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PUTTING GOD’S NEEDS FIRST

“Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying,
Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste? Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.”
Haggai 1:3-5

The lesson in this text is that we must learn to put God first in all things.
The background to this text was that the temple lie waste, crumbling and in
a state of disrepair while the Jews were busy building mansions or what the
Prophet called ‘cieled’ or ‘panelled’ houses, what in today’s jargon would be ‘luxurious, fully furnished mansions. ‘The truth is that God has no problem with you building and living in good houses, not at all. What he decries is that we abandon the welfare and well being of his kingdom and busy doing our own thing.

Let’s consider another scripture:

“If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and
their years in pleasures.”
Job 36:11

The condition for enjoying God’s blessings is to ‘obey and serve him.’ We are to put God first in everything we do. Let’s look at three specific areas we are to put God first:

1. In Our Trust
It is important that we put God first in our TRUST. In your heart of heart, who do you truly trust first? Your father, boss or friend? In a crisis, who do you run to?

“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.”
Psalm 20:7

Let your confidence be in the Lord regardless what betides.

2. With Our Treasure
If truly you put God first in your treasure, nobody will be begging you to pay your tithe and support the work of the kingdom. Supporting the kingdom will be of paramount importance to you. It’s amazing how money is truly a measure of commitment. If you can’t give God your money, it is proof that you have not given Him your heart.

3. With Our Time
We must serve God with the best part of our time. Prayer, soul winning, Bible study all take time. I don’t have time is the refrain of those who are not putting God first.

“So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows.”
Ps 61:8

Are you giving your best daily? Are you trusting Him daily? Are you blessing His work and servants with your money daily?

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PAY THE PRICE IF YOU WANT THE PRIZE

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
1 Timothy 6:12

It is important to understand that every dream will exact its price. The bigger the dream, the higher the price to be paid. Your dream is a prize you’re aiming for and you must be ready to pay the price to get it. It is the determination to hang in there no matter the circumstances until the prize is delivered. Great dreams are not for the lily-livered or easy-does-it crowd.
We cannot run away from the reality of troubles and pain. Jesus said, “In this world, you will have trouble.” So it is not strange that we face difficulties. What is important is not that we have problems but how we respond to the problems.

Troubles can make or break us. Difficulties are opportunities on vacation. The more the troubles, the more the treasures. God’s generals are not made in the cooler of ease and comfort; they are made in the crucible of affliction. It is the battle field that proves the mettle of any soldier. Mountains are not meant to stop us but to be climbed, opening us to an incredible view of God’s awesome presence and power.

When next a mountain stands between you and your God-given dream, use it as a ladder to your next level. Mountains were not made to stop us but to lift us. It’s a question of perspective. If you see it as an obstacle, then it becomes an obstacle. If you see it as a challenge equal to your strength, then it becomes that. We are not to be intimidated into yielding ground to the enemy but to stand up to him and show that ‘greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world.’

See every obstacle on your road to fulfilling destiny as a ‘good fight of faith.’ Don’t back down, don’t give up, don’t give in but give it the best shot you got.

“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”
2 Corinthians 4:16

We faint not! Despite the persecutions, we faint not. In the face of disappointments, we faint not. When friends desert us, we faint not. In the midst of rejection and abuse, we faint not. When they lie against us, we faint not. Come rain or sunshine, we are determined to faint not. For we know that with every beating, frustration, disappointment and pain, our dream (inward man) is renewed day by day. The dream gets stronger with every test we passed. Our capacity to fulfil the dream is strengthened with each obstacle we overcome.

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WINNING ATTITUDES – COUNT IT ALL JOY

Let it be all joy to you, my brothers, when you undergo tests of every sort;”
James 1:2 (BBE)

Troubles, difficulties, and pressures come to all of us at one time or the other, whether we like it or not. Nobody is exempt. What we do before, during and after each crisis is largely determined by our attitude to life.
C. H. Spurgeon said, “God has one Son without sin, but he never had a son without trial.” Our perception rather than any singular other factor often determines whether we profit from it or wasted the efforts, prayers and lessons that result from each ‘crisis experience.’
“Troubles are often the tools by which God fashions us for better things,” said Beecher. Jesus showed us an example of confronting the difficulties of life, the bitter pills that others dish out to us, the betrayals, disappointments, breakdowns and other myriad problems associated with life.

