“Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You” (Psalms 56:3).
There are real and imagined fears. David confronting Goliath in the Valley of Elah is an example of real fear. However, many of the fears that confront us are imagined fears. These are fears our minds conjure due to things we hear, see or our past experiences. Imagined fears are False Evidence Appearing Real (acronym for FEAR). Below are some reasons why we must fight our fears:
Fear is a spirit: The Bible talks about the spirit of fear in 2 Timothy 1:7. Our natural fear, if not checked, can open the door to demonic spirits that peddle and spread fear to mankind. The Bible tells us in 1 John, Chapter 4, verse 18 that fear has torments. The tormentor that accompanies unchecked fears are demonic spirits. Terrorists (indwelt by demonic spirits) propagate fear all over the world; they rule and govern by terror and mental assault.
Fear is a stopper: The Israelites on getting to the border of the Promised Land refused to enter. Ten out of the twelve spies sent by Moses came back with a damning report of the land, and the whole nation refused to proceed and take the land promised to them by God. It was the fear of the giants they saw in the land that stopped them from going forward. Many have been stopped (and being stopped) from actualizing destinies and fulfilling God’s plans because of fear.
Fear is a killer: Apart from the fact that fear can kill dreams, potentials, self-esteem, etc. The popular adage says that cowards die many times before their death, the valiant never taste of death but once. Though the statement may sound like a metaphor, fear can kill. The Bible says in Luke 21:26 that because of the events of the end times, men’s heart will fail them from fear. We also know that because of mind-body connection, the body releases toxins and dangerous chemicals whenever the mind is full of fear, anxiety and worry. Many diseases are psychosomatic.
Fear can lead to perpetual bondage and captivity: When Abraham Lincoln declared the Emancipation Proclamation in the confederate states, many slaves remained in the captivity of their masters because of the fear of the unknown. They didn’t seize the opportunity of their freedom. The Israelites would have been kept in captivity for a long time when Goliath challenged them. His challenge was that if they had no one to fight and overcome him (Goliath), the Israelites will be slave to the Philistines for real (Ref: 1 Samuel 17:8-11).
Fear is a sin: It shows lack of confidence in God. As Christians we should not live our lives as though God isn’t on the throne. Faith pleases God and fear displeases Him. The fearful and unbelieving are amongst the categories of sinners in Revelation chapter 21, verse 8 that will be cast into the lake of fire. Fear makes us focus on what the devil is doing and shuts our eyes and memories to what God has done, what He is doing and what He is yet to do.
CONCLUSION: To fight our fears we must allow the love of God to penetrate deep into our souls (1 John 4:17-18). We must regularly believe and confess God’s word and promises. We are to live right and to take authority over demonic spirits. We are to torment fear like David tormented Goliath (a symbol of fear) and not the other way round. Scripture reference: 2 Timothy 1:7.
“Then God said, let us make man in Our image according to Our likeness, let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:26-27, NKJV).
Human beings are flesh and blood, but God is a Spirit (John 4:24). God doesn’t have a physical body like we humans, but He has a form. He has eyes (2 Chronicles 16:9), has feet (Isaiah 66:1), has hands (Deuteronomy 26:7-8), has a back part (Exodus 33:23), has ears (Isaiah 59:1-2), etc. After God formed man out of the dust of the earth, He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life thereby transferring a part of Himself into man. Human beings are the zenith of God’s creation, created in His image and likeness. Below are some vital truths of how we share in the divine order:
1) Ability to relate: Animals associate while humans relate. Mere associating is a superficial way of relating; a relating that is limited to the mind. God is a Spirit and to worship Him must be in Spirit and in truth. God is looking for relationships that transcend just body and mind hence He created man in His image to be able to relate with Him spiritually. It is only those whose spirits have been recreated in Christ that can truly worship God. God is a relational God, always coming daily to meet Adam (the first man) in the cool of the day for fellowship. He made a helper for Adam because He affirmed that “it is not good for man to be alone.”
2) Ability to create: It is true that God didn’t finish the work of creation in the six days of creation. God created the raw materials of the earth and left the finished products to man. He created the vegetation, the trees and left creation of furniture, buildings, etc to man to complete. In essence, man is co-creator with God. The ability to create resides in him. There is something every man and woman is wired to produce and contribute to creation. I pray you discover and deploy yours in Jesus’ name.
