Do you know that the Holy Bible is the best selling book of all time with over 5 billion copies sold and distributed? –Guinness World Record
Do you have a Bible? Do you read your Bible? The Bible is the manual of human life. Through the study of the Bible, you get to discover yourself and come to understand your Maker’s desires and requirements of you; which determines your unstoppable success in life.
Are you ready to step into a successful 2019 with a determined spirit to conquer and break more spacious new grounds? It is very much possible! Get ready to deal with littleness, mediocrity and absolute failure in 2019. Do you have an abandoned project, a worthy cause, and a mission in which you strongly believed was meant to bring positive transformation to humanity and complete your joy? 2019 will be your year of unprecedented and unhindered success if you dare and are willing to rise again.
WHERE TO BEGIN FROM
Begin to plan on how to make things outstandingly different this time. If it requires seeking professional aids, learning new courses, attending seminars and workshops to get it successfully right, go ahead and do it.
It does not matter the size of what you want to achieve in 2019, the Lord will see you through with your plans and positive actions. Remember, God is not a magician neither a Short-cutter, He is a God of principles. He rewards efforts, had-works and sacrifice. God governs us with grace and the law of sowing and reaping. The Word says, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” Galatians 6:7
The measure you put in will determine how much you are going to get in return.
Though there might have been some traceable lines of failure and disappointment in your past years, I strongly believe that in 2019 with proper planning and taking the required actions, God will push you up to the level of your dream. The first thing first, is to start planning to succeed.
GOD IS YOUR SUCCESS
don’t put God behind you and expect to succeed.
Proverbs 16:1 To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue. vs 9 In their heart humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.
Put God ahead of your plans and they will succeed.
Proverbs 16:3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
See you at the top of your dream in 2019.
WHAT YOU WILL GAIN WHEN YOU LOSE YOUR LIFE FOR CHRIST!
Let me start by making it clear that no one who comes to Christ actually loses his/her life, but they submit their lives to save it through Christ. There’s no loss in Christ. What we consider as loss is the submission of one’s entire life to pass through the physical and spiritual process that aligns with the divine laws and principles of God that guarantees eternal salvation and rewards.
To the planet earth, this is a loss. But to heaven it is a process and a principle. And it is gain (Philippians 1:21).
LABOUR AND REWARDS
Without a reward of some-kind, no human being will get down to work or get involved in any activity that will require expenditure of energy, time, talent and treasure. It is natural.
This is exactly what Proverbs say, “The appetite of labourers works for them; their hunger drives them on.” Proverbs 16:26
And the Lord said , ‘I search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according his conduct, and to what their deeds deserve’ Jeremiah 17:10.
You can see that God Himself is fully behind the principle of labour and reward.
LOSING ALL FOR CHRIST
Peter and other Jesus’ Apostles, upon encountering Christ lose their lives for Him by placing Him above everything they were and had.
They left their businesses, work, families, wives, children, friends, enemies, social activities, nightclub, adultery, fornication, cheating, lying, injustice, just to name a few, to follow Christ. They left EVERYTHING to follow Christ! Did you take note of that statement by Peter? “We have left everything to follow you.”
However, confusion ensued among the apostles after Jesus answered a certain rich ruler who inquired of Him what he (the ruler) must do to inherit eternal life (Matthew 19:16-30). As a result of Jesus’ response to the man’s question, Peter reacted!
Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us? Matthew 19:27
Like Peter, many followers of Christ when life hit them hard, are forced to question the Lord, what will be my reward for all these sacrifices I’m making for the sake of the kingdom? “I have lost my job, I have lost my friends, I have lost my family, I have lost my …….
What becomes of me?
AND JESUS SAID
And Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his throne, you, who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribe of Israel. And everyone who has left his houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. Matthew 19:28-29.
Jesus also answered similar question in the gospel of Mark 8:35. And He said, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me (valuing Him above all else)and for the gospel will save it.
In the last edition I explained what it actually means to lose one’s life for Christ. Among all, remember it also includes losing one’s physical life when the situation necessarily requires that, like in the case of Brother Stephen in Acts of Apostles chapter eight (8)and the Twelve Apostles of Christ except John the Beloved who later died a natural death after losing his life for Christ.
WHAT HAVE YOU LOST FOR CHRIST AND FOR THE GOSPEL?
Apostle Paul exclaimed, “But whatever were gains to me, I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ….”
Every faithful soldier of Christ must have an injury.
If you are a true follower of Christ, there must be something you so much loved and engrossed to which you must have given up for the sake of following the Lord Jesus Christ, except you are a ‘fair-weather follower’(following Christ when it is convenient).
The assurance from the Lord for you that follows Him in season and out of season is that you will be rewarded far beyond how much you had given up or left for Christ’s sake and for the gospel. It can never go unrewarded.
