Rescued…

“What are you doing here?”, Raub the treacherous said to the angel.

Seph looked at him for a little while but did not answer. Raub became indignant and took threatening steps forward. “What are you doing here?”, he roared yet the more.

Seph continued to pay him no attention until Raub was standing literally in his face.

Seph answered quietly and said, “This is a church you know.”

“Yeah right!” was the demon’s tartly response. “A church indeed,” he continued, “but your Master does not come here anymore.”

“I run this place now and the likes of you are not welcome here anymore! Get out!!!”

The other demon spirits in the building saw or more like sensed the presence of the angel and hurriedly drifted over. None of them were happy to see him. They all joined Raub in asking him to get out.

Seph looked at all of them and looked away sadly. He made to enter the hall, and they blocked his way immediately.

From where he stood though, he could see what was going on inside. The praise and worship session was going on quite boisterously and the people were having a good time of it. A lot was missing though. Normally at such a time, the airways would have been full of the flows of the Spirit and you would have angels go in and out through the congregation, doing the Spirit’s bidding. But today, even though the music was of an excellent quality and the people praised with all their hearts and might, there was nothing to be seen.

The demon was right, the Master had not been here for several years. The people had over the years continued to draw away from the Saviour and had gradually forgotten how to honour Him. His presence had waned and waned until the fire had gone out completely. The worst part was that they had not even noticed.

Or maybe, someone had. He had been sent here with a message. He had not been here in years either and was rather surprised when he found out he was being sent here.

“I have a message to deliver”, he said to Raub.

The demon snickered at him. “Why should I let you pass?”

Seph smiled. His smile made the demons red in the face with anger. Some of them reached for weapons but Raub raised a hand to still them.

Seph looked him straight in the face and said, “You know you cannot stop me? And you and I do not have the time to find out if you really can.”

“I would counsel that you let me go about my assignment and I would be out of your hair.”

“And if I refuse to?” Raub replied.

Seph smiled again.

“How long do you want to continue to have any influence in this place?”, the angel asked him.

“You are in no position to threaten me”, the demon responded, the look in his eye not matching the tone of his voice. “There are far more of us here than you.”

Seph ignored them for a moment. He had seen her. While everyone else was dancing and jubilating, she stood quite still. There was obviously some kind of struggle going on in her but his insight into such things was limited.

Tesa was just tired. The hall was full of people but she had never felt so alone. It was a really large congregation and she had enjoyed the past five years in the church; but in the past few months, she had begun to feel that she did not belong there anymore. It was a really strange feeling. Church used to be fun, inspiring, and refreshing but somewhere along the lines, something had changed.

The overall experience was still awesome to behold; the organization, the flow, the dressing of the church workers, down to the eloquence of the Senior Pastor. It was all exquisitely delivered; but deep inside she could not quite figure out why she felt something had been out of place for a while. The feeling had become like a burden in her heart and had consumed her devotions. “God help me”, she thought fiercely.

Seph had had enough. He raised himself to his full height and immediately was clothed in a blaze of glory. Raub snarled and grabbed for the angel, and suddenly found himself on the floor with the angel’s foot on his neck and a fiery sword pointed at his neck.

“Tell your minions to back down or else I can make this worse for you”, the angel commanded.

The demons had even started to draw back of their own volition. Seeing their liege at the angels feet in a matter of seconds had weakened any resolve to fight that they had.

The angel stepped over him and entered the hall of congregation and headed for Tesa. He laid his hand gently on her shoulder.

She felt as though someone had touched her and looked around to see who it was. The people around were too engrossed in the praise and worship to have touched her.

“You do not belong here anymore and it is time to leave. Your time here is up and the Lord is calling you out. LEAVE NOW and do not come back”, she heard. She looked around in panic but could not see who had spoken to her.

She suddenly felt a keen sense of urgency and grabbed her purse and started walking out of the church. Nobody paid her any attention.

Seph accompanied her as she left. The demons parted as they came out and they passed without incident.

She looked back at the Church with the words still ringing in her ears. “Do not come back”, was a bit hard to fathom considering how long she had been here, but deep inside she knew it was what she had to do.

Two other angels Miza and Rosh, met with Seph as he came out with her. Their presence had been concealed from the demons to avoid causing a major incident.

“That went well”, Miza said with a wry grin. Rosh just looked at him and rolled his eyes.

“You both know what to do”, Seph said to the pair. “Keep a close eye on her and direct her to where she needs to go. I will see you later.”