Paul, the apostle perhaps more than anyone else demonstrated that it is possible to sing and rejoice while all hell is breaking loose. He showed by principle and practice that it was possible to maintain joy though bound by chains, give comfort and hope to others while the pieces of our lives are flying over our heads in all directions.

Poor Richard, Jr. said, “Trouble knocked at the door, but hearing a laugh within hurried away.” It was his attitude that gave Paul the victory. That he could write the book of Philippians with joy as its theme and repeatedly echoing ‘rejoice, again l say rejoice’ while his condition at that material point was far less than joyful, is particularly touching.
As believers, we must acquire the spirit that conquers though troubles abound. We must understand the purpose for the trials and temptations that beset us and in understanding this we will get better equipped to handle them when they come. Note that it is ‘when’ and not ‘if’ they come. Life is a mixture of both roses and thorns. The thorns give us a deeper appreciation of the roses.
More importantly, the right attitude allows us to cultivate the right relationships that enable us to tap into the strength of others.

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I Refuse!!!

I Refuse !
“I refuse to be discouraged,
To be sad, or to cry,
I refuse to be downhearted,
and here’s the reason why:
I have a God, who’s mighty,
Who’s sovereign and supreme.
I have a God who loves me,
and by grace I’m on His team.
He is all-wise and powerful,
Jesus is His name.
Though everything is changeable,
My God remains the same.
My God knows all that’s happening,
Beginning to the end.
His presence is my comfort,
He is my dearest friend.
When sickness comes to weaken me,
To bring my head down low,
I call upon my mighty God,
Into His arms I go.
When circumstances threaten
To rob me of my peace,
He draws me close unto His breast,
Where all my strivings cease.
When my heart melts within me,
My life is in His hands.
The “Son of the Lord” is my hope,
It’s in His strength I stand.
I REFUSE to be defeated,
My eyes are on my God.
He has promised to be with me,
As through this life I tread.
I’m looking past all my circumstances,
To Heaven’s throne above,
My prayers have reached the heart of God
I’m resting in His Love.
I give God thanks in everything,
My eyes are on His face.
The battle’s His, the victory mine,
He’ll help me win the race.”
– Author unknown!

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FULFILLING ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS

Matthew 3:15, “But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.”

To fulfill all righteousness is not just to do something for the sake of doing it for nothing sake. To fulfill all righteousness is to follow the scriptures accordingly, even when it seems not necessary or when it looks difficult. Fulfilling all righteousness is following scriptures to the last letter as written in the Bible for the fulfillment of the righteous promises of the scriptures to come to pass.

We must follow the scripture to the end before we can see the end-result of the scripture. It’s when we fulfill ALL scriptural righteousness that the scriptural promises will come to pass in our lives and ministries. When we obey or fulfill half righteousness of the scriptures, when we interpret the scripture to suite our personal conveniences, or when we obey some parts of the scriptures and see the other parts as unnecessary, we cannot have the fullness and fulfillment of the righteous promises of God.

Jesus Christ went to John the Baptist for water baptism, but John saw it as quite unnecessary for Jesus Christ to be baptized by him, in fact he said he ought to come to Jesus for baptism. But then Jesus Christ told him it was necessary to fulfill all righteousness. And after Jesus was baptized by John, as He came up from the water, behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16, 17.

Three things happened after Jesus fulfilled all righteousness:
(1) HEAVENS OPENED. Heavens, not just a single heaven, all heavens were opened on Jesus. Until we fulfill all righteousness of the scriptures, we can not experience the opened heavens of God’s blessings in our lives and ministries. What we are experiencing now is minor compared to when “heavens” opens. The fullness of all blessings of heavens hinges on our fulfilling all righteousness. When we desire opened heaven of God’s outpouring Spirit, anointing, blessings and miracles in our lives, families, and ministries, we must first fulfill all righteousness. Half-done obedience or half-way obedience cannot reach heaven to open.

