel of the Lord appeared to him to announce that God was going to do a new thing, the first place God begins is not in changing the nation, but rather in changing Gideon.

God had to deal with Gideon’s fear of his family, as well as with the idolatry in his family, before he could work through this man in dealing with the disorder in Israel. God works from the inside out.

Today I believe God is speaking over many of you reading this, the words in
Isaiah 43:17-19 (NIV);

“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland”

God wants to do a new thing around you but he will start by doing a new thing in you. Yield yourself to him and don’t hold back any part. Don’t dwell on your past or on your circumstances. But rather pay attention to the things he is pointing out in your life. And respond to him.

May
6

Slaying Giants with Sling-stones

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‘Then the LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he replied.’ ~ Exodus 4:2


If the vision you believe God has given you is something within your ability to accomplish, then I doubt that it is from God. God always delights in giving us vision way beyond our ability. Whether it was Moses and the task of leading Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land, or David and the task of slaying Goliath, God  often seems to  call us to do things that are far beyond us.

In the face of the big vision God has given us, we may find ourselves feeling like Solomon felt when he was called to fill the oversized shoes of his father, the great king David. Solomon said ‘But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties’ (1 Kings 3:7)

Often our sense of inadequacy stems from the fact that what we seem to have at our disposal does not look anything like what it would take to do what we are called to do. This is why the word God gave to the children of Israel in Zechariah 9:15, is so encouraging;

‘…and the LORD Almighty will shield them. They will destroy and overcome with sling-stones. They will drink and roar as with wine; they will be full like a bowl used for sprinkling the corners of the altar’

God was speaking of the mighty things he was going to do through his people. He was going to use them to conquer and destroy all the mighty nations that had oppressed them in the past and he was going to restore their land to them. But did you notice what weapons God said they were going to use to accomplish this great feat? ‘They will destroy and overcome with sling-stones’. Sling-stones are not serious weapons one uses for defeating armies that have chariots and horses. But sling-stones were all that the people had with them, and God said that was what he was going to use!

Now let this exciting truth dawn upon your spirit. Not only does God delight to give us seemingly impossible tasks, he also delights to use the seemingly foolish and little things that we have in our hand to accomplish them! We see this truth all over the Scriptures, whether it is the rod of Moses or the sling of David. God delights to use insignificant instruments to do significant things.

I want to encourage you not to despise the little strength that you have. But rather to identify the ‘sling-stones’ that are yours and do what Solomon did with his. Faced with the huge task of replacing his father, Solomon knew he didn’t have the fearsome courage, physical strength, military prowess, or any of the other great attributes that David had. But he did not focus on what he didn’t have. He identified what he had and asked God to use it. You see, before Solomon asked God for ‘a discerning heart to govern the people’ (1 Kings 3:9), he had already been showing signs of wisdom.  In 1 Kings 2:9 David had said of him ‘You are a man of wisdom’. Wisdom was his own sling-stone. So when Solomon asked God for a discerning heart that can lead the people, he was not so much asking for a new gift as much as for a divine touch on the little sling-stone that he had.

So what is the vision or task that God has given you? I challenge you to identify the sling-stones you already have and submit them to God to anoint and use. And then go out in faith and begin to use those sling-stones; for it is through those sling-stones that God will give you the land.

Apr
13

Avoiding the Path of the Prodigal (Part 2)

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“Come near to God and he will come near to you” ~ James 4:8 (NIV)

Let us continue our reflections on the prodigal son and the effect of the distance he sought to keep from the Father:

Emptiness is the biggest trouble that the man who draws away from the Father faces. The bible tells us that the prodigal son “longed to fill his stomach”. In spite of our multitude of toys when we begin to keep a distance from the Father a yawning gap arises within, which cannot be filled by anything else. Men try to fill it with all types of things – TV or food, increased activities or religion, friends or sex, wealth or many other things. But it doesn’t work, for only God can fill it.

But thank God that this son came to his senses through the things he suffered. C. S. Lewis says, pain is God’s trumpet for getting man’s attention. Sometimes the reason God allows trouble into our lives is to get our attention, but often that is the last thing he gets. We would rather run up and down trying to quench the fire through the arm of flesh than wait and listen to God. I have learnt that when trials come the question to ask is not “Why, Lord?” but rather, “What, Lord are you saying to me?”

