GLEANINGS..."A weekly Devotional" by Gbile Akanni
- 13th June, 2016
- 30th May, 2016
- 9th April, 2016
WHEN HE COMES - 9
"The Determinate Counsel!"
I go that I may wake him up...
John 11:11 NKJV
This is the turning point for Lazarus! Though he lay dead in the cold and chilly tomb... his destiny changed from that moment of divine determination: “But I go that I may wake him up.”
When He says “I am going...” no one can distract Him. No hurdle, no barrier, no river, no gate, no door, no power can stop him. “I am going to wake him up” is such a definite will of God that cannot be hindered. We must touch this in our spirits. Once the disciples heard him say that, those who understood got ready to see God in action again.
They knew once He sets His face to go somewhere, there He will go and there He will arrive: Storms, boisterous winds; demoniacs of Gadara could not stop Him...neither would modern or ancient principalities stop Him now! No government, no ideology, no history and no economy can hinder him.
Look at what He says of Himself:
Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretched forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish; That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof: That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers: That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.”
“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else, I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from the ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, my counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: calling the ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it. Hearken unto me, ye stout-hearted, that are far from righteousness: I bring near my righteousness; it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory.
Isa. 46:9-13 KJV
I feel like shouting and jumping around even now. I see death roll away from His Church, just because He has declared, “I am going to wake Him up.”
“Remember the things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done...saying My counsel shall stand and I will do My pleasure. Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man who executes my counsel, from a far country yea I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass: I have purposed it, I will also do it.”
This is He whom we serve. He is the One who has spoken... do not look around or bother yourself for what He would use... He calls forth whatever is needed to accomplish His purpose! No part of the earth is too far and inaccessible to pull anything and anyone from anywhere to bring His purpose to pass. All we need to know is if He has said “I am going to wake him up”... That is all! That is sufficient ... and this is what He has declared in our midst and in our ears! This is the unmistakable word He has sent to us in this year of our labours. He has come to do what no one else could do for His own friend Lazarus. No well is too deep for him to draw from. No situation is beyond His control. At the wedding in Cana of Galilee ... they ran out of their wine. They came to the end of their steam. All hope was gone... but Mary knew Him. She knew what He could do. She knew that nothing gets out of His hand ... She simply put the matter in His hands and left... “Whatsoever He saith to you, do it”... Empty water pots - abandoned and neglected; and ordinary water from the familiar stream at His command came together to become sweet wine.
Let not unbelief strangulate you! While you must repent of all former presumptuous running to Bethany while He still stayed where he was; shouting when He had uttered no phrase; fussing here and there, while Judea was then His focus; stumbling around in the night, while He took time to ascertain divine timing - your past failure has no bearing with Him. You failed because he wasn't ready to act then. But NOW! He has risen to go to wake up His friend. Do not let your past overwhelm you. He was not there then. He was not coming then ... You thought 'faith confession' would bring Him and compel Him to walk out of the light of His day... You were presumptuous! Now, it is not the suggestion of a man. It is not even our prayers. We prayed and our brother 'Lazarus' still died! We worked, we medicated him here and there. We formed teams and gangs ... He still decayed. This time, He is the One who is speaking... He declared His own intention by Himself. You'd better believe so you can be in His entourage for revival, if not He will still go. It is time for Him to do so! Hallelujah.
Watch this! Even the whole system of the universe will stand still for Him to achieve His purpose. Policies of world governments may alter for this to happen. Anything may happen, He will fulfill His counsel.
For me, it is a new dawn! It is different now. There is a change of roles for me. It has started already! It cannot be explained by human wisdom. I write this to you, that you may know how to behave yourself in this crucial hour of divine take-over! I am not writing so that it can happen, it will happen with or without all these ... it is just for you to learn how to behave yourself henceforth.
“I am going that I may wake Him up...”
It is a determinate counsel! “Four days in the grave! Behold, by now he stinketh” was the cry of Martha who believed not! You may be in the class of Martha today. You quietly say ''we are being too presumptuous, surely.” What if it does not happen? Will it not be like the other prophecies of men? Don't worry! Wait and you will see! But if you believe, you will not only see the glory of God, you will be a partaker of it and a servant of that glorious outburst. No one spoke to Him! Everyone was silent. No one even asked questions again. He had silenced all their eagerness when He told them of stumbling if you don't walk in the light of your day and out of the uneasy quietness. He spoke up:
“Lazarus, our friend sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.”
They were not even excited ... They said “Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.” They were not expecting “resurrection from the dead.” Haste had left them ... They were tired of being anxious!
“Then Jesus said to them plainly, Lazarus is dead.'’