Let’s list and analyze what Jesus said we will gain when we lose our lives for Him and for the gospel.
Jesus addresses His apostles directly and specifically for them at that moment He said, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things , when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, ( when the new heaven and new earth will come to be. Revelation 21) you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Mt 19:29)
The word “Judging” in this context simply means ruling, presiding, and governing. So the Apostles, for forsaking their lives for Christ and for the gospel, in addition to so many other rewards, will receive, and rule over the twelve tribes of Israel forever. This reward is specifically spelt out for “the twelve apostles”
Jesus addresses everyone including the apostles, his disciples, you, myself and all who will later believe in Him and follow Him. Whatever we left or lost to follow him -whatsoever it is, we will receive a hundred times as much. Mt 19:29
What have you lost for the sake of Christ and for the gospel? Jesus says to you, ‘You will receive it back a hundred times here on earth.’ This reward is going to be received here on earth as we journey from earth to heaven. Note: it will be given to those who have not given up their faith in Christ, who are still in the Lord Jesus Christ and are in active service of the Master.
“And will inherit eternal life” (Mt 19:29)
For losing your life for Christ and for the gospel, you will inherit eternal life.
You will be counted among those that will hear this word from the triumphant King of kings, Master of the universe, Jesus Christ, “Come you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” (Mt. 25:34)
“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it”(Mk 8:35)
Take this again, “WHOEVER LOSES HIS LIFE FOR ME AND FOR THE GOSPEL WILL SAVE IT”
The word “SAVE” in this context is all encompassing. It covers a wide range of benefits which we are going to be explored line by line.
By valuing Christ above your life and everything else in your life, you would have saved your life.
What is the meaning of the word “SAVE?”
(Greek word ‘sozo’ which has been translated in the New Testament as follows :
In other words Jesus is saying, as you lose your life for me and for the gospel, you have SAVED your life, you have made yourself WHOLE (restored), you have HEALED yourself of every illness and disease, you have PRESERVED your life for eternal reward and you have made everything to go WELL with you in this life and in the life after. You have become God’s number 1 property. God’s eyes are always on you to favour you.
There’s a statement that Jesus dropped in the last verse of Matthew 19, and He said, “But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.”
Don’t give up your heavenly race! We are closer to the finishing line than when we set out.
What we just described as our rewards from the Lord is the little that the Lord enables our mind to comprehend.
It is written; “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived – the things God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Corinthians 2:9
Our eternal rewards are indescribable, words can not express them. The only qualification is to remain faithful till the end.
By Romanus O. Obiekosi
•Author •Evang. •Singer/Music Coach.
No feast in the world has been so widely, passionately and preparedly celebrated like Christmas. Perhaps, it could be attributed to the fact that it is connected to the greatest event that has ever taken place in the history of mankind – the coming of the Son of God into the world for the salvation of mankind.
If that is the case, it’s indeed worth the weight and passion with which it is celebrated worldwide, but most of the activities that are associated with it do not in any way align with its purpose. The aims and objectives have been watered down. The purpose of Christmas has been totally twisted and altered and hijacked by those who embrace the pleasurable part of Christianity but abhor its sacrificial part.
The modern celebration of Christmas among many, especially Christians does not in any manner reflect the life of the celebrant – Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God.
More evil and wickedness are now associated with the celebration of this supposed holy feast now turned into a season of self-seeking and heinous activities of crime like robbery, stealing, ritualism, adultery, fornication, murder etc. It is true that these misconducts have been in existence before Christmas celebration started, but they rise to the zenith prior to Christmas celebration.
Due to the above misconception of the feast of Christmas by some unbelievers, misguided and hypocritical Christians who are not seeking Christ for the salvation of their souls but for mere fun and self-satisfaction; life BEFORE and AFTER Christmas celebration has been hell and miserable for them, for many innocent persons, families and the society at large. They have raised the standard and method of Christmas celebration to an abnormal tempo and pace, thereby causing unnecessary headache for families and the society at large.
WHAT HAPPENS BEFORE AND AFTER CHRISTMAS?
It is no more news that a few months before and after Christmas celebration, some horrifying and heartbreaking stories will be making headlines on television, radio, newspapers, social media and the grapevines.
Christmas celebration is specifically observed on the 25th December of every year, but the negative scar it leaves on many of its ignorant celebrants, some innocent families and the society at large lasts for hundreds of days -things like:
Before and after Christmas, many will run into unnecessary debts because they borrowed money from family and friends to spend on Christmas wears, food and outings.
Before and after Christmas, some businesses will close down in December or January because the owners spent beyond their budget limits to satisfy Christmas wants and needs.
3) Malice and Grudges
Before and after Christmas, close families, friends and relatives you were unable to assist during Christmas celebration will put up grudges against you. And those you assisted below their expectation of you will keep malice with you.