Finally, when the son returned home the father said, “Let’s have a feast and celebrate”.  Christianity is essentially a life of celebration. It is not a gloomy life of bondage to rules. This was what this prodigal son did not understand about the Father in the first place, and that made him run away. This is the reason too that many today are satisfied with a shallow relationship with God and are not passionately pursuing a life of total consecration to Him. They have not understood that the Father’s call to die to self is also a call to live the abundant life.

It was also this lack of understanding of this call to celebration that hindered the older son from celebrating even though he had obediently stayed back home. Sometimes we are obedient but not cheerful and this robs us of power. It is only those who are willing and obedient that eat the good of the land. God always loves a cheerful giver especially when it comes to giving him obedience. When we catch a glimpse of the Father’s heart we realise that we are not servants but sons. Everything he has is ours. We obey, not just because we have to, but because we know he loves us and seeks our best interest. We are happy to obey because we trust him. We obey because we love him. Christianity is a celebration of love. He loved us first and now we love him. Christianity is a continuous feast of consecration.

I want to encourage you to draw near to the Father. Do not allow any distance between you and him. Receive a revelation of his love for you and begin to make him your delight. Rejoice in the Lord and enjoy the Father. Live life to its fullest for we are called to keep a continuous feast in Christ.

Apr
5

Avoiding the Path of the Prodigal (Part 1)

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“The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble” Proverbs 4:19 (NIV)

The story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-31) is quite fascinating no matter where it is told. I remember the rapt attention I received once when I tried to explain the love of God to a Muslim in a village in Northern Nigeria by telling him this story. Nothing else but the extraordinary love of the Father could have given it the kind of ending that it has. A while ago I had some reflections on this story which threw some sidelights on some important truths. I will share some of these this week and more next week.

I noticed that the son did not tell the father why he wanted his share of the estate when he asked for it. It was only after he had secured it that he took off. Perhaps he didn’t want anybody asking too many questions. His attitude was “I know my right and so I don’t need to explain anything to anybody”. We must beware of fighting too hard for our right to our privacy. We need to be willing to be accountable to others around us. It’s a fallacy to think we can have fellowship without accountability.

Too many believers attend fellowship meetings without having any real fellowship with the brethren. You can’t hide behind the wall of your-right-to-your-privacy and have true fellowship. It is only “… if we walk in the light (that) we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus purifies us” (1 John 1:7 – NIV). Don’t feel you can do anything you want to do without needing to give account to anybody. That kind of freedom breeds trouble. God did not put you within the community of believers where you are presently, by mistake. Don’t get upset when those you are in fellowship with question your actions. Transparency and accountability are key ingredients of Christian fellowship.

The prodigal son went from a life of security in the father’s house to a life of wastefulness in a distant land. He went from the place of abundance in the father’s house to a place of emptiness in the pigpen. This is always where the pursuit of freedom from the Father leads to: emptiness, purposelessness and powerlessness. You can’t keep your distance from the Father and get to where you ought to go. I encourage you to set your heart to pursue increasing intimacy with the Father. Don’t allow any cloud between you and the Father. Be resolute like David and say, “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Ps 23:6)

But it was not obvious at the first stage of his descent that he was on the way down, because he was surrounded with all that money could buy. Yet as soon as he took his first step away from the father he was on the way down. In the same way it is not often obvious to many that they are dying spiritually because they are surrounded by material comfort. Or it may be that they have the comfort of their Christian activities and position in Church. We must beware of measuring our spiritual health by the wrong parameters. It takes the help of God to be able to see our true state. And one of the ways by which God helps us is to use those in fellowship with us to speak into our lives. Indeed this is one of the reasons why we need the transparency and accountability of fellowship. For those who love us and with whom we are walking in the light can often see before we do, that all is not well.

So to avoid the path of the prodigal we must stay in the path of fellowship with the saints.