3) Ability to lead: After God created the earth, He gave man dominion over the works of His hands. He leased the earth to mankind to oversee and superintend and He gave him the capability to function as the ruler of the earth. “The heaven, even the heavens are the Lord’s but the earth He has given to the children of men” (Psalm 115:16). We are to rule over the earth and its elements in cooperation with God. Unfortunately, after the fall of man, he lost part of this rulership power which was restored back after Christ resurrected from the grave.
4) Ability to imagine: God gave a renewed, enlightened and supersonic mind to Adam (the first man) at creation. Adam named all the animals at creation. He had such a robust and fertile imagination. Whatever name Adam deemed fit to call animals, so was it. This fertile and robust imagination was contaminated when Adam disobeyed, and contaminated mankind with the virus of sin. It is true whatever you can conceive and believe and act upon will become a reality with time in your life (Mark 9:23).
5) Ability to choose: Man is the only creation in God’s order that has a free choice. When God touches the lion, he bows and roars. When He touches the sheep, they bow and bleat and the list goes on. Man is the only created being that has the right of free choices and can therefore say Yes or No to his maker. God does not force man to do anything because He created him in His image and likeness. It is man’s prerogative to determine his destiny. He is free to choose light or darkness, righteousness or sin, heaven or hell, a life of relevance or pleasure, etc.
God created us simply to reflect His glory. He created us to extend the atmosphere of Heaven to earth. He made us in His image so that we can love Him and worship Him wholeheartedly. He created us so that we will partake with Him the fulfillment and joy of creation. How are you reflecting your Maker to your world? Jesus is the express image of the glory of God (Colossians 1:15-18). Accepting Him as Lord and Savior is critical to manifesting the glory of God.
Have a blessed new month in Jesus’ name.
“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25)
The Holy Spirit is God on earth, and the era we are in is the era of the Holy Spirit. He is the most important personality on earth, and He is present to complete the work of God before the rapture of the church. It is one thing to be baptized with the Holy Spirit, it is another thing to be constantly filled with the Spirit. Constant in-filling of the Spirit will lead to an overflow on the carrier; mighty works of miracles, signs, and wonders would be wrought through him/her. Maintaining a good measure of the Holy Spirit makes the believer a great witness of the gospel and Jesus Christ. Below are some ways on how to HOST the Spirit, viz:
Holiness: The characteristic feature of the Holy Spirit is holiness. That is the name He bears. To be in constant tune with Him calls for holiness in thought and in deed from the believer. To have the Holy Spirit express Himself in and through us regularly calls for ardent holiness from us. We are instructed to shun and jettison our old way of thinking and behaving and take on a new way of living which is powered by the Holy Spirit. Holiness is agreeing with the conduct of the Kingdom of God, imbibing the new conduct and acting out the behaviors of the Kingdom as listed in Galatians 5, verse 22 to 23. Two can only work together if they agree.
Overflowing Grace: To carry the presence of the Holy Spirit in a good measure is a work of grace (Zechariah 4:6). Grace is the working of the Holy Spirit in the believer changing his or her attitudes, affections and enabling the believer to please God (Philippians 2:13). For grace to flow in the believer like a river, joyfulness and thankfulness are critical and must be present. Grace in Latin language is the word “Gratia” which means thankfulness, gratitude, and favor. In Spanish, grace is gracias, and gracias is thank you. Grace and gratitude are like Siamese twins which cannot be separated. The Holy Spirit thrives where there is joy and thanksgiving. A believer who is full of thanksgiving and joy will be attractive to the Holy Spirit.
Sanctified Environment: Environment matters a lot. Some environment fosters the move of the Spirit, while others stifle it. In a worship environment where God is being exalted, the Holy Spirit finds such place very conducive to express Himself. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were instructed to keep the camp physically clean, they were given designated areas outside the camp to relieve themselves. They carried shovels to dig holes in the designated areas, and after relieving themselves they covered up the feces (Deuteronomy 23:12-14). Physical cleanliness matters to God. Cleanliness is next to godliness. As a new believer I was being oppressed in my sleep till the Holy Spirit pointed out to me some worldly reggae music in my possession as the point of contact for the demonic operations.
