Prayer for fathers

This Sunday, we will celebrate Father’s day in a unique way. We will gift all fathers with 3 hours of prayers.

The burden that men carry has had a lot of spiritual backings. The man was placed in the position of leadership and stewardship, and the attack has always been on the man since the beginning.

The devil has systemised the world to keep many men from knowing God and hence their true purpose. Coupled with the world that men have difficulty identifying their place in this world, with a thought of seeming competition from women, men have resorted to all sorts of social violence and domestic violence.

Statistics have shown that homes without father figures have children with an increased chance of ending in prison. But God is in the season of turning the hearts of the fathers to their sons and vice versa (Micah 4:6). We want to approach into the throne room and ask for the grace for Fatherhood for all fathers (Hebrews 4:16)

Ministering on that day is the Holy Spirit through His vessels

* Ps. Mawunyega Lavoe (Co-Founder, StandOut Ministry International)
* Kwaku Adjei (Co-Founder, StandOut Ministry International)
* Ps. Jethro Apeawini
* Ps. Collins Boateng
* Ps. Precious Asamany
* Minister Sammy Praiz

Join us on this page as we pray together!!!
# Be a leader and raise a leader
# The grace for fatherhood

Extra Oil (Episode 5)

EXTRA OIL

In our previous episodes, we discussed what all the ten bridesmaids had in common. For recap, kindly scroll down for the links all the episodes.

In this episode, we will take a look at what was the difference between the five wise and five foolish virgins. The difference was the extra oil.

Some thoughts

As I read this passage, some thought run through my mind that I want to share with us:

  • Why was it necessary to carry the extra oil?
  • Why did the other five people fail to take the extra oil?
  • Did the other five people make any attempt to advice the other five to take extra oil?
  • Why didn’t the five wise virgins take extra oil that could cover for the foolish virgins?

The five wise virgins took the extra oil before the journey began or possibly before they slept waiting for the groom. Moreover, they had oil in their lamps with fire. So what could the five wise virgins take in extra?

The oil in the lamps helps the lamps catch fire. Although it may not be seen when the lamp is with fire, it is the oil that keeps the fire burning. This oil we have is the Grace of God. This grace is what makes the word of God keeps the fire (Holy Spirit) burning within us.

Dimensions of Grace

I love the definition of Grace by Apostle Johnson Selman. He states that everytime man receives equipping from God through the office of Christ, it is called grace.

We have been saved by grace (Acts 15:11, Romans 11:6). Grace is personified in Christ, for grace and truth came through Christ (John 1:17). God’s solution to man’s predicament of sin and escape from eternal condemnation is grace. With the grace of God appearing unto all men (Titus 2:11). Having accepted Jesus as our Lord and savior, we received grace as apportioned by Christ (Ephesians 1:7). It is this grace that has made us what we are (1 Corinthians 15:10).

The lamps with the fire burning were the qualification during the the ceremony to escort the groom. Having the lamp was not enough, but it should be burning. Remember that the Holy spirit is a seal of God’s ownership of us (2 Corinthians 1:22), and Christ is coming for His own (1 Corinthians 15:23). The grace they we all received when we were saved qualified us to have equal chance to enter into the presence of God. But due to circumstances, the oil in the lamp should be filled to keep the fire burning. So the writer of Hebrew exhorts us with this.

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Hebrews 4:16 (NLT)

This suggests that grace is always available when you need it. As we wait for the coming of Christ, we need grace to sail through the challenging times. We need the extra oil to make it. The grace strengthens us (Hebrews 13:9) to journey through the Earth as we await our savior.

These are the dimensions of Grace that I found from my research in the Bible:

  • Multiplied Grace (1 Peter 1:2): This comes through the knowledge of God and Jesus.
  • Great Grace (Acts 4:32-33): This comes through unity.
  • More Grace (James 4:6): This is given to the humble.
  • Exceeding grace (2 Corinthians 9:14): It is given through prayer.
  • All grace (2 Corinthians 9:8; Acts 6:8): It is given through giving.

Conclusion

Christ is coming soon for those who are His. He is coming for those who are ready for Him. He is coming for a spotless bride, ready with its fire burning. Do not be fooled into thinking professing you are a Christian is enough. Let those who think they are standing watch lest they fall. We all need the extra oil as we await our savior to appear. For He is coming soon as a thief in the night and no one knows the hour. He is coming as a judge. Are you ready?