They nodded and turned their attention to their new charge.

“Where do I go from here”, Tesa was asking herself as she entered her car and began to drive off, but there were no immediate answers.

Seph watched her go. His assignment was done for the moment. As quick as thought, he was soaring through the skies on his way to a debrief.

“To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.”‭‭ Revelation‬ ‭3:1‬ ‭NIV

‬‬“After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor. With a mighty voice he shouted: “ ‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!’ She has become a dwelling for demons and a haunt for every impure spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable animal.”‭‭ Revelation‬ ‭18:1-2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

To My King

my-king
Image credits: http://www.sikestonfirst.org/multimedia-archive

It has been years and years…
I remember walking down the street so many years ago
Thinking about how You had worked things out at that time
And marveling at Your ability to put things rightly together

You are the very substance of my existence
Master Orchestrator of all events
Closer than the air I breathe
You make my world full of meaning

You are my glory, my shield and because of You
I can lift my head and walk tall among the people

On occasion, it had been terribly rough and tough
But looking back, I realize that in those times, underneath me were the Everlasting Arms

I have not always been as good as I should
But not for once have You closed Your arms to me nor turned Your face away from my prayer

They say You are the fairest of ten thousand
But considering that the English language is limited
How could anything they ever say ever begin to describe You?

My deepest desires
My greatest longings
Yearnings that words cannot begin to express
But when placed beside You
Nothingness, emptiness…

In You, I find nothing lacking in myself
When I sense Your hand upon me
Nothing in this world is difficult to achieve

The joy You bring
I have not seen the like anywhere else
I know that for a fact, cos many a thing I have tried but…

My greatest pleasure is to kneel before You
Lifting a song that declares Your glory
Sitting behind the keys and gently playing an unwritten melody
That only You can provide the words for

You are the love of my life, Jesus
My hope in this life and so much more
My King, You make all the difference in life
To You alone, on this day
I pledge my whole existence

Ah, if not for You
If not for You…

Cuddled in Heaven…

Jay2

On the 10th of June, 2016, my second son, Jeremy Chikasi Chinedum, went to be with the Lord after a rather brief illness. He was only 19 months old. I stood there and watched his transition. Never have I felt so helpless, so unable to do anything, so… As he struggled to breathe in those final moments, especially in the face of the gross inadequacies in our healthcare system, God knows I would have done anything to keep him here.

Pain!!! Soul-searing, heart-wrenching, mind-curdling pain!!! The tears flowed freely. It was not just my eyes crying, it was every part of me – spirit, soul, and body! So difficult to comprehend…

I said to myself in that moment, that this is not an experience that anybody should ever have.

Jay, as we fondly called you. You are sorely missed! It has been a month now but it all still seems like yesterday.

I was saying to your mum a few days ago that it was though you knew you were not long for this world and so your zeal and zest was to explore as much of it as you could in the time you were given.

You climbed everything. As long as it could be climbed, it had to be, and possibly sat on.

Jay4

All our barricades, even the ones that worked for your elder brother, did not work for you. You somehow found a way to get around them. For you, the television was one giant iPad, and I used to look on in amusement at the confusion on your face, when the screen did not respond to your little touches. The bookshelf was a wonder maze for you. You had learned quite early the art of moving side-stools to whatever was out of reach in order to reach them.

Here are the things I so miss…

The scream of ‘Daddyyyyyyy…’, when I get back from anywhere

The successive world wars that were each episode of trying to feed you cooked food, especially when you knew mum and dad were in the house.

The ‘Jay’ Dance. Ah, your feet were meant to dance, and dance you did. With little provocation and at the slightest opportunity, you were off in all sorts of jiggles, twists and turns, as far your little legs could carry you. You danced with glee and with the cutest giggles.

All your expressions: kikar (when you wanted water); caryi (when you wanted to be carried), yight (when PHCN decided to grace us with it), AC (the generic term for all switches), tanku (thank you), iPar (to indicate when you wanted the iPad) and then there is your favorite song, ‘I love you, you love me…’.

Ah, Jay!!!

You were the quintessential ‘gum body’. For you, body contact was everything; whether it was me, your mum, and especially your brother, once you were with any of us, you just had to sit on, lie on, or sit by the person. You also did not care whether your brother complained or not, as far as you were concerned, that was the way to stay.

The AC switch will definitely miss you. It was like a magnet for you, and the best of toys. Off on, off on, off on … you went with it at the slightest opportunity.

