Don’t rejoice over someone’s downfall.

Two brothers were up to write their professional examinations. The younger brother passed his exams with distinction but the other could not. Taking advantage of his success, he started gloating about his victory at the expense of his brothers misery.

Unknown to both brother, their names were recommended for a position in a company. They both arrived at the company headquarters for the interview, and that was where they knew they were both on for the same job. Confidently enough, the younger brother knew the job was his for the taking, cos he had the certificate. During the interview, the elder brother showerd he had experience from his service on church and other volunteering jobs he had done and the younger brother only relied on his professional certificate.

Two weeks later, they both received their responses from the interview panel. The elder brother had gotten the job. The comment from the panel was that, “although he had failed his professional exams, he had the attitude and character the company needs to achieve its goals”.

This was God’s imagery in the message He was delivering through Obadiah. The people of Edom had relied on their refuge (mountains), possessions and allies; and had dealt treacherously with their brethren (people of Israel). Although they had some encounters in the past (Ref: Num. 20:14-22; 1 Samuel 14:47; 2 Samuel 8:13,14; 1 Kings 11:14-22; 2 Kings 8:20-22; 2 Chron. 28:16-18), God was still expecting them to give away their brothers to their enemies nor rejoice over their captivity and failures.

Possibly in response to the prayer of the Psalmist (Psalm 137:7), God reprimanded Edom for their actions. They gloated, rejoiced, spoke arrogantly, plundered the land of Israel, seized their wealth, stood at the crossroads and killed all those who were trying to escape for their lives, and even captured the survivors and delivered them to their enemies (Obadiah 1: 12-14). So God told them that He was going to strip them from their refuge, take away their possessions and turn their allies against them (Obadiah 1:4-9).

Don’t rejoice when a brother goes through difficult times. Out of love, help the person to get back to his feet. Mocking them for their downfall only sets you up for failure. The story may change and you will need the help of the others. Don’t rely on your securities (refuge, wealth and allies) and treat your fellows in disdain. Thank God for what you have received from Him in Christ Jesus, and help those who are yet to recover from their feet. This is because of what God told the people of Israel after what they went through in the hands of the Edomites:

But on Mount Zion will be deliverance; it will be holy, and Jacob will possess his inheritance. Jacob will be a fire and Joseph a flame; Esau will be stubble, and they will set him on fire and destroy him. There will be no survivors from Esau.” The Lord has spoken.

Obadiah 17-18

Let love lead us in all that we do. Do enjoy a blessed day and be a blessing to someone today.

Prayer

Thank you Father for your word that I have received today. Thank you for all the blessing that I have received from you through CHRIST JESUS. Forgive me for all the times I have looked down and treated treacherously my friends, families and enemies. I pray that you will grant me the grace to love amidst the desire to repay the evil others have done to me. May I live as Christ lived and love other like CHRIST loved me unconditionally. In the name of CHRIST I have prayed with thanksgiving.

StandOut Ministry International.

Boast in the Lord

A father and a son ski trip took a wonderful turn that I want to share with you. On their last visit, the young boy won the race between him and his father because His dad pulled back a little just to make his son happy. Throughout this year, his son has been bugging him about how good he was at skiing and with all his father’s years of experience, he could still beat him. On this expedition, the father decided to teach His son a lesson. Hefinished the skiing race some minutes before his so could do finish. Upon completed, he tapped his son on the shoulder and remarked, “last year I wanted to make your winter great for you, so I decided to remain behind for you to win. You may feel proud of winning,but always remember that someone contributed to your success”.

We all have things we take pride in. Irrespective of what we may succumb our thoughts and actions to, we have some attachments to the things we have so much been acclamatised to. Taking pride in our accomplishments, we are tempted to believe that these things are the definition of our success, and therefore become a symphony on our mouths in every discussion of ours.

The things we have has been freely given unto us. Every facet of life and its successful episodes has been because God has been in the helm of affairs and has made all things worked out on our favor. He has always been pulling strings behind the scenes to make sure that the spectators see a glorious show. Judging from the human perspectives leaves us at the brink of our human inputs thats is nothing compared to the strings God has pulled for us.

I wish I could write the whole chapter of Psalm 124. But the Psalmist claims that if every feat they have enjoyed as a nation is not because God was on their side, let them say. I want you to reflect on this passage of the Bible. If God had not been in the story, what would have become of you now. Really, what would your story have been? My dear, my story would have been a mess. But thanks be to God that through Christ Jesus, we are more than overcomers. Paul summarises it this way:

As it says in the Scriptures, “If anyone is going to boast, let him boast only of what the Lord has done.”

