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Sermon/Devotion #116: Obeying God - Do Whatever He Tells You

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he (Jesus) tells you.” John 2:5 [NIV] This is one example of why Christians should obey God's word always. The message also demonstrates the power of walking in obedience to God and living for Christ in every situation. We get into many challenges/difficulties, dissatisfaction with life, and stunted spiritual growth if we go against the will of God - i.e., if we go against 'whatever He tells us . ' “Do whatever He tells you.”  That was  Mary’s instruction to the servants at the wedding.   This instruction applies to you and me in this age, and in its full measure: “Do whatever He tells you.” Are you looking for a solution to a problem that you might be facing, as the attendees of the wedding at Cana did? Do you have a need that you want satisfied? Do you yearn for a victorious Christian life? Do you long for improved fellowship with God? Do you seek the next level regarding spiritual growth? If so, here is the key: “Do wh
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Sermon/Devotion #115: Being a Good Christian Example

“Philip found Nathanael and told him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote - Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’ ‘Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?’ Nathanael asked. ‘Come and see.’ said Philip.” John 1:45-46 [NIV] Nazareth was a despised town. That is why Nathanael was taken by surprise that Jesus could have come from there. Nazareth was regarded as a desert, where nothing was expected to grow. Nathanael's surprise was quite revealing;  "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked.     What a viewpoint! People could be viewing your country, city, or village in a similar light. Yours might be a locality that is expected to produce nothing good, but I encourage you to surprise everybody like Jesus surprised Nathanael by originating from Nazareth. I want you to surprise people for the glory of God. Some 'Nathanaels' could be looking at you and wondering whether anything good could

Sermon/Devotion #114: Show Them the True Jesus Christ

“The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God!’ When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.” John 1:35-37 [NIV] Soul winning is one of the most important activities that one can undertake for both the Lord and mankind - bringing more souls into God's Kingdom. Tell somebody about Christ; win them over to Christ! This is the message in the above-cited verses. You are a Christian because somebody won you over. They might not have shared the Word with you; instead, they might just have invited you to a place where the Word was shared. Most likely it was not a 'special' person who led you to Christ. Soul winning is not just for 'special' people, as some tend to think, and by so doing disqualify themselves. It is not just for the eloquent or even the most confident. It is also for people like you and me! Learn to share the Word. Speak as naturally as you always do. It is the

Sermon/Devotion #113: Be Voices for Christ

“Finally they said, ‘Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself? "I am the voice calling in the desert." That is what believers like John should say about themselves. That is what you should say about yourself. John replied on the words of Isaiah the prophet, ‘I am the voice of one calling in the desert, 'Make straight the way for the Lord'” John 2:22-23 [NIV] A desert is a dry place; not much grows there. John had a mandate to bring life to the lifeless, and so do you! The voice was no ordinary voice; it was a voice designed to change things for the better. There are so many voices out there, even among the worshipers. But if you carefully listen to some of the voices you will realize that they are not designed to benefit the listener, but to exalt self. They are not meant to point listeners in the right direction, but to point them towards self. Some voices are actually designed to assassinate souls. It's a p

Sermon/Devotion #112: The Source of God's Blessings

"From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another." John 1:16 [NIV] I will tread very cautiously here because there is evidence all around that this is one of the most emotive issues in the Christian faith. So, as I write, I am just sharing a personal approach to blessings; you may agree or disagree with it. There are many things that a Christian is required to do. Giving is one of them, sacrificial giving for that matter. I am however very hesitant to link my giving to God's blessing; this is a personal choice. I do not have the strength to give to be blessed. I am however happy to give because giving meets God's expectations of me. Here is an important point - Jesus first gave; He gave His life to give me the right to be called a child of God. That is the number one blessing - and I got it free of charge ! So, as far as it relates to my life, I want to view God's blessings towards me as originating from "the fullness of His gra

Sermon/Devotion #111: I am not the Christ [You too Are'nt]

"He (John) himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light." John 1:8 [NIV] I think we are in some kind of problem as the body of Christ. The problem is that there is an increasing numbe r of men and women, even teens and senior citizens, who are, whether by word or deed, taking the place of Christ. Haven't you ever come across church assemblies in which congregants seem to, or actually, worship the leader? I have earlier claimed that a Christian, because of his/her relationship to Christ, is actually a light. Jesus is 'the light' . A Christian is 'a light' . I believe this gives the proper perspective. "The light" is the source of "a light", not the other way round. I love John. Some people had mistaken him for the light. I think some had wanted to make him the light. What did John do when he observed this? Listen to this: "He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, 'I am not the Christ.'" Jo