Prayers

In today’s prayers, I would like us to pray for extra oil as we wait for our bridegroom to come. We pray that our fire will not go off, but we will keep burning through the fellowship with the Holy Spirit. We pray that all grace be made available unto us to live the life Christ expects of us. May we never miss our mark and be like the wise virgins who dined with the groom. God bless you and remain a blessing. AMEN!!!

StandOut Ministry International

Links to Episode 1-4

Episode 1, 2, 3, 4

Extra Oil (Episode 4)

Recap

Let us take a recap of episode 2(link) and episode 3 (link). Christ is the groom and the church is the bride. We belong to Christ if we have accepted Him as our Lord and personal savior. As such, He has gone back to His father to prepare a place for us (John 14:3).

The bridemaids help cover the weakness of the bride from the public. In the parable, some similarities were drawn between the wise and foolish virgins. Three of the similaries we discussed in episode 3 included:

  • The bridesmaids knew their tasks and responsibility
  • They had the necessary resources
  • They all heard the same announcements.

Let us continue from where we left off.

d. They all became drowsy and fell asleep

Waiting patiently for the coming of the groom, they may have grown weary of His coming. Yes, they knew He would come late, but he had delayed. But can the groom be blamed? His coming was not about the time, but it came with the announcement of His approach. Technically, his delayal may be in the minds and books of the virgins.

Have you gone through a phase in your life where you may have thought God has delayed? Have you wondered until when your breakthrough will be delivered? Have you gone through the mill, have you been crushed to the point where you feel drowsy and have fallen asleep?

Sin has become rampant in our day and age. Everywhere you turn to, sin stares at you with a devouring mouth to capture us. Although as sin increases, grace abounds, we tend to be shrouded in our selfish desires and succumb to the flesh and sins. Constantly, we run to the cross and plead for mercy and forgiveness, but our weakness and addictions sends us back into the glaring mouth of sin. . The things we wish not to do, these are the things we keep getting accustomed to. Lord have mercy on us!!

With the gradual swallowing into sin, our love for God waxes cold. Jesus predicted this in one of His teachings (Matthew 24:13). You get to the point where doing the things of God becomes difficult for you. The dangerous aspect of it all is when you make people believe you are hot for God, but in your closet, you have grown cold. Jesus in the book of Revelation warns against lukewarm people.

Instead of seeking help from the Holy Spirit, we tend to hold on to our ego and self-preservation and think we are holier than everyone. Unawares to you, your spirit keeps getting malnourished to the point where you become deficient in the spirit. You realise that your prayer life, bible study life, evangelism life and your passion for God and His work has actually grown cold. This battle never seems to end and you may grow weary if you rely on your strength.

In our current day, we have become so lousy with our schedules that we have become drowsy in the things God has called us to do. We have lost focus on the reason for which He first called us. Trying to earn a living to sustain ourselves, our schedules gets tighter with the combination to other stuff and we seem not to get time fellowship with God. With time, we get to realise that we have fallen asleep and have neglected the assignment of God. Lord, may you show us mercy!!!

His assurance of hope

The assurance God gives us is that He does all things beautiful in His own time (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Your pressured moments in patience never disputes the fact that God will surely come through for you.

We have been eagerly awaiting the coming of the bridegroom (Christ) as a church. As bridesmaids, we have ben looking earnestly waiting for the appearance/announcement of the groom. Like the maids did not know when the groom was coming, so we do not know when the groom was coming, so we also do not know when Christ will appear (Matthew 24:36; Acts 1:7). His coming will be like that of a thief (1 Thessalonians 5:2). Having waited fro so long a time, there is that tendency that we may feel drowsy and fall asleep. We may in certain cases lose hope in the midst of the persecutions in this world and begin doubting Christ’s words to us (the bridesmaid). But God is not slow as we think. He has delayed so that a lot of people can be saved (2 Peter 3:9).

Come to think of it ; the bride is actually hoping to meet the groom. She is eagerly waiting to re-unite with the groom, so also is the groom waiting to meet the bride. Both of them have the eager longing to meet each other. Christ yearns for the day He will present this bride the church to His Father. He yearns for that moment.

The good news is that we have our lamps ( the word of God) which has the fire (the Spirit of God). If we light our lamps (study the Word) and set ourselves on fire (fellowship with the Holy Spirit), we shall sail through together.