Trainability: Holiness is simply godly training and exercise in godliness and godly living. When we gave our lives to Christ, we were signed up automatically into the gym of the Holy Spirit. Many people have membership of physical gyms and never visit the place. Some go occasionally, and others go regularly. And others have trainers who assist them in the training. As believers we are required to allow the Holy Spirit to train us to godliness. The Bible says in 1 Timothy 4:8 Message translation, “Exercise daily in God – no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both for today and forever.”
CONCLUSION: It is a privilege for Christians to have the Holy Spirit resident in us. With every privilege, there are responsibilities. The points listed above are some of the responsibilities we are to bear to allow the Spirit expression in our lives. Our world is waiting for us to manifest the glory of God.
“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord. He is a double minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:6-8, NKJV).
Doubt as defined by the dictionary is a feeling of uncertainty and lack of conviction. For the Christian, doubt is a lack of confidence in the word of God. We all doubt at different times, particularly in times of serious challenges. God expects us to overcome our doubts and not remain in the valley of despair. Below are some truths about doubt:
Doubt is subtle: A lot of Christians do not consider doubt as sin. And very few people confess their doubts as sin before God, and therein lies the subtlety of doubt. It is a little fox that spoil the vine (Songs of Solomon 2:15). Doubt looks harmless but it is not. In the encounter of Satan with Eve in Genesis 3, Satan made Eve doubt the word of God. He told her, “Has God indeed said, you shall not eat of every tree in the garden.” He further told Eve, “You will not surely die.” Satan punched holes in the word of God leaving Eve with the impression that God didn’t really mean what He said. The enemy makes us to doubt the seriousness of the word of God.
Doubt is hesitation: Some synonyms of hesitate are vacillate, waver, indecision and reluctance. Doubting in a challenging situation could be devastating. If David had hesitated in the valley of Elah when he confronted Goliath, the result would have been defeat for the Israelites. The Bible says, “as Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran to meet him” (1 Samuel 17:48, NLT). The King James Version of the Bible says David hasted towards Goliath. There were no doubts whatsoever in the mind of David when he confronted the Goliath challenge. Had he doubted, the result would have been different.
Doubt is costly: Doubt robs people of blessings. The Israelites at the brink of the Promised Land doubted and refused to enter the Land God gave them. A whole generation, except Joshua and Caleb, died as a result. Self-doubt produces inferiority complex; the Israelites said they were like grasshoppers compared to their opposition. Doubt in the future produces worry and anxiety. Doubt in other people produces suspicion. Doubt in everything produces pessimism and cynicism. Doubt in God produces unbelief. Doubt can rob one of a glorious destiny.
Doubt is double mindedness: The doubter in our opening text is likened to a raging sea which is troubled, unstable and restless. The doubter is unsettled, unstable and anxious. Whenever we are anxious and restless about a matter it shows and depicts doubt. On the other hand, confidence in God produces assurance, calmness and stability. The doubter vacillates; today is up and tomorrow he is down. One day he/she is believing, the next day he/she is disbelieving. The Bible says this fellow who doubts will not receive from the Lord.
Doubt is half hearted devotion: Not fully following the Lord nor cooperating with Him in our lives will automatically produce doubt. Elijah said to the Israelites in 1 Kings 18, verse 21 in a time of famine, “how much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions?’ The people were serving Baal and trying to serve God at the same time. By so doing, they brought famine on themselves. Many are not wholehearted in their devotion to God. Many have seemingly viable options to God. This will result in doubt.
CONCLUSION: Jesus said anything is possible if a person believes (Mark 9:23). Being clear about the will of God, wholeheartedly following God, adjusting our lives to Him, and being determined will douse the voice of doubt all the time. May God forgive us all for the sin of doubt in Jesus’ name.
“… Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion was in labor, she gave birth to her children.” (Isaiah 66:8b)
Productivity has to do with the ability to create and bringing forth. God wired in human beings the desire to be productive and deliver results and achievements. The first blessing God pronounced on Man after creating him was that of fruitfulness, multiplication, replenishment and bringing everything under his subjection (Genesis 1:26-28). Below are some laws that govern productivity:
The Law of Conception: This is the beginning of the process of productivity. To conceive is to be pregnant with something, it is not limited to biology alone (or being pregnant with a baby). One can be pregnant with the promises of God, a dream or vision, a project, a desire for a better country, and the list go on. People can also be pregnant with negative and evil things (Matthew 12:35). Conception takes place in the womb. There is a spiritual womb as well as a physical one. Every human being is carrying something whether positive or negative within them. For conception to take place there must be intimacy. The Angel Gabriel told Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you” (Luke 1:35). Intimacy with the Holy Spirit results in all manners of conceptions that results in fruitfulness and productivity in our lives. The reverse is also true, if one lies down with dogs you will get up with fleas. The big question today is, what are you conceiving within? and what are you pregnant with?
