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Sustaining Greatness, by Pastor Akinkunmi Thomas

Saul became King as a result of public opinion and human desire to reject God’s rulership over them. God anointed Saul to be King over Israel but Saul chose to disobey and dishonour God and as a result, God rejected him to be King over His people and moreover, that his family will cease to rule over Israel.

King Saul lacked the character to sustain the promotion God bestowed on him. Nothing good last in the life of whoever lacks character.

Because God hates a vacuum, God found a better replacement in the house of Jesse. In the house of Jesse were 7 men, handsome and tall with their younger brother and they were paraded before Samuel and Samuel said God has rejected them because God does not look at the appearance of men but the heart.

It’s our heart that qualifies us for promotion. It’s our heart that determines how far we will go. Guard your heart with all diligence, out of it flows the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23.

WHAT DOES GOD LOOK FOR IN A MAN?

1 Samuel 16:1-14

God Knew What Samuel Or Others Did Not See. Eliab, Abinadab and Shammah were belittling and petite in their thoughts. In 2 Samuel 17: They mocked and derailed David. They were in the military and well built. David was keeping sheep. Moses thought the same about Aaron as a leader.

  1. David Possessed The Heart Of A Servant. Psalm 89:20 “I have found my servant David; I appointed him by pouring holy oil on him.” David – my servant. Servanthood is humility in practice.

To be a servant means to perform menial tasks.

To be a servant is to not care who gets the credit.

To be a servant you have just one goal: the success of your superior. 

Mark 9:35 “Anyone wanting to be the greatest must be the least – the servant of all!”

  1. David Possessed A Heart Of Integrity. Psalm 78:70 “He chose David his servant, from tending the sheep… he brought him to be the shepherd of his people. And David shepherded them with the integrity of heart.” Integrity is what you are when no one else is looking.

Proverbs 18:16 A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men. Your gift may bring you before great men, but it is a character that enables you to stay there.

Joseph’s gift brought him before pharaoh, but his character made him prime minister of Egypt. Greatness is not a one-time event:

David killed the giant and we think that was when he became great. No. Greatness is doing every little thing in a great way.

True greatness is not seen in the big things we do, but in the little things we do in a great way. 

A crown doesn’t make a man a king, it only identifies the king in the man.

  1. God Chose David Because He Was Ready (V.11-12). When Jesse and David’s brothers are brought in before Samuel, they are “sanctified,” v. 5 – their sins are dealt with and they are made ready for worship. When David is brought, there is no sanctification – he is ready nonetheless!

What you’re presently doing will determine if you are ready for the next level.

  1. God Chose David Because He Was Reliable (V.11). When God calls David, He finds him faithfully doing what he has been told to do – keeping sheep. He is doing a dirty, lonely job; but he does it because it is what he has been assigned to do. After he is anointed, he goes back to his flock, v. 19. Why? Because that is what he does! Even after he is called to Jerusalem to play for King Saul, v. 23, he returned to keep his father’s sheep, 17:15. Why? Because David is faithful.
  2. God Chooses Those Who Are Redeemed (v.13). When Samuel anointed David and perhaps whispered God’s plan in his ear; this was not David’s first encounter with God.

He had seen the power of God written in the heavens (Psalm 19).

He had witnessed God’s tender care for His people in his own relationship to his flocks (Psalm 23).

He might have walked onto the public stage in 1 Sam 16, but David had been walking with God for some time (1 Sam. 17). God calls & chooses His vessels from among His redeemed ones.

