“But Jesus said to her, “Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” (Mark 7:27).
The above scripture was Jesus’ reply to a Greek woman who had approached him and pleaded for healing of her demonized daughter. Jesus insinuated that healing was the exclusive right and privilege of children – referring to the Jews. Non-Jews were not included in this blessing. He further insinuated that non-Jews could be likened to dogs. This woman persisted in her plea and eventually got the miracle she desired for her daughter. Below are some vital points to note:
Healing is the children’s bread: By Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary, those who believe in Him and accept Him as Lord and Savior are now God’s children – whether Jews or non-Jews (i.e. Gentiles) (Galatians 3:7-9). Healing is the right and privilege of all such people who are born again by the grace of God. This is so because God in His love for mankind afflicted Jesus to purchase healing for mankind and particularly to those who are His children. “But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole, He was whipped so we could be healed” (Isaiah 53:5, NLT). God afflicted Jesus and made healing available in abundance to His children.
Expectation brings Manifestation: In the scripture above the Greek woman left Jesus with healing for her daughter because she will not accept a “No” from Jesus. In Acts 14 verses 8 onwards, we read the account of a crippled man who had never walked before receiving his healing through Paul. He was enraptured by Paul’s preaching, and Paul seeing his eagerness and attentiveness to the Word commanded him to stand up on his feet. This lame man got up and walked. The songwriter echoing John 3:14-15 says, “Look and live, my brother live, look to Jesus Christ and live, it’s recorded in His Word Alleluia, it is only that you look and live.” A childlike faith in God that brings salvation to our souls will also produce healing in our bodies.
Attend to His Word: The crippled man in Acts Chapter 14 who got healed paid undivided attention to God’s Word when Paul was preaching. We are enjoined in Proverbs 4, verses 20 to 22 to pay attention to God’s Word, keep it in the midst of our hearts because the Word is health and healing to our flesh. Many who seek healing do not pay attention to the Word of healing! They will rather pay attention to the disease and total undivided attention to their doctors. We must always realize that it is God that works through doctors and medications to bring the required healing. We must never be like King Asa who ignored God and turned only to physicians when he battled cancer of the feet. He lost the battle over the sickness and died (2 Chronicles 16:12-13). I can personally testify to so many COVID 19 patients who were in ICUs for several days and at the brink of death but bounced back miraculously through prayers and the mercies of God.
Leverage on different ways to healing: While God is the primary healer, He uses different ways to heal. It is foolhardy not to seek healing through medical science with all the awesome innovations and improvements of it. God gives wisdom to researchers, scientists, medical doctors, and natural therapists who daily seek solutions to sicknesses that befall mankind. Isaiah (through God) instructed King Hezekiah to make an ointment from figs and apply it over the boil that was threatening to take his life (2 Kings 20:7). Apostle Paul instructed Timothy to take wine regularly to alleviate his incessant tummy ailments (1 Timothy 5:23). The priests under the Old Testament were the ones to always check and confirm the healing of lepers, and also to certify them fit to live in society. The priests’ role was like that of dermatologists.
CONCLUSION: Healing starts from the inside. A robust, expectant, upbeat, faith-filled, joyful mind will bring healing readily and easily to the physical body. A crushed, defeated, doubtful, fearful and unforgiving mind will bring death easily to the body. Healing is the children’s bread and every good father provides bread when requested by their children.
“But the wisdom which is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”(James 3:17-18).
The wisdom from above is divine godly wisdom. God’s wisdom is needed in this COVID-19 era. This era is the Church’s finest hour because we have access to the mind of God and His wisdom. The Bible says through the Church God will reveal His multi-faceted wisdom to the powers of darkness (Ephesians 3:10, AMP). Light shines brightest and it’s more impactful in thick darkness. The wisdom of God is a mystery, and not available to all, except those who seek for it diligently. Below are some characteristics of divine wisdom and how to access it:
Pure: God weighs the actions and the intents of the heart of man (Jeremiah 17:9-10). He looks inwards to check motives and intentions. King Solomon’s motives were pure when he asked for wisdom. He needed wisdom to govern the Israelites appropriately. He wasn’t seeking for wisdom for himself to self-serve and for personal aggrandizement. As a result, God was very pleased with his request (1 Kings 3:7-13). The Bible says, “Now God gave Solomon (exceptional) wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand of the seashore” (1 Kings 4:29, AMP).