Mar
28

Our heart’s desires

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‘He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them’ (NIV)

My family is memorizing Ps 145:19 this week. What a beautiful verse!

God doesn’t want to keep us ever reaching out but never having our desires met. God wants to satisfy. God wants to fulfil the desires of those who fear him. To fear God is to take him seriously. The man who fears God is the man who bows to him as Lord in every area of his life. The man who fears God is seeking to glorify God, and so judges all things based on one measure, ‘Is this what God wants?’ In fact if we are those who fear God we can be certain of this – God is the One who plants desires in our hearts. He plants them there so as to give our lives direction. He plants them there because He wants to fulfil them. It is not good to cast away hope or to abandon our God-given desires. Listen;

‘For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless’ Psalm 84:11 (NIV)

Don’t be confused with the phrase ‘those whose walk is blameless’. It does not refer to those who never err, but rather to those who walk in the fear of the Lord. So the key is to fear Him; to make Him, Lord; to set Him apart as Number One in our heart. Without this we dare not even trust our desires, for they may not be a true reflection of what we are created for. But if we fear the Lord, then we must not shy away from the true desires of our sanctified hearts for God wants to fulfil them. Whether they are desires related to the big issues of life – (like the desire to be holy) or just desires for the ordinary things of life (like the desire to provide for our family). Take me, for instance: I have been praying for years, ‘Lord, I want to know you more, I want to be like Jesus’. Who do you think put that desire in my heart? Do you think He does not hear me? Do you imagine He will not fulfil this desire? Or take another example; a few weeks ago, we as a family desired to pay up all our children school fees for the year. Who do you think put this desire in our heart? Indeed the sum we needed was way beyond our ability to get within such a short time. But we cried to God as a family and He answered and did what looked impossible. He fulfilled our desire.

It says, ‘He hears their cry and saves them’. Our desires must translate into a cry, a prayer for them to be communicated to God. Jesus said ‘What things soever ye desire, when ye pray…’ (Mark 11:24 KJV). In the economy of God, desire must translate into prayer for it to reach God. Prayer is the directing of our desire towards God. Prayer is addressing desire to God. And know that you have not prayed until you have prayed. It does not have to be verbalised but it has to be brought to God. Sometimes we are like those that the Apostle James spoke of ;

‘…You want something but don’t get it…You do not have because you do not ask God’ – James 4:2 (NIV)

We serve a God who calls us to bring our desires to Him. We serve a God who calls us to cry out to Him no matter how impossible what we desire may seem. We serve a God who saves those that fear Him. So, I challenge you, this week, not to throw away your God-given desires but to cry to Him and expect Him to save.

Mar
21

In Pursuit of Relevance

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“I will honor only those who honor me, and I will despise those who despise me” 1 Samuel 2:30

In Luke 1 verse 5 we are introduced to two men – King Herod and Zechariah the priest. It goes without saying that the king must have been the more popular and the more important of the two men in their time. But Zechariah was more important in God’s program than Herod the king.

It is not popularity and fame that is important. It is one’s degree of relevance to God and his purposes. Not even relevance to one’s generation is as important as relevance to God. It is easy to make the mistake of equating relevance to men with relevance to God. But even the most popular ministry might not be the most relevant to God. The fact that people still remember a man does not always imply that heaven is still impressed with him. Our goal must not be popularity but being useful to God to our utmost capacity.

What does it take to be relevant to God? We see the key in the portrait of Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth in verse 6 (KJV). “They were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments…. of the Lord …”  Righteousness before God is what qualifies and positions a man for relevance to God, not noise, not activities, not great gifts. This couple had a correct walk with God. They were content to walk quietly before the Lord in the light they were daily receiving from him.

It is as we concentrate on developing and maintaining a true walk with God that a true work of God will spring out of our lives. To put the latter before the former is to invite confusion and produce a service that is like Cain’s offering – an offering that God cannot accept or use. It may be large in volume and applauded by men but irrelevant to God’s purposes.

Life is too short and too precious to waste it in pursuing men’s approval and esteem. We must focus on walking with God. I encourage you to concentrate on walking quietly with the Lord. Spend quality time with him and let your intimacy with him deepen. Let him become your pleasure and you his pleasure. Focus on pleasing and enjoying him and he will make rivers of living water flow out of you to bless this dark world.