  1. David Respected The Covenant. Had True, Genuine Faith: 1 Samuel 17: For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? Who can forget young David’s words to Saul as he prepared to go face Goliath, he said to Saul, ‘Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came out and took a lamb out the flock, I went out after it… And when it rose against me, I caught it by its beard and struck and killed it.’ ‘The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.’ Have that faith to meet Satan on his own ground today.
  2. David Had A Truly Grateful Heart: In Psalm 30 David said, ‘I will give thanks unto thee forever’. David was grateful to God for all He had done in His life. He never let it go to his head.
  3. David Had A Truthful Nature Of Repentance Whenever He Sinned & Was Confronted: When David sinned he admitted his sin to God. David knew what kind of person could walk with God – a person who walked uprightly and spoke the truth in his heart. Ps. 24:3-5.
  4. David Had A Transparent Life: Psalm 26:2 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts. David even prayed that God would examine his life. Would you and I be so quick to pray that God would examine our lives? But our lives already are anyway.
  5. David Was Also Cunning In Playing: He had a talent or an ability to play this instrument and he developed it. Develop your talents. Everyone has been given certain talents and abilities that others don’t have. Maybe it is woodworking or singing. Maybe it is writing or typing. Maybe it is painting or cleaning. Practice and use it for the glory of God!
  6. David Was Courageous And Brave. Don’t be scared to be available to God. God is looking for those who will be brave and courageous. 1 Sam. 17:32.
  7. David Was Prudent In Matters: He had good judgment and was ready to learn. There are some people God will never use because we know too much. God can’t teach a know-it-all, and He can’t effectively use one. Be ready to listen and learn and grow and change your mind.
  8. David Was A Comely Person: David was fine looking and took good care of himself. Now everyone has not been blessed with good looks, but everyone can take pride in his or her appearance. You can do the best you can with what you’ve got. Don’t be a slob. Be clean and act like you care about the body you’ve been given. Keep the little you have clean.
  9. David Possessed A Heart Of Dependence On God. I want you to notice the comparison of Saul’s heart to David’s.

Psalm 62:6-8 God alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honour depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

  1. David Also Had A Heart Of Obedience For God. Psalm 40:8 “I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your law is written on my heart.”

Psalm 119:11 “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

David’s desire was to be obedient. Unlike Saul who tried to whitewash his sin, David was crushed over his sins (Psalm 51).

  1. The Lord Was With David. He Was Anointed With The Holy Spirit. How did Saul’s servants know that God was with David?

Can people tell the Lord is with you? There was readiness in his heart for the Holy Spirit.

God is looking for some young David’s and Joshua’s to anoint with his Holy Spirit.

David was youngest of 8 = the number of new beginnings. God wants to do something fresh.

Let’s be like David and give God something to anoint. There are some lions and bears that need to be slain in this hour, and you are God’s choice for the job.

PRAYER POINTS

Thank God for where you are

Reject and refuse to be stagnant

Help me build a character that will ensure my greatness

The grace to serve diligently I receive.

The sermon, Sustaining Greatness, by Pastor Akinkunmi Thomas, Pastor RCCG Living Bread, Newcastle and Zonal Pastor, was delivered on May 13, 2018.

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The Blessedness Of Believing, by Rev’d Jonathan Adeboye

Anchor Scriptures: Zec.8:3-19; Luk.1:39-45

Introduction: There are times that God’s promises seem too good to be true or practicable. However, we need to convince ourselves of God’s ability to do the unusual/incredible. There are several instances in the Bible when such things happened.

Israel’s Restoration from Captivity (Zec.8:3-19)

God’s promise to bring Israel out of 70 years of captivity sounded incredible to the people. We read in Zec.8:6: “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes? saith the LORD of hosts.”

The word marvellous is from the Hebrew word pâlâ’ (paw-law’), which means wonderful, extraordinary, to be difficult to understand, to be beyond one’s power to do. It has the Greek equivalent adunateō (ad-oo-nat-eh’-o), which has only 2 but strong occurrences in the New Testament (Mat.17:20; Luk.1:37). It means “to be unable, to be impossible.”

Israel’s condition at the time is captured in verses 10, 14 & 19:

  1. there was no hire (wages/payments) for man, nor any hire for beast; neither was there any peace to him that went out or came in because of the affliction: for I set all men every one against his neighbor (v.10);
  2. they were a curse among the heathen (v.13);
  3. they were fasting in the 5th month, among others, in memory of the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem (v.19).

Note: As there are good memorials so are there bad/sorrowful ones.

God promised them as follows:

  1. He would return unto Zion, dwell in their midst, and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts (v.3);
  2. Old men and old women would dwell in the streets of Jerusalem (v.4);
  • The streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing (v.5);
  1. They would be brought from all the places where they had been carried away captive (v.8);
  2. The “seed shall be prosperous; the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew” (v.12);
  3. They would cease to be a curse and become a blessing (v.13)
  • Their sorrowful memorial fasting would now be joyful, glad and cheerful feasts (v.19).