Like your elder brother when he was the same age, putting off the TV while we were all watching it, was a favorite sport. Picking up the remote control was essentially to change whatever channel anyone was watching. It was as though your little mind felt that staying on one channel for prolonged periods was bad for health.

Your brother is still trying to get to grips with it and misses you sorely. Sometimes, he inadvertently makes it difficult for us when he starts asking about you and wanting to see you. He and I were going out once, and it was about to rain. He said, ‘Daddy, it’s about to rain’. When I asked why, he said, ‘I do not want the rain to fall on Jesus’ head when he is bringing Jeremy back’.

You were everyone’s darling. Jerry Okoye was a popular appellation in Church. I still see you running around the whole place and being carried by everyone.

Jay, we miss you so. The last five words are a pitiful expression of the current reality.

I have never had to pray for your brother as much as I have had to pray about you. Some of the revelations concerning you were quite scary. There was just something about you that made the enemy so afraid, and he had tried to hurt you several times. It would appear that he has succeeded, but as usual, he cannot comprehend the big picture. Just like it was said concerning our Lord, if the princes of this world had known (fully understood God’s plan), they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory. If only he knew… for I know there is always a plan. God does not do arbitrary things.

God has helped us tremendously through this time. He has surrounded us with love and people, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. It has not been easy. My heart still bleeds, the occasional tear still escapes, but I know it is gradually mending. More times now than in the past few weeks, I remember you and a smile comes to my face instead of tears to my eyes. I choose to focus on God’s grace to us this period, rather than focus on the pain.

I draw comfort from sensing that the Lord Himself personally supervised your passing. Your brother said a few hours after you had passed that he was happy that you are happy (how on earth he knew and sensed that, beats me). Jesus is taking care of you now. I sometimes imagine you playing with the angels and having fun exploring the reaches of heaven, frolicking on the streets of gold, having the time of your life and eternity.

A part of me is in heaven. I have one more reason to make sure I get there. A part of me wonders what you would look like when I eventually see you, if you would still be a little boy or a man fully grown, if you would still call me Daddy or (do not know what else), if…

You have joined the cloud of witnesses cheering us from the grandstands of heaven. Seeing you once again is a great impetus to run this race even better.

This is my tribute to the 19 months we had you. Left to us, we would not have let you go but this is the reality we now have to live with. If we did not have you, we would not have such pleasant memories.

Jehovah…, You are God and Father. I bow to you now and always. Though my heart and emotions feel like they are in shreds, yet I submit to You. Everything that You do is good (may be painful in the interim) and always works out for good. My trust is in this and that You are constantly with us.

For all who have stood with us during this period (family, friends (close and distant), colleagues, and  church members), may God be with you and I pray you never experience such pain. Your love and care is most appreciated. The title of this piece was taken from the title of the poem written by the Junior Church of The Stone Church, Abuja (which I must confess, I have not had the courage to read).

At the graveside, I said I will see you again… We may have buried you, but God has not buried you. How that will work out, only time and eternity will tell.

Adieu son. Sleep well. Have fun with Jesus and I am sure He is as excited to have you as we were when we had you.

Praise God.

Loved forever,

Dad

Triggers of a Generational Blessing (Part II)

Welcome to the concluding part of the series Triggers of a Generational Blessing. My prayer is that as you read, the Spirit of God will breathe upon your heart and guide your feet towards triggering a general blessing for your lineage. Be blessed as you read.

“… For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” – Apostle Peter

Triggers

The scriptures tell us that the things that were written were written for our learning, that through them, hope would be instilled in us (Rom. 15 vs. 4), and that they also happened as examples especially for us who live in these present times (1 Cor. 10 vs. 11).

So then, what do we learn from the stories in the previous post?

  • Obedience to God

From Abraham’s encounter we see how his obedience to God triggered a blessing that was well beyond anything he could have imagined in his heart and mind. God blessed Abraham for his obedience in spite of the extremely difficult (in natural terms) instructions he had been given. When the Lord God saw that Abraham was ready to obey to the letter without any hesitation, He quickly called to him to stop, and then swore by Himself to bless Abraham.

It is pertinent to point out, that this was not some random event or occurrence of obedience. Reading Abraham’s story, his obedience to instructions by God is chronicled through each page of his life; the sacrifice of Isaac was like the tipping point which brought with it the blessing.