1 Corinthians 1:31 (TLB)

There is only one boasting you can make; and that is in the name of the Lord. Whatever you have to take pride in, do it in the name of CHRIST.

Prayers

Thank you Father for another opportunity to hear from you today. I thank you for everything you have made available unto me. I am grateful to you for making available me all the grace and provisions needed to achieve what I have now. Indeed I will boast but in the name of the Lord. Amen!!!

StandOut Ministry International.

Do you love me than these?

A father set out on a journey for work over the weekend. Before travelling, he instructed his son to clean the house instead of playing video games. He directed his son on where to start the cleaning and where to end. On the shelf of the end of the cleaning expedition was the newest edition of the video game he had wanted for the Christmas.

Halfway through the cleaning and with dad out of the house, he got tired of cleaning and went back to the video games. Unknowingly he had spent quite some time playing the game with his friends he invited over. He constantly expressed desires for the new game he had wanted and how his dd was hesitant in getting it for him.

Early the next morning, his dad came home. He summoned His son and asked if he had done the cleaning. His son responded with a yes. Then the father told him that he had bought him the new game but he did not find it becuase He was still focused on His game and could not make time for the task He had given him.

This is the encounter Jesus had with His disciples. After His death and ressurrection, some of the prolific fishermen missed their days of fishing and embarked yet again on their fishing expedition. Having tried but had caught nothing, Jesus appears on the shore and instructs them to cast the net on one side. Their nets were full. The John told Peter that it was Jesus (Remember Jesus first encounter with Peter in his boat). Peter run to meet Jesus and after breaking bread with His disciples, He asked Peter this question:

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

John 21:15 (NIV)

God’s assignment for us sometimes comes with sacrificing what we used to do. In sacrificing these things, we are always been tempted to them. Having been called as a follower of Christ brings about a lot of sacrifices with the things of the world. We have been called to do away with most of the pleasures of life for the sake of taking up Christ as our Lord and Savior.

Yes, you may be tempted to go back again and again, and you would actually go. You may be tempted to go back into fornication, pornography, adultery, masturbation, among many other things. But Jesus has not rejected you yet. He stands at the door of your heart and is knocking; seeking for you to keep your focus on Him and enjoy the fellowship in His presence. He is asking: “Do you love me than these things?”

Like that son who wanted the video game, God has provided all you need in CHRIST. In Him, you have the assurance of a newness of life and blessings upon blessings.

Prayer

Father thank you for your word that I have heard today. I am grateful for the sacrifice that you made to redeem me from my sins. I pray that you will grant me the grace to continually focus on Jesus, amidst the constant desires to return to my former ways. In Jesus name I have prayed with thanksgiving.

Ask in my name.

Two young men, Cephas and Ephesians, were in need of a job. They had sought for so many opportunities, but they could hardly pull one through. On their way to the house one afternoon, they were met by homeless old man who asked them about their day. Taking some few minutes of rest, they reluctantly had a chat with the man. They man gave them a card with a unique code on it and directed them to a company the next morning and give the receptionist the calling code.

The next morning, Cephas decided not to give the job seeking a trial because He had had enough. Irrespective of Ephraim´s persuasion for them to try the option the man gave them, Cephas got annoyed at Ephraim. If a poor old man had links to get favors, why was he still homeless. Ephraim however decided to obey the old homeless man and went to the company with the unique code.

When the receptionist entered the code, she directed him directly to the office of the CEO. The CEO asked him what He wanted and the Ephraim said he needed a job. There and then he got a job in the company.

After leaving the company, he looked for the old homeless man and asked him why he gave him the code. He explained how he mysteriously helped a man some few years ago, and was given the code to call back for a favor anytime he needed it. He was on his way to seek for the favor, but upon hearing their story, he thought they would benefit most from the code than he would, so he gave it to them.

