Change the narrative (Part 4)

Sometimes Peter and John may not walk by your path and heal you in the name of Jesus when you ask for alms (link to episode). Sometimes you may not have the spies staying over in your house, even though you are a prostitute, for you to have the opportunity to make a deal with them (link to episode). Sometimes, you have to make the move to seek the help as you are directed by the Spirit. Staying put is the same as keeping to your bondage and limitations. In today’s episode, we will look at two women: Ruth and the woman with the issue of the blood.

3. The woman with the Issue of the blood

For she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.

Matthew 9:21-22 (NKJV)

Just like the man who sat at the gate called beautiful, this woman’s name was not mentioned in all the accounts written about her situation in the gospels according to Matthew, Mark and Luke. It is not a matter of our discussion why her name was not mentioned.

By social, health and religious constraints, she was supposed to be indoors and condemn herself to death. After roaming on several doctors for the past twelve years, she should have had enough of it. It was time to call it quit. Due to her conditions, she could not go out to mingle with her friends. She was relegated to the corridors of isolation and maybe depression. Moreover, she was not allowed to participate in any of the religious activities. This is what God commanded them to do in Leviticus:

If a woman has a discharge of blood for many days, not at the time of her menstrual impurity, or if she has a discharge beyond the time of her impurity, all the days of the discharge she shall continue in uncleanness. As in the days of her impurity, she shall be unclean.

Leviticus 15:25 (ESV)

With all these limitations, she said to herself that I need to touch the helm of his garment and I will be healed. After all, I have been through this for twelve years, so if it does not work, I will still try. With every other calculations that could have made her stay to herself, she reached out to touch the garment of Jesus and she was healed. The key emphasis to changing her narrative was that “she said to herself…“.

There were a lot of people surrounding Jesus for so many reasons. Amongst them may be people who also needed solutions to their problems. But it was this woman who had her story changed for the better, as reported by the writers of the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke.

Maybe you have tried so many times to call on the name of the Lord to intervene in your situation, but you have seen no results. In spite of the various men of God you have visited, you have not received a response to your situation. Hannah also made a request to God for a child, but did not see a response until the moment she decided to leave her pain at the altar and speak to God by acknowledging God in her request and learning to put a sacrifice on the altar. Her response came through. God may delay our responses and release them at the appointed time we are ready to handle them.

Enough of the excuses. You have been sitting idle with all of the excuses why your situation can’t change. I want to give you just one reason why it can change: CHRIST JESUS. He is the only one who can turn your situation around. Can you make a move today and come to Him for help? Can you defy all the social, physical and religious constraints that you are facing and go on your knees to call on Him? His arms are widely opened to receive you and help you out. Yes, beat the excuses and come to CHRIST for the help you desperately need.

Prayer

Father thank you for sending your son Christ Jesus to die for my sins. I am weary of the burden and pain I am going through and I need your help. I duly confess my sins and accept Christ as my Lord and personal savior. Thank you Father for accepting me as Your son. AMEN!!!

I want you to spend quality time and talk to God, once you have accepted Christ as your Lord and savior. For this is what He has promised us in His word:

And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he hearth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

Thank you Father for a wonderful day you have given unto us. We thank you for granting unto us whatever we have asked from you today. Thank you for your deliverance in Jesus name. Our stories are changed, and it is all to your Glory!!! Amen!!!

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

StandOut Ministry International.

CHANGE THE NARRATIVE (PART 3)

Source: Link

Welcome to this episode. In the case you missed out on the two previous episodes, kindly check up on them (Part 1 & Part 2).

Today we look at another story that encourages us to change the narrative of the discourse of our lives. I present to you Rahab, from the Bible. Yes, the prostitute who later became part of the geneology of Christ.

2. Rahab (Joshua 2)

and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you.

Joshua 2:9 (NIV)

Rahab was a prostitute in a city around Jericho. She was known for her good business and was even known to the king. Her line of work was to welcome people and share her body with them. Although I find it quite strange, the two spies sent by Joshua spent the night with her. The discussion is not why they went there, but the emphasis is that there was an opportunity created for her to change the narrative of her life and the occupation people had known her with and by.

Upon having this encounter with the spies, she spoke to them about sparing her household from the attack of the Israels. By the testimony they have received, the citizens were all afraid. She knew that the Lord had already given the Israelites the land (Verse 8).

Was she trying to betray her people she had lived with all these years? Was she not thinking about her business and what she would live on if the city was destroyed? What was the guarantee that these people would honor their word to her? These and many other questions we can ask and I presume was lingering in her head.

However, by faith in God and putting her faith in the God of the Israelites, she was able to save herself and her family from the attack of the Israelites. Can I suggest this to you: the reason why you have to change the narrative of your life is because others are depending on you to change their life story. Her decision to believe in God and the promises to the people of Israel and discerning the opportunity that was presented unto her gave her family the deliverance from the attack.