  • Obedience to Parental Authority

The Rechabites were blessed with perpetuity in their lineage because they honoured the word of their father Jonadab more than that of Jeremiah, who was acting on instructions from God. In today’s world, that would probably create a conundrum for the average Christian. God knew that their father had issued them a number of instructions, one of which was that they were not to drink wine. Yet, He commanded Jeremiah to take them into the house of God and give them wine to drink. This was a test of their obedience, not to God, but to the instruction of their father. It was also supposed to serve as a lesson in obedience to the rather rebellious house of Israel. The Rechabites honored the word of their father and till today as sure as God’s Word stands, the descendants of Jonadab are still on the face of the earth.

  • Initiative

King David did not receive any instruction from God to build Him a house. He also made no sacrifice or pass through a test of obedience in his case. In actual fact, the price of David’s blessing was the price of an idea or even more accurately, the price of a perceived need. David felt it was wrong for him to dwell in a house of cedar while the Ark of God remained in a tent. His immediate resolve to do something about the situation caught God’s attention in a wonderful way. David unwittingly connected to something that was in the plan of God for all of humanity. God’s plan was for the Messiah to be a legitimate heir to the throne of Israel. David’s initiative and God’s blessing for it set him up to be the father of a dynasty of kings from which the King of kings would eventually physically descend.

Exhortation

The work that was done at Calvary was complete. The Lord Jesus said “It is finished” and indeed it is. The Bible clearly tells us that we are new creations in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5 vs. 17), ALL THINGS are become new. He blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that were against us and that were contrary to us; He took them out of the way, nailing EVERYTHING to His cross (Col. 2 vs. 14). Rom. 6 vs. 4 tells us that in the same manner Christ was raised from the dead, we should walk in newness of life.

Take a step back for a moment and study the lineage of Abraham, David, and the Rechabites. God asked Abraham to leave his country, kindred, and father’s house to go to a place He would show him. Abraham’s ancestors were most likely involved in idol worship. His ancestry did not have any effect on his obedience to God and did not count one bit when God pronounced the blessing. Abraham had developed a lifestyle of continued obedience to God (e.g. leave your father’s household; circumcise all the males in your household; send Ishmael away; sacrifice Isaac etc.). In Isaiah 1 vs. 19, the bible says that if we were willing and obedient, we would eat the fruit of the land, as Abraham proved. This kind of blessing could care less if one’s ancestral antecedents were rooted in all kinds of maleficence.

For King David, it is worthy of note that his ancestral lineage included Rahab the harlot, who was his great great grandmother. Now, that did not stop God from anointing him king or from blessing him with an eternal dynasty of kings.

Based on the principle of First Mention, it is likely that the Rechab mentioned in 2 Samuel 4 was the ancestor of the Rechabites. You would see from that scripture that he was not a good man. He was a murdering opportunist who in a bid to curry favor from King David, along with his brother Baanah, slew King Ish-bosheth while he was in bed having a siesta. Somewhere along his lineage, Jonadab came along (2 Kings 10 vs. 15 & 23). Jonadab was allied with King Jehu in ridding Israel of the idolatrous mess Ahab had created. You would think that the evil deeds of their father would prompt them to change their name and probably be known as the Jonadabites (because of his good deeds) instead of the Rechabites. They kept the name but heeded the righteous instruction of Jonadab, and God blessed them for it. Also note that Jonadab became the reference point for this blessing, as it applied to his own lineage.

Salvation through the precious blood of Jesus Christ wipes the slate clean for any person who comes to gives his or her life over to Him. It takes care of whatever the past may have been. It provides the opportunity for a future that is beyond comprehension; as the scripture puts it, ‘Christ in us, the hope of glory’ (Col. 1 vs. 25 – 27). It puts us under the lineage of Abraham and makes us heirs according to the promise. It gives us opportunities to trigger our own heritage of blessings that would span generations yet unborn rather than struggle under burdens or curses we had no part in. Moreover, Christ has been made every curse in the whole wide world for us (Gal. 3 vs. 13 – 14). This knowledge, this truth, gives us power and the freedom we need to embrace the blessings.

In conclusion, triggering generational blessings is not restricted to the Old Testament Bible characters alone. The things were written for us to learn from them and to know what we can accomplish as well as the things we cannot. We live in a much greater dispensation than they did, and we are thus empowered to do so much more than they ever did. I strongly believe that through a lifestyle of continued obedience to God and to parental authority (physical and spiritual); through taking spiritual initiatives aimed at pleasing God and being led by the Spirit of God (an unparalleled advantage), we have opportunity to trigger blessings that would run through our entire generations for years and years to come.