Jesus, as part of His last message told His disciples to ask for whatever they want in His Name and it will be given to them. This is what He says:

“And when that time comes, you will ask nothing of Me [you will need to ask Me no questions]. I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that My Father will grant you whatever you ask in My Name [as presenting all that I AM]. [Exod. 3:14.] Up to this time you have not asked a [single] thing in My Name [as presenting all that I AM]; but now ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your joy (gladness, delight) may be full and complete.”
‭‭John‬ ‭16:23-24‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

Are you willing to take Jesus by His words and ask for whatever you need from the Father in His Name. Don’t bemoan about the number of times you have tried, that is doubt. Just open your mouth and believe that whatever you are asking in the Name of Christ is already done. This is FAITH and you are sure to receive the answers. For His word is yea and amen in CHRIST JESUS.

Let me end today’s episode with this scripture:

“God is not a man, that He should tell or act a lie, neither the son of man, that He should feel repentance or compunction [for what He has promised]. Has He said and shall He not do it? Or has He spoken and shall He not make it good?”
‭‭Numbers‬ ‭23:19‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

This is the time for you to ask what you need. Do not wait any longer. Ask the Father in the name of Christ Jesus and you will recieve it.

Prayer

Thank you Father for your word I have received today. That you for the ever increasing joy that I receive from your presence. I come before your presence today with a heart full of gratitude for giving me this opportunity to receive whatever I need from you. May your name forever be praised. In Jesus name I have prayed with thanksgiving… AMEN!!!

Not greater than the Master

An apprentice was sent by His master to repair some broken pipes in a rich man´s house. Always thinking that the master got serious benefits working in rich homes, he looked forward to those incentives. With such expectation, he enthusiastically went over to the house with the tools. Upon reaching there, he realized the cold environment he was working in. He was being shouted at when he asked for help locating some items, got frowned at when people passed by him as he worked and was even denied a greeting when he was being passed by. After hurriedly finishing his work, he went to the master and asked him how he could work in such an environment. He told him that he did not expect them to treat him differently, for he was treated in same manner whenever he worked there. However, to get the incentives, you need to persist in the harsh environment and get the work accomplished.

Christ tells us that He expects us to be treated harshly as we engage the world t carry out the assignment He has entrusted unto us. The world will not present its dearly held standards to us on a silver platter. As we engage with it to live out our purpose, we need to confront this harsh environment and still live out our purpose. From the time of John the Baptist unto now, the Kingdom has suffered violence, and the voile talks should take it by force.

Confronting the world does not require physical weapons, but rather spiritual weapons. This is what Paul says:

“We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. And after you have become fully obedient, we will punish everyone who remains disobedient.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:4-6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The message is that the rejection, dissappointments and contentions you are facing on your journey to fulfilling your purpose is an indication that you are fighting a good fight of faith. Do not hide your light under a basket by conforming to the patterns of this world, but rather stand firm on the Word of God and in prayer, and fight your way to this end.

Prayer

Thank you Father for your word I have received today. Thank you for the grace that is available unto me. I pray that you will grant me the grace to stand steadfast for you until the end of time. This and many other blessings I ask in the name of Christ our Lord AMEN!!!

Stay Faithful

A young man was put up for a surprise of His life when He was sent to visit His grandfather in the village. His grandfather was a retired army general who went to the village to embark on His NGO he had always dreamed of doing. Early the next morning, he was awoken to His grandfather doing His morning tour of the village and visiting the beneficiaries of His project. This young man, thinking retirement was an end to serious work quizzed his grandfather, who replied him saying: “I did not come here to rest. I came here to fulfil my purpose. I need to stay faithful to what I have begun with undivided attention”.

How many of us have began things that we left hanging. It is not the beginning that actually matters, but the end is also important. Starting a journey is not very important, but staying faithful to the course is. Challenges of varied gravity are bound to come our way to test us conviction of what we are doing, but that is when we need to prove that we mean business.

“I am the sprouting vine and you’re my branches. As you live in union with me as your source, fruitfulness will stream from within you—but when you live separated from me you are powerless.” (John 15:5 TPT)
‭‭

Jesus typifies this with the parable of the vine and the branches. HE explains that the only way we can bear fruits and even bear much fruits as Christians is to remain connected to the vine. Irrespective of what the “weeds” will try to fight us with, we need to stay connected to the vine. The wind may be boisterous and we may feel like we are falling apart from the vine, but that is when we need to understand that it is the vine that is deeply rooted in the soil and the vine is what sustains us.

Without Christ we can do nothing. He expects us to bear much fruits because it shows that we are His disciples. Whatever thing that Christ has entrusted to you as a branch in the vine, remain in Him and stay faithful to the course. Do not be filled with greed and covet after what another branch is doing. Focus on yours and stay connected to the course for which CHRIST will reward you for.