Peaceable: Another attribute of God’s wisdom is that it is peaceable. To access it, one must have made peace with God (Romans 5:1-2) and also be a peaceable person. We are instructed to make every effort to live at peace with everyone and be holy in order to see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). The name Solomon means peace in Hebrew. King Solomon was a man of peace whose reign was largely characterized by peace. His modus operandi was to keep making alliances and building bridges with other kings and enemy nations. He prospered greatly because God favored him and he embraced peace.
Easy to be entreated: God is easy to be entreated. He is long suffering and doesn’t quickly react and fight His enemies. He is a Father who loves like a Mother. He is good to all and gives ample time for people to repent and change their ways. He is the Highest and yet He regards the lowly. At the core of divine wisdom is humility. Humble people are easy to be entreated. At the heart of stubbornness, obstinacy and quarrelsomeness is arrogance. The proud have a fragile ego, while the humble have a secure ego. The proud cannot access the wisdom from above because God keeps His distance from them (Psalm 138:6). The wisdom the proud at heart will access is demonic wisdom. Fathers and authority figures should be easy to be entreated.
Full of mercy and good works: The Bible contrasts between godly wisdom and worldly wisdom. The major difference between the two is that worldly wisdom is self-centered and selfish. Wealthy people in the world have two major temptations which are pride and trust in riches. The Bible admonishes them to be generous to those in need in order to open God’s bowels of mercy on them. We are to reach out and give generously in these unusual times. We are to give hope, encouragement, prayers, material possessions and share whatever we have with the needy world around us.
CONCLUSION: The wisdom Solomon received from God greatly enhanced his intellectual capacity. He wrote 3000 proverbs and 1005 songs. He was a keen observer of the world around him. He had a keen sense of judgement, great insights and great discernment. He understood science and was of quick understanding and comprehension. May divine wisdom that will make us shining stars be our portion in this COVID-19 era in Jesus’ name.
A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you, only with your eyes shall you look and see the reward of the wicked (Psalm 91:7-8).
In the wake of the current pandemic caused by the coronavirus (aka COVID-19) which has infected over 800,000, killing over 40,000 people worldwide (till date), it is pertinent to bring some vital Biblical truths to light because essentially the unseen spiritual realm controls the physical realm. The scriptures tell us that in the face of many deaths and many fallings as a result of pestilence, plagues and life tragedies, some people would have immunity against such happenings. In Biology, immunity refers to the ability of an organism to resist an infection or toxin by the action of specific antibodies or sensitized white blood cells. Below are some spiritual truths that produces Heaven’s fortification against COVID-19:
Communion Table: The Holy Communion comprises of [unleavened] bread and wine which essentially represent the body and blood of Jesus Christ. The Bible says the wine that we bless and share at the communion table is a sharing of the blood of Jesus, and the bread we break is also sharing in the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 10:16). In God’s mind, they are not ordinary elements that we eat, but the blood and body of Jesus. And these elements give life, strength and vitality to our bodies. Scripture reference: John 6:53-58.
Obedience to God: This is two-fold. We are set apart for God (Ephesians 1:4), and God expects us to set apart or consecrate ourselves unto Him (2 Timothy 2:19-21). The news has been replete with the need to wash hands regularly so as not to contaminate ourselves and others with coronavirus. Consecration is spiritual cleansing. Cleanliness is next to Godliness. COVID-19 emanated from a filthy and dirty environment. Consecrating and dedicating our bodies and souls to God regularly will guarantee divine immunity.