Pay attention to what Paul tells the church in Thessalonica:

But you, beloved brothers and sisters, are not living in the dark, allowing that day to creep up on you like a thief coming to stealFor you are all children of the light and children of the day. We don’t belong to the night nor to darkness. This is why we must not fall asleep, as the rest do, but keep wide awake and clearheaded. For those who are asleep sleep the night away, and drunkards get drunk at night.But since we belong to the day, we must stay alert and clearheaded by placing the breastplate of faith and love over our hearts, and a helmet of the hope of salvation over our thoughts.For God has not destined us to experience wrath but to possess salvation through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. 

1 Thessalonians 5:4-10 (The Passion Translation)

Maybe, you do not have a relationship with the groom. You have followed the dictates of the flesh and have wandered away from the truth. There is still hope for you if you repent of your sins and come to Jesus to be saved. If you are willing to receive Jesus as your Lord and saviour, kindly repeat these prayers after me:

Prayers

Father, thank you for showing me a sinner your love. I am grateful for your sacrifice to save a wretched sinner like me. I believe that Jesus is your Son and He died for my sins. I accept Jesus as my Lord and personal savior. I dedicate my life unto you and will walk with him steadfastly by Your help. Thank you father for accepting me into your family. Amen!!!

If you have said these prayers, then you have been saved. Kindly find a Bible believing church to attend. Enjoy the fellowship of other brethren and grow in this grace that you have received. Kindly drop your comments and contribute your thoughts to this series. God bless you and remain a blessing.

StandOut Ministry International.

Extra Oil (Episode 3)

Recap

Let us take a recap of episode 2 (link). Christ is the groom and the church is the bride. We belong to Christ if we have accepted Him as our Lord and personal savior. As such, He has gone back to His father to prepare a place for us (John 14:3). To give us an assurance, He gave unto us the Holy Spirit as a seal of our salvation (Ephesians 1:13). He has assured us that you have my full oath that I am surely going to come for you. There is no way I will change my mind and go for another bride. In the fullness of time, the father will then send the groom to come for His bride and bring her home.

The role of the bridesmaids

Every woman who is about to be married is so much interested in who joins the bridal train. Some wedding have as many as ten bridesmaid. I tend to wonder why people choose such a number of bridesmaid.

Prior to the wedding and during the wedding, the bridesmaids are to assist the bride in whatever things she needs. They make sure her weaknesses are not exposed to the outside world. Serving her with their all, their goal is to ensure that the bride gets the wedding of her choice.

The Talmud talks about having shushbinin — close friends — escort the bride and groom, to the point that someone who was shushbin at your wedding can’t testify in court about you, as the personal connection is too tight. (reference; reference2 ).

Upon the announcement that the bridegroom is approaching, the bridemaids take their lamps to meet up with the bridegroom and his team and welcome them to the house of the bride. The bride, also expecting the groom at any time, always keeps her lamp on to make sure she is ready for the coming of the groom.

In our lesson, Jesus distinguishes between the ten bridemaids that were waiting for the bridegroom. Five of them were deemed wise and the rest were deemed foolish. Let us look at what all the bridesmaids had in common.

Similarities of the 10 bridesmaids.

“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.

Matthew 25:1 (NIV)

a. They knew their tasks and responsibilities (V1)

They all knew that they were to watch out for the groom and get him welcomed for the bride. Knowing the responsibility is not just enough. It is als necessary that you walk with God in faithfulness.

b. They had the necessary resources (V1)

All the bridesmaids had the materials required to perform their duty. They had a lamp with oil in them, ready to meet the bridegroom. If the groom had come earlier, they could have made it too. Everything we need for life and godliness has been provided to us according to His divine power (2 Peter 1:3). The oil was in the lamp when the virgins were on their duty, but they needed extra oil to keep the lamp burning until the groom was in.

Come to think of it ; the bride is actually hoping to meet the groom. She is eagerly waiting to re-unite with the groom, so also is the groom waiting to meet the bride. Both of them have the eager longing to meet each other. Christ yearns for the day He will present this bride the church to His Father. He yearns for that moment.

c. They all heard the same announcement (V6)

When Christ appears, we shall all see Him (1 John 3:2). This affirms the truth that the groom will come. “For as you see Him going, so He shall come …” (Acts 1:11). His coming will be announced by the angels in the clouds with a trumpet and all of us will get to see Him (1 Thessalonians 4:16: Matthew 24:31). Whether we have lost hope or not, we will see Him when He comes. His words shall not fail even if Heaven and Earth disappear.

We shall continue in the next episode.