(2) SPIRIT FALLING. God has promised the outpouring of His Spirit upon us, but before this scripture can be fulfilled, we must first fulfill all righteousness of the scriptures – by following the will of God, obeying the Word of God and doing things in the way of God. Failure to fulfill all will falter the existing blessings and frustrate the expecting promises of the scriptures. The fulfillment of God’s promises is not just by asking, praying or fasting; it is by fulfilling all righteousness of God.

(3) GOD’S APPROVAL: To experience the blessing of God in our lives is not as important as experiencing the Spirit of God present and working in our lives and ministries; and to experience the move and miracles of Holy Spirit in our lives and ministries is not as important as receiving God’s approval at the end of our lives on earth. It’s possible to get God’s blessings of opened heavens, it is possible to see the move and miracle of God’s Spirit, and at the end gains no entrance into heaven.

Jesus Christ said, “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” Matthew 7:22,23. These Christians and ministers who were disapproved by Jesus Christ experienced opened heaven of blessings in their lifetimes, they also experienced the great move and miracles of God’s Spirit to the point of doing “many wonders”, but they failed to fulfill all the righteousness of God in their lives and ministries, they failed to follow the scriptures to the letter, they gave their personal interpretations to the scriptures for their own conveniences. At the end, they failed to receive God’s approval, and so they were doomed forever to hell despite all the blessings and anointing they had.

Jesus Christ received God’s approval, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” because He fulfilled all righteousness. What if Jesus did not go to John the Baptist for water baptism? What if Jesus went to John just to visit without fulfilling all righteousness for water baptism? What if Jesus had heeded the suggestion of John the Baptism not to be baptized? He would not have seen heaven opened, then, He would not have received the Spirit falling, and He would not have received God’s approval.

PERSONAL LIFE
Christianity has become so clumsy with different ideologies and doctrines that fulfilling all scriptural righteousness is not unnecessary, or it’s so tedious. In our personal Christian living, and in our different denominations, we tend to do half righteousness and fill the rest with human ideology or interpretation of the elders. We indulge in several worldliness and unfaithfulness, falling short to fulfill all righteousness. We involve in “it doesn’t matter” sins, selfishness and permissiveness, and we still claim to be righteous. Little lies do not matter, little worldliness do not matter, worldly music, movies, magazines, TV reality shows, and makeup do not really matter to us any longer; exposing and expensive dress never bother us again, bribing for contracts and falsifying age for job do not matter as long as you pay your tithes faithfully.

Anger, envy, jealousy and gossip do not spoil our faith again as long we still greet one another. All these make us fall short to fulfill all righteousness, and they will make us fail to get God’s approval if we do not repent. When we fail to fulfill all righteousness, then we fall short to receive God’s righteous promises of eternal blessings. We need to go back to old time faith of righteousness before we can ever experience old time revival.

FAMILY
In our marriages and families, starting from courtships, do we fulfill all righteousness to keep the bed undefiled? We must fulfill all righteousness of the scriptures in our homes before we can experience God’s presence. Wives must submit to their husbands irrespective of their statures, husbands must love their wives irrespective of their states, and children must obey their parents in the Lord.

The Bible says what God has joined together, let no man separate; but today, we care for money than we care for our marriage. The incessant separation because of job and business without first praying to seek God’s leading has ruined many Christian homes. Simply because of love of money and care for better financial life, we do not bother to maintain the unity of marriage; many children are wayward, many husbands have given in to strange women, and many wives are living in grave loneliness because of technical separation, because of the love of money we are running divided house. Temporal separation because of job transfer or business pursuit is not a sin, but it is not good and it will not go well with every family; that is the reason family needs to first seek God’s face for leading before moving. But the love of money and care of this world will not allow contentment and unity with little.

Oneness is Bible command in every Christian home, that is, husband and wife doing and planning EVERYTHING together, but in a case where husband has secret bank account, secret project or things he cannot disclose to his wife, and the wife has something in secret, how do you want to unite together in prayer and prevail over the enemy? How do you want to experience God’s presence in your marriage, or how will enemies not keep tormenting such Christian home when there are covered sins and past sins unrevealed?