Feb
28

The Blessedness of Dependence

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“But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD” Jeremiah 17:7a (NIV)

The simple measure of spiritual growth is how much we are growing in dependence on God. How much are we coming to the end of ourselves and depending more on his sufficiency in every area of life. I am not talking of the sentimental feeling of “trusting God for everything”, but the practical daily walk by faith which Paul spoke about when he said;

“The life that you see me living is not “mine”, but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” Galatians 2:22 ( The Message)

This is what Jesus was talking about in the beatitudes in Luke 6:20 – 26. Let’s look at some of the things he said.

“Blessed are you who are poor for yours is the kingdom of heaven”. The poor are those who see their insufficiency and who throw themselves upon God, asking for more. A man who recognises his poverty of soul is a candidate for kingdom riches.

“Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied…… you who weep now, for you shall be comforted” Every longing that is set God-ward will be satisfied. Many times it grieves me to see people face so many hassles and confusions in their lives just because they’ve never learnt to look to God alone. Like someone said, “There is no earthly sorrow that heaven’s love and peace cannot soothe”. Yet so many go on without comfort or answers, even born-again children of God because they have never learnt to rest in the Lord. The Psalmist said, “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame” (Psalms 34:5). God is attracted when men look to him. Dependence positions a man for God’s visitation. Our goal then in life must be to direct every longing to God whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual. God satisfies all hungers. He provides materials, he puts the lonely in families, and he can fill our souls to overflowing. Instead of allowing our longings and needs to drive us from God we must make them push us upon Him. Then we shall be comforted and satisfied.

“Woe to you who are rich because you already have received your comfort” – Our material blessings become a stumbling block when we begin to put our confidence in them. Riches become a curse when they trap us into living within our comfort zone. Living within our comfort zone is to live outside of dependence on God. It is to make the basis of our decisions the maintaining and enhancing of our security and comfort. It is trusting in uncertain riches.

“Woe to you who are full now…. .who laugh now” It is a curse to get to a point where we start to feel that we have arrived. Whenever we come to the point spiritually, where we feel satisfied – where we are no longer hungering and panting after God – then we are in great danger. Complacency is the surest route to spiritual sterility. This was the case of the church in Laodicea. They said, “I have need of nothing”. Yet they were naked and wretched in spite of their material abundance. Material abundance is not synonymous with spiritual abundance. Neither can an abundance of Christian activities make up for a lack of a deepening intimacy with God. We must be ever learning, ever searching for more of the Lord. We must be ever growing in dependence – ever needing more of Jesus. I love that hymn that says, “I need thee every hour”. It’s so true.

It is a curse to get to a point where we become satisfied and “at ease in Zion” as if the battle is over. We must always live with the consciousness that we are at war. There is a fierce spiritual war raging in and all around us for our souls and for those of the millions in our generation. And if we ignore this and give in to apathy or a passive spirit then we are on a path to destruction. This was the error of King David in 2 Samuel 11. He entertained a passive spirit. At a time when kings should normally go to war, he chose to stay within his comfort zone. Friend, let me ask you: Are you pursuing God with all your heart? Have you discovered your calling and are you pursuing it passionately? Is your heart in this present global battle for souls? Are you living and giving your all? Are you living by faith or by sight? Your answer will determine whether you are pursuing a blessing or a curse.

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on the flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD…But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him” Jeremiah 17:5&7 (NIV)

Feb
15

In The Hands of God (Part 2)

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David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress; let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men.” 2 Samuel 24:14 (NIV)

It doesn’t matter how we got into the situation we are in. As long as our lives are committed to him, we can be sure of this: we are in the hands of God and not at the mercy of our circumstances. And God wants to glorify himself in that situation. This was what we began to see last week from the story of Daniel in the lion’s den in Daniel chapter 6. Now let’s go on from where we stopped.