4) Life Behind Bars
Before and after Christmas, many young men and women will be imprisoned as a result of crime and unlawful activities -all in the quest to meet up with super-high Christmas demands and expectations created by human desire and not by Christ.
5) Premature Deaths
Before and after Christmas, many innocent persons will fall victims of ritualism, swindlers, kidnappers, assassins, robbers, etc. Some wicked friends and relations will cease the opportunity of the season’s get-together to poison those they have tagged “enemy of progress.”
6) Unwanted Pregnancies/ Abortion
Before and after Christmas, many young virgin girls and boys would have been deflowered, some of them would have offered up their virginity for sale in order to satisfy Christmas wants and needs. Some will be lured to bed by a supposed rich man who has promised them Christmas gifts. Young lady, be careful!
You might find this unbelievable that some married men and women will defile their sacred matrimonial beds just to meet up with Christmas demands, a-one-day event. This will consequently result to unwanted pregnancies, unwanted babies, killing and dumping of babies in waste bins.
8) Destruction of Destinies and Purpose
Before and after Christmas, many destinies, dreams and vocations will be swept into the hell abyss. In the quest to flaunt flashy cars, cruise in SUVs, move into new mansions, wear expensive clothing and jewelries, etc. Young men and women as well as the old alike will visit all manner of evil shrines, forests, caves and native doctors for quick financial breakthrough, and in return, they are ruined for life.
9) Loss of Anointing and Grace
Before Christmas, some believers who are placed under pressure by families and friends to satisfy their Christmas needs if proper care is not taken, will be carried away to soil their hands. And after Christmas, they will notice they have lost their anointing, glory and grace. Don’t let that happen to you.
POOR MINDSET TOWARDS CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION
Many people and Christians inclusive are breaking the sacred heart of Jesus on account of what they associate with the commemoration of His coming into the world to save mankind (the nativity). The celebration of the birth of Jesus itself is not bad; it’s not wrong or ungodly. It is sacred! It is divine! It is holy and godly. It should be marked, regarded and celebrated as such. Jesus was never known for evil and misconduct. Therefore anyone who behaves in a manner that is not aligning with the life and teachings of Christ on account of this event is not celebrating Christ but the devil.
The reason for Christmas celebration is not to show off one’s riches and accomplishments. It is not meant to cause High Blood Pressure for parents, wards or anyone owning to preparations toward the event. It is not a time and season to inflate prices of goods and services like food items, wears, transportation fares, etc. It is not time to play big boys and big girls around the street and garages. It is not a season to go to night clubs and have orgies. It is not a season to lose one’s virginity and integrity. It is not a season to be worldly and wild. It is not a season to arrange for sexual activities, meetings and hookups, etc.
CHRISTMAS SEASON is a TIME to WORSHIP and GLORIFY GOD for the gift of His Son Jesus Christ for the salvation and redemption of mankind (John 3:16). It is a time and season to share the true LOVE of Christ with others. It is a time for sober self-reflection to give oneself wholly to God for greater works.
May the celebration of Christ’s nativity bring us to eternal redemption. Amen.
By Romanus O. Obiekosi
•Author •Evang. •Singer/Music Coach
DISCOVERING THE CHRIST OFCHRISTMAS From our Soul Winner monthly Newsletter
Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ by Christians all over the world. The first celebration of Christmas was in Rome in 336 A.D. Today Christmas has become the most popular event of the Christian religion.
It is celebrated every 25th December of every year. Christ is the centre of Christmas. All look foward to this celebration. It is a period of joy and happiness.
Individual disposition of Christmas can change, but the fundamental issue in this celebration is that we rejoice because a Savoiur has been been born to us.
Majority of Christians today has abandoned the substance and are busy pursuing shadows, no wonder Christmas today is marked with many activities like; celebration of marriages/weddings, coronations, reunion of all kinds, funeral ceremonies, organization of fun faires, Christian revival programs, etc.
In the face of these, one discovers that the main object of celebration here, which is CHRIST, has been religated to the background. And one begins to wonder if most of my fellow Christians are still aware of the personality of the person of Christ being celebrated. This brings to mind this topic, “Discovering the Christ of Christmas.”
It is expected that as we remember the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ, we ought to look at His personality and try as much as we can to live it out. Space will not permit me to exhaust the personality of Christ, but permit me to share a few vital lines on the Son of God whom we celebrate at Christmas.
John 1:14 says, He is the Word that was made flesh and dwelt among us.
Matthew 16:16 says, He is the Son of the living God.
He is the Lord of lords and King of kings. Revelation 17:14
He is the anointed One Psalm 45:7; Acts 4:27
The One who came to save us from sin and reconciled man back to God with His blood shed on the cross. Therefore His blood cleans us from all sins.1John 1:7
He is the One who ascended into heaven and is at the right hand of God. Angels, authorites and powers are made subject unto Him. 1 Peter 3:22
He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
The coming of Christ brought joy to the world. No wonder the wise men from the east came with their gifts seaching for Him. When they discovered Him, they adored Him and offered Him their gifts.
