Doubt Not, Only Believe!

The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. I will defend this city and save it, for my sake and for the sake of David my servant (2 Kings 19:31b & 34).

There are so many scriptures that give me much comfort. One of them is what is quoted above: “The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” I have received God’s words concerning my life, yet most of those words seemed incompatible with my present situation.

So, I have found myself asking, “But Lord how can this be?” When things seem so much out of reach and there are no signs of rain, yet a promise of abundance, the thought that easily comes to us is, “How can this be?”

Well, I guess I am not the only one who has asked such a question or the first to do so. Many before me have asked similar a question, and others have even doubted to their own destruction. That is why when I am in doubt I cry to God, “Lord that I may not doubt, please help me to believe. Even though the signs point to a different direction, Lord help me believe.” I urge you to pray along with me if you are in doubt about any situation in your life.  

The good news is that faith really pays off. When angel Gabriel gave Mary the promise of a son, she also asked, “But how can this be?” However, she was a woman of faith and added, “Let it be as the Lord wills”. When God gave a promise of abundance to the children of Israel in a time of scarcity and need, one closer to the king doubted to his destruction.

For a period, Hezekiah had been tormented by the Syrian King. He captured fortified cities in Judah and exacted wealth from the kingdom of Judah. The Assyrian King captured Samaria and deported Israel to Syria. Hezekiah and the people of Judah were practically living in fear.

So Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the temple of the Lord and in the treasuries of the royal palace.  At this time Hezekiah king of Judah stripped off the gold with which he had covered the doors and doorposts of the temple of the Lord, and gave it to the king of Assyria (2 Kings 18: 15-16).

In spite of all the wealth Hezekiah gave to the king of Assyria, he still pestered the people of Judah, he marched to Jerusalem and sent distress messages to Hezekiah and the people of Judah. He despised the God of Judah whom Hezekiah trusted.

Do not listen to Hezekiah, for he is misleading you when he says, ‘The Lord will deliver us.’ Has the god of any nation ever delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria? (2 Kings 18:22a-33)

When King Hezekiah received threats by Sennacherib, he was terrified. He ran to the temple and prayed to God. God’s words to him were that of comfort and assurance of victory and protection. “But how can this be?” “The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this,” was the response.

It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands.  Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, Lord, are God” (2 Kings 29:18-19).

That night an angel of the Lord entered the Assyrian camp and slaughtered thousands of the soldiers. Hallelujah! Sennacherib had no choice but to withdraw in shame and defeat. That was how deliverance came to the children of Judah. God took the battle in his own hands and fought without any effort of the people of Judah.

May God fight your battles for you as you choose to trust in him and call on him in times of danger. And may his zeal accomplish everything he has said concerning your life. Our God is able!

Photo: FreeImages.com/abcdz2000

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This One Thing: Set Your Priorities Right This Year

There are times we present our desires to God and wait patiently for them to be met. We wait, first with faith, but as time passes we become anxious, frustrated and helpless. We wonder, “Is God unkind or unable?” “Don’t I deserve what others have?” “Or have I committed some unpardonable sin?”

At a period in my life, I cried many times and walked without any joy or sparkle in my eyes. If I was not knocked down by a car, then it was grace, because drivers blew their horns at me, as I was so absent minded while I walked. It was as if I was ready to die for this one thing I so badly needed. It seemed my life was incomplete without it.

I lost sight of the abundance of God’s blessings in my life: the breath of life, the financial breakthrough, the job, the good health I shared with my family. I lost sight of them all for this one thing I did not have, hopping from one prayer meeting to the other until I lost my attitude of praise and did not want to pray any more. How forgetful one can be!

But one day, the Holy Spirit ministered to me in the following verse:

Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all other things will be added unto you (Matt. 6:33).

As a Christian, why had I not received all the “other things”?

The Holy Spirit was there to help me find the answers and to learn the following divine truths:

First, God is interested in the salvation of my soul before all other things.

