Monday, 30 June 2014

The Lord Is Our Portion

The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.(Lamentations 3:24).
Assuming your faith is a mansion. On what foundation will that mansion be standing? Beliefs - trust, faith, hope - have consequences. They shape our worldview and determines how we respond to life and its intricacies. If your faith is not built on a solid foundation, the storms of life has the potency of crumbling and leaving you disillusioned. The words “The LORD is my portion...”, paints the picture of a life built on a firm foundation: it simply means "The LORD is sufficient for me". The writer of Lamentations-Jeremiah- seem to be saying, "despite my predicaments, God is enough. If I have God, I have everything". Hear David also:
Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee." (Psalms 73:25). 
No wonder this David got the tag a man after God's own heart. Is your desire towards the Lord that intense?

"The LORD is my portion forever" says Jeremiah and David. Can you also, especially in the face of adversity, confess The LORD is my portion forever? If you are a believer, you should. We can easily grasp the reality of God as our portion if we dig further to understand God's original intent for creation. In Genesis 1, where we find the creation story, one phrase appeared consistently: "and God saw that it was good" Further, down the Chapter (vs31) we see a climax of the joy God derived in His creation:
...God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good
 The meaning of "...behold, it was very good" can be explicitly explained by Revelation 4:11:
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
It was very good because it all turned out to be what He intended His creation to be; for His pleasure, His joy and glory. We are here purposely on one assignment, giving God pleasure(glory, joy, worship). We are on a God glorifying trip. It is in glorifying God that we also discover our self and our purpose. Saint Augustine, one of the Church fathers of the fourth century said, "Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee.

One of the revealing words of Scripture, that sometime ago, in a period of personal crisis, became a bedrock for my life are the words “In him”. Let me share a few of those specific Scriptures with you: “In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him...” (Colossians 2:9-10). "For in him we live, and move, and have our being…"(Act 17:28). On countless occasions, I have returned to the words "In Him"-and I still do return to it - to find strength in moments of weakness and despair. Apart from Christ, we are nothing—absolutely nothing: "without me you can do nothing"(John 15:5).

The LORD is our portion. He is our inheritance. He is all we need. He is enough for us. He is incomparable to all the best of things of this world. He is the infinite being who satisfies the longings of finite hearts. In the search for fulfilment, many are trapped with insatiable pursuit and held captive by the trivia of this world: "lust of the flesh... lust of the eyes, and the pride of life..." (1 John 2:16). Until, we come to an understanding and appreciation of how sufficient God is for us, we will forever be satisfied with shallowness and crumbs of bread, instead of eating the choicest of meals from the King's table.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Church Reforms In Ghana: My Thoughts

5: The Church Must Pray.

E.M Bounds, in his book, Power Through Prayer wrote that “praying gives sense, brings wisdom, and broadens and strengthens the mind.” Prayer is a catalyst for change. In His sovereignty, God can and does act autonomous of our prayers; yet, He has at the same time ordained we represent Him on earth and has granted us His power of representation through prayer: “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 18:18-19). When we pray, things happen!

Examine these few instances in Scripture where human involvement through prayer brought God’s intervention on earth. In Exodus 3:7, Israel’s deliverance from bondage was set in motion when God heard their cry (prayers). Daniel 2:17 records the story of Daniel, who faced with the threat of death, entreated his colleagues for prayer (Daniel 2:17). In Acts 12, the timely intervention of the Church’s prayer stayed the hands of Herod from beheading Peter(vs 5 ). Acts 12 was just a fanfare killing. Herod derived pleasure from killing to please the Jews: “Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of : John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) (vs 1-3).

If we don’t pray, the devil enjoys a field day in harassing God’s people. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 2:11 that “…we are not ignorant of [Satan’s] devices”. He comes to steal, kill and destroy.(John 10:10). In contemporary times, the revivals and reforms recorded in Church history were birthed in prayers. Equally, if today’s Church will experience any reforms; men and women must rise to the occasion and pray. Someone might quip: “are we not already praying enough?” Yes we are — In fact every day in this nation, there is a prayer meeting. But the fact however is that; most of our prayer meetings are egocentric and highly individualistic it can’t birth any reforms amongst us. “God give me…God bless me…God open doors for me….etc.” are words that can be heard echoing from our prayer meetings.

When those in the early centuries met to pray, they prayed down revival on their cities. The advent of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movement in our country is equally on record to have been birthed by intense prayers for souls and the nation. We in these times have however become too fixated with our individual selves in our prayers. Our self-centred prayers won’t bring any reforms. There’s a place for personal prayers and personal revivals I must admit, but when we are revived as individuals, we have to seek the revival of the masses. “…The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.” (Luke :10:2)

One classic example of the efficacy of prayer is recorded in 1 Kings 17:1: And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. After many generations, James captured this same event to encourage us to know the power available to us through prayer. He wrote: “…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit (James 5:16-18). “Elias [Elijah] was a man subject to like passions as we are…” clearly illustrates Elijah was human just like us —with weaknesses and shortcomings—yet he used the power of prayer mightily).

“We are not praying effectively enough. The fervency of our prayer is not strong enough. Jesus said men ought to pray and not faint. Paul said we should pray without ceasing. We have had enough seminars [and talk] on prayer. Let us [now begin to] pray.” EastWood Anaba, Extra Oil