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

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  • 25th May, 2015
  • 18 May, 2015
  • 27th April, 2015

COSTLY ASSUMPTIONS - 2

"The Pointers To Missing JESUS- 1"

“And when they had fulfilled their days, as they returned, the child, Jesus, tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and His mother knew not of it.”
Luke 2:43 KJV

What could have happened to Mary and Joseph that they missed Jesus from their lives? Remember, that Mary carried Jesus for nine [9] months in her womb. She stayed with Jesus for twelve {12} years. How could they have missed Him and not know it? How could you that have been a Christian for some years now {if you really are}; “born again” {so to speak} several years ago, still miss Jesus? How could the reality of Jesus, the reality of the Christian life, and the reality of the power of God, dissipate from your life and you will not know it?

Is it possible to continue in Church and religious activities, going from one meeting to another, and from one conference to another, yet in reality be a backslider: bereft of any tangible heavenly and Spiritual reality? Is it possible that, with all the bogus religious titles, positions, reputations, and privileges around you, Jesus is already missing? These are the issues I am raising for us to consider. Now, what are the remote and immediate pointers that one is about to, or is already out of tune with the Master?

  • When Genuine Spiritual Experiences degenerate into feasts!

The Word of God said;

“... His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover.”

The first pointer unto missing Jesus the Holy Spirit want to draw our attention to in the passage under consideration is- The Passover became a feast! The Passover, when it was instituted was an experience. It was something that changed people's lives. In the Old Testament, everybody knew that he actually passed-over from the dominion [kingdom] of Egypt, out of bondage at the Passover. PASSOVER MEANT DELIVERANCE! It was the foundation for all other spiritual encounters! It meant coming out of the tyranny of darkness into the light, under the cloud of the presence of God. But at this particular time in question, people that never had the real experience of Passover only attended it as a feast. A Christian loses Jesus from his life when the experience that changed many people's lives in the past becomes an ordinary feast to him. When church attendance is no more to encounter, or to have an experience with God, but an ordinary feast and entertainment to a man, he will soon lose Jesus in his life.

Do you know that singing choruses, praise worship, hymns, etc. for instance can become a feast? It can degenerate, as indeed it has done in several of our denominations today into mere 'frenzies and jamborees'! It has actually become nothing but mere “musical concert”, embellished with all kinds of beats and instruments borrowed from 'Babylon', though these songs are usually spiced with gifted soprano voices that come from unbroken and fleshy hearts!

Is it not a common knowledge that several of our so called 'Christian albums' are nothing but 'Jamaican reggae beats' covered with Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley voices? Is it any wonder then that when we now sing such songs, our lives do not bear the same fruits and results as those saints of blessed memory?

Dear 'man of God', instead of the bogus, and carnal launching of the twelve million naira musical instruments accompanied with prayer and fasting you have plunged your congregation into, you should first in your own life, and then with your congregation do a 'spiritual launching' for the recovery of the Holy, consecrated, Spirit filled, and obedient life that was once delivered unto the Saints!

Again, as a reminder, church activities and indeed, every religious activity for that matter can become an ordinary 'feast' when it carries no spiritual experience in your life again. Even prayer as spiritual as it is can become a 'feast'. When prayer time is no longer a genuine fellowship with God, but a routine of vain repetition and meaningless words, or even in the name of 'speaking in tongues'! Or worse still when your prayer time with God instead of bending your self-will and writing eternal characters in your life becomes only an avenue for using God to advance your selfish ambitions. When it is no longer a place of receiving God's will and the grace to do it, but rather, a routine of “God give me this”, “God do this for me” “God destroy all those who are standing in the way of my blessing and promotion”. When prayer time- God's opportunity for breaking the tyranny of self, sin and rottenness of our lives become diverted to serving our interest, then we have entered into the realms of ceremonies and feasts!

There are yet others who presently attend prayer meetings, family prayer times, or devotions, or even fasting retreats, not because the burden and the desire to pray is present, but rather more out of “saving face” “a name”, or even their “past reputation” of being once upon a time a spiritual brother or sister. The truth however, alas, is Ichabod! The glory has departed and the heart has backslidden. To such, Jesus in the book of Revelation says: “thou hast a name that thou liveth, but thou art dead.” When you participate in any religious activity just to protect a name or to defend yourself against people thinking that you are no longer fervent- then, spiritual things have become just a feast or ceremony to you as well. You are on the shortest possible path to losing Jesus.

Friends, from the above and other indices too numerous to mention, will you not agree that the things of God are becoming just a ceremony to you?