The Law of Incubation: To incubate means to develop gradually under favorable conditions. The mother hen after laying her eggs will sit on them providing heat and pressure until the egg hatches. Incubation is that period between conception and delivery. It is a process that allows what is being carried in the womb to become mature and good for delivery. Many do not pay attention to incubation. It is a time of feeding, strengthening and developing what is being carried in the womb. It is also the gestation period. One dissimilarity between physical and spiritual conceptions is that the spiritual gestation period is not fixed like the physical. Gestation period for human beings is 9 months, for rats it is 21 days, for elephants it is about 22 months. The Israelites on their way to the Promised land from Egypt were in the wilderness for 40 years for a 11-day journey. It took them that long to be processed and fit for the Promised Land. They refused to cooperate with God and a whole generation died in the wilderness. With God we do not just receive what we pray for, we receive what we are ready and prepared for.
The Law of Delivery: Not every woman who conceives a baby carry the baby to full term or to delivery. Many miscarry along the way. As it is in the physical, so it is in the spiritual. Dreams, visions, a glorious destiny, prosperity, etc. can be aborted. Innovations and inventions that will benefit mankind can also be aborted. And no one celebrates conception or incubation. People celebrate performance and delivery. Travail is a sin qua non to birthing new things. The Bible says as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. (Isaiah 66:8b). Travailing or labor pain is productive pain. Prayer (bringing forth things from the spiritual realm to the material realm) is travail. Hard work is travail. Preparation is travail. Not everyone who travails prevails, but we have an assurance from the Word of God in Isaiah 66, verse 9, “Would I ever bring this nation to the point of birth and then not deliver it? Asks the Lord. No! I would never keep this nation from being born.” The God that allowed the birth of modern Israel in 1948 after hundred of years of no independent state can ensure our safe delivery.
CONCLUSION: May all the good things you carry within be perfected and brought forth in this seventh month in Jesus’ name.
“A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart” (Matthew 12:35, NLT).
The above scripture likens our hearts (or minds) to a treasury. A treasury is a storage for treasures. Human activities, endeavors and accomplishments are all produced from the human mind. It is from the mind that we do life. People’s life progress or stagnates based on the thought pattern of their minds. Some thinking patterns allow for stagnation, while others boost achievements and breakthroughs. The human mind is a garden that can be cultivated or left fallow. Below are some mindsets and thinking patterns that promotes breakthrough:
The Open Mindset: This is a thinking pattern that allows for flexibility and does not view the world from its own perspective alone. It is open to ideas from other climes. Apostle Paul was such an apostle. He was sent to the whole Gentile world. The contrast is Apostle Peter who struggled with God after seeing a vision three times of diverse animals that the Jews are not allowed to eat under the law of Moses. God asked him in the vision to kill and eat the animals and he vehemently refused because the Jews are not supposed to eat these kinds of animals. Theologians told us Apostle Paul was more fitted for the ministry to the Gentiles because he had an open mindset being a lawyer with dual citizenship. An open mindset as opposed to a closed mind is a sine qua non for breakthrough.
The Renewed Mindset: The Israelites mindset remained set on Egyptian ways even though they were delivered physically from there. They did not allow God and the many breakthrough experiences they had being delivered from Egypt to renew their minds. They were stuck and fixated on Egypt, and they could not enter the Promised Land as a result. Only Joshua and Caleb who had a different mindset and inner disposition were allowed access into the Promised Land. We cannot think like slaves and reign as princes on earth. We should allow the scriptures and our experiences of God shape our minds to see possibilities in God. Scripture reference: Numbers 14:20-24
The Sanctified Mindset: This is a spiritual mindset as opposed to a carnal one. This is a mindset surrendered to God and His laws. It is a mindset that is determined to obey God regardless of the odds. It is a mind that is being controlled by the Holy Spirit. The Bible says some minds are set on gratifying the flesh while others are set on gratifying and pleasing the Spirit. The mind that is set on gratifying the Spirit will experience divine interventions and breakthroughs regularly.