Vital Faith: This is living faith. This faith doesn’t deny facts but uses the truth of God’s Word to overrule facts. Facts deals with what is seen and rational. Truth (of scriptures) deals with the unseen realm and God’s promises. Many deny that the unseen(spiritual) exists and is superior to the seen (physical). COVID-19 is an unseen enemy that emanated from the unseen realm. Dealing with it just from the physical and rational realm will leave many people dead. Vital faith stands on God’s precious promises regardless of the odds and overrules physical evidence over time. This faith pleases God (Hebrews 11:6).
Infilling of the Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit is many things to the Christian. One of the things He is to the believer is that He is a River of Living Waters (John 7:37-39). We see a picture in Ezekiel 47:6-12 how this water heals everything it encounters. Every Christian baptized in the Holy Spirit generates this healing water from within them. Regularly praying in the Spirit revitalizes and thereby boosts the immunity of the Christian (Romans 8:11) and produce healing to his or her surroundings. One requirement for the infilling of the Holy Spirit is that you must be born again.
Delight Yourself in God: It is proven scientifically that the mind and body have serious interactions. When the mind is worried it can produce sickness in the body. And when the mind is joyful, delightful and peaceful, it produces strong immunity for the body. The Bible also attests to this in Proverbs 17:22, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” The joy of the Lord is a weapon in the arsenal of the Christian because it is strength to him (Nehemiah 8:10). And this joy is independent of current happenings whether good or bad. It is a fruit of the Spirit. It comes naturally as we fellowship with God.
CONCLUSION: The afore-mentioned truths if practiced, together with the health guidelines from the Center of Disease Control (CDC) and with the mercy of God, will keep us from the scourge of coronavirus. By divine immunity, we are exempted from the pestilence of COVID-19 in Jesus’ name.
“Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As He finished, one of His disciples came to Him and said, “LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY, JUST AS JOHN TAUGHT HIS DISCIPLES.” (Luke 11:1, NLT)
It is from the above scripture that the Lord’s prayer emanated. The Lord’s prayer is a model prayer. It teaches what to pray about and most importantly how to make prayers effective. Below are better ways to pray:
Prayer should be relational, and not religious: Jesus started the Lord’s prayer with “Our Father in Heaven.” It is noteworthy that literally everybody prays but many prayers are religious prayers. Religion is practices man engages in that he or she thinks is acceptable to God. But God wants relationship; He wants people to be born again and be renewed in their spirit man by the Holy Spirit. Then a relationship with God can start that makes the recipient of this grace to commune with Him acceptably (John 4:24). God is Spirit, and He is only truly reached by those who have the Holy Spirit resident within them.
Prayer should be God-focused, and not need-focused: Many people pray because of the myriad of needs in their lives. It is not wrong to approach God with our needs. The model Lord’s prayer shows us that we should take our needs to God. The challenge is that God is very relational. The Bible tells us that God will come in the cool of the day to fellowship with Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:8). This first couple in the Garden of Eden (before their Fall) didn’t have any need. Whenever God came to them, the intent was to fellowship with them. We can infer rightly that Adam and Eve’s dialogue with God was centered around His wonders of creation, and not needs. Everyday they saw a side of God that was hitherto unknown to them and was awe-inspiring. A better way to pray is to magnify God, appreciate Him for His lovely attributes and talk of His wonders (Psalm 105:2).
Prayer should be meditative, and not vain: Jesus said we shouldn’t pray vainly in a repetitive manner (Matthew 6:7). Effective prayers are not recitals, but rather they are heartfelt. It is not just from the head; it is from the heart. Meditation gives substance to our prayers. Taking time to digest relevant scriptures before praying is like the body breaking down food in the stomach and absorbing the its nutrients in the small intestine, while the useless (vain) elements are passed out as waste. Vain prayers lacking substance are ineffective (Scripture reference: John 15:7).
Prayer should be proactive, and not reactive: Please note the subject topic is a better way to pray. By affirming God’s promises, making scripture declarations regularly, and praying in tongues or in the Spirit, we are praying proactively or in advance and ahead of circumstances. A reactionary prayer can be found in Acts 12 when the church was been persecuted. The patriarch James had just been murdered and Peter was arrested thereafter, kept in prison and awaiting execution. The church started praying after the arrest of Peter fearing that what happened to James will also happen to him. The problem with always praying reactively is that it makes us lose territories or at times even lose the battle. It is often rightly said that the best defense is a good offense.
