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GLEANINGS..."A weekly Devotional" by Gbile Akanni

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  • 25th April, 2016
  • 11th APRIL, 2016
  • 21st March, 2016

WHEN HE COMES - 6

"Calvary…the gateway into our unbroken communion"

“Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary who anointed the LORD with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, Lord, behold He whom You love is sick."
John 11:1-3 NKJV

The basis of our petition for Him to come in power and in revival is not because of us. It is because “he whom You love is sick.” We must always and ever appeal to His love for His Church, in every intercession we make. If our motivation for sending for Him is different from the fact of his unending, undying and unwavering love for His Church, we may be found bragging, boasting, beating our chest and flogging the brethren with the result of our ministries. If our prayers are answered and He comes in grace and power to visit His people, it is because of His love for His Bride, it would not be because we did anything. It was actually His grace at work within our hearts that brought us what we are doing in the vineyard. The breastplate on our hearts as we beseech Him to come in power to visit our land again must be the breastplate of love. It is love within our hearts for the Church that must motivate every labour we put into the vineyard service.

“For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus; that if One died for all, then all died..."
2Cor. 5:14 NKJV

Our labour must be compelled by His love that took Him to Calvary. Our plea for revival must be based on “he whom you love is sick.” Our expectation of His coming to revive and restore His friend is purely based on His love! Our holiness; our friendship with Him and our dutifulness cannot draw Him an inch... He will only come because of his love. While we must not take His loving kindness for granted, we still must remember it is his love and goodness that leads us unto repentance (Rom. 2:4).

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins."
1John 4:10 KJV

And

“He that spared not His own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"
Rom. 8:32 KJV

This is the basis of our expectation. Nothing good will He withhold from him whom he loves. He did not love us because we loved Him first. His love for us is not reciprocal of any love we had shown. Hence, it cannot be withdrawn because of anything we have done. Even in His withdrawal from a sinner or a backslider, it is in order for him or her to feel thirsty of that love again. It is that we might seek Him and His love. He never desires the death of a sinner. Until a sinner dies in his sin, the Master's love remains undying towards Him. The death of a sinner is a personal loss to our Lord! Even at the cross, the thief that acknowledged his sin still found pardon and a place in His bosom of love.

Peter backslid and denied the LORD thrice before the cock crew twice. He went back afishing, thus leading other disciples away from the great commission He left for them after all His labour on their lives... His love drew Him back to the seaside in search of His beloved... He met their physical needs. He laid fish on fire for them. He showed them the right side in which to cast their net. And rather than a sharp rebuke and discipline for Peter, the ring leader, he only called him aside with a tender love in His tone.

“...Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?"
1John 4:10 KJV

It was love He sued for in Peter. It was the love Peter saw in His Master that broke him into tears and led him into a lifelong commitment. It was love for Himself that Jesus regarded as the reason and basis for labouring on “My sheep.” Friend, while we look at him whom Jesus loves... as you lift up your eyes, do you not see love for you in His face? No matter how prodigal you have been... His love for you remains unabated. Until you die, He will never stop loving you! His love is the reason for His outstretched arm unto you today. His love is the reason why He has remained quiet and longsuffering, as if He condones your misbehaviour! Arise, the Master calleth you!

While the prodigal son was still afar off - afar off from holiness; afar off from righteousness... the father saw him and ran for him. He fell on his neck and kissed his dirty mouth. There is still the best robe in His wardrobe of love... He still reserves the “ring” - symbol of His covenant love - for you... the fatted calf can still be slaughtered. He has been sorrowful over your life in the wilderness of sin... the rags that sin and Satan has now clothed you with is not His desire! The best robe is still in store for you. Come now! Rise and come! Lift up your eyes from your failure. Look unto Him, who for your sake “hangeth” upon the tree. Calvary is the basis of our redemption. Calvary is still the reason for our restoration. Calvary will still remain the gateway into our unbroken communion with Him.

WHEN HE COMES - 5

"LAZARUS: Heaven’s Beloved!"

“Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary who anointed the LORD with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, Lord, behold He whom You love is sick."
John 11:1-3 NKJV

This background is very necessary for us to position our hearts aright, as we seek to see Christ's position in regard to what we are praying for.