Are you ready for His coming? His coming is certain and His coming is closer than was predicted. Have you prepared yourself to meet Him? If He should come now, are you ready to meet Him?

Maybe, you do not have a relationship with the groom. You have followed the dictates of the flesh and have wandered away from the truth. There is still hope for you if you repent of your sins and come to Jesus to be saved. If you are willing to receive Jesus as your Lord and saviour, kindly repeat these prayers after me:

Prayers

Father, thank you for showing me a sinner your love. I am grateful for your sacrifice to save a wretched sinner like me. I believe that Jesus is your Son and He died for my sins. I accept Jesus as my Lord and personal savior. I dedicate my life unto you and will walk with him steadfastly by Your help. Thank you father for accepting me into your family. Amen!!!

If you have said these prayers, then you have been saved. Kindly find a Bible believing church to attend. Enjoy the fellowship of other brethren and grow in this grace that you have received. Kindly drop your comments and contribute your thoughts to this series. God bless you and remain a blessing.

StandOut Ministry International.

Extra Oil (Episode 2)

From today’s studies, we will take a look at the parable of the ten bridesmaids (virgins in some translations). For a recap of the introduction, the link has been attached (recap).

The parable begins with Jesus likening how things will be in the Kingdom of God to the narration of events that follows. Picking the entire chapter into context, Jesus in Matthew 24 speaks extensively about His second coming and the events that will precede His coming. To reveal in another dimension how things would be like, He gave this parable:

“Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.

Matthew 25:1 (NIV)

To fully understand this parable and what it means when Jesus uses it to describe His second coming, we need to have a study of how the weddings were celebrated. I did some few diggings arounds and this is a summary of what I found that I want to share.

On the wedding day, the bridegroom went to the bride’s house for the ceremony; then the bride and groom, along with a great procession, returned to the groom’s house where a feast took place, often lasting a full week.

There are three ways of acquiring a spouse: through money, a contract or sexual intercourse . The process of marriage occurs in two distinct stages: kiddushin (commonly translated as betrothal) and nisuin (full-fledged marriage). (reference)

Kiddushin

The Kiddushin occurs when the woman accepts the money, contract or sexual relations offered by the prospective husband. The root word for kiddushin means to be sanctified. This means that upon accepting the offer, the woman is set apart for a purpose; to be his wife and no other mans’. Mostly the father of the groom negotiates the match for his son (reference).

Nisuin

The Nisuin completes the process of marriage. The husband brings the wife into his home and they begin their married life together. In the past, the Kiddushin and the nisuin would routinely occur as much as a year apart. In this period, the man prepares a home in his father’s home to receive his bride.

This sounds very interesting. God has always sought for a bride for His son, Christ. As such, He had to pay the price to secure the bride for His son. The price He paid out of love for the bride was the precious blood of His only begotten son. It was a costly, but He did it so that His Son will be united to His bride. I guess you can now infer that Christ is the groom and the church is His bride. Well, let me help your doubt with this scripture:

And you husbands, show the same kind of love to your wives as Christ showed to the Church when he died for her, to make her holy and clean, washed by baptism and God’s Word; so that he could give her to himself as a glorious Church without a single spot or wrinkle or any other blemish, being holy and without a single fault. 

Ephesians 5:25-27

In the Kiddushin, the groom was sent to His bride. Our famous Sunday School scripure, John 3:16, establishes this truth. Christ came into the world to be with us. Full of grace and truth, Christ came to reveal what the Kingdom of His father was. By His death on the cross, He used it as the terms of the contract (the new and everlasting covenant that comes with better promises) to secure the bride. The contract is still extended unto us to accept it so that we can become part of His bride (the church). The church, made up of individual members (believers) and knitted together by the Spirit, is Christ’s bride. That is why we need to believe in the name of the Lord Jesus to be saved. This is what the Bible says:

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 10:9

We belong to Christ if we have accepted Him as our Lord and personal savior. As such, He has gone back to His father to prepare a place for us (John 14:3). To give us an assurance, He gave unto us the Holy Spirit as a seal of our salvation (Ephesians 1:13). He has assured us that you have my full oath that I am surely going to come for you. There is no way I will change my mind and go for another bride. In the fullness of time, the father will then send the groom to come for His bride and bring her home. The event, known as the nisuin, is what Christ uses to explain His second coming.

The question that we will discuss next time is what was the role of the bridesmaid in the coming of the bride. The bride will never change, but the bridesmaids can be changed, think through it. Are you ready for His coming?