Don't you now for instance just go to Church on Sundays only as a ceremony? Imagine that for weeks, you don't do any genuine personal study of your Bible, yet on Sundays, you get up and dust your Bible to go for service. Perhaps, you may be going to show off your new dress, your new car, or even to parade your fine looking [and probably spoilt] children! It is certainly not out of a hunger or the desire to see the glory of God.

When you see these parameters in your life, they are pointers unto missing the reality of the Christian life. They are pointers showing that you may already be missing the Lord Jesus out in your life and you do not know it.

 

COSTLY ASSUMPTIONS - 1

"Jesus is missing!"

Introduction:
As we prayerfully look up to the Holy Spirit to take us through another series in our gleanings, we invite you to come along with us with a heart lifted to God at all times in prayers. These are devotions and thus require soberness of heart. Our prayer is that each of us will glean what shall be sufficient for our day to day walk with Jesus. Amen.

Jesus is missing...

“Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled their days, as they returned, the child, Jesus, tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and His mother knew not of it. But they, supposing Him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought Him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances. And When they found Him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking Him. And it came to pass that, after three days, they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were amazed at His understanding and answers. And when they saw Him, they were astonished and His mother said unto Him, Son, why has thou thus dealt with us? Behold Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing. And He said unto them, how is it that ye sought Me? Knew ye not that I must be about My Father's business? And they understood not the saying, which He spoke unto them”
Luke 2:41-50 KJV

This scripture is quite familiar to several people as it tells us the story of how Jesus followed His earthly parents to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. But our concern here is not just the story. We want to examine what happened to Joseph and Mary that Jesus was missing from their midst and they never knew it. Since it happened to people like Joseph and Mary, it could happen to anyone. As a matter of fact, there are several people, Churches and fellowship groups in whose lives Jesus is presently missing and they do not know it. This then calls for a careful study of this incidence in order to glean wisdom for our lives and our walk with God.

It will be a very costly assumption to think that you are a child of God, that God is with you and that Jesus is in your heart, only to get to the gate of heaven and discover that you never knew Him or that you missed Him along the way. That time, it will be too late and eternity will open up to you on the other side, which is hell fire. There is therefore an urgent need to pay close attention to this matter.

Now the Bible said,

“Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover…”
Luke 2:41 KJV

This is one thing you should note as we prayerfully go on in this devotion. Mary and Joseph were not careless, ungodly people. They were quite religious. They went every year to the feast of Passover. They were not people who had absconded from Church; they were not even people who went to the Temple occasionally. They went regularly. May be you are such a person who has never missed any of your Church meetings and programs, Joseph and Mary were people like you. The Bible records that when Jesus was twelve years old, they went with Him up to Jerusalem as they had always done.

Think a little more about the background of Mary and Joseph. Mary was a woman that set herself aside for God. She consecrated her heart to God. Mary, though in courtship relationship with Joseph, with the consent of their two families and the wedding day already fixed, still maintained her virginity! Not many young people in this age care so much about being chaste.

Not many eventually get married as virgins. They “spoil” themselves with premarital sex or fornication. Many even go as far as aborting pregnancies. But not Mary, she kept herself in the midst of such pressures and temptations. Now if such a person that has been working in the service of God [proper consecration], walking with a heart turned towards God, and in holiness, missed Jesus, then I would again like to remind you to consider this very closely. It could happen to you also!

TIMELY WARNING - 9

"HOW RICH AM I TOWARDS GOD?!"

The conclusion of the matter of this Timely Warning is:

“But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
Luke 12:20-21 KJV

Stock taking is a crucial part of every business that must thrive. So is it with the Christian life. Even if you choose not to be a Christian, this does not exempt you from taking stock of how you have been living your life daily within the short time we are to spend on this side of eternity. How rich am I towards God? And you, how rich are you towards God?

One day I was driving behind an army truck. I wanted to overtake it but the Holy Spirit said I should wait. I had followed this vehicle for more than ten kilometers. It was carrying a corpse. Soldiers were inside with the late man’s wife and children. I was following that truck like that, wanting to overtake but the Lord said, “wait.” Then one man came from behind at high speed and overtook me. But as he wanted to overtake the truck, he saw a Road Safety Corps vehicle (a Nigerian Road traffic law enforcement agency) coming about 300 meters away. He wanted to dodge; and had he tried to enter between my car and the truck, he would have hit my car (that would have been trouble for me). So instead, he went and hit the truck. The front part of the car went under the truck’s tire, lifted it up and the truck started to somersault. I have never seen such a thing.