“Lord, behold he whom you love is sick.”

We need to first and foremost appreciate the fact that the “Lazarus” who is sick is actually “he whom You love.” We may over-zealously omit this fact. We may even presume that Jesus must have so many faults against the Church to the extent that He may have withdrawn His love from her. We may capitalize on this 'sickness' to the extent of concluding that He must have been fed up with His Church. Yes! Lazarus is sick - sick with all kinds of spots and every kind of sin and compromise. Sick and dying, yet loved and still beloved. It must dawn on our hearts that “Jesus... having loved his own... loved them to the end.” John 13:1b.

One reason why we must expect him to come to the rescue of His Church from this current sickness is because it is “he whom He loves.” The love of God for His Church on earth is very central to His enduring patience and persistent desire to raise men and to send them with fresh anointing to call His Church back to order. Even when He rebukes, it is the manifestation of His love. When He chastises, it is because of His love. His compassion on His church is a very strong motivation for us to expect Him to visit us again.

“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister, and Lazarus."
11:5 NKJV

“Jesus wept”

Then the Jews said,

“See how He loved him."
11:36 NKJV

Again and again, His love for Lazarus was emphasized. “Now” - even in this sickness; in the present weakness of Lazarus, Jesus loved him. He loved all the ministers who laboured on the dying Lazarus. Martha ministered to him (in her own way); Mary was ministering to him; others just nursed him; others diagnosed his sickness; some ran to doctors, others were sent to call Jesus several miles away in Judea. All these were ministers to Lazarus in his trying and sick moment. I want to say with confidence that Jesus loves and appreciates every man who is seeking the recovery and restoration of Lazarus (His Church) since He Himself loves Lazarus.

As we do whatever falls to us to do in the ministry to the Church, we must do so with a clear perspective...it must be with this understanding that we are handling “he whom Jesus loves.” Every time you touch a soul for God, be it in the Sunday School or in the Adult Class; be it in the urban city or in the rural remote villages of the world, if they be called by His name, you must do so with this note firmly in your heart that you are... handling the beloved of the Lord, “the apple of His eyes.”

WHEN HE COMES - 4

"A Hopeless Condition… Bethany side!"

“Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died."
John 11:21 NKJV

This was the consensus declaration of Martha and Mary. They did not sit down to discuss what to say, but spontaneously their hearts were poured out as each of them met Jesus. He came only four days after Lazarus their brother had died and was already laid away in the tomb; blocked off with a heavy stone and bound stiff with the grave clothes. Sympathizers had wept their eyes dry and all hope of their brother being alive was gone. All efforts at keeping him was futile and even their urgent message to Jesus, their friend and His friend was met with a seeming “I don't care” attitude. However, in their hearts the only reason why things got out of hand was because Jesus, the Master was not there. Mary sighed, sobbed and sank into her seat, as she watched her brother dying, writhing helplessly in pains... saying... “I wish Jesus just walks in right NOW! Didn't the brother we sent tell Him it was His friend Lazarus - whom He loves? Didn't he tell Him, how I was crying desperately? I wish I had gone myself to drag Him here. Now, it is too late: Lazarus! Lazarus!! Lazarus!!! Don't give up yet. He may arrive in a minute: wait still... He has never treated us like this before!”

Lazarus himself, full of expectation and hope that death would not conquer him before the Master arrived, muttered some incommunicable words that would appear to mean... “It seems he would not come for me again... If I see Him no more here, I still hope He will raise me up in the last day, at the resurrection of the dead. Though I long to live to see God's glory in the land of the living, it seems the force of death has taken the upper hand. All my cells are dry and stiff... I must bow out unfortunately.” He struggled a bit more...but his strength was ebbing away with every tick of the clock. Finally, Lazarus closed his eyes in death amidst the wailing noise of sisters, relatives and sympathizers. He would hear their voices no more, no matter how loudly they shouted.

All massaging, all pumping of his chest; all blowing into his nostrils could not restore life. None of such could bring to life, that which was dead! They pulled him here and there; some beat the tables and the chairs, and some blew the fan...all to no avail! He had gone across the river where no mortal can prevail to do anything.