I would line to end today’s episode by giving you the opportunity to accept Jesus as your Lord and saviour if you have not. Also, I would want to give you the opportunity to rededicate your life to Christ. Please say this prayer in faith and out loud:

Prayers

Father, thank you for showing me a sinner your love. I am grateful for your sacrifice to save a wretched sinner like me. I believe that Jesus is your Son and He died for my sins. I accept Jesus as my Lord and personal savior. I dedicate my life unto you and will walk with him steadfastly by Your help. Thank you father for accepting me into your family. Amen!!!

If you have said these prayers, then you have been saved. Kindly find a Bible believing church to attend. Enjoy the fellowship of other brethren and grow in this grace that you have received. Kindly drop your comments and contribute your thoughts to this series. God bless you and remain a blessing.

StandOut Ministry International

References:

http://bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/judaism/rites/weddings_1.shtml; https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/marriage-in-judaism; https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/ancient-jewish-marriage/

Extra Oil

The blog is celebrating its 2-year anniversary. We really want to thank you all for your continued support and encouragement. God bless you.

On May 21st 2020, we celebrated the ascension day. To most people in Norway, it was a holiday to rest from our busy schedules and to some others have the opportunity to been paid a higher rate per hour if they are chosen to work. However, I began to ponder on what happened when Jesus was being taken up to heaven some 2000 years ago.

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Acts 1:9-11 (NIV)

Jesus’ ascension was messaged by His second coming. Remembering His ascension should be accompanied by the preparation towards the second coming of the savior.

The parable of the 10 bridesmaids

Jesus in speaking about His second coming gave this parable. The parable is about ten virgins who had so many things in common, except that five of them carried extra oil and they were dubbed as wise.

In the Jewish culture, the wedding was a very solemn occasion. It was a custom sometimes used among the Jews on that occasion, the bridegroom came, attended with his friends, late in the night, to the house of the bride, where she expected him, attended with her bride-maids; who, upon notice given of the bridegrooms’ approach, were to go out with lamps in their hands, to light him into the house with ceremony and formality.

In the next few days, we will study in details what Jesus was communicating to the people. Jesus is coming again. His coming is so so near that we have to be ready for His arrival. Are you ready for His coming?

I pray that this series will create in us the desire to yearn for Him and live steadfastly for the Lord. May we never miss out on our opportunity to be with the Lord.

StandOut Ministry International.

Pick up your broken pieces.

God, pick up the pieces. Put me back together again. You are my praise!

Jeremiah 17:14 (MSG)

Introduction

I had a chat with a friend over the weekend about how we can pick up ourselves from whatever mess we were in. Indeed it was a refreshing moment. After the meeting, I had some time to think about the discussion and I have written this blog with the help of my friend, Elsie.

Missed Opportunities

Life always presents unto us varied opportunities. Most opportunities look promising in the entire scope we can envision them. Recounting our journey till date, we realise the opportunities we missed: opportunities that were meant to have lifted us to the next level. Nothing cripples your move to the next level that the thought of a blown opportunity.

Opportunities are not the only thing life gives to us. We are presented with challenges of every kind. The combination of the opportunities and the challenges produces a picture of confusion and mess which usually demands more than what what we call “just easy” to seperate the two of them.

In other instances, flashes of thought about the resounding comments and advice you have received keeps coming into recollection over and over again. That notwithstanding, you receive comments such as “i told you so”, which intensifies the grievance.

Your mess may not be a bad incident per say. Possibly, your story may be like Joseph who was imprisoned for missing out on an opportunity to lay with Potiphar’s wife or Job who went through series of misfortunes for failing to deny and curse God.

You are not alone

We all have messes we have been through or are going through. Some messes may be similar but we all go through it because of different reasons. Possibly we got to the same mess through several means, but the point is that we all got to the same destination.

Look around you. Everyone has got his or her bit they are addressing. In the moments of our mess, we tend to succumb to our solitudes and think we are the only ones with a cross to carry. The cliche of the “holier than thou” colleagues tend to keep us in the notion that we are the worst, even making it difficult to open up for help. It indeed becomes a lonely journey.

The chief potter

The extent of our pain and mess may vary from person to person. However, the most important lesson of the mess is not to cripple you into a stand still, but to equip you with enough lessons to get you even further than you imagined. God is always here to help you through.

This scripture is the message I intend to leave you with today.

The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, “Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.” So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.

