Wednesday, 24 February 2010

It is your business...

I have been vacillating between topics recently not knowing exactly which to write on but thank God, I finally have my mind made The choice of title for this post was another mental exercise as it were. I initially was between two options viz:"It is in your mouth!", and "Not So!" but none of them quite sit well with me until this morning right at the point of blogging. While still comtemplating, the above topic, "It is your business..." just surfaced and settled with ease.
Our text will be taken from Luke 1:13,59-61. We all know the account, it is about the birth of John the Baptist but I wouldn't want us to be over familiar with the Scriptures so lets read it together: v13: "But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shall call his name John". vs59-61: "And it came to pass, that on the eight day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John. And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name".
Whenever I read this account, certain facts about life stare me right in the face. Some of which iI would share with us in this post. In verse 13 God via an angel had told them that their expected child shall be called John but when the time came for him to be named, Zacharias' kinsmen decided to name him after his father and God was up there watching. At that point the child's destiny was being bargained and if they had succeeded in changing his name, it would have affected not just his life but also his mission and ministry because the name John has a direct bearing on his ministry and mission. When all these were happening, God was up there watching and probably, may be saying "Elisabeth, if they succeed in changing that name, it is your business and I will hold you responsible". It took Elisabeth to refute their choice and not God, it took her to ensure that that which has been spoken to them by the angel was enforced. It doesn't matter how many they (the kinsmen) were in number. Of course, they were her husband's kinsmen and so command some level of respect from her but she didn't look at their faces. It was just enough that they (Zacharias and her) have heard from the Lord and like they say, "one with God is majority". Elisabeth with God prevailed because she refused to keep silence. She understood that a closed mouth is a closed destiny so she refused to keep sealed lips but rather opened her mouth and declared what God has said. No wonder Psalms 68:11 declares "The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it". Beloved, it is strictly your business to declare (publish) the word of God concerning your life. The Bible in II Corinthians 4:13 declares thus, "we having the same spirit of faith (with God) as it is written, I believed and therefore have I spoken, we also believe and therefore speak". Don't keep quiet, cos heaven is waiting for you to say it! That reminds me of a story my pastor once told us about Papa Idahosa of blessed memory and his conquest against the forces of hell. The story had it that there was to be an international conference of witches to be held in Benin and announcements regarding the conference rented the air. But the man of God went on air as well to announce that the meeting would not hold. The more the witches announced theirs the more he did his with greater slots. This prompted the station to invite Papa Idahosa and the head of the witches to really know what was actually going on. To cut a long story short, it was reported that the head of the witches boasted during the interview that even if God comes down from heaven, the meeting would still hold. But Papa Idahosa told him ( and I love this) that "God doesn't need to come down when he(Idahosa) is here". You got the message: it means God is too big for such shit, He would rather have one of his Sons to take care of that, and the son in question was well equal to the task. Of course the conference didn't hold. It doesn't matter what the host of hell are saying against your life, they may have gathered just like Zacharias kinsmen did to "decide" your destiny but that will only stand if you permit them.
Another important fact is that, it is good to know what God has said concerning your life or else you may settle down for what men say you are. Elisabeth didn't have to declare what she felt or her own words but the word of the Lord. You must know what has been said (written) in the volume of the book concerning you.
Hope you know that "thus saith the Lord" is not a license to go and sleep. Apostle Paul in I Timothy 1:18 has this to say, "This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;". Paul was simply telling Timothy that it is his business to wage a good warfare with those prophecies. God has given him His words by prophecies, the rest is his business.
Elisabeth declared, "Not so". What are those "Not Sos" in our lives. I mean those situations and occurrences that negate the word of God in our lives, that tend to give us a name that is not ours like the woman with the issue of blood whose predicament took up her name. Is it possible you bear a ''name'' that's not yours simply because you permitted it? Is it possible you may be going through situations that ought not to be so because you decide to hold your peace? Those "Not Sos" will remain until you take a stand against them and it is your business to confront them with the word. Have you not read in the scriptures that "whatever you permit here on earth shall be permitted in heaven"? I don't know what name men have given you may be, based on your family background or history: the child was named Zacharias after his father in line with the trend in his kindred. Whether or not the name sticks is your business. Open your mouth wide and declare HIS word. If you understand your position in God, you may not need to report the matter to God. Jesus says "whosoever shall say to this mountain be thou removed..." He didn't ask us to report the mountain to Him or the father rather we should exercise our authority. Elisabeth didn't have to consult God but rather she declared what she knew God has said. The scriptures say "where the word of the king is, there is power and who can say what doest thou?" You are a king for crying out loud! That is the realm God wants us to attain in our walk with Him.
Another aspect of this account that trips me so much has to do with the intercessory dimension of it. Elisabeth at that instance was standing in the gap for the child whose destiny was being decided as it were. There are those whose lives hang in the balances and whatever becomes of them depends largely on those whose duty it is to stand in the gap for them at such times in their lives. Have you wondered why certain fellows no matter how rough and wayward their lives seem to have been over the years eventually end up clean, i mean end up saints of the most high? Whereas some others may not be that privileged and do end up badly some even meet their untimely end. I believe the difference may not be unconnected with the activities of such intercessors-most times parents esp. mothers- who refused to let go but held on to the horns of God's alter interceding for these ones. God says is Ezekiel that He soughts for a man that will stand in the gap and make up the edge so He would not destroy the land but find none...
Your life is an challenge, rise to it! It is your business and not God's.