Mary and Martha moved up and down in sorrow... but the only one friend that mattered at that point had not arrived. Questions upon questions sprang in their minds: “why, O God? Why didn't He respond to our emergency call? What was he doing out there in Judea and He was held down for all these days...of our trials? Where is the answered prayers He taught us about? Even if He now comes, what will He do since Lazarus is beginning to decompose already?”

Elders and other men in the community came for a caucus meeting: “what shall we do now? Mary is still insisting we don't bury him, till Jesus comes; but foul smell is filling the whole house already.” “Martha has begun to reason well at least: she says maybe it is the last day that Lazarus would rise with the dead in Christ...” “Let us hang on that and push for the quick burial...” “Don't mind Mary! She is too sentimental about this Jesus. She does nothing else, except sit at his feet, hearing Him, rubbing and washing His feet, with her tears once He is around.” “If we wait for Mary to agree, we would not progress from here. If Martha has agreed, let's bind the corpse strong with clothes, put him quickly in the tomb and place a heavy stone, otherwise, Mary may enter the tomb to go and cry again ... she is too obsessed with Lazarus. What kind of love is this? It is more than that of marital relationship!”

With this, Lazarus was buried, Martha resumed her usual bustling and hustling... cumbered as usual with much serving. She ran miles upon miles even within the compound - dashing here and there. No one could locate her particularly. “She was here just five minute ago... check her over there! Oh! She left here for the market... “But Mary, refusing to let this Lazarus go off like that, held on in faith anticipation. She kept saying intermittently: “if he were here, my brother would not have died! I am still waiting here for him to come... He promised to come. Though He tarries, I will still wait for him: He that shall come... is coming. Though they have put away my brother as 'dead', 'good for nothing', 'irretrievable', though I am exhorted to look away and forget Lazarus (as if His friend would not come to wake him up)... I will still wait for my LORD to come. He promised to come. He is faithful.”

She rose up to go to the tomb, to weep and to lament (others thought) .But I suppose, to remind her friend Jesus...” I am still holding on to your promise. I refuse to give up on 'Lazarus'... I am standing here at the tomb... I have no access to his spirit and the body. A big and heavy stone has been rolled to lock me out of touch but I know when You come all obstacles will be rolled away”... And she wept the more and her friends and disciples (so to say) wept with her. They sat all day, and all night with her, comforting her, but she was single-eyed on one thing... “If He were here, my brother would not have died; but even now, if He comes, He can still bring revival, restoration and resurrection! Lazarus hasn't finished for me, since he that will come is yet to come.”

This was the scenario at Bethany! But let us look at the other side - God's own side. As we look at the issue of revival and restoration in the Body of Christ and in the nations, we need to capture the mind of Christ as regards revival labours at this time. If we stand only on the Bethany side, there may be little hope! The 'Marys' - the next of kin to our “Lazarus” the Church, who are weeping and interceding for the revival of Christ's friend and bride - may only appear as mere fanatics who are refusing to give up the idea of restoration and move on with current thinking among men of our time. It is as we gain insight into the Lord's mind that we may have a balance, in our pursuit of revival in the Church!

It is also as you see the way He sees that you may gain a proper ground in your plea for a divine intervention in your situation. Many only cry around without understanding the basis of our receiving from the LORD. Others gave up trying as they hinged in vain on their merit for winning God's approval. Look away for a moment from your Bethany side and cast a glance at the Master's eye... you will find a compassionate LORD eager to help you...


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  • CSC 2016, Gboko -

    The 2016 National Christian Students' Congress holds as follows:

    Date: Thurs. 28th April - Sun. 2nd May, 2016.

    Theme: "THE SET TIME FOR YOUR EXPLOITS!"

    Venue: Peace House Camp, Km 21`Gboko-Aliade Road, Mbahyande – Mbayion, Gboko, Benue State, Nigeria.

     

    God bless you.

  • CLEREC 2016 -

    Theme: " I will make you a new sharp threshing instrument"
    Date: Monday 2nd - Friday 6th May, 2016
    Venue: Bethany Resort, Peace House Camp, Gboko.

