Never underestimate The Devil nor his schemes!

One of the surest ways to lose a battle is to be uninformed about the enemy or have a vague idea of the enemy. You will not stand a chance. You will be outwitted. You will fail miserably. No wonder Paul clearly affirms;
[ESV] 2 Corinthians 2:11 so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.
The bible has adequate truths on who the enemy is and what He does. He has perfected the art of working with human beings for years. He knows us and our weaknesses. He knows how to bring us down. Remember that He was very instrumental in the fall of man(Genesis 3). Ignore Him/His schemes at your own peril. He speaks lies very fluently and totally mastered it (John 8:44), deception is his forte(2 Cor 11:13-15). I must also caution against exalting the devil and always talking about him and his schemes as some are doing today. Teaching extra biblical teachings about Satan and the dark spiritual world. The bible is enough brethren in teaching us what we need to know about all things in this life(2 Peter 1:3). Jesus Christ commends the church in Thyatira for not dwelling on so called deep truths about Satan(Rev 2:24)
One of the ways the enemy is using and really gaining ground at it, is in giving people a wrong impression of His power. He is at home when we take Him for granted and assume who he is and what he can do. Friends, we just can’t shoo away the devil. We just can’t chant him away or say some words. Ask The sons of Sceva about it(Acts 19:11-20). 
It is more than that. Only one Person has The power over the enemy; Jesus Christ. Apart from Jesus Christ, the enemy is not scared of you or any man. We can’t defeat Him/outwit him apart from Christ. We must have a thriving relationship with Christ for us to outwit Him. Christ(Rev 12:11) and His word(2 Cor 10:3-5) remains our only ammunition. Oh how we need Christ and His word day by day. Submitting to Christ gives us vigilance and power to resist the enemy daily. It is a constant daily battle ( Eph 6:10-20, James 4:7, 1 Peter 5:7-9). 
Finally, notice how angel Michael fights the devil and pray we learn from that;
[NLT] 2 Peter 2:10 He is especially hard on those who follow their own twisted sexual desire, and who despise authority. These people are proud and arrogant, daring even to scoff at supernatural beings without so much as trembling.
[NLT] 2 Peter 2:11 But the angels, who are far greater in power and strength, do not dare to bring from the Lord a charge of blasphemy against those supernatural beings.
[NLT] 2 Peter 2:12 These false teachers are like unthinking animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed. They scoff at things they do not understand, and like animals, they will be destroyed.
[ESV] Jude 1:9 But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”

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The MYSTERY has been Revealed!!

[ESV] Ephesians 3:2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you,
[ESV] Ephesians 3:3 how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly.
[ESV] Ephesians 3:4 When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ,
[NLT] Ephesians 3:5 God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now by his Spirit he has revealed it to his holy apostles and prophets.
[ESV] Ephesians 3:6 This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
[ESV] Ephesians 3:7 Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power.
[NLT] Ephesians 3:8 Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ.
[NLT] Ephesians 3:9 I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning.
[NLT] Ephesians 3:10 God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.
[NLT] Ephesians 3:11 This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.
[NLT] Ephesians 3:12 Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.
[ESV] Colossians 1:26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.
[ESV] Colossians 1:27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
[ESV] Colossians 1:28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.
[ESV] Colossians 2:2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ,
[NLT] Colossians 2:3 In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

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Lust or love?

​Of lust masquerading as love and deceptive friends who encourage us to sin and do as our flesh feels.
2 Samuel 13(check it out) is a very sad story. As the bible says, there is nothing new under the sun. It is a story being replicated daily in this day. It is a story about a king’s(David) son(Amnon), who really lusted(though bible uses love) over her very beautiful step sister; Tamar! Amnon is so blinded with lust that he wants to be the one who gets to sleep with the sister who is not only beautiful, but also a virgin! This is the perfect recipe for lust, unlike love, it thinks of self first, rather than the other person. It wants it now. It is greedy! Lust unlike love never wants to wait for the God given time. Lust never reasons things out. Lust is an enemy of truth, always!
Enter Jonadab; Amnon’s cousin and friend. The bible describes him as a crafty man. (Isn’t it amazing we always attract and keep company with those who are like us more often than not?) Instead of talking Amnon out of it and being the voice of reason as a good friend should, Jonadab helps Amnon scheme on how to get Tamar to him(check what he does). It reminds me of how men today scheme/make bets to sleep with women, sadly. Especially those who are known to be virgins(‘innocent girls’)! They will go to whatever lengths, to pretend how they love the girls. Oh beloved women, be careful. Many times lust masquerades as love. If He truly loves you, he will wait till he marries you to have sex. Sadly, even in church, virginity is frowned upon. Sexual purity(1 Thessalonians 4:1-8) is no longer valued, among many! Thankfully there are some who are keeping themselves pure, soldier on my brother and sister, it is worth it! God’s grace is sufficient. Not everyone is doing it!
Jonadab’s scheme works. Tamar tries to reason with the step brother to do things right. Amnon is so filled with lust and can’t hear anything of that. Amnon rapes his sister! After the sexual act, he comes back to his senses. The bible records that the hate Amnon has for Tamar after the act, is more than the love he had for her before. This is the deceitfulness of lust. It over promises, but always under delivers. Lust never lasts. Love always lasts. Tamar is so distraught. Her life is ruined. The bible records she lived her life in anguish from that point. Our sin not only affects us, it affects others too. Amnon will pay the ultimate price two years later, when he is killed by his brother Absalom for messing his sister’s life. Sin is messy. Truly; “The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ “(Romans 6:23).
My prayer is for anyone there who is wondering if it is worth it to wait till marriage and remain sexually pure. Be encouraged, God’s grace is sufficient and available always(Titus 2:11-14). He never asks us to do what He knows He hasn’t enabled us to. On the other hand, If you are compromising and you call yourself a believer I pray that you repent and yearn to walk in the narrow path(Matthew 7:13-14). Walk in holiness. Don’t let the short deceptive fleeting pleasures of this world take away your crown in heaven. It is never worth it!