Prayer should be prayed in faith, and not in fear: Just waking up from a bad dream or a nightmare will set many people, including some Christians, into a panic mode. Rather than just praying spontaneously about the nightmare, the better thing to do is to relax and switch to a faith mode. Reminding oneself of scriptures like, “Be still and know that I am God” or “God is our Refuge and Strength, a very present Help in trouble” or pulling out the Bible to assure one’s mind about His promises is a better way of approach. Starting to pray immediately after getting a bad medical report from the doctor will be tantamount to praying in a panic mode. It’s always better after a jolting news to calm down and then strategize. The Holy Spirit is best heard when we are still, and not panicky. It is the prayer of faith that gets the job done, and not prayer of anxiety (Scripture reference: Philippians 4:6-7).
CONCLUSION: It’s my prayer that the Holy Spirit, the Teacher Himself, will teach us better ways to pray and to be effective in prayers. Have a blessed new month!
“And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and He never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death” (James 1:13-15, NLT).
Anatomy simply defined is the structure or internal workings of something. Temptation to sin has a structure. There is a tempter, there are cravings in the Adamic nature of man, there is a pattern or process that leads to the temptation, etc. Understanding the structure or workings of temptation will go a long way in helping serious minded believers to overcome temptation all the time. Below are some important truths to note:
Temptations are distractions that are attractive: The aim of the tempter is to distract and detour us from a good course we are charting. A temptation is an attractive offer. All of us, as human, have certain things to which we are prone to being enticed. We have different cravings and proclivities. Some people are disposed to envy, whereas others are prone to lust for material goods, power, women, etc. King Solomon was said to love many foreign women (1 Kings 11:1). Things appeal to us differently, but we all have one or two things that catch our attention and have the potential to draw us away from God.
Temptations are passing pleasures: The Bible says Moses refused to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin (Hebrews 11:25). Temptation is fleeting, not a permanent phenomenon. Just by holding on and exercising restraint a little bit, we can overcome temptation. But yielding to it weakens our resolve. And our resolve can be so weakened that we get captured by the woven fabric of sinful practices. We are to stand and remain standing and not allow entanglements in our Christian lives (Galatians 5:1).
Temptations test our loyalty and love to God: Every time we are tempted, it’s a time to choose between self-love and God-love. Jesus said, “if you love me keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Often, we delight in God’s laws but it’s clear that not all of us joins in the delight. Our human nature, with its desires, is a rebel against the laws of God. It takes a revelation of the love of God to choose the God way over and above the self-gratifying way. Every time we choose to obey and please God, it shows to Him that we love Him over and above ourselves.
Temptations are things within our reach we aren’t permitted to take: The instruction was clear to Adam in the garden of Eden. God told him that he is free to eat from all the trees in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). Every tempting offer is always within our reach. At times just walking away or looking away can go a long way to help us overcome.
Temptation has a pattern: Many tend to eat more when they are disappointed or depressed. Many tend to smoke and do drugs when the weather is cold. Men tend to be more frustrated, unkind and edgy when they are broke. We are susceptible to falling and foibles in particular seasons of our life. This is so because Satan is principally the mastermind behind temptations confronting the believer. He is very strategic and knows our weaknesses, especially when we are most vulnerable. Every believer should understand the pattern and processes behind his or her failings. And because temptation has a pattern, it can be nipped in the bud. We can debar our lusts from getting pregnant and delivering a baby. We can further disallow the baby from growing into adulthood where it becomes a killer.
CONCLUSION: The mature Christian is the one who consistently wins over temptations. And these folks are those who have really taken time with the Word of God, ingesting it until it registers in their subconscious and becomes their default mode of behavior. There is no short cut to winning other than opening one’s heart sincerely to the infallible Word of God and exercising oneself in godliness.