    NOTE: This Conference is strictly for the mainline (orthodox) denominations listed in the form. Those not belonging to the listed denominations will not be allowed to participate in the conference.  Please call: 08036133629, 08037139774 for clarification if need be.

    Click here for Preregistration FULL REGISTRATION IS ON ARRIVAL AT THE VENUE OF MEETING.

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Never Say Enough By Brother Gbile Akanni .
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25/04/2016 - Encounter With Jesus; Zachaeus.
By Gbile Akanni

Book of the month

BILL BOARD

Praise God for yet another year which the grace of God has brought us into. This year is particularly critical for us since it comes with our daybreak. The Lord specifically announced to us during the Ministers’ Leadership Retreat (MLR) in Gboko in December 2015 that the day breaks. 2016 therefore is the year that our daybreak has ushered us into. And we say, to God be the glory.

Every daybreak comes with a demand for each man unto whom such a day has broken to respond to. Lack of understanding on how to respond has always been the reason why many waste their day, but thank God that He did not leave us without instructions on how we ought to respond to this our daybreak. He said to us:

“Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.” (Isa 60:1 NKJV)

Behold! The days are already running; we must stir up ourselves and match obedience with this instruction which God gave us, least we waste our light which has come already! This is a charge, not a suggestion. It is a command that needs our willingness to obey.

As we welcome you this year to this website, which is but a fellowship point for us all, we pray that God will find each of us standing on our different lampstands where He has located us at the moment, ready to give light to all that are around us. Amen.

God bless you.

Living Seed Sitekeeper.

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Clergy Refresher Conference(CLEREC) 2016!

2016 CKEREC HB.jpg

Theme: " I will make you a new sharp threshing instrument"

Date: Monday 2nd - Friday 6th May, 2016

Venue: Bethany Resort, Peace House Camp, Gboko.

NOTE: This Conference is strictly for the mainline (orthodox) denominations listed in the form. Those not belonging to the listed denominations will not be allowed to participate in the conference.  Please call: 08036133629, 08037139774 for clarification if need be.


Thank you.

Click here for Preregistration FULL REGISTRATION IS ON ARRIVAL AT THE VENUE OF MEETING.

 

 

 

Christian Students' Congress(CSC) 2016!

Date:  Thurs. 28th April - Sun. 2nd May, 2016
Theme: "THE SET TIME FOR YOUR EXPLOITS!"
Venue: Peace House Camp, Km 21`Gboko-Aliade Road, Mbahyande – Mbayion, Gboko, Benue State, Nigeria.


In 2014 the Lord allowed us to hold the National Students’ Congress on the theme: “Built, established and furnished for the kingdom”. That Congress focused on the crucial preparation of your life for the future God has promised to give you. We looked at the right way to build such a future and what must be established as a base for it. In 2015 when we met with only Christian Students’ Leaders, we examined Resourcefulness, Resoluteness, Resilience, Relentlessness and Responsibility as essential requirement for dynamic, productive and effective leadership. This year, as we waited upon the Lord we perceive that the day has dawned and the sun is risen upon you for palpable exploits; hence the theme: THE SET TIME FOR YOUR EXPLOITS.

Time is like a burning candle that reduces with every passing hour. As a student you must be familiar with the use of time in your daily academic pursuit. Time once spent can never be retrieved. Between the times you were born and when you die, lie the tasks that will make up your history here and will also affect you in the life to come. It is therefore expedient that you engage this day that is set before you; which is your time for exploit.

You are uniquely placed to set agenda for the future, to do exploits, which those stricken in years cannot. It is now time for you to rise and do exploits; like Daniel who “purposed in his heart not to defile himself”, Esther who took her life in her hands and said “if I perish I perish” and Ruth who exercised great faith in the God of Israel saying “your God shall be my God” and following an old woman to an unknown land out of Moab.

God can and does use men even in their old age but for significant exploits He goes for the young. So we dare say to you THIS IS YOUR SET TIME FOR EXPLOITS. So arise at once and shine for your light has come. This meeting must be your priority. Work out your schedule to attend without fail. The registration, feeding and accommodation will be free as the Lord provides. Just find time and come along with your Bible and notebook to sit down at the feet of the Lord. God bless you.

Your brother, Gbile Akanni

Click here for Registration Procedure