When the master gave the talents according to their abilities to the servants before leaving, He expected them to be faithful and work hard to produce fruits from what He had given them. (Read Matthew 25:14-30). If you were called to to anything, STAY FOCUSED and REMAIN FAITHFUL.

Prayer

I thank you father for your word today. Thank you Father for entrusting me with something to do for you. I am really grateful to be a vessel of honor dedicated to your service. I pray that you will grant me the grace to stay faithful to that which you called me for. I pray that no wind nor weed will take my attention from you and your assignment. AMEN!!!

Heart of a servant

I like to watch this series on youtube where the CEO of a company disguises himself as a worker. He visits the branches of his company in the disguised form and searches for what are some of the loops in the company and how the customers are treated. At the end of the tour, the CEO meets some of the employees that stood out (positive or negative way) and rewards/reprimand them whichever they deserve. At this moment, the employees are made aware of who he disguised himself as and what lessons he was teaching them or he learnt himself.

Many a times we tend to be proud when our status changes. With a little influence and power, we tend to see every other person as “a non-entity”. Despising them and disregarding their essence, competence and contributions, we tend to manipulate the others to want to achieve our goal. But does it actually achieve the goal? It most often than not creates confusion and disturbs the relationship that should foster productivity.

But I love what Jesus did. Jesus knew that His time had come and was about to leave. Having also known that the Father had given all things to Him and that He had come from God and is going back to God set a very good example for them. What did He do?, you may ask.

… laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.

John 13:4-5 (NKJV)

The precedence of his example enumerates his position, value and possessions. This made him a Master over everything. But he gets up (disregards position), laid aside his garments ( puts aside his possessions) and takes up a towel and gets himself ready for action. He then starts washing the feet of the disciples, an act reserved for the slaves. He learnt to share his essence with them by sacrificing his position and possessions to teach them what it means to be a blessing to others.

When we want to show forth our value by flaunting our position and possessions, we miss the intended goal. Possession and position is readily seen and catches people momentarily, but values (character) gets people to stick with you permanently. A golden heart is that which sees people and treats them with respect irrespective of what they have or are. Have the heart of a servant.

Prayers

I pray that God will open our eyes to see people the way Christ sees them. And that irrespective of our possessions, we will continually acknowledge the call of God over our lives. Amen!

Expensive But Necessary

As a young woman 👩 , there were a lot of expectations of her. Through her basic to high school, she was the top of her class. Her parents wished and advised that she pursues a career in medicine or law. With her parents noticing her interest in trying to defend the poor and those who are facing injustice, they hoped and planned for her to read law at Oxford university. Upon finishing high school, she decided to become a soldier and defend her country. Her parents had other views of why she should choose other options that could her her defend her country; she could defend her country as a lawyer, as a doctor and in so many other ways. Although it was a risk that meant her sacrificing her life in the line of defence, she thought it was necessary for her to pick that career because that was her calling.

Then Mary took about a pint[a] of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

John 12:3 (NIV)

How many times have you heard the “don’t there sign” when you want to do things that are contrary to people’s expectation of you? Although Jesus delayed but never denied Martha and Mary their request, Jesus visits them again. This time a dinner was organised in His honor. At the banquet, Mary pours out an expensive perfume on the feet of Jesus and wipes His feet with her hair. The accountant, Judas Iscariot accessing the cost of the perfume as worth a year’s wages quickly brought his expert opinion. “We can sell this and give it to the poor”, he suggested. This is a brilliant idea. It makes sense to bless a lot of people with the perfume than “waste” it on a feet that will still walk in the sand.

There is one thing that seperates Judas Iscariot and Mary’s perception about the perfume. It was the necessity of the act that made the difference. Mary also knew the perfume was expensive, but she realised she had a part to play in Christ’s finished work by preparing His for the cross. It was a revelation that was so strong the expensiveness of the oil did not matter.

Beloved, people may suggest you drop your vision and purpose because they can only see how expensive it is. By reality checks and expert opinions, they may suggest you drop your vision and do something else. But there is a conviction that your purpose bring you that defies how expensive the sacrifice you have to make to achieve that vision is. Like Mary, pour out your perfume on the feet of Jesus, for that is what you were called to do. Offer your all unto God and see Him use for the greater things He called you for.