WHEN HE COMES - 8
"The mystery of the resurrection life!"
Let us learn to do what each time-pace is meant to accomplish. Let us walk within the light of His presence. Genuine ministry is only in this matter: walking with Him; staying where He stays; going behind Him either into Judea or into Bethany... facing what He faces at a particular time.
Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world, But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.
John 11:9-10 NKJV
What a matter we must note in our labours in the ministry. If any man walks in the day, he does not stumble... he does not make mistakes... he does not hit his head against a wall. Every 'day' of a man's ministry comes with a bright light for what to do. It is not working miracles or doing wonders that is very significant here; it is walking in the light of 'your' day!
If Jesus had rushed to Lazarus' bed side, earlier than the divine time, He would have stumbled... He would heal Lazarus from his sickness but that healing would at best be a stumbling. How many times our so called 'breakthroughs' have actually been our stumbling in ministry. We have so stumbled that we could not bring the utmost and the ultimate glory to the SON, through our labours.
How we need to learn this firmly from our LORD as we face the days ahead in our service to the LORD and to His friend “Lazarus”.... LORD, deliver us from this 'stumbling', which is so easy for us to fall into. Teach us to know your purpose, your timing and Your strategy henceforth.
Do you wonder at His delay to grant you the miracle for which you have prayed? Do you query His love and care, as He remains silent over your case? Are you ebbing away in the fervency of your faith because of this conflict? How can I be sure He still loves me while I struggle all alone in this valley of the shadow of death? Has He forgotten me for the devil to devour? Question upon Questions! There must have been several similar questions on Lazarus' mind before he finally bowed out unto death. Martha could have doubted His love for her and thought on whether she had offended Him and He decided to square up by neglecting her cry for her brother Lazarus. Sympathizers may have unwittingly concluded that “this friend of yours is not a friend in need and hence not a friend indeed.” Yet, His delay was not a denial. It was for the Son of man to be glorified among men.
It was not to kill you. The long barrenness in your marriage or in your ministry despite that you have raised urgent alarm to heaven is not a denial. It is to bring forth the ultimate and the utmost glory of God in your life. Hannah cried and wept for years. She watched her rival Peninnah deliver babies like a pig. She endured the sarcastic comments and the disloyalty of her husband until the Lord remembered her. Her son, Samuel was the only son of Elkanah known and reckoned by name in all the several generations ever since. He was the one, ordained and established a prophet and priest in Israel. This “sickness” is not unto death; it is for the glory of God! Though He tarries, wait for Him... He that shall come, shall come. Job almost became a skeleton. He seemed to have lost all, even friends and believers misunderstood his stand with God... “God could not have kept mute and watched His beloved waste away like this”, they must have said among themselves. Joseph languished in the prison for thirteen years, while the Word of the LORD tried him in preparation for the place of utmost fulfillment and glory. (Ps. 105:17-22)
Yet at the appointed time, God came! He came for him. Overnight Joseph was placed on the second chariot of Pharaoh in Egypt. His former master and owner - Portiphar - became his chief protocol- running ahead of him shouting “Bow the knee! Bow the knee!”
Resurrection only comes at the tomb of death! Could He be waiting until all of your self-life; self-energy; self-wisdom; self-effort, self-strategy, self- acclaim; self- activity; self-advertisement and all that is of the flesh dies, so He can use you to bring glory to God among men? For Lazarus to sit and become a reason for men to gather to the Lord, he must die! The Lord must wait for death to have its full work, so that life can be made manifest in us...
Alway bearing about in the body, the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death works in us, but life in you.
2Cor. 4:10-12 KJV
This is the mystery of the resurrection life:
Except the corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone...
John 12:24 KJV
Death is the basis of every ministry that will bring glory to God through any man! Death to your personal ambition; death to your personal opinion and to public opinion; death to fame; death to females and death to finance! Death to personal promotion; death to the platform and death to performance. Death to your rights; and death to your claims, so that He can raise you an object of His glory and a vessel of honour in His kingdom....
All who bore Him significantly among men have come forth from the tomb of death. Except you have been put away by men, God cannot put you up on His platform. This kind of death must work within your cells before He can call you forth into the glamour of divine service. All who hope to become vessels of glory and bring joy and revival to their community and to their generations must come down to this Jordan of death! It is the cup and the baptism all candidates for a glorious service must take. If he still tarries in your own case, look out for the aspect of your self-life that is refusing this baptism.
WHEN HE COMES - 7
"Why Jesus Delayed"
While His love for His Church (Lazarus) is not in doubt, His action raised a conflict - in several hearts. This is probably because we cannot see as He sees. Our own understanding of love and care is from a different lens other than His own.