Jeremiah 18:1-4 (NLT)

Just as the message was sent to Jeremiah, so I send forth God’s word to you through this blog. God is always at his work as the potter. Isaiah 29:16 asserts that God is the potter and we are the lay. He undeniably is greater than we are. His ways will therefore be higher than our ways and his thoughts higher than ours. That is the relationship between the potter and the clay.

Understand that the clay is molded to fit the potters visioned art. However, depending on the texture of the clay, the potter will have difficulties in getting his artefact out. God has a purpose for us, but sometimes due to our stubborness and unwillingness to yield to His leadership, He cannot work out what He had predestined for us to manifest.

Howbeit, He does not give up on us. He keeps crushing us and making us all over again. He picks the broken pieces and then starts everything over again until He gets His desired piece. His love for us endures forever and He is committed to seeing His work accomplished.

Are you a failure? Can you make it out of this mess? Is there way for you to get back on your feet and do what God expects of me? Well, I have good news for you. God is every ready to help you out. This is what He has promised us:

Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me.[a] I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.

Matthew 11:28 (TPT)

You do not have to go through this alone. Seek help from a friend or someone you can trust. For we are admonished to share in each others burdens as a way to fulfil Christ’s law (Galatians 6:2).

God bless you and remain a blessing. With lots of love.

StandOut Ministry International.

My Lockdown message.

Introduction

I have been writing some thoughts about the current situation. I have written about my views of the impact of the COVID-19 on the church (attach link) and have written on having a different perspective during the lockdown (attach link). In today’s blog I would like to share a lockdown package I have received, which I believe will be a blessing to you.

Return Home

Yesterday’s service was a blessing. Not in any way forgetting about the charisma of the praises that was played during the offering, the powerful worship and opening prayer and the musical interlude before the sermon began, the sermon was well delivered by the Holy Spirit through His servant. You may hear many sermons, but there seems to be a part where you know that it was actually packaged for you. Well, if you will not admit that, I would still admit that the message was a blessing to me.

What is the content of this message I keep fussing about. Well, it was about the prodigal son. Yes, the same parable of the prodigal son we know from Luke 15:11-32. What made the sermon breathtaking was God’s beckoning call to return home from whatever far country we have gone to. I must be quick to add that I have paraphrased the title of the sermon and have only shared what message I want to deliver to my audience. This is the link to the full sermon by Apostle Emmanuel A. Quaye and you can watch it too (sermon).

The far Country

He journeyed to a far-off land where he soon wasted all he was given in a binge of extravagant and reckless living.

Luke 15:13 (TPT)

In our Christian journey, we may have drifted gradually from our faith. Surrounded by people from the world who profess their hypocrite love to their own benefit, we are lured by the dictate of our flesh to the things of this world. Notwithstanding the varied efforts of the Holy Spirit to convict us of what is happening, the influence from the world engulfs us till we are succumbed to it fully.

The far country may signify anything you did for God but you have stopped doing them because you have tuned your ear to the sayings of the world. This is where I felt the punch of the word right through my heart. For quite a long time I have been slow at writing the spirit booster. Having been discouraged by comments I have received from previous posts and the excuse I kept giving myself of having busy schedules, I completely neglected an assignment that God entrusted unto me. My question for you today is “what have you negleted?“. How far have you gone away from the grace of God and your faith in Christ Jesus?. Do you still pray, study the Bible, go on evangelism like you used to?. How far have you gone? Well, ponder on these questions.

Come back to your senses.

Repentance does not end with realising your mistakes, but with taking actions to correct your mistakes. It is not enough knowing that you have drifted far away from the grace of God, but it important that you make the necessary efforts to approach the throne room of Grace for help in this times of need (Hebrews 4:16).

“Humiliated, the son finally realized what he was doing and he thought, ‘There are many workers at my father’s house who have all the food they want with plenty to spare. They lack nothing. Why am I here dying of hunger, feeding these pigs and eating their slop? 18 I want to go back home to my father’s house, and I’ll say to him, “Father, I was wrong. I have sinned against you.  I’ll never be worthy to be called your son. Please, Father, just treat me like one of your employees.”’

Luke 5:17-18 (TPT)

The resolution you make to get back to where you stood with God begins with first realising what you are doing. Understand that whatever thing that you used to do was not just for yourself. There was an impact for which you lost focus and people have been left in dismay for. You need to have a retrospective look at what you have missed as you laid back. These are lessons that will help you stand the future challenges as they come up.

