A Sacrifice of Praise

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“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess his name” – Heb. 13:15 (NIV)

Praise becomes a sacrifice (costly) when we offer it to God in the midst of the contrary situations of life. It doesn’t really take much to praise God when things are fine or not too bad. But it is much harder to keep on praising God when our hopes are dashed and we are surrounded by troubles. Surely it is much easier at such times to blame rather than praise God. Yet learning to offer costly praise is crucial if we want to see God’s victory.

In Hebrew 13: 15 the Bible says that what we are doing by such a sacrifice is confessing his name. What that means is that as we continue to praise God even when all seems hopeless, we are confessing all that God is, over our situation. We are confessing that he is love, even though it looks as if he has abandoned us. We are confessing that he is all-wise despite the confusion that faces us. We are confessing his almighty power, even though our situation may look impossible. The bible says, “with such sacrifices God is pleased”(Heb.13: 16 – NIV), and it causes him to act mightily on our behalf.

That was what happened to Paul and Silas. They had been shamefully beaten by the people they had gone to help, and when they found themselves faced with a night of hopelessness in prison, they CHOSE to offer a sacrifice of praise. Their minds may have rebelled against it, but they decided not to miss the opportunity to offer God a sacrifice. We know how this their sacrifice went up as a sweet smelling savour to God, and provoked him to come down and shake their prison.

This kind of praise has very little to do with our emotions. God does not look at our feelings but rather at our willingness to praise him in spite of how we may be feeling. This kind of offering is one that comes from our heart and our will, but it must be expressed through our lips. Not only does it bring God’s intervention, but also the repeated offering of this kind of sacrifice builds character into us. So let’s not waste the opportunity that the troubles of life offer us. Let us offer unto God a sacrifice of praise!

In concluding here is a chorus from a song by Larnelle Harris:

“When praise demands a sacrifice,

I’d worship even then.

Surrendering the dearest things in life;

And if devotion cost me all,

He’d find me faithful to his call

When praise demands a sacrifice”


Noise in the Sanctuary

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“All your pomp has been brought down to the grave, along with the noise of your harps” Isaiah 14: 11 (NIV)

It is possible to be involved in church or in ministry and yet be making only noise, unable to impart life to men. Popularity  is not the same as effectiveness in ministry, and neither is multiplied activity. The seeds that fell on the rocky soil quickly sprang up. It appeared to be genuine but it lacked depth and so when the test came it was discovered for what it was – empty. We must not judge our usefulness by our visibility before men. We must be careful to grow deep roots.

Sometimes we do not originally set out to make noise. The Baal prophets on Mount Carmel were very earnest. They were intent on receiving an answer by fire but they ended up making only noise. Today the church is filled with earnest but empty people. People zealously pursuing one activity after another but only making noise in the sanctuary. We can’t give what we do not have. If we have not taken the time to develop depth – to have a deepening intimacy with Jesus, then our life and ministry will only be noise no matter how hard we try.

The answer is not in concentrating on not making noise but rather in concentrating on having depth. The same harp that is producing noise in this verse is what David used to produce powerful anointing to cast out demons. It’s not in methods or strategies, it’s in what we have in us.


God does not Pretend

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“He sent the ark of his might into captivity, his splendour into the hands of the enemy.” –Psalm 78:61 NIV

The truth in this verse is strange. That God would support the sending of his holy ark – the symbol of his might and presence in Israel – into captivity. We as humans do not normally act in this way. We work hard to protect our interests and everything that represents our glory, whether they are beneficial or not. We do not ever like to appear as failures.

But God is not like this. God has no problem in doing things that may make him appear as a failure if it would achieve his purposes. He would allow his temple to be desecrated and his ark to be taken captive, if it would help to wake His people up to repentance and restoration to him.

God is never in the business of make-believe. He rejoices in the truth. For He is the TRUTH. God’s glory is manifest in the beauty of holiness. He will have nothing less. He is prepared to tear everything down if it is false and empty, if this would allow him to build up in us something that is true and beautiful. This, right there, is a message to someone wondering why God is allowing such and such in his or her life which may look like a real shame.

There is a way in which we could become so familiar with God, that we would feel that our double life doesn’t matter. I must not ever fool myself into thinking that God would not allow such and such to happen to me, because of  special favour I have with him, or because of his mercies. No, it is because of his mercies and love that he chastens us!

“…. because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son” Hebrews 12:6

He that truly loves God will not take God for granted. No. He walks in reverential fear of the One who loved us so much that he was willing to die for us.