Her occupation as a prostitute did not stop her from changing her narrative. Her faith in God made the grace of God available for her. It does not matter what life you have lived. Your past life and mistakes cannot surpass the grace of God available unto you through Christ Jesus. For Christ to save sinners and not the righteous. You are not beyond the reach of God’s salvation. If only you can discern the opportunity God is presenting to you today to change your story, you will run to Him and ask Him to forgive you of all your sins and past mistakes.

Listen, you have the potential of becoming part of the geneology of Christ. A messiah is destined to come from you, and it depends on how you can reposition yourself in the will and purpose of God. Can you allow Him to take over your life? Can you come to Him just as you are and ask for help? You are the reason God sent His Son to die for.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16 (NIV)

You do not deserve to perish. Come to Jesus now!

PRAYERS

Father thank you for sending your son Christ Jesus to die for my sins. I am weary of the burden and pain I am going through and I need your help. I duly confess my sins and accept Christ as my Lord and personal savior. Thank you Father for accepting me as Your son. AMEN!!!

If you prayed this prayer, be rest assured that Christ has welcomed you into the family of saints. Therefore, you need to find a Bible believing and Holy Spirit filled church to fellowship with. You need to grow in the knowledge of Christ and what He has offered you today. Get an Bible (you can download one right now) and start reading. If you have a testimony you want us to share in this series, kindly comment in the blog and we will do so.

God richly bless you and remain a blessing. See you in the next episode.

StandOut Ministry International.

CHANGE THE NARRATIVE (PART 2)

Source: Link

Everyone has a story to tell, actually. It may be that your story is not out there yet. Every now and then, the television stations are rushing after news (someone’s narrative). It will interest you to note that there is no single day without a news. Afterall, someone story will be told.

Let me make this interesting. I found this article about women (link here)that have defied all odds and have changes the narrative of their lives. By their social and/economic projections, they were destined to have gone in a particular trajectory. But hey, they caused changes in their stories, and today we celebrate them.

It seems that your story is no different from theirs. But I want you to have a quick overview of the Bible. Have a glance through of most of its characters. You will find their stories about their experiences. Some had vey strange encounters and their faith was made known; some faced challenges and had to give up on their faith; to some of them, they had to make their own paths to breakthrough, amongst many others. The point here is that everyone had a story to tell, so you also have one. Hence, their experiences can also be your experiences if you learn from them. That is why the Bible was given:

Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.

Romans 15:4 (NLT)

WIth this, I would like to share some of the experiences of people who had a change of their narratives with you. It will not be an exhaustive study of all the characters, but a few of them. You can also share with us a character of the Bible who changed his/her narrative by commenting to this post.

1. The Blind man at the gate called Beautiful (Acts 3:1-11)

This story is very interesting, having to look at it in the light of the topic under discussion. This is a man born with blindness. From his birth till current age, he has learnt to discerned circumstances with his other four senses other than his eyes. Atthough challenges, he had taken to the occupation of sitting by the gate called beautiful to ask for alms. He always had people to bring him in front of the gate to the temple, but never had access to the service within the temple. He was known as the blind beggar by the gate to the temple.

On this faithful afternoon, he had had the opportunity to meeting two men who were also going to pray. It was market time, so he had to ask them for alms. Fortunately for him, it was Peter and John walking into the temple with the filling up of the Holy Spirit. Contrary to his expectations for them, he received back His sight in the name of Jesus.

For your narrative to change, you need Jesus in the situation and divine helpers. Irrespective of what the situation has always been, there is a man who is able to change your story. It matters little what doctors have said, what parents or friends have said about the situation, all you need is Jesus in the situation. The day the blind man met Jesus through the helpers God sent his way, his story changed and it became news.

The helpers God may send our way to help us may not seem like the people we expect. They may not come in the form and fashion we had ever dreamt of or considered. If only you can see them from the perspective of what they carry and not what you see, God can use them to change your situation.

Do you want your narrative to change? Then use this opportunity to invite Jesus into the situation. Call unto Him now, for He is ever ready to answer you. This is what He says:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

His arms are opened wide to receive you. Can you come boldly into the throne room of grace where you can obtain mercy and grace to help in times of need. Today is the moment to re-write your story, and Christ is here to do it for you. He is standing at the door and is knocking. Please open Him now.

Prayers

Father thank you for sending your son Christ Jesus to die for my sins. I am weary of the burden and pain I am going through and I need your help. I duly confess my sins and accept Christ as my Lord and personal savior. Thank you Father for accepting me as Your son. AMEN!!!