Mary’s Conception 

The news that Mary would conceive and give birth to Jesus sounded incredible. Her question to angel Gabriel was, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” Luk.1:34. But the angel concluded his explanation with, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Luk.1:37.

Christ’s Resurrection (Joh.20:24-29)

When the other disciples told Thomas the Lord had risen and had appeared to them, he responded with these words: “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” Joh.20:25

Attention Please!

We need to pay attention to the words of Mama Elizabeth and our Master, Jesus Christ:

Mama said to Mary, “And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.” Luk.1:45

Our Master said to Thomas, “…and be not faithless, but believing….Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” Joh.20:27b, 29

Note: Have you ever heard it said, “Seeing is believing”? That is an absolute lie from the pit of hell.

We read in Heb.11:1: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Conclusion: Jehovah God is set to fulfil His promises and do great things in your midst this month, a month of harvest of miracles. Faith, unwavering faith, is the only route to partake of the Most High’s blessings.

Father Abraham was fully persuaded that whatever God had promised He was able also to perform (Rom.4:21);

King Solomon testified, “Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which spake with his mouth unto David my father, and hath with his hand fulfilled it”. 1Kng.8:15

The Psalmist declared, “…for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” Psa.138:2

Jehovah God assured Jeremiah, “…I will hasten my word to perform it.” Jer.1:12

Our Lord authoritatively asserted, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” Mat.24:35.

Therefore, believe and you, like Mary, will experience the performance of all Jehovah is promising to do.

The sermon, The Blessedness Of Believing, by Rev’d Jonathan Adeboye, President, Total Missions Global Network Ministries,
NIGERIA was delivered on Sunday, April 6, 2018

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Sir, I Have No Man, by Pastor Bioye Segun

Bible Text: John 5:1-9

“1 After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. 5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? 7 The impotent man answered him, Sir; I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. 8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. 9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the Sabbath.”

The Bible text is a very interesting story with lots of lessons to learn. 2 picture messages come to mind from verse 1 to 2:

  1. There was a feast; merrying and partying. A festival which Jesus went for

  2. On the other hand in the same Jerusalem, there was a pool where people with pain travailed, it harboured sickness, diseases and a lot of misery. The same town but at different locations.

This picture message reminds me of heaven and hell. Heaven where people merry and hell where there is anguish. Multitudes are going to hell every day but selected few make it into heaven. The Bible says “…many are called, few are chosen” (Matt. 22:14). I pray you will be among the chosen few that will make it to heaven in Jesus name.

This man by the pool of Bethesda spent 38yrs of his life wasting away but with God, on our side, it would take less than 38 days for you and I to come out of pain.

Verse 3 can be used to describe the church. The church is made up of imperfect people with all kinds of ailment. We all come to church waiting for the move of the Spirit but all we need to do is to create the right atmosphere. This man in question has been by the pool waiting for somebody to help him but no one could until Jesus came. Jesus asked in verse 7; “Do you want to be made whole? He replied Sir I have no man. Some people are looking up to a man. Men at their very best are still men. Only God and His word stay true.

Psalm 119:8-9… “I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word.”

The bible also says in Isaiah 31:1…

“Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord!..”

Who are you looking up to? Where does your help come from? Your help should come from God. If you are in the same school of thought as this man; who thinks his help comes from man, I want you to know God is the only helper that is guaranteed. Even your man of God cannot help except the grace is given to him by God.

Man may want to help, they can have good intentions but can suddenly go bankrupt, man can die, and man can be sacked. Man is limited in so many ways. However, there are people we should be praying for, “Helpers of destiny” and you are one to somebody else. Helpers of destiny are people orchestrated by God to do you good.

A story was told about a Pastor who suddenly died. It happened that an elderly woman came to visit who never knew he had died, she began to wail so much after she was informed that people wondered, People got to know afterwards that the Pastor that died use to give this woman money for upkeep every month and she came to collect money this fateful day when she heard the news that the man had died, she put her hope in man.

It has also been observed that some have godfathers but know that you have God the father. Jeremiah 33:3. “Call to me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’

You can say that “I have God” but have you done something lately that will make him move in your life. Provoke God’s blessings. – Why not challenge God.