Tuesday, 9 February 2010

The Labour of a Fool- 2

In keeping with my promise, I will conclude this series today and I hope you find it very instructive and enlightening. Our Text this time is Luke 12:15-21. We will look at verse 15 now then later 16-21. Verse 15 "And he said unto them, "Take heed, and beware pf covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth."
The above was from the mouth of none other but the Lord and Master, Jesus himself. And it calls for serious attention in a materialistic world like ours. The life of a man does not consist in the abundance of things-certificates, houses, cars, clothings, women (men) etc- which he possesseth. Folks, life is more than food, drink and raiment. Life is about the legacies and ideals we live and stand for. Your life is not measured by your perceived worth but by your relevance. Someone has said, life is not measure by duration but by donation. This Verse 15 prompted Jesus to narrate the parable of the rich fool in verses 16-21 in order to drive home His point. Verse 16-21: "And he spake a parable unto them saying, the ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully; And he thought within himself, saying, what shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, this will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, soul, thou has much goods laid up for many years, take thine ease, eat, drink and be merry"
This rich guy, no doubt, was enterprising and visionary. The Bible says his ground (or business in modern terms) brought forth plentifully to the point that his packing store or warehouse couldn't contain his harvest. The guy like every other shrewd business man decided to expand and grow his business by pulling down and building bigger warehouse. In the eyes of an average business man, this fellow was a success as far as what eyes could see was concerned. But is that all that success entails? If you think so, then wait for this shocker in verse 20: "But God said unto him (the business magnet), thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee. Then whose shall those things be which thou hast provided?''
Doesn't it surprise you that this "wise" and shrewd business man was described in no mistaken terms as a fool? By extension, he has succeeded in just engaging himself in the labour of a fool.
But why was he called a fool? Lets do some expositions as to why he was called a fool.
He was not a fool because he made money but because he made it for the wrong reasons. the Bible says, he layeth up treasure for himself. Hear him, "my soul thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, drink and be merry". This guy lived for self-gratification and aggrandizement.
The labour of the foolish is a labour that is laboured to be consumed on self. When God told Abraham that He was going to bless him, it was so that we would be a blessing. God is not interested in your perceived worth but in your relevance to His cause and to humanity. You may be worth a billion dollars but still be irrelevant to God and to man. Men Don't care how much you worth until they know how much you care. If today you are no more, would you be missed?

"your life is measured not by your worth but by your relevance"-Prince

The labour of the foolish is a labour that is laboured without eternity (life after here) in view
. I Corithians 15:19 declares: "if in this life only we have hope, we are of all men most miserable". The rich guy forgot that "we brought nothing into this world and we can take nothing out of it'' (I Timothy 6:7). It reminds me of a story worth sharing here. A mad man happened to be around during the burial of a wealthy guy but was infuriated that the dead man was deprived of any of his belongings. He (the mad man) accosted them and was pointing at the dead man's belongings-houses, cars etc- one after another insisting that each be buried along with him. But when they refused, he concluded that they were wicked for refusing to give the man what he laboured for so he could use them on the other side of eternity. He walked away wagging his head. There are those who have vowed to stop at nothing until they get their soul's desires only to live them behind unceremoniously for others without even a "thank you" from their beneficiaries. Jesus asked in Mark 8:36 "what shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and lose his soul?.." The rich guy died leaving behind all he had laboured for and Verse 21 added "so is he that layeth up treasure for himself but is not rich towards God''. To be rich towards God speaks of having a rich personal relationship with God. How rich are you towards God? Be wise!

A labour of the foolish is a labour without regards to the Almighty from whom all blessings flow for His providence and mercies. The Psalmist says: "a fool has said in his heart, there is no God". Some don't say this but they act it out in their actions. They violate God's words (commandments) with reckless abandon. I read on a news site the other day a comment by a young fool who declared thus, "God if you exist, strike me dead by this time tomorrow. I don't believe you exist" And another fellow replied him very intelligently (he called him by his name and said) "if God strikes you dead as requested, how would we know?".

Folks, a fool is not just someone who can't spell his name or someone who talks balderdash. It is not just someone who gets coned by fraudsters-someone very gullible. There are also fools in 3-peice suits, living in mansions, driving posh cars and who speaks impeccable English. Some of them are even in positions of authority but their actions give them out as nothing but fools. You can tell from their philosophies of life and by their mad quest for the pleasures of life at the expense of their consciences and souls. The words of the rich fool in verse 19 sums up their lives, " soul...take thine ease, eat, drink and be merry". These are they who connive to steal company's goods (or government/public properties) and would tell themselves that "na where you dey work na you go chop" (or government money/property nobody get am, na all of us own). These are they who believe that they have to "use what they have to get what they want" and would go as far as selling their bodies to make that grade, get that job or pass that exam. These are buyers (or managers) who put contractors (vendors) through hell because they wouldn't play game with them.

What legacies would you leave behind after you are gone? Let your actions do the talking!