The Mindful Mindset: This is an appreciative and grateful mind that is always mindful of God’s deeds. King David had several breakthroughs because he was mindful and always quick to recollect how God brought him from being a shepherd boy to becoming a king. Because of his mindfulness and grateful mindset God gave him a lasting and forever dynasty. (2 Samuel 7:18-24). The Israelites on the other hand were not mindful and forgot how God delivered them from Egypt. They became rebellious in their hearts and wanted to return to Egypt. A grateful heart softens and humbles the heart towards God. It is a fascinating mindset to God that attracts His favor.
The Growth Mindset: This is a mindset that grows and stretches. Abraham grew from an idol worshipper to becoming a friend of God (James 2:23). He grew from a childless person to becoming the father of nations. All the major religions of the world today revere him and consider him as their patriarch and father. Gideon grew from a fearful man hiding from the Midianites to a mighty man of valor who defeated the Midianites. Those who grow inwardly overcome the barriers and limitations within them and in time they overcome externally.
CONCLUSION: The journey of stagnancy to breakthrough is an inward journey. The journey of mediocrity to living a life of excellence is also an inward journey.
“And because of His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.” (2 Peter 1:4, NLT).
Apostle Peter in the above scripture stated that God’s promises are great and precious. We are partakers of God’s divine nature through these promises. We can live the God-kind of life here on earth when we believe and are able to operate with His promises. Below are some points to consider:
Seek the promise(s): God’s promises cover every challenge life poses to mankind. And we operate as gods (supernatural deities) when we hold tenaciously to these promises and actualize them. There is the need to seek for the divine promise that relate or speak to our situations. Attorneys in the law court will always seek for relevant authorities, references or precedents to buttress their points. Once they find similar cases from the past that furthers their cause, they have found a strong point of persuasion to tender before the judge. The Bible enjoins us to present our case and bring forth strong reasons for our justification (Isaiah 41:21).
Take the promise: After seeking and locating the divine promise(s) that speak to our situation, the next thing is to own them. There is a difference between how people treat the cars they own vis a vis the car they rent. A rental car is not treated too well because it will be returned to the rental shop. There is a marked difference between ownership and rentalship. We are responsible for the things we own. God wants us to own His promises and embrace them as ours. Joseph the patriarch in his dying moment got his kinsmen in Egypt to promise him they will take his body out with them to Canaan (the promised land). He was so assured that the promise God made to Abraham was going to come to pass, and that Egypt was not the final destination of his people.
Activate the promise(s): To activate something means to give life to the thing. The mother hen sits on her eggs providing warmth to the eggs until they hatch to become chickens. The mother hen makes life happen by providing the right environment for the eggs. We give life to God’s promises when we create the right environment by wrapping our minds around His promises and meditating on them regularly. David said in Psalm 39, verse 4, “my heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned, then I spoke with my tongue”. There is a right environment for God’s promises to thrive.
Nullify contrary opinions and views: Satan is overly concerned about stealing God’s word in our hearts. He knows that as we embrace the promises and muse over them God will always respond. The enemy uses everything possible to stop the process when he sees that we are on course. He will use logical arguments, persons close to us, contrary circumstances, etc just to stop us in our tracks. David had to turn away from his oldest brother Eliab when he confronted him as he was about to face Goliath in battle (1 Samuel 17:29-30). We are to take contrary thoughts captive and submit our minds to God when we are being opposed. This is how we fight the good fight of faith.
Declare His promises: Faith in God boldly declares the word and promises of God. David, standing before Goliath, boldly declared that the battle is the Lord’s and God will give Goliath into the hands of the Israelites. We are enjoined to boldly declare that God is our Helper and we shall not fear what man can do (Hebrews 13:6). David said because of his meditation in God’s promises the fire of expectation and possibilities burned within him, and he spoke as a result. There is a timid declaration of His promises which happens when we are not persuaded of the promise(s); and there is a bold declaration of the Word and promises.
CONCLUSION: Receive fresh grace to stand on the Word of God. God’s promises are Yes and Amen through Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20).