In the same way he is interested in the salvation of other souls before all other things. He is, above all things, committed to reconciling the whole world back to himself. That’s his primary business.

He is also looking for people whose primary goal is to be available for his use in the ministry of reconciliation.

Yes, He is in the business of giving material blessings, but they are all geared towards one goal—the salvation of humankind.

Second, God’s will often does not fit into our individual aspirations, desires and goals.

God works with a time table that suits his plan for the salvation of my soul and the world. Interestingly, this time table is not like what I have as an individual:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts (Is. 55:8).

God is sovereign, all wise, all knowledgeable. No human can fully fathom his being and character. And he is meant to be known through personal relationship and through his word by the help of the Holy Spirit.

Believers are to submit their will to God’s. He is the master planner who holds the perfect and beautiful master plan. Believers need faith and absolute trust with patience and perseverance to be able to accept and conform to God’s will for their lives.

What do we learn from these things?

We need to set our hearts and minds right. There should be a rearrangement of our priorities—to have eternity in mind and know that it is urgent that we do so. Time is running out. Souls are dying everyday. There is no time to procrastinate or delay:

But this I say, brethren, the time is short, …for the form of this world is passing away (1 Cor. 7:29-31).

God knows that we need resources in fulfilling divine assignment. When we set our minds and hearts right, commit and make active move towards his work, we will use these resources in ways that please him. But when we do not set our hearts and minds right and realign our priorities to fit into God’s plans, these resources can become burdens rather than blessings.

What resource do you have? How are you using them to fulfil God’s will? May God help us to set our priorities right this year.

Have a happy and prosperous New Year!

Photo: FreeImages.com/Joshua Parent

Waiting Moments: Be a Warrior not a Worrier

One of the most difficult moments in life is the waiting moment. It is a time when everything seems still, a stillness that feels like stagnation. Waiting moments could range from little things to major landmarks in our lives. It could be waiting for a job, marriage, a child, visa, admission, scholarship, breakthrough in ministry and many more.

There is usually a feeling of uncertainty, stress, sometimes fret, frustration and impatience. Waiting moments are not sweet moments. During these times, our character and faith are tested and, unfortunately, many of us fail the test. Some of us run ahead of God, usually in the wrong direction.

We seek shortcuts, the consequences which we face later. Some also resort to complaint and murmuring which sometimes result in blasphemy. My personal attitude has usually been of anxiety and worry which leads to frustration. These are normal human reactions but the word of God teaches us a different approach altogether, that which is contrary to our normal reactions.

The key scripture is Philippians 4:6:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God.”

We see in this scripture the right attitude in moments of waiting. The sum of it is that we are not to be WORRIERS but WARRIORS. So, prayer is very crucial in waiting moments. We are to re-channel the energy used to complain, cry, curse, murmur, and blaspheme into prayer. Instead of counting our loss, we are to count our blessings (they are a lot, trust me) and give God praise.

Anytime worry knocks at your door, pray. Anytime anxiety shows up, begin to thank God, blessing Him for being in control of your future. Your assurance is that Jesus has got your back covered:

“Casting all your care upon Him for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

It is a great privilege to pull all your burden and worries on Christ and go to rest. Jesus truly cares. Roll it, roll it all on Him! He cares!

Photo: FreeImages.com/Joshua Parent

The Sweetness of Your Word

Oh Lord how sweet are thy words to me

How comforting! How lovely.

They soothe my anxious heart

They heal my weary soul

They are strength to my bones

They are life to my failing flesh

Oh how sweet!

Thy words are directions to my wandering feet

Instructions to my wayward heart

O Lord how I love thy words!

They melt my fears

They embolden me

I face my foes

I win life’s battle because of thy words

Oh how sweet! How lovely.

I have hope, hope of eternity

I have peace, eternal peace

I have joy, joy unceasing

All because of thy words

Oh how sweet! How lovely.