After realising what you have done, get up and come home. God is ever ready to receive you back home and restitute you. It doesn’t matter that you have wasted whatever opportunity, gift and talent that He gave you. He is able to welcome you home and share in the fellowship with His. His love is beyond the mistakes that we will ever commit.

God is calling us all to come irrestive of how far we have drifted away. Come home and He is already expecting you. Remember this scripture…

For again, the Scriptures say, If only today you would listen to his voice. Don’t make him angry by hardening your hearts, as you did in the wilderness rebellion.

Hebrews 3:15 (TPT)

God bless you and remain a blessing. With lots of love.

StandOut Ministry International.

A different perspective.

So be very careful how you live, not being like those with no understanding, but live honorably with true wisdom, for we are living in evil times. Take full advantage of every day as you spend your life for his purposes.

Ephesians 5:15-16 (TPT)

It has been five weeks since the lockdown started in Norway. There has been some inconsistencies with my effectiveness from working from home. During many discussions I have with my friends, they have the same sentiments. Well, we have found excuses to ignore certain responsibilities and as such have not been effective.

I must admit that some of these excuses are legitimate. With taking care of kids, homeschooling them, extra work we find for ourselves amongst many others, the 24 hours are quite shorter than expected.

As I woke up this afternoon after taking long hours of excused sleep, a question dawned on me which I want to share with us. What is your excuse? It got me thinking for a while and I decided to share a few things with us.

Thinking critically about what I have made out of myself in the past weeks, I realised that what I have made out of the lockdown was a result of my perspective I had for the lockdown. I’m not trying to prove that I am better than anyone. However, I realised that I saw the lockdown as an escape from a busy life rather than seeing it as an opportunity to develop myself and get better at some other things in my life.

With a normal life without lockdown, the schedules are always booked. It becomes difficult to turn down appointment and have enough spare time for yourself. However, with the lockdown came a lot of free time on my hands. Your guess is as right as mine with what I did with all that time. Movies after movies and series after series.

Like most students, we have had to adapt to the new teaching methods. For those of us who love virtual teaching and learn a lot from youtube videos and other e-learning platforms, this period has been a great benefit to us. With this teaching method now saves us some few minutes from transmutting to the campus and back. What a great relief that is when you do not have to rush for a bus. However, there still remains some of us who would also love the physical classroom experience. Some courses that have laboratory work that would require certain apparatus and other logistics to carry them out. We can’t take that experience away from them.

In whatever category you may be in, you can still produce reasons for your inefficiency. However, ask yourself if things could have been better than they are now if you would have done some things differently.

I have written this piece not to show in anyway that I am perfect. I have also faced these issues that I share with you presently. However, I have come to admit that I cannot blame my inefficiencies to the current situations. What I have made of my time can only be linked to my perspective of the the lockdown.

I want to end today’s blog with this quote from John Maxwell. It reads:

If your perception of and response to failure were changed, what would you attempt to achieve?

Maxwell, John C. Failing forward. Harper Collins, 2007.

God bless you and remain a blessing. May you enjoy the favor of the Lord in this season.

StandOut Ministry International.

The impact of the COVID-19 on the church.

Introduction

In recent months, the spread of COVID-19 has led to a lockdown in many countries. In these countries and some others that are yet to go on lockdown, ban has been placed on social gatherings. People are encouraged to work from homes, schools have been closed and lectures are done online, church services (including weddings and funerals) have been called off.

These measures are suppose to keep the entire citizenry safe in this season. As a precautionary measure, isolation from people, regular washing of hands have been meted out to be observed by all. This is a step in the right direction and I strongly support the government and its institutions in their directives.

In this article, I want to discuss some impact of the COVID-19 on the church and its entire membership. Most of my discussions follow from my faith in the word of God and the promises of His covenant, as well as logical reasoning of the situation at hand.

The negative side

No one actually loves a messenger of bad news. Our ears have been tuned to appreciate good news and that’s to be expected. However, I want to present the downside of the COVID-19 on the members in the church and the church as an organisation.

As a Christian and a leader in the church, I must admit that the aura of the congregational worship is a great experience: the lifting up of hands during worship, the dance during praises, the bible discussion sessions and fellowship after church service is one of a kind. Many people look forward to this experience as the church service approaches. However, this experience will be missed for a while. This heightens panic and fear and in some instances depression.