Many years ago there was a story about a man who did not qualify for a National Insurance (NI) number but insisted to have one, so he fasted for some few days and applied to get his NI number. On this fateful day; he was on the queue as it was about to get to him, the woman that was serving and had served every other person stood up for a break and was replaced by a man who for some miraculous reason did not ask for his credentials and gave him the NI number.

What can our God not do? Why do you look to man, why not look to God? The man with the issue of blood had no one but had to look up to God. The 4 lepers had no one to speak up for them but they had to take the difficult situation. Zacchaeus was too short to climb a Sycamore tree. What are you doing? God is saying take that step of faith, stop wasting time. Don’t just sit there. Do something about your situation. Don’t say there is no job in the North East, so I will just sit here. In the midst of joblessness, some people are still finding jobs. One thing I have noticed about Christians, we are not doing enough of the right thing. For example; if we put a small quantity of sugar in tea; it would not taste sweet but put enough sugar and you will be able to taste the sweetness.

I want to challenge someone today, memorize a scripture a day and see what God will do. There is someone here what you have been waiting for, for a long time has not come because you look unto man. In the end times, apostasy will fall in.

Even when you go through storms; do not use your words to describe your situation but use your words to change your world. Do not help the enemy to defeat you. Thank God for the mercy of God that avails for us- this helped the man by the pool. Jesus is asking you today “will thou be made whole?”

Again the man by the pool was afraid of change and did not envisage the liberty that has been shown to him when Jesus asked: “will thou be made whole?” Change is sometimes difficult and we often cling to what paralyses us and the problem that may paralyze. Do not hide your problem from who would help. It is not where you are located but what you carry for your problem shall pass.

After the man was healed, he suddenly realized he could do a lot of things. Sometimes men may have to disqualify you from God to qualify you. Grace was made available to him to cover his 38 years.

Important points to note:

  • Jesus asked but the man did not know that the solution he needed was staring him in the face. No matter how heavy the rain falls, only the thirsty will drink. Only the hungry will smell the aroma of the bread from far away. Equip yourself with the word and gain foresight.

  • Adversity causes some people to break/become record breakers, be a record breaker.

  • To be healed is one thing, to be in perfect health is another, to be of God healing power and be a channel for healing to others is another thing.

  • Elevate your faith. The man was trying to stretch his faith, no one believed him. Maybe no one has ever affirmed you but God affirms you. Affirmation is a good antidote to discouragement. People may not see your labour of love. They have not encouraged you but Jesus encourages you today.

God is saying to you today …

“Son/daughter I know what I have invested in you, I have confidence in you, your future will never be like your past. I was with Joshua, I am with you too. You are capable of subduing mountains, arise and shine…”

Years ago, the Spirit led me to write a note and put in my daughter’s lunch box… “I love you, I believe in you” she never forgot it. She even said during her break one of her friends said, “I wish my father was like that”.

Affirmation goes a long way to encourage a child. Affirm your spouse. It could stop someone from committing suicide.

Your boy that seem wayward; encourage him, tell him you love him despite his waywardness. Jesus affirmed the man by the pool “Behold that have been made whole, sin no more” (John 5:14).

There is somebody here, Jesus has seen your struggles, your pains, your anguish, and God says “it’s your turn”. Ezekiel 36:9 – “For,” behold, I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you will be cultivated and sown”

Your situation might have played you for years but it will not end like that. Have faith in the Only God who is able to make every impossibility possible. Glory be to God. Halleluiah.

The sermon, Sir, I Have No Man, by Pastor Bioye Segun, Regional Pastor, RCCG Northern Ireland and North East England, was delivered on April 22, 2018.

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Grace-Filled Life (2 Corinthians 9:8), by Rev Alexander Faranpojo

Grace-Filled Life (2 Corinthians 9:8), by Rev Alexander Faranpojo

Bible Text: 2 Corinthians 9:8 (Amplified Classic)

“And God is able to make all grace (every favour and [a]earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need [b]be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation].”

A grace made life will always be superior to a self-made life. Our definition of a life well spent if not qualified by grace is self-made and hard work. There are men who work hard but a grace made life is easier and better. There are people who work like an elephant and eat like an ant and there are people who work like an elephant and eat like an elephant. You need to make sure that your substance or testimony is not because you worked hard but because you enjoyed grace.