Prayer

Thank you father for the gift of life. Thank you for your word I have received today. I pray that you will grant me the grace to keep my focus on the things you have called me to. May all I see be the sacrifice of Christ and His calling for my life. In Jesus name have we prayed with thanksgiving. Amen!!!

StandOut Ministry International

Delayed Not denied

It’s a wonderful summer and she is in town with her parents. She longs for a bowl of ice cream but no one seems to respond to her plea. Crying and fussing about as she points to every supermarket, her parents console her with every possible word and ideas they have, but she still sticks to her crying because she feels she has been denied her request. Unknowingly, her parents have ordered her best ice cream as a surprise for her birthday and they are enroute to pick it up.

Many a times we feel God has been unfair to us. Our cries and call unto Him may seem unattended to. In our quest to seek help for ourselves, we may get disappointed having to wait in expectation for a response from God, but he seem to have denied us what we requested for. It worsens when we expected a help before we lost what we expected help for.

This is the story of what happened to Mary and Martha. Their brother Lazarus was ill and they called on Jesus to come and help out. Jesus got the message alright but had to attend to other matters. Two days later, he left to visit Mary and Martha. What was so important that Jesus was doing that He could not have left and attended to the people He claimed to love (Verse 5), you may ask. Upon trying to come and help, the disciples now brought a past issue up that could have made Jesus reconsider His decision. He was on a death warrant on their last visit to Bethany, so Bethany should be taken out of the deal. But what really struck me was when Jesus was glad that He had not been there earlier enough? Really!!! Jesus I need your help and you are glad that you did not respond immediately to my 911 call for help.

So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

John 11:14-15 (NIV)

For their sake Jesus was happy that He has been late. He has a bigger picture in mind, that transcended the request of Mary and Martha. The glory of the Lord had to be seen through the ssituation, and that could only have been if Jesus had delayed in coming. Yes, we may be going through tough times at the moment; we may have called on God so many times, and its seems He has turned a deaf ear to your pleas. You called on him when your lazarus was sick (problem was smaller) but what is His business coming now that Lazarus is dead (problem is worst). You called on Him when people were about to be laid off, but He watched that you were laid off. What business that He have coming in now.

He delayed in responding to the 911 call because His delayal would reveal His glory for all to see. He always has the bigger picture in mind. He has your favorite ice-cream ordered for you. Irrespective of your cries, it becomes His duty to make sure you get to the ice-cream shop without getting full with the other frivolities.

In summary, God’s delayal never means denial. He always makes all things beautiful in HIS OWN TIME. His promise is yea and amen in CHRIST JESUS; and though it tarries wait for it for it shall come to pass.

Prayer

Thank you father for your word today. I pray that may you give me the grace to wait on your promises: I pray that I be patient to behold that which you have promised unto me. In Jesus name I have prayed with thanksgiving. AMEN!!

StandOut Ministry International

THE GOOD SHEPHERD

I have been studying the book of John for some days now. I have been trying to read and have a deeper understanding of who Christ. But something interesting struck my attention yesterday and today that I would like to share, especially in the COVID 19 season.

This is how I summarised the entire chapter:

My summary of John 10:1-18

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

John 10:11-13 (NIV)

In our moments of happiness, everyone is a friend. Everyone would stick around and sing of your praises. Irrespective of the bad things you do to them, some may stick around because of what you have and are.

When everything is lost, that is when you get to know who really is your friend. Jesus in this Chapter is describing why He is the good shepherd. He is not the good shepherd because there are things to feed off from the sheep, but rather the shepherd sacrificed for the sheep.

The difference between a hired man and the shepherd is that the hired man abandons the sheep and runs away when the wolf attacks it. Really! Well, it may be argued that the life of the shepherd is much important than the sheep. After all, the sheep can be replaced, but the shepherd cannot. So it makes sense to run abandon the sheep and run away because it can be easily replaced.

The good shepherd owns the sheep. Because He has invested into the sheep and has nurtured it with love, He would rather risk His life than see the sheep being taken away by the wolf. His love for the sheep makes it possible for Him to risk His life to save the sheep.

What are you to your friends, a good shepherd or a hired man? To the members you are leading, are you a good shepherd or a hired man? Will you abandon and run away from your friends when they run into trouble.

I pray that we all become good shepherds to our friends, colleagues, fellow members and our members we lead. I pray that God will help us value every human being like He does, and treat every man like He would. May His love that has been shared abroad in our hearts be made radient for the entire world to see. This and many blessings I ask in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!!!