Imagine what happen to that woman whose husband had died. The corpse was inside the truck and they were on their way to his village to bury him. There and then she lost three of her children, her younger brother and another person who was escorting the dead also died. Seven people died. As I was looking at them, the Holy Spirit said, “It could have been you. The devil aimed at you. But I gave the lives of men for your ransom.” I just pulled my car aside and parked, w ith no scratch, nothing. Then all of us inside came out. People, who were talking, chatting and laughing in that truck a few minutes before, were all gone. It was such a horrible sight and tragedy.

The question I asked myself was that if I had died what of all the plans for revival meetings I was having? What would have happened? On that day I was coming from a village where we went to do a crusade. We were seven in the car. Seven of us were exchange for seven others. God said it could have been us. My life could have been over. I would have been one of ‘the late’ now. Then I took stock and said, “Lord, what could I have missed?” Nothing! No fat bank account. The only thing I could have missed was preaching.

As we were pulling those dead people out, the woman was wailing and saying, “You this wicked husband, why did you treat me like this? If you wanted to die you should have died alone. Why did you carry all my children away? What am I living for?” Yes, what was she living for? What is life? Are you not a fool that you are spending all your life on the peripherals? You have no connection with heaven. You have never thought, “Where should I invest my life? Where will I spend eternity? What am I sending to heaven? What am I sending to eternity?”

Can you also take stock of your life even now? May be you are sixty years or forty-five or even thirty years. How much of those thirty years have you invested for heaven? Just think about it. Thirty years, you have always been a student, collecting papers and because of this, you have no time to be useful to God. When anybody calls you for Bible Study or Soul-winning, you refuse. Your excuse has always been that you are busy. You say you are doing something so that you will be comfortable tomorrow. Are you not a fool? This past forty-five years that you have been alive, you are yet to spend even one year to do anything for Jesus. You have money both in the bank and at home. Some people may even be so careless that their wives don’t know their bank account. If you are like that, if you die now other people will collect your money and your children will suffer. Aren’t you a fool? The reason why I am raising this matter is because Jesus raised it, and it has delivered me from being foolish. Whatever decision must be made should be made now. If you do not invest in people, in salvation of souls and in eternity, what are you investing your life on? The many houses that some of us have built, how many of them do we sleep in at the same time?

Lord, I know how many years I am today. I don’t even know how many years are remaining for me here on earth. I want to invest whatever is remaining in eternal things. Please give me opportunity, open an account for me in heaven, and let my life not be a waste. Help me to do all I could, while I am yet able, to be rich towards you. I don’t want to live my life serving money and other interests. I would not want to spend my life on ordinary politics if it is not to establish God’s kingdom here on earth.

Has God blessed you? Are you very intelligent? Has God allow this ground in your life to bring forth plentifully? How rich are you even in this towards God? You may even be one of the top men in your profession; what will you do with it? How much are you achieving for Jesus out of this, thereby making yourself rich towards God? A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of those things which he possesses. The owner of this life we are presently living may request for it any time. So shall it be for anyone who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich towards God. This is yet another chance for me to change my state towards God. Even for what God will call me at the end of my race here on earth, depends on what will be my response to this promptings from this His sayings!

‘Wise and rich towards God’ or ‘A fool and wretched’, as far as eternity is concern; choose yours!!!


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25/05/2015 - Foundation For Christian Life - The Word Of God -As Truth.
By Gbile Akanni

BILL BOARD

The Lord has been so gracious to us over the years of our walk with Him; particularly last year. He took us through the year under the cloud of His presence and brought us, by His mercy, into another year, 2015. His promises to us as individuals and as a team were graciously fulfilled. May His name be praise forever and ever, amen.

God has brought us to the place of divine fulfilment of His word to us. He told us last year to make this valley full of ditches in readiness for the rain of His promise. With our knees still bowed in response to that, we hear Him announcing to us that the Comforter has come! Our immediate response to this was that of fear, because of much preparation we thought must yet to be made; however, He pointed to us that “Nevertheless and Howbeit” must be the key words for our operation henceforth.

Indeed the “Comforter has come, the Holy Ghost from heaven”. The time we have been waiting for has arrived and we cannot do otherwise but arise to do whatsoever He bids us do. Our response to His commands must be prompt. We can no longer afford to be sluggish with any instructions from His lips. His coming is to guide us into all truth, as He helps us fulfil our mandate for living.

Our prayer is that God will make us men and women that understand the time to which He has brought us, and to do what we ought to do. Let us therefore arise and eat whatsoever He bakes on “this coals of fire for us, and drink from the jar of water placed by us” because the journey ahead of us is great.

May none of us be found wanting in this day of His power. Amen.

Living Seed Sitekeeper.

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