Remain Blessed…

Triggers of a Generational Blessing (Part 1)

Welcome to the first of a 2-part series on Triggers of a Generational Blessing. Enjoy your reading.

One generation plants the trees, and another gets the shade ~ Chinese Proverb

Introduction

In today’s Church world, it is quite common to see a handbill, a poster, a billboard, or some form of advertisement that offers an invitation and an opportunity to the reader to have any generational curses over their lives broken. Whatever the title, the message is rather very clear. The premise is that a whole lot of believers are struggling under generational curses that need to be broken in order for them to find the relief, comfort, and prosperity they so eagerly and strongly desire. The target audiences are those believers who have struggled for years with issues like financial prosperity, finding a marriage partner, conception, marital problems, etc., and who have seemingly done everything they know to do and have still made no headway. The spiritual diagnosis then suddenly becomes that they are most likely under generational curses which need to be broken. These curses are due to some of the evil activities and deeds of the ancestors, a classic case of “… The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge…” (Jer. 31 vs. 29).

Interestingly, you do not hear too much (if you hear at all) in the church about generational blessings. During one of my personal studies and reflection, the Spirit of God prompted this issue in my heart. The bible clearly tells us about both generational blessings and curses cf. Deut. 28 vs. 4 & 18. Both arise from the deeds of our forebears. However, the undue emphasis on the curses, especially after the awesome work that was done on the cross of Calvary on our behalf, is rather disheartening to see and hear.

Generational Blessings

A generational blessing is a blessing that originates from a progenitor and runs throughout the lifetime of his entire lineage. Let’s look at 3 examples in the Bible.

Image: http://www.peace.org.au

Abraham

God blessed Abraham with such an amazing blessing – a blessing spanning both his physical generation and a spiritual generation – which is in full effect even to this day.

15 Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16 and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son– 17 blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” Gen. 22 vs. 16 – 18 (NKJV)

The latter part of verse 18 tells us that Abraham’s obedience to God’s voice was the reason for the blessing. The writer of Hebrews (Heb. 6 vs. 13 – 18) emphasizes the seriousness and profound nature of God’s promise to Abraham. God swore an oath by Himself (there isn’t anyone greater) that He would fulfill His promise to Abraham. Abraham’s continued obedience to God brought such a blessing that even those of us who are not direct physical descendants, have become partakers of the blessing through Jesus Christ (Gal. 3 vs. 29). Praise God!

King David

Chapter 17 of 1 Chronicles tells the story of God’s covenant with King David. The king had moved into his new palace and then came to the realization that while he dwelt in such opulence and magnificence as befitted a king of his stature, the Ark of the Lord was dwelling in a tent. He spoke to Nathan the prophet about this and Nathan told him to do all that was in his heart. That same night, the Lord spoke to the prophet and gave him a message for the king. God essentially said that right from the time He brought Israel out of Egypt, the Ark of His presence had always dwelt in a tent or in a tabernacle, and that He had NEVER (emphasis mine) asked any of the rulers of Israel why they had not thought about building Him a house of cedar. He then goes ahead to chronicle David’s history and ends with the promise of an eternal dynasty of kings; of a Son who would build a house for God and whose throne would be established forever (vs. 7 – 14).

Reading this story, I get the impression that God was so thrilled and moved with David’s intention that He could not help but bless him. Even though God had said that David would not be the one to build the temple (1 Chron. 22 vs. 6 – 10), His promise of a Son who would build a house for the name of God is what we see fulfilled today in Jesus Christ.

The Rechabites

The Rechabites were a relatively unknown family whose story is tucked away somewhere in the middle of the book of Jeremiah (chapter 35). God sent Jeremiah to test the Rechabites – to prove their adherence to the command of their progenitor Jonadab (the son of Rechab) not to drink wine. This test was to serve as a general example of obedience to the house of Israel. Interestingly, the setting for this test was in the house of God, in a chamber with pots full of wine. Despite what I call the ‘spiritual pressure’ from Jeremiah, the people gently turned down the offer. Jonadab’s commandment to them not to drink wine was esteemed greater than the offer by the Man of God. God set them as an example of obedience before the children of Israel and then in turn blessed the Rechabites with the blessing of a perpetual generation for the honour they accorded the word of their father Jonadab.

TO BE CONTINUED…

God bless