“So when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. Then after this He said to the disciples, “let us go to Judea again."
John 11:6-7 NKJV
This is very confusing, more so that the scripture pointed out that “So when He heard that he was sick,” it was not deliberate. It was not because He was ignorant of Lazarus' sickness nor the pains and the decay that crept all over him... He knew that Lazarus was facing dark moments, yet He stayed two more days in the place where He was... He stayed put. He remained unmoved and unnerved about the urgent message sent to Him by sisters Mary and Martha whom He also loved. Isn't it a conflict in our hearts that we have prayed and fasted for the LORD to intervene in the decaying situation of the Church - in several lands - most especially in Europe, yet He stayed away? He kept facing other directions, as it were. It is painful that many intercessors cried to the LORD at the very beginning of the sickness and He stayed away until this moment when everything is dead and stinking. Some wept sore, looking on the way, if He would suddenly appear... He did not come until they also fell asleep. Others got frustrated and began to deny the genuineness of His love. They became embittered against the LORD and the Word of His promise. We have had many questions, many dark moments, many doubts; simply because of His delay. Many of us have had to review our theology and have quietly deleted any hope of revival. We went into the theory of “dispensationalism” and fatalism. We concluded that this is the apostasy prophesied about. Others felt, God is not going to revive these old Churches anymore; let us better begin new ones. All of these are because we did not see as He sees. His thoughts are not our thoughts. His ways are not our ways. We see dimly, He knows the end from the beginning. Look at what he saw concerning this situation, and what He still says about His church even today.
“When Jesus heard that, He said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it."
John 11:4 NKJV
This sickness is not unto death! And that is the verdict from Him who Himself is the Resurrection and the Life. He calls the things that are not as though they were. He speaks to wombs that were long barren and there springs forth life. It is enough to see His own perspective. This sickness that has come upon us ( and upon His Church severally) is not unto death - Modernism, Secularism, Pluralism, Humanism, Socialism, Communism, Hinduism and all the 'isms' you can coin out that have come like germs and infections against the Church in our time. They are biting so hard. Some have even gone so deep into the fabrics of the church leadership, attacking her from her very roots. Every passing day it seems this sickness will finish Christ's Church. But, let me re-echo this again as I hear my LORD declare very firmly: “This sickness is not unto death.” “The gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church.” He is coming for a victorious and glorious Church, without spot or wrinkle.
“...But for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
This deadness is not the end of the story. There is a glory coming forth: the glory of God in our uttermost weakness. Roses come forth brightly out of thorns. Light shines brightest in the darkest darkness. Even in this complicated situation all over the world, the Son of God will be glorified.
First, we must note that this was His first comment as He heard that Lazarus was sick. He saw the end from the beginning. The end of the matter is what matters most...and it is that the Son of God will be glorified through it. Even as we follow the LORD Jesus into the ministry of waking up His friend Lazarus, we must do so with our eyes and our hearts fixed on the end he has in mind. Whatever intervening conflicts we find; whatever stiffness has come upon His Body; whatever disintegration has taken place is not the end of the story. We must learn to see as He sees, so we can walk along with Him as calmly as He would. Though we would love to rush on to the scene and perform some acrobatics... He takes firm steps in divine timing, with confident knowledge of the end before it all began. It is wonderful to gain a deep insight into the heart of the LORD. The Church is not going to die out... She will spring forth again and the Son of God will be glorified on earth, even through the Church.
“...That the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
This “Lazarus” (the church) must still play a key role in bringing glory to the Son of God. She would silence the gainsayers and subdue the principalities, while by her and through her “the Son” shall be glorified.
Let this settle in your heart, my beloved brother and sister. Those who labour in God's vineyard must do so with this assurance. There is going to be a revival: a rising up; a breaking forth from the tomb; a rolling away of stones and tearing away of grave clothes... a gathering of men and women into the kingdom, because of the revival of this “Lazarus” - the Church. Even if “Jesus stayed two more days in the place where He was,” let us just follow Him confidently. Wherever He goes now and whatever He goes back to Judea to do, let us follow Him... this is the point of trial for several of us... can we follow Him back into Judea again... can we endure staying while He stays two more days at the same spot, as if he is stagnant? Can we endure a seeming dryness in ministry while we watch our “Lazarus”- friend and brother die? We may be tempted to rush and try to do some more massaging, just to satisfy our emotions that we are doing something. Yet, our only wisdom is to stay where He stays, to go to any Judea He wishes to go back into until He is ready to go and wake up His friend.
I pray that henceforth, I will only walk in step with Him. Even if I go ahead of Him, I can only shake the dead body and do no more... His coming is the answer to this death... He knows what to do and when to do it.