The bible says all that night when Daniel was sealed inside the den, the king could not sleep. But the king had to wait until dawn before going back to the den. ‘At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den.’ (vs. 19) The king waited until dawn when the situation must have played out its course. Herein lies a lesson for you and me when we find ourselves in the hands of God. Wait for the dawn. Don’t conclude while it is yet night that God’s deliverance is not ever going to come. Wait for the dawn. Listen: ‘Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.’ (Ps. 30:5 – NKJV)  God is never late, but he also never comes before the time. He comes in the nick of time.

I hear God saying to someone, “Wait for the DAWN. Don’t throw in the towel now. Wait for the dawn. Don’t cast off hope and conclude God is unfaithful. Wait for the dawn. Don’t get discouraged and compromise your faith and convictions. Wait for the dawn.” Let us not draw conclusions about God’s power to save or not by our fixed unchanging situation in the night. Wait for the dawn and you will see. Yes it may look like a foregone conclusion that the lions will devour you. They might even now be closing in and there is no one to save. But please remember that you are in the hands of God so wait till it is the dawn of God’s intervention. The bible says that it is good to wait patiently for God.

Daniel waited patiently for God and he delivered him. ‘Daniel answered, “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king.” (v. 21-22 – NIV)

Notice that God did not shut the lion’s den (to prevent Daniel from being thrown in) but he shut the lions’ mouths. Let us not decide how God will save us. In the hands of God we must be flexible and let God choose how he wants to work out our deliverance. It is no longer us we who are calling the shots. We are in the hands of God. Let him do it his way now.

For example God may choose not to give you an instantaneous healing but might choose to give you a gradual progressive healing until you are completely healed. He knows best, let’s trust him. God may choose to meet your needs by providing day-to-day or need-to-need instead of sending you bulk provision all at once. God might not give you a biological child but he might choose to give you a wonderful adopted child. (But if he has promised you not just a child but that you will give birth to one then hold onto that). What we must hold onto is what God has promised us and not try to work out how he is going to go about it.

Sometimes we have our own good idea of how best God must intervene in our situation if he is to be glorified. And we think, ‘If God doesn’t do it this way, then it cannot be glorious.’ Who told you? We are in the hands of the Almighty so let us be quiet and let God work it out his own way. Then that which may look like a mediocre intervention may actually be a mighty miracle in the making. Please learn to say to yourself ‘Keep silent! God is at work. I am in God’s hands.’

The bible says that when they brought Daniel out and examined him, ‘No wound was found on him’.  In spite of all Daniel went through God kept him from all harm. While he was going through it one might have wondered if he would ever come out in one piece even if he survived. But he was not in the hand of chance. He was in the hands of God.

God is not joking when he promises us that:

‘He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber; … The LORD will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life’ (Ps 121:3 and 7 – NIV)

God watches over you when you are in his hands. He watches out for your interests even when you go through the fire, to keep you from all harm. In 2007 when we were getting ready to relocate to South Africa we encountered a situation. The SA embassy became difficult and would not issue permits to my family even though I had a valid residence permit. We thought everything would be sorted out in a few days, but the situation became desperate when things remained unchanged and dragged on for weeks and beyond our departure date and well into the next month. I began to wonder if when the permits eventually were issued, whether we would not have suffered some loss especially in relation to our children’s admission to schools, which needed to be sorted out quickly. But God told me, ‘The Lord will keep you from all harm’, and he did!

God’s intent is to display his glory in our lives as we stand firm in total commitment to him. God is looking for men and women who will shun compromise like Daniel no matter how tough things may become. God is looking for men and women who will walk in purity and integrity in spite of the pressures around; men and women like Daniel, determined to live or die for Christ. This is what it means to put oneself into the hands of God – to yield to him and live for him. Not everyone is in the hands of God. It is only those who have surrendered themselves to him that he can hold. And it is only through such people that God can be glorified.

God was magnified through Daniel before king Darius and all his peoples: ‘Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples (and) nations… “… the God of Daniel… is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”’ (vs. 25-27 – NIV)

God rescues and he saves. And he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. It doesn’t matter what your location or situation is, his power reaches even there. He delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. He will deliver you too.