“So, David came to Baal-perazim, and he defeated them there, and said, “The Lord has broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water.” So he named that place Baal-perazim (master of breakthroughs)”
– (2 Samuel 5:20)
A dictionary meaning of breakthrough is to overcome something and have an achievement. All the incredible things in different spheres of human endeavors are because of numerous breakthroughs. In the scripture above, David had just been made king over all of Israel. The Philistines, the arch enemy of the Israelites, mobilized all their forces to make war against him. They reasoned it was a vulnerable moment for David and wanted to take advantage of him. By divine direction David prevailed over the Philistines and achieved victory over them. Below are some things to consider.
Break in: A wise man said for us to break out we must first and foremost break in. The challenges, obstacles and difficulties that we face in life are not just external, but they are also internal. Saul and the armies of Israel were held bound for 40 days by Goliath and would not attempt to fight because they were defeated within them. They were so overtaken with fear within that they did not even make any attempt towards Goliath. When David got on the scene, and on hearing the threats of Goliath tried to fight him. David was able to fight Goliath because he had a different mindset from the others. The self-image David had within him was that of a Giant Killer. The struggles we face most times are as a result of our beliefs and the image we carry within. We must first breakthrough within in order to breakthrough without.
Break out: A rut is a long deep track made by the repeated passage of the wheels of vehicles. On muddy and bad roads like we usually have in some developing nations, the first vehicle that passes on the muddy road creates a track (or rut) and subsequent vehicles will follow the track. And because of repeated passage on the same spot, the road gets deeper and deeper and at some point in time vehicles will get stuck in the rut. A person stuck in a rut is locked in a behavior (usually bad) that is not allowing them to overcome and have breakthroughs. To have breakthroughs we must break out of unproductive and destructive ruts, and take on good, productive and habitual behaviors that will make us overcome and achieve.
Breakthrough: The victory and breakthrough of David in Baal-perazim was possible because of divine direction. It was also possible because of the mighty men of David. Some four hundred men who were in distress, debt and discontented had gathered around David in the wilderness when he was running from King Saul. He became captain over them. It was these undesirable men that David groomed and developed to become mighty warriors. Thirty-seven out of the four hundred had incredible dossier and they were called the mighty men of David (2 Samuel 23:8-39). David was able to transform low lives to mighty men by providing leadership and modeling what a good leader should look like. He transformed their thinking by helping them to breakthrough the limitations within them. He transformed them by helping them to break in and break out. These men in turn never allowed David to lose any battle. He was able to let loose the giants within them.
CONCLUSION: To have breakthrough, our minds must be regularly renewed, and we must cultivate behaviors that make possible the outcomes we desire. God will only help us to the degree that we cooperate with Him in thoughts, words and deeds. Have a month full of breakthroughs in Jesus’ name.
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”
– (Revelation 12:13, NKJV)
A testimony in Christian parlance is simply an evidence or proof given by a person who experienced firsthand the power and miracle of God. Below are some points to note about the power of testimonies viz:
Testimonies tell of God’s acts: “O God, You have taught me from my earliest childhood, and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things You do” (Psalm 71:17). Testimonies are praise reports of what God has done. Testimonies are tools of witnessing the good news and reports of the Almighty God. Joshua was instructed by God to bring out of the Jordan River 12 stones and set them up as a memorial in Gilgal to testify to succeeding generations how God gave them passage by parting the Jordan River (Reference: Joshua 4). God wants us to testify of His good deeds.
Testimonies encourage others: “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” (2 Corinthians 1:4, NLT). The aforementioned scripture says one of the crucial reasons God delivers us from trouble is for us to relay to others going through similar challenge how God delivered and comforted us. Many have triumphed over challenging situations because of the encouragement they received from others who have gone through same.
Testimonies beget testimonies: A brother in our church lost his job unexpectedly. He pleaded his case with the organization and surprisingly he was recalled back within a week. He shared his testimony in church. Not too long after, another brother lost his job and based on the strength of the previous brother’s testimony he believed God and got the exact job back. Testimonies ignite faith in the hearts of the hearers, and what God has done before He is willing to do again.