Just like the wise men from the east, for us to discover the Christ of Christmas, we must go in search of Him. Remember the wise men discovered Him in the Manger not in the palace. Christ should be discovered in the life of the poor in the society at this period. Christ must be found among the orphans, widows, the physically challenged ones among us, through giving them joy by almsgiving (in our benevolence ).
As Christians, we should make up our minds to search for Jesus by being attentive to the church programmes at Christmas period; having fellowship among fellow believers as we return to our various villages for Christmas celebration.
A visit to chapel is also very important during this period.
To discover the Christ of the Christmas, we must leave our comfort zones and be ready to deprive ourselves abit. We mustn’t attend all the parties during this period. Some attention should be given to visitation to the old, weak, and the sick within our localities.
It may interest you to note that at Christmas just as the wisemen who gave gifts to Christ and went home happily through another road, one is also expected to offer gifts to Christ through his/her neigbours and should be happy doing so and not expecting any reward.
We must give our lives to Christ and be led in the Spirit in any of our actions.
Herod searched but didn’t discover Jesus because his intention is not genuine. A sincere desire to discover Christ will really take you to Him. We need to trust God and His words and His testimont around us.
The Christ of Christmas, as the Bible says, went about doing good. And He is still in the business of doing good.
We should at this season imitate our master in doing good. Let anything that is good and honorable be seen around us His followers.
Friends in Christ, as we appraoch, yet another Christmas, may God help us to celebrate truely Christ on Earth by being like our Master Himself.
God bless you.
Sr. Okaja Celestina U.
(Teacher of God’s Word CCRN)
“I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have destroyed it, but I found none. So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign Lord”.Ezekiel 22:30-31.
From the above Biblical text, it is clear that God is waiting for someone to lift up their voices in prayer concerning a situation so that He (God) can step in and intervene.
Someone might ask, “must we pray to God before God
will intervene in our situations?” and I would boldly answer YES!
God asks us to pray to Him. Matthew 5:44; 7:7-8; 2Chronicles 7:14; Job 42:8; Jesus taught us to pray Matthew 6:9.
Jesus prayed. Matthew 26:26; John 17:20
Praying to God is an act of obedience, acknowledgment of His Sovereignty, Lordship and belief of His existence and demonstration of faith in His ability to do all things. There are so many other reasons why we must pray to God.
Stand for Others
When the Israelites provoked God in the wilderness when they made a golden cafe and worshiped it, God was angry with and was ready to wipe them off the face of the earth and create a new nation through Moses. But Moses stood in the gap on their behalf and pleaded with the Lord, and sought His favour, and the Lord relented. (Exodus 32:1-14)
Mary the mother of Jesus stood on behalf of the wedding celebrants at Cana who almost got disgraced at the climax of the event when they ran out of wine. Ordinarily, Jesus would have remained mute on the situation at hand, with the crucial reason that His divine timing for miracle working hasn’t come yet. But because of the fact that God does not ignore he/she that stands in the gap interceding for the needs of others, right then, He performed His very first miracle. (John 2:1-11).
Do you know that God through the intercession of Abraham would have spared Sodom and Gomorrah if He had found five (5) persons who were righteous in those cities? God took time and exercised patience to listen to Abraham because He longs to meet intercessors. But, none was found righteous among them. (Genesis 18:20-33)
I have been opportuned to preach this topic in two separate gathering of believers. And as a Nigerian, I made bold to tell them that the reason Nigeria is still existing as a nation today is because many intercessors are standing in the gap crying on behalf of the helpless poor masses.
It is also applicable to other nations of the world were there are high degree of profanity and sacrilegious activities being executed on daily basis. When there is a man to pray, there’s already the Might Merciful God to answer.
I have come to discover that there are much problems among families where there is no single individual person who stands in the gap on behalf of other members of the family praying down the mercy and favour of God compared to a family where there are intercessors. The difference is always clear.
Whenever there’s someone to cry out for others, God will always be ready to turn things around.
There are things God will never do unless someone cries out to Him. Dorcas wouldn’t have regained her life if her beneficiaries did not stand on her behalf and fetched Apostle Peter who revived her. (Acts 9:32-43)
It is a big error for a family not to have at least one intercessor.
Think about your family.
Is there an intercessor in your family? You can take up this challenge today, and see what a drastic change it will usher in your life and family.
I’m writing base on personal experience. I am my family’s intercessor. We are enjoying abundant providence of God today. May that be your testimony also as you rise to this challenge today in Jesus Name. Amen
May God’s grace see you through.