Oh grace grant thou me

That daily I may feast on thy words

That I may reflect daily on the wisdom therein

Grace grant thou me

That I may follow steadily every detail of thy words

When all is said and done,

May thy words lead me to thy feet

Oh how sweet are thy words oh Lord!

(c) P. G. Okyere Asante, November, 2016

When I shared this poem with my husband, he asked, “Since when did you start writing poems?” I responded that poetry is part of the mine of gifts that have not been unearthed.

I can’t completely explain how I felt when I wrote the poem, but I know I was unwell; I had been to the hospital a number of times. The symptoms I saw scared me badly. Fear crippled me. I wasn’t only physically unwell but was emotionally and spiritually disturbed. I felt light and empty. I woke up in the morning and instead of feeling renewed, I rather felt tired. I struggled to step out of the house. No energy, no drive, no zeal even when I had things to attend to out there.

I had said few prayers both quietly and aloud: “Oh Lord have mercy on me!” “I am strong in Jesus’ name.” I blurted these out a couple of times yet nothing changed.

So I picked my Bible and began to feed on it. It was my major task. I read and read. I took break to eat, then came back to it. I did that for three days. On the fourth day I had renewed energy. I went out to do some weeding on our compound, something I hadn’t really done before. It was while clearing the weeds that the words poured out of my heart. I wrote them down while going to bed.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

The word had entered my soul and spirit, it had entered my joints and marrow to give strength to my body. It entered my heart and thought to drive away fear of the non-existent. The word had healed my anxious heart.

As we commit ourselves to studying God’s word every single day and completing the entire Bible in a year, make the most of it. It may seem like a waste of time but it’s not; in fact it is a great time saver. Be encouraged. Fight on!

Photo Credit: FreeImages.com/Nikolaj Bourguignon

A Moment of Testing. It’s Only for A Moment

I begin with a quote from John Piper:

We will have everything we need in this life, including painful things necessary to bring us to glory.

This week has been a moment of testing. A test of my patience, a test of my faith, a test of my resolve, and a test of my joy. I got betrayed by a very good friend, and it cost me some good amount of money and time. I also lost my step-sister on Thursday.

But yesterday morning, in just a moment, in just some seconds, under the razor of the tonsor, God spoke to me in a way that I never imagined. He spoke through the barber as he shaved my hair. The message was clear. God spoke from His word, and as I sat listening to the prophecy that was coming through this young man, my eyes filled with tears.

He spoke about my soon-to-be launched book and how it was going to impact greatly on the lives of people. He spoke of the challenges I had faced that week and how He was going to turn all of them around for my good. He spoke to me. He spoke to me…through a barber.

It was in a barbering shop…with Christian music playing at the background. It was a barbering shop with printed sheets of scriptural verses pasted all around (cf. Deut. 6:6-9; 11:18-20). There was no way anyone who came to the shop could avoid reading them.

He spoke to me. He spoke to me. And by the time he was done cutting my hair, I had received healing, I had received encouragement, I felt a heavy burden lifted off me (cf. 1 Cor. 14:3). That wasn’t all. In the afternoon of the same day God spoke again, this time through my wife: “When challenges raise their heads, you count your past miracles and believe that this one too will be a miracle.”

God speaks to us in so many ways. He has prophets in both the mundane and spiritual moments of life. He doesn’t speak only through those with titles such as ‘prophet’, ‘pastor’, ‘reverend’, ‘bishop’. He speaks through His children, in whatever profession they are. And the great thing is, whenever He speaks, He speaks from His word, so you know He is the One speaking.

Let your profession and workplace be a tool for helping someone find joy, encouragement, comfort, and salvation in the Lord.

God is faithful. No matter what you are going through, if you hold on to Him, He will crown you with victory. You won’t drown.  

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Cor. 1:3-4)

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Rom. 8:28)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jer. 29:11)

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isa. 41:10)

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deut. 31:6)

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. (Isa. 43:2)