Feb
6

In The Hands of God (Part 1)

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‘Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress; let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into human hands.”‘ 2 Samuel 24:14

I am very excited about what I am about to share with you this week and the next. I believe it is a word for some people. It certainly was for me. In some way it is like a continuation of what we began to say last week about God having the last say in our lives, or, being in the hands of God. What does it mean to be in the hands of God? What do we do in the hands of God? What does God do when we are in his hands?

In Daniel chapter 6 we read of the conspiracy of Daniel’s colleagues because of their jealousy at his progress. These men had tricked the king (who was fond of Daniel) into signing an irrevocable decree that was aimed at destroying Daniel. This bible says that when the king realised it was Daniel who was to be thrown to the lions ‘he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him.’ (vs. 14 – NIV). But king Darius couldn’t help Daniel.

Now listen to me: A time comes when no man can help us. We find ourselves in a situation and there is no way out. Even men with the best intentions seem unable or unavailable to help us. Even the king with all his willingness and all his power couldn’t help Daniel. What was happening here? Because Daniel was committed to God, God was committed to him. So God had tied the king’s hands so that nobody else but God himself could help Daniel. This is what it means to be in the hands of God.

It doesn’t matter how we got into the situation we are in. It may be like in Daniel’s case through men’s wickedness, or through men’s mistakes. It may be through the negligence of men as in Joseph’s case: Remember how after helping the king’s butler interpret his dream, Joseph had asked him to help plead his case with the king so he could be released from prison. But the king’s butler forgot and Joseph was stuck in prison for another two years! I believe God allowed that man to forget about Joseph so that Joseph might come to a place where no man could help him. Joseph was in the hands of God.

Perhaps God has brought you to a point where men cannot or will not help you, and there is no help in sight. Then know this, you are in a good place – you are in the hands of God. And it is for a reason – so that he may do for you what no man can do for you, so that he may glorify himself in your life. I know that what I am saying is a specific word for some people right now. If you have committed your life to the Lord, what you are going through is not by the devil. You are in the hands of God, and he has allowed this in order to display his power in your life.

The bible says “A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed.” (v. 17)  Daniel was brought to a place where his fate seemed sealed. That is exactly what some of us are facing – we find ourselves pushed into a corner, into a seemingly unchanging increasingly difficult situation. It is as if our fate is sealed. You have prayed and tried everything and nothing seems to budge. Listen: You are in the hands of God!

When the king saw he couldn’t help Daniel, ‘The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”’ (v. 16)  The king was in effect saying, ‘You are committed to God so now you are in God’s hands. Let God rescue you. Let him make a way. Man cannot help you. It is beyond us’. And that was when God took over. This word for some of us is, ‘Do you serve God continually?’ You have walked with the Lord with all your heart and now does it seem he has abandoned you? No, you are in the hands of God. What you are facing is not by accident. God has allowed it so that only he can help you.

Let us learn from Daniel. First we notice that he was silent throughout all these struggles. He didn’t strive with the men. Please, I plead with you, stop striving with men. You are in the hands of God, not in the hands of men. Yes your trouble might have come through men, but God allowed it. You are in God’s hand. I don’t see Daniel trying to win the king’s favour or beg him. He was trusting in God and not in man. Cease from every bit of looking to men. The most men can do for you now is to pray for you like the king did for Daniel. If there is one help you can ask of men it is to pray for you, but keep your eyes on God and your ears open to his leading.

Daniel said no word as they took him and threw him into the den. Sometimes there is no need to talk when the pressure is on. Be still. Say to yourself ‘Keep silent! God is at work. I am in the hands of God,’ Hallelujah!

I will continue from here next week. If you sense God speaking to you please pray this prayer with me:

‘Lord, I accept this as a word for me. I thank you because I am not at the mercy of my circumstances. I am in your hands, and you are good and have a plan. I thank you because you want to display your glory and power in my situation. I thank you because your help is coming. Lord, help me to be like Daniel – to stay committed to you, and not to strive with men or to look to men. I choose now to forgive all men and to cease from striving. I will look to you and you will lead me into your plans for me. Thank you, because I will see your mighty intervention in Jesus’ Name, Amen!’

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