CHURCH
In the church today, we are fulfilling scriptural righteousness to half and filling the rest with our church ordinances to suite ourselves.

Doctrines – Every denomination interpret the scriptures the way that will fit their personal interest. The members see what their senior Pastors and Bishops say as final without searching the scriptures to cross check, yes, that is like an abomination today.

Tithes- We claim the payment of tithes, we collect tithes with scriptural backing but we fail to fulfill the purpose of the tithes as clearly stated in the Bible. When the Bible says, “Bring the tithes and offerings to My storehouse, that there may be food in My house” We bring the tithes, we collect the tithes but we divert it for other purposes. We claim the promises of tithes but we don’t use it for the scriptural purpose for the collection of the tithes. The biblical purpose of tithes is for distribution of the tithes for the benefits of the people who pay the tithes as the early church faithfully followed and fulfilled it. Acts 2:45; 4:35. While the scriptural purpose of the tithes is to build people in God’s kingdom, we are busy building ultra modern church auditoriums.

The Bible purpose of the tithes and offerings is for Food – spiritual food for the people – for free materials; physical food for the people – for free food provisions, free basic healthcare, free library and schools for the same people who paid the tithes; instead, we are busy building multimillion church edifice. Church’s secondary schools are unavoidable, our church universities are more expensive than Government schools, and yet we pray for revival in our churches. How can there be revival of Holy Spirit when there is no faithfulness? We claim to have holiness church, but how can a church that is not faithful with money be a church of holiness? How can we claim to run a Bible church when we can’t be faith with usage of tithes as clearly stated in Old Testament and clearly followed by the New Testament church?

We give several excuses of using the tittle for administrative purposes and others, that is nothing but extra biblical misuse of fund; it is siphoning money for unbiblical purposes. The early church could also give excuses but they knew they had to fulfill all righteousness just as it is written in the scriptures, so that they would not fall short at the end. No wonder we pray and fast for revival but only to see more reversal. When we want to collect the tithes, we claim the scriptures, but when we want to use it, we say that is how churches in American and Europe use the tithes for administrative purposes. No wonder we are not having Bible church again, but American church; no wonder we are not seeing our signs again, no wonder enemies are insulting and assaulting the church, because we are not faithful, even we money. Until we fulfill all righteousness, until we are faithful to all the scriptural commands to the letter, we will keep recycling. If biblical administrative system is too old for us in our modern world, then we are too fragile to contain the old time revival.

Let’s go back to the old path of fulfilling all scriptural righteousness, no matter how old or odd it seems, so that we can experience the old time revival in our lives, homes, ministries and churches.

Hosea 6:1-3
Come, and let us return to the LORD;
For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
2 After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.
3 Let us know,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD.
His going forth is established as the morning;
He will come to us like the rain,
Like the latter and former rain to the earth.

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Call to Re-awakening

Dear brethren, as we wait on the Lord today, we pray:

1) That we will seek peace of God in all we do Ps 34:14
14 Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.

2)That the Lord will do a cleansing work in our lives and land Ps24:3-5
3 Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and [t]a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully.
5 He shall receive blessing from the Lord, And righteousness from the God of his salvation

3) That the ministers will minister with knowledge Mal 2:7
7 “For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, And people should seek the law from his mouth; For he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.

4) God will raise more watchmen for HIS servants Is 62:6-8
6 I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; They shall [t]never hold their peace day or night. You who [t]make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent,
7 And give Him no rest till He establishes And till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
8 The Lord has sworn by His right hand And by the arm of His strength: “Surely I will no longer give your grain As food for your enemies; And the sons of the foreigner shall not drink your new wine, For which you have labored.

5) Spiritual awakening Lam 3:40
40 Let us search out and examine our ways, And turn back to the Lord;

6)We will not be offended and truncate our destiny in God like Judas did Luke 7:23
23 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”

7) For grace to humbly serve God to the end
Prov15:33
33 The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, And before honor is humility.

STUDY, WATCH AND PRAY
Pst Tokunbo Oshokoya