The close-down of the church and its services will have a negative influence on the finances of the church. Although the church is a non-profit organisation, it thrives on the contribution of its members through tithes and offerings. With expenses that are incurred as the services are run, ranging from utility bills to salaries and mortgages, the church leadership has an extra challenge to handle this issue. Although some have quickly developed online payment methods for the tithes and offerings, there still remain a substantial amount of churches that have and may not be able to do so at such a time. The global economic instability will obviously affect the income of the members, which in turn will also affect the income of the church.

The positive side

Source: Pexels.com

Let me also use this opportunity to share some of the positive impact of the COVID-19 on the church. I believe that this COVID-19 season has in one way or the other worked out for the good of the church.

Global shake-ups

This COVID-19 season has brought a great revival in the nations of this world. On the global level, attention has been on God as the only help. Some countries like Ghana (https://www.bbc.com/pidgin/tori-51993919) and the U.S.A. have declared a national day of fasting and prayers. President Trump in his address proclaimed:

Our nation has never more needed earnest, prevailing prayer for a reversal of evil and for a revival of faith, for wise and godly leaders, and for peace and goodwill in the world.

https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/trump-national-day-of-prayer-robert-morgan

This season has served as a platform for countries to have a retrospective look at the source of their wisdom and strength, an opportunity to unite as a nation to call on the name of the Lord. Never in my life has this scripture been quoted than in this crisis season:

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14

Online services

The closing down of churches has led to a quick shift of the church to dominate the social media platforms. Gone were the days where church service was only confined to the four walls of a building, but most churches are now challenged to reach their members through the social media platforms and as such reach a greater audience.

This reminds me of a scripture where the persecution of the church moved Philip to Samaria to preach the gospel there. As a matter of opinion, the COVID-19 may have come in a time like this to shift the church from its four walls and get people to fellowship with God.

God has always been on the business of getting the message of the good news to the ends of the earth. This was His command to the church:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-19 (NIV)

The gospel has to be preached to those outside the church and He intends to get that accomplished. Through the social media platforms, the knowledge of the glory of God is expanded to a larger mass. It is quite unfortunate that it had to take death and illness to shift us in this direction, howbeit He pushed the church in Acts through persecution and imprisonment of the believers (Reference: Acts 8), and He may be doing same in our era.

Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews.

Acts 11:19 (NIV)

Shine as lights

Whenever darkness comes, it gives the light the opportunity to become brighter. Light is not afraid of darkness and is always pleased that there is darkness to shine forth. In the midst of other light, a match stick will not be brighter than a fluorescent bulb. However, in darkness, the match stick with produce a brighter light.

In the midst of other believers, we may have deemed ourselves as “useless”. Looking at the contribution and attitude of people with regards to the work of God, you sometimes fall short with nothing to actually talk about. There is no department in the church you have found yourself to be a part of .

However, this season presents us all the opportunity to use what we have to be a blessing to others. Ranging from the care we show to our friends to the messages of hope we share on our various social media platforms, we can contribute our quota to dealing with the darkness of panic and death that plaques the entire populace.

Most importantly, we can also support the less priviledged in this period of lockdown by providing food, healthcare kits to hospitals amongst many others. I should be quick to commend some churches like Church of Pentecost (https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Church-Pentecost-donates-logistics-to-Ministry-of-Health-to-combat-coronavirus-904171) , Maker’s House Chapel (https://www.peacefmonline.com/pages/local/news/202003/404001.php), etc that have already embarked on such projects. We can also contribute the little we have to support such great projects.

Conclusion

I would like to end this article with an instagram post from Bishop T.D. Jakes.

To those of you, that live in areas that have restricted our ability to mingle, and you’ve been wise enough to comply. This is a great time to pray, plan, and prepare. Whatever is on the other side of this required complete global disruption! Many people are just waiting for normal to return, but disruptions come to liberate you from what was, and to prepare you for what’s next! There will be bankruptcies and billionaires born out of the same experience. There will be bitter divorces and couples who fell back in love resulting in stronger marriages that date back to these days. There will be churches that close down and circus to the hardships this brings and others that initiate massive revival with innovative ideas because covid19 came to town. There will be leaders who win the hearts of their people by fighting for their best interests. There will be others who’s cowardice or narcissism will destroy the equilibrium of your organization. A warm hand will reach out to the family, or a bitter tongue will destroy it. Both will attribute the virus.Which one will you be? Give that some thought as you look out the fence at a world-shaking in unprecedented ways!

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/B-R2DfvnMld/

God bless you and Remain a blessing. With lots of love.

StandOut Ministry International.