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The enemy and his schemes on deception

​Hey brethren, truly there is nothing new under the sun and pray that we take heed lest we be deceived. Noticed a very interesting pattern that the enemy(Devil) used and has perfected to date and deceiving many. Check out the verses Matthew 4:5-6 and Luke 4:9-10;
[NLT] Matthew 4:5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple,
[NIV] Matthew 4:6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
Notice 👆🏿how the devil had the audacity to tempt our Lord Jesus Christ.  He literally takes our Lord to the Holy City(Jerusalem) /temple where truth ought to be shared. He then tries to misquote scripture(truth) to The Truth Himself (Christ), but fails miserably, thankfully! This is the same thing the false prophets(servants of the devil) are doing in our very places of worship to date where truth ought to be shared. They are deceiving many by misquoting the scriptures and advancing falsehoods. Following the example of our Lord we must always defeat falsehoods by being well versed with truth(John 17:17). This is our only weapon brethren(2 Cor 10:3-5, Eph 6:10-20). Let’s be careful brethren. Like the bereans we must search the scriptures always(Acts 17:11). Let scripture be our only Foundation(2 Tim 3:15-17).
[NLT] 2 Corinthians 11:13 These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ.
[NLT] 2 Corinthians 11:14 But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
[NLT] 2 Corinthians 11:15 So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve.

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Did you know that prayer requests largely reveal the condition of our hearts?

​Would want us to do a self examination on the content of our prayers. What do you find yourself praying to God about? Most of the prayer services i have gone to, i can summarise most of the prayers in these categories: Material wealth and prosperity, good job,breakthroughs(whatever that means), curse or even death on our enemies, long life and such like things. Am sure you are wondering, what is wrong with us praying for the above things? To answer this question, let us consider the example of King Solomon.

2 Chronicles 1:7 – In that night God appeared to Solomon, and said to him, “Ask what I shall give you.”

2 Chronicles 1:8 – And Solomon said to God, “You have shown great and steadfast love to David my father, and have made me king in his place.

2 Chronicles 1:9 – O LORD God, let your word to David my father be now fulfilled, for you have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth.

2 Chronicles 1:10 – Give me now wisdom and knowledge to go out and come in before this people, for who can govern this people of yours, which is so great?”

Interestingly, Solomon asked for Wisdom and knowledge to lead God’s people. His prayer wasn’t self centred, but God centred, hence the reason God is pleased and even gives Him more than He even asked for as we are going to see. It reminds us of Mt 6:33 where God asks us to seek first His kingdom and righteousness and all else will need added to us as well. Also James 1:5 where God asks us to ask for wisdom and He will give to us without finding fault. How often have you asked God to give you wisdom or knowledge? Let us look at God’s response, it is very interesting and it will teach us alot on what we need to focus on in prayer.

2 Chronicles 1:11 – God answered Solomon, “Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked possessions, wealth, honor, or the life of those who hate you, and have not even asked long life, but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself that you may govern my people over whom I have made you king,

2 Chronicles 1:12 – wisdom and knowledge are granted to you. I will also give you riches, possessions, and honor, such as none of the kings had who were before you, and none after you shall have the like.”