Sermon/Devotion #110: Let Your Light Shine

"The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood (or overcome) it." John 1:5 [NIV ] This verse relates to Jesus Christ, the One who was in existence in the beginning. The Bible teaches us that His life is the light of mankind. This is remarkable; it means that those who have His life have this kind of light - the light of men. The life of Jesus Christ is the source of the light. So, in other words, Jesus Christ is the light of men. He shines in the darkness and confounds it; not only that, but the darkness has not and cannot overcome Him. Jesus Christ has overcome all manner of darkness! Here is the interesting part: you are the light of the world . Here is another interesting part: you cannot shine unless you are prepared to . To shine in this world or to dim in this world is actually a personal choice. You can be a Christian but still feel like there is no light in you; you feel like you are like anybody else. There may be some complicated manuals ava

Sermon/Devotion #109: Alpha and Omega

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." John 1:1-2 [NIV] What was the beginning like? What was in existence at the beginning? These are questions that people constantly ask themselves. Some shelve the questions because they quickly hit a brick wall. I think we all struggle a lot when we try to get into deep thought about the beginning; it is easy for our thought processes to immediately become overwhelmed. I guess it is because the matter is too spiritual to be approached anyhow. But here is what the bible teaches us - in the beginning was the Word . What a wonder! The Word was with God; the Word, who was with God, was actually God! I rephrase. "In the beginning was Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ was with God, and Jesus Christ was God." Interesting, isn't it? This is how Christians ought to visualize "

Sermon/Devotion #108: Christian Hypocrisy & Deceit

  “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship [Him] in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24, NIV). We must always read our watches correctly. John talked about a time that was coming; then immediately he alerted us to the fact that the time had already come.  We are living in such a time...a time to worship the Father with genuine, burning hearts - never in deceit and hypocrisy. I believe there are so many worshipers who are in the category of true worshipers. I also believe that there are many who are outside this group. Some of those who are outside the group of true worshipers sincerely long to change for the better – but the rest, for some reason, seek to remain the same. The truth of the matter is that hypocrisy and deceit in the end only hurt the one harboring them. In John 4:23-24 , Jesus talked about true

Sermon/Devotion #107: In the Midst of the Novel Corona Virus (Covid-19) Pandemic

The world is passing through an immensely challenging phase because of the Covid-19 pandemic. It seems as though no country will be spared. We also have not seen the full measure of the pandemic's fury, in my view. We must understand that it will take the effort of all of us to come out of this situation; not just your effort and mine, but that of the entire world. The journey is not going to be easy without the cooperation of all. We need to work together. If one avoids putting their hand to the plough, all it would mean is that we will be in this situation for quite a long time - with even worse consequences. We protect ourselves out of love for mankind. If I am infected, it means a lot more may be infected and affected because of me. Remember, some of such people may be dear to us, and it would really break our hearts to make them pass through such trying situations. We also protect ourselves out of our love for ourselves. So let us help, to the best of our abilities, those w

Sermon/Devotion #106: The Prison of Life (And the Escape)

The urgency of it not only besieged me; but its intensity also took me by surprise. I wanted to let out a loud scream, to release the pressure inside, but the scream jammed mid-throat. I surely needed to call out for help. It was something that I needed  to do , one thing I eagerly wanted  to be , something that I had waited for since birth - and it was time, a 'now or never'. I could no longer continue to live the same way. I needed a break, if life was to have even a semblance of meaning - yet it was a break that neither any man nor the whole world could give. My eyes shifted to the  handcuffs - cold as ice, slowly eating into the wrist-bones of my soul and spirit. Drops of sweat covered my palms, and my brow was no different. I then looked at my legs - the  leg irons  were still in place, ironically shining and determined, evidence of what I had been all these years. Oh, how I detested the shackles! “Oh God I want out!” I eventually managed to send out a cry that pierced t

Sermon/Devotion #105: Pursue, Overtake and Recover All

It struck me one day. Here I was, walking down the street when suddenly my mind’s voice encouraged me with these words: “Phanuel, you must understand that you have never lost out on anything in life.” I stopped and asked myself, “So what has been happening?” The voice said, “You have been gaining, gaining, gaining. All the things that you thought you had missed out on are actually in a ‘bank’ account from which you are free to withdraw both the principal sum plus compound interest.” This to me was like a breath of fresh, fragrant air! Quite an inspiring message - a totally transformed way to look at life and living. What I thought was gone was not actually gone? Everything is dependent on what one chooses to believe about their life. I used to think in terms of spilled milk and water that's gone down the drain, but this paradigm completely changed my lenses. I had spent a number of years thinking I was losing out. When I failed to get the job that I desired, I thought I had lost