1 Corinthians 15:10 “But by the grace (the unmerited favour and blessing) of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not [found to be] for nothing (fruitless and without effect). In fact, I worked harder than all of them [the apostles], though it was not really I, but the grace (the unmerited favour and blessing) of God which was with me.”

When you declare a life of progress, the testimony should be God owned. “Although we worked but the result is more than commensurate with the result generated. I pray that your testimony will be grace made.

A grace made-life is better than a self-made life. There is a need to draw our definition of success and progress from grace. A grace made life defiles explanation and is full of miracles. When you can explain it by what you did or didn’t do it is no longer a miracle.

There are people who make so much progress with a self-made life. For example the story of the tower of Babel in the Bible (Gen. 11). The people gathered together in harmony and probably employed the experts in construction; they almost reached Heaven. Gen. 11: 5-8(AMPC)

“And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, Behold, they are one people and they have [a]all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do, and now nothing they have imagined they can do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confound (mix up, confuse) their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from that place upon the face of the whole earth, and they gave up building the city”.

God was not in the agenda of the building so they could not accomplish it. So many people are building everything well but there is no God in it. Such building or life is not grace filled and it is incomplete. It is never late to do the right thing.

I once heard a testimony of father in the Lord who at the beginning of his ministry had prepared to start in a particular location. After he had been anointed by other men of God in the ministry; he went back to pray and God told him that was not the location, even with all the preparations that had been done he had to change plans.

Moses declared in Exodus 33:15 “If your presence will not go with us, do not lead us from here…..”

You cannot be headed in the wrong direction and ask for grace. It is never too late to run in the right direction. Meanwhile, that someone is well dressed does not mean God is very well pleased with them. This applies to making decisions of marriage and other contractual relationships. Do not make decisions with your carnal mind, let God lead you. The fact that a guy is handsome and dresses decently doesn’t mean he is not ‘boxer’. That he speaks fluently and rich; doesn’t mean he is not dangerous. Always ask God. That you dare to ask, Lord God Almighty is committed to answer you.

You need to find out what a God-made life entails. How God does wants to help us to live gracefully.

Firstly, the Bible text 2 Corinthains 9:8 helps us to understand that “all grace is made available”; not just one but all. Some people are enjoying ‘mono-grace’. There are people who have the grace to be a good wife (husband) but do not have the grace to be mothers (fathers). There are good Pastors whose wife thinks differently of them as a husband.

So how can we enjoy grace?

There are various grace that are beneficial to us as individuals. These are the kind of grace that has been given to selected or appointed people to meet us at the varying point of our needs.

Evangelical grace: This given and we enjoy this through people who took their time to bless us with the word, sow the seeds of the kingdom which finally germinated and became heirs of the kingdom. At various point in time we have enjoyed this grace either as a beneficiary or as a tool to benefit someone else.

Pastoral grace: This kind of grace is special. These are people who teach with love. They are there to help you, patient to listen to your worries and guide you with the word of God

Prophetic grace:

The prophetic grace is the one that I am particular about. These are people that have the supernatural enablement to get answers quickly from God. There are Men of God who pray and receive answers immediately. Sometimes all you need is the right prophet; this is not to say that I despise diligence but you can be sincerely wrong. There might just be a side of you that you are overlooking; if concentrated on will yield the maximum result.

An example of a Prophet is Elijah, the Bible (1Kings 17:11-13) tells us the story of Elijah and the Alabaster oil woman and her son. She had nothing left but small flour and oil to make cake and eat with the thought of death afterwards but when they came in contact with Prophet Elijah, their story changed.

There are prophets around you. God has placed people around you who are there to bless you with words that would change your life. Jesus was once found at a party and he performed a miracle of turning water to wine.

Your man of God is also your prophet because as your Pastor, he has a responsibility. He might annoy you but ignore it do not let the devil take away your joy. Whatever he tells you to do, do it. Your perspectives must not constrain God; your fixations must not constrain what God wants to do in your life. Place value on the anointing and get a grace-filled result. One of the grace you should never ignore is the Prophetic grace.

I pray that you enjoy all grace that has been given to you in Jesus Christ.

The sermon, Grace-Filled Life (2 Corinthians 9:8), by Rev Alexander Faranpojo, Virtues Christian Centre, Lagos Nigeria was delivered on March 4, 2018.