If you prayed this prayer, be rest assured that Christ has welcomed you into the family of saints. Therefore, you need to find a Bible believing and Holy Spirit filled church to fellowship with. You need to grow in the knowledge of Christ and what He has offered you today. Get an Bible (you can download one right now) and start reading. If you have a testimony you want us to share in this series, kindly comment in the blog and we will do so.

God richly bless you and remain a blessing. See you in the next episode.

CHANGE THE NARRATIVE

Source: Link

Everyone is tagged with something, one way or another. The narrative may be our (dis) abilities, character (flaws/good), family name, etc that may be written about us.

Upon one’s death, we write a narrative of the dead person through his biography. As much as possible, the person is given good credits as a final honor. But ideally, how do people describe you in and out of your presence

Should we live a hypocrite life to please every man? Should we try to only exhibit the good side just to have the applause of people? What then should be the motivation for us to change the narrative?

In whatever perfect plan God had for us, we may have drifted away. We may have wandered by our own desires into the proclivities of the world. The systems of this world, with its mouth wide opened may have enclosed us in the power and money lust. Seeking peace and comfort from these things, we are always filled with regret and hatred for ourselves and those around us.

Maybe you have also been born into the shackles of poverty. You have constantly wondered how you can break forth any limitation you have faced. In school, you may have been known as the worst student, with lots of backlashes from teachers, friends and parents. In the confusion of minds, you do not seem to see any light at the end of the tunnel. Can your narrative change?

Your testimony is the evidence of the change to your narrative. We have been called by God to live a life worthy of our calling. In the best of ways, He expects us to be shaped through life’s experiences to become the best person He called us to live. It’s a life that reveals the glory through the legacy we live on this Earth.

Let us continue in the next episode.

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

StandOut Ministry International.

HOW TO DEAL WITH A “RUTH”

Relationships are the provisions God has made for man to fulfill His purpose on Earth. Relationships are mutual beneficial arrangements, some divinely orchestrated, that reveals a man’s course of action and provides direction.

I was listening to an interview on Facebook one morning, and it actually got me thinking. In this interview, a man found himself in prison for guaranteeing a loan for a friend. The host took in calls for advise, and all the callers shared similar experiences, if not same. The advise of the callers stemmed from their experiences, I could guess.

Opened to the corridors of relationships are people dragging their experiences from past relationships. These experiences, both positively or negatively, tend to shape the discourse and engagement with others. Notwithstanding, there is a way to get the best out of Ruth to help her optimize her purpose and also help you optimize your purpose.

This article tends to address how to handle a “RUTH”. It picks up on how Ruth was guided unto purpose by two very important people she got connected to: Naomi and Boaz.

Background of Ruth

Before I discuss practical ways we can handle “RUTH” from Biblical perspective, let me first address who falls into the category of “RUTH”, by analysing some experiences of Ruth.

Experiences of Ruth
  1. She was a widow

Ruth had been in a previous marriage. She had formed her perceptions and perspectives about marriage to a Jew from her first marriage. The norms, traditions, attitudes, etc (even in a foreign land, I may think they still kept some of their traditions) she may have had from her ten years of marriage should be a good sum of marriage.

Come to think of it. Naomi’s husband dies and her two sons die after ten years was enough to cut that relationship with Naomi. Truth be told, Naomi would have been branded as a witch, if not tagged as cursed. Ruth, therefore knew the pain of being alone, with your husband being dead.

2. She could not conceive after 10 years of marriage.

They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.

Ruth 1:4-5 (NIV)

The Bible accounts that after 10 years, Naomi had been left with her two daughters in law. After ten years of marriage, we all do expect the couples to have given birth, right? If there are no signs of a baby, the pressures mounted on you is very troubling. Maybe, an advantage she had was that Orpah was in the same shoes as her.

This pressure alone would have developed a low self esteem to even think of another marriage, or even venture another relationship. Lingering in her mind would be the thought of failure, disappointments and in some circumstances has lost the desire to fight on.

3. She was a virtuous woman

This will be the summary of the experiences she may have picked up with all her virtues. She was a hardworking, loyal and God-fearing woman with lots of misfortunes. Despite the “buts” she had faced and was dealing with, she kept on to her values. Although she had served diligently the God she had come to know upon marriage, she still decides to stick to the God and Naomi than to return to her people. Her experience was beyond the suggestions of men.

Who are the RUTH’s

These are people who have potential for doing good, but have experienced a sequence of negative events. They have strong sense of purpose, convictions and dreams and strong sense of conviction, but need direction and encouragement to achieve the purpose.

Let us continue tomorrow on how to handle the Ruth. God bless you and remain a blessing.

Prayers

I pray that God will grant us the grace to be of help to everyone who comes our way. Amen

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/