God is pleased by Solomon’s prayer. He goes on to focus on the state of his heart. He commends the sincerity of Solomon’s heart. At that point Solomon genuinely desired to have the heart of God in leading His people, hence the reason he asks for wisdom and knowledge. For most of us, the reason we dont get our prayers answered is because our hearts aint sincere and our motives are worldly and selfish as James reminds us:

James 4:3 – You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

James 4:4 – You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

God continues to commend Him for not asking for wealth, death of his enemies or even long life. Aint these the very things most christians pray and fast for? May God help us, as we read His word to know how to seek His will(John 4:34) and pray in accordance to His will(1 John 5:14-15). Whenever we dont pray in His will, we are susceptible to frustration and discontent as our prayers often go unanswered because of the state of our heart. God is always faithful and wants us to have the perspective(biblically) in our walk with Him. If you are walking with God, you dont need to struggle praying for material things, He knows what you need(Matthew 6:25-34) and knows what is best(Isaiah 48:17) for you. Let us always trust Him and His word. In conclusion, let us look at an content of a prayer in the epistles that affirms what we need to focus on in our prayers to God.

Colossians 1:9 – And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,

Colossians 1:10 – so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.

Colossians 1:11 – May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,

Colossians 1:12 – giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

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God loves and wants us to pray for people in other nations; not only Israel. He died for all mankind!

​Dear Evangelical Christians,
Why is it we are always willing to stand with Israel, Pray for #Israel? What of #Palestine? When do we ever hear a call to pray for them? #Syria? #Yemen? #Somalia? #Haiti? Didn’t Jesus Christ die for them to? Haven’t you read;
[NLT] Acts 10:34 Then Peter replied, “I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism.
[ESV] Acts 10:35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.
Notice it says above; “in every nation”, this includes Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, Palestine and many other nations we hardly focus on. Doesn’t it hurt us that many in nations above don’t know Christ and are dying daily due to the crisis/war in those areas? Aren’t they ripe for the gospel? What if we deliberately prayed for them and as God leads support missionaries to those areas?
Let’s Reflect on the words of Apostle Paul(a Jew) who was passionate for the salvation of His own people and tried his very best to share the gospel with them;
[NLT] Acts 13:44 The following week almost the entire city turned out to hear them preach the word of the Lord.
[ESV] Acts 13:45 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him.
[ESV] Acts 13:46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.
[ESV] Acts 13:47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”
[NLT] Acts 13:48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were very glad and thanked the Lord for his message; and all who were chosen for eternal life became believers.
[ESV] Acts 13:49 And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region.
As we pray for Israel and stand with them which is in order biblically, let’s remember God equally loves the other people in all nations in the world and desires them to know Christ as Lord(John 3:16, 1 Timothy 2:4)! #truth #church #love #greatcommission

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Principles and Lessons about giving from The Macedonian Church(2 Corinthians 8).

If you were to really ask a number of believers to be honest if they loved giving(be it in Church setting or generally), most would say they don’t! Most admit that they give because it is an obligation and they must. They fear that if they don’t give, something bad will happen to them/their loved ones as it is often taught in a number of churches in our day, sadly. God will curse all you do and all you have they unashamedly teach. Sadly, many have been sold to this heresy and falsehood. That my brothers and sisters is the elephant in the room. Let us learn from The Macedonian Churches in 2 Corinthians 8.

The Macedonians are described as materially poor church who were under severe persecution and trials. This surprisingly didn’t take away their Joy and love for other believers. Their attitude was on point! As Phil 2:3-4 says, they were humble and considered others better than themselves. They were not self centred nor did they complain about their situation as many would and do in such situations. Paul continues to say how in spite of their situation,  they still insisted they must participate in the grace of giving(Hebrews 13:16). Like the poor widow in Luke 21:1-4 who impressed the Lord Jesus Christ by giving from her poverty unlike the rest who gave from their plenty; Their giving was voluntary, sincere and heartfelt as commanded in 2 Corinthians 9:6-8. The Macedonians begged Paul to give. It wasn’t the other way round where the flock is begged to give in our day. When they gave, they surprised Paul since they gave over and above what he expected of them. They didn’t just talk, they practised it. It was love exemplified(1 John 3:16-18). What an attitude!

There is however a secret about their giving that I would want each of us to learn and practice by God’s grace. This kind of sacrificial giving can only come when individuals give themselves fully to God! This is exactly what the Macedonian Church did. They gave themselves fully to Jesus Christ and His will. (2 Cor 8:5). Then Christ taught them how to give from their hearts like He gave His life for us! The same attitude is clearly exemplified by the early church(Acts 2:42-47, Acts 4:32-37). This is what Pastors should yearn to do. Don’t coerce, threaten, manipulate, force people to give. Soon or later they will get tired and see the folly there in. Point people to Jesus Christ. Let them know Christ. Then Christ will teach them how to give, when to give and to whom to give for His glory. The secret to giving generously, just like everything else is in Knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and being sold to Him! When people know Christ, they will always automatically give towards what glorifies Christ. They will look for opportunities to advance the gospel, since Christ and His will drives them. We will not have to manufacture experiences, since they will always long to give towards the people and work of Christ. This actually applies to every facet of the christian life and christian giving(not only in a church setting).

God willing tomorrow we look at why we must be accountable and transparent with the giving of God’s people! We must account for every penny, every shilling given! Shalom

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