Testimonies eliminate grumbling and complaining: Many people do not see grumbling and complaining as sins. A close look at the scriptures show that they are sins that God detests so much. We are admonished not to complain and grumble like the Israelites in the wilderness (1 Corinthians 10:10). Many of them were destroyed in the wilderness because they kept complaining against Moses and God. A habit of regular testifying of the acts of God will reduce and eliminate complaining in our lives.
Testimonies silence the devil: Our main text tells of how Angel Michael and other angels overcame the devil when war broke out in heaven (Revelation 12:7-12). They overcame by the blood of the Lamb and the words they spoke. The same way they overcame, we will also overcome. Satan is the accuser of the brethren, and one sure way to counter his accusations is by the words of our mouth and our testimonies. By going forth and telling of God’s goodness to us, we silence the voice of accusation raised against us (Isaiah 54:17). Testimonies are confession of faith that silences the devil.
CONCLUSION: Testifying about God’s acts also includes regularly speaking of His wonders as elucidated in the scriptures. As we tell of how He parted the Red Sea, brought down the walls of Jericho, stayed the sun for 24 hours nonstop, etc, our faith in Him will grow and personal testimonies of His gracious acts will be enormous in our lives. Have a testimony filled month in Jesus name.
“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, TO GIVE UNTO THEM BEAUTY FOR ASHES, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”
– (Isaiah 61:3, KJV).
Prophet Isaiah in the above verse was stating part of the roles and functions of the anointing. Ashes in the Bible is a symbol of deep grief, mourning and penitence. Job was said to sit in ashes after he got news of losing his children, possessions and struck with painful boils (Job 2:8). Tamar, the daughter of David was said to put on ashes after she was raped by her half brother Amnon (2 Samuel 13:19). Many are in deep mourning at this time due to the loss of loved ones to COVID-19. Some people have suffered losses of jobs, health, opportunities, etc. Many are hopeless because of what life has thrown at them. Below are some truths to consider:
Isaac received beauty for ashes: “And Isaac brought Rebekah into his mother Sarah’s tent and she became his wife. He loved her deeply, and she was a special comfort to him after the death of his mother” (Genesis 24:67). Because Isaac was born to Sarah when she was 90 years and being her only child, he was very pampered. Isaac and Sarah shared a serious bond. The death of Sarah had a devastating blow on Isaac. The scripture quoted says Rebekah, the new found wife of Isaac became a special comfort to him. She filled the gap Sarah left in Isaac’s life. Our God is a Restorer who heals wounds and binds up the broken-hearted. He gives beauty for ashes once we do not give up hope and trusts implicitly in Him.
Jacob received beauty for ashes: “But when they told him all the words of Joseph which he had said to them, and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived (and warmth and life returned)” (Genesis 45:27). Jacob had thought his son Joseph was dead after his brothers sold him to slavery, and in turn lied to him that Joseph had been killed by a wild beast. Jacob was devastated because Joseph was his favorite son. He never really recovered from the news of Joseph’s death. By divine orchestration, after 22 years Joseph was found and reconciled to his brothers. When the news got to Jacob that Joseph his son was alive and was Governor in Egypt, the Bible says his spirit revived, and warmth and life returned to him. God compensates those who mourn in Zion and gives them beauty for ashes (Psalm 30:11).
The nation Israel received beauty for ashes: Prior to 1948 there was no nation called Israel. The Jews were scattered all over the world while the Arabs occupied the Promised Land. They suffered under Adolf Hitler who wanted to exterminate all of them in the Holocaust and in the process killed six million Jews. They were scattered all over the world and were dominant in Europe, and having no homeland of theirs they were persecuted, harassed and oppressed wherever they found themselves. They were hated because of their religious inclination and economic prowess. Satan drummed up hatred for them because of God’s special interest in them. With the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Jewish independence lost 2000 years prior was renewed. The Prophet Ezekiel affirmed that the dry bones God asked him to prophesy over was the nation of Israel. From hopelessness and despair their homeland was restored. They got beauty for many years of ashes.
CONCLUSION: Have you suffered loss of any kind in this pandemic? The God of Heaven appoints to those who mourn in His Kingdom beauty for ashes. The one thing that guarantees restoration, renewal and recovery from God is being in His kingdom. It is those who mourn in Zion (His kingdom) that has the guarantee of their ashes being replaced by beauty. Are you a member of His kingdom? If no, accept Jesus Christ today.