Sermon/Devotion #104: The Heavenly Realm - MorningStar Ministries

I receive Rick Joyner's Word of the Week by email. I read each article and often make printouts to share with others. One morning, as I read the Week 37, 2018 article, I came across a remarkable inspirational Christian quote that I thought I should share. It might help you. You not only have to meditate on the quote but also strive to live it. Here is the quote: "We are not called to be human beings who have occasional spiritual experiences, but we are called to be spiritual beings who have occasional human experiences." How profound! Is that your experience as a Christian? Does this speak to the way you live? Are you more spiritual than you are human in the various facets of your life? I sometimes think that Christians should learn, each day, to be more spiritual. One's progress in this regard should be evident to themselves initially, then to the rest of the community. I sometimes feel that there is too much "humanness" even in the Church today. The wa

Sermon/Devotion #103: Christian Success Meaning

People look at life differently, depending on what they believe. In the year 2003, a friend introduced me to the subject of success motivation and personal development. I then began to attend workshops on the subject but came out a bit confused. What confused me was the exclusive focus on wealth. I thought to myself, “Does success mean just wealth?” I believed that success was broader than just the possession of material things. I also believed that success was supposed to be based on a certain spiritual foundation. Henceforth began my quest for an answer, or an understanding. Then one day, as I read my Bible, I came across a verse that struck me. The verse reads as follows: “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well” (3 John v2, NIV). “This is it! This is the definition of success!” I seemed to shout to myself. If you are enjoying good health, if all is going well with you, if your soul is getting al

Sermon/Devotion #102: Christian Hope - Hope in Christ

I have observed and have become convinced that there are just two kinds of people in this world, and the lives of these two kinds of people are as different as day is to night. Only two kinds, not more. That is the message of this textual sermon. There are various difficulties, trials, and tribulations in this world, but only two kinds of people. There are various levels of poverty, but only two kinds of people. There are various forms of sickness and disease, but only two kinds of people. You put the two groups under exactly the same difficulty, and they react in totally different ways. It's amazing! Whatever challenging situation you might be facing right now, you are either hopeful or hopeless about it. These are the two kinds of people that I have been referring to - one kind is of the hopeful  and the other is of the hopeless , with reference to a specific challenge that they might be facing in their lives.   You are either hopeful or hopeless about your current situation;

Sermon/Devotion #101: Yes, You Can Do It

I remember when I was still a teenager. I kept grudges; real grudges, I mean. I did not know how to forgive; neither did I have the willingness to do so. If somebody did me wrong, they were supposed to pay for it! I was a stranger to God back then - I had never experienced the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in my life. Any talk about God actually had a jarring effect to my ears; it still does to some folks. I also would tremble in my anger, sometimes to the point of shedding tears - even against an elder! I recall a day I got so angry at an elder that he almost fell off the chair on which he was sitting. The elder was evidently wrong; I could not tolerate it anymore - but seething in anger did not make me right either - it's only that I did not know at the time and actually felt justified in my actions. But then the Lord moulded me. Praise His Holy Name! If you see me now, you see a totally different person. Simple. I now can forgive and do forgive. I associate with everyb

Sermon/Devotion #100: Tithe & Offerings

I have, on a number of occasions, listened to preachers teach on tithes and offerings. In the process,  I have observed that some preachers encourage members of the congregation to give tithes and offerings in order for them to get something (called a blessing) in return. It sometimes feels like getting a blessing is the only motivation for Christians to give to God! I find this disturbing! I think that there is need for preachers to go deeper in their teaching on the subject. As far as I am concerned, focusing on "getting something in return" holds immense potential to lead some Christians astray. A number of Christians now consider the issue of tithing and offering as an economic principle. You put something in, you get more out; what a rate of return! This habit encourages the development of an entrepreneurial mindset, not a spiritual one. Because of such a mindset, some people have taken the Spirit of God out of their giving; and it's quite unfortunate, in

Sermon/Devotion #99: 'Little' Bad Habits Do Matter

Bad behavior remains bad behavior, however much one might try to put some gloss over it. On a number of occasions, I have heard people say, “It doesn't matter. It’s too minor a thing to worry about.”  Really? I believe that each of one's actions or omissions has a far-reaching impact on their character or reputation. Everything you do either has a positive or negative effect on your person. The same applies to each of your omissions - the actions that you avoid taking. So it's not a matter of “is it minor or major?” If something destroys your reputation, why would you not worry about it? If something reflects positively on you, why would you not be eager to be associated with it, whether it is ‘minor’ or ‘major’? Our country would certainly be a much better place to live in if only more people cared, or cared more. Often people think that it is the responsibility of some other people to put things right. They say, “They should do this and that to make thin