New wine requires new wine skins

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“Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”” – Matthew 9:17 NIV

You are entering a new season in your life. God is doing a new thing.

I know that that phrase can sound so like a cliché, but it is true because it is in the nature of God always to do new things.

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Isaiah 43:19 NIV

Yet behold what God does generally: I believe that he wants to do some new things in our individual lives. He is in the process of ushering a new season into our lives.

This was the case of the Jews at the time of Christ’s advent on earth as recorded in the Gospels. God had burst into their normal routine and he was doing a new thing. Christ had come in the flesh and was walking among them. It was a new season. This was the new wine. Wine here signifies the Holy Spirit and a new move of His among us.

Now here was the tragedy – the new wine had come yet they sought to retain their old wineskin and were working hard to try to contain him in that old wineskin. This was the reason why the majority of the Jews in those days missed out of that new wine. Most times the more religious a person is, the harder it is to move with God. The religious spirit is an ugly spirit,  and because it lives within the church it is very difficult to discern when it is ruling us. But the test question is, ‘What am I following? Rules or Christ? What does my heart pant for? Christ? Or just to belong and be accepted in the group?

So here is what I am trying to say: When God begins to do a new thing in my life I need to change some of the ways in which I do things so as to contain what he is doing. I can’t go on doing everything as before in a new season.

Sometimes the reason we are not co-operating with God – to cast away the old and be in shape for the new – is because we do not even discern that the new wine has come or is almost here. Just as the Jews did not recognise that the Christ had come.

The first prayer I encourage you to pray as you head into this year is ‘Lord please help me to see what you are doing in my life’. Then look around and notice what the new wine is that God is bringing into your life.

Then the second question you need the help of God to answer so as to contain, and flow in, this new wine, is this: ‘What needs to change in my life so that I will be able to contain this new wine?’ It is not necessarily bad things that have to go. Sometimes the biggest stumbling blocks are those things that were good and useful in the past season, but which are not necessary now, or have even begun to distract you from Christ in this season.


How will you walk into the New Year?

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Happy New Year to each one of you dear ones! It’s been a long while since I posted here but starting now I’ll be posting new articles every week. Get ready to be encouraged.. May 2019 be filled with favour and grace upon you and your loved ones.


There are two ways you can walk into the New Year. You can either walk into it facing forward or facing backward. To walk backwards into the future is to go into it looking backwards as you allow the past to define the steps you take in the future. But to walk forwards into the future is to go into

it believing, expecting and looking forwards to all that God has in store for you. So let me ask you: How are you going to walk into your New Year?

No matter what the past has been, I want to encourage you to walk into the future facing forward. To walk forwards into the future is to walk into it remembering what the prophet Jeremiah said;

‘Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.’

(Lam 3:22 – 23) NIV 1984

I can personally relate to this message that I am sharing with you. The past year was a very bitter-sweet year for me. It was a year of incredible personal pain and struggles on one hand, and at the same time it was been a year of incredible personal growth, encouraging growth in ministry and one that has been loaded with many divine interventions and miracles. Indeed at the end of last year I could testify with the prophet that it is ‘because of the LORD’s great love we have not been consumed’. I was still standing. God had been good to me despite the troubles that I faced. And I am sure that if you too do not allow the tears of your pains to blur your vision, you will agree with me

that despite the troubles of the past God has been good to you too.

God offers us a new beginning every new day. With each new day He offers us a new day of compassion. I believe that in the same way, He offers me and also you a New Year that is a new beginning – a New Year filled with his compassionate plans and purposes; a New Year pregnant with possibilities to become more like Jesus in every way;  a year with extraordinary open doors to win more souls for Christ; a year to trust God to take the Gospel to many more nations that have never yet heard of Him. I believe that if you will choose to walk into 2019 facing forward, the best is yet to come.

I am no motivational speaker and I do not speak these words lightly. They are true. I do not speak of a future without pain or trouble. No. I am sure the days ahead will have its share of pain and trouble. But we can expect God to be God in the days ahead. We can be sure that His compassions will never

fail no matter what lies ahead. We can open up the ears of our inner man to His big plans for our lives. We must not limit God. We dare not! Our plans must be great because his faithfulness in the coming days will be great.

So I ask you again, ‘How are you walking into the New Year – backwards or forwards?’ I am praying that you will choose to walk forwards into it